Crate Creatures Surprise:Review

Anything crazy looking, involving monsters and noise making is always a hit with Frankie and Oscar. Although I hate stereotypes my youngest two are definitely boisterous creatures and are always drawn towards toys that are a little bit naughty.

When I was asked to review ‘Pudge’ from Crate Creatures Surprise I knew they were going to be a big hit.

Pudge arrived caged and padlocked up and the boys took great delight in trying to crack the cage open and release the monster. Frankie could do this with ease and I loved the fact that aside from a few little bits of plastic there was no wasteful packaging as the cage could be used to store your new found friend.

Once freed the boys had a brilliant time pulling at his super long tongue that made his eyes glow bright as he shakes with temper that he has been pulled at! Although you need batteries for Pudge I was pleasantly surprised that there are batteries included to allow for a little play on demo mode which is pretty unusual and very welcome feature.

Just like the boys he is always hungry and pizza is definitely his meal of choice. He calls out to be fed pizza and makes noises of appreciation once he has chomped away.

Any kind of fast movements with him such a flipping and ticking will see Pudge squeal with delight which also had the boys in stitches.

I think one of the favourite features though was the response you get from him when spoken too…it has certainly been a breath of fresh air to have questions aimed at him rather than me!

There are four monsters to collect in total and each one has its own unique character offering a whole host of different features.

There is so much to love about these differnt creatures and they would make an absouotly great gift for both girls and boys.

*collaborated posts

Everlasting Memories With Little Tikes

The whole ethos behind my blog is creating memories with my family and documenting them all to look back over in years to come so nothing is ever forgotten.

However our minds are wonderful things that can store and recall so many precious memories and this is where I really want the children to keep those all important moments and first in their lives.

I’m sure that we all remember the first time we tentatively learnt to ride a bike, the first time we nervously got behind the wheel of a car and the first time we gained the confidence to swim.

A few weeks ago Little Tikes invited us along to Silverstone Race Circuit where I was set to experience a first along with my youngest two – a helicopter ride.

It really was a ‘pinch me’ moment and something I don’t know whether we would have had the chance to experience if it wasn’t for my work and I am extremely grateful for that.

We arrived at the vast Silverstone Race Circuit and we had to pick the boys jaws up from the floor as they gazed out at the super cars and motorbikes racing around the track.

Their eyes then lit up even more when they walked into a room full of Little Tikes toys that kept them happy whilst they awaited their adventure.

The Little Tikes Wheels And Fylerz Range was perfect for my little thrill seekers as the remote controls are designed for little fingers to get to grips with and drive and fly to their hearts content.

With all the hype of their impending helicopter flight they headed straight for the My First Flyer which comes as a red air ambulance and a blue police helicopter. Using the one touch controls the helicopter can take to the air with it’s spinning propeller and wings and the boys played for ages seeing who could get it the highest and the furthest.

From here they moved onto the Tyre Twister Lights which is an amazing remote control police car with lights and sirens that can run around inside or outside the huge tyre.

I think a real favourite of the day though were the Remote Control Bumper Cars. Anything that involves crashing is a hit with my boys…including my husband, so with the aim of the game to get your competitor to fly out of their car this was a very popular.

After a lot of play and a spot of lunch it was time to go for a tour of the Silverstone Circuit. It was amazing to be allowed behind the scenes of this magnificent racetrack that was first used over 70 years ago!

We got to see the Race Control Centre which really is the hub for everything going on around the circuit, we visited the commentators box which was amazing to think off the amount of amazing races that have been witnessed from that very place, we got to go down into the pits which was an amazing experience for me and finally we took to the podium with the classic Little Tikes Cosy Coupe which is always a winner in our eyes!

As if the day hadn’t been full enough we were now going to have an experience like no other and one I was so happy to be able to share with the boys. We were driven to the helipad where we were given our briefing and kitted out with ear defenders in preparation for our flight.

Frankie who is certainly ‘all mouth and no trousers’ had a little wobble but I hurried him along before the nerves really set in! All buckled in the helicopter started up and their was absolute silence from the boys, which if you know them is a rarity! The helicopter started to ascended and we were able to enjoy the stunning views of the circuit and surrounding areas. We spent the flight spotting cars and areas that we had explored whist on the ground and the look on their little faces will be something to treasure for a lifetime.

Back on terraferma it was time to make our way home with a some amazing memories of an amazing day. The boys were also lucky enough to take home a My First Flight helicopter as a memento of the day. I hope that every time they lift that control it will bring back thoughts of their own helicopter trip and they can relive that very moment time and time again.

