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hlb2009

hlb2009
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Member since: 19.12.2010

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    • Tomy Hide 'n' Squeak Eggs / Baby Toy / 31 Readings / 31 Ratings
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      17.02.2014 09:09
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      cute!

      I thought it was about time another of Baby Hope's Christmas presents was reviewed and present better to write a review on than the one that she plays with constantly. These very simple plastic eggs are now a firm favourite of hers (and mine!) and entertain her for hours at a time!

      What are they?

      They are six plastic eggs which slot onto an 'egg box' and break apart. Inside each egg is a colourful chick which squeaks when pressed down. At the bottom of the egg is a shape which slots into the egg box in the hole which has the corresponding shape too.

      What do they look like?

      At first glance when all eggs are in the box and it is closed it looks like the box you might expect to open up to see your soggy old kebab or portion of chips in! it's only when you get closer that you see the box is actually plastic! Once inside the box are the six eggs all lined up like you'd expect to see eggs in the supermarket except these eggs aren't a creamy brown colour with speckles, no, these eggs are white with blue faces printed on them.

      When you look closely you can see that the eggs are cracked in a jig-jagged fashion. When you pull the top off inside are the chicks that are not very chick like! They are green, blue or orange with crazy eyes drawn on them. These eyes match the shell of the egg so it's a little game for your baby to try to match them up although even I find this difficult at times so it is for the slightly older baby!

      The bottom of the shell has a shape cut out- a square, oval, heart, cross etc which slots into the egg box. This shape is the same colour as the shell, perhaps it would have been a bit better to have had the shape coloured in too to make it more appealing.

      Practicalness

      All baby toys should be practical as far as I'm concerned yet so many of them aren't. We have so many toys that say suitable from 6 months plus yet Baby Hope at nearly a year old isn't able to press the buttons or pick them up! This toy, however, is completely practical for her.

      For a start the eggs are small but not too small! They are the size of chicken eggs so they're ideal for little hands to be able to pick up and have a good inspection or chew on!

      They're also very easy to use- the chick doesn't have to be pressed down hard for it to make the cheaping noise instead just a gentle press creates this. Sometimes Hope is able to do this without even trying to which is always very satifying for her!

      The noise isn't a loud one either. I'm being slowly driven mad by beeping toys, screeching toys and all other kinds of noises that manufacturers think that babies must like! These eggs just tweet very quietly, often I don't even hear them which is just fine by me!

      Because they are made from plastic they are very baby friendly, they are able to chew on them and throw them around without you having to worry about cleaning them or them being damanged. Baby Hope likes to throw hers all over the place and they're still completely in tact!

      The only aspect of this toy which isn't very practical is the box. For some reason Hope loves to play with this and bashes it like a drum! however once it's closed she can't open it again and this can annoy her! Also it does close quite easily and there have been times that she has nearly trapped her fingers in it.


      Education

      This toy helps to develop hand-eye co=ordination as babies need to concentrate on how to pick them up from their little slots and then figure out how to put them back or how to take them apart.

      This toy is educational for several reasons one being the learning of shapes which are on the bottom of each egg. Another being the ability to work out how to put the eggs back into the correct space. Another being how to make the chick tweet, how to pull the egg apart and then finally how to match the eyes up of the chick with the shell. It's certainly got more to it than first meets the eye I have noticed!

      My opinion

      This toy cost us £8 and it is worth every penny. I sit Hope on the floor whilst I have my dinner and she will quite happily sit and play with the eggs for a good while. She will get each one out of the box and study them in turn before throwing them around the room! Some of the other toys that she has she wont entertain for very long but this one really does keep her captivated and gives me chance to continue with some things without having to be playing with her.

      I like that they are so simple yet have several aspects to them. I remember seeing these eggs years ago when my cousin was a baby and they're definitely still holding their own, they're brilliant little toys which I really recommend.

      below is a picture of HOpe with one of her eggs!

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        12.02.2014 11:14
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        lovely toys

        We are big fans of Happy Land in our house. Over the last few years we have built up quite a collection as both of our little ones have (and still do) enjoyed playing with these. Happy Land is a lovely invention as you can add to it by buying various sets. This one of farm animals was one which Hope was bought for Christmas one year. It was a lovely gift and has been played with on a regular basis since.

        Happy Land is a collection of toys suitable for toddlers. They vary in what you can get from just single sets of animals and characters to huge great villages and fair grounds. They are all brightly coloured and made from a robust plastic which makes them very popular with toddlers and a great purchase which will withstand the test of time. We have a whole host of these toys including the fairground set, a windmill, a veterinary surgery, fairy car, caravan and more.

        These farm animals were bought by a friend for Hope's Christmas gift about two years ago. I thought it was a lovely gift as they knew how much she enjoyed playing with these toys. In the set there are three different animals and you get two of each- a mummy and a baby. They are a sheep, a cow and a horse. They are not exactly spot on in terms of colours compared to reality but that doesn't matter, everything in Happy Land is bright and colourful but these are not that far off. The sheep is white with grey face and ears and feet with lots of round bobbly wool. The horse is bright orange with brown details and the cow is cream with brown splodges and a big pink nose.

        These animals are chunky and cute. We have a farm set of Happy Land so these compliment that set nicely. We do already have a sheep from that set but that doesn't matter, it means there are more animals to put in the pen.

        Hope enjoyed playing with these a lot, she would use her imagination to play with them and would make up little stories which were lovely to listen to and watch. She also used to make the noises that they would make and it always resulted in lots of laughter. Now her little brother plays with these a lot and they are a perfect size for his little hands.

        We have had these for just over 2 years and they are still as good as new, no paint has come away despite being played with a lot. This is a lovely compliment to Happy Land sets and can be played with alone too.

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        • Lamaze Octivity Time / Baby Toy / 21 Readings / 21 Ratings
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          09.02.2014 19:55
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          so cute

          Originally posted on Ciao.

          I bought this for my 4 month old daughter and she loves it!

          It's a brightly coloured soft-toy octopus with a different 'activity' on each of it's tentacles. It's bright colours help attract her attention and the different textures on the tentacles also help her to interact and stay focussed which is important for her development.

          The different activities include a spinning star fish, a teether (which doubles as a clip which will attach it to a pram/cot/high chair), different materials, squeeks and crinkly noises as well as differen pictures.It's a nice way to introduce different textures and noises to a little baby. It's nice to watch her look at it and show reactions when she makes it make a noise. It's nice and soft and so bright I'm not surprised she likes to look at it and reaches out for it. it's helping to encourage her to move more as she tries to get him.

          It says it's suitable from 3 months but I don't see why it can't be useful for earlier as it is so bright in colour it would be perfect for newborns who can only see short distances and bright colours only.
          It's really child friendly as it's soft and fun and interesting. It's surface wash only as are most kiddies toys. It's smiling face is really cute and definitely has won my baby over! She loves him! It was a great purchase!

          It cost me £11.99 and I bought it from John Lewis. I know they are also available online at kiddicare and other websites.
          Just a quick review

          on this item for a change! But it's fairly self explanatory! Oh and another positive it doesn't need batteries! hurrah for a toy which doesn't mean me stealing the batteries out of the tv remote!!

