Orion Children’s Books – Nanny Fox & Do you speak English Moon?

Orion books publish a wide range of books for children, something to appeal to all ages.  I’ve always found their books to be of an excellent quality so was delighted to try a couple of their picture books with my young children, aged 5 and 3.

Nanny fox orion books

Nanny Fox is a delightful picture book about a fox who befriends some chickens and ends up looking after them and protecting them from other foxes including his own family who he goes against.  The book is a nice length without being too long making it ideal to read to young children.  My two enjoying looking at the pictures as I read the story helping them to engage with the storyline and understand what was going on.  My little boy enjoyed pointing at things in the pictures and telling me what they were and they were both so pleased that the chicken’s didn’t get caught and eaten in the end.  The book displays lots of good messages about looking after others and caring for them and shows that friends can come from any background but still enjoy each others company.

do you speak english moon orion booksDo You Speak English Moon? is a hardback picture story book written by Francesca Simon (also author of the Horrid Henry books) and illustrated by Ben Cort.  This book is about a little boy asking questions to the moon to see if it does normal everyday things like he does.  It’s simplistic but has plenty to engage with.  For me the illustrations really make the book as they really encourage little minds to expand on the simple questions being asked to the moon.  There are lots of images that 3 yr old Mister B spotted that lit up his eyes like dinosaurs, pirates, big swirly ice creams giving us lots to talk about.  This book is written in a calming way so doesn’t over excite, making this an ideal bedtime reading book.  Perfect for my three year old – he loves it!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Stabilo Stationery for Children – Review

Stabilo have created a range of ergonomic designs specifically aimed at children and young writers to help boost their letter formation and make it easier for them to hold a pencil and improve their writing skills.  We were sent a selection from Stabilo to try out and see what we thought.

WP_003261The Stabilo EASYgraph pencil comes in a triangular shape with special non-grip mouldings along the edge for little fingers to grip easily.   Miss M was immediately drawn to this as she has been given one at school to use, so she instantly knew what the red end on this meant.  All the pens/pencils in this range have been carefully colour coded with red or yellow for right and left handed.  Miss M knew she had a right handed one because it was red.  I watched her grasp the pencil, it is very comfortable on the hand and because the finger grips are there so it really allows for little ones to start forming letters easily as they are holding it correctly.  This has become a firm favourite of Miss M’s and she uses it everyday.

We also tried the EASYoriginal which is an ergonomic rollerball pen.  The outer casing of this one is pink, a right handed model, which immediately appealed to Miss M.  This is a really comfortable pen to hold that Miss M has loved using to write endless little stories and diaries of her day.  It’s great that it encourages little ones to write and because it’s comfy and easy to hold, it is always the first pen they pick up first.  Being refillable means you can keep the comfy outer shell and just buy replacements for the rollerball ink.  I love the ergonomic aspects of this pen and think it’s great to help young writers boost their writing confidence and improve their letter formation with this easy to write pen.  It does just glide along the paper with no smudging, a well made, high quality child’s pen.

Stabilo penThe pack of point 88 Fineliner’s from Stabilo are a wonderful set of brightly coloured pens with a sharp point that glides easily as it writes.  The selection of pens all produce bright, vibrant colours on the paper in non smudge ink.  I have loved using these to write various things down from birthday cards, to entries on the family calendar using a different colour for each person.  Miss M has tried them and loved the colours, but I have kept them away from everyday use, letting her use them if she is writing something special.  The pens are hexagonally shaped making them nice to hold and I’ve always been a fan of fine points.  They claim to have a long cap-off time which is great especially with younger ones using them.

