Thursday, 20 December 2012

My favourite baby doll yet – Baby Born Interactive Star Doll

When I first saw this Baby Born doll I wasn't too sure. I have to admit I was slightly put off by her outfit, a trendy mix of black and silver (and just a little bit bling) which I just wasn't sure my daughter would get. She also comes with bracelets and her own ID card which didn't live up to my ideas of a cute doll. I guess this is designed to appeal to older children and after getting her out of the box and playing with her, she has completely won mummy over!

Honestly, we just love this doll! She comes with a feeding bowl, sachet of porridge (which you can actually feed to her), spare nappy, potty, bottle, card, change of bracelet and dummy.
This is a great range of accessories which come to life when used with the doll.

If you give Baby Born a drink of water from her bottle and lie her down she will wet her nappy (you get one spare), they are really realistic little nappies and great for playing mum. 

You can also sit her on her potty, push her belly button and she will do her wee wee very nicely into the potty. 

Poor little mite, if you squeeze her arms a few times she really cries – just look at her little face, my little one is going to love taking care of her. All the features are really easy to operate and her clothes are easy to get on and off so little ones won't get frustrated playing with her.

As if all this wasn't enough it is wrapped up nicely by the fact she NEEDS NO BATTERIES! This is fantastic considering how much interactivity there is. Plus when she drops off to sleep she is nice and quiet and wont suddenly scare the life out of you when she starts snoring when you were least expecting it!

Baby Born Interactive Star is available in Toys R Us for Christmas and is our top pick of the baby dolls we have played with.

It's a sad review as it is our last review as Toyologists, but I'm pleased we finished on a great product. I can't believe it is over, I hope you've enjoyed reading them as much as we have enjoyed taking part. Happy Christmas and thanks Geoffrey! 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Chou Chou Baby Monitor Doll Toyologist Review

This was the second of our baby doll reviews for the Toys R Us Toyologist programme – this time it was the Chou Chou baby and monitor up for playtime! The doll is nice enough looking but I was just slightly put off by her complexion - so pail the poor thing! Her face is nice though and she comes with a great twist to set her apart from other dolls – the baby monitor!

My pregnancy brain seems to be getting the best of me at the moment so it took me a few attempts to follow the instructions and get the doll working. It's actually very simple, if you set her to auto she works in conjunction with the monitor, otherwise it is freestyle play!

The monitor is a nice idea as it enhances the idea that your child is really caring for the doll. It tells your little one what their baby Chou Chou needs, so if they are crying and the milk bottle symbol appears, the crying is stopped by giving the doll her bottle and so on. The monitor also plays a lullaby for when she's tired, and there is also a dummy to comfort her. My daughter isn't especially into baby dolls so not the best case study but she did enjoy being in charge of the monitor. Her friend who is baby mad absolutely loved it however and I think could spend hours making sure she was caring for baby Chou Chou correctly.

I'd say a fantastic twist on the traditional baby doll with some great interactive play. If you are looking for a doll for Christmas who is a bit different from those in their collection baby Chou Chou is a great option.

And relax... 'The White Company' candle review

I love The White Company, just walking into their shops makes me feel calmer – they are so stylish and serene! I was very excited therefore to be sent one of their candles and was instantly imagining how my home would be transformed it's own calm haven.

And it did... a bit! After a busy Saturday and once Squiggle had finally gone to bed, and I shoved all the toys I could away into the magic cupboard, I lit my new candle and relaxed!

There is something so calming about a nice candle, and this didn't let me down. I really loved the scent of this one, I was sent the Orange Grove candle which is a gorgeous blend of mandarin, bergamot and orange flower. It is really unusual - in a good way! It's still quite autumnal and cosy but at the same time light and uplifting, not one to weigh you down and send you off to sleep.

My favourite thing about it has to be the packaging, it arrived really smartly packaged and the simple glass candle design looks great sitting out in any home. I would happily give one of these candles as a gift for somebody and in fact am off to investigate the other scents as a possible extra present for my mother-in-law.

Thank you The White Company,

Love a very relaxed mummy xx

Monday, 3 December 2012

Roaring Raa Raa Toyologist Review

The next toy out of our toyologist box is the roaring Raa Raa. Great for little fans of Raa Raa the noisy lion, you simply push his head down and then watch him roar, not only that he'll give a little shake too! If you hold his head down for longer, he builds up to it and gives an even bigger roar. Watch our video and you'll get the idea!

