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

Pizza Making And Doughnut Decorating At The Num Noms Series 5 Launch

We kicked off our half term in a pretty spectacular way when we headed off to the Good Housekeeping Institute to celebrate the launch of the Num Noms Series 5.

For those of you that haven yet heard of Num Noms(where have you been) they are a range of collectibles that have been made to look and smell like food. They come in a whole range of different forms from lip glosses to nail polishes and so much more.

We were introduced to these cute little characters a while ago now and all three of my youngest have been really taken with them.

As we arrived at the Good Housekeeping Institute the celebrations were already starting and the entrance was covered with pretty balloons and we were welcomed with lots of friendly faces and so much for busy fingers to do!

The kids got stuck in straight away and loved seeing the new additions to an already great range. The most popular addition for my lot is definitely the lip glosses and they spent ages creating their own flavour.

It wasn’t long before we took to our seats and the event kicked off with an introduction from Nickelodeon’s Nigel Clarke. The first part of the day was pizza making, as the ingredients were being past round a room full to the brim with children I was more than a little anxious about how this would go, but the children were thoroughly engaged and enjoyed every minute of making their very own creations.

While their pizzas were cooking away they got the chance to make up some fruit kebabs which was pretty similar to the way Num Noms can be stacked and arranged which makes them a great for keeping little fingers occupied.

It really was a day full of experiencing, making and tasting different foods in different ways and I think one of the highlights of the day was hopping on a push bike that had a smoothie maker attached and cycling away to make our very own fruit smoothies.

Izzy however was a little preoccupied by the fact that Chloe Medows and Chloe Chloe Lewis from ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ were there and took half the afternoon plucking up the courage to ask for a selfie with them!

The last activity of the day though probably brought a bigger smile to my face than it did to the kids – doughnut decorating.

The kids were presented with two huge ring doughnuts each that they were then given free reign to decorate as they wished. Covered with all kinds of sweets and fab Num Nom stickers they all looked incredible.

After such an immense day the children were knocked off their feet again by taking home a goodie bag full to the brim with Num Noms goodies that they couldn’t resist opening on the train which made for a pretty messy journey home!

I know that mine were ecstatic about the new Series 5 and if you have a lover of collectables like me then check them out ‘here‘.

Family Photography Workshop With Sharp Shots Photography Club

It was a few years ago when I first met the lovely Lillian Spibey from Sharp Shots Photography Club whist she was running Sharp Shots Photography Club workshop at Priory Farm in Surrey. Lilian in fact runs the UK’s largest kids and teens photography company and has taught over 2000 students aged between 7-15. The courses run after school and on site at numerous locations across the south East of England.

Izzy chose this course as her birthday gift as her passion for photography had just started to take hold and she enjoyed every single minute of it!

She came away with a firm vision of where she wanted her new found skills to take her and has been putting them into practice ever since.

Im sure that Izzy’s love of photography has been passed down by me as since I started my blog a little over three years ago now photography is the biggest and most loved part of it.

When I first started all I was armed with was my IPhone and no clue of how to take a photo at all. Over the years I have upgraded to my beloved Olympus Pen, followed countless photographers on Instagram and just gone with what I think would make a good picture.

I really feel that from the start of my blogging journey my photography has improved but I had got to the point when some professional intervention was needed as there were things I just couldn’t get the knack of no matter how hard I tried.

So when I was approached by Lilian to come along to a workshop she was putting on for bloggers and their children I was over the moon.

We headed off early to meet everyone in London where Lilian greeted us with her calm and welcoming manner which put us all at ease and eager to get some tips from the experts.

Sharp Shots Photography Club aims to provide you with life long photography skills teaching you how to use your digital camera along with composition skills to allow you to take the best photo you can.

We all sat around in a large group where I was very happy to see the lovely Emily from Family Four Fun who had also come along. Each person introduced themselves and told us what they were hoping to gain from the day which was lovely as their were such a wide variety of aims with a lot of them involving the need to know the basics which is where we started.

I know for me this was of upmost importance as I have to admit since getting my camera over two years ago I have been pretty scared to use anything other than auto and I was really eager to move away from this. Izzy was just excited to explore her surrounding and get snap happy around the park.

