Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Thomas and Friends Educational Toys for Pre-Schoolers

Here is a last minute Christmas idea for pre-schoolers who love Thomas and Friends. The Thomas Alphaphonics and Flip and Learn Phone from Trends UK, are great educational toys which will help little ones to learn while they play. Featuring Thomas and the other Really Useful Engines from Sodor, these toys are colourful, fun and perfect for little fans to enjoy.

Thomas and Friends Educational Toys

Thomas Alphaphonics - £19.99

Pre-schoolers can learn letters, sounds, and spelling with the Thomas Alphaphonics. The easy-to-handle interactive system features every letter in both upper and lower case. Each letter is represented by a character or associated word with 'T' of course being for Thomas! Children can select from seven different play modes, including musical activities and play patterns to help memory. Activities include questions on letters, sounds and words and a game for identifying sequences of  objects. It is easy for little hands to carry and would be great for keeping children entertained away from home or on car journeys.

It assists early letter and word recognition, basic communication, sensory perception, memory and concentration.  It requires 3 x AAA that are included. Suitable from 3 years+.

Thomas Alphaphonics

Thomas Flip & Learn Phone  - £10.99 rrp

This chunky classic flip-up phone in blue, has a backlit answer screen with an image of Thomas and Percy on it. Little ones can call Thomas and his Sodor friends to hear their greetings. It also includes games to help children with number and colour recognition. You can even pretend to take pictures with the camera-phone feature.

This chunky little phone helps children with colour and number recognition, simple communication skills, hand-eye coordination and encourages imaginative play. Memory, concentration and attention is developed as pre-schoolers follow instructions from Thomas and some basic vocabulary is learned through the friendly chatter.

The sturdy, solid design is ideal for younger children aged 18 months+. It might even keep toddlers off their parents iPhones!

Thomas Flip & Learn Phone

The Thomas and Friends toys will be a hit this Christmas. Find the Alphaphonics on Amazon or find the phone in Argos, currently in their 2 for £15 offer.

Monday, 18 December 2017

New Berocca Blackcurrant - feel energised this Christmas

Two out of three adults cite tiredness as their number one health concern. With Christmas speeding towards us, we really need that little bit of help to ensure that we feel energised and able to make the most of every day with a spring in our step. That's when Berocca really comes in handy!  Berocca sent me my very own personalised pack of their new Berocca Blackcurrant, which will see me through the festive period.

Berocca Blackcurrant

Packed full of 8 B vitamins including B1 and B2, which work with your body to release your natural energy, Berocca Blackcurrant reduces tiredness and helps support mental performance. It also contains vitamin C, which is a great supplement to take during the winter months.

Each effervescent tablet makes a flavoursome, fruity,  refreshing drink when added to water and is suitable for vegans. It is free from caffiene, sugar and artificial stimulants and contains just 7 calories. I really like the new blackcurrant flavour, which joins the existing range of orange, mango and mixed berry.

Berocca Blackcurrant

With 52% of UK adults admitting that they cancel social engagements due to tiredness, Berocca can help us all enjoy party season feeling energised and ready to dance the night away!

Berocca Blackcurrant is available in tablet packs of 15 from pharmacies and supermarkets for £4.85 RRP.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Vegetarian and Vegan Treats from Aldi this Christmas

Today I popped to Aldi to check out their festive offerings suitable for vegans.  There are lots of  items labelled as being suitable for vegetarians in Aldi, and with a bit of label reading you can find many of those things are accidentally vegan. From confectionery to frozen foods to alcohol to baked goods, Aldi has an extensive range. Allergens are clearly labelled in the ingredients so if it is vegetarian product made without milk or eggs, I'm happy to consider it suitable for my family.

Aldi, Christmas, vegan

For festive buffets, the Let's Party 60 piece Oriental Snack Selection is great value at just £3.69 and contains veggie wontons, money bags and spring rolls.

Aldi, vegan

I think everything just tastes so much better when it's Christmas tree shaped!  This six pack of Christmas Tree Crumpets will make a lovely festive family breakfast for just 79p. They also do a Bake and Break Seeded Roll Christmas Tree which is £1.79. I love the idea of serving it at the table with a bowl of freshly made vegetable soup.

Aldi, vegan

I loved this gift box of speciality Single Malt Whisky Jam and Marmalade. It's a great gift idea and looks very fancy. It's only £2.99, which is an excellent price. Dads and grandads would love to find this in their Christmas stocking on Christmas morning.

