Review: Smiggle Frozen 2 Limited Edition Collection

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

I still remember when the original Frozen film was released, I took Gracie to watch it at the cinema, just the two of us and I got to see her fall in love with a film for the first time. She loved everything about the film, it was just so magical to her. She was a big fan of Princess Anna and wore her Anna costume all the time. It is a much loved film in this house and both girls are really excited for the upcoming release of Frozen 2! Smiggle recently got in touch to let me know they had released a brand new Limited Edition Frozen 2 Collection and wanted us to visit our local store and choose some goodies. I didn't have to ask the girls twice if they would like to go to Smiggle to check out the new arrivals. 

|AD-Review| Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Crown Jewels Mega Secret Surprise

Thursday, November 07, 2019

The Hatchimals CollEggtibles Crown Jewels mega secret surprise has over 40 different surprises. Gracie and Elsie were really excited to take a look inside and see what they could find in the giant surprise egg. They recognised the egg as they have previously had the small versions and remembered that they needed to rub the hearts to start the hatching process. There are multiple crackable sections as well as different layers and parts to peel to reveal surprises. 

The girls worked well together to hatch the egg to reveal the first few surprises. The first few surprises included the Royal Pixie, a few hatchimals and some crown accessories. Each came in a little bag to be opened. I definitely think opening and finding the surprises was their favourite part.

When they got half way through, they found the layer with peel-to-reveal sections. The middle one contained codes to unlock content on the free Hatchimals app and the outer sections all contained different Hatchimals. There were some really cute characters in this collection! This layer could also be removed and underneath the girls found stickers and a character chart telling them who they had received. 

The girls absolutely loved opening this up to see what they could find. I was pleasantly surprised at how most of the items were actually characters and not little bits that would be instantly lost. The crown accessories fit the Hatchimals or Pixie and were placed straight on them so the only loose bits were masquerade masks and a spare pixie crown to swap. It did look like there wasn't much content compared to the size of the egg once we finished but you can use the egg itself and the layers as a playset to play with the characters.

The girls were definitely impressed and really enjoyed it. They love their Hatchimals and have quite a collection now of cute little characters from different series. 

The Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Crown Jewels Mega Secret Surprise is available to buy now from Smyths Toys

* We were sent the item featured in return for a review, all opinions are my own. 

Review: Rubiks Games and Puzzles

Saturday, November 02, 2019

The children were very lucky to be sent a bundle of Rubiks games and puzzles just in time for half-term. I am ashamed to say that we have never owned a Rubiks cube before now, though I knew exactly what they were. The bundle we received included Rubiks Cage, Rubiks Match, Rubiks 3x3, Rubiks 2x2, Rubiks Edge and Rubiks Orbit. The kids were so excited when they arrived. Here is what we thought:

Rubiks Cage

This is definitely our favourite of the lot and has been played with the most. It is a nice simple game, similar to connect 4 but with a 'twist' you have to get three coloured cubies in a row to win but your competitors can choose to twist a layer or flip the cube on their turn to literally turn the game upside down!

It is such a fun game and I found it is so easy to accidentally make someone else win when twisting, much to the children's amusement when I helped them win! The instructions are really easy to follow and the game doesn't take long to play, with next to no time to set up. The children can play it alone but it can also be enjoyed by the whole family. 

Rubiks Match

This one is a bit more difficult. Gracie and I really enjoyed it but Zach didn't quite understand how to play. With Rubiks Match, each player is given a deck of cubies cards (each deck is the same). There is also a deck of challenge cards of various levels. A card is turned over and each player has to try and recreate the picture on the challenge card exactly. The first person to achieve this wins the challenge card and the first person to win three challenge cards wins the game. It is a great game for older children, some of the harder level challenges really make you think! 

Rubiks 3x3, Rubiks 2x2, Rubiks Edge

The Rubiks 3x3 is the original famous Rubiks cube. The 2x2 and Edge are smaller versions that look easier though I can assure you they are not! The Rubiks puzzles are famously difficult though some people can solve them in seconds. They are great at keeping children entertained for long periods of time though can also be super frustrating! The kids keep picking them back up to try again but we are yet to solve any of them!

Rubiks Orbit

The Rubiks Orbit is similar to the 2x2 Rubiks cube. The aim is to make the colours match all the way round. Again, we still haven't managed to solve this one but we are determined to keep trying. We keep finding ourselves very close! 

