Category Archives: Reviews

Our visit to Kidtropolis 2017 kids event – October half term

** Disclosure – I was provided with tickets to attend this event in return for a pre-event post ( See here). We had such a fab time, I wanted to share our day with you all. All opinions expressed are my own.**

October was pretty cool and memorable. Having started preschool in September, we had our first official school holidays in October half term. George previously went to a private nursery where they remained open all year long. Having joined the preschool attached to his (hopefully) future school, they break up when the rest of the school does.

I wanted to have some fun activities to do together for our first half term. A quick search on google and I came across an event called Kidtropolis. You may have read my pre-event post here. I contacted them requesting tickets to the event in return for a review and I am proud to say they were the first event to accept a pitch from myself.

As a gal and a mama who loves a schedule (never go on holiday with me if you hate schedules), I love that the entire Kidtropolis week is scheduled from start to finish, slot by slot. In order to help you choose which day to attend, you decide which days have the activities and shows which would most interest you and book from there. The sessions are 4.5hours and booking includes two live shows.

kids

We chose to attend the Monday am. The first day of the event. We booked car parking at London’s ExCel centre in advance as this worked out cheaper than us paying rail fare from outside of London. There is more than ample parking available. The directions from the car park to the dedicated hall for the event could have been a little better and more organised but as it was day one we may have been the guinea pigs. Entry was quick and hassle free and we were in before we knew it.

There were ample food outlets accessible within the ExCel as well as food and drink within the event. We chose to get an ice cream and bottled drinks from the ice cream van within the venue. The ice cream was really unique. Like a whippy but soooooo delectably creamy. Best whippy ever!After the event we went for burger and chips at The Bridge Burgers and Dogs. Toilets were easily accessible too.

Back to the event, we had a map to guide us around the event but to be honest it wasn’t ridiculously huge. It wasn’t overly busy either so we able to flit from stall to stall briefly and then return to the things that interested us and that I had marked on my schedule. A schedule is fine in principle but obviously nowadays it has to pass the toddler look and judge test. If George doesn’t like the look of it and there’s not persuading him then we have to move on. Thankfully we managed to do everything we had intended, once George had relaxed and warmed to his surroundings.

kids

Our opening show of Peppa Pig live was really disappointing. They were running late and to be honest it was some random guy called david reading two stories from a book whilst a dressed up Peppa and George character stood on the stage. They didn’t even play the credit music until the end of the show. Thankfully things got much, much better. It was literally the first show, at the start of the first day, I’ll allow the organisers one blip.

The second show we had booked for the end of the 4.5 hour session was Marvin’s magic and it was truly wonderful The kids and adults all loved it and we picked up a prop for sale to start George on his quest as a magician. Watch out Dynamo.

kids

The rest of the day was so much fun. Genuinely! Having read reviews of previous years Kidtropolis events, there were many, many complaints of long queues and unhappy children. I saw nothing of the sort this year. Obviously I can only comment for the Monday am but we had a fab experience and I fully intend to return again and again. I think the biggest and possibly only queue I saw all day was for the inflatable assault course which George wasn’t interested in.

There were quite a few activities, shows and bits and pieces that are much more suited for the older kids. Learning how to be a vlogger from the child pro vloggers, Flawless dance zone, Kids fun radio, Tomy lightseekers which I’ve heard is very up and coming.

There were also many areas which George and ourselves don’t have much interest in yet. There really was something for everyone. Lorax, Minions, Star Wars, Drone flying, Minecraft GWR record attempt, springless trampolines and so much more.

George loved the Tomy games area where he was plied with free biscuits and enjoyed trying out some more classic board games with one of the stallholders who was dressed as a character from the game.

Kids

I’d promised him an air walker balloon. Having embarrassingly surprised hubs with one of these being delivered to his work one valentines I felt it was time to introduce the wonders of Balloon walkers to the Georgeous. We were so impressed with the dinosaur we purchased at £5 with a free helium balloon thrown in.

kids

Crazy golf is always a winner and George was more interested in making sure we did this over anything else.

Kids

He really enjoyed the Geomag stall playing with a variety of magnetic building parts. As did we and we bought something similar for his birthday.

Kids

He was a little shy to meet Chase from Paw Patrol but I know he would have regretted it if he didn’t.

kids

But George’s  favourite activity without a doubt was riding the balance bikes and ramps at the Bikertots stall. Followed by watching the professional Bike stunt show which left him in awe. We have since become visitors of the local skate/bike park. We have a little BMX dude on our hands I feel and this event was probably the first time I have seen him confidently go off and do an activity without one of us by his side. He still wanted Daddy close on occasions as it was a noisy venue but this is definitely up his street. They are a great franchise club, helping children learn to ride a bike.

Kids

George was also really, really taken (much to Mummy’s dismay as she heard her purse getting emptier) by Sylvanian families. He was besotted. Just look at the admiration for this well made classic childrens toy. He also enjoyed looking at the Aquabeads selection, including this epic bridge sculpture. Despite declaring “I want that” every time he sees it on the tele (who else’s kids does this a million times a week!)  up close he in fact did NOT “want that”.

Kids

The highlight of my day was meeting my own childhood idols, the characters from Rainbow. Bungle was there but as I said to Zippy,

“Nobody liked Bungle anyway.”

Speaking to Zippy, the guy behind the puppet had been in charge of him since 1973! I was completely starstruck. I even introduced George to how my mornings as a three year old used to be by getting up some episodes on You tube. Classic!

Kids

Did you attend Kidtropolis this year or previous years? What were your thoughts? Would you go back?

