Help! Too many toys – more storage needed

Recently I re-read my blog post on decluttering from over a year ago and had a wake-up call. I haven’t really made much progress. More action required, especially with regards to the ever-growing number of cuddly toys residing here. I’m sure we have enough to populate a small country. And the boys won’t hear of reducing their ranks even by one.

Qwerkity jumbo storage bag

So I was very pleased to be offered the chance to review a large storage bag from Qwerkity for free. This is a jumbo sized bag which will be ideal to house some of the bears. And luckily son2 has agreed with me sort of. Bless him, he said “Yes Mummy we can move them into there from the bed when you’re washing the duvet.” I do admit it does take me ages evicting the large number he fills his bed with, but that wasn’t quite what I had in mind. I was thinking of more permanent storage for some of the other bears scattered around his room.

Qwerkity jumbo storage bag

Jumbo storage bag – big enough to hide behind

The bag measures approximately 60cm wide by 30cm deep by 45cm high and is very eco, being 90% made from recycled plastic bottles. Surprisingly it doesn’t actually mention this point on the website, which I would have thought worth promoting. It can be zipped shut, very useful if you’re using it for storing bedding. And it can be folded flat when not in use. It currently retails for £5.99, so very good value. It also comes in 3 other designs. I definitely recommend this bag.

Qwerkity is not a brand I had come across previously. But looking at their website, I discovered that it is in fact an umbrella name for four brands, namely Presents for Men, Gifts for the Girls, Essentials and Travel Paraphernalia. They offer unusual, practical and fun gifts for people of all ages from children to grandparents. Do take a look.

Qwerkity jumbo storage bag

They also sent me a voucher for £5 off a £40 spend.

I’d love to hear what product you like best on the Qwerkity website?

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own. 

Listening to Fun Kids Radio

My boys are really enjoying the latest website we have discovered – Fun Kids Radio. They hadn’t previously got into radio at all, as we tend to only have it on in the car, plus a few minutes at home when my clock alarm goes off. And since my choice of station is BBC local radio, they are not that interested. In fact I’ve taken to muting it when they are in the car with me, just to avoid the complaints.

Fun Kids radio

But when I showed them the website and they saw that there was a BeanoTown programme, wow you should have seen their reaction. They started listening to Beano podcast after podcast after podcast. They loved them. We haven’t managed to catch the live show yet, as that is at 8am on weekends.

They have always been keen on The Beano. You can see their video review of one of The Beano books here and a lovely drawing of Beano characters by son2 here.

The website details all the ways you can listen to Fun Kids Radio, so I chose to download RadioPlayer onto my phone. The boys now use my phone to listen to Fun Kids Radio in the car. And I have to admit, that I’m enjoying it too. And an even bigger bonus is that there is less bickering between them, as they are focussed on listening instead.

Plus the boys found some great competitions on the Fun Kids Radio. So keep your fingers crossed. They are hoping for a prize.

You can find FunKids on social media as follows:-

So have a listen to Fun Kids Radio with your children. I’d love to hear what they like best?

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Disclosure.  I will receive some free Fun Kids merchandise after this review is published. All opinions are my own. 

What food do you miss when away from your native country?

Now hands up if when you’re away from your native country, you miss some of your favourite foods if they are not readily available. I’ve got an Australian friend, who when she goes back to Australia, returns to the UK with her suitcase, packed full of her favourite foods. And she was very pleased when she discovered that she could buy Violet Crumbles via Ocado here.

Some of us love trying international food but others are not so adventurous. So wouldn’t it be great if you could still get your hands on a pack of jaffa cakes or a jar of marmite. Well you can, by ordering online from the British Corner Shop.

British Corner Shop hamper

British Corner Shop hamper

I have just received a free hamper of goodies to review from the British Corner Shop. Very well packed and it contained all the following items from traditional British brands.

