Monday, 30 September 2013

Kids Capture the Colour's Kids Capture the Colour competition allows children to get creative with photography, taking pictures that capture the colours green, blue, red, yellow and white.  10 year old Kizzy is developing a real love for photography (enjoying being both sides of the camera) and embarked on the project with some very creative ideas.  Throughout the summer she used the camera, which she was sent to use, (as well as occasionally pinching my DLR!) to record precious memories and try out some arty shots.  Here are her favourite summer photos and the story behind each image in her own words.



"This is taken at Beeston Castle and is in the woodland walk.  It is a really magical place to walk through.  I loved this tree which looks green because it is covered in mossy stuff.  I think it could be a place where fairies lived.  I love the roots."



"This is taken in Salford after we went to The Lowry.  Freddy was enjoying running and climbing on all the play equipment and on the walls.  He jumped off this bench loads of times and I caught this action shot of him mid air.  I love how his bright blue outfit stands out against the grey path. He's like Little Boy Blue."


autumn, red leaves

"This plant is outside our house and I love the red leaves and the flower-type thing which feels furry.  I love the colours of nature.  The red is really pretty."


Bee on a sunflower

"I grew sunflowers this year from seed.  I was really excited when they grew into big yellow flowers.  Bees kept coming to visit them which made me really happy.  I was so happy to capture a picture of a bee on one of the sunflowers.  I tried lots of times but this is the best because you can actually see its eyes and the details on its wings. I cropped it down to get a good close-up and it's my favourite shot."



"We've had some lovely blue skies this summer with fluffy white clouds. I really liked this photo because it looks like a scan photo with a baby sucking his thumb.  Can you see it?"

This is Kizzy's entry into the Kids Capture the Colour Photography competition.

I will be posting some more of Kizzy's photos on my blog shortly as she has some lovely arty, close up shots of the colour themes featuring sweets, clothing and make-up (some of her favorite things!)

Bigjigs Dockside Recycling Centre #playpatrol

I love a toy that can introduce a child to something that is really important in the real world.  That can open their eyes to a serious issue through the medium of play.  That teaches them about something that can make a big difference to the world that we live in.  Something like recycling.  Hats off to Bigjigs for doing just that with their Dockside Recycling Centre.  Fully compatible with other leading wooden rail systems, children can add an environmentally friendly activity into their playtime, teaching them about the importance of recycling and helping them to learn more about the process in a fun way.

Freddy, my little Bigjigs Play Patrol Agent, was very intrigued by his new toy.  The recycling centre comes with a colourful sign, a barrier gate, two working cranes with magnetic ends, a barge, a recycling truck, a train carriage, two recycling skips and two container loads of recycling.  As the recycling arrives by road, rail or sea it needs to be picked up by the cranes using the pulley system, swivelled into position and deposited into the skips.  

Bigjigs, wooden toys

The play value of this toy is great.  It leads the way to imaginative games where your child becomes the harbourmaster, deciding where the recycling is going and by what mode of transport it will travel by.  Little fingers show great dexterity as they wind up the pulleys on the crane to pick up the recycling with the magnetic end.  All the while they are learning about recycling and this opens up an opportunity to discuss this issue in a fun and engaging way, asking what they think can be recycled, getting clues from the colourful pictures on the sign and the containers.

Bigjigs, magnets, learning through play
Learning through Play

Freddy loved the magnet and quickly realised that it could pick up more than just his toy recycling containers.  He raided our real life recycling bin to find a sweetcorn can and experimented with how best the magnet would stick to it.  He discovered that concentrating the magnetic force on the edge of the rim, created the best hold to pick up the can.  He wielded it about like a fisherman with a prize catch on the end of his rod!  Freddy tried the magnet against lots of materials to see which ones would stick.  This opportunity for scientific discovery is another great aspect of this toy, enabling little ones to learn through play - exactly how it should be done!

Our Play Patrol Mission Captioned Photo!!

As the set is fully compatible with Bigjigs Roads and Rail toys (and other leading wooden rail systems) it can be incorporated into a world of your child's creation.  I love toys that can grow with your child and which can be added to on birthdays and Christmases.  Each new addition brings a new lease of life to the play experience, adding its own touch of excitement and enjoyment.

The Bigjigs Dockside Recycling Centre is priced at £20.79 over on the Bigjigs website.  Take a look at the huge range of wonderful wooden toys they have on offer.  I could browse for hours!

Freddy won the opportunity to be a Play Patrol agent for Bigjigs and received this toy to complete his latest mission!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Sweet Plum Bun Recipe #GBBO

This week on the Great British Bake Off, saw the contestants creating bakes using sweet dough.  Given that I have so many plums that need using, I thought I'd come up with a way of combining using them up with my entry into this week's Great Bloggers Bake Off hosted by Helen and Jenny.