Huge thanks to Emily who organised the tickets for us.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Afternoon tea and cocktails at The Royal Hotel Southend – A review

Image photo taken by Kate at The Less-Refined Mind

** I’d like to disclose that I was plied with copious amounts of delicious food and alcohol in return for this honest review. This neither affects the integrity of the post or the honest opinions held within it**

Recently, as you may have seen if you follow me on social media, I attended my first ever bloggers event. An Essex bloggers event no less. As bloggers events go, I’d say the bar has been set pretty high with this one. The event consisted of welcome drinks, followed by afternoon tea, finished up with cocktails in the secret Dr Legba’s downstairs bar.

I’ll explain each part of the afternoon in more detail shortly, but first, let’s kick this review off in my typical fashion with a poem. An ode to the Royal Hotel, which by the way is no longer a hotel. Enjoy!

Once upon a time there was a Southend Hotel,

Frequented by Lady Hamilton and her Admiral Nelson as well

No stranger to a noble figure or two

This Royal Hotel soon became unused. 

 

Then along came two brothers

Called Matt and Dave

This run down Hotel

They wanted to save

 

So along with their Dad they set to work. 

To make this old hotel a restaurant and bar with quirk. 

Prepared for hard work they rolled up their sleeves

Making the Royal Hotel a place you never want to leave.

 

Their vision achieved they opened their doors

To a place that is to be truly adored. 

The food is divine, the cocktails unique

The flaming absinthe on tap is a fascinating treat

I hope you enjoyed that and it has got you wanting to know more, so here goes. Despite the name, The Royal Hotel is now a restaurant and bar contained within a grade 2 listed building and for that reason the name cannot be changed. On arrival, I was welcomed warmly and greeted by Matthew, the director of The Royal Hotel. The surroundings felt comfortable, clean, plush, but not poncey. Ornaments and lamps from Debenhams make the place feel homely and welcoming as do the staff.

royal hotel

I was offered a glass of The Bees Knees sparkling pink rose wine. This is alcohol free fermented grape juice with a green tea infusion. It’s a fab alternative to wine. I’ve since found this can be purchased at Ocado and Morrisons so I shall be treating myself often as this stuff was delicious.

Soon we were escorted by the fabulously entertaining and thoroughly informative Jonathan. He made sure our glasses were filled with prosecco whilst informing us all about the history of The Royal Hotel. Built in 1791, it became a regular haunt for Lady Hamilton. The mistress of Admiral Horatio Nelson, who had a dinner party and ball in the very grand hall in which we sat. Months after the supper, he was killed during the battle of Trafalgar. The building hasn’t been used as a hotel since 1974.

Royal hotel

The building still bears the original chandeliers, dance floor and coving which have been lovingly restored. The rest of the building has been refurbished and is unrecognisable from how brothers Matt and Dave and their Dad found it when they took over.

The food was truly amazing. My personal preference would be the Gentleman’s afternoon tea. My favourites being the mini beef burger, ham hock and welsh rarebit croque monsieur, miniature cider jelly, and the millionaires shortbread was just incredible.

A list of the menu’s can be found on their website here https://www.royalhotelsouthend.com/

Royal hotel

Completely stuffed and feeling guilty for all the food I couldn’t fit in my belly, I then proceeded downstairs to the secret Dr Legba’s cocktail bar. I’m a huge fan of a cocktail but I was such a cocktail chav before Dr Legba’s. Woo woo’s, Cosmopolitan’s blah blah blah. Dr Legba’s will introduce you to flavours and tastes you never thought you would experience in a drink.

There are over 50 cocktails on the menu, a third of which have been created by Dave, who is a former head bar trainer at The London Cocktail club. One of my absolute favs, one of his own creations, is the Pork and Apple martini, served with a flaming absinthe caramelised bacon.

Royal hotel
Image courtesy of Lynsey Garrick at http://ladygogo84.blogspot.co.uk/?m=0

Dave created this using sour apple liqueur, Absolut vodka, pressed apple juice and fresh lime. It was truly so sweet and to coin one of my favourite phrases

It was like sex in a martini glass! Yum!

You have to visit just to try this, and I might add the flaming absinthe caramelised bacon is not just for show. You will have never tasted bacon like it! Although the menu varies from night to night, they are all to happy to make cocktails at your request should they not be on the menu the night you visit.

Royal Hotel
Image courtesy of Hannah Cornish at www.hannatalks.com

Dave has put so much work into making this bar a unique and magical place. Using as many reclaimed materials as possible, he created his own absinthe dispenser as well as painstakingly gluing over £170 worth of 2 pence pieces to the vertical bar front. He still has much in the pipeline, including a commissioned piece of art depicting the absinthe fairy. The artwork will shortly be adorned to the hidden door leading to the loos. He also has plans to have circus style mirrors in the toilets and to eventually make the bar buzzer entry only, with the buzzer being hidden under a secret fairy door. You’ll be pleased to hear Dr Legba’s can also be hired for private functions.

I could literally rave about The Royal Hotel for many hundreds more words but I’ll tell you about one last special feature. Both The Royal Hotel and Dr Legba’s stock Dalmore whiskey. The gentleman’s afternoon teas can be complemented with a whisky platter of Dalmore 12 year whisky, 15 year whisky and cigar malt reserve. Dalmore are rather particular about who stock their whisky and they personally place the sale at venues chosen themselves.

Royal hotel

Huge thanks to Matt, Dave, Jonathan and everyone that made my afternoon wonderful. I look forward to visiting again very soon and bringing family and friends.

Shoutout to a few fellow bloggers who helped with some of the images featured in this post. Also shoutout to the lovely fellow bloggers I met and had fun with at this event.

