Tuesday, 30 October 2012

WOW Toys - Dudley Dumper Truck Review & Giveaway


WINNERS ANNOUNCEMENT
Congratulations to Janine for winning Tow Truck Tim! You have been sent an email to notify you of your win!

I recently discovered WOW Toys while visiting the Milton Keynes Baby Expo last month, WOW are a company I have heard great things about but until our first encounter, Leo and I had never ever had a play with them.

The chance meeting could not have come at a better time as Leo was starting to get fed up of Mummy looking around and he just wanted time to kick back and have a play, queue WOW Toys making an appearance!

Leo made himself right at home and began to play with a Dudley Dump Truck, he was fascinated by it and began pushing it backwards and forwards. He was putting little Marky the builder who operates the truck in and out of the driver’s seat, and even letting him ride along in the dumper compartment. I gave Leo the time out that he obviously needed but when I tried to bring Leo away form the excitement of the WOW Toys play tent…That is when he almost ran off with Dudley the Dumper Truck….

WOW Toys have very kindly sent Leo his very own Dudley Dump Truck for him to play with at home, and as soon as Dudley arrived Leo could not wait for me to remove him from the wrappers; he had to jump right in and play before he was even removed from the box.

Dudley is recommended for children from the age of 18 months old, but after seeing Leo play so happily with Dudley I knew that he would be a big hit, so at 16 months old Leo is enjoying his very own Dudley Dump Truck. There are no small parts to Dudley and nothing but high grade materials are used in the making of any WOW Toy.


Dudley is a very durable and sturdy toy that has withstood lots of enthusiastic playing from Leo, playing that usually involves crashing into furniture or sometimes even a short flying lesson… Not that I am suggesting that Dudley can or… should fly, more that Dudley has been designed and tested to withstand toddler play.

Dudley Dump Truck is really well made and this is why he is absolutely perfect for a toddler to get creative with, as there is no fear of any small parts coming off. He is as chunky and sturdy as they come. Trust me I know… Leo has sat on him.

WOW Toys don’t require any batteries what so ever, which means no screaming child when the batteries have given up the go for the umpteenth time! Even though the toys don’t run on batteries, each and every WOW Toy still has a great array of exciting features to have a play around with. Take Dudley for instance, he isn’t a dumper truck for no reason at all, he is a dumper truck because you can load him up and then turn the power switch so that Dudley dumps the contents he has been carrying.

The dumper mechanism is easy to operate and reset, to reset all you have to do is push the dumper compartment back into place. Leo hasn’t done this himself yet but I don’t think it will be long before he does, he has been watching me vigorously as and when I have shown him how to do this.

When you push Dudley along you realise that he makes a great realistic ‘vrooom’ noise with his friction wheels, which also happen to be motorised so when you give him a small push it makes Dudley go even further and faster than he usually would. This is a great feature for a toddler as they can really get Dudley on the move, with minimal effort.

Leo absolutely loves playing with Dudley, and pushing him around the lounge has brought endless play opportunities, what Leo absolutely loves to do is take Marky the builder in and out of the drivers seat. Leo is getting to the age now where he is really beginning to play and it is lovely to watch.


I really recommend WOW Toys and particularly Dudley the Dump Truck, I think the play value that can be had out of him is vast, and he is a toy that will grow with Leo and his imagination. It won’t be long before Leo will be creating stories as he plays with Dudley and Marky, and I am looking forward to hearing all of the mischievous adventures that they go on.

Dudley is hard wearing, chunky and fun, making him a great addition to any toddler’s toy box.

Dudley Dumper Truck is an 8 piece set that includes:
- 1 Dudley Dumper Truck
- 1 Marky the builder
- 3 traffic cones
- 2 construction barrels


The set can be bought from multiple online shops such as Amazon, Argos and Tesco. Amazon is currently selling Dudley for £23.78.

Giveaway Time!

In true WOW Toys style, I have a great giveaway launching for 2 weeks to win a Tow Truck Tim worth £27.99!



'Tow Truck Tim here! I’ve just been called out to pick up Rolling Ray; he always get in trouble around WOW Town and it’s me who has to go and pick him up! He’s as sturdy as the rest of us, but doesn’t know his own limits and always finds himself in trouble.
My magnetic winch connects to all WOW cars & automatically pulls them up the ramp – WOW! When Ray’s ready to go again, drop down my clicking tailgate and press my red button to launch him back on his way'.

