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My little one got this cutest ever suitcase as a present for Christening. Being just 9 months old, I thought it was a bit early, but at the same time I couldn´t wait to try it out, so we took it to the airport at the first opportunity, and as our holiday involved constant travelling between two sets of grandparents, I used it as my son´s overnight bag, too.
Opening the package/design:
How exciting, colourful, sturdy, amazing little suitcase, I´m thinking why, oh why, there was no Trunki when I was a child.
Packaging involved a brochure, couple leaflets, suitcase with paper sleeve and a suitcase with a strap hidden inside. The suitcase is lovely bright blue colour, combined with green and orange. Very unisex, I think, very eye-catching and very cute. The idea is that child can pull his own suitcase, and when tired, he can sit on it and ride it, or let the parent pull. Also, the strap can be used for carrying the case on the shoulder (there are handles for carrying in hand too), and apparently it can be used as a Teddy seatbelt, too. It also has a card with child´s details on.
There are two plastic orange clips on the sides that hold the Trunki closed - more on these in Packing section. They can be "locked" using the "key" attached to the strap.
Packing (and unpacking):
Suitcase is opened by loosening two clips at the sides and flipping it open. So good so far. Open suitcase has two halves to be filled in with toys, clothes and baby food and a fabric pocket at the bottom, for which I have not found practical use yet. First impression - much more spacious than expected. The problem is, only one half has the elastic straps that connect in the middle and hold the belongings in - but you need to fill in both halves, or "overfill" one half and leave another one empty so that it all spreads within the case when closed (but then you can´t use the elastics, can you?). But when you overdo it and pack too much, you may be able to use pressure, squeeze it in and close it up, but then, as catches are only holding it closed at sides, you find the gap in the middle on the top of the case! It took me a few packings and unpackings to get a grip of this, and find the right amount of stuff that I can put in. I have not yet found the grip of unpacking without having loose stuff falling out of the suitcase.
Haven´t tried this yet to its full extent. We sat our 9 months old on it and wheeled him around the room, we also let a 18 month old cousin try riding on it, but he still didn´t reach the floor. However I love the idea and can´t wait for my son to give it a proper go. The Trunki suitcase is supposed to be used by those 3 years old and more, so it will be a while...
It´s all about cuteness for me in this case. It looks so lovely, that even though it´s a complete nightmare to be used as a usefull piece of baggage, I will rather let my baby have a toy or two in it and wheel it around than take a proper ugly (or not as beautiful, at least) adult piece of luggage in place of Trunki.
Before our little one was born, we decided for one of the safest car seats available - Maxi Cosi Cabriofix, and were kind of tricked into purchase of a base for it by quite a few of our friends who all swore by it and were saying it's a must-have if we tend to drive a lot. The idea is that you keep the base installed in your car, so when you need to leave you just attach car seat with the baby without losing time with seat belts. So, is it really worth it?
Well, let's start with plus points:
- it's very robust, heavy weight item that attaches to a car seat using car seat belts or Isofix anchor point. Mounting is really quick and easy. Even though we were told having a car seat with and without base, and having it fixed by belt or Isofix are all equally safe, I must say my strong preference is base fixed with Isofix. It just feels better...
- Cabriofix (or Pebble, but this I have not tried) car seat attaches very easily, it literally just clicks on, hence fit for the purpose as it saves time I would otherwise be fiddling with seat belt. There are markers on each side of the base - they are red, but change colour to green once car seat is securely attached. Detaching the car seat is, well, easy in theory - there is a plastic lever that requires pulling, however you need to lift the car seat at the same time. Counting on weight of the car seat + weight of the baby, let's say it's an advantage if you need to lose some baby weight :)
And now the disadvantages
- firstly, the position of the car seat in the base is fixed. If you're only fixing car seat in the car using seat belt, you can pretty much choose the angle your baby stays in. With the base it's not possible, and the angle is quite steep. My baby doesn't really mind, but he's just 3 months old so he may find it uncomfortable a bit later...
- the price, a huge minus! It retails at approx. £100-120, just as much as the car seat itself!
- if you don't always drive with a baby, but often take passengers, the base takes space in the car. Sure, it can be removed, but it then takes time and also space in the boot.
