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The City n Move is a fairly new stroller on the market, and the first from the German brand Kiddy - most known for their car seats. It comes several colour options - phantom (black), midnight (blue) and walnut (brown) which all have a brushed silver aluminium chassis, as well as lavender (pale purple), cranberry (deep pink/red), Hawaii (turquoise), stone (off white/cream) and jaffa (orange) which all have a matte black frame. The RRP is £159.99, and it's compatible with an infant car seat to make a travel system.
I bought the City n Move in cranberry, which is a lovely pinky red colour - perfect for my daughter with her strawberry print buggysnuggle. The first thing which I was struck by was the weight. As I unpacked it to assemble for the first time, I could hardly lift it from the box! It weighs 8.5kg, and is quite bulky when folded. This is not a flimsy lightweight stroller, and I prefer to think of it as a full featured pushchair, which just happens to umbrella fold. If you are looking at this as a lightweight alternative to a main pram, look elsewhere. Most people seem to have a preference for a bar handle, flat fold pushchair, as they are generally more sturdy an easier to push than an umbrella stroller with two handles - however the City n Move definitely breaks the mould as it's incredibly solid, and a lovely push with surprising suspension given the small wheels.
Once assembled, I was really pleased with how it looked and felt. Everything seems superb quality, from the solid stylish black frame, to the thick padded canvas fabric. The hood is thick and sturdy, and extends right down to protect baby from the elements - you wouldn't need a parasol with this! The backrest adjusts via a button/lever which clicks satisfyingly into position, which is much nicer than a drawstring adjustment so commonly used on other pushchairs. The handles are thickly covered with foam. The shopping basket is made easier to access by the use of zips. Kiddy haven't scrimped or compromised anywhere on quality.
In addition to the main pushchair, included in the price are extras one would usually expect to pay extra for - a cupholder and a bumper bar. Again these are great quality. The cupholder is made of thick matte plastic and can be attached either side of the pushchair. The bumper bar has a strong metal frame which is covered by a removable padded cover. The bumper bar swings open to allow the child to be placed or removed easily, and it also folds up with the pushchair without needing to be removed.
There is also a raincover included, which I think is the best fitting raincover I've ever used on a pushchair. It covers completely with no gaps, and comes right down to the footrest to keep feet dry. It also has a mesh stripe going down each side for ventilation, and it never steams up inside!
The seat is really tall and deep, and will take a child up to 20kg, so perfect for an older toddler. My 18 month old looks tiny sitting in it, and my 4 year old fills it just right, with her legs supported and feet square on the footrest - so I'm confident the City n Move will last until she doesn't need a pushchair anymore. The seat has mesh panels down the sides for ventilation, so a footmuff is a must in cold weather.
As if it wasn't fantastic enough, the City n Move is also approved by the Federal Association of German Back Schools, as the design of the frame makes you walk more upright and the pushchair seat also makes the child sit properly.
The only downsides to the City n Move are it's weight and fold - the fold especially. Due to the curved frame design, it's a very bulky fold as the handles and front wheels "tulip" away from each other, making the folded package almost triangular. It's not flat and thin like many other umbrella folds. However the pros far outweigh this one con in my opinion. It also doesn't lay totally flat, but I personally wouldn't put a newborn in anything but a carrycot anyway.
To sum up, this is an excellent pushchair with many great features, and the quality is superior to any others I've seen (and I'm a mum of 4 - I've seen a LOT!). To anyone who thinks Maclaren are the Rolls Royce of strollers, I'd urge you to try the Kiddy City n Move - it's definitely the German car brand of strollers, and you get much more for less money!
The Joie Brisk stroller is a fairly new product, and the Joie brand on the whole is relatively new to the UK market - within the last year or so. As such there aren't many reviews of their products that can promote their durability or longevity, as most reviews seem to be after having the pushchair for a few days - this review included! However I intend to come back and update my review after a few months to let people know how it's faring!
I decided to buy a second lightweight pushchair (in addition to my Baby Jogger City Mini) for use on the bus and visits to my parents, who live in a first floor flat with not much storage. I'm very happy with my Baby Jogger as my main pushchair, but despite it's easy fold it's not the most compact or lightest to transport, and there are occasions where a slim umbrella buggy is simply more convenient. I generally always prefer a solid flat folding, bar handled pushchair, compared to an umbrella fold buggy which is usually much flimsier feeling and not as comfy for baby - so I was determined to find an umbrella pushchair that was different to the rest.
The Joie Brisk definitely stands out as being different to the rest! The main defining feature to the Brisk has to be the way it folds. It has a one hand, single touch fold, operated by a trigger on the right handle. You simply push the safety button, pull the trigger and collapse it. It's the easiest and most innovative folding umbrella pushchair I've ever used.
Below is the full list of features (according to Joie), each of which I have followed with my own comment/opinion;
*Birth to 15kg
The flat recline option and car seat compatibility make this suitable for use from birth, and it's safety tested up to 15kg, which is up to age 3 years approximately.