We have really enjoyed trying out the Rubiks range. We love the games and got the hang of them pretty quickly. We still need a lot more practice with the puzzles though. There is still time for one of us to become a Rubiks master! With Christmas coming up, I love that there are so many items in the range that would make great stocking fillers. A recent survey actually revealed that a third of all parents would choose the Rubiks cube as a stocking filler for kids this Christmas. The survey, which had 2,000 respondents, also included stationery and chocolate as top stocking solutions. 

These items are available to buy at most toy retailers or you can buy direct on the Rubiks website. 

Review: Bright Eyes Hats

Friday, November 01, 2019

Bright Eyes hats are a collection of hats that think they are a torch! We were sent some to try out just in time for these early dark evenings! So far there are four character designs to choose from; Rusty the Raccoon, Cassie the Cat, Una the Unicorn and Amanda the Panda. Each one has light up eyes to help you see in the dark with an ultra bright beam of over 10m and two different light functions, full beam and flashing. 

Review: Disney Colour Brain

Thursday, October 31, 2019

We absolutely love playing games in our house and regularly have family game nights. As we play together so often, we are always looking for fun new games to add to our collection. I was recently sent the Colourbrain Disney edition and we were so excited to try it out! The game is every Disney lovers dream! Use your expert knowledge and memory to win.

Get Your Kids To Eat Anything by Emily Leary

Monday, October 21, 2019

A few months back, my brilliant friend Emily released her first cook book. Get your kids to eat anything isn’t just a cookbook, it is a plan to help encourage children and introduce a colourful balanced diet. Emily is also an award winning blogger at A Mummy Too and aims to help busy parents to cook nice meals that don't take all day to prepare. 

I am not a particularly confident cook. I try to make sure my children eat a variety of fruit and vegetables but I definitely find myself sticking to the same dishes a lot. I am not very experimental with dishes. I hoped that this book would help me with exactly that and give me ideas on introducing different ingredients. 

The first thing I wanted to try in the book was the beetroot risotto. We love risotto so I knew it was something we were all comfortable eating already but this had a fun twist. I would have never thought of adding beetroot. I have to say my kitchen looked temporarily like a murder scene whilst I was preparing the dish but it was so worth it. Everyone loved it! It was really tasty and it has been requested a few times since. I found the recipe very easy to follow and the ingredients were all found at my local supermarket. Even just cooking this, I felt much more confident in myself and my cooking.

I then tried to make the healthier chocolate cookies. I am much happier baking than cooking so I was excited to try these. I love to make sweet treats for the family and the main ingredient in these is bananas which we always have available. There are very few ingredients needed for this recipe and the cookies were so easy to make. They were lovely and moist tasting and totally more-ish! It is definitely a recipe I will use over and over again. They actually make a great activity for children to join in with. 

I absolutely recommend this book, even if like me you don't have trouble getting your children to eat anything. What I really needed was inspirational recipes to help us enjoy some different options and the book has definitely given me that. It has also given me more confidence, the recipes in the book with ingredients I am not keen on, I am thinking about what replacements I can include to make that meal suit me. If there is anyone you can trust to come up with tasty meals it is Emily!

It is now available on Amazon at the low, low price of £8.94. I have provided an amazon affiliate link below. I may receive a few pennies if you click to order. I received this book as a gift from Emily but all opinions are my own!

Review: Owleez Interactive Flying Toy

Sunday, September 22, 2019

We were recently sent an Owleez interactive flying toy to review. Owleez is a cute owl interactive toy that needs lots of love and care. You can care for them by feeding them berries and petting them amongst other things. The colour of their eyes tells you what you need to do to nurture them. Owleez come with a berry, a nest and an instruction leaflet that tells you clearly about their eye moods and how to teach them to fly. 

I gave our Owleez for Elsie to try out. She loves Owls, in fact she just loves animals and caring for them so I thought it would be fun for her to try. Using the Owleez is simple, you charge it using a USB cable that is wrapped on the underside of the nest (which means it cannot be lost!). It doesn't take long to charge and once it is ready you can get started. You simply turn it on and follow the instructions, which happen to be very easy to follow and are printed in large writing so it can be read and understood by children too. Also, they are handy to keep hold of to remember what the eye colours mean. 

Elsie was so impressed the first time we managed to get our owleez to fly though it soon crashed into the sofa and she was a bit horrified. It is much louder than I expected but so cool! The more you practice flying your Owleez, the better it gets. Just like any bird learning to fly. We did find that each time it lasts a little longer. It does have quite a crash landing though. I'm not sure why I expected a toy to have a graceful landing!

