Smiggle Advent Calendar 2015

13:45 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I've been admiring Smiggle's products for some time and have visited a few of their stores when I''ve been 'down South' as we're awaiting our first store opening in Manchester (a little bird tells me that it's coming soon though!). The stationery company started in Australia back in 2003 and since then has spread through New Zealand, to Singapore and now to the UK with more than thirty stores now open and an online store too.

Smiggle Advent Calendar 2015

I saw a few reviews of the Smiggle Advent Calendar last year and loved the look of it. The idea of 25 different stationery treats to build up the excitement for Christmas throughout December was perfect for me so I was so excited to be offered the opportunity to review the advent calendar this year.

This year's advent calendar has a Santa's Workshop theme with a full colour design featuring the busy elves and Santa overseeing everything. This is larger than your average advent calendar and you can clearly see, from the size of the doors, that the treats are much more exciting than little chocolate shapes.

Smiggle Advent Calendar 2015

In the interest of not wanting to spoil the surprise I've opened a few windows in the calendar - the first four - to show you what sort of treats you will get in your calendar. I'm really pleased with these four and I'm so excited to see what the rest of the calendar will hold.

I won't tell you which day is which. These are the items from the first four days - a Smiggle snapband which Bud has claimed, an apple scented highlighter, a Smiggle keyring and a funky ruffled pen. They are really lovely, high quality items and the calendar is going to make lots of people happy this December, It's suitable for ages six plus and I can imagine a lot of older children and teenagers (and adults too) will enjoy this alternative to chocolate calendars.

Smiggle Advent Calendar 2015

If you'd like to see what's beside the rest of the doors, follow me on Instagram as I'll be sharing each day's treat on there using #SmiggleAdventCalendar.

Each advent calendar comes with a gold ticket to win one of ten £250 Smiggle shopping spree. If you don't win you can enter a draw for any unclaimed prizes on the website. One prize has been claimed but there are still nine up for grabs.

Smiggle Advent Calendar 2015 Golden Ticket

The Smiggle advent calendar is priced at £24:99 (for over £40 of Smiggle treats), it's available in store or online now. It tends to sell out so make sure to buy in plenty of time before the start of December!

To keep up with all of Smiggle UK's news follow them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

I received the advent calendar for review purposes

Christmas 2015 with Red Rose Mummy

Click here to see all of our Christmas posts including gift ideas, fun and giveaways!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – The Complete Season Two - Review and Giveaway

17:16 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

LM has recently begun to watch a few different shows and she gets very excited to see her favourites. A new love in our house has been My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. When we were sent the complete Season Two on DVD recently she was delighted!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – The Complete Season Two - Review and Giveaway

Get ready for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – The Complete Season Two to gallop into your lives on DVD and Digital Download on 26th October 2015.

Twilight Sparkle and her friends Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Apple Jack, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Spike are back for a bumper bundle of magical adventures in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Even though Twilight Sparkle has learnt a lot of friendship lessons in Ponyville there are still more hurdles to jump and horsey harmony to be found in 26 enchanting episodes of this beloved series.

In over 9 hours of irresistible fun and friendship it is one crazy adventure after another, all under the guidance of mentor Princess Celestia, the co-ruler of Equestria. Join the ponies for birthdays, parties and playdates as this season culminates in the grandest of all celebrations - the greatest wedding the ponies have ever seen – and you’re invited!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – The Complete Season Two - Review and Giveaway

With five discs to watch LM has been making her way through them a couple of episodes at a time. She loves being able to watch her favourite show whenever she likes, rather than having to wait for it to appear on TV. There are five collectors cards included too, to add to the excitement!

I've teamed up with Hasbro Studios to giveaway a copy of the DVD to one of my lucky readers. This will make the perfect treat for any My Little Pony fan and I can see it making it's way on to a few Christmas lists this year.

To enter the giveaway please complete the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entry options. Please read the terms and conditions.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – The Complete Season Two

Have You Named Your Car?

20:03 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We have had a chequered few years with cars and are on our third car in three years at the moment. I'm not overly fond of our current set of wheels and I know that I haven't bonded with her. How do I know this? Well, we haven't named her!

When Ian and I got together he drove a dark blue Renault Megane. I bet you can't guess what she was named? Megan, Megs for short. She was the car that  both Bud and LM were driven home from hospital in and, when she was written off by an idiot driving in the snow too quickly we replaced her with a Citroen Xsara Picasso. This car was quickly named Pearl (can you guess what colour it was?) She car lasted just over a year before she too suffered an incident outside our house in the snow. We've had some really bad luck with our snowy street over the past few years but, thankfully, both cars were empty when they were hit so none of us were hurt. I'd take a little inconvenience over risking my little family one hundred percent of the time.

