Outdoor Mama to relaxed Mama – JD Williams review

I had a request to review some outdoor clothing from JD Williams, something I’m very happy to do as I’m always keen to know good options that help us get outdoors easily and comfortably. Being comfortable and happy outside gives us a better experience – keeping us WILD, HAPPY, and WELL! I chose a good quality jacket and a pair of comfy joggers – both of which I could foresee getting a lot of use out of.

Here’s the link to all the options:


Archie in I enjoying a walk at our local National Trust property, Tyntesfield. Me enjoying my Snowdonia 3-in-1 jacket!
Archie and I enjoying a walk at our local National Trust property, Tyntesfield. Me enjoying my Snowdonia 3-in-1 jacket! How nicely does it go with my gorgeous Joules wellies?

Snowdonia 3-in-1 jacket, in cobalt

I chose this because I was considering buying something like this anyway, so the approach was actually extremely well timed for me (thank you, JD Williams)! I already have a thick winter coat (by Berghaus, I adore it) but this is often too warm, especially when I’m taking little Archie out. Running around after him, carrying him, etc, always seems to keep me pretty warm. So I wanted something a bit more light-weight but that was still waterproof and versatile. My Berghaus coat is quite smart too so I wanted something I felt good in down town as well as in a forest or up a hill. I also needed one that came down below my bottom, to keep warm the bits that ALWAYS get cold! As a Mama: pockets, pockets, pockets! Enough said. The Snowdonia 3-in-1 jacket appeared to fit the bill perfectly!

There are multiple options on the JD Williams website for different colours, all the same price (£85). I went for cobalt as being a dark brunette, bright blue suits me and I love bright colours 🙂 It’s great as it has a removable fleece jacket that attaches inside a waterproof outer layer, both with zips and pockets. Ahh the pockets… zipped pockets in the outer waterproof layer plus a handy zipped breast pocket, pockets in the fleece (although not zippy). These include handy waist-level inner pockets for stuffing tissues, pinecones (from the toddler…), etc. The inner fleece easily unzips to be removed. It’s held in place by zips with the outer layer plus poppers on loops at the cuffs to hold the sleeves in place. This bit kind of works but the fleece sleeves do have a tendency to come out further than the waterproof layer and I quite often find myself fumbling with hands stuck half in-half out…a bit annoying but not a deal-breaker.

Size-wise, I ordered a 10 as that’s my usual. As I wanted this for light wear I figured I wouldn’t be wearing big jumpers underneath so didn’t need to consider a larger size. This works well – there’s definitely no room for a thick jumper underneath (ahem!) and especially so on the arms. My arms aren’t skinny but they’re certainly not well-built and the sleeves are fairly snug. The jacket fits well and has a nice line: what with the slender sleeves and the drawstring waist, I feel confident that I look a good shape 🙂

There's no fun like snow fun!
There’s no fun like snow fun!

Here’s the product description from the website:

This jacket features two jackets in one and lots more! With an outer waterproof coated membrane to keep you dry, and a detachable fleece inner – if you’re too warm, just remove! Internal drawcord for getting a comfortable shape and adjustable cuffs for additional protection. Peaked hood with drawcords to adjust. This coat has it all!
  • Machine washable.
  • Polyamide. Fleece: Polyester. Chinguard: Polyester. Lining: Polyester.
  • Product available in sizes: 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32

Value straight-leg joggers, in black

I adore my slouchy, comfy joggers… most nights when I get home from work I’m straight into these to mooch around the house, play and snuggle with Archie, and chill on the sofa before bed. I’m also a keen yogi so need a steady supply of trousers like this on hand. I got these as, honestly, I wanted to test out whether a cheap option would be any good.

These are only £14 so a snip, and I’m happy to say they are great, if you want stretchy, comfy joggers with a neat waistband. They are fairly wide-legged, more so than I expected, and they’re generally larger than I’d anticipated – again I ordered a size 10 but these are more like a 12, compared to the sizing of the Snowdonia jacket. This isn’t a problem though, they’re extremely comfortable and I happily yoga in them but they’re not as flattering as I’d expected.

I’ll admit I haven’t worn these outdoors yet but it has been rather chilly out there since I got these, so that’s hardly surprising! However, as they are just sooo comfortable, I can see myself wearing them for yoga in the garden or forest walks with Archie when the weather warms. They’re so cheap and simple fabric, I don’t mind getting them dirty and they wash well.