Sweet Plum Bun Recipe

autumn, recipe


400g strong white flour
7g sachet fast yeast
25g caster sugar
1 oz melted butter
9 fl oz warm water

400g plums stoned and sliced
3 oz light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tblspns icing sugar
water to mix


Put the flour, yeast and sugar in a bowl.
Mix in melted butter and warm water to make a dough. Add more flour if necessary.
Knead for 5 minutes then leave in a warm place to rise for 20 mins.


Meanwhile stone and slice plums and mix with sugar and cinnamon.
Turn out dough and roll into a rectangle 12 x 10".
Spread over the sugared fruit.


Roll up tightly like a swiss roll.
Slice thickly and place buns onto a prepared baking tray.
Cover and leave to rise for a further 20 minutes.
Cook in an oven at GM6 for about 20-25 minutes.
Once cooked, leave to cool then drizzle the glace icing over the top.

The buns were rather good with the flavoursome, tart, juicy plums and sweet, glace icing contrasting wonderfully within the sweet dough.  I think my proving probably was a bit lacking which meant I failed to get a really light, airy texture (ooh look at me going all Mary Berry on myself!!) so my buns were a little bit heavier than they could have been but still tasted good.  I think I'll stick to making plum cakes in future as they are so much quicker and easier to make, but it was interesting to try something new.


Cinnamon and Plum Cake Recipe

Yesterday, my sister delivered me a huge box full of plums, freshly picked from the tree.  There are only so many plums that you can eat in one sitting, so I decided to freeze some for crumbles and then experiment in the kitchen to make some lovely, autumnal baked treats using plums.


Firstly, I decided to make a basic cinnamon flavoured sponge cake topped with halved plums.  The rich, lightly spiced cake contrasted beautifully with the tart, juicy fruit.  It is a real taste of autumn! Perfect served warm with ice cream or with custard.  It went down a storm with the kids and Ian, which is always a good sign!

autumnal recipes

Cinnamon and Plum Cake Recipe


125g margarine or butter
150g golden caster sugar
2 free range eggs
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
approx 6-8 stoned, halved plums
demerera sugar to sprinkle on top


Cream the marg and the sugar.
Whisk in eggs.
Fold in flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
Pour cake mix into a round pyrex deep pie dish.
Top with plums, cut side up.
Sprinkle over sugar.
Cook at 180 degrees, GM4 for about 45 minutes.


It is a very easy recipe and a great way to use up plums, which are ripe and ready to pick at this time of year. I still have loads left so I'm off to the kitchen to come up with some more ways to cook with plums!

autumnal cake

Link up your recipe of the week

Photobox Photo Book Review

This summer's holiday to Disneyland Paris resulted in over a thousand photographs of Ian, the kids and myself having fun in the sun, meeting characters and going on rides.  Showcasing a selection of these shots in a photo book is such a lovely way to share them with family and friends, and preserve the memories in hard copy.  Photobox kindly offered us the chance to try out one of their new A4 Classic Collage Books and I was very happy to make one!

You need a minimum of just 26 photographs to make the photo book, but I had almost 150 in my whittled down holiday album.  You can opt to autofill your book, using the images in the order you uploaded and selected them, or to work manually.  Autofilling with a lot of images tends to put the images into extra pages which costs more.  Making the book yourself allows you to choose different page layouts using up to 12 images per page, obviously a more cost effective method when working with a lot of photos.

The process itself is quite simple.  Working online, you just drag and drop the selected images in the space that you want them and add text in the text boxes.  There is the option to pick different backgrounds with themes such as holiday, love or baby to choose from.  These can then be applied to individual pages or across the whole book to add colour and detail to your book.

The photo book creator has the uploaded photos on the bottom half of the page, and the pages of the book shown on the top of the page. The one you are working on is highlighted. I would prefer to work with the two page spread shown larger on the screen with the ability to scroll sideways onto the next page.  I think this is probably down to my age and eyesight wanting a bigger working surface!

photo book creator

I really like the option to show only unused photos which helps you to see what ones you have left to use. Even though used images are marked, you can go a bit image blind when dealing with lots of pics and this avoids accidentally using an image twice or missing a favourite snap out altogether.  Staying organised is really helpful when making a photo book!

When ordering, you have the option to add on extra upgrades. The checking out process was very straightforward.  Within a few days, I received an email telling me the book had been dispatched and it arrived the next day, securely boxed and plastic wrapped keeping it in perfect condition.

