Project B Pregnancy Box Review

June 25, 2014 in Gifts, Maternity, Parenting

Back in April we included the Project B pregnancy subscription box in our What We’re Loving Feature (if you missed it you can find it here). The lovely folk at Project B sent us a box to review this month and I’m (Liz) really impressed.

Just to set the scene… At twenty two weeks pregnant, I’d just picked up my son (five) early from school with a sickness bug, and was attempting to settle him on the settee whilst trying to explain to my three-year-old daughter that I really wasn’t able to play a game right now and “yes, of course I’ll help you at the toilet for the third time in the last twenty minutes” when the doorbell rang. Just what I needed! So, after a quick dart to the front door past Jonny who looked like he might throw up any second, a scribbling of my signature on the delivery man’s computer, a dumping of the parcel next to the door and a run back to the toilet hoping that there wasn’t complete carnage, calm descended on the house as Mr Bloom and his friends on CBeebies provided at least some comfort to all three of us. As the third programme started my mummified brain considered that rather than watching the fun down on ‘Big Barn Farm’ I could, in fact, retrieve the parcel and at least have a moment of excitement opening it.

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To be honest, I had a little tear in my eye when I realised the parcel was full of treats for me! Just me! (Including the chocolate). All for me! A little bit of luxury in a manic world thanks to the producers of the ‘Project B’ boxes.  At that moment I could have hugged them. The beauty of the box is that all the products are instantly usable (especially the chocolate) and just make you feel that little bit better about life in general. The box is carefully customised to suit your stage of pregnancy, each box with its own theme. I was sent Month 6 which has has the theme Energise.

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I’m not a particularly cosmetic person and generally a bit of shower gel and moisturiser is all my face is treated to as I don’t tend to get too many spots. This is, however, until pregnancy loomed once again and I literally wake up with about three new spots every day. So, some proper face wash has been on my shopping list for the past six weeks. The delight at having two pots of Urban Veda Purifying Facial Wash and Exfoliating Facial Polish magically appear in front of me was almost too much for this hormonal mother to bear. I’ve read the science bit about anti-aging, detoxifying, antibacterial etc. but, to be blunt, I don’t really care about that at the moment. It feels great and has helped to make me look slightly less like a spotty teenager so I’m ecstatic. The scientists can deal with the science and I will take advantage.

As for the Femfresh Daily Intimate Wash, it is very gentle indeed and I am a convert. Soap-free and you know it’s suitable for pregnancy. Brilliant!

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Also on my shopping list for weeks has been stretch mark cream. Once again two pots (of APOTHEDERM Stretch Mark Cream) magically appeared and I’m hoping the end result will be my stomach looking less like a road map of Great Britain… Lots of science to support all the advantages and one mum who is delighted to use it but needs to use all the brain power she can muster to get the next lot of sick clothes in the washing machine…

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The gems at Teapigs have come up with a brilliant selection of caffeine-free ‘tea temples’ and I received ‘peppermint leaves’ for sore tummies, ‘lemon & ginger’ for a summery taste, and ‘superfruit’ for an antioxidant boost. I’ve never been too keen on herbal teas but I have to admit even I was impressed with these ones and it makes a difference from drinking decaf builders brew. They seem to be quite posh and my mum loved tasting them.

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How clever of Project B to know that one chocolate bar would not be enough and so included two. Of course, the fact that it is Divine Chocolate means you can eat it in one sitting with a clear conscience that it is Fairtrade, and so you are actually doing a good thing by eating it! I had toffee and sea salt flavour which was really nice.

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Over the years I have reviewed a few pregnancy books and this one, What to Buy For Your Baby is definitely one of my favourites. There are few books that manage to balance giving information without giving bias, but this one really does and I wish I’d had it during my first pregnancy. Liat Huges Joshi and Caroline Cosgrove present facts and you choose what is right for you. I particularly liked the chapter on bottle versus breast feeding, where they offer advice on what ‘equipment’ you need for both but do not enter into a debate on what is best. Rather, they acknowledge that some women find breast feeding enjoyable and easy, whilst for others it is very problematic. The same is true for disposable versus washable nappies.

