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Beansmummy (Oxfordshire, UK)
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Rooms
Rooms
by Lauren Oliver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Ghost story, 5 Sep 2014
This review is from: Rooms (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was intrigued by this despite the rather mixed reviews from the American audience so decided to give it a go, having never read this author before. What I found was a clever and well executed ghost story, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. All the characters are somewhat tragic figures, for various reasons, and the story is rather sad. Despite the ghosts, and the suicidal teenager, it is not morbid or spooky; the ghosts have taken on the house as a new body and observe the human interactions therein. Eventually Trenton, the teenager, develops an awareness of them, and they begin to interact.
The story begins in the aftermath of a death; the dead man's estranged family meet at his house to begin sorting out his affairs, and to organise his funeral. What follows is partly a ghost story, as we gradually discover the sad history of the house's previous inhabitants, but also the family's coming to terms with the death, and the ongoing realities of their own lives.
The narrative is primarily voiced by two of the ghosts, and this is done very well, as we get glimpses of their frustrations at their confined existences, forced to coexist within the house together for so long, and their perspective of the living visitors.
All in all, an unusual and compelling story. I will be looking out for other work by this author.


Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Apptivity iPad Case
Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Apptivity iPad Case
Offered by Wi-Shop
Price: 15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Child-friendly robust design, 5 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a sturdy and robust product which protects my iPad efficiently when my 5 month old daughter plays on it. She has a variety of Fisher Price apps installed, and we spend a few minutes every other day or so playing with them, as part of her playtime. It is also a useful distraction if, for example, I have to answer the phone when she is with me; the apps keep her occupied rather than grizzling while I speak.

The unit is easy to open and close using a coin as a tool, and fits the standard iPad size perfectly (not suitable for the mini). It is straightforward to get in and out, so replaces your usual (adult-friendly) cover within seconds, rather than having to fiddle about for ages. The screen protector is flexible, with a hard section at one end of it; this means you can choose to allow the child to operate the 'home' button or not, depending on how you orientate the iPad in the cover.

My baby is very dribbly at present (teething), so my iPad needs a cover for this reason alone. But since most of the baby apps are designed for the baby to swipe/ bash at the screen and be rewarded by something happening as a result, it is reassuring to have a bit more protection.

Of course no parent is going to leave their baby/ small child alone with an iPad for entertainment (much more fun and value when you are there sharing it with them, talking about what they are seeing, showing them what to do and watching them explore etc) so you could argue that a dedicated child-proofing product is unnecessary. This is true, but it certainly adds peace of mind for that brief moment when the baby swipes extra hard and sends the thing flying from your grasp.


Fisher-Price Puppy's Smart Train Toy
Fisher-Price Puppy's Smart Train Toy
Price: 34.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal first Christmas/ birthday gift, 5 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My 5 month old daughter tried this out with the help of her 6 year old sister, both of whom thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a large and noisy toy, and very much appealed to the baby, who grabbed everything, tried chewing each character, and managed to press some of the buttons. Her sister patiently demonstrated all the functions to her, and they played happily together.

It comes with batteries included, and the train is motorised. It works on carpet as well as on hard floors. The three cheerful characters fit interchangeably into three seats in the train (the driver's seat is another button). There are also several activities that don't require button pressing (beads on the arch, a slider, rotating bits, plus the train itself), and it seems very robust. The carriage (one connected piece shaped as two carriages) detaches from the engine, but does not tend to come off unintentionally during play. It wipes clean easily, although there are a few paper stickers, which I expect will suffer in time. The train is chunkier than I realised on pictures online; it is approx 17cm tall, 13cm wide, and 50cm long (box ~28x15x52cm)

There are 3 play levels, the idea being that the toy grows with the child from 6 months to 3 years. Level 1 (6m+ "Explore") gives simple words when the buttons are pressed. Level 2 (12m+ "Encourage") is supposed to expand language development, and get the child to interact more. Level 3 (18m+ "Pretend") is intended to encourage imaginative play. Our experience was that the baby just enjoyed all the noises, particularly the tunes, and was fascinated by the light-up chimney (but she is below the target age range). Visiting toddlers were very attracted by the train, and the characters themselves seem particularly appealing (almost every little visitor attempted to abduct at least one of them!). They also liked to load the carriage with other small toys and sweets...