I’m very impressed by the Stabilo range of stationery, although a bit pricier than some other stationery ranges around, they are of very high quality and built to last.  The ergonomically designed pens and pencils for children are the highlight of the range for me and something well worth considering investing in for your young ones.  To improve their quality of writing can only be a bonus, well worth paying for.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

 

Ozeri Green Earth Frying Pan – Review

The Green Earth Pan by Ozeri has been a revelation to my kitchen.   I only use a pan like this once or twice a week but I have been so impressed by this, that I try to cook with it as much as I can.

ozeri frying panMy old pan definitely had seen better day’s but I could never have imagined the difference I got with Ozeri.  It’s a sturdy, heavy based pan with an elevated texture on the bottom that creates air pockets to distribute the heat through.  An immediate thing I noticed is that this pan is such a good heat conductor that you need it on a much lower heat than you first think, which is great for energy usage.  The bright, funky design is a winner and gives it a modern look. The other incredible bonus with this frying pan is the non stick surface.  Using a Greblon ceramic coating which is also scratch resistant, I found this to be amazing.

I cooked myself a courgette omelette in my Ozeri pan.  It was recommended to just give the pan a light brush of oil which I did.  The omelette was easy to manoeuvre in the pan, gliding from side to side without no signs of sticking.  This is a revelation to me – the non stick ability is amazing.

ozeri pan green earthI have been really impressed with the qualities of this Ozeri pan.  It does currently retail at £24.95 but I see this as an investment kitchen piece, one that will last and you will use over and over again.  I highly recommend it after trying it for the last week or two.  It is a high performing pan, that requires a medium heat and cooks quickly and evenly and best of all won’t stick, which for me equals less effort washing up – which can only be a bonus!

This is a 20cm pan but it is available in two larger sizes should you require a bigger pan.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Halloween Dot to Dot and Return of the Jabberwock Story Book

Halloween is always a fun time for children, dressing up, eating sweeties and doing themed activities.  Top That Publishing sent us a couple of their Halloween themed books for my children to try out and they proved a big hit!

Halloween dot to dot bookThe 3D dot to dot book was perfect for Miss M age 5, it was the perfect level for her, a bit more challenging than what she had done previously but exactly what she needed.  She loved working through the spooky pictures.  The dot to dot book is not only an activity book, it doubles up as a story book.

dot to dotThe dot to dot images had Miss M in awe, she sat down consistently night after night completing her dot to dots, loving the challenge of completing the pictures.  In the really high numbers she made a couple of mistakes but nothing we couldn’t correct.  I saw this as great practice for her counting and number work and she loved the fun aspect of the resulting picture.

Halloween dot to dotThe 3D glasses added another dimension to the book.  They made all the images pop out in 3D, something Miss M found fascinating.  What I loved about this book is that a story runs through it about Max and Molly on their fairground ride which results in seeing lots of ghosts and spooky images along the way.  This was a great story that we can read up on the run up to Halloween and beyond.  Miss M actually went to great effort to read the story herself and read it to me last night.  There were a few words that caught her out but the majority, including long words such as ‘interesting’ and ‘investigate’ she was very proud to get correct herself.

return-of-the-jabberwock

The book The Return of the Jabberwock is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s famous poem.  It is a fabulous rhyming book that’s easy to read with engaging illustrations for children.  We enjoyed reading this together with the rhyming lines aspect being an added attraction.  The story images are quite dark and creepy feeling so definitely suited to older ones, 5 plus should be fine.   There is also the original Lewis Carroll poem included at the front which is a really nice touch.  Miss M didn’t enjoy this due to the old fashioned English but I loved reading it.  She did enjoy the main story though and the rhyming really engaged Miss M with her eagerness to hear the story throughout and see how it ended.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Scootaheadz Fun Scooter Accessory – Review and Giveaway

Scootaheadz are the exciting new accessory for your child’s scooter.  Fun, durable animal heads in four different designs are sure to boost your child’s enjoyment whilst out for a ride.  I was delighted to receive Pippa Pony a pink horse head to try out with 5 yr old Miss M’s scooter.

apink9When I surprised Miss M with this new accessory for her scooter, her first reaction was “Ah, I love it” and proceeded to cuddle her new pony friend.  Once she had been introduced to Pippa Pony, I suggested we try to fit it to her scooter.  Well I have to admit, it was so much easier than expected, it literally just clipped securely into place as if it was made for her scooter.  Really impressed with how snug it sits on the T bar of the scooter with no signs of movement or ability to fall off.