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            03.02.2014 13:08
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            lovely toy

            When Baby Hope was first born we were bought allsorts of gifts and this Fisher Price Silly Caterpillar was one of them. I put it aside at first as I didn't think that a newborn baby would really be able to play with a toy and not a plastic one at that.

            After about 1 month of Baby Hope being at home from hospital I found it very difficult to entertain her. All she wanted to do was feed all day long and would get very clingy. Whilst in her moses basket she wasn't at all interested in looking at the teddies hanging down from the hood and I wondered if it was because they were very pale in colour so wouldn't stand out.

            I decided to get Mr Caterpillar out to see if he would help entertain her. Hope would often cry whilst being changed and so I would hang Mr Caterpillar over her so she could be distracted by him. At first she didn't pay any attention but then I squeeked his nose and she would stop crying instantly and stare at him. Every time his nose squeeked she would give a grin and eventually giggle.

            Mr Caterpillar is now a firm favourite. Hope loves to grab him herself now although she is 9 months old she still hasn't been able to squeek him for herself but she does love to play with him.

            Mr Caterpillar is a plastic toy made by Fisher-Price. He has 4segments to his body, these segments are round disks in bright colours. The top one is his face which includes a squeeky bright red nose that stands out against the green plastic of his face and has a big smile. Fabric links his face down to the next segment which is a yellow disc with a mirror in on one side and a black and white zigzag pattern on the next. The next segment down is a yellow disk with black and white patterns on both sides. The bottom segment is a blue disk with textures on it suitable for babies to explore their sense of touch.

            Coming from the middle segments are little fabric legs too which are really good as it gives babies a chance to explore different materials.

            What is great about this caterpillar is the fact that it is so bright. It catches the baby's attention straight away. When Babies are first born they can only see black and white- so the black and white patterns on the segments are very important and then they can only see very bold colours so the different coloured features of this toy is ideal.

            The caterpillar can be attached to a cot or a pram as it has a link on the top which is flexible enough to hang onto something.

            This toy is very light so it's easy for babies to hold themselves to play with and the segments are small enough for babies to grip. Quite often with toys they are too bulky or heavy for young babies to be able to play with properly but this caterpillar is really ideal for babies from birth and the design of it is superb.

            Because it's plastic it is very easy to clean by just wiping with a baby wipe or giving a good clean in soapy water so even though Mr Caterpillar is played with every day he still looks as good as new.
            The fact that he is plastic means he can be a teether toy too, the segments could double up as a teether toy although Baby Hope doesn't gnaw on him I imagine that many other babies would.

            I definitely recommend this product as it has been so useful in helping to distract baby Hope when she was tiny and now is one of her favourite toys. She likes to explore all the different segments of Mr Caterpillar and wheneve she heas his nose making a noise she giggles and now claps!
            All in all this is a geat little toy suitable from birth plus.

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              02.02.2014 09:31
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              Loved it

              I finished reading this book late last night and just had to write a review about it today. Sometimes I leave it a few days before writing my reviews but I enjoyed this book so much I wanted to write the review today whilst it's all still completely fresh. I chose this book because it was quite cheap on Kindle (£2.50) and there were over 1,500 reviews with the overall ranking being 4.5. The blurb sounded interesting so that was enough for me to download it! I hadn't heard of the author before but I certainly will be looking into more of her books now.

              === The story ===
              There are some themes that run through this book and these are secrets and families. When we first begin this book the opening chapter introduces us to our first family. This is the family of Cecilia who is living a rather perfect life. She is married to John-Paul and has three daughters. She holds tupperware parties and prides herself in her ability to be very organised. She is well known in the community as is her husband who volunteers for all kinds of activities but then Cecilia finds a letter written by her husband and on the envelope it states that it is for her, but for her to open only after he has died. She tries to forget about it but can't and it is the finding of this letter that changes her life and that of her family and many people around her. In the next chapter we are introduced to another family, that of Tess and Will. This chapter begins with another secret being revealed as Will confides in Tess that he is having an affair, with her best friend and cousin Felicity. Tess and Will have a very different life to that of Cecilia and John-Paul, they are more reserved, they keep themselves to themselves but suddenly they are linked as they too have a secret. Tess decides that the only way Will will get 'it out of his system' is if she goes to stay with her mother with their son and so she flies to Sydney that very night with their son. The third chapter introduces us to the final family involved within this story. This is the family of Rachel who is being told by her son and daughter in law that they are moving to New York and taking their 2 year old son with them. Rachel is crushed by this news but hides it, she asks all the right questions whilst inside her internal dialogue is far from being polite. Rachel has suffered in her life, her daughter Janie was murdered when she was 17 and the murderer never found but she has a feeling it is Connor, a man who works at the school where she is a receptionist...

              === Writing style ===
              When I first began this book I thought it sounded great as there were lots of elements of humour in it that reminded me a bit of a Sophie Kinsella or a Marian Keyes book which made it quite light and it meant I could relate to some of the characters rather well. Cecilia was a very likeable character, her wit and musing about her husband was enjoyable to read, she would criticise the fact he would always lose his keys and it really made me smile as that is just like my own husband! I then became a little confused as the next two chapters introduced us to two different families which seemed completely unrelated but then over the course of the book these families were linked and interacted and it made it all clear. It was actually a really good idea to introduce them so separately like this. It meant that you could get a really good understanding of where these three main women were coming from, what their backgrounds were, what secrets were going through their heads about husband's letters, husband's affairs, their son's choice to move away and so forth. I thought that it was a really well structured book.

              The story actually takes place over the course of a week although it seemed like longer than that because I really felt as though I had got to know the characters well so it seemed impossible that they had only been interacting for a week! It was full of action though, not in a really fast-paced way but in a way which had you turning the page and wanting to carry on to the next chapter whenever you got to the end of one. The chapters always finished with me thinking 'oooo what did she do??' There was an element of mystery throughout it all as you'd want to know what was going to happen and it was this that made the book so readable. The amount of description and narrative was just right. I find some books don't get this balance right and it can really hold up a story or make it too scatty but this one was well balanced as the descriptions were enough to add to the story without it being too much and the conversations flowed well and felt very real.

              Once I got to the end of the book it made me think about my own life, about the secrets that people must have around me and whether it actually matters or not that we don't know what they are. It is always the sign of a good book if it leaves you thinking about your own reality and feeling positive about it.

              === Opinion ===
              I really have enjoyed reading this book. I like to read books that are not too intense but that do have a decent story line which keep me interested. I like books which have humour in too but not forced humour which feels false and interrupts the flow of the story and so this one is completely spot on. This book really gets you thinking about how one event can lead to so many different paths being taken, how it can change the course of not just your own life but many, many others too.

              When I downloaded this book I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was, I find it rare to read a book which really leaves you thinking so I have been really surprised by this book and will now be recommending it at my next book club. There is plenty going on, there is not just one story line that you follow but those of three families so the story is full of meat which makes this such a good book. I really enjoyed a book I read before this but when I compare them I realise that I prefer this one because it has so much more going on in it. Despite there being so much happening in this book it isn't confusing and I think this is because we are introduced to the individual families at the beginning so we can get to know them first individually which helps with the story.