The book has a hardback black cover with nine apertures, through which nine of my photographs show framing them perfectly.  It is a lovely effect.  the pages are thick and glossy and the print quality is very good with excellent colour and clarity.  It's such a lovely way to display your favourite photos.


I was impressed with the backgrounds I used.  They added colour and interest.  I went for a mix and match theme rather than sticking to one design and I think it works well, helping to tell the story of my photos. I used backgrounds that I thought went with my photos.  I like the way you can adjust the layouts which gives some full page images alongside pages containing lots of small pictures.  It makes the photo book really visually interesting and allowed me to get in over 150 photographs!


All in all, I am delighted with the photo book.  Making it was very easy to do. The colour, quality, clarity and design of the finished product is great.  The collage apertures on the front cover are really attractive and look very distinctive.  The service is excellent, the packaging was very good and the delivery was fast and efficient.  The price for the A4 Collage Photo Book starts at £27.99 but there are often special offers or discount codes available.  Photo books and other photo gifts make excellent personalised presents for loved ones.

Find out more at

Thursday, 26 September 2013

APPen Review

APPen (RRP £14.99) is the first product in a brand new line of kids electronic accessories from GPTech, that allows children to enjoy learning, writing and colouring on most tablets or iPhones, simply by plugging the ergonomic pen into the headphone socket and using in conjunction with the free app (available for iOS and Android).  It doesn't require batteries so it's ready to use straight away.  With play options for children under 5 and for 5+ the APPen is suitable for children aged 3-7 with activities tailored to their ability.

Freddy was sent an APPen to try out, which he used with Daddy's iPhone.  The pen was perfectly sized for his hands and he intuitively knew what to do (as all kids seem to!)  The menu gives access to a series of games which help with learning letters, developing fine motor skills and understanding shapes. Children can write, draw and colour in using the Appen.  The pressure sensitive nib gives a realistic writing experience which aids learning to write with paper and pen.  Very useful for my little schoolboy.

technology, kids

When a learning skill has been completed, the child’s progress can be charted for parents to monitor and their creations can be uploaded onto social media for friends and family to see.

There are more games and activities in the pipeline so the APPen will provide entertainment for some time to come.  It is a much cheaper alternative to the dedicated kid's tablets on the market, priced at just £14.99, giving children a new way to enjoy tablets and iPhones.

Freddy enjoyed making pictures using the animated stickers featuring jungle animals.  He also liked practicing his letters, tracing over the screen with his APPen.  The only problem with it is that while Freddy is playing, Daddy's iPhone is tied up, leaving him phone-less!

You can find out more and register your details giving you the chance to win an iPad mini and an APPen at


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Flying High On Playmobil Airways!

Since becoming Playmobil Playologists, we have waited excitedly for our mission to review something from the Playmobil range.  With so many different themes available, from dinosaurs to pirates to cowboys, we didn't know what Freddy would get until our parcel arrived.  The look of delight on his face when he saw the City Action Cargo and Passenger Aircraft and control tower was priceless.  He was one very happy little boy!

City Action

The set comprises of a very large jet engine aeroplane with a removable roof and opening cockpit, a control tower complete with equipment, five people with accessories and some cargo.  The plane has seating  onboard for five passengers and two in the cockpit.  The cockpit folds upwards to stow the cargo and there is a toilet inside the plane (much to Freddy's amusement) to keep passengers comfortable during the flight!  

The construction of the plane and tower took Ian about half an hour.  Some bits were a little bit fiddly to push together, but on the whole it was easy to assemble and the resulting models are sturdy and robust.  Playmobil produce such high quality toys.  We still have some that Freddy's older brother Joe had, which are now over 20 years old and still going strong.  It is very durable and robust.

I love the detail that Playmobil puts into its toys.  The 'PM' logo on the tail, the authentically opening swing door, the computer screens in the control tower and the very realistic loo and hand basin all add to the play value of this fabulous set.  The five people are all different.  There is a pilot, an air traffic controller, a businesss woman, an air hostess and a guy that waves the things that look like table tennis paddles!  Freddy loved the red haired lady because he thought she looked like his big sister Ella.


The aeroplane itself has a swivel wheel on the front of the undercarriage making it really manoeuverable and responsive to being pushed allowing big 360 movements with ease.  Although it is a big toy (59 x 63 x 24cm), Freddy was still able to pick it up and swoosh it around the room in flight with the crew and passengers safely seated inside.

