Friday, 23 December 2016

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

This month I have learned that not everyone feels happy and looks forward to Christmas, everyone have different lives and circumstances and I appreciate it!

I wish you all to have a lovely Christmas break and a better New Year!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Christmas arts and crafts presents from L's nursery

Couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with deputy manager of the nursery about me wanting to see more of what L does during the day. I wanted to be sure that she is kept busy, that those activities help her develop certain, new skills. Since starting nursery almost 3 months ago, we never had anything to bring home from nursery apart from 2 cupcakes for Halloween day which my hubby refused to eat at first as was convinced that they are full of germs (I did hesitate too). 

Since then ever so often I would notice seeing Christmassy drawings of foot prints, paper bags which gave it away that nursery might give us something to take home for Christmas. 

So last week when I was picking L up I was given the loveliest present from nursery staff and L, this is something I will certainly cherish and keep in a special box, wish they did that more often!!

Here are just some arts and crafts masterpieces, we were also given a card form one of the toddlers in L's room and a keyring with L holding a plaque saying "We wish you a Merry Christmas".

Monday, 19 December 2016

L's little treats this Christmas

Last year little L has received numerous of presents from all the family, for which I'm grateful, but sadly not many have been played with. This year I was observing L seeing how she responds to different cartoons and characters and I think for now we have few favourites. 

So here is the official guide to what our 2 year old gets this Christmas from us and some other relatives, it may not be much but these are the things that L will definitely appreciate and play with:

As you can see L would be receiving a variety of toys, most of them are very cheap or half price (to our disappointment magic wand is much cheaper now but was purchased few weeks ago before sale at Argos started, same goes for the car- we managed to save a lot as found one for a half of what you can normally buy it for). 

I cannot wait to see L face when she sees balloon as it meant to be Gaston from Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom, she will totally love it!

Friday, 16 December 2016

Review: Interactive doll Baby Born

Few weeks ago I was lucky to review Baby Annabel from Zapf Creations, this week we have been testing and comparing a different interactive doll- Baby Born (suitable from 3 years and worth around £44.99).
I didn't quite realised how different these 2 dolls are. First very noticeable (for parents's pocket and for practical reasons ) difference- no batteries required! Instinctively I started looking for batteries compartment but was pleasantly surprised that it doesn't have one. This allows L to play with Baby Born in the water or being able to wet the doll without me being worried that something might break.  Second difference- Baby Born doesn't make any sounds/noises, again I didn't know that this is possible with it being an interactive doll. For those mums and dads who cannot stand noisy toys that might an ideal doll for your little ones! 

Interactive doll Baby Born comes with potty, dummy with a clip, birth certificate/passport that can be filled it by yourselves,  plate and spoon, nappy, bottle, food satchet and cute bracelet for the owner saying "best friends". 

Now to my and L's first impressions..L saw Baby Born for the first time after her nap so initial reaction wasn't as expected, but she warmed up to it pretty quickly, especially as she was asking for it for Christmas! The very first features L noticed were closing and opening eyes, belly button and boobies, as you can tell it's an anatomically correct doll with 2 little holes at the bottom for wee and poo and body made of heavy duty hard rubber.

Baby Born seemed a little bit heavy (at first) for L as she is petite girl, but later on she got the hang of it and would cuddle the doll, put it in Baby Born stroller, try it on a potty, undress and generally enjoy it's company. 

We have managed to test few functions like filling the bottle up and offering it to Baby Born, putting the dummy in the doll's mouth, try it on a potty by pressing on belly button and making it cry, why making?! because you need to press on it's right arm to start the process as well as you need to press on belly button for it to start weeing.

Few things to remember: you shouldn't put the doll under the water fully or for long periods of time (the plug on the back needs to be closed), there are 2 techniques of giving water in a bottle and feeding with food provided (additional pouches can be purchased in toy shops), you can't give food in the bottle only water, the doll should't spend much time in the sun and needs to be cleaned ever so often to clear the pipes from mould. You can fully read do's and don't in the manual included.

Since having Baby Born I have found few tricks online for those not wanting to spend money on additional bits- use own brand nappies for premature babies or dry nappy provided and reuse it over and over again, use cornflour and water to prepare porridge. Even though these solutions are very helpful I do not guarantee that they will work for you or your doll.