              I think that the writing style is something special. There isn't anything fancy like lots of going back in time, but the author does project forward which is a really interesting style of writing that I haven't seen before. This is where she says how things would have been like '... if Janie had have lived she would be on her second marriage by now...' and that is what gets you thinking about things. Instead of it just being 'fate' and that your decisions are already predetermined it suggests that another life could have been.

              I really like the sensitive nature with which this book is written. There are some very sensitive subjects talked about such as the death of a child and considering whether or not to get a divorce and it's really nice to see them dealt with in a very sensitive manner with a little bit of humour to lift it too. I like how it suggests that families are not perfect and they have to work through problems that they encounter in order to move forward and that it is okay to have secrets and troubles, it doesn't always have to be a negative.

              I highly recommend this book for it is an enjoyable one which tackles some issues whilst having a very good storyline with many themes running through it. It really makes you want to keep turning pages so I recommend this to you.

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                01.02.2014 09:00
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                Great book

                I bought a blender recently and the aim of it was to make lots of healthy foods. I really wanted to start making soups from scratch so that I can control exactly what goes into it and make the most of the fresh fruit and vegetables that we have. Since I have had this machine I haven't used it as much as I would like to and mainly because I haven't got many recipes for soups. I was bought this book recently by my Mum and it is a great buy, it has so many options in it that it's really inspiring and the soups that I have made from it are delicious and easy to make too!


                Being healthy

                The reason I bought my blender earlier this year was to try to eat more of my five a day. I absolutely love vegetables but get bored of having the same things so wanted to have more variety. I also wanted to try and get more vegetables into the children without them really knowing about it so wanted to make more sauces and things. The good thing about soups is that they vary so much so some of them are healthy and others aren't! Some can be like a whole full meal with all of the food groups you need whilst others are lighter. I always think that with soup you can get exactly what you're after and when I'm trying to be healthy it is the best option for me, there's something about it that makes it very filling and satisfying. I like to think about how healthy it is to blend together lots of different vegetables which will all have their own special qualities so for me soup really is a great food to have whilst being healthy.


                The Soup Bible

                This book I have had for about a month now and I have used it several times and know that in January I will be using it regularly once the healthy eating has started again. The book has over 250 pages and is soft bound. I would prefer it to be spiral bound as I find that they are easier to use. This book really does not lie flat, it keeps flicking back closed when you're trying to follow a recipe which isn't very practical so the book can get messy when I'm trying to hold it open with sticky hands!
                Included in this book:

                Introduction
                Light and refreshing soups
                Rich and creamy soups
                Winter warming soups
                Hearty lunch and supper soups
                One pot meal soups
                Special occasion soups
                Index.

                Now at first glance it looks nice and laid out but when I actually looked at the titles of the chapters I didn't know which soups would be under where so if I was looking for a specific soup I wouldn't know which category it would be which is why the index is really important!

                The Introduction is really well written. It provides tips about the right way to garnish a soup, a bit about soup around the world but the most important part for me is the big about stocks. For me this is essential as I do not like to buy stock cubes as they tend to be stuffed full of 'flavours' which are not listed so you have no idea what you're eating so for me it is brilliant to have recipes on how to make your own stock. These stocks include vegetable, fish, chicken, meat, Chinese cooking and Japanese cooking. This is so very useful to have, I'm very grateful for it! It is laid out in a way which is easy to follow too. There are also a few recipes for garnishes like dumplings, croutons and so forth. Out of all of the cookery books I have, this is the most useful introduction I have come across.


                Soup, soup, soup!

                Well this book is stuffed full of soup recipes which is fantastic! I love soup and my husband likes it but tends to be fussy, he won't have something which just tastes of vegetables, he wants something that feels like a proper meal and so this book is brilliant as I don't struggle with finding something that will suit us both. Examples of soups within this book include miami chilled avocado soup, hot and sour prawn soup, chicken and almond soup, broad bean and rice, provencal vegetable, bouillabaisse, hot and sour, creamy tomato and many, many more. As you can see from the few I have listed there is a big variety whether you want something creamy or oriental or typically British there is something in here for you.
                The recipes are very, very well laid out. The majority of them take up one page but a few take up just half whilst others take up a full double page spread. Each recipe is laid out well so you can see what it looks like and what to do. The best bit? Every recipe has at least one photo which accompanies it! I love recipe books that include photos for each recipe otherwise I tend to overlook them a little bit which may be a bit closed minded of me but I do tend to be swayed by photography!

                The recipe tends to have a little introduction before it begins such as where it is popular and how it has changed over the years and so forth. There is always a finished picture which looks lovely and very appealing! The recipe tells you how many it serves and lists ingredients in terms of table spoons, litres, pints and soups so however you measure things you will be able to with this book! It tends to mainly be in sizes such as 'half a cabbage' rather than weight so it makes it easier (for me anyway!) to cook and just throw it all i! The recipes talk you through what to do in numbered paragraphs. There are often photographs accompanying the steps to show you what it means. These aren't really necessary but they do make the book more appealing and do break up the text nicely. I think there is just enough level of information, it doesn't tell you too much but it is obvious what you have to do. At the end it will tell you whether you serve it with anything (optional) which is useful too.


                My experience with this book

                When I have been using this book I have really enjoyed it. I have read through it regularly and have chosen so many different recipes that I intend to make. The problem with this book? It is so hard to choose! There are simply lots of soups to choose from so I can't wait to work through them all! Some of the ingredients are ones I haven't worked with before like lemon grass but when I've used them in this book I haven't been afraid to as it talks you through what you need to do. The book doesn't always stay open so I try to hold it open as much as possible with various items! I have found it easy enough to follow the recipes and haven't struggled with them at all. I am new to making soups and it's great to see how straight forward it is. They can take a while but it isn't complex. The soups I have made have turned out lovely, these include broad bean and rice soup which was really hearty and made my husband enjoy it as he likes to feel like he's had a meal rather than 'just liquid' so this was a big hit with him! I have also made, cream of spring onion which I actually made for myself and my Mum and it was lovely, I hadn't had it before and now I definitely will be having it more often! The other soup I have made is roasted tomato and pasta soup which my husband again would eat as it felt more like a meal for him! This was a big success with the children too. They really enjoyed it. All of the soups I've made have proven very easy to make.


                Conclusion

                This is a brilliant book! I am so glad that I was bought it as it is helping me to find new recipes for in the new year when I will be eating more healthily after Christmas! The ingredients can be unusual if you choose an unusual soup but there are plenty of options within the book with ingredients that you will have in your cupboard. I love the variety, I love that I can flick through and find a soup which will please both myself and husband. The inspiration you get whilst looking through here is great, I didn't even know there were so many different options! I always find about three or four that I like the look of whenever I pick this one up. Usually with recipe books I find about 3 recipes that I like the look of and that's it but it's so much more with this, it's great. The layout of the book is good and clear and the pictures are brilliant, it's always good to have photographs with each recipe. This really is a Bible as it says. I am really looking forward to the new year as I will be trying out lots of these and enjoying getting more of my five a day to try to be as healthy as possible but without compromising on taste. One thing I have realised since I have had this book is that homemade soup tastes so much nicer than the ones you can just buy from the supermarket. Whilst this is cooking it smells lovely which really adds to the taste, it's so enjoyable. This is a brilliant book for anyone looking for soups in general but also those who didn't realise that they could be so fulfilling, some of them really do feel more like a casserole so it's fantastic! The soups I have made from this have all turned out great and were easy enough to make, this book has definitely helped me to learn about making soups whereas previously I didn't know where to begin! I highly recommend it.

