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fergusa

fergusa
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Member since: 27.05.2009

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      14.08.2009 15:03
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      A great little phone

      I recently upgraded to this phone after deciding my old phone had served me for long enough, I have always preferred Nokias and I was initially attracted to this one as it has a touch screen and also has a good music player.

      I have written this review as a reasonably techinical person, but there may well be features that I haven't discovered/understood - so I apologise if there is something that isn't coverred. I will attempt to cover all the main features though, I have scanned the index of the instruction manual and cannot see anything major that I have missed.

      **Appearance
      The phone is a good size for a touch screen - not too bulky (very slim) but big enough for easy use with either the stylus that comes with the phone or a finger.

      It is approx 4" high by 2" wide, the main body is black but there is a reflective blue strip around the side (makes finding it in your bag easier!).

      The screen fills the majority of the face, with just 3 small buttons at the bottom of the face (Call, Menu and End)

      The key lock is much improved on previous Nokia phones, all you need to do is slide a switch on the side of the phone to lock the keys/screen. The phone gives a little vibrate to tell you that it has locked successfully. It also locks automatically after a period of non-use and there is a "proximity sensor" to prevent the touch screen being activated whilst you are holding the phone to your ear.

      At the top of the phone is the on/off switch and all jacks (power, usb, headphones). The memory card and sim card are located on the side in discreet pop out panels.

      ** Main Features.

      There is a nice feature for your most dialled numbers - you can add upto 4 contacts to the front screen, this makes accessing these numbers much quicker. You can also assign an image (from the list or a photo of your own) to the number. So, to phone your mum/dad/husband etc you can put in a photo of them and just press it to ring them - cute!

      The home screen can carry a large image (photo of my baby boy on mine) and also has quick access points for example - if you press the date (which is shown on the screen) it takes you directly to the calendar, there is a "media key" which will take you directly to the media areas (music library, sat nav, images)

      The camera is a good quality - 3.2 megapixels, although it has a focus delay so it's hard to capture images of mjoving objects. There is also a good quality video recording function.

      The music player has been the biggest bonus for me as I no longer carry my phone and Ipod. The headphones don't give the best sound quality but you can use other headphones to improve this.
      The phone has Bluetooth, which made transferring all my numbers and information across from my old phone easy and quick.

      Messaging - the phone has all the normal functions but has the touch screen which I find makes writing messages much quicker. You can use your finger instead of the stylus pen but it is quicker using the pen. You can also turn to "handwriting" style to write on the screen as you would paper - the phone recognises this and turns it into text - I find this option quite slow.

      The phone has an internal GPS so you can get directions on your phone - but you need to be connected to the internet to do this.

      Another one of my favourite things about this phone is that it is very flexible in being used with other devices, for example you can use with a TV to watch online clips from Youtube or Iplayer, you can "Share" images, music and other media with other users and you can load music from your PC on to the built in music player.

      There are of course all the features that one expects with a new phone - calendar, to do lists, alarms etc.

      Long gone are the days when a phone was just a phone.

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        05.08.2009 15:22
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        A Blue Hippo Singing in a Boat

        I'm still working my way through the mountain of toys my son received for his 1st birthday. This is the latest one - it is a bath toy from Tomy called "Hippo Pedalo".

        **What is it?

        Hippo Pedalo is a plastic bath toy approx 7" long by 5" wide. It consists of a yellow Pedalo boat with a rudder and a blue hippo sitting inside.


        **What does it do?

        The toy has a couple of functions. Firstly, it moves along in the water (very slowly) allowing baby to follow it about, whilst it moves around the hippo sings a cute version of "O Sole Mio" (very funny the first few times you hear it) and pedals his legs. You have to press Hippo's tummy to get this sound/movement and it lasts for approx 30 seconds.

        Secondly, you can fill up a small chamber at the back which will then make bubbles behind the boat as it moves. (This only really works if you don't have bubbles in the bath otherwise they just merge into those.)


        **What is the play value/advantages?

        The benefits of this toy as stated by Tomy are:
        Builds bonds with baby/family
        Builds water confidence
        Can be used as part of bedtime routine
        Creates fun and happy time

        I think some of these are a bit tenous (my baby can make happy time with an empty cardboard box), but it is a funny toy for the first few times of use. It doesn't really have much educational value but may help children who don't enjoy bathing. My son enjoys pushing it around (and sinking it) so it does help to build water confidence.

