Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Review - Casdon Supermarket Till. Role play fun with working till functions

Casdon Supermarket Till Review

When the Casdon Supermarket Till arrived it was a fight as to who got the first go! 

 Of all the role play games, playing shops is by far the best and most played game in our house. The two youngest couldn't wait to get set up and start playing straight away. 

The till features a fully working drawer with money, a chip and pin machine, shopping scanner, working screen, microphone and comes with some play food too. 



Credit card

Play money 

Play food

For every till function there is a sound. Like when the chip and pin machine is being used or you are putting prices into the till. The working microphone was also great and Thing 5 loved calling for someone to 'come and help on Till number 1'! 

The food that is included is a great start to the supermarket experience and then the children soon raided the kitchen cupboard for more supplies for their game. Also included is the play money so the shoppers can pay for their shopping, the till drawer makes a noise when it opens too. 

The working scanner is great for scanning the food products through, this was used lots on it's first time out of the box, I think Thing 4 loved scanning everything through the till like he sees the shop assistants do it in the real shops. 

The till brought endless hours of fun for the children and it was great to see them interact and play together. Taking it in turns to be the shopper and then shopkeeper. It also helped with their maths when it came to counting out coins or using the till to price up the shopping. 

We would definitely recommend the Casdon Supermarket Till and it will be played with for a very long time. 

The till does require 3 x AA batteries which weren't included. The till costs RRP £17.99 retailer dependant. 

We were sent the Casdon Supermarket till for review purposes. All thoughts and comments expressed are our own. 

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Review - Casdon Toy Dyson Cord-Free Vacuum Cleaner

Casdon Dyson cord-free vacuum cleaner REVIEW 

When the Casdon toy Dyson cord-free vacuum cleaner arrived in our house I was ever so slightly jealous of who was going to get to use it! 

Looking exactly like the real thing, my youngest couldn't wait to get stuck in and try it out. Putting it together was so easy. With just a few clicks the three parts were together and we were ready to get started on hoovering the entire house!

With it's realistic sounds and small plastic pieces that move around inside the cylinder, Thing 5 happily hoovered away for ages. Being just like a grown up and hoovering away, he always wants to use Nanny's real Dyson cord-free hoover when we go and visit so he was delighted to have his own to use at home. 

It requires 3 x AA batteries which weren't included but it can still be used for pretend play without the batteries. 

The toy hoover has mainly be used as a full length cleaner but it can be used, just like a real Dyson, as a short handled cleaner too. Which means Thing 5 has also tackled the stairs and sofas for me in his cleaning frenzy with his new Dyson. 

The Casdon Dyson cord-free vacuum cleaner is aimed at children aged 3 years+ and is so easy to use. It all comes apart with just a push of a red button so it's easy for little ones to be able to change the hoover from one mode to another without getting frustrated at not being able to do it themselves. There are great play opportunities with the hoover and Thing 5 loves following me around whilst I hoover too. 

The cyclone action which then moves the coloured plastic pieces around inside means it looks and acts like a real Dyson, feeling like they are picking up things from the floor as they go. 

It is also very light so can be carried around easily. It also stores very well without being too bulky, it stands on its own too so can be tucked out of the way but ready for use straight away because there is no need to pack all the pieces up or store it out of the way. 

The Casdon Dyson cord-free vacuum cleaner is available from Amazon and Smyths Toys. 

Disclaimer; We were gifted the Casdon Dyson cord-free vacuum cleaner for the purposes of this review. All thoughts expressed and comments are our own. 

Review - Lollipets from Spinmaster

 Review - Lollipets from Spinmaster 

These fab new interactive Lollipets from Spinmaster were an instant hit in our house as soon as they arrived. 

Available in single or twin packs they are a cute little pet with a lolly that interacts and moves in certain ways when you move the lolly in front of it. 

Priced at a very reasonable £5.99 for a single pack or £10.99 for a twin pack they come in a great range of colours and styles and ideal for gifts or treats for the children with a great price point. 

Each pet moves around when you turn it on and you can also move the lolly to make it do different things. They follow the lolly or lift it upwards to make the lollipet hop, hold it to the side to make it dodge or behind to make it sprint. 

