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Holland1

Holland1
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Member since: 28.07.2011

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    • More +
      29.06.2014 12:16
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      1 Comment

      Advantages

      • "brilliant acting and script"
      • "great development of relationships"
      • "Interesting new characters"

      Disadvantages

      • None

      Cold Feet Series 4

      Following the lives of three thirty something couples living in Manchester, the fourth series is probably my favourite. In this series, Adam and Rachel (James Nesbitt and Helen Baxendale) are trying to adopt, and are jumping through hoops for the adoption agency, convinced that they will be rejected if so much as a cushion is out of place in their house. Adam''s ex-girlfriend also resurfaces in this series, and things get a bit awkward when she tries to befriend Rachel in an attempt to get closer to Adam and win him back. Karen and David (Hermione Norris and Robert Bathurst) see their marriage taking a turn for the worse, as Karen turns to drink to get her through her long lonely days looking after the children, and David is clueless as ever as to what to do to make her happy. Karen is offered some work in her field as an editor in this series, and develops a dangerous crush on her boss, Mark. Pete and Jenny (John Thomson and Fay Ripley) have definitely reached the end of the line regarding their separation, and Jenny flies off to New York to pastures new. This leaves the doors open for a new love interest for Pete, in the form of the stunning Jo, a friend of Rachel''s. They seem an unlikely pair, and this arouses suspicion that she is only after him to get a Visa. As I said before, this is my favourite of the five series. Although the viewer has got to know each of the characters at this point, their behaviour is still surprising at times, and this keeps you on your toes. In series three I wasn''t keen on the changing group dynamic, but in series four, I think it works really well, and I like the introduction of the new woman in Pete''s life. She is a friend of Rachel''s, and I like this as it gives the relationship that added complication when couples separate and friends try to stay friends with both parties. It can get tricky when new love interests come along. I also like the fact that you feel as though you have been with these couples as they go through the various stages most of us encounter ? dating, first house, marriage, kids, and divorce unfortunately for some. Getting to know the characters so well means it''s easy to empathise with them and whatever situations they find themselves in or mistakes they make. None of us are perfect after all. It would be easy to judge Karen for drinking whilst looking after the children, especially when she prangs the car after having too much to drink at a school function, but when you see how unhappy she is and the dissatisfaction she feels in her life and marriage, you can''t help but feel sorry for her. This is a brilliant series, and sets the scene nicely for the final series. It''s witty and intelligently written.

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        29.06.2014 12:12
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "The feeling of conclusion"
        • "Great storylines for the final series"

        Disadvantages

        • "A very emotional end to the series"

        Cold Feet Series 5

        This is the final series of the BBC drama following the lives of three thirty-something couples from Manchester. In this series, Adam and Rachel (James Nesbitt and Helen Baxendale) finally have a baby after so much heartache, Karen and David (Hermione Norris and Robert Bathurst) are experiencing serious marriage difficulties and decide whether or not to separate, and Pete (John Thomson) is loved up with his new Australian girlfriend Jo. After watching the first four series, it''s nice to come full circle and see the outcome of each character''s journey. The couples that seemed so solid and stable at the beginning have now disbanded, and Adam and Rachel, who struggled with commitment and infidelity issues at the beginning of their relationship, are now very committed, and doting parents to a little boy. It''s also interesting seeing the dynamic of their relationship change after the introduction of a baby to the household, and this is something I can particularly relate to at the moment whereas the first time I watched the series I didn''t have any children so couldn''t really relate. Karen and David are seriously on the rocks in this series, and a good reflection of what happens to relationships if you don''t keep investing in your partner and stop taking them for granted. It''s frustrating that this has been happening over most of the series, but they just haven''t managed to hold it together. They also have the children to consider and this adds another element of sadness. Pete is finally happy in matters of the heart again, although his new relationship doesn''t run smoothly when they have misunderstandings, insecurities, and the pressure of his mother comparing his new girlfriend to his ex-wife and mixing their names up. Ouch! Although this is the concluding series, I wouldn''t say it ties up all lose ends so that everyone ends up living happily ever after. In fact, there is a pretty sour end to the story for one of the couples, and I remember the shock I felt the first time I saw the final episode. It still makes me emotional now when I watch it! There are actually quite a few loose ends which I guess is to be expected as it''s not a film but instead an ongoing reflection of day to day life. At the time I remember thinking they had left it open for a sixth series, but unfortunately that never happened. Although it has been many years since this was first shown on TV, I would still happily welcome a sixth series if the actors were short of cash!

