Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet {Review}

D has started school in the last few months and it has quickly become clear that he loves to learn. He has always had an interest in learning new things but he's so excited to be going to school and having 'lessons'. He really enjoys when he gets homework home (I wonder will that last?). Since he started we have really been trying to find all kinds of activities to encourage his learning at home.

I know that in primary one (reception) they don't really put emphasis on the lesson side of learning, everything is still mainly learnt through play. I find that D gets much more engaged if he is playing with toys based on characters he loves. His all time favourite character has to be Thomas The Tank Engine! We have teamed up with UK Trends to share their new range of Thomas The Tank Engine electronic learning aids!

Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet Review

The Electronic learning aid we are looking at is this Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet. I wish I had recorded when we actually showed D the tablet. He got so excited he couldn't contain it and let out a scream of joy!

Use the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet to help with development

He immediately set to work figuring out how it worked. As you can see the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet has big bright pictures which have the buttons underneath, they are clearly marked to show what each button is and does.

Lower row of buttons on Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet

The on button is a big bright yellow button which is really responsive and doesn't require a great amount of force to get a response, which is the same as the on  button which are shown using the whistle picture with up and down arrows. The final button in the bottom row on the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet is the sound button which when pressed plays a sound which can be associated with Thomas The Tank Engine, just trains in general really. There are a few songs which will play through one at a time when the button is pressed.

Upper game buttons on Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet

The main game part of the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet is shown above. It works using a grid system which is really easy to follow. D picked it up in seconds and was pressing buttons left right and center! Each button along the red zone on the right hand side will ask a question. The answer to which is in one of the buttons along the horizontal line directly beside it. Each line corresponds to a learning activity including, colours, letters/ phonics, places, shapes, numbers and Thomas characters. If you press one of the buttons on the left without first pressing a button in the red section it will tell you the information about the button or picture shown. Enabling children to learn all about the items and then test themselves in a fun and interactive game that praises them!

Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet review outer rubber case comes away

The tablet comes with a blue rubber surround which goes around the edges of the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet to protect it should it be dropped on the floor. I like that you can move this out of the way and clean underneath should you need to. (I most likely will need to!)

D love playing with the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet

D was an expert at playing and although he knew most of the answers he was engaged the whole time, in fact he has played with the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet daily without any complaint. The Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet will play a sound when you answer the question. If D got the question right it would play a happy tune and have children saying "yay". If D got the question wrong it would play a silly little tune and Thomas would say "Never mind. Try again". I love this! Thomas encourages your child to try again but doesn't give any sudden sounds or jolts like a buzzer which may discourage children who don't know the answer. Instead Thomas can encourage your child to choose the correct answer by trying again.

Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet is a fun an engaging learning tool

D is currently focusing on the letters and phonic sounds in school. His love of Thomas and the Phonics/ letter recognition in the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet allowed D to connect school work/ homework with playing the game. The tablet has helped us to discover and talk about more places too. We have been playing the top line of the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet which is a game where you are asked a question about where you might find sounds or things and you need pick the correct place.

We have been advancing on the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet and speaking about other sounds we might hear or what we might be able to find if we went exploring in that place. I have found that D will be much more open to talking about what we can find or do if he is playing with the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet at the same time. He has a vast knowledge of what we can find in a train station, on trains, at the seaside, a school and even remembers lots of items, sounds and people we might see or hear at an airport or on a plane.

The Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet is a fantastic tool to add into family life. It is so easy to use and follow that children can play and learn alone. It can not only be played as just the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet and the games it contains but it can also be used to advance and share a larger knowledge. Just like D and I have done with the places. I think that we will continue using this Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet as not only a great interactive learning toy but also as a tool for branching off and learning about new items, places, colours (mixing of colours and which would be made by mixing colours together) to name just a few. There is a very long list of ways to branch off and use the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet as a learning tool to engage children and encourage their development with something they love.

I think the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet would be perfect for any child over the age of 2 years old who has a love of Thomas The Tank Engine. The Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet is a great for aiding children's development!

