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It was recently my sons 3rd Birthday, so I was faced with the annual decision of what to buy for his "big present". He has always adored cars and vehicles and has had a couple of smaller garages aimed more at babies when he was younger, so I figured a "Big Boys Garage" would be a good choice.
The Early Learning Centre is always one of the first places I look when buying toys as the quality is always great and the toys usually have good learning value and ability. They actually have a "Big City" range at ELC with the 'Big City Garage' being their largest item. The garage cost £55 which I thought was a bit pricey, but it looked great and very large in the photographs so I thought it would be worth it for his main present.
I bought it online and it arrived 3 days later in a large box. The garage came with no cars so I had actually also bought a 20 Pack of their 'Big City Cars' which cost £20 (so for the full package that's £75). I had bought these as I had a feeling they may well be the only kind that fit the garage, as a lot of toy manufacturers seem to ensure these days so that you buy more of their products as "Add-Ons". These 20 cars just actually turned out to be standard size little metal toy cars that you can buy anywhere, there were a few good makes in there though like Mini's etc. but it definitely wasn't absolutely necessary to buy this pack as the tons of little cars my son already has, fit the garage fine too. But never mind he has plenty now.
Now the garage comes in parts which you have to put together yourself, I found the instruction booklet tricky to muster so for the most part I ended up just copying the picture on the front of the box. It wasn't the easiest toy to work out and put together, since if you get one part in the wrong place the rest just won't go together and a few parts were tricky to slot in. Overall, not too bad though - took about 20 minutes by myself to assemble and once everything was in place, it was very sturdy and the parts don't fall out of place and the ramps etc. stay securely fixed in. There was then a sheet of stickers to put in place to add to the overall look of the garage.
The garage itself has 3 levels, the bottom once has a little "Petrol Station" with 2 pumps (my son hasn't paid much attention to these though. There's also a couple of lifting barriers for him to fiddle with, although these do come out of place quite easily. The other 2 levels, which have yellow ramps leading up to them, are round and circular with plenty of room to play. My son's favourite feature of the garage is the big lift that attaches to the side, this allows him to transport cars from the bottom level right up to the top by turning a little wheel. Then on top of the lift is a "Heli-Pad".
The lift works with or without batteries, it doesn't come with the batteries so you will need to buy your own (2 x AA) but all that really does is add sounds. The garage is certainly big, but not so big for it to be annoying and take up most of the room.
My son received this for his 1st Birthday as a Bath Toy and my first thoughts were how cute it was and looked just like "Nemo". It comes packed with the fins detached so you have to fix these in yourself and maybe it's just me but I found these really tricky to push in! Something that should surely be simple!
It already came with batteries so it was ready to be played with at bath time, the button on the side switches it on and the fish will sing a couple of nice tunes such as "Come and have fun in the Sea, Swim all around like me!" and there's another button on the side which allows you to switch it from playing songs, to saying numbers. there's also a flashy light on the top and that's really it ...
My son uses it to scoop up water and pour it out more than anything (which he could have done with a cup!) The problem is when the fish is under the water, you can barely hear it so it's features become pointless. The batteries have lasted a long time in it though which is good.
As it was a gift, I'm not sure how much my friend got it for but I've seen it in the Toy Stores for around £10-£12.
Overall, apart from looking terribly cute, this is not Vtech's best.
When I first moved out of my parents house (Age 18) I had to make a list of all the essentials I would need to buy - and on a budget! There was the obvious things like a Hoover, Washer, Fridge etc. etc. but then of course I remembered I needed a Hair Dryer! One of those essentials people may forget when making such a list!
My first stop to look for a reasonably priced Hair Dryer was the good old Argos catalogue, I was astonished at how expensive some of the dryers were! Really would "extras" could these extortionate dryers do?! To be honest I had little choice but to go with the cheapest and that surprisingly was this Babyliss model. Babyliss is a brand I've always trusted as I've used many of their hair appliances before with great results, which is why I was surprised at the low price tag of £9.99.
