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I am reviewing the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Microwave Steam Steriliser. I did put in a suggestion for the Closer to Nature steam steriliser but unfortunately it wasn't accepted as this one was already in the catalogue, so ho hum I shall review mine anyway, it's pretty much the same product it just looks a bit better than the picture on here. Like most baby products there is quite a variety of products available whether it be cold water sterilisers, steam sterilisers, electric etc. I personally was after something lightweight and easy to use, and when I was shopping for other baby essentials at the Asda baby and toddler event I spotted this Tommee Tippee Microwave Steam Steriliser for £10!! What's in the box? Inside the box there is the steriliser itself which comes in 3 parts, the clear plastic lid, the white plastic bottom and the inside tray which is covered in holes to let the steam rise and holders for your bottles and accessories. Packed inside the steriliser are a few freebies in the form of a 150ml Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottle, a Tommee Tippee Pure Soother, a bottle brush and a pair of teat tongues, which are what they say they are, they are used to pick up the teats from the steriliser without you having to actually touch the tips making it a clean and safe way to do so without contaminating them. The teat tongues are also brilliant for picking up the tray from the steriliser when it is hot. How much is it? Prices vary for the Tommee Tippee closer to nature steriliser, I bought mine for £10 in the Asda Baby and Toddler event when I was 6 months pregnant. When it's not on offer Asda sell it for just over £20 but I'm sure if you shop around you could find it for a reasonable price. To be honest if the steriliser wasn't on offer I still would have spent the £20 or so anyway as it looked like a good bit of kit and was from a trusted brand. How do you use the steriliser then? It is quick and simple to use the microwave steriliser, it's even easier to load. The top comes off the steriliser by pressing in the 2 ridged buttons on either side, you lift the lid up and inside the tray is already housed inside the bottom half of the steriliser. You put 4 bottle bottoms onto the corresponding points on the bottom of the tray, place the teats and the teat rims in their designated holders and place the bottle lids in the middle of the tray. You fill the steriliser up with around 180ml of water and bung it in the microwave. I like to use some Milton Sterilising fluid to make sure that my bottles are completely clean but you can just use water and let the steam do it's job. Once your fluid is in and all of your bottle parts are housed correctly inside the steriliser it's time to pop the lid back on and stick it in the microwave. The time it takes to do it's thing depends on the wattage of your Microwave, it takes 4 minutes for me to complete a cycle. Once the cycle is complete I'd recommend you to leave the steriliser inside the microwave for 5-10 minutes to cool down a bit before handling it. Once it is cool enough to touch remove from the microwave, pop off the top and assemble your bottles. If your not wanting to use the bottles straight away the instructions like I said, state that you can leave them inside for 24 hours and they will stay sterile, however I remove mine pretty much straight away and put them together ready to use. - My way of doing things - Now I will probably be slated for my way of doing things but each to their own, please don't judge. It states in the instruction manual that comes with the steriliser that the contents once steamed are sterile for 24 hours - this is only true if you don't open the steriliser. This is ridiculous to me as nobody is going to keep bottles inside the steriliser for a day without opening it, this then means that when you take the bottles out they start to deteriorate and become unsterilised which to a degree I agree with. But it's not practical for me to wash one bottle at a time and use it straight away, especially at the end of the night I like to "put a wash on" and wash a tray full of bottles ready for me to use the next day. Bottles are meant to be sterile for up to 6 hours once out of the steriliser but I have used bottles a lot further on than this and it has never done my little girl any harm. I hope that made sense. - Back to the important stuff. Would I recommend it? Hell yes. Overall I'd recommend any parent to purchase a microwave steam steriliser, especially the Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature model, it is lightweight and compact enough to fit into most microwaves and is so easy to use. The cleaning cycle is complete in as little as 4 minutes (depending on the power of your microwave) which means you have more time to do more important things. Unlike other models it is made to sterilise 4 bottles and it's contents in total meaning you can get more done in less time and for around £20 (if it's not on offer anywhere) it's an absolute bargain.
Ask any parent, or your own what teething means to them and you will be told stories of hours of crying, lack of sleep, frustration and upset for parent and child. Teething can be a horrible time for any little one, and it can be equally as traumatic for any parent. You all know what it's like having a really bad toothache, the problem with babies is they are super sensitive to pain and obviously don't understand what is going on. My little Freya is 4 months old now and has been teething for a good few weeks now. I was using Bonjella for a couple of weeks but it just didn't seem to be giving her any relief from her symptoms. I was recommended by a friend of mine to try Nelsons - Teetha but I've always been quite sceptical about herbal remedies and just assumed it was a load of tosh. How wrong was I? Whilst shopping in Wilkinsons for some toiletries I wandered around the baby aisle just about to purchase yet another tube of Bonjella when I noticed the box of Teetha that my friend had recommended. What's in the box? 6 packs of 4 sachets are included in the box, each sachet contains 300mg of teething granules. WARNING: NELSONS TEETHA CONTAINS LACTOSE SO MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR LITTLE ONES WITH AN INTOLERANCE TO IT. How much is it? Costing just under £5 for a box of 24 sachets it may seem quite costly but it is totally worth it for the relief it gives my little girl. I originally bought Nelsons - Teetha from Wilkinsons for £4.96 but it is currently on offer in Boots in the 3 for 2 priced at £4.99 so I've stocked up on a few boxes at the moment. I go through a box a week at the moment, some days are worse than others to be honest but £5 a week is a small price to pay for the happiness of Freya. It also means that she is in less pain therefore cries less - meaning she gets a bit more sleep. What the heck's Chamomilla? I did a bit of research online and was quite surprised at the amount of things that Chamomilla is used for. It is called German Chamomile and is used on it's own or with other herbs for a range of ailments including Ear ache, PMS, Stress and Anxiety, Colic, Labour Pains and of course in Nelsons - Teetha for Teething pain. It is believed that Chamomilla is especially good for people who are extremely sensitive to pain which is why it's so good for babies. Most people will know of Chamomilla in it's other form - Chamomile which people drink as tea etc. How do you use this Teetha stuff then? The box contains 24 300mg sachets of teething granules which are the perfect amount for your little one. You simply tear open the sachet and pour into your babies mouth. Their tongue will play with the powder mixing it with their saliva which in turn will swill around their mouth and gums giving almost instant relief. When Freya is really suffering and going crazy - i.e crying a hell of a lot it's easy for me to pop the granules in her mouth and for her to do the rest. It was far more awkward before trying to rub Bonjella on her gums when she was screaming her head off so this is absolutely perfect. The dosage stated on the back of the box is 1 sachet every 2 hours but no more than 6 sachets a day in total. I use probably 3 a day for Freya she seems to suffer more at night time from the symptoms of her teething so I normally give her one around tea time and then one before bed so she is able to get a decent amount of sleep. Is it really that good? Yes, it really is and I'd recommend all parents who have little ones that are currently teething. It really is brilliant stuff. Instead of the awkwardness of trying to stick your finger in your babies mouth to rub on creams or cover dummies in it to sooth those gums, the powder tastes nice and works with your babies saliva to cover the whole of the mouth giving almost instant relief. Some people will complain that the price is quite steep but I think it's worth it for your little one to be happy and pain free. Comparing it to Bonjella is easy for me to do now, I probably would have said differently a while ago as all I knew was Bonjella I really didn't think that any kind of herbal remedy would work but I was proved very wrong. One of the best things apart from the natural ingredients of course, is the ease of use. Tearing open a sachet and pouring into your babies mouth is a darn sight easier than trying to rub gel on their gums with your finger or trying to pour a decent amount onto a teething dummy. No mess, no fuss with almost instant relief and you know that with it's natural ingredients that it's good for your little one.
