Our Halloween Pumpkin

15:00 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Halloween has crept up on us this year as we've been so busy over the last week or so (more on that to come) but we always love to have a pumpkin in our house on Halloween so the local children know that we are trick or treat friendly and to make our window look festive.

My niece and nephew have been really excited about taking Bud out trick or treating again this year so they were the perfect people to give me a little pumpkin design inspiration and help me out with the carving.

My niece is very creative and had been scouring the internet for designs that she could use in carving the good few pumpkins she is in charge of at this time of year. In the end she came up with this fab design - a heavily kohl-ed eye (using black marker pen) and a very scary, toothpick mouth. The addition of a witch's hat completes the super spooky look.

I'm very impressed with the results and our pumpkin will be burning brightly in our window this evening. I've tried and tried to take a decent photo of it lit but, having left my camera at a friend's house, this is the best my phone will do.

Pumpkin with toothpick mouth and witch's hat

Family Investments set the challenge to carve our pumpkin and supplied us with a few sweet treats for accepting the challenge.

All About Me Meme

14:48 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The lovely Bex and Eileen have tagged me in this meme which is currently doing the rounds and, as I've been a bit of a grouch recently and haven't joined in with one for ages I thought I'd take the opportunity to answer the questions posed by Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies.

1) First off tell us your name (nice easy one there)… Pippa, well Philippa really but only my family really call me that.
2) I live at home with… Ian, my partner, Bud and Little Miss. Oh, and two fish named Frank and Pank. Yes, really.
3) My favourite thing to do is… Explore somewhere new. I love getting out with my little family to visit somewhere different and to revisit old haunts. We love being outdoors together.
4) My favourite thing to eat is… I love food, there are very few things I won't eat. I think my favourite food is probably oriental - Chinese, Japanese, Korean - I love trying new food from these cuisines.
5) When I get cross I… If I'm really angry I tend to cry. Otherwise I will rant and rave. I only really sulk when Ian upsets me. This doesn't work very well as it tends to take him a while to notice.
6) Sometimes I worry because… Without wishing to sound dramatic, I worry about the world that my children will grow up in. It is a changing place and I wonder what it will be like when they reach adulthood.
7) My favourite book is… I read continuously so it's hard to pick one favourite but I return to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Secret History by Donna Tartt over and over again.
8) My favourite toy is (easy now)… LEGO. I'm so pleased that Bud is now big enough to play with it and very excited to have bought him some LEGO for Christmas. I'm hoping he will love it as much as I did as a child.
9) I dislike… Unfairness. I try to treat people fairly as much as I can but see so many people who don't do the same. 
10) When I grow up I want to be… I still don't know. I think I was the only child who never had an answer for this one and at 36 and a half I still don't have a clear answer. I'm currently a SAHM and won't be doing that forever, who knows where my future career path will take me?

I'm now tagging the following bloggers for their answers:

Scooby Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map on DVD - A Review

11:15 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Scooby Doo and his friends are back in an all new adventure and they have a fun new look. Scooby Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map sees Scooby, Shaggy and the crew return, in puppet form!

A year ago we reviewed a Big Top - Scooby Doo on DVD, Bud wasn't too impressed and he was a little bit scared by some of the adventure. He's more familiar with Scooby Doo a year on and he was very excited when I showed the DVD to him.

This adventure sees Mystery Inc on a chase to locate the Phantom Parrot, then follow the clues to find Pirate Gnarlybeards treasure, with the aid of a map and some spooky clues for Scooby to sniff out.

We weren't really sure what to expect from a puppet version of Scooby Doo but we weren't disappointed at all. The puppets are really cute and make the action a little more toddler friendly than the animated cartoons, although Bud is actually a fan of those now. Bud is a huge pirate fan and any stories or films featuring them are always well received, this was no exception. The puppetry is excellent and gives a refreshing take on the traditional Scooby Doo team. There are two animated episodes as special features on the DVD so fans of those won't be disappointed at all and we've enjoyed watching those too.

I'd really recommend this DVD, especially if you're looking for a spooky Halloween treat for younger children. I'd say age three upwards would be the perfect age range. There are lots of laughs and it is a whole lot of fun. I think we'll be watching this lots in the run up to Halloween and beyond.

Scooby Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map is available from Amazon and all usual stockists.

