96 articles Articles posted in Review

We’re VTech Toot Toot Friends Ambassadors!

A few weeks back, Burrito Baby and I received the awesome news that we’d been chosen to be VTech Toot Toot Friends Ambassadors and would be receiving all of the new range to play with and review. As you can see, BB was over the moon! The smaller characters retail for around £8.99 each, while the Trot and Go Pony is £15.99. The Hospital playset is a very affordable £29.99 and even the Discovery Sounds House, which is the bigger of the two playsets, is only £44.99.

VTech Toot Toot Friends

What we discovered, being Toot-Toot Friends noobs, is that all of the playsets can link together, forming a big town, and each character can be used in all of the different areas. Want to take your horse to the hospital? Go right ahead! These areas are called ‘Magic Points’ and allows kids to use the individual  characters to interact with the play sets. There are also points within the Busy Sounds Discovery Home where characters can sing to one another, something that BB seemed to regard as being akin to magic!

BB has really good gross and fine motor skills for her age (I mean, the kid is NEVER still, even when she’s sleeping!) but all of the elements of the characters and the playsets were solid and easy to hold, even for the tiniest hands. It also feels like it would stand up to a whole lot of toddler punishment, too; BB has developed a habit of throwing things when she’s in a mood but I can’t see even the biggest toddler tantrum being able to do damage to the Toot-Toot Friends!

I really like the fact that these feel like “next level” toys in more ways than one; in terms of BB’s development, they feel more in-depth than all the other ‘flashing lights, ABC, 123’ toys that she has and they also feel like they incorporate all of the things that babies of this age love with the technological expertise the VTech is famous for. They’re interactive, educational and intuitive, all things which I think are important for development through play.

If I had ONE minor complaint, it’s that the stickers are a little bit fiddly to apply when you’re assembling everything, especially as some of them are located behind or inside certain parts. If you’ve got a steady hand, you’ll be fine, but the best advice I can give you is to assemble everything when you don’t have an excited, slightly tyrannical toddler climbing all over you.

I also think that selling all of the characters and sets separately is a great thing. It means that you can still buy Toot-Toots friends toys even on varying budgets, and if a birthday or Christmas comes around, the playsets can be bought as a main present, while the smaller components can be bought by friends or relatives to build a full and comprehensive collection.

BB and I feel like we’re off to a great start as ambassadors for VTech Toot-Toot Friends – we already love the toys and can seem them being a great source of fun and education for BB in the months to come.

GetTheLabel.com Review

A few weeks ago, the guys at Get The Label asked if we’d like to review their site, and given the fact that we’re heading towards cooler weather and both girls seem to have outgrown all of their clothes, we jumped at the chance! We were given £150 to spend across the site, and this is what we got:


Burrito Baby wears:

Adidas Baby Girls Essential Jog Suit – £12.99

Converse Baby Girls 2 Piece Fleece Set – £14.99

Adidas Originals Infant Girls ZX 850 Trainers – £19.99

Skechers Infant Girls Keepsakes Boots – £12.99

Sausage wears:

Adidas Junior Girls Rock It Zip Hoody – £14.99

Adidas Junior Girls Rock It Jog Pants – £14.99

Adidas Junior Girls Wardrobe Jog Pant – £14.99

(vest models own!)

Mum wears:

Vero Moda Womens Alba Jumper – £9.99

Converse Womens CT Ox Diva Trainers – £32.99

GRAND TOTAL: £148.91

Given the amount of branded stuff we were able to buy, I think coming in at under £150 was actually amazing and really good value. The girls’ trackies were absolutely perfect for the autumn weather and both Adidas and Converse are brands we’ve bought before so we know the quality is high. BB’s trainers are so ridiculously adorable and the Velcro fastenings make them really easy to get on and off. Her boots will be perfect for the cooler weather and are sturdy enough to help her to walk easily, without being heavy.

As for me…well, I couldn’t let the opportunity to grab a new pair of Converse pass me by, especially as I’ve worn my old ones to the point of decimation! I was trying to find myself a grey pair, but they didn’t have them in my size, so I opted for something a bit more eye-catching! I’d not actually seen this design before, either, so I was rather chuffed with my purchase.

