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I mostly review products such as books, toys, and household items. Thanks for all the rates and comments! :) I always try and give you one back.

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since 20/07/2016


Ikea Ordning Cutlery Stand 17/02/2017

Ikea Ordning Cutlery Stand

Ikea Ordning Cutlery Stand Ikea Ordning Cutlery Stand Price: £1.50 Available from: Ikea (available both online and in-store), and can sometimes be found on Suitable for: a cutlery draining stand for domestic use Offers: none currently (but I’d say it’s already pretty low cost at £1.50!) When we moved into our current flat, I purchased a plate drainer made of metal, to place on the draining board beside the sink. The kitchen sink and draining board are made of stainless steel and have a sleek look to them, so I thought that metal products would look best in the kitchen, and compliment them. I also wanted a metal cutlery stand to use alongside the plate drainer. I had owned plastic cutlery stands and plate drainers before, but found that they quickly got grimy along the bottom and became stained, so looked unhygienic and grubby . I thought a metal cutlery stand would likely be cleaner and would stay looking new for longer than a plastic version. I looked at some options for a cutlerly drainer online, mostly on Amazon, Argos and John Lewis, and some were surprisingly expensive. By chance, the Ordning cutlery stand then caught my eye when we went to Ikea one day to purchase something else. It’s low price certainly appealed, as well as its simple design, so I popped it in the trolley! What does it look like? The Ikea Ordning cutlery stand is a 13.5cm tall metal cylinder, measuring 12cm in diameter. It has medium sized punched draining holes in the bottom of the stand, and a design of ...

Valentine's Day: Do you love it or hate it? 15/02/2017

Just a card is enough for me

Valentine's Day: Do you love it or hate it? Ciao Café Valentine's Day: Do you love it or hate it? Unlike Marmite and Brexit, I think many people fall into the neutral or "meh" category when it comes to Valentine's Day. I don't think this is such a polarising issue. Like lots of people, I don't love nor hate the 14th of February. I think that my ambivalence made me less quick off the mark to write about this fortnight's Ciao Café topic! I like to get a card on Valentine's Day, but don't expect anything more than that. I don't mind if it's a fancy card, homemade, or cutesy. The most important thing for me is to have a meaningful message written inside my Valentine's Day card - that's enough for me. I think it's just as well that I'm not fussed about getting gifts on Valentine's Day as the traditional presents wouldn't be a great fit for me - I'm not a big fan of cut flowers as I prefer (living) plants; I can't use any fancy bubble baths or most make up due to my sensitive skin; I'm pregnant so I can't currently enjoy a glass of something bubbly (beyond soda water!) ; and I rarely wear jewellery as my daughter pulls at it so I worry it will break! I must admit that I wouldn't turn my nose up at a nice box of chocolates, though. This year, I received a simple card in with a lovely message inside from my husband. I was also given a little present from my daughter as they had made heart shaped clay decorations at her play group. It has a colorful paint fingerprint on it, and a hole at the top so I can thread a ...