Contents:

- 1x Motorised truck called Tim
- 1x Detachable trailer with car winch
- 1x Car called Ray
- 1x Girl mechanic figure called Meena
- 1x Boy driver figure called Ben

To enter this giveaway all you have to do is follow the Rafflecopter instructions below!

The giveaway will end on Friday 16th November 2012.


a Rafflecopter giveaway Please only enter if you are a resident of the United Kingdom, After the winner has been picked you then have 48 hours to contact us providing your details to claim your prize. If we do not hear anything after this time period, another winner will be drawn at random.

Disclaimer: I was sent Dudley Dump Truck for the purpose of this review, however all views and opinions are completely honest and my own.



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Monday, 29 October 2012

Meeting Myself, Coming Back

With the clocks going back you find everyone is talking about that extra hour you get in bed. You know… That extra hour we ALL get when the clocks go back!?

I can safely say that I feel cheated.

I most definitely did not get this extra hour in bed, that extra hour to keep my eyes firmly closed. In fact…Leo decided he was going to get up at 5:40am this morning!

Okay so if this was 2 days ago that would be just 6:40am…Only half an hour before my alarm was due to go off for work. Not pleasant but a lot more sociable than today’s alternative.

In all fairness I think Leo was perhaps woken up by his inconsiderate Granddad getting up to go to work, banging around the house, turning on every light imaginable, thumping here and banging there. (One thing I won’t have to worry about as of next week!)

I thought a quick bottle of milk would solve everything, but Leo rejected his milk and snuggles in bed with Mummy, deciding that it was time to get up for the day, much to my horror! I finally managed to coax him back to sleep at 6:30 – 50 minutes after he had first awoken.

So I am now very sleepy and embracing a quiet day in the office. Really struggling to keep my zombie eyes open.

Did anyone else NOT get the extra hour in bed as everyone promised?

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Innotab 2 Review


Kid's technology today is on a complete other level to what it was back in my childhood. Everything is colour and does so many different things to keep kid's learning and entertained all the time. It is no surprise that is has come on in leaps and bounds over the years though, what with all of the latest technology that has come around, kid's are more inclined to take to such savvy toys.

We have been sent a VTech Innotab 2 to have a play with which is a prime example of how toy's have developed, and the Innotab 2 is already the second generation of Innotab.

When the Innotab 2  arrived I heard my iPad breathe a huge sigh of relief in the hopes it may keep the toddlers sticky fingers from dancing all over it, after all this toy is just like an iPad for kiddies and my expectations were set pretty high.

Although the Innotab 2 is aimed at children from 4 years through to 9 years old, I knew it would be a big hit with my 16 month old. Children these days are growing up with this technology and it is surprising how even at 16 months old Leo knows how to swipe his finger across the screen to scroll through and how touching icons will action a command. 

The new InnoTab 2 is a multi-media touch screen tablet for children and comes in two stylish colours, Pink and Blue. It boasts a 5 inch screen encased in durable plastic and rubber bumpers on each corner, as if it expects to be dropped! A lovely touch is the built in 1.3 mega pixel camera, that kids will love to get snap happy with. The camera is on an adjustable lens which allows the kid's to snap photos of themselves which can then be used as their profile photo, or to snap scenic shots by adjusting the lens.



What's in the box?

- The Innotab 2
- Read, Play & Create Cartridge
- USB Cable
- Instruction Manual


So while Leo was napping I opened up the Innotab 2 and decided to get it all set up and have a little play before little man was up and decided not to share. The Innotab 2 requires 4AA batteries to function and you will be pleased to know that battery changes are really simple, by just pushing the release button on the back of the Innotab to access to battery compartment.

The best place to start with the set up is by hooking the Innotab 2 up to the computer using the USB cable, and downloading the 'Learning Lodge Navigator' download to your computer. This download allows you to control everything that you put onto your Innotab 2, and you can then choose the 2 free apps that your little one would like! I found using the Learning Lodge really simple and soon had some apps installed to have a play with. 


VTech very kindly sent a £20.00 Learning App Card along with our Innotab so that we could download some more apps and music. So I wasted no time finding some nursery rhymes to download and put onto it for little man. 

When Leo awoke he wasted no time in taking it off me, and I took the opportunity to try out the cartridge that came with it. The cartridge entitled 'Read, Play and Create' has a ebook, a learning game and a colouring application, providing plenty to do. Leo and I sat huddled up on the sofa and followed the ebook about a dog that moves to the city, which Leo followed all the way through loving all of the animation provided within the story. 