The jumper I bought, however, has become a part of a saga of heartbreak. I saw it on the site and absolutely loved it, and had actually planned to go back at a later date and buy myself the jumper in the other colours. However, the first time I EVER wore the turquoise one, I was standing at our local noodle bar waiting to pick up a quick dinner, holding BB as we’d just got out of the car and I looked over my shoulder only to notice that she’d got her little fingers into the knit and pulled a massive thread out! I was absolutely gutted as I very rarely buy myself anything new, and although Husband offered to replace it for me, I stubbornly refused!

LEARN FROM MY FAIL! Don’t wear that jumper if you have a fiddly toddler. Other than that, you’re good to go; it’s an absolutely gorgeous jumper which is lovely quality and very well made. It’s just that mine got destroyed!

Delivery from Get the Label was really quick and the website was easy to navigate and nice to use. We’d definitely recommend Get the Label and will be going back to buy more stuff for all of us in the future.

TutorFair Review

tutorfairAs you’ll know if you’ve read this post, Sausage is a super bright girl, but thanks to being let down by a previous teacher, she lacks confidence in Maths and related topics. So when we were asked by Tots100 if we’d like the opportunity to receive a couple of tutoring sessions with TutorFair in a topic of our choice, we jumped at the chance. TutorFair offer teachers in a number of topics, including instrument tuition, but it seemed prudent for us to take advantage of some extra help with maths, if only to show Sausage just how capable she actually is.

The TutorFair website is one of my favourite things about the whole experience – it gives you the ability to narrow down what you’re looking for by subject, area, even budget, so you don’t end up trawling through a list of irrelevant teachers at prices you can’t afford. It also gives you an overview of the experience and qualifications of each tutor; the young man who came to see us was a Physics graduate and did his post-grad teacher training at Cambridge University, which is pretty impressive!

On the day, our tutor Sam arrived early for the session but jumped straight in (after taking his shoes off at the door, despite my protestations – excellent manners!) and gave Sausage a special programme to work through on his iPad to show him exactly where she was in terms of her knowledge. This allowed him to see exactly where she needed help and meant that their time together was properly optimised.

Using a combination of iPad and traditional pen and paper, Sausage and Sam worked through a whole load of topics (with me hovering around to get a good overview for review purposes) and it seemed like he was really able to connect with Sausage and pass on some new techniques for doing certain sums. I try not to criticize the UK’s free education system too much as it’s fantastic for most families, however there can be a slightly “one size fits all” approach to teaching when class sizes are large which means that some kids catch on quicker than others. Extra tuition like the sessions Sausage received are a brilliant way to solidify knowledge that’s passed on during school time and make sure that all of the new concepts have really sunk in.

In terms of cost, the tutor who came to us would usually cost around £38 per hour, which is by no means the most expensive session on the site and could be well worth it if your child is having a lot of problems with a subject. There are also tutors who offer help with 11+, GCSE’s and A-Levels and Sam told us that, in some cases, 11+ tuition begins as young as 8 years old.

All in all, I felt like we had a really positive experience with TutorFair. Sausage felt a lot more confident even after one session and it’s something that we would definitely consider continuing with, should she need the extra help. As a final point, another thing we liked was that, if you were a normal TutorFair customer, all payments are made via the website, so there’s no awkward exchange of cash at the end of the session – this may sound like a silly little thing, but it just made me feel like I’d be a lot more comfortable about using the service in the future.

For more information on tutors in your area, visit the TutorFair site.

Beanies Coffee – A Review

A while back, we were sent a selection of items by Beanies Coffee to taste-test and review. For those of you who haven’t heard of Beanies, the company makes flavoured coffee, both roast ground and instant, in a wide selection of flavours. I opted for Cherry flavour and Maple Syrup flavour in the roast ground, and Amaretto Almond in the instant.

I would definitely class myself as a coffee drinker; I drink instant at home at least twice a day, and usually have a latte somewhere if I leave the house, plus Husband and I stick the pot on for a “proper” cup of coffee a few times a week, too. I also have a personal filter coffee machine which makes a thermally insulated flask of coffee for one person which I often take with me when I’m out and about. See – definitely coffee people!

I was worried at first that the sweet flavours of Beanies coffee meant that they had added sugar; being a diabetic means I have to avoid excess sugar, but I needn’t have worried. Beanies sweetness is explained on the website’s FAQ:

Your sensory cells for taste and aroma respond to the sweetness of the flavours and although they contain no derivatives such as dextrose, fructose, lactose or syrups the receptors tell the brain that the product must surely contain sugar. Therefore when you taste our coffee you in fact smell the familiar flavour notes and your brain is automatically tricked into thinking the drink is sweet. Clever eh!