With 20 characters in the range to collect you can build a great collection and all of the lollipets are attracted to each other too, love certainly is in the air! 

Each single pack includes one Lollipet, one lollipop, 1 map, 1 sticker and an instruction booklet. The two pack has 2 of each item with 2 different lollipets included. 

Each pet is beautifully decorated and you can get fuzzy, glittery, brightly coloured and pastel coloured ones. Each Lollipet comes with a character card, a map, a colourful sticker and a unique treat shaped like a real lollipop! Batteries are included so they are good to go straight out of the box.

The lollipets have been played with so much since they arrived and the children love watching them interact with each other and move about across the floor. The also see who can make them do more tricks than the other ones too. They are also a great size to pop in your pocket or bag and take out and about with you, great interactive fun on the go. I love it when you have toys that are portable for instant on the go fun wherever you are. 

This cute and brightly coloured bunny lollipet was from our single pack. Watching it hop around is great fun and it's so cute seeing them follow their lollipop and do different tricks when you move the lollipop around. 

The double pack is great fun as you can see the lollipets attract to each other too. The contents of our double pack are featured in the picture at the top of this blog post. A cute little mouse and rabbit set in pastel colours.

Lollipets can be found in store and online at Smyths Toys as well as The Entertainer, Argos and many more stores. Priced at around £5.99 for the single pack and £10.99 for the double pack. 

Disclaimer; we were gifted the lollipets for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and comments are our own. 

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Review - S.W.A.K kissable keychains

S.W.A.K keychains are a fab new toy from WowWee. 

Available in  12 different styles they are an interactive keychain that makes a kissing noise when you touch the lips. 

Each S.W.A.K. keychain is lip shaped and comes with KissTech, a unique sensor technology that detects your cheek and gives you a kiss. The longer you hold it the longer it lasts.

 Each S.W.A.K. comes with a postcard, sticker, and removable keychain. With a slot located at the top, your S.W.A.K. is also a fun way to display your favourite photos or cards.

We were sent three of the designs which include Mermaid sparkle kiss, Unicorn sparkle kiss and Gold kiss. The full range of 12 designs is also featured below. 

The design of each keychain is vibrant in colour and a great addition to any girls collection. My daughter loved the unicorn design the best but would love to collect more and loves the yellow graffiti design too. 

Sassy lips deliver a quick kiss to mega smooch sounds, the longer you press them against your skin the longer the kiss will last. 

These are a great affordable collectable toy for children and with 12 designs to choose from it would be easy to collect them all with the affordable price tag of around £6.99 each. They would also make great gifts for friends too, we are always looking for new gift ideas and the price point on these is appealing and also gives the opportunity to build a collection too. 

Each keychain comes packaged with postcard and SWAK sticker too and has batteries included.

We have found them in Smyths Toys in store and online. With 12 designs to choose from, which one would you choose first?

Disclaimer; We were sent three SWAK keychains in exchange for a review. All thoughts and comments expressed are our own. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Enter the set of Gringotts Wizarding Bank at Warner Brothers Studio Tour London, new to the studio tour in April 2019

New at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London for 2019 – The Making of Harry Potter, for the first time ever visitors are invited to enter the set of Gringotts Wizarding Bank as the Studio Tour unveils its biggest expansion to date.

Officially opening on Saturday 6th April 2019, Gringotts Wizarding Bank expansion will be the Studio Tour’s biggest addition to date and has been designed and built by many of the original crew members who worked on the hugely successful magical film series including Oscar® and BAFTA winning Production Designer Stuart Craig, Construction Manager Paul Hayes and Head Propmaker Pierre Bohanna.

From Harry Potter first discovering Diagon Alley to the famous trio escaping on a Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon in their quest for a Horcrux, Gringotts Wizarding Bank played an important role in the Harry Potter film series. On 6th April 2019, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London will unveil a new permanent addition allowing visitors to walk through the wizarding bank of Gringotts, the Lestrange vault, a gallery of goblins and so much more.

Lined by towering marble pillars, the grand banking hall will be decorated with three magnificent crystal chandeliers and finished with real brass leaf. Inkwells, quills, ledgers and piles of Galleons, Sickles and Knuts will complete the goblin tellers’ desks as seen on screen. The Prop-making Department, led by Pierre Bohanna, created over 210,000 coins for the final two films alone.

