Thomas & Friends: Spills & Thrills on DVD

17:24 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Regular readers will know that Bud loves Thomas & Friends so we're always excited to to receive the latest DVDs to cast our expert eye over. Thomas & Friends: Spills & Thrills is released today, 31st March 2014, and we've been watching it for the last week or so. This latest release features over 70 minutes of messy mishaps on the Island of Sodor with never seen before episodes from Season 17 of the series and a brand new friend to meet too, Porter, a brave new steam engine. 

Thomas & Friends: Spills & Thrills DVD

Episodes include:
• Away From The Sea
• The Smelly Kipper
• No More Mr Nice Engine
• Gone Fishing
• Thomas’ Shortcut
• The Afternoon Tea Express

With James undergoing a messy lesson from some fish trucks, Salty bonding with the new engine Porter in their work at the docks, Stephen showing why his nickname used to be Speedy Stephen, with a little help from his friends, and Hiro demonstrating that nice engines do finish first to Diesel, we've thoroughly enjoyed this DVD. 

The format of Thomas & Friends DVDs has been changing lately to incorporate a more interactive style and I feel that this is the best example of this so far. Interspersed between the episodes you will find Mr Perkin's storytime - we were delighted by this as it featured one of the original stories and one that Bud and  I have read together many times - the Earl's quiz time and the Fat Controller asking 'Who's that Engine?' It gave lots of opportunities to engage Bud with the DVd and get him answering the questions asked.

This DVD is a really refreshing addition to the Thomas & Friends library, rather than focusing on Thomas a a lot of the longer DVDs do it includes more of the 'friends' and their stories. Salty, for example, is a particular favourite in our house so 'Away From the Sea' has been an especially popular episode, you will be singing Salty's shanty like we were if you're a fan of the dock engine too. 

We'd definitely recommend Thomas & Friends: Spills & Thrills to any fans. I feel it is a 'must have' for a Thomas DVD collection, it might make a fab alternative to choocolate as an Easter gift too. The DVD is available from all usual stockists and Amazon with an RRP of £12:99 (the current Amazon price is just £5:00 though), and also includes a free storybook.

Thomas & Friends Hub

For more information about Thomas & Friends, why not visit the brand new Thomas & Friends Hub which incorporates a Challenge Chart, prizes to be won and lots of interactive content, including the chance to meet the new engine Porter properly. We've been using it for a couple of weeks now and Bud is loving the chance to complete Thomas' task each day to complete the challenges and we'll definitely be trying to win the bedroom makeover! It is well worth a visit if your little ones love world of the Island of Sodor. 

Disclosure: We received the DVD in exchange for an honest review

How to Go About Moving the Kids to London

16:27 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

There are a few factors in life that cause stress more than others and moving is one of them. It is really hard to organise on your end and even harder for kids to fully understand. Here are some aspects on reactions, what to set out and what to look forward to for everyone.

Housing in London is considered very expensive 
Before moving South, take a look at the area that you are hoping to move to and base it primarily on your budget if that will be an issue or if the children’s schools are a priority, focus your search in the boroughs that come up highest with the academic scoring principles. House prices are very high and getting a mortgage has become more complex especially owing to the recent economic downturn. However there are always ways in which to cope with the increase in expenses: choose an area where you can get to know the neighborhood by renting which allows the family to become acquainted with the new routine. Kids are flexible especially if the parents are as well.

Be positive about what can happen when moving to London
Because you will have surely done some research and have not decided to uproot your family on a whim, let them know that your daughter’s dancing lessons can still continue because you have several places she can choose from after school. Shopping sprees for your favourite designers are possible but check online first at sites like Watches of Switzerland to get a flavor for London’s wonders before splurging on high end jewellery or clothes. Your son’s rugby will continue at the school because he has been accepted at a rugby school. There is a local park where they can walk the dog. The positive aspect is that you will be on an adventure altogether and can discover London in so many different ways.

Further activities and city adventures once settled in after the move
There are so many places to visit now that you are in London and your children will be excited to show them:
• The Museum sleepovers with all night activities for birthdays or special events, taking place all year round
• Explore the Big Smoke on water using the hop-on hop-off Thames tours from Westminster, Waterloo, Tower and Greenwich peers
• Take the tour using the underground travelling across 150 years of its history in two hours from the oldest to the most futuristic one
• Big Bus Tours showing central London on different routes that also includes a river cruise between Westminster and Greenwich as well as Harry Potter film locations and Ghosts by Gaslight
• Using Vintage –style bikes, try the Mind the Gap tours to Windsor and Hampton Court in small groups cycling at a leisurely pace
• SmallcarBigCity allows groups of threes to be taken around London in a classic Mini 1960s car. The iconic car takes the ‘The Royal Tour’ and ‘The Great Escape’.

Nothing beats London!

Collaborative Post

Tree Fu Tom Ranger Utility Belt

15:01 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We are huge Tree Fu Tom fans in our house - Bud loves Tom's moves and I love that the show encourages children to think about their environment and being kind to other creatures and the world around them. Bud always wants to copy Tree Fu Tom's moves to 'send the magic to him' and I'm always pleased to hear the dulcet tones of David Tennant, one of my favourite actors, voicing Twigs, Tom's best friend. For those less familar, Tree Fu Tom is a programme shown on cBeebies which features a little boy who magically transforms into a fairy to enter Treetopolis, a tiny woodland world.  Tom can perform big world magic to save the day in Treetopolis and encourages children to help with this. His range of moves have been developed with the Dyspraxia Foundation and those used are similar to those used by occupational therapists to promote movement.

