13 December 2018

Review & Giveaway: Maze Quest Books from Carlton Kids

It's so close to Christmas now I bet you're all running around trying to get those last minute presents and if you're like me you always end up buying junk for the kids that they just don't need! So if you're still looking for gifts to purchase and want something that'll last then take a look at these cool new books from Carlton Books.

Maze Quest: History and Maze Quest: Geography are unique stunning illustrated map-like mazes that let you trace an incredibly route around the world (for Geography) or through major events in history (for History) which thoroughly stimulate the imagination and powers of concentration. Each book contains 48 incredible facts which will help your child learn whilst having fun. Logan's favourite types of books are fact books so as you can imagine he was over the moon the receive these and delved right in.

What I love about these books is that you have a fact page on one side and a map on the other, which you can draw on, and even when you've done the drawing part you can flip back and worth many many times and revisit amazing facts over and over again dipping in and out as you wish. It's a great way to get snippets of interesting information into your kids without shoving lots of text down their throats. The book illustrations are fabulous, like I mentioned, and are very bright and cheery.

Logan really enjoyed reading these books in his room before bed but I also made up a busy bag for going up North on a little holiday and included these books in it. He found it very relaxing to engage with both books on the car journey and also in our cottage. It really gave him something to concentrate on. I'd highly recommend them for trips, especially long journeys in cars, planes or trains.

The Maze Quest books are designed for ages 7+ and retail at £7.99. They have 128 pages in them so plenty of book for your money and they won't be discarded after use like some activity books. These books have a little character called George who has a dog called Milly and they guide you on an adventure through each book. It's really sweet and gives children something to follow and look forward to.

The good thing is as soon as you see these books they are very self explanatory and easy for kids to navigate without getting bored. With 48 mazes to complete making one giant adventure the kids will be hooked! Logan has had these books for over a month now and he's still looking at them which is great. And lucky for you lovely readers I have a copy of each book to give away. It's going to be a short and sweet competition to see if we can get these to the winner before Christmas! So enter the simple rafflecopter widget below to be in with a chance of winning. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

9 December 2018

Brilliant Gifts for Mum This Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching this year, faster than previous years I feel! Anyone else feeling like that this time around? Anyway, us mum's do a lot of work at this time of year. Prepping presents for Santa, Christmas parties, Santa's Grotto, ice skating (why!!?), Christmas markets and fairs. It's such a busy time that we often forget to write our own little letters to the big man in the red suit so to help you out a little here's some ideas of what you should be asking for Christmas. Well these are on my wish list anyway...

A New Winter Coat
My old winter coat is amazing but it's getting all ripped now and has finally been relegated to a dog walking jacket (if you know, you know!). So it's time for me to start looking for something else to keep me warm on these chilly winter days. That's when I came across this fabulous jacket from Barbour. I've got a few Barbour jackets so why not add more!

Romance Books
I love a good romance novel and the Pucked series by Helena Hunting is hilarious. It'll honestly have you laughing out load and purchasing all her books straight to your kindle. Highly recommend as a good holiday read or when you've got some quiet time to yourself (as if that'll ever happen!).

Family Photography Session
I've been entering a few Instagram competitions lately and would you believe I actually won a lovely family photo shoot with Diana Baker! How exciting is that. It's not till next year but it got me thinking that this would actually be an amazing gift for us mum's because who doesn't love updated family photos.

Good Old Perfume
Smelling fresh is on top of my list and I am in desperate need of some perfume super quick. This bottle of Scent of a Dream by Charlotte Tilbury smells amazing!! It's expensive but hey ho it's Christmas people. Sometimes you've just got to ask for the more luxurious items when you can.

Xmas Eve Box
It's not just the kids that love a Christmas Eve Box. I really want one too and these cute little boxes from My Pocket Money Toy look so festive. Those cosy socks are right up my street and that delicious chocolate pizza slice has my name written all over it.

12 November 2018

Review: Statement Made Jewellery

I've been growing my little collection of jewellery over the years and I like to add to it now and again when I see something truly beautiful. You might also remember my love of personalised jewellery so when Statement Made Jewellery got in touch to see if I'd like to try out one of their pieces I couldn't refuse!

