Thursday, 30 July 2015

Easy Nails- Nail Spa Review

The Easy Nails Nail Spa is aimed at children aged 5yrs+ and boasts the ability to provide fashionable painted nails in under ten minutes. You simply choose your polish, pop your finger on the rest then relax while the nail spa does the work, then decorate with glitter and gems,

I'm not a huge fan of nail varnish for children but Peanut is six and a half now and most of her friends are allowed to wear it in the holidays and on a weekend so I thought we'd give this a shot, you see my girl gets very frustrated when she can't get things perfect, and knowing how hard painting your own nails can be I thought this sounded like a great VERY special treat. To be able to do her own nails would be a huge novelty for her.

The set comes in a suitcase style box and contains the nail spa, 2 polishes, glitter gems, spare brushes and instructions. It's all fairly easy to set up use and I think the age guide of 5+ is pretty much spot on for usability, although my personal choice would be a bit older for actual nail varnish use, but I know lots of parents are happy to let their kids wear it.

You just press one button to dip the robotic arm into the nail varnish the press another to paint nails, you can see it in action in this video

As you can see it takes a few strokes to paint the whole nail so there is a degree of patience and persistence needed.

For me it was quite frustrating as the range and rotation of the arm and finger rest wasn't wide enough to paint my whole nail. However for a child's nail it's fine. Peanut found it hilarious to have a robot paint her nails and it provided a great deal of entertainment. Priced at £29.99 it's quite expensive for a nail painting set and for us this would have to be a birthday or Christmas wish list gift.

We liked how you can use your own nail varnish in the holder, and the sparkles and gems we're, obviously, a big hit here. I think time will be the biggest test for this item, I'm not sure whether this will lose its novelty or just make peanut want her nails painted every weekend....



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Monday, 27 July 2015

Dry Like Me #PottyTrainingLive Giveaway

You will remember that just recently we reviewed Dry Like Me's potty training book and offered a fab giveaway, well it was so popular that the lovely guys want to offer you another chance to win this amazing prize. To celebrate the launch of their annual summer potty training programme, Potty Training Live! 2015, Dry Like Me is giving away a ‘Smarter Way to Potty Train’ pack worth £24 each. They contain four boxes of Dry Like Me pads with a lovely reward chart and stickers, and a copy of award-winning book ‘How to Potty Train’ – all the tools you need to help your little one achieve potty training success!

So what is Potty Training Live? Well it has been designed by Jude and Di, creators of award winning potty training pads Dry Like Me. Over the last 2 years, they've helped almost 2000 families to potty train throughout the summer, and this year, they'd love to help you!

"Potty Training Live! is here to help guide parents and carers through the stress and mess of potty training.

We will help break potty training down into the key stages and hand-hold you through each stage. We will be available to answer all your questions and will also help you share your experiences with others in the same position. We have also organised some competitions and guest bloggers to help make potty training a pleasure, not a boot camp!

Your child may or may not be fully trained by the end of the five weeks, but they should be making good progress and you will be armed with information and tips to make sure you achieve success and stay sane throughout the process!

Potty training is a major milestone and getting dry should be celebrated not endured. Hopefully Potty Training Live! will help you make this happen.

Sign up for weekly emails. They will give you hints and tips and direct you to more detailed blogs and videos to help you. We don't want to overload you with information so if you need any extra help, just get in touch.

It's not too late to join Potty Training Live! so please spread the word!"

If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning, just fill out the Rafflecopter Form below

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Hopscotch Entertainment Review and Giveaway

I'm really lucky to have some amazingly talented friends and colleagues, it comes from years of working in theatre you know! So when an ex colleague of mine started an entertainment company I just knew it was going to be brilliant. You can't help but notice that Mascot companies and children's entertainers are everywhere you look but it's the quality and commitment that makes a good professional company stand head and shoulders above the rest.

