Category Archives: Review

Baking in style with Babahoot Personalised Aprons

Over the last few months we’ve managed to shed some of my son’s after school activities and we now get to spend three after school afternoons together each week. For me these are precious hours together. Sometimes we do some homework or reading and sometimes we grab a bag of popcorn and watch a film together. On at least one of these three afternoons a week, we put on our aprons and bake together.

I love baking anyway, but baking with him is a lot of fun too. It’s lovely to be able to work with him, teaching him some baking basics and pulling delicious cakes and treats out of the oven. He’s really starting to get the hang of it lately and we’ve made some brilliant cakes.

Baking in style with Babahoot Personalised Aprons

Being 8, he is instinctively quite messy in his baking habits. He’s always missing the bowl when he’s tipping the flour in; or pulling the electric hand mixer out while it’s still going – and splattering cake batter all over himself and the kitchen. He lives to lick the spoon and scrape the bowl, but then, so do I.

Last week we were sent an absolutely gorgeous handmade personalised apron from Babahoot. Babahoot make personalised aprons and chef hats, pencil cases, toy storage trugs and knitting bags in their workshop in rural Herefordshire. Every item is made to a unique Babahoot design and finished with bright individual appliqués. They can be personalised with names and they are constructed with strong overlocked seams and good quality, brightly coloured fabrics.

Baking in style with Babahoot Personalised Aprons

Ben was sent this beautiful design, covered in cars, with a handy pocket and a comfortable elasticated neck strap. He put it on and immediately said it was awesome, which is praise indeed. This design, which was specially made for his 8 year old body, using a fabric he would love and personalised with his name cost £18, which is good value for such a high quality, bespoke item.

Children’s aprons are always a godsend; whether you’re baking or crafting, or doing any number of messy things, an apron is a huge step towards keeping him clean and tidy. This apron is so colourful and appealing, he wants to wear it, which is half the battle towards cleanliness!

Baking in style with Babahoot Personalised Aprons

If you’re looking for a lovely homemade, personalised gift for a child, you can find the Babahoot aprons and more on ETSY and on Amazon Handmade.

Disclosure: We were sent this item for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: Valley Mill Christmas Candles

As soon as the clocks go back at the end of October, I start lighting scented candles in the evening. There’s something about having a few flickering candles which make the place feel cosier and warmer. As November moves into December, the candles I burn move from autumnal apples and cinnamon to Christmassy scents. This week I’ve been burning three new scents from Valley Mill in Wales, and very lovely they are too.

Year round, Valley Mill sell their popular range of Tapestry Tin candles in a variety of different scents. Each candle has a 30 hour burn time and they have been handmade in Wales using the finest quality soy wax. This gives them a longer burn time and better scent throw.

Review: Christmas Candles from Valley Mill

Each tin costs £10.95 and they come is a range of different scents. I’ve been burning three of the Christmas scents and although it’s only November, they’ve been really putting me in the mood for Christmas!

Holly Berry – This is a really festive candle. Take the lid off the tin and you can smell Christmas trees and holly wreaths and all things good about Christmas. This would be great to burn in the same room as your tree, especially if you’ve got an artificial one. The holly berry tapestry tin candle is probably my favourite!

Chestnuts – Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is one of the iconic scents of Christmas. This handmade soy wax candle is really evocative of roasted chestnuts. The smell of this lovely candle makes my mouth water. I really must buy some chestnuts this Christmas!

Cranberry Gin – This attractive candle is wrapped in a festive red tapestry print and when lit quickly fills the room with a fruity Cranberry Gin scent. It’s not overpowering and it’s actually quite a refreshing fragrance. It’s got festive hints, but you could happily burn this throughout autumn and into winter.

Review: Christmas Candles from Valley Mill

There are many more delicious sounding Tapestry Tin Candles in the Valley Mill range, including; Amaretto, Welsh Cake, Spiced Apple and Black Orchid.

The Valley Mill candles are well priced and would make a lovely gift for a candle lover. I really like these kinds of candles in tins, they’ve got just the right amount of burn time and I think tins look smart too.

For more information, visit the Valley Mill website.

Disclaimer: We were sent a selection of candles from Valley Mill for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

I love a good Sunday lunch. It’s not just the roast dinner with all the trimmings, but the sitting down with the family, eating and enjoying each other’s company which makes it special. Every few weeks we like to go out for Sunday lunch, for me it’s nice to eat something I’ve not cooked and for the boys, it’s nice for them to dodge washing up duty. With that in mind, we headed off to Barristers Restaurant & Bar at The Courthouse in Knutsford, Cheshire for Sunday lunch and a drive out in the country.

