Gro Anywhere Blind: Review and Giveaway

Now if you’ve read any of my previous reviews you’ll know how much I love Gro products. However, it took a while for me to fall in love with the Gro Anywhere Blind but boy do I love it now!

I bought the Gro Anywhere Blind in the summer of 2014 when BattleKid’s cot was still in our bedroom and the nights were still bright and mornings starting earlier. However, when trying to put it on our bedroom window I found it wouldn’t fit! I wasn’t very happy at all. There was a great big gap at one end of the window as it measures 235cm and the Gro Anywhere Blind just wouldn’t stretch that far. Down it came, into its storage bag it went and up into our attic storage bedroom it went. And I had forgotten all about it until we started having sleep problems with BattleKid last May. He was waking early, taking ages to fall asleep at night and naps were becoming hit and miss.Gro Anywhere Blind

After a particularly rough weekend away, while scratching our heads at what to do, I remembered the Gro Anywhere Blind in the attic bedroom and thought it was worth a try. BattleDad and I put it up in BattleKid’s room and we’re immediately amazed at how dark his room had become. The Gro Anywhere Blind fit his window with a bit to spare and with barely any light getting in, even on a bright sunny day, I had high hopes.

Before the Gro Anywhere Blind
Before the Gro Anywhere Blind
After the Gro Anywhere Blind
After the Gro Anywhere Blind

The Gro Anywhere Blind is a blackout blind designed for taking on holidays with you to create a better, darker room for your little one to sleep in. However, like me, I’ve read that alot of people use it in the UK for those long, bright summer days. As it weighs only 740 grams and comes with its own handy travel bag, it is light, portable and easy to use wherever you go. It is also non-permanent, being attached to the window via suction cups. There is an ample amount of these for attaching the blind to the window and the blind can fit a window up to a maximum size of 130cm x 198cm, perfect for BattleKid’s room but not ours as mentioned. If your window is smaller there are velcro fastenings which are easy to use to adjust the size of the blind to fit your window. Just make sure your window is clean before attaching the suction cups which are quite strong once in place.

The fabric is good quality, has a nice moon and stars design on the side facing into the room and most importantly, the blind conforms to British and European Safety Standards.Gro Anywhere Blind

And it really DOES block out sunlight. BattleKid’s room, despite having “blackout” curtains on his window was still light and bright in mornings and evenings, and during nap times but not once the Gro Anywhere Blind went up as you can see with the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures. The Gro Anywhere Blind made an enormous difference to the amount of light in his room, even to the point of needing the light on during the day if doing anything in his room. As a result BattleKid, and we, were sleeping better. Naps also went back to how they were before the light was disturbing him.Gro Anywhere Blind

We left it permanently in place last summer and there it remained until winter was upon us and the mornings and evenings grew darker. From outside you’d hardly know it was there except when you compare that window to our others and notice the lack of vertical blinds in place.

What I love about the Gro Anywhere Blind:

  • value for money.
  • easy to use.
  • portable with its own travel bag.
  • plenty of strong suction cups for attaching to the window.
  • lightweight at only 740 grams.
  • velcro fastenings to adjust its size to fit smaller windows.
  • moon and stars design on fabric is nice.
  • good quality material.
  • great for home or holidays.
  • conforms to British and European Safety Standards.
  • it really does block out light.

What I don’t like about the Gro Anywhere Blind:

  • nothing, except we could have done with a larger one for our bedroom but this was negated once BattleKid was in his own room.

The Gro Anywhere Blind is a great blackout blind for your little ones nursery or bedroom during the bright UK summer months or for taking on holidays. It vastly improved BattleKid’s sleep last summer which in turn gave us better sleep as well. It is a very easy to use product, is great quality and is fantastic value for money. Anything that helps a baby/toddler to sleep at night is worth its weight in gold in my opinion.