Gringotts Wizarding Bank is famously run by goblins. Walking through the marble frontage of Gringotts Bank, visitors will discover the costumes and prosthetics belonging to Bogrod, Griphook and many other goblin bankers. Each prosthetic mask took weeks to create, with every hair individually inserted and veins painstakingly painted by hand. It took four hours to transform actor Warwick Davis into Griphook in the films which included him wearing black contact lenses and dentures with extremely sharp teeth to complete the goblin look.

Once through the banking hall of Gringotts, visitors will enter the depths of the Lestrange vault used to store the treasures of Bellatrix Lestrange including the Sword of Gryffindor and Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup, one of Voldemort’s many Horcruxes. Here, visitors can try out a unique photo opportunity allowing them to step inside the Lestrange vault and surround themselves with treasure.

Entrance to the expansion will be included in general admission ticket price.

  • TM & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
    Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.
    Harry Potter characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The January blues. The longest month ever and everyone’s skint!

January, oh January! Hardly anyone looks forward to January. It's at least a bazillion days long too. However, we are nearly there! 

We’ve just had a lovely Christmas. You spend time with family or go away on a lovely holiday over the festive season and then January hits and it’s back to reality.

You also get paid early before Christmas, which at the time we all think is very handy for Christmas and we spend out on gifts, festive food and decorations for the house. Various Christmas parties and gatherings with work colleagues or friends and families and we are all having a fab time.

Between Christmas and New Year you live off of leftover turkey and Christmas chocolates, you watch endless amounts of films on TV even though you’ve seen them millions of times before and you lose track of what day it is, life is good.

The Christmas tree and some festive sausage rolls, we may have eaten too many! 

Then, BAM, January hits you square in the face. Back to work and school. Back to the every day.

You also start thinking about everything you want to do in 2019. You look up holidays, write a list of home improvements that should have been done in 2018 (and 2017, 2016 etc...), you aim to drink less, eat less and try Veganuary.

By mid January you have either started off really well or struggling with your new lifestyle choices. You realise it’s still at least 2 weeks until payday and  it feels like you got paid about three months ago.

You decide that cutting out alcohol  completely and eating healthily maybe wasn’t a good idea because right now you could really do with a large glass of wine and a bar of chocolate. January sucks.

Then there’s the weather and boy do we love to moan about the weather. Suddenly January decides to throw in a blast of cold weather and the threat of snow which could last weeks and we are wondering what we did to deserve this kind of treatment! I get it though, it’s the middle of winter, we are not going to be basking in the sun so it’s to be expected however we are still going to moan about it.

A snowy day in 2010. Snow is heading our way again soon. 

I’m not saying it’s all doom and gloom. If you are still succeeding in your goals that you’ve set that’s fab. With everything that January throws at us it’s not easy to stay on track with things if you are feeling unmotivated or stressed with other aspects of life.

Also the Christmas period for some isn’t a great time. Family time can bring tension and arguments. Some people are alone for Christmas and a lot of people spend too much over Christmas and then have to deal with it for the rest of the new year. 

If you are dealing with money worries or are feeling down or lonely, please reach out to someone. There is always someone who can help. Whether it's a friend or neighbour that you can confide it, your GP or even The Samaritans who are always there at the end of a phone line to talk. Getting January out of the way may make things slightly easier for some but that doesn't mean it gets easier for everyone. 

So as we wave goodbye to January please congratulate each other on doing so well on keeping to their healthy eating or new fitness regime, don't make people feel bad for trying something new or make them feel bad for not sticking to it but let them know that they did well in trying something new. If you can see someone struggling don't let them struggle alone but lend a helping hand or just an ear to listen, a little goes a long way for someone who isn't having a good start to the year. 

Monday, 28 January 2019

The one where Mum goes all 'home improvement' and gets DIY crazy!

The OH has always been the one to call on for a bit of DIY. Whenever I suggest getting someone in to do some decorating for us he scoffs at the idea and grabs the paint rollers! 

