Tag Archives: Review

Today we made a decision that every parent should make

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Today is a very special and long-awaited day.

I know that on this day I will finally rediscover the use of two hands. I will be able to do the washing-up without Dexter crying out for me to entertain him. I will be able to shower before 10am every morning without a grumpy-faced Dexter looking on from his cosy seat. I will be able to kiss Craig when he comes home without a jealous child burning a hole into my head.

More so than this – Craig and I will be able to watch Homelands without interruption. We will be able to eat our dinner leisurely and not give ourselves indigestion by literally shovelling it down our throats. We will both be able to sit on the sofa at the same time – no longer will we have to take it in turns to sit on the floor.

Yes Dex. Mummy and daddy listened. We heard your screams and wails and made sense of them.

Before making the committment, we took advice from other mums and dads on the internet. What you were begging for wasn’t cheap and we wanted to ensure we were doing the right thing. We posted on forums, tweeted, read blog after blog and didn’t find one negative. Parents described it as something that “transformed their lives” and one recent convert on Mumsnet said she’d rather “sell her car than turn back”. Some also fondly recalled the day they made the leap and we heard story after touching story about how they had “reached their limit”, “were at their wit’s end”, were “desperate”… then they found the answer.

We debated holding off until Christmas but just couldn’t. It turns out that having a few minutes of quiet everyday is vital to someones sanity… so we’ve given in.

So here we are. The day has finally come. The Fisher Price Jumperoo has landed.

Yes. The toy of epic proportions now has pride of place in my living room. Do I resent it? NOT AT ALL. This gharish and noisy contraption is legendary. This is the holy grail of baby products; the most iconic baby toy in the UK. Dexter first had a play on one at the BabyShow and mums were literally tripping over themselves to tell Craig and I how fabulous it was. Yes, mummy’s were just standing by the Fisher-Price stall admiring the pre-schooler’s at play and lovingly recalling their experience with the product. It was such a lifesaver for them, they felt compelled to share their views with us. If the mums didn’t have their distraught-looking partners in tow, I might have even questioned whether it was staged.

Our first few hours were spent with Dexter exploring the various light displays and play-centre’s the Jumperoo has to offer. He had the odd cry – who wouldn’t? – He’s finally getting to play using his feet and this takes some getting used to. As soon as he got the hang of it, he was bouncing, giggling and bashing the hell out of it. I’m reliably informed (if I’m to believe 95% of the reviews on the web), this product will be good for another year and a half. It’s tough, durable, and boredom-resistant.

After 5 hours with the beast, the noise just fades into the background and I can still hear the banal nasally arguments on The Real Housewives of New York just fine. Result!

Mums of the UK – hear my cry… BUY THIS BAD BOY! It’s “transformed” my life. Oh and the car comment is real – just look

WIN a Kiddy Guardian Pro 2 Group 1, 2, 3 Car Seat with Mellow Mummy

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Wading my way through the zillions of emails in my inbox, I stumbled on a great little post by fellow mummy blogger Mellow Mummy.

She is offering her readers a chance to win a snazzy Kiddy Guardian  Group 1, 2, 3 Pro 2 Car Seat.  Now I’ve read many a review of this all-singing car seat and I’ve decided I can’t possibly live without one. Its won an overwhelming number of awards and is packed with safety features to protect Dexter on his way to Tescos, Nanny and Grandad’s, and beyond! Okay, poor Dexie isn’t the world’s most far-travelled child, but with a trip to London planned, and Christmas shopping trips needed, we’re aware our faithful and battered Maxi-Cosi which has provided years of service to our wider family, and might be considered by some to be an heirloom of sorts, has probably reached the end of its life.

So what is so good about this Kiddy Seat? Well… let me tell you!

For one, it really looks the part for a kid-about-town. It’s available in a choice of colours and looks ridiculously comfy for baby with its snooze position, a 3-stage leg extension and breathable fabric. Dexter has a habit of changing his mind on a daily occurrence – we’re beginning to feel like the downstairs of Downton Abbey and I’ve nicknamed him Lord Grantham – yet we’re satisfied that this bad-boy would provide him with the luxury standard to which he believes he should be accustomed to.

From a safety perspective, the Kiddy Guardian Pro 2 reads like a car itself! With a number of recent improvements and patented features such as the Kiddy Shock Absorbers (KSA), the seat has been tested by industry experts to within an inch of its life. Given Craig (the only driver in our house) drives for a living, he’s already the safest driver I know (sorry Dad!) I can relax knowing that if we were to ever find ourselves in an accident, our Lord and Master would be in the perfect cocoon to prevent serious injury.