I am yet to get used to it, but L likes it a lot and that's all that matters. 

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

A selection of films to consider this Christmas for him and giveaway

"Grab the mistletoe and get ready to find the perfect gift for that special someone this Christmas. 

Warner Bros. has the ultimate selection, whether you’re looking for him, for her, or for festive favourites to get the whole family in the Christmas spirit.

For Him we have a great selection of festive thrillseekers, including Batman Vs. Superman, Creed, Black Mass, Point Break and Mad Max Fury Road".

Batman vs Superman
With mankind in damage from a new unknown evil, Gotham City's hero Batman (Ben Afleck) and Metropolis hero Superman (Henry Cavill) must show their true worth to the world. But with the two superheroes fighting for supremacy, will they put their differences to one side to protect the people who adore them?!

A modern continuation of the much loved Rocky franchise, this story follows the life of Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) and his struggle/fight to make it as a professional boxer. Adonis 
embarks on a mission to make former heavyweight and his fathers old rival, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), his new boxing coach.

Black Mass
Black Mass follows the store of James 'Whitey' Bulger (Johnny Depp) and his need for gang dominance in the 1970's. The story takes place is South Boston and is based on Whitey's rise to dominance, but when he agrees to become an informant against a rival the Angiulo Brothers, at the request of his friend and FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), things become interesting.

Point Break
A remake of the classic 1991 film starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. After the tragic death of his friend seven years prior, now FBI agent Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) and other extreme sports athletes uncover a pattern of plots targeting heists at different locations around the world (from India to Venezuela).

Mad Max: Fury Road
The next installment of the Mad Max franchise, sees Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) join forces with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), to flee from leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) in this petrol fueled action film.

Fancy winning yourself all 5 films? All you have to do is Retweet the Tweet below (the competition ends on 3 January 12am):

Good luck!

The post in written in collaboration with guest poster- my other half.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Review: My Cupcake Toppers and discount code

I am known to be rubbish at cooking but I always thought that I could be good at baking. I am yet to test the theory as having a clingy toddler in tow means that at the moment it is easier to nip out to the shop to top up our chocolate/bakery cupboard supplies. 

Having said that I always wanted to go that extra mile for special occasions like birthdays, Halloween or Christmas. For this Christmas I decided to treat my little girl to few little, sweet surprises courtesy of My Cupcake Toppers

"My Cupcake Toppers produce printed cupcake toppers or large cake toppers for your special occasion, business event, charity fundraiser or just for fun".

As I have never tried cupcake toppers before I have opted to buy a mix of different cupcake toppers- standard rice paper toppers, edible icing and premium paper toppers. 

At first I didn't notice any difference between cupcake toppers even seemed more transparent than I thought. Upon closer look I have noticed that premium toppers are much thicker than standard one, in terms of pricing 12 pre-cut standard cupcake toppers cost £1.70 and the same amount of premium cupcake toppers cost £2.70); edible icing toppers (a set of 12 costs £6) look very gentle ...
As no baking was involved in the process- I have bought delicious chocolate cupcakes and made a toffee icing, it took me less than 5 minutes to prepare cupcakes, apply toffee paste and add cupcake toppers. 
Edible icing toppers were melting in my mouth as were complimenting the cupcake too, adding no additional flavours just nice textures, with rice paper cupcake toppers you can feel additional textures and flavours but in a settle way. 

As I have used design your own cupcake toppers service (Ben and Holly) on standard rice paper (which will cost you exactly the same as pre-designed toppers) I wanted to see if the image will turn out to be the same as on the screen or slightly different. 
Colours like pink seemed slightly lighter but it didn't ruin overall design and barely noticeable, with pre-designed pictures (you can choose from a big variety of themes and occasions from adults and kids) images seemed exactly like on the website with Christmas themed cupcake toppers being my favourite bunch due to bright and deep colours.

As delivery took 1 working day and order process is incredibly easy I can thoroughly recommend to stock up on beautiful cupcake toppers in time for Christmas or other occasion. 

