30 November 2013

Jungle Magic Sounds Aquadoodle

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Aquadoodles primary function is to enable children to have a fun place to draw and release their imagination but that is also mess free. 

I'm sure we all know just how easy children can go from drawing in a book to drawing on the walls and making a mess. Aquadoodle combats this as there is no ink in the pen, it is just simply water and so will not leave marks on walls or flooring. 

I have always been a fan of Aquadoodle because of this an this new one is no different. The Jungle Magic Sounds Aquadoodle has all the magic of the original Aquadoodle but also makes animal sounds as children are playing with it. 

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Press the end of the pen to hear noises and then place the pen onto the special areas on the mat to hear animal sounds, roars, drums and monkey noises too. 

Rather than drawing pictures and then having to start again on a fresh piece, Aquadoodle lets children carry on being creative as you simply draw on the mat and not long after the water fades and then disappears leaving a fresh space to draw again. 

I love the jungle theme and the boys love it too. Thomas likes to press and area on the mat, hear what noise it makes and then try to recreate that noise through imagery, sketching out the animal or item that makes that specific noise. 

The Jungle Magic Sounds Aquadoodle has an RRP of £24.99 but if you shop around and compare prices online you will probably be able to save a few pennies. 

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25 November 2013

Personalised Planner from Personal-planner.co.uk

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After being bored of the same old planners being on sale, Personal Planner was born. This is a website which allows you to make your own design of personalised planner to suit yourself. 

You can choose the colour and picture on the front of the planner and what text it will say too. The twelve month,weekly planner can then be customised inside with a whole host of add-ons too. There are 4 different sizes to suit so you choose the one that will fit you best and then pick layout and the extras to go inside like a notes section or a to-do list. 

You can also have a little colouring section at the back to keep children amused if you want or just leave it blank for spares pages and making lists. 

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I must admit that I found the whole experience very easy and simple to do. Their website walks you through every aspect of designing you own planner, right down to the last detail. You get to choose everything. I went for size A5 which is £19.99 and is the perfect size for me. There are then smaller and bigger ones to suit too. 

Choosing what month and year the planner starts, the pictures and colour on the front and back, the design inside, even right down to the colour of the ruler and the elastic. It really is thoroughly thought out.

I decided to do mine for my blog as I am always forgetting what day posts should go live and events etc and so I thought having a planner would be a great idea. The first inner page you can write your own info, just in case you lose the planer, so that it can then be returned to you. 

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Overall, I love my personalised planner. I love the fact that it is my specifications, it has everything I need in a planner and is my from very robust, thick paper which shows how great the quality of the product is.

24 November 2013

Happy Christmas Gift Bouquet from Bunches.co.uk

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Now usually I would be a bit sceptical about getting flowers delivered through the post. We all know just how much damage can happen sometimes to the boxes and things and so I imagined that flowers would end up a bit battered too. 

We were sent the Happy Christmas Gift bouquet to review from Bunches.co.uk which was delivered to us last Friday. Unfortunately, due to the fact that it was a school training day and we wanted to get out for the day, we weren't in and the flowers got sent back to the postal depot. I went to collect them on Saturday morning but being flowers I thought they would have started to wilt already, especially with being stuck in a sorting office for an extra night too.  

I was pleasantly surprised though. The flowers come in a small cardboard box, that when opened, the flowers bloom out and start to spread out. I think they are pressed quite firmly into this box to protect them and keep them held together better. I was happy to see that, even though they had been sent through the delivery system and spent an extra night at the sorting office, they were still looking fresh and pretty. 

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The Happy Christmas Gift Bouquet contains Carnations, Alstroemeria, Spray Carnations, Gypsophila and finished with festive red glitter Ruscus leaf. The red and white of the flowers do stand out so much and feel so festive, it really did get me into the Christmas spirit. 

The flowers arrived with a small box of chocolates which I thought was a nice touch. The boys thought it was great too and spent no time at all in tucking into them. 

Now, I'm no flower expert so didn't have a clue how to sort them and arrange them correctly. Luckily, Bunches.co.uk had sent a little card with them which explained everything that needed doing. It also had a pouch of plant food too. 

Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the style, look and quality of the bouquet and at £19.99 (which includes delivery) I can see why this is one of their best sellers this Christmas time. Just make sure that you order in sufficient time for Christmas delivery!

