Tesco to Sell Own Brand £99 Tablet - I Want One!

Woohoo, big news today that Tesco is rumoured to be about to release its own brand 7 inch tablet in the very near future.

Like many parents, with Christmas just around the corner, my family are currently in the market for a cheap tablet ourselves. Although we already have a couple of iPads, we also have four children, aged 13, 10, 8 and almost 2, who are constantly sneaking off with my husband's iPad. I keep mine all to myself so they know better than to ask for it but hubby is really fed up with getting in from work to find he has 3% power left! That's why this year we decided it might be time to buy one or maybe two cheaper tablets for the kids to share. We're not wanting to go too expensive but do want something reliable and so far have considered the Kindle Fire and Google's Nexus 7, the latter of which we've seen on special offer and which gets great reviews.

I'll be keen to find out what Tesco's tablet looks and feels like (although if it does have a 7 inch screen that will be perfect for smaller hands!) and to see how it operates compared to the iPad which I know is in a league of its own but all the same, it'll be interesting.

The children aren't looking for anything too high spec - as long as they can play Sims and similar games and do a little research for homework purposes they'll be more than happy, but for us as parents the more reputable tablets on the table the better for all of us. Particularly for my poor fed up husband!


Blue Microphones Mikey Digital - A Must Have Plug and Play Microphone for Your iPhone and iPad

 

Mikey Digital
Mikey Digital

Like most parents, my husband and I enjoy keeping a record of special moments and fun times in the lives of our children, and as such, we are always on the lookout for gadgets that will make recording these moments a little easier.

In fact, that was one of the reasons I bought an iPad 3 last year - I knew it would make it so much less hassle to capture treasured moments without having to go the bother of setting up my digital camcorder and then transferring the videos onto my computer for viewing. An iPad meant I could just get on with recording instantly and then watch my footage back as and when I wanted to!

However, pleased as I am with my iPad, I've always been a little disappointed with the sound quality of my recordings. The sound is slightly tinny and, dare I say, cheap sounding, and compared with my old digital video recorder, well, there is no comparison really!

As well as wanting to record my children, I also make relaxation voice recordings and occasional Youtube videos and for these, in particular for the relaxation recordings, I require professional quality equipment. An iPad simply isn't good enough, or at least it wasn't until now...

I've been using Blue Microphones Mikey Digital this past week and from what I have seen so far it is no exaggeration to say I've been astounded at the recording quality. Seriously, from the moment I made my first test recording and compared it with the same poem spoken through my iPad's microphone, the difference was incredible. The Mikey Digital, which attaches to the power outlet of your iPad/iPhone, delivers crisp, clear, stereo cd quality recordings with a lovely soft tone that is very similar to what I refer to as BBC radio quality. You'd actually think you had made the recording in a proper studio setting.

Continue reading "Blue Microphones Mikey Digital - A Must Have Plug and Play Microphone for Your iPhone and iPad" »


New Annabel Karmel Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes - Tasty Food for the Whole Family!

Annabel karmel quick and easy toddler recipesI've been testing out a lovely book this week, Annabel Karmel Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes, the first in her Quick and Easy series.

The book is a 144-page, 100 recipe full colour book teeming full of healthy, balanced meals aiming to make mealtimes easier for hard-working families.

With a great choice of breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner recipes, many focusing on key food groups such as fish, pasta, poultry, meat, vegetables and fruit, as well as time saving tips and tricks to encourage children to eat well and experiment with different sweet and savoury flavours, this book is definitely one for the kitchen book shelf!

Having bought another of her recipe books in the past when my other children were younger, I was keen to try this new one to see if my latest addition would enjoy the meals I'd be preparing. And I'm pleased to report, so far so good.

With a family of four children and two adults, it can be difficult to keep everyone happy at times. My husband and I like lots of spicy foods like curries and noodle dishes, but as any parent can understand, the children aren't always so keen. I'm almost always presented with the dilemma of who to please at mealtimes and preferring for everyone to eat the same meal, rather than having to prepare two completely different meals, I tend to cook meals which everyone will eat rather than meals that everyone loves!

However, this week, with Annabel's guidance, we've all been happily sampling many new and interesting meals and with those I've prepared I'm thrilled to report so far everyone has been pretty happy.

The book, like others Annabel Karmel has written, has a huge array of meals ranging from snacks to main meals and desserts and is certainly a lovely looking book with lots of very appetising photos of meals within. To be honest, my main problem was actually deciding what to prepare from it as there is just so much choice. However, below are photos and rundowns of how I got on with several meals I cooked.

