Win a BRIO Ant with Rolling Egg toy

Over the last year or so, we have done quite a few reviews of BRIO toys and each one has been loved by both children and they are always wanting to play with them.


In June last year, we did a review of the Ant with Rolling Egg. When I accepted the review, I wasn't really knowing what to expect as it doesn't sound like your typical toddler toy. As soon as I opened it out, E took to it straight away and still loves it now.

The Ant is effectively a pull along toy with springs on the neck and antennae so they bobble as you pull it. The egg sits on the back of the ant and as the wheels hit against the egg, they rotate it. The toy is great for encouraging early walking and coordination. You can read my full review of the toy here and check out my GIF below to watch it in action.

Want to win one for yourself? Just enter via the Gleam widget below. Good luck!


T&C's:
  • One winner will win one BRIO Ant with Rolling Egg toy
  • This giveaway will run from July 24th until August 27th
  • Open to entrants aged 18+
  • UK residents only
  • One entry per person
  • No automated entries
BRIO Ant with Rolling Egg toy

 

We are Super Wings Ambassadors! (+ giveaway)




C, E and I are so excited to announce that we are Super Wings ambassadors! Throughout the summer we will be taking part in the #SuperWingsSummer campaign and I cannot wait to share it with you all.

If you aren't familiar with Super Wings, it's a wonderful preschool show that launched on Cartoonito in February this year. It's aimed at children aged 3-5 years and it encourages preschoolers to develop problem-solving skills and introduces them to different parts of the world. 

The series revolves around a jet place named Jett who travels the world and experiences different cultures whilst delivering packages to children. With every delivery, Jett and his friends the Super Wings (Donnie, Dizzy and Jerome) encounter a problem that they need to solve by working together. The Super Wings have the unique ability to transform from planes into amazing heroes who can run, climb, lift, dig and even dive deep under the sea.


The show has a lot of learning factors which are perfect for a preschoolers age. The friends must work together in the episodes so they build an awareness of what friendship means to preschoolers. It also helps them develop creative problem solving and teaches perseverance. As the planes visit lots of different countries, an early lesson in cultural diversity is taught. The show exposes young children to different traditions, languages and landscapes.

Alpha Animation have launched a new range of toys based on the animated series. From an airport playset to smaller Tranform-a-bot characters from the show - there's lots to keep your children busy and entertained. We will be reviewing some toys from the range and also sharing images and videos on my social media channels so be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date.

To celebrate the #SuperWingsSummer campaign, I have an exciting giveaway for you all. To be in with a chance of winning a World Airport Playset and two large transforming characters all you have to do is enter via my social media channels. I will run the giveaway over my Facebook page, Twitter account and Instagram account. After the closing date, I will collate all entries from the three social media accounts and choose one winner at random.


Good luck!

     

Bigjigs High Level Expansion Set - Review #PlayPatrol

We absolutely love being a part of the Bigjigs #PlayPatrol. We have already reviewed three items of the Bigjigs Rail range and were so excited to receive our next item. We never know what we are going to get so it's always a lovely surprise. 
 

This time round, we received the Bigjigs High Level Expansion Set. As the name suggests, this works best as an add-on to a track set but if you already own some Bigjigs compatible trains, you could probably use it as a standalone. 
 

The set is comprised of 27 pieces; 17 pieces of train track and 10 girders of a different height. I have to admit that I got myself a bit confused whilst setting it up (although that could be because I had two excited children chattering in my ear). I made sure that I had each girder in height order to make it easier for me to know which one corresponded to the letter in the instruction sheet. They don't go in size order so I think that threw me a bit. 
 

Eventually, I got that track built and I was pleased with how sturdy it is. Each girder has little grooves to hold the track in place so I don't have to worry about the children playing a little too roughly and me having to fix it over and over again.
Both C and E really enjoy this track because it's so different to any other track that we have had. The circular shape is new, as is the fact that there are two levels to it. E gets very excited and refers to it as a "train slide" - super cute! She was also excited to see the little plant and animal images on the sides of the girders. These are made of plastic and I like that there are two different textures to the track. They also add a bit of colour to the plain wooden track. 
 

I've found that the children need to focus a bit more when moving the train around. If they take their eyes off for a second, they tend to lose momentum so it's great for hand-eye coordination and dexterity. They have been playing together with two trains most of the time and using their imaginations to construct a little scenario that is happening between them. 
 

