Archive for the ‘Baby gear’ Category


You might remember last month we were lucky enough to review the Playskool Ball & Gear Centre. That post features a link for 50% cashback on Playskool toys which is active until the end of October. Now the lovely folk at Playskool have asked me to run a giveaway of the Ball & Gear Centre too.

The Ball & Gear Centre is suitable for babies from 9 months up (although as you can see, our then-five-month-old rather liked it too!).

For a chance to win, simply leave a comment on this post, telling me what toy you’d like to get for your kids for Christmas.

The competition is open to UK residents only. Entries will be accepted until midnight on Saturday 23rd October. The winner will be selected using a random number generator and will be contacted by email on Sunday 24th October. If they have not responded within five days then a new winner will be drawn. The prize will be sent directly to the winner from Playskool.


Since posting this I’ve discovered that some other bloggers are giving away Playskool toys this week too. For more chances to win, check out

There’s an Explore & Grow Activity Tower at Making it up

A Step Start Walk & Ride at Transatlantic Blonde

A Gloworld Musical Gym at Typecast

Susan K Mann is giving away another Ball & Gear Centre

There’s a Chase Me Critter at Glowstars

And finally, a super-cute Lullaby Gloworm at Cooking, Cakes and Children

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The official info: Featuring music and sound effects, and 5 interchangeable gears, the colourful Playskool Explore ‘N Grow musical gear centre is an exciting toy. Toddlers can drop the ball through the shoot and press the critter to make the ball twirl and pop out. The 5 interchangeable gears can be tacked and reconfigured for more spinning options. Retails for around £24.99

What we thought: When offered the opportunity to test one of the range of Playskool toys, I chose the Ball and Gear Centre because I wanted something that my baby, who is currently just over five months old, would grow into and get a lot of use out of. He can sit unsupported, although not for very long, and he enjoys sitting in front of this and banging away at the gears (and occasionally having a chew!).

We also tried him on his tummy, which seemed to go down well. This toy is recommended for 9+ months, and I can see that it’ll be better once he can sit by himself and crawl round it, and better again once he can stand up and drop the balls in the top. I thought that my toddler (who has just turned two) might like this toy too, and although he played with it for a while, there wasn’t enough to hold his interest for long. This isn’t a criticism, though, as obviously it is aimed at a younger age group.


  • This toy appeals to quite young babies, but will hold their interest as they grow. My 2 year old matched the coloured gears up to their matching bases and stacked them all as a tower.
  • It’s bright, unfussy and very sturdy. None of these trendy muted colours.
  • It encourages hand/eye co-ordination.


  • The two plastic balls are very lightweight, and on our laminate flooring they managed to smoothly glide away under the sofa and into hidden corners as soon as they touched the ground.
  • The music, while appealing to little ones, isn’t so appealing to adults and only has one volume level (pretty loud).
  • This is a big sturdy piece of plastic and doesn’t fold down, so not ideal if you’re struggling for storage space.

In conclusion: This is a bright, fun, good quality toy that would be great for babies from around 9 – 18 months.

Now to the bit you’ve all been waiting for! Simply click through this link here for 50% off Playskool products throughout September and October.

In return for publishing this post and link I received the Playskool Ball & Gear Centre to keep, but have not received any additional payment.

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The Thrupenny Bits Breastfeeding Pillow is one of the best bits of baby kit I’ve come across. I only wish I had found it sooner: I bought a Widgey pillow during my first pregnancy and while that has been great to use at home, a Thrupenny Bits pillow could have done the same job and more.

The crucial design point of this pillow is that it is so lightweight, which makes it extremely portable. The polystyrene filling is robust but light as a feather. The straps can be tied at any length, so it attaches comfortably to both my slim single and my enormous twin pushchairs. It could easily be carried over the shoulder too (although I’ve never done this, as pillow plus handbag plus baby in a sling would probably be too much bulk!).

Another (minor) plus point that puts this pillow ahead of other similar products is that it can be converted into a bag by removing the filling, once you have finished breastfeeding for good. Realistically, I’m unlikely to ever use this as a handbag/fashion bag. I bought the plain cord version at £29. If I’d bought this way back when I was on full pay, I may well have gone for the larger, £55 version, which comes in more appealing fabrics. However, even in the nicest of fabrics, you can’t get round the fact that it’ll be a slouchy, unstructured bag (which might be in fashion when I finally finish feeding!) and that the strap has to be tied in a fairly bulky knot at the top. Having said that, it will make a decent nappy bag, perhaps to keep in the car with spare clothes/snacks etc for the boys.

In my opinion, the Thrupenny Bits pillow is the best breastfeeding pillow on the market: it’s attractive (with grown-up fabrics rather than babyish prints), it’s supportive and above all, it’s totally portable.

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