I’ve mentioned (a couple of times) that, this year, the boys and I are proud ambassadors for the Great Little Trading Company.
They’re a company that I love and we’re very lucky to be on their testing team for 2016, which basically means we get to try out and road test all sorts of amazing things.
So far we’ve tested the fabulous star book ledges ; now a firm favourite with the boys as it means they have somewhere to store their sippy cups and books at bedtime.
And even more of a favourite with their daddy and me, as it means the floor by the side of the cots is free from books which — I can tell you from bitter experience — are very slippy and treacherous to walk on (particularly in socks and at night, when checking on your children).
I was also lucky enough to be sent a fantastic peg-board. Although ‘peg-board’ doesn’t really do it justice.
This nifty bit of kit is a pen-holder, chalkboard, keeper of notes and life in general.
We were asked to style it — in any way we saw fit — so I turned mine into a little dressing table assistant.
The perfect place for all my jewellery and things that normally clutter up the top of my chest of drawers, this little beauty is so versatile you could use it for anything at all!
But the thing I was most excited to road-test was not something to style or make the house look pretty.
It was something that we’d been searching for — for a while — and when I saw that GLTC sold a version, I was desperate to test it out.
The ‘thing’ in question is a Bed in a Bag.
Since the boys were born, we’ve never had a proper travel cot. I hate how big and clumsy traditional travel cots are and decided to look for an alternative. So after a lot of research, we bought a couple of Koodi pop up travel tent cots.
Literally one (or in our case two) of the BEST things we’ve bought for our babies. They have lasted really well and — as we stay away from home fairly regularly with the boys — they’ve had a lot of use.
They are recommended for children of up to approximately 18 months of age but the twins have slept in them until they were almost 3. By which time, there didn’t seem much point in buying a traditional travel cot (even though my Twinkles still don’t have the sides off their actual cots yet).
GLTC’s Bed In A Bag seemed like the perfect successor.
What is the Bed in a Bag?
It’s a cushioned mattress — super soft and comfy — that is essentially formed from five pillows. It doesn’t need to be inflated and rolls up into it’s own matching bag, for storage.
I didn’t want to write about the Bed in a Bag until we’d properly put it through it’s paces.
In true ‘testing team’ style, I wanted to really, really make sure I could give an honest and full reveiw of our experience using this product.
Initially I was nervous that the boys wouldn’t like sleeping in a bed with no sides (especially for the first time) but, actually, it’s been a fantastic introduction to this new experience for them.
The Bed in a Bags are pretty big. This could be seen as a negative, depending on the size of car you drive. On the journeys when we have a car full of luggage — and the double buggy — we put them in the foot-wells. Not ideal but it works.
We can cope with them at the size they are.
Plus they don’t need inflating and — once we get to our destination — we can literally roll them out and use them. No worrying that we’ve left the footpump at home or — if we’re staying somewhere that doesn’t have electricity — we can’t plug it into the mains to inflate the kids’ beds.
I love the fact that they stash away in their own bag.
That said, my boy and I both think that the bags could be smaller. We can roll the mattress up fairly thin but as soon as we put it into the bag, the whole thing expands to fit the space. The Bed in a Bag, as a whole, could definitely be rolled up — and contained — a little smaller than the current bag design allows — maybe velcro tabs to keep the rolled mattress in place.
The other thing that could be improved is the fastening on the bag.
The cord to fasten the bag can be pulled tight and knotted but there isn’t a toggle — or fastening — to secure it. It could really do with a little cord lock (I’ve actually spotted some of these online and plan to upgrade ours myself).
Trying to hold the cord tight — and tie a knot — is tricky.
Plus, through constantly knotting and unknotting the cord to open and close the bag, the cord has begun to fray on one of the bags. I think a little cord toggle will make life much easier.
Once unrolled the beds are fairly large. They’re also lovely and squashy — and pretty deep — which means they’re comfy to lie on (even for me).
We can roll them out them anywhere that there is space, which means they’re perfect for allowing us to stay in places that don’t have dedicated beds for the boys.
When the twins were babies, we took their pop-up-tents everywhere and sleeping arrangements were never a problem, when we were away from home.
If there wasn’t a spare room to put them in, we all stayed together in one room and — as long as there’s enough available floor space — the Bed in a Bags allow us to do the same thing now.
Both sets of grandparents don’t currently have twin beds for Bertie and Cosmo, so the new travel-beds means that we’re able to continue to stay overnight, with no worries about where we’re all going to sleep.
Another thing that I love is that they’re still useful when we’re not travelling!
They can be stashed away in a cupboard and when we have friends to stay, we don’t have to worry about lack of beds for small (or even large) people; the Bed in a Bags can be unrolled to create makeshift sleeping accommodation.
They are the perfect solution if you have lots of guests staying but not enough beds.
If you buy them at the full price of £110, I guess you could say that the GLTC Bed in a Bag is expensive but personally I think that they’re worth every penny.
I’ve seen cheaper alternatives but they’re not as deep or comfy to lie on.
And I’ve seen equivalent versions that are geared up to little children; they’re much, much shorter though (you wouldn’t be able to comfortably lie a tween — or teen — along the length).
And, to be honest, what self-respecting child wants a Peppa Pig or Thomas The Tank Engine themed bed, past the age of about 4?
These beds will continue to be useful long after the twins leave nursery and go to school.
And as the years go by — when my boys have sleepovers with their friends (both away and at home) — the Bed in a Bags will be used time and time again.
They’ll be taken to festivals, on camping trips and weekends away.
And if you consider how many times they’ll be used, over their lifetime, the cost — per use — is just pennies. What initially seems like an expensive purchase, suddenly feels like a very worthwhile investment.
So — to round up my review — do I think these are worth the money?
Would I recommend them?
They have been a godsend already.
As the boys aren’t in proper beds yet, the mere thought of buying traditional travel-cots to replace their pop-up tents — at this late stage — felt like such a false economy. OK — so they could probably sleep in a standard bed, with a bed-guard, but what happens when the place you’re staying doesn’t have a spare bed (or two)?
The Bed in a Bags have meant that our family of four can stay away from home, in all sorts of places, without the need for separate beds for the children.
They are, quite simply, brilliant.
I am proud to be a GLTC testing team member this year but all thoughts, words and images, as ever, are entirely my own.