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sp055

sp055
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Member since: 09.02.2011

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      02.02.2012 21:14
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      A great camera which will give you great results.

      Why did I come to buy this camera?

      I bought this camera just before I got married in October 2008. Whilst I was getting a professional photographer to take our pictures during the day, I wanted something which would take good quality snaps of the evening event. Furthermore, we were heading off to NYC on our honeymoon, we had never been outside of Europe before so this was quite a big deal for us; we wanted photos that people would want to look at!

      How much did the camera cost?

      We paid about £250 for the camera and a Sony 18-70 lens, at that time this was a complete bargain. I actually love this camera; I feel slightly dismayed at seeing it being sold for literally buttons on Amazon ( £2.55 plus shipping).

      How did it perform?

      The photos from our wedding can't be faulted, they are great. I have often found it difficult to get good photos in parties; I have either found that the pictures would come out too dark or the flash would over-compensate making it appear that the venue was brightly lit, for this reason I think that the light metering on the camera must be pretty good.

      I recently read that people tend to look at the mega-pixels when buying a camera but once you are past 10 mega-pixels it doesn't make much difference unless you want to blow your picture up so big you could cover your living room wall with it, however, the light metering is really important but is something which people often don't consider, so if you are thinking about buying a camera it's worth thinking about.

      Photos from NYC. Our photos from New York were amazing; I like to think that I had a lot to do with that, but if I'm honest I think that the camera did most of the work. I felt that the photos came out really nice and sharp. We took photos of the Statue of Liberty from a boat (which was obviously rocking) and was quite a distance away, we put the camera on manual focus as it struggled to focus under these conditions, but the resulting photo can be seen from my profile pic - given the conditions I think it's pretty good.

      More recently I have added a separate flash to the camera - I like the over exposed photos which seem in fashion at the moment and I have loved the results.

      This camera has become a handbag item - given its size I know that's a bit crazy, but the compact just couldn't live up to this.

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      31.01.2012 15:47
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      A great monitor - I would highly recommed

      Why did I buy this product?

      I bought this baby monitor because I had previously borrowed a video monitor from a friend, but when she had her second baby I had to return it to her. As I had got used to being able to see my baby at night, as well as hear her, I decided that I wanted to buy a video monitor.

      First experiences.....

      When this product first arrived there was a high pitch electrical sound from the camera. My husband is a fire-fighter and very concious of potential fire risks, so we sent it back. We had bought it from Mothercare; once we explained that we couldn't post the old one back before we received a new one they sent us a new one immediately, which was great.

      Second experiences....

      The second one which we received didn't make any noise and I was extremely happy with the quality of the monitor. The picture is clear in the furthest parts of the house, which you would expect from the 250m range that the camera has. It is worth noting, however, that the range which is provided on the packaging when you buy a monitor refers to how far it will work in an open space; therefore with thick stone walls the range on the monitor is greatly reduced.

      One of the things which I had hated about the previous monitor which I had was the constant hissing noise and the light which the screen produced in our bedroom at night; this monitor has a sound activation mode, so it just appears to be off, but will spark into life if your baby cries. The benefits of this are amazing, it creates a much nicer sleeping environment for yourselves if you do not have to listen to an electrical hiss all night, and as any new parent knows it doesn't take a lot to wake us up!

      The screen on the camera is fine, at 2.4 inches. I can see what our girl is up to, but because the screen is not massive, it is easy to cart about in your back pocket, if you so desire. As you would expect, the camera is infra-red so that you can see what your baby is up to in the dark.

      How could this camera be better?

      The camera which I have got doesn't have a zoom, but I have just checked on line and there is now a monitor available with this option which is selling for only £73.00 from a place called Baby Monitors Direct. I have never shopped with this company, so I am unaware of their reputation, however, if this is genuine, I think it's a bit of a bargain. I bought my monitor last September and paid £64.00 (without the zoom) at that time the cheapest we found the monitor elsewhere was £100.

      Another benefit would be a monitor with pan and tilt, this would be helpful if your child was moving about their cot and you wanted to see where they had gone.

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      • ELC My First Guitar / Baby Toy / 25 Readings / 22 Ratings
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        21.01.2012 01:10
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        A cheap and cheerful gift, not really a 'first instrument' though!