When we did the extension six years ago we did a lot of the work ourselves to begin with. Knocking down the old garage, digging the foundations, filling in the concrete and laying the block and beam floor.

Anything that he can do himself he will do it rather than pay someone to do it! Which also means it takes a little while longer for anything to get done. 

Recently though he seems to have become a bit oblivious to what needs doing or maybe just avoiding it all. So when I recently ordered some paint and paint rollers so I could get on and paint the hallway he asked what it was for?! 

Now I am far from a perfectionist when it comes to DIY, I just want it done. The upstairs hallway is currently grey with a bit of blue and cream thrown in from previous DIY attempts that all were unfinished (I confess, it was me!). The ceiling hasn't been painted since it was replastered six years ago and the loft hatch has turned a nice shade of yellow. So here I am armed with paint, gloss, brushes and rollers and Dadof5 tells the Things I ordered all the stuff for him to do it. 

I could have sent that not so subtle hint of having painting equipment ordered and addressed to him to get him motivated but I was, and still am, going to do it or at least start it! I quite like painting and there's nothing to say that the stuff that was delivered isn't going to stay in the packaging for the next six months if I don't start anyway, sometimes we just need to give them a little nudge to get started! 

This isn't a dig at Dadof5, as I mentioned he is always keen to do lots himself. A couple of years ago he fitted a new kitchen, still slightly unfinished but fitted and perfectly useable whilst I enjoyed the ripping down of the old kitchen. With the help of Grandparentsof5 we laid a new path and gravel driveway at the front of the house as seen here Garden makeover on a budgettore down and rebuilt the fencing in the back garden last summer, I did help with those projects. He fitted a new bathroom downstairs when the extension was completed and a few months ago he repainted our old tired bedroom and built a new bed and furniture, whilst I watched telling him what to do. 


There are still so many projects still to do, albeit slightly small ones and some only decor. I have written a big list which always seems quite daunting but also satisfying when you complete a job and it can be scrapped from the list.

The DIY list is long but as I said it is small projects that can be ticked off quite quickly. A little bit of DIY and paint and the addition of some accessories and it will look a lot better than it does now. 

However, as soon as you finish one you start another and by the time they are all finished the first project you did looks like it needs doing again! 

Grandadof5 has been tasked with making another house bed as seen in Thing 5's bedroom. Now it's Thing 4's turn for a bedroom makeover, more about those in an upcoming blog post. 

Our recent bedroom makeover

Thing 5's bedroom makeover, house bed made by the fabulous Grandadof5

For now I am off to grab a paint brush and get Dadof5 motivated. There's DIY to do and there's no time to waste!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

A blog post a day may keep the madness at bay......... 2019 here we are, let's get motivated!

Its 2019! Streamers, balloons, party poppers, fanfare........

2018 wasn't a great year and I was so glad to say goodbye to it. 2019 hasn't started the best way either and I am one hugely stressed Mumma at the moment. 

Nothing that back to school, pay day and some alcohol won't fix. How I've made it this far through parenthood without a drink still amazes me and others. 

So 2019 the year of my 40s, arghhhhhh. And yet in 2018 I still managed to become a grandma, pretty impressive. 

This year, as with every other year is the year of slimming, money saving and more me time. Which I think is what I said in 2015, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Oh well, one year we will get it done properly, maybe this year is the year?! 

I don't want to set specific targets, I don't want to expect myself to achieve all I set out to do and that may be not the way I should be thinking. I should be stronger and say I WILL achieve everything this year. I aim to be slimmer, I hope to save some pennies and get out and about more with the children and I hope to maybe have a day or two to myself too without feeling guilty about the kids and Dadof5 left at home. 

Previous days out include trips to London which the Things love where we have been to The Shard as well as the London Eye, London Aquarium, Hard Rock Cafe and more. The 2 younger ones love Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World as well as Legoland which are all nearby. 

Maybe it should be I DEFINITELY WILL to all three things. I have lost weight before as shown here in a previous blog post, My previous weight loss journey 2014. If I have done it once I can do it again and hopefully keep it off this time? I just have to be in the right mindset and hopefully this year it will happen, again! 

