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!

Mr Tumble Spotty Bag And Interactive Toy Review


There is not a child I know that hasn’t at some point had a love for Mr Tumble.

His bright, engaging character has had all of mine glued to the TV screen and is currently number five’s absolute favourite.

When we were asked to try out a couple of toys from the new collection I knew he would be more than happy to give them a try.

One of the things that Mr Tumble is notorious for is his spotty bag.

This scaled down bag with adjustable straps is perfect to sit on little shoulders and with its bright colours and different textured materials it works perfectly to stimulate their senses.

Inside there are five cards with Makaton signs that he has loved to try and create himself.


The next toy we tried out was the Mr Tumble with fun tumble tap.


This cuddly, soft Mr Tumble has the tumble tap to hand at all times which comes with five different icons that show some of his favourite phrases.

Number five’s face lit up each time he came across a new phrase and soon started to mimick the familiar words.


As well as this he sings two songs which we all ended up joining in with whilst he cute red nose lit up.


Both of these toys were a real hit and I love that as well as being a familiar face from the TV they help with building his knowledge of touch, sound recognition and dexterity.

We are now looking to see what else we can add from the range.

Are your little ones fans of Mr Tumble?

Baby Born:Not Just For Girls

Our house has been full of dolls for years now and they have by no means been just for the girls.

All of the boys at some point have loved looking after a dolly and I actively encourage this.

For me a toy that encourages a child to nurture, love and show empathy is a huge winner in my books and hope that it can help my boys grow into kind and caring fathers themselves in the future.

When I was asked to review the Baby Born Interactive Happy Birthday Doll I knew that number five would be more than happy to help me try her out.


I was actually shocked to find out that Baby Born was celebrating her 25th birthday, and I have to say she’s looking pretty good for her age!

This doll comes complete with a pretty party dress, party hat and plates and cups to help her celebrate.

Number five didn’t know where to start and after giving her a cuddle he set to pacifying her with the dummy.


All settled he decided it was time for some food and drink. Yes this clever baby can be fed with the little porridge sachet provided and given a drink of water from her special bottle.


He was complete amazed at the fact he was allowed to feed his baby real food but even more taken when from the push of a belly button he could see it all coming out the other end!


After a long time of feeding and changing I decided to see how the real tears worked.

After a few presses of her right arm the tears came flowing from her eyes and number five was way more upset than I was expecting.


To say this doll was a hit would be an understatement. He has randomly named her ‘Sue’ and she has not left his side since he first opened her.

This would make a wonderful present for girls and boys alike and this birthday edition offers that something a little bit different.
*we were given this doll for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

Shrek’s Adventure and Sea Life London Aquarium Review

What child wouldn’t love going on and adventure to find Shrek and Dory in the same day!

This is what we were lucky enough to do at the beginning of the holiday when we took a trip to Shrek’s Adventure and the Sea Life London Aquarium that are directly next to each other housed the stunning buildings along the Southbank.

Shrek was our first port of call and after a bit of a faff with a queuing system that didn’t seem to be working to well we set off on our adventure to find Shrek.

We were whisked off by Donkey on the magical 4D bus that tossed and turned us through the sky, giving us a few surprises on the way. 

 Next came several different rooms where we were met by wonderfully vivacious characters that helped us to piece together the mystery to where Shrek was with lots of twists, turns and eye-openers as we entered each new door, with the anticipation of finding Shrek the whole way round.

The whole experience kept my three youngest engaged throughout but it may be a little scary at times for little ones with sections of darkness and some very realistic acting, and as buggies are not permitted on the tour if you have one that doesn’t like walking asI did it can be a bit much on your arms. But this is why they state it is best suited for age 6+.

If you are a Shrek fan or not you will find something to love on this adventure that was filled with wonder and surprise the whole way round.  I would challenge anyone to not feel the same.

After we had completed our adventure we popped straight next door to the Sea Life London Aquarium where you immediately felt you had been submerged many miles under the ocean as you wind your way round looking at the majestic stingrays skimming the sand, pretty seahorses dancing in the reeds and voracious sharks owning the water.
Each tank brings you something different allowing your to take in the vast array of sealife that makes up the underwater world.