I'm glad I have it, but I don't consider it a must-have, definitely not at this price. We spent few weeks driving on holidays without a base, and after few days I mastered the technique of securing the car seat by belts only so that it only took me few seconds more than clicking it on to the base.
"The World's Toughest Water Bottle" - that's the slogan Swiss company Sigg uses to promote their fantastic aluminum bottles. Company was founded more than 100 years ago and has always prided itself with outstanding quality water bottles, which are Eco-friendly and fully recyclable.
There are so many light plastic water bottles on the market, as well as an easy option to use a plastic bottle from a soft drink - so why the hell would someone be willing to spend as much as £15-£25 for a bottle? For me it was Safety first - everyone knows (or should know!) PET and most of the other types of plastics leach chemicals to its contents. If you use PET bottle from a soft drink, it even says on the packaging that it should not be reused. Sigg bottles are aluminum with a unique baked-on leach-proof liner that ensures absolute safety. If you look inside a Sigg bottle it is beige/light golden color which I find handy when cleaning a bottle - with good light you can see inside the bottle and check it's properly cleaned. I find this a problem with some other bottles that are just dark inside and you have to rely on long scrubbing...apparently it's not to be washed in dishwasher, but not knowing this I did it quite often and didn't notice any leaking, cracks or any other damage.
It is also just as light as a plastic bottle so you're not carrying any extra weight.
I don't really like over-sweetened soft drink, and in my Sigg bottle I can easily carry a lightly diluted cordial or squash.
The other point is the style - such bottle can be a fashionable piece. There are hundreds of styles available, however I prefer classic and have chosen this simple silver bottle with Swiss cross symbol, called Swiss Quality. As it turned out, it wasn't the best choice ever - after several months the silver surface became kind of water-stained. I'm not sure what it is as it doesn't feel rough as limestone, and I cannot clean it even with vinegar. It just looks old-ish. I know this is not the case with other styles as I have another bottle and this is just fine.
This bottle is a handy 0.6l (you can get Sigg bottles in 0.4l and 0.6l but no 0.5l as you would expect). The screw on top has a loop that allows easy carrying for hikers, joggers etc. I just carry it round in my handbag, but know from friends that give it some heavy-duty usage, that it can get dented when dropped on a rock etc. However that doesn't affect usage at all, only it doesn't look that sleek anymore. The opening is wide enough for comfortable drinking and pouring but not too wide. The only other down point is that you cannot really use it for hot drinks. Well, you can, but it's not a Thermos and aluminum really gets hot fast!
As mentioned before, these bottles are really expensive. It can be purchased from different websites for anything between £10-£25, on Sigg UK and Amazon I have seen it for just below £15. I can't remember how much exactly I paid, but it was in this region. I don't regret it at all, but fortunately I won't have to spend this much again as, first of all, they are so long lasting the two bottles I have will last for years and, secondly, if you're not picky about the style they occasionally stock Sigg bottles in TK Maxx for few pounds!
Sigg bottles as such definitely have 5* out of 5 for me, however I'm taking one star off for issues with this particular design.
Since my baby boy was just few weeks old, in the morning after he wakes up, surprisingly I'm allowed to go to the bathroom, have quick shower, drink my coffee and sometimes even have a breakfast. Yes, my baby is just great, but something tells me mobile above his cot has something to do with it...
We received this mobile in post as a gift from my son's Godmother, she ordered online and had it shipped to our address. It arrived in two days with a gift receipt, adequately packed and looking fab! The box contained a mobile, batteries and brochure. Batteries last very long - three months of almost daily use and they are still good. I never got to read the brochure as the thing is very straight forward. Mobile was put together in seconds - robust plastic base attaches to the cot using a huge plastic screw, and mobile just slides into its place - once you hear a "click", that's it. There is an extra protection screw that screws to the middle of the rotating part, but not sure what it's for as it's perfectly secure without it, too. There is a quick-remove button that relieves the mobile from its base so if you need space it can be removed and/or put back on extremely fast.
On the base, there are three colorful buttons with different melodies - Bach, Mozart and Nature. All three are very soft, lullaby-like, and change between the "songs" is very smooth. The Nature part is a soft melody with birds singing in the background. After three months of daily use, I am not annoyed to listen to it at all, and neither is my son. If you don't choose the melody by pressing a button, they just play in round for 20 minutes, then the mobile stops.
