Review: Twirlywoos Talking Great BigHoo and Toodloo

Toby has loved the Twirlywoos ever since it first appeared on CBeebies back in February. I have to say, of all the TV programmes that Toby watches, I quite like it myself! I knew then that he would also love the instantly recognisable Talking Great BigHoo and Toodloo toys from Golden Bear Toys that he was lucky enough to be sent to review.

Talking Great BigHoo and Toodloo

And I was right! As soon as they were out of the box Toby loved the toys. They are a great size for toddler cuddles, and the plush fabric is super-soft. Each toy makes several different sounds and my only slight criticism is that with his small hands Toby finds it quite tricky to find the right part of the toy to press to make the noise come out. Other than that these Twirlywoos toys are brilliant and they have certainly become firm favourites with Toby and they were in hot demand when his friends Thomas and Edward called round the other day too!

Twirlywoos cuddles

I’m not a big fan of buying loads of toys that are linked to films or TV shows and sometimes it does seem that they are all that’s available in the shops but I can also see why. Kids love getting toys that they recognise from the TV, and seriously, how cute does Toby look watching Twirlywoos with Great BigHoo and Toodloo by his side?

watching Twirlywoos

Our only problem now is that he keeps asking for Chickadee and Chick too!

Talking Great BigHoo has an RRP of £16.99 and Toodloo has an RRP of £14.99.

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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Review: aden + anais muslin bodysuit

Every parent knows how useful a muslin cloth can be, especially if you’ve got a sicky or reflux baby like Gabe. We go through several every day! They also come in useful as makeshift bibs, blankets, changing mats…you name it, a muslin is always a useful thing to have around. I first heard of aden + anais when Toby was small – they are very well known for their muslin swaddle blankets. What I didn’t know until recently, when the lovely people behind Mummy and Little Me got in touch, was that as well as their muslin blankets, sleeping bags, bibs and various other products, aden + anais have also recently launched a range of baby clothes made from their super soft muslin.

aden + anais

We were sent a kimono style long-sleeved bodysuit for Gabe to try, in a fab blue star print (and I do love a star!). As I expected the muslin material is really soft, and it just gets softer with every wash. It is made with 5% spandex so has a slight stretch to it as well – essential for a wriggly baby! The kimono style means it is really easy to put on said wriggly baby too – it has poppers on both sides of the body meaning it opens out completely and you don’t have to try and pull anything over the baby’s head.

We were sent the bodysuit in 3-6 months, and it fits Gabe really well at 4 months. There isn’t a huge amount of growing room left in it for him but he is a pretty big baby and is growing out of most of his 3-6 month clothes now so I would say it is true to size.

aden + anais bodysuit

Gabe looks really comfortable in his aden + anais bodysuit and I love how the material is so soft against his skin. At £19 it is perhaps on the expensive side for a bodysuit but it is really great quality and would definitely last for a second baby. I think it would make a lovely gift for a new baby too, and is something that little bit different.

You can see some of the other products in the aden + anais range on Mummy and Little Me… I’m tempted to get some of the muslin sleepsuits in the range – I think they will be really great for the warmer weather in the summer.

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured product in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

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Review: My First JCB Farm Fun Tractor Tim

Toby has recently started to really enjoy playing with cars and trucks, and is getting much more imaginative in his play too. When I was asked if we would like to review the My First JCB Tractor Tim from Golden Bear Toys I knew he would love it!

JCB Tractor Tim

According to the people behind My First JCB…

My First JCB is a colourful, kid tough pre-school construction vehicle range based on real life JCB vehicles, created for little hands with big imaginations!

My First JCB Farm Fun Tractor Tim (RRP £14.99,) is the newest member of the My First JCB team. Perfect forlittle hands, children will have hours of imaginative play as they use the trailer to load and transport. The trailer has a drop down tail gate for added fun and can also be detached from the tractor if Tractor Tim wants to go solo.Farm Fun Tractor Tim has big chunky wheels making him great for indoor or outdoor play. Suitable for children aged 12 months+.

Toby was excited about his new tractor as soon as he got it out of the box and was very impatient whilst I got it out, which wasn’t too difficult – always a plus in my book!

