Category: Travel

Finding a window shade and Magic Mesh

Magic Mesh review The Mommy CityBelieve me when I say we have tried a bunch of different window shades for the backseats of the car. Keeping the kids happy and safe is top priority. That, and doing whatever I can to keep them quiet or sleeping in the car. We first tried the suction shades with the cute characters on them. You know, the shades that scream baby on board and make your car an undeniable mommy wagon. The problem with these shades is that they don’t fit the whole window and there is inevitably light shining though to wake baby. So you try position two shades in the window, each at different angles and shove down in the frame to stop them popping off. That works for a bit, until your child figures out how to pull them off the window. Paige also soon figured out how to tear off the last window film I bought. Then there are the stretchy mesh shades that eventually wear and flap around, and you need to get the exact fit for your model of car. By far, the best window shade we have used is Magic Mesh.

Personal choice plays a big part in deciding what shade would best suit your car and lifestyle. There are pros and cons for all types of window shades, and they all work to a degree. Magic Mesh, however, has ticked more of our boxes than any other shade and we can recommend it. We have been using them for around 6 months now, and it still looks like new. Here’s what you need to know:

Pros of Magic Mesh

  • It doesn’t obstruct the driver’s view. I have found certain shades distracting whilst driving, but this mesh is easy to look through and you don’t even notice it when looking at it from the driver’s seat.
  • They come in fun designs which the kids will enjoy from the inside, but won’t be seen from the outside. Dad will probably appreciate this feature most as he may not want your child’s favourite Disney characters on his car. The window looks like it has a tint on it and it’s a little harder to look in from the outside. It’s also easy for your kids to see through the mesh so it won’t block their view either.
  • It fits the entire window so your child can’t pull it off. It’s thin and allows the window to open and close.
  • Safe to use on smash and grab. I was a little hesitant at first, and I haven’t tried removing the mesh to try find out, but apparently it has no effect on existing tints and films.
  • Provides 100% coverage and UV protection.

Cons of Magic Mesh

  • I can’t say I enjoyed applying the mesh, and the second window came out better than the first. There is a video to guide you through, however it is still a little fiddly. I found it easier when I traced out the window shape using a sheet of newspaper first, adding an inch all around. I then used this pattern to cut out the mesh before applying to the window. The time spent applying the mesh is fortunately a once off, and you never have to touch it again.
  • Can’t be moved between cars. Once applied, it cannot be removed and reused. We waited until we bought our new car before applying.
  • They are pricier than other shades. It’s worth it though. You can buy them from Kids Emporium stores or online.

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A promise to drive responsibly and the #CarseatFullstop campaign

#CarseatFullstop I love my new car. It not only takes me from A to B, it is also comfortable to drive, I get to listen to the radio and I can go just about anywhere when it’s in 4×4. I’ve got it kitted out as well – real mommy wagon style. Baby wipes in my front drinks compartment, tissues in the middle drinks compartment, spare clothes and jackets in the boot, window shades and car seats for the kids. What is not lost on me though, is that I’m driving over a ton of olive green metal and parts, propelling forward between 1 – 120 km/h. My car can take me places, but it can also take lives if I’m not driving responsibly.

Before drivers get behind the wheel, we all diligently take lessons after passing our learner’s exam. We learn how to parallel park and do hill starts, even though it terrified us and our driving instructor. We passed our driver’s test, posed for identity photos and proudly showed our friends and family our shiny new license. Every year we renew our car license, keep our car road worthy, and insure it in case of an accident or theft. But at what point do people stop following the rules of the road? Why do some drivers feel they can pick and choose which rules to follow and feel justified in breaking the law? I’m asking because if we are going to make South African roads safer, we need to understand the human factors which cause 80-90% of road accidents each year.

