Saturday, 24 September 2011

RufusRoo Jacket Review

The kind folks at Skyscanner and Rufus Roo very generously sent me one of their Rufus Roo jackets to try out recently.  The jackets were designed to help air passengers avoid hefty baggage fees (particularly on those budget airlines where they advertise a really low price and then charge you for absolutely everything) by enabling you to pack everything you need into the pockets of your jacket.

Well, I'm not lucky enough to be jetting off anywhere exotic, or even vaguely continental that soon, but as Squeaky gets bigger, she wants to walk more & be pushed less.  That means I need all the free hands I can get to hold on to her (or her reins), and still push the buggy for when she's got tired.  Trying to add a bag, or worse still a change bag, into the mix is just impossible. That's where my Rufus Roo comes in.  It's kind of unusual, you wouldn't really wear it on a night out, but the same can be said for half my wardrobe.  For taking La Squeak out on an adventure though, it's spot on.

I ordered the large size, to make the most of all the pocket space available, but as you can see, I could comfortably have got away with a medium.  The jacket has got 6 pockets, two vertical zips at chest height, two huge long zips at waist height (these go round to the back, giving you space to carry bigger things like a laptop), and two at pocket height (where you'd find pockets on a normal jacket), and is designed to carry up to 10kg in weight, distributed across all the pockets. I haven't put quite that much in it yet, but I'm sure the day will come.

Instead, I popped a couple of nappies, baby wipes, a snack & a drink into my pockets, and headed out into the world.  As I'd got the large size, it fits fine over a coat, but if you bought the medium, or if you're a bigger build, you might find you're a bit chilly.  The jacket is sleeveless, and the material's only thin, so it won't keep the cold out.  For the original intention of the jacket that's fine, airports & planes tend to be warmer than South Wales valleys.

Wearing the Rufus Roo DOES get attention, there's no doubt about it.  It's not for the shy & retiring.  And I wouldn't recommend it for a trip round the supermarket, unless you like being followed round by security guards wondering why you're wearing an outsized jacket with so many pockets.  But for travelling, be it by plane, train or a trip to the beach, it's ideal. It's a really practical & clever piece of design.

The Rufus Roo is available online for £24.95 for a small (child's) size, and £29.95 for medium & large sizes, there's 5 colour options, and a choice of red or black zips on the black jacket.  They're also on sale at Bristol Airport, if you're local.

Disclosure: I was provided with a Rufus Roo jacket free of charge for the purpose of this review.  I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own.  Links are provided for your convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Please sir, can I have some more?

We're having a bit of a language explosion at the moment.  Squeaky is trying to copy all sorts of words (we had a couple of "pinky"s this evening watching In The Night Garden...), with varying degrees of success and appropriateness.  We're also getting lots of "door", "keys" and "juice". The girl knows what she wants.

There's a couple that she's properly mastered at the right times though.  And it's getting old, fast.  "Mine!" in relation to just about everything, from Daisy, via her drink, to my money.  I've tried arguing, but there's only so long you can spend on a conversation entirely consisting of "Mine!" "No, mine", "No, Mine!", "No, mine" before you just give up and let her have whatever's so important.  She usually loses interest in it then, anyway.

The other accurate word is "More!"  More drink, more chips, more dinner off my plate (it tastes better than hers), more CBeebies.  Generally More! That said, the fuss we've had with her eating, I'm not going to argue if she wants more.  We're not all Oliver Twist here, you know.

Oh yeah, there's one more word she started saying the other day.  I was having the sort of day where all I wanted to do was cry into my coffee cup and make the world go away.  Of course, that's the day Squeaky decides to start saying "DIE" to me.  In my face, repeatedly.  I know she doesn't understand it, and she doesn't mean it, but really, really not what I needed to hear.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Tiny Me Review

The very kind people at tinyme got in touch with me recently and asked if I'd like to review their labels on the blog.  Well.  That's a bit of a no-brainer.  I'm that strange breed that actually really really enjoys labelling things.  I can't wait til Squeaky gets a bit older & I have to spend a weekend in August stitching (not ironing, I'm OldSkool) name labels into every item of clothing imaginable.

