Sunday, 16 April 2017

New Kazoops Episodes are on the way! #JustImagine

I am really excited to tell you about the new episodes of Kazoops which will be aired at 4.20pm on CBeebies from tomorrow, the 17th April (Easter Monday). Kazoops is a wonderfully imaginative show about a little boy called Monty and his pet pig who set off on fantastic adventures. Every time I have put Kazoops on for the twins they sit and watch it from start to end, loving every minute which speaks volumes for my very active "threenagers".

Meet Monty Kazoop

Monty Kazoop is a spirited boy of six, whose best friend is a pig called Jimmy Jones. In each episode Monty confronts a preconception about the grown-up world and sets out to challenge it, embarking on a wild imaginary adventure with Jimmy that offers them a fresh perspective.

In each episode Monty and Jimmy use their imaginations to find ways to look differently at the world around them.  For after all, who says the world works the way grown ups think it should? Things can always be different if you just imagine…

An Exciting Week of Kazoops Ahead

We have been lucky enough to have gotten a sneak preview of Monday’s episode, Daydreamer Monty where Monty is dreaming up fantastical ways to get a new piano upstairs, but when his family tell him that his ideas are fun but not actually useful, Monty wonders if daydreaming can help solve problems.  All three of my kids enjoyed it, as did I and we are definitely looking forward to the week ahead where lots more adventures lie ahead. Here is a quick summary of what is to come.

On Tuesday Monty and Jimmy Jones think Jeanie’s new stick insect isn’t a very interesting pet and tell her it would be much more exciting to have a lion but when Jeanie tells them you can’t keep wild animals in the house, Monty and Jimmy Jones question why not.  In Wednesday’s episode Gran wants Monty and Jimmy Jones to win a painting competition, even if it means Monty not painting what he really wants to, leaving Monty wondering if it really is important to always be the winner. On Thursday the Kazoops take a vote on which ice-cream flavour to get from the market and Monty doesn’t want the same flavour as Gran. He begins to wonder if you can still be friends with people if you like different things.  And in the last episode of the week Monty is surprised when Stan is too scared to go under the house to fetch a toy for him, and begins to wonder if adults get scared sometimes too. This leads him to travel to an imaginary medieval realm where he meets a Knight who’s scared of heights…

Be sure not to miss the Kazoops fun and the adventures of Monty and Jimmy Jones on cBeebies by tuning in everyday at 4.20pm, we will be there!

* Disclaimer: I am working with UKMums.TV and cBeebies to review Kazoops. All views and opinions are my own and unbiased. 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Half-Shell Heroes Mutant Loader Vehicle with Mikey Review

Like most little boys Zachary is a big TMNT fan, he loves the Half Shell Hereos toys that he has so when I gave him the Half-Shell Heroes Mutant Loader Vehicle with Mikey he was delighted. The extra cool thing about this toy is the fact that the Mutant Loader has a forklift which lets you lift baddies, then flip them in the capture cage which all three of my my kids were impressed with and love doing.

The Half-Shell Hero Mutant Loader Vehicle with Mikey is the perfect combination for Zachary who loves his TMNT and playing with construction vehicles. The range is well thought out to appeal to little ones who want to play with vehicles like trucks and diggers but also their favourite characters like Mikey. It is the perfect tool to let their active little imaginations marry all the things they love together.

The Mutant Loader Vehicle is brightly coloured and perfect for small hands and it is definitely strong enough to withstand boisterous play. The forklift is easy to operate with the turn of a wheel and Zachary got the hang of of using it really quickly and he has been busy catching baddies ever since. It also has a little side cart where you can pop Mikey in to sit.

The articulated Mikey figures is very cool and Zachary likes the fact that he can pop him in his pocket and bring him on adventures with him. All figures in the Half-Shell Heroes range are compatible which adds to the fun if you have more than one vehicle.

Our Verdict

I can definitely recommend the Half-Shell Heroes Mutant Loader Vehicle with Mikey, it has been the source of much entertainment for Zachary who has spent hours playing with it. It is more than just a character toy or a vehicle to play with as it combines both types of toys which ticks a lot of boxes in the toy stakes. I also love the fact that it is so robust and will stand the test of time when it comes to the twins toy test. 

Where to Buy

Half-Shell Heroes Mutant Loader Vehicle with Mikey is available to buy from most of the usual toy retailers including Smyths Toys with an RRP of £19.99. For more information on the fantastic range of Half-Shell Heroes head over to Flair and the TMNT Toys Collectors Club

*Discalimer: I was sent the Half-Shell Heroes Mutant Loader Vehicle with Mikey for review. All views and opinions are my own and unbiased. 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dolmio #Thankgoodness Challenge

The #Thankgoodness Challenge

BritMums along with Dolmio challenged me to create a #ThankGoodness mid-week meal from a hamper of good things which were delivered straight to my kitchen.  As you can see we got lots of healthy and delicious looking ingredients to work with.

The goal: A simple, good-for-you meal including a jar of Dolmio Bolognese sauce which contains no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or sweeteners. So how did we get on?

Our Creations

My kids are all pretty fussy when it comes to food, having various preferences and definite dislikes to different ingredients, textures and combinations that I have to work around for every family meal. It can become a bit of a chore to say the least and I do tend to stick to favourite tried and tested meals to avoid complaints. This is why the #Thankgoodness Challenge has been so good, not just for the kids but me too, I have tried out new family meals and on the whole everything has been a hit.

