Category Archives: Reviews

Blogmas Day 6: Deck The Halls

As you will have seen on my Instagram our beautiful Nordmann Fir Christmas Tree arrived last Thursday from Pines and Needles and kicked off Christmas in our house. Traditionally for us the cheeky Elf On a Shelf’s Eddie and Ernie arrive on the 1st of December and bring the boys advent calendars and at the same time the Christmas fairies bring the rest of the decorations for the boys to wake up to.

We always have a artificial tree in the lounge, we’ve had this 7ft one for a few years now and it is so easy and quick to put up. I just need to get a new star as our usual one broke. On this tree as well as normal baubles are the ones the boys have chosen over the years from the Disney store as well as my collection of Harrods Bears. I have every bear from the year Greg and I met in 2006. I also had a decoration made of their joint school photo on Snapfish.

Under the tree we have our new light up presents which we brought a couple of weeks ago at the Ideal Home Show at Christmas. We also brought the light up snowman which is by the fireplace as well.

Our plush Father Christmas we brought in 2007 for our first Christmas at our last house. We got him from Ayletts nursery. They also have a lovely Christmas display each year and we used to visit there when I was a child with my parents and grandparents and always got to choose a new decoration for the tree.

Last Christmas I brought the NOEL nice and the Father Christmas Christmas countdown. The little silver candle holders and the berry candles were from a Christmas market in Prague that Greg brought me a few years ago.

Last Christmas I also brought the garland over the fireplace from John Lewis, four pine cone stocking holders from Amazon and our personalised stockings from Mr Mole Blankets. I absolutely love our fireplace!

In the hallway along with our Pines and Needles tree is my Santa in his rocking chair that I got from Van Hage last year and our giant snowman that lights up and sings from Costco. (Oscar and Archie chose this!!)

I always decorate the boys rooms and they wake up on the 1st with their Christmas sheets on, snow globes on the side and their stockings ready for Christmas Eve. I also have a selection of Christmas books in Archie’s room that we can read at bedtime.

Downstairs in the dining room where we will eat Christmas lunch I have a few decorations on the sideboard from Tilly B Handmade and am having a centrepiece made by Love Flowers like I did last year. At the moment my ball of pine cones is in the middle of the table that I brought last week. The wooden stars I brought back from Canada a few years ago.

I always love looking for new decorations or bits to add to the tree. If you have any websites you use let me know. And last but not least we have the Elves door that stays there until they go home with Father Christmas on Christmas Eve.

Outside the front door I have little light up trees that we brought from Waitrose.

Blogmas Day 2: Room On The Broom Live Review

On Friday we took the train into London with our friends as we had been invited to the Lyric Theatre to watch Room On The Broom Live. Archie loves the book and we reread it again on Thursday evening in bed so it was fresh. We arrived at the Theatre and got our tickets and in the foyer they have snacks and ‘Room On The Broom’ merchandise for sale. We got each of the boys a Witch soft toy which was only £8. We then made our way to our seats.

We had great seats, not to far from the stage and used the theatre booster seats provided so the boys had the perfect view. The show started at 11am and runs for one hour, which is perfect for little ones.

We were really impressed with the show and how only four people managed to pull off such a great production. The show itself is recommended for children aged 3 and above and started on the 23 November 2018 and is running until the 13 of January 2019. Then the show will be at the Hertford Theatre on the 22nd and 23rd of March 2019.

From start to finish I loved the added humour for the parents in it which made us giggle. The story of Room On The Broom is a lovely book written by Julia Donaldson and is about A Witch and her cat flies through the wind and loses her hat and comes across a dog who wants to know “if there is any room on the broom for me?” The Witch, the cat and the dog fly on but the Witch loses her hair bow in the wind and a birds finds it. Bird then wants to then know “if there is any room on the broom for me?”. The Witch flies on with her cat, the dog and the bird but let go of her wand. A frog then finds it and wants to know “if there is any room on the broom for me?”. The Witch flies on with her cat, the dog, the bird and the frog but the broom is overloaded and snaps in two. The Witches half broomstick flew on with the others falling out of the sky and the Witch gets chased by a Dragon who wants Witch and Chips for tea. But just as the Dragon was about to eat, out of a ditch rose a horrible beast. The beast was really the cat, dog, frog and the bird who covered themselves in mud to save their Witch from the Dragon. They then all do a spell together to get back home. “Iggety, ziggety, zaggety, ZOOM!” Out of the cauldron rose the most magnificent broomstick and they all flew home together.