Crumpets
Tomato Soup
Ginger Nuts
Sage & Onion Stuffing
Mushy Peas
Custard
Marmite Crisps
Steak and Ale Pie
Ribena
Jelly Babies
Caramel Wafers
Flake Chocolate

It was nice to note that they sell short-dated bakery food like crumpets. That is a regular item on my shopping list. The whole family love buttered crumpets and we would certainly miss those. And I like mine best with marmite, another traditional product sold by the British Corner Shop. But you will need to check the estimated delivery times carefully for short-dated products.

And they even offer a chilled service to selected European countries so you can enjoy British cheese, sausages, bacon, yoghurts, butter, fish and so much more fresh produce!

British Corner Shop is the online supermarket for British Expats and others who simply appreciate great British food. They have a range of 10,000 products and last year they delivered over 4 million products to 138 countries worldwide.

Delivery cost is based on the weight and volume of your order plus destination. It will be calculated automatically as you add the items to your basket.

British Corner Shop hamper

We haven’t tried all our goodies yet, but I’ve enjoyed everything so far and I’m looking forward to the rest except for the mushy peas. But I’m sure one of you is shouting at me, that you love mushy peas and would really miss them if living abroad.

And I have a special offer to share with my readers of £15 off your first order over £75 from British Corner Shop. Enter the code MUMMYBLOG15 at check-out. This offer is valid until 9 December 2015.

I’d love to hear what food you would or do miss if away from your native country?

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Peanut Hottie review

I have been sent a free new drink to try – Peanut Hottie. I received a full size 260g pot, two 20g individual sachets, a packet of vegetarian marshmallows plus a few accessories to set the scene, namely a fan, ice cubes, a bottle and straw.

Peanut Hottie drink

I love the name Peanut Hottie, but it is even more versatile as this peanut butter flavour drink can be consumed hot like hot chocolate or cold as a milkshake. Peanut Hottie comes in two flavours – Peanut Hottie and Chocolate Peanut Hottie.

Now peanuts seem to be something you either love or hate. I’m definitely in the love camp, but the boys aren’t quite so keen. They refused to try the Peanut Hottie drinks, but I’ve seen some great recipes on the Peanut Hottie website, so I’m planning to try making some Peanut Hottie pancakes. Let’s see what they think of those.

Peanut Hottie drink

But first I tried the Chocolate Peanut Hottie hot, for which you just need to add hot water. Tasty and only 83 calories per mug.

Peanut Hottie drink

Secondly I made a milkshake, mixing 3 teaspoons of Chocolate Peanut Hottie with 200 ml cold semi-skimmed milk before serving with the provided straw. Slurp slurp. Even more tasty and still only 130 calories. And less than 100 calories if you use almond milk instead.

Peanut Hottie drink

I liked the richness of the milkshake, so I then experimented on my next hot drink. This time it was one of the individual sachets of Peanut Hottie flavour and I made it with 2/3 hot water, topped up with milk. Yummy. I’m not calorie counting.

Peanut Hottie is available from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Booths and Waitrose, currently with a RRP of £2.99. It is suitable for vegetarians and contains no artificial additives or colours. The Peanut Hottie flavour is caffeine free although the Chocolate Peanut Hottie flavour is not.

In summary, I really recommend both flavours of Peanut Hottie. I liked them equally.

I’d love to hear if you have an idea of something to cook using Peanut Hottie.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own. 

Qwiddle – the online piggy bank plus free £5 offer

Earlier in the year, the boys participated in a Family Investments project. Since then we had continued to use copies of their monthly savings planner. But now we have gone high-tech and set them both up with an online piggy bank on Qwiddle.

Qwiddle online piggy bank

Basically you can pay your children’s pocket money via paypal into their Qwiddle piggy banks. It helps children to manage their own pocket money by setting goals of what they want to save for. They can also record tasks they have done or intend to do.

I had a few teething issues getting their accounts operational, but all is working well now. Vanessa the MD of Qwiddle gave me some assistance, but with hindsight, I would say the best thing to do after setting up an account for your first child is to check you have logged out of paypal before commencing to set up accounts for any siblings.