If your children are fans of train tracks - they will love this! The Bigjigs High Level Expansion Set retails at £34.99. You can find out more at the Bigjigs website and you can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

(We received this item as part of our role as member of the Bigjigs #PlayPatrol. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 
 

Tarquin and Troops Children's Prints - Review & Giveaway


Living in a rental home means that we are limited when it comes to how we can decorate. In order to make it a bit more homely and feel like ours, I tend to buy a lot of wall hangings and pictures to brighten the place up as we cannot wallpaper or paint. Whenever I heard about Tarquin & Troops, I was drawn in by their beautiful prints.

Tarquin and Troops prints are all about different animals from around the world in everyday uniforms. They are aimed at children and it's a bit of a tongue in cheek look at professions and celebrities. We received five prints from the Tarquin and Troops Etsy store and I couldn't wait to display them in the children's room; Stanford the Sloth Bear Sailor, Reginald the Rhino Soldier, Benjamin Bear Policeman, Chef Seymour the Snake and Bernard the Bengal Tiger Bus Conductor.


The prints come unframed but as they are A4 size, I was able to pick up five frames for only £1.85 each at IKEA that suited perfectly. I love a black frame as they really make the image pop. The quality of the prints is absolutely fantastic, no fading and they are so bright and colourful - perfect for any child's bedroom, play room or nursery. The animals are so happy and friendly and the children fell in love right away.





C was very excited to tell me where he wanted to put them in his room. I spoke to him about the names of each character and what their job is (although he does refer to Reginald the Rhino Soldier as the Grand Old Duke of York!). I feel that because each one already has a name and "profession", it encourages children to maybe come up with a little background for them and create a persona for them. C and E were familiar with some of the animals' occupations such a chef and policeman but they did ask a lot of questions about the others. I didn't even realise that they would be such an educational resource too. 




The prints are so fun and make me smile when I see them - something that the children do too! The Tarquin and Troops animal prints are available to purchase from Etsy via digital download for £4.80 each. You can view the entire range at the Tarquin and Troops Etsy page or follow them on Instagram or Facebook.

I also have a giveaway for my readers with two chances to win! To be in with a chance of winning two Tarquin and Troops prints for yourself, just fill in the Gleam widget below. Good luck!


T&C's:
  • Two winners will win two Tarquin and Troops prints of their choice which will be supplied via digital download for winners to print and frame themselves
  • The giveaway will run from July 18th until August 1st
  • Open to entrants aged 18+
  • UK residents only
  • One entry per person
  • No automated entries
Two Tarquin and Troops prints

(We received these prints for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)  
 

Is My Son On the Spectrum? An Update




Way back in October, C was two months into preschool and I wrote a blog post entitled 'Is My Son On the Spectrum?" At that time, the preschool leader had spoken to me about some concerns that she had about his behaviour and I was due to have an appointment with the GP. The past nine months have been a constant stream of appointments, meetings, forms and letters so I just wanted to write a bit of an update on where we are now.

At the GP appointment, she said that she couldn't see any behaviours that would worry her but she gave me a Autism Assessment self referral form. I was pretty annoyed as how could she see what C is really like in just 20 minutes and by just talking to him, not doing any tests? I filled in the form stating what behaviours and concerns I had, sent it off, then I received a letter in February saying that I would get an assessment date through in four weeks. I thought that was a bit soon as usually the waiting lists for this type of thing are months/years long and here we are in July and I'm still waiting.

In the meantime, the preschool leader suggested applying for our local Children's Interdisciplinary Schools (CIDS) Team to come out and assess him. The way this works is a few different people come out and undergo some tasks and activities with the child and if they meet more than three of the criteria, they will give the child some help to make sure that their needs are met in their educational setting. I was worried because C has very good speech and language so I knew that that would be one criteria that he didn't meet. After all his tests, he didn't qualify for help and was discharged. In our discharge meeting, they mentioned that it definitely was a positive thing that we had put it a referral for an autism assessment and the preschool already had in place the things that CIDS team could help with such as a quiet room and his own box of fidget/stress toys. They did give us a few leaflets on things like Heavy Work, how to build confidence and self esteem, managing his behaviour, ideas of play and how to make friends - all because his issues tend to be emotional and social based.

After this, I sent a letter to the Education Board asking for C to be assessed for statementing. A statement is basically a formal document stating a child's learning difficulties and the help that they will receive. I have asked for this because I know that C will need one on one help in a formal learning setting as even in preschool where it was mostly free play, he was very dependent on his keyworker. I'm really lucky that C goes to a great school who are wonderful in dealing with children with special educational needs and the principal sent a letter too to sort of back us up. The Education Board replied saying that they would assess him and shortly after, we met with the Educational Psychologist. She told me that she thinks C will have no trouble when it comes to learning and will probably take to Primary 1 quite well, but does agree that from her a point of view, a one on one would be beneficial for him. She has also put in a request for an occupational therapist to see C as he struggles with things like zips and buttons as well as a behavioural specialist.

