Thursday, 31 May 2012

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Review

We were sent a lovely package from Warner Brothers along with the Blu-ray Triple Play to review.  

Eldest was very excited about the contents and is now sporting a Lizard tattoo, which he claims he must show ALL his friends!

We spent a very pleasant hour and a half watching this great family film.  We all enjoyed it very much.  It is not often the boys have the concentration to get to the end of a film in one sitting.  But this one had plenty to keep them interested and wanting more, like a giant lizard, small elephants, bumble bee rides… lots to spark their imagination and keep the constant questions flowing!

My boys laughed a lot in the film; they thought it was hilarious when logs owned the rampaging lizard.  I was worried as this might be one of the few PG’s they have watched; normally I stick them to U’s.  But I need not have worried this film was perfect for them and action packed from start to finish.  Just what my two boys obviously need to keep entertained!  The right mix of gripping story and comedy was a hit.

The scenery is amazing and the colours when the two birds clash and the feathers cover the screen was breathtaking.  I think this film is worthy of the shouts of AWESOME eldest kept doing!  I was holding back not to join in…

The film features the lead character going on a hunt for a mysterious island after decoding a distress signal.  Cue lots of giant creatures, a volcano spewing gold and a surprise or two.  They soon realise they need to find a way off the island quickly and cannot wait to be rescued.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island released on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download on 28 May 2012.  So you can buy yourself a copy now as a sure fire way to keep the kids occupied over the half term.

Spa Sensations Contour Pillow Review

I was sent one of these to review from Bedstar.  I had not heard of this company before but as I am usually desperately missing sleep anything that can make me more comfy when I do manage to get forty winks is always a big bonus!  For the times when the children are not falling out of bed, being restless, feeling poorly or having nightmares I can relax and recuperate for a short while in extreme comfort!

The Spa Sensations contour pillow comes in both a standard and large size, the standard is just smaller than a traditional pillow.  Hubbie is a pillow down and had hoped to have it for himself, but it was not big enough for his man head, my dainty lady head was fine thankfully.  So if you like big pillows the standard size is probably not for you.

The pillow effectively supports his head and neck and even relieves general aches and pains that busy days with children can bring (if you could see how often I carry my youngest on my shoulders you will realise how grave my need is for something gentle to support my neck come night time!).

I do like this pillow but it is priced higher than ones I have bought in the past, but for this it does go beyond the role of a traditional pillow.  For one it has ventilated foam so creates a cooling effect, this is great if your one of those people who is continually turning over their pillow to get the cooler side periodically through the night.  Seriously pack it in and let me sleep… (Hubbie take note!)

The premium quality and advanced orthopaedic design really does help you get a better night sleep.  As an asthmatic I like that this pillow is resistant to dust mites.  For me I can sleep more soundly knowing that I am not sharing my headspace with some creepy crawlies…

Anyone with children knows if they are sleeping there is nothing worse than being restless and unable to sleep yourself, because children might wake at any moment, its vital to catch up on some zzzzzzz straight away. 

I am pleased with my new pillow, I am glad its just the right size for ME!  Although youngest has started taking a liking to it…

Head over to the Bedstar website to see what else they have available.  I must admit I like their price match facility, whereby if you find the product cheaper elsewhere you can get the difference back AND a free gift.  Now that is good customer service!

Fudges Belgian Dark Chocolate Florentines Review

My naughty little habit is eating sweet things; I have also inherited the habit off my dad whereby I cannot have a cup of tea unless it is accompanied by a biscuit or a slice of cake.  I do not know if people can drink tea without a sugary snack, is it even possible?  I do know tea and a decent biscuit keep me calm when life with two hectic boys seems tough!  So it was with pleasure I got to review these from Fudges.

They retail at £3.35 but seem a high quality biscuit.  So worth a splurge when you feel you need to spoil yourself (frankly that is 24/7 as not having enough sleep or peace and quiet means if I want a nice biscuit I shall indulge!).  On the box it recommends chopping them up and adding to vanilla ice cream, this sounds pretty clever to me and mighty tasty.

