80 articles Articles posted in Review

Fisher-Price Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym and Rainforest Friends Bouncer Review

When Sausage was little, we started as early as we could with stimulating her mentally. She loved to watch baby-focused DVDs with us, which played classical music and showed brightly coloured, highly contrasted images, and Husband would spend hours with her on his lap, looking at pictures of animals, listening to music and reading books. She’s an amazingly bright child (she recently got moved up to purple on the Pearson Books chart, which are books for kids in the end of year two and beginning of year three, whilst Sausage is still in year one) and I can’t help but wonder if her thirst for learning was kicked off by her early days. We’ve done our best to attempt the same level of interaction with BB and now that she’s at a stage where she’s holding her head up almost all of the time and her eyesight has sharpened, she’s really benefiting from it all.

When Fisher-Price got in touch and asked if we’d live to review their Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym and Rainforest Friends Bouncer we jumped at the chance. Sausage had a Fisher-Price seat which she loved and we thought that BB would really benefit from some apparatus to help with her development.

Fisher Price

It’s a little difficult to take pictures of BB using either of her things, because I don’t put candid pictures of the kids on here, but I did manage to get a snap of her using the mat which sums it up perfectly:

Fisher Price Kick and Play GymThat yellow circle? That’s a mirror. BB will happily kick away for AAAAGES whilst gazing lovingly at herself in that mirror, testing out all of her newly learned facial expressions. She loves kicking her feet and making music come out of the piano and she’s also now starting to try and grab the hanging parts, much to our amusement. The volume can be adjusted and it’s possible to choose from music or single notes when the piano keys are kicked, so there’s plenty of variety if BB seems to be getting bored.

The Rainforest Friends Bouncer is just as much of a delight to BB as the mat; the seat unit has a vibrate function, which can soothe her quite effectively when she’s feeling a bit grumbly and the removable toy bar allows us to moderate her levels of stimulation. In fact, when BB was going through the worst of her colic, one of the ways that we found best to soothe her was to gently bounce her in her Rainforest Friends Bouncer. I don’t know if the motion helped to move some wind through, but it definitely made a difference, and the fact that the crotch strap unclips from both sides made it easy to get her out and into bed once she’d finally dozed off.

Both items are colourful and well made, and the fabric parts are removable for washing, which makes life a whole lot easier. We’re really pleased with both the Rainforest Friends Bouncer and the Kick ‘n’ Play Piano Gym and would highly recommend them to parents both new and old.

We were sent the Fisher-Price Rainforest Friends Bouncer and the Kick ‘n’ Play Piano Gym for the purposes of review. No payment was received and all opinions are honest. 

Seagate Expansion Review

Review by Tony Crammond

We’re a completely digital family. We don’t do tangible incarnations of media at all and we love the freedom and space that goes along with it. On the road and want to watch a movie, sign in to BitTorrent Sync, wait a few short minutes and away you go – it really is the only way to fly. Naturally though, we use a lot of disk space, so when Tesco Compare home insurance asked us if we wanted to try out Seagate 3TB Expansion Drive, we jumped at the chance.

When we opened the box the first impressions were good. It’s a fairly small, unassuming little package with no gaudy, eye-catching decals or unnecessarily ugly ‘features’ like superfluous knobs or disco lights. It’s compact, black and well vented, which means there shouldn’t be any temperature related shenanigans. This was a plus one for Seagate, right off the bat.

Seagate Expansion 3TBDomo Kun Not Included!

Setting up the Expansion was a breeze. It was a case of sliding the correct plug adapter on to the plug and jamming both ends of the included USB 3.0 cable in. There’s no software to install or settings to fiddle around with. We have no qualms in saying that literally anyone could pick one of these up and have it up and running in no time with no outside assistance.

Now, aesthetics and ease of use are one thing, but we don’t buy removable storage for its looks or how easy it is to set up, do we? No, we buy it so that we can have somewhere secure to store all of our important media, be they back-ups for work, family photos or your entire HD iTunes movie collection, and in this capacity the Expansion was exemplary. Once you’ve plugged it in to your PC or laptop, you’ll notice a new drive appear in your ‘My Computer’ screen and you can dive right in, adding files to the drive.

