Posted in reading

Wonderbly Personalised Book Review

Ellie loves reading, it’s one of her favourite things to do. She reads fluently too with so much expression but her favourite books are the kind where she feels like she is really in the story. That’s where personalised books are amazing because she can find her name or a character that looks just like her while getting stuck in to the story.

Wonderbly is an online book company specialising in personalised books for children. They have a wide range of books in three age categories: 0-3 years, 3-6 years and 6+ years allowing you to easily choose a book suitable for the child the book is for. There is a book suitable to gift for any occasion too!

We have been very fortunate to have been sent their “Princess You The Great” book to review.

These stories are built around your child; giving them the fun and excitement of seeing their own name built in to the story.

Getting started is really simple.

Just choose a book, write in your child’s name, and pick the character drawing that looks the most like them.

I LOVE the different choices of customisation you get with the Wonderbly books. You don’t just choose Boy or Girl, you can choose characters with the same hair and skin colour of your child, this gives them the feeling that they are really in the story!

The website is extremely easy to use and navigate, the hardest part is choosing which book to personalise. There is the option of changing the colour of the cover (some colour options have an additional fee) and then a choice of softcover, hardback or premium hardback layflat. The hardback is a popular choice for any child book to keep them safer in little hands!

Before I finalised our book I created my own dedication which would be printed on the first page. I’ve done this for every personalised book we own, I think it will be a lovely memory for when Ellie is older.

Princess Ellie The Great

A little princess or prince has been invited to the palace to celebrate someone special – but who could it be? On their way they’ll meet lots of magical creatures who need their help and learn what makes a true champion.

A story about a strong, brave girl who just so happens to be a Princess. What more could a little girl want in a story whose main character looks just like the girl reading it. I love that the story teaches young girls they can be both a princess and a brave warrior able to overcome anything they desire! Within the story the main character learns the power of kindness, creativity, courage and determination – all qualities I want Ellie to have as she grows up – by befriending and helping the magical creatures they meet.

Each page is beautifully illustrated on thick high-quality paper and sourced from sustainable forests (making them good for the planet too!)

Our new Wonderbly book is an amazing addition to our Wonderbly Collection and we all love reading them. They are fun and make reading a bedtime story together even more special.

These are books I know we will treasure forever!

Do you own any Wonderbly books? I’d love to know what books others would recommend!

DISCLOSURE – WE WERE KINDLY GIFTED THE PRODUCT TO REVIEW HOWEVER AS ALWAYS ALL THOUGHTS, OPINIONS AND PHOTOGRAPHS ARE MY OWN.

Posted in Gifted, product review

Fun To Learn Peppa Pig Magazine Review

Are you even a parent of a young child if you haven’t caught yourself singing “Jumping up and down in muddy puddles” out loud when the kids aren’t even in the room?

Peppa Pig is still a very loved character in our house. Ellie loves watching Peppa, George and her friends (especially Emily Elephant – she’s a clever cloggs) go on adventures and have lots of fun and as a parent I actually don’t mind them either.
The Peppa Pig merchandise is everywhere – from toys, films, clothing and books but did you know there are now two Peppa Pig magazines as well? One is the official Fun To Learn Peppa Pig magazine and the second is the Peppa Pig Bag O’ Fun. We’ve been sent one of each to review and Ellie couldn’t wait to get stuck in to them both!

Fun to Learn Peppa Pig Magazine

The Fun to Learn Peppa Pig magazine is an interactive magazine aimed at all children between the ages of 3 and 7. Of cause, it is filled with the beloved characters from the popular TV Show Peppa Pig! Every issue is designed to make learning fun and the activities, games, stories and stickers ensure just that. The magazine helps children develop their skills in reading, writing, maths, creativity and art, turn taking and lots of other skills! There are plenty of opportunities for parents to interact with your child as well as encouraging independent learning as well.

We’ve had fun playing The Fairground game together.

While also learning how to draw a circus tent!

Ellie’s even tried read the stories, using her phonics skills to decode any tricky words.

Each issue comes with a free toy for added fun! In this copy there was the cutest little Peppa beach hut play set – comprising of a Peppa and George character, a beach hut and 7 little beach items. It was lovely watching Ellie put the sun cream on Peppa and George and telling them why it was important to use! She’s a real Mummy Pig already.

Peppa Pig Bag O’ Fun Magazine

The Peppa Pig Bag O’ Fun magazine is still a fun and interactive activity magazine and comes with very exciting gifts and extras.

The Peppa Pig Bag O’ Fun magazine is different to the Fun to Learn Peppa Pig magazine – it comes sealed and the contents are a nice surprise where as the other can be browsed before purchasing. Although there are some sneak peeks at the back of the packaging!

