Bush Baby World Princess Melina – We were selected a few months ago to be toy testers for the Rainbow Toy Awards and were really excited when we got the email to say that we were going to be sent a Bush Baby.
I looked these up before it arrived and I knew that Isabelle would love it.
Isabelle is crazy mad about any kind of collectables, and this was cute, pink and furry so ticked all the boxes.
The Bush Baby
We received Princess Melina who has flecks of glitter through her fur and has a Princess crown. She lives in a sparkling palace within Shimmer Mountain where Shimmer Stars grow. Only Princess Melina can pick the Shimmer Stars which are very rare and are used to protect the Dream Tree.
Isabelle is all about the accessories. The accessories are the difference between a thumbs up and thumbs down when it comes to toys.
Princess Melina comes with a pink pod which she sleeps in, a comb, a Royal Sceptre and a Shimmer Star which comes in a little silver drawstring bag.
What does she do?
She waggles her ears and eyes using a little button on her back.
You can brush her fur and hair.
She is one of many Bush Babies that you can collect. You can also get the Dream Tree which all the pods hang from which Isabelle has her eye on.
You can also visit the Bush Baby Website where there are some videos to watch, activities, colouring sheets and printables.
As I’ve said previously, Isabelle loves watching a You Tube video so we thought we’d do an unboxing video of our own.
I must point out at this stage that Isabelle had absolutely no idea what was in the box so that you can see her genuine reaction.
What we thought.
Princess Melina gets a huge thumbs up from Isabelle. She’s soft and brushable and the pod fits perfectly over the edge of her bed. Once you’ve put Princess Melina into the pod, all of the accessories fit in as well which is a bonus. This was the first time that we’d seen the Bush Babies but it is definitely something that Isabelle would choose herself. She has (or will) add the Bush Baby Tree to her Christmas list. I should also point out that Isabelle has just turned seven and this was very suitable for her age range, but would also have appealed to her at a younger age as well.
The Bush Babies retail for £19.99 which we think is entirely reasonable.
*Disclaimer – We were sent a Bush Baby for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are our own.
We love to watch all of the latest films with Isabelle. We set up camp on the sofa with pyjamas, blankets and snacks and snuggle down, and this is what we did to watch the new film Spark.
Spark is released on DVD and Blue-Ray on Monday 18th September 2017.
You may guess the voices of some well known names including:
Spark is about a teenage monkey called Spark whose planet was destroyed by the ruthless Zhong leaving him as an orphan with only Chunk, Vix, and some insects for company.
Zhong took over what remained of planet Bana and enslaving everyone who remained.
Spark along with Chunk, Vix, Nanny the Robot and some insects managed to survive on a shard of the planet which was used as a garbage dump whilst Zhong plotted to destroy the entire universe with the help of a deadly space Kraken.
When Spark reaches thirteen he feels ready to take on Zhong, and unbeknown to Chunk and Vix replies to a secret space mission.
Leaving the shard with only his pet roach for company, Spark sets off on the mission of his life.
Making his way into Zhong’s palace with the help of Chunks gadgetry he meets the Queen who gives him a Kraken finder to hide so that Zhong cannot carry out his deadly plan.
Instead of returning to the garbage shard Spark decides to find the Kraken himself. After finding the Kraken he guides it back towards the garbage shard, but Khong’s men have already destroyed everything that had become home to Spark including Bananny the Robot.
Zhong’s men seize the Kraken and capture Spark and imprison him along with Chunk and Vix.
The Kraken is kept under a torturous force field and the garbage shard is destroyed and Spark, Vix and Chunk are thrown into the black hole created by the Kraken.
They land on a planet where many from the original planet Bana had been hiding out. The Captain of the Royal Guard and some of his men have been living not knowing that planet Bana still exists.
Spark is revealed as the Prince of Bana and discovers that the Queen is actually his mother. Vix and Chunk had been keeping Spark safe from the truth on behalf of the Queen until the time came to take back Bana.
They prepare to take back Planet Bana by using Chunks technical know how with the help of mutated bugs. Unbeknown to Spark, Chunk had saved Bananny and pimped her up.
