Joseph, like many four year old little boys, is obsessive about trains and dinosaurs, given this I just knew he’d love the latest Thomas and Friends DVD he was sent for review – Thomas & Friends Dinos & Discoveries!
“All aboard for a roaring good time with Thomas and his friends! The engines are filled with wonder at the fantastical new sights and sounds on Sodor. Volcanoes sizzle and dinosaurs roar as the engines help the Earl with a special surprise. Marion experiences some dino daydreams, as Bill and Ben send Timothy on an expedition for a rainbow-coloured truck. Samson discovers his slip-ups cause confusion and delay, while Emily marvels at her giant and worldly special. It’s time for big adventure and dino-sized fun with Thomas and Friends!”
The DVD was released earlier this year and contains a full 70 minutes of Thomas action. There are 6 episodes from the 18th series including:
Marion & The Dinosaurs
Millie & The Volcano
Timothy & The Rainbow Truck
Samson At Your Service
Emily Saves the World
Samson Sent For Scrap
There are also five awesome bonus features which include ” Who’s that Engine”, “The Earl’s Quiz” and “Mr Perkin’s Postcard”. These are all really interactive and Joseph really enjoyed joining in and shouting his answers at the screen.
Personally I loved the fact that there are brand new, never seen before, episodes on the DVD as I’ve watched an awful lot of them an increasing number of times. Joseph loved seeing the newer characters such as Marion and he was of course thrilled to see new engine Samson introduced. It’s an awesome DVD that Joseph has watched time and time again and will definitely continue to do so for some time.
Dinos and Discoveries is available on DVD now priced at around £9 and is available from Amazon as well as other retailers.
Imogen has been avidly collecting Palace Pets since she was introduced to them last year, she’s since built up a vast collection of Pets and playsets and her favourite present from father Christmas was the much coveted Sultan, Jasmine’s Tiger.
Character has released four new Palace Pets into the popular range, the Glitzy Glitter Friends and as the name suggests these friends of the Disney Princesses have a glittery finish. Imogen received Petit – Belle’s Pony but there is also Aurora’s Kitty Beauty, Treasure Ariel’s Kitty and Pumpkin Cinderella’s Puppy available.
Just like the other Palace Pets, the Glitzy Glitter Friends come with their own brush, removable tiara and story booklet but also have the added bonus of a glittery skirt!
The skirt is fastened around the Palace Pet’s waist with Velcro which makes it easy to take on and off and because these pets are the same size as the regular ones it can easily become a sparkly accessory for any pet!
Imogen, of course, loves the new addition to her collection and Petit’s arrival sparked a full on Palace Pet fashion show. Even Joseph got involved preparing the pets for their moment on the catwalk!
The Palace Pets Glitzy Glitter Friends are available from Character priced at £7.99 and are just a small part of the Disney Princess Palace range.
The boat comes with three figures Peppa, George and of course Grandpa Pig who are all dressed for their holiday’s. Peppa and George are in their swimmers whilst Grandpa Pig is wearing a brightly coloured shirt and his classic sailors cap.
Each of the figures has it’s own circular base making it easier for tiny hands to stand them up. The boat has places aboard for these bases to slot into nicely so that Peppa, George and Grandpa will stay put no matter how choppy the sea!
The boat comes in one piece with a rubber propeller, flag, bell and controls and just like Grandpa’s shirt is brightly coloured. It has also been specially designed to float to water and makes an awesome bath time toy. Joseph loves the water and bath toys are his favourite so this was a complete bonus that really added value to it.
As with all of the toys from Character’s Peppa Pig range it’s sturdy enough to withstand rough play and has been designed for small hands to manage and play with easily. Grandpa Pig’s Holiday Boat is priced at £19.99 which I think it a great price bearing in mind that it can be played with in or out of the water.
There is a whole host of new toys available in the Peppa Pig Holiday Time collection which can be seen here, Joseph quite fancies the Ice Cream Van next!
There was a time (before the kiddywinks) when I’d find time to sit down and actually read a book. We all go to the library fortnightly and Imogen is nearing the end of her Book Quest, I still take books out for myself but they mainly still on my bedside table for the allotted two weeks before heading back unread. There’s quite simply other stuff to do that all seems more important and I swear that the sheer size of some of the novels puts me off.
I was recently asked by Galaxy to take a look at what seemed like the perfect solution, Quick Reads. Quick Reads are just that, a series of six books shorter in length – perfect for those who are less confident with their reading or lack time.
The Quick Reads initiative was founded in 2006 and has now has now distributed over 4.3million books to libraries, workplaces, hospitals, schools, parents, family groups and even prisons. Previous high profile authors who have penned Galaxy Quick Reads titles include Jeffrey Archer, Lynda La Plante and Andy McNab. This year’s participating authors are Roddy Doyle, Jojo Moyes, Sophie Hannah, Fanny Blake, Adèle Geras and James Bowen. Between them, their Quick Reads titles cover a range of different themes from a holiday romance to a true story based on a homeless man and his cat.
Here’s the full list:
Dead Man Talking – Roddy Doyle
Paris for Two One – Jojo Moyes
Red for Revenge -Fanny Blake
Pictures or it Didn’t Happen – Sophie Hannah
Out Of The Dark – Adéle Geras
Street Cat Bob – James Bowen
I was sent Paris for Two One and Dead Man Talking and I finished the first over the weekend and am already a good way into the second. They”re both great books that I’ve been able to pick up and read a page or two on lunch breaks at work, for 10 minutes before bed and if I’ve found myself too early for the school pick up.
Priced very reasonably at £1 the book are available from tomorrow (4th February 2015) at WHSmiths, Waterstones as well as some supermarkets. They are also available to download as eBooks on the major eBooks platforms. There is more information on the initiative at www.quickreads.org.uk
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!
