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This is the second Freddie the Firefly that we have owned, as we gave away most of our daughter's infant gear prior to discovering that we had another addition on the way. We were fortunate to receive the photographed model as a gift for our baby boy who was born in December 2014.
Over the years we have owned a number of products from Lamaze, as we like the way the toys are designed and the birth-to-preschooler concept.
Lamaze toys are developed around the Lamaze Infant Development System which consists of three developmental themes:
** Awakening the senses from birth to 24 months
** Exploring and experimenting from 6 to 24 months
** Moving and doing from 9 to 24 months.
The company states that "all Lamaze toys are designed to help baby explore and learn about their world". And if nothing else, the toys are very attractive to look at!
Freddie the Firefly
Suitable for children aged newborn to 24 months, this brightly coloured soft toy has many aspects that can keep this broad age group entertained for ages.
The firefly has a soft velour body and wonderfully designed wings that have multiple textures for touch sensation and crinkles for both touch and sound.
There are elements suitable for chewing and mouthing: clinking rings, tethered ladybug teether and two knotted antennae.
There is a peekaboo mirror in one of the wings, accessed by lifting up a flap. Finally, there is a squeaker.
Our almost five year old daughter played with Freddie for almost three years. This is the type of toy that one can find a new and interesting thing to play with almost every time it is picked up.
We felt it to be very age appropriate. We had it hanging off her car seat from then she was three months old until about eight months, thereafter it remained in our home where it was played with intermittently.
Our seven week old son is not particularly interested in Freddie right now. I give it another two or three weeks. He is more interested in the ceiling fan than anything else. However, he does enjoy the crinkly sound that we make together.
In my experience this is a durable, educational infant toy that is worth buying. In terms of maintenance and upkeep, this is yet another item that I surface wipe and/or sponge clean.
I highly recommend Freddie the Firefly. It is widely available, and currently on Amazon.co.uk for £10 (Amazon Prime) or £6.99 plus postage.
NB This review first published on Ciao
Before our son was born, six months ago now, we did browse various websites trying to establish a collection of toys for his nursery. I was well aware that for the first few months of his life our baby would not be very mobile and was therefore on the lookout for several toys that could be hung above his head on his bouncy chair and travel seat. Lamaze are a brand which I have only ever heard good things about from other Mums and therefore when I saw this Lamaze Tug and Play Activity Knot I bought it from the online retailer Kiddicare.
This knot is quite simply a knotted ball of cords of fabric each with a different attachment at the end designed to stimulate and amuse your little one from the age of birth onwards. The knot is very brightly coloured in reds, blues, yellows and greens, almost garishly so in my opinion, but this serves to attract the attention of my little boy and keep him occupied. The attachments on each end include a mirrored heart, textured star, yellow furry ball, furry heat, plastic star and a pair of plastic rings. In my opinion this makes for a very odd looking toy but nonetheless it is certainly interesting to look at and touch. This toy can be attached to various seats and bouncers using the plastic ring at the top of the toy and this has a gap at the side enabling you to easily slot it over the required arm.
As well as being incredibly bright to look at, this toy also makes various different noises which are fun and amusing to my little one. The yellow ball makes a gentle bell sound, the furry heart a crunchy sound and the furry star has a squeaker inside. This, combined with the fact that every component of the toy has a different textured surface, makes it very amusing for my little one although he still needs me to squeeze the furry star as he hasn’t quite got the hang of it yet.
In our opinion this is quite an interesting toy which hangs absently over the arm of my son’s bouncer when it is not in use. It has had its fair share of pummelling from my son when he is sat in his chair and is a good distraction when we travel in the car, albeit for a couple of minutes before he bores of it. This is not my son’s favourite toy but he does enjoy playing with it for short bursts at a time. This toy is very well made and the bright colours are eye catching however I have yet to encourage my son to really appreciate this toy as oppose to others that he has.
We paid around £6 from this toy when it was available from Kiddicare. However, looking online it is currently available from other retailers such as F B Green for £6.42. Although this is a standard price to pay for a similar activity toy I think this is a little expensive for something which only gets a few minutes use during an average day. However as it still looks as good as new I hope to reuse it for any future children we have.