They create a new Kraken slick and return to battle against Zhong. After a great battle where Zhongs ship is destroyed, a black hole is created and Zhong is punched into it by the Queen.
Peace is resumed as Planet Bana is restored to former glory, and the Queen and Prince Spark are in their rightful place.
What we thought:
This was a refreshing change from our usual princessy themed films that we tend to watch. Isabelle was in a telly-trance for the whole film which means it gets a big juicy thumbs up from us. As a parent some of the kids films can be a bit boring, but this was action packed with lots of humour throughout.
This is the sound to our life during allergy season.
I must confess that I don’t have much sympathy for Daddy’s plight with Hayfever, and get really annoyed with him with the constant sneezing and sniffing. Oh and don’t get me started on the moaning.
He’s just started a new job and has been to quite a few houses that have cats, which has only made things worse.
He’s tried tablets, sprays, eating local honey, homeopathic remedies, decongestants and probably a few other things that I can’t remember.
At my day job people drop like flies to hay fever so it causes quite a lot of disruption.
When we were asked to try #Serenz Allergy Relief I was really quite excited that we have a solution both to ease Daddy of this really annoying illness, but also to free the rest of us of this burden.
So how does #Serenz work?
#Serenz is a handheld device which you can keep easily in your bag which uses carbon dioxide to gently cleanse the nasal passages to relieve taller symptoms of nasal congestion, itchy, runny noses and sneezes.
When you first open the product you have to activate the device by using the blue key (which comes with it). Once this is done you can use the as and when you experience allergy symptoms.
It’s very simple to use by placing the nosepiece into the nose making sure there is a tight seal between your nose and the nosepiece so the gas does not escape.
You have to make sure that you either hold your breath or breathe through your nose during use which is 10 seconds per nostril, pushing the button during this time continuously.
What did we think?
The instructions were very clear and the product was very easy to use. When we read the instructions before using, we were slightly cautious as one of the precautions is that it is normal to experience a temporary nasal stinging or smarting sensation and/or watering eyes, but it did say that this was not harmful and would not last long. As most allergy sufferers would agree, it gets to the point where you would try anything to relieve the symptoms so on we went.
It’s a good size which would easily fit in your handbag and is very simple and easy to use. It can be a burden taking tablets every day so an alternative natural option is nice to have. Daddy did have stinging in his nose when used, and had some improvement of his symptoms which was on parr with taking one a day tablet equivalents with a definite reduction in nose blowing!
The #Serenz Allergy Relief is £19.90 to buy and can be bought at Weldrick’s Pharmacy Online and provides 40, 10 second cleanses which is the equivalent of 20 cleanses for each nostril.
We were really pleased to be asked to review the Pipity Kids Travel Activity Case. We’re going on holiday next month and it will be Isabelle’s first time on a plane. The journey is relatively short as we’re going to Spain, but there will be plenty of opportunity for Isabelle to get bored so we’re going prepared.
What do you do on journeys to keep boredom at bay?
The last time we went away I put together a little bag for her to open once she was in the car which had a kids magazine, some colouring pencils, some snacks and a sticker pack which went down a treat.
We play all the usual games such as eye spy, count the number of (whatever colour) cars.
We also let her take her tablet with some of her favourite apps on.
The other week she had a little lego set in the car which was a disaster as she dropped some of the pieces which nobody could reach as we were driving along. I don’t think we’ll be doing that again.
Cue the Pipity Kids Travel Activity Case
Not only does this case look super cute with the star print which comes in a choice of Blue, Pink and Red, it as both a case handle and a detachable longer bag handle. It’s really well made from oilcloth to withstand the heavy handedness and has everything you need to keep a little one busy on a journey.
A Pencil for drawing and writing
A Set of 12 colouring pencils
A Pencil Sharpener
A pair of scissors
An Activity Book
The activity case has a built in easel with elasticated straps to keep your activity page in place whilst you colour it in.
Each of the activity books are packed full of exciting activities and games. Each page has a perforated edge so that you can easily tear the page out to use.