Cake Smash Time With Layrish Photography

I actually can’t believe its been a year since we welcomed Isla into the world and I became a Grandmother. I have to say that this time has passed even quicker than it did with my own children and because of that capturing and celebrating milestones is something of great importance to me.

When I was asked by Layrish Photography if we would like to take Isla along to a cake smash photoshoot to celebrate her first birthday both Alice and myself were extremely happy to go along.

Layrish Photography offer a whole range of photography sessions from weddings to birthday parties, cake smashes to family photoshoots and so much more. They take place at locations of your choice or for from the comfort of your own home.

Cake smashes are a relatively new concept to me and certainly something I was very happy to experience with Isla as a first for us both.

We were all made to feel at ease as soon as the session began and Isla was eased into the whole process by playing with some toys and chatting before the photography started.

With pretty balloons, bunting and bubbles to distract her attention the first few photos in her pretty dress were taken effortlessly before she became a little restless.
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What better distraction could there be though than a quick change of clothes and the most beautiful cake being placed in front of you!

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A little hesitant a first she poked and prodded around for a while and then dived in…face first!

Isla (27)

I wasn’t long before she got a real taste and was well away digging in with her hands and trusty wooden spoon.

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Once she was sufficiently covered head to toe in cake it was time to wrap up the session and of course sample some of the cake ourselves…I mean it would be rude not to!

If you like the look of this session then I couldn’t recommend it enough for an experience that will stick in our mind for years to come and amazing image to look back over time and time again.

In fact the whole package is finished off beautifully as Layrish Photography send over a stunning case that comes with a handful of images all ready and printed out for you that are tied together with a pretty bow and covered with confetti along with the memory stick continuing all your photos that you can do exactly what you want with.

This was also accompanied with a slideshow that includes live footage of the cake smash that actually bought a tear to my eye when we received it, it was certainly a really lovely and unexpected addition.

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It will certainly be a day to remember for us and I couldn’t recommend it more.

*we were given this session in exchange for this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Pop Out Tulip Easter Card #BostikBloggers

The first glimpses of spring have started to show over the past few weeks from longer evenings and sunny spells to my favourite blooms showing their pretty heads.

Daffodils and tulips are my absolute favs and with Easter not to far away I thought I would create a card that sums up the beauty and brightness of spring with a pop out tulip card for my #BostikBloggers project this month.

Pop Out Tulip Easter Card

What you need:

Ready made blank card and envelope
Yellow card
Green card
Pencil
Glue stick

Firstly take the yellow card and draw the shape of six tulip heads of the same size, then take the green card and draw four leaves and one stem for the bottom of the tulip.

Cut out each of the components and discard of the rubbish.

Take each tulip head and make a fold down the centre of each one, then take the glue stick and apply glue to one side and stick another of the heads to each side.

When they are all attached stick the flower into the top centre of the blank card.

From the bottom on the flower head stick the stem to the card. Then take the leaves and bend them slightly at the top and stick to the bottom of the stem.

Once everyone is in place then the card is complete.

* I was given a craft box from Bostik for the purpose of this review.

Feeling Guilty This Valentines’s Day

The 14th February comes around again and the shops are full to the brim with stuffed toys carrying hearts embellished with heart felt messages,huge bunches of bright red roses and boxes upon boxes of delectable chocolates.

Our Instagram and Facebook feeds are full of gushing posts to loved ones and pictures of romantic dates and gorgeous gifts…then reality hits me that yet again I have made zero effort for the man in my life!

The man that always goes out of his way at this time of year, not with extravagant presents or over priced days out but simply with loving gestures and beautiful words that mean the absolute world to me, even though I don’t let him know this enough.

This year it really hit me that I can’t use the excuse that I’m not romantic and we don’t need a day to celebrate our love as in reality our busy lives find it hard to share a cup of tea together, let alone a entire meal on our own.

So from hear on in I will use this special day to celebrate the kind, loving, thoughtless man I was lucky enough to find all those years ago and make him feel as appreciated as he does me.

Now We Are Six:Happy Birthday Frankie

When I was one, I had just begun.
When I was two, I was nearly new.
When I was three, I was hardly me.
When I was four, I was not much more.
When I was five, I was just alive.
But now I am six, I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six now forever and ever.

