Friday, 29 November 2013

Tickety Toc Pyjamas review and a Christmas episode not to be missed!

Tickety Toc is a programme that is still high on Millie's viewing list! She adores Tommy and Tallulah, and plays with her Clockhouse playset a lot. 

I recently found out that a new range of children's nightwear featuring the lead characters from hit pre-school TV show, Tickety Toc are now stocked in Mothercare stores and on mothercare.com. The cotton pyjama set of long sleeved top and trousers is available in two designs, a bold red pattern featuring Tommy, and a bright pink colourway featuring Tallulah.Tickety Toc pyjamas are available in sizes 12-18 mths to 5-6 yrs from £14.




Millie was kindly sent a Tallulah pyjama set to review, her face just lit up when she saw them! She could not get out of the bath quick enough that evening, just so she could put the pj's on! 



The pyjamas are lovely and thick, you can instantly tell they are of good quality. I especially love the cuffs on the ankles and wrists. We often have trouble getting nightwear which is the right length for Millie, but with these because of the cuffs it doesn't matter if they are too long, they will comfortably sit just on the ankles/wrists. Meaning they will last longer, making them great value for money! 

I think these pyjamas would make a great stocking filler for any Tickety Toc loving toddler!

I also have some exciting Tickety Toc news for you....

Set your festive clock for Tickety Toc as a brand new half-hour special of the CGI animated pre-school series ‘Christmas Present Time’ premieres on Nick Jr. at 12:30pm on Saturday 30th November 2013.

It’s Christmas Eve, and as Tickety Town prepares for Christmas, a shock crash landing by Santa throws everything into turmoil!
 The reindeers have caught a chill, Santa’s sleigh is broken and all the presents are spread across Tickety Town! But our inseparable heroes, Tommy and Tallulah, come to the rescue with a plan to save Christmas as they gather up all the presents and use McCoggins’ balloon to deliver them to everyone in Tickety Town. But what will happen when a huge storm blows them off course and pops their balloon? Luckily their faithful friend, Pufferty the Puppy Dog Train is on hand to help and combined with some Magic Christmas Sparkle Dust he believes he can fly, but will it be enough to save Christmas in Tickety Town?
 Join Tommy and Tallulah and their remarkable friends including Pufferty, maintenance man McCoggins, mad-cap bunny Hopparoo and Madame au Lait – the ping pong playing cow - as they embark on a festive adventure in ‘Christmas Present Time’.

Sounds exciting doesn't it! Well I will admit that I have had a sneak preview of this episode and it is just as fun as it sounds! Toddlers and Pre schoolers around the country will be captivated tomorrow! 

Then if that was not exciting enough Tickety Toc are having a twitter party straight after the episode tomorrow, 1-2pm where there will be lots of fun and prizes too! 


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

It's that time of year again ... Letters to Father Christmas!

Because we have been away, we are a little behind on our letters to Father Christmas. Seeing as the deadline is 6th December I thought we'd better get a move on! 

So after School on Monday we sat down and discussed the letters. Chester decided he would ask for a Nintendo 2ds and a couple of Skylanders. So I wrote a draft for him and he copied it out on his own bit of paper.....


I have to say that I am super proud of Chester's effort. Before we went away on holiday he was showing no interest in writing at all. He COULD write his name but most days he could only be bothered to write the C and the H! So this letter is a massive improvement! 

Next it was Millie's turn, I am sure at the age of 23 months she has no real idea of what is going on. But when I asked her what she would like she said a dolly and Bolt toys. She really loves the film Bolt so that was no real surprise, but sadly apart from the Bolt plush (which she has) there is no merchandise to buy. 


Looking back at my post about writing to Father Christmas last year I can see that Chester has asked for the same thing! A year on and he still loves Skylanders! I can also see that Father Christmas' address has changed slightly. So now it is: 
Father Christmas
Santas Grotto
Reindeer land 
XM4 5HQ

If you are sending him a letter, make sure you put a 1st class stamp on your envelope and he will reply! 


Monday, 25 November 2013

We are back.... from the most magical place on earth!