Aldi, Christmas

More Christmas Tree shaped goodies! These Lightly Salted Tortilla Chips and Salted Pretzels are great for snacking on over Christmas. The tortilla chips are 85p and the pretzels are £1.29 for a family size sharing bag. We'll enjoy munching through these while watching Christmas movies. There is also Turkey and Stuffing flavour Tortilla Chips which are vegetarian and dairy free.

Aldi, vegan

The Moser Roth chocolate range looks really premium, but at £1.29 does not have a premium price tag. A number of the flavours including the single origin dark chocolate bars (62%, 70% and 80% cocoa), the orange and almond, chilli and the sea salt bars are all dairy free. Also, the Choceur Mint Waves and the Mint Creme bars are dairy free. Priced at £1.29 and 89p respectively, they are perfect as stocking fillers this Christmas. Aldi also do a dark chocolate reindeer that is dairy free, but they had all sold out. This would have been a lovely stocking filler for my vegan kids.

Aldi, vegan

Another great little gift idea is the Kevin the Carrot pouch shopping bag, priced at just 99p. This reusable bag folds back into the carrot shaped case for convenience. And what can be more vegan than a carrot!

Aldi, Kevin the Carrot

Other highlights of my shop included the Deck the Halls Picks found with the flowers in store. At just £2.09 they add some festive fun to flower arrangements or can be popped in a narrow necked vase to make a pretty addition to your festive decor. Featuring baubles, pine cones and cinnamon sticks, they are really cute!

Aldi also has a great range of fruit and vegetables in store at great prices. I particularly liked the Brussel sprout stalks for just 99p. I'll definitely be getting some of them for Christmas dinner. And I love the little crates of clementines for £2.79 for healthy Christmas snacking.

With their Specialbuys also in store, it's definitely worth checking out your local Aldi for some Christmas bargains this year!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Enter the Elves Got Talent Competition with Elves Behavin' Badly.

Christmas Day is just two weeks away!  We're counting down Christmas with our elves who have been up to all sorts of funny antics. Freddy has loved discovering what they've been up to each morning. They've hidden in the fridge, played hide and seek, swung on the curtain pole and climbed our Christmas tree. 

Elves Behavin Badly

Now our elves have the chance to become superstars by taking part in the Elves Got Talent competition!


Elves Behavin Badly

The official Elves Behavin' Badly duo Elfie and Elvie have been taking part in the Elves Got Talent auditions, with their adventures being shared across social media.  Now it's the turn of your Elves to get performing.

From Tuesday 12th December the Elves Got Talent auditions are being opened to all Elves Behavin' Badly fans. To enter, you just have to make a video of your Elves posing, performing and showcasing their elf talents.

You can submit entries 3 ways:

Via the Contact Us section on the Elves Behavin' Badly website

Entries must be submitted by midnight Monday 18th December 2017.

The team of judges will then create a shortlist of the most talented elves and the overall winner will be announced on Wednesday 20th December. The winner will receive an Elf Hamper and an Elves Got Talent Trophy!

Awesome Little Green Men Stocking Fillers

If you are looking for stocking fillers for the kids this Christmas, the Awesome Little Green Men Mystery Soldiers blind packs are a great choice. These new collectibles have recently arrived in the UK, delivering a fresh new take on little green army men. Playing with toy soldiers has been brought right up to date with these quirky collectibles with their battle game play.

Awesome Little Green Men

Awesome Little Green Men may be small in size but their characters are larger than life and serious about the mission ahead. Each with their own expression, you can find the likes of Major Attack and Captain Quiver to collect, each boasting different stats. The aim of the game is to build the strongest troops to win the battle.

Awesome Little Green Men

The single or twin blind packs are the perfect size for a Christmas stocking, and the four soldier Marksmen Squad or Ranger Unit packs are perfect gifts for under the tree.

You can find them at Smyth's Toys Superstores.

Find out more at:

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box

Lucky Gecko is a company that specialises in activity boxes for children aged 8 to 12.  Developed by an experienced personal tutor, the boxes are designed to encourage curiosity, build confidence and let imaginations run wild. They make learning fun and exciting and keep children entertained and inspired.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Box

The latest box is the Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box, which is jam packed full of things to do, challenging children and helping to keep their minds busy over the festive holidays. Freddy received one of these boxes and was eager to check out the contents. Everything comes well packaged in a sturdy cardboard box and the contents are wrapped in tissue paper, sealed with a Lucky Gecko sticker.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box

Freddy was really impressed with the huge array of contents, which included a game, some creative crafts and some fun science based activities to keep him busy over Christmas. Everything you need for the projects is included inside the box including paints and Sharpie markers. The enclosed booklet has full instructions, ideas and information as well as quizzes, puzzles, competitions and challenges. This really is a box filled with things to inspire a child's desire to create, discover, have fun and learn.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box