        Where did this come from?
        My daughter was given this by a friend for her first Christmas. She was about three months old and was too small to hold it properly, but five or six weeks on and she had kind of got the hang of it.

        What did baby think?
        My girl liked playing with this for short spells but it didn't really grab her attention. It would play nice little tunes which she liked. She struggled to press the bar at the bottom which also made a noise. The colours were nice and bright, which I think she also liked.

        What did mummy think?
        I was unimpressed with this toy. I think the thing which I really disliked about it was the fact that I really couldn't see how this item related to a real guitar. It looks as though you should be able to press different bars and make different sounds, but it doesn't really work like that. You press a bar and it starts to play a tune, press another bar and the tune changes.

        The cost?

        This item is currently advertised at £7.50. I think that is a fair price.

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          21.01.2012 00:51
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          A very worthwhile kitchen gadget!

          Well, to be honest, I've never made lemonade in my kitchen aid. For those that are unaware this is a line from a Ben Kweller song, which kind of sums up everyone's feelings towards the Kitchenaid! It is beautiful, and over seventy years since its launch, I think it's fair to say that this is one kitchen gadget which has stood the test of time.

          Why a Kitchen Aid?

          We received our Kitchenaid as a wedding gift about three years ago. It was something that we had both wanted for a long time, but found it difficult to justify it's price tag; we were so happy to be given it as a gift! We were given the Kitchenaid classic. I think this one has a slightly smaller motor than some of the other models but has never had any difficult ploughing through batch after batch of muffins (there was one occasion when we made around 250 in one day) and the weekly pizza dough has not phased it in the slightest.

          I think it would be fair to say that we are a foodie family, we talk about food a lot and cook a lot, but if I'm honest it's not the adaptable, impressive abilities of the Kitchenaid which make me love it so much. I just love to look at it. I love to walk into the kitchen and see it sitting on the worktop. I feel like it says something about us, and I guess that is exactly what good marketing does! I know that some people may find it offensive, because I am effectively buying into the brand identity instead of declaring my own individuality. The truth is though, I'd love to be a 'stay at home mom'. I want to make my family the perfect life in the Kitchenaid - and I bet at least some people will read this and think I want that too!

          So, I feel I have digressed slightly, the Kitchenaid has helped me on the nice days when I can be at home baking with my family. Our model does not come with the splash guard, I would try and get one of these if possible. When I have been working with icing sugar everything within a two metre radius has ended up covered! I have heard that Kitchenaid are going to be given you a glass bowl with these soon. If you are given the option, I would take the metal bowl; these things are used so frequently that sooner or later someone is likely to drop it!

          Cost?

          Whilst the Kitchenaid is not cheap (retailing from around £240 at the moment), nor are it's attachments. The mincer for example is around £40.

          Conclusion
          The Kitchenaid is something which we will probably have for the rest of our lives. It's one of those things that never grows old and which you will always be happy to own. I look forward to baking cookies with my grandchildren! Be good to yourself, it is worth it!

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          • Ikea Antilop High Chair / Highchair / 36 Readings / 34 Ratings
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            02.01.2012 01:37
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            A great product at a bargain price!

            How I came to buy the high chair:

            We had been lucky enough to receive a high chair from a relative who no longer needed it. They had loved this high chair and it had been perfect for their purposes. I , however, struggled with the fact it wouldn't fit under our dinning room table; I wanted our daughter to be part of the action. As the ikea antilop was cheap ( less than £20 including the tray) we decided we should try it.

            Packaging:
            This came in a simple plastic bag with the seat unit separate from the legs, which made it really easy to transport. Once we had got it home (in our tiny car) we simply slotted the legs into place and it was ready to go.

            Fit for purpose:
            This high chair was perfect; it fits snugly under the dinning table so our girl was with us at the table. As this fits so nicely under the table we tend not to use the tray, which is sold separately; maybe wouldn't be required if you wanted your child to dine with you. The chair is also phenomenally easy to clean as the seat is made from one piece of moulded plastic, the previous high chair we owned was made up of several different pieces and I would spend a huge amount of time trying to dig dried out food from its nooks and crannies, this chair literally needs a quick once over with a wet cloth and it's ready to go again.

