WHEN SCREEN TIME FOR CHILDREN IS A GOOD THING – KIDLOLAND APP REVIEW

I must confess that pre-kids I swore I wouldn’t allow my children too much (if any) screen time. As soon as my eldest hit 2 this went out of the window. There are so many shows on the television that she loves, they are educational and fun and also mean I get a few minutes to do some chores or go to the toilet without a child hanging off me.

There are certain times of the day that I let my two girls watch television and I always control exactly what they watch. I’m not sure when the iPad was introduced but I guess it was when she was about 3. I limit her time on this too, it’s usually only for 20 minutes in the morning when she wakes up – this is because she is an early riser and stops her waking her sister!

When Kidloland approached me to review their app I was dubious. I am trying to limit her screen time not encourage it. That said I was keen to see if there was an app available that would offer a fun, interactive and educational option instead of just children’s programmes.

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THE SKY’S AWAKE SO I’M AWAKE -GRO-CLOCK A REVIEW

3 Year Old “THE SKY’S AWAKE SO I’M AWAKE”

Me “It’s 5am”

3 Year Old “But I’m not tired. I want the iPad. I want hot milk”

….and so it begins.

I have a 2 year old who doesn’t sleep and a three and a half year old who is an early riser. Suffice to say my husband and I are a little tired. After writing a recent post about our sleep deprived lives on my blog, several people suggested I try a Gro-clock. Whilst we knew it couldn’t stop our 2 year old from waking frequently, we hoped if we could keep our eldest in bed a little longer we may be able to catch up on some of those missed zzzzzzz’s.

THE DAY IT ARRIVED I posted a photo of it on Facebook. I received lots of comments from other Gro-clock users, mostly positive. Apparently lots of people were already members of the Gro-clock fan club. I was excited to be joining the gang.

THE CONCEPT IS VERY SIMPLE – For anyone who is not already in the Gro-clock club or in the know about Gro-clocks it is meant to encourage your child to stay in bed until YOUR desired time in the morning instead of THEIRS!

HOW IT WORKS IS SIMPLE TOO – you activate the clock by setting the time you would like your child to wake up from both day sleeps and night sleeps (morning time). Once activated, 12 small stars appear around one big star and throughout the night at certain points a small star disappears. This is the countdown until wake-up time. When it is time for your child to get up, the star is replaced with a bright yellow smiling sunshine which stays lit up for 2 hours.

After posting the photo on Facebook everyone was eager to find out how our first night as a member of the Grow-clock– group had gone.

THIS WAS MY EXPERIENCE OF USING A GRO-CLOCK

Night 1

The girls were excited looking and playing with the clock. They helped me set it and we enjoyed watching the cute demo of how it would work (the star winks as it says goodnight and the light saver mode come on). When it’s time to get up the bright smiley yellow sunshine also provide them with lots of amusement. There is also a colourful rhyming picture book included to read to your child all about the animals on a farm going to sleep with the aid of a Gro-clock which the girls enjoyed me reading to them.

 

 

Aware that our 2 year old wouldn’t understand the concept our focus was on our 3.5 year old. We explained that if she stayed in be until the sun shone we would let her choose a present from the shop.

The following morning we were woken by the sound of our eldest daughter padding into our room saying she had lost her teddy bear. It was 4.20am.

Initially disappointed we located her teddy and suggested she go back to her bed. She wasn’t keen and not long after woke her sister up.

My husband and I blearily grunted at each other and discussed why it hadn’t worked. The answer was obvious. She shares a room with her sister and has always been instructed to be quiet if her sister’s asleep. She woke up and we couldn’t reasonably expect her to lie in the dark for 2 hours, even I wouldn’t do that. I re-read some of the comments from the Gro-Clock fans on my Facebook, most mentioned that they encouraged their child to play in their room quietly until the sun came up. Our daughter can’t do this as she will wake her sister. I needed a better strategy.