Now I may be highly slated for this review as it seems that everyone loves their Blackberry, but unfortunately it's not a happy story when it comes to me and my Crapberry. I'll be honest and say that I do go through my fair share of mobile phones, as you may have gathered from my previous reviews I'm a bit of a nerd and I do like my gadgets. Before now I was using a hand me down iPhone off my boyfriend which I was in love with, until it gave up and went off to Apple heaven nearly 2 months ago. The day after it died I felt pretty lost without a mobile phone so went off into town on the hunt for something new, into the O2 shop I went as I've been a customer for a number of years and wanted to stay with them, only this time I wanted to get a phone on contract. Browsing through the selection of smartphones and tariffs I spotted a lovely black and purple Blackberry Curve, the contract that came with the phone was really impressive and Blackberry seemed to be all the rage at the moment so I gave in and bought it on a £21.50 a month contract. I believe you can buy the phone outright for around £200 which I now wish I had done. The contract I'm on is absolutely brilliant and value for money, I can't fault O2 there - but I'm stuck in a 2 year contract with a phone that I simply don't enjoy using and has failed on me god knows how many times. What comes in the box; Your shiny new Blackberry Battery Charger USB Cable Standard Headset 2GB Memory Card PC Software Manual The geeky bit; The Blackberry Curve 9300 weighs in at 106g, is 14mm thick, 109mm tall and 60mm wide. It has built in GPRS, Bluetooth, 3G, 2.0 Megapixel Camera with video recording ability. It also has a built in GPS, is Java enabled for Games, has an MP3, Video and Audio Player, Personal Organiser, Handsfree voice activated dialling and so much more. All in all it's a good phone but it just hasn't performed very well for me. Using the phone; Making a call couldn't be easier using the Blackberry Curve and I have no issues there, it took me no time at all to put all my numbers into my phonebook and start using it straight away. Sound quality in call is brilliant and the various volume options, speaker and mute are easy to use. Texting is where I had a little difficulty to begin with and this was simply down to the size of the keys on the QWERTY keyboard. I don't have the most delicate of fingers and have been called pie hands many a time, it took me a good few days to be able to type a message properly without several errors. The little mouse which I think used to be a tracker ball? is very responsive - in the right conditions. I've tried to use it when my hand has been damp when I've been in the bath - before you say, no I've not tried it underwater - it's just when I've gone to change what I'm listening to whilst having a soak, or replying to a message quickly. The mouse hasn't responded well in these conditions as my finger has been to slippy and you don't get the same amount of pressure on the pad. The layout of the phone is really easy to navigate as there are symbols for everything you need. Setting up your email and social networking accounts is just as simple. You can have multiple email addresses on the same phone I have 3 separate accounts which I can view from my Blackberry and creating and receiving emails is quick and easy. Browsing the internet is slow and extremely frustrating. 9/10 times I get a message saying that the page I am trying to load is too large and the browser closes itself. I have been in touch with O2 who say that this is nothing to do with them and is apparently a Blackberry problem, I have been onto several Blackberry help forums who just say it's a Blackberry thing and to reset the phone which I have done and I still have the same problem. Apparently it's down to the memory available on the phone - of which I have plenty - but the phone seems to think I'm trying to load an incredibly huge page even though I'm just simply browsing the BBC news website or having a look on Amazon. The Blackberry has nothing on Apple when it comes to Apps, the Blackberry App store is simple enough to navigate it just doesn't have much to offer and the only Apps I have downloaded are some photo editing software and a couple of simple games. It takes an absolute age to download apps on the Blackberry even when connected to my WiFi at home and whilst it is downloading and installing you are unable to use the phone as you can't download in the background. The only good things for me about the Blackberry Curve 9300 is the social networking aspect and the mp3 - audio and video playback. Blackberry Messenger is quick and simple to use - enabling me to chat to friends instantly and send pictures or video across providing you have the right data plans and good internet. Browsing Facebook and Twitter is just as simple and the notification options are brilliant so I receive live updates to my feeds and quick notifications if someone has interacted with me on Facebook or Twitter. When it comes to playing back my music or watching a clip on Youtube the Blackberry performs very well, the sound quality is pretty impressive for a small phone and the play/pause/skip buttons on the top of the phone make it easy to change tracks or pause your media when your on the move instead of having to go through the menu's. There are several games built into the Curve, of which I only play 2 - Sudoku and Word mole, the graphics aren't the best for games on the Curve so I wasn't overly impressed to be honest, although I wasn't expecting anything amazing and I didn't get the phone for the games. I got the phone for the social networking and media playback. The last thing I thought I should mention is the battery power of the Blackberry Curve 9300. For the amount of stuff the phone can do the battery lasts for quite a while. I make a few calls a day - send god knows how many texts - and network using Facebook and Twitter and I only have to charge the phone every other day. Also if the battery becomes damaged and doesn't last as long it's easy to buy replacement batteries from websites like Amazon or Ebay, this is where the iPhone failed for me was the battery life and the fact that it was a built in battery. The Blackberry Curves battery power is brilliant. Overall; I have to admit that the Blackberry Curve does look nice, and is quite lightweight but it just doesn't compare to my old iPhone. Crap Apps, a lot of it is very American'ised and the web browser is useless. I don't want to buy out of my contract as I'm only a couple of months in so I'm hoping that Blackberry sort their issues out and send out a decent update for my phone to sort out the browser issues etc, if not I'm going to have to ride it out for another 20 or so months until I can get an upgrade by which time I will certainly head back to Apple - which probably by then will be the Apple iPhone 8GS haha! There are a lot of good things about the Blackberry Curve but then there are just as many bad things for me. I'd recommend the Blackberry to people who are heavily into their social networking and send a lot of emails. The apps are pitiful compared to the iPhone and the phone doesn't seem to be able to handle any decent kind of games and the browser is awful. There are cheaper tariffs and contracts available depending on which provider you are with, beware of the Curve and maybe opt for the slightly more expensive but apparently hella' good Bold. Failing that, go to the dark side and buy an iPhone. The Blackberry Curve loses 2 stars for the browser issues and the terrible Apps.
