Thursday, 30 December 2010

Review: Fearne - It’s All About the Lips 'Vamp Red' lip collection

I was already over the moon when I discovered the 'Fearne' eye collection make-up but I was absolutely thrilled to have finally found a red lip gloss that suits my pale complexion (see pic below). The vibrancy from the red colour wasn't too harsh and I feel that it gave a glamorous touch without being too over the top. I certainly felt wonderful wearing it!

What I loved about the lip gloss was the fact that you twisted it to adjust the amount of gloss that came out on to the brush; meaning that you could have a very glossy look or just use the pigment that was left on the brush. Because of the fact that you applied it with a brush meant that it was also very easy to get in to the arch of the cupids bow (this really accentuates nicely shaped lips).

The lip liner pencil worked really well with this lip gloss too, by applying before the gloss I was given great definition to my lips, and I hope that they looked very kissable! :)

I normally hate lip glosses as they are so sticky my hair always gets stuck in them and then smeared all around my face - which is not a very attractive look. This lip gloss managed to be ultra shiny without being at all sticky which I found amazing!

Anyway, the lipstick was also great but I feel the 'vamp' describes the colour of it very aptly as it is quite a dark red. So probably best for evening wear. The colour of the lipstick I felt was a little too dark for my complexion, so I lifted some off with a sheet of tissue paper which left a wonderful shade of red on my lips without being too harsh.

OVERALL: £10.00 for this kit is brilliant value, and if I had to pay that just for the lip gloss alone I would as the colour and finish are so good. I will definitely be checking out the other shades in this range.

For more information please visit

Hotter Shoes 'Keswick' walking boots review

For more info please visit

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Review: Earth Friendly Baby products

Having a toddler with sensitive skin in the household means that we can only use the gentlest of products on his skin. We have discovered a fantastic new brand called 'earth friendly baby.' The packaging relays everything about these products - simple, ecological and baby friendly. I knew these must be good products when I saw that they had received the 'Mother and Baby Silver Award', but I was keen to test just how good out for myself!

Organic Mandarin Bubblebath (£5.99)

The packaging looks suitably apt for any nursery or bathroom that has a baby/toddler in attendance. But even better than the packaging is the wonderful list of ingredients; all of which are free of artificial colouring, synthetic fragrances and SLS.

The bubble baths come in a range of fragrances; Organic chamomile, Organic Lavender and Organic Mandarin. The one we tested out was mandarin and it was simply gorgeous! I have done some research on this mandarin and found this:

"Mandarin is believed to improve mood and "relieve anxiety". Mandarin is really a happy oil, as the smell of the oil gives you the feeling of cleanliness. It is safe for all ages, and children especially enjoy the aroma of the oil."

I totally agree with the above statement. It really is a happy smell and I think will probably become one of those smells which you will maybe associate with the childhood of your children. Lots of other wonderful ingredients such as chamomile, lavender, rosehip, hibiscus, wild bergamot and poppy are also included in this bubble bath and that is probably why we feel so revived after using this product. That's right I said 'we' as I thoroughly enjoyed using this product too.

Once thing I did note about this product was the consistency; it was much more runnier than the bubble baths I have used in the past. This wasn't a bad thing however as I think this was due to the oils in the product which left the skin much more nourished than usual bubble bath. It seemed to instantly moisturise the skin. And more impressive to my son was the fact that this bubble bath seemed to produce huuuuge bubbles!! It was lovely to actually be able to use a bubble bath in the knowledge that it wouldn't be provoking any reactions on my son's skin. He thoroughly enjoyed playing in bath filled with beautifully scented bubbles!

Mandarin Body Lotion – £4.99 for 250ml

I might be cheeky but aside from using this on my son's skin after a bath, I have now adopted this for my skin care routine. It makes my legs smell great after I shave my legs and is just so nourishing! It really feeds the skin! This again was very different to normal body lotions, as the consistency wasn't creamy but more runny; but worked oh so well! It has the most amazing smell that really lingers on the skin and the ingredients work fantastically to achieve the goal of soft skin! Wonderful!