        It is also well made and does what it claims to do perfectly well.


        **Any downsides?

        I would say the biggest disadvantage is that it will only be fun for a limited time before it goes into the big box of "no longer played with" toys. It costs £9.99 new which is probably a bit much for the use it will get.


        **Packaging

        The toy comes in an acceptably sized cardboard open fronted box without too many fiddly fastenings.
        It takes 3 x AA batteries (Yes - batteries in a bath toy - don't worry it's safe!!).

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        • Bio Oil 200ml / Skin Care / 87 Readings / 83 Ratings
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          04.08.2009 15:36
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          Great Stuff.

          I bought this Bio-oil on the advice of a colleague when I was pregnant. I had intended to use during pregnancy to prevent stretch marks, but as with so many things I did it now and then but not regularly.

          Luckily for me, I didn't really get bad stretch marks, I had a few post-baby which disappeared within a few months. I do have some very slight marks but you really have to search for them.

          However, as I have it sitting on my shelf, I decided to use it as an all over body oil anyway. I have been very impressed with the effects.

          Bio-Oil is a peachy-orange coloured oil which is marketed as "specialist skincare" for Scars, Stretch Marks, Uneven Skintone, Ageing Skin and Dehydrated skin. The trademarked ingredient is called PurCellin Oil but it also contains well known skin goodies such as Calendular and Vitamin E.

          The fragrance is quite strong, I think it is one of those smells you will either love or hate (so take a sniff before purchasing) but I personally find it very pleasant.

          I have been using regularly for several weeks now, mainly on legs, tummy and arms. I do suffer from dehydrated and sensitive skin and this oil has been very gentle and effective. My skin is much softer and feels smoother. The skin on my shins was very dry and rough around the knee area and this has been completely solved.

          Unfortunately, it's not cheap. I have the largest size of 200ml which was around £20. Smaller sizes are available if you want to try but are relatively more expensive for the amount you get. (125ml is £15, 60ml is £8.) It does last quite a while, the 200ml bottle is about 70% gone after 3 weeks of daily use.

          It is widely available - Boots and Superdrug both stock it and I have seen it in Waitrose and a larger Sainsburys.

          On the downside it is quite oily (the clue's in the question!) and you will have a protective sheen of oil on your skin after application which will last a fair while. It doesn't make you look greasy but it does mean your clothes may cling to your skin and you'll leave oily finger prints everywhere.

          I would definitely recommend this product for general improvement in the appearance of your skin.

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            30.07.2009 14:43
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            Great little time saver.

            After reading quite a few favourable reviews on this product, I decided to give it a try. I have found some real little gems since joining dooyoo and taking the recommendations of other members and I think it's one of the best aspects of being a member.

            I bought the pink can (called Bastiste Blush) from Superdrug for £1.95. I have also seen it in a supermarket and think it's quite widely available.

            So, my hair wasn't great this morning and I would have washed it if it were not for my Batiste experiment. Instead, I did as the can says. Shake can vigourously, spray from approx 30cm lightly and evenly onto hair, massage in and brush out.

            **What I liked about the product

            Well, the smell was good (I bought the Pink can called "Blush"), I think some comments on the other fragrances have been a bit negative but this one is fine.

            It was easy to use and much, much quicker than washing and blowdrying.

            The effect was good, it definitely made a difference, livened up my lanky locks a bit and left them looking neat and clean. I don't think it makes my hair look freshly washed but it definitely improved the look.

            You don't really need much - even if you've got long hair as you only spray the roots. The can should last quite some time.

            ** What I didn't like

            Nothing major, it's a good value product which delivers what it claims to do.

            I suppose if I was being picky, the packaging is a bit naff. It reminds me of cheap 1980's hairspray brands. But who really cares about that?

            Also, it is an aerosol which isn't the most enviro-friendly and I guess there is an argument that you are spraying chemicals onto your hair. As I use all manner of potions and sprays it would be hypocritical of me to say that this is an issue for me, but it is a consideration for some people.

