Tuesday, 12 December 2017

CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR KIDS 2017


Now I have children of my own, I find present buying a lot easier. I know what my kids like to play with and what they really really want for Christmas.... a yellow power ranger apparently!

If you need some ideas for kids gifts, look no further....


Andy & The Odd Socks Album - Who Invited This Lot?
Andy Day (him off CBeebies!) has his own band, The Odd Socks and they have created this brilliant album for kids of all ages. Featuring songs about dinosaurs, robots and ninja pigs amongst other things, this would make a fantastic stocking filler. It has literally been on repeat in our car since we got it!

Exploding Kittens Game - £29.99
This game may sound a bit extreme but it is suitable for the whole family and promises lots of fun!

Personalised Thomas the Tank Engine Book - Not on the High Street £29.95
If you are looking for something a little bit special and unique, this personalised Thomas book certainly fits the bill. A beautiful reproduction of the original Thomas the Tank Engine story, your child's name will feature on header of each page plus the front cover. You can also include a personal message at the start of the book.

The Creakers - Tom Fletcher
This magical story tells the tale of those creatures who lurk under your bed, hiding in the shadows. We really enjoyed Tom's debut novel, The Christmasaurus and I'm sure this second book is going to be equally as popular.

Rubik's Junior Kitten Puzzle - £9.99
Aimed at children from 3-9, this cute little kitten can be twisted to create a crazy mixed up animal and then easily solved. I could never solve the original Rubik's cube so I reckon I'd have more luck with this!

Lego Disney Princess Ariel & the Magic Spell - £25.00
Part of the Princess range, this set features Ursula's Grotto where Ariel can swim up and be transformed to reveal her human legs. Also featured is Ariel's cave plus the all important buildable crystal glove that contains her voice!

PJ Masks Headquarters - £44.99
One of the biggest sellers this Christmas, this is a must for any PJ Mask fans. Elliot LOVES PJ Masks and this was the top of his Christmas list!

Fisher Price Teach N Tag Movi - £39.99
With 360 degree mobility, Movi encourages children to get their minds and bodies moving while teaching them to follow directions and think about the world around them. We reviewed this great little toy a few months back and it has continued to be popular in our house!

How are you doing with your Christmas shopping?!



Thursday, 7 December 2017

THOMAS & FRIENDS MINIS MOTORISED RACEWAY - REVIEW

Elliot has been a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine for as long as I can remember. Over the years we have amassed countless different tracks and engines and the collection got so large that we had to move it into the garage! Elliot has often looked at the Thomas MINIS collection in the toy shop and was very excited when we were sent the Thomas & Friends MINIS Motorised Raceway to test out.


As soon as the parcel arrived Elliot wanted to play with it straight away so we had to drop everything and get the track set up. Fortunately this was quite easy and the instruction booklet was simple to follow, and luckily we had spare batteries in the garage - phew! With a few clicks, the track was good to go and Elliot couldn't wait to get racing.

The track comes with two engines, Thomas and James but it is also compatible with the rest of the MINIS collection which is handy.


The Motorised Raceway is lots of fun. The mini engines are taken up the steep vertical slope by the lift and as soon as they reach the top, they are off! There are three different routes to follow and these can be easily changed by moving the lever at the top.


The first path takes the engines down the waterfall track with a thrilling 360 degree loop before reaching the tunnel and beginning the steep journey up again.

The next route whizzes down the track which appears to be broken but the engines have no trouble jumping the gap!

The third path looks like it's heading nowhere as the MINIS roll off the edge and down a gravity defying track.

Cranky the Crane swings his arm and uses his hook to help any stranded engines!

This is a great set and has already had hours of play since it arrived. It is fast paced and thrilling and I like the fact that there are three different options. This keeps play exciting and inspires imaginations. It's great that all the MINIS collection is compatible - Elliot has already asked me for some more engines so he can race them all at once on the track!

SO FAST!

The Thomas & Friends MINIS Motorised Raceway (RRP £44.99) would make an excellent present for children 3+ and can be found at Smyths Toys


*Disclaimer: We received this product in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own

Monday, 27 November 2017

Joie Mimzy Snacker Highchair - Review

Back in the Summer, Erin turned 6 months old and her weaning journey began. We started off with a bumbo type seat with a tray and this worked fine for the first week or so but she very quickly grew too big and it was getting a bit cumbersome putting the seat on the table!

