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When I was pregnant I was determined not to spend too much money on maternity clothes, so I decided to buy a three pack of New Look Bump Bands. The Bands are designed so that you can continue to wear your non maternity trousers for longer. They allow you to wear your trousers without doing up the zip and / or buttons by covering your bump all the way down and over the top of the waist band. This conceals the fact that your trousers are not done up. They can also be used as a top extender to cover any gap between a top and your trousers. The bands come in three colours, black, white and grey (although there is now a pack replacing the grey one with navy one). They are 95% cotton and 5% elastane. I tried the bump band on several occasions with my trousers undone but I never felt very secure in them and felt that they did not cover up the fact that my buttons were undone. I even tried fastening the button together with a hair band to decrease the gap, but this meant I just struggled undoing it to go to the toilet. When you're pregnant, this is not a good thing! I felt completely paranoid and uncomfortable wearing this when I was out so I just used as a top extender to keep my bump completely covered as it grew. I also had to cut the label out of the band as I found it irritated my back. The three pack cost me £9.99 which would be good value of they worked better. I have since spoken to other people about bump bands, and have been recommended other ones which are much more supportive and more comfortable to wear. If I have another baby, I would definitely buy another bump band, but would not recommend the ones from New Look except as a top extender. Only 3 stars from me. Thanks for reading Rachy
When we started looking for a highchair for my little one, I asked around some of my mummy friends, and the most popular seemed to be the Ikea Antilop Highchair. I had been hoping for a folding one to leave us more room, but costing only £12 this seemed to be perfect. After the quick run round Ikea we returned home with the Highchair, the tray and the supporting cushion. When we got home it was easy to assemble. The highchair was in two package which contained six pieces - the four legs, the seat and the safety belt. Firstly you insert the safety belt in to the holes. Then the four legs are clicked into place. The tray which we brought in addition secures easily on top. Once inflated the supporting cushion fits neatly inside the seat. The chair itself comes in two colours - blue and white with silver legs. The plastic frame is just a small seat with a back rest. It has a central bar running from top to bottom which goes between your childs legs to stop them sliding out. If you are using the highchair at a table it has a bar running around the front of the child. The tray can be easily attached here if needed. It is easy to clean - instructions are to wipe clean with a mild soapy solution and to wipe dry with a clean cloth. The legs have plastic stoppers at the end making it non slip and will also stop it from scratching wooden floors. The safety straps are adjustable so will suit children of various sizes (the supporting cushion is best for very small children).There is no guidance on the size of baby in which to use the chair, but should easily accommodate all children from when they are able to sit up until they are able to move onto a more grown up chair. My daughter has been in the chair since about five months when we had to stop using the bumbo as she wanted to throw herself out of it all the time. The supporting cushion, costing £5.50, was a great addition to hold our daughter in place until she is big enough to sit in the chair without it. The dimensions of the highchair are width - 58cm, depth - 62cm, height - 90cm & seat height - 55cm. It weighs 3.2kg. The chair is such good value for money. It is easy to clean, easy to use and looks stylish. We have brought extras to go with it, as we only have a breakfast bar and the highchair is not high enough for our daughter to eat at the table, so we got a tray to go with it. If you have a table at the right height you would not need this additional piece. Overall I highly recommend the Antilop Highchair. At £12 this is the cheapest seat I have seen by far, and is more than adequate for the job! Thanks for reading Rachel
When it comes to taking my make up off in the evening, I either use a separate cleanser and toner, or if I am feeling lazy, I use a facial wipe. These are also great for travelling with, so when I was shopping for a weekend away I picked up a packet of Johnson's Face Care Daily Essentials Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes. I chose these as they were on offer at the time. The green packet contains 25 moist wipes. Johnson's make a variety of wipes for different skin types. These ones are for combination skin and claim to remove even waterproof mascara. The packet says that they are 'enriched with essential skin loving minerals and vitamins' and that skin is left 'cleansed, soft and smooth'. They are dermatologically tested and suitable for sensitive skin. They have a use by date of well over 2 years since the date of purchase. To access the wipes, there is a re-sealable tab over the front of the packet. The wipes are easy to take out individually. You then just use the wipe to take off the make up and grime that your skin has collected over the day. I have found these wipes to be very good. They do remove all my make up (I don't use waterproof mascara so cannot comment on that claim) and they leave my skin feeling clean and ready to be moisturised. My face almost feels lighter after a day of walking around in the not so clean and fresh London air. The downside to these is the smell. To me they have a deep masculine scent, and not something I would chose to put on my face. Luckily once I moisturise I can no longer smell it. Although these wipes really work, I would not buy them again due to the scent. I am going to purchase a different Johnson's wipe hoping that the effect on my skin will be the same, but with a lighter and more feminine scent. They are available from most supermarkets and retail in Boots for £3.29. I think this is fairly expensive (13p per wipe) and I would not have brought them at that price. I am giving them 3 stars as they are a great product, just a bit expensive and the smells not for me. Thanks for reading Rachel