Snapped having a cheeky cuppa on the deck in my super comfy joggers!
Snapped having a cheeky cuppa on the deck in my super comfy joggers!

Here’s the product description from the website:

These straight-leg jogging bottoms are perfect to wear around the house. Designed with a flat-fronted waistband for extra comfort, the comfortable fabric makes these ideal for your leisurewear wardrobe. Available in multiple lengths and colours, there is something to suit your every need!
  • Regular – to fit inside leg 29in/74cm.
  • Machine washable.
  • 95% Cotton, 5% Elastane.
  • Product available in sizes: 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32
  • Available in: Black

If you want to check out JD Williams’ outdoor clothing options check out this link and go get yourselves confident, comfortable and cozy outdoors!

Ta ta for now,


Jacamo cargo shorts for Dad: review for getting out and about with baby in comfort and style

Summer time!

Hurray, it’s officially summer time – that means Jon’s leggies start to appear in daylight after a long winter covered in trousers! (They’re not even that pastey, thanks to that bit of Spanish blood he has…) Today’s post is exciting for me as it’s my first containing ‘sponsored’ content: today I’m reviewing three pairs of men’s Jacamo cargo shorts for Dad which were gifted provided that I publish this review. I wanted to do this as I think it’s important that Dads also build their confidence getting out and about in nature with baby, and clothing is an important part of that (and having to focus on my husband’s mountain-biker legs and bum wasn’t exactly a hardship!). As a new mum, I went from enjoying choosing pretty/funky outfits to pulling out the most sensible/practical get-up for what I wanted to achieve with Archie that day. In the early days, having any vague clue what you’ll need can be tough! (See this post for a description of good kit for getting out for walks with baby.) So, an outdoor parent needs practical clothing that is preferably stylish too so you don’t completely lose your sense of identity.

The three of us enjoying lunch outside in beautiful natural surroundings. Jon is wearing the smart Williams & Brown Linen cargo short (and Archie is being just scrumptious!).
The three of us enjoying lunch outside in beautiful natural surroundings. Jon is wearing the smart Williams & Brown Linen cargo short (and Archie is being just scrumptious!). FYI, my blue hair has now gone.

The engineer will out

Jon is an engineer. He is the consummate practical man, but he does like the finer things in life (ahem, obviously). Jon knows the style of clothing he likes to wear and tends to stick to it (think poster boy for Fat Face!). The couple of indy-boy tees I may have encouraged him to buy over the years have barely seen the light of day: he is a more smart polo shirt kind of guy, with jeans or cargo trousers, and it suits him. As woman, mother, and primary care-giver I had to learn early on which tops/dresses/jumpers I could wear for feeding baby when out and about, and which trousers are best for cramming all sorts into pockets and comfy enough for getting down on hands and knees for impromptu nappy changes wherever the need arose. Jon hasn’t really had to do that as much. So when this opportunity arose, I seized it to encourage him to think more carefully about how his wardrobe fitted with his new needs as a father, particularly when outdoors.

Three pairs of cargo shorts

To compare a range of shorts for different activities and looks, we selected three different brands and style of cargo shorts from Jacamo:

  1. Craghoppers Kiwi Pro Long short in dark khaki
  2. Jacamo Bexar cargo short in wine
  3. Williams and Brown Linen cargo short in navy (these don’t appear to be available, so here is a link to the trouser version)

This selection proved to be an absolute winner as Jon had something good to say about each one – they each performed very well for different purposes.

Overall winner for regular cool comfort and a smart look

His overall favourite was the Williams & Brown Linen cargo short as these were light, cool, comfy, and looked good, so he chose these for day trips with friends/lunch out, that sort of thing. Jon is not a man who enjoys hot sticky weather in the slightest so the cool linen kept him happy when carrying Archie around in the sling on hot days (Archie is no mere bagatelle….at 9 months he’s a whopping 24lbs!). It has a couple of good sized buttoned pockets to accommodate a medium sized wallet, smart phone, and keys. The only downside with these though was the belt – he said is was less than useless sadly. The buckle pin would slip through the buckle meaning it just wouldn’t stay done up, plus the fake leather details were a bit dubious… However, his usual belt fitted instead so order was restored!

Jon wearing the Williams & Brown Linen cargo short - Daddy time off action shot!
Jon wearing the Williams & Brown Linen cargo short – Daddy time off action shot!

