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 the ball to find which of the 6 mystery character you have inside. The Mash’ems range is now bigger and better than ever before; with new collections including Disney Princesses, Harry Potter, Paw Patrol, Batman and our favourites – My Little Pony!
Collect them all – play with them, display them or even trade them with friends!
The best non-candy alternative treats
Non food Halloween treats are becoming more popular – not everyone wants their child filled up on sweet treats and sugar, especially when there are so many children with allergies and other needs to think about.
A non-candy alternative means everyone can enjoy Halloween!
Can you Resist the Squish?
Ellie loved revealing these new My Little Pony Mash’ems! This series includes 6 characters; Apple Jack, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash.
Ellie was over the moon to find her favourite ponies Twilight Sparkle and Apple Jack (which isn’t it’s usual colour so is even more exciting.) She’s also informed me that we need more Mash’ems to find the others in different colours too!!
Each one is definitely squishy and Ellie has not been able to resist putting it to the test!
Do you have a favourite MLP character or Mash’ems series? Ellie’s excited to get her hands on the Harry Potter collection next!
Mash’ems are available now from all good toy shops including Smyths, Amazon and more!
DISCLOSURE – WE WERE KINDLY GIFTED THE PRODUCT TO REVIEW HOWEVER AS ALWAYS ALL THOUGHTS, OPINIONS AND PHOTOGRAPHS ARE MY OWN.
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!
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.
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 came out in the 80’s and they are celebrating 40 years of the colourful, snuggly bears!
We are super excited to be able to celebrate 40 years of Care Bears and join in with their 40 Days of Caring challenge too – I’ll let you know more about this further down the review.
Who is Care-a-Lot Bear
Care-a-Lot is a brand new bear created to celebrate the 40th Anniversary and more excitingly the very first bear to exist in the magical kingdom of Care-a-Lot! She is never afraid to show how much she cares. Her passion to care for her neighbours and her community, bringing kindness and love to everyone she meets is what she cares most about!
Limited Edition and Collectible!
The newest Limited Edition Care-a-Lot bear is 14 inches tall and an ombre pink and purple with unique silver sparkles in her fur. She has a beautiful castle belly badge showing the kingdom of Care-a-Lot and illuminated by a rainbow, this is completely different to any other care bear and special “40th” embroidery on her foot. There’s also the signature Care Bears button on her bottom!
She also comes with a certificate of authenticity and is definitely a highly collectible bear!
40 Days of Caring
From 1st August until 9th September aka #ShareYourCareDay there will be a list of 40 daily challenges all revolving around caring to get involved with! You can join in by sharing your acts of kindness and the ways you care on Instagram just follow the steps below and you will be entered into a raffle for super awesome Care Bears swag!
How to Play
Each day they will reveal a new way to Share Your Care.
Take a picture of yourself doing the Share Your Care activity that is posted for today’s date in the calendar.
Ellie is a child who finds certain aspects of daily life tricky; she struggles to sit still and she fidgets constantly, she gets anxious when we go somewhere new or when she doesn’t know who we are going to see and she finds it really difficult to make a decision. At bedtime she finds it hard to unwind and this means it can take hours to get her to sleep. She tells us her mind is too busy and she has too many thoughts whizzing around in her head.
For a while now we’ve been trying to teach Ellie some ways to help her when she’s feeling anxious or “bouncy” and we’ve found mindfulness and yoga really helps her.
The Benefits of Mindful Meditation
Mindfulness has been shown to increase a child’s ability to regulate their emotions as well as their empathy and compassion skills. It can help reduce a child’s stress and anxiety along with increasing their focus and prolonged attention span. Mindfulness has also be known to improve a child’s sleep.
As with anything Mindfulness Meditation is only going to help a child if done regularly.
Children are being made more aware of their own mental health and mindfulness is being used in schools more regularly as studies show practicing mindfulness from a younger age has a positive effect a child’s anxiety and cognitive performance.
A New Toy!