Hubbie was interested to see they also did savoury snacks particularly Marmite Flatbreads.  I just sighed and referred him back to the biscuit section!  If you want your children to be extremely popular one way might to bribe parents with these delicious biscuit offerings to entice them back to your playdates again and again.  Although you might find they start dropping by too often if they know your biscuit cupboard is full…

I am drooling over the idea of the Lyle’s Syrup Flapjacks dipped in Belgian Chocolate.  Now we are talking!  It is hard writing the review after everything is finished off because now I am pining for a good biscuit and the cupboards are bare!  Hangs head sadly!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Olympic Torch

My boys missed the London 2012 Olympic Torch relay route in our local area but I am pleased they got an opportunity tonight to get close and personal to the torch and have a picture with one of the stars of the show.  My eldest son’s karate teacher could not have been a more suitable choice for a bearer of the torch, he is dedicated to his sport with a passion that is wonderful to see and he is great at encouraging and motivating children of all ages to develop their skills in his classes.

He has also been tirelessly taking the torch to local schools and community groups since taking part, so everyone in the area has a chance to touch a piece of history and enjoy a lovely photograph!

I am glad my boys had this chance (youngest might look slightly sleepy as I had to wake him up as he nodded off watching the karate demonstrations, but he was there and he got to be part of it all!).

Sensei we salute you!

popchips Review

popchips are a huge snack in America and now we have them here!  I think America should stop trying to hog all the good stuff and am glad they are at least willing to share these.  popchips have a celebrity following so I had to give them a try myself to see what all the fuss was about, so I was very pleased to be sent a lovely selection to review.

popchips come in five different flavours, including original, barbeque, salt & pepper, sea salt & vinegar and sour cream & onion.  I was a fan of the barbeque, salt & pepper was well received by hubbie and the kids were quite happy to munch on any of them!

popchips are popped with heat and pressure to make a naturally delicious crisp with all the flavour and less than half the fat of fried crisps.  There are even less than 100 calories per pack and no fake colours or flavours.  Given how healthy they seem I was surprised how nice they actually taste, very flavoursome, the healthier aspect has not compromised the taste in the slightest.

No cholesterol is another huge plus!  As although I am slim built I do worry about what is going on inside of my body.  My diet could definitely do with improvement, so reaching for the popchips instead of my usual brand of crisps is a great start (and good timing to coincide with my new fitness challenge).

If you love crisps but really need to think about changes to your eating habits and a healthier alternative, I think these could be them!  The fact they are appetizing does not hurt either… Lacking the grease of fried crisps I think these will soon be as big a hit here as they are in America.

Eldest “I love them, they are beautiful, thank you for reviewing them mummy….” must have decided that was enough buttering up of mummy as he then said, “Now can I have another packet please…”.  He must enjoy them to try and get another packet out of me.  Being a mean mummy I of course made him wait until tomorrow.  But they are so nice these packs need to be savoured over a few days!

To find out more head to the website and you can purchase them from Waitrose £0.69 (RRP) for a single-serve bag and £1.89 (RRP) for a share bag (85g).

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Rogue Events Supernatural Convention

I am a huge fan of the show and getting the opportunity to meet some of the actors from Supernatural was an amazing experience!  

Well I say I am a huge fan, I think I just thought I was as after having gone to my first convention, I have realised I am not hardcore enough.  Yes I was pleased to be there, yes I did walk into a chair after getting an autograph but I think that was just being flustered generally and my normal ditsy self, not being overwhelmed by the presence of Castiel… (although he is exceptionally cute and very funny!)

How do I know I am not a super fan?

I did not bring any of the actors a present (I mean what do they do with all the well thought out tat they get anyway?!?)

I did not have a small soft toy to interview the actors with in an animated voice, how they manage to keep a straight face in the open panels is beyond me!

I did not have my picture taken and then immediately throw up (like one fan I was talking to in a queue!)

