Tag Archives: books

AD The Tonies TonieBox

Archie is four and absolutely loves having stories read to him every evening before he goes to bed and some days I often find him with a book looking at the pictures, trying to make out the story inside. Listening to stories is so important for little inquisitive minds and helps to grow children’s imaginations. Did you know that if your child listens to just one story every day by the age of five they would have enjoyed 1825 stories, isn’t that amazing!

I first saw the Tonies Toniebox on Instagram a few months ago and wondered what it was. It is a super clever little box which is full of audio fun for little ones to enjoy. When Archie received his in the post he was very excited. I set it up which is easy as you follow a few simple sets, connect it to your wi-fi and your away. The box itself looks great, made of super soft material that your children can hug in bed whilst they listen to a story but durable enough to take out and about with you. It comes in six different colours to fit in with your child’s bedroom decor.

Once your Toniebox is set up you simply place your story time Tonie on top and your box downloads the audio content. Once downloaded each Tonie has a story on it and songs too, with a running time of roughly 25-30 minutes. We have two of the Disney Tonies; The Lion King and The Jungle Book. Archie really enjoyed listening to the stories and dancing and singing along to his favourite Disney songs. The Tonies themselves are really well made and Archie also uses them as play figures too.

Once your audio content is downloaded onto your Toniebox you can listen to your stories and songs anywhere without wi-fi connection and with a battery life of 7 hours it is the perfect travel companion as well. It’s perfect for long flights and car journeys. Next time we go on holiday I am taking this with us for sure! You can even purchase a carrier to keep it safe. Archie also brings it in to the bathroom and listens to a story whilst he plays in the bath.

The Toniebix starter set is £69.95 and comes with the box in the colour of your choice (6 to choose from), the charging station and a Creative-Tonie with room for 90 minutes, so you can upload your MP3s, audiobooks or even narrate your own stories. There is also a promotion running at the moment where you can get a free Tonie worth £14.99 when your purchase your starter kit.

Once you have your starter kit there are so many amazing Tonies to choose from. From Disney characters, themed songs, educational Tonies, stories for older children, Julia Donaldson favourites like The Gruffalo and Stick Man and many more. At £14.99 they make great gifts at Christmas and Birthdays to grow your little ones Tonie collection. I have brought the Snowman Tonie ready for December for Archie to listen too.

We were kindly gifted Archie’s Tonie Box but I genuinely couldn’t recommend one of these high enough. It would make a fantastic present for your little one this Christmas and its something you can keep adding to, so will last for years!

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. 

Tidley Squeak Children’s Book Review

I was really excited when a Dad from Oscar’s school told me he had written a children’s book called ‘Tidley Squeak‘ and asked me to read it with Oscar and Archie to see what we thought. When he came over to give me a copy I was really blown away by his passion for his book and just how amazing it is. Nick Marshall is a Dad to two wonderful boys, who he has dedicated his book too. They must be so proud.

All the best children’s books we have read over the last eight years in my opinion have been the rhyming ones. With many of them becoming firm favourites and even still now I could recite them off by heart. When I opened ‘Tidley Squeak’ and started to read it to the boys I absolutely loved how it rhymed! The thought Nick has put in to the book to make it flow and rhyme perfectly is unbelievable!

The book itself is split in to eight chapters, which is perfect for a bedtime story for children of all ages. For Archie who is three we read him a chapter each night in bed, where as Oscar who is eight will read it to himself and stop after a few chapters and know where to start again the next evening.

Throughout the book Tidley Squeak has many adventures. It starts with his Mum and Dad telling him to go off and play but be home for tea at the end of the day….

Tidley Squeak in his little tweed cap 

Had tidied his room like a good little chap

So his Mum and his Dad said, ‘Go off and play but be home for tea at the end of the day.’

From coming across Casper The Cat, to Emily Ewe, Sir Basher The Bull, Ruby Rabbit, Mr Burrows The Mole, Freddie The Pheasant and The Eagle, Tidley Squeak certainly has a jam-packed adventure filled day before making it home to Mum and Dad in time for tea.

It’s a truly fantastic book that we all love and the illustrations are great too and really compliment the story and gets your imagination going. Oscar was so lucky that Nick Marshall even came into school and read it his class who all thought it was brilliant.

I think it is one of those books that you will keep for years and read over and over again. Hopefully there will be a sequel so we can see what other exciting adventures Tidley Squeak has. You can purchase your copy here. This is a book not to be missed!

My Lego Batman Movie Favourite Merchandise

After going to the Lego Batman Movie premiere a couple of weeks ago and only one more sleep until it is released in the cinemas here in the U.K. (eek! and yes we will be going to see it again) I thought I would share with you some of My Lego Batman Movie Favourite Merchandise to go with the film.

Obviously there are the Lego sets and Oscar has been so lucky and has been given the Joker Balloon Escape set (70900) and The Batmobile (70905) which he is in the middle of building but the rest of the sets available have ended up on his birthday list as it’s less than 2 weeks away! Our review will go live over the next few days…

The sets themselves are amazing and we are also collecting the Lego Batman mini figures which are only £2.99 and literally every evening after school he sits building and playing with them. I also brought a huge blue Lego storage brick from John Lewis which is just fantastic. It is massive and can hold his Lego and keep his models safe too away from Archie trying to get at them. We have also brought him the Batcave Break In Set (70909) for his birthday but sssh don’t tell him!

