16 December 2019

Santa's Grotto & Christmas Shopping at the Mercat Shopping Centre Kirkcaldy

Everyone's starting to get into the Christmas spirit and to help us kick start our own festivities, the Mercat Shopping Centre invited the family and I along to meet Santa in his Grotto. Not only this but they challenged us to a shopping spree. The husband and I split up, with a child each, to see what gifts we could buy each other for under £50. It was a great day out so here's how we all got on.

The kids were very excited to visit Santa's Grotto so we decided that would be the first thing on our list to do. We booked in for the opening slot of 12pm and joined the queue when we arrived. It's easy to book your very own slot online for Santa's Grotto at the Mercat Shopping Centre and each slot is a space of 15 minutes where the grotto elves get you ready to see Santa. We didn't have to queue for long but to keep the kids busy there were little tables and chairs and pictures to colour in.

The grotto was looking very festive with lots for children to see and investigate. There were lots of beautiful twinkling lights, reindeers, snowmen, elves, Christmas trees etc. It looked like a mini winter wonderland which Harlow particularly loved. She was so so excited to meet Santa.

When it's your turn to see Santa there's a lovely elf waiting to tell you what to do and the children get to knock on a little door at the side of his grotto and he shouts for you to enter. Adults can save themselves the squeeze and enter via the red velvet curtains. Inside Santa's Grotto is just so beautiful, a lot of effort has gone in to making it look so appealing and magical for children. Santa was really kind and spoke to the children for a good while, getting a photo with them and asking lots of questions. It was lovely to watch and the kids really got into it.

After chatting to Santa for a bit the children each received a gift and we exited the grotto to collect our photos from the elves. It was a really good experience and one which I'd happily take the kids to again. I particularity liked the fact that there's lots of different options to choose from when visiting Santa. You can go for a Visit & Gift for £4.50 or Visit & Photo for £4. There's also the option of having a Visit, Gift & Photo for £8 or a Family Visit (2 gifts, 1 photo) for £11. You can always add an extra child onto this for £4 and if Granny wants an extra photo that can be arranged at £3.50. So lots of different options to suit everyone.

Santa will be in his Grotto every weekend and even right up until 3pm on Christmas Eve but here's some timings and dates to help you get organised and book your own slot. The Grotto is open on the following; Fridays: (Dec only) 1pm – 5pm, Saturdays: 10am – 5pm, Sundays: 12pm – 4pm, Monday 23 Dec: 12pm – 4pm & Tuesday 24th Dec 11am – 3pm. So get booked up for this weekend coming and don't miss out as it's sure to be popular.

Now that our visit to see Santa was all done we headed to the shops! The husband took Harlow with him to get ideas on some gifts for me and I took Logan with me to get some ideas for the hubby. Whilst myself and Logan popped into Home Bargains first, the other two went along to Boots. Logan and I were really impressed with the selection of gifts in Home Bargains. There was a good selection to choose from but we tried to select things that the hubby would actually use. So what did we purchase? Well we bought a tube of swizzles sweet treats for 89p which has all the classics such as love hearts, refreshers etc. We bought a lovely Christmassy reed diffuser for the hubby to put in his en-suite. He quite likes smellies so he'll definitely use this. We got him a bottle of apple cider to enjoy and a jellybean air freshener for his car ha ha. It smells amazing and he'll totally appreciate it. All of that came to a fabulous £5.36! Not bad for our first purchases.

Next up we went to JD Sports. The hubby is a mad Nike trainer fan (he's got quite the collection) and they had loads in stock at amazing prices so I couldn't resist. Logan picked out a lovely grey pair for his Dad to wear and they were only £35!! Such a bargain. I'll definitely be back in future with prices like this. By now we had about £10 left in our budget so what better place to spend it than Poundland. It was Logan's suggestion and he was spot on as there's so much you can buy for so little pennies. We decided to go for a box of mint chocolates, some rosy apple boiled sweets which came in a lovely jar, bath salts to soothe all those aches and pains, some nice socks, some joke booger gummy sweets and a small caution poo sign for outside the toilet as a little joke. This all come to £7 and our total overall spend was £47.41, I was very pleased.

