Win a Chugger of the Year DVD & Diecast Speedy McAllister
Catch up with Wilson, Brewster, Koko, Hoot, Toot, and Piper as they learn the value of true friendship. This is the unique chance for fans to revisit their favourite trains or draw new fans into the lovable and exciting world of Chuggington. Episodes highlight core values that parents will want their children to learn such as teamwork, friendship, loyalty and honesty.
This is a great DVD for Chuggington fans. My boys have a copy of this and we reviewed it last month. They love it! You can see the full review here - It’s bound to be a hit with any little Chuggington fans
If your little one is a fan of Chuggington they might also like the website where you can find games, videos and printables.
For your chance to win, enter via the Rafflecopter below, making sure to answer the following Question:
Q: Which game is on the home page of the Chuggington website?
I’m always looking for new creative ideas to try out with the boys, and the 4m Great Gizmos Spinning art machine from Cass Art appealed to me as soon as I saw it. The machine allows you to create unique and really effective designs by squeezing paint onto the paper disks as they spin in the machine. I knew the boys would love to try this out.
Here’s what’s included in the box:
Also a plastic outer cover for the machine which is not pictured below
This was an ideal after school activity for Mr Z and Mr T (ages 5 and 4) and it’s something that worked really well for two children together, as we found that one could drop the paint while the other was spinning the machine, and then they could switch roles.
They both really enjoyed the process, and loved the results that were created. It gave quite different results from the usual painting activities we would be doing at home, with paint brushes, sponges, hand or potato printing. I actually found it seemed to be less messy too – Although you MUST keep the plastic outer tray on the machine or it would get very messy as the paint does fly off a bit if you spin it fast. With the plastic protector that paint is all contained and the area is kept clean. I also really liked that the machine is manually powered, it does not require any batteries at all. You simply press it, and it goes. It doesn’t need to be pressed with any particular skill or strength, which is good as Mr T was able to manage this fine although he is slightly under the recommended age.
The results come out different every time and give a cool swirly paint splat effect. At first the boys did squeeze a bit too much paint out then they learned to use less. The 4 tubes provided are not very large, so once that paint is used up you may want to refill these. I was also thinking that we could try out adding different substances to the spinning disks like squeezy glitter glue which comes in a similar shaped tube, or even perhaps spraying paint on to the discs from an old household cleaner bottle. There is a lot of potential here to expand and try different ideas with the spinning art machine in your art sessions at home.
Some of our results
If you want to see the machine in action spinning around, have a look at this short video – as you can see Mr Z was quite impressed with the machine.
We were provided with the Spinning Art Machine for review, thanks to Cass Art who sell a wide range of art supplies for children and adults. The Spinning Art Machine is £14.95 and is recommended for age 5+. It would make a great present as a creative and totally gender neutral activity.
Beko‘s household helpers survey recently found that two thirds of Mums worry about creating the perfect Christmas for their family. I can well believe this as there is so much excitement in the run up to this one big day, that everyone wants to make sure it all goes perfectly! Especially if you are entertaining a lot of extended family over Christmas, the pressure to keep everyone happy and impressed can be a worry for some. 16% of the Mums surveyed said they do worry about comments from the in-laws!
The main worries were:
Making sure the house is tidy is the number one concern when hosting Christmas lunch (28%)
27% of mums are anxious about fitting the roast and all the trimmings in the oven
23% are worried that their dining table isn’t big enough
A fifth (21%) worry about having a messy kitchen
16% of mums say they are nervous about entertaining their in-laws
Beko asked their mums for some of their top tips to help everything go smoothly with the least stress possible, and have asked bloggers to share our own tips too. Here are Beko’s mums top tips for a stree free Christmas
You can never start cooking too early. Christmas puddings only get better with age and many dishes such as stuffing can also be prepared and frozen well in advance. Beko’s Multi-Zone technology allows for switching between refrigeration and freezing capabilities so you can cook and store dishes before the big day.