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        14.06.2014 23:45

        Advantages

        • "Not too annoying/repetitive"
        • "Teaches about animals"
        • "Very interactive"

        Disadvantages

        • None

        Noah's Ark

        We were given this toy second hand when my sister in law had a clear out recently.

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      • More +
        13.06.2014 22:41
        4 Comments

        Advantages

        • "Soft to cuddle"
        • "Plays some nice songs"
        • "Traditional looking bear"

        Disadvantages

        • "No volume setting"

        Talking Ted

        This was the first of many talking bears my son now owns, and is a bit special because it''s the first toy we bought for him once he arrived.

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          11.06.2014 22:47
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          (Rating)
          2 Comments

          Advantages

          • "Lots of good sensory play fabrics"
          • Cute
          • Colourful

          Disadvantages

          • None

          A friendly robot!

          Before my son arrived my husband and I spent some Tesco Clubcard vouchers in their double points event, and we each chose a sensory toy to buy. I chose this robot because he was bright and colourful, and seemed particularly suitable for a boy in a gender sterotyping way. The price of Lamaze toys varies drastically, but I have seen this on sale for around 10 GBP in the main supermarkets. Rusty the Robot has some standard Lamaze features, in that he is bright and eye catching, and has lots of different fabrics for sensory play. His face is square and very smiley, and he has lots of bits and bobs dangling off his hands and legs. Starting with his head, he has knotted pieces coming out of his ears, teething rings on one hand and rattles on the other, and taggies (ribbon pieces) coming off his feet. His feet crinkle, he has a mirror on his tummy, and his arms are knitted. My son loves to run his fingernails across different materials as he gets used to the feel of different things, and this is one of his favourite toys to do this with. I tend to put this one on the pushchair to keep him entertained when we're out and about, and he likes to grab hold of the teething rings and pull at him so he can chew on the different textures. He also loves looking at himself in the mirror, and gets very excited when he sees something in the mirror move! The only thing I have noticed with the mirror is that you have to take care in the sun that it isn't facing the baby and deflecting the sun's rays into their eyes. I have noticed this a couple of times and just turned him to the other side instead. There are no downsides to this robot - it is excellent quality as you expect from a brand like Lamaze, and despite being played with daily it shows no signs of wear and tear. The recommended age is from birth to 24 months, so there is good use to be had out of this robot. I would say my son was probably about three months old before he started to take notice of all the features of the robot. It has a clip which allows it to be attached to the pram or car seat and I find this handy for keeping him entertained - we always joke on days out that Rusty loves a free day out with us, he has become my son's little playmate.

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          • More +
            06.06.2014 22:26

            Advantages

            • "Entertains little one"
            • "Bright colours"
            • "Teaches cause and effect"

            Disadvantages

            Wrist and Foot Rattles for Babies

            We received these Lamaze wrist and foot rattles as part of a gift when I left work to go on maternity leave. I have since seen them in department stores and toy shops priced anywhere between 7 GBP and 9 GBP. They currently retail for 7.47 GBP on Amazon. The rattles are basically designed to be worn on your baby's feet and hands, to help them explore and stimulate their senses. They encourage baby to learn about cause and effect by making noise as they move their hands and feet, and in turn this encourages them to explore more. The wrist rattles basically wrap around the wrist, and the foot ones are worn in the same way as socks. Annoyingly, they don't stay on for long, so I spend a lot of time putting them back on when my baby is wearing these. He does seem quite interested in them now he is discovering his hands and feet. Occasionally, I see him staring at his hands and moving them, as though he's just realised they are attached to him. When he wears the wrist rattle, he looks in wonder as he realises that his movement is responsible for the noise. This is very cute to see him learning about cause and effect, but being entertained at the same time. The rattles are very colourful. Ours are mainly orange and green, with ladybirds and butterflies attached. There appear to be a few different designs available. Typically, they tend to end up in my baby's mouth once they've fallen off, and they can get quite soaked from this, so it's great that they can just be thrown in the washing machine. One of the best features about these is that the noise the rattle makes is quite discreet, so it won't annoy you or give you a headache. Our little boy falls around laughing if we throw these in the air and catch them, so although they're designed to be worn, they can be played with in different ways. I have also used the sock ones as finger puppets, when trying to keep the little man entertained when he's getting restless. This is the advantage of them being so small, because they can easily fit into the changing bag without taking up too much room, and then you have something on hand to keep baby entertained. The quality of these is as you would expect from Lamaze, and despite being chewed and washed ours are still in good condition. My main criticism of these is that they don't stay on for long, and I also think at full price (RRP around 12 GBP) they are expensive for what they are. They would make a lovely gift, however, and it's very cute to see baby wearing all of these at the same time and look at his hands and feet as he tries to figure out where the noise is coming from.

