Our Month - October 2020

26.11.20


I cannot believe I almost made it through the month without writing up my monthly round up post for October! It honestly feels like a lifetime ago now - most likely because the days are going so slowly at the moment. But October was a good-one, so I'm glad I've found the time to write about it.

Of course the start of the month was mine and Jack's wedding anniversary. We celebrated 5 years together on the 2nd, with a trip to Chessington and dinner out just the two of us. Probably not most people's dream anniversary, but it was a lovely - if not a little wet - day out. It felt extra special to go out to dinner just the two of us as well, especially as restaurants shut just a few weeks later.





We spent most of our Saturdays enjoying muddy autumnal walks, and then Sundays relaxing at home, playing games and baking. We absolute love getting out with the littles, but the relaxing Sundays at home really were perfect. Parker has suddenly discovered a love for Harry Potter, so introducing him to the movies was a particular highlight!

We had the most amazing October half term holidays, kicked off with our long-weekend break to Caister-on-Sea in Norfolk. We didn't think we'd be getting on any holidays this year, so it was extra special to be able to get away for a few days as a family. Of course it wasn't the usual Haven holiday we are used to, but we got to go swimming, spotted seals on the beach at Horsey Gap, enjoyed the cheesy funfair at Great Yarmouth, and of course spent plenty of pennies in the arcades. The littles have said they really want to go back already, so I don't think the Covid changes affected their holiday at all!






Jack booked the rest of half term off from work, so even once we were home from Norfolk we still managed to have lots of fun. We had a fantastic day out at Legoland for their Halloween Brick or Treat event, visited the pumpkin patch for our annual pumpkin picking trip, and of course celebrated Halloween at home. We didn't go out trick or treating of course, but we made a Halloween feast, played games and went for a walk to spot pumpkins. It was actually quite nice to not have to knock on doors, so maybe it will be something we do in the years to come too.

Of course the month didn't end on such a high. The news of lockdown 2.0 hit, and the few freedoms we had got back started being taken away again. We made the most of it though by going out for dinner, and I made sure to head to the shops for as many Christmas presents as possible. I'm just so SO glad that we got to enjoy our holiday and days out before we headed back into lockdown.



Race with Ryan: Road Trip Deluxe Edition | Review

25.11.20


If you're a parent to a young child, then the name Ryan's Toy Reviews will no doubt be known in your household. Starting with just a YouTube Channel, Ryan and his family have since grown their Ryan's World brand into a whole empire of merchandise, toys and more, including the Race with Ryan: Road Trip racing game which launched last year. They have recently released the Deluxe Edition of the game, which  includes a whole load more of fun for Ryan's World fans, which we received to enjoy.



The Race with Ryan: Road Trip Deluxe Edition is a great introductory racing game for younger players, full of fun and colourful tracks and characters. You can play as Ryan and all of his friends (including 12 new USA-themed drivers), joining them for an American truck tour full of bright colours and exciting larger-than-life themes. The new Deluxe edition of the game features 4 new circuits - the historic Route 66, Ice Land, through the nature of Redwood and then the busy streets of New York. Of course all of the original tracks, racers and features of the Race with Ryan: Road Trip game are still included.

There are two super-fun gameplay modes for the game. If your child wants to just race solo and win all of the races, then the Career Mode is probably best suited for them. And then up to 4 racers can join in with the split-screen race mode - great for competitions and getting the whole family involved. But however your child decides to race there are lots of surprises in store. Throughout the race you can find Ryan's Mystery Eggs to stop the other racers (or give you a boost), such as burger shields, sticky slime, trick surprise eggs and lots more!



The Race with Ryan: Road Trip Deluxe Edition has proved a big hit with my two older children who are 7 and 5. The game has a great tutorial to help introduce new or younger players to the game, and there's also the option to turn on simplified controls to make it that little bit easier too. They loved spotting there favourite Ryan's World characters such as Combo, Gus and Peck, and the new tracks that come with the Deluxe edition meant they had so many different races to complete. 

The Race with Ryan: Road Trip Deluxe Edition is available on PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4 or Xbox One, and is available exclusively to Smyths Toys. Suitable from age 3+, the game is a great first introduction to gaming for young children. The game forms part of a wider range of Ryan's World toys and merchandise that are available. We also received the Ryan's World Combo Panda Mystery Vehicle Playset which is full of surprises and interactive elements, and would definitely be a great accompanying gift alongside the Race with Ryan game!




AD - We received these items in exchange for our review. All opinions are honest and my own.

Stocking Filler Ideas for Children | Christmas 2020

22.11.20

The products featured in this post were sent for inclusion in this gift guide, however all opinions are honest and my own. This post also contains affiliate links.



