Stoptober – How Did I Do?

Over the past month I’ve been taking part in Stoptober, the 28-day national stop smoking challenge, with the help of Boots who set me four weekly challenges to celebrate the changes I was due to experience becoming a non smoker.

The first was all about preparing myself to go smoke free.  Knowing my smoking triggers, learning how to beat my cravings and giving myself a goal to aim towards.  This week was undoubtedly the hardest with a pounding headache cursing me for the first few days which made me incredibly moody and and saw me have a little bit of a cry on more than one occasion.  I persevered and started stashing money I’d usually spend on cigarettes with the aim of purchasing a new pair of boots by the end of the month.

The second challenge was a lot easier and one that I quite literally stuck my teeth into!  With smoking dulling my taste buds and me being a whole a week smoke free my taste should have been returning to normal so it was put to the test with a tasty Coffee, Chocolate and Avocado cookie recipe.

Coffee, Chocolate and Avocado CookiesCoffee, Chocolate and Avocado Cookies

They tasted incredible and were a huge hit with the whole family, especially Joseph who I’m sure is giving his Mummy a little bit of encouragement here with his “you’re doing great Mum” thumbs up!

In week three Boots sent me a lovely half way treat which was also to be my third challenge, “The Smell of Success”, a lovely bouquet of sweet smelling flowers so that I could enjoy the return of my sense of smell.  This is something I noticed return very quickly especially during week two’s challenge making coffee for the cookies, it’s one of my favourite smells and one that has obviously been dulled for a long time!


The final of my challenges was entitled the “Look of Success”.  Smoking can have a big impact on your appearance, not only staining your teeth but affecting your complexion and reducing the nutrients in your hair but these can all be reduced by quitting.  I received top tips from fashion photographer Claire Pepper on how to take the selfie.

Boots UK Look of Success Selfie Tips

Over the past four weeks I’ve been on a long journey, one that has been extremely hard but with the help and support of family and friends as well as the team at Boots with their challenges I’ve noticed small changes in me that have made a huge difference.  I am now smoke free (and fully intending on staying that way too), as well as healthier and a lot more well off with new boots on order as well as money saved towards to my next target, a MacBook!


Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles Jumbo Jet Review

Joseph has a steadily growing collection of Peppa Pig toys and they’re some of his favourite so he was really pleased with his new addition the Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles Jumbo Jet.

Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles Jumbo Jet

Like most children his age he’s obbessed with any form of transport so the Jumbo Jet instantly appealed to him.  The yellow and red colours are bright, bold and very gender neutral.  The playset comes with the jumbo jet as well an exclusive Peppa Pig figure with a jumbo jet on her dress and two red suitcases.

Peppa PIg Muddy Puddles Jumbo Jet

The side of the jumbo jet opens and there’s seats for three characters and the Peppa figure included is just like the others in the Peppa Pig series, with articulated arms and legs, so that she can fit nice and comfortably in the seat.  Joseph likes to sit Peppa in the front seat so that he can pretend she’s Pilot Peppa and is flying her friends off somewhere exciting, asked where he’ll normally reply Toys R Us!

Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles Jumbo Jet

At the back of the jumbo jet is the luggage hold which is opened by squeezing both sides together, at first Joseph found this really tricky but slowly he’s got the hang of it.  The hold is large enough to carry to two suitcases as well a stow away if there isn’t enough room up front.  The cabin and hold are separated so there’s no chance of luggage flying around the cabin no matter how bumpy the flight and believe me there’ve been some bumpy ones!  The jumbo jet free-wheeling wheels underneath as well as a pivoting front wheels enabling it go around corners with ease.

Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles Jumbo JetJoseph loves the jumbo jet and it’s been a really welcome addition to the rest of his Peppa Pig collection.  As with the rest of the range it’s well built and sturdy and designed for small hands to play with with ease.  Ideally I think he’d like to see it with a few more seats but I think that would make it far too big for him to handle and George seems more than happy to travel in the hold on the odd occasion when Air Peppa finds itself overbooked!

Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles Jumbo JetPeppa Pig Muddy Puddles Jumbo Jet


The Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles Jumbo Jet is just one of the new range of Peppa Pig toys available from Character and is priced at £19.99.



Win One of Three Rubik’s Speed Cube Pro Packs

I have very fond memories of Rubik’s Cube, many a days spent trying to solve the seemingly impossible puzzle eventually failing to fool my mother by peeling off stickers and replacing them badly!  With over 43 quintillion possible combinations but only one solution. It’s kept kids and adults alike fascinated for generations, and this year sees the iconic Rubik’s Cube celebrating its 40th Anniversary which makes me feel incredibly old!