Eco Baby Wipes – £2.99 for 72 wipesFirstly, these wipes had much more substance to them than most flimsy wipes, so it was much easier getting a grip on things that needed to be wiped up! They were ultra soft and this was enhanced by the added water and Aloe Vera that these wipes contain. These will make a great addition to my handbag for when we are out and about.

Mandarin Shampoo & Bodywash – £3.99 for 250ml
It's shiny hair ahoy here in the Sweet Craftiness household. Obviously we are now discovering the true benefits of natural ingredients thanks to these wonderful products! I have to keep sniffing my son's hair now that we are using this shampoo. The shampoos are specially formulated to cleanse without leaving any icky residue and is formulated to avoid any bath-time tears!

The only thing left for us to say is that we are looking forward to using the chamomile and lavender range of these products. We would certainly recommend them!

The Earth Friendly Baby line-up is available from or call 0845 310 4411

You can also check out their Facebook page.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Christmas Gift Idea: Save Our Friends Plush Toys

I just had to share with my readers the 'Save Our Friends' range. We actually purchased an African Lion last year and he was far superior to your average plush toy. The eyes really appealed to you to give him a cuddle, the fur was ultra soft and further to that it was lovely to know we were helping save endangered animals.

As a child I always used to write away to the endangered animals campaigns to try and get as much information as I could on how I could help with these things. I used to do things like make bookmarks and take them in to school to make others aware of the facts.

That is maybe why this range appeals to me so much. An ethical range of loveable, large toys are a fantastic way of showing how much you care about the plight of endangered animals across the world. With twenty adorable, super cuddly toys across four environments to choose from, every ‘toy with a conscience’ sold makes a contribution to one of our wildlife charities – Born Free Foundation, Marine Conservation Society and World Land Trust.

Furry, feathery or finned, many of our beloved species are struggling to survive in today’s troubled eco system. The luxury soft toy collection is designed to raise awareness and funds for the plight of our much loved yet critically endangered species that live in the world’s most threatened habitats.

The box provides information on the conservation status of the animal, information about the charity and statistics, all providing food for thought in an imaginative way. Family and friends can purchase the toys from www.saveourfriends and choose from 20 toys in four environments – African, Ocean, Polar and Rainforest Friends.

The Save Our Friends Cuddy Toys retail from £23.95 exc VAT and delivery and are available from

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Christmas Gift Idea: Denman Diamante Brush Set £15.19

If there’s one party essential a girl needs this Christmas it’s this bumper diamante hair set. Perfect for adding a little razzle dazzle to your locks, this exclusive set comes complete with a Denman high quality hairbrush in lush red matt velvet with sparkly diamante jewels and two high fashion sparkly hair clips.

Denman have been making world-famous Classic Styling Brushes since 1938 with a reputation built on quality and innovation.

They have been used to create some of the most iconic hairstyles and remain the preferred choice of the professional hairdresser.

This is a fabulous brush; if you are someone who cares about every little detail of your image then this brush is for you. The brush is just the right size to be able to clutch nicely and to be able to brush portions of your hair to do many different hairstyles. The shape of the handle makes holding the brush very easy and the actual brush manages to groom hair and untangle tangles very easily without hurting. If you have ever bought a cheap brush you will know the pain that they can cause – well this brush is at the opposite end of the scale, and it actually feels therapeutic as it seems to massage the scalp when you brush.

Aside from making your hair look wonderful, it is also a great item to store in your handbag as it looks such a glamorous item if you need to pull it out in public. And if you thought that this brush set couldn’t get any better – what about the fact that it comes with two gorgeous hair clips. This brush would make an excellent stocking filler! I’m more than pleased with this brush!

Review: Fearne Make-up Collection - It's All About The Eyes kit

I was already a big fan of Fearne Cotton even before I discovered her new make-up range but now I am an even bigger fan. This new line of make-up encompassed everything which is loveable about Fearne; the quirkiness, the fact that it is very much on trend and most of all because it's beautiful.

