Picture Story Books from Parragon – Review

Parragon Books have a delightful selection of children’s books and we were lucky to be sent a couple to try.

The first is called The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat, a familiar title based on the classic Edward Lear poem that I remember from my childhood.  Although, this little tale follows two children dressed up as an owl and a pussycat who go on an adventure in their living room, travelling in a cardboard box.  They see many things on the way until they return home and fall asleep.

Parrogon owl and pussycatMy children both thoroughly enjoyed hearing me read this book to them, it’s fast paced with rhyming text, making you eager to turn the page to hear the next line.  The story is accompanied by beautifully illustrated pages that my children love to look at and point out things on.  It’s not too long and this makes it the perfect reading book for 3 year old Mister B.  He likes books with good pictures that he can understand and that aren’t too long as he prefers to have several books read at a time.  This is written in a modern way but still has a classic feel to it.  A lovely story that we all enjoyed.

The second book we tried was Wakey Wakey Big Brown Bear, a delightful tale about a group of animal friends.  The story centres around Big Brown Bear who is due for his long winter sleep but is worried about missing all the delightful things that happen during Autumn and Winter like crunchy leaves and puddles of rain.  Not wanting him to miss out his friends put together a mock Autumn and Winter when he wakes up.

Wakey wakey big brown bear parragonThis book has an enchanting storyline showing how friends come together and do nice things for each other.  This book also has lovely illustrations with plenty of detail giving my children lots to talk about. They loved the part of the story when Big Brown Bear’s friends were trying to wake him up and started shouting themselves for him to wake up!  They also enjoyed the pretend Autumn and Winter scenes as it’s all things they enjoy – walking through big piles of crunchy leaves, jumping in puddles and snow.

Both these books have been a great success with my children and I think they are both excellent books.  I’d definitely recommend them as ideal picture story books for pre school children.

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.


A Night in with Friends!

Last Saturday I left my family and travelled 225 miles to meet up with nine other bloggers for the first time, all of whom I’ve chatted with online for the last year or so and got to know rather well but would it be the same in person?  Well I took the risk and said goodbye to my husband and children for the weekend. After a train journey full of sea views and sunshine, I finally arrived to a huge welcoming by everyone.  The lovely Eileen was our host and very kindly allowed her house to be the venue for the night and accommodated us all for the night.  It was like meeting a bunch of old friends, everyone got on, and there was a very pleasant atmosphere all evening.

Cotton on group L-R  Me – Fiona, Eileen, Mary, Anna, Pippa, Jenny, Zoe,Tina, Angela,Tami

As well as the great company, we were lucky to have the evening sponsored by some wonderful brands and got to try some new and interesting products for us to review.

We started off with some drinks, a lovely selection of wines from I Heart WINES, whose Prosecco was particularly appealing, a light crisp taste that was easy on the palate.  To add some interest we tried making some Bellini’s with Funkin White Peach Bellini Cocktail Mixer and found this to be the perfect combination, everyone enjoyed it, even the non drinkers with their non alcoholic wine.  We also had some frozen cocktails courtesy of My Cocktail and the rather limey flavoured Mojito tasted divine, out of the freezer is was quite slushy and proved the perfect fit for our Party Pieces pirate accessories!

Drink cotton onWe were lucky to have Domino’s deliver pizza and dessert for our evening meal, and to be fair,  pizza is one of my favourite takeaways!  With Domino’s not being my the one I usually try, I was keen to see what it was like.  Being vegetarian I had the choice of the cheese & tomato or vegetable supreme.  I do kind of prefer my pizzas plain but what really sold it to me was the golden finish to the cheese on the cheese & tomato.  I love anything well cooked, with a crispy finish and the cheese and tomato was just crying out to be eaten – it was delicious!

Dominos cotton onFor dessert we were fortunate to try the New Chocolate Twisted Doughballs, which were rather divine, something my children would be sure to love.  Moist dough twisted with Belgian chocolate inside and sprinkled with icing sugar is sure to be a hit.  This is a great dessert for sharing as it can easily be pulled into pieces.   Definitely worth a try!