Hummus, Tomato and Cucumber
Hummus, Tomato and Cucumber Sandwiches
Hummus, Tomato and Cucumber Sandwiches

The first snack I chose to prepare was for the children coming in from school and feeling peckish. Normally, I'd make a few ham or cheese sandwichs or toasties, perhaps a shop bought pancake or scone but on this occasion I chose Hummus, Tomato and Cucumber sandwiches. Usually, I'd only serve hummus as a dip at parties so it was a novel and unusual combination which the children weren't too sure about at first glance.

Continue reading "New Annabel Karmel Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes - Tasty Food for the Whole Family!" »


Introducing Baby Lit: Classical Counting and Colour Primer Board Books for Babies!

 Every once in a while I'm asked to review something rather special, something which I look at and think to myself, "Wow, that is a very good idea indeed!" This is exactly how I feel about Baby Lit books, a range of nine colour and counting primer board books based on famous works of classical literature but aimed at babies and young children.

As a literature graduate and English teacher maybe I'm biased, but if so I make absolutely no apology for it!

I truly think Baby Lit is a lovely and very original idea. Take a great piece of literature, one that has withstood the test of time, and turn it into something unique for little ones to enjoy. That has got to be a recipe for success. Not only is it a thoughtful way of introducing children to some of your own favourite works of literature, but it is also a very individual method of bringing colours and numbers into their lives too.

Having studied and throughly enjoyed Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre at university, I was more than thrilled to review the two Baby Lit books based on these original classics, namely Little Master Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet and Little Miss Bronte: Jane Eyre!

My youngest daughter is just 17 months so I was excited to introduce her to these very beautiful and stylish books. In fact, I must confess, I don't think I'll be leaving her alone with them any time soon as I might just want to display them as pieces of art on my old dresser later on!

Continue reading "Introducing Baby Lit: Classical Counting and Colour Primer Board Books for Babies!" »


Gumigem - Fashionable Baby Proof Teething Jewellery for Babies and their Mummys!

 

Gumigem teethers
Miller Heart Pendant, a piece of Gumigem teething jewellery

When I'm breastfeeding my 17 month old daughter she loves to play with my chain and cross. She twists and turns it between her fingers and rather remarkably, is very gentle with it, just as her three siblings were.

However, I often fret that one of these days it's going to just snap. She's also been teething a lot lately and now has almost all her front teeth plus four great big back teeth. As many mums know, teething equals chewing and for Sophia this means chewing on almost anything she can lay her little teeth on. She has even chewed lumps out of books that the other children had cherished from their baby days!

Oh yes, we have teethers galore in our house but the problem is I can never find one when needed so, for me, the chance to review a piece of award winning teething jewellery, namely the Gumigem teething necklace, made in Dundee, Scotland, couldn't have come at a better time. Imagine, a teether that looks like a trendy necklace so always on hand but which looks the part when out and about with baby! Perfect :)

Designed by a fellow mummy, Jenny McLaughlan, the Gumigem baby proof mummy jewellery teethers were her lightbulb moment. Trying to soothe her own son who struggled with teething and chewed everything in sight, Jenny decided it was time to design a teether which doubled as a stylish piece of jewellery. So successful has she been that she now has many celebrities including Coleen Rooney, Sienna Miller and Jenny Falconer, wearing and raving about her product.

Continue reading "Gumigem - Fashionable Baby Proof Teething Jewellery for Babies and their Mummys!" »


The Snugg iPad 4 Executive Case Cover and Flip Stand - Stylish and Functional Protection for Your iPad

The Snugg iPad 4 Case has arrived and I've been fortunate enough to test it out.

Now before I go on, I must admit, I've been having a bit of trouble choosing a cover for my iPad 3, the reason being there are so many on the market to choose from. Being very indecisive by nature I simply haven't been able to make up my mind which to go for.

One thing I was sure of though was that I certainly didn't want to purchase an Apple iPad Smart Cover.

Why ever not, you may ask?

Well, having bought the Apple Smart Cover for my husband's iPad 2 I was reluctant to fork out again for a product which we felt was overpriced for what it offers and not very successful at the half job it does - it is forever falling off and doesn't afford any protection whatsoever to the back of the iPad. Therefore, for me there was no indecision here - if I did ever get around to choosing a case for mine, it would be one of those that offer full front and back protection without losing any functionality.

Continue reading "The Snugg iPad 4 Executive Case Cover and Flip Stand - Stylish and Functional Protection for Your iPad" »


Emily Evans Mother Brilliant Bust Cream - A Bust Firming Cream for Mothers to Be and Breastfeeding Mothers

Emily Evans Brilliant Bust CreamNormally, when breastfeeding, I don't like to use body lotions and potions for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I worry that the ingredients may not be all that good for my baby and secondly, I worry that they won't taste very pleasant for her.

