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On my second child there were times when a buggy and a toddler weren't a good mix and having both hands free was needed. I bought mine second hand from a good friend. I didn't want an expensive one because I knew it wouldn't be something I used all the time.
It is easy to put on after you have adjusted the straps a couple of times to get the best fit for your comfort. Everything clips with the buckles that are reassuringly stiff. When newborn your baby faces inwards, but they can face outwards once they have some head control.
It was comfortable to wear. On the long days I used it by the end I couldn't wait to get it off, but I guess if you buy a more expensive model you get more padding. My daughter always fell asleep in it, which is a good sign she was comfortable in it. My little girl is very light so it actually lasted longer than the 12 months due to her size.
If you are on a budget I think this carrier ticks all the boxes, but if you have a bit more to spend you can get better models I think.
I have had many mobile phones and smart phones and always resisted the urge to get an iPhone until last year. Now admittedly, I don't get the benefit of its sleek design because it is rammed into a bulky defender case but the look of it is very nice. Slim enough to be in your pocket.
The apps are probably the best part of owning an iPhone. You can do pretty much anything on it, and play pretty much anything from Sims to word searches. The selection of free and paid for apps is very good. The only downside is the regular updates (that I tend to ignore!).
A feature to definitely make use of is the cloud store, that as long as you are connected to broadband backs up your phone in case of a disaster. Make sure you switch on the back up capability for sure.
The touch keypad and screen is easy to use and pretty self explanatory. Siri is a pretty useless but great entertainment addition because he never does what you ask for.
My only issue is the newest update iOS7 broke my husbands iPhone, which Apple take no responsibility for so he no longer has his phone, but if you are like me and ignore upgrades, you won't notice anything wrong. For that reason though, I can't give the iPhone 5 stars.
I bought this buggy 3 years ago when my little boy was a toddler. I bought it to be a more lightweight, easy to transport buggy than the Silvercross I had. I managed to pick one up for £24 in the sale and to be honest I am glad I didn't pay more than that.
The buggy is definitely lightweight and can be lifted one handed to go into the boot. It folds into a compact size, leaving lots of room for shopping and changing bags alongside it. I love the colour. It's bright and cheerful and easy to spot if you have to leave it in a buggy park. The handles are quite comfortable to use and steer with and the shopping basket is deep enough to hold milk, bread and some small items of shopping.
It has the added bonus of a slightly reclining seat, which is held forwards by poppers. But it is barely reclining, your child is still pretty much upright when sleeping. The buckles are easy to use and hard for toddler fingers to open.
My biggest problem is with the wheels. They are like trolley wheels, especially on a slippery or shiny surface. They do not go where you would like them to go. Even after checking you haven't locked the wheels by mistake, you judder around corners. The wheels are quite thin, which doesn't help. In fact, mine is so unsteerable, I find it difficult to push one handed, even though it is so light. The rain hood is quite fiddly to snap into place, especially when you are getting soaked but its a generous enough size for the size of the buggy. However, you can't store it in the shopping basket if you want to fold the buggy.
I am still using it for my second child, more out of a stubborn refusal to buy another buggy. The frame has lasted well and the rain cover is not ripped.
If I had my shopping time again, I would not buy it, just for the steering issue.
Like most mum's I dread he question, can we do some painting? More paint ends up on them and my kitchen than anywhere else. I saw these in my local supermarket and thought I would give them a go. I had bought cheap pound shop washable paints before that we're not washable at all. At £6 for the set they aren't cheap.
On thin paper they appear more watery when drying if the paper is heavily covered, than the usual non-washable paints. Our painting ended up a little crinkled, but it was very thin, and very heavily painted on paper. Both of my kids loved using them and got it everywhere. These paints are so good I could use a wet wipe to clean them up. I did clean them straight away so I don't know how effective a wipe would be on drying paint, but on wet painty hands it worked a treat. The paint washed out of their coverall very easily and left no stains.
Each bottle is 237ml in my set so they last quite a long time and you get red, green, blue and yellow.
I am a convert!!