A pram or pushchair is one of the biggest and most important buys when it comes to having children. You want something affordable but reliable, not so cheap that the wheels fall off after a few miles, but then not so expensive you need to take a bank loan out for. It's one of the most important things you buy as your going to be using it pretty much every day for at least a year, depending on how long you can make it last, believe me I know people who've had more prams than hot dinners. I spent at least a few weeks shopping around trying out various prams, travel systems, pushchairs to be honest it was quite overwhelming there really is too much to choose from. After talking to friends and family, I finally decided I wanted a Graco Travel system, they are a well known brand and I was after an all in one system that would suit me from the birth of Freya up until she was a toddler hopefully. Then it was just down to what style I wanted, I shopped around online and came across the Graco Mosaic on Tesco Direct, I thought to myself I could use some of my clubcard vouchers and earn a shed load of points for buying it from them, so I did. The Graco Mosaic was just shy of £225 on the Tesco Direct website, I had £30 of unused Clubcard vouchers so it cost me just under £200 in the end which I thought was a bargain, looking online today it seems I could have bought it for a hell of a lot cheaper, but hey ho. Assembly of the travel system was quick and simple, it arrived all neatly boxed up from Tesco Direct, all we had to do was click a few parts together, stick on the wheels and it was done. The travel system was just as described and looked lovely when it was put together, it's quite a compact system when it's all put together. The only difference from the picture on Tesco Direct was that ours had a star pattern on part of the car seat/baby carrier and on the inside of the hood on the pushchair. The Graco Travel system is suitable from birth up until your little one isn't so little anymore at around 15kg, by which time they will probably be walking and won't want to sit in a push chair. The travel system itself weighs around 10kg so it is very lightweight which is down to it's aluminium frame, it is one of the easiest prams I have picked up and packed away. Folding the travel system up and away couldn't be easier, its a 1 hand fold you simply pull and twist the handle at the rear of the pram, pull a white ring and fold down. It folds away like an umbrella and a lock clicks into place at the side of the pram enabling you to lift it up and put it away without it opening up again. It fits neatly into most boots leaving plenty of room for shopping and other baby stuff. The only downside to the pram is you need to remove raincovers and such before folding the pram away as with a rain cover on it doesn't lock into place on closing, meaning that it could re open whilst your picking it up or you could trap your fingers. When your putting the travel system back up, you simply unclip the lock at the side pull up the handles and place your hand/foot on the back clip and push down which locks the pram into place and off you go. The car seat is just as simple to attach and remove from the travel system, just one click and it is attached to the pram itself, to remove it you simply pull underneath the car seat on the red handle and it comes undone from the travel system. There is a removeable head rest inside the car seat and you can adjust the seatbelts on the inside of it to coincide with your growing baby. Fixing the car seat into your car is another simple task, the cars seatbelt goes securely across your little ones lap and around the back of the seat in-between the safety latches and clicks into the cars seat belt holder. The car seat handle can be adjusted by pressing onto the red buttons on either side and then pulling the handle forward or backwards depending on where you want it. There is also a hood on the car seat to keep your little one shaded from the sun. The Graco travel system has a storage net/basket underneath which snuggly fits in Freya's bag which has all of her nappies and bottles in, plus a little bit of shopping but it's certainly not going to fit your weekly shop underneath it. I have yet to use the actual pram part - i.e have Freya sat up in the actual seat, as she is too small at the moment so she still sits in the car seat when we're out and about but I'm guessing that it is still going to be just as simple and easy to use as everything else on the travel system. One of the most important parts I should probably talk about is moving the travel system around. Well it is pretty effortless really, because of its lightweight frame it is quick and easy to move around with it. The front wheels have clips to enable you to have "4 wheel drive" which enables you to push the pram around like a rally driver! It's brilliant. The brakes click on and off quickly and smoothly by simply pressing the button down with your foot. Last but no means least the travel system comes with a sun hood which has a viewing window on the back of it to see your little one through, it also has a pocket which is good for keeping dummies safe or popping in your mobile phone. Yet another mammoth review from me it seems but there really was a lot to talk about when it comes to the Graco Travel system. I'd give it 5/5 it's an absolutely flawless system and I'd recommend any mum to invest in a Graco product to suit you, it's a well known and trusted brand which hasn't faulted me yet. We walk at least a mile or so each day and the wheels are still in brilliant condition. You get a lot for your money, and accessories are easy to buy - like footmuffs, rain covers etc. Overall it is an amazing travel system which I will never regret buying.
It's quite overwhelming at the amount of products out there for babies, especially the different varieties of chairs, swingers, rockers and bouncers. It makes you wonder how mums used to get on "back in the day" before all this stuff came along. The simple answer is they just got on with it, but nowdays we are lead to believe that we need endless amounts of stuff for our kids. Fortunately I haven't been sucked into it too much and have only been duped into buying a few items like this chair, the playmat/gym and a couple of other big playtime items, a bouncing chair was one of only a few items on my list of things to get Freya. I was after a bouncer that was sturdy, looked cute (but not pink and uber girly), didn't break the bank and vibrated. I had a look in Mothercare and wasn't really blown away by the selection, taking into account that my Mothercare store in my town is pretty small so I didn't have much choice, however, I thought I would have a look in Argos to see what they had to offer and out from the laminated book of dreams (the argos catalogue) popped this bright and colourful looking bouncer. I saw the brand name Mama's and Papa's and immediately thought it would be around £40-£50 so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the price tag of just under £25. It had the vibration feature that I was after, and I'd heard a lot of my friends talking about Mamas and Papas being a trusted good quality brand so I snapped it up. Assembling the Mamas and Papas rocker couldn't be simpler, it comes flat packed and all you have to do is clip the legs together to the circular disc which acts as the support bracket for the bars enabling it to bounce securely and safely. There is a secure harness which is attached to the main part of the bouncer. The head rest isn't connected to anything, which means that you can move it to where you choose and to support your little ones head in whatever position they are sitting in. The cover is re-moveable and fully machine washable so if your little one ends up having an accident (Freya has thrown up a few times on it) then you can whip off the cover and throw it in the wash. The head rest can also be washed and after 3 or 4 washes it still hasn't lost it's shape. The Mamas and Papas bouncer is suitable for babies newborn - 6months of age. Freya is now just over 3 months old and still loves the chair, she is outgrowing it a bit now as she is a tall baby but she still sits in it quite comfortably. She no longer needs the head support pillow as she holds her own head up a lot better than she used to, but I'd recommend that you use this for newborns as it keeps them upright. The straps attached to the support harness are adjustable so you can make it bigger when your baby starts to grow there is a lot of give in it, so it will fasten over most babies laps. It is recommended that the bouncer only be used with babies weighing no more than 9kg, but by that weight babies are normally more independent and can sit up on their own. The bouncer could be used for girls or boys as the pattern is very gender friendly, it is covered in brightly coloured letters, numbers mushrooms and what look like hippo/dinosaur looking things. The harness and head rest are in a lovely bright red which stand out from the rest of the chair. The vibration feature requires 2 x AA batteries, I'd recommend you use a decent brand of batteries otherwise you will end up going through a fair few if you have it on quite a lot. The vibration settings are easy to use, it's a simple turn switch at the foot of the rocker there are no set levels i.e level 1, 2 etc, it's just a progression from nice gentle vibrations up to the top vibration setting which is pretty loud. The placement of the vibration switch is a little odd as its right by your babies feet. This is nothing to worry about when your baby is a newborn, but Freya - being quite tall and just over 3 months - can now switch the vibrations on and off with her feet. To keep your little one entertained whilst their happily sat in the chair is an arched bar which attaches to each side of the chair. There are 2 toys which you can wrap around the arch to keep your baby occupied. The toys are only 2 soft shapes - a square and triangle - the square has a bell inside with different textures and patterns around it, the triangle looks the same but makes a crunching sound instead of a ringing like the square. Unfortunately the toys aren't enough to keep my little girl entertained so I attach other things to the bar to keep her interested. The last feature I will mention of the bouncer are rubber grips on the back and front of the bars, which stop the rocker from sliding around on floors like laminate or tiles. The Mama's and Papa's bouncer can be bought from Argos for just shy of £25. Now this might seem like a lot as it just looks like a generic rocker chair, but I'm glad I paid that little bit extra for something of great quality. I'd recommend any new mum or dad to buy a bouncing chair, they're great fun and good for keeping your little one sat almost upright. It is easy to rock, you can use your foot at the side or front to rock pressing on the bars. It's practical, simple in design and keeps your little one entertained leaving you free to do other things. This doesn't mean that it is safe to leave them unattended for long periods, you must keep your eye on your baby whilst they are sat in the chair as it is quite easy for them to slide sideways - they wont fall out - but it's not going to be comfortable. The vibration setting is great for helping get wind up, although if it's set too high it can make them sick a little, although this may just be the case with Freya - haha!