They use their own experience, mixed with a range of other mums, to work through what is best for you and what, in their opinion, is a complete waste of money. They list lots of possibilities for you to consider buying and put a tick, cross or question mark beside it based upon whether they think it necessary. I especially like the list for nursery furniture which has a lot of possibilities and only two ticks for ‘cot’ and ‘storage’. This book is fabulous and I will certainly buy a copy for newly-pregnant friends.

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There were also some added extras in the box with some samples of PG Tips ‘Green Tea’ and ‘Red Berries’ Tea, plus a bottle of WaterBaby Calm Pregnancy Care Drink. This was, to my surprise, really tasty with a good punch of ginger and lemon. I’ve never seen a drink purely produced for pregnant women and I’m really impressed. Not only does it make you hydrate your body, but it includes lots of nutrients for pregnancy and the recommended amount of folic acid. It’s designed for breast feeding too so I’m definitely going to stock up on it.

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What I really like about the Project B box is that it comes with a few leaflets of information which are useful, but you’re not overwhelmed with vouchers for 5p off or subject to lots of ‘in-your-face’ advertising. There is a short description of the products so you quickly read about them and there are links to each one so you can buy them or just find out more about them. Also, in this box, are leaflets with advice on buggies, recipe ideas, staying healthy and the fact that baby is about the size of a grapefruit. Again, no hard-sell; just useful information.

I really like this box and when my sisters or brother decide it’s time to produce some cousins I will definitely be signing them up. The Month 6 box has a beautifully balanced range of products, it’s clear that Project B really put a lot of thought into their boxes.

It is true that some women bloom in pregnancy. I am not one of them, and though I am truly grateful for the baby developing now, I spend the entire nine months feeling pretty rubbish, feeling sick and sore. In this manic world of parenthood and pregnancy it’s lovely to feel pampered for a few moments too. Thank you!

To find out more about Project B or to sign up for the monthly subscription service visit their website.

We were sent a Project B box free of charge. All opinions expressed are entirely our own and completely honest.

How To Potty Train – Review & Giveaway

September 9, 2013 in Baby and Toddler, Book Reviews, Closed Giveaways, Parenting

In the past we have blogged about Dry Like Me potty training range. Now the two mums behind Dry Like Me have put their thoughts down on paper and released their new book How To Potty Train.  We are giving you the chance to win a copy of How To Potty Train, and Liz shares her thoughts on this new book.

How to Potty Train book

 

Finally… A potty training book that doesn’t lecture and make you feel like you are about to embark on a stressful project in which you will fail unless you follow to the letter the ‘rules’ set out before you. It is also distinct in tackling daytime potty training first, and then night time.

Judith Hough and Diane Titterton’s relaxed approach to the gruelling days of clearing up your child’s wee and poo is fantastic, and the fact that they actually use those words rather than doing anything other than call a ‘spade a spade’ J is so refreshing. In fact, there is a page dedicated to different words people call wee and poo. Excellent!

The book mixes stories to read with your child with information for parents and the length is perfect. They tackle potty training in 5 steps which make the whole process more manageable. Sophie (two) really loved reading the stories and the conversations we’ve been having since then can only be described as very open and honest.

The fact the book mixes pictures of potties and toilet seats mean you don’t show your child one thing and then use the other, and it allows parents to make a choice rather than dictating what you should do. Helpful hints are littered through the pages (even talking about the amount of paper your little angel needs) and pictures show cartoon children showing off their pants so kids can relate the fuss we make of their pants to the story.

My favourite section is number 4, entitled ‘Keeping Going’. This gives you a sense of reality and a feeling that the frustration you will inevitably feel is fine. There will be many accidents and you just have to ‘get on with it’.

The fact that Judith and Diane’s book also uses the opportunity to discuss healthy eating and the way your food makes its way into and out of your body means this book goes further than so many others.

The planners and resources make for easy reading and planning and the stickers for children just add to the greatness of the book.

I totally recommend this book.

We have one copy of How To Potty Train to give away to one lucky winner. To be in with a chance of winning simply complete the rafflecopter entry form below.  You can do as many of the entries as you like. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How To Potty Train is available to purchase on Amazon, and has an RRP of £8.95.