As part of the #CarseatFullstop campaign, we are raising awareness of road safety and the importance of buckling up your kids. As I mentioned in my previous campaign post, one of my greatest fears whilst driving is the amount of distracted drivers I see on my daily commute. Those drivers seem to have forgotten that they too are driving a big hunk of metal which will kill it’s occupants, other road users and pedestrians, if driven irresponsibly. Instead of paying attention to the road, they are texting, smoking, intoxicated and doing whatever they shouldn’t be doing, whilst at the wheel.

There are some worrying and very real facts that go along with my observations. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), South Africa tops the list of drunk-driving related deaths in the world. According to the 2015 Global Status report on Road Safety, 58% of road deaths are alcohol related. You may not get behind the wheel drunk, but you have little control over other drivers on the road. Strapping your child into an age appropriate car seat can reduce the risk of death by 71 % for infants and 54 % for toddlers. I’m particularly cautious driving after sporting events, long weekends and around holidays.

We all have a story to tell about someone close to us who has either died or left permanently disabled from an accident. I have seen the pain that it causes, we all have. We know the risks. We studied for our learners, took our test and felt all grownup when we started driving without our L plates. We felt a sense of responsibility when driving, and promised our parents we would drive safe. So at what point do people ignore the real life tragedies and forget everything they have learnt? I would like you to please make another promise. To promise your children that you will buckle them up in an age-appropriate car-seat or booster seat. To make a promise to your children’s grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and teachers, that you will protect them, as they are loved by many. We want to see all children safely strapped in, not just 15% which is the current statistic.

#CarseatFullstopIf the #CarseatFullstop campaign matters to you, please LIKE #CarseatFullstop on Facebook, please SIGN UP for the newsletter, please FOLLOW on Twitter, please FOLLOW on Instagram or on Google+. Please invite your friends and family and colleagues to these platforms. And when you read the #CarseatFullstop stories, please hit the share button.

#CarseatFullstop – no excuses, no ifs or buts. Always, every time.

If you have an old car seat you are no longer using, please drop these seats at a Volvo dealership or get in touch with Wheel Well. Previously owned car seats are cleaned and refurbished by Wheel Well so that they can be donated to families in need. Every child deserves to be safe in a car, and together we can make that happen.

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#CARSEATFULLSTOP IS SPONSORED BY VOLVO CARS. YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FREE CHILDREN AND CARS MANUAL HERE.

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Why we support #CarseatFullstop

#CarseatFullstopHave you ever sat in your car on the side of the road or at the traffic lights, just watching the people who drive past? Have you ever wondered what’s going on in their lives? Have you watched couples as they argue whilst they wait for the lights to turn green, and seen the child excitedly tell their parents what happened that day as they drive away from school. Take a moment and observe. Now count the number of people talking on their phones (with no hands-free), texting, smoking, texting and smoking, eating or reading (I kid you not). I count about half of the drivers I see. I don’t do these things, but I have also on occasion driven whilst distracted. I’ve driven tired, my mind occupied with the events of the day, and had the kids shouting at me from the back. I would say I’m a good driver – never had a speeding ticket or accident (touch wood) – but I have been distracted at times.

What worries me on the road is not my own driving, but rather having to anticipate what every other driver is doing whilst they should be watching the wheel. I worry about what’s happening in their lives, what they are doing, which is distracting them whilst they should be focusing on the road. Bad driving doesn’t discriminate between age, race, gender or vehicle type. I have observed all types of drivers failing to follow the rules of the road, jump a red light, and not buckle up their kids. It’s for this reason I insist my children are always strapped in their car seats. Yes, it is a legal requirement and I enjoy the fact that I can lawfully restrain my children, if only whilst in the car. But it’s the actions of every other driver that reminds me that I cannot guarantee we won’t have an accident, but I can ensure that my family has the best chance of walking away from it.