In keeping with the creativity factor that the camera provides there is also a video player, art studio, G sensor, MP3 music player, e-reader, calendar, friends list, notes app and an augmented reality game. Of course you can download more apps and online content from the online Learning Lodge Navigator as I mentioned earlier. Apps retail from as little as 99p depending upon which apps you are after,the nursery rhymes we purchased cost around £6.00.


There are many different apps to suit each child's taste from music, TV programmes and Ebooks, There are many children's favourites such as Peppa Pig and Thomas and Friends that you can download. 

A very unexpected but welcomed feature on the Innotab 2 is that it has a memory card slot, allowing you to expand the memory and fill it up with more apps and games! The initial internal memory is 2GB but it really is up to you how much you expand it by!  

The Innotab 2 even comes with it's very own stylus, of course at present Leo is just pressing what ever he feels like, but I handed the Innotab to my younger sister and she was having a great time flipping through all of the great features and really making use of them. The stylus really makes getting around this tablet a doddle and interacting with all of the features.

On the back of the Innotab is a stand feature which allows you to open it up and freely stand it on it's own. You can stand it either landscape or vertically.

What I really like about the Innotab 2 is that it is promoting essential skills and also being a very enjoyable toy, Leo is always having a play with my iPad and now that we have this nifty little tablet, it means the iPad is having a break. Toddlers are picking up on all of these new technologies earlier and earlier, and although Leo cannot use this toy to the best level yet, it is great for the ebooks and letting him get to know what he can do with it. I don't think it will be long before he is completely accustomed to his Innotab and showing me what to do! 

I can confirm that the Innotab is durable, and is obviously prepared for a few drops and bumps here and there, as Leo has already demonstrated a few times, I wouldn't recommend deliberately throwing it around to see what happens, but it is safe to say the clumsiness of  toddlers and children has been taken into consideration!

The only thing I did find with the Innotab 2 was that the loading time between the apps can take longer than you may expect it too, and I thought his may reflect on a child's attention span, but other than this I thought the Innotab 2 was brilliant. The rotating camera lens is fab and there is hours of fun crammed into this compact hand held.


Alice (my younger sister) has given the Innotab 2 her seal of approval and may even give Leo a run for his money on who get's to play with it more. It is safe to say that there is plenty to do on it and this will continue to develop with the hundreds of readily available apps and cartridges. 


The Innotab 2 is set to be a big hit for Christmas 2012 and retails at £84.99. 

We are really enjoying the Innotab 2 and I know it is going to get plenty of use!


Disclaimer: I was sent the Innotab 2 for the purpose of this review, however all views and opinions are completely honest and my own. 






Toddler See, Toddler Do - Week 13


Last Friday, just over a week ago… Leo’s baby cousin made his arrival into the world. All 8lbs 10oz of him.


We took Leo over to meet him last Saturday, at just 1 day old and I was not sure how Leo was going to take to the meeting, being just a baby himself.

There were no fireworks and no real interest at this early stage. In fact Leo did not look overly impressed what so ever, but he did not even blink an eye lid when I had a cuddle with my little nephew.

This week my brother brought baby around to see everyone, and when he cried his tiny newborn cry that is what finally sparked some recognition with Leo. Leo stood and just stared at the noise coming from the car seat, trying to work out what it was and why that noise was happening. But as soon as Joshie stopped crying….Leo’s interest retreated to nothing.

Leo cannot fathom why little Joshie is getting bottles of milk when he isn't and has even tried to climb over to his baby cousin and take away his milk supply, so that he can have it for himself!

Leo's understanding is continuing to develop and I have heard a few new words over the last week. One that really pulled on a heart string was 'Daddy'. He has only said this once but it was definitive and there is no quibbling it. He said it.

I am just waiting for the day that he says 'Mummy' as this is the cutest word in the whole world. At present we still get 'Mum' and I am longing for the extra syllables.

The other word that passed Leo's lips was 'Hello' as he ran full pout from the lounge to the front door as he heard a knocking. As soon as the door opened he released his new word on the un-expected guests standing just outside. They looked really impressed with Leo's extravagant welcome and were soon cooing all over him.

The kind of attention little man loves!

