Bugaboo Chameleon review

IMG_6084What buggy to purchase is probably one of the biggest decisions in terms of baby kit. Bugaboo, uppa baby, icandy … It can seem to be an impenetrable field when there is so much choice and you haven’t even has the baby yet so have no idea how much you will even use the thing!

We did a lot of research prior to our purchase and for us the choice was made on three areas, brand, size and multi-use.

I loved the shape of the chameleon from the moment I saw it. It has a classic pram feel whilst still looking modern and I always noticed how smart it looked when I saw people pushing it out and about whether with the carrycot or the seat.

Our choice was also partly made on the size – it needed to fit through out doorway and although I loved the uppa baby vista too with all its tricks it was simply too wide. The same counted for the bugaboo donkey which has the ability to hold two seats for a baby and toddler if you were planning two in quick succession. I also knew I didn’t want a buggy too small as I thought I would eventually buy a lighter pushchair and didn’t feel that I liked the Bee enough for it to be both buggy and pushchair.

So pros and cons of the bugaboo chameleon after using it for over a year:

Pros
It is beautiful especially in the ‘classic’ style
It is brilliantly easy to manouve and the suspension is great especially when you have a newborn and worry about going over every little bump!
Dads love it too – it is smart, well engineered and the adjustable handle make it easy for them to push too
It works with the car seat and is a system from birth to 3.5years
It folds up well albeit in two parts and is pretty light considering its size
They hold their value in case you want to sell on in the future
It does fit on a London bus – just
It feels very sturdy and protective around your little one
The hood comes down nice and low which is useful to get them to sleep

Cons
To fold you have to take off the carrycot/seat which is annoying
You can’t use the basket under the carrycot very well – this is greatly improved when you switch to the seat
It is heavy – not as heavy as others but still enough to make you feel it if you are going up and down stairs a lot
The accessories are expensive. Need a matching footmuff that is the best part of £100 need an airy sun hood – £65
It doesn’t fit easily on a bus and you have to get on the back of most buses which then means leaving the baby whilst you go and tap your card at the front

Overall I’m extremely glad we got the Chameleon but after 6 months I have to say we have used our other smaller/lighter pushchair a lot more. Maybe it is because we are going up and downstairs all the time to get to our house but I just find the whole two things to carry down a bit much on a daily basis. However, for long walks, off road countryside and style the Chameleon definitely wins.

Bocketts Farm

We had been hearing such great things about Bocketts farm from various friends so a couple of sunny Sundays ago we packed up the car and made the trip.

The farm is open every day from 10-5:30pm and has a whole host of activities for children of all ages. There is the farm part with sheep, goats, cows and pigs alongside chickens, horses and donkeys. It is extremely well laid out and we arrived just in time to see the very entertaining pig race with the likes of ‘Boaris Johnson’ competing for the title. There are a few adventure playgrounds separated by age and some really fun looking inflatables which I would love to have tried myself but the little is not so steady on his feet so alas I could not. There is also a brilliant big sandpit with all sorts of fun tools to dig with.

There are also a great deal of smaller animals inside including rabbits, Guinea pigs and if you are very lucky you can even see a newly hatched chicken in the incubator.

To top it all off there is a brilliant soft play area with a great slide and trampolines! Hours of entertainment for everyone with a nice coffee shop for the grown ups. We had a brilliant time feeding the sheep, touching the horses and seeing the little piglets.

I would highly recommend it for a great Sunday activity for all the family and I’m certainly glad to have discovered it.
They run themed events throughout the year have a grotto for Christmas so I’m certain we will be back in the not so distant future to finally try out those great inflatables!

Brackenbury Wine Rooms

Living so close, and being a big fan of the Fulham branch, I’ve been meaning to try out the Brackenbury Wine Rooms for some time. So, with the brilliant warm late summer evenings we have had lately I’ve been a couple of times! Once for dinner with a friend and once for a family lunch.

For the evening dinner we opted for the tapas menu, the food was brilliant and with a deal on Aperol Spritz we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, sitting outside and chatting the night away. The position of the Brackenbury wine rooms means it is great for taking outside visitors to, close enough to the tube that it works for those who don’t live nearby but has enough of a buzz to feel like you aren’t dining in the middle of a residential area.

Our family meal fell on bank holiday Monday and luckily for us this also meant that we could take advantage of the cost price wine list offer which runs all day. We shared a bottle of the Sancerre rose which was recommended by the sommelier and was absolutely delicious! You can also order a great deal of wines by the glass in case you can’t decide what to do for. The food was great and some of us opted for the set lunch menu which was at a great price too. The baby was welcomed and while we were there we saw a lot of families dining together which adds to the relaxed neighbourhood restaurant vibe.

While I was there I also saw an advert for their mum and baby wine tasting sessions – sounds like a winning combination to me. More details can be found here – http://winerooms.london/brackenbury/

In short the Brackenbury Wine Rooms is a great addition to Hammersmith Grove. The food is good and the wine selection is brilliant with knowledgeable staff to guide you in your selection. Sitting outside on a balmy summer evening you can almost pretend you are on holiday.

Cafe Floral

IMG_2795

Trying out the baby area.

As someone who had some serious hesitations about visiting a ‘soft play’ centre my first visit to Cafe Floral was a very pleasant surprise. Located opposite Charing Cross Hospital, Cafe Floral manages to be both adult and child friendly. There is plenty of space to park your buggy upstairs and order a coffee and a snack before descending into the soft play space downstairs. The staff are super friendly and it is a total bargain – I think if I remember correctly it is around £1.95 for under ones and £3 for over ones. They will bring your coffee/cake order to you so you don’t have to worry about juggling hot drinks and babies down the stairs!

Once you get downstairs there is a space at the front for smaller babies to play including mirrors, a ball pit and some squashy shapes to clamber over. There are also plenty of toys around to keep littles entertained. Further on there is space for the bigger babies/children with slides, a swing and some other spaces to play. There is also a great little sensory room at the very back with some nice bits for the tiny ones to looks at.

It can get quite busy and you do have to watch out for the older children not being quite as careful with the little ones around but overall it is great space and as I said before very reasonably priced for a couple of hours of fun on a rainy day!

Fulham Palace

Watching the ducks!

Watching the ducks!

Ever since the Little was born my NCT friends and I have spent almost every Friday at Fulham Place. Firstly, sleep deprived with our littles in their prams and us drinking copious amounts of coffee and discussing everything baby and then as this year has gone on and they have got older, spending hours outside on the beautiful lawn and watching them take their first steps and chase the pigeons. Fulham Palace and Bishops Park have two great spaces for children. Fulham Palace itself is on the left hand side, it is a gorgeous building and has a sweet (but pricey) cafe and beautiful lawn out the back with lots of seating. This half tends to be a bit quieter with lots of space for the littles to run around and not get into too much trouble! The Palace and the lawn outside also host a variety of events both inside and outside http://www.fulhampalace.org/events/.

On the right hand side is Bishops Park, this is a larger space and has a playground, sandpit, pond and cafe as well as being a great place to walk round too. This side is usually busier with lots of families and children running around. There is a lot to entertain the littles on this side from tiny ones to older kids and it is definitely worth a visit especially in the summer. From watching the ducks on the pond to making the most of the swings and little train in the playground there is bound to be something to keep everyone entertained (for a while at least!)

My favourite out of the two will absolutely always be the Fulham Palace side as it is just beautiful and where we have spent the majority of Fridays for the last year. They also do some fab cakes in the cafe too!