Review: Summer Infant Panorama Digital Video Monitor

 

Violet is now officially in her own room – eek! Where did my little newborn go that slept so soundly in her bedside crib next to my pillow? We now have a boisterous 7 month old who was tossing and turning in the night, keeping us awake and getting frustrated when we woke her too. So on the day she decided crawl out of bed during the night to whack me round the face with her little hand, we decided it was time – she needed her own room. The Snuzpod was clearly no longer big enough or safe as she could just climb out. Sad times, I’ll treasure memory of those co-sleeping days forever!

Violet is now in her nursery – which is not just down the hallway, she is now a whole floor away from us – we live in an ‘upside down’ house with our bedroom downstairs so having her so far away is even more nerve-wracking. That’s why having a good monitor is essential for us as we just wouldn’t hear her without it, so we decided to try out the Summer Infant Panorama Video Monitor  which seemed to tick all of the right boxes. This is how we got on….

The most important feature of a monitor for me is a big, clear video screen. I know you can get audio-only monitors, but I like to see what is going on as just being able to hear noises would make me conjure up all kinds of situations in my head – so a crisp clear picture of Violet was essential. I chose the Summer Infant Panorama Digital Video Monitor as it has one of the biggest screens I’ve seen (5″ high resolution LCD to be precise!) but what I really loved is the remote controlled pan/tilt and zoom camera, which means no matter where Violet is in her room I can pan the camera round to ensure I have full vision on what she is up to – Violet can’t get out of her cot yet but this will be handy when she’s old enough to get up and play in her room. The field of vision is fantastic, I can see all of her room so there will be no escaping the Mummy-cam once she is on the move!

Setting up the Summer Infant Panorama Digital Vido Monitor was a piece of cake – the camera and screen come automatically paired, so there is nothing to do but plug in both parts (the screen needing a full charge before use) and then it’s all ready to go! There is a quick start guide in the box just to guide you through the initial setup if you aren’t sure. The camera also comes with wall clips and instructions for attaching the cable to the wall so ensure the utmost safety when using your monitor as you wouldn’t want any loose cables close enough to the cot for your little baby to grab. I was quite impressed with the safety guidelines around this as being a first-time Mum it’s not something I’d have automatically thought of. The monitor is also a 100% private connection as it’s not attached to a WiFi network, so there is no need to worry about network security either.

Since using this monitor I’ve felt so much more relaxed leaving Violet in her room, both day and night. I carry the screen around the house with me wherever I go as it’s lightweight and totally portable – with a 240m range it’s always in range too – it has a clear picture even in our bathroom at the back of the house where our normal WiFi can’t even reach. The monitor not only has a video screen that shows your baby but sound-activated LED lights that flash along the top – going from green to red depending on how loud the sound is. Often it’s the LED lights that catch my eye before I notice Violet on the screen during the night in my sleepy state.

The monitor has a two-way communication, which is fab for soothing Violet if I see her stirring, I’ve found if I just do a few long ‘ssshhhhhhh’ noises through the monitor that’ll often be enough to settle her again if she’s really sleepy. It’s also handy if I’m in the nursery looking after Violet and I need to call down to V to help me or to get supplies like nappies/milk etc as we can talk to each other through the monitor which is so much easier if one of us is with the baby.

Other features are a room thermometer which is essential for working out what to put Violet in for bed at night and making sure her room is warm enough / not too warm overnight, plus a soothing blue/red nightlight which I pop on if I go up and check on her during the night as it’s light enough to see around the room but not so bright it wakes her.

The Summer Infant Panorama Video Monitor has two screen settings – a colour LCD screen during the day:

And an enhanced infrared night vision mode for at night:

I feel like this monitor does everything we needed it to and more, so we’ve been really impressed with it – especially the large screen and the camera that pans/tilts around the room. My only slight criticism is that the battery life is not great for the screen part so I tend to leave it on charge most of the time unless I’m wandering around the house – then it’ll last a few hours or all day if I turn it completely off between naps. Secondly, the night-vision screen can be a little on the hazy side – I’m a paranoid Mum that likes to see Violet breathing and sometimes the picture can be a little too pixelated to see the rise and fall of her chest – but I know, I am being picky here because as monitors go, this is a really great picture, the daytime mode is SO clear.

