Share this page on

gold Status gold (Level 9/10)



No member profile available. The person you are looking for is no longer a Ciao member.

Reviews written

since 07/09/2007


Electronic Phonic Pairs 18/02/2013

ELC electronic Pairs

Electronic Phonic Pairs We bought this for my daughter this year and although she is probably still a bit too young for it I think its an excellent way of introducing words and sounds and a visual way of showing her the pictures of the words as well. The Early Learning Centre describe this as a game that gets you to, "Match up the word cards with the pictures and letters. Great for learning letter names and phonic sounds." The set comes with a red plastic tablet which is where you put the batteries and where the cards are placed and the speaker on it, a little owl figurine and a green case which holds all the cards in it. The little owl figurine looks like a little professor but actually doesn't really do anything but its a nice little toy and my little girl calls this game the owl game. I find the case quite handy as it means when you are packing everything up you have a specific place to put it and hopefully this way no cards get lost. The green holder then sits ontop of the red tablet when not in use. There are 26 picture pairs and word cards and they are pretty much the first words that every child should begin to know. For example, A is apple. You get a picture card with a nice picture of a big red juicy apple and an A and an a on opposite sides of the card. I like that is shows both lower case and upper case letters as these are important to learn. Other pictures include an elephant, a house, a dog, an umbrella to name but a few. They you have 26 words cards which just simply have the ...

Playskool Mrs. Potato Head 16/02/2013

Mr Potato head's wife

Playskool Mrs. Potato Head If you have a Mr Potato head you most definitely need a wife for him so step up, Mrs Potato head, ta dah. Mr Potato head is a much loved toy from my childhood and so when I had kids I knew I wanted to get one for them too so they had as much fun playing with him as I did. The same birthday/Christmas that we got a Mr Potato head a friend bought us a Mrs Potato head so it was fate that the two of them were together in our house. According to an article I read Mr Potato head was invented and developed by George Lerner in 1949 and was produced by Hasbro in 1952. It was originally produced as separate plastic parts that were meant to be stuck into actual real potatoes so I guess hence the name, Mr Potato head but government regulations forced Hasbro into making a plastic potato instead. Mrs Potato head is basically a brown plastic body, the same type body as Mr Potato head so the two seem to morph into one in our house and we get quite a lot of cross dressing. The body does actually look like a potato although its quite a bit bigger and made of smooth plastic. The shell of the body has lots of holes in it, three in the front, two on each side, one at the top of her head and a slit at the bottom. Mrs Potato head then comes with a lot of different plastic body parts such as feet, eyes, glasses, ears, a nose and arms. What I really like about Mrs Potato head though is that she has lots of cool little parts that make her different from Mr Potato head. For example, our version has a ...

ELC Phonics Desk 15/02/2013

ELC Phonics Desk

ELC Phonics Desk The ELC Phonics Desk is described as an, "Interactive game unit teaching phonics, spelling and counting with flashing keys plus sounds and tunes." The desk is basically a round keyboard with a handy carry handle at the bottom/top with which your child can carry it around. Then on the board are the letters of the alphabet in lower case a-z written on 26 pushable buttons. These buttons all have the letter written on them, for example a, then a word that begins with that letter, apple and also a picture of the item. The rest of the letters and words are as follows: b - ball c - car d - dog e - egg f - fish g - guitar h - hat i - ink j - jam k - key l - lion m - mouse n - nose o - orange p - penguin q - queen r - rainbow s - sun t - tree u - umbrella v - van w - web x - x-ray y - yo-yo z - zebra What I like about these words is that they are simple first words that most children learn pretty quickly so its nice to have them in written and visual form for them to start learning. The buttons are easily pressed and you can see that these buttons light up too as they are all made up different coloured see through plastic for the light to shine through. The colours included are red, yellow, blue, orange, green, white, purple and pink so a nice spectrum and good for teaching colours too. At the top of the keyboard is an off switch and also a switch that lets your child choose from 8 different games and functions all to do with learning the alphabet and words and letters. For ...

