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Burn the land and boil the can't take the sky from me. Thrilled to have given birth to my new little boy at home. My little home birth baby is now an amazing 9 months old and I've decided to try dipping my toe back into review writing.

Reviews written

since 21/10/2002


Close Parent Pop-In 01/09/2014

Cloth Made Easy

Close Parent Pop-In While not the prettiest or trimmest of our stash, the Close Parent Pop In (Bamboo) is steadily becoming a favourite workhorse for those days where ease of use and reliability take precedence over a cute, fluffy bum. While available in both block colour and print versions, I can't say these are the most inspired of designs, nor can I say that they are the most luxurious feeling, but I can say that they have reliably coped with 4+ hours of being worn by a heavy wetter and have contained some very explosive poops with not a sign of leakage. Easy to put on these nappies feature rows of poppers that snap to adjust the rise meaning the nappy can be adjusted to fit from newborn to potty training and unlike many nappies that claim to be birth to potty, these have actually managed to fit both a four week old and a nearly four year old, making the initial price tag of £16-17 each pretty reasonable. Being a two part system a small amount of preparation is required before use, but it really is minimal. The pair of absorbent bamboo pads will need several washes to build up absorbency and then snap into the shell once dry. It really only takes a couple of seconds to get the nappy ready for use and then the hook and loop waist fastening makes putting the nappy on no more difficult than a disposable, even the mother in law can manage it. The fit is slightly bulky but does still fit under “normal” clothing and I find it easy to get a snug fit around Baby JJ's waist. At ten months old Baby ...

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Smiilin Smart Phone 29/07/2014

Not Quite As Good As Mummy's

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Smiilin Smart Phone Just like most other nine month old babies, Baby JJ likes nothing better than nicking Mummy's mobile phone. Not only does it make great noises, but it also gets a fun reaction from Mummy or Daddy. In an attempt to draw his attention away from my gadgets, I bought Baby JJ a smart phone of his very own in the form of the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Smilin' Smart Phone that I picked up for around £10. Considered suitable for babies over the age of six months, this chunky, battery operated smart phone is a veritable explosion of easily activated lights and sounds. At nine months old, Baby JJ has no trouble holding and manipulating the phone, but I do feel it would have been a little unwieldy when he was a smaller six months old. The phone features a light up, faux touch-screen and a pair of buttons, has an on/off switch and is powered by three AA batteries, of which a start up set are included. There is no volume control on the phone and the volume is very low, which not only protects baby's ears from damage but also protects adult's sanity. Pressing on the touch screen or the buttons will set off one of a number of different songs and phrases, that the packaging describes as “fun”. While I'm grateful for the English (rather than American) voice, as an adult I would hesitate to call them fun. They will, however, be familiar if your baby/child owns any other toys in the Laugh and Learn range, the voice is the same and the songs are very similar, with that ridiculously upbeat ...

Charlie Banana One Size Pocket Nappy 03/03/2014

We're Bananas Over Charlie Banana

Charlie Banana One Size Pocket Nappy The Charlie Banana One Size is a birth-to-potty (btp) pocket nappy that can be used either with the supplied reusable microfibre inserts or with disposable inserts than can be purchased separately. Available in a range of different plain colours along with a variety of boy, girl and unisex prints these nappies are less widely available than many brands and I have so far only managed to find them in a few places online, with many of the prints being unavailable on one or more sites. At around £14.99 for plain colour and £15.79 for printed these are very much at the premium end of pocket nappies, which is why we currently only have two in our stash. But they are by far my favourite pocket nappy in terms of looks, fit, absorbency and containment and we have two more on order. Design/Looks/Cuteness Factor 5/5 As with all pocket nappies the Charlie Banana One Size comes in two parts, the actual pocket nappy and absorbent inserts to stuff in the pocket. Being birth to potty the Charlie Banana is designed to be adjusted to grow with baby through from newborn to toddler hood and potty training with a recommended weight range of 6-35lb. This is a much smaller minimum weight than most btp pocket nappies and is possible because these nappies use a completely different method of adjusting for size than the rest of the crowd. While the majority of one size nappies use rows of poppers to adjust the rise (height) of the nappy, the Charlie Banana takes a different approach. With these ...

