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Guest review

Posted on November 22, 2011

Mommy I’m Here Child Locator Review

Christmas/ Christmas Gift Guide/ gifts/ Guest review

Hi, It’s Dawnie Brown here, Sonia’s sister and also guest reviewer 🙂 You can also find me over my personal blog Knees Up Mother Brown (Excuse the shameless plug for my own blog 😉 )
I’ve been sent a “Mommy I’m Here Child Locator” to review by Safe Girl Security recently and although I’m not a typically paranoid mummy, I do admit dreading the day that Zara will inevitably vanish out of sight. It’s one of those things you see in the supermarket or shopping centres all the time. Crying mums rushing around trying to find their child and each time I see it happen I dread the day that I become that mum. As much as I’m careful, I think it’s almost like a right of passage and with 2 tiny terrors on my hands it will only take a few seconds for it to happen and let’s face it, it’s easy to be distracted by one of the terrors and take your eyes off the other.

The Mommy I’m Here Child Locator is a cute teddy design which attaches to your child’s shoes or belt. You then simply attach the transmitter to your keyring. To activate the locator you simply switch the teddy to on and press the button on the transmitter, you will hear a couple of quiet beeps which signal the locator is armed. Then you can just relax. If you lose sight of your child you simply press the button on the transmitter and the teddy bear starts emitting an alarm sound which alerts you to where your child is. The transmitter works up to 50m/150ft and emits an alarm of 86DB. I’ve done a short video demo of the alarm in action below so that you can see and hear for yourself how it works.

Now Zara is only 2 and still has tiny feet so I found the teddy a bit too big for her little shoes, although it does fit better on her snow boots. As she doesn’t wear a belt I did wonder where I could attach it to at first, but when she is out with us she usually wears her toddler backpack and so we will fasten it to that

I admit I haven’t had to try it out in public yet (thankfully) and we will only be using it when we go to big shopping centres, days out, parks etc where there is a greater chance of her vanishing. We will definitely be using it on Sunday when we go to visit Durham Lumiere festival as with all those crowded streets it will be reassuring to know if my little madam does wander we can find her again 🙂

I do however think it is a great idea. The child locator sells for £19.99 on the Safe Girl website here and is available in pink or brown. I think under £20 for peace of mind is pretty good value really 🙂

Posted on October 26, 2011

Guest Review – Maclaren Twin Techno

Guest review

Hi there, Dawnie Brown here again putting on my guest review hat for you 🙂 You can also find me over at my personal blog Knees Up Mother Brown

Having a baby and toddler means a double pushchair of some kind is essential. Especially when there is only a 14 month age gap! When I asked Maclaren if we could test out their Maclaren Twin Techno, I was delighted when they said yes and I couldn’t wait to get out and take it for a test drive :)

We already have the Phil&Teds Explorer which I have really loved up until recently but since Oscar has become too big to lie down in it, I have had a few issues :(
He will happily sit in the double kit on the back but I always feel sad for him as he can’t see where we are going. It also means that when he falls asleep I can’t recline the seat and so he looks uncomfortable sleeping sitting up. My other main issue is that with the double kit on the back, there is no longer any room in the shopping basket and with a toddler and a baby you NEED somewhere to put everything.
I had opted for an inline double initially as I was worried about being able being able to get out and about with a tandem and we wanted pneumatic wheels for when we go out walking.
So did the Maclaren Twin Techno change my opinion of tandems and could it solve the issues I have with the Explorer? Well here is what we thought!
When the Maclaren Twin Techno arrived, I admit to feeling rather nervous when I saw the size of the box, it was HUGE! However after unpacking it became apparent that the pushchair is anything but.
It was nice that the pushchair arrived pretty much fully assembled, all we needed to do was unfold it and attach the hood – simple!
The actual size of the pushchair when folded is great, it takes up far less boot space than the Explorer does and leaves me plenty of room for shopping etc. I admit we are lucky enough to have a big boot in the 4×4 but if I notice a difference then so should everyone.
Unfolded the pushchair actually seems much smaller than expected! I was expecting it to be much wider than it is but it is actually only 76cm wide compared to the Explorer being 62cm. We’ve taken it out quite a bit over the last couple of weeks and have rarely had trouble fitting through doors. Admittedly we can’t fit it down all the aisles in our local co-op and it is a squeeze through our front door and I’m sure there will be some shops around Durham we will encounter problems with but I have been impressed with how little trouble we’ve had so far!