Disclaimer: I was sent this DVD in exchange for an honest review.

A Sweet Treat... from Pringles?

00:13 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Last week I was invited to London for a top secret introduction to a brand new product which was so top secret that the only thing we were told is that it was a food product. Sadly I couldn't manage to arrange childcare so I ended up unable to travel but I was told to expect a parcel in the post. A few days later a lovely bronze box arrived, all tied up with ribbon which I eagerly opened to find... Pringles. Sweet Pringles.

Pringles have launched two limited edition flavours for the holiday season - Sweet Cinnamon and Mint Choc Chip. Your typical Pringles but with a unique sweet twist. Upon opening the box and seeing the very festive packaging I really didn't know what to expect. Would they be chocolate covered?

Sweet Cinnamon and Mint Choc Chip Pringles

To open you simply 'pop' the can as usual and you are greeted by a tube of Pringles which looks very like any other. The only difference is the flavour.

First of all we tried the Mint Choc Chip. I was really expecting actual chocolate on these but they are just the usual Pringles chips with the flavouring of Mint Choc Chip. The flavour is strong and minty. It is a refreshing flavour which worked well when we tried them with a little ice cream.

My favourite of the two flavours was Sweet Cinnamon. I'm a huge fan of cinnamon in anything and I will seek out foods which feature it. These crisps are dusted with the flavouring, which makes them a little golden. The flavour itself is reminiscent of cinnamon breakfast pastries and, as we've eaten through the tube I like them more and more. They seem to be popular with the whole family and a certain little girl was spotted sneaking one the other day. I think she liked them.

Sweet Cinnamon and Mint Choc Chip Pringles

Sweet Cinnamon and Mint Choc Chip Pringles are available now, and throughout the festive period. They are priced at £2:49 for 190g and are available in Tesco, Morrison's and Sainsbury's.

Disclosure: I received two tubes of Pringles in exchange for an honest review.

Two Weeks of Project 365 - Days 341 - 354

00:40 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Days 341-347 of Project 365

Days 348 - 354 of Project 365

Last weekend was so busy that I just didn't get the chance to update my Project 365 so we have two weeks in this post. 11 days until the end of my first completed year, at the second attempt. I've made the decision to keep at it and I will be continuing with my Project 365. I've decided that I don't really like starting at a strange time of the year to everyone else so we're going to have a mini project 61 until the new year when i will reboot at start at day 1 again.

Monday #341 Wet - Our first really rainy Nursery Run. It made the walk seem a lot further and neither Bud nor I were too impressed. LM of course was warm and cosy in her pushchair

Tuesday #342 Smile - A little modelling session in the garden from Bud. He seems to like his new jumper and I'm thinking it's going to be perfect for the autumn and winter cooler weather.

Wednesday #343 Too Soon - Some very unwelcome post forcing me to confront that my baby will start school in 11 months. I think he will be much more ready than I will be and we have some tough decisions to make..

Thursday #344 Hangers - I attended the Boux Avenue Opening in Manchester and had lots of time, while I was there to play around with my camera and take lots of photos of the prettiness. I really love this photo of the hangers, not sure why but I was really pleased with the depth of field/.

Friday #345 Dozy - LM wasn't feeling too clever today and slept for four hours this afternoon. When she's under the weather she just sleeps, which makes looking after her easy. She's definitely inherited that behaviour from her Daddy as his way of dealing with illness is to go to bed and sleep it off.

Saturday #346 Adventure - Bud and I went on a big adventure and took the train to London for the day to try out for the Tesco Toy Testing Team. He wasn't chosen for the final videos but we had a lovely day out. Bud loved the 'big trains' and our afternoon at the Natural History Museum.

Sunday #347 3D - Another fun morning at the Mumsnet preview of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. We left LM with my brother and took our nephew along with Bud and had so much fun watching the film. It's great, we all really enjoyed it.

Monday #348 DVD - A DVD arrived for us to review and Bud wanted to watch it straight away. This is his 'pleeeeeaaaaassse Mummy' expression on our return from Nursery.

Tuesday #349 Highchair - LM was out for us with lunch and she was trying to rock the highchair. She's a real livewire and this style of highchair really isn't great for her as, if she's not trying to rock it, she's trying to climb out.