The Diary of New Freedom by Lynsey Garrick

The Less-Refined Mind – By Kate Tunstall

Hanna Talks by Hanna Cornish

and to these  fellow blogging ladies for helping me

Danielle at Escaping Essex

Laura at Life by Laura

Sam at Beautifie

And finally thank you for organising Penny at A Penny for Them

Until next time……

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Hair care review Frezyderm UK – finding a child friendly styling gel

So our dude is nearly three in a couple of months. He’s always had floppy long hair. Not ponytail long, but long enough to run your fingers through. I’m reluctant to shave it as  it retains his baby quality. Although I’m not the type to go on about how I wish they would stop growing up so fast.

So dudes latest hair cut was actually at the barbers and he had a little shave at the sides. They kept the top long and floppy and styled it with a slick of gel. This looked cool. He felt like a big grown up boy which is all important now he has started preschool.

I wasn’t sure though. I loved the look but it felt too harsh using such products. He’s still only two. Plus as soon as he got a bit sweaty the gel just made him look like a greasy mess.

I made it my mission to find a child friendly hair gel. Well I didn’t get very far if I’m completely honest. I found a few detangling sprays but that’s not what I wanted. Then my sister in law pointed out Frezyderm to me.

Frezyderm UK  is a family owned and trusted dermocosmetic brand. Their motto being;

Inspired by you

Established in 1986 in Greece, they offer premium skincare and hair care solutions for all ages and skin types. Their products strive to meet strict pharmaceutical standards and they are fast becoming the go to brand for dermatologists across the globe. Living in the society that we do where by allergies and sensitivities are more prevalent than ever, Frezyderm will no doubt be a such a life changer for so many. You can find more on their products here https://www.frezyderm.co.uk/

Although George doesn’t suffer with any allergies or sensitive skin, Frezyderm fitted perfectly with my desire for a gentle hair styling range. I contacted them and asked to kindly try some of their kids haircare range in return for a review post on my blog. (There’s the disclosure right there, wink). As always I promise my review is completely my own honest opinion and my integrity has remained.

Although none of our family suffer with allergies or sensitive skin so I cannot comment on that aspect of whether the products caused any less irritation than others.

The price of these products is a little higher than a lot of brands, however they are very specialised and I know that the free from allergens ranges very often tend to cost more than brands which contain “nasties”.

I have always assumed you are paying for the research and dedication that has gone into ensuring the product won’t cause you or your child unnecessary irritation or harm. Obviously everyone’s skin is different so there’s no guarantee of anything but I’d recommend you try them yourself if you or a member of your household does suffer. Frezyderm could be your saviour.

Something I felt was worth highlighting is the branding. Frezyderm subtlety brand their kids haircare range boys with a star and girls with a flower. I know that gender stereotyping and branding is a hot topic right now. I feel, as I said, that their branding is very subtle but I did feel the need to ask Frezyderm what the difference is. This was their response;

“The two sensitive kids shampoo boys and girls have an equivalent structure of composition having as a first priority the safety and the effectiveness. But, the shampoo for girls offers an enhanced detangling effect because of the girls’ long hair.”

This seems completely logical and I think it mirrors other brands that produce different haircare products for men and women.

Hair

So that’s my take on the shampoo and styling gel we tried from Frezyderm. In true Gorgeous George’s Mama fashion I felt it apt to write a poem about this fab find. I know mama’s of children with sensitive skin and I really hope this leads them to finding some fab and friendly products for their daily routine.

Our children’s skin is delicate

Some more than the rest

When it comes to keeping them clean

We only want the best

No nasties to make them scratch or wince

Frezyderm is their friend

To make your child all clean and fresh 

You’ll love this stuff no end

They may not have a perfumed smell

No soap or silicones

No allergens as well

If gluten doesn’t like you too

Then these products are definitely for you 

So why Frezyderm I hear you think

Look no further than your child at the sink

Next time they need to get themselves clean

Frezyderm will work a dream

The shampoo creates a wonderful lather

It won’t sting their eyes if some slips in after

The hair gel really does the trick

On mama’s hair too and it doesn’t stick. 

It holds just how you’d like it to

Without making your fingers feel like glue. 

I’ll stop the gushing and just say

In return for some products I’ll send people Frezyderm’s way

But only because I truly like

The way their gel helps dudes hair to spike

My search for child friendly hair gel ends right here. 

And I’ve also found a way for you to bathe your child without fear. 

Fear of flare ups and discomfort may now come to an end

If you give Frezyderm a try and maybe recommend a friend. 

Until next time………………

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Giveaway (*CLOSED*) Review – Nick Cope’s collection of songs for all the family. 

We are hugely excited here at Gorgeous George’s mama to be reviewing these wonderful CD’s and DVD’s by Nick Cope. We also have two signed copies of Nick’s Cope’s, “A Round of Applause for the Dinosaurs” to giveaway. A collection of songs for all the family.

This is our first ever giveaway so this is kind of a big deal for us and we are very grateful to Nick for providing us with the CD’s for this giveaway. Enter at the end of this post for your chance to win.

So how did Nick and his fabulous tunes come into our life? I am always on the lookout for child friendly, educational apps for George to enjoy on our smart devices. This is where we came across Hopster. Hopster claims to;

“Help kids learn through the content they love”

With the ability to stream some of their favourite television shows, discover books, music and lullabies, Hopster is a safe and varied app. We decided to unlock everything this app has to offer by signing up to the £3.99 monthly subscription.