Firstly, let's take a look at the packaging (which is pictured at the top of the page). Fearne loves her tattoos and rock chick image, and the packaging of these products emphasises this. The packaging combines modern florals with a font of writing that you might expect to see splashed across somebody's arm. Tied up with a black ribbon this would make the perfect Christmas gift.

Inside you have the most amazing products EVER! Even before actually using the products I thought they looked fantastic because of the way that they were presented. The pencils being nice and chunky (again with the cool font) and the little pots of shimmer dust presented in funky little pots.

I love all of these products but I am particularly in love with the shimmer dust pictured below and the greeny blue eye-pencil.

Why? Because the shimmer dusts contain an element of magic about them. They make your eyes look amazing; they contain just the right amount of sparkle. You could almost imagine this being the sort of make-up a delicate little fairy would wear. Sometimes you can get eyeshadows which aim to be glittery but they just make you look too over-done. These are so delicate you can use them for daytime wear.

The pencils were absolutely brilliant because they were so soft and easy to apply. I get sore eyes very easily, but these pencils must be made of very gentle ingredients as I didn't get any reaction. They were also very easy to apply and if you want a softer look you can smudge them very easily. I loved the 'Envious Green' colour as it just made my eyes look wonderful, the colour was really flattering. Although, I would say this was more of a bluey colour than a green.

I feel this kit is tremendous value at £10 and will certainly be buying more from this range. Thanks Fearne!

For more info please visit

Christmas Gift Idea: Lord and Berry Christmas Gift Box £19.99

Destined to give Christmas make-up bags a wake-up call, the Lord and Berry Christmas gift set will please any glamour puss. The lip and eye specialist has put together a professional must-have kit which includes best-selling, ‘ready-to-wear’, high performance products for eyes and lips which are guaranteed to keep her on top of the latest trends.

Each set contains a Lord & Berry Is This Love? Trio Palette crammed with 2 ultra treatment silk lip glosses infused with apricot extracts, vitamins and emollients and 1 multi-purpose poured lipstick.

A exotic and sexy Lord & Berry Kajal Black Eye Pencil, with a run proof formula for long lasting, rich and consistent eye definition, that’s gentle enough to use on the inner eye and a Lord & Berry Alchimia Black Mascara – giving spectacular volume, infinite length and natural curling thanks to its special soft silicon wand and perfect treatment formula.

The adorable set also comes with a fashionable white cosmetic bag and gold Lord & Berry logo.

I'm so excited to have discovered 'Lord and Berry.' For years I have been looking for a fail-proof kajal pencil that can be used on the inside of the eye without turning my eyes bright red and I have finally found it. To be honest, I would probably pay £19.99 for this product alone, as I am a glam eyes addict. The mascara also went down a treat with me as after about three coats I had the plumpest lashes ever, the lipstick and lipglosses came in gorgeous shades and left my lips looking really soft and smooth!

I am really pleased with this set!

Christmas Gift Idea: Les Fleurs De Bach Organic Anti-Stress Mask 60ml - £24.00

Even before I had ever heard of ‘Les Fleurs De Bach’ I was well versed in using 'Bach’s Rescue Remedies' – the natural flower remedy for all life's troubles. I was well aware of the brilliant results of lifting your moods and helping you deal with life's troubles; so you can imagine my intrigue when I discovered there was a company out there producing body care products that used the same ingredients.

For over 70 years, the 38 flower essence discovered by Dr Bach has helped millions of people rebalance their emotions naturally and find well-being and harmony. Les Fleurs de Bach brings you the proven benefits of these essences through a unique concept in Anti-Stress Skin Care.

Each of the Anti-Stress Skin Care products combines the purest natural ingredients with a blend of certified organic Bach Flower essences. With top notes of Bergamot and Orange which develop into a distinctive and soothing Sage and Lavender base before delivering a final chord of Patchouli and Eucalyptus.

