Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Tried & Tested Travel and Holiday Products

Price:  £33.56
Available from and other online retailers.
Suitable from: Adult use only

Initial Reaction:  “The Yantra Mat works on the principle of acupressure”.  It's a lovely looking mat rolled up into a handy tubular bag, rather as a yoga mat would.  When it is unrolled, the surface is covered in lots of 'spiked flowers' that work in a way similar to the old fashioned bed of nails.  I was excited to try this, because I had been suffering extreme anxiety and tension, and it claims to help this, as well as boosting sleep, energy level and helping general aches and pains. 

Pros: I was sceptical, really sceptical, but I have given it a good bash over the period of a month or so and it does work.  On the nights I use it, I seem to sleep better and wake more alert and the pains I was getting in my jaw have vanished.  I wrapped it round my head one night for a bit, and t gave me a strangely pleasant sensation.

Cons: It's spiky!  I wanted to use it without a t-shirt on but I couldn’t bear the pain.  I caught my finger on one of the spikes and it bled, so it's best to keep it out of the reach of children I think.

Value for money? Thirty-three quid for getting rid of tension? Definitely.
Overall Reaction: It's a strange concept, and you do have to use it regularly to reap the rewards, but the rewards are great.

Ideal for jet lag!

Boots Alternatives Hayfever Relief
Price: £4.70 -72 Tablets
Available From : Boots Pharmacy
Suitable From: As soon as children can take tablets although they are able to be chewed or sucked so not hard to swallow

Initital Reaction: I was pleased they were herbal as I am unable to get much not on prescription for a toddler and happy to give these a try.

Pros: Easy to swallow as chewable. Herbal remedy so no adverse effects.

Cons: Not as strong as some over the counter hayfever remedies or prescription ones.

Value for money: Fair

Overall Reaction: We have all been really bad with hayfever this year as early at March so I was hunting for things we could try when I was sent these to try. We all used them and I would say they did help although I had to take other brands as well. The kids managed very well on these alone on most days. There's 72 Tablets in the packet so considering these can be used to boost other remedies and did seem to help I think its good value for money and all in all very much worth a try if you or your little ones are suffering.

 By Julie

Poundland travel selection

Price: £1
Available from: Poundland

Initial Reaction:  Great selection of poundland goodies for travelling (see below for full details)

  • First aid kit – comes in wipe clean pouch and contains all the essentials to clear up a minor injury – tweezers, bandages, alcohol pad, swab, scissors and tape
  • Travel bottle set – 4 see-through (bottles 1 with pump action) in a clear  case – perfect for carrying liquids in your hand luggage for flights.
  • Travel alarm clock – small and lightweight alarm clock with a protective cover/stand and battery included
  • Flight socks – supportive socks to wear during air flights
  • Pill box and pouch – Has 4 containers for your medical needs when away on holiday.
  • Great price at only £1
  • None
Value for money? Excellent value. Great quality products for a ridiculously low price.

Overall Reaction: Really pleased with the products Poundland have to offer for travel. Small, lightweight and essential for the holiday season.

By Louise

Splash About Swimming Costume

Price: £19.99
Available from: Splash About
Suitable from: Sizes start from 1 yr

Initial Reaction: Such a cute swimsuit. Very lovely!

  • Great design- loved the little skirt detail on it!
  • Easy to put on and take off.
  • LS was always comfortable in it.
  • Kept nappy up well.
  • NO cons!
Value for money? Absolutely!

Overall Reaction:
This is such a great little costume! I love LS in it she looks so grown up and comfortable! She could play in it and was still comfortable, LS loved wearing it!

Price:  £18, £5, £5
Available from:  Speedo

Initial Reaction: Nice and bright. Feel good quality

  • Helps children learn to swim
  • Removable pants
  • Easy to put on
  • Easy to adjust
  • Fits securely
  • Comfortable

Water Balls
  • Gets children used to swimming under water
  • Helps grow confidence

  • Protects children’s eyes from the water
  • Easy to adjust

Cons:  Couldn’t find any

Value for money? Yes

Overall Reaction:  Speedo Swim Squad has a range of products to suit every child’s swimming stage.  I found the items easy to use and my daughter felt secure in the Swim Vest. Great products

Boots Swim Pants

Price: £3.95

Available from: Boots

Initial Reaction: Great design and colours very bright and bold, don’t look very absorbent.


  • Easy to put on and take off either wet or dry
  • Fit great under swimsuit even when full
  • Very absorbent


  • No Cons

Value for money? Great value, will definitely buy again.

Overall Reaction:
Great nappies, they stay up really well an last longer then other swim nappies I have used. Very absorbent and don’t lose shape, a very good product.

