My Little Pony – A Canterlot Wedding – App Review

My Little Pony is a favourite with most little girls, and this latest App, A Canterlot Wedding is a lovely interactive storybook with activities that can be played over and over again.

My little pony app canterlot weddingThe story follows the preparation for the Royal Wedding.  Princess Celestia, the bride to be has allocated jobs to each of the ponies in Canterlot, but they need help to carry them out.

The images are bold and bright in this My Little Pony storybook, something Miss M really enjoyed looking at and listening to.  The word are written on each page, but also read out loud and you are prompted when to turn the page.  During the story, there are opportunities to help the ponies carry out their jobs, such as decorated the wedding cake, choosing the bridal outfit for Princess Celestia and picking flowers.

My little pony app picsMiss M really had fun going through the storybook with a smile on her face as she turned each page to see what came next.  I asked her opinion of the My Little Pony storybook at the end and she said “I loved it”.

I thought this was a lovely app, then many young girls would enjoy although I would say Miss M, at 6 is at the upper age range to enjoy this.  I think girls aged 3-6 years would really get the most out of this and go back to it again and again.

The app is available through iTunes and is currently half price, so now’s the time to buy a copy if you know a little girl that might like this.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received a free code in order to try out the app and write the review.

Getting Organised in the Mornings

One thing I do like to be is organised in the mornings.  There is nothing worse than getting up on a cold rainy morning, the house is cold, it’s dark and you need to get the children up ready for school and yourself ready for work.  By getting things prepared the night before you are not only saving time but it make’s life a lot easier in the morning if you have less to do and you are less likely to forget anything.

The night before I always make the pack lunches, pop them in the fridge and leave the lunch boxes out ready along with book bags and any other bits that need to go to school the next day. That includes my bag for work of course!  Then I ensure all of our clothes are ironed and laid out for the morning.  Lastly before I head up to bed I get the bowls and spoons out for breakfast, one less thing to do in the morning – a great little time saver.

One thing I often forget before I go to bed and only realise as I’m laying there reading is that I have left the heating on!!  It’s either quickly run downstairs to turn it off, or leave it on (which often gets me in trouble with the husband!) but Hive have come up with this helpful gadget to make your life easier, save you money and save energy!  Hive Active Heating uses innovative technology to let you control your heating and hot water remotely via your smartphone, tablet or laptop.  How fabulous is that?  No more leaving your heating on at night – I could turn it off through my phone whilst laying in bed and have it set to come on half an hour before my alarm in the morning so the house is nice and warm when we get up.

Hive logoWith it’s ability to schedule your heating to come on and off throughout the day, you can ensure the house never get’s too cold, but is always warm when you arrive home.  But the handy thing is that if you are going to be home later than planned you can just simply adjust the time the heating comes on through your phone to save you both money and energy.

Helpful gadgets like this are a great help for busy families like mine and perfect for cold winter days.  It’d be great to know that when I leave work and pick the children up from school that I could walk into a warm house and if we pop to the park first I can always delay the heating coming on.

Anything that saves me time, money and energy is always worth considering.  Why not take a look?

This is a sponsored post.

Jordans Cereals – Review

Jordans are a brand I recall eating for years, but usually their crunchy bars, perfect snacks on the go, so I when I was sent some of their cereals to try, I was keen to see if they tasted as good as their bars.

 

WP_004616

 

WP_004627My husband was keen to try the Super Berry Country Crisp.  Made with wholegrain oats and mixed with blackcurrants, cranberries and blueberries this is a really tasty, filling cereal.  The crunchy clusters are delicious, and my husband thought there was a nice zing as he bit through the fruit in each mouthful.  The box didn’t last very long which is a sure sign as to how moreish this cereal is.  Working shifts, my husband found this the perfect snack when coming home late at night as well as for breakfast in the morning. 

 

WP_004617I was keen to try the Super 3 Seed’s Granola, a really delicious looking granola with not too much fruit (something I’m not too keen on in cereal).  Being on a healthy eating plan at the moment I thought this would work perfectly with some low fat natural yoghurt.  Well all I can say is this is perfect, a great crunch, I love all the included seeds (pumpkin, sunflower and linseed) and the odd burst of cranberry was nice. This has now become my staple breakfast, one that is quick and simple to prepare, totally delicious and contains a lot of healthy ingredients.  It also helps lower cholesterol too!

