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One Stop, according to their website has been trading for over 20 years and currently operates over 700 stores in the UK. That is about it. From what I know, One Stop in my home town, Preston, Lancashire has taken over 2 shops in recent years which used to be Spar. I had only ever nipped in when passing for a drink or cigarettes but having recently moved just before Christmas, the local shop is One Stop, so I have been using it every couple of days for the past 8 months.
The shop from the outside looks quite large and you get the impression that you will more than likely get what you want from inside of the shop, even though they never advertise any offers outside unlike my previous local shop which was Bargain Booze. The shop is very clean looking. There is a 24hour free cash point outside the shop and a 6-7 space car park. The cash point I have never known to be out of money unlike other local shops here who never seem to have any cash in the cash point.
On entering the shop there is a couple of things near the door on ‘offer’ which let’s say if we go to any other shop would be normal priced! They currently have a 12 pack of velvet on offer for £6 and buy one get one free on pringles, which are £2.70 each, which is more than buying 2 packs from any other shop.
The first aisle includes fruit and veg, fridges, breads, tins, freezers and jars. There is a small range of fruit, mainly apples, bananas and oranges and of course spuds. The fridges have fresh meat such as chicken fillets, where you get 2 very small fillets for £6! Mince and pork chops seem to be in the fridge a lot also. You then get your sandwich meats and cheeses along with yoghurt and juice in the fridges. There are 2 very small freezers at the end of the aisle which have the typical chips, roast potatoes, yorkshires and microwave pizza’s etc. The usual corner shop freezer contents. They do offer the ‘meal deal’ for £3 where you can get a packaged sandwich, crisp or chocolate with a drink.
The next aisle includes household products, baby items, pop, chocolates and tea/sugar stuff. There is also a small rack of overly priced DVD’s such as a Peppa Pig DVD for £7.99 which you can get in HMV or anywhere online for about £3.
The last aisle had pet food, beer, sweets and crisp along with the magazines and newspapers, and then the tills. The tills consist of 3 tills, where only ever 1 is open even at busy times.
So after that brief explanation of what is included in each aisle I will tell you the plus and negative points of the store otherwise I will ramble on.
The good things about the store are the ramp outside which is handy for prams and wheelchairs, yet they have a door which is constantly shut and very hard to open. My Daughter cannot open the door for me with the pram, so I have to struggle using my leg, ass, back to squeeze in squishing the baby in the process due to the heavy door they have.
Some offers which run regular are bread which is 2 for £2 for Hovis, but if I buy 2 I end up not using the 2nd in time so it is a waste of money for me, but ideal if you use bread very quick in your house. There are cereals on offer at the minute for £2 although the boxes are very tiny, so generally not worth it. They do sell their fresh meat and bread half price the day before the sell by date which is not bad as you can freeze most stuff or if you are using it the same day then you can get a good buy. Also baby wipes, nappies and fizzy pop are on offer a lot, but as said above, when on offer they are at the normal RRP, which i will explain below.
The negative points about the shops are:
Hard to find what you want, even now after 8 month of using the shop i struggle to find stuff, so god knows how those who just nip in on passing manage to find things.
Very cramped. I can hardly move around the shop, especially with the pram. I get to the end of an aisle and have to walk all the way back round as they have very slim aisles plus random things stacked in the middle of them like dog food or pop or beer with a price flag on top of them!
Very slow to serve you. The staff never smile, they never rush and they never hardly speak. The man who has it now had the shop when it was the Spar when my partner was a kid. My partner is 30, so you would think the man would have some sort of developed customer service, but he hasn’t. Being used to our old local shop, Bargain Booze, no matter how busy they were they were quick to serve yet had a good conversation and a laugh with you, here they don’t. They don’t even say Hi when you get to the till. I have been in at the worst time....tea time on a Saturday when people are doing lottery. The guy spends more time watching his cameras then focusing on serving you and he stops halfway through just to watch the cameras closer. I get so mad when I am in that queue. Then another employee will enter the till stand there then walk off. Ok so you’re not serving then?
A lot of things are very and I mean very overpriced. Pampers wipes, £2.69 usually at the dearest shops I know. I recently went in and the price they had on them? £4.89 for ONE pack of wipes. The DVD’s are pricey and so are their meat as I said earlier. 2 very small chicken fillets for £6 is way overpriced. Another thing very overpriced is painkillers. Galpharm branded ibuprofen or paracetamol, who are usually 19p in BnM, Home Bargains and other corner shops are £1.49 here. Dare to buy Nurofen and it’s way over a fiver.
Constantly ID you. I am 25 with a 5 year old daughter and a 1 year old son. There is one girl who ID’s me every time I go in and grab fags for my partner. Ok, do it once but every time I go in, you know my face by now so please stop it. The other day she ID’d me for a scratch card. This got me mad, as you have to be 16 to buy scratchcards! Do I look 15? I must have looked very good pregnant at 10.
So overall, nip in for a drink, to grab cigarettes or to grab a loaf, but to buy many other things it is over priced, the staff are unfriendly and very slow to serve you. I do tend to go the opposite way and nip to the little newsagents now as the One Stop just gets me mad, as you literally cannot just ‘nip’ to it as they take so long to serve you.
Considering it is called One Stop, the aim of it’s name being it’s a ‘one stop shop’, but it isn’t. Considering they have a wheelchair ramp, their store is very much NOT wheelchair friendly. They need automatic doors or the ones which open when you press the button, because someone in a scooter would be knackered. They don’t always have what I went in looking for, and it’s very hard to find the things in the first place. It’s overpriced, under-friendly and I would say do NOT stop at the One Stop Shop!
My Mum bought me this perfume after I had asked her for it after being intrigued by it’s fun design from when I first saw it on the shelves. I had smelt samples and enjoyed the scent, so when asked which perfume I would like, I opted for this as a change to my usual ones as I tend to get the same ones over and over like most people. I thought this would be a nice change to my usual scents.
A little about the designer
Marc Jacobs is an American fashion designer. He is the head designer of Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs. He launched his first collection with the Marc Jacobs label in 1986, which earned him the Perry Ellis award for New Fashion Talent, the youngest person to ever win the award at aged 23. He then joined Perry Ellis as vice-president and then president, where he won Women’s Designer of The Year. He continued with his own line and in 1993 became creative director of Louis Vuitton. During this time he created Marc by Marc Jacobs, a ‘high street’ version of his Marc Jacobs label, which now has just under 300 stores worldwide. He left Louis Vuitton in the beginning of 2014 to focus on his own line. He is currently the creative director of Diet Coke. He has won many awards in his career recognising his design ability in womenswear and accessories, only winning an award for menswear once, and most recently winning a lifetime achievement award. He is known for being ‘a little preppy, a little grunge and a little couture.’
Marc Jacobs launched his fragrance line in 2001 with his first major fragrance hitting the shelves in 2006, which included Blush, I Love Marc and Daisy, which is what this review is about. It was released as being ‘happy and youthful’ and was intended to be aimed at the younger consumer. The target age range for the fragrance is 18-24, as most Marc Jacobs customers were above this age range, the fragrance was a way to bring the younger generation into the Marc Jacobs fold. This clearly worked for me. I had never heard of Marc Jacobs before 2006/2007 when I first saw Daisy on adverts and remember spotting it in the window of the pharmacy down the road. It caught my eye straight away, so the intention of the range definitely worked with me!
