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We bought this for the boy for Christmas. It was a last minute present and it came about because one day when we picked him up from nursery they told us that they had a new cleaning set and he had spent the entire day playing with it and nothing else. The Mrs told me immediately that she had always wanted to buy him one as he liked to copy her whilst cleaning and so we ended up looking around for a decent cleaning trolley for him. When we bought this it was on offer luckily. Full price was £40 but we got it for £25. I don't think we would have bought it for £40 so it was a good job it was on offer.
When the boy opened this on Christmas Day he wanted us to set it up for him right away. This was a toy that needed constructing - don't they all?! It came in a large box but everything was separate and needed putting together for it to be ready to play with. I didn't need to follow any instructions as it was pretty straight forward. It slotted together fine but didn't feel very secure so I had a feeling that once the boy started pushing this around it would quite easily come apart again.
This is a trolley and it's the modern one so different from the picture Dooyoo has given, it's a more modern version. It has a shelf in front of the handle which is an ideal size for the little plastic bottle of squirty spray to go on. Beneath this shelf on the frame of the trolley is another section ideal for the bucket that goes with it. The frame of the trolley at the top as two hooks which the dustpan and brush fit on. There are holes at the top of the frame and through these you slot the brush and the mop. Underneath the frame in a rounded section is the place for the vacuum cleaner. The tool from this hoops round and hooks into two clips at the top although this is actually really difficult to do. It has wheels and a handle so you can push it along. The boy is a small 2.5 year old but it's a good height for him, his sister, a normal sized 5 year old has to bend a bit to push it. The trolley is bright, it's pale blue and red. At the end of the top shelf is a loop which looks a bit like a handle and I think this is for you to drape a cloth over. It didn't come with a cleaning cloth though, perhaps this was missed out of ours or maybe you are supposed to supply your own, I'm not sure, it would have been good to get one though else how are you supposed to dust or wipe down surfaces?! The trolley itself has just two wheels at the back so when you push it you have to put a little bit of weight on it for it to move otherwise it scuffs across the floor.
The accessories that come with this trolley include a blue plastic bucket with a handle. This handle can be detached and it does this often. The boy will just be playing with it and hold it in a certain way and the handle comes off. This is a little frustrating. You get a plastic cleaning bottle which is yellow and designed to look like one of those with a lever underneath it. This lever, however, doesn't move which upsets the boy, he keeps trying to squeeze it but obviously it won't move and sometimes I worry he'll try too much and it'll end up snapping. Seems a shame they didn't make it a proper lever. You get a mop which has a yellow pole and white felt for the 'mop' section. This is good and a good height for children to hold and pretend to mop with. You also get a brush which is the same height as the mop and has a good set of bristles so it can actually sweep things properly. The boy loves this! You then have a dust pan and brush set which is fairly flimsy but the boy will play with it and doesn't seem to mind! Finally you get the best bit- the vacuum! This is one which is pulled along rather than pushed along. The boy likes to walk with this around the house trying to hoover up. It has little balls inside it so that when you switch it to on it makes a whirring sound and the balls move around which make it look a bit more exciting. The whirring sound can get a bit annoying, if it's left on it's just at that low grade hum that gradually gets into your consciousness and you wonder what it is! The problem with the hoover? The attachment keeps falling off! Even when the boy isn't being heavy handed the end part- the hoover bit which he NEEDS- just falls off and he has to come running to me to put it back on. We are contemplating putting sellotape around it just to stop this happening so his play isn't hindered constantly.
It's falling apart!
This cleaning trolley does not stay together. I can almost forgive the end of the vacuum for falling off and at least if we attached Sellotape to it it would stop it from doing so but the actual structure of the trolley doesn't stay together. If you pick it up by the handle- which I quite frequently want to do when putting it away- the frame comes apart and it all comes away! If you push it too fast then it looks like bits start to lift up so it won't slot back together without an adult to help. The actual area where you put the hose from the hoover is really tight and even I can't get the hose to snap in sometimes let alone the kids! The handle from the bucket keeps coming off too so that again needs me to assist. This is not what you expect from a toy aimed at young children. Surely the first thing you think of is quality and for it to be sturdy? Surely?
The boy's opinion
So it looks like I'm a bit frustrated with the design but what does the boy think? We did buy this for him after all. Well he loves the vacuum part. Whenever Mrs B gets the Dyson out to hoover he likes to bring his vacuum along, turn it on and put on his serious face as he vacuums beside her. This is really cute to watch. He does love his hoover despite the fact the end bit keeps coming off! Aside from that he doesn't really play with other parts of it apart from pushing the trolley along, until it collapses that is! At first he played with it all but now we're a few months in it doesn't get much attention at all now. We should have just bought him a hoover and a dustpan and brush from the pound shop or something! I think if the nozzle on the bottle would have been a proper spray action then he would have played with that a bit more. Even though the trolley is a bit odd with just wheels at the back and not the front, the boy is able to push it, he has got the hang of putting a bit of weight onto the handle to get it to tip up a little so it pushes easily. I was surprised by this and thought he may struggle but he got the hang of this really quickly, luckily!
A quick look at the website and this toy tells me it's suitable for children 3 years plus. With that in mind I wonder why they went for such a height that it would be a little bit too low down for an average three year old seeing as it is the perfect height for the boy who is in size 9-12 month clothes! So the very concept of this seems flawed from the off. I think the main thing that has disappointed me with this is that it is obviously an 'upgraded version' seeing as there was a previous design so this one should be better but there are still so many niggles with it. I had hoped that the boy would have loved this as much as he loves the one he has at nursery but it really hasn't held his attention for long. He is a very active 2.5 year old who does struggle to find things to hold his attention but many of his toys do so it is possible! It was lovely to see his face light up when he first opened this and he clearly loves the vacuum but the whole of this toy has so many niggles that it hinders his enjoyment that he can get with it so I'm not surprised that he doesn't play with it as often as I initially thought he did. I am very relieved that we bought this when it was on sale, it's a ridiculous amount to pay otherwise for a toy that quite literally falls apart when either an adult or a child plays with it! Just lifting it up is enough to make the frame pull away. I don't know how many 3 year olds are very delicate and light handed but perhaps some are and this is aimed at them rather than your average toddler! I think the vacuum part is the boy's favourite and he will play with that for quite some time even when the end part does fall off, he likes to imitate the noise and that's cute. He tends to use the bucket for collecting his toys rather than pretending it's a mop bucket or something but then the handle falls off and everything tips out and he cries so it's not really a good toy! I don't understand why the trolley only has the two back wheels, it would be far better with four wheels so that the pushing system is easier, again it seems like another flaw that this product has. This is not the worst toy we've bought from ELC, the worst was definitely the supermarket which saw us spend £60 but this is a close second. I really would expect better from such a well known brand which has been around for so long. There is nothing worse than looking forward to seeing your little one enjoy a toy and then realise it just doesn't do the job you thought it would. Thank goodness it wasn't full price when we bought it. I'd recommend looking elsewhere if you want a cleaning trolley or just buy a few bits separately as I'm sure it would work out cheaper and better.