This product proved invaluable to us last summer and I’ll be using it again this summer coming to ensure BattleKid’s sleep is not disturbed due to bright mornings and evenings. So far BattleKid is going down without any hassle for bedtime and naps but as soon as that changes the Gro Anywhere Blind will be making a reappearance!

The Gro Anywhere Blind is available from the Gro Company website as well as retailers like Amazon, Argos, Boots and John Lewis. The RRP is £29.99 although it is available at £19.99 from Amazon at the time of writing this review.

So if your little one is finding it difficult to sleep in those bright early mornings and evenings of summer why not invest in the Gro Anywhere Blind. It really does black out their room and I’d be surprised if it didn’t help improve their sleep, and yours!

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

*I was not asked to write this post nor host the giveaway.

PS Please excuse the stuff hanging off his doors!!!

PPS. Fancy getting your hands on one of these? I actually found another Gro Anywhere Blind up in our attic room that I’d obviously bought and forgotten about so I am happy to pass on my spare of this brilliant product. It is unused with the tag still on (as shown in the picture used) and hasn’t been taken out of it’s carry bag. So if you’d like to get hold of one, please follow the instructions below and good luck!

Gro Anywhere Blind Giveaway

T&C’s:

  • Open to the UK and Republic of Ireland only. Entries outside of these countries will not be valid.
  • Competition runs from 10am on 14th April until 23.59pm on 20th April.
  • There will be one winner, picked at random, via the option in the Gleam Competition.
  • The winner will be notified within 5 days of the competition ending and will receive their prize direct from me, BattleMum.
  • There are various ways to enter after you have posted a comment on the blog.

The Gro Clock: Our Review

We were kindly sent the Gro Clock earlier this month to road test by the Gro Company. Hailed by many, including one of my personal friends, as the best product they’ve invested in for helping to ensure their little ones do not get up too early, I was a little apprehensive as to how the Gro Clock would be received by BattleKid, bearing in mind he is only 20 months old.

gro clock

Helping mum set up our Gro Clock.
Helping mum set up our Gro Clock.

 

gro clockWell, I need not have worried. The Gro Clock has slotted into our nap and bedtime routines very easily and has had a huge impact on making those times less stressful than they were not so long ago.

You see, BattleKid had started having major tantrums when we brought him upstairs for naps or bedtime. He would properly kick off. He would also cry as we put him in his cot and when we closed his bedroom door. I can now report that since installing the Gro Clock in his bedroom the tantrums have greatly reduced with just an occasional whimper as we leave the room. How have we managed this change you ask? It’s simple really – the introduction of Mr Sun and Mr Star.

gro clock

Mr Sun is a bright, cheery yellow sun who denotes wake-up times and daytime. When we see him we wave and I’ll say “Hello Mr Sun” or “Good morning Mr Sun”. BattleKid waves hello and smiles and he knows it’s time to get up in the morning when he sees him. If we go up to his room for anything other than sleep, so long as he sees Mr Sun and we say hello, he knows I’m not going in there to put him to bed. Heading upstairs and into his room used to start the tantrums off. Now we look for Mr Sun and BattleKid remains calm and relaxed.

gro clock

At night, or nap time at the weekends, we go into his room, and after I’ve pressed the magic button, we say “Bye-bye Mr Sun” and watch while he winks, closes his eyes and makes way for blue, sleepy Mr Star. When Mr Star appears and closes his eyes we say “Hello Mr Star, it’s bedtime”, to which BattleKid will wave night-night to him, like we do the BattleDogs every evening. We then get our kisses and cuddles from BattleKid and just before we put him into his cot we say “Night-night Mr Star”.

gro clock

Since bringing this into our bedtime routine BattleKid will now actively look to get into his cot, without the protests we were getting, ready for his story (or nap if during the day). He is calmer and more settled getting into his cot than before meaning we are less stressed as parents and it has resulted in happier, calmer bedtimes in the BattleHousehold. Also included with the Gro Clock is a story book which introduces the Sun and the Star too, and we’ve taken to reading that to BattleKid at night before a second story. It’s a lovely little illustrated book with a nice story which even BattleMum enjoys!

gro clock book

I really cannot tell you how much of a positive difference the Gro Clock has had on our bedtime routine with BattleKid in the short few weeks we’ve had it. And all this at only 20 months old. The recommended age for use of the Gro Clock is 2 years but the Gro Clock has helped us with BattleKid already!