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

The Courthouse is a Grade II listed property. Previously it was Knutsford Crown Court and was later used by The Ministry of Defence before it closed and lay empty for seven years. Since then the building has been carefully restored and transformed into a contemporary restaurant and bar.

Barristers Restaurant & Bar is beautiful. It’s light and airy and really unusual, but in a good way. They’ve kept all the original layout of the court and worked around that, so you could find yourself sat in the dock enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail.

We ordered from the Sunday Lunch menu. I began my meal as I almost always do, with soup. It was a rich and delicious roasted tomato soup served with a fresh bread roll and very good salty butter. I’m fussy about soup, but this was perfectly seasoned and bursting with fresh, juicy tomato flavour.

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

My better half went for the Bloomer Shrooms; creamed chestnut mushrooms, roasted in garlic and served on a thick slice of toasted bloomer. It was a very hearty portion of well cooked mushrooms and an excellent start to the meal.

The small boy ordered a milkshake and a kid’s portion of fish and chips. The chips were top notch; crisp on the outside and so fluffy inside. They were the best chips I’ve tried in a long time (I snaffled a few off his plate when he wasn’t looking).

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

Onto the main course, and as it was Sunday it had to be roasted rump of beef served with roasted potatoes, celeriac puree, a giant Yorkshire pudding, seasonal vegetables, glazed Chantenay carrots, wilted greens and gravy. It was a huge plate of food and my husband doubted he would be equal to the challenge. The Yorkshire pudding was so impressively big you could have worn it as a hat. He said, and I believe him, that it was the best roast dinner he’s had in a very long time.

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

Being a veggie there’s never a vast selection of dishes to choose from when I eat out.  There were a couple of dishes to choose from and I opted for the Courgette Linguini which was tossed in a Regato cheese sauce and spiked with chilli, lemon and coriander. It was a beautiful plate of pasta. I liked the addition of the chilli which cut through the cheesiness of the sauce. It was the perfect pasta dish for the cold, slightly snowy day we were enjoying.

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

It was busy in The Courthouse, most tables were taken. In any other restaurant I perhaps would have found the hubbub too much, but the layout is such that the tables are well spaced and there’s noise, but not so much that you struggle to hear your companions speak. There is background music, but it’s quite low and doesn’t intrude at all. I found this quite refreshing and very conducive to great conversations.

We were very taken with The Courthouse, from its beautifully restored lines, its nod to the contemporary, delicious food and fabulous atmosphere. We found it hard to pick holes in anything during our visit. You know you’re having a good meal if everyone around the table is already discussing when to return.

Barristers Restaurant & Bar at The Courthouse in Knutsford serves modern British seasonal menus, smoothies and cocktails throughout the day. Afternoon tea is a speciality and Sunday lunch is well worth booking in for. They’ve got a great looking fixed price menu for Mother’s Day (11th March) too.

For more information about The Courthouse in Knutsford, visit their website.

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

We were invited guests of The Courthouse and were not asked to pay for our meal. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: Kids Songs – a triple album for kids

Like most children my son is a music lover. He will happily listen to our grown up music and he loves Radio 2, but play him an album of kids songs and he’s in his element. We were sent a copy of the newly released triple album – Kids Songs from Crimson Productions to listen to and enjoy, but what did the boy think?

Kids Songs is a brand new triple album packed with original recordings of children’s favourite TV themes and songs. The album features some of the biggest names in kids TV, including Justin Fletcher and Chris and Pui; as well as theme tunes from popular CBeebies Programmes such as Go Jetters, Waybaloo, Tee and Mo, Boj, Rastamouse, Everything’s Rosie and lots more.

Review: Kids Songs - a triple album for kids

Kids Songs is the perfect album to listen to in the car, or at home for your own mini disco. It’s a habit of ours that when it’s bath-time I put a CD on and we have a listen and a sing along in the bathroom. It’s a lovely bonding thing, singing and dancing around together to some of his favourite music.

Kids Songs will be released on 17th November 2017 and is the ultimate Cbeebies soundtrack of the year and a must have stocking filler for all CBeebies fans. My son absolutely loved it, I think recognising most of the songs and theme tunes and being able to listen to them over and over if he wanted to made the Kids Songs CD very appealing to him.

Review: Kids Songs - a triple album for kids

With three CDs to listen to, it’s really hard to get bored of them, especially if you’re listening to them in rotation. It really is the perfect album to play on long car journeys or at kids parties.