 

We’ve really enjoyed trying the new additions to the Jordans cereal range and will definitely be buying them in the future.  The Jordans website also has lots of wonderful recipes you can make using their products, all of which look very yummy!!  I was going to try one with my granola, but after tasting it with yoghurt I decided to keep this pack for breakfasts, but I may try a recipe or two in the future.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the products in order to write the reviews.

The Carrot Cake Catastrophe – Book Review

The Carrot Cake Catastrophe is a beautiful new children’s picture book from Parragon books.  Written by Elizabeth Dale and illustrated by Gemma Raynor this book is an absolute delight, both to read and visually.

Parragon carrot cakeThe story follows Jenny rabbit and her Grandad as they attempt to make a delicious carrot cake for mummy rabbit’s birthday.  Unfortunately Grandad doesn’t have his glasses on and they end up using soap instead of butter, salt instead of sugar etc.  As you can imagine this is a total recipe for a Carrot Cake Catastrophe!

Fortunately all turns out well in a little twist at the end of the book.  I read this to my two children who really enjoyed the fun storyline.  They love baking so thought it was hilarious hearing the ingredients that Grandad was adding to the cake mixture.  They also enjoyed the pictures which really bring the story to life.  They pages are beautifully illustrated – a real delight.

Carrot cakeAs a bonus at the end of the book, there is a carrot cake recipe, one we are keen to try out.  The Carrot Cake Catastrophe is a lovely book that I’d definitely recommend.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the products in order to write the reviews.

Sugar and Crumbs – Review

Sugar and Crumbs sell an amazing range of naturally flavoured icing sugars and cocoa powders with intense bursts of flavour from using 100% natural fruit.

sugarandcrumbs.co_.uk_My first thoughts on the ready flavoured sugars was how fantastic, no messing around trying to flavour the icing yourself, it’s all done for you.  I did wonder how they’d taste so couldn’t wait to try them out.

I was sent a Chocolate Orange cocoa powder and icing sugars in Tropical, Lemon Drizzle and Velvet Vanilla.  The packets were a delightful hot pink colourful with resealable tops which I think are a great idea, really convenient and easy to use.

Sugar and crumbs icing sugarEager to try out the different flavours I decided to make some mini cupcakes in both plain and using the chocolate orange cocoa powder so that I could add the different flavoured icing sugars to the top and try various combinations.

Sugar and crumbs bakingSugar and Crumbs kindly sent me a basic sponge recipe to use the cocoa powder with and an instruction sheet as to how to use their icing sugars.  They have cleverly made their icing sugars with really intense flavours allowing you to adjust them by diluting with plain icing sugar to reach a level that suits you.  Also each packet will last longer if you don’t use them to their full intensity.

Sugar and crumbs cupcakesThe flavoured products from Sugar and Crumbs are so simple to use, simply exchange them for your plain ingredients and you have flavoured cakes with no effort at all.  So what did we think of the taste?  The Chocolate Orange cocoa powder was very intense but a true, fresh orangey flavour burst came through the chocolate.  This is definitely one that can be used at a lower strength which I would next time.

The Velvet Vanilla icing sugar was sweet and full of vanilla flavour as I would expect it to taste.  My children enjoyed this one and it was their favourite of the flavours we tried.  My first choice would go to the Lemon Drizzle with it’s rich lemon flavours, which tasted fresh and citrusy.  Knowing my husband enjoys tropical flavours I gave him a cake covered in Tropical flavoured icing – he didn’t know what he was about to taste and thought I had just made plain cakes.  I didn’t expect such a strong reaction from him, but after his first bite he said “Oh wow, that is lush!!” and then proceeded to ask me when I was going to make some more.  I think that in itself speaks volumes about the rich intensity and deliciousness of these ingredients and the flavours that they bring to baking.

Sugar and crumbs testingWe’ve enjoyed baking with flavoured products from the Sugar and Crumbs range and would definitely recommend them to anyone looking to bring some flavour to their cakes.  Sugar and Crumbs have a wide variety of flavours available and one that has caught my eye is Chocolate Lime while my husband has his eye on the Turkish flavoured icing.  Why don’t you take a look and see what flavours you would enjoy?

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the products in order to write the reviews.

Sweet Snacks and Treats – Reviews

Following on from the fantastic bloggers night in at the end of last year, I did a round up of all our savoury snacks and here is a look at the great selection of sweet treats we had the opportunity to try out.