Although BattleKid has occasionally given us a lie-in at the weekend I have set the Gro Clock to wake-up at 7am so that it might help make those occasional lie-ins more permanent, and so far BattleKid hasn’t woken before 7am at the weekend. In fact he slept through the wake-up change last weekend! I still have to become more familiar with the Gro Clock, like setting the time for daytime naps at the weekend (BattleKid is in nursery during the week), and later on with setting an audible alarm but so far I’m very impressed with the Gro Clock.

The Gro Clock is packed with lots of features. Firstly, as mentioned, we have Mr Sun which denotes wake-up time and Mr Star who denotes sleep time. Both images are fun and will appeal to children of all ages. Mr Sun is bright and cheery as you’d expect while Mr Star is blue and sleepy. Mr Star is surrounded by 12 little stars who disappear one by one during the ‘sleep’ time phases to show the passing of time. I think this feature will come into its own and become invaluable as BattleKid gets older and understands the concept of time more.

You can choose to display the digital time or not, handy for helping to teach older children the time. You can also set the brightness of the display to suit you. I’ve chosen the lowest setting and during the night this is ample for the Gro Clock to act as a night-light.

You can set two separate wake-up times for weekday/weekend or night-time/day-time naps, although I still have to set up the second wake-up time. The Gro Clock is silently operated and you have the ability to lock the keys, very important and handy with an inquisitive toddler about!

The Gro Clock is mains operated so you will need to think about the placement of it. I’ve set ours up on BattleKid’s shelves next to his Gro Egg while he remains in his cot. He can see it from his cot but can’t reach it. Once we move him into a bed I’ll move it so he can see it better from his bed. The Gro Clock also conforms to the highest British and European Standards, big pluses in my scientific books, as with all Gro Company products.

The Gro Clock has a great built-in energy-saving mode so although it is mains operated you don’t need to worry about energy consumption. How is the Gro Clock energy-efficient? It uses LED’s which are naturally energy-efficient and 1 hour after Mr Sun comes out the display turns off the coloured LED’s and runs on just a tiny amount of electricity. Genius! You can turn the display back on with just the touch of one button.

gro clock

There is also an audible alarm whose time can be set separate from the wake-up times but I’ve yet to use this feature.

What we love about the Gro Clock:

  • Great night-light with adjustable brightness.
  • Fun characters in Mr Sun and Mr Star.
  • Key lock option.
  • Can set two separate wake-up times.
  • Small stars countdown the time during the night.
  • Easy to use instructions.
  • Conforms to British and European Standards.
  • Has helped stop the bedtime tantrums with BattleKid and has captured his attention.
  • A great distraction aid!
  • Has made bedtimes calmer and more settled meaning a more relaxed bedtime routine.

What we don’t like about the Gro Clock:

  • Nothing!

Although it is stated that the Gro Clock is suitable from age 2+ years, we’ve been using it with 20 month old BattleKid and he has responded brilliantly to it. Our nap and bedtime battles have all but ceased and the Gro Clock has slotted so easily into our bedtime routine. I was apprehensive about whether we’d see any difference in BattleKid at bedtime with him only being 20 months old but it’s made a world of difference at bedtime in a very short space of time. The Gro Clock is a great bedtime aid and is a product I can see coming more into its own as BattleKid gets older and as he moves from cot to bed.

So if you are having a battle of wills at bedtime like we were, why not see if the Gro Clock can help ease them like it has for us.

Another great product from the Gro Company, the Gro Clock is available from the Gro Company online store priced at £29.99, and is also available through other major retailers such as Amazon, John Lewis, Boots and many more.