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            02.06.2014 09:07
            Very helpful
            (Rating)
            1 Comment

            Advantages

            • Rehydrates
            • "Settles stomach"

            Disadvantages

            • Expensive

            Useful addition to the medicine cupboard

            Dioralyte sachets are something I always keep in the medicine cupboard, as they're handy to have in for those times you feel too poorly to leave the house. They are intended to replace lost fluids and salts following incidents of diarrhoea. Currently on offer in Boots costing 3.29 GBP for 6 sachets, they are not cheap, but essential to ensure essential fluids are replaced.
            The sachets are obviously individually packaged, which makes them convenient if you want to use them on the go. To use, you simply tip the contents of the sachet into a glass of water, stir, and drink. The instructions recommend using 200ml of water but I never measure it, preferring to just use a standard sized drinking glass. For adults, it is suggested that you should have one or two sachets after each loose motion, so if you have a stomach bug you'll find yourself getting through quite a few of these!
            Despite these being blackcurrant flavoured, drinking them isn't a particularly pleasant experience. They are quite chalky in texture, and although you would expect them to be sweet tasting, they're actually quite bitter.
            Although the idea is to replace water and salts lost, I also find that the sachets make me feel better pretty quickly, as they somehow manage to settle my stomach. I prefer to use these sachets in preference to diarrhoea relief tablets because they kill two birds with one stone.
            I would definitely recommend these sachets, as it is really important to replace lost fluids to avoid dehydration, especially in children and the elderly. Other than the usual precautions (seeking advice if pregnant or breastfeeding and so on),you should also seek advice if you suffer from diabetes,kidney or liver failure, or if you are on a low potassium or sodium diet. It is also recommended that if vomiting is present with the diarrhoea, that the solution should only be consumed in small quantities, presumably to avoid the risk of bringing it back up again. I have used these during nasty stomach bugs, and although they don't taste very nice, have always managed to keep it down straight after taking. However, I would definitely recommend sipping rather than drinking them quickly, as I have made that mistake with water alone and it doesn't end happily. The sachets are also suitable for children, although I would imagine it would be difficult getting children to drink them as they are quite unpleasant tasting, and leave a chalky taste in your mouth. In fact, it's only because I know they do me good that I am inclined to take them when I'm ill, because you don't get the same comforting feeling you get from things like Lemsips. They are quite expensive, but it's unlikely you'd need more than one box during one bout of illness, so for this reason they don't work out too bad value wise. Four stars from me - one star knocked off for the chalky taste and price.

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              31.05.2014 23:11
              Very helpful
              (Rating)
              1 Comment