My son was bought this recently. He is 5 and really into his colouring. It comes with its own set of colour wonder pens that don't write on anything other than the colour wonder paper.
He was amazed at some of the page staying white and other areas changing into the colour of the pen he was using. It would be perfect for small children who can't stay in the lines! All the pages have a different illustration to colour. The pens also don't mark clothes or hands, which is useful with lots of small children.
It does take some of the fun out of colouring, you can only colour where you are allowed really, and he soon lost interest and went back to the bog standard colouring books. You can see the paper has a special coating in some areas, although he still thinks it's magic that does it.
I have no idea on price because it was a gift.
I would buy it for someone else's child just because of the wonder at how does it work but it's not a gift to be enjoyed long-term I don't think.
I first bought a set of these Bumgenius one size nappies 5.5 years ago, when pregnant with my eldest child. I chose them because of the very good reviews they seemed to have. I will now tell you that the very same set of Bumgenius one size nappies are being used on my second child.
So what is so good about them? First of all, being a pocket nappy they are very easy to use, even for the beginner. The only hard part is stuffing the two inserts inside them after they have been washed and dried. The pocket size is comfortably large. That might seem obvious but some brands have a very small opening, making it uncomfortable to get your hand plus the inserts inside.
Secondly, they are very good at containing even the most runny poo. Nobody likes to see a brown babygro! It is easy to get a good fit around baby's waist and legs. I have tall, skinny babies and never had a problem with leg gape.
When you think of cloth nappies, invariably you think of bulk and a big bum. They are bigger than using a disposable, but also one of the slimmer brands. While you do get some tightness using supermarket clothing, they only downside is possible having to buy one size bigger to accommodate the slightly bigger bum. There are specialist cloth nappy clothing companies but they are pricier.
The nappies come with two inserts. A newborn insert and a one size bigger insert. I use both for maximum absorbency.
Is there anything bad about them? I used to say choice of colours, but they have sorted that. I have three nappies that have had the leg elastic loosen so much they can't be used. BUT! This was after 4.5 years of near daily use. The price is probably the biggest downside, it is quite carefully controlled so you don't often find them on sale, although I have seen them on buy one get one half price. They are one of the most expensive brands, you can now buy cheaper pocket nappies from China for example.
Out of my 20 nappies, 17 are still in use, and good enough to be used on another baby if needed. And that is the most important thing I think you need to know.
I chose this steriliser when pregnant with my first child. I had looked at the usual steam sterilisers but they seemed bulky and took, what I considered, a long time to sterilise. Most sat on the worktop and I didn't have a lot of worktop space in my kitchen.
This steriliser used in the microwave. There are several advantages to this. After use it can be 'stored' in the microwave until the bottles have cooled, or until you need to use the microwave. This frees up your worktop space. It is quicker, taking only 6 minutes to run a steam cycle on full power. It is much more portable than other sterilisers, although not much use if you go somewhere without a microwave! If you are on a water meter like me, it only uses 200ml of water each cycle, keeping your water bills lower than cold water or larger steam sterilisers would, since they use more water.
Contents are considered sterile for 24 hours if the steriliser is unopened, which is advantageous if you run it last thing at night, ready for the morning. Since it is Philips it fits the Avent bottle range, but the Avent breast pump can also be sterilised. The instruction sheet gives you guidance on how to place the items to ensure efficient sterilisation.
What are its disadvantages? It can be easy to knock over the contents if you don't carry it carefully, which is very irritating if you then need to reload them. We all forget to sterilise sometimes and although it is quick, you need to factor in cooling time to avoid getting burnt by the steam.
I managed to lose the instructions between having my two children, but found it easy to google and download another free copy of the instruction booklet. There is a sticker on the front stating the volume of liquid to be used, so that information at least, is always available.
I have used it for two children and consider it one of my best purchases. It is quick, easy to use and portable. I don't know if any other makes of bottle fit it since I have only used Philips Avent for both of my children. Keep an eye out at baby events in the major supermarkets you can often find this steriliser on offer.
