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Monday, 26 June 2017

Tonka Tinys Mini Playsets - Blast & Dash Quarry Playset

This year marks Tonka's 70th Anniversary celebrating decades of keeping children entertained with their amazing toy vehicles.  My 28 year old son played with his Tonka truck as a child and now my 7 year old loves playing with it. They are toys built to last.

Tonka Tinys is the newest, exciting toy in the range. We recently reviewed the new Tonka Tinys three pack and blind garage packs of miniature scale, collectable vehicles. With over 20 Tonka Tinys vehicles to collect including police pick-ups, dump trucks and helicopters, there is a world of imaginative play for kids to enjoy.

Now, playtime is set to bring some big adventures on a tiny scale with Tonka Tinys playsets. Brand new for this year, Tonka Tinys have launched the Blast & Dash Quarry and the Car Crush playsets. They are scaled to suit the Tonka Tinys vehicles and are fully connectable.

Tonka


Freddy received the Tonka Tinys Blast & Dash Quarry playset to try out. The playset comes with an exclusive Tonka Tinys dump truck ready for action. Features include a toppling tower and working detonator for some explosive fun.

Tonka


The playset comes boxed and needs to be assembled. It is a bit fiddly to put the parts together and as you would expect from this type of playset, the assembled structure isn't very rigid (as it is meant to break apart during play) so can't be handled too roughly.

The playset looks pretty cool with a Tonka flag, a ramp that goes through the rock surround, a working barrier and a lift. It is all made in miniature making it the perfect size for any of the Tonka Tiny vehicles.

The exclusive vehicle that comes with the playset is a yellow truck with a working black dump bed and chunky wheels. You can load up the dynamite or boulder into the back of the dump truck.

Tonka


The detonation device consists of a push down detonator that fires the boulder from a launcher. We didn't manage to fire the boulder out of the launcher with any force, so it wasn't powerful enough to bring down the structure, but it was still quite fun to push down the plunger. Freddy said he thinks this part of the playset needed improving to make the boulder explosion look more like the one shown on the front of the box.

The lift carries the truck to the top of the tower. Pulling the lift up was a bit tricky and sometimes resulted in the tower toppling over. If the truck gets to the top of the tower it can then cross the bridge to the adjoining tower and whizz impressively down the ramp. (The ramp was Freddy's favourite part of the playset.)

Tonka Tinys Blast & Dash Quarry

Tonka Tinys Blast & Dash Quarry


The tower collapses to simulate an explosion at the quarry. The plastic structure tilts on its base  so it's simple to push it back into place afterwards. I thought this was a good idea because children don't need to continually rebuild that part of the structure from scratch to continue playing. However, as the structure is quite flimsy, the bridge and ramps sometimes fell off during play, which frustrated Freddy.

Tonka Tinys Blast & Dash Quarry


There is something so appealing about miniature toys. I absolutely love the Tonka Tinys vehicles and think they are well constructed with good detailing. The playsets make a nice addition to a child's collection, increasing the play value and providing an environment for the vehicles to use. The concepts of the two playsets: an explosive quarry and a car crushing junk yard, are exciting and thrilling to young imaginations. We just wish they were a bit more robust to withstand being played with. They are  however good to look at as part of a tiny model world.  A larger playset is due to be launched this autumn to add to the fun.

You can find the Tonka Tinys Blast & Dash Playset on Amazon (RRP of £9.99) and the blind garage packs are £2.49.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Plant For Peace - sowing the seeds of love

Since taking the step and becoming completely vegan, I have found that my whole outlook on life has changed way beyond just avoiding the consumption of any animal products or by-products. I think a lot more about my effect on the planet and try to source as many ethical, sustainable and compassionately produced products that I can. So when I heard about Plant for Peace, the new raw superfood fruit and seed bars, I was really impressed.