The Summer Infant Panorama Digital Video Monitor is priced at £149.99 and worth the price for the piece of mind, reassurance and just for the fun of scaring your other half shouting BOO! down the monitor at 2am…. ! 🙂 Highly recommended – a product we use daily and will continue to use for many months (years!) to come no doubt.

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Review: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie Brighton

Review: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie Brighton

I do love an Afternoon Tea – There is something decadent about working through the layers whilst copious cups of tea and wiling away an afternoon. So, a couple of weekends ago we headed down to the newly opened Patisserie Valerie in Brighton. I always think of London when I see Patisserie Valerie, so knowing I have one close to home now is too exciting (or dangerous!). Funny enough, I actually did a brunch review last year, when this property was Baker & Spice, so when we turned up looking for the new Patisserie Valerie I had no idea they’d taken over that very spot. Thinking back, I don’t think Baker & Spice ever really took to Brighton, seeing as we are overwhelmed with great brunch cafes already so I can’t say I am surprised. I think with Patisserie Valerie, being an established and well-known chain will have more of a chance of survival in an oversaturated area as it is.

The venue is ideal for Brighton’s changeable weather, with indoor and outdoor seating plus a suntrap conservatory.  It was a sunny day so we sat in the bright and airy conservatory area to watch the world go by, but also have a little bit of privacy with a baby who’s newfound love is to bang her hands on the table, scream for no reason and grab everything in sight!

The Afternoon Tea itself is one of the best value for money in Brighton – at only £25 for two it’s very reasonably priced, many places charge this per person! I was eager to see if it would live up to it’s competitors, or if the quality would be reflected in the lower price.

Review: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie Brighton

The Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea includes:a selection of finger sandwiches, mini quiches, scones with jam & clotted cream all topped off with a selection of mini cakes and accompanied by a refillable pot of tea. You can also add a glass of Prosecco for an extra £5. As we are both Vegetarian, we asked for the veggie option. I was completely impressed that we were also advised which cakes contained gelatine and given options to replace them as this is often overlooked as a vegetarian. One of the cakes we couldn’t have so they gave us a full-sized Apple Tart in it’s place!

Review: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie BrightonReview: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie Brighton

Needing an extra caffeine boost with a baby who just wants to sit up, crawl, look at everything, touch everything we ordered coffee’s instead of tea which they were able to swap with no extra charge.

The first course – the savoury layer was fine for a vegetarian option and did the trick for a quick lunch, but I wouldn’t say they were the most interesting sandwiches I’ve ever eaten!  They were tasty and fresh but the fillings were quite basic, fillings such as egg mayo, cheese, humous – I think they could have been a little more inventive on this front, maybe the meat sandwiches are more interesting. One of our sandwiches just had some spinach leaves in with a slick of mustard – an interesting combo, I skipped that one.

Review: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie Brighton

I wasn’t too disappointed in the savoury course, in my heart-of-hearts I’m just there for the cakes. I just like to act like I’m eating something sensible by entertaining the savoury course. As soon as we were done I was more than excited to move on up a layer, to the traditional scones with clotted cream and jam.

The scones were clearly freshly made and baked to perfection – with a generous serving of clotted cream and as many pots of Bonne Maman jam as we could manage.

Review: Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie Brighton

Lastly, onto the cakes section – my favourite and I think this was the best part of the whole experience. Eclairs, Victoria Sponge, chocolate gateaux and a carrot cake were on our selection – plus we had our full sized apple tart on the side (where we replaced one of the cakes for containing gelatine). By this point we were getting rather full so we did our best but most of them came home in a little box with us to enjoy later. The staff were helpful in boxing them up for us and gave us a nicely wrappy ‘doggy bag’ as we left!

One of my only criticisms of the experience was not anything to do with the food, but I thought the restaurant itself wasn’t great for accessibility. To use the toilets there is a flight of stairs and to get to the baby change there are two flights of stairs! I negotiated my way down the stairs with a wiggly baby and change bag and it wasn’t the safest of options and I think someone who hasn’t had a baby had obviously thought that was a good place for the change table!

All in all, I thought our Afternoon Tea experience was rather lovely, especially for the price of £25 for two people. I wouldn’t say it was the most elaborate I’ve ever had but for the price it was delicious and well worth a visit. If you are looking for something really special or unique there are lots of other places in Brighton like The Salt Room, Terre a Terre or The Grand, but those all come with a different price tag so really they shouldn’t be compared! A lovely experience all round that can’t really be faulted for the price tag – give it a go!

