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Johnson’s baby oil has many uses, though in six years of motherhood, I’ve not managed to get through even half a bottle yet! I’m sure most households with babies and young children have some knocking about the place. A 300ml bottle costs £1.56 and 500ml is £3.39 (Tesco prices) and can be bought from most chemists and supermarkets. As with all Johnson & Johnson products, the oil is mild and gentle on baby’s skin and is clinically proven to be hypoallergenic. It’s even suitable for newborns. Uses for Johnson’s Baby Oil ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Its primary use is for moisturising extra dry skin – in fact, according to the blurb on the bottle “it seals in 10 times more moisture than some lotions and creams”. Johnson & Johnson claim that it absorbs into the skin quickly, though I tend to disagree – I find it seems to hang around for a bit. It has a nice fragrance and makes you think “baby” on impact with the nostrils! The manufacturers suggest it can be used as an oil for massaging baby, though my health visitor disagrees. She’s under the impression that olive oil or something similar (as long as it doesn’t contain a nut product) is better for baby. However, I’ve massaged my infant with baby oil and it worked fine – and she smelt great afterwards! Apparently it can also be used for cradle cap – just a little should be massaged into the affected area before normal shampooing. Once again my health visitor prefers the olive oil option. Personally I’ve tried both olive oil and Johnson’s baby oil on my baby’s cradle cap and neither have worked – Dentinox cradle cap shampoo did the trick instead. Johnson’s baby oil isn’t just for babies though - oh no! It’s gentle enough to remove make-up from the delicate eye area (though I find it rather greasy). Simply put a little oil ont
o a cotton-wool ball and wipe the eye make-up away. If applied to damp (towel dabbed) skin after a bath or shower, baby oil makes a great moisturiser. I still find it hangs around a bit though – unless you don’t mind the odd greasy sheet, leave it a while before getting into bed! Water and body oil don’t seem to mix too well. On one occasion, I poured a few drops into a warm bath, hoping it would moisturise my skin that way. However, apart from sweet-smelling bath water, I just ended up lying in a bath with greasy globules floating about! Ingredients ~~~~~~~~~~~ The ingredients worth noting are "paraffinum liquidum" (isn't liquid paraffin for constipation?) and perfume. The product is for external use only (should you need unblocking)! Conclusion ~~~~~~~~ Johnson’s baby oil is primarily a product for moisturising dry skin, though it has many additional uses for both babies and adults alike. Although not recommended by all health professionals, it’s worthwhile having a bottle available should the need arise, although it’s certainly not an essential item!
My pot of Pied de Pepper came as part of a Lush gift set from friends. I wouldn’t usually purchase foot cream so this has been quite a new experience for me. On opening the cream the spicy “Christmassy” smell of cinnamon, ginger and cloves hit my nostrils. The cream is a chocolate colour with the consistency of Angel Delight (yummy). It’s easy to apply, melts into the skin a treat and doesn’t feel at all sticky on application. Lush claims that Pied de Pepper will “restore worn out feet, refresh your soles and breath life back into tired toes”. So what has it done for me? After first use ~~~~~~~~~~ After first use I noticed no immediate difference. Apart from the possibility of future excuses for relaxing foot massages (if I could find anyone daring enough to go near my feet), my plates of meat felt the same as usual. However, if I’d just completed the London Marathon perhaps I would have a different story to tell! After one month’s daily usage ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Well, my feet certainly feel softer, the rough skin and “hard bits” aren’t so noticeable, so yes, it has made a difference. It hasn’t completely stopped my feet perspiring in certain items of footwear though. Ingredients ~~~~~~~~ The ingredients worth noting are: Vanilla pod decoction (main ingredient); Olive oil and cocoa butter (to soften hard skin); Clove bud oil (to ease any discomfort); Cinnamon leaf oil (for its antiseptic properties); Ginger oil (warming, comforting and uplifting); Lemon oil (to help control perspiration) Conclusion ~~~~~~~~ A 125g pot of Pied de Pepper costs £4.35 from Lush. The cream contains all the right ingredients to care for those worn out feet, though I personally wouldn’t go out and buy another pot – it hasn’t made a huge difference to t
he state of my feet and to be honest, the smell of Christmas is the last thing I need now it’s Summer!