I bought an Otterbox Defender case for my iphone because having two young children who are very clumsy, my phone gets dropped a lot or swept off the sofa if I happen to leave it lying around. I wanted a case that would protect my phone no matter what happened to it.
I bought it online, without knowing how bulky the case was. To be honest it more than doubles the size of my phone, and most people laugh at it when I take it out of my bag. Once you get used to the size though the benefits become obvious. I have dropped my phone on the driveway, from a fair height when it fell out of my pocket and my phone was undamaged.
The outer case is quite grippy, reducing the risk of it slipping out of your hand.
The size is its biggest disadvantage, if you are looking for a slim case then this isn't the one for you. But it's very durable, and well worth the money I paid for it.
I have dropped my phone three times. Once from a height onto my driveway. Not a scratch and no damage. Definitely we'll worth the money!
My little boy is Thomas crazy. For Christmas, we decided to indulge his Thomas craziness and start collecting the Take and Play train set. If you know anything about Thomas you will have heard of Tidmouth Sheds.
The great thing about the Take and Play collection is that they are a self contained train set and can also be extended to include other toys in the Take and Play range. As the name suggests they are fully portable too with a carry handle and clips for the track sections.
Tidmouth Sheds comes with an oval section of track (that folds underneath when in transport mode) and the sheds with 5 individual compartments that can hold 5 diecast trains. It also has a turntable section allowing you to drive out all the trains from their shed. The back section of Tidmouth Sheds also opens, giving you full access to any jammed in trains or other toys.
It is quite pricey new at around £30-£35 from most retailers but it is worth it. The oval track can be extended with extra sections of Take and Play track that can be bought separately, so in theory you can end up with a massive train set. The trains are diecast metal and about £5 new from retailers. If you are buying Tidmouth sheds new then one diecast engine is included in the price.
The only disadvantage to buying new is the cost to be honest. If you are collecting all the sets then you will have to pay out a substantial amount. However, you can buy Tidmouth Sheds second hand on sites like Ebay or Gumtree for a fraction of the price.
The Take and Play range is expanding all the time, so this toy will last for as long as the Thomas fad does! We have taken Tidmouth Sheds everywhere and it's not too bulky to be fitted into a packed car when going on a holiday or long journey visiting.
After a visit to legoland my son chose this as a present from the day. Being duplo it's the perfect size for little hands to play with. At about £19 I thought it was quite pricey.
It comes with the big truck, a few extra blocks as the load, a cone and the driver. The extra blocks could be used to push down in the truck or left loose to tip out. There's also a tool to "fix" the wheels or pretend to. Although it's age 2-5 my little boy isn't that fussed on it. The loose lego blocks are lost in the toy box, along with the driver, and the rest of the extras. The only thing he does with it is push it around and cry when he can't tip up the dumping bit because he's fixed it in place (it's lego after all!).
If your child has a lot of the duplo toys then maybe they would really enjoy this but to be honest it is a lot of money for what it is. I wish I had bought an ordinary dump truck instead he would have got just as much enjoyment for half the price.
Updated: the two parts of the dump truck lost each other for about 12 months so it wasn't the best toy we have bought. He grew out of duplo very quickly, something that is probably worth considering.
My son has recently been bought one of these by his grandparents. Typically the weather means it is now not being used as much!
You have to put it together which isn't as difficult as you might think. The instructions are pretty clear and there are only a few pieces to slot together and a few bolts to fit. It can all come apart afterwards too if you are short on storage space. The legs slot in and out so could be taken off each time for storage as well or to put it flat on the floor or another table. Make sure you get the legs the right way around, or the table is very unsteady (trust me I've done that!)
There are a few holes in the centre of it to put the sand and water toys into and the tools (a spade, a shovel and a rake). There are 2 toys that don't fit the holes a boat shape and a starfish shape mould. My one bugbear with this product are these holes. No child keeps putting their spade back in the hole to store it so it becomes a game of who can chuck the most sand down this hole? It would be better to have a couple more small toys to put in the extra holes in my opinion.