By Danii

Prevalin Allergy Kids

Price: £9.99 for 280 doses

Available from: Chemists including Boots

Suitable from: Age 6

Initial Reaction: I'm always wary of nasal sprays as I find them hard to administer to kids.

Pros: Did seem to dampen down the effects of hayfever and stopped my daughters sneezing especially during the night.

Cons: I always find nasal sprays a bit of a a nightmare to get kids to take.

Value for money: Good.

Overall reaction: As we were all suffering from our allergies quite badly this year I was willing to try anything with the kids especially and this nasal spray was perfect for my daughters age range. On top of use with other hayfever reliefs it did seem to help and she felt quite a bit better when using Prevalin. It contained no antihistamines and no steroids so she could continue to use all her own tablets on top of it . She claimed to find it fairly easy to use after an initial wobble over a nasal spray and did notice a difference with her sneezing and eye itching/watering. All in all I think this is a good product and worth a try if your kids are really suffering.

By Julie

Aromatherapy Associates Essential Skincare Introductory Set

From website below: “Combined in a handy cosmetic bag, kit contains:

- Rose Cleanser with Damask Rose, Jojoba, Geranium, 30ml
Rose Skin Tonic with Pure Damask Rose Water, 30ml
Revitalising Face Oil with Rose, Frankincense, Borage, 3ml
Triple Rose Moisturiser with White Rose, Damask Rose, Maroc Rose, 5ml
Rose Hydrating Face Mask with Aloe Vera, Damask Rose Water, 5ml”

Price: £30

Available from: Aromatherapy Associates

Suitable from:Adults

Initial Reaction: In a handy travel pouch, it contained 5 lovely little containers of the most sensuous rose scented skin care products. The bathroom transformed itself into an expensive spa, in my head, when I used these, I felt enveloped with luxury.

Pros: Extremely luxurious, I felt as though I was giving my skin a real treat.  It is impossible to use these items and not smile.  I have sensitive skin and found no sensitivities with these, in fact they cleared my spots up a little.

Cons: As far as the products go, I cannot fault them.  They are very pricey though.

Value for money? If you are in the market for an expensive treat or present, or if this is your usual budget, then yes.  Otherwise price might restrict the purchase.

Overall Reaction: Expensive, but felt absolutely luxurious.  A most opulent treat for your skin.

By Catherine


Price: £29.99

Available from:

Suitable from: Birth - 4

Initial Reaction: Folds up quite small. Wasn’t sure it would fit my pushchair

  • UPF 50+
  • Fits  3 and 4 wheel strollers
  • Easy access zip panel
  • Protects from sun, insects and wind
  • It does look quite strange on the pushchair.
Value for money? Good

Overall Reaction: In spite of initially thinking that it was so small it wouldn’t fit my large pushchair , it did fit perfectly. It was easy to attach with Velcro straps that held it in place very well.   The mesh is breathable, but I wasn’t sure that Brandon would like being behind the black mesh. There is a zip at the front for the flap to open though.

I put the shade on the pushchair and then put Brandon in through the front flap. He was surprisingly quite happy to sit behind the mesh, so he must have been able to see out ok or he wouldn’t have been so good.  It’s quite dark and he did fall asleep when we had the shade on.  He was kept lovely and cool and protected, and he was quite happy to have it on his pushchair.

The only problem I have is that it just doesn’t look very appealing on the pushchair, but the shading properties and keeping baby cool inside outweigh the strange look of it.

By Sarah

Koo-di pack it seat harness and hip carrier.

Price: Seat harness: £10.99 AND hip carrier:  £12.99

Available from: has a list of retailers

Suitable from: 6-30 months, when a baby can support its own head.  Hip carrier is for a maximum of 15 kgs, and amazon recommends that the starting age is 12 months.

Initial Reaction I was very excited to receive these, especially the hip carrier.  With a toddler, there are times that he now wants to walk, and I thought it would be handy to have a compact carrier for when he got tired.

Pros: Both can be folded up into small neat packages so that they can be popped into your changing bag and carried around ‘just in case’.  Both are machine washable.  With my son in the hip carrier, I get to cuddle him while we stroll along.

Cons: The seat harness:  can’t be used on high backed chairs.

The hip carrier: has one big failing.  If I wore it as the instructions suggested (below), the strap cut deeply into my neck.  I solved this problem by putting it on my shoulder joint but it does restrict arm movement this way.  My son is 17 months and I found that though it was better than carrying him freehand, he still got heavy very quickly and I was glad to release the catch and set us both free.  Uncomfortable after a few minutes.