I had a lovely weekend with friends getting to know them better and trying out new things.  I’ve definitely found a few brands in the future that I want to try, and gained some lovely friendships along the way.

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.

Packmate Vacuum Storage Bags – Review

One thing I’m short of in my home is storage, particularly since having children, so when I had the chance to try out some Packmate vacuum storage bags, how could I refuse?  I’ve never tried vacuum storage before and wondered how effective it would be.  I was sent a selection from the range available including jumbo, large and travel bags.

travel_storage vacuum_flat vacuum_volume

The first thing I noticed was the black leaf design on the Packmate bags which I found really appealing, they would look attractive even if they are stored under the bed or in the wardrobe.  The reverse side of each bag with the valve is clear so you can see what’s inside. Packmate vacuum black whiteLiving so far from my family I have a couple of spare duvets, various blankets and things that are only used occasionally and if I could condense them, I’d have more storage for other things. So the next step was to try them out.  They were easy to fill with their wide opening on one side which is easily closed by a plastic zip that slides across.  There is a simple valve on the clear side of the bag which lifts to open, then you apply the hose of the vacuum cleaner to expel the air from the bag before pushing the valve down to close it.

One item that took up a lot of room was our guest double duvet which is stored in a zipped bag under my daughter’s bed.  I took this out, rolled it up and but it in a large Packmate high volume storage bag.  I then expelled the air and result can be seen below, it takes up a fraction of the space it did before leaving me additional room to add extra items such as a couple of pillows to the bag.

Packmate duvet from thisI am impressed at how well the Packmate vacuum bags have performed, leaving me with lots of extra room in the house, these are the ideal space savers, great if you only have a small space or have a lot of things.  Vacuum bags are great for items that you don’t use regularly particularly large bedding items or cushions.  Another advantage of using these bags for storage is that they protect against moisture, mildew, bugs and dirt.  They are made from a tough tear resistant material that will withstand use again and again.

Within the Packmate range of vacuum bags is a set of travel bags.  These are a lot smaller and come in various sizes with the zip top feature but without the valve on the back of the bag.  The beauty of these bags are that you can either roll them up, press them or if you have a vacuum cleaner handy you can poke the nozzle in a partial opening of the zip to compress the bag.  How fantastic is that for travelling with limited space?  I know this is something I come across each year when we go on our family holiday.  A car full to the brim of four people’s belongings.   Being able to compress some of that will definitely be a bonus and make more room in the car.  If you are away from home you can simply roll the bag up to expel the air, it couldn’t be any easier.

Packmate travelAll Packmate vacuum bags come with a 5 year guarantee and are available from Home Storage Direct with free delivery on all orders.

I think these are a fantastic way to organise your belongings, they’ve certainly helped my family make a bit more room and will get plenty of use from them over the next few years.

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.


Djeco Princess Create a Story Stamp & Stencil Set – Review

Djeco Princess Create a Story Stamp & Stencil Set is a beautiful creative kit for girls allowing them to produce elegant pictures, story scenes and many other creative pieces.  This set from French brand Djeco is presented in a high quality box, perfect for storing all the pieces in.

Djeco_princess-create-a-story-stamp-stencil-set_butterflies and dragonsInside the box you get 10 sheets of high quality paper in a lovely selection of background designs as well as 3 stencil sheets, 10 stamps and a pink ink pad.

Miss M’s eyes lit up when she saw the box and being of an art and crafty nature, she couldn’t wait to get stuck in.  The french designs are elegant and feminine and Miss M immediately took up the challenge of creating a princess scene on the included background papers.  She loved both the stamps and the stencils and sat in deep concentration drawing inside the stencil lines.  Djeco princess stamping stencil

This has kept Miss M entertained for long periods of time, with her keen to create her own little storyboards.  The designs feel grown up and different from other similar types of activity kits making it a good step up for Miss M and made it more interesting for her.  It really encourages children to be creative using various methods such as stamping, stenciling and their own free hand.  Miss M has also enjoyed colouring the stenciled pictures to finish them off.