Raa Raa seems pretty hard wearing, I struggled to get him working at first but I am putting that down to me being slightly ditzy in pregnancy as my husband sorted it instantly! His body is quite solid due to the mechanism inside and so perhaps not the choice if you are looking for a toy to cuddle.

I'm not sure it's the kind of toy that will stand the test of time in our house as I think the novelty will wear off fairly quickly! My daughter has really enjoyed playing with him though and if you have a Raa Raa fan in your house they will probably find him even more amusing!

Snazaroo Face Painting Sticks Toyologist Review

Well I didn't expect a little packet like this to bring us such a lot of fun. I have to admit I can be a bit of a grumpy mummy when it comes to face painting, when out I try and take a different route so my daughter won't spot it and when she does get it done I always ask for something small on one cheek. It would never have crossed my mind as a stocking filler but I'm converted! These would make a fab one!!

My little girl took one look at the packet and decided she wanted the butterfly in the picture so I did my best! As they are like crayons they are actually quite easy to use, and she was very chuffed with the results! She then had great fun turning me into a tiger, she concentrated really hard and loved being able to use them herself!

Next she decided I had to be a mummy butterfly instead so off we went again after a few baby wipes (I got off lightly she decided Daddy was to be a river!).

Once I was a butterfly too I think we spent a good hour fluttering round the lounge and hiding behind the curtains, which were here butterfly house.

I really loved how much something so little encouraged her imagination to go wild and got her lost in her make believe world. A great gift idea!

Silver Cross Ranger Pram Review

Toys r Us kindly sent us this lovely Silver Cross Ranger Pram to review as part of the Toyologist programme. They must have known I would love it, it's the exact same pram I chose for my daughter as her present from Santa last Christmas! It means I can give you more of a long-term review of this product and can vouch for it's quality - ours still looks new itself a year later!

I spent a long time choosing this pram at the time, as there were certain features I really wanted and it hasn't let us down. Here's what we were after:

1. A lie flat pram my daughter could put her toys to sleep in as that is always a favourite game.

2. One that she could push now (she had just turned 2) but that would also be big enough to last a few years.

3. It had to fold flat! We have no storage space in our house.

4. To look lovely and have a nice design. I just really wanted my daughter's first pram to feel a bit special!

The silver cross delivers all of these and I felt was great value. The style of it is nice and classic and comes in a great range of patterns. Toys R Us sent us the 'my little star' pattern which you can see is really pretty and very girly! This pram is perfect for getting toys off to sleep - it has a pram cover and hood for when they need a little nap!!

It folds down flat very easily and we can fit it neatly under squiggle's bed when she isn't using it. The handle bars swizzle up and down so that it can adjust to different heights and grow with your child. My little one has just turned three but is more the height of some four year olds and it's still a great size for her.

The only slight downside we found was that when she was small she could only push it in a straight line, the wheels don't swizzle so after hitting a dead end she would wait for me to turn it for her.

The pram has some great roll play features, it comes with a base shelf and it's own matching nappy bag. My daughter has loved packing the little bag with things she might need, and playing at going shopping and filling the shelf with toy food. I think we still have a lot more fun to come from it too, even my 6/7 year old nieces still love playing babies!

If you are looking for a toy pram this Christmas, this one definitely gets a big thumbs up from us!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Win 'A Matter of Life and Death' novel for Christmas

A Matter of Life and Death... no I'm not referring to the Christmas shopping but the title of the must-have debut novel by Paul Carroll. It is a fantastic stocking filler idea for Christmas and if you are stuck for inspiration this could be the perfect alternative to socks and bubble bath for the grown ups in your life!

I'm looking forward to reading a copy but for now I'll leave you with an extract from the press release...

 "...a satirical reflection on bereavement in contemporary Britain. A witty, black comedy with a thought-provoking core. 

A Matter of Life and Death claims “Everybody should be famous for fifteen minutes. After they die” but questions whether we go too far when it comes to mourning. 

Both entertaining and shocking, this book is a perfect present for those looking to add a bit of depth to this year’s Christmas stocking."