Some friends bought me a pot of Lush “Dream Cream” for my birthday and I must say I’m very impressed. A 250g pot costs £6.45 and as with all Lush products, the packaging is nothing to shout about (simply a white pot with two stickers on) as the focus is more on the ingredients inside. The ingredients are all fresh and every pot sold has a year’s use by date on it. All Lush products are organic and made from natural, plant-based ingredients. Dream Cream is actually a hand and body lotion. Its gentle, natural ingredients mean it can be used by everyone, including those with sensitive skin. It doesn’t have much of a fragrance (which is probably a good thing), has the consistency of clotted cream and is easily absorbed. Lush claim it contains every essential oil that can help the skin – that can’t be bad! I started using it regularly while on holiday in February in the hope it would calm my sun-sore skin, keeping it moisturised and preventing peeling. It worked and in fact it’s extended the life of my tan! Ingredients ~~~~~~~~ The ingredients worth noting are: Oat milk (the main ingredient); Rose water (for dry and older skin types); Olive oil and cocoa butter (to moisturise); Tea (as in “cup of”); Chamomile oil (to calm); Lavender oil (to heal); Tea-tree oil (antiseptic properties). Conclusion ~~~~~~~~ In conclusion this is an excellent product, full of all the best ingredients to care for your skin, with the potential to save you a fortune in tan-topping solarium fees!
I originally bought “Helping Hands” from Lush when in my job as a secretary I needed a hand cream to help my fingers “glide across the keyboard”. A 120g pot of Helping Hands costs £3.75. This rich lotion, with the consistency of clotted cream, should last for months if used sparingly. Just a tiny spot rubbed between the palms is enough to get the required effect. On opening the jar, it doesn’t smell unpleasant (nor pleasant, for that matter), with just a slight aroma of cocoa butter. As hand creams go, I don’t really like it. It leaves my hands feeling sticky with an oily sheen. In fact, I remember applying this cream shortly before shaking someone’s hand on one occasion. I cringed inside as I watched them subconsciously trying to rub the sticky solution off! I even tried using it as an emergency lip balm once but if anything it made my lips drier and sorer. Sniffing my hands five minutes after application, I’m reminded of a familiar smell from my childhood – plasticine. Half an hour later, however, the plasticine smell has disappeared and so has the stickiness… and my fingers are gliding across the keyboard a treat! The ingredients in Helping Hands worth mentioning are: · almond oil, cocoa butter and linseed oil (to soften the skin); · marigold, honey and lavender (to heal); and · chamomile (to calm any soreness). In conclusion, Helping Hands is a rich, long lasting cream full of all the right ingredients to care for your hands, but perhaps feels a little too sticky on application. I would however suggest trying some from a tester jar in the shop before parting with your money.
I always said that once I got a place of my own, there’d be a bucket full of mushrooms in the larder and a freezer full of ice-cream. Of course, it hasn’t quite turned out like that – I buy the occasional bag of frozen peas too! Quality ice-creams (especially a freezer full) can work out expensive so that’s why I invested in an ice-cream maker. My Magimix 1.1 litre ice-cream maker cost £39.99 from Rackhams six years ago. Unfortunately I haven’t used it much over the last couple of years, as whenever I used to make any, my husband and daughter would eat it all before I even got a look in! Making the ice-cream can be quite time consuming and actually doesn’t work out that much cheaper in the long run (think of all that double cream) – but at least by making my own I get to ensure it contains only quality ingredients. MAGIMIX CONTENTS The Magimix comes in two parts: the actual motor unit and mixing bowl. The motor unit has a lid and a paddle for mixing the ice-cream. The mixing bowl is hollow and contains a freezing agent within its walls. An instruction leaflet comes with the unit, which is informative enough but fails to mention how long churning of the mixture should take place for. A handy little recipe booklet is also included, including 25 ice-cream recipes (including low fat options), 7 sorbets and 2 sauces – very impressive. PREPARATION The mixing bowl has to be placed into a 4 star freezer (temp –18C) and left for at least 10 hours. Mine, in fact, has been in there so long that it is trapped by the ice that has formed due to my freezer being in desperate need of a defrost! The paddle and lid are fitted to the motor unit before plugging in. The paddle has to be rotating before the ice-cream mixture is added, to prevent it freezing on the sides. The lid is then opened and mixture poured in – the mixture must
be at fridge temperature in order for the process to work. The idea is that the freezing agent in the mixing bowl will keep the ice-cream cold during mixing. Although the instruction leaflet doesn’t mention how long the mixture has to be churned for, I’ve found that it takes approximately 20 minutes. CLEANING The motor unit cannot be immersed in water and must be cleaned with a damp sponge. The bowl and lid can be washed under the tap – a dishwasher is not recommended. CONCLUSION The Magimix is easy to use but the freezing of the mixing bowl 10 hours in advance can be a bit of a nuisance and takes up valuable freezer space. Although ice-cream making can be time consuming it’s also great fun!