While I was pregnant shopping for supplies - buying a million packs of wipes and nappies - I spotted this awesome starter pack in the baby aisle for £9 and thought it was a great little find. The best thing for me was knowing that it was a changing bag with a travel changing mat inside, along with all the little goodies. The pack itself is a handy changing bag which has everything contained inside it. The inside of the pack is lined with wipe clean material - which is good if anything spills - and has a little pouch for you to keep smaller things in. The Johnsons Baby Starter Pack contains a changing mat which you can wipe clean or even put in the washing machine which I've had to do a few times. The pack also contains a baby massage guide, which has information and diagrams on various massages that are great for your baby. Also included are coupons worth £5 off future Johnsons purchases, a pack of Johnsons baby wipes, Johnsons cotton pads which are great for when bathing your little one or applying lotion, a small bottle of Johnsons baby oil and a small bottle of Baby Top-To-Toe bath. The bottles are only small but they are good if you are away for the night or just to test the products to see what you think. The baby massage guide gives you a brief look at some exercises you can do with your little one, baby massage is a great bonding exercise for both mum and dad and is so relaxing for baby. There are certain exercises which help babies when they are having trouble pooping and exercises to help relax and calm them down. The vouchers included in the pack are great, they are all money off vouchers for various Johnsons products like wipes, nappies, sun care products and bath products. Everybody loves vouchers! I still use the changing bag and the mat everyday as a general nappy bag, it holds around 12 newborn nappies, a full pack of wipes plus a small tub of nappy rash cream and some nappy sacks. I have to admit after more than 3 months use, the pack is looking a bit shabby and I'm thinking of purchasing a new one pretty soon as it's been of so much use to me. The changing mat has been through the washing machine at least 4 or 5 times when we've had little accidents with poop getting on the material side of the mat or it just needing a good wash, and the mat hasn't lost its shape or torn. It folds away nice and neatly to fit inside the pouch inside the pack. The Johnsons Baby Starter Pack is now even cheaper (only by 48p) in Asda at £8.52. It's also available from other supermarkets - Tesco sell it for the same price as Asda however Sainsburys and Boots sell it for just under and just over £10 so it's best to shop around or buy from Asda/Tesco, yes I know it's only a pound but it all adds up. So just to recap - inside the pack; Johnsons Baby Oil - 100ml Johnsons Baby Top-To-Toe Bath - 300ml Johnsons Baby Skincare Wipes Fragrance Free - 64 pack Johnsons Baby Cotton Pads - 50 pack Money off Coupons worth £5 off future Johnsons purchases Changing Mat Baby Massage guide And of course the changing bag All that for under £10 can't be bad! I'd recommend this starter pack to any new mum as it contains small sample sizes of essentials you will need for the daily changing/cleaning of your little one, and the bag itself with the changing mat is a perfect nappy bag which is lightweight and compact for you to carry around with you everyday, and for under £10 you can't go wrong.
There are that many tablets out at the moment it can be a little overwhelming on which to choose, personally I knew I already wanted the HTC Flyer as my boyfriend has the HTC HD7 mobile phone (Which I've also reviewed). The iPad will never be outsold, simple as that but it doesn't mean that it can't be matched when it comes to other products on the market. After my little girl was born I dipped into my savings to treat myself to a shiney new gadget. HTC are most famous for their smart phones like the HTC Sensation, HD7 and the HTC Desire - to name but a few. They recently made the jump to tablet like a lot of other electronics companies, I'm guessing after they all saw what a killing Apple were making with the iPad. Like their smart phones the HTC Flyer looks and feels like a bigger version of their mobile phones. If you have a HTC smart phone then you will be very familiar to the layout and design of the Flyer. It's small, sleek and lightweight - weighing in at just under 500g. Unlike the iPad which is quite large and a little difficult to slip into the average persons bag. The HTC Flyer fits perfectly into my bag and weighs practically nothing. So lets get down to the geeky stuff. The screen is 7" which may seem a little small but it's only 2" smaller than the iPad 2. It is a multi-touch LCD screen which looks great and it has a resolution of 1024x600 pixels. The screen pretty much takes up the whole of the front of the tablet with just a slimline silver border around it. The back of the HTC Flyer is silver, which in my earlier comment made me think it looks like a giant mobile phone. It has a 1.5 GHz Processor with 1GB Ram which is pretty awesome. It has HDMI/USB capabilities, which means I can also plug it into my TV meaning I can watch videos from my Flyer on the big screen! The HTC flyer has 2 built in HD cameras capable of pictures and movies. The back camera which faces away from the user is 5 Megapixel and the front camera is 1.3 Megapixel, why they only had such low quality for the front facing camera is beyond me but for the size of the tablet the quality is still amazing when the photos are displayed on the screen. It is sleek, lightweight and simple to use the HTC flyer, if you have a HTC mobile phone then you will be very familiar to it's design and layout of its programmes. What about storage? We bought the 16G model which is twice the amount that my old iPhone could hold, we've still got absolutely tonnes of storage left and we've had the Flyer for a month or so now. There is a 32G model available but the price is quite a leap from that of the 16G. The HTC Flyer also has an SD slot which means you can add extra storage and that storage can be transferred from various things, like your Micro SD card from your digital camera or from your laptop. You can also transfer things via the SD Card or the USB Cable to your laptop or home computer. When it comes to connecting to the internet and browsing, it's a smooth and flawless process. We only have the Wi-Fi flyer as we weren't up for paying the extra money for the 3G model, and to be honest we just wouldn't make use of the 3G away from the house. 3G connectivity is brilliant for people who will be using the Flyer out and about, maybe whilst travelling on trains or when you need to send emails/documents away from home and on the move. For people who do the majority of their internet browsing at home then the Wi-Fi model is definitely for you, it means you can simply connect via your internet connection at home just like your laptop or mobile phone. The HTC Flyer also has Bluetooth 3.0 and the ability to connect to wireless printers enabling you to view, edit and print your Office documents and then send them to a wireless printer. Browsing the internet is just as easy as it is on a laptop or your home computer. It has built in Adobe Flash which means you can also watch/play flash games or videos unlike the iPad. One of the best things about the HTC Flyer is - The Magic Pen - No it's not a wand of any kind but it's basically a magic stylus that enables you to use the HTC Flyer in a new and exciting way. The Magic Pen enables you to draw, paint and even touch up your photos! Originally we thought you had to buy these separately but was surprised when it was included in the price! There is soon to be an upgrade for the Flyer called "Honeycomb" this will enable the Magic Pen to do a lot more on the tablet. I could literally sit here all day and write another 1000 words on what the Flyer can do but I think you may fall asleep. It has the ability like the iPad to download apps - with its android software - it is pretty much just like a larger version of their smartphones. It supports playback of most audio and video files including mp3, mp4 and avi files. Another great feature is Kid Mode - which has games and story books for the little ones, or if your a big kid yourself! haha It also has HTC Watch - which is on demand movie viewing - but I haven't used this, however it is also DLNA-enabled meaning you can wirelessly stream media smoothly. Other features include a built in digital compass and GPS. The price: Here's the most important bit. Depending on what version of the HTC flyer you purchase depends how much your bank balance is going to take a beating. We bought the 16G flyer which cost us £479.99 from PC World. You can also get a 32G Flyer which is a pretty hefty £599.99 from PC World. I know it is a lot of money and you may be thinking why didn't I just buy an iPad? It's operating system and everything about it for me is just so much better than the iPad. It still has downloadable apps just like the iPad and you can listen to music, and watch videos. Everything the iPad does and just a little bit more for me. Each to their own but it's just something different for me and more suited to what I want from a tablet. You can get tablets on various mobile broadband contracts so don't be put off by the huge price tag of buying it outright. Shop around and your sure to find a good deal. Last but no means least is the Battery. It has a built in Lithium-ion battery which like the iPad is probably one of it's downfalls as the battery can become drained with improper charging etc. Thankfully I'm quite good when it comes to charging things like my phone/laptop etc. I wait for the flyer to give me the warning that it is running out and then plug it in and fully charge it. Depending on what you use the Flyer for and for how long at a time all depends on the battery. For me I charge it every 2 or 3 days, my boyfriend and I use it for a good few hours everyday and the battery seems to last quite well. However, I have read other reviews where people are a bit less happy than myself with the battery life, but as I said I think it just depends on what you use the Flyer for. Like any electronic product like a laptop or mobile phone, the more stuff you use it for the less time the battery will last. I'd recommend the HTC Flyer to people who want a tablet that goes that extra mile performance wise and is a bit different. Or if your already a fan of what HTC have to offer, quality products (at not so affordable prices) but excellent performance. Yes the HTC Flyer is a little on the expensive side but for what it can do it's totally worth it. With an absolutely awesome operating system, it's sleek compact design it's perfect for everyone.