Bloggers night SoreenSoreen very kindly sent us each a goody bag packed full of the Soreen range to try.  I took this home to my family who couldn’t wait to get stuck in.  The Chocolate Soreen stood our for us and is a firm favourite with all of us – it didn’t last long, with a husband and two children devouring it at every opportunity!  The fruity Soreen was perfect for the husbands pack lunch box and the sliced loaf made perfect snacks for the children at home.  The banana lunchbox loaves are a favourite of three year old Mister B, being individually wrapped I keep them for out of the house or in his nursery lunch box.  Overall I have to say as a family we are very impressed with Soreen and think they have made some wonderful additions to their range recently.  We are definitely fans and Soreen is always on our shopping list!

 

Bloggers night Green and blacksGreen & Blacks, a name we all know well in the world chocolate,  kindly gave us a bar of their organic dark chocolate to taste.  Personally I’m not a fan of dark chocolate but the husband is, so I let him try it for his opinion.  He said it was “rich and smooth”, a taste he could savour and enjoy and only needing a few squares at a time meaning it lasting him several nights.  A great quality chocolate he enjoyed.

 

 

Choc Shot by Sweet Freedom is a Bloggers night choc shot revolutionary 100% natural liquid chocolate with only 14 calories per teaspoon. It can be used in multiple ways from hot chocolate, milkshakes to toppings for ice cream, porridge or fruit.  Choose your own way of using this multi functioning product.  When my children saw it they immediately wanted to make hot chocolate and it couldn’t be easier, no more powdery lumps, just stir into warm milk and there you have a cup of creamy hot chocolate.  My children loved it and it was great that they could make it themselves.  We also tried it on ice cream for dessert and this was a hit too.  The only thing that could be improved is perhaps an easier to squeeze bottle as once we were half way through the rest of the chocolate was a little difficult to get out – apart from that, what a fantastic product.  Being suitable for vegetarians, vegans, diabetic and GM, dairy and gluten free this really is a product that anyone can try – why not give it a go?

 

Bloggers night OrgranAnother brand we tried that caters for special dietary needs is Orgran, a top brand in the gluten free food market.  All Orgran products are Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Dairy Free, Egg free, Yeast Free, GMO Free and Vegan.  We were sent a selection of sweet treats to try including shortbread hearts, Amaretti biscotti and chocolate biscotti.  We did find the shortbread hearts a little hard and not quite the crumbly shortbread texture that we are used to but they did look pretty on the plate.  The biscotti were nice and I did like both of the flavours.  I took some samples home and found that they make the perfect accompaniment to Sweet Freedom’s Choc Shot.  I think for someone limited to certain dietary requirements, then these Orgran biscuits are the perfect treat.  They all look good and are perfect paired with a hot drink to dip in.  If you are following a gluten free diet then I’d definitely recommend checking out the Orgran website as they have a wide variety of food choices and even a great range aimed at children following a gluten free diet.

 

Bloggers night popcorn darling

 

Darling Spuds have brought out a sweet and salty popcorn.   They come in handy size snack packs and I left the pack I had for my children to try.  I did intend on trying one or two pieces myself but by the time I came back into the room they were gone!  I think that speaks for itself – they obviously taste good and were a hit with my two.  These are great as a snack and another that is gluten free along with being suitable for vegetarians and coeliacs.  But the best feature has to be there are just 39 calories per bag!!

 

 

 

Bloggers night swizzels matlowWhen I opened my bag and showed my children the Swizzels-Matlow goodies, their eyes popped out in excitement!  Can we have one now they asked?  With traditional favourites such as Love Hearts, Drumsticks and Fruity lollies my children were in sweetie heaven – oh but I did keep the  Parma Violets for my handbag though!

 

Last but not least I have saved you the best till last.  When I was offered my favourite ever chocolates to review how could I refuse.  Guylian, the Belgian chocolate seashells are made from 100% pure cocoa butter with a unique hazelnut praline filling that is utterly divine.

Bloggers night GuylianThe distinctive, glossy seashells and seahorse shapes are a sign of quality, a box of these is perfect as a gift for someone being affordable but luxury chocolates at the same time.  I highly recommend these!!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the products in order to write the reviews.

Wembury Beach – family fun in the January sun!!