Rubix Logo

First invented by Ernö Rubik in 1974 in Hungary, the world’s obsession with the Rubik’s Cube became apparent during the 1980s making the puzzle synonymous with the ‘retro’ era and becoming a symbol for this time period.

It’s unique twisting and turning action has captured the imaginations of many since those early days and with its brightly coloured tiles crossing language and cultural barriers, an estimated 350 million Rubik’s Cubes have been sold worldwide.  The world’s obsession with solving the Rubik’s Cube has also led to ‘Speedcubing’ competitions taking place all over the globe where Cubers compete against each other to be the quickest at solving the Cube.  The current world record for a single solve is held by Mats Valk from the Netherlands, whose record is an impressive 5.55 seconds.  The current UK record isn’t far behind with 15 year old Alexander Lau completing the Cube in 5.96 seconds.

This November sees the Rubik’s UK Open returning to Leicester for the third time, attracting over 100 competitors from 13 countries.  The event takes place on 1st – 2nd November 2014 at The O2 Academy, Leicester, and current UK Champion Thom Barlow will be defending his cubing title.  The 2013 Rubik’s Cube Champion from Manchester last year completed the iconic 3×3 cube in a mind blowing 10.64 seconds average.  Thom has a battle on his hands though, as current UK record holder and new European Champion, 16 year old Alexander Lau will be competing and ready to take on the challenge, as well as previous champ Breandan Vallance.  There is more information on the Rubik’s UK Open at

To celebrate it’s 40th year Rubik’s are giving Me and My Kiddywinks readers the chance to win one of three Rubik’s Speed Cube Pro Pack (RRP £16.99 each), to enter please do so via Rafflecopter below.  Good luck!

Speed Cube

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disney’s Maleficent Review and DVD Giveaway

With half term and Halloween both happening this week Cash Generator served the kiddywinks up with a real treat with Disney’s latest DVD release Maleficent.


“Let us tell an old story anew and see how well you know it.” is the opening line of Disney’s Maleificent, a re-telling of the classic tale “Sleeping Beauty” told from the standpoint of the villain.  The film starts with Maleficent as a young, horned fairy who is basically good.  She lives in the moors as their protector, meets a young human boy named Stefan and the pair become the best of friends.  Love soon blossoms as they grow older and Stefan gifts her with true love’s first kiss on her sixteenth birthday.

Shortly after Stefan stops seeing Maleficent as he pursues his desire for the crown. Eventually, hungry for power, Stefan goes back to the moors and betrays Maleficent and she becomes the scorned woman who curses a young baby with a sleeping spell that we know from the animated Disney tale.  So as not to spoil anything I’ll leave the story there but rest assured that it’s an awesome film that had the whole family gripped.  This trailer should give you a nice taster.

Cash Generator are giving you the chance to win your very own copy of Maleficent on DVD in our latest competition.  For your chance to win enter via Rafflecopter below, good luck.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Netflix #StreamTeam – Forget your FoMo fears!

#FoMo or Fear Of Missing Out is apparently becoming the fright of the modern millennial.  Our parents probably called it “Keeping up with the Joneses” and it’s certainly something I have to say I experience at the school gate.  Eating out at the latest restaurant, making sure you wearing the right kind of footwear (Hunters on the school run – seriously?!) and keeping abreast of the school playground gossip.

One thing us mums like to talk about is the telly, what we’ve watched the night before and what we plan on watching that evening and with “Netflix’ing” being hailed by the Sunday Times Style barometer as officially “cool” I, as part of the Stream Team, can pat myself on the back for actually being cool for once.

The three most talked about shows on Netflix at the moment are Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black or OITNB and House of Cards and I’m very pleased to say that I have watched or am in the process of watching all of them.  With the latter two being Netflix originals the ONLY place you’ll be able to see them at the moment is Netflix – and that’s worth the subscription alone!

Breaking BadOITNBHouse of Cards



Xeno – The Interactive Monster Review

This is Xeno, he’s an interactive baby monster who loves to play!


Xeno has been hotly tipped by popular toy store Hamley’s as one of the top ten toys for Christmas 2014 and we were sent our very own for review.

Xeno Interactive Toy

Xeno comes in three different colourways, (all of which have the same play functions) Pacific Blue, Burnt Orange and Ultra Violet which is the one we were sent.  Quickly named by Joseph as “Dave” Xeno was welcomed into our family with open arms.  He’s made from a soft rubber, the kind that you find on sensory balls and has long floppy ears, big eyes and a little pot belly.

He has over ten different emotions (happy, moody, grumpy, upset, hungry, playful, unwell, thoughtful, disappointed, annoyed, bored and sleepy), forty plus different eye expressions with his clever LCD graphic eyes and will make over eighty different sounds.