You may of noticed a silence on my blog over the last couple of weeks. That is because we have been on our long awaited and much needed holiday to Walt Disney World! 

We had the most amazing time, creating lots of awesome memories that none of us are likely to forget. 

All my worries about taking the children on a long flight were for nothing as both Children were fine. There is so much to watch on the planes nowadays that Chester barely moved the whole flight, whilst Millie was happy to watch Smurfs 2 on repeat for almost the entire journey! I am also glad we decided to take them at the ages they are (5 and 22months) they both enjoyed it in different ways and we were able to please everyone! 

We had some very sad news on the first day of our holiday, my Nan had passed away. So it was a very sad first few days for my Mum and I, but the Children helped make us smile. Now we are back to reality it is proving a little harder to deal with. 

We pushed through the sadness though and still made sure the Children had a magical time. The first time Millie met Rapunzel and the first time Chester rode Splash Mountain will never be forgotten. The reactions could not of been any better! 

I have so much to tell you, so will keep this post short and write up further posts in sections over the next few weeks to make it easy to read. 

For now here are a few pictures.....















Saturday, 16 November 2013

A modern twist on picture frames - Truprint review.

I am a keen photographer. I have been since I was about 8 years old. Something I remember clearly from my childhood is sending off my films in a yellow envelope to Truprint. Then a week or so later having my pictures arrive in the post. One 6x4 and 2 smaller, wallet sized, pictures that needed to be cut off. The amount of pictures my family took, we spent a lot of time cutting those smaller pictures off! 

Technology has moved on a lot since those early 90s days and now most photography is digital, and we can now order prints online. 

Truprint have embraced that and offer a large selection of photos, and photo gift ideas on their website. 

I have been given some credits to try out some of their products and the first thing that I have gone for is an A5 Acrylic block. 

It's a modern twist on a photo frame and with my parents recently moving into their new home I thought it would fog well with their decore. 

It was a really easy order process, I could upload from my computer or straight from Facebook. I chose to upload from my computer because I wanted the picture to be of the original high quality. I did have a little problem with the picture I used. With the Truprint bots saying that it was not high enough quality so would come out grainy. So I chose another. 

Delivery was the same time as I remember as a child, just over a week. 

This is what arrived....


Overall I am pleased with the block. It is of good quality and the photo looks good. There are two things that I would change and they are the gap around the edges and the corners. The corners are very sharp, I would be concerned to have this in my house incase the children ran into it. So if the corners could be rounded that would make it great! 

I gave this to my Mum and Dad and they were thrilled with it, it will be a great addition to their new home. 

I will be reviewing some more products from the Truprint range very soon so watch this space! 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Saying goodbye to my childhood home

I have got an extremely good long term memory. I remember lots of things from my early childhood, from getting sat on the naughty chair at Nursery School (aged 2) to sucking up paint through a straw when I was meant to be blow painting (also at Nursery School but a year or so down the line).

A couple of memories that stand out to me from this young age are the ones where we moved from a flat into a house literally just around the corner. I remember going with my Mum to ask all the neighbours and neighbouring roads if anyone wanted to do a swap or knew anyone that was looking to swap. I was 3 years old. Luckily for us someone did know someone who wanted to swap. It was their elderly relative that lived in a house around the corner from us and he was finding the stairs difficult so a ground floor flat would be ideal for him.

The next memory that I have is helping us move into that house, I was given the responsibility of carrying the toaster from the flat to the house. I remember walking into my new garden and thinking wow this is a jungle! The grass was so high it had clearly not been cut for a while! The previous occupier had left behind a very old metal framed rocking horse that was half missing its plastic head. I loved that rocking horse.

As the years went by we made lots of great memories in the house, mine and my sisters birthday parties, friends round for tea, impromptu camping in the garden. Getting the big paddling pool out and spending all summer in it!

My parents brought the house when I was about aged 10, it was at the time when the council were offering to sell your house to you at a really good rate.

I am so glad that they made that decision, because fast forward nearly 26 years from when we moved into that house. My childhood home, and they have just sold it. Dont get me wrong, I am VERY sad that my childhood home is no longer mine so to speak. But I am very pleased for my parents because they have been able to make their dreams a reality, they have sold the house and move to Dorset to live by the sea. It is a big move about 2-3 hours drive depending on traffic.


