Category Archives: Reviews

Gro-Clock Review

The Gro-Company have come up with many fantastic ideas to make like easier for parents. I have been ‘blessed’ with a child who has always loved early mornings, I have seen more mornings around 5 a.m in the last 3 years than is good for your sanity.  Cbeebies doesn’t even start until 6 a.m. proving that anything before that should illegal!

I have seen so many parents buying these gro-clocks but I never really believed it would work for Ben so I just got on with pleading, hoping and hiding under the pillow.  None of these work btw!

This spring was our first with Ben not in a cot and also being more aware of light/dark/morning/night time, I had made the huge mistake of saying it is night-time as it was dark over the winter and that came back to bite me when spring sprung with the delights of it being light at 5.30 a.m.

After a run of pre 6 a.m. wakings and the pad pad pad across the hall way into my bedroom and the argument of “Ben it is still night-time” “No Mummy it is light” I knew that now was the time to try something new.

I asked around for reviews on the Gro-clock and it was a general yes it works…most of the time.  So I decided to take the plunge, knowing that the re-sale on eBay is really high anyway so not really a risk.

I ordered from Amazon as it was the cheapest I could find at that time and it arrived in a few days.

The new version which I received now has the option of also showing the time to allow older children to learn the time as well as see the visual sun and moon display.

The clock comes with a book to explain to children the theory – we have only read this once on the first night then never needed it again, but for younger children it might be needed more.

I decided to be realistic on choosing when the sun came up so set it for 6.10 a.m. and we read the book, turned it on and had a chat about Ben would only get out of bed when the sun came up.

The first night I heard him wake at 5 a.m. mutter a bit then nothing until 5.45 a.m. when he called out he needed a wee.  So I got up and he did one and then I said “Back to bed as the sun isn’t up”  and he went with no fuss.  Usually that would have been us up.  At 6.10 a.m. I heard great excitement that the sun had come up.

We have had the Gro-clock for a month now and it really has made a huge difference to us, it means I have a definite thing to say if he does wake up too early, asking if the sun is up yet.  On the occasional times he wakes around 5 a.m. for a wee he then goes back to bed afterwards.  It was really useful when the clocks changed too.

I do think the key is being realistic about what time you set for the sun to come up as setting it to 7 or 8 a.m. when your child wakes at 5 a.m. is not going to work!

Also I got caught out one morning as Ben came in at 1 a.m. to tell me the sun was up – after posting on Facebook to ask friends what had happened as yes the sun had been up at 1 a.m. it seems the default setting for the 2nd alarm to be used for naps is 12 a.m. and I had by mistake chosen that the night before.  So as advised I set the 2nd alarm for the same time as the 1st so it doesn’t matter which one is set now.

So in this house the clock has meant no more coming downstairs at 5 a.m. and arguing if it is morning or night-time, it won;t change the fact sometimes Ben needs to wee at 5 a.m. I get that (it is only a clock after all!) but it does mean your child can easily see what is night and what is morning time regardless of the season and actual lighting outside.

Octonauts Fan? You need this!


Since its launch last year the Octonauts programme on Cbeebies has been a huge hit in our house.  Ben loves it and my V+ box has 3 pages of episodes recorded on it.

At the moment the only merchandise are the books to buy.

Last Christmas I added a Tomy Bath Rescue Centre to Ben’s Amazon wish list, and he luckily recieved one.

So what does this have to do with the Octonauts? Well for Ben the 2 characters in the set are Peso and Captain Barnacles and the rescue centre is the Octopod.  The boat is the Gup-B and the shark is many of the different fish/whale/sharks that they meet in various episodes.

The set is brilliant, and bath times are very much loved and requested.

The Diver (Peso) has a magnetic head so that the helicopter has a winch that comes out the bottom so he can be rescuded by Captain Barnacles, then put safely back on his shelf.

The Octopod (Rescue Centre) has 2 suckers on the back to stick it to the bath, my bath is rather curved but it works still and stays put. I then take it off and stick to the tiles for my bath time.   The boat can be clicked in at the bottom of the centre and either character put at the top and then the red button pressed and they fall down into the boat or bath.  This of course is very similar to the Octonauts going down the shoots in the Octopod.

Ben can work it all by himself, and I only showed him once how to save Peso with the helicopter and now he just plays with all the different bits of it.

I also never mentioned Octonauts to him when we first had it out the box, it was him who decided it was and well who am I stop point out it isn’t! Shushh, don’t ruin the peace ;o)

This is currently £10.99 on Amazon and worth every single penny

It will be interesting to see when the official Octonauts toys come out (I bet about 2 months before Christmas?) what the quality will be like and if they will have something similar – I bet it won’t be a similar price though!




Bumblejums Book & CD Review

I was kindly sent a Bumblejums CD & Book to review a couple of weeks ago, Ben has never been a fan of music played in the car, I have tried the usual nursery rhymes but he always rejects them.  So I get to listen to my music most of the time, although I prefer nothing when him and I are chatting or ‘debating’ in the car.

The book and CD are both wonderfully colourful, and Ben spotted the CD case in the car and asked what it was.  I said “A Bumblejums music CD” with a casual “shall I put it on?”  He said “Yes please”

So as I was sticking it in the player I was waiting for the usual “I don’t like it/no music” but it came on and he was silent and there was no rejection!

What I liked (apart from the 15 mins of our journey not having to answer “but why, why, why?”) was that I didn’t wish harm on the Bumblejums from the start.  I am not great with a lot of children’s music and noise, it gets to me and I become irritated.  But this isn’t that type of children’s music.  It is inoffensive in that the voices are calm, not shouting, not ridiculously American and twee.

Maybe it is wrong that I rate child things by their lack of irritation to me but for a busy Mum it is a huge factor to me!

Ben quickly picked up on the name ‘The Bumblejums’ and asked for it several times that first week when we were in the car, each time it was a hit and there was no request for it to be taken off.

One incident which proved it really does work was the day Ben decided he didn’t want to get in the car, but I decided we had to and well, I won, so there were tears & snot (his mainly) and I started driving and put the CD on to gently soothe him (read to drown out the sobs) and very quickly he stopped crying to listen. MAJOR WIN.

The first time we listened to the CD I said there was a book too, and we took it up for bedtime reading that night.  I rate books in many ways, but an important factor for me is at 7 p.m. at night after a long day being able to read them easily, I love books that flow.  And this one does.

The book is long enough to satisfy a 3 year old but no so long that you can smell your dinner burning downstairs.

The content of the music and CD are about the Bumblejum characters that live in Ballybo.  The characters all have proper names so are easy to pick up too for parents who have long struggled with the weird and wonderful names in various children’s programmes.

I think the major proof of if a product you have been sent to review really works is that if you carry on using it after you have tested it – and both of these we have, on the request of Ben.  And we all know how strong Toddler Power is 🙂

To visit the Bumblejums Shop click here to get a 20% discount please use the code MUM11

Available on iTunes here

To follow the Bumblejums on Twitter click here

To check them out on their website click here