My First Baby Annabell:Review And Giveaway

When it comes to dolls in this house there is certainly no gender stereotyping and the boys have loved playing with them just as much as the girls.

The biggest dolly fan though has definitely been Oscar and I love the benefits he gets from playing from them:

Learning Caring And Nurturing Skills – Looking after a dolls allows them to consider the needs of others such as – are they warm enough, do they need feeding, do they need changing.

Building fine Motor Skills – Having to line the bottle up feed the baby, putting on clothing andchanging the nappy are all great ways build their fine motor skills.

Using Their Imagination – The limits are endless to the way they can use their imaginations and role play with dolls. They can build all kinds of scenarios and let their imaginations run wild.

Oscar has built up a pretty good collection of dolls, but what he really wanted was one that can be taken around easily and for me something that is not to heavy and bulky for me to cart around when they’ve had enough!

My First Annabell’s baby brother arrived the other day and Oscar immediately fell in love with him. The squishy body makes him great to cuddle and being a smaller doll than the original Baby Annabell he is perfect to sit on the little ones lap for them to feed with a bottle

He fits easily into my handbag so when Oscar get fed up with parenting I can pack him away easily.

He arrives with a bottle for feeding and is dressed in a pretty, light blue baby grow with matching hat.

He would make the perfect first doll for any child, or a great addition when you want an easily transported doll.

If you want to win one of your very own then please feel free to enter the completion below.

Good Luck!

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Dinosaurs In The Wild:Review

Sunday got off to a fraught start as usual with me dragging children through central London at 100 miles per hour due to the fact we were running ridiculously late on our way to the Greenwich Peninsula to experience the new immersive walk through experience – Dinosaurs In The Wild.

After a quick dash to get our tickets wee headed straight to the start of the experience where we were handed 3D glasses and prepared to get ourselves ready to transport back in time to the Chronotex research station.

The time machine saw us encounter all sorts of hurdles on its mission, but we arrived safe and well and in perfect time to explore the labs.

We stayed in each lab for around 10 mins which was the perfect time for inquisitive hands and minds to stay occupied without getting bored and distracted. Each section had the children transfixed to everything that was going on and i didn’t hear a moan or a groan from my own or any of the other children at all.

They got to see a huge beating heart of a Alamosauraus, get really hands on by touching ‘real’ dinosaur poo and teeth, watching baby dinosaurs hatching and the feeding time of lot of bigger dinosaurs too.

Oscar was really taken with a baby dinosaur that was brought out for them to see and got pretty upset that he couldn’t the one home!

The climax of the event took pace in the Lookout at the very top of the research station and I don’t want to spoil the experience by letting you know what goes on. All I will say is that its not for the faint hearted and although the age rating is 5+ I would say if your little ones are sensitive souls then this is something to consider.

Oscar who is 4 went through pretty unfazed but bolshy Frankie was soon put in his place by the whole experience.

I loved every minute of our trip and the set up left nothing uncovered. The charaters stayed in role fabulously throughout and keep the children involved and engaged for the entire 70 mins. The set and models were so lifelike that the children at not point doubted we have travelled back thousands of years through time and completely believed each and every moment.

The experience is running until the end of July 2018 and whether you are a dinosaur fan or not this is one not to be missed!

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

Knoppers Treat Snack:Review

Chocolate is by far my biggest vice. I can walk on by a packet of crisps and pretty easily pass up the offer of a glass of wine, but when it comes to chocolate, especially that of the nutty variety I can very rarely hold back!

The same can be said for all of my children so I would say we are all pretty knowledgable about the subject. So when we were asked to try out Knoppers(I can’t help but giggle at the name) it wasn’t an offer to be passed up.

Knoppers are squares of crispy baked wafers held together with milky hazelnut wafers and topped with a chocolate coating.

The best way for me to describe the snack is a deconstructed Ferrero Rocce. It is literally all the mouthwatering components of a Ferrero Roche and formed into a handy square that makes the perfect snack for in between meal times.

The creamy, nutty layers work perfectly with the crisp wafer and is set off wonderfully with the extra chocolate layer…I mean you really can’t ever have to much chocolate can you!

We have been enjoying these treats at home with a glass of milk and on the go as they are so easy to slip inside a handbag which allows you to satisfy the moans of the little ones hunger pangs with ease.

At only 50p per snack they are super affordable and can be picked up at a whole host of convinenece and impulse stores nationwide, so keep your eye out for them and let me know what you think.