This mask held just about every ingredient that would make me want to buy a product. Not only am I avid fan of Bach Rescue Remedies but I also love oils and only take my make-up off using almond oil and cleanse my skin with Castor oil. So I was over the moon when I settled down to read about this mask and found that not only would I be getting 15 minutes to experience the benefits of Bach flowers to uplift my mood and take all the cares of the world away from me, but also I would be gaining ultra-soft skin through the use of Shea butter, almond oil, jojoba oil, Melissa and Tilia hydrolats and natural Vitamin E.

I smeared the cream all over my face and instantly the wonderful soothing aroma hit my nostrils. I felt encased in a sense of security and safety. I always notice my skin is particularly dry after having a shower so I applied this straight after coming out of the shower. The results were amazing! My skin instantly felt softened and it was almost as if my skin was drinking the oils. After the 15 minutes I rinsed the mask off and my skin was glowing and felt as soft as a baby's bottom.

This is most definitely more than just a face mask it's a body and mind experience too as the aromas from the Bach flowers uplift and distress mentally and the oils soften and soothe your skin physically. Going to bed after using the mask I slept like a baby and then the next morning I awoke and just couldn't stop stroking the skin on my face as it was just so soft. I will most certainly be looking in to getting more of this range!

The Les Fleurs de Bach Organic Anti-Stress Skin Care range is available in selected outlets and from

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Christmas Book Review: Happy Christmas Boris! by Sam Lloyd

I really can't commend this book highly enough for the clever angles it incorporates to bring the book to life. I would describe this as a magical story book that is not dissimilar to a mini puppet theatre. Because of the way that you can manoeuvre the puppets expressions, the worlds your oyster in terms of how far you can bring this character to life. If you know a child who isn't fussy on reading then this one is highly recommended to entice them in to the magical world of reading.

The central character is very lovable, boisterous and a bit too loud but with a good heart. Bright orange with a mouth big enough to swallow you, all children are going to be eager to learn more about Boris.

The plot is great as we help prepare Boris to help Santa deliver presents, and through this plot we learn of the sensitive side of Boris and how we cater to people when they are feeling a bit upset.

From now on we are actively going to be seeking out Sam Lloyd books as we feel we have found the gold at the end of the rainbow in looking for a suitable book to read to both my children (aged 2 and 8). Sam Lloyd has not only incorporated the clever angle of using puppetry in this book, but has also used other clever techniques to engage children such as asking us to help stroke and feed Boris. The fact that he has also made Boris sad and uncomfortable in parts of the book also helps children to learn how we deal with people who are sad in real life.

I also liked the fact that the book allowed us to take on the part of the narrator and also the character of Boris.

Thanks to this book I have also been introduced to Templar Publishing; the publishers of this book and I am amazed to see the level of creativity that is used in the books that they publish. Far more than just reading books. Of course, anything that makes reading that extra bit special is worth its weight in gold in my book!

We give this the Sweet Craftiness Gold Award for 'Best Book of the Year'.

For more info please visit

Christmas book review: Ladybird Noisy Noisy Christmas!

There's nothing better than to cosy up with your little ones with a good festive book in hand, particularly so when it is so bitingly cold outside. My two boys are 2 and 8 and so it is hard to ever be able to find a book that interests them both, but there's something about buttons that produce sounds that never fails to enthral children young or old.

This book immediately welcomes the child with its festive metallic green sheen cover and the heart-warming picture of Father Christmas's jolly friendly face. The front cover informs the child that they are looking for the star button throughout the book to find a secret sound. Pressing the first page will result in 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas' being played.

Noises range from carol singers, elves in Santa's workshop, sparkling sounds of a Christmas Fairy, kissing noises under the mistletoe, the bells ringing of Santa's reindeer, the "Ho-Ho-Ho" of Father Christmas, children running with excitement on Christmas morning and finally the opening of the presents.

This book meets the need in all children to furnish their beliefs of all the exciting things they think happens at Christmas. Confirming that these things happen in such a magical sensory way is a fabulous way to contribute to children's excitement.