I don't think any of us really believed it was truly sold until moving day. It was a sad day, but I kept my emotions to myself until I got home. I know how excited Mum and Dad were to be moving and there was no way I was going to ruin that excitement. But to say goodbye to the home I had grown up in was just devastating at first. They had removal men moving the boxes into the lorry, and as the morning went by my childhood home was beginning to look less like a home and more like a shell. Then a message from a friend made me think of it in a different way. She said 'its whats inside the house that makes it a home'. The more I thought about that the more I knew she was right, this house was no longer our home and it didn't feel like it either.



That was 3 weeks ago, I still think about my childhood home and it does make me sad that I will never step foot inside there again. But we have been down to visit my parents new home, a lovely apartment by the sea, and it is perfect for them. I am so happy that they have finally been able to realise their dream.



Plus it means that we will have lots of fun making new family memories, this time with my own children too. Lots of holidays to be had by the sea and lots of speaking on facetime. We have already done lots of the latter and it is hilarious. Chester and Millie spend the whole time pulling faces at Nannan and Grangrad, they respond by pulling faces back! Thank goodness for modern technology huh?!

Tickety Toc Clockhouse Playset review

Based on the animated TV programme currently showing on Nick Jr and Channel 5’s Milkshake, Vivid has launched a selection of toys and games based around the charming and madcap world of Tickety Toc.

Based in the town of Tickety, the series revolves around twins Tommy and Tallulah as they race against time to keep the Tickety Toc Clock ticking. Through their madcap adventures they explore concepts of teamwork, social responsibility and problem solving along with their friends, including Hopparoo, McCoggins and Pufferty.

Millie is a big Tickety Toc fan, Chester will happily watch it too. Millie has the Tommy and Tallulah small soft toys which she carries around alternately.

 We were recently asked to review the Tickety Toc Clockhouse Playset. This set represents the heart of Tickety Town. Complete with train track and push along Pufferty train to take the Tommy and Tallulah figures back for Chime Time, you turn the key to open the kitchen door and rotate the cog to open the Chime Time.

                                    

From the moment I de-packaged this toy (believe me, this took a long time!) Millie was desperate to start playing! The playset has got tracks that need to be put together and attached to the Clockhouse. Having had playsets with tracks before and being disappointed in the sturdiness, I was pleasantly surprised at how well made, thick and sturdy this track was. Each piece of track had a letter on the bottom of it helping to coordinate with the instructions. It was easy to put together and took less than 5 minutes.

      

Both Chester and Millie loved exploring the the Clockhouse Playset, Chester at age 5 was more understanding of the way the cog worked to open the Chime Time, but Millie (who is 22 months) loved opening the door with the key once Chester showed her how. Both children found it a little hard to sit Tommy and Tallulah into Pufferty as you had to bend them into sitting position and angle them in. Pushing Pufferty down the track was a big part of their fun with this play set, and Millie also enjoyed taking Pufferty off of the track and and pushing him around the room!

                                   

                                   

The one thing I think this playset is missing is some sounds. It is a lovely set but the addition of some sound buttons would make it great!

The playset has an RRP of £29.99 is suitable for children aged 18 months and over and is available at all good retailers.

Canterbury Sheepskin Slipper review AND giveaway!

Until recently I was not aware of Canterbury Sheepskin, they are a New Zealand based footwear company that deliver to the UK.

A little background about them....

Canterbury Sheepskin footwear, apparel and accessories are proudly made in New Zealand by Canterbury Leather International Ltd. Since it’s inception in 1974, the company has developed a reputation both locally and internationally of having a brand which is synonymous with luxury, comfort and sustainability.

Sheepskin has the unique ability of being warm in winter and cool in the summer months due to it’s moisture absorbing qualities. Canterbury Sheepskin products are carefully hand crafted allowing for greater quality control and continuity in their manufacture.

I was recently sent these Canterbury Sheepskin 'Blake' Slippers to review....