I brought the Happy Duck Family from John Lewis to try to encourage my daughter to enjoy bath time - she used to hate it and the fun times I envisioned splashing around in the bath actually ended up with hysterical crying and the poor little thing clinging on to me for dear life terrified of the water! I tried to use the ducks as a distraction technique for her. At first she had no interest what so ever, but over the last few weeks, she has really started to notice the happy family of ducks floating past. The duck family consists of a big mummy or daddy duck which is bright yellow with an orange beak. The back of the larger duck is hollowed out to hold the two little baby ducks, one orange and one pink, both with a green beak. The smaller ducks have holes in the bottom so that if you squeeze them under water they fill up with water. They then make great squirting toys. I have squirted the water onto my daughters tummy and she seems amused by this. Unfortunately when you remove the smaller ducks and put them in the water to float, they capsize! I tried many ways of putting them into the water - different angles, filling them up with various amounts of water, but nothing works. They are obviously weighted wrong. This is such a shame as they are so lovely and colourful. They just seem to have a design flaw and don't float as a duck should. For this reason I would not recommend them to anyone else, and the product only gets 2 stars from me. At some point I will be on the lookout for another little duck family for the bath and hope that they will all float! The Happy Duck Family is available at John Lewis costing £6. It says they are suitable for children from 6 months, but as there are no small parts and no obvious hazards and my daughter just watches them at the moment, I have used them since she was about 2 months old. Thanks for reading. Rachel
When I was decorating m y daughters nursery, I came across the Cleopatra's Needle Tapestry Starter Kits and decided that some of these would be perfect as I would be able to make them whilst on maternity leave. These are really aimed at children (suitable from 7 and above) but I thought they were so pretty and easy to do, I could add a homemade touch to the nursery! There is a variety of different tapestry kit patterns. There are the animal ones including a pig, pony, puppy, spider or tortoise; the City kits including a London bus, policeman and post box, and a little girl called Daisy, with Daisy does...Ballet, Horse Riding, Gardening etc. I chose a few of the animal ones to add a farmyard theme to the nursery. This is a review for Peter Puppy, which I actually completed for my three year old niece who had liked the ones I had already done. The Tapestry Starter Kits come in a neat little packet with all you need to complete the pattern. This includes a colour printed 10 count canvas, wool, needle and instructions. The canvas is hard, plastic material which is printed with the appropriate design in the colours of the wool which you need to use to complete it. It is very straightforward to do - you chose where you would like to start, thread the needle with the corresponding wool, and stitch one diagonally in the same direction over the corner of all the squares in that colour. The Peter Puppy design itself is very sweet, depicting a white dog with black spots standing looking to the front. It comes complete with 6 different colours of wool, blue for the sky, white for the dog and the clouds, black for the dog's spots, green for the grass, and dark green and red for the five little flowers which add a splash of colour. It is very easy to complete, by following the printed pattern. Having completed several cross stitch this was a less taxing way (great for my baby brain!) to sit in the evenings and do something whilst watching TV. The canvas is hard so you do need a bit of force sometimes to get the needle through the hole. There is plenty of wool in the packs (I have loads left over). It is also easy to unpick should you make a mistake. The instructions are very user friendly and would be great for a child to have a go at to make pictures for their own room. It states that the finished design fits nicely into a 7 x 5 frame - I have put mine in a standard 6 x 4 frame and it fits (you have to trim the edges down so I am guessing that for a 7 x 5 you would have a slight border. The finished picture looks great and its lovely to have a hand stitched picture. My niece was very happy with hers, and I am sure my daughter will appreciate hers when she is old enough! They are a bit pricey ( £15 on the official Cleopatra's Needle supplier website) but can be brought for £10.20 including postage from http://www.crossstitchers.co.uk/product.​php?xProd=984 It is definitely something I would do again, and I think makes a great gift too. Five stars from me. Thanks for reading.