Now we own an ancient Vauxhall Zafira. With three car seats to accommodate we needed either a seven seater or a wide five seater, Our old Pearl would have been perfect but her replacement has been working perfectly adequately for us. I just haven't bonded with it.

Co-op Insurance have come up with a new tool which offers to help you 'Name Your Ride' so I thought I would give it the chance to name our Zafira...

Co-op Insurance Name Your Ride Tool

I have to say, Sandy isn't a name we'd ever have come up with ourselves but I quite like it. Given my children's propensity to bring back half of the beach every time we head to the coast, you can guarantee that there's more than a few grains of sand to be found in our footwells at any one time so it seems quite apt.

Does your car have a name? I'd love to hear it in the comments below. Why not click through to the tool and tell me what it thinks your car's name should be in the comments below.

In collaboration with Co-op Insurance.

Win a Pair of Tickets to The Spirit of Christmas Fair

00:00 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Christmas is fast approaching and whether you're in the 'super excited' or 'bah humbug' camp you can't ignore that it will soon be here.

I always find a way to start feeling really festive is to visit a Christmas event and The Spirit of Christmas Fair which will take place at Olympia in Kensington next month sounds like the perfect way to do some Christmas shopping and start to feel excited about the forthcoming celebrations.

Win a Pair of Tickets to The Spirit of Christmas Fair

I've teamed up with From Babies With Love to give away a pair of tickets to the fair worth £39. It takes place from 2nd - 8th November so there's lots of opportunity to visit Kensington Olympia and have a shopping day. If you'd like more information about the fair please click here.

From Babies With Love will be exhibiting on Stand GH46 so remember to check out their gorgeous range of babywear.

For your chance to win the tickets please complete the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Megableu Ghost Hunt & Creepy Hand - Guest Review

10:07 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Today I'm sharing some spooky fun with two brand new games new to the market that one of my best blogging friends, Eileen from ET Speaks From Home was recently sent to try out with her lovely children, Mr K and Miss C. If you're not familiar with Eileen's blog do head over there and check it out. She features a great mix of days out, reviews and some amazing recipes. She also makes excellent YouTube videos and I'll be sharing some in this post..

Trick or treat? This coming Halloween, we are bringing you these two spooky Halloween games from Megableu to share with you. They are the Ghost Hunt and Creepy Hand. These games are definitely a treat and all your children would need is to master the trick! These are fun and exciting games to play on the creepiest day of year.

Do check out our unboxing of both games here:

First, I have Ghost Hunt which is a laser ghost shooting game which is suitable for aged five onwards. It comes with Billy Bones (electronic projector), two loose feet, an electronic gun and instructions. Billy Bones requires 4 AA batteries and the gun requires 3 AAA batteries which are not included. It requires minimal installation.

Megableu Ghost Hunt

This game can only be played in a dark room that is no bigger than 5m by 5m with no obstructions. We played ours in their bedroom which worked well even though they have pictures on their wall.

To play this game, place Billy Bones in the middle of the room and he will uses his phantasmagorical powers (or infrared lights) to randomly project ghostly visions around the room from his eye. You need to blast the ghosts with the laser gun. You are awarded one point for each ghost you blast and a flying bat nets you three points.

Megableu Ghost Hunt

There are three levels to choose from: Easy, Average and Hard. To select the level, simple press the button and synchronise your gun with Billy Bones. You will need to synchronise your gun each time you select the level. It is very quick and easy to do so. The gun does not have an on/off button but it will turn itself off after 60 seconds if it is not in use. The gun is very lightweight and chunky to hold.

Both my children enjoyed playing this game again and again. This is sure to be a popular toy, especially in time for Halloween!

Watch what we think about this awesome game and see it for yourself.

Next we have here is the Creepy Hand game which is based on the famous game of 'Truth orDare'. It comes with an electronic green articulated hand, 100 question cards and instructions.

Megableu Creepy Hand

This game is played with 2 or more players and is suitable for age seven and above. This lightweight Creepy Hand requires 3 AA batteries to operate which are not included. There is an on/off switch at the top of the limb and the start button can be found there too.

Megableu Creepy Hand

To play this game, everyone sits in a circle and simply places the finger tips (from the creepy hand) down on the table and switches it on. It will stop randomly and its finger will point at one of the players. My children love it when the creepy finger points at them as the first person who has six cards wins the game! So far, they have both preferred to answer the truth question rather than doing a dare question. If any player does not complete the mission successfully, he or she must face an extra forfeit challenge, written at the bottom of the card. Come and check out what we think about this game and see how the creepy hand moves!

I would recommend both of these games to anyone, especially for a Halloween party! They are available to buy online from Argos, Smyths, Firebox, Toys R Us, Toy Master, Tobar, Debenhams and Amazon.

Thanks Eileen, Mr K and Miss C for these fab reviews and videos. Enjoy the games!