You can purchase your own Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet (RRP £18 ) at Tesco.

Disclaimer: We received the products featured in this post in exchange for an open and honest review. All the thoughts and opinions which have been expressed are my own.
Monday, 30 October 2017

Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes {Review}

When you become a parent you quickly learn that anything a young baby has should be sterile! I mean everything, it is recommended that we even wash their clothes on a 60ÂșC wash. However it quickly becomes evident that we cannot bring all the equipment to steralise with us where ever we go. Can you imagine if we had to?

Well Milton has the answer with their Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes!

If you have not yet heard of Milton the brand was born in 1967 when the brands products where first used in the trenches of the First World War to treat skin burns. Once the war had ended Milton became a household brand for use as an antiseptic and disinfectant to name just a few. Come the 1940's when there was an outbreak of  gastroenteritis, which caused the deaths of 4,500 babies aged below one. After which Milton developed their cold water steralisation method, saving thousands of babies. Fast forward to today and Milton have a full range of cold water steralisation products for both at home and on the go.

Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes Review

One of the products developed for on the go parents are the Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes which come in a handy wipes packet which contains 30 individual wipes in the small square package pictured above. The Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes are the perfect answer for parents on the go! You can use them to clean everything from tables and changing units (Is it just me who hates using public baby changing units?) to sterilizing dropped dummies and teethers!

Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes review - Sinle wipe

Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes are so easy to use. Simply open the sticky seal which keeps them moist and clean, pullout a wipe(s)depending on how many the task may require (Do use one at a time as I found they go a long way! You can see the size above.) and wipes the object for at least 30 seconds to ensure it is sterile. Allow to dry and Voila!

Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes are safe to use on soothers and teats! If you are using them on soothers and teats you must remember to allow they wipe to dry out for at least 5 minutes. There's no need to rinse either so they are perfect for at home and on the go. Even better news is that they are bleach free! I think the only issue I have found is that they do have a strong smell but since you use them for such a small amount of time the effect is quite minimal.

Baby S doesn't use dummies and we are breast feeding so we wouldn't need to sterilize that equipment on the go but she has started teething. So we end up carrying around almost every teething product we have! When one gets dropped down by accident or hits the floor she will scream. I probably would too! Although we haven't yet dropped one out of the pram it happens regularly at home. I've been using Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes when it happens to enable me to quickly give it back to Baby S with out too much fuss!

Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes start of use to clean baby toyBaby toy after use of Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes

Another use which Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes are perfect for cleaning baby toys. Personally I am a bit iffy when it comes to baby toys, I tend to give them a clean every few days. However Baby S has this toy tray for her seat which I usually use the Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes to clean since it has so many textures and holes etc. Using Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes means I know it is safe for her to shove in her mouth or smother in saliva trying!

Once Baby S starts weaning I can see me using Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes to ensure any high chairs are clean where she may be putting her mouth. I may be over-cautious sometimes but I can imagine how many bugs are spread through high chairs in restaurants! A quick 30 second wipe with Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes is simple and easy but very effective!

I have loved and I am sure they will become a regular item in our shopping basket. I would certainly recommend to any parents out there or even grand parents and childminders. They are perfect for popping into the changing bag to use when out and even having a pack in your cleaning supplies is so handy!

You can purchase your own pack of Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes (£2.05) at Boots. Milton Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes are also available in most major supermarkets,  Ocado, Superdrug, Babies R Us, Kiddicare and Precious Little One.


Disclaimer: We received the above items in return for an open and honest review. All the opinions expressed above are all my own.
Saturday, 21 October 2017

Infacare Night - Time Baby Bath - Review

Over the last few months bed time has got harder and harder with D. We've been trying everything we can think of including longer stories, cuddle time, extra time to calm down before bed and baths as much as we could manage before bed. Nothing was helping! He would go to bed fine but would still be up hours later unless we walked for miles!

Infacare night-time baby bath review _ soapy bottle
I was contacted about trying out Infacare's night-time Baby Bath a couple of weeks ago. Of course I had to say yes! I was ready to try anything that might work to help him get to sleep, talk about perfect timing!