Best Outdoor Dad’s choice

For more active pursuits like hiking, the Craghoppers Kiwi Pro Long short were by far the best. Good quality active wear material kept him cool as he exerted himself. The good stretch in the material gave excellent flexibility and manoeuvrability. These shorts were the only ones to have a zipped pocket which he really liked: great for keeping keys and other valuables safe when you’re being active. His only complaint was that compared to the others their fit was a little more snug. Watching him exert himself marching about, I, however, did not complain about this.

Jon wears the Craghopper Kiwi Pro Long cargo short on a walk around Glendurgan Gardens in Cornwall. THe weather started off nice enough but soon it was raining cats and dogs. I was feeling a bit peaky so Jon had to push the buggy and carry the camera bag. The shorts didn't get waterlogged and dried quickly when the rain stopped.
Jon wears the Craghopper Kiwi Pro Long cargo short on a walk around Glendurgan Gardens in Cornwall. The weather started off nice enough but soon it was raining cats and dogs. I was feeling a bit peaky so Jon had to push the buggy and carry the camera bag. The shorts didn’t get waterlogged and dried quickly when the rain stopped.

Casual day-to-day shorts

The Jacamo Bexar cargo shorts were still rated highly: he considered these to be more of a casual day-to-day option. With thicker material than the linen, they were more hard-wearing so we figured they’d look good for longer with frequent use and greater daily wear and tear. These also had more of those sought-after big manly pockets so apparently good for keeping a tape measure and multi-tool handy (snigger snigger). They were a good comfy fit and the wine option was a really nice colour (more daring than Jon tends to plump for so good for pushing those personal style boundaries!).

This is Archie's very first experience of the beach and the sea! It wasn't the best weather by any means but a few spots of rain didn't spoil his fun! Jon wore the Jacamo Bexar cargo shorts, and we all got a bit wet!
This is Archie’s very first experience of the beach and the sea! It wasn’t the best weather by any means but a few spots of rain didn’t spoil his fun! Jon wore the Jacamo Bexar cargo shorts, and we all got a bit wet!

Jacamo website and delivery service

A separate aspect of these clothes is how you order and obtain them. While I didn’t need to order them from the website (submitted preferred choices through the agent), we both navigated it a few times to look through the options. It’s quite a data-intensive website that tends to take a while to load but I think this is due to the many images which are actually pretty helpful (the colour representations are accurate). The searching options are extensive so it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Once ordered, I received an email telling me my parcel was on its way, providing tracking information. It arrived promptly and was securely delivered to a neighbour as I wasn’t at home to receive it. From our experience (neither of us have ordered many clothes online before), we would be happy to order from them again. Jon was really happy with all three pairs of shorts and he will consider Jacamo in future when he needs new clothes, not something he’d ever have done before.

I hope you’ve found this useful. It was a fun exercise for us, and got Jon thinking about how he equips himself when taking Archie out and about, particularly when getting active in nature.

What outdoor wardrobe hacks do you use? What clothing options help you and your family get outside easily?

Tree ferns under Cornish sun: Trebah Garden

A lovely day out

I wrote this post in early April while on a trip to Cornwall. It tells our story of a lovely day out in the sun and reviews Trebah Gardens from the perspective of someone bringing baby out in a buggy. All photographs and video taken on my humble Samsung Galaxy S6, rather than the Nikon D7000 (as that stayed at home in Bristol).

Archie and I had been in Cornwall for a few days staying with my folks; me enjoying a change of scenery and little A getting to know his grandparents more (I find it hard living so far from my parents with a young baby). The weather treated us tremendously well so one day we went out en masse to make the best of it. Our initial plan was to head to the National Trust’s Glendurgan Gardens (we’re all members) but the car park was full and queuing so that provided an excellent opportunity to treat ourselves to a visit to (non-NT) Trebah Garden ‘next door’.

Trebah Garden valley view to the sea
View from the top of the valley through the lush vegetation to the sparkling sea.

Paradise found

Trebah has always been one of my very favourite places to visit when the weather is fair because, quite simply, it is a little patch of paradise. Steep-sided and bursting with tropical and exotic trees, plants, and flowers, the flora tumbles down the valley to its own beach and the sparkling sea. Springtime is, in my humblest opinion, the very best time to visit when the rhododendrons are in full technicolour bloom, the gunnera is sprouting madly, and all the many birds that live there are filling the air with joyful songs telling that winter is over.

Trebah Garden in Springtime
Trebah Garden in Springtime is simply delightful – it is full of colour, scent and song.