My point though (yes! I did have one) was that they asked me if I'd like to review some of their lovely personalised labels.  The words "yes please" have rarely left my keyboard faster!  Off I surfed to their website, and nearly fell off my chair.  As I said, I'm OldSkool.  Back in my day, the choices in sew-in clothes labels were red or blue stitching, except for one girl in my school whose mum was a bit posh & she had green italic nametags!  Any other name tags were of the Dymo Label Printer variety if you were lucky, or the Permanent Marker variety if you weren't.   Tinyme have 33 different designs, and endless colour and font combinations in each of them, so there's bound to be something that appeals.  The hardest part was choosing.  Actually, that's a huge plus, nurseries tend to want things labelled as well as schools, and for pre-literate children, a distinct and individual design on their items means they can recognise them before they recognise their name.

(This is the post where the observant amongst you learn Squeaky's real name.  But the image isn't Google-searchable, so these things happen)

We received 2 sheets each of standard rectangles, large labels and round labels - a total of 76 labels (Retro Flowers, in Mexico colour and Scrogglet font, if you REALLY want to copy me!).  The service was excellent, I received emails confirming my order, and letting me know when the order had shipped, all in less than a week.  The labels are printed vinyl, and are really cute.  The instructions say to give the glue 2-3 days to "cure" and stick fast, but after that time they're top-shelf dishwasher safe, microwave resistant, freezer resistant, and sure to cause extreme jealousy in my work colleagues.

I'm being very good so far.  I've managed not to label Daddy, the furniture, Upsy Daisy or the TV remote.  But I have labelled some of Squeaky's things.  Her KidsKit portable high chair... so we can make sure when it goes on holiday with us it comes back again afterwards. 

Her lunchbox... I want this back SO much!  It's the best lunchbox I've ever had, but it's been requisitioned by someone small & cute because it holds emergency gingerbread men.  And a selection of books.  I'm holding out against labelling her Squeaky Highness herself, but you never know!

We're really impressed with tinyme's labels, the quality is superb, the choices are way beyond anything I've seen elsewhere, and the prices are reasonable too.  The pack I received is currently on sale for £19.95, but if you sign up to their newsletter, you can get a discount on your first order.

Tinyme have got more than just labels too!  There's personalised books, bags and pencil cases, height charts, stationery (pen has an "E" in it, car has an "A" in it, that's how I know!) and even door & wall stickers.  So if you're in the market for a special gift - and let's face it, that time of year is coming fast - there's a whole host of choices.

Thank you, tinyme and your three geeky dads.

Disclosure: I was provided with a set of personalised stickers free of charge for the purpose of this review.  I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own.  Links are provided for your convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

In the middle of the night...

We've been fairly lucky with Squeaky. With a few, easily fixed exceptions, she's been a pretty good sleeper until now.

She outgrew her 12-18 month sleeping bags about a month ago, and I put a phase of night-waking after this down to her being a little wriggler, and getting cold when she's fidgeted out of her blankets.  But as you'll have seen on last week's Magpie Monday post (or if you're the fab folks at Dream Bag), she's now got a couple of 18-36 month sleeping bags, and so should be plenty warm enough at least until the really cold weather kicks in.

Has that solved it?  The bags under my eyes would suggest no.  She's had a few Night Terrors in the past, but that's not it this time,  none of that absent screaming, but it certainly seems like nightmares.  She's properly awake, but wide eyed and unsettled, and will only calm down with attention, cuddles, and me being awake far more than I'm asleep.  She's 19 months old, should we have got past this by now?  Someone pass the red bull.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Olive the Ostrich Review

Someone new has joined the gang at Nick Jr.  Someone tall, with a BIG imagination!  Olive the Ostrich!  Olive lives in the outback of Australia with her mum, dad and brother.  While they've got other interests, Olive likes to bury her head in the sand and have amazing adventures.

