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I have been using Parkatmyhouse now for approximately 5 years. I live near to a major A road that links to motorways that go directly to the north of England (I live in London) I also live a short walking distance from a tube station, it sounds like we (my family) live under a bridge somewhere, next to a motorway surrounded by a tube station but we don't.
We have a driveway that can accommodate two cars, we do have a car but most of the time we only get one booking for a particular day and we are also able to park on our road so we are always able to rent our parking space if necessary.
Parkatmyhouse enables users who are registered with them to rent their private parking space, many of the spaces are located in areas that would otherwise be difficult or expensive to find a parking space. We don't live in central London but in one of the outer London suburbs however we still get fairly regular bookings for the parking space.
It's easy to register on the site you provide the usual online account personal details as well as a description of your drive way, your road and what facilities you are near to.
The vast majority of the bookings that we receive are for football supporters from the north of England going to Wembley stadium to watch a match and these are usually over the weekend. We have also had ad hoc bookings for people going into central London and wanting somewhere more convenient to park. During the 2012 Olympics we were booked constantly with visitors going mainly to events at Wembley arena and stadium but we also had some visitors who were going to the Olympic village.
We recently had an overnight double booking (one person booked for two cars) and when the drivers arrived I noticed that it was one man and one woman in each car and they said they were going to London on business. I have to admit that I did think, what kind of business they were referring to I'm sure they had a very eventful business meeting!
*So how do you find and book a parking space?
All of the Parkatmyhouse bookings are completed via the website, it's very easy to find a parking space near to where you want to park you just type in the name of the area in the search box and a list of parking spaces is brought up, you can then choose which one you want to use each of the parking spaces is like its own advertisement. If you click into the individual parking advertisement information is provided on the cost of the parking a map with the exact location, how many spaces are available and what days of the week are available as well as any other useful information, you can also provide a photo of the parking space if you wish. Users of the site are also able to rate their parking experience.
When you have found a parking space that you want to use that has availability of the dates you want you simply book the dates and an email and text message (text messages are a recent addition) is sent to the parking space owner. As a parking space owner I then respond to the message I receive to confirm the space and to provide any additional information if required.
There is also a facility for automatic bookings on the site, we don't use this option, but it enables the driver to automatically book and pay for their parking without having to request the space from the parking space provider.
Once a space is confirmed and the user has paid a contract between the user and the parking space provider is produced as well as a parking notice that the user can display on their dashboard confirming the dates of parking and their registration number.
*How much can you earn and payment?
The cost of the parking space depends on the area you are in and the demand, we have reduced our daily rate to £5 about 6 months ago due to the car park at the tube station near to our home charging £2 for all day parking on a Saturday and £1.50 on a Sunday, however the tube station parking is first come first served and usually fully booked by mid morning. Parking at our house is reserved parking on a quiet residential road so we have that in our favour.
15% of the parking fee goes to Parkatmyhouse and this automatically taken from the users payment, until recently I had to pay the 15% charge separately to Parkatmyhouse, the automatic payment system is much easier. The payment stays on your Parkatmyhouse account until you withdraw it to your PayPal account and this takes about a day or two to arrive.
Many of the users of our driveway are repeat business, this works especially in our favour during football matches at Wembley stadium when their team has won a quarter final match and has to return to Wembley for the final. I always make an effort to greet the users of our space to welcome them and direct them to the tube station, I find that some users are a bit wary about parking in front of somebody else's house, even though they have prebooked, and a friendly face helps to reassure them that's it's all ok.
On the whole I haven't had any problems with the site however last year there was some difficulty in users booking onto the site, this is the only problem I've encountered over the years.
This is a relatively easy way for us to earn a little bit of extra money each month, we don't get continual bookings but during the football season and the past 2012 Oympics we did ok.
I bought the Taf Toys Pram Mobile when my son was about 3 months old; I wanted a toy that I could attach to his pram so that he could see it while lying in his pram and amuse himself. I bought the Taf Toys Pram Mobile online for £12.99. I wasn't sure of what type of pram toy to get but after seeing demonstration photo online of this mobile and how it was attached to the pram I decided to make the purchase.