Tree Fu Tom Ranger Utility Belt

We have a couple of Tree Fu Tom toys already so when we were offered the chance to review one of the new offerings from Flair I was fairly sure it would be a big hit here! We received the new Tree Fu Tom Ranger Belt Utility pack which allows your child to accessorise just like Tom I was pretty sure Bud would be impressed. The Ranger Utility Belt arrives with all of the items that Tree Fu Tom fans would expect, you receive:

  • The Belt which is fully adjustable, made from a seatbelt like canvas and features a holographic sapstone for the full 'the sapstone in my belt is glowing' moment
  • A working compass shaped as a leaf to clip on to the belt
  • A magnifying glass which clips on to the belt
  • A pouch to contain your wildlife spotting notebook and identification cards, you feed this on to the belt using the loop on the back
  • Two clip on ranger badges, which also clip on to the belt
  • A scarf and woggle
Tree Fu Tom Ranger Utility Belt

I'm very impressed with the quality of the belt and all of the items. Bud's Daddy is a scout leader and we've both commented on how Tree Fu Tom's belt and scarf reminds us of scouting equipment. Bud already has a compass but he is particularly keen on this one as it clips on to his belt. The clips on all of the items are good quality and Bud is able to clip and unclip them himself. We did have a momentary panic when we thought one of the ranger badges had broken but they are designed so that they come apart if put under stress by your heavy handed four year old so no damage was caused. 

The belt itself is rather large. It adjust easily with a slider but, at it's fully adjusted length it fits Ian's 36" waist! Bud is not a small boy and I've found it a little too large for him even when adjusted to the shortest length. We  clip it so it sits snugly on his waist using a crocodile clip. I think that, if there was adjustment on both sides it would allow the perfect fit for the smallest of the age three and above children it is meant for.

Tree Fu Tom Ranger Utility Belt Tree Fu Go!

Here's a video which shows each element of the belt in a little more detail, and exactly what Bud made of it:

Since receiving the belt Bud has played with it every day. He loves being able to dress up as one of his favourite characters and we've had 'Tree Fu Go!' echoing around the house. It's a great toy for promoting role play and encouraging children to pretend too. Bud has made up so many different stories using it. The Ranger Utility Belt has an RRP of £19:99 and is available from all good toy stores and Amazon
We're going on an adventure

Special K Granola - Review and Giveaway

16:56 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I'm quite choosy about breakfast cereals, but I do really like granola and muesli so, when the opportunity arrived to try out the brand new Special K granola flavours I was quite intrigued.

Special K Granola

The granola has two flavours - Raisins & Red Apples and Cranberry, Pumpkin Seeds & Almonds - and I was sent both flavours to try. The granola itself is made up of five grains - oat, spelt, rye, wheat and barley - and contains 30% less fat than most other granolas (based on the average fat content of most other granolas on sale in the UK and Ireland).

I've been trying out both flavours for a couple of weeks and I've really enjoyed both. The Raisins and Red Apples is my favourite. Both granolas are packed with fruit and have a really satisfying crunch. They offer a filling breakfast which seems to be stopping me raiding the biscuit tin before nursery pick up as often! I'd definitely recommend the granola to anyone looking for a healthier option at breakfast time.

Special K Granola

I've teamed up with Special K to offer one of my lucky readers the chance to win a case of both flavours of Special K granola. For a chance to win simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entry options. Please read the terms and condition.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received the product in exchange for an honest review

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Pipsy Koala On the Go Booster Seat

13:49 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I've seen the Pipsy Koala On the Go Booster Seat reviewed on a couple of other blogs recently and really liked the look of the product so, when the brand got in touch and invited me to review something from their range it was the obvious choice for us. Little Miss is a tiny tot, at 18 months she is still wearing 9-12 months clothes and lots of people comment that she is very dainty. This makes it difficult if she needs to sit at a table and there is no high chair available. We've had fabric 'highchairs' in the past which have served as a harness to keep Bud in his seat. This worked fine for him, he was taller than average and could reach the table. When I tried LM in it she couldn't see over the table. The On the Go Booster Seat is different as it offers height, as well as a secure place to sit.

Pipsy Koala On the Go Booster Seat Review

The Booster Seat arrives folded into a handy bag shape, complete with shoulder strap. You simply open the velcro flap to unfold the seat. Here you find two adjustable straps which are used to attach the booster seat to a dining seat. One loops under the seat and fastens with a click, and the other is secured in the same way at the back of the chair. The straps are super easy to pull tight, you simply pull the loose end to the desired length and, after doing so, I felt that the seat was secure and unlikely to move. From there you pop your child into the seat and fasten the harness. The main part of the harness is a triangle which sits between the legs and features the Pipsy Koala branding. This is fastened at both sides using adjustable straps with small clip fasteners. The harness and inside of the seat are made from wipe clean plastic, great for those messy meals, and the outside of the harness and straps are made from canvas.

Pipsy Koala On the Go Booster Seat Review with Little Miss

We've  now used the Pipsy Koala On the Go Booster Seat a few times, it's really handy to keep in the car for when we are out and about and great to use at relative's houses. The height of the booster seat (8cm) gives Little Miss just enough height to make her seating positions at the table better and she loves feeling like she is sitting up with everyone. When she has spilled food a simple wipe has been enough to keep the booster looking fresh and clean. The seat when folded measures 31x26cm so it is small enough to pop in the car, or in the shopping basket of a pushchair (or even looped over a handle if that is full). The black and beige style is easy to keep clean and robust. The seat is recommended for use from around six months (as soon as a child can sit unsupported I would say) to four years so I think we will be using it for at least the next two to three years (especially as LM is so tiny). We like the seat very much and would definitely recommend it for parents who regularly find themselves in need of a boost to their little one's sitting position.

The Pipsy Koala On the Go Booster Seat has an RRP of £21:99 which I think is a very reasonable price to pay for an item that makes eating out with your little ones easier. The booster seat can be purchased from the Pipsy Koala website or from the list of independent stockists shown on there.

Disclosure: We received this item in exchange for an honest review.