After the introduction of the Peppa Pig Wind and Wobble Playhouse Weebles have become hugely popular in our house. Joseph added to his Peppa Pig Weebles collection with some Christmas money spent wisely on the Rockin’ Rocket! Recently he’s been seeing adverts for and lusting after the new Weebledown Farm range from Character and as if by magic he was sent the Wobbily Farm Mill and Barn to review!
The Farm Mill and Barn comes with one Weeble figure, Rusty the Rooster, who is exclusive to this playset and features a windmill with turning sails, a spinning weather vane and mill stone roundabout.
Place Rusty on top of the windmill and push down on the milk churn on the side and he’ll wobble off his perch and weeble all the way down the slide and on to the waiting mill stone roundabout at the bottom. Continue to push and he’ll spin around to his heart’s content, wobbling as he goes.
There are also two small hay bales, one at the front and one at the back where Rusty can sit his wobbly base on and a weather vane on the top of the barn roof.
Joseph loves the set and has played with it non stop since it arrived and carries Rusty around in his pocket everywhere. He loves launching Rusty down the slide and this sends him into fits of giggles.
The playset is suitable for ages 18 months + and the figures are perfectly sized for small hands to get a grips on. The working mechanisms are very easy to operate saving frustration and as you’d expect from Character, the playset is well made and sturdy enough to withstand even the toughest of plays.
There are other Weebledown Farm toys in the range and Joseph is, of course, keen to collect them all especially the Wobbily Tractor and Farmer Barleymow. Other figures are available to purchase separately and these come with a clever meadow and fence base which will connect to the Farm Mill and Barn set.
The entire range is available to purchase from Character with prices ranginf from £4.99 – £29.99.
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.
Christmas is most definitely a stressful time and with only two more sleeps until the big day it’s now that the cracks begin to show. Children are over excited and if yours are anything like mine, a little worried that they haven’t made it onto the overweight, judgmental one’s all important good list. Last minute panic took over our house this afternoon as the festive food shop was done for the impending arrival of the hungry masses and we soon realised our small kitchen and equally small fridge just isn’t big enough to store it all. Presents are still to be wrapped and some even to be collected, fingers crossed that Click and Collect is all is makes out to be.
A midst all of the panic an awesome early Christmas pressie arrived form Netflix containing everything I needed to get me through Christmas. Included were batteries, sellotape, healthy, chocolate free snack for the kiddywinks as well as nurofen and some delicious Jo Malone bath goodies.
Netflix also have the Christmas viewing sorted with their Ultimate Survival Guide and there’s something for everyone!
Ultimately your children will get bored with their hoards of new toys and normally I’ll hear “I’m bored” at around lunch time on Boxing Day. Cleverly I’ve been saving the new Netflix original series of All Hail King Julien for this very moment.
“King Julien is back and shaking his booty harder than ever! Discover the wild world of Madagascar as the king takes on the jungle’s craziest adventures in this comedy series. With his loyal sidekicks Maurice and Mort, they meet a whole new cast of colorful animals, including ambitious head of security Clover and the villainous Foosa. No one can stop this king from ruling with an iron fist…in the air…wavin’ like he just doesn’t care.”
I’ve also been saving another Netflix Original for myself to watch over the festive break, Marco Polo.
I’m also keen to start watching House, M.D starring Hugh Laurie. It’s something I haven’t got around to yet this year but with a whole 12 days off work I’m looking forward to squeezing it in. What are you watching this Christmas?
Peter Rabbit has always been popular in our house but interest was raised when the TV series hit CBeebies. Back at Easter Vivid sent Joseph a gorgeous Peter Rabbit plush toy and it’s still a massive favourite of his. Last week Vivid treated Imogen and Joseph to an early Christmas, a Peter Rabbit Treehouse Playset!
The Treehouse comes with an exclusive Peter Rabbit figure who is carrying his trademark satchel and clutching a book in his paw. The treehouse has lots of lovely features including a working lift, secret slide, telescope and bucket pulley.
There is also a planning table which flips over to reveal a secret map! Joseph loves taking Peter on a whole host of adventures, keeping lookout on the hunt for radishes from the to floor with his telescope, zooming down the slide and fetching and carrying supplies with the bucket.
My favourite thing about the treehouse is that it doesn’t need batteries and therefore doesn’t light up or make a sound, because of this the kiddywinks have had to rely on their imaginations to create their own stories whilst playing with it, awesome!
The treehouse is well made and has already withstood an awful lot of play, the trap door has been opened and closed literally thousands of times! At the moment the Peter Rabbit Treehouse Playset is priced at £19.99 on Amazon which i think is great value for money, however the RR is £29.99 and for that I would really have liked to have seen at least one more figure included. They are available to purchase separately at around £3.99 each.
Joseph had an awesome surprise in the post yesterday, his very own Christmas card from the Half Shell Heroes and a bauble filled with a Splinter figure from Flair’s awesome new TMNT range.
Flair’s new range is a little different as it’s aimed at the younger audience (between 2 and 5) and you’ve no idea how much is excites my little “Ninja Tortoise” fan, especially as the recently released movie he was desperate to see came with a 12 certificate!
The collection is already extensive but I predict that it will grow rapidly. All of the figures are brightly coloured and chunky, ideal for smaller hands. There are a multitude of vehicles including the larger Shell Raisers, an awesome Super Sewer playset as well as mega, talking and standard figures in a twin pack.
Prices vary between £7.99 and £59.99 and UKMums.TV are a Half-Shell Heroes Advent competition where they’ll be giving away a fabulous prize every day during December, Turtle Power!