Similarly to a paper savings planner, the boys can record a goal that they are saving for. Either I can add jobs that I would like them to do or they can add jobs that they have done.

Qwiddle online piggy bank

One comment is that usually but not always there seems to be a delay between me paying money into their accounts, to it appearing. This is slightly frustrating if the boys are sitting next to me waiting to see their total increase.

Also I found it strange that although son1 logged out after requesting a withdrawal which generated an auto-email to me, when I then clicked on the link in the email, it automatically logged son1 back in. So I had to log him back out again, before logging in with my own parent account.

The boys love using the computer to play games, so I thought they would be more interested in using this than they have been. In fact, after the initial sign-up, they have mostly left everything up to me. So I’ve paid in pocket money and withdrawn money when they have spent some.

However after getting past the initial set-up glitches, I am sold on the idea myself. I much prefer it as I don’t have to rummage around to find the right change for pocket money. I think the boys need more time to get used to it. I’m sure it would appeal more to older children.

But there is a fair amount of admin involved. I have to remember my own password, plus a userid and two passwords each for the boys. They don’t know the second password as that is for the paypal side of things. Also I seem to be bombarded with loads of notification emails every time it is pocket money day.

The boys both reached their saving goals whilst we were trialling Qwiddle. Son2 is very happy with his new Club Penguin membership. Meanwhile we couldn’t find a Manchester City kit the right size  for son1, so he chose pyjamas instead and still has over £30 in his account.

And I have an offer to share with my readers. Sign up to Qwiddle by clicking on the following link from my blog and you will get a free £5 credit to your Qwiddle account.

I would love to hear what your child will put the free £5 towards?

Online piggybank Qwiddle, which helps children to manage their finances in an online environment have conducted research with YouGov about children spending online with out their parents knowledge. Click on the infographic below for details.

Qwiddle - Infographic

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Disclosure – I will receive a £5 credit to my son’s Qwiddle account after this post is published.

A Home for Molly book review and giveaway

Our latest free book to review from Little Tiger Press arrived on the last day of school. What great timing as son2 had plenty of time to start reading it during half term. This is another book in the same Animal Stories series as The Forgotten Puppy which son2 really loved. He had been asking for more of these to read, so was delighted to see this one.

A Home for Molly by Holly Webb

In fact, A Home for Molly is the 31st story in Holly Webb’s popular Animal Stories series and again is illustrated by Sophy Williams.

Son 2 liked this book about Molly the Dog, although apparently The Forgotten Puppy was even better, and he tells us about it in the following video.

It is lovely to see him enjoying his chapter books, although I’m missing reading out loud to the boys now. He also had another go at the fun activities on the Holly Webb Animal Stories website.

This paperback book was published on 1st June by Stripes Publishing and retails at £4.99. You may purchase it online from Little Tiger Press who are a children’s book publishing company. It is a chapter book targetted at children age 6-8.

This is the sixth book that son2 has reviewed from Little Tiger Press. Besides The Forgotten Puppy, he has also previously reviewed their Halloween Sticker Activities book, The Magical Snow Garden, Zip It and Dirty Bertie Jackpot.

A Home For Molly by Holly Webb

Son2 is comfortable reading in any position

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a copy of A Home for Molly book courtesy of Little Tiger Press to three lucky winners

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what is your favourite book from Little Tiger Press?

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Heroes aren’t born, they’re made – more Sprükits

What makes a hero? You do.

Regular readers of my blog may remember how excited the boys were when we received four free Sprükits from Bandai last month for them to construct. I already blogged about the fun they both had constructing the level 1 kits.

Sprukits by Bandai

They have now moved up from level 1. Son2 got the level 2 Batman Dark Knight Rises whilst son1 got the level 3 Halo Master Chief.

Bearing in mind that son2 is below the target age 8+, he did really well. He assembled it in phases over the course of a few days. There were some bits where he asked me to help to put the pieces together and sometimes when I had to assist to undo pieces that were back-to-front. But I expect that may have possibly been my fault in the first place.

