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BRIO Firefighter Set and Rescue Boat Review

I’ve mentioned before about Joseph’s love of BRIO and he’s had some great opportunities to review great BRIO sets out with me in the past but the latest he’s been tasked with putting to the test has to be his favourite to date.  His was lucky enough to receive the Firefighter Set (33815) and the Rescue Boat (33859) from his friends at BRIO.

BRIO Firefighter Set

The Firefighter Set has a total of 18 pieces including 10 pieces of track, a fire engine, a two piece fire train, gas station, one figure, a level crossing and other accessories.

BRIO Firefighter Set

I think it’s great how the set includes enough track to make a full circuit of track, and instructions of how to do so, as it makes a perfect first train set or a wonderful addition to an existing one.  There’s no assembly required at all and you’re ready to play in no time at all!

BRIO Firefighter Set

Joseph’s favourite thing was the fire train with it’s roll out hose and lift up ladder although the fire engine with lights and sounds came a very close second.

BRIO Firefighter Set BRIO Firefighter Set

BRIO Firefighter Set

The Rescue Boat was a very welcome addition to the Firefighter set, as it would be to any BRIO playset, it includes a car with a trailer that the rescue boat can be easily launched from in the case of an emergency as well as a figure.

BRIO Rescue Boat

As with all BRIO vehicles the trailer and car connect with magnets, are fully interchangeable and fit on the tracks.  All BRIO toys are also made to the highest of standards from only the best high quality plastic and sustainable beech wood and this really shows in just how robust they are.


Joseph had a great time making up some fabulous combinations and taking them around the tracks, putting out fires and making daring rescues.  It’s been wonderful to see him having so much fun and putting his imagination to good use.

The Firefighter Set and Rescue Boat are both available from and are priced at £39.99 and £14.99 respectively.

Our Halloween Top Netflix Picks

With Halloween right around the corner we’ve been busy hiding from the half term rain researching our Halloween favourite from the great selection that Netflix has to offer. First up the kiddywinks have put together their top five

5) Alvin & the Chipmunks meet the Wolfman.  This feature length movie sees Avlin, Simon and Theodore stage a production of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde when things gets scarily spooky.

4) Monsters University.  Not exactly scary, but Joseph particularly really enjoys this Monsters Inc prequel.

Monsters University

3) The Adams Family.  This is one of Imogen’s favourite movies of all time and likes to think of herself as Wednesday to Joseph’s Pugsley!

2) Goosebumps.  Imogen started reading the Goosebumps books during the Summer holidays and it’s since become a slight addiction.  She was thrilled when she found the Goosebumps TV series on Netflix and is half way through series 2.


1) Wallace & Gromit the Curse of the Were-Rabbit.  Wallace and his loyal dog, Gromit, set out to discover the mystery behind the garden sabotage that plagues their village and threatens the annual giant vegetable growing contest.

Once the  kiddywinks are tucked safely in their beds Tony and I love cosying down to a good horror film.  We’ve recently started watching American Horror Story, way behind the rest of the population and were still on the first series but we’re really enjoying it so far.  We’re still on the hunt for what to watch on Halloween itself but here’s just some of the scariest we’ve seen so far.

  • Babadook.  In this film Sam’s mother struggles to control his tantrums, he is plagued by visions of a monster be believes is coming to get them.  Then a creepy children’s book appears in his room.  This is not one to watch alone!
  • Insidious.  A couple move themselves and their children hoping to leave their haunted house behind.  Little do they know that is wasn’t the house but their son that was possessed.
  • The Omen.  An oldie but a goodie.  Still one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen.
  • Creep.  When cash-strapped photographer responds to a wanted ad and takes a one day job in a remote mountain town he soon finds out that the client has some unsettling ideas in mind.

Our House is Finally Our Happy Home

Facebook kindly reminded me today that it’s been six years since we completed on our house and what a six years it’s been.  Over that time a lot has happened, Joseph was born, both he and Imogen have started school and I changed the job I’d had and loved for nine years!  The house itself hasn’t gone unchanged either.  We brought it repossessed and were fully aware that it needed some work but of course it ended up needing an awful lot more than we could have expected.  In fact in the six years we’ve replaced the roof and front windows, redesigned the back garden, refurbished the bathroom, re-plastered four rooms, decorated the hallway, front bedroom and box room all twice and the back bedroom a total of three times.

Lounge Before Lounge During   Lounge During Lounge After

Most of the work has been very successful and has come in under budget but we’ve has our share of DIY disasters including walls and ceiling falling down, a multitude of leaks and a paint covered TV and hall carpet – thanks Imogen.  If you’re undertaking a project at home there are only two bits of advise I have for your.  Firstly, double check that your home insurance covers DIY and construction accidents and know your own DIY limits.  Sometimes it works out cheaper and an awful lot easier to get the professionals in.  A mistake we made when sanding the floorboards in our lounge, to put plainly it’s three weeks of my life I’ll never get back!