Harlow and the hubby did a great job with their shopping challenge too. They were impressed with all the offers that Boots had on and managed to buy me some Soap and Glory beauty products and got a beautiful free travel mug with it. They spent £17.57 in this store. They then made their way along to Home Bargains where Harlow spotted lots of lovely bath bombs to buy me (she'll probably steal them though!). So what did they buy? They purchased a cute unicorn heat pack which you can heat up in the microwave, great for when I have a sore back. They also got a unicorn horn bath fizzer, Radox bath bomb and Harlow insisted on some poopsie bath bombs ha ha. They bought my favourite Toffifee treats, a gorgeous compact mirror for my handbag and somehow Harlow managed to sneak in an Elf on the Shelf! Everything came to an impressive £13.03.

For their last stop they visited Clintons as Harlow wanted to buy me a card. She picked out a beautiful one along with a little candle and a sweet guardian angel Christmas tree decorations. This all came to £9.54 and the total amount spent overall was £40.14. For 12 different presents I think that's amazing. It just goes to show that Christmas doesn't have to cost the earth and you can still find some great bargains at the stores at The Mercat and on the high street.

We were all feeling very pleased with our purchases and a wee bit tired from shopping so we decided to head home and relax for the rest of the day. Everyone loved Santa's Grotto and very much enjoyed our shopping challenge. The Mercat Shopping Centre always have some fab family friendly events on throughout the year and I'm sure we'll get involved in them again. Remember to book your slot to see Santa in his Grotto very soon as I can see it being popular.

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

13 December 2019

Review: The Magical World of Moji Pops

Back in March 2019 a cute new toy hit the UK shelves, the lovely Moji Pops Series 1! My daughter loves a collectible and she noticed them in the shops straight away. I think our first purchase was a blind bag picked up in a supermarket to keep madam quiet in the trolley ha ha. From then on her love of Moji Pops has grown considerably and we seem to have accumulated quite the collection. Harlow was lucky enough to have been recently sent a fabulous bundle of Moji Pops to review so here's what we thought.

Firstly let me describe to you what Moji Pops actually are. They're small collectible figures made up of everyday objects brought to life as unique, fun-loving characters with an array of colourful emotions based on popular emoticons. From an ice cream to a cactus, a television to a pillow, each 90p blind-bagged character has a removable double-sided face: flip it over to switch between emoticon-based expressions depicting a huge variety of sentiments, or even swap faces completely with another character in the collection.

Kids can choose to switch their character’s mood from sleepy to happy, sad to cool, devilish to angelic – there are six different-coloured face pieces, each with two distinct emotions to alternate between. There are 90 different characters to collect, from the worlds of pets, home, nature, travel, music, food and sport, including six ultra-rare Glitter Moji Pops. We haven't found any glitter Moji Pops yet but miss madam is hopeful.

Harlow particularly enjoyed swapping faces on each character. There is a big variety of emotions to choose from which is great for imaginative play and making up little games as well as expressing emotions. I like that it helps children to recognise different emotions and also introduce them to new ones. We were sent a few different play sets to try out as well as some blind bags and Harlow loved them all. We received the Moji Pops Tree House (RRP £25), Moji Pops Ferris Wheel (RRP £25) and Moji Pops Pool Party (RRP £30).

The Tree House and Ferris Wheel already come fully assembled. You just have to pop everything out of the packaging and you're ready to go. The tree house is super cute and comes with 2 Moji Pops characters (Heggar and Vulfin) who seem to love eating pizza! It looks like a bit of a sleepover tree house as it also comes with little sleep masks for the characters, pizza and pizza box, bowl of popcorn plus table and chairs. Harlow really liked the pizza box because the pizza fits inside it nicely. The tree house itself has some cool features with a rope elevator, swing and telescope to look out at the starts. Lots of imagination play to be had with this set.

The Ferris Wheel is just as awesome and comes with 2 characters, Lony and Icy, who love a bit of ice cream and fairground rides. Also included with this set is a scooter for your characters and some ice cream and candy floss. There's holes in the fair stand to put the ice cream and candy floss in which is a nice touch. The Ferris wheel of course spins around and around and you can put your characters in each pod to have a good old time at the fair.