Lilian started with the theory side of things and we got the chance to see how other photographers put different techniques to use in their style of photography and the mechanics behind how the camera actually works which was extremelly interesting. Her background and passion for what she does makes her the perfect teacher and things that I have found daunting before were made so much simpler through her explanations.

We learnt to master the basics such as shutter speed, how to focus, depth of field and how to get the most out of your pictures by putting yourself in different positions to get that perfect angle.

For me it was all about getting something different from my photography. I feel I always opt for a close up as this is what I feel most comfortable with and it was great to be able to try out different shutter speeds to gain some fantastic images with the passing traffic and pretty ribbons.

Cameras are amazing pieces of equipment that can give you such a different perspective on the same scene and I am so pleased that I have now been armed with the knowledge to try different things out.

I think though what I gained most from this workshop is how differently children take to new things. I was certainly very tentative about changing my style and was apprehensive about taking a step away from what I am used to; where as Izzy embraced it all with our any apprehension and gained some wonderful images because of just that.

Below I have left a section of her favourite shoots from the day, ones that I am extremely proud of.

Going over my own photos I’ve been pretty critical, but have learnt from the kids to be more gun hoe with my approach and will certainly be trying out my new found knowledge a lot more in the future. Here are a few of my favs from the day.

We both came away from the day with our heads bursting with new ideas and even more passion for photography! Izzy can’t wait to sign up to another course this summer and I am hoping on getting on another one too!

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Twenty One

It has been a pretty quiet week which has made it perfect for my ‘Celebrating The Small Things’ series.

My Little Personal Shopper – Over the years clothes shopping on the High Street has become somewhat of a distant memory for me.

With the rise and ease in internet shopping and the number of children I had increasing the lure of shoppers by centres became less and less and now nearly all of my clothing purchases are done online.

The other day I had to get some last minute bits before our camping trip which ended up being a thoroughly enjoyable trip with Oscar.

We chatted over a babychino, stocked up on goodies for our trip and my most memorable moment was Oscar picking out outfits for me and giving his expert opinion on what looks good and what not so!

Daisy Chains – Sometimes the simple things in life pass us by and one thing that I hadn’t done for such a long time was to make a daisy chain. It’s such a simple task and the kids absolutely loved it.

How We Eat – The other day was actually a pretty big one as we had Mumset come into our home to film the way we eat as a family.

This was a pretty nerve wrecking experience as my kids can be pretty unpredictable at times and goodness knows what little gems they could have come out with!

Although the day was a huge thing for all of us I came away from the day extremely thankful of the fact I get to share dinner time with all my crazy loons!

Taking To The Ice With Disney On Ice and Frankie Bridge

I hold my hands up and can honestly say that I am the worst ice skater you are ever likely to see! Every christmas I head out with the kids and try my hardest to soak up the festive atmosphere whilst clinging onto the side of the rink for dear life!

With this in mind when an email hit my inbox inviting me along to Queens Ice Rink to skate with some of the stars from Disney On Ice and Frankie Bridge I knew that Izzy would be over the moon at the thought of this and I would have to face my fears!

We arrived at the rink and Izzy’s face lit up as we were handed a pair of beautiful white skates in preparation for our session and while Izzy was itching to get out onto the vastness of the huge rink I was coming out in a cold sweat.

Everyone took to the ice and after a few stumbles seemed to take to it pretty well. Izzy was off within minutes and left me to fumble along behind her.

The experts then joined us and I was guided round the ice by an extremely patient instructor who gave me a little more confidence but still didn’t manage to stop me falling spectacularly on more than one occasion…much to the embarrassment of my daughter.

The real stars of the show then showed us all how it was really done and span, twirled and lifted in a way that I could only ever dream of.

I definitely think the highlight of the afternoon though was getting the chance to meet and skate with the lovely Frankie Bridge. Izzy has been a fan of hers since her Saturdays days so getting the chance to meet her whilst skating was just the best treat.

She was warm and welcoming and fantastic with the little ones, even if she did take the mickey out of my skills!

Her talents are going to make a very welcome addition to the new Disney On Ice show – Worlds Of Enchantment that is set to start this April and we can’t wait to get along to see and tell you all about.

I came away from the afternoon with a little more confidence on the ice and a daughter who now has her heart set on being the next Disney princess on ice and left the rink clutching her boots exclaiming she is going to cherish them forever.