Plant for Peace bars come in three varieties: Mulberry Apple, Mulberry Chia Seed and Mulberry Cocoa Orange. They are 100% natural and packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. They are made using wholesome ingredients such as organic mulberries, seeds, apple and raisins with no nasty additives whatsoever. They are suitable for vegans and are a low calorie, nutritious and really tasty, fruity snack.

superfood bars, vegan


However, even more excitingly than having a new superfood bar on the market, Plant for Peace helps farmers in conflict zones in Afghanistan turn their lives around. The organic Mulberries in the bars are exclusively grown on small Afghan farms, enabling farmers to transform their fields from growing opium for the heroin trade, to growing fruit  for the superfood bars. All profits from the bars will be reinvested to fund further fruit tree planting, helping even more farmers to transform their lives. Plant For Peace aims to revive the agricultural industry which was destroyed during the war, and offer farmers an alternative and sustainable livelihood. I think this is an amazing initiative for everyone involved. As a consumer, I love knowing that my money will help support these farmers and this great cause - plus the bars are really good, healthy and vegan. Win win!

Plant for Peace bars cost £1.19 (£2.99 for box of 4) and are available from Sainsbury's in three flavours: Mulberry Chia, Mulberry Cocoa Orange and  Mulberry and Apple.

Plant for Peace

Monday, 19 June 2017

Tell My Story Book - unique personalised story books

"Keep reading. It's one of the most marvellous adventures anyone can have." - Lloyd Alexander

Children's books are so important. Sitting on the lap of a parent or snuggled up in bed listening to a story, is where little bookworms are created. Nurturing a life long love of reading is one of the most precious gifts we can give a child, giving them the chance to escape into other worlds and other lives through the pages of a good book.

Finding books that really engage and delight children is the best way to get them into reading from a young age.

Tellmystorybook.com were kind enough to send Freddy a brilliant, personalised storybook called "Imagination" featuring his face and name throughout. Seeing him flick through the pages, he absolutely loved being the star of the book. It really made him giggle seeing his face superimposed onto the main character in the story, dressed in a variety of guises from a spaceman to a bodybuilder to a deep sea diver. It is really quite magical.

Tellmystorybook.com


The story is a simple tale of a little boy who couldn't get to sleep at bedtime so went for an imaginary adventure to a multitude of places such as through space, under the sea, to the circus and the zoo. He imagined being a train driver, he fed giraffes, beat an alien in a race, swam with a mermaid and met a pizza making mouse! Each scenario is well illustrated in vivid colour and features Freddy's face, while the rhyming text uses his name on every page. It's a short and sweet bedtime story that helps little ones settle down to sleep with the promise of wonderful dreams ahead where they can be anyone who their imagination allows.

Tellmystorybook.com


Each book is created in-house to a great quality and high standard and is unique to the recipient using their face and name and the book features a personalised dedication on the front page. The books have a hardback cover and measure 30cm by 20.5cm. They make amazing gifts for little ones that will be a source of joy for years to come.

Tellmystorybook.com


I am really impressed with the quality of the imagery. The pictures are a mix of real life images and illustrations that is really effective. The pages are glossy and thick and the overall feel of the product is that it is engaging  and fun! Freddy loves it and it really, really makes him laugh seeing his face in his very own story book.

You can find out more and order your own Tell My Story Book using your child's photograph by visiting the website at tellmystorybook.com.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Eco-Friendly Bamboo Towels from The Towel Shop

Bamboo is also one of the most efficient and sustainable sources of fibre in the world, with an amazing 2 feet of growth per day. Using bamboo fibres in manufacturing contributes to conservation efforts and helps tackle deforestation, making it a more environmentally friendly material.  As a consumer, I try to chose eco-friendly products where possible, so I was very interested when The Towel Shop got in touch with me to discuss their new product range - The Bamboo Collection.

bamboo towels


The Bamboo Towel Bale brings eco-friendly comfort and luxury to the home.  Made using 50% bamboo fibre and 50% natural cotton, these towels are up to 3 times more absorbent than cotton towels.  They are made using only the finest and highest quality materials on the market, ensuring a better quality product that stays soft and fluffy for longer. With a 600gsm weight density, they are thick, dense and durable, feeling luxurious and smooth to the touch.