When it came to use the dryer I wasn't very optimistic since it was so cheap and I suspected that I may find blowing on my hair myself quicker at drying! But what a pleasant surprise to find that this dryer is just as good if not better than any I've used before. I had 2 heat settings depending on how hot or fast you want your hair dried, I personally always use the highest and my hair which is shoulder length, is dry within about 5 minutes which I think is brilliant!
There is a detachable nozzle, so if you want to give it a proper blow dry you can and this is easy to take on and off. There is no Cool button like a lot of other dryers, but I'm not too bothered about that personally.
I've had this Hair Dryer now since 2009 and it's still going strong so I can't ask for better value than that! There is only one fault I have found with it (and it's something I don't think is unusual for most dryers) and that is if you switch the dryer off say half way through drying your hair, it will not allow you to switch it back on for 5 minutes or so while it cools down (a safety feature probably) so if you want to continuously quickly dry your hair, then don't switch it off until your done.
Valuable product from Babyliss.
I converted from being a Blackberry girl to iPhone just over 2 years ago and I can honestly say I've never looked back! My contract came to an end on my previous iPhone 4 and I was pretty excited to get the latest iPhone 5. I already loved the '4' so I was sure the only way was up for the iPhone 5 and I wasn't wrong.
The first difference I noticed was the weight of the iPhone 5, it astounds me how such a smart phone that can do so much, could be so light! The iPhone 4 was certainly heavier, the general look of the '5' is simply sleeker (especially in white like mine). Secondly, comes 'Siri' - another new iPhone feature, and all you have to do to use "her" is Press and Hold the Home button and then ask her for what you want. You can say things like "Call Mum" and she will do just that. You can also ask general things like "What's the time in Spain?" or "Who starred in the movie Pulp Fiction?" etc. etc. If Siri doesn't know the answer, then she will ask you if you want to open an internet page for her to help you find it, so an internet connection is required for Siri. I suppose she is like a person living in your phone! Now to be honest, I don't use Siri an awful lot (mostly because I forget she's there!) but when I have had to, she's certainly been useful to have around!
The capacity of my iPhone 5 is 13.5 GB which is more than enough for me as most of the things I use the phone for don't take up a lot of space and my new network provider is 3 (recently changed from O2). I'm on 3's "All you can Eat data" plan which is fantastic as I can you the many features of the phone (many of which require internet) without having to worry.
Internet features aside, even the simple "Apps" on the phone help me a great deal. I heavily utilise the "Reminders" and "Notepad" features which I schedule most of my days through! The great thing about the Reminders is being able to set particular times for each thing which will sound a "Tone" at the time you've picked and you can quickly view day-to-day reminders at a glance which for me really helps me to plan. The "Calendar" is also great to as you can view this in many forms, whichever you find easiest. It's also easy to add contacts to your Phone Book and copy/pasting numbers etc. is easy too. They certainly weren't kidding when they said the phone was "Smart"!
The standard Internet App that already comes downloaded onto the phone is called "Safari" and I must admit I don't use this a great deal to open the internet, instead I've downloaded the "Google" App and tend to open that up and go from there. That's probably because I do the same on my laptop. I just find the buttons on Google a lot easier than Safari. You can choose to switch Wifi on or off in the Settings menu, if you turn it off and need to use the internet then the phone will try to find a Data connection to 3G for example, which it usually does quite easily (depending on your network provider).
The choice of Apps to download in the App Store is vast too and in my opinion the best ones are Free! From your social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to shopping sites like Amazon, Gumtree and Ebay. Then there's several gaming apps, something to suit every taste (Logos and Movie quizzes are my favourite!). So you needn't have to spend money, I find it very difficult to get bored being an owner of an iPhone!