We had £20's worth of Mothercare vouchers we got from a friend as a present when Freya was born and had been in a few times to see if there was anything we could buy. As much as I love Mothercare, the clothes in there are ridiculously over priced so needless to say the voucher went unused for a few weeks. We had bought a Mamas and Papas playmat/gym from a local buy and sell page on Facebook but it just didn't seem to interest Freya enough, so we started having a look around for a new one which looked a bit more exciting. That's when we spotted the Fisher Price Rainforest Gym! Even when it was wrapped up in the packaging it still stood out on the shelf as one of the brightest and fun looking playmats. I looked at the price tag of £57.99 but thought with the £20 Mothercare vouchers that we should go for it, in the hope that Freya would get £57.99's worth of play out of it! haha! The Gym; The mat itself is so bright and colourful, the scene is of a river in the jungle which leads to a lovely bright smiling sun at the top of the mat. The colours are mainly green what with it being a jungle, with lovely blues for the sky and water, yellows, reds and whites for the animals. The outer rim of the play mat has a satin finish which is super soft and a lovely touch. The smiling sun has little ribbons around him which your little one can touch when it's tummy time. When Freya is on her tummy she really loves looking at all the colours and gurgles away a a happy faces looking up at her on the mat. The toys included with the rainforest gym are a blue elephant with soft silky ears and a rolling rattle in his tummy, an orange mirror, a brightly coloured parrot with a spinner underneath it, a happy looking monkey which can be hung from the loops or coiled around the bars and a purple toucan with a rainbow beak. Each of the toys (apart from the monkey) have plastic rings which can be easily hooked onto any of the fabric loops on the arch bars or on the floor mat loops. On the underside of the gum there are also silk covered butterflies which can be spun around, it would have been a nice touch if the butterflies moved around on their own but this isn't the case. The bars which arch over the top of the mat are covered in patterned fabric to blend in, one bar is covered in a leaf pattern keeping in theme with the jungle and the other is a rainbow pattern. There are 6 loops for you to hang the toys from in various locations for your little one to play with, and an extra loop hanging from a rather bright yellow Giraffe which resides in a corner of the mat. He also has a large leaf at his feet which makes a crunchy-crinkly sound when touched. There are also several loops on the floor mat which you can hook the toys onto for more fun when it's tummy time! The bars loop over the mat and are connected in the middle to the green box which houses the lights and music! The underside of which has 4 lights which flash according to which setting is on, this is what your baby can see when lay on their back. On the top of this box are 2 switches and a small speaker for the music and sounds to come out, I personally think it would have been better if the sounds were released onto the underside of the mat with the lights, as sometimes the sounds can be drowned out a bit by general house noise or the TV. Everything comes in a large plastic carry pack which has a plastic handle and press studs to keep it closed, the plastic case is brilliant when you need to pack it away or are taking it somewhere. We pack it up to take to Freya's Nanna's when she goes there for the day. Overall; So is there anything wrong with this mat? Unfortunately yes, there are a few things I wasn't really happy with. The advertisement and details on the packaging stated that there was 20 minutes worth of music, I thought wow that's awesome! How disappointed was I when it turns out that the music PLAYS for 20minutes but REPEATS the same songs several times. Needless to say I pretty much despise the music the mat plays now it drives me nuts! The good thing however is you can easily switch the jungle sounds on instead which are much more soothing and nice to listen to. Another downside for me was that there just isn't enough toys, I have other toys I have attached to the loops to make it more fuller looking and Freya seems to prefer this. The last thing I'm not happy with is the fact at how loose the bars are getting, the more I pack it up and unpack it the looser things are getting and the bigger Freya gets the more she is going to pull on things so I'm starting to think there may not be much more play out of it, maybe another couple of months at most?! If you don't mind repetitive music then this mat is for you, yes it's a little on the expensive side but it's really worth it as compared to most play gyms it really is the best looking and is of good quality. I've seen the gym in loads of places now so shop around and you might find a bargain!