The toy is intended to be educational, with a claimed 50+ learning songs etc. I'm never certain how much children do actually learn from electronic toys, but they certainly loved playing with this one. The characters also feature in a range of (free) Fisher Price apps for iPads etc (one of our visitors recognised the puppy from the app he had played with, and we have subsequently downloaded them for our baby).

Would be an ideal and long-lasting gift for a first birthday or Christmas, and is very reasonably priced given its play value and potential longevity.


Philips AVENT Fast Bottle Warmer
Philips AVENT Fast Bottle Warmer
Price: 32.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lack of a timer is disappointing, 4 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My baby is now starting some solids. I am also shortly about to return to work, so will be expressing milk for the grandparents to feed to her in my absence. Having not used a bottle warmer for my older children this looked like a good bet for the grandparents' convenience.

It is a neat, bottle sized appliance, with smooth understated all-white design so does not look hideous in the kitchen. It is very simple to use; tap water and a plug socket are all you need. It fits my baby food containers in which I usually put 2-3 ice cubes of frozen purée to defrost in the fridge. It is stable and not easy to knock over, although the water does get very hot so some care is needed when removing your bottle or food container. It takes up little space so can be stowed in a cupboard when not in use (although too big to reasonably lug around with you day to day).

I tried it with fridge temperature breast milk, which took about 3 minutes to warm to appropriate temperature. I also tried frozen homemade purée; 3 ice cubes (approx 75ml) of purée took 25 minutes on the food setting (not the defrost setting) to reach edible temperature. So far so good. It worked well warming fridge temperature food, and I also tried it with frozen breast milk.

HOWEVER, a major omission, in my opinion, is a timer. The guide gives approximate times and appropriate settings for different quantities of milk from room temperature, fridge, and frozen, but having turned it on, you have to clock-watch yourself. Unfortunately, with a small baby (and baby-brain?) this is the difference between a great product, and a mediocre gadget. The whole point, surely, is to make life easier? Getting the timing right is trial and error, but it would be so useful if, after some experimentation, you could just set the function and the time, and know the food will be perfect for the baby exactly when you want it. As it is, you can easily overheat your baby's milk just by forgetting about it for a few minutes!

It does take you a step forward from boiling a kettle and submerging your bottle in boiled water to heat, and is clearly more satisfactory and safer than a microwave, but I would not recommend this device. It could have been such a useful baby gadget, but, as it is, remains an expensive luxury that you can easily do without. If money is no object, and you don't feel you'll miss the timer, then it is a well made, nice item, but I think it will prove much less handy than I had hoped.


Bubble Wrap Hey Bright Eyes (Pack of 3)
Bubble Wrap Hey Bright Eyes (Pack of 3)

5.0 out of 5 stars Great gift for new parents, 3 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Set of 3 excellent quality giant muslin cloths, with bubbles/ elephants/ stars designs in bright rainbow colours. Each is a 120x120cm square. They wash brilliantly and dry well either in a tumble dryer or on the line. Not now sure what I did without them as they are so useful. So far ours have been burp cloths, cover-alls for weaning, impromptu picnic blankets, changing mats, pram blankets, pram sun-covers, sun shades, towels... can't remember what else, but LOTS.
These are so useful from birth onwards; we now keep one at all times in the car, the pram, the nursery and the changing bag so one is always to hand (we found 3 wasn't enough!).


Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster
Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster
Offered by Otherland
Price: 10.23

1.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality and quickly broke, 3 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought for my 11 year old's birthday, at his request. However within 2 days of normal use (not thrown/ abused/ etc) the plastic trigger mechanism had broken rendering the toy unusable. My very disappointed son learned a lesson about cheap badly-made toys, and the power of advertising. Not impressed, especially considering that our older version of this Nerf model (the N-strike Maverick; different colour scheme; basically same shape etc) is still going strong. Perhaps the build quality is lower now.