Tots Bots Easy Fit V3 28/02/2014

Cloth Made Easy Part One

Cheeky Wipes All in One Baby Wipes Kit 03/02/2014

Truly Bum Friendly Wipes

Cheeky Wipes All in One Baby Wipes Kit While I had always planned to use reusable, cloth nappies with Baby JJ, I hadn't even considered which wipes I would use until I actually put the cloth into action. It only took a couple of changes for me to realise that the combination of cloth nappy and disposable wipe isn't exactly a match made in heaven. In fact when using cloth nappies, the previously ever so convenient disposable wipes become ever so inconvenient and actually add an extra step in the changing process as they need to be disposed of in the bin. After trialling some bamboo flannels and finding that although they were better than disposable wipes they still weren't perfect I spent some time researching and decided to purchase the Cheeky Wipes Full Kit from Amazon for £36.99 (+£4.04 delivery). Although £40+ does sound a rather large investment, this kit does contain everything you need to start using cloth wipes both at home and out and about. With two children in nappies and going through up to a pack of disposable wipes a day (on a bad day with lots of poops from the pair of them) I knew I could expect to recoup my initial outlay within two months. My starter kit arrived packed in a cardboard box and contained two plastic boxes (each with a hinged, “lockable” lid), a mesh bag, two waterproof, drawstring bags, two bottles of oil and twenty-five white, cotton, terry bum wipes along with an instruction leaflet (that has long since disappeared). The first thing I did was put the wipes through three wash ...

Little Lamb Litte Lamb Sized Pocket Nappy 24/01/2014

These Lambs are the trimmest of all

Little Lamb Litte Lamb Sized Pocket Nappy The most expensive of the Little Lamb range, the Sized Pocket Nappies are available in a range of colours and three sizes at a cost of £12 each. I wasn't all that sure whether these nappies would prove to be a good investment, but realising that finding the perfect nappy did involve trying many different types, I originally bought one in Size One to test on the then four week old Baby JJ and was eventually impressed enough to buy a couple more Size One for him, begin to buy in Size Two for later and some Size Three for Big Brother. These pocket nappies form a two part system with the actual nappy being formed of a waterproof outer layer and soft inner layer with an opening that allows you to stuff absorbent pads between the two layers in the resultant pocket. The outer material in these nappies is a soft, breathable PUL (polyurethane laminate) formed from a stretchy polyknit bonded with a super thin layer that allows air through to baby's bottom while holding liquid in. The inner layer is formed of seriously soft micro fleece, that not only forms a super soft layer against baby's bottom but also wicks moisture away from the skin and into any boosters held in the pocket. To help provide a good fit each nappy features soft elastic at the back and around the legs and to help prevent leaks the legs are double gusseted. Each pocket nappy is supplied with a bamboo insert which differs vastly from those supplied with the one size pockets. The supplied insert is woven from Oeko-tex ...

George Muslin Squares 21/01/2014

Versatlie Squares of Usefullness

George Muslin Squares There's no doubting that Muslin Cloths are an incredibly useful addition to any layette, but the manufacturers seem to have cottoned on to this and they are often vastly over-priced, with some brands coming in at over £10 for half a dozen. Cue the George (Asda) Muslin Cloths, generally available at just £3.50 for three, but currently on offer at the same price for four. This is a brilliant price for such a staple, but are they a bargain or just cheap and nasty? While some of the more expensive brands of muslins come in fancy colours these are currently only available in either a pink or blue colour-way, there was a time when one muslin was printed with tiny stars, but this was not the case with my latest packs. Personally speaking, I would have bought the blue packs rather than pink, even if my latest arrival was not a boy, pink really is not my favourite colour. Within the pack of four muslins, there was one white, two pastel blue and one slightly darker blue, all colours that can stand up to a hot wash and not turn my whites a funny colour (a slight hint of blue will actually make whites look whiter). The muslins themselves are 100% cotton squares measuring approximately 80cm square (out of the packet). As is standard with muslin these feature quite a loose weave, meaning that they are very lightweight. Out of the packet the muslins are a little hard and scratchy to the touch, they definitely need to be washed before use to both remove the sizing and increase absorbency. ...

