Learning The Importance Of Friendship With – The Way Home For Wolf

[AD] Being five may seem to us adults a bit of a breeze. I mean you are fed, clothed, watered and the most challenging part of your day is which cereal to have in the morning.

But in reality those first few years are pretty tough as there are all sorts of hurdles to overcome, lots of boundaries you need to work out how and if you should push and just knowing how to fit in with your peers is all pretty tough going when you are so small.

I know for Oscar who has reached the grand old age of five, the determination to do things for himself and his self belief is pretty strong…not sure where he gets that from! So it’s good to try and explain to him that sometimes it takes a team to get through life and it is important to learn to accept help from others, and also be there for other people in your team; and this is the message the lovely new book – The Way Home For Wolf by Rachel Bright and Jim Field is trying to get across.

Rachel and Jim, who are also the creators of The Lion Inside, The Koala Who Could and The Squirrels Who Squabbled, have created a fantastically fun and easy to read picture book that tells the story of the uber confident wolf cub. Wilf is determined to take the lead when his wolf pack move on one cold and dark evening. Despite being told by his elders this wasn’t a good plan he finds himself lost, alone and not knowing what to do until he is found by a whole host of strangers that reach out a helping hand to him and help him find his way back to the safety of his family.

I love to encourage my children to be forthright and fearless, but in reality we all need a hand sometimes and should also always be there to keep an eye out for others needing that little bit of help too.

This is a lovely book that would actually make a fantastic gift for those of you with little ones starting school this year and it had come out just in time for this so go and take a look.

*Disclosure: This review is based on a free sample.

Their Own Little Space:Evermeadow House Playhouse

[AD] Being a large family means that it is not easy to find time to yourself.  As adults my husband and I can factor this into our day, but for the children this can be hard to do and I try as much as I can to make sure they all get a little time to themselves, but with the reality of busy lives this isn’t always easy.

The youngest two really enjoy each others company…aside from the arguing! And they are both the ones the older children try to escape from for a bit of peace and quiet!

This is where having a little area in the garden that they can slope off to has been such a great addition for us and we have been able to do this with the help of the lovely people at Big Game Hunters who supply just about anything you could want for oudoor play.

They kindly sent us their Evermeadow Playhouse House to try out and it has been absolutely perfect!

Neither my husband or I own any DIY skills so the thought of errecting a playhouse sent my husband packing and me grabbing the phone to enlist the help of my poor Dad.  I actually didn’t need to panic though as one big box arrived full with our playhouse and instructions that did exaclly what it said on the tin(well box).

The panels have been made to simply slot together and with each pannel being numbered this was an easy task. The screw holes were in place and with the help of a power screwdriver the house was errect within under an hour. Even the windows were already in place so it really was a super easy build.

The house comes in its origianal state wood wise which allows you free reign on the colour you would like it. I was expecting the boys so go for something bold but they surprising they wanted to leave it natural so I just gave it a few coats of wood preserver to protect it from the weather.

The house is suitable for ages 18mths to eight years and has plenty of room for my youngest two to play inside together with their toys.

We have plans to get some cute plant pots outside, a doormat and some big cushions to make it a little cosier inside so keep an eye out over on Instagram for all our updates!

Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab Review And GIVEAWAY

Frankie is a big fan of anything science related. He loves making potions and pulling things apart to see how they work. This can sometimes cause more than a little bit of mess and chaos!

So when we were asked by Learning Resources to try out there Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab I was more than happy to give it a go.

Beaker Creatures is a science kit for young children to be introduced to the wonders of science in a fun and educational way.

The kit took less than five minutes to put together and consists of a main tray with three chambers where the experiments take place.

The main experiment is to dissolve a pod which is pretty similar to a bath bomb inside the main chamber to extract the creature within.

To start the extraction we had to fill two syringes with water, place inside the other chambers and press down on the plungers to release the water into the main chamber. We did have a little bit of trouble getting this to work to begin with but once it got going the pod started to fizz and bubble away, allowing the creature to be released.

Frankie was super excited by the whole process and loved them trying to identify which creature he had found on the identification sheet.

Alongside this great activity there is also an instruction sheet containing another four experiments you can try out using products you can easily find around the home, including ‘alien slime’ which was of course a big hit!

Beaker Creatures was a great way to introduce simple science experiments to the children in a fun and pretty mess free way!