The text is simple and just the right length to maintain younger children's interest and overall we just thought that this was a very magical book. We will certainly be looking to get more from the 'noisy noisy' range as we have already read this book about ten times thanks to my two year old sons demands. Brilliant book!

For more information please visit or

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Review: Zingillas Big Zing Play set

Moaning Stones beach playset featuring the Beach Byrds, exclusive Zak posable figure and the coconut clock. Watch the last coconut drop to see the stage light up and trigger the start of the Big Zing. Requires 3 x AA batteries.

My toddler son is absolutely Zingzilla crazy and so we were very eager to get hold of the 'Big Zing' play set. Avid fans of the Zingzillas will know that each episode always culminates in the ultimate spectacular show; otherwise known as the 'Big Zing.' The 'Big Zing' always commands the child's attention with the bursts of sounds and colours accompanied by the band playing a certain music type, and so when we opened up the 'Big Zing' play set we saw that all these attributes had been accurately incorporated. The set was bright, it was colourful and it contained the Moaning Stones and palm trees. You even have the twinkling lights and sounds.

Overall the play set is visually pleasing because of the bright colours that are used within the set. The Moaning Stones are very accurate to the way they appear on the show and the Beach Byrds add a little burst of colour in the corner. The twinkling lights create a serene and magical atmosphere within the play set.

The only thing that I was disappointed about with this play set is the fact that it only comes with one character. Until I purchase more of the characters I don't think my toddler will gain the full play potential of this set as he can't really make the characters interact in any way. Nonetheless he seems content posing Zak and making him dance all around the stage. I look forward to getting the other figures as I think it will look quite impressive when all three Zingzillas are playing in the band.

Character-wise we were very impressed. Zak was bright and colourful and his little face fitted in all the minute detail that is proportioned in to his larger face on the show. Very clever! The characters also come with a great range of accessories. Zak certainly looks great when he is plugged in to the stage and he repeats his catchphrases and sings.

A great play set!

For more info please visit

Christmas Gift Idea: Boots Miniature Scents of Attraction gift set

This Scents of Attraction Fragrance Gift Set contains
  • Ted Baker X20 For Her 10ml
  • DKNY Be Delicious 7ml
  • Ghost Original 5ml
  • Guerlain Insolence 5ml
  • Givenchy Very Irresistible 4ml
REVIEW: So many of my favourite fragrances packed in one gift set has got to be a good thing. The clever people who work for Boots have managed to combine many of the scents which they believe boost your powers of attraction. This gift set is great because it has so many really popular scents that no matter how fussy the person that you are buying for is, you are almost sure to hit upon one scent that they will like, if not more.

Here's my rundown on the specific perfumes:

Ted Baker X2O for Her - This is a passionate and sensual fragrance, with a base of Musk, and vibrant hints of Star Anise, Grapefruit, Magnolia and Water Lily. Quite a light and fresh smell perfect for everyday wear. Rating 7/10/

DKNY Be Delicious - I'd already purchased this before I got hold of this set. I know I am superficial but I always get drawn to bottles of perfume if they have an unusual designed bottle. I expected this to smell very much like green apples but it has a slightly more complex fragrance containing American Apple, Cucumber, Grapefruit, Candid, Magnolia, Tuberose, White Muguet, Rose, Violet, Sandalwood, Tender Skin Accord, Blonde Woods and White Amber. There is an overall fruity scent which emanates from one squirt; one squirt is all that is needed with this fragrance as it is quite a strong scent. This is marketed as being a free-spirited and refreshing smell and I totally agree as it seems to rejuvenate your senses. In fact almost every time I have worn this whilst out and about I have had someone come up to me and ask what the lovely smell was. The smell of the fragrance also lasts a very long time which is good. Rating 8/10

Ghost - This perfume was certainly a pleasure for the senses to experience. To me this has a musky smell that has a hint of Turkish delight. It is a very evocative smell and is light and wearable day or night as it is a very subtle smell. I think that maybe where the name comes from as it is a ghostly and subtle smell. Ghost fragrance is a timeless, feminine and romantic soft floral. Mellow hibiscus, rose petals, and musk characterise Ghost - the first fragrance from the designer label. Subtly combined jasmine, spicy sandalwood, and warm incense dominate with gentleness, while overtones of vanilla, musk, ambergris, and apricot provide a satiny quality to the fragrance. Rating 8/10