My First JCB

Tractor Tim is made from plastic and it certainly feels like it’s robust enough to withstand everything a toddler can throw at it. The big wheels make it perfect for using both inside and out and I’m sure Toby will enjoy using it in the garden – although perhaps we’ll wait until the weather improves a bit before putting that to the test.

Tractor Tim

Tractor Tim comes with his own detachable trailer which is a great added extra. Toby loved collecting his bits a pieces (a stone and a little figure from one of his other toys on this occasion) together and wheeling them around the living room.

He also liked lifting the bonnet and having a look at the engine…

My First JCB Tractor Tim

My First JCB Tractor Tim is a fabulous toy for any tractor or digger mad little boy or girl and there are lots of other toys in the range too. I can definitely see a few more appearing in our house at some point!

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured product in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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Review: Ardo Calypso double breastpump

When I was pregnant with Gabe I started thinking about whether there were any products I would need that I hadn’t had with Toby. One thing that I was considering was an electric breast pump. I didn’t have a great breastfeeding experience with Toby and I never really expressed any milk at all. I had a manual pump that was pretty rubbish and I’d stopped breastfeeding before I bothered to try any other kind of pump. This time I knew I wanted to give breastfeeding another go and I thought that an electric pump might be useful in the early days to help increase my supply, and then perhaps later if I wanted to express milk so Barry or someone else could feed Gabe.

There are lots of different breast pumps on the market and it’s hard to know which one to choose. When I saw a tweet from Ardo saying they were looking for people to try their pumps I had a look at their website and was impressed to see that their pumps are used in hospitals around the country. As well as information about their products there is also lots of fab information and advice about breastfeeding on the website. I got in touch with Ardo and was delighted when they agreed to send me a Calypso Double Plus electric pump to try, along with a great selection of breastfeeding and pumping accessories.

The Calypso Double Plus has an RRP of £129.95. The pump comes with a selection of different size breast shells (four different options), two bottles with lids and a bottle holder, plus a brush for cleaning. Ardo also kindly sent me some night and day breast pads, microwave sterilising bags, freezer storage bags and some lanolin nipple cream.

Ardo Calypso breastpump

The pump was very easy to set up out of the box. It can be used as a single or double pump and it’s very easy to switch between the two. The pump can be used with batteries or from the mains so you can easily pump on the go if you need to. It has different settings for vacuum and cycles so it’s very easy to adjust to get the best flow – Ardo recommend you start with low suction and high speed and then when the milk starts to flow increase the suction and decrease the speed – this mimics a baby’s suckling pattern to achieve the best results. Because there are eight different levels for both vacuum and cycles which are individually adjustable it’s very easy to find a level which is comfortable and effective.

The Ardo pump is very quiet – very important to allow for pumping and watching TV at the same time! Since we started putting Gabe to bed at the same time as Toby a week or so ago I have been expressing milk in the evenings. If you read my recent post about how I think we might be nearing the end for breast feeding you’ll know that mostly just due to the practicalities of breastfeeding a baby who takes an awful long time to feed, alongside looking a toddler, I am now giving Gabe some bottles during the day. If I can manage to express enough milk in the evenings then one of these bottles can be breast milk rather than formula and I know Gabe is getting all the benefits of my milk, without me having to spend hours feeding him. I’m actually finding expressing milk oddly satisfying – I was very pleased with myself last week when I managed to pump 3 ounces in one session!

Ardo breastpump

The Calypso pump is very easy to use and also easy to clean. As it is a closed system there is no possibility of any milk getting into the tubes or the pump itself. This means only the parts that come into contact with the milk need to be washed and sterilised. The Easy Clean microwave sterilising bags have been perfect for this and I’ve also used them when sterilising Gabe’s bottles.

Overall I have found the Ardo Calypso Double Plus Electric breast pump very easy to use, and although I haven’t been able to pump huge amounts this breast pump has certainly made the whole process a painless one. The only small criticism I have of the pump is that there isn’t a seal where the bottles connect to the pump itself. This isn’t really a problem as long as you use the bottle holder when putting the bottles down. I didn’t do this the first time I used the pump (which is entirely my own fault!) and because having the pump attached makes the bottles top heavy they don’t stand up on their own. I didn’t realise this, or that one of my bottles had fallen over and while I tidied up my hard won breast milk was slowly trickling away. Only a woman who has spilled expressed breast milk can know how truly devastating it can be! Having said that, as long as you are aware of this and use the bottle holder then it really isn’t a problem.

