Create Little Explorers With Little Passports Subscription Boxes

Ameli never stood a chance, really. She was born to a mother with itchy feet, and by her second birthday she had been to 20 countries. That’s more than many people see in a life time! Unfortunately our circumstances changed and our travelling slowed down somewhat, but I like to think the impact of all those travels have landed and she will always be a little world traveller.

When we were offered a 3-month subscription to Little Passports I was really excited, because I knew she’d love it.

Our first parcel arrived, and we set off on our Little Passports adventure. Little Passports Subscription Boxes

Being six, Ameli receives the World Edition for 6 – 10 year olds. The first parcel contains the blue and green cardboard suitcase, a ‘passport’ and a wall-sized world map. It also includes a welcome letter from Sam & Sofia (which I’ve managed to convince Ameli are real people!) and stickers to decorate the case, (later boxes include stickers for ‘passport stamps’ for the passport) a photo of the two friends and an activity sheet. There’s also a boarding pass with an access code for online games in the Boarding Zone.Read more: Create Little Explorers With Little Passports Subscription Boxes

Schleich Farm Animals

For some reason, young children are always encouraged to have an interest in farm animals. From Old McDonald Had A Farm to petting zoo parties to story books, there’s a definite theme there! And it’s a good thing, I suppose. It’s important they have an understanding of the world, especially if farm animals aren’t a regular sighting.

Schleich have a range of farm animal toys out that can pretty much stock an entire play farm. Schleich is a well known brand, and has been around forever, and the great thing about their figurines is that they slot easily into other play – my girls have discovered that they are a great addition to their Playmobil stables, for example, although Schleich also have a beautiful stable and farm themselves.

We received two sets to review – My First Farm Animals Set (41424) (RRP £12.99) and Stable Cleaning Kit with Calf & Lamb (41422) (RRP £6)

My First Farm Animals Set contains an adult cow, an adult pig, a hen and a lamb that my children have decided is female on account of her light colour – not scientific, I know! There’s also a bale of hay, some apples and carrots, cause they need to eat and all.Schleich Farm Animals

The Stable Cleaning Kit comes with  a Shropshire lamb and a Fleckvieh calf, newly born, and it also comes with carrots and bucket and a broom, perfect for cleaning out the stables.Schleich Farm Yard

These are just two of the sets containing hand painted farm animals, but they are obviously highly interchangeable – my girls have decided that the calf belongs to the cow, for example, with no thought to the fact they come from different boxes.

Cows Schleich Farm Animals

Here’s a short video for you on what the girls think of the Schleich Farm Animal sets:

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From a parent point of view, Schleich guarantee all their toys in terms of both materials used to make them, and in fact the fair working environment for the people making them too. Their toys meet not only the safety standards of the EU, but also the additional of the US and many other countries too. The plastics and softeners used are the same as those used in food packaging, so while you shouldn’t try to eat your Schleich Farm Animals, you’re not likely to experience ill effects should one end up as a temporary chew toy!

Schleich Farm Animals are available from most major toy retailers and from Amazon

Vango Starwalker Junior Sleeping Bag {Review}

Summer is coming! As I write this, the sun is shining brightly, though there’s still a chill in the air. Soon though, soon, the weather will be balmy – or as balmy as it gets here in the UK – and we’ll be heading out to sleep under canvas. Read on to find out why the Vango Starwalker Junior Sleeping Bag is a must-have for young campers this summer.

The Vango Starwalker Junior Sleeping Bag for kids comes in either a panda or dragon design. We received the panda free in exchange for our review, and if you watch this video, you’ll see just how much the children loved it.

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Skandika Teepee Review

At the very end of last summer we were sent a Skandika Teepee tent to review, which we took out in the last week of the summer season at our local holiday park. We were offered a number of different tents, some very practical for families, some great for erecting single-handedly, and everything in between. I really had my heart set on the Teepee -style tent, and despite the warnings from Skandika that the tent didn’t have a sewn in groundsheet, I really wanted it, so they were kind enough to send it out.

Skandika Teepee Review

Things I loved about the Skandika Teepee:

I love the look of it, and the design. I love that I can stand up in it, and that there’s so much room, you can actually enjoy yourself, even on a rainy day – which let’s face it, if you’re camping in the UK, you’re bound to come across.