The mobile is nice and colourful to catch a babies attention and has a canopy shape at the top with 3 sea animal type characters with smiley faces dangling below they are in the shape of an orange coloured star, a green fish and a yellow and purple octopus type animal. In the middle of the animal shapes is a circular shape with a hard plastic ring attached to it that could be used for teething.
Above the canopy is a stretchy green section and above that is a blue plastic clamp that you can use to attach the mobile to the pram. The mobile is very bouncy and dangly and when it bounces it makes a noise that I can only describe a as a cow bell type noise, which is quite soothing.
So far so good you might think..., now here is the problem, when I attached the mobile to the hood of my sons pram (as was demonstrated in the photo online when I made my purchased the mobile) it was far too big and swung right over my sons face and completely obscuring his view. I decided to try some different positions for the mobile I moved it along the pram hood, put it to one side but it still didn't look right, in fact it looked silly like a huge toy up in front of my sons face. Also the clamp to hold the mobile in place, although looks sturdy, is not strong enough and fell off once I started moving the pram.
I found the mobile to be too wide and too long, my son's pram is not small but this toy just didn't fit, even on our big pram. I have found another use for this toy; I would attach it to my sons bouncy baby chair when he was smaller and he would play with it, now it hangs from the curtain rail in my sons room and looks nice.
Overall this is a nice looking and well-made toy but in my opinion it's not fit for use as pram mobile, it's just too big. It works much better as a static room mobile.
My first play mat encounter
During my maternity leave I used to visit the local Childrens Centre near to my home, the Childrens Centre is basically a facility where parents with pre school age children can take their children to participate in various activities including parent and baby groups. The parent group is where I first saw a play mat that was placed on the floor of the parent's room; parents could then lay their babies on the floor on a nicely padded mat.
I decided that I wanted a playmat for my home and son, to cover our rug as well as to give my son something colourful to look at and interact with when he was rolling about on his tummy and back before he could walk or crawl. After researching on line I found the TafToys Big Playmat that was available for about £40, as that wasn't within my budget I decided to see if I could find it cheaper elsewhere and managed to find one on Ebay - I bought it for £13.00.
What you get
The playmat is a 100x200cm in size, which is big enough to cover the area I wanted in our living a room, and made out of a lightly padded cotton material, it's like a thin quilt. It has two handles made out of velour at one end which helps to pick it up of shake it out after use. The one I bought also has a handy clear bag, so you can easily take the Playmat out and about and keep it protected.
The playmat is very bright and colourful and has a pattern of 28 squares on the front some that are plain colours and others with drawings of animals with different facial expressions. There are also five squares that have different features within them that your baby can interact with which include:
a soft squeaky black and white sun
4 different coloured shapes that are padded
A baby safe mirror
A drawing of a bee at a flower with wings that crinkle when touched
My overall opinion
I love this playmat and we use it every day to cover the floor area where my son plays, I have also used it outside on the decking area of our garden.
Just to add
When I first saw the playmat on Ebay I was a bit hesitant about buying a used mat but it was received in very good condition and it washes well and dries very quickly. The only issue I have with it is that the squeaky sun doesn't squeak as much as it used to, which I think is due to its use and regular washing, other that than that this has been a good purchase at a bargain price.
I've rated it 4 stars as it doesn't squeak as it used to but overall a good purchase.
When my son was first born, I found myself regularly buying toys for him, to keep him amused at about 4 months he got to the stage where he was interested in more than a rattle or teething ring to amuse himself.
I have to admit that there were times when I spent quite a while trawling the internet, reading toy reviews and trying to find the ultimate toy that would entertain my son, I soon realised that there is no ultimate toy it's all trial and error with toys, and every child is different. On one of my toy section visits I found the Fisher Prices Caterpillar pop up, I bought this in the toy section of Sainsbury's supermarket.
The caterpillar was packaged in the really hard clear packaging that is even hard to get into using a pair of scissors; however I eventually managed to open the packaging using a pair of scissors and without injuring myself. Due to the packaging of the product I wasn't able to completely try out the toy in the store (as I usually do) only the head of the toy was exposed. I was a little apprehensive about whether or not my son would be interested in the caterpillar, as It didn't seem to do much, but I got my toy fix and bought it anyway.