I was not disillusioned enough to believe when they wrote I love you on my autograph book that they actually meant it and planned to run off with me into the sunset…

I actually felt physically sick when I saw one of the fans snogging the co-executive producer, the heated display turned my poor stomach!  Yes I know he helps produce an amazing show but seriously going full on surrounded by queues trying to get autographs put me off my lunch.  I was not star struck!!!

I had not watched the season finale whilst I was there, most of the fans stayed up till ridiculous o’clock to watch it, hoping to discuss with the actors the next day!  I admire their dedication but I also value sleep.

But in my own way I shall continue to love the show and the actors!

The beaming light in his chest is not his supernatural powers but rather the camera flash of taking a picture of the actual picture!

Monday, 28 May 2012

My fitness challenge

I am not overweight but I definitely could do with toning up. I have been finishing off the boys’ leftovers, eating far too much cake and chocolate to give me (very short term) energy boosts and not following a regular exercise routine in ages…

I did start Zumba classes but it was a difficult time for my mum to have the boys so the perfect solution for me is to try an exercise DVD.  I can do it in the comfort of my own home to my own timetable, so it slots in well with family life.  Money can be tight in our household as it is for many families so a DVD workout at home is a much cheaper solution than a gym membership or my much loved karate lessons, which I have sadly put on the back burner, as I would rather save the pennies for my boys activities.

I have been sent a Davina Ultimate Target DVD from MyFamilyClub to get me started and I look forward to following the routine twice weekly and reporting back on my progress.  If I so feel inclined I shall be working out in my pyjamas unlike having to get dressed up to workout with everyone else in the gym (where everyone looks far too glamorous to actually break into a sweat!).  Frankly by the end of the day my reserves are flagging and I am usually on my last legs looking slightly frazzled!
I would be very impressed if my stomach resembled anything like Davina’s at the end of the challenge.  But I shall be focusing on the tummy toning section anyway with vague hope.  My tummy is still a little wobbly after having had the boys.  Who knows if I breathe in deeply, maybe you will see some contours of muscles after the month is up!

Here I am starting out:

Feeling quietly optimistic (and yes my work out kit does feature flamingo PJ’s this evening and I notice I need dumb bells for the workout, being very well equipped here I will no doubt have to improvise with tins of baked beans! But I shall not let that thwart me!)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Little Charley Bear becomes King for a Day

Little Charley Bear, the popular pre-school series for boys and girls, is celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee in style. A special episode titled ‘Charley Wishes’ is airing on 5th June at 9.10am on BBC Two, which sees Little Charley Bear become King for a day.

In this episode, Little Charley Bear draws a birthday cake with candles on top and is able to have all of his wishes granted. But when Charley becomes a King with a royal wizard to make all his wishes come true, he finds that not all wishes turn out how you expect. Even a King has to be careful what he wishes for.

This very funny and imaginative show also stars James Corden as the narrator. It encourages children to use their imagination to go on adventures through active role play.

Chapman Entertainment, the creators of Fifi and the Flowertots and Roary the RacingCar, produced the programme with CGI specialists, Annix, based at Pinewood Studios. Each episode is seven minutes long and the narrator provides Charley with guidance through the show, however it is Charley and his imagination that drives the story.

Other characters in the special ‘Charley Wishes’ episode of Little Charley Bear include Frozo: a penguin, Midge: a teddy bear, Rivet: a robot, Nibblit: a rabbit, Caramel: a cow and Bellarina: a ballerina.

For more information on Little Charley Bear, visit the website and become a friend at

Rosie Special Edition Diamond Jubilee Doll Review

Perfect for taking to your Jubilee party and keeping as a memento of the occasion.  Rosie is already a much-loved toy of my son’s friend.

Rosie was a good size for her to carry around and ride around in her little pram. 

The doll's hair was very popular, she has been putting bobbles in it and playing with it.  She even went to sleep on Friday night playing with the hair.  This is perfect because how often do little ones fight bedtime, leaving her happily doing the doll's hair and then nodding off naturally is much more pleasant than begging, pleading and willing them to go to sleep!!!