Divide and conquer! Got a big crowd on Christmas day? Perfect! More people round the table means more hands to help. Write a list of responsibilities and get everyone involved – it will bring the family together and take a load off your shoulders.
Get the appliances to do the hard work for you. Beko is here to help at Christmas with its fantastic range of super-smart appliances that will help save you both time and money, such as the six-litre dishwasher, which can clean thirteen place settings in one go and actually uses less water than washing up by hand.
Get ahead of the crowd! While the shops are still empty, start to buy gifts for family and friends that you know they’ll love rather than leaving it until the last-minute Christmas Eve panic.
And…relax! Remember it’s your holiday too and make sure you take time for yourself!
My top tips would be
Make lists. Making lists always helps you to feel organised and makes sure that nothing vital gets forgotten or overlooked! There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a checklist with everything completed!
Don’t feel bad about taking the easy route. If you can budget for a professional house clean in the run up to Christmas then why not? It will save you hours that you may need elsewhere. (Do get recommendations though if you don’t have a regular cleaner, as you wouldn’t want to be disappointed with the result!) There are also many restaurants open which you can book for Christmas meals, if cooking for a lot of people is really stressing you out it is an option you could consider?
Remember what’s important and don’t let it bother you if something doesn’t go to plan. Having many guests in the house can cause a lot of extra work and sometimes chaos but the important thing is having all the family and loved ones together.
I also asked some of my friends for their ideas too and here is some of the wisdom they had to share:
Try to relax, any disasters will be future years’ happy memories – Pippa from Red Rose Mummy
It’s not about how many presents you buy it is about spending quality time with family and friends – Tami from Mummy of Two
Remember that this should be a magical day for the children, they don’t want their Mum slaving away in the kitchen all day. A day for family and fun together. Even better if you have a bottle of fizz chilling in the fridge – Mary from Over 40 and a Mum to one
Do you have any extra tips to share, that we have forgotten? Please share with us in the comments! I hope everyone has a lovely and relaxed Christmas day!
Disclaimer: This post contains some sponsored content and stock images are courtesy of Apolonia/Freedigitalphotos.net
Pampering sets like these are always a good idea at Christmas, to help you make time for some relaxation! There are different varieties available from Radox to suit whatever your mood!
Radox Relaxation Therapy Gift Pack
Looking to relax after late-night Christmas parties? Soothe those aching feet with Radox Muscle Soak Bath Therapy 500ml to help you unwind and get you feeling good. A blend of clary sage and sea minerals will warm your muscles reviving both your body and mind.
Feel good fragrance Radox Original Bath Therapy 500ml is also on hand to leave you feeling recharged with the reviving smell of natural juniper and thyme leaving you refreshed this Christmas.
Radox Relaxation Therapy Gift Pack
Indulge in relaxation this Christmas with Radox Moisture Soak Bath Therapy 500ml. The calendula ﬂ ower and natural rose essence acts is natural conditioner leaving skin soft, renewed and glowing.
Paired with Radox Relax Bath Therapy 500ml, a blend of fragrant lavender and delicate waterlily, you will be feeling completely relaxed and refreshed releasing the stress of Christmas shopping.
Radox Home Spa Gift Set
We all know that Christmas is a time to be pampered which is why the Radox Spa gift set is the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of this year’s seasonal festivities. It contains a Radox Spa Soothe Bath Soak 500ml and Radox Spa Radiant Shower Cream 250ml with ﬁg and neroli oil, both expertly blended with natural ingredients to deliver visible results to body and mind, along with two indulgent candles for maximum bathtime bliss. It will leave you feeling fresh, revitalised and glowing from head to toe.
Radox are providing sets for THREE lucky winners in today’s advent! I can’t guarantee which one you will get but surprises are all part of the magic of Christmas aren’t they?
For your chance to win, enter via the Rafflecopter below:
A brand new Woolly and Tig app has just been released and Mr R (2) has been helping me to test it out!
The Woolly App has 2 main modes – structured or free play, plus a hidden parent scheduler.