The Expansion is fast, thanks to its USB 3.0 credentials, but USB 3.0 isn’t a necessity. You can go ahead and jam it in to your USB 2.0 port just as easily and while you won’t get the same nippy transfer speeds, you’ll still get solid performance. In our test run (using USB 3.0) we were able to copy a 1.2GB movie file from our home drive, which is a Samsung SSD, to the Expansion in about 10-11 seconds, which is more than fast enough for our everyday needs, and made moving a large portion of our media collection a painless affair.

The drive has so far excelled in stability too, with no drop-outs or outages in over 2 weeks of continuous use. Temperature hasn’t been an issue for us either, despite us having to keep our home at a balmy 22 degrees constantly to appease our new baby (who we think might be part lizard – but that’s another story, for another day).

So, overall we would like to give the Seagate Expansion (3TB) a huge thumbs-up. Its simple, effective approach to expanding home or office storage was a breath of fresh air and with an RRP of about £78 we can’t think of another device which we would choose above it.

A #morrisonsmum is a Happy Mum!

Just recently we were asked by the lovely ladies at BritMums to take a trip to our local Morrisons supermarket and give our verdict on the whole experience. We were sent £80 of vouchers to spend and told to shop for our Bank Holiday weekend, a challenge we accepted with relish! Our closest store is actually quite little and we wanted to make sure we had the biggest variety of choice possibly, so we travelled a little farther afield and went to the store 5 miles miles away instead. We went on Saturday evening (braced for it to be ridiculously busy!) and were pleasantly surprised by how good the atmosphere was inside the store. Although there were a lot of shoppers in store, the aisles were wide (important if you’re shopping with a buggy and a trolly) and the shop was really well laid out.

IMG_20140503_181437 We’d been invited to a barbeque on the Sunday and decided to pick up some bits to take with us. Much to our delight, there were lots of offers on meat and barbeque items, which meant that we got some lovely grill steaks, kebabs and chicken for just a few quid each. We also bought a whole chicken for a mid-week dinner, which was seasoned and stuffed and were not only surprised by the low price but also by the quality of the meat, which is guaranteed to be from a source of highest welfare standards, something that’s really important to us as a family.

IMG_20140503_181337We were also really impressed with the variety of produce on offer – there was a rather exotic herb display which was being kept fresh with a regular stream of dry ice, and the had not one but THREE varieties of aubergine. Three types of aubergine! I didn’t even know that there was more than one variety of aubergine, so I got an education that day, too!

IMG_20140503_183852Perhaps my best buy of the trip was the quick dinner that we grabbed for that evening. Obviously, we’d need something quick to munch on once we got home and unpacked our shop, so we headed to the excellent fresh pizza counter that Morrisons has and found a huge 14″ Ham and Pineapple pizza for just £3.70. We coupled this is a bag of onion rings which cost just 85p, which means that our dinner that evening cost £1.51 per head for the three of us, although there was MORE than enough food to serve 4, so it’s probably more like £1.13 per head. The pizza itself was seriously delicious – Husband commented that it was one of the best ‘cook at home’ pizzas he’d ever had and he’s tricky to please in that department.IMG_20140503_181535All in all, our shop included barbeque fayre, dinners for the week and even a bottle of wine (Mine and Husband’s favourite brand of Rioja for about 2/3rds the price we usually pay) and came to just over £92. Husband and I were so pleased with the value of the shop that we commented that even the extra 15 minutes in the car to get the bigger store and expenditure on petrol was worth it for the excellent savings (and, incidentally, we got a voucher for 10p off of every litre of petrol at a Morrisons filling station with our receipt, too!). The staff were friendly and helpful, the own-brand goods were of a disproportionately high quality for the price, the store was clean and well laid out, and we’ll definitely be going back for our next big shop. IMG_20140503_185053I’m not just a #morrisonsmum…we’re now a #morrisonsfamily!

Durex Real Feel Review

32680_DUREX_real_feel_pack_home_landingOkay, so my blog usually focuses on family life, so a review of condoms is a bit of a far cry from my usual content, but since BB was born I’ve not had a chance to arrange a more permanent form of contraception, so the opportunity came along at just the right time. Durex Real Feel condoms are made from a special new material which feels as close to the real thing as you’re going to get whilst being protected and the best part is, they’re latex free. Here’s me, talking about them a little bit more:

 

 

Durex has a dedicated site for their Real Feel condoms, and there’s a whole bunch of other bloggers over their talking about their experiences with the product, so do head over there to get the lowdown on what everyone else thought of them, as well as all of the ‘technical specifications’!