I thought that all baby's loved bath time. Unfortunately this was not the case for my daughter. We had to try many different baby baths to finally get her to relax and enjoy. My last and best purchase was the Disney Winnie the Pooh Bath Support. The Bath Support is basically a plastic gently sloping seat which your baby can lie back in and relax in the bath. It has Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore characters on the top of the seat. The instructions for use are simple 1) Fill the bath with warm water to a level at which you think your child would be comfortable in the seat (for us about half way up the back of it). 2) Ensure that the seat is fastened down by the non slip suction pad at the front of it so that it will not move around. 3) Place baby on the seat and have both hands remaining to wash them and keep them entertained with various toys whilst bathing. The first time I used this, my daughter was terrified (she screamed every time she got in any kind of baby bath or even in the bath with one of us) so I gently re introduced sitting her in it on the floor in the sitting room, then in the bath with no water in, and then finally back in the bath with the water and she finally started to enjoy bath time! It was so nice to be able to place her in the seat knowing she was fully supported, and then be able to use both hands to wash her, or play with her bath toys. The seat is suitable from birth to 12 months (we are unlikely to use much past six months - now my daughter can almost sit up on her own, she is less impressed with the bath seat and always wants to be upright were possible). The maximum weight is 40kg. The bath is light weight and easy to move around. When not in use we stick to the wall over the bath. It is part of a Disney range which also includes a potty and a training seat. Overall this has been the most amazing bathing product I have brought - bath times have gone from screaming to splashing and giggles. I would recommend to anyone to use with their little one (but probably not for as long as 12 months), especially those who don't like bath time. If I am lucky enough to have another baby, this will be the first bath I use. Five stars from me. Available from Amazon for £8.99 including delivery. Thanks for reading. Rachel
Whilst browsing in Mamas & Papas whilst still pregnant, I came across the Elfie and Mop 2.5 tog Dreampod. I had heard about these before and thought about buying one, but when I saw that it was reduced from the usual £36 to only £18, I had to buy one. The Dreampod I have differs from the picture here - the 6-18 months have a zip at the front as shown, but the 0-6 months zip up around the outside. It also has a different design on the front, but is a Mama's & Papa's 2.5 tog Dreampod. The Dreampod is essentially a sleeping bag for babies. The bag zips up around the child's lower body, with a head hole and arm holes. They are designed to keep the baby warm and safe as your child is unable to wriggle its way inside and risk suffocation as they can do with a duvet. It is also designed to stop children putting their feet through the bars of the cot although we have a bumper to prevent this. There are 2 poppers on either side of the child's head which fix the Dreampod in place. The Elfie and Mop design is plain white with a thin band of red and white spots around the arm and head holes. It has a small picture on the front of a mouse in a hot air balloon. Before using a Dreampod sleeping bag, you need firstly need to check it is safe to use by looking at the recommended weight range and making sure your baby weight is within the range. It is recommended that a Dreampod is not used until your baby weighs over 10lb and the 0-6 month is suitable for babies up to 18lb or 68cm high. You also need to look at the tog and check the temperature of the room to make sure your baby will be comfortable. The 2.5 tog is suitable year round except in the park of summer, when you should use a 1 tog which is also recommended for day time naps. I have been using the Dreampod since my daughter was 2 days old (so under the recommended 10lb - she was 8lb 2oz) and although she looked tiny in it, we weren't worried about her wriggling out of it as she was secure. I have found it very useful and incredibly easy to use. I can zip my daughter up in the Dreampod whilst she is getting ready for bed, and if she falls asleep on me, I can just lie her straight into her cot and not have to worry about tucking her into a cold bed. For the middle of the night nappy changes it is easy to unzip the Dreampod around the bottom and leave most of her in it so she doesn't get cold. I can then just zip her straight back in when I have finished. I have washed it several times and it still looks in great condition - it has kept its shape and colour. It is also great for when we go away as it is light weight and can be used in a travel cot. Would I recommend a Dreampod? Yes. Without a doubt. In fact I would recommend that you buy 2 for when one is in the wash. I have two but the other one is a different make and not as good as this one. The only bad thing I have found with the Elfie and Mop design is there is a Mamas and Papas logo tag on the basket of the hot air balloon can dig in when I am holding her and it has scratched me a few times. Now I am aware of it, I make sure it is out of the way when I pick her up. The Elfie & Mop range also includes a Moses Basket, wallpaper border and a hooded towel. Five stars from me for the great price and great product. Thanks for reading Mrs W