What it consists of
It's a large (for a baby) chunky yellow caterpillar shaped toy made of hard durable plastic, with three pop up sections, each pop up has a different character under the pop up, they look like some sort of insects one is definitely a ladybird, but I'm not sure what the others are supposed to be. A different action is required for each pop up character to appear, there is a push button, a slide button and a twist button. The caterpillar also has a dinky pink nose that when pressed makes a squeaky sound.
My initial reacton
I was expecting more from this toy, I thought it would make lots more noise and actions but its quite a simple toy.
My son's initial reaction
When I first gave him the toy (at about 4 months) he was able to sit up and touch the toy and look at the different colours and shapes but not much else, he didn't seem that interested in it even with its squeaky nose and pop up animals.
I paid about £8 or £9 for this toy definitely less than £10.
As my son has grown older, played more with this toy and now actually able to use all the functions for push, slide and twist I realise that when I initially bought this toy for him he was much too young to be able to appreciate it he does play with it now and he can work out how to pop up each character and push them back down again. The recommended age for this toy is 9 months plus which I believe is correct. This is a nice sturdy toy which still looks as good as new it was bought approximately 12 months ago.
My son was given one of these for as a Christmas present, it came wrapped in silver wrapping paper and due to the awkward shape of the toy (it wasn't in a box) I was intrigued as to what it was. I helped my son to open present and, I have to admit I was rather disappointed with how it looked. My son gave it the once over and carried on playing with his other presents.
Why was this?
To me the ride on toy just looks really boring, my son has the toy in blue and its very non descript and bland. It looks like something that you would find in a minimalist house with smooth clean lines. There is nothing, in my opinion, to attract a young child. The photo of the toy above, in pink, has some type of pattern on it but the one we received is completely plain with no patterns.
How it performs
The toy works perfectly well, my son is able to sit on it and push himself along but he also has another more attractive ride on toy and the Whirlee Ride On is definitely not his first choice. Its very lightweight and doesn't take up a lot of space, and could be transported around easily.
I didn't pay for this toy as it was a gift but it is currently on the Early Learning Centre (ELC) website reduced to £10 from £20 (March 2013). I think £20 is a bit pricey for a very plain toy, at £10 it's a good price for a basic ride on toy and lot cheaper than other ride on toys that are available.
My son was 14 months when he received this and he still doesn't use it much at 17 months but he may grow into it.
I've given 3 stars as it works.
I first saw the Galt Soft Play Dinosaur at my local Children's Centre when my son was about 3 months old. The Children's Centre has lots of toys and equipment for babies and children, one of the Children Centre staff would offer the Activity Dinosaur to prop up my son when he was beginning to lift his head and push himself up while I was at the Children's Centre. After I had used the Activity Dinosaur a few times (and borrowed it at home for 2 weeks) I decided to buy one for my home as it was very handy, my son liked it and much preferred it to the bouncy chairs that he had.
What is it?
Basically it a cushion in the shape of a colourful dinosaur with:
4 different coloured spines along its back that are also different textures to touch, 3 of the spines make crackling noises (that sound like there is a crisp packet within the spine), and the forth spine makes a squeaky noise when squeezed
Bright green and shiny frill around its neck
Different coloured and textured spots
Large nose that makes a roar noise when it's squeezed
Green tail with a bell
I have been able to get a lot of use out this toy/cushion Dinosaur, to prop my son up when he was very small when on his front or back, as he has got older I have been able to show him all of the different noises, textures and shapes on the Dinosaur. The cushion is machine washable and hasn't deteriorated with being washed, it also dries incredibly quickly, I have dried it outside on the washing line and against a radiator and it if is fully dry in about an hour.
My son is now a toddler and he doesn't really play with the Dinosaur, occasionally he will bite the dinosaur spine that squeaks to hear the noise (his grip isn't strong enough to squeeze the squeaker). I bought the Dinosaur on Amazon and I paid approximately £11 for it.
This has been a great product at a good price with which has had lots of use and looks great in my sons room as a colourful toy/cushion. Note: The Dinosaur I have is slightly different to the one shown in the photo, see my description above, its also purple.
Why I bought it
I bought this when my son was about 9 months old, I was looking for a larger interactive toy for him to play with, I had read reviews prior to buying this toy which were of a mixed reviews and decided that I would give it a go.
