Friday, 23 September 2016

Which Oddbod are you?

Currently airing on CITV and Boomerang, Oddbods are a collection of cute animated characters, all 7 with a different personality. No two are alike, they're very unpredictable and the children are fascinated by them. Brightly coloured they really grab Isabelle's attention and she thinks they're very cute.

The new range of Oddbods toys from Golden Bear have launched and we were sent one to review, we were really looking forward to our delivery but we had no idea which one was going to arrive!

Firstly in the box there was a blind bag figurines (rrp £1.99) this was a complete surprise until Oliver opened it - he was so delighted with got a special edition one! There's 50 to collect which all capture iconic oddbods moments that the children will be able to recognise from the show itself. Eight rare designs as well as a super rare gold coloured oddbod to find - our first blind bag and we so luckily got a rare silver one which Oliver thought was very lucky. Everyone loves a surprise right? So this little bag is a great treat.

There's something super exciting about opening a toy that's a surprise isn't there?! And here he is, reading about which oddbod he got.
Then there was a small soft toy (rrp £5.99) which is 12cm, super soft fabric and very cuddly. Each soft toy oddbod has its own unique facial expression reflecting their individual personality - fantastic range to collect all 7!

We got ZEE who is a lovely shade of green, he likes sleeping, food, trashy tv, taking a backseat and effortless effort. He dislikes work, effort, rushing, plans, impatience and wasting food. We've enjoyed taking Zee on family days out over the summer! He's a grab size to pop in my bag, Isabelle loves to have a little cuddly toy with her on days out so it's ideal to have one that is just the right size.

So what oddbods would our family be?

Oliver would be pogo because he is always laughing, likes to make others laugh but he can be annoying too! doesn't like silence or rules! but then again, what 7 year old boy does?

I would be Newt because I love sweets (candy), pink things, social media (obviously!) arts and crafts I'm really enjoying because of our wedding and also with the children too.... I am totally in the need of a new set of colouring in pencils actually - these children took mine! urgh. I love cute things and giving presents - especially cute presents. Our dislikes are similar too... meanness, peoples unhappiness, horror films, sadness so I'd definitely be Newt.

Michael would be fuse because he hates waiting, boredom and losing! He likes winning and the great outdoors!

Isabelle would be Slick because she likes gadgets and is always trying to get her hands on my phone, the ipad, the laptop or the tv! Loves bad pop music and she dislikes being ignored... she will wave at you until you do even if that means we stand here and look at you for a really awkwardly long minute until you realise and just wave back. Phew.

Have you seen oddbods? Which oddbod are you most like?

Mary-Kate, x

*Please note, I was sent these items free of charge for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own*

Thursday, 22 September 2016

My Hotter Moment!

Shoe shopping for me is not usually something that I enjoy, it's something I tend to do online because I find it such a nightmare trying to get shoes to fit my wide feet. Also trying to squeeze your feet in shoes infront of other humans isn't something I like to do. After having my first child, Oliver 7 years ago my feet seemed to get wider which was really irritating. It's very difficult to buy shoes that are a) comfortable for wide feet and b) are actually 'nice' looking...

I've walked past hotter shoes store in the intu Watford centre before, thinking 'meh, they're for the older lady' but actually I can't tell you how pleased I am that I was invited to their blogger event this week! They have completely changed my mind, yes there is some styles that would suit people much older than me but theres also loads that would suit me at 27 years old and even younger people too! I definitely had my hotter moment and now I know where my wide feet will feel just at home.

Along with some fellow bloggers, Mel, Laura, Stephanie, Carolynne and Afra we were treated to some nibbles and drinks (I did not eat anything - currently trying to be good on my year to get healthy with Inspired personal health and fitness) then we got a chance to learn all about Hotter shoes whilst we were looked after by Mel, Jenni and the store team.

