Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Tip-Tap Dancing Cat

With the rise in popularity of Strictly, and with dancers regularly appearing on BGT and other TV talent shows, dancing is a hugely popular subject.  This lovely picture book from Joanna Boyle, brings the love of dance to little ones as they follow the secret life of Oscar the Cat, as he fox-trots, mambos and taps his way through the pages!

With wonderful illustrations that capture the various dance styles perfectly, each genre of dance is shown in all its glory as Oscar dances himself to fame.  The back of the book has a brilliant illustrated glossary, explaining each dance in a child-friendly and fun way.  It's a great introduction to all the different styles of dance.

At the end of the book, as Oscar settles down for a nap, we wonder to ourselves just what do our own pets get up to when our backs are turned!

For little ones who love to dance, this energetic picture book will make them want to get on their dancing shoes and join in with Oscar 'The Tip-Tap Dancing Cat'!

dance, picture books

The Tip-Tap Dancing Cat by Pavilion Children's Books is out now in paperback priced at £5.99.

Bigjigs Play Patrol - Freddy Reviews Safari Blocks

My little boy Freddy and I are delighted at being shortlisted to become one of this year's Bigjigs Play Patrol Agents.  We have loved being ambassadors for the brand, as we genuinely love the company's ethos, their beautiful toys and the sense of humour that runs through their social media, so we are honoured to get through to this stage.  Thank you Bigjigs!


  Freddy has been given a very special mission to review a set of Bigjigs Wooden Safari Blocks.  As toys suitable for babies from 1 year old, I was worried that he would not be very interested in them.  Oh how wrong was I!!??  He LOVES them!

It just goes to show that traditional wooden toys are timeless classics with masses of play value.  When toys rely on imagination instead of batteries, the scope for play appeal is unlimited and long lasting.

Bigjigs Safari Building Blocks

The Bigjigs Safari Blocks are a collection of thirty two colouful, wooden bricks, which come with a handy drawstring bag for storage.

The blocks include pieces to make six fun animals, a sun, moon, flowers, bushes and trees.  They are completely child friendly making them suitable for toddlers from a year old.  They are the perfect size for little hands to manipulate, but still solid and chunky.

Bigjigs Safari Building Blocks

The Bigjigs Safari Building Blocks encourage and develop a number of skills in children.  Freddy displayed lots of these skills as he played, developing and learning as he put the fun to the test!  

Learning through play is the best way for little ones to explore the world around them, laying down the foundations for their future development. These blocks are fantastic tools for the following skills:

Dexterity - stacking the blocks helps develop the ability for children to use their little hands and practice those all important fine motor skills.  Hand eye coordination is improved as little ones manipulate the pieces to create the animals or build towers.

Balance - making towers that stay standing requires a good sense of balance.  Then knocking them down teaches them about cause and it's totally fun!

Imagination - bricks can be built into anything, limited only by a child's imagination.  The cute animal characters lend themselves to being the stars of many role play games.  This aspect of play is something that Freddy really enjoys as he acts out wonderfully elaborate scenarios using the blocks as props for his storytelling.   From building huge towers to making a safari adventure, there are lots of things to be built, encouraging spatial awareness and creativity.

Vocabulary - animal names and sounds, colours, shapes, size, prepositions (such as above, below, next to, on top of) etc. can all be learned through playing with the blocks together.  Interacting with your child as you play together opens up a fun and engaging dialogue, encouraging children to chatter about what they are doing, improving social skills, confidence and teaching new words.

Problem Solving - For little ones, working out how to make the animals is a lot of fun.  Older children can work out how to fit together the circles inside the semi-circular spaces to make stable structures or work out ways to build the tallest towers, all the while testing their problem solving skills.

Matching - children will enjoy sorting out the blocks by size, shape or pattern and  matching up the pieces of the animals.  And of course, mix and match creatures are fun to make too!

 Shape Recognition - with rectangles, semi-circles, circles and squares, little ones can learn the names of shapes. This activity can be extended for younger children who could draw around the blocks to make shape pictures. Freddy was able to name the 3D shapes such as cubes and cuboids, counting their faces and matching them by size.

Number Skills - Freddy counted the animals and the number of bricks in his tower.  He also used the blocks as an aid to counting on, learning the basics for early maths skills. Blocks are really handy when children begin to learn simple addition and subtraction problems.  You can use them as a resource to help solve simple problems, making maths much more fun, hands on and practical!