Halloween Fun for Half Term with #NickJrPumpkinParty

09:19 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

With half-term starting today and Halloween fast approaching, Nick Jr and UK Mums TV are planning to get half term off to an exciting start with a Halloween twitter party. We will be co-hosting the party and have been sent a lovely selection of crafts and fun activities to share while everyone joins in with the Twitter fun on Monday 26th October from 5-6:30pm

Halloween Fun for Half Term with #NickJrPumpkin Party

Nick Jr has masses of spooky Halloween fun planned for next week and children will be able to watch lots of spooky themed episodes featuring their favourite characters.
  • Monday 26th – Dora and Friends: Into the City – 4:30pm 
  • Monday 26th – Peppa Pig – 5:30pm 
  • Tuesday 27th – Paw Patrol – 5:30pm 
  • Wednesday 28th – Zack & Quack – 5:30pm Nick Jr Halloween Twitter Party
  • Thursday 29th – Lily’s Driftwood Bay – 5:30pm 
  • Friday 30th – Wallykazam! – 5:30pm 
Halloween Fun for Half Term with #NickJrPumpkin Party

I've been offered a fantastic Halloween Prize Bundle for one of my lucky winners to win. For your chance to win simply complete the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entry options. Please read the terms and conditions.

Halloween Pumpkin Party Bundle

What Little E Wore - My Little Duckling Hats

22:33 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Is there anything cuter than a baby in a truly awesome hat? I don't think so. I'd seen My Little Duckling's fab hats on a few other blogs so, when they got in touch offering Little E one of his very own, I knew I had to say yes please.

My Little Duckling was started by Karina who says:
'After the birth of my baby boy, I realised that there was relatively little choice for fanciful and imaginative baby hats. I was missing a hat that could trigger my baby's tiny senses and make me smile when he wears it at the same time.'

I absolutely agree with how hard it can be to find attractive, fun clothing for little boys and the My Little Duckling hats definitely fit the bill.

We received the Boys Winter Hat which combines a 100% acrylic yarn outer with goggles and inner lining made from 100% cotton. The hat is beautifully soft and you will have no worries about your baby's comfort when wearing it.

What Little E Wore - My Little Duckling Pilot Hats

The chin strap on the hat fastens with velcro or can be left to hang loose. Either way works well and looks great and being able to fasten the hat at the chin is perfect for children who like to take their hats off.

The weather has changed in our area over the past few weeks and Little E has been in need of a hat.  It's so simple to pop the My Little Duckling hat on him and he looks so great in it. The navy and grey colour scheme looks lovely on him and the hat keeps him toasty warm, especially in the carrier.

We have the 6-12 months size hat and it fits Little E well. His head is on the larger side but I'm pretty sure he will be able to wear it for the whole winter. I'll be sad to see him grow out of it!

What Little E Wore - My Little Duckling Hats

I'm so looking forward to snuggling Little E up in his new hat, coat and maybe some gorgeous baby booties. He's going to be winter ready and look amazing! I just need to source winter boots for the big two and we'll all be ready for the colder weather.

To find out more about the My Little Duckling range of hats for boys and girls, check out their website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

If you're visiting The Baby Show this weekend you can see the range of hats in person, be sure to go along and check them out!


What's Happened? What's Happening? 22/10/2015

14:27 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Welcome back to the latest #WHWH linky, we are deep into October and if you're anything like us, the heating is on and the winter coats are out! We've been enjoying reading about outdoor adventures this week and getting excited about our plans for the upcoming half term, as well as Halloween and bonfire night.

We really appreciate you joining in and sharing your posts with us and it would make us both very happy to see you include our #WHWH badge in your post or on your site. The more people that join in with our lovely community the more exciting places we get to discover and fabulous events we get to read about.

We can't wait to get busy pinning, sharing and commenting on all of your posts this week!  'What's Happened?' this week took us to the movies, to a music festival and even to Disney World Florida, but the post that stood out to us the most was a fun yet educational day at Warwick Castle from In The Playroom and her family.  From the chance to try archery, see a working trebauchet and learn about medieval times which also having lots of fun in the fresh air, it sounds like the perfect Autumn day out!
Photo credit: In the Playroom

'What's Happening?' saw some great posts linked up, full of ideas for fast approaching school holidays. If you are looking for family fun in the Great Manchester area then don't miss these posts on half term happenings from Me and The Brick Castle. The one post that had us both planning trips to West Yorkshire for some spooky Halloween fun was from Yorkshire Tots.  They have something for every family from spooky interactive films to Pumpkin Festivals and even Freaks in the Forest...

Photo credit: Yorkshire Tots

What have you been up to? What are you planning?

We'd love you to link up your blog posts to What's Happened? - featuring events, days out, holidays, film, theatre and restaurant reviews and any other 'happeneds'. What's Happening? is the place for you to link your event previews, ongoing events and ticket giveaways.

