Sunday, 26 December 2010

Friday, 24 December 2010

Ready for the big day...

Fonz and Ez, Christmas Eve, 2010

Thursday, 23 December 2010

3, 2, 1, and breathe....

I'm finally winding down for Christmas. Having not had any time off since starting back at work in July I'm in desperate need of a break. I've worked every spare hour going, rushing Ez and  Fonz through to naptimes so that I can take my well-worn seat at the computer and catch up on what I've missed while they've been awake. Young Daddy was going to work between Christmas and New Year, but he's booked the time off now, giving me even more opportunity to relax a bit.

But a leopard can't change her spots, and true to nature, here I am, planning every second of my time off. My to-do list is growing steadily, as I unwisely replace one type of work with another. Some things will bring me enjoyment I know. Even if sorting 16 months worth of baby clothes sounds like hell to you, having the space and opportunity to potter around at home and tackle some household chores is like a dream to me. But I must remember: everything in moderation.

There's no point working so hard to get some time off, only to cram it so full with stuff and pressure, that I don't take the time I really need to to sit back, breathe, and relax. I don't think I'll realise until I stop just how stressed I've been. The world has been moving at a million miles an hour, and it will take my brain a while to slow down. Taking some long, deep breaths, is going to feel so good.

Let's just hope when the adrenalin wears off, I don't come down with flu.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The Gallery - Love, four years on

Mr & Mrs Young, 29th December 2006

One week today, Young Daddy and I will be celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary (probably by watching a DVD and having a takeaway), so when I saw that Tara's Gallery prompt this week is 'Love', I couldn't resist putting this picture up.

A lot has happened in the last four years – new house, new jobs, and of course, becoming a family of four. I'm just as happy, if not more so, than I was four years ago (and that's saying something – my face ached for about a week after our wedding, I was grinning so much), so to Young Daddy: I love you.

The fourth anniversary is celebrated with flowers and fruit. So now I've won some brownie points with this post, I've got a few anniversary gift suggestions, most of which are related to a certain fruit-related brand called Apple...

Head over to The Gallery now to see all the other love-inspired entries this week.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Dear Santa...

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Friday, 10 December 2010

Festive Friday - personalised Christmas cards

Last week, being stuck in the house thanks to the heavy snowfall wasn't fun. The thing that I look forward to most every week is our trip to Twins Club on a Friday morning, and when that got cancelled because of the weather I was gutted. But along with the email cancelling the club, were the instructions for the messy play activity we were due to do that day - some handprint Christmas cards. Having been inspired by Christine's Festive Friday posts, I thought I could combine the two.

Without letting myself think too much about it, I pinged out an email to the rest of the club, offering to host Twins Club for anyone who could make it to mine. I immediately regretted this offer almost as soon as I sent it, as I was sent into a mad panic about having a (pretty small) house full of energetic twins.

On the day, however, we only hosted one other set of twins - our friends from down the road. We were determined to do our messy play, and here's what we created (finishing touches still to be added)...

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Festive Friday

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Silent Sunday - two plus two

2 December 2010

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Our family Christmas

Our fireplace last Christmas

So, the countdown to Christmas has begun. I may not have found the time to do the homemade Advent calendar I'd planned to do this year, but we're having just as much fun opening our shop bought calendar and burning our advent candle each evening.

Last night on Twitter, Pippa, Sandy, Jay and I were chatting about how family traditions mean so much more to us over the festive period than all the material stuff, and we compared some of our own ideas for traditions. Sandy, quick off the mark as ever, wrote a lovely blog post about the Calico family traditions she's planning to start this year, and I've decided to follow suit with my own post.

This year, the Young family hope to....

* decorate the tree together, to the sound of Christmas music (music from the rat pack, probably)
* find a local Christingle service to attend
* watch The Snowman at some point over the Christmas period
* give each other new PJs on Christmas eve, and all wear them for dinner
* eat Christmas eve dinner by candlelight
* open our stockings together in bed on Christmas morning
* have a special Christmas morning breakfast as a family (treats all round!)
* enjoy sparklers outside when it gets dark on Christmas day

And next year (maybe) we'll add these traditions...

* hang the stockings I've made myself
* bring out my homemade Advent calendar for its first year of many (I hope)
* add extra decorations to the living room after the kids have gone to bed on Christmas even (idea stolen from Lucy's comment on Sandy's blog)
* put wrapping paper over the door to the living room so Ez and Fonz have to burst through to get to the presents on Christmas day (idea stolen from Laura's comment on Sandy's post)

Do you have any special traditions at Christmas time? Beware that if you share them below, I am on the prowl for ideas so they may well become Young & Younger traditions too!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Silent Sunday - for dad this week

Photograph taken at Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons
Wednesday 24 November 2010 

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Life with twin toddlers

With Ez and Fonz both confident walkers now, I've realised that my days with twin babies are behind me, and my time as a mum of twin toddlers is beginning...


This way and that way
Obviously the biggest thing with them both walking is their increased mobility. I got them out of the pushchair in a cafe, and immediately they ran in opposite directions. We went to the playground with my friend and her twins (only a couple of months older), and all four of them ran in opposite directions! Think it will take me some time to get used to the added stress - it's so hard to keep track of where they both are all the time and I'm wondering if I may need to invest in some reins.

At home they're running around the living room, and we've taken the stairgate between the living room and kitchen down as they hate being penned in. There are three stairs, but they've learnt to negotiate them. I keep telling myself that if they fall, it's not a big drop.

One of the best of the recent developments is dancing! Both Ez and Fonz have always enjoyed music, but now they've started bopping along to it. Ez especially will grab my hands so we can dance together – she thinks it's hilarious and I'm just hoping she's not mocking my dancing skills.

Understood, over and out
The last couple of weeks have seen huge leaps in the twins' levels of understanding. If I ask Ez to bring me her shoes, she'll happily trot off and deliver them to me. Just before they go to bed, when I say it's time for milk, both Ez and Fonz will go and lie down on their sleeping bags, ready to be zipped in.

They know their routine, and they're getting to know various cues. If I put Fonz's coat on him, Ez will bring me her jacket and wait by the pushchair. They don't have many words ('dada', 'mama', 'cat' and 'maamaa' (banana) but the chat is constant, especially from Fonz.

Excuse me, this isn't what I ordered
Food is generally enjoyed, but new foods (unless given at nursery) are viewed with great suspicion. If what's put in front of Fonz at the dinner table isn't to his immediate liking, he'll swipe the whole plate off the table. 