By selecting the music gramophone flower, or the music area wheel you will find a section dedicated to Nick Cope. From here I decided to find out some more info on this musical mastermind. Someone who had created music for kids but with parents sanity in mind. The songs have a sometimes comical and often thoughtful edge, and are as catchy for kids and grownups alike. Nick also has a soft and calming voice. Unlike the typical shrill women type, belting out cheesy nursery rhymes that we have become accustomed to.

Nick sings about all the cool stuff that kids really wanna sing about. Bums, poo, burps dinosaurs, ants and pirates to mention but a few. Anyone that knows me knows I love anything related to poo. Nick’s CD’s are great to listen to and sing along with in the car or at home. Many of the songs also have well illustrated, quirky videos. You can find these on Nick’s website or Youtube channel and by also by purchasing The Nick Cope Show DVD here http://www.nickcope.co.uk/ Or indeed via the Hopster app where we discovered him.

Two of my favourite of Nick’s tunes are The baby’s done a poo! and the opening tune to the Cd up for grabs, I’m a little Lizard. With lines like;

“……the baby’s done a poo, the baby’s done a poo, it’s not a bog surprise cos that’s what babies do”

and

“….the sand is too hot, so i’m standing on a rock, i’m a little lizard and I’m standing on a rock”

…you can’t resist the urge to sing along. The DVD also has a singalong option.

Another personal favourite is “I don’t wanna do that”. This song summarises toddler parenting perfectly. It doesn’t matter what his mother suggest he does, the little boy doesn’t want to do it for the most seemingly irrational reasons and what ifs. I’m sure many mums and dads can relate to this. It also warms my heart how the song ends. You will have to visit Nick’s site or the hopster app to find out how it ends.

“Don’t stamp on an ant” also appeals to the crazy earth mother inside of me. I jokingly accused my step dad of massacring whole families in recent years when I witnessed him doing what many of us have. The dreaded kettle of boiling water on an ants nest. I just envisage ants running screaming everywhere as ant wives see their ant husbands boiled alive in front of them and ant children run screaming. Welcome to my overactive imagination. This song supports my theory wonderfully though. Thanks Nick. We are all indeed just getting by on this little planet.

Here’s a little about Nick:-

“Nick Cope is the indie-surrealist kids’ entertainer Robyn Hitchcock and Syd Barrett, foolishly distracted by cult status, never were.’ Stewart Lee 2016

Nick Cope is a professional singer and songwriter, and has over 20 years of experience in music, including international success as lead singer and songwriter with The Candyskins in the 1990s. 

He now writes and records music for children and has established a fanatical army of little people and their parents, from all over the world.  Nick performs all over the UK at all the major art and music festivals including Edinburgh fringe and Book festival, Hay and Cheltenham literary festival and hundreds of theatre and arts centres. He regularly spends the summer performing at (to name a few) Wilderness, Somersault, Camp Bestival , Cornbury ,Wychwood , End Of The Road and travels to Hong Kong each year to the Clockenflap festival. 

What George thought;

nick cope

On the morning we collected the CD’s I popped them straight on in the car. Before the first verse of “I’m a little Lizard” had played out, hubs was already singing along, second guessing the words. They are that easily to follow and sing along to. It wasn’t long before I was singing along too. George was giving us both the dubious face as he wondered what we had both had sprinkled on our cornflakes. I think he recognised the songs from the app and wondered how they were being played out of the car speakers.

On returning home I put on the DVD. When he saw the illustrated videos I think he identified with the songs better and was mesmerised from start to finish. Dubiously eyeing me as I again sang and bopped along. He’s not one for audience participation much is our George but when I asked him if he enjoyed it his response was;

“Yeah”

Perhaps he is destined to be just like his father…a man of few words. Unlike Mummy who has enough words for all of us though and doesn’t allow anyone else a word in edgeways.

Click the link below if you would like to win a copy of Nick’s family friendly CD, “A Round of Applause for the Dinosaurs” . The first three options are mandatory. All other options will increase your chances of winning.

You can catch Nick next at the Edinburgh Fringe

Terms & Conditions:

  • No purchase necessary.
  • The Prize is ONE signed copy of Nick Cope’s CD ” A Round of Applause for the Dinosaurs.”
  • The prize is non transferable with no cash alternative.
  • The competition opens at 12am on Friday 21st July 2017 and closes at 12am on Monday 7th August 2017.
  • Entries are limited to UK participants only and you must be over 18.
  • The competition is run via Rafflecopter and TWO winners will be chosen at random.
  • The winner will be informed within 24 hours.
  • The winner should respond within 28 days with details for postage. A new winner will have to be chosen in the event of there being no response.
  • By entering this giveaway you are accepting these terms and conditions.

Disclaimer: We were provided with Nick Cope’s CD’s and DVD in return for this honest review. All opinions are our own.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Listed on Competition Database – a huge source of uk competitions!

– Find more competitions at http://www.competitiondatabase.co.uk

‘Good Bubble’ Bathtime range – a poetic review

The Georgeous has reached that age, the grand old age of two and half. The age at which playing with his toys is everything. Not a moment can be spared for anything else. Eating, bathing, getting ready to go out to his favourite phonics class. It’s all a distraction in his mind, to drive him away from his precious toys.

We have found a way to draw him away for a  few vital minutes to allow us to occasionally leave the house and to stop for mealtimes. Bath time however is a struggle. He actually loves a bath. It’s a place where he has another array of toys which he can only play with at bath time. Once he is in there he loves it and needs convincing to get out. So when I was invited to review some fun and friendly bathtime products by https://www.goodbubble.co.uk/ I couldn’t resist.