The Peppa Pig Bag O’ Fun magazine has a theme to the activities and stories running throughout the book. This issue’s theme is America which is evident throughout.

The Bag O’ Fun also comes with a magic painting book, this is great! It’s mess free and only needs water to make the pictures come to life with colour.

The spot the difference was a huge hit with Ellie! Who definitely, definitely did NOT need my help.

There’s so many activities to keep kids entertained for hours! The mazes alone develop their fine motor skills and writing skills!

I’ve never met a child who doesn’t love stickers! I’m just grateful these stickers have specific places in the magazine and not over the walls!

Both magazines support the Early Years Curriculum and are the number 1 selling preschool magazine from 2018-2021. They have won multiple awards, NWA 2017 & 2019 and the Mum’s Choice Award Gold 2021.

Don’t forget…

To enter the amazing competitions found in both magazines! There are some fantastic prizes to be won.

Where to find them

Fun To Learn Peppa Pig and Fun To Learn Peppa Pig Bag O’ Fun Magazines are available now from all good supermarkets, convenience stores, newsagents and WHSmith High Street and Travel. Single issues and subscriptions can also be purchased from our online shop http://www.redan.co.uk/store

Disclosure – We were kindly gifted these to review however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.

❤️

Featured Review

Are you stuck for gift ideas for the little ones this Christmas?
Check out some of our favourite gifts, toys and games in this year’s Christmas
Gift Guide


Trick or Treat with Mashems

If you’re a regular on our Instagram page you may have spotted that we’ve been sent these fantastic New Mash’ems surprise eggs from Character Toys to make our Halloween trick or treating a little more exciting! What are Mash’ems? Mash’ems are blind balls which contain squishy little versions of children’s (and adults!) favourite characters. Unwrap […]

Wonderbly Personalised Book Review

Ellie loves reading, it’s one of her favourite things to do. She reads fluently too with so much expression but her favourite books are the kind where she feels like she is really in the story. That’s where personalised books are amazing because she can find her name or a character that looks just like […]

Care Bears 40th Anniversary

Who here remembers having a Care Bear when they were little? I certainly do, I’m pretty sure it was a Funshine Bear and I have such nostalgia when I see them now! I love that they are still as popular today as they were back in the 90’s but I didn’t realise Care Bears first […]

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Posted in parenting

Smoby Sweet Corner Review

I love this time of year; the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer means just one thing – more garden time! I find it boosts our moods so quickly and I love watching Ellie play in the garden. She’s always happiest outside even if she hates actually going outside!

Ellie’s been getting stuck in with her Smoby Sweet Corner Playhouse that is BRAND NEW THIS YEAR. It’s the perfect playhouse and ice cream shop for Ellie; it promotes her imagination and allows her to get creative in her play. She has been selling ice creams and running a cafe all while being a chef, a cleaner, a waitress and cashier. She’s been adding up simple prices and telling me how much I need to pay. Smoby has everything covered with accessories included that allows the play to start straight away!

Assembly

In a nutshell – the Smoby Sweet Corner Playhouse was easy to assemble, the instructions were straight forward and simple. It did take 2 of us to build but honestly MR could have probably done it himself. All the smaller parts come connected to a plastic frame which we cut off to make sure no plastic bits were sticking out. The hardest part of building the frame was keeping Ellie out of it until we were finished!

About the Sweet Corner

Price: £169.99
Age Recommendation: 3+ years (Ellie is 5 and fits perfectly)

The playhouse is a fantastic addition to our garden, it’s a great place to keep Ellie in the shade (she hates being told to stay out of the sun) and she can have fun at the same time. She has spent some afternoons just sitting inside and reading to herself. It’s really sturdy, Ellie can be quite clumsy and has bumped into the door a number of times already and it still looks like new. The playhouse is also Anti-UV treated that guarantees the colour won’t fade and will endure any weather conditions.

It comes with 18 accessories: a plate, a fork, a knife, a spoon, a mug with lid, a frying pan, 2 pancakes, a sugar pot and sprinkles jar, 2 ice creams, 4 receipts, a card machine and a credit card. Which helps children role play as they are able to flip pancakes, make ice creams, take customers payments and offer a takeaway menu.

Dimensions: 105cm x 110cm x 127cm

The Smoby Sweet Corner Playhouse is available now from Argos and Robert Dyas

Disclosure – We were gifted the Sweet Corner playhouse from SmobyUK to review however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.