Overall, I think it is a great fun toy and it is certainly different to any other interactive animal toy we have ever had. I do wonder whether it will last long with the crash landings but we haven't had any problems yet with multiple crashes. I would recommend playing on soft surfaces like carpets etc. just incase. Elsie loves it. She loves caring for it, cuddling and feeding it like a good owl mama.

Owleez are available to buy at most major toy retailers including Smyths Toys Superstores.

*We were sent the item featured in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

|AD| Back to School Essentials

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The summer holidays are flying by and if you haven't quite finished your back to school shopping by now, like me, you may be panicking. Here are a few examples of back to school handy items from some of our favourite brands. 

One of my biggest issues with school is that I spend a fortune on school uniform for the children at the start of each year and by the end of week one, I have the dreaded stained white polo shirts. It doesn't matter how smart Elsie is sent into school in the morning, she will come home filthy each day without a doubt. I don't mind though as long as I can get them clean again. I would definitely recommend stocking up on stain removal products early on and use them for all of your white washes to keep the school shirts looking clean and fresh for longer. I have recently been trying ACE stain removal products and am impressed so far but I will keep you updated on whether they work long-term! They are available to buy at Tesco’s, Morrison’s, The Range, Wilko, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s and prices start from just £2 each. 

Gracie is just going into Year 4 at school and it is the first year that she is encouraged to take her own pencil case and stationery into school. I remember choosing my pencil cases each year and it being so exciting seeing what everyone else had on the first day of school. Also lunch boxes are exactly the same, my younger two still get free school meals due to their age but Gracie has packed lunches and again gets to choose her lunchbox for the year. Smiggle is THE place for young children to go for a back to school shopping spree. They have absolutely everything you could ever possibly need and more from bags to individual stationery items.

Staying hydrated is so important so I do try to make sure my children remember to take a water bottle to school each day. I like to buy them nice ones each to encourage them to actually remember them. We are all big Harry Potter fans in our house and I love this aluminium drinks bottle, it has the Hogwarts crest on one side and a Gryffindor Quidditch symbol on the other (as seen above). I would definitely use this myself but Zach has claimed it as his. You can look at the range of aluminium drink bottles from GB Posters here. They do some really cool ones (I want an AC/DC one!) and I have been told there will be more added shortly including this Harry Potter one. 

These BIC Gel-o-city quick dry gel pens have been added to Gracie's pencil case ready for school. Now that she has her pen license, she can use pens at school and I thought these would be great for any poster making activities etc. that she might have. The fact that they are quick drying means she won't end up with smudges all over her work and the small tip means that they will be nice and neat in comparison to felt tip pens. They are available to buy from most major retailers. 

Something that I often buy for school is handy pocket packs of tissues. Especially in the winter months, I like to make sure the children have a packet either in their bag or coat pocket so they are accessible on the school runs or at break time. You can buy multipacks of these Kleenex pocket tissues at most major supermarkets at a reasonable price. 

*These items were gifted in exchange for this post but all opinions are my own. 

|AD- Press Trip| National Forest Adventure Farm

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

On Saturday we visited National Forest Adventure Farm in Burton-on-Trent. We had been invited to experience the space themed events to celebrate 50 years since the moon landing. To celebrate the big anniversary, National Forest Adventure Farm have carefully designed their maize maze which was revealed earlier this month. The maze design features Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 mission Saturn V rocket recreated in maize form. 

AD Treetop Adventure Golf Leicester

Friday, July 12, 2019

On Saturday we visited Treetop Adventure Golf in Leicester. It is located just outside Highcross shopping centre so it is a very accessible location with plenty of parking nearby. 

Each child was given the right size golf club for their height. All adult clubs are the same size and the five of us were given a different coloured ball each to play with. There are two different 18-hole courses to choose from. We chose the Tropical Trail, though there is also the Ancient Explorer course available. The children chose the Tropical Trail as it had more animal themed features. 

|AD| Review: Gatorade

Thursday, June 27, 2019

I was recently sent a variety pack from Gatorade to try out the different flavours with some merchandise as an added bonus. The variety pack includes a Gatorade branded sports towel, a Gatorade branded reusable sports bottle, 3 x Gatorade Red Orange, 3 x Gatorade Lemon, 3 x Gatorade Cool Blue and 3 x Gatorade Orange. 


Review: Ziggle Colour Changing Raincoats and Umbrellas

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Back at Blog On in May I stumbled upon these gorgeous raincoats and umbrellas from Ziggle. As soon as I saw them I just knew the girls would love them! I was shocked to find that they were made to fit children up to 8 years old as they mainly sell beautiful baby and toddler items. These raincoats are not just pretty in design but they also change colour in the rain. As you can see in the umbrella photo below where the raindrops have started to hit and the unicorn has begun to change in appearance. 