The box which the bottle comes in doesn’t catch your eye or stand out against other fragrances., although it is very nice. It is black with a border lined with small daisies. It says Daisy, Marc Jacobs in gold, in the signature Marc Jacobs font, and all other writing including ingredients, size of the bottle and other information printed in small gold lettering on the back of the box.
As I say the bottle caught my eye, more so because of the very large daisies that featured on top of it! The bottle is a rounded square, clear glass bottle with a cold spray cap. The name again features in the signature font of the brand ion black on the front of the bottle. The liquid inside the bottle is of a gold colour, which matches the whole design of the bottle and name of the fragrance as it is a summery colour.
The lid features 2 large daisies, one a bit bigger than the other. They are plastic, very tough, which is needed as being on the lid it is pulled and pushed every time you use the fragrance, so it is needed to be tough. This is the best feature of the bottle, and all in all makes the bottle a very cute, fun and youthful design, which I like.
Top notes - Strawberry, Violet Leaves and Red Grapefruit.
On first applying the fragrance, it is quite strong. I cannot smell strawberry within the first few minutes of application, as the grapefruit scent hits and then it’s definitely the violet leaves which are smelt until the heart notes kick in. Quite fruity on application.
Heart/middle notes - Violet Petals, Gardenia and Jasmine
The heart notes are of course floral which fits with the name and aim of the fragrance. The advert states that it is floral with the vintage edge of violet. To me the violet definitely calms down the floral scent and gives it a sophisticated scent. It is fresh, sophisticated and a very light fragrance once the top notes have eased off. Some floral fragrances can smell old and overpowering but i think the scent is just right with this, and they are very nice and light and not overpowering as some floral fragrances can be.
Base notes - Musk, Vanilla and White Woods
Once the heart notes settle and the base notes can be smelt, there is definitely a hint of vanilla and musk. A very nice, calm scent which smells ‘warm’. The vanilla is not overpowering and is just right in my opinion, whereas the musk keeps that sophisticated feel and woods along with the vanilla give it that ‘warm’ smell.
The longevity of the fragrance is not that long. I do find that I have to re-apply the perfume half-way through the day if I happen to have it in my bag. I have a 100ml bottle which is quite large for a regular handbag, especially with the daisies on the lid so you would have to buy a smaller bottle or the handbag version if you would like to carry it around with you, which of course not everyone would do.
As with all Marc Jacobs’ fragrances, the designs are some of the best I have seen, in my opinion. To target the younger generation, the designs truly work, as they did with me because they are youthful, fun, happy and very modern designs. All of them are eye-catching. Daisy has a plain bottle, unlike subsequent releases, but it is the very large daisies on the lid that make it stand out. Compared to recent fragrances the design is quite plain in comparison, but on it’s release and even now to some people it was very eye-catching. Being the first major release in his fragrance range, I think the design is pretty good, and has gotten better with each one afterwards.
The overall smell of the fragrance fits in well with the concept. It is definitely a scent of a summery meadow when you add the floral heart notes and the warm base notes together, which again is a great scent for the name and design of the fragrance. I think the scent is very much youthful, fun and happy as it states, plus a little bit sophisticated but not too much that is a sexy smell, this scent is definitely an ideal scent for teens through the summer months.
I am 25 and I do enjoy the fragrance for a daytime, casual day rather than a night out or for work. I think it is a ‘carefree’ scent that would fit perfectly with teens and people my age.
As I explained earlier, the fragrance doesn’t last very long at all and to carry a larger bottle in your bag is hard work, as even the smaller bottles have the large daisies on them. I do have large bags in the day and mine fits in fine but if you prefer a smaller bag inn the daytime, then you wouldn’t be able to carry the perfume with you and re-apply when needed.
50ml in Boots is £47.50 and 100ml is £63.50. The Perfume Shop has 50ml for £38 on sale at the moment (May 2014) or £48 usual price and 100ml £63. The price tends to be the same over the internet. I think it is very expensive compared to similar scents of big designers such as CK and DKNY which have a much longer staying power.
You can also buy the gift sets with body lotion and body wash, and there is now a few ‘spin-off versions of Daisy, which are Daisy Black, Daisy So Fresh, Daisy Hot Pink and Daisy Delight.
Overall a very light, summery, young scent with a sophisticated edge, average longevity but expensive. I would recommend the fragrance, but only if it was on sale, as I do think it is expensive at full price.
Tango Shock Rocks are the classic confectionery twosome of a lolly and a dip. Instead of the more often seen lolly and sherbet dips, what makes these different is that the dip contains popping candy. I love popping candy and sherbet so thought that I would give these a try.
The Shock Rocks come in 3 classic Tango flavors: orange, apple and cherry. I am sure you have all heard of the popular fizzy drink Tango, who in recent years have released many different sweet and confectionery products, most recently the Tango Shock Rocks.
The packet is a pointy shape, paper/foil type packet. When i have had any popping candy in the past it always comes in a foil lined packet, similar to this. The packaging is very bright and catchy, which fits well with the shape of the packet because it gives that ?explosion' look. All three packets are luminous of their respective orange, green and red colors.
It is easy to open, you simply just tear the packet beside one of the points which then creates an opening. Inside is a candy lolly in the shape of a hand doing a thumbs up. The lolly is just over an inch in height, and is on a plastic white stick. The lolly's are the color of whichever flavor you have, and are again very bright. Inside the packet, is a very small amount of dip. The dip is a mixture of sherbet and popping candy. You have to lick or suck the lolly first in order for the dip to stick. The dip does stick to the lolly very well and doesn't all drop off on the way o you mouth like some other similar products do and make a mess.
The lolly's do have a slight hint of the flavor they represent but not very strong. Even though the flavor isn't strong, the lolly's are quite sweet and can be a bit sickly, especially the apple one, I found. The dip again has a small hint of the respective flavor, but is overpowered by the popping and crackling in your mouth due to the popping candy. The popping candy is good, very crackly and not just a little bit like cheaper brands, but very ?poppy'. The sherbet is quite sour which isn't stated anywhere on the packet. I do not mind sour things so i found it OK but my partner finds sour things really sour and he couldn't stand these. So obviously, this goes with each person's individual tastes, but it is disappointing because if you don't enjoy sour things, this isn't stated on the packet so you would find the buy a waste of money.
Of course, the dip runs out before the lolly does like all similar products, and i did get fed up with the lolly as it was a bit sickly and boring once the dip had gone. Of course I think that this product would be much more enjoyable to kids rather than grown ups. The amount of dip you get is atrocious really, as there is not enough, considering the size of the packet! The height of the packet is clearly that big to be able to contain the lolly, but the packet in my opinion is very much over sized. If you think back to the 5p popping candy packets from the corner shop, that is basically the same amount of popping candy in here, and a small, very small spoon of sherbet. The contents did disappoint me, but again probably wouldn't disappoint a child.
I think the idea of this and the name fit together quite well. Shock Rocks makes sense to me as they are sour and popping candy rocks, so I like the name. As I stated earlier, the fact they are sour is not said anywhere on the packet so someone who doesn't enjoy sour things would be disappointed with their purchase.
The shape of the lolly is very good and the act is is on a plastic stick and not the silly paper sticks that kids end up eating half of with their lolly is much preferred. The dip is nice, I love the fact that it is popping candy as well as sherbet as I love both of these things, but you get very little of it. I didn't expect a full packet but literally a small corner of the packet to me is not enough.
