Saturday 30 January 2016

Eco Camping On The Isle Of Wight With Teenagers And Children...

With a large family and a love of Volkswagens we've always been fond of camping holidays in the UK, and one of our favourite places to stay is the Isle Of Wight. surrounded by gorgeous and fascinating beaches, full of history and blessed by far better weather than Manchester, it is also a very affordable place to holiday with a family.

Last August we returned to the Isle Of Wight on our first proper holiday in 3 years. We took 5 of our children and young people down to the Isle Of Wight for 10 days, staying at an amazing short-season eco-campsite that belongs to some very good friends of ours - Camp Wight near Yarmouth on the Tennyson Trail.  

Friday 29 January 2016

Titan Charge Cables - the strongest USB cables available, and they're even pet proof!

Fuse Chicken have sent me their Titan Charge Cable to review. Marketed as the toughest cable on Earth, it was even tested using a chain saw and won. A US company who launched their first product with a ridiculously successful Kickstarter campaign (that raised well over 20 times the proposed launch cost), the Founder and CEO of Fuse Chicken is so proud of his own products that he deals with customer service personally.

My household get through a lot of USB charging cables. There are 6 people aged 16+ here now plus the 2 little boys, which means 6 computers, 6 mobile phones, various tablets, MP4 players, strings of fairy lights and a multitude of other USB items. Micro USB is now a standard and that's great because 1 cable fits all - especially as we all have Android phones - but with all of the use and abuse any cable doesn't generally last long.

Thursday 28 January 2016

Peach Perfect 'Perfectly Inspirational Gifts' Play Tent Giveaway

We like unusual things here. There's nothing better than finding that perfect present for someone who is difficult to buy for. Peach Perfect is a website which specialises in 'perfectly inspirational gifts'. Here you'll find the unusual and sometimes eccentric, there are some items that are generally quite hard to find dotted amongst a few more everyday and traditional gifts.

If you are tempted by a Bee Hotel, a Handmade Wooden Wand, a Gerbera Umbrella or Airplane Nightlight then you are probably in the right place!

The Epson Eco Tank ET-2500 Printer Scanner Copier - save a fortune on buying ink!

The Epson Eco Tank ET-2500 Printer is pretty much everything you'd hope for in a home printer/copier. Equipped with wireless network access, it connects to your computer, phone or tablet via your household wi-fi network, and promises to save a small fortune on ink (average 70% cheaper). Easy to set up and use, I was printing within 25 minutes of opening the box.

Occasionally when you get an email about a review you do a little happy dance. I did a big happy dance when I was offered this household printer - it arrives with enough ink to last the average family over 2 years - 6,500 colour pages or 4,000 black & white pages worth!

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Swap out the sugary snacks and win over £100 of Ricola Swiss Herbal Sweets!

If you are in the Manchester area over the next 2 days and visit the Arndale Centre,  you will be able to bag yourself some delicious sugar-free Ricola Swiss Herbal Sweets in exchange for binning your sugary snacks.

Research about to be revealed shows that 65% of Manchester’s adults are careless about their sugar intake and Ricola want to introduce more people to a lower sugar lifestyle. Expert Dietician Kirsten Crothers will be on hand to give advice and information, and they will have plenty of their Stevia sweetened sweets to hand out.

Monday 25 January 2016

Pip Ahoy! Welcome To Salty Cove DVD Review And Giveaway.

Welcome To Salty Cove is the brand new release from Pip Ahoy! and is available on DVD and Digital Download from today!! Made by Cosgrove Hall Fitzpatrick (the people who brought us Dangermouse and Count Duckula) and voiced by a cast including Emma Tate and Sir David Jason, Pip Ahoy! centres around the inhabitants of the fictional seaside resort, Salty Cove.

Although Pip Ahoy! is most suited to younger children aged 2-6, my boys both enjoy snuggling on the sofa watching it, especially when they're tired after school. It's a calmer show rated as universally suitable, with an easily understood storyline and very distinct, likeable characters.

We previously reviewed Christmas Ahoy!, a special festive Pip Ahoy DVD. Welcome To Salty Cove is the first DVD from the TV Series as seen previously on Channel 5's Milkshake! and features 13 full episodes and an impressive 143 minutes runtime.