These meetings all took place at the preschool and right now, we are into summer here in Northern Ireland so I'm really just waiting on letters for more assessments to be done.

When I wrote my original post back in October, I have to admit that I wasn't completely convinced that C did have special educational needs or that he could possibly have ASD but now that I'm in the midst of these tests, hearing from professionals and looking up his behaviours myself, I do believe that we will get a diagnosis of mild autism or Asperger Syndrome when our official assessment time comes. All I can do right now is help him control his emotions and build his confidence. I've bought him his own fidget toys for home, a communication fan so he can explain to us how he's feeling without lashing out and some books to explain feelings and how to tackle them.

Behaviour is still one of the biggest issues because he doesn't know how to convey them properly. I'd be lying if I didn't say that every day was a struggle. He needs to have a set routine and the slightest thing can set him off. We have to use "First..., then..." daily. He doesn't really know boundaries when it comes to what to say to other people. He can be a bit full on and share whatever comes into his head at that moment. His mind is wonderful and I am in awe of it. He is very clever and great with logic - the educational psychologist actually suggested explaining everything logically to him because he is more than capable and would probably understand things better that way. For example, he is a very fussy eater and sticks to what he knows. She recommended that when I give him something new, tell him that his brain and taste buds don't like it right now but we need to teach them to like it because the calcium is good for our bones (just as an example!). His preschool leader said that he is "scarily good with numbers" and right now he is teaching himself to read. He's not even 5 yet! My very own little Matilda.

I will do another update when we know more - wish us luck.



#KISSSummerParty at the Merchant Hotel, Belfast

A little over three weeks ago (I can't believe how late this post is - apologies!), I attended the KISS Summer Party on the roof of the Merchant Hotel in Belfast. I was invited by the lovely ladies at Alex Silver PR and I just HAD to say yes!

I've only ever been to the Merchant once before for afternoon tea with my mum, so I was excited about the prospect of an evening blog event there. It was actually my first ever blog event too. I find them hard to come by here in Belfast! 

When I arrived, I met Hannah from Hi Baby Blog outside and we ventured in together. Hannah and I have been friends on Facebook for quite a while now and despite living in the same city, we had never met. It was so lovely to meet her in person and she is just a doll!
The whole event itself was amazing from start to finish. When we arrived, we were greeted by the beautiful Danielle from Alex Silver PR who asked us to sign in and we handed a drink straight away - you can't go wrong there! We were also told to help ourselves at the bar for the remainder of the event - something that every Irish person likes to hear! 



We made our way onto the roof terrace and there were stations to get your KISS eyelashes applied and KISS or imPRESS manicure nails done. I spotted the wonderful Paddy McGurgan at an eyelash station and I had to have him apply mine for me! As I wear glasses, I don't ever apply false eyelashes as I never really saw the point. Would anyone notice them behind my specs? Because of this, I had no idea what style of lash would suit me so Paddy chose a style he thought would work well and oh my goodness, my opinion on false lashes changed instantly. They were incredible and I've definitely found a new love. 
Excuse the wide eyes due to my lack of glasses but seriously, how amazing are these eyelashes?
As there were quite a lot of bloggers there and I had to leave an hour early, I unfortunately didn't get a chance to have any nails applied. I did however try some from the goody bag (I'll chat more about that below!) we received when I got home. I chose a KISS pair and you can either apply them with glue or sticky tabs - both are included in the box. I opted for sticky tabs as I thought they'd be quicker and I was really surprised by how strong they were. How great do they look? 

The KISS Summer Party was so much fun and I loved mingling with new bloggers who I was only familiar with online. There were waiters floating around handing out lots of fantastic food from burger sliders and fish and chips to bruschetta - the fish and chips were divine! 
Meeting the PR team and finding out more about the KISS brand was really interesting. They are a US brand which has recently brought their products to the UK market. I think they are absolutely fantastic, even for a busy mum like me, so I can definitely see them being a huge hit! Who knew that there were so many different styles of lashes and nails?!


We all left with a fabulous goody bag packed with nails and eyelashes to try at home. I do have some other blog posts lined up where I will focus on some individual products so keep an eye out for that!

Thank you for inviting me, Alex Silver PR!