If you are looking for an electric breast pump then I would highly recommend the Ardo Calypso Double Plus.


**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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Review: Theraline Plushy Moon pillow

If you’ve ever been pregnant you’ll know how hard it is to get comfortable in bed, particularly in the later stages. The Theraline Original Maternity and Nursing pillow was my saviour throughout my pregnancy and I reviewed it here. Although the original pillow can be used for nursing it is pretty big and can be a bit tricky to get arranged in a comfortable position. So when I was given the opportunity to try one of Theraline’s other nursing pillows I was delighted.

I chose the Plushy Moon pillow with a grey cover, and it arrived a few weeks before Gabriel was born. The pillow is filled with micro beads which make it really easy to squash into the shape you want. The cover is a super soft plush fabric on one side and stretchy fabric on the other. The whole pillow is machine washable which is incredibly useful when you’re dealing with a newborn.

While I was still pregnant I used the pillow behind my back for getting comfy on the sofa (and to be honest I’d recommend one even if you aren’t pregnant) but since Gabe arrived it’s really come into it’s own.

Plushy Moon

The Plushy Moon has the perfect amount of squashiness and supportive-ness to use when breastfeeding. I can get Gabe in a great position on the pillow on my knee and then it allows me to have my hands free for important things like playing Candy Crush or eating Maltesers. He’s then very happy to fall asleep on the pillow and sometimes I can even manage to transfer him next to me on the sofa and he’ll stay asleep – I don’t blame him, it looks super comfy!

Plushy moon nest

The Theraline Plushy Moon has an RRP of £23.95 and I think it’s worth every penny.

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured product in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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Review: Bravado nursing bras

Whilst I was pregnant with Gabe I was sent two maternity/nursing bras by the lovely people at Bravado. I wore both bras through the rest of my pregnancy and you can read my review of what I thought of them as maternity bras here.

Now Gabe is here I am, so far, managing to breastfeed and this boy likes his boobs so my nursing bras are getting plenty of use! I thought I would write a quick update on how I’m finding the Bravado Essential Embrace and the Body Silk Seamless nursing bras.

I’ve found both bras very easy to use as nursing bras. The clips are easy to open, and I’ve almost mastered closing them with one hand! Both bras also have cups that drop down fully which I prefer as it makes for easier access. I find this particularly important in the early days of breastfeeding when getting the baby in the right position and latched on is hard enough without having to push bits of bra out of the way!

Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra

The absolute star bra for me in these first few weeks though has been the Body Silk Seamless. If you’ve read my first review you might remember I was a bit concerned that it wasn’t very supportive but the soft, stretchy material has been an absolute godsend in these first few weeks. I have pretty much lived in this bra day and night since Gabe was born as it is so comfortable. The stretchiness of the Body Silk Seamless was invaluable in the days when my milk came in and my boobs were bigger than my head and very uncomfortable. There’s no way I could have squeezed them into any of my other bras.

Essential Embrace Nursing Bra

Now things have settled down a bit in the boob department I am also wearing the Essential Embrace bra more – particularly if I’m going out in public as I do find it a bit more supportive.

The Body Silk Seamless has just launched in a new colour – the lovely Silver Belle. This silver grey colour is lovely and makes a change from boring black. In fact I love this bra so much I’ve just ordered another one myself!




**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

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Review: Tots Bots PeeNut

Regular readers among you will know I am a massive fan of cloth nappies. Toby has been wearing cloth since he was about seven weeks old and Gabe was just three days old when he wore his first reusable nappy! We have a few brands of nappies that we use regularly – after a bit of trial and error in the early days we found what worked for us and have pretty much stuck to it ever since. Tots Bots Bamboozles have been our go to night nappies since we started with cloth so when we were given the opportunity to try a brand new nappy system from Tots Bots (and before it was even available to the public!) I was eager to give it a try.

PeeNut packaging

So what exactly have we been trying out? The new PeeNut from Tots Bots is a birth-to-potty, day-to-night nappy system. It is made up of a waterproof cover with pop-in inserts. The wraps and inserts will be available to buy separately or as a set (I will include some pricing info at the end of this post).  The wraps come in two sizes; size 1 fits from 6-18lb and size 2 from 9-35lb. Both sizes have Velcro fastening and poppers on the front which allow you to adjust the rise to fit smaller babies.