Chill Factor Colour Blast Squeeze Cup Slushy Maker

22:56 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Bud is a huge 'Slush Dog' fan, as he calls the frozen treats (I'm sure you can work out why) but we generally only give him the opportunity to try one when we're out for the day. When the opportunity arose for us to review the Chill Factor Colour Blast Slushy Maker I knew it would be the perfect way for him to enjoy slushies at home, and for me to make them a bit healthier too! The original range has been around since last Summer and Bud has been fascinated by the cup that his cousins own. The Colour Blast range offers four new cups in bright colours - blue, green, pink or red. We received the red slushy maker.

Chill Factor Colour Blast Slushy Maker in Red

The cup is in three parts, you have the squashy main part of the cup, this is the part you need to freeze, the rim of the cup which unscrews for washing, and the domed lid, complete with hole for the spoon/straw to fit into. You need to freeze the cup prior to use, for around four to six hours. As soon as you are ready to use your cup, you simply remove it from the freezer and add your favourite drink, then squeeze!

I've seen these cups but I was really sceptical about whether it actually was that easy to make it. Surely there had to be more to it than simply squeezing. Well, I was proven wrong. I filled our cup half full with orange juice, squeezed for a minute or so, and was amazed at how quickly the slush formed! I found it easier to let the drink sit in the cup for a few seconds before starting to squeeze as this seemed to take less time when I did it that way. Squeezing the cup is really easy, there is little resistance and you will see the liquid move up to the top of the cup as you squeeze. I'd suggest not filling the cup as this could lead to spillages when you start to squeeze. 

Chill Factor Colour Blast Slushy Maker in Red with Orange Juice

Bud's favourite slushy so far has been orange juice, but we've also tried blackcurrant squash and apple juice. Fruit juice is great as the consistency really lends itself to forming a smooth, and very tasty ice. I'd like to try a few more drinks in the cup, perhaps one for the grown ups? We've been keeping the Chill Factor cup in the freezer since it arrived, as recommended, and Bud has been enjoying a slushy most days. It's always ready to use if we freeze it again as soon as it is washed after use. It's reassuring being able to make one with fruit juice as I know I'm not giving him sugar filled syrup, as I would be in the slushies you buy when you are out and about. I can envisage it getting even more use as the Summer gets closer and the the need for ice cold drinks increases!

The slushy maker is really easy to keep clean and the lid and spoon are dishwasher safe, in the top rack. The cup should be hand washed. All are BPA free. 

Chill Factor Slushy Maker Colour Blast cups are available from Character Options and the usual stockists with an RRP of £12:99 which I think is very reasonable value for money for something that has quickly become a staple in our kitchen.

Disclosure: We received this item in exchange for an honest review.
We're going on an adventure

A Trip Down Memory Lane from Fisher-Price Retro Classics and Esdevium Games

21:51 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I bet there are few children who haven't played with Fisher Price toys. Since the 1930s the brand has been producing toys and they were an important part of my childhood. I remember playing with the Chatter Telephone, Record Player and Two Tune Television as a child and them being amongst my favourite toys. I've often thought that it would be lovely to share them with my children but those toys are long gone, I've scouted the car boots and charity shops but never found them so, imagine my surprise when Esdevium Games got in touch to tell me about the Fisher Price Retro Classics range!

Fisher-Price Retro Classics

Esdevium Games, the board game manufacturers, are the UK distributors responsible for bringing the Fisher Price Retro Classics range to this country. Basic Fun have recreated a range of products from the golden age of Fisher Price - the 1950s to 1970s which include some of the most well known, iconic toys that parents and grandparents will remember from their youth. I couldn't choose from the range of products available so asked for a surprise parcel.

When my parcel opened I was excited to open it and find the Chatter Telephone and Music Box Teaching Clock. This was a perfect combination for us - one is a product that I am very familiar with and the other one was new to me, we didn't have the Music Box Teaching Clock at all when I was small.

Fisher-Price Retro Classics Chatter Telephone and Music Box Teaching Clock

First, the Chatter Telephone. As you can see from the photo above, we have a Chatter Telephone at home already. The modern version which has been a much loved toy for us. I found it quite amusing when I showed the retro Chatter Telephone to Little Miss as she went to get 'her' phone and brought it to me. It was as if she was saying 'look, the same!' Well they are the same, but different. The Chatter Telephone was introduced by Fisher-Price in 1961, so it celebrated half a century a couple of years ago. The ringing dial, chatter noise as it rolls and wobbling eyes are exactly the same as I remember them from my childhoood, with the brightly coloured stickers and blue wheels too.

Fisher-Price Retro Classics Chatter Telephone

I remember loving this toy as a child, it was always a favourite. The new Retro Classic version, while it looks really similar has one significant difference from the one I remember. There's a story in our family about my brother, who is two years younger than me, launching our Chatter Telephone at my head in a fit of pique as a toddler. I can stiil remember how it felt, I saw stars and had a nasty lump, that toy wasn't light! The Retro Classic Chatter Telephone does feel much lighter than our old one so, hopefully, my two won't be recreating that incident!

My two were very pleased with the retro Chatter Telephone. I can't help feeling that the Retro Classic version has much more character than the modern day version. It got me thinking about the technology my children are growing up with. I don't think either of my children have ever seen a working rotary dial telephone but they both instinctively know how to turn the dial and that you hold the handset to your ear to talk. I think that, no matter how far technology advances we'll still always give our children telephones that look like traditional phones to play with, and I defy anyone not to 'answer' a phone handset given to you by a toddler!

The second toy we were sent was the Retro Classics was the Music Box Teaching Clock. This toy was introduced in 1968 and aimed to make learning to tell the time fun! I can't find a modern day equivalent to this one and we don't actually have any toys which look at telling the time. Bud has a fascination with clocks at the moment but is finding understanding the hours and minutes quite confusing, if you ask him what time it is he usually answers 'four 'o'clock'.

Fisher-Price Music Box Teaching Clock

The Music Box Teaching Clock comes in the shape of a Grandfather's Clock and is complete with a hanging hook, a dial to wind to play 'My Grandfather's Clock' and a dial on the front which allows the child to change the time. The dial is beautifully decorated and shows day and night. We've been using this toy to talk about what time day and night begin, what time we go to bed and what time we get up. It's a really beautfully decorated toy and, again, significantly lighter than the small Fisher-Price music box I used to own.