I know a lot of people who consider getting an iPhone are often concerned it might be difficult to use (especially since a lot of it is Touch Screen), I was one of those people myself but it has turned out to be extremely easy due to the smartness of the phone. My 82 year old grandfather actually has one and loves it so it's certainly easy to pick up. These phones are pricey to buy, depending on Capacity they usually range from £450-£600. But of course, if you get one on contract you can just pay monthly. To give you an example, with 3 I paid £28 upfront for the phone then my contract is £35 a month for 2 years. It obviously differs with different networks and packages though.
To conclude, I can safely say I will always have an iPhone!
I love shopping Online as I just find it so much easier than actually going out to the shops and I think you get to have a better view of everything available as well right at the comfort of your own computer. So I'm often looking out for new sites for my favourite things which are mainly Clothing & Homewares. I came across 'Strawberry Sparkle' on Google and I'm so glad I did! The address is www.strawberrysparkle.co.uk
I love buying quirky new Decorative items for my home and I particularly love getting them Online as I know there's less chance of someone else already having them in their homes. So this really is the perfect website for me. The first thing I noticed about the Strawberry Sparkle site is its lovely Pink and Chocolate coloured layout - very girly! Then secondly was the several fantastic Categories/Themes down the left hand side of the page to Navigate to the different themes and styles of items, there's actually that many I like I didn't know where to look first. The Categories are;
*Fairytale n Fantasy*
*Gothic n New Age*
*Sealife Owl n Zoo*
*Mushroom n Strawberry*
*Polka Dots n Stripes*
*Angels n Cherubs*
*Gardening n Fishing*
*Hearts Love n Wedding*
*Buddha n Chinese*
*Cat n Dog*
*Frog Dragon n Dinosaur*
*Bug n Insect*
*Wolf n Native American*
*Country Home n Farm*
*Music n Apps*
*Scottish n Welsh*
So there's a lot to choose from and so many wonderful ideas and things that inspire you for your home! My personal Favourite categories are the 'Fairytale n Fantasy' and 'Gothic n New Age' - there's some really unusual stuff on there!
The types of things they sell are Ornaments, Candles, Cushions, Pictures, Mugs etc. pretty mucy everything you could want to Decorate your home. The prices are good to and there's items for every budget, the cheapest things I've seen on there are around £4.99.
I've purchased 2 things from the site so far (and there's many more on my list!) and the Checkout process was very quick and simple, I didn't even have to Sign up or Create an account or anything. The Checkout page just takes you straight to Paypal where you can Sign in if you have a Paypal account or pay with your Debit/Credit Card if you don't.
I received Confirmation and Delivery status emails for my orders which I was pleased with, the site says to allow 72 hours despatch time and then 1-3 Working days for Delivery and both times my orders arrived within 3 days. Delivery on everything on the site is Free as well, they do only deliver to the UK though.
My experience with Strawberry Sparkle has so far been wonderful and I've never seen a site like theirs before which is why it's my new favourite. I know they also have a Facebook Page to which has some special promotions.
This is not a site to be missed, check it out www.strawberrysparkle.co.uk
I rarely buy any expensive Beauty products since I've had my son as they just seem like such an indulgent spend, but I have an increasing amount of cellulite on my stomach so I had been looking around for something to help and thought it would be worth the spend if I managed to find something that worked. To be honest my main decision to buy Biotherm Celluli Cream was down to the fact that Biotherm were a good pricey brand so I was confident that any product of theirs would deliver results.
The 150ml was £28 which I though was expensive but as mentioned earlier I was desperate for something to help as I do wear a lot of short clothing and can't bear the thought of any cellulite being on show! The cream is targeted at the midriff area and specifically says on the bottle that it is for the stomach-waist area and is meant to make it smoother and firmer. It does this by supposedly using its 'Adiposveltyl' micro-organism, not something I'd ever heard of but it sounded scientific enough to me!