There is also a night light - a blue circle with a white horse in it, the blue part shines. It's a very soft light and in the evening with lights off, this light alone cannot be used for the baby to see the mobile, it's just not enough.
There are three stuffed animals on the mobile - a horse, a bunny and a bird. Each in connected to a plastic cone and there are plastic bits on the arms. As they are in angle, the cones move to shake the animals a bit for more movement, and plastic bits move, too making a repetitive sound that makes even parents sleepy :) The whole thing is very bright and colorful, but I don't see one color to be used more then others, which makes it perfectly suitable for both baby boys and baby girls.
The mobile can be on with or without music, and with or without light. However you cannot use music-only or light-only without mobile moving.
Price-wise it's on the more expensive end, costing £39.99 in Mothercare, at the time of writing this review it's, however, on sale for £27.99. I think this makes a perfect gift for a new baby and worth every penny. My son loves it since only few weeks old, and as he grows older he tries to speak (well, mumble) to the animals and it's pleasure to watch him.
As my little one has a tongue tie, soon after giving birth I had to start expressing to feed him if I didn't want to switch to formula. I read some online reviews and listened to friend's advice and I decided for Medela Swing as this seems to be the best option on the market for not astronomic price.
What you get
Medela Swing electric pump - yellow, sturdy plastic, simple and quite heavy (not uncomfortably though). It has four rubber buttons - start button, expressing button, and + and - for power setting. You're supposed to start with "On" that starts with nipple stimulation, then when milk starts to flow you switch to expressing and set the power to comfortable level. The two-phase system works just as baby would - first short faster sucks, then slower and longer ones. It does work amazingly and makes the expressing fast and efficient.
The pump connects to bottle with screwed on valve and funnel-like breastshield via tubing. Breastshield is 24mm size - Medela claim this is size M and was ok for me, but some may need to purchase additional sizes. All parts are easily cleaned with hot water, they need to be sterilized once a day. Do not sterilize the tubing as it will melt (as I found out quickly replacement ones are easily available from ebay though).
There is a replacement rubber membrane for the valve although I didn't find out what it may be needed for yet.
There is also a fabric bag to carry your pump in when needed. Pump also has a clip at the back to attach it to the belt, etc. so it seems to be quite handy on the go, but I didn't try that yet.
Setting up is fast and easy, tubing is long enough for pump to be allowed to sit on a table while you sit with bottle in your hand. It can be used using electric adapter, or 4 AA batteries. Batteries don't last very long though, I had to replace them after not even 2 weeks of regular use. Once set up, it takes me about half an hour to express both breasts. Afterwards all I need to do is unscrew the valve, close the bottle and store in fridge (or serve immediately).
At the moment, box from Mothercare also includes Medela Calma Solitaire teat, which simulates breastfeeding (baby must suck properly creating vacuum to get milk out). I found it good at the beginning but later had to switch to different teats as it started leaking too fast somehow (perhaps my baby sucks too hard, not sure).
The box normally retails for £129.99 but is currently on sale for £99.99 in Mothercare. Considering the Calma teat included (about £12 on its own) I find it really good value. Full price is a bit expensive considering current market with breast pumps, but for me still worth it. The pump works perfectly for me, always expresses properly, is comfortable, quiet and all in all meets all my needs. 5 stars.
As my motherhood progresses into second week, it is safe to say most my plans what I will and won't do and allow fell apart. One of them was not using wet wipes, due to amount of chemicals they contain, however I had a few sample packs and they proved to be so incredibly handy I couldn't resist. When I ran out, I didn't want to buy any more but came across Sainsbury's Basic Baby wipes - 80 wipes for only 57p. It wasn't only the price that made me buy them, but mainly list of ingredients - not at all organic, safe or healthy, but with only 6 ingredients they could almost compete with some Organic versions (my rule: less ingredients = simpler products = generally better than fancy versions).
These wipes come in standard Sainsbury's Basic plastic film packaging - white and orange, with all the basic information written at the back. Packaging is not recyclable. At front there is simple resealable sticker opening through which wipes are pulled out. I find the sticker flap sticky enough, too - there's no need to store the pack bottom up to prevent the flat from opening.
Wipes are both strong and large enough, not flimsy as I would expect from cheap own brand item. They don't tear, or stick together when pulling out, which is always a plus. They have quite a strong perfume-y scent to them, I don't particularly mind but it's really not needed on wipes.
