Monday, 28 July 2014

A Tiger's Tail - a film review

In the perfect formula for a family movie, you might find cute animals, characterful kids and funny situational comedy. A Tiger's Tail features all of these things!  Youngsters Billy and Koby, are dealing with the usual troubles that befall teens such as homework, girls and the local bullies.  But when a tiger cub called Luna comes into their lives, the trouble really begins!

kids movie, tiger

The tale begins at the local zoo where the local bullies humiliate Billy and steal his rucksack while he was trying to impress his love interest Doreen by the zoo's hot dog stand.  When Billy's dad finds the bag, due to the carelessness of a rather inept zoo keeper, there is an uninvited guest stowed away inside, which he inadvertently brings home.  This is the start of an adventure that sees Billy trying to keep the baby tiger hidden from his clueless parents and come up with a plan to return the cub to its pining mother.

The film uses a lot of classic, kids' film plot devices to progress the story and the moral of being rewarded for doing the right thing is cliched if not heartwarming. It has the feel of a Sunday afternoon Nick Jr movie with cute critters and kids getting into scrapes until the final mandatory happy ending.  The interaction between the family's pet Labrador and the tiger cub brings scenes that children will love and the comedic situations that come from trying to conceal a playful wild animal in the house will get the children chuckling.

Our favourite characters were Billy's goofball friend Koby, who is always doing something daft, and Billy's dad (played by the guy who played mind reading policeman Matt Partman in Heroes).  The parenting skills of Billy's parents leave a lot to be desired as they constantly dismiss and misunderstand their son's dilemmas- but it does raise a few laughs.

There is a good element of storytelling, some lovely animals and some gentle humour along with a nice soundtrack, which makes this a sweet film to keep the little ones entertained this summer. It has a nice moral message about honesty and doing the right thing and we get to see the underdogs triumph.

The Tiger's Tail is available now - find it on Amazon for £8.50.
The film is 81 Minutes long and a U certificate.

Avengers Bedroom In A Box - Room Transformations from Dulux #asifbymagic

A few weeks ago, we transformed Freddy's bedroom using the Dulux Bedroom in a Box with a Marvel Avengers theme.  To say that the end result was awesome is an understatement.  Everyone who has seen it has been super impressed and maybe just a tad envious!  The easy to hang wallpaper mural has created a fantastic feature wall with Captain America, The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and Hawkeye in starring roles.

Dulux, BIAB

The Dulux Bedroom in a Box range doesn't just cater for fans of Marvel Avengers, they have Jungle Adventure, Sea Adventure, Peppa Pig and Disney Fairy Princess themes.So whatever your little one is into, there will be a Bedroom in a Box theme to please them.   

The concept of the Bedroom in a Box is simple:


Take a look at the Dulux Bedroom in a Box website to see real reviews, customer quotes, videos and photographs of bedroom makeovers.  I spotted a photo of Freddy on the website, of him after he saw his new bedroom for the first time.  He was very excited knowing that his room was decked out with his favourite superheroes!

Dulux, Avengers

If you are looking for inspiration for redecorating your children's bedrooms, it's well worth taking a look at the range.  They transform kids' rooms as if by magic! You could even have the opportunity to win an annual Merlin Pass for the family by buying a Dulux Bedroom in a Box.  Another great reason to buy one!

Dulux, decorating

Find out more and order a BIAB at the Dulux Bedroom in a Box website.

"We were provided with a Bedroom in a Box for the purposes of this review by Dulux and Tots100. You can find out more about the Bedroom in a Box range on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest." 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Love your tummy with All-Bran #realmumsallbran

Life can be hectic, fast paced and chaotic. As a parent, time is valuable and sometimes in the melee we don't take as good care of ourselves as we should.  Little things like enjoying a healthy breakfast can be forgotten in the hectic morning rush.  Getting enough fibre in your diet or eating your five a day can be overlooked in favour of rushed ready meals or late night take aways. Consequently, our health and our digestive wellbeing can suffer. We can feel gassy or bloated.  In fact 52% of 1000 women surveyed confessed to experiencing digestive complaints at least once a week. Not a recipe for feeling good.

As serotonin is mostly made in the gut, we are restricting the production of our happy hormone when we don't look after our tummies. No wonder so many of us feel below par so often. It's no surprise that we sometimes have unhappy tums.

tummy upset
A sad tummy :(

Kellogg's All-Bran and Britmums have challenged me to try the #RealMumsAllBran 5 day challenge in an effort to get a good feeling in my tummy.  The challenge also encourages us to love our tummies, flaws and all, and embrace the way we look.