Cath x

*We were kindly sent the Gro Clock for the purpose of this review. However, all the opinions expressed about the Gro Clock in this review are wholly my own and have not been influenced in any way other than by our experience of using it.

The Gro Egg: Our Review

I bought our Gro Egg almost a year ago when we moved BattleKid into his own room at 8 months old. We had discovered that the temperature displayed on our baby monitor was between 1 and 2 degrees higher than the actual room temperature by comparison to the free room thermometer that came with BattleKid’s Grobags. As you cannot see the free room thermometer display at night I wanted something that was more accurate than our baby monitor and something I could see at night

gro egg
I had seen the Gro Egg in John Lewis and had it stored in my mind, so when it came to thinking about a digital room thermometer, the Gro Company was the place I turned to. I promptly ordered it and installed it in BattleKid’s room on his shelves where we could see it but where the night-light wouldn’t disturb him. And it has proudly sat there ever since.

It’s been great peace of mind as it accurately tells the temperature of the room so I know when to change the tog of his Grobag or his bed-clothes. The colour of the night-light changes according to the room temperature and there is even a smiley or sad face to accompany the temperature display.
– below 16°C is considered cold and the Gro Egg turns blue. The temperature readout is accompanied by a sad face.
– between 16 and 20°C is considered the ideal temperature for your baby for comfortable and safe sleeping. In this case the Gro Egg is yellow in colour with a smiley face on the display.
– between 20 and 24°C is considered warm and the Gro Egg is orange in colour, almost acting as a warning!
– over 24°C is considered hot and the Gro Egg glows red with a sad face.

gro egg

gro eggBy being accurate and having both the digital display and the changing colours, you can easily tell if and when you need to adjust things to ensure your baby has a comfortable and safe nights sleep. The instructions even provide you with a guide on what to adjust if the temperature is outside the recommended guidelines of 16-20°C such as:
– heat or cool your baby’s room.
– adjust the clothes they sleep in.
– adjust the tog of their Grobag, or adjust the number of sheets/blankets you use for them.

The glowing colour of the Gro Egg also acts as a great night-light. It isn’t too bright as to disturb your baby and is just enough for you to be able to see in their room without the need for another light.

The digital temperature reading is very easy to see at night but maybe a little harder during the day if the sun is quite bright outside. However, this isn’t a big deal as you may want to use the Gro Egg mostly at night for bedtime like me. At nap times during the day I’ve simply stood closer to the Gro Egg or in front of it to see the display easier. But that said, I’ve never really needed to heed it much during the daytime for naps.

As mentioned already this room thermometer is quite accurate, much more so than our baby monitor and this is important for peace of mind, especially for mums who might need to move their baby into their own rooms at an early age for whatever reason. The Gro Egg also conforms to both British and European Safety Standards, a big plus in my scientific minds book!

The only thing you’ll need to bear in mind with your Gro Egg is its placement in the room. Direct drafts or heat (such as from radiators) may affect the temperature reading so you won’t want to place it near either of these. Also, the Gro Egg is mains operated so you’ll need to have access to a socket for it. That said its lead is quite long.

I’ve loved our Gro Egg since we first got it and even more so since we added the Mickey Monkey Gro Shell to it as it ties in nicely with the Next Cheeky Monkey theme we have going on in BattleKid’s room.

gro egg

What I love about the Gro Egg :
easy to use
– value for money
– peace of mind
– bright colour and digital display at night
– doubles up as a night-light which shouldn’t disturb your baby
– great characters available to add to it
– helps with dressing baby or choosing the correct tog Grobag or bedding for baby
– accurate temperature display
– conforms to safety standards

What I don’t like about the Gro Egg:
– nothing. The only point to note is placement in the room as mentioned.

The Gro Egg has been an invaluable addition to BattleKid’s nursery and gives us help in dressing him correctly for bed. It also gives us peace of mind that we’re doing things to aid a comfortable and safe nights sleep for him. You won’t go wrong if you decide to add a Gro Egg to your little ones nursery or room.