Fisher price have brought out this amazing jumperoo toy suitable for babies from approx 5 months old and it's great!
The jumperoo is quite like an indoor bouncer but within an activity station so your baby can jump and also play with toys at the same time.
The rain forest one is designed to look like a rainforest. It has parrots and monkeys and elephants (not too sure that you can find elephants in the rain forest though!) and frogs all around. It has flashing lights, rattles, bendy toys, flying toys, toys which jump up and toys that can be spun around.
The baby sits in the middle of the activity station with their legs dangling down touching the floor. When pushing on the floor the jumper bounces them like with an indoor bouncer.
All around the baby are the activities which help to get you rbaby interested in the different toys and also encourages them to move around as the seat turns a full 360 degrees which is good!
The toys include:
A lizard which spins and has a rattle inside it.
A dragonfly which is on a bendy wand so the baby can grab it.
A jungle section with animals hanging down that spin.
Bugs that light up and flash.
A rattle which rolls around.
A wheel with bright colours which can be spun
A sunshine rattle which rolls around.
A tiger which hides behind a bush and pops up when a button is pressed
A parot and a frog hanging from above.
All of these toys encourage babies to explore and play.
The toy of course makes a noise! you either get rainforest noises or music and there is a volume control either loud or soft although I wouldn't say that it's ever particularly quiet!
The more the baby moves the more music/noises it makes so it encourages the baby to play.
It's easy to assemble although the instructions aren't too easy to follow but we managed to get it together within 15 minutes.
It is very large and bulky and so not really a great space saver! We don't have a big house and this jumperoo seems to dominate the lounge now but it's worth it because our baby loves it!
It is ideal for babies who are able to sit up on their own and for mummies and daddies who want to encourage their babies to play on their own without needing their constant input.
It is expensive at £80 from Mothercare and Toys r Us.
It is wipe clean as everything is plastic but there are so many bits that it'll be hard to get completely clean and get in all the bits. The seat is made from fabric and that can clip off and be put in the washing machine but i'm not sure on how easily it will then clip back on afterwards.
I think it's a great toy as it's so bright and noisy and a great variety of choice for your babies to play with. It is noisy! But then again this just seems to stimulate more play so is good! I like that it is bright colours too and not just the usual blue or pink range that toys tend to come in
I definitely recommend it if you can afford it!
I occasionally suffer from travel sickness and it can be quite horrible especially when the children are with us and I'm meant to be the one who's 'in charge'. I tried a few things to try and help settle my stomach like not eating much, travel bands and then found these and they do seem to work.
These are soft, chewy pastels so they look more like sweets than medicine so in a way that's good as it means if children need them (they are okay for children) then they can take them without too much fuss. It also means I have to be careful not to leave this in view of the children incase they do think that they are actually sweets though.
They contain a kind of antihistamine and they block receptors in the brain which usually start firing up nausea signals so they're very clever 'sweets'. The active ingredient is called meclozine.
The warnings state that it could cause drowsiness and you're recommended to steer clear of alcohol when taking these. It can also be bad for people with asthma but I personally haven't found an effect but do not take these without consulting your doctor first if you have got asthma, just because it works for me it may not for you. It's not suitable for children under 2, breastfeeding mothers, people who suffer liver disease and those who are pregnant. Always check if you are unsure.
The side effects listed are quite a lot and I was worried at first. Drowsiness, dry mouth, heartburn etc but I thought I would try them out and I am pleased to say I don't notice any effects except maybe a bit of a dry mouth.
You can take these the night before you plan to travel or you can take them whilst travelling. It works for up to 24 hours so no need to keep taking them.
I find that these work well. I do take them a few hours before setting off so that it gets into my system and I find that when I do take them I don't notice any travel sickness at all so it is really effective. They are strawberry flavour and you just chew them so they're easy to take and work well so really 5 out of 5 for me.
This Little Builder.
Last year we had our house extended which meant we had builders in our house for several months, every day. Our little boy who was 18 months old at the time was fascinated and spent a lot of his time pressed up against the windows watching the men working away. It seemed only natural, that when we saw this book, we just had to buy it for him. This book is now one of his firm favourites and we read it regularly. Our little girl enjoys it too and we're really pleased we bought it.
A board book
This is a board book published by Ladybird and it is recommended from 1 year plus. I'm not sure why it's not recommended for any younger, perhaps it's because it's board so is slightly heavy so perhaps a younger child could drop it on themselves. I love board books because they are so toddler friendly. Our little boy is a monkey and very heavy handed so when he has a paperback book he very easily rips a page by mistake and then thinks it is fun what he's just done and then continues to rip more pages so at the moment he is banned from those books and can only play with the board books. Board books are tough so they can't be ripped and they are also really easy for little hands to turn the pages of as they are chunky. This book is also wipe clean, even the touchy feely parts of the book. It recommends using a damp cloth to clean it and to be careful that it's not too damp as it could ruin a book so how fantastic for a book that can be handled by children with sticky hands that it can be cleaned! The size of this book is great, it's about 8cm x 8cm so not too big for little hands to hold up themselves and not too small that the detail is difficult to see. This book is very well designed for the age group it is intended for with a spine of good quality so no matter how wide a child tries to open it, it just doesn't seem to rip.
Reading the book
This book appealed from day one because it is bright and attractive. On the front page it is a very bright red background which stands out and it shows a picture of a builder wearing a bright yellow hat, this really stands out against the background. The hat itself is cut out and inside is a squishy material for children to feel. The builder is holding a hammer and looks very friendly so I'm not surprised that as soon as we gave this to our little boy he was eager to open it and see what was inside, a very inviting book indeed. The book introduces children to different builders and what they do. Each page is very clear so the background is usually just one block colour or it may have a tiny bit of detail like a few bricks in the background or a tuft of grass but this is all so children are not distracted by too much detail. The bright coloured background make it attractive and the writing is in large, black print so children can see it and learn to follow the words. All of the builders are friendly and happy looking and very- some have white skin, others have black skin, some are female some are male so it's trying to include everyone which is nice. Page one shows us "This little builder's name is Pete. His sturdy boots protect his feet" And shows a builder walking holding some wood and a hammer. His boots have foam to feel. The next page is 'This little builder's name is Matt. Tap his shiny safety hat' and this builder is shown to be mixing concrete wearing a blue hat that has squishy material to feel. Then we meet the next builder "This little builder;s name is Sandy. Her barrow comes in very handy" and this is a female builder pushing a wheelbarrow full of sand. The wheelbarrow has rough textured material on the side. "This little builder's name is Mick. Nearly done, just one more brick" and this shows a builder making a wall. Some of the bricks are a rough, almost sandpaper like texture.Then on the final page we have "This little builder's name is... oh! I don't know! Shall we choose him a name? Why don't YOU have a go?" And this builder has a high visibility jacket on that is shiny and smooth to touch.