Hasbro In the Night Garden Ninky Nonk Train Set 14/02/2017

Hasbro In the Night Garden Ninky Nonk Train Set

Hasbro In the Night Garden Ninky Nonk Train Set Hasbro In the Night Garden Ninky Nonk Train Set Price: £10.99 Available from: Argos (currently not in stock on or Tesco Direct) Suitable for: advised for ages 3 and over (although I think this is a little old, personally) Offers: included in the 2 for £15 deal at Argos When my daughter was around a year old, she loved ‘In the Night Garden’ on CBeebies, especially the Upsy Daisy character. At our local play group, we had a toy swap, where we brought toys our children had grown tired of and swapped them with other parents. I found this little Ninky Nonk train and took that home for my daughter to play with. She’s over three years old now, and has long outgrown In the Night Garden, so the time as come to pass this toy on to someone else. What does it look like? The Hasbro Ninky Nonk train has five carts, but it comes in three parts as two of the smaller carts are attached to the bigger ones. If they watch In the Night Garden, your child will no doubt recognise the carts as the ones which Upsy Daisy, Iggle Piggle, the Tombliboos, Makka Pakka and the Pontipines travel in around the garden. The colours and patterns are bright and vibrant, and the whole toy is made from moulded plastic. The parts that clip together are quite small, with a simple hole and clip mechanism. The train has small wheels, so can be pulled along. Playing with it My daughter played with this toy much less than I had expected. She liked the train, but found the clips hard to manage on ... 11/02/2017 for digital photo prints and presents Digital Photo Services and Products Prices: single prints from 5p Services: digital photograph developing, and personalised photographic items Website: Offers: Photobox has regular short-term offers (“flash sales” and special event sales and so on), so sign up to their newsletter to make sure you get the best deal! I have used different services to develop photos, both in-person and online (but mostly online these days). I’ve also used services to produce personalised items using photographs. Photobox offers a range of photographic services, and over the past few years I have used quite a few of them, and have been pleased with the process and end results. What services does Photobox provide? Photobox has quite a diverse range of services and products available, and they seem to be thinking of more items which can be personalised every time I go on the website! Currently, they offer: * Developing digital photos (in a range of sizes and styles, including frames, if desired) * Canvases and posters of photos * Personalised calendars * Greetings cards * Personalised gift items, such as mugs, cushions, keyrings, jigsaw puzzles, and tablet and smart phone cases * Personalised photobooks To date from Photobox, I have purchased: an A4 calendar, an A3 calendar, a personalised photo mug, a personalised photobook, and printed photographs of different sizes. So, while I haven’t purchased all of the range available, I have been pleased with ...

Sylvanian Families - Hamster Family 10/02/2017

Sylvanian Families - Hamster Family

Sylvanian Families - Hamster Family Sylvanian Families Hamster Family Price: RRP £16.99 Available from:, Smyths Toys, The Baby Farm (online shop), and other international online sellers Suitable: recommended for ages three and over Offers: none currently (although as is seems that this set has recently been updated, it might be worth checking if the surplus older sets are being sold off at a lower price) I bought the Sylvanian Families Hamster family second hand from a local online settling site, so the version that I own is not the most updated version. I can see that the design has changed a little, but the general look and feel of the Hamster family remains the same. This was the first Sylvanian Families set I bought for my daughter, and I purposely bought a cheaper, second hand, set in case she didn’t like them, as Sylvanians are quite expensive new off the shelf. Since buying this Hamster family set, my daughter has grown to really enjoy Sylvanians – the animal characters, furniture, accessories, and the Cedar Terrace house. I have already reviewed some of these other Sylvanians toys on Ciao, and you can find them on my page. . Packaging As I bought this Hamster family set second hand, mine came without packaging, but I can see online that this set has the usual attractive packaging I’d expect from Sylvanians. The packaging for families tends to be a box with a clear plastic front, so the figures can easily be seen inside. There is usually a countryside scene printed on to the ...

Philips AVENT digital dual purpose bath and room thermometer 09/02/2017

Philips AVENT digital dual purpose bath and room themometer

Philips AVENT digital dual purpose bath and room thermometer Philips AVENT digital dual purpose bath and room thermometer Price: from £9.99 to £17.99 (seems to fluctuate) Available from:, Toys r Us, Argos, direct from the Phillips Shop online Suitable: for domestic use in the room and the bath Offers: the best price I can find is £10.99 for the pink version (on Amazon) I purchased this dual purpose Philips bath and room thermometer when my daughter was a baby. At the time, we lived in a tenement flat in a very old, draughty building, and I was concerned that the bedroom was often too cold for a new born baby. It appealed to me that the thermometer is dual purpose, so can also be used to measure the temperature of bath water, and I liked the simple design as well. The price seemed reasonable, especially when I compared it with single-function room thermometers. What should I look for on the self? – The packaging I remember that this thermometer came in basic packaging – this was a clear plastic cube-shaped case, with a small information leaflet folded up underneath. The bath and room thermometer was clearly visible when displayed within the packaging. In my opinion, the packaging wasn’t excessive, which is a bug bear of mine. Unfortunately, none of the packaging could be recycled. What does it look like? The Philips AVENT digital dual purpose bath and room thermometer is designed to look a bit like a simple flower, with five round petals, a centre and a stumpy stalk. There are two colour versions of the ...