The cream has a very "clean" smell which is something I like in a Beauty product as it leaves me feeling fresh, so this was a positive start. The cream wasn't very greasy but it did take a while to absorb into my skin, fortunately I didn't have to use much on each application to cover my stomach area and I started out using it just once a day. I did this for a fortnight or so and other than giving me a nice scent, I had notice no improvement in my stomach. So I started using it twice a day until I'd used the entire bottle and I can safely say it made no difference whatsoever!
I've used much cheaper cellulite products from Avon that had the exact same results ... nothing! So a complete waste of £28 and what's worse is that it has changed my opinion of Biotherm products and it's highly unlikely that I'll be buying anything from them in the near future ...
I am quite fussy when it comes to Fresh Juices and I cannot stand any "bits" floating around so I normally go for the smoothest possible. I am also fussy though with the price and don't like to pay over the odds for any juice, therefore I'm not bothered about buying bigger name brands. I rarely shop at Tesco which is why it took me so long to come across there own brand of Pure Orange Juice - but when I did it was enough to make me keep going back to Tesco for more!
The one I was buying came in a plastic 500ml carton and it was under 60p! The taste was perfect, just sweet enough and no nasty "bits"! I drink this Orange Juice on its own and as a mixer with Vodka and it goes perfectly with both. For how cheap the juice was to buy it didn't taste cheap at all and actually tasted nicer than more expensive brands I've tried. If you shop at Tesco and you like Fresh Orange juice then I'd strongly reccomend you pick up a carton when you next go shopping and give it a try, especially if you have been spending money on the more expensive brands that are £1+ because I'm sure you won't be disappointed and it will of course save you money in the future.
I do believe they sell it in various sizes too if you want to buy it in bigger quantities.
I first came across the Little Tikes Magic Doorbell Playhouse at my sons Playgroup where all the kids would literally fight over who got to play in it! I decided since the Summer is coming up to buy one for my little boy who is 19 months old. Wendy houses like this one tend to be £200+ from what I've seen, but I managed to find this one for £179.99 from Asda Direct which is the cheapest I could find.
To assemble it wasn't too bad as far as I know (my stepfather did this part for me) but it only took him half an hour and he had no complaints. Once up, the little house looks great! It's brightly coloured and very sturdy, not flimsy at all, so I'm quite confident that it will withstand any bad weather we might get in the Winter. The front door and inside the house itself is the perfect height for my son who is quite tall for his age, inside the house there is a little shelf and telephone, but to be honest the most appealing thing to my son has been the door and window which he loves opening and shutting! When the 2 window shutters close together there is a little gap between them which I've found minimises injury if it gets closed on my sons little fingers, he has done this a few times but it's never hurt him.
The "Magic Doorbell" requires 3 x AA Batteries and you need a screwdriver to put these in, also they are not included with the house itself. When pressed, the bell makes a "Ding Dong" noise and my son has also enjoyed pressing this. Overall I'm very pleased with this little house and I'm looking forward to watching my son play in it even more over the Summer.
I spotted these boots on Amazon.co.uk just before the New Year and I thought they looked gorgeous! I loved the fur trim and the buckle design in the picture and thought they looked pretty amazing. They were £33 including Delivery which isn't too bad considering these type of boots are normally £50+ in the shops, so I went ahead and bought them.
On removing them from their box, I still really liked them, they didn't look different from the picture on Amazon (which can often be the case) so I excitedly tried them on. The first thing I then noticed was that the Fur Trim is quite poor quality - with just a light tug the Fur will come away in your hands. So I've had to take care when putting the Boots on so that the Fur Trim doesn't get ruined quickly. The next problem I had with the boots was that the Buckles don't secure to you very snuggly, so the boots actually feel really loose when they are on. I would have preferred them to be more fitted to my legs, I'm assuming the reason is because they have been made to fit all shapes of leg (wider legs etc.) But the problem this caused was that the boots didn't stay up very well and so I had to keep pulling them up all the time so that they didn't look really slouchy (a bit like a pair of socks that keep slipping down your ankles!)