Xeno has eight different sensors located around his body (head, mouth, tummy, right hand, left hand, left pawfoot, tail and snot) He has extremely ticklish feet, he likes to be fed, he’ll dance to music but only if he likes it and he also like to burp and trump a lot which the kiddywinks think is hysterical!


If you hold both of his hands Xeno will ask if you “wanna play?” and he’ll play 5 games with you.  These include Beat-a-Burp where Xeno will burp a rhythm and you have to copy it by pressing one of his hands.  In Catcha-Catcha you simply have to try and put your finger into Xeno’s mouth before he closes it and the kiddywinks favourite Quikk-a-burp where you have to guess when Xeno is going to burp and press his hand at the same time he does, it’s not an easy one!

Just like most interactive toys Xeno has his own free App (available on iTunes and Google Play) which will let you bathe and cook for Xeno.  The app is great just by itself as is Xeno but put the two together and you have hours upon hours of fun.




Having had the pleasure of Xeno’s company for a couple of weeks I can see why he’s made it to the top ten Christmas toys list, he’s awesome.  Imogen and Joseph have played with him every day since he’s arrived with Imogen running home from school to make sure he’s OK and isn’t hungry.  My only advise would be to stock up on good quality batteries (Pound shop ones don’t last long) and a couple of rechargeable sets would probably be best.

There is more information on Xeno on his dedicated website and he’s available from Amazon priced at approximately £79.99.

Frozen Elsa Fancy Dress Review

Just like most girls her age Imogen is Frozen crazy, she’s slowly building up quite a collection of the dolls by saving her pocket money like crazy and her most of her Christmas list is based around the highly popular Disney film.  One of the most coveted items on her ever increasing list is an Elsa dress so she was elated when the very same arrived for her from the kind fellows at Otley Run Fancy Dress.

Elsa Dress

Imogen’s Elsa dress arrived very promptly a couple of days later and she was, of course, thrilled with it.  It has a beautifully sequined bodice in the trademark Elsa turquoise which is trimmed with silver and has a lovely little Elsa and Anna badge at the centre which can be removed if you should wish.  The sleeves of the dress are a very delicate see-through, sparkly tulle which comes to a point at the wrist, just like Queen Elsa’s infamous gown.

Elsa Dress

The dress also has a heavily netted underskirt which gives a lovely princessy flare to it and apparently making it great for spinning in too!

Elsa Dress

By far Imogen’s favourite feature of the dress is full the cape which is attached to the back of the dress.  It is made from a very pale tulle and covered in a multitude of glittery snowflakes.

Elsa Dress

At six and a half Imogen is probably just above average height at 125c m so I decided to order her the size 7-8 which is recommended for a child of 130 cm and the fit was perfect, it comes about mid calf on her which is great as it means she won’t trip over when dancing and prancing about in it.

The quality of the dress rivals those that we have brought Imogen from the Disney store but comes without the price tag.  This Elsa dress is a steal at just £18.99 with P&P of £3.75, there’s also a very pretty Anna coronation dress at the same price and both are available in sizes 2-3 right up to 8-9 years.  Have a look at the pair on their website here.

The Adventures of Abney & Teal Magazine Review

On Thursday a brand new pre-school magazine hits the shelves featuring none other than the CBeebies favourites Abney & Teal and we were given an exclusive sneak preview!

Abney & Teal Magazine

There are 35 full colour pages to the magazine which is choc-a-bloc with activities to help develop early years learning.  Joseph, who desperately needs to practice his pencil control and learn his numbers had lots of fun with the Abney & Teal’s Counting Workbook which takes over 8 pages of the magazine.  He loved counting and then tracing over the numbers with great care and attention and took great pride in sticking on his “well done” sticker once he’d completed each page.

Abney & Teal Magazine

Other activities included are coloring pages, puzzles, mazes and there are also Abney, Teal & Neep puppets to cut out and create.  The centre of the magazine pulls out to revel a lovely four week reward chart with a sticker scene to complete with the large sticker sheet included.  The reward chart has a daily task to be achieved which as well as including small easy to do chores, such as making my bed look tidy, include fun activities to be done together.  Today’s task was to learn a new song so we’ve all been singing Five Little Ducks!

Abney & Teal Magazine

Imogen has thoroughly enjoyed reading the Abney & Teal magazine to Joseph, especially the story “A sleepless night” which she read without any help at all, well done Imogen!

Abney & Teal Magazine

Just like many children’s magazines the front cover features a free gift and this, the first issue, features a musical set comprising of a small guitar and recorder.  There are also competitions to enter and a page for you to do your own drawing to send in and possibly be featured in the next issue.