 

A bath said mum with a tired old sigh,

A bath for whom? Said mini Sir, not I!

Indeed mini sir, a bath for you,

To rid you of smells like sweat and like poo.

But I don’t want a bath, said mini Sir.

I want to play with my cars first.

But this is a new bath, explained mama dear,

With bubbles of cloudberry to clean out those ears.

And magical hair wash containing fruits of the dragon

To clean and detangle, what’s the worst that could happen?

And as surely was promised, the cloud bubbles grew,

Mama scooped them all up and gently she blew.

The cloud bubbles floated, as soft as they are,

Whilst mini Sir squealed in delight, forgetting all about cars.

His hair was then washed with the fruits of the dragon,

As mama reached for the comb, would you believe what had happened!

The tangles were gone and good fun had been had.

With “Good Bubble” products, bath time isn’t so bad.

Silicone, paraben and PEG free,

No artificial colours or nasties you see.

With ingredients sourced from mostly natural sources,

It’s not tested on creatures likes rabbits, or horses.

Vegan friendly and  great value too.

Pop down to your local store and buy a few.

We’d like to thank Good Bubble for letting us try and review,

So we could share their fabulousness with all of you.

All opinions included are simply our own.

They make mini Sir happy to bathe instead of to moan.

Until next time…….

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Illumibowl Motion activated toilet night light review

*This post is our honest review of the Illumibowl toilet night light. I was provided with this product in return for this review. All opinions are my own.*

Those that know me, know that I like to be nothing if not unique. Add to this the fact that I am most definitely a lover of toilet talk, and you get the perfect accompaniment between product and reviewer. I’ve grown up with Dad’s farting at the dinner table and somehow the conversation always turns to poo. At my last job, I was well known throughout the department for choosing poo as my favourite topic of conversation.

I came across the Illumibowl on Facebook after seeing an advert. The pictures showed me everything I needed to know. When I saw the opportunity come up to review this fabulous item, I couldn’t wait to get started.

Illumibowl

Having a 2.5 year old, I’m still woken at least once in the night to comfort him. This in turn usually awakens my bladder also. Up until now, I’ve always just peed in the dark to try and avoid waking myself up too much. Well not anymore!

Now when I make my night time visit to the loo, I am greeted by an array of eight colours. Glowing warmly from my toilet bowl, it feels little strange when I take a seat and still have a glow coming out from the seat edges. It’s a welcome glow, a “you didn’t just walk in here blind” glow.

My cat’s litter tray is also on the entrance to bathroom. One of my cats has issues with his poos and can sometimes carry them out of the tray. I have been known to step in these in the dark and get back into bed with my foot carrying some cat poop. Hopefully this is the end to this yukky practice.

The illumibowl fits easily onto the edge of your toilet bowl in much the same way as a toilet freshener. The only difference being that the box part stays on the outside. With the slim arm sitting on the inside holding the light, and lighting up your toilet bowl when you enter the room. The Illumibowl is sensor activated so you have to fit it facing the bathroom entrance to get the best from it. The arm is adequate at holding the device securely to the toilet bowl. The light will only activate when it is dark. It is powered by three AAA batteries.

Unfortunately for us, our toilet faces the bathroom door. This means I’ve had to fit it at the front of the toilet. Not a problem for me. My husband worries that it will quickly get pee on the light. You can easily clean the Illumibowl with a damp cloth, as per the instructions.

The light settings can be easily set to one favourite colour or rotate between red, orange, blue, green, a lighter shade of blue,purple, dark pink and light pink. I think my favourites are the pinks, blues and green. 

Illumibowl

Now for the company themselves. Any company that makes a product to prettify your toilet bowl has got to be pretty cool right?! It appears from there website that they are also working on a complementing product in America called the Illumisink. You guessed it, Illumisink lights up the tap where the water comes out. After all, we all know it’s good hygiene to wash our hands after using the loo. What a fab duo.

If you would like to order an Illumibowl motion-activated toilet night light, visit their website here https://illumibowl.co.uk/ Whilst visiting their website, I’d recommend also checking out their fab potty training tips and my personal favourite, potty humour. There are some great jokes on toilet humour. The potty training tips are very timely as we just entering that stage with George.

Our overall household opinion is;

Me: This is such a fabulous product that I have to try and stop myself getting so excited that I wake up too much. It’s like a mini gentle disco whilst I pee.

Hubbie: He’s just worried he’s gonna piss on it. But it’s not the company’s fault our toilet is located where it is (his words).

George: (He’s not likely to see it until winter as he is sound asleep by the time it gets dark due to the time of year.) But I know this will be invaluable once he starts properly potty training and getting up in the night to use the loo. Hubs may actually find me and George hosting our own bathroom disco in the middle of the night.

Cats: They are probably thinking what the f***, but it lights up their bathroom experience too, so it’s win win.

My advice. Buy one. You won’t regret it. Give your friends and family toilet envy.

Everyone soooo knows what they are getting for Christmas from me now

Until next time…..

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Ponies, Pub friends and Peppa Pig – A New Forest Holiday.

We have recently returned from a 4 night holiday to the New Forest. If I were to summarise our experience in short then ponies, pub friends and Peppa Pig are just a few of the things that made our stay there wonderful.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Oh great! Another mummy review about a holiday I couldn’t give a shit about!” But after regularly updating my personal Facebook page and also posting photos on instagram, I had lots of questions coming from people. They wanted to know what I thought of places we visited, where we were, so even if there is a small minority want to read this crap, then my possibly arthritic fingers have ached for nothing. (Big cheesy grin and a thumbs up from me.)