As far as comfort is concerned, you can see from the picture they have a very high heel so of course comfort isn't right at the top of its list of pros! But I am very used to wearing high heels so they weren't a problem for me personally, but for those who aren't used to heels I can see these causing a few problems! My feet surprisingly didn't really hurt wearing the Boots either, so that's one good thing.
When I bought them they were available from Size 4 UK up to Size 8 UK. They aren't bad for £33 but they would be so much better if they didn't slouch down all the time and if the buckles stayed more tightly secured.
If I had to sum up the iPhone 4 in 3 words it would be - WOW, WOW, WOW! This is because I never imagine in a million years that a phone could be this smart ... and make my life so much easier! It really is phenomenal! This is coming from a girl who was previously devoted to Blackberry and always turned her nose up at Apple's iPhone's. My opinion had been that they were a ridiculously expensive fad phone that was just the "cool" thing to have and I was never really that interested in owning one.
But friends and family kept going on and on about how much I was missing out on by owning my "boring" Blackberry when instead I could have the "genius" iPhone! Well my Monthly contract was due for renewal and after 4 long years of owning Blackberry's, I decided to give in and see what all the hype was about (even though I had a strong suspicion that I was going to absolutely HATE the iPhone).
I stuck with my phone provider O2 who gave me a very good deal on a swanky iPhone 4 in WHITE - "Twitt Twooo", the pictures of the phone on the Website did look pretty gorgeous (I have a thing for White Electricals - even my Laptop is White) so I thought "at least my phone will look stylish even if I do turn out to hate it ..." On its arrival I was not disappointed, my beautiful new phone was sat like a sleek little shiny white Goddess in its brand spanking new box and I literally was the most stunning phone I'd ever seen.
Now the main issue I THOUGHT I was going to have with the iPhone 4, was its Touch Screen - of which I am usually horrifically bad at operating even with my little femme fingers! But with the iPhone 4 being such a "smart" phone, this made navigating & typing with the Touch Screen a lot easier than I thought. The phone seemed to have a magical little way of knowing exactly where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do, so it selected the correct buttons etc. very easily with just a light touch. So that was the basics out of the way ... at least I could actually use the phone ...
Now onto the WOW factors ... where do I start?! This phone has so much the list is endless and I often joke that "my life is in the phone" and this is because I can practically control every aspect of my life from this little genius! Of course it has the standard - Phone Book, Messages, Calendar, Calculator etc. but then you get Book Shelves, Facebook, TV Viewing, Music, Videos, Youtube, Diets, Beauty Tips, Notepad, Reminders, Shopping, Newspapers, Recipes, Games, Banking, Exercises, Diaries .... I could literally go on forever about the number of things or rather "Apps" this phone has. All of which are easily purchased (a lot of them for Free) from the handy little "App Store" on the phone.
Even for someone who is pretty rubbish with Technical stuff, this phone is just Perfect and I couldn't ask for more - it's like having another Laptop! The Web Browser (which is called Safari) is just as quick and the Screen Size/Zoom etc. can all be adjusted with ease. I am yet to find a single fault with my iPhone and I've never looked back since owning it, a Blackberry is NOTHING compared to this! You can also "Facecall" friends and family who also have iPhones (which is basically Video Calling) and send iMessages to them as well which is basically Free Text Messages. I must finally say that the Camera quality of the phone is also spot on - clearer than my expensive Digital Camera acutally!
So if you are pondering the idea of getting an iPhone 4, then do because you won't regret it!
I am a big fan of the Tigi Bed Head products and I've been buying and trying them since I was a teenager, but they have now become only the occasional treat since they are a lot more expensive than cheaper Hair Products available. But last month I was in T.J Hughes and they had a Sale on the Tigi products, so I thought why not?! There were many of my favourites available but I wanted to try something new from Tigi so I opted for the Tigi Bed Head Self Absorbed Mega Vitamin Shampoo which I'd never tried before.
