Thursday, 25 July 2013

Wonderful new Tickety Toc toy range launching 27 July!

My daughter, husband and I attended the recent 'Top Secret' Tickety Toc toy range launch at Hamleys in London.  For 2 hours my daughter had the chance to play with and test the wonderful new toys, listen to the exciting adventures of Tommy and Tallulah from a few of the beautiful books in the range and be creative and make gorgeous headbands with hearts, feathers, sequins and lots more!

We were lucky enough to take home a Tommy and Tallulah toy which my daughter is now completely inseparable from.  Suitable for 18months+, the range includes talking soft toys of the show's main characters, Tommy and Tallulah, a musical Pufferty Train, plus a Clockhouse Playset.  Based in the town of Tickety, the series revolves around twins Tommy and Tallulah as they race against time to keep the Tickety Toc Clock ticking. 

So, what is in this fabulous new range of toys?!

1. Talking Tommy and Talking Tallulah (RRP £14.99 each).  My daughter really loved these 10 inch talking soft toys, which are perfect 'cuddle size' toys.  Each character includes seven recognisable phrases from the TV programme including “Easy peazy, lemon squeezy!”
2. Musical Pufferty Train (RRP £22.99). Press his funnel to play the Tickety Toc theme tune and push him along to see Tommy and Tallulah play on their see-saw, and watch Tooteroo spin on his perch.  
3. Clockhouse Playset (RRP £29.99).  This set represents the heart of Tickety Town.  Complete with train track and push along Pufferty train to take the Tommy and Tallulah figures back for Chime Time, this set has everything a Tickety fan needs to recreate the magic of Tickety Toc at home.  Turn the key to open the kitchen door and rotate the cog to open the Chime Time doors for the Twins. 

4. Tickety Toc Soft Toys (RRP £6.99 each)Collect Tommy and Tallulah and take on the road with you on your own Chime Time adventures; perfect for Tickety Toc fun around the clock and definitely my daughter's favourite!


I highly recommend the story and activity books too.  The colours are beautiful and vibrant with the activities being interesting and full of beautiful stickers, things to create and games to play.  Don't forget that both Blossom and Friends magazines also contain pages full of Tickety Toc fun.  

The Tickety Toc website is also fantastic and has an amazing built in feature where parents can limit the amount of time that their child spends on the site.  This is really innovative and I think that all other sites should really follow suit with this, and fast.

This video shows my daughter's reaction to the Talking Tallulah which she will no doubt be asking Father Christmas for this year.  It is rather cute and cuddly, so I can't blame her!
video

You can buy all of the toys from 27 July at Argos, The Entertainer, Smyths, Amazon and all good toy shops/online.
Be sure to watch Tickety Toc on Nick Junior at 8am, 4pm and 4.15pm weekdays and Channel 5’s Milkshake at 9am weekdays.
My daughter loves Tickety Toc and the new toy range and I'm sure your little ones and their friends will too!
Alison x
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ticketytocuk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TicketyTocUK

Thursday, 11 July 2013

What's for Dinner Tonight?

Schwartz are launching a new 2in1 range, offering easy to use recipe mix sachets in one handy pack; one sachet flavours the main dish and the other one contains the seasoning for the complementary dish or topping.  There are five fabulous varieties to choose from, each with a very easy recipe on the back  of the pack.

I tried out the quick to prepare and make, yummy Mediterranean Chicken Pasta and Cheesy Crumb Topping as well as the delicious Garlic and Thyme Roast Chicken and Crispy Roast Potatoes.  Schwartz are actually giving away free packs while stocks last!


Be sure to try out the whole range.  Most the ingredients are items that I normally stock in my pantry and fridge so as a last minute meal when I really am thinking 'what's for dinner tonight?', I'll now be stocking these too for those occasions.

Happy cooking!

Ax

This post is an entry for BritMums 'What's for Dinner Tonight?' sponsored by Schwartz.  Sign up to get your samples here".