*Precision performance lightweight aluminium chassis
Although on paper it's not the lightest pushchair at 8.6kg, it feels very lightweight and streamlined next to my Baby Jogger which is just over 9kg.
*Swift Single Action, one-hand 3D fold
The fold is so simple and easy, and all done with your hand so there's no bits to kick up or push down with your feet.
The handles are foam covered and curved to fit the natural position of your hand when pushing the buggy. They are a comfortable height for both myself at 5ft 6, and my husband at 5ft 11.
*Smooth recline system ensures you won't wake a sleepy baby
The recline is operated by a button/lever type mechanism on the back of the seat, which you squeeze together with your fingers and thumb to release and lower gently. To incline the seat back up you simply push it back upwards.
*Multi-position, flat reclining seat provides backrest recline options
There are several (four or five I think) recline positions which the seat clicks into reassuringly - as opposed to a drawstring recline which doesn't always feel as secure. The seat really can go truly flat and is therefore suitable for a newborn - although I would want to put a liner or cosytoes on first to make it a softer, cosier environment for a newborn.
*Multi-position calf support-2-position leg rest gives two comfy options
The calf support isn't as long as some, and when put up I find half my daughter's lower legs hang off the end. She is 15 months old and small for her age, so I would have expected a calf support to fully support her legs and feet at this age. However the action to move the calf support up and down (via a button either side) feels solid and decisive.
*Large, expandable hood with window and retractable visor provides custom shade options for baby
The hood is a real minus point for me - it's very small and certainly NOT large or particularly expandable. You can flip out a tiny couple of inch wide section, but that's it. It doesn't really offer any coverage or protection from the elements at all, and wouldn't shade the baby from the sun so a parasol or canopy would be essential for Summer. It also feels quite thin and flimsy in comparison to the rest of the stroller.
*SoftTouch 5-point harness system is gentle on baby's skin and adjusts to 3 heights
The harness is made from a super soft cottony type material (it probably is cotton!). This makes it very comfortable for baby - however I could also imagine it not being as hard wearing as a nylon strap. Time will tell if it ends up frayed, but I would say it's much more likely to happen than if it was a nylon strap. Another point to add is that the shoulder and waist straps are not fixed together - you have to interlock them before clipping them into the buckle. This makes it easier to adjust and feed through a cosytoes for example, but does add a few extra seconds to the process and could be difficult with a screaming, wriggling toddler!
*Shoulder harness covers
The shoulder harness pads are made from the same material as the seat and hood (soft nylon canvas) and offer a little extra comfort factor. Though the fact that the shoulder and waist straps aren't connected could mean they slip off and get lost at some point...
*Large storage basket-holds plenty of personal items
The basket is a really decent size for a stroller of this type, and would fit several bags of shopping inside. As with all umbrella folds however, the seat does restrict access when fully reclined.
*Front wheel suspension gives a smoother ride on rough surfaces
The front wheels were a worry for me initially, as they look quite thin and delicate and like they may not withstand any bumps in the pavement. However I have been pleasantly surprised as they have handled rougher pavements with ease, and most importantly with no damage.
*Single, stylish, front swivel wheels lock in place when needed
The wheels lock easily via a lever, and seem very solid despite being single wheels. I've previously had other single front wheeled pushchairs which have not been solid and "splayed" with use. The Brisk's wheels so far seem to be holding up well. They do look far more stylish and modern than traditional double front wheels.
*Manual fold lock
The pushchair has a clip which locks it in place when collapsed - this is very handy if you are in a rush or need to do it one-handed whilst juggling a baby and bags in the other hand, getting on public transport etc.
*Single step, ShoeSaver brakes keep your shoes scuff free
There is a large foot pedal brake on the right rear wheel, which is very easy to push up and down with your foot, and it clicks nicely to let you know it's securely locked.
The carry handle on the side of the pushchair is rubberised for comfort, and makes it much easier to carry up and down stairs for example.
*Pairs perfectly with all Joie Group 0+ car seats (available separately)
The Brisk can be used with a car seat by flipping up the calf support, reclining the seat flat and clicking the car seat into place. Only Joie brand car seats are compatible however.
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Another big minus point for me in addition to the poor hood, has to be the included raincover. The raincover is framed with two bones of hard flexible plastic, which makes it incredibly difficult to fold and bulky to store when not used. It also has numerous velcro and popper strap points to connect it to the pushchair frame - which may make it secure in a gale, but it takes AGES to attach it! If there was a sudden torrential downpour the poor child would be drenched before I'd got the raincover fully attached. It's also impossible to access the child without unpopping and un-velcroing numerous points first, so it's a huge hassle if, for example, they are sick, or take their shoes off, or can't reach something they've dropped etc. It also doesn't come down far enough, so an older child either has to hold their feet up or get wet feet! It does fit the pushchair well though, aside from all the other negatives.