              Advantages

              • "Locks away leaks/odours"
              • Discreet

              Disadvantages

              • None

              Protection for light bladder control

              Once the worst of my post natal recovery was over with, I was still left with weakened pelvic floor muscles which I needed physiotherapy for. In the meantime, I felt vulnerable to light bladder weakness when coughing or sneezing, and although normal pantyliners would have done the trick, these Tena lights were on offer when I was shopping, so I thought I'd try them as they would be better for locking away leaks and general comfort. At full price, they retail for 1.99 GBP for a pack of 28, so although they are slightly more expensive than pantyliners, they are a specialised product to deal with light bladder weakness.
              The pads are very discreet, and can be worn in the same way as a normal pantyliner, lining your underwear without being visible from the outside. They are reasonably thin, so that they aren't bulky or uncomfortable, but not so thin that you lack confidence that they will deal with any issues.
              The pads don't come individually wrapped, but instead are just housed in a box. This isn't great for discreet storage in your handbag, but for me wasn't too big an issue as I carry a large baby changing bag everywhere anyway, so I could easily hide them in one of the pockets. They adhere to your underwear well, without moving or coming loose, and they are also easy to remove without leaving any marks on underwear.
              I did wonder in terms of protection whether these would be any good, since they look and feel quite similar to normal pantyliners, but I think the difference is that they lock away any "moisture", so if you do have a little leak you're not really concious of it afterwards. There were a few times post birth when this happened to me, and I felt really glad I was wearing these as they are slightly thicker than pantyliners, and lock away moisture so not only do you feel more comfortable, but also there are no tell tale smells to give the game away due to them locking away the moisture.
              I can't really think of any negatives about these pads, although I guess they are more expensive than the cheaper brands of pantyliners. Having said that, they are specifically designed to deal with light bladder weakness, and as such they do give you more confidence when you're out in public. They are definitely only suitable for light bladder weakness, so if you feel you may potentially experience a really bad leak, I would recommend using thicker incontinence pads. These were only really suitable for slight mishaps caused by coughing and sneezing, although this has subsided now so I just use normal pantyliners and that's enough to deal with any slight leaks. Although I begrudge spending more than I have to on anything, childbirth and post natal recovery is so undignified and traumatic, I definitely think it's worth spending more to give you more confidence and make you feel more comfortable. Five stars.

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              • More +
                30.05.2014 23:01
                Very helpful
                (Rating)

                Advantages

                • "Give peace of mind against leaks"

                Disadvantages

                • Expensive

                Great protection against bladder weakness

                There are many unglamorous things about childbirth, and the bladder weakness and incontinence which accompanies the post natal recovery is definitely one of them. I knew that childbirth weakens the pelvic floor muscles, but I wasn't prepared for how little control I would have over my bladder function. Initially, I was using maternity pads for post birth blood loss, but once this had subsided, I felt a little vulnerable when out and about and during this time I used these incontinence pants to give me peace of mind should the worst happen.
                The pants are designed for heavy bladder weakness, so I knew they would be able to cope with the worst case scenario. I was experiencing bladder weakness which was worsened by movements such as coughing, and the thickness of these pants was excellent for locking away any liquids and making me comfortable until such a time I could replace them. They were also a godsend overnight, when I was asleep and had no conscious control over what my bladder was doing. It's a glamorous thing having kids!!
                The pants are basically like maternity pants, and are disposable with a pad built in. I would only recommend using them as a temporary measure because although they are reasonably comfortable, they are nowhere near as comfortable as wearing your own underwear. Luckily, my bladder weakness was temporary, and after a few weeks subsided to a normal level, so I only used the pants during this time. I was also concerned about the post natal blood loss, because although it had eased off, there was still some strange stuff going on down there, so these pants really did give me more confidence when people came to visit. I wasn't overly impressed with the maternity pads I used, and although these are primarily designed for incontinence, I would also recommend them for post natal loss too.
                The only downside is the price - the current RRP on the Boots website is 12.49 GBP for 12. I had no idea they were this expensive as my mum bought mine for me when I was at home recovering, but as a temporary measure during a period of such discomfort, they are definitely worth it. I'm not sure they are discreet enough to wear during day to day life if you suffer from bladder weakness on a long term basis, but obviously having just given birth I wasn't too bothered if people could see them through my clothes or whatever.
                Size wise, these were a good fit being medium sized, and despite having a swollen stomach still after birth, they still fit me well. I did wonder if I would have been better off with the large size, but these were fine and I'm usually a size 12. They are easy to pull up and down without ripping or irritating the skin, and I think they are really convenient being disposable. Definitely a useful thing to have post birth, and for general bladder weakness.

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              • More +
                27.05.2014 15:09
                Very helpful
                (Rating)

                Advantages

                • "Provides instant relief"
                • "Very effective"

                Disadvantages

                • "Thick consistency gets everywhere"