On the other side I must list a few minuses - the worst one being, they are very, very dry - perhaps ok to wipe my little one after a mild pee but certainly not enough for proper clean, so they are pretty much unable to serve their purpose. Almost just as bad is the fact they dry my hands very much - what must they do to baby skin then?! (for record, I stopped using them on baby as soon as I noticed).
All in all - good enough for household cleaning, perhaps for adults on the go to wash hands etc, but I don't find them handy nor safe to use on baby skin, especially due to the being very drying. I will not buy again, and perhaps this will be a lesson for me I should stick to my original plans containing flannels, warm water and drop of tea tree oil.
As much as I'm trying to live healthier than before, I struggle when it comes to sweets. I have sweet tooth, and can't get rid of the habit whatever I do. All I can try for is find healthier alternatives. Somewhere among cane sugar, manuka honey and stevia plants I came across organic agave syrup.
Agave syrup is supposed to be a low energy sweetener that's made of agave plants - same stuff that's used to make tequila and is native to Mexico. The syrup is also made in Mexico, so buying this definitely won't lower your carbon footprint. It has quite neutral syrupy (almost caramel-y) taste which I find great for sweetening tea and coffee (dissolves faster than sugar), although it can also be used for making cold drinks, or for baking.
I got a 250ml plastic squeezable bottle of Biona Agave Syrup from my local health shop for about £4. Prices differ rapidly in online stores, starting from only £2, so it's worth shopping around a bit. I find it less sweet than cane sugar, and with sweetening approx. 1 mug of tea a day, this bottle lasted me for about 10 days. I think it's ok for change - to try something new, and I think I will perhaps buy it again some day, but for the price it's not worth switching completely.
After using up a bottle, I also found a few discussions online commenting on agave syrup being a scam - I consider myself "undecided" in the matter - perhaps not as healthy and low-energy as promoted, but I'm quite sure it's still better than refined white sugar. I would suggest doing a bit of research before buying for the first time to avoid disappointment, though.
For years I have been wearing continuous wear contact lenses, and never even considered any other kind as these suit me so well. However, couple months ago I forgot to pack a replacement pair when going on holidays and ended up running around local opticians looking for someone willing to help (glasses are not an option - they make me sick). No one seem to have stocked my continuous wear kind, and, most of them weren't even willing to help without me having a prescription from local doctor :/ Anyway, after a while I found a kind optician who offered a box of 1-day lenses if I tell him exact power I need. Hallelujah! I was saved!
Above story gives you an idea I was "given" a box of lenses rather then being able to try and/or choose myself. Luckily, the optician was not an idiot and gave me 1-day Acuvue TruEye that apparently rarely cause any irritation. There were 30 lenses, each packed separately in a blister with solution, and all packed together in light-blue cardboard box. No leaflet, no instructions, just very brief information about content - like "Manufactured in Ireland", "daily wear single use only", etc. The packaging says lenses have UV block, too, which is always a plus. I presume lack of information has something to do with fact you are supposed to consult a professional before use...of course once you know how to use them extra information is just not needed anyway.
The lenses are clear. I'm used to tinted version for better handling but found it easy to find the lens in the solution so no problem. They were a bit harder to handle than my usual ones, I found them softer and thinner, but eventually I put them on ok (as they are only supposed to last a day, I presume this is normal for daylies). They indeed caused no irritation and were quite comfortable to wear, I had no problems whatsoever and thankfully the rest of my holiday was saved.
What I did find difficult was the fact in continuous wear you can do all the daily routine stuff without disruption - washing your face and showering, swimming, sleeping. It was very hard for me to remember to take them out every time (ok, honestly, I didn't - I didn't have solution anyway so I was just trying to be careful). Once I even fell asleep with them in, fortunately not for very long - and no damage done. I take this as a proof they are indeed very mild, I would expect my eyes to be quite irritated back then.
Cost-wise, I remember paying about EUR 30 for the box, and see it's about correct as I can find them online in the UK for between £25-£30 for a box of 30. I presume, as all lenses I'm aware of, they will be quite a bit more expensive at high street optician's. These are definitely great "emergency" lenses for monthly-wearers, or for people who don't wear contacts every day, but I'll definitely stick with my monthlies...