Review: Monster Jam Live Tour

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Disclaimer: We received free tickets in return for promotion and an honest review. 

Last weekend we had a whole family day out back in my hometown of Coventry. We were invited to attend the Monster Jam tour at Ricoh Arena and I knew that all four kids would absolutely love it. We were given passes to the pit party beforehand so managed to make a whole day of it, getting there early to see the monster trucks up close and meet the drivers. Unfortunately, the rain that day was horrific so the pit party was cancelled, though you could still enter the pit party area to take photos with the trucks themselves and then queue up to meet the drivers inside the arena, rather than meeting them next to their trucks.

AD- Spice Girls Best Ever Fan with Walkers

Monday, June 03, 2019

I was a 90s kid and like most young girls in the nineties, I was Spice Girls obsessed. I bought every single on cassette tape and would look out for any magazine which featured them to spend my pocket money on. I would watch them on Top of the Pops before the days of Youtube. My Dad still resents me for the fact he missed Boxing Day one year waiting in line with me to take me to see Spice World The Movie. He brings it up every Christmas without fail. That was the Christmas I received my much wanted Sporty Spice doll. I love that every little girl had her favourite Spice Girl and mine was definitely Sporty Spice, despite the fact I am not a particularly sporty person! I just thought she was awesome.

national trust

National Trust Tattershall Castle

Thursday, May 23, 2019

In the Easter holidays we took a little trip to Lincolnshire for a few days. We aimed to have a low cost holiday so we house-sat for a family member and spent our days exploring different parts of Lincolnshire. As National Trust membership holders, we can visit any National Trust property free of charge and there are many across Lincolnshire. Tattershall Castle was my first pick. I always find that castles tend to have amazing backstories and the kids love the idea of exploring castles. We only had Logan with us, as the other three were away with their Dad, so the three of us spent a lovely day exploring Tattershall Castle.

|AD| Monster Jam is arriving at Ricoh Arena, Coventry!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Photo Credit: My Mummy's Pennies

Monster Jam is arriving at Ricoh Arena, Coventry for the first time ever! On June 8th, families are invited to enjoy the world famous trucks and world class athletes. The athletes have mastered not just physical strength and mental stamina required to compete, but also crucial dexterity to navigate these 12,000 pound machines. They amaze audiences with wheelies, donuts, cross ups and big air stunts and you can see if for yourselves! We will be taking the children to the show ourselves and they are so excited!

Photo Credit My Mummy's Pennies

Monster Jam Fun Facts:
  • Monster Jam trucks stand 12-feet tall and 10-feet wide, sitting atop 66-inch-tall tires and weighing a minimum of 12,000 pounds.
  • 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower is generated by these larger than life trucks that are capable of speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.
  • They can fly up to 125 to 130 feet in distance and up to 35 feet in the air.
  • A Monster Jam truck engine burns up to 9.5 litres of methanol per run
  • Some custom designed trucks require more than 40 hours of paint time
  • The average Monster Jam truck team will go through eight tires in one year
  • Tyres are 1.7m high by 1.1 wide 
  • It takes 1,500 man hours to build and remove a track 
  • 113 litres of paint are used to paint the track and obstacles 

 If that wasn’t enough the ‘Pit Party’ beforehand allows fans to meet their favourite drivers, get up close to the Monster Jam trucks and participate in activities including autograph signings and much more. 

Tickets are available to buy at

My friend Jen over at My Mummy's Pennies has written a review of the Manchester show, you can read her review here


Review: Schleich Bayala Glittering Moon Unicorns

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Elsie is a big fan of Schleich animals and it is amazing how much detail is in each figure. They are far superior to any other brand of toy animals we have ever bought. Elsie was sent a few magical horses from the Bayala collection. These ones are brand new this year. The purple magical horse family consists of Moon Unicorn Stallion, Star Pegasus Mare and Moon Unicorn Foal. They all have very different characteristics, the braiding on the mares tail is beautiful, as is the details in her wings. Each one is decorated with rhinestones and glitter, they couldn't look more magical. 

As you can see Elsie loves them. She has spent many sunny days sat on a blanket in the garden playing with them. Setting up little scenes and letting her imagination run wild. Up until now, her Schleich horses were her favourite but these have just really opened her up to being able to use magic in her playtime. She likes to pretend the baby is learning to fly like it's mother. It is such a beautiful collection and I can see them having years of use. I am sure she will be asking for more magical horses for her birthday this year!