However, when I was asked to try Emily Evans Mother Brilliant Bust Cream, a new bust firming cream by mother of three and founder of maternity boutique 9 London, I was interested, not least because the formula contains a special blend of the natural ingredients centella and borage oil which help tone and tighten the bust, but also because, let's face it, after having four babies I feel like I could do with a little help in the bust firming area!

Now, before I go any further, let me make it very clear that breastfeeding in itself does not cause your breasts to become less firm. Many people will try to tell you otherwise, but the fact of the matter is that it is pregnancy that causes the damage! Now that I've cleared that up for everyone, let me continue...

Emily Evans bust firming cream arrived at my door in the most delightful manner, all packaged in a lovely big Harrod's box making me feel very special from the get go!

Continue reading "Emily Evans Mother Brilliant Bust Cream - A Bust Firming Cream for Mothers to Be and Breastfeeding Mothers" »


Family Battle Skin Allergy with 100% Natural Discovery

JooMo Face WashAfter developing a skin allergy in 2008 mum of two Linda Russell, set out on a journey that would lead her and her partner Nick to develop the very first 100% natural face wash. Although an avid user of various skin lotions and creams, in 2008 she developed a distressing skin allergy which seemed untreatable.

Although the allergy started off as a fairly innocuous looking red patch on her chin, it spread alarmingly with groups of red spots and parts of her face becoming inflamed around her mouth and chin. It was sometimes so sore it hurt to smile. Horrified by the appearance of her skin, Linda began a desperate period of hunting for a cure.

Linda, co-founder of JooMo, said: “My existing skin care products seemed to hurt my face when applied, so I stopped using them. I went to the doctor’s and was prescribed steroid cream – after a temporary improvement, my skin was worse than ever. I remember going to Canada  on business, and my face ached the whole time – I also felt horribly self-conscious meeting people, much the same dimly remembered feeling I had had as a teenager with an outbreak of spots.”

Continue reading "Family Battle Skin Allergy with 100% Natural Discovery" »


Guys and Dolls - Sales of new Oobicoo soft toy Ollie outstrip Orla 2:1

Boys’ dolls are selling twice as fast as girls’ dolls according to Totseat founder Rachel Jones, who believes the media have been integral in helping to break down gender stereotypes.

The UK toy industry is worth £2.96bn and since launching the soft toy tots Ollie and Orla last year, multi award winning entrepreneur Rachel Jones has sold twice as many of the boy ‘doll’ Ollie. Sales of boys’ toys take 55% share of the UK toy market and Rachel believes sales of Oobicoo Ollie reflect society’s changing perceptions of traditional gender stereotypes.

Rachel says, “We live in a culture where many people look to the media as a guide to behavior and as a result many people conform to majority norms. Traditionally girls have been expected to play with dolls and wear pink and many parents have discouraged their sons from playing with dolls per se, however there appears to be a shift in this gender stereotyping which can only be a good thing.”

Oobicoo was originally developed and sold as a mannequin to display the multi-award winning Totseat; a safe, portable, fabric highchair for families travelling with babies. Rachel soon realised their appeal when they became the unlikely classmates of her daughter Freya and her friends, who loved the fact that they were so big and cuddly!

The adorable, soft toy tot Oobicoo is made from gorgeous soft plush fabric and, at 60cm tall, is the same size as a six month old baby - the perfect size to be an instant baby brother, sister or best friend. They come in their own wee fabric 'pod' and are designed to be dressed in hand-me-down-baby clothes. This simple idea not only saves money, it encourages the reuse of outgrown baby clothes, teaches children dexterity and provides Oobicoo with an instant wardrobe.

With sound eco credentials, Oobicoo is filled with recycled polymer, manufactured from recycleable fabric and is raising money for the Children's Immunology Fund - £1 from every sale goes to the charity. Oobicoo even has its very own dance tune, penned by Emily Philips and Josh Wilkinson who co-write for pop superstars One Direction and Alexandra Burke!

Rachel added, “Oobicoo not only helps your child’s development, they are perfect for imaginative play, great for teaching dexterity in terms of dressing and undressing and because of their realistic size, they give children someone to cuddle!

“We are delighted to announce the launch of Olwyn, our fourth soft toy tot, who has a different skin tone to the other Oobicoo tots. We are keen to encourage diversity and since launching Oobicoo Ed last year, who is entirely bald, we have had great reactions to the entire Oobicoo family.”


BabyCam Car Monitor - A Few Weeks Later!

A few weeks ago I reviewed the BabyCam Car Monitor by Storage Options. Basically, it's a safety device which allows you to keep a close eye on your baby when you're driving. It's great because with rear facing baby seats it means you don't have to guess what's wrong with your baby if he or she starts to cry whilst the car is moving, but instead you can glance at your monitor and see your child instantly.

Watch the video below and see how I'm finding it a few weeks on!