After the show we were kindly invited to a Room On The Broom tea party where we had a lovely lunch and then got to meet the talented cast members of the show.

Room On The Broom is such a fun and captivating story for little boys and girls and the stage show compliments it perfectly. We really had a wonderful time. You can book tickets online with tickets costing only £15 with both morning and matinee performances available.

We were gifted the tickets to watch Room On The Broom. 

Zoggs DC Super Heroes Range & Our Trip To Coral Reef

Last week we went on an exciting trip after school to Coral Reef Waterworld in Bracknell. We were kindly invited by Zoggs to celebrate the launch of their new DC Super Heroes range. The range comprises of swimwear for the whole family, a surf rider, goggles, water wings, swim toys, armbands, kickboards and swim hats.

When we arrived at Coral Reef the boys were so excited and couldn’t wait to get into the pool. It is only half an hours drive from us, I couldn’t believe we hadn’t visited before. We got changed into our new swimwear from Zoggs in the changing village which was huge and very clean and then headed into the pool. I fell in love with my swimming costume which not only looks great but is from the Ecolast range. The swimming costume is made from eco-friendly chlorine resistant fabric that is made from plastic waste material recycled from the ocean, I absolutely love this range from Zoggs!

Within Coral Reef Waterworld there are four interactive water slides, an erupting volcano, a pirate ship, toddler area, rapids, jacuzzi and an adults only spa so there’s something for everyone. Archie loved the pirate ship and spent most of the time here going up and down the slide. He also really enjoyed the toddler area with the little slides and activities.

We all went on the water slides which were fantastic! At the top you can pick which theme you like and the slide then lights up the colours of the theme you have picked. Archie was tall enough to go on a couple of the slides too which was great. On one of the slides you have to hit the lights on the way down and your time is recorded on the board at the bottom of the slides. Oscar loved this!

The erupting volcano is great fun too. An alarm sounds and then the volcano erupts spraying water out of it at some pace I might add, it pushed me right across the pool much to the boys amusement. Oscar rode the Batman surf rider around the rapids which he loved and he flew around them.

The new Zoggs DC Heroes Range is being stocked on the Zoggs website and in Everyone Active Leisure Centres. Luckily Archie swims twice a week at an Everyone Active leisure centre nearby, so I will be picking up some of the swim toys there for fun stocking fillers for the boys. Oscar loves the splash balls and when we are on holiday we always take one with us, who knew such a small ball could provide so many hours of fun! The justice league Superhero Soakers would make great gifts too!

Both the boys love swimming and between them spend three hours a week swimming. Archie loves his new Superman shorts and couldn’t wait to show all his friends at his lessons.

Thank you so much to Zoggs and Coral Reef for a wonderful evening and to Warner Brothers for the boys amazing goodie bag!

 

We were gifted all of the Zoggs products and entry into Coral Reef.

Blogmas Day 1: Our Pines & Needles Christmas Tree

On Thursday this years Christmas Tree was delivered and dressed from Pines and Needles. I have been super excited about it as we had a tree from them last year and it was a complete show stopper, so beautiful. We have it in our hallway and even when the postman delivers a parcel he comments on how amazing it looks.

Pines and Needles offer the most amazing service where you can reserve and collect your tree from one of their stores or order online and have it delivered straight to your door. When you shop online you can pick the size of your tree and then add lights, decorations and a stand if you need too.

They also offer a service where two of their delivery men or women, dressed in their kilts will decorate the tree to perfection for you. As we had this last year I already have the stand, lights and decorations so you can just purchase the decorating service along with your tree.

I always pick a gold theme and for our 7ft Nordmann Fir I already have the Deluxe Gold decoration set from last year which is £345.95. I also have two sets of ice white lights and the tree stand, so I got everything out and ready for when they arrived.  The 7ft tree costs £75.95 and last year it lasted from the last week in November until the end of December and didn’t drop at all. Our house smells amazing too, you just can’t beat the smell of a real Christmas Tree!