                Good relief for sore bums

                My son had never really suffered with nappy rash until the warmer weather arrived, but then I think the fact he was sweating so much in his nappy caused him to have severe nappy rash, to the point where the skin was red raw and it was bleeding slightly as I was trying to dry him during changing time. The nappy rash creams I had were doing nothing, and the poor thing was screaming at every nappy change, so I headed off to the pharmacy to buy the strongest over the counter treatment I could find. The pharmacist recommended this ointment on the basis that some doctors prescribe it for severe nappy rash. It cost around 2.50 GBP for a 30ml tube.
                The cream itself is bright yellow, as is the tube which is handy as I can easily distinguish it from other similarly packaged products (such as teething gel) when rummaging round in the changing bag. The only issue with the packaging is that it is sometimes difficult to control how much comes out, which results in a bit of a mess. The recommended use is a pea sized amount, and the instructions say it's important to apply a thin layer. Personally, I find a pea sized amount too much as it ends up being too thick and impossible to spread, so I use about half this amount.
                This cream helped to make my baby feel more comfortable after the first couple of times I used it. Although it took about a week to fully clear up, it got visibly better each day, and I could clean his bottom without him screaming in pain when I made contact with wipes. I actually resorted to using cotton wool with water before using this cream, but after I'd used it a couple of times the soreness had reduced dramatically, and although it took a bit longer for it to heal completely, this really helped with the sore, broken skin which I was worried about getting infected and generally causing him discomfort. It started to work so much quicker than the other two brands I had already tried, I was very impressed.
                Knowing how well this works, I doubt I'll bother with the other brands from now on. The only downside of this cream is that it does tend to get everywhere - clothes, baby's legs, the changing mat - especially if baby likes to kick their legs around during nappy changes. However, I can forgive this for the effectiveness it brings. It does have a horrible thick consistency which makes it tricky to get off your clothes when out and about, but I find any stains are easily removed in the wash.
                I would highly recommend this treatment for nappy rash, however severe, because if this doesn't work, it will probably need medical attention. Definitely five stars from our household.
                (Review may also appear on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)

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                25.05.2014 09:42
                Very helpful
                (Rating)

                Advantages

                • "Bright and colourful"
                • "Great value"

                Disadvantages

                • None

                Bright activity gym for babies

                I bought this baby gym from Asda before my baby arrived. It was reduced from the RRP of 32 GBP to half price at 16 GBP, but I notice Asda are now selling these for a lower price of 25 GBP. Activity gyms are a great way for babies to have their senses stimulated, and are a safe way for babies to play when they are too young to sit or stand.
                The gym consists of a machine washable playmat, and there are two foam bars which cross over above the mat, forming an arch from which four toys hang. The toys included are basic, but a good basis for sensory play. They consist of a tiger chime toy, a soft mirror, a ring rattle, and a plastic dragonfly which can also be used as a teether. It is also possible to hang your own toys from the bar, and there are additional loops stitched onto the mat so you can attach toys when the baby is having "tummy time".
                Constructing the playmat is very simple, although I would recommend being careful when removing the foam bars as they are tightly packed and therefore spring out across the room potentially taking someone's eye out! If you were short on storage or buying this to keep at the grandparent's house, the bars are easily and quickly removed for storage, but we keep ours up permanently since converting our dining room to a playroom.
                In use, this playmat holds my baby's attention for a surprising amount of time given that he is basically lying on the floor with some toys dangling above his head. He has used this since birth, and even though he can now sit up, he still loves the freedom of lying on his back and having a good kick around. The mat is also useful for when he's having the recommended tummy time, and practising rolling over. Of course, he could just do this on the rug, but I always think it seems more fun if it's tagged onto playtime. The mat itself isn't very thick, and as we have wooden floors I place ours on a rug in case he gets a bit carried away throwing his head back and bangs his head on the floor.
                There is a good combination of toys on this mat. My son loves looking into mirrors and trying to figure out what it is he's looking at, so he always grabs at this first. The chime toy is great for providing entertainment because he hits it occasionally as he's throwing his arms about, and then gets super excited when he hears the chime noise. He only really notices the rattle when I shake it for him, but once I have his attention he will grab hold of it and pull it towards him. The only toy he doesn't really bother with is the teether.
                This was a great buy, and something I'm sure we'll continue to get use out of.