 

Night 2

So I told her. If you wake up before the sun shines. TRY to close your eyes and go back to sleep. If you Really, Really, Really can’t get back to sleep. Then you can come and play in the lounge with your toys until the sun has come up. You are not allowed to demand hot milk or breakfast UNTIL the sun is shining (and mummy and daddy had had what would be deemed as a lie in in our house).

SUCCESS – I heard her get up and go into the lounge where she played quietly with her my little ponies until I got up. She didn’t make her usual demands until I informed her that the sun was now up and she could have breakfast. She was so excited to see the sun shining and know that she had made me happy she proceeded to run into the bedroom and wake her dad up “daddy, daddy the sun is shining”.

Night 3

Was a bad night for everyone due to coughs and frequent waking by her younger sister. She managed to stay in bed until 20 minutes before the sun arrived and still knew not to demand hot milk or breakfast pre-sun

The Gro-clock has definitely had some positive impact for us with regards our eldest daughter however I don’t feel we have been able to really put it to the test whilst she shares a room with her younger sister who frequently wakes her through the night.

WHAT I LOVED

It arrived quickly – 2 days after confirming my review, it arrived in the post.

The clock is lightweight with no sharp edges so would be safe for a child to play with (as both mine did).

The user guide is SO straightforward to follow and they really have thought of everything

If the light is too light throughout the night – you can change the LED setting

If the child plays around with it – you can lock it so they can’t affect the settings

If they can’t see it for any reason – there is an audible alarm

If you want the same system for day time naps – you can set it for day time naps and sleep times so you don’t need to re-set it

If you want to show your child how it works – there is a demo mode

They even remind you not to let your child see how you set the key lock….sound obvious but as I was working through the manual I very nearly did it in front of my daughter who continually surprises me with her knowledge of technology.

There wasn’t really anything I didn’t like about it. I feel confident that if our daughter was in her own room it would work. I intend to keep using it to encourage her to stay in bed longer and as soon as her sister is a little older we will explain it to her too so hopefully they will both use it.

The Gro-clock is available to buy for $59.95 and can be purchased online at: http://au.gro-store.com/gro-clock.html

I was gifted the Gro-clock but did not receive any payment for writing this review

After sending my review to Gro-Store they provided some additional feedback:

Hi Lucy,

Thank you for sharing your review.

I have read your review, it seems that the product was unsuitable for your situation and appreciate the angle you have had to take.

We would normally recommend that you use the clock from as early as 2 years of age, you mention in your article that your youngest was too young to start but we recommend starting the product as early as possible and feel that this is the ideal time for you to start.

We encourage our users to start with the book first and then introduce the clock. We also encourage people to start the process very slowly, if your little one wakes at 5am and you want to get them to sleep longer we say to increase the time to say 5:30am and then when they achieve this goal increase the time and so on. Therefor we probably think that this will work better on your younger child. To further encourage children to respond we have a reward chart that you can use this helps to keep them motivated. (See attachments)

http://gro.co.uk/blog/latest-news/gro-clock-top-tips-and-reward-chart/

Thank you again for taking the time to review our product. Happy for you to share on your blog as you feedback is invaluable.

Key Account and Marketing Manager

A FAMILY MINI-BREAK IN HAWKESBURY

We don’t go away very often as a family. In fact the last time we did all go away was nearly a year ago. The reason for this is because our 2 year old still doesn’t sleep. The idea of all being in a hotel room together feels like self-harm to our already sleep deprived little minds.

When my husband first suggested that we join him on a work trip to Hawkesbury (he was going to the races with work), my initial reaction was, NO WAY. He then suggested that we could get a separate room for the girls and given it had been a long time since we last went away, I agreed. He booked us into The Sebel Resort and Spa in Hawkesbury

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Plum Collections – Review

When dressing my two girls,

I need clothes that can cope –

With the food spills and playing,

And all the washes with soap.

I often think they look cute

(I’m a tad biased I know)

And like them to wear clothes,

That will allow that to show.

So the things of importance,

When I buy them such things –

Are how long they will last for?

And what look they will bring?