A.A. Milne

This was one of my favourite poems from my childhood and now as I’ve grown and become a mother I can relate to the words with each year that passes in my little ones lives and I have to agree that six is a pretty perfect age.

On frankie’s six birthday where his birthday request has simply been, ‘Lego and mussels’ I look on in wonder at the beautiful little boy he has become in those six short years.

He is certainly my most vibrant child that has a charater and tenacity that is heartwarming and alluring and his charming personality never fails to fill a room.

He is strong willed, determined and passionate and although this obviously comes with its challenges I wouldn’t change it for the world.

In fact it was his head strong ways that saw my big birthday plans of a trip to a Lego exhibition in town for him come crashing down when he insisted on a simple day of softplay with his little brother and a lunch of mussels to finish.

Shop Small And Share The Love This Christmas

Christmas lists have been written and people are heading to the high street in droves and spending many an hour sat staring at a laptop filling their virtual baskets with very little thought behind where each of these presents is coming from…many will also think does it really matter?

We are all looking to get value for money and ease of purchase and very rarely take five minutes to search independent shops that offer so much more than the big chain stores.

Small business offer you something completely different to just a straight transaction. There is a little bit of love send with each order, a personal touch with each package and that warm feeling inside knowing the fact you are helping to build someones dream.

When they package arrives through your door beautifully packaged, usually with a little handwritten note inside it makes the experience so different and so worthwhile.

Over the past few years I have found a real love for many small business, most of which I have stumbled upon on scrolling through Instagram and not only do I get fabulous products with amazing customer service, I have built good friendships with many which makes a huge difference to my whole shopping experience.

I have listed a few of my favs below and I highly recommend you go and check them out:

Five Boys Clothing:Five Boys Clothing is an amazing online store that I came across a couple of years ago now. They turn the stereotypical thought the all boys clothing is boring on its head and offer an amazing range of cool clothes and quirky gifts that would bring a smile to any face if they were tucked under the tree this year.

My boys are absolutely in love with Lego and its the only toy they go back to again and again. However somethings they could do with something a little different to create and this is where the Brikkon Ninja Temple is a brilliant gift.

The easy to assemble wooden structure can be put together and then covered with Lego bricks from your own collections. It really allows children to use their own imaginations and create whatever they want.

Little Gnashers: Mine may be past the teething stage now but it dosent mean I can’t enjoy the contempery designs of Little Gnashers teething jewellery.

The fab necklace pictured here would be perfect to cheer up any outfit and still keeps my youngest one occupied whist out and about.

Handmade in London these necklaces come in a huge range of colours and shapes and can be mixed and matched to create the perfect combination for you.

Kids LDN: Kids LDN is a brand that is relatively new to me but has had me hooked since I first caught sight of them on Instagram.

Their bold colours and edgy designs give a quirky look that suits my youngest two’s personalities perfectly and certainly makes them stand out in the crowd.

Oscar and Frankie are both the proud owners of these super cool beanies that not only keep them toasty but also puts a smile on their face with every wear.

Sweetpea Pantry: Getting the kids in the kitchen is something that is very important to me along with trying my hardest to make good food choices.

Sweetpea Pantry have come up with a fantastic range of mixes that allow little ones to prepare delicious, nutritious goodies that are fun to make and soooo good to eat.

These mixes would be perfect to keep the children busy over the holidays and what could be better then getting them involved with the present giving by getting them to make some delicious gifts.

Sidneyboo: If you are looking for fun clothes for boys and girls under the age of 10 then this is the place to come.

Sidneyboo has been on my list of favs for a long time now as their clothes are so wearable which is a big must for my very active family. I love clothes that allow kids to be kids and Sidneyboo offer just this.

One item that I go back to time and time again are their Individual sweaters like the ‘trail’ footprint sweater.

Its cosy fit and fab colours make it a real favourite of ours.

Have you opted to shop small this Christmas? If so I would love for you to give a shout out to some of your favourite brands.

* I was given these items for the purpose of this gift guide and they are all my own, honest options and I’m sure you would share the same love as me too!

Keeping The Magic Of Christmas Alive At Lapland UK

Do you remember the wonder that each sparkling light on the christmas tree would behold, how the smell of the fresh pine needles used to fill the house and your heart with such excitement, how every sip of warm hot chocolate and each bite of your delicious mince pie would fill your tummy not only with good food but with butterflies from the anticipation of the arrival of Father Christmas each and every year.

As we get older sadly these feelings dwindle and our hopes and expectations of christmas change and the magic slowly fades away.