Toymakers GP Flair have created the Mindful Lil Minds Breathing Meditation Buddy and we’ve had the chance to give it a whirl and write an honest review of what we thought. With Ellie’s quirks I was intrigued to see how it would help her and whether she’d be interested in it at all.
Let’s meet our new friend…
The Breathing Meditation Buddy (suitable from ages 3+) is a super cute, sensory, cuddly koala that is designed to help young children be more present and be able to manage their emotions in stressful situations.
Using a very clever combination of the senses (sight, sound, touch and smell) the toy allows the child a number of different ways to feel mindful, relax and unwind.
How does it work?
It’s a really simple toy to use – simply press the koala’s paw (it has a green leaf symbol) to begin a 5 minute guided breathing meditation. This was short enough that Ellie didn’t lose interest or get ‘antsy’ but also long enough to ensure she felt calmer and more relaxed when it was finished.
It’s tummy moves up and down as the koala ‘breathes’ and this makes the child more aware of their own deep breathing. It’s tummy is also scented with Eucalyptus which has aromatherapy qualities which can help to reduce anxiety. The scent is subtle so wouldn’t overpower those children with sensory difficulties but can be smelt if held close to the child’s face. The meditation itself is spoken by a calming female voice which is easy for the child to follow.
The arms and legs are floppy whereas the bottom is weighted which allows for further comfort – we’ve found weighted blankets really help Ellie so this was an aspect I was excited about in the koala. This is also great for children who are on the autistic spectrum!
How to use the Mindful Lil Minds Buddy
The koala buddy can be used in four different ways:
1.Sitting Individually. Sit down alone in a quiet spot with the toy sitting next to or in front of you. Press the right paw and the meditation will begin. Sit with your eyes closed and listen 2.Sitting in a group/classroom. The cuddly koala is great for classrooms or group meditations. Sit or lay on your back with the toy facing the group. Press the right paw and the meditation will begin. Close your eyes, listen and relax. 3. Laying down with the toy on chest. Lay down on your back with the toy on your chest. Press the paw to begin the meditation. Place your hand on the koala’s belly to feel it move up and down, move your belly up and down along with the toy. 4.Sit down and hold the soft toy up to your face. Press the paw to begin the guided meditation and inhale the calming smell of eucalyptus as you meditate.
Why we love it.
Ellie is a huge lover of soft, cuddly toys so this was a hit from the second she saw the Koala in the box – she immediately wanted to cuddle it and name it (Katie the Koala). It’s cute, it’s soft and the perfect size to pack in her suitcase or cuddle up to at bedtime. The meditation is easy for Ellie to follow and she doesn’t get bored half way through. She reaches for it when she can feel herself getting worried and the weighted aspect has helped bring her back down before she has a ‘wobble’.
Of cause, it doesn’t always work – nothing would always work – and it’s still good for her to experience those emotions. It’s just a really lovely ‘tool’ to have under her belt for when she recognises she is finding a situation tricky.
Where to buy it.
The Mindful Lil Minds Meditation Buddy is available online at Amazon (£26.49) & in-store in your local independent stores.
Do you use any mindful techniques/apps/toys with your children? I’d love to know so let me know in the comments.
Disclosure – We were kindly gifted the product to review however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.
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.
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.
With the Summer Holidays starting at the end of this week we have been making the most of the gorgeous weather we’ve been having and with the high temperatures over the past few days we’ve been using the ChillFactor Slushy Cup a lot!
From the moment they arrived Ellie couldn’t wait for me to make her a slushy! Within 10 minutes they were out of the box, washed, dried and in the freezer. This gave me time to read the instructions and decide which slushy we were going to try first!
Inside the box
The box comes with 1 pre-assembled Slushy Cup in one of three colours (We received the neon pink with an orange lid and a green cup with a red lid) and a straw with a removable spoon end which can be used the scoop the slush instead of drinking through the straw. The spoon is reusable and a really good quality too!
The main cup itself is made from a rubber material with a solid plastic rim in a neon colour. The inside of the rubber material is a removable cold bag. There is then another neon seal that fits on top of the cup and a lid that screws on top of it all. You need to remove each part of the cup to wash before use and I definitely think it’s a good way to get yourself accustomed to how the cup goes back together ready for freezing. I love that it all comes apart to wash easily.