I would recommend these to kids, as they would enjoy it more, but not to adults as I think most would be disappointed. I paid 45p for each packet from my pop man, but the average price seems to be 50/60p in the shops for 1 packet which is probably ok. Any higher and I would definitely say they are overpriced.
Orange - the orange one is nice, the flavor of the lolly is good and the dip is orangey. The lolly is fine, not as sweet and sickly as the apple one.
Apple - the lolly is the sickliest of the two. A small hint of apple flavor and the dip overpowers the flavor in this one.
Cherry - very nice flavor and dip, probably the best of all three flavors available.
The Scooby Doo Friends and Foes 10 figure pack is a great buy for any Scooby Doo fan. My Daughter loves Scooby Doo, so when I spotted this in Toys R Us at Christmas on sale at half price for £15, I thought it would be a great buy. They are made by Character, who are a more recent toy design and development company, founded only in 1991. They are currently still growing as a company but have a large range of popular toys, and do a good range of Scooby Doo packs.
The figures are based upon the more recent cartoons, which are much more cartoon like than the proper classic cartoons and figures. There are 2 current programmes on TV at the moment, Mystery Incorporated and Where Are You? And I'd say the gang look like the Where Are You? gang. If your child watches Scooby Doo on TV at the moment, I don't think they'd mind that they resemble one cartoon over the other as my daughter loves the very first programmes where they look a lot different to now and she doesn't mind. The point I was making are that they are very cartoon like rather than action figure like such as some Power Ranger toys or Turtles which look more 'real'.
The pack includes all 5 of the Scooby Doo gang and 5 classic Scooby Doo foes. These include, of course, Scooby Doo, Shaggy, Velma, Fred and Daphne. The foes consist of The 10 Thousand Volt Monster, The Phantom Racer, The Ghost Of Redbeard, The Witch Doctor and The Beast of Bottomless Lake. A couple are from the classic cartoons and have been modified and modernised for today's programmes, but they are all featured in recent programmes so any Scooby Doo fan would recognise them.
The gang are all about 3 inches tall and made of plastic. Each of their limbs, knees, elbows and heads move, making them easy to position for different situations your children decide to put them into. They are all hand painted and don't seem to scratch very easily. Their faces are not a complete replica, and are quite poor up close, but do resemble the gang.
The foes are all an inch or so taller than the gang, which is good as in the programmes most of the monsters are usually a little taller if not a lot. They are all made of the same plastic, other than the Volt Monster. The Phantom Racer, is like the gang where all limbs, joints and his head move, but the other foes are quite poor with this feature.
The Beast can move his arms and legs, but as he is a giant fish his head is attached to his body, so I will make an exception for him!
The Witch Doctor doesn't move at all. He holds a stick with a skull on top which slides into a hole on his hand, but there is no point in it sliding out as no other character can hold it. A bad thing about him as well, is he has a mask, which came off as soon as we got him out of the box. It has a ridge which slides I to his face but you can see the glue where it should be stuck. I have since stuck it back as if you leave it off he has no face just a head with a hole to pop the mask into! I have used super glue, but again, the mask has fallen off. Maybe it's the plastic not working with the glue or my daughter being heavy handed, but surely if he has no face underneath and it isn't intended to come off, why not just make the figure with the mask painted on?
Ghost beard is the same, where only his arms move up and down. His legs do not move, nor does his head. He also holds a sword, which again, no other figure can hold.
Now the 10 Thousand Volt Monster is made of a transparent orange plastic, which is good when held up to light or the window he lights up a bit, which is good because of who he is. In the cartoons he looks like he is on fire as he is full of electricity. I think other than the plastic colour, he is poorly made. He slots together with little points on his body, which often falls apart and his arms and legs end up all over the floor and is quite fiddly to put back together. I do not know if he is suppose to be made like that for when the Gang catch him they can make him fall apart but I very much doubt it. He has a couple of zigzag white lines painted on him and a very poor zigzag mouth painted on also.
Another downside the pack is that nothing goes with them! I bought the largest mystery machine for the gang to ride in but they do not fit unless they are diagonal. You have to buy the pack for mystery machine. Again, I was looking at buying the Mansion playhouse and the Crystal Cove playhouse, but after looking at reviews I realised the gang wouldn't fit and you need to buy the miniature gang to play with them also. So to have a lay house and the mystery machine you would need another 2 sets of different sized Scooby Doo gangs! I still haven't come across a playhouse or anything to go with this gang. My daughter is happy playing with them and stuffs them in the mystery machine with no issues. They are great for playing with an imagination but a child who would like the Haunted Mansion, Cove or Ship wouldn't be able to use them with it, which is a big disappointment, especially when the prices of these are in the ranges of £40-£50, without any gang. Considering Character makes the Mansion and Cove, I think this is rather strange, or maybe just a money making scheme.
This pack is exclusive to Toys R Us and is £30 at full price which I think is too dear for a few reasons. One being you cannot use them with another Scooby Doo toy as explained above. The quality isn't so good, when you look at the 10 Thousand Volt Monster who falls apart all the time, a sword and stick which come of for no reason no a mask that falls off leaving a guy with a hole in his face. The durability of the others has been good so far, throw them at a wall and they won't break, but I am disappointed with the quality overall. I did think it was a good pack and a good deal at £15 half price, especially when there is a pack available at the same price with only 2 foes in.
If these are on offer again, I would say they are an alright buy, as my daughter loves them, but she is still only 4, and if she wants a play-set this Christmas I would have to buy a different sized gang. I'd say buy the smaller sized gang that can be used with different play sets and the mystery machine, and investing a bit more money on buying the foes extra would be a better deal.
WHAT ARE THEY
Interdental brushes are used to help clean inbetween teeth, and small hard to reach places that your regular toothbrush can't reach, such as behind back teeth and under and between braces and other dental appliances. When used regularly, they are said to help keep teeth and gums healthy, protect against gum disease and tooth decay.
WHY DO I USE THEM
My personal use for interdental brushes is after having a lot of bouts of toothache, my dentist referred me to the hygienist to give me some tips on cleaning my teeth better. I used to floss, but some of my teeth are tight at the top so it's hard to get floss inbetween them without it fraying or not being able to slip between my teeth at all. I didn't know interdental brushes existed until the hygienist introduced them to me. I started using them as they fit easier between my teeth than dental floss as you just brush inbetween teeth at the gums and not brush down from the top of the teeth like floss.
I use .45mm as this is the size which was measured by my hygienist. They come in different sizes. To find the right interdental brush for your gap size, it may be best to ask your dentist, or you could try just buying the smaller size and if they don't work buying the size up etc, but this is a lot of messing about, your dentist would know which size would be best for you.
They are all colour coded according to the brush size. .45mm are always orange, no matter which brand you decide to buy.
WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE
These brushes, just like all other brands I have used, are 1cm long. The bristles are nylon, and the centre of the brush is wire, which makes it easy for you to bend to be able to reach behind back teeth. The brushes have an orange handle, about 1.5 inches long, which is a good size to hold whilst cleaning your teeth. The handles make these less likely to slip out of your hand than they would if it was just a small wire. The handles are made of plastic, and are usually the part of the brushes which are colour coded according to the brush size, in this case orange, as explained earlier.
All you need to so to use these brushes is just push them inbetween your teeth and brush! No need for toothpaste on them, as they are to be used alongside, preferably after brushing your teeth with a regular toothbrush.