Batman Dark Knight Rises Sprükit toy from Bandai

Batman Dark Knight Rises Sprükit toy from Bandai

Son1 also took a few days, but he needed no help at all, even though this was the most complex kit of all.

Halo Master Chief Sprükit toy from Bandai

Halo Master Chief Sprükit toy from Bandai

They both had no trouble twisting the pieces off the Sprü this time, having learnt how to do that a few weeks ago with the level 1 kits.

We found that both kits had several spare hands in different positions, open and closed. These didn’t appear to be mentioned, but I think it is so they can be swapped, as currently the assembled models are holding guns.

These construction toys are recommended for age 8+ and they retail at amazon, argos, the entertainer, smyths, tesco and toymaster. Level 1 kits have over 30 pieces with an RRP of £8.99. Whilst the larger level 2 kits with 20+ moveable joints have an RRP of £15.99. And finally the most challenging level 3 kits have over 150 pieces with an RRP of £49.99. So something to suit all budgets. The full list of Sprükits is displayed in their catalogue. No cutting, painting or glue is required.

You can see the TV commercial here.

I have been very impressed with all the kits. The boys have had great fun building them and then playing with them afterwards. I consider that Level 1 and Level 2 kits are very good value for money, but in my opinion, the Level 3 is a bit over-priced.

And last time I hosted a giveaway courtesy of Bandai for a Batman Dark Knight Rises Sprükit, just like the one son2 has made. This has now closed and the lucky winner is Michelle Pierce.

I’d love to hear what you or your family have ever made from a kit?

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Personalised Gift Solutions review and giveaway

Two weeks to go until Father’s Day. And we’ve now got an extra gift ready for Dad. This time it is a personalised bar of milk chocolate, which we received free to review from Personalised Gift Solutions.

Personalised Father's Day Chocolate gift

Their website including checkout was easy to navigate. We chose what words to personalise both the front and reverse of the chocolate bar wrapper. There is a generous limit on the number of characters, upto 10 for the banner, plus upto 20 below. You can choose upto three lines of 20 characters each on the reverse, although we opted for two lines only. It doesn’t have to be for Dad. Perhaps you might wish to send one to Grandad.

Personalised Father's Day Chocolate gift

The chocolate retails at £6.95 for a 100g bar, with free delivery in the UK. Obviously you can get a standard bar of chocolate in the supermarket much cheaper, but you’re paying for the personalisation. A nice gift in my opinion.

I can’t tell you what the chocolate tastes like yet! We’ve hidden it away until Father’s Day. It looks very tempting though and I am a fan of Tatty Teddy.

The product was shipped 5 days after placing the order, but that did encompass the Bank Holiday weekend. It was well packed and there was a fragile label on the reverse of the package. However I don’t think my postman had spotted it, as he had posted the chocolate through the letterbox.

Let me tell you about some of the other Personalised Gifts they sell. There are more Me to You Tatty Teddy products, a great range of Disney Books, Football gifts and lots more. They are a new small family run business specialising in creating and selling high quality personalised gifts.

Do take a look at their full range of Personalised Gifts. There is plenty of choices to suit everyone.

Personalised gifts Disney Books

A few of the personalised Disney books

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a personalised Disney book courtesy of Personalised Gift Solutions to one lucky winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what Personalised Gifts you would choose?

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Disclosure. This post is a review of a product I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

Tommy Tucker Popcorn review

I have received some free popcorn from Tommy Tucker to review. The boys love popcorn as their grandad sometimes treats them to a bag and I occasionally make my own from popping corn.

Tommy Tucker popcorn

Tommy Tucker is not a brand I had previously heard of but apparently they are the UK’s leading supplier of popcorn and confectionery to the cinema industry, producing 45+ million servings per year. And they have 100+ flavours in their range. Yes you read that correctly. I can’t even imagine that many flavours but their brochure goes from chilli & lemon to caramel summer fruits.

I’ve always thought popcorn to be a more healthy snack than crisps. And their brochure backs that up stating that Tommy Tucker only use the very best A grade corn, with natural flavourings and colourings and no GMO.

