One of the downsides of pregnancy is that for many women you're left with stretch marks and unwanted scars afterwards. Bio Oil is a natural skin care product that claims to “improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone”. So does the reality live up to the hype? Let's find out.Click here to read more...
There’s just no end to what’s available for children these days, but statements about there being more now than there was when I was a child just make me feel old. There are so many beautiful ways of commemorating and celebrating children and childhood, and Little Ollie is one such a company making beautiful hand-made products.
Little Ollie Handmade Gifts is a husband and wife team with many years’ experience within crafts and bespoke furniture making. Their products are hand made to order, and nothing is mass produced - with the exception, I expect, of the electric bits for the clock.
Little Ollie have a selection of themes to choose from, including Sail boat, Space Rocket, Cupcake, Butterflies, Pirate Ships and Transport, Fairytale and Hearts. Personalised gifts include a money box, photo frame, clock, decorative wall hangings and announcement plaques.Click here to read more...
Like most of us, I really enjoy pampering as much as possible. I specifically love that where ten years ago organic, natural products were expensive, exclusive and elite, today it’s easy to find decent products at completely acceptable prices – sometimes even cheaper than mainstream alternatives.
Kadria is a new product - to me at least – and I’ve loved being lucky enough to test it.
The set consists of five products – Belly Balm, Balancing Face Oil, Baby Body Oil, Labour Oil and Baby Balm. I was sent four of the products – we didn’t get to try the labour oil – and have been using them religiously.Click here to read more...
This is an utterly adorable deal that will make little faces light up this Christmas. ELC has marked the Vtech Hello Kitty Soothing Projector down from £15.99 to only £7.99 but you will have to pay hefty postage if you don’t reserve yours to collect instore.
The Hello Kitty soothing projector will help soothe your baby to sleep with its magical sounds and light effects. This doodad will relax your baby as he or she tries to settle down in their bed. You can choose either the five or 10 minute lullaby settings depending on how restless they are.
You can calm baby in the nursery or wherever you fancy and the device will also project lovely pictures onto the ceiling, hopefully making baby nice and sleepy. The Hello Kitty soothing projector has 16 melodies, two sung-songs (whatever they are) and soothing natural sound effects. You will need to feed it four (!) AA batteries though as these are not included in the price.
Thanks to aishaukhan at HUKD!
Boots do a range of baby bath products. Yes, I know, that's hardly earth shattering news. But how often have you bought or tried one of the many ranges of baby bath products that are out there? If you're like me then it was pretty much never unless you got a sample first. There's just such a lot of them, and do they work? What are they like to use? You don't want to spend the months your child is a baby trying them all out.
Which is why PlayPennies likes to review these products, so you can learn from our parents' experience. I was given a few items from the Boots Bath range, and gave them to our PlayPennies parent Julia to try out. Julia has a baby girl aged 6 months, and a daughter of 5 years.Click here to read more...
I don't wear jewellery very often, but when I do, my 1 year old baby always pulls and sucks at it, and this is especially true of when I wear a necklace. Some of my necklaces are quite fragile, and I worry that they might break, or beads would get swallowed, so I've started avoiding wearing them when baby is close enough to get her chops round them!
I got one of these teething necklaces from Gumigem. They were invented by a mum with a similar mindset to me, who wanted to wear something safe that her baby could still grab and chew if they wanted to. The Gumigem necklaces are made from a similar silicone material to that of most baby teethers.
I got a plain purple heart shaped necklace, but I see that there are loads of other fab colours to choose from too. I particularly like the Sea Sparkle (pictured top left). I think these would make a nice gift for a new mum, they do a few combo sets as well.
My baby really likes to chew on the Gumigem necklace. When she first sunk her incisors into the necklace, she left quite deep marks which I thought were not going to fade away. But the material crept back into its own shape after a minute or so. I decided to bite the necklace myself to see what it was like - it's very tough and you wouldn't be able to bite a piece off it. The cord is a long, strong, string and unbreakable to baby, with a safe clasp at the top.
The Gumigem necklace actually sits on my office desk at home, and I pop it on from time to time when I am trying to keep the baby happy while still doing a little bit of one-handed work on the computer. She enjoys fiddling and biting it.