All in all I would recommend this toy for its good quality and interesting looks. As a result this knot toy scores a good four stars from me.
I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x
This review is also posted on Ciao under the same user name.
Working in a hospital has various occupational hazards. One of the most common ones is having dry, chapped hands due to having to clean your hands with alcohol gel 50-60 times a day as well as wash them regularly in hot soapy water.
In an effort to protect my hands, which to be fair are no great work of beauty, I have tried several products over the last decade or so.
This Body Shop hemp hand protector is supposedly suitable for very dry skin, with the aims to both soften the skin and to provide a barrier to further drying of the skin.
It is made with UK-sourced Community Trade hemp seed oil and can be bought from The Body Shop for between £5-£10 depending on the size: either 30ml or 100ml.
The product is packaged in an unremarkable brown metal tube, similar to old style toothpaste tubes. The small twist lid can be fiddly at times. The cream has a consistency similar to toothpaste, however its earthy, hemp aroma ensures that you don’t confuse the two.
When using this hemp hand protector, I use it at least twice a day on days that I am at work. I use a small amount, about the size of a five pence coin, and simply rub the product into my hands. It does leave my hands somewhat greasy for a little while, so I never apply it within 30 minutes of needing to drive my car.
This product is good enough for what it does. It protects my hands at work for a reasonable price. However it is not my preferred hand protection agent.
Three DooYoo hearts.
Nivea crème is possibly one of the very first skin care products that I can recall. The reason for this is that for a ten-year period, starting in 1974 or 1975, it was my responsibility and great pleasure to rub this product into my balding grandfather’s head.
Naturally this product has many memories for me and I can still pick the scent out from a mile away.
Available in a very familiar blue and white flat, thin tub, the fragrance has not changed at all in my opinion. It is a soft, gentle smell…of cleanliness. What has changed in my opinion is that nowadays this crème seems slightly thinner than I recall it to be in my childhood. It is still quite thick, but not as it was all those years ago.
Being a thick moisturising product, Nivea Crème is unsuitable for my combination facial skin. I use it on my dry calves during winter and also occasionally on my arms or back if I have become sunburned.
This product takes a little time to soak into the skin. It certainly does a good job at moisturising, and I am very happy with the way it leaves my skin.
The only reason I don’t use Nivea Crème all the time is because I like a little variety in my life, so have many different moisturisers in my bathroom cupboard.
Recommended. Various sizes are available at an inexpensive price. I usually pay around GBP 3.00 for a 200mL tub.
The ranges and availability of oral hygiene products have vastly increased over the last 30 plus years.
I grew up in Australia at a time where there were just a few oral care brand names, with “Listerine” being synonymous with “mouth wash”.
As a child I was expected to brush my teeth. My parents’ regime was to brush and to floss – apparently I was too young to do this, in their view.
I was 12 or 13 years old when my orthodontic treatment started: silver, train-track style braces.
My orthodontist regularly reiterated the importance of good oral hygiene and that I really must include an oral wash in my regime.
Listerine washes are the ones that I have used most frequently over the years, although I do also regularly use a tooth whitening wash from a different brand.
Marketed as a favourite flavoured germ killer that reduces plaque and freshens breath for up to 24 hours, this blue-coloured liquid comes in a clear one litre bottle for a little over £5.
Using this antibacterial wash as directed – a twice daily swoosh/swirl around my mouth for approximately 30 seconds – does seem to keep my gum disease under control. Occasionally I use the liquid as a gargle, although I have less need to do this now that I no longer have tonsiliths which was the root cause of my bad breath a number of years ago.
The flavour of the wash is supposed to be mint; I describe it as a chemical cousin to mint that is neither pleasant nor unpleasant.
I am happy enough with this product. After use my breath does seem fresh – at least to me – and my teeth feel clean. I would not leave it 24 hours between use, however.
Palmolive Naturals Honey and Milk shower milk
This popular shower wash is manufactured by US-based company Colgate-Palmolive, which has been recognized by animal rights group PETA as an organization that is “working towards change” (according to wikipedia) and only tests on animals when legally mandated to do so, such as for the China market.
The 250ml packaging is typical for Palmolive; a white, oval-ish plastic bottle with the company logo and an image of honey.