Djeco stamping stencils

This is a lovely set presented in a beautiful sturdy box that is great for storing little crafty things in.  There is plenty to do and the included background papers really make your child’s pictures come to life.   Miss M has loved using this set and will continue for a long time yet.  We recommend this and think it’d make a lovely gift for any young girl who enjoys drawing and art.

The Djeco Princess Create a Story Stamp & Stencil Set is available from the family run company Butterflies and Dragons.  They have a wide range of other wonderful children’s toys and activities which all come with free delivery within the UK!!  There are many beautiful wooden and traditional style toys – well worth a look especially on the run up to Christmas.

butterflies and dragons

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.

Christmas by Dick Bruna

Christmas by Dick Bruna has to be one of the most delightful children’s nativity picture books I’ve come across, telling an elementary tale of the nativity story with simple, but charming pictures in a hard back book.  To mark the 50th anniversary since the book was first published in 1963, a stunning gold and white edition has been published by Simon and Schuster.

Dick Bruna Christmas 50 years

Christmas tells the tale of the shepherds who see the bright light of an angel telling them of a baby called Jesus who has been born in Bethlehem.  They make their way to meet Jesus and find him in a stable.  The three kings also make a visit bringing gifts before returning home on their camels the spread the word that Jesus was born.  Everyone decided that every year the day that Jesus was born should be a holiday and that day is Christmas day.

I have read this to my children aged 5 and 3 numerous times over the last week or two.  This is the perfect time of year to read the book and due to them enjoying both the story and the pictures, it has become a firm favourite at the moment.  They love the nativity story which 5 year old Miss M recognises from what she has learnt at school .  She loves the style of the book and has read the book to us a few times with it’s easy to read sentences and simple style.  Mister B who is 3 enjoys the pictures which are simple and recognisable giving us something to talk about.

Dick Bruna ChristmasThe Christmas book includes a ribbon bookmark to save the page you are on with a delightful angel attached half way along.  Miss M love this and guides it through the pages as we read.  Dick Bruna’s illustrations are uncomplicated in design but totally lovable.  Any fans of Miffy (which we are) will instantly recognise his unique style which has lasting appeal through generations.

I absolutely adore this Christmas book by Dick Bruna and highly recommend it.  It’s classic tale that has widespread appeal which children will enjoy year after year.   The 50th anniversary edition is a delight that I am proud to put on my bookshelf and one that I only let the children read supervised.  This book will be enjoyed many times over by our family on the run up to Christmas and is a book that I hope I can read and pass on to my grandchildren one day.

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.

Beatrix New York Pixel Robot Case for Tablets – Review

Beatrix New York Cases for tablets have to be one of the cutest range of iPad covers I’ve seen in a while.  Aimed at children with their modern range of designs, Beatrix New York covers come with either a Robot, Dinosaur, Owl or Ladybird on the front.  We chose the Robot to try with our iPad as it was an appealing design that both daddy and the children would be happy with.

Beatrix ipad case robotThe Beatrix New York cases are designed to be compatible with any tablets up to 10.1″ in size. Therefore it makes the ideal companion for the iPad.

This case is beautifully made to a really high standard, the quality really shows which is just what you want when looking for something to protect your iPad.  The cases are padded with a velvet lining and water resistant protection for kid-proof protection. They are also PVC free, Phthalate free, BPA free, lead free & BPA free so no nasties in there making it perfect for little ones who are venturing into the world of tablets.

Beatrix ipad case robot1
The design of the case is lovely, it drew the attention of both my children immediately.  The image of the robot is bold, bright and beautifully embroidered to an exceptional standard.  There is even a little name badge on the back so you can add your personal details.  The zips have been well thought out with a soft touch, ergonomically friendly, shaped moulding that is easy to grab when opening and closing.

Beatrix ipad cover robot 2We were all amazed at the ultra soft feel inside.  Perfect for protecting your iPad and it also made it really easy to slip the iPad in and out of.  The whole family love this cover for the iPad and as it’s something primarily used by daddy and the children the design is perfect for them.   We all love this and can’t recommend it highly enough in both quality and design aspects.

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.