We love that these aren’t run of the mill activities, but cute puppets and games that you colour then cut out to create something to use.
We were sent the full collection of activity books which will provide many many hours of entertainment for Isabelle. These can be bought separately to top up as and when you need them.
Also in the Pipity range is the Pipity Portfolio which is an expanding file where all of your kids creations can be kept safely together. These are also available in the matching Pink, Blue and Red Star design. I initially thought that the portfolio was for us parents to keep the creations safe which do tend to rack up, but I was quickly corrected by Isabelle that it was so that she could keep the things that she had made so that she could play with them.
Pipity was founded by Kate who was inspired by her own happy childhood memories of cutting and sticking and creating wanted to give her own three children the same experience. The Pipity has everything to spark the imagination and keep little hands busy.
Watch our video which shows you what you get in the Pipity Kids Travel Activity Case.
What we thought.
As a mum I think the Pipity is pretty awesome. Isabelle loves all things crafty and I know this kit will keep her happy and busy during any journey. The case has everything you need so no scrabbling around for things or having to add extra bits to my bag. It also gets a huge thumbs up from me personally as Pipity is a Devon based Independent Business which I love to support having been there myself.
Isabelle was so excited when the Pipity came out of the box. Before she even opened it she was doing her catwalk walk as pranced up and down with the case hanging off her shoulder. She’s going to love carrying this herself. She loved all of the activities, with the puppets and dolls being her absolute favourite. I should post the outtakes of the video that we did as she spent way too long messing about with the scissors (why do kids love scissors so much) AND the bendy ruler cracked her up.
This is a total winner for both of us and it will be coming with us to Spain next month!
We were squealy excited to be sent a further Mila & Pheebs Kids Activity Box through the post. Crafting definitely plays a huge part in our lives. Making something together post dinner time has become a bit of a regular routine for us which gives us something nice to do after work/school.
I didn’t tell Isabelle that she was getting another box as she drives us totally insane when she knows something is coming through the post. She thinks that it’s going to appear at the door five minutes after it’s been ordered. It was a lovely surprise when it arrived, and I think I was just as excited to know what was inside as Isabelle was.
I did wonder whether this box was going to beat the previous Activity Box that we received, but we weren’t at all disappointed.
What was in the box?
Safari Criss Cross
Safari Colouring-in sheets
Safari Dotty Art
Safari Memo Pad
Safari Greeting Cards
Safari Foil Stickers
Parrot Collage Kit
Isabelle’s favourite piece in the box was the scissors. She was so excited to get her own pair of scissors. Doubly so that they had monkeys and bananas on them!
So over to Isabelle who will walk you through what she got in the box.
As you can see, she was thoroughly impressed with all of the things that she got in the box, especially the monkey scissors.
I’ve sneaked the colouring sheets and activity sheets to put away for Isabelle to do on plane when we go on holiday next month.
There isn’t a single thing in the box that Isabelle wasn’t excited about or looking forward to making.
Value for Money
There are various options for the subscription boxes as well as various payment options. As well as the monthly subscription boxes you can get one off themed boxes including Birthday, Superhero, Unicorn and Fun on the Farm just to name a few.
If my convincing isn’t enough, pop over and check out their social media:
Our bargain food haul from approved food – I’m loving all the TV programmes at the moment on how to eat for less, and making savvy purchases to save money. We never used to be very savvy when it came to shopping. Gone are the days where we shopped at the same supermarket and bought whatever we wanted, sometimes not even taking note of the price. We stopped shopping like this quite a while ago, and now alternate our shopping trips dependent on what we need such as store cupboard staples, fresh fruit and veg and meat.
I was really pleased to be asked to try out www.approvedfood.co.uk which essentially is a bargain online shop where you can buy food that is either surplus or short dated stock.
I placed my order at around 8.30pm on Tuesday 4th July with an expected delivery time of 2 – 3 working days and it was delivered on Friday 7th July.
You can buy everything from cupboard staples such as pasta and rice to all the kids chocolate biscuit treats, toiletries and cleaning products and even a healthy and beauty section.