Baby-on-wheels access

I’ve circuited and traversed the valley many times during my childhood and adolescence but this visit was different – Archie was with us in his (Mountain) buggy. I loved sharing it with him: he was quite awake (5 months old then) and loved looking at the trees and flowers that bent over him as he lay in his bassinet.

About 80% of the gardens are accessible for motorised wheelchairs (and hence buggies), depending on how they can cope with steep hills. I didn’t fancy a couple of the steepest ones (they are VERY steep) which meant we stayed mostly on one side of the valley. We were not disappointed though, there were many wheelchair-accessible paths that we explored together which were similar to all other paths in the valley. They retained the lovely wildness of the gardens being a bit rough and gravelly. The paths weaved in and out through the trees, hugged by giant plants, and were consistently wide enough and not too steep for our set of three wheels. The Mountain Buggy (Terrain) was perfectly at home in this environment – its manoeuvrability making easy work of tight corners (through the Bamboozle!) and its tyres making the ride nice and comfy for Archie, who had a good snooze towards the end of our visit.

Dinosaur rhubarb by the sea

We snuck through shady avenues of tree ferns, admired great views across the valley and listened to birdsong from Alice’s Seat (check out the video!). We wound our way down the valley past the gunnera plantation (aka dinosaur rhubarb – that’s what I always called it as a child!) and the ponds to the beach. I had spied the glittering sea from further up the valley and knew my Mountain Buggy Terrain could cope with a bit of sand but sadly the gate was locked for some reason and only the stepped access was available, so I had to content myself with peeking over the fence to see the sea. Being new to exploring places like this with wheels, I didn’t think to ask about access so this is something I’d now do – to check which areas of an attraction you can get to/are open on a given day.

Avenue of tree ferns
Cool avenues of tree ferns await and transport you to a tropical wonderland.
Trebah Garden gunnera plantation
The Gunnera Plantation is a jewel of Trebah. In Spring it sprouts rapidly to produce a canopy of spiky, prehistoric-looking giant leaves. Dinosaur rhubarb!

Feeding naturally, in nature

Breastfeeding can be fraught with difficulties in the early days, as it was for Archie and I. But thankfully having surmounted these we now enjoy easy feeding that is fulfilling for the both of us. I enjoy feeding Archie outdoors in quiet beautiful spots and Trebah provides these in abundance. Archie needed a feed when we were at the bottom of the valley so we stopped at one of the many conveniently-placed benches, overlooking the gunnera plantation and lake. I could thoroughly relax and we both listened to the birdsong as he fed. It was quite magical really. These little moments, that I’m sure will be over so quickly, will stay with me forever.

In the Bamboozle
Our MountainBuggy Terrain made fairly easy work of the Bamboozle which was fun for both Archie and I!
Family day out at Trebah Garden
My Mum and I with StepDad and Archie in the background. A lovely day out for the whole family.

 General facilities

While we didn’t use the restaurant on this visit, I noted that it was spacious with a variety of bench-style seating and my parents have reported that the food is very nice. We did use the baby changing facilities and it was spacious and clean with a lockable door. It was conveniently located just off the main atrium where you enter, by the ladies and gents loos. The atrium provides a good space to meet up with companions during the visit, stop and grab a drink and bite to eat, and browse the well-stocked gift shop. However, as a result it can be quite noisy, which woke Archie up when we first arrived (he had been snoozing in the car and Mummy managed an expert car-seat-to-buggy transfer!). The garden shop which you have to go through as you leave is lovely and I’m always tempted to buy a tree fern or something else exotic. This time I restrained myself and purchased a pack of gunnera seeds. Our garden is rather fertile and fairly moist so I am hopeful it might be able to support the requirements of this characterful plant. I’ll report back on how it goes when I try to get some going! One aspect I haven’t commented on here is the entertainment for children (rather than babies) as we had no need to use it just yet. There are a couple of play areas hidden in the trees, Fort Stuart and Tarzan’s Camp. By the sounds emanating from these as we passed them, I think they rank sufficiently highly on the fun factor!

I hope you’ve found this post a good read and helpful – I thoroughly recommend visiting Trebah Garden if you’re in the vicinity. At any time of year it has some beauty and wildness to offer, a great place to reconnect with nature and take in some interesting horticultural specimens.


Today’s task: Have you visited Trebah Garden, and do you have any other recommendations for great places for the whole family to visit and get a nature fix?