I love that it has two doors because it is a polyester tent, so when the sun is baking down on it, it can be really, really hot. Having the two doors open allows the wind to blow through, cooling everything down. This is a real winner!

I love how easy this tent is to put up. I put it up on my own with two little helpers and it took us less than 20 minutes, including having to move it as we realised that one side of our pitch was slush and the other was cement. The main thing is to make sure that you have the guide ropes in the centre laid out properly, otherwise it’s all skewed and takes forever to figure out.

I love how it looks on a field, with or without other tents around. It stands out as different from most other tents. There might be regular tents, or bell tents, but ours was the only teepee tent. I really liked that.

I also love the golden colour of the sunshine through it on a bright morning.Skandika Teepee Review

Things I didn’t love about this tent:

Okay, so the fact that the groundsheet isn’t fitted bothered me a lot more than I thought it would, and I was warned about it, so it’s not fair really to put it in things I didn’t like, but at night, it did feel that the lack of sewn in groundsheet (combined with the really soft ground) caused the tent to billow above our heads. I did find that unsettling!

The only things I thought were actual ‘flaws’ in the tent though, were the windows. Some of them were windows that you tie up, and some are the pretty plastic diamonds. The problem is, there’s no way of closing the diamonds, so anyone walking past can see in. We put suitcases and backpacks in front of them. The other thing is that the ones you could cover you could only cover from the outside, so you had to head out of the tent in your pyjamas to do them up in the middle of the night. Not really ideal.

So for me, this isn’t really an overnight tent, which is unfortunate as they are a few design issues that could be changed to make this a superb tent. That said, if you’re camping in a group this could very easily be your central, communal area between your tents, giving you a covered space to be together away from the elements. It is certainly spacious enough!

So what is the Skandika Teepee good for?

We used it for Aviya’s birthday party in March, decorating the inside and put all the food inside too, so the kids could run around in the marshy field we were in, but have a dry floor to sit on to eat and play party games. If we had a big garden I’d put it up without the groundsheet all summer long too, as it would make a perfect summer house, of sorts. It’s a fantastic event tent, able to hold at least 15 seated people, which is what we had in it for Aviya’s birthday party.

I have to say, despite the windows and the groundsheet, I still love this tent. If I knew we’d have good weather the whole trip, I’d love to sleep under this tent without the groundsheet. Couldn’t get much closer to nature than that.

In terms of Skandika as a brand, however, I have nothing but good things to say about this tent. It held it’s own in the wind, the pole is sturdy, the stitching is good on the tent, and I would happily try another Skandika tent, because I can’t complain about the quality!

Plasticine Softeez {Review}

Like most children, mine developed an early love affair with playdoh. Like most parents, I did not. It was a substance that came into our house proudly as a set of single colours, but left it shamefacedly, hidden in a bin, an odd brown colour. Eventually I gave up the pretence of perfect parenthood, and banned it.

But children… children really have that whole ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ thing down, don’t they? A few weeks ago Ameli called me over to show me what she’d been crafting, and she had turned my entire brand new pack of blu-tack into a sad, monochrome blue fish tank with remarkable sea creatures inside a punch bowl! So I promised her some plasticine… one day.


Well, one day came sooner than I expected because we were sent not one, but three two of Plasticine Softeez to review just days after the sad fish bowl experience.

You can watch the whole unboxing and the fun they had with it on the video here, but for the highlights, read on!

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Sassy Kids Subscription Boxes {Review}

We’re fans of subscriptions here – from boxes to magazines, we love getting mail. Recently I was offered a Sassy Kids Box to try, and since it was almost Aviya’s birthday we decided to get a box for her.

Part of the Sassy Bloom product, the initial Sassy Kids Box is a little different to other boxes we’ve had in the past as it’s aim wasn’t crafting, but activity, which I thought was quite a unique spin. I’m not sure if future boxes will look the same though – watch this space!