The Adventures of Abney & Teal is available from Thursday 23rd October priced at £2.99 and can be found in most newsagents and supermarkets are also running a competition to win a six months subscription here.


Disney Princess Palace Pets Royal Carriage & Fashion Tails Review

Earlier this year Imogen reviewed the Palace Pets Pamper & Beauty Salon from Character, it’s still a very much loved and played with toy and was lucky enough to accompany Imogen to school on the last day of the school year.  Imogen has since built up an impressive collection of the furry tailed Disney Princess companions and was delighted when the latest Palace Pets playset arrived for her to review, the Royal Carriage.

Disney Princess Palace Pets Royal Carriage

The Royal Carriage comes with Furry Tail Friend Teacup, Cinderella’s Puppy who is ready to make an entrance at the royal ball with her sunglasses and petticoat accessories.

Disney Princess Palace Pets Royal Carriage The carriage is very beautiful with some lovely attention to detail, Imogen loves the tiny bluebirds on the front.  It has some lovely features which include a flip down table with tea pot and tea cup for refreshments on the go but flip it up and it’s a mirror!

Disney Princess Palace Pets Royal Carriage There is also a roll out carpet for your Palace Pets to make a grand entrance, however this is fairly flimsy and can be very difficult for little hands to slide in and out.

Disney Princess Palace Pets Royal Carriage


Imogen was also sent a “Beauty” Palace Pets Fashion Tails.  Beauty is Aurora’s kitten and she comes with three interchangeable tails which she can decide to wear depending on her mood.

Disney Princess Palace Pets Fashion TailsImogen loves playing with Beauty with the Pamper & Beauty Salon playset, arriving by carriage of course, for a full makeover, brushing her chosen tail and getting her ready for parties.

Disney Princess Palace Pets

Both of the playsets have been a huge hit with Imogen who has played with them non stop since they arrived.  The Palace Pets Royal Carriage is priced at £17.99 and the Fashion Tails (Beauty or Teacup) are priced at £9.99 and I think they’re great value for money, IMogen has certainly has her money’s worth of play with them already.

There’s a growing range of Palace Pets available from Character on their website with prices starting from as little as £5.99.  IMogen is very keen to complete her collection at Christmas with Treasure (Ariel’s Kitten) and the much coveted and apparently impossible to get hold of Sultan (Jasmine’s tiger).

Imaginext Lion’s Den Castle Review

Joseph’s love affair with Imaginext started earlier this year with DC Super Friends Batcave, it’s one of his most played with toys and he’s been lusting after a lot of the Fisher Price Imaginext range for quite some time.  I’m sure that you can imagine the delight on his face when the Imaginext Lion’s Den Castle arrived for him to review.

Imaginext Lion's Den Castle

The castle is an impressive size at about 60 cm wide and 40 cm tall and takes the form of a lion with the main door forming it’s mouth and the lion’s paws creating secret dungeons.  The playset comes with:

  • Two knight figures
  • A green lizard figure
  • A lion figure
  • A throne
  • 2 shields
  • 2 helmets
  • 2 axes
  • A king’s crown
  • A crossbow with six disks.

The toy castle needs no assembly and comes with the 2 AA batteries already installed, so it’s ready for play straight away.

Imaginext Lion's Den Castle

There are four levels to the castle and plenty of fun features that come with lights and sound effects.  There are turn disks scattered around the castle that will activate the castle’s “defense mode”, shutting the lion’s mane and jaws and activating the lion’s paws grabbing who or whatever might be in their path!

Imaginext Lion's Den Castle

There are also three shields on the front of the castle that when hit with one of the disks from the cross bow (or pressed) will collapse the throne room floor or open the lion’s jaw and collapse one of the castle’s tower’s bringing down it’s defenses ready to be stormed!

Imaginext Lion's Den Castle Imaginext Lion's Den CastleImaginext Lion's Den Castle Imaginext Lion's Den Castle

There is also a jail cell with a secret escape trap door that is also activated with the shields.

Imaginext Lion's Den Castle Imaginext Lion's Dan Castle


Joseph loves the castle and has played with it every day since it arrived, most of the time Imogen will join in on the fun with the pair taking it in turns to be the baddie or trying to storm the castle as an evil twosome!

Imaginext Lion's Den CastleAs with the entire Imaginext range, the Lion’s Den Castle is well made, well designed and durable.  The sound effects are great and very realistic and one of Joseph’s favourite things about the castle.  It’s been great for simulating imaginative play and it will certainly be getting an awful lot of play in our house.

Suitable for ages 3+ The Lion’s Den Castle is priced at around £50 and there are plenty of accessories and compatible extras that can be purchased separately.

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