Fancy a wine tasting in the comfort of your living room?




I've now joined the team of ladies and gents at Virgin Wines Fabulous; an exciting new business opportunity from Virgin Wines offering you the chance to buy high quality, handcrafted wines, in a relaxed and unpretentious environment.

I run wine tastings in St Albans and surrounds for groups of wine lovers in the comfort of their own home. If you live elsewhere in the country and want a tasting, let me know and I'll put you in contact with your nearest Adviser.

The tastings are a fun and informal chance for people to try a selection of wines in a variety of styles from around the world, priced around £6.99-£9.99. At the end of the evening guests place orders for their favourite wines that they tasted on the night or from previous tastings, taking advantage of exclusive money saving offers at the same time.  Wine tasting doesn't have to be boring, so I aim to make it a fun evening with the added bonus of drinking beautiful wine and learning something at the same time.

What you do as a host
  • Invite friends, family and neighbours that like wine or who you think could do with a bit of wine education in a relaxed environment
  • Pay £30 for a wonderful selection of eight wines (three red, three white and two rose) 
  • You and your guests will have the chance to taste all eight wines while I teach you a little bit more about each of them and what foods it would go well with
  • Hosts also have the chance to earn free wine 
  • Once the tasting is finished, you and your guests get to drink whatever wine is left from the eight wines.  Fabulous!  

It's a great way for everyone to try before they buy and I'm pretty sure that there will be at least two or three wines that you'll want either by the bottle or by the case.  I'm happy to do tastings for hen parties, work team events, school fetes, school reunions (!), just to name a few. 

Contact me by email to book a party or alternatively go to my Virgin Wines Fabulous website, have a browse and click on Contact Us for further information about our wines and about becoming a Consultant yourself.

Speak to you soon!

Ax

“Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.” 



Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Ultimate Guide to Party Planning

For those of you that know me well, you know how much I LOVE planning events.  I plan in advance, I love detail, and I usually over cater (and inevitably overindulge in food and wine).  It's fabulous darling, just fabulous!

This infographic is excellent for people who may possible find party planning a bit stressful or a bit of a chore.  See? It's easy, peasy I tell you!

Enjoy!

Guest Post: Throw a Picnic Party fit for your little Princess



We often get asked about creative ideas for all sorts of occasions, recently a mum phoned us to see if we could help inspire her with some fun party ideas for her beautiful daughter and friends. She knew she wanted to give it a pretty theme and already had several great ideas. We suggested sack races, face painting and an egg-and-spoon race too. She also planned to borrow a bright pink bouncy castle from a friend. After listening to the things that her daughter liked, we came up with the following and thought we would share this with you too.

By the way – the following is perfect if you are on a budget!

So let’s start with FOOD...

Hot food – we suggested to steer clear of. Why? Its hassle, it requires attention and also with little ones running about it is one less thing to worry about.

We suggested a cold buffet, grazing style, simple foods that children adore and will eat. E.g. plain ham sandwiches, jam sandwiches. Cold fried chicken nibbles...Hassle free, good nutritious food that the little princesses can snack on.

We also felt that watermelon is a must. If you're looking for an easy way to serve fruit to kids, fruit kebabs look and taste amazing. Consider using plastic skewers with rounded tips instead of pointed wooden ones since they're safer for young children.

For dessert... setting up an ice cream cone station where the kids can top their ice cream with sprinkles, cherries and other treats (you might want to offer bowls in case those ice cream cones get a little top heavy.



For drinking fun... creating an Ice cone station where you have a heap of crushed ice at the ready with different types of syrup to choose from. Allowing the children to make their own makes them feel wonderfully grown up too – just need pink/white straws, plastic clear cups, crushed ice and a few different types of colourful and tasty syrup. Fit for a princess for sure!

Picnic Party Decorations

Attention to detail on the decoration is important although you don’t need to go overboard – Tying bright big bows around trees and subtle items dotted around the garden really transforms an everyday garden to a magical princess theme.