I'm sure we've all heard the nightmare stories about characters turning up and behaving rudely, out of character and not even in full costume so it really is important to go on personal recommendation. With that in mind I wanted to write a post about our recent experience with Hopscotch Entertainment. Not only do Hopscotch offer children's party services but they provide theatrical party's too. So when we popped along to Minion Madness at Wallsend Memorial Hall I knew we were in for a treat.

We got there just as things we're getting started and arrived to a hall filled with excited children and parents who were ... Looking quite relaxed sitting in chairs around the room!!! What is this? entertainment by someone in a contained area!!! It's like a parents dream!

 

 

We got straight in to making minion masks, which were prepared in advance so we just needed to put all the pieces together. Then we took part in the minion parade!

 

There followed party games, dancing, characters, an assault course biscuits and juice more dancing and games, a brilliant theatrical finishing touch and then party bags at home time, all assisted by around 7 members of staff plus the main attraction of 2 Minions who were joined by Bumble Bee and Pocahontas all of whom danced, sang and played along with all the activities.

 


My kids were so happy to join in with everything and we spent more than two hours being entertained by Hopscotch who couldn't do enough to ensure everyone had fun and stayed safe. I was genuinely overwhelmed with the amount of staff about to help out, the constant stream of entertainment and the quality of the event you can really tell these guys have a professional theatre background.

 



 

You can catch Hopsctoch at the following events

8th August 11:00am - Once upon a Time Discovery Museum

10th August 11:00am - Superhero Squad LINDEN HALL 2:30pm - Once upon a Time Linden Hall

18Th August 2:00pm - Once upon a Time KIRKLEY HALL

20th August 2:00pm - Once upon a Time Wallsend Memorial Hall

22nd August 11:00am - Heroes Unite The Ultimate Superhero Event Discovery Museum

 


We are delighted to say that Hopscotch have given us a family ticket for Once Upon a Time and a family ticket for Super Hero Squad Just fill in the raffle copter below and we will draw a prize on 4th August

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No cash alternative/different prize available, winners must give acceptance of their prize within 3 days of notification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Nick Jr. #DoraSingAlong

I'm so excited to be helping Nick Jr. celebrate Sing-Along Summer , every day between 10am – 1pm there will be episodes of Dora and Friends on Nick Jr. that will feature lyrics on screen, for kids to sing along with. Its not just Dora though, kids can sing along with, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Wallykazam! and ALVINNN!!! and The Chipmunks will each will have sing-along lyrics over their theme tunes and songs in each episode.

Not only that but Dora is going on tour! I know, its too exciting. Kids are invited along to sing in special Karaoke booths situated in Smyths Toy Superstores and Sky Rertail Stands across the country. You can check for your nearest booth here.

Your kids have the chance to pop into a booth and create videos of themselves singing along to the Dora and Friends: Into the City! theme tune. Videos from the booth can be entered into a competition where the winners will feature on Nick Jr. giving your little ones the chance to star on TV. Kids can also have their picture taken with a Dora costume character in selected Smyths Toy Superstores. Don't worry if you can't get to a booth you can record your own video and upload it to Nick jr.co.uk or on the Nick Jr. Facebook page to enter the competition.

As if all that isn't exciting enough We will also be taking part in the Dora twitter frenzy on Monday 27th July at 11am, there'll be loads of opportunty to win prizes so make sure you are watching the Nick Jr. Twitter feed on Monday and use #DoraSingAlong to take part.

 

We've also been reviewing a new range of fab Fisher Price Dora and Friends toys, Peanut loved all of our toys but her favourites have been these Dora and Friends Dolls, we have the 'Dora' and 'Kate' dolls, and they've been 'performing' lots of plays and dances, under Peanuts supervision of course! Great for role play and imagination development I love that these aren't barbie-esque they are freindly and easy to dress with no unrealistic shapes to them! (yes I am that mum) the dolls are only 10.99 each so really good value for money in my opinon, and each comes with a 'magic charm' which I'll explain in a moment...