The Moji Pops Pool Party has to be assembled however it comes with very clear to follow colour instructions so it took all of 5 minutes to make once I got everything out of the box. There's lots of lovely accessories in this pack including; 2 characters, a flamingo rubber ring, 3 cocktails, pool slide, life guard chair plus 2 sun loungers and a table. This set reminded Harlow of her holidays abroad and I think it's her current favourite. The flamingo rubber ring sold it for me, it's super super cute and perfect for any pool party. The pool party set has lots of features with a pool, DJ booth, dance floor, bar area and chill out zone. It really is very cool.

These Moji Pops characters truly love living life to the full! They inhabit a world of sheer enjoyment and the accompanying accessories and toy range aims to bring this world to life, offering hours of role-playing potential for young Moji Pops collectors. Harlow really loves collecting hers and gets very excited when she's treated to a new blind bag. I don't mind buying them either since they're so cheap and it keeps her happy when we go out shopping.

So if you're still looking for some presents for the kids in your life then I'd highly recommend these. They're a nice set to give for Christmas, looks decent and can be added to with the collectible factor and they're reasonably price. In fact I think TheToyShop.com currently has 20% discount on Moji Pops right now so it's worth having a look. Harlow really likes her Moji Pops and the play sets, they're a definite favourite in this house.

We were gifted these items in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

9 December 2019

Review: Don't Upset the Llama Game by Tactic

Everyone loves a good board game on Christmas Day and even better if it's just a bit more fun and a bit different to the rest. If that's you then look no further! I have found the perfect Christmas Day game to play with all the family... Introducing Don't Upset the Llama by Tactic. It's a super fun, action packed game sure to keep your kids engaged and the adults even more so. It's punch line is - Grab It First, Or Get Soaked - if this doesn't speak to kids these days I don't know what will.

It's also National Llama Day today so even better that I'm here to tell you all how fabulous this game is. The family and I were sent it to review and we were so glad to receive it. So what's in the box? There's a Llama spray gun, 64 cards, special dice and some rules. If you haven't guessed already you're going to get a bit wet playing this game but honestly it's all in good fun.

Don't Upset the Llama is really easy to play. You can have between 2-4 players and each game should last around 15 minutes. To set up you simply fill the Llama spray gun with water, shuffle the cards and deal all of them out between the players and the players place the cards in front of them as face down decks. You then place the Llama in the middle of the table. It may be a good idea to have some tissues or a small towel handy as well. The dice is then given to a player to start. You could give it to someone who last got unexpectedly wet! Now you're ready to play.

The players now take it in turn to role the dice. There are 4 different possibilities that can happen when rolling. You will either get to turn 1 card over, 2 cards over or 3 cards over or you could get the Llama. If you turn one card over and there's a horn or spay on it then that player gets sprayed. The player to their left gets the honour of doing the spraying. If you turn over two cards it's very similar. You get ready to check the second card for a spray or a horn and if there is one all players can try and grab the Llama. It's exactly the same for the three cards as well. If you get the Llama when you role the dice though then it's a mad free for all to grab the Llama first. If you grab the Llama on two cards, three cards or the Llama free for all then you can spray anyone you like! You've got to be careful though, if you grab the Llama by accident then you get sprayed by the person on your left. The games ends when one player has been sprayed four times by the Llama. The driest person wins.

We really really loved playing this game as a family. The kids had crazy amounts of fun trying to grab the Llama and spraying Mum and Dad. The laughs we had and the screams of delight and dread were brilliant. We haven't had this much fun playing a game in a long time. It's aimed at ages 6+ but with it being so easy to understand even my 4 year old daughter got involved. We were watching ITV’s How To Spend It Well At Christmas on Tuesday evening and my little girl got super excited when she spotted Don’t Upset the Llama on TV. It's sure to be one of the best games to play at Christmas this year and I'd highly recommend.

If you don't believe me then the game has recently been awarded “Recommended’ status by The Good Toy Guide and acknowledged for encouraging concentration in children. There's also a handy online video you can now watch to get a feel for the game. Check it out on the Tactic YouTube Channel.