Meeting the royal pooch (unfortunately not a Corgi on this occasion!)

Wherever my friends little girl went she had to take Rosie with her

New best friends

Girls can choose between the bright and bold design and the softer pastel design.  Each doll has the option of coming with or without a tiara.  As these are special edition quickly head to the website and order your own.  Rosie is available for just £14.50 direct from Fulanitos.

James Martin Bakery Cake Mix Review

We were sent the Chocolate Cake Mix and the White Chocolate and Raspberry Cup Cake Kit.  Firstly I must say I did now know the RRP of these before I had made and tasted the baked goods and I am surprised at how cheap they are for the quality of the end result.  You do need to add some extra ingredients to both sets but nothing hugely expensive and things you might tend to have in anyway.

The Chocolate Cake Mix is available from Asda for £1.50; you only need add an egg, cola, semi skimmed milk and butter, not much of each.  I like that these kits are low mess and hassle free, less measuring out as the icing and cake mix are already done.  So perfect sets to make with children.

You even get a disposable baking tray included, so less dishes!!!  Now we are talking my kind of cooking.  I have never added cola to my baking before and I was surprised by the use of the ingredient but it helped make the cake quite moist and delicious.

The White Chocolate and Raspberry Cup Cakes are on offer from Tesco at the moment for £1.79 (usually £1.99) so a good time to try them out.  The kit makes six tasty cupcakes (the kit even provides the cupcake cases!) with a lovely frosting (studded with raspberry bits) with white chocolate curls to decorate.  The boys were tired after the beach so I did these on my own (and I didn’t burn them!).  After baking you can really smell the raspberry and the sponge is nicely flavoured with it.

I would definitely buy these cake mixes again, especially as they make baking with my boys easier than normal.  Only thing I have to watch for is them going after the rest of the cola…  If you want to impress the school committee maybe buy some kits and pass the baking off as your own.  I am lucky hubbie is quite good in the kitchen when it comes to baked goods but if your not so fortunate you could definitely get away with looking like a better cook with these kits.

Sometimes at the end of a long day with the kids, I am craving cake.  The luxury of these kits is if you have a few in you can have emergency cake with minimum stress on demand!  As much as I would like hubbie to be on call to bake 24/7 occasionally he puts up a fuss and resists, so now I can make my own cake…

Tilda Kids Rice Review

We were sent the four pouches of this new rice range to review with my boys.  As a grown up I found it slightly bland but then its not targeted for me, youngest loved it and I was so pleased as I have not been able to get him to eat rice before.

I love how it’s so quick and easy to prepare, sometimes juggling the boys (and their heated arguments) and preparing a decent meal do not go together well.  So being able to open a packet, put it in the microwave, fluff and serve is so simple and your even giving them one of their five a day. 

Reassuringly you can see vegetables in the rice and there is blended hidden vegetable puree too.  You can feel like a good mum and tell the health visitor yes my children do eat a wide range of foods… (Even if it only takes 40 seconds to cook in the microwave!)

The packaging is appealing for little ones with wildlife on the front.  I think seeing the tiger; elephant, parrot and monkey helped them be less intimated and fussy about the contents.

The 125g pack sizes are perfect for your child’s appetite and can be eaten on their own or with meat or fish.  The flavour varieties are Cheese & Tomato, Sunshine Vegetable, Sweet Vegetable & Wholegrain and Mild & Sweet Curry, so a good mix to develop a child’s palate.

The new Tilda Kids range is available in Tesco and most Morrisons, Waitrose and Asda stores and on Ocado, with an RRP of £1.15.

Visit to meet Tilli and friends and learn more

Disney Club Penguin Sticker Book

Eldest was sent his first sticker book and three packets of stickers.  Matching the numbered stickers to where they needed to go in the book was great for helping him with his numbers.  Every sticker packet came with a special code, which was redeemable on the online game, which unlocked some new clothing items.