The real value of Playmobil is providing the inspiration for some really imaginative play based on the theme of the toys.  City Action brings all the excitement of the city to life.  With a police station, hospital, airport, fire station, docks, railway, banks and all the associated vehicles and people, it's an excellent range for children to act out exciting city adventures.  Freddy loved positioning his people in and around the plane, getting the air traffic controller to check the skies before taxi-ing his plane down the runway and taking off.  His constant chatter, the dialogue he has between his characters and the story he invents to act out, all help to improve his vocabulary, his communication and his imagination.  He also shows great dexterity in manipulating the people and the props how he wants them all to be.  I love watching him engrossed in imaginative play, and this Playmobil set has really captured his imagination.

I wish I had a huge house with a massive playroom as I'd love to have a permanent display of Playmobil toys ready to be played with and enjoyed.  Sadly I don't which means I have to find somewhere to keep this awesome aeroplane when it's not being played with. It is a large toy, that is too big to sit on a shelf.  So for now it is positioned on the living room floor because I can't bear the idea of making it live under the bed...not yet, not while Freddy is having so much fun with it.

It is a great addition to his toy collection and is something that will last for years and will be handed down in the future to be played with all over again by the next generation.  

The City Action Cargo and Passenger Aircraft is £59.99 and can be found and purchased on the Playmobil website alongside the full range of fantastic Playmobil toys.  

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Does Pearl Drops Instant White 4D really work?

In my 44 years I have never had a filling or an extraction.  My dentist commends me every time I have a check-up, on how well I keep my teeth clean (pat on the back for me and my toothbrush!)  It's just such a shame that that my teeth are wonky and not very white.

There's not much I can do about the wonkiness apart from spending a fortune on a brace, which I am not prepared to do (even though the dentist tries to persuade me to do it every year). But the colour of my enamel can be helped a bit with a tooth whitening system.  Again I am not prepared to splash out hundreds of quid on some new fangled technique involving UV lights and bottles of bleach, but I am happy to buy a product that I can use at home that isn't expensively priced.

Cue Pearl Drops Instant White 4D.  It is a clinically proven tooth polish for instant shine and gloss that claims to get your teeth two shades whiter in a week.  It comes with a tooth shade guide (a bit like the Dulux colour charts but for teeth) on the side so you can gauge the whitening effect.  It goes from 1-14, with 1 being 'Simon Cowell's smile' white and 14 being 'Dot Cotton 40 a day smoker' yellow.  I had a check of mine against the guide before starting the seven day three times daily programme.  I was an 10.  This made me sad.  Oh why din't mother nature bless me with a set of pearly whites?

pearl drops

The tooth polish is bright pink and reminds me of that pink stuff dentists get you to swill with.  It makes your teeth look really pink when you are cleaning them and doesn't bubble up.  I used it as well as my normal toothpaste because I couldn't cope without a bubbly, minty fresh cleaning before using the Pearl Drops. However the Pearl Drops does prevent cavities, remove plaque and protect enamel in the same way as a regular toothpaste does so this isn't necessary.  It was a psychological thing with me.

My teeth really did look whiter immediately after use.  I couldn't work out if it was an optical illusion, a light reflective coating or whether it actually reduced staining that effectively, but I kept smiling at myself in the mirror feeling a bit like Rylan must have done after getting his new veneers!  This instant shine does diminish as the day goes on, but cleaning regularly brings it back.  I was a positive 9 or maybe even a 8.5 on the teeth whiteness scale after a week!

My girls wanted to try it out too and they said the same thing.  It made their teeth whiter. The whitening was most noticeable on Kizzy - maybe because she has never drunk coffee her enamel isn't as stained as mine and is therefore very easy to clean to a whiter, brighter shade.

So, the verdict is - yes.  This is actually quite impressive in the short term.  It definitely makes teeth appear whiter while you are using the product.  It doesn't make a permanent change and you need to keep using it twice a day to maintain the improvement.  So, for an upcoming event or for a photo shoot, using Pearl Drops Instant White 4D in the run up will give you a brighter smile with improved whiteness, lustre and sheen.

At £3 this is a well priced product that really will make a difference to your teeth's whiteness and shine.  For me, that is such a confidence boost so I'd definitely buy it again.

Looking Forward to Halloween with Aldi

Summer is well and truly over.  The cold, wet weather and falling leaves are testimony to this.  There has been no last minute Indian-Summer reprieve, so my thoughts are turning to more autumnal pursuits.  Such as the prospect of Halloween!  It falls during our half term this year so we'll definitely be able to enjoy ourselves without worrying about bed-time!

From the 3rd October Aldi stores will be selling a great range of top quality Halloween products at their everyday low prices.  Both adults and children can enjoy dressing up for Halloween parties or for Trick or Treating.  Skeleton, witch and vampire outfits for the grown-ups cost just £7.99.  Tiny terrors can become cats, witches, pumpkins, vampires or skeletons for just £3.99.  Aldi also has accessories and decorations to make this Halloween spookily sensational without blowing the budget!