As you can see from the writing above all of the pages have a rhyme on them. This, I think, makes it easier for children to follow and is also more enjoyable for me to read. I like that it introduces the different builders and shows them all working hard at different jobs and that the detail spoken about is the same part of the page which has the texture to be felt. When we read this our little boy likes to reach for the textured parts but now he also likes to point at things in the picture so he will spot the little lady bird which appears on each page and he will point to things like a spade and a builder's glasses. It's nice to see him looking at these little details.
Is it suitable?
We have so many books that we have bought for our little boy and he often shows them very little attention. He is a very lively child and so doesn't really like to sit still and be read to so it takes a special book that will capture his attention and keep him sitting quietly and this one is that! This book is only short so he doesn't have time to get bored and each page has a short, snappy bit of writing so again he hasn't got the time to grow bored of it. The interactive elements are a big hit, he has always been a fan of touchy feely books and he loves this one, he knows right away which part on each page is the feely bit and he really likes it. This is a very suitable book for him as it has helped us to explain a bit about the building work we have had going on too. The little cement mixer page is probably our favourite because we had the same little cement mixer in our garden for quite some time and we looked at this page a lot to talk about how the sand and water were put in and mixed together. It's amazing to think that at such a young age he could be learning things about building! It has helped him to understand a bit about all the noise that happened too as when we've read this book we showed him how the hammer may be banging on the bricks and the builder made noise and so forth. This is just ideal for him, he's able to sit and hold it himself without it being too big and heavy and it's just the perfect length for him.
When we bought this book we couldn't resist it as it was just ideal considering the building work we were having done. We spent £3.99 on it although the retail price says £5.99. I think we would still have paid full price for it and I'm very glad we bought it as our little boy loves it. I really like touch and feel books because they help children to explore their senses and they also help to keep them engaged and interacting with a book. We have so many books in our house as we think reading is really important and just learning about how to turn pages is something which is important for children and this is one of the books which is now a firm favourite. It is so well thought out with the age-range of the children in mind. The fact the backgrounds are bold but without lots of detail is great so children won't be distracted and overwhelmed with too busy a page and the writing being big and black so they can try to learn to follow the words. I like that the writing is all in rhymes as I always think it flows better and makes it easier to listen to as well as more enjoyable for myself to read! Our little boy will sit happily with this book looking at the pictures, feeling the interactive parts and doing little actions like tapping his head to represent a builder's hat or banging his fist like a hammer. When we bought this we thought it looked very appealing and was a really suitable book but we had no idea it would be quite such a big hit as it has been! This is definitely one which our little boy enjoys and we have more than had our money's worth out of it already. It says suitable from 1 year's old I think it is probably suitable to about the age of 3 although our daughter who is 4 is enjoying it now as she is able to read some of the words so it's proving useful to helping her pick out words too! For £3.99 that we paid this is definitely worth it, we're so pleased we bought it and I recommend!
Call of Duty Ghosts is the 10th of the main stream of games in the series, released 5th November 2013. Developed by Infinity Ward (whose last outing was Modern Warfare 3 in the CoD series), it shifts our players into the future.
The nuclear destruction of the Middle East results in the oil-producing nations of South America forming "The Federation"; a group formed in response to the ensuing global economic crisis and quickly growing into an international superpower, swiftly invading and conquering Central America and the Caribbean. The Federation then set about dominating North America by hijacking and controlling the ODIN; an orbital super-weapon that utilises kinetic bombardment, and use it to destroy several cities in the south-western United States. From there and 10 years later, our main characters set about setting after the leader of The Federation...and learning what it takes to become a Ghost.
This is based on my experience on the 'obsolete' PS3* using a good quality TV.
Characters and Gameplay
We have 3 main protagonists (and a dog!) and a main antagonist.
Hesh and Logan are brothers and US soldiers, working to break the stalemate on the front line with The Federation and take back more of America. Their father, Elias, heads up their unit and sends them out to try and make a tactical progress. Whilst on their mission, they spot a patrol working for The Federation's leader; "Rorke". They are then tasked to capture Rorke, dead or alive.
Even from that slight overview of the story, you can see it is a 'stereotypical Americanised' storyline. It doesn't stop there. The game does play out like an over-hyped film to the point where it gets silly. Unfortunately, it even tops Black Ops 2 (the last CoD game) for single-player silliness. With Black Ops 2, it was far-fetched...but plausible...ish. This goes from an extreme to another to another...it's like ideas were thrown at the producer by a 10 year old who had just spent the last hour eating sweets and drinking Red Bull (note: please don't do that at home).
I've played every main CoD to completion (bar CoD 3) and it has unfortunately got the stage of it running out of story routes. The Modern Warfare series brought about a new era of gaming by getting the players into a modern day setting. World At War was the last World War 2 based game but still excelled. The Black Ops couple started with an excellent game and story with an even better multiplayer but ended with a disappointing sequel. Ghosts just takes thing too far. Whilst there is the opening left there for a sequel...I don't know how it can be done without getting too absurd. I finished the campaign on Veteran (hardest difficulty) in about 8 hours...not that long really.
Physics-wise...it's the same old CoD. Some tweaks have been made (like you can now peak out from a wall and shoot if in a certain position to said wall) but nothing which makes me think 'Wow!'. You run, you shoot, you duck, you sneak, you shoot, thing explode, you take control of a dog, you shoot, you swim, you go into space, you blow things up! Ok, you do take control of a dog for one level and command him in others. It's a nice touch but not utilised as much as it could. The levels where you are underwater and in space though are very good. The physics of controlling your movement and predicting that of the enemies does breathe a bit of freshness into the game...but this is for 2 levels out of many and you are back into the swing of the same routine. The last level in the game, however, should carry a warning as it could give some people motion sickness. All in all, still good but nothing astoundingly new to blow you socks off.
Again, my socks are still on but I was impressed. It is a big step up from Modern Warfare 3 and I do like it. The display has been stripped back and has none of the future tech gizmos down the side that Black Ops 2 did; the display seemed quite natural. The actual graphics were a bit grainier...but in a good way; it helped things blend a lot better. I think the develops had looked at the success of Battlefield 3, looked at how Battlefield 4 was going to work and try add some of that to their game. In fact, it reminded me a lot of the first Modern Warfare (which set a trend) but more polished. The guns were of varying shapes and sizes and did seem a bit out of place at times, you did get a bit of image blur when turning quickly and a few frame drops but you are limited with the engine you have. As with the above mentioned levels, the underwater and in space levels are graphically brilliant...my socks did fly off when I was in space! The combination of trying to control my actions whilst turning around to look at everything was pretty good! The then came back on for the rest of the game.
One thing I did find was the depth of the bass was a bit too distorted...but apart from that, nothing new again; very good but that's just it. The environments were as good as usual...some of the sneaking around did drag back memories of Modern Warfare 2 (which was good). I can't really say much about it apart from it is louder than before!