Boots Vitamin E SPF15 eye cream 15/02/2013

Boots vitamin E eye cream

Boots Vitamin E SPF15 eye cream With two small children at home I don't get a lot of rest. They do sleep well at night but I don't always sleep well, maybe it's part of getting older too but my under eyes have looked a bit tired and strained recently and I decided they needed a bit of a pep up. I didn't want to spend lots and lots of money on fact under eye creams when sometimes cheaper products work just as well so I was excited to find this Boots vitamin E eye cream. A 15ml tube costs just £2.54 so it was definitely a bargain but does it do what it says it will. I have recently got into eye creams and serums and have been trying a lot of different ones but this one seems to be one of my favourites so far. Boots say their Vitamin E SPF15 eye cream contains Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, to help protect the skin against environmental damage. Naturally derived Wheatgerm Oil conditions, moisturises and nourishes. They also say that this gentle Eye Cream is a light, non-greasy formulation that helps reduce appearance of fine lines, puffiness and dark circles within 4 weeks. The benefits of Vitamin E on skin care are great. According to an article I read, "because of its antioxidant activity, vitamin e is vital in protecting skin cells from ultra violet light, pollution, drugs, and other elements that produce cell damaging free radicals. The cream comes in a little tube which has a small opening at the end so when you squeeze it out only a little bit of the cream comes out. This is good because I ...

Panasonic SD 254 15/02/2013

I knead to eat bread!

Panasonic SD 254 We absolutely love bread in our house and can get through a loaf practically in one day. On of the things we put on our wedding list, six years ago now was a breadmaker and I'm pleased to say ours is still functioning perfectly and cooking up lovely loaves of bread for us. We have the Panasonic SD-254 which is a fairly simple machine but that is something I definitely wanted, I didn't want something too complicated with lots of buttons and functions and possibility to go wrong. The machine is a basic white product with a lid that opens up with the help of a hinge at the back. ITs a little bit bulky but is actually fairly thin so it sits on our counter top in the kitchen quite nicely and doesn't take up too much space. There is a plug at the back and that's all you do to switch it on, plug it in. At the front of the machine is a little digital display screen and the different options that you can click through. Beneath this are a few buttons to help you make your choice. The buttons from left to right are: Select Option Size Crust Timer Start/Stop These buttons are extremely easy to use and let you choose from different types of loaf such as whole wheat, french, Italian, etc and different sizes such as medium, large or extra large. We always go for a large loaf which is probably 3/4 the size of a regular shop bought loaf and this is enough for us during the day. The loaf itself is really easy to make. Inside the bread maker there is a metal tin with a handle which ...

Osram Halopar 16 14/02/2013

My spotlights

Osram Halopar 16 When we moved into our new house six years ago now it was a new build so it came with lots of fancy lights in it. I really liked these, especially the lights in the kitchen as we have six spotlights that are flush in the ceiling. They create a really nice sleek look in my opinion which really goes with the style of the kitchen. THe lights we have in there are halogen lights. So, how does a halogen lampo differ to that of a regular bulb? Well, according to an article I read, "A halogen lamp, also known as a tungsten halogen lamp or quartz iodine lamp, is an incandescent lamp that has a small amount of a halogen such as iodine or bromine added. The combination of the halogen gas and thetungsten filament produces a halogen cycle chemical reaction which redeposits evaporated tungsten back on the filament, increasing its life and maintaining the clarity of the envelope. Because of this, a halogen lamp can be operated at a higher temperature than a standard gas-filled lamp of similar power and operating life, producing light of a higher luminous efficacy and color temperature." These bulbs are different looking than a regular bulb too. They are in a sort of cone shape and are flat at the biggest end. Inside they have a patterned surface which makes it really shine even when there is no light on. THe bulb then reflects of all of these once the light is turned on to really give it some shine. Apparently they use approximately 30% less electricity which means the wattage of the ...