There’s no doubt that the better quality nappy your baby wears, the drier and less susceptible to nappy rash your baby will be. Nappy rash is caused due to irritation of the skin by contact with soiled and wet nappies. In my six years as a mother and experience with several different brands of nappy, I have found that Huggies and Pampers are by far the best and it’s definitely worth spending that little bit extra because a happy baby means a happy parent! The question is, which is the best out of the two? FINDINGS When my six year old daughter was a baby, unisex nappies weren’t available in the Huggies and Pampers ranges. We had to buy separate boy or girl nappies, though we all know it was a marketing ploy (as with washing powders) as they have to add something new or change their product regularly to make it look as though it’s constantly being improved in some way. PAMPERS Pampers, a product of Procter & Gamble are constantly striving to improve their product, their latest gimmick being the “Baby Dry Extra” nappy, which contains special care balsam to care for baby’s skin. With the familiar teddy bear logo, it’s a thin nappy with a plasticy feel to it and with great wetness and odour control, there’s no doubt it really does keep baby dry, even overnight. The downside to Pampers is the gel inside them – this collects liquid and swells up in the process, however it doesn’t always remain inside the nappy. My baby daughter has “found” this gel on a number of occasions and as babies often put things in their mouths it’s quite a worry (I’m not sure how toxic it is). HUGGIES Huggies, a product of Kimberly Clark Corp., also change and improve their product on a regular basis. Their latest nappy claims to have a rash protection system, which is clinically proven to help prevent nappy rash. With a pleasant
cotton feel exterior, these nappies are super-breathable, allowing twice as much air to circulate around baby’s bottom. Huggies also boasts the “Adventurers” and “Freedom” ranges, which are supposed to allow toddlers more freedom of movement. Huggies have never let my children down, they are completely leakproof, aren’t at all bulky to wear and have a variety of pictures to brighten them up. PRICES As you might have guessed, due to the fierce competition between the two brands they are similarly priced – usually between £5.49-£5.99 for a pack, depending on the shop. The pack size varies depending on the size of the nappy (less nappies per pack the larger they get), the type of product (e.g. Adventurer) and any special offers (e.g. 10% extra). On average there’s 35 nappies per pack. The supermarkets tend to have the best deals, with double size packs at around the £8.99 mark. I would point out that it’s worthwhile shopping around and working out the “price per nappy” in each pack before making a purchase. WHICH DO I PREFER? That’s a hard one really as there’s nothing much to choose between the two. Both products are equally reliable and as long as baby’s nappy is changed frequently, do a great job of preventing nappy rash. Huggies, however, just pip Pampers to the post (in my opinion) as I prefer their cotton exterior, they don’t contain gel and more often than not, they work out cheaper. CONCLUSION In conclusion, Huggies and Pampers are both nappies of excellent quality and reliability and unquestionably the leading brands in the UK nappy market.
I bought “Buckaroo!” for my 5 year old daughter last Christmas (£9.99) and it has given us hours of fun. It is recommended for ages 4 years and over, for 2-4 players and it doesn’t require batteries. The object of the game is to carefully stack up to 10 objects on a mule’s saddle before the mule kicks and throws everything off. Before first play, the plastic mule has to be assembled – this is quite straightforward. At the beginning of each game, the mule has to be “set” into position, by locking its front legs onto the base and pushing its head back. A spring will lock the mule into game position. The players will take turns to place objects (e.g. guitar, water bottle, rope) onto the mule’s saddle. Care must be taken as to where the things are placed as the saddle must remain balanced and some objects are heavier than others. If, on a player’s turn an object falls off as a result of their action or if the mule kicks, they are out of the game. The winner is either the last player left in the game or the person to place the last object without making the mule kick. I would point out that our mule’s tail broke off the second time we played it, which would indicate that the parts aren’t very strong. Incidentally, this game must be kept away from under 3’s due to small parts. In conclusion, this game provides hours of fun and is full of suspense but care must be taken with the parts.