 The show is narrated by Rolf Harris (love), which gets big bonus points from me, not just for the sheer longevity of his career, but also because his ancestors came from Merthyr, where we live.  Maybe there's something in the air around here, it's all art & design-y types (Laura Ashley & Julien McDonald came from here too!)

Each show features props, sets & characters that were made by children in schools across the UK.  Seriously how cool is that?  I think it's a great way to encourage children to get involved with art & craft - if they see other children's creations on TV, then they don't believe everything they do has to be perfect to compare, which gives them more likelihood of sticking with it as they grow up.  (There's a reason why you'll never see me posting my drawings on this blog. Craft maybe, but art, never.)

Squeaky settled down with me to watch a couple of episodes of Olive The Ostrich, and she really seemed to enjoy it, talking to the screen and trying to touch Olive.  She's at a stage at the moment where she gets really into certain shows, and completely ignores others.  Olive looks to be a big hit, it's colourful, exciting, and short enough to retain her attention.

You can catch up with Olive every day on Nick Jr at 8.15am and 6.30pm.  And if you're still wondering what you're missing, here's a little taster...

You can find out more at Olive's own corner of the internet at where you can watch some more clips, and play with the online art studio. You'll do way better than me!

Disclosure: I was provided with a taster dvd and promo pack free of charge for the purpose of this review.  I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own.  Links are provided for your convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.

Update August 2013. Due to the arrest of Rolf Harris as part of Operation Yewtree, Olive The Ostrich was removed from the Nick Jr schedules for a period. New episodes are now being shown with Alexei Sayle as the narrator.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Magpie Monday - Back on it again

After a break due to, well, all sorts of stuff really, we're back on the Magpie Monday trail today.

We were talking last week in work about charity shopping & the like, and I learned that the big car boot sale on Sundays, that had mysteriously vanished for a while, was back, and as big as ever. So yesterday we took a little ride out over there to see what we could find.

I bought some fake designer make-up, so if Caerphilly's trading standards are reading this, get in touch & I'll find the bloke for you.  I actually don't mind, it seems pretty good quality, but we'll reconsider it after a day's wear.  How do I know it's fake? Aside from the price, there's spelling mistakes on the back of the packs, which is always a giveaway.  No photos of this, because, well, who really wants to see my makeup?

I also bought this lovely cross stitch kit.  I've recently got back into cross stitch after brief, failed excursions into things like knitting & crochet, and the kits are SO expensive.  The lady even threw in some sparkly pipe cleaners, so I'm open to suggestions for what I can do with them? Sparkly Hallowe'en spiders?  I've lost all my crafting ideas.

And finally...  Squeaky's been having sleeping "issues" lately.  She's outgrown her 12-18 month sleeping bags, and is such a little wriggler, she fidgets out from under the covers and then wakes up at about 5 in the morning, freezing cold, and ends up having cuddles with me to go back off to sleep.  18m+ sleeping bags are really hard to come by, at least in normal shops. I've found some online but dear me, they're expensive.  You can imagine how happy I was to find this one on the last row of the boot sale, and how even more excited to find that the lady only wanted 50p for it!  I could have kissed her!  Quick whizz through the machine & it'll be saving my sleep and sanity.

More magpies at Me and My Shadow

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Bad Bad Blogger

This blogging thing. It helps if I actually update, doesn't it?

It's been a long couple of weeks, and I think September is going to be just as tricky, truth be told.  But today I don't care. Today we're packing everyone into the car, and heading off to Longleat Safari Park because the nice people at Hyundai are letting us take their brand new Hyundai i40 on a test drive round the safari park! Lions, and tigers, and all sorts of creatures!

The picnic is packed, Squeaky & I are raring to go, but Daddy's still asleep.  Should we wake him?