Giveaway & Review: PAW Patrol Game On! DVD

PAW Patrol – we’re on a roll! Good news PAW Patrollers, everyone’s favourite rescue pups are back in action in their brand new DVD – PAW Patrol Game On! which is released on 22nd May.

My son adores PAW Patrol and he was incredibly excited to get his paws on this DVD a couple of weeks before its UK release. In these seven exciting, sports-themed episodes, the PAW Patrol team take part in some daring rescues and amazing adventures. 

Giveaway & Review: PAW Patrol Game On! DVD

The PAW Patrol Game On! DVD includes seven sporty episodes – 

Pups Save a Basketball Game – Mayor Goodway needs a basketball team, so she calls Ryder and the PAW Patrol for help. The pups team up to become the “Adventure Bay All-Stars” and they’ll need everyone, including an uncertain Marshall, to pitch in and help win the game for Adventure Bay.

Pup-Fu! –The PAW Patrol and the mischievous kittens from Mayor Humdinger’s Kit-tastrophe Crew are both competing for their martial arts belts when they come across an ancient scroll that holds a wealth of secrets. Mayor Humdinger steals the scroll and the PAW Patrol is called upon to find and return it back to Sensei Yumi.

Pups Save the Mayor’s Race – It’s the annual Mayor’s Race and Mayor Goodway is determined to beat the devious Mayor Humdinger. Mayoral contestants need to row a boat, swim and race to the finish line. The pups need to help Mayor Goodway train for the running race and deal with Mayor Humdingers’ disasters.

Pups Save a Snowboard Competition – Jake and Everest are excited for the big Snowboard Competition, until they look outside and see the course is completely buried under a blanket of snow. The rescue pups help to clear the course and rescue the Kit-tastrophe crew kittens who have fallen off a cliff. Everest uses her grappling hook to lower Ryder down the edge of the cliff and her snowboard jet pulls them back up to safety.

Pups Save the Soccer Game – When devious Mayor Humdinger challenges the Adventure Bay team to a soccer match, Ryder and the PAW Patrol are called in to play. The PAW Patrol players start strong but a series of mysterious mishaps jeopardise their team’s victory. The pups must work as a team to overcome some dirty tricks by Mayor Humdinger and win the match!

Pups Great Race – It’s Adventure Bay Race Day and the Pups are about to race each other all across the town to see who is the fastest pup. One other competitor unexpectedly shows up though, Alex in his super trike!

Pups Save a Tightrope Walker – Francois Turbot is bravely walking a tightrope between the top of the Bridge and the Lookout Tower, but storm clouds and seagulls threaten to ruin his act! It’s time to call the PAW Patrol to help get him safely to the other side.

My six year old son has been a massive (seriously massive) PAW Patrol fan for around three years now and his love to Ryder and the PAW Patrol team shows no sign of waning. I fully expected him to love this DVD and I was not mistaken. He’s watched the DVD several times in its entirety and then dipped in and out. The PAW Patrol Game On! DVD is an absolute must for any mini PAW Patrol fan!

Pre-order your copy today on Amazon

PAW Patrol: Game On! is available on 22nd May on DVD!

Download your FREE PAW Patrol Activity Sheets HERE.

Win a copy of the PAW Patrol Game On! DVD

To be in with a chance to win a PAW Patrol Game On! DVD, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will receive a PAW Patrol Game On! DVD.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 5th June 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Your email address may be passed on to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Craft Tutorial: Kusudama origami flowers

I’ve been part of a local craft club for a little over a year now. We meet once a month for an evening of crafts and each month we try something different. At the first craft club meeting I went to we learned how to make kusudama origami flowers. They are pretty simple to make and once you get into the rhythm, making them becomes addictive. 

Craft Tutorial: Make your own kusudama origami flowers

All you need are some squares of paper and some Bostik glue dots. I added a button and a pipe-cleaner stem, but a lot of kusudama origami flowers don’t have these. It’s easier to make them with thinner paper rather than card. They’d work well with nice wrapping paper cut into squares for example.

Craft Tutorial: Make your own kusudama origami flowers

You can use squares of paper of any size depending on the size of flower you want to make. You will need to make the petal segments in odd numbers. You’ll need to make a minimum of 5 segments, but 7 is a good number to make. I’ve seen them with 15 petal segments and more. Once you’ve got the knack you can really get creative with your kusudama origami flowers.