Come and take a tour around Disney’s MGM Studios with me, the “showbiz” theme park. I’ve been to MGM five times and I shall take you on a similar route to the one followed on my last visit. Firstly, if you need cash, there’s an ATM machine on the right just before the main entrance (which accepts VISA cards if you have one). Once inside, bear left for Guest Relations, should you require foreign currency exchange, baby changing/nursing area, wish to book priority seating at one of the park’s restaurants, or any other general assistance. Across the square is “Oscar’s Super Service” where strollers and wheelchairs can be rented. Let’s take a walk down Hollywood Boulevard, which is lined on both sides by souvenir shops. Look out for “Mickey’s of Hollywood” on the left, where they sell a nice selection of t-shirts – I got two for half price in the sale last time! Take a right at the Guest Information Board at Hollywood Junction to Sunset Boulevard. Can you hear screaming? That’s the “Tower of Terror” straight ahead. On the right you’ll see the “Legends of Hollywood” shop, where you can buy anything related to Pooh Bear and crew. Two doors down is the “Sunset Boulevard” shop – they sell some nice Disney souvenir housewares in there. To the left you’ll see a seating area surrounded by a variety of fast food stalls. Next on the right is the “Beauty & The Beast” stage show. This is a delightful 30 minutes long Broadway style production (however on my last visit it was closed for refurbishment). Time for some excitement – the Tower of Terror awaits! I recommend you get a Fast Pass to avoid the queues – simply insert your park ticket into the Fast Pass turnstile and you’ll be given a window of time to return for the ride. There’
;s a height requirement on the Tower of Terror (40in/102cm). On this ride a “runaway elevator” drops its passengers 13 stories into the “Twilight Zone”. I won’t give too much away except I took my six year old daughter on it and she wouldn’t speak to me for an hour afterwards (though she still hasn’t stopped raving about it two months later)! If you’re still up to it, let’s get a Fast Pass for the Rock’n’Roller Coaster (to our right). This is a new ride which I’ve not had the pleasure to go on (as no-one would accompany me for some strange reason). However, I understand that it’s an incredible ride full of G’s and loops in pitch black darkness, accompanied by the driving rhythms of Aerosmith. The height requirement on this one is 48in/122cm. Let’s stagger back to Hollywood Junction now. If we take our first right we’ll enter Animation Courtyard. “Bear In The Big Blue House” has a live stage show here. It’s a 15 minute show in the same format as the Channel 5 TV programme – great for the younger audience. Across the courtyard you’ll see “The Magic of Disney Animation”. These are 35 minute guided tours, where you can learn how the animated characters are brought to life. Mickey and Minnie Mouse are usually available for photos and autographs in this area (prepare for a long queue). Going in the direction of Mickey Avenue now you’ll see “Voyage of the Little Mermaid” to your right. Get yourself a Fast Pass for this wonderful 17 minute show. Be prepared for a gentle water spray here (though you may find it a welcome relief from the Florida heat). Continuing down Mickey Avenue you’ll find three caravans on the left hand side - these belong to Tigger, Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore and they are available for character greetings daily until 4.30pm (the queues ar
en’t usually too bad here). To your right you’ll see the “Backstage Pass” tour. These 30 minute walking tours take you through live sets and my daughter was most intrigued to see Cruella De Vil’s office, country house and a selection of her clothes from “101 Dalmations”. Next door is the “Studios Backlot Tour”. Board a tour train and visit various film sets. I don’t want to give too much away except get those camcorders rolling and sit on the right if you don’t want to get too wet! If we cut through the “Studio Catering Co.” (another fast food joint) you’ll see the “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids” movie set, a kids’ playgrounds with a ‘larger than life’ theme. Cut across New York Street to “Muppet Vision 4D” (Fast Pass available here). Don’t miss this impressive 23 minute show – you’ll be in for a few surprises. Go through Washington Square and you’ll see the Backlot Theatre showing the musical “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. These shows are held approximately every 90 minutes and last half an hour. Take a right out of the theatre and you’ll see “Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano”. This friendly Italian restaurant serves very tasty (and expensive) food. To your right just before the restaurant check out the greeting point for Toy Story characters (be prepared for a long queue here). Continue past two souvenir shops and the “Toy Story Pizza Arcade” to enter the “Star Tours” area. To your right check out the “Tatooine Traders” shop, selling Star Wars souvenirs. Next door is the “Star Tours” ride (height requirement 40in/102cm). Get yourself a Fast Pass but a word of warning– we still waited a good half hour here. Star Tours is a space adventure (in