What we bought
Amoy Plum Sauce x 2 = £1.00
Amoy Soy Sauce Reduced Salt x 2 = £1.00
Bottle Green Elderflower Sparkling Presse x 4 cans = £1.49
Cavalino Bucks Fizz x 1 = £1.99
Chupa Chups Air Heads x 3 = £0.99
Combos Cheddar Cheese Cracker x 3 = £0.99
CorNiche Apple Teddy Marshmallows x 5 = £1.00
Don Mario Fusilli x 2 = £1.00
Don Mario Spaghetti x 2 = £1.00
Fabiola Pasta Spaghetti x 2 = £1.00
Flash All Purpose Cleaner x 1 = £0.99
Foxs Nice Creams x 2 = £1.00
Foxs Triple Layered Biscuit 10 pack x 1 = £0.99
Giovanni Di Firenze Tomato Pasta Sauce x 2 = £1.50
Globe World Foods Plum Tomatoes x 3 = £0.99
Go Ahead Yoghurt Breaks x 3 = £0.99
Golden Wonder Chicken and Mushroom Pot Noodles x 4 = £2.00
Gratify herb baked mini dippers x 2 = £1.00
Jacobs Jaffa Cakes x 2 = £1.98
Maryland Double Chocolate Chip Cookies x 4 = £1.00
Napolina Conchiglie Pasta x 1 = £0.95
Purina Delibakie Stars Turkey and Bacon x 1 = £0.99
Quaker Oats – Oats so Simple Morning Golden Syrup Bars x 1 box = £0.99
Real Handcooked Variety Pack Crisps x 2 = £0.02
Ryvita Crackerbread Pepper Flavour x 2 = £1.50
Simple Soothing Facial Toner x 2 = £1.00
Wubba Dog Toy x 1 = £2.99
Grand total = £32.34
Postage and Packing is worked out by box. We had one large box which cost £5.99.
Fun Fact – I quite liked the Fun Fact at the end. Mine was that I’d saved £44 by buying from Approved Food which is the equivalent of 36 litres of fuel. That’s a total bargain in my book.
The offers come in daily and since signing up, I’ve received quite a few emails with all the latest offers.
What we think
Approved Food is definitely a website worth a monthly visit to fill your cupboards. Nothing lasts very long in our house what with a pot noodle eating cookie monster of a teenager and a six year old who loves a treat or two and a midnight munchie man around. I think my favourite bargain is the kong dog toy which are usually quite expensive and was very much appreciated by Charlie!
Have you shopped at Approved Food?
Let us know what your BEST bargain was.
*We were given £30 credit to spend for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.
I love notebooks, notepads, pens…….actually everything from moustache shaped paperclips to novelty pencil sharpeners. I was just a little bit excited to be asked to review a notebook from the Doodle Collection.
My daughter has inherited the same magpie like attraction for cool stationary.
I have a particular thing for notebooks, even if I don’t have a particular use for one. I like to select a nice pen and alway write neatly in my notebooks. I hate making mistakes or crossing things out in my notebooks.
I have several notebooks on the go for different things.
Diaries, planners and calendars are also a fave of mine. I always get either a calendar or diary for Christmas so I like to set aside an evening to write out my calendar or diary with a nice pen (preferably several different colours) and a glass of wine, and make a bit of an event of it.
The company is based in India but all their full range is available to buy on Amazon.
They have a huge selection of notebooks, diaries and planners in all the colours and designs you can think of.
We’re really loving Flamingoes and Unicorns at the moment so when given a choice I went with a Majestic Misfit Notebook. I really love the wording on the front:
It’s A5 in size and has a sturdy cover
200 lined pages with a scribble section on every other page
Thick paper, nice for writing with an ink pen
Perforated edges on each page which is fab if you make a mistake
What we thought
I really like this notebook from the size to the thickness and quality of the paper. The size is great for popping in your bag but it’s not too small. I love the flamingo design and is easy to lay flat to write on.