With the disappointing weather at the moment it’s been hard to get out much, but Miss M has been scooting after school round to the nursery to pick up Mister B and was proud to display her Scootaheadz which definitely got some attention from people we knew asking about it.  As Pippa Pony is a horse, Miss M loved to neigh as she went along and lift the front of the scooter up imitating a horse lifting it’s front legs.

Scooterheadz1Scooterheadz 2The Scootaheadz are waterproof, easy to clean and designed to be long lasting.  Being made of a rubber type of material they won’t break if  the scooter falls to the ground.  I am impressed with how good this looks on the scooter, and Miss M loves her new scooter accessory – it’s been a huge hit here!

As well as Pippa Pony there are three other animals to choose from in the Scootaheadz range, Lovely Lola, Timmy T-Rex and Danny Dino, all in bold engaging colours.

thumb-greenthumb-bluethumb-purp   thumb-pink

 

 

Scootaheadz have kindly offered one of these delightful scooter accessories to one of my readers, you’ll be able to pick the design of your choice from the four friendly faces.

If you’d like to win a Scootaheadz, then fill out the form below for your chance of winning:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to UK entrants only
Winners will be emailed and will need to reply within 5 days or a new winner will be drawn
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Oral-B Pro Expert Toothpaste – Looking After Your Gums

One thing that has always been important to me is oral health, caring for my teeth and gums.  I’ve always been one to regularly brush my teeth as I dread the thought of ever needing dentist treatment, I’m happy with my annual check ups, in and out within 5 minutes!

To help care for my gums I try to floss my teeth a couple of times a week, and when I keep it up I definitely feel that my teeth are cleaner and my gums are more cared for.  I have however noticed around my top front teeth a permanently red inflamed area.  The dentist just tells me to keep flossing it and massage the area with a soft toothbrush and it has never been raised as a further concern, but I find it very painful to floss between my front two teeth.  If I leave it alone it doesn’t bother me and I forget about it until I see the redness in the mirror again.

So I was keen to try the Pro-Expert toothpaste from Oral-B as a way of protecting and caring for my gums as I can see this is the area that may cause me further concerns in the future.  The toothpaste offers premium gum protection helping to slow bacterial growth against gum problems as well as reducing plaque and fighting tartar.

WP_003566I found the toothpaste taste quite different to my usual bicarbonate of soda brand but was pleasant to use with a minty flavour.  It did feel a little gritty rather than smooth but in a good way and left my mouth feeling fresh and clean after use.  I look forward to seeing if there’s a difference to my top gum line after 4 weeks use as the box suggests.

It’s interesting to hear that most people will suffer from gum issues at some point in their lives with it being the biggest cause of tooth loss.  It can especially be an issue for women during pregnancy with 1 in 2 suffering from swollen, bleeding gums.  Fortunately throughout my two pregnancies, I recall having slightly tender gums but nothing more.  Let’s hope by making awareness of gum issues to everyone, that more people take care of them and fewer problems arise.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ #ORALBLoveYourGums Challenge sponsored by Oral-B, promoting healthy gums – something especially important for pregnant women. Get tips and advice on www.oralb-loveyourgums.com.

Win 1 of 5 Jollywobbles: Car Wash DVD and Review

Jollywobbles: Car Wash is the latest DVD release featuring the ever popular Justin Fletcher.  Jollywobbles is full of comedy sketches featuring Justin and his car getting up to all sorts of hilarious antics, perfect to keep little ones entertained.

Jollywobbles2_2D_RGBMy children were eager to sit down to watch this as soon as they saw the DVD, they tend to know that anything with Justin Fletcher in will normally appeal to them and in the case of Jollywobbles: Car Wash, it certainly didn’t disappoint.  Three year old Mister B was most impressed and sat giggling out loud finding the whole thing hilarious.  They love it when there is mess or water involved and Jollywobbles has the lot, laughter, fun, mess, water antics.