a simulator) although if you suffer from motion sickness you might want to give this a miss. Turn right out of Star Tours to visit the “Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular”. We arrived near the end of the day and they’d stopped issuing Fast Passes at 4 o’clock (the last show is at 5.45pm) so I’d advise you to get there early for a good seat (though there’s plenty of room in the theatre). Volunteers will be requested for this high action special effects and stunt show – definitely not to be missed (30 minutes duration). Cross the road for “Sounds Dangerous”. Parents please note, most of this 12 minute show takes place in complete darkness and the sudden loud noises may startle younger children. Last but not least there’s “Doug”, a live musical stage show starring Doug and his Bluffington friends (a 30 minute show). Unfortunately I can’t comment as we ran out of time and didn’t get to see this. There are a couple of eateries I wish to mention. If you turn left out of “Doug” into Commissary Lane you’ll find a fast food joint on the right called “ABC Commissary”. At last, a Disney fast food joint that sells something exciting – fajita wraps; chicken yakitori; vegetable noodle stir-fry to name but a few. Still “Disney expensive” but cheaper than eating at the restaurants. If however, you were to cross Echo Lake and visit the “50’s Prime Time Café” you would find an expensive, yet enjoyable dining experience. The food is nothing to shout about but you’ll have fun while eating it – I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say you’ll need to find a place to hide your waste! (I hid mine under a piece of lettuce). Well, that’s the end of the actual tour, but I must mention the “Mulan Parade”. This takes place dai
ly at 3.35pm along Hollywood Boulevard. I would highly recommend finding a good spot to watch the parade an hour beforehand. Incidentally, I’ve seen the parade travel in different directions on each visit so you’ll never know for sure whether you’re waiting at the beginning or end of the route. This parade is a “must see”, highly entertaining and colourful, so get your camcorders rolling! At park closing time (changes seasonally) the “Fantasmic” show takes place in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater (at the end of Sunset Boulevard next to the Tower of Terror). This night time spectacular is highly acclaimed and seating begins two hours beforehand. Definitely another “must see” and make sure you’ve got enough film and batteries in your camcorder for the experience. If you want to see absolutely everything at Disney’s MGM Studios, allow more than one day for a visit and DEFINITELY don’t go at the weekend or during the American school holidays!
Unlike the other Disney theme parks, the Animal Kingdom can easily be covered in just one day. The park is split into five different lands: Africa; Asia; Dinoland USA; Camp Minnie-Mickey and Discovery Island. AFRICA I would suggest starting your day with the “Kilimanjaro Safari” for two reasons. Firstly, the queues for this hugely popular attraction are shorter first thing (although Fast Passes are available on this ride) but most importantly, the wild animals tend to find shade later in the day when it’s hotter. On this ride, you climb aboard an open-air safari vehicle for an expedition through savannah and rivers and have the opportunity to spot the many free roaming African animals. Have your camera ready for the many photo opportunities on offer. The “Pangani Forest Exploration Trail” is a walking tour with the opportunity to spot gorillas, hippos and more. “Harambe”, the African “village” has many eateries and shops selling African wares. The African music in the background adds to the atmosphere – in fact it’s easy to get carried away with it all and buy many of the tempting souvenirs on offer (e.g. toy Disney characters in safari gear). From Africa it is possible to take a train to “Rafiki’s Planet Watch” where there’s a conservation station (an opportunity to look at veterinary medicine, animal surgery and nutrition centre) and an affection section (for the kids to get friendly with goats, pigs, etc). ASIA Of the three attractions in Asia, the “Kali River Rapids” is by far my favourite – but be prepared for a soaking! This white water raft ride has a height requirement of 38in/97cm and Fast Passes are available on this attraction. “Flights of Wonder” is an hourly show with amazing displays of exotic birds. The “Maharajah Jungle Trek” is ano
ther walking tour with the opportunity to encounter tigers, tapirs, giant fruit bats and more. DINOLAND USA The best ride in Dinoland USA has got to be “Dinosaur”. This is an exciting prehistoric ride full of hairpin turns and sharp dips (mostly in the dark) with illuminated dinosaurs jumping out from all directions – height requirement 40in/102cm (Fast Passes available). The Boneyard is a kids’ playground set in a “dig site” with giant bones to slip and slide through. “Tarzan Rocks” is an entertaining stage show (well, more of a rock concert) featuring all the Tarzan characters and a cast of “jungle stunt-gymnasts”. If you’re looking for somewhere cheap to eat (you’re joking aren’t you, it’s Disney) why not try Restaurantosaurus (it’s a McDonalds). CAMP MINNIE-MICKEY “Festival of the Lion King” is a high-energy singing and dancing show (with audience participation) featuring all the Lion King characters – fun for all ages. “Pocahontas and her Forest Friends” is more of a children’s show with live animals. Camp Minnie-Mickey is the main character greeting area at Animal Kingdom – prepare for long queues (with no shade) here. Incidentally, Disney characters are sometimes available for photos and autographs at the park entrance too. DISCOVERY ISLAND Discovery Island, in the centre of the theme park (and easily accessible from all four lands) boasts the enormous “Tree of Life”. If you look closely you’ll see over 300 animals “carved” into the trunk, branches and roots. “It’s Tough To Be A Bug” is a 3D show that takes place inside the Tree of Life. This show is not to be missed! Fast Passes are available for this attraction. PARADE I would mention that on
my first visit, two years ago, the Animal Kingdom had a fantastic parade which unfortunately wasn’t on when I last visited (in February). I’m hoping that this is just a seasonal glitch and that perhaps they’ll put it back on for the summer. The Animal Kingdom parade is certainly not to be missed! CHARACTER BREAKFAST You may be interested to know that Restaurantosaurus (in Dinoland USA) holds a daily character breakfast (Donald’s Breakfastosaurus) where the family can eat a buffet breakfast while Disney characters walk from table to table greeting the guests. Definitely book this in advance! IN CONCLUSION Disney’s Animal Kingdom can easily be covered in one day and I highly recommend you visit the Kilimanjaro Safari first. However, be prepared to get sucked into the atmosphere of the park and spend a fortune on souvenirs!