Over the next few weeks, I will be joining the #CarseatFullstop campaign, together with a group of parenting bloggers, media and sponsors. The campaign will raise awareness of car safety and reduce the shocking statistic that 84% of children are unrestrained on our roads. Come on South Africa, let’s drive safe and protect our children. If this matters to you, please LIKE #CarseatFullstop on Facebook, please SIGN UP for the newsletter, please FOLLOW on Twitter, please FOLLOW on Instagram or on Google+. Please invite your friends and family and colleagues to these platforms. And when you read the #CarseatFullstop stories, please hit the share button.

#CarseatFullstop – no excuses, no ifs or buts. Always, every time.

If you have an old car seat you are no longer using, please drop these seats at a Volvo dealership or get in touch with Wheel Well. Previously owned car seats are cleaned and refurbished by Wheel Well so that they can be donated to families in need. Every child deserves to be safe in a car, and together we can make that happen.

#CARSEATFULLSTOP IS SPONSORED BY VOLVO CARS. YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FREE CHILDREN AND CARS MANUAL HERE.

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momi baby bags summer range 2014

Momi baby bag summer range cosmos and lollipopmomi baby bags have added two new summer looks to their range of stylish bags that are functional and look so good they can be used after baby grows up. Their bright cosmos and lollipop designs are already popular since their release last week. For my full review of the momi baby bags, please click here for my previous post.

Features

  • Large polycanvas bag: it holds a lot and is bigger than it looks. We went to Stellenbosch for the day to a wedding and it held everything we needed for Paige and Ethan – you won’t believe what fitted in
  • Four inside pockets: I keep my phone, coins, business cards and a pen in the zipped pocket, diapers and wet wipes in the large pocket, and my first aid kit, tissues, nappy bags and dummy clips in the two smaller pockets
  • Key loop: I recommend getting a carabiner for your keys (ask at Cape Union Mart) which clips to this loop and you never have to scratch around in your bag for your keys again
  • Two outer pockets for bottles, drinks or snacks at the ready
  • Wide zip top opening, silver nickel hardware and protective metal base studs
  • Wide cotton weave adjustable shoulder strap: it can’t clip off but in my use I haven’t needed to remove the strap
  • Large padded microfibre change mat (60 x 40 cm) which rolls up and secured by a Velcro strap. Wipes clean
  • Built in stroller straps: the clip could be bigger to make it easier to attach but you get used to doing it. My stroller has two handles so I don’t need to unclip the straps, I just slide them on and off which is quick
  • Uses: it doesn’t look like a typical baby bag so after you have no need to use it for your children’s things, it is stylish for you to use as a tote
  • Cleaning: you can wipe the lining of the bag and I would say you could gently wipe the exterior but you want a good clean, it will need to be dry cleaned.
  • 1 year warranty on manufacturing defects

To order yours, please visit their website and sign up to their newsletters for a 10% discount.

D-Link Wi-fi Baby Camera

D-Link DCS-825L Wi-fi Baby Cam The DCS-825L is a brilliant Wi-fi baby cam and after a few weeks of testing it out for D-Link, I can tell you I miss it since I reluctantly handed it back over. This baby monitor works by placing a webcam in the nursery and using your smart phone, tablet or computer to view the live stream via Wi-fi. By using your phone/tablet, you eliminate the need for an additional device and since we carry our phones everywhere anyway, handy too. You just need to download the free D-Link app, link your webcam and Wi-fi, and you are ready to go. You can create an account for additional features and configure the settings to your own preferences. The attractive webcam comes in white with blue and pink rings, and sits firmly on a sticky stand or can be wall mounted. The webcam plugs in with an extra long cord or connect to an external USB battery for total portability.