What do you get?
The toy came ready to use all we had to do was insert the batteries. It also comes with 4 different coloured light weight plastic balls.
What it does
The toy is blue and sits upright and has an elephant's trunk that acts as a funnel when you press a red button on one of the elephant's feet, the coloured balls shoot up and hover over the trunk and the balls also pop out of the elephants trunk.
The balls can be placed in the elephants ears and they then roll down the body of the elephant and pop up out of its trunk, when the red button is pressed it plays a variety of different tunes and also makes a noise like a vacuum cleaner so it's a rather noisy toy. The trunk where the balls appear can be twisted so that you can have the balls shoot out at different angles.
The red button on the toy is large enough for my son to easily push it also has an on off switch which it useful to stop accidentally turning the toy on if you rest on the red button.
The only issue I have had with this toy is the vacuum cleaner type noise it makes, this is the motor used to blow the balls up into the air but my son was scared of this noise when we first turned it on he had a look of horror on his face and would back away from it. I attempted to get him to play with it a few times without turning it on, obviously you don't get the whole ball popping experience unless its turned on, and he did play with it a bit.
8 months on
My son is now 17 months old and though still a little bit wary of this toy he will now play with it with other people, generally not on his own, he's happy to put the balls into the elephants ears and watch them pop out and he laughs at this. I think the age range for this toy of 9mths plus is a bit young as in my experience my son found the noise a bit scarey.
I think I paid about £30 for this toy in Toys R Us, I wouldn't usually pay this much for a toy but my son had received some cash as a gift and I thought I'd spend it on his first biggish toy. I subsequently saw it for £15 in a supermarket.
A bit noisy, vacuum cleaner noise might scare your baby a bit but they can get used to it. A bit pricey wait for it to be on offer if you would like to buy it.
Sturdy and colourful toy, entertaining for an older toddlers.
My son received this puzzle as a gift for Christmas, I had previously seen it in for sale but always bypassed it as it seemed too old a toy for my son at the time, and also it was rather thin and light weight.
The jigsaw puzzle has minimal packaging, just a clear cellophane covering. The jigsaw itself is slightly larger than A4 paper size and is made out of a light plywood material, my son has the number jigsaw puzzle but it is also available as an alphabet jigsaw puzzle.
The puzzle pieces are brightly coloured and fit into the jigsaw shapes, there is also a picture and number within each jigsaw shape. This toy can be used to teach and practice numbers as well as a shape sorting toy.
The toy is advertised as having "large chunky pieces" that are easy for children to pick up. I would agree that the pieces are sufficiently large for a child but they are not chunky but very thin.
As the puzzle is very light weight the jigsaw pieces tend fall out of the shapes very easily, once you have placed them. There is no small knob on the jigsaw pieces to allow you to place them in and out of the jigsaw so it is a bit fiddly.
My son enjoys throwing the jigsaw pieces around at the moment so I have put this toy away for now and hopefully he will be able to use it when he is a bit older, he's currently under 2 years.
The toy is advertised as from 2 years and older which is probably suitable. Although I have highlighted quite a few negatives for this jigsaw it is still suitable as as a first toy to practice numbers and introduce jigsaw puzzles.
My son is fascinated with bunches of keys as long as it's a key and jingles he wants it, so I tried to overcome the problem of having to wrestle keys off of him every now and then by buying him the Tesco Carousel Musical Keys.
I saw these and wondered whether or not I should buy them, they're not very realistic looking and don't jingle but at such a reasonable price, I paid £3.00, I thought I'd give them a go.
The keys are brightly coloured with 3 different coloured keys and a large round key chain with 6 buttons with different pictures that make different noises and music. It also has a small light on the round key chain that lights up red when the appropriate button is pressed; it also makes a car engine noise which sounds very realistic.
My sons' opinion
Not really impressed unfortunately, when I first gave this to him when he was about 11 months he looked at it for about 3 seconds and dropped it to the floor. I showed him the buttons and the noises it makes but he still gives this toy very little attention and he certainly doesn't prefer it over the real door or car keys.
The age range for this toy is from 10 months, I'd say you could happily give it to a younger child as it's quite a passive toy, if there is such a thing.
Overall it's an ok toy, for £3 it can be used as stocking filler or gifts at children's party.