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                • Witch Hazel / Homeopathic Remedies / 15 Readings / 15 Ratings
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                  30.01.2014 20:21
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                  Very useful to have in.

                  I have always had Witch Doctor in the house. When I was little if I had a bite or a sting my Mum would always give me a little bit of Witch Doctor gel to put on it and it would soothe it right away so because of that I've always made sure I've had some in the house incase we need it.

                  You can buy Witch Doctor in various forms but we always have gels so it can be applied easily. The one I have is about £4 for a 35gram tube and it's worth every penny. It lasts a long time too, I'm not sure if it has a 'throw away date' on it as we always just keep using it and it still works.

                  Witch Doctor helps to soothe irritated skin and helps to prevent infection. The one that I has contains: Ethanol, Propylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Disodium Edetate, Menthol, Lauric Acid Diethanolamide, E142, Witch Hazel Essence. so it isn't stuffed full of ingredients, it makes a change to see a health product that contains less than 20 ingredients. It has 81.5% w/w gel which is apparently a high quantity so you can expect good results.

                  It comes in a squeezy tube that can stand on it's lid which helps for when it is beginning to run out as it's easier to dispense. The lid is a screw cap and easy enough to put on and off. The gel is quite thick but it comes out of the hole quite easily with a little squeeze. It has a slight smell, I can't quite place it but it's a little bit medicinal but not too strong.

                  The effect of applying this is instant. My daughter suffers from eczema and sometimes I use this to help soothe her itching and she says it helps right away. Some other medicines sting when you first put them on her but this doesn't and we do find that it does help to stop the itching although it doesn't clear up the eczema properly. I used this this evening when I hurt my toe, I don't really know what I did to it but the result was that my toe has felt like it's burning so I put some of this on and it's cooled it down right away and it now is much more comfortable.

                  You can use this to help with lots of skin conditions like bites, bruises, burns, irritations and others. It really helps to cool it down and take away itching. I used to find it a God send when I was little and I would get insect bites, it really does help.

                  This is a medicine cabinet must have, highly recommend.

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                    30.01.2014 12:02
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                    great toy

                    I bought this product because I was looking for something which will help entertain my baby when I put her in her cot. I have tried putting on music or her mobile but it just doesn't seem to stimulate her enough to entertain her until she falls asleep. She would lose concentration quickly with the mobile and so I looked around the different baby stores trying to find something else which may do the trick!

                    This is a toy which you strap to the side of the cot and is covered in fabric so isn't hard like every single one of the other toys I found which was slightly similar. This one is much more baby friendly as it's softer. It is a keyboard that you strap to the side of the cot and the notes react when the baby touches them. The touch doesn't even have to be hard or with much force so it is really easy for them to make sounds and distracts them. When kicked the different shaped lights flash and play music. There are 10 different songs which is another benefit! So many children's toys just play the one or maybe two or three and they always drive me mad with the same tune going on and on! This one is good with having a variety.

                    It can be adjusted to play notes like a piano with notes sounding chords too, say letters of the alphabet depending upon which shape they press as each shape has a letter written on it, drum beats, make animal noises and plays music. It doesn't haev to be used on the cot, it can be laid flat so if your child is sitting up or toddling around it can interact with it this way instead.

                    It is very bright and colourful with animals, shapes, patterns and letters on it so it's very attractive which is what babies need. So many nursery items are now in very neutral colours so as to blend in and look good but what babies need are bright stimulating colours and this does just that!

                    There is an automatic shut down where it will stop working after a certain amount of time has lapsed (assumes that your baby is asleep) so this saves on the battery life which is always useful as I'm forever buying new batteries for toys now!

                    It is easy to clean as the fabric cover is detachable and washing machine friendly!
                    It is a really good interactive toy, it is suitable from birth and it will last for a good time as it has the different settings which will be more suitable for when your child is slightly older. It is educational as it teaches different letters and basics of music and animal sounds. It's attractive and fun for the babies and so definitely worth it's price i think.

                    Oh and another positive- there is a volume control! This is something I miss on some of my baby's other toys!!

                    The price of this is approximately £59.99 which seems pretty expensive but when you think how long your baby will use it for it is a bargain... a bumbo seat may only be used for 2/3 months and that costs £40 whilst this can be used for a long time from birth to school age!

                    It's available online at Amazon and from toy stores and baby shops such as mothercare.
                    I really recommend this if you're looking for something to make bedtime fun and enjoyable.

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                  • Maxi Cosi EasyBase / Child Car Seat / 24 Readings / 24 Ratings
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                    29.01.2014 11:50
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                    Great base

                    When you are looking for a car seat for your newborn it can be really difficult to decide which one to go for as they are all so different in terms of price but all essentially do the same thing... that is the case anyway until you look closely and you realise that actually car seats differ a lot in what they do.

                    The car seat that we chose for baby Hope before she was born was the Maxi Cosi and the reason why we chose it was because it was the safest on the market. Now I can see that it has another benefit to it too- it's actually the most practical on the market too.

                    The majority of car seats fit into your car by the seat belt securing them in place which means that every time you want to take the car seat out of the car you have to start to unfasten the seat belt and disconnect the car seat like this and then once you return to your car with the seat the whole installation programme begins again. This may not seem like that big a deal but wouldn't it be easier to just be able to lift the car seat out like you would with your bag or the pushchair or something?

                    Well this Easybase makes this possible! Instead of installing the car seat to your car you install these base and the car seat slots into it. This means you can just lift the car seat out as and when you need it and it is the base which you leave behind in the car.

                    The base comes separately to the car seat which seems a little odd considering that you can't attach the car seat to your car any other way but I guess perhaps some people only want the car seat to use along with their pushchair or they may not need a base etc but it does seem strange that there are no options to buy both together. The car seat cost around £110 and the base almost matched that at £80 so when buying this you are looking at quite an expensive item especially when it is only used for about 9 months.

                    The base is very solid and rather heavy which is obviously for safety reasons and it isn't the sort of thing you will be carrying around with you so I don't see this as being a problem. The only time I Have had to move it was from taking it from one car to another so it's never involved a huge walk whilst carrying this.

                    It is made from very tough plastic and metal. The base is moulded out into the shape of the seat so it's obvious just from looking at it where abouts the seat should fit. You put the base onto the chair of your car and then you ensure that the metal leg fits in the chair well of your car. This secures it in place and the foot of this leg can be adjusted so that it is at the correct angle. once it is in the right position the little window on this foot will display a green circle. If it's in the wrong position it will show red so it is easy for you to see if you have it in the right place or not.