This game retails for around £14.99 and as I've said we loved every minute of it. The kids never got bored of soaking us and wanted to play again and again. It's a definite game changer for our house and a guaranteed boredom buster. It'll get the energy going in the room again after being stuffed full of Christmas dinner so it's worth having to hand. Your reaction timing is key so you'll soon find out who's the slowest when they're dripping from head to toe! The Range are currently selling Don't Upset the Llama for £12.99 so pop over a grab a wee bargain.

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

8 December 2019

Review: Bandai Foodie Surprise Food Carts and Takeouts

My daughter is quite crafty and loves to do things with her hands. She also loves collectibles and cute little toys so when we were asked to review some of the Bandai Foodie Surprise treats we couldn't say no. Foodie Surprise are a great invention, you basically collect, create, eat and repeat it's that simple and easy to do.

You might be wondering though, exactly what is Foodie Surprise? Is it a collectible? Is it a craft? Is it a sweet? Will it entertain the kids? Well, the answer is YES to all! Foodie Surprise from Bandai is the world’s first sweet making collectible. Each Foodie Surprise comes with everything you need to make yummy gummy sweets in an adorable collectible. The kids will love making their very own DIY gummy treats!

So it's a very cool DIY sweet making kit with cute toys and accessories included. We were sent a couple of their Food Carts to try and there's four to collect – Pizza/ Sushi/ Ice Cream/ Bubble Tea - each cart becomes the mould to create your sweets and each comes with a sweetie storage collectible and at least 10 surprises inside. This is series 1 and there are 4 different themes to collect in 2 colour ways. You can make 12-15 sweets which are not only edible but a super-fun activity for children come rain or shine. It's the perfect treat to make and share with friends.

If you’re not in the mood for some street food then why not grab a Takeout Box. We also received a couple of the Foodie Surprise Takeouts to try which are so sweet. Each mystery takeout contains all the magic ingredients needed for making your own custom candy creations, plus an adorable collectible character for taking your gummies on the go. It’s as easy as A, B, C a) unbox your food cart or take out b) mix the magic ingredients and create your sweets c) eat now or take to go.

Foodie Surprise is the perfect, delicious treat to keep the kids busy or even as an activity for a birthday party - letting their creativity run riot. Harlow totally loved hers. She got so involved in making everything and wanted to do it all by herself. It was simple to do as there's step by step coloured picture instructions so you really can't go wrong.

I really love the Foodie Surprise packaging. It's so fab they've shaped them like take out boxes and they're very colourful and eye catching. On the side of the box for the Food Carts it shows you all the different carts that you can collect (4 different themes in 2 colour ways). In the top right hand corner on the front of the box it also shows you which cart is inside in case you want to pick a specific one.

The first Food Cart that Harlow opened contained the Bubble Tea collectible number #1901-05, it has the pink and green bubble tea cups. We also had all the moulds, equipment, ingredients and instructions we would need to make our gummy treats. The bubble tea cart was very cool. There's lots of little places to store your gummies once made plus it has straws on the side of the cart and the orange slice because a key chain, such a lovely touch. We got busy making our edible bubble tea, Harlow was very good at following instructions and making each mould. Everything turned out really well, better than I actually anticipated so I was very impressed.

The Food Carts retail for £15 each and they'd make such an amazing present. It kept my daughter occupied for a whole morning and stopped her complaining of boredom. She took care to make her treats and when that was done she happily played with the collectibles. I'd definitely recommend the Food Carts, excellent toy with added value.

The Takeouts are just as lovely and retail for £8. There's 20 different Takeouts to collect and again they come with everything you need to make yummy treats plus a Foodie Surprise Takeout collectible. We got the mini bubble tea and mini pizza in ours so decided to try and make some sweet pizza. It was a lot quicker than making the Food Carts treats but still lots of fun. The gummies didn't work out quite as well as the bubble tea but Harlow had lots of fun getting stuck in and she's already asking for more!

I really think these are great toys for kids, I know I would have loved to have had them when I was little. The DIY element is so appealing to children as well as the collectible side and it's great once the sweets are all eaten you still have something to play with afterwards. I can see I'll be popping to the shops to purchase a few of these for Harlow's birthday soon.