Wednesday #350 Yum - A sneaky taste of something she shouldn't have but she was feeling poorly and wouldn't eat anything else today so a sweet Pringle (more on those in a future post) hit the spot.

Thursday #351 Grumpy - Still poorly today, and a bit fed up with being bundled into the pushchair for the Nursery run. She's rewarded by her brother coming home though so I don't think she really minds.

Friday #352 Curly - LM was much better today and we took a trip to a theatre festival launch. They had lots of activities available for the children and we enjoyed trying on some hats. She wasn't too impressed with this wig but she looked really sweet in it.

Saturday #353 Delivery - We've done nothing exciting apart from clean the house this weekend so I didn't really take many photos. This was an exciting parcel that LM and I have been waiting for - our first delivery from The Essential One.

Sunday #354 Climber - LM still isn't walking, although she is very close. She is, however, climbing at every opportunity and tonight made it to the top of the stairs (her Daddy was behind her all the way). She was very excited about her achievement, we really need to reinstal the gate at the bottom of the stairs though.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

How to Create a Home Library

13:49 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

If you’re creating a home library, regardless of income, well done, you’ve made it in life. At the same time though, you’re clearly an educated individual to be having so many books in your life, so you’ll not be throwing money around.
Whether you want a low-light room for little else than books and reading, or you want a useable office space that has plenty of functionality, there are a couple of things you can do to achieve the best style and practical use out of the room, and here are some of those things, accompanied with some things to look out for on the way.


It seems sensible to start from the bottom, and having the right load-bearing capabilities is important if you’re having an expansive collection of literature sitting on it.
For a wood floor to be considered load-bearing it needs to be at least 18mm thick, preferably higher, and needs to be nailed down at regular intervals. Solid wood flooring is often not thick or strong enough for this to be done, so special load-bearing engineered wood flooring can be made using pressed layers to create an extra-thick, load-bearing surface to work from. Any industry expert will be able to give you more information on exactly what kind of structural integrity you need.
While you don’t want a dark room that’s difficult to see in, lots of light can damage books, and make a really active, vibrant environment. If you’re using the space for a library alone then you probably want a calmer and mellowed room that lends towards thinking and relaxation. The Solid Wood Flooring Company provide a selection of dark oak flooring that’s great for home libraries and give a wide selection of styles, thickness and wood types to ensure you get the best type of floor.


Now you’ve considered the floor you’re onto the most directly important part of a library: somewhere to put the books! Load-bearing is still a factor with shelves, but you have a bit more freedom in what materials and styles you pick.
Function makes a big difference in what kind of shelves you need. A multi-purpose office library could make do with free-standing bookshelves, and even single-purpose libraries can look good if you have enough floor space, but fitted bookshelves are generally better for rooms that only have one use.

Home Library wooden floor wood panelling bookshelves

Make to measure, then size.

There’s little worse than a bookshelf that has more space than books, so make sure you only provide as much space as you need. This is where free-standing shelves show their advantage, as they can be added in with relative ease.


Choosing the right colours for your library, and indeed any interior design DIY, is extremely important.  Ultimately, colour sets the mood in a room so choose a colour wisely.  For a home library, chocolate browns or dark greens and navy blue really set the scene and are a really good colour combination.  When in doubt, choose a few tester pots to try on your walls and always refer to a colour wheel.   

Relaxing space

You’ve now given the room a function, but you need somewhere to sit. It’s a good idea to provide two options in a library: one for a relaxed time reading novels and other fiction, but with a separate space for business and reading important papers, files and doing other business work. This makes sure you don’t get tired when trying to do work because you’ve made your library too relaxing.
Brought to you in collaboration with The Solid Wood Flooring Company

Boux Avenue Arrives at Manchester Arndale

00:20 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Last Thursday morning an unexpected child-free few hours saw me head into Manchester for a very exciting opening - that of the 20th Boux Avenue store to open in the UK. Manchester Arndale sees Boux Avenue's second store to arrive there (they opened in the Trafford Centre a while ago), and it's in a fabulous location. As I was discussing with a couple of other bloggers at the event, it's on the way from River Island to Top Shop on the upper concourse. You really can't miss it. Not only is it in a prime spot the store looks absolutely beautiful, you'll struggle to walk past.

