Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie - Review

12:09 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I'm a a huge fan of Snoopy and Charlie Brown and have been since my childhood. I always really identified with Lucy as I'm a big sister of brothers too and thought she was just like me! I've been so keen to share the characters with my children so we were all super excited to hear about the release of the brand new Peanuts movie last year, sadly real life got in the way and we didn't make it to the cinema to see the film but we were delighted to be asked to review it recently.

Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie - Review

Charlie Brown and Snoopy have been around for over half a century but this film represents their first foray on to the big screen, with 20th Century Fox and it arrives on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download today, Monday 30th May.

We settled down to watch the movie after returning from our recent holiday and it was the perfect way to unwind. LM wandered off after a while but Ian, Bud (six years old) and I watched the whole film and loved it. The story line was engaging for him and he followed it easily, I was pleased that there was lots to keep older fans of Peanuts interested too.

Charlie Brown, the world’s most beloved underdog, embarks upon an epic and heroic quest, while his best pal, the lovable beagle Snoopy, takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron. From the imagination of Charles M. Schulz and the creators of the Ice Age films, The Peanuts Movie will prove that every underdog has his day.

The film really captures the world of Peanuts for me. The characters look exactly as they should and the animation is perfectly done. It's bright and colourful and really captures the imagination. The film is also very funny with many laugh out loud moments. Bud loved Snoopy and it was fascinating to see him discover a character who was an important part of my childhood, especially through his uproarious battle with his Red Baron nemesis.

The Peanuts Movie is a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours as a family and is a very welcome addition to our DVD collection. It is released today, 30th May, and available from all usual stockists. 

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review

09:30 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We've been without a printer for a little while now so the opportunity to review the HP Envy 5540 couldn't have come at a better time, both for the day to day printing we need to do around the house and the requirements of Bud's weekly homework. The HP Envy 5540 works with HP's Instant Ink service which offers the ability to get ink delivered to your door on a monthly basis - removing the 'oh no, we've run out of ink' cries from your home.

We've been set a few challenges for our use of the printer and the first week was to set it up. This is a simple process that most printer owners will be familiar with and the helpful Envy display talks you through each stage from fresh out of the box to functioning printer. You'll need your computer or a smart device to complete set up and to register for the Instant Ink service too. I'd say the whole process took around fifteen minutes from start to finish and that included downloading drivers and signing up for Instant Ink.

HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review

The Instant Ink service was new to me and I was really keen to try it. We always run out of ink and end up on a mad dash to the shop to replace it in order to print that important document.The idea of having a supply sent straight to my door was very appealing! There are three levels of the scheme available and we went for the middle one. You can top up on this should you have a big printing month and you can have a free trial for the first three months. There are no annual fees and you can cancel at any time. Should you find yourself printing more or less than your scheme offers it is a simple process to switch to one of the others.

HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review

Something I was really surprised by on the HP Envy 5540 print menus was the option for printables. This is a really clever little facility which allows you to access HP's range of pro forma and printables. Bud loves paper planes so I was quick to print off the most recent of those, should I wish to I can schedule prints of each update as it arrives. We're looking forward to fully investigating the wide range available.

In the second week we were asked to look at quality. We had started to print by then and the printer was in daily use. Our printer was supplied with a pack of HP ColourLok paper (the recommended A4 plain paper for our printer) and, once the tray was loaded we were ready to go. There are three modes of print available - Draft, Normal and Best. Draft is great for those quick prints like when you need some instructions that you'll recycle quickly. We've been using Normal and Best the most but Draft worked very well when I needed some directions to an event and didn't want to waste my phone batteries by using the sat nav on there!

We had various example documents sent across to us and these were a great way to see the printer in action. The first thing I printed out was the documentation for our holiday in The Netherlands later this month. I was really pleased with the clarity of printing. Printing out the accommodation voucher, with very little colour on it, took only a few seconds. The holiday site brochure took a little longer but this was a high colour, more detailed document. I was able to print this on two sides to save on paper and it was interesting to see the ink drying stage before the sheet of A4 was fed back in to be printed on the other side. This was slower than single sided but is a great way to save paper.

HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review

The next stage was to print out some photos. I take hundreds of photos and never print any. I've been meaning to print some photos for a spare frame we have so I was looking forward to using the HP Envy for this. Photos were bright and sharp when printed on the HP Advanced Photo Paper. These are easily of a high enough standard to send to friends or to fill frames. I have a print facility on my phone which allows me to print direct to any HP printer on my network. I was so surprised at how effective this was! I had photos in just a minute with no laptop required.

HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review

HP asked us to test a print by smudging it using fingers or a few drops of water. I'm very happy to say that the prints passed with flying colours and both my finger tips and the cloth I used with the water saw no ink transfer. The fade test has been more difficult to carry out under the gloomy skies we had that week but I put one print out in the glorious sunshine we had today and the colours are vibrant and clear.