Posted in Gifted, product review, reading

Granny Franny’s Big Red Bus Review

Granny Franny’s Big Red Bus is the first children’s story written by TV producer Sonia Beldom – who in 2018 fulfilled her life long dream of qualifying as a bus driver! Sonia decided to write this book to raise funds for bus-related charities during COVID-19 and we’ve been given a copy to read and share our thoughts on.

Synopsis:

Granny Franny is always surprising her grandchildren with sensational stories and surprise days out. One day she decides to do something super special for their birthday. She buys a big red bus to take them on a magical tour of London; what she’s forgotten is that she can’t actually drive a bus. Then she meets Thinkerbell, the talking bus bell and everything changes.


First of all, as always, Ellie got very excited when she realised she had a new book to read. She looked at the front cover and read the words “big red bus” which was made her even more excited to read it together. We talked about what she thought Granny Franny might be doing and decided she was going on holiday.

Ellie is very intrigued by rhyming words at the minute and is always trying to rhyme words when she is mumbling to herself (her favourite being “wee wee, pee pee, tee pee”) so we talked a lot about the different rhyming words in the book and she tried to spot them herself.

While reading I noticed the illustrations are big and colourful – perfect for young children. Granny Franny is aimed at children aged 3-7 but could be shared to younger children and primary aged children too.

I thought the book was great, there was a clear message of love between Granny Franny and her grandchildren, a sense of family and compassion. There were so many talking points throughout too such as the other vehicles helping Thinkerbell.

Ellie’s Thoughts:

I asked Ellie what she liked the most about Granny Franny’s Big Red Bus and her reply was:

Thinkerbell is funny and has a silly voice and does lots of rhyming words. I liked the bus getting stuck in the sticky mud and the fire man coming to save the day.

Disclosure: I was gifted a copy of Granny Franny’s Big Red Bus in exchange for an honest review. All views, opinions and images are my own

Posted in product review

Teddo Play

Being a qualified HLTA (higher level teaching assistant) and a SEN support assistant for the past 12 years means a lot of the play I do with Ellie is very structured and has some element of learning to it. It’s never intentional but even she has learnt that Mummy plays school and Daddy plays with his imagination.

At the start of lockdown we were very lucky to win a set of cards from a small business called Teddo Play. I’d heard about them through another small business and really liked the look of their cards so was buzzing when I found out i’d won a set. I got to know the owner Keisha and learnt all about the foundations that started Teddo Play and how much really goes in to making a small business successful.

First of all what I really love about Teddo Play is that everything is made in the UK from the designing to the making of the cards, the box and everything inside! It’s very rare for a company to be completely made in one country.

Our giveaway prize was absolutely amazing. A box of learning cards based on Parents and their Young and contained 40 thick learning cards which has a high-definition photograph of the animal on the front and information on the back. For me, the first thing that stood out was the photograph choice rather than a cartoon image. This helps the child recognise the animals in real world scenarios. These specific cards can be used to teach new words, new links between parent and child and talk about the places that they live – as seen in the photograph. Ellie loved talking about the different animals, what their young was called and matching them to her toys.

Since then we have purchased 2 more sets from Teddo Play – Birds of Prey, Wild Animals, Insects and Farm Animals and a set of Imperfects, which is a mixture of each set in perfectly good condition just have slight imperfections. The Wild Animals set has the spelling of these animals on the reverse which I thought would be good to help Ellie with her reading and recognising the names of common animals she knows. We have used these to listen to the initial sound of the animals and then check the spelling to see if she’s got the correct sound.



We’ve had so much fun with our learning cards, Ellie asks to get them and we incorporate them in a lot of our play and learning. The quality of each card is to a very high standard and everything has been designed with children in mind. For young children they are big enough to be held and also wipeable! For older children they have detailed information, clear photographs and a font that is distraction free allowing the child to focus more on the information.

We have mixed our cards, used them to play matching games, sorting into animal where they live and differentiated between the types of animal they are. The ways to use the cards are limitless.


Keisha has spent months creating a new website, one that really shows off how wonderful her cards are and you can really see how others have used them too. The website is LIVE today with a special LIMITED EDITION set of cards which I can not wait to start using with Ellie, along with others I have my eye on too!

We are very fortunate to be affiliates for the Teddo Play brand and ask for any orders to be made through our very special link by doing so I will earn a commission on any order made.


You can see the wonderful Teddo Play cards in action over on our Instagram and at:
Teddo Play
Teddo Play Instagram
The following accounts are all brand reps for the amazing cards too and definitely worth checking out to see more ideas for play with the cards:
Raising My Sunshine
Reusable Family
Jaymi Leigh
Our Play Journey
Mancunian Mum
Mc Mama 2 Boys
Mrs Montie Makes
Winging Life At No 7
Paper Stories
Eat No Sleep Sparkle Repeat
Nic Balshaw
Play Ideas With Jess

As always, all opinions and views are my own.