The Good Things range is a fairly new discovery for me. Having found out I am pregnant, I have been even more careful about what I put on my skin, and I know that I need to moisturise now more than ever to avoid the dreaded stretch marks. The Good Things range states that the products are free from parabens, mineral oils, sodium laureth sulphate and animal ingredients and contain 'just good things'. The Good Things Soothing Body Butter comes in a 300ml (10.1 fl. Oz) round tub with a screw on lid. The Body Butter contains 'superfruit extracts, plum, coconut , goji berries and shea butter. It claims to 'make the most of the natural moisturising ingredients in coconut and shea butter to give a hydrating effect that is proven to last for 24 long hours'. The Body Butter is a thick, white cream. It has a really pleasant fruity smell, although I am unable to smell the coconut. The directions are to 'apply generously wherever needed, paying particular attention to areas prone to roughness and dryness' and to 'warm the Body Butter in your hands for a few seconds before you spread it on to your skin'. This is a very good tip, otherwise it is freezing! It absorbs quickly into the skin and leaves my skin feeling healthy and moisturised. I often apply this after getting out of the shower and just before getting into bed, and my husband always tells me how nice it smells. Applying just after a shower also helps to retain more moisture. I have been using this for about a month, and my skin feels smoother even on the days when I have not applied. I would definitely recommend for the lingering scent (although I still cant smell the coconut) and the long lasting soft skin feeling. The Good Things range is available from Boots, Sainsbury's and Superdrug. The Soothing Body Butter costs £6.49. 5 stars from me. Thanks for reading. Rachel
I am a big fan of the Boots No. 7 range. This is a review for the Beautiful Skin Cleansing Lotion for Normal/Dry skin a new range which has only recently arrived in Boots stores. The 200ml plastic bottle is clear with black writing on the front and back. It is a pump action bottle. The neck of the bottle is dusky pink (the range of products for Normal/Oily skin is green so they are easy to differentiate between). The product claims to 'make your dry skin behave like normal skin providing tailored skin nutrition for healthy looking, bright and beautiful skin'. It also says that it 'dissolves make up and impurities to help skin looking clear and healthy.' It is 'enriched with No 7's unique multivitamin and mineral blend to hydrate and energise skin, plus rosehip oil to help lock in moisture.' The lotion is easy to dispense with the pump action lid, but only dispenses small amounts. You will need four to five pumps to get a decent amount, but this is better than having too much. A bottle To lock the pump if you are travelling with it, you just turn it to one side. The white lotion is thick so easy to apply and does not drip. The directions are to sweep over skin with cotton wool or your fingers, then wipe off. I use cotton wool to apply and wipe off. The product goes on easily smoothing over your skin and is easy to wipe off, taking with it the dirt and grime that has built up during the day. Living in London there is a lot of this, and I am often surprised by the amount that comes off. It does take off make up too, including mascara but this may need several wipes to get rid of. The lotion smells fresh and clean but not overpowering. After using this, I then tone and moisturise my skin. I haven't seen a toner in the same range, but there is Beautiful Skin Day Cream, Night Cream and Radiance Exfoliator. When using this product my skin does feel fresher, cleaner and moisturised. Although a great product and one I would buy again, it hasn't totally blown me away, so I would be open to trying other cleansers in my quest for perfect skin! For that reason, I am giving four stars. Only available in Boots for £9 - currently available on the 3 for 2 offer. Thanks for reading. Rachel