Zoggs Trainer Swim Seat 14/02/2013

Zoggs seat

Zoggs Trainer Swim Seat I think its really important that kids learn to swim at an early age so we've basically been taking our kids swimming ever since they were born. They love the water and really enjoy our swimming session. Our little girl is still a bit cautious of the water but my 15 month old boy runs and dives in and will go under and everything which is great. We bought this float about three years ago when I was taking my little girl swimming by herself and it came on holiday with us and has now been used by my boy when we go to the pool. Its a great way of keeping him in the water and not having to carry him all the time and hold him inthe water. It also gives him a little bit of independence in the water and the ability to kick his legs and move around for himself and go for an adventure. When he is in it I am able to swim a little albeit I have my eyes on him all the time ready to catch him if he looks like he is going to fall out. That being said this is quite a safe float and keeps kids in really well and I trust that he is sitting in it safely and comfortably. The float is basically a round inflatable ring that has a back cushion to it so it's more like a seat. The child sits in a plastic portion in the middle of the seat with legs either side so they are sitting fairly comfortably. The seat is quite low down so they sit well in the water and I don't think there is much of a chance of coming out as you are in rather tight and low down. There are three different sections to blow up ...

Guess How Much I Love You? - Sam McBratney 13/02/2013

Guess how much I love you

Guess How Much I Love You? - Sam McBratney It's hard to express to kids sometimes exactly what love means and how do you show them that you love them and how do they understand it, but I think this book does a really good job of putting love into perspective and just how far we would go for our kids and just how much we love them. THe book says, "Sometimes when you love someone very, very much, you want to tell them how great your feelings are. But, as Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare discover, love is not an easy thing to measure." Guess how much I love you is a lovely little tale and the story of Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare. Big Nutbrown Hare is daddy to Little Nutbrown Hare and they are having a talk before Little Nutbrown Hare goes to bed. Little Nutbrown Hare wants to tell his dad just how much he loves him and he stretches his arms out as far as he can and says he loves his this much but then his dad stretches his arms out as far as they go, which is much further than Little Nutbrown Hare and tells him he loves him this much. They go on like this throughout the book saying, "I love you as high as I can reach," or I love you all the way up to my toes (whilst handing upside down)," finally with Big Nutbrown Hare saying he loves his son, "right up to the moon and back." There are some wonderful sentiments in this book and its a lovely book to read to little ones as I think it makes them feel safe and loved. We have incorporated this into our little night time routine and actually during ...

Pimms and Lemonade 13/02/2013

Pimms o'clock

Pimms and Lemonade Pimms in the summer is one of my favourite drinks, its cool, refreshing and rather fashionable. But, what to do, when you have gone out for a barbeque or a picnic, you cannot really take a big jug with you and mix all the ingredients there, no, you opt for one of these nifty little cans with the Pimms and the lemonade already mixed. Ok, you don't have the strawberries, orange, mint and cucumber to go with it but its a great alternative if you like this drink during the summer. According to an article I read, "Pimm's is a brand of fruit cups, but may also be considered a liqueur. It was first produced in 1823 by James Pimmand has been owned by Diageo since 1997. Pimm's No. 1 Cup is based on gin and can be served both on ice or in cocktails. It has a dark-tea colour with a reddish tint, and tastes subtly of spice and citrus fruit. It is often taken with "English-style" (clear and carbonated) lemonade, as well as various chopped fresh ingredients, particularlyapples, cucumber, oranges, lemons, strawberry, and borage, though nowadays most substitute mint." This drink in the can contains Pimm's No.1 Spirit and lemonade so it is ready to drink as soon as you open the can tab. The can is fairly small, about the same size as a can of Red Bull but I think that's adequate for an alcohol drink like this although I have been known to have more than one as summer picnics with friends. I do like them but I think the more traditional way to make them yourself is better. These cans are a ...