2019 sees big changes and changes I don't think I am ready for. Turning 40 as mentioned above and Thing 5, my youngest, starts Junior school. This may not seem a big thing to many but he is my youngest. I have never had my youngest child be this old! I always have a baby and toddler to keep me busy. I don't want this to happen. I don't want him to grow up and I certainly don't want to finally leave the Infant school which I have been part of for the past 12 years. Change scares me, Dadof5 is blissfully unaware of this and keeps chirping on about how wonderful it will be to have him in Junior school, how fab it is that the children are growing up and getting older whilst I am a sobbing mess about it all. Oh and by the way, the children growing up doesn't mean life is getting easier, more about that in a separate blog post! 

This year I plan to get out and about more whether it be days out or weekends away. See places we haven't seen before as well as visit much loved places where we all like to go. 

Thing 2 is going through her GCSEs this year so we will be limited as to when we go anywhere. Yes I am usually a bad parent who takes their children out of school to go on holiday but with this being a crucial year for her I won't be doing so. I am also sure it would be frowned upon if we leave her at home and go away without her! 

The Things are growing fast too. Thing 5, our youngest, will turn 7, Thing 4 turns 10, Thing 3 will be 13 and Thing 2 will be 16.

I am so not ready for 2019, I am a few weeks too late in getting started and motivated with anything and the start back to school hasn't gone too well either. 

However, over the next few weeks I hope to turn it around and get started as I mean to go on. Positive, upbeat and motivated. I will also try and blog more this year too so watch out for more regular updates on the Things, days out, home improvement and maybe a few more Mumma 
meltdowns too!

For now, pass me some alcohol and leftover Christmas chocolates. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Salt dough Santa face handprint decorations. A Christmas homemade craft which is perfect as gifts for the family.

Santa salt dough handprint decorations 

Every year I make sure everyone knows about this lovely little Christmas craft idea early enough to get them done in time! They are so easy to do and very effective. I made my first ones 2 years ago when Thing 5 was just a few months old so some of ours are really small and cute. Ideal for baby, toddler and small children's hands. Ideal for the older children to paint themselves although I did get quite annoyed if they didn't do it quite right so I painted the ones we were giving as gifts.

You make up the salt dough and roll it out, not too thin. Press the child's hand into the salt dough and then carefully cut around the hand print shape. Don't forget to put a decent size hole in it for hanging once cooked and painted.

I cooked the salt dough as per the instructions above  and it cooked perfectly. Leave to cool and then paint as follows.

Nearly finished.

 I bought acrylic paints from a local stationers. White, red, black and pink. I painted the back of the hand prints first and allowed it to dry before turning it over and painting the front and around the sides. Leave the white to fully dry before painting on the other colours. I did the black lines with a very thin paint brush and black paint as I tried using a black pen but this ran and didn't look good. Once it is all fully dried I used a clear spray varnish to seal it all and give it a nice shine. Finally I found some lovely ribbon in the Christmas section in my local Sainsbury's that I used to hang them.

All finished and painted with the Christmas ribbon.

They make a fab gift for relatives and it means that each year it can come out as a decoration for the tree, I gave them all a Thing 5 sized one for the tree which was made on his first Christmas. Baby/toddler sized hands make the cutest little Santa decoration. I also found some cellophane bags with gold ribbon in my local pound shop which were ideal as gift bags and I think there were 20 in the pack.

So there you have it. An easy yet effective Christmas decoration that the relatives will love to receive when it is lovingly hand made and includes your child/s hand print.

Our Santa hand prints ready and in their gift bags.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Choosing your real Christmas tree and how to decorate it. What type of tree? What colour scheme?

The festive season is creeping up far too fast and the children are counting down the days until we can put the Christmas tree up and decorate.

In years gone by we have visited a local garden centre and picked our tree. Endless hours stood outside whilst my husband holds up tree after tree to see if it's the right height or shape. Do we go Nordmann Fir or Norway Spruce?. When you are stood in a big open space the tree never looks as big as it does when you get it home and place it in its chosen spot but the bigger the tree the better is what we always say! Even if it means having to rearrange the furniture!

