Tonka Movers Dump Truck Review

Anyone who knows my little boy, Freddie, will know that he is obsessed with any kind of tractor, truck or lorry. Any construction vehicle, he absolutely loves them. When he was sent this dumper truck from Tonka, he was over the moon. The size is perfect for little hands, and something that's great with this vehicle and the rest of the Tonka Collection is you take control. For example, any movements you do, that's the sound you'll hear. Any reversing, it'll make reversing like sounds, pushing it forward will make it rev, and even lights will turn on too.

This Tonka Dump Truck is great for any little one who loves construction vehicles. With all, it's new features such as the motion drive technology it's perfect for imaginative play. There's a button on the side that starts the motion drive technology by starting to rev sound as if the truck is starting, then you just need to move it to make the moving sounds. The sounds of the vehicle are very realistic sounds which make playtime even more fun.

You can add more to the collection by adding the TONKA Cement Mixer, Front Loader and Bull Dozer, all available on Amazon.

- We were sent this item to review.
All words, images and opinions are our own. 

Family Outfits With M and M Direct

I'm not sure if anyone else's kids are the same, but my two eldest, Mia and Elliw are so fussy with their clothes. Mia is 8 and Elliw is 6, and although they are sisters and quite close in age, their styles are the complete opposite. Mia loves to wear leggings and very rarely will you see her wearing a dress, skirts or jeans. She also still loves cute little logos, especially puppies and horses. Elliw, on the other hand, adores her dresses and skirts and not very often will she wear leggings and never will she wear jeans. It's quite difficult to buy clothes for them because they are super fussy.

When I was given a chance to order some clothes from the MandM Direct website, I got the girls to sit down with me, and we all took a look at what outfit they would like. MandM Direct is an online clothing store. They have the most popular brands, with the lowest price. Not just that but you can buy for the whole family. I chose outfits for the girls (with their help), my partner and myself. At the moment, Freddie has a lot of clothes, so I decided to leave him out with this one.

I chose two t-shirts for my partner from the New Balance brand and Jack and Jones. I chose the colours I like best on him, I personally think he suits darker colours. There's a great choice of sizes, and there are so many pieces to choose from too. The quality of the t-shirts are great, and they fitted him perfectly. They team up well with a pair of jeans as he's done in the photos.

The girls chose their own outfits, and they absolutely love them. A lot of the clothes they chose are from the brand Board Angels. They are so reasonably priced and again, great quality. Mia chose the PUMA leggings which are high quality and suit her really well. She teamed it up with a navy blue t-shirt with pink butterflies making a heart-shape - which is totally her. To finish Mia's outfit off are these adorable pink and black pumps which she loves.

Elliw went for a skit, of course, teaming it up with a Chip t-shirt which I absolutely adore. Beauty and Beast is my favourite Disney film of all time. To finish her outfit off, Elliw also went for some pumps, but just pink ones and I think they're so pretty and suit her really well.

I always struggle to find clothes for myself because I'm a plus size. But I was looking forward to seeing how this outfit looked on me. I went for a relaxed outfit, something I could throw on, do the school runs and relax in. Again, Board Angels have this lovely striped long sleeve top, and we all know striped tops are a must-have in a Mam's wardrobe, isn't it? Teaming it up with some black joggers that are super comfortable and great to run around after the kids.

MandM Direct is an affordable online store for the whole family. All this cost just under £70 which I find very reasonable considering I managed to get a whole outfit, including shoes for the girls, 2 t-shirts for my partner and a whole outfit for myself. I'm really pleased with the quality and the amount of choices there are on the website. Delivery was reasonable too.

* We were given these items for the purpose of this review.
However, all words, images and opinions are entierly our own.

Fantastic Firsts with Little Tikes

When you find out you're pregnant, it's such a scary but exciting time for many. As the months go by, you start to think about all the firsts your baby will do. From the usual, first steps, first time sitting up or the first word. It's so exciting and something lovely to think about and look forward too. But when you become a parent for the first time, as your child is growing you start to see all the other firsts, some we don't hear about. They're small things, whether they are funny or some things are things you will remember. From the first time, your baby decides to poo on you (yep, it happens!) to the first time your baby sleeps more than 2 hours!