My Cupcake Toppers have offered a 10% discount code for the first order for your readers- the code to enter at checkout is MYLITTLE10.

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Friday, 9 December 2016

A joyful visit to Webbs of Wychbold

Third time and still a joy to behold! With that I am referring to the brilliant and magical Webbs Christmas ice rink and grotto experience.
As L has grown into a more independent sponge, it made this years visit to Webbs much different to the previous times. L seemed to be much more responsive to lights, animals and people. This year had real life reindeer greeting you at the entrance, they were caged but it was excellent to see the beautiful creatures in person (I personally have never seen a real life reindeer), so it was great to touch them as they brush past the fencing. They add that extra excitement before you get started on what Webbs has to offer..
We opted to start with skating which was a good idea in hindsight, previously L has not lasted particularly long on the ice. We put our ice skates (L also had a small dual in line ice skates) and
trotted or tentatively made our way to the ice, oddly L did resist the idea of sitting on the skating aid  (can be hired for additional £5) but with the help of my husband, she did end up sitting on the aid and off we went. 

Things to remember: the skating session lasts 45 minutes, skate hire is included in the price. The price vary depending on a day and time, click here to check.
I must say that without the banana skating aid, neither myself or my husband would have made it around the rink (once). We are not avid skaters so do find ourselves clung to the edges of the rink, the aid makes you seem like a pro when skating, so I would definitely recommend having the aid if you are not confident in your ice skating.

The rink was excellently lit and its usual large presence at Webbs, you can't miss it! Loud music allows you to hum along whilst skating, assuming the cold air has not taken your breath away!
We lasted about 30 minutes on the rink, L did show signs of restlessness (trying to jump off the aid was a good indication), so we ended the ice skating which was a great experience. Then trotted off to the cafe.

Unfortunately this year did not include the hot chocolate and muffins, but we still got a chocolate muffin (yummy) anyway!
We took a short look around Webbs in general, taking in the sheer size of the Christmas department.

Wow is all I can say, so much to see, ranging from lights and decorations to small coves sleighs which you can put your little one in and take a quick Christmas snap! A beautiful and inspiring part
of Webbs, which definitely gets you into the Christmas spirit.
Next up the grotto (£9.99 for 1 child and 1 accompanying adult) - now we have a pretty good idea of what to expect, as we have been to Webbs grotto in two previous years. However, you could immediately tell that it was slightly different this year, in the sense that a queue formed in a small star lit entrance.
The door opened and we were let into an elf helper room, which had lots of seeds in bowls on each table and portraits of Santa's reindeers. The elves explained that L and the kids were to fill a bag full of seeds and food for the reindeers (this is a new Christmas trend for little ones). So L filled the bag up with seeds and the elves sealed the bag for us to take home (and popped a label on the bag), nice touch!

Next up, the elf workshop, in this room we were given an empty plastic bauble to fill up with paper streamers, fluffy balls and stickers to put on the outside. As L has never done any art and craft with her daddy before that was a bit of a special moment for them too. 
After just few minutes of waiting we were invited to recognisable room from previous years with beautiful Christmas decorations (some of them you can purchase in store) and in few minutes to see Santa himself. This year L seems to feel differently about Santa, she gets all excited and can talk about him and what she wants for Christmas but the moment she sees Santa, she freezes and starts crying, this is exactly what happened at Webbs grotto. 

We did manage to take few of own own pictures but opted not to buy professional photo due to not so many smiley faces. This year gift warehouse (free gift included in a ticket) didn't disappoint, L picked dolly, my husband picked a balloon set and I picked doctor set, the latter in the end was what we have eventually chose to take home and of course few more memories to remember!

Disclaimer: I was offered to visit Webbs of Wychbol for the purpose of this review. All thought and opinions are my own.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Bayard children's magazines review and competition

Few months ago just before L started nursery I have bought her a little treat- children's magazine as a  way of praising her for being a good girl during settling in sessions. The more magazines we bought the more interest L showed in cartoon characters she sees, stickers, colouring activities and of course a toy attached to the magazine, so it became a bit of a tradition. 

A week ago or so we were introduced to a different type of magazines for children which cover most ages and interests called Bayard magazines.