            As our daughter got bigger I was a little concerned that the chair may not be as stable as other models as it is so light weight, however, the positioning of the legs make it incredibly stable (if a little annoying when you want to walk around the chair and find yourself constantly tripping over the feet). For those who purchase this chair for a younger child there is an additional blow up seat insert which can be purchased separately, whilst I have not used this insert I thought it was a really good idea that you blew it up, as you will be able to adjust the size of it according to your baby's needs.

            Price:
            The chair is £10.99 and the tray is £4, which I think is amazing value for money. I am now wondering why I wanted to pay over £120 for the stokke because it fitted under the table - this does the same for a tenth of the price! The seat cushion is currently £5.49; this is a fair price but not the bargain I would say the other components are.

            To buy or not to buy:
            BUY, BUY, BUY! You'll wonder why you ever considered any of the hundreds of over-priced high chairs on the market.

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              04.12.2011 09:29
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              A good toy for playing with your baby

              This was bought for my daughter's first Christmas, although at 3 months old she wasn't quite ready to sit down and play with it. My daughter is now over a year and has lots of fun with this. It contains a tea pot two cups and a tray which has been moulded for the three cakes which have a circular, square and triangular base to fit into.

              Cost and Packaging
              This product costs around £20, however, if you shop around you can get it cheaper. For example, B&M Bargains was selling this for a while - they may still be selling it. I think that this is a little expensive, but if I was honest, I would say this about the price of most children's toys, so perhaps it is not any more expensive than anything else.

              Like many toys you buy this came wired to cardboard with wires holding the cups in place. I didn't like this feature as I still remember putting water in my cups and saucer as a child and obviously you wouldn't be able to do that with this product. Perhaps this is deliberate - we do all seem to have gone health and safety mad! Whilst there was a lot of packaging, this is pretty standard with children's toys.

              Quality
              I quite like the quality of this product; there seems to be a wide range of plastic toys on the market and there can be a great disparity in the quality of these, but this is fine. Randomly, two of the cakes seem better quality than the last. The cherry cake and the yellow cake are sold shapes, where the brown cake has no base on it, and is made from a different kind of plastic.

              Playing with the toy

              I have always had a bit of an attitude about 'educational' toys. I think it is the way that parents interact with the child and the toy makes it educational.

              There are three settings on the tea pot and I really like some of the things the tea pot does. It can make a really nice pouring noise as your baby tips the tea pot up. There are also a couple of songs. I feel that the song about saying please and thank you is unnecessary, and, as we're Scottish, I would really rather my daughter didn't learn to say these words with an English accent. Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-English, I also hate hearing children born and bred in Glasgow speaking as though they have been growing up in America!

              It is nice to see how your baby manipulates the cake as she tries to fit them onto the plate, getting better with practice. My dd is also always trying to steal my cups of tea so that it is nice that her and I are able to sit and have a cup together.

              Changes
              It would be nice if this product came in a colour other than pink! A lot of people would not give their baby boy this product, and I'm sure they'd like to play!

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              • Fisher Price Baby Walker / Baby Toy / 42 Readings / 40 Ratings
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                14.11.2011 22:38
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                Cute as a toy, but it doesn't make a good walker.

                My daughter was bought this baby walker for her first Christmas. At that point in time she was only three months old, so not quite ready for it! By around seven months of age she was starting to try and pull herself up, so I decided to take this out of it's packet.

                Assembly
                This was a self assemble product which required a very specific screwdriver. The screws were not particularly small but the space in which the screws were fixed meant that you needed a really short screwdriver, so that it would fit in the available space. Once I had finally dealt with that, I had to put the 'harness' on the front of the buggy. This required a bit of brute force to ensure that the plastic popped into the holes correctly; unfortunately, this never quite worked on my daughter's walker and to this day there is a piece of plastic which I am constantly trying to force back into place. Needless to say, I was not too impressed with the assembly of this product.

                Quality and use
                There are different types of plastic toys available to buy, which vary widely in quality. Having grown up with the 'fisher price' name, I expected more from this product. The plastic is lightweight. This may be fabulous for other toys, but by its very nature, a baby walker needs to support the weight of a child; this baby walker would not support the weight of my (not too heavy) daughter. In addition to this, the plastic wheels would not turn when the toy was being used on the carpets, so it would essentially be dragged along the floor.