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19 November 2013

Great Toys from Great Gizmos

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Great Gizmos is a leading provider of children's fun, creative and innovative toys. They provide a huge range of top quality toys that kids will love to play with and they are always at competitive prices. They have tried to find the best toys and gifts from around the world and bring a huge range of products to their one website so there is something to suit every age.

It was 1997 when Great Gizmos was established by parents who were sick of toys with no creativity and imagination. They wanted to bring toys that were based around the important things in life, like creativity and education but also fun at the same time.

Great Gizmos provide toys for all ages. There are a lot of craft kits and educational toys and also wooden toys that are eco-friendly. They do a stunning range of plush toys too and pocket money items. We were lucky when they got on touch and asked if they could send up a sample of their range out. We received:

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Dragon Bag from Lil' Pet Pals
Thomas is obsessed with anything that is dinosaurs or dragons and so his eyes lit up when he saw this. This lunch bag is insulated to keep food hot and has a personalised name tag inside so that you will always know whose it is.

This lunch bag was a retail price of £13.95 and has a dragon motif on the outside stands out with its bright green colour, orange eyes and wiggly ears. 

We have been looking for a while for a lunch bag that not only holds all of Thomas' dinner but also looks great and is suitable for a small child in its design. Thomas really couldn't wait to go to school and show off his new lunch bag and because it is insulated inside, this also makes it easier to clean as just a quick wipe and it's done. 

NICI Lion 25cm Dangling 
From the Classic NICI Wild Friends range, this Lion is a gorgeous plush stuffed animal that has a big fluffy mane and is so soft and snuggly. 

Since receiving this, Thomas has not let it go. He says that Lenny (that's now his name) is his best friend and must sleep with him and play with him too. Both boys love him and you'll usually find him snuggled up with one of them. 

Dancing Alligator from Plan Toys
This Dancing Alligator provides so much fun for all children. As you pull it along the carpet it bops up and down and makes a click-clacking sound. Charlie loves running around the room with this tagging behind him and watching it dance around. 

The alligator is made from natural rubber wood and finished with non-toxic water based dyes. It is made by Plan Toys who specialise in designing and manufacturing environmentally friendly toys. 

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Make Your Own Snow Dome Photo Frames from 4M 
I love this as not only do you get to create fab snow domes but also you can attach photos and have something to keep at the end of it. All this for only £9.99 too. 

This craft set is marked as 5 years + as it does need a lot of sticking and cutting and so my boys are a little too young to try this one out but my nieces can not wait to come round to our house and make the snow dome frames. They want to make one and surprise my sister (their mum) with a lovely, handmade present. 

All in all, I think that Great Gizmos sell and awesome, huge range of toys that are suitable for all ages and I bet the site will be popular come Christmas time as you can get everything in one place. 

You can check out all of their ranges on the Great Gizmos website.

17 November 2013

Play2Learn by TOMY

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We have reviewed some of the Play2Learn range before but are now back with another instalment from our TOMY Toys Official Blogger posts and this time we are doing the animal toys in the Play2Learn range. We were sent 3 toys from the range, Mr Owl Pop Out Puzzles, Peek a Boo Lion Cub and Cheesy Riders and these toys are suitable for children, I would say, around 1-3 years.

Mr Owl Pop Out Puzzles
This toy might look simple but is in fact many toys in one. There are 5 different themed pictures to make and all have a cute little animal on them. The 6th side of the cube has removable pieces for shape sorting. After you have got the animal the correct way you can then press down on Professor Owl’s head and see him blink and then all of the cubes will fall out. 
It is fun an educational as it is all about shapes sorting and learning where each piece goes.

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Peek a Boo Lion Cub
Press down on the lions head and his eyes will close and then music starts to play. Listen along to the soothing tone and then... POP!!! His eyes open and he giggles as the music ends.
I like the fact that even though this toys ins't exactly something you can play with an control loads but it is similar to a jack-in-the-box and will keep children in suspense waiting for the cub to open his eyes and no doubt will have them in fits of giggles when he does so. 

Cheesy Riders
Charlie loves pull along toys and this one is no exception. It has 3 fun mice which bump up and down whilst making a clinking sound as the toy is pulled along.
The mice can also be taken out of their seats and given a shake and they will rattle.
Although this is a fun toy to run around the room with, it is also educational as children can colour match the mice with the correct wheels on their cart and learn which goes where. 