The Kids Songs triple CD is available from a wide range of retailers including Amazon, where it is available for £7.09 or as a MP3 download for £6.49.

We were sent the Kids Songs CD for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own. Post contains an affiliate link.

Celebrate #ThunderbirdsDay with a #FAB Costume

This year Thunderbirds Day is on 30th September 2017 and fans all over the world will be celebrating their favourite show. My 6 year old son is just getting into Thunderbirds and loves to dress up. What better way to enjoy Thunderbirds Day than to dress up as Scott Tracy!

Thunderbirds Celebrate #ThunderbirdsDay with a #FAB Costume

Thunderbirds have been part of the national psyche since 1965. I remember watching the original series when it was repeated in the 1980’s and being in turns slightly terrified of the puppets and transfixed by their adventures. It’s incredible that the series is still going strong after all these years. 

As the series has grown and changed, so have the costumes. This Scott Tracy costume is a fully printed all in one suit made from 100% Polyester all in one suit with velcro fastening at the back. It comes with a pair of gauntlet forearm accessories which you just velcro on and a detachable printed satin sash. 

Thunderbirds Celebrate #ThunderbirdsDay with a #FAB Costume

The satin sash features a sound chip which when pressed plays the “FIVE…FOUR…THREE…TWO…ONE…” blastoff sequence. The costume is machine washable, but you need to remember to remove the sound chip before you put it in the washing machine.

You can see the Thunderbirds sound chip in action in the short video below…

The sound chip is a brilliant addition, my son loved pressing it and as you can see in the video, he likes to strike a hero pose when the blast off noise is played.  The costume has a nicely printed front and a plain back. The detail is excellent and the accessories make this well worth the money.

This Scott Tracy costume is easy for my son to get on and off by himself. We ordered size 7-8 and I’d say it was true to size. My son is nearly 7 and fairly tall for his age. It fits him well and there’s still some room for him to grow. I like that the sash and gauntlets are detachable and he liked that too. This Scott Tracy Thunderbirds costume is a hit!

Pretend to Bee stock a good range of kids costumes, including Thunderbirds favourites like Scott Tracy, Virgil Tracy and Alan Tracy. The costumes are priced at £19.95, which I think is a about right for a costume of this quality with the sound chip included.

We were sent this costume for review purposes. All images & opinions are our own.

Review: Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier

Over the last few years I have noticed that my allergy to dust mites has got steadily worse and I’ve started to suffer with hay fever during the summer months. Not only that, but despite having dogs for most of my life, it appears that cuddling our new puppy makes me wheeze. I’m never more than 2 metres away from a packet of antihistamines these days, and sometimes even they are not enough to cure my itchy eyes and tight chest. I needed to find a long term solution to cure my ills, so we’ve been putting the Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier to the test.

Review: Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier

The Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier is a stand alone air purifying unit which is suitable for use in rooms up to 18m². The purifier is white with grey accents and has an easy to use touch screen panel. It comes with a carbon filter and a True HEPA filter which are easy to fit. It is also supplied with an easy to understand instruction booklet.

It boasts a four-stage purification system which captures 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns, including pollen and other allergens, dust mites, mould spores, pet dander and cigarette smoke.

Review: Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier

The air purifier looks like a stand alone fan heater and wouldn’t look out of place in a home or office. We set our purifier up in our living room, which is the room I spend most of my time in at the moment. During the peak hay fever months in summer I expect it will move upstairs to my bedroom so I can sleep better.

The air purifier is easy to set up. Before you plug it in for the first time you need to fit the filters. To do this you pull out the grey side drawer, remove the filters from their packaging and put the carbon filter in first, then the True HEPA filter. Push the drawer back in until it clicks and it is ready to use. 

To use the Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier, plug it in to a wall socket and switch the unit on. It will spend the first four minutes assessing the air quality in the room and then start to purify it. The AeraSmart Sensor monitors the air quality and adjusts the fan speed to keep the air purified. The Aera+ mode is designed for use during peak allergy season.

The operating panel on the Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier is very easy to understand and use. For the most part for us the display has been blue, which is a sign of good air quality and that the filters are fine to use. If the AeraSmart Sensor light is anything other than blue, that means your air quality isn’t what it should be and the purifier should automatically adjust to the conditions and works to purify the air. If the filters are ok and not needing to be replaced, their lights should also be blue.

Review: Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier

The Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier emits a low hum which I stopped noticing after a couple of minutes. It has been designed to be ultra quiet and we thought it was as quiet as it could be. We all got used to it very quickly and even the dog was completely nonplussed by it working away in a quiet corner.