In conclusion, the Gumigem necklace is not the piece of jewellery I would reach for when going for a posh night out, but it is perfect for wearing during the day, when there's a baby hanging off my hip.
I don't know about you, but I probably end up in Boots about once a week. There's always something you need to pick up, and in the larger Boots a browse through the shelves is always educational. That's how I found the Lindam microwave steriliser plastic bags, a total space saver.
There's a stack of stuff all aimed at parents of babies. Which brings up some crucial questions. What's it like to use? How do I know if I'll need it - apart from buying a bottle? I still have bottles of stuff given to me when son was a baby that I've never used. And he's five years old now. I hated the idea of adding to that pile myself, and paying good money for the privilege!
So I got three of the Boots range products and gave them to Marie, whose daughter is 10 months old. This is how she got on.
Marie recieved a 400ml bottle of Boots Dreamtime Calming Bath (£2.03) to try out. This is, apparently, pH balanced to "gently cleanse delicate skin without drying, leaving baby's skin soft and clean". On the website it also says it has a lavender and chamomile scent to provide a soothing and calming aroma.
Interestingly though, it doesn't say that on the bottle. So the scent was a surprise for Marie. "There's nothing about a specific fragrance. I opened the top and gave it a sniff, and it had a slight smell of lavender, though nothing too over-powering." She also thought the fragrance of the bubble bath filled the room with a pleasing odour, not too strong.
Marie then put some in the bath while the water was running and was pleased with the result - a nice foamy bath. However, she thought she may have put a little too much in, because as her daughter started kicking, more and more bubbles seemed to spawn.
Still that did have a positive result. "The bubbles lasted the whole duration of the bath though, unlike some other products which dissipate fairly early on."
Marie did read the bottle carefully though, and it seems to meet with her high standards. "I am always quite concerned about using new products on baby as she has very sensitive skin, with bouts of eczema. I always make sure that the product is hypo-allergenic, which the bubble bath is."
Next Marie tried out the 100ml tube of Boots Baby Sensitive Moisturising Cream (£2.03). This promises a non-greasy formulation that suitable for the daily moisturising of sensitive and dry skin conditions, including eczema.
First, the 'opening the bottle experience'. Marie found that "the Boots Baby Sensitive Moisturising Cream doesn't smell of anything, even when I almost accidentally squirted it up my own nose. I think this is a good thing, that it is quite a natural moisturiser " While she didn't need to test it quite so closely or rigorously, it is always good to know that it is truly scent free!
She thought that the consistency of the cream was pretty much what you'd expect from a moisturiser. "I tried some on my own arm before going near baby. It dried in well, not leaving my skin greasy or flaky."
Marie used the moisturising cream on a patch of dry skin on her baby's leg, over the course of a week, with slightly disappointing results. "I restricted it to that area just in case there was a reaction, I'd hate to have used it all over her body and something irritated her. It moisturised her skin well, but I didn't see any particular improvement in the dry area."
The final product I got for Marie to review was a 100ml tube of Boots Baby Sensitive Bottom Balm (£2.03). This cream is meant to soothe a wide variety of dry and irritable skin conditions, as well as providing a barrier on the bottom against the irritants that cause nappy rash.
Marie found the Boots Baby Sensitive Bottom Balm to be quite a thick cream, definitely thicker than the Boots moisturiser. "Again, it didn't really have much of a smell to it when I sniffed it in the tube, though it kind of has a slight hint of that "baby" smell."
When she rubbed it on the back of her hand, a more distinct smell emerged, but it was a fragrance could not put her finger on.
In use she thought that one left her skin feeling a bit greasier, but that it was to be expected as it is more like a barrier cream for baby's bum.
"When I first used it on baby's bum, I squirted far too much out of the tube. With this cream, a little goes quite a long way so that's something to take into consideration when applying."
It says on the packaging that they are consultant dermatologist and paediatrician approved. "I am always a bit wary of this though - who approved it? Was it one consultant dermatologist somewhere... or a team of respected ones? I usually don't pay much attention to that kind of statement on a product, as I have no idea of its origins."
Good for Marie for not simply trusting the marketing. I'm sure that Boots do all kinds of checks, but at the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding as they say. Either it works, or it doesn't.
And Finally ...