* Collaborated post.

Peter Rabbit Movie:Review

If the tales of Peter Rabbit conjure up thoughts of a mischievous little bunny in a blue jacket, an angry gardener going by the name of Mr Mcgregor all based in a quintessentially english garden then the new Peter Rabbit movie will bring you all of this along with a few new characters and adventures thrown in!

I was lucky enough to go along to a screening the other afternoon with Oscar…much to the annoyance of the other kids to see first hand if the movie lived up to its huge expectations.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the amazing use of CGI when it came to the super cute bunnies, their fluffy little faces really came to life and were hard to tell apart from the real thing.

The movie follows the timeless classic tale of the feud between Peter Rabbit and Mr McGregor and their long running battle over the ownership of the vegetable patch which in this new adaptation see the sudden death of the evil old man(could be a tricky one to explain to the kids, although it went over Oscar’s head), much to the delight of Peter and his siblings Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail.

Celebrations commence with a rowdy party hosted by Peter himself which involves all the surrounding wildlife taking over Mc Gregors home and partying the night away whist completely trashing the place.

Mr Tod the sly fox was left in a sorry state slumped in the bathroom with a shaved chest, tiny were hedgehogs being used as darts and Peter Rabbit himself was playing lord of the manner whist charming the ladies. This is all a far cry from the traditional tale but bought laughs a plenty to the audience.

The celebrations were short lived when Tom McGregor the nephew of Mr McGregor arrives to take charge of his newly inherited property. The garden feud continues with the younger, more sprightly counterpart who tests Peter’s light fingered ways and gives him a real run for his money whilst both battling for the affections of Mr Mcgregors beautiful, kind hearted neighbour which makes for an explosive end to the film!

The catchy up to date tunes and slapstick humour are all a far cry from the stories 19th centuries origins, but there are highlights back to the tales original identity through the film which is a lovely touch and allows you to relate back to familiar and much loved characters.

The movie has shot into the 21st century with rapping birds, booby traps that are far more advanced than the original garden sieve method of capture and a little romance thrown in for good measure makes for a family movie that will make a perfect treat this Easter.

Cetraben Skincare:Review

This house is home to a few sensitive soles of the skin variety and this has come with its challenges over the years.

My skin causes problems with seasonal changes but is pretty easy to manage even if it can be a bit of a pain. A good thick moisturiser usually gets the problem sorted and I don’t have to worry to much about it.

My husband and youngest two however have extremely problematic skin that has caused them a huge host of problems from itchiness that is so bad they can’t sleep, weeping skin that has lead to infections and for Frankie even the extremes of hospitalisation to get the problems sorted.

I actually thought that we must have tried every single emollient on the market until Cetraben asked me if I would like to try out some products from their range.

This actually couldn’t have come at a better time as this harsh weather has caused all of us to have varying degrees of problems that need some attention.

Cetraben is a range that has been developed especially for dry, problematic, eczema prone skins and works by re-hydrating the skin and protecting it from all those nasties that can cause irritation.

The mixture of light paraffin wax, white, soft paraffin wax and glycerin work together to replace lost oils from the skin, provide deep moisturisation and form a protective barrier across the surface of the skin.

The first product we tried was the Cetraben Daily Cleansing Cream that can be used either as a body wash in the bath or applied afterwards like a moisturiser.

I found this perfect to use during bath time for the boys as they are not fans of having to stand there and have a moisturiser applied after their bath and this can be applied whilst they are playing with them barely noticing.

The cream absorbed well and left them with very moistened and less itchy skin which is exactly what we were looking for.

I tried it as a moisturiser after my bath and although my skin was noticeably softer and my dry patches completely disappeared I wasn’t so keen on the clinical smell, although this did fade pretty quickly.

Frankie had a pretty bad flare up of his eczema after an unsuccessful allergy challenge last week and was suffering pretty badly with very angry, red patches of eczema that needed something a little stronger so I tired out the Cetraben Lotion on these localised areas.

It worked wonders on this very irritating skin by getting deep into the skin and giving a really deep and long lasting moisturisation; in fact during these times emollients have to be applied to Frankie several times a day but morning and evening was all it took to keep him happy.

We were all really pleased with the results we got from both of these products and it is certainly something that is going to be a staple in our bathroom cabinet from now on!