Saturday 23 January 2016

Ad | The Isle Of Wight UK Summer Holiday with the #mysterymachineontour

Last Summer we had a fantastic 10 days holiday on the Isle Of Wight, and we took the LEGO Scooby Doo Mystery Machine with us on tour. I posted all of my photos on Instagram and Twitter at the time, but in case you missed them, here's our holiday - the LEGO version....

It's a long way from Manchester to the Isle Of Wight, so an early start, 15 toilet stops, 2 spilt drinks, 1 stalker bee who chased us for miles, and when we boarded the ferry that afternoon Manchester was 10 degrees colder than Portsmouth, and rainy...

We stayed on an amazing eco-friendly campsite, (and I'm not just saying that because it's owned and run by 2 very good friends of ours). I have never had such a fabulous view while I washed the pots, or such sunshine while I ate my breakfast at 6.30am...

Thursday 21 January 2016

Colouring with a big difference! The Cut And Colour Playbook: Seasons by Anouk Boisrobert

The Cut And Colour Playbook: Seasons by Anouk Boisrobert is a completely different style of book to most children's colouring books. Beautifully illustrated and very cleverly designed, it not only challenges your child's precision with a pencil, but it will also help increase their cutting skills. The works of art they end up with will be very different to regular 'flat' pictures, with a real 3D feel.

The pages of the book form layers, which are cut so that part of each page is visible in the end product. Seasons is rather obviously split into 4 sections, and Winter is the first, plus very topical, so we started with that.

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Paper Planes Family Movie DVD Review and Giveaway

Monday 25th January sees the release of Paper Planes on DVD and Digital Download. A bright and funny family movie, Paper Planes is a heartwarming story of friendship and perseverance centering around 12 year old Dylan (played by Ed Oxenbould), a boy obsessed with flying who discovers he has an innate talent for making paper planes.

We were sent a preview copy of Paper Planes to watch and my 5 and 7 year olds absolutely loved it. Full of comedy moments and with a very likeable cast, my young boys laughed out loud regularly at the humour and really related to the characters.

Monday 18 January 2016

Online Shopping For Baby.....

Over Christmas a lot of people I know have made the announcement that they're expecting, and in the last week two of my close friends have announced pregnancies, it seems Spring really has sprung early this year! My oldest child has now reached 22 years old, so it isn't just children that I'm seeing announced by my friends, it's grandchildren....

When I was pregnant with my older children the internet was new and exciting, but quite empty, and I was one of the first people I knew to order anything for my baby online. In 1998 I ordered a step to fasten to the back of my pram for my toddler to stand on. It was very basic, unlike anything anyone in Derby had ever seen, and came all the way from Sweden. I loved my step and it's no surprise they're so commonplace now. The world has changed and become smaller, and if you are looking for baby equipment now you really don't have to struggle to find everything you could ever need in one location.

My Little Pony: The Crystal Empire DVD Review And Giveaway

My Little Pony: The Crystal Empire is the latest release in the Friendship Is Magic series and is available on DVD and Digital Download from today! A very Wintry tale it's perfect for January and is set in the frozen Arctic North of Equestria.

Princess Celestia and Twilight Sparkle uncover a whole new kingdom when the Crystal Empire reawakens. A curse that was placed over the kingdom has now lifted, and the ponies are able to explore the magical empire. The questions everyone are asking though, will it stay visible? And how long before it disappears again?

Friday 15 January 2016

17 Months Smiles....

Unlike January last year, it really seems an incredibly long time since my last update, and that is a clear measure of how far we've come. December 15th now was such a long time ago, a world away from where we are now in January. Full of anticipation and if I'm brutally honest - dread. I needn't have worried though, Christmas was good.

Christmas meant 2 weeks off work and I didn't turn on my laptop or read a single email, which pleased my family and gave me a proper break. We played games and watched movies and all of my family spent proper time together. We even managed an overnight trip away at New Year to see friends.

Thursday 14 January 2016

What every woman wants for Valentine's Day.....(and some posh Triumph undies!)

There is a really simple answer to the question of what every woman wants for Valentine's Day, and to provide it can cost whatever budget you wish, from zero upwards... Every woman, bar none, (and probably every man too) wants ultimately one thing. They want to feel special.