Have hidden gems/parcels around the garden that surprise the children when they explore is a really magical touch.

Vital touches that transform an average area to something quite extraordinary and a must decoration are...tablecloths pink preferably plus pink and cream balloons.


Games and Activities

Hold a princess potato-sack (spray painted pink) race and having a princess face-painting table are perfect. We think the pink sack makes this lady like!

Another idea: an apple beanbag toss. First make a bean bag the rough shape of an apple (or just make pink and cream squares and call them Pink lady apples -the kids won't care). Then, cut a tree shape from plywood or another sturdy material. Cut round holes in the tree. Lean it against your house or build support legs behind it. Have the kids take turns seeing how many "apples" they can throw through the holes.

The bean bag toss and other activities could all be part of a back garden “carnival” The guests could go from stand to stand participating in the face painting, bean-bag toss, bouncy castle and other activities. Give them a strip of tickets so they can "pay" their way at the various booths.

Letting off steam with a traditional few whacks at a piñata? Since this is a picnic party, try to make your own villain shaped piñata although you can purchase these quite easily at most supermarkets.

Prizes and party Bags

Party bags/favours, you could give each child a miniature picnic basket box filled with treasures, such as jelly beans, gold and silver chocolate coins.

Tying everything together will make the whole theme realistic and magical, without blowing the budget!


This article was written by The Platter Company, specialists in catering for Kids parties.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Win a fabulous photo book with 23snaps!



In August last year I did a review on23snaps; the fabulous new free photo sharing App available for Android, iPhone, iPad and the web.  If you have an Instragram account, as most of us do, you can get your photos automatically added to your 23snaps account by using #23snaps in the description of the photo, killing two birds with one stone.  

Like most of us who lead busy lives, we love taking photos of our kiddies but that is where it usually stops.  We fail to create physical albums using these beautiful pictures of precious family moments like our parents did in days gone by.  

Well, fear not!  23snaps has recently launched personalised photo albums and photo prints. Now parents can create beautiful physical mementos out of precious digital memories ALL at the tap of a button. 

I've created an album of my own as you can see from the collage above, and it is honestly very easy to do.  I used a mixture of the existing pictures within my 23snaps account and uploaded extra pictures to the App, too.  I love how the photos are  automatically stored to the digital photo book timeline, plus the ability to group them into special collections, by themes or favourites appeals to my "inner control freak".  

How do I order prints and photo books?
In the iPhone App, go to the button (looks like 3 stripes on top of each other) and press the option to Order books and prints and then pick which one you would like to do.  Apply the same principle to the web app where but select Prints & Books from the to navigation bar.

For arguments sake, let's pretend to order a photo book on the iPhone.  So easy, you can do this on the move... 
  1. Click on Add Photos and then pick from either or own photo stream or those of a friend, press the photos you want (green tick means it has been selected) and then press done when you are, um, done.  
  2. Next, press Preview and then swipe across beautiful virtual photo book.  You have the option on this screen to change what the cover photo looks like if you so wish.  I started with a 4D ultrasound scan of my daughter.  See how all the photos are in chronological order?  Nice, hey?!  
  3. As you love it so much, press on Proceed.  You know what it is going to cost because it shows it to you very clearly.  
  4. Decide on the number of copies you want and amend as necessary.   The next few steps are stock standard info takers of address and card details which means you are two steps away from ordering your book. 
It's easy.  I like easy.  It makes me happy.