Towel Shop


Bamboo has anti-fungal properties, so your towels remain odour free and more hygienically clean and they are machine washable at 40 degrees centigrade to maintain their freshness.

The bamboo towel collection includes a range of sizes from the 33cm x 33cm face cloth through to the 100cm x 150cm bath sheet. They are also available in a range of colours including the charcoal grey colour that I received.

I am really impressed with my bale of Bamboo towels. They really are soft, absorbent and the quality is good. They feel lovely on the skin and soak up more water than other towels. I love the eco-friendly element of the product, as I try to reduce my impact on the planet where I can. Bamboo is a sustainable material that I look out for to use instead of cotton or plastic in the home. In buying bamboo towels you will not be compromising on quality or luxury, but instead will feel perfectly pampered as a more ethical consumer. They are a great choice for my family.

A 10 piece bale consisting of four face cloths, two hand towels, two bath towels and two bath sheets is £55.14, which is great value for money. Other bale sizes and individual towels are available starting at 65p for an individual face cloth. They can also be bought in bulk for businesses at wholesale prices. The Towel Shop offers free delivery, same day dispatch if ordered before 3pm, 365 day returns policy and a price match guarantee meaning that you can buy in confidence.

Check out The Towel Shop at http://www.thetowelshop.co.uk to find the Bamboo towels along with a huge range of bedding and household linen for the home or business. It's great quality without an inflated price tag!

Friday, 2 June 2017

Celebrating La Famiglia at Prezzo

This week, we were lucky enough to enjoy a lovely meal courtesy of Britmums and Prezzo in The Printworks in Manchester. Over the years, Manchester has become like a second home to us. My eldest daughter Megan went to university there, shortly followed by her younger sister Ella who has now completed her degree and is about to start her Masters. We love Manchester's vibrancy, its heritage, its sporting and musical history, its cultural diversity, the shopping and the restaurants. It's a great city to visit and a place where we feel at home. 

Prezzo


The recent attack on Manchester left us feeling utterly shocked and heartbroken. This wonderful, welcoming city has been violated in the cruelest and most callous way, but in the aftermath has showed itself to be more resilient, proud and defiant than ever. People from all walks of life are standing together, holding each other closer and finding strength and love through unity. 

As a mother, I have held my children even closer than usual, reminding myself of the importance of living the best lives that we can, becoming the best versions of ourselves that we can be, and celebrating the blessings that come from being a family. Family means everything to me. Being the matriarch of my wonderful, ever-growing family defines me and gives me purpose and so much joy in this world.

We love to do things together and eating out as a family is always a lot of fun, allowing us all to relax without worrying about the cooking or washing up afterwards.  Dining out always means lots of laughs, plenty of uninterrupted conversations and the opportunity for spending quality time together away from the TV, laptops or iPads. Exactly what we need to be doing; consolidating our togetherness and celebrating family life.

Manchester, Prezzo


The Prezzo restaurant in The Printworks in Manchester is a really great venue to grab a family meal. It has a very welcoming atmosphere, with cosy booths that allow families to sit together comfortably. The staff were very friendly and helpful and we felt very relaxed and ready to experience their La Famiglia Feast.

Little ones have colouring sheets to keep them entertained while they wait for the food to arrive and Freddy enjoyed doing the wordsearch and crossword with his big sisters.