If you would like to find out more about the story and author please visit

I am very lucky to be able to offer 3 of my readers the chance to win a signed copy of 'A Matter of Life and Death'. Entry is via the rafflecopter widget below, you just need to read this post and answer the simple question.

The competition closes 17 December and please remember to leave me a way of contacting you in the comments section for your entry to be valid.
UK only, one entry per person.

Good luck and happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Microwave meals for time strapped parents

As you may already know I am a working, commuting mum with an energetic 3 year old and another baby on the way. When I'm at work our day is fairly long, by the time we are home and Squiggle is tucked up safely in bed, it is usually about 8.30 before we start to think about dinner. If I want to get my dinner down me a bit before bedtime it has to be something quick and easy! Microwave recipes, pasta and pizza often come to my rescue!

Now I'm pregnant I do worry more about what I'm eating as not all of my fall back, quick dinners are as healthy as I would like. Confession time... I just polished off a pizza and last night it was a chicken grill in a sandwich. Not exactly the diet I want to be giving my unborn child but after a long day I'll just go for the quickest thing possible. It can be hard to think of new ideas for midweek, tasty dinners so I was really taken by these videos with great fish recipes and vegetable recipes which can be cooked in the microwave.

The microwave is a great invention don't you think? It's a life saver a lot of the time and I'm not sure what I'd do without it. I find I end up with less washing up after using the microwave too which is always a big bonus. Honestly I am always so tired by the end of the day!

I really don't think I am using my microwave to it's full potential though, I would never have thought to attempt such meals as demonstrated in these videos. Time to get more adventurous... I particularly like the look of the fish dish, it looks so fresh, tasty and easy to follow. I am definitely going to try it out and will let you know how I get on.

If you are stuck in a midweek meal rut like me, have a watch for some inspiration.

Note: I was sponsored to write this post but all thoughts and views are my own and I hope you find the recipes as interesting as I did.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Broom broom beep beep! Melissa and Doug transporter toyologist review

Time to get a move on with our final box of toyologist reviews, Christmas is fast approaching and we want them to be helpful for people looking for present inspiration!

The first thing I decided to give Squiggle to play with from the box was this lovely Melissa & Doug wooden transporter. She has so many girlie toys that I was relieved to see something different!

We have been really impressed with this toy. I can't help it, I just love the look, feel and nostalgia of wooden toys. This one is really nicely made, great quality, simple and fun.

The set comes with a wooden transporter and four different coloured wooden cars. Little ones can really easily fold the truck down flat, drive the cars on to their slots, and then move it up again. My daughter has really enjoyed playing with this, we have had a fair bit of car trouble lately so she been happily playing poorly cars who need rescuing!

My husband pointed out how funny the instant girl / boy differences are. Where the boys would be having fun zooming and crashing the cars about, Squiggle straight away had them all involved in a role play game. Her toy animals were trying to get somewhere when the transporter bringing their cars tipped over. The animals turned it over and worked together to try to fix it. Amazing!!! I love simple toys that work really well and encourage little imaginations.

It's a nice chunky toy too so would suit children younger than my daughter really well. The cars are a nice size for little hands to push about.

It's been great having something different in the house, and something Daddy has enjoyed playing with her. I have also had lots of fun listening to some very creative sound effects coming from the living room!

Recommended for ages 2+ this is a great gift idea for both boys and girls and is available at Toys R Us.

If you are looking for more inspiration head over to the toyologist review blog.

Xia Xia Crab & Confetti Cottage from Find Me A Gift

The lovely very kindly sent us a Xia Xia Turks Crab and Xia Xia Confetti Cottage to review and it had been a huge hit!

The minute I saw the toys I had a feeling they would go down well with my little 3 year old girl. She has a bit of a fascination with sea creatures and loves little toys she can collect and play about with.

I had seen some of the Xia Xia range about and always wondered what they were, so it was great to get the chance to find out!

The big difference between these and other small collectible animals is that they move. The crabs are touch sensitive so when you give her claws a poke she scuttles about and changes direction when she hits an obstacle. She is great fun and the movement really helps bring the toy to life.

Another lovely feature is that you can remove her shell and there is a small character that lives inside. My daughter had great fun with this - playing at removing her shell and putting her to bed. Although small it's not too fiddly and easy for little ones to do. I believe the shells are interchangeable so I imagine it would be fun if they had more than one.