Hotter started by making slippers in 1959 (I know! I thought they were recently new too... silly me!) We all know how comfortable slippers are and imagine if you could have that slipper comfort all day long? Well you can with a pair of hotter shoes because they've carried on their passion for comfort, every pair of shoes are cushioned, flexible, light weight as well as having some wiggle room!

The soles of the shoes made in the Hotter factory are filled with millions of air bubbles which explains why it feels like you're walking on air, their active shoes are literally so lightweight - go and hold a pair, you'll be amazed!

Hotter are definitely proving popular because in February 2010 there were 5 Hotter stores and now there's over 80.


The event made me realise, I look after my childrens feet really well - always shopping at Clarks (unless theres a super cute pair of party shoes but she only wears them for 5 minutes before wanting to be in her socks anyway!) I always make sure they fit their feet, both length and width... but me? I usually opt for shopping online = not trying on before purchasing them, I opt for cheap because I love a bargain - who doesnt? and they don't usually fit perfectly. I can't remember the last time I had a new pair of shoes which didn't give me a blister! That's not normal is it? So from here on in, I have made a promise to myself to look after my feet better! After all I'll never get another pair. It was interesting actually having my feet measured which is something as an adult I haven't done! If you haven't had your feet measured in years - go to Hotter! They'll help you find the perfect fit.

I knew I wanted a pair of boots - with wide feet they're usually the hardest thing to find a comfortable pair so I decided to try a few on.

I love the colours available this season, there's styles to suit everyone.
The first pair of boots I tried on were the mystery boots in black - I fell in love with them. I had my hotter moment the second they went onto my feet and I knew they were definitely ones I wanted to own. My feet felt like they were walking on air bubbles! They weren't too tight, they were wide, they fit perfectly and I just loved them. I knew I had to try on some more before I decided for sure though.
These adorable little pixie boots have the softest lining which is just lovely. They also come in a beautiful teal colour which I wanted to get just to match some shoes I've been looking at for Isabelle.
These boots are just gorgeous and Laura from Mummys Zone picked these beautiful boots, they don't come in wide fit though so I didn't depress myself by trying them on! ah.
These loafers were very comfy, I tried the tan on and they almost swayed me away from the boot! I may be putting them on my Christmas wish list though eh Michael?
These purple beauties nearly stole my heart too... They are the Donna Heels I wasn't so sure to begin with as I don't usually were heels but oh my goodness were they comfortable!!
It didn't matter how many boots or shoes I tried on, I still kept going back to the Mystery boots! But then there was a tough decision to make.... What colour?!
I always go for black boots so I decided it was time to have a change and went for the tan! oooo. They didn't have my size in stock so they've been ordered and I can't wait for them to arrive.

I also got a beautiful new bag, I decided on the Asher Bag in black which is actually the perfect mum of a toddler bag! There's so much space in it whilst still being small, different compartments so you can still be organised. I'm going to use this bag most days, ideal for school run.
Really looking forward to my boots arriving so I'll post again once they're here!

Mary-Kate, x


*please note I was invited to Hotter Watford and gifted a pair of boots and a handbag of my choice as well as some renovating cream for my new boots. I wasn't asked to write this post, I loved the shop and was really pleasantly surprised so I wanted to share with you.*


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Crayola On Tour

There's still time to join in the fun on board the Crayola on tour bus which is touring the UK over 10 days celebrating 100 years of Crayola - everyone's favourite crayon company! Do people really realise that Crayola do so much more than just crayons or pencils though? To be honest, I didn't really!
We had such a lovely time when we were invited aboard the Crayola bus at Brent Cross, there was so much to do and we ended up spending 2 hours on board with both children desperate to stay longer! Firstly we did some colouring downstairs - not just any colouring in mind you, this was the magic type of colouring in using special magic wonder pens and special Crayola paper. Ideal if you've got a cheeky little monkey who often draws on walls or if you want some pens to use at Grandmas house without a certain little person getting pen everywhere... they will literally only draw on Crayola special paper! We thought this was a fantastic idea and will definitely be buying some for ourselves.
Then we headed upstairs to have a look at the magic modelling - it is really clever as it will just dry over night without having to do anything to it, perfect for keeping those special creations, it isn't at all sticky and it's got a nice feel to it. It's available in lots of lovely colours too and different pack sizes. You know what I love more? It doesn't stick to my carpet! corr turning into my own mum.