I love showing off my beautiful babies side by side, and Zara and Oscar love sitting along side each other too

Now this is the first umbrella fold pushchair I’ve ever used and so it did take me a while to figure it out. The mechanics are easy enough, unclip storage locks, unfold and then push down the red thingys (not a technical term!) at the back. I still find it tricky pushing down the red things to be honest but it’s getting easier, it may be due to the fact that a) it’s new and a little stiff and b) I haven’t got the knack of it yet :) I love the fact that it’s all in one piece though and I don’t have to faff around attaching double kits etc.
Now this is really simple and I can manage it fine. Simply put on lock, kick up the red things, press a black lever and fold forwards until storage locks click in place. Please note when folding forwards however that the storage locks are on the outside as I usually have to unfold again to release them as I always forget to check :)
Shopping Basket
There is plenty of room in the shopping baskets under both seats and it is easy to fit everything we need for 2 under them. The access to them can be a little restricted when the seats are fully reclined but to be honest you get this with most pushchairs anyway :)
There are also 2 handy pockets on the back of the hoods which are great for putting in snacks, muslins etc which you frequently need :)
The Twin Techno also came with head huggers and cosy toes, bottle holders and a raincover. I really like it when everything comes with the pushchair and you don’t have to go out and buy them separately!
Handle Height
Now this is something I always mention in pushchair reviews as it is important to us. My husband is 6’3″ and I am 5’10″ and we really dislike having to stoop over to push a pushchair. The handles on the Twin Techno are fixed which to us usually means low. Again I was surprised here as the handles are a very comfortable height for us and with them being angled inwards it doesn’t feel like I’m pushing a double.

The handle height is great for Daddy even at 6ft3

Now the seats on the Twin Techno aren’t the widest you will find and I was concerned that Zara (aged 21 months) might find herself a bit cramped in them. The first time out in it she fell asleep though lol which she rarely does so she must have found it comfy :)
I also love that you can recline the seats independently so that when Oscar falls asleep I can just recline his seat and let him sleep comfortably.

Well they obviously both found it comfy!

Smoothness of Ride
The Twin Techno doesn’t have pneumatic wheels and I was concerned that it would make the pushchair a bit like a bone shaker but to be honest it fared really well, even over the unsurfaced gravel tracks we regularly walk. Admittedly pushing it up a gravelly bumpy hill for 1km was hard work so I handed over the steering wheel to Daddy lol.
It can’t have been that uncomfortable for the passengers as by the time we got to the top of the bumpy hill they were like this :)

Sleeping babies, a rare sight indeed!

OK so the ride in the Twin Techno will never be as smooth off-road as the Phil&Teds with it’s pneumatic tyres but on the plus side we are also never going to find ourselves with a flat tyre either and as long as the passengers are happy then so am I!
Value For Money
At approximately £220 we think the Twin Techno is fantastic value for money. It can be used straight from birth, is really functional and basically a fab product! OK so you can’t attach car seats to it and it isn’t parent facing but for what it is, it’s excellent!
Bearing in mind we paid about £500+ for our Phil&Teds with double kit, soft carry cot, car seat adapter and even had to pay extra for a rain cover!
I asked my husband what he thought value wise and he agreed, for what it does it beats the P&T hands down when it comes to value for money :)
Overall Opinion
We absolutely LOVE the Twin Techno and the Brown family wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it to anyone with twins or a baby and toddler. Big thumbs up from us!

Posted on October 25, 2011

Cheeky Monkey – Organic Cheek Rub for Teething

Guest review

Hi, It’s Dawnie Brown here, Sonia’s sister and also guest reviewer 🙂 You can also find me over my personal blog Knees Up Mother Brown (Excuse the shameless plug for my own blog 😉

I’ve been asked to do a review of some Organic Cheek Rub for Teething which has been kindly sent to us by Organic Monkey.

We all know how unpleasant the whole teething process is, cranky little monkeys and sleepless nights all round. We have developed an organic cheek rub made up of a soothing blend of 100% organic ingredients combining Arnica, Sweet Almond, olive and Sunflower oils with organic Roman Chamomile, Lavender and Spearmint essential oils to help calm and relieve.

Recently we have been having a lot of teething trouble with Oscar, at 8 months old his top 2 teeth are looking like they will be arriving shortly and he has certainly been letting us know about it. We’ve had drool, sore cheeks,sniffles, upset tummy, temperatures and a very miserable baby. It’s fair to say that everything has been a bit of a nightmare with him and at some points I’ve been up 3 times a night with him! I really really hate teething with a passion!