Find me a gift also sent us the play house, I wouldn't often recommend the playsets that come with toys but this is great. It has two floors and you can open different doors in the walls and roof to play with it. My little girl loved the fact that this was her little pet crab and she was looking after it. Turks the crab sleeps upstairs and her shell is kept safely downstairs while she is in her house.

The house has a carry handle so Squiggle has taken it everywhere, telling people all about her pet crab. The brilliant thing is that because the lobster is touch sensitive, when she starts carrying the case, as if by magic, Turks starts scuttling about inside her house. Squiggle took great delight in shouting into the house that she was supposed to be asleep!!

When we asked my daughter what she would like to ask Santa for the other day her answer was "a tiger, a sparkly ring and crabs!" My husband and I were totally confused about the crab request but then the penny dropped!

So Xia Xia is now high on my daughters Christmas list and I would recommend them as a great little stocking filler.

A glowing review but my honest opinion!! X

Monday, 19 November 2012

Spring Celebration Ballet Lottie – Doll review

We have been lucky enough to be sent a gorgeous Lottie Doll to review, this was the first time I had heard of Lottie or the launch company 'Arklu' and it has been a real pleasure.

Let me tell you my daughter and I have fallen a little bit in love with Lottie!

Arklu's aim in lunching this range of dolls was to steer clear of the fake looking, unrealistic dolls which currently stack the shop shelves. I have always been bothered by these dolls – and resented buying them as gifts when that's what my nieces have asked for. My daughter loves playing with things she can relate to and I really find it hard to find a doll that provides just that experience. It is even a struggle to find a doll with a nice face, but I really think the Lottie dolls fit the bill. Her motto is 'be bold, be brave, with you' which is a great sentiment isn't it? If you would like to find out about their brand values then have a read here, it's really positive and interesting... but now it's time for me to talk about the play factor!

We chose to review the 'Spring Celebration Ballet Lottie' although it was a really hard choice. She arrived beautifully presented in a stylish box. I found she had a real quality and traditional feel to her that I loved.

The doll's clothes are beautiful and really nicely made. Plus they are easy to remove and put back on again which is always what children love to do. One of the other main features we noticed was how lovely and soft her hair is, it feels a lot more natural than other toys we have.

Arklu really wanted to see how my little girl played with Lottie so we have made a little video. Please have a watch, she is continuing to bring lots of fun and the ballet lessons (with my daughter as the instructor) are going well! She has since moved on from the flying move seen in the video and is doing well at her pirouettes! I think I may have to get my little one her own ballet outfit so she can join in the training.

I would really recommend checking out the full range, I think Autumn Leaves Lottie may well be on our Christmas list. Lottie makes a fabulous gift for little girls and I am hoping they will bring out some clothing packs soon as they would be a big hit with my little girl!

I would love to hear what you think of the Lottie range? I'm sure it will have a bright future. x

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Winnie the Pooh Spin and Play Acorn Train

This is a really lovely toy for little ones. Easy to play with, simple and lots of fun. It doesn't require and batteries which is always a big plus! When you pull the train along the three characters - Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and poor old Eeyore, spin around on their carriages.

You child can also remove all the characters, swap them round, and play with them without the train. They are great quality and nice and sturdy and chunky for young ones to play with. My daughter loved playing with them and they spent lots of time discussing which was their favourite coloured seat and where they would go on their trip. They usually go to the seaside!

She has decided it is not a train however but an aeroplane (this is why they are flying in the photo!)

If you would like to see the train-plane in action watch our video! Thanks to Geoffery for sending us this to review, they are in sale for perfect Christmas pressies at Toys R Us. X


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Tickle Time Elmo Toyologist Review

Do you have one of these?

We do!
"tickle me mummy"... "no stop"... "no tickle me again!!!"

We have tickle time, tickle tricks, tickle races, tickle songs and tickle rhymes.
We have tickled toesies, noses, ears, arms, backs, legs and tummies... and best of all we now have the ultimate in tickle accessories "Sesame Street Tickle Time Elmo".

This may sound strange but I have actually always wanted one of these, I held my breathe until I was the colour of... well... Elmo when I realised he was in our toyologist review box.