Sudocrem netdoctor Antiseptic Healing Cream 08/02/2017

Sudocrem Netdoctor Antiseptic Healing Cream

Sudocrem netdoctor Antiseptic Healing Cream Sudocrem Netdoctor Antiseptic Healing Cream Price: RRP £4 for a 250g tub Available from: most supermarkets and chemists Suitable for: nappy rash and other skin complaints (please see below) Offers: none currently When I was pregnant with my daughter, I received lots of free samples through my Bounty and Emma’s Diary packs. The samples included things like herbal tea bags, nappies, and nappy rash cream. In total, I received two or three little tubs and one large tub of Sudocrem. I had used it previously, in a professional capacity, so tried it as a nappy rash barrier cream for my baby, but we didn’t get on well with it. Appearance I think that Sudocrem must be the most instantly recognisable nappy cream on the shelf! Sudocrem comes in a grey tub with a white a red label. There’s a little tag to pull off, round the side of the lid, which then opens to show the cream inside. Its packaging isn’t very attractive, to my eye, but they maybe don’t want to change it as it’s so well-known as it is. The cream is white and thick in texture. What can it be used for? Sudocrem states it is an antiseptic healing cream and can be used for: nappy rash, chilblains, surface wounds, sunburn, minor burns, bed sores, eczema, and acne. I had previous used Sudocrem in a professional capacity, when I worked as a support worker with young people with additional support needs. Some of our service users had very limited mobility, and so needed their skin cared for in special ways to avoid bed ...

Mamia New-Born 07/02/2017

Mamia New-Born Nappies (Aldi)

Mamia New-Born Mamia New-Born Nappies Price: £1.15 for 24 nappies (4.8p per nappy) Available from: exclusive to Aldi Suitable for: newborn, size 1 Offers: keep an eye out for regular ‘Baby Events’ at Aldi for price reductions As I am currently preparing for the arrival of my baby, I have bought some baby toiletries, including nappies. I remember being impressed with Aldi’s new-born nappies with my daughter, and was happy to find that they are still very reasonably priced. I also liked that they are dermatologically tested and hypoallergenic as both me and my daughter have very sensitive skin which is prone to eczema, so there’s a good chance this baby will be the same. What do I look for on the shelf? - Packaging Mamia New-Born nappies come in a plastic packet with a yellow background and an image of a mum cradling a sleeping new-born baby. The size and Aldi branding are clearly displayed on the front. The design is similar to other Aldi nappies, but different from their pull-ups. What do the nappies look and feel like? These nappies look pretty standard (if tiny!), and in terms of their look, they’re very comparable to competitors, and the most popular and expensive brands. The nappies are white, soft to touch, and have a light-coloured design of animal characters on them. The sides have stretchy panels to make it easier to fit them to your new-born baby. I'd say these Aldi Mamia nappies are soft, but probably not quite as soft as the most expensive brands of new-born nappies I ...

Neutradol Gel Odour Destroyer Super Fresh 06/02/2017

Neutradol Gel Odour Destroyer Super Fresh

Neutradol Gel Odour Destroyer Super Fresh Neutradol Gel Odour Destroyer Super Fresh Price: from 89p to £1.75 Available from: Wilko, B&M,, Sainsbury’s, Semichem, Pound Land and other bargain or pound shops Suitable for: room deodoriser for domestic use Offers: The best deal I can find is a 89p price tag at B&M I don’t particularly like the smell from most deodorising room sprays as I find they often mask odours rather than neutralise them. When pregnant (as I am at the moment), I get an enhanced sense of smell, and I have been finding that usual room sprays are making me gag as the perfume was so strong. I saw Neutradol Gel Odour Destroyer Super Fresh on the shelf in our local Semichem shop, and thought it was worth a try. I had never heard of this product before, so I don't know if it doesn't have a big television advertising campaign, or if I've just never paid attention to it before. It appealed to me that, on the packaging, it claims to neutralise odours rather than cover them up, and that it should last for 90 days - this seemed like a pretty good bargain for just £1. What do I look for on the shelf? This Neutradol Gel Odour Destroyer product comes in a small box made of thin cardboard, about the size of a lightbulb box, with a green background and a picture of the product on the front, plus the usual branding on the side. I don't think the design is particularly eye catching, myself. The packaging wasn't excessive and I was able to recycle the cardboard box (so didn't feel I was contributing ...