            I shall definitely be continuing with this time saving "bad hair day" beater.

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            • Vtech Tiny Touch Phone / Baby Toy / 54 Readings / 51 Ratings
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              29.07.2009 15:03
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              Good Simple Fun Toy.

              This toy was bought for my son's first birthday by his Gran. He shows a lot of unwanted interest in our phones and remote controls so I'm hoping this will work as an alternative!!!

              ** The packaging and price
              It comes in an open fronted cardboard box that is probably a bit bulkier than it needs to be. It costs around £10 and is widely available.

              ** The toy
              It is made by Vtech and I have always found this brand of toys to be well made and to have a good play value.

              This toy phone is 7" high by 3" wide and 2" deep which is a good size for a 12 month to hold.

              The phone has a screen with a button to flick in between the three modes (picture in screen will change with each mode) and 12 buttons (numbers 0-9, * and #).

              The three modes are:

              Number mode - The number buttons flash and say the number of the button you push. If left, it will say " can you find number xx" to start a number game.

              Colour and shape mode. The buttons will flash and describe the colour/shape e.g. a square has 4 sides. If left it will start a colour/shape game "can you find a yellow circle.

              Role play mode - This mode has lots of songs and sayings related to conversation. "Hello, are you there?, Let's call mummy".


              **What I like about this toy.

              The flashing lights always catch baby's eyes. It is well made in durable, solid plastic with easy to push, chunky buttons.

              As the child is likely to use this toy in role play and hold it to their ear, the volume is quite low. This is great as baby can hear it and I can't!!

              It has an automatic shut off to prevent draining the battery.

              Aswell as being good for role play it teaches numbers, colours and shapes and develops hand-eye co-ordination.

              In summary, it is good value, educational toy which should last through several children. Not the most unique of toys but good simple fun.

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              29.07.2009 14:25
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              Wouldn't recommend.

              In The Night Garden is very popular in my house at the moment, so unsurprisingly my son got lots of toys and cards featuring Iggle Piggle and friends for his first birthday. This was one of them.

              ** The packaging and price.

              It comes in a cardboard box, the toy fits snugly inside so no need for any other packaging. Unfussy and enviro-friendly.

              I have found it on play.com for £14.99, which I think is a bit pricey for what it is.

              ** The Toy

              It is a wooden xylophone in the shape of the bridge from In the Night Garden. The main structure is blue wood (lightweight, probably plywood.) and there 6 wooden "planks" laid across secured with a rope and ball edging. The planks are multi coloured.

              On one end of the bridge is a wooden plaque with a picture of all the main characters. There is also a wooden mallet included which you use to strike the keys.

              The dimensions are 10" long x 7" wide x 5" high.

              It is suitable from 18 months although my son uses now (one year).

              **What I like about this toy.

              It's brightly coloured and quite lightweight. It develops hand-eye co-ordination and my son enjoys hitting it to hear the noise.

              It is quite well made and sturdy.

              ** What I don't like about this toy.

              It is marketed as a musical instrument and whilst baby can hit it and make sounds, the planks give a very dull thudding sound. You certainly couldn't play proper tunes on it.

              In summary, it's an ok toy. It will amuse a child, particularly if they like In the Night Garden, but it is not a "quality musical instrument" by any means. I think it is a bit expensive for what it is, that's probably because of the brand.

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              • ELC Bop and Go Alien / Baby Toy / 43 Readings / 40 Ratings
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                28.07.2009 11:52
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                Great idea, shame it can't work on carpet/tile grooves.

                I bought this "Bop and Go" alien for my son's first birthday as he has developed a love of things which move.

                His favourite thing is to watch mummy or daddy running around the garden and he loves seeing Mister Maker on Cbeebies as he races around his home.

                So, I figured that this toy which will spin around the room would be a hit.


                ** Packaging and Price

                It comes in an open fronted cardboard box with wire lengths to hold it in place. The packaging is not excessive and is easy enough to open.

                It cost £12.50 at an Early Learning Centre store and is also available online at www.elc.co.uk. ELC also have some mothercare concessions although I'm not sure if this is a line they carry.