Ez is more considered, and she'll meticulously pick each offending bit of food off her plate, and leave it in a neat pile on the table next to her. Their sense of independence at the dinner table is clear and they want to use the spoon themselves – Fonz is still happy for me to load it for him, but Ez won't have help at all.

I guess it's all the energy they're expending running around, but their appetites seem insatiable! Morning milk bottles, breakfast, mid morning snacks, lunch, afternoon snacks, dinner, bedtime bottle. I honestly don't know where they put it all. 

Character building
Greater understanding means more interaction, and I'm loving spending time with the two of them. Their own, distinctive characters are clear to see – Fonz a cheeky, happy-go-lucky little monster most of the time, and Ez is sociable, engaging and full of good humour. They are getting to know their own likes and dislikes, and are enraged if things don't go their own way.

The slightest little thing can send Fonz into a fury. If I've passed him the wrong toy in mistake, or taken something he shouldn't have away from him, he'll throw himself to the floor and writhe around screaming, and if he's ignored the screaming will develop into ever-more-desperate sobs.

Ez is working out ways to wrap me and her daddy around her little finger –  her approach is much cleverer as we don't realise we've given in and given her what she wants until it's too late. Mini manipulator in training I think.

I said NO BITING!
Watching them chase each other round the living room, in fits of giggles, is wonderful. You can't help but grin from ear-to-ear at the sound of two chuckling people. Ez and Fonz get on best when they don't have to have physical contact. The love being on opposite sides of a glass door, for example, or in their cots (pushed end to end).

The problems come when there aren't any physical barriers between them – then one can very quickly overstep the other's boundary mark, and there's pushing, shoving, biting (mostly from Ez) and shrieking. They are definitely beginning to enjoy each other's company, but they are a long way off learning to play with each other.

Jealousy is playing a bigger part in our day-to-day life, with Fonz particularly upset if I pick Ez up and not him.

Cut to me stood with two babies pulling at my legs and holding up their arms, whinging to be carried. My new life as mum of twin toddlers.


Sunday, 21 November 2010

It's for charidee

Even before becoming a mum, charities that support kids always drew me.

So when I was asked to post the video below to help launch the latest Fairy and Make-A-Wish Foundation campaign, I said yes without hesitation.

The Fairy and Make-A-Wish Foundation aims to make magical wishes come true for children across the country. According to their research, there are around 20,000 children and young people in the UK with a life-threatening illness right now, and Make-A-Wish has granted wishes for over 650 children and young people so far this  year.

For further information, please click here.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Living on cloud cuckoo land

In my dream world, we can buy a bigger house when we move to Berkshire for Young Daddy's job in the new year. Something with more living space, an extra bedroom and a big garden.

In my dream world, I'm planning a holiday abroad next summer. Nothing extravagant, just a camping holiday in France or sharing a gite with some friends. The cost of the ferry isn't a problem at all.

In my dream world, I'm considering a weekend away with the girls in the new year. Maybe back to that hilarious place in Gran Canaria we went to a couple of weeks before my wedding. There are some amazing deals up for grabs at the moment.

In my dream world, the time I spend with Ez and Fonz is full of fun activities, laughter and smiles. We meet up with friends, go on outings and enjoy spending time together.

In my dream world, Christmas is going to be incredible. I've been looking forward to it for months, and can't wait to enjoy it with the babies now they're older. I'll make them a stocking each, craft an advent calendar, and decorate the house to the nines.

...........................................

In reality, I'm working myself into the ground trying to make enough money to pay the mortgage, the bills and the nursery fees.

In reality, I need to take a serious look at alternative childcare options to see if there's any way we can find a cheaper option.

In reality, we'll be lucky if I can afford to stop working for a week to go on holiday. And that ferry ticket? Not a chance.

In reality, a meal out with friends is a rare luxury. The chance of a holiday is zero.

In reality, my days with Ez and Fonz come round so quickly I'm caught on the hop. I have no time to make any plans, and I spend my days rushing them through, so that I can work through their lunchtime nap.

In reality, Christmas will be upon us before I've had a chance to say 'stocking' let alone make one. We'll have a lastminute rush to scrabble presents together, and I'll probably have to work right up to the day. Then there's all the added pressure of the social events you're supposed to attend. I feel exhausted just thinking about it.


...........................................


Sorry for the moaning post, but life feels pretty damn tough at the moment.



This post was written for Josie's Writing Workshop. I chose the prompt 'red' because that seems to be the permanent state of my bank account.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Twins at 14 months - Ez


Ez is so busy, busy, busy, always bustling around. She loves to tidy up, and and is forever emptying boxes or bags, only to refill them again. If she finds something she brings it over to give to me as a little gift.

She's been walking for a couple of months, and is pretty confident now, though her pigeon steps make me laugh. Her strides haven't got any bigger since she started walking, she just does more of her teeny tiny steps to get where she wants to go faster.

Ez thinks her shoes are the best thing ever. She carries them around, or brings them to me to put them on her. She tries to put them on herself, but can't manage it yet. She likes everyone else's shoes too, and will happily pass Fonz's shoes to me when we're getting ready to go out, or she'll grab my boots for me. She's definitely inherited my love of footwear!

She loves cuddles and hugs, and will regularly come over to say hi while she's playing, then go back to get on with whatever she was doing. Her tummy's really tickly, and I can have her in hysterics when I tickle her.

Her favourite book is Sweet Dreams Maisy, and every evening she picks up her book, brings it over to daddy and settles herself in his lap for him to read it to her. She chats along as he reads, though she prefers the first page to any other!

She loves sardines, she loves climbing stairs, she loves playing "Where's your...?"

She hates being buckled in a pushchair or car seat, and she hates having her teeth cleaned.

Twins at 14 months - Fonz


Fonz is so much happier now he's walking. The frustration and anger that kept spilling over comes out less often and I'm loving all the belly laughs and cheeky grins he gives me now. He's busy cutting what seems like a whole mouthful of teeth at once but on the whole he's managing it pretty well.

He's chatting all the time now, with a few recognisable words as well as 'dada' and 'mama'. He'll pick up my mobile and answer "hiya". He says "gat" (translation: "cat") and delights in chasing the cat around the living room. When she lets him stroke her ("Gentle please Fonz!") he beams with pleasure and lets out a gurgly chuckle.

Ask him "where's your head/nose/tummy" and he'll grin and show you, and if he's hungry he's just started making the sign for 'eat' (he's added smacking his lips to really bring the message home). Bathtime is mostly a big hit and he careers up and down the bath, splashing vigorously (something Ez detests).