Encourages Tidying Up - The drawstring bag made clearing up much easier and Freddy loved that it was in his favourite colour; light blue.  This fact made him positively eager to tidy the bricks away after he had finished playing.  This is a great social skill for little ones to learn (and it makes my job as a mum easier, giving me less mess to put away at bedtime!)

Bigjigs Safari Building Blocks

Watching Freddy play made me realise the value of these traditional toys.  I expected him to build the animals and create a safari play scene, build towers and knock them down.  But I was surprised at just how much fun he's had with them.  He has had them out everyday since they arrived, and has come up with some seriously entertaining ways to play. His sense of humour and imagination has shone through: 

  • He has made his own funny jokes using the bricks as props...he made lots of mix and match animal characters including a 'two headed cat' which he thought was hilarious, then proceeded in doing his best Annoying Orange impression as he gave us a running commentary and laughed at his own gags!
  • Freddy made himself a 'Minecraft World' with the blocks and played out some exciting Minecraft action with the animal heads as TNT!  He gave a running commentary on creepers, pigs and chickens as he brought the online game into real life with a colourful and fun Bigjigs twist.
Bigjigs play patrol

I love his quirky way of unleashing the fun from toys, discovering ways to play that I would never have imagined. This it what I love most about Bigjigs toys.  The play value is unleashed through the imagination of the child and is not pre-decided for them. Being free from the constraints of expectation allows that imagination to soar. How much fun must it be to be a 4 year old!

As ever, Freddy played hard and the blocks are withstanding his rough and tumble approach to playtime perfectly, without a dent or scratch on them.

Take a look at the blocks (and Freddy) in action in this video:


It really was eye opening to see how much these blocks sparked his imagination and how many ways he found to play with them.  Buying these for a younger child would be a great investment as they will last for years, with the play value growing and changing over time.  The blocks can be added to or combined with other sets of building blocks, so the fun keeps growing.

Priced at just £11.99, the Bigjigs Wooden Safari Building Blocks are a great value toy that little boys and girls will love.

Join in the fun, enter competitions and keep up to date with the latest Bigjigs news on the Bigjigs Facebook Page.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Big Adventure with Mothercare and ELC

Mothercare has launched a new range for summer,  and it's all about adventure!  The Adventure range conjures up the world of camping holidays, the outdoors and nature watching.  For girls there are vintage florals and mix and match photographic prints.  For the boys there are muted and chalky colours, fluorescent highlights and graphics inspired by nature and adventure.

Tying in with this theme of adventure, ELC has a fabulous range of toys including the Discovery Channel 4 x 30 Binoculars (£6.99) and FM Walkie Talkies (£24.99), plus their own brand Explorers Kits (£15.00).

Freddy was delighted to receive a fabulous 'The Big Adventure' long sleeved graphic T-Shirt (currently half price at £3.50 - £4.00) featuring a cool photo of the great outdoors, along with some ELC goodies and nature books to help him enjoy his own big adventure!

little explorers

We loved the T-Shirt which was well sized and well made from 100% breathable cotton, which is soft on children's skin.  The muted green raglan sleeves, the contrast stitching and the stylish graphic print make this the perfect top for big adventurers aged up to 8 years old.

The ELC Explorer Kit contains everything that a budding adventurer might need to discover the world around them.  A wrist compass, a magnifying glass, torch, magnified bug catcher with tweezers and binoculars plus some nature cards are packed inside a see-through rucksack.

My little adventurer was ready to explore!

Mothercare, ELC

For children, everyday is an adventure filled with discovery and wonder.  It was a rainy, wet day when we went for a walk around Bridgemere Gardens, but that didn't deter Freddy from going on his big adventure.  Using his binoculars, he looked around for birds, took a closer look at the leaves on trees and checked out the things up ahead.

He loved his wrist compass which he used to find North.  His daddy showed him how the arrow always pointed to the north, even if he moved around.  Freddy tried to find some bugs but the rain meant that apart from one brave Hover Fly, our adventure was relatively bug free.  So bug catching will be saved for another day.  Instead, Daddy hid some coins for Freddy to discover.  Using his exploration skills and the age old technique of 'getting hotter or colder', Freddy discovered the treasure among the plants and under the trees.  He loved his adventure and wondered if it was pirates, and not Daddy, that had left the coins for him to find.