This is where the game does let itself down more. The past 2 instalments have showed a decline (for me) in the multiplayer attitude of CoD. Whether it is silly killstreaks, poor levels, bad physics (so shooting through walls and lagging), poor weapons...it just seemed to have strayed too far from its roots. And this is no different. Weapons; I found the opening weapons ridiculously weak but then, once you unlock a few, they get overpowering. This creates a significant level of unbalance.
You unlock add-ons for your weapons with tokens (various quantities of which opening better scopes or barrels). Again, can overpower certain most guns too quickly.
The game modes have been updated and the general consensus is that this is positive. New modes such as Blitz, Hunted and the changes made to Search and Rescue have been met with positive. I haven't tried every mode out yet...but I still miss a good game of Demolition.
However, the maps in this game have to be the worst I have come across. I moaned about Black Ops 2's efforts...but this tops it. There is no level playing field...literally. Experienced players know where to go, where to look, what speed to go and where to go next. This gives a new player no chance. Ok, you may say that is the same with every game...but when the levels are developed in such a way that only knowing every little thing can work. And when I say it isn't level... I mean it in the other sense too. There are so many ladders, hills, side rooms, raised platforms that you stand little chance of entering a room without someone waiting. This, along with the new-breed heavy influx of campers I found within the game, makes it quite frustrating to play. Unfortunately, I've found this the weakest CoD online to date. DLC will be released but it will be throwing money down the drain (for me anyway, which I won't be doing).
Call of Duty: Ghosts introduces a new game type called Squads. This mode can be played either solo or with other players including friends. A squad consists of ten different customisable characters and Squads can be utilised in unique game modes involving AI controlled enemies and AI controlled squad mates. The game modes include Squad Assault, Safeguard, Safeguard Infinite, Squad vs. Squad, and Wargame. All of these modes can be played while online or offline.
Squad vs. Squad: Two opposing players play team death match using their Squads.
Wargame: the player and five squad mates against a team of enemy bots in a mode.
Safeguard: the player and up to three other friends in a wave-based survival match similar to Survival mode from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, but with the addition of perks and scorestreaks.
I'm yet to play this but it seems like a good development of previous efforts of 'training' against bots.
No Spec Ops?!?! Argh! I loved that from Infinity Ward. So what do we have instead? Extinction! The game mode features up to four players fighting aliens in a post-apocalyptic world. Players have objectives, which are to destroy alien Hives and complete Challenges. Players also earn money by killing aliens, destroying Hives or searching Search Piles. The money earned from these can be used to purchase additional guns placed throughout the map (similar to Zombies) and use abilities selected pre-game.
I've played about an hour or so of this. I can see it being a very good party game if you can find 3 other good players. It seemed to work in a balanced environment with limited resources, having to use your money wisely and working as a team to progress!
Last year, I thought the CoD series would struggle...and they have. They've tried so many angles for their story lines; moving from past to future, playing out a story, good guys vs. bad guys, plot twists. This time, the story is so far fetch and convoluted that you wonder what was happening in the office to produce such utter craziness.
Ok, it's playable...but it doesn't hold a 'story' so to speak like Modern Warfare did. I can see it following the absurd lines of Black Ops 2...but worse. The multiplayer has also got progressively worse and I've given up on this one already. Battlefield 4's has a pretty poor and very short campaign but makes up for it with an excellent multiplayer. This has a standard campaign, poor multiplayer and a novel addition with Extinction.
Is Infinity Ward flogging a dead horse? In my opinion, yes; the same things being regurgitated and spewed out for the teens who will throw their money at it regardless. The price dropped from £40 to £30 quickly due to poor sales (blamed on the release of next generation consoles...which I think is a poor excuse) and has been found at around £25 a couple of times within 2 months of release. I think this is a sign of the times for CoD going forward and I'm not sure if 're-inventing the brand' will save it in November 2014.
* The PS3 is far from an obsolete console which another review said. Whilst next generation is out with the PS4 and Xbox One, the PS3 has plenty of life left in it. Games such as The Last of Us which is only 10 months old looks like it could slide onto the PS4 with ease and without a drop in quality.
This is yet another toy which my daughter was bought for her first Christmas. She was bought all sorts of items and this is one which I think is really worth the money as it does so much.
What do they do?
These are toy eggs which are designed to look like a set off eggs that you may buy from the supermarket. They slot into the spaces in the egg box and each has a unique shape underneath so that they only slot into one space.
The fact that they have the shape underneath makes this toy as shape sorter toy too. It teaches your child about the different shapes and also about visual awareness- how only certain shapes can fit the mould.
Each egg breaks into two revealing a coloured chick inside. The colours of the chicks are green, orange and blue. These chicks then tweet when you push them down a little. This is probably the most irritating aspect of this toy. The tweet is very high pitched and although it's not loud is it at a level which catches your attention and isn't the most pleasant of noises!
When putting the shell back together the jagged edges have to match up to be able to slot together properly. This element of the toy means that babies learn about spacial awareness and concentration as they learn how to align the countours of the shell.
Each shell has a face marked on with different eyes- a winking eye, boggly eyes, eyes with glasses etc. These eyes match the eyes that are on the chick inside. This is another task for the baby- to pick out the matching shell for whichever chick it is depending upon the eyes.
The egg box itself is a bit awkward to open, my baby certainly can't open it by herself yet although she is only 10 months old. I also worry that she can close it very easily and may trap her fingers so I wont let her play with these unattended just to be on the safe side.
This toy is very baby friendly as they are not hard at all to pick up and pull apart. They slot into the box easily but not a tight fit so it is possible for little hands to pull them up and get them out. The shell breaking apart is also very simple for babies to master and although Baby B hasn't understood how to do it yet, the tweeting noise isn't difficult to do either as it just involves pushing lightly on the chick.
The eggs may not look exciting as they're just white with blue faces on but I think that this makes them very good for babies. Babies don't have a good range of colour so contrasting colours are good for them to be able to focus on so the blue against the white is a useful mix of colours. The colours of the chicks are bright in colour which is eye catching for babies.
These toys are easy to clean. Babies are forever experimenting with things by putting them in their mouths and feeling them with their gums so a lot of baby toys can easily get grubby and chewed. These toys though are easy to clean as they are plastic so a quick wipe down with a baby wipe or some hot and soapy water will suffice. They are also less likely to get teeth marks in as they are hard plastic.
Baby B's opinion
Baby B enjoys playing with these eggs. She doesn't understand how to tweet them herself yet but she does enjoy pulling them out of the box and admiring each one in turn. She also quite likes throwing them across the floor and watching them roll away from her!
She is intrigued by each one and has played happily with them for a good half an hour at a time.
I think that this is a great little toy, they're easy to store as you can put them away in the box afterwards so as to ensure not to lose pieces and easy to clean. I always think these two things are important in children's toys.
These cost approximately £12 depending upon where you get them from. This one was bought from an independent toy shop but I have seen them in various other places including Amazon. Definitely worth it.