When The Golden Child saw the toys he declared them 'for girls' which always leads to a conversation about how toys cant be for girls or boys they are just toys. So i think he surprised himself when he realised just how much he loved the Magic Adventure Charms, and Magic Charm Bracelet.

 

The adventure charms have a small dora figure, a charm bracelet and 3 interchangeable charms. The bracelet has charms with all the friends on , plus more interchangeable ones AND two more bracelts, so its a great to share with siblings or freinds, all the bracelet charms can be changed and swapped and there are loads of charms to collect. The Adventure Charm set is priced at £7.99 and the Magic charms bracelet is £9.99. Theres lots to play with though and The Golden child has seen it as a bit of a puzzle to find different combinations and change and swap the charms about.


 

I was really pleased at the Dora Smart phone, Termite loved to make it talk, it has phrases in English and Spanish and although Im not sure Termite realised, its just like Dora's smart phone in Dora and Friends Into The City. She and Peanut have been practicing taking selfies and making calls on it!

 

 

 

 

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Friday, 24 July 2015

Where's the Balance

Being self employed comes with a host of benefits, I need never miss a sports day, school play or PTA meeting, I can make appointments when places aren't busy and I'm pretty much free to go anywhere I want whenever!

But...... I find myself very disorganised and temptation is strong to grab a rare opportunity for a cuppa with my bestie, or have a play date with one of the mums. 

This Summer we have loads of days out and mini breaks planned with a weekly play date, swim safe lessons, bike rides and some theme parks too, our planner is rather full.

What I'm most looking forward to as well are days at the allotment where the kids love picking berries (although I think they eat more than they pick) and just play in the mud. But some days the allotment feels like jut another thing on the list, and with plans of courses and trips and lessons and fun then housework is low on the list. 

So it comes that sometimes the balls get dropped and summer holidays are a hard time to balance work and family it's also a busy time for assignments and work opportunities so here's how I find my balance....

We try to have two tidy up times, one before lunch and one before bed. That way the debris of toys and craft and shoes and coats doesn't build up too much. Plus if we don't do this the sitting room looks a bit like it's been shook upside down by 7pm see...

I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO empty and reload the dishwasher and washing machine at breakfast time or else mount washmore grows immensely and the benches aren't clear enough to cope with lunch.

These simple steps mean I don't have to ignore the kids to do housework

My work however happens after 8 when the kids are dreaming, I schedule tweets and facebook posts write and edit blog posts and answer emails all whilst trying to catch up on the husbands day.

It's not perfect and it by no means leads to a show home house but it's the best work life balance we have right now and I'm prepared to work later in order to spend time with my babies because soon enough they are going to want to spend summer holidays with their pals not us!

How do you find the balance?



Collaborative post

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Once Upon A Time Princess Rose Peppa Review

There are some certainty's of parenthood, poop, sleep deprivation, parental guilt, you get my drift? You'll probably know then that for most, Peppa Pig is one of those parenting certainty's . So it goes without saying that all three of my children have loved Peppa. Add to that my Termites current love for 'ringa' (Ring a ring a Rosie, to you and I) and we couldn't have chosen a better gift for her!

 

 

Once Upon A Time Princess Rose Peppa Is a soft plush Peppa in a beautiful dress but the magic is that she sings Ring a Rosie but only if you hold both her hands! The kids have loved making Peppa sing and this is a fab toy for littlies, making the connection can be a little frustrating while they are getting the hang of what to do but soon enough Termite was spinning circles in the living room squealing with delight! Peppa is such a hit she's even replaced Olaf as the bedtime toy of choice as you can see in this video...

 

 

Priced at £19.99 this is at the top end of soft toy prices for us but it's really very interactive and lots of fun, if you have a Peppa fan in your house this is a great buy. It takes co ordination, memory and patience to get the whole song so it's a winner on all fronts for us.

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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Bugs n Stuff Party Review

This post has been a long time coming, as we arranged our bug party for The Golden Child's birthday at the end of June.