I have also noticed that Leo is paying more attention to the word 'No'  in recent weeks, and by using a meaningful tone along with this powerful world, he knows I mean business. When I have been telling Leo not to do something, his bottom lip curls over and he then runs off to the nearest hiding place for a little sulk, which is usually behind one of the arm chairs or behind a cabinet. Of course it does not take him long to forgive me and I always go and get him for a little cuddle to let him know that all is forgotten.

Sometimes saying 'No' to Leo will result in a temper tantrum, the kind where you have to make sure he is lay down on the floor for as he goes all floppy so that he can throw himself down in anger. Leo has taken to throwing himself down to sitting and then backwards just to let me know how much he disapproves with me. 

But then there are moments where he is as good as gold, just like when we took him for his very first hair cut last weekend!

What has been really lovely over the past few weeks is that Leo will bring up books to look through with you. He will hand you the book or the toy he is wanting to play with and he will put his arms up to be picked up. Leo will then sit there contently on your lap until he decides that it is time to move onto the next book or toy. 

We have been playing with the shape sorter as this has quickly become one of his favourite toys. He loves to open up the lid and get out all of the coloured shapes and numbers, and he will then try and post them through the holes to put them back inside. He can get pretty frustrated when playing with it but he beams from ear to ear when he get's one right and it goes into the slot!


What have your little one's been up to this week? Any big moments?

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Friday, 26 October 2012

The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Review


Everything and everyone has to come from somewhere, evolve… Well have you ever wondered where Vampires come from? Who the original Vampires were? Well in season 3 of The Vampire Diaries all of these questions will be answered.

Season 3 consists of 22 episodes spread out over 4 disks, and the storyline focuses on Klaus (who we were first introduced to back in season 2) one of the original Vampires and his relationship with the original family.

Which we soon come to realise is a little dysfunctional!

We pick up with Elena at her 18 birthday where we see that Stephan is still fighting his humanity and is not really in the mood to help celebrate. In fact at this moment in time Stephan is still blindly trying to push Elena away, but Stephan’s negative advances actually end up pushing her into Damon’s open arms.

As the season progresses we see Damon and Elena grow ever closer, but it is always apparent that Elena still carries an ever glowing torch for Stephan. When it comes down to it though there is a decision to be made, which brother will she pick when the consequences mean that she will loose the other brother…

Back in Season 2 we were introduced to the Hybrids (Half Werewolf, half Vampire) and Klaus’s mission to turn more werewolves into his own unique species. Klaus continues to spread his darkness all over Mystic Falls in his attempt to raise an army of Hybrids that can preserve his existence for all of eternity, but when his Mother returns from the dead with a mission to lay all of her children (the original family) to rest, things take a turn for Klaus, and not for the better!

You see Klaus’s Mother Esther was a powerful witch back in the day, (dating back 1000 years!) and actually turned her children into Vampires in order to keep them safe. Esther dabbled in the dark magic as they were living in the same town as the original Werewolf family. Esther wanted her children to have the speed and strength to get away from the Werewolves after her son was mauled one full moon.

The thirst for blood…Well that was just an unfortunate side effect.

Season 3 was a very busy season with many bumps in the road, but the season finale was spot on and also offered one last shock before the closing titles swept over the screen.

Elena Gilbert is in transition, and with season 4 she will be a full fledged vampire.

I am now on the edge of my seat and going to have to watch season 4 very soon!

You can purchase The Vampire Diaries Season 3 for £19.49 At Amazon.

Disclaimer: I was sent The Vampire Diaries Season 3 for the purpose of this review however all views and opinions are completely honest and my own.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

What's that coming over the hill?

After over a year of umming and arhhging over whether we could in fact buy a house for our little family, we decided that it was far from any idea of realistic. Over the past few months we began to reluctantly look at rental properties, most of which were far from perfect.

I could be compared to Goldilocks at times with the reasons I gave for not liking homes, too small, too claustrophobic, dirty, smelly, but I am so glad I did not compromise. I am glad I stood my ground and waited...and waited some more.

Then out of nowhere we found the perfect house. 2 bedrooms with plenty of room to actually live, and the fact we can actually have sit down place to eat is all I have ever really wanted. I had resigned myself to the fact that I was asking for to much, and would have to accept life in a home the size of a postage stamp, but somehow we have landed on our feet.

We have got the house, and the keys will be firmly in our hand as of November 1st!