                ** The Toy

                The alien is approx 6" high and 6" wide. He is made of a durable plastic with springy moveable arms. On the bottom he has 4 castors - 2 are straight and 2 move in a circular motion. When you press the alien's head he moves around on these castors, spinning around and off to the nearest wall/chair or whatever stops him.


                ** What I like about this toy.

                It's good fun and as expected my baby loves watching it move around and bopping it on the head to make it go again.

                It has sounds which are quite funny, but as with all toys are starting to get a bit irritating for me! His body also flashes which gives it more play value for baby.


                ** What I don't like about this toy.

                It doesn't work on carpet or uneven surfaces. We have flagstones in our hall/kitchen and he gets stuck in the grooves, so we can only really use in rooms with wood flooring which is a bit limiting.

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                  27.07.2009 16:24
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                  Badly designed.

                  This walker was given to my son for his first birthday by my mother, it does state on the above information that it is suitable from 2 years, but the box and packaging state 12 months+.

                  **Packaging and Assembley.
                  It comes in a fairly light cardboard box approx 60cm long, 30cm wide and 10cm deep. Inside there is a little more cardbard and some plastic film. The packaging is not excessive and is easily opened.

                  The assembley is very quick and simple. All you need to do is affix the handle by tightening 6 bolts (allen keys included) and 2 screws (you will need a crosshead screwdriver to do this). It took me approx 5 minutes to assemble.

                  **The Toy.
                  The body is a small wooden tray on wheels. It is made from lightweight plywood and is ready assembled. The sides have jungle animals painted on them and the wheels have painted spokes. The ends of the tray are painted green. The quality of the painting is good.

                  Within the tray are a variey of wooden blocks - Red, blue, green, yellow and plain wood in cubes, rectangles and round shapes. Again, the quality of painting is good.

                  The handle (which you must attach) has bright green sides and a plain wood top.

                  **The Play/Development value
                  The play value of the wooden shapes is ok, my son likes to take them out and try to fit them back in (after chewing them), but I'm not sure that will keep his attention for much longer. The value of the toy as a walker however, is pretty awful at best (and dangerous at worst).

                  The base tray is very lightweight (even when full of shapes) and will tip up if the handle is pushed/pulled downwards. You have to know to push it along without putting any pressure on the handle to make it move. This is unlike most walkers, for example the Vtech walker, which give a very solid support for baby to lean on when walking.

                  As the main point of this toy is a walker, and it does not support a baby trying to learn to walk, I think it probably falls into the category of "Not fit for purpose".

                  I have now removed the handle and baby continues to play with a "tray full of shapes on wheels" which he enjoys, but it's not what it was supposed to do.

                  *Price
                  This toy was bought from a Tesco store for £20. Definitely not worth the money. Spend a little more and get the Vtech walker instead.

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                    26.07.2009 10:27
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                    A useful little book.

                    You may have recently read my review on the Gina Ford book which I found too restrictive to use for more than the first few weeks of having a new baby.

                    This book by Simone Cave and Dr Caroline Fertleman was given to me by a good friend who had her own copy and had found it very useful and less strict than Gina Ford.

                    The simplicity of this book is that it (as you may tell from the title) covers one week at a time from week 0!!! to week 26. The benefit of this is that there are only a few pages to read each week.

                    Each week is split into sections which are relevant at that point, for example week 1 covers sleeping, feeding, crying and washing. Then follows
                    a piece about your baby's development, when to see a doctor and what's happening to mum (this is nice as most books ignore what is happening to you).

                    Each section starts with a handy overview of how many hours sleep, quantity of milk, number of wet/dirty nappies baby is likely to need.

                    **What I liked about the book
                    It's much more flexible than Gina Ford's "routine" based approach.

                    It does still give you some idea of what an "average" baby will require and achieve at this point.

                    It only covers 6 months which was fine for me as at this point I had plenty of confidence in bringing up baby.

                    There is also a small piece about weaning and a list of useful addresses at the end of this book.

                    **What I didn't like.
                    I probably won't use it again for a second baby as I feel I have enough experience from number one, but I'll keep it as a reference guide. There isn't anything I didn't like, it's definitely one of the more mum-friendly advice books.