We read and comment on every one and share on Twitter, Facebook. Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.

We've created a brand new #WHWH Facebook Page is where we'll be sharing all of your posts from now on so please head over and give it a 'like'.

There is also a Pinterest board where we pin all of your posts, feel free to follow it.

Follow What's Happened? What's Happening? on Pinterest.

As always, please grab our badge to show you've joined in and point your readers in our direction.


Littlest Pet Shop: Lights, Camera, Mongoose! on DVD - Review and Giveaway

10:08 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Littlest Pet Shop: Lights, Camera, Mongoose! is out now on DVD from Hasbro Studios and is the perfect half-term treat for fans of the show.

Littlest Pet Shop: Lights, Camera, Mongoose! on DVD - Review and Giveaway

Blythe Baxter is accustomed to looking after her animal friends and day to day duties in the pet shop, but things are about to change as a sudden excitement sweeps over the community…A famous face is coming to town! Mega-star mongoose Shahrukh is in New York shooting his latest film and Blythe and the pets get the chance to visit him on set. The gang have stars in their eyes until Blythe’s very own pet mongoose, Sunil, is mistaken for his celebrity peer and things take a wild turn.
Our favourite little blue mongoose may have magical talents, but he cannot use his wizardry to get out of this sticky situation. Whilst Sunil is living the high life after this impromptu switcheroo, back at the shop the pets soon discover that their new celebrity guest might not be everything they had thought…

We've been watching Littlest Pet Shop: Lights, Camera, Mongoose! over the past couple of weeks and LM loves the adventures of Blythe and all of her pets. It's a super fun adventure and a great introduction to the series.

I've teamed up with Hasbro Studios to offer one of my readers the chance to win their very own copy of the DVD. To enter please complete the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entry options. Please read the terms and conditions.

Littlest Pet Shop: Lights, Camera, Mongoose! on DVD

Hey Duggee Magazine

07:33 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

New to cBeebies earlier in 2015 was Hey Duggee, a brand new series, aimed at two to five year olds which is based around The Squirrel Club (a bit like Beaver Scouts or Rainbows) where children have adventures and receive badges for their accomplishments

Hey Duggee Magazine

LM is a huge fan of Duggee and his friends and really enjoys watching it so was delighted to be sent a copy of the brand new Hey Duggee magazine which goes on sale today, 21st October 2015.

Hey Duggee Magazine

The magazine is exactly what we have come to expect from the stable of magazines featuring the cBeebies characters. It's bright and colourful and packed with activities for your child to engage with and they all tie into the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) education strategy so you can be confident that, by simply engaging with the magazine, you are helping to build the blocks which will be expanded upon in the nursery and Reception years of school.

Hey Duggee Magazine

The Hey Duggee format lends itself really well to a magazine and the sticker pages are used to solve puzzles as well as to reward the reader with sticker 'badges'.

Hey Duggee Magazine Free Gift Baking Set

Each edition has a free gift attached. This one was baking themed so you get a free toy baking kit, complete with chef's hat which LM loved.

Hey Duggee Magazine Free Gift Baking Set

We really enjoy sharing this type of magazine with our children. Bud has moved on to the older style now but LM loves her own magazine to look at and enjoy the puzzles, stickers and stories in. I  think that the Hey Duggee version will be a popular addition to the range of pre-school magazines available on the shelves of your local retailers.

Hey Duggee magazine is out now and priced at £2:75 per issue, available from all good magazine retailers.

Robo-Dog Review and Giveaway

11:08 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Robo-Dog is brand new to DVD this week from Icon Film Distribution and promises a fun-filled adventure just in time for half-term.

Robo-Dog Review and Giveaway

When Tyler’s dog tragically dies, his brilliant inventor father creates a new robot dog out of spare parts and his technologically advanced 'super battery'. Naming him Robo-Dog, the mechanical canine has many new abilities and talents, such as running and jumping incredibly fast and high, barking at alarming decibels, a vacuum-cleaning bottom and the ability to speak English! Initially sceptical about something replacing his beloved pet, Tyler nevertheless soon warms to his new robotic pet just as his dad’s super battery starts to makes waves, including with his villainous former boss, the nefarious Bruce Willis, who has designs on Robo-Dog of an entirely unfriendly nature...

A fun-filled family adventure with plenty of bark, Robo-Dog stars Patrick Muldoon (Starship Troopers, Stigmata) Olivia D’abo (The Wonder Years, Law and Order), Michael Campion (The Great Zombini) andWallace Shawn (The Double, The Princess Bride), and while real-life robo-dogs are some way off, this is one film guaranteed to be kids’ best friend!
We've watched Robo-Dog a few times now and Bud loves the exciting adventures of Robo-Do and Tyler. It's a great fun, family adventure for the whole family and comes highly .recommended from us. For a quick peek at the film, why not take a look at the trailer?