However once we are blessed with the gift of children this magic fills our hearts once more as we see the wonder through our children’s eyes.

I have soaked up every moment of my children’s twitchy fingers as they try to adoren the tree with the delicate decorations, looked on in wonder at each and every nativity play as the stand their fumbling through the words of those heart warming christmas carols and for me one of the most magical moments is clinging onto their wriggly bodies as they stand in line to see meet the big man himself…Father Christmas.

All these moments are precious yet sadly as fleeting as our own and each and every year I try my upmost to keep the magic alive for as long as possible.

Familiar traditions such as baking the Christmas cake and writing letters to Father Christmas all help with this but as with anything as children grow and their knowledge widens the belief in Father Christmas begins to be questioned and I can honestly say that the reality of having a non-believer has always been way harder on me than it has been for them.

If there was a place you could visit that was as magical and as mysterious as the thought of Father Christmas himself then surly this would help keep the magic alive for that little bit longer would it not?

This is what I has high hope of when we were asked along to Lapland UK last weekend. In its tenth year now I have never heard a negative comment about anyones trip and after meeting the charming husband and wife team Alison and Mike at an event last month I knew that the love and passion that came across as they spoke so fondly of their creation was going to shine trough on our trip.

I decided for my sanity to leave telling the children about our trip until the day before we left. I am completely at fault when it comes to making the children little balls of excitement as this time of year but even I couldn’t take how excited they were going to be on hearing they would be going on the trip.

The invitations get sent through the post in a beautiful presentation box with each child having a personal invitation, complete with a gorgeous wax seal.

The box itself can be placed in the freezer to make for a gust of cold air when they open it up which Frankie was absolute amazed with and went rushing over to the window to see if he could see the tail end of Father Christmas’s reindeers that must have just delivered them.

That night was like putting the children to bed on Christmas Eve, the excitment was immense and after reading The Untold Story Of Father Christmas which is written by the founders and is the perfect way to get them familiar with the lovable charters they would be meeting the next day, they finally settled.

We couldn’t believe our luck when we woke to snow the next morning and as we came off the motorway and drove a short way through snow covered woods it really couldn’t have been a more magical build up to or visit.

A short walk from the carpark we arrived at a beautiful snow covered building where we checked in with the friendly elf and enjoyed a quick snack before our tour started.

It wasn’t long before it was our turn to be guided through the huge bookcase into a magical enchanted forest where we were told the story of how each tiny pinecone turns into a elf that then helps out with making all the toys for Father Christmas to deliver.

This is also what our children had been enrolled to do and as we were about to set off to take up the challenge the huge set of doors was slowly opens to reveal a cascade of snow and a stunning snow covered walkway.

Once inside the workshop the children were all settled at work benches where they has the job of stuffing super cute polar bears ready for delivery on Christmas Eve. This could have lead to many tears and tantrums as the toys were not for them to keep, however the story had been told so well and their role for the day described perfectly so there was not one tear or moan from any of the children in the room.

After all their hard work we then made our way to meet Mother Christmas in her kitchen; the kitchen was snug and cosy and the warmth from Mother Christmas was infectious. The children carefully decorated their gingerbread trees and packed them away to hang from their own trees once they got home and then settled down to a story read by Mother Christmas herself whist the parents got the chance to snack on a delicious biscuit themselves.

When all the work was over we had free reign of the village where you could grab something good to eat and drink or like us get tempted by a few to many sweets in the sweet shop. We picked up a small gift in the shop that really was a child’s dream with a huge selection of gifts and of course not to be missed a trip to the ice rink.

Skating is really not my forte and although I braved it I stayed pretty much in one spot while the children fearlessly skated off with their Dad. Oscar was over the moon as ice skating is normally of the agenda for him as he is only three, but with the help of some super cool strap on skates and the aid of a penguin he was well away.

It was now time for the most anticipated part of the day…our trip to Father Christmas. The walk to the grotto held yet more beautifully snow covered pathways, the cutest of little elf homes and of course a stop off to visit the reindeers where we also got the chance to help out with preparing their food.

We had a very short wait until the children names were called and we were lead to his Grotto, the doors opened and the beaming smile from the big, jolly man filled the beautifully decorated room.

The children sat next to him, hanging on his every word in complete awe. The heart melting moment for me though was the look on the children’s faces when he spoke bout each one individually, letting out little snippets of their lives that they never imagined he would ever know.