If you live in London there are a range of convenient services to choose from to make the installation of your Christmas Tree as easy as possible, ranging from a drop off to door right through to the full Decoration Service.

  • Budget Deliver Tree to Door: Drop off to door from £16.95
  • Deliver Tree to Room : Drop off to room of choice from £20.95
  • Premium Delivery: As above, and installation into stand from £29.95
  • Premium Delivery & Lights Installation: As above, and lighting of tree from £65.95
  • Decoration Service: As above, and Decorating tree with decorations Price dependent on tree size.

Our driver updated us throughout the day to let us know when they would be arriving. They arrived and immediately got to work. Our tree was up and dressed in just over an hour and they cleaned up afterwards as well. I did buy a dust sheet this year to make it easier and quicker to clean up afterwards.

This years tree is absolutely huge and a lot bushier than last years and I absolutely love it!

I am so happy with our tree and the boys were so excited to come home from school and see it as soon as I opened the front door. Christmas has well and truly begun in our household!

This post is in collaboration with Pines and Needles. We were gifted our tree but all views are honest and my own.

Christmas TV Wrapped Up With 50% Off A Year’s TVPlayer Subscription

Since Cyber Monday and for a limited time only you can get a year’s subscription to the amazing TVPlayer from as little as £41.90 saving nearly £42 as it is usually £83.88! I myself have it already through my Amazon Fire Stick Premium subscription which allows me to stream 19 channels that are not available on Freeview, plus 61 other channels to enjoy through Fire TV. On the Premium + subscription you can have access to 31 channels not available on Freeview plus the 61 extra channels.

Premium+ Channels

Over the Christmas period we love to sit in the lounge, cosy by the fire and watch TV together. From Keeping up with the Kardashian’s on E! to laugh out loud comedy on Comedy Central, the TV Player has something for everyone in the whole family. Greg loves The Discovery channel, catching up on programmes like Diesel Brothers and Fast ‘N’ Loud which are car related programmes. My all time favourite has to be Friends over on Comedy Central, without a doubt I could

A firm favourite channel over the Christmas period will be Movie24, which from the 20th October has become Christmas24 that is playing a vast array of Christmas films back to back for the whole family to enjoy and we watch as many as possible over the Christmas holidays. From Christmas Classics to kids Christmas films it has them all!

As well as having all of these great channels there are 100’s of hours of catch up TV, you can record live TV and stream on loads of devices including TV, tablet, smartphones and computers. We have a TV monitor in the bathroom and I have a fire stick plugged in to it and I always use the TVPlayer when I am in the bath to watch my favourite programmes and relax.

The premium channels include MTV, Comedy Central, FOX, National Geographic, CI, History, H2, Lifetime, Discovery, Animal Planet, Discovery Turbo, Investigation Discovery, TLC, Eurosport 1, Eurosport 2, E!, Syfy, Universal, Movies 24, Alibi, Eden, Gold, Good Food, W, Nat Geo Wild, Comedy Central Extra, GINX eSports TV, News 18 India, Colors, Rishtey and Vice.

This fantastic deal ends on the 5th of December and as well as for yourself it would make the perfect Christmas gift. So quick don’t miss out!

 

This post is in collaboration with TVPlayer.

Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise Review

Last week we were kindly sent the Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise to review and as Archie loves making slime with Oscar I knew he would find it fun. When it arrived I absolutely loved the packaging and the whole surprise element of it.

Archie unwrapped it and as you peel back the outer cardboard all of Poopsie’s accessories are attached to the card. She comes with over 20 surprises; 4 Unicorn Food slime packets, 4 Unicorn Magic packets and 1 packet of Unicorn Sparkle, a Poopsie key chain where you can store your slime, an exclusive bottle, a unicorn shirt & nappy, a spoon, a hair brush, a cleaning tool and a measuring cup. Everything you need to make your unicorn slime poo and to also keep her clean so you can use her as a doll as well.

Inside the box is then your surprise Poopsie Unicorn. There are four different Unicorn’s to collect. Archie got Rainbow Brightstar.

We laid everything out ready and then followed the step by step instructions provided. They are easy to follow and Archie enjoyed mixing the unicorn food and drink and feeding it to her. He managed to help me mix everything and be involved in the whole process which made it much more fun and engaging for him. It is for children over 3 years old.