If this sounds like something they your little ones would like then go ahead and enter my competition below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Collaborated post

Toys Galore With Cars 3

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few months you can’t have missed the hype the has surrounding the release of Cars 3.

We were lucky enough to go along to a screening recently which left us all buzzing from the return of these lovable characters to the big screen.

Along with new film releases always comes a whole host of merchandise that children are drawn towards to keep the movie alive once they return home.

Ordinarily I’m normally a bit of a meanie when it comes to things like this as they are often gimmicky toys that fail to keep my children’s attention for more than five minutes!

However Cars 3 has bought with it a fantastic range of toys that have kept my boys occupied for hours on end which is nothing short of a miracle if you know my youngest two.

Lego is always a big hit in our house and the Cars 3 Junior Easy To Build version that is aimed at children aged 4-7 has been a fantastic addition to our collection.

The easy to follow instructions and recognisable characters make it a toy that Frankie can happily return to again and again and get the satisfaction that he can create it all by himself.

At this time of year I am always looking for toys that are easy to take on trips out to keep them amused on long journeys or when I need to try and keep them busy while we are having a meal.

This is where the mini racers and figural crayons are perfect.

The cars can be easily raced up and down in smaller spaces and crayons are always a go to, to let them get creative.

The quirky design of the crayons with the name and figure of each car was a real delight and they have also been used as race cars an several occasions too!

We have been thinking a lot about getting things ready for ‘back to school’ and one thing I like to do is get key rings for their book bags so they can be easily recognised and hopefully not lost within the first few weeks.

These super cute soft keyrings are the perfect way to adorne any book bag…or sneak onto your own keys if you are anything like my husband! 

If cuddly is your thing then the squishy Guido is the one for you. He has in fact  paved the way to become top choice for a bedtime cuddle here.

I have saved the best for last though which comes in the form or a remote control Cruz Ramirez car.

It is the perfect way for children to try their hand at becoming a racer themselves with an easy to use control pad that has simple manoeuvres for even the youngest of children to get to grips with.

This car has given them hours of fun and more than a few arguments about who is going to drive it!

I would love to know who your favourite character is from the new film and which one this fantastic toys would be on your little ones list.
*We were given these toys for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

The Wind In The Willows Premiere

Stepping out of the tube station into hoards of people waving iPhones in the air was a little bit of a shock the other week.

I was going along to review Wind In The Willows that has just opened at the London Palladium and I had more than slightly underestimated the evening, and hadn’t realised it was a fully star studded red carpet event!

Izzy has had her heart set on stardom since she could talk and her jaw literally hit the floor when she realised she would be taking to the red carpet and mingling with the stars.

Settled in our seats the curtains rose which paved the way for the beginning of the show with the stunning scenery and the cheery, familiar faces of Ratty (Simon Lipkin) and Mole.

The bumbling pair immediately captured the attention of the audience and left us wanting to follow their journey which lead them on an epic adventure with the bumbling eccentric Mr Toad (Rufus Hound).

Whist trying to find the precious daughter of Ms Otter (Denise Welch) that has wandered off and found herself captured by the evil Weasel the threesome find themselves on all kinds of predicaments caused mainly by the loose cannon Mr Toad.

Along the way as you would expect there are plenty more animals to meet from the super cute field mice to the hysterical family of hedgehogs and the more sinister of creatures that came in the form of the evil stoats.

The show lept from spectacular car crashes to more heart felt moments that showed that no matter how tough friendships can be and no matter what hurdles are thrown in the way to test you true friends will always be just that.

This quintessentially British classic from Kenneth Grahame has been perfectly adapted to give a captivating, moving and toe tapping show that will bring a smile to the faces of the whole family.

It will make for the perfect trip over the summer holidays and with some great deals on tickets at the moment it’s the perfect time to book.
*we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions. 

Everdine:Healthy Eating Straight To Your Door

We are halfway through the year now and I’m sure that the majority of those healthy eating resolutions fell by the wayside months ago.

I know that mine have been pretty on and off and I have to say that aside from my terrible lack of willpower a large part of me failing is due to lack of preparation and misjudgement of portion sizes.

Being on the go continually means that sometimes I don’t get myself together enough to prepare a healthy, home cooked meal and I find myself reaching into the freezer for the old faithful nuggets and chips.

Don’t get me wrong the children are always over the moon when this happens but is really not good for my waistline and tends to then lead to the whole ‘well I’ve eaten badly so I will carry on’ attitude and before I know out I’ve packed away a whole pack of biscuits!