Our decision to book a break in the New Forest stemmed from a desire to take George (now 2 and half years) to Peppa Pig world before he completely lost interest in it altogether. If I’m honest I was feeling pretty hyperactive about it myself.

The New Forest really doesn’t describe itself very well. It’s actually a really, really old forest, decades in fact. But what it isn’t telling you is that it is one of the largest unenclosed pasture lands in the south east. Largest what what of a where now? Well basically it means that once you cross that cattle grid, it’s hello free roaming animals! Nothing can prepare you for the surreal beauty of this place!

Being my typical research freak self, I began looking for places to stay late last year and stumbled across an adventure packed holiday camp called Sandyballs. I checked that this wasn’t some sort of swingers camp, (have I ever told you about the time my 18 year old self and hubs accidentally found ourselves on the nudist beach at Brighton!)After confirming that everyone would be fully clothed and no car keys would be swapped, I subscribed to their mailing list.

Sidenote: I have no problem with swinging if that’s your chocolate cake. Each to their own. I just wouldn’t book that type of resort for a toddler friendly holiday. Let’s still be friends yeah.

new forest ponies

Just before New Years, they had a flash sale offering 15% off of the booking price. As a result, I managed to book us a comfort caravan on the site for £207 for 4 nights. When looking at hotels in the local area that offer 2 nights at Peppa Pig world (Paultons Park) and one night in their hotel, it equated to almost the same price and you would still be 18-30 miles away from the theme park!

Although the Sandyballs booking didn’t include the Peppa Pig tickets, these are £27.25 if purchased in advance online. Saving £4.50 per person the day and once purchased the ticket is open ended so can be used once on almost any date until the end of October 2017.

Our booking included a 4 night stay in a two bed caravan, sleeping 4 people. The caravan came equipped with central heating in all rooms, microwave and a decent size lounge television with built in DVD player.  It had other things but these are the things that are important to me and the night time milk monster. For a full inventory, check the Sandyballs website. (Link further down, cheeky way to force you to keep reading methinks).

In my own opinion and with relatively high expectations I found the accommodation clean and comfortable, aside from the mattresses on the beds! These were very soft if i’m being polite, completely knackered and in need of an update if I’m being honest. On one of the singles you had to fight not to roll off one side.  Outside you have a single parking space directly next to your caravan, some were a very short walk to a small parking area. If you have ever been to Centreparcs though then this is a luxury you will possibly appreciate. You also have a picnic table and barbeque. All service charges and linen are included in the price. As well as use of the leisure facilities. I’m not going to waffle on about everything in lots of detail because their website does that all for me.

All you need to know is, I loved it, hubs loved it, George said he loved it. Although at the time he was going through some weird “I can’t believe you’ve driven me 2 hours up the road and called it a holiday anxiety”. He spent the week insisting hubs carried him everywhere like some sort of Egyptian ruler and told me to “go away, I don’t want you”. To be fair though, when we took a walk through the forest it had random strange headstones and felt eerie. So perhaps it was haunted and George was in fact possessed for the week.

new forest comfort caravan

My overall opinion is that is was clean, friendly, welcoming and somewhere we would most definitely recommend.

Onsite you have a convenience store. The prices are relatively reasonable and not massively increased. Genuinely! I’d say everything was marked up by about 50p more than the supermarkets but that’s to be expected. There are a few local supermarkets such as Tesco express and Waitrose just a short drive away though.

There is an amusements arcade with a good selection of old and new style arcade games and penny drop machines. Next door to this is an unsupervised soft play area for younger children and toddlers. We didn’t get around to trying this unfortunately, but it looked pretty cool. As did the huge park play area which again we sadly didn’t get around to trying. But there wouldn’t be a reason to go back if we had exhausted everything so every cloud and all that.

sandyballs amusement arcade

Across the road from our caravan we had an access path to the forest. This was an active walk up and down hills and with access to the river. A toddler could manage it though. Sandyballs appear to own this part of the forest as there are many signs for their activities such as clay shooting and pond dipping. They have such a huge array of activities. We didn’t actually book any except cycle hire. There really is so much to do for every age. Checkout their website here, Sandyballs to see all they have to offer. It has our seal of approval.

Anyone that knows me, knows I believe that life is too short and the world is too vast to return to the same place twice. But on  rare occasions I will. I believe Sandyballs has so much to offer that we would both love to return for maybe a 7 day stay and hire a lodge with a hot tub.

It’s also worth noting that we went just out of season in the last week of March so there is more on offer during peak times. There wasn’t much in the way of evening entertainment. Onsite there is a restaurant, The Forest table, offering Italian cuisine. We had a fry up breakfast here one morning and it was delicious. This restaurant appeared calmer of an evening and less suitable for the likes of a noisy toddler and his Blaze and the Monster machines car tearing it up and down the table.

We chose to dine at the Woodside Inn one night and stopped by a second night for dessert and drinks. The Woodside Inn is both dog and child friendly. This reminded me of the scene in the film Titanic. Whilst the more refined classes were enjoying fine dining in the upper decks or in this case The Forest Table. We were herded together, dogs and rowdy children into the pub the Woodside Inn, to do some irish dancing on the tables. Clearly this is just a figment of my imagination but it did make me chuckle.

We absolutely loved it at the Woodside inn. The food was lush and portion sizes were sufficient. We attended the pub quiz curry night on the wednesday and there was a good mix of pensioners, 50 somethings and thirty something families in attendance. The banter was good and the quiz was very well organised. Needless to say our confidence wasn’t much help as we came close to bottom.