I am so excited to be talking about all things Christmas again! It's definitely my favourite time of year, and I feel it's especially important to have something to celebrate with everything that has happened this year.  This third and final gift guide is full of stocking filler ideas for children (or even for the grown ups who are young at heart). I hope it gives you some inspiration this holiday season.


Chocolates from Hotel Chocolat



Chocolates are always a 'must-have' in a stocking, and you cannot go wrong with the fantastic selection of luxury cocoa treats (that include less sugar) from Hotel Chocolat. I love the designs on the posse of penguins and waddle of penguins sets - they are almost too adorable to eat (not that this will stop my little ones!). And although not stocking fillers, make sure you are prepared for the countdown to Christmas with Hotel Chocolat's range of advent calendars, available in dark and white chocolate for grown ups too.



Bring the magic of snow into your home without needing to get cold and wet with this fun Buzz Snow from Buzz Retail. Made of a polymer powder, the 'magic snow' looks and feels just like snow when hydrated - but it never melts! It is eco-friendly, non-toxic and safe for children and animals, but do make sure to use under the direct supervision of an adult. Aimed at children aged 4+, Buzz Snow retails at £15.



I love to include practical gifts as stocking fillers too, so these drinks bottles from Klean Kanteen are perfect. Kid Kanteen stainless steel water bottles are made with safe, BPA-free materials, and are much better for the environment than plastic bottles. They are lightweight and super durable (although note that the sports cap are not leakproof, so are more suitable for older children - baby/toddler versions are also available instead). They are available in lots of lovely designs as well as the simple bold colour designs too.

Pass the Pugs



We've all heard of the classic travel game Pass the Pigs, but it's recently had a makeover, with super cute little pugs replacing the pigs. Pass the Pugs is a simple but fun dice game, where the aim of the game is to be the first to get 100 points by throwing your pugs and seeing how they land. Different positions mean different levels of points, so the game really is different every time! The game comes packaged in it's own handy travel case too, making it easy to play at home or on the go. Suitable for children aged 7+.

Buzz Art Sets


If your children are into arts and crafts or home makeovers, then these fun sets from Buzz Arts are perfect for them. The Body Art Action Tattoos set includes 50 fun designs and 6 sparkly glitter colours pots, so you can make a whole array of different deigns and colour combinations. Simply place your chosen design on a clean dry area, hold down for 1-2 minutes and then gently remove the clear film from the top of the sticks - easy! The Chalk-it Hair Colouring Chalk is an easy way to add colour to your hair without any damage or drastic permanent changes. The set comes with 4 different colours and can be used on all hair types - just simply wash hair to remove the product.

Hexbugs JunkBots


New from the Hexbug range are the JunkBots, the super fun surprise unboxing toy. Packaged in a trash can or a dumpster, there are 36 different JunkBots to find - and each piece of 'junk' is interchangeable too, meaning there's even more fun to be had as you make and customise different characters. Your child has to unlock the can and then search through the 'junk' to find the right pieces before building the Bots. The sets are available in 3 different sizes - the Industrial Dumpster contains 4 Bots, the Alley Dumpster contains 2 Bots and the Trash Bin contains 1 Bot. 

Fabelab Dream Friend Toy


A great stocking filler for younger children, these cuddly toys from Fabelab are super sweet and soft. They are made from 100% organic cotton and are available in a whole range of beautiful, simple designs. These cuddly friends would make a great companion for any little girl or boy, and as they are such high quality they would make a great keepsake for the future too. Available from many retailers, including Kiddies Kingdom.

Maped Helix Arts and Crafts


If you have a creative little one, then these sets from Maped Helix would be the perfect choice. For younger children the My First Colouring set is perfect for introducing pens - they are much chunkier so therefore easier for small hands to hold. The Blo Pen Art Set is great for the more advanced creator, although is still very easy to use to make beautiful pieces of art.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Boys | Christmas 2020

19.11.20

The products featured in this post were sent for inclusion in this gift guide, however all opinions are honest and my own. This post also contains affiliate links.



I am so excited to be talking about all things Christmas again! It's definitely my favourite time of year, and I feel it's especially important to have something to celebrate with everything that has happened this year. I am sharing 3 gift guides this year, and this second guide focuses on gift ideas for boys aged 2 and up.

Family Games are always a big winner in our house - Parker would play them all day if he could! So of course I had to include some new games in my guide this year.

Sketchy


Perfect for a family games night, Sketchy is all about quick drawings and simple pictures so your team mates can easily guess what they are! One player picks a card at random and slots it into the 'Sketchyscreen', they then have 30 seconds to sketch 6 simple pictures so their team members can guess. The unique part of the game is that when the Sketcher draws on one side, the team can see it appear on the other side. Suitable for ages 8+, the game retails at £20 and is available at most good toy retailers.