Mothercare Safari Mobile 16/01/2014

Round and Round and Round and Round

Mothercare Safari Mobile The Mothercare Safari Mobile is a toy that I picked up from my nearest Mothercare when I was in the area and still heavily pregnant with Baby JJ. I have to say that I would not have paid the full asking price of £25,but as it was on sale at half price and knowing that Big Brother's mobile had been retired (the toys were cut off for him to play with), I couldn't help but pick this up being not only attracted to the price but also to it's bright, gender neutral colour scheme. As with most cot mobiles this does require minimal assembly, but this is neither strenuous nor rocket science. An instruction leaflet is supplied complete with pretty pictures, but even at eight and a half months pregnant, with the baby fog that entails, I didn't need it, as assembly simply is a case of clicking the armature pieces together, attaching the arm to the cot side and then hanging the music box and mobile. What I particularly like about the screw section that is used to attach the arm to the cot or crib is that it features a shelf that rests on the top bar, meaning that the mobile doesn't slide down between the cot/crib bars. I did find it a little fiddly to hang the music box, it is quite a tight fit, but this means that I can angle the mobile slightly, which is a god send when used in a crib. Looks and quality-wise this certainly is a mobile of two halves, the armature is pretty much standard, being formed of the same moulded, white plastic as you would find with virtually any mobile. The ...

Little Lamb Little Lamb Washable Fleecy Liners 14/01/2014

As Soft As A Baby's Bum

Fisher Price Fisher-Price Woodsy Friends Comfy Time Bouncer 13/01/2014

Bouncy, bouncy Baby

Learning Curve Lamaze Rusty the Robot 11/01/2014

Baby's Best Friend

Learning Curve Lamaze Rusty the Robot We love the Lamaze range of soft toys in the Sandemp household, Big Brother owned lots of them as a baby and young toddler and now Baby JJ has a collection of his very own. As much as we love these Lamaze toys, they are very busy and could prove to be overstimulating for ten week old Baby JJ, so rather than leaving them all out for him to play with at once we try and rotate them, so he has some in his crib, one hanging from his car seat, one hanging from the toy bar of his bouncy chair and one for floor/tummy/Mummy time that we use to play with together. For the last (and next) few days Rusty The Robot has been taking his turn as the toy that we are exploring together and while neither of us think he is the best Lamaze toy, he has still proved very popular. Currently selling for £7.50 on Amazon (the price fluctuates wildly, I paid nearer £10), Rusty is one of the larger toys in the Lamaze Play and Grow range, coming in at approximately 25cm in height. This height means that he is less suitable for hanging from toy bars, he certainly cannot be hung on the bouncy chair as he doesn't have enough room to swing. In common with all Lamaze toys, Rusty is very brightly coloured with lots of patterns, textures and sounds for your baby to explore and is suitable from birth upwards. The first thing to note about Rusty is just how hugable he is, some of the Lamaze toys have sacrificed cuddlability for activities, but not Rusty. He has the perfect amount of stuffing in his head, body, ...