When I was pregnant I had a list as long as my arm of essentials I might need for the everyday care of my little bundle of joy. On my list were several things like nail clippers, thermometers, brushes etc. Then whilst I was browsing on the Tommee Tippee website I spotted this great little grooming kit which had everything I needed in one pack. On my next trip into town I had a nosey in Mothercare and spotted the kit for the same price as the Tommee Tippee website so thought I'd kill several birds with one stone and buy all the things I needed in one handy kit. So the grooming kit itself comes in a handy fabric zip pouch with little elasticated straps inside to hold all of the things in place so they don't rattle around inside. Included in the kit are 9 "everyday essentials" you may need for your little one. A soft hair brush, toothbrush, plastic comb, nail clippers, scissors, 2 nail files, digital thermometer and a nasal aspirator - or bogey sucker as I like to call it. I have yet to use the plastic comb as Freya's hair isn't long enough, and I obviously haven't used the toothbrush as she has no teeth! But everything else has had some use so far and overall it's a great bit of kit, the only downside for me was that the nail files didn't last very long and were a pointless part of the kit for me, everything else is of great quality and will last for quite some time. The digital oral thermometer is an absolute god send, it's great for checking your babies temperature in their mouth or under the armpit. I've used it many a time to put my mind at rest when I thought that little Freya had a fever but turns out she was just a little warm. It is quite slow at reading temperatures especially orally, which can be a little tricky when you have a wriggly baby, so i take Freya's temperature under her arm now as she doesn't seem to mind as much that way. A great feature of the thermometer is that a series of bleeps sound when your babies temperature reaches fever levels, I've tested this by putting the thermometer in a warm drink to see if it actually worked and I'm pleased to say it does. The digital display on the thermometer is quite small but big enough for you to clearly see the reading, and there is a handy little plastic lid that goes over the end of the thermometer when it isn't in use. The nail clippers are brilliant, they are the perfect size for those tiny nails and I don't worry that I'm going to cut down too far. I like to trim Freya's nails once a week and her toenails only once a month, it's good to keep the nails on her hands short so she can't scratch herself. The clippers are small in size, the clipper itself swings around and clips into place nice and securely so you can clip with ease. The only downside is that the handle is quite small but overall they are great. The nasal aspirator is a tricky bit of kit, it only seems to work really well when the bogeys are wet, when bogeys are dry inside the nose it just doesn't do anything. The end of the aspirator is quite large so it can be difficult to get inside the nostrils. I have some saline drops that I squirt inside Freya's nose as she gets bunged up quite a bit at the moment, this wets the bogeys up enabling you to suck them out. Squeeze the balloon end slide into the nostril then release and it sucks any snot out, maybe not first time but persevere and it will do its job. The price I paid was £15 from Mothercare which may seem a little on the steep side but I really think it's a great bit of kit. I get the most use out of the nail clippers and the hair brush at the moment, I'm forever having to snip Freya's little nails to stop her from scratching herself and her hairs starting to grow through nicely now so I like to give it a brush and it apparently is good for cradle cap. Overall it is another great bit of kit from the Tommee Tippee range and is essential for everyday use for your little one. As I stated earlier the only downsides are the nasal aspirator is tricky to use and the nail files are pointless as they don't last very long. It may seem a little on the steep side at around £15 but I think it was well worth the price to take after the little things and give you peace of mind being able to check your babies temperature whenever you want. I'd recommend the Tommee Tippee - Closer to Nature - Healthcare Grooming Kit to every mum, it's an essential bit of kit for your nursery or to pop in your baby bag to carry around with you everyday. I'm knocking a point off for the uselessness of the nail files and tricky-ness of the snot sucker! ha!
I pretty much own the majority of the Tommee Tippee range, from breast pump to bottles, soothers to our baby monitor. It's a brand I know and trust. I purchased the "Closer to Nature" breast pump on offer in Wilkinsons for a bargain price of just £10, considering you get lots of free things with it and it was over half the price Mothercare were asking, I'd have been mad not to snatch it up. The breast pump and all of the goodies are stored in a neat little Tupperware style tub which can be used for a number of things once you've had enough of the pump. Since I no longer use the pump, mine is now used to store Freya's soothers, spare scoops for the milk formula, lids and spare bottle teets. If you've no use for it after you've gotten rid of the pump you could always use it for your sandwiches? ha! Inside the tub is the breast pump itself, 6 free breast pads, spare valve for the pump, a 150ml closer to nature bottle with teet and lid, and a screw on lid for your bottle which is good for when storing the breast milk in the fridge. The pump itself is easy to assemble, and just as simple to clean. You simply insert the valve into the bottom of the pump, screw on a plastic ring that allows you to attach the bottle to the bottom of the pump, and then there is the handle which is attached to the top of the pumping mechanism. There is a soft rubber "cup" which you place onto your breast making sure the nipple is in line with the hole. The inside of the silicone cup has little ridges which apparently help when pumping to push milk through the breast. When it comes to cleaning the pump it is just as easy to disassemble as it is putting together, simply detach all the parts and place into the tub it came in, or you can use it in your normal bottle steriliser like I did for convenience really. There are a few downsides to the Tommee Tippee breast pump which I was actually quite shocked with. Be prepared for some hard grafting when it comes to manually expressing, I never tried expressing with an electric pump but I'm guessing it would be a million times better than manually expressing with a pump. It is VERY time consuming, and very tiring on your poor hands/wrists. It is obviously worth it as it means your baby is getting the best from you if they can't take it themselves but be warned it isn't easy. The handle is quite flimsy and feels like with a good tug it could bend, it does hurt your hand when you are pumping for around 30 minutes a couple of times a day. Also when you are getting ready to express; always make sure your nipple is spot on with the whole inside the cup or you will end up pinching your breast or ending up with a rather attractive love bite on your breast. This happened to me when I was expressing breast milk in the early hours one morning I thought to myself "ooo this is hurting a bit" pulled the pump off to find a lovely purple mark on my breast. haha! Another downside is that the rubber cup in which sits on your breast was a little on the small side for me, it makes placement on the breast a little awkward and there was some leakages of milk when it wasn't attached properly. Also after a while the rubber cup does start to change colour, I used it for a couple of months and it started to turn yellow which was staining from the breast milk, so I would recommend that you purchase a new pump if your wanting to express for longer than a couple of months. Overall it's a brilliant pump but it's only good if your willing to look past the flaws it has and put in the hard work it takes to pump. I'd suggest you put the tv on loud or some music on whilst your pumping though to hide the sound of the squeeky pump, it sounded a bit like a squeeky shoe on a freshly polished floor and is quite embarrassing if your pumping in front of people, my boyfriend found it hilarious hearing it squeek for half an hour while I was expressing. It was good value for money when it was on sale, but knowing what I know about the pump now there was no way I'd have spent the full asking price of around £30 for it. If I was able to continue expressing/breast feeding I probably would have forked out the extra £50 and bought an electric pump.
I have just reviewed the 900g tub of the powdered Aptamil formula and thought I would share my views on the ready made cartons, they are absolutely brilliant! They're especially good for when we're out for the day or in a rush and don't have time to boil the kettle and cool the feed. We have some disposable Tommee Tippee bottles that we got from Boots so we can throw that away after the feed along with the carton if we are out of the house, instead of carrying around dirty empty bottles in our bag. We also use the ready made cartons for some night feeds or when I'm in a rush and don't have time to make a fresh feed. It's all about convenience really. The formula in the Aptamil ready made cartons is just the same as the formula from the tub so your baby is still getting all the goodness they need from the feed. The only difference I noticed is that the formula in these ready made cartons looks quite grey in comparison to the look of the milk you make fresh from the tub, I think this is because it is made Priced at 64p per 200ml carton they may seem a little pricey compared to buying a tub of the powder but it's all about convenience. Not having to worry about getting back home because you need to make a feed from fresh. Obviously some would argue that breast feeding is a lot more convenient, but for those of us who aren't able to feed our little ones from the breast then this is the next best thing. The carton is the same breast substitute milk as the powdered form so it's still just as good. Another plus side, for me and my little girl is that sometimes powdered formula milk can clog her up a little bit and by using the cartons it seems to clear her out - so to speak. The ingredients are pretty much the same except that obviously there is liquid already in the ready made cartons - demineralised water. It's still jam packed full of all the vitamins and minerals our little ones would normally get from us when being fed from the breast. The only downside I think for these cartons is they aren't very big, they are only around 7oz so if your little one is on more than that then you will obviously need to buy more cartons. For me 7oz is fine at the moment as my little girl is only on 6oz feeds. Aptamil also do the cartons for hungry baby and follow on milk. Other main stream brands of baby formula do ready made cartons/bottles so there is going to be something for everyone depending on what brand they normally use. The cartons can be found in most shops and supermarkets with the other baby formula's for around 60-70p per carton depending on where you shop. I'd recommend any mum to give them a try, they are an absolute god send.