My girls are now 8 and 6, I do remember a lot of first times with them, but of course, I do remember more with Freddie as he's still so young. He turned 2 years old this July, and he's still doing his 'firsts'. Saying that, the girls are still going through their 'firsts' too, it doesn't really stop. Talking back with Freddie, he's learning so many new things recently. He's done his first step, first time sitting up and words, but we're still going seeing him learn new things every single day. He sang 'Baby Shark' just a couple of weeks ago, for the first time, not sure if I should be happy about the choice of song but you know! It was a first, and he's been singing it ever since.

Talking about firsts, Little Tikes sent Freddie a couple of their toys from their Fantastic Firsts range. We were also sent some Little Tikes 'Fantastic Firsts' cards which I love! One of the products is 'Little Tikes Sleepy Heads'. Freddie has had tonnes of fun with these stackers, and he absolutely loves them. They are suitable from 6 months onwards and are great for help in development. There are 3 different characters, and you can mix and match them. There are 9 pieces in total and to stack them you need to open their eyes. Each body also includes a different sound, rattle or a crinkle which is an added bonus for fun and development.

For the older ones, from 12 months onwards the Little Tikes Cutie Bugs Singing Sorter is another great toy from the range. This toy is also great for development and making learning lots of fun. There are 5 easy-to-grasp blocks in different shapes to help little ones learn, and they are also in different colours too. Not only is it a sorter, but it's also a pull-along too. Freddie loves pull-along toys and when this caterpillar gets pulled it sings, and the shapes bob up and down. When the shapes bob up and down, you can see their adorable little faces too!

Going back to talking about Freddie's firsts, I am sad to think that I will never experience the baby 'firsts' again but excited to celebrate all the new firsts throughout the next few years. There are so many new firsts coming up, such as tying his shoelace for the first time, I remember Mia was so proud when she managed to do it for the first time, and Elliw is slowly getting there. We've also got his first time riding a bike, first Christmas concert and so much more coming up.

Share some of your memorable 'firsts' with your little one below!

* We were gifted these items mentioned in this post.
All words, images and opinions are our own.

Spirit Barn Playset Review

Anyone who knows my eldest daughter knows that she is obsessed with horses. They are one of her favourite animals, and when we went on a little holiday to Haven last year, she discovered Spirit. If you've not heard of Spirit yet, where have you been? It's a series about a stallion called Spirit and his friends. There is also a film that I even love to watch. It's a huge hit in this house, and it's on TV often.

We were sent the Spirit Barn Playset to review, which is bound to be a huge hit this Christmas. As Mia's a huge fan of horses and Spirit, I'm sure you can just imagine her excitement when she saw the box. Spirit's popularity has definitely grown this year, and I love that there's a great range of Spirit toys out there just in time for Christmas.

The Spirit Barn Playset is perfect for imaginative play. It comes with Spirit himself, his friend, Lucky and many different accessories needed for your very own barn. The doll, Lucky, has poseable arms that are great for imaginative play and not only that, the barn is just like the one on the tv show. So the kids can recreate scenes if they wish. The barn includes 24 pieces, and there are also some stickers included, to decorate the barn. Great for putting a touch of personality. There are two levels to the barn, just like the one on the show. Lucky and her friends can have a chill out on the second floor with a space for the sofas and chairs.

You can complete the collection by buying the other Spirit toys such as Spirit: Riding Free Doll and Horse sets that are out now. Great additions to complete your little one's Spirit toy collection.

You can purchase the Spirit Barn Playset here.

* We were gifted this item in return for an honest review.
All words, images and opinions are our own.

Tips for Finding the Perfect Family Car

Finding the perfect car is tough at the best of times. Of course, it gets harder when you’ve got other people to satisfy too; significant others, kids and maybe even dogs! There’s a lot of people to please with this vehicle, so it’s important that any purchase you make impresses everyone.
Today, fewer people are buying cars in the UK, mainly because it’s so expensive and difficult. However, with a few good tips, you can be well on the way to securing the right family car for you.
Consequently, here’s a few ideas on how you can discover the car that pleases everyone in your household!

A Family Decision
Before you do anything, it’s important to remember that this needn’t be a lone decision. While you may be the one paying for the vehicle, others will use it. On this basis, you should at least consider drawing on the opinions of those who will be in the car with you, whether it’s a significant other also occasionally driving, or a child passenger. Therefore, you should get something you’re all happy to be in.
After all, it can’t be called a perfect family car if members of the family are dissatisfied with it. Before you make your purchase, or perhaps even begin looking for a vehicle, ask your family members what kind of car they’d like within your budget. Do you want space for a dog? TV’s on the back of the front seats for the kids? Cupholders? If you tick the boxes of your family members, you’re well on your way to snagging that perfect family vehicle. Consequently, a family consultation is a great place to begin.