Both of my daughters have suffered with cradle cap - my eldest between the age of 2 and 3 and my youngest from birth. On each occasion my health visitor said that cradle cap treatments are too harsh on the baby's delicate scalp and suggested using olive oil instead. The idea is to warm up some olive oil, apply to the scalp and leave for an hour. I was told this would soften the cradle cap, making it easier to brush out and over time it would disappear. Well, I tried this method with both of them (over a period of several weeks) and it didn't work. In fact, all it left me with was a child with not only cradle cap but greasy hair too. (Never mind the fear that an unexpected visitor would call during the process and see my child with oil on her head)! I found the solution on both occasions with Dentinox. It costs about £2.50, smells and looks not too dissimilar to Johnson's Baby Shampoo and in my opinion, is a wonderfully gentle product. After about three washes I'd noticed a difference and in both cases, the cradle cap had completely disappeared in about a month. After the cradle cap has been treated, Dentinox can continue to be used as a general shampoo. I would definitely recommend this product as not only a solution to the problem, but a deterrent. Save the olive oil for your frying pan!!
We had an emergency! We'd ran out of our baby's usual wipes and as it was a Sunday and the Co-Op was the nearest available shop open, my husband went there to buy another pack. Unfortunately, instead of buying our baby's usual brand (which didn't cost much more anyway), he bought a refill pack of the Co-Op's own brand of wipes instead. What a mistake! On opening the pack, the wipes had a reasonably strong perfume to them - not the usual nice baby smell either, in fact they smelt quite chemically. That gave me a warning bell - I must admit, I prefer to use unperfumed products in the nappy area. The wipes are quite thick and strong, though they don't feel as soft and delicate as other brands. They felt a lot damper than other wipes I'd used, so I found I had to wipe baby's bottom dry with plenty of cotton wool afterwards. After about half a day of using them, my baby came out in a rash. She'd never suffered with nappy rash before - she looked really sore and it was causing her a lot of discomfort. I stopped using the wipes immediately, applied some baby cream and started using cotton wool and water until we acquired some of our usual wipes. Within a day the rash had disappeared and we've learnt our lesson. Co-Op Baby wipes are certainly not best for our baby's bottom!
Having used the cold water sterilisation system with my first child and a steam steriliser with my second, I can say there is absolutely no comparison between the two. The cold water method is a slow and messy process whereas steam sterilisation is fast, clean and extremely thorough. I was given my Avent Electric Steam Steriliser as a gift from my work colleagues when I went on maternity leave last year. It can hold up to four wide neck or six standard bottles at a time (my model actually came with two free bottles). Before use, a first cycle has to be run without bottles. The steriliser is easy to load (both with bottles and other items such as cutlery and dummies). Simply pour 60ml of water into the base of the unit using the measuring cup provided, replace the lid, plug in and switch on. The light will remain on for the duration of the cycle (approximately 9 minutes). Caution: At the end of the cycle, if not left to cool down, remove lid carefully (perhaps with a tea-towel) – I’ve been scalded in my eagerness to retrieve a bottle! The steriliser should be de-scaled every four weeks. Several sachets of citric acid are provided with the machine for this purpose. Alternatively a mixture of 100ml vinegar and 200ml water can be poured into the unit and left until any residues have dissolved, before rinsing out. In conclusion, an excellent steriliser, which is simple to use, although the regular de-scaling can be a bit of a nuisance.