Then we saw this really cool turtle.... creating pretty patterns.

We got to make some window clings - both children want one of these clever little kits now! Oliver made a lightening bolt and Isabelle made a heart.

There were some games which we didn't realise Crayola did - we didn't have a chance to play them which we were a little sad about (I know... 2 hours!! My children like crafts) but we didn't need to be sad as we were gifted a game to take home and review so make sure you check back for that soon.

Back downstairs there were more colouring in bits, some adult colouring in - I had no idea Crayola did anything for adults and we love adult colouring in!!! Need some new pens so will definitely be treating myself to some Crayola ones.

We had such a lovely time on board the Crayola on tour bus! Pip & Tip are lovely too.

If you'd like to see where the Crayola bus is going next then have a look HERE


and remember to tweet your photos using #CrayolaOnTour - you never know you may win a prize!



From the Crayola website - This Summer Crayola are having a Birthday Party and you're invited! To celebrate 100 Years of Colour the Crayola Tour bus will be travelling across the UK to bring colouring to life. A feast of interactive and fun play zones on board the bus will inspire your creativity with fantastic activities and games for kids of all ages! Take home your creations from the day along with Crayola goodies to enjoy at home and make sure you upload your pictures from the day onto the Crayola Bus Tour Facebook Event Page for your chance to win a limited edition Crayola 100th Anniversary bundle. Join in the conversation on Twitter using #CrayolaOnTour and keep track of the bus as it travels to a store near you!.

*please note I was not asked to write this post - we all really loved Crayola On Tour and wanted to share it with you!*

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Scooby-Doo Live!

Scooby-Doo Live! Musical Mysteries

Summer holidays so far have been very busy, we've been lucky enough to have some great days out so far and there's still more to come. I'm pretty certain that today will be the highlight of the summer especially for the children because today we were invited to the press event for Scooby-Doo Live! Musical Mysteries at the London Palladium and who doesn't love Scooby-Doo? Having been around for about 40 years, it's a show all generations of the family will want to see. It was our first ever visit to London Palladium and my first ever time travelling into London with both children alone without another adult to 'help'... actually it went ok! And what a beautiful venue?
 
 As soon as our invite arrived the Scooby-Doo excitement started. I've loved Scooby-Doo for as long as I can remember, Oliver was a toddler when he became obsessed with it after uncle James gave him a Scooby doo hamburger cushion from his trip to LA... Isabelle has often played with Oliver's Scooby-Doo toys but has only recently watched it on tv... she loves it too! The invite arrived in a super cool box of goodies, all Scooby related of-course.
 
A brand new family musical Scooby-Doo and the Mystery inc. gang kept us entertained the entire time, no toddler getting up and wandering away (please note - this often will happen as she loses interest in things quickly). There's a few new characters as well as the well known and loved; Shaggy, Fred, Velma, Daphne and ofcourse Scooby-Doo. In this show they are disguised as a rock band called 'missing link' when they're called upon to help solve the case of Mr Warner's haunted theatre and they need your help too! The show is very interactive with the characters often asking the audience questions!

The length of the show was perfect for us lasting around approximately 80 minutes (two 30-minute acts with 20-min intermission).

Age wise - it says kids as young as 4 or 5 will love it.... Isabelle is 2 years old and she had a fantastic time! She joined in when prompted to, she got excited when she saw Scooby-Doo and shouted "ghost" when she spotted the ghost - just incase other's around us had missed it!

 The actors were amazing, their dances, singing and acting were all brilliant.