This is the first time eldest has looked at the Club Penguin online game and he enjoyed playing connect four with another player.  I liked the Internet safety features for children because you could disable messages from other players, so you know your child is quite safe on there.  The game is free to play or you can buy a membership of £4.95 a month to unlock extra games, events and activities.

A starter pack with three packets of stickers costs a bargain of £1.99 and should be available from most newsagents.  Further packets of stickers cost 50p each.  I remember when I was younger trying desperately to complete a Garfield sticker book, it was my pride and joy.  Eldest was most excited when he found one of the special glitter stickers in one of his packets.  I think we might have to start thinking about some pocket money for chores so he can save up to buy some more stickers!

aurina Nellie Children’s Apron Review

We were sent one of these delightful aprons for eldest to review.  I loved having another excuse for some baking!  We definitely love all things cakey here.  The apron is bright and Nellie the elephant features boldly all over, I love the contrast of the red and the white, definitely stylish wear for baking.  I am slightly dismayed by my own dull navy apron now, I wish I had the grown up version they do (although they also have a charming puddle duck one so it would be tough picking a favourite).

Eldest seemed quite happy wearing it.

His favourite animals are bunnies but having seen some of the fantastic range on the aurina website, I wonder if he would soon favour elephants like his mummy.  When I was little I had a whole little elephant family of soft toys, which I absolutely adored.  I wish this range had been available when I was little because I have a feeling I would have insisted to my own mum that my room was kitted out with all the bedding and cushions.

The apron retails at £12.95 and has a handy pocket in the front, my boys love pockets because it means they can always store a little car or toy and keep it close at all times!  Even when baking they always need an emergency toy at hand…

The apron ties round the neck so you can adjust to fit most children quite comfortably.  The quality is good but still feels light weight enough for little ones to be pleased wearing it and able to move around contentedly in it.

You can find out more about aurina on the website.  I quite fancy some of the vintage jewellery too!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Kids’ Music Shop DVD Review

My boys were sent two DVD’s from the extensive collection available from

Both were jam packed with fabulous nursery rhyme songs.  My boys absolutely loved them.  With a U rating you can comfortably have one on if its raining or your children need a little rest time whilst you whiz around the house looking like the perfect housewife (my friends top tip is to tidy up then spray some polish in the air, so her hubbie thinks she has been cleaning thoroughly all day long!).

My two boys often fight like cat and dog but being so amused by these DVD’s I have had a chance to catch up without having to go in every minute to check what they are bickering about.

They laughed lots at Tony the presenter of the DVD’s, he is quite funny and entertaining, although he does have an affinity for wearing ladies clothing!  Boys think this is quite comical though.  They enjoyed seeing the other children singing and this made them more inclined to join in.

Nursery rhymes are great for developing speech through the repetition of the words in the songs.  They can then keep repeating and learning patterns to get used to how words sound.

These educational DVD’s are available to buy from their online shop for a bargain of £5.10 each.  But there is plenty more of interest so it is worth having a good browse of their shop.  For birthdays, treats or Christmas (yes I know its that word again!) there are plenty of affordable offerings.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Scootrix Competition

The Handpicked Collection specialise in unusual gift ideas, handpicked by experts and they have kindly provided my next competition prize.

They have offered me a pack of Scootrix Wheel Whizzers (worth £6.95) and a Personalised Scootrix Plate (worth £9.95) for one lucky winner, both great and fun ways to make your scooter really stand out in the crowd.  At school there can be plenty of the exact same scooter all lined up waiting for the right owner to spot them, these two handy accessories will make it much easier to find.

My boys were also sent both packs to review.  In my infinite wisdom I did not spot I needed a Micro Mini or Micro Maxi Scooter to test the Wheel Whizzers but maybe now I have the perfect excuse to get one!  But I do love the designs they come in, especially the Union Jack.  They would look great when the scooter is in motion.