Each morning since we got the Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier I’ve switched it on and had it running for the day whilst I’ve been sat working in my living room. Since its arrival I’ve not had to take an antihistamine, this could just be a coincidence as it’s not hay fever season, but over Christmas I was taking them daily. I’m looking forward to putting the purifier through its paces in the summer.

I am pleased with my Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier so far. Living with allergies can make you really miserable and uncomfortable. Having this air purifier in my armoury makes me feel that when the itching, sneezing and wheezing starts, I’ve got something other than pills to make life more bearable.

For more information about the Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier, visit their website.

Review: Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a voucher in return for writing this post.

Review: Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure

With the much anticipated release of Rogue One – the next installment of Star Wars, everyone has gone Star Wars mad this Christmas. The small boy is no exception, though he’s far too young to watch the film just yet. This month we have put the new Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure to the test. Is it a rogue or a winner?

The Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure is a 12-inch tall Stormtrooper with more than 65 different sound effects and phrases. He uses a motion sensor to respond to specific movements and has several different play modes.

Review: Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure

This is a sturdily built figure, and it’s a very fine example of an Imperial Stormtrooper.

“Stormtroopers are elite shock troops fanatically loyal to the Empire and impossible to sway from the Imperial cause. They wear imposing white armor, which offers a wide range of survival equipment and temperature controls to allow the soldiers to survive in almost any environment. Stormtroopers wield blaster rifles and pistols with great skill, and attack in hordes to overwhelm their enemies.”

The Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure comes with a set of detailed instructions and it’s suitable for ages 4+.

Review: Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure

 The Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure needs two AA Batteries, but he comes with batteries included and they’ve already lasted a couple of weeks.

Review: Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure

When you first get him make sure you switch it from ‘Demo’ mode to ‘On’. The switch is on the back of his neck. Once he is switched on and fully activated, he starts using some of his 65 sounds, if he’s in Demo mode he just repeats himself.

Review: Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure

The Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure has three modes – Blaster, Jetpack and Dual.  To activate the blaster mode, put the black E-11 blaster in his hand, his chest plate will light up with the Imperial insignia and his phrases change to battle sounds.

To activate the jetpack mode, put his jetpack on his back to activate the yellow light on his chest.  Fly him around and he will make jetpack style sound effects. When the chest plate changes colour to reveal the imperial logo, he is in dual mode.

Review: Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure

The Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure can also be used with an app which is suitable for ages 6+. We haven’t played with the free to download Hasbro Star Wars Studio FX app yet, but more and more toys these days can be linked to apps to make the play experience more interactive.

So was Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure fun to play with? Yes. My son really enjoyed playing with him. Something he’s very keen on is playing with toys and making his own battle sounds, so this figure is one he can really enjoy playing with. I would say that to get the full benefit of playing with this Stormtrooper he could do with another figure to do battle with.

The Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure is available from a wide range of toy shops and online stores including Amazon. He retails for around £30 but discounts and deals are available if you shop around.

Disclosure: We received the Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper figure for the purposes of writing this review, all opinions and images are our own. Contains Amazon affiliate links.

Toy Review: Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies

One of the most fun things about Mummy’s iPad is the Facetime app. The boy loves to Facetime his dad, or his cousin, or anyone really. I remember walking to the phone box at the end of our road to make a phone call, so all of the communication technology available today is almost a thing of wonder to me. Even now there’s something a bit extra special about being able to video chat with someone. The video chat loving boy and I put a set of Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies to test. What did we think of this latest accessory for junior spies?

Toy Review: Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies

The Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies from Spinmaster are compact and easy to use. The set comes with two walkie talkies which just need batteries adding before use.

They have a long range (up to 160 feet) and allow you to communicate with video and audio without using Wi-Fi or data. The walkie talkies are simple to use and quick to set up. Each handset uses 3 AAA batteries and they’re suitable for children aged 6+. 

Toy Review: Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies

The Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies are really easy to set up, just get them out of their packaging, put the batteries in and switch on. To sync the two walkie talkies, when you switch them on press the bottom of the three buttons on each walkie talkie at the same time. The video should show a full screen of the person you are talking to, and in the top left should be your picture – just like on Facetime!

Toy Review: Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies

They come with detailed instructions, but they’re really straight forward to set up and use. Just don’t forget to sync them when you switch them on and make sure to turn them off when you’re done.

Toy Review: Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies

Once they are synced you can start your spy adventure – we tested them all over the house and down the street. The picture was crisp and the sound was pretty good too. The small boy really loved the Spy Video Walkie Talkies, he’s had normal walkie talkies before and has liked them, but these are next level spy fun.