The bristles on these brushes aren't as stiff as others I have used, so when brushing inbetween my teeth, I hardly feel them brushing against my gum, which sometimes can irritate if the bristle are a bit rough, but these seem just the right texture.
They fit inbetween my teeth fine, and they seem to push trapped food out really easily. When I use floss, I can get the trapped food but cannot get it out the top of my teeth, so it ends up trapped. Using these brushes, I can just push it out, like using a toothpick, and these seem to do that fine. Some brushes I have used in the past, as I have pushed through my teeth, the wire has bent, which makes them impossible to use as they are just too flimsy. These brushes don't bent at all on the small push it takes to brush inbetween my teeth.
My top wisdom teeth are quite close to the back of my gum, and I cannot reach behind them with a toothbrush. All I do with these is simply bend the wire brush at the base, the wire is easy to bend as it is like pipe cleaner wire, and I can just easily use them to brush behind my wisdom teeth. Once bent, the wire doesn't go flimsy, it stay bent and needs a good little tug to get it back straight again, so you can tell the wire is tough and doesn't snap or break easily. Also, this means even after bending they can be straightened up to clean teeth again the next day with no problems.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THESE BRUSHES
I do say that after using these brushes my teeth feel cleaner. If you have ever had a scale and polish off a dentist, and you come out feeling the gaps in your front teeth but soon don't after a few weeks, even with regular brushing, with using these brushes, that gap stays there so they clearly help to reduce the build up of plaque.
Interdental brushes can be used more than once, my hygienist told me about 3-4 days but I don't tend to use them more than once as my gums tend to bleed easy so I chuck mine after 1 or 2 days use, but it is up to you how often you use one brush.
The handles on these brushes are thin and then go a bit thicker with a dent for your finger and thumb, so they are really easy to hold when brushing your teeth.
There are 5 brushes in this pack, so they do last up to a week, or longer depending how often you choose to use one brush. My personal use makes them last just over a week, so I buy them weekly and never run out.
These also come with a travel cap, so a used brush isn't just sat on the side in open air.
These cost usually £1 in Wilkinsons, but range up until £2 depending where you buy them.
Meatballs have always been one of them things I hated as a child as, to me, they never tasted of anything, but having children myself now, including a wearing baby, meatballs are a handy item to have in the tin cupboard for a quick after school meal.
I saw the Fray Bentos meatballs for 65p in Iceland and trout I'd try my daughter with them. Upon the decision that she likes them, I began to get them in every other week. Usually, I get gravy ones for her, probably because they're the only ones that Iceland have in. On a rare trip to Morrisons, I saw these bolognese ones and asked if she'd like to try them on which her decision was yes.
I would personally think that they wouldn't taste much different to tomato flavour ones, so initially I had the idea of what's the point, but, I just thought I'd try them. Having read the difference, just in case you think the same, bolognese is a meaty tomato sauce, whereas tomato sauce is, well, tomato!
To make the meatballs is very simple as you can either microwave them in a suitable dish for 3 minutes, stirring halfway though, or, heat on the hob until hot throughout.
The meatballs are the usual brown balls, about an inch in size. The sauce looks very stodgy on opening the tin, but I put this down to being cold in the cupboard. Once microwaved the sauce, of course, became unstodgy, but turned into a very watery sauce. You can also see what is presumed to be bits of herbs for the bolognese. The balls are very hot and steamy, but soon cool down ready to eat.
On tasting the balls, to me they are the typical tasteless lumps of mush. The texture isn't nice. It is processed meat so I wasn't expecting much else. The meat is mushy and breaks down easily in your mouth and has tiny hard pieces throughout like i always remember meatballs had when i was a kid. The meatballs are pork as stated on the tin, but they do not taste like pork. The bolognese sauce, I think, adds the flavour, which is a little bit meaty and tomatoey, not too strong or not too bland, but just the perfect taste for kids without boring them or overpowering them. I think this is the same with all different meatball sauces, it isn't the meatballs that have the taste, it's the sauce they are in.
Another thing which puts me off meatballs is that they go cold very quick, which makes them taste even worse, and isn't good for my Daughter as she enjoys her food hot and once something cools down she doesn't eat it, but in this case, I don't blame her. My kids do enjoy them however, so I would recommend them for children, and adults may like them if you enjoy processed tasteless foods. Kids palates are more sensitive than ours so they must be tasty to them as as they are specifically aimed at kids, enforced by the packaging, then I would recommend them.
A positive about them is that there are a lot of balls in the tin, maybe 20, so there is more than enough for my daughter and the baby. I'd say you would get 3 or 4 children's portions from the tin. The packaging is also good as the tin is bright yellow, and features a fun alien licking it's lips, so this would attract children and catch a child's eye in a supermarket.
The meatballs are available at Morrissons for 75p. There are other flavours available including, tomato, gravy and onion gravy. The price is ideal, and some places offer 2 for a £1 on Fray Bentos meatballs, I know Iceland do, although not all may sell the bolognese ones.
Just reading a few reviews of see crayons here on ciao and they seem to be highly rated :/
My experience is a bit different. I'm sure you've all heard of Crayola, who are a popular brand of arts and crafts accessories and games, most famously coloured pens, pencils and crayons.
I bought these for my daughter at Christmas as she likes colouring and glittery things, so I thought they'd be an ideal stocking filler.
There are 16 crayons in the pack. The colours are basic colours you usually get in a pack this size, blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, white, grey, black and lighter or darker shades of each. They are the small thin crayons, so not suitable for heavy handed kids as they would snap very easily.
To look at the crayons, they do glisten a tiny bit, and you can see they contain glitter, but when used on paper to colour in, they are just not glittery at all. They were advertised to add sparkle to a picture but, this is not the case. Don't get me wrong I wasn't expecting loads and loads but I mean a bit would have sufficed!
They colour really well like any other crayon and the colours go onto paper perfectly fine, but you wouldn't know they were glitter crayons at all. You can see a tiny spot here and there on large bits such as sky and grass but other than that, nothing.
I wouldn't recommend these, especially for the price of them. You're paying for the fact that they are glitter, but you are basically wasting your money. I am glad I used a bit of a DooYoo amazon voucher for these, and never paid the £3.50 they are in the shops.
As most mums and dads, if not all, would know, having a child in nursery or school, especially a girl, then one thing you may have to deal with is head lice. Kids catch head lice by head to head contact with another child who has them, which is why children are the ones who usually bring them home to you as they have a lot of head to head contact when playing, especially younger ones. My Daughter started school nursery September just gone. My plan was to go through her hair every few weeks, as this is something my mum always did regular with me, every Sunday night, comb through my hair with a nit comb, so they could at least be detected, hopefully, and usually before they'd laid too many, if any eggs, and then they really are a pain to get rid of!
So, 6 months after starting nursery, I noticed she was itching a lot. My scalp has been very dry and itchy lately, so at first I thought hers might be too, but still checked her hair for lice to be other safe side. No lice detected, I checked every few days for about 10 days as she was just itching more and more and more. So, I decided to pick up some nit lotion later that day, and good job, as when I was combing her hair ready to leave for the chemist, I spotted a big fat runner going about his day!
