A moment to myself (and a giveaway for you)

When I was pregnant I was fortunate enough to be sent some grown up colouring books to review.

 

I was so pleased whenMichael O’mara books asked me to review the 2014 editions of these grown up colouring booksphoto 2(4) – Vintage Patterns and Pretty Patterns.

 

Having two children under two means that my time to myself is a little restricted, and when I do have a few moments on my own I don’t always want to get out a book to read or my sewing – things that I need more than ten minutes to concentrate on.

 

These colouring books are great, I can colour when Daniel is drawing, or when I have few minutes to myself. I find it relaxing and doesn’t require a huge amount of thought.

 

When I recently posted a pic of my colouring to Instagram, it got a lot of comments and positive reaction… it seems that grown up colouring books are a big hit. And I can see why.

 

There are plenty fo brilliant pages and patterns in here… below are a few excerpts from both books:

 

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I like some of the bolder patterns, like that shown in the last picture, but I have enjoyed these two so far from the Vintage Patterns book

 

There really is something for everyone here – there are repeating patterns, or pictures like that of the bird above. There are bold thick solid line drawings and softer lighter lines. What I love about these books from Michael O’Mara is that the paper is such good quality. When using felt pens they don’t bleed through – so you can use both sides – without having to choose which design you want to do.

 

I think of the two, the Vintage Patterns book is my favourite. They are both priced at £9.99 and are available here and here on Amazon.

 

 

Michael o’Mara Books have kindly given me one extra copy of each book – to be in with a chance of winning one of them, please visit the Rafflecopter here

 

The competition will run until June 15th, and is open to UK residents only. Two winners will be selected and they will be sent a copy of either Pretty Patterns or Vintage Patterns.

 

*** I was sent one copy of each of these books to review. All words and opinions are my own***

PRODUCT REVIEW : Ardo Breast Pump

When I was pregnant with Daniel I felt overwhelmed by the things I was supposed to buy… many baby websites and shops had lists of ‘essentials’ to buy, ready for the arrival of your new addition.

 

One of the things that frequently popped up was a breast pump. I didn’t really know what I was looking for in a pump, but a name that kept cropping up was Medela. At the baby show a short while before Daniel arrived there was a Medela stand and so I purchased their Medela Swing pump.

 

It was a very naive purchase, with no regard to the type of system the pump used (closed or open) or with any real understanding about the differences in the types of pumps available. The pump was well used and as baby two got closer to her arrival I saw a tweet from a company called Ardo looking for people to test and review their pump.

 

Prior to that tweet I didn’t know much about Ardo, but in doing a bit of reading about them I stumbled across this blog which explained about the importance of a closed system, such as the one that Ardo uses. I won’t attempt the explain again what this blog so excellently does already, suffice to say I was pleased that my old Medela pump would be retired.

 

This time around, if you have followed my story, you will know that Emma’s weight gain has been slow. To help her gain more I have expressed using the Ardo pump and given Emma top ups. I have done this since Emma was around two weeks old, (she is almost ten) so after two months of usage I feel I can now provide a fair review for this item.

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The pump I was sent to review was the Ardo Calypso Double Electric Breast Pump.

 

The pump itself is slightly bigger than the Medela Swing I had used previously, but it isn’t too big at all. I leave it by the side of the sofa or in a drawer. It is mains operated but can also be portable as it has a space for batteries. This isnt a function I tried out as there isn’t any need for me to express away from home. It also comes with a selection of breast shells, which is great because women are not a one size fits all so to have a few different options included as standard is great.

 

The first time I used the Calypso I was a bit unsure with the two options of vacuum and Cycle so I took a quick look at the instructions. After a bit of a play around I found the best setting for me – one to stimulate the flow of milk and another once this was established. What I love about the Calypso is that there are so many options which means that it can be truly personalised to you. The Medela I had previously been used to was just one setting.

 

Two options to personalise the pump

Two options to personalise the pump

I have suffered a couple of times with blocked ducts so have used the pump to help clear that. I was intrigued by the claim that using the Calyspon you can reduce pumping time by 50%. I therefore used both the Medela and the Calypso on different days to clear a blocked duct. Whilst I wouldn’t say the Calyspo was 50% quicker, it was quicker than the Medela but more importantly for me, it was much more comfortable.