I have never owned anything made out Sheepskin so I was looking forward to seeing if the keeping warm in the winter and cool in the summer really worked! Of course the latter will have to wait a few months for testing! 

The slippers can be viewed on their website www.canterburysheepskin.co.uk. and you can purchase products via their webshop.

After viewing the website I chose to go for the 'Blake' style. I have quite wide feet so I felt that style would suit my feet best. I checked out the size guide and as my feet are a size 5 I went for the small. At first, when trying them on I was concerned that the small was going to be too small. However after a day or two of wearing them in they actually now fit perfectly. 

They have indeed kept my feet lovely and warm, I was worried that they would make my feet sweat, but again, I needn't of worried, my feet have stayed perfectly dry! 

I love that these slippers have a hard sole, meaning I can wear them whilst in the garden or putting the rubbish out! In fact I am not ashamed to say that I had a quick 10 minute drive to make last night and forgot I was wearing my slippers until my husband pointed it out when I got home! 

I can already see that they are hard wearing and are going to last a long time, they certainly have been made with quality in mind! 

So how would you like to own a pair for yourself?! 

Well the lovely people at Canterbury Sheepskin are giving you, my readers, a chance to win a pair of their slippers! 

The winner of the giveaway will be able to choose one of the following pairs of Canterbury Sheepskin Slippers....

CHRIS SLIPPER £74.06 
The Chris slipper has been around for a long time and sells in volume all over the world. It’s a 
supremely well made unisex slipper that is very well designed, providing great comfort to its wearer. 
The natural rubber sole is both hard wearing and non-slip. It has a removable and replaceable insole 
unit (see slipper insoles) that means the life of the slipper can be extended over several winters, giving a great value, high quality slipper!


CASEY SLIPPER £81.72 


The Casey is a premium slipper that can either be a Women’s slipper (sheepskin collar turned down) 
or a unisex slipper (sheepskin collar turned up to keep your ankles warm). It is a supremely well made 
slipper that is very well designed, providing great comfort its wearer. The natural rubber sole is both 
hard wearing and non-slip. It has a removable and replaceable insole unit (see slipper insoles) that 
means the life of the slipper can be extended over several winters, giving a great value, high quality 
slipper!


MEL SLIPPER £63.84


The Mel is their most popular women’s sheepskin slipper that can be used indoors and also for a short 
trip outdoors. It has a soft PVC sole and a luxurious wool collar that can be worn either up or down.

All you need to do is fill in the rafflecopter form below! 

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jolly Tall book review

When I was growing up I distinctly remember the Old Bear books. I remember the illustrations catching my eye the most. Jane Hissey (the Author and Illustrator) has got a real talent for making the soft toys in the books look, well, soft!

Jane has written and illustrated over 20 picture books featuring soft toy characters that belong to her family and friends. Her ‘Old bear’ series of books won worldwide acclaim and featured in a BAFTA award winning TV series.

A new paperback edition of Jolly Tall from the Old Bear range has been released. It is full of those familiar colourful illustrations and the text has been slightly abridged.



We were kindly sent a copy to review. I have to admit that I had never read this story, but I am very pleased that I can now say that I have!

The story is about the day when a strange package arrives in the nursery. Everyone is puzzled. What on earth could it be? Little Bear is sure it’s full of treasure, but Duck has his doubts. ‘It’s probably empty,’ he grumbles. But when the box speaks, it is clear that something much more exciting than treasure is inside.



Well thats as much as I am going to let on, but I think it is a lovely story with wonderful illustrations. Chester agrees with me and he is 5! The story is recommended for Pre-School children, I would disagree with this slightly because Chester is of School age and loves it, yet Millie is almost 2 and her attention wandered a couple pages in! It is 32 pages long so perhaps a little long for young children.

The RRP is £6.99 I have seen it on Amazon for £4.64 I think that around the £5 mark is a perfect price for this book.

My Kiddicare Christmas gift guide!