WHY DID I BUY HEDRIN
Well, I only got Hedrin as, having a Tax Credits Exemption card, you can get treatments for minor ailments from the chemist without paying for them or without a prescription. Head Lice is listed on the Minor Ailment Scheme, and good job as head lice lotions are expensive! They start at an average of £10, so not really affordable. I asked for some head lice lotion, and Hedrin was the one the chemist gave me.
WHAT IS HEDRIN
Hedrin are apparently the UK's first physically acting licensed product specially formulated to kill head lice. One thing I learnt when younger is that using the same brand of lotion everytime you get lice, you become resistant to it, and so do the lice in your hair. Hedrin now do not contain pesticides, so they say the lice cannot become resistant to it, therefore you cause Hedrin over and over again.
HOW TO USE HEDRIN
You simply apply the lotion to the hair, making sure you place onto the roots. The bottle has a nozzle so it's easy to apply to the roots, just like hair dyes. I was given a 100ml bottle by the chemist, which was enough for one application. You need to leave the lotion on the hair for 8 hours, or overnight. I left my Daughters on overnight.
After leaving it on for the desired length of time, you simply wash the lotion off, and comb hair with a nit comb to remove any dead lice. You then need to apply it again 7 days later to kill any recently hatched lice which the first application would have missed, as it doesn't kill live eggs, and eggs take 7 days from being laid to hatch and a further 7 before they themselves will breed again. So, by 7 days after the first application, there should be no unhatched eggs left in your hair, so the second application should kill all remaining lice.
USING IT AND RESULTS
Applying the lotion, as said earlier was very easy. It took me about 20 minutes to cover her full head. The lotion is a bit oily, but not too much, and once it is on the hair, the hair goes very dry and feels so. One good thing is that having no chemicals and pesticides in, the lotion doesn't smell like they used to when i was a kid. you a,ways knew when someone had had nit lotion on, which resulted in a lot of teasing due to the stink. I think having no smell is better for the children, plus having no chemicals is kinder to the scalp also.
Waking up the next day, I washed my daughters hair off, which was very easy, and left no residue on her hair, and went through it with the comb whilst wet, as this is easier than dry hair. I managed to get only one adult out of her hair, so knowing I had to reapply 7 days later, I left her hair unable to find anymore dead lice.
About the 5th day after having her hair washed I decided to got through her hair whilst wet, just to see if I could cath any. I managed to get a lot of live baby lice out, no adults, so obviously these were the recently hatched eggs that the first application wouldn't have reached.
After 7 days, I applied the lotion the second time and left it overnight again. The next day I washed it out and combed through as instructed, but didn't get any lice. I combed through wet hair again a day after and didn't detect anymore. I have combed through a couple of times since, with no findings.
I would recommend to try this lotion, mainly due to the no chemicals and no smell, as this is less harsh than chemical lotions on kids, and due to this, Hedrin can be used from just 6 months old, so handy if your baby catches them off older children. I don't think any other lotions can be used from so young, so I would trust his on babies, again as it has no harsh chemicals and pesticides in.
The lotion obviously worked to kill the one adult lice she had in he beginning, so it obviously works, but I couldn't say if it will get rid if you have a lot of them. As i explained, I removed recently hatched lice the first batch wouldn't have killed, so again, I can't say if the lotion would have killed them all had I not have got hem out myself. Even because of this, I would use it again as it is a highly recommended product, it's kinder to skin than other lotions, its easy to apply, an easy to wash out, so perfect for children's hair.
You can get from any chemist or large supermarket. This lotion is 9.99 for 100ml which does 2 applications. Remember if you have NHS exemption, you can get lotion free, but your chemist may give a different brand!
Every Christmas, I take a trip to ELC, as they always have a toy sale in the few weeks before Christmas where everything is up to 75% off. So, on my annual trip this Christmas, I knew I wanted to get my daughter a few games, rather than just toys. Manic Martians was one of the first ones I spotted on the shelves, and knew she'd more than likely enjoy it, and being on offer for £4 down from £8, I couldn't complain even if she didn't like it! So, in the trolley it went.
The box is the usual ELC purple and green style, with some cartoon Martians being beamed up by spaceships. The box states it is a 'fast paced race to beam up the manic martians.' It is said to encourage social skills, hand to eye coordination and confidence.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX
In the box, you get the base, which is orange with craters where the Martians hide. The base is suppose to look like a planet with craters. There are 12 martians, 6 blue and 6 greens, and 2 space rocket boppers. The game takes 1 size C battery, which isn't included.
HOW DO YOU PLAY
when ready to play, you simply switch the base on and the martians all bop up and down randomly, a bit like whack a mole but quicker. There are 2 ways to play. One is to collect only your chosen coloured martians and the first to get all of their colour is the winner, or you can choose to just get any colour and when all martians have been collected, the winner is the one with the most martians.
The space rocket boppers have a squidgey end where you bop the martians, with a hole in the top. The martians all have like the little balls on their head, which we all draw on aliens when were kids! I don't know what they're called, sorry! Anyway, you bop your space rocket onto the martians as they bop up out of their crater and the balls slip into the hole on the boppers to lift the martians out. I did think it would have been magnetic, but that would make it a bit easy as, this way, when the martians go back into the crater between bopping up, you can't catch them as easily than you would with it being magnetic. Also, you'd think it would be hard for the aliens to stick into the bopper but you don't have to hit them really hard just tap them and they attach. I say this, but you now how kids are, when my daughter plays she really hits the bopper n the martians heads!
Well, my daughter is 4, and she does enjoy this game. We play the 2 different ways, but there's not much difference in the two ways to play as the game is over in the same amount of time no matter which way you choose to play it. The game lasts around 2-3 minutes, which really isn't long, but my daughter likes to play a few times before she gets bored, so she usually plays for around 15-20 minutes. I think this is fine as if the game was too long, children ages 3 and up, which is the age the game is aimed at would get bored before it ended if it was much longer.
I would recommend this game for maybe ages 3 to about 8, as I think they would enjoy this game, but any older, they would get bored after one game as it is a short game. The only problem I have with it is that when in play, it is very noisy, as all the martians are plastic, and the base which they are sat on is also plastic, so when they bop, they bang together. You can tell that it isn't a top of the range game, but when you look at similar games such as Whack a Mole, which is £22, i think that this is a perfectly fine game for the price and for the age it is aimed at!
You can get this game from ELC or ELC.co.uk, where it is currently £8.40.
Snuffle Babe is a vapour rub aimed at children aged 3 months and over to help relieve little blocked noses.
All parents who have ever had a baby with a blocked nose understands how hard and distressing a blocked nose can be for a little one. It can stop them sleeping as they can't breathe properly and as babies need to breathe through their nose when they eat, it can stop them eating properly which makes a very upset baby, so Snuffle Babe is a handy product to have in for when your little one gets snuffly.
There are plenty of baby and children vapour rubs on the market, Snuffle Babe being one of the first and most popular ones. It contains three natural ingredients which aren't harmful to babies and children. These are Eucalyptus oil 2%, Menthol 1.5% and Thyme oil 0.5%. The reason Snuffle Babe is made for children is because adult vapour rubs include other natural oils that are too strong and sometimes harmful to children, especially babies.
It comes in a small box, and includes a 24g pot of vapour rub. The pot is plastic with a screw top lid. All instructions and ingredients are listed on the side of the box and again on the label of the pot. When you remove the lid, you can smell the rub straight away, which is just a menthol smell, but not overpowering. If you've ever had an adult vapour rub such as Vicks, then comparing them, you can tell it isn't as strong as them, which is a good thing for little ones noses!