Boux Avenue is an expanding chain of lingerie stores owned by entrepreneur, and star of Dragon's Den, Theo Paphitis. The stores are beautifully designed and the brand new Arndale store is definitely no exception. From the beautiful light fittings to the elegant, boutique-style displays, the store gives the impression of holding contents that cost a lot more than they actually do. If your size isn't hanging on the racks then simply find the drawer beneath marked with your back size and locate the correct bra inside.

I was really pleased to see the extensive range of sizes in store - they stock from size 6 up to size 20, with bra sizing from 30A to 40H, much more inclusive than many lingerie ranges and great for me. I've been a fan of the Boux Avenue Multiway bras for a little while now and I was rather excited to see a beautiful deep red version of it on sale that would look perfect with a few strappy tops I have at home. The Boux Belles offer a free bra fitting service so, if you're not sure of your size it is a very good idea to book in to find out your correct size.

Boux Avenue is particularly strong for pyjamas and loungewear. I'm a huge fan of a good pair of PJs and I'll be adding a Boux Avenue pair to my Christmas list I think. They have some terrific offers in store at the moment including buy one get one free on bagged pyjamas, which would be a simple and easy way to solve some of those gift-buying issues at the moment. If you don't fancy buying PJs then check out the Boux Avenue table tops which are stacked with their beautiful range of gifts, from fur-toed mules, to sequinned purses; from fur-lined slipper boots to a beautifully scented range of Christmas candles and accessories there really is something for every lady in your life. My goodie bag contained the snuggliest pair of woolly socks I've ever worn and I think I will be returning to Boux Avenue to purchase a few more in the run up to Christmas.

The Boux Belles were out in force and I took the opportunity to chat to a few of them. When a store opens they assemble a team from other stores to help out with the set up and the opening so I met staff from the Metrocentre and Trafford Centre stores as well as the new Arndale girls. I love that the Boux Belles are encouraged to accessorise their classic black dresses with their own personal style and it's amazing how different they can look. 

I had to leave before Theo Paphitis performed the official opening of the store, and sadly I didn't get a chance to have a chat with him as he was busy being interviews. I feel confident that the Arndale Centre Boux Avenue store will do very well and I'll definitely be back for that red bra soon.

Disclaimer: I attended the press preview as the guest of Boux Avenue and received a lovely goodie bag too, I have not been asked to write this post. All opinions are my own.

Slash Your Energy Bills and Save!

00:23 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

It's that time of year when our thoughts all turn to saving our pennies a bit more, the heating goes on as it's suddenly freezing cold, and Christmas starts to loom large on the agenda.

Ovo Energy have shared with me this fab little infographic to help to cut those all important, and oh so expensive, energy bills and you get the added bonus of knowing that you are helping the environment too.

There are some fab ideas here, I'm definitely going to start using my microwave a little more I think. Have you done any of these things to help to save money and energy?

Saving Energy in the Home Infographic

Brought to you in collaboration with Ovo Energy the cheaper, greener and simpler energy supplier

Mr Bloom's Nursery: Giant Turnip - Review and Giveaway

23:47 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Bud loves cBeebies and one of his favourite shows is Mr Bloom's Nursery, we're regular viewers of Mr Bloom and his veggie friends and Bud really takes an interest in how they grow (I just wish I could get him to eat more of them).

We recently received a copy of Mr Bloom's Nursery: Giant Turnip from Abbey Home Media, which features four episodes from the series. Now, we've seen all of the Mr Bloom episodes I think, probably several times but, as it is such a favourite here, it is really nice to have a DVD with four great episodes to watch any time we like.

cBeebies Mr Bloom's Nursery Giant Turnip DVD

The four episodes featured on the DVD are:
  • Giant Turnip
  • Music
  • Worms 
  • Underground
This was a fab selection of titles for us as Music and Worms are two of Bud's favourite Mr Bloom episodes. We love the songs in Music and Worms always gets Bud excited about the compost bin that we have in our garden as they explore how worms help to make compost. I think Bud wishes our compost bin was a little more like Mr Bloom's Compo the Compostarium really.

We've really enjoyed watching the DVD together. It runs for over 90 minutes so is really good value at around £7 on Amazon. I think this would make an excellent stocking filler gift for any tiddlers you know who are fans of the show. Bud was so excited to receive the DVD and we had to watch it right away, I can see it becoming a popular addition to our collection.