The ELC toys help children learn and develop through play; stimulating their imagination and creativity.  

Mothercare, ELC, Bridgemere Garden Centre

After a busy afternoon exploring, it was time to explore the cafe where Freddy enjoyed some yummy grapes and a Millionaire's Shortbread, whilst still wearing his compass.  An explorer's job is never done!

After his big adventure and his snack, Freddy's T-Shirt was ready for the wash.  I am happy to report that it washed up beautifully at 40 degrees.

Find out more about the Adventure range and view other products from Mothercare and the ELC at:

Monday, 28 April 2014

A Foodie Review Round Up

Luxury Drinking Chocolate from Hans Sloane

This award winning drinking chocolate from Hans Sloane London is something very special indeed!  The exquisitely shined 100% real chocolate beads are designed to melt into milk or water to create a unique drinking experience.

vegan hot chocolate, luxury hot chocolate

This rich, creamy, velvety chocolate drink exceeds any other drinking chocolate I have ever tasted.  The pure chocolate taste is exquisite and exactly how you want hot chocolate to taste.  The Rich Dark Drinking Chocolate is dairy free, so when combined with almond or soya milk makes a wonderfully indulgent vegan hot chocolate drink. I love to find a dairy free product that is as good as this! The Milk Chocolate variety is sweeter and lighter, perfect for the kids.

Three tablespoons of chocolate into a 200g mug of milk, water or a combination of both (according to taste) makes the perfect drink.  You can add extras such as cinnamon, salted caramel or flavoured syrups to make your own perfect drink.

Hans Sloane Drinking Chocolates are available in Waitrose and Tesco nationwide with an RRP of £4.99. 

McCain Roasted Garlic Wedges

When you have a family to feed, it is really handy to have some quick and easy standby foods in the freezer for mealtimes.  McCain Wedges are one such product, which make a great accompaniment to dinners that my kids enjoy.  They also make a good savoury sharing snack for movie nights or parties. They are so convenient when you are short of time: just pop them on a tray in the oven to cook.

For this summer, McCain have launched a limited edition Roasted Garlic flavour to the range.  The tasty, garlicky coating adds a depth of flavour.  They are perfect for dipping in ketchup or mayo.

wedges, potato,

McCain Roasted Garlic Wedges are available in the freezer aisle of stores now with a 750g bag costing £2 RRP.

Get Your 7 a day with a little help from Princes Tinned Fruit

breakfast, 7 a day ideas, fruit, tinned fruit

We are now being told to up our 5 a day to 7 portions of fruit and vegetables daily.  Government guidelines include tinned fruit in juice as a serving, so having a few tins handy can help to achieve this quota, especially as they are so convenient and don't go off like fresh fruits.  Princes have a range of fruit such as peaches, pears, mandarin segments, grapefruit and prunes, which can make a quick pudding or be used to add some fruit to breakfast time.

Serving some tinned fruit on yogurt, on porridge, with granola or with your cereals in the morning is an easy way to get an extra portion of fruit  into your diet. You could even incorporate a can into a fruity smoothie. The kids will enjoy it too, giving them a nutritious boost to their breakfast.  It's definitely worth keeping a couple in the store cupboard for a convenient way of adding extra fruit to mealtimes.

A 290g can of Californian Pitted Prunes or a 415g can of Peach Slices retail at 99p in major supermarkets.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Playing Millionaire Genie with 888Ladies

I've never been much of a gambler, so have very little experience with online gambling and bingo sites.  But when I was asked to have a go at the new Millionaire Genie game at 888Ladies I thought it was time to give it a try, especially as this game lures players in with the prospect of big cash prizes for lucky spins.  I could, after all, get lucky!

Millionaire Genie is a sumptuous looking slots game filled with imagery befitting the Arabian Nights with genies, magic lamps, ancient manuscripts, bejewelled cobras, ornate keys and bags of gold coins spinning around on the reels.  It is very atmospheric with music playing as the animated genie guards the jackpot and oversees the play.


There's a lot to take in with the option of autoplays, different bets and 15 paylines with the option of having up to 75 games in motion at once.  To win you need to match combinations of symbols. There are wild cards, bonus spins and scatter symbols to be won, as well as a bonus game.  As a novice the jargon all goes over my head, but the visuals made it all look quite straightforward and user friendly.