We even have a small garden that Leo can play in, nothing compared to the garden he is used to but I figure he will still be spending lots of time at my family home. All we need is somewhere he can burn off all that steam that he generates throughout the day, and of course somewhere we can call our own.

What I have found throughout this whole process is that everything seems to be happening so fast, there was no time to sit around and think for too long because everything get’s snapped up so quickly. We had to decide what we wanted as quickly as we could and get our applications in, of course we had no idea we would actually be moving out before Christmas so we have not really budgeted for the occasion.

On top of the deposit and first months rent, we still need to find money to furnish the house. Luke’s Mum has been completely amazing and far too generous; she has bought us a brand new Washing Machine and Tumble Dryer and also let us have the brand new fridge freezer that she had bought for their kitchen (that does not fit in their house). There are still a number of other things on our list such as a sofa and chairs for the dining table but we are getting there.

Although we are slowly getting everything together, it still does not feel real. With all of the disappointment we have had in the past on the housing front, I keep thinking our dream of a family home will get ripped away at any moment. But the applications have been accepted, the references our in place and we are all set to move into our new home, minus a couple of essentials….But we are really doing it.

This is it!


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Cosatto Moova Group 1 - Little Monster Car Seat Review


Last month I was given some fantastic news; over the next 6 months I have been chosen as a Cosatto Brand Buddy which means that with Leo’s help I will be putting some of Cosatto’s products through their paces.

Leo and I have already had the pleasure of taking the Yo! Pear Drop out for a spin and demonstrated the ease of the Noodle High Chair, and this month we have received the very bright and cheeky Moova Group 1 Car Seat in the popular Little Monster design.

This was perfect timing as we were actually in the market for a new car seat, Luke has very recently bought a new vehicle that can comfortably take all of us out, and the only thing missing from this equation was a car seat for Leo to ride along in safely.

I had recently seen the Moova Little Monster in the flesh, when I paid a visit to the Cosatto Cuppa last month; I had come home and told Luke all about this attractive car seat. So we were both over the moon to discover we were going to be in receipt of one to try out.

The Moova arrived in a tell tale box that told me instantly what was inside, Leo assisted me while I opened it all up and pulled out Leo’s new car seat. The Little Monster design is so characteristic, and it suits Leo down to the ground, it is as though it was designed exclusively for him. The Lime Green stripe that goes around the entirety of the frame brings so much colour and offers a great alternative to the traditional Blue that you tend to get a lot of for baby boys.

Leo didn’t even allow me to un-wrap it all before he was trying to climb in and sit down. He was looking at the little monster and poking his eyes. He looked really excited about his new ride.

The seat it’s self is really well padded and even the padding continues to run the little monster theme throughout. The seat belts have padded shoulder straps and the seat even boasts side impact protection which is something that I always look for in a car seat.

The seat features a 5 point safety harness which keeps even my little monster at bay. It is easy to adjust the length of the straps by simply pulling the pull adjustment located on the front of the car seat.

The Moova Group 1 Car Seat is suitable for children from the age of 9 months or from a weight of 9kg which is equivalent to about 19lbs. It can be used until the child is around 4 years old, or weighing around 39lbs (18kg).

The Moova is a follow on car seat from the rear facing range that you use with your baby from newborn, it gives your little one a higher seat so that they can see everything that they whizz past in the car, and the higher seat is designed to ease any travel sickness that your little one may experience.

There is a 3 position recline which I feel is essential for a baby car seat. Leo is always falling asleep while we are out and about in the car so I feel reassured that he is cradled in his car seat, rather than slumped forward, falling all about as he tries to snooze. Even at 15 months Leo is still my baby and still loves a good nap, so I want him to be safe and comfortable in every instance.

I have to admit that up until we received the Moova I had never fitted a Stage 1 car seat before. We had previously got our original car seat fitted by a professional service, mainly to aid my peace of mind that it was fitted correctly so that I could sleep at night... We really were in un-charted territory on this occasion!


Fitting the Moova Little Monster Car Seat

The Little Monster Moova is secured into the car using the vehicles 3 point seat belt, to start securing it you need to pull the seat belt and thread it through behind the Moova Little Monster Car Seat. Attach the seat belt to the seat belt anchorage point and begin to pull it tight. There is a Red clip with the car seat that needs to be fitted as close to the anchorage point as you can get it in order to lock the belt in place.

Luke and I found the installation a little tricky. I say tricky as at first we could not get the car seat in securely and it was moving from side to side when we tested it by giving it a little shake.