This is a review for Lansinoh Breastmilk storage bags. I brought these following a recommendation from a friend who had used them with both of her children. Lansinoh do a great range of products for breastfeeding mothers including both an electric and manual breast pump, disposable nursing pads (see previous review) and HPA Lanolin nipple cream to ease sore nipples. The bags are used to store breastmilk in once it has been expressed to use at a later date. The breastmilk can be stored in the freezer for up to six months (three months in a freezer compartment of a fridge). Before adding the milk, there is a tab at the top where you can write the date that the milk was expressed and the volume. The bags hold up to 180ml or 6 fluid ounces and have markings on the front of the bag so that you can see the amount of milk in the bag. I write the amount as per the bottle which I expressed in to as I have found this more accurate. The bags are sterilised so the milk can be poured straight in. The opening is wide enough to avoid any spillage. The bottom is gusseted to allow the bag to expand and also so that it will stand once filled. There is a double zip lock seal to ensure the bag is securely closed and there are no leaks. I have found these bags very easy to use. I have had no spillages when pouring the milk in. When freezing I have laid the bags flat to make storage easier and have had no leaks. By doing this it also means that the milk can take less time to defrost when needed. It is also easy to pour back into a bottle to be fed to your baby. As yet I haven't stored any milk for an extended period, but my friend has told me that she had no split bags or any other issues with storing milk for the recommended maximum time of six months. The milk can be defrosted by leaving to thaw, or by running under a warm tap. I will continue to buy this product whilst I am breastfeeding my daughter to ensure that if I am out there is milk ready for her. A box of 50 storage bags costs £8.99 from Mothercare or are available on Amazon for £8.44 including delivery (about 17p per bag). I did look for a cheaper alternative, but Boots own brand are £7.49 for 30 (about 25p per bag). Thanks for reading Rachel
One of the many things on my list of must haves once I had my daughter was nursing pads. Nursing pads are basically round pads which you insert into your bra to protect your nipples which can be sore after feeding and also to absorb any milk which may leak out in between feeds. You can get disposable or washable ones. I didn't do any research into this prior to having her as it seemed like such a small thing to worry about when there were so many more important things that I needed to get. After almost 8 weeks of breast feeding, I now understand the importance of getting a comfortable nursing pad! I have now tried four different types in a bid to find the most comfortable one. This review is for the Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads. I was actually recommended these by a friend after complaining about previous nursing pads which I had used so I decided to give them a try. The Nursing Pads come in a box of 60 individually wrapped for hygiene. It is advised to change pads after each feed so they get used up fairly quickly. The pads are about 10.5cm or just over 4 inches in diameter and are very slim. The front which goes on your breast is a soft mesh type material which doesn't irritate sore nipples. Inside is a 'super absorbent polymer' which retains any moisture and keeps it away from the skin. The back is waterproof tissue which stops any liquid going through to your clothing. There is also an adhesive strip to attach the pad to your bra to keep the pad in place. I have found the Lansinoh Disposable Breast Pads comfortable to wear. They are very soft so do not irritate my nipples which at times have been incredibly sore. They are absorbent and as I change them regularly I have not had any issues with leakage. The only downside to these is that the pad is a flat disc, whereas I have tried another brand which makes a slightly concave pad which fits better to the shape of my breast making it slightly more comfortable. The fact that they are individually wrapped makes it easy to carry a spare pair round in your handbag and you know that they will be clean and hygienic when you need to use them. Overall the Lansinoh Disposable Breast Pads are a great product, and I will continue to use them as one of my top two which I have tested so far. I am giving this product 4 stars. They usually retail at £5.49 for 60, but are currently reduced to £4.39 at Mothercare. Thank you for reading Rachel
When we found out I was pregnant, my husband went out and brought some lotions to smother my growing bump with to prevent stretch marks. He came back with two products from the Mama Mio range - Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil and Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Cream. This is a review for the Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil. Mama Mio was founded in London by four friends who all worked in the beauty industry. After several years of testing the products on themselves through pregnancy, Mama Mio was launched in 2005. They now produce a range of products which are sold in over 1500 stores in 8 countries. The Mama Mio range has a 'no nasties' claim and is free from colourants, paraben, petrolatum and synthetic fragrance, plus others I have never heard of! The products are