*We were sent these products for the proof this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Cirque Du Soleil – OVO Review

I think I must have been living under a rock for the past few years as the wonders of Cirque Du Soleil seem to have passed me by. If I’m honest shows that involve magic or are circus act based are something that rarely grabs my attention, but after only ever hearing glowing reviews of Cirque Du Soleil from family and friends I knew it was something I had to experience for myself.

Last week I was lucky enough to attend a performance of the show that is currently showing at the Royal Albert Hall which is a truly wonderful place in itself.

upon entering we were drawn to the stage that had been engulfed with a giant egg that was set to be the main topic of the show…I did have to google this to find out OVO is Portuguese for egg!

It wasn’t long before the lights dimmed and from every corner of the theatre performers crept out and interacted with the audience in the most spectacular insect outfits. From grasshoppers to butterflies and spiders to fleas they got the audience buzzing with excitement before even taking to the stage.

It wasn’t long before the spectacular acts began and the performers leapt, contorted and balanced in the most fabulous way in front of an astounded crowd.

An army of ants put on an amazing display of foot juggling with all sorts of fruit and veg from kiwis to corn on the cobs.

Two beautiful butterflies put on an amazing performance by intertwining with each other mid air, showing immense strength and the most unbelievable movement that was as beautiful as it was dazzling.

Never did I think a diabolo could be bought to life in such a fabulous way, but watching them flying through the air was sublime.

All of this was interspersed with a comical love story of a cheeky bluebottle who’s affections for the voluptuous ladybird were certainly not reciprocated.

The finale saw a whole host of insects effortlessly flying through the air to land on a huge wall that they appeared to be walking on with such ease and graze. It really was the perfect end to an outstanding show.

The whole performance had me captivated throughout and with it’s mixture of comedy and awe inspiring acts it’s makes for a show perfect for the whole family.

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

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid The Getaway:Review

All of my older children have been fans of the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series and there is always great excitement when a new book is released. The realistic, comedy fiction books that are aimed at older children and teens have been capturing the imagination of children since 2007 and have gone from strength to strength.

We have all loved watching the trials and tribulations of Greg Heffley and his family and friends as he struggles with life in and outside school.

His chaotic life with his lovable family and quirky friends draws you in and really allows you to bond with the characters.

There is always great excitement with each new book release so you can imagine the excitement when we were sent a copy of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid The Getaway to preview before its release.

This time we see Greg and his family setting off to warmer climbs to avoid the stress and strain of the Christmas holidays.

As you have probably guessed the visions of a relaxing few days soaking up the sun turns into a disater even before they arrive at the airport.

Flight delays, stomach problems, sunstroke and venomous spiders are just a few of the problems the family encounter on their suposide relaxing getaway.

I will now leave you to find out if the whole of Christmas is ruined of if they manage to grab some kind of good from the usual disastrous situation.

This book has not failed to live up to the other editions and would make a for a great present under the tree this year.

Awesome Little Green Men:Review

My youngest two are huge lovers of anything to do with the forces. From police men to soilders  they are always having role play games together where they are catching robbers or battling it out in fields.

Any toys related to this are always a big hit so I had high hopes for the Awesome Little Green Men when we were asked to review them.

Awesome Little Green Men are blind boxed collectibles that have over 100 recruits and vehicles to collect in series one.

Each box comes with a figure, dog dog on a chain and and a new recruit poster.


There is also a battle pack that comes in a super cool truck shaped box and six figures that would make a perfect present to start off their collection.

The figures are more than just collectibles as the aim of the game is to build the best troop with General Pain and General Panic at the helm.

The figures to me are a new take on the traditional army figures of old and it makes a welcome change to have something different from the normal doll or animal theme.

With Christmas fast approaching these would make great stocking filling or a great little pocket money treat.

* We were gifted these toys for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinion.
 

Jamie’s Italian Guilford:Review

I am a little ashamed to say that even though I have been a huge fan of Jamie Oliver since his ‘Naked Chef’ days I have never set foot in to one of his restaurants.

His immense passion for food and will to share this with every walk of life is one of the things I love about him and I know this love and passion will be passed into all his restaurants.

We were recently asked to go along to Jamie’s Guilford branchto see what we though which was a very exciting prospect for me.

A short drive into Guilford lead us to a quirky shaped building that homed Jamie’s Italian.

We were shown upstairs to our table in the brightly coloured restaurant that had had an industrial feel softened by glimpses of rustic Italy.

We had the youngest two with us which is always a challenge when eating out as their attention span leaves a lot to be desired.