Both Bud and Little Miss love the Music Box Teaching Clock but play with it in very different ways.. Bud is really trying to learn about the hours in the day and is finding it a helpful tool. Little Miss, on the other hand, prefers to play the music and carry it around like a handbag.

Bud and Little Miss playing with the Fisher-Price Retro Classics Chatter Telephone and Music Box Teaching Clock

In addition to the Chatter Telephone and Music Box Teaching Clock that we have tried the Fisher-Price Retro Classics Range also includes the following toys:-
  • See 'N' Say, The Farmer Says
  • Buzzy Bee
  • Movie Viewer
  • School Days Play Desk
  • Changeable Picture Disk Camera
  • Music Box Record Player
  • Change-A-Tune Piano
  • TV Radio
  • Two Tune TV
  • Pulll-A-Tune Xyylophone
  • Milk Wagon
I love the look of so many of these and it's fantastic to see the variation in what is offered. Buzzy Bee was brought to market in 1950 and is the 'oldest' toy in the range. whereas the Movie Viewer is dated more than 20 years later, it came out in 1973. The one thing that reviewing the Retro Classics range has proven to me is that I don't look back on the toys of my childhood through rose tinted spectacles, the toys were great and did entertain. Seeing my children's reactions to the toys has proven that. The range is a little more expensive than comparable 'modern' toys but the heritage, and the walk down memory lane offered by them is well worth it I feel.

The Fisher-Price Retro Classics range is distributed in the UK by Esdevium Games and is available in a range of stockists including Amazon.

Disclosure: We received these toys in exchange for an honest review

We're going on an adventure

The Outtakes #1 - Sport Relief

13:40 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I love taking photos of my two but, as they grow, it can be really tricky to get the 'right' shot. They bounce around all the time and tell you animated stories while you attempt to get the photo. Zoe over at Mama Geek has launched a new linky this week which allows us the opportunity to share those outtakes, those photos that might make you laugh but probably aren't quite what you intended!

Bud took part in 'The Big Wiggle' at nursery this morning to raise money for Sport Relief (it's not too late to sponsor us by clicking this link) this morning. He wore caterpillar colours and the children enjoyed a wiggle around the outside play area. He had a lovely time. They've been learning all about the Hungry Caterpillar this week so he was telling me the story of what the caterpillar ate each day while I attempted to grab a photo to share on Social Media. I got one I liked in the end but this is one of the particularly animated ones!

The Outtakes #1 Bud and Sport Relief

the outtakes

Tractor Ted Fun Day - Spring Printables

12:20 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Spring is finally on the way and we have sunshine this morning in Lancashire. You might remember that we reiewed Tractor Ted's Activity Book 2 a few days ago, well the Tractor Ted team are going to be bringing out regular printable activity sheets that I'm going to be sharing with you and your Tractor Ted fans. Simply print out the image below for some weekend fun with Tractor Ted! 

Tractor Ted Fun and Games for the Weekend

Styles for All the Family: What to Wear to a Spring Wedding

11:15 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Love is in the air and, if past years are anything to go by, there’ll be a fair few engagement announcements flooding the social networks as guys get on one knee to propose to their other halves as part of their Valentine’s Day celebrations. Valentine’s Day may have been and gone, but what it has left behind will be plenty of bridezillas creating their perfect day with as little, or as much, input from the grooms as they can muster.

Bridal Bouquet from

However, for some brides, the wait will almost be over, with their springtime wedding looming. They will likely have everything under control as they finish off the final touches, creating a table plan to be proud of and a reception that will get everyone dancing. If you and your family have been invited to a springtime wedding, the only thing you will have to worry about is what to wear and, for you and your brood, there are plenty of options.

Remember that, as it’s spring (and we are in England), you will still have to wrap up warm. However, that doesn’t mean you need to don the thermals – you can still look stylish and sophisticated, even with an extra layer on a blustery day. Here are some fab ideas for all the family:


Any excuse for a frock, right? While some women don’t like the idea of donning a dress, others will thrive at the thought of shopping for something pretty. Rock the 50s look with a swing dress, curled hair and some red lippy, or opt for a typical wedding ensemble, complete with bolero or pashmina to keep the chill at bay.


What men wear will depend largely on the formality of the day. Base the outfit choice on the kind of wedding you’re all invited to, and the type of couple that are getting wed. Perhaps it calls for the utmost in formality – a tailored pair of trousers, tucked in shirt and smart tie? Or, on the other hand, some springtime weddings call for smart shirts and chinos. Dress code will also depend on whether you’ve been invited to the whole day, or just the evening proceedings.


Little boys will look very dapper in a cool pair of trousers, teamed with a stylish shirt, waistcoat and, if you’re going for a trendy vibe, a flat cap and braces. Older lads will feel absolutely dandy in a shirt and trousers – longer sleeve shirts are ideal during the spring months and, if it’s particularly cold, they can pop a T-shirt on underneath the shirt as an extra layer.

Girls are usually content with a pretty dress and, in the springtime, a pair of tights and a cardigan wouldn’t go amiss. Some of George’s girl’s dresses are simply gorgeous and offer fantastic value for money too. Accessorise the outfit with some pretty flowers in their hair, or learn how to do a waterfall braid for something that little bit different.

Spring Wedding Style for Little Girls

Babies will look cute in just about anything – just make sure that they’re wrapped up warm, especially n churches that can be cold during the height of summer, never mind at other times of the year!

Dress your family up to the nines and head out to a springtime wedding looking amazing. Just because it’s a little chilly outside doesn’t mean you can’t all look fabulous for family occasions. Turn out looking great and, above all, have a brilliant time!