So if you are planning to treat your little monsters this Halloween get down to Aldi from October 3rd, but be quick because when it's gone it's gone!

Aldi sent us some goodies so we could get a sneaky peek at the range.  The sparkly pumpkin tinsel will help you to decorate the house for Halloween and the glow sticks will be perfect for trick or treating.

The child's witch's outfit is very gorgeous, but unfortunately as we don't have any girls age 5-6 in our household, we didn't have a model to showcase the costume.

OK.  Strike that - Freddy volunteered and here he is rocking the witch's hat!  Thankfully, he doesn't care about gender stereotypes yet!!


Adult’s Halloween Costume £7.99
Glow In The Dark Torch £1.99
Children's Dressing Up Set £3.99
Glowsticks £2.99
Children’s Witch Hat £2.49
Halloween Bunting/Banner £0.99
Bottle Candle Lantern £2.49
Halloween Tinsel £0.99
Adult’s Halloween Accessories £1.99
Gel Stickers £0.89

Monday, 23 September 2013

Magic Nail Laboratory Review

Kizzy is very much into fashion and make-up, but also loves science and making things, so the Wild Science Magic Nail Laboratory from Interplay ticked all her boxes.  Wild Science kits treat girls with the respect they deserve, recognising their intelligence alongside their looks.  Girls can learn how to make their own cosmetics, as well finding out fun facts, professional tips, learn about keeping healthy and the science behind cosmetology.  Kizzy loves the formula for fun, learning and looking good.

The Magic Nail Laboratory includes a studio for housing all the ingredients and accessories needed to create some fabulous special nail effects including colour change and glow in the dark looks.

The set includes a nail file and buffer and gives instructions on how to manicure your nails ready for painting. There is also a toe separator so the feet are not neglected and can enjoy a pedicure and nail polish too.

The base for the nail varnishes is a white liquid that dries clear (it's a bit like PVA glue so it isn't harsh and can be peeled off without the need for spirit based nail varnish remover making it more gentle for younger children to use).  To this base you can add pigments or shimmer powder made from Mica flakes to make your own nail varnish.  The set also includes nail art stickers which use photochromic pigments which means they change colour in sunlight, and glow in the dark stickers.  Lots of great looks can be created and it is fun to mix the products and pour them into the fancy bottles.

nail varnish

Kizzy and big sister Ella had some fun making up the nail varnish and trying out the special effect stickers. Kizzy was very impressed with the glow in the dark ones which are a lot of fun and work really well.  Freddy got in on the act and had some glow in the dark skulls applied to his toe nails!   Kizzy really enjoyed being a cosmetologist and learned a lot about keeping her nails healthy and manicured. The instruction booklet was very informative and clearly illustrated giving a step by step guide alongside lots of facts and tips.  

As Kizzy is not allowed to wear nail varnish to school, she needed to remove it on Sunday night.  I was very impressed with how easily it peeled off in the shower, and even more impressed that it left her nails feeling smooth and well conditioned as the products are not at all harsh on the skin.

The kit is recommended for children aged 10 and over.  Kizzy was able to work independently and needed no adult help to make the products.  Younger children would need assistance in measuring and pouring and using the pigments as they can stain.  It is great that Wild Science go beyond the standard make-up sets that are available on the market.  They add something extra to the mix, focusing on the science and creation of the products rather than just the end result.

The Magic Nails Laboratory is £12.99 RRP.  Find out more here:

How To Make A Bear Spoon Puppet

My little cubs and I were treated to a fabulous box of goodies from Bear, including their new Alphabites cereals designed especially for kids.  Included in our goodies was a fantastic craft idea for making bear puppets using wooden spoons, that I'm sharing here with you all.  It's perfect for the kids to do and they will love putting on a puppet show with them afterwards.

What You Need

wooden spoon
brown paint
brown felt
googly eyes
black pen

What To Do

Paint the head of the spoon and allow to dry.
Stick on the googly eyes.
Draw on a nose and mouth.
Cut out some ears from felt.
Stick on the ears on the side of the spoon.
Tie a ribbon around his neck.

Now put on a puppet show...maybe Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but instead of porridge maybe Baby Bear had a bowl of Alphabites!

Bear's Alphabite cereals come in two tasty flavours, Multigrain and Cocoa Multigrain. They have all the taste and fun that kids love but with none of the 'nonsense'!  They are made with natural ingredients and are sweetened using coconut nectar, which is packed with minerals and essential amino acids.  They contain no added sugar or salt, are high in fibre, have low GI and contain a portion of wholegrain to give kids a naturally better breakfast. 