The blurb for the pump states that

The Calypso offers complete protection from contamination and pathogenic agents, thanks to its ‘VacuuSeal’ technology offering maximum safety and hygiene. ARDO pumpsets have a closed collection system, impermeable in both directions, which has been verified by an independent testing laboratory. The silicone membrane pot integrated into the PumpSets ensures a 100% barrier between the breast milk and any pathogenic agents. This VacuuSeal technology protects both the breast milk and the breastpump from contamination and guarantees optimal hygiene.

 

And having read the blog I had stumbled across this has to be good.

 

The pump is a double pump. I have only used the double feature once. I can however imagine that if you need to pump regularly the double function is a godsend. When Daniel was born he was quite poorly and ended up back in hospital. He was only on saline for a few days and so I had to express every three hours. This double function would have been perfect for me in that situation.

 

I have to say I’m really impressed with this pump. The RRP is £135, but Amazon have it aviable for £99.99 at the moment, so competes well on price with other leading brands, such as Medeal. It is relly quiet and discrete, and the settings are able to be fully  personalised to you and the system that Ardo uses ensures that the milk isn’t contaminated, which is so very important with a newborn. I hope that as Ardo becomes more well known in the UK, they will become known as the defacto pump to be used by mums.

 

The lovely team at Ardo have provided me with a microwaveable sterilising bag to giveaway to one lucky reader.

 

To be in with a chance of winning please complete the rafflecopter found here.  A winner will be drawn at random on 16th May 2014. Open to UK residents only.

Freeva Cloth Nappies

I’m a big fan of cloth nappies, and have been using Tots Bots with Daniel since he was around 10 weeks old.

I was really excited when I spotted a tweet by Freeva, looking for bloggers to try their new nappies… How could I resist?

Before the nappy arrived, I took a quick look at the Freeva website, and was surprised to see how cheap the nappies were… as low as £9.95. I was therefore a little sceptical about the quality.

When the nappy arrived I was pleasantly surprised. It was well made; neat stitching etc and the materials whilst not the same quality as those used in the Tots Bots nappies I am used to, were great.

The nappies, like many cloth nappies, require pre washing a couple of times. This ensures that they get up to absorbency. I popped the nappy in with my usual nappy wash a couple of times before I used them. They dry quite quickly, which is a big consideration for me, especially when I am using the nappies with Emma – I need a quick turnaround. The outer nappy (the waterproof bit) dried overnight and the inner bit dried overnight when next to the radiator and also dried out on the washing line this weekend quickly.

In theory the nappies should fit both Emma and Daniel (there is a 16 month gap between them). This is achieved through reducing the rise of the nappy using the poppers on the front. The nappy was too big on Emma, which is unsurprising as she is a skinny thing. I am using disposables with Emma, and will do so for another week or two until she is a little chunkier to fill out the cloth nappies (and prevent leakages!). I will be using the Freeva nappy on her in due course.

They do however fit Daniel really well. Nice and snug on the leg and plenty of room on the waist. They look like they will last a good while longer too. Daniel has worn the nappy on around four or five occasions now and I’ve not had any issues with leaking or irritation to his tummy area (some nappies can rub). I have only tried it during the day – I don’t think it would stand up overnight however this is the same of my Tots Bots easyfits (which is similar in design) and I rely on the tots bots bamboozles overnight for Daniel.

Pocket where insert is placed

Pocket where insert is placed

The Freeva nappies are a pocket design, ie: they have a pocket inbetween the inner section (which goes against the baby’s skin) and the outer, waterproof section. An absorbent inner is place in the pocket.

All in all, I am really impressed with these nappies. They are well priced and the designs are pretty good too – lots of bright plain nappies but some lovely patterned ones too.

I don’t think I would swap all my Tots Bots nappies for Freeva, but as I need to purchase more when Emma starts using them I will certainly add some Freeva nappies into our stash and have already had a look at which nappies will be in my first order!

If you’re thinking of using Cloth Nappies then I can highly recommend Freeva nappies, and even better they are offering a 5% discount with the code HAPPYWIFEMUMME so take a look at their online shop today.

 

 

 

***I was sent one free nappy in return for a fair and honest review. All words and opinions are my own***