Disney’s Epcot Center, the “Discovery” theme park, is split into two lands: Future World (the land of technology) and the World Showcase (11 countries encircling the World Showcase Lagoon). FUTURE WORLD Spaceship Earth - On arrival at Epcot, the first thing you’ll notice is Spaceship Earth, Epcot’s landmark (the huge “golf ball”). Spaceship Earth is actually a ride inside the “golf ball” – a slow moving spiral ride in 18 storeys of darkness through the history of communication (and on into the future). Innovations Center - Beyond Spaceship Earth lies the Innovations Center, where the visitor can gain hands on experience of the world’s newest products and inventions. Universe of Energy – This 45 minute ride/show (featuring Ellen) takes the visitor back to the dinosaur era – not to be missed, though may be frightening for young children due to darkness and loud noises. Wonders of Life – Apart from a restaurant and shipping, there are three attractions in this building: Body Wars – a simulator ride through the body (height requirement 40in/102cm); Cranium Command – a show, looking at the wonders of the body through the eyes of a young boy; The Making of Me – a short film about conception, going through to birth. Test Track – A not to be missed high powered thrill ride where a test car is run through its paces – height requirement 40in/102cm. Imagination! – There are two attractions inside this building: Honey I Shrunk The Audience – A 3D adventure based on the “Honey & Shrunk The Kids” film – highly recommended though may be too intense for some children; Journey Into Your Imagination Ride – a ride through the Imagine Institute Testing Labs in darkness with loud noises and special effects (may be frightening for young children). The Land – With
two restaurants and shopping opportunities, there are four attractions in this building: The Circle of Life – an environmental film featuring characters from The Lion King; Food Rocks – an amusing nutritious rock concert; Living With The Land – a boat ride through amazing agriculture; Behind The Seeds – a guided greenhouse tour (have to pay extra for this – Adult £6, Children $4). I would mention that the Living With The Land boat rides takes you through the greenhouses anyway so save your money! The Living Seas – This building houses the “Coral Reef” restaurant and shops and the “Living Seas” attraction – part ride/part walkabout, an opportunity to see tropical fish, sharks and man-made coral reef. Next to Test Track is the site for a new ride, due to be opened in 2002 – “Mission: Space”. WORLD SHOWCASE The World Showcase, my favourite in all the Disney theme parks, is a journey through 11 countries encircling a lagoon. Mexico – Mexico has two eateries – the “San Angel Inn” (expensive restaurant with nice food) and “Cantina de San Angel” (counter service, cheaper but very pleasant food). Inside Mexico’s pyramid is a shopping area selling the wares of the country (set up like a street market) and there’s a pleasant boat ride “El Rio del Tiempo”. This country has a wonderful atmosphere. Norway – This country boasts a Stave church and a Viking ship play area. There’s “Maelstrom”, a boat ride on a North Sea Storm (recommended) with movie to follow and a nice shop with trolls everywhere”! There are two eateries – “Restaurant Akershus” (as much as you can eat buffet with wonderful food) and a café – “Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe”, selling pastries, sandwiches, beer, etc. China – China has two attr
actions: “Wonders of China” (a 360 degree movie) and “Land of Many Faces” (an exhibit). Chinese acrobats perform daily. There’s a “Nine Dragons” restaurant, a “Lotus Blossom Café” and a department store. The temple, the Chinese buildings and background music make a great atmosphere. Outpost – Between China and Germany there’s an outpost where fruit, jungle and safari gifts are sold. Germany – The Bavarian buildings host two eateries: the “Biergarten” – an Oktoberfest buffet (all you can eat) with “oompah band” for entertainment (excellent food and atmosphere); “Sommerfest” – counter service. There’s a nice shop, worth a look. Italy – A fine Italian restaurant “L’Originale Alfredo di Roma Restaurant” and Italian landmarks (though no Tower of Pisa) add to the atmosphere – musicians perform daily. There’s a shop and Italian wine-tasting experience (for a price). The American Adventure – With regular “Voices of Liberty” shows (singers) and a pipe band, USA boasts the cheapest eatery on the World Showcase – “Liberty Inn”, with counter service and typical American junk food. Japan – Japan’s main landmark is a huge pagoda. They also host a Bijutsu-kan gallery and huge department store selling pearls, bonsai trees, kimonos, etc. With four eateries the visitor is spoilt for choice – nice atmosphere. Morocco – While walking through the realistic alley ways and shops (with Moroccan music in the background), it’s easy to imagine you’re there. There’s the opportunity to buy Moroccan carpets, pottery and leather goods and a Gallery of Arts & History. There are two eateries – “Restaurant Marrakesh” (with belly dancers for entertainment) and Tangierine Café (counter
service). France – France boasts two expensive restaurants (with the finest of French cuisine) and a boulangerie. There’s a boutique and an Eiffel Tower (of course). A film “Impressions de France” is shown half-hourly. United Kingdom – There’s a Harry Ramsden fish and chip shop (be prepared to be disappointed – they were French fries) and a Rose & Crown pub (£5 for a tin of Guinness , be warned). With the quaint shops (looked a bit like Stratford Upon Avon) and even a Beatles lookalike group, you’d believe you were back home if it weren’t for the nice weather! Funnily enough, Disney’s one and only smelly public toilet happened to be in the UK! Canada – Canada’s attraction is “O Canada”, a 360 degree film showing the nation’s beauty. It also hosts daily performances from musicians and dancers, has a small shop and “Le Cellier Steakhouse”. *** PARADE There’s a twice nightly procession which travels through the World Showcase between England and Morocco called the “Tapestry of Nations”. It’s a spectacular street festival with music, colourful costumes and 20ft high puppets – definitely not to be missed! FIREWORKS There’s a nightly laser and fireworks show called “Illuminations: Reflections of Earth” – this takes place on the World Showcase Lagoon. Highly recommended. CHARACTER GREETINGS Okay, you’re at Disney so where will you find the characters? Well, the good news is they’ve got a tour bus which takes them around the World Showcase with scheduled stops at various countries throughout the day. A tip here – the best place to catch them is at the Showcase Plaza (by the World Showcase entrance) on their first stop of the morning – that’s when there’s no queues! CONCLUSION In conclusion, Epcot is a wonderful park (both entertaining and educational) but as it’s so big you will need at least two days to see it all – avoid Futureworld at the weekends and try and avoid Disney World in general during the US school holidays.