The staff everywhere were very friendly and always made an effort to interact with George, who was at times struggling to adjust to the excitement of being on holiday and was being very clingy and temperamental.

The swimming pool area was nice but it wasn’t all singing and dancing, no slides or alike. There are two small triangular splash pools for toddlers, either side of the steps to the main pool. As it was March, we couldn’t try the outside pool as it is closed off peak. I absolutely loved having some much needed chill time in the Jacuzzi and Spa, pummelling my sore muscles after a crazy bike ride. Whilst still being able to seeing hibs and little one play together in the splash pool.

new forest mountain biking

Ah yes, the bike ride. Hubs and I haven’t ridden bikes in just over two years. Having hired from  the onsite cycle centre, who provided us with a route map of varying difficulties, we set off. It was George’s first time on the back of a bike in a special childs seat. We were apprehensive as to whether he would enjoy it, but he really did.

Our chosen cycle route took us down the road before entering the forest. Once in the forest, we encountered many ponies. You are advised not to approach or touch them, but they approached us so it seemed rude not to. They simply wanted a little scratch and then they were on their way again, munching through the forest. At one point a grey pony crossed the path ahead, specifically to stand in my way. I asked him if he was trying to tell me not to continue that route and he simply looked at me and walked off. Leaving me dumbfounded. Needless to say he wasn’t wasn’t warning me about any dangers ahead. Maybe about the small stream we had to ride across that I ended up getting a sodden foot in, but I’m here to tell the tale.

The ponies were just totally surreal. As soon as you cross the cattle grid there are ponies galore, with the odd cow and donkey. It was just awe-inspiring.

Until next time…..

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Flying With A Baby

Happy Birthday to Me – bakerdays letterbox cake review

This post is focused on our bakerdays letterbox cake review. I was gifted this wonderfully unique cake, in return for my honest review. To found out what makes this cake unique read more here.

I have received many things through my letterbox in the 10 years we have lived here. (Is it just me or does that sound like the rudest innuendo ever!) Ahem, anyway, my trusty letterbox has, over the years seen nasty council tax bills, charity clothing bags prompting me to have a clear out, and leaflets encouraging me to purchase multiple conservatories, pizzas or garden pruning services.

This month probably saw the letterbox receive one of the best things yet! An amazingly well packed, gorgeously designed and delectably tasting birthday cake pour moi! This cake was ordered by myself, for myself as a delectable birthday treat.

Now, I say I received it through my letterbox because that is how it was intended to be delivered. However, my letterbox had other ideas! Resulting in a little trip the following day to the sorting office to collect said cake. Simple enough one would think, but with a toddler suffering with wingebagitis I dread every attempt to leave the house at the moment.

After collecting the cake, and cursing the postman under my breathe, I decided to try posting it through my letterbox myself. After all, the packing states “I fit through the letterbox”. Now, I’ve always considered my letterbox to be of an average size but the arrival of this cake has revealed something that I must now hold my hands up to. Yes, I must admit, I have a smaller than average letterbox!

bakerdays letterbox cake review

I’m nothing but determined so I kept the cake packaged up through my birthday until I could visit my sisters house. On arriving, I tried to post the cake through her letterbox. It took a bit of manoeuvring (probably more than the postman could be bothered with), but it went through the letterbox. So I can confirm that bakerdays letterbox cake does fit through some letterboxes.

So enough talk of letterboxes. If your mind is as full of innuendo as mine, then all this letterbox talk is completely off the subject.

Back to the cake. Bakerdays offer a very extensive catalogue of designs, sizes and flavours to choose from. The letterbox cake can also be personalised with photos and messages.

Quote from Bakerdays: – “bakerdays is a Personalised Celebration Cake Specialist, providing quality personalised cakes for all occasions. The delicious range of recipes and sizes are available for delivery 6 days a week, and if you order before 2pm, bakerdays can deliver the very next day!”

Imagine ordering one for someone you care for and sending it as a surprise for an occasion be it Birthday, Anniversary, valentines or just because you love them. Either way it will £14.99 well received no doubt. Place your orders here at www.bakerdays.com

I placed an order for the Union Jack Crown Cake in rich chocolate chip flavour. Customised with a picture of my toddler self with the words, “Happy Birthday to Me”. I was impressed with the finished result and it is by far the most personalised cake I’ve ever had.

bakerdays letterbox cake review

The cake, as already mentioned, arrived in a letterbox size box. Inside of this was a pretty tin with air holes, assumably to maintain the cakes freshness. I opened the tin to find the cake wrapped in perforated cellophane.  There was a tab removal system with precise instructions on how to remove the cake without causing damage. For the cake to have withstood the hustle and bustle of the royal mail system, it would have been a huge shame if I destroyed it  at the final hurdle. A thoughtful touch I felt was the addition of  a party streamer, two candles, a balloon and a gift card.

Now for my favourite part, the tasting. The cake was moist and there was a gooeyness to on the base, presumably to hold the cake to the board securely. I kindly chose to share the cake with my mum and two of my three sisters. They all agreed the cake tasted great.

bakerdays letterbox cake review

On reflection, the bakerdays letterbox cake is an excellent concept. I would recommend bakerdays despite my expectations not being met by the cake not fitting through my letterbox.

Was I completely satisfied with the bakerdays letterbox cake? Overall I was happy but it would have been great if it arrived via my letterbox as intended. The cake quality and design was perfect though.

Would I order a bakerdays letterbox cake for a friend or family member? I would consider it.

Do I think the cake is good value for money? Being the thrifty, frugal stay at home mama that I am, I don’t think I could justify spending just under £15 on a 5″ cake. Maybe in the future, if my situation changes.