Rather than trying to understand it all in theory, I dived right in with my £5 credit to see what happened, hoping to get some beginner's luck, which might have allowed me to get a slice of the huge jackpot! Basically it was a case of setting my bet and hitting 'Spin'.


I used the minimum bet of 1p per line across 15 lines and set my play into motion.  I really didn't get how you won, but occasionally a gold line was drawn across the screen connecting the symbols and telling me I had won anything from 3p to my highest win 55p.  These amounts were added back onto my balance.


I'm obviously not a very lucky lady because I exhausted my £5.00 balance in just 9 minutes.  I chose to spin manually rather than clicking autoplay which extended my playing time and I used the minimum stakes, so I made it last for as long as possible. Yet I was quickly left with just 13p in my account, which was insufficient funds for playing on.  So my dalliance into online gambling was over very swiftly.

I was impressed that I wasn't allowed to play on once my balance was exhausted, and that my balance was clearly displayed at all times.  Hopefully this means no-one will inadvertently run up debts or overspend.  If you pay in what you are prepared to lose, and use that sum to play, without being tempted to pay in any more money, then you will know exactly where you stand.  If you get lucky and win, that's a bonus that you can use for playing more games or cash in.  But if you are like me, you can bow out gracefully when the money runs out.

online gambling

To be very honest, I was quite shocked at how easy it is to lose money and how quickly my balance dwindled away.  I'm sure there are ways to learn techniques and methods to improve your strategies and win more, and of course someone will get lucky and win the jackpot which stood at over half a million pounds during my time playing. That would be a fantastic return on a £5 bet, and you've got to be in it to win it!  

I know some people find the idea of gambling with real cash exciting, and yes, there is a buzz when you see a winning line appear and the anticipation that with one more spin the jackpot could be won does get the adrenaline flowing. And being able to play 24/7 from the comfort of your own home or on the go using the app makes it a very accessible pastime for many. 

But for me, my wins were minimal and my balance just kept going down - no beginner's luck for me. It was fun while it lasted, watching the animations and hoping for a winning line to appear, but it was over very quickly. The few wins I did get did not make me think it was worth investing more money into the game in the hope of making my money back or breaking even.  This was a finite, one time only experience for the purpose of this review, because with my luck I couldn't afford to lose £5 every 9 minutes!

I hope if you ever play, you have better luck than I did!

Sponsored post.  

Recreating Old Family Photos for my Birthday

I have wonderful kids who surprise me, delight me and make me proud everyday. My girls really excelled themselves this year for my birthday by making me a video, which made me bawl my eyes out.

I was aware of a 'secret project' taking place over the last week or so, but I tried to ignore it, not wanting to ruin my own surprise.  To be honest I thought maybe they were maybe taking some photos for a card or something, but their idea was far more elaborate.

They wrote and recorded an original song and made a video featuring recreated family photos.  It was just so beautiful and so very thoughtful.  They did such a great job and included big brother Joe, who contributed to the project remotely, and little brother Freddy too.  I am so lucky to have kids who understand the things that make me happy...and nothing makes me happier than them.

recreating old family photos

recreating old family photos

recreating old family photos

recreating old family photos

recreating old family photos

recreating old family photos

Just seeing how much they have all grown, but how the relationship between them is still as close and how their personalities still shine through is just beautiful.  I'm definitely going to get involved in more recreations with them and am looking forward to joining in with the posing as we re-imagine precious memories.

Here is the video that they played for me on my birthday :)


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Zoo News from Paradise Wildlife Park

This month Zoo News from Paradise Wildlife Park finds out about the Three Banded Armadillo, an amazing creature tough enough to break concrete, who is able to sniff its prey eight inches below soil, and is the only type of Armadillo that can incase itself completely in its amour. It also shows how the Great Grey Owl survives in the Arctic Circle and what adaptations allow it to live in cold conditions.  Check out some brilliant wildlife footage in these monthly videos from Paradise Wildlife Park.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Ella is 18 Today

My beautiful baby girl looked up at me and beamed a huge smile at just 3 days old.  When the skeptical midwife saw her grinning, she said she had never seen a baby so young as responsive.  She admitted that she thought I was mistaking wind for genuine smiles, but was happy to eat her words. Ella really was a special little thing from the word go.