If you are looking for Afternoon Tea in Brighton, see my reviews on:

The Salt Room

The Harbour Hotel

 

How I stroll with my Baby Jogger City Go

How I stroll with my Baby Jogger City Go

I absolutely love living right by the beach in Brighton, but logistics of getting out and about in a busy city with a baby have been a little tricky recently. As it’s the height of summer our city has been flooded with tourists, which is fab as there is always something going on but when you have to get from A to B quickly it can be a bit stressful. Where we live is a popular beach spot so there is absolutely no parking and when we go out we are often going against the flow – dodging families heading to the beach, inflatable crocodile under one arm, ice cream in the other – so finding ways to get Violet out of the house and into the car quickly and easily has been an absolutely lifesaver.

How I stroll with my Baby Jogger City GoHow I stroll with my Baby Jogger City Go

Baby Jogger have teamed up with travel expert and mother of two, Laura Hamilton (who you will recognise if you watch ‘A Place in the Sun‘ on Channel 4 – my maternity leave guilty binge watch program!) as part of their ‘How I Stroll‘ guide for new and expectant parents. The guide is a handy set of tips on how to make the most of being out and about with your baby.

As part of the project I’ve been trying out the Baby Jogger City GO car seat. I have to say I wouldn’t usually associate ‘strolling’ with a car seat, but this has helped to change my perspective. I’m pretty sure before I tried the City GO, my car seat ‘stroll’ looked more like a penguin waddle as they can be so awkward to carry, but the City GO is so lightweight and easy to handle that walking with the car seat is a breeze. This is absolutely essential for where we live as our car is usually parked quite a way from home. I also absolutely love the chic black design with tan interior padding and that it has a large UV hood that is SPF 50+ too.

How I stroll with my Baby Jogger City GoHow I stroll with my Baby Jogger City Go

Laura Hamilton is a huge fan of the Baby Jogger City Go too, she loves that it can be fixed quickly and easily into the car using an ISOFIX base, and she recommends getting someone to check that it’s all installed correctly before using it. Shops that sell the City GO would be more than happy to check it over for you and safety for your little one is paramount. I remember when we brought Violet home from the hospital, she was just so tiny in her car seat – I sat in the back as we didn’t want to to take our eyes of her, so I can wholeheartedly agree with that too.

How I stroll with my Baby Jogger City Go

Another great thing about the City GO is that it’s compatible with many of the Baby Jogger Strollers too, like the City Mini GT (which I’ve had my eye on for a while!) Now Violet is 6 months old we’ll be looking for a stroller soon so it’s good to know we’ll be able to use the products together to make getting out and about even more of a breeze!

How I stroll with my Baby Jogger City GoHow I stroll with my Baby Jogger City Go

Lastly, as part of the ‘How I Stroll‘ guide, Laura Hamilton also gave me lots of tips on life with a newborn which I thought I’d share. I hope you find them helpful, I was certainly nodding along:

  • Don’t stress about your newborn’s bedroom being ready or buying a cot, they won’t be in one for a while. A moses basket or a little crib will be okay.
  • Even though it’s tempting, try not to find out if you are having a boy or a girl. You don’t get
    many real surprises in life.
  • Try not to tell anyone your due date or get fixated about it. It gets boring people always
    asking you close to the date ‘any news yet’.
  • Don’t tell anyone your baby name choices – people always have an opinion.
  • Buy the Gro Egg to monitor the temperature in your new baby’s room (when they are ready
    to sleep in their own room). It changes colour to indicate when it’s too hot for them.
  • One of the best things you can do is a baby first aid course to give you some knowledge of
    what to do in an emergency.

We have been really impressed with our Baby Jogger City GO and have been whizzing all over Brighton in the last few weeks with Violet safely and comfortably in the back –  as someone who at first struggled to get out of the house with a baby it’s these little things that make all the difference and as Laura Hamilton says “Just because you’re a parent, it doesn’t mean your life needs to slow down” and I couldn’t agree more.