Although it didn't clear up her baby's dry skin patch as she'd have liked, all three products got a definite thumbs up in the end from Marie. Her final word? "I'd probably buy these products again, especially the bubble bath, as the smell was really gorgeous."
In Asda's Little Angels range of baby products, they sell packets of organic ready-to-eat baby food. I got 3 flavours to try out with my little girl, she's 10 months old. It's the stage 3 food, which is suitable for 10 to 12 months. Here's what I tried:
- Chicken and Mango Curry
- Cottage Pie
- Tomato and vegetable pasta
I just gave her the food as normal at dinner time and I tasted them all myself too, for testing purposes.
Chicken and Mango Curry
As baby is only 10 months old, I've never given her any curry type products yet, as I have been making most of her baby food myself with fresh vegetables and meat. I was a bit worried as to what she was going to make of her first curry!
It is a rich sweet curry, with a nice texture for baby. It was quite smooth, not a lot of large lumps in it.
I liked this flavour a lot, and so did baby. She could not eat the curry fast enough! I was very surprised at her reaction, and I even had to decant some more of the food and keep on feeding, as baby started to cry when she had finished the small portion.
This product led to a conversation in my house about what babies in India and Asia eat when they're weaning. They must move straight on to spice-rich dishes like curries, rather than just the veg, meat and potatoes that we tend to wean with here. I'll be researching which curries will be good for my baby, when I am having one as a main meal.
The chicken and mango curry was such a hit with baby that I will be buying it again.
Tomato and vegetable pasta
I was a bit worried about trying this one. I've tried fresh chopped pasta and sauce with baby a few times, and she has never been enamoured. The first time I tried pasta, she was even gagging on it, and I had to stop feeding. So that led to a bit of apprehension when I opened that pack and saw the tiny bits of pasta. But I needn't have worried, it was chopped quite fine and the sauce was tasty, and baby enjoyed it a lot. There were a few larger lumps of carrot through the mix, but they were quite soft and easily palatable for baby. You can see a pic of the tomato pasta in the bowl, the photo is at the bottom of this review.
The flavour was quite herby, quite strong, but she liked it. I will be adding this flavour to my shopping list in the future.
The Cottage Pie was the last food that we tried, out of the above 3. This was by far the lumpiest of the 3 flavours, with full-size peas and soft cubes of potatoes through the mix. I was quite concerned about that as it is probably the lumpiest food I have ever given her. She managed fine though, there were no problems at all.
Flavour-wise, I did not love this particular taste. The cottage pie had quite a processed smell and taste, and I don't think I would buy this one again.
One thing I really detest about shop-bought baby food is the potential for stainage on light coloured bibs. As I've been feeding baby with homemade food, I've never really had a huge problem with stains (except for persistent banana stains)! On seeing the colour of the Asda baby curry and the tomato pasta, the potential for stainage immediately entered my mind.
I dropped a bit of each on the white bibs, accidentally of course. Straight after feeding time was finished, I immediately hand-rinsed the worst of the stains, and left it to go in the wash. After washing, the curry bib in particular still had noticeable stains. I have a few bibs made from a darker material, so I will be using those when I next try the orange coloured baby foods.
One annoying thing about the Asda Little Angels organic baby food range is the packaging. They come in sachets, which you have to cut the top off with scissors, and they are not re-sealable. There is 190g of food per portion, and my little one wouldn't eat as much as that in one sitting. This means I have to decant the remainder of the food into another dish, to store in the fridge.
I am comparing this to the likes of the Ella's Kitchen range of baby food which is quite similar, but they come in a pack with a little squeezy spout at the top. That means you can simply put the lid back on and pop it in the fridge - not so easy with some of the Asda products. Though, on looking on the Asda website, I see that some other flavours in the range have the squeezy tops, so it must depend on which flavour you choose.
At the time of writing, the cost of a 190g baby food pack is £1.34 on Asda's website. To compare that with the similar packages from Ella's kitchen, they're coming in at around £1.61. So I do think that the Asda Little Angels baby food is a good price.
All in all, I think the Asda Little Angels organic baby food range is well priced, very tasty for baby, with good flavours and variety. I will definitely be buying some of it again in the future.