PR Collaboration

Mother's Day Gifts from Me to You

13:04 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I've been featuring a few Mother's Day gift ideas and today I'm going to bring you a few more. I love Tatty Teddy from Me to You. this cute little grey bear and his friends regularly features on the cards and gifts I send so when I saw the Mother's Day gift range I was very pleased.

Tatty Teddy features a range of gifts this Spring which are sure to delight any mum. With a cute photo frame, a 'World's Best Mum' bear, apron, mug and stencil set and shopping list pad I'm sure that anyone could find perfect gift for their Tatty Teddy fan mum.

Tatty Teddy Mother's Day Gifts - Bear, Mug and Stencil Set and Shopping List Pad

I was sent the apron and photo frame from the range to try out. Aprons are one of those things that you don't really think you will use until you're trying to feed a baby and get ready for a meal out at the same time!  I use one fairly regularly but my old faithful apron is really plain and boring. 

The Tatty Teddy Mother's Day apron is super cute. With the customary pink and blue colour scheme of the rest of the range, it is so sweet. The straps tie at the back of the neck and at the waist so it's fully adjustable and will fit anyone. The pocket is really useful, I tend to pop my mobile phone into it when I'm wearing it to cook. I love the 1950s styling of this, I think it would look great over a full skirted prom dress for the compelete fifties feel! At £12 this is a great price and would make a lovely gift for any mums who love to bake, or have children with grubby hands like my two!

Me to You Tatty Teddy Mother's Day Apron

We were also sent a small glass 'Mum' Photo frame. This is decorated with a little picture of Tatty Teddy drinking his tea, just like the one on the apron pocket. It will fit a photo measuring 3.25 x 3.25 inches (83x83mm) and is beautifully presented in a gift box. The frame mount is a pretty mint green.

Me to You Tatty Teddy Mother's Day Photo Frame

I know someone this would be the perfect gift for. My Mother in Law loves cute little photo frames like this one and adding a photo of the children to it would make a lovely, personal gift for her. It's great quality and you could always pop it back in the gift box once you have added a photo. At £8 I think this is great value for money and a pretty gift.

The Tatty Teddy Mother's Day range is available from the usual stockists and Amazon.

Disclosure: We received these products in exchange for an honest review.

Find the Perfect Mother's Day Gift

15:02 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I'm reviewing a few lovely Mother's Day gifts at the moment and it has got me thinking about what mums really want for their day. It sounds like Sanctuary Spa have been doing the same as they have put together this infographic which shows the results of surveys showing what mums would like.

I don't want to be on my own, it wouldn't be Mother's Day without my children, would it? I'd love a good lie in and a coffee in bed though! LM isn't sleeping very well at the moment so  good night's sleep would really fit the bill. I'm very pleased I've never had to pretend to like a gift. This year my birthday falls two days before Mother's Day so I'm hoping to be spoiled! I think my ideal day would be some sunshine, a walk, lunch out and some pampering products to relax with.

What do you think of the survey results? Do any of them apply to you?

PR Collaboration

Tractor Ted's Activity Book 2

17:22 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Bud, and I if I'm honest, are huge fans of Tractor Ted. For those not in the know, Tractor Ted is a  friendly Tractor who features in a range of books, DVDs and merchandise. Bud loves farms and is slightly obsessed by farm animals and machinery so Tractor Ted has been a huge hit in our house since we discovered him a while ago.

Tractor Ted Activity Book 2 Easter

I'm delighted that we're now going to be working with Tractor Ted and the first product I have to show you is the brand new Activity Book 2 released just in time for Easter and featuring 'eggstra Easter treats'.

This is very much a Spring book and the contents all tie in with new life, baby animals and the farm machines getting the fields ready to grow crops. The first thing to note is that this is not a story book, It's not something that is designed to be read. Every page can be interacted with, whether it's learning pencil control by following dot trails to write words, colouring, or matching baby animals with their parents. It helps with hand eye coordination, counting, number recognition and learning about animals.

Tractor Ted Activity Book 2 Pages

Activity Book 2 is great quality, the pages are full colour and tough. They aren't likely to be ripped by a too-rough Bud, which is always good news for us. The cover is glossy and each book has 32 pages. The content is designed to fit into the Early Years Foundation Strategy and it is perfect for Bud just now. We're really trying hard on pencil control just now and looking at CVC (Consonant-Vowel-Words) and the book features plenty of opportunities to do work on those. At not quite four there is plenty to interest and engage him and we've spent rather a lot of time looking at, and working on, this book since it arrived here.

Bud and his Tractor Ted Activity Book 2

The book is priced at £4:99 which represents excellent value for money. I think this would be the perfect Easter gift, if you are looking for an alternative, or addition to chocolate. Tractor Ted Activity Book 2 is available from and country stores nationwide.

Tractor Ted have also released a range of Spring printable alongside the new book, my friend Anna at In the Playroom has a fab post featuring them here.

If you'd like the chance to win one of five copies of the book then my friends Eileen and Kel are running givesaways over at their blogs - ET Speaks From Home and Writings, Ramblings and Reviews.

Disclosure: We received this book in exchange for an honest review

Blog Your Heart Out

22:32 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Blog Your Heart Out

My friend Jenny at The Brick Castle tagged me in this meme, and it's quite a nice read so I thought I would give it a go. Hopefully the answers will be interesting!

Question 1. Who/What encouraged you to start blogging?
Back in the Summer of 2011 I was made redundant surely after returning from my maternity leave with Bud. I started reading a lot of parent blogs - like The Boy and Me and a few others and started chatting to bloggers on Twitter. I slowly started to think how much I enjoyed reading them and that I could give it a go and off I went. The bloggers I chatted to on Twitter were so supportive and welcoming in to the community. Two and a half years ago now!

Question 2. How did you choose what topic to blog about?
I don't. I write about whatever I feel like. I love to write about my children and post photos, I really want them to have something to look back on when they are bigger. I'm hoping to go in a slightly different direction this year, plans are forming. Watch this space!