The packaging is great with the back of the box dedicated to fun facts and activities based on a letter of the alphabet.  We had some fun looking at 'p' for pirates and 'b' for bears!  There are currently eight illustrated back of packs, with the remaining 18 letters being rolled out over the next year.

The letter shaped Alphabites were great fun for my little schoolboy Freddy who is just beginning to recognise the alphabet.  The cereals themselves are crunchy and taste sweet.  They provide the perfect solution to giving the kids a good breakfast : Mums know they are giving kids a healthy start, while kids happily tuck in to something that they want to eat.

Freddy is really enjoying the cereals.  He happily munches through a bowlful and likes them as an after school snack as well as in the morning.  I've never bought chocolate cereals before, so this was a real treat for Freddy, and I was happy knowing they are not laden with sugar. It's great to see a company making something that is healthy but also is fun and yummy!


Bear Alphabites are available in Waitrose, Ocado, Holland and Barrett and lots of health food shops and independents priced at £2.69.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

What Fred Said about his Future, Boobs and the Common Cold

This week Freddy has had a cold.  This has sparked a host of beautiful observations from my snotty 4 year old.

"My heart giggled and it made my throat tickle, then Boom - I got a cold!"

"Why have I got crumbs up my nose?"  (At least it was more polite than saying bogeys!)

"When you do this" *breathes in through nose* "it sounds all snifftly!"

Plus he keeps running up to me lovingly, then wiping his nose on my leg!  Oh the joys of these back to school germs!


He had a new supply teacher at school this week and he was a bit confused by her name.

"She's called Mrs.Dyer.  But she's not dead. She's actually alive!"


Ella was chatting to Freddy about his future and a few gems were said!

Ella: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Freddy: A man called Dave.

Ella: What job do you want to do?
Freddy: I want to kill spiders.

Being called Dave is something that is playing on his mind.  He later told me:
"I'm changing my name to Dave next weekend so next weekend call me Dave!"


He has made some interesting physical observations this week too!  Out of the blue he said:

"Ella has got bigger boobs than mummy."
He is not wrong, my B cups cannot compete with Ella's D cups!

Daddy picked Freddy up from school one day this week, and he made a nice observation about his dad's car:

"Your car stinks like rotten sweets and barbecues! You should clean it"


Freddy still has very little interest in learning to read and how ever hard I try, he will not co-operate with reading his school books.  Every word I try to sound out with him is apparently pronounced: "B-U-M" or "F-A-R-T"!  I pray to god he doesn't say this when reading with his teacher!

Friday, 20 September 2013

StickyGrams - Fridge Magnets using Instagram Images!

We all love Instagram on our phones, those beautifully framed photos enhanced by filters that we love to share online.  Well now we can liberate our Instagram images from our phones with these gorgeous StickyGram fridge magnets.  They are guaranteed to make your fridge look funky allowing you to share your Instagram images in the real world too! 


I was given the chance to make a set of nine StickyGram magnets.  It was so easy to connect my Instagram account to the StickyGram website and pick my favourite nine images. And that was it, they were ready to order.

The magnets arrived incredibly fast (ordered on Monday, delivered on Wednesday).  They arrived in a sturdy envelope that kept them well protected in transit. It was impressive service!

The StickyGram magnets are really well made, durable and have a lovely matt finish.  The colours and printing captures the original photo quality resulting in a perfect reproduction of your Instagram images that can be put on the fridge to display.

The set of nine magnets cost $14.99 (current exchange rate £9.34) with free postage worldwide.  You can get $2 off your first order using the code: FRIENDPEAB (this also earns me $2 credit every time it is used). You can share photos of your StickyGram magnets on Instagram using the hashtag #StickyGram for the chance to win goodies.

I think they are great :)  Make yours at!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Phineas and Ferb Rockin' and Rollin' Album

A new digital recording: Phineas and Ferb: Rockin’ and Rollin’ has been released. It features 25 favourite tracks taken from all four seasons of the show, including two from the special summer Mission Marvel episode. The songs on the album have flavours of R&B, Country and Dance so there is something for everyone to enjoy.

We've been listening to it streamed online to review and it is totally cool.  Fans of Phineas and Ferb will love it.  It is quirky, funny and full of the humour of the show.  It would be a perfect recording for the car to keep the kids entertained, singing along to the catchy lyrics and laughing at the madcap musical antics of Phineas and Ferb.



