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Our Generation Awesome Academy School Room – Review

Our Generation Awesome Academy School Room – Review

*We were provided with an Awesome Academy set for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

This week my girls have been very lucky, as they’ve been asked to review the new Our Generation Awesome Academy School Room, from Smyths Toy Superstores! Our eldest daughter has just begun her first full year at preschool and absolutely adores it, so when she found out this play set was a school room, she was so excited. She’s at the ideal age for toys like this, as her imagination has really started to kick in. She and her sister love to play make-believe games and Our Generation offer them the perfect arena to do so.

What’s in the range?

The Our Generation product range isn’t just restricted to the Awesome Academy School Room, there are so many more scenarios to be enjoyed. My favourites are the Horse Stable, the Mane Attraction Horse Trailer Set and the Retro Cruiser. This is by no means an exhaustive list though, to fully appreciate what Our Generation have to offer take look at their new Smyths Catalogue!

The Awesome Academy School Room –

When our school room was delivered, my girls were completely in awe by what they saw. The packaging allowed for them to see everything that was in the box, before we even opened it. As you can imagine I had two very excited little people, who couldn’t wait to get stuck in. As I previously mentioned, our eldest has just begin her school career and she was immediately impressed by the fact that she was able to play schools at home – I’ll remind her of how much she loves education when she’s a teenager!

From a parent’s perspective, this product looks like great value for money. The set comes with the school room with three walls and a floor. It has working lights and ringing bells. A real chalkboard and whiteboard with real chalk and a marker. Altogether the set has a whopping 92 classroom items. The guys at Our Generation really haven’t left any stone unturned. The play set was easy to assemble too, I usually leave this job to Hubs but I managed it perfectly well by myself. It’s good, solid quality, that will withstand hours of play with two very enthusiastic preschoolers!

Our girls and I sat together as we fixed up the classroom and arranged all of the items. I don’t mind admitting that I really enjoyed setting this play set up with them. Their imaginations had kicked in from the outset and they were creating school room scenarios from the word go. Out eldest took the role of teacher and the youngest was happy to play student for the remainder of the evening!

There’s so much in this set that it was impossible for the girls to get bored. As they worked their way through all of the accessories they became more and more impressed with what was included. Their favourites were the mini pencil cases, filled with tiny stationery and the super cute little lunch box. They were very taken with the teacher’s spinning chair and reward cards too!

Adding to our collection –

Like most parents, I often get stuck when I think about what to buy our girls for their birthdays and Christmas. The beauty of the Our Generation range is that there are so many items, you can keep adding to your collection on special occasions. No more racking your brains thinking about what to buy, Our Generation will always get you parenting brownie points!

Overall, we have been super impressed with the Awesome Academy School Room from Our Generation. I’m that impressed, I don’t have a bad word to say about it. Both girls continue to love playing with their set and we will definitely be adding to our collection in the future!

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The Day That A Ran Away – Children’s Book Review & Giveaway

The Day That A Ran Away – Children’s Book Review & Giveaway

This week, our girls have been asked to review the children’s book The Day That A Ran away, written by B. C. R. Fegan. It’s not the first time we’ve worked with this author, earlier on this year we reviewed Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32. Our girls loved this book as did I, so we were excited to add another tale from B. C. R. Fegan to our library!

 

 

Similar to Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32, this book is based on rhyme. I love books like this and our girls really enjoy rhyming stories! I think its great how this book makes learning the alphabet fun too. Education is paramount in our house and anything that makes doing so enjoyable, is a complete winner!

 

 

The illustrations throughout the book are fun and colourful too. They’re eye-catching and really get out girls’ imaginations going. Each of the letters has an adventure of their own, which makes kids giggle each time we read it!

Overall, we are super impressed with this second book from B. C. R. Fegan. It’s enjoyable to read, very well written and offers a super fun way for our girls to learn. If you want to add more books to your library, I couldn’t recommend this tale enough!

 

There’s one copy of The Day That A Ran Away up for grabs for my readers! For your chance to win, all you have to do is enter using the form below. Please don’t forget to check out the terms and conditions…good luck! 

 

 

Win a Copy of The Day That A Ran Away Children’s Book

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HomeDNA at Home Genetic Testing Review – GPS Origins Ancestry

HomeDNA at Home Genetic Testing Review – GPS Origins Ancestry

*This post was written in collaboration with HomeDNA.