Windy Knickers



A fun game for little ones aged 4+, the aim of Windy Knickers is to hang out all of your washing before your team mates do, or before a storm hits and granny loses her clothes in the tornado! The rules are really  simple and easy for a young child to pick up, making it a great addition to the games cupboard. Windy Knickers retails at £20 and is available at most good toy retailers.

The Floor is Lava


I'm sure like many others, our children have been playing The Floor is Lava with sofa cushions for a long time now. But introducing the game to save your furniture! The box contains everything you need to turn any floor into a play space for the game, including challenge cards to make the game even more difficult. Aimed at children aged 5+, the game retails at £15.

Stomp Rocket Junior Glow



A perfect gift for little ones with bundles of energy, the Stomp Rocket Junior Glow will provide hours on entertainment and fun. It is lightweight and easily portable, so easy to use out and about (or simply in the garden if you are lucky to have enough space). The rocket kit comes with 4 foam rockets that can soar up to 100ft into the air if the stomper creates a big enough jump, and the extra special part of this design is that the rockets glow in the dark too! Suitable for ages 3+, this kit retails at £12.99.

Techy Gifts from Buzz Toys


If your child is into his tech, then this selection of gifts from Buzz Toys will be perfect for them this Christmas. The Air Ball is a floating football that can be played on most surfaces (wooden floor, laminate, marble and even thin carpet). A great way of playing football indoors in a safe way, without any damage to the house - especially perfect now the weather has changed! The Wall Racer is a gravity defying car that can be driven up the walls and even onto the ceiling with just a flick of a switch. Aimed at children aged 8+, the car charges directly from the remote and can provide hours of fun. A perfect gift for gadget-mad boys would be a mini drones. Buzz Toys has both the Micro Jet and the Thunder Glow - the Micro Jet is a small size plane that can fly vertically at 3 different speeds, and the Thunder Glow is a medium sized drone with LED lights all around it.

Puzzles Cars



I remember my younger siblings having these Puzzle Vehicle Tracks when they were younger, so it's so lovely to see they are still around as I know my three will love them! The set contains 16 pieces the can be combined in different ways to make up to 50 different track combinations. This set is based on the City of London and features some iconic landmarks, along with a bright red London bus and accessories to play with.



John Deere is a recognisable name, so it's lovely to see they now have a toy brand alongside so wannabe farmers of the future can play. The Build-a-Buddy Bonnie set contains a tractor and trailer that can be taken apart and then put back together with the included screwdriver. The toy also features free rolling wheels so is perfect for free car play too! The best bit about the range is that the parts are interchangeable between sets, so there's hours of fun to be had if you have the whole collection (or even with just the one). Suitable for ages 3+ and available from most good toy retailers.

Victoria's Torton Tales Book Collection



Books always make a fantastic Christmas gift, and this range called Victoria's Torton Tales are so lovely. All of the steam engines in the range are based on real-life engines, and Victoria herself is actually owned by Wendy Wakelin, the author of the books! The are currently 4 stories in the range, that tell the tales of Victoria and her fun travels, as well as a fun and colourful Learn to Count version too. With engaging stories and beautiful illustrations, they would make the perfect gift for train-mad little ones this Christmas.

Oribel Vertiplay Wooden Wall Toys



This version of the wooden wall toy is a fun click-clack style track. Your little one can pop the caterpillar at the top, and watch him zig-zag down the track and interact with the included accessories. Vertiplay toys stick on most vertical surfaces, so are perfect for younger children who are learning to stand, or for smaller play spaces, as they increase play area with a more unique interactive experience. Don't worry about mess though, as it's easy to attach with the included self-adhesive backing (which is also removable and reusable). A great engaging toy for little ones aged 2+, available from many retailers, including Kiddies Kingdom.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Girls | Christmas 2020

17.11.20

The products featured in this post were sent for inclusion in this gift guide, however all opinions are honest and my own. This post also contains affiliate links.


I am so excited to be talking about all things Christmas again! It's definitely my favourite time of year, and I feel it's especially important to have something to celebrate with everything that has happened this year.  I am sharing 3 gift guides this year, kicking off with my Christmas gift guide full of gift ideas for little girls aged 2 and up. 

Top Trumps Match



Top Trumps Match is a fast-paced game where you have to be the first to match five characters in a row, before your opponent tries to steal the game. This version has had a Frozen 2 makeover, but it is available in many other exciting designs including Harry Potter, Disney Princess and Trolls. The game is perfect to play at home as a family, or take out-and-about as it comes in a handy self-contained plastic carry case. Aimed at ages 4 and up, the game retails at £15.99.