Snuffle Babe is very easy to use, you simply rub a small amount onto your child's throat and chest. Remember to leave ned clothes loose around their chest so vapours can escape! The rub works by the body heat causing the oils to vaporise. If you don't want to apply to skin, your child is sensitive to the ingredients, or for any other reason, you can also add some rub to a handkerchief and tie onto your child's cot or bed out of their reach.
So, does it work?
For the past 6 weeks or so, my little boy who is is 7months old has had a snuffly nose on and off due to our silly weather. Snuffle Babe was one of the things I went straight out and bought as I'd used it for my daughter and it worked really well. I only use it at night time which I think a lot of people do with vapour rubs as it is quite strong smelling so you don't want baby smelling like menthol all day long. The logo to snuffle babe is a sleeping moon, so it is mainly aimed to use night.
I rub a small amount onto my sons chest and throat as he seems fine with it and I think this way works a bit better than putting it on a handkerchief near the cot. Since using it, he doesn't wake up as early with a blocked nose. He was waking around midnight struggling to breathe before I bought it, now he goes to his usual 6am. He still wakes snuffly at 6am as I don't expect it to work for 10-12 hours, but it help to keep him unblocked in his first few hours of sleep and helps him to breathe and sleep a lot better at night whilst snuffly.
So, in my opinion and experience, it does work with helping to unblock his little nose for a few hours at night, and if he does wake during the night blocked up, which is rare when ive applied it before bed, then it's fine to apply another small amount if you can't smell it anymore.
You can get Snuffle Babe from most chemists, supermarkets and I know most corner shops near me sell it, but depends upon where you live! It usually costs between £2 -£3 depending where you buy. Lloyds pharmacy currently have it for £1.70, usually £2.99! So, it isn't too expensive to buy and is widely available and easy to get a hold of.
Snuffle Babe isn't suitable for babies under 3 month so if your little one is younger, this isn't recommended, and you should see your doctor. Also, it isn't to be used if your child is allergic to any ingredients, or on broken skin, as you can machine, it would sting pretty bad.
So if your little ones nose is blocked, definitely give this a try, it's affordable and it's very long lasting as you only use a tiny amount at a time and it doesn't need to be thrown within so many days of opening, you can keep until the expiry date, which on mine is in three years, so handy if you have more than one child and regular colds occur. A great product to have in your medical cupboard!
My Daughter who turned 4 just before Christmas is really into her crafts lately, especially cutting and gluing. On a Christmas shopping trip to the Early Learning Centre, I spotted the magic Maize Starter Kit, which caught my eye with a badge which stated 'sticks with water, no mess', so of course, this appealed to me!
The kit comes with 1 bag of magic maize, 6 pictures, 8 crayons, 1 dip bowl, 1 sponge and of course the instructions.
The maize is basically like the quaver looking stuff you find protecting your items in large packages sometimes! They are squishy cylinder shaped pieces which come in a few different colours. The instructions are easy to read and explain that you can squish the maize down, roll it into balls and also flatten them or cut them into other shapes.
The pictures which come with the kit are on card, which is handy as you stick the maize with water so paper would rip easy. They are very cute, child appealing pictures such as a vase of flowers; a hedgehog and a rainbow are included. The pictures have pre-drawn shapes inside them to make it easy for younger children to know which way to stick the maize and which size and shape they need. These starter kit pictures mainly just include sticking the maize as it is or as a ball, which is fine for a starter kit as it helps younger children to grips with it.
Kids can colour the pictures first with the crayons, before sticking on their maize, or the instructions state the crayons can be used to draw your own picture outlines to stick maize to your own pictures and designs.
To stick the maize, you need to just dampen the sponge, and then place it inside the bowl so there are no drips onto your floor or surfaces. You basically just press the maize slightly onto the sponge so it is a tiny bit damp, and then place it where you want on the card. This is so easy to do, and not messy in the slightest, which is great.
Now I did wonder how long the maize would last on the pictures and maybe they'd fall off easily but this really isn't the case! My Daughter did all 6 pictures on Boxing Day morning, and now on New Year's Eve, they are still stuck there perfectly fine. I have pushed a few of them to see if you can push them off easy, but none have come away from the card, so they do need a pull to get them off which is good as they aren't just knocked off.
So, all in all, I would recommend the Magic Maize to any parent who would like a mess free craft session! They are so easy to use. My Daughter was able to squish them and roll them and flatten them, but just turning 4, it is a bit fiddly for her to cut them, but of course this is handy for older children or adults when helping younger children.
I did read a review on Mothercare by one Mum who said her 5 year old daughters kept turning into sticky wet goo. I can't see how this can happen unless you dip them completely into water!
They are 4 years and over, but I would say a 3 year old could use them fine, in my Daughter's case, she would have done anyway.
This is a Starter kit so it does not include a lot of pictures, but I didn't expect it to as of course it is a Starter Kit. I didn't want to buy the larger kit and it go to waste, and at £4, this wouldn't be missed if the starter kit wasn't enjoyed.
The pictures are available to buy separately, but I would just buy a load of card, which is like photo card and my daughter could draw her own pictures and stick her own designs, so this is good.
The Maize bag has 100 average pieces of Maize. Bags can be bought separately. I haven't seen them in ELC or Mothercare but have seen them in Hobbycraft for £2 which is a good price.
I did buy as said earlier for £4; this was half price in the Christmas Sales. £8 is a bit dear for what it is in my opinion, but still affordable. The bumper kit comes with feathers, glitter, straws etc. for £15. You can buy from Early Learning Centre/Mothercares stores and websites.
A few weeks before giving birth to baby number two, my Mum turned up at my house after a shopping trip and produced this Lindam Mini Blender. Essentially, she bought it for when baby is weaning and eating pureed food, as with my Daughter I used to spend a lot of money on jarred food, so she bought me this to save me some money in the long run.
The blender is made by Lindam who are a specialised baby brand aimed at producing safety items. They are best known for their playpens, safety gates and monitors, and over the years have started to make toys, food items and electricals. They are one of the most popular and reliable baby brands in the UK and Europe and are known as the UK's Number 1 Safety Brand.
WHATS IN THE BOX
Just by the box itself I can tell that this blender really is mini. Opening up the box there are 4 pieces to fit together. The base with the mains, the plastic container, the blade and the lid. All 4 pieces fit together really easily and there is no need to look at any instructions at all. The jug sits on top of the base by twisting into place really easily. The blade then clicks into place inside the container, and then you pop on the lid.
USING THE BLENDER
The blender is very simple to use as it has just one button to press, and no different settings as there would be on an 'adult' or more expensive blender. You simply press the one button to turn it on and release your finger to turn it off.
A good thing about the blender is that it will only switch on when the lid is clicked into place properly, so there won't be any accidental turn ons with food flying out of it all over the place. This is a good feature as if a tot did get a hold of it they couldn't turn it on with their fingers inside, it's basically impossible as the lid needs to be clicked on, so the safety feature is definitely there.
The plastic container is 300ml capacity and has measurements written onto the side of it in ml and oz. 300ml is ideal for a blender aimed at making baby meals as a baby of 6months will have maybe half of that in one meal at the most. 300ml is large for a baby meal, but its better the container larger than what you need than too small.