I suffer from a stomach that gets very sensitive. It is difficult to pin point what it is that is causing my tummy troubles but one thing I find that helps is taking these capsules as they really seem to work well.
When you suffer from attacks of diarrhoea it is far from ideal. When I find my stomach is starting to play up I like to try to stop it in it's tracks as soon as possible and find that these capsules really work.
Before taking these there are various precautions, if you're unsure you should speak to your doctor. These are not suitable for children under 12 and not meant to be used if you suffer liver problems. There are other precautions too so do make sure you check before taking.
In the packet there are 18 capsules. These are grey and green and should be swallowed, if y ou leave it in your mouth for a minute or so it begins to dissolve and it is not a nice taste at all! The recommended dose is 2 tablets at first and then you take one after every episode of diarrhoea. You should not take any more than 6 in a day and if it is still causing you problems 2 days later then you should consult your doctor.
So do they work? I find that they are very good. I take these as soon as my stomach starts acting up and I usually only have to take the initial two and that sorts it out. A few months ago when I had a tummy bug though I did have to take a few more and they did definitely seem to make a difference. Obviously it's hard to be 100% sure as maybe my tummy was going to clear up anyway but I am a believer that these do help.
I recommend these capsules, they do definitely appear to make a difference for me anyway especially when it is my sensitive stomach playing up, if it's an actual tummy bug then it does require an extra capsule or two before I notice a change in the right direction.
We bought these for our baby when he was first born as they were bright and very cute and he loves playing with them today even though he is now two.
The blocks come in a cardboard packet and you get 6 in total. These contain characters from the Blossom Farm range which is associated with The Early Learning Centre. These are cute farm animals in bright colours. We have a few of them as soft toys and the children seem to like them a lot.
These blocks are suitable from birth as they are soft and chunky so no danger. They measure approx 6cm x 6cm and have various pictures on. They shoe the sheep, the cow and the dog. Each block has either the body or the head or one of them on so you can match them up if you wish. There are various other pictures on too including things like flowers, numbers, letters and so forth. The colours are all pastel colours and none of them are particularly feminine or masculine so they're fine for boys and girls.
The blocks are soft so they are kind of padded but not in a squishy manner, they are still robust so they can be built up without falling down under the pressure. The blocks have different textures on too. Some are soft, others like fleece so this makes them interesting.
When our baby was tiny he used to hold them in his hands and just feel the softness. He then began to turn them around and look at the detail. He would watch as we built it into a tower for him to kick down and he'd giggle. Now he is two he likes to build them up himself and knock them down so he has learnt and progressed with them.
These are really cute. They are only wipe clean so they have become a little grubby but it's really lovely for little children to have something bright and colourful to play with. You can also use these in an educational manner to teach about the animals, colours and numbers.
These are well designed and will appeal to little ones.
This hob was already installed in our house when we moved in. it looks good in our kitchen as it's stainless steel so very modern and blends well with our other appliances. We use it on a regular basis and although it is decent there are several niggles that myself and Mrs B have about this product.
This hob is fitted onto our work surface and is sealed in. It is square and I suppose the 'normal' size for a hob. It has four rings and is gas powered. The rings include two medium sized ones, a small and a large. You fire up the rings by turning the corresponding button for that ring and press it down. You can change the temperature very easily by just turning the button to a lower point and the flame will lower immediately which makes it very efficient at turning down the temperature right away unlike an electric hob.
Ease of use
I think this is very easy to use. When I was a student we had an electric hob and it was really difficult to control, it wouldn't just turn down when you wanted it to it would take a few minutes and this could lead to burnt meals (this is what I told myself anyway perhaps it was just my cooking) so I always wanted a gas hob after this. This one does respond really well. When you turn on the rings sometimes it takes a little longer than others, sometimes you hold it down for a second, other times it's more like ten seconds but I have no idea why it changes and this is a little frustrating at times as sometimes I assume I have turned it on then turn round a few minutes later and see that the nob is on the on position so gas is spilling out but there is no flame. This could be dangerous.
Turning the temperature down as you wish is good and means you have good control over your cooking. There's no numbers or anything so you can't communicate to each other like oh turn it down to 5 or whatever but we've never had a problem but perhaps having numbers along the nob would be useful so it makes it more accurate.
There are different sized rings which is useful. The small ring we tend to use when just wanting to keep something ticking over, this takes longer to heat up a pan and is a much weaker flame so is ideal for things like that or just a small pan of veg or something. The medium rings we use the most for pretty much everything and the large ring we tend to use for big pans of food and stirfrying this is because it has a larger surface area so is much faster it heating up. If we use a small pan on this it only just covers the hob and the heat from the flames can be very strong when you are stirring so best to only use big pans on it.
Sometimes we find that when we have four pans on the go this hob isn't actually big enough. The frying pan is usually pushed so far back that only part of it is over the hob as it makes room for the pan in front of it and it's a bit like a balancing act. Yes they fit on but it's not with the middle of each pan over the rings like you would like. This can be a bit dangerous and really not very practical and makes us realise maybe we do need a bigger one now that we cook a lot.
The good thing is is that you can see from a distance if you've left this on. You can see the flames so can go back and turn it off. Another good thing is that you turn it off an it immediately goes off. Yes the metal is still hot and can burn but it cools down much faster than an electric hob and i think this is much safer.
Mrs B hates cleaning this and I don't blame her! Because its stainless steel it is actually awkward to clean because it shows up grease really easily and so cleaning it so it doesn't have smears on it is nigh on impossible. The black tiers which support the pans above the hob come away in two parts and these are then easier to clean but still quite big so they don't fit in the sink properly. Washing these with really hot and soapy water tends to remove the grease but it is a challenging job with lots of metal parts sicking out. The actual rings themselves are hard to clean especially when they have burnt on sauces stuck to them, they can come away and be scrubbed. The actual stainless steel hob itself gets very smeary and looks messy after cleaning if you don't dry it off properly. The Mrs uses baby oil on it and that seems to take the grease away and then dries it with kitchen roll and this seems to be the way she gets it shining but it is a fiddly job especially between the nobs. Cleaning our old cooker in our old house was easier because it wasn't stainless steel so I can see the benefits of the old one too.
This is a decent hob in that you have good control over it with being able to choose different sized rings and being able to control the temperature so well. It looks good on our work surface and the stainless steel look is definitely fashionable right now and blends with our things. I prefer a gas hob to electric it just seems easier to cook with and I think it's safer with having children around. It is really easy to use, you don't need an instruction manual to know what you're doing. The only down sides really is that sometimes you have to really squeeze the pans on when you have all four rings in use and that can be a little dangerous and also that it is difficult to clean compared to hobs that are not stainless steel. I think it's decent enough but needs a few tweaks here and there to make it perfect.
I thought about what useful product I could review and realised that I hadn't even thought about the car seat base which we have as it's so easy to forget about seeing as it is no trouble at all!