Win a family ticket to PAW Patrol Live in London

PAW Patrol is one of those TV shows which has taken the UK by storm. My own children are obsessed with it and I find myself singing the theme song in my head on a daily basis. You can buy PAW Patrol emblazoned clothing, notebooks, anything you can think of so there's no doubt that it's very popular. There's no escaping the hype!



The PAW Patrol pups are now coming to an arena near you in their first ever UK and Ireland live tour! When Mayor Goodway goes missing during the day of the Great Adventure Bay Race, the pups come to the rescue. Families can enjoy Ryder, Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Zuma, Skye and Everest for an action-packed adventure that shows that no job is too big and no pup is too small.




The live show sounds absolutely fantastic and it's sure to be a magical day for all little ones.

I have one family ticket to the PAW Patrol Live 10:00am show in Wembley Arena, London on 6th August up for grabs! The family ticket covers 5 people (adult or child) and is worth £150.

To be in with a chance of winning, just enter via the Gleam widget below. As this prize is for an event at a specific location, please be sure to read the terms and conditions and only enter if you are available to attend.

T&C's:
  • One winner will win five A-Reserve tickets worth £30 each (children under 12 months are not required to have a ticket as long as they are sat on a ticketholder's lap and do not occupy a seat)
  • The tickets are only available for use at the 10am show at the Wembley Arena, London on August 6th 2017
  • The winner will receive a ticket voucher via email which they will have to bring with them to the box office in order to redeem their tickets
  • The is no cash alternative
  • There is no contribution towards travel expenses
  • The giveaway will run from 11th July until 24th July
  • Open to entrants aged 18+
  • One entry per person
  • No automated entries
A family ticket to PAW Patrol Live at Wembley Arena, London on August 6th

 

Ravensburger Disney Pixar Cars 3 Giant Floor Puzzle - Review

We are massive Disney fans and C especially loves the Cars franchise. Ravensburger have recently brought out a Cars 3 Giant Floor Puzzle to coincide with the third installment being released in cinemas on July 14th. I actually won tickets to a early screening so we have already seen the movie and it is fantastic - just as good as the first two!


When we received the puzzle to try out, C was so excited because as much as he loves Lighning McQueen, he has taken a liking to Jackson Storm and so he was thrilled to see him included on the puzzle too. There are 60 pieces and C can sometimes feel a little thrown in at the deep end when the pieces are small, but because this is classed as a 'giant' floor puzzle, each piece is about the size of his hand and the finished picture is large too.


It is recommended for children aged 4+, C will be 5 in September and this is probably the first puzzle that he's needed minimal help from me with. I gave him prompts such as finding all the pieces with blue and yellow on or "can you find the rest of Lightning McQueen's eyes?" but all in all, he was able to do the majority of it himself and boy, was he proud of himself!


The familiar characters definitely helped and I think they made him enjoy it more. Even though he could see what the puzzle would look like on the box, he couldn't wait to complete it and see it for himself. The puzzle pieces are bright and colourful and it's perfect for any Disney Cars fans!


The Car 3 Giant Floor Puzzle retails at £9.99 and can be purchased from Amazon and all major retailers. You can find out more at the Ravensburger website and you can keep up to date on Twitter.

(We received this puzzle for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)
 

What I Won - June 2017

I'll start this post by saying that June wasn't the best month for me if we are going by the number of wins, but I did have a big win that was on our 'to buy' list so I can't complain too much. 

If you're new to my posts/blog, I am an avid comper and spending quite a lot of my free time entering online competitions. I love to look back on what I've won, do comparisons and share with others that real people do win these giveaways and hopefully try and encourage others to start entering because it really is the best hobby ever. I tend to use Competition Database and also just search for my own competitions on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Without further ado, here's what I won last month!

1) Kids watch (RRP £9.99) from Aniworld
C is almost five now and has recently been asking a lot of questions such as "What does it mean when the big hand points to 6?" so this Tyrannosaurus Rex watch was the perfect prize for him right now. It's a snap watch so it has some added fun and he loves that he can put it on and take it off himself.

2) Organyc bundle (RRP £14.27) from Natural Health Mag

I am very familar with the Organyc range as I used their baby wipes, maternity pads and breast pads just after I gave birth to E. They are so kind to skin so I was pleased with this handy wee win.

3) Box of toys (RRP £14.00) from Pocket Money Toys

I won this one specifically to donate to a preschool or nursery. C's preschool have been amazing this year so I was really excited to bring it to them. The leader was so thrilled and I hope the kids have lots of fun with it. It even included a Melissa and Doug puzzle - one of my favourite brands!