                Plus points
                I realise that I have moaned an awful lot about this product, but it does have some benefits. My daughter loves playing with it, and now that she can walk confidently, loves to push it around the house. It also has a small bear toy, which attaches near the handle bar. The bear plays music, often causing baby to pause mid play for a little boogie.

                Cost
                At around £17, this is not too expensive. However, you are expected to buy the doll separately, which retails at around £8.

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                  31.10.2011 08:53
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                  Not a purchase I would make again; no good if your child needs to sleep

                  Cost

                  I was lucky enough to get this buggy from a family member, so I did not have to go and buy it. It currently seems to sell for just under £150.00. There are, however, a few hidden costs with this buggy. The buggy has a little sign beside the handle bars telling you that it is not safe to place bags around the handles, however, this buggy does not even come with a net basket, you need to buy this separately. I think that a net shopping bag, which would cost quinny next to nothing should be given for free. Some people will also want the carry bag for the buggy, which will cost an extra £20.00; once you add all of these little extra things into the cost, it becomes quite an expensive purchase.

                  Ease of Use
                  This buggy can be erected in three easy steps. These have to be done in a specific order and can seem a little confusing at first, but once you've got the hang of it, it's really very easy. I got this buggy for going on holiday and despite already having a buggy which is very easy to push (the quinny buzz), this is even easier. Pushing my daughter with one hand was not a problem.

                  It is also a great buggy for going in a small car, as it takes up so little room, allowing you to put your shopping in the boot alongside the buggy, without a fuss.

                  Wear and Tear
                  The footrest and the area around the footrest seem to be made of a thick rubbery material, which I really liked; it meant that the buggy was really easy to wash down. The wheels, however, are very small and hard; this means that they quickly become old looking with little chunks of the rubber missing from them.


                  Comfort
                  I have to say that I felt guilty every time I put my daughter in this buggy. She is thirteen months old, but I still felt that she was far too small for it. The material to support her head actually seems to tilt her head forward so that she is looking downwards, and her neck looks really uncomfortable like this. There is no way of adjusting this, and on the one occasion when she fell asleep in it, I walked about with the front wheel in the air, so that she wouldn't hurt her neck.

                  Conclusion
                  I wouldn't choose to go and purchase this pram again; it is good for going on holiday, due to its compact nature, but no good for your child to rest in.

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                    21.08.2011 23:02
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                    A great story which got lost three quarters of the way through the book.

                    I bought this book primarily because of it's title. I really enjoy novels which are set in foreign countries. I particularly enjoy when there is much description of the idyllic scenery. In addition to this I love a book which is set during WWII so this really ticked all of the boxes.

                    The book begins with Bella Stuart at home in England, pre-war. She has lost her mother and has a somewhat stilted relationship with her father. Her father announces that he has found her a job in Italy looking after and educating a young boy. Bella goes to Italy reluctantly believing she is ill-equipped to deal with a child.

                    The story then skips to Ireland in the nineties. A young woman, Anna, finds her life is falling apart around her, and her only family to speak of is her Grandmother who is in a coma. When I got to the chapters entitled 'Anna' I just wanted to rush through them to allow me to get to the good chapters, 'Bella'.

                    As you would predict, things become intense in Italy as fascism penetrates mainland Europe and the safety of the child becomes the concern of all.

                    I was left waiting for the beautiful ending which tied the two stories nicely and provided the reader with the much desired answers. I felt that the writer had simply got bored and didn't know how to bring the book to a close; this was such a shame as up until the last few chapters it had been great.

                    Despite loving 3/4 of this book I would not be in a hurry to read another book written by this author.

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                      25.07.2011 01:52
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                      A great kick start for your physical and mental health.

                      What is Body Attack?

                      Body Attack is a high intensity aerobic fitness class by Les Mills. Exercise instructors around the world follow the same routines which are changed every three months. This gives a great variety of the class and by varying the routines, it ensures that your body is not getting too used to the same old exercises.

                      How did I come to get involved in Body Attack?