He then found it hilarious as he shook her and then placed her on the potty and he watched her poop! The slime is then made in the potty, you leave it for 10-15 minutes to set and then you can play with it.

Cleaning Poopsie was easy and I flushed her through with warm water and used the cleaning brush. I had read before hand not to leave it and wash her straight away otherwise it is harder to clean.

Archie really enjoyed getting creative and making his unicorn slime, he found it great fun. It is a great toy and is easy and fun to use.

The Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise has an RRP of £49.99 and is available at Smyths, The Entertainer and Argos. It was recently ranked in the Dream Toys Top 12 Toys for Christmas this year so grab yours before they sell out!

You get enough packets to feed and make more slime and when you run out you can purchase more when needed. I also noticed Poopsie Pooey Puitton bag which you can purchase which is full of unicorn magic, unicorn crunch, glitter and colouring to make the ultimate slime!

 

We were gifted the Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise for the purpose of this review.

Warner Bros Studio Tour London, Hogwarts In The Snow Review

Last night we were kindly invited to the press preview for the ‘Hogwarts In The Snow’ event that is running over the Christmas period at the Warner Bros Studio Tour London. For any Harry Potter fan the studio tour is absolutely mind blowing and amazing but when it undergoes its make over each Christmas for Hogwarts In The Snow it becomes even more magical!

We are so lucky that we only live ten minutes away from the studio, so we picked Oscar up from school and headed straight there. The boys were so excited, especially Archie who hasn’t been since he was a baby so it was all new for him. Oscar is so lucky and has been a few times now. When we arrived we were greeted by a giant Christmas tree outside and in the entrance hall is a beautiful tree. It gets you really in a Christmassy mood. We had welcome drinks and then entered the tour.

At the beginning you watch two short videos about how the books were made into the amazing Worldwide famous films that they became. We then gathered around the giant doors of the Great Hall and Oscar was lucky enough to be asked to open the doors. The doors opened to the Great Hall which was dressed ready for a Christmas feast. It is amazing to think that they really filmed in there. The food props looked so real but were made from resin and then we were shown the special effects of the Christmas puddings on fire.

The stage in the Great Hall is set up for the iconic Yule ball from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire which is the celebration of the Triwizard tournament. Decorated with beautiful trees and the orchestra.

Other sets around the studio were also decorated for Christmas, such as the Gryffindor common room and Harry’s dormitory. Opposite these rooms was also a great wind and fire kiosk and a lovely member off staff explained to Oscar all of the materials they used in the films to make snow and fire. He found this really interesting and spotted all of the lit fireplaces around the tour which were made by using a combination of water vapour and lighting effects. I must say all the staff throughout the tour are so lovely and enthusiastic and full of Harry Potter facts and were more than happy to answer all of Oscar’s questions.

Oscar and Archie had photos on the green screens where they were transformed into Wizard’s. They also tried out the other interactive activities around the tour, like learning wand combinations and getting a broomstick to rise up and down.

We then walked through one of the newest attractions, the Forbidden Forest where you can see some of the creatures from the films and play around with the special effects and make a thunderstorm or wind.

You then walk through a small gift shop and onto Platform 9 ¾. Archie’s little face when he saw the Hogwarts Express was a picture. I have seen it a few times now but each time you are taken aback as it’s just an amazing sight. You can walk through the train and then sit in a carriage and have your photo taken and then watch a video of a short train journey.

We then had dinner in the backlot cafe, we had burgers followed by Butterbeer ice cream which was delicious. The Warner Bros Studio Tour London is one of only four places in the World that serves Butterbeer. You then walk outside and can have photos by the Knight Bus, the covered bridge of Hogwarts Castle, the flying car and in Sirius Black’s motorbike. You can also go in side the iconic house that is number 4 Privet Drive.

Back inside you can see lots of props and costumes and then walk through Diagon Alley which is the cobble stoned street shown in the films. There is also a display set up here where you can see how they magically make footprints appear in the snow when nobody is there.

This leads you to all the detailed plans and drawings off the sets within the films, its amazing to see just how much work goes into every last detail of the films. Last but not least you walk into the room which takes my breath away each time, where you see the most amazing statue of the Hogwarts Castle and during the Hogwarts In The Snow event the whole Castle is covered in snow. It really is the most magical sight and for me, with only 34 sleeps until Christmas coming to the Hogwarts In The Snow event has been the most amazing start to this years Christmas festivities.