It won't replace a real set of keys
I bought this for my son when he was quite small about 6 months, far too young to use this but I always loved these hammering type toys when I was a child so I wanted to see if he would share my enjoyment. The toy is for 18 months plus.
As with all Carousel toys there's minimal packaging for this toy just a cardboard box and ties to hold it into the box.
What you get
A small wooden bench with 5 different shaped holes and different coloured and shaped wooden blocks that fit into the holes. A little hammer.
A basic toy and a basic concept that has been around a long time. My son will occasionally play with the Hammer Toy now that he's older and he understands the "aim of the game" is to hammer the different shapes into the relevant holes.
The toy is heavy, and needs to be for this type of toy, it's definitely solid but I do watch my son as he loves to throw things about. As a shape sorter its fine, not the most exciting toy on the market but it never will be its more about getting the little ones to use their motor skills which it does.
I like it!
I bought this for my son as an exchange, for one of his Christmas he had received a toy that we already had so I had to swop if for something else.
Fortunately I really like the Tesco Carousel range of toys and I seem to be gradually working my way through the whole range, it's the price and quality that does it for me and they also do range of wooden toys.
The toy comes with minimal packaging a box with ties to hold it into place; it doesn't have any clear plastic covering over the box so you can actually feel the toy before you buy it. I bought it in a Tesco store. There's nothing to put together with this toy just take out the box and that's it.
Pull along Dog
I bought the brown and white Pull Along Dog but there was also a Pull Along Duck available I did umm and arrr for a bit Dog-Duck , Dog-Duck but the dog won over and I thought I might be able to teach my son the word dog more easily than duck...not sure why?, maybe because when we look out of the living room window we're more likely to see a brown and white dog on a lead than a bright yellow duck??
What it does
The dog has an orange cord attached under its head, when you pull the toy it rolls along smoothly on most surfaces (carpet and wood flooring), and its head moves from side to side.
My sons opinion
He's mildly amused by it, when I first gave it to him he lifted it up into the air and walked around with it, after I demonstrated how to pull it along with the wheels on the floor he can now basically drag it along on its side, he hasn't quite mastered to pull it along on the wheels. It's not one of his favourites but I'm sure he'll grow into it and be able to use it for some kind of role play
The age range for this toy is suggested from 2 years which is probably about right, I always tend to buy toys for my son older than his age.
It's a nice little toy, well made and sturdy. As a wooden toy I am careful when my son plays with anything like this as he is only 16 months and can quite easily pick this toy up and throw it at someone or something which could cause damage or be a bit painful
I bought one of these remotes for my son when he was about 6 months old and had started crawling. Like most children he is fascinated with any kind of remote control and I bought this in the hope that he would stop trying to play with the real television remote.
The Tesco store I was in had the remote in a pale blue or pale pink colour, it has a pretend digital screen at the top with a large number and multi coloured buttons on the actual remote. It's a good size for a baby not so big that they can't pick it up but not too small either.
The remote has lots of coloured numbered buttons as well as arrow buttons at the top. The numbered buttons say the number when you press them and the arrow buttons play various nursery rhyme tunes and classical music. There is a also a red light at the very top of the toy that flashes when you press a button.
Keeps my son entertained he loves pressing the buttons and hearing the sounds
Its loud, I have other toys that you have to put to your ear to her any noise it makes
Cheap as chips I paid £3.60
The stick on paper number at the top of the remote has worn off, mainly due to my son using it as a teething device. The voice that speaks the numbers is a little bit annoying and has a strange accent.
On the whole it's a good product that keeps my son entertained especially in the car, it hasn't stopped him going for the real television remote but it is one of his favourites.
I bought this for my son as I felt that he needed a toy that provided more stimulation and activity than the toys he had, I looked around a few different toys including toy kitchen but I decided on the toy garage as it was on offer in Tesco's my son was 14 months old when I bought it.
The garage is packaged in a large box with photographs of the garage and a baby playing with it on the front. On that packaging Tesco Carousel toys are advertised as having minimal internal packaging with no equipment needed to put their toys together.
Putting it together
The garage was really easy to put together I followed the paper instructions and managed to put it together, with a toddler trying to pull it apart at the same time. The most fiddly part was attaching the garage slope together and then attaching that to the base of the garage but I did it.
