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A cordless vacuum for pet owners. AEG FX9 review…

Every now and again I turn down an opportunity which I later regret. Some time ago, I was offered a cordless vacuum to review when cordless vacuums were still relatively new. I thought they were an interesting curiosity, but I didn’t really see the point of them, so I passed and decided to take another product instead.

Then earlier this year my parents bought one and I watched as my dad leapt into action to clear up a mess in seconds and a light bulb went on in my head…

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Reusable baby wipes on trial – Year Of Simplicity

This month my quest to simplify our family life and reduce waste has lead me to try out Cheeky Wipes reusable baby wipes. Five and a half years into parenting might seem like an odd time to make the switch, but it had honestly never even crossed my mind that such a thing as reusable wipes existed until a few months ago and I thought I had to give them a try just to see how practical they really are.

A month later I can honestly say I will never use disposables again, the kit is so well designed and the one thing I hadn’t been expecting, was to find that they actually did the job better… and they completely do!

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Behind the scenes at a Water Babies underwater photo shoot (video)

It never ceases to amaze me how two children in the same family can be so different. Whilst Theo still hasn’t cracked swimming (despite classes and lots of encouragement) it was obvious even when Alice was eight months old that water was something she loved. I wish I could go back to the lovely teacher who gave Alice her first (free) taster session at Eurocamp in June and tell her what an incredible journey she started her on.

Shortly after we came back from France and whilst we were considering how and when we start Alice doing ‘proper’ swimming lessons, Water Babies got in touch and offered her a term’s tuition. In truth I had dreaded swimming lessons because I had a fixed idea of them being held in a huge public swimming pool with cramped echoey changing rooms, but the Water Babies classes were at a local health club with a view of a golf course and a lovely cafe next door, so how could I say no!

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After completing that first term it was obvious we’d be mad to take Alice out of the lessons as she was thriving and learning so much, she spent half the lesson laughing and the other half kicking and splashing in excitement! So these days we are happy paying customers of Water Babies West Sussex, but before our first term finished we had one more opportunity with the company, we got to try out one of their famous underwater photo shoots.

If you’ve ever wondered how they achieve the consistently stunning images of babies immersed in water (with no adult supporting them) then you can finally see how in this video. I have a huge amount of respect for the photographer who photographs babies, in water… whilst holding his breath!

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Springfree Trampoline 092 review

Back in June we took custody of a Springfree trampoline for the summer. Those four and a bit months have flown by remarkably quickly and our days of bouncing in the warm sunshine (in shorts!) seem like they were a long time ago already, especially after the frosts this week!

We’ve had a lot of great times on the trampoline and its proved very popular with kids and adults alike, although often for slightly different reasons! The adults are impressed with the design, but some of the kids knew it by reputation before they even got on it.

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A couple of months ago one of our neighbour’s young children came up to me at a village cricket match busting to ask me if the trampoline he could see in my garden “was one of those amazing ones from youtube” and though I was slightly taken aback, when he went on to describe it as “the best trampoline in the world for bouncing on” I had to confirm we did indeed have one (if only temporarily!)

Now that our time with the trampoline is drawing to an end I thought it would be a good opportunity to do a short review and tour for those who are curious to see its features and learn about how it differs from others on the market. If you’ve got any questions, please leave them in the comments and I’ll happily help if I can.

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Our Water Babies swimming class experience

When we visited Eurocamp in June one of the free activities we tried as a family were the Learn To Swim classes. At the time Alice was only 7 months old and we were actually trying to get Theo to swim, not her, but she surprised us all by being noticeably confident and enthusiastic in the pool, so much so that the teacher asked us how many lessons she’d already had! When we came home and I had the best of intentions to embrace her enthusiasm and enroll her in some baby swim classes, but somehow never got round to it… until fate intervened and Water Babies asked me to try lessons with them for a term.

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I had no idea what to expect, I sort of vaguely new of Water Babies because of their famous photos of babies swimming underwater, but I didn’t know how that fitted into the curriculum or how early babies can start swimming. We’ve been attending lessons for a couple of months now and Alice has risen to every challenge thrown at her. I had dreaded the thought of going to a massive public pool with tiny cubicles and so was pleased and relieved to discover my local classes are held at a rather exclusive health club with a view of the golf course. I won’t lie, it’s still pretty exhausting wrestling a baby into and out of swimwear once a week, but at least I get to do it in very nice surroundings and big cubicles!

This week is National Baby Swimming Week and so I’m sharing my thoughts and experiences on the classes so far in the video below. We started at the very beginning in September with the tiny babies and then moved up to Chapter 5 with the babies who are one year and older so I’ve seen quite a broad spectrum of teaching.

When I was talking to Water Babies last week they mentioned some statistics they had about the large number of children who start primary school not being able to swim and it really hit a chord because Theo is a year into school and we still haven’t cracked it with him, despite having access to a family pool in the summer. My blogging partnership with Water Babies will end in a couple of weeks, but we have already decided to stay on as paying customers to give Alice the best possible chance of swimming independently as soon as she’s able.

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