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since 18/02/2012


Fisher Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera M8072 21/02/2012

Tough but photos of a low quality

Fisher Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera M8072 Ok so this camera is for children so I wasn't expecting the photographs to be of a wonderful quality and they're really not. My husband bought this camera (in blue) from Amazon. Link here: He paid £59.99 for it which is a fair amount of money for what is essentially a toy, but it had good reviews so we went ahead. True to its advertising, it is definitely 'kid tough'. It is big, chunky and covered in protective rubber. Adverts show it being thrown down the stairs and I completely believe that it would survive the fall. The lens is set far back into the camera, protecting it from sticky fingers and the USB connection and batteries are hidden behind a plastic screw-plate (which can be opened with adult fingernails or a screwdriver). It gives the child the option of a binocular-style viewfinder as well as an on-screen view. Our 2 year old hasn't quite got to grips with looking through things yet (and often misses when she holds the camera up to her eyes) so the live screen is invaluable. Button-wise: the shutter button is on the front right (where you would expect it for a right-handed child). It is in the right position for little fingers to press, once they have worked out where it is. On the rear there is a + - style zoom button, a power button, a delete button and left- and right arrow buttons allowing ...

Miri Marriott Resort & Spa, Miri 21/02/2012

A very relaxing stay.

Miri Marriott Resort & Spa, Miri We stayed here several times for long weekends from neighbouring Brunei. The staff are friendly, the service is excellent and the decor is beautiful. It is a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city just outside the door and once you pull up to the reception you are instantly far calmer. Reception is beautifully laid out - a wide, spacious area with lots of seating, a water feature, a lovely view of the ocean and a wonderful array of local plants. Staff, as usual, cannot do enough for you. We joined their members' club which resulted in some complicated transactions but they were very courteous and sorted it all out quickly. Rooms are of a good standard. The walk to the rooms is pleasant, the gardens are beautiful and very typical of the area. Views are beautiful - the ocean, the pool (perfect if you have children as they can just run down to the pool from the room, all within view) or the gardens. Rooms are equipped with the usual amenities: bathroom, kettle etc, phone, tv and cots are available on request and of a high quality (not a given in some hotels!). Most rooms have a balcony. The rooms are always clean and housekeeping staff are very happy and friendly. Room service is no more expensive than at the restaurant and is quick and friendly. There is a sizeable pool with a swim-up bar which sells drinks and boasts an extensive snack menu. There is a separate shallow pool for young children and there are plenty of sun loungers. The restaurant is good. ...

Breville VST022 21/02/2012

Great product but pricey

Breville VST022 We were given this as a wedding present. Unfortunately it broke when we moved and we decided we loved it so much that we would bite the bullet and fork out £65 for a new one. Amazon delivered it for free and it was in the usual perfect condition. Essentially this is a fancy toasty maker. Instead of the triangular shaped sides that squash and seal your toasty, it has two flat panels. This means that you can put many different types of bread in it; you are not limited to a sliced loaf. I have personally always hated the triangular toasty makers precisely because they seal your sandwich for you: not only are you wasting a load of bread but you are sealing in the steam, resulting in a soggy sandwich. This press does not seal anything, it merely cooks: steam can escape from your sandwich, ensuring it stays crisp. It is marketed as a panini press and it does indeed press panini but we have used it for all sorts: baguettes, rolls, even grilling bacon (before adding it to a sandwich). As the plates are flat it is extremely versatile. It is a weighty product: the weight of the top plate helps to press the sandwich together. The top plate is suspended to it always remains horizontal. This might seem trivial but it is important when dealing with precariously-balanced sandwiches as you do not want the plate pressing down on one end first and squeezing the contents out. There is only one setting but there only needs to be; you can remove your sandwich at any point. There are red and ...