Over the years, my adorable little girl has become a wonderful young woman: talented, sensitive, intelligent, gifted, beautiful.  Life is not always easy for her, but she is strong.  A fighter.  She makes me proud everyday. She can light up any room from the moment she enters.

growing up

I am utterly honoured to be her mum.



brother and sister



Saturday, 19 April 2014

Box of OMG and Box of Awseome Review #totallyomg

When our Mega Box of OMG and Mega Box of Awesome arrived, Freddy and Kizzy couldn't wait to get stuck in to find out what treats were inside.  Filled with goodies from top brands such as HARIBO, Plasticine and Nickelodeon, the boxes are packed with things such as stickers, trading cards, toys, sweets and books.  They are great for keeping the kids entertained in the school holidays!

Freddy had a Mega Box of Awesome.  He was instantly delighted to find Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Skylanders and Predasaurs DNA Fusion items among the goodies inside.


The Odd Squad Bully Bait by Michael Fry was a great freebie to find in the Mega Box of Awesome. Although he is a bit young for it now, we'll keep it on his bookshelf for him.  It's a great book to get boys reading.

freebies for kids

Kids are always happy to find a treat size pack of HARIBO Starmix to munch on!  Finding one in his Box of Awesome went down very well.

box of awesome

The Predasaurs DNA Fusion pack featured a Stegasaurus/Triceratops hybrid toy, which Freddy thought was really cool.

Box of Awesome

The Plasticine Squidgems pack was brilliant.  It contained Plasticine, cardboard accessories and instructions needed to make Raphael one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  It was a great activity and of course the Plasticine can be re-used again and again.

Plasticine, Box of Awesome

The Box of Awesome was definitely a big hit with Freddy filled with things he loved.

Meanwhile Kizzy received her Box of OMG and here she is doing an unboxing video.


Again, her box contained a book which retails at £6.99, as well as HARIBO, a funky nail file, stickers, tattoos and Nickelodeon games gift card.

You can receive boxes of OMG and Awesome completely free if you apply online and are allocated one, or you can guarantee your two monthly boxes of Mega OMG and Awesome by subscribing for £4.99 a box. You can also join the community and become one of the Super Awesome Club where you can increase your chances of winning a box through the post by earning Awesome points by sharing on Twitter and Facebook, getting friends to sign up, uploading unboxing videos or inputting codes from previous boxes.  There also great prizes to be won including iPad minis!  It's a lot of fun and well worth joining in.

Check out or go to Facebook at boxofomg and sign up for free now.

Siblings - My Mum and Uncle John

Over the years I unfortunately haven't seen much of my extended family, especially since the death of my wonderful Nan Peck six years ago. So I was really thrilled to hear that my Uncle John was coming to stay with my parents and that they would be visiting us.  The last time I saw my uncle was at my Nan's funeral back in 2008, before Freddy was even born.  So we were all really looking forward to seeing him again and introducing Freddy to his Great Uncle.

It was lovely to see him!  My kids all really enjoyed his company and we chatted and reminisced.  I showed John photos of my two eldest, Joe and Megan, my niece Kate, my nephew Tom, my grandson Ted and great nephew Michael, updating him on all the family news.  Freddy proudly showed him all the certificates he had won at school and drew him some pictures to take home. He loved having a new grown-up to impress.

I took some photos of John with my family.  Taking photographs and preserving memories is so important to me, adding some updated images to my collection of family pics, so the children (and their future children) can see their own history through photos.  

I found an old picture of my mum with her little brother taken in about 1940 and compared it to the photo I took last week.  Now, seventy years on, my mum is over 80 and John is just a few years behind. But they are still that same brother and sister that sat for the photographer all those years ago, dressed in their Sunday best.

family, siblings

In hindsight, I wish I'd recreated the original pose, with John looking a bit cheeky and my mum having a protective arm around her little brother...definitely something to do next time!!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Keep Calm and Party - Ella is 18!

It seems like only yesterday that I brought my beautiful baby girl home from hospital, and now she's officially becoming an adult on the event of her eighteenth birthday next week.  Parenting a teenager can be a challenge in many ways, but it's a challenge I embrace wholeheartedly.  I love having a grown-up daughter who is great company, fun to be around and whose achievements fill me with pride!

