WIN a PLAYMOBIL Special Forces Firefighter, as they help launch London Fire Brigade’s 150th anniversary

London Fire Brigade have recruited a specialist #PLAYMOBILBrigade to release a catchy sing-a-long video, to ensure children know who to call when they are in danger.

To celebrate, we have 2 PLAYMOBIL Special Forces Firefighters to give away to 2 lucky winners!

Playmobil Firefighter
The new watch have a unique set of skills including singing, dancing and specialist clown rescue capabilities.

The video shows how London Fire Brigade fights more than just house fires and highlights how much they do for the community. It launches the Brigade’s 150th anniversary celebrations, as part of a partnership running into 2016 aiming to educate children about fire safety outside of the home.

In true PLAYMOBIL style, children can watch the fire service as they rescue clowns and a rock band from a road traffic accident, caused by a dragon crossing the road. They save an elderly lady from a flood as a pirate ship casually sails past, and attend an out-of-control campfire attended by Father Christmas and a cowgirl, showcasing the variety of heroic deeds our fire fighters do.

For your chance to win, simply watch the video here and answer the following question:

Q. What is the second emergency our PLAYMOBIL firefighters are called to?
Please enter via Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To browse the PLAYMOBIL Fire Brigade range, visit
January 1st 2016 marks the start of London Fire Brigade’s 150th year in operation.
To find out how to join in the celebrations throughout 2016, visit
The video will be used by London Firefighters and the Brigade’s Education team as part of their fire prevention outreach work, teaching children in foundation year classes (Nursery, Reception and Year 1) about the people who help us.

Planting with Children and Lechuza

Imogen and Joseph love the garden and lending a hand in the family vegetable patch, seeing and eating the fruits (and vegetables) of their labour is most rewarding and teaches them a variety of things as well as increasing their 5 a day consumption.  Sadly though we are fair weather gardeners and at this time of year the only thing we grow in the veg patch is weeds!

I’m not very good at keeping indoor plants alive, they either end up over watered by children with the best intentions or ignored until they shrivel up and die so I was really interested to hear about Lechuza self watering planters.  They have their very own sub-irrigation system which takes all of the guess work out of watering, making your your plants receive just what they want when they want it.

Lechuza Balconera

We were sent a Balconera 50 All-in-One Set in a bright Caribbean Blue as well as an amaryllis bulb so that we could test it out and see how we got on.  The Lechuza Balconera comes with the planter, removable plant liner and the sub-irrigation system.  The plant liner is easily removed with retractable handles so they don’t distract from the appearance of the planter.  There is also a water level indicator which sits at the side by the water supply shaft.  It can be used indoors or outdoors by simply removing the plug at the bottom for outdoor use.

Lechuza Balconera

Firstly you need to line the the plant liner with the substrate which will help control the water supply and then add compost before adding your plants or bulbs.

Lechuza Balconera

Lechuza Balconera  Lechuza Balconera

For the first three weeks you need to water normally, which is where we may come unstuck, this is to allow the roots to reach the substrate at the bottom.  After this you fill the water reservoir via the watering shaft until the water level indicator reaches max.  The Lechuza Balconera will then have enough water for twelve weeks.

Imogen and Joseph can’t wait to see their amaryllis flower and have been keeping a daily check on it to look for any progress.  Personally I’m really impressed with the Balconera and it’s stylish design, it sits happily on my windowsill and I’m already planning a window herb garden for the Spring.

The Lechuza Balconera is just a small part of the Lechuza family which includes a wide range of planters in a variety of different colours and designs ideal for any home.  The Balconera 50 is priced at £29.99, is available in six colours and can be wall or railing mounted with additional brackets.  You can find out more and see the full range at

New from Flair Cool Create

Imogen is a huge Cool Create fan, the combination of fabulous art and crafts products added with the mix of some of her favourite characters in definitely a winner!  She’s had the incredible opportunity to review some lovely products in the past and as a result has added some great things to her bedroom, so she was delighted when she was asked to cast her expert eye over some new products in the ever growing range.

Flair Cool CreateFirst up is the Sparkle Activity Kit which includes 10 magic painting sheets, 10 colouring in cards, 30 shiny stickers, 8 felt tip pens, a paint brush and over 500 glitter tattoos.

Cool Create Sparkle Activity Kit

Imogen loved the colouring in cards and spent a large chunk of her half term colouring them in to create door hangers, bookmarks and art for her walls.  They have bold outlines which meant that she was able to keep within the lines with ease.

Cool Create Sparkle Activity Kit

The temporary glitter tattoos were a massive hit with both Imogen and Joseph who now have enough for every school disco until they’re 18!