We have been using Andrex toilet paper for quite a few months now, mainly because where we normally shop (Waitrose or ocado website) they always tend to be on promotion (mostly two 9-packs for £7.50, currently three for £10.50). Plus, it feels good not always to buy from Value range.
We have tried most of the varieties, my favorites being Pink Blossom and Natural Pebble - plain (no pattern), unscented, soft, colored versions. They come as 9-pack in plastic wrapper with picture of famous Andrex puppy (oh, so cute) and "soft, strong & very long" promise. Packaging is fully recyclable, there is no information about actual toilet paper being made from recycled material (which is a bit of shame), however "responsible sources" are mentioned.
So, is it worth paying for luxury?
Well, not really. I'm too lazy to go to a different supermarket just to pick up different toilet paper, and in mine these are usually the best value, that's why I continue buying them. They are very soft, I agree, they don't tear when you don't want them to and I like the colors, but I have used some "value range" tissues that were just as good (Morrison's, for example). Having said that, they are definitely better than cheapy-cheap Asda or Tesco ones.
Andrex has also one more Plus point, just in case I was thinking about switching - Puppy points. There is a code inside each pack that you enter on Andrex website - you need to register to be able to collect points, and once you have enough you can swap them for goodies - these range from discount vouchers, toys, books, to socks and VERY cute pair of Puppy slippers I'm trying to save for.
At the moment, as Andrex are celebrating 40-year anniversary, with each pack you can also buy Puppy toy for just £3.99, 50p of which will be given to charity training guide dogs. Nice gesture, I think.
Well, I like Andrex and most likely will continue buying this brand (at least until I have the Puppy slippers at home). However, at full price, or considering more pricey 4-pack option, I wouldn't bother - quality-wise this is not what I call premium, or luxury toilet paper. Four stars - one of which is purely for Puppy points.
I normally wear continuous wear contacts so don't use solutions, however I do need to have a bottle at home and in the office for those emergency cases when I need to handle the lenses, or my eyes just need a bit of break. As I generally don't go through the full bottle in 3-6 months use by period most solutions have, a Value solution is what I buy and what normally suffice just well.
Tesco All-In-One contact lens solution is a great example of such value solution, at £4.70 for 250ml bottle being approx. half price to compare with "proper" branded solutions like Renu or Bausch & Lomb. I'm not really sure why "All-in-one" though - what "All"? It comes in a simple white plastic bottle with screw on top and a simple sticker that gives all the information you need - how to use and store, warnings, ingredients (usual disodium edetate, 0.0002% polyhexanide, sodium hyaluronate, in isotonic buffered solution). Bottle is packaged in a cardboard box that also contains a leaflet, but all info needed is on the bottle so you can comfortably dispose of these without losing anything important. There is also a contact lens holder - dark blue and white, simple, plastic, perfectly useful. A use by period is 3 months, although I normally have it opened a bit longer and can't see it having any bad effect on my eyes or lenses.
Solution is suitable to use for hard and soft contact lenses, including silicone hydrogel (continuous wear) ones. Tiny opening allows to dose the liquid comfortably without spillage and effectively I cannot see the solution being any different from more expensive ones, so having used this, I don't see the point in buying branded stuff in this case. It cleans and disinfects the lenses effectively and without hassle and doesn't cause any irritation, so it really is a good value product.
As mentioned in my previous reviews, I'm a bit of an organic/eco/natural freak and like to have as little chemicals and plastic around me as possible (without compromising on hygiene and going bankrupt at the same time). Furthermore, my husband is very, very sensitive to most smells and scents, natural or not - he sneezes from anything other that fresh air with very few exceptions. Neither of us can use conventional perfumes and deodorants on daily basis, however thanks to this little miracle that doesn't mean we're filthy smelly people nobody likes :)
Salt of the Earth is a natural crystal deodorant - it's basically a piece of Potassium Alum - a natural mineral salt, shaped into cylinder with no sharp edges, so that it feels like a roll-on. It doesn't contain any other ingredients and is unscented and therefore unisex. The piece of salty mineral is fitted into a recyclable hard clear plastic container with a screw-on top. There is a sticker with logo, information about ingretient, how to use information and a "caution - do not use on broken skin" sign (well, it would literally be rubbing a salt into a wound). It comes in Original (90g for £4.60 from Crystal Spring website), and Travel size (50g for £2.55) - to be honest I find Travel size absolutely sufficient, as you use very, very little each time.