The secret to correctly installing the Little Monster Moova lies with the red clip that tenses the seat belt, you have to get as much tension into the belt as you can, by securing the belt at the appropriate anchorage point. This in turn will then make the car seat secure.

I did find the Red clip took a lot of effort to get in securely and the installation process was a little time consuming as we wanted to make sure it was in correctly.

Once it was in place we knew that we had successfully installed the car seat by giving it another little shake, it rewarded us by reassuringly staying perfectly still and sturdy.

When it comes to car seats it is better to be safe than sorry, if you have any queries about your Cosatto car seat you can contact the Cosatto Customer Services.


What do we think?

We have installed the car seat in Luke’s van and Leo is now sat comfortably in the front. If you are going to fit a car seat in the front of any car then you do need to make sure that all air bags are switched off.

Now that the car seat is in place it is very solid and secure, we have recently taken Luke’s new vehicle and The Moova car seat out for a test drive. It was a 2 hour journey each way and Leo thoroughly enjoyed going along and looking out of the front windscreen in Daddy’s car. He is at the perfect height to kick Luke’s CD player and look at all of the lights on the dashboard, so my little monster is perfectly happy.


The whole car seat is so sturdy and stable that I was instantly filled with confidence once it was all fitted. All of the padding and safety features are well thought out and realistic. Not only does the Moova offer a very comfortable ride for your child, but it is safe and secure.

If you do struggle with fitting any Cosatto product or need some advice you can always call their helpline. Cosatto are such a friendly company and they offer a great customer after service, I am sure they will help you along with any queries that you may have.

The Moova Little Monster Car Seat is available to buy from Argos for £114.99 inclusive of free home delivery. 

As with all Cosatto products the car seat comes with a manufacturers 4 year guarantee, for the added peace of mind.




Disclaimer: I was sent the Cosatto Little Monster Car Seat for the purpose of this review. However all views and opinions expressed are my own.








The Puggle Huggle Review & Giveaway!


I recently attended the Baby Expo at Milton Keynes, what I love about these events is the chance of meeting new, up and coming companies. I love to hear all about the work that they carry out and what they do.

The Baby Expo had a mass array of all sorts of companies, and I was very pleased to come across Puggle Huggle.

Puggle Huggle is a company run by Ian and Sarah White, who make beautiful wooden name signs for children. Puggle Huggle first came about back in 2011 when Sarah discovered that she was going to become an Aunty. As the months passed and the time drew closer to the birth of Sarah’s niece or nephew, they discovered that they were going to be the proud Aunty and Uncle to a little niece.

Sarah and Ian soon discovered that their little niece was to be called ‘Ava’ and started to ponder what kind of gift they could bestow on the new arrival.

They started dreaming up ideas and decided that they would make Ava something extra special. Ava’s parent’s love animals so Ian and Sarah decided to create an animal themed wooden name sign for their niece to display in her nursery.

And that was the beginning of Puggle Huggle!

Since then Ian and Sarah have been getting even more creative designing a number of different name designs for many different people. They have put together an Alice In Wonderland sign for Zara, a fairy themed sign for Felicity and a space themed sign for Jack. The list goes on and on, but it gives you an idea of just how creative the Puggle Huggle team are.

The latest addition to Puggle Huggle is in the form of animal name prints, they have an entire alphabet of different animals to choose from to make up your child’s name. They have about two or three letters for each letter so that you or your child can pick your favourite animal out of the selection.

Leo’s name is made up of L – for lion, E- for Elephant and O – for Owl.

The animal characters look fab and are really characteristic in a cheeky kind of way. They are a reasonable size and will look great over a cot or in a nursery, really adding a personal touch to the room.

I am saving Leo’s for his new room, when we do finally move out.


The name prints make a great alternative to the wooden name signs in terms of affordability and flexibility on where you can send them. If you have family that lives abroad you can very easily send a name print over as a gift.

The name prints are featuring in nurseries as far as Tanzania and New Zealand and the list is always growing.

You can purchase a large A2 sized Alphabet Print costs a very reasonable £20.00. The frame is not included in this price but can be purchased as an extra.

For more information on Puggle Huggle you can follow their journey on their official website.
Giveaway Time!

I am pleased to be able to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a framed art print of their child's name. 

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning this prize is use the Rafflecopter form below!

Good luck everyone!