I've teamed up with Icon Film Distribution to offer TWO  of my lucky readers the chance to win their own copy of Robo-Dog on DVD. To enter the giveaway please complete the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entry options. Please read the terms and conditions.

Robo-Dog on DVD

Y Velo Single Wheel Balance Bike

18:54 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

LM is really active and loves any opportunity to play outdoors.Good quality outside toys are all part of that experience so she was delighted to receive a new YVolution Velo Balance Bike to try out recently.

YVolution Velo Balance Bike

The Y Velo Balance Bike is a bright green bicycle aimed at children from age three upwards. At only just three LM is at the bottom end of this age range so I was interested to see what she made of it. The bike arrives in a cardboard box with convenient carry handle ready for home assembly. I managed this quite easily in about twenty minutes thanks to the clear visual instructions. The only tricky part was the screw which holds the handle bars in place.

YVolution Velo Balance Bike What's in the Box

Both handlebars and seat have four adjustable heights which make it easy to have it at the correct height for your child. As LM is small for her age I put the seat at the lowest height and the handlebars at the second lowest height and this seemed to be just right for her. She was delighted to see 'my green bicycle' assembled and couldn't wait to try it out.

YVolution Velo Green Balance Bike Assembled

Balance bikes are designed to get children cycling without stabilisers and LM knew instinctively how to propel the bike along. If you do a little research into balance bikes it will suggest that there are  three main stages of balance bike riding:

1. Walk the bike whilst sitting on the saddle
2. Run or Scoot the bike whilst sitting on the saddle
3. Lift feet off the ground and cruise whilst balancing

As you can see from the photos, LM is at the first stage but will hopefully progress to the second stage with practice. It's important that children can place their feet on the floor to allow them to push away with their feet.

YVolution Velo Green Balance Bike Riding

The Y Velo Balance Bike is a lovely bright colour, perfect for a boy or girl and one that will grow with your child. I think I could adjust it so it was big enough for Bud but he won't get a look in as LM is very proud of her bike and, at five and a half, he's past the balance bike stage now

The bike is quite heavy so I found LM dropped it quite often, this may be a combination of the weight of the bike and getting used to using it. She is at the very youngest, and smallest children for this bike though so I'm not worried about her getting used to it and more proficient with it going forwards. The bike is fitted with a steering limiter which aims to make it easier for little ones to steer and I did find that she picked up the steering quickly, even though she found the bike heavy. We have a little circuit outside our house and she was cornering well on it almost immediately, as you can see from the photo above.

The extensive adjustment on the bike means that it will grow with LM as she gets older and taller. She should still be able to use the bike at five and, hopefully, she will be scooting along with her feet off the ground by then and ready for a pedal bicycle.

YVolution Velo Green Balance Bike Riding

We really think that this balance bike is an excellent introduction to bikes for an older toddler and would make a great Christmas gift for those who want a bike from Santa Claus. 

For Stockist Information Check out RRP £59.99.

Linked up with Tried & Tested at We're Going on an Adventure.

My Friend Freddy Bear from Vivid Toys

13:17 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

LM is quite speech delayed and we're always looking for new ways to promote her speaking and get her chattering. Interactive toys are a great way to do this and I knew that the brand new My Friend Freddy Bear from Vivid Toy Group could potentially be a great tool for us to use in our support of her talking.

My Friend Freddy Bear from Vivid Toys

My Friend Freddy Bear is brought to you by the same team who launched My Friend Cayla with great success last year. He's a large teddy bear with a lovely smile and friendly expression. To operate him you place three AA batteries in his back and switch him on. By doing this he will talk and his mouth will move but, to really see Freddy's full functionality, you need to download the free app and pair him with your tablet or phone using Bluetooth.

My Friend Freddy Bear from Vivid Toys

Freddy is a gorgeous bear. He has orangey-brown fur which is beautifully soft, and a tuft of blonde hair on top. He arrives wearing a t-shirt and he's so cuddly. You can use him without the app, his touch sensors will work - he asks for hugs and giggles when he is tickled. Freddy hates to be upside down and say 'wheeeeeee' then ask to be turned the right way up if he is left head down.

Downloading the app is simple. It's available from both the App Store and the Google Play store, which makes Freddy compatible with the majority of devices. It was a simple process for me to download the app on to my Samsung and pair it with Freddy. From there you will need to answer a range of fifty questions about the child who will play with Freddy most (don't worry if you can't answer, just skip any that aren't relevant), this will allow Freddy to talk to your child about their interests, siblings (interestingly you can only have one brother and one sister so Little E is a girl according to Freddy, LM doesn't seem to mind), their name and birthday.