Waking up last Saturday to the glorious sunshine, we just knew it was a day to take advantage of.  So we decided to head over to the beach which turned out to be packed, not a carpark space in site!!  The tide was in, the beach was rocky, the few sandy spots were murky grey, gritty sand – but the children didn’t care!!  Dressed in their rain suits, wellies and accompanied with buckets and spades they were in fresh air heaven, digging away, building dams with the rocks across the mini rivers than emanated down from the rocky cliff face, finding rectangular ‘car’ shaped rocks to drive through the makeshift sandy roads, braving the shallow waves hitting the shoreline to fill their buckets with seawater, they were in their element playing as the bright sunshine hit the beach for the afternoon.

Wembury 1Buckets and spades at the ready, Miss M and Mister B couldn’t wait to get digging.  With the tide in, there was little sand to be found amongst the rocks but this didn’t deter them one little bit.  There were squeals of excitement as they dug in,  trying to build the biggest hole they could!

Wembury 2Mister B was excited by a rectangular shaped rock he found and decided it was a car.  He then made a sandy track with his hand to drive his ‘car’ through.  He was absolutely thrilled with his little road and just loved the freedom of the beach and fresh air to play in.

Wembury 3Miss M was keen to have a little paddle and fill her bucket with water to fill their freshly dug hole.  She loved waiting for each wave to come in although had to keep emptying her water filled wellies!!  Not that it bothered her, it just seemed to add to her fun!!

Wembury 4They then decided to venture over the rocks at the back of the beach and Miss M was eager to climb, while Mister B was desperate to copy.  I wasn’t too keen so they posed for a couple of photos and came back down.

Wembury 5All in all we had a fantastic afternoon at the beach.  The children loved being outside, the thrill of the beach, however small and stony kept them entertained for hours and they were sad to go home, but after some dinner and a warm bath they were soon tucked away in their beds fast asleep for the night and mummy wasn’t far behind after spending time in the fresh sea air!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

FREE toucanBox – Arts and Crafts fun for children

Remember the great, fun filled Artic themed craft box I reviewed just before Christmas?  You can see our review here.  We made some glittery Christmas decorations, an igloo, did some colouring as well as having a lovely polar animals sticker book to complete packed full of animal facts.

Toucan 2Toucan 1Well the fabulous team at toucanBox are giving you the chance to try your own toucanBox for FREE by signing up right HERE.

By signing up to a toucanBox subscription your first 2 pack craft box will be entirely FREE – no postage to pay.

You will need to enter the voucher code: mummyslittlestar in the voucher box and your craft box will be on it’s way to your door.  This code is only valid for the box containing 2 projects and open to new customers only.

If you are happy with the box then you will regularly receive a new themed craft box to keep your children entertained or if for any reason you are not happy, you are free to cancel at any time.

We loved the toucanBox full of crafting activities and hope you do too.

 

Barbie Jet and 2 Dolls Playset – Review

Argos have a large range of Barbie toys and accessories available and one that caught our eye is the Barbie Jet and 2 Dolls Playset.  Miss M is really enjoying playing with Barbie at the moment and has small accessories but longs for some sort of vehicle to move them around in so this seemed like the perfect toy.

Barbie jetThe Barbie Jet playset comes in a huge box and Miss M thought Christmas had come early when she saw it.  The box contains the jet and 2 Barbie figures, each in a pretty dress, necklace, shoes and carrying a handbag and suitcase each.

barbie jet 1The Barbie Jet requires a small amount of assembly from the box but this is simple to do and can be completed within 10-15 minutes.  The front wheel needs attaching and the tail end of the plane requires piecing together.  The side wings simply fold up vertically against the side of the plane when not in use to save space.  The chairs need to be attached to the base of the plane and a sheet of stickers need to be applied in the correct places.  I found the stickers simple to attach and they appear to be hard wearing and not likely to come off.

Barbie Jet 2 The main body of the Barbie jet folds open creating a playset.  Inside the jet are three chairs, all with seatbelts and fully reclining backs.  You can slide back the windows to reveal night images and there is overhead luggage storage.  At the back of the plane is an air hostess area containing a pull out trolley with three trays and rectangular meal plates that sit on the trays.  The trays fit over the chairs and clip in each side.  There is also a fridge, microwave, storage area and drinks machines.  Also included are three glasses and three sets of cutlery.

Barbie 5There is plenty of scope for imaginative play with the Barbie Jet playset.  Miss M was keen to get the Barbies packed up and fly them across the front room to their holiday destination.  Her younger brother Mister B was keen to join in making plane sounds and loved pushing the jet across the floor.