I've got to tell you I'm not the biggest fan of beastie bugs but my boy, after much deliberation asked if he could have a bug party. Being the awesome mammy I am I continued my pretence of loving all of God's creatures (even though some are just bleurgh) and promptly arranged for Guy (Mr Bugs n Stuff) to bring around a more "stuff" than bugs in his selection as the golden child has an acquired fear of spiders (not from me I hasten to add). Guy was really cool about our picky-ness and totally understood

Guy arrived with a freezer box (I'm sure it was much more specialised but that's what it looked like) and a big rug. We've a fab contained (translate to small) garden here at Monkeyfeet HQ and as it was a lovely day we all sat outside for the party.

Guy was great with the kids, and grown ups, explaining that if you didn't want to touch or be close to any of his wee beastie pals then just fold your arms and he'd pass straight by.

The Golden Child demonstrating the 'arm fold'

We then spent a really fast moving hour learning about, stick insects, tarantulas, geckos, snakes, cockroaches, bearded dragons, snails millipedes and much more! Guy has travelled the world and spent the last 30 years breeding, researching and teaching people about insects and reptiles. So he's full of knowledge and great facts, happy to answer all questions.


The Golden Child had a fab time and showed real courage touching a large selection of things he thought he hated and all of his pals seemed to have a great time too, there were lots of questions and lots of information, but because it was all so interactive the kids just didn't realise how much they were learning, did you know lizards have ears? I didn't and they are ears like we have, more like holes in the side of its head! And a millipede has two pairs of legs for each ring in his body?

The party passed so quickly because everyone was having such fun and at £65 I couldn't fault the value, The Golden Child got a great party bag with giant jelly bugs, badges, toys stickers and a big bug poster. Everyone was entertained and the kids were literally glued to Guy for the whole time, by the time I'd dished up pizza and chips then jelly and ice cream (going old school!) we sang happy birthday and it was home time!! I'm going to say a huge Thankyou to all the mummies who helped with all the things that need doing at a party, I always get a fab sense of sisterhood in these situations, I do love a bit of girl power! Of course a massive Thankyou as well to the amazing Guy!

I'm so pleased we chose Bugs n Stuff and I'm happy to recommend them to anyone.


We're going on an adventure

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Monday, 20 July 2015

Beados Gems - Gem Desinger Studio

 

My peanut loves anything creative so I had a feeling we'd be onto a winner with this Beados Gem Desinger Studio The idea is that you follow a pattern to make bead pictures then magically the beads stick together with just a spquirt of water and a bit of time! No mess no fuss and NO BATTERIES!

The set was easy to put together although I'd highly recommend pouring the beads in whilst the dispenser is standing on a tray or in a box, lesson learned that dropped beads can travel a disproportionate distance when not contained!

You choose a template and place it under the bead tray then follow the pattern to make a shape, spray water on let it dry and then et voila your very own design ready and waiting. The dispenser works by storing coloured beads which you release into a tube and then dispense by pressing a button whilst holding the dispenser in the appropriate spot.

The set is aged at 4+ personally I think this is dependant on your child's temperament, making the bead pictures takes a degree of patience and concentration but my two played nicely with it and took on the challenge of careful placement on the beads with gusto! Peanut has played with similar sets from being 3yrs old with no problem but the golden child has really only just mastered the coordination and patience to sit long enough to create anything.

I love that the kids had to plan and count out colours so there's an educational benefit to this, I love that the dispensing tube means no more frustrated paddy's at not being able to get the beads (we've used a different brand's version which came only with tweezers, very tricky indeed!!!).

I'd prefer to see a way to click together the bead tray and the dispenser to stop the many restarts due to knocking the tray sideways!

Peanut loved making jewellery and different 'charms' and the golden child just loved dispensing the beads and creating anything!

At £19.99 This would make a fab gift and has lots of beads so there's plenty of use in it Plus a huge bead refill is only £4.99 so this toy could provide years of fun!

 

We're going on an adventure

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