                    In summary, I do believe in parenting by intuition and have learnt that a parent's gut instinct is a very powerful thing, but for a new mum who needs a helping hand to get going, this book is a very useful tool. I also wrote notes in mine (when he first held up his head, the first smile and crawl, which have been a bonus to look back at).

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                    • Knowing (DVD) / DVD / 66 Readings / 66 Ratings
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                      24.07.2009 15:13
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                      Back to the thought provoking, subtitled films then?

                      When my hubby chooses a DVD, it usually means either something that will require thought, the reading of subtitles or an "education" in some important event (usually involving soldiers).

                      So, I was rather intrigued when last night he came back with this Nicholas Cage film which, at first glimpse, seemed to be about super natural powers.

                      It's not the kind of film we would generally watch, and I've come away with mixed thoughts about it. Obviously, I'll not be giving too much away on the plot, but a general synopsis follows.

                      The film centers around an Astrophysicist (John Koestler, played by Cage)and his son, Caleb. His is a single dad as Caleb's mother died in an accident.

                      Caleb's school are having a memorial day to open up a time capsule which was buried fifty years before. All of the children in 1959 had drawn a picture and placed in an envelope. Each of these envelopes are distributed amongst the 2009 children and then returned to the school's care.

                      Caleb's envelope was from a girl called Lucinda. The film shows a sequence from 1959 when Lucinda was doing her "picture". Caleb does not return the envelope and takes it home where it captures his father's attention.

                      I will not go into any more detail, other than to say that Lucinda's "picture" has some very far reaching effects on Caleb and John's relationship, and on the wider society.

                      **What I liked and disliked about this film.
                      I wouldn't say I liked or disliked this film, it was just OK. Watchable, but not good enough to watch again.

                      There are some very good (although somewhat "Hollywood") special effects, in particular in the second half of the film.

                      If you like chilling films (think sixth sense) you will like the suspense and scary bits of this film. To be honest, I found it bit too spooky, but I've never been good with horror/scary films.

                      I did think that there were some excellent scenes in the movie, Nicholas Cage was very good and the actor who played his son excellent. There were also some supporting characters who gave good performances.

                      There were also plenty of moments of suspense (the type where you want to shout at the screen "don't go back to the house", look behind the door". )There were also moments of endearment, the blossoming of human relationships and the bond between parent and child.

                      For me though, the ending (don't worry, not gonna tell you) was a bit weak. I'm sure other people would find the "twist" dramatic but for me it was too contrived and was the worst bit of the film (although it stopped me being scared and left me just a bit bemused).

                      The music behind the film was appropriate, setting the mood without being too dramatic.

                      Overall, it's not a film genre I particularly like, or a cast that I would choose a movie from, but as a film it was OK. It wasn't great and I won't watch it agin, but there were some good scenes and effects. At the end, I felt slightly cheated, a reasonable film with a disappointing end.

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                        23.07.2009 15:24
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                        Can't wait for the Waddle!

                        What a absolutely delightful little book. Gallop! is a "Scanimation" picture book by Rufus Butler Seder.

                        It is a bit like a modern day pop up book, as you open each page a different animal can be seen in motion, a running horse for example or a bird flying through the air.

                        It works by having a striped perspex window on the right hand of each double page, as you open the page the artwork behind the window and the window itself are pulled along making the animal look as if it is moving. Very clever.

                        The book is a hardcover, about an inch thick and around 5" wide/7"tall. It is mainly white but with brightly coloured wording. It is 10 pages long.

                        Each page has a different animal. On the left hand side it says "Can you xxx like a xxx? and on the left under the scanimation it gives a fun "sound" of that action. For example:

                        Can you soar like an eagle? Whoosh-whoosh-glide.
                        Can you swim like a turtle? Glippety-gloap-gloap.
                        Can you swing like a chimp? Swoop-swoop-slide.

                        This makes it fun to read to a child, doing the noises together and letting them make the animals move. All of the text is in brightly coloured lettering, there isn't much text on the pages, so it would only take five mins to get through the book. You can vary the speed of the animals by turning the page quickly or slowly.

                        The last pages repeat all of the actions (can you jump, can you strut etc,) then says to take a bow and smile, and twinkle like a star, for that is what your are. Followed by a scanimation star.

                        The ISBN for this book is 978-0-7611-4763-3 and it is priced at around £7. Not the cheapest of children's books but it would make a really unusual gift.