The next week's challenge was product design and cost savings. This printer is a very stylish creation and more importantly, it's really easy to use. The touch screen menus are intuitive and simple to navigate and you can get where you need to in just a few seconds. Need to see how much ink you have left? Just two presses will get you to a clear display.

HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review Ink Display

Having the pre-installed app and ability to print from my phone is amazing. I was rushing out of the door on the school run and remembered I needed to print off a contact details form. I quickly printed the PDF from my phone while I was rushing the children into coats and shoes and it was ready for me to grab as we ran out of the door

The Instant Ink service means that we're always going to have a direct supply of ink to our door. It's the correct ink for our printer which means that we're always going to get the best results possible. The scheme offers a significant saving on buying ink on an ad hoc basis and if you have little ones who like to print you're not watching the pennies as you might be with other systems. Knowing that you are paying £3:49 per month for ink is much better than the shock of running to the shops to buy a replacement cartridge.

The final week asked us to look at convenience and our overall thoughts. I've owned a lot of printers over the past twenty or so years and I can honestly say that the HP Envy 5540 is the best. I'm delighted with the quality of the prints and the Instant Ink scheme. For a busy family like ours, where printer ink might not make it to the shopping list as often as it should, hearing that brown box drop on to the mat each month is going to be fantastic. No more 'no, Bud, you can't print that' and having to nip up to the in laws to print off those important documents for us. I'm really satisfied with everthing about the printer and it's clear that a great deal of thought has gone into the whole process. I've never been able to print from my phone before and I think that the novelty of that will take some time to wear off!

HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink - Review

The HP Envy 5540 has an RRP of £69:99 and I think that is excellent value for money. So often we buy a printer at a bargain price and then the running costs are prohibitively expensive. Knowing that I'm only going to pay £48 a year for ink and budgeting this at a really negligible amount per month is fantastic. We would wholeheartedly recommend the printer to any family with similar printing needs to ours.

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. -

Gazillion Bubbles Giant Bubble Wand - Review

10:48 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Bubbles are so much fun and all three of my children are always delighted by them.The only way to improve on bubbles is to make them bigger, which Gazillion Bubbles have done brilliantly with their brand new Giant BubbleWand.

Gazillion Bubbles Giant Bubble Wand - Review

Gazillion Bubbles Giant Bubble Wand - Review

The Bubble Wand arrives in a set complete with wand, tray and Gazillion Bubbles solution. You'll need scissors to unpackage it and then the wand needs the handle attaching to it which will only take a few seconds, and then it's ready to use. To make bubbles simply pour the solution in to the try, place the wand on to the tray and lift. If your tray isn't on a flat surface (we had ours on grass) you might need to move the tray slightly to make sure the bubble solution reaches all the way around the ring on the wand.

Gazillion Bubbles Giant Bubble Wand - Review

It's easy to make some really big bubbles with the wand and Bud, at six, can make them well. His little sister can't quite manage it but loves chasing those made by her big brother!

Gazillion Bubbles Giant Bubble Wand - Review

Gazillion Bubbles Giant Bubble Wand - Review

The set is really excellent fun and, at £9:99 will be great for outdoor play this Summer. Bud and LM are already planning to take it on our holiday later this month. You can buy bottles of the bubble solution to use when your's runs out.

We were sent the BubbleWand for review purposes.

Casdon Little Shopper Supermarket Till - Review

23:58 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

LM is a huge fan of imaginative play and loves to pretend she is cleaning, working or shopping. Recently she was sent a Supermarket till from the Little Shopper range by Casdon. We know the Casdon range quite well and have always found their role play toys to be great for children to explore.

The Casdon Little Shopper range includes the Supermarket Till in a selection of retail-themed toys which allow children to explore all aspects of the shopping process. We own the Casdon Post Office and Sweet Shop already so a new, electronic till was the perfect accompaniment for these toys.

Casdon Little Shopper Supermarket Till - Blog Review

The Supermarket Till is really up to date and includes a chip and pin terminal with credit card, microphone, bar code reader and an electronic display which works as a calculator. It also includes a selection of play food which is perfect for setting up your own little shop.

LM has engaged with this toy brilliantly. She absolutely loves 'playing shop' and has had us all queuing up to buy our groceries from her. The microphone may well be her favourite part and she's always shouting her brother to the tills or 'clean up on aisle 3', I think her Daddy is responsible for that one!

Casdon Little Shopper Supermarket Till - Blog Review

The till has a good range of electronic sounds which are attached to each of the buttons on the keypad. There are buttons corresponding to each major food group which is brilliant for children who aren't reading yet. LM is learning her numbers at the moment and we've been practising them using the keypad. She loves being able to find each number she is asked for.

Bud has been learning about money at school this term so the plastic money included with the till has been of great interest to him. He's been using the till in a much more mathematical way to his younger sister and has been enjoying making change from the notes using the coins. A great way to reinforce learning outside the classroom.