Reputable Dealers
Of course, with this purchase, you’re responsible for the wellbeing of others. You now have a family to protect every time you turn the keys and start the ignition. Nothing less than the best will suffice, and the vehicle you buy must not only be fun for the whole family, but safe enough to ride in too. Unfortunately, not every dealer out there makes their customers safety a priority, so you need to be careful.
Consequently, you should only consider dealing with the most reputable dealers like Peter Vardy, because they’ll put your wellbeing above a desperate need to make a profit. They won’t recommend chaos cars for a bargain, nor will they skip all the legal paperwork required for a clean transaction, such as MOT history. By choosing a reputable dealer, you can work with them to ensure that what you’re buying is of high quality, and not just some scrap heap with an engine inside it.

Safety Features
Sticking with the theme of safety, the perfect family car will have its fair share of security features to keep you and your family safe on your travels. After all, even if you’re the most able driver in the world, this isn’t always a guarantee of an accident-free trip. Other drivers can be dangerous too, and you should always navigate the roads with caution.
Nifty pieces of tech can ensure every trip is a safe trip. Rear cameras can prevent accidents by detecting and displaying nearby cars when reversing, and the safety locks can stop your children getting into danger. Additionally, a pair of well implemented sensors can detect if you’re too near to other vehicles, and vice versa. In the end, these are essential additions to the perfect family car.

- guest post.

What to do if you suspect your child is being cyberbullied

Smartphones and the Internet have allowed us to connect and communicate with each other more than ever before. Unfortunately, this also gives bullies more ways to harass and target their victim. A 2017 Ofcom report shows that 1 in 8 young people say they have been bullied on social media.
As parents, carers and guardians of young people, it’s important to be aware of the growing impact of smartphones on children, for better and for worse. Here’s a guide on how to spot the signs of cyberbullying, and what to do next.

Look out for the signs
A child might be reluctant to admit they are being cyberbullied, if they are afraid of the harassment getting worse, or because they feel ashamed. If you are worried that your child may be a victim of cyberbullying, these are some of the signs to look out for:
·         Being afraid to go to school
·         Trouble eating or sleeping
·         Irregular smartphone or computer use
·         Becoming suddenly withdrawn, anxious, or unsociable
There is no one clear sign that indicates a child is being cyberbullied, but having a better understanding of the warning signs can help parents make an informed decision.

Start a conversation with your child
If changes in their behaviour give you a reason to suspect your child is a victim of cyberbullying, it’s important not to jump to conclusions. Approach the subject carefully – asking outright questions like “Are you being cyberbullied?” are unlikely to receive a response.
The conversation may differ depending on how old and mature your child is; you may need to explain what cyberbullying means first. Most importantly, let them know that you’re in their corner, and there will always be help and support available to them.

Teach them how to stay safe online
Revoking internet or smartphone privileges won’t stop the cyberbullying, and may make your child more reluctant to tell you what’s happening in their lives. Instead, teach your child how to browse the web and use social media responsibly. There are plenty of resources available online tailored for different age groups, which show helpful information such as how to avoid mature content and report upsetting content on social media.

You can also consider using parental control and monitoring apps. As well as keeping an eye on your child’s internet usage, these apps can also start wider conversations with your child about staying safe online.

- collaborative post.

Peppa Pig Mobile Medical Centre

Most kids out there are huge Peppa Pig fans, and Freddie is the newest Peppa fan! So when we received the Peppa Pig Mobile Medical Centre to review, I knew he would love it. He's also at the age where he's showing more imagination in play. The Peppa Medical Centre is a push along vehicle that transforms into a medical centre. To transform the vehicle to a centre, all you have to do is open the sides and the back of the vehicle, easy as that!

Included with this playset is a push-along ambulance vehicle, 2 figures, reception desk, first aid desk, gurney bed and teddy. The figures, Peppa Pig herself and Dr Brown Bear are both dressed in nurse outfits, perfect for imaginative play with the ambulance/medical centre. Your child is bound to have hours of fun with this medical centre, and it's a bonus that it comes with a few accessories too. Not only are the accessories a great addition to this on-the-go medical centre, but it also has an operating theatre with an x-ray machine and a gurney bed too!