The four flavours I received are salted, sweet, sweet & salt and toffee. We got a thumbs up from all the family for all the flavours and you can see from the photos that we enjoyed snacking on the popcorn in a variety of situations. If I had to pick a favourite, I would say sweet & salt, but I liked them all.

Tommy Tucker popcorn

Tommy Tucker Popcorn

Tommy Tucker Popcorn great for an after school snack

Tommy Tucker Popcorn

Tommy Tucker Popcorn great for a snack in the car whilst waiting for your brother

Enjoying Tommy Tucker popcorn

Enjoying Tommy Tucker popcorn whilst watching a dvd

Enjoying Tommy Tucker popcorn

Enjoying Tommy Tucker popcorn in the garden

Tommy Tucker are shortly launching their online shop, so you’ll soon be able to purchase their tasty popcorn to enjoy at home as well as at the cinema.

And watch this space for details of a popcorn giveaway soon.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Snapfish personalised gifts review and giveaway

We’ve decided to do something a little bit different for Father’s Day gifts this year. The boys have drawn pictures for Dad which I then uploaded to Snapfish for them. We used their designs for the front cover of a notebook each for them to give Dad. They are going to add a couple more pictures to the inside of the notebooks too.

It was very simple to set up an account with Snapfish and to upload images and photos. However both boys’ drawings were landscape and out of the 39 notebook designs, which I know sounds a lot, there were very few that both worked with a landscape image and were acceptable to the boys. Blossom, petals and pink were all ruled out.

Blue Simplicity got their vote, but in order to vary them, we did son1’s as a Full Photo instead, but with the notebook rotated so the spiral is at the top. So let’s hope Snapfish add a few more male orientated designs to the notebook range, especially as notebooks are featured when you drill down on ‘shopping for him’.

All the notebooks currently retail at £5.99 but it doesn’t state the dimensions. You can select either lined or blank paper.

personalised notebook from Snapfish

We’ve also used a photo for a Father’s day card. I was amazed at the wide selection of cards in this category, a staggering 230 of them. Some of them are for other male relatives. I wanted to filter them down before showing to the boys for selection, but although there seemed plenty of filters, the only one that helped was to filter down by number of photos. We had already chosen one photo for the card. This filter reduced our results to 155. I was hoping that the by orientation filter would apply to the photo, but no it applied to the card. So instead I reminded the boys that we had chosen a landscape photo and they looked at about the first 20 before choosing.

They changed the background from brown to blue and added Happy Father’s Day text to the inside of the card. We also had the option of adding text to the front and back, rotating the text and adding more photos to the inside or back. And we could have chosen to have the card posted directly to the recipient.

This design of card currently costs £2.99 but most of the cards are £2.49 with a few at £1.99.

personalised Father's Day Card from Snapfish

And finally I chose a selection of our favourite recent photographs for a set of 6 placemats. Again it doesn’t state the dimensions. These currently cost £24.99 for 6. They can also be purchased individually or in pairs.

The items were dispatched separately. The notebooks arrived first amazingly quickly, less than 36 hours after I placed the order. The boys were very pleased with them and have squirrelled them away to add extra drawings and messages prior to Father’s Day. And I was glad to see that they were a good size, namely A5.

personalised notebook from Snapfish

personalised notebook from Snapfish

Then two days later, two more packages arrived. The card looked great and I was very pleased to see on the back that 15p of the purchase price goes to Macmillan Cancer Support. I hadn’t picked up on that when ordering.

And as for the mats, wow, they look amazing and should make a good talking point at the table. Size wise, they are 19.5 by 23.5 cm. All three packages were well packed.

personalised placemats from Snapfish

We are very pleased with our Father’s Day purchases from Snapfish and recommend that you take a look. Please note that the last order date for Father’s Day is 15 June 2015.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a £40 Snapfish voucher to one lucky winner. What a great prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what you would choose from Snapfish?

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Disclosure.  I received a voucher to purchase items from Snapfish.  All opinions are my own.