Check out our short video to see each one in use:


These three toys are a big hit in our house, especially with Charlie, and I really do think that over time they will help him with learning his sorting and matching skills so not only does he get a bright, robust, colourful toy to play with but he is learning at the same time.

I can imagine any children beaming with excitement if they received these on Christmas morning.  

13 November 2013

Parenting Myths: Fact or Fiction?

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Over the years, I have heard many parenting myths and have probably adhered to some of them too which not only sound weird but probably are totally made up. Us as parents though, want to do right by our children and bring them up best as possible so when we hear these weird myths, we feel like we need to believe them 'just in case'.
I remember my grandma saying all sorts of weird things to me growing up about what I should and shouldn't do and the consequences if I didn't follow them. Just some of them are:

  • If you eat your crusts you will get curly hair. Well that didn't happen with me as crusts were my favourite part of the loaf of bread and I have straight hair.

  • If you have heartburn when you are pregnant your child will have thick hair when they are born. Against, totally false as I suffered really bad with heartburn when I was pregnant with Thomas and he was born with a minimal amount of hair.

  • Children should be seen and not heard. Really? Are you being serious? That's probably what you would have believed if you'd raised a family 100 years ago and yet I still hear people saying it nowadays. Why should children bee silent? They are children. They should be shouting, screaming, singing, playing, getting dirty and having a great time because those younger years don't last long and eventually they'll be grown up and those years will have passed them by.

  • Carrying your bump high means that you are having a girl if it's low then you are having a boy. Although I don't usually believe myths, this was actually true for me as both my pregnancies I had very low bumps and had boys so I guess this one is correct for me. 


Like in the video above, a big myth was that if children wear shoes, it will help them to walk earlier. I am sorry but I don't agree with this at all. I actually hate seeing babies and small children wearing shoes because they can affect the way their feet grow and can cause lasting damage, especially hard soled footwear, and so my tip is to always let children under 2 go shoe-less or wear soft soled shoes that wont bring on any bad effects.

So, where can you go to get the real facts about parenting and bust those myths. Well CANparent are a new government initiative that are providing high quality parenting classes which will help to support the parenting skills of both mums and dads. The classes can cover things like routines and why they are important for children, why play is important, behaviour solutions and many more interesting topics that are great for parents to know. You can also like them on Facebook to see all of their upcoming classes and get advice too.

Don't believe everything you hear and go on your instincts. You are the parent at the end of the day and you know best.

Now, before I go, let me leave you with my favourite 2 urban myths that my mum use to say to me:

If you play with your bellybutton, your bum will fall off!

Stop pulling faces, if the wind changes it will stay like that!

Isn't it weird that I actually find myself saying these now too!

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11 November 2013

Funky Giraffe Christmas Bibs

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The baby accessories company, Funky Giraffe, have launched their latest exciting designs especially for Christmas. Gorgeous bandanna style bibs that cost £4 but, the more you buy, the cheaper they get and can come to as little as £2 per bib. 

I was happy to see the reasonable prices and so looked into the company a bit more. Funky Giraffe was set up in 2009 by Yasmin Drury who, having worked for a major retailer, she realised just how much they marked up prices. As a mum, she knew that she wanted to produce funky designs at reasonable prices.

And that's exactly what they do. Make cute bibs that are reasonably priced and of a great quality. We were lucky to be sent 2 of their bandanna bibs from their new Christmas range. A lovely red bib with a Christmas tree on it and a white bib with a funky snowman. 

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I loved the fact that they were a bigger fitting than normal bandanna bibs and so will fit for a lot longer and because they had 2 press-studs on each side means that they can be altered in their fitting for newborn babies right up to toddlers. 

The bibs are very bright and bold colours that stand out loads and the red looks extra Christmassy too. The tree and penguin prints are done using water based inks as the company only use inks that are completely non toxic, children will be chewing them and so Funky Giraffe wanted to take extra care when making their bibs to ensure that they were safe. 

I love the designs and they make us all feel extra Christmassy when Charlie is wearing them as it points out that Christmas is, in fact, nearly upon us.

Each of the bibs comes with their unique, Funky Giraffe, label on the side so you know you are getting their great quality bibs, at a competitive price as always and you can see by the stitchings on the side, that they have taken care when making them to make sure the quality is of the highest standard. 