After having watched the DVD numerous times, my children are now able to tell me what is about to happen before it does getting all excited at the prospect of a funny disaster about to happen.  This Jollywobbles DVD has been a huge hit with my two and one I know they watch again and again.

 Six fun episodes included:
Car Wash
Wildlife Park
Dining Hall
Library
Camping
River

Jollywobbles: Car Wash DVD was released this week on 21st October 2013 and can be purchased from all good DVD stockists.

For more information can be found on the Abbey Home Media website or their Facebook and Twitter pages.

If you’d like to win a copy of the new Jollywobbles: Car Wash DVD, then fill out the form below for your chance of winning 1 of 5 copies:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to UK entrants only
Winners will be emailed and will need to reply within 5 days or a new winner will be drawn
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

International Walk to School Month with F&F

This October is International Walk to School Month, an initiative to encourage parents and children to walk to school each day rather than jumping in the car.  We do try to walk to school when we can, especially in the summer but on the cold, dark, wet winters evenings with two young, tired, hungry children I have to admit that popping round in the car can be more appealing.

Miss M’s school celebrate International Walk to School Month last week by putting on a special breakfast in the playground for any children who arrived at school on foot, scooter or bike between 8.30 and 8.45 so I was rather pleased when I had the opportunity to try out a couple of coats from F&F to wear on the journey.

One thing that’s essential for walking to school in the outdoors is a good winter coat and F&F have a great variety on offer to keep children cosy and warm.  For winter I like a child’s coat to have a soft, warm lining and a hood as well as being practical and easily washable for everyday wear.

With many styles and designs to choose from,  we chose the Pink Corsage Padded Jacket for Miss M.  With a warm padded exterior and soft fleecy inside which she loved, this is great for windy, wet weather.  It has a snug fitting hood so it won’t blow off, that is fur lined around the edge to make it ultra cosy.  It fitted well and looks stylish.  Being a jacket was perfect for Miss M as she doesn’t like anything too long and is ideal for the Autumn days that are upon us.  With it’s pretty pink design and well made finish we loved this coat suitable for many occasions.

Tesco jacket coatFor Mister B I wanted something comfortable, that he could happily run around in and that wouldn’t show too much dirt.  He always walks to nursery as it’s just round the corner or on the day’s he doesn’t go, he join’s us on the school walk always picking up sticks and leaves along the way.

I don’t normally go for character clothes but when I saw this Disney Pixar Cars Lightning Mcqueen Padded Coat on the F&F website, I knew this would be the perfect coat for him.  His little face said it all when I showed him the coat – Lightening Mcqueen is one of his favourite characters!  The overall colour of the coat is black with a small Lightening Mcqueen logo.  There is also a trophy logo and the word RACER written across the bottom of the coat at the back.  Added details I liked were the checkerboard design inside of the hood and again this coat had a soft fleecy lining to keep him cosy and warm.  I found this coat to be of a really good quality, better than I was expecting for a coat of this style.  It was easy to zip up with the zip coming high across the neck to keep all the cold wind out.

I love this coat and so does Mister B.  It is generously sized although we did get a size up to go over all his thick winter cardigans and jumpers.  This coat should last, is great quality and has a bit of fun with it’s Lightening Mcqueen detailing which definitely helped encourage Mister B to wear it and motivate him to walk to school.

Lightening McQueen coat TescoWe’ve really enjoyed trying out the range of coats from F&F.  I have to be honest that I didn’t realise they did such a variety of coats and jackets and am quite impressed by the choice available.  They are good value for money with stylish, fashionable designs that are of a good quality.  I’ll definitely be back to shop there next time we need a coat but for now my children have some great outerwear to keep them warm and cosy on the school run each day.

