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Peppa Pig My First Laptop

March 21, 2012 in Baby and Toddler, Kids, Toys and Games

Liz, Jonny and Sophie have been busy testing a new toy and the time has come to share their thoughts with you. Introducing…. Peppa Pig My First Laptop.

Peppa Pig My First Laptop – RRP £19.99
The Peppa Pig My First Laptop uses 4 game modes to help your child learn colours, numbers, the alphabet and more. I have to admit that I had a wee play with it when it first arrived through the door…..and then hubby did when he got home! When Jonny arrived to pick up the new toy his eyes lit up. In fact both he and Sophie insisted on playing with it before it was even out the box!
Here’s what Liz has to say about My First Laptop….
I really like this product as it isn’t too complicated like some other products on the market. There’s plenty to do without getting overwhelmed and each of the four options covers quite different topics. Plus, there aren’t too many buttons and those that are there are big and colourful so perfect for little hands. It is aimed at 2+ years and this is definitely about right although my 9-month old also loves pressing the buttons. There are also two other buttons which play some music.
The screen is a static, colourful picture of Peppa Pig and her brother George, with lights behind them that correspond to the games.  The first activity allows the child to press any button. An item lights up on the screen and a full audio description is given (for example; ‘three yellow books’ which is a big improvement on some toys which often only concentrate on items, numbers or colours at any one time). 
The next activity asks the child to answer questions based on the item lit up on the screen. This mixes up the colours, items and numbers so the child really engages with questions. The music activity mixes musical notes with the sound of three instruments. 
The final activity asks the child to recognise sounds and press the corresponding buttons. I have to admit that my son was a lot better at it than my husband and I. There are some quite tricky differentiations to make and we would get it wrong whereas Jonny quite happily pressed the right buttons first time!
This product bridges the gap between baby toys and 3+ years toys perfectly. A bit hit in our house!
Peppa Pig My First Laptop is available from Amazon, Mothercare, John Lewis, The Entertainer and Morrisons with an RRP of £19.99.
A sample was received for our consideration. No other reward, financial or otherwise, was received in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed are entirely our own.

Hillcrest Cottage – a fabulous break!

February 15, 2012 in Holidays

You may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet for a week or so….or maybe you were enjoying the peace? Well, I was lucky enough to be whisked away by my husband for a relaxing week in Broxa, North Yorkshire last week.

Staring at the same four walls at home really does get me down so getting a change of scene was absolutely fabulous!

We took the journey in stages, staying overnight as a long journey really takes it out of me. It’s only a four and a half hour drive but I didn’t want to get on holiday and be a total pain-filled zombie.

We booked ourselves in to the lovely Hillcrest Cottage in Broxa, near Scarborough. Having scoured the internet for hours we knew what we wanted, a cottage or lodge with a hot tub and a log fire. I really find that a hot tub helps my pain…plus it’s just a fantastic excuse to chill out and treat ourselves. When we came across Hillcrest Cottage we both agreed that it looked perfect!

We arrived to a lovely warm welcome from the owners Carl and Yve. The fire was lit and the cottage lovely and cosy….which was greatly appreciated since we arrived in the snow! In the kitchen a welcome pack awaited us with homemade marmalade, fresh eggs (from the hens in the garden), Yorkshire butter, milk and bread. Not to forget the chocolates and coffee too! It’s fair to say we were really impressed.

The cottage itself is beautifully finished. The kitchen has everything you could possibly want, well we certainly found everything we needed and more. A slimline dishwasher means you don’t have to think about the dishes and the CD player and radio means you can have a sing song while you cook!

The bathroom is a lovely wetroom with underfloor heating meaning that the floor dries quickly and your tootsies never get cold.

Then onto the bedroom. I don’t know why but I wasn’t expecting a very big room, so I was really impressed when I saw it.  A nice solid bed, plenty of storage space, a wing back chair and a spectacular view over the hot tub, garden and valley!


view from bedroom window…well part of it!

As for the living room, well there are two comfortable sofas, a nice solid dining table, tv with freeview, books and jigsaws, a gorgeous log burner and fire place….not to forgot the two windows which look out over the garden.

living room – ignore the mess, we were about to leave

The garden itself warrants its own paragraph! Carl and Yve have created a beautiful garden full of birds. We spent hours just watching the birds, the highlight of which was seeing a woodpecker! As well as the birds they have their own hens and two cute wee ducks that live by the pond.

pond and summerhouse, from hot tub

The hot tub is tucked around the corner of the cottage. It’s lovely and private with views across the garden and valley. It was really snowy while we were there and sitting in the hot tub surrounded by the snow was a real treat!

view from bottom of garden towards cottage and hot tub

If the hot tub isn’t for you they also have a wee summer house in the garden, perfect for curling up and reading a good book……though we didn’t venture in there except for a nosey.

All in all this is a really gorgeous cottage. Carl and Yve are so friendly and very kind. Although they live next door they leave you get on with your holiday and want you to have a nice, relaxing break.

We truly had a wonderful break and although we didn’t really venture out much there is plenty to do in the surrounding area. The beauty is that you are tucked away in the country but with easy access to walks, wildlife and nearby towns including Scarborough, Pickering, Whitby, Thirsk and York.