Matey Bubble Bath and Bath Book – Review

Matey is a bubble bath I remember from my childhood.  The character bottles are fun and you always get plenty of bubbles.  I like to try to make bath time fun for the children as they enjoy it more and it’s easier for me.  We were sent some Matey to try along with a limited edition Matey bath time book.


Five year old Miss M was immediately drawn to the bottle and asked to pour it into the bath.  You get a lot of bubbles from this for a small amount which is pleasing and they couldn’t wait to jump in.  Mister B had already taken control of the bath book, eager to get in the bath and read the story.

Both children loved the pirate theme of the book, which follows Max Matey and Molly Matey’s adventures in the bath tub, searching through all the bubbles looking for buried treasure!

Matey 2

The Matey bath book certainly kept them entertained and has come out each bath time along with Molly Matey’s bubbles which are a big hit – they love pouring all the bubbles in and out of different pots and it can be hard to get them out of the bath although I shouldn’t complain!

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.

Woolly and Tig Books – Review

Woolly and Tig has been a surprise hit with my two children since it started on television – they are absolutely glued to the programme and love Tig with her pet spider Woolly in their day to day adventures.

Woolly and Tig Night NightNight Night, Woolly is a delightful paperback book from Random House for young children.  The book is beautifully  made with each page being thick and sturdy.  With it’s rounded corners it looks smart and inviting, full of bold bright colours that little ones will love.  On the corner of each page is a little image of Woolly with the words “Lift me up…”, a simple but fun guide to turn the page which my two found fun.

The storyline is all about Tig overcoming her fear of the dark with Woolly by her side to help.  At first her parents give her a little lamp to glow through the night but then she sees shadows on the wall which turn out to be her sheep mobile.  Woolly shows her how to have fun making shadow puppet shows on the ceiling which becomes a fun thing to do and Tig forgets about her fear of the dark.

I love how all the Woolly and Tig stories follow an experience that many little ones face in life and then show them a way to overcome it.  Woolly the friendly spider is a big hit with my children.  They trust him and listen to his guidance with open ears and keep asking for a cuddly Woolly of their own.

Woolly and Tig Sticker bookThe Woolly and Tig Let’s Play Sticker Book is a glossy covered activity book, packed full of pages to colour, practice writing skills, counting and do observational puzzles.  There are also plenty of sticker pages in the centre which my two love, to be used across the pages of the book with some extra stickers to use how you want.

woolly and tig picsI think this activity book covers a good selection of things to do, all fun but incorporating hidden educational aspects.  This is ideal for preschoolers, giving them something to focus on and something to sit down and do with the aid of a parent.  My two both wanted to have a go, so Miss M took charge and did the harder activities but very kindly guided Mister B through the simpler ones encouraging him to have a go at tracing the letters.  She also helped him to place the stickers in the correct places.  Being big Woolly and Tig fans they loved it and in my opinion the sticker book is well thought out with a good variety of activities and of a nice quality.

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.

Win 1 of 5 The Little Reindeer DVD’s and Review

The Little Reindeer DVD is an ideal Christmas film for young children.  It’s animated in a magical way to engage little ones and is accompanied by music rather than voices.  My two sat down to watch this and were mesmerised throughout watching the story of The Little Reindeer and his adventures with a little boy.

Little ReindeerOn Christmas Eve the little reindeer is exploring Santa’s
workshop when he accidentally falls into the giftwrapping
machine, and finds himself being delivered as a present! The
little boy who receives him is overjoyed and sets about building
him a home, but soon discovers that his reindeer is no
ordinary reindeer, he can fly! After many magical adventures
together, Christmas comes around again and it’s time for
Santa to retrieve his lost gift!

With a running time of 26 minutes this was the perfect length for my two children.  They sat quietly watching it and it really brought the Christmas spirit into the front room.  They both enjoyed it and would happily watch over and over.  This is great for the Christmas season as it is something to occupy little ones with, although not too long to lose their attention.  It really does have a  magical feel and is something that would be watched year after year.

The Little Reindeer DVD was released on 28th 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 The Little Reindeer DVD, then fill out the form below for your chance of winning 1 of 5 copies:

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