Key features of the App and photo book and photo ordering
  • Photo book images are set out automagically in chronologically order of life events.
  • In the web app, you can add photos to your photostream from your computer, Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Picasa and your Skydrive.
  • The iPhone and web interfaces are really easy to use and technophobe proof.  I mean, ANYONE can use it.
  • As you start to create a photo book, you are given the choice to add photos from friend and family member 23snaps accounts, too.
  • The costs of photos and photo books are very clearly illustrated before you even think of buying them.  I like that.
  • The print quality is excellent.
  • Both photo prints and photo books are guaranteed to put a very large small on the face of their recipient!  VERY KEY FEATURE!
What do photos and photo books cost to print?
Photo prints (4 x 4 and 4 x 6) require a minimum order of 10 photos per order and prices start from £4. Postage and package are included in the price of this.
The high quality, hardcover photo book requires a minimum of 24 photos and prices start at £15. 
  • 50 photos in a book: From £22 (estimate includes UK shipping and taxes).
  • 75 photos in a book: From £27 (estimate includes UK shipping and taxes).
Now you, my lovely and fabulous creative readers, have been given the chance to win one of these exquisite photo books by the wonderful folk over at 23snaps (thank you, 23snaps!).

Enter the competition using the same e-mail address that you use to log in to your 23snaps account.  If you don't have a 23snaps account, register now, open one up, upload photos, invite friends and family and then come back and enter.  Competition closes on 31 July 2013 and is open to all UK residents, so enter now my lovelies!  As always, read the T&C section at the bottom of the Rafflecopter.

Happy snapping, sharing, photo book creating and photo printing!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Note: The Blogger was given the photo book free of charge to review.  All views and opinions are completely honest and not bias.

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Review: Protect their skin this summer with Organic Children Sun Lotion!

Hooray, I here you shouting from the roof tops!  The great British summer is finally here!  With temperatures soaring into the high 20's for the next couple of weeks and many families traveling abroad during the school holidays, the first thing that parents and carers should do is invest in a good quality sun lotion for their children.

Organic Children sun lotion has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 25 and offers 96% UVB protection.  It comes out in a thick cream but is very easily absorbed by the skin and is not greasy which I love.  My daughter actually enjoys using it, which is excellent as I normally have to fight her to put on sun lotion.

When to apply and how often to re-apply
Apply 20 minutes before going into the sun and then re-apply every 2 hours.  Always re-apply after your kids have come out of the water.  Although it is water resistant it won't clog little pores because of the beeswax it is made with.  

What it it made with?
A few of the fabulous 81% certified organic ingredients in this sun lotion are organic aloe vera, beeswax and edelweiss.  The ingredients are fairly traded but are not vegan because of the beeswax content.

A few things that you won't find in Organic Children Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF25 are Parabens, alcohol (ethyl alcohol, ethanol), Lanolin, phthalates, artificial perfumes, petrochemicals and colourants to bring you the purest children's sun lotion that nature can offer.


What makes this sun lotion even more special?
Green People support the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), helping to support marine wildlife and at the same time raise awareness around the effects that mainstream sun lotions can have on sea life.  Both MCS and Green People are against the use of chemical ingredients in personal care products and for each organic Scent-Free SPF25 Sun Lotion that is sold, Green People will donate 30p to this extremely worth cause.   

Read more about MCS here and the excellent work that this national UK charity do in raising awareness of the multiple threats our seas face and how we can all help to protect this precious gift for generations to come.

Did you know...
A scary 25% average of sunscreen ingredients that are applied to the skin are released into the water during a 20 minute swim?!

This can have horrific effects on aquatic life such as turning fish into hermaphrodites due to the "gender-bending" chemicals that mimic the effect of oestrogen that are often found in common sunscreens.  

Certain sunscreens promote viral infections in coral reefs, potentially playing a large part in bleaching of coral reefs in areas with low water renewal and strong tourist followings.  Makes you think twice about which brand of sun lotion you pack for that next summer holiday!

What size does it come in and what does it cost?
The recommended retail price (RRP) is £15.95 for a 150ml size tube in both fragrance free and lavender for sensitive skins.  It also comes in a handy 30ml travel-size Children's no scent SPF25 sun lotion (RRP £3.85).

Have safe fun in the sun guys and support a wonderful charity at the same time.

Ax

Note: The blogger's was sent this product to review, free of charge.  However, all views are the blogger's own, not bias and completely honest.
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