Each of the three flavours I tried were very authentic – the cherry really tasted of cherries, while the maple syrup and amaretto versions definitely tasted of maple syrup and amaretto! All three flavours smelled amazing, too. It was almost worth brewing a pot just for the amazing aroma that permeated around the house! 

I have to admit, none were sweet enough for me, despite the Beanies claim that you shouldn’t need to add sugar or sweetener, but then I do have my coffee pretty sweet on a day-to-day basis, adding two sweeteners to a normal mug, so it may well be sufficient for someone who doesn’t like their coffee as sweet as me.

All in all, I was really impressed. I’m not sure that flavoured coffee could replace every mug for me, across the day, but it definitely makes a lovely mid-morning treat and I could happily see myself tempting a guest to try something flavoured rather than our usual brew!

If you want more info on Beanies, head to their website, or take a look at their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.

Star Stable Review

Star-Stable-5Sometimes, having two kids with a large-ish age gap can mean that it’s tricky to find ways to spend one-on-one time with your eldest. Burrito Baby gets me to herself all day while Sausage is at school and although we’ve tried to maintain certain activities, like swimming, that Sausage and I do together, sometimes fitting things in around naps and bedtimes can be hard. That’s why, when I was asked if we’d like a free membership to Star Stable for Sausage and I to play together, I jumped at the chance.

Sausage is pony mad, having done some casual lessons for the past few summers, and loves anything to do with them, so the chance to design and name her own personalised pony within the game was definitely right up her alley. We downloaded the game and it loaded up with ease, even on my slightly decrepit laptop. Within the game, you use the directional keys to move around, along with the mouse for clicking on menu items, which made it a doddle for Sausage to get the hang of.

The actual environment within the game is really attractive – galloping through meadows in various weathers makes it feel really authentic, and although I’ve never actually been on a horse in real life, there’s something about the way the horses move that looks really lifelike – no mean feat for a game which doesn’t require a top-end graphics card to run.

One thing that Sausage really liked was the requirement to actually care for your horse within the game. Trusty steeds must be fed, watered and groomed, otherwise they simply won’t perform properly, giving a really ‘all-round’ feel for what it is to own a real horse, which require a lot of upkeep.

There’s a chat window which can be opened within the game, allowing you to interact with other users while you trot around, and although this is something I’d be slightly wary of if Sausage were to play the game by herself, playing it together means that I can keep an eye on any chatting that goes on, and to be completely fair, there seemed to be entirely innocent chat about school and the game going on, leading me to think that the boards are closely monitored.

If I’m being completely honest, I haven’t only played the game whilst Sausage has been around. More than once over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself with half an hour to spare and have been drawn in by the game, which I find oddly relaxing! There’s something about the slightly soft focus and gentle background music which I find really soothing and I could easily wander around for hours if Burrito Baby let me!

Having played other online games of this type before, I have to say that I wasn’t expecting Star Stable to be as good as it is, but the graphics, game play and character options were all really impressive. If I could add one MINOR criticism, it would be that it’s only possible to play as a female character, and while I get that the game is mostly aimed at tween girls, it would be nice for there to be a couple of male character options in case boys wanted to get involved too.

All in all, Sausage and I are really enjoying Star Stable and would definitely recommend it to other girls, aged 6 and upwards, as well as to Mums who want a nice game that they can enjoy with their little ones, to give them some quality time together without costing a fortune or even needing to leave the house!

LamaLoLi Review

A while back, the guys at LamaLoLi got in touch and asked if we’d like to review some clothes for the girls and offered us a £40 voucher to cover the cost. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure that £40 would cover very much for both girls, but boy was I wrong! Here’s what we got:


We also ordered a Minnie Mouse set for BB, but unfortunately it wasn’t included with the items we were sent, however we were absolutely thrilled with the items we received. Sausage is an enormous fan of Big Hero 6 and a lot of the clothing we’ve seen to far have been very masculine, but the t-shirt on the LamaLoLi site was totally unisex and she loved it.

Obviously, both girls love Hello Kitty and there’s a huge range of Hello Kitty stuff on the site, for all ages. We also found the range of characters available quite impressive; Husband is a huge fan of Warner Bros. characters from his childhood and it’s fairly rare to see them on kids clothes nowadays, but the Baby Loony Tunes t-shirt that we chose for BB was gorgeous and very modern.