Here's a little bit about Statement Made Jewellery directly from them: "Statement Made Jewellery was born from a passion for jewellery to have a deep connection with its wearer, to be adorned by all, and to express yourself in new and exciting ways. We want you to feel that what you show the world is exactly who you are, and what better way to start, than with your jewellery. All of our designs are hand picked, wearer tested, positively quirky and designed with the modern woman in mind."

I love their vision as it's absolutely true, expressing yourself through jewellery is like a form of art. It's a way to say this is who I am or this is how I'm feeling today ans the lovely Statement Made Jewellery have lots of beautiful pieces to suit everyone but I'm especially taken with their personalised range.

So I was lucky enough to be sent a fabulous personalised buddha head with round initial handmade customised necklace. The necklace is made from Tibetan silver (silver plated), has a carabiner claw slap and a 18" standard chain although is can be cut to size if you have a specific requirement. You can also add additional chain length as well if you so wish. It's a great thing when you see that a company are so flexible and accommodating with their customers.

This necklace is completely flake and corrosion-resistant (care instructions included) and when I inspected it on arrival it really does look to be of excellent quality. I'm really picky about what jewellery I wear but this little beaut is perfect. It would make a great gift for birthdays or Christmas and comes with a certificate of authenticity, beautifully packaged ready to present as a thoughtful gift. The pink drawstring back is also ideal to keep your necklace safe and clean when you're not wearing.

I've been wearing this necklace for just over a week now and it goes brilliantly with everything. Not matter if I'm casual or in work attire it still fits in plus it's very comfortable to wear. I have quite sensitive skin and some jewellery can make me break out in a rash but not this, it's been great. Also the price point for me is so reasonable, this necklace only costs £14.90 and that includes the personalised letter with it! Total bargain.

A really nice touch is that the necklace also comes with a certificate of authenticity and has the care instructions on the back to make sure you get the most from your jewellery. It's the little things like this that really make me fond of small businesses.

I really would recommend Statement Made Jewellery to family and friends. The quality is there, the price point is amazing and there's just tons of choice. I can even pick some buddha earrings to go with my new necklace is I want. So do check them out at statementmadejewellery.com, especially in the run up to Christmas as there's some lovely gift ideas for loved ones.

I was sent this necklace in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

8 November 2018

My favourite photos from our last trip to the Highlands

In July the family and I visited our much loved cottage near Wick, in the Scottish Highlands, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite photos from that last trip. We'll be visiting again in a few weeks so I really wanted to remind myself how much fun we have up North as a family.

For those of you that don't know the cottage we visit is a Landmark Trust Property and they've done such an amazing job of restoring it and looking after it from when it was acquired back in 2010. There's two cottages you can hire, a small one bed or the bigger three bed that we always go for. A lot of the Landmark Trust properties allow dogs as well, which is fantastic, so we always take the girls. It's a special little holiday for them too and they absolutely love it.

One of the highlights of our stay in the cottage is getting to use the log burning fire. The kids are always super excited to get in and get the fire going with their Dad. Wood can be purchased from local shops or the big Tesco in Wick however we normally bring a bag of our own for convenience and because the kids are impatient!

The cottage also sits on a gorgeous pebbled beach that's frequented by Barry the seal and other amazing wildlife. We always see something different on our visits and one highlight was watching the rescue helicopter practice it's life saving skills in the sea right outside the cottage door. The kids (and us adults) were amazed! There's plenty of castles and castle ruins to explore around the area as well so you'll never be stuck for something to do. We really do love it here.

6 November 2018

Review & Giveaway: Orchard Toys Giraffes in Scarves

Orchard Toys have recently released another brilliant new game to the market for our kids and it definitely doesn't disappoint. We have a massive box of Orchard Toys games in the house and they never get old. We're constantly dipping in and out and they're our most used go to games when the kids get bored. So in true Orchard Toys style the fabulous newly released Giraffes in Scarves is colourful, engaging and ever so cleverly educational.