All-Bran, Kelloggs, cereals

Once upon a time I had a tummy that looked like this.

teenager, sexy

Nowadays it looks a lot less like this and more like a big blob of over-handled dough.  It's no longer taut or tanned as it was in my teens.  It's pale and's not seen the sun for years!  My days of bikini clad sunbathing on the beach have been replaced with the wearing of sensible one piece cossies and sitting in the shade. The me that was, is no more. Lots has changed over the years

My tummy and I have a longstanding love-hate relationship.  On one hand I have nothing but admiration for my tummy.  It has housed my five growing babies - my first pregnancy was in 1988, my last in 2009.  Forty five months of my life have been dedicated to producing my offspring.  That's almost four years where my tummy has been stretched to capacity, kicked, jabbed and prodded from within.  It's bound to take its toll.

My last pregnancy 'blew' my stomach muscles, which have failed to close up properly. Consequently, even if I'm a little overweight, my stomach just bulges out. It's not a good look, and can evoke questions pertaining to when I'm due.  Mortifying and no good for my confidence.

But it happened because I carried my 9lb 10oz baby to term.  It's a war wound from my last ever pregnancy. A reminder of what it was like to carry my last born son.  So how can I view it negatively?
I just have to suck in my core and keep the pounds off.  I can do that! It was definitely worth it because I have an adorable little boy because of it.

pregnancy, baby, sister
A little Kizzy with my 6 month baby belly!

Every stretch mark, every scar, every mole and every ounce of flesh that overhangs the waistband of my skinny jeans tells a story.  It's the story of motherhood...and I wouldn't have things any other way.  Carrying, birthing and raising my five beautiful children is the greatest and most rewarding achievement of my 45 years!

If ever my vanity threatens to confuse my mindset into dreaming about tummy tucks or liposuction in an attempt to recapture the taut tummy of my teens, I just have to think about my family and smile.
Maybe I'll never be a middle aged super model...but I'm a mum...a real mum...and that's good enough for me.

As for the health of my insides, I have taken the 5 day challenge, enjoying a bowl of new All-Bran every morning for my breakfast.  As a vegetarian, fibre features quite regularly in my diet from pulses, fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and nuts....but I am notorious for failing to eat a good breakfast. This challenge promised to put me on the road to good eating habits.

I remember back in the day when the only type of All-Bran available was the brown sticky kind! Now we get a choice including indulgent Golden Crunch, Red Berry Crunch and Chocolate Wheats. All-Bran is definitely a product that has come a long, long way over the years, appealing to a wider audience with more demanding and varied tastes, but still gives consumers a high fibre cereal to improve their digestive wellbeing.

The Red Berry Crunch is my favourite of the three varieties.  I enjoy it best, sprinkled over a bowl of soya yogurt or with almond milk.  The clusters are quite big, indulgent and very filling, whilst the dried strawberries add a fruity twist to the cereal.  As the cereals are fortified, I know I am getting Iron and other essential nutrients in addition to the fibre.

After five days, I definitely feel more energised in the morning and am not hungry until mid afternoon.  My body has definitely enjoyed being well fed, and taking five minutes at the start of the day for a yummy breakfast has been quite an uplifting experience.  A bit of me-time, no matter how minor is always therapeutic!

The cereals are sweetened, so depending on your personal taste, you may find that you prefer the traditional 'stick' All-Bran or the flakes.  But having the whole range to pick from gives you choice and variety.  So, whatever type of cereals you enjoy, there is no excuse for not loving your tummy with All-Bran!


You can follow other real mums' stories by looking for the hashtag #RealMumsAllBran on Twitter.

This post is an entry for the Real Mums of All-Bran Linky Challenge, sponsored by Kelloggs.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Check Out Aldi School Shop for Low Priced School Uniform

Buying school uniform for the kids can be very expensive. However, there are ways that you can cut the costs considerably.  Even if your child's school has items of compulsory uniform such as sweatshirts bearing the school logo, you can still save pounds by shopping for the other bits and bobs at Aldi this year.

low price school uniform

The prices are low, but the quality is still great with every item independently tested for durability, washability, fabric strength, comfort and quality of the stitching.  Colours are tested against fading or running and the designs are tested for practicality. So you can be assured that each item is up for the back to school challenge.

All sizes from 4-11 years are one price, so you won't end up paying more for your older or bigger kids. You can invest in clothes for them to grow into at the same low prices and future proof your school uniform with bargain buys. You could even buy a couple of spares just in case!