It was obvious that we needed a highchair so I began to look around to see what was on the market. There are SO many to choose from so it can be a bit overwhelming at first - how do you choose?! I liked the simplicity of the white Ikea ones but I wanted a highchair that I could fold up easily and keep out of the way when it wasn't in use. I always wanted it to be easy to clean! 

With those points in mind, I decided that the Joie Mimzy Snacker highchair would be perfect for our needs. I'm already familiar with the Joie brand as Elliot has one of their carseats and so I knew we would be getting a good quality item.



Key Features and What we liked!

  • 3 position seat recline. The highchair can be used from 6 months but of course not all babies are able to sit up unaided at that age. This means the reclining seat is perfect for those early weaning days when they need a bit of a support. We've had to use it for that purpose but it is very handy when your child falls asleep in their lunch! You can just pop the seat back and let them have a snooze. 
  • Very easy to fold. Some highchairs require a degree to fold down but this one is super easy and can even be done one handed. The handle is located in the middle of the seat and you just give it a little tug and the chair folds down. It can also be opened one handed which is a godsend if you are carrying a hungry, grumpy baby. Simply bring the back of the chair up and it clicks into place. 
  • Extremely compact in folded position. This is brilliant if you don't have a lot of room spare in your dining room and kitchen, and lets face it, not many of us do after having children!! The tray can be attached to the back of the chair and then the folded up using the handle in the middle. The highchair will then stand by itself which saves balancing it against the wall and risking it toppling over.
  • Large tray. The tray is nice and big and can be adjusted into three positions as your child grows bigger. It has a deep cup holder although Erin's drink tends to get launched over the side! The tray is easy to clean and easy to click into place. 
snack time = happy Erin!!

  • Large storage basket. This is really useful for storing your bibs and wipes but the only downside is, food does tend to end up in it too! 
  • Safe and secure. The highchair has a 5 point harness which is easy to adjust and makes it nice and safe for the child. The tray has a safety bit which goes between their legs which means they can't slip down through even if they aren't strapped in. 
  • Cute Designs. Our Mimzy Snacker has the alphabet pattern which features various different animals. I love the design and the pastel colours are eyecatching without being too bright. 
  • Price. The Mimzy Snacker retails at £49.95 and I think this is great value for the features that it offers. I really don't think there's any need to be spending hundreds on pounds on a highchair when this one does the job so well! 

What didn't we like?

As much as I love this highchair there are couple of little points that I'm not too keen on. Although the seat pad is easy to wipe clean, there are a few areas where crumbs seem to congregate! The handle to fold the chair is under a flap of material and I find this area is a bit tricky to clean as the food gets stuck right in the corners. The best thing I've found is to use the hoover and suck out any bigger bits and then use a wipe to get in the corners.

Also related to this issue are the straps. I have no idea why manufacturers make the straps white - yes they look nice when new but after about three days, they're stained with food despite multiple wipe downs!

Despite these little niggles, I do love this highchair and think it's brilliant value for money. We use it at least 4 times a day and I love that it folds down flat and is lightweight. It makes it nice and simple to move around the house as needed (breakfast in the kitchen, lunch in lounge etc!).


How did you decide what highchair to get? 

Thursday, 9 November 2017

LOGO DESIGN FOR BEGINNERS! - LOGOJOY REVIEW

I've had my blog for just over 3 years now and it has always been a hobby. I love writing about what we get up to as a family and it will be lovely to look back on when the kids are older. When I set it up, I used a free theme from blogger as my back ground and my logo was something I created in PicMonkey using some of my favourite photos and a particular font I liked. 

As with most things, my blog has evolved over time and I'm now looking at updating my theme and logo to match our life right now. When the blog was set up, we only had Elliot but obviously now we have Erin too so I'd like to incorporate her as well as it looking more streamlined. 

The first thing I would like to update is my logo as this is obviously the first thing people see when they land on my page. Not having a clue about graphic design, I was recommended to try out Logojoy. Another blogger claimed they could create a logo in under 10 minutes so I was keen to see what they could do for a not-very-creative person like me! 

The first step is to enter your blog name - easy peasy! The next page brings up a grid of logos which were all created by Logojoy and you are asked to click on 5 that you like the look of. This gives the generator an idea of what you like. Next is colour combinations - you can skip this step but I chose blues and purples for mine. 





The next step is to pick up to five symbols for your logo. You can search for specific ones like family or parenting and then this will give you more options at the top such as children, kids, community etc. 



The next page will generate some logos for you featuring your business name and symbols if you decided to use any. Once you click on your favourite, it will give you the option of tweaking with the colours, font and layout. 