How it works
Once washed, put the cup inside the freezer for around 5-6 hours. I left ours in overnight but as long as it is frozen inside it’s ready to use! It really is a simple mess-free process…
Freeze, Squeeze and Enjoy
It’s recommended to use a chilled liquid when using the Slushy, i’m guessing that makes it react quicker to the frozen inner cup. Once the chilled liquid touches the inner cup it begins to freeze and when the cup is squeezed those frozen pieces break up in to the liquid drink – this is repeated every time you squeeze the new liquid on to the inner walls of the frozen cold cup. Within seconds (sometimes longer for dairy drinks) the entire drink becomes a slushy.
It’s actually very interesting to watch it happen!
Where to buy it…
The ChillFactor Slushy Maker Neon Cups are available at Smyths for just £9.99 and are available in the three neon colours we stated above. These cups can be used time and time again and as the price of a slushy can be more than £3 for a small cup nowadays I would definitely say they are worth every penny! Especially if someone in your family has a food allergy, are sensitive to specific ingredients or you want to avoid unnecessary sugar then this will do all of those things as you control what goes in to them.
What liquids did we use?
We have been experimenting with the different types of liquids to use and I’ve tried to be a little more creative with our slushy drinks too!
We started off simple by using chilled fruit juices straight from the fridge – Ellie wanted something fruity and Apple Juice was a clear favourite as it slushed up quite quickly! The Amazing Adventures Of Me went full of fruity with their Slushy Makers too!
We’ve also tried a simple Milkshake slushy using just Banana milkshake flavouring and chilled milk. This took longer to slush up but was definitely worth it!
I then looked at the ChillFactor website which has some very handy recipes all ready for you to try. I was very excited to try the choccy minty madness using just 3 ingredients – single cream, crushed mint Aero chocolate and peppermint essence.
Ellie is desperate to try a fizzy drink whereas i’m a little bit more excited to give it a try with a little bit of something alcoholic inside too!
If you’re like us you dread the cost of the Summer holidays! I absolutely love being able to spend the time with Ellie and we are extremely fortunate that both myself and Luke are in jobs that allow us to spend the entire Summer with her making memories and giving her an amazing time…
But this all costs money!
I’ve done some research on where you can enjoy a meal for less during the summer and hopefully this will help lots of parents enjoy a meal out on a budget.
Please comment below if you’ve found anywhere else with good Summer deals and I’ll be happy to add them to the list below!
Kids eat for £1 all day, every day!
Free kids meal for every adult purchase (£4.99 or more). Offer available all day every day!
Kids have a free breakfast when purchasing an adult breakfast (£3.49 minimum spend)
Pausa Cafe (Dunelm)
One free mini main, two snacks and a drink offer (£4 spend minimum to receive the offer) in the Cafe
Kids eat for £1 with every adult main from 4pm-6pm Monday-Thursday.
Two free kids hot meals, jelly, fruit and a drink for £5
Kids eat free breakfast (two free kids meals for every paying adult)
Kids eat free with an adult main meal – daily from 12pm
Kids eat for £1 all day Monday-Friday
Kids eat free with every £10 spent on food. 3:30-5:30pm Monday -Thursday
Children under the age of 10 can get a delicious free mini pizza with a topping of their choice! (One child per adult)
Kids eat free all day every day with paying adults. (Child up to 10 years old!)
Two kids under 16 can have breakfast for free with any purchase of a £9.50 breakfast.
Under 5’s eat for free with any adult meal – Extended to under 12s during the Summer holidays
Two free kids breakfasts under 16 with every paying adult.
Kids under 10 eat free with adults main meal – Every day 12pm – 5pm.
As always – Please do check individual stores for individual terms and conditions!
Since my Mothers Day Gift Guide went down well, I’d been asked whether I know of any quirky/out of the box gift ideas for Fathers Day coming up too.
Reminder – Fathers Day in the UK is Sunday 19th June 2022.