We received a copy of this book free of charge for our consideration. Thank you to the Dry Like Me Mums for providing the prize for this giveaway. All opinions expressed are entirely our own, and completely honest.

MOB Rule Review & Giveaway

February 25, 2013 in Closed Giveaways, Parenting

Hannah Evans is Mum to three young boys – she is surrounded by males. “In her world, farting is so much more interesting than phonics, dam-building trumps damsels in distress any day and, astonishingly, she now instinctively knows the difference between a Frontloader and a JCB.”

Last month she published her book MOB RULE: Lessons Learned by a Mother of Boys and naturally we couldn’t wait to read it. Liz has one son, Jonny. As “Auntie Rhoda” I get to play along with all the farting games – an app with farting fish (which incidentally my Dad finds hilarious too, it’s a male thing), books about farting, I love how funny Jonny finds it. However I do get to pass him back….what’s it like for a Mum?
Well Liz reviews Hannah’s book….it’s safe to say she loves it. Keep reading to find out how you could win a copy!
 
 
 
Hilarious. Truly hilarious. Whether you have children, boys, girls, or a mixture, this book is a brilliant read.
I have one boy (Jonny, 4) and one girl (Sophie, 1) and I can relate the book to each of them. My husband is the youngest of three boys and it has not only given me a new-found respect (and pity) for my mother-in-law (always a good thing), but a new understanding (I use the word loosely) of my husband. My daughter can be incredibly naughty and she is so headstrong. I am one of three girls and a boy and so I can see different character traits of grandma and my sisters in Sophie. Therefore, I kind of get her and understand her will power and ability to get out of trouble with granddad and dad by the power of ‘smile’. Jonny, however, is a much simpler species which enjoys all things bodily function and could tell me which trains were steam, electric and diesel when he was two. Girls are such thinkers and boys display their feelings and behaviour so openly. They don’t appreciate being fobbed off, but want to know the answers (especially about death and ‘what would happen if burgulars stole all our stuff?)
I knew I would like this book after reading the ‘warning’ which reads ‘This book contains gratuitous stereotypes and gross generalisations’. I love books such as these where they look at life with humour and make you feel like every parent has been driven totally crazy and gone through the same situations with their little angels (my friend reminded me that Beelzebub was an angel once and so I feel able to use this term). In parenthood you often choose to laugh or cry – this book helps you to do the first.
Introducing the ‘cast’ at the beginning of the book is a novel and inspirational idea and I can’t help but think that Hannah’s boys are probably very well-rounded lads who are not afraid to laugh at themselves. Her description of ‘Manicured MOG’ and ‘Manicured MOB’ is perfect.
Hannah Evans deals with all the topics that make you laugh – standing up weeing in the toilet is a particular favourite. Plus her humorous look at mums is great. The ‘no-point-in-changing jeans and seen-better-days fleece’ hits such a chord with me; my siblings have no children and the look of pity they sometimes have for me is obvious. They can turn up in their nice, clean car dressed with care and hair washed, generally with a costa coffee in their hand. They open my kitchen cupboards to find the supermarket saver range and me with hair scraped back with clothes generally covered in stuff. And the amazing fuss that’s made if your legs are on show is just not worth mentioning!
Not only does Hannah Evans give helpful hints about dealing with boys but she excels in her practical tips, such as the crossword (p.110) and how to make a vinegar volcano (p.244).
 
LOVE THIS!!
 
This is the perfect book for dipping in and out of in those quiet moments (‘moments’ being the operative word) as anything where you had to read long passages in one go would, quite honestly, remain on the bookshelf until the next charity shop visit.
10/10
 
The lovely people at Bloomsbury are offering Rhoda Reviews readers the chance to win 1 of 2 copies of this fantastic book.
 
To be in with a chance to winning just complete the rafflecopter entry form below – you can do as many of the entries as you want, totally up to you. EASY!
 
 
Good luck!
 
Thank you to Bloomsbury for providing the prizes for this giveaway. A copy of MOB Rule was received for our consideration. All opinions expressed are entirely our own and, as always, completely honest.