Small boy delighted with his Mr Bloom's Nursery Giant Turnip DVD cbeebies

The lovely people at Abbey Home Media have supplied me with three copies of Mr Bloom's Nursery: Giant Turnip to give away to three of my lucky readers. To enter simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below, and remember to read the terms and conditions.

Good Luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com 
OfferOasis.co.uk - Competitions and Freebies in the UK

Sweets from The Gobstopper - A Review

17:06 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

'Review some sweets' said the email. 'Great' I replied. When The Gobstopper got in touch with me recently, offering the opportunity to make up one of their Kilner jar gifts I barely paused before I hit reply to agree. I'd seen a review of the sweets on my friend's blog, Sim's Life so I knew what to expect.

The Gobstopper Click 'n' Mix Sweets Small Kilner Jar Choc Nibbles Orange Lemon Fizzballs Edinburgh Rock

Clicking on The Gobstopper website takes you through to an attractive site which  showcases their 'Click 'n' Mix' jars, Retro Sweets, a range of gifts and wedding sweets. I was offered the opportunity to select a small 'Click 'n' Mix' jar, which mixes three of your favourite sweets within. You can also buy medium (five products) and large (nine products). Once you've chosen your size you click the pointy finger to select three products from a long list. I was a little spoilt for choice before I opted for some of my old favourites - Choc Nibbles, Orange and Lemon Fizzballs and Edinburgh Rock. In theory you could opt for the same sweets all the way through the jar, if you have an especial favourite, but I wanted to try out a combination of three.

A few days later the jar arrived, well packaged to avoid any breakages and beautifully presented with a cute tag. They use genuine Kilner jars which are embossed to that effect (no cheap copies of them) and, as the jar itself is something of a style icon with the distinctive orange seal, it really does make a perfect gift. The Kilner jar is easy to open so nothing stands between you and your sweets. 

The Gobstopper Click 'n' Mix Sweets Small Kilner Jar Choc Nibbles Orange Lemon Fizzballs Edinburgh Rock

The sweets tasted great. The Edinburgh Rock had the perfect chalky texture, the choc nibbles were sweet and the fizzballs had just the right amount of sweetness. All in all I was very happy with all of them. The mixture of sweets looks really pretty in the jar and I think it would be even more effective if you chose three contrasting colours of sweets. When you've eaten all your sweets you can use the Kilner Jar for storage (of more sweets?) in your kitchen.

The Gobstopper Click 'n' Mix Sweets Small Kilner Jar Choc Nibbles Orange Lemon Fizzballs Edinburgh Rock

The jars would make a really great gift and are  perfect way to let someone know you are thinking of them. I'd definitely recommend them as a fun alternative to flowers or other sorts of gifts people send 'just because', or for a particular reason. I was very pleased with the service and the website, and the sweets of course.

Disclosure: I was invited to try out the ordering process and sweets delivery. All opinions are honest and unbiased.

Win Tickets for the Ski and Snowboard Show North at EventCity Manchester

14:55 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The Ski & Snowboard Show has been running for 40 years but will hit Manchester's EventCity for the first time later this month. With attractions ranging from free ice skating to curling, apres-ski to alpine food, there is bound to be something for everyone to get excited about.

The show will take place at Manchester's EventCity (next to the Trafford Centre) from Friday 25th - Sunday 27th October. Ticket Prices are £12 Adults,  £8 Concessions, £4 11-16 year olds with Under 11s Free and £25 Family Tickets. The show is operating in partnership with the nearby Chill Factor and visitors to the show will receive a free lift pass so they can try out the slopes for themselves. 

Please visit the Ski and Snowboard Show Manchester to book your tickets, or for more information.

The show have supplied me with five pairs of tickets for the first day of the show, Friday 25th October, to enter please complete the Rafflecopter widget below and make sure you read the terms and conditions.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com 
OfferOasis.co.uk - Competitions and Freebies in the UK

Fun with Matalan at Chester Zoo #MatalanZooDay

12:52 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We love Chester Zoo, it's one of our favourite spots for a family day out. When you have an animal-obsessed three year old on your hands then a visit to the zoo becomes a day in heaven. The lovely people at Matalan sent us an invitation to go and spend the day at the zoo with them and gave us the chance to dress the children in a new outfit too, so we jumped at the chance.