Bic Four Colour Pen 12/02/2013

Four colours in one

Bic Four Colour Pen Why write with one colour when you can write with four different colours?!! Bic four colour pen is the way to do it with this fun, easy to write with biro pen. I used to love using these pens at university, they were very helpful when it came to taking notes and writing in different colours and now I keep some around the house and they are perfect for my daughter to use when she is doing her drawing. To be honest I think she mostly loves playing with the little buttons at the top of the pen that select the colours and is always changing them so she can click them and then write in a different colour but it keeps her happy so I don't mind. This pen from Bic like all of its pens really is good quality and nice to write with. It's made of plastic so it's never going to be a nice looking, fancy pen but it does the job and I actually really like the way it writes. It gives you a nice bold written word and I never have a problem with this pen running out of ink halfway through a letter and making your writing then look not very nice. So the beauty of this pen is that its got four colours in one barrel and it still manages to keep the barrel as thin as a normal biro pen would be meaning its still very easy to hold and not bulky or hard to control. Inside you can see that there are 4 little ink plastic cartridges, just like you have in a regular biro but they are shorter so they all fit inside the outer barrel and to get them to work you just press down on the colour coordinated ...

L'Occitane Shea Butter Mango Flower Hand Cream 12/02/2013

Mango hands

L'Occitane Shea Butter Mango Flower Hand Cream A few months ago now, Marie Claire were running a promotion where they gave away a free tube of L'Occitane shea butter hand cream with a copy of their magazine. I purchased it and loved it and so when I saw this tube of L'Occitane mango flower hand cream being given away in another magazine I snapped it up. This was a while ago now and I can't remember which magazine it came from but it was definitely a most welcome give away. L'Occitane en Provence are a French company that produce body & skin care beauty products based on natural & organic essential oils. The lotion comes in a little silver metal tube which I always like as I think its a really nice way of packaging a hand cream. The tube is small, just 30ml but I like this because it fits nicely in my handbag and as you only need a little bit it has lasted me quite a while although I am getting to the end of it unfortunately. This tube has an orange screw top cap which is easy to get on and off. Once you start to use the hand cream you can turn up the bottle of the silver tube and move all the cream to the top and I like how this works on a container like this. There is also an orange pattern on the front of the tube to distinguish it from the other varities. When you squeeze the lotion out of the tube you can tell that it is a very thick lotion and I really only needed a squirt to cover all of my hands and make sure they were all taken care of. Every from the very first use I could start to feel my hands getting better ...

Mega Magnets: Beep, Beep! - Samantha Meredith 12/02/2013

Beep Beep!!

Mega Magnets: Beep, Beep!  - Samantha Meredith Beep! Beep! Mega Magnets is a wonderful book my son received for Christmas. On the back of the book it says, "Beep! Beep!. There are six giant magnets to play with in this fantastic super sized magnet book. Fire engines to rubbish trucks, and buses to diggers, its perfect for vehicle-mad children The magnets are great actually. They are fairly large and flat so you can stick them in the book. The magnets are a fire truck, an ambulance, a digger, a bus, a rubbish truck and a pick up truck. These are nice and colourful and have a fun animal driving each one of them. The magnets stick really well onto the pages of the book and are fairly easy to get off too. My little boy can get his finger under the edge and pull it off which is great as this means he can then stick them elsewhere where he wants. The book is a large sized hard back book with lots of really great colourful pictures. The main part of the book folds out so you have a three page spread of a roadway with a big roundabout and fountain in the middle and then lots of things going on. For example there is a broken down car, people waiting at a bus stop, people walking across the road and some construction work going on at the top of the page. When I say people I actually mean animals as all the "people" are actually animals waling around such as lions, hippos, dogs, zebra's etc. They are quite cute and its funny to see them in human outfits and positions. With all the things going on in the picture you can put the ...