What I need is something nutritious and filling that I can prepare in a short space of time, so when Everdine got in touch with me to try out their home delivery meal service I was egar to find out how they would measure up.

Their healthy and nutrious meals are created by Mitchelin star chefs who go to great lengths to prepare gourmet meals that can be stored in the freezer to take out as and when needed and ready in around 10 mins.

You simply need to choose from a 8 or 12 meal option that can be delivered weekly or monthly and your delivery arrives to your door in a sheep’s wool instillation to make sure it as perfect as possible for you.

 

I had a mixture of classic and vegetarian options from things such as pulled beef ragu spaghetti and paneer of sweet potato kofte biryini to rainbow vegetable pad Thai and Cajun blackened salmon.


I’m ordinarily not a fan of microwave meals as they are full of rubbish and you end up with an unrecognisable lump that you need to pour into the plate.

Everdine meals however are full of flavour, and beautifully presented. They are in fact the closest to home cooked I have ever seen in a ready meal.

They were packed full or flavour and were surprisingly filling with a burst of flavour in each mouthful.


I used my meals over the course of a couple of weeks and stuck to healthy meals for the rest of the time plus regular exercise and managed to loose just over half a stone.

At just over £6 a meal I will certainly be keeping a stock of these in the freezer for those last minute meals in a bid to keep this weight loss up.

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

FEGO Banstead:A Eatery Perfect For All The Family

FEGO Banstead:A Eatery Perfect For All The Family

How often do you walk past a restaurant or cafe and immediately dismiss it for not being ‘child friendly’?

For me this is something I do regularly with my brood, as lets face it eating out with small children isn’t always the most enjoyable and stress free experience.

For a while now I have passed by FEGO in Banstead gazing in at their stunning decor and  scrumptious looking cakes longing for a few childfree hours to while away my time.


It looked far to pristine to take my motley crew into and the thought of them in there would bring me out in a cold sweat before my feet passed the threshold!

With these thoughts still firmly in my mind when I was asked along to visit FEGO I was more than a little apprehensive as to how they would cater for us.

We arrived at FEGO on a busy lunchtime during half term and were greeted with a smile and shown to our table near the back of the restaurant that was buzzing with a great atmosphere and full of a real eclectic group of people…including children!

The menus were brought over and I was happy to see there were a good range of different meals without the menu being large and over bearing. We were also welcome to chose from the breakfast menu even though we were there for a late lunch.

I love flexibility in restaurants as lets face it a stack of warm pancakes are welcome at anytime of day!

There is something to cater for all tastes from full english breakfasts to delicious salads, juicy burgers to pizzas and so much more.

The boys were kept amused with the colouring sheets while waiting for their burgers that they picked from a great selection that offers something a little different to the usual chip heavy childrens menu.


I opted for spicy scrambled eggs that were a tasty combination of eggs, cheese, avocado and tomatoes with a fiery kick of jalapeño and my obligatory soya latte.

Frankie’s allergies were catered for brilliantly and not a scrap of their burgers were left on either of their plates.

Crispy fresh chicken breasts served in soft rolls with plenty of salad and juicy, homemade beef burgers would be hard to resist.


It wouldn’t be a meal out without a sweet treat to finish it off. The boys went for a bowl of creamy blueberry ice cream and a sticky waffle covered in vanilla ice cream and sumptuous chocolate sauce.

All my preconceived ideas of this restaurant were quashed the minute I entered the restaurant.

The staff were all warm and welcoming, the food was beautifully presented and a delight to eat and the decor is simply stunning.



FEGO has something to offer the whole family from grabbing a quick pastry to a cosy date night with a cheeky cocktail or two.

There is so much more that I want to try such with their infamous ‘coffee in a cone’ being top of my list.

*collaborated post.

Welcoming Baby Anabell’s Baby Brother 

A while ago Oscar was over the moon to have his first dolly that he was allowed to love and look after.

He named her Sue and she had been one of his favourite toys ever since.

When Sue arrived I spoke a lot about the stigma and stereotypical feelings that people still have towards boys playing with dolls and it really is something that over time I hope will be quashed.

I think that one of the things that doesn’t help with this issue is the fact that the majority of dolls on the market are girls.

You walk into a sea of pink in most toy stores when it comes to the baby doll section and it is very rare to see a little boy.

If you do happen to come across one they tend to be your bog standard doll that offered nothing more than being just that.