Over the years we’ve moved from one project to another rarely with breathing space in-between so it’s lovely to finally be enjoying the fruits of our labour and enjoy the whole house without one room being covered in dust sheets.  The money we’re not spending on the house will go towards a Disney holiday, hopefully next Summer, and we’re finally enjoying the happy home we’ve created.

Crystal Zelfs Review

Just a couple of weeks ago I told you all about the new fifth series of Imogen’s favourite friends the Zelfs.  You may recall that this exciting series also includes a limited number of Crystal Zelfs, Zelfs with added bling!  Thanks to Character Imogen added to her expanding collection with Moona the Crystal Zelf.

Moona Crystal Zelf

There are six to collect Angelala, So-Anne, Moonicorn, Starkle, Sugar-Bunny and Moona.  They are slightly more expensive that their similarly sized counterparts but come with a cute magical crystal accessory.  Moona, who is a Snadman Zelf, comes with her own MoonBeam bench as well as her very own comb and hair accessories.

Moona The Crystal Zelf

The Crystal Zelfs help create wonderful dreams using their Crystal Powers so Imogen takes Moona to bed with her every night and can confirm that they do indeed aid a restful and dream filled night!

The Crystal Zelfs are available now from and are just a small part of a huge Zelf range that starts from as little as £1.99.


How Do You Train Your Dragon?

To celebrate the release of the latest Netflix Original series DreamWorks Dragons: Race to the Edge Imogen and Joseph have become dragon trainers and were given the tough task of training Toothless as part of an exciting blogger challenge with Netflix.

Toothless and Hiccup

Ready and willing for the challenge and not entirely sure what they had let themselves in for they took Toothless with them where ever they went.  The park, the bath and he was, of course, tucked into bed with the kidyywink of his choosing every night.  He also had a bit of a knack of hiding in school book bags craftily slipped inside the pages of library books!


The first few days were a breeze and I was hoping that rather than “training my dragon” that my dragon would be able to train my children!

Then suddenly one morning we woke up to find this……..

Hiccup and Toothless

Toothless had trapped Hiccup and from there everything spiraled out of control.  Each night it seemed that Toothless went wild leaving a trail on disruption.  There was the house party….

Toothless House Party

The karaoke night that woke the entire street up, there are only a certain amount of times that you can hear Puff the Magic Dragon believe me!

Toothless KaraokeFinally, Toothless’s latest trick is creating Snow Angels whilst making an incredible mess of both himself and my kitchen!

Toothless Snow Angel

Toothless Snow Angel

Since then strict training followed but seems to be falling on deaf ears.  We’ve tried everything from reward charts and colourful stickers, time out, talking it out, sticking to a routine and withdrawing privileges and now I’m out of ideas.  So, please tell me….How do we train our Dragon?

Half Term in Hampshire

With Christmas sadly now a mere memory the kiddywink and I are busy putting plans together for February half term.  This year Tony and I both have the entire week off and we’re really looking forward to spending that time together and visiting friends and family in the South East that we didn’t manage to catch up with last year.

We’ll be skipping along the coast to Portsmouth, stopping in to see my sister in Weymouth en- route, and possibly visiting Peppa Pig World on the way home.  We’re are also looking to visit the Blue Reef Aquarium as well as the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.  Imogen shares her Dad’s passion about history and I know she’ll love looking around the 1860 HMS Warrior and HMS Victory infamous for it’s role in the Battle of Trafalgar.  Joseph has a huge obbession with anything to do with the sea and is looking forward to seeing the new HMS Alliance, a real life submarine!  As well as being able to look through a working periscope there’s even the chance to meet a submariner.


As always, we’ll be be looking to save where we can on our mini half term break.  We’ve bagged ourselves a bargain budget hotel for a few nights by simply booking early and we’ll save 20% on our Portsmouth Historic Dockyard ticket with Smartsave.  I’ve saved up our Tesco Clubcard Vouchers to give us 4 times their value on meals out I now just need to find out how to do Peppa Pig World on a budget!


New Year, New Baby?

No, no and no!  Certainly not mine but I am highly excited that not one but three very good friends will be welcoming tiny bundles of joy in 2015.  Ones that I can coo over, spoil with cuddles and hand back when they start to cry.  Two will become first time mums and are a little daunted at the prospect of baby shopping, something I remember all too fondly!

I made huge mistakes and wasted an awful lot of money when I was pregnant with Imogen on clothes she never wore and equipment that we simply didn’t need and just so that others can learn from my mistakes here’s my baby shopping dos and don’ts.