Mr Men And Little Miss Tea Party With Mi-Pac

Our half term was pretty horrendous due to being housebound with coughs and colds for the majority of it. Thankfully though good health was restored just in time for us to attend the Mr Men and Little Miss Tea Party at Maggie And Rose in Kensington that had been put on to celebrate the launch of the fantastic new Mr Men and Little Miss range from Mi-Pac.

We arrived to rooms full to the brim with Mr Men themed activities from crafting to face painting, plenty of Mr Men books to settle down and read and the highlight of the day – the opportunity for the children to get their very own personalised illustration from Adam Hargreaves who has taken over from his infamous Father – Roger Hargreaves.

All worn out from all the fun the children settled to a scrumptious tea before taking a look at the brand new range of Mi-Pac bags that were a huge hit!

Mi-Pac wasn’t a brand I knew a lot about until today and I was massively impressed with not only the super cool new designs but the high quality make of the bags and their attention to detail.

The tough faux-leather of the multi character bag is perfect for my little ones as its perfect for my carefree children who are pretty reckless when it comes to looking after their bags, the adjustable, padded shoulder straps allow little ones to carry their bag with ease or the top carry handle is perfect for parents to take over when they’ve has enough!

My pre-teen was particularly drawn to the fact the bag had an internal pocket that is the perfect size for a laptop and a small front pocket to home all those little bits and pieces you need to get at quickly.

The cool and quirky new range is eye catching and fun as well as being super practical and has had people stop me to ask where they are from countless times already.

Take a look HERE for the full range they have available.

I have to say though my day was absolutely made when I was gifted my very own personalised Little Miss bag that has become a much cherished item from this amazing afternoon.

All The Hugs From The Teletubbies For National Hugging Day

Today started with two very excited little boys boarding the train full of excitement to celebrate National Hugging Day with the Teletubbies and enjoy a special screening of their new DVD release – Teletubbies: Follow The Leader which is out on DVD now.

We arrived at Sony Pictures and were greeted with a a room full of brightly coloured balloons, sumptuous food and a gaggle of very excited tots.

It wasn’t long before the room was filled will roars of excitement as Laa-Laa and Po entered and dished out hugs to their loyal fans.

Full up and eager to see what the new DVD had to offer we made our way to our seats where I was amazed at how the first few seconds of the episodes starting silenced the whole theatre, which is no mean feat when you consider over half of the audience was of pre-school age.

We sat through two new episodes from the Teletubbies that didn’t fail to impress. The bubbly, familiar characters filled the screen and lead us through their adventures from chasing shooting stars to taking a ride on our favourite Tubby Custard Train.

The fun didn’t stop here and after the screening the children got the chance to get their faces painted, take part in making some crafts and the amazing opportunity to meet Jessica Smith who was the first ever ‘Sun Baby’ and dance along with her, Laa-Laa and Po.

The Teletubbies have gone from strength to strength over the past twenty years and have managed to retain their lovable characters whilst still moving with the times which is something that many childrens shows fail to do and I’m sure they will be around to entertain both children and adults for many years to come.

Tootsa MacGinty:Bold, Comfy and Perfect For Kids

‘I wanted to offer an alternative to the sea of pinks and blues, whilst also being practical, easy care, quality clothing. A unisex range which doesn’t limit a child and and lets a child be a child.’

These are the wise words of Tootsa MacGinty owner – Kate Pietrasik and are the exact thoughts that have run through my mind so many times whilst out shopping with my little ones.

As a mum of five I know how each and every child is so wonderfully different and not one of mine has fallen into a box that goes with those stereotypical tags that are in place when it comes to choosing clothing for girls and boys.

I have two little boys that have a huge love for pink and neither of my girls have been big fans of pink, frilly dresses so to find a brand that allows them to chose what they like without the worry of choosing something from ‘the wrong’ section is a breath of fresh air and this is exactly what Toota offer.

Their bold patterns and striking colours make this brand stand out from the crowd and the comfortable, wearable design and fit are perfect for active little ones.

My boys were lucky enough to be sent some items from Tootsa and they certainly put them through their paces.

The Newfoundland Lumberjack Jacket has been pretty much surgically attached to them since it arrived!

The bright checked print and cosy fluffy lining bring a more wearable addition to the usual denim jacket for this time of year and we have been stopped on more than one occasion to ask where they are from.