With all of that in mind,

It’s then time to assess –

If the price that is asked for,

Is fair – more or less?

Who are Plum Collections?

Plum Collections is one of Australia’s most loved and trusted brands for children and babies clothing, swimwear and sleeping bags and has won many awards. It is a small family business run by Genie Pepper and her husband, Shane. The business was started by Shane’s grandfather. Genie and Shane took over in 2011 which is when they revitalised the brand, introduced sleep bags and swimwear and a new more contemporary look as well as initiating a partnership with SIDS and Kids.

Denim Trousers – Size 2

Look/design – I love the pale denim look and the soft stretchy fabric means they are comfortable. The little turn-ups at the bottom of each leg are a cute feature.

Fit – they fit my daughter well (especially as she is in the top percentile for her weight). The thick elasticated waist didn’t seem to dig into her like some other leggings do.

Durability/quality – whilst they looked good quality initially after the first wash they looked a little tired and worn and the elastic waist shifted so it was no longer flat.

Price –$24.95

Jacket – size 2

Look/design – the pale peach colour with the white fluffy collar on the hood is adorable and my daughter looked lovely in it. I liked the gold zip and fastens which is a nice contrast with the peach.

Fit – the fit was great for now and I could see I would definitely get another winter out of it for her size wise. It’s a generous size 2. The elasticated wrists are great to stop her hands disappearing and getting it wet when she needed to wash her hands – so it’s practical too!

Durability/quality – the thick padded material and collar feels and looks good quality. I was concerned that I would end up washing it every day given the pale colour but it seems to be easy to wipe lots of things off rather than needing to put it in the machine.

Price –$76.95

Flowery Tunic – size 2

Look – at first I didn’t think I would like this. I’m not a huge fan of flowery clothes. However, when I matched it up with the denim leggings it looked gorgeous. I love the gathered neck and wrists and the little buttons at the back. Very 60’s and a step back to more traditional girls’ clothing (I’m sure I’ve seen photos of me wearing similar style clothes when I was a little girl).

Fit – the fit was perfect and there is room for her to grow  into it so she will get good use from it.

Durability/ quality – she has worn this particular item several times since we received it. It’s been through the wash at least 3 times and hasn’t faded or worn at all. The thick cotton material is great for this colder weather and feels good quality.

Cost – $34.95

Navy and White Dress – size 2

Look – this dress is very cute. I’m a huge fan of navy and white and love the nautical look. The waist is slightly gathered so helps the skirt puff out and the thinner material means it is a great choice for the next few months as the weather is heating up.IMG_0566.JPG

Fit – it fit perfectly now however as she is a big size 2 this dress doesn’t have as much room for her to grow. That said when buying clothes for her normally I would have gone for the next size up so I have been surprised at the fact she has fitted in Plum’s other size 2 clothing with room to grow.

Durability/ quality –generally it looks good quality and well-made however I did notice the hem has frayed slightly underneath before it had been worn. It doesn’t affect the look of the dress in any way as it is underneath.

Cost – TBC

Pink jumper – size 2

Look – I love this jumper. The speckled pink fabric is bright and funky and the sparkly circles add to the fun look of it. I like the detail of the turn up at the wrists. Both my girls loved it, it fits both of them so they now fight over who it belongs to!

Fit –it’s a generous size 2 as it fits my 3.5 year old too.

Durability/ quality – the material feels nice to touch and good quality. It’s been through the wash a few times (and splattered with food) and it has survived and still looks as new

Cost – $39.95

Peach Top – Size 2

Look – another gorgeous design. I love the peach colour. It really suits my 2 year old’s pale complexion and with 2 girls it was great to deviate from pink and purple. The gathered wrists help make it look a little more special than plain ones and the beautiful sparkly butterfly was a real hit with my daughter who I thought looked gorgeous in it.

Fit – it’s a generous size 2 so I was pleased to see there was room for her to grow into it yet it fit well.

Durability/ quality- the fabric is lovely a soft and feels like good quality. It’s been through the wash a few times and survived.