 

Recently I reviewed the healthy weight at home genetic testing from HomeDNA. I was so  impressed with the in-depth results I got, that when I was asked to review their ancestry test it was a total no-brainer for me. History has always been my thing and so the chance to find out more about my own ancestors and ancient family history, was something I just couldn’t pass up.

As with the first test I did with HomeDNA, they sent out a test kit to complete at home and send back to them. The test kit came with four swabs that I used to collect cells from the inside of both cheeks. It’s so easy to complete the swabs and all I had to do was seal them in the envelope provided, fill in all of my details and send them over to the lab for testing. The process is super simple, then all I had to do was sit back and wait for my results to arrive in my inbox! Once my test had been analysed, I received a report with detailed explanations into each area of my genetic origins.

GPS Origins genetic test –

This test is designed to uncover your ancestral lines, including the journey of your DNA. Once you get your results, you’ll learn about so much including; genetic communities that share your origins and you’ll discover why your ancestors settled in particular places. All of this information is gathered from a unique algorithm that has been developed by a team at Sheffield university, headed by Dr Dr Eran Elhaik.

Gene pool percentages –

The results that I found particularly interesting were my gene pool percentages. These are the percentages of different gene types that make me who I am!

My top three were;

  1. Basque Country – from my ancestors based in Europe.
  2. Fennoscandia – from my ancestors based in Norway, Sweden, Finland, a part of Russia known as Kola Peninsula and Denmark during the Viking Age.
  3. Orkney Islands – from a small group of Islands located off the North Coast of Scotland.

Before I took this test, I had no idea that my ancestors were located so far and wide! It’s so interesting to know how vast our gene pools really are.

 

 

DNA migration routes –

Once you’ve learnt all about what makes up your gene pool, you can then use the interactive map provided to find out more about the migrations routes of your ancestors. You can explore what was happening to them at specific times and places in history. Through this tool, I found out that my ancestors lived alongside the Swedish Vikings and that they lived through the 1349 Black Death in Sweden. There’s still so much more I have to read through, but I’m already so amazed at everything I’ve learned so far!

Theses reports from HomeDNA contain so much information, that initially it can all seem a little overwhelming. What’s great though, is that every report includes a guide to understanding your results. This really helps you to enjoy reading through your report, enabling you to gain a full understanding of who you are and where you came from! 

 

 

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GreaterSkies Star Map Review – GIVEAWAY!

GreaterSkies Star Map Review – GIVEAWAY!

When Hubs and I were organising our wedding, I remember being so nervous on the run up to the big day. I’m not one for being the centre of attention anyway, so walking up the aisle in front of so many people was a terrifying thought. It was a difficult day too, as my grandfather had passed away just two days before. He had been ill for a while and we had booked the wedding within a short time, with the hope that he would be there. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be and our wedding day will always be a time of sadness and happiness, rolled into one. So when I was approached by GreaterSkies to review one of their star maps, I knew exactly which sky I would want to remember.

 

The GreaterSkies Star Map process –

Looking through the GreaterSkies website was a real treat. You choose the date, time and location of the sky you’d like to remember. Then you’re presented with an amazingly intricate image of the stars at the exact place and time you chose. The ordering process couldn’t be more simple!

You also have the option to add text at the bottom of the image. Ours states that it’s the sky over our village on the day of our wedding. I get a little sentimental each time I look at it!

 

 

Choosing your design –

Not only can you choose your preferred time and location, you can also choose the design that suits you best. I chose the night sky view, which is a predominantly black piece with white text. You can also choose the classic star map with a white background, or maybe their floral design is more up your street. There really is a design to suit everyone, which I think is great if you are giving the star map as a gift. It makes it even more personal.

 

 

Your GreaterSkies package –

GreaterSkies offer packages to suit everyone. The package we received is the night sky star map, which comes with a quality aluminium frame. It looks really sleek and has been a real conversation piece since it arrived. If you wanted to frame the print yourself, you can simply purchase the printed map and personalise it yourself. Alternatively you can purchase the download package and print your star map at home. This is a good option if you need your map in double-quick time!