Included in the box with this game are 24 neck cards, 6 head cards, 6 base boards, 1 colour dice and instruction leaflet. From the box you can see that Giraffes in Scarves is quite a self explanatory game which is great for kids to get stuck right in but as a quick start guide you can; 1 - choose a base board, roll the dice and find a matching card, 2 - turn the card over and add the neck to your giraffe and 3 - the winner is the player whose giraffe is wearing the most scarves.

To break it down a little for more understanding the 6 base boards have different giraffe bodies on them and the 6 head cards (which are the same size as the neck cards) correspond to the base boards so you have a matching head and body for your giraffe. On the 24 neck cards some have scarves (maybe 1, 2 or 3) and some are just plain giraffe necks. It's your job to roll the dice and match the coloured spot you roll to a colour on the back of the neck/head cards. You want to collect as many scarves from the neck cards as possible before you get the matching head for your body. It's really simple to do and once the kids get going there'll be no stopping them.

Some more additional rules for you to follow, if your child is up to it, is if you turn over your matching head card without a neck card then you can't place the head card, you have to put it back on the pile. If you do turn over your matching head card and you have a neck card then you must place your head card and cannot add any more necks to your giraffe. You can still turn over cards on your next turn though to stop other players collecting more necks. So if you happen to turn over another players matching head card on the next turn (and you already have your head card) then you can place their head card on their giraffe to stop them from collecting any more necks. I like a good bit of tactics in a game.

Giraffes in Scarves is the perfect game for ages 4-7 years and can have up to 6 players at a time. My son who's 8 still very much enjoyed this game and delighted in trying to beat myself and his sister with the most scarves. It's also a great size for taking on holiday with you. The box is compact so hardly takes up any space and because the cards are quite big they're harder to lose. If you sadly lose a piece just remember that you can get in touch with Orchard Toys and they'll replace your missing piece for free! Amazing isn't it.

The educational side of this game is really good and one reason why I just love Orchard Toys. Giraffes in Scarves helps to reinforce colour matching skills, encourages counting skills as well as promoting turn taking. The pieces of the game are nice and sturdy for little hands as well so I definitely recommend as a great addition to any family games night for younger children.

Luckily for all you lovely readers I have a Giraffes in Scarves game to giveaway, just in time for Christmas! So to be in with a chance of winning this lovely game please enter via the rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own.

25 October 2018

Spooky Halloween Fun Around Scotland


It's that time of year again where Halloween is almost upon us! The night's are drawing in, the wind is picking up and the sky has become eerie at dusk. The perfect time for the little ones to get really excited about some Halloween events then. There's absolutely tons of fantastic trick or treat happenings going on around Scotland but I've picked a few of my favourites and ones I definitely think child and adult alike will enjoy.

So read on to see some fun places to take the kids this Halloween.

Almond Valley Heritage Centre
We've visited the lovely Almond Valley site in Livingston a few times now and it never gets old. There's so much to see and do here for the kids there'll be no moaning cries of boredom. This Halloween they also have a spooky trail for your little monsters to follow through the park. There's a wicked witches coven, a vampires dinner feast and some ghostly sights in the old mill. Grab your trail sheet and look out for the clues on your spooky quest. Find your way through a world of magic and shadows with mysteries to solve, games to play, and some scary surprises around every corner.

Get creative in the craft area where you can make spooky masks and manufacture monsters. All of this silly scary fun can be enjoyed any day until Halloween during usual opening hours (10.00-17.00) with no need to book in advance.

There's also a couple of very special specific events happening on 26th October and 27th October. Details are below for those brave enough...

Friday Fright Night - 26th October - from 18.00 to 21.00
A little extra horror once the sun goes down, with a scary surprise around every corner, ghost trains to nowhere, and trailer rides circuiting the graveyard. Come dressed to kill. Good family fun, but perhaps not suitable for very young children or adults of a nervous disposition - no advance booking required.

Spooky Saturday - 27th October - the all-day Halloween Party - 10.00 to 17.00
On the Saturday before Halloween there's even more spooky fun going on throughout the day - dooking for apples and other traditional games, crafts and creations, and music for monster dancing - ideal for families with younger children. Open as usual from 10am to 5pm - no advance booking required.