Children have to travel in carseats which is great for safety and knowing that you rbaby is safe as you drive but it is also quite limiting when you need to go in another other to the one that has your car seat in or is awkward when you have to keep lifting your baby in and out of the car seat and then putting them into the push chair.
Maxi Cosi have created this really easy to fit base which solves so many problems! For a start the car seat clips into the base and takes just seconds to remove it and then carry into the house so you don't have to struggle or wake the baby up. Secondly, the base is what is all connected in by seatbelts etc so the car seat itself is all about being that- a car seat and not a complicated design of a safety device with lots of holes and fastenings for attachment.
The base is what I am reviewing though so here are the specifics of the base.
The base is basically a large 'station' for which the car seat slots into. It sits on the back seat of your car and is secured by a large 'foot' which folds out and stands on the footwell in front of the seat. This keeps it steady. The seat belt then slides through the base up through a hole on either side before clipping into the seat belt section of the car. You then have to pull the seat belt taught before securing it in place with the blue clip.
It sounds a little complicated at first but it really is so very easy to do! I was shown how to do it and then was able to do it myself after just one demonstration and then showed my wife and she also found it easy to do. The only bit which is a little difficult is making sure the seat belt is tight enough so that the base doesn't wobble at all and is extremely stable but this is easy to do once you've done it the once.
The base then stays in place and doesn't move at all so all you do is pop your car seat in and it will click and a green window will appear in the side of teh base to show that the seat has slotted in correctly. If the seat isn't slotted in correctly then a red window appears. Usually if it isn't slotted in correctly it's just because you have the angle wrong and a bit of jiggling around soon slots it into place!
The foot which sits in the footwell of the car also has a window which shows in red or green. This window shows if the foot is firmly on the ground, if it is slightly up in the air or at an angle it will show red and it's then really easy to just move it to the correct angle to get the green safety window showing.
The base is easy to take out of the car too it is just a case of unfastening the seat belt, opening the blue clip, dragging the seat belt back out and then just lifting the base up. It can then be put into another car easily so is really useful if you are having a lift somewhere or you have more than one car and so need to swap the seat between the two.
The base is a big black bulky construction made from plastic and metal and so it is rather heavy as it is for safety and so it's important to have some weight on it. This is probably vital but is also seen as a negative in my wife's eyes as she finds it an awkward, cumbersome item to carry but we don't often have to carry it, the most we would do would be from one car to the next.
With car seats which don't need a base it's easy to just carry the car seat around and then get in any car and fix them in to it but with this car seat it means you have to have the base with you and it's not something you can carry around so will have to be secured in the car previously. This just means that you have to think ahead- if you're going to be somewhere make sure that the car you're using has the base in.
It's easy to clean as it's just plastic and it shouldn't really get covered in baby-related things anyway seeing as it is just the base so it would be the car seat itself which would cop for all the soggy biscuits and what not that are likely to fall onto it. But if you did want to clean it it would be very easy to wipe clean with some hot soapy water.
Which magazine has voted this car seat in it's top for safety and so it is a great buy with a great reputation.
The base costs between £50-£80 depending on where you buy it and what deals are on. I purchased mine a year ago from Toys r Us for £75. When buying the base it is vital that the store you buy it from fits it to your car and shows you how it is installed so that they can be sure that it fits your car and that you know what you're doing. Stores can be taken to court if they sell you a car seat without properly fitting it/checking your car first.
I think that it is great value for money, when it comes to safety you're willing to pay anything to ensure that your baby is safe and with this car seat base you definitely know that your money is well spent. I have seen friends with car seats that don't come with bases struggling for a good 10/15 minutes to get their car seats back in the car after they've been shopping or somewhere. Who wants to stand around in a car park struggling to fasten in a car seat whilst it's raining and your baby's crying when you can simply just slot the car seat into the base and off you go? This is a definite good buy and I cannot fault it for safety or ease of use at all. It's title 'easy fix' is definitely spot on.
Little B has got so many toys that we could open a toy shop with them all! There seems to be toys for all occasions- bedtime, car journies, out and about, creative toys and also these toys- highchair toys.
The idea of a highchair toy is that it keeps your baby entertained whilst in the highchair and if you know anything about babies you will know that toys tend to get thrown around which is why the highchair toy is different- the highchair toy sticks to the tray of the chair so it can't be thrown (in principle anyway!)
Lamaze make a variety of toys and we have several of them. They always appear to be very colourful and friendly looking and this high chair bug is certainly no different!
This bug is very colourful indeed! He is a little bit like a caterpillar insofar as he has different round segments that make up his body and each of these segments are different colours. The top segment is the caterpillars face and is lime green with big black eyes and a big black smile. At the top of this head are little yellow antennae. The next segment is see-through blue with little multicoloured beads inside which shake around when the bug moves. THe middle section is red and has a ring around it with brightly coloured beads that can be moved around. The next segment is plain purple and the bottom one is orange with blue circles. The base of this bug is bright yellow.
So as you can tell this bug certainly is very bright! I think this is what made it stand out for us and made Mrs B buy it, as bright colours are very important for babies so that they can focus and recognise the difference in colours. It certainly caught Little B's attention when we bought it and now that she is bigger she is learning what the different colours are and is beginning to name them.
The bug fixes to the highchair with a large suction pad on the base of the bug. This is able to be pulled off by making air get underneath it which is done by lifting it off using the little tab which is on the side of the base. It sounds complicated but trust me it certainly isn't as even Little B could pull this off the highchair within about 60 seconds when she was just 7 months old!
WHen you stick it to the highchair it does actually stick very well and securely. The bug can then be bent back and forth without falling off. The body is designed to bend and then wobble back into the upright position which creates lots of fun! When your baby is playing with this and actually enjoying pulling it back and forth then it works very well but if your baby decides that they just want to pull the toy off then there will be no stopping them!
So yes this bug does stick to the hair high tray but it is easy to pull off and throw onto the floor making it rather like any other toy that your child can have.
This bug doesn't claim to be all singing all dancing but I do think that as well as entertaining and providing something colourful and friendly for a little one to look at it also does educate too. It helps your baby to develop their sense of touch and hand-eye coordination because the beads can be moved around the ring which helps to develop these skills. It is also educational for your baby to realise cause and effect- as they pull the bug and let go it snaps back into upright position.
Now that my daughter is talking this bug is educational insofar as it teaches her about colours and patterns. She is beginning to be able to name the different coloured segments and to be able to point to the spotty ones and knows what the beads do and how they can be moved.
This is a very bright and colourful toy that will grab your little one's attention. Young children like colourful items and this certainly is that! The smiley face makes this bug very appealing and friendly looking and it very different. I have come across a few highchair toys before but I haven't come across one which is like this so I do like it.
I don't think this toy does a great deal- it doesn't light up, it doesn't play music and it isn't all different textures but I don't think that's important, I think sometimes it is more simple toys that have a better effect on a child. This toy is entertaining for your child to pull back and forth, to move the beads around, to shake like a rattle and to learn about colours.