How I stroll with my Baby Jogger City GoHow I stroll with my Baby Jogger City Go

Review: Lunch at Bill’s Brighton

Living in Brighton, I’m not sure I know of one person that doesn’t love Bill’s. Being a local brand it just feels part of our city and our Brightonian culture. There is something special about the atmosphere, there is always such a buzz, the food is delicious and it’s a friendly meeting point for many, at any time of the day. Although Bill’s is nationwide now, it actually started close to home just up the road in Lewes, with the Brighton restaurant the first to open after the success in Lewes, so they always seem to me like a small local business.

A couple of week’s ago Bill’s Brighton had a complete redesign – adding a touch more glamour to venue (which was before Bill’s a bus depot!) they now offer 50 more seats, launched a brand new Summer Menu and the best part, a sundowners cocktail menu (which looks amazing!). They had a glitzy relaunch party which I was invited to but evenings aren’t so easy with a little one, so I watched the fun from afar (good old Instastories!) Quite a shame, as I quite fancied a sundowner or two! Instead, I popped into Bill’s for a leisurely lunch, which was much more Violet-appropriate.

The new redesign certainly makes the inside of the venue feel bigger, I love the new decor too – They seem to have found the perfect balance of homely and friendly with a touch of glam. It’s easy to see how the venue can be transformed from a brunch spot to a cocktail bar as the day goes on.  The above snap was a rare quiet moment when we arrived, however within minutes there were people jostling for seats and the background buzz of chatter ramped up a notch or two. There is an extended mezzanine area for dining too, so there is a huge amount of seating now as Bill’s does tend to fill up quickly. Getting in and out with a pushchair wasn’t easy, the mix of dining room chairs and plush armchairs meant it’s a bit of a maze, but during the day most people in there were families, so I think everyone just ‘gets it’ and were more than happy to help me squeeze by.

I met up with my friend Andrea for a catch-up over a Bill’s Pink Lemonade and to see what the new menu is all about, and of course so she could get some Violet cuddles in too.

I haven’t been to Bill’s in a while, but the first thing I noticed is how extensive the menu has become (I swear there wasn’t that much choice before -or is it because I always used to get a fish finger sandwich?). It took me quite a while to decide on what I wanted, I was tempted by options such as the macaroni cheese, halloumi burger, plus of course I was thrilled to see they had the fish finger sandwich still in place – but feeling summery and tempted by a colourful selection of baby kale, pomegranate, asparagus and  watermelon – I went for the Bills Summer Salad with a side of Sweet Potato fries (oh come on, I wasn’t going to be THAT healthy) – all washed down with a classic the Bill’s Pink Lemonade, which is the perfect summer drink, served over ice and strawberries.

Andrea went of the Golden Fried Sesame Pork Dumplings with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce, followed by the Chicken Caesar Salad, which although I don’t eat chicken looked particularly tasty and the chicken chargrilled to absolute perfection.

Sadly, Andrea had to get back to work after her main course, so missed out on the epic pudding menu! Violet had been a nightmare that morning, I’d pushed her all around town trying to get her to drop off to sleep before our lunch as I knew she’d just be overtired, however she didn’t finally give in to a good sleep right to the last minute, so I decided to make the most of it and ordered another Bill’s Pink Lemonade and a Raspberry and Peach Crumble (with Salted Caramel sauce!) to myself, so I sat enjoying the moment of sheer indulgence and peace and quite on my own! It was absolute bliss!

We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch date at Bill’s Brighton and sampling the new menu. I loved the new decor inside, it’s quirky, electric and chic with that buzzy feeling Bill’s always has. The perfect place for anything from brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or cocktails – Bill’s is open from ‘breakfast to bedtime’ and covers all bases under one roof!

Thanks for letting us visit and try out the new menu – I’ll be back soon no doubt to try out the rest of my favourite dishes! 

I was offered a complimentary meal at Bill’s Brighton in return for an open and honest review – all words and opinions are my own

Getting out and about with a new baby: My Ergobaby 360 review

As a new Mum I found getting out and about with a newborn baby incredibly difficult. I never thought that would happen as where I live in Brighton, I see new parents parading along the seafront every day with the tiniest of babies – sleeping peacefully in their prams whilst their parents stroll along enjoying an ice cream in the sun. For us, Violet wouldn’t settle in her  pram for weeks – I felt totally stuck and stayed in the house a lot. At about 5 weeks and about to lose my marbles, I decided I’d try babywearing as I needed to leave the house and start getting some normality back to our lives.