                      Since leaving school I had pretty much managed to avoid exercise altogether. By chance a friend of mine asked me to go along to a class with her whilst we were on holiday. I still remember thinking that I had forgotten how amazing it feels to 'move to music'. After the second track I was utterly exhausted and my co-ordination, which was intemittent at the best of times, was now totally non-existent. Despite all of that, I spent the next week anticipating the following class and wishing the days away until I could do it again. That was almost four years ago and I have hardly missed a class since.

                      The music

                      The music tends to be fast dance music which wasn't really to my taste, however, since developing a love of Body Attack I have to admit to developing a bit of a taste for dance music. It's my secret pleasure! When I hear that strong beat I just want to start moving. The music tends to be dance mixes of songs we all know and love, with a few randoms fired in for good measure. Recent releases have included: 'Proud Mary',' 'Just Dance' - Lady Gaga; Black Eye Peas - Where is the Love? and Flo Rida 'You Spin Me Round'.

                      What fitness level is this class for?

                      It is specifically tailored to meet the needs of everyone. For those who don't feel like jumping about like a maniac there is always a low impact alternative, sometimes there are even three different options. My fitness has improved significantly over the last few years, as I have developed a much more active lifestyle. Despite this, I am still not able to do full press ups for the press up track, so there is still plenty of room for improvement.

                      Where can you go to Body Attack classes?

                      All around the world there are people teaching Body Attack, which is amazing! Most big gyms in the United Kingdom now offer Body Training Systems classes, making it nice and easy for most people to access them. Virgin, Fitness First and Bannantyne's are just a few of the gyms which offer these programmes. The current cost of going to a class is around about four pounds but if you are going to a few classes over the course of a week it is well worth paying for a monthly membership.

                      What are the main benefits?

                      I think that the BTS classes have not only had a significant positive impact on my physical health but have enabled me to deal with the stress of my highly demanding job. They keep me feeling great all of the time; I always leave the gym smiling!

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                        02.07.2011 02:03
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                        A great product, you'll wonder why you bothered buying a pram!

                        Why did I buy this?

                        Well, everyone seems to have an opinion about whether or not you should be carrying your child, as well as how the child should be positioned, what the weather should be like, and how you should iron your baby's vest! It is all down to personal opinion, and I love to carry baby! From the moment my little girl was born I seem to have been looking for inventive ways to reattach her to my person. I like to walk our dog in wooded areas where the path is often narrow and overgrown with tree routes; whilst I started with my baby sling which I love, love, love, it has become more difficult to carry her in this. I am five foot two inches and her feet now touch my knees when I walk, so it was time to say goodbye to the sling. Saying goodbye was made much easier by the arrival of the LittleLife Ultralight Convertible.

                        Comfort for the Parent.

                        One of the most important things when buying a product like this has got to be the back support. If you are going to be able to carry a child up to the age suggested by the manufacturer (3 years/15kg), you need to be comfortable. The backpack has a number of ways to support you with this. There is a large padded strap to go around your waist which can be tightened and loosened very easily. This is really useful if your backpack is used frequently by different people. You are also able to make two different types of adjustment to the vertical back straps, one which makes the straps shorter and the other which brings the child's seating area closer to your shoulders. This is all really useful stuff which I have found to make the product really comfortable. At only 2kg it's not adding too much to the weight of your load!

                        Comfort for the Baby.

                        My nine month old daughter loves the backpack. It has a padded seat which two over-the-shoulder straps clip into, there is also a third strap which goes across the child's chest. Even your Houdini baby is not getting out of here! The seat has a strap to adjust the height of it, so that as your child grows the seat can be lowered to a more appropriate height. In addition to this there is a very soft cushion for your baby to rest their head on; this is particularly useful if your baby is prone to falling asleep when you are out and about. To ensure that your baby's legs don't get irritated by the zip there are little flaps to keep the zip away from skin.

                        Practicalities

                        I chose this particular model because I wanted to use it when I was walking about the town as well as out in the countryside. I felt that some of the backpacks were so big they should require a driving licence! I wanted something which was nice and compact, but also comfortable for both baby and I! I am happy to say that this fits the bill! The backpack has a large storage area which has plenty of room for all of your changing bag essentials, which is great. When you are carrying your baby around the last thing which you want is to have to carry a changing bag too!

                        A must for all parents who would like to consider themselves walkers, even if that does mean around the shops!

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                        29.06.2011 14:20
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                        A great book for when you are trying to encourage your baby's interest in books.

