Saturday, 8 October 2011

Review: The Froobles

The Froobles are fruit and vegetable characters that have been brought to life by the magic of children's imaginations. Scenes created by playgroup children provide The Froobles characters with an ever-changing and magical world to explore.

Review: This is a great idea for a book range which gives lots of potential to interesting scenarios and it is an idea which even the smallest of children can relate to. "Imagine if these characters jumped in to your picture" I said to my son and he responded with "I'd paint a park for them to play". So I was aware that this was a book which he clearly understood and so I felt confident that he would understand most of the plot.

This pocket-sized fruity range of books has instantly become a hit in my household. From the minute they arrived my son pulled the books from my hand and immediately started naming each characters fruit, he seemed intrigued with the friendly faces and was enthralled when I announced their names. Before we could start on the book we had to run through the entire back page, which detailed all the characters of the range. The two titles we had to review were 'Tessa Tomato and the rainforest rainbow' and 'Charlie Chilli and the safari song'. The use of alliteration in the titles made these sound instantly more appealing.

The first page we are greeted with is the simple scene which the children have created. I liked the fact that each page was not too busy and contained pictures which really collaborated effectively with the story text. Traditional story telling is also in place with these books as they start with 'One day' which I loved as it reminded me of the wonderful stories I had as a child. Sometimes I feel books try too hard to be modern and fail miserably. This book incorporated modern with old effectively and certainly draws in the reader.

The pictures grab your attention by calling you to assess how they were made; you have fingerprint trees, patterns made with buttons and buttons for eyes and flowers and squiggly lined drawings which are most certainly the 'playgroup children's' drawings.

The characters interact and speak to each other throughout the book which allows you to use your best storytelling skills in putting on various voices which all children love. And the fact that each book seems to have a moral is a lovely aspect too. In the Tessa and Tomato book, we have Tessa realising that although she has missed a rainbow, beautiful colours can be found in everyday things. In Charlie Chilli we have him realising how inconsiderate he has been playing music so loudly.

The size of the books make these very portable for amusing my children whilst out and about and also allows small hands to handle the books with ease and the glossy pages make them feel very durable. On numerous times I have found my son reading these by himself.

Each book also has a sticker page at the back which allows children to continue the theme of the book on a sheet of paper and recreate their own scene which all children will love doing. If you are feeling creative you could even have a go at making up your own story for your child.

All in all, this is a bright and vibrant book collection which has many elements which children will be able to relate to and recognise. Pleasant story plots make children aware of certain emotions and will certainly have them wanting more of these wonderful books.

Retailing at £2.69 these are the perfect buy!

For more info please visit or

Guest Review: AniMagic Benji

From the first moment that she saw Benji, Hannah was won over by his loveable face. Initially she was a little scared of the mechanical noise that he makes as he moves and she preferred to play with him switched off. Happily stroking him as she watched TV, pretending to feed him biscuits and playing "dog families" with him and her teddies.

Three days after he arrived Hannah took Benji with her to her cousins house. When they returned she had overcome her fear/dislike of Benji's noisy mechanics and had fallen for his cheeky nature.

Having been desperate for a pet for quite some time now, Benji is certainly filling a space in her heart, however I am not sure how long this will last as one of the first things that Hannah asked about Benji was, "Why can't Benji walk?" and now four weeks on she is beginning to play with him less than when he first joined us.

The only negative thing that I can say is that Hannah loves to cuddle Benji and when he is switched on this causes his mechanical legs to make a "click click" sound. I am worried that it may break him.

This aside Hannah adores him and he is certainly a very special toy. As first pets go, he is perfect for us. All of the pleasure without the fuss or the worry.

For more info please visit

Monday, 12 September 2011

Where's Moshi? game by Vivid Imaginations

My eight year old son loves Moshi Monsters and so we were keen to check out this game by Vivid Imaginations...

The game incorporates every aspect a child could want. It has the Moshi Monster branding to draw them in, it has a quick set up, simple rules to the game and the game lasts just the right amount of time to hold their interest.

This is most definitely going to be the must-have toy over the Christmas period as the Moshi Monsters continue to get bigger and bigger. And because of the fact that the aim of the game is rather timeless (finding your opponents character by asking questions until you eliminate all but the right one) this is a game that won't just be a fad.