The Gro Egg and Shell characters are available via the online shop of the Gro Company website or through other major retailers such as Amazon, Argos, John Lewis and Mothercare, to name but a few.

I was not asked to write this post.

Grobag Baby Sleep Bags: Review

Grobag Baby Sleep Bags were launched in 2000 by the Gro Company and have changed the way babies sleep forever. Starting out as a safer concept to sheets and blankets, Grobags are now the market leaders in baby sleep bags, conforming to a new British Standard (BS8510:2009) for baby sleep bags.

While I was aware of baby sleep bags while pregnant I didn’t know much else about them and wasn’t really considering the for BattleKid until a friend gifted me one. Along with other gifts she sent me a Carnival 2.5 tog 0-6 months travel Grobag.

It was to be the first of many for BattleKid.

As per the guidelines, we had to wait until BattleKid reached a weight of 8.8lbs (at 1 month old) before we could use it but we’ve been using Grobag Baby Sleep Bags as part of our nap and bedtime routine ever since!

First Grobag Baby Sleep Bag
1 months old in his first ever Grobag
First ever Grobag Baby Sleep Bag
1 months old in his first ever Grobag

As already mentioned, Grobags are the market leaders in baby sleep bags, having won four Mother and Baby good awards and two Practical Parenting Holds. Over 3 million have been sold to date*, with the BattleHousehold owning quite a few over BattleKid’s short life so far!

Grobags are extremely useful and versatile and negate the need for copious amounts of baby sheets and blankets. We have used them in BattleKid’s Sleepyhead™ sleeping pod and in his cot, only ever alternating two sheets at a time. That said I have spare sheets in case of illness or tears in the current ones. Grobags are also much safer than blankets as BattleKid can never get tangled up in them or have his face covered by them. Their design also stops a baby from wriggling down into them so their face will never accidentally get covered during their sleep. The design of Grobags are such that they still allow your baby to move around during their sleep, important as your little one grows up if they like sleeping on their front as BattleKid does.

Grobags do not have arms to allow a baby to regulate their temperature, important for the prevention of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). That said, if the temperature in your baby’s room drops significantly during the night, the Gro company do sleepsuits with padded arms designed especially for use with Grobags.

Grobags come in a range of TOG ratings depending on the temperature conditions in which your baby sleeps these range from between 0.5 tog and 3.5 tog. These ratings are much lower than a bed duvet tog rating as Grobags are designed to trap a pocket of warm air around your baby and provides insulation from both above and below. In combination these are more than sufficient to help your baby sleep comfortably.

5 months old in Grobag Baby Sleep Bags
5 months old

20150628_164109

20150628_164105

Each Grobag Baby Sleep Bag comes with a handy free room thermometer to help you decide which tog to use when and what clothes to dress your baby in for the tog rating and temperature conditions of their room.

In the UK, the most versatile tog is 2.5. Your baby’s clothes can easily be adjusted to suit the room temperature without needing to change the Grobag itself. Although we have had a range of togs, the 2.5 tog is the one we use 90% of the time, for both naps and bedtime. That said, we have had Grobags in all tog ratings and found the 0.5 and 1.0 tog great for warmer climates when we’ve been to the Canaries, and the 3.5 tog came in very useful last winter on very cold nights, especially when it snowed. If I was to recommend only one for UK and Ireland readers it would be a Grobag with a tog rating of 2.5.

7 months old in Grobag Baby Sleep Bags
7 months old

Grobags come in a range of 3 sizes; 0-6 months, 6-18 months and 18-36 months. UPDATE: Grobag Baby Sleep Bags are now available in sizes 3-6 and 6-10 years! I found the 0-6 months quite a generous size, with BattleKid in these until nearly 8 months old. At almost 18 months old he is still in his 6-18 months bags with a little room left at the toes. I have bought some 18-36 months Grobag Baby Sleep Bags in preparation for our move up and they look huge!