The product itself is fairly runny, like thick milk. It pours easily. It is a creamy colour, the subtle fragrance has a hint of vanilla and honey which in my opinion is quite sweet.
The shower milk feels smooth when applied to my body as lathers very well. It also rinses away easily.
Finally, this product leaves my skin feeling clean, smooth and well hydrated. Therefore I am happy to recommend this Palmolive Naturals Honey and Milk shower milk.
Availability: This shower milk is available practically everywhere at a fairly wide range of prices, so I recommend looking out for it on sale, at Wilkinson's or pound type stores.
This is one of two Barbara Daly concealers that I have been using for several years.
Purchased at Tesco, this light effect concealer pen is perfect for covering up the dark rings that appear beneath my eyes when I am tired. By "dark" I actually mean "several shades darker" than my usual skin colouring, rather than thick black rings. This is, in my opinion, a very important point as this product is light in consistency and would not be suitable for such very dark rings.
The light consistency is also the reason why I have a second BD concealer product - for a dark patch on my cheek that requires a heavier product.
This concealer was my first experience with the Barbara Daly brand. I use it after moisturising my face and before applying foundation. I do apply the product directly to my skin, and then I blend the product with my forefinger.
When worn with my usual foundation, I find this concealer does last most of the day.
I have never had any problems with this product and it is easy enough to remove at the end of the day.
I am happy enough with this light effect concealer pen when I use it as described.
Please note: I may choose to publish this review under this or other pen names.
Lavender has a special place in my heart and memory.
I was six years old when my paternal grandparents died in the 1970s. Many of their household belongings became ours, and some of these items I had never known existed. One fitting into this category was a wooden, floor-standing magazine rack which had a wonderful scent of lavender due to a collection of aged lavender flowers lying in the bottom. My grandmother had several glorious, fragrant lavender bushes in her front garden that she used to pick and place in random locations around her home.
I received this bottle of Yardley English Lavender foam bath from my mother several Christmases ago, as she was familiar with my love of both lavender and baths.
Yardley English Lavender foam bath
Yardley of London is a very old English company. Established in 1770, I have historically associated the brand with little old ladies. English lavender is the company's signature scent. There are many different lavender plants out there, but this company uses Lavandula angustifolia, which is grown for them in the south of England according to Wikipedia.
This bath foam is presented very nicely in a stylish 300ml bottle that has a silver coloured screw top lid. The liquid pours out easily; not very much is required to achieve a foamy bath. (I suppose "foam" is the adult term for the child-like "bubble".) The bath immediately smells of the lovely, delicate lavender. Lavender is known for its calming properties; this is just one of the reasons why I like this bath product.
I find that this moisturising bath foam is just right for my "normal" skin type. It leaves my skin feeling clean and gently moisturised, and not at all dry or oily. Importantly, the bottom of the bath is not too slippery when I am getting out.
I like how my skins feels and smells once I have dried off. The scent doesn't last a particularly long time. That said, I tend to have a bath before bed so it could well last several hours or more but I have never noticed the scent still being present in the morning.
In terms of ingredients that provide the scent, the main ones are lavender leaves and oil, neroli, clary sage, geranium, and sandalwood.
Recommendation and availability
If you have read this far it should be no surprise that I love this product and am happy to recommend it. It is available from the usual places, including directly from Yardley of London for the regular price £6.25. I believe this to be good value for money.
Random side note
I once grew 136 lavender plants from a single packet of seeds! I loved those plants like babies!
T-Zone Revitalising Body Wash
I have tried many body washes, face washes and acne-related products over the past few decades.
One of the most recent I have been using is the T-Zone revitalising body wash. Aimed at thoroughly cleansing without actually drying out the user's skin, the name is a play on words relating to the "T-zone" area of the face as well as its active ingredient "tea-tree oil".
The product is sold in a 150ml flip-top plastic tube that is designed in the usual style of the T-Zone range. That is, the bottle is coloured green and has blue writing on it. The scent is a unisex one and is mainly tea tree, with a slight hint of mint.
This is a daily use product that I like to use on my face, neck and decolletage. I find that I only need a small amount of this clear product, about the size of a ten pence coin. It produces a small amount of lather. The wash is easily removed and I have never noticed any residue.