We love layering in this house as being on the go all the time and going from being cosy inside to hitting the great outdoors several times a day we need clothes to suit every eventuality.

Tootsa has a great collection of cosy sweatshirts to help with this. There is a whole host of different colours and patterns To choose from. The boys absolutely love their Toronto Sweatshirt covered in eskimos and totem poles that is perfect for this time of year.

Lastly we tried out their Classic Slimfit Jeans. This was a bit of a change for me as I always opt of super skinny jeans for all the children and I ordinarily don’t like the fit of any other styles, but I was very pleasantly surprised by these.

The looser fit that tapers in at the ankle was a great style and makes for a great wardrobe staple.

The thing that really draws me to Tootsa clothing though is their attention to detail and quality make in every piece.

From patches on the pockets to flashes of fabric in the turn-ups they have thought of everything to make for happy parents and happy kids alike!

* We were sent these items for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

PlayStation Family Showcase

Gaming is something that has never really grabbed my attention for any length of time and aside from playing Packman and Tetris when I was younger I have never really given it a lot of thought.

This however is the complete opposite for my eldest son who is an avid gamer and in fact has been trying to convince me for the last two years that gaming is a viable career and a path that he really wants to follow.

With this in mind when I got the invitation to Playstation’s Family Showcase I was hoping that they would open my eyes to something I know very little about.

Walking into the event at the cool and quirky Perseverance Works in East London the boys eyes lit up and neither of them new where to start first.

The whole area was set out into different sections with a huge variety of games to try your hand at, plenty of refreshments to keep you refulled and if you fancied a bit of a break from the screen time then there were lots of crafts to keep you busy and some yummy cupcakes to decorate with lovely Cookie Girl.

The boys quickly found the NBA 2K17 basketball game and sat together playing whist I grabbed a coffee and chatted to the hilarious Ellie from ‘Scummy Mummies’ who was there to host the event.

Archie seemed to quickly find his favourite games FIFA17 and the super cool Gran Truismo and settled down to challenge the experts that were walking round to help out with any tech questions…there were more than a few from me!

Frankie however was overwhelmed with the choice and flitted backwards and forwards between games such a the fabulous new Lego Ninago Movie game that really bought one of his favourite movies alive in front of his eyes, Marvel Superheroes that went down a treat as he got to play some of his favourite superheroes and Crash Bandicoot which was in fact one of the first games I ever bought Archie.

There were even two fantastic games – That’s You and Knowledge Of Powergames that allow the whole family play together with the use your smart phones or tablets to answer questions and really interact together that would make the perfect alternative to the usual board games this christmas!

Watching the boys play together and make new friends by joining up and using the two player option on the games really made me see gaming in a different light. I had always seen it as a solitary pastime that kept them very isolated when in fact games can help team building skills, make healthy competition and create social skills. All of these things I had never really considered before.

I think the boys christmas lists have certainly grown since this event and I would definitely advise any of you to check out some of the games I’ve mentioned as they would make super gifts for any gamers out there.

PJ Masks Halloween Party

Could there be a more perfect start to half term then a combination of super heroes and halloween all rolled into one big party.

This is exactly what we were lucky enough to experience when we went along to the Picturehouse Central last week for the PJ Masks halloween party.

Balloons, banners and just about everything you could think of related to PJ Masks filled the room and hoards of excited children dressed as their favourite characters played with the super new PJ Masks products, crafted and danced along to a fantastic session put on by Diddi Dance.

Diddi Dance are in-fact hosting a week long ‘PJ Masks Super Dance Party’ from 30th October-5th November throughout all their branches in aid of the Youth Sports Trust.

As if this wasn’t enough excitement we were then surprised by the arrival of all the ‘real’ PJ Masks’ Oscar was absolutely over the moon!

They then all joined us for for a yummy lunch before we headed off to the screening of the brand new episodes that are set to hit our screens in the spring.

The action packed episodes will still see the same familiar characters with the addition of some new and exciting characters to bring even more fun to the hugely popular shows!

The boys exclaimed the they had had the best day ever and came away with the goody bag of dreams that they are still working their way through now.

PJ Masks really are going from strength to strength and with some great products that have just been launched in time for christmas and some brilliant new episodes coming in the new year their is so much for fans to look forward too.