The Scootrix plate (which can be attached to most scooters) went down so well, eldest is really excited to be using his scooter again.  Sometimes they get stored away in a cupboard/shed and forgotten but its back out and being used to get him to school, which is great as we seem to be getting there much quicker!  The pack comes with plenty of number and letter sticker sheets for you to personalise the blank plate.

Now I have my blog transport sorted... I shall be attending events from now on riding my official missing sleep scooter!
To enter please complete the rafflecopter below by the 12th of June.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Big Box of Bananas Tour Competition

Andy and Mike’s … Big Box of Bananas is back on the road this June and we have a family ticket (for 4, max 2 adults) to give away to a venue of your choosing!

Andy and Mike’s … Big Box of Bananas invites you to their ‘fun pad’ – there is room for everyone and once there you can expect music, laughs, wigs, eye-patches, boats, planes, suspense and a BIG BOX OF BANANAS!

BAFTA-nominated CBeebies’ presenter Andy Day brings his much-loved humour to this high-energy, children’s comedy.  He and Mike James, childhood friends and comedy partners, have created a fast-paced show full of slapstick, songs and stories. With imaginative writing and great gags, Andy and Mike’s… Big Box of Bananas is a treat for the whole family.

When a magical and mysterious box appears in Andy and Mike’s ‘fun pad’, try as they might they can’t open it. The boys must journey the skies and seas to try to find the password to the box but they need help – they’ll never manage it without an audience of house sitters to give them a hand!

Join them on a colourful journey taking in some very glamorous, all-singing, all-dancing air stewards, some confused pirates and some amazing musical sea life! You’ll also get to meet Poppy the Pet Porpoise, Andy’s Mum and the mysterious man in the TV and to help reveal the mystery of the Big Magical Box.

The UK tour is just round the corner from the 2nd to the 30th of June.  You can find out more information and tour dates and venues from the website

To enter the competition please fill in the rafflecopter below by the 30th.

Rowntree’s Fruit Bottles Review

We were sent a lovely cardboard milk crate filled with cute plastic bottles and hidden inside these were the tasty new Fruit Bottles from Rowntree’s.  The boys definitely were pleased with this delivery!  I was just as excited because it was presented so nicely.  

I love how the little bottles on the sweet packets look mischievous, with very expressive eyes.  Much like my two boys...

If you are partial to cola bottles, these are a much more flavoursome alternative and even contain 25% fruit juice.  They smell really fruity and taste just as nice, they come in five fine flavours.  The ingredients come as a slight surprise with nettle, carrot, spinach and pepper featuring, but honestly they are delicious and you would have no clue you were ingesting such a healthy combination!!!

Everyone here gave them big thumbs up!  Children always badger for sweets, it comes as second nature, but I would definitely be more inclined to give them sweets that has at least seen fruit in their lifetime… and they have no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, another huge bonus!

The bottles will come in handy for storing art and crafts bit and bobs.  So very pleased with the whole Rowntree's experience!

The sweets when stretched even make great mono brows as youngest discovered!

Head over to the Rowntree’s facebook page as they have a great selection of unique retro prizes and sweets to be won.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Stuck on You Review and Competition

Youngest was sent an Artist Series Activity Pack to review in the Woodlands theme, as he is crazy about animals and drawing (but often on our poor walls!).  When he saw the pack he was so excited to see what was inside he kept shouting “I am having fun” at the top of his voice.  

He was very pleased it had his name on it because my boys are always squabbling over who owns what… but if you get your children some art sets with their own name on maybe they will calm down slightly!  Sibling rivalry is in full force in this house.  I know it would be nice if they could just share but until then I think everything should have a label on so there is no disagreement of the hard facts!

I was impressed with the number of themes available, Woodlands like we chose, Wheels Go Round, Sweetie Pie, Pretty Garden and ARRR ZAAP (a space theme).  So plenty of choice whatever interests your child.  You can then personalise with your child’s name and choose the colour and picture on the large pencil case, and then it is filled with pens and colouring pencils, a personalised activity book and a mini scribbler pad with their name on the cover and some stickers to keep them very happy.

