31 March 2020

Easter Gift Ideas for Children

It's almost Easter time and the kids seem to receive an abundance of chocolate eggs which sit around for ages. Don't get me wrong, I do love a good chocolate Easter egg however there's so many more gift ideas out there now for an Easter treat so it's worth looking around.

I've put together a little list of alternative Easter gift ideas for children. Please do have a read and see what you think. These are some of the things my kids would definitely like to receive but there's plenty others available to choose from. At least these ones will keep the kids entertained longer than a chocolate egg!

My daughter is obsessed with Hatchimals and loves all the different varieties you can collect. I really like that there is a huge range too as it makes it so much easier to pick gifts and keep miss madam happy. Harlow is currently eyeing the Hatchimals Colleggtibles Spring Bouquet which I think is such a brilliant idea.

The spring bouquet has 6 Hatchimals with one already hatched and ready to play. The other 5 are hidden inside pretty hatchable flowers! These exclusive cuties have golden wings and are easy to hatch by removing the stem and opening the flower. You can then place them back into the bouquet for a beautiful display. Retailing at £14.99 it's a great little Easter gift that'll last.

We've had a few hexbugs in our time but they're just so entertaining so it would be rude not to get some more. There's tons of hexbug critters on the market to chose from but I particularly like the look of the Scarab and Beetle. The scarab is super fast and if toppled on it's back can right itself again which is pretty cool and the beetle has sensors in it's antenna so if it feels something or hears a noise it backs away and scuttles off in a different direction!

These are the types of toys which keep my two occupied for ages and they retail for around £9.99 so it's a decent price as well.

Bug Box Beasties
Sticking to the theme of bugs, how about a real life bug for your child to look after? Some bugs such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches are relatively easy to keep and care for plus they don't smell or bite like some furry pets do. Cleaning is minimal and bugs can be handled with care and are really very interesting. I've kept lots of furry pets in my day but I'd rather keep insects, they're loads easier.

You can purchase all manner of different inverts from Bug Box UK.

Zuru Rainbocorns & Smashers
The Zuru Rainbocorns and Smashers are a particular favourite as they're already egg shaped! Harlow loves her unicorns and Logan's into dinosaurs so they make excellent Easter gifts. The egg they come in is huge too so always look extra special. The kids love the surprise element and the anticipation of what they're going to find inside which is always a winner here.

Prices vary from around £20 and can be purchased from Argos, Amazon, B&M etc.

Items were gifted for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own. 

27 March 2020

Review: All New Super Wings Toys & Magazines!

Now that the kids are at home a lot more I've been searching for toys and activities to keep them busy, especially Harlow who is only 5 and has the attention span of a flea! We've been really lucky recently and the lovely Super Wings team sent us some of their new toys and fabulous magazines to try out.

For those that don't know Super Wings is a top flight preschool animation, available to watch on TinyPop and Cartoonito. It's a firm favourite cartoon at home and when we go abroad. Each episode follows Jett, the adorable plane who travels the globe delivering packages to children in different counties. On every delivery Jett encounters a new problem that he and his friends must work together to solve.

The Super Wings aren't just regular aeroplanes either: They have the ability to transform into amazing heroes who can run, climb, lift, dig and even dive deep under the sea! Super Wings is a fun show which is full of positive messages (I know it's for younger children but even Logan has a quick glance now and again) – from problem solving and teamwork to educational highlights and cultural diversity, Super Wings is a great way to get little ones’ to work together and think about the world we live in. The new series (series 4) of Super Wings launched on 2nd March 2020 so it'll be available to watch now. Perfect for those home learning moments when the adults need a little break.