So, after having a shower, you're supposed to rub the crystal on your wet armpits. Alternatively (and more practically, I think) you can just wet the crystal and rub on dry armpits when needed. It is best to dry the crystal afterwards, as manufacturer claims it will last longer this way. My husband doesn't dry it though and it's still almost whole after over 6 months of daily use (basically, each time the amount you use is the amount of salt that dissolves in the water when you wet it, so next to none).
And now the best part - skeptic as you may be, this actually works 100%! It's not antiperspirant - it doesn't block your pores so that you don't sweat at all. It's a deodorant - the salt neutralizes smell-causing bacteria in the sweat. However (this may be psychological) apart from not smelling, I think I do sweat less when using this...
If you can't, or don't want to use conventional antiperspirants and/or deodorants for any reasons, Salt of the Earth is the way to go. It's convenient, cheap, and effective. 5* for me.
Let me start with a quick note - I'm (obviously) a woman, and so this review will be written from woman's perspective, please don't stone me for not stating all the technical details, if I didn't mention them, that means I don't really care about them. We have owned a 3D TV for some months, however we were putting off buying a Blu Ray Player for a while, waiting for a good promotion as we were in no hurry. We were very pleased to find this Toshiba 3D Blu Ray Player in Comet for about £70, even though it normally retails for up to £150. Comparing to other machines in the same price range, this was a no brainer.
Main feature is obviously 3D capability. Then there is a BD-Live (with description "access additional interactive content and bonus features from the internet via ethernet port and USB drive) - well, we have internet TV so we never really tried this, but if you cannot connect to the internet via your TV it is a handy feature. It has a USB port at front, so can be connected directly to PC or USB device. It is also 1080P full HD, plays DIVX files in HD, supports Dolby and Master Audio Essential, so has good sound processing, and is Java powered.
It comes packaged in a cardboard box with picture of the Player, all these markings for different features (as above, plus more) that, unless you're a fan, you need to find out what they mean (apart from few basic ones of course). Inside, there is a DVD player, brochure and a remote control - that's it. The box weighs 2.2kgs.
The Blu Ray Player has sleek shiny black design, with flat top (which I appreciate as we have a set top box sitting on the top). At front, there is (from left to right) a Toshiba logo, DVD/Blu Ray slot, small simple display, USB port and a few basic control buttons (eject, play, stop and Off). I really like the basic design of the product as it doesn't clash with anything and doesn't create effect of mess on the TV stand.
Connecting it to the TV is apparently very easy and nothing to think about (my husband said, I didn't try it myself).
After switching it on, you need to wait for a few seconds (about 10) for it to "heat up" and start working. Only then you can hit the eject button and insert the DVD, Blu Ray or USB device. It loads the contents quickly and quietly (well, you can hear it but it's not disturbing) then and I have noticed no other issue with speed of this thing. Afterwards you obviously use the remote control for everything.
The remote control is rather disappointing in design. I must say if you gave me 10 random Blu Ray players and 10 random remotes to pair I would never match this remote with this machine. As mentioned before, Blu Ray player is sleek, shiny black. Remote looks like one you would get with a CRT TV 15 years ago. It's cheap black plastic, non-innovative rectangular shape, with flat soft rubber buttons (on which you need to press quite hard, all the way down, for them to do what you ask - annoying).
There is a tiny Setup button on the very top that gives you all the funky options of settings within the same menu. All the other buttons on the remote are just basic - numbers, play/stop/rewind, OK with arrows, classic red-green-yellow and blue, and a few self-explanatory buttons for features you use more often than others (at least manufacturer thinks so) - Mic, Audio, Subtitle, 2nd audio, angle, clear, search, repeat, A-B, HDMI, OSC and PIP.
Apart from pressure you need to press the buttons with, navigation is quick and simple, menus look stylish and modern and you don't need to spend ages figuring out what to press if you want to change a simple setting. We were happy with both picture and sound quality, it was a visible improvement from a cheap old DVD player we had before. Unless you're a freak setting up the whole system for an hour before you put on a movie, I can recommend this Blu Ray Player. For normal family use - insert a disc and watch - it's absolutely sufficient and good quality, has everything you really need and almost no annoying extras that you pay for but never use. If you can get it on promotion as we did, it's also great value for money, being 3D.