Gallo Family Vineyards White Grenache 2007 California 11/02/2013

White Grenache

Gallo Family Vineyards White Grenache 2007 California My husband has been away working for the past week or so so after I put the kids to bed I have treated myself to a nice glass of wine or two. I am no alcoholic but its nice to have a nice cold glass of wine to wind down in the evening with. My favourite easy drinking wine is pink wine, as I like to call it and being half Californian I like any wine from that region of the pink variety. I normally drink white Zinfandel which is probably my all time favourite but they did not have this in my local Tesco's. Instead, they had a Gallo WHite Grenache which is a pink wine and looked very similar to White Zinfandel so I decided to try that. Another reason I decided to try this was because it was on sale, £5 for a 750ml bottle which I thought was very good value. So, what exactly is a Grenache? Well, according to an article I read, "A Grenache is, "one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It ripens late, so it needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain, the south of France, and California's San Joaquin Valley. It is generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate with a relatively high alcohol content, but it needs careful control of yieldsfor best results."" On the back of the bottle there is a little bit about the wine itself. You can taste the Gallo family's dedication to the art of winemaking, passed down through four generations, in this White Grenache. This delicious rose has vibrant refreshing strawberry flavours and delicate ...

The First Snow - M Christina Butler 11/02/2013

The First Snow

The First Snow  - M Christina Butler It seems like a lot of the books we have in our house are about animals in the snow, not sure why but we seem to collect a lot of them and this book, entitled The First Snow is another one in our collection. The first snow features a cute little deer as its main character who is just simply named Little Deer. I think deers are amazingly cute and my daughter likes reading about them as she loves Bambi and actually this deer has a bit of a Bambi look about him, he is obviously a baby and is just seeing snow for the first time. hence the title, The First Snow. Little Deer was so excited when he woke up to see snow but at first wasn't sure what to make of it. ""Yikes!" he squeaked. "Where's everything gone?" Everywhere looked different. The wood was covered with a hugh white blanket." With the help of his two little friends, Rabbit and Squirrel, Little Deer goes on his first winter adventure. At first he found it very strange and cold but then he started to have fun. The friends make a giant snowball and then go skating on the frozen pond. THe book finishes by telling us that, "Little Deer's first snow had been such a surprise, but it had been the best fun ever!" We just find this a really cute little story that has become one of our bedtime favourites. It's especially fitting at this time of year because the ground around us is covered in snow and the kids like to do the same things that Little Deer got to do. The book is wonderfully illustrated. There are lots of cute ...

Fuzzy-Felt Series 1 Under the Sea 11/02/2013

Lord knows it's better, down where it's wetter, Under the Sea!

Fuzzy-Felt Series 1 Under the Sea I used to love fuzzy felt as a child and thought it was a long gone toy. In this age of electronic everything I didn't think fuzzy little pieces of felt that you stuck onto a board to make pictures would satisfy the youth of today but how wrong I was as on a recent visit to The Early Learning Centre we found boxes and boxes of the stuff all with different patterns and designs. One of the designs that really caught our eye was Fuzzy-felt Under the Sea. We had just been on a trip to the Aquarium in Birmingham and my daughter loved all the fish and looking at them in their natural habitat so we thought she would really like this version of the fuzzy felt. According to an article I read, "Fuzzy-Felt was created by Lois Allan during the second world war. Allan, who contributed to the war effort by “manufacturing felt gaskets for sealing tank components”, was inspired to create the toy after observing how much enjoyment children had taking the discarded and misshaped pieces of felt and sticking them to the backs of table mats." Its a very popular toy. Every kid I knew growing up had a set and apparently since its creation in the 1950’s, more than 25million Fuzzy Felt sets have been sold internationally. I think the reason why it was so fun is that you could create lots of great pictures and then if you didn't like it you could start over again. In this set the pictures are really simple to make although there are some shapes and fish that are a little bit harder to make. The ...
See more reviews Back to top