How will you decorate your tree though? Previously I have let the children help decorate the tree. We made it a family tradition to all gather around and pass the decorations out of the boxes and hang them together on the newly placed tree. However, my tree has never looked as nice as I would like it to thanks to my slightly over enthusiastic helpers! Colour schemes went out of the window, branches were overloaded with more than one decoration and the youngest spent most of December undecorating the tree too.

Last year I decided to buy lots of new colour coordinated decorations and try my best to make it look fabulous. Apologies in advance to my mini helpers but I'm decorating the tree myself this year. I have also bought a few new ones this year to add to the colour scheme and we bought new lights as they needed an update. 

Here's our Christmas tree from last year, complete with Amazon Alexa to turn on the lights, no more fighting to get to the plug socket behind the tree! 


What colour schemes do you go for? Do you go for a traditional theme or more modern? Do you put tinsel on your tree? Coloured lights or plain? All these decisions are actually hard to make when you usually don't consider them when decorating the tree so I have been looking for inspiration.

In the two pictures featured are a lovely selection of Christmas tree pictures from friends and the wonderful ways that they decorate each year. Whether you go red and gold, or silver and teal, or just stick with one colour throughout all of the decorations I think you will agree that they all look magnificent and really give some good ideas of colour and styles. 

We are all so excited for December 1st as its always lovely to have the tree in place and decorated, the smell is always lovely and excitement fills the air as it means Christmas is coming very soon. Stay tuned for an update on our Christmas tree and it's decoration once it arrives.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Christmas is what you make it and about the traditions your family share. It's never too early to think about Christmas.

Christmas ornaments displayed in the living room. 

I’m mentioning the C word and I don’t care. There will be people reeling in shock that I’ve mentioned Christmas in November and others that will love the fact that Christmas is being mentioned. Some of us like to be super organised and others like to wait until a couple of weeks before Christmas before getting everything sorted. 

 Every year there’s an argument over when Christmas should be mentioned, when we should start shopping, when the Christmas cards and chocolates should appear in the shops and so on. There are those that think it's too early and others (like myself) that can't wait but I think the majority would say it's too early. 

Some people like to be super organised and will have started their Christmas shopping in the last January sales and I don’t blame them. Christmas can be costly not just for presents but decorations, food, travel and more. Starting early for some is a necessity because they need to spread the cost out. Christmas traditions too. People love to have an opinion on what you are or aren’t doing at Christmas. 

Our yearly tradition was to take the children to see Santa at Harrods. In more recent years we have looked at other places and this year in particular I am choosing somewhere special! 

It’s nobody's business and completely down to you and only you what you do. Don’t let others make you feel bad because you’ve started your Christmas shopping early or you are already needing to book to go and see Santa. Whether you buy one present per child or fifty presents per child. Whether you let everyone open one gift on Christmas Eve. You make a Christmas Eve box. You let the children stay up late on Christmas Eve. 

Yes we have an elf on the shelf but each year I forget about it. This year I may forget too! 

 Who cares! Christmas is what you make it and you only. What you and your family do is no concern of anyone else. We shouldn’t be judging people because we don’t think it’s right. There’s no right or wrong. In my opinion even my own Christmas has changed compared to how my parents did Christmas and sometimes I do think that I myself could make Christmas a lot less stressful and more about just spending time with the family. Do we need 3 trees? Do I need to get so stressed over cooking Christmas dinner? Will the children really appreciate all of the presents I bought and should I just stick with one or two practical gifts? Do what you want to do. 

Each year we all go and choose the tree together and decorate it together whilst listening to Christmas music (followed by a takeaway!), we choose to visit Santa each year and on Christmas Eve we spend the day with family taking the children bowling and for pizza. It's traditions we have made and will continue for years to come hopefully. 

Choosing a tree!

Last years Christmas tree and dining room all decorated and ready. 

It's not anyone else's business what you do, how far you travel, what advent calendar you buy or what you fill the children's stocking with, whether you eat the traditional turkey dinner or not, how much you do or don't decorate the house or if you choose to hide away and try to avoid all of it.  

Enjoy the festive season as it’s there to be enjoyed. To bring families together who don’t see each other very often, to spend time with loved ones and follow family traditions that will hopefully be continued by your children and maybe try new ones if you want to but just have the Christmas that you truly enjoy.