The Foodie Surprise items were gifted in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

6 December 2019

Different Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids

I don't know about you but this year seems harder than ever for picking lovely Christmas gifts for kids! All the nice toys and usual presents are great but I normally love to get something different as well. Something you wouldn't maybe first think of when you think Christmas gift. That's why I've put together a little gift guide with some more unusual ideas on things to buy the kids this Christmas.

The Cool Food School Cooking Utensils
My daughter is almost 5 years old and she has recently taken a very keen interest in helping me to cook. I really want her to get involved but a lot of the knives and peelers I use are far too sharp for her to go near so she has to stick with pouring etc which she isn't happy about of course. So when I spotted these fabulous cooking utensils from The Cool Food School I thought they were brilliant. There's a great safety food peeler which means children can help peel carrots and potatoes without the worry of their fingers getting hurt. The kiddies food kutter is also fab, it's strong enough to cut but the knife has rounded teeth so no sharp edges. I love them both and can't wait to give them to Harlow so she can finally join me in cooking the dinner. The safety food peeler and kiddies food kutter are £10 each and can be purchased online from The Cool Food School. Definitely something different and a great way to encourage independence and a love of food in the kitchen.

Living Twig Indian Stick Insect Kit
I absolutely loved keeping stick insects as a kid. Myself and my friend would hatch the eggs and go out on a hunt round our neighbourhood to find them food. They were good times and it brings back lots of happy memories. I'm glad to see you can still buy something very similar today with this cool Living Twig Indian Stick Insect Kit from Gifts For Little Hands. At only £15 it's sure to bring hours of enjoyment plus it's a great way to introduce young children to a very easy to keep pet. It'll help them learn responsibilities of looking after something which is alive and they are pretty cool. This kit comes with a little habitat to keep your new pets in so it can be used again and again.

Greener Beauty Gift Set
Something I always love to receive for my kids at Christmas time is a nice gift set. We use up shampoo, toiletries and bath bombs so quickly in our house. The kids love them but it's not always a gift people would think of giving. I love this Bobo's Bath Fun Gift Box from Greener Beauty. It has some lovely Child's Farm Shampoo, Konjac Pore Refiner and a Rainbow Waffle Bath Bomb. My kids would love this and definitely use it all at bath times. Priced at £18.00 it comes in a beautiful box with a £10 gift card to spend online at Greener Beauty. Such a nice gift to give.

Tender Leaf Toys Stacking Garden Friends
I do love a wooden toy, they always seem to be eco friendly not to mention super sturdy. It doesn't matter if they get dropped or bashed as they always seem to survive the onslaught of little hands. That's why this Tender Leaf Stacking Garden Friends toy is the perfect gift this Christmas. It comes in a drawstring bag, perfect for storage,  and is full of cute garden creatures ready to stack and play. At £20 it's a perfectly priced gift that'll last through the ages. It's the kind of toy you keep and give to your grandchildren etc. It's available to buy from the lovely Le Jeux Boutique so head over to their website and check it out.

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

5 December 2019

Conifox Magical Christmas Experience near Edinburgh

It's that time of year again! The Christmas music is pumping out of the car radio and you're desperately trying to find somewhere decent to take the kids so they can visit the big man. Have no fear, Conifox are hear to save the day with their Magical Christmas Experience. We were recently invited along to try it out for ourselves and I must say I was pretty impressed!

Conifox have teamed up with Beyond Broadway Productions again this year for bigger and better festive fun. Join Santa, Mrs Claus, Patch & Jolly the Elves, and Rupert the Reindeer for a Magical Christmas Experience. The kids get to write a letter to Santa in the Post Room before entering 5 festively themed rooms: The Enchanted Forest, Toy Factory, Mrs Claus’ Kitchen, Santa’s Sitting Room, and the all new Reindeer Flying School.

Beyond Broadway Productions are well known for their sell out productions of The Wizard of Oz, Legally Blonde and Fame, at The Kings Theatre in Edinburgh. So you're getting proper professionals here people. This ain't no school panto, this is the real deal. Sessions for the magical Christmas experience start every 15 minutes with the whole event lasting around 1 hour and 15 minutes. Every child will also receive a present from Santa.