1) Platypus Walk – Swampy and the Marsh-mellows

2) Real Boy – Norm the Robot

3) Football X7 – Robbie Wyckoff

4) Big Honkin’ Hole in My Heart – Baljeet and Buford

5) Let’s Spend Half a Day – Kate Pierson

6) The Way of the Platypus – Rick Cowling

7) Isabella’s Birthday Song – Isabella

8) We Are the Moms – Jen Hirsch

9) What Is this Thing? – Fee Waybill

10) Drusselstein Driving Test Waltz – Aaron Daniel Jacob

11) Ferb Latin – Phineas and Friends

12) Evil for Extra Credit – Carl the Intern

13) Extraordinary – Candace

14) Funhouse – Aaron Daniel Jacob

15) I’m Me – Vanessa

16) I’m Handsome – Dr. Doofenshmirtz

17) Livin’ with Monkeys – Candace

18) Just the Two of Us – Danny Jacob

19) Runnin’ from Love (in a Bear Suit) – Robbie Wyckoff

20) Waggle Dance – Ginger and The Fireside Girls

21) Dance Baby – Aaron Daniel Jacob

22) Feelin’ Super – Ian Osborne

23) My Evil Buddies and Me – Danny Jacob

24) Izzy’s Got the Frizzies – Carmen Carter

25) Quirky Worky Song – Danny Jacob


My favourite song is We are The Moms, a great look at maternal instinct!  I can totally relate!

It's available to download now priced at £8.49.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Oreo Brownie Traybake Recipe

I absolutely love the Great British Bake Off.  I adore Mary Berry with her old lady jeans and silver fox Paul Hollywood with his smouldering, blue eyes.  Throw a whole load of cakes and bakes into the mix and you get must-see TV.

As I've been dieting I have resisited the urge to join in with Jenny and Helen's GBBO linky. Home baking is just too tempting and my shrinking waistline would not forgive me if I suddenly ate an entire trifle or fruit pie.  But this week, with almost 2 stone lost overall, I think I can afford a little indulgence, so I've joined in with the Great Bloggers Bake Off  for Traybake week.  I've come up with a recipe that combines the kids' favourite biscuits with a decadent, but easy to make brownie.  I also added some milk chocolate (from an advent calendar I bought last year for 10p in the sales -use by November 2013.  I bought about 20 of them for just this sort of thing!!) 

I've also linked up with A Mummy Too's Recipe of the week linky.

Oreo Brownie Traybake


7 oz dark chocolate
7 oz butter
11 oz golden caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 oz plain flour

3 oz milk chocolate 
8 Oreo biscuits chopped roughly


Melt chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Meanwhile whisk together the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until thick and creamy.
Stir in melted chocolate mixture.
Fold in flour.
Stir in chocolate and chopped biscuits.
Pour into a foil tray or prepared tin. (approx 8" x 13")
Cook in a pre-heated oven at GM4 for 25 minutes.

Cut into even pieces and sprinkle with icing sugar when cold.
(or grab a slab of it and eat it while it's warm!)

They are rich, moist and have the extra bite and flavour of Oreo biscuits. 


Link up your recipe of the week

The Ultimate Guide to Date Night

A new survey has revealed that a third of British couples never set aside time for a date night together, although half of the nation believe that regular date nights would improve their relationship. 1 in 4 of the 2000 people surveyed by Royal Crown Soda* admitted that they would like their partners to up their game when it comes to dating and romance.  So what are we waiting for?  It seems that setting aside quality time with our partners may just be the key to a long and happy relationship, yet we are neglecting to do so!

Difficulties in finding the money, babysitters and time are all cited as excuses for not enjoying date nights, but with a bit of imagination and inspiration you can enjoy a date night without even leaving the house!

The nations most people activities for night nights are enjoying a meal together (42%) and cosying up on the sofa with a box set (20%).  Only 11% were interested in 'getting lucky', preferring the thought of their partner's kitchen skills over their bedroom skills.

For me, a date night involves good food and a good film.  Here are the Top 10 choices for a date night film according  to RC Cola's survey:

  • Dirty Dancing
  • Top Gun
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Ghost
  • The Notebook
  • Love Actually
  • Star wars
  • Pretty Woman
  • Lord of the Rings
Now, for me, most of these films are romcoms or chick flicks, the sort that I'd watch with my girls whilst wearing face masks and scoffing popcorn.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good chick flick.  In fact Dirty Dancing and The Notebook rank right up there in my favourite films ever, but for a date night Ian and I would be more inclined to watch The Evil Dead!  I love having a good scare so we can snuggle up together for protection. Nothing says romance more than being terrified into the tightest of hugs!  It gets the old heart pumping, that's for sure. That's my ultimate date night sorted.