                    The base then gets secured by you threading the seatbelt through the base, through several twists and turns, plugging the seat belt into the socket and then pulling the excess belt as tightly as possible before securing it in place with the blue lever. This can be a bit complicated the first time you do it and even the second and third time but it is actually quite simple and you do get used to it. I was shown how to do it in store and then again by my husband once we got home and after a few attempts it became easier to do. This isn't the kind of process you'll be having to use very often anyway so although it's fiddly it's not something you'll be having to keep doing.

                    The base is then in place and ready for your car seat. The car seat slots into the base and when in the right position it shows a green circle in the window on the base again indicating that you are in the right place. To remove the seat you just pull out a level and lift the seat up so you can carry your baby in the seat out of your car without having to go through the whole installation programme again because the base is left behind.

                    In my opinion this base is a fantastic idea. It is great to be able to lift the car seat out without any bother, friends of mine had car seats that had to be disconnected each time and it would add time onto their journies anywhere and as well as time it was also disruptive for the baby who would wake up whilst the car seat was being banged around and released from the car. It really is extremely useful and I would never consider buying a different kind of car seat again as this base makes life a lot easier.

                    Although it is expensive, heavy and a little difficult at first to install I still give this base 5 stars because I can't think of a better design idea myself and it really was extremely useful.

                    It is important that when you buy this you get someone to show you how to fit it properly and that when you do fit it you check that it is as stiff as possible. There are some cars that this base won't fit into so ensure that you check it out first.

                    They are available from Halfords, John Lewis, babies r us, Mothercare and other stores for around £75 which is expensive but it's worth every penny.

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                  • Vtech Tiny Touch Phone / Baby Toy / 27 Readings / 27 Ratings
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                    28.01.2014 16:55
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                    fun for babies

                    Since having my daughter I have noticed how obsessed she is with technology! She is always leaning over to try to press buttons on my laptop, likes to grab my phone, likes to play with the television remote so for her birthday I bought her her very own mobile phone and although she does enjoy playing with it- she still prefers mine!

                    The phone is made by V-tech who make many baby toys including laptops and night lights. The other V-tech products we have we really rate highly so when looking for a mobile for Hope we thought we would give this one a go especially as it looked as though it did a bit more than other mobile phone toys.


                    What does it look like?

                    To be fair it doesn't really look like a mobile, well not a mobile that I'd want to carry around with me anyway! It's built like a brick- takes me back to the 90s! It has a blue plastic back, a white section where the buttons are and a big yellow plastic area where the screen is. Next to the screen is the aeriel which is red. There are the buttons on the keypad these are 3 different colours and 3 different shapes. They have white numbers on them. The star and the has key are different shapes to the numbers as well as a different colour. There is a big button below the screen- essentially the 'call' button and on the side is the on/off switch. To look at the toy it does look very interesting and fun with all the different colours and shapes and when it is on it lights up too! So it is very interesting! On the screen there are three pictures which are displayed- whichever picture is on the screen shows which setting the phone is on.


                    Settings

                    Yes this phone is more complicated than just pressing buttons and watching them light up! There are three different settings that this phone has to offer. These settings include:
                    Numbers
                    Shapes
                    Music.

                    The settings do different things. To chose which setting you would like you press the large button beneath the screen. This is quite stiff but my daughter at 13 months is able to press it herself although she did struggle at first. A picture with numbers appearing in the screen shows the number section. This involves the phone telling the baby which number to find "Find the number 1" the number 1 then lights up to try to encourage the baby to press it. If the baby presses correctly it will say so, if not then instead of being negative and telling the baby they are wrong it just says the name of that number instead.The shape setting is similar to the number one, it tells the baby which shape to press but because there are three of each shape it also says which colour too "Press the green circle" when the baby presses this button the phone also says a fact about the button "A circle is round" or "a triangle has three points". I quite like this setting!

                    The music setting plays different tunes depending upon which button your baby presses. These tunes are all typical baby-related tunes such as twinkle twinkle. There is also a very catchy, ever so annoying song which plays when the phone is first turned on "Call your friends mummy too! You can ask how do you do..." And so it continues and then rings around your head all day!

                    The phone

                    Whilst playing with this phone if nothing has been done, no buttons pressed for a while it will speak away to itself, it will sometimes just randomly ring or it will ask "Are you there?" Random buttons light up and flash too. I quite lik ethis element, I like that it tries to keep the baby's attention and it does also remind me that it's still on!

                    After a while if nothing happens and no interaction takes place the phone will shut down by saying "Bye bye!"

                    This phone is very quiet. When I tried it in the shop it was very loud and on the box it claimed that the actual volume was much less... and when I did eventually get it out of the box and remove the little bit of plastic in the back it did drop in volume dramatically. It was so quiet in comparison that I wondered if I had broken it somehow but now, it is just a quiet toy! Although I like that it isn't a noisy toy compared to others it does seem a shame that there is no volume control so I can't have it any louder should I want it to be. It is very quiet and sometimes if I'm busy cooking or making other noise I don't think Hope can hear it very well. It definitely isn't like a typical baby toy which is nice and noisy to grab their attention!

                    Packaging

                    The phone comes in a big blue box with the ability for it to be played with whilst in the box. It then is secured in with lots of little bits of wirey plastic which took me about 10 minutes to struggle to get out. I did lose my patience trying to free the phone from the box and Hope wasn't at all interested by the time it came to me managing to get it out! I definitely think that the packaging let this phone down, it would be easier to have it in a sealed box so that the plastic wires are not necessary.


                    My opinion

                    This is a very robust toy as it's made from sturdy plastic. It has lots of different settings which makes it very educational as well as fun which I always think is really useful for a baby. If I am spending money on a toy I like for it to do more than one thing which this certainly does. Although it is bigger than a mobile phone per se it is still a good enough size to pop in your bag if you need to take a toy along with you too. Even though it is quiet I think its a good toy, it doesn't dominate the room so if you were in public or at a gathering, your baby could play with this without attracting too much attention to it!
                    This toy is now one of HOpe's favourites but she still does insist on playing with my phone if she can get her hands on it! I'd like to see V-tech make a toy mobile that is a boring black colour so it is more like a normal phone so she'd get more enjoyment out of it then!

                    I bought this from Wilkinson's for £10 and I have seen it on Amazon for something similar. I think that it is great value for money and do definitely recommend it to you. Five stars!

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                    • More +
                      27.01.2014 08:37
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                      my kids love it

                      I came on to write a review about this toy having spent a lot of time watching my children (1 and 3) playing with this endlessly for the last few months. I was surprised to see the only other review of this product is one which scores it just one star. In my opinion this toy is great and my children love it and so it's getting 5 stars from both myself and them.

                      Vtech have so many great toys for children, the majority of them are like this; all singing all dancing which I used to hate but now actually quite like as they do seem to keep my children very entertained! We have various products from Vtech including a laptop, phone, a plane and many more, when we saw this Pop and Play Elephant in Tesco we couldn't resist it. It retails at £25 but it was on offer for £15 so we really couldn't say no to it! One great thing about it; it comes with batteries in it thank goodness!
                      Setting it up

                      Now this toy came in a rather large box but it wasn't actually excessive compared to the size of the toy but it did take a while to get it out... scissors were required for cutting out plastic tags keeping it in place and the box seemed to have plenty of sellotape on it which meant it did take about 10 minutes to free it from packaging but then it was really straight forward. You just have to snap on a piece of plastic to the top of the water shoot and then away you go it's ready to be played with! So compared to many other toys we have had this was relatively easy to set up which is good, I hate it when it takes a long time and the children grow bored before it's even out the box!