Oral-B Trizone 6000 Smart Series With Bluetooth Technology Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Powered by Braun
Oral-B Trizone 6000 Smart Series With Bluetooth Technology Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Powered by Braun
Price: 91.44

4.0 out of 5 stars Good brush, lots of unnecessary gimmickry, 2 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
So, as my 4th electric toothbrush to date, I have to say I'm impressed with this one. It does a great job in all modes, although I probably won't be using most of them that often. It comes with a hard travel case, and spare toothbrush heads. No 3-pin plug, of course, which is a little irritating.
It also comes with a little tray to keep your spare heads in (or those belonging to the rest of the family), into which the charging unit clips. Frankly this is just going to gather dust and limescale in my bathroom.
The bluetooth is a whole area of unnecessary gadgetry, designed for someone with a lot more time to devote to their teeth than me, but it's quite cool nonetheless, and my children think it is "awesome". The smiley face one the wall-mountable console certainly seems to motivate them, and teeth-cleaning has become desirable because of this novelty.
The app is a bit pointless; you can't help feeling they could have done more with it, but really it is just another bolt-on to appeal to those who want their smartphone in absolute control of every aspect of their lives.
I don't like the trizone heads (too big, and trying to mimic manual brushing) but all the other oral-b heads are also compatible with this brush, so I have swapped it. The handle is chunkier than most, and heavy; not enough to significantly tire your hand during 2-3 minutes use, but still...

Overall, it is a great brush, but not worth the stupendous RRP. If you can get it at a very significant discount, then it is fun to play with, and cleans your teeth really well. Otherwise, get a (much) cheaper oral-b brush; they are all excellent, and I would never now buy a different brand.


Oral-B Trizone 2000 Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Powered by Braun
Oral-B Trizone 2000 Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Powered by Braun
Price: 33.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Good basic brush, but the large head is awkward, 28 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a good basic electric toothbrush at the budget end of the market. We already have an oral-B 1000 (not tri-zone) as an entry level brush for my 11 year old son, and this is very similar although has 2 modes rather than just one. The gum care mode (basically just a gentler clean) is not something I think I'll be using much. It works well, and gives a good clean overall, although I dislike the larger head which is common to all the tri-zone range; it just doesn't fit comfortably and means back teeth do not feel so clean. I have bought replacement heads which are the more common, small round type.
This would be a good first electric brush for a child, for travel, or for anyone who does not feel the need for lots of different modes.


baby Banz sunglasses case green Crocodile
baby Banz sunglasses case green Crocodile
Offered by Bunny Bumpkin
Price: 5.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Good product, 28 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good protection for baby sunglasses. Bought for my baby's baby banz specs (which aren't, but really should be supplied with some kind of case in my opinion) and has been a successful product, although so attractive to her than she has chewed it a lot (5 months old). Does the job, protects the glasses in my bag/ hand luggage, and is bright and cheerful. Seems well made, zip operates without difficulty. Quite a lot bigger than the glasses she has, so I can fit a dribble bib in the case as well, but also fits children's standard sunglasses (the usual sort with arms rather than the banz's neoprene strap).


TP-Link TL-PB10400 10400 mAh Portable Power Bank External Battery Charger (2 USB ports for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Android Smartphones and Tablets)
TP-Link TL-PB10400 10400 mAh Portable Power Bank External Battery Charger (2 USB ports for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Android Smartphones and Tablets)
Price: 25.91

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary for me!, 28 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Absolutely excellent product. Charges fairly quickly (you need a USB adaptor), but gets quite hot when charging. It has already proved a day-saver for me, charging my iPad when I had neglected to charge it at home for a day out that relied on my having access to maps. I usually keep it in the car, as it is just a little too bulky to add to my already-overfull handbag, and this means we can charge phones, iPods and iPads on the move. Would have been brilliant for our recent holidays, but I didn't know such devices even existed until now.
It looks nice, and comes with a little travel pouch.
This has revolutionised iPad use for me, as I can now extend its use to cover a whole day out, where previously it would be dead by late afternoon.
Remains to be seen if it's performance deteriorates with time. Will update this review as appropriate if there is anything else to add.


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