Both children had an amazing afternoon watching Scooby-Doo Live! Oliver has asked if we could go again tomorrow whilst Isabelle now adores Daphne

If you want to see it too, you need to be quick! It's only on for a short time at the London Palladium 18th-21st August with 3 shows a day. You can find out more and buy tickets at www.scoobydoolive.co.uk

 

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Awesome Archaeology at Wrest Park

School summer holidays - it can be difficult to find enough exciting things to do with the children that are also within your budget. Well, we have definitely found an amazing place which we loved so much that we will be returning again this summer holidays for another event. We were invited to review Wrest Park which is an English Heritage property in Bedfordshire, they've got some summer activities for children on weekdays and the event that we went to was absolutely fantastic.

Upon arrival we needed a toilet trip and whilst in there I knew I needed to mention this... you know when you're on a family day out and you need to take a little person to the toilet with you? There's hardly any space in some of them and you're really cramped, well not here! English Heritage must understand the need for a good sized toilet haha.. can't believe I've started this post talking about toilets. It had to be said though! Toilet trips can be stressful. I'll also mention it has a great baby change area - no bad smell at all!

Before you enter through admissions there is a play area and also a maize, the café too is outside the entrance. You enter through the gift shop - you exit here too, we had a look around the gift shop on the way out and Oliver was eyeing up a wooden shield and sword to which I said no - not because it was too expensive but it's his birthday on Sunday so he doesn't get gifts randomly before as a rule. The gift shop was really reasonably priced actually and have a section which I'll call pocket money toys meaning you didn't have to spend a small fortune and it was nice cute bits too.

We went to Awesome Archaeology at Wrest Park, on the English Heritage website it says "Get your hands dirty as you become a daring archaeologist on our mini dig for the day. Discover hidden treasures and fantastic finds as you excavate the secrets of Wrest Park." From that, I thought we would be doing some digging in sand for a bit learning about the history of Wrest Park which as a family thought sounded really fun but there was so much more than that.

Had we of arrived earlier at the area for Awesome Archaeology (we decided to walk around for a bit first as it was so pretty there and we also needed to get some lunch... I will talk about lunch soon!) - we would of been in time to do some digging in one of two sand tables they had but unfortunately I didn't realise this finished at about 1:30pm. What was after was great fun too so if you do miss the digging - don't worry! There is other things to keep children entertained and learning too.

There were two really enthusiastic guys at Awesome Archaeology, with a queue of children waiting to see what it was all about.... my children however were not in the line *argh* You know when they just don't want to wait for something? So we left poor Grandma in the line and we went to explore inside the bowling green house which is very pretty... they can use some foam blocks in here to build their own versions of buildings they've seen around Wrest Park which we thought was a lovely little touch, children learn through playing and it was great to see them trying to create a building like the ones they've seen.
Soon enough it was our turn [thanks grandma!] and Oliver went first... he had no idea what to expect.

I discovered that the two men didn't actually work for English Heritage but were professionals at what they do, touring the country offering their expertise in certain things and English Heritage had got them in to run the sessions - wow (Time Capsule Productions). Usually things we have been to similar to this in the past, it'll be people who usually work at the venue just playing a different role for a few hours. We thought it was fantastic that English Heritage have actually gone to the effort to find someone to hold this work shops at their venue! It kinda makes you feel like you're getting more for your entrance money too - as you don't pay any extra to take part in Awesome Archaeology!

There were two options
1) metal detector
2) geofizz kit

Oliver went with the geofizz kit first and he was pretty amazed.
Each child gets a 5 minute slot with the machine and when the time has run out, the screen on the machine will 'lock' until it's reset for the next person. Oliver had no idea how to use it to begin with but picked it up so quickly when it was perfectly explained to him... I took a while to understand what it was all about.