On the days that I use this wash the ultimate result is that my skin feels very clean but not as though it has been stripped bare of all the natural oils. I have several friends who believe that if you are using one product from the range then you should be using several others to ensure you get the best results for your skin. I don't follow this idea, and am unsure of the evidence that it makes a difference. Either way, I am happy enough with the performance of this body wash on the areas that I have previously mentioned.
This information extracted from the company website.
Aqua,Sodium Laureth Sulphate,Cocamide DEA,Cocamidopropyl Betaine,Sodium Chloride,Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil,Polyquaternium-7,Glycerin,Mentha Arvensis (Peppermint) Leaf Extract,Benzyl Alcohol,Disodium EDTA,Menthol,Sodium Benzoate,Methylchloroisothiazolinone,Methylisothiazolinone,Citric Acid,CI19140,CI42090.
I am happy to recommend this product. My preference is to use this wash several times a week. It is easily obtained from high street pharmacies and is sometimes available at the pound store. The recommended retail price is approximately £4.
Please note. I may choose to publish this review elsewhere under this or other usernames.
n my teenaged years, around two and a half decades ago, the only Radox product I was familiar with - and perhaps the only one that existed - were bath salts.
Fast forward to now and the situation has really changed. Radox has an extensive range of body cleansing products, many of which I first sampled due to my now husband's self-indulgent shopping habits.
The packaging of this shower gel is typical of the Radox brand. The transparent 250ml bottle is designed to remain upright, with the lid at the base. This makes for easy removal of the shower gel.
Designed (according to the company's marketing literature) to re-energise you and give users a pick-me-up when tired, this shower gel has a eucalyptus scent that is unisex. I like it, but imagine that it may be a little overpowering for some users. The scent doesn't last too long, and doesn't seem to interfere with the eau de parfum fragrances I apply soon after my showers.
This gel is no better or worse than many on the market. It lathers nicely, rinses off easily, and provides a transient "zing" sensation which I suppose is meant to wake you up when tired. I describe this as a "zing", but I am aware that some people (such as my sister) feel this is more of a stinging, prickling, uncomfortable sensation.
My skin is neither dried out nor moisturised deeply after use.
That said, I can only confirm my experience that this shower gel does leave my skin refreshed. However, there are many, many shower gels and bathing products on the market and my overall preference is for a scent that is not like this one.
In summary: this is a good enough product that may suit some people, but one that I probably wont be buying again.
NB I may choose to publish this review elsewhere under this or other usernames
Background: why I own this
I received this mango body butter along with two other tubs as part of a Christmas gift. Familiar with the original background and ethics of the Body Shop Company, I was pleased to have this as an addition to my toiletries.
The Body Shop Mango Body Butter
Currently available in a 200ml screw-top plastic pot, my container is the older style 300ml.
The synthetic appearing orange-coloured container becomes more enticing when you see the pot from the top which has a stick-on label of a photograph of a refreshing, healthy-looking mango.
The ingredients are fairly standard and as expected in such a product. They are listed on the company website as:
Aqua (Water) (Solvent/Diluent), Mangifera indica (Mango Seed Oil) (Emollient), Prunus dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil) (Emollient), Theobroma cacao (Cocoa Butter) (Emollient), Glycerin (Humectant), Cyclomethicone (Emollient), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Lanolin Alcohol (Stabiliser/Emollient), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Parfum (Fragrance), Methylparaben (Preservative), Propylparaben (Preservative), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Benzyl Alcohol (Preservative), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Hexyl Cinnamal (Fragrance Ingredient), Linalool (Fragrance Ingredient), Amyl Cinnamal (Fragrance Ingredient), Benzyl Benzoate (Solvent), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Potassium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), Citral (Fragrance Ingredient), Eugenol (Fragrance Ingredient), Farnesol (Fragrance Ingredient), Geraniol (Fragrance Ingredient), Citronellol (Fragrance Ingredient), CI 75120 (Colour).
Note that lanolin is from sheep. It is a wonderfully moisturising product however it is a known allergen.
In use: my experience
I use this body butter infrequently and when I do so I use it on the lower half of my legs, and also my arms, after showering and drying myself.