                        I believe there is a new version of this book coming out soon called Waddle (with a penguin on the front). We will definitely be buying it.

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                          22.07.2009 16:02
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                          Helped me in the early days.

                          My baby boy will be one year old next week and my husband and I have been reliving our favourite memories of the last year. I have also been putting lots of things that I no longer need into storage and whilst doing this came upon this book.

                          It is the very well known "Contented Little Baby" book by Gina Ford. This book seems to have a Marmite following, some people love the very strict routines and advice she gives and others find it too restrictive.

                          I read this book cover to cover several times during the early months of my first child's life and I would have to say that during this time it was very helpful and reassuring. I had absolutely no experience with babies before I became a mum and the very strict hour by hour routines really helped give me the confidence that I hadn't forgotton to do something important.

                          However after a few months, I wanted to get a little more of my life back. I wanted to travel to friend's, go on day trips, spend an afternoon at the shops etc and Gina's routines really don't give you any flexibility on where and when baby can sleep.

                          I ended up using the book as a reference guide, basing my day loosely on the routine but adapting it to meet my and baby's needs. After all, a happy mummy makes for a happy baby.

                          **The layout of the book
                          The first section is about preparing for the baby, what equipment and clothes you will need, what you will need in the nursery. This section is helpful but does not really give anything unique.

                          The next few chapters discuss what will happen to your baby during the first year, how they will feed, how often and how much, how they will sleep, how often and how much and common problems like colic and hiccups.

                          The bulk of the book, which follows, is a detailed, hour by hour routine. There are 9 routines from the first at 2 weeks old up to the last which covers upto 12 months. These routines develop slowly, with slight variations to nap times and feed times.

                          There is also a small chapter on weaning. With routines (called feeding plans) for baby from four to twelve months.

                          **What did I like about this book?

                          1. It gave me confidence and structure in the early days.
                          2. It gives a general idea of how much sleep and milk your baby should be getting.
                          3. It has case studies throughout which can be a bit lighter to read than pages and pages of "you must do this and then this".
                          4. There is a check box at the beginning of each routine so you can easily see how the routines change without reading all the way through.

                          **What I didn't like
                          After the initial shock of having an infant to care for, I realised that actually I do know what's best for my baby. Once you get to this point, the book becomes too restrictive and at worst a bit patronising.

                          ISBN 0-09-188233-8
                          RRP £9.99
                          www.randomhouse.co.uk

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                            22.07.2009 10:48
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                            Follow those footprints.

                            My baby and I are still at the stage where any book made of paper is torn, chewed and generally destroyed at the first opening (by baby, not me), so cloth books and board books are great for a safe and stressless story time.

                            This book has been one of my baby's favourites.

                            ** The Book
                            The book is a padded cloth book, square in shape and 6 pages long. It is about a baby dinosaur called Diddy, it starts with Diddy breaking out of his shell. Each page has textured parts and this first page has a satiny white egg shell. There are rubbery yellow footprints which lead to the edge of the page, Diddy starts following these footprints.

                            On the second page he follows the footprints around the swamp past the fish and dragonflies which have shimmery reflective surfaces.

                            On page three, he goes under the ferns (which lift up so you can follow the footprint trail with your finger) and on to page four with 2 purple felt rocks.

                            On the last 2 pages Diddy comes to the end of the footprints and finds his mum, brothers and sisters. The other baby dinosaurs are hiding under a rock and can squeak at him (there is a squeaker within the page).

                            The colours throughout the book are vibrant and exciting, although not always realistic (never seen any purple rocks??). Also, as with other books from this author, including the "That's not my..." range, there is a cute little mouse hiding on each page for baby to find.

                            ** The Quality
                            The quality is good, it has had plenty of use and is still intact. The stitching is stronger enough to withstand play, including bits like the lift up ferns. The squeaker in the last page gives a good, loud squeak and has not diminished over time.

                            ** The Details
                            The book is published by Usborne (see www.usborne.com). ISBN 0 7460 7552 9. Price £4.99.

                            It was written by Fiona Watt and Illustrated by Rachel Wells, the same people who created the "That's not my..." range.