Once you're not using it the cover slots together (it is in 2 pieces) and does a good job of sealing it up. It's not easy for little fingers to lift it off preventing any unpleasant look at the mess I've made surprises. It also has a really good road pattern on it so the table can be used even when the cover is on.
So far I've only used it for sand on both sides. Don't buy the sand at the ELC it is half the price in ASDA! A really good sand table my son absolutely loves it.
Like a lot of toddlers my son is obsessed with Special Agent Oso on the Playhouse Disney channel. Finally Disney have caught up and now have a range of toys based on the series. The first to be launched in the UK is the 14" plush soft toy of Special Agent Oso himself.
He's unbelievably soft and cuddly I'm tempted not to give it to my son for his birthday and keep it for myself! It features his special agents watch and a vinyl paw pilot.
As you'd expect from Disney he is very well made. He doesn't do anything special it's just a cuddly toy. My son's face when I took him into the shop to get it was a picture and he high fived him straight away.
I bought mine from the Disney shop in Cardiff for £15 and it's also available online from Disney. Of course you can get the usual over-priced toys on Ebay but most of them are charging about £25 plus postage!
Towards the end of the year there are more toys coming out including action figures.
A lovely gift for a little one.
My son had this last Christmas and I think it's a great book. One of the best features is the english/spanish buttons on the front cover. You use a slider to choose the language and during the story the symbols prompt you to touch the relevant button. Your child then hears the sound and the word in either english or spanish.
Fiesta Fun's a great story about a young boy's band that inevitably need something fixed by Manny and the tools. There are a good number of button pressing moments but not too many that interrupt the reading.
On the down side sometimes the sound is a bit tinny and fuzzy but that's not bothered my son at all. And the tune for trumpet sticks in your head long after you've put the book down!
My son loves sitting pressing the buttons without even reading the book so I like to think he's learning some words at the same time.
You can get them for about £5 in most stores and I think it's very good value for money.
When my hair was longer I found it would develop frizziness after blow drying even without any moisture in the air. As I have particularly greasy hair this would annoy me no end.
I tried this after being seduced by the advert in one of my glossy magazines and the thought of perfectly non-frizzy straight hair was too much and I bought it.
First of all I thought it was quite pricey even though the box says it can be used in small amounts. I paid about £5.50 for it. The first time I used it I took the smallest amount onto my hand and spread it through my hair evenly as directed. At first all looked fine and my hair did indeed look lovely and straight with no frizz at all.
However, a couple of hours later was a different story, yes there was no frizz but my hair looked lanky and lifeless and would have looked better had I not bothered washing it. I tried it again using less and less each time and the result was the same. Evenually I was using so little my hair was slightly frizzy and lanky at the same time.
I was so unimpressed I gave it away and wouldn't use it again. Beware if you have greasy hair!
I have a small online shop and for me paypal is a life saver but as well one of the banes of my life. It is basically an easy method of paying and receiving money on the internet, for example ebay or an online shop. You can use it to pay in any currency because it will work out the exchange rate itself.
Payment's extremely easy, you can set up an account easily and by using your email address can pay money to someone else without having to share your bank account details. You don't even need to enter your bank account details when you set it up you can link it to a credit card instead if you prefer. The money is transferred either out of your paypal balance (if you have one) or from your nominated method of payment. It doesn't cost you any money unless you choose to gift it in order to avoid someone else paying the fees.
This bit costs! At the moment it's about 20p plus a percentage fee, which can add up to quite a bit of money. If you are selling cheaper items then you have to incorporate this into your costings.
Beware! Paypal scams are rife. Always use a registered method of postage unless you're willing to risk non-delivery claims. Paypal lets you put in the tracking codes and sends them by email to your buyer so they know. In the event of a non-delivery claim, proof of postage means nothing it's proof of delivery you need.
To buy things online check you can't get cashback by using your paypal account, it could be a nice little earner in the future. The homepage has all the details.
For ease of set up you can't beat it as long as you protect yourself adequately. The cost of using it to accept money is a bit steep but you couldn't do it yourself without costly set up charges.