One other minor quibble is that the wheels are quite hard plasticy material, rather than rubbery. This means that they rattle along the ground quite noisily, and on slightly rough paths I'm quite self conscious by the sound!
Also the seat is much more "open" than my Baby Jogger and my baby isn't as cosy in it - although she enjoys being able to see out more and interact with others. She always sleeps well in the Baby Jogger, but hasn't slept in the Brisk yet, which I think says a lot. I think that's probably because the suspension isn't as soft on the Brisk and makes for a harder ride, plus the hood doesn't shield her from the light.
So overall, the Joie Brisk seems to be a great umbrella folding pushchair for the price. It's very solid and sturdy, yet super lightweight to push and steer, and easy to fold and store. The only real negatives being the small hood and faffy bulky raincover - which I can live with as a spare/travelling pushchair. I'm not sure I could have it as an everyday pushchair though.
The Fisher Price Pretty Learning Purse was another present bought for our youngest daughter's first birthday. Like most babies, she loves rummaging through my handbag and emptying the contents out - so the purchase of this toy was partly a selfish one, in an attempt to keep her off my bag!!
The learning purse costs £16.99, and is essentially a woven nylon bag with a plastic electronic base and clasp which has various - supposedly educational - song and speaking settings. The base houses the batteries and speaker, and there is a button to make the volume soft or loud. The bag has a smily face and "ABCD" design which makes it look friendly and appealing to a young child. It comes complete with a rattly mobile phone, a set of keys, a credit card, a bangle and a mirror. It's aimed at children from 6 months and over, but personally I think it's better for 12 months onwards - with children of around 2-3 years getting the most out of it.
There are 3 different modes of play - "learning time", "music time" and "let's play", which are decided by sliding a button on the clasp to whichever mode you choose. There is also (thankfully!) an OFF switch. Learning has an ABC symbol, music has musical notes, and play has a swirly symbol. There is also a heart shaped jewel button on the clasp, which when pressed says/sings a variety of things depending which mode setting you have chosen.
In Learning mode, the heart button says three things - "(giggle) heart", "pink heart" and sings the alphabet. When you open the bag it says one of three things - "open", then "close" when you close it, then "hello" when open and "bye bye" when closed, then "let's get ready" when open and sings a song about opening your purse and putting things inside, learning, counting to 10 etc.
In Music mode, the heart button does three things - first a song about colours and the favourite colour being pink! Then a dreamy harp jingle, then another giggle. When opening the bag it sings a song about going out with all and all the items inside.
In "Let's Play" mode, the heart button says three things again - "let's get ready", "let's go shopping", and the last sound is just a giggle. When opening the bag it just plays the harp sound, and when closed it makes a "click" sound.
My daughter at 12 months enjoys repeatedly emptying the bag and putting items back inside again, plus dancing to the music - but obviously she will be older before she understands any of the words and songs. It hasn't kept her away from my handbag though!
My opinion of the learning purse is that it's not really that educational or interactive. I initially thought that when putting the items inside the purse, it would recognise them and say "keys", "mirror" etc. so she'd actually learn what the items are - but the items are completely non functional. Any reference to colours and numbers and the alphabet are part of rather nauseating, and not particularly memorable songs, with the main lyrics being about going out/shopping - rather than the songs being specifically about numbers and colours etc.
However, my daughter enjoys it and at £16.99 it's not overly expensive, so perhaps my expectations were set a bit too high. I would still recommend it purely for role play - you'll probably find you want to remove the batteries after a few days anyway!
It's a tradition in my house that the children get a soft first doll on their first birthday. As we had bought the Fisher Price Stroll Along walker for our daughter's recent first birthday, we thought it appropriate to buy her the matching doll.
The doll costs around £9.99, however we bought it from Argos as part of a 2 for £15 deal - which made it only £7.50, a bargain!
Although this is marketed for children from birth, the doll is by no means unsuitable for a one year old. It's a good size, but lightweight enough for a small baby/child to be able to handle with ease. The doll is made from super soft pink furry plush, with silky material on her arms and feet, She has ribbon laces and a curly ribbon strand of hair, which little fingers like twiddle! She also has a rattle inside her, which is very gentle and quiet so she could be taken to bed with baby without disturbing them.
My daughter isn't generally a cuddly toy or comforter fan, as she prefers toys with some sort of interest, moving parts etc. However when unwrapping this doll she seemed quite interested in the different textures of the materials and the tuft of hair especially. She likes the feel of the pink furry plush material, and I've put the doll in bed with her at nap and bedtime, and she seems quite happy with her there (she normally throws toys out of her cot!).
The doll is very well made and has a cute face, and with all the different textures and interest I could see this becoming a much loved comforter for a new baby to grow up with - it would make a perfect new baby gift, but equally a great first birthday present for any cuddle-loving child. The only downside is that it only comes in pink, and more gender neutral colours would be good as boys can like dollies too!