As Violet was a tiny baby at 6lbs 2oz, my first jaunt into babywearing land was a stretchy fabric wrap. This had been recommended by a friend for smaller babies, so I gave that a go. That day, I managed to get out of the house to our local Tesco and honestly, it sounds like a small thing now but I was so proud of myself going out on my own with the baby I even took a selfie of me holding up my Tesco shopping bags, a tiny baby tied to my front! It’s funny how little things can seem so hard for new parents. I still remember that day so well.

I was pleased for the extra freedom of the wrap, but something inside wouldn’t let me relax when I was using it, it felt pretty stretchy and with a complex method of tying it up I always questioned myself – had I tied it too loose, too tight? Could Violet fall out? I didn’t go far from the house with it for fear it would come loose, in the end I decided it just wasn’t working for us and gave up on the wrap.

I then scoured the Internet for an alternative and discovered the Ergobaby 360, which I could use from 7lbs with their newborn insert snug. Perfect! This seemed far sturdier, safer and something we’d both be able to relax in.

So, zooming forward – that was nearly 5 months ago now. Wow, time flies when you are having fun and this is a long overdue review of one of the most useful baby products we have used to date. Violet is just about to turn 5 months and I use our Ergobaby 360 every day without fail, sometimes if it’s a bit of a clingy day (like today) multiple times (today was 6 different times, including one hour long nap). As I’ve been using our Ergobaby 360 so much today I thought today would be the perfect time to write up my review and share with you why this carrier has been the one for us. I also found these adorable photos we took of Violet in her carrier on our first walk, so I couldn’t resist sharing these too.

Lets start off with some facts about the Ergobaby 360…

  • 4 carrying positions – Forward facing (0-4 months), Outward Facing (6 months+), Side Carry (6 months+) and Back Carry (6 months+)
  • Suitable for babies 7lbs – 33lbs
  • Ergonomic in all positions
  • Adjustable padded straps and waist band for comfort
  • Loads of funky designs and colours
  • Machine Washable

Wearing the carrier – as you can see from this picture of the back, the large waistband is super comfy and is really supportive to the lower back area (which after pregnancy was really sore for me) – there is also comfy shoulder straps and a clip at the top to keep everything super secure and safe. This seems to spread the weight evenly across my back meaning I can wear the carrier for longer without feeling too strained. I have tried out quite a few carriers now (around 4 or 5) and this by far has been the best on my back, even on longer walks and as Violet gets heavier over time.

The straps are also really easy to put on and click into place safely – something I just didn’t feel with a stretchy wrap type carrier.

As we used our Ergobaby 360 from when Violet was very small (7lbs onwards) we used it with the newborn insert – which is like a little booster seat that brings them high enough to be close to you and to sit comfortably within the straps. We also used it with the neck support buttoned up, although now she is bigger we usually have this folded down so she can have a good look about for for the forward facing setting too.

We have the Dewy Grey design which has a gorgeous light grey lining with white raindrops too, which is a really pretty touch to what looks like a very sensible baby carrier.

The padded ‘seat’ part is ergonomically designed for babies to be comfortable in all positions, whether facing forward or inwards.

There is also a privacy hood that is also UPF 50+ which is really handy on sunny days when I’ve forgotten the sunhat or even if we are caught in the rain. If Violet falls asleep when she’s in the carrier I usually pop the neck support up and the cover over so she can have a good nap, this seems to keep her asleep for longer which is always good – I do this around the house on days she’s unsettled and have been known to write blog posts standing in the house with our Ergobaby on!

So, that was a whistle stop tour of the Ergobaby 360. I’d highly, highly recommend this carrier – we absolutely LOVE ours and like I said earlier in the post, wear it daily, multiple times a day. I use it at home, out on walks, on day trips and it even came on holiday with us. If you watch me on Instastories, you’ll see I use it a lot! It’s just such a well thought out design, they’ve catered for every eventuality, rain or shine, babies big or small – they’ve got you covered.

Ergobaby 360 retails for £134.90 and you can order here. Don’t forget that if your baby is under 12lbs, you’ll need the order here too.

Pin for later: Getting out and about with a new baby: Our Ergobaby 360 baby carrier review