The bottle was bright Orange with the classic Silver Bed Head logo and it had a "Pump" lid which I find is quite rare with Shampoo's and I actually thought this would cause me to use less and therefore not waste excessive amounts of the Shampoo too quickly, which I wouldn't really need. So I was happy with my purchase of the 400ml bottle which I paid £5 for (I think it's usually at least £6.50-£7).
When I first came to use the Shampoo, I had to do quite a bit of Pumping action on the lid to get any liquid to come out - at one point I was wondering if any was going to come out at all! But eventually it did and I only used a small amount as that's all I usually need and luckily I was able to measure this out well on my hand since it has the "Pump" lid. The biggest thing I then noticed was the Orange smell, just as the colour of the bottle would suggest it is very Orangey indeed! I'm not a huge fan of Orange flavours so I wasn't particularly struck on it to be honest, but it wasn't a bad smell and I'd rather my Shampoo be scented then just plain!
I used the product in the same way I would with any other Shampoo by lathering it in my hair well and making sure it was thoroughly rinsed when I was done. After drying my hair, I couldn't smell the Orangeness at all anymore and my hair just smelled like ... hair! I was surprised by this because usually Tigi products leave a bit of scent but never mind. My hair didn't appear to be anything special, it just looked the same as it would after using any other Shampoo. My hair is usually quite Dry after first washing it due to the fact I bleach it every 6 weeks and I had hoped that the fact the Shampoo was "Mega Vitamin" might make my hair a little bit Healthier looking and certainly not as Dry. But as I say it was just the same as always.
But then what really let this product down was the fact my hair got very Dirty and Greasy within only a day or so of washing it and that is something I would expect from a cheap Shampoo and not a Tigi product. So this one was a big let down for me and certainly not up to Tigi's usual standard! Oh and I almost forgot to mention, the "Pump" lid was a nightmare in the end and it was often very difficult to get anything to come out of the bottle, so the Pump feature was a let down too.
We recently sold our last LG Fridge Freezer as it was too big for our Kitchen and so had to buy something that would take up less room. I really didn't want to spend a lot on our new one especially in the run up to Christmas so I opted for a Hotpoint model for £279.99 which I think is very reasonable for a Fridge Freezer. The RFA52 model came in White and to be honest I'm not a fan of White fridges, I much prefer a Chrome or Silver look to fit in with my modern Kitchen, but these shades are a lot more expensive so I settled for the White.
The Fridge Freezer stand at about 1.7 Metres tall and 0.5 Metres wide which I think is about normal for a bog standard Fridge Freezer. On the top half there is the Fridge which is made up of 3 shelves which form 4 seperate compartments and also room to store things in the fridge door. I thought this would be more than enough room for our Refrigerator products as we tend to have more Freezer stuff really. But I soon discovered a bit of a problem when it came to putting things onto the shelves in the fridge. The height between each shelf is not big enough to store many products stood upright for example a bottle etc. and instead the only other option is to lie things down flat (which then causes spillages once the products have been opened) or to take up the room in the Fridge door which does get taken up quickly! I have a baby son who loves his Milk and we have to store it in the Fridge door which then leaves little room for any other big sized products. So it is a bit frustrating trying to fit everything in around each other, especially after we've just been shopping.
Moving onto the Freezer section on the bottom half, this is made up of 4 drawers for storing Frozen produce. But unfortunatley we have practically the same problem with the Freezer as we do the Fridge and that is trying to fit everything in! We don't buy tons of shopping, in fact probably a lot less than the average family and yet we still struggle to fit everything in. It becomes a bit like trying to complete a tricky Jigsaw puzzle when trying to fit everything in! Then of course once the drawers are chocker block, you have the difficult task of opening and closing them. Then when it comes time to find anything ... well good luck with that!