I bought the Fisher Price Stack and Roll cup stacker for my daughter's first birthday without really looking at them, thinking that they were just traditional stacking cups. However I was pleasantly surprised to find that they do so much more!
These were bought from Argos, who currently (and have done for some years) have a selection of toys on a 2 for £15 offer. This meant that instead of paying the full price of £9.99, I was able to buy them for £7.50 with another toy. However I do think that they are worth paying full price for.
Instead of being traditionally cup shaped (cylindrical with a flat base), these stacking cups are domed, and come in 10 graduated sizes, and different rainbow colours, with a round jingly ball to put on the top. Each cup is numbered which eventually helps to teach children their numbers up to 10, and helps them identify and stack the cups in the correct order. The cups don't just sit on top of each other, but they actually clip together which not only aids fine motor skills, but prevents them getting separated and lost.
As well as stacking on top of each other, the cups can also be nested. And the real feature that makes this toy different to other stacking cups, is that they can be clipped together in pairs to make balls for rolling around. The jingly ball can be put inside the balls so that they jingle when being rolled. The colours come in pairs - red/orange, 2 shades of yellow, 2 shades of green, 2 shades of blue and 2 shades of purple - and it's these pairs that clip together to make balls. These colours make up the colours of the rainbow, but also help children identify shades of the same colour when it comes to pairing them up.
There is so much mental stimulation from these stacking cups/balls, and such a lot of thought has gone into putting a modern twist on what was once thought as a basic toy. These are aimed for children aged 6 months and over - but even my nearly 6 and 9 year old children have got enjoyment from playing with them! A 6 month old would probably just bang them together and roll the balls around (which would encourage crawling), but an older child would take pleasure in the more complex tasks of arranging the colours and numbers.
For such an inexpensive price, you really can't go wrong with the Fisher Price Stack and Roll cup stacker, as it's a toy that will really last and be enjoyed for a long time.
I first came across Scuttlebugs when my son was about 2.5 years old - they seemed a fantastic design at the time, but my son was a big boy for his age and the Scuttlebug is quite small at only 24cm high (to the seat), so we decided not to buy as his legs seemed too long. However, just after my daughter's first birthday, I came across a local second hand bargain pink Scuttlebug, so decided to buy it for her as a belated present.
The Scuttlebug is the perfect size for a 1 year old - my daughter's feet just touch the floor when sat on it. I couldn't see it being a practical size for a child much over the age of 2 years, however my 3.5 year old does play on it quite happily even if her legs are a bit long. With an RRP of around £25, I do think it's a lot to pay for one years use - but if you have younger children to pass it down to it makes it a worthwhile purchase.
In terms of build quality, £25 is actually a fair price. It's made from steel and plastic, and feels incredibly solid. The wheels are very hard-wearing and similar to scooter wheels. Despite ours being second hand, it doesn't look used apart from the wheels being marked - but not worn down at all. We know it was used regularly by the original owner, so this is testament to the quality that it's not easily marked or damaged.
The great thing about the Scuttlebug is the fact it folds up, which is ideal if you are short of storage space, but also makes it easy to take it out with you. It folds small and is light enough at under 2kg to put under the pushchair and take it to the park, for example. It also has a clever and "definite" folding method, that isn't easy for children to work out, therefore doesn't risk collapsing or trapping children's fingers. To fold, you have to pull down on sprung plastic parts on the rear legs to release them, then fold them in underneath - and there's a sprung button under the seat for the front leg, which again folds underneath and clips into place. It sounds complicated, but it's really very easy and quick to do. Whether folding or unfolding, everything clicks satisfyingly into place and is completely solid.
My daughter hasn't quite got used to moving herself along on the Scuttlebug yet, but she's only just started walking. She can get on and off though and proudly sits on it, and enjoys pushing it around. The only "downsides" to the Scuttlebug is that it can be a bit tippy due to the single front wheel, and the seat is low. Also the front wheel only turns left and right slightly, which probably does help stability but means turning can only be done gradually - this could be both a plus and minus point!
Overall, I'm really pleased with the Scuttlebug and think it's a lovely little first trike, which could be passed down generations as it's so well made.
We bought the Fisher Price Stroll Along walker for our daughter's first birthday, as we'd previous had the very similar Vtech First Steps walker for our other daughter and it was a much loved toy. We decided to get the Stroll Along walker this time as it doubles up as a first dolls pushchair, therefore saving much needed space as we don't need to get two separate toys. We had also got her the Fisher Price first doll which matches, so it made sense to get the walker too.
The Stroll Along walker currently retails at around £25 - however I managed to get ours second hand from a popular auction site for much less, which I am very happy about as to be quite honest I don't think it's worth £25!
The pushchair is very pink and girly in design. It doesn't have any functions other than a teddy on a spring near the handle, which, at the press of a button, plays one of two rather irritating melodies - that is it! Compared to the Vtech walker which is the same price and does far more in terms of entertaining baby, I do feel that the Fisher Price Stroll Along walker is basically an overpriced large lump of plastic.
