Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Win some great prizes with Sudocrem and Infacol

I have news of two exciting Facebook competitions, with some excellent prizes, from the well known baby brands Infacol and Sudocrem!  

To play, simply visit and like the Infacol and Sudocrem Facebook pages and log into the game apps for a free daily play. You can earn extra turns too to increase your chances of getting lucky and winning a prize!

The Infacol Challenge Game asks players to navigate their way through two infant colic related games. The first game is the dropper challenge, where you have to squeeze the dropper to hit 9 targets in the allotted time. The second game is a bubble bursting challenge where you have to pop 40 bubbles in the baby's tummy before time runs out. It's fun to play as you try to complete each challenge and beat the clock.

If you complete both games successfully, you have the chance to win an instant prize. The overall main prize is an ultimate Phil & Ted's baby package worth over £700! Other prize include Venture vouchers and experiences.

The Infacol Challenge runs until December 14th 2015. You can enter each day for free and earn extra turns by Tweeting, inviting friends to play and following Infacol on Twitter.

competition, win
Click this image to take the challenge

You can help Save Christmas with Sudocrem, and get the chance to win instant prizes, by stopping the nappy rash gremlins!  The gremlins are parachuting out of the sky and infiltrating chimneys in an effort to ruin the big day.  Players have to knock as many gremlins out of the sky as they can in 60 seconds, while avoiding hitting the Christmas presents. Score over 40 hits for the chance to win some great instant prizes. Amazon Kindle Fire tablets and vouchers as well as prizes from Aquabead, Miffy, Sylvanian Families and Milton plus thousands of Sudocrem discount vouchers are up for grabs. 

Players can play for free everyday with additional plays gained from Tweeting, following Sudocrem on Pinterest or Twitter and sharing the #SaveChristmas app.

You can play right up to December 31st 2015 for your chance to win BIG!

win, competition
Click the image to play

Cutting the Cost of Christmas with Poundland

We all know how expensive Christmas can be, so it's always good to find ways to keep down costs. Using discount stores is always a good way to find a few bargains, especially as they often sell branded goods at reduced prices. So to test this, Poundland armed me with vouchers and challenged me to 'do' Christmas for just £30 - to include enough decorations, gifts, cards and food to stretch my festive budget. 

In Poundland, £30 equates to thirty items which equates to a whole lot of goodies purchased for Christmas!  I was very impressed with my haul, getting a great range of festive items at just £1 each! It's so easy to keep track of your spending in Poundland, making keeping within your budget a breeze!

budget, money saving

Branded Confectionery

Christmas isn't Christmas without sweets and chocolates and if you are looking for confectionery from Cadbury, Thornton's, Haribo or Nestle, Poundland sells loads at just £1. This can make your money go much further. Take for example the Smarties Santa and Friends 3 pack which is on sale today in one of the big supermarkets for £2. Butterfinger Bites are also £2 for a box, again making Poundland's price a real bargain buy.


American Hamper

American candy hampers are a great gift to give to a loved one, but they can be very expensive to buy online costing upwards of around £20. With Poundland you can create your own hamper using some of the range of US branded goodies alongside some other American style goodies. Just package them up in a pretty basket or even a box covered in gift wrap and you have a great gift for a fraction of the price of ordering a hamper online. Kellogg's Pop Tarts can cost up to £3.50 a box, so buying them for £1 is a great saving. Reese's and Butterfinger products are excellent additions to an American food hamper and cost half of what they do in supermarkets. Bubblegum Bottles from Haribo, dry roasted peanuts and bbq pretzels complete the contents. This is such a good present idea allowing you to buy favourite products at just £1 each and creating a bespoke hamper without going over budget. Poundland also stock Nerds, Hershey's, jelly beans, Reese's Cups, Chupa Chups and Maom - all great for a cut price US style hamper.



Christmas books are a lovely way to build excitement and count down the days to Christmas by sharing a story with the kids every night at bedtime. Poundland has a range of both reading books and activity books with a festive theme to keep kids happy until the big day. I love the Disney Christmas books (RRP £3.99) featuring favourite characters in seasonal stories and The Christmas Surprise is a colourful, pop-up board book with a reassuring story about Santa being able to find you wherever you are on Christmas Eve. They are great if you are making a book advent this year (where you wrap up 24 Christmas books and unwrap one each day of December until Christmas Day).

reading, book advent

Gift Wrap and Cards

With rolls of wrap and assorted sizes of gift bags, Poundland have a wrapping solution for every present. From giant sized gift bags and sacks to bottle bags to multipacks of assorted bags, I love the ease of packing up presents this way. The Poundland ones are a fraction of some found in stationery shops. 