If you have never heard of Infacare is a baby bath product which is ultra mild. Both of Infacare's products are PH Balanced, meaning that they create naturally occurring acid and alkaline levels which are usually found on the skin or in the hair.

Infacare night-time baby bath review - 750ml bottle

As you can see above Infacare's night-time Baby Bath comes in a rather large bottle, 750ml to be precise. Although the bottle is very large, it wasn't something that I felt impacted the use. Since it is a bubble bath which I usually add in with the water once it has started to heat up.  I did find that the lid isn't too hard to open. For us this meant D could open it himself with a little effort. I think a lid which would require the bottle be squeezed would make it harder for children to use and ensure water wouldn't get in quickly either. It wouldn't affect use either since it is added to the bath while you are running the water.

Infacare's night-time Baby Bath has a beautiful scent which is hard to describe. The smell seems to make me think of flowers that might bloom in the middle of the night! It smells oriental in origin with hints of other subtle flowery based scents added in, although it is very subtle! Making it hard to really pin point each scent alone. I must say I love the scent itself! I look forward to running the bath for the children and allowing the scent to fill the room.

Infcare night-time baby bath - Before adding children..

The first time I added Infacare's night-time Baby Bath under running water, I added the amount I usually would with other bubble bath products. Much more than is recommended on the bottle (probably about double). However I was not expecting the amount of bubbles! There ended being as much bubbles as there was water! I have never found a bubble bath that bubbles up so well. I actually had to stand for a few minute scooping up mounds of bubbles and filling up the bathroom sink so the D and Baby S could safely get in the bath.

Infacare - D playing with bubbles

D loved playing with the bubbles and as you can see above. He has a great time playing every bath time now.

Infacare Night-time baby bath - Look at the bubbles!

They also hold together really well, meaning playing with the bubbles lasts for much longer. D was delighted! The bubbles usually last longer than his bath now days.

I'm not sure I really went into this thinking that Infacare's night-time Baby Bath would really work. However D has fallen asleep within 30 minutes every time we have used it! In fact Simon and I have been talking about making baths a daily event since he sleeps so much better when he uses Infacare's night-time Baby Bath in the bath!

Baby S had really sensitive skin in the first 2 or 3 months and has only now started using bath products. Her first being Infacare's night-time Baby Bath and although she doesn't sleep through on the occasions when she has joined D in his bath with Infacare's night-time Baby Bath she has had an hour or two just after her bath.

If you're struggling with bed times or you want to add something to your children's bedtime bath routine which will help them relax and get ready for sleeping then Infacare's night-time Baby Bath is the product for you! It is perfect for families at bed time.

You can purchase Infacare's night-time Baby Bath is available in 750ml (RRP £3.79) click on the link to purchase from ASDA online.  You will also find it in major high street stores including , Boots, Co-op, Lloyds Pharmacy, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Wilkinson.


Disclaimer: We received the featured product in return for an open and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own.
Tuesday, 17 October 2017

ACE Cleaning Products - Review

I don't know about you but I seem to do a major cleaning spree at the turn of every season. It now takes me a bit longer to get through the whole house but I do go room by room and clear out everything and clean all cleanable surfaces in every way possible. I leave nothing unturned!

When I was contacted about trying ACE cleaning products the timing could not have been better. I am always on the look out for better cleaning supplies especially those which are environmentally friendly, I was intrigued. I had heard of Ace before and I actually used their stain remover a few times when I saw it on the shelves while shopping.

ACE Cleaning Products Review.JPG

Never heard of ACE? They are a brand of cleaning products and stain removers which take a science based approach to environmental sustainability. They have a dedicated team who are always exploring ways to improve their sustainability. ACE's commitment is that all their products are concentrated to reduce the amount of packaging, they aim to make products which clean at lower temperatures, Use ingredients which are safe to use and that are safe for the environment! Not only are the environmentally friendly but the Ace products meet all EU environmental and waste water treatment standards too. Finally Ace aims to make their manufacturing as eco-efficient as possible by minimizing their use of energy, water and waste.