Question 3. What is something most people don’t know about you?
I'm afraid of Testudines (turtles,tortoises and terrapins). I know my closest friends and family know about this but I thought I'd share it with the world. This makes me chelonaphobic and herpetophobic, apparently. It's such a random thing to be scared of and makes visits to aquariums and Sea Life centres difficult!

Question 4. What three words describe your style?
A tricky one. If it's writing style I'd like to say comprehensive, precise and eloquent.  I hope so anyway! My personal style is relaxed, comfortable and low maintenance - all the better to run after two monkeys!

Question 5. What do you love to do when you are not blogging?
I love to get out with my family, to visit new places, see the sights. We love to go camping and get away and we're hoping to do it much more this year now LM is getting bigger. I love a good box set as much as the next person and have a particular love for US shows like The Gilmore Girls, The OC and One Tree Hill. I'm something of a foodie and love to eat out and try new restaurants, something I don't get the chance for very much these days! This is the same as the cinema, I was only saying the other day that I used to know all of the new releases and see lots of them too. I wouldn't swap the cinema for a walk with my lovely family though!

That's all of my answers. Feel free to post yours if you like, and tell me if you do!

I'm tagging:
Eileen from ET Speaks From Home
Collette from We're Going On an Adventure
Danni from It Started With a Squish (if you get time before baby arrives!)

Silent Sunday and My Sunday Photo 16/03/2014

18:27 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments


New Flavours from Ryvita Crackerbread

17:59 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We love Ryvita Crackerbread in our house. It's one of those store cupboard staples that we always have to have in, ready for a snack and everyone in the family eats them. When we were sent a box each of the two new flavours - cheese and pepper - I was really interested to see if we liked them and if we might make the switch from the original Crackerbread.

Ryvita Crackerbread Cheese and Pepper

The two new flavours are Pepper and Cheese. I expected to like both of these and wasn't disappointed. The Pepper flavour offers a subtle hint of heat and spice, I'm a huge fan of pepper and, for me it could have been stronger but it everyone else in the family, who enjoy the flavour less liked it too. The cheese flavour is quite subtle too and this one has been a huge hit with the children and Red Rose Daddy too.

Ryvita Crackerbread Cheese and Pepper Serving Suggestions

We've been enjoying the Crackerbread in a number of different ways. The children and Ian like the cheese flavour with sliced cheese, cheese spread or just butter. I've been enjoying both flavours, but especially the pepper, with soup instead of sliced bread. Each cracker has just 19 calories so they are a low calorie option too. Bud seems to have hollow legs at the moment and is constantly asking for snacks, giving him a crackerbread or two with cheese spread is the perfect between meals snack for him when he is complaining he is hungry.

I definitely think we'll be buying these flavours of Crackerbread in the future. The cheese flavour disappeared in a few days and Bud has requested 'the cheesy ones, Mummy' when I last offered him the plain version. They are the perfect addition to the Ryvita Crackerbread range and get a big thumbs up from us.

Disclosure: We received the Crackerbread in exchange for an honest review.

I Promise To, on Mother's Day - A Review

10:26 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Today I have quite a different Mother's Day gift for you. The new website offers a unique way to give thoughts, not things for any celebration, and raise money for charity at the same time! They have teamed up with some celebrity mums for Mother's Day and, for every 'I Promise' sold £1 will go to the charity 'Kids Company' which raises money to help vulnerable children.

How it works:

I Promise offered me the opportuunity to try out the service. I chose a three card pack and worked with Bud to decide what promises he would make. One of his favourite phrases at the moment is 'I Promise' so it was quite timely. The website is super simple to use and we created our cards in just a few minutes. Bud chose the promises 'to be kind to my Sister' and 'to try hard at my writing' and I added in one from me really, 'to keep being the kind, funny and loving boy you adore.' Each card can be customised with a different icon and, if you're struggling to come up with a promise, you can also choose from a range of preset phrases, some of which have been added by celebrity mums in advance of mother's day. Gail Porter suggests 'Promise we'll laugh together every day' while Sinitta suggests 'Promise to be tidier;.  

The cards arrived really quickly in their own cardboard envelope, great if you want to send the cards direct to your recipient. We chose the red envelope which unfolds to display the four cards, one with the recipient, and giver's details and then the three promises. They are beautifully printed and presented.

I Promise cards

Cards are priced at £9:50 for three cards, you can also choose five cards for £14:50 and ten for £18:50.All prices include postage. This is more expensive than a traditional card but is a great way of getting a message across effectively, I think they would be brilliant to use if you were planning a big surprise for someone, for example 'I Promise to... take you to New York next week', it could even work for marriage proposals! The cards are really lovely and the little parcel is very high quality. As a Mum, if one of my children ever sent me something like this I would be very pleased. 

Disclosure: I received this product in exchange for an honest review

10 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Home

11:57 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

10 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Home

I've been thinking a lot about getting our home into better order and Spring is the perfect time to do it, you can throw open the windows and dry washing outside again, it's the perfect chance to declutter! I decided to ask my group of closest blogging friends for their suggestions, and here's what they came up with.

1. Tami over at Mummy of Two suggests using a steam cleaner to make all of those grimy jobs a bit easier The pressurised steam will get rid of dirt and clean those grotty corners without using too many chemicals. Tami is an ambassador for Karcher and you can see her latest steam cleaner review here.

2. Anthea from Blue Bear Wood says plan the job ahead, make sure you know exactly what you are going to do and the order you will approach them in. Buy some treats, stick some loud music on and make sure you have lots of cardboard boxes to clear the clutter. Anthea has a terrific recipe for homemade Apple Cider Vinegar which can be used for cleaning windows and mirrors, amongst other things.

3. Mary from Over 40 and a Mum to One is an Oven Pride Ambassador and raves about their unique way of cleaning ovens. Anything that can clean an oven while I have a cup of coffee gets my vote and I regularly use it too. It's definitely a better alternative to using lots of elbow grease or, as one of my friends does, hiring an oven cleaner.