Sweet Dreamers Ewan the Dream Sheep 05/02/2017

Sweet Dreamers Ewan the Dream Sheep

Sweet Dreamers Ewan the Dream Sheep Sweet Dreamers Ewan the Dream Sheep Price: RRP £30 Available: John Lewis,, Argos, Mamas and Papas, JoJo Maman Bebé Suitable: from birth Offers: none currently Batteries required: needs 3 AAA batteries Made by: Easidream Awards: Mother and Baby Gold Awards 2015 (products for a new-born category) As a baby, my daughter was an exceptionally terrible sleeper. She was hard to get to sleep, didn’t like being put down, woke crying frequently through the night and was difficult to resettle. I tried all sorts of tricks to try and help her sleep better, and on recommendation of another parent friend, I decided to try using Ewan the Dream Sheep. I bought Ewan at John Lewis for its recommended retail price as I found the price didn’t vary between shops and John Lewis has a good returns policy. Packaging Ewan the Dream Sheep comes in a transparent cylinder so you can clearly see him inside. The packaging is pretty basic beyond that, with the branding at the bottom, and a black background. He didn’t have too much packaging, which I liked as it’s a little less contribution to landfill! What does Ewan look and feel like? Ewan the Dream Sheep is a cartoon-style sheep. He has a wooly white coat and tail, and soft purple material is used for his face, floppy ears and legs. He has a facial expression you might see as cheeky or guilty, with his eyes looking off to the right. Overall, his body feels soft, like a regular stuffed toy. His tail has a clever design as it can ...

Orchard Toys Tummy Ache 03/02/2017

Orchard Toys Tummy Ache Game

Orchard Toys Tummy Ache Orchard Toys Tummy Ache Price: RRP £9.50, but priced higher at some retailers Available from:, Tesco, House of Fraser Suitable: for ages 3 to 10 (and needs 2 to 4 players) Offers: £8.25 on Amazon Made by: Orchard Games My daughter was given ‘Tummy Ache’, made by Orchard Games, for her third birthday, and we have played it a few times as a family since then. At three years old, she’s still too young to play it without an adult (or much older child) also playing, to remind her what to do next. I would think that by primary school age, most children would be able to play ‘Tummy Ache’ without adult supervision. First appearances – packaging ‘Tummy Ache’ comes in a thick cardboard box (which you have to keep so all the pieces are in one place). The front shows bold pictures of food items covered in worms, flies and other insects – all things that would certainly give you a ‘tummy ache’! The top of the box states ‘tummy ache’ in a small font, the Orchard Games logo is at the bottom left, and other information to the bottom right (age range, players, made in Britain). On the back, we see a photo of the game set, with the placemats and some of the nice food and rotten food cards. The packaging makes it clear what the game is about, and what is included in the box. The box is attractive and durable enough for its purpose of containing all the pieces. What’s the in the Box? The box contains brightly decorated game pieces, which have bold colours, set on thick, ...

Sylvanian Families Silk Cat Family 02/02/2017

Sylvanian Families Silk Cat Family

Sylvanian Families Silk Cat Family Sylvanian Families Silk Cat Family Price: RRP £16.99 Available from: Tesco, Amazon,, Argos, Toys r Us, Asda Suitable: recommended for ages three and over Offers: £14.24 at Tesco My daughter is three years old and received a few different Sylvanian Families sets for her Christmas and birthday. I bought her the Sylvanian Families Silk Cat Family as she loves cats, and I liked their little outfits. I purchased the set at Toys R Us, as they have a really good range of Sylvanians toys, but it looks like I would have saved a couple of pounds had I bought it as Asda or Tesco. She plays with this set along with her other Sylvanians and in their house (which I have already reviewed on Ciao). First Impressions: packaging The Sylvanian Families Silk Cat Family comes in a standard packaging box. The family is lined up along the front, easily seen through the clear plastic front. The branding is shown at the top with some pretty flowers to the sides. The background shows a nice outdoor scene, fitting in with the general theme of Sylvanians. Overall, I found it nice, simple, attractive packaging. The figures were secured inside with little ties, so I didn’t need scissors to set them free! What does the Silk Cat Family Look Like? There are four members in the Silk Cat Family: mum, dad, son, and daughter. The son and daughter are a little smaller than the parents, but they are not baby sized, maybe the size of an older child. They are a creamy-white colour, with pointed ears, ...