Once you have decided on your logo and purchased it, you have access to all the files you need such as PNG and JPG. 

I have to say, I was mega impressed with how simple it was to create a logo. As you can see from the picture above, my logo is alot different to my current blog header pic and I really like how clean and simple it looks.  I'm going to spend a bit of time tweaking it until I'm 100% happy but the logo above was created in under ten minutes so it is possible to knock something up in that little time! 

My logo was created using the Premium package ($65) but see here for more options. 










Friday, 27 October 2017

Andy & The Odd Socks Launch Show - London October 2017


If you have children of a certain age you'll no doubt be familiar with Andy Day from CBeebies. You've probably seen him having dinosaur adventures, or presenting from the CBeebies House. But did you know he can sing?!

Andy and his band, the Odd Socks are due to release their debut album next month and this week they played a series of gigs in London and Nottingham to kick off their album launch. The tickets were like gold dust but we managed to snap some up the minute they went on sale...phew!

The album "Who Invited This Lot?" is actually a rerelease, we picked up a copy back in 2015 and it has been in our car on repeat ever since. However, Andy has since been joined by his amazingly talented Odd Socks band and the track listing has had a bit of a tweak. There's Moxy on drums, Rio on guitar, Blu on bass and the especially bonkers Random Keith on keys. This time round they mean business!

Showtime

We left Dorset nice and early, picking up my Mum along the way and after a couple of wee breaks, several snacks, a magazine bribery and of course, some singing to the Odd Socks we arrived in Richmond and couldn't wait for the show. Elliot had been asking me "Is it time to see Andy yet?" from around 630am so you could say he was getting excited!

We actually spotted Andy whilst we were having our lunch and Elliot yelled "HELLO ANDY!!!!!!" across the car park...such a quiet child ;)

Soon it was time to take our seats, and the advantage of arriving nice and early meant we had the best seats in the house. Slap bang in the middle of the front row, we almost felt like we were part of the show!

#1 Fan!
Before the show started, the band came out and were interacting with the crowd - Random Keith was checking for odd socks and fortunately Elliot wasn't wearing a matching pair! The band are all very talented but they are also really great with the children, taking time to chat and answer questions.

Suddenly, the lights dimmed and it was time.....Andy bounced onto stage with his infectious grin and the band launched into Aliens, one of the catchiest songs you will ever hear! (I guarantee once you have heard it you will be singing "Look out! Look out! There's aliens about!" forever more!)


Running through songs such as Unique, Battle Robot Rapper, Groovy Hoover, Ninja Pig and Elliot's fave, the Dinosaur Football Legend Mega Match , every song was a hit with the audience. Just like at Camp Bestival, the Dinosaur song came with big footballs that were bouncing around the crowd but this time round, there was even a dinosaur! I'm not sure it was intentional but Random Keith who was in the costume, fell over and popped his head up from the dinosaur's middle...it looked a bit like the dino was giving birth to Keith, very funny!



We were even treated to a rendition of Ghostbusters, one of the new songs to be on the album and just in time for Halloween. The band came out in the their Ghostbuster costumes and the kids loved it, I certainly loved having a singalong!


Before we knew it, the show was over but not before a quick encore of Aliens..complete with little green men!


After the show, we queued up to meet Andy and the band and Elliot said he wanted to get a selfie. I wasn't sure how successful that was going to be so I loitered behind with my camera!!

Elliot was pleased when Andy said "This is Elliot, he's been to all our shows!" and it made his day when the band said they'd seen him on YouTube. They were all so sweet to him and he has been talking about ever since! Elliot did indeed attempt a selfie but his arms weren't quite long enough so Random Keith had to step in and help and we got a brilliant photo. Erin even got in it too although my mum handed her to Andy and he wondered whose baby she was!!

Sorry Blu, Erin has blocked your face! 


Andy and The Odd Socks say they are the greatest children's band ever (according to their mums!) and we would definitely agree. We had a brilliant time at the show and can't wait for the next one!


You can pre-order the album here or find out more at http://andyandtheoddsocks.co.uk/

Sunday, 22 October 2017

FISHER PRICE THINK & LEARN TEACH 'N TAG MOVI - REVIEW


My husband has always been into gadgets and this has passed onto Elliot - he's fascinated by robots and how things work. Sometimes we get products to review that are completely up our street, and the Fisher Price Think & Learn Teach 'N Tag Movi was one of them!

Aimed at children between 3-6 years old, Movi gets kids moving and learning along with him. On first impressions, Movi looks brilliant! He has big chunky wheels on each side, a large "face" screen (featuring over 60 different faces!) and easy to press buttons on his head and tummy.