So what toys did Harlow get sent? Well we received the lovely new Rescue Riders Playset (RRP £29.99) and one of the new Series 3 Transforming Vehicles (RRP: £9.99). Ours was yellow and called Donnie. The Rescue Riders Playset is from the latest Super Wings product range and coincides with Series 3 of Super Wings Mission Teams called the Rescue Riders. The playset is based on Sparky the Fire Truck and includes; lights and sounds, detachable ladder which can swivel 180 degrees, side mounted ‘water hose’ which can be taken out and attached to the front of the ladder, front hook which can be pulled to assist any rescues, plus pull the side leaver to release Zoe, an exclusive Super Wings character that comes with the playset. It's also compatible with the transforming vehicles, such as the Donnie we received, so Harlow has been having tons of fun putting these all together and rescuing her toy babies.

As for the Series 3 Transforming Vehicles they can transform from plane to robot in 10 easy steps. This was a favourite of Harlow's because it was simple and easy to do and held lots of pretend play potential. Super Wings fans can re-enact and master the transformation of their favourite characters from the popular TV show or create their own new adventures with their imagination. They make for great birthday presents and little gifts. A good alternative to Easter chocolate. There are over 20 characters to collect and some of the new ones are; Build-It Jett, Police Jett, Build-It Donnie, Rescue Dizzy, Astra, Scoop and Kim. All of these toys including the playset can be purchased from Smyths Toys.

As well as these awesome toys Super Wings have also brought out some magazines! Harlow loves a magazine and they're always full of fun educational activities so I quite like them too. They definitely keep her busy. The Super Wings magazine is based on the adventures of Jett and the team and is published by Signature Publishing. The first issue launched in January but you'll be able to pick up the 3rd issue now since we're in March. Every issue of the magazine comes with an exclusive bespoke toy and the magazine is packed with stories, puzzles, colouring activities and much more to keep youngsters entertained. The magazine is available at all good supermarkets and newsagents nationwide so should be easy enough to pick up on your next trip.

Harlow has really enjoyed all of her Super Wings goodies and they've been getting played with regularly and the magazines have been keeping her busy and learning at the same time. I'll definitely be buying the next issue!

These items where gifted in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

15 March 2020

Review: Dreamimals - Dream Pillow & Keychain

Every child at some stage will go through a phase of not wanting to go to bed or making a massive fuss at bed time because they're scared of the dark or don't want to have bad dreams. That's where Dreamimals comes to the rescue. The fabulous dreamimals dream pillow helps to create a comfort zone around bedtime allowing for a calming ritual type routine to help settle your child. It's a cute fluffy pillow complete with accompanying cloud notepad where you write down the good dreams you want to have and then put them inside the pillow before going to bed.

Dreamimals are a great idea and allows your child to take control by writing or drawing their thoughts and dreams that they wish to have. If anything it will definitely help improve and promote positive thinking and visualisation techniques which are great coping strategies when we feel a little worried. The comforting cuddle cushion comes in 4 different styles; Original, Sharkie, Lamby and Pinkie, and it's sure to offer soothing emotional support to whoever needs it.

Harlow received Pinkie to try out, who is a super cute sleeping Koala, and she loves it! Pinkie is of course pink but also fluffy and amazingly super soft. Inside the dreamimals box is not only your chosen pillow friend but a set of instructions, storybook and 60 dream wishes (the cloud notepad). It's simple to use as I've explained above but have your child write their thoughts or good dreams they'd like to have that evening on a dream wishes cloud, take it off and put it inside the cuddle cushion and hey presto! Good sweet dreams will come their way.

I found it an easy concept to grasp and so did Harlow. When I showed her the box and explained what Pinkie was for she got on board straight away and couldn't wait to try it out. We've had Pinkie with us for a month now and it's a firm fixture at bedtime for miss madam. Pinkie even has a special place on her bed during the day when she's at school so that's always a good sign. Harlow recently had some bad dreams and has been worrying a lot about people passing away (I'm sure they all go through a phase of this) but I feel the dream pillow has really helped alleviate some of that anxiety and steered her towards concentrating on having good dreams and happy thoughts.

Dreamimals dream pillows are excellent for cuddling into and I think kids of all ages will love them. I even had a sneaky shot when Harlow wasn't looking, so comfy! They'd make a great travel companion for road trips and plane journeys and I'll definitely be packing Pinkie for our next trip.It would be rude not to. These dreamimals dream pillows retail from £15.99 which is a great price for something that's going to last. And if you like these there's also the day dreamimals keychain (RRP £8.95).