I was quite impressed with the structure of the game board, as it wasn't too flimsy and as the game retailed at £9.99 I didn't expect too much. We have had several games of this since we first had it and we haven't tired of it yet. It's quick to set up and quick to put away.

The only minor adjustment I would make to this game is the part where you have to select your chosen character by placing a green pin in front of them. The only problem with this is that when you have flipped your character down as part of eliminating your opponents' character, if you are not familiar with all the characters then you tend to forget what character you are. So I would have liked a card to set in front of me instead. And also I am worried that the pins will inevitably end up lost. But for future editions of this game, this is a suggestion I would like to put forward.

Nonetheless, for the price of this game we are very happy and will be having lots of fun-packed winter evenings thanks to Vivid Imaginations. Excellent!

For more info please visit

Friday, 26 August 2011

Moshi Monsters Competition - Closing date 15th September

The prize we are offering to one lucky winner is the following:
1 x Where's Moshi? game (£9.99)
1 x Moshling Treehouse (£19.99)
1 x Tin of Golden Moshlings (£9.99)

So how do I enter? Just become a follower- comment that you are now following me/or are already following me and you are entered in the draw. Please remember to leave your Twitter name or email address so that I can contact you.

The competition ends midnight on the 15th September.

Here's more details on the prize:




Moshling Treehouse RRP £19.99

Moshlings like to run and play but also need a place to stay...!

The ‘Moshling Treehouse’ is the perfect abode for your Moshlings, with lots of cool hideaway places and even a basket lift for them to play on! It’s tree-mendous! What’s more, with every ‘Moshling Treehouse’ purchase you’ll get an exclusive Moshling called Roxy

Where’s Moshi? RRP £9.99

Are you Fluffy?...No. Are you Stripey?... Yes! Go Moshi-mad with the all new ‘Where’s Moshi?’ game. Can you be the first to guess your opponent’s Moshling and find the mystery Moshling?! A great gift for any Moshi fan!

Gold Collection Moshlings RRP £9.99

No child’s Moshling collection is complete without this super cool, Limited Edition ‘Gold Collection’. You get 8 ultra-rare golden Moshlings, a golden storage tin and a collector file. Will you be lucky enough to get your paws on it?

The Moshi Monsters toy range is available from all good toy retailers from July 2011. For stockist information please call 01702 200660 or visit and for more information.

(C) 2011 Mind Candy Ltd. Moshi Monsters is a trademark of Mind Candy Ltd. All rights reserved.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Review: 'First Words' Sticker Activity Book by Top That Publishing

REVIEW: The front cover of this book immediately attracts the younger reader with the colourful illustrations and friendly and familiar objects and animals. It's fair to say that upon opening the book each and every page gave my toddler lots of pleasure. We also discovered that taking this book to a restaurant with us has become the alternative to having a childminder as my toddler will sit there enthralled in fitting on the stickers perfectly to their allotted spaces and pointing out and naming the things that he is familiar with.

As a parent I was pleased with the quality of this book, sticker books are usually flimsy and whilst this is so much more than just a sticker book I was pleasantly surprised at the feel of each page as they were very glossy and durable (despite my son being quite rough in the way he turned each page). What I loved about this book is that the stickers had a coloured edge that fitted exactly to the surroundings, so if you matched the sticker up in the right way then when you are finished you would hardly know that this was a sticker book. The stickers are meant to be reusable but we tried to peel one off and it didn't feel so sticky anymore, but if we want to extend the life of using the stickers again it would be great fun for toddlers to use the stickers with a bit of glue. We were more than happy with this book as when all the stickers were placed in the book we weren't at a loss for things to do. There were dot-to-dot puzzles, colouring in to do, words to write and drawings to do.

Like all Top That publishing books I have had so far, this one hasn't failed to amaze me with the variation of activities for children that manage to incorporate fun and learning without the child even realising that it is educational. Further to that, the book actually supports the National Curriculum learning objectives so would be a great treat for your child with the new school term looming!

Retailing at £4.99 this is excellent value for such a high quality book with so many activities to keep your child busy! Will definitely be looking to get more from the range!