The other features of the pushchair is a spinning rattle filled with coloured balls on the front, the bumper bar which has two attached spinning plastic things in the shape of a dog and cat, and a flap which reveals the pictures of a bunny and a mouse. There's also a small tray area at the back for putting little toys
As far as being a walker is concerned, this does a good job. It's very sturdy and the wheels - although not solid - move smoothly yet not too fast, so your baby stays in control without flying forwards. The handle is also a good height.
My one year old hasn't really paid much attention to this pushchair/walker yet - but this could be because she was already taking her first steps and perhaps doesn't feel the need of any support from a walker. If we'd bought it earlier she might have used it as a walker more, but on the other side I feel it lacks any stimulation to a younger baby. My daughter is still a little young to know how to use it for role play with a doll - but her 3 year old sister is more than happy to show her what to do! So hopefully she'll enjoy it purely as a dolls pushchair in a few months time.
My daughter received a My Little Baby Born doll for her second birthday, and it was her first "proper" doll - as opposed to a soft/ragdoll type. We chose the Baby Born over Baby Annabell and other similar sized dolls, for the simple fact that it had the nicest looking face (in our opinion).
The doll is aimed for children 12 months and over, and at 32cm is smaller than the standard size doll which makes it easier for little hands to hold. She comes in either a pink or lilac outfit (we have the lilac), which consists of a hat, top and trousers, which are all easy to remove and put back on. She also has a chubby shaped pink feeding bottle, which is also a good size for little hands. Both the bottle and her thumb fit into her mouth without being held, but otherwise she is a non-function doll.
One good thing about this doll over other similar first dolls on the market, is that she is bathable with a soft body made of quick dry material. It's unusual to find a doll you can bath without it being solid plastic. Younger children generally prefer soft bodied dolls as they're more cuddly, but still love the idea of taking them in the bath with them - so the fact you can with this doll is a real plus point.
The downside to the quick dry material of the dolls body, is that it's a silky nylon type of fabric. This may make it dry quickly, but it's also very slippery and therefore we've found her trousers fall down all the time! As a result, my daughter's dolly is usually either flashing her bottom or completely naked!
The only other minor downside is that the eyes are fixed, whereas most other dolls have eyes that close when you lay them down to "sleep". I presume open/close eyes wouldn't be waterproof though, which would prevent her being bathable. So it's understandable, but doesn't allow for more imaginative role-play.
Despite the slippery body and fixed eyes, I'd still recommend the My Little Baby Born doll as my daughter adores her regardless of my minor quibbles. The doll is also made to a high quality and she and her clothes still look perfect even after 18 months of daily play - I have to confess we have lost the bottle though.
The doll retails at around £14.99, which is a fair price for the quality.
I have tried so many different brands of 'antiperspirant' deodorant, and the majority of them don't have any level of 'antiperspirant' at all! Whilst I don't sweat heavily under normal circumstances, I do find that in certain situations (in hot weather, on a packed train, during exercise etc.) I get horrid wet patches under my arms. Most deodorants only serve to "de-odour" and don't keep me dry at all.
I first discovered Mitchum thanks to my mum, who's always buying 3 for 2 offers from Boots and ends up with far too many toiletries - in fact I don't usually bother shopping for toiletries unless I've visited my mum first! She gave me 3 cans of Mitchum aerosol 48hr antiperspirant deodorant in both Waterlily and Powder Fresh fragrances to try. There are other fragrance options for women, including Shower Fresh and Unperfumed
The can itself is green and a 200ml size. Each fragrance name is written on the front in a different colour - Waterlily is purple and Powder Fresh is pink. The Waterlily is what I would describe as a lovely fresh modern floral, and the Powder Fresh smells just like baby powder, as you'd expect. Both fragrances are really nice, and the Powder Fresh is not too much of an old fashioned powder scent. The wording on the can claims "powerful 48hr protection", and that it also minimises white marks.
When using it, the force of spray is powerful but not overwhelming - I don't find myself choking in a cloud of gas. Because the spray is strong, you don't have to spray it for ages under each arm, a short burst does the job. It leaves a lovely silky powdery finish with no sticky patches. The claims to minimise white marks are valid - I've not had any issues, even with tighter clothing that rubs over the armpits when putting on.
I've found that as the day goes on and I get warmer, I notice wafts of fragrance from under my arms, but never any dampness or stickiness. Usually with other deodorants, even if the wet patches haven't come through yet, I still get horrible tacky/sticky underarms - but not with Mitchum. I can touch my underarms throughout the day and they still have the same powdery feeling as when I put it on that morning.
As for the 48hr protection, I have indeed put that to the test! Only during a lazy day at home though I hasten to add - I wouldn't normally go out without having freshly washed or put on deodorant! After the second day having only sprayed my underarms once, I found that they still smelt totally fresh - however did start to get a little sticky. But that is after 48hrs, which realistically very few would go that long between applications. With daily application, Mitchum is brilliant for leaving you genuinely fresh, dry and comfortable.