Cost – TBC

 

Glitter Tutu – Size 2

Look – This tutu absolutely gorgeous. My daughter wore it to a birthday party teamed up with the peach top and she received compliments from so many people.

Fit – this is a generous size 2 so I’m pleased she will get more wear out of it. It fit her comfortably.

Durability/ quality – with 2 girls I have a few tutus of mixed quality. This was one of the best that we have in terms of quality.

Cost – $39.95

Swimwear (various sizes)

Look – it all looks lovely and again…not pink! Beautiful designs.

I particularly liked the flarey sleeves on the black and white spotted swim suit.

Fit – the swimwear range goes up to age 7. I tried size 2 and 3. The sizes are generous so they fit both girls well with room for growing.IMG_0942

Durability/ quality – the swimwear is thick, feels of high quality and provides 50+ sun protection -this is very important considering how much time we spend at the beach. We braved the sea last week but in a couple of months it will be worn every day.

Cost – various see website

2.5 Tog Sleeping Bag

Look/design – the pattern is simple but has proved a big hit with my 2 year old. She loves identifying what all the cute animals were. I also like the spotty design inside. The double zip is great in case you need to do a nappy change so you don’t have to take the whole sleeping bag off. My daughter actually won’t let me use any of our other sleeping bags anymore she loves this one so much. My only negative is it could possibly do with a flap of material over the top of the zip as I noticed it was rubbing on her neck a little.IMG_1003

Fit – we received the 18-36 months size. It’s huge with lots of room for her to grow (hopefully she will still be up for sleeping in a bag next winter I like the fact she can’t escape from the cot when she is zipped up).

Durability/ quality- it feels lovely and soft and although I’ve only washed it once it certainly looks as though it will survive a good few washes.

Cost – $69.95

 

 

In Conclusion

When my two girls and I unpacked the box from Plum Collections, I have to confess – we were squealing in delight. Every new item we pulled out looked adorable. I particularly liked the way that so many of the pieces of clothing worked well together and it was great to have a change from pink! Everything fitted well, looked gorgeous on the girls and felt good quality. The only items I had a slight concern with regarding durability were the leggings and the navy and white striped dress. I spoke to Genie, the owner about this. She was concerned and explained it was a manufacturing issue which she would feed back to them immediately. I could tell that she takes a great deal of pride in her business and that customer satisfaction is paramount to her. I have no doubt that these issues will be rectified. Overall I would have no concern recommending Plum Collections as it offers beautiful products which are high quality and good value.

For more info and to purchase any items please visit their website: www.plumcollections.com.au

A Note from Me

I was gifted the items to review. I am not connected to Plum Collections in any way and received no payment for writing this review. I write every review honestly, from my own experience using the products.

 

 

 

My Love of Candles (and I’m not talking about the ones on birthday cakes) – Burnt Beech Review Plus 10% Discount

My love of candles 

When I was growing up I remember if my Mum used anything remotely scented in the house my dad would lose it. And quite honestly who can blame him, in those days it was all about dusty bowls of Pot Pourri and abysmal artificial aerosols or foul-smelling imitation air fresheners.

Since I moved out of home and B.K (before kids) I loved using scented candles. I like the ambient lighting candles offer as well as (if you get it right) the delicious smell. Unfortunately, like in the days of Pot Pourri and aerosol air fresheners there are still some terrible smelling and poor quality ones out there.

When the opportunity arose for me to write a review for Burnt Beech candles I was delighted. For the last few years the only candles I’ve enjoyed have been the type to go on birthday cakes. Now my girls are a little older and go to bed at a reasonable (ish) time (subject to change at any moment),  I’m getting a little me time back and I’m looking forward to allowing some relaxation and luxury back into my life.

So what do I want from a scented candle?