First-time Mum Giveaway

October 31, 2012 in Book Reviews, Closed Giveaways, Parenting

“A new baby doesn’t come with an instruction manual but it feels like it should!” If you are pregnant and feel scared at the prospect of what you will have to contend with when your little bundle of joy arrives then this giveaway is for you!

Here at Rhoda Reviews we’ve been given a copy of First-time Mum by Hollie Smith to give away to one lucky reader. Hollie is the author of Pregnancy for Modern Girls, and has put pen to paper again to share her tips on how to cope with those first 12 months of your child’s life.

One of the first things that struck me about this book is that it is written in a kind of “here’s some advice if you’d like it” sort of way rather than “look at me I’m amazing, do what I do”. That in itself put me in the right frame of mind to read this book, it’s not condescending, it’s just useful. It’s written like it’s advice from a friend, and this friendly tone continues throughout the book.

The book is divided into three parts: Starting Out, Your Baby and Being Mum. Each section is filled with individual chapters and tips. It’s the kind of book that you can sit down and read or dip in to when you need a bit of help. It’s easy to navigate and even includes tips from other mums to help you on your new journey.

I have to say though that the section that really stands out to me is the “What to buy for your baby” chapter. The baby market is absolutely huge and it is quite easy to be convinced that you need absolutely everything you see. Hollie sets out the things that you actually do need along with those things that are essentially just a waste of money. This section definitely appeals to my moneysaving side!

If you like the sound of this book we are giving you the chance to win your own copy. To enter simply complete the rafflecopter entry form below – easy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

First-time Mum retails for £10.99 – be sure and shop around before you buy though as I’ve seen it for cheaper online.

A copy of this book was received for our consideration. This has in no way affected our opinion of the book, as always our post is completely honest and all opinions are entirely our own. Thank you to the publisher for providing the prize for this giveaway.

Why Did Nobody Tell Me?

September 10, 2012 in Book Reviews, Parenting

A couple of weeks ago a copy of the latest Mumsnet book Why Did Nobody Tell Me? popped through the letterbox. Filled with advice, thoughts and feelings from the message boards of Mumsnet this is a book that contains the “home truths that every parent needs to know”.
I flicked through a few pages before passing it over to Liz and I just knew she would love this book. Here’s what she had to say….
 
Hilarious! Many, many times over the past three and a half years we have found ourselves facing the dilemma ‘laugh or cry’. So far we have managed the ‘laugh’ but the latter is always an option to consider. I have talked to many mothers who portray parenthood as one ‘fun’ road and figure they are either far better at it than me or just lying. Comments like ‘I never mind when they throw food everywhere’ or ‘we were lucky, they slept through from two weeks old and now they’re three they still have a two hour nap after lunch’ require a forced smile followed by a quick exit before I carry out behaviour I wouldn’t necessarily want to teach to my two children.
Thank goodness I have one friend who I met when Jonny and her son were just born and we have always told each other what we really think and don’t think badly of each other when we try and sell them to the circus or complain bitterly that they’ve managed to have ten tantrums before they’ve even got out of bed.
I feel like Natasha Joffe and Justine Roberts (and the Mumsnet crew) could certainly join us for a coffee (or more likely wine) and we would be friends for life! How refreshing to find a book that doesn’t attempt to be a ‘positive’ manual, but rather lets you enter a world in which all is not perfect…
With our first child I remember reading a ‘manual’ that someone bought us after the first few weeks and thinking ‘oh well, I’ve stuffed it up already. Let’s have some cake’. As they grow older there are so many ‘things’ to tick off to show the world that you’re a good parent. If you do this you can honestly turn up to anything and say you’ve just had a wonderful time painting/baking/etc (of course omitting the fact that your favourite dish has been broken, the non-stick pan is non-stick no more, the newly painted wall will not wash clean no matter what the can says, and that it was actually an awful experience as my other child wreaked havoc at the same time and threw up everywhere, etc etc so as not to spoil the illusion). If only everyone would turn up having not showered and looking dreadful the world really would be a better place to live in.
This book actually gives useful advice you can take on board or ignore. I have been laughing for days – page 305 regarding party bags is one of my favourites.
This book should be given to you at your first midwife’s appointment – it would be the best preparation. 
 
A copy of this book was received for consideration. This has in no way influenced our review, which is, as always, completely honest.