All in all, we were really pleased with the items from LamaLoLi; the prices are genuinely bargainous, the clothes are all of a really high quality, everything fitted perfectly and there’s a great range of stuff that you wouldn’t find on the high street. We do love a little bit of uniqueness in the MTW house! I’d absolutely recommend LamaLoLi for kids clothes and I’ll definitely be ordering from them again in the future – I reckon I could kit out both girls for the entire summer for under £100 with change for an ice cream left over.

Head over to the LamaLoLi site now for some true bargains and high quality products.

Funky Giraffe Bibs Review

About 400 years ago (okay, it was about six months, but you know how time flies when you’re trying to go for a wee without a baby climbing up your leg having fun) , we were asked if we’d like to review Funky Giraffe Bibs, a brand which creates bandanna bibs in super funky prints. I’ve been absolutely rubbish at getting blog posts written lately, but I thought it was about time that I shared our opinions of the bibs we chose.

The real difficulty was narrowing down which bibs we wanted to try from the enormous selection of designs – there are just SO many choices, each more appealing than the next and I genuinely laboured for hours to make my mind up! In the end, we opted for a ‘Little Sister’ design in pink, a lovely yellow bib with a large cherry print and a lively cartoon bird print, as well as a pretty pear motif on a bright blue background. Funky Giraffe Bandana Bibs

The great thing about Funky Giraffe bibs is that behind the vibrant designs is a very soft, fleecy material; BB has really sensitive skin, just like her big sister and even the slightest bit of friction can leave her skin red and irritated, but she’s able to wear the bandana bibs without any bother. They also come with two sets of poppers which mean that the bibs grow with your baby and will last for pretty much the entire time they need a bib.

BB is a terrible dribbler when she’s teething and ordinary bibs just aren’t sufficient to soak up her spit AND keep her skin dry at the same time, but the Funky Giraffe bibs did an admirable job of wicking away the moisture while keeping it well away from her skin, which I guess is the beauty of the double thickness of the bandanas.

Obviously, if you’re anything like me then the real million-dollar question is ‘How do they wash up?’. There’s little more frustrating than buying a gorgeous baby item made from highly patterned material, only for it to go dull and discoloured, or stained, after being washed. Never fear though; the Funky Giraffe bibs actually seem to get better after a few washes because they soften and become even more comfortable for baby. They also seem to repel stains (possibly due to the printed fabric), which means that they wash up brilliantly, even if you use them during messy mealtimes.

There are some excellent deals to be had on the Funky Giraffe site. Bibs actually get cheaper, the greater quantity that you buy and there are special offers available which mean that you can get your hands on a bundle of bibs which work out at just £1.50 each – bargain! Amazingly enough, Funky Giraffe bibs are also available in Australia, so if you’re one of our lovely antipodean readers, head over to the Funky Giraffe Australia site for some beautiful prints and excellent bargains.

Are you a fan of Funky Giraffe bibs? Are you tempted to try them after reading this? Leave me a comment below.

Karcher Steam Stick Review #KarcherSuperBloggers

Here at Mum’s the Word, we’re delighted to have been asked to be Karcher Super Bloggers, part of a team of people who are being sent Karcher goodies over the next 12 months to review and test. We’re massive fans of Karcher in our house and have great faith in the brand, so the opportunity to test things out and get hands-on is a real treat!

Anyway, for my first attempt at using the Karcher Steam Stick I thought I’d give vlogging a go and I must make a couple of excuses before we start – we’re still not properly unpacked and I still cannot find my make-up bag, so the slight rough-around-the-edges look is thanks to the lack of mascara and foundation! Also, dismantling a steam cleaner with one hand whilst still trying to record with the other is tricky. I promise that, in my next video, I’ll wear some make-up and perhaps employ a trusty camera man!

So, without further ado, here’s the Karcher Steam Stick giving my new laminate flooring a once-over:

Braun Thermoscan 7 Review

Braun Thermoscan 7When Sausage was born, we were given a Braun thermometer by a relative and it has been an absolute godsend at times, helping us to monitor her temperature closely through various ear infections and other illnesses. So when Braun asked if we’d like to try the Thermoscan 7, the updated version of their classic in-ear thermometer, we jumped at the chance.