not tested on animals. It does contain Rosehip Seed, Wheatgerm, Sweet Almond and Borage oils and has very high levels of Omega 3, 6 and 9. The brown glass bottle of Stretch Mark Oil is 120ml with a green label containing some of the ingredients it does and doesn't have and the directions for use. The directions are to 'apply liberally from above boobs to below bottom front, back and sides'. I must admit that I rarely did applied it like this - I was also given some 'perky boob cream' so just focused on my ever expanding tummy with the oil. It has a very faint smell but as there are no synthetic fragrances it is not overpowering and very difficult to make out any specific scents. To apply I tipped some of the oil on to my hands and then applied from the top to the bottom of my bump, rubbing in gently. The oil is quickly absorbed and immediately left my skin feeling hydrated. I used to leave it for a couple of minutes before dressing to ensure that it was all absorbed and I wouldn't end up with any on my clothes. You do need to wash your hands straight afterwards as it will leave them feeling a little oily. Towards the end of my pregnancy there were times that my bump could become itchy as the skin stretched, but a quick application of the oil got rid of that. The directions also say to apply twice per day in the later stages of pregnancy which I often did to ensure my skin was supple enough to expand. You can also layer the Stretch Mark Oil with the Stretch Mark Tummy Rub which I also did occasionally throughout but more towards the end. I found the process of applying the oil a really nice way to relax and felt that I was interacting with my daughter as I could often feel her wriggling around in the later stages of pregnancy as I was massaging in the oil. It was also a good way for me to get used to my change in shape. My husband also enjoyed applying the oil occasionally for all the same reasons. I have continued to use the Stretch Mark Oil since the birth of my daughter at the end of December, and have been incredibly lucky - I have no stretch marks! My stomach feels incredibly supple and smooth (other areas of my skin which I have neglected whilst looking after my daughter especially my arms, have really dried out) The 120ml bottle costs £23. It can be brought direct from the Mama Mio website and includes free delivery (http://www.mamamio.com/uk). The products are available in, to name a few, John Lewis, Mamas and Papas, Debenhams and House of Fraser. Other products in the range include Lucky Legs Cooling Serum - rapid relief for heavy legs and feet; and Boob Tube Bust and Neck Firmer - for dive in cleavage with a smooth firm neck. Overall I would definitely recommend the Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil. It has definitely worked for me and has left me feeling confident about the major changes my body has had to make over the last few months. I will continue to use this until the bottle runs out (one bottle has lasted me AGES as you need to apply so little) and would definitely recommend to my friends. A five star product for me. Thanks for reading. Rachel (and baby Lucy!)
As my baby bump started to grow, I found I could still fit in to many of my dresses, just not my leggings. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on maternity clothes, so I went to H&M and brought myself some MAMA leggings, costing £7.99. The leggings only come in long length (ankle length) and black. They are 5% elastane and 95% organic cotton and are machine washable at 40 degrees. They come in small, medium and large. I am a size 12, and have gone for the medium. The leggings themselves feel nice and soft. The main body of the leggings fits up to my hips in the normal way, with the extra 'baby band' that stretches right over the top of my baby bump. I am now six and a half months pregnant and have been wearing the leggings since I was about four months pregnant and there is still room for them to stretch as I continue to grow. One thing I was concerned about was the length - at 5' 8 I often struggle to but leggings that are long enough, but these probably have a couple of inches to spare so likely to be too long for shorter people. I now have two pairs of the leggings which I wear all the time. They have stretched out of shape in that time and always come out of the wash looking and feeling like new. They are great to wear with shoes or boots, are incredibly comfortable and keep my bump nice and snug. The only down side to these, is that they only come in one colour - I hope that H&M extends its range one day. I would definitely recommend them - they have become my maternity wardrobe essential and I will recommend to all my pregnant friends when they are sorting out their maternity wardrobe. 5 stars from me - I was tempted to deduct one for the lack of choice of colour, but I do love them, and they are such a bargain at that price. Thanks for reading Mrs W Ps - I have also continued to wear these since having my daughter as they are so comfortable!