What you get
Cars and Figures
You get two cars with figures that sit in the cars, the figures heads move and make a rasping kind of noise that I quite like as does my son. The toys also fit into another car that my son has so that's useful.
The petrol pumps are situated on the actual garage and cannot be removed and make a noise and light up when you press them, my son was a bit wary when he first heard the noise that the petrol pump makes, it's hard to describe, sort of a watery flowing sound (if there is such a thing) but he's ok with it now and laughs when he presses the button and hears the noise.
Additional Portable Car Park
It has a lovely little portable car park within with a handle and a slide up lid, it looks like a hard plastic handbag (but don't tell my little one that).
The carpark includes a lift that the cars can fit into, it makes a noise when you lift up it up using the handle, the cars can then slide out of the lift and down the slope.
My son's opinion
He loves it, it's definitely his favourite toy at the moment he plays with it everyday and laughs at the noises it makes. He plays with the cars the figures and absolutely loves lifting the lift up and down. I look forward to explaining all the different parts of the garage to my son as he gets older and has a better understanding. My son is now 16 months and has had the garage for about 2 months.
It has a round blue lid that sits on the top of the lift, my son has pulled this off and tends to put items in the hole at the top of the lift. It can still fit on the lift as it just clips in but it doesn't stay secure, but this doesn't distract from the item.
I bought the garage directly from a Tesco store however it is also available at Tesco Direct. I bought this on offer for £18, its currently on priced at £ 24.97.
An excellent product and at a very good price, very strong and sturdy, nice bright colours and keeps a toddler entertained. I don't see my son growing out of this toy yet.
One more thing...
Because this car park has a slope for the cars to roll down, my boy thinks it's a slide and tries to slide down the slope on one foot, obviously the car park wasn't made for this use but, it shows how durable it is as it can take his weight.
I'm a mum with a 16 month old so nappies have been a big thing in my life for over a year!
Once I'd exhausted all of the freebies and vouchers I received for the premium brand nappies I decided to try a cheaper brand, I'd never really shopped at Aldi before but I decided to try their Mamia nappies. My son was in size 3's the first time I used this nappy and I still use them now that he's is a size 5.
The nappies are packaged in an oblong shape with a carry handle, the packaging has a perforated side to "easily" open the pack however I have never been able to do this easily with these nappies or any other brand. Similar to premium range nappies the packaging has a photograph of a baby wearing the nappy and a mum on the front.
There are 40 nappies in a size 5 pack for £4.49 (11.2p per nappy). YES £4.49!!! That's more than half the price of the most popular and expensive nappy brands, even when the more expensive brands are on offer it works out cheaper.
The nappies are a good size and fit my son well (he was a 10lb baby at birth), there is no chemical smell and the nappies have pictures of animals on I've never had any leaks with these nappies, the fit is great and they look cute.
The only thing I have had problems with is stock...my local Aldi seems to run out of size 5's on a Saturday morning and they don't restock until Monday also Size 5 seems to be the biggest nappy size that Aldi do, they don't do a 5+ and the size 6 is a pull up pant.
I always usually stock up on lip balm especially at this time of year when I want to keep my lips nicely moisturised against the cold weather. Strangely I couldn't find my usual brand of lip balm in Savers drugstore but I did find Inecto Pure Coconut Lip Balm, I'm a fan of coconut oil as a product for my hair and skin but this was the first time I'd seen a coconut lip balm.
I checked the ingredients to see if there was anything else apart from coconut and to my delight the ingredients list is 100% coconut oil, as someone who suffers from skin flare ups I'm caustious about what I put on my skin so this was a big plus.
The balm is packaged in the usual roll up lip balm tube and is white in appearance it has a faint coconut scent, not too over powering and glides onto my lips easily, it is clear in appearance once on your lips and not overly shiny, the texture of the balm is very soft and smooth. The actual balm roll is a bit smaller than my regular purchase and therefore may not last as long but the quality is excellent.
I paid 49p for the lip balm, that's about half the price of my usual lip balm, I was surprised at the affordability for such a quality product without a list unpronounceable chemicals as part of the ingredients.
I've now added Pure Coconut Lip balm to my list of beauty staples.