When I opened up the baby journal from K Two, I thought a page had fallen out, but it turned out to be a sample page just to show you how to fill it in. It's not hard to work out yourself though! The one difficulty I have with this type of thing is deciding which person to write in. Do you write to the baby, do you write from the perspective of the baby... ?
The book itself is a lovely colour - the pages are all muted pastels, filled with gorgeous illustrations.
The baby journal has all the standard sections; birth info, slots for photos, family sections, hand prints, special memories. But the bulk of this baby journal differs from another one I was using, in that it is almost like a proper journal. There are lots of pages for "mini milestones" and "my favourites things" which you can fill in with the appropriate date. In this way, you can simply fill it in through time, whenever you've got something interesting to write about.
The sticker sheets at the back of the book are a very nice touch. They contain lots of stickers for various milestones which you can stick on at the appropriate places in the baby journal. For example, there are stickers for 1st tooth, 2nd tooth, 3rd tooth, first word, crawling, standing, climbing, and loads more. You just stick them on where you've written about a corresponding moment.
I've been diligently filling in my baby journal for my first baby, with every momentous moment. I've been told that it won't be the same for the next kiddies... and all the momentous events tend to merge together in your head into one large mass of nappies, teeth and sleeplessness. A lady I know had 4 boys, and she can barely remember the vital statistics for each of them! A baby journal will keep a little log of it for me :) But I will make a point of filling in one of these baby journals for each baby I have (I am planning on a few more), so that I can have a permanent record of each baby's activities.
P.S. We've got a PlayPennies exclusive 10% off with this K-Two discount code.
Weaning on to solids coincided with my return to work. I worked full time, four days a week in an office with an hour long commute each way. I got these Small Weaning Pots with Trays from JoJo Maman Bebe so that I could freeze his meals in large batches once a week.
I could have used an ice cube tray - a lot of articles I read at the time recommended this approach. My son however had a very big appetite, and the ice cubes looked rather small. I also liked that the weaning cubes had lids.
The lids clip on securely, and firmly. They kept the contents of the cube inside, with no leakage when I was out. Although I should point out I carried them stacked in the insulated bottle pocket of my change bag, so they were pretty much upright all the time.
I never did use the labels. In fact I'd forgotten about those until I read the product description again. I guess they're still in a cupboard or drawer somewhere! I did buy a second set of these trays. So that one tray would have, say, mashed potato, sweet potato, and carrots. Another tray would have mashed up whatever it was that I'd cooked for our own dinner. Another tray would have finger type foods that he could much on like sliced carrots. And the fourth would have foods he liked, such as spaghetti bolognaise. Like a lot of pre-two year olds, he was immensely adventurous with his food and would much down on anything I gave him. He loved garlic, and the more garlicky a food the better! I found him once at the age of 15 months munching on raw garlic he'd sneaked out of the fridge.
The cubes sit in their own trays in the freezer making it easy to keep track of them, and to keep them in one place.
I still use the cubes now. At least I use some of them. I gave a couple of trays to a friend when she started weaning baby number two. The others I kept and I use them for storing my own dried herbs, or for putting sugar in when we go on a picnic, that sort of thing. They've proven to be immensely handy over the years!
You get two trays with eight pots each, and 50 labels. The pots are dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe. And the plastic used is BPA free. Each cube measures 4cm by 4cm and holds 38ml, which is about two tablespoons of food.
All three of my children spent a lot of time in bouncy chairs when they were small, and I could get quite militant with people who say they don't need one.
Ok, so NEED is debatable but your life will be sooo much easier if you have one and THAT alone should make it a compulsory purchase!
This Mamas and Papas giggle bouncer chair on offer at Argos is suitable from six months onwards - it's NOT suitable for newborns as it's quite upright - and has been reduced from £24.99 to £14.99.
It has a detachable toy arch with two hanging toys for your baby to bat with their hands and play with, it has a removeable head-hugger and a support strap so your child doesnt' just slide off the end (a most important feature I'm sure you'll agree *grin*).
You can take off the Mamas and Papas Giggle Bouncer cover and bung it in the wash, it also has non-slip rubber feet which is a great little feature for anyone who has laminate flooring and it has a vibrate function too - you'll have to buy the 2 AA batteries needed as they aren't included.
Collect in store for free or get stung with the £5.95 next-day delivery charge.