He's spent his first days away from Ez when she was home poorly and he went to nursery and he managed brilliantly and enjoyed all the extra fuss he got from the staff.

He loves being chased, he loves making loud banging sounds, he loves anything with wheels and he loves watching the washing machine go round and round and round.

He hates having his teeth cleaned.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Sand play alternatives

Saw a tweet from the ΓΌber-stylist Poppy Norton (the brains behind baby style file) today that got me thinking...


We used rice krispies instead of sand for a messy play activity at Twins Club the other week and I've been meaning to recreate it at home ever since. We used a cement mixing tray (available from most DIY stores), filled it with rice krispies and let the babies clamber in and out. They loved crunching the krispies, and the fact that they could eat them for a snack was an added bonus! 

Play and snack times combined at Twins Club!

I'm sure this could work with lots of different cereals – and I've definitely been inspired by Poppy to give uncooked rice a go as well.

Has anyone else got any easy, messy play activities to suggest?

Monday, 25 October 2010

Two to one

We're living in Lurgy Land at the moment, with poor Ez very under the weather. She woke up with a temperature last Wednesday of just over 40°C. I'm much more used to thinking in Farenheit so I didn't really realise how high that was until Thursday night, so we paid the doctor a visit on Friday. A chest infection was diagnosed, antibiotics were prescribed, and she's been slowly improving since then. I can honestly say that she looked like we'd dressed her up for Halloween - all pale, white, face and red red eyes. I've never seen her look so ill, and I just felt so sorry for her.



A poorly Ez naps on my lap


She wasn't well enough for nursery on Wednesday, so I dropped Fonz off and spent the day with Ez at home. This was a first. The babies have never spent a day apart from each other, and I did have a little tear in my eye when I said goodbye to Fonz for the day. I was worried how he'd cope without his sister.

Obviously it wasn't nice that Ez was ill, but I really enjoyed spending one-on-one time with her. Because she was poorly she was very drowsy so we just spent the day cuddling up on the sofa, sometimes sleeping, sometimes giggling with each other. I did feel some guilt about 'abandoning' Fonz, but it made me look forward to having a day just with him.

Today Ez still wasn't well enough for nursery, so we had another day together. She was well enough for a trip out, so I bundled her up, and we went shopping and for lunch with a friend. Of course I did miss Fonz, but the feeling of freedom being out with one baby, rather than two, was incredible. I could manage the pushchair up and down the station steps, I didn't need to juggle crying babies, and I could actually eat my lunch in peace while Ez napped.

I would never say life is easier with one baby, because we all know every baby is different, every parent is different, and every day is different, but I have to say that it felt simpler (not better, just simpler) with one. I felt less anxious, more able to cope, and I think I relaxed more. I think so much of my parenting can focus on the practical, and the struggle and pressure to balance my attention between Ez and Fonz, that I can often overlook the simply pleasures of spending time with my babies.

And while Ez looks to have recovered enough for nursery tomorrow, Fonz's temperature is rising, so who knows, I may get my one-on-one time with him sooner than I expected.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The two sides of Fonz


Fonz is quite a complicated little chap. He's often frustrated at home, resulting in tears and angry tantrums. He's very determined, knows exactly what it is he wants (usually my mobile phone or any remote control he can spy), and is not a happy bunny if he can't have it. He loses his patience very quickly, and can be happy as larry one minute, and inconsolable the next, and once he's lost it, it's very difficult to snap him out of it.

So you can imagine my surprise when one of the carers at nursery said: 'Fonz is so happy, isn't he? He never cries.'

Ummmm, really? I buckle him and Ez into the pushchair where Fonz grizzles all the way home, and is in a right grump until he goes to bed.

What's that all about, then? Am I doing something wrong at home? Is he happier playing in a group (Ez isn't too keen on playing with him at home so could that frustrate him)? Does he hate me having to share my time between him and Ez? I'm sure it can be tough being a twin at times. 

Of course, the other possible answer is that he bottles it all up at nursery, and is more comfortable and at ease at home so can show his emotions more. 

I doubt I'll ever know the answer, but that won't stop me trying to work it out.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

I'm not perfect

There, I said it.

I am a perfectionist. I discovered pretty soon after Ez and Fonz were born that being a mum and a perfectionist does not a happy mummy make. Now I'm finding out that being a perfectionist and a working mum is even worse.

I'm not content if I don't do things well, if I'm not achieving the best possible results I can. I work and work and work and work to get everything just right. Anything less than 100% makes me lose sleep. But right now I'm struggling to balance that with all the other demands on me. I need to be able to switch off when I'm with in mum mode, and just enjoy spending time with my babies. I only have this one chance to see them growing up and I feel like I'm throwing it away. I'm going to have to lower the unrealistic expectations I have of myself and my work or I'll self-combust with stress and anxiety.

I need to get to know the new, post-babies, working me.

Why do we put such pressure on ourselves? A recent survey has shown that mothers are much harder on daughters than sons, and suggests that it could be why women are much more self-critical than men. I know I've always given myself a hard time about most aspects of my life – I'm not thin enough, not exciting enough, not witty enough, not articulate enough, not creative enough.

But I want to stop. This isn't a legacy I want to leave to my children.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

If the shoe fits

We had two shoe-shopping trips with Ez and Fonz this weekend, good and bad, with a nasty sickness bug separating the two (our first experience of trying to care for poorly babies whilst being in a bad way ourselves. Not nice).

The first was a trip to Clarks in Lewisham, and I was pretty excited about buying the babies their first pairs of shoes, especially as Ez is walking unaided now. I'd been told about the Clarks First Shoes experience and was looking forward to our trip. As a baby-shoe novice, we arrived to get the babies' feet measured without socks, so I had to do a mad dash around the shopping centre to buy some while Young Daddy tried to entertain two bored babies in Clarks.

Once we were able to get their feet measured, we discovered that Ez's feet are too small (size 2.5F) for Clarks' walking shoes, and were told we'd have to make do with some cruising shoes instead. We had the choice between two pairs, so grudgingly selected one (why are all baby girl's shoes pink with flowers on?), plus a cute pair of cruising shoes for Fonz (size 3G). As usual, I'd left things until the last minute when Ez was in urgent need for shoes and we were due to go to a wedding the next day so we didn't have much choice.

The time between our shoe shopping expeditions was spent in a hellish haze of vomiting, anxiety and sleeplessness as the whole family battled our first family stomach bug, and so we never made it to the wedding.