My Friend Freddy Bear from Vivid Toys

The app features a range of three different games and interactive stories for your child to explore. The games each have three levels of difficulty so you can tailor them to your child's ability, this allows Freddy to grow with your child and extends the way your child engages with him as they get older. The three games are 'Fish Bowls' - where Freddy asks the child to move a particular fish, 'Sea Puzzle' - complete a jigsaw puzzle - and 'Animal Zoo' - find each animal that Freddy asks for. The levels of difficulty are well thought out and I've found Bud helping his sister if we place it on the more difficult levels. For Sea Puzzle, for example, level one asks for the puzzle to be solved, the second level asks for the puzzle to be solved in the order  and the third asks for the child to solve the simple calculation to identify the puzzle piece needed to solve it.

My Friend Freddy Bear from Vivid Toys

The interactive stories see Freddy read along with the story and your child can tap on various interactive elements to enhance the content. LM's favourite is Goldilocks and the Three Bears and as well as reading the story you can touch each bear's porridge, for example, to hear if it is too hot, too cold or just right. LM can listen to the story and navigate this part of the app without assistance and she loves taking my phone and Freddy off to listen to a story for some quiet time.

My Friend Freddy Bear app

I was really keen to see if My Friend Freddy Bear would help LM's speech and, if I'm honest, I'm not sure if it has. His arrival has coincided with a leap forward in  her speech and she has improved drastically, I do think this toy has helped to keep the momentum going with her speech and she loves to talk to Freddy and it's so funny to hear her chatting away to him and listening to him.

From my point of view I do find Freddy's accent a little strange. He speaks quite slowly and in a very clipped way, presumably this is to allow his interactive elements, but neither of my oldest two children mind this and Bud hasn't commented on it at all. I can imagine LM continuing to play with Freddy for some time to come, she's only at the lower level of difficulty on the games and I will enjoy seeing her move to the harder levels as she makes progress. The app is both parent and child friendly and he's been played with on a daily basis since LM got over her initial fear of him. The request to 'play Freddie's game' is a regular one here.

My Friend Freddy Bear looks set to be one of the big toys for Christmas 2015 and we think that this is well deserved, he offers a fun way of offering interactive and educational learning to toddlers onwards. We would recommend him. He's available from all usual stockists with an RRP of £39:99. The accompanying app is free to download.


Tree Fu Tom - The Carrots of Doom on DVD

11:28 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We've been a house of Tree Fu Tom fans for a few years now and LM and Bud still enjoy watching Tom and the gang's adventures together. We've been lucky enough to receive a brand new DVD of the newest Tree Fu Tom escapades recently - Tree Fu Tom - The Carrots of Doom is out now on DVD.

Tree Fu Tom - The Carrots of Doom on DVD

The DVD is out now and features five new adventures, packed with the usual Tree Fu Tom adventures you'll be able to watch the following episodes:

Carrots of Doom - The Tree Fu Rangers are trying to win their ‘Green Fingers’ badge, but the carrots of Ariela’s range have grown huge and gone crazy thanks to some seeds from the Big World and Zigzoo’s Harvesting Hands invention!

Picture This Dragon - Tom and Twigs are excited when Treetog decides to teach them a new tricky spell that can be used to control the magic of an enchanted scroll that brings into being whatever is drawn on its pages. However the friends find themselves in trouble when they try and use the scroll without the all-important spell!

Fruit Fiasco - Tom and Twigs turn detective to find out who has taking certain items without asking, including some Dragon Berries belonging to a giant Boing beetle. Tom is going to need your help to perform some Big World Magic to calm the situation when the Boing beetle realises his berries are missing!

Ranger Tom: A Badge Too Far - It’s a bumper badge day at Tree Fu Ranger Club with three new badges up for grabs. Tom and Twigs are desperate to get more Tree Fu Ranger badges than Chezz. In their haste to win the badges, Tom and Twigs soon learn that trying to do too many things at once can be disastrous but are given one last chance to prove themselves.

King Stink - When Stink accidentally finds the legendary Golden Crown of Greatness and becomes King of Treetopolis, he revels in having the power to do whatever he wants. However he soon discovers that being King is not all fun and games!

The Sprite Before Christmas - Tom and Twigs are so looking forward to Winter Fest that their over-excitement very nearly ruins the celebrations for everybody else when Tom opens his present from Twigs early. It’s only when they learn that all good things come to those who wait and the virtue of patience that they are able to save Winter Fest for everyone.

Tree Fu Tom - The Carrots of Doom is the perfect way to catch up on all of Tom and his friend's adventures and will make the perfect Christmas stocking filler for all young fans of the show. The DVD runs for 132 minutes and is available from all usual stockists.

Twirlywoos – There's Somebody at the Door DVD Collection - Review and Giveaway

10:08 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We were delighted to see that the Twirlywoos have had their first DVD release, just in time for Christmas stocking stuffing. The pre-school series is a real hit in our house and LM, especially, loves watching the antics of Great Big Hoo and Toodloo, Chickedy Chick and Peekaboo.