The only downside to Mitchum is the price - at £2.99 per 200ml can, this is one of the more expensive options. But the fact it works extremely well means it's worth the extra in my opinion, plus it's often on offer in Boots (or free from Mum!).
Like most mothers out there, when you're baby is in pain you'll move heaven and earth to make them feel better. Teething has to be something parents dread most as it can be such a miserable time for baby - sore, swollen gums, high temperature, rashes etc, not to mention the overwhelming clingy and fretful behaviour - it's a pretty distressing stage for all involved!
There are many teething remedies available for babies, but most are medicinal rather than natural, and just pain reducers rather than something to reduce the inflammation. A lot of babies can have almost constant pain from teething for many months, and parents don't want to be getting through bottles and bottles of medicine if they can avoid it.
One of the very few natural options is Baltic Amber, which has been used for centuries in Europe as a baby teething remedy. Wearing amber close to the skin as a necklace or anklet helps to relieve pain and calm baby without resorting to drugs. It's not just for babies either - adults can equally feel the effects, and can be beneficial for all sorts of aches and pains. Amber is a natural analgesic, and a resin not a stone. It feels warm to the touch, and works by releasing healing oils as it's warmed up on the skin. These oils have anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties
When I first heard about baby amber teething necklaces, I bought one straight away as I felt I had nothing to lose with my baby who cried virtually all day long. I had tried all the other options - calpol, teething rings, teething gels and powders which had minimal effects, and the effect they did have were very short-lived. An amber necklace made sense as it's worn permanently, doesn't have to be dosed, and is drug free. It also has the added bonus of looking really pretty and cute.
Prior to using the necklace, my daughter had been constantly dribbling, had bright red cheeks and cried all the time. However within hours of putting the necklace on, her red cheeks faded, the dribbling all but stopped, and she was much calmer - it was like magic! We also had our first night where she slept at night between feeds, which was incredible (she previously cried and needed to be held all night). She wore her necklace constantly from 2 months of age until she was 2.5 years old, only taking off for baths and to clean occasionally with a damp cloth, and she cut every single tooth without us knowing until it was through! My youngest daughter who is nearly one, has been wearing hers since 4 months old with similar success - the only signs of teething from her have been increased clinginess as a tooth has emerged.
Amber teething necklaces come as beads individually knotted on cord that is designed to stretch slightly, and will break if put under excess pressure. Being individually knotted means that should the necklace break, only one bead will come free - and the beads are so tiny that the risk of choking is minimal.
Recent regulations have advised against the sale of amber teething necklaces due to this minuscule risk, which means you currently cannot buy these necklaces for infants under 36 months (until further notice) - however I would like to point out that there have been no reports of any infant choking or dying as a result of wearing one, and the beads are so tiny they're more likely to be swallowed and passed out the other end, than choked on! I think as adults we can make our own informed choice whether to use them or not - I've personally been using them for my children without any problems, and would recommend amber to any parent - but perhaps an anklet rather than a necklace if you are concerned (although necklaces work better being nearer to the mouth/source of pain).
The Ikea Malm range is a very popular one - you only have to look on various selling websites to see the resale value to know they must be worth buying. They normally sell for a price very close to the RRP. It's also been around for many years which proves it's a well-liked design.
I stumbled across a set of four Malm drawers on one of the said selling sites, and was lucky enough to get quite a bargain second hand - but usually they retail new at £55 for all the wood-effect colours, and only £45 for white. The colours available are birch veneer, oak veneer, white stained oak veneer, black-brown and white. My set of drawers are in the white stained oak colour, which is a really lovely bleached oak shade and would match any decor. A lot of cheaper veneered bedroom furniture only comes in pine or beech effect and don't look at all natural, yet the Malm seems to be a much better quality veneer with more natural shades, and even has a grain to the surface.
The design is sleek and modern without obvious handles - the drawer fronts have a sloped top edge for the handles. The main thing I love about these drawers is just how big and spacious they are. The unit is quite large, at 100cm tall, 80cm wide and 48cm deep. This means the drawers are just under 25cm deep each which is very roomy. I currently use them to store some of my children's clothes, with a drawer per child (I have four children), and I can get the majority of their everyday clothes in each drawer. I think if I had a set between two children I would most likely get everything in - and they have a fair amount of clothes!
The drawers also have metal runners with drawer stops, and they glide open and closed beautifully - you would never guess they only cost £55. I've seen far more expensive sets of drawers that don't have such smooth runners - or indeed any runners. Another thing to note about the Malm drawers is the weight - they are incredibly heavy - much more so than you'd think an inexpensive veneered set would be. This just adds to the feeling of quality, although does make them difficult to move once assembled!