After tweeting about our Clarks experience, a few lovely people on Twitter recommended Start-rite for smaller babies' shoes. We were feeling recovered enough today to seek out our local Start-rite stockist, Pares Footwear in Blackheath Village. Within five minutes, the lovely assistant had measured Ez's feet again (2F now), and provided us with a beautiful pair of Start-rite walking shoes. No fuss, and we felt completely at ease and reassured by the sales assistant's obvious experience and expertise.

New shoes don't come cheap though, do they?! We have shelled out a whopping £47 for two pairs of baby shoes (I'll be returning Ez's Clarks pair), and advised that Ez and Fonz's feet will need re-measuring every six weeks until they're three or four years old. Hopefully they won't need new shoes every time we visit, but if they do, we'll be looking at a colossal £1,500 on baby shoes in the first four years of their life. Ouch. It's a good thing I gave up my shoe obsession when I got pregnant, because who knows when I'll next be able to afford to buy myself a pair.

Now here's Ez, walking for the first time in her brand new shoes...

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Hoping for a MAD night


You may remember that many months ago, I was thrilled to become a finalist for the Best Baby Blogger category in the MAD (Mummy and Daddy) Blog Awards. It's been a long old wait, but the time has finally come for the awards do. Tomorrow lunchtime I'm jumping on a train down to Butlins Bognor Regis, to meet some of my fellow finalists and enjoy some cake. Then we'll get the chance to sample the delights that Butlins has to offer for the afternoon, before getting glammed up for the dinner and awards do in the evening.

Head over to Who's The Mummy tomorrow night for live-blogging from the awards, and if you fancy joining in on Twitter, use the hashtag #TheMADs.

I'm just looking forward to a mini-break and some R&R after a relentless few weeks. When I booked my room at Butlins, the lovely lady on the phone felt sorry for me when I said I was staying in my room on my own. Huh?! That's the most exciting bit of the whole awards for me! A night on my own, with no babies to wake me at dawn. Bliss.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Ez and Fonz's Annual Review

This blog isn't quite a year old yet, but Ez and Fonz are, so here's their year in posts...

At around eight weeks old, Ez and Fonz were getting into the Halloween spirit, ready to greet Trick Or Treaters...

At ten weeks, Fonz was still keeping his smiles to himself...

At 12 weeks old, my teeny tiny baby Fonz, overtook his older, bigger sister in the weight stakes and we hosted our first NCT party...


At four months we were snowed in and going stir crazy, and the joys of teething began...


When Ez and Fonz turned six months, I did some sums. 2,172 nappies?! This month the babies also starred in the famous Young & Younger Does Big Brother vlog, started solids (traditional weaning), and Ez gave up breastfeeding just as she cut her first two teeth...

Seven months saw Ez and Fonz sit unaided, and start to interact, and a few short weeks later Ez started to crawl...

In our eighth month, we jetted off for our first family holiday and Fonz cut his first three teeth...

By just over nine months, Fonz was also on the move, commando-style...

At ten months it was goodbye purees, as the babies started feeding themselves...

Eleven months was my favourite age so far, when Ez and Fonz's characters were shining through so strongly. And then I had a meltdown when my little babies started nursery...

In the last 12 months I have discovered the very best and worst of myself. Being a mum to twins has been terrifying, frustrating and stifling, but also uplifting, full of joy, hilarious, and without a doubt, the best experience of my life. Thank you Ez and Fonz, for making my heart want to burst with love and happiness at least a hundred times a day. xx

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Happy first birthday Fonz!

And last, but definitely not least, here's a round-up of Fonz's first year...

Happy first birthday Ez!

When I saw my friend Kelly's video of Piran's first year, I knew it was something I wanted to do for Ez and Fonz. Ez is my oldest child (by all of three minutes!), so here's her video first...

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Twins, The First Year. The essentials...

It's Ez and Fonz's first birthday this week. One year old, already. This post is inspired by Rebecca at Two Become Four's seven first year essentials, and is a list of what we couldn't have lived without for our first year with twins...

  • TAMBA membership – Membership of the Twins And Multiple Births Association allows you access to the forums, where I got some great advice from other twin mums in the early days.
  • Bouncy chairs – I had four: two upstairs, and two downstairs.
  • Twin feeding cushion – I had the EZ-2 nurse twin feeding cushion. Go for the (more expensive) foam pillow – I bought the inflatable one initially and regretted it as it kept deflating.
  • Double breast pump – For us, introducing a bottle straight away was the only way to manage feeding two newborn babies - I needed Young Daddy to help out. I bought a Medela electric double breast pump second-hand, and it was a lifesaver in helping me to supply enough breast milk as quickly as possible.
  • A pushchair that fits through your front door – Mine didn't. I didn't think it would be a big deal, and I was so wrong. I spent many a cold hour sat on my front doorstep after walking the babies to sleep.
  • Hands free phone adapter – when Young Daddy first went back to work, I'd phone him a million times a day (usually in floods of tears). More often than not, I had my arms full of babies, so a hands free kit was great.
  • Swaddle blankets – I'm not exaggerating when I say we could not have made it through the first six months without swaddle blankets. It was the only way to get Ez and Fonz to sleep. They seem complicated at first, but become second nature so quickly. I could win a competition for Speediest Swaddler, I'm sure.
  • White noise app/hairdryer – Another crutch I leaned on in the early months. If both babies were screaming, switching on the hairdryer would instantly silence them. We downloaded a white noise app for the iTouch, and played it in their room when trying to get them to sleep.
  • A watch and a clock in every room – I didn't wear a watch before babies, but we quickly realised we were always needing to know the time (When's the next feed due? How long have they been asleep?). We now have at least one clock in every room, and I always wear a watch. 
  • Handheld camcorder/camera phone – Or you'll forget everything. I can heartily recommend the Flip video camera, though a lot of the early photos and video footage I have of the babies was taken on my BlackBerry.
  • Baby Einstein dvds – Ok, I know there are people who don't believe that babies should be allowed to watch TV, but they can't possibly have twins. The Baby Einstein dvds were invaluable at feeding time, when one baby had to wait for the other to finish, and almost always kept the waiting baby quiet.
  • Planned walking routes – If your babies are anything like mine, you will do A LOT of walking. Research local routes, of varying lengths so that you know where to go when you head out the door with two screaming babies. I walked for hours and hours and hours in the early months. Always pack a drink and a snack for yourself. Oh, and a book if you're lucky enough that they'll continue sleeping when the pushchair stops moving.
  • Stacking cups – If you only buy one toy, buy these. There are enough in a set to share between two babies, and they have a million different play uses, from bathtime, to stacking, to chewing, to building sand castles. They're amazing.
  • Touch and feel books – Try Usborne's Touchy Feely range of books, with different textures on every page. Ez and Fonz enjoyed these from very early on, and I think reading books to them helped to calm me down too.
  • A cleaner – Sadly not a luxury that we could afford, but if you have the money, this would be amazing.
  • Twitter – If I have a question or need advice, Twitter is the first place I turn now. Get onto Twitter before your babies even arrive to build up an invaluable network of online friends who can help you out when you're having a meltdown. I'm at www.twitter.com/YoungMummyUk so come and say hello.
  • Bath seats – Bathing two babies can be a stressful experience, and it also takes a physical toll. Both Young Daddy and I found bathing the babies in the early days really put a strain on our backs. So as soon as Ez and Fonz could sit up unaided, we invested in these bath seats from Kiddicare
  • Metoo highchairs – We started out with regular highchairs, though I carefully chose a model that folded down, as there isn't loads of space in our kitchen. I soon got very sick of putting the chairs up and down though, so we opted for the metoo highchair from Phil & Teds. They are brilliant as the babies love sitting at the table with us, and they fold down flat so are easy to take out with you. One of our top buys, I think.