There are lots of design ideas on Pinterest if you want to take a look. My friend made 20 kusudama origami flowers and attached them to a string of fairy lights with the light shining through the centre of the flower. I have a bouquet of them in a small vase on my dining table. 

It’s much easier to show you how to fold the petal segments and put the flower together than it is to try and explain. I’ve made a video tutorial to walk you through it. 

Making kusudama origami flowers is a lovely little craft to know how to make. It’s a good entry level origami craft and one which you can do with the kids too. A bouquet of colourful kusudama origami flowers would make a lovely gift for flower loving friends, relatives or teachers. Say it with paper flowers?

Craft Tutorial: Make your own kusudama origami flowers

Note: I am a Bostik craft blogger and I was sent the materials to create this craft from Craft Merrily. 

Check out my other craft tutorials here!

Recipe: Tangy Marmalade Cupcakes

Marmalade is one of those things children tend to dislike but adults love. A weekend breakfast of thick cut wholemeal bread, toasted and slathered with butter and good marmalade is my idea of heaven. My husband and I really are fans of marmalade, one of our favourite quick cakes is a marmalade tea loaf which is great to throw together if you’ve got guests coming round. Recently I’ve been thinking about marmalade cupcakes, with my husband’s birthday as an excuse, I knocked up a batch of marmalade cupcakes complete with tangy marmalade buttercream. Even our six year old enjoyed them!

I was sent two jars of Duerr’s marmalade to try, so I thought I’d use them both in my recipe. I used the Duerr’s Fine Cut Half Sugar Seville Orange Marmalade in the actual cupcakes and the Duerr’s Thick Cut Classic Seville Orange Marmalade in the buttercream icing. The half sugar is quite tangy and as you’d expect it’s not very sweet. I thought it would work well in the cupcake. 

Recipe: Tangy Marmalade Cupcakes

My recipe made 24 light and airy marmalade cupcakes. They went down an absolute storm and the boys have asked me to make them again, so I will.

Recipe: Tangy Marmalade Cupcakes

Tangy Marmalade Cupcakes

These easy cupcakes are light and airy. With marmalade flecked through the sponge base and with a marmalade buttercream topping, these are perfect for marmalade lovers!

Ingredients
150g marmalade
175g butter or margarine
175g caster sugar
3 eggs (large)
225g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger

For the buttercream:
250g icing sugar
250g butter (softened)
1 tablespoon marmalade

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 180° and put paper cases in a bun or a muffin tray.

Put all of your ingredients for the cupcakes in a large mixing bowl and using a hand mixer combine until the batter is smooth and airy. Dollop a large dessert spoon of the cake batter in each case and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

While your cupcakes are cooling, sift your icing sugar and beat together with the softened butter. Add the tablespoon of marmalade, add more if you like. Make sure your buttercream is well combined and smooth.

Once your cupcakes are cool, put your marmalade buttercream in a piping bag with a plain round piping nozzle – if you use any of the star nozzles the marmalade will block it and the buttercream won’t pipe well. I just piped the buttercream on top, but you can decorate however you think best.

Tip: I like to chill my iced cupcakes in the fridge for an hour just to firm up the buttercream before serving.

They’re as pretty as a picture. I’m really pleased with how they’ve turned out too. I’ll be making this again very soon!

Recipe: Tangy Marmalade Cupcakes

Find out more about Duerr’s Marmalade here.

Note: I was sent marmalade from Duerr’s and created this recipe. I have not been compensated for this post. All images and opinions are my own.

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

The Just So Festival is an annual, intimate, weekend-long family festival is a wonderful, creative, arty, family outdoor adventure like no other. We go each year and it is such a highlight. I look forward to it all year long; we can’t wait to get there and we are always sad to leave.

Now in its 8th year, the 2017 this award-winning family festival just gets better and better. Each August the Just So Festival pitches up in the gorgeous grounds of Rode Hall in Cheshire, filling three days with music, literature, arts, theatre, dance, comedy, storytelling, magic and adventure. We always leave feeling inspired, rejuvenated and completely reconnected as a family.

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

Produced by Wild Rumpus, the Just So Festival this year takes place on 18th-20th August. You can go for a day, or you can camp for the weekend. We have done both. We loved camping at the festival so much, being under canvas really adds to the adventure.

Why should you go to the Just So Festival this year?