After much browsing of the website I finally pinned down a few options for my two. I immediately fell in love with this beautiful girls' cape and top and skirt set for Little Miss. They were just the perfect colours for her and she has worn them both a few times since the trip to the zoo. For Bud I spotted a fab stripey jumper, thinking it would be perfect for a crisp Autumnal day out, and some brown cords (no longer on the website) to complement them.

Matalan Children's Clothes Kids Cape, Set, Jumper

We arrived at the zoo, after a lengthy train journey, to bright sunshine, it was a beautifully warm day so, sadly, we were a little overdressed for the weather and Bud didn't get to wear his jumper. He did wear his cords, and Little Miss dispensed with her cape to show off her pretty top. I've been so impressed with the quality, and prices, of the Matalan children's wear and I will definitely be shopping there again soon. In fact, I've just spotted that the, frankly, awesome cape is available in tweed now too and I'm seriously considering buying it for my girl in the next size. It's gorgeous in red and the tweed looks just as lovely. Bud's jumper was a real bargain too, it's a really good quality knit that will look good with so many different colours of trousers, I can see him wearing it a lot this winter.

Modelling our Matalan clothes

Our day at the zoo was so much fun, we decided not to try to see everything and to just wander around the zoo with our friends from My Mummy's Pennies. The children all had their 'must sees' which included the orangutans, giraffes and elephants. We used one of Chester Zoo's many fantastic picnic spots to eat our lunch then headed off to tick of each child's list of animals to see.

The lovely weather meant the zoo was a fine place to be. We generally stuck to one half of the park and went to see the chimpanzees, orangutans, rhinos, penguins, tigers, mongoose (mongeese? mongooses? Seriously what is the plural of mongoose?) giraffes and okapi and the elephants on the way out (amongst many others). The Lions were hiding but I was thoroughly surprised to see Lemurs. I've been to Chester Zoo many times and I've never seen a Lemur on Lemur Island, in fact we've often joked that there aren't any Lemurs on Lemur Island but we must have timed it right today as there they were. It was lovely to see so many animal babies there and shows just what an excellent job Chester Zoo does of it's breeding and conservation programmes.

Fun at Chester Zoo with Matalan #MatalanZooDay

We'd like to thank Matalan for a great day out, and for some fab new clothes.

Disclaimer: We were invited to Chester Zoo as the guests of Matalan and received vouchers to buy a new outfit for Bud and Little Miss. All opinions are honest and unbiased.

Andy & Mike's Tick Tock Time Machine in Warrington

22:34 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

About ten days ago we headed over to Warrington's Parr Hall to see Andy & Mike's Tick-Tock Time Machine, the brand new show and adventure from Andy Day, of cBeebies fame, and his friend Mike James'. They have previously toured with Andy and Mike's Big Box of Bananas.

Andy & Mike's Tick Tock Time Machine

Bud has now seen a couple of shows and has thoroughly enjoyed them so I was fairly confident that the opportunity to see another of his cBeebies favourites on the stage would be an exciting one. We weren't disappointed.

Andy and Mike's Tick-Tock Time Machine see the two friends travel through the past, and into the future, on an exciting adventure to track down a few precious artefacts, the need for which becomes clear as the show progresses. I don't want to give too much of the story away but with audience participation from the very start, high energy song and dance routines and an excellent script (with some jokes just for the grown ups) it was an excellent way to spend the afternoon. From the instant Andy and Mike set foot on the stage the two of them barely pause for breath and sweep the audience along on a wave of enjoyment. It was really excellent. We all loved it. Bud is still talking about the show now and keeps saying it's the 'best ever'. So good, in fact, that we are seriously considering booking again for later in the tour.

Andy & Mike's Tick Tock Time Machine Audience Boy Children Small cBeebies Andy Day Mike James

After the show finished Andy and Mike joined the audience in the foyer for a meet and greet session and two nicer men you couldn't wish to meet. Pleasant and patient with the children and happy to chat and pose for photos. Bud got a bit shy but he loved meeting them. He received a sticker which we stuck on his bookcase when we got home and he's still pointing to it saying that Andy and Mike gave it to him today. They even had time for a chat with Little Miss who, at just 12 months, was fairly oblivious to the show but enjoyed laughing when everyone else did.