 ACE for Colours Original 

ACE for Colours review

First up we have ACE for Colours which is a stain remover for fabric.  It's formula has been designed to combat the tough stains while being gentle on delicate fabrics. It is safe to use on wool, silk and even on cashmere, making it the perfect stain remover for winter when we all wear lots of wool! It's not just fabrics which ACE for colours can be used with but all colours of fabric too! You can use it with whites, colours and dedicates

ACE for Colours uses the 8 + formula which tackles stains made by grease, food, body soils, outdoors, trapped dirt, drinks, vegetable oil a and even cosmetics! I can't be the only one who ends up with some form of makeup on their clothing, can I? It always seems to become permanent once it hits fabric too. Wish it would stay on my face like that!

ACE for Colours dosing 100ml.JPG

ACE for Colours comes in a 1 litre bottle which with a normal dose for a 4-5 kg wash load should last for 10 washes. The bottle lid doubles as a handy dosage measure too with the 100ml marked out as you can see above.

Ace for Colours - Marker stain on shirt

Days after ACE for Colours arrived D came home from school with black marker lines on his shirt collar and after a quick wash it was evident that they hadn't been made with washable marker! Who's idea was it to let a 4-year-old have markers which aren't washable anyway?  I had a read of the instructions and set about removing the stain. I firstly tried simply adding the ACE for Colours  to the washing and popped the machine on for its cycle. (You can add ACE for Colours into all your washes to help remove stains from dirt and mud as well.)

[gallery ids="11454,11455" type="columns"]
Unfortunately this made little to no difference to the marker. I took a new approach since I wasn't keen on putting the shirt in a basin with water and ACE for Colours solution as I don't like doing this with any clothing and have personally never had much success this way. I also usually forget about it and the item ends up needing to go in the bin! I started again by adding a very small dose (a little bit in the bottom of the cap) and an equal amount of warm water to the stain. I did mix these in the cap before adding to the shirt. I then used the side of the cap from the bottle. I did this with the hope the edge of the cap would not only create the friction to really rub the Ace for Colours in but would also reach into the gap lines in the collar too.

Ace For Colours - Results (no marker)

A minute or so of rubbing back and forth the stain had completely vanished! I hadn't expected that to completely remove the stain but as you can see it was just gone. Another run through the machine and the shirt was as good as new. I have since used the Ace for Colours with all the uniform items by adding it to the wash and they are faring pretty well. They smell lovely coming out of the wash (even when I forgot to add the fabric softener!).

ACE Multi-Purpose Spray

ACE Multi- purpose spray

We also received ACE Multi-Purpose Spray which is a multi purpose cleaner with a bit of a difference. It can not only clean all the usual places in your home like your hard surfaces, counters, tables and sinks but it can also be used as a fabric stain remover! It is pretty much the ACE for Colours in a handy spray bottle. Which is very good for those quick cleaning jobs around the house even on limescale!

The ACE Multi-Purpose Spray comes in a large spray bottle making it easy to port around the house! The bottle is also equipped  with a lockable spray tip which can be turned to the off position. I find this feature invaluable when doing my big clean outs as I really need to be able to use products during the day. I am always worried I would not be looking for one second and D would be spraying away! The lockable nozzle means I can use them without this fear. I have never left a child unattended with any cleaning supplies.

Do note that all cleaning products should be kept away from children, for safety reasons.

I have kept the  in the kitchen most of the time as I have mainly been using it to clean the downstairs area since it is pretty much perfect for most jobs and surfaces. When I first used ACE Multi-Purpose Spray I was a bit apprehensive about where to use it. I mainly used it on surfaces like the kitchen counter, tops of storage units, tables, the fireplace and inside the units. It does an amazing job on these surfaces and unless it was tomato sauce which had some how dried it usually only took one wipe to lift everything!