ONE – Around the campfire
There’s so much to do at Just So, it’s hard to pick favourites. But we loved being around the campfire before bedtime, singing our hearts out with Scout Master, Ian Macintosh and listening to stories told by Just So legend, Ian Douglas. It sends you off to bed feeling happy, content and smelling vaguely of wood-smoke.

TWO – The first ever Just So Jelly Fight!
This year for the first time, in the Social Barn next to The Social you’ll find insect eating, foraging, jelly bean architecture and the first ever Just So jelly fight. Get ready to join in with the messiest, stickiest and most ridiculous of food fights.

THREE – Tribal Tournament
Just So veterans will know all about the famous festival Tribal Tournament. Festival goers of all ages dress up as a fish, frog, fox, owl, lion or stag and compete throughout the weekend to see which tribe comes out on top. Join in the Wild Rumpus Parade at the end of the weekend where the winners are crowned!

FOUR – Food, glorious food!
The range of food available at the Just So Festival is incredible. The Social area is where most of the food stalls are, but there are more on the Village Green and in the High Seas area. If you wanted to you could eat something wildly different for every meal at Just So. Our favourites are the grilled sweetcorn from Cotswold Corn Roast, ice cream from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium and hot dogs a-plenty from Piggy Smalls. Though other food vendors are available.

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

FIVE – Do the Jitterbug!
Strut your stuff at the night time retro discos in the Jitterbug tent – dressing up is encouraged! If daytime dance is more your thing, you can learn to dance the CanCan, Charleston, Circus Swing, Flatfooting, Bollywood, Ballet, Tap and Jive. 

SIX – The wonderful Rode Hall Estate
The Rode Hall Estate is beautiful and absolutely perfectly designed for the wonderful goings on at the festival. Explore the grounds and find hidden magic around every corner. New this year is the Forgotten Courtyard, a beautiful Italian Garden tucked away in the ruins of the Old Tenants’ Hall complete with a fountain, Italian cypress and olive trees. Find this secret spot and take part in workshops, discussions, debates and talks, plus meet some of the UK’s favourite children’s authors there.

Plus this year the Rode Hall Tea Rooms will be open for homemade breakfasts, lunches and cakes made from the organic produce grown on the estate. I heartily recommend their Staffordshire Oatcakes and steaming mugs of tea!

SEVEN – Carry on Camping, or glamping if you prefer
I didn’t think I’d be a happy camper, but I was. In our first family camping weekend, we whispered into the night under the canvas, cooked sausages on our little camping stove and snuggled up like caterpillars in our sleeping bags. 

With toilet blocks and actual real life showers with hot water, the facilities are excellent. If you have tiny tots they have their own special baby bath time available in Peekaboo. 

For campers who fancy a touch of luxury, there are a range of glamping options available to pre-book and campervans and caravans are welcome. Come for the weekend, camp, have fun, go off grid, get twigs in your hair, let go, have fun.

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

EIGHT – Award winning Accessibility
I have chronic pain and nerve damage. I can’t really feel my feet and legs, so accessibility is important to me. The Just So Festival organisers have thought of everything; from accessible camping, refrigeration for medication, wheelchair charging points as well as accessible toilets and changing areas.

I used many of the accessible facilities last year I can say hand on heart they accessibility is excellent and is seamlessly woven into the fabric of Just So.  It’s a truly accessible event. And that’s exactly how it should be for everyone, everywhere.

NINE – Lively live music!
Down by The Social, you’ll find the Footlights stage with over 20 brilliant artists and bands performing over the weekend, including Just So legends David Gibb, The Baghdaddies and singer, Laura Oakes. 
 

These are my nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year. These are only nine of about 900 wonderful reasons. There’s so much to see, do and experience there. Immerse yourself in the magic and creativity of this wonderful family festival. Leave feeling inspired, rejuvenated and completely reconnected as a family.

Tickets for this intimate and fabulous family festival are selling fast, so make sure you book your tickets as early as you can. 

For information and tickets visit www.justsofestival.org.ukKeep up with the adventure and follow Just So on Twitter and Facebook.

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

My blog post about my accessibility experience at Just So can be found here.

Giveaway! Win The Beatrix Potter Collection on DVD

The small boy and I are big fans of Peter Rabbit & Friends which is currently being shown on CBeebies. Peter Rabbit is a bit more streetwise than the Peter Rabbit I remember, he was always mischievous, but the new version does contain more scenes of mild peril than I remember from my youth. As a treat the small boy and I sat down for a cosy afternoon watching The Beatrix Potter Collection DVD, released on 7th March, this is Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit as I remember them. And what a treat it was!