"Bayard magazines respond to parent’s desire to share human values with their children, to offer them opportunities to express their creativity and discover the world.Bayard children's magazines are more than books! Fun, interactive and educational magazines for kids aged between 3-12".

Little ones aged 3-6 can enjoy "Story Box" monthly magazines, which include picturesque stories, educational information about animals or other things and lots of games and puzzles. 

"Wonder with Whizkid introduces children to science and answers their questions about the world, with clear pictures and explanations.

Picture stories and comic-strips with great adventures and endearing heroes (SamSam, Little Brown Bear, Polo and more!) children will easily identify with.

Animal World
introduces children to a new animal every month with a beautiful picture and simple captions.

Games and fun activities stimulate children’s creativity and observation skills".

As this is the most age appropriate magazine for L I was really surprised by the paper quality of the magazine, all pages including covers are much thicker than magazines you can buy in supermarket. It seems more suitable for educating your kids in entertaining manner without spoiling the fun with adverts of different services or products, what I do miss though is a little treat- a plastic toy. Little L really enjoyed looking through the pages and listening to her daddy read the magazine.

Little girls and boys aged 6-9 will be very surprised to see a cute mini magazine called "Adventure Box", which included illustrated stories of different genres, puzzles and games, comic stories and educational articles about nature. 
Even though these magazines might be "old" for L but I found that she was as interested to look through the pages as with other 2 different Bayard magazines.

With "Discovery Box" aimed at kids ages 9-12 your little one will find science and history articles as well as comic stories and some arts and craft activities and much more. 

Each magazine is valued at £5.50 which maybe a little but pricey for some parents, but you can also subscribe to the magazines online or via the form included in the paper copy. To give you an idea of pricing, you can subscribe for 6 months for £30, for 12 months for £50 and for 24 months for £90. 

I have also an exciting opportunity to win two six month subscriptions to the magazine of your choice (Story Box, Adventure Box or Discovery Box) all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below (the competition ends on 26 December 12am):
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Review: Portable North Pole Magic Pass

For the passed 2 years I have been lucky enough to collect some Christmas related keepsakes for L. As L grows older she understands and remembers more which makes special occasions like Christmas a little bit more magical. 

For this Christmas I have teamed up with Portable North Pole to create an ultimate personalised keepsake message from Santa.

"Portable North Pole (PNP) is an online platform used by Santa and his elves to send personalized video messages and calls to the people you care about most anywhere around the world".

The service is partly free ("Greeting from Santa", "Birthday wishes") and partly paid for (Magic Pass worth £9.99), which makes it "attractive" for any budget. 
PNP can also be downloaded on mobile phones or tablets via iTunes or Android app store free of charge.
"The PNP mobile app features access to the Free and Premium videos, exclusive games, synchronization with your own account on the web and much more".
I must admit I felt like a kid in a toy shop, I just didn't know where to start, which option to try first, but as my pass is valid until October 2017 I have plenty more time to play with all options and maybe treat my a family member or two to a lovely surprise!

As L is getting very impatient about receiving her gifts for Christmas and talks about it all the item I have personalised "You special gift is ready" video.

To personalise the video I added L's name and nickname, her date of birth (there is an option to add more children) and photo, the wishlist could also be personalised by the type of the gift expected and it's photo, you can also add details of your child's relatives and their pictures and of course the message you want Santa to pass onto your little one regarding their behaviour. 

Once your video is created you will receive an e-mail confirmation and a reminder that video can be viewed via a mobile app too. Lastly message can be sent to yourselves or your relative's e-mail address, edited if need be and saved in HD to watch at your own convenience.

Portable North Pole offers a great variety of options for videos and calls which will make any Christmas and even birthday a big day to remember. PNP this year have included a new feature for mobile app users- reaction recorder which is a lovely way of capturing that initial reaction. Reaction recorder could be a safer option for those little ones who are feeling a little bit shy in front of real Santa but in the comfort of their own home can potentially enjoy the call more. 

If you want to support your experience with a physical gift PNP offers a variety of gifts that can be purchased at John Lewis.

It may take you a while to find that perfect video or call but remember with the Magic Pass you don't have to restrict yourself to any time limits!

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.