The twist top is easy to remove and replace. The container has a large opening, so the product is easy to remove.
On opening the tub, the scent of mango is pleasant and not at all overpowering. It is a realistic smell in my opinion.
The off-white butter is the consistency of margarine. It spreads onto my skin easily. It is fast drying and non-staining. On me, the scent lasts a few hours.
I feel this moisturiser is a little too heavy for my hands, so I always wash them after applying this mango body butter to my legs or arms.
I believe that the most a moisturising product can do is to "work" for the duration that it remains in contact with the skin. That is, this product wont dramatically change your life or your skin. However it does improve the dryness and appearance of my legs on the days that I use this product so I am happy enough with it.
I agree with the Body Shop that this product is suitable for very dry skin.
Yes! This is a lovely product that is a good body moisturiser. The packaging is pretty enough for it to be suitable for a gift, in my opinion.
Available from the body shop for an expensive £13.00, it is worth buying as a treat or gift rather than for every day use.
It only seems like yesterday that I was part of the training and development team at Australia's largest contract catering company.
I learned and taught a lot about food handling and food hygiene, including just how "awful" washing with a bar of soap and a nail brush can be.
Over the years I have bought and used many different types, brands, and fragranced hand wash products.
Carex strawberry laces hand wash
This product is sold in a 250ml clear, pump-top plastic bottle that is shaped and styled in the typical Carex manner and style.
The bottle's volume of pink contents can be easily seen at any time . The pump works well and the hand wash is dispensed easily.
The lovely, strawberry fragrance is immediately obvious. I always wet my hands first (as per my medical training) and then use one pump of this wash. This product lathers up nicely and also rinses away easily.
We use this hand wash in our family bathroom, so our four year old daughter uses it more than we do. She has no problems with using it, and she also tells me that she loves that her hands still smell nice for a little while afterwards. I find that the scent lingers for around 20 minutes.
The bottle also states that the hand wash 'kills 99.9% of bacteria' which is good to know (I don''t like hand washes that aren't anti-bacterial). The hand wash recommends 2 pumps per wash but I generally find that 1 is enough for me.
This hand wash treats our hands fine. It is not overly moisturising nor does it dry out our skin.
Recommended if you use hand wash products domestically. I do feel guilty that no refill products are available. This product retails between £1 - £1.50.
Please note. I may choose to publish this review elsewhere under this or other usernames.
This Orla Kiely Geranium shower gel was given to me by a fellow resident when I was living in hospital accommodation. She was moving out and had too many things. I enjoy freebies, so was pleased to take this off her hands despite having never previously tried it before.
This Orla Kiely product
Orla Kiely is a an Irish textile designer who was originally known for her millinery and then handbags before her wider expansion into fashion, stationery, fragrances, bath and body. Her leaf design is ubiquitous and has even been featured on the back of London buses.
This Geranium shower gel is part of the Geranium bath and body collection. The packaging is simple - the bottle is clear and the stick-on label is decorated in the leaf/stem print for which this designer is known. The label does not entirely cover the full circumference of the bottle, meaning that users can visually check exactly how much of the product's volume remains.
The floral scent is, thankfully, not too strong. There are hints of geranium, eucalyptus and sage. In total there are ten essential oils included in this product. In my opinion, the scent is nice enough but a little too florally and sweet for me.
The gel itself is a pale orange colour, it is quite viscous so thankfully doesn't run out of my hands before application.
The gel lathers nicely, rinses off easily and leaves my skin feeling soft, clean but thankfully neither dry nor itchy.
Finally, the company claims that it is free from parabens, sulphates, petrochemicals and artificial colourings.
Recommendation and sources
At £12.00 for 250ml from places like John Lewis, I do think that this gel is expensive for what it is. Clearly you are paying for the name. That said, it is suitable for a gift if the recipient likes sweet fragrances.
Do I recommend it? I am on the fence with this one.
NB: I may choose to publish this review elsewhere under this or other usernames. First published on Ciao
These days I wear around half a dozen different fragrances.
"Her", an Eau de Toilette by French Connection, was a gift from my father-in-law last Christmas. I am unsure why - or even if - he chose this present, however it is a very thoughtful one. Perhaps a little brave of him however.