I wouldn’t normally blog about a holiday or place we have stayed but I completely fell in love with this place….I could have quite happily moved in then and there!

For more information about Hillcrest Cottage click here or drop me an email for Yve’s phone number so you can book!

We had such a fantastic holiday I just wanted to share this wee gem of a cottage with you all…..though I was tempted to keep it as a secret all for ourselves 😉 x

Fabulous New Books from Macmillan!

February 14, 2012 in Baby and Toddler, Young Children

We are huge fans of books and reading in this house. I love nothing more than snuggling in with a good book and getting lost in a distant world. These days I can’t really run about and play with Jonny and Sophie when I see them so I like to sit with them and read a book… surely it’s best to start them young?
Liz and the kids were lucky enough to be sent a bundle of 3 books from Macmillan Children’s Books recently and we have ALL enjoyed reading them. Dogs, Not On A School Night! and Zoe and Beans: The Magic Hoop are all newly published titles from Macmillan, written for children from 2 years old in mind.
Here’s what Liz has to say about these beautiful books…
Hardback £10.99, Paperback £5.99
I dread to think what this is teaching my three-year-old son! Two brothers getting up to mischief when it’s bed time and getting into trouble from mum and dad is a common ‘situation’ in many households and it certainly makes me fear for my future! Those two troublesome lads jump from the upper bunk bed, become dinosaurs and superheroes, each time getting caught by mum or dad. Except, of course, at the weekend when they’re allowed special treats.
The illustrations are vibrant and very colourful. There’s a lot to look at on every page so you can make what you want out of the book, making it last only a few minutes to a very long time. My son adores this book and asks to read it constantly. Very user-friendly and loved by children and adults alike.
Paperback £5.99
This is the first ‘Zoe and Beans’ story we’ve read and my three-year-old son and I were very impressed. The illustrations are big and bold so they appeal to Jonny and they really aid the story telling. (He thought the little trail of rabbit poos was extremely funny.) Zoe seems to be a rather excitable young girl who tries to get her less-than-impressed dog ‘Beans’ to join in her games. At least he is reluctant until he is rewarded with some Choccy bears. They go through a magical world in which Beans transforms into other creatures as he jumps through the magic hoop.
This is a lovely story that you can read again and again and enjoy with any young age group. We’ll definitely be hunting out more ‘Zoe and Beans’ stories.
Board Book £5.99
A beautifully illustrated book that both our children love. The book itself is really well designed with pages that are thick enough for young children not to rip but don’t feel like a baby book for older children. The concept of the story is very simple but effective; it goes through different types of dogs (for example scruffy and smart, big and small etc). Each page contains opposites which has been a really useful learning tool for Jonny. The story is short enough that it can be used as a quick story when you’re rushed for time, or you can make it much longer by describing the pictures. We’ve read the book a number of times so far and I’m not even bored yet! There’s a lovely little twist at the end that I didn’t guess but was delighted at. Very clever!
For more information about children’s book available from Macmillan visit their website.
Books were received for our consideration. No other reward, financial or otherwise, was received in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed are entirely our own.

Make 2012 A Money Saving Year!

January 5, 2012 in Technology, Thrifty

I don’t need to tell you how much I love a bargain….I’m pretty sure that you’ve gathered that over the past year or so. I love saving money on something or knowing that I’m getting the best possible deal on it.

Until recently I used to spend a lot of time comparing prices between websites until I found the best price…that was until I came across InvisibleHand…….

InvisibleHand will change the way you shop online, at least it has for me and for those I’ve introduced it to. Basically it’s a FREE add-on to your web browser that will run in the background and discreetly notify you if there are lower prices available on the product or flight you are looking at!

It is currently available for the UK, US & Germany, and although it doesn’t yet search ALL retailers they are constantly adding to it.

I used this to do the majority of my Christmas shopping and definitely saved myself money. Make sure that you take into account any delivery costs when comparing the prices though as occasionally the cheaper price actually ends up costing more with delivery included.

So how do you get this fantastic wee add-on? Simply go to the InvisibleHand website and click on DOWNLOAD. InvisibleHand is available for FireFox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer.

It’s really to install and you wont know it’s there until it finds you a product or flight at a cheaper price. It’s great for all purchases, large and small, and all those saved pennies will turn into pounds!!

I just wanted to share this with my readers, I have no connection to InvisibleHand.

So long 2011….what will 2012 hold?

December 31, 2011 in Personal

Well it’s the final day of 2011… I can’t quite believe it. Where has the time gone? What have I actually achieved this year?

2011 has been a pretty tough year for me if I’m honest. It’s another year that’s gone by where M.E. has ruled my life….but you know what, every year that passes means a year closer to recovery – positive mental attitude!

2011 has also been a very successful year for me – I’ve managed to keep my blog going for over a year now and I love it. It’s a huge achievement for me and I REALLY appreciate all of the support you have given me, my lovely readers.

So what will 2012 hold? Who knows? I’m really hopeful that my new medication will make a difference and that by this time next year I’ll be out dancing the night away at a Hogmanay Ceilidh.

I have great hopes and dreams for my blog this year and I really hope you will join me over the coming 12 months.

So as 2011 comes to a close I just want to say…

….to my readers, my twitter buddies, my family and friends for all of your support. Here’s to 2012!

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