I am trying to clear space in the flat ready for our new arrival and decided to bag up the clothes I can no longer fit into to make space for my maternity wardrobe. Having seen the adverts, I decided to invest in 2 large Vacpack bags from JML. These bags are 'airtight and waterproof so your items stay safe, dry and protected'. They 'lock out dirt, dust, bugs and moisture'. As the bags are transparent it is easy to see what is stored in them too. The idea of the bags is pretty simple. You pack your clothes, duvets, towels or whatever it is you would like to store into one of the large bags. I was a bit worried about overloading the bag, but I kept cramming stuff in until it was totally full. You then seal the bag ensuring that it is airtight by pressing the fastenings together. The bags come complete with a white plastic slider to help seal the bags. One side of the seal is yellow and one is red - when the bag has been securely fastened, the combined seals show a solid orange colour so you can clearly see that it has been fastened correctly with no air holes. Once the bag is sealed, grab your vacuum cleaner. On top of the bag is a round valve with 'open' and 'close' clearly marked. Ensure the valve is on 'open' and using your hose attachment, suck the air from the bag. I found this quite enjoyable to do - it goes down really quickly and really does shrink everything. Once all the air has been removed, turn the valve to 'close'. Job done! Now find somewhere to store the smaller package. So far, I cannot fault the JML Vacpack bags! JML claim that they triple your storage space - I couldn't swear to that, but I would say it definitely shrunk my pile of clothes by half. I was a bit worried that the bags would slowly start to inflate - so far one month on they are as secure as they were when I first put them away. I did find the sliders quite hard to use - they fall off easily - but are easy to reattach and you do not have to use them - it is just as easy to seal the bag using your hands. The JML Vacpack bags come in large (55 x 85cm), jumbo (90 x 125cm) and travel (includes 2 large - 50 x 70cm & 1 small - 42 x 50cm). The 2 large bags cost £10.59 including postage. I would definitely recommend the JML Vacpack bags, and may invest in some more to store hubbys summer clothes now, as he won't be needing them for a while! Five stars from me! Thanks for reading. Rachel 6 months on and they are still doing well. I have had a rummage through one and resealed and the other I havent opened but did give it a quick vacuum and it went down marginally.
Although an avid book reader, I don't tend to read non-fiction books. When my husband gave me 'Operation Mincemeat' by Ben McIntyre to read, I wasn't sure I would enjoy it. I knew the basis of the story as my husband loves anything to do with World War II, but he was very keen for me to read it as he had enjoyed it. Operation Mincemeat is based on what is probably one of the greatest deceptions of the war. The front cover says it is 'The true spy story that changed the course of World War II'. The story itself sounds like the basis of a Hollywood film plot, and it is hard to believe that it did actually happen. I hope I am not giving too much away to those of you that don't know the story, but it is impossible to review without giving some of the background. In 1943, Spanish fisherman found the body of a British soldier floating in the sea off the coast of Spain. Strapped to the body of 'Major William Martin' was a brief case containing top secret documents. The body was taken ashore, and after a few days, the secret documents found their way to Berlin and to Hitler's inner circle. Little did they know the time and effort that went in to leaving the body where it would fall into the wrong hands complete with believable fake documents to fool the Germans. The book is a detailed look at every element of the deception. It started with a random idea and slowly developed into the fantastic scheme it became. The book details everything from finding a suitable corpse to use that a post mortem would show had drowned, creating a personality for 'Major Martin', and forging the documents which would deceive the Germans into thinking that the Allies planned to attack Greece and Sardinia rather than their true target of Sicily. The book also gives a detailed background of all those involved on both sides especially Ewen Monatgu who was one of the key players in forming the idea and bringing 'Major Martin' to life. The book includes excerpts from letters that were sent to his wife who was in America at the time safely away from any air raids. The last chapter of the book is about what they key players from both sides of the deception went on to do after the war, and how the story of Operation Mincemeat started leaking out. Montagu was keen to sell his story to the world, whilst another creator of the deception, Charles Cholmondeley, refused to be identified or accept any public credit. I was expecting the book to be quite hard going, and in some places it was a little, but I did really enjoy it. I loved the way McIntyre gave so much detail, really building up a picture of the people involved and the lengths they went to to ensure the 'evidence' was plausible. The book is divided up in to chapters making it easy to understand each stage. I also liked the fact that the books had pictures of the main people involved, and also of all the documents and personal effects that were carried by 'Major Martin'. Overall an enjoyable read for those interested in learning more about World War II and the amazing story that sounds too farfetched to be true! 5 stars from me. Paperback is available from Amazon for £5.19 or £10.87 for the hardback including delivery. Thanks for reading Rachel