This collection of 3 DVDs has a running time of 231 minutes, and features the complete collection of the classic Peter Rabbit episodes which lovingly recreate the enchanting Beatrix Potter stories. The timeless animation and the wonderful music make for gentle viewing. The small boy and I were enthralled by stories involving mischievous Peter and his friends including Benjamin Bunny, Mrs Tiggy Winkle, Jemima Puddle Duck, and Pigling Bland.

The Beatrix Potter Collection

2016 marks 150 years since the birth of Beatrix Potter, one of the world’s best-loved children’s authors, she captured imaginations around the world with her beautifully illustrated stories which are now available in this charming DVD boxset.

The Beatrix Potter Collection was released by Abbey Home Media on Monday 7th March 2016. This beautiful and rather special triple DVD boxset includes the following 9 beautifully animated stories based on the Peter Rabbit Books by Beatrix Potter –

The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends:
The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny, The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies and Mrs. Tittlemouse, and The Tale of Tom Kitten and Jemima Puddle-Duck

The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and Mr. Jeremy Fisher and other stories:
The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and Mr. Jeremy Fisher, The Tale of Mr Tod: The Further Adventures of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny, and The Tale of Two Bad Mice and Johnny Town-Mouse

The Tale of Pigling Bland and other stories:
The Tale of Pigling Bland, The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or The Roly-Poly Pudding and The Tailor of Gloucester

We’ve enjoyed watching these episodes together, we’ve even dug out my old and rather dog eared Beatrix Potter books for some bedtime reading. I think The Beatrix Potter Collection DVD would make a wonderful gift for the family and has inspired us to take a trip to the Lake District to visit her cottage later this year.

The Beatrix Potter Collection DVD is rated U and is available from all good DVD stockists including Amazon.

Win The Beatrix Potter Collection on DVD

To be in with a chance to win The Beatrix Potter Collection on DVD, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will receive The Beatrix Potter Collection on DVD.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 6th June 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Your email address may be passed on to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I went along to the opening of the new Silentnight flagship showroom at Barton Square in the intu Trafford Centre near Manchester. Sleeping or thinking about sleeping is one of my favourite things to do, I was keen to have a look around and have a bounce on some of their beds. 

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

The new store is home to Silentnight’s award-winning products, with more than 30 beds and mattresses showcased across two floors. On display is the Silentnight Signature Collection, featuring a choice of comfort options including the brand’s award-winning eco comfort products, its exclusive Geltex technology and a premium naturals range. There is also a wide selection of sleep accessories including Silentnight duvets, pillows and bedding.

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

The mezzanine floor showcases “Studio by Silentnight”, a collection of contemporary bedframes and cleverly rolled and boxed mattresses. The new Silentnight flagship showroom has everything you need to help your family get a good night’s sleep; from cot and children’s mattresses, through to premium adult mattresses. Not forgetting a new range of stylish sprung pet beds.

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

Silentnight also offer sleep consultations with one of their in-store sleep experts. Where you can try out a range of different mattress styles to find out what works for you, all with the guidance from an in-house sleep expert. The sleep consultations are bookable in advance and there is no hard sell. I spoke to sleep expert and Retail Support Executive, Tim Higgins who gave me the run down on how to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

Sleep expert and Retail Support Executive, Tim Higgins

Tim’s tips for sleep filled nights –

  • Start winding down for bed in the early evening
  • Make your room as dark as possible, close curtains and blinds
  • Declutter your room, make it only for sleeping
  • Open a window or put a fan on, you sleep better in a slightly cooler room 
  • Blue lights from alarm clocks are terrible for disturbing sleep, remove them from your bedroom or cover them up
  • Don’t sleep with your phone or tablet in the room

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

The new Silentnight flagship showroom was opened by star of Location, Location, Location Phil Spencer, who I managed to grab for a quick chat.

I asked Phil for some tips on selling your home, other than trying to keep your house neat and tidy. He said, “most of us move home when we run out of space. When you run out of space it’s usually really obvious. Make it look like you’ve got plenty of room, not too many personal items, clean the windows, maximise the light and don’t over-stuff cupboards because people will open them.”