Individual cards for the special people in your life are available in an assortment of designs, alongside bumper boxes of 40 cards.  This makes it easy and cheap to spread good wishes this Christmas.


Christmas Decorations

From dressing the tree to decorating the house, Poundland have a real variety of decorations in a range of styles. From traditional to funky, however you want to express yourself this Christmas, Poundland can help. The cheery inflatable characters will be a hit with little ones, while the wooden pieces add a rustic charm to homes. The packs of baubles are so reasonable when compared to garden centres.

budget Christmas


These ceramic star shaped bowls are an absolute steal at £1 each. Perfect for holding sweets or snacks, they will look great on the table at Christmas. They'd also make lovely gifts if filled with sweets and wrapped in cellophane.

The drink cup I got for Freddy's stocking comes in a fun design and has a curly straw. Perfect for cold drinks on Christmas Day.



For tea on Christmas Day, I like to use paper plates to make cleaning up easier and to create a fun, party atmosphere after the formality of Christmas dinner. Poundland has two partyware ranges: Frosty Friends and Red Snowflake, both consisting of packs of 20 plates, cups and napkins plus a tablecover. So for just £4 you have all the tableware you need to host a party for up to twenty people. Most party stuff comes in packs of 8 so getting 20 for £1 is a huge bargain. The quality is good and the design is festive. You can't go wrong.



The cost of stocking fillers can add up to a lot of money. For just £1 each, Poundland has a range of toys and games that will bulk out the kids' pressie pile. Disney's Frozen merchandise is bound to be popular and there is a lot of it to choose from in store. Poundland also have Block Tech toys, which are compatible with Lego but cost a fraction of the price. There are lots of other bits to choose from including craft sets, puzzles, games and cuddly toys. Poundland is a good place to buy presents for children's friends without spending too much money.

Christmas, stocking fillers

My top 3 favourite pieces from Poundland this Christmas

I love this Merry Christmas sign made of wood and rope, with love, hope and joy written on hearts suspended from it. It's very cute and pretty with a rustic, vintage feel. Something similar could cost in excess of ten times the £1 price tag in a specialist vintage shop or online.


This moose ornament is another rustic piece that looks like it should cost a lot more than the £1 I paid for it. It is crafted from wood and has a string bow around its neck with bronze coloured bells attached. The distressed paint finish makes it look vintage. I love its simplicity and quirkiness.

Christmas, Poundland

My last item that has been picked out as a favourite is the coir Merry Christmas door mat. It has three Christmas trees and the Christmas greeting on it in black rubber. It makes a great novelty gift idea or will look great outside your front door throughout December. I was gobsmacked to find one that looks identical to this on Etsy for £12.50! For something that I will be using over Christmas and then disposing of, I know how much I'd rather pay.

Poundland, Christmas

As you can see from my Poundland haul, there are lots of genuine bargains to be found in store or online including branded goods. Many of the decorative items are similar to things that can be found in other stores or online that cost so much more!  It's great to be able to make your money go further by shopping in Poundland for some of your Christmas needs.

You can find all these items in store at Poundland or on Poundland online where you can also check out the latest promotions and offers including some Black Friday deals. 

I used for price comparisons with supermarkets on branded confectionery.

Monday, 23 November 2015

The Launch of YouTube Kids - a safer place for kids to watch online videos #YouTubeKids

Yesterday, we spent the day at London Zoo to celebrate the recent UK and Ireland launch of the new YouTube Kids app. We had been trying out the YouTube Kids app for a few days beforehand with 6 year old Freddy, and were excited to spend the day with the YouTube team along with some favourite TV characters and some real life animals from the zoo.

The YouTube Kids app is a bright and colourful, kid-friendly version of YouTube for tablets and smart phones, available for free from Google Play or the App Store. With access to videos featuring nursery rhymes and songs, educational videos on topics such as maths, science and space as well as TV favourites such as Peppa Pig, Morph, Talking Tom, Postman Pat, Thomas and the Octonauts, there are countless hours of quality videos available. With large images and bold icons it is easy for little ones to navigate, allowing them to safely search and explore exciting content to entertain and educate them. An impressive voice search feature allows children to search for their favourite characters and shows, allowing independence and giving them access to a world of possibilities.