The box is quite a bit smaller than other boxes, which is really useful if you don’t have a lot of space, and makes them perfect for taking along on holidays too.Sassy kids box

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Tree Of Life Pendant From Kaya Jewellery {Review}

I don’t tend to get a lot of jewellery as gifts, and it’s something I am very unlikely to buy myself, unless it’s for a very special reason. Most of the jewellery I own is over a decade old! Since the birth of my children however, I have been incredibly fascinated by the human placenta, in all it’s life sustaining beauty.  I remember seeing a series of pictures once, possibly by a doula, of trees made by imprinting a newborn’s placenta on paper, and I’ve always loved that association of the life-force of birth with the Tree of Life. We certainly have an association of trees with life, with sustainability and with our continuance as a species. Even down to the ‘family tree’.Kaya Jewellery

When Kaya Jewellery got in touch to ask if I’d like one of their beautiful pendants to review, I was absolutely taken by their Tree of Life pendant. I’ve always wanted a Tree of Life to celebrate my beautiful girls, but as I said – I was unlikely to buy one for myself! You know what it’s like? Everything else takes priority!Read more: Tree Of Life Pendant From Kaya Jewellery {Review}

5 Uses For Chalkola Pens

We were recently sent a set of 10 Chalkola pens to try out around the house and I was pleased – I bought a chalk marker for my kitchen some months back and it was really so much easier and more effective than using normal chalk. I was pleased.

I had no idea how much I was going to love the Chalkola pens. I mean, I like stationary as much as the next person, but I don’t really have a thing  for it, you know?

Well, Chalkola pens are my new favourite thing. I’m not kidding. When I found them in the living room with no lids on, I put them in a box and hid them above the fridge where the children neither know that they are, nor can reach them. I may have said something about them being MINE! ALL MINE! too.

The pack of comes with 10 Chalkola pens with colours including white, black, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, brown and purple.

The colour are so vibrant and bold, there’s no mistaking what’s been written or drawn. They dry quickly, so you don’t have much chance for smudging, and they stay in place – well, indefinitely, at this point. You can’t smudge it simply by touching it either – you need a wet cloth to wipe it off, at which point it comes off really easily. A wet cloth to wipe, a dry cloth to polish off the residue.

Here are some of the things we’ve done with our Chalkola pens over the last few weeks:

1. Write notes & make lists on our kitchen chalkboard

Chalkola Pens Chalkboard

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T.G.I. Fridays For Family Friendly Meals

On Mothering Sunday we were invited to T.G.I. Fridays in Southampton for a family meal. I can’t say I’ve had much of an opinion about T.G.I. Fridays before our visit, but now I am a fan – their food is addictive! I’ve spent all week craving some of the foods we ate on Sunday.

On arrival at T.G.I. Fridays were were welcomed by a hostess and taken to our table. The children were given an emoticon place mat, which made for a great photo mask, and they were given an activity pack – pencils, a book of activity sheets, and a Mother’s Day competition to participate in.

We ended up having a very long and leisurely lunch, spending almost three hours there, and the children were more than happy to sit with their activity books, enjoy the drinks and food and have fun with the balloon artist’s flower creations. It’s the longest we’ve ever managed to keep the kids entertained without screens in a restaurant!

As any good meal does, I’ll start with the drinks. There’s an extensive drinks menu at T.G.I. Fridays – apparently there’s over 1000 cocktails in the training manual, so you could probably request almost any cocktail you wanted, but even so, there’s a huge list of cocktails and mocktails on the menu.
Our waitress recommended the Raspberry Crush -fresh raspberries, cranberry juice, sweet & sour and orange sherbet, blended with crushed ice- which one of our party ordered, and I ordered the very tasty Gold Medalist -strawberry, banana, coconut, pineapple and BOLS Grenadine – then spent the whole drink wishing I’d ordered the Raspberry Crush, which was divine.Read more: T.G.I. Fridays For Family Friendly Meals

Don’t Rock The Boat University Games Review

A few months ago I decided that I wanted to increase the games in our cupboards to give my six and soon-to-be four year old opportunities to play games together. It’s a great boredom buster for when they’re not feeling creative, and as fun as toy and imagination games are it’s wonderful watching them play the games with their predetermined rules, then changing and adapting them to fit their own preferred way to play.

The newest game in our repertoire is Don’t Rock The Boat, a University Games offering that is as frustrating as it is fun and always brings about much laughter and noise from my two.

While Don’t Rock the Boat is intended for 2 – 4 players, it also works really well for single players: just see how many penguins you can get on the ship before it topples over. It’s a personal challenge then, and my oldest enjoys that particularly.

Don’t Rock the Boat comes with a plastic ship with three masts, two piece water wave (which is the wobbly bit that the ship balances on) and 16 pirate penguins. The aim of the game is to get as many penguins on the ship as possible without causing it to tip off the wave. The person that topples the ship, loses.

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