Hope that's useful to any expectant twin mums out there. I know how daunting expecting twins is, and I was desperate to be as prepared as possible. If you want any advice at all, please do leave me a comment and I'll get back to you. .

Monday, 30 August 2010

Weekend Review: Toybox

Ez and Fonz have always been big music fans, so when I was asked if we would like to review a new album of classic children's songs and nursery rhymes, I jumped at the chance.

Toybox is the second part of a series of albums for kids, created by The Rainbow Collections – singer Sophie Barker from Zero 7, and successful producer KK. The album includes songs such as 'Old Macdonald', 'If You're Happy and You Know It', and 'The Grand Old Duke Of York' (one of our all-time favourites). Sophie and KK have produced their own unique and modern take on the original classics, without making the tunes unrecognisable, and there are some fantastic rhythms - I love the calypso-style version of 'If You're Happy And You Know It'. The album's been a big hit with the babies, and it's the sort of thing I don't mind having playing, because it's actually very pleasant to listen to!

I've noticed that Fonz in particular, really thrives on music and rhythm. Here's a little clip of him enjoying Toybox...





Family and parenting expert Jenni Trent Hughes has shared some top tips to help parents get the most our of music and playtime with their children:


  • Play music and sing daily and as often as possible
  • Make instruments out of household items. An empty plastic bottle and a handful of beans; a wooden spoon and the lid of a pan. The more imaginative, the better
  • Act out the songs with wild exaggerated gestures. Children love laughing at their parents
  • Use music to enhance the child's mood. Sitting on the sofa, having a cuddle and 'singing along with mummy' is a memory that will be treasured forever
  • Write songs about pets, siblings, food and favourite toys – anything that will expand a child's imagination, vocabulary and knowledge base


Toybox is available now from Amazon.co.uk, Play.com and HMV.

This is a sponsored post.

Monday, 23 August 2010

August's Multiples Mayhem!

Multiples Mayhem - Come and join the Carnival!

I know it's a busy time for everyone, what with the school holidays and general summer madness, so thanks for those that sent me posts for the second Multiples Mayhem! carnival. If you didn't get a chance to enter a post, don't panic, you're not too late. Simply include the link to your post in the comments below, or email me at youngmummy at youngandyounger dot net, and I'll find you a carnival slot.

The super-talented Rebecca over at Two Become Four, has made us not one.. not two... but THREE stylish Multiples Mayhem! badges to choose from, so feel free to grab one and pop it on your blog. If you want a badge, header or anything else designing, she's your girl, so drop her a line.

Now let's get on with the main event...

Linda at You've Got Your Hands Full, hopes her daughters' individuality will be encouraged to shine when they start secondary school in September, as she looks ahead to the minefield of double-whammy parents' evenings. Don't miss TAMBA's five top tips for how secondary schools should approach teaching multiples.

I almost had a toddler tantrum of my own after planb started off all encouraging about life with twins, and then swiftly shattered the illusion with her post on twins hitting the terrible twos.

Zookeeper is also having toddler battles. On her new blog, Dummies and Doghairs, she laments her laziness when it comes to cooking, as she seeks a cure for her daughter Magpie's, Extreme Vegetable Aversion.

And if tantrums and food fights weren't enough, Mari at Mari's World is going potty about grabbing her mop and bucket as she ditches the nappies and starts potty-training her girls. Good luck Mari!

Expectant twin mums (and dads) out there would be unwise to miss Rebecca over at Two Become Four's list of those essential items that have helped her (almost!) through the first year with twins Tilly and Jasper. It's definitely got me thinking about what I wouldn't have been without, and a similar post, inspired by Rebecca, will appear here soon.

Karen from All About The Boys' uplifting post had me reaching for a tissue. Go and give her a hand off her naughty step please, because she absolutely deserves it.

And finally, here's my contribution. A little video to remind us all why having multiples is so precious. I challenge you not to laugh along!

Thanks all for joining in and reading, and don't forget to get in touch if you'd like your post added to the carnival.


Multiples Mayhem - Come and join the Carnival!

Multiples Mayhem - Come and join the Carnival!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Weekend Review: Little Dish purees

It's been a while now since the babies started eating proper solid food, but not long before we gave up purees, we were sent some puree pouches from Little Dish to try. What I liked about these sachets was that they used fresh ingredients - they had to be kept in the fridge and used within a couple of days. Made from 100% fresh fruit and vegetables, they tasted like you would expect, rather than other readymade purees that don't taste as fresh. Ez and Fonz were fussy with their purees, and rejected every readymade sachet I tried, so I wasn't sure how the Little Dish pouches would go down.



We gave Ez and Fonz the Blackberry, Apple & Banana puree first, and they gobbled it down cold for dessert. A hit! Mango & Banana was the next flavour we tried, and again it was well-received, though quite runny so a little difficult to spoonfeed. We mixed the Butternut Squash, Carrot & Apple puree with baby rice, and again the babies ate every last spoonful without any fuss. Strawberry & Apple worked well spoonfed as a pudding, but we also spread it on toast like jam. This one was definitely Ez and Fonz's favourite, and although we've left purees behind now, I would still buy this to use on bread or to add to yoghurt for dessert. And I'll definitely be giving the Little Dish natural meals a go - great for when time is tight.