Finally our own Elmo!
I challenge anyone not to love him, he's the perfect size for my little poppet to cuddle and is sooo lovely and soft. He also really makes her giggle and just brings an extra bit of happiness with him into the house. I don't think it matters if your child is familiar with the character, he has enough 'cute' to outshine his celebrity status. For my daughter Elmo is the star of her favourite duck song video on youtube, for mummy he is a lifelong friend. I just love him so hands off!

You are going to love me!!
Just look at that face! When you press his tummy and feet and makes different giggle sounds and when he is really excited – does a little jiggle. It doesn't take much to get him going and his happiness is very infectious.

Fancy a giggle with Elmo? Watch our video:

Tickle Time Elmo is available at Toys R Us, hurrah and a he he ho ho ha ha!! xx

My Next Winter Wardobe

The beautiful Amy Antoinette Blog is hosting a competition for Next giving you the chance to win a £500 voucher (...drifts off into dream world). The challenge is to pick 3 items from their range and style them for winter. Happily browsing their products I found a lot to choose from but here are the items I chose. Hope you enjoy the post, it's made we want to sit by a fireplace drinking hot chocolate!

Would you like to find the details of the items I selected? Feast your eyes!..

Item one:
Quilted Single Breasted Military Coat £70

styled with:
Grey Photographic Bunny Print Foil Scarf £14
Black Rounded Porter Hat £20

Item two:

styled with:

Item three:

styled with:

What do you think? I don't think I'd mind winter one bit if I was styled like this! xx

Monday, 29 October 2012

The second scan

We have just been for our second scan - the anomaly scan. It's a funny mixture as it is a serious scan, with lots to check and lots of measurements to take. On the one hand every little measurement makes you more and more nervous, and on the other you are so excited to see your little baby, and for us to find out the gender. We took my mum with us time which I was so pleased about as she was so excited and said she was really honoured to be there. My mum does so much for me so that meant a lot to me. Mum said it was the most beautiful baby ever, with such gorgeous feet, I had to keep trying hard to keep my belly still and not laugh too much.

To a lot of people's horror we wanted to find out the sex again. So do you want to know??

Squiggle is going (touch wood) to have a baby brother! I really would be happy either way but I'm just so happy now I know and extra excited as I'm picturing everything. Squiggle refuses to accept it is a boy as she had decided otherwise, but my inkling was right! Although my pregnancy has been similar in so many ways, my tummy and shape just felt different.

The scan has put my mind at rest in many ways, and raised new worries in other (like the large head)... but all in all a happy and special day!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Roll on the fun – Hello Kitty Tri-Skates

What you need for roller fun...

A sense of adventure, no fear and a need for speed...
Check!! My daughter always wants to go on every ride at the fair, and is the child in the supermarket shouting "faster mummy, faster" while I puff round with the trolley. These are perfect for her.

Just a little bit of balance...
We are slightly lacking in this department – one of my little ones favourite games being 'let's fall over'. So naturally I had to wonder if the skates are the best idea?! I say you only need a little balance as they are really very sturdy and balanced themselves. These Tri-Skates are recommended for ages 3+ so I guess you'll know when your little one is ready for them, we are holding hands at the moment but still having lots of fun.

3 wheels!
Tri-Skates as you might have guessed have 3 wheels but they look like your modern day inline skates. I had never seen nor heard of them before but they are very, very cool!!! I had no idea you could get such great looking skates for this age group. They absolutely look the real deal. They work a bit like stabilisers, as your child gets used the skating you can transform them into inline skates which is a great idea.

My daughter has lots of older cousins she looks up to so these are perfect for making her feel like she has the real deal and is rolling with the big girls! They are comfy, easily adjustable and sturdy and look really good. 

Disco wheels!
I still remember my first pair of roller skates (blue velvet with a rainbow in the side), hopefully these will be one to remember too. They are for foot sizes 5-8 which is quite a good range but a bit of a shame for us as at just approaching 3 my daughter is already a size 8 (taking after her mummy) so they may not last her as long as I would have hoped. I don't think there are any other size option but they fit really well now and she will enjoy them while it lasts!

You can transform the wheels to create 2 wheeled inline skates!
They make such a great, special Christmas gift – I love Christmas pressies that you all get to play together with over the holiday season and these zoom into that category. I think this winter we are going to be out on the street, finding our wheels and having lots of fun!