The fact that it sticks on the highchair is great but I wouldn't fool you into buying it thinking that it will just stay on the highchair tray because once your baby has mastered how to pull it off then they will keep doing this and you will end up keep picking it back up off the floor. We are yet to come across a toy which actually does stay on the highchair like it claims it does!
This toy cost us around £7 from John Lewis and although it doesn't do a great deal I do think that it is good value for money because it is very durable as it is made from plastic so it withstands being thrown around and is easy to clean which is obviously important because it usually is around during feeding times! We have had this toy for nearly 18 months now and it is still played with and provides lots of fun and smiles so for £7 I do think it is good value for money.
4 stars because it does easily come off the highchair once you know how!
The most hyped game of 2013? The most anticipated since it was leaked undercover in 2011 and via mainstream in 2012? The swansong for the PlayStation 3 and of that generation (before the PlayStation 4 came)?
In my eyes; yes to all of the above. Whilst some raved and waited for a long time for Grand Theft Auto V, the breakthrough in games for me was this game by a long way. Yes, GTAV was very good and did go very in-depth into how to develop a game...but the story was nothing new (sorry, but it didn't break boundaries, regardless of how good it is). This, however, defined post-apocalyptic survival horror whilst pushing the boundaries of story telling in the genre.
Short synopsis of the game
The Last of Us takes place in the United States, twenty years after a fungal spore-based infection rapidly spread across the globe, wiping out a vast majority of the population by warping its hosts. The remnants of the world's population has been reduced to either struggling survivors or ravenous infected mutants.
The fungal infection that the game works around is based off of a real fungus called Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis. In real life, the fungus infects small insects, such as ants, and it feeds off of the tissue of the insect until the insect is ready to die. It then tells the insect's brain to go to a comfortable spot, die, and then the fungus sprouts out of the carcass of the insect and releases its spores into the air. The game loosely works on this concept...I don't think there would be much enjoyment of trying to avoid dead bodies which don't move or do nothing...so they have it so that the fungus works on the brain so that it can spread itself whilst it still has control of the host via biting! I like a bit of thought behind the process rather than the stereotypical "super virus turns us into zombies".
Within the review, I do not want to go into the story too much, how to play, what to do, who is who (apart from the main 2 characters) or anything specific to playing. Why? Because, if you haven't played the game, you will regret it. I managed to avoid nearly everything about this game for about 2 months (due to a backlog of games) and found the sensation of playing much more immersive.
You take control of Joel, a mid-40's ruthless survivor who has had a troubled life. You are tasked to do one thing and to complete one ultimate task within the game. That task you will find out for yourself. One thing you are through is skilled. You have been fighting the infected and those who want to do you harm for 20 years...and you have to put all of your skills to the test throughout your journey.
Ellie is second main character within the game. Their paths cross early on and the intertwined journey for the two main characters in the game gets more complex and emotional as your progress!
Your infected enemies
I'll cover this area as you will see the levels of enemy you will see...without giving too much away.
The infection within the game has certain 'severities' on the host based on how long they have been infected.
- Runners are your new infected. You'll encounter many of these, usually in packs. They will run at you, arms flailing and teeth gnashing. Their attacks are wild and aim to cause as much destruction as possible; a sign that their brain is still trying to stay as human as possible and fight the infection.
- Stalkers are the next level up; those who have been infected for longer and have clear growths on their head. They are quicker than runners and have been infected long enough to know their abilities and environment; making them a much more deadly foe. They will flank their prey and alert others to your presence. You don't see many of these so the theory is that the infection progression from Runner to the level after Stalker is a relatively short one as you will next become...
- ... a Clicker. In my opinion, the scariest enemy you come across not just in this game...but in quite a few. The infection has taken such a hold that the fungal growths now have taken over their head. I'm stopping here because you will find out about how to deal with these guys yourself...and that is part of the fun!
- A Bloater is the last level of infection. Again, limited information but they are big and strong! You only encounter 7 within the game...but those are the toughest battles, especially on the harder difficulties as you do not have much ammo.
You do encounter other enemies within the game, such as those also fighting to survive, but the above are those who you could turn into if you get infected!
As I've said, I really don't want to give too much away. But everything within this game is extremely well thought out. You crouch near a wall, Ellie huddles in near you under your arm. You want to listen near a corner; you pad your arms towards the edge and listen...no poking out; you keep yourself concealed. You shoot an enemy, the react to where you shot them. The developers (Naughty Dog) have produced excellent games before and their abilities to progress on this (more exemplary in the Uncharted series) is evident here. Reactions to everything (weather, enemies, friends, the environment) make you feel more immersed. The fighting, killing and deaths are very brutal though so not for the squeamish.
Why it has taken a developer for a game on the PlayStation 3 to produce on of the most beautiful games just 7 months the next generation is released baffles me. In more than one sense too. Firstly, for the obvious one; why create something this good this late in the generations life cycle? To keep sales high or because you want to spend as much time as possible getting it this good? Secondly, it shows there is still a huge amount of life left in the PlayStation 3. It shows developers that there is still a lot of scope for you to push the machine as far as possible
I've played this game on 2 televisions; the first a 6 year old 37" LCD Toshiba TV with a 100hz output and It looked great on this. The second was a brand new (5 months since manufacture) 40" LED Samsung with 200hz output. The quality seemed to improve dramatically; blacks were blacker, depths of shade were deeper, lighting effects looked more realistic, depth pitch was more realistic...it amazed me the difference this made. Whilst I won't say "go out and buy a new TV now", the difference I noticed was significant. Testament to the games developers (as I could appreciate their efforts more) and the progression in television technology!
More key in this game than most for various reasons. There is a lack of music (intended in development) as it adds to the tension. This leaves a lot of audio space to fill...but it is easily by the environment.
As you sit there now, what can you hear? The plane in the sky? The heating warming your house? The dog sat in the corner dreaming? All of that is gone and is replaced with an atmosphere of extreme tension...the screams of those tortured by infection, the flitter of birds trapped in the next room, the sound of the branches you are standing on, the sound of a bat hitting someone around the head...you get the picture!
Each playthrough can last between 14 and 20 hours depending on how much you want to look at everything. It's a fairly good length for a single player campaign and the difficulty settings are very accurate. For any gamer who has played a 3rd person game person, do not choose easy! Normal is a great experience to start with. However, I don't think you'll play this just the once after your first go! I've started my second go-through on the second hardest difficulty and the challenge it possesses makes the want and need to survive more more of a feat! When you complete the game, you get a '+' mode which allows you to work at the same difficulty but with a few tweaks; less ammo, less equipment, slightly tougher enemies. This is good is you don't want to commit to the next level.
Then there is the multiplayer. I've played a couple of hours of this...but it adds to the game immensely. You put your wits against another 'Faction' to try and defeat them, take their supplies and grow your group.