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              • Vicks Inhaler / Medicine / 14 Readings / 13 Ratings
                More +
                22.05.2014 19:11
                Very helpful
                (Rating)

                Advantages

                • "Convenient to use on the go"
                • "Makes breathing easier"

                Disadvantages

                • "Makes eyes sting"

                Breathe more easily

                I usually use Olbas Oil inhaler when I have a cold, but earlier this week when I was searching in Morrisons they only had the Vicks version on offer at 2.50 GBP. I find an inhaler essential when I have a cold as it helps me to breathe through the night which means not only do I sleep better, but I'm not keeping my husband awake by snoring.
                The inhaler is packaged in a very convenient stick which is similar in size and appearance to a lip balm. The cap screws onto the base to ensure it's secure if you're carrying it around.
                It contains natural ingredients such as menthol, camphor, and Siberian pine needle oil. Because of this, you can use it as often as you need to, without having to wait a certain number of hours in between uses. It is advised that the minimum age for this product is six years.
                To use this product, you simply place it in your nostril and breathe in deeply whilst holding your other nostril closed. I can immediately feel some relief when I use this, and it certainly blows the cobwebs away. I usually keep a tissue handy as it does tend to make my nose run after using it. The only downside is that it does make my eyes sting a little, due to the menthol content.
                In terms of effectiveness, I do find that this helps to clear my nostrils, and the relief of being able to breathe more easily is immediate. However, it isn't long lived unfortunately, and after a short while I find myself struggling to breathe. The main reason I bought this was to help me sleep better, and I guess it does help with getting me off to sleep to begin with, but then I have to use it throughout the night as I find myself waking up with my nose feeling all stuffy. This is quite good to use alongside other cold remedies, but on its own it isn't going to be overly effective, as it only provides short term relief. It can also be used to help nasal congestion from other causes such as hayfever.
                From a hygiene point of view, it is recommended that the stick is only used by one person, and that it is discarded 28 days after opening. This is fairly obvious stuff and just means you'll need to replace it each time you have a cold, or monthly if you're using it for hayfever. I usually give mine a wipe with a tissue after using it, as I find it makes my nose run so I always have a tissue handy anyway.
                I would recommend this for clearing your nose and helping you to breathe when you are experiencing nasal congestion, but in my opinion it is no better or worse than the Olbas Oil version, so I would suggest buying whichever is cheapest.
                (Review may also appear on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)

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              • More +
                22.05.2014 11:04
                Very helpful
                (Rating)

                Advantages

                • "Lots of designs available"
                • "Five different positions to carry baby"

                Disadvantages

                Not for us

                When my baby was about 6 weeks old, he developed colic and became really clingy like most newborns. I was finding it impossible to get even the most basic things done, so through pure desperation I searched online for a baby carrier. I was hoping it would help to settle him by being close to his mum, and if it helped me to keep on top of the washing and bottle sterilising, that would be a bonus. The BabaSling was on offer at the time, priced at around 20 GBP instead of the RRP of 40 GBP.
                The sling is available in lots of different colours and patterns, which makes it ideal if both parents want to use it. I chose a fairly neutral black and white one for this reason. The straps are adjustable, which also makes it versatile for different family members to use, but only in theory because in reality I found it really difficult to adjust the straps once baby was in position.
                The instructions were really clear and extensive, with the addition of video clips on the website, to ensure you are using the sling correctly and safely. The first issue for me was that they recommend placing baby into the sling when they are happy and calm, which is almost impossible when you have a colicky baby. However, I gave it a go when he was reasonably calm, and found it less stressful than I expected to get him in it. The problem was that you are supposed to be able to adjust the straps once the baby is in, but I just didn't have enough hands to do this.
                There are five different positions in which you can carry baby, but these are dependent on age due to them being able to hold their own head, so as a newborn there are only two positions you can use. There are also a couple of positions designed to aid discreet breastfeeding, but we didn't use these as I couldn't breastfeed unfortunately.
                I tried the hammock style position initially, and then when he was a little older we tried one where he was sitting on my hips with his legs either side. However, whichever position we tried, I just didn't find it comfortable. I was quite surprised at how well the sling spread the baby's weight, but was convinced he wasn't comfortable and couldn't get used to walking round with him attached to me. I was paranoid he was going to fall out, despite the sling appearing quite secure. This resulted in me walking around holding him from underneath, which kind of defeated the point of buying it in the first place.
                I was really gutted that I didn't get on with this sling, as I loved the idea of having baby near me all the time and was hoping it would make him less colicky. In the end we just waited for his colic to pass, and the sling sits in the cupboard!