 

 

The guys over at GreaterSkies would like to offer one of my lucky readers the chance to win a framed star map worth £118.95! All you have to do is enter using the form below, please do check out the terms and conditions…good luck! 

 

 

Win a Framed GreaterSkies Star Map Worth £118.95.

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A Year of Forest School – Book Review & Giveaway

A Year of Forest School – Book Review & Giveaway

* I was sent a copy of A Year Forest School and Play the Forest School Way for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions of my own. 

 

If you’ve been following us on Instagram, you’ll know that as a family we love to spend time outdoors. Our eldest daughter especially, loves nothing more than to get her wellies on and head out to explore. So when we were asked to review A Year of Forest School and Play the Forest School way, I knew they would go down a treat! On writing this, we’re just heading into Spring, the days are getting longer and the weather warmer, so it’s the perfect time for the kids to have some fun, the forest school way!

 

Creating a forest school from home –

 

A Year of Forest School is the second book written by Jane Worroll and Peter Houghton, after Play the Forest School Way which sold 10,000 copies in its first year! Both of these books are packed full with outdoor activities that can be completed rain or shine and are ideal for getting the littles out into the fresh air.

A Year of Forest School is written in the order of seasons. It has an array of different activities, some that are perfect for Winter fun and others that can be enjoyed in the warmth of Summer. One of the things that I love most about this book is that each activity has a little information box, containing the most important details about the project. This box contains a run down of what you’ll need, how many people can take part and what age range it suits best. This makes it really easy to flick through the book to find an appropriate task that the kids will love!

Each of the activities in A Year of Forest School aren’t only fun for the kids, they also teach them so many life skills along the way. Many of the tasks require focus, teamwork, fine motor and communication skills to complete, When they’re having fun though, they don’t see this learning as a chore. They jump right in and love every single minute of it!

 

 

 

There’s more to come –

 

Watkins Publishing are also putting together forest school packs which include a poster, reward sheet and stickers. As well as two activities from the books!  All of this material will be available online and there will be a limited amount of physical packs they’re able to send out.  What better way to enjoy the holidays with you littles, than getting them involved in the forest schools movement!

 

 

There’s a copy of A Year of Forest School and Play the Forest School Way, up for grabs for one lucky reader! All you have to do to be in for a chance of winning is to enter using the form below. Please do check out the terms and conditions…good luck! 

 

Win Two Forest School Books!

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Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 – Children’s Book Review & Giveaway

Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 – Children’s Book Review & Giveaway

*We were gifted Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

I’m always talking about how important I think it is that children are introduced to reading. I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. When I was a child, I could always be found curled up, getting myself lost in the magic of a fairy tale. That’s why I spend a lot of my time encouraging our children to read. I want them to love books as much as I do and I also want them to learn from them as much as I have.

That’s why when I was asked to review Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 written by B.C.R Fegan, I couldn’t miss the chance to add another fun read to our children’s library. We have story time in our house every night before bed, as well as at numerous times throughout the day. It’s always fun time and my eldest has even started to read books by herself, making up stories from the illustrations on each page!

 

 

Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32, the verdict –

 

When this book arrived I was a little worried that our girls would find it a little daunting. Initially it looks a little spooky and for this reason it may not be suitable for the younger readers among us. For the recommended ages of 3-8 though, it’s spot on.  Having said that, as soon as I started reading it becomes immediately clear that this is a very light-hearted and extremely entertaining tale!

First of all, I thought the book was very well written. It’s important to me that the books we read as a family are well written, I don’t want our girls to read books that aren’t going to teach them something along the way.  It’s easy to read with a quirky rhyme that keeps the reader smiling and wanting more. The illustrations are fun too and match the story perfectly.

I love how this book makes counting fun for children too. Our eldest daughter is just getting to grips with her numbers and this is the ideal way to make learning them exciting, it’s great for the nursery preparation we are undertaking over here right now.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed this book! It has a well deserved spot on our bookshelf and will be a regular read when we fancy a little giggle too! 

 

If you’d like the chance to win your own copy of Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32, all you have to do is enter our giveaway using the form below, please do take a peek at the terms and conditions…good luck!