It certainly seems to be the car seat of choice for my peers in the mummy blogging community and I’ve read posts full of praise for this product. It’s very unusual for mummy bloggers to reach a consensus on anything, but I’m yet to read any negatives about the Kiddy Guardian Pro 2. Check out these glowing reviews from some of my buddies:

The Mummy Life

Mum on the Brink

Mummy Matters

Conclusion: we simply have to have it! Problem: we can’t afford it 😦

We’re not poor but we’ve got a real fondness for pre-loved things and all Dexter’s BIG purchases (cotbed, pushchairs x 3, development toys) have come from eBay or our very generous friends and family. I’m quite proud of how frugal we’ve been with baby no 1. When the time is right to extend our little family, we can sleep at night without having panic attacks about the cost. We simply believe there are more important things in life than having the latest travel system or nursery range. We’d rather spend on lavish holidays, weekends away and “experiences” for Dexter. But should we really apply this logic to a car seat when it could safe his life??? Definitely not.

So I’m keeping fingers, toes and legs (???) crossed that my little limerick will result in our biggest win yet; the peace of mind of owning a Kiddy Guardian Pro 2!

Here is Dexter’s entry!

If I won a Guardian Pro

“Sir” Lord Grantham would be safe on-the-go

I could go a little further afield

(Looking every bit well-heeled)

With my downtrodden parents in tow

 

If you’d like to enter, here is Mellow Mummy’s original post. You’ll have to be quick as the competiton closes on October the 31st!

In the meantime – why not follow Kiddy UK on Facebook , Twitter , and Youtube to stay informed about the latest product news and competitions!

Good luck everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting ready for Halloween! (Review: Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball, & The Fearsome Beastie)

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Well we’re in our new home! The move hasn’t gone well at all if I’m honest and we’re locked in disputes with our former letting agency over the release of the deposit. As much as I love our new house, we have a lot to do in terms of buying new furniture and making it a ‘home’. Couple this with a return-to-work and a deterioration in mum’s health (she had 6 epileptic fits on Saturday – being disabled (from a stroke) she’s sustained some quite horrific injuries that have left her bed-bound) – I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with it all and, if I’m honest, a bit depressed. The truth is, something will have to give.

With all this going on – Dexie and I haven’t managed any solid quality time. By the time I get home from work, he’s ready for a bottle, bath, then bed! Luckily my work have been fabulous and offered me a phased return-to-work rather than working a full 5 days for the first few weeks. I’m hugely grateful as I have definitely overdone it this month. So today, it’s all about Dexter and having fun.

With Halloween coming up, I decided to do a themed day. We’re dressed up; Dexie is a Pumpkin courtesy of Tescos, and I have no make-up on! And we’ve been on some scary adventures thanks to the supremely talented Giles Paley-Phillips.

We’ve kindly been sent two books Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball, and The Fearsome Beastie (winner of the People’s book prize). It’s so important to us that Dexie grows up loving books. I was a massive reader growing up. My mum still raves on about how proud she was that I was reading before I went to school. Unfortunately mum is so ill now, it’s so difficult telling truth from fiction but I believe her about this one. I have a hazy memory of the entire house being labelled up so we learnt that every room, piece of furniture and toy had a ‘name’. I doubt I’ll be this over-the-top with Dex but we’ll always read to him.

These books are the best I’ve seen for tiny people. The entire page is illustrated so there’s plenty to feast your eyes on. Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball is great fun. Poor Tamara is snatched away in the night by a monster and whisked to a ball with friendly goblins, ghosts, ghouls, witches and bats. There’s dancing and delights and Tamara is even welcomed into the fold with a slime cake! As you’d expect, all ends well as the witches cast a spell to return her home to her bed. I’ve seen a fab review of this book over on Missing Sleep that suggests that her 3 and 5 year olds discovered a new-found appreciation for things that go bump in the night. How fabulous is that for Halloween preparation!?

The Fearsome Beastie is about a huge monster that tricks some brothers and sisters into playing with him by crying outside their window. Having gained their trust he gobbles up all but one child who rushes to his nana for help. His wise old gran rushes out with an axe to slay the monster and release the children from his belly. Thanks to the bravery of nanny, each child comes “running out of Beastie’s tummy… each one crying for their mummy”. With disaster averted, nana then brews up a monster stew!