Tomy Toomies Foam Cone Factory


A perfect gift for younger ones, the Toy Toomies Foam Cone Factory can provide hours of bath time fun. You simply add a few drops of bubble bath and water, and then pull the handle to create plenty of foamy bubbles! I know this toy is aimed at little ones, but I know all three of my children will enjoy playing with it (and so will us parents!). Available from most good toy retailers including Smyths, Amazon, Argos and more.

Vet Squad Vet Surgery



The Vet Squad are 4 best friends who love to go on animal saving adventures, using their skills, knowledge and super vet tech to care for every animal. The Vet Surgery comes with the vet playset, 4 animals and extra accessories. Little ones can use their imaginations to care for the animals using the examination area, weighing scales or even the x-ray machine! Aimed at children aged 4+ and available from most good toy retailers.



Julia Donaldson's books are a huge family favourite in our household, so this Snail and the Whale My First Floor Puzzle is going to be perfect for Lilah this Christmas. The chunky pieces are easy for little hands to hold, and the design is so beautiful too. Ravensburger puzzles are fantastic quality so you can assured they are safe and durable for little ones too. Aimed at children aged 2+ and available from most good toy retailers.

So Sand DIY Vanity-Magic Sand



This years big toy crazy is all about AMSR and getting creative, so this So Sand DIY Vanity-Magic Sand kit from Canal Toys is perfect for older girls. The kit has everything included to create your own magic sand from scratch, as well as tools and shapes to aid play and creativity. The base is a play tray to help contain mess - a fantastic idea I think! Aimed at children aged 6+, the Tool Kit retails at £19.99.

Personalised Book from It's Your Story



There is something extra special about personalised book. We have a few with our children's names in them, but what I love about this one from It's Your Story is that it includes your child's face too! The story is lovely too, full of engaging words and bright colours, and of course your child's face on every page. It's Your Story have a fantastic range of personalised books and stories, including ones that are Christmas themed.


The English Cream Tea Company Scone Gnome Baking Kit



If you have little ones who love to bake like mine do, then this Scone Gnome Baking Kit from The English Cream Tea Company is the perfect little gift. The kit contains everything you need to create 4-5 scones, as well as luxury jam, a wooden utensil kit, a red apron and of course a Scone Gnome hat. The set comes beautifully presented in a red tin that would make a great keepsake after Christmas too. The kit is available to order now from the website and retails at £27.95.



You may recognise this furry little character if you're aware of Wrendale illustrations. This year they have released 4 plush characters based on their most popular designs - Mable the Hedgehog, Webster the Duck, Autumn the Fox, and pictured above is Rowan the Hare. Each character comes beautiful presented in their own canvas bag featuring their illustrations, as well as a gift tag telling you more about them. The plushes themselves are incredibly soft and cuddly; priced at £35 each, they would make a perfect gift this Christmas. 


Avocado Kids Cooking Subscription



Another gift aimed at children who have an interest in food and cooking is this new subscription box from Avocado Kids. The boxes have been designed to encourage little ones to become super chefs in a fun and engaging way. Each box follows superhero food the Avocado Kid to a different destination around the world, and includes easy-to-follow recipes, skills to learn, and lots more. The main aim of Avocado Kids is to help teach children where their food comes from, and to empower them to try new foods in a positive way. A monthly subscription starts at £19.99, but they are offering up to 20% discounts for pre-paid 6 or 12 month subscriptions.

Buzz Art Sets


Buzz Retail have a fantastic selection of gifts on offer this Christmas, including these from the Buzz Arts range. The Buzzing Stickerz set contains everything you need to create over 180 3D holographic and metallic stickers. Hours of fun for little ones who love to be creative! This nail art set from Buzz Nails makes it easy for children to create fun and easy nail designs in minutes. As easy as 1-2-3, you simply brush on the base layer, then the design layer, and then use the pen to add design detail. Easy!



I remember having the standard Aquadoodle when Indiana was little, but it has had a really fun makeover in this Super Rainbow Deluxe edition. You simply fill the Aquadoodle pen with tap water, and then your little one can draw and design to their hearts content without mess, stains or worries! As the drawings dry the designs fade away, and the mat is ready to be drawn on again. This set also includes a special paintbrush that allows little ones to make bigger strokes, as well as 3 stampers for added fun. Suitable for ages 18m+ and retails at £24.99 from most good toy retailers.

Maped Helix Arts and Crafts


Arts and crafts are always a massive hit with my three, and these colourful sets from Maped Helix are fantastic. Maped Helix is a British company which has been synonymous with the stationery world for over 130 years, and their children's range continues to offer high quality, innovative products. The Colour Emotions set and the Colour & Play set are both suitable for younger children, thanks to their chunkier pens and simple designs. Children can use their imaginations and creativity to design to their hearts content, before using their creations for play!