There's plenty of dates to choose from (Sat 7th, Sun 8th, Sat 14th, Sun 15th, Sat 21st, Sun 22nd, Mon 23rd and Tues 24th) but they're sure to book up quick so get online ASAP to secure your slot. Off peak tickets from 9am to 10am cost £10 for an adult and £15 for a child. Peak ticket bookings from 10.15am to 4pm cost £12.50 for an adult, £17.50 for a child and children under 2 years old go free. Guests are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early so Santa can keep to his busy schedule.

We honestly had such a great time on our visit, the kids loved every minute and everyone was very merry and jolly. Here's a few photos to see how we got on but I'd highly recommend it.

We were invited to this experience but weren't asked to write a review. All opinions are my own.

2 December 2019

Our Dog Friendly Stay at the Four Seasons Hotel near Crieff in Perthshire

So many families like to travel with their dogs now. They are, rightly so, part of the pack and I completely understand that having two beautiful doggos myself. Lexie and Tulli aren’t getting any younger so we’ve been looking at making more fab memories with them. I want to make sure they feel included and no place does this better than the lovely Four Seasons Hotel in the beautiful Perthshire countryside. We were recently invited along for an overnight stay and everyone enjoyed themselves.

The Four Seasons Hotel is one of the best-kept secrets in The Trossachs National park. It sits with one of the most breath taking views in Scotland, that of westwards from St. Fillans across the 7 miles of Loch Earn. A long established independent hotel, The Four Seasons has recently been taken over and is facing a new era. The lovely owner, Susan, and her handsome dog Finn run a welcoming environment for owner and dog alike. We stayed as a family of 6! Two adults, two kids and two dogs, and we were given a cute little chalet for the night.

When we arrived we had a very warm welcome from Susan and Finn. She explained everything we needed to know for our stay and confirmed our restaurant reservation for the evening. We were handed our keys to our chalet which is located on the hill at the back of the hotel and proceeded to drive our car up and get settled in. There's a handy torch attached to your keys for night time, such a lovely touch.

Our chalet was very special as it had been visited and stayed in by the Beatles, all those years ago, so it was lovely to feel part of history. The chalet was compact but it had everything you would need for a family of 4 plus 2 dogs and it was of course clean. There was the main living area and master bedroom as you opened the front door, complete with TV and Beatles memorabilia. Straight ahead was a little corridor which lead to the bathroom, which had a shower/bath etc, and to the left was a cute bedroom with two smaller beds which the kids couldn't wait to get on. One was on the ground and the other floated above it. As you can imagine there was a fight for the floating bed.

There was tea and coffee facilities, plenty of storage/cupboards if you needed it for your bits and pieces and there were heaters in each room so it always felt cosy and warm when the sun went down. Susan was also very kind and left us a welcome pack in the chalet to get us acquainted with the hotel and surrounding area. The Four Seasons Hotel offer lots of different packages from Mini Moons, Hogmanay breaks as well as Christmas festivities and events. It's worth checking out their website to see everything that's on. Susan's beloved dog Finn even left a special letter for my girls to read and enjoy. It was super cute.

Being located where it is the hotel has some lovely walks to enjoy with your furry friend and there's even a newly built play park a short walk away from the chalet we stayed in. I'd definitely recommend bringing your wellies along for the walks though as it is Scotland and it most likely will rain at some point. The views are honestly amazing at The Four Seasons Hotel. Who needs a TV when you have stunning views out over Loch Earn. I could have just stared out at the loch for the whole time we were there, so peaceful and there's always something to see.

When it comes to dinner time the hotel are happy to also accommodate your dog in the restaurant, they have a dog friendly side that you can be seated in which is very handy. The same can be said for breakfast too, you can be seated in the bar area with your pooch. Don't worry if you forget your dog supplies either. There's food, bowls, blankets and bedding if you find yourself needing it.

I love that this hotel is so dog friendly and really very accommodating when it comes to your furry friend. We had a lovely stay here, our chalet was warm and the beds were comfy and there's plenty of beautiful walks in the area so no excuse not to get that much needed fresh air.

This was a gifted stay in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


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