I'll apologise now if it not the review you want. I could tell you everything about the game from who is who, who dies when, how someone does something, etc, etc. But it would spoil it immensely. To know this is Game of the Year with many gaming websites is a good started. To know it is mooted as the game of the generation should tell you that you should have no doubts about playing this. The game has held a very good value; retailing for around £30 to £35 upon release and still holding around £20 about 8 months later. This shows the competence it still has to hold a place in the market.
Metacritic (a reputable site which is deemed one of the better review sites) gives the game 95/100. It does gives GTA5 97/100. Those two points are significant when it comes to saying 'is this the best game ever'. IGN (based on editors and user reviews) gives them 9.8 and 9.75 respectively...it does show how close the contest is!
I personally think Metacritic do get things wrong once every now and again...
Both of our children have dodgy skin. You put anything in their bath and our little girl's eczema flares up and our little boy's skin condition will suddenly appear and won't go away for months. We have tried all sorts and we have found some which seem to help a little but the majority make their skin very sore especially products you would expect to be gentle like Johnson's but that always makes it awful. We tried this recently because it is known as a 'green' product and we hoped it would help... it does!
This is a bath cream with all natural ingredients and designed to make for a calming bath experience. Have you ever tried bathing a 2 year old and 4 year old? It's always far from calming let me tell you but I do think that there is something in what they say and that perhaps they do feel more settled and sleep well after a bath with this in.
It doesn't contain loads of ingredients. Sometimes when you look at ingredients on shampoos and bath products there label is packed full of weird sounding works but this isn't too extreme. The ingredients are: Water (Aqua), Prunis Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Alcohol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Oleate, Calendula Officinalis Extract, Sodium Beeswax, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Limonene*, Linalool*. * from natural essential oils.
We put this in the bath with the children to help their skin. We find if they bathe in just plain water their skin can become dry very quickly but we have found if we use many other brands of bath product that it will cause various skin problems to occur as they both have very sensitive skin so it's been a bit of an ongoing battle over the years to keep on top of their skin. This product helps to soothe babies' skin and to help them to maintain the natural moisture as well as cleanses it gently. It all sounds very good so we were eager to try it, so eager to try anything that wouldn't result in us having to lather them both in loads of aqueous cream afterwards and have to take another trip to the doctors for more steroid cream for them.
This... works! We put a squirt in the bath whilst it is running. It seems to turn the water a little milky but it doesn't create bubbles. We try to froth it up a bit to make them excited as they love bubbles and it creates a very thin film but this is not a bubble bath at all. We try to make it seem more exciting by showing them how the water looks a little milky when this is in but there is no denying they'd rather have bubble bath!
It seems very gentle on the skin, doesn't effect our little boy if he has nappy rash whereas sometimes he will wince in the bath, this doesn't seem to effect him at all. After the bath we dry them well and they do feel like they have softer skin although on our little boy's really coarse arms it's hard to tell but i think since we've been using this his arms have improved some what and I hope if we continue to use it that in a few months we'll see even more progress.
I do think this works and I do think they settle faster at night when they've had a bath so maybe the various oils within it have worked at helping calm them.
I'm so glad we bought this and I know we'll be buying more of it.
We bought this parasol when our baby was little and the sun kept going in his eyes. We had a maxi cosi car seat and that has a little sun viser but it still kept managing to get in his eyes as it didn't come down enough. We bought this from John Lewis for £25. I have seen them since in Mothercare for about £20. You can buy them in a variety of different colours some of which have patterns on too so they look more like fashion accessories rather than a practical product but the Mrs likes these things and was swayed by this silver-grey one which would match the colour of the Maxi Cosi car seat we had and then be fine for the SilverCross push chair.
It attaches to the frame of the pushchair using a clamp. This is easy enough, you simply put it around the frame and then make the clamp tight so that it stays in position. Both myself and the mrs could do this no problem so that's good. It has quite a short pole from the clamp to the umbrella but that is all you need as otherwise it would be too long and could get in your way.
It is then for you to angle it so that it protects your child. This is fine if you go for a picnic and are sitting in one position not moving so you can angle it and the shadow falls on your little one in the pushchair or car seat. It's easy to angle as it has a lot of flexibility in it and it is quite stiff so it's not likely to suddenly slip out of the position you have put it in. The problem comes when you want to walk somewhere. Every time you turn a corner or change direction ever so slightly the position that the sun is falling changes slightly so you need to adjust the umbrella. Even when we tried to get the umbrella as close to the pushchair as we could so it had a larger surface area of shadow on our baby it still would manage to let sun in whenever we'd turn a corner. We spent the majority of a walk stopping, adjusting, carrying on, stopping, adjusting... it was very frustrating. It also could be quite cumbersome too if we found a good angle for it but that meant the umbrella was sticking out somewhat so that it was a bit of a hazard, I have lost count the number of times we have scraped it against a wall or a shop door and then it's been bent back into a different position!
Eventually we stopped using it as it was far too frustrating and wasn't worth the effort. Our baby grew used to sun being around, whereas when this was on he would enjoy the shade then scream every time the angle changed. Now he accepts it much better!
I don't know how this can be improved as it's just the nature of what happens with the sun so I suppose the umbrella isn't the answer unless you are staying still on a beach or something. A proper sun screen viser type thing would be more effective in my opinion. Definitely not worth the £25 we paid for it which is a shame.
The Mrs has several hair dryers, one that she uses for her own hair, one she uses for her art work and another that is for the kids. This one she actually bought to use for the kids' hair and I think it's the best despite being so cheap.
This hair dryer cost just £18 and compared to the £40 one which the Mrs has for herself I think this is actually just as good if not better.
It is light weight so great because when I'm blow drying Little B's hair it can take a while as it's getting long! It also means that Little B can start trying to dry her own hair, it is quite a big machine but because it's light weight she can lift it quite well. She can't dry her hair properly yet but this is a good start.
It comes with a funnel thing you can clip on, this helps to direct the air in a certain direction that can help with styling but we don't bother with this, one because the kids like to try and just take it off anyway and two because we don't really need to style the kids' hair! But I guess if you have a specific style then it is useful to have.
It has 2 speed settings. We always use the fastest one as I don't really see the point of the slow one. Perhaps it is a little quieter so may not scare the children as much and if you have all the time in the world maybe you can have it on slow but for us it's fast all the time! There are three heat settings, we tend to use the medium one for the children as it's a good temperature for their delicate skin.
The lead on it is only short which is not ideal. Luckily the children will sit on the floor by the plug but it's definitely not as long as you would expect. If you don't have a plug by your dressing table then this is definitely not a product for you which is a shame, I never understand why they don't come with longer leads.
Another little problem is that the hairdryer becomes very hot quite quickly so you have to be careful not to touch various parts of it or to let the children near it. It also cuts out after a certain time too. I think this is a safety feature but it's very frustrating having to wait a few minutes for it to cool down so you can put it on again. This is one reason why we have it on the medium heat setting so we don't have it over heating.
Having said that it is a good hairdryer. It works quite quickly and I think that's because of the wattage.
So it's good if you want something light weight, it's not good if you want something compact. For £18 I think it's pretty decent!