Content is listed in four categories: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore, bringing a host of family-friendly entertainment into an easy to browse format. Children can browse channels and playlists or search for something of particular interest to them.

YouTube Kids

Freddy loves being able to access his favourite videos and search for things that interest him such as Minecraft, Annoying Orange and Battle for Dream Island! He even did a search on London Zoo, the night before we attended the event, so he knew what to expect. As a parent, I am confident that he won't accidentally stumble across anything inappropriate (such as the 18 rated, expletive ridden, dubbed episode of Dora the Explorer we found him watching at age 3!) The platform is safe, age appropriate and, as it doesn't need the child to have an account, allows them to have a logged out experience free from the dangers of interacting with strangers online.

The YouTube Kids app has built in parental controls allowing the grown-ups to take charge of their child's experience by controlling broader search settings or using a built in timer to limit a child's screen time. As no platform can be guaranteed 100% perfect, there is an option to flag up anything that may concern you, making YouTube Kids safer for everyone. YouTube Kids can also be viewed on the TV using a Chromecast, Apple TV, games console or a smart TV, so the whole family can watch together.

The event at London Zoo was every bit as bright, bold, colourful, interactive and entertaining as the app itself!  Ian and I, along with Freddy, Megan and Kezia arrived at the zoo early and spent a lovely hour wandering around the Bug House and the Penguins before checking in to the event itself. The venue had been transformed into a child-friendly wonderland with a wild animal theme, which was so inviting and exciting for the little ones. We were spoiled with some delicious food, given marvelous animal make-up and kept well and truly entertained.

facepaint, Youtube kids app

Freddy absolutely loved taking part in all the activities. He met reindeer, a llama, meerkats, an armadillo and an owl in up close animal encounters. He met and hugged Postman Pat, Talking Tom & Ginger and Captain Barnacles. He had his face painted with an incredible tiger design and dressed up in a tiger costume. He played in an Octanauts themed ball pond, challenged his dad to a game of Hungry Hippos, played with some great cuddly toy animals, sat in the musical singing bus, enjoyed some really fabulous food and of course played on the YouTube Kids app on the special iPads. It was a brilliant family friendly event!

YouTube Kids app

The YouTube Kids app is designed for children between 3 and 8 years old, providing a safe online experience with rich content especially for younger viewers. It is fun to use and easy to navigate. I am really impressed with the app and love that Freddy can explore video content independently online, discovering new shows, learning new things and accessing videos on topics that interest him safely. It is great for when we are out and about, visiting grandparents or away for the night, guaranteeing that he has something fun to watch to keep him entertained whenever needed. I applaud YouTube for creating such an exciting and interactive app that kids will not only love using, but will also help keep them safer online, protecting them from viewing inappropriate content.

YouTube Kids

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Geronimo Festival will be back in 2016

The Geronimo children's festival will be returning in 2016 and promises to be bigger and better than ever with two venues, Tatton Park on 29/30 May and Harewood House 1/2 May. This festival is aimed at families with children aged under 12, who want to play, learn and have fun together. We went last year and it was an action packed day out with so much to do.


With the biggest names in children's entertainment such as Mr Bloom, Alex Winters, Katy Ashworth and Cook and Line from Swashbuckle, children will get to see their TV favourites perform in the Geronostage Zone and get to see them at special meet and greet sessions.

The Adrenaline Zone will give children the chance to climb trees, build dens and even whizz down a zip line at speeds of up to 60 km/h. Taster sessions of archery, fencing and parkour will introduce new skills to young guests. The Arena Zone will be home to live displays such as jousting, motorbike stunts, horse handling, falconry or sheep dog demonstrations.

The Library Zone will see children take part in dance classes, singalong to the songs of Frozen and watch Mr Yipadee bring musical instruments to life. There will be theatre shows and story telling in the Theatre Zone while circus skills and performances will keep everyone happy in the Circus Zone.

Animal lovers will love the Pasture Zone where there will be pony or donkey riding. Crocodile Joe will be hosting a reptile show and there will be lots of wonderful giant tortoises to meet. Tumble Tots sessions, balance bikes and baby yoga will be available for little ones in the 3ft and Under Zone. Live music will be played throughout the day at the Bandstand Zone.