A few weeks after the purees arrived, Little Dish sent us their cookbook to try too. Unfortunately I've been rather busy of late, so we haven't had a chance to cook up any of the delicious-sounding recipes, but we've got the Creamy Chicken Curry bookmarked for next week.


Sunday, 15 August 2010

Our lucky day


This was my car yesterday, after another car pulled out of a side road in front of us on a main road, leaving us no time to brake before we ploughed straight into it. The whole family were in the car at the time - we'd set out about 15 minutes before on our way to our first first birthday party, and Ez and Fonz had been asleep in their car seats for about ten minutes. Here are some of my memories of what happened..

Young Daddy lets out a yell. I look up, just in time to see a car right in our path. Impact. I jump out of the car, screaming, screaming, screaming. The babies are screaming too. I'm screaming at the other driver (she's unhurt), I'm swearing like a fishwife. I'm surrounded by passersby. I've lost my shoes and I look down and see liquid gushing over my bare feet. Petrol? Oil? Water? 'Get the baby out of the car,' someone says. I've opened the back door, my hands are shaking too much to get Ez's carseat buckle undone. I can see a nasty welt and bruise on her temple. She's screaming. I get her out and hold her to me, sobbing now with tears streaming down my face. 'I live just here,' someone says, 'come in and wait for the ambulance.' They guide me into their house, up the stairs. I realise my glasses are missing.

'You need to speak to the operator,' someone else says and thrusts a phone into my hand. I try to answer her questions. Ez is still screamng. I can't hear the operator. She's getting impatient with me. I must find Young Daddy and Fonz so I make my way, still blind without my glasses, out of the house. I answer all the operator's questions, and as I hang up, I see the policemen walking towards me. A rush of relief and the tears and sobs start again. Someone puts a bag of frozen peas into my hand. 'For the baby's head,' they say. The policeman takes me over to a paramedic. They do a quick check of Ez and think she's ok. I wander to the side of the road. A fire engine arrives, and the firemen come to see Ez and I. An ambulance pulls up. 'Let me find your shoes,' says the paramedic. 'You'll cut your feet on the glass.' Suddenly my shoes are back on my feet and we're climbing into the ambulance.

Ez has quietened down. She's dazed and quiet, but still alert. The paramedics perform some checks. They think she's fine. But we need to go to hospital to get her checked over because of the bump to her head. I'm shaking. My whole body's shaking. I realise my chest, my back, my neck are hurting. 'That's normal,' I'm told. We wait while the paramedic starts to bring us our belongings from the car, which we can see is still in the middle of the road. I feel detached. The paramedic hands me the wrapped present that had been on my lap, and I feel a wave of tears. My parents arrive, they reassure us. The firemen move the car off the road and say goodbye. My dad stays with the police to finish emptying the car of our stuff and to make it as secure as possible.

My mum is in the ambulance with us, and we leave for the hospital. Ez starts crying again, but this time she's just tired and frustrated. I start to calm down, though I'm still shaking. My chest is really hurting. We finally arrive at hospital and we follow the paramedics through the corridors and wards until we come to the Childrens Department in A&E. I feel calmer. Ez is checked by a nurse, then a doctor. They need to observe her for a few hours. There's no point Fonz staying, he's exhausted, so Young Daddy takes him home and I stay with Ez and my mum. We feed Ez, and get her off to sleep in the pushchair, then I have a KitKat and a cup of tea. Calmer. Calmer. And I'm beginning to realise how sore I am. It doesn't seem that long before Ez is checked over again by the nurse, and then the doctor, and we're given the all-clear to go home.

I'm so happy to see Young Daddy and Fonz. We feed the babies, give them a bath, they go to sleep and we let the day's events sink in. We've been so lucky. We're sore, we're bruised, we're exhausted but we're all home and we're all ok. The events play over and over in my head, but I have to stop thinking about what could have been. We're ok. That's what matters. We're ok.

I know they won't read this, but I'd like to thank all the people who stopped to help, the emergency services, and the medical staff at the hospital. They were all absolutely amazing, and I will never ever forget their kindness.


Wednesday 18 August 2010
I've retrospectively decided to use this post for this week's The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers. The prompt is 'A Memory' so this seemed to fit.


Friday, 13 August 2010

Eleven months

Ez and Fonz turned eleven months last week, so here's a little round up of what they've been up to for the last month. This age rocks! Wish I had a pause button for a while.


Fonz is a speedy crawler, and confidently pulls himself up to standing. He loves to climb stairs and if left unchecked will scale the entire flight of stairs. He loves music, and the Leapfrog activity table is one of his favourite toys - he always looks to me to sing along with the tunes, and he jigs in time with the music. He's learned to wave hello and goodbye, and I often catch him waving to strangers when we're out and about. He's developing a little temper. When he gets cross he turns red, screeches and stomp-crawls a few feet before screeching again. If he's really cross, he'll turn his back on me too. Eating is a favourite pastime, and top of the list is any kind of fruit (I can't cut it up fast enough), cheese, pasta and chicken sandwiches. He's generous with his chuckles, and loves loves loves being tickled (especially under the chin). I call his name, and he lets me chase him, while he's in fits of giggles. He wishes his sister would play with him more, as he thinks its brilliant when she tickles his tummy, or plays tug-of-war with a muslin. He also reckons it's great fun to bite her fingers when she's daft enough to stick them in his mouth. A stacking cup and a shell will keep him happy for ages. Pop the shell in the cup, shake it, shell falls out, pick up shell, pop it in the cup, shake it... endless fun. When he's had enough he'll lay his head on the ground, or my lap, and give me a happy smile. The Fonz makes me laugh every, single day.