4. Make sure your body is healthy as well as your home! The lengthening daylight is the perfect opportunity to join a gym, get out for a jog, undertake a detox and, if you're a smoker, switch to Intellicig? That will help with the cleaning too and improve the air quality in your home. 

5. Laura at Yummy Mummy Flabby Tummy suggests avoiding spring cleaning and making sure you do the jobs at intervals throughout the year, so you aren't left with a huge undertaking in the Spring. Good advice!

6. I like Anna from In the Playroom's suggestion to hire a cleaner. If I could afford it I definitely would! Cleaning isn't a fun way to spend time, especially if it eats into family time so paying someone else to do it would leave that time clear. I think I'd find myself tidying up before she arrived though!

7. Kel from Writings, Ramblings and Reviews suggests getting the kids involved, Lots of cleaning jobs can be fun for children, get them vacuuming, dusting or out in the garden helping the tidy up there. It gets them physically active, involved in the home and means you can do the job together. Put some fun music on and get them dancing while they dust!

8. When I'm Spring Cleaning I always try to make the effort to make sure all of my windows and curtains are clean. It really brightens the home when your windows are gleaming and hung with clean drapes. It's also a good opportunity to check on all of your lightbulbs and replace any that have gone. We've recently switched some of ours to Duracel LED lightbulbs which have the benefit of reaching full brightness instantly and being energy efficient too. They also save you money, always a bonus!

9. We're definitely going to be decluttering and selling some no longer needed items on eBay or in local selling groups. Now Little Miss is 18 months old a lot of her baby things are no longer used so can be passed on. We'll give anything that doesn't sell to charity and free up some much needed space!

10. The final one was something proposed by Fiona at Mummy's Little Stars suggests getting your husband to do it! I like this idea very much! Red Rose Daddy does do a lot of the big jobs in our house already though, we definitely rely on team work in our house! 

Do you have any suggestions to make Spring Cleaning easier? What are your must use products?

Disclosure: I received a parcel of cleaning supplies, and some Duracell lightbulbs in exchange for this post.

March and April Fun for Mother's Day and the Easter Holidays

15:08 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

With Mother's Day and  Easter Holidays fast approaching I've been informed of some fab ways to keep you and your children busy over the next few weeks, there are some lovely ideas here.

Dunelm have a fab colouring competition in store between 14th and 28th April. Pay £1 for an entry sheet and get your children to colour it in, perhaps while you do some shopping or have a cuppa in store. A great way to keep the kids entertained if they grumble about you shopping, and to raise money for a good cause too as all proceeds will go to Barnado's, the UK’s largest children’s charity, supporting vulnerable children and families nationwide. Lucky winners will receive a cuddly Barney Bear, Barnado's official mascot.

Renshaw Baking want you to bake the most important lady in your life a cake ready for Mother's Day, from 11th to 30th March. If you do so and upload it to their Facebook or G+, or Tweet, all using #bakingmemories so they can keep track of the entries. One lucky winner will receive £100 of Peggy Porschen and £100 of Renshaw vouchers and five runners up will receive the new Peggy Porschen book 'Cakes in Bloom'. Head over to the competition page for more information.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Photography CompetitionIf you have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan in your house (I have one, right here) then Flair have a competition for you. Simply take a photo and submit it to one of these three categories - Best Action Figure Battle Scene photograph, Best Ninja Pose photograph and Best Action Figure Battle Scene Video. The winner of eachncategory will receive a fantastic digital camera, a Turtles Mask of  their favourite character, a Turtles Shell plus Turtles Signature Weapons of their choice. Five runners up from each category will  also win a Turtles Mask and Signature Weapon for their entry. Send your to before the closing date of 16th May for your chance to win! All winning entries will be available to view on or in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Magazine after 26th June.

Hard Rock Cafe Manchester have two fab celebrations for Mother's Day and Easter planned:

The first is to celebrate Mother’s Day – Breakfast with Mummy (9am – 11am, Sunday 30th March), they are teaming up with Harvey Nichols for a super special Mother's Day treat! Trish McEvoy will be providing beauty consultations and Umberto Giannini will be on hand to style, preen and pamper your hair. All this as well as a full English breakfast and treats to entertain the kiddies: face painting, magic tricks, balloon modelling..

The second is to celebrate Easter – Breakfast with Bunny (9am – 11am, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th April), Guests are treated to a full English breakfast (cereal and fruit are also available) and there are fun Easter games and special treats for each child. There is a face painter and a magician who will also be balloon modeling. Places are limited so call now to book your place. Children £7.50 and adults £9.00.
For more information and to book, please call the restaurant directly on 0161 831 6700 or visit Places are limited.

Win Your Dream Lego Star Wars BedroomIf your child is creative and loves Lego Star Wars then the Star Wars Comic has a great competition this month. Kids need to design an Lego Star Wars bedroom, and the winner will have it designed and built for them! The options really are endless and one lucky winner will receive the bedroom of their dreams! Pick up the current issue of the Star Wars Comic for full entry details. The competition closes on 2nd April 2014 and winners will be announced by 1st May 2014, just in time for Star Wars Day!

Hopefully there are some great ideas here to keep you and your children busy. Will you be entering any of these competitions or attending any fun events in March and April?

Introducing My BritMums Live 2014 Sponsors... Bobux Shoes

12:09 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I have some really exciting news to share with you today. Regular readers of my blog will know that I recently reviewed some Bobux Shoes for Bud. I absolutely loved them, and so did Bud. Their shoes are excellent quality and really stylish, perfect for your little ones, and a great way to get away from boring black school shoes.

I'm delighted to tell you that Bobux have kindly offered to sponsor me to attend BritMums Live this year. Despite blogging for two and a half years it will be my first time attending the 'main event' for parent bloggers and I'm so excited! It will give me the opportunity to meet lots of other bloggers, some of whom I've been talking to online for a few years and have never met, attend some interesting seminars and spend a couple of days with some great friends. Can you tell I'm looking forward to it? In return for sponsorship I'm going to be bringing you posts featuring Bobux throughout the year and you'll be able to see their badge, with a link to their website in my sidebar.