4) A year's soft play membership (RRP £168) from Funky Monkeys

I was so happy to win this on my local soft play centre's Facebook page. With C being at school, I opted to get it for E as she'd get more use out of it. She has a great time and soft play and it has lots of great benefits.

5) UberSoothers (RRP £3.49) from Nuby

I won this in a simple like and comment giveaway on the Nuby Instagram page. My sister in law is currently expecting her second little one so I will be popping it in the little hamper that I'll be making up for her.

6) George Best book (RRP £6.99) from The History Press
This was another Instagram win and it was really low entry. I didn't get a chance to get a photograph as I gifted it to my dad as part of his Father's Day present but he said it's a great read and he can't put it down.

7) £100 One4All voucher from Electric Ireland NI

This was a Father's Day giveaway on the Electric Ireland Facebook page where you had to tag and nominate a great dad. I tagged my partner Chris, wrote about how he was a brilliant dad to our two little ones and won it! It was originally supposed to be a £100 B&Q voucher but they sent this instead (which is actually much better!) As Chris has just passed his driving test and got his first car, he got himself a sat nav!

8) Cara Delevigne Rimmel collection (RRP £39.99) from Superdrug

I very rarely buy myself make up so when I win it, it's a special treat. This is everything from the Cara Camo range and I am so excited to use it!

9) Pointless board game (RRP £19.99) from University Games
Pointless is my favourite TV game show so I am so excited to receive this and see how it goes!

10) Dr Beckmann Glowhite (RRP £1.85) from Dr Beckmann

I won this on the Dr Beckmann Twitter page and they even sent one of their cute little owls too! This will be great for C's school polo shirts.

11) Batch of s'mores brownies (RRP £18.00) from Life Is Sweet NI

All I have to say is, oh my goodness. If you are based in Northern Ireland, you need to place an order with this lady! I have never tasted anything like it and I will definitely be ordering from her in the future.

12) A sofa and rug (RRP £498) from Harveys Furniture
I could not believe my luck when Harveys sent me a message to say I'd won. Just the evening before, my partner Chris and I had discussed how we really needed to buy a new sofa. I cannot wait to have it and our new rug delivered! 

In June 2017, I won 12 prizes worth a total of £894! As I love a comparison, I'll list my wins from June in previous years with the totals below. You can also click through to have a nosey at what items I won too.

June 2016 - 31 prizes worth £588.64
June 2015 - 10 prizes worth £455.24
June 2014 - 16 prizes worth £381.94 

Did you win anything nice last month?
 

Story Time with Miffy - Review & Giveaway

I remember the Miffy books by Dick Bruna being one of the first ones my dad read to me back in the early Nineties. Over 20 years later and my own children absolutely love the sweet little bunny. They were first aware of her by watching Miffy's Adventures Big and Small on Tiny Pop then we got toys and books. She was an instant hit in house! 


Being a Miffy Mum, we received a lovely little duo of books to read recently. My favourite time of day is reading to my children at bedtime and they were delighted to have some new Miffy books to read.

Firstly, we received a really cute Miffy shaped board book called 'Miffy's Word Book'. My first thought was that it would be perfect for younger children. With it's colourful pictures and words, two year old E certainly loved learning what each image was, but my four year old son is starting to independently read so he found himself sounding out each word without looking at the picture for help. From Miffy's favourite things to the names of Miffy's friends, it makes for a wonderful learning book for little ones. 



Next up was one that brought me back to my childhood. The style of the Miffy books haven't changed and this story about Miffy and her friend Melanie is very sweet. Miffy has a pen friend who comes to visit and the story follows them meeting up, activities that they do and the fun that they have together. I've written briefly before that we are waiting on an autism assessment for our son C and one of the things that has been recommended for him are books on making friends. Although this isn't specifically about making friends, it's a good one to teach him about acceptable behaviours and emotions.





Miffy's Word Book retails at £6.00 and Miffy and Melanie retails at £5.00. Both can be purchased from the Miffy Shop. You can also keep up to date with Miffy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I have a set of two books up for grabs for a lucky reader. To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is fill in the Gleam widget below. Good luck!

T&C's:
  • One winner will win a copy of miffy's word book and a copy of miffy and melanie
  • The giveaway will run from July 5th until July 23rd
  • Open to entrants aged 18+
  • UK residents only
  • One entry per person
  • No automated entries 
Set of Miffy books (Miffy's Word Book and Miffy and Melanie)
 
 (We received copies of the books for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)


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