Landmark Forest Adventure Park
If you're visiting Aviemore for the holidays or happen to be passing by then you've got to pay a visit to the fabulous Landmark Forest Adventure Park. Another top attraction which will have the kids buzzing and tired out from a full day of adventures. There's tons of spooktastic fun, especially some weird unexplained happenings around the Wonderwood. Ghost families, terrifying graves of the undead and a place waiting for you at Dracula's dinner table - you're sure to be in for a treat.

As well as the Halloween frights there's the amazing Bamboozeleum full of illusions which my son loves. He made us go round it three times on our recent visit. It really never gets old though. There's also the beautiful Red Squirrel Nature Trail which takes you through the tree tops in the search for these shy quiet creatures. A magnificent Butterfly House full of insects, birds and of course butterflies. The Forest Tower gives you uninterrupted views of the Cairgorms National Park and it is breathtaking. The Wild Water Coaster with it's three fast water slides are a must! There's plenty of space to fit an adult and two kids in a boat but hang on as it's sure to thrill, you may even let out a little scream of delight.

There's so much more to see and do in the park with tons of children's play areas, a lovely restaurant and a cool labyrinth so definitely go for a visit this Halloween.

Blair Drummond Safari Park
Stop what you're doing and take note as Blair Drummond Safari Park have a fun packed HALLOWILD event on full of Halloween surprises right up until 28th October. Not only do you get to experience all the amazing animals around the safari but there's some extra spooky fun to be had. Are you brave enough to enter the Fright Rooms!? Logan (with much persuasion) and I did it. It was quite scary but totally set the scene for a frightful Halloween.

Why not get nice and gooey in the slime making class? Sign up on the day of your visit and away you go, slimetastic! For those not into the slime life you can paint your own animal pet rock and take it home to hide. Harlow loves doing this so highly recommend for the smaller kids.

The safari park also have their very own pumpkin patch where you can choose and take home your own for only £3. And if your kids want to stuff their own bear then visit Teddy Mountain where they can get stuck into the workshop for £14.99 and create their own hugable friend. The experience will last for 15 minutes and the price includes a 16" teddy with a heart, birth certificate and a drawstring bag.

Last but not least a trick or treat trail! Follow a trail with a difference on this self-guided tour.  You'll learn which of our animals were thought to be the ghosts of lost souls, find out who's got vampire fangs and have the chance to meet the magical messengers of wizards and witches. This tour is suitable for all ages. So join us for the treats at the end… and lots of tricks along the way! 

So there you go, some of my favourite spooky events for kids this Halloween. Before to get your tickets soon and join in the ghoulish fun.

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own.

23 September 2018

Review: Disney On Ice Presents Dream Big!

It's been a really busy week for us as a family with lots of exciting things going on. One of them being taking a trip through to Glasgow to see the new Disney On Ice show Dream Big. We were all very excited about this show as we knew Moana would be paying a visit. She's definitely a firm favourite in this house with the movie and songs being played constantly.

The show was held at the Intu Braehead Arena in Glasgow this time around which is great as there's ample free parking, tons of shops and places to eat before it's time to take your seat. The kids were also lucky enough to have a little meet and greet with Mickey Mouse before the show started so we took the opportunity to snap a family photo.

We were all soon settled into our seats waiting for the Disney magic to happen and the kids tucked into their Olaf slushies which kept them quiet and settled (i.e. no sibling fighting, win!). The Fit to Dance crew were soon flooding the ice and getting the kids on their feet before the main act. Harlow loved dancing around and copying the skaters.

Then the show began and we were thrust into a world of Disney heaven with minute after minute of amazing songs and jam packed action on the ice. Each character was full of life and recognisable for the kids who loved every minute. There was lots of special effects this time as well with confetti, bubbles and butterflies dropping from the ceiling as well as smoke, pyrotechnics, rope swinging and even fire on the ice!! We were all super impressed with the fire.

Here's a few photos of the show which I think totally speak for themselves but I honestly think this was the best Disney On Ice show yet and if you get a chance to go along then take it. The kids (and you) will love it and it's one of those places you don't have to worry if they're running around and making lots of noise. In fact the Disney crew totally encourage it! So get along to your nearest show and have some fun.

The production will visit the Braehead Arena from 21st – 30th September 2018.

We were given tickets to this event in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


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