When you first open the app, it goes into free play mode with Woolly appearing on the screen and given spoken directions on what your child could do to play with him. The graphics of Woolly are great. He looks and moves just like on the TV show and he is really cute. Mr R was very happy as he immediately recognised Woolly and wanted to play!
All the instructions are given verbally so there is no need for your child to be able to read to use the app, but you must either turn the volume on or use headphones.
In free play, you can put woolly to sleep, cuddle or tickle him, play counting games and more. This is easy for even young toddlers to do and did keep Mr R entertained.
Free Play mode shown above: One of Mr R’s favourites is to make Woolly roll over in a roly poly
For more structured play, you can choose from a menu of six options:
Brush My Teeth
Wash My Face
Fun In The Rain
Fun In The Sun
Fun In The Snow
In each section your child helps Woolly to perform the different tasks, or helps him to enjoy the different weathers appropriately. Mr R enjoyed all of these, and the weather ones seemed to be his favourite. Your child will earn a medal for each section if they perform well. As you can see above, Mr R has earned some bronze medals.
Choosing hats for Woolly as a part of Fun In The Sun
You can also access a parent scheduler which will allow you set a reminder for Woolly to remind your child to do a certain task. This would come in handy if they need help with their daily routine of getting dressed in the morning for example, as he can remind them to wash their face and brush their teeth. Mr R does not need this so much as the moment, so we have been focusing more on the play modes but the scheduler does seem like an innovative and useful feature!
Overall it’s a lovely app. Very well made and very true to the real Woolly character. It will keep little ones easily entertained and help reinforce a good message about brushing teeth, getting dressed without a fuss and all the things which Woolly encourages! We do really like Woolly in our house. I’m not normally a fan of spiders but I totally make an exception for Woolly – he is such a cuddly friendly little spider you can not help liking him!
Great Gizmos is a brand I really like so I was pleased to hear they have launched their brand new site in November, where you can find a wide range of toys and gifts from crafts to soft toys and more. Great Gizmos cater really well to a wide age range, with some great science toys suitable for older children, from Science Museum and 4M brands, as well as their lovely Nici soft toys and plan toys for the littler ones.
The animated pages on the website help you find that perfect gift by categorising products to make them easier to find as well as being able to search by price, gender or age so you can specifically find the right product for you. Alternatively, if you know what you are looking for then you can search via Brand, which will show everything available in that collection. Plus, each product includes a detailed description so even if you are browsing you can see exactly what is on offer.
To celebrate the launch of their new website, Great Gizmos are giving a 10% off voucher and free shipping on orders over £10! Just use the code CPR10 at the checkout
A couple of my blogger friends have recently reviewed toys for Great Gizmos. Have a look at these posts to get an idea of just a few of the lovely things on offer:
Tooned 50 is a new cartoon from the makers of the Tooned cartoon. It has been released to celebrate 50 years of McLaren in Formula one. The cartoon is a lesson in the history of formula one, but in cartoon format and with plenty of humour. It features well known characters from the world of racing such as Jenson Button and Sergio Perez.
Much of the story is told in flashbacks as the modern day characters Professor M and The Old Mechanic argue to tell their version of history.
We found the Dvd quite different from other cartoon films, as it does have so much history to it. For any child who is interested in the history of Formula one they would definitely love it. My boys are interested in racing and cars, although they have never gone into this level of detail on Formula one, but they did enjoy it. Even if they don’t have much previous knowledge on McLaren young children will enjoy the racing scenes, cars and gadgets involved as well as the humour of some of the characters.
It is a Dvd which can be enjoyed by adults too particularly if they are into racing or would like to learn more. The Dvd run time is 66 minutes but the main feature plays for around 22 minutes and then there are extra special features:
The making of Tooned 50
The story of Oil
The Art of Tooned
Bruce McLaren – Courage
The Mechanic’s Story
For your chance to win one of 3 copies, enter via the Rafflecopter below:
There is something quite comforting about old fashioned sweets! When I was asked to pick three types of sweets to go into my jar from The Gobstopper it wasn’t an easy choice. They have a wide range of Retro Sweets and with so many of them I was thinking ooh I used to like that one when I was little, haven’t seen that one in a while, I had forgotten about those but now I really fancy one… and so on! In the end I settled for jelly beans (these are suitable for vegetarians), mini eggs and chocolate fudge as I felt these are all quite different from each other so gave a very good mix.