Throwing a little party for Ella and her friends, as part of the week long celebrations for her birthday, has been helped along after receiving some brilliant partyware from The Partyware Shop.  The Keep Calm range has real popular appeal with its simple, yet eye catching design featuring the iconic phraseology. 

With plates, bowls, napkins, cups, ice cream tubs, cake cases and cake toppers, the range is perfect for teenagers and adults alike.  The bold colours make a strong statement and will make the party table look bright and colourful.

the partyware shop

We received from the Keep Calm and Party range:

Paper Cups £2.49 for 8
Paper Bowls £2.75 for 8
Paper Plates £2.75 for 8
Lunch Napkins £2.75 for 20
Treat Tubs £2.99 for 8
Cupcake Cases £3.99 for 100
Cupcake Picks £2.49 for 20

Yesterday, some of Ella's friends came over to have a lunchtime party and to watch a movie together.  

18th birthday

The meal plan consisted of veggie burgers with potato shapes, salad, carrot sticks, hummus, fruit, jellies, sweets and cupcakes.  I kept it simple but the lovely co-ordinating partyware made the table look great and elevated the food into something quite special.

the partyware shop

I particularly liked the cupcake cases and picks.  I made some Oreo and some Chocolate Truffle and Berry cupcakes in the cases, decorating some of them with a Keep Calm and Eat Cake pick!  The bowls were perfect for serving up salad, sweets and grapes in as well as using them for eating from.  The treat tubs were used to serve the jelly.

The plates, tubs and bowls were very sturdy and excellent quality, so didn't flop or bend when piled with food. The cups were also very good and were re-used several times.  The napkins were strong enough to deal with minor spills and didn't disintegrate when wet.

Overall, I think the range represents excellent value for money as it is such good quality, is quite unique and looks great.  It is nice to find a design that suits an older child's party (although I don't think Ella would have minded being served her party food up on the new Disney Frozen Deluxe Party Pack which is just £18.99 and contains everything for a party of 8 children).

Frozen birthday party

For a limited time, The Partyware Shop is offering free UK postage and packing on orders (usually £3.95) so it's a perfect time to buy.

Find out more and discover the full range of paper partyware, china and glass serveware and party accessories, games and decorations at

More Sky Entertainment from TalkTalk

TalkTalk have seven Sky channels coming to TalkTalk Plus TV: Sky 1, Sky 2, Sky Sports News, Sky Living, Sky Livingit, Sky Arts 1 and Sky Arts 2, which are all in addition to the 70 Freeview channels currently available to TalkTalk's Plus TV customers. The new channels will bring TalkTalk homes some of the very best entertainment shows from Sky, including Modern Family, Elementary, The Smoke and Bones, as well as a hundred hours of on demand shows each month.  

The Sky Movies Boost is available to buy for two months at half price until 23rd April for existing customers, offering 11 Sky Movies channels and on demand films for just £7.50 a month. There are some great films coming to Sky Movies this month including The Lone Ranger, Trance, Man of Steel and Grown Ups 2.  You can catch a whole host of superhero films on the dedicated Superhero channel this month too!  Perfect for the whole family to enjoy this Easter.

Find out more about the TalkTalk services for TV, Broadband, home phone and mobile plus details of their special offers at

Proud TalkTalk Family Blogger

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

What Fred Said This Time!

what kids say

Freddy has very firm ideas when it comes to his education as this little conversation that he had with his Nana shows:

What did you do at school today?
I played.
Did you do anything else.
Yes but there was something I couldn't do.
What couldn't you do?

Freddy's view on the dawn of man:

All the cars and people used to be statues and God brought everything to life.  He made statue people into real life people and gave us real hair instead of statue hair.

I loved Freddy's attempt at pronouncing these two American holiday destinations:
Flooridor and Clarriflornia
They sound much nicer than plain old Florida and California.

Freddy is a bit of a Harry Potter fan:

I love Harry Potter because he does awesome spells to set things on fire called Incendio and hang people upside down called Levicorpus and blast things called Stupify and make people forget things called....I've forgotten what that one's called.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Spring into Summer with Next #NextKids

I am always delighted to attend the Next events which showcase kids' clothes for the following season. Today, myself, Ella, Kizzy and Freddy headed to Next's HQ in Leicester for a sneak peek at their new ranges of kids'clothes and accessories for Summer.  Unfortunately, due to the M1 being closed and a detour that saw us cover just 5 miles in an hour, we arrived horribly late.  However, we were made to feel very welcome as we were shown to the showroom to admire the latest looks.