I'm now in the very last stage of my pregnancy, and quickly sipping through the third 300ml bottle of this awfully disgusting miracle (I only started to suffer with heartburn in the last trimester). This is a review for oral suspension, although there are Double Action tablets also available.
Gaviscon Double Action oral suspension is a thick white liquid of Mint flavor, that promises to tackle heartburn and indigestion, delivering up to 4 hour relief. It contains sodium alginate, sodium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate as effective ingredients, so nothing harsh on your stomach.
Gaviscon Double Action oral suspension comes in 150, 300 or 600ml glass bottle (although I only saw 600ml online, not in store) that you can tell apart other Gaviscons by its pink plastic sleeve it's wrapped in. On the top of the sleeve there is a sticker, with usual logo and basic information. Sticker can be peeled from one side as a book, revealing usual "leaflet information" (indications, how to use, how not to use, etc.). It has white plastic screw on cap, that seals the bottle well enough to be transported in handbag without spillage.
The Mint flavor is not minty as in chewing gum. It's somewhat floury, and with its thick white consistency it simply cannot be considered tasty in any way. It's however possible to swallow it without running to the toilet straight away. Unlike other kinds of Gaviscon where you can get stawberry or aniseed flavor, this particular kind is only available in Mint. You're supposed to take 10-20ml (two to four spoonfulls, dose is for adults) but I just have a sip straight from the bottle. Do not use cap as dose-measurer - liquid then dries on the screw opening of the bottle, creating a lot of mess that comes off as you open the bottle.
I'm sure everyone remembers the TV ad with white Gaviscon "Firemen" claiming lady taking the Gaviscon can feel the soothing and cooling as it drains down her throat. Myth confirmed - the action really is that quick, at least to me. Whether it lasts for "up to 4 hours" - well, yes, of course - even 10 minutes comes under "up to 4 hours" (ok, lets give them some credit - it normally lasts more than that, generally until next meal or sweet drink). Adults can take it up to four times a day - mostly I find this sufficient, sometimes I need a bit more (with blessing of my midwife, who kindly recommended to drink a lot if I do take more than recommended as it could cause constipation, but nothing else).
apart from active ingredients Gaviscon contains carbomer, methyl (E218) and propyl (E216) parahydroxybenzoates, sodium saccharin, mint flavour, sodium hydroxide and water. It does not contain sugar or gluten.
***value for money***
Current Boots prices are £4.75 for 150ml and £10.99 for 600ml, can't find price for 300ml at the moment but it's around £7 region. To be completely honest (Reckitt-Beckinser people please don't read this) even if it cost £20 I would find it great value for money as it's the only thing that helps me. A 300ml bottle lasts me for approx 3 weeks and I don't mind paying that at the moment, although I cannot wait till I give birth and get rid of this nasty addiction.
Since we moved out of London (not far, but still I'm enjoying a little country feel) I used to shop for fresh fruit, veg and meat on local farms as there are quite a few around. However I realized that oranges and grapefruits are most likely not farm-grown, that the farm most likely only produces few items and the rest is sourced just like in better supermarket or greengrocer's and, being a farm may not be a good thing as you can't really see where the items are from. Then I found Kent Veg Box scheme on www.kentvegbox.co.uk ran by lovely bunch of people also running a farm near Maidenhead.
The idea is simple - you decide how big box of veg and/or fruit you'd like to receive every week, they go round local farms (mostly in Kent) and buy genuine seasonal fresh farm produce, divide it into boxes and deliver to your door. You can be sure veg you've received was only picked the very same week and was not stored in warehouse before going on shelves of supermarket. You don't know what you will receive upfront (well, you can check online on Tuesday what you will receive on Thursday/Friday, but can't cancel) so they also make you use variety of veg in your diet. The produce is not 100% organic - however they claim to check on each supplier to make sure they're not using nasty stuff. Most of them are just too small producers so organic certification is not viable for them - source of each item can be checked online at any time.
Delivery area covers most of south-east London, most of Kent, part of Surrey etc. all the way to the coast (Dover, Folkestone...) - full map available on their website.