Meanwhile Isabelle got distracted by these lovelies...
Oliver says "Geofizz kit, it will help you to discover ruins under the ground that have been there for a long long time". Basically, it's a really cool game because it has a tablet connected to it [children love technology don't they?!], the game itself is looking for remains of a building and by moving around more of it appears on the screen as you discover it. He absolutely loved this but the first attempt didn't get as much as he wanted to so he was desperate for another go. Remember I said that little boy wouldn't wait in a line to have a go at this? Well he did, twice more! Very patiently.

He loved this so much and on his second turn he got to have a go with the metal detector! Ahh. My Dad was big metal detector fan and would loved this day out. It kinda made me think about time team too - anyone remember time team? Can't of been the only one that was made to watch it when they were younger?!



The metal detector also had a tablet connected to it, meaning yes another game! This time the aim of the game was to find the lost treasure, it will beep when it gets close to something and then make a loud noise when you've found it - both children got excited at the Eiffel tower keyring.
Isabelle wanted to get involved and she done really well actually, finding 11 things in 5 minutes and getting very excited each discovery.
I love how she stood here really proud of herself with her arms crossed saying thank you to the man for letting her have a go. He was great with her, asked her how old she was to which she replied "I two". He told her that she was the youngest to do it this week and that she did really well - obviously she walked away with a big smile on her face like she had made a huge achievement. English Heritage have employed people who have very good people skills and are good at interacting with children - every single child got talked through what they had found, each time the men got down to the child's level to talk to them.
Oliver's favourite was the geofizz kit so he lined up to have another go! Couldn't believe it as this boy really doesn't like waiting for anything but he really desperately wanted to stay there all day.

It was time to move on and see what the other activity offered was all about... Facial reconstruction with play doh! As an allergy mum, I always notice is when there's signs about allergies and I was very impressed to see this dotted around the café, the shop and also on the back of this sign at the facial reconstruction, it's lovely to see allergies being taken seriously and allowing us allergy parents to be a little more relaxed.

The children both absolutely loved creating a face with play dough and spent a fair amount of time doing it. Oliver wanted to get back to the geofizz but Isabelle was very happy slowly creating a face.

Lunch wise, there is only one café here which is at the entrance.... I guess it could be a little annoying if you're at the other side of the park and wanted a cup of tea. They don't offer chips or jacket potato - I felt this was a shame as it's something simple that would cater for people who are gluten free. The menu is very good though and the sausage roll was absolutely delicious. I was pleasantly surprised at the prices, often it's a lot more for certain things in cafes on days out which can add the cost up and up... These prices are reasonable meaning you could visit again and again without spending a small fortune. They have an offer of a childrens lunch box for £4.95 and with it the child gets to chose a small toy out of a tub.... Oliver picked a bouncy ball and Isabelle got a cute bracelet (which she went on to purchase the matching necklace for it before we left - obviously). The selection of cakes were fab, coffee and walnut cake, lemon cake, brownie, millionaire shortbread, pastries just to name a few. They do have some Dairy Free and Gluten Free cakes. The crisps were allergen free too. The tea was reasonably priced and tasted good. The sausage rolls - have one! Absolutely delicious. I'll return for one of those!

There's so much there we weren't able to see it all with children but if you were alone without the children it would also be a wonderful place to go.


There was so much open space to let the children run around in or pretend to be a tree in.
We love how this day out has catered for both aged children as well as myself and grandma too - it's an ideal family day out as it's somewhere every generation will love! There's plenty of space to put a picnic blanket down and have a relaxing visit. If you go inside the house, you can learn even more about the history and it's very beautiful inside. The Wrest Park guidebook is a perfect buy if you want to learn more about it's history.

As a family, we love days outdoors exploring and learning about new places - this now automatically is in my top 5 that we've been to.

Thank you English Heritage for a fantastic day out - please hold awesome archaeology again next summer! You can find out more about what other events they've got planned this summer by going to their website - http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/ 
You can also find their entry prices online too which we thought were reasonable.





Mary-Kate, x

*I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. [I have received a voucher in return for writing this post]*
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