Waterly Bottom Products Pourty 21/02/2012

A great design

Waterly Bottom Products Pourty We did a rather silly amount of research before buying a potty but I didn't just want to buy one of the cheapy supermarket own brand ones. The research turned out not to be in vain as this potty has served us well. I bought the Pourty from Amazon for £9.99 (including delivery) which seems a bit pricey for what is essentially a piece of plastic but, having looked around at some of the other designs out there, if you're not spending £5 on a very basic supermarket own brand then £10 is not actually that unreasonable. The horizontal seating area is large and wide enough to be comfortable and the general design seems really well thought-out and fits well to the toddler sitting on it. It is sturdy enough for me to sit on (purely for demonstrative purposes of course!) and doesn't appear to cut into delicate bottoms as the seating area is quite wide. It feels like a high-quality product: the plastic is not transparent or flimsy and it generally leaves me with the impression that my money has been well spent. There is more than enough room for any contents (although we are just tentatively starting out so maybe the volume will increase?) and there is no real way of 'missing' the bowl, for a girl at least. The plastic rises up behind the child, giving a small amount of back support and generally keeping them in place. My daughter has never sat on it the wrong way round. I don't know if this is down to the design of the product or just intuition; there is a cat printed on the front ...

Tommee Tippee Decorated Plates 21/02/2012

Nice bright plates serve their purpose

Tommee Tippee Decorated Plates These plates do what they set out to do: they are deep enough to contain food without spilling when an over eager toddler insists on taking her own dinner to the table without the necessary skill to keep the plate totally level. They are not so deep that they resemble a bowl which can make extracting food difficult if you're not eating mush with a spoon. They have nice large handles for easy gripping and are just the right size for a little person's dinner. The fun designs make meal times fun. They are microwave safe and dishwasher proof and the designs don't fade or wash off. They put up with the usual amount of wear and tear (and tantrum induced trips across the room) and are a reasonable price. There isn't much more to say about these plates: they perform their function well and are funky and bright.

Tommee Tippee Pack of 2 Decorated Plates Pink 12m+ 21/02/2012

Nice bright plates that serve their purpose

Tommee Tippee Pack of 2 Decorated Plates Pink 12m+ These plates do what they set out to do: they are deep enough to contain food without spilling when an over eager toddler insists on taking her own dinner to the table without the necessary skill to keep the plate totally level. They are not so deep that they resemble a bowl which can make extracting food difficult if you're not eating mush with a spoon. They have nice large handles for easy gripping and are just the right size for a little person's dinner. The fun designs make meal times fun. They are microwave safe and dishwasher proof and the designs don't fade or wash off. They put up with the usual amount of wear and tear (and tantrum-induced trips across the room) and are a reasonable price. There isn't much more to say about these plates: they perform their function well and are funky and bright.

Babydan Magnetic Drawer Cupboard Lock 20/02/2012

A bit fiddly but an excellent idea

Babydan Magnetic Drawer Cupboard Lock I think we have bought the entire stock of these locks. Our daughter enjoys opening drawers and we seem to have a lot of them in our house. They can be attached in two ways: on the horizontal (internal) surface of the drawer or cupboard or on the vertical. They can either be screwed into place or you can use the adhesive pads already on them. They come with little inbuilt guides to ensure that you match them up. This is all very well if your furniture conforms but was irrelevant for most of our installations. The lock comes in 3 parts: one part attaches to the stationary part of the furniture, the other to the moving part (drawer or cupboard door), the third is a magnet. Essentially, when you close the drawer/door, the lock latches into place thanks to a counterweight that can only be unlocked by holding the magnet against the drawer/door. It can be a bit fiddly getting them into a good position, especially if your drawer/cupboard is not of the same specs as those in the manual but there are usually ways around this. One problem is if you have a chest of drawers without separate drawer-housings, there is nothing to affix the 'stationary' part to. This means we have had to leave a few of our drawers unprotected. The good news is, a child isn't going to work it out in a hurry, once installed you can't see them from the outside and they are sturdy, they don't damage your furniture either (unless you screw them into place). You also don't have to do anything other than close ...

Soap Nuts 20/02/2012

Soap nuts - washing clothes without breaking the bank

Soap Nuts I am the first to admit it: the name made me giggle. I am pretty puerile when it comes to humour, let’s face it, so this deserved at least a titter. I went with the Amazon deal: 1kg for £10.99 and free delivery. They arrived quickly in nice, inoffensive packaging and I was excited to give them a try. I have to stress here that we do a lot of laundry. I don’t understand how two adults and two small children can produce as much laundry as a small army generates on exercise but somehow we do. So I was interested to see just how well these little critters worked on the mister’s work clothes and stinky socks. In the bag you get three little drawstring bags, you put 4-8 half-shells in the bag and throw it in the drum of your washing machine along with your laundry and use your fabric softener as usual (or not. I’ve heard vinegar works well but one step at a time). 8 shells it is then. Normal cycle, 40 degree wash and I was really impressed. They don’t produce suds like normal detergent but that doesn’t really matter as it’s the surfactants that do the work of lifting the dirt out of your clothes with help from the agitation from your machine. The clothes came out smelling clean (without the floral perfume smells you get with normal detergents), dried perfectly and at a maximum of 11p a wash they’re more than economical! The leftover shells are quite soft and rubbery at the end of the wash and just go in the compost or recycling. We have had no problems with irritability. Both ...