                      What it does

                      The main point of this toy is to pop out balls which creates fun! It comes with 4 different coloured balls and once you turn it on you can put these balls inside the elephant, you can do this by dropping them down the spout or by having them roll around the spot, down a hole and down into the trunk... but be warned! There is a hole and if this hole isn't closed up the balls will fall out onto the plastic keys below! If you move the red bird along it will close the hole up so the balls can go straight into the elephant's trunk. When the balls go into the elephant the music plays and it announces... "One... two... Three...go!" and the balls begin to pop up out of the top of the toy. This results in my little one laughing and cheering and my slightly older one frantically putting them back in again! This is the point in which some people have reviewed it negatively, they say that a child can peer into the trunk and end up with a ball hitting them... yes they can! My daughter has been but she didn't get hurt, they are only very light and she just found it amusing and had a giggle and anyway since this happened she has kept her face away from the hole!
                      As well as popping out balls it also does more. As I mentioned the balls can fall through a hole and onto keys. These keys are different colours and have different animals on them. The keys are the same colours as the balls and the balls fit perfectly on top of each key. If you press one it will either play music (depending upon what setting you have on) or will read out the name of the animal and make that animal's sound. These get pretty much ignored by my little ones though, they just love playing with the balls and watching them pop! The elephant also shouts out directions such as 'twist my ear!' which doesn't actually cause anything to happen but it does give your child something else to do.

                      Education

                      There are lots of educational elements to this toy. When we bought it we chose it because it looked fun and then once the children started playing with it I kept seeing more and more ways in which it would help them both learn things. They can learn basic coordination skills as they press buttons, put balls in the hole, turn the ears and push the bird along. They can also learn much more complex coordination skills as the slightly older child tries to catch the balls when they come out. Hope is 3.5 and she loves trying to do this so even though we originally bought this toy for our one year old she still gets lots of enjoyment out of it too. Other education elements is that the keys have different numbers, animals and colours on so that children can learn about these things. The balls are the same colours as the keys so children can learn to match up the balls with the keys. They can also learn about things such as how if you open the hole by moving the bird along, the ball can fall through but if you close the hole it will roll down into the elephant's mouth. The various songs it plays can help children learn too as they sing about numbers and so forth. This is a good way to teach children without them realising it! I had no idea it would have so many benefits and every time they play with it I do think what a good toy it is!

                      Entertainment

                      This is very entertaining! We bought it for our baby's 1st birthday and it has to be said that Hope's friends (3 years old) love playing with it too so it's given lots of fun for two different ages so far. They love putting the balls in, trying to catch them, guessing when they will pop out and then frantically putting them back in so they can keep popping out again! It has caused lots of laughter and great fun. I haven't seen a toy be such a huge success before, we have five children crowded round it for a good twenty minutes! It is noisy, children love noisy toys so it seems! They love it! It does do different things with the keys and twisting the ear, moving the bird to cover up the hole and so forth but really it's the balls and the popping action which creates the fun.

                      Conclusion

                      We bought this from Tesco for £15 and I think that that is a fantastic price to pay for a toy which has been so well loved already. It is fantastic quality, very robust plastic which is easy to clean and sturdy enough to be played with by heavy handed toddlers. It is suitable for young children as there are no small parts. It has been very entertaining for my children and also taught them some things too about colours, animals and trying to catch! I think the only negative I can really think up is that it is rather noisy and there isn't any volume control which would be better. It is quite big so does take up quite a bit of space but was very easy to put together when we first bought it. I really recommend it as it has provided lots of fun and laughter so far.

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                      • Taggies Take Along Taggie / Baby Toy / 24 Readings / 24 Ratings
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                        26.01.2014 09:19
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                        we like

                        I am a huge Taggie fan and have bought many different toys from the Taggie range for my baby.

                        Taggies were developed to help babies learn about different textures and to work as a comforter with a difference. The original Taggie is a square of soft fabric with lots of tagies around the outside- the tags are made from loops of ribbon which all differ in colours, textures and patterns. Babies love to feel different textures and often like to stroke the labels of their toys and so the taggie is perfect as it is full of lots of different labels.

                        The taggie take-along- toy is a Triangle-shaped fabric which is brightly coloured and squeaks. It is designed to clip onto prams and car seats as it comes on a loop. This makes it able for babies to be entertained by taggies whilst being on the move and without them having the ability to throw them out of the pram and thus leading to the toy being dirty and needing a wash.

                        The Taggie Triangle can come in different patterns, I havea bright pink one which really attracts my daughter's attention and the different loops along the three sides are all different colours, they are blue and red and stripy some are silky and some are cord.

                        The brightness of this toy is great, my baby is always staring at it and starting to grab at it. She likes to hold it in her fist as we walk around. It's really good because I don't have to worry about her kicking it onto the floor or it getting lost. The squeak is just an added bonus, she hasnt worked out how to squeak it herself yet but she is only 6 months old. It's a good size as it's not too big so it can fit in her fist with ease and is only very light so isn't at all heavy for her to lift. Also, with it being soft it's very baby friendly as it doesn't have the ability to hurt her should she manage to hit herslef in the face with it like she does withs o many of her plastic toys!

                        The taggie is wipe-clean only and so far I've only had to clean it the once and it came out fine after a good scrub with some soapy water and a hang on the washing line. Other taggie toys which I have are also wipe clean only and they have been cleaned many times and look as good as new so I think this too will be the same so it's very durable which is what you need with a baby's toy!
                        Taggies are aimed at babies so suitable from birth.

                        This triangle cost me £5.99 from John Lewis' which I think is good value for money. They are available from shops like John Lewis and independent toy stores/nursery shops. I haven't ever seen the Taggie range in big stores like Mothercare or Babies r Us. They are also available online from amazon and also Taggies.com

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                        • More +
                          25.01.2014 17:31
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                          cute

                          This is one of the toys which Hope was bought for Christmas and she has since played with it a lot and I think that we will be buying for more from this range for her birthday.

                          What is Happy Land?

                          Happy Land are a series of toys made by The Early Learning Centre. They're aimed at children from 12 months to about four years of age and are great ways to help your children to use their imaginations. They are little plastic, friendly-faced characters including people and animals and they have little houses, shops and vehicles. Each set is a particular theme and there is usually something for most budgets from about £8 right up to over £45. Some of the sets available include:
                          Ferris wheel
                          Windmill
                          Space ship
                          Digger
                          Village set
                          The Vet set

                          This vet set is what Hope was bought for Christmas and this was apparently because on the box it says 'woof woof' which is one of Hope's most frequently used words.


                          What do you get?

                          This is a little vet set so as you can imagine it is animal hospital orientated. On the picture and description which Ciao have given it shows a dog kennel, we did not get this in our set and I have checked with The Early Learning Centre and they say that the kennel does not come with the set. What you do get:
                          Vet building
                          Car
                          Vet
                          Nurse
                          Dog
                          Cat
                          Bunny.


