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MOB Rule Review & Giveaway

February 25, 2013 in Closed Giveaways, Parenting

Hannah Evans is Mum to three young boys – she is surrounded by males. “In her world, farting is so much more interesting than phonics, dam-building trumps damsels in distress any day and, astonishingly, she now instinctively knows the difference between a Frontloader and a JCB.”

Last month she published her book MOB RULE: Lessons Learned by a Mother of Boys and naturally we couldn’t wait to read it. Liz has one son, Jonny. As “Auntie Rhoda” I get to play along with all the farting games – an app with farting fish (which incidentally my Dad finds hilarious too, it’s a male thing), books about farting, I love how funny Jonny finds it. However I do get to pass him back….what’s it like for a Mum?
Well Liz reviews Hannah’s book….it’s safe to say she loves it. Keep reading to find out how you could win a copy!
Hilarious. Truly hilarious. Whether you have children, boys, girls, or a mixture, this book is a brilliant read.
I have one boy (Jonny, 4) and one girl (Sophie, 1) and I can relate the book to each of them. My husband is the youngest of three boys and it has not only given me a new-found respect (and pity) for my mother-in-law (always a good thing), but a new understanding (I use the word loosely) of my husband. My daughter can be incredibly naughty and she is so headstrong. I am one of three girls and a boy and so I can see different character traits of grandma and my sisters in Sophie. Therefore, I kind of get her and understand her will power and ability to get out of trouble with granddad and dad by the power of ‘smile’. Jonny, however, is a much simpler species which enjoys all things bodily function and could tell me which trains were steam, electric and diesel when he was two. Girls are such thinkers and boys display their feelings and behaviour so openly. They don’t appreciate being fobbed off, but want to know the answers (especially about death and ‘what would happen if burgulars stole all our stuff?)
I knew I would like this book after reading the ‘warning’ which reads ‘This book contains gratuitous stereotypes and gross generalisations’. I love books such as these where they look at life with humour and make you feel like every parent has been driven totally crazy and gone through the same situations with their little angels (my friend reminded me that Beelzebub was an angel once and so I feel able to use this term). In parenthood you often choose to laugh or cry – this book helps you to do the first.
Introducing the ‘cast’ at the beginning of the book is a novel and inspirational idea and I can’t help but think that Hannah’s boys are probably very well-rounded lads who are not afraid to laugh at themselves. Her description of ‘Manicured MOG’ and ‘Manicured MOB’ is perfect.
Hannah Evans deals with all the topics that make you laugh – standing up weeing in the toilet is a particular favourite. Plus her humorous look at mums is great. The ‘no-point-in-changing jeans and seen-better-days fleece’ hits such a chord with me; my siblings have no children and the look of pity they sometimes have for me is obvious. They can turn up in their nice, clean car dressed with care and hair washed, generally with a costa coffee in their hand. They open my kitchen cupboards to find the supermarket saver range and me with hair scraped back with clothes generally covered in stuff. And the amazing fuss that’s made if your legs are on show is just not worth mentioning!
Not only does Hannah Evans give helpful hints about dealing with boys but she excels in her practical tips, such as the crossword (p.110) and how to make a vinegar volcano (p.244).
This is the perfect book for dipping in and out of in those quiet moments (‘moments’ being the operative word) as anything where you had to read long passages in one go would, quite honestly, remain on the bookshelf until the next charity shop visit.
The lovely people at Bloomsbury are offering Rhoda Reviews readers the chance to win 1 of 2 copies of this fantastic book.
To be in with a chance to winning just complete the rafflecopter entry form below – you can do as many of the entries as you want, totally up to you. EASY!
Good luck!
Thank you to Bloomsbury for providing the prizes for this giveaway. A copy of MOB Rule was received for our consideration. All opinions expressed are entirely our own and, as always, completely honest.

Lunchtime Blog Tour *GIVEAWAY*

February 6, 2013 in Blog Tours, Closed Giveaways, Young Children

Back in May of last year Liz and Jonny reviewed a fantastic book Lunchtime, by Rebecca Cobb.

Today we are HUGELY excited to be part of the Lunchtime Blog Tour. Every day this week different blogs are hosting the Lunchtime Blog Tour and today it’s our turn.

Rebecca Cobb is most definitely a rising star in children’s picture books. She has collaborated with Helen Dunmore, Richard Curtis and the Childrens’ Laureate Julia Donaldson, as well as partaking in successful solo adventures such as the brilliant Lunchtime.

It is therefore with great excitement that today, to celebrate the launch of Lunchtime in paperback, we are giving away a *SIGNED* copy of Rebecca’s book! Yeup, you could get your hands on a signed paperback copy of Lunchtime!