Here is a sample of what is on offer in store from tomorrow, July 24th:
  • Polo shirts with button front and ribbed collar are available in blue or white and priced at just £1.25.
  • Round neck sweaters in navy or red are just £1.25 each.
  • Girl's Pleated Skirts in navy, black or grey with permanent pleats are just £1.50.
  • Trousers for girls and boys in navy, black and grey with Teflon fabric protection are just £1.50.
  • Short sleeved shirts are just £1.99.
  • Scuff resistant shoes for kids' sizes 10-3 with velcro fastening are available for £6.99.

All the uniform come with name labels inside to make labeling the children's school clothing easy and ensuring their property doesn't get lost.  The clothing is all easy to launder with clear care labels to keep it looking at its best.

With prices this low, getting the kids back to school and looking smart won't be such a financially daunting prospect!!

Also in store, you'll find stationery and learning books to help the kids get ready for September.

Freddy received some new black school trousers and polo shirts from the range and I am very impressed with the quality you get for the low price tag.  The finish is good, the stitching is secure and the material, of the trousers in particular, is really nice. It'll be well worth checking out the range of Specialbuys when they appear in Aldi's School Shop tomorrow.

Keep the Kids Entertained with 50 Days of Summer

If you are looking for some inspiration this summer, for ideas to keep boredom away during the long holidays, then Roberts Bakery has some ideas for you!  In their FREE downloadable pack, there are suggestions for affordable activities to do, places to visit (including many with free admission), fun things to make and picnic friendly recipes to create.

The 50 Days of Fun downloadable pack is filled with things that the kids will love to do. Click on the image below to go to the website:

free downloadable

There is an idea for every day from July 17th, but you can pick and choose ideas for things to do from the fifty days.  Day one suggests making a scrapbook and recording all the adventures you get up to over the summer.  This will be a wonderful souvenir, and I find that keeping a summer scrapbook keeps the kids practicing their reading and writing in a fun way!

I love some of the suggestions, such as the mess free, outdoor water painting which would be a great activity to keep little ones occupied on a sunny day...and if it descended into a water fight, then that would be even more fun!

There are some great picnic sandwich ideas, some of which I tested when I enjoyed the Roberts Bakery Bloggers' Picnic earlier this year.  The Cheezy Beans refried bean sandwich idea is new one I intend to try out.  It sounds yummy!  Or how about trying the Nutty 'Nanas sandwich that I made at the bloggers' picnic? We used the Roberts Bakery 50% White & 50% Wholemeal bread, which was really good.

peanut butter and banana sandwich

You can download the two part pack at
It is a great resource whether you want to follow everyday or just dip into!
Roberts Bakery will be sharing the day’s top pick on and on twitter @roberts_bakery.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Playmobil for Little Pirates and Animal Lovers

Freddy's latest goodies from Playmobil have made him an incredibly happy little Playologist!  He received an incredible Pirate Ship and a fabulous Wildlife set.  Both sets required some construction helped by daddy, but the toys were soon ready to be played with.


The Playmobil Pirate Ship is an absolutely fabulous toy.  It is big (68cm x 22.5cm x 56cm) and is buoyant (so it can be floated on water and upgraded with an underwater motor).  It comes with four pirate characters, two fully fireable bolt guns, assorted weaponry and accessories, a parrot, treasure map and treasure chest.  The upper deck is removable, giving an area for the pirates to sit and discuss their pillaging plans!

Playmobil, pirates

The detail of the pirate ship is simply exquisite.  From the crow's nest to the wind-up anchor to the rigging that the pirates can hang from, everything is geared to inspire a child's imagination.  There is a storage place under the deck for keeping all the weaponry and the pirate's booty.  There are lots of places for the pirates to hold on to, swing from and stand on.  They can even do handstands! The play value for creating imaginative scenarios is huge.  

The sails billow and look so realistic as the ship is pushed along.  They are made of a stiff material which holds its shape. Freddy was very impressed that the cannons fired out real ammo and enjoyed firing them from the ship.  There is a gold coin at the back of the boat which is compatible with the puzzle in the Adventure Island set, which helps to open the secret cave.  The detail of the pirates is great.  The chest tattoo on the captain is so cool and the others hairy chest and stubble if very rough and ready!


The pirate ship is an excellent stand alone toy that can be added to over the years with other items from the Pirates range.  The pirate characters from Freddy's Playmobil advent character have joined the crew and have added to the pirating fun.