PeeNut size 1 and 2

The day-to-night inserts are a set of two bamboo boosters with poppers at one end. One insert is bigger than the other and this clever system allows you to use either of the inserts on their own or popper them together and use both, depending on the age of your baby and how heavy a wetter they are. The wraps have flaps at each end to keep the inserts in place and a wipe clean inside, so if the nappy is only wet you can change the inserts and reuse the cover – meaning less washing to be done!

PeeNut inserts

With two boys in cloth nappies we were sent two size 1 covers, four size 2 covers and eight day-to-night insert sets to try, along with a pack of fleece liners and a roll of disposable liners. Although the size 1 cover is suitable from 6lb it is still too big for my very skinny-legged boy so we haven’t been able to try the PeeNut out with Gabe just yet.

PeeNut on the bum

We have been using the PeeNut nappy system with Toby for a couple of weeks now though and so far I’m very impressed. Toby weighs 30lb at the moment so is towards the top end of the range for the size 2 covers but they are a great fit and probably will be for a good while yet. For daytime we have been using both inserts together and they have easily lasted three or four hours with no leaks. The real test for us though was night time. Toby usually sleeps for about 13 hours so his nappy really needs to be able to cope with that. As I mentioned before our usual night time nappy is a Tots Bots Bamboozle using the included bamboo booster and a hemp booster, covered with a Tots Bots Stretchy Wrap or a Blueberry Coverall. By morning the nappy and boosters are usually soaked and we quite often have small leaks from around the legs. I was slightly skeptical then that the PeeNut would be able to cope overnight with Toby’s toddler wees. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I used both inserts, with the top one folded in half towards the front and our usual hemp booster underneath and we haven’t had any leaks at all! All the inserts have been soaked by morning but we haven’t even had a slight damp patch. Toby seems very comfortable too – the PeeNut is very slim fitting, even with an extra booster, so I would imagine it is more comfortable for Toby to sleep with than his normal bulky night time nappy.

Showing off PeeNut

Although the PeeNut system is designed so you can just change the inserts and reuse the cover, I have to admit I have changed the whole nappy every time. However, this is just personal preference and because we have plenty of nappies so I don’t really need to reuse the cover. If you are planning on doing so though I would recommend you have a new cover with the inserts already popped in ready to go and then give your used cover a wipe and leave it to air a bit before using it at the next nappy change. The PeeNut wraps and inserts have washed well with the rest of our nappies – the inserts can be tumble dried on low (and I have to admit most of our nappies have been going in the drier lately, a combination of Scottish summer weather and a newborn means there hasn’t been much chance to get them on the line!). I did dry some inserts on the airer inside to see how long they would take and they were dry in under 24 hours which is what I would expect from bamboo – it’s super absorbent but that does mean it takes a while to dry.

PeeNut bum

Overall I have been really impressed with the Tots Bots PeeNut nappy system. Most importantly we have been able to use it both day and night without any leaks, but it is also a great slim fit. Because you don’t need as many covers as you do inserts the PeeNut is also a really cost effective way of using cloth nappies.

The PeeNut nappy system has an RRP of £15.99 (plain) or £17.99 (print) for a wrap and day-to-night insert set. Wraps are available separately with and RRP of £10.99 (plain) or £12.99 (print). Extra inserts are £6.99. There is also a mini pack which includes 2 wraps and 4 sets of inserts (RRP £42.99) and a complete birth-to-potty kit which includes 8 wraps, 16 insert sets, a laundry bucket and mesh liner, a wet bag, Tots Bots Potion detergent and a roll of disposable liners (RRP £195.99)

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Review: Bambino’s Tidy Table Tray

As Toby is still in nursery full time for the moment he eats most of his meals there at a toddler size table and chair. At home though we were still using his highchair for mealtimes and although he was still mostly happy to be in it there were starting to be more occasions when his two year old wilfulness made an appearance and he would make a fuss about going in the highchair. We were looking to move him onto a booster seat and sitting up at the table with us and so when we were given the chance to try the Bambino’s Tidy Table Tray it seemed like a good opportunity to make the transition.

