93 articles Articles posted in Review

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:

Lamaloli

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.

eNail Mail Order Nail Polish – Review and Giveaway

When one of my lovely friends asked if I would like to review Enail, the mail order service for personalised nail polish, I jumped at the chance! If you’ve ever watched this vlog, you’ll know I’m a bit of an addict and it just so happens that Sausage has taken after Mummy and developed a penchant for nail polish all of her own.

Enail is a website which allows you to choose from a range of colours, place them into a gift box of your choice and even put a personalised message on the bottle in your favourite font. You can choose to make the choices yourself or gift a voucher code to your giftee to create their own. Sausage and I set about making our choices and found the website super easy to use, with a really nice range of colours to choose from.

Screenshot from 2014-12-04 16:59:06enail online nail polish giftsSausage and I had no trouble finding three colours we liked – in fact we struggled to narrow it down to just three! We went for three glitters – with Christmas coming up, you just can’t beat a bit of sparkle – in fact Sausage and I agreed that for less than £20, eNail would make an amazing Christmas present, especially for someone who you might not get to see over the Festive period.

One the nail varnishes arrived, we were both really impressed with not only the quality of the polish but also the packaging. We went for the leopard print box with a turquoise bow, which Sausage immediately claimed for herself to re-purpose at a later date and being the super kind mother that I am, I let her have it *grumble grumble*.

The colours we chose were a very Frozen-inspired blue, a glittery pink (naturally…) and a dark maroon/purply colour, all glittery and glam. eNail also send a free clear nail polish to be used as a base coat or top coat, which can be super useful for using under strong colours which might stain your nails, or even over the top for an added layer of strength and longevity. Sausage insisted upon having her nails painted with ALL of the colours immediately and we were both pleased to see that the polishes went on nicely, giving even coverage and were of a high quality.

All in all, both Sausage and myself were really impressed with eNail, the ease of use of their site, the speed with which the products arrived, the packaging and the quality and selection of nail polishes available. It’s a service we’d highly recommend and will definitely be using it again in the future.

eNail have been kind enough to give Mum’s the Word a set of polishes to give to our readers, so to be in with a chance of winning, just leave us a comment below telling us what your favourite Christmas song is. You can also earn a bonus entry by subscribing to Mum’s the Word using the box in the sidebar. Good luck! 

Giveaway starts at 11am on Tuesday 9th December and ends at 11am on Monday 15th December. Winners will be sent a code to use on the eNail site to the value of £19.95 and can choose their own polishes and gift options. No cash equivalent will be offered. 

Dentinox, Snufflebabe and Cold Season #littlesniffles

As a parent, dealing with an ill child is always tricky. Being unable to help them when they’ve got the sniffles can be heartbreaking, especially when they’re still tiny – you can’t explain to them why they’re unable to breathe and suck at the same time, and they can’t tell you when and where they’re hurting. Recently we were sent a few products by Dentinox, designed to deal specifically with the symptoms of colds which can make babies so miserable and they couldn’t have come at a better time.

BB has been teething for what seems like an unfeasibly long time and as with a lot of babies, she’s been getting gradually more snotty and miserable as the teeth are closer to emerging. Just a couple of nights ago, she was unable to breathe through her nose but dog-tired and therefore wanting to suck a dummy to soothe herself to sleep. Obviously, sucking a dummy when your nose is blocked is nigh-on impossible so we ended up with a very cross, very sleepy baby. That is, until I remembered our stash of goodies.

332500Now, let me just say, if you’d have ever told me that I’d be sucking the snot out of my baby’s nose, I’d have laughed in your face (and quite possibly have gagged, too), but this little device is AMAZING. The Snufflebabe Nasal Aspirator was awarded the Queen’s Award for Outstanding Innovation is a simple and instant solution to clearing baby nasal congestion from birth. There’s a filter in the middle so you get maximum suction without the mucus ever actually reaching you and it really helped with BB’s congestion.

downloadOnce we’d done the snot-sucking, we gave BB her Snufflebabe Inhaler dummy, which has a really clever compartment into which you can drop a special vapour oil. Baby can suck the dummy for comfort while the vapours from the oil ease congestion. This really helped BB to get off to sleep and stay snuffle-free long enough to get a good nights sleep.

332496On a couple of occasions, BB seemed to be in too much pain to settle so we resorted to giving her some infant paracetamol. Now, given the fact that our child drinks dairy-free formula milk which tastes like raw potato juice (seriously. It’s grim), you’d think that the sugary wonder that is infant paracetamol would taste like nectar in comparison, but no. So distressed by medicine is BB that she tends to act a little bit like Mummy is water-boarding her. That’s where the Dentinox Medicine Dispenser comes in, a dummy shaped contraption which allows you to load the correct amount of medicine for the baby to then suck out. Let me tell you, honestly, I almost wept with joy when I didn’t have to wrestle with BB to get her to take some medicine.

All in all, the few quid that these products would cost are well worth the outlay, not just for the relief they offer baby, but also the sanity that they give to parents during stressful times. BB’s teething snuffles were made exponentially less uncomfortable by the products and Husband and I felt so much better able to help her, knowing we had several new weapons in our arsenal. While I may have never considered the possibility of sucking the snot out of my baby, I’m so glad I gave it a try!

The Sticker Club – Review

I’m pretty sure that if you were to perform an MRI on Sausage, you’d see that half of her internal organs were actually plastered with stickers. The kid LOVES stickers. A quick stroll around our house reveals stickers stuck to various surfaces and Sausage loves nothing more than choosing a special sticker for her Dad or I with which to adorn our possessions. Up until recently, my Cath Kidston purse had a rainbow unicorn on it and my laptop is sporting a stripy Furby! When The Sticker Club got in touch and asked if we’d like to review their weekly subscription service, I knew I couldn’t say no. The Sticker Club

Each week, 9 sheets of original stickers turn up in a striking yellow envelope, and I have to admit, even get excited about seeing what’s going to be in there each week! All of the stickers are original Sticker Club designs and the package is addressed directly to the child, so that get that lovely little thrill of getting something for themselves in the mail.

Sausage’s imagination has been stimulated wonderfully by the stickers; she’s constantly making pictures around the images, sticking them onto paper and using pens, pencils, crayons and paint to turn them into a full-on piece of art and the designs are so wonderfully quirky. I also love the fact that there’s no ‘girls stickers’ or ‘boys stickers’ – every pack includes gender neutral stickers which appeal to all kids. Sometimes there’s football and aliens, back to back with flowers and adorable fruit people, but all of the stickers are well designed and attractive to everyone.

There are various subscription options, starting at £1.99 a week and also gift options if you wanted to give The Sticker Club for a birthday or Christmas. I actually think an annual subscription would make a brilliant gift as it’s something which would last for a whole year and would keep on giving, rather than being something which ends up forgotten, at the bottom of the toy box.

I’m genuinely impressed with The Sticker Club; every package has arrived on a Monday without fail, all of the stickers are well designed and unique, and they’re perfect for stimulating little imaginations. Once our complimentary subscription period is over, Husband and I will definitely be subscribing to this for Sausage – and there’s even a sibling subscription option, too so perhaps in a few years BB will get her very own subscription too!

As for the lady herself, here’s what Sausage had to say about it all: “I think it’s exciting and they do brilliant sticker pictures. There’s nothing I’d change about it at all! The stickers are cool and I love getting things in the post. “

High praise indeed!