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After seeing the results on other surfaces I braved using ACE Multi-Purpose Spray to clean the hobs and surrounding surface on the cooker. It was amazing! The ACE Multi-Purpose Spray nozzle helps to create an action foam while also spraying with precision making cleaning one area very easy.

I usually really struggle with getting the hobs cleaned in a few minutes unless I do it straight after the hobs are cooled from making dinner. Usually that's not possible with bed times and feeds needing done. That all means that when I go to clean them later that night any residue is already hardened or close to it. In face in some cases I have resorted to using a wired pad to help me lift it better!

ACE Multi-Purpose Spray - After

I must say that I did get a great amount up with just the ACE Multi-Purpose Spray and kitchen roll but when I paired it with a simple wired pad I was able to remove everything. Including marks around the rings which had slowly been building up, I had actually thought we might be in need of a new cooker soon! As you can see above it has come up fantastic!

ACE Power Mousse

ACE Power Mousse

The final product we receive was the ACE Power Mousse which uses both ACE cleaning power and bleach to get even better results than with ACE Multi-Purpose Spray.

 It uses a special formulation with bleach and degreaser which is paired with their patented technology in the nozzle system creates a great mousse that is precise and had no drips or splashes. I can attest to that fact! The foam creates small and precise bubble like areas with each spray! The ACE Power Mousse can be used on hard surfaces and as a fabric stain remover on white items, it's not suitable for use on colours!

I have mainly been using ACE Power Mousse in the bathroom and once or twice in the kitchen. The ACE Power Mousse when initially sprayed has a lovely scent to it. I did however find that once you rub it there is a very distinct smell of bleach. Personally I do love the smell of bleach but I am always very wary of using bleach around the children. I worry about the fumes and chemicals irritating their insides. This is the main reason I keep it's use to the bathroom and sometimes the kitchen.

ACE Power Mousse - Spray technology in action

ACE Power Mousse is perfect for cleaning the bathroom. The precision given by the nozzle technology means you can clean pretty much all areas of the bathroom. I personally prefer to use bleach in there anyway since you really need to remove all the germs! 

I found that ACE Power Mousse picked everything up with very little effort on my part. It was even perfect for cleaning the under part of the sink and toilet, places I usually hate doing since everything runs down onto the floor. The ACE Power Mousse made it easy to control and clean the whole room in under 30 minutes compared to my usual hour or so!

You can see in the video below that ACE Power Mousse is pretty great at removing household item which can be tough. Here I am using it to remove toothpaste in a few swipes!

I think it is safe to say that ACE Powder Mousse will be my new go to product for the bathroom.

I think that out of the three products the ACE Multi-Purpose Spray was my favourite however I have liked them all and I know these will now be my go to products for household cleaning.

If you are a household who care for the environment but also need products that really do work at doing the jobs they are intended to do then ACE's products are for you. I would recommend these products to everyone who does any household cleaning. I have found them all to be better at cleaning than my previous products.

You can purchase ACE for Colours (RRP £2.00), ACE Multi-Purpose Spray (RRP £2.99), ACE Power Mousse (RRP £2.99). Click the links above to visit Ocado and purchase online. ACE products are available at most major supermarkets, Poundland, Superdrug  and Savers to name a few. The full list is available on the ACE website.


Disclaimer: We received the above products in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions above are my own.
Monday, 16 October 2017

The Siblings Project {October}

It has already been a month! D and Baby S are still learning all about each other and witnessing their progress is something to behold.

The past month Baby S has started to take much more interest in D and what he does. D has certainly noticed and is more than happy to show her all he has to play with. Although D would really love it if she would play with his toys too. (I think the day she does will be the best day of his life so far!)

Around the  middle to end of last month I set up Simon's green screen stand and attached one of our muslin swaddles to it as a make shift back drop.This was an effort to take advantage of the one area of really good light we get. It was all set up when D came home from school and I got some lovely shots of them both while they talked, posed, giggled and Baby S even tried eating D!

The Siblings Project {October} - Together.
Friday, 13 October 2017

Us Two Plus You Turns 3!