In the huge gift shop there are lots of Harry Potter themed Christmas decorations and it is full to the brim of gift ideas for any Harry Potter Fan. With the launch recently of the Harry Potter Lego, Oscar has four of these sets on his Christmas list all which they stock in their store here.

We had the most magical evening and the Hogwarts In The Snow event is not to be missed! The event is running now until the 27th January 2019 and all tickets must be pre-booked online at www.wbstudiotour.co.uk

This post is in collaboration with Warner Bros Studio Tour. We were gifted the entry tickets but all opinions are honest and my own. We loved it!

My Top 5 Places to Visit At Christmas With Kids In The UK

I love Christmas and over the last couple of years we have been to some fantastic places with the boys over the Christmas period. Some are our family Christmas traditions and others places we just love to go to as they are so magical. Here are my top 5 places we have been to so far….

1. Lapland UK

Lapland UK is so amazing! We went two Christmases ago and I was blown away. It is magical from start to finish and other then real snow I imagine it’s just as magical as Lapland itself. It’s quite pricey but in my opinion I would pay it time and time again. We had the most magical family day out and the boys, especially Oscar as he was 7 couldn’t believe it. You come away full of Christmas spirit!

2. Harrod’s Christmas Grotto.

We have been visiting Harrod’s Christmas Grotto since Oscar’s first Christmas. I eagerly await my booking email every year and book up straight away. It’s a Christmas tradition in our house as it’s the same Grotto I visited as a child too. Each year is so different with a different theme and decorations and the boys love it! We always buy the Harrod’s Christmas bear for our tree afterwards then have dinner together. It’s nice to have a special Christmas tradition as a family. You have to pay a deposit (this year was £20 a child) when booking the Grotto but get it straight back on your Harrod’s reward card afterwards to spend in store, we use it to buy more Christmas decorations. I booked our slot last month and can’t wait to go!

3. Santa Spectacular – Willow’s Activity Farm, London Colney, St Albans

Willows Activity Farm is such a great day out in general with so much to see and do. But at Christmas it’s amazing! The Grotto is fantastic and when you visit Father Christmas you get a key to his toy shop where you can choose whatever toy you like. There is also ice skating and you can meet their husky dog. Here’s my post from our visit to the farm last Christmas. It runs from 21st November – 24th December 2018 and costs from £30 a child, £19.50 Under 2s, £14 an Adult, £13.15 Seniors, £25 Disabled child & free carer and £12.50 Disabled adult + free carer. It really is a fantastic day out for everyone!

4. Santa’s Sleepover At Alton Towers

We love Alton Tower’s and had a weekend away there staying in the enchanted village back in April. At Christmas Alton Tower’s put on their Santa’s Sleepover. Within the package you get an overnight stay in our amazing accommodation, a unique visit to Santa (experience dependent on accommodation), their fun-filled Pantomime, Alice in Wonderland , A festive evening meal, a delicious buffet breakfast, One day Waterpark tickets, One day Theme Park tickets with selected rides and attractions including CBeebies Land, evening entertainment including character meet & greets, shows, a Christmas cinema and a farewell from Santa Claus! Plus 9 holes of crazy Extraordinary Golf.

5. Warner Bros Studio Tour, Hogwarts In The Snow

I love the Warner Bros Studio Tour and luckily for us its only ten minutes down the road from us. We have been four or five times now but no time is as magical as Hogwarts In The Snow. The Great Hall is set up for a Christmas Feast, snow falls as you walk outside and we usually go in November and it really gets you into the Christmas spirit. This year it is running from the 17th of November through to the 27th of January 2019. For any Harry Potter fan this is not to be missed! It is beyond magical!

Another fun event to go to with the kids is visiting the #holidaysarecoming Coca Cola Christmas Truck. Every year they realise tour dates and we went and saw it at a local supermarket. The staff make it a really fun event for the kids and we got a free downloadable photo.

Bassetts Omega 3+ Multivitamins

Every morning without fail Oscar and Archie have always had vitamins with their breakfast. As soon as they turned three they have had the chewy multivitamins. Giving them one that tastes good is always key as then they will willingly eat it.