I’m one of those people that will pretty much try anything that might help to relieve some of the symptoms and if a product is natural and organic then it’s always an added bonus. Especially as with his sensitive skin I have to be really careful what we use otherwise it brings out his ezcema.

I admit I’ve still been using Nurofen and Calpol with Oscar throughout his teething episodes but I’ve also been using the cheek rub on his sore cheeks and it does seem to have a calming and soothing effect on him. I’ve been putting it on before I put him down for naps and before bedtime and as well as smelling lovely it really does seem to help. I can’t say whether it helps with pain relief but I can say it takes the redness out of his cheeks and he seems to like it so it gets a thumbs up from us 🙂

The teething rub sells for £7.50 on the Organic Monkey website for a 30ml bottle which sounds quite expensive but with the tiny amount that you use I’m expecting the bottle to last for ages (probably until he has finished teething) as we’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and hardly used any of it 🙂

Posted on August 17, 2011

Oobicoo Review

Guest review/ Review

Hi there, Dawnie Brown here again putting on my guest review hat for you 🙂 You can also find me over at my personal blog Knees Up Mother Brown

The very lovely people from Totseat kindly sent Zara one of their Oobicoo Orla dolls for her to review and it’s very much become one of her favourite toys 🙂

The adorable, cuddly, soft toy tot Oobicoo is made from gorgeous soft plush and, at 60cm tall, is the perfect size to be an instant baby brother, sister or best friend. Designed to be dressed in hand-me-down-baby clothes, this simple idea encourages the reuse of outgrown baby clothes, providing Oobicoo with an instant wardrobe – all ready for imaginative play!

Oobicoo comes as a girl, Orla, with gorgeous bunches, or a boy, Ollie, with short brown hair. We asked for an Orla doll seeing as I already have a full wardrobe for her consisting of all Zara’s old clothes 🙂

Orla arrives naked in a fabric pod, the great thing is that she gets to wear all Zara’s old wardrobe (I find clothes between 6-12 months fit her best)
We had lots of fun, sorting out a wardrobe for Orla and dressing her in some clothes 🙂 Zara even keeps trying to put nappies on her and sitting her on the potty when she isn’t wearing one lol

  Orla has fast become one of Zara’s favourite toys and she tends to join Zara in whatever she is doing 🙂
  Manufactured from recycled and recyclable materials, Oobicoo is raising money, with every sale, for the Children’s Immunology Fund (Registered charity number SC041239).

Orla or her friend Ollie can be bought from the Totseat website for £34.99 which I think is a great price, it really is a great toy and we love dressing her up in all Zara’s old clothes 🙂

Now it does say on the label that Orla is suitable for ages 3+ and as you are aware Zara is only 20 months old, the only reason for this age recommendation is because Orla’s hair is long and there is a risk that little fingers could get trapped in it, but as with all recommendations it is up to you to judge whether your child is old enough to play with the toy. We think Zara is, however we only play with her when I’m around to keep an eye on them both 🙂

Posted on July 12, 2011

Sadie and Frank Review

Guest review/ Review

Hi, It’s Dawnie Brown here, Sonia’s sister and also guest reviewer 🙂 You can also find me over my personal blog Knees Up Mother Brown (Excuse the shameless plug for my own blog 😉

I’ve been asked to do a review for Sadie and Frank, who specialise in funky baby clothes made from organic cotton or bamboo – soft, baby-friendly fabrics that don’t contain nasty chemicals that could irritate baby’s delicate skin. All their baby clothes have bright colours and funky designs so they’re perfect for cool, trendy babies! They also make sure their suppliers are responsible manufacturers so nothing is made in a sweatshop.

Now I love bright and funky baby clothes so when I was asked which item I would like to review I chose this Elephant Playsuit

And I wasn’t disappointed, firstly the playsuit arrived packaged in a box and beautifully wrapped which would be great for a gift and the playsuit itself is super cute. I ordered size 6-12 months as Oscar is fast approaching 20lbs in weight (not bad for a 4.5 month old premature baby!) and this fits him really well with a fair bit of room for him to grow into it.

The quality of the playsuit is really good and it has washed and dried really well which is essential! The price is a little more than I’d pay for Oscar’s usual playsuits at £20 but it’s lovely to have a few really nice outfits of good quality in amongst the cheaper ones that make up his staple wardrobe.