Using the contents children can make their own Christmas placemats, thumbprint gift tags, cool penguin racers and tealight snowmen. They can create and learn about crystallization with a magic tree and also make some magic snow and build a miniature snowman. There is also a game of Time Shock which will test children's spatial awareness and their ability to stay calm under pressure as they race to match shapes into the right holes against the clock. Time Shock is a great game to challenge the whole family this Christmas.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box

The book has some excellent information about Christmas including trivia about feasts, traditions and festivals and the history of Santa. There are lots of quiz questions and challenges, which will make for a fun festive family quiz this Christmas. Plus there are some ideas for festive reads and winter writing activities to help bridge the gap between home and school while the kids are on holiday.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box

What we loved most about the Midwinter Activity Box from Lucky Gecko is the fact that the whole family can get involved. The Penguin Racers and Magic Snow are things that we can have fun with together, and the Time Shock game is great for family games nights. And any child would be proud to supply the placemats for Christmas dinner or tag a gift with a homemade gift tag.

The quizzes and facts have been enjoyed by us all, I even learned a few new things! I really liked how children are encouraged to develop their leadership and organisational skills to host the family quiz themselves. Freddy enjoyed researching some of the answers to the questions online using the laptop, polishing up his investigative skills before asking us the questions. It's lovely to have the kids in charge of some of the festive activities.

Freddy's big sisters love helping him do arts and crafts activities so the placemat designing, gift tag making and creating of snowman tealights become a team effort. Doing activities like these together is a really bonding experience and Freddy loves it when his older siblings get involved with his stuff.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box - Tealight Snowmen

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box - Tealight Snowmen

Boxes come addressed to the child and are really inviting, ready for the contents to be explored. A Parent Pack email is sent to the grown ups, highlighting what's inside the box and giving ideas and advice for follow up activities. The answers to the quiz questions in the booklet are attached for the kids' eyes only, giving them ownership as the quizmasters!

Children are encouraged to enter the competitions and share photographs of what they have made with Lucky Gecko, which gives them recognition for their hard work, giving them a great confidence boost. Children's work can be featured, for example there is a bookmark included in this box designed by a Lucky Gecko winner.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box

The standalone Midwinter Activity Box would be a wonderful and thoughtful gift for a child this Christmas, delivered directly to their door. These boxes are limited and ready to ship now for the price of £30 from

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Freddy loves Captain Underpants. His big sister bought him the set of  books for Christmas last year and he has read all of them, some more than once! They are the first books that he has read independently for pleasure and they have even inspired him to draw his own cartoon strips. So Captain Underpants is definitely a family favourite in our house!

When we discovered they were making Captain Underpants into a film we were really excited for the opportunity of seeing Freddy's favourite character come to life on the big screen. And now the DVD and Blu-Ray of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is going to be available to own on December 4th from Dreamwork's Animation. It is an absolute must-have and will take pride of place in Freddy's film collection.

To celebrate the release of the film, I have received a bespoke pair of festive, fun party pants featuring Captain Underpants himself made by Bags of Love. They'll definitely be my pants of choice this Christmas!

Don't Let Christmas be Pants

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie follows the story of best friends, pranksters and comic book makers George Beard and Harold Hutchins. One day they accidentally hypnotise their grumpy school principal and nemesis Mr Krupp, turning him into the dimwitted, underpants wearing superhero, Captain Underpants.  Life at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School would never be the same again!

Captain Underpants

A new teacher arrives at school and George and Harold soon find out that he is really a disgraced scientist, Professor Pippy Pee Pee Poopypants, with an evil plan to rid the world of laughter and turn the school children into humourless zombies. Together with school swot and tattletail Melvin Sneedly, Professor P. unleashes the Turbo Toilet 2000 on the town. The boys and Captain Underpants have to come together to stop his evil plan.

The film really brings the books alive, capturing the style and essence of the first four titles perfectly. We loved how the comic books, which are such a major part of the series, were incorporated into the movie. Freddy found the film laugh-out-loud funny and thoroughly enjoyed all the visual humour and jokes. The slightly rude, toilet humour is definitely right up my son's street and the joy of Uranus gags never gets old! The romantic interest  with Mr Krupp and Edith the dinner lady was a nice addition that warmed the heart and the strong theme of friendship sends a powerful message of the importance of being a BFF.

The Captain Underpants DVD or Blu-ray will make a great Christmas gift or stocking filler this year, or you can enjoy the movie for a festive family film night. Giggling is guaranteed!


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