For more info please go to

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Review: Explore, Dream, Discover by Charlotte Samiec - Top That Publishing

If you are looking for a book that you can savour over the summer holidays with your children then this is it; inspiring creativity and encouraging a love of travel this is the book to explore, dream and discover with. This book is one from Top That Publishing's non-fiction range and I love the fact that it gives children so much more to think about on their holidays.

The book offers a variety of activities to partake in from drawing maps of your journey, diary pages, a page to note all the new foods that you have tried, a place for you to note down all the bridges you have seen and much much more. There's so many activities packed in to this book that it's hard to mention them all. But basically it is the ultimate travel diary combined with an array of activities which will convert this book in to a multi-sensory scrapbook that will be a pleasure to look back on in years to come. From a parents point of view this will be one of those books that you can give to your child and when you see them filling it in you can have that nice smug feeling that they are actually enjoying partaking in something educational without them even realising it.

The bounding of the book (ring bound) means that there is also plenty of space to expand when your child wishes to cram some of the pages with mementos such as tickets and other paraphernalia.

The book is also great for car-journeys as plenty of the pages require access to a window, so should quell those familiar moans of "I'm bored" for a while.

I guess what I love most about this book is the fact that each activity is actually something that a child can and will want to do. Too often in the past I have obtained books with ideas of what to do with children over holidays and I have ended up scratching my head in exasperation as they are just totally unrealistic, as the ideas would probably occupy them for about two seconds and create a whole lot of mess.

I would highly recommend this book for over the summer holidays as you could actually theme a day's activities with use of just one page. Bear in mind that this book offers you over 100 inspirational activities, games and projects so the fun can go on and on and on.

Hope you are as impressed as I am with the book....

For more info please visit

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Review: Ecover's Laundry Range

Bear with me, because whilst I understand a review of anything related to laundry isn't going to be the most enthralling of subjects there's a reason why I chose to post this review and that's because I really felt it aided healing with my skin. Anyone who has read my blog recently will have read about my quest to eradicate all products which I feel are playing a part in irritating my skin. First out of the window went my foundation followed by anything else which contained chemicals that would irritate my skin.

My mum had mentioned a few times that she thought I should swap washing powders but I didn't - partly through stubbornness and partly because I didn't want to abandon the lovely feeling of bringing in gorgeous smelling clothes off the line.

I suppose I feel I have now compromised because although the Ecover's smell is nowhere near as strong as the likes of Lenor and Comfort, it does offer a delightfully subtle smell which still gives you the sense of satisfaction when you bring the washing in. But also it seems to have made a massive difference in the health of my skin. I suppose it makes sense when you think how you have your face on the fabric of a pillow for 6-8 hours a night, if this happens to have irritants such as a fabric conditioner then it is easy to see why this could affect the skin.

Ecover Fabric Softener £1.79

The fabric conditioner was slightly runnier than your usual fabric conditioner and it was also plain old white. So although it didn't look so colourful in the bottle it did make up for this by having a gorgeous natural smell which wasn't too overpowering but enough to give the clothes a lovely smell and best of all didn't irritate my skin.

It also made the ironing easier and didn't leave any greasy tacky residue on the clothes.

Ecover Concentrated Non Bio Laundry Liquid RRP £5.69 (500ml)

The laundry liquid was unusual in the fact that the liquid was actually see-through and so it was easy to distinguish visibly the fact that no unnatural substances have been put in to these products. The liquid also managed to get some particularly dirty children's clothes clean.

Ecover Bio Powder RRP £3.59

This didn't look much different to other washing powders but the major difference was that it didn't effect me the way that other washing powders do in that they make me constantly sneeze. The smell of the washing powder was far more refined and delicate but was still enough to put a smile on my face through the delightful fragrance. More importantly though, was the fact that it scrubbed up the clothes well and also has meant that for the last few weeks since using it I have suffered no outbreaks on my skin. So maybe I am finally routing out the cause of my skin problems, we shall see........


  • We all know that laundry can be a chore, especially when you have a whole family’s worth of clothes to keep clean week-in, week-out. Did you know that the average family of four washes at least four laundry loads each week? That’s over 208 loads every year! All that water, energy and electricity – not to mention your time and hard work getting it all done.