Home to the Twirlywoos is the Great Big Boat, manned by the Hooter and the three Quacky Birds. The Big Red Boat has a plentiful supply of their favourite fruit tea, and a host of secrets and surprise visitors.

Silly, fun and full of surprises Twirlywoos is made by children’s TV specialists Ragdoll Productions and devised by Anne Wood (Teletuubies, In The Night Garden) and Steve Roberts (Dipdap), and is narrated by Linda Bassett.

Combining stop-frame animation and live-action sequences set in the real world, the series uses fun and laughter to encourage pre-schoolers to think for themselves and gain confidence in their perceptions of the world.

Twirlywoos – There's Somebody at the Door DVD Collection

The fun-filled DVD collection Twirlywoos – There's Somebody at the Door is out now and includes a free activity poster and features the following favourite stories:-

Underneath - The Twirlywoos learn about underneath when they visit a hat shop. Back in the Boat, the Box brings a rainbow for theTwirlywoos to dance underneath.

Round and Round - The Twirlywoos have fun on a roundabout, and are visited by the Stop-Go Car who chases them round and round the Boat.

Connecting - The Twirlywoos use a shoelace to connect some people together at a bus stop. Back in the Boat, the Very Important Lady falls apart, and it’s up to the Twirlywoos to connect her pieces back together.

Through - The Twirlywoos see a postman putting letters through a letterbox and decide to copy him. Back in the Boat, the TwirlywooScreen gives the Twirlywoos a door to go through.

Full - The Twirlywoos see someone fill a glass with water, and get carried away finding their own containers to fill. Back in the Boat, theTwirlywoos have too much tea, and get full up themselves!

Behind - The Twirlywoos entertain a baby – and confuse her dad - by popping up behind him. Back in the Boat the Twirlywoos Screen draws a wall, with someone unusual hiding behind it.

Wrapping - The Twirlywoos see someone wrapping a present, and get carried away trying to wrap things of their own. Back in the Boat, the Stop-Go Car brings them a long scarf that they all get wrapped up in.

Upside Down - The Twirlywoos learn about upside down when they watch a gallery owner hanging some paintings. Back in the Boat they help put the Very Important Lady the right way up.

We've loved watching the DVD and I can guarantee that this will be a hit for any small fans of the show. Twirlywoos - There's Somebody at the Door is available now from all usual stockists.

I've teamed up with the Twirlywoos to offer one of my readers the chance to win their own copy of the DVD. Please complete the Gleam widget below, the blog post comment is the compulsory option and will unlock a range of additional entry options. Please read the terms and conditions.

Twirlywoos – There's Somebody at the Door DVD Collection

A Day Out While Potty Training with Huggies® Pull Ups

20:22 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Potty training is one of those things that can take over daily life. It's all too easy to avoid going out and stay at home while working through those early days of potty training but you will need to go out eventually so it's important to have strategies in place for when you do. Days out, especially, can be daunting but I'm going to suggest some strategies for dealing with potty training when you're heading out for a day of family fun.

As part of mine and LM's role as Huggies® Pull Ups ambassadors this year. Huggies® challenged us to go out for the day and put potty training on the go into action. We were armed with our trusty Pull Up pants and My Carry Potty plus everything else we needed for a day out and we headed to Alton Towers in Staffordshire to check out cBeebies Land, one of LM's favourite places!

A Day Out While Potty Training with Huggies® Pull Ups Ladybird My Carry Potty

If you're looking for a fun day out then I can wholeheartedly recommend cBeebies Land. Alton Towers is a great destination whatever the age of your children as they have rides to suit all ages and all fear levels. How would it stand up to a potty training LM though?

Before we set off we kept reminding LM that she needed to tell us as soon as she needed to wee. That gives us a little time to find somewhere to stop. Huggies® Pull up pants are a great option for children on long journeys as they can be pulled up and down like regular pants on toilet stops but, similarly, can deal with any accidents that may arise if you can't quite stop in time. The super stretchy sides mean that LM can pull the Pull Ups up and down on her own which adds to her feeling of independence.

A Day Out While Potty Training with Huggies® Pull Ups

On arrival at the theme park we made sure to familiarise ourselves with the layout of the park so we knew exactly where to find the nearest bathrooms. This is handy for children of any age but especially important when you have newly potty trained children. If you have a child who suddenly shouts 'I need to go' then knowing exactly where the nearest convenience is can save on any accidents. We always either pick up a couple of maps of the site or take photos of maps on noticeboards to help us navigate easily.

I always make sure we pack lots of spare clothes on a day out, that includes a change for us adults and for Bud, but is especially important for LM and Little E. It's awful to not be able to quickly change a child who has had an accident so packing lots of spare underwear and leggings is crucial. LM actually wore a dress when we visited Alton Towers so changing her would have been a much easier process. I packed three extra little dresses just in case though!

