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gembaxter
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Member since: 23.06.2010

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    • Vango Icarus 500 Canopy / Camping / 23 Readings / 18 Ratings
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      02.07.2011 22:13
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      Much needed extension to the tent.

      With a family of 3 soon to be 4 I need to ensure I use every inch of space available to me - whether at home or not.

      We bought the Icarus 500 tent and canopy mid season last year. We were able to see both products errect and had the chance to have a good wiggle of tension ropes etc. The canopy fits really nicely over the front of the tent by the main door. It provides an extra 4 feet of covered space. It is perfect for cooking undercover. The canopy has windows in the side letting in extra light - I think without the windows it could seem quite dark.

      When the canopy is errected correctly though it is not all it seems. Unfortunately it causes the roof of the main tent to dip. In order for the canopy to stay taute and not flap around in the wind the tension ropes must be pulled tight. This creates a dip in the roof where water is gathers so each morning you need to push it up.

      My husband has said that when we next get the rig out we are going to look at ways of adjusting this for our next trip. It is a little disheartening but I think it is more mis-sale than a product fault.

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    • Vango Icarus 500 Carpet / Camping / 9 Readings / 8 Ratings
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      02.07.2011 22:00
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      An essential for all the glampers out there!

      If you have seen my review for the Icarus 500 Tent you will see that I am not a "camper". I agreed to go so we can spend more time as a family and actually have an affordable holiday.

      However I am a woman who comes with demands and as soon as I found out I could have carpet in my tent I starting wearing down my husband!

      **Appearance and Quality**
      As far as I can tell the carpet only comes in one colour which is kind of a blue and grey check. Its not deep shagpile thats for sure but more of a fleecy type material. It is plastic backed so not only is it waterproof, great for any damp mornings, it also provides a certain amount of insulation. I definitely felt it was warmer and I also felt I could put my baby down on the floor to play without worrying it was too cold.

      The carpet is pretty hard wearing and doesn't fall flat with table legs on it for days on end. It fits to the edges of the tent perfectly.

      **Storage**
      As per all Vango products, it comes with its own storage bag. Do remember how it came out of the bag though as once those creases drop out I imagine it will be a little more difficult to put away.

      **Cleaning**
      Now it was September and the carpet did get muddy. The best way to clean is to let any spills dry, sweep or hoover and then sponge clean. Though with having children I wish it could be popped into the washing machine at the end of a trip. It would really help to freshen up.

      I really like this product and felt it added a touch of "home" to a tent. I imagine enthusiastic campers would find this hilarious however the fact it made the tent more family friendly appeals to me.

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      • Vango Icarus 500 / Tent / 37 Readings / 37 Ratings
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        24.10.2010 21:00
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        A great tent for a novice like me

        I don't "do" camping however we recently bought this tent ready for the next couple of years' family holidays. We tried it out at the end of the season and this is what we thought...

        ***Storage***
        The tent itself comes in a handled bag with a 180 degree zip providing a very big space to pack the tent away. The poles and pegs also come in their own seperate bags. Everything is tied up and surprisingly packs away in exactly the same way it did when we bought it - amazing!

        The packed down tent is sized at 67cm x 27cm x 27cm and weighs a total of 12.95kg.

        ***Features***
        The tent comprises of a seperate bedroom area with a hanging sheet that splits this down into two. As one big bedroom the tent can hold 5 people and split down comfortably can take 4 people. We had our double bed and our son's travel cot with plenty of space left to move around. The bedroom is already inside when you first pitch it making it so much easier to put up.

        Other features include:
        - TBS® II- Tension Band System reinforcing the tent during high winds
        - Fire Retardant fabrics...self explanatory!
        - Protex® 2000 polyester flysheet
        - Taped seams
        - Storm skirt system which prevents water from running into the tent. It also manages to trip up your husband and any drunken visitors!
        - Sewn-in groundsheet preventing drafts blowing through and keeps out unwanted guests...including drunken visitors!
        - Crystal Clear windows with internal covers
        - Parallel zip door with double zip covers (King poles not included)
        - Pre-attached guylines with guy tidies however you do need to fasten some of them yourself as they are not all tied correctly in the factory. Also they are not very bright and not always easy to see when walking around the site in the dark! This is another safety feature detering more drunken visitors!
        - Reflective webbing & external zip pullers
        - Heavy duty polesleeves
        - Powerflex® fibreglass poles
        - Ring and pin system making the tent far more sturdy.
        - Front over door mesh vent
        - Breathable fabric inner tent with part mesh door
        - Roll-back inner divider
        - Cable entry point
        - Inner pockets & hanging storage
        - Lantern loop which we did not find until we spent the first night holding the light for each other to get changed!