The Lego Batman Movie Minifigure clock by Clic Time are great and Oscar has the Batman edition and it also comes in Robin, Batgirl, The Joker and Harley Quinn. Oscar keeps his near his bed and we have set the daily alarm for 7am but you can activate the snooze function by pushing down on the figures head. It also has a backlight function so Oscar can check the time in the dark. Also in the collection are matching watches which would make great gift and at the moment if you buy a lego clock and watch bundle you can save up to 20%!

LEGO Batman Movie Robin Minifigure ClockLEGO Batman Movie Batgirl Minifigure ClockLEGO Batman Movie The Joker Minifigure ClockLEGO Batman Movie Harley Quinn Minifigure Clock

        LEGO Batman Movie Batman Minifigure Link Watch LEGO Batman Movie Batgirl Minifigure Link WatchLEGO Batman Movie Robin Minifigure Link WatchLEGO Batman Movie The Joker Minifigure Link Watch

The party range from Amscan UK is going to be very popular this year. Once your kids watch the film they will be Lego Batman obsessed like Oscar and will want a matching themed party. With foil balloons, birthday cards and invitations, table cloths, plates, cups, napkins and much more they have everything to throw the perfect Lego Batman party.

LEGO Batman Cubez Foil Balloons G40 - 5 PC   LEGO Batman Movie Paper Plates 18cm - 6 PKG/8LEGO Batman Movie Luncheon Napkins 33cm - 6 PKG/16LEGO Batman Movie Paper Treat/Ice Cream Cups 251ml - 6 PKG/8

Now Oscar is almost 7 he is really into his books and his reading has come on so much in the last year. When we went to the premiere he was given ‘Batman’s Guide To Being Cool‘ by Scholastic which he has really enjoyed reading and is a fun manual to discover your inner cool. It is a fun and light hearted read with lots of nice pictures. I have brought an extra copy for his friend who’s birthday party is next week. We were also given the ‘Lego Batman Movie Ultimate Movie Guide’ by DK Books where inside you can find all the pictures and information on the respective Lego sets and mini figures and everything you need to know about the movie and all of the characters.

I also brought Oscar the Lego Batman torch and matching key ring which he has attached to his school bag and a t-shirt from Next which he wore to watch the movie.

We loved the movie and we love the lego sets and everything that Lego Batman related! The movie is a must see so don’t miss it. You can read my full movie review HERE.

Love2read Personalised Memories of 2015 Photo Book & Competition

Love2read is a lovely website where you can design and make your very own personalised photo books with so many themes, from memory books to gift books for family and friends. We made our first Love2read book for Daddy for Father’s Day this year and he loved it and Oscar enjoyed being able to read the words to Archie. They really are a great idea! So as you can imagine I was over the moon when we were asked a few weeks ago to make a memory book for 2015 and have also been given the chance for one of my readers to win and make one of their very own.

So firstly I went onto the Love2read website and choose the book I wanted to make then scrolled through all of the photos I have taken this year so far (there are thousands) and picked out some wonderful memories for our special book. It was lovely to look back on the photos and it reminds me of what an amazing year we have had. Archie was born at the very end of December last year so we have made so many memories this year as a new family of four.

We have had some amazing holidays over the Summer we went to Tenerife for two weeks for Archie’s first holiday which was amazing then went to Toronto in Canada for 11 days to see friends too. We went up the CN Tower, visited Niagara Falls plus so much more.

We have had some fantastic days outs in the UK too. We hired a boat in Windsor and took a ride down the river, visited Lego Land, went to Harry Potter World, took the boys to the Elvis exhibition at the O2, took day trips into London to see the sights are just a few examples of where we have made special memories.

Oscar started in Year 1 in September and I can’t believe he is almost six. The years have flown by that is why it is a fantastic idea to make a memory book to look back on. I am going to do this every year as a tradition. At the end of each book are the high frequency words that have been picked out from your personalised text which are great for early readers too.

I absolutely love the Love2read books, they are so special and easy to make and would make a wonderful surprise gift for a family member or friend this Christmas!

You can enter below to win a personalised Love2read book of your own. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: We were sent our Love2read book for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are completely honest and my own.

Great Value Books For Your Children To Read Over The Summer From Scholastic!

Oscar finished school for the Summer holidays two weeks ago and we have just got back from holiday in Tenerife. I now have four weeks to keep him entertained before we go away again. Having a nine week Summer break is lovely but keeping Oscar reading and doing some learning activities sometimes proves difficult when all he wants to do is play in the garden. Oscar has just finished reception so he has learnt to read this year and loves story time before bedtime.

When we were asked to be a Scholastic blogger and write about my own experience of starting up my own book club in Oscar’s school I thought it was a great opportunity and in Oscar’s school it went down very well with the staff and pupils and you can read how easy it was to set up and the amazing benefits your child’s school will get here. You can see how I set it up so easily HERE.