  • Wear and Care is backed by eco-fashion designer Ada Zanditon, who believes not only in sourcing sustainable materials to manufacture clothes, but also in caring for your clothes to help them last longer while caring for the world around you.

The green credentials for any of you wishing to know are:

  • No optical brighteners
  • Minimum aquatic toxicity
  • Fast and complete biodegradability
  • No phosphates

Also the fact that concentrated laundry liquids come in smaller packets means that there is reduced CO2 emissions in transport and less water used during the production process.

Overall opinion: Highly impressed with the dazzling washing results and delicate fragrances that manage to incorporate all natural ingredients and none that irritate the skin. WE LOVE ECOVER!

Now it’s even easier to get hold of Ecover’s laundry range through our new online store. Visit to start Wearing and Caring for your family’s clothes.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Nick Jr Campaign: ‘Help Dora Help’

Nick Jr. launches nationwide initiative to get pre-schoolers exploring

Nick Jr., Nickelodeon’s leading pre-school channel, announces the launch of the Help Dora Help to bring exploration to life in nurseries and pre-schools across the UK. The campaign, supported by The Princes Foundation for Children and the Arts, consists of a free activity pack, giving nurseries and pre-schools educational activity resources, and the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to £20,000.

The free activity pack, developed by Nick Jr. education experts, follows the Early Years Foundation Stage development goals and provides stimulating learning opportunities with the theme of Dora the Explorer’s adventures. It contains six activity session plans, a practitioner’s guide and other teaching aides to encourage pre-schoolers to use their imagination, solve problems and develop their sense of physical adventure.

The award fund allows pre-schools and nurseries to apply for a grant of up to £20,000 for educational and learning purposes. Runners up will be awarded discovery and learning equipment packages and Dora the Explorer will visit a selection of the successful nurseries. There will also be the opportunity for the nurseries to be featured on Nick Jr.

Tina McCann, MD Nickelodeon UK, said: “As a broadcaster dedicated to offering pre-school audiences the best entertaining and educational content, we’re delighted to continue our support of pre-school education in the community with Help Dora Help. The campaign mirrors the very essence of what Dora the Explorer and Nick Jr. offer children - early years development and personal discovery.”

Nurseries and pre-schools can apply for the free Help Dora Help Activity Pack and Award Fund at

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Review and Giveaway: GOSH Long Lasting Brow Pen

I have been trying to wear much less make-up of late in a never-ending quest to improve my skin. However, there are a few make-up items I really couldn't live without and they are an eyebrow pencil (until I discovered the GOSH brow pen) and mascara. There is something wonderful about having groomed eyebrows and fluttery lashes, something that just makes you feel gloriously feminine.

And so when I was asked to review a brow pen I jumped at the chance as I am always eager to perfect my brows. I have trialled a myriad of various eyebrow shaping kits. I first realised this was the pen for me, when my mum commented on how nice my eyebrows were looking (I mean, who normally comments on eyebrows?)

And so I felt that the GOSH pen had a number of advantages over an eyebrow pencil - these being:

  • It doesn't need sharpening
  • It doesn't smudge or melt in hot weather.
  • The very, very fine brush lets you be 100% precise with your application.
  • The shades are varied and delicate enough even for a redhead like me.
  • It lasts all day so there is no need to re-apply.
  • It's perfume free.
Besides this it is just very natural looking, it is very easy to be heavy handed with an eyebrow pencil and yet with the GOSH pen it is very hard to overdo it.

At £5.99 it is very competitively priced for such a good product and I will definitely be buying more when this one runs out!

And so if any of my readers out there fancy trying out this gorgeous Brow Pen then here are the details:
PRIZE: 1 x Brow Pen for 3 lucky winners

(a) Follow my blog and then leave a comment below saying that you have done this. If you are already a follower then please leave your follower name.

(b) 'Like’ the GOSH UK page!/pages/Gosh-UK/137224756349645 .


Good luck! Hope you like the products as much as I do!

Competition closes on the 29th June

Review: TUMTUM revolutionises mealtimes with clever cutlery and delightful dishes.