Easter at Thorntons

When I was pregnant, Thorntons Diabetic chocolate was just about the only thing that kept me sane, so when they got in touch and asked if we’d like to review some of their Easter eggs, we jumped at the chance. Yesterday morning, the postman turned up with this:

Thorntons Easter Eggs

Okay, so it may not be Easter quite yet, but we’ve been sampling the eggs already, strictly in the name of reviewing (ugh, my job is SO hard). The chocolate sheep and bunny lollies that you can see at the front are perfect for a smaller child and taste delicious. The Hopalot bunnies are also great for the littlies as they’re super Eastery (that’s totally a word…) without being too massive and getting them all hopped up (HOPPED up, geddit?!) on sugar.

The plain eggs are gorgeously simple, while the Super Scooter and Shining Star eggs are great for older kids who still want to get involved with the egg-giving traditions – and let’s face it, who doesn’t  like being given chocolate?!

My favourite egg was the big Special Toffee egg in the middle. The egg itself is set with tiny shards of toffee, and also comes with a slab of toffee in the box; the whole thing feels deliciously grown-up. Of course, being Thorntons, the chocolate in all of the eggs was excellent quality and everything we were sent both look and tasted amazing. I must admit, when I’m buying eggs for Easter, I usually end up going to the supermarket and doing some sort of multi-buy deal on branded eggs which contain some novelty item or another with a tiny, bland egg inside. However, after trying Thorntons eggs, I think this will be my new go-to shop for Easter treats.

They also do a whole range of other eggs, including smaller, brightly wrapped chocolate eggs which are perfect for Easter egg hunts, a great activity for getting the kids outside in the sunshine on a beautiful spring day.

Newborn Essentials – Our Reviews

Burrito Baby is a very lucky girl – she’s already being sent things to try out and review! Given that she has such a busy schedule of sleeping and milk-drinking, I thought I’d condense a few things down into one post of products that we’ve tried and loved in the last 5 weeks.

Aden+Anais Swaddling Muslins (£44.95 for a pack of 4)

aden+anaisWhen the lovely people at Aden+Anais found out how much Burrito Baby liked to be swaddled, they asked if we’d like to try out their extra large muslins, which are perfect for swaddling babies, amongst other things. We’ve found these muslins have come in super handy for a number of things – laying BB on while she was being weighed instead of putting her straight onto the cold scales, draping over her car seat and pram as a sun shade, and obviously using as a wiper-upper when she’s being burped. The patterns are so pretty and unique and the cloths have actually got softer each time we’ve washed them.

Sophie La Girafe Organic Skincare (from £10.99)

logoSophie-La-Girafe-Baby-range-with-Sophie-TEXTSMALL

I’m not a huge fan of putting unnecessary products on babies – their skin is so delicate at this age and let’s face it, babies smell good enough as it is without slathering them in strong fragrances. However, the Sophie La Girafe range of products has won me over. It has a barely-there, subtle fragrance and are super gentle on BB’s skin. The Baby Oil is one of my favourite baby products ever and is perfect for when I massage BB after her bath – I can honestly say that this is a product I’ll buy myself when our review sample runs out. Also, and this is totally shallow of me, I LOVE the look of the packaging, sitting on BB’s changing station!

Pink Lining Not So Plain Jane Changing Bag – £69.00

I’ve been coveting a Pink Lining changing bag for ages, so when they asked me if I’d like to choose one from their new range of designs, I spent an absolute AGE trying to decide which one I liked best! Eventually, I settled on the gorgeous bike print above, which is so unique and pretty, but this bag is about so much more than looks. It’s got space for everything we need to carry around with us for BB and loads of clever practical touches, like a key fob, phone pocket and mirror. I’m completely in love with this bag and have lost count of the amount of complimets I’ve received since I’ve been using it.

Daisy Baby Mei Tai Sling – £19.99

BB has been suffering with both infant reflux and colic, and the Daisy Baby Mei Tai Sling has been an absolute godsend. Keeping her upright is the only way to soothe her when the colic and reflux strike and the sling is comfortable for both her and me. At first, I was wary about using a sling, but the Mei Tai is very well made and feels sturdy and safe when BB is in it. The pattern is lovely and neutral enough that Husband would be happy to wear it too. BB is very happy when she’s in the sling and it holds her in a position which doesn’t put any unnecessary pressure on her hips.