CLEANING THE BLENDER
Cleaning the unit is very simple as you only need to clean the container, the lid and the blade. The container twists off of the base, which is ideal as you can pour the food into baby's dish straight from it, and then stick it in the sink or dishwasher, as it is dishwasher safe. The blade is very sharp and after the first use my partner cut his finger by accident when putting it onto the draining board after cleaning. Obviously you need a very sharp blade to blend up food, and with any blender or sharp knife, you need to take extra caution when washing it in the sink.
If you need to clean the base, then you just need to wipe it with a damp cloth.
I find food is blended really well. My baby is only 6 weeks old, so I haven't used it for puree yet, but I have used it to make a few soups, to test it out. In the user manual there is a small guide to some foods and how long it takes to blend them. They all are listed between 5 and 10 seconds.
With potatoes which are a biggie in baby puree, and my soups, it says 5-10 seconds blending time. I boil my spuds until they are really soft, and even then, they take around 15 seconds, sometimes a few seconds longer, but it isn't as if you stand there forever trying to get lumps out. There can be an odd lump or two left over which is easy to root out of a puree consistency, and after a couple of weeks you introduce lumps to food puree anyway, so it's good that it doesn't liquidize everything.
Other than potatoes, I have used carrots, broccoli, leek and chicken in the blender so far. These foods are all in the user manual as guides and are said to take 5-10 seconds. I have found they take around 10 to 15 seconds just like the potatoes. I think it also depends upon the amount you put in to the length of time it takes. The maximum capacity for solids is 50g, so if you put 20g of carrots in, then it will take a few seconds less time.
This blender really is a great buy. Being mini really helps in a few ways. One being you don't need to get out a large blender just for a few ml of baby puree. It is great for storing and also an ideal size to travel with if you go on holiday, or if your baby sleeps out at grandparents, then the blender can be taken with you as it weighs absolutely nothing. The blender is precisely 16cm in length and 11cm in height, so is not very big at all.
I find with the foods I have tested, the blender really does do its job. It purees the food really well in a short time, which again is another positive as you don't want to be running a bit late and have baby screaming for dinner and you having to mash it all up by hand which takes longer. As I said earlier, yes there is a lump or two, but in puree it can easily be picked out of younger babies foods, if there is even any in it.
I have also used it to make a smoothie and also to make an ice cream milkshake with real strawberries, which turned out gorgeous and blended together really nice and smooth. So, you can make healthy smoothies for toddlers and children, and yourself aswell!
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
You can buy the Lindam Mini Blender at plenty of places. Mine was from Wilkinsons and my Mum said she paid £10 for it on offer from £15. Be cautious, as Asda, Sainsburys, Boots and even Kiddicare are all selling this blender for between £11 and £16, but Tesco currently sell it for £3.49!
I think £10 was ideal to pay, £16 may be a bit much for how long you will be using it for, but £3.49 is definitely worth it!
I think for anybody with a baby who wants to make home made meals, then this blender really is a perfect buy.
Having a 3 year old in the house, wipes aren't a necessity, but they are an item you like to have handy as they come in useful for snotty noses and mucky hands. As I only really use them, before little man was born, for wiping mucky hands and faces, I wouldn't pay £3 a pack for the Pampers and Huggies wipes available. So one day in Primark, I saw a pack of 2 Early Days, which is Primark's baby and child 'brand', wipes for £1.
The wipes are a pack of 72, and are in the usual plastic all wipes come in, and to open them they have the transparent sticky tape pull back again like most other wipes. I do prefer ones with the plastic openers as they stay shut and your wipes don't get dried out as easy, as the sticky tape ones don't last long at sticking and keeping the wipes closed, but at 2 for a £1, I wasn't that bothered about this.
The wipes are dermatologically tested, help protect delicate skin, paraben free, alcohol free and enriched with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E.
They came in fragranced and fragrance free and I picked up the fragranced wipes.
On first opening the wipes, the smell caught me, and let me tell you it isn't pleasant, especially for a baby aimed item! They smell like damp clothes mixed with sweaty feet. It's standable, and I continued to use for the few things I needed them for, but if I had had a baby at the time, I wouldn't have used them on my baby's bottom.
I asked my sister to pick me up some wipes in town a few weeks ago, and she got these ones for me. I told her about the smell and she opened them up and picked one out to sniff and she thought the same thing, as did my partner, so it isn't just me that thinks these wipes smell rank.
The wipes are quite thin, which I prefer to thicker wipes as I find thick ones hard to handle and they don't go as far. The moistness of the wipes isn't very good. They aren't completely dry, but they aren't moist enough to wipe off chocolate and typical children stickiness, so you end up using a lot more of the wipes than you would with other brands. Again, I couldn't use them for changing bums as they just wouldn't last long enough.
On reading reviews just now people seem to like them, but I personally do not. I wouldn't recommend these wipes to anybody, and I wouldn't say they are get what you pay for, as you can get better 2 for £1 wipes from other stores, so if price of branded wipes is a problem, there are other options than these. My regular wipes were 2 for £1 purebaby from Home Bargains which smell nice, last longer and are nicely moistured, so there are decent cheap ones out there for people like me who refuse to pay the ridiculous prices for branded wipes.
All in all, they aren't moist enough, they stink, they don't go far and they really are as cheap as their price!
Along with purchasing our pet rabbit Tilly, 3 years ago now, we also needed a few bits and bobs a feeding bowl being one of them. I came across this bowl in my local pet store, which is a very large discount warehouse pet store, so there were plenty of bowls to choose from, but this one appealed to me the most.
The bowl is a pale cream colour, and is around 11cm in diameter. As it is ceramic, it is quite thick, around 1cm and maybe 3cm deep, so an ideal size to fit an adult portion of food inside.
Most pet bowls are plain, but this comes with a picture of a rabbit inside, with his bib on, getting ready to munch on a large carrot. Now I know some people might think it's silly buying your pet a designed bowl rather than a plain one especially as when there is food in it, you can't actually see the picture, but it just appealed to me more, and there wasn't much difference in prices either so the design didn't make it dearer.
This was £2.85, where the plain ceramic bowls were anything from £2.00 so it wasn't much dearer and definitely worth the price, especially for a ceramic bowl.
You can get plastic bowls for rabbits, which are a lot cheaper, but as they gnaw at things, I was advised to buy a ceramic bowl rather than the plastic ones and I now know why, and am glad I did. My rabbit will lie and chill out, but gets little moments where she will start biting everything and twirling around in her cage to get out. This means she stands on the bowl, knocks it over, and sometimes kicks it to the back of the cage. A few times on cleaning her hutch out, it has slipped out of my hand onto the flagged floor, or she's knocked it out of her hutch by accident when the door has been open, and all of this without even a chip. I would have expected at least a small crack or chip somewhere by now, but looking at it, there's not one after 3 years.
Cleaning the bowl is very easy as it is ceramic so it can easily be rinsed out, and every few weeks I wash it in hot soapy water to refresh it properly. The picture is still in the centre of the bowl and hasn't yet faded or started to wear away at all.
The bowl is a heavy bowl, so isn't easily kicked over, it's only because my rabbit is quite large and very clumsy that she knocks it sometimes. I have watched her nudge the bowl with her nose and although she can move it a little, she can't knock it over with her nose, just with her strong kicks.
So all in all, I would definitely recommend this bowl for your pet rabbit as it is cute for a pampered rabbit, a perfect size for small and large rabbits; it's durable for clumsy rabbits, easy to clean for messy rabbits and cheap for penny saving owners!