I’ve already pinpointed this Notebook for when I start my new job next month to take notes. Until then it will be sitting prettily on my bookshelf.
Which Notebook would you choose from the Doodle Collection?
A Tip Top Big Mac is what I made at McDonalds even if I do say so myself.
Myself and some fellow bloggers were invited to take a look around one of Plymouths City Centre McDonalds where some pretty impressive changes have been made to improve the service that customers receive and streamline the whole McDonalds experience.
Self Service – If you’ve been into your local branch recently it may be one of over 50% of restaurants that have the touch screen self-service points in addition to the usual counter and drive through services.
You may have even already visited one of the restaurants that have table service on offer. Fear not as these services will be rolled out nationwide in the near future.
The self service points where you order and pay for your food are a really quick and convenient way to order food. It displays the whole menu with size options and meal deal options.
Using the screens couldn’t be simpler. All the food is displayed using pictures and gives you various options (including dips for meals that include this). The touch screens are so easy that you could let your children use the screens to pick choose and order their own food. The best thing about the screens is that the menu is visual and there are options on there that you may not even know is available.
Table Service – This has probably been a long awaited addition to the McDonalds restaurants and will make ordering so much easier for the vast majority of us.
As a parent, standing in the queue and ordering the food and then finding a table can be such a pain in the butt, and then you forget to get the straws or napkins.
These days are long gone. The self-service machine allows you to choose table service. They have plastic table number plaques which are Bluetooth enabled that you pick up which are all numbered (I’m sure they have an actual name). You tap this number in and once your order is placed the server will be able to find you via the number plaque. The server comes armed with a toolbelt loaded with napkins, straws and sauces so there’s no need for you to leave your seat.
Behind the Scenes
We got to have a nose around behind the scenes which was quite impressive.
We started off in the staff room where we were given our very own McDonalds apron, hat (plus hairnet) and name badge. I was totally sold by this point but I am quite easily pleased!
The kitchen, whilst busy was very orderly and everybody was going about their work like a well oiled machine.
I’ve always been quite impressed by the number of staff that are working in any restaurant at any given time. There are approximately 40 staff on at any given time and more at peak times.
We had a look at the walk-in fridges and freezers at all the fresh ingredients that are delivered almost daily and YES they do use fresh eggs!
Some of the restaurants have a seating area where tablets are available. I always assumed that these were just for children, but as well as games available you can use the tablets to get news updates, check your emails and log-in to your social media sites.
Rest assured that the tablets have strict blocks so that unsavoury sites are not accessed by our kids.
You can also keep up to date with all news that is McDonalds including calorie content and community projects that McDonalds support.
The Best Bit
We got to make our very own Big Mac’s.
All of the burgers are made specific to McDonalds. There are clearly labelled charts above the work station to ensure that all burgers are made the same.
You can watch my video but this next bit is completely from my memory.
Get your bun ready
Pop it into the three sections of the special bun toaster
Get your box ready
Put the bun in box
Shoot the Big Mac sauce gun at both parts of the bun
A sprinkle of onion
A slice of cheese on one side
Two slices of gherkin on the other making sure that you separate so you get pickle in each bite
Add a burger on each side
Put the middle part of the bun on top of the bottom bun
Shut the box
BOOM the Big Mac is good to go
I totally aced my Big Mac making skills as you can see in my video.
Cool McDonalds Facts
They use fresh ingredients. Contrary to what many people think where possible fresh ingredients are used and delivered to the restaurants daily.
No food is sat around – The burgers are freshly prepared to order
All waste is recycled. This was the biggest surprise for me. All food and packaging waste is separated and recycled including the oil used in the fryers
McDonalds aim to have a ‘Zero Waste Policy’ in all restaurants by 2020
To reduce the carbon footprint, delivery lorries deliver and pick-up at the same time so that no empty lorries are driving around
Since the introduction of the self-service touch screens more salads have been ordered. This maybe since the entire menu is visual on the screen it’s much easier to see what’s on offer
McDonalds work with local councils and volunteer for litter picking with the Love Where you Live campaign
McDonalds support local community projects and sports clubs
I bet you’re just a little bit impressed as was I. We like to take Isabelle to McDonalds for a treat and we allow her to choose her own meal whether it be a burger and fries or fish fingers and a fruit bag. It’s all about moderation!