tommee tippee Closer to Nature Complete Starter Kit Review

We’ve been really lucky over the last few months, having been sent some fabulous products to review for the new baby. We were pretty savvy with Sausage’s baby things and kept the vast majority of it, but it’s still nice for the new baby to have had some new things too – and I won’t lie, it’s been a treat for me, as well! One of the things that we’ve used the most up to this point is the tommee tippee Closer to Nature Complete Starter Kit. Within this kit is basically everything you could possibly need to bottle feed a baby, and it’s made my life SO much easier!

tommee tippee closer to nature Complete Starter Kit

As well as containing 8 bottles (4 small and 4 large) and all of the lids, teats and cuffs needed to put them together (including a couple of size 2 teats for when the baby needs a faster flow), there’s an electric steam steriliser, electric bottle warmer, two insulated bottle holders and a cleaning brush and tongs – see, literally EVERYTHING!

The Baby is feeding on demand at the moment, which means she’s ready for a feed roughly every three hours, so we get through a lot of bottles in one day! The steriliser is SO easy to use – it sits on the worktop and once I’ve loaded the washed bottles and teats into it, it takes about 6 minutes to work, with just the touch of a button. There’s plenty of space inside too, which means that I can stick dummies in there to be sterilised if I need to, too. This means that, even if I get behind with bottle washing, I can have a clean, sterile bottle ready before you can say ‘hungry baby’!

The bottle warmer has been a godsend, too. It has an adjustable thermostat, so I can set it to heat a bottle to just the right temperature and it won’t get too hot – perfect for sticking a bottle on to warm up while I change the baby’s nappy before a feed.

One of the things I really love about this kit is one of the most simple additions – there are 4 little pots for carrying measured out formula powder, and they sit neatly inside the neck of a bottle, which means you can take everything you need for a feed when you’re out and about and it won’t take up too much space in your bag.

All of the bottles are BPA free, which is a huge thing to take into consideration, since it was discovered a few years back that a lot of baby bottles contained this potentially harmful substance, so this has given us real peace of mind to see right on the box that tommee tippee guarantee to have left it out of everything in this kit.

At £100, this kit may seem pricey, but when you consider everything that’s included it’s actually a real bargain. It contains everything we’ll need until we start to wean the baby once she’s older and the steam steriliser doesn’t require any additional cleaning products to be added, just 80ml of water with each cycle. If you’re expecting a baby, I can highly recommend the tommee tippee Closer to Nature Complete Starter Kit – if you’re bottle feeding (or expressing) it’ll make your life SO much easier and when you’ve got a newborn baby to think about, every little helps!

Disney Princess Palace Pets Review

If you follow me on any social media, you’ll probably know that poor Sausage has been off school all week with tonsillitis. Every time we think she’s on the mend and ready to go back to school, she seems to get all run-down again, like today when she woke up with a stinking cold on top of it all. She’s feeling pretty droopy, so when a parcel arrived just for her yesterday, the timing couldn’t have been better. She’s had the Disney Princess Palace Pets app on Daddy’s iPad for a while now and she adores the game, which is basically a virtual grooming shop for all of the pets belonging to the various Disney Princesses, and the toys we were sent to review accompany the app.

Disney Princess Palace PetsThe main Disney Princess Palace Pets Pamper and Beauty Salon Play Set retails for around £33 and contains one Palace Pet (in this case it was Summer, a cat belonging to Rapunzel), and gives you a place to sit your animals while they’re being preened and pampered, as well as coming with various hair clips and brushes which can be used on tails and manes. We were also sent Blossom, Mulan’s Panda, Bloom, Aurora’s pony, and Treasure, a singing pussy cat who belongs to Ariel.

Sausage was absolutely over the moon with all of the toys, which seemed really true to the animations within the app (she immediately recognised Blossom as we pulled her out of the box!) and she’s been playing with it all pretty much ever since. All of the toys feel high quality and well made, although some of the parts are absolutely tiny, so I wouldn’t give them to smaller kids or those prone to putting things in mouths or up noses!

I like the fact that there are lots of different pets available, so if your child has a favourite princess you can buy the corresponding animal. The talking and singing cat is slightly larger than the other pets and as such retails for a slightly higher price (around £12.99, compared with around £5.99 for the smaller, non-talking pets) but I think all of the prices seem quite fair, given that it all feels sturdy and like it would last a while. This is definitely the sort of playset that I can see us putting away when Sausage has outgrown it, and passing it onto the baby shen she’s old enough for such toys.