Retailing at £24.99 but containing £32.48 worth of product value, it is a great buy.  My youngest has enjoyed the colouring activities, counting rabbits, solving puzzles and some free style drawing.  It has kept him busy and out of mischief and helped stop him falling asleep after a busy day at playschool.  If he falls asleep late on then there is no hope for getting a sensible bedtime so hooray for this pack, it saved the day!  

Everything within this set is high quality, the canvas large pencil case is strong, the pens (double sided with thin and thick nibs) and colouring pencils hardwearing and the activities well thought out with educational properties.

Stuck on You have plenty more available to buy from labels, to bottles, to bags, everything you could possibly need personalised and in very appealing ways for children.  Plenty of bright colours and interesting characters mean children will fall in love with them.

Stuck on You have kindly offered my followers a code for 10% of your order, the code is MissingSleep and is valid until the 15th June.

You can follow Stuck on You on facebook or twitter

Stuck on You are kindly offering one of these fabulous Artist Series Activity packs personalised to your choosing.  To enter fill in the rafflecopter by the 11th of June and keep your fingers crossed! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Poppy Cat Celebrates Queen's Jubilee With Special Episodes On Nick Jr.

The popular pre-school series, Poppy Cat - starring the voice of Welsh beauty, Joanna Page – is kicking off the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations with two special episodes airing on Nick Jr from 2.30pm on 2nd June 2012.
The episode titled ‘Castle Queen’ features Poppy Cat undertaking an extraordinary adventure in a balloon to find a castle with her friends. On the journey they discover the ‘Sandy Salty Beach’ and a castle in the form of a giant sandcastle. Alma (Poppy’s excitable rabbit friend) is eager to be Queen and plant her flag, but they are delayed by Chef Lobster (Egbert) who insists they eat spaghetti seaweed at his restaurant. With the tide threatening the castle, will Alma ever plant her flag at the top or will she relinquish her queen status to spend a fun day at the beach with her friends?

This episode of Poppy Cat will then be followed by another Poppy Cat Jubilee special, ‘Sunken Ship’ at 2.40pm, which sees Poppy and her friends wanting to make a giant gold Queen statue. They have heard about a sunken ship filled with gold, so off they go in a submarine to find the riches of the royals. They discover a treasure chest but things don’t go to plan as a giant squid is guarding it. Poppy cleverly figures out a way for them to get to the treasure chest, but it wasn’t exactly what they had in mind – the chest is full of rubber ducks…but the friends agree that a statue made from rubber ducks is even better than one made from gold!
Poppy Cat is based on the award-winning book series created by Lara Jones that has sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide since first being published in 2003. It encourages pre-schoolers to use their imagination as a way to solve problems and pursue their goals. The stories of Poppy Cat also focus on friendship, and on social and emotional themes, which are relevant and familiar to pre-schoolers. But above all, Poppy Cat is about Making Adventures Extraordinary!
Poppy Cat also airs every Saturday and Sunday at 7am on ITV1 and CITV. For more information on the pre-school series, please visit, or become a fan of Poppy Cat’s on Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Jubilee Photobook Competition

With the Jubilee celebrations around the corner what better way to remember the occasion than with a special photobook with added clip art of bunting, flags and the Queen.

There is a great selection of vibrant backgrounds to bring plenty of colour to each page.

It is really simple and easy to create your photobook:

Step 1: Select the format & size photo book from our large range of options

Step 2: Download your free Albelli photo book creator for Mac or Windows

Step 3: Upload your Jubilee photos and text, plus select from our range of Jubilee clip art and backgrounds

Step 4: Share your photo book with friends either in person or with your free online version

The end result will look very professional and be a treasured reminder of a magical day.

Enter the competition by completing the rafflecopter below by the 1st of June.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pop Up House Review and Competition

My boys were so surprised and delighted when hubbie took this out of the packaging and in the matter of seconds an unexciting piece of cardboard was changed into a fantastic house with unlimited possibilities.