                        What's it all about?

                        This book is part of the Usborne 'That's not my..' series. This is a series of books which all have a different texture on each of the pages. I was given this book by a friend for my daughter who is nine months old. She is probably the perfect age for this book.

                        The story

                        The story is repetitive on each page the sentence begins, 'That's not my puppy..'. This is really useful when you are trying to encourage your child's first few words. It is also a good length for when your baby's attention span is short as it only has five double pages. I found this useful because although a few months ago my little one would sit beautifully for a story, now she wants to be on the go all of the time and it can be hard to hold her attention for more than a few minutes.

                        I don't know how I feel about the story beginning on the front cover; I can see why this is a good idea for the company trying to sell the books - it will grab children's attention when it is still on the shelf. I suppose I feel that babies are learning about how a book 'works', and usually the story would start once the book is open.

                        The texture

                        As I mentioned previously, my little girl's attention span is short at the moment and the texture really helps to keep her interested in the story. The texture is different on every page, helping to renew her interest in the story with each page turn.

                        Overall

                        A very good book to keep your baby's interest in books growing.

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                          23.06.2011 01:59
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                          An excellent phone!

                          Why did I by this phone?

                          I have to admit that I didn't make the decision to buy this phone. In fact, I didn't want a new phone, I was quite happy with my little Sony Ericsson that could be used for phone calls, texting and that was about it. My hubby had other ideas though; he said this phone was a bargain (we were getting it for £90 with £10 credit), and that it was amazing to get a phone with a capacitive screen for this price, as most phones in this price bracket had resistive screens. I didn't even pretend to know what he was talking about!

                          Operating the phone

                          As the first thing hubby did was de-brand the phone so that it could be used on other networks, I am unsure about how well the 'orange' stuff works. I have to say though, the screen is as good as he claimed! I find the screen really responsive and have quickly got used to using the phone to go on the internet. If I'm honest, I thought this would be a total pain, as typing in web addresses on a touch screen isn't my idea of fun, but due to the responsive screen it isn't too bad. Hubby has installed the 'gingerbread' keyboard on it, which quickly learns the idiosyncrasies of what you write and stores them.

                          At first I found that the battery drained out of the phone really quickly, but I soon realised that some of the apps which I had downloaded were eating the battery. Once I got rid of these it was operating much better; I can now get a couple of days from one charge, if it is not in use too frequently.

                          The camera was something which disappointed me initially. If the camera was to be used indoors, even when it was bright, the pictures would turn out grainy and with lines down them. My OH then changed the software for the camera and it works much better. I thought that this was rather bizarre, as I thought that orange would have the best software available for this, but I'm a techno-phobe, what do I know!

                          The internet works well in my house, but obviously the speed fluctuates, depending on where you live. If you are using the phone on orange you can now use it on the t-mobile network as well, as these companies have recently merged, which will be helpful to some people.

                          I have heard some rumours that this phone is now being sold with a different screen which is not as good, so I would perhaps find out about this before rushing out to buy one.

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                            15.06.2011 08:44
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                            Excellent product for weaning your baby.

                            What's it all about?

                            The Brother Max Food Portioners are perfect for preparing home cooked food for your baby. The tubs are available in two sizes, holding 40mls and around 150 mls of liquid. The smaller containers are available in packs of six and the larger containers come in packs of four. Each of the packs retails for around six pounds; it is quite rare to find these available cheaper, but if you are lucky they occasionally become available on boots 3 for 2 offers.

                            The packaging

                            I know we shouldn't be fooled by packaging, but I have to admit that I really like the way these are packaged! The box has two popper studs at the top, so the box can be resealed once opened. I like this feature as I will put the tubs back in their boxes once I am finished, and they will be ready for baby number two. The box comes with a marker to write the contents of the side of the tub. I have bought a number of boxes now and have found that the marker is a hit or a miss, some of them have worked beautifully and others have only left a very faint outline of what I have tried to write.

                            Which size to buy?

                            I initially bought one pack in each size, thinking that my baby would quickly outgrow the smaller pots. However, she is now nine months old and I still use the small containers regularly, sometimes I give her two pots for a main meal, but often if I have made fruit compote for pudding, one will suffice. I actually like using two smaller tubs rather than a larger one as it gives me the freedom to decide how hungry she is likely to be and give me the option of only heating one pot. The bigger containers are good too, but I think there are cheaper products on the market which will do a similar job in the larger size.