Tidy Table Tray

The Bambino’s Tidy Table Tray (RRP £34.95) is a simple idea that helps toddlers and young children sit up at the table with the rest of the family, whilst containing their mess in an easily cleanable tray. It has a large clip which allows the tray to be attached to almost any table, and it’s strong enough that it can’t be removed by the average toddler. The Tidy Table Tray also has a removable inner tray with a couple of clever features; there’s a space for a cup and also pictures to show where the plate and cutlery should go. The green inner tray also has a lip at the front which helps stop too much food being dropped onto the floor. The Tidy Table Tray can also be used without the inner tray – with a channel round the edge to stop crayons or other things rolling away it’s ideal for arts and crafts.

Tidy Table Tray top

When we first got the Tidy Table Tray we tried using it with Toby in his highchair up at the table but he wasn’t that keen on the idea. This is mostly just because Toby can be very fixed in his ways and is used to his highchair having the tray attached. However, as soon as we put a booster seat on one of our dining chairs he was happy to use the tray up at the table and it’s been great having him sat up at the table with us. Toby now has his own place at the table and he likes to make sure every knows it is ‘Dobby’s chair’! (We’re still working on getting his name right!)

The Tidy Table Tray is a great product and I’m sure we’ll be using it for a good while yet. It’s perfect for the transition from highchair to sitting at the table and allows you to clean up really easily after meals. Great for us as parents and after his initial wobbles, great for Toby too.

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured product in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links

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Review: Secret Saviours Anti Stretch Mark System

Everyone knows there are plenty of less glamorous sides to pregnancy and for a lot of women stretch marks are one of them! When I was pregnant with Toby I thought I had managed to escape them all together but then they appeared in the last three weeks or so! They were all under my bump so I didn’t really see them until after he was born and if I’m honest I was pretty upset by their appearance. They have faded a lot now and this time round I still hadn’t got any new ones by the time I was in my third trimester. I knew there was still time though so when Secret Saviours got in touch and asked if I’d like to try their Anti Stretch Mark System I was very happy to give it a go.

Secret saviours

The Secret Saviours Anti Stretch Mark System is made up of a specially designed bump band, a day gel and a night cream. The bump band has small raised spots on the inside which stick to the skin with the help of the day gel and essentially hold you skin together to help stop stretch marks forming. You only need to wear the band during the day, at night apply the night cream to moisturise the skin. The bump bands come in pink or black and a variety of sizes. To find your size simply measure your bump around your tummy button. Secret Saviours recommend you use the Anti Stretch Mark system from weeks 12-14 of your pregnancy for maximum effectiveness so you will probably need two sizes of bump band to see you through your whole pregnancy (additional bands are £29.99).

bump band

So what did I think? I found the bump band very comfortable. As well as its function on helping to prevent stretch marks it is also an effective bump support. The only slight issue that I had is that because I have quite a narrow waist compared to my big bump I found the band had a tendency to roll up a bit at the back sometimes.

The day gel which is applied before putting the band on makes your skin slightly tacky so that the spots inside the band stick to your skin. Although it doesn’t sound very appealing (and when you take it off it leaves you looking temporarily like you’ve had a bath mat stuck to you) it is surprisingly comfortable. The night cream is a light moisturiser which soaks in quickly, unlike some other bump creams I’ve used in the past. Both the gel and cream smell lovely too.

Secret saviours bump support band

The big question though…did it work? Well, no, not entirely. I did get some new stretch marks right at the end of my pregnancy. However, they are quite feint – they are perhaps slightly more obvious than it appears in this photo but still nowhere near as angry looking as the ones I got in my first pregnancy. Also, as I have already mentioned, Secret Saviours recommend you use the Anti Stretch Mark system throughout your whole pregnancy and I didn’t start wearing the bump band until around week 34. It may well be that I would have seen better results had I used the system for longer.

Before and After

At £69.99 for the kit including the band, day gel and night cream I think this is perhaps quite an expensive way of avoiding stretch marks but unlike other lotions and potions on the market the Secret Saviours system has been clinically proven to help prevent stretch marks in 70% of women so if avoiding those tiger stripes is something you are really concerned about then it might be your best chance of doing so.

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own.
**This post contains affiliate links