Overall Reaction: I love that these squish up into little pockets.  I do love the concept of the hip carrier, being somewhat of a frustrated (by lack of comfy products) baby carrying mum myself.  The strap could give you neck strain though.  If they improved the ergonomics, it would be wonderful.

5 for the seat harness,  2 for the hip carrier.

By Catherine

My Travel Surprise

Price: around £5
Available from: website
Suitable from:  2 years
Initial Reaction: Beautifully wrapped gifts (open on one end so you can peek in before completely sealing) in “My travel surprise” wrapping paper. Children very excited at getting a present for the journey.

  • Prewrapped gifts for your children to play with on the journey or when on holiday
  • Can choose your own gifts on the website and they will be sent out to you partially wrapped with stickers for you to check and seal.
  • When going on holiday you have enough to do and letting someone else take the job of entertaining children off you is a great idea.
  • If travelling by air and have to answer important security questions you can honestly say you wrapped the gift yourself.
  • All children love getting a gift to upwrap so a great start to the holiday.
  • Resealable stickers for gift if they do have to be opened at security.
  • Good size gifts – nothing too bulky.
  • Quality gifts ie nothing cheap and tacky!
  • Gifts can be used after holiday for any car journey.

  • Racking my brain to think of any negatives about this product! If I had to think of something the website could do with perking up – a search engine by age for example would make it easier to see what is on offer.

Value for money? Excellent. You can spend according to your budget from a varied selection. They seem to have thought of everything and at a competitive price. Will definitely be using for future holidays

Overall Reaction: Loved the idea and think it is an excellent and helpful way of assisting parents when planning holidays to help ensure children are amused and happy on a journey or trip.

Simple for men skincare

Price: from £5

Available from: Chemists and Supermarkets

Suitable from: Adults

Initial Reaction: Great range consisting of Daily Moisturiser, Aftershave Balm, Shave Gel and Face Wash

  • Great packaging – looks manly and more expensive than it is.
  • 100% fragrance and colour free minimises skin irritation
  • No nonsense skincare range
  • After using the 4 stage routine skin felt amazing - smooth and soft
  • Lovely clean smell
  • More products in range eg scrub would be fantastic!
Value for money? Great value for money range.

Overall Reaction: Very positive, skin looked and felt really soft and healthy. No redness or tightness.

By Louise

Salter Luggage Scale
Price:  £14.99
Available from:  Salter Housewares, Amazon

Initial Reaction: Look a little flimsy, I hope this work

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight so you can pack for the return journey
  • Saves on excess charge
  • Max weight 40kg


Value for money? Yes

Overall Reaction: Great product, I am terrible at packing light!

Price: £24.99
Available from: Cheeky Rascals
Suitable from:  4years (15kg)

Initial Reaction:  Great size, portable and lightweight. Good colour (purple and gold) too.

  • Great price!
  • Perfect for holidays, rental cars, taxi, car pooling etc as saves money hiring or buying spare seats.
  • ECE Regulation R44/04 approved
  • Surface washable
  • Very easy to inflate and deflate
  • Handy bag to store seat and instructions in
  • 4year old loved it, thought it was comfortable and can’t wait to use it on holiday.
  • Lightweight – could fit in hand luggage without taking up too much space.

  • Obviously not as cushioned around the body as a standard car seat but it has passed all the safety checks so this isn’t an issue with regards safety may just be as comfortable/supportive (although requires full seat belt which will do this!).
  • Suitable only for use with a 3 point seatbelt so wouldn’t be suitable as a middle seat for all cars (ie my Toyota Verso does not have the lap belt bit in  so wouldn’t be as secure.

Value for money? Excellent, a wonderful product addressing a huge gap in the market.

Overall Reaction: Fantastic, think any family with young children who are planning on hiring a car abroad should get at least one of these! It would save lots of money in hiring outrageously priced car seats and can be used again and again when back home.
By Louise

Buster Books - I’m Going on Holiday book
Price: £3.44
Available from: Amazon
Suitable from:  6+

Initial Reaction: Bright coloured fun diary for record precious holiday memories

  • Keeps children occupied for hours
  • Provides memory box of holiday adventures – effectively a scrapbook of your trip
  • Main sections of the book include Packing (what to take); Getting Excited (what you will see); The Journey; Your Holiday Home; Fact Finder (educational – country’s flag etc); Adventurous Eats; Holiday masterpiece’s; Daily Diary etc
  • Lots of space to doodle, stick on photos, tickets etc

  • Depends on the child’s interests – may not meet the needs of all children.

Value for money? Great, children love to learn  and this give them a fun way of recording their holiday diary in the way they will remember.