That is why when I saw Baby Annabell’s Little Brother I was extremely interested to find out what he offered and knew that he would make a wonderful friend for baby ‘Sue’.

Oscar’s eyes lit up when ‘John’ as he has been named arrived.

His super cuddly body came dressed in a beautifully soft blue romper with a matching hat and bib.

It wasn’t long before Oscar spotted the bottle and dummy and was intrigued at how he could give him a drink and comfort him with the dummy.

To his amazement he went from being a settled baby that was peacefully sleeping to a unsettled little one that cried real tears!

Cleverly though with a little bit of soothing and rubbing he soon settled again and showed his contentment with a few wriggles.

The highlight of any interactive dolls for my children is the feeding and Oscar was not disappointed here.

We filled the bottle with some water and once the feeding started he began to move his eyes and mouth in and extremely life like fashion.


Feeding complete it was now time for a nappy change that I encourage the boys to do in imaginative play as it is not going to come from learnt behaviour from their dad!

Oscar really loved Baby Annabell’s baby brother and he had become a welcome part of our family.

I love the fact that alongside the imaginative play that is bought out by using this doll the ability to grow a child’s loving and nurturing side is easy with the fact the doll can be visibly soothed by a bit of TLC.

It is a really welcome change to see a male doll with all these great additional features and I’m sure he would be a welcome addition to any toy box.

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

Bob The Builder Switch & Fix Bob:Review

Bob The Builder has graced our screens for many years now and all of my children have love to watch his adventures.

My youngest is a huge fan at the moment so when we were asked to try out the new Switch & Fix Bob I know that he would be the perfect tester.

I love a toy that allows children to use their imagination to its full potential and Switch and Fix Bob did just this.

The cheery looking Bob comes kitted out with everything he needs to do what he does best.

He is suitable for children aged 3+ and is available for RRP £19.99.

His trusty tool belt holds a jackhammer, saw and auger drill bit that rotates until you come across the bit that you need for the job simply by pressing down on Bob’s safety helmet.

 Once the bit is selected another press on this hat will release the bit so he is ready to get on with the job at hand. it also activates flashing lights and familiar phrases from the show that made Oscar’s face light up as soon as he heard them.

Each bit is translucent so once it is attached to Bob’s drill and pressed against a firm surface it lights up and makes construction sounds just like the real thing.

Oscar had a brilliant time selecting the right tool for the job and moving around the house and garden pretending to sort all those little jobs that Daddy hasn’t got around to doing!

As I said earlier this toy is great for imaginative play, helps with the development of fine motor skills by switching around the drill bits and allows you to have a talk though the importance of safety around real tools with the clever addition of a safety visor for Bob to wear.


Bob kept Oscar engaged for a good while and the set up is simple so its a toy he can easy go to for independent play whenever he feels like it.

He was a real hit in our house and I would love to know if this is a toy your little ones would enjoy?

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

 

 

Jackson And Rye Guilford:Review

Just before Christmas we made our way into Guilford to the launch evening of the brand new Jackson and Rye restaurant that has just hit town.

Jackson and Rye are already a very well established chain that have bought a touch of London style dining to the heart of Guilford.

The dimly lit restaurant and dark decor set the tone for the New York style dining they are famous for.

Once seated we were shown a menu that was so hard to chose from as the variety was so great.

We started with mini corn dogs that had caught our eyes a few minutes before ordering, a huge plate of flavoursome crunchy chorizo prawns and some wonderfully crispy buffalo chicken wings.

Our eyes may have been bigger than our bellies as the portions were so generous that after the appetisers we were already pretty full.

Mains arrived promptly and my Cajun spiced chicken was super succulent and accompanied perfectly with a fresh sweetcorn succotash that was a welcome change from the richness of the starters.

My steak loving husband picked his favourite fillet steak and was more than happy with the juicy cut of meat and the crispy fries that set it off perfectly.

Literally bursting at the seams I still made room for a sticky potted cheese cake that was served with a tart berry compote.

We went along as a couple but this restaurant would also cater well for our large family; we looked on at a table full of little ones throughly enjoying a large variety of food from the menu.

Jackson and Rye was a welcoming, relaxed restaurant that still had that feeling of something a little special. They have taken the usual American dining experience and given it a touch of class.

After chatting with the friendly waiting staff we found the restaurant is infamous for their weekend brunch and we will certainly be back soon to sample this soon!