 

Win a Copy of Children’s Book, Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32

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Getting Nursery Ready with Petit-Fernand – Review

Getting Nursery Ready with Petit-Fernand – Review

This week has been bitter-sweet for us. We’ve been visiting the schools and nurseries in our local area, in an attempt to find the perfect environment for our girls to be educated in. It’s bitter because as a mother, I don’t think I’ll ever be fully ready to let our girls out into the big wide world. It’s sweet because I’m so excited for them to experience the next stage of their lives!

There’s so much to think about when choosing the right school. Hubs and I have exhausted every option, finally finding what we feel is the perfect place. Now it’s time to get ourselves nursery ready! There’s uniform to buy, as well as everything else they’ll need to get them through the day. So this week I’ve teamed up with Petit-Fernand, to bring you a selection of their personalised labels, lunch boxes and water bottles. Perfect for making sure our girls start their nursery days right!

I’m sure all parents of school age children know, that personalising property that will be used at school is a good idea. There’s every opportunity for items to get mixed up, lost and left behind. Having unique products without children’s names on them can save a whole lot of bother!

 

Unique & Personalised

 

The great thing about Petit-Fernand is that you can personalise their products ’til your heart’s content. You can even get the kids involved! From colours, designs, fonts and text, you can make each product completely unique. When my eldest daughter starts nursery she’ll be staying for lunch with her friends, so I thought their customised lunch boxes were a great place to start!

We had lots of fun creating different designs for each of our girls, opting for a cute woodland theme for one and a pretty unicorn theme for the other. I added their names using a funky font, in a colour that complemented each design. We then went on to design our girls an isothermal water bottle each, matching their lunch boxes in pattern and colour. There’s also the option to choose cute lunch box bags, making it the perfect set!

 

 

As well as the lunch box sets, Petit-Fernand also offer personalised stickers for objects and school supplies. These are a great idea for all of the extra bits and bobs that our girls will need to take with them! These too can be personalised with colours, images and fonts. I ordered a two sets of stickers, including an image of our girls favourite animal on each!

 

 

Quality Products & Excellent Service

 

On ordering our products I had a confirmation email almost immediately, which also stated that our items would be dispatched within 48 hours. They were absolutely spot on and everything arrived in super quick time! I was immediately impressed with the look of each of the items I ordered, the designs on each look amazing – our girls adore them!

 

 

The quality of each product really stands out. The lunch boxes have clips around the edge to keep them secure, as well as a built-in ice pack and compartments for different foods. The water bottles are very impressive too. They’re able to keep things cool or warm, which isn’t something you get with your everyday water bottles. The labels arrived packed in a compact booklet, ideal for keeping them neat and tidy and ready for use. They’re pretty and colourful, I’m certain our girls nursery kits will be easily recognisable!

 

 

Overall, I’m super impressed with each and every item we received from Petit-Fernand. I highly recommend their products and their customer service. As our girls go through school, we’ll definitely be back!

 

The guys over at Petit-Fernand would like to offer my readers the chance win a lunch box and bag, all you have to do is enter using the form below. Please do take a peek at the terms and conditions…good luck!

 

Petit-Fernand Lunch Box and Lunch Bag Giveaway

*We were gifted items from Petit-Fernand for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Vremi Silicone Ice Cube Trays – Review & Giveaway

Vremi Silicone Ice Cube Trays – Review & Giveaway

How many times have you battled to release ice cubes from their trays, only to give up or crack the tray in the process? I’ve done this a lot. I’ve also noticed that ice cubes can be tainted by other items in the freezer, making them impossible to use in your favourite drink. For both of these reasons I gave up on freezing my own ice a long time ago!

This week however, I was offered the chance to try out the Vremi Silicone Ice Cube Trays, equipped with lids to keep your ice as fresh as the day your froze it. Seeing as my ice making skills have been less than apt in the past, I didn’t hold out much hope for the Vremi contenders. When they arrived though, I was super impressed by their quality and practicality!

 

Ice, Ice, Baby!

First of all, I love that these trays are vibrant in colour. They look so much cooler (see what I did there!) than your standard white trays. They are a great size too, with both trays making 42 cubes! The features that really stand out for me are the non-spill lids. They’re absolutely perfect for keeping the ice clean and ready to add to your drinks. This is a good feature if you’re freezing food too. I froze a lot of baby food when my girls were very little, these trays would have been ideal for the job with the lids making sure the food is safe and clean for littles to eat!