I think everyone knows by now what I think of Kiddicare! I LOVE them! I visit their Lakeside store regularly and also find things that I need from Kiddicare online. The main reasons I love them are that the range of products they stock is vast, meaning that I (usually) only need to shop in one place. The prices are updated everyday to ensure that they are giving you the best deal. I never feel like I have to go away and compare my prices with Kiddicare, I am confident that they have found me the best deal. Last but by no means least.. the staff in store are amazingly friendly and helpful. I was in the Lakeside store last week and I was greeted with a smile, my queries were answered and the lady at the till even joked with me about how long I had been browsing! It was nice to be noticed and helped when needed, yet not pestered! The lady at the till was right by the way, I was making the most of shopping without the children and was in the store almost two hours! Oops!

There is 3 for 2 on all Kiddicare toys from the Buzzing Brains, Sunny Safari and Woodland ranges,running from 5th November to 2nd December 2013 inclusive, in-store, online and via the Kiddicare mobile app. With this in mind I have put together a Christmas gift guide for young children under 5 to help give you ideas for the little monkeys in your life!

Starting with babies, they can often be difficult to buy for. I know a few parents who will have young babies to buy for this Christmas and have already mentioned that they are struggling for ideas.

Sunny Safari Activity Elephant
Suitable from birth he is baby’s new best friend! He’s made with brightly coloured fabric, and includes lots of different textures and activities to explore such as crinkle ears, wiggle flower, teether, squeaker, mirror and rattle rings. Millie has a similar toy and she was fascinated with it as a young baby. RRP £12.99







Buzzing Brains grow with me Melody Gym - Suitable from 3 months and designed to encourage three stages of development - laying, sitting and standing – this clever gym adapts to keep little ones playing and learning as they grow. Lots of repositionable toys to touch; light up moon and stars to stimulate the senses; buttons to press rattles and rollers to pin and shake all included. Babies are certain to get lots of use out of this toy its something that they will be able to use throughout the whole of the forthcoming year. RRP £24.99




Press n go bunny - Suitable from 6 months, this bunny will get little ones mobile as they try to keep up with their new friend. Press the buttons for movement and music. Simple, repetitive – a sure fire hit! RRP £7.99.






Now moving onto the toddlers, this can be a tricky age to buy for, we have really struggled for ideas for Millie this year. But I do have some ideas on my list after my visit to Kiddicare last week!

Buzzing Brains wooden building blocks - Suitable from 12 months, Sort shapes, sizes and colours for endless hours of fun and learning whilst they develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.I am a great lover of wooden toys. They are hard wearing and both of my children seem to love all of their wooden toys! RRP £11.99








Sunny Safari Zebra rocking animal - Suitable from 18 months A wild addition to any playroom, this gorgeous rocking animal will help improve your tot’s balance and leg muscles. Having looked at this rocking Zebra close up in store last week I can honestly say this is beautiful. Its well made, and looks like it would last a long time! RRP £39.99







Buzzing Brains magnetic number puzzle - Suitable from 2 years, it encourages your child's first steps towards writing numbers. Colourful graphics add fun to help with learning to trace the numbers with the ball and magnetic pen, which has an easy grip handle. I actually bought this last week as a stocking filler for Millie. She plays with something similar at the local Sure Start Centre so I am confident that she will be very happy when she opens this! The big plus for me of course is that it makes no mess! RRP £12.99




Buzzing Brains cut and play vegatables - Suitable from 3 years, these are great for pretend cooking role play. Also a good way to introduce different foods to young children. Encourages imaginative play, develops hand eye coordination and fine motor skills. Both Chester and Millie love imaginative play, Chester especially. This is the kind of toy that would get hours of play in our house. RRP £12.99



So there you go, those are my recommendations all of which are included in that fab 3 for 2 offer! You can find all of these plus loads more ideas on the Kiddicare website. Or pop into any of the eleven Kiddicare superstores where you can even gift wrap your presents for free too!

So have you started your Christmas shopping yet, or is it still on your list of to do's?!



Sunday, 3 November 2013

Kiddicare Buzzing Brains Deluxe Kitchen playset review

I absolutely love Chester's imagination, its fantastic. He comes up with some great ideas whilst playing and the smallest of things can set his imagination into overdrive! Millie is fast following in her brothers footsteps and even though she can not string full sentences together yet, you can see the cogs in her head working overtime when she is playing!