                            The features!

                            These tubs have got a handy little button on the bottom of them so frozen food can be popped right out in order to be heated in a bowl, however, these tubs are microwave safe so there is not always a need to do so. The tubs also join together which is really handy when putting them in the freezer.

                            The downside!

                            The only negative is that strong foods can stain the pots, particularly the button at the bottom of the pot. This is not much of an issue and not one which I think the company could easily avoid.

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                            23.05.2011 23:39
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                            A very good starting point for weaning your baby.

                            Why I wanted the book:

                            I have had an interest in children's eating habits for a long time. I teach children with autism spectrum disorders, some of whom have very specific food phobias, and in addition to this, I generally find it really annoying when people are fussy eaters. For this reason I was keen that my children developed good eating habits. Many of my friends had followed the Anabel Karmel programme, and said that their children ate brilliantly when they were a baby only to become fussier as they got older. During my time as a teacher I had felt that a lot of the children's food issues were related to texture, so I knew I wanted to introduce my own baby to a wide variety of textures as quickly as possible. This book works on the premise that babies don't need huge amounts of food to eat when they are first being introduced to foods, and should be allowed to eat with their fingers (and therefore being exposed to different textures) as soon as the weaning process begins. For that reason I thought that it was just what I was looking for!

                            The background of the book:

                            I really like the principles of this book; don't force feed your child purée; they will eat when they are ready, after they have had the opportunity to explore the food. The book also encourages you to eat as a family: try and make dinner the social occasion it was before your baby arrived! The book also makes it clear that the baby should never be left unattended as there is a small risk of choking, it explained that babies gag reflex are further forward in their mouths than an adult's, and it is generally quite effective. It also suggested that your baby should always be sitting up straight when eating.

                            The recipes:

                            The book provides a very wide range of recipes which can be enjoyed by the whole family, from porridge fingers to tomato sauce - there really is something to suit everyone's pallet. The book is divided into a number of different sections, here are a few of them:

                            - Breakfast
                            - Light lunches
                            - Dips and spreads
                            - Main meals - this is divided into a number of sections
                            - Sides & Vegetables
                            - Deserts
                            - Breads and Baking

                            One of my favourite sections in the book was the dips. I first attempted the bean spread and found it far too strong; the recipe called for raw onion and although this was blended the taste was still too strong for my palette. I decided to make the recipe again and cook the onions, it worked beautifully like this and my daughter loved it. I gave it to her with organic baby bread sticks and also sticks of raw carrot. I then decided to try the hummus, this was a big disappointment the taste was so bad I didn't even offer it to baby; it was incredibly strong, even for me! I had a similar problem with the guacamole which was such a shame - I had been so in the mood for it. I like strong tasting food but I feel that the author of the book takes this to the extreme. I decided to carry on using the book but before I would start cooking, I would check all of the ingredients first, to see if I thought that the quantities were appropriate.

                            My first attempt at meat was the spicy lamb patties. The recipe called for 12-15 cardamom pods but I think I put in five and thought that this was plenty. The food tasted really good and my daughter managed well. She was about six and a half months at this point and I realised that if she liked the food enough, she had no difficulty getting it to her mouth. She ate plenty! I also made her the lamb tagine which tasted great; we have eaten this a lot. The Thai green curry was not something which I would have thought of feeding my girl, but it was well received, and this is yet another new flavour which she has become accustomed to.

                            I am not a big fan of introducing puddings into a child's diet too early - there will be plenty of that later! For this reason, I have only tried one of the recipes from the deserts section - the sugarless carrot cake! It sounds yuck, but it is packed full of fruit giving it a lovely naturally sweet flavour!

                            Does the concept work:

                            This is not for the faint hearted! I thought I would be really relaxed with my baby's eating, but I found it really stressful when she would spend days simply playing with her food. The book does state clearly that this will happen - as a parent it is hard to cope with this! It is also incredibly messy and has cost us more than a few baby grows. I have to admit that I have not stuck to it and offer my baby a mixture of finger foods and purées - this 'best of both worlds' approach is working for us!

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