Checkout bakerdays social media sites here.

http://www.facebook.com/bakerdays/

Until next time…..

 

A review of Everyman cinema – Beauty and the Beast 2017 #KCACOLS

This post is a review of  Everyman cinema, detailing the experience we had watching Beauty and the Beast, 2017. Please note there will be NO spoilers from the film, so please feel free to read on without hesitation.

Visiting the cinema is something I haven’t done in several years.  To celebrate my birthday, (I totally believe in Birthdays by the way!) I thought it was ideal to try out our new Everyman cinema. I know so many people who claim birthdays are ” just another day”. Not so in my books! Each birthday is a celebration of making it through another year. So many people don’t make it through no choice of their own. To my mind, life is a gift to be celebrated. So I asked my darling mum to have George for several hours. Allowing myself and hubs to have some quality time together.

Our local area has recently received the marvellous addition of an Everyman cinema. If you haven’t heard of Everyman , they are a cinema chain offering a luxury cinema experience. For our film of choice I decided a romantic rendezvous with the hubs wouldn’t be complete without a romantic fairytale ala Beauty and the Beast.

On arrival we approached the desk and informed the lone girl at the counter that we had booked to see the 13:45 viewing online. After determining we were there to see Beauty and the Beast, her interaction with us ceased. I had to ask her for guidance, explaining that we hadn’t been before. It would have been helpful to have been asked if we had visited before and explain how things work.

As we made our way to the main atrium, a selection of boutique styled seating and tables confronted us, along with a bar and several people sitting eating. A quick stop off at the loo revealed all the soap dispensers had ran out. The member of staff I informed was very apologetic and this was rectified when I visited the loos again before we left the cinema. We took a seat in the atrium and began to peruse the menu.

Having done my research, (I’m a stickler for research!) I knew you could order food to have brought to your seat in the screening. Again though, being a total newbie I didn’t know how you went about arranging this.

The barman simply asked for our order so I asked how we arrange for the food to be delivered to our seats. He said he would give us our drinks now and the food would be delivered to our seats. (The film wasn’t due to start for half an hour so in hindsight we should’ve asked for the food there and then). The menu has a choice of pizza, garlic bread, nachos, chips, burgers and hotdogs. With sundaes, brownies and then typical sweets and popcorn for afters. Drinks were varied with upmarket soft drinks, wines, beers, cocktails, coke floats and milkshakes.

We ordered an orange and ginger fentimans for hubs and a chambord royale cocktail for me. We ordered fries with cheese each. Then I ordered a sundae and hubs ordered a brownie. After moseying about for a while with our drinks, we saw ourself to the screening room. You don’t need your tickets checking, unless you want assistance to your seat.

everyman cinema review

After settling down in our comfy, spacious two seater sofa, complete with cuddle cushions, we waited for our food. As we waited for the the trailers to begin, a waitress appeared with my ice cream sun

World Book Day – A review of Harold Huxley and Friends by Emma R McNally

World Book Day is upon us so what better time to tell you all about an author I met at the local Christmas Fayre at the end of last year.

Emma R McNally is the Essex based author and illustrator of Harold Huxley and friends. Her books are aimed at children aged between 3 and 7 years but we have enjoyed reading them to a two year old George. She’s such a lovely, smiley, friendly lady, and we spent time at the fayre chatting to her and her partner before purchasing 4 books from her series. All of which she kindly signed for us.

World book day
To start with, let me tell you about the books. We chose 3 of the Harold Huxley rhyming picture books. Book 2, Dragons can fly! Book 4, The snow creatures’ secret. And Book 5, the magical beeley bugs. Each book follow Harold the ‘househog’ , and his best friend Lamb. We follow them on their amazing adventures, encountering dragons, magical flower colouring bugs and snow creatures.

Both my husband and I love reading these rhyming books as they can almost turn into a song. They are also a great way to help George’s learning as we often get him to repeat the last word of the rhyme and the next time we read the book, see if he can remember what it is before we say it. He usually astounds us. The books feel very personal as you know Emma has been fully involved by both writing and illustrating the stories.

World book day
Finally, the fourth book we purchased was ‘The Cloudosaurus Rex’. George being a dinosaur fan led us towards this title. Emma categorises this book as a rhyming picture book with actions. It’s all about the Cloudosaurus, who lives in the sky. His mood that day determines what weather we will have. The book has a repeating theme on each page, directing the reader to follow certain actions;

“Stand on one leg and close one eye.

Tilt your head and look to the sky.

Can you see him? what is his mood?

Should we wear sandals or a snuggly snood?”

it’s a pleasure to watch George enjoying taking part in these actions. As the rhyme continues we have even found a way of incorporating the cat into it by giving her a little scratchy rub on the head as we say snood.

World book day

Most notably Emma has recently announced that she is releasing two new titles aiming to be published in time for Easter 2017. To keep up to date with everything going on in the world of Emma and her books, visit The Adventures of Harold Huxley

It may seem like this review is rather discreet in the information I am giving regarding the books, but I wouldn’t like to spoil the stories for you.

Overall, I feel these will be a part of our reading favs for a while to come, as George ages and learns to read himself. The layout of the books is perfect and the text is large and easy to follow. The pictures have a hand-drawn quality about them and make the story easy for little ones to follow. George particularly enjoyed looking for the hidden spider on each page of the ‘Dragons can Fly’ book.

World book day

I can certainly recommend them. If you purchase them via the website (link above) Emma will send you a personalised signed copy.

Have a wonderful World book day, hopefully discovering new books for you and your little one to enjoy.

Until next time…..