D-Link DCS-825L Wi-fi Baby Cam

Features

  1. It alerts you when your baby is crying or moving. You can choose to soothe and talk to your baby through the speaker, play a choice of 5 lullabies, press the mute button if you want to CIO (cry it out) but still use the video to monitor your baby. The temperature sensor tells you if the room is too hot (red), cold (blue) or comfortable (green) for your child.
  2. Monitor your baby without disturbing them by going into their room to check that they are asleep and lying in a safe position. This feature is best to check if they are actually asleep or awake just lying quietly in their cot and best left alone. I’ve done it when you go in the room thinking baby is asleep but awake and once they see you, well, you can forget about sleep as they are so excited to see you.
  3. When a parent travels, they can log in securely anywhere via the mobile app and watch baby sleeping or playing in their room. Also great for checking on baby when you are at work or out for a dinner date when you have the nanny/babysitter at home. You can set recording of snapshots and video clips that are triggered by movement and loud noises such as crying, for later viewing.
  4. Quality 720p HD picture so you can clearly see in the room and night vision mode turns on automatically. You can connect wirelessly or through the internet, and if there is no available internet connection, you can connect to the baby camera’s wireless network for local monitoring.

D-Link DCS-825L Wi-fi Baby Cam Since the video feed is through an app on your phone/tablet, I found that I went through more battery power. Don’t make the same mistake as me, when you turn off the baby camera you need to close down the app properly too. Otherwise when you turn on again, the app won’t pick up the connection.

The D-Link DCS-825L Wi-fi baby cam is available from stockists at an estimated retail price of R1,675. Check out this video to view more of the features that are packed into this webcam.

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National stockists

Takealot.com          Wootware.co.za          Loot.co.za          Pinnacle Africa          Matrix Warehouse                       Kalahari.com          Recton          Mustek          Frontosa          Computer Mania

 

 

Child rear view car mirror

Safety 1st Rear MirrorDriving with children can be stressful, as there are distractions in the car and you have to watch everyone else on the road. It seems in my area that stop streets, indicating, and driving within the speed limit is optional. It’s just crazy how many parents (particularly moms on the school run) I see speeding, driving aggressively, and the worst offence, driving without buckling up their kids. Then you have to try concentrate when your baby/child is crying/screaming (mostly both) or trying to get out their car seat.

I like to be able to check up on them in the back to see how they are doing, whether they have fallen asleep and to talk to them. Turning your head round is dangerous if you are driving, so this attachable rear view mirror allows me to glance up and keep my head facing the road. Check out Paige sitting in the back wearing her sunnies. For rear facing car seats, it can be placed on the rear window and you look rear view mirror to mirror. This works on sedans but on our hatchback, the child mirror was too far away to see clearly and kept moving when we opened the back door. I have used it more since Paige moved to her forward facing car seat. I use the Safety 1st rear mirror, and Dream Baby also have two types to choose from (though I have received feedback from a reader that the suction cups can fall off), all available on Kalahari.com.

Milton Mini Portable Soother Steriliser

Milton Mini Portable Soother Steriliser - The Mommy CityMilton is a household name when it comes to sterilising and their portable steriliser pod is a nifty product for when you are out and about. My friend Margaret kindly bought the steriliser for Ethan as she knows I’m always on the look out for innovative products. The steriliser comes with a pod, 2 sponges, adjustable strap and 10 mini sterilising tablets. You fill the pod with water in which you dissolve a sterilising tablet, insert the sponges which absorb the water, and then attach to your pram or bag. You place the soother (dummy) in the hole in the sponge, wait 15 minutes and then use without needing to rinse. The solution lasts 24 hours and you can store the soothers in it all day.  The steriliser and sterilising tablets can be purchased in most stores and come in 3 colours: purple, green and blue.

Features:

  • BPA free
  • Sterilises in 15 minutes
  • Stays sterile for 24 hours
  • Comes with an adjustable strap
  • Watertight so no spills

I have found the steriliser to be useful for cleaning and storing soothers, it’s easy to use and neatly attaches to my bag. I use NUK soothers and Ethan’s small size soothers fit in the hole in the sponge, but Paige’s larger teat soothers don’t. So unfortunately it doesn’t fit all soothers in all sizes. Only use Milton mini sterilising tablets with the steriliser, and are available in packs of 50.