Overall Reaction: Good, although my 4yo needed help with it he loved doing it and asked lots of questions learning more about where we were and what we were doing.
 By Louise

Dr Bronner's 'All one' Magic Pure Castile Soap.

Price: £9.18 per litre, £6.12 for 472ml or £3.83 for 286ml @ the vit shop –  elsewhere it's approx £12 per litre.
Available, ebay, other online retailers (google it)
Suitable from: birth

Initial Reaction:  This soap claims to have 18 uses, from personal use to various cleaning tasks.  They are all fair trade and organic and further extensive information, including faq's can be found at  They contain no foaming agents like sodium lauryl sulphate and can be used by the whole family.

The samples came in small bottles with a label on that was jam-packed with information and philosophies.  Wanting to know more, I googled Dr Bronner and discovered that he had led an eventful life, yet held onto his love for the human race and hope, throughout.

The claims that this soap could be used for just about everything sounded far-fetched at first but I thought I’d give the soap a good road-test and try to prove them wrong.

Pros: You will become overly enthusiastic about a soap.  I am not joking, try it, and see.  You can use it for cleaning EVERYTHING!

Cons: I didn't really rate it on the washing up, but maybe I didn't put enough in – I didn't want to slosh loads of such a lovely soap in, pus, I think I’m conditioned to expect bubbles in the sink, which I didn’t get.

Value for money? Worth every penny.  It's amazing!

Overall Reaction: The obvious place to start was with  my hands and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it took three small drops of the stuff to produce a rich and delicious smelling lather that rinsed off easily.

I proceeded to use this soap for everything a soap could be used for and was so enamoured with it that I went and bought a litre bottle so that I could continue testing it when the two small sample bottles had run out.  With a small child in the house now, I had been worrying about the use of chemicals to clean with.  I shall be sticking with this soap now because it is chemical-free and highly effective.

A few small drops and a cloth wipes the work surfaces, high chair, walls, microwave and sinks clean.  After my sons bath at night there is often a grimy 'I’ve been outside all day' ring but a couple of drops of this soap on a bathroom sponge and a wipe and it's gone. I always worried chemicals would be left in the bath after I’d cleaned it but I don’t have to any more, I clean the bath with the same soap I use on him.

I've used it to wash me, my toddler, my hair (you do need a conditioner afterwards – my hair went all super-soft), my teeth (it took me a while but I dared, in the end), (and I have to say, my teeth felt dentist-clean, although it doesn't contain fluoride, obviously, so I use it once a day).   I've washed the car, inside and out, (it even got the wheels clean), windows, mirrors, the laundry (it even got an old stain out, when I applied it directly, before a wash), the floors (scatter a few drops over the floors and mop over).  And the dog smells lovely too, it brought his fur up lovely and glossy.

I have sensitive skin and found no reaction to this at all.  It smells divine, no false chemical smells here, but you can buy unscented too.  I can vouch for the lavender, the rose and the almond.

By Catherine

Dr Bronners and sun dogs magic patchouli lime organic balm for dry/chapped skin or brightening tattoos.

Price: circa £3.99
Available from:   There Must Be a Better Way , amazon, other online retailers
Suitable from: It doesn't say, but I’d assume birth.

Initial Reaction: Handy little tin that they want your to re-use as a 'stash tin'! Great smell and consistency, you don’t need to use very much.

Pros: I get eczema and this definitely helped to soothe it, more than any other product I’ve tried recently.

Cons: None, though maybe they could sell it in a bigger tin too.

Value for money? It's small, but effective, so yes.

Overall Reaction: Another fantastic Dr Bronner's product. I still need my steroid cream but this instantly soothes the maddening itchy flare-ups I get. When rubbed on tattoos, it makes them look brighter, for ages, too.

Price: £29.95
Available fromHalfords
Suitable from: For ages 4 -12 yrs (15-36 KG or up to 135cm)

About:The Trunki BoostApak is a back pack & booster seat all in one, ideal for your child to carry around when not using as a car seat

Initial Reaction: Great idea, lots of excitement from the kids

Pros: Very handy, plenty of space inside plus booster seat is sturdy , fold out belt if needed. Can be taken everywhere . Wipe clean

Cons: The bag part is rather square and bulky to carry around. Not to pleasant to look at either.

Value for money? Yes

Overall Reaction:  I think this is a great idea and I know my kids found it great fun and would pack it for grandparents and then also use it in the car. I have been in situations before when I was not able to have a car seat for a child and I hated it, I love how easy this would be to carry around and use. It goes from a back pack to booster easily. The booster part is certified and I found it sturdy and well made, much better than a lot of booster seats I have came across.

