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I bought this turtle for my grandson when he was first born. It was rather expensive at £25 but because it was so sweet I thought it would be a lovely item. It is a soft turtle with a hard shell. The shell has little holes in which are the shape of stars and it lights up. When it lights up it projects the stars onto the ceiling and it comes in a variety of colours- purple, orange or blue. It will change through the colours slowly and it's very soothing. We kept this out of his bed when he was little and would instead have it beside his bed so he wouldn't roll onto it and hurt himself on the hard shell. Now that he is bigger he has this in his cot and likes to play with it. It is really soothing, it isn't too fussy like lots of light shows that play music and things, instead it just projects lovely stars onto the ceiling that change colour very slowly which is very relaxing and soothing to look at for a baby. The turtle has a flat tummy so he lies flat without falling over, we would sometimes put this on my grandson's tummy as he lay on his back and he would smile and love seeing the stars coming up from his tummy. This is really sweet, it is a lot of money but it has helped to make bedtime soothing for him and he now plays with this as though it is a little teddy or any other soft toy but it is special as it lights up.
During the later part of last year, I'd thought about getting a night light for my son which would project images of fish, stars or such on the walls and ceilings in the hopes that it would help to settle him if he was feeling ill or teething. However with Christmas on the way, I didn't quite get round to buying one myself and I was happy that I didn't in the end, as one of Elliot's Christmas presents turned out to be just what I'd been thinking of- the Cloud B Twilight Turtle. Cloud B are an American company, which started off by manufacturing baby sleepbags and moved on to developing other animal themed sleep inducing products for children. Their products have won a whole host of awards in the USA and boast several famous A-listers as customers, including Katie Holmes and Angelina Jolie. On first getting the turtle out of the box, I admit that I would have had no idea that it sells in some retailers for around £30- it feels very light, not particularly sturdy and something inside rattles if you shake it. The underside of the turtle looks very much like a typical soft toy, the head, legs and tail are made of soft, furry sage coloured material and are filled with stuffing. The turtle's face is very nondescript and plain, just two black vertical lines for eyes and a horizontal one for the mouth. If anything he looks a little miserable, which is a shame as like most children my son is drawn to toys with cheerful faces. The belly is padded in the same fabric and in the middle of his tummy is a flap attached with velcro, under which the battery panel sits and is firmly screwed in placed (the batteries are included.) I was pleased to see it was battery as opposed to electrically operated as I find these are far easier to move around the bedroom without a cord attached. The batteries in this night light are still going strong after two months although admittedly it's not used that much any more. There is also a hidden on/off switch in the battery panel, which smaller children would find hard to operate. I always consider these extra switches to be useful in case you want the product to stay off, despite your child having other ideas! The fabric does seem to be of a good quality and is well stitched, with no visible loose threads. The soft part of the turtle appears to house the parts which power the LED lights, as you can feel it is rather hard through the padding. The top is covered in a moulded brown and green shell, which is made of fairly thin plastic and is punctuated by lots of star shaped holes and one in the shape of a crescent moon. At the bottom of the shell are four brown buttons- the first is an on/off switch. When pressed this activates the lights, which shine through the holes in the shell and project a very pretty pattern of blue, green and red stars all over the walls and ceiling (obviously this works better the darker the room is.) The next button along to the right has 'L1' stamped on it (I presume this means 'level one'.) When pressed once, the lights flash from green, to amber, to blue and then to red, each in a different star constellation. Press this switch again and the lights continue to flash, but now two colours and constellations at a time. When pressed for a third time, the lights revert back to their original constant state. Next up is the 'L2' button, which from memory I think makes the lights fade slowly away and then slowly reappear in the various colours. I say from memory, as at some point during the two months we've had the night light, this switch has stuck and now won't work at all. The final 'L3' switch activates a music setting- press once and you have a piano piece backed by the sound of waves. Press again and you get a flute playing a tune reminiscent of the soundtrack to the film 'Titanic' (sorry Celine Dion lovers, but this just makes me want to throw the turtle at the wall!) press for a third and fourth time and you have another two 'calming' piano tracks. Luckily there is a 'time out' function on the turtle which switches off the whole thing after about 45 minutes, by which time the manufacturers must assume your child has fallen asleep (they've obviously never met my son!) Now this could just be me getting old but as soon as I heard the music, I was amazed that the makers of the turtle intended these tunes to lull children to sleep as the volume seems rather loud to me. The music is also played on a very short, repetitive loop which most adults I'm sure would find very annoying- I'm not expecting a full piano concerto here, but a few bars of the same repetitive melody is a bit of a disappointment if you've forked out £30. Elliot has certainly never appeared to become sleepy or calmed by the music (when unwell it has made him cry and when better he's sat up and had a little dance to it!) so as there is no volume switch to be found on Mr. Turtle, the music setting has remained firmly off. Despite my gripes about the music, I still had high hopes that the appearance of some pretty stars on the ceiling might distract Elliot enough from colds or teething discomfort and help him off to sleep. I would love at this point to say that I've found the ultimate answer for sleep deprived parents everywhere, but sadly the turtle hasn't quite met my expectations. Admittedly, it did seem to help the first few times we used it as Elliot was quite taken with the novelty of the coloured lights, however whenever we've switched it on since, it's either made no difference or worse, has just made him wail all the more loudly. I can only guess that by using it when he's not been well may have led to him associating the turtle with feeling poorly, or maybe he just prefers a dark room with no twinkly stars! Of course this night light might be just the tonic for another child on another day. It's also possible that it may come in more useful as Elliot gets older (he's currently 18 months) and gains more of an understanding of stars and what they are, as my friend's 2.5 year old seemed to enjoy the effects when they stayed over. This leads me to believe there is one good benefit to this particular night light- unlike some on the market, it doesn't look too 'babyish' and includes some educational value as it projects the same star constellations you will see in if you look up at the real night sky. It's therefore suitable for much older children as well, especially if they enjoy learning about astronomy and picking out different stars. The muted colours and design mean that it won't look out of place in the room of a 6 or 7 year old, which I imagine might help to avoid potential embarrassment by friends if your older child wants a night light to help them sleep. This means that the turtle can potentially be used for many years, rather than ending up in the loft like many short lived baby products. On a final and slightly more negative note, I am rather disappointed with the stuck button and for me this is indicative of the overall quality and durability of the turtle. Whilst the soft underside is fine, the plastic of the shell feels quite thin compared to similar plastic products intended for babies and toddlers. I admit that it's not really intended for use as a toy, however the Cloud B website does state that the turtle is suitable for children 'of all ages' and so to me, it does need to be fairly robust to withstand any abuse a young child might inflict on it. Luckily Elliot has been quite gentle on the occasions he's got hold of it, but I'm not sure how the turtle would fare if dropped on a hard floor. After a quick search on the internet, I've found Firebox and IWOOT are currently selling this night light for £29.99. Personally, I think this is way overpriced and I wouldn't recommend spending that much money on a product which is not of the highest quality. There are a few online retailers selling it for around £7, however I would be wary of such a comparatively low price (a few warning bells are ringing in my head as these turtles look slightly different to ours.) You can also pick them up on ebay for £15-£20 which I think is closer to its real value. Overall, I don't feel I can really recommend this night light for younger children as there are far cheaper and better quality alternatives out there, however it might be useful for older children with an interest in astronomy.