Guerlain Insolence - This is my absolute favourite perfume of all time. I actually first discovered this perfume after swiping my wrist over a magazine fragrance swatch and instantly knew I needed a bottle. It reminds me of the sweetness of parma violets. If I was to liken this to a fragrance I would say it is a little like Daisy by Marc Jacobs. Extroverted and daring Guerlain Insolence combines Violet with a hint of Orange blossom and Rose. Fruity red Berries, Lemon and Bergamot are introduced in the heart notes while sensual Iris and Tonka Bean resins finish the scent. The result is young, daring and radiantly feminine. Rating 10/10

Givenchy Very Irresistible - Very Irresistible Givenchy Eau de Toilette was created, from a unique alliance of 5 roses, the queen of flowers, emblematic of Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn. This had a very strong rose scent and for my taste, I found this a little too strong and unbearable. I thought liking 4/5 with a fragrance kit was very good though. Rating 2/10

Overall, a lovely little set. At £18.00 it won't break the bank and gives the owner of the sets enough perfume to last them quite a while and also introduces them to perfumes they might not have tried before. Brilliant!

For more info please visit

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Next Baby Boutique Model Competition

We've all got beautiful babies but maybe you feel that your baby has true model potential. Do people often comment how beautiful your babies eyes are? Or how they are going to break lots of hearts when they grow up? This is your big chance for the world to see how gorgeous your baby is; and you also have the chance to win brilliant prizes. Winners will receive £500 of NEXT vouchers and a 12-month modelling contract with leading junior model agency, Urban Angels. They’ll also participate in a photo-shoot for NEXT and Prima Baby magazine. Wow! Impressive!

What do I have to do to enter?
To enter the competition you must have an infant aged between 0-36 months. The competition will be judged in two categories; birth up to 18 months and 19 months up to 36 months. Visit and upload a clear photograph of your child. Once your photo has been approved you can get your friends and family to vote to improve your chances of winning.

Good luck!!!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Review: Zingzillas - Play and Groove Panzee

It's still Zingzilla fever in our household. My 22 month old just can't get enough of them. I think it's the combination of the friendly faces, the bright colours and patterned clothes that they wear. Throw in the upbeat and enthralling music and it's no wonder they are loved by all toddlers. Quite a combination!

Every time Toddler Craftiness watches Zingzillas he has to get up and dance, and so I was curious to try out one of this Christmas's top toys on him - the 'Play and Groove Panzee.' As soon as the fluffy pink hair appeared from the top of the box, my toddler yanked her out with squeals of delight. He tried to poke her in the eyes a few times, as her eyes are not just sewn on flat eyes, they are three-dimensional hard eyes, and this seemed to be an attraction for him. Next, he tried to tug her tambourine, which seemed to frighten him for a second, because suddenly Panzee introduced herself to him. Panzee was busy informing him that she wanted to dance, but the trouble was that I hadn't even removed her out of the box yet. From that point on I got rather impatient yelps and looks from Toddler Craftiness.

Getting her out of the box, Toddler Craftiness was absolutely delighted. He was absolutely in awe when two of his favourite Zingzilla songs came on and she proceeded to dance. It took him a while to get up and dance because he was just so busy admiring her. From a toddlers point of view this must have been pretty amazing - a Zingzilla dancing in your living room. You can even choose what speed she goes by squeezing her hand. She can either dance energetically, really wiggling her hips or she can go on slow speed. Slow speed means that she gently rocks and sways.

This is a great way of getting your toddler dancing and burning off some of that boundless energy they all have!

For me, Play and Groove Panzee is more than just a dancing toy. I really was amazed by all the detail that had gone in to designing her to make her a multi-sensory toy. You have the visual delights of her brightly coloured and patterned clothes, her textured net skirt and fluffy hair and her cute smiley face. Not to mention the fact that Panzee encourages hand/eye co-ordination, imaginative play and sound recognition.