It was really important to me to be sponsored by a company who I believe in, I'd rather have not been sponsored if the alternative was a company who I didn't feel strongly about. The quality of Bobux' shoes, their family ethos and their commitment to children's foot health means that I'm fully committed to representing them at BritMums Live, if you're attending please feel free to grab me for a quick chat about them!

If you'd like to learn more about Bobux, why not check out their lovely website, follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook.

Win a Project B Mum to Be Gift Subscription

22:42 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I have yet another exciting giveaway for those mummy to be's out there ahead of Mother's Day. I've teamed up with Project B, the unique way to make mums to be feel special every month.

Project B logo

Project B is a monthly box service with a difference. It is tailored to the recipients month of pregnancy, if a mother to be signs up at the start of their pregnancy they will receive seven boxes. Each box is themed specifically for their stage of pregnancy and can be purchased as an individual box or as a subscription. Each box costs £14, including postage.

The boxes are as follows:
1.            Box 1 ‘Nurture’ – 12-15 weeks
2.            Box 2 ‘Blossom’ – 16-19 weeks
3.            Box 3 ‘Energise’ – 20-24 weeks
4.            Box 4 ‘Relax’ – 25-29 weeks

Project B March Box Four

5.            Box 5 ‘Prepare’ – 30-34 weeks
6.            Box 6 ‘Nest’ – 35-39 weeks
7.            Box 7 ‘Arrive’ – 40+ weeks

Project B March Box Seven

Each box contains anything from 5-10 products, all valued much higher than the £14 cost, alongside four information cards which cover that stage of pregnancy, Eating Well, Staying Active, and Shopping Ideas. Currently in the boxes are 49 brands including Palmer’s, Divine Chocolate, Pregnacare, Eco2Life, Urban Veda, Weleda, Spontex, Teapigs, Yes! Nurse, Green People, Burt’s Bees and Bio Oil, to name but a few.

In addition to the subscription box service Project B runs a thriving online community with over 9500 fans on Facebook and a a panel of pregnancy experts offering advice and information, including regular live Facebook chats.  These include:
·                     Gemma Raby – One Born Every Minute midwife
·                     Liat Hughes Joshi – Baby Shopping Expert
·                     Dr. Joanna Helcke – Pre and post natal fitness Expert
·                     Jo Stuholme from Pushchair Trader – Pushchair Expert

I've teamed up with Project B to giveaway a subscription to the service for you, or the pregnant woman in your life, worth up to £96 (if started from the first box). It can be started at whichever stage of pregnancy the mum to be is at. To enter please complete the Rafflecopter widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a variety of additional options. Please read the terms and conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Mother's Day Gifts from Gone Crabbing

20:49 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I came across Gone Crabbing recently when my friend Eileen at ET Speaks From Home reviewed their fab kids' hoodies and Wild Lettuce soap. When they got in touch to tell me about their Mother's Day gifts recently I knew I had to tell you about them.

Gone Crabbing Logo

The Norfolk company sells a really broad range of products, from clothing for children and adults, through homewares, to small pocket money items like keyrings and erasers. The company was started at a kitchen table five years ago by a Norfolk mumpreneur who spotted a gap in the market for high end souvenirs. Colin the Crab was born and is the symbol of the brand and now Gone Crabbing has a wide range of products, two shops- in Burnham Deepdale, Norfolk and Southwold, Suffolk - and a thriving website.

As mentioned the Gone Crabbing range is extensive. With everything from beach towels to baby clothes, pencils to placemats, there is something for every budget. We were sent a mug and a bar of soap as an example of their Mother's Day gifts.

Gone Crabbing Mug and Soap Mother's Day Gift

I love a bone china mug. Given the choice it's all I will use to drink tea from. Tea always tastes better in bone china. I received the Petal mug which retails at £8:50. This is a white mug with a distinctive petal design all over it. While it doesn't feature Colin the Crab or any of his friends the style of the flower design is distinctively 'Gone Crabbing' so it fits into the range well, with a girly touch. The mug is a decent size, a little chunkier than the usual bone china mugs and is really nice to hold. It's a lovely mug and I'm sure most of the mums I know would be delighted to receive it as a gift for Mother's Day, perhaps with a chocolate treat, or a few of their favourite tea bags inside?

Gone Crabbing Petals Bone China Mug

Another gift which would be lovely to pop inside the mug before giving it as a gift, is the 'Really Lovely Smelly Soap' which matches - featuring the Petals design on the wrapper. Now, I'm fussy with soap. I like it to be good at lathering, smell wonderful and be creamy too. Gone Crabbing soap ticks all of those boxes. As soon as I opened my parcel I could smell the strong Jasmine scent. I love the fragrance of Jasmine, it's one of my relaxing, centring aromas, and this version is beautiful. There are seven soaps in the range, each fragranced, and wittily named, differently. They are triple milled, and manufactured in a small English soapery, and aren't tested on animals. A complete win win and, at £4:99 for a 200g bar, I think they are great value for money too. So many soaps are great in the packet and rubbish when used to wash with, this one passed that test too, producing a rich, creamy lather with a gorgeous scent, which makes using it a pleasure. I'd be utterly delighted with this as a gift and, if Jasmine isn't a favourite of yours there are six other scents to investigate too.

Gone Crabbing Very Lovely Smelly Soap

I've been really impressed with the Gone Crabbing products I have tried. I think they represent excellent quality and good value for money, with some lovely gifts available. It's always great to support small British companies who offer something a little quirky and they definitely fit the bill. I think I'll certainly back to buy from the website in the future. 

My friend Anna has been reviewing the Gone Crabbing Beach Towel, why not check out her review over at In the Playroom.

Disclosure: I received the products in exchange for an honest review
We're going on an adventure