There are four sizes of veg boxes, three sizes of fruit boxes, and a combination 50/50 box to choose from ranging from £6 for Mini (4-5 kinds of veg) to £15.75 (7-8 kinds of veg or 5+ kinds of fruit). Kent Veg Box are always making their best to keep the cost comparable or even better than supermarket (non-value range) and you can find average saving to compare with Tesco on their website each week.
Before you sign up, you can get a 3-week trial for half price. That is some amazing value, and exactly how we started. We ordered a small box trial, containing 5-6 different kinds of veg, one of them always potatoes. First delivery came, delivery mane introduced himself, explained everything, asked for place where to put the box if we're not at home, and we exchanged numbers "just in case". Very personalized service! Following weeks he also asked for used boxes for recycling.
Each week box contained, as promised, few different types of veg, always very fresh, mostly covered in mud (you have no idea how happy I was to firstly see carrots covered in soil, what a luxury!), not always regular in shape and polished to high shine.
For those who had farm-grown, or home-grown veg before, I don't need to comment on taste. For the rest - it has sooooo much more flavor than veg you can buy in supermarket that you will never ever even look at those huge fluorescent orange carrots in Tesco's again. This is how the veg is supposed to taste like! Honest!
After the trial we switched to a 50/50 box, which is slightly less veg and extra 2 kinds of fruit. So far for all boxes we received, I must say I was very pleased. All contained potatoes, and most of them carrots, too. Sometimes a marrow, cabbage, beets, tomatoes etc. Fruit, so far, was mostly apples and some berries. If you don't like a particular kind, you can just let them know and they will substitute it with something else. Apparently in winter months they also source some products on the wholesale market, as there is not much seasonal produce in England, but anything that doesn't come from Kent is organic.
You can also order bread, milk, eggs, meat box, fish box, local cheese and beer, too. I can only comment on eggs - fresh medium sized, and good value. The rest I have not ordered yet.
Being a small company means that you can make the most of personalized service. From letting them know you don't like beets, making your deliveries every second week rather than weekly, letting them know you're on holidays, adding or removing additional item, etc. All this just a phone call away - I have also sent e-mails occasionally, and got almost instant reply. They also have a facebook page, where you can see the boxes ready to be distributed most of the weeks (to get your taste buds ready).
I really find Kent Veg Box good value for money, a fantastic addition to our diet, and for those who live in delivery area it's strongly, strongly recommended. I only had great experience using them, and if something went wrong (well, wrong, once I didn't receive eggs) it was dealt with instantly and rectified within 5 minutes. Well deserved 5 stars.
Since my time in uni (well, that's few years now) I have gone through quite a few of these, as they are absolutely great in every possible sense.
IRMA throw is a plain light-blue fleece throw, made of 100% polyester. It's not bulky, it's very light throw, however it can be very, very warm. It can be obtained from any IKEA store, for absolute bargain of £1.69. It comes rolled up and secured with plain grey plastic wrap, which is very environmental packaging, but makes it obvious you should wash the throw before first use. It can be washed at 40 degrees, no other care required - you literally take it out of washing machine almost dry and ready to use. It's
With generous measurements of 130x170 cms (you can get budget throws in Primark, etc. but they are never this big), it is ideal for many purposes, and absolutely great to wrap yourself up on couch in front of telly. I currently have three of them at home for regular use as a throw/blanket. When we had guests staying at our place and not enough duvets, I covered two of these on the top of each other with a duvet cover and it made totally sufficient summer duvet.
As we're soon expecting baby boy, I bought one for him, too - it's perfect colour, I cut it in half to make two of sufficient size, and I easily avoided "baby" price tag (pretty much same "baby blanket" from baby store costs around £10 mark, just because it's called Baby blanket). Another tip I got from a friend, for mums using reusable nappies - you can cut these in stripes to use as fleece separators, and they work wonders.
As mentioned, I have gone through quite a few IRMA throws, so can review on long-term use, too. The edges don't frill or curl, the colour stays the same, too. The only down-side is that after several washes it creates fuzz, and throw is no longer that soft (it can still be used, it's not uncomfortable) - we're talking many washes here though, by which time the throw will have served it's purpose a lot for its value.
IKEA also sells IRMA cushions to match the throw - small square cushions in the same colour, too.
I like cozy evenings curled on my couch, and we have tens of throws of different colours, materials and sizes at home. IRMA throw, even though cheapest by far, is my favorite of all and I wouldn't change it for a world. Well deserved 5 stars from me.