Ez loves cuddles. Mummy cuddles are the best, but daddy cuddles are pretty good too. Crawling's great, but climbing's even better. Why go round mummy (or whatever other obstacle) if you can climb over? Standing up is best, and she can stand unsupported for around 30 seconds now, though she doesn't look like she'll be taking a step anytime soon. She likes to use the walker and beams with delight when she realises she's moving on two feet. Her favourite food is bananas (a turnaround as she used to think I was trying to poison her when I fed them to her). Her second-favourite thing to eat is cardboard. Mmmm. She's beginning to think her brother is potentially quite good fun and loves racing up and down the hallway with him. She doesn't like it when he bites her fingers. Singing 'Wind The Bobbin Up' prompts huge smiles, and as she's just learned to clap, she likes to clap along. If she wants something she'll point until I guess what it is she's after. She was poorly with an ear infection a few weeks ago, and it was the first time she's been properly ill. Luckily she made a quick recovery. Her favourite toy is my housekeys and I frequently forget I've given them to her and have a panic when we get back to the house/car and I can't find my keys. She loves books, and I often come into the nursery in the morning to find her sat with a book, though I have just discovered the flaps on her favourite 'life the flap' book have been chewed off, so that would probably explain the fascination. Ez makes my heart want to burst with love every, single day.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Friday, 6 August 2010

How to make a knackered mum smile

It hasn't been the best week, and today seemed no better. I desperately needed to work while Ez and Fonz slept at lunchtime, but, despite a short morning nap and a hectic morning at Twins Club, Fonz decided sleep was not for him. He sat at the computer with me for a bit, before I risked putting him back down in his cot where he promptly woke Ez up and I knew naptime was over. I stuck them both in the same cot and stomped off to pack up the pushchair with everything I could possibly need for the afternoon. 

It wasn't long before the babies' screaming turned into chuckles. Intrigued, I grabbed the Flip, crept upstairs, peeked round the nursery door and what I saw reminded me why having twins is something pretty special...

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Having a bad week

I'm struggling this week. I thought it might make me feel better if I blogged about it. You know how sometimes, putting your worries down on paper make them much more manageable? Well that's what I'm hoping this will achieve, but I need to issue a warning to all readers... this is a feeling-sorry-for-myself-oh-woe-is-me post...

I'm not going back to my job. This makes me really sad because I loved my job, but it just couldn't be done on a part-time basis, and I was adamant I didn't want to work full-time. There are a number of reasons for this - I want to spend time with Ez and Fonz, I don't think that I would be fully committed to a full-time job, and as the cost of childcare for twins is so high, it really didn't make financial sense. I have decided to join the ranks of the work-at-home-mums, and try freelancing for a while to see how I get on. And I've already got a big work project on the go. So big, in fact, that I'm worried I've bitten more off than I can chew.

I've brought the date that Fonz and Ez start nursery forward by a few weeks. They'll be going on Mondays and Tuesday from next week, but for the last few weeks I've been trying to establish a working life as well as caring for them full-time. This means working every nap-time, evening and weekend and my batteries are running seriously low. 

Because I'm tired, I'm over-emotional, and I'm giving myself a hard time about short-changing the babies. They've just turned 11 months (a celebratory post is on its way soon), and I'm worried I'm missing out on the last few weeks of their first year. And I'm scared that their first birthdays will pass me by without the celebration they deserve. I've always vowed to make them a birthday cake each - this is the first family tradition I want to establish - and now I can't see how I'll have the time. We're throwing a party, but goodness knows how I'll get it planned, and I'm way behind in putting together a list of presents I think they might like (though my lovely Twitter friends helped me out with some suggestions earlier this evening).

The house is a tip, the to-do list is getting ridiculous, and I've dropped off the planet socially. This wasn't what I'd imagined when I decided to work for myself instead of slogging into an office everyday. I wanted a balance between work and babies, but maybe the pressures and stresses of being a WAHM are actually just as challenging as those of a working mum.

It's all about finding a balance, and at the moment that seems a long, long way away.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Multiples Mayhem Carnival - Call for posts!

After the success of last month's Multiples Mayhem Carnival over at Got Your Hands Full for Twins, Triplets & More Week 2010, Linda and I thought we'd try to make the carnival a regular event to celebrate having multiples. So this month it's my turn to host the carnival. It will take place here on Monday 23 August, so if you've got a post about the highs and lows of having twins or more, please send your entries to me at youngmummy@youngandyounger.net or leave me a comment below by midnight on Friday 20th August. 

The super-talented Rebecca over at Two Become Four is going to make us a beautiful Multiples Mayhem badge that you'll be able to download, and if you want to tweet about the carnival, let's get in the party spirit with the hashtag #MultiplesMayhem.


Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Contract of employment

THIS AGREEMENT is made on the 28 day of July 2010
BETWEEN:
  1. The Young Household Ltd of Young Towers, Young & Younger Hill, London ("The Young Household"); and
  2. Young Mummy
1. Young Mummy shall provide childcare, domestic, and editorial services to The Young Household as Chief Childcarer and Part-Time WAHM (Work At Home Mum) (but always within such parameters as may be specified by The Young Household and the primary employer, Ez and Fonz).
2. The Young Household shall pay to Young Mummy the grand sum of Happy Babies, and A Stressfree Working Life (plus any VAT) for all hours worked.
3. The Young Household shall reimburse any reasonable expenses incurred by Young Mummy in the provision of the services under this agreement, with a Drink at the end of each day (choice of which to be determined by Young Mummy), Dinner (ideally including Pud) every night and the Occasional Night Out.
4.1 Subject to clause 4.2 this agreement shall subsist for an indefinite period unless and until determined by one months' written notice given by The Young Household to Young Mummy or by Young Mummy to The Young Household.
4.2 The Young Household may terminate this Agreement forthwith by written notice to Young Mummy at any time if she shall:
4.2.1 Fail to deliver constantly entertaining activities to amuse The Babies; or
4.22 Fail to update her blog more than once a week; or
4.23 Turn up for work without a shower and wearing her pyjamas and slippers; or
4.24 Spend more time on Twitter than playing with The Babies; or
4.25 Not succeed in having a meaningful conversation with her secondary employer, Young Daddy, at least once a month.
5. This Agreement constitutes the whole of the agreement and arrangement and supersedes with effect from the date hereof all previous agreements and arrangements relating to the subject matter.
6. Any notice to be given hereunder shall be in writing and shall be sufficiently served by being delivered personally to The Young Household’s registered office. 

SIGNED for and on behalf of 
The Young Household Limited
Ez and Fonz
SIGNED by 
Young Mummy
Young Mummy

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Vlogging Diary - ear infections



Instead of a vlog about my best week yet as a mum (I'll post about it later this week instead), a poorly Ez has hijacked this week's Vlogging Diary...

Apologies for my terrible lighting in the video. This vlogging lark is a learning curve, and I obviously have quite a long way to go yet! Although I quite like the fact you can't really see my face, it would make a much better vlog if you could. I shall go away to Vlogging School this week to work on improving next week's diary entry!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Goodbye purees

I'm going to start this post with a reminder - The Artist Formerly Known As Miss E will now be known as Ez, and The Artist Formally Known As Mr A, will go by the name Fonz. Still nicknames (obviously, I hope), but somehow they feel more like real people with these names, and they feel much more natural when I'm writing or vlogging about them.