My son really can't get over the fact he has a Zingzilla in his house. Today has consisted of him pointing back and forth from the Zingzillas on TV to Panzee, repeating the word "Panzee".

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that any Zingzillas fan will absolutely LOVE this toy!

A big thumbs up! We certainly had a 'Boogie Woogie Bubbly Time' with Panzee.

Retails at around £29.99

For more info please visit

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Miners Autumn/Winter Nail Collection

Wow! Miners have just released an absolutely stunning array of colours for their Autumn/Winter Collection. I am in love with them. If there is one thing that will cheer me up it's beautiful colours. I have listed the colours in my order of preference:

Dorothy's Shoes- I'm not sure I even needed the name of this nail varnish as it instantly reminded me of Dorothy's ruby red slippers and the magical way that they glistened and glowed. Those slippers were very much in demand and I am sure that this nail varnish will be too.

Midnight Lavender is described as the colour of Lavender as it sparkles by moonlight; how beautiful a description is that?
LBD which obviously stands for Little Black Dress. Just like a Little Black Dress this is an essential item. Totally matte black, this is for girls who are going for the dramatically bold look.

Perfect to create a festive look. Molten is a liquid gold shade with added shimmering particles you will be dazzling your way to the dance floor in a flash!

Mulberry Shimmer is a rich mulled wine shade with gold shimmer particles that dazzle in the light - perfect for festive frolicking day or night.

Here's my review:

For more info please visit or

Review: Le Toy Van 'Shanghai Warrior Ship'

Review: Times Table CD

I'm always on the hunt for educational products that I feel could help my children and so I was very keen to test out whether a 'Times Table CD with songs and games' would prove to be useful. My eight year old son is now receiving weekly tests on his times tables so he needs to get up to scratch.

So what does this CD involve?

I was really impressed with this CD. The songs were really pleasant to listen to even if you weren't learning the times tables; but overall the CD has been of brilliant educational use.

It is really easy to memorise the tables because as you go along throughout the day you actually find yourself singing the songs. (Yes, even I am singing them!) Which is a big help in learning the tables, if you are subconsciously singing them all the time. The CD then tests the child in two ways; repeating the song with gaps left for the child to sing in the answers. The next test is where a man reads out the tables and just leaves a few seconds gap for the child to fill in the answer before he gives the answer, which again children love because they can't wait to beat the man to it.

To reiterate the tables the CD also comes with a handy booklet with the times tables in so the children can have a visual aid as they are singing along until they become completely familiar.

Here's my son enjoying the CD:

The CD costs £7.50 which I think is very reasonable. We have had great use from this CD and my son's tables test showed this last week when he got 35/35.

For more info please visit

Review: Kids Music Shop DVD

I was recently contacted to see if I would like to review a DVD from Kids Music Shop. The Kids Music Shop has just expanded their collection from just CD's to DVD's. This DVD in particular contains 16 popular songs that children will love.

Here's the track listing:
1. Down in the jungle 2. Ten Fat Sausages 3. Sing a rainbow 4. We all clap hands together 5. Four little ducks went swimming one day 6. Supercalifragilistic 7. Prehistoric Animal Brigade 8. One potato two potato 9. Knees up Mother Brown 10. Woodland Farm Ho Down 11. BINGO 12. Banyan Tree 13. Chick chick chick chick Chicken 14. Wiggly Woo 15. Looby Lou BONUS TRACK 16. Happy Birthday PLUS an additional special features section.

Most of the songs feature schoolchildren singing along exuberantly and very proudly performing the actions. The DVD has a slightly amateur feel to it, but I think in this case it is what keeps you watching. The fact that the children haven't been edited until every little thing is perfect and if you look closely enough you can see them give each other a quick smirk etc.

It was great to see a DVD with local accents and the trouble that they had gone to to set up the scenery for each particular song.

So what did my children think?