The total Freezer capacity is 85 Litres which clearly hasn't proved to be enough for us and we are probably going to have to invest in a bigger Fridge Freezer very soon. On the plus side, it is easy to Clean inside and out. The door is plastic and wipes clean very easily, it is also not too noisy thank goodness (there's nothing worse than a noisy fridge!).
I suppose if you buy very little when you go shopping, then this model might be ok for you. But my judgement of size certainly wasn't very good when it came to buying this as it's just nowhere near big enough for us.
My little boy loves In The Night Garden which is a TV Programme on Cbeebies, but he is only 1 year old and only just really starting to develop a sense of character recognition where his toys are concerned. For this reason, it is difficult to find In The Night Garden toys that will actually appeal to him since he himself won't realise they are In The Night Garden!
When deciding which In The Night Garden toy to buy for him first, I thought I'd go back to basics and start by buying the complete collection of the Night Garden Characters. I bought the collection in Toys 'r' Us for £18 which is quite expensive for a set of little plastic toys and now I wish I'd had a look online first for a better price because they aren't worth £18!
The set is made by Playskool and includes Upsy Daisy, Iggle Piggle, Makka Pakka & the 3 Tombliboos - these are all the main characters in the TV programme. They are only small figures, they vary in height depending on the character, for example Makka Pakka is the smallest just as he is in the TV Show. At tallest, is Iggle Piggle who is about 10cm tall. They aren't so small that I would have to be concerned about my son choking on them.
They are made from quite a tough plastic which is heavy rather than being light and hollow, this does help stand the figures upright a lot better and make them easier to play with I think. But since they don't do anything for themselves, it is all up to your childs own imagination to have fun with these characters. They do look just like the real TV Characters which is great for older toddlers or children who can understand who the characters actually are and I'd also imagine that at this age there will be a lot of little In The Night Garden games they can imagine up and have fun playing with the characters.
But at the moment my 1 year old son doesn't have much use for these as he isn't yet at the stage of playing imaginary games with figures and characters. He will pick them up and look at them for a little bit and maybe have a bit of a nibble on them, but that's about it at the moment. They are really cute looking figures and I am certainly going to hang onto them until he is a bit older and can perhaps start playing with them properly. I actually used them all as cake toppers on his 1st Birthday Cake which was In The Night Garden themed and they looked wonderful!
For all they are nice and look just like the real characters themselves, they aren't worth £18 so if you are going to buy them then do have a look around as I've seen them for £10 or less on some online sites, or even have a look on Ebay for some cheap second hand.
I had been desperate to buy the Fisher Price Bounce 'n' Spin Zebra for my son ever since he was tiny, it looked like so much fun I wished there was an adult sized one available! I had also read raving reviews of it, which made the £50 or so price tag for the toy sound like worth while paying. The age reccomendation for it is from 12 Months and over, so I bought it for my son's first Birthday and I was thrilled to finally have one for him.
I looked around for the lowest price I could get this as a lot of places were charging the full £50-£60 for it, luckily I managed to find one in a Sale for £33 so initially I felt like I'd gotten a bargain. First of all, assembling the toy was fairly easy and just requires attaching the Zebra to the green plastic base (a quick screw driver job) and it only took 10 minutes or so. I couldn't wait for my little boy to climb on his new toy and start bouncing and spinning away. The little Zebra looked so cute and although it was taking about a considerable amount of space in my living room, I still thought it would be worth it.
I lifted my little boy onto the Zebra and he held onto the handle bar at the front straight away, I flicked the switch on, took a step back and waited for the smiley, giggly, fun to begin ... but all I got what a still Zebra playing a tune with a couple of flashing lights. "Where's the bouncing and spinning?!" I thought, on closer inspection of the toy you have to physically put a lot of pressure on the Zebra and press it down hard to get it to even bounce in the slightest, something my 1 year old certainly wasn't capable of doing! I myself even found I had to be quite firm with it to get it to move, then the spinning also requires a fair amount of pressure to move at all from side to side.