It is available from good toy retailers or from for £44.74.

If your little one prefers animals, then the Wildlife Range is a great choice.  Freddy received the Jungle Animals with Researcher and Off Road Vehicle set to try out.

The set includes one male researcher, a 4x4 vehicle, a jungle scene, which includes an Orang-Utan with two babies and a tiger and her cub, plus a host of accessories.  The jungle scene includes a lift up rock hiding some deadly scorpions and a huge snake who basks in the sun.  The off road vehicle has a removable roof and boot and has storage space for all the researchers equipment.  He has a table, a laptop, a microscope, a map, plus a lantern, stove, food and tools.

Playmobil, wildlife

Again, it's the detail which puts Playmobil toys in a league of their own.  The tree's foliage is the perfect place for the Orang-Utan family to play as they swing from branch to branch.  The creeping vines and flowers add to the scenery's detailing.  The tigers perch on the rocky outcrop as the researcher views them in their natural habitat.  The car is very detailed with spotlights, a tow bar, a grill on the front and a spare wheel. It is decorated with a camouflage foliage pattern and has the zebra emblem on the doors.

I love the tiny little microscope and laptop that the  researcher uses to identify his discoveries.  The small bits fit into a trunk, which fits in the boot of the vehicle.  There are lots more sets in the Wildlife range so you can add other animals, scenery, vehicles and researchers to games.  Budding zoologists will love unleashing their inner David Attenborough and play some fabulously imaginative games as they track down animals and study them.

The Wildlife jungle animal, vehicle and researcher set costs £29.99.  You get a lot of bits for your money.  It can be purchase from


This summer, if you want to give your little Playmobil fans an amazing family break in London, check out the Playmobil Suite at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel. For 40 days (until August 20th 2014), to celebrate its 40th birthday, Playmobil is taking over and families can immerse themselves with books, games, toys, accessories and giant Playmobil figures when they book a stay in the spacious suite.  Kids can run riot and indulge in lots of Playmobil fun while parents relax in the executive room.

Waldorf Hilton Hotel

It's a once in a lifetime opportunity that children will remember for years to come! What child wouldn't want to have fun with these amazing toys!

hotel, Playmobil

To book the ‘PLAYMOBIL Suite’ at The Waldorf Hilton, London, visit

To find out where the large PLAYMOBIL friends will pop up and to create your own PLAYMOBILMe avatar keep your eyes peeled on

Follow #PLAYMOBIL40th

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Shop 'til You Drop at Cheshire Oaks - A McArthur Glen Designer Outlet

This summer is the perfect time to indulge in a spot of retail therapy at one of the McArthur Glen Designer Outlets.  With six in the UK: Ashford, Bridgend, Cheshire Oaks near Chester,  East Midlands near Nottingham, Swindon and York, and a further fourteen outlets across Europe, they offer fantastic discounts on leading premium, designer, high street and lifestyle brands.

Throughout the summer, the UK outlets have extra activities on site to keep all the family happy.  We were invited to visit our nearest McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, Cheshire Oaks to discover what it had to offer over the school holidays.  With water walker balls, trampolines, fairground rides, giant sandpits and inflatables, the Activity Zones will make sure everyone is having fun.  Parents can relax in the deckchairs, enjoying a drink from the Beach Bar, while little ones play in the sandpit.  Older children will love the rides (extra charges through the purchase of tokens is required).   The outlet also has two fabulous play areas where kids can run off steam.  One of the areas is undercover so kids can play whatever the weather.  There are also ten coin operated children's rides around the site, to give little ones a treat when they have been good!

Today, Cheshire Oaks were hosting an event in conjunction with Heart FM.  A team from Heart were on hand in an al fresco area offering shoppers the chance to take part in a competition to win vouchers.  Shoppers were also invited to chat to the team about their shopping experience with the possibility of  their Vox Pop being featured in an ad on the radio!  Myself and my 18 year old daughter Ella recorded one and had a chat with the lady from Heart.

shopping, radio

On arrival at Cheshire Oaks we were met by the lovely Marketing Manager who showed us around the site.   We learned that the whole outlet is in the process of a massive refurbishment with new flooring, fresh white paintwork and funky seating being introduced.  Everything looked fresh, bright and clean.  It was brilliant seeing all the shops so busy and bustling.  There were even queues outside some shops, in particular the Ralph Lauren stores.  Everybody loves a bargain and with discounts typically up to 70% off, there are lots of great money saving offers to be found.