  • Do remember that there is very little that is essential for a newborn.  Nappies, a handful of vests and babygros, bedding, a cot and a car seat should be plenty to see you through the first couple of weeks.
  • Don’t snub hand me downs or second hand items.  Very few consider second hand when buying for baby which means that there are some real bargains to be hand.  Check with friends and family if they are willing to pass on, sell or even loan anything that you need.  Local NCT sales are also full of bargains.  The only things you do need to buy new are mattresses and car seats.
  • Do your research.  Especially when buying high value items such as prams and car seats.  Check online reviews, try the car seat out in your car and if you see a mum with the pushchair you have your eye on, ask her about it.
  • Don’t overbuy clothes.  You’ll often be gifted with lots of cute newborn outfits and remember that babies grow quickly, really quickly usually before they’ve worn an outfit twice!
  • Do compare prices.  Trawl websites as well as the shops for the best price on everything you buy.  Special offers on pushchairs and prams as well as hitting the sales and clever use of promotional codes and money off vouchers could save you a fortune.
  • Do sign up to the big retailers baby clubs.  Tesco as well as the other big supermarkets and Boots have them and you’ll be sent useful money off vouchers and there’s usually a practical free welcome gift too.
  • Do ask advise from friends and family.  Write your list with a good mum friend or even your own Mum they’ll be able to offer advise on what is essential and possibly what you should be looking to spend as well.


Staying in really is the new going out

November has been a cold month and with the expense of Christmas just around the corner we’ve been doing an awful lot of staying in and saving those all important pennies.  The latest issue of Glamour magazine told their readers to get cosy with home comforts and curl up in their favourite dressing gown with a cuppa and most importantly watch Netflix!  Even Supermodel Claudia Schiffer admits to enjoying a family night in watching TV box sets and even sneaks in a couple of episodes of Breaking Bad once the kids have gone to bed, just like me!

With cinema ticket prices increased by more than house prices (an amazing 2333% over fourty years) cosying up with a Netflix subscription and a homemade snack like a pizza topped to your liking or freshly popped popcorn could save you a small fortune!

Over the past few weeks we’ve mainly been watching a LOT of Christmas films.  Imogen tells me it’s so that Joseph can learn the “true meaning of Christmas, although I’m not quite sure he’ll get that from Disney’s the Search for Santa Paws!

Santa Paws

As well as the commencement of the re watching of Breaking Bad, Tony and I both watched and enjoyed Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher and whilst it’s not really my thing, Tony indulged in the second part in the Hunger Games film series Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Jack ReacherCatching Fire


Sponsored Video: Toca Ink

As a child I loved temporary tattoos, we weren’t allowed them to wear them at school so every school holiday and sometimes at the weekend my sister and I would be treated to a couple.  I have very vivid memories of my mother scrubbing my arm to remove a particularly stubborn, glittery one before a ballet exam as she muttered under her breath.  I don’t have tattoos now and don’t want one but see absolutely no harm in my children enjoying the simple pleasure of a temporary one from time to time, in fact Joseph is sporting a rather fetching Spiderman one on his right arm at the moment!

Another thing that my kids adore, that I quite simply was born in the wrong generation for, is their tablets.  They both have their own with carefully selected apps for both educational and relaxation purposes.  During the Summer holidays we discovered Toca Boca, a Swedish children’s digital gaming company with a huge range of fun apps to simulate imagination.  Joseph is a massive fan of free app Toca Kitchen Monsters and Imogen loves Toca Tailor Fairy Tales.  They adore the bold, colourful characters and I relish in the knowledge that all of Toca Boca’s apps are free from advertising and in app purchasing.

Toca Boca has collaborated with Brooklyn based tattoo artist Virginia Elwood to create the first in their Artist Play Series, Toca Ink, which combines the fun of both temporary tattoos and the Toca Boca characters.  “As a tattoo artist for over 10 years now, I regularly see how tattoos spark kids’ curiosity,” said Virginia Elwood. “Kids always want to touch a tattoo, ask questions about them and even have one drawn on them. Creating the Artist Play Series temporary tattoos was a fun way of making Toca Boca tangible for kids in the real world. I spent a lot of time playing the apps to understand the character’s personalities to transfer them to a temporary tattoo design.”

In this video you can see Virginia at work on the creation of Toca Ink.

This post has been sponsored by Toca Boca

Our #DesignaFriend Party

Yesterday Imogen’s bestest friends joined us for our DesignaFriend party as hosted by UKMumsTV and lots of other blogging families across the country.  We were sent a whole host of DesignaFriend goodies from the popular Argos range and, of course, the party essentials including cake!

During our party we designed our own DesignaFriends…..

030 DesignaFriend DesignaFriend

decorated cakes…


and the girls all joined the DesignaFriend Secret Club by making their own club cards.

DesignaFriend 065

Because a party just isn’t a party without games, we played pass the parcel too.


There was even time for a DesignaFriend fashion show!

DesignaFriend DesignaFriendDesignaFriend

After all that fun and excitement it was time for Imogen and her new pal Daisy to relax.


The DesignaFriend dolls and their great array of outfits all went down a treat with Imogen and our guests who instantly fell in love with their new friends.  The dolls are stunning and at 46cm a really great size for girls their age.  Each comes with it’s own unique outfit and a charm bracelet for you to wear and with each outfit you collect you can also add a different charm to your bracelet.

Argos have some great offers on the DesignaFriend range at the moment with dolls starting from just £14.99 and there’s a heap of half price outfits too, you can see the whole range here.


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