The Bayala Collection is available to buy at Smyths Toys. 

*We received the items featured in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 


Review: Toby Carvery Burton Upon Trent

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A few weeks ago we visited the newly renovated Toby Carvery in Burton Upon Trent to try out the menu. On arrival, staff were friendly and polite and we were shown to our pre-booked table. The decor inside the restaurant is really nice and modern. Unfortunately I hadn't visited before so I am not sure what it looked like before it was refurbished, but it definitely had a nice atmosphere when we visited. 

AD New Wardrobe Pieces From Femme Luxe

Friday, March 15, 2019

I always know how well my day is going to go according to the clothes I decide to wear. If I pop on my comfy jogging bottoms, it is safe to say I have a day of sitting around writing ahead of me. If I have opted for some nice clothes and a touch of make-up then I am ready to tackle the day and be productive! 

I love buying new clothes and finding different ways to style them so when Femme Luxe got in touch offering me a few items to try, I jumped at the chance. Femme Luxe sell a large range of both dressy and casual clothes. There is something for every occasion. They are a really reasonable price and have a fast delivery service. 

|AD| Mother's Day Gift Guide

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Mother's Day is coming up on 31st March 2019 here in the UK. I always love Mother's Day, the kids always go all out, making me handmade cards and letters and I get to spend the whole day with my favourite people. It is also a lovely day to show appreciation to the mother's or mother figures in your life. I have been working with a few different brands to put together a gift guide full of thoughtful gifts for your loved ones. I hope it gives you inspiration to spoil them. 

This beautiful hummingbird necklace from Jana Reinhardt symbolises enjoying life and lightness of being. It was handmade in the UK by a small team of goldsmiths and the hummingbird is hand carved. It is a lovely quality piece of jewellery and the perfect gift for any Mum this Mother's Day. It is certainly something they can treasure forever. Prices start from £85 for Sterling Silver but you can also purchase in a range of different colours and metals. The Hummingbird necklace is available to buy from

Half-Term Holidays #ad

Saturday, March 02, 2019

We have just finished February half-term and what a glorious week it was, well the tail end at least. The weather has been amazing and we managed to get a sneak peek of what Summer will hopefully be like once it arrives! We managed to have a couple of family days out at the start of the holiday, whilst Sam was at home,including National Trust Calke Abbey and Warwick Castle then the kids spent the rest of the week playing outdoors! Just before Christmas we put up the children's enormous trampoline which was an early present from their grandparents and it was the first chance they had gotten to really enjoy it.


Review: Wild Cakes

Thursday, February 28, 2019

It has been a while since we last did a toy review but we had been eagerly awaiting the release of Wild Cakes since I got to see them at Blog On last September. Now they are finally here and we got our hands on them to review. You may have seen Sweet Pups which were released last year, if not you can read our review here. Basically, the toys look simply like yummy sweet treats from afar but have a little surprise. Each one can be turned inside out to reveal a cute creature. Also they are cake scented! They smell exactly like the cake would in real life. They really do smell amazing.

National Trust Calke Abbey

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

When my Dad asked what we all wanted for Christmas last year, I asked for a National Trust family membership. It was a low priced gift that we could all enjoy throughout the year. I have visited many National Trust sites over the years and have been a card holder before, back when Elsie was a baby. At that time we visited places in the West Midlands/ Warwickshire and whenever going away for a holiday we would try and visit any local sites. Since moving to Derbyshire last year, we haven't managed to explore many local attractions but there are so many National Trust properties nearby. 

Review: Half-Term at Warwick Castle

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Yesterday we were invited to visit Warwick Castle to enjoy a day out over half-term. It was our first official day of half-term and we surprised the children, they had no idea where we were going. Over the years Warwick Castle has become a family favourite. We have been so many times and it never gets boring. They are always adding new attractions and shows which makes it a really fun way for the kids to learn about history. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) My First Session

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

I have just completed my first Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Session with the Talking Mental Health Derbyshire Team. I am so thankful for the mental health resources in my area. With the house move and leaving my friends behind, having so much stress renovating the house and simply feeling so alone at times, it has really taken it's toll on me. 

To 2019...

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Wow I seem to have taken almost two months out of blogging, not intentionally, but I had planned to take a few weeks out over Christmas and New Year to enjoy every moment I could with my family. I really did have a lovely relatively stress free Christmas, we celebrated Gracie's birthday after Christmas and January has been so busy! I know most people feel like January is a very long month but it flew by for me.