The Gobstopper is an online sweet shop where you can easily pick and mix (or click and mix ) and create jars for any occasion or just to treat yourself! My jar, shown above, is a medium jar which is a 0.5 litre original clip top glass Kilner jar which comes packed to the brim with your choice of 3 varieties of sweets. I love the presentation of this and it made the sweets feel like much more of a luxury than if they had just come in a packet from the supermarket. We have finished the sweets now but I am keeping the jar, as I’m sure it will come in quite handy in the kitchen.
The taste of the sweets was great and they were very much enjoyed by both me and the kids. I was really happy with the product overall and I will keep these in mind for the future for gifts or parties. It’s also worth noting that they do have a halal section and a vegetarian section on the site so you can easily see which sweets are suitable.
What sweets would you put in your jar? Let me know in the comments!
These Beaten Brass Bangles are plain and simple but so effective. Ideal to go with almost any outfit and to suit all styles. They are made from Recycled Brass by hand in the La Jewellery UK studio.
La Jewellery make unique and ethical pieces of jewellery made by designer Lisa Anne in her studio. The team always aim to purchase their materials and packaging from local sources and leave a ‘lighter footprint’ on this incredible landscape by using recycled packaging and card wherever possible.
For today’s Advent, you have the chance to win a set of 3 of these beautiful beaten brass bangles as featured in our Grown Ups Gift Guide. These are available from La Jewellery for £21 for 3 or £32 for 5.
On the weekend, we went along to Kew Gardens for the first time. There are Christmas activities going on there throughout the festive season, both in the daytime and the evening. We opted for the day time as we felt it would be easier for the children. You can see details of all the festive activities here.
When we arrived, it took us a while before we found the the Christmas fairground so we took the chance to explore the gardens and have some lunch as we made our way across the park. It was a great place for the children to explore, particularly Mr Z, and loads of different looking plants and trees for them to talk about.
Despite being December now, there are still so many leaves on the ground and the colours look quite autumnal instead of just wintry. There are lots of low flying planes coming over head which Mr T and Mr R loved pointing out!
The giant mushrooms were a favourite!
We also explored inside the Princess of Wales conservatory where there are lots of tropical plants and also ponds and a small aquarium:
In the Aquarium there is a Santa’s Grotto every day from 12-3pm which is free to visit. We were just so slightly too late to see Santa, the boys’ dad had made a mistake and thought Santa was going to be there ‘at 3′ not ‘until 3′!! – But we did all still enjoy all the tropical plants inside the green house.
We then made our way to the Christmas fairground. It has a vintage feel with a traditional carousel and helter skelter, along with a traditional car ride which was a hit with Mr T and Mr R (age 3 and 2). Mr Z’s (5) favourite was the helter skelter.
The rides are £2 per ride so while having a few children having a couple of gos on the rides, this will add up quite a bit so do be aware of that and allow for it when planning your Christmas visit to the park. There is also another Santa’s grotto at this end of the park which is a Woodland Grotto is costs £3.50 to visit here. There are Christmas stalls available nearby too for a Christmas market atmosphere.
After they finished the rides, the boys were very keen to go and play in the playground at the Climbers and Creepers area. This was great for them to use up all their energy and there is plenty of play equipment there for them to enjoy.
By this time, it was starting to get towards 4pm and a beautiful sunset could be seen over the park as the children were playing
In the evenings, there is a Christmas After Dark event available at Kew. I have to say this looks really amazing and I am tempted to go again but at night, so that we could experience this. It is the first year that it is on, and it looks really atmospheric from the pictures on the website. I know my sister is extremely keen to go to this too, so we may go and if we do, I will share my pics with you all!
Linking up to.. Disclaimer: We were given our tickets so that we could try out the Christmas activities at Kew Gardens.