The Copperwood Guest House is situated only five minutes drive from Gatwick Airport and offers a comfortable overnight stay before catching that flight! Arrangements can also be made for holiday parking - £2 a night when I stayed in April, which is half the price one would normally expect pay to park at Gatwick Airport itself. This small family run guest house has five comfortable rooms (ranging from singles to a family room). It is only two minutes walk from Horley Town Centre with its shops, pubs and restaurants (for those with families I would recommend the Wacky Warehouse). The proprietors are most helpful and will give you directions to the local eateries, or in fact the local railway station (just a short walk away). The bedrooms are clean and nicely decorated with tea and coffee making facilities, wash basins, electric shaver points and full central heating (hairdryers and irons available on request). Our room was en suite (£56) although some have shared facilities. Children are made to feel welcome and cots are provided if necessary. We had a baby with us and were offered the use of the fridge in the breakfast room and even milk for her bottle if we needed it! Incidentally, this is a non- smoking guest house. A full English breakfast is served from 7.30 – 8.30 (although a self service continental breakfast is offered for those departing on earlier flights). The breakfast room has a pay phone, easy chairs and magazines and is available to guests at all times. Free lifts to the airport are offered – an excellent service and we certainly took it up. In fact, the proprietor, after dropping us off, ran around looking for an airport trolley for us and gave us directions to the check in desk area (Gatwick Airport can be quite confusing if you’re a first timer). The Copperwood is quite easy to get to. It is just 10 minutes from Junction 9 of the M23 and should you decide to book, you will be se
nt a map. Massetts Road, Horley, Surrey RH6 7DJ Tel: 01293 783388 I have stopped there twice now and would definitely stop again. In conclusion, it is close to the airport, with cheap secure parking for the duration of your holiday, a free lift to the airport and should you decide to stop there, you will undoubtedly be made to feel very welcome!
I was given an Avent Baby Bottle and Food Warmer as a gift when I left work to go on maternity leave last year. I must admit, I didn’t use it much at first, preferring to use the microwave for speed (yes, I was VERY careful and checked baby’s food thoroughly) but have been using it constantly for the last six months since my microwave finally packed up! The Bottle and Food Warmer is suitable for all types of feeding bottles. To heat bottles: The bottle is placed into the container and the surrounding space is filled with water to just above the milk line of the bottle. Turn the dial on the side to either the setting for a 4 oz or 9 oz bottle. The light on the side will come on once plugged in and will switch off as the milk approaches the correct temperature. The container water will then remain at the correct temperature until the machine is unplugged. Milk warming takes approximately five minutes but it depends on the amount of milk in the bottle and the starting temperature. (You generally get to learn heating times with practice). To heat food: Place jar or tin (with lid off) into the warmer and fill with water to just below the top of the jar. Set the dial to the correct setting. Food warming will also take about five minutes. The bottle and food warmer is supposed to be regularly de-scaled, although I haven’t done it yet and will no doubt eventually pay the price! Cautionary notes: Take care when removing jars and tins as they become VERY hot. My husband has forgotten to unplug after use on a couple of occasions and the container almost ran dry. No doubt the appliance would have become faulty should this not have been noticed! In conclusion, a safe way to heat bottles and baby food, but no good if you’re in a desperate rush and it could do with having an automatic switch off!!