Chicken & Vegetable Egg Noodles
For our first meal with our hamper we had chicken, vegetables and german style egg noodles with Dolmio Sauce.

It was delicious and everyone agreed. There is definitely a real sense of satisfaction when you look around the table at the end of the meal and all plates are clean and best of all I haven't had to encourage/nag/coax any of the children to eat.

Homemade Pizza
We decided to try our own homemade pizzas another evening using pre-made pizza bases, some Dolmio sauce and a whole host of toppings including some leftover chicken, ham, sausage, mushrooms, sweetcorn and cheese finishing it with fresh rocket for that rustic look. It was not only fun to make but tasted better than a ready made one.

Sausage & Vegetable Gnocchi in Dolmio Tomato Sauce
Another hit meal was made with sausages, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, green beans and gnocchi, again topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. There were smiles all round when I served this and made a nice change to sausage and chips which is usually what I default cook when using sausages.

Spaghetti Bolognese
Next up we had a super vegetable loaded spaghetti bolognese using a jar of Dolmio Bolognese Original, wholemeal spaghetti which we had never tried before and now prefer, minced beef, courgette, mushrooms, tomatoes and carrots topping it all with freshly grated parmesan.

I also made up some garlic bread with the garlic we had been sent and it was the perfect accompaniment to our meal which went down a storm. I was definitely giving myself a big high-5.

Ham, Salad Beans & Pasta in Dolmio Bolognese Sauce
We also had a super quick weekday meal using some left over ham gammon chopped and sauteed with peppers, mushrooms, a tin of salad bean mix and half a jar of Dolmio Bolognese Original sauce which I served with pasta.

Beef Meatballs & Vegetables in Dolmio Bolognese Sauce
Meatballs are always a hit in our house and Dolmio Bolognese Sauce made them even tastier. I also added lots of vegetables to up the healthiness factor so a big win all round.

My Verdict

I have loved the Dolmio #ThankGoodness challenge, it has proven to me just how versatile a jar of Dolmio Bolognese sauce is and I have also learned (and been amazed by) all the fantastically healthy ingredients that go into making it. My family has enjoyed having some new and different meals instead of my go-to family favourites which I think everyone was getting a bit bored of to be honest. As a result I will always have a jar of Dolmio Bolognese in my food cupboard ready to inspire and make family meal time not just easier but tastier too. 

Dolmio Bolognese - What's in a jar?

Dolmio Bolognese Original 500g sauce is 100% natural. In each jar, you’ll find at least 10 juicy diced tomatoes, a dollop of tomato puree, half an onion, a tablespoon of sunflower oil, a couple of cloves of garlic, a handful of herbs including basil, a teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, two teaspoons of added beet sugar for taste, a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of water and nothing more. In fact, a jar provides a family of four with one of their 5-a-day each and that’s before you add any further veg to the meal! I love this video clip which shows what exactly goes into a jar of Dolmio Bolognese.

Bet you were surprised by that, I was!

Disclaimer: This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Super Fun with the Sip n Sound Straws!

We are loving Sip n Sound Straws from Flair, the new interactive animal straw range with their cute little farmyard animals that make noises as you drink passes through them. We were sent four different animals to review which include the cow, pig, horse and sheep and the are definitely encouraging the kids to drink lots.

Sip n Sound Straws in Action

When I first gave the straws to the kids I didn't tell them that they made noises when they drank and their reaction was priceless with lots of laughter and giggles. The little animals also slide off the straw so you can use them as a cute little sensory toy for little ones to enjoy, not to mention the fact that you can replace the straw with another same sized one if you have a straw chewer.

Dentists have long been saying that drinking with straws has proven benefits which include stain protection, reduced exposure to fizzy drinks that could cause cavities and protection against sensitivity so these reusable Sip n Sound Straws are a brilliant tool to encourage kids to drink healthier drinks. Parents will be pleased to hear that they do have an off switch so you can stop the drinking sound if necessary but I honestly have not had to do that yet, the sound is quiet enough to be heard but not loud enough to be annoying.

Our Verdict

The kids love the Sip n Sound straws and they have upped their water drinking thanks to them. They are a great design with animals that appeal to both boys and girls and the sounds they make are very cute. I like the fact that they are dual purpose and can be used as a toy as well as attached to the straw. They are sturdy enough to withstand the threenager twin test and also get the thumbs up fro me thanks to the off switch and the reusability factor. We are all loving our little farm yard collection of straws.

Where to Buy

Sip n Sound straws are available to buy at a number of toy retailers including Smyths Toys priced at £5.99 each. 

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Join the #GiantGazillionBubbles Twitter Frenzy!

We love Gazillion Bubbles, they are so much fun and make the awesomest bubbles ever. We have both the Gazillion Bubble Tornado Machine and the Gazillion Incredibubble Wand  which get taken out every time the weather turns nice and we hit the garden. I don't think you ever grow out of the magic of bubbles and watching the kids run about trying to pop them, hearing the laughs and squeals of delight is something I will never tire of.

#GiantGazillionBubbles Twitter Frenzy

If you are as excited as us about Gazillion Bubbles join @mmeeee on Twitter along with UKMumsTV  on Wednesday 5th April at 5pm for the Gazillion Bubbles Twitter Frenzy and use the hashtag #GiantGazillionBubbles to get involved. For 90 minutes you will have chances to win great Gazillion prizes and have some bubble-tastic fun too! Check out UKMumsTV for more information. See you then!