Are you supporting International Walk to School Month to keep your children active?

 All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Orion Early Reader Books – Princesses and Horrid Henry

With Miss M’s love of reading, her ability to independently read is progressing well and the Early Reader books from Orion are ideal in making that step from large picture books to proper grown up books.  Miss M loves that they are broken down into small chapters (chapters make her feel very grown up) and the text is interspersed with pictures to help maintain interest and entertain.

princesses bookA Palace Full of Princesses is a delightful book for any little girl containing four classic princess fairytales.

  • Cinderella
  • Snow White
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • The Frog Prince

Each story is broken down into chapters making it easy to read but the storyline has kept to the traditional fairytales we all know and love just written in an update way for children to enjoy.

This early reader book is simple enough for 5 yr old Miss M to read although there are a good selection of new or longer words to challenge her and make her think or ask for assistance.  She loves the pictures to go with the story and it gives her confidence in what she is reading to ensure she understands the story properly.

palace of princesses orion booksI love this collection of princess stories, a perfect addition to any young girl’s bookshelf.  The book printed on top quality paper with a high glossy cover.  This would make a lovely present for any little girl this Christmas.

******************************************************************************

Horrid Henry royal riotHorrid Henry is one of Miss M’s favourite characters, she is mesmerised by his naughtiness and he always has her in fits of giggles when she watches the programme on television.  Now that she has started to read, Horrid Henry books are a great choice for her as it is a character she knows and loves, so she finds it easier to pick up the storyline.

Horrid Henry’s Royal Riot is a collection of four Horrid Henry books presented in a beautiful hard back book.

  • Horrid Henry’s Thank You Letter
  • Horrid Henry Meets the Queen
  • Moody Margaret’s School
  • Horrid Henry’s Sports Day

Each story is broken down into chapters with plenty of entertaining illustrations to keep your child occupied.  Miss M likes to look at the pictures before she reads each page which I think also helps her read the next part.  Miss M found this book a little trickier than the princesses book but only because it’s written with a lot of conversation between Henry and others, and she’s never quite sure where to pause for breath.  We found to start with I read one page and she read the next which kept her motivation up.

We started with Horrid Henry’s Thank You Letter which is about Horrid Henry not wanting to write his thank you letters after Christmas and the battle of his parents trying to get him to do them.  Eventually he did them and then found a way to make money out of writing them on behalf of his friends,  I’ll let you read the rest.

Horrid Henry royal riot pagesHorrid Henry’s Royal Riot is a lovely early reader book that boys and girls will love equally.  And with four stories under one cover this has to be a book that will last and children will read again and again.  Another great gift idea this Christmas for young readers out there.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Mister B is 3 and Dinosaur Birthday Cake!!

Yesterday was a very special day for my gorgeous little boy Mister B – he turned 3!!  We had a fairly normal day with daddy and I working, big sister Miss M at school and Mister B at nursery.  As I finish at 1pm on a Wednesday, I picked him up and we went home to enjoy the rest of the day and celebrate!!

Blakes 3rd birthday cakeUnfortunately mummy was a little tired the night before and didn’t get round to making his birthday cake, so once we got home from work/nursery, an eager to help little boy put on his apron and we set about making two chocolate sponge cakes.  While they were cooling we picked Miss M up from school then came home to open his cards and presents.  While they then played, I dashed into the kitchen to cook tea and assemble the cake – arghh!!  I wanted it to be ready for after dinner but time was against me and I didn’t have much of a plan of how to construct my cake.  I whizzed up some chocolate buttercream in the food processor, chopped the sponges into random shapes, slapped it all together in the hope it would become a recognisable creature.

chocolate dinosaur cakeWell Mister B was very happy with the finished result – a dinosaur cake, something he really wanted being a bit dinosaur mad at the moment.  A success!!

Dinosaur cake2A tired little 3 year old soon went up to bed to sleep off the excitement of the day, although he eagerly awaits for the weekend when his party takes place with all his friends.