We had a lovely day out and LM managed to have no accidents all day long. We did use Huggies® Pull Ups for convenience but the clever graphic which disappears when the Pull Up gets wet was still there at the end of the day. We knew that she had managed to hold on to get to the toilet all day, which made it stress free and lots of fun for everyone. I think the fact that we had been completely relaxed about it and made getting to the toilet in good time important meant that she knew she had time and she has learned very quickly to give as much notice as she can.

Having the My Carry Potty available to us (we popped ours underneath the pushchair) was great as, if we ended up a good distance from a bathroom LM could have a discreet wee on the potty and we could close it up tightly for when we reached the next bathroom. It's a handy, hygienic solution for toilet breaks when out and about or at home.

A Day Out While Potty Training with Huggies® Pull Ups

We had another fantastic day out at Alton Towers and managed to explore the wider park, not just cBeebies Land this time. It was a fun, pleasant day which really showed us that LM has sussed potty training. This was actually the start of us giving up Pull Ups and her wearing underwear full time, even though she's still wearing Huggies® Night-Time Pull Ups.

If you'd like help with Potty Training and a free sample of Huggies® Pull Ups then check out to find out more.

We are #DocMcStuffins Party Hosts

18:41 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

LM loves Doc McStuffins so we were delighted to be asked to host a party in honour of the new Doc McStuffins Pet Vet range of toys. The party will take place tomorrow Thursday 15th October at 1pm until 3pm.

For those not in the know Doc McStuffins Pet Vet sees Doc and her friends taking care of real life animals and meeting some new companions along the way. We've already taken a look at a couple of the toys from the range - the Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Bag and Find and Fetch Findo - and both LM and my little niece adore both. They've been a huge hit and have been played with on a daily basis since they arrived.

We are #DocMcStuffins Party Hosts

We've received a big box of party supplies and we can't wait to get together with some friends and explore some of the new toys with some fun party games. You can join in the fun at home by looking out for the #DocMcStuffins hashtag and following @UKMumsTV and me, @RedRoseMummy. There will be masses of Doc McStuffins Pet Vet fun and prizes to be won.

See you there!

Red Rose Baby - Little E is Four Months Old

09:48 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Time is whirling away and I can't quite believe Red Rose Baby is now four months old. It feels like he's always been here but also feels brand new still, but I think we're really becoming accustomed to life as five now. This newest little character is really starting to make his presence known and his personality is definitely coming through. He's very chatty and we're able to have lovely little 'conversations' with him. He makes me laugh as he tries to focus on your mouth and words and then tries to reply.

Little E is a lovely baby. He's happy and sunny and bright. He's very relaxed, as long as his needs are met. This month has seen him really start to assert himself though and he cries a bit more readily if he feels like he's not getting the attention he needs. He has a sad little cry which guarantees that the nearest person will drop everything to rush to him, whether it's me or his Daddy, or his big brother or sister.

The second set of immunisations were given this month, we ended up delaying them by around four weeks through being out for the day. Little E being unwell and then a clinic cancellation. I was quite pleased by the delay as he received the new Meningitis B vaccination when we went and this made him quite unwell for a few days. The advice is to offer three precautionary doses of paracetamol following the injection and I gave these to him but it took him about three days to feel himself again. Apparently 80% of babies have a fever after this jab.

Red Rose Baby - Little E is Four Months Old

He's starting to love being upright and will take every opportunity to be on his feet, if you hold both of his hands firmly he will attempt to pull himself up and then he stands firmly, albeit wobbly, and looks delighted with himself. He is able to really push through his feet which is making me think he might be early to get mobile, I'm not ready for an early walker though so I hope this doesn't happen too soon! I'm trying to borrow a Jumperoo to see if he likes it. Bud loved his but LM cried every time we put her in our old one so I wonder which of his siblings he will be like.

We're trying to give him as much floor time as we can at the moment and he will move around on his mat. He doesn't like tummy time and gets quite cross about it. Although he readily rolls back to front he doesn't seem as keen to roll the other way (even though it's easier). He has a funny wriggle that he uses to get around and you pop him on the mat in one place and come back to find him somewhere else, he seems to move imperceptibly. We're at that in between stage at the moment where he's not a newborn but hasn't really started to 'do' anything. He is learning to sit but nowhere near doing that independently yet.

My wonderful sleeper has had something of a wobble this month. I think in line with the four month sleep progression. He's needed more milk at night and we had a full week of very disturbed nights. I was hoping to get him into the routine of going to bed earlier in the evening but that just hasn't happened and he's still staying up with us in the evening. He's only really napping briefly in the day if we are at home although he sleeps well in the pram when we are out.

I imagine that the next couple of months will see some big changes for Little E, I think he's on the edge of a few developmental milestones and we have weaning to come. I'm so excited to share his journey with you all.