Prezzo


Prezzo's La Famiglia concept makes ordering for a family really easy. You simply choose a big sharing bowl of  Penne Arrabiata, Spaghetti Bolognese, Spaghetti Carbonara or Penne Alla Rusticana and it arrives at your table with a serving spoon and four bowls. It embraces family dining as you serve yourselves at the table. It adds an element of home style intimacy and fun to your mealtime. No squabbling, no food envy and no stress over choosing from the menu - you all eat the same, together. As you serve yourselves, you can adjust everyone's portion size to suit their appetite. More for daddy and less for the little ones, so there is no waste. There really was plenty to go round and it was nice to be able to serve up some seconds when our first bowls were empty. All the perks of eating at home with none of the hassle!

Prezzo


We chose the vegetarian choice, Penne Arrabiata, which is penne pasta served in a tomato and chilli sauce. We asked if the chef could make it mild so everyone could enjoy it and they were more than happy to oblige. It's good to know that everything is freshly made in the open plan kitchen. The dish had some lovely chunky pieces of tomato running through it. It had the appeal of being made from scratch, using real ingredients, just like I'd do myself (but with none of the effort!)

Prezzo


The pasta was really tasty with a gentle kick of heat. Perfect to suit everyone's taste.  I played 'Mama' and served everyone a delicious bowlful of Penne Arrabiata from the sharing bowl. The pasta was served with garlic flat bread, and we all ate our fill. I loved the novelty of the La Famiglia sharing bowl. We felt far more engaged as a family, embracing the theatre of intimate Italian family mealtimes within the restaurant setting. It really was fun and made a real change to traditional restaurant dining.

pasta, prezzo


I love to see my kids having fun together. Food is often at the centre of family celebrations. There is something about sitting down and eating delicious food together that creates a relaxed atmosphere. Smartphones are cast aside for a while and we can give each other undivided attention. Everyone from the youngest to the oldest gets a chance to shine and be a part of something bigger than themselves - a part of La Famiglia!

restaurant, dining out


Rounding off our meal with some Italian ice cream and sorbet was the perfect ending for our La Famiglia Feast. The Blood Orange sorbet was really fresh and fruity and came in a perfectly chilled glass bowl. It's the little things like that, which make dining out such an enjoyable experience.

Prezzo


We had a lovely time celebrating family life, eating some authentic tasting Italian food and enjoying the Prezzo La Famiglia dining experience. In these times where we are all reeling from the negative things happening in our world, it is more important than ever for us to stand together and stand up for our right to celebrate our lives in the most positive and enjoyable way: spending quality time with the people we love, sharing good food and supporting the community that we feel such a part of.

Prezzo


“This post is an entry for the BritMums #PrezzoLaFamiglia Challenge, sponsored by Prezzo.  https://www.prezzorestaurants.co.uk/LaFamiglia/."

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Our Day Out at the Geronimo Festival 2017

Arley Hall is the beautiful setting for this year's Geronimo Festival. The festival is running across this bank holiday weekend, and we visited today and had an absolutely amazing time. I'd go as far to say that this is the best Geronimo Festival yet! Freddy had a day filled with some incredible experiences and activities where he learned new skills, tested his nerve and had a huge amount of fun.

Animal encounters form a big part of the Geronimites' day. Little ones can meet exotic reptiles with Ranger Rob and learn about them in a hands on wildlife experience. Freddy and Kezia held a huge black and white lizard, which was stunningly beautiful. The Parrotman is there with a collection of colourful birds while The Feathery Folk have a selection of beautiful birds of prey for children to learn about. The Giant Tortoises are just wonderful and we loved petting them in their enclosure. Freddy rode on Geronimo the Donkey! We also saw some shows in the arena with horses and there were sheep for little ones to meet. Add to this the performing T-Rex, Bear's Big Bear Hunt and a host of weird and wonderful animal models and puppets, and kids are in for a wild time!

animal encounters


Arley Hall is in a gorgeous estate, surrounded by trees and fields giving the festival the most perfect venue. The colourful tents and decorations across the festival ground make Geronimo a wonderland for families, where there is so much to see, do and explore. There is a main stage where stars of CBeebies and other kid friendly acts perform. There are two circuses and also a main arena where you can watch knights on horseback, a stunt show and BMX riders. There is also a theatre zone where you can take in a show or you can go and listen to some magical storytelling.