Winnie the Pooh Baby Days - A.A. Milne 20/02/2012

A lovely record of your baby's first year

Winnie the Pooh Baby Days - A.A. Milne I now have two of these: one for each child. They are nicely presented: a padded cover with a lovely little patchwork effect design. Throughout the book there are wonderful 'Winnie the Pooh' illustrations and quotes, relevant to the page in question. There is plenty of prompting if you are stuck on what to write, lots of opportunities to fill in the dates of special 'firsts' and lots of space for your own photos. The book is divided into the following contents: * Waiting for baby - space for scan photo, details on parents, photo of parents, name choices, feelings * Baby's Birth - date, weight, place of birth, hair/eye colour, space for a photo and a short description of the birth * Things to Remember - envelope for identity tag, space for hand- and footprint, pressed flowers. List of visitors, who sent gifts and flowers * Baby's Arrival - space for newspaper cuttings * Baby's First Day - features of baby, weather on this day, zodiac sign * On This Day - famous people born on this day, #1 in the charts, famous events in history. Space for front page of the newspaper * Coming Home - date, address, who was there. Times baby fell asleep and woke on first day. Space for photo. * Settling Down - feeding times and details. Sleeping.wakeful times, favourite sleeping positions. Mother's & father's feelings. * Naming Baby - Name and christening details. Space for two photographs. Gifts received. * Family Tree - space for family photograph. Family tree details back to great ...

Fisher Price Little People Racin' Ramps Garage 18/02/2012

Little People garage - sturdy and fun

Fisher Price Little People Racin' Ramps Garage We bought this for our two year old as she loves cars and already has a couple of toys from the 'little people' range. It is your typical toy garage really: a lift takes cars up to the first floor and roof where they can shoot down a spiral slide to the bottom. There is no way for the cars to join the ramp on the first floor but the slide only has a very small lip so it's not a major problem. There is a little grab handle on the side of the lift (in green) so that the child can push the lift up the floors and a little bell rings as it does so. This seems a more sensible option than the usual crank/pulley type system and has withstood a fair few rough uses. There is a little safety barrier that flips across once cars start up in the lift as well as a little petrol pump for 'refuelling' and a spinning cylinder representing a hose reel. There are two little flags on top that click when you turn them and the whole thing boasts bright, fun colours. The 'safety barrier' has become stuck on occasion but this is easily rectified and a minor problem. It comes with two vehicles and two people. One is a run of the mill blue car (with a hole that perfectly fits the petrol pump) and the other is a tow truck which makes the distinctive 'truck reversing' beep when you push down on its driver and has a hook for towing the car. Both people and vehicles have the standard 'little people' fit meaning you can use them with any other people/vehicles in the range. It was reasonably easy for ... 18/02/2012

Highly addictive I have been a member of Blipfoto now for just over 2 years and it is now a full-blown addiction. The essence is simple: upload a photo a day, taken on that day, and build an online, photographic journal of your life. You don't have to upload a photo every day. You don't have to upload a photo on the day it was taken. We have been on a couple of holidays and I have furiously 'back blipped' on my return, uploading a photo for every day we were away. Basic, free membership gets you the basics: you can comment on other people's photos, you can give them a 'star' rating of 1 to 5 and you can upload a photo back to the day you signed up. You can 'subscribe' to other people and follow their blips too. Full membership is £25 for a year and includes the ability to upload archived photos right back to the day you were born, 'favourite' photos, a 'blipfolio' of as many photos as you like (a good way of sharing the other photos you took that day that didn't make the cut as your blip) and a host of other features. I bought myself the full membership for a year and had fun uploading old photos from before I joined but, when the membership expired I did not renew and they were deleted. In my opinion it's not worth a whopping £25 just for the privileges. The search feature is good. You can simply write in "by me" (or your friend's username) and it will bring up your photos. It searches well by keywords. A relatively new feature is the 'groups'. You can choose a category that most of ...