It was nice and simple to set him up - we literally just took him out of the box, clipped in the back wheel and he was good to go. Batteries are included too so he's ready to start talking straight away!

The big chunky wheels mean that Movi can be used on carpets and smooth floors and he has 360 degree mobility.


Movi features 3 play modes:

  • Alpha Fun Actions
  • Think & Move Shapes
  • Learn & Play Games
Alpha Fun Actions features the fantastic animal actions games where children can learn the alphabet whilst learning more about their favourite animals. Movi will say phrases such as " B, Bear! Paws up in the air! Now growl like a bear!". This was probably Elliot's favourite game - he especially liked slithering along the floor like a wiggling worm! 

Excuse the blurred shot...this worm was fast!
In Think & Move Shapes, Movi will ask questions about different shapes and encourage the child to move around with him making the shape. 

Learn & Play features the Red Light Green Light game - just keep moving til you see the red light! 

All together there are 6 different games to play and the brilliant thing is, each game will encourage your child to get up and get moving whilst using their brains. Movi will help them learn important skills such as following directions and critical thinking. 


I'm all for kids getting active and I think Movi is a fab way of incorporating exercise into fun and learning. It was impossible for Elliot to stay still once Movi was switched on and he absolutely loved doing all the games and actions! 

At almost, 5, Elliot is nearer the top end of the age range and while he enjoyed playing with Movi,  I think the games are suited for younger children. He loved the animal games but kept asking if Movi could move any quicker! Erin (9 months) is well under the age bracket but she's crawling now and has enjoyed shuffling along behind Movi. I think as she gets older, she will be the one benefiting the most from the educational side of the robot. 

Think & Learn Teach 'N Tag Movi has an RRP of £44.99 (however is on offer at Smyths Toy Store for £39.99 at the moment!)


*Disclaimer - We were sent this item in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own


Monday, 16 October 2017

SPOOKY SEAS AT WEYMOUTH SEALIFE ADVENTURE PARK

If you're heading down to Weymouth Sealife Adventure Park this half term, you might find some spooky surprises! From Saturday 21st October - Sunday 29th October, the Spooky Seas event is on - you will have the opportunity to come face to face with creepy creatures including Spider Crabs, Batfish, Dead Man's Fingers and Scorpion Fish.

The Sealife Park will also welcome back Zelda the Enchantress who resides in her creepy enchanted cabin, tucked away in the wetlands. Little visitors will get the chance to make some spooky slime with her plus take part in a pumpkin hunt, spooky fact finding, creepy crafts and a yucky dip. And of course, costumes are welcome!

We visited the Sealife Park again over the weekend and got a sneaky preview of Zelda in her cabin before she's officially open from the 21st. The cabin looks great, very authentic with it's pumpkins and cobweb covered trees. You'd definitely know a witch lives there! Inside the walls are covered in cobwebs and the shelves are filled with potions, spiders and other witchy bits and bobs. Her cauldron sits in the corner bubbling away.


Once inside, she helped Elliot make some spooky sticky slime - this was the perfect activity for him, he loves slime! I personally hate the stuff so I'm glad he was getting her tablecloth messy and not mine ;) There was a quick photo opportunity and then it was time to say farewell to Zelda.


Elliot was able to take the slime with him in a pot but just a little warning...it's so sticky and the lids don't fit on the pots very well so make sure it doesn't come loose in your bag. He also left with totally covered sticky hands so we had to head straight to the toilets to clean up!

We decided to head straight over to Caribbean Cove after our Zelda encounter. This play area is one of the best I've seen and Elliot was so excited to be let loose on the equipment! Handily there is a Costa and picnic benches so I was able to sit and relax with a hot chocolate while he played.

We also bumped into some friends who joined us and the kids had a whale of a time playing in the play area. Elliot even managed to master the fireman's pole!

spot the slime!
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the park and I even had to extend our car park ticket as we were having so much fun! My highlight was the ocean tunnel which can be found in the Turtle Sanctuary Zone. It was amazing seeing all the fish and turtles swimming above our heads. Erin was transfixed!


Elliot really enjoyed the rock pools and was able to stroke a starfish. The park was nice and quiet so he was able to take his time and he spent quite a while with his arm dunked in the pools!


Thank you Sealife Adventure Park Weymouth, we had a brilliant day out! 



For more information and ticket prices, visit the website: https://www.visitsealife.com/weymouth/


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