                          What do they do?

                          This isn't just a case of children using the animals and vehicle to create a little story and to imagine what dramas are happening, this toy also has some sounds which can be made when interacting with certain elements. The box says that it has 4 sounds, which is true, but really there are only 3 buttons to press so I think it is a little misleading. When you press the cross above the door it means a siren sound, when the little people stand on the mat by the front door it makes a beeping noise and when you press down on the counter where the animals stand it makes the other two noises -woof woof and miaow, miaow! These buttons are very easily pressed which is very good for little fingers. The door swings open so this is something which young children find very exciting! The back of the building is missing so that your children are able to put the figures inside the shop and be able to play. The point of this toy really is for children to use their imaginations which is very important at this stage in their development as it helps them to understand different situations, communicate with people and to see outside the box.


                          What do they look like?

                          The figures are chunky, plastic, smiley people/animals which are very appealing to children, I'm not suprised that Hope took an instant like to them as they are very appealing. The vet looks just like Hitler, every one of my family members commented on this on Christmas day, he is wearing a off green coloured coat ,has thick black side parted hair and a moustach. The nurse has dark skin, a white coat and a white hat on. The animals are a black cat, a yellow bunny and a white and grey long haired dog.
                          The veterinary surgery is quite small and has a pale green roof and windows and all the furniture inside- a counter and some shelves are also pale green. The car is the same colour green with big orange wheels and an open back so that your characters can fit into it and drive it along.

                          Hope's opinion

                          Hope plays with these toys for about forty five minutes at a time which is a long time for a 2 year old to play but these do capture her imagination. She has began to have the animals talk to each other and it's lovely to see that she is beginning to play with these toys in this way. Previously Hope would play with toys by just making them make noises or interacting with the parts which are designed for children to press or shake but with these they are so basic that it is helping her to find her own way to interact with toys. I think her favourite part of this toy is actually the car, she likes to push it along the floor 'brum brumming' as she goes and always finds it very entertaining and amusing to have one of the animals in the back of it!


                          My opinion

                          This is a lovely toy and so very appropriate for the age group it is aimed at. I think it is very important for children to be encouraged to use their imaginations and not always have toys which are about pressing buttons, noisy sounds and flashing lights. I think it's vital that children learn to find their own amusement by using their imaginations and developing their creative thinking.

                          I like the fact that it is a veterinary surgery as I think that this gives it a story line to help children to imagine what is happening and it also is very cute how it comes with animals as well as people. Hope loves animals so this is an ideal toy for her.

                          I think that the only criticism I have is with the noises it makes. The noises themselves are fine but I do think that the box tries to portray it as having more interactive elements than it actually does. We spent a lot of time pressing random areas of the vet's trying to work out where the fourth noise was until we realised that the 'woof woof miaow miaow' that the doorstep makes is actually classed as two sounds.

                          With Happy Land you can grow your land as much as you like by adding extra parts to it. You can buy other shops, houses, accessories so that you can have your own little town which is a lovely idea. I have looked at some of the other sets which you can buy and I think that they are all very appealing with there being plenty of choice for both boys and girls. The animals and people are very cute and are a good chunky size for small hands to hold and interact with.

                          This toy is not all that big really so it is easy to store in the toy box or to be displayed on the shelf until play time. Not all of the figures fit into the building though so you can't store them inside it.

                          In terms of value for money I think that they are quite good value although maybe slightly more expensive than other toys you can buy. This set cost £15 although you can often find 20% off offers around the year so it would be a bargain if you manage to get it in the sale. I think that £15 is good value as this is the kind of toy which your child will play with for several years and it helps to bring on their imaginations which is really important as they learn to play.

                          I think these toys are very robust and sturdy with being made from plastic they're easy to clean and can withstand some tough toddler play so I do think that the design and concept of these toys are very well thought out for the age range which they are aimed at.

                          The toys are only available at The Early Learning Centre where you can find a huge variety so you really will be spoilt for choice! 5 out of 5 from us and we're going to buy more we're that happy with them!

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                        • Maxi Cosi Tobi / Child Car Seat / 15 Readings / 15 Ratings
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                          25.01.2014 11:44
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                          It's a comfortable ride

                          This car seat we bought to go in my parents car for when baby Hope goes to see them or if my Mum comes over and we want to take Hope out in her car. I chose this one because it is meant to be the safest forward facing car seat available for group 1 (this is the second size car seat on the market).

                          Research shows that children should remain rear-facing until they are 4. There are many published papers about the importance of this and so the car seat that we have for our own car is rearward facing and three times the price of this! When my parents started saying they'd like one for their car, the thought of shelling out a further £350 on a car seat frightened me some what and I was worried that if I got a forward-facing one I would be putting my baby's safety second and money first.

                          When we went to Halford's to ask them for advice it surprised me that they don't even stock any rearward facing car seats at all because the research about them being the safest is still so new. They recommended this Maxi Cosi Tobi and said it is the safest they have and reassured me that even though it wasn't rear facing it was still a very good seat to go for.

                          Before we could buy this car seat the man at Halford's had to fit it for us. He showed us how it worked and left it fitted in our car. It did look quite complicated and I was worried about how we were going to get this out of our car and into my parents'!


                          Fitting the car seat

                          I was really concernd about how we were going to achieve this! I am not a practical person and I just about managed to fix the original car seat but this one is so much bigger and looked a lot more complicated. My husband decided he would leave it up to me to do and so I managed to get it out of our car without any difficulty- you simply lift up a few levers and the seat belt which secures it in place comes out and you can lift the seat.

                          To fit it into the car I followed the instruction booklet- a good start in my eyes anyway! The instruction booklet had some very good pictures which were easy to understand so I just followed them. It involved me having to thread the seat belt around the top of the seat and securing it in place with levers and then using another part of the belt to wrap around the bottom of the seat and plugging it in. I stood back after about ten minutes and was very proud of myself as I had managed to fit it into the car without any problems!

                          To check that it was fitted properly I gave it a bit of a shake and it barely even moved so I knew that it was secure enough.


                          Fitting your baby to the car seat!

                          The car seat comes in a variety of colours including this rather startlingly bright red one! We have bought the all black one so it is more neutral and the thing that I find with this is that it gets very hot in the summer but you can buy a special white lining which you can fit to it for an extra £15 so it helps keep the seat cool in the summer and this is a good buy.

                          Before putting your baby in the seat it is best to make sure the straps are lengthened as it makes it easier to secure them in place. The straps are lengthened very easily by simply pulling them, as you pull them you will notice that the spare strap hanging down at the bottom of the seat shortens.

                          Your baby then sits in the chair and you put the straps over their arms and then secure them in place. The two straps meet and the metal fastenings fit on top of each other before plugging into the 'socket'. This is the most fiddly bit and I get very frustrated with it! This is the reason why it's best to have the straps as long as possible so you have more slack to play with. You fit the metal bits on top of each other and then try to keep them in place whilst getting it to slot into the plug. Many times they manage to move just a fraction so they won't plug in which is very frustrating! Once you manage to do this though your baby should be strapped in and unable to get themselves out as it's very stiff to do so! You then need to shorten the straps. This is done by pulling on the spare strap which hangs down at the bottom of the seat. You make it tight until it's against your baby's body so has secured them safetly into the seat.