        ***Pitching***
        The tent takes a mere 10 minutes to pitch. We thought this would be rubbish but actually it is true even for us amateurs. In total it took around 40 minutes to get it all set up properly with the guy ropes etc however it may be quicker now we have set the guy ropes up and have done it once.

        You literally lay it out flat, put the poles through, peg them in and then peg down the guy ropes. It is all in one pitching so makes it far easier to do especially with a 15 month old who keeps wielding the mallet at your toes!

        ***The Tent***
        The tent comes in either camping green or camping blue. We have the green and is...well...green. Moving on...

        We found the tent pegs to be the standard issue bend-at-the-sight-of-a-mallet pegs so it might be an idea to get some rock pegs especially if you know you are going to a particularly rocky site.

        After the first night we expected to wake to condensation however the inside of the tent was bone dry. The second night we had a slight bit but we also had a massive down pour that night which could have contributed.

        The canopy caused the middle of the tent to sink holding some of the water. It looked as though we had not set this up correctly so next time we will assess before attaching. I will talk about this more when I review the canopy.

        The tent is a lovely size for a spacious weekend away however may require extra thought if going for a week or two. The outdoor space provided by the canopy was definitely useful.

        The side door is far easier to use as an easy access door. Because the main front door is at an angle, any water on the door drips straight in as you role it up into the tent.

        ***Conclusion***
        All in all, as a none camper, I found my stay in this tent both enjoyable and comfortable. The indoor space was plenty for me, my husband and our son to sit in a morning and eat breakfast (me wrapped up in a sleeping bag nonetheless) and also for storage.

        I would recommend this tent to anyone who has either a small family or are a couple. Plenty of space for a small dog too!

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          22.10.2010 23:35
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          IKEA or on a roll!!

          I bought this for my son's first Christmas and he was 7 months old but already on the move.

          I loved the adaptibility of the toy. It is a shape sorter come truck-like-Daddy come pull along vehicle.

          My son started off by chewing on the solid wood shapes. Fine by me although I did keep an eye to make sure the metal area (used for the magnet in the hiab to attach to) didn't come out although as far as I can see there is no chance of this happening.

          The magnet is strong so when a brick is attached it doesn't fall down unless pulled which is great when the poor truck gets driven into walls etc!

          The string is obviously the main safety aspect however while my son was too young to pull it along I balled the string up. It is a great pull along truck and the length of the string has it at a perfect height for him and possibly for a couple of years yet.

          The only downside to my particular model is the wheels make an awful squeeeeeeeeeeek! It is useful for tracking my ninja child's movements if a little irritating. I am not sure if this happens over every model.

          It is £9.99 and recommended for ages 12months plus.

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          22.10.2010 23:29
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          Another hit from IKEA

          There are various versions of this style of toy available at many different toy stores. I went and got various toys from IKEA for my son and nephew and this was one of them.

          The products comes flat packed in true IKEA style. I found it really easy to put together although the coiled red wire does ping open when you pull the tags off which is a little dangerous. Also you choose the pattern in which the beads go on which is great for someone like me who has mild OCD!

          It is marketed for children aged 18months plus. I bought this for my nephew as he turned 13 months and my son was around 10 months when he got his. Both of them found the chunky and bright beads easy to hold and move. Being made of wood it also withstands the obligitory drops and chews that our babies love to give their toys.

          My son loves his bead coaster and will sit and play when he finds it on his toy box. He does however get bored a little easily but I think that is just him as a child rather than what I find a "limited" activity.

          It costs a mere £8.99 from IKEA which is a bargin when you consider the cost of wooden toys these days and also toys of this style. I found a bead rollercoster that was more expensive and half the size.

          A good buy as far as I am concerned!

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            17.09.2010 23:13
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            £1.49 - I say no more!

            I am sorry but who can knock a toy that costs a mear £1.49!

            My son absolutely adores these stacking cups. We bought them as he was starting to show signs of hand eye coordination coming on so we sought out some basic stacking cups. Not an easy task I must say.