Parking is free and there are over 3000 spaces available.  There are 135 stores and 12 restaurants as well as numerous food kiosks dotted around the site.  Cheshire Oaks is accessible from junction 10 of the M53 and is close to the city of Chester, Chester Zoo and the Blue Planet Aquarium, making it a great place for incorporating into a weekend away or a short break.

For the summer at Cheshire Oaks, there is a great free competition where shoppers can Unlock Their Style.  There is a selection of locked perspex boxes with some great prizes inside.  You have to choose a key and if your key fits one of the padlocks, you instantly win what is inside the box it opens.  I had my eye on a £100 Yo Sushi voucher, but sadly our keys did not unlock any of the boxes.  It is a really fun, instant win competition, and lucky shoppers are winning prizes everyday.

shopping, competitions
Trying to unlock the padlock to win a prize!

The range of shops available is brilliant.  High end designer names such as Burberry, Radley, Ralph Lauren and Armani, sit alongside top high street brands such as M & S, Next and Nike.  So whether you are looking for an expensive designer item with a great discount, or whether you want to pick up high street brands at outlet prices, you will find whatever you are looking for in a one stop shopping experience.  And it's not just about fashion, there are lots of stores selling cookware such as Pro-Cook and Le Crueset.  There are cosmetic shops like L'Occitane, W H Smiths and Paperchase for stationery and  Cadbury, Thornton's and Lindt for buying chocolatey treats!

My girls loved the Claire's Accessories store which offered 30% off full prices as well as a load of sale items at 10 for £5!  They bought loads of lovely bits and bobs including jewellery and hair accessories.  The Next outlet was also a huge hit as the kids amassed a haul of clothes, shoes and make-up at low prices.  Kizzy picked out a dress that she took a fancy to when she saw it at a Next event we attended earlier this year.  Now at just £6, it is a great bargain for the summer.  Freddy picked out some half price character tees and some jeans.  Ella found two pairs of shoes and a top, all heavily discounted.

Cheshire Oaks, shopping, sale

We also enjoyed visiting the Vans store where Kizzy bought a pair of hidden heel hi-tops for just £10!!  A huge bargain!  Nike, Adidas and Sports Direct also proved excellent sources for picking up bargains.  Kizzy got some essential sports equipment she needs for her new school and Freddy bagged a football for just £4.  The M&S outlet had some incredible clearance bargains including a three pack of pyjamas for Freddy, a school skirt and a summer playsuit for Kizzy all at just £3 each with an extra 20% off at the till!  He also got a tuxedo jacket, shirt and bow tie set also for £2.40 which is a massive 90% discount on its original price.  He will look like a mini James Bond and I'm sure there will be a special occasion for him to wear it.  The Joules store and Gap have some great buys for children and the Superdry store is huge and is heaven for teenagers!

shopping, sales

For lunch we were treated to a meal in Ed's Easy Diner, which is a funky restaurant steeped in Americana with juke boxes playing Elvis and a real 50's vibe throughout.  We enjoyed veggie burgers and some of the most incredible milkshakes we had ever tasted which came in metal jugs.  The girls had Oreo and peanut butter milkshakes while I had a skinny coffee milkshake.  Delicious.

diner, Americanarestaurant, Americana

It is nice to see so many restaurants with so many options for vegetarians like us.  With Yo Sushi, Cafe Rouge, Harry Ramsden's, Starbucks and McDonald's among the choices, there is something for everyone whatever your taste or your budget. You really can enjoy a full day out at Cheshire Oaks; shopping in the amazing shops; letting the kids enjoy the play areas and having a family meal together.  

There are plenty of facilities for families with young children including baby changing stations, restaurants with baby food heating and high chairs and kiddy cabs for hire.  There are ramps around the whole site making easy access for pushchairs when walking between the stores.

Eds Diner, restaurant, Cheshire Oaks

We had an excellent day enjoying all the facilities at Cheshire Oaks.  Because of the play areas and Activity Zone, Freddy had a fun day too. Ian looked after him for a while in the undercover play area while the girls and I did some serious shopping!  It worked really well and everyone was happy.  It's a great day out. When we arrived home we checked all the bargains we had bought.  We had masses of stuff for all three children for their summer holidays and for Kizzy's Back to School essentials. A very productive trip indeed.

sale, bargains, haul

Find out more about McArthur Glen Designer Outlets.

Check out a Heart FM or Capital Radio event near you at Bridgend on 2/8/14 or Ashford, York and East Midlands on 9/8/14. 

“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity”.


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