Mine was bought at an independent pet store, but this can be bought online at a few stores, including zooplus.co.uk, who have it for £1.99 at the minute.
After giving birth to my little boy back in July, I decided a couple of weeks after he was born that he needed a baby gym, as my little girl used to love hers when she was starting to notice things properly around 3-4 months old. Looking all over the internet for a fun looking gym, they were all edging on £100, which to me is a lot to pay for something which lasts only a couple of months. After much searching for a reasonably priced one which actually did something, I came across the Fisherprice 1-2-3 Musical Gym.
The Fisherprice 1-2-3 Musical Gym was £40 in Argos, and had a lot of great reviews, so I decided to go ahead and purchase it. The gym is part of Fisherprice's Rainforest Range, which has loads of products, such as gyms, toys and bouncers with rainforest animals, trees and features on them. A very bright green range which I have seen hanging around on the market for maybe the past year or 2.
On opening the box you have to put the gym together, which isn't a very big task.
These parts consist of the mat, 2 plastic side bases, the play bar, the toys for the play bar, a giraffe toy and a tree toy. The mat simply attaches to the plastic side bases by slipping a thick piece of fabric on the mat through a small hole on the base, which was simple to do. There is a hole on either end of both bases. The first is for the toy bar, which has 2 toys hung onto it. The other 2 holes are or the giraffe and tree. Very easy to put together, and there was no need to look at the instructions at any time through the building process, which took approximately 5 minutes, if that.
THE MAT - The mat is rectangular in shape, and is just the right size for a growing baby to lie on, and also doesn't take up much floor space like a lot of other gyms do. The one thing I like about the mat is that it is waterproof. My daughter's gym was cotton so baby sick stains weren't really a good look, and being unable to machine wash it, it was a pain in the backside. This gym however, can be wiped easily with soapy water, with no stains left over. It is quite a comfy little mat, not very thick but is cushiony enough for a baby.
There is a small head rest, more of a cushion really, which comes with the gym, but it isn't attached to the gym which is annoying so it always slips from under him, I have now given up on putting it under him, as he seems comfy enough without it anyway.
The mat is very colourful and eye catching especially for babies' eyes. It features pictures of leaves and trees, a pond with frogs and other animals such as birds. The foot end of the mat, which is made for tummy time, features a small mirror, which looks as though it is the sun, with a smiley face on it. There is also a small ball, with smaller balls inside, which rattles when spun around. The last thing on this end is a flap which can open, and you see a picture of a small frog like the ones further up the mat.
On his back, my son will kick and sometimes kick the ball and it makes a rattle sound, but when I lay him on his front, he gets fed up. Partly because he hasn't got much patience for tummy time and partly because, in my opinion he is bored.
The mirror is very small and the child has to be very close to it to be able to see themselves in it, which to me is not fun at all. Babies, especially young ones like my son, love their own reflection, and a lot of thing my daughter had, mirrors were a big feature, and she would laugh at herself for hours. This hasn't got the same effect as it just isn't big enough in my opinion for baby to see themselves properly.
I do not see the point in the flap either. There is no different texture underneath or anything fun or surprising for baby, just a picture of a frog, which the mat has plenty of in the first place. Maybe putting the mirror behind the flap would be more fun, but to me, this is a feature which has no point and seems lazy on the designer's part.
TOY BAR - The toy bar features 2 large silky butterflies, one bright orange and one purple. These are mainly aimed at touching and feeling as they are very silky and do not rattle, squeak or make any other sound. My son loves staring at these, and as they are silky they reflect light a little bit so he stares at them for ages and coos away at them, These also dangle low enough for him to reach out and touch them, which he enjoys doing, as when he knocks them, they wiggle and this catches his eye.
The other is a white cat/zebra looking thing; really I do not know what animal this is, with a ball on it. When baby knocks the ball with his hand, it makes 2 different sounds. The first is an upbeat melody which lasts 8 seconds and the other is a drumming type sound which again, lasts 8 seconds. So, these 2 sounds are the only sounds this musical gym makes! I know babies' don't really know and couldn't care less how many songs their toys play and how long for, but for me, when you call a product a musical gym, I expect it to be a musical gym! This is very disappointing as music is a great feature on toys. My son doesn't mind it though!
One good thing about the toy bar is that as baby gets a bit bigger, you can just pull it out of the holes a bit more as he grows, so his face isn't touching the toys, and they can still reach out for them.
GIRAFFE AND TREE - The giraffe and tree both slip easily into the end of the bases and are just like soft toys. The box shows the giraffe and tree features for when baby is sat up, obviously when they can sit by themselves, you sit them next to the giraffe and tree for them to play with.
The giraffe is smooth and is obviously a very bright yellow to capture babies' attention. He makes a little rattle sound when knocked, which is basically all he does. You can slip him out of the hole and then baby can use him as a rattling teddy. He has a Velcro piece hanging out of his mouth for you to stick the butterflies onto when baby is playing at this end and not with the toy bar.
The tree is more fluffy feeling and has three big leaves at the top which feel a bit fuzzy. This also has a Velcro piece for you to stick a colourful rattling toucan onto. The toucan is very bright, and again captures babies' attention. It is fluffy with a silky beak, so is great for touchy feely play.
BABY THOUGHTS - Obviously my son can't tell me what he thinks, but from his behaviour, he seems to enjoy lying on his back under the toy bar. As I described earlier he loves the butterflies, and I have at times put the toucan in its place, but he seems to prefer the butterflies, probably because of the reflections of lights off the silky fabric, which is a feature all babies would love, especially at this age.
The cat/zebra 'musical' ball is easy for him to reach and he knocks it quite often, so is able to set the music, or rather 'sounds' off himself now, rather than me keep doing it for him. I did think as this is plastic if it hurt him hitting it all the time but it doesn't seem to, so I suppose this is fine!
The tummy time play end of the gym is okay for a few minutes for him, but only because he hates tummy time at the minute. He hits the ball now and then but he doesn't get much joy from this end of the mat. I sometimes I sit him in front of me next to the tree and giraffe for him to hit the giraffe for the rattle sound, which entertains him for a bit and he likes knocking the toucan on the tree also.
I think all in all this gym is expensive for what it actually does. To me it is more of a touching and feeling gym than a musical one as it describes itself. Also, I do not understand why it is called 1-2-3 Musical Gym? What is the 1-2-3 all about? It doesn't count to my son or seem to feature anything that remotely relates to 1-2-3 at all!
Compared to other gyms out there, it hangs in the middle. There are a lot of affordable gyms which do nothing and feature not a lot, or there are the ones that feature and do a lot which seem to be a bit expensive for me. I can't really complain much at the price, I think I would have preferred to have paid around £30 for it rather than £40 but it isn't a big loss and a complete waste of money.
It is good for being waterproof, and it is smaller than most play gyms out there, so is easier to store. I also like the touchy feely part of the gym, as this is a great thing for babies' and the gym has a few different textures for baby, so I think it should be renamed to touchy feely gym rather than musical gym!
My son does enjoy the gym, so I think it just shows that babies are happy with simple things, and they don't need lights and a lot of music to enjoy themselves, especially at this age.
For now, my son is happy, but he will never play with it sat up as by the time he is sitting by himself, he will have a few more toys which will do more and will entertain and engage him more for his age than just a jingling giraffe and a tree!