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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Barbarossa Wooden Pirate Ship Review


I am a big believer in imaginative play; I think it is so important for children to be able to play games with story lines that they have dreamt up all on their own. Letting their creative flare shine and their minds spinning the magic, making anything in the world possible.

I have been sent the Le Toy Van Barbarossa Wooden Pirate Ship to have a play with, and this is exactly the kind of toy that will get the imagination dreaming up great adventures on the vast ocean, where pirates walk the plank and treasure troves are hidden.

The ship is very boldly decorated in Black and Red, and features three fabric sails with the trademark pirate skull and crossbones on them. Warning any sea fairer to beware of the pirates aboard who have full use of the working spring loaded cannon with large wooden cannon balls!

Other lovely touches are the crows nest for pirates to keep a look out on the open ocean and a rope ladder for the climb up and a wind up anchor. There is even a ladder with an opening down to the deck below…Where you’re prisoners can be kept before they walk the plank! You can even store all of your pirates inside when you aren’t playing with them! (Pirates sold separately).

The ship it’s self is really sturdy and I would say that it would withstand some heavy handed playing on a toddlers part, and I would recommended this wooden alternative over any plastic one.

There is some assembly required with the ship but I managed to get it all together in around 10 minutes and didn’t find it too fiddly. In fact it was all very straight forward and ready to be played with in no time at all.

So much attention to detail has gone into the Barbarossa Pirate Ship that even I can in-vision story’s to play out on deck. The ship comes as seen and no pirates are included in the pack, I think the odd one or two pirates would have gone down a real treat in the pack but it is easy to locate some wooden pirates online. We have plenty of little people who are more than happy to take a ride on the Barbarossa! They have been sailing all over the living room over the last few days!

There are so many different aspects that are ready to fire up even the youngest imagination. Of course at this moment in time Leo is still too young to really appreciate such a beautiful toy, so this is something that I will be putting away until he is old enough to understand why we should look after our toys, even if it is a really solid toy.

The Barbarossa is a really well made ship, there are no obvious breakable parts and there is no real worry that it will be broken from playing enthusiastically. In fact it was designed so that you can play enthusiastically and challenge your imagination to brace a storm on one of the seven seas.

The Barbarossa Pirate Ship is suitable from the age of 3 and upwards, around the age their imaginations are really starting to dream up some rather amazing stories.

You can purchase your Barbarossa Wooden Pirate Ship from Dollshouses.co.uk for £45.00. I think this is such a reasonable price for the hours of fun that can be had with this ship; it is certainly a toy that will be treasured by the entire family for many years to come.



Disclaimer: I was sent the Barbarossa Wooden Pirate Ship for the purpose of this review. However all views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.



Monday, 22 October 2012

Leo's First Hair Cut


Leo has always had a full head of hair, hair that has continued to grow and grow over the last 15 and a half months. It has got so long that he has often been mistaken for a little girl, with many comments about ‘how pretty she is’. Of course these comments don’t phase me, Leo is a pretty boy, with his long eyelashes, big Blue eyes and until this weekend… Long surfer dude hair.

This weekend Leo had his very first hair cut.

Having Leo’s hair trimmed is something I have kept putting off. I couldn’t bring myself to take any of those beautiful locks away from him. I was worried about how different he may look and an even scarier thought for me was…How grown up he would look.

The time really had come for a trim though, his hair was well and truly in his eyes and I didn’t want to affect his vision, so we booked Leo an appointment and took him along for his hair cut.

I had visions of how this first hair cut would go… visions of Leo being a complete little monster and not staying still enough to have his hair cut, or even sporting a wonky fringe after he suddenly knocked the scissors flying…

I really didn’t expect Leo to sit still for a single part of it, but he surprised me in every way possible and sat so very still throughout the entire hairdresser experience. My worry of an Edward Scissorhand type trim faded as soon as I realised that Leo was just sitting there taking in the experience, and did not even flinch when the hair landed on his nose.

I watched Leo’s hair falling to the floor and began to pick up the strands to put in Leo’s ‘first curl’ trinket.

I had wanted to keep as much length on Leo’s hair as possible, all I really wanted was a little trim to get the hair out of his eyes and to tidy up the back so that he didn’t look like he had just fallen through a hedge backwards! Luckily as my little monster was so well behaved, that is exactly what we got! Leo can now see out from his fringe without it intruding onto his face and covering his beautiful eyes.