Anyway the proof of how gorgeous it is, is in the photos so here are a few photos of Oscar modelling his elephant playsuit 🙂

In fact the playsuit is so nice that I ordered another one in 0-6 months to send to a friend who recently had a baby boy! It was so nice and packaged so beautifully that I just couldn’t help myself 😉

Definitely check out Sadie and Frank’s website for more of their gorgeous clothes, I particularly love this dinosaur one,

And this zigzag one

And I can’t forget this gorgeous Moomin one!

Absolutely gorgeous aren’t they!

Posted on July 12, 2011

Until The Light of Morning Review

Guest review/ Review

Hi, It’s Dawnie Brown here, Sonia’s sister and also expert guest reviewer 🙂 You can also find me over my personal blog Knees Up Mother Brown (Excuse the shameless plug for my own blog 😉 )
I’ve been asked to review a copy of Until The Light of Morning. This is a CD of lullabies for babies but with a difference. Until the Light of Morning is a new project by Essie Jain (an acclaimed NYC based English singer-songwriter), it’s an album of beautiful lullabies for babies that unlike many children’s music cd’s isn’t excruciating to listen to after the 500th play. In fact it’s actually a pleasure to listen to and helps me to relax as well.
 Essie says “I always felt very clear on how I wanted this album to unfold. Having been lucky enough to spend so much time with my friends and families’ kids, I came to understand that there were three parts to putting a baby to bed, and that they were all as essential to each other. The winding down time, where they are soothed and comforted, then the moment they are just about to fall asleep, and then the time that follows when their dreams are emerging with deep sleep. I wanted to give all those elements in the album, so it unfolds, settles and effortlessly follows that natural rhythm.”

The album contains 8 tracks as follows:
1. What a Big Wide World (my personal favourite)
2. Lay Down
3. Falling Asleep
4. I’m Not Afraid of the Dark
5. O, I Love You
6. The Magic Star
7. Tip Toes
8. Midnight Starship

As with all these types of product, the proof of the pudding is whether it helps or not and I think this one does! I’ve downloaded the CD to my IPhone so that I can play it wherever I am and I have to say it does have a very calming effect on Oscar when he is fighting sleep. I can’t say that it is guaranteed to get him to sleep every time I play it but he does find the music relaxing and that is often enough to send him off to the land of nod. I’ve started playing it when I put him in his cot at night (if he isn’t already asleep) and I often find myself falling asleep whilst I lie there listening to it myself.

You can have a listen to a few of the tracks yourself and find out more information about the album over at their website HERE it’s definitely worth checking out if the sound of usual lullaby music is starting to drive you slowly insane as it was me 🙂 There is also a link from the site where you can buy the album on ITunes.

Posted on April 6, 2011

Bella Mama Breast Feeding Top Review & GIVEAWAY CLOSED

breastfeeding/ competiton/ giveaway/ Guest review/ Review

Hi, It’s Dawnie Brown here, Sonia’s sister and also guest reviewer 🙂 You can also find me over my personal blog Knees Up Mother Brown (Excuse the shameless plug for my own blog 😉 ) Since I was last over here I have become the proud mummy of Oscar Findlay Brown born on Valentines Day (6 weeks early).
I was kindly sent a breast feeding top by Bella Mama to review a little while back and now things have settled down a bit with Oscar I’ve finally had chance to sit down and write you a review about it. Bella Mama was set up by Kirsten and is a small, busy boutique specialising in chic, contemporary breastfeeding clothing and transitional maternity wear for new mamas, blending fabulous style with amazing comfort. To complement this, they also offer a lovely range of beautiful baby bags, swaddling blankets, nursing necklaces, nursing covers, changing mats and indulgent skincare.