The Funky Junk Zone will inspire crafty kids to get making. Totem Pole making, stone carving, hair braiding, face painting and fairy craft workshops will keep everyone busy. There will traditional fairground rides in the Fairground Zone such as a helter skelter and carousel. The Woodland Zone will let kids run off steam, make a mud pie, learn to make a carrot whistle, monkey around on the high ropes course or ride a mountain bike.

We have been asked to be ambassadors for this event and so will be posting updates on the Geronimo festival over the next few months. Here are some photographs from last year's event showing some of the fun experiences that Freddy enjoyed!

family festival

Tickets are on sale priced from £18.50 pp for one day. Under 2's go free.

Find out more and buy tickets at

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Making Christmas Magical with Personalised Videos and Phone Calls from Santa with PNP

One of the things that really gets me into the Christmas spirit, is making my annual video message to Freddy from Santa using the Portable North Pole website. It is always such a magical moment, playing the personalised message for my son Freddy, seeing the wonder in his eyes knowing that he still has that total belief in Father Christmas. The videos are truly heartwarming, engaging and expertly crafted, delivering surprises and fun as Santa delivers his personal message.

There are both free and premium videos available to make on the PNP site or app. The free video comes with five points of personalisation, whereas there are up to sixteen personalisations, including up to five photographs and a choice of storylines with the premium service. You can make videos for children, but even adults can get in on the fun with some cheekier grown-up options available to send.

Santa has a personal message for children whether they are on his naughty or nice list. In fact, the video message can help encourage better behaviour with children eager to make it on to and stay on Santa's list of good boys and girls. It's a handy little incentive in the run up to Christmas, where a timely reminder about Santa's elves watching them, can prompt some best behaviour from little ones. Santa gives praise and encouragement to children for their efforts, which positively reinforces their good behaviour, and delivers a naughty or nice verdict at the end of the video.

Christmas, video messages, Santa

We are trying out one of the premium Gold Pass Bundles from PNP, which is worth £10.99. For this price you can make unlimited premium video messages and phone calls from Santa until January 2016. You also get HD video downloads and access to any archived PNP videos. (If you are quick, PNP fans can get a pre-season Gold Pass for £9.99 available for a limited time only.)

This year there are seven festive video storylines to choose from:

Visit an Elf House
Tour the Post Office
A Song Just for You
Secret Places
Christmas Eve
Movie Star

Each lasts 5 minutes (except the Christmas Eve one, which is 2 minutes long, as Santa is super busy on that day!) Each can be personalised, which is really fun to do, and includes your child's name and photos and other details, to make a unique and magical video for a child. With beautiful settings, cute elves and of course a traditional Santa, the videos are a real joy to watch.

Also with the premium Gold Pass you can receive unlimited phone calls from Santa. These are so much fun and are really effective. There are lots of themes to choose from, such as receiving congratulations for working hard at school or making effort to improve, to gentle warnings about fighting or arguing to try and kerb behaviour that could find a child on Santa's naughty list. There are also phone calls to keep a child up to date on Christmas Eve progress reminding them to put out cookies or giving them a live update from the sleigh. These interactive phone calls really do add to the magic of the season, especially as Santa speaks to the child by name.

My favourite thing about the PNP premium Gold Pass is that I can use the videos and phone calls in the weeks before Christmas Day to build excitement and keep the magic of Christmas alive. Each five minute video is different, bringing some new excitement from the North Pole and allowing Freddy to explore something new with Santa and his elves. Freddy really loved the video I made him last year, so I imagine he is going to thoroughly enjoy watching the premium video messages and taking phonecalls from Santa over this festive season. You can make videos for any number of recipients with the unlimited pass so friends and family can also get a personalised message from Santa, shared via Facebook or by email. So much better than a card!


The PNP Children's hospital Program donates 5% of purchases to children's hospitals around the world, including four in the UK, so buying PNP premium videos will help other children. Over $100,000 has been donated to date.

To find out more about the different PNP services and products available and to purchase premium videos, calls or unlimited passes visit

The free video message service will be available online later this month. Premium videos will be available to view online until June 2016 after which they will be archived and phone calls will stay available for 365 days.