It's so hard to believe that 3 years ago yesterday I hit publish on the first ever post on Us Two Plus You. A way for me to share what was happening with D and in our lives with our friends and family who live elsewhere. I never even imagined that anyone would take the time to read what I have to say!

Here we are 3 years on and blogging through Us Two Plus You has been pretty great! I love that I can share what I like and what I need to along with keeping such lovely records of our family and life together!

Looking back I don't really think I expected to keep up with it and I actually didn't think it would last. I'm surprised (and maybe a little proud) that I've hit 3 years. We have 3 years of memories, love, family, frustrations, tips, recipes and activities all stored in these online pages and I love that! I love how I can look back and remember writing those posts and enjoying the family time.

Today is the start of the years to come. I love blogging and sharing everything with you all. Sometimes when I write I remember that someone out there will read what I am saying and it might make a difference to them. That is amazing to me. I may not be a "big" blogger or well known. I am however happy, I set out to share my life with my loved ones and I have found a passion inside. I love to write. I'm not sure I am really any good at it but I am happy to try.

So much has changed over the last year and after 3 years I am hoping that this will be the year when I will become self hosted! That is my goal for now. I have put it off for so long and I will do my best to make it happen before Us Two Plus You hits 4!

I have really made an effort in the social media department and I now love Instagram! I was never really one for posting on social media a lot.Now it's a totally different story and I hope to continue posting so if you aren't yet following us do pop over and follow. Over the next year I want to continue my social media and try new things through each one. Lots more research is needed on my part but I am getting there!

That's it! Thank you for reading along with me and having patience when I needed a break.It has been a fantastic 3 years and I am looking forward to the next!


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Sometimes I am just not ok

Over the past year a lot has happened, a lot in our lives has changed. We went from a family of three to a family of four, D changed from nursery to school, Our house has been rearranged to fit us all and everything we need. There seems to be less hours in the day. Not only has our family life changed but I have personally changed. Going from pregnancy while still being mum to mum of two, the body changes, the hormone changes, everything that happens isn't easy!

There have been days when in all honesty I have felt like super mum. Both children are happy, they are entertained, played with, cuddled, stories are read, washing and cleaning are done, we've had outdoor time, baths are done, everyone ate dinner and got fed, everyone has slept well or napped. They are the super mum days. Those days are amazing!

They are however few and very far between. I am not super mum. Hell some days I don't even feel like I am good at being plain old mum! Those are the hard days. The times when one is throwing a tantrum, one is screaming and is hungry but doesn't want to feed, lunch was whatever I found in the cupboard that was easy and not entirely bad for us. Yohurts and cheese strings? Yep we've had those lunches. Fruits and vegetables aren't my priority when I feel like I could lose my shit at any second. I feel guilty about that. Even more so on the rare occasions that I do lose my shit! These days happen. Not every day but they come more than those super mum days.

They come and they stay. Oh yes the day ends and the next usually isn't bad but those days I remember. I agonize over what could be different why wasn't I good enough? Am I just no good at being a mum? Will my children grow to hate me? Will they not enjoy childhood? Am I not giving them enough? I know deep down these are silly questions. I know that I must do something right at some point since they are usually happy, a good bit of the time and our house gets clean regularly and everything happens as it should. Although it is those days that stick and come up when I am feeling off.

These are why I am sometimes found crying alone. Why people must ask if I am OK. The truth is that no! Sometimes I am just not OK! Do I really have to be? Must I always have my shit together and be ready for anything? Can I not just sit and cry when I need to? Or must I always be worried that this is a sign of something being really wrong?

I don't actually think I have something wrong, maybe during those moments when I am stressing myself out and worrying like crazy that I am just not good enough I might. I don't once it's over. Once I have cried and let it all out I don't.

I've put off writing this since I am not suffering postnatal depression and I generally do okay sometimes even great. I do need to say it though and I need to share that sometimes I am just NOT okay but that it is OKAY to feel that way!


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