I was shocked and disappointed, this is a very expensive toy at full price and I had expected it to do the Bouncing and Spinning itself and literally all it does is have a few flashing lights on the front and plays a handful of loud tunes. So my little boy sat still on this plastic zebra not really knowing what to do, he tired after 10 seconds or so and lifted his leg to climb off ... only for him to then fall and bump his head on the hard plastic green base that surrounds the zebra. "Great, not only is this Zebra useless it is also dangerous too" I thought. After that I tried assisting my little boy to get the Zebra to Bounce n Spin with him on it and again if I even managed to get the Zebra bouncing he would tumble off it and bump his head all over again.
The 12 Months+ reccomendation is quite simply ridiculous, it is not safe for a 1 year old to play on even with an adult standing nearby. It is also nigh on impossible for a 1 year old to move this. The only mild enjoyment my little boy has gotten from this zebra is spinning the little characters on the handle bars and listening to the tunes for 20 seconds or so. Thank goodness I only paid £33 for this, if I had paid £60 I would have been disgusted. But even £33 is a lot to pay for something that does so little.
I couldn't have been more annoyed with this toy and I was surprised as I didn't think Fisher Price would make something that was so useless. The age reccomendation for this should be at least 2 Years+ for it to even be safe let alone move easily. It is now sitting dormantly in the corner of our living room and taking up loads of space so I am going to sell ours on, it really was probably the worst value for money I've spent on a toy yet.
The Britax Eclipse Si Car Seat is the third seat we have owned in one year, we did like his previous Mamma's & Pappa's car seat (which I've also reviewed) but he has now outgrown it and the second one we bought which was by 'Scallywags' concerns me about its safety. So we decided to go with a brand that we knew would be good quality and very safe which is why we looked for a Britax seat.
We bought it in our local Mothercare for £109.99 and from just handling the seat, you can tell it is good quality. It is suitable from 9 Months to 4 Years or 9kg/20lbs to 18kg/40lbs which suits my 1 year old little boy perfectly (I can't see it lasting until he's 4 though as he is very big for his age anyway so we'll be lucky if he still fits into it when he is 3!)
The seat secures into the car by using the adult seat belt which is thankfully easy to do and takes less than 2 minutes. The seat also has 5 different choices of reclining positions which comes in very handy as my little boy is quite fussy and sometime wants to chill out and lie back and other times wants to sit right up and watch the world passing by! So that's a definite beneficial factor for us. The seat has a 5 Point harness and 1 pull harness. We have already had to adjust this onto one of the higher settings for my ever growing son, so again as I mentioned earlier, I can't see this lasting another 3 years!
There are chest and buckle pads on the straps which I always find is a nice feature as I can't bear the thought of straps cutting into my son without the protection of soft padding. It also means that if god forbid we had an accident, the straps wouldn't cause as much injury to the body. My son is clipped into the seat by sliding two metal clips on either arm strap so that they meet together to form one metal clasp. They then slide into the buckle and "Click" when they are securely in place. It is an easy seat to operate, so long as you don't have the straps too tight as that can lead to a lot of pulling and tugging to clip the buckle into place (and a lot of discomfort for your baby).
As I touched upon earlier, this seat is easy to install into the car and it's also easy to remove from the car which is very handy for us as we are often swapping the seat in and out of different cars. Another feature of the seat is the fact that it has 'Optimum Side Impact Protection' on the side wings where my sons head rests. These wings are described as being softly padded, but I would have to disagree with that actually. The wings to me feel very hard and I can't imagine them being much of a soft cushion for my sons little head if we did have an accident.
The seat is so sturdy though, it doesn't jiggle about at all and sits securely in place at all times without slipping so I do have confidence in its safety. The only 1 thing I would change would be the hardness of the side wings. The cover of the seat is removable so that it can be taken off to wash, although we haven't had to do this as yet. Overall this is a high quality car seat and probably as much as I can ask for to protect my little boy when out and about in the car.