If you do not have much space in your house you can easily fold it away and then pop it back up when it’s needed next and being made from 100% recycled cardboard it is perfect for green families.  Luckily my boys have a playroom as I have a feeling they would be very reluctant for it to be stored away!  They are having so much fun with it.  Last night they had a friend over for tea, they spent ages colouring in, playing house games (mummy, daddy and baby kitten), then I had to be the bad wolf and attempt to blow it down!  

Despite not being made of bricks it was very durable and survived my attempts to blow it down!!!  The dual layer corrugated card also seems perfectly capable to cope with the strains of the under fives, yet is still light enough to be quite portable if you need to hover the crumbs up after the latest tea party at the end of a day playing.

This morning they are back in the house, playing again which is lovely as I take so long to come round in the mornings.  They have excellent entertainment available to them; I can nurse a cup of hot tea, knowing they are meeting lots of their educational needs, being artistic and creative, learning numbers and letters, using their imagination making up games to play in and around the house.  I like the letterbox and the door you can open and close, lovely characteristics that make it feel like a proper real house for your children.  A doorbell, light, baskets of flowers and little milk bottles are all there to colour in along with lots more.

For £34.98 delivered I definitely would have been willing to make a purchase for one of my boys having a few friends over for a birthday tea.  This would have been a great way for children to spend a few hours, you could happily squeeze four of them (I fitted in with my boys and their friend anyway!) in there and space for all the toys and tea party pieces they so love!  Plus you could have plenty more children on the outside colouring in quite happily.

I have seen cheaper cardboard houses on the Internet but not ones that come with all the designs to colour and letters and numbers to help with learning.  Given these qualities I do think it is worth heading here first when contemplating buying a playhouse for your children.  They say you get what you pay for and I am a firm believer of that, the card of this house is exceptionally strong so I have a feeling the boys will cherish and enjoy this playhouse for a very long time. 

I am not the kind of person to look at some old cardboard boxes and come up with something for the boys to play with, if I did it would be covered in selotape and hanging together most unfashionably, so my advice unless your very skilled buy one of these!

You can find out more from the website and make a purchase there.  If you are keen on stocking Popuphouse yourself please get in touch with them for more information on the contact form on the website.

I have kindly been offered one as a prize, if you would like to win one then complete the rafflecopter below by 8th of June.  Your children will be so excited if you win this!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Ainsley Harriott Risotto Review

I am not a natural cook so am enjoying reviewing Ainsley Harriott delicious offerings.  I absolutely love risotto but never seem to find the time (or the inclination) to make it from scratch any more.  I did under strict guidelines from my brother once make a fantastic chicken and leak risotto (with lashings of white wine) but to be honest the Ainsley Harriott Asparagus and Leek risotto I was sent to review was just as tasty and really quick to prepare.  Then I could just drink the wine instead and not have to listen to my temperamental brother chef’s ways…

It is available in a host of mouth-watering flavours, the Asparagus and Leek I already mentioned, Wild Mushroom, Tomato and Mascarpone, Blue Cheese and Broccoli and Pea and Mint.  So whatever your taste buds are fancying it’s likely to be covered there.
It is so easy I had some for lunch the other day when youngest was at playschool.  It made a welcome change from yet another ham or cheese sandwich!  You just add water and a tiny bit of butter, boil in a pan, bit of simmering for 10-12 minutes and a fair bit of stirring.  If you do not stir enough it will stick to the pan… I put my hand up yes I did manage to burn some of one batch but when they said stir frequently just before serving I got distracted by facebook.  So if you stay focused it really is a simple meal to prepare and it works out at only RRP 99p.  Just remember keep stirring!!!

Very handy for caravan holidays we took a couple of packs with us.  As much easier than taking heaps of ingredients with you and cramming it in the storage cupboards when your children want to bring just about every book and toy they own!

You can find out more from the website and it is available to buy from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Morrisons.