The dreamimals keychains are lovely little mini versions of the bigger pillows and can be clipped to school bags and rucksacks and taken with you wherever you go to promote good positive day dreaming. It uses the same concept as the dream pillows but for day time instead of night time. Excellent for maybe more worried or nervous children who need a comforting boost to add to their day. Harlow loves hers as she can take it to school and show her friends. It also reminds her of happy thinking if she's ever feeling sad.

I would highly recommend both the dream pillow and keychain to anyone looking to give their kids the best chance at a great nights sleep. If you're having problems with your child getting to sleep then this is definitely worth a shot. Harlow struggles at times and I feel this is really helping. We've tried so many things but this is just something really different and so fun.

Both products have been gifted for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. 

5 March 2020

World Book Day - Books Aren't Just For Reading

World Book Day is always a favourite celebration of ours. We're a house full of book worms and love getting lost in a world of imagination and magical tales. But have you thought about what you can do with a book after you've read it? We often of course re read our books but books aren't just for reading! There's a whole host of amazing and fun things you can do to give life back to an old book. One of those ingenious was is to repurpose a book as craft material. The lovely people from Viking sent us lots of supplies to get us started on crafting with books so I'm going to show you how we got on.

So what was in our craft box? Well we received some stamping ink, ink pad, A4 paper, sharpie pen, paper punch, A4 gold frame, old book paper, an alphabet stamp kit and a special booked called Book Art by Clare Youngs. All of these items were going to help us get arty and create something beautiful out of old books.

My daughter absolutely loves crafting of any form and her one complaint about starting primary school is that they don't do enough crafts ha ha. So to keep her happy we often pull the craft box out at home and get busy. You can imagine her face was full of delight when she received this lovely box of goodies and she wanted to get stuck in straight away.

There are lots of different ideas inside the Book Art book by Clare Youngs to get you inspired for creating some beautiful pieces. There's ideas for making gorgeous buttons or birdcage cards or what about a cute stand-up lion or some pop up flowers. So many ideas to keep the crafting hands busy. Harlow decided to take some inspo from one of her favourite bedtime stories - Alien's Love Underpants - and we set about creating a masterpiece of art befitting of our home.

Harlow started out by drawing underpants on the old book pages so we could cut them out and use for our aliens. We then stuck the underpants to come colour A4 paper and drew the aliens around them. They looked really good and Harlow was so pleased with the outcome. We needed a background piece of paper for our work so Harlow chose a dark blue to compliment the Alien's Love Underpants story book. It worked really well and when we stuck the aliens down they really popped with their cool underpants.

Next up Harlow was desperate to get stuck into the ink and alphabet stamp kit. She chose some letter and randomly stamped them around the dark blue paper so it kind of resembled stars. She also used the little paper punches and put a piece of white paper at the back to add a bit of contrast to the piece. We also thought it would be best to include a planet of some sort and an alien space ship which we covered in some old book pages to tie in with the alien's underpants. It really was all coming together and considering Harlow is only 5 she had some great ideas.

Before we finished up and framed our piece Harlow decided she needed to put some finger prints on one of the aliens and some love hearts on the other from the stamp kit. I feel this really brought the aliens to life. So fabulous and arty. Last but not least, like any good artist, Harlow signed her work and framed it. She was so so pleased with herself and I think it's pretty fabulous. It now has pride of place in our living room for all to see.

Although this might not be conventional crafting it's definitely great to get little ones involved and when they pop off to Granny's or even have a nap you can get stuck into the more trickier book art like fruit sculptures hanging decorations. It's a great way to use up old books and who knows it might even give you a little hobby on the way.

Harlow loved making her Alien's Love Underpants picture and we've a few supplies left which I'm sure will be getting used again soon. It's a relatively low cost activity which keeps the kids busy and gets them thinking of their favoruite books whilst using up old ones. Win win!

The stationery was gifted for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.  


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