Valentine's Day is only a month away, and hopefully everyone reading will be made to feel special by someone who loves them.

Another way to feel special is new undies. Trust me guys, any woman of any size and with any body shape will feel 3 inches taller knowing her bra and knickers not only match, but still have all their wire, lace and elastic in full working order. If they fit properly and look good, you are already a winner.

Tuesday 12 January 2016

The Dieting Mum...

Are you determined to lose that Christmas weight? Do you have the willpower to shift those baby pounds? Will you be beach gorgeous by July? How long have you been on a diet anyway?

If you're like me then the answer to that last question could well be pretty much all of your adult life. One thing that connects most of us is diets. I know this because we mention it - all the time.

On a night out people people joke they'll be hitting the gym tomorrow. Over coffee they tell you how many pounds they've lost or gained and we all stick to a skinny latte. On Facebook there is post after post of the latest Slimming World recipe or organic seaweed breakfast wrap with caramelised roast root veg smoothie (only 75 calories *smile emoticon*). At toddler group we refuse a biscuit with our coffee. And if you take one, you feel a guilt. I'm overweight....I probably shouldn't....

And the weeks, months and years go by, and we continue to diet (on and off), chasing the perfect that we will rarely find, and keeping hold of it is the equivalent of someone other than Harry catching the golden snitch.

And our children watch and they listen, and they learn.

Monday 11 January 2016

UFO Alarm! Board Game review for age 6+ from University Games

We spent a lot of time over Christmas reviewing some new games, and one of the favourites was UFO Alarm! from University Games. I knew my kids would be interested as soon as I read the description, and after playing I was proven right - it's terrific family fun.

UFO Alarm! Board Game review for age 6+ from University Games

Friday 8 January 2016

Room - Movie Review

Two evenings ago my partner and I went out on only our 3rd 'date' in 3 years. We were invited to attend a preview screening of Room the movie. We left emotionally drained and utterly exhausted, but thankful we'd accepted because it was really an amazing movie.

Released on 15th January, Studiocanal's latest movie, Room, is directed by Lenny Abrahamson and stars the young actors Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. It's so powerful and well-acted that it really does do justice to the best-selling novel from Emma Donoghue on which it is based.

Room tells the story of a young woman kidnapped and held in a single Room for several years. During that time she has a child, and when he gets older they realise they can't carry on forever, so plot to escape. They succeed, and unlike most stories which end at this point, we follow them and find out what happens next.

Testing the Sleepy People Pillow Selector - hot or cold, hard or soft?

When you are emailed about a 'pillow selector' you have to try it, right? And it's only 4 questions, so it just takes a minute. But then when you get the results it's even more intriguing. Will I actually get pillows I love? Are those the right pillows for me?

Tuesday 5 January 2016

DC Kids Batman Unlimited Amazon £100 Voucher Giveaway

Batman has always been a favourite of mine, and my 5 year old has loved him since the first time he clenched his little chubby fingers around a Batman LEGO Minifigure. He's been popular with most of my children, so over the years we've amassed quite a collection of Batman toys, videos, books and LEGO.

Minifigures from the Jokerland LEGO set
Batman and Robin and their villainous adversaries have even helped my younger children to learn to read!

DC Super Friends Early Readers Books

Monday 4 January 2016

ROOM The Movie Merchandise Giveaway

ROOM will hit UK cinemas on January 15th. A very poignant movie from Studiocanal, which will no doubt require plenty of tissues, it tells the story of a young woman and her son, imprisoned in a 10ft x 10ft room for several years.

As her son gets older it becomes more obvious that they cannot continue forever and when he reaches 5 years old they hatch a plan to escape. The movie follows their attempt and what happens to them when they break free, and the little boy experiences the outside world for the first time.

Goodbye 2015...

I can't say I'll miss you either. Hello to 2016...

I'm really hoping that this year will be the turn around. Not for a moment 3 years ago did I expect my personal posts to end up making so many people cry. I didn't think I'd be documenting the hardest 3 years of my life, and that of my partner and children.

I guess that you can only keep wading through the mud for so long, and during the second half of 2015 we tripped over quite spectacularly.