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              • More +
                21.05.2014 14:21
                Very helpful
                (Rating)

                Advantages

                • "Four different melodies"
                • "Teether attached"
                • "Teaches cause and effect"
                • "Not too loud"

                Disadvantages

                • "Tugging can be hit and miss"

                Our singing monkey

                My little boy frequently receives toys as gifts from his grandparents, and this is one of the first toys he received after he was born. Now he is almost 7 months old, he can now use this all by himself.
                There seem to be two designs for this toy; one being an elephant and the other a monkey, which is the one we own. The monkey is mainly brown in colour, with a brightly coloured tummy area and a cheeky face. Above his head is a clip to allow him to be attached to a pram or car seat, and by his feet is a plastic piece which not only acts as a teether but is also the bit you pull to get the music to play. There are actually two ways of getting the monkey to play music - one is by pulling the plastic bit at the end, and the other is by pressing his belly firmly. In theory, the action of pulling should be good for teaching my baby cause and effect, but in reality it's a bit hit and miss, with the pulling action not always resulting in music.
                The monkey plays four different melodies, and I find them very pleasant to listen to in comparison to some other musical toys we own which get on your nerves after a while. You'll still find yourself humming the tunes, but at least they're not headache inducing. The tunes are jungle themed, with realistic bird noises in the background. So realistic in fact that my cat usually sits up and looks round the room when he hears this one playing.
                The recommended age for these is from birth, and we have had a lot of use out of ours because the music used to provide a good distraction when my baby was young and frequently unsettled. Now he is older and has developed new skills, he can make the monkey play music all by himself. The plastic clip allows it to be attached to the pram or car seat, or even his playmat on the bars above his head. This makes it a useful toy to have either in the house, or when out and about to entertain him when he starts getting restless. He also uses the plastic teething bit occasionally to bite on, but not as often as other teethers. Although the ability of pulling the monkey's tail to make music is hit and miss, this is still a firm favourite in our house. The tug tunes toys currently retail for 6.97GBP in Asda.
                (Review also appears on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)

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              • More +
                20.05.2014 23:03
                Very helpful
                (Rating)
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                Advantages

                • "Easy to relate to "
                • "Witty script"
                • "Great character development"

                Disadvantages

                • "Not the strongest of the 5 series"

                Cold Feet Series 3

                Cold Feet was first shown on TV in the early 1990s, and although it's a bit dated now it still remains one of my favourite series which I can happily watch repeatedly. The series is set in Manchester, and follows the lives of three thirty something couples; Jen and Pete (Fay Ripley and John Thomson), Rachel and Adam (Helen Baxendale and James Nesbitt), and Karen and David (Hermione Norris and Robert Bathurst). By the third series the couples are following very different routes, as Jen and Pete decide to part company, Adam and Rachel are living together and planning a wedding, and the strain on Karen and David's marriage after the birth of their third child begins to show.
                I absolutely love this series, and by series 3 the viewer feels like they have really got to know the characters and started to get quite attached to them. Things start to turn a bit sour in this series, and although it would be boring if all three couples just stayed the same as they were in series 1, I felt a bit gutted when the group dynamic started to change.
                The thing I love about this series is that wherever you are in life, one of the characters or couples will be experiencing something similar, and so I find myself dipping in and out of different series depending on what's happening in my life rather than watching them in order. In this series we see the difficult break up of long term couple Jen and Pete, and the jealousy and resentment caused by Jen finding a new partner. Adam and Rachel are planning a wedding, but things don't quite go to plan when a secret from the past rears its ugly head. Karen and David are suffering from the common inevitability of struggling to keep the fire in their marriage as David works night and day to provide Karen with a lifestyle she doesn't even particularly enjoy.
                Although there are many situations I can't really relate to in this series (affairs, marriage break ups etc), I still find myself empathising with each of the characters as by this point I've become quite fond of them all. Even pompous David who takes his wife for granted and is completely snobby insisting on the champagne lifestyle shows weakness in this series, and you can't help but feel a bit sorry for him. Adam and Pete's friendship deepens as they both experience different issues in their relationships, and we also see the difference between men and women's reactions and ways of dealing with things like jealousy and infidelity.
                The acting is excellent, as you would expect given the high calibre actors, and series 3 is no different with some serious storylines being tackled. The characters are all realistic in that they don't comform to stereotypes but instead their behaviour is unpredictable, which is often true in real life.
                This is a great series and is currently available for 5 GBP on Amazon.

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