To conclude, I would sum up the Malm as a very high quality set at an unbelievably low price - which is all you can wish for when buying furniture. The Malm range makes it possible for people to buy new, when they might have only been able to afford second hand. If you like the contemporary style and need a decent sized set of drawers, then these are a perfect choice.
I'm a Bzz Agent like many other Dooyoo-ers, and been taking part in the Persil Small and Mighty campaign so thought I'd add my review here too:
I have used Persil Small and Mighty with the stain eraser ball for a few washes now. I have 4 young children, so plenty of stains for me to test it on!
I have been really impressed with the stain removing abilities of the product - however deep set, dried in orange baby food did escape the power of Persil Small and Mighty (even with thorough pre-treating). It did lighten the stain slightly, and a few hours on the washing line in the sun faded it considerably more - but if I was unable to use the washing line the stain would have been unacceptable.
Lighter staining, mud, dirt and even ink were all removed successfully first time - where other brands had failed. But oily orange stains would need more than one treatment and must be washed straight away - if you leave it to set in it's impossible to remove (at least first time).
The liquid is very runny and you need to be careful not to over-pour it, and that whilst pre-treating it doesn't slop over the sides of the stain eraser ball. The dosing/stain eraser ball is made of squashy silicone, which is much better for (and not as noisy in) your machine as the hard plastic balls. It has measurement lines for correct dosing, and a handy pouring lip for pouring it precisely onto stains - then the base of the ball has little nobbly bits to rub the liquid deep into the fabric.
The fragrance of the liquid is really pleasant and lingers for a long time after washing. Clothing comes out feeling very soft even without using a fabric conditioner.
Overall I'm very happy with the results and I would use Persil Small and Mighty again.
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That was quite a short Bzz review, so thought I should elaborate little.
My Persil Small and Mighty (Bio, as I tested), came in a 15 wash bottle. You will only get 15 washes out of it if you use the smaller 35ml dosing level, for soft water areas and very light soiling. Anything heavily soiled or if you are in a hard water area, you will need to use the maximum dose of 52ml which allows you to get around 8 washes per bottle.
The bottle design itself is nice and ergonomic. It has a handy hole in the centre for the dosing/stain eraser ball to store when not being used - this is a good feature if, like me, you constantly lose your dosing device. The lid snaps open and closed nicely and has a good pouring lip. As I mentioned above, the liquid is very runny, so the pouring lip does help prevent it sloshing everywhere.
The dosing/stain eraser ball is one of the best things about the product. The fact it's soft and squashy means it won't rattle around too much in the washing machine drum, or cause any damage. Also as it's smaller than traditional dosing balls, you don't get socks caught inside! The nobbly base really does help to work the liquid into the fabric - and I would use this for other liquids and treatments even if I didn't get Persil next time.
Another nice thing about Persil Small and Mighty liquid is the gorgeous scent. It really is a lovely soft fresh scent, without being either too clinical or too floral. The scent lingers for a long time too. If the cleaning power was as fabulous as the scent, then this would be the only thing I ever buy!
Unfortunately, cleaning performance isn't perfect - but then I haven't found anything that is to be honest. Even specific stain removal products such as Vanish etc. haven't ever been able to fully get rid of greasy orange tomato based stains. Also pre-existing dried stains, such as ink and chocolate on my children's school shirts weren't removed - but I'd resigned those to the bin anyway.
Persil Small and Mighty does a pretty good job compared to other brands on the market - but as it's advertised as a product that doubles up as a stain remover, I can't say it's any better than others used in that way. I would buy it again because it's a decent detergent and smells gorgeous, but only if it was on offer as I don't think it's as miraculous as advertised, and too expensive to buy on a regular basis.
Most people are on a budget these days - however for once I didn't buy something cheap to save money! I actually sold two solid pine side tables purposely to replace with the Lack table, as it matches the other furniture in my newly decorated lounge better - the Expedit units and the Bjursta table (all in white).
Most Ikea furniture seems to be of excellent quality, and I had heard many good things about the Ikea Lack table. As I mentioned above, I have other items of Ikea furniture and have been really happy with them, so had every confidence I'd be happy with the Lack table. Despite being lightweight and not being a solid wood piece of furniture, which I usually prefer, it's still sturdy and looks stylish.
The Lack side table is made from lacquered particleboard, and comes in a variety of colours - white, birch, black/brown, oak and black (all £5), and gloss white, gloss grey, gloss pink, gloss red and gloss turquoise (all £10). I bought plain white for £5, as it matched my existing furniture, and because I'm not a fan of high gloss furniture. Although it's white, it's not a stark white - more of a slightly off-white which blends in nicely with rest of the room.
The design is a very simple, modern and square, which fits well into most styles of décor. My lounge is painted a pale grey/white, with a purple feature wall and accessories, and white furniture - which looks really clean and modern, yet comfortable. The assembled dimensions are W55cm x D55cm x H45cm, and it has a maximum load of 25kg.