                          Travelling along

                          This seat is forward facing so your baby gets a good view, for the first time in Hope's life she was able to see out of the windscreen and see things coming towards her instead of just looking backwards and waving at the people in the car behind! I think this seat gives her a better view which can only be a good thing with reducing the cases of travel sickness.

                          The seat itself is very comfortable as it is well padded. The sides come round so they protect her and also give her comfort so if she falls asleep she has a place to rest her head against which is both comfortable and safe. On the straps there are two little velcro'd on padded strips which add to the comfort so they don't rub against your baby and also gives them something to lean on if they sleep.

                          Whilst driving I haven't ever noticed the seat moving or jiggling around at all which reassures me that it is very secure in place and therefore a very safe seat for us to have. Hope manages to sleep in this very well if we are on a long journey so it must be comfortable for her.


                          Getting your baby out

                          To get your baby out of the seat you need to press down on the red button which is in the 'socket'. This is what is very difficult. It is designed so that your baby won't be able to do it for themselves but it does also mean that us parents can struggle with it at times too! You do have to press down quite firm and it can be easy to do this and press it against the leg of your baby which causes a few screams I can warn you! So you do have to be careful- again I have found that lengethening the straps before I do this can be easier!

                          Once unplugged your baby just can be lifted out once their arms are taken out from the straps.

                          The car seat is very difficult to clean though due to it's fabric. It has little ridges in it and lots of creases at the sides so if you do have crumbs or an exploded nappy to deal with it can be very difficult to clean! What we have found is that a bowl of warm soapy water, a tooth brush and then the febreeze and the use of the hoover has been sufficient in sorting this car seat out if it needs a very good clean! It is not easy though but once we have done this it is back to being as good as new and we have had no stains or anything despite one or two little accidents!

                          Opinion

                          At first i was hestitant to buy a forward facing car seat because of the research about children under 4 being kept facing backwards for safety reasons but I must admit I am very pleased with this seat. We have very luckily not had any accidents whilst we have had this seat so I can't judge on the outcome of an accident but I can say that it does look very safe as it is very well padded, it is built up around the sides so provides good protection and it is very secure once fitted properly. The straps have the padding on them so if you do brake harshly they shouldn't hurt your baby's skin.

                          It does seem very comfortable and Hope really seems very happy to be in it. I don't know if it's because she is used to going backwards in my car so that when she's in here it's a treat but she is always very smiley and over excited when we're in Grandma's car!

                          The only problems I have with this seat is that it is difficult to clean but I suspect that this is the case with the majority of car seats due to their nature and their design. I am more than happy to sacrifice the ability to clean it well for the ability to have it as safe as possible for my daughter! The other problem that I have with it is how irritatingly frustrating it is to actually fasten! I cannot ever do this in one go, I am always struggling to get the metal of the straps to join together properly and fit into place. I think this is a serious design flaw which Maxi Cosi should look into.

                          Overall I am happy with this seat. I have given it 4 out of 5 because I think the straps should be changed and maybe they should make it possible to get your baby out without having to use so much force on the red button. I am very impressed with the ease of fitting it to the car. I never thought I would manage it for the first time in less then 10 minutes, this is very impressive so I am pleased with how well written the instructions are.

                          This car seat cost around £140 which I think is a bargain as this seat should be suitable until Hope is about 3. It is very safe and well made. I am pleased that I was given the advice to buy this seat and really do recommend it to you if you are looking for this type of car seat.

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                          23.01.2014 20:57
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                          Couldn't do without this

                          When I first had my baby I found it really difficult to get her to sleep. I tried all sorts from leaving a lava lamp on nearby, playing music, having the room in darkness etc etc. In the end i found that leaving the TV on was a good way to get baby Hope to sleep! She would watch the images and the noises would be reassuring but I realised I couldn't have her falling asleep in front of the TV for ever more! So I went on a hunt for a toy for her room which would hopefully do as good a job as the TV did!

                          I came across this V-tech lullaby crib light in Early Learning Centre and realised it was exactly what I was looking for and well worth the £24.99 it was marked at.
                          The swet dreams light is basically a large plastic night light. It has a projector which projects a moving colourful image upwards. The images are of sheep jumping over fences and teddies sleeping on moons so all very nice, peaceful and colourful pictures. It moves slowly so it is easy for your baby to focus. It also has an ability to alter the focus of the light so is really useful for when you move the light to different levels or if you have different height ceilings you can always be sure that the images will be in focus!

                          The front of the night light has a big window which has inside a plastic teddy asleep on a moon. Inside it are little lights and stars and so is nice and attractive for your baby. Because it clips onto the side of the cot the teddy and stars are easily visible to your baby so another image for your baby to focus on if they don't look up at the ceiling. The teddy also rocks slightly too.

                          Next to the big window is the play button which is a huge big musical note and so once your baby is old enough it will be very easy to turn on the music for them!

                          What I really like about this is that there are different settings which include:
                          Music- this plays lullabies such as twinkle twinkle and other classics.
                          Music and white noise- this plays the lullabies and also white noise at the same time so noises like birds tweeting and waves crashing.
                          White noise- where just white noise plays.

                          There is also a timing function so you can select whether the show lasts 5, 10 or 15 minutes and a volume control which is always useful on children's toys especially ones for use at night time! Also, if you leave it on then if a high pitched noise occurs it will set off again- this has happened due to whistling and a dog barking so is sometimes a surprise to hear it set off when my baby's not crying!
                          This toy straps onto the side of the cot by plastic straps which have different slots so is pretty accommodating of all varieties of cot and also the base is flat so if you have a travel cot or a moses basket you can just place the light on the floor next to the bed instead without worrying about it falling over.

                          The toy does need batteries- 4 C type batteries which I find quite hard to find and it really runs them down very quickly so we have used rechargeable ones to keep down the cost!

                          People may be concerned that the toy is too much- it makes noises and shows images which is quite stimulating especially at night time but I find it works for the best! It isn't stimulating in the sense that the baby has to kick something to make it work or they have to press things so it is okay for my baby as she just enjoys watching the images and feels reassured by the noise.

                          It's easy to clean as it's plastic so very easy to wipe clean although there are lots of raised stars and things on it so lots of places to have to try to get baby wipes and what not into!

                          I find it really really useful, every time I go away this is one of the essentials which I pack! I can't do without it! My baby falls asleep within minutes that it's on and really enjoys it! She is 6 months old and isn't at the stage yet where she'll be able to turn it on herself but I imagine she will find it very easy to do so once she is big enough!

                          I cannot praise this highly enough. I'm trying to find negatives and I guess the negatives are the fact the batteries run out so very quickly and that it is a bulky object so not really all that ideal. Also, I would quite like a longer function, it would be nice to have a 20 minute option as well.
                          It was well worth the £25 I paid for it!

                          It's available online from V-tech and from Early Learning centre stores. It's full name: The v-tech Baby Bear Sweet Dreams.

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