We were kindly also sent some books for Oscar to read over the Summer holidays, which he was so excited about when his parcel arrived. Keeping your child reading over the Summer is so easy and cheap to do when ordering from Scholastic as their website is easy to navigate around and find the perfect book in the right age range. They also so packs of books at massively discounted prices which also make great gifts and when it is Oscar’s birthday party I always order the packs and give a book to each child instead of a party bag.

Oscar is 5 and loves books by Julia Donaldson and anything to do with learning about animals and we have been reading the Chip and Biff books which have helped him learn to read. Scholastic sell the full pack of phonics and first Chip and Biff stories for only £9.99! Chip and Biff books are brilliant and have we read a few of these a week and Oscar has improved massively thanks to these books. During the Summer break Oscar doesn’t have a reading book but these books replace them.

One of the books we were sent for Oscar was the Scarecrow’s Wedding which is written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Oscar loved this book and so did I it is a sweet picture rhyme book and usually retails for £12.99 but on the Scholastic website for £2.99 which is a massive saving and will be a favourite read at bedtime for a long time to come!

Another great book is The Singing Mermaid. This is again by Julia Donaldson and is a board book which is great as Oscar is able to read it himself to his baby brother Archie. It has an retail price of £5.99 but is only £2.99 on the Scholastic website. It is a lovely book for children aged 3-5.

Another firm favourite with boys and girls is Enid Blyton’s Holiday Stories which is only £3.99 and is full of stories about holidays from camping to beach holidays there is a story for your favourite type of holiday in there. The book is based for children aged 7+ so we have been reading a bit each night to Oscar and he really enjoys his ‘big boy book’ and we then talk about and compare our own holidays to the different stories. As always Enid Blyton books are amazing and take me back to my childhood, I have loved reading this book with Oscar!

The Tom Gates #8 Yes, No (Maybe) book is written by award winning author Liz Pichon is a fun, light hearted book with doodles, notes and missions that Tom faces. I love how the book is written and illustrated inside with random pictures and it looks like ‘Tom’ has written it all himself. It has an RRP of £10.99 but as always is great value on the Scholastic website at only £4.99. Again I have read bits of this to Oscar who thinks its rather funny.

As the holidays are so long (Oscar gets almost 9 weeks) it is handy to have learning resources to keep him focused. Scholastic sell spelling cards and games for aged 7-9 which are really useful and come in a handy pack so you can take them out and about or on holiday with you. There are 110 cards so two or more players can play together which makes it fun to learn!

Scholastic is a really fantastic website full of good reads. Check out their website to find the perfect books for your children to read over the Summer too!

Have reading.


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I’ve Set Up A Scholastic Book Club In Oscar’s School

Oscar’s school is a really family based and friendly environment so when I was asked if I would like to be involved in putting the Scholastic book club in to York House I knew it was something that the children, parents and teachers would love. I emailed the school and the Headmaster and librarian thought it was a fantastic idea and agreed that I could introduce the Scholastic book club in to the school.

How it works is simple. You sign your school up to the Scholastic book club and as I have chosen to take on the role of distributing the brochures to the school, Scholastic sent me enough brochures for each child in the school and I simply put enough in each envelope for each class and took them to the school office so they could be put into the children’s book bags or rucksacks for them to take home and look through with their parents. Once the children take the brochures home they can have a look through them and there are two sides to the brochures according to age so it is easy to work out the best books for your child’s reading ability. Every Book Club leaflet is packed with award-winning authors and brilliant newly released books and they are all at discounted prices, making it cheap and easy to refresh your children’s book shelf.

After you have chosen the books you would like to purchase you can then go online to the Scholastic website where there are hundreds more books for you to choose from that are all organised in age, key stage and price bracket and then when you order your chosen books your school will get 20% of every order over £10 to choose lovely books for your school library. If you think that the book club sounds fantastic then you could run the book club for your school as it is such a quick and easy thing to set up and organise and will help children in your school discover books and inspire a love of reading for pleasure that will last a lifetime as well as raising funds to buy new books for your child’s school library.

To set up your book club up you can log on to
http://shop.scholastic.co.uk/bookclubs and when you receive your brochures hand them out in the playground or organise them into classes like I did and then the teachers only have to give them out along with your orders unique web address. By the parents then ordering the books online nobody has to collect any cash and then once the deadline for orders has passed the books will be delivered to your school free of charge. Its so easy!

There is also a Kids Club website that really puts the fun into reading, providing a fun experience for kids with lots of extra content to engage and inspire them.

I am so pleased that I have started the book club and can’t believe I hadn’t done it before. Join the club to help your school raise funds for new books today!

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Things you NEVER KNEW about dinosaurs!

My sons favourite things at the moment are Dinosaurs!! I’ve lost count of how many dinosaur related toys and books we have around the house.

So I was really excited to see that in August 2013 a new dinosaur book will be available! It looks great and you can preorder it on www.amazon.co.uk for an amazing price £5.39. Preorder it now. Release date 2nd August 2013

Check out the author on twitter @tenderbranson10.