These books are a massive hit here at Chez Mill’s as each page is a set of witty rhyming couplets. Daddy is a champion story-teller and can make the phone book sound fun and exciting with an array of accents and embellishments. I, on the other hand, am terrible. Giles Paley-Phillips’ style is so engaging even I am able to keep Dexter interested. I’ve also left the book open the floor next to his playmat on some of the colourful pages. Dexter will chat to himself and study the monsters quietly – grabbing at the book.

With Dexter growing up and sleeping through the night – it’s getting harder and harder to entertain him throughout the day. Thanks to Paley-Phillips I now have another tool in my armoury to keep Dexter happy. Rather than let your babies gorge on sweets this Halloween, this is surely the better bet.

Giles Paley-Phillips blogs here about his writing, upcoming book signings, and about prizes he has been awarded. You can buy Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball from Amazon for just £6.29, and The Fearsome Beastie for just £4.49.

DISCLAIMER: I was sent copies of both books from GPP PR & Marketing but all the words and opinions in this post are my own. I have not received any payment for this post, nor had any communication with any other mentioned retailers.

Review: Development Toys – The Lamaze Gardenbug Wrist Rattles and Foot Finders

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This purchase was never in doubt. I first came across them in Debenhams and dragged my OH over from the cooking department to gush over them.

Me: “What a cool idea. He’s using his feet loads but doesn’t seem bothered by his hands at all. This might make him more aware of them”

OH: “But will he use them Gem?”

I hate this line from my OH! It’s true, Dex only takes to 50% of the toys I buy him, but if you don’t try things, you’ll never know! I’d rather he try them out and turn his nose up, than miss out on something that could really contribute to his development. I do have a couple of worries about Dexter; he seems to really favour holding his head to one side and his arm on this side is far more active than the other, he doesn’t often unfurl his hands, he only tries to stand when he’s on me… I’m always looking for little solutions to my concerns.

I was right to trust my instincts on these rattles as they’ve been an utter godsend. Dexter LOVES them – just look:

Look mummy!

The colours are fabulous and totally grab his attention. When I get them out to show him (and ask if he wants to wear them) a little shake produces a huge smile. Lamaze (http://www.lamazetoys.co.uk/) also do these in plainer colours but I prefer these as I think they look more fun. The bugs are big enough to entertain him, but not big enough to smash him in the face every time he gets a little overzealous. The noise is also gentle and won’t irritate mummies wanting a 5 minute respite.  They’re also machine washable so you don’t have to worry about ruining the sound by saturating them.

You attach them to baby using velcro which is great as they’re easy to get off without waking baby if he falls asleep. I also don’t have to worry about them catching on all his other apparatus as they’ll just fall off – I must admit he has quite the collection to play with!

My only criticism (and I’m ALWAYS fair) is that they’re very tiny. They fit around his wrists now (at 11 weeks) and he was a teeny baby at 5lbs 14. I suspect they’ll continue to wrap around him for another 5 weeks, but after that he’ll be too big. The socks also slip off easily due to the face they have no built-in heel. I can completely appreciate why this is the case – different babies have different sized feet – but the weight of the bugs will see them flying off if your baby is prone to thrash a bit.

The cute little foot rattles

Back to why I love them… he’s started lifting his legs to find his feet. If Dexter is due a poo (his pattern is highly erratic) this helps him gently move his bowel without him realising. I wouldn’t want to champion them as a solution to colic (and I’m sure Lamaze wouldn’t want me to either) but from my experience they have totally helped.

Also, if I’m concerned he’s favouring one side of his body, I can attach the toys to the other side and gently encourage him to play. The fly on one of the rattles also have crinkle paper on its wings so I always pop this on his underused side as he likes to bring this bit to his mouth. In my picture, Dexter is laying down but he also uses these when sat upright or in his bouncer as he’s not impressed by hanging toys. This allows me to leave him for those all important 5 minutes to grab a shower, eat my breakfast, pour a glass of wine etc.

My verdict? At £12.49 from the Lamaze website (and other stockists including Debenhams), they are worth every penny – 5/5

Get yours here: http://www.lamazetoys.co.uk/lamaze-gardenbug-wrist-rattles-and-foot-finders–toy–refresh-783-p.asp

http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10001_10001_171010161499_-1?breadcrumb=Home%7EGifts+%26amp%3B+toys%7EToys+%26amp%3B+games