You can subscribe to Mila & Pheebs so that each month your child gets a surprise themed box through the post addressed to themselves with lots of lovely goodies inside. Even better, the box fits through the letterbox so theres no chance of missing the postie and having to collect it from somewhere.
One of the other things that Isabelle is obsessed with at the moment is kids Youtube videos. She usually watches surprise boxes being opened which are mostly American Girls opening ‘blind bags’ which contain all kinds of Disney Princesses, Shopkins or other such things.
Recently she’s started to talk in an American accent, and I’ve caught her loads of times pretending to make her own videos so I thought I’d give her a chance to have her 15 minutes of fave and let her introduce what came in the Mila & Pheebs box so over to Belle!
I’m a huge fan of kits like this which can easily be packed away to do on a journey, taken to Grandparents house or brought out for rainy days.
Each box is packed full of all you would need to complete the task and has several different things in the box to do.
A pencil with a donkey rubber topper
A really cute cow rubber which comes apart (including detachable nose)
A horse hand puppet kit
Animal shaped crayons (Isabelle called these rubbers in the video)
Farm Animal foam stickers
A maze and wordsearch sheet
A piggy notepad with pigs to colour in
Plain cards and envelopes
Sheep decoration kit
A felt chicken paperclip (might have pinched that)
Glittery farm animal stickers
So as you can see, you get a lot for your money.
You can subscribe to the boxes which you will receive each month, and each month has a different theme. You can also unsubscribe at any time for times when you may be away. There is also an option to buy a one off which would make a lovely gift.
We had great fun making the horse which we did on a day after school when the weather was a bit pants and Isabelle fancied something fun to do. I was quite intrigued watching her with her concentration face on, determined to do the sewing part from beginning to end.
Bidvine is a great online service for finding professional help in all aspects of your life, from a plumber to a personal trainer. There are over 800 services available covering the whole of the UK.
The site which is also available as a mobile app is simple to use. When you first go to the site, you simply put in the service that you are looking for along with your postcode. You are then asked some very simple questions so that you can be matched to the most relevant people in your area.
So I gave it a go.
I thought that I would test this by searching for Pet Boarding as we’re going away later in the year so will be looking for somebody to look after our lovely Charlie.
These are the questions that we were asked.
How many pets require boarding? 1
What type of pets do you have? Dog
How long is the required boarding period? A week
Do you require any related services?
Making sure they’re fed
I’m not sure
Where can the service be delivered?
The service pro travels to me
I travel to the service pro up to: This is where you add in the miles that you are willing to travel for the services.
When do you need Pet Boarding?
There is a drop down menu asking on the timescale which you can choose from being urgent to requesting a specific date which is what we would chose for Pet Boarding.
Anything else the Pet Boarding Service Provider needs to know?
You can add in any additional details or requirements if needed.
How would you like to receive bids?
You can opt to have a phone call with offers or text messages
Then the request is submitted.
This works on the basis that the Bidvine database will match you with professionals offering all sorts of services matching your requirements. You will then be contacted either by phone call or text with offers which you can accept or reject.
I was contacted within 20 minutes of submitting my request which I thought was amazingly quick.
What did I think?
This is really simple to do, and you can sign up for a Bidvine account by logging in with your Facebook or google account or by creating one using your email and a password.
I’ve had a good old poke around the site, and there’s all sorts of services on there including Flat Pack Furniture Assembling to Stress Management Coaching. It’s really simple to do and using the app, can be used with ease as and when things crop up.
What’s better is that most of us like to use people who have been recommended, so for any jobs that are completed you will be asked to review the services, and in turn you can read other peoples reviews which will help you make the right choice for whatever you choose.
I’ve downloaded the App as it’s always handy to have in case of an emergency. I have a list of odd jobs as long (actually longer than) my arm which try as he might, Chris just isn’t Bob the Builder!