Cool Create Sparkle Activity Kit Cool Create Sparkle Activity Set

Joseph got very excited about the magic painting sheets, which have a strip of watercolour paints at the bottom of the picture all you need add is water.  Now, I’m not sure if he was using a little too much water but the paper is fairly thin and got quite mushy and the results weren’t that great.  Other than that it’s a great set that will easily keep a multitude of children entertained for a long time.

Next up is the Shopkins Cool Cardz Design Studio.  Imogen has reviewed the Frozen Cool Cardz Studio before but as the biggest Shopkins fan this set was bound to be a winner!  It contains 15 cards with laminates. 2 sheets of Shopkins stickers, a felt pen and two ring stampers and an ink pad.

Shopkins Cool Cardz

Imogen decided that she’s make us all Shopkins secret club membership cards using a combination of stickers, stamps and drawings whilst Joseph carefully laminated the cards.

Shopkins Cool Cardz  Shopkins Cool Cardz

She was most impressed with the stamper rings which come in purple and pink which reveal either a shopping basket or strawberry stamper when the jewel is removed.  They also clip into the design studio when not in use so they don’t get misplaced.

Shopkins Cool Cardz

This was a huge hit and would make a great Christmas present for any Shopkins fan.  It’s available from Amazon priced at £17.99.

Playmobil Super 4 Toys Review #PLAYMOBILPlayologist

Super 4 is a great new CITV series that was inspired by Playmobil, the series is based around 4 different Playmobil worlds (Pirates, Fairies, Knights & Top Agents) and follows the adventures of new heroes new heroes Alex, Gene, Ruby and Twinkle, the Super 4!

Playmobil Super 4

To go alongside with the launch of the show Playmobil have released an awesome range of Super 4 toys based on the 4 different worlds Gunpower Island, Techno Polis, Kings Island and The Enchanted Island.  As Playmobil Playologist the kiddywinks were sent a selection of toys to test out.

Playmobil Super 4

Their goodies included The Royal Tribune with Alex (6695) as well as two figures Sharkbeard (4798) and Princess Leonora (6699).  As always Imogen was keen to get on with assembling the sets and did so without help and only a little guidance from Joseph.

PLaymobil Super 4       Playmobil Super 4

This set includes three figures, The King, the King’s son Alex and a knight, royal box with throne as well as a horse and plenty of accessories of which Joseph’s favourite is an extendable sword. There’s a secret compartment inside the royal box perfect for hiding treasure and the shield at the front can be used for decoration or for battle if needed.

Playmobil Super 4

Joseph’s favourite figure is the King because he think is outfit is the best and loves taking his cloak on and off.  With the added bonus of the additional figures Sharkbeard and Princess Leonora Joseph and Imogen have played with the set for hours.  Sharkbeard is usually the villain and Leonora the fair maiden in need of rescuing but she can also hold her own in battle as well.

Playmobil Super 4 Playmobil Super 4        Playmobil Super 4

The rest of the Super 4 range looks just as impressive as well and includes a Take Along Black Barron’s Castle, Camouflage Pirate Fort, Skyjet and Musical Flower Tower which is at the top of Imogen’s Christmas list.  Prices range from £3.99 to £44.99 and can be seen here.

If you’re still stuck for something to do in half term why not check out the 4 Super 4  trails taking place over London between now and Christmas to try and find a 24 carat gold Super 4 figure.  There’s more information on how to take part here.

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.

Xeno Zoopies Review

Last year Imogen and Joseph were lucky enough to be sent one of the must have toys of the year from Flair, Xeno, an interactive, lovable baby monster.  This year Flair have introduced new friends to the Xeno family, the Xeno Koopies.

Xeno Koopies Logo

They come in three different colourways, green, orange or purple and will need 3 AAA batteries, which aren’t included.  Xeno Koopies are smaller, rounder versions of Xeno with the same soft rubber “fur” and floppy ears as Xeno.  The Koopies have glow in the dark eyes which will also roll around as he does.

Xeno Koopies

Xeno Koopies have a rounded base and will vibrate, spin and dance around a hard floor with ease.  He has 6 different interactive sensors on his body and says over 70 different phrases and can be stretched, squeezed and fed all of which will give a different reaction, watch out though just like his cousin Xeno he can be a little gassy! Xeno KoopiesHe will also listen to music (or your singing) and decide whether he likes it or not.  He interacts and chat with other Koopies and with Xeno and can also be used with the free Xeno Koopies app.

Xeno Koopies

The kiddywinks have had great fun with their new friend and he’s brought new life to their old friend Xeno.  They think it’s hysterical when he burps or trumps and whilst Imogen goes to every length to make sure he’s happy Joseph goes out of his way to make him mutter grumpily!