Toy Review: Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies

These Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies are around £59.99 and are available from a wide range of retailers including Amazon. They are well made and good quality, small enough for my six year old to comfortably use and without too many confusing buttons.

I can see my boy having a lot of fun with these and his friends. These walkie talkies would be great for siblings to play with and should keep them occupied with serious spy business for quite some time. 

Disclosure: We received the Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies for the purposes of writing this review, all opinions and images are our own. Contains Amazon affiliate links.

Review: Mr Tumble’s Christmas Party CD

Everyone enjoys a sing along at Christmas and children are no exception. The small boy loves to join in with a rousing chorus of Jingle Bells or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. So when I heard about the new Mr Tumble’s Christmas Party CD I knew he’d enjoy listening to it in the run up to Christmas.

CBeebies favourite and star of Something Special, Mr Tumble, has released an album full of much-loved classic Christmas songs, with a Mr Tumble twist.

Mr Tumble's Christmas Party CD

The festive hits on the Mr Tumble’s Christmas Party CD include –

  1. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  2. Jingle Bells
  3. Here Comes Santa Claus
  4. Do You Wanna Build a Snowman
  5. Winter Wonderland
  6. Sleigh Ride 
  7. White Christmas
  8. Frosty the Snowman
  9. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
  10. I Can’t Wait for Christmas Day
  11. Silent Night
  12. Let it Snow
  13. All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
  14. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
  15. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  16. The Twelve Days of Christmas
  17. Little Drummer Boy
  18. The Christmas Song
  19. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Time
  20. We Wish You a Merry Christmas 

The CD is a cheery collection of Christmas songs, recorded especially for children and liberally dusted with Mr Tumble’s giggles, honks, Tumble chatter and other embellishments. It’s the kind of album which we’ll listen to in the car in December, ideal for getting the whole family in the mood for Christmas.

Mr Tumble's Christmas Party CD

The selection of songs is really well thought out. From Christmas classics such as The Twelve Days of Christmas, carols such as Silent Night, to contemporary favourites like Do You Wanna Build a Snowman from the hit film Frozen sung by Mr Tumble and his  friends, Justin, Lord Tumble, Aunt Polly and Grandad Tumble!

There’s something for everyone and if you’re looking for a Christmas CD for all the family, something which will engage pre-school age children and Mr Tumble fans, then the Mr Tumble’s Christmas Party CD fits the bill perfectly.

Mr Tumble’s Christmas Party CD is released on 4th November 2016, you can pre-order on Amazon and it is currently priced at £11.42.

This blog post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

Review: Snowy Leopard Microwaveable Hottie

Of all the rooms in the house, my son’s bedroom is probably the coldest. It’s great in the heat of the summer, but not so good during the cold winter months. To counter this we bundle him up in cosy pyjamas, tuck him up under an extra blanket and we have an extra heater in his room. One of the things he likes the most is having a microwaveable hottie to hug in bed. 

We were sent a Snowy Leopard Microwaveable Hottie from Aroma Home to put to the test. Launched in 2000, Aroma Home are the market leader for children’s microwaveable hotties. They have an adorable collection of lavender scented characters which include a snuggly husky, an owl, a penguin, a reindeer and this snowy leopard.

Snowy Leopard Microwaveable Hottie

Each snuggable hottie has a removable tummy which is gently scented with lavender that can be warmed up separately in a microwave. To access the microwavable pouch, there is a hidden strip of velcro underneath the hottie which you open to remove the pouch. Microwave this for up to one minute and then put it back inside the hottie ready for cuddling.

I always think microwavable hotties are a great alternative to hot water bottles, I have horrors of hot water leaking out and burning the small boy, microwavable hotties seem much safer and are great for children. The lavender fragrance is also good for helping him to relax and drift off to sleep.

Snowy Leopard Microwaveable Hottie

I really like the Aroma Home Snowy Leopard Microwaveable Hottie. I think the removable microwavable pouch is excellent and much better than having to microwave a whole bear.

The Snowy Leopard is incredibly snuggly and very lovely to cuddle. He is made from 100% polyester and he shouldn’t be microwaved. The small boy loved cuddling him in bed at night. He obviously found his soft snuggliness and lavender fragrance very soothing.

I like sending him to bed knowing he’s got something warm to cuddle up with on the cold winter nights. These Snuggable Hotties cost £12.99 and are available directly from the Aroma Home website, or from a range of other retailers.

We were sent this product for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.