I was also surprised at how much fit inside it. As a back pack it is not to great, the shape makes it awkward to carry and I could see it getting annoying if having to be carried about for a long period of time.

Price: £19.99
Available from: Snoozeshade
Suitable from: Birth

Initial Reaction: I had seen a lot of press and reviews about the snoozeshade and was looking forward to seeing for myself how well it worked.

The snoozeshade comes in a handy bag so it can be folded up and stored when not in use, it also folds up really small so it is perfect for keeping in your changing bag. With a newborn I was eager to see exactly how well it worked and I wasn’t disappointed, the best example is on a trip into town my daughter was crying so I put the snoozeshade over her and almost instantly she stopped crying. A trip to a local adventure park on a very sunny day was also great with her sleeping for four hours in the bright sun.

What I also love about this is the fact that it is UPF50+ so it means in the sunshine she is protected not only from the bright light but the harmful UV rays. It also acts as a barrier against the wind so perfect for our great British weather!
The Velcro strips ensure it is secure and although I was using the pram version it did fit over the car seat, although I couldn’t Velcro all the straps to the pushchair it still worked fine (a new car seat version will be available soon).

This is a great alternative to draping a blanket over the pushchair and as it is breathable a safer option too. It also has a handy zip on the front so you can peek in at baby whilst they are sleeping.


Value for money? Most definitely, it is compact and for us it does what it says on the tin.

Overall Reaction: Compared to the alternatives out there (which I have tried) this offers a compact and safe solution to the age old problem of bright lights, sunshine, wind and a sleepy baby. I feel safe in the knowledge my daughter is sleeping under this and is protected from the elements. It’s definitely a must have for all mums and dads and perfect for taking on holiday and for trips out with a sleeping baby.

By Ellie

SPF15 200ml and SPF30 200ml, Kids Suncare Lotion SPF50 200ml & Aftersun 200ml

Price:  £12.99

Available from:  Boots

Initial Reaction: Great selection and comes in a travel bag


  • 5 Star rating
  • Goes on easily
  • Non Greasy
  • Doesn’t irritate our skin
  • Smells pleasant
  • Offers great sun protection
  • Comes in a handy bag
  • Contains children’s lotion
  • Decent size bottles
  • Lasts for ages

  • None

Value for money? Really good value. Suncare can be really expensive.

Overall Reaction:  I have been buying Soltan for many years and it never lets me down. I am really careful in the sun as I am really pale so I use the SPF30, OH doesn’t burn as bad so he likes the SPF. I would cover BG is SPF100 if I could but the 50 is adequate.  

This is a great family pack at a great price. Now all we need is the sun. 
By Carol 

Price:  £32.99

Available from:  Keen

Initial Reaction: They look practical but pretty at the same time


  • Fit really well
  • Comfortable
  • Supportive
  • Sturdy
  • Washable
  • Breathable
  • Nice thick sole
  • Durable

  • None

Value for money? Yes, BG has been testing them for two months now and they still look brand new.

Overall Reaction:  They are perfect for the summer, BG runs around in them all day and her feet don’t overheat or become sore.  They are really supportive and stop her from slipping over. Ideal for the beach, garden or park. 

By Carol 

Are We There Yet? Travel Game

Get ready to hit the open road in style. Points are awarded for spotting different things in this hugely popular travel game for the car. 3 points for spotting somebody with ginger hair, 1 point for a red car, 2 points for a driver of another car wearing a coat and so on.

Price:  £5.50
Available from:  Amazon
Suitable from: 6+
Initial Reaction:  Comes in a great little tin.

  • 450 Cards
  • 5 Categories
  • Keeps kids entertained
  • Lots of fun
  • Comes in a tin case

  • Addictive

Value for money? Yes

Overall Reaction:  Great travel game to ease the boredom.  

Pocket Scrabble
Price:  £4.85
Available from:  Amazon
Suitable from: 10+

Initial Reaction:  It’s so small!

  • Compact
  • Magnetic
  • Easy to carry around
  • Comes with everything you need

  • Tiny pieces

Value for money? Yes

Overall Reaction:  Great travel game. It gets quite addictive once you get used to the small pieces. 

Price:  £11.99
Available from:  Find Me A Gift
Initial Reaction:  Looks very cool, but is the sound quality good.

  • Easy to use
  • Good sound quality
  • Quite loud for portable speakers
  • Made from recycled cardboard

  • A bit bulky for travelling

Value for money? Yes

Overall Reaction:  Good travel speaker, ideal for use on holiday or just in the garden.

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