The Xeno Koopies are available now from Amazon priced at £39.99.

Hey Duggee Magazine Review

Today sees the launch of the the brand new CBeebies magazine based on the popular show Hey Duggee!  Joseph is a massive fan and was thrilled to be given a sneak peak of the magazine before it’s release.

Like most children’s magazine the Hey Duggee magazine comes with a free gift, the first includes a fun baking set with Hey Duggee cookie cutter and chef’s hat.

Hey Duggee Magazine

Inside there are 35 full colour pages which are choc-a-bloc with Hey Duggee activities, cutting and sticking, colouring in and stories all of which support the early years curriculum.  There is also a fun quiz to find out which member of the Squirrel club you’re most like, apparently I’m Betty, and plenty of sticker fun to be had too.

Hey Duggee Magazine

Joseph particularly enjoyed the pull out and keep Squirrel Club Book which had puzzles to solve, a fun and tasty Hey Duggee recipe and took great pride in sticking his baking badge onto the badge collection poster before displaying it in his room.

Hey Duggee MagazineWe’ve all enjoyed the magazine, Imogen has also enjoyed the magazine and loved reading Joseph the “The Cake Badge” story and chatting to Joseph about the things he could do to earn special badges.

The Hey Duggee magazine is available from today, and 4 weekly thereafter, priced very reasonably at £2.75 and can be found in most newsagents and supermarkets.  Joseph is already looking forward to the next issue and has already been spying on what the gift might be!

Hey Duggee Magazine


Y-Volution Balance Bike Review

Before the Summer holidays the kiddywinks wrote lists of what they wanted to do during the Summer break, places they wanted to go, people they wanted to see and things they wanted to achieve.  At the top of Joseph’s list was to learn to ride a bike just like his big sister.  Father Christmas kindly gave him a bike last year but it’s still slightly too big for him and despite being on the smallest setting his feet barely reach the pedals.  Still, over the holidays we persevered but with very little luck.   I’d always read and heard such great things about balance bikes that I thought this may be the way forward for him so when I was asked is he’d like to try out the Y Velo balance bike from Y-Volution I jumped at the chance.

Y Velo Balance Bike

The bike arrived whilst I was a work so Tony, who’s not great at following instructions or putting anything together, assembled it.  Apparently it was very easy to do as there weren’t many parts,  it came with all the tools you need and took less than 15 minutes.  That evening Joseph coasted around the house getting used to the bike before we took it to the park the next day.

Y Velo Balance Bike

In the wide open space, Joseph started to walk with the bike building speed gradually until he was running and then free wheeling with it.  I’m really pleased with how quickly he picked it up and soon he was very difficult to keep up with!

Y Velo Balance Bike

The Y Velo has easily adjustable handlebars and seat which will make sure that it grows with Joseph for as long as he needs it.  There is also a steering limiter to control how much children can turn, the tyres are also wider than normal balance bike tyres which helps with balance and also provides a comfier ride.

The bike is a great size, perfect for Joseph, but it still fits nicely inside the boot of my car without having to be taken apart.  He’s had a great deal of use of it over the past month and endless amounts of fun.

Y Velo Balance Bike

The Y Velo Balance Bike is suitable for children aged 3+ with a maximum weight of 25kg and is available in green or red from Argos priced at £49.99.

Fireman Sam Fire Rescue Centre Review

Fireman Sam is still Joseph’s favourite Fireman and he was delighted to come home after a long day at school to find Character’s latest Fireman Sam playset waiting for him.

Fireman Sam Fire Rescue Centre

The Fireman Sam Fire Rescue centre has been especially designed to use with the latest Die Cast Fireman Sam collection of vehicles and comes with Wallaby One, Pontypandy’s mountain rescue helicopter, piloted by Aussie Tom.

The playset does need assembly, quite a lot of it and the instructions aren’t the clearest.  There are also a large amount of stickers to position so if you’re giving this as a gift I would certainly assemble it before wrapping it.

Fireman Sam Fire Rescue Centre

However, once together it’s nice and sturdy and ready for action!

Fireman Sam Fire Rescue Centre

There are plenty of fun features to the rescue centre like the large ramp, garage door which opens with the easy to operate button at the front and mini launch ramp hidden just underneath the helipad.  There are also lots of road signs and traffic lights which Joseph loves to move around during his play with it.

Fireman Sam Fire Rescue Centre

Joseph has been playing with a mixture of his own die cast cars as well as Wallaby One but has the die cast versions of Jupiter and Venus on his Christmas list which are available separately at £5.99 each.  He’s had a huge amount of fun with the set which has come out to play again and again.

The Fireman Sam Fire Rescue Centre is available from Character and is priced at £29.99.

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.

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