Miss M loves acting out the flight journey with the Barbies, packing the plane, serving them food before letting them recline their chairs and sleep before arriving at their destination.  The Barbie jet really does provide lots of entertainment value and adds a further dimension to playing with dolls rather than just dressing them up etc.

Barbie 3The Barbie Jet is larger than we first thought it would be, making it a prominent toy and one that has grabbed the attention of Miss M’s friends when they have visited.  The jet has a height of 32.5cm, length 84.5cm and width of 28cm (with wings folded up).  It is a great play piece that can either be played as a stand alone toy or easily fits in with other toys you may already have.

Barbie 4The adventures with Barbie are endless, I see this as a toy that will get plenty of play value and be used in many different scenarios.  Miss M loves setting things up carefully inside ready for a day of play.  She loves the jet and can’t wait to show her friends – being the size it is makes it ideal for a couple of children to play with it at the same time as they can easily reach inside and have a Barbie each to take on the flight.

This is a dream toy for Miss M to own to play with her Barbie dolls and I think any other young girl who loves her dolls would feel the same.  I think the Barbie Jet will be a much loved toy over the next few years.

 

This post in written in association with Argos.  All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write the review.  

Miss M’s 6th Birthday!!

Six years ago today, I spent New Year’s Eve in labour to give birth to the first baby born in 2008 at our local hospital. Having rushed to hospital at 11.30ish pm after finally realising the twinges I had been feeling all evening were contractions, I eventually gave birth to my amazing daughter Miss M just after 1am.

To see her progression over the last six years is amazing, rewarding and incredibily challenging at times but what a delightful daughter she has turned out to be.

With a desire for ice skating we promised she could go a couple of days before her birthday, I have to say it wasn’t an experience I enjoyed with the water logged ice, and bunches of teenagers whizzing their way round in groups, but Miss M was at home on the ice gliding round without a care in the world!

B skatingThe next challenge was to make her a birthday cake.  She had requested a princess cake and after much decision making over the last few months I decided to  make her a doll cake.  I had planned on purchasing a poundshop doll to use but due to the horrific weather and lack of time I hadn’t been out so used my circa 30 year old Barbie doll as the centerpiece!!  Wrapping her in clingfilm and making sponges using 10 eggs, 500g each of sugar, flour and butter I finally created 4 round sponge cakes and 12 cupcakes.  I covered them in pink buttercream using my favourite nozzle to create rose like swirls and then sprayed the cake in with a silver spray to give it a fabulous glimmer in the light.

The cupcakes were used to hand out in party bags at Miss M’s party on New Year’s Eve and the main cake to be kept until New Year’s Day, Miss M’s official Birthday!!

B Barbie cakeThe lunchtime of New Year’s Eve was Miss M’s birthday party at a local soft play centre, the first time I haven’t had any direct involvement in the party and although it wasn’t my ideal venue, it was the easiest party I’ve ever held and it was Miss M’s choice of venue so she was happy.  It felt so good to walk away at the end and not have to clear up but have a happy little girl who had the party of her choice!

B Drakes DenHad you not noticed above, I just have to point out that Miss M is in a dress, and not just any old dress, a NEXT party dress.  Something that I never thought I would see, but something that she voluntarily chose and I bought, and she did not disappoint by wearing it on the day!

B smartIt was so lovely to see both my children dressed up, Mister B loves his tie and would wear it every day if he could but seeing Miss M in a dress is so nice, she’d normally rather be in shorts and tights!

For New Year’s Eve evening we went for dinner at Prezzo, a restaurant I like as it is perfect for children with it’s loud atmosphere and a menu they love especially with the bambinocino to finish the meal!  It also emptied out on a few tables behind us as we ate early, and Miss M and Mister B took to the floor to do a bit of Strictly Come Dancing which was really cute.

B PrezzoIt was back to Nan and Grandad’s house for some Wii games with Mister B and Cousin L  before taking a huge bubble jacuzzi bath then going to bed for the official birthday wake up!

On New Year’s Day Miss M was thrilled to received a dolls house tall enough to fit her Barbie dolls and my Sindy dolls that she plays with.

B HouseAll in all a lovely day enjoyed by all the family and a six year old daughter, Miss M!!

CelebrationCakesAndBakes