To download RC Cola's full Date Night Ultimate Guide visit their Facebook Page.  It is packed with handy hints, checklists, do's and don'ts and recipes so you can organise your own date nights with your other half.

We were sent some goodies so we could enjoy a date night together.
*RC Cola is available exclusively at Asda from just £1.

Tree Fu Tom - The Ultimate Tom Toy

He has pop out wings, his Sapstone Belt and Holopax light up,  he says over 30 phrases, has articulated poseable limbs and plays music from the hit TV show - no wonder this is the Ultimate Tom toy! 

Freddy who is a big fan of the CBeebies show and can often be found doing his own form of Tree Fu Magic in the middle of the living room, was one very happy little boy when he saw the Ultimate Tom toy.  He immediately began pressing the buttons through the packaging to hear one of the thirty phrases that Tom says.  I managed to get the toy away long enough to liberate Tom from his cardboard and plastic prison, ready to begin his first adventure with Freddy!

Tree Fu Tom

Tom looks very much like his TV counterpart and is instantly recognisable.  He has two buttons on his Sapstone belt and one on his Holopax which when pressed  make Tom speak. The belt and Holopax also light up.  A button on his chest makes his wings pop out, and if you tilt Tom into flying position he plays the theme tune.

I was very impressed by the number and quality of the phrases that Tom spoke and they really add to the play value of this toy.  The phrases are very interactive and Freddy was soon discussing shrinking spells, directions to the castle and the virtues of Tree Fu magic with his new toy.  They act as prompts to some very imaginative play as Freddy and Tom embark on exciting adventures together.

The toy stands up very well and is stable and solid. No part of it feels flimsy which is nice to see in a toy of this kind.  The joints are articulated and Tom can be posed into some Tree Fu magic moves.  I like the way that children are encouraged to join in, strike poses and get active, in the same way as when watching the TV show.  It brings the magic of Treetopolis straight into the toybox!

Our Ultimate Tom toy has been dropped onto a tiled floor causing his wings to fall off, but thankfully they were easy to click back on and no permanent damage was caused. It shows no signs of wear and tear even after some vigorous play.  It's nice to see just how robust this toy is!

Any fans of Tree Fu Tom would enjoy playing with the Ultimate Tom toy.  It is a lot of fun to interact with Tom and fly him around the room as the theme tune plays.  Freddy is so taken with it, he has taken it to bed with him a few times.  Just be aware though that after it has gone untouched for a while he says good-bye until your next adventure - this can be a problem if your child has just dropped off to sleep.  Oops!

The Ultimate Tom toy from Flair has an rrp of £24.99 and is available from Amazon.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

My Debenhams Dream Bedroom

One of my earliest childhood memories is of me stood in my cot in my parent's bedroom looking at their huge, walnut wardrobe.  The highly polished and detailed wood patterns, to my childish eyes, looked like faces and creatures inhabiting an incredible ancient world, frozen forever in time, trapped within the wardrobe door. That fantastic memory stayed with me as I grew up and resurfaced as I read The Narnia books.  I wondered if perhaps my parent's wardrobe with its amazing frontage was indeed a portal to a long forgotten world.  I tentatively explored this possibility, easing open the door and peering inside.  Sadly, the wardrobe was only a storage place for my mum's rather excessive clothing collection and there were no lions, no witches and definitely no Narnia for me to stumble upon. All I had was the wardrobe. My childish dreaming came to an abrupt end. However, that memory of the detailed knotted wood and the mysteries and magic it held has never left.

Inspired by this, here is my mood board of Debenhams products that would make up my dream bedroom.


My design for my Debenhams Dream Bedroom showcases the wonder and the magic of my childhood memories.  I love the use of real wood with its unique appearance, just inviting imaginative interpretation. It is steeped in mystery and holds the energy and memories of being a living entity. Combining key wooden pieces with earthy, autumnal hues and natural patterns creates my own ancient world, my own Narnia. Peaceful, relaxing, calming. I love the leaf design string lights that would bring a hint of the outdoors indoors and the blown glass lampshade that would cast a shimmering, golden glow into my bedroom.  The lustrous sheen of the bed linen would add a subtly luxurious feel and provide a focal point to the room which would draw the eyes and seduce you to slink into the sheets. This would be a beautiful space to surround you as you tumble headlong into dreamworld.

Wall mirror £20

Throw pillow £12

Wall art £29

Bookcase  £540

Acacia furniture £400

Rich Dark Acacia 'Elba' wardrobe £650

Rich Dark Acacia 'Elba' bedstead £950

Sheridan Gold 'Siam' bed linen £129


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...