Posted in Gifted, product review

Newspaper Headlines Personalised Football Book – Review

Do you have a special person in your life who is sport mad? More specifically football mad? Honestly i’ve never really understood why people get so involved in a football game they arent playing – that was until the most recent World Cup and I cheered on England more than anyone in the house! I grew up with a family who were fans of Rugby more than football so I never really had a team to cheer on, I once supported Liverpool but that was just because I fancied Michael Owen at the time -cringe!-

My husband has been an Aston Villa supporter ever since he started going to football games with his Grandad so when Historic Newspapers asked if I’d like to collaborate on their Newspaper Headlines Book of cause I jumped at the chance.

First of all I wanted to talk about the range of books they offer on the website. With so many options from personalised childrens books (which we have reviewed in a previous post – check it out!) to personalised ladybird humour books for adults. There is something for everyone!

Historic Newspapers have a range of different newspaper books to choose from; birthday, anniversary, war, pictorials as well as their personalised football newspaper books (starting price £39.99) These special books feature newspaper stories from 1905 and appear in colour from 2006! They are available in hardbound, hardback covers which can be upgraded to leather or leatherette cover. The cover is embossed in gold detail and you can add the recipients name and a special message on the inside. The deluxe pictorial edition comes with a keepsake box, which is also embossed. At first glance, the overall presentation is of a really high standard.


I have been fascinated while flicking through the pages and reading some of the articles from the early 1900’s but my husband has been ecstatic in learning more about the team he has supported for so many years. This specific edition has also been updated to include the 2019 playoff victory! I have been so pleased with how much is included in the book. The extra addition of photographs of players, team shots and matches was also a hit with my husband.

Our pictorial edition ends with a very strange newspaper article with the announcement of football being suspended due to the Coronavirus in March of this year. This, for me, will always be a reminder of a year where we learnt to appreciate so much more than we ever did and as a family, this book features the highs and lows of being a Villa supporter and is a fantastic way to get to know the history behind the team.


It’s the kind of gift that you can dip in and out of, you could spend years reading and rereading articles and I know Luke can’t wait to show it off to my brother and Ellie when she is older too.

Of cause you want to know whether your team is even available and I wasn’t sure Villa would be one of those teams but I was surprised by how many teams they had to choose from!

I am so impressed by the quality, the presentation and the whole concept of this Historic Newspapers Gift, from adding in those extra details, making it personal to the recipient, to the final product. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for the perfect gift for a football lover, whether that is Father’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas or just to show someone you care! It is so unique and I can imagine each team has a very different story to tell through their own articles.

Disclosure: I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review by Historic Newspapers. All views, opinions and images are my own.

Posted in Gifted, product review

Books2Door – Review

Does anyone else’s child love stories? Whenever we are out and she sees a book she has to have one and Mummy can’t say no because I love that she loves books but WOW! Aren’t they expensive!
I’m so glad to introduce Books2Door who offer a fantastic range of babies, children and young adult books in one place! We recently received our collaboration book order and I couldn’t wait to share with you what we got!

As you probably know Ellie is an amazing storyteller, she is dramatic and full of expression; this has developed through her love of stories. I have been trying to move her on when we are reading together and pointing out simple CVC words to sound out and blend. She’s been trying really hard with this during lockdown so I knew I wanted books that would help her develop her reading so decided to look in the 5-7 years age range.

Ten Little Bookworms – £1.00



Ellie loves the “ten little” stories and we have used them to teach her subtraction and number skills too. When i saw this little book I knew she’d love it. It’s from the 2019 World Book Day range so isn’t a long story, perfect for filling time between activities or routine. This is the story of ten little borkworms and page by page one has gone astray. Ellie loved the illustrations and remembering how many bookworms would be left.

Where’s The Unicorn: a Magical Search and Find book – £4.49


These search and find books keep Ellie entertained for hours so when I saw there was a unicorn search and find book I got a little bit excited. Everyone loves unicorns right? Ellie definitely does. In this “where’s wally” style book there are 7 different coloured unicorns to find in 17 different locations. There is so much to find that children of all ages will love this book!

Ladybird Tales My Once Upon A Time Library – £27.99

I have always wanted Ellie to enjoy the classics as well as the many amazing modern-day stories and retells in the world. This 24 book set is complete with all the classics; Beauty and The Beast, Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk and so many more! Did you know Ladybird has been publishing fairy tales for over 45 years? They are the perfect addition to any child’s bookshelf or library! I can’t wait to read these to Ellie and eventually listen to her read them herself.