Mouths aghast at what they had just experienced and me with tears in my eyes I know that there is no way that this visit could ever be topped and will certainly never be forgotten.

The attention to detail at every point is unbelievable, there wasn’t a queue in sight and the whole day ran seamlessly. But I think what stood out most for me was I didn’t hear a moan, a cross word or a cry from any child all day which is certainly a first for us and just shows that the whole experience is put together with the childs enjoyment being the top priority.

I experienced this day with children aged from fifteen to three and each and everyone felt and shared the magic of this wonderful place. Archie integrated with his younger siblings and loved every minute of watching their delight as we did and although he is way past the age of believing it was still an amazing experience for him.

The one that I most wanted to see the reaction of was Izzy though as the start of High School has already had an effect on her and her belief has been waining since last year, yet the sparkle in her eye and the smile on the face after this trip has given me at least one more year of magic with her and for that I will be forever grateful.

*we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Gifts For Teens From Prezzybox.com

Teens and pre-teens are notoriously the hardest group of people to buy for, and for me it’s especially hard when it comes to little stocking fillers for Christmas morning.

Mine always have a stocking until well into their teens so that nobody is left out from that exciting treat of dipping into the long sock filled with goodies.

This year I have got together with prezzybox.com and managed to find some fun, affordable and quirky gifts for Izzy and Archie that I know they are going to absolutely love.

Izzy who is twelve loves anything pink, glittery or social media related and they had gifts aplenty to fit this.

The Iris The Unicorn Travel Mug which will be perfect for keeping warm in this freezing weather, a Neon Magic Hairbrush that is a super vibrant colour that fits perfectly inside her schoolbag and the one that I think is going to be a favourite is a Selfie Light that attaches to the back of your phone to create that perfect selfie.

Archie the moody teen who has just turned fifteen is now and has always been so hard to buy for. I love the fact that he rarely asks for gifts, but this is not much help when trying to get ready for Christmas.

However it only took a few minutes to find some gifts that were just perfect for him.

What teen doesnt love sweets! well mine certainly do and the tub of Personalised Retro Sweets is going to go down a storm I’m sure. Next up was a set of six Emoji Golf Balls that come in three different colours with a cool emoji on each ball. Lastly he was a real fan of the fidget spinner when the craze hit a few moths ago so I went one better with the Baffle Puzzle that is a little like a Rubik cube in a cylindrical shape.

Prezzybox.com not only caters for teens but for all different ages, genders and occasions and can be easily ordered from the comfort of your home to avoid that manic high street shopping. It’s the perfect site to stock up on different gifts at this time of year and there really is something for everyone.

* I was gifted these products for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Home Of Black Friday Pop-Up Experience With Amazon

Christmas is well on the way now and for many of us the worry of being able to get everyone their much longed for gifts is something that is hard to deal with.

Christmas is a truly magical time of year but the pressures of financing everything can make this happy time dampened by the pressure.

There are however ways around this with Black Friday being one of the best ways to save a fortune in the run up to Christmas.

Amazon are streets ahead when it comes to Black Friday and have taken things a step further this year with a super quirky pop-up experience in the heart of Soho Square to celebrate.

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch last night where we got the chance to see what is going to be on offer and listen to the thoughts behind Black Friday from retail expert – Clare Bailey.

Claire was explaining that for most of us over the years we have realised that giving money is a better option of gifting as the January sales start the minute Christmas finishes and all those gifts we have spend our hard earned money on are dramatically reduced.

However there is no thought or love behind gifting people with cash so being able to make huge savings before christmas is a great way to allow people to enjoy giving an actual gift.

The pop-up shop is a way of showcasing over 100 curated Black Friday deals with the addition of being able to try out games in their super cool games room, take part in games for your chance to win some great prizes and partake in workshops from Amazon Handmade Artisans, YouTube stars and TV chefs.

I had a wonderful evening meeting talented sellers from Amazon Marketplace such as the lovely Lavinia the owner of Lavolio who makes delicious and beautifully packaged handmade chocolates. And the guys behind Cozy Glow candles that would certainly give that well know candle male a run for their money!

They have such passion for their brand which makes their products so much more appealing.

One room in the shop was set up like a beauty salon where I was treated to a hair makeover from GHD and tried out some fabulously vibrant Max Factor lipstick that lasts for an amazing 24 hours.

The shop is open from 12.30-7.30 from Tuesday 21st November until Friday 24th November and is certainly worth a trip for a fantastically interactive shopping experience and some fantastic bargains.