I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing businesses and try out some great products to put together this year’s gift guide. I am always very honest and will only ever review and share products I genuinely recommend and would buy myself.
Disclosure – All items shown below have been gifted to review and include in this year’s Gift Guide however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.
For the Dad who enjoys a tipple.
I love a personalised gift and was very excited to receive this amazing Bubble Whiskey Glass from Engravers Guild. It’s the ideal fathers day gift as you can include any wording or message you like. It’s a classic straight sided whiskey glass with the added detail of the bubble in the base making it suitable for whiskey drinkers everywhere.
It comes in a luxury silk lined box and engraved using a precision laser making it a personal and memorable gift. Engraving and gift box is included in the price too! The glass is medium in size (measuring 90mm high).
This set of 4 beautiful footed mugs from KitchenCraft shout out elegance. Designed in the UK and made from high quality china. They make the perfect gift for any dad who enjoys a delicious brew! Each mug holds 400ml of tea or coffee and has a stunning lemon pattern throughout. Priced at £20 and you can purchase from Cook Serve Enjoy here.
Club Seven Menswear
No more holey socks for Dad.
Club Seven have got everything a man needs for their underwear drawer, from briefs and boxers to socks. The cushioned crew socks are soft and comfy to wear and come in white or black. The boxers are true to size and fit well. The material is a good quality too and feels like they are durable.
Prices start from £9 and is available to buy here.
For the Dad who likes to dive in to a good show.
The officially licensed merchandise from the hit Netflix show Stranger Things from Yume_toys and Kaptoys are great for any fans of the show! Transport yourself back to the 1980’s and unbox the retro TV to reveal hidden clues, games, trading cards and collectibles hidden inside these Upside Down Capsules.
Price: £12.99 and can be purchased here or at your local HMV store!
Upgrade Dad’s kitchen.
This striking Drift storage jar from Mikasa is made of high-quality ceramic and has a tribal-inspired pattern. It can be used to keep all sorts of kitchen items safe – even Dad’s secret stash of treats! It has a wooden lid with a rubber seal which will help keep the contents fresh. It’s a beautiful addition to any kitchen. The Drift inspired design can be found on multiple products allowing you to mix and match across the kitchen for a stylish finish! The jar is dishwasher safe however the wooden lid should be wiped clean only. Price – £17.49 available to buy from Cook Serve Enjoy here.
Maps Gifts Etc
Where’s Dad’s favourite place? Put it on a mug.
Map Gifts Etc is a lovely small business run by Lucie and has wonderful personalised gifts for all occasions on their Etsy shop. These personalised Father’s Day Location Mugs are unusual, personal AND practical. They can be designed for any location anywhere in the world and can have either a vintage or contemporary map on both sides of the mug. You also have the option to add personalised wording to go over the image. These mugs come gift-boxed ready for Fathers Day
Priced at £17.25 and Lucie also offers FREE DELIVERY on these mugs too. It’s available here.
Me and You Versus The World
To show Daddy just how special he is.
Me and You Versus The World is an emotive story of love, friendship and adventure, this beautifully illustrated book written by Claire Gamble is a great way to spend time with Dad this fathers day and is even more special coming from younger children too.
For the busy, working Dad or the fun dad who enjoys family picnics!
This BUILT insulated lunch bag is suitable for Dad’s lunch and small picnics at the weekend. It’s fully insulated allowing food to be kept cooler for longer and is deceivingly big inside and has room for lunch boxes, drinks and snacks. It’s leakproof thanks to it’s PEVA lining and has an adjustable shoulder strap and handle for easy mealtimes on the move!
Priced at £21.99 and is available from Cook Serve Enjoy here.
This might sound cheesy but Dad’s are really grate…
For any Dad who has a love of fine dining, having guests round or just loves cheese this set of 4 side plates from Artesa featuring vintage cheese labels made great gifts! Made from high-quality ceramic they will look great for any occasion. Each plate is 19cm wide. They come presented in a matching box and ready to gift to Dad.
Priced at £21.99 from Cook Serve Enjoy and can be found here.
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!
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.