This would make a great gift for any child who loves their Disney Princesses and it’s genuinely cheered my little lady up in a week which has been pretty miserable for her.

(post contains affiliate links)

We’re BRITAX Mumbassadors!

Since becoming pregnant, we’ve had some brilliant opportunities arise, with lots of reviews and experiences coming our way, but the one I’m most excited about is becoming an official Mumbassador for BRITAX! When BRITAX got in contact as asked if we’d like to represent their brand in 2014, we jumped at the chance to work with such a well-known and well-respected company and were super impressed with the range of products that they offer.

In terms of the new baby, (who’ll be here 3 weeks today, with any luck!) BRITAX are sending us one of their beautiful Affinity travel systems, which looks like this:

Britax-Affinity-Full-Travel-System-Cool-Berry-FREE-CARRYCOT_700_600_4FJCX

Isn’t it pretty?!

There were 6 different colour options and we let Sausage choose, so she went for the ‘Cool Berry’ option above and Husband and I decided we liked the silver chassis option. We’re also lucky enough to be being sent a second colour pack, and we’ve gone for ‘Cactus Green’, which is a nice, neutral option (you know, in case we ever have a little boy…) which I reckon will be ace at concealing all the inevitable muckiness that a toddler can do to a buggy!

Britax Affinity Cactus Green colour packThe Affinity has so many little features that I love, such as the anti-theft coding system, which gives your pushchair a unique code that stops it from being sold illegally. Another thing I love is the fact that the seat unit can be parent facing our outward facing – Sausage’s pushchair only had an outward facing mode and while I think it’s good for kids to see the world whilst out and about, it’ll be nice to have the choice. Once it arrives and we’ve had a chance to have a play, I’ll be writing about it a lot more.

BRITAX also wanted to get Sausage in on the act, and will be sending her one of their Group 2-3 car seats. At the moment, she just uses a booster cushion in the car, which we thought was adequate for her age, but the folks at BRITAX explained that a proper car seat should give side impact protection and spinal support. Their range of seats is actually suitable for kids up to the age of 12 and I’m really looking forward to having that extra peace of mind when we’re out in the car. Also, who doesn’t love a ZEBRA print option?!

BRITAX KID plusWe’re SO excited about working with BRITAX next year and cannot wait to start testing out all of our new goodies!

Sky Dancers Review

Sky Dancers JasmineA few weeks back, Sausage was sent a Sky Dancers doll to review. She’d been seeing the adverts all over Christmas, but silly Santa forgot to bring her one, so she was chuffed to get her hands on something she’d been coveting for a while. Sky Dancers are winged dolls which slot into a base and are supposed to fly majestically around when a string on the base is pulled. They’re apparently based on an ’90′s TV show, although we’re not familiar with the show ourselves.

I have to admit, the toy itself was a little underwhelming. I wasn’t impressed at all with the quality of the doll. It felt pretty cheap and the finish looked quite poor; it reminded me of the cheap dolls I used to buy from the market with my pocket money when I was little. The handheld base felt a little sturdier, but made an odd rattling noise when you pull the draw cord and some of the joins in the plastic were so poorly finished as to actually be a bit sharp from certain angles.

Sky Dancers Jasmine

As for the actual ‘flying’…well, I’m not sure what I expected, but it was all a bit disappointing. Sausage’s strength wasn’t adequate to lift the doll more than a couple of inches out of the base, which given that she’s in the target market seems a bit short-sighted, although Husband and I were able apply more force, which sent the doll shooting high enough to hit the ceiling. Once she’s up, she comes back down pretty rapidly and doesn’t float quite nearly as magically as the adverts appear to show. It’s a bit like a bedazzled lead balloon.

I think the prevailing factor for me is the price – had this toy been under £10, I may have been inclined to be a bit more forgiving about its obvious shortcomings, but it’s actually priced between £15 and £20 (the one we were sent is called Jasmine and retails for £19.99 on Amazon). If I’d paid 20 quid for this doll, I’d have been seriously unimpressed. I’d also have been more inclined to be subjective if it was something that I wasn’t impressed by but something which Sausage really liked, but it failed to hold Sausage’s attention for more than about 30 seconds, and this is the kid who can role-play her butt off for hours with her other dolls.

I hate being so negative about things as I’m well aware that these things are totally subjective and that some kids may love Sky Dancers, but for us the massive disparity between the quality and the price was far too glaring for us to give the doll a positive review.