            They are a fabulous selection of bright colours which really appeal to my son. We started by stacking and encouraging him to knock them over. He loved the applause after being allowed to destroy something!

            He then started learning to put them all together which he managed really well. Then moving on to the proper stacking. The lips and ridges on the edges of the cups make stacking them easy for heavy handed boys.

            These cups have also been dragged and dropped on various surfaces in various countries! They bear no battle wounds despite being thoroughly beaten.

            They are so easy to clean and to be honest I chuck them in the bath once a week for a different way to play and give them a good rinse. The base diameter is 9cm and height of 34cm. There are 7 cups in total and are suitable from the age of 6 months.

            I have yet to find another set of cups this good. My brother paid double this price for cups with no lips on the edges. My nephew got bored very quickly and a set of these were bought for him after he tried to steal my son's ones!

            Teddy also likes his dinner provided by these great Ikea cups too - you can't say they don't encourage kids to use their imaginations!

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            • Ikea Mula Stacking Rings / Baby Toy / 16 Readings / 14 Ratings
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              17.09.2010 22:50
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              One of my son's favourite toys!

              One of my son's favourite toys! Time to review!

              My son had this from a very young age. Her used the wooden rings to chew on when starting to teeth and being wooden it has survived a good chewing and bashing on pretty much every surface in my home!

              The bright colours had him hooked from day one. He loved the vibrant and simple design of this toy.

              The height is 20cm and diameter of 13cm. It is relatively small enough that when we travel this toy is sqeezed in as an essential belonging. The pole is a soft rubber type material so injury is less likely. It is also another fav part for my boy to chew although this may bear some teeth marks due to the material.

              It is recommended for 12 months and up although my son was playing with it from about 6 months but supervised by my at all times. I think the pole poses the biggest "threat".

              At £5.99 it is a reasonable cost for a toy of its type, especially when made of wood. It was worth every penny for the first time my son managed to slide the ring onto the pole. He was extremely proud of himself!

              The parts are chunky so great for fumbly hands making hand eye coordination development continual.

              At 15 months we are just starting to learn the pattern of it rather than focusing on just threading it on. I can see this toy being passed down to all of my children.

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              17.09.2010 22:25
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              A mummy must have and my fav product next to my vaseline

              I found this product when out shopping with my grandma one day. She told me how she used this as a teenager and couldn't believe it was still around.

              Now before I had my son I literally had to wash my hair every day and sometimes twice if I was going out after work. I spent a fortune on shampoo. Whilst pregnant my hair type changed and I could get away with a wash every other day at least. As my due date approached I start thinking about the likely-hood of being able to wash my hair regularly.

              I grabbed a can and stuffed it into my hospital bag and started using it from day 1!

              One days in between washes I literally spray at the root of my hair and I am done. Now I only wear my hair down the day I have washed it. Even using the dry shampoo my hair still feels greasy but does not look it. Now personally I hate the lanky feeling so I chuck it up. With that in mind I flip my hair over and give a good spritz all over the underside root area and it looks like I have washed and chucked it up in a rock style messy pony!

              I find it makes my chestnut hair look like I have blonde highlights but that my be because I use a lot at a time! Still I like my cheap wash out "highlights"!

              A can costs £2 from Tesco and I can pick it up with my weekly shopping. I use around a can a month and that is 3-4 applications a week.

              The original shampoo has no real smell other than a talc kind of smell. I spray it liberally yet do not feel like I am choking on it which is great with a little one!

              The packaging is in my opinion quite plan. The paisley green and lemon yellow makes me think of something out of an old oxo advert but then part of that comes with knowing my grandma used it too. Nothing special but to be honest, I don't by a product like this to look at the can on the shelf. I want results and with this...I get it!

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            • Ikea Cot Beds / Nursery Furniture / 15 Readings / 14 Ratings
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              17.09.2010 21:32
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              A beautiful bed for my beautiful boy!

              I am reviewing the Leksvik Cot from Ikea.

              When setting up the nursery for our son we wanted to ensure we were getting the best value for money. Just because he is our first child gave us no reason to unnecessarily splurge money - after all I was about to go on maternity leave.

              Ikea had just opened in the area so we took a look around. I fell in love with the gender neutral colour of the furniture. My husband didn't want white as our house is magnolia!