                            ** The Disadavantages.

                            The only one problem I have is that it doesn't have any washing instructions attached, maybe they were on some packaging. Not sure if it can be washed because of the squeaker and it is getting a bit grubby now.

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                              21.07.2009 21:49
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                              An unbalanced dressing.

                              Okay, I know it's not exactly summer weather at the moment, but I'm determined not to resort to winter comfort food quite yet. I've been ploughing my way through lots of salad recipes in the last few months and one of my weekly faves is a caesar salad. Classic, creamy sauce with chicken, croutons, parmesan and no anchovies (just can't get to like the salty little critters).

                              Although I tend to make my own dressings, I've never attempted a caesar dressing and have always bought the same brand (Cardini). I thought I'd give a cheaper version a try this month and chose the own label Tesco dressing.

                              The look of the dressing through the bottle was promising enough and indeed it looked very much as I would have expected. It was creamy in colour with specks of black pepper. The texture was thick enough to coat the salad well but still pourable. The smell was good, not overpowering.

                              I poured it all over the lettuce and chicken, topped with croutons fresh from the oven and shaved some parmesan on top.

                              The texture to eat was fine, but the taste was disappointing. I found it far too acidic. It really overpowered the taste of the lettuce and chicken and not in a pleasant way. Maybe I put too much on, but only used what I would normally. I ended up scraping some of the dressing off as I ate.

                              So, although much cheaper than my usual brand, in fact almost half the cost, (84p vs £1.59 for 250ml bottle), I won't be buying it again. The balance was all wrong for me and if I'm eating salad in the rain it's gotta be a good salad!

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                                17.07.2009 11:03
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                                Upsy Dipsy Daisy Do.......

                                In the Night garden is a pre-school television programme shown several times a day on CBeebies. The three main characters are Iggle Piggle (shown in the picture), Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka.

                                This review is for the mini bean bag toy of each of these characters not just Iggle Piggle as doing 3 sepearate reviews would be somewhat repetitive and probably "somewhat useful".

                                Each toy is around 7" tall. Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy are in a sitting position and Makka Pakka is standing (which puts them into scale as Makka Pakka is smaller that the other two in "real life".)

                                Iggle Piggle is a blue plush with red fabric feet and red felt hair. His face is embroidered but is a good character integrity. He has a velcro patch on his left hand which can be used to attach his blanket (it hasn't been lost yet, but I expect it will go missing soon).

                                Upsy Daisy is a girly rag doll and is quite a mixture of fabrics, she has a plush face and cotton, jersey and satiny fabrics in her outfit. She has stripey legs, flowers on her feet and floral pants. Again her face is embroidered, but is a little bit scarier than Iggle Piggle (I used to buy plush toys for Disney as a job and it's always much harder to embroider a more human-like face). Her hair is felt and again doesn't look as true to character, she also has a slightly longer neck than the TV character.

                                Makka Pakka is a cute little brown alien-like character who in the programme likes nothing more than to clean stones with his sponge and soap. He is a beige/brown plush with a very cute embroidered face and circular patterns on his feet. He is my favourite of the 3 plush toys.

                                All three toys have yellow plastic keyfobs attached to their heads which mean they can be attached to the pram, baby's trousers etc...

                                The washing instructions on each toy are to machine wash (Place in a pillowcase and tie closed. Tumble dry in pillow case promptly.) I had to wash Iggle Piggle after my husband dragged him through an oily car park. He came out very clean but a little bit bobbly (not to worry he's gonna get cuddled anyway). I didn't tumble dry I left outside on the clothes line and he was dry quickly.

                                Each toy was bought in Sainsbury's for £6.49, I have seen them for sale in lots of shops and online. They are good value for the price and a perfect size for a baby/toddler to hold and cuddle. The key fob is very handy although it's a shame they couldn't be more co-ordinated (yellow is fine for Upsy Daisy but Iggle Piggle would look better with a blue one and Makka Pakka with beige).

                                I also would have liked Makka Pakka to have a sponge which could be velcro'd to his hand like Iggle Piggle's blanket. Upsy Daisy has lots going on, different colours, patterns and textures but probably has the worst character integrity.


                                All in all - good quality, light hearted toys which have lots of cuddle factor.

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