To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize simply complete the rafflecopter entry form below.  EASY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Be sure to pop over and visit all the other Lunchtime Blog Tour blogs this week…..who knows what you might find? 😀

Thank you to Macmillan for asking us to take part in the blog tour and for providing the prize for this giveaway. As always all opinions expressed are entirely our own and, of course, completely honest.

Outdoors and Out of Season – Edinburgh Zoo in the winter?

January 25, 2013 in Competition Entry, Days Out, Kids

Liz and hubby, Mike, blog about a winter trip to Edinburgh Zoo.

Outdoors and Out of Season – Edinburgh Zoo in the winter?
Score: 7/10.
Winter. Two kids under five and a serious case of cabin fever. Someone says “how about the zoo?” and you think, “don’t be daft, it’s not even open”.
So, in January 2013 we arrive at Edinburgh Zoo. After visiting in the summer we knew where it was: Corstorphine Rd and up the wiggly road to the car park (£4). 


We’ve planned our route but can’t hope for everything because animals is animals and there are too many for one day. At this time of year we guess most will be sensible and be asleep (if I was allowed to hibernate…) so the kids are primed not to see anything at all.


On entering, a nice gent accepts our tickets (£15.50 (adult) and £11 (age 3-15) – concession, member, and family rates are available). (Remember to check for Money-off vouchers before you go).  He says that it’s free roam to see the pandas (in the summer we booked a viewing slot, stood in a big queue, then squashed in to see them) and apparently the hunting dogs are closed (maybe they ate ranger for tea). The man gives us the quickest route to the pandas, which should pass the sea-lion, but he’s not there… much like your average city centre a crane is being brought in as part of redevelopment (except this one’s a bird).

We pass the Jungle Food Court which was excellent in the summer, not because of its over-priced food, but because of the soft-play. £2 allows parents to rest their feet for 30mins whilst their own wild animals run riot (which you’ve prevented them from doing for fear of them being eaten by a zebra). It looks suspiciously closed.
Next we pass the new ‘Penguins Rock’. In the summer they said it’d open late December/early January but we found no information on the rather cumbersome website. We phoned up and a computer answered. When we eventually spoke to someone “they hadn’t been supplied with the information”. So no Penguin Rock. Also no information on display, just the sound of distant hammering (I work in construction – I recognise the ‘It’s snowing’ sounds). Ok, they need to revamp and there are still two small colonies but they are the zoo’s logo. Maybe we missed the information board, I hope so.


We digress. The pandas are both sitting up and having brunch. The zoo-keeper is excellent; doing a bit of talk, and chatting to the folk (who wish they had panda-fur jackets to keep warm). She answered ‘the boy’s’ question with a clear knowledge (apparently it’s water, the boy was hoping for hot chocolate). She even helped a man work his new camera, which we thought was really nice.


A girl on a zoo-keeper experience was feeding the meerkats (full day costs £250 (pardon?!), 30mins with the meerkats is £35 (better…)). You’d have thought they’d keep well away from snow (probably working in insurance), but it’s always someone’s turn to keep watch. A zoo-keeper was looking after her and teaching her all sorts of things. ‘The boy’ asked one of his two animal related questions and the answer was ‘bugs and worms’ which he was pleased about.



We won’t talk about every animal, but the sun-bears were play-fighting like two kids on an old sofa and at the fun-loving Gentoo Penguins the boy announced “it’s a lovely day for penguins” to a passing zoo-keeper.
Cold and thirsty, we enter the Penguin Coffee Shop, a decent place to dry out although tricky with a buggy. There’s a small selection of foodstuff with unenthusiastic ‘baristas’.

The Budongo Trail (chimpanzees) is a building with great viewing and outdoor area, cafe, interactive exhibits and a large screen info-mertial. A free tour is underway and we tag along (by which I mean I chase a child past the guide). The guide’s really good; I learnt something about bananas that really shocked me!
Lunch. The Jungle Court is confirmed as shut despite the soft-play probably being the most profitable area of the zoo today. The other option is the ‘design awarded’ Grasslands Restaurant (a cafeteria with a picture of a couple of zebras on the end wall and a few lines of ants/butterflies). We ordered hot dog, burger, and turkey schnitzel. 6/10 and not really worth the £28.
The zoo is on a steep hill so later we catch the ‘Hilltop Safari’ (a converted trailer pulled by a land-rover) to the top. 

Some of the paths are very steep and could be difficult for a wheelchair user. There was no commentary so we shivered in silence all the way up and decided to ski back down (service not available or recommended). There’s a great view from the top and there’s normally a van that sells coffee.