When I was pregnant I always said I would breastfeed no matter what, unfortunately when it came around to it when my little girl was born, we had some big problems. I was absolutely heart broken at not being able to exclusively breast feed but when I got my head round it I realised that it wasn't about me, it was about my little girl being happy, content and being fed. Whilst talking to a close friend of mine who'd recently had a similar problem and with my health visitor, I settled on the formula I thought would suit Freya and how she needed to be fed. Aptamil may not be as well known as Cow & Gate or SMA, but I was going on advice and recommendations on what would be best for Freya. Aptamil First milk is also a breastmilk substitute or for babies who are being combination fed. Before I continue, there is quite a lot of bad judgement from a lot of women when I've spoken about Aptamil being a "breastmilk substitute", yes I know it's not "as good as real breastmilk" but for me it's close enough, and as I stated I had a lot of problems when it came to breast feeding so this milk was perfect for my little girl as I was combination feeding. The milk powder is foil sealed inside a cardboard and plastic tub. The lid is securely fastened with a plastic clip in which you need to break to first get into the milk if this is broken when you purchase then do not use the powder. Inside is a foil seal and a yellow plastic scoop for you to measure the milk powder, I'm not sure if any other formula brands have this, but at the top of the tub there is a little "lip" which enables you to level off the milk powder so you have a perfect scoop and not a heaped one. This is brilliant as you know you are getting the exact amount needed for each scoop full for the feed. The milk powder is very fine and pale in colour. On the side of the tub is instructions on how much powder is required for each feed with how many ounces of water. You can check how much your baby should roughly be having going by the age/weight ratio on the side of the tub, although every baby is different this information is just a guideline. My little lady is 13 weeks old and is currently on 6 scoops of formula with 6oz of water. When she was first born the formula would last a hell of a lot longer as she was only having a couple of bottles a day with just a few fluid ounces. Now she is up to 6oz, 6 times a day the tub obviously doesn't last as long. One thing I found and I'm sure I'm not alone, is that when the water is too hot in the bottle the steam causes the formula to stick to the scoop. The problem with this is you aren't getting the perfect amount of formula into the feed (therefore I wait until the water is cool enough). However, if this happens to you the scoops can easily be washed/sterilised for future use. I buy my Aptamil from Asda at the reasonable price of £8.97 for the 900g tub. Obviously if you receive milk tokens then it isn't going to cost you a penny but I still think it's a really good price and you know you are getting the best for your baby. The price obviously varies on where you buy it, I've seen it for as much as £13 in my local chemist so I think a supermarket would be your best bet. My little girl is now only fed using Aptamil formula and has recently moved onto the Hungry Milk which is Aptamil number 2, which I will review another time.
So before our littlen is born my boyfriend and I decided to treat ourselves one last time as the next few months (and years) are going to cost us a fortune with a little one around. I'm saving my money to spend on lots of lush clothes and nice things to pamper myself when our littlen is born, my boyfriend on the other hand wanted a new gadget. His dream phone - The HTC HD7 - why is it his dream phone you ask? That's because it has Xbox Live on it of course! We're both huge geeks and being able to log onto his Xbox Live account when he's away from the console meant that it had uber geek points and was obviously the best phone on the market. We purchased the phone on contract with O2 a few weeks ago now and I do use it a fair bit myself as he's got free minutes, texts and lots of cool stuff. I've inherited his old iPhone 3G but i have to say his HTC HD7 is far superior to any phone I've ever used, we were tempted to get 2 of them on contract but it would have cost us too much money. The Geeky Bit - Dimensions; 122mm x 68mm 11.2mm Thickness 4.3" Touch Screen 5 Megapixel Camera 720p HD Video Recording Bluetooth GPRS Windows OS Wi-Fi and 3G up to 7.2 Mbps Download Speed Kickstand 16G Internal Storage 1GHz CPU Processing Speed 3.5mm Stereo Audio Jack Micro USB port - USB 2.0 Digital Compass Proximity Sensor Ambient Light Sensor Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery You may think crikey that's a hell of a list for all the geeky stuff the phone has built in, but this phone really is an awesome piece of kit. The price of the HTC HD7 varies depending on where you shop, we purchased the phone on O2 on a 24 months contract at £27 per month. This was one of the cheapest contracts and is great value for money. The o2 store are currently selling the HD7 for just shy of £400. We did shop around a fair bit, there are a lot of good deals from various online dealers from £300+, and the highest we saw the phone at was in the Carphone Warehouse at £480!! We were absolutely gob smacked as to how they could charge an extra £80 for the same phone! Anyway, as I said there are various deals it just depends on where you want to buy from. We have been O2 customers for many years now and felt like we trusted them a lot more to buy from isntead of buying from a random online shop. Yes it is cheaper from some online retailers but I'd rather buy it from a real person, from a company I know and trust. The home screen of the HD7 has a series of tiles which are fully customisable, some of the tiles on the home screen that we have set up include ; People - This is your list of contacts, which may also include contacts from your hotmail address book. Messaging - This is where all of your messages are kept, and where you can create and send texts and IM's. Hotmail - Check, Send and Receive e-Mails with your Hotmail account. HTC Hub - This is where all of the featured HTC stuff is available whether it be apps or games your after. Internet Explorer - Surf the internet via Wi-Fi or 3G with Windows Internet Explorer. Games - There are hundreds of games to choose from, very similar to the app store on the iPhone, but the added awesomeness with HTC is that Xbox Live is on it! OK so you can't play some of the top games like Call of Duty and LA Noire, but there are still Xbox Live Arcade games available. Calender - Your own personal organiser, sleek and simple to use. Music & Videos - Your hub for your music tracks and videos, you can also get to the Zune Marketplace here. Photo Enhancer - It isn't quite like Adobe Photoshop but it's still a great addition to the phone being able to adjust and play around with your photos. Me - This is basically a little home page for your Hotmail and MSN, with updates for yourself and your friends. Settings - The place to change the general settings of the HD7 from ringtones to email and accounts. Facebook - Takes you straight to your Facebook home page. Youtube - A hub in which to search through the millions of mainly shockingly terrible internet videos. Maps - This is pretty much Google maps on your phone, it's a great gadget. Camera - The HD7's 5 Megapixel camera is of superb quality for a phone. Gone are the grainy dull pictures and in are the bright high definition photos. You can change numerous settings including picture effects, resolution and whether you want the flash on or off etc. The best thing about the camera is you can record HD video in 720p! You can upload your photos or videos straight to Facebook, Youtube or attach them to your emails. You can customise which tiles you wish to have on your home screen and the colour theme of the phone and tiles themselves. Other gadgets are available to download from the HTC Marketplace on the HD7 include Alarms, Compass, Converter, eBay, Flashlight, Weather and Stocks. These are only a few of literally hundreds of gadgets and add on's you can download for your HD7. Like the iPhone and iPods, the Windows HTC HD7 has it's own software where you can download and store your games, music and videos. This comes in the form of Zune, which is simple and easy to set up. Included with the HD7 was a lovely bonus of 6000 Microsoft points (which equates to around £50) in which we could spend on Zune, or on Xbox Live. With the free points you can download and keep several films, or download music tracks. We decided to spend the money on Xbox Live content instead as we download a lot of our music and movies. When trying to decide what you want to listen to or watch, you simply move your finger across the touch screen from either direction and the various menu's will show up. When browsing Zune you can choose from music, videos, podcasts, radio or just visit the Zune Marketplace in general. The built in sound enhancer enables you to change the way your music or videos sound, even when you haven't fiddled with any of the settings the sound quality is absolutely brilliant. Clear sound and brilliant picture quality, even random Youtube videos look great on the 4.3" screen. Making a call can be done in 2 ways, you can simply choose the "people" tile on the home screen and choose a contact there, or you can simply press and hold the "windows" logo button on the bottom of the phone and say the persons name. Oh yes, the phone has speech recognition, and it's actually pretty impressive. As long as you speak clearly and into the phone it will recognise you really well. SMS and E-mails are simple and easy to create, the touch screen keyboard can be used vertically or horizontally, I prefer the latter as the keys are a little wider then and easier to use for those who unfortunately don't have delicate slender fingers. The HTC HD7 also has a mini version of Microsoft Office which includes Word, Excel and Powerpoint. We've not used these yet so can't really comment, but I'm guessing that they will be brilliant for office working types who use these on a daily basis at work, or for students who can use these for coursework and presentations. The only downside apart from the price of the phone is battery life can be quite short, depending on what you use the phone for. My boyfriend has to charge it up at the end of the day which isn't an inconvenience at all but for the amount of cool stuff the phone can do, and the amount of power it takes to run each of the various gadgets they would have used a longer lasting battery. The good thing about the battery is it isn't built in so can easily be replaced or you can buy a spare one which you could take out and about with you in case the phone dies during the day through heavy use. I could literally sit here and write about this phone for hours with the amount of stuff it has to offer, but I'm going to stop there. Overall the phone is absolutely brilliant, it's of superb quality and has so many little added extra's, I'm sure in 6 months we will still be finding new things that we didn't know were there already. I'd recommend anyone who can afford it really to purchase a HD7, it's great for gaming, music, office and social networking. It's useful for everyone really in every way, yes it's a bit pricey but it really is worth it.