At the moment they play together really well, I am aware that when Millie can speak for herself more this may change! But for now, I am happy that they play together.

We were recently asked to review the Kiddicare Buzzing Brains Deluxe Kitchen playset. Something that I thought would be perfect for fueling the childrens imaginations. It is aged 3+ years but knowing my own children I was happy to let Millie play along with it too. She was, after all, being supervised by Chester and myself!

   

I set the kitchen up one evening when the children had gone to bed, fully expecting it to be a pain to put together. However apart from the small matter of forgetting I needed 2 AA batteries (oops) it actually took less than 10 minutes to put together. The instructions were on the bottom of the box and were very clear and easy to follow.



I will say though that I was a little surprised at the quality of the kitchen base which was very thin plastic compared to the kitchen counter top, which was much thicker plastic and seemed much more hard wearing. Even when put together I had my doubts, my other first thoughts were that the actual oven was not very deep and the kitchen as a whole did seem a little on the small side for the 3+ age range.

I was pleased with the accessories that came with the kitchen, the bottles and cups slotted in the designated holes perfectly, the utensils were the right size for the children and had a hanging space on the mock extractor hood. The sounds for the pot and kettle/jug were very good. My only annoyance with the accessories, which I knew would only be my annoyance and not the childrens, was that the plates have slots on the main post specifically to store them, however, one slight knock of the kitchen and they all fall out.



When I revealed the kitchen to the children the next day, I couldn't of hoped for a better reaction. They both got straight in there and used their imaginations! Millie was happy to serve me generous cups of tea, whilst Chester wanted to cook up a meal, using the bottles of ingredients that came with the kitchen, along with the stove sounds to help him. As predicted nothing really fits into the oven very well, but this has not stopped the children playing with it!



We have had the Deluxe Kitchen playset out to play with for just over a week now and I can honestly say that they have played with it everyday. Chester especially making up his own imaginative ideas, the kitchen has been a central part of a cafe, a fuel stop for his Skylanders and even a training kitchen, where he spent the best part of 2 hours teaching Millie how to be a chef!

Despite my initial reservations, my children have reminded me to look outside of the box so to speak. This kitchen is just right for them and they have had so many hours of imaginative play from it. So with an RRP of £29.99 (with the current price being £14.99) I can happily say that it is a really lovely addition to our toys that fuel imagination collection, and I would recommend to any parent with a child who loves imaginative play.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

A Christmas present idea for the planner in your life! (Giveaway!)


Being a self confessed planner, my eyes lit up when I was made aware of a website where you can purchase your own personalised planner or notebook!

I mean what a fantastic idea, I have notebooks and diaries all over the house, but none of them are personalised to my needs, nor do they have pictures of my family on the front and back! 

The notebooks start at £8.99 and the planners start at £14.95 and there is a £2.95 postage charge. For that price you get to customize lots of aspects including your front and back covers, the colour of the pages, font and even the ruler! You can customise a page with owner information and in the planner you can even add a little box for your work hours each day! 

If I had known about this website a year ago I would of ordered a notebook for all of the Walt Disney World planning I have done for our upcoming trip! 

So I have ordered an A5 personalised planner, and I played around with my design loads. I went for two different pictures of Chester and Millie for the front and rear cover, I added lines on my diary pages and a little 'this week's to do' box on the bottom of each week. That to do box is perfect for me, its the kind of thing I do all the time with post it notes!

The customisation even included pages at the rear of the planner, I went for sudoku pages. But I could of even gone for colouring book pages or maps of the world! I spent a bit of time adding in close family members birthdays and anniversaries too. 

After ordering my planner, I couldn't help but think of so many people I know, that would love a planner or a notebook (or both!). Considering that you can purchase one of these for under £20 they would surely make ideal Christmas presents?! I struggle to come up with gift ideas for so many friends and family, so this could be the answer to my problems at this time of year! 

The lovely people at Personal Planner have agreed to run a giveaway for one of these planners or notebooks on One Blue One Pink. The winner will get to chose which planner or notebook they would like!

So for your chance to win a lovely planner or notebook, please answer the question on the rafflecopter form below! 

Good luck! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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