Luckily as soon as we were seated the boys were given activity sheets and fantastic viewfinders that they could chose their meal from…these were a hit with the big kids too!

The children’s menu was a great mix of the usual suspects mixed with dishes such as fish stew and gnocchi which is really refreshing to see as not all children like a plate of beige food for every meal!

Oscar went for the baby beefburger which was served with a portion of sweet potato fries and a delicious salad.

Frankie had a bit of a harder time in choosing as his multiple allergies were a little hard to cater for, but our waitress worked round them and was able to alter the happy chicken lollipops that were also served with sweet potato fries and much to Frankie’s excitement a salad in a jar that he could shake himself to cover with dressing.

 

They still had plenty of room for pudding and Frankie was extremely happy with his strawberry and mango lollipop whist Oscar went for the more indulgent warm chocolate brownie that much to his delight was topped with popcorn.

 

Darren and I went for the Super Lunch which is a great value set menu where you can chose from a good variety of dishes and have either two or three courses.

The greediness in me went for the three courses while Darren only opted for two.

Pate is on of my favourites but I can be a little fussy with it. I wasn’t disappointed and the creamy chicken liver pate that covered the crispy bruschetta and made for the perfect combination.

I’m not normally a burger fan but the Gennaro’s Chicken Club caught my eye and I was really glad I went for it.

The soft brioche roll was filled with succulent chicken, crispy pancetta, spicy mayo, rocket and juicy tomato.

If you are a follower of my blog and have read my restaurant reviews you will know that my husband is a creature of habit and calamari and steak are choices pretty much every time we dine out.

Jamie’s Italian had a little twist on the usual calamari and was instead a selection of battered fish and squid that have been coated in a delicately spiced fennel flour and served with a sharp garlic and lemon aioli.

The steak was a little different too as it had first been marinated then served with a garlic butter, crispy fries and a beautiful purple slaw that set off the meal wonderfully.

The children full and happily playing I endulged in Jamie’s favourite lemon polenta cake which was served with cream and a fruit coulis.

The texture the polenta gave the cake was a good change to a traditional sponge style recipe but I could have done with a little bit more of a lemony kick.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our first experience of Jamie’s Italian from the warm welcome to the delicious food.

I think the real pull for me though was the attention to the children’s menu that was not only vast and full of variety but allowed the children to get hands on with their choices and preparation of the meal which I always find is key to encouraging them to eat and try new things.

If you have been inspired to try Jamie’s Italian out for yourself then from now until the 31st August one child eat free with every paying adult so it’s the perfect time to try it out.

Prezzo #LaFamiglia Challenge 

Meals times are a battlefield in this house and there is always some sort  of issue that turns what should be happy family time into something less than enjoyable.

If we are eating at home or out there are no exceptions and the only difference to being out is that my stress levels increase as I am all to aware of everyone else around us.

For me the biggest problem is waiting. I have the most impatient children and having to wait between courses is something they are not to keen on.

This is where the La Famiglia from Prezzo is a fantastic option and something we could wait to try out for ourselves.

We were asked to take up the #LaFamiglia challenge with Britmums and were more than happy to take up the challenge.

We headed of to our local Prezzo in Reigate and were settled by out super friendly waitress who immediately kept the little ones amused with a spot of colouring.

 

While the little ones were busy creating I looked over what La Famiglia had to offer.

The set meal consists a large sharing bowl of pasta and there is the choice of the classic spaghetti bolognese, spicy penne arrabbiata or a penne alla rusticana.

Two mouthwatering garlic breads, two side dishes of either fries, oils infused fries, mixed salad or rocket salad.

And lastly four soft drinks with the option to swap for house wine for an extra £7 and not forgetting pudding, there is either the choice of ice cream or sorbet.

The meal is aimed to feed two adults and two children so even with a large family such as mine at the great price of £30 for  everything if we order double it would still work out a great deal cheaper then a meal out ordinary costs us.

Whist we chatted over our drinks it wasn’t long before our pasta arrabbiata and garlic bread arrived.


The children loved that they were able to help themselves to as much or as little as they wanted and to me this saved the whole argument about everything being eaten.

Pretty full there was of obviously sill room for desert.

There was a great selection of ice creams and sorbets to choose from but the salted chocolate sounded way to tempting for any of us to pass up on.

I would highly recommend trying out this great addition to Prezzo’s already fantastic menu.

The relaxed atmosphere and family friendly vibe put me at ease whilst we were there and I think tun would find it hard to beat the quality of food at such areasonable price.