One thing that I didn’t realise until we got the Thermoscan 7 was that children of different ages are considered intemperate at different thresholds, so what might be considered okay for Sausage would actually be feverish for Burrito Baby. That’s where the Thermoscan comes into its own, as it has a button which allows you to choose the age of the person whose temperature you’re taking.

What makes the Thermoscan 7 even easier to use is that it has a colour-coding system, like traffic lights; red, amber and green let you know if your child is feverish, on the rise, or normal. When you’re taking a temperature at 2am and struggling to keep your eyes open, the colour coding system is truly wonderful and can save you a lot of brain-ache!

I also love the fact that the Thermoscan 7 has latex and BPA-free disposable covers. Aside from the fact that I have a latex allergy, it’s great to be able to keep the thermometer properly hygienic when using it on two children, especially when they both seem prone to ear infections.

All four of us have been poorly on and off since before Christmas, so the Thermoscan 7 has had a serious workout and we’ve used it alongside our original Braun thermometer to give us a baseline for accuracy. It’s been absolutely on the ball every single time and knowing that we have accurate readings for both girls, as well as a clear guide on how their temperatures are for their ages, has been a real comfort. No one likes it when their kids are ill, but having two ill over Christmas with Husband and I also poorly and trying to care for them was nothing short of a challenge and the Braun Thermoscan 7 just made our lives that much easier.

I’d definitely recommend the Braun Thermoscan range, and I’d really like to try the no-touch version, which allows you to take temperature without putting anything in the childs’ ear;  imagine how much easier it would be to take their temperature while they’re asleep?!

Have you used a Braun thermometer? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts on the range.

Going to the Cinema with a Baby – Odeon Newbies

Odeon NewbiesYesterday, I did something which, previous to my experience, I though was confined to absolute lunatics or people with disgustingly well behaved children. Burrito Baby and I went to the cinema together, to our local Odeon, to watch Selma. Odeon cinemas around the country are showing kids and adult films (up to a 12A rating) on Wednesday mornings in what they call ‘Newbies’ screenings, and offering cut-price tickets to anyone who wants to watch a film but doesn’t have the option of childcare. Obviously anyone can go along, child in tow or not and in fact BB and I were the only parent/child combo in the theatre yesterday, along with two couples, but at £2.50 per ticket the bargain factor is there if you’re prepared for the potential of kid-noise.

The cinema we visited does all of its Newbies screenings in a downstairs screen so that parents with pushchairs don’t have to worry about accessibility issues and the lights aren’t turned all the way down. I must say, this last part was a masterstroke as it meant that playing BB’s never-ending game of “Mummy, look, isn’t it funny when I throw my dummy/bottle/biscuit/shoe and you have to go hunting for it?!” was SO much easier. The staff also seated me in the disabled section (as there were no disabled people needing the space) which meant we had plenty of space for the pushchair and didn’t need to worry about folding it down or moving it out of people’s way.

Selma was an ideal film to break our duck with because although it features some scenes of a noisy, rowdy nature, it wasn’t overwhelming. This could also be because Odeon doesn’t have the volume as high for Newbies showings, which meant that it wasn’t uncomfortably loud for BB.

One thing that I was painfully aware of, ahead of time, was that BB could quite easily kick up an almighty row and ruin the film for the other punters. Fortunately, people are warned when they buy their tickets that there may be children in the Newbies showings and that they have to be prepared for dealing with noise. This really put my mind at ease and although BB was actually a really good girl and spend most of the two-hour period eating biscuits on the seat next to me, I was relieved that the other people in the screening were aware of the situation. I didn’t get any filthy looks on the way out, and in fact a couple came over to coo over BB as I was putting her back in her snow suit!

I was pleasantly surprised by what a lovely experience it was. The last time I went to the cinema to watch something that wasn’t completely kid-centric was in 2006 (Seriously. I’m not even kidding…), so knowing that Husband and I could go to watch a film we want to see on the big screen while Sausage is at school, without needed to find childcare for BB is genuinely exciting. Being at the cinema during the day actually felt like quite a decadent little treat, and when you consider that the cost of my ticket and a Costa coffee from the concessions only came to just over a fiver, it’s a treat which is really affordable.

I love watching movies at home with my family and I’ve been quite happy to wait until things come out on DVD in the past before seeing them, but I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye on the listings for the Newbies showings in future. I’d happily recommend Newbies to any of my friends with children as it was perfectly relaxed and child-friendly, whilst offering an absolute bargain.