Little Lamb Microfibre Nappy 09/01/2014

These Lambs Are The Quickest Drying Lambs Of All

Little Lamb Microfibre Nappy Cloth nappies have come a long way in the last twenty or even ten years, long gone are the days of folding terry squares, holding them together with nappy pins and covering them with rubber pants. Today you can buy reusable nappies in various forms including pocket nappies, pre-folds and shaped terry nappies, with there being almost as much variety in material used as nappy type. Our daytime nappies of choice are the Little Lamb Pocket Nappies (both sized and one size) and our night time nappies are the Little Lamb Bamboo nappies, but there are times when we need a nappy that is more absorbent than a pocket nappy, but quicker drying than the Bamboo. The Little Lamb Microfibre Shaped Nappy fits this bill perfectly, when teamed up with a bombproof wrap it can cope throughout a 5 hour journey and yet it comes out of the washing machine virtually dry. Available in two sizes (size one/7-20lb and size two/20-38lb) these nappies are very reasonably priced at just £9 for a single nappy, £24.30 for three or £72 for ten. They can also be purchased in kits containing ten, twenty or forty nappies along with all the accessories you are likely to need and as a trial pack containing a nappy, booster pad, fluffy liner, waterproof wrap and wet bag for £12. Part of a two part system these nappies form the fluffy, absorbent layer and are shaped to fit around baby's bottom just like a disposable and then be secured with Velcro tabs. Unlike their cotton and bamboo counterparts, these microfibre ...

Captain Calamari Teething Mitt 07/01/2014

Yo Ho Ho, a mini pirate for your mini me

Captain Calamari Teething Mitt At six weeks Baby JJ is just starting to take a lot more notice of the world around him, play with toys and has just discovered the wiggly worms at the end of his arms (otherwise known as hands and fingers). To help encourage his interest in the world around him and to start to develop all important skills I ensure that he has plenty of toys to stimulate his senses. Among the current favourites of these toys is the Captain Calamari Teething Mitt from Lamaze, a toy that I had originally purchased before he was born for around the £5 on Amazon. As a parent I have loved watching my older child play with and learn through various Lamaze toys over the last few years and have been impressed with the build quality of the toys and the thought that has gone into them. The little brother of the Play and Grow Captain Calamari is no exception, although a very simple and quite small toy it is very well made and it is obvious that a lot of thought has gone into both the educational and fun potential. This mini Captain Calamari is fall smaller than the Play and Grow version and so the perfect size for very little hands. While Baby JJ's grip is still instinctive rather than voluntary he can still manage to keep a firm hold on Captain Calamari once it's in his fist. As with the bigger Lamaze toys Captain Calamari features a number of different textures and even sounds for baby to explore. The Captain's head is formed of a lovely soft plush with his friendly. Smiling face embroidered onto ...

Lamaze Tug and Play Knot Block 31/12/2013

A Nine Week Old's Favourite Toy

Lamaze Tug and Play Knot Block Baby JJ was a very lucky little boy this Christmas, instead of a single large toy, Santa bought him lots of little toys, many of which fall within the Lamaze brand. Although he has enjoyed exploring each of these toys in turn, one in particular has proved to be a firm favourite, inducing excited smiles and giggles every time it is brought out to play with. Having thoroughly entranced nine week old Baby JJ over the last week, the Lamaze Activity Knot (aka Tug and Play Knot) has earned itself a permanent position hanging from the toy bar of Baby JJ's bouncy chair, where it can be grabbed, batted, smiled at and chatted to for several hours a day. Lamaze has something of a reputation when it comes to baby toys, they produce a range of brightly coloured toys that incorporate textures and sounds that help encourage baby to practise all important skills while having fun. In my experience these toys are also incredibly well made and safe for even the youngest baby while also stimulating the older baby and toddler. While not as exciting looking (to my adult eyes) as some of the Lamaze toys, as far as Baby JJ goes it certainly does fulfil all expectations. Hanging from a white clip/hook is a knot with three double ended strands that can be slid through and have an activity at each end. The knot, strands and activities are cleverly designed so that the activities can be pulled on and brought closer to baby, without any worry that the strand will come free. We find the clip especially ...

Yellow Bloom Little Bloom Reusable Nappies 28/12/2013

Cheap, Funky but decidedly Average

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