Phil travels a lot when he’s filming and has a fairly fixed bedtime routine when he’s travelling. He told me “The filming day is quite intense and afterwards I want to have some peace and quiet. I answer emails, order room service, watch some telly. Then I’ll phone home and go to bed as early as I can. I always travel with ear-plugs and an eye mask, I like it to be really dark and quiet when I’m trying to sleep.”

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

He was as lovely as he seems on TV. He has inspired me to declutter my bedroom and sort out my cupboards! Phil is currently filming the next series of Location, Location, Location.

If you’re thinking of buying a new bed or mattress then I think it’s worth visiting the new Silentnight flagship showroom. With so many different mattresses and beds to try; plus sleep-experts who won’t give you the hard sell and lots of discounts in-store; it’s a good place to find out what you want and what you need to get a good night’s sleep.

The new Silentnight showroom is open now at Barton Square in the intu Trafford Centre. For more information about the new showroom visit www.silentnight.co.uk/

With thanks to Jen Dixon at http://www.mymummyspennies.com/ for her company and for taking the picture of Phil and me.

Giveaway & Review – Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

In December last year we welcomed a new addition, Penny the sprocker puppy. Despite the date of her arrival, she was not a Christmas present, she was a much longed for member of our family. When she arrived she was so tiny, a little dot of a thing who moved at lightening speed. She quickly made herself at home and now, aged nearly 8 months we can’t imagine life without her. 

She’s cheeky, greedy and rambunctious, but a great friend to us all. When we first got her she was so tiny we couldn’t find a dog collar to fit her, so for her first few months with us she wore a cat collar with a bell on it. The bell was actually quite helpful as she had a habit of getting under your feet when you don’t expect it. I miss that bell. 

Naturally she grew out of her tiny cat collar and needed something a bit more suited to her handsome doggy features. 

Review - Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

Meg Heath Dog Leads, are a small, independent business based in Lincolnshire. They specialise in making bespoke handmade dog leads, collars and harnesses as well as long lines, training leads, webbing leads, collars, head collars and their unique car safety lead. All of their products are made from soft, strong and durable cushion web.

Meg Heath Dog leads is owned and run by Sarah Greave, a dog owner and canine rescuer with over 11 years experience in crafting quality, durable, handmade collars and leads. 

Review - Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

The Meg Heath website is really simple to use. I knew what I wanted, a simple collar and a sturdy lead to walk Penny. I knew from our previous collar we needed an extra loop to hang her tag on the collar. This is called a double tag collar, it saves you trying to figure out where to hook the tag. Although she is micro-chipped I still think it’s worth having a dog tag on her, just in case. 

When you order your collar and lead from Meg Heath, you can choose from a number of options. There is a whole rainbow of colours to choose from as well as size and finish options. We went for red as she’s always worn a red collar, but I’m slightly regretful I didn’t go for something a bit different. Next time I will be braver.

Review - Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

It cost £12.99 for the collar I wanted. I thought this was excellent value as I’ve seen collars which are much more expensive in pet shops which don’t match the quality and the finish of our new Meg Heath one.

I liked that Penny’s collar had a nice sturdy clip. There’s nothing worse that trying to undo an old fashioned buckle on a wet collar worn by a wriggling dog. The collar was soft and easy to adjust and she looked very smart indeed.

I opted for a matching lead. Although there are a number of different styles of lead available on the Meg Heath website, we just wanted a plain lead to walk her with. If you’ve got a dog who pulls or needs a training lead, or perhaps a special safety lead for in the car, Meg Heath have all of these options and more.

The dog lead we chose cost £11.90 and was made to the same high standards as the collar. This was a simple lead with an O ring on the handle. The O ring makes it easier to put over your shoulder while your dog is off the lead. 

Review - Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

The lead was very comfortable to hold, sometimes I find dog leads to be quite abrasive in my hand, but this was fine and it was very comfortable to walk her with. 

Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars – The Verdict

We were very impressed with the quality of the Meg Heath Dog leads and collars. They are very well made, the fixtures are smooth and snag free and they seem comfortable for Penny to wear and are comfortable for us to walk her with too. 

The collar and lead look very smart and are easy to keep clean. We are all happy with her new collar and lead and we’d recommend them if you’re looking for a well made, comfortable collar and lead for your dog. 

For more information about Meg Heath dog leads and collars, visit their website.

Review - Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

Win a Meg Heath collar and lead

To be in with a chance to win a double tag flat collar and a matching dog lead from Meg Heath, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will receive a double tag flat collar and a matching dog lead from Meg Heath.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 24th May 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Your email address may be passed on to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Note: We were sent the  dog lead and collar from Meg Heath for review. All images and opinions are our own. Our images may not be used without our permission.