The top that I was sent was the Maia top in black and despite me being dubious about breast feeding clothes (after all most are incredibly dull and not very stylish) I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It had a very flattering fit and looked very pretty whilst on. In fact even now I’ve stopped breastfeeding I still wear it! Bella Mama Maia Breast Feeding Top

This top is their best-selling top and was a finalist in Practical Pregnancy’s best feeding top category. Bella Mama say this about it:

  • Our beautiful Maia breastfeeding top is flattering, stylish and doesn’t even whisper ‘nursing top’…
  • Pretty layers at the hemline are echoed in the sleeves, whilst the simple ruching and tie detailing at the neckline give the top a gorgeous girlie edge.
  • Vee neck and longer length give an elegant, slimming effect – fab for new mums!
  • Super soft stretch fabric feels lovely to wear, and creates a top which is elegant and comfortable
  • Fit: Regular
  • Length: Medium
  • Nursing Access: lift the top layer to access two generous openings. The under layer goes all the way around to keep your back and tummy covered whilst you are feeding. * Washing: Machine Wash, Line dry. Do NOT tumble dry.
  • Brand: Bella Mama

Now I only breastfed Oscar for 3 weeks and he was on the neonatal ward for most of that time and tube fed for the first week. Most of my time during those 3 weeks was spent either expressing milk for tube feeding or establishing breastfeeding with him and most of this was done whilst sat next to his cot in the neonatal ward. Not the most peaceful or private place to be doing either expressing or breastfeeding. With doctors, nurses, other parents walking past every 5 minutes, there really wasn’t much privacy. The Bella Mama top proved a godsend though as it allowed me to express or breastfeed without feeling exposed in such a busy environment and it was incredibly easy to use.

I think this top is fantastic and if I had managed to continue breastfeeding I would most definitely be going and buying some more tops from Bella Mama as they have a huge variety of styles and colours which look fantastic and are brilliantly practical too!

Kirsten is kindly giving away one of the Bella Mama Maia Breast feeding Tops (size 10-14) away to one of my lucky readers.

How to enter You must visit Bella Mama and have a look around and come back here and comment letting me know your favourite product from the site.

For extra entries you can do any of the actions below but please leave a separate comment for each entry and please leave a way of contacting you either email or twitter 🙂

  • Follow my blog via GFC
  • Follow me on twitter @SoniaThorpe
  • Follow Belle Mama on twitter @BellaMama_
  • Tweet the following message “I want to win a breastfeeding top in @SoniaThorpe blog giveaway –

Good luck – the winner will be drawn on Friday 15th April at 8pm – UK entries only please xxx

Posted on April 5, 2011

Baby’s First Calendar Review

Guest review/ Review
Hi, It’s Dawnie Brown here, Sonia’s sister and also guest reviewer 🙂 You can also find me over my personal blog Knees Up Mother Brown (Excuse the shameless plug for my own blog 😉 ) I was kindly sent a Baby’s First Calendar to review which was timed fantastically with the arrival of Oscar, although with his early arrival I’ve only just got around to decorating his nursery and putting up his calendar 🙂

Baby’s First Calendar is an A1 poster chart where you can record of all your baby’s firsts and create a lasting record of that manic first year when everything seems to happen so quickly. I never had anything like this with Zara and although we have hundreds, possibly thousands of photos I couldn’t tell you when she first smiled, crawled etc, I could tell you roughly how old she was but not a precise date. I’ve seen the memory books that you can buy but I never got one as knowing me it would just end up in a cupboard gathering dust and never get completed, the great thing about this calendar is that it’s on the nursery wall and the stickers that come with it allow you to record memorable occasions as they happen.

The stickers that come with the calendar allow you to record events such as:

• Due date (which with Oscar was 6 weeks after his birth!)

• Birth (14th February 2011)

• Home from hospital (16 days after his birth)

• First smile (still waiting 🙂 )

• First step

• First tooth

• First shoes

• First laugh

• First clap

• First wave

• First bath

• First time they say Mummy & Daddy

• And a lot more! Rather conveniently for me Baby’s First Calendar has bright colours and a cute woodland animal design which fits in perfectly with Oscar’s woodland themed nursery (well it will do when I finally put the finishing touches to his nursery in the next week or so!). The calendar also has a place to put in their first photo and first birthday photo and all the details of their birth such as weight, place of birth and name etc. It really does allow you to record everything important that you will ever need to remember.

Another important and extremely useful feature of the calendar is the build in thermometer. Temperature is a very serious matter when it comes to your baby’s sleeping environment. It needs to be just right – not too hot or too cold. A thermometer is included on the calendar so you can instantly see the temperature and make sure it’s perfect for your baby. Important safety information is also included on the calendar to help you remember the vital points about laying your baby to sleep. This advice is from the Foundation for the study of infant deaths (FSID) to keep your baby as safe as possible during sleep.

I really like this calendar and think it’s a great idea, they sell for £15 and can be purchased from their website here Baby’s First Calendar Website
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