Small Boy meeting Andy Day and Mike James Andy & Mike's Tick Tock Time Machine

The show is recommended for age 3+ and I think that's about right. I do think younger children could enjoy it a lot but it does get a little boisterous from time to time and more sensitive children could possibly be a little fazed by the action. The average three year old, especially those who might recognise Andy from cBeebies should love it.

Andy and Mike's Tick-Tock Time Machine is currently touring the country. For tour dates and ticket information please check out the Andy and Mike website, follow them on Facebook or Twitter. There will be a collection in aid of the Lullaby Trust at the end of each performance.

Disclaimer: We were provided with tickets in exchange for this post

Bubble Buster Kazoo Game from Drumond Park - Review and Giveaway

17:06 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

A few weeks ago the lovely people at Drumond Park sent us one of their fab new games to try out. We received Bubble Buster which is a game for two people from age four upwards.

The Bubble Buster box contains instructions, a kazoo bubble blower, a bubble catching wand, a pot of bubbles and a small bubble tray. The bubble wand requires 2 AAA batteries, which aren't included, to make it work. The bubble wand is the character of the game with a smiley face and the metal prongs which look like horns. 
Each player takes it in turns to be the bubble blower and the bubble buster. When you switch on the wand it beeps then player one has thirty seconds to pop as many bubbles as possible that are blown by player two using the bubble blower. The players then swap over. Every time a bubble bursts the wand pings. At the end of both turns the wand tells you which player popped the most bubbles. Simple and straightforward game play which was perfect for Bud to play even though he isn't four yet. He loves blowing bubbles and catching them so this really is the perfect game for him. I'm not sure he needed to run around quite as much as he did when he was playing the game with his Daddy but, when you are three, any excuse to exercise is great. The bubble blower has an integrated kazoo feature so blow and you get the kazoo noise before the bubbles start to appear.

We've really enjoyed using the Bubble Buster game and I think we will continue to do so, it's a small game once out of the box and easy to stash in a bag for trips to the park or the beach. I can imagine us taking it away on camping trips next year too. The batteries seem to have lasted ages too, which is always handy when you have a toy that requires them for operation. The little bubble tray isn't the best for small hands but we just used a deeper bowl when Bud was blowing bubbles, I'm sure older children (aged around 8+) would manage much better with it. 

Priced at £9:99 I think that this game represents excellent value for money, Bud has played with it lots and I think will continue to do so. The fact that it is portable, sturdily built and easy to use means it will be great for outdoor play next Summer.

Drumond Park have kindly offered me the opportunity to give away a copy of Bubble Buster to one lucky reader. This would make an excellent addition to any games cupboard. To enter please complete the Rafflecpter widget below and remember to read the terms and conditions.

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com 
OfferOasis.co.uk - Competitions and Freebies in the UK

Create a Big Splash with Mountain Warehouse

11:10 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We're huge fans of the outdoors, in fact we've just come back from a camping trip, in October. Yes, we're hardcore. The maxim 'there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing' has never been truer as we head into Autumn. We're firm believers in allowing Bud and Little Miss to get as wet, messy and dirty as they want to as long as they are dressed appropriately (and sometimes we don't even manage that) and we can make sure they are warm and dry as soon as possible afterwards. One of our favourite retailers is Mountain Warehouse as they stock everything to keep the whole family kitted out for any weather under one roof or on their great website.

Mountain Warehouse Big Splash #MWBigSplash

To celebrate the Great British Autumn, Mountain Warehouse are challenging everyone to make a big splash. Simply tweet, facebook or email your photos of a big splash with the hashtag #MWBigSplash to them, full details at the MW Big Splash Competition Page, and every day that it rains in October one lucky winner will receive a pair of wellies to keep them dry.

As it rained on the Nursery Run this morning I've just entered the competition with this photo of Bud on an impromptu trip to the park. This was a glorious October day so he wasn't bundled up for the wet and cold, but he did manage to find a muddy puddle to splash in. It isn't the best photo in the world but I love the movement and the delight he has in stomping in the puddle.

Small boy stomping muddy puddle autumn leaves fall

Diclaimer: I have not been compensated for this post, I have entered the competition using this photo via Twitter, I'm sharing the competition as I think it's a lot of fun.