Counting Down to Christmas with a Playmobil Advent Calendar

The countdown to Christmas is always made so much more exciting with an advent calendar. Opening the windows everyday, adds to the build up and excitement of the season. One of our favourite advent calendar choices from the last few years is a PLAYMOBIL Advent Calendar. Each window reveals a PLAYMOBIL figure or accessory, which when displayed together, create an attractive festive scene that looks great and can be played with. The best thing is that the toys can also be played with long after advent is over and for years to come, making this a great value advent calendar idea.

As part of the 2015 PLAYMOBIL Playologist team, Freddy has been sent a Christmas Room Advent Calendar featuring a rather elegant PLAYMOBIL family preparing for Christmas, enjoying the festivities, eating luxury food and trimming the tree in their rather fancy living room. It's suitable for both boys and girls, encouraging role play and inspiring imagination, providing a familiar setting for children to explore.

The advent calendar includes a 3D cardboard room backdrop, on which to display the pieces, adding one piece each day. It is easy to put together with slots and tabs. There is also a booklet included, which gives full instructions on the pieces and on any assembly that may be needed.

Christmas, advent calendar

The PLAYMOBIL family of mum, dad, and two children, along with their family pets, look very happy opening their presents from around the light up Christmas tree in their decorated room.  (The light up tree requires two AAA batteries, which are not included.)

advent calendar

The advent calendar itself consists of a large sealed box with 24 cut out numbered windows of various sizes. There is a push out section on the back that allows it to be wall mounted if required. The windows are relatively easy to open to reveal that day's surprise, although a little adult help may be needed for little hands to open them neatly. Some pieces in the advent calendar require assembly,which can prove a bit fiddly for children and may require a grown-up's help. The collection grows throughout December, until the full scene is completed on Christmas Eve. The excellent quality of the product is exactly what you would expect from the PLAYMOBIL brand.


Find this advent calendar and the full range of toys on the  PLAYMOBIL website. You will find so many great Christmas gift ideas for the little people in your life!


The PLAYMOBIL Christmas Room Advent Calendar is £19.99 and recommended for children aged 4+ .

Monday, 16 November 2015

The QI range of Quite Interesting Gifts

From the brains behind the TV show QI, comes a range of really Quite Interesting gifts, puzzles and experiments, which will keep families entertained for hours. They are suitable for both adults and older children and will be great gifts for Christmas. From a set to blow square bubbles to sand that can't get wet to incredible optical illusions to singing, bouncing magnets - curious minds will be stretched and fascinated by these amazing products from Wow! Stuff. Also available is a mug and calendar filled with fascinating facts and quotes to discover everyday and a rather funky egg timer filled with iron filings. Any fans of QI will enjoy these gifts that feature host Stephen Fry on the front of the packaging.


We were sent two of the sets, the Quite Interesting Sand and the Square Bubbles.

Quite Interesting Sand

The special sands included in the Quite Interesting Sand set include a sand putty, that can be sculpted using the included tool or moulded by hand, and a hydophobic sand that has been treated with silicon gas, coating the particles making them come out of water bone dry. These tactile products let you explore the properties of the sands and experiment with them. The putty is actually quite stress relieving and playing with it is relaxing, making this a good idea for grown-ups as an interesting novelty gift.

The sets also come with a QI question and answer card filled with fascinating facts on a subject and an Elf Extra card featuring a fun activity to try at home. There is also a download to get a QI klaxon app included.



150g Sand putty
30g Hydrophobic sand
Sculpting Tool
General Ignorance and Elf Extra Card
FREE QI klaxon app at

RRP: £12.99

Square Bubbles

Making a square bubble is seemingly impossible until you have this kit. Inspired by Stephen Fry's demonstration on the QI show, this kit contains everything needed to achieve the impossible. A specially constructed structure, made from balls and connectors, allows you to create a suspended bubble that is most definitely more square than round. The iridescent, transparent cubic bubbles are sure to impress!

quite interesting


12 struts & 8 ball connectors
Bubble solution (250ml)
Full instructions for use, as well as online tips & tricks videos to get the most from the products
FREE QI klaxon app at

RRP: £7.99


These products are great for children with inquiring minds and adults who are interested in Quite Interesting stuff! They are excellent for Christmas as executive gifts for grown-ups or stocking fillers for the kids. There are hours of fun to be had exploring the sets and trying out the Elf Extra activity at home.

The QI sets are available at John Lewis, Waitrose and Tesco.


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