Time for home (exit via the shop; apron for £8.50, mug for ~£17. Didn’t stop).
Zoo info
It is a conservation zoo and therefore all animals need conserving (Visayan Warty Pig Jam anyone?). It funds projects and research across the world through donations and presumably does a great job. The upkeep of the zoo is based entirely on footfall through the gate, restaurants, and shop. This is probably why some bits are tired and prices are high. Our £82.90 for 6hrs was just worth it, despite the grumbles we had a great day.
As a winter attraction we expected shorter opening hours, less attractions, and sleepy animals although we actually saw more than expected. The seasonal nature of the zoo could be better addressed by reduced prices, a decent sit down restaurant, and some winter entertainment.

This post is an entry into a competition with Tots100. A family ticket to Edinburgh Zoo was received FOC. As always our opinions are completely our own and totally honest.

Children of the Wild *Giveaway*

January 22, 2013 in Book Reviews, Closed Giveaways, Middle Grade

We all have books that we loved as children and that still hold a place in our hearts….well I certainly do. I remember that feeling as a child of finding a book that resonated with me and captured my imagination. It opens your mind, inspires you to read more and makes you feel great.

Of course it’s quite a while since I was a child now, but I do still enjoy reading what are essentially children’s books. They still give me that warm feeling ….. and thankfully aren’t overly taxing for my fog-addled brain.
Last week I heard about a new book, the first of a trilogy, called Children of the Wild by Giles Milton. I read the blurb and knew that this was something the child in me would love.
Eliza, Maud, Francis and John are embarking on the biggest adventure of their lives. 
They are sailing on a voyage to the New World to claim the land for Queen Elizabeth the First.
But they are in for a big surprise when they reach this unknown and uncharted land. They discover that the New World is already inhabited by native tribes – tribes who view the arrival of the English settlers with alarm.
When all the grown ups mysteriously vanish, the four children are left alone. They have no food and no supplies. Soon, they find themselves locked in a desperate battle for survive.
The book is beautifully written and split into thirteen perfectly balanced chapters. Every part of me wants to launch into describing this book in great detail, but I’m resisting. I really do not want to give away any spoilers in this post.
What I will say though is that large parts of the book are based on historical fact, other parts are things that could perhaps have happened. It’s a book that doesn’t just tell a story, it educates. It promotes awareness of a multicultural world and demonstrates the open-mindedness of children.
This truly is a fantastic read. Just like the books I loved in childhood it captures the imagination and takes you on a journey… a journey that will keep you turning the pages as you are desperate to know what happens next.
I cannot wait for the second book of this trilogy to be released, I hope Giles Milton is currently typing on his computer so that we don’t have to wait too long.
Children of the Wild is published next month, February 2013, with an RRP of £9.99. However here at Rhoda Reviews we are giving readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies of this new release.
To be in with a chance of winning simply complete the rafflecopter entry form below. You can do any number of the entry methods, it’s up to you.
(If it doesn’t appear try refreshing the page)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!!
For more information about this great book visit

A copy of this book was received for consideration. Thank you to the publishers for providing the prizes for this giveaway. As always all opinions posted are entirely our own and completely honest.

Operation Declutter – Tidying Linen Cupboard

January 17, 2013 in Home & Garden, Operation Declutter

At the moment in our house we are trying to declutter…… it’s not something I enjoy doing but I do love the results. At the moment our spare room is full of bags ready to go to the charity shop. I love that feeling, handing over bags at a charity shop and knowing that you are doing something, however little, to help.

This week we tackled the linen cupboard. It’s fair to say it was a mess. It was driving us both mad every time we went to get a towel,  or when hubby had to rummage to find a full set of bedding. Apart from anything else towels and bedding cost a fortune, surely we should be looking after them properly?

It was then I remembered a great post on the lovely Me and My Shadow Blog (I highly recommend following this blog, it’s fantastic). She shared a great Martha Stewart tip with her readers and after implementing it I feel it’s definitely worth sharing with our readers.

From Martha Stewart Website

It’s a really simple, but effective idea. Basically you sort out your bedding sets and then store each set inside one of the pillowcases. It’s great as when you go to change the bed you just need to look at the pillowcases to decide which you want, then everything you need is in the pillowcase!

I do wonder if I am getting old by loving such things….and indeed sharing them. I think it’s just a fantastic idea and it has really made a massive difference to our linen cupboards. So thank you to Me and My Shadow and indeed Martha Stewart for this great idea!
Phase one of “operation declutter” is complete………now to look for inspiration for phase two!