With the release of Disney Pixars Finding Dory there is a great quiz sheet available as you enter which kept mine amused as we walked around by filling in the questions and searching for the lovable character with your chance to get a special reward at the end.

We really enjoyed walking through the open tunnel and having the change to see everything so close up and from so many different angles.  The children loved climbing into the portholes to get a closer look.

Something I wasn’t expecting to see was the Gentoo penguins from the Antarctic. Although they were super cute to look at I’m not sure if I felt this type of enclosure was the best place for these wonderful creatures.

My little ones love the opportunity to get hands on with anything and were really excited when they got to touch a starfish which is something they have never done before.

The Sea Life London Aquarium offers children the experience to learn so much about sealife in an interesting, fun and hands-on way that it is well worth a trip.

Southbank really is a hive of entertainment and has so much to offer in one place.  There is the choice of Shrek’s Adventure, Sea Life London Aquarium, The London Eye and London Dungeon to chose from and some great deals when you book attractions together.

London Dungeon is certainly on my list of things to do with my teens as it looks like a real thrill seeking day out.

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

 

 

Perfect Festival Playmate:Bratz Festival Vibes Doll

Festival season is in full swing and we have been lucky enough to visit Elderflower Fields and Camp Bestival already.

One thing I have found is that during the much needed downtime at festivals the kids love to bring along toys to play with in and around their tent.

What better toy would there be to take along than your very own festival ready Bratz doll.

They have come up with a fabulous range of dolls that have their usual trademark over sized features, cool make up and funky hair with the addition of fab festival ready clothes and accessories.

We were sent Raya with her flowing blonde hair, pretty dresses, oversized sunglasses, record shaped bag and a festival style band for you to wear yourself.


All the little ones spent ages brushing her hair and changing outfits so she was always ready to party.  The loved the fact her handbag could be filled with all the bits and pieces she might need while she was out and about.

One of my favourite features were the music note earrings!

Although Raya had a fantastic time with us on our festival trips she would be just as much fun anywhere you wanted to play with her or any of her friends.

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

Ice Age Collision Course Meets Pizza Express

What more could children want than than scrumptious meal and a trip to the cinema!

This is exactly what I got up to with three of my little ones on Saturday when we hit a hustling and busting Soho to attend a special screening of the brand new Ice Age film Collision Course and to try out the great Ice Age themed children’s activities Pizza Express have to offer.

We arrived at the Dean Street branch of Pizza Express where we were shown to our table where the children dived straight into the colourful Ice Age themed sheets that had plenty for all ages to do from colouring to puzzles and of course the usual stickers that mine love to stick in any available space.


The highlight for number three was to get the opportunity to take part in a competition to win a family holiday to Hollywood!

She selected her favourite Ice Age character and pizza and got set on creating her masterpiece.

This competition is running until the 5th of September so there is plenty of time to get yourselves in their over the summer holidays to take part.

Pizza Express is always a top choice for us as the family friendly approach is so appealing for our noisy brood and little allergy boy.  Number four is always easily catered for with a good selection for him to choose from.

The Piccolo children’s menu offers scaled down sized meals of some of the firm favourites from the main menu which allows the children to enjoy all three courses just like the adults.

Number three started with the famous dough balls as did number four with the gluten free option.

I went for the calamari that was coated in a delicious, crunchy batter and complimented perfectly with a tart ceasar dressing.

This was followed by mains of a gluten and cheese free pepperoni pizza for number four and a margarita for number  three.

I am more of a pasta fan so I opted for the pollo pesto which is a scrummy combination of chicken, mushroom and red onion in a super creamy bechamel and pesto sauce and a mixture of tasty cheeses.

Pudding couldn’t be left out and we just about managed to squeeze in a raspberry sorbet for number four and a goey gluten free brownie for number three.

I’m a sucker for the New York style vanilla cheese cake with its crunchy biscuit base and fruity raspberry coulis.

Number two who normally avoids these types of events was itching to get along to have a slice of his favourite honeycomb cream slice.