Whilst some mess is almost unavoidable with young children, I was quite unaware until I tested out TUMTUM products just how varying the degrees of mess could be. I’m talking about the difference between a full-scale cleanup operation which lasts me around 30 minutes and a quick-wipe over which takes just a few minutes. My usual routine of wiping up spilt milk (and yes, I could cry over it on some days) and removing about a thousand starchy ground-in to the floor rice grains whilst giving Torville and Dean a run for their money after skating across the floor on a squished grape would fill most people with dread at the thought of mealtime . And so after a long day in the sunshine with my children, I was feeling rather drained after all the running about and the last thing I felt like doing was coming home to the madness that goes along with mealtime in my house.

Until I used the TUMTUM products I was quite unaware that such perfectly shaped dishes and cutlery existed and also just how much they could help with quelling the madness of mealtimes. I had grown accustomed to eating my food cold as every mealtime meant that I had to feed my toddler son otherwise all the food would end up on the floor. My main problems were the fact that if I gave my son his usual toddler dishes, he could pick them up easily and throw them off his highchair tray. The cutlery also seemed too small to get any substantial amount of food on which led my son to get frustrated when feeding himself. But then I tried TUMTUM and without sounding too over the top they revolutionised my mealtimes.

So here’s my opinion on these wonderful TUMTUM products that I have discovered:

TUMTUM Trainee Egg Set

Whilst I was fully aware that an egg is supposed to be one of nature’s most perfectly balanced foods, it didn’t seem so perfectly balanced when 20 minutes of eating led to an absolute age picking up the hundredth piece of eggshell and egg off the floor after lunch. Egg had even managed to find itself under my sofa – Yuk!

And then I tried this TUMTUM Trainee Egg set and straight away my son was entranced with the colourful design of the friendly looking animals gracing the egg set. He pointed out bunnies and chickens and then we got on to the most important part of the testing – the eating! He picked up the longer than average spoon (which is also designed to suit the contours of the egg) and I watched with baited breath. Wonderfully because of the egg cup being integrated within the plate/tray and the fact that it has a non slip base it didn’t move about and because of the long spoon he fed himself perfectly. He didn’t have to look far for his soldiers because they were all neatly lined up on the plate too. The look of satisfaction on his face was a picture! Further to that, I loved how easy this was to clean. Obviously when cleaning up after eating eggs you have to be meticulous and so it is reassuring that there are no yucky crevices like some egg cup designs have. Even better is the fact that I can put in the dishwasher!

I was incredibly impressed with this egg set and I can’t wait to show other mums of my amazing find. With its very functional and beautiful design you really can’t go wrong!

TUMTUM Tiny Dining Set with scooping corners

I love how innovative each and every TUMTUM product is. This one is totally unique because of the scooping corners which provide a stopping point for peas, beans or blueberries to be easily loaded on to forks and spoons. I was over the moon at how much these plates and bowls helped my toddler son with feeding himself. And he was very eager to eat up all his food to uncover the friendly character faces beneath the food. These are also non-slip and so far they have stayed put on my son’s highchair without being thrown. Whilst the interiors of the bowls were ultra child-friendly with the characters featured inside, the exteriors of simple colours such as greens or reds made these look very stylish. I’m sure if I was in a competition I could score some points as a trendsetting mummy with these TUMTUM products.

TUMTUM Tiny Double Sided Cutlery and TUMTUM Tiny Beaker

Lastly, I wanted to mention these brightly coloured products which have livened up my drawers and cupboards and more importantly put a smile back in to mealtimes. The cutlery is immediately appealing with its brightly coloured handles and even better is the fact that if you line up the handles of the fork, knife and spoon you can form a zebra character. Turn the cutlery over and realign and you have another character – very novel idea! The cutlery is so much better than the cutlery we have been using for my son, it is slightly bigger and more importantly each fork, spoon and knife is specially shaped (slightly curved around the edges) to keep food from falling off and has I have mentioned above – it worked a treat! My son happily shovelled in mouthfuls of peas and anything else he chose using these cutlery items. Brilliant!

The beaker has put an end to the days when my son refused to drink water – now he can’t get enough from this brightly coloured beaker. The straw helps him slurp his way through his daily requirement of water. Because of the fact that the straw comes in two parts it means that the straw is very easy to keep clean and the curved interior means that no water is wasted. Brilliant!

Thanks to TUMTUM for revolutionising our mealtimes.

For more info please visit