Toy Review: eZee Beads PAW Patrol

One of my son’s favourite things in the world is Paw Patrol. He’s been fairly obsessed with the TV series for about three years now. His love for Chase, Marshall, Ryder and the team is as long standing as it gets for a six year old. It also shows no signs of waning. He’s got quite a lot of Paw Patrol merchandise, but he’s always keen to add more to his collection. Over the Bank Holiday weekend we gave him a eZee Beads PAW Patrol set to try, but what did he think?

Toy Review: eZee Beads PAW Patrol

The eZee Beads PAW Patrol set was launched this year and costs around £16.99 for the set. eZee Beads PAW Patrol is suitable for ages 5+ and comes with three Paw Patrol designs to make – Chase, Marshall and The Look Out.

The set comes with –

  • 900 eZee beads
  • Bead tray
  • Plastic tool
  • Water sprayer
  • 3 design cards
  • Bead storage tray
  • Instructions

Toy Review: eZee Beads PAW Patrol

This new kit from John Adams allows you to recreate your favourite Paw Patrol characters with colourful beads. Just select a design card, push the beads onto the pegs of the tray and then spray with water. Then leave your beads to dry (and stick together). Once it’s dry, carefully remove your bead design from the tray. 

To begin with I helped him to get it all set up, putting the beads into the bead storage tray and showing him how to put the beads on the pegged tray. You’re supposed to slot the design into the bead tray and put the coloured beads on top of the design. But the cardboard design kept falling out and the plastic tray obscured it. We found it easier to have it next to the board and count the different coloured beads in each row.

Toy Review: eZee Beads PAW Patrol

As with all bead crafts, this was a little fiddly for his small boy fingers. But that’s the point, bead crafts like this are excellent for helping to boost his hand-eye co-ordination as well as strengthen the muscles in his hands which will help to improve his pen holding and writing.

It was not too fiddly though. Once he got into the rhythm of it he methodically placed the beads into position. He really enjoyed bringing Chase’s face to life in bead form. 

Toy Review: eZee Beads PAW Patrol

Once he’d finished the design (which kept him very well occupied for over an hour) we sprayed the beads with water and left them to dry and stick together. When we’ve done bead crafts in the past they have always been the kind you have to iron, I’ve never been that keen on that if I’m honest. Whilst the results are pretty instant, a hot iron and an excited child are a combination which makes me a bit nervous.

The instructions say to leave the beads to dry for half an hour, but when I checked it was still a bit wet so I put it to one side for a few more hours. Once it was dry I used the tool supplied to try to ease the design off the bead tray. This was a bit tricky, I didn’t want to break his design. I very carefully teased the edges off with the spatula end and with the sharper end ran it underneath the beads to release them. After a couple of minutes of gentle persuasion the design came off the board and was admired by everyone in the room.

Toy Review: eZee Beads PAW Patrol

He was really pleased with the results of his hard work, and rightly so. I was really impressed that he sat for so long to compete his design. The eZee Beads PAW Patrol set was really easy to use and contained everything you need. We liked it a  lot. It’s ideal for a bit of quiet, focused craft time and the eZee Beads are, well, very easy to use.

The eZee Beads Paw Patrol set from John Adams is available from a wide range of retailers including Amazon.

Disclaimer: We were sent the eZee Beads Paw Patrol set for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own. This blog post contains an affiliate link.

Our dogs – a short history of the dogs we’ve known & loved

Since I was 12 we’ve had a dog. I can’t imagine a house without a mutt traipsing around after me, getting in my way, or leaning on my leg when I’m sad like they know and understand. I love dogs, dogs are where it’s at. All dogs are characters and characterful, but all our dogs have really helped shape our lives.

Our dogs - a short history of the dogs we've known and loved

My first dog was Tess. A boxer/staffy cross. She was full of beans and twice as bouncy. Not great around little kids as they only encouraged her rambunctiousness, but with me and my younger brother she was an absolute star. She was so protective of us and looked a lot tougher than she actually was, a great deterrent for ne’er do wells when we were walking her alone.

I was 23 when she died, she had cancer and had to be put down, but she was a real beautiful, belter of a dog and she’s still missed.