I love Next clothes for Freddy so I really enjoyed looking at all the new styles that will be available for him this year. There are some excellent T-shirt designs about to hit the stores, featuring superheroes such as Superman, Batman and the Avengers, vintage Star Wars, The Lego Movie, Ron Burgundy, Angry Birds, bands and Plants vs Zombies (our personal favourite on account of our PvZ addiction!)  The forthcoming World Cup has inspired a range of T-shirts based on the football strips of different teams from across the world, which are really lovely.  It's nice to have a football shirt that is made from soft cotton rather than that shiny material that they are usually made from. The World Cup has also influenced some other designs including one which shows Spiderman in goal, saving the ball with his net! There are also some more traditional England t-shirts and sports' clothes, so little ones can support our team as they compete in Brazil this summer.

summer, boys clothes, NEXT

I was very impressed with the all-in-one swim suits featuring fun character costumes, transforming the wearer into a little Superman or swashbuckling pirate.  Great fun for the beach!

The kids loved browsing and picking out things they liked.  Kizzy loved the delicate floral prints and sunglasses prints in the girls' section and was pleased to see the sizes go up big enough for her to wear!  She loved the collared playsuit, perfect for fun in the sun.

summer, kids clothes, NEXT

There were some fabulous accessories and shoes for both boys and girls which will go perfectly with the outfits, from some gorgeous sparkly pumps for little girls to cool trainers for the lads.  

Next's summer lines have a style to suit every child:  preppy, smart, sporty, funky, fun loving or casual.

NEXT, summer clothes, kids

There were some lovely little boys' suit jackets, shirts and waistcoats which would be perfect for a summer wedding or special occasion, at high street prices.  A great way to save a few pounds if you have a formal function to attend with your little one this year.

boys suits, boys formalwear

After spending some time perusing the new looks from Next, we were treated to a lovely lunch at Cini.  The little ones got to make their own pizzas in the kitchens which were cooked freshly for them. Freddy and Kizzy tucked into their pizzas while Ella and I enjoyed spinach ravioli.

pizza, Italian restaurant

With some fab company and some goodies for the kids thrown in the mix, we had a  lovely time.  Thank you to Next for another lovely #NextKids event!


Saturday, 12 April 2014

Green Science Dynamo Torch Review

We were sent a 4M Green Science Dynamo Torch kit to try out from Great Gizmos.  It contains everything needed to make a working, wind-up torch and teaches children about electrical energy in the process.  It's high voltage inspiration and fun!

kids science

Comprising of a toy motor, LED lamp, gears and torch casing, cover and accessories, children aged 8 and over can create their own torch.  In doing so, they will learn how to follow instructions, improve their dexterity and gain an understanding of basic electronics.

kids science

The clear instruction sheet gives an assembly diagram and step by step guide for making the torch.  Kizzy's first look at the instructions left her a bit confused, but with Dad on hand she soon got stuck in.  Adult supervision is probably advisable unless you have an electronics whizz for a child.

science experiment, electronics

Once her Dad had pointed her in the right direction, she was able to affix the LED to the casing, install the gears, attach the handle and connect the wires to the motor.  You need a small cross head screwdriver to assemble the torch using little screws, which can prove a bit fiddly for a child.  Again, Dad was on hand to assist Kizzy.

electronics for kids

Once it is assembled, the handle can be turned which converts hand motion into electrical energy which lights up the green bulb.  Kizzy was very impressed that she had made the torch light up.

kinetic energy, light, electricity

The casing can be attached to a plastic bottle to make a unique torch from your favourite pop bottle.  A great use of recycling!  The torch makes a practical and functional emergency light for kids to use in the dark, powered by hand motion.  

electronics, torch

The instructions include fun facts about elecricity.  It explains how electric generators work and how the physical power of  winding the handle converts kinetic energy to electrical energy.  Making electricity in this way is a form of renewable energy which gives off no pollution, opening up children's minds to the concept of greener, environmentally friendly energy sources.


Freddy was very interested in the finished product and was very intrigued at how the torch worked.  That is the beauty of these children's science kits.  Kids learn so much from playing, and even from a young age this can spark a real love of science.

The Dynamo Torch set retails at £11.95.
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