Monday 30/9/13 - Sunday 6/10/13 Days 334-340 of Project 365

00:11 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Monday 30/9/13 - Sunday 6/10/13 Days 334-340 of Project 365

And normal 365 service is resumed, with only 25 days left to go. We've had a busy week this week.

Monday #334 Blue Dress - We had a bright, sunny day so Little Miss and I got out into the garden to try on her new clothes from Boden at eBay while Bud was at Nursery.

Tuesday #335 Railings - We pass two low walls on the way to and from Nursery and Bud can't resist walking along them. We're usually hurrying to Nursery but he always walks along them on the way home when we are in less of a hurry.

Wednesday #336 Buffalo - I attended an event in Manchester which gave me the opportunity to meet the Bugaboo PR team and try out the new Bugaboo Buffalo. I'm a little in love with this fantastic pushchair, more on it soon.

Thursday #337 Geranium - I'm constantly snapping flowers at the moment, I suppose I'm trying to be a better photographer. I am getting some pleasing results but it's a slow old process.

Friday #338 A&E - Little Miss and I took an impromptu trip to A&E this afternoon as she fell out of our doorway on to the stone flags in our front garden with a terrific thud. Thankfully she was absolutely fine, except for a little grumpy at the long wait in A&E.

Saturday #339 Whispering - We've been away camping this weekend with one of my blogging besties, Jen from My Mummy's Pennies, and her lovely family. Bud is firm friends with Jen's two children now and it was lovely to see them playing so nicely together. This was a very important secret shared on our trip to Morecambe yesterday.

Sunday #340 Cosy - Little Miss took to camping like a duck to water, totally unfazed by it as usual. I took this in our tent in the morning just as I was about to get her dressed, she looked so cosy with sleeping bags, a duvet and a blanket clustered around her.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Silent Sunday 06/10/13

23:29 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

A Brand New Tesco Loves Baby Event - Giveaway

13:19 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I'm a huge fan of the Tesco Loves Baby events which offer parents the opportunity to save money across those everyday essentials and stock up for the next few weeks at the same time. It's great to save money on those things you have to buy. As with any other Tesco purchase you also get the chance to save as you buy, by using your Clubcard.

In celebration of a fantastic offer running in the current event - buy one get one free on Pampers Baby-Dry and Pampers Active Fit nappies - Tesco Loves Baby have supplied me with a £10 Tesco giftcard to give away to one of my lucky readers. That should help the winner to save even more money in the baby event.

In addition to the fantastic nappy offer you can also take advantage of some great prices on baby wipes, pull-ups and baby toiletries. Many of which are at half price or better.

To enter the giveaway please complete the Rafflecopter widget below, remember to read the terns and conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Incompetent Kids: Can your children look after themselves?

12:37 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

As another autumn rolls around, thousands of bright-eyed youngsters are packing their bags and heading to university for their first taste of adult life. You might think your kids are fairly savvy, but with a recent survey finding that one in three students can't boil an egg, there might be more cause for concern than you initially thought.

So why are today's teens so incompetent when it comes to basic life skills? It's tempting to point to parents giving their offspring an easy ride at home, but perhaps they simply have other practical talents. While this generation's kids might be clueless when it comes to rustling up a simple spag bol, they're likely to be more tech-happy than their ancestors. Tasks that may perplex older relatives are proving a doddle for this age group, with the same survey pointing out that over half of students can set up a new laptop with broadband and upload photos to their computers. This can seem impressive indeed to those of us who have trouble just turning the things on, but it won't clean the kitchen or put food on the table.

Fortunately there are plenty of handy tips that you can pass on to your children for when they're suddenly forced to fend for themselves. If you're concerned that ready meals might become a food staple, teach them how to knock up a few simple and healthy recipes before they leave. Talk about how to store and cool food safely, and explain that they can cook bigger batches to keep in the freezer as a quick meal when the studying (or possibly partying) takes its toll. Buy a student cookbook and encourage them to try some recipes at home. Not only will this save you cooking, but it will reassure you that they can cope alone!

You can also offer more general household tips, such as how to get red wine out of a carpet and ways to deal with a blocked drain. Unless you feel like doing a term's worth of washing come Christmas, make sure your kids know how to keep their precious clothes clean before they head off to university. Meanwhile you can avoid your own laundry horrors with this great range of Indesit washing machines.

Collaboration Post