Books2Door has over 7000 reviews on Trustpilot and currently have free shipping for orders over £30! You won’t be disappointed in the range of books they offer – the bargain section is pretty stocked up too!

Posted in Gifted, parenting, product review, reading

Wonderbly Personalised Childrens Books – Review

I often wondered whether Ellie would lose the passion she has for stories as she grows up or whether it will continue to bloom. It seems quite clear to me that as she’s getting older she still loves to listen to stories, she particularly loves ones with unicorns, cheeky characters and most of all books with her name in.

We have recently been given the opportunity to review two books which have been gifted to us by Wonderbly; “I Love Daddy This Much” and “The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name”

For those who don’t know; Wonderbly is a publishing company specialising in personalised children’s books for all ages. These books make your child the star of their own story. You can even personalise the illustration to look similar to your child too!

The process of making your Wonderbly book couldn’t be simpler. The website is well designed and easy to navigate. You can search for books by age, bestsellers or you can browse through them all! There are so many wonderful titles to choose from.
First of all you need to decide on the name, the gender and the features of the main character.

You can then personalise some of the books even further:

Once you’ve chosen the format (paperback, hardback etc), the recipient and the cover colour (available on specific books) you can then dedicate your book. This appears on the inside of the book.

I Love Daddy This Much” is THE perfect Father’s Day gift for both Dad and baby/child! It’s a beautiful story all about how much Daddy is loved, who wouldn’t love this as a gift? They also do I Love You/Mummy/Grandma/Grandad This Much too!
Ellie has loved reading this with her Dad and giving him lots of cuddles when she does. She has even started repeating some of the phrases to him when she tells him she loves him. For Ellie, she was so excited to see a girl with ginger hair the same as her and her Daddy and then to see her name written across the pages was great too.

The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name” is another wonderful story using Ellie’s name throughout the book. Ellie has just started recognising her name and is now able to write her first name without any visual support which is amazing as she is now able to recognise her name in stories too. She gets very excited when she sees it written on the page. This story helps the character follow a trail to find the letters of her name and links them to different animals. Each story is completely individual, Ellie’s story won’t be the same as Jason’s story as they would meet completely different animals.

You can find all the Wonderbly titles at their website: http://www.wonderbly.com/uk
You can also follow them for news, shares and the odd competition too!
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Disclosure: I was gifted these two books in exchange for an honest review by Wonderbly. All views, opinions and images are my own.

Posted in Gifted, parenting, product review

My-Picture.co.uk Review

I’m the sort of parent who seems to have her camera on all the time. I’m always trying to take a picture of Ellie. Part of it is because I know how important photographs are more so since losing Jason and only having a certain amount of pictures of him and never being able to take more but also because I am the sort of person who just takes hundreds of pictures! I remember coming back from a weekend break with Luke and having over 2000 pictures to sort through!

I’m also the sort of person who likes these pictures in the physical form and not just on her phone. So I was very excited when I was offered a collaboration with My-Picture.co.uk who were very generous in giving me £50 to spend as I wished!

It didn’t take me long to know I definitely wanted to order a canvas, after reading some of their customer reviews my mind was made up! My living room has quite a large chimney breast wall so I opted for the 60cm x 40cm print (this also was the best fit to the dimensions of the photo I chose). The ordering process was really straightforward, I simply uploaded the photo I wanted, chose the canvas size and entered my details. I liked the fact I could customise my canvas by choosing the frame thickness and what the edging looked like.

For my canvas I chose the 2cm thicnkness and to have a white edge instead of the photo being stretched. There is also the option to add text to the canvas however I did not do this.

The canvas print now hangs proudly above our sofa and takes pride of place on our wall. It’s lovely to walk in and see them. The photo quality is great, even with pictures taken on my mobile and they are so light they hang on the wall with a single nail. The canvas itself is made from spruce wood making it sturdy enough to support the canvas print.

As well as canvas prints My-Picture.co.uk also offers a range of photo gifts such as personalised cushion, blankets mugs and even towels! I also chose to order one of their personalised photo puzzles to include in Ellie’s Christmas Eve box. I used a picture taken of our family visiting Santa as I knew it would be a special puzzle we can do at Christmas for years to come. The puzzle is made from a sturdy cardboard and is complete with a glossy finish. There are 88 pieces stamped with a photo of your own choice.

I would highly recommend My-Picture.co.uk and I am already planning to use them again for birthday presents for both our parents within the year. If you’d like to check them out yourself I’ll drop their social media links below 🙂

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Disclosure: I was gifted a gift voucher to purchase a product of choice by My-Picture.co.uk in exchange for an honest review. All views, photographs and opinions are my own.