With full bellies we managed to unweld ourselves from our chairs and make our way round the corner to the Fox Studios HQ where we were greeted by the friendly faces of Sid and Scrat that were only to happy to pose for a quick photo!


Once inside the studio we grab some drinks from the bar and took to our seats were I was rather taken with the glitzy, Hollywood style curtains.


Popcorn in hand we settled in to watch the movie where the scatty Scrat begins to burry his acorn and in the process activating a long abandoned alien ship that sends him hurtling into space, catapulting asteroids towards plant Earth.

I won’t let on anymore about the film; instead I will let you add a trip to the movies to find out what happens to your list of things to do over the long summer holidays.  And of course this has to be finished off with a trip to Pizza Express grab some delicious food and to try you luck at winning that trip of a lifetime to Hollywood!
*this event was put on by pizza express and we were invited along by the lovely Ruth and Katy.  

Wishing For Fairies At Our Door

From 1-100 we all love the magical image of fairies and elves.  Cute little nymphs floating around and spreading their magic everywhere they go.

The innocence of childhood just magnifies this, so what could be better than housing your own fairy in your home or garden.

The clever people at My Own Fairy have enabled you to do this with their beautiful fairy doors that can be placed anywhere you wish.

It could be proudly placed on the skirting board in your little ones bedroom, nested away in a corner of the kitchen or hidden in a secret place in your garden just as we did with ours.

  
I found a good space on the side of our shed and attached the door with ease, I then set out the super cute stepping stones to create a pathway to the fairy house.

With the little tube of fairy dust that is supplied I sprinkled it over the ground around the door to attract the fairy.

  
Lastly I popped the tiny key on one of the stepping stones for the fairy to pick up when she finds her new home.

 
The children were absolutely amazed when they saw it and spent the entire afternoon in and out of the back door seeing if she had been!

  

We are going to get some pretty flowers to add to the outside and I’m planning on getting them to write her little notes as I know they will be ecstatic to receive one in return!

This would be a lovely addition to any home to help nurture the fabulous imagination that children possess.  

Stepping Back In Time At The Ship Tavern 

Nestled in a tiny alleyway hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Holburn you will find the treasure that is The Ship Tavern.



Feeling like I had stepped into a period drama scene my husband and I climbed the staircase inside the beautiful pub which lead us into the dining room.

Here we were greated by mahogany panelled walls, antique artwork and dim candlelight which made for a very welcoming atmosphere.


We were seated in a private booth which still allowed you to take in the beautiful surroundings.

The waiter kindly bought over a glass of wine whist my husband and I looked over the vast menu.


Traditional, home cooked pub food filled the menu but had a more elegant feel then your traditional ‘pub grub’.

I opted for the soft shell crab fritter with crab salad, caviar and chilli oil.  My husband went for his favourite option of calamari which came with a spring onion mayonnaise.



The calamari was a more than generous portion which allowed me to tuck in too! The spring onion mayonaise was something different for me but complemented the dish really well.

My crab was presented beautifully and once I cracked through the fritter itself I had a wonderful surprise to discover the caviar and crab salad hidden beneath.

For mains I had the Banbury duck breast with confit of duck leg faggot, Anna potatoes, buttered spring cabbage, caramelised plum and red wine jus.  My husband went down the more traditional route of steak and hand cut chips which were served with roasted vine tomatoes.



My dish was an explosion of flavours that all complimented each other wonderfully.  The duck was perfectly cooked and the sweetness from the caramelised plum set it of wonderfully.

A steak and chip option is always a winner and when cooked well can be a simple yet splendid meal.

The steak was beautifully tender and the crispy chips were a great accompaniment.

Due to my husband being a nut allergy sufferer desert was a no no for him which is not unusual but I went ahead and ordered the petit fours.


I always leave room for dessert as this is my favourite part of any menu.  For me petit fours are the perfect desert as it allows you to have a little bit of everything.

The different textures and flavours all worked really well together and more than satisfied my extremely sweet tooth!

If you are looking for sofisticated pub food with generous portions in a beautiful, historic setting than look no further than this stunning restaurant.
We went along to The Ship Tavern for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.