If you prefer getting hands on there are plenty of craft activities to do, a funky junk workshop or a Play Doh area. There is music and dancing and lessons where you can have a go at playing a musical instrument. However your family likes to have fun, Geronimo has something to keep you happily entertained.

festival


Freddy's favourite activities are the high adrenaline ones. He learned some trapeze skills, did archery, threw axes and fired a crossbow. He scaled a climbing wall, went caving in an interactive, replica caving trailer, had a go on the Ace inflatable obstacle course and zipped down the Skyfall zipwire. Freddy also learned how to fence and did some pretty impressive parkour over obstacles.  His favourite thing was The Air Bag, which saw him jumping from a high platform and landing on an inflatable crash mat. He was like a proper little stuntman!

Geronimo Festival


There is absolutely loads of fun things to do at Geronimo. We missed so much that we are going back tomorrow to do the rest. Freddy really had a great time today, and speaking to other mums and also to my sister who came with her two little ones, the general consensus is that this year's Geronimo is a really fantastic family day out. With so many things included in the entry price, it's really good value. (The funfair costs extra, but with everything going on, Freddy didn't even have the time to ask to ride the carousel!)

There is still two days of Geronimo to go. Find out more at http://www.geronimofest.com.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Sing out on Blu-Ray and DVD #singmovie

SING IS AVAILABLE ON 4K ULTRA HD™, BLU-RAY 3D™, BLU-RAY™, DVD AND ON DEMAND  On 22ND MAY 2017

From Illumination, the studio that brought us The Secret Life of Pets and Despicable Me , comes an animated comedy about finding the music that lives inside of all of us. It's an all singing, all dancing spectacular starring the vocal talents of lots of Hollywood A Listers.

Sing


SING stars Matthew McConaughey as Buster Moon, an eternally optimistic, showbiz obsessed koala who puts on the world’s greatest singing competition in an attempt to save his failing theatre. Unfortunately a typo on the competition flyers offers a grand prize worth much more than Buster Moon can afford. This sets in to motion a chain of events, bringing together a host of animal characters trying to win the cash, find fame or find themselves.

Reese Witherspoon stars as the housewife Rosita, an overworked and under appreciated mother of 25 piglets desperate to unleash her inner diva and escape the drudgery of everyday life. Scarlett Johansson voices Ash, a punk rock porcupine with a beautiful voice behind her prickly exterior and with a cheating porcupine partner. Taron Egerton is Johnny, a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s life of crime through music. Other characters include a crooning mouse who is wanted by gangsters, an extremely shy but talented young elephant and a rather flamboyant pig called Gunther.

The Golden Globe nominee for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, SING features more than 65 hit songs. Everyone will be singing along to all the familiar tracks as well as to the brand new song "Faith" recorded by Stevie Wonder and featuring Ariana Grande.

We loved this film, especially the heart warming ending! The catchy songs and funny dance routines play out alongside humorous scenes and truly touching moments. From the youngest to the oldest, we all enjoyed sitting down together to watch this movie. There are some real memorable moments and the soundtrack is fabulous. It will definitely have you singing along.

The Blu-Ray has loads of bonus features including three mini movies (Gunter Babysits, Love At First Sight and Eddie’s Life Coach), music videos, behind the scenes footage, character profiles, interviews, a dance along video and a comedy mash-up as well as a digital download to play the movie on mobile devices.

Here's a behind the scenes video clip showing some of the stars of Sing recording their characters' lines for the film.

      


SING is out on Digital Download, Blu-ray™ and DVD from 22nd May, courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Website: www.singmovie.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SingMovieUK
Twitter: https://twitter.com/universaluk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/universalpicturesuk

Hashtag: #SingMovie

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