These days it's all about TV on Demand, there are so many different players available online for most TV channels. All the main stations have their own players, letting viewers choose when they want to watch their favourite shows. Pretty much every house has a PC these days, or a games console and most TV on demand players are available in different ways on a variety of platforms. The BBC iPlayer is also available on the Playstation 3, Wii, iPhone and iPad, however there isn't an app in the iTunes store, you can just use the BBC iPlayer via the bbc website on your iPad or iPhone using the Safari web browser. It's simple and easy to use, with no downloading required. You simply go to www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer and from there you can search for your favourite BBC shows across all of the channels; BBC 1 BBC 2 BBC 3 BBC 4 CBBC CBeebies BBC Parliament BBC News BBC Alba BBC HD You can browse shows by choosing a specific channel, or by entering some words into the search bar. There is an A-Z of shows available on the iPlayer you can simply browse through these, or you can select a genre from the following list for shows that you may like to watch; Childrens Comedy Drama & Soaps Entertainment Factual Films Learning Lifestyle & Leisure Music News & Current Affairs Religion & Ethics Sport Audio Described & Signed There are even Films on the BBC iPlayer, this was especially good for me around Christmas time when there was loads of movies on the BBC Channels they were available for a short time on the iPlayer. OK so they aren't going to be the latest releases or massive blockbusters but there are occasionally some pretty good films online. There are featured shows on the iPlayer, or you can choose from the most popular shows or choose from your friends recommendations which are chosen via Facebook and Twitter, social networking websites are integrated in one way or another on most websites these days. Not only can you watch your favourite shows on the Beeb, but you can also listen to BBC Radio channels via the iPlayer. You can even browse other TV Channels like Channel 4 and ITV, however when you click on one of the shows you are then redirected to their individual media players on their websites as expected. The layout of the iPlayer varies depending on what platform you are watching it on, but it's all pretty simple no matter how your using it. I mainly use the BBC iPlayer on my laptop or my Playstation 3 console. It's quick and easy to get online, and load up my favourite shows. I love the fact that I can choose when and where I want to watch my favourite shows. When you finally choose a show you want to watch you simply click on it, the video will begin to load. You can choose to watch your chosen show in the current internet page, or in a new pop out window separate from your other browsing pages. There has recently been a massive update for the BBC iPlayer in which you can now download the iPlayer for your desktop and download your shows to it. This way you can download your favourite shows whilst your connected to the internet, and then watch them offline at a later time. I haven't downloaded the desktop as I just like to watch the programmes on my usual web browser. I only use a little Netbook and the software may be a little too much for my little lappy to deal with. Id recommend anyone to at least give the BBC iPlayer a try you can choose what you want to watch and when, no fussy downloads and no restrictions. You can watch shows on the move on your smart phone or tablet as long as you have a 3G connection, or you can watch them via normal internet connection. There are hundreds of shows to choose from with more added daily. The BBC iPlayer updates at least several times a day as soon as new shows have been on the TV, however some are on for longer than others.
The first time I went to a music festival I spent 5 days in a dirty muddy field, sweating in the summer heat and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. In the 5 days I didn't once wash my hair, so by the time I got home I smelt like a pig pen, well not quite. I smelt of dirt, booze, sweat and general muck. So the following year I learnt by my past mistake and was looking to invest in some dry shampoo or something to freshen my hair up whilst I was at the festival, I ended up taking some Batiste Dry Shampoo with me. One of my best friends took some of this, L'Oreal Kids Tangle Tamer with her and I ended up using hers instead of my Batiste Dry Shampoo as it worked so well! My can of Dry Shampoo ended up staying in my bag untouched throughout the whole week at the festival. Every morning I woke up with serious bed hair, tangled and curly from the previous days antics of sweating in the summer heat whilst rocking out in a crowd of thousands, and being covered in beer from drunken idiots launching beers at several terrible bands, or me myself just generally spilling beer all over myself. So I would simply spray some of the tangle tamer onto my hair, comb through the knots and let it dry in the sun. My hair would look fresh and clean, and it smelt lovely and fruity. This product is perfect for people who unfortunately suffer from stubborn frizzy, curly or knotty hair, or is great for kids who suffer from knotty hair, as it makes the hair smoother and easier to comb through so littlen's won't get upset when you pull on their hair. Applying on wet hair; It's best to towel dry your hair first before you start to use the product so your hair isn't too wet already. Once you have towel dried your hair enough, simply spray the product onto your hair and comb through. I use a little product when I've just washed my hair as my hair is naturally curly and tends to get quite luggy and knotted, not a lot of product is needed so try not to go OTT with it and think you need a lot as you really just need a little spritz through the lengths of your hair. Applying on dry hair; You simply spray the product through the lengths of your hair, starting from the underneath is best where your hair suffers mostly from tangles. Don't spray too much of the product into your hair as it will make it quite wet. All you do then is simply comb it through your hair and your done. I tend to just spray it on the underneath of my hair where it curls most, after a comb through a couple of minutes it is dry enough for me to start styling my hair as normal and using my hair straighteners on it. You can purchase L'Oreal Tangle Tamer from most retailers like Superdrug, Wilkinsons and Boots for around £2 for a 150ml bottle. The bottles last me a few months at a time as I don't use it that often, you really don't need a lot of product to untangle your lugs and knots. I guess it just depends what your hair is like as to how often you will use it. I'd recommend this product to anyone who is looking for a detangling spray for their little ones, or for someone who is travelling or going to festivals and can't wash their hair for a few days but still want to feel clean and fresh. The Pear fragrance leaves your hair smelling lush and fruity without it being over powering, the mist that the spray bottle produces disperses just the right amount of product each time so your hair isn't left feeling greasy and full of product.