              The wood is a lovely mid brown colour and perfect for either gender and also makes the room feel lovely a warm too!

              The cot does have fixed sides which I felt was fine while my son was a baby but now we are thinking of starting the transfer to a bed, it does mean we do not have that flexibility. The side does however come off and the cot comes with a panel to turn the cot into a one sided bed.

              The base comes at 2 heights which is great for when baby starts to sit up. My son is 15 months old and as yet he has not even tried to climb out which is a bonus!

              The cot itself is quite small. I am not the tallest of people and I really felt quite overwhelmed at the size of the average cot bed for sale. It is definitely suitable to see baby through to his first bed. We also found that the transfer from moses basket to bed was far easier as the cot did not consume our son.

              The cot itself is £75 and so easy to put together. We managed it in about 15 minutes - me supervising of course!

              The mattress is available at an extra cost. There are various types available and we got the mid range one which was between £12-£15. It is blue and white striped and does show any slight marks from dribbly babies! Bit of a shame I would say but certainly does not retain any smell as proved with a bout of baby's finest nappy gifts!

              Ikea do sell bedding also which will fit the size perfectly but we bought cot bed bedding so is obviously quite large for it.

              This cot is perfect for what we wanted. It wipes down so easily too and we really can see this cot being passed down to each of our future children.

              Simple and gorgeous. Definitely worth a look!

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              15.09.2010 12:00
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              Fresh but strong!

              I have been purchasing Sure roll on pretty much since the time they brought out their 24 hour protection range.

              There a 5 "flavours" in the body responsive range; biorhythm, cotton fresh, aloe vera, cool pink and cool blue. They are also releasing Fresh and Pure as part of their natural minerals range.

              I personally favour the cotton fresh with its clean soapy smell. I have also purchased biorhythm when cotton fresh is sold out and I found it to have an equally sopay smell but slightly sweeter.

              The 24 hour response has always been reliable. The roll on applies a layer of deodrant directly onto the skin and microscopic fragrance capsules absorb the sweat where it dissolves preventing any unplesant smell.

              I have never experienced body odour or excessive sweating. In comparison with its spray on counterpart it comes up trumps. The spray also including 24 hour response was never really strong enough for me and after an hour it felt like I had forgotten deodrant.

              Personally I have never gone 24 hours with only one application. I apply each morning and night and find it suits my needs. At the height of the summer I did get quite hot and bothered but not once did I feel concerned about smell.

              I love the fact that the ball is face down. I do not feel I waste some of the product when it starts to run low and the ball is as loaded and ready for use. The overal visual appeal to me is that it is clutter free and "clean" which is exactly what I want from a deodrant.

              Being 0% alcohol I can shave in the shower and know I won't be flapping my arms like a bird to stop the burning when I put deodrant on.

              Quite often this deodrant is on offer quite frequently and I have been able to buy this for £1 regularly. I believe it is on sale for anywhere between £1.50 to £1.80 but I tend to stock up when on offer.

              I have recommended this to various friends and also believe my husband has used it when his ran out! I was not happy with him but he was happy with the product!

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              • Boots Crab Teether / Baby Health / 18 Readings / 18 Ratings
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                09.09.2010 21:08
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                A great teether to look at and chew on

                My son fell in love with his friend's crab so I had to get him one of his own.

                The crab has a variety of different textured surfaces as well as sizes. The rubber surfaces are great for a good chew but I found the bumpy legs really gave my son relief when his gums were really causing him pain. Also the legs were the perfect size for when he was breaking his front teeth with the pincers being perfect for his back teeth. The pincers rotate a full 360 degrees allowing children to make things comfortable to hold.

                The only thing I have found is it doesn't really cater for the teeth and the very back of his mouth which are starting to come through now. The rope "feeler" bits on his head also gave some sensory enjoyment to my son when playing with the affectionately named "Mr Crab".

                There are various other teethers on the market ranging from the old school water filled rings through to the twisty puzzles and beads. I must admit I personally would have bought my son the beads or tommee tippee twisty puzzle had it not been for him already adoring this crab.

                The bright colours make it appealing to children and definitely fun to play with. It is a very reasonable price at £3.99 being boots own brand and obviously you also get your points on that. The Tommee Tippee puzzle comes in at £4.50 so definitely competitive.