Grobags also come in two types; normal and travel versions. The normal version has a zip around the side of the body from the feet to under the arm and has two armholes, secured over the shoulder with poppers which conform to British Safety Standards.

The travel version is designed to be used with the 5-point harness of car seats and prams/buggies. This type has proper armholes and a front zipper which also conforms to the BSS. We’ve used this type in the car seat on occasion. Both versions fit securely around your child at the arms and neck, and the 0-6 months has an additional popper under the arm for babies at 8.8lbs for extra safety. So you see, there is no way for your baby to wriggle down into Grobags.

Grobags come in a range of designs for girls, boys and several which are unisex. There is lots of choice so I’m sure you’ll find one you like. I would recommend you buy two as that way you will have a spare when the other is in the wash.

9 months old in Grobag Baby Sleep Bags
9 months old

I’ve always found Grobags to be excellent quality. They wash very well, and if you wash them with appropriately matched colours, they keep their colours and whites quite well. They dry well either out on the line or on a clothes horse (as I do). You can also tumble dry them on a low heat setting too, which I have done from time to time. You can even iron them, although I’ve never done this!

Since we got our first Grobag I’ve been a big fan with BattleKid owning (but not limited to):

  • Alphabet 0.5 tog
  • Day & Night Hippo Ho Pack 1.0/2.5 tog
  • Hippo Friends 2.5 tog
  • Carnival Travel 2.5 tog
  • Jolly Jungle Pals 2.5 tog
  • Fly a Kite 3.5 tog
  • Mr. Moose 3.5 tog

We also have the following in the next size up ready to go:

  • Jungle Friends 1.0 tog
  • Carnival Travel 2.5 tog
  • Rascal Racoon 2.5 tog
  • Monkey Magic 2.5 tog
  • Fly a Kite 3.5 tog

Grobags vary in price depending on size, tog rating, design and where you buy them from. The average price of a 2.5 tog, current season Grobag in the 6-18 months range, through the Gro Company website is £28.99, depending on design as mentioned. I have bought Grobags from the Gro Company website, from their Amazon shop and also from TK Maxx, who occasionally sell previous seasons Grobags half-price.

I recently got two 2.5 togs and one 1.0 tog in 18-36 months size from TK Maxx. The RRP was £101, and I got all three for £50. You can also keep an eye on the Gro website as they often sell Grobags at reduced prices. So if the initial price frightens you, rest assured you can buy genuine Grobags for less if you shop around and check for sales. Either way I think they are great value-for-money. If you only ever buy two in the size you need, that would work out at £1.12 per week for a 6-18 months size if you used them for one year. That is great for peace of mind from a safety point of view if nothing else. Plus, you could sell them on or gift them after your baby has outgrown them.

1 years old and still going strong in Grobag Baby Sleep Bags!
1 years old and still going strong in Grobags!

What I love about Grobag Baby Sleep Bags

  • Value for money
  • Excellent quality
  • Wash and Dry really well
  • Huge range of designs to choose from
  • Variety of tog ratings
  • Normal and travel versions
  • Range of sizes
  • Safe to use from 8.8lbs
  • No need for loads of sheets and blankets
  • Award winning Baby Sleep Bags
  • Conform to British Safety Standards (extra plus in my books)
  • Free room thermometer
  • Easily incorporated into your baby’s nap and bedtime routine.

What I don’t like about Grobag Baby Sleep Bags

  • That they aren’t available in adult sizes! (Not really). There’s nothing we don’t like about them as a family.

As you can tell I am a big fan of Grobags ever since that first one. They’ve become a firm favourite and a big part of our nap and bedtime routines. They have travelled with us wherever we go to keep those routines going including Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Ireland. I highly recommend Grobags as the only bed-clothes you need for your baby. You’ll never look back, I promise!

Cath x

* Gro Company website at the time of writing.

**I was not asked to write this post.