Casdon Little Shopper Supermarket Till - Blog Review

We're huge fans of the Casdon range, they are the perfect toys for children who are curious about the world and want to understand the behaviour of adults through play. They have an excellent level of detail which allows children to feel like they are really replicating that behaviour and helps them to understand it too. The Supermarket Till is really well constructed and excellent quality. I think it's going to be played with for a long time in our house.

The Casdon Supermarket Till requires 3xAA batteries which aren't supplied. It is available from all usual stockists, priced at around £15.

For more information on the Little Shopper range visit

We received the till for review purposes

Win - Interplay My Fairy Garden Secret Fairy Door

15:10 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Last week LM and I reviewed the Interplay My Fairy Garden Secret Fairy Door playset and it got a huge thumbs up from both of us. The lovely set is both decorative and interactive and LM loves to both play with it and talk about all of the different features. Click here to read our full review. 

I've teamed up with Interplay to offer one of my lucky readers the chance to win their own set, perfect to bring some fairy magic in to the life of their favourite little one. Once it's installed in a bedroom or playroom your fairy can take up residence, ready to delight your children.

Win - Interplay My Fairy Garden Secret Fairy Door Giveaway

If you haven''t seen the TV advertising for the gorgeous My Fairy Garden range then check it out below. There are five different toys in the range and I'm sure LM would love to add to our Fairy Door.

For your chance to win an Interplay My Fairy Garden Secret Fairy Door set please complete the Gleam widget below. Please read the terms and conditions.

Interplay My Fairy Garden Secret Fairy Door

Brand New Num Noms - Review

14:34 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Bud and LM both love the collectible toys which all seem to be big news at the moment so we were very excited to receive some which are brand new to the UK recently - Num Noms!

Num Noms Series 1 Deluxe Pack Blog Review

Num Noms are little food themed characters which are either a hollow 'topping' for cupcakes or ice cream (the Nums) or the hard bodied 'filling' (the Noms) which are either motorised (Go Gos) or filled with lip balm (Gloss Ups.! Each Num Nom is individually scented with a sweet or fruity scent and you can mix and match them in over 1000 different combinations!

Num Noms Series 1 Deluxe Pack Blog Review

Num Noms Series 1 Blog Review

Each Num Nom has a name, these hint at their super scented fragrance with names like Banana Go-Go and Peachy Choco Gloss, for example.

Num Noms Series 1 Blog Review

We received the Deluxe Cupcake set. This contains six Nums, two motorised Noms, a cupcake case and a spoon, ready for your to pile your cupcake high in lots of different combinations. We also received two mystery pots. These look like yoghurt pots but actually contained a Num and a Gloss Up Nom in each. These are blind bags so you can't see what you are getting but this means that you can swap the duplicates with your friends for even more fun.

Num Noms Series 1 Blog Review Mystery Pots

Num Noms Series 1 Blog Review

We've all really enjoyed playing with the Num Noms, even Little E loved crawling around after the motorised Noms! The scent of the little characters was a really enjoyable factor for Bud and LM and they quickly played a guessing game where they tried to identify the fragrance of each one. The decorations on them make them really tactile and nice to hold and play with.

Num Noms Series 1 Blog Review

Num Noms Series 1 Blog Review

Num Noms are available in all usual stockists now with prices that start from £2:99. They are suitable for children age 3 and over. I'm sure we will be buying more!

We were sent the Num Noms for review purposes.

Tall Tales at the Top of the Tower in May Half Term

10:24 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Blackpool is always a popular choice for a day out in half term here. Whether it's a play on the beach (if you're lucky with the weather), or a visit to one or more of the huge range of attractions, the resort really has something for everyone. New for May half term is a great opportunity for little ones to take their grown ups along to a storytelling session in a very special location - at the top of Blackpool Tower in the Blackpool Eye!

Tall Tales at the Top of the Blackpool Tower in May Half Term

‘Tall Tales’ will welcome families to the top of The Blackpool Tower, where the little ones will meet special storytellers and explore the tale of Sydney the Seagull and his adventures around Blackpool, while admiring the views of Blackpool’s famous buildings that are part of the tales.

Tall Tales at the Top of the Tower in May Half Term - view from the Blackpool Eye

Once the adventure trail has finished, children will be challenged to make the best ever LEGO tower with the help of a Blackpool Tower building expert. They’ll then end the morning by burning off some energy in Jungle Jims adventure playground.

This extra special experience will take place on Saturday mornings throughout May and June and is perfect for young families looking for something different for the school holidays.

To really make a day of it, there are lots more activities to get involved with during a Blackpool Tower visit, such as The Blackpool Tower Circus, Dungeon, Ballroom and of course Jungle Jims adventure playground. 

Tall Tales at the Top of the Tower in May Half Term

Tickets for Tall Tales cost £19.95 per child and include one free adult per ticket. They are available online at

In Collaboration with Blackpool Tower