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You can purchase the bibs and any other of their designs on the Funky Giraffe website direct. 

8 November 2013

We've Gone Crabbing!

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Now we don't live anywhere near the coast so we haven't actually been crabbing but we have received some lovely items from Gone Crabbing which are beautiful and great for the upcoming Christmas season. 

Gone Crabbing launched in 2008 by Susie Mason who was inspired by her home county and other coastal resorts she has visited in the UK and thus she created a range of gifts and clothing which shows off the Great British traditions and landscapes. 

Gone Crabbing has its own little crustacean, known as Colin, who features across the whole of the brand.

They have a whole host of items from clothing and beachwear to kitchen aprons and oven gloves. We were lucky to receive 4 items from their ranges. Squeaky clean Soap, Happy Crabby T-Shirt and Great British Dishes Apron and Double Oven gloves. 

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Squeaky clean Soap
The soap features John the Jellyfish on the wrapper and the soap inside produces a rich, creamy lather that smells so refreshing. Made especially for Gone Crabbing at an English soapery in the countryside and not tested on animals, the soap really does clean off all of the days hard work and leaves you with a lovely mango scent to finish. 

Happy Crabby T-Shirt
This t-shirt is actually one from an old collection but due to so many requests for it, Gone crabbing have reintroduced it back into their range. The t-shirt features Colin the crab and is navy in colour. Again, it has been made in the UK like the rest of the Gone Crabbing products. 

Great British Dishes Apron and Double Oven Glove
The Great British Dishes range is a navy set which comprises of an apron and double oven gloves to match. They have many of the nation's most popular dishes sprawled across them, with favourites such as Bangers n Mash. I love the design and think that many others will do too. The oven gloves are thick and very protective and the apron is very large and covers very well so no sneaky spillages will get past to mark clothing. 

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I love the different ranges Gone Crabbing make and think that not only do they promote Great British items but actually make me reminisce about my days on the English beaches as a child. 

The kitchenwares will be perfect gifts for baking mad mums and we all know what important day is coming up soon... Christmas! I am sure to find gifts for a few people from Gone Crabbing and can't wait till the big day arrives. 

You can see the rest of the ranges and items they sell on the Gone Crabbing website

7 November 2013

Aqua Fun from TOMY

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We always use bath toys to try and coax the boys into getting a wash and the Aqua Fun toys from TOMY work well to help ease them into the bath without a fuss. As part of our Official Blogger project, we received 2 of the toys from the Aqua Fun range. The Turtle Tots and the Surfin' Beaver.

Turtle Tots
The Turtle Tots comprises of a mummy turtle with 4 little turtle tots. The turtle tots stick to the mummy turtle's shell with suckers and will also sucker to the bath and tiles too. The tots also squirt water to make bath time extra fun.
Mummy turtle comes apart to reveal 4 different shaped pouring cup legs which are actually its feet. The feet come off and when filled with water, will shower the water out of the little holes. The legs also comprise of different shapes so can be fun and educational when putting the turtle back together by sorting the shapes into the correct places. 

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The boys love this toy as not only do they get to play with them in the bath but they get to sort shapes, sucker toys and squirt water whilst also playing with the mummy turtle which floats along the water.

Surfin' Beaver
The Surfin’ Beaver is a wind up toys that will  paddle along the water using his tail and also sings a little surf song.
I actually love this toy because it is the only electrical toy I have seen for the bath. I was surprised when I realised that it would sing a song whilst in the water. it is brightly coloured and very greatly detailed in design.

The only problem with the Surfin' Beaver is that, even though it is supposed to be a movable toy, when you wind it up it doesn't actually move that far. Check out our video below to see what I mean...


When it is wound full and out of the water, the tail does move very fast but as soon as it hits the water it seems to slow right down and actually doesn't seem strong enough or big enough to give enough power to move the beaver.

Although that is a disappointment to find that it doesn't actually work that well, my sons aren't really bothered as Charlie loves the noise it makes whilst flapping its tail and the cute song it sings whilst floating. 

This is quite a hard review and for a while I have put off writing it because it is difficult to explain that although the beaver doesn't work great, my kids still love it and the Turtle Tots toys is fantastic.

You can see more of the Aqua Fun range on the TOMY website.

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