Huggies Pull-Ups 01/02/2017

Huggies Pull-Ups for potty training

Huggies Pull-Ups Huggies Pull-Ups Price: from £1.99 for a pack of 14 pull-ups Available from: most major supermarkets and large high street chemists (Tesco, Asda, Boots, Morrisons, Ocado, etc, and directly from the Huggies website) Suitable for: Offers: Tesco currently have Huggies pull ups on offer at 2 packs of 14 for £5, but even with the offer they’re actually cheaper at Ocado (£1.99) and Asda (£2). They are frequently on offer at the big supermarkets, so I’d advise you do a quick online price comparison before purchasing. Awards: * Infant Awards 2016 – Bronze winner for best potty training product * Loved by Parents award 2016 – best pull up pant * Mother and Baby Awards 2017 – silver winner for best potty training product Special offer from Huggies: Huggies quite regularly offer freebies and offers if you give them your contact details. For example, last year they sent us some samples of Huggies Pull-Ups and a potty training chart with little Mini Mouse stickers to use. They currently have a £2 voucher on their website (details below). In general, pull-ups or pull-up pants are handy for that ‘in between’ stage, when your child is negotiating potty training and might be past the stage of using nappies, but not quite confident enough to wear pants all the time. Huggies Pull-Ups are absorbent, like a nappy, but are less bulky can be easily pulled up and down, just like a pair of pants. What should I look for on the shelf? The Huggies daytime pull-ups come in either pink or ...

Aquafresh Little Teeth Toothbrush 31/01/2017

Aquafresh Little Teeth Toothbrush

Aquafresh Little Teeth Toothbrush Aquafresh Little Teeth Toothbrush Price: RRP £2 Available: Semichem, Boots, Ocado Made by: GSK (manufactured in India) Suitable: for children aged three to five years old Offers: currently £1 at Boots My daughter is three years old, and seems to go through toothbrushes much faster than my husband or I! I think it’s because we still brush her teeth, to assure their done properly, and she tends to chew down on the brush as we do it. Although they seem to become flattened quickly, I always replace them as soon as they look like they’ll be less effective. I have bought all different style and brands of toothbrush, and usually involve my daughter in choosing the next one, hoping that it will make tooth brushing a bit more fun for her! Last time she needed a new tooth brush, we went to the local Semichem, and the best option available for her age were the Aquafresh Little Teeth Toothbrush range. On that day, Semichem had four designs available: a pink rabbit / kangaroo creature, a green crocodile, a blue shark, and an orange wild cat (leopard?) character. My daughter chose the green crocodile, and immediately felt quite attached to it and wanted to carry it home herself. What does it look like? The design of the Aquafresh Little Teeth Toothbrush is quite unusual. The toothbrush is shorter than an adult one, so it a great size for little mouths and hands. The feet of the toothbrush have little suckers on them, so it can stand upright, stuck to the sink. The ‘body’ of the ...

Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh 30/01/2017

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh Location: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 75 Belford road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR Price: some parts are free but the touring exhibition comes with a charge Type of attraction: modern art exhibitions Opening hours: open from 10am to 5pm daily (closed on 25th and 26th December, and opens at 12pm on 1st January) Date of my visit: Wednesday 25th January 2017 I recently visited the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in central-West Edinburgh with my mum and daughter (age three). My mum had suggested going to see the Joan Eardley exhibition, and as I hadn’t seen any of her work ‘in person’ before, I was keen to see it. I have visited this gallery several times before, but hadn’t been for about a year. The last time I visited, I took my daughter and although her concentration span wasn’t long, she really enjoyed finding statues and copying their stance, so I hoped she was enjoy this exhibition as well. =Getting There *Bus* The Edinburgh Coach Lines service number 13 goes directly to the gallery. There are lots of other buses from Lothian Regional Transport (LRT) which stop near by. If you input your starting point and the gallery address into google maps, it’ll give you directions of the bus best suited for your journey. *Train* The gallery is a 15 minute walk from Edinburgh Haymarket train station. *Special Bus* There is a special bus which runs between the national galleries in Edinburgh – information on ...
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