The very first hair cut was a complete success, although Leo does look really grown up now, and it has taken me a while to adjust to this new look.

I was there with my camera capturing Leo’s very first hair cut experience, Luke and the hair dresser were looking at me like a I was a crazed women with serious issues. Neither of them could fathom why I was snapping away so readily!

But despite them thinking I was crazy, I have some great photos of Leo’s first trim.



Saturday 20th October 2012 – 15 months old.



Sunday, 21 October 2012

Toddler See, Toddler Do - Week 12


Leo is 15 months old and at the end of this month on October 27th he will be officially 16 months old. I can quite honestly not even begin to tell you where my baby has gone…

Daddy and I took Leo to his very first swanky hotel over the weekend. We travelled to Doncaster on Friday evening and Leo proceeded to spend the whole journey wide awake. I really thought that he may fall asleep at some point along the way, especially as it was dark outside. But no…Leo was far to excited about sitting in the front of Daddy’s car in his new car seat.

Luke has a new van and it allows us to all sit in the front, putting Leo in prime position to reach out, kick and pull at Luke’s CD player. Leo could see everything out of the windscreen and was completely fascinated by all of the lights that came whizzing past. Leo was dancing along to the music and kicking his legs up and down. There was no way he was giving into sleep…

He waited until the last 10 minutes of our journey to finally close his sleepy eyes, and as soon as we arrived at the hotel, Leo was gifted with a second string of energy. The hotel really excited him and he was bouncing all over the bed, running around the room and having andrex puppy moments with the toilet roll…

Leo decided he was going to continue to jump on the bed, and it soon turned into a real game. With me saying ‘Ready…Steady…’ Leo would complete my sentance by shouting ‘Go’ and jumping backwards onto the bed.

Playing is a skill that Leo is continuously developing, and he remembers so much that the games never really end.

Daddy and I were watching fearless Felix jump from the perimeters of space the other evening, and Luke was saying ‘Go on, Jump’ only for Leo to suddenly say ‘Go, Go!’ Of course Leo did not know what he was cheering on, but he joined in all the same and witnessed fearless Felix break a number of world records, including breaking the sound barrier!

On Wednesday I retreated home for my lunch, I sat and shared my break with Leo and we began to playfully pull a plastic dish back and forth. I jokingly said ‘mine’ and Leo said ‘Mu’ and continued to try and pronounce ‘mine’. He has the M down and now just needs to perfect the rest of the word. God help me…the 'mine' phase is almost upon us!

I have found I can tell Leo about objects, insects or anything that may be of interest to him, such as the spider that was sitting on the ceiling while Leo had his bath the other night. I pointed the spider out and repeated what it was and then asked Leo ‘Where is the spider?’ and sure enough Leo looked up to the Spider and pointed out exactly where it was.

The next night I could not see the spider any more, but I asked Leo anyway ‘Where is the spider?’ and Leo looked up to where the spider had been the night previously, searching for where it may have scurries off to.

This demonstrates how his memory is growing and his understanding of everyday occurrences is blossoming.

I don’t know it is possible for my cheeky 15 month old to get any cheekier…But day by day, week by week…He is becoming the cheekiest little monster in the whole wide world.


What have your little ones been up to this week? Anything exciting to report?

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Behind the scenes with Wonderbook: Book Of Spells



Wonderbook: Book Of Spells is a new interactive game that is being launched by Playstation on the 16th November.

You may have heard of the witch Miranda Goshawk from the J.K Rowling Harry Potter series. It is the same Miranda Goshawk that wrote the Wonderbook: Book Of Spells dating back over 200 years ago. The Book of Spells can be found in the restricted section of the Hogwarts library and enables kids to practice various spells on their journey to become an accomplished wizard or witch - think 3D dragons, fire, spells, scorpions and sandstorms!

Behind all of the fun and spells, the game is great platform to promote family reading. Many studies have shown that children that do read with their parents develop a lot faster. 

Wonderbook: Book of Spells from J.K. Rowling, is the first title to use the innovative new PlayStation®3 peripheral, and the latest augmented reality technology to bring books to life in front of your very eyes - making it a truly interactive way to read and engage tech savvy kids in literature, while capturing the magic in this exciting new gaming experience.

I will leave you with this video which goes into all of the magical details for this exiting new game.


Disclaimer: I have been invited to the launch of the Wonderbook: Book Of Spells, and just wanted to share this exiting gaming experience with you.