This DVD made a great alternative to having a children's music CD on because I could actually see my children noting the actions to the songs. Years ago, I remember I had this old book which listed the actions you needed to do for certain songs and I LOVED it. I felt really important and loved showing off with my dance moves and actions. Now, after observing my children watching this DVD I have noted the same behaviour. They keep showing different actions to the songs which is highly amusing.

Overall opinion: We liked this DVD because it was almost like taking a glimpse in to childhood to see how proud children get when performing. There's even a section on the DVD to see funny outtakes and how the children progressed from rehearsals to filming. This DVD costs £4.99 which is great value. My children loved the songs and dancing along and copying actions from the children on the TV.

For more information please visit

Review: Stinky the Garbage Truck by Matchbox

Introducing Stinky the Garbage Truck. The ULTIMATE best friend.
The ultimate in boys' buddies, Stinky the Garbage Truck is anything but rubbish! This rugged, large scale garbage truck has interactive sensors that bring him to life in unbelievable ways! With amazing articulation, Stinky interacts with his new best friend by talking, telling jokes ans singing - this garbage truck is like no other. He loves to exercise and dance along to music with his own unique personality.

I was first introduced to Stinky the Garbage Truck through Milkshake on Channel Five. Stinky appears behind the 'Five' logo after every ad break and my children were immediately drawn to him. My 2 year old son wildly pointing at him trying to get my attention to the screen and my eight year old already well-versed in the name of the creature replying "Yes, Stinky!" Stinky really looked the bees knees on the advert showing off his robotic skills and his humorous personality, but I was unconvinced. Things often look so much better on TV and when you get them home they sound very robotised and the movements are unrealistic and jerky. Not the case with Stinky.......

Stinky the Garbage Truck came to our home on a Thursday afternoon and my son couldn't wait for me to get him out of the box. There were lots of wires to deal with in the packaging and this seemed to pose a problem for my two year old son as he jutted out his bottom lip in frustration at me because I was not removing Stinky from his packaging quickly enough for him. Wires removed, he snatched the toy off me with delight and sat playing with him for around 20 minutes on the floor (impressive for a toddler). My 8 year old then got stuck in to the playing; putting his toys in to Stinky's mouth so that they would fall out of Stinky's garbage truck etc.
It was what you could call quite a hectic day as my husband had managed to drive in to a pothole and damage both wheels so in all the rush we failed to realise that the toy had batteries in for a demo mode. It was only the next day when my son realised that you had to pull the plastic tab out did Stinky come to life.....

Stinky coming to life after being an inanimate toy seemed to prove a huge problem for my nearly two year old as he froze in terror and pushed it away. He must have wondered what on earth was happening with Stinky suddenly "coming to life.'

The 8 year old absolutely loved Stinky's crazy movements and I must admit I was VERY impressed. This was every bit as good as it had appeared on the TV and I have included a video I got off YouTube to illustrate how good he is in real life.

Besides the fantastic robotics what I really loved about Stinky was the element of humour instilled in him! He had us all laughing. Particularly when he continuously passes wind and apologises by repeatedly saying "Excuse me!" It's also great fun putting toy cars in to his garbage truck as he laughs and says that it tickles him and then demands that you give him more.

It was also hilarious when he got up on to his back two wheels and sung and dance. The gruff voice he beholds also adds to how funny he is.

Around £65 for this amount of interaction, humour and robotic technology is great value and I will certainly be recommending Stinky to others.

And if you think that is good then Stinky even comes with a 20 minute DVD of him and his other friends having fun! I think this is great for children as it provides more of a background to Stinky and fuels their imagination when playing with him.

A few hours of watching us all laugh and gasp in awe at Stinky and my two year old came round to him again; suddenly becoming very possessive with him. The result is that I now have a war on my hands, as my two children rival to get to play with Stinky first.

Our conclusion: Simply AWESOME! We couldn't be any more impressed. In fact we think Stinky is even better in real life than he appears on TV. WE LOVE STINKY!!

Available from Argos
For more info on stockists please telephone: 01628 500303