The table came flat packed and wrapped in cellophane, and assembly couldn't have been easier as it doesn't require any tools. It comes provided with 4 double ended screws, which you first twist slightly by hand into the pre-drilled holes on the underside of the table top (I, and the photo guide provided suggest doing his on carpeted surface). Then you twist the legs on one by one, and keep turning until the screws have gone all the way in. Even a DIY novice and someone with limited mobility could do this easily.
The Lack table can be used for a variety of things, from the obvious side/lamp table, to a bedside table, to even a children's play table. There is a website called Ikea Hackers, which shows all sorts of alternative uses and modifications for Ikea products - and I've seen the Lack be made into a Lego table for children, and even made into an ottoman by attaching padding to the surface. It's a very versatile little table, and for £5 (or even £10) you really can't go wrong!
In answer to what is it Lack-ing? Nothing at all!
I have spent so much money over the years on dinner sets - usually getting the "cheaper" sets from Argos at around £20, as apposed to the very expensive department store dinner services. However, even at £20 a go it soon adds up when you are a clumsy busy family who regularly drop plates, or chip/crack them whilst washing up.
We had the honour (stress) of hosting Christmas dinner last year for 12 people, and I really didn't want to serve dinner on mis-matched, chipped plates - plus we needed to buy more to account for the extra number of people who were eating with us. I really didn't fancy spending £60 on 3 x £20 dinner sets, so set about looking for something cheaper, and came across the Wilko Everyday Value 12pc dinner set. At only £5 per set, it made my purse very happy walking out with enough plates and bowls for everyone having spent only £15! I thought at the time that even if it wasn't the best quality, it would do for Christmas dinner at least and could be thrown out afterwards without losing too much.
The Wilko dinner set only comes in plain white and made from porcelain, which isn't too thin or too chunky - it doesn't feel like it would break too easily. It has 4 x dinner plates of around 26cm diameter - plenty big enough for lovers of huge portions, although it's quite a "flat" plate so anything too saucy does risk rolling off the edge. There's lso 4 x smaller side plates, and 4 x bowls - which are nice and deep for cereal or soup. Many "value" dinner sets I've come across feel very thin, have tiny plates and shallow bowls. But this is not the case at all with the Wilko's set. I can honestly say I don't notice a difference in quality between this and many of the sets I've paid £20+ on. The only thing I can see to make it "value" is the fact it's plain.
I've been really impressed with the dinner sets, they have held up well since Christmas and we like them so much we threw out all our old plates, so we finally have everything matching. For £5 a set, it'll be easy to replace if anything breaks, and whilst we have young children in the house it seems sensible to keep replacing with a cheap set like this than waste money on anything more expensive. The quality you get for the price can't be beaten in my opinion.
My parents recently gave me their old 9 year old Olympus µ[MJU:] 400 Digital camera, so thought I'd have a play with it and write a basic (amateur) review!
The Olympus 400 is pretty "retro" by todays standards, given how fast technology is evolving - it even has a viewfinder! However at the time 9-10 years ago, a 4.0 megapixel camera with a 3 x optical zoom was positively state of the art! I seem to remember it costing a lot of money back then - certainly over £100. I have to say, other than the small viewing screen on the back, and the fact it's only 4.0 mp, even by todays standards it's otherwise a really decent little camera. It's not overly big either - only approximately 5in x 3in x 2in - but it's quite a bit heavier than modern compact cameras.
To switch it on you slide the cover with the Olympus logo across the front and the lens pops out. There are 4 buttons in a circle (up/down/left/right) on the back, and the up button also allows you to change program modes, of which there are 7; Auto, Portrait, Landscape + Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Self Portrait and Movie. There is also the standard flash options - on/off/red eye/auto - operated by the right hand button. The left hand is the macro button, and down button is for the self timer. On the top right hand corner there's a rocker button for the zoom, and under the navigation buttons there's the OK/Menu and Quick View buttons.
The viewing screen is only a couple of inches big, so it's difficult to view your photos properly before they are uploaded. To view your photos, you must turn the camera off by sliding the cover closed, then press the Quick View button on the rear of the camera. You can scroll through one by one by using the left/right buttons, or jump through every ten photos by using the up/down buttons.
I took a few shots using the Auto setting on items I was going to list on ebay, and on my children (who never keep still!) and I'm really pleased with the results. I'm no expert on specific details like white balance etc. but all the photos came out sharp and clear, with true to life, natural colours. As the photos are only ever going to be a maximum of 4.0 mp they couldn't be blown up on to a huge billboard of course - but for most general snaps 4.0 mp is more than enough, and don't take up too much memory either. Speaking of memory, this camera takes XD cards (mine is only 64mb!) rather than SD. It also has a lithium battery, which was a fairly new thing 10 years ago I believe.
Overall, this is still a decent camera with a reasonable amount of features for it's age. It may not be particularly trendy by modern standards, but it takes a good shot and is easy to use which is all most people really need in a camera. If you can find a cheap second hand one, I'd say it's worth getting as a spare if nothing else.