As I mentioned in my Vlogging Diary this week, we've been having some problems with Fonz and Ez's feeding for the last week or so. I know it's normal for babies to go off their food when teething, but we just couldn't seem to get back on track when Fonz's tooth finally came through. And Ez was being equally challenging at mealtimes, even though she wasn't teething. I began to suspect that it was pureed food that was the problem. They just didn't seem that interested anymore.

We started traditional weaning at six months, having been advised to wait until then, and also to go for traditional weaning, I think because they were born early, and had always been on the small side. Having been given this advice from a healthcare professional that I really trusted, I was happy to do this and so we began pureeing food in massive quantities to meet Fonz and Ez's rapidly increasing appetites!

As soon as they showed interest, we also gave them finger foods, and both Fonz and Ez have chowed down on a large variety of different foods, from roast chicken to French toast. The amount of finger foods they have wanted has been growing recently and I realised that they are more interested in feeding themselves than taking purees off a spoon. So we made the decision. No more purees.

Today, with great trepidation, I served up cheesy chicken pasta bake instead of puree. I needn't have worried because both babies shovelled it down at a rate of knots. I was amazed, both by their enthusiasm, and by the amount of food they ate, and I got such a buzz to see them happily feed themselves.

Weaning's been a really hard slog. It's never been straightforward and I have often found mealtimes incredibly stressful as I'm faced with one or both babies screaming because they're not happy with what's on offer. I blogged back in January about my anxiety about feeding when I was still breastfeeding, and it's never really gone away. The emergency feeding regime the babies were put on after losing too much of their birthweight in the first couple of days really took its toll emotionally and their size and weight has been a sensitive issue for me since then. And still is, if I'm honest.

Maybe we should have chosen baby led weaning over traditional weaning. Maybe we should have moved on from purees months ago. Maybe mealtimes would have been less stressful if we had. But we didn't, and there's no point worrying about it now.

Today was a good day. I feel excited and relieved that Ez and Fonz are ready to move on. It's a sign they're developing, and I'm all for encouraging their independence. I have no doubt that we'll have good days, and we'll have bad days. But through them all I've got to remember that I'm doing my best, and my babies are healthy and happy. Because that's what's really important.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Vlogging Diary - teething woes

Before you watch this video - I've decided it feels too awkward saying 'Mr A' and 'Miss E' when I'm vlogging, so I'm giving them a name-change! Miss E is now Ez, and Mr A become The Fonz (Fonz, or Fonzie). Anyway, here's what we got up to last week...

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Weekend Review: Phil & Teds Dash with double kit

You may remember that a while back the kind people at Phil & Teds sent me a Dash inline pushchair to trial. I had imagined it to be a useful second pushchair, great for trips up to town, but I honestly can't remember the last time we went out in our old pushchair since the Dash arrived! We've tried it out in all sorts of situations - long walks, a nip to the local shops, our first trip on the London Underground, our first trip in a black cab, fighting our way down Oxford Street and even a stroll along the beach. We've given it a good testing, and here's my honest review.

The Dash looks smart and modern

It's good on any surface, including grass
Strengths:

The 'intelligent handle' includes a trigger fold and braking mechanism, making the Dash really easy to fold and unfold. When folded it's compact size means it fits easily in the boot of my small car. Out and about, the pushchair is really manoeuvrable, and the suspension is great, even on rough ground. Both seats are multi-position so they can recline. Miss E and Mr A happily sleep without reclining, so I haven't had to use this feature very much. The sunshade was invaluable over the heatwave, and I also use it to encourage the babies to nap.

People often seem concerned that the baby in the back gets a raw deal, but I can honestly say that neither Mr A or Miss E seem to mind being the rear passenger. In fact, I would say that Mr A actively enjoys it, as he loves playing with dangling toys, which can be hung from the seat in front. And contrary to general opinion, I think the view he gets from the rear seat is pretty good - I liken it to being in the back seat of a car - you can't see straight ahead past the seat in front of you, but you have a great range of vision to either side.

Of course the Dash's main strength is its width. The inline design means that it's no wider than most single pushchairs and it makes shops and crowded places much more accessible for me. My side-by-side pushchair doesn't fit through the doors of a lot of my local shops, so it's been fantastic to be able to pop down the road to pick something urgent up. I've used it for those little trips that a lot of my mummy friends would use a sling or front carrier for (obviously not possible with two babies!). The Dash has also made me feel much more confident about heading up to town - I would never brave the tube with a side-by-side pushchair, but I have no fewer worries about it with the Dash.

I also feel a lot less conspicuous when we're out. When you're pushing twins you can get a lot of attention. This can be lovely, but can also make me feel quite self-conscious at times. When we're out with the Dash it's a lot less obvious that I've got twins, so I feel a bit less stared at.

 Mr A loves the back seat (double kit)

Both babies enjoy the view
Weaknesses:

Unfortunately the Dash isn't suitable for two newborns, so it isn't ideal for twins (with the double kit it's suitable for one newborn and one toddler or two toddlers). A pushchair is such a big purchase and when we were considering our options before the babies arrived, we had to look for models that would last us for a few years.  Unfortunately, buying a new one six months down the line just wouldn't be an option for us.

The braking mechanism on the 'intelligent handle' requires two hands to operate. This can be really difficult if you're trying to hold a baby at the same time!

The Dash is really easy to fold, but you do have to remove the double kit from the back before you can fold it. It's pretty straightforward to do, but is a bit of an added faff if you're in a hurry.

Young Daddy finds pushing the Dash slightly awkward with the double kit attached, because he knocks his knees on the double kit as he walks. He reckons the handle should be a bit longer for a more comfortable walking position.

Summary:

Phil & Teds describe the Dash as 'the active urban inline' and I think this description is spot-on. We spend a lot of time out and about, and the Dash has been great in every situation. I think it's ideal for urban living, and for me it has definitely taken a lot of the stress out of our outings as I haven't had to worry about whether I'll fit in wherever we're heading that day. I wasn't sure it would win me over, but it's made me feel much more free and more like the independent and outgoing mum I always imagined I'd be. For our family, the Dash has been a real winner.

Spec:

Weight (with double kit): 12kg
Width: 62cm
Price of Dash: £435
Price of Dash double kit: £73.95

For the Dash's full spec and other details head over to the Phil & Teds website, where there's also a video and a spinning view of the pushchair.

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