Bassetts Vitamins have just launched new Omega 3 + Multivitamins Orange Flavour Pastilles for 3-6 year olds. I gave them to Archie and he ate it straight away and said they were yummy. Each pastille is soft and chewy, so easy for little ones to eat and they smell so fruity too.

Each pastille contains Vitamin B6 which supports normal psychological function and Vitamin B5 which contributes to mental performance, which is so important when Archie is constantly on the go all of the time and learning new things all the time.

One of the best things about the Bassetts Vitamins Omega 3 + Multivitamins Orange Flavour Pastilles for me is that they have no added sugar! Knowing Archie is getting a smart start to the day without any added sugar is great. They are made from natural flavours and colours and taste so orange and fruity.

We have been trying the new Bassetts Vitamins Omega 3 + Multivitamins Orange Flavour Pastilles for a couple of weeks now and they are just part of our daily routine. I would highly recommend these multivitamins to help support a smart start to the day which also taste good.

We have had great fun getting creative as Archie could demonstrate how he think the multivitamin tastes. After all, being healthy should be a way of life for children which enables them to have fun and make the most out of each and every day.

A packet of thirty multivitamins is only RRP £5.50 which is a small amount to pay to support Archies. There is a next stage that Oscar takes which is for children age 7-11. 

*Just a reminder, food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet.

 

This post is in collaboration with Bassetts Vitamins.

Our Parents vs Kids Little Tikes Family Games Night

To celebrate the launch of the brand new Little Tikes Board Game collection we were kindly sent the ultimate game package to have the best Parents vs Kids Family games night. The boys were really excited when I told them we were having a games night complete with brand new Little Tikes games, a movie and a take away.

We live in rather a competitive household so there was fighting talk even before the games began! We were sent two games out of the new range; Crazy Blender and Hot Hoops.

The Crazy Blender game is so much fun! You simply shuffle the cards and give each player three each and then turn the blender on that swirls around and around. Archie went first and he called out the fruit on his card and then threw it into the crazy blender, the next player then has to follow on with the last fruit the last player called and if they don’t have a card with that fruit on it they take on from the card pile. If they still don’t have the fruit you move onto the next player. As the game goes on it gets harder to throw your cards into the Crazy Blender and some fly out which the next player has to then have. The player with no cards left is the winner. It is such an easy game to play and even Archie who is 3, 4 in a couple of months played along easily too.

This is a great family game and so much fun, when the cards were flying around Oscar and Archie found it hilarious. Having quite a wide age gap of five years it is sometimes difficult to find games we can all play together, but the Crazy Blender is perfect and we really enjoyed playing it. The game itself is aimed at children aged 5+ but like I said Archie played along easily. It has an RRP of £16.99 and would make the perfect Christmas gift and the perfect family game to play on Christmas Day! It is available now at Argos, Smyths Toys and Amazon.

We were also sent a chalkboard to keep track of the scores. At the end of playing rounds of Crazy Blender the boys had taken the lead.

Our second game is called Hot Hoops. This was so easy to set up, you simply have to add a few sticker decals but then you are ready to play. This is a two player game so we went head to head, Parents vs Kids. You can also play the game on your own, practising like Archie has been doing ever since we opened it. He loves this game!

You simply have to aim your basketball into the hoop, each player starts with two balls and when you get the ball in the hoop it goes through a tube to your opponents side of the game. The player will no balls on there side of the court wins. This games is so much fun, the competitiveness really came out in the boys and the adrenaline was pumping when they couldn’t score and they were rushing to try and score again before we did. There little faces were so funny!

This is also a great game that you can take with you to play at family and friends houses as it folds up neatly, has storage underneath for the balls and a carry handle. It is each to store in the playroom cupboard too.

Hot Hoops has an RRP of £19.99 and is sold at Argos, Smyths Toys and on Amazon. I can see this being a supper popular game for Christmas as it is perfect for the whole family as well as being a one player game you can play on your own with too.

At the end of the evening the boys won!

We then sat down to watch a film on Netflix and ordered a Chinese of the Just Eat app.

We had such a fun family games night thanks to Little Tikes and it is something we all really enjoyed as a family and will be making it a weekly weekend fixture from now on.

Thank you Little Tikes!

This post is in collaboration with Little Tikes UK.