Her was released in 2004, the first fragrance by FCUK. It seems to be sold by FCUK in Europe and by French Connection in the USA.
The recommended retail price is £33.99 for 100ml EdT. However the 100ml EdT bottle can be purchased at fragrancedirect.co.uk for £9.99.
The RRP for 30ml EdT is £15 however again it can be purchased from as low as £6.99.
This scent comes in a futuristically-styled grey oblong casing with the solution itself stored in a clear central glass compartment. The base has a small flat plate with manufacturing information, and it is upon this that the bottle stands. Or rather is supposed to stand. We have hard surfaces everywhere throughout our home and I am paranoid that it will topple over. I live in an earthquake zone so am extra concerned about this.
The white plastic spray mechanism is at the top and back of the plastic casing, and is flush with this housing. The spray depressor works well enough, although at times I find it to feel like it sticks. I understand that some users have had problems with the spray's broadcast, however it has always worked perfectly for me.
I store this bottle lying down and in a bathroom draw. I would also usually keep it in its box, however this was part of a gift set and the box was thrown on the day of receipt. I have had no problems with leakage.
The advertising literature describes Her as a cheeky and provocative scent, a feminine floral fragrance. It certainly is floral.
The company web site says this fragrance's notes are muguet, water iris, bergamot, barrington flower, peony, jasmine, violet, cedarwood, sandalwood, golden amber, vanilla.
This is a scent that I do not like. It is a somewhat unisex scent that reminds me of men's soap. If I knew any men who preferred to wear women's fragrances, then I'd recommend this to them.
I wear this EdT as a light, casual scent during the daytime. The clear solution does not stain clothes. The scent is very noticeable and somewhat off-putting for the first 10 minutes. Up to this point in time it smells cheap and simply nasty. Thereafter the scent fades quickly to the point that I don't believe anyone would ever notice that I am wearing it unless they were naked next to me and/or actually sniffing my wrist or decolletage.
This fragrance's absence of longevity and average scent deem it to be a poor choice for me. I strongly recommend obtaining a sample or tester prior to purchase.
NB: I may choose to publish this review elsewhere.
I have been wearing this scent for the past decade. I first smelled it on a fellow student one evening, and I was absolutely enthralled!
When my friend told me the name of this fragrance and the name associated with it. I had never even heard of Anna Sui. It transpires that she is a US-based designer who is very well known for her female clothes lines as well as the elaborate designs of her perfume bottles and packaging.
The bottom half of the cardboard box is ocean blue and this fades into a silvery white over the top half of the box. There is a silvery leaf or sea weed pattern which is pretty and tasteful. These colours and style fits well with the bottle.
The perfume bottle is handbag shaped. The ocean blue coloured liquid fragrance is in an opaque, glass section, and then there is a deep neck, handle and depressor. All these are silver, an almost pewter-like appearance although I think it is made of plastic.
This is an oriental vanilla fragrance which reminds me a little of Opium. Launched in 2000, I understand from Fragrantica.com that the notes are as follows:
Top notes: nectarine, mandarin orange, bergamot and bitter orange Middle notes: freesia, peach, chinese peony and rose Base notes: nutmeg, sandalwood, musk, tahitian vanilla, cedar and anise.
I truly adore the smell of Sui Dreams on me. It is a light, fresh vanillary-musk scent. I have only ever had the EDT, so obviously it only lasts a few hours.
Wearing this makes me happy! Or is that keeps me happy?
One word of warning is that the fragrance itself is blue so users need to ensure that none gets on any light-coloured clothing.
This can be a difficult fragrance to find. My current bottle is the 30ml size EDT for which I paid just under twenty pounds at The Perfume Shop in Chapelfield, Norwich. I think that the last three bottles I own have been bought at this chain and the one before that at an independent pharmacy in London.
It is currently listed at Amazon.co.uk for 22-26 pounds with minimal shipping costs.
Recommended? This has been my favourite scent for many years. I highly recommend it, however as fragrances are so personal, it may be that this one is not for you. If you like vanilla scents and in particular Opium, I recommended giving this one a go.
Please note that I have also published this review on Ciao and may choose to do so elsewhere.