                I have recommended this to other parents in the same way it was recommended to me.

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              • Mega Bloks / Baby Toy / 14 Readings / 12 Ratings
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                05.09.2010 01:08
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                A toy my son loves but can you justify the price?

                Oh how we like mega blocks in my house!

                The first thing you notice is at the shop and that is the price. Priced about £30 for a bag of 200 blocks I felt this was a little bit steep. It is of course the first part of the "collection" most parents would buy and I definitely think Megabloks cash in on this. Many of the accesories are expensive too. I particularly like the fact that you can get a compatible table and wagon though priced averagely at £30 and £28 respectively.

                Chuncky blocks allow small hands to manoeuver the blocks around comfortably and with confidence. They do provide much joy in my house building just really tall towers which I think is probably all that is needed at a young age.

                They do help to develope hand-eye coordination. Being in a bag I have found that my son enjoys tipping them out and tidying up again which I suppose also aids the development of responsibility.

                To build anything substantial I would think you would need a couple of these bags but for short attention spans the bright colours and speed in which something developes before you eyes is really great. Definitely one of my sons favourite toys and it is definitely helping us to learn our colours too.

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                05.09.2010 00:47
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                A cracking piece of kit keeping things clean to dispose of

                I was not planning to get one of these but it was in the sale and I had a voucher which reduced the price greatly.

                I live on the first floor and my bin store is about 5 doors down. It seemed like a product designed to make my life easy and not need to go for a walk every time my son decided to fill his nappy.

                The bin was so useful! While my son was in newborn size nappies to size 2 I was able to get a week's worth of nappies in the bin before it needed emptying which I was completely amazed by! The smell was also contained in the bin brilliantly although once my son went onto solids I noticed there was more of a smell only when the bin was opened. It was so good at keeping the smell contained that we were able to keep the bin in our son's nursery - great after a night time nappy change!

                The cassette literally drops into place and there is a spcae to almost peg down the end of the bag which is created by a knot. The bin includes a built in bag cutter which is great and keeps everything in one place. Being contained in the lid makes it safe for children. You only need to lift the lid and pop the nappy in, push down a fraction and turn the cassette using the handle. This twists the bag enough to divide it into what can only be described as a string of nappy sausages!

                We have since popped this into storage as we empited the main bin far more often these days! I did however recommend this to my brother who absolutely swears by his. He commented that I should have told him about them sooner!

                Another modern baby gadget that actually turns out to be its weight in gold.

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                  05.09.2010 00:31
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                  One of the best purchases I made

                  All I knew when I got my steriliser was that I didn't really want an electric one. The steriliser was in Babies R Us as a bundle with about 7 bottles, 2 insulation bags, bottle brush and milk powder pots for about £30. It was the first thing we bought and turns out to be one of the best.

                  I was told in hospital that the minutes you open a steriliser from the microwave it is no longer sterile and also was advised not to pre make bottles. To that end I started using it as a cold water steriliser. Just filling up to the line marker and dropping in a milton tablet was easy and I felt no guilt. It was so straight forward and provided so much flexibility.

                  As my son got older I began making up milk for the day and chucking the steriliser in the microwave for around 8 minutes, the job was done in no time at all. There is a stand inside providing 4 bottle spaces although I did find the tongs provided completely ridiculous to use but feel that was more my clumsy-ness.

                  I have not seen this steriliser in the shops since I got it. I am quite upset as I often recommend this to people but seems to now be unavailable.

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                  05.09.2010 00:21
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                  A bottle that went down well in my house

                  I bought this style bottle as I had not decided whether I wanted to breastfeed or not. As advertised it is designed to aid combining the two.

                  As it happens it did not go on to breast feed but can definitely see how this would aid doing both. The size and shape of the teat is designed to be similar to a breast and does encourange babies to have a similar latch. I assume breastfeeding would need to be fully established before introducing these though.

                  The bottles have an easivent design helping the transition between breast and bottle. There is also an anticolic bottle design available. The valve in the teat I felt possibly helped prevent colic but I do know my son was not particularly windy which I attribute to these bottles.

                  I felt the design of the bottle was comfortable to hold. Being quite a wide bottle I do think it made it slightly harder for my son to hold but as I never offered any other bottles this is not conclusive.

                  I was thoroughly happy with these bottles and definitely plan to buy them again for future children.

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