The beauty of these trays though, is that they’re made from silicone. It makes removing frozen cubes incredibly easy. I don’t have to worry about breaking the trays as the cubes pop out with ease. There’s no banging of the tray on the work surface or running them under a warm tap to loosen them. I’m very impressed with my Vremi Ice Cube Trays, they make life in the kitchen that little bit simpler!

 

If you’d like the chance to win your own Vremi Kettle and Ice Trays, all you have to do is enter using the giveaway below. Please do take a peek at the terms and conditions…good luck!

 

 

Win a Vremi Kettle and Ice Trays #8

 

*This is a collaborative post.

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Gift Buying Made Easy with GiftsOnline4U

Gift Buying Made Easy with GiftsOnline4U

This week my husband celebrated a milestone birthday.  He reached the big 3-0, leaving his twenties behind him for good.  Hubs and I have always been a little slack on the gift buying front, often not bothering at all.  However seeing as it’s not every day a man reaches 30, I knew I had to mark the occasion with something special.

So, when GiftsOnline4U got in touch about their fabulous range of personalised gifts, they could not have timed it better!  They offer an amazing range of gifts including engraved pocket watches, personalised alcohol gifts and engraved wrist watches. I spent some time perusing over the GiftsOnline4U website and was spoilt for choice, but the engraved wrist watches really stood out.

Since Hubs isn’t allowed to wear a watch for work, I thought it would be a good idea to get him a really special time piece to wear out of hours. I loved that we could have the watch engraved with a personal message, perfect to remember his 30th birthday! I chose  a Personalised Wrist Watch, a great match for his style.

 

 

I found the ordering process really simple, you add your message in text boxes with a specific character limit, making sure that it’s a good fit.  It’s also possible to choose from a variety of fonts, depending on the style you’re going for.  The delivery of the item was extra quick, meaning that it arrived in time for our children to give to their dad on the morning of his birthday. Given that I placed the order just two days before, I was very impressed.

 

 

When Hubs opened the box he immediately loved his new watch.  On turning over to see the engraving, I’m sure he was trying to hold back a tear! It’s clear and precise, adding a perfect touch to a special birthday gift.  The watch is of really good quality and the detail on the strap offers style without being too much.

 

GiftsOnline4U stock around 100 different personalised wrist watches for ladies and men, including a personalised photo watch. This brand new customisation software allows customers to be a part of the design process as it’s possible to upload your own photos, images and text to view on the watch face

I couldn’t be happier with the present buying experience from GiftsOnline4U. From the easy ordering, to the swift delivery of what is a great product.  I would highly recommend the service and the watch, it really does make gift buying super simple!

 

*This is a collaborative post.

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Pusheen from GUND UK Review

Pusheen from GUND UK Review

We’ve all had a giggle at Pusheen the cat as she pops up on our social media, often dressed to impress and eating something yummy.  I regularly use the Pusheen ‘stickers’ on Facebook, just to exaggerate my mood.  So when we were asked to review the Pusheen soft toy range from GUND UK, I couldn’t wait to show my girls just how cool this cat can be!

We were sent the Pusheen Pizza and Pusheen Potato Crisps.  Our eldest daughter loves soft toys, she’s always sat cuddling her favourites and likes to surround herself with them when she’s playing.  When our Pusheen toys arrived she was no different and couldn’t wait to get her hands on them!

 

 

Our Pusheen cats feel so soft to touch, and they have loads of padding – perfect for my two girls to cuddle!  They’re also slightly weighted at the bottom, meaning they stand proudly without falling over.  We found that the Pusheen Potato Crisps is great for sensory play as not only is it luxuriously soft, the crisp packet and crisp crinkle when you touch them.  Both of my girls thought this was brilliant fun, it definitely put a smile on their faces!

I love the idea of buying Pusheen characters as gifts too.  There are so many identities to choose from, that you’re bound to find personalised gifts that your family and friends will think are fantastic.  I have a few on my wish list that would be perfect additions to our collection, the ‘Pusheenicorn‘ being right at the top!

 

Overall, as a family we’re completely taken with our new Pusheen additions.  Whether you’re starting your very own collection or gifting to your loved ones, you won’t be disappointed!

 

*I was sent Pusheen products for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  I only recommend products and services that I love, so I know you’ll be in good hands!

 

 

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