About six months later Sam came into our lives. Sam again was a boxer/staffy cross but with a bit more staff and a bit less box than Tess. I’d left home by that point and she was my parents dog, but we took a real shine to her. She was a bit too energetic for a couple on the slide towards retirement, so she came to live with us.

Our dogs - a short history of the dogs we've known and loved

During the days she would accompany my husband to work, the evenings she’d spend snuggled on the sofa with me. She genuinely was one of my best friends, she always knew when I needed her. She was forever curled at my feet and always woke me by sticking her cold nose against the back of my knee under the covers and giving my leg a gentle lick.

In 2010 I fell pregnant. Sam was to all intents and purposes my baby and had been since she moved in. We knew having a rival in the house would be difficult, but we underestimated just how put out she would be. When we brought Benjamin home in November 2010 she moved out that same evening. For her it was hate at first sight.

We tried for months to assimilate her back into the house but she wouldn’t have any of it. Reluctantly she moved back in with my Dad and lived with him until her death. My Dad enjoyed having her around now that she was an older dog set in her ways. It seemed and was the most logical thing to do. We could still see her and spend time with her, but we weren’t putting Benjamin in any danger.

Thankfully as soon as Benjamin found his feet, began toddling and looked like an actual human being rather than a strange, alien crying thing, her mind was changed. She fell as in love with him as we did and the feeling was mutual. The boy and dog were best friends. We’d even get a growling at if we tickled him, she was so protective of him.

Benjamin was obsessed with her now and they’ve been best friends for until she died in 2014. Right until the end she was in love with Benjamin. He loved to look after her, fill her water bowl, feed her and brush her. When she died it was Benjamin’s first bereavement. Sam had gone to live in a farm in heaven. He was sad, but that’s part of life and an important part of what pets can teach children. 

In December 2016 Penny burst into our lives. A hairy whirlwind of chaos. She was not the staffy/boxer cross we’d always gone for, but she is a cocker spaniel, springer spaniel cross. Something new and very different. It had been 15 years since I’d last had a puppy and I’d forgotten how much hard work they are. They’re worth it. She is worth it. But they take a lot of looking after, much more so than a sedate old dog who knows their place. 

Pets: Review & Giveaway - Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

Penny is 8 months old now, she’s starting to calm down a little bit (a very little bit). She is Benjamin’s best friend. She’s learning when I need a cuddle and I’m learning when she needs one too. She goes to work with my husband a few days a week. She likes to sit looking out of his window and when the mood takes her she gets paper out of the bin and shreds it for him. She’s helpful like that. 

I’m so glad we’ve got another dog in the house, she’s great company for us all, and a decent excuse to get some exercise. 

Tess, Sam and Penny are three waggy ladies who have had a joyous, wonderful, enriching impact on our lives and I know Penny and Ben will grow up together being the best of friends. 

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

When we go out for a meal, a day trip or a break away from home I always pack a bag of activities to keep my son entertained. When we go out we try to encourage him to work through an activity book or play a small game. We think it’s better for him and a more inclusive activity than just giving him our phones to play with. 

We were sent the new Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys to try out. These travel sized games tick all the boxes when it comes to packing our activities travel bag.

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

Spiders and Spouts is an update on the traditional snakes and ladders game, featuring characters from the Insey Winsey Spider nursery rhyme. Climb up the spouts to reach the finish line, but beware the rain clouds which will wash you back down again! The Spiders and Spouts travel game is suitable for children aged 4-7 and for 2-4 players.

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

The Orchard Toys Spiders and Spouts mini game is a cleverly designed 6 piece jigsaw puzzle which you piece together to form your classic board game. The box also contains four counters (for up to four players) and a dice.

Even though it’s only 6 pieces, my son was keen to help out and put the board together. The design on the board is lively with lots going on. The illustrations are really cheery and the Insey Winsey Spider theme was fun. Although it’s printed thick board, this game still has the practicality of being able to break the board up and fit it into a small box. 

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

Like the Orchard Toys games, the Sprouts & Spiders Mini Game has some educational and developmental benefits including –

  • Developing Personal and Social Skills
  • Encouraging Number and Counting Skills
  • Encourages Observational Skills

The Orchard Toys mini games cost around £4.99 and I think they are excellent value for money. They are light and compact, so I can just stick them in my bag and take them out with us. They’re brilliant for days out and holidays and are a fantastic travel game for children and families.

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

Note: Orchard Toys sent us the Spiders and Spouts Mini Game for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.