  • Looks good in the home and quality (especially if buying as a gift)
  • The wick doesn’t burn down too quickly so you are left with a load of candle and no way to burn it.
  • Smells natural, not overpowering or artificial and even better leaves a scent even when unlit
  • A fair and reasonable price

Cara Bourn (the owner) delivered the candles when we were out. They arrived in a simple brown paper bag with a pink, grey and white logo sticker which stood out and brightened up the bag.  Inside the bag 3 candles were wrapped in pink tissue paper. She included a Thank you card and some background on the company. I could tell that she takes a great deal of pride in her business.

The three candles I reviewed were:

  • Beachside Boardwalk
  • Spicy Chai
  • Pineapple Sangria – Travel Tin

Beachside Boardwalk

Beachside White

Appearance: The white glass jar with the Burnt Beech grey and pink logo makes it appear both luxurious and calming. The design is subtle and would look good in any setting. Once you take the lid off I was pleased to see that it was full of candle and not half empty.

Wick: The wooden wick burns well and is easy to re-light

Ambiance: it gave off a strong, warm glow

Smell: This candle has quite a sweet scent. It is not offensive but was probably my least favourite of the three I sampled. It also left the most noticeable smell in the room of the three candles when unlit.

Price: $29.99

Pineapple Sangria (Travel Tin)

Appearance: Despite being a tin rather than glass it still looked good quality.  The contrast of the pink and grey logo on the black tin stands out but the logo design is simple so no ‘in your face’.Tin

Wick: The wooden wick burns well and is easy to re-light

Ambiance: it gave off a strong, warm glow

Smell: The smell is delicious, so nice you want to eat it! Even my husband commented on how nice it was.

Price: $17.99

Spicy Chai

Appearance: I love the black glass jar. It looks sexy, romantic and luxurious all at the same time.Spicy Chai Black

Wick: The wooden wick burns well and is easy to re-light

Ambiance: It gave off a strong, warm glow

Smell – when I smelt it in the jar I wasn’t actually too keen and thought it would be my least favourite of the three. However, when it was lit the spicy scent is so subtle and warming, I really enjoyed it.

Price – $29.99

A little more about Burnt Beech

The Burnt Beech candle range is inspired by exotic things. Each candle is carefully hand poured with pure eco soy wax, which burns cleaner, is long-lasting and biodegradable. The beech wooden wick burns with a crackling sound to replicate the ambiance and warmth of a camp fire and the exotic aromas have been selected to remind you of faraway places.

For more information or to place an order visit their website or social media pages:

Website: www.burntbeech.com.au

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/burntbeech/

Enter the special discount code ‘blog10’ to receive 10% off your order valid until 30th September 2016 (shipping is only within Australia)

 

 A note from me:

I met Cara through a friend. She gifted me the three candles and I received no payment for writing this review.

All website orders receive free gift wrapping. Candles will be put into a black brand box with a window, and then wrapped with brown Kraft paper and finished with a pink bow (as below).

 

Sinchies – Reusable Pouches Review

My 2 girls (ages 2 and 3) can’t get enough of yoghurt squeezie pouches. Whilst I’m the first to admit I find them convenient, there are a few things that bug me about them.

  • The organic or healthier yoghurts are often double the price of their unhealthy sugar laden competitors.
  • With 2 children getting through at least one a day each, I have been concerned about the environmental impact of so much packaging being wasted

Therefore when I was offered the opportunity to review Sinchies reusable pouches (which can be used for anything not just yoghurt btw), I was keen to see how they stacked up.

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There Once Was a Little Girl Who Had…A LOT of Knotty but Potentially Very Beautiful Curly Hair

With a 3 and a half year old who has long curly locks and her younger sister looking like she will be following suit,  I have been searching for natural products that would make all of our lives  less painful at hair wash and comb time. The only way it ever happens currently is infrequently, with bribes of lollies, ice-cream and the iPad whilst she sits on my lap and lets out occasional grunts and screams.

The key things for me in such a product are:

  • Not too expensive
  • Free from too many nasty chemicals
  • Smells nice
  • Aids and improves the nightmare detangling process which can take up to an hour
  • Makes their hair look gorgeous

Not too much to ask is it?

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