Lansinoh Laboratories Inc Milk Storage Bags 18/02/2012

Does what it says on the tin

Lansinoh Laboratories Inc Milk Storage Bags When it comes to conserving freezer space, bags are far more practical than bottles and my personal preference. These come pre-sterilised so there is no need to worry about contaminating your milk and they are easy to use. They come with a tear-away strip which is extra reassurance that they have not been tampered with prior to reaching you. Once you tear off the strip, you simply pour in your milk, seal the double zip-lock closure and pop them in the freezer. There is a tab for you to record the date and volume. A couple of points: * The bags don't stand upright on their own which can make pouring milk from a bottle whilst holding them open and upright rather tricky. * The measurements on the bag aren't accurate and, as such, rather unnecessary. You are far better off relying on the markings on whatever bottle you express into for measurements. * To avoid freezer burn you have to expel as much air as possible before sealing the bag. This can be rather fiddly. All in all they are a decent product but they could be improved by a design that allows them to stand upright unaided as my previous batch (another brand) did. Please note, in order to submit this review I had to choose a rating for 'ease of cleaning'. These storage bags are single use only and hence do not require cleaning so please ignore this particular category's rating.

Babydan Danchair Rubberwood 18/02/2012

Danchair - Great for family meals

Babydan Danchair Rubberwood I bought this for our little one as we love having our kids join in our family meals at the table. We don't really have room for a bulky high chair and the trays usually mean they are sat way away from the table. We started her off in a Bumbo on the table (not recommended, I know, but we have a huge table!) and it seemed a natural progression to have her at the table with us. It arrives in a surprisingly compact box. It is relatively easy to assemble (a few hiccups in the instructions but nothing major). All you need is a screwdriver to attach the clippy belt but everything else you will need to assemble it with is included (alan key). Aesthetically this product looks great. It is modern, sleek and unimposing and tucks nicely under the table. Initially we thought it looked rather small and were worried it wouldn't boost her up high enough to join us at the table. Our baby is now 8 months old and her chin is level with the table. Having measured it against our toddler's booster chair, the seats are actually at the same level so it will be fine when she's grown a bit. It is easy to clean, there are no nooks and crannies for food to get lost in and the shiny surface makes wiping it down a breeze. It is stable, it does not wobble and pictures on the box show adults sitting on it (with the bar removed, obviously) so it must be pretty stable and durable. The curved bar can be fitted in 3 different positions. I personally find it hard to get our chunky baby in and out of the ...

DotToDot number whiz (iPad Application) 18/02/2012


DotToDot number whiz (iPad Application) This app is a good way of reinforcing number order and basic shapes. As it is a simple dot-to-dot, the shape you draw doesn't necessarily resemble the actual drawing particularly well but it's great at helping your child to hunt out the numbers. It's easy to use, our daughter has fun drawing the lines between the numbers and searching out the next number in the sequence. For the price you pay it's pretty good value, you can't really argue with that but I'm not sure I'd bother in the future. There are plenty of other apps out there that teach numbers in a better way. I do like how it grades your child on how well they did, a nice way to encourage their accuracy to improve.

LeapFrog My Own Leaptop 18/02/2012


LeapFrog My Own Leaptop This is our staple 'long car journey' toy. It taught our daughter the alphabet and keeps her entertained effectively for ages. It has 3 modes: animals, alphabet and music * Animals. Pressing a letter button results in a clue, helping you guess the animal (for example pressing P results in: "who is black and white?" "A panda!") The child can either re-press the letter button or press the 'paw' button at the bottom to find the answer. A graphic of the animal then appears on screen. * Music. Pushing the letter buttons results in different musical noises. * Alphabet. Pressing a letter button results in the toy stating the letter, the sound that letter makes, and then an animal beginning with that letter (for example "B. Buh. Bumblebee"). A graphic of the animal then appears on screen. You can switch between the three modes using the 'mouse' slider up the right hand side. There are 3 more buttons which help with computer literacy: blog, email and music. You can personalise all 3: emails from different relatives, with different pre-set messages, blog entries with different pre-set scenarios and music that you can upload and have Scout dance along on screen. As with most Leapfrog products it speaks in a British accent which is always a refreshing change and is generally a fantastic toy with enough going on to keep a toddler entertained for ages. It has been dropped, kicked and generally battered around and has withstood this abuse as well as all the other Leapfrog products ...
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