My final thoughts on this Mobile Medical Centre were very positive. As I have three kids, I don't think I've had a break from the Peppa madness in this house. My two girls, who are now 8 and 6 were obsessed with Peppa and now my little boy, Freddie, loves Peppa too. We have a few collections of different Peppa toys, and they're always played with. I knew this Medical Centre would be a huge hit in our home. 

This Peppa Pig Mobile Medical Centre is part of Peppa's New "When I Grow Up" collection from Character Options. It's a great toy for all Peppa fans. It's also super easy to remove from the box. No real assembly is needed so your child can play with it straight from the box, which is a huge bonus. We all know how impatient kids can get by waiting.

It's a huge hit in our home.

Do you have any Peppa fans in your household?

Why it’s Important to Plan for your Children’s Inheritance

Saving for your child’s future is one of the most worthwhile things that you can do as a parent, and it’s arguably never been more important than in the current economic climate.

After all, the macroeconomic climate is making it increasingly difficult for people to save their hard-earned cash, while it was recently revealed that some 5,400 estates were investigated by the tax office for the underpayment of Inheritance Tax.

In this post, we’ll offer some actionable advice that can help you to manage your estate and plan successfully for your child’s inheritance.

  1. Start by accessing the best possible advice
Attempting to organise your finances and successfully manage your estate is an exceptionally challenging past-time, and one that requires expert guidance if you’re to do it effectively.

Firms such as Tilney can help in this respect, as they provide a comprehensive estate planning service that helps you to build, manage and organise your estate.

This creates the type of informed and holistic financial plan that can be implemented over time as you look to build wealth and work out the best way of passing this on to your child in the event of your death.

Most importantly, you’ll be able to create a plan that is tailored to your earnings, outgoings and wider financial circumstances.

  1. Understand the Finer Details of Saving
By partnering with a financial adviser or wealth management firm, you can also understand the finer details of saving money towards your children’s future.

The first step is to understand precisely when the money is needed as you’ll need to create a time-sensitive plan and allow for the fact that some accounts restrict access to funds until a child reaches 16 or 18.

At the same time you’ll need to determine whether or not you’re the best person to invest capital on behalf of your children. In some instances, for example, it may be more tax-efficient for grandparents to invest for a child, so this is one of the areas you should focus on when planning your estate.

  1. Consider Gifting as a way of Reducing Inheritance Tax
We spoke earlier about Inheritance Tax, and this remains a controversial issue for governments across the globe.

Fortunately, there are ways in which you can reduce the amount payable on your estate without raising the eyebrows of the taxman.

In fact, more than seven million parents look to give their children an inheritance early in order to minimise tax, by capitalising on the so-called ‘seven-year’ rule surrounding gifting.

This rule states that if you survive the seven years after giving a gift, the gifts are not counted towards the value of your estate, so offering them early optimises the value of your holdings. However, This can make a huge difference from a financial perspective.

 * Collaborative post

How to Plan for Childcare Costs

If you are about to take the plunge into parenthood, then you may well be aware of how expensive a child can be. In fact, it is estimated that raising a child from birth to the age of 21 will set you back around £231,843, which seems like an incredibly daunting figure.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to plan ahead for the various costs of raising a child, and once you have the right measures in place, childcare should be a breeze. Here are some of the methods.
One of the most effective ways that you can plan ahead for the various costs you may encounter is to create a monthly budget, and set spending limits accordingly. These costs may include food, days out, toys, furniture, and anything else which your child may need. Be sure to take into account both variable costs, such as food, and non-variable costs, like nursery or playgroup fees.
As your child gets older it is likely that costs will go up, given that they will likely need more food, clothes and other necessities, so do your best to factor this in and keep your budget flexible.  
Emergency Fund
It is also worth preparing for the unexpected when planning your childcare costs, which means creating an emergency fund to help you deal with any significant, unexpected financial shocks which might arise.
This may be easier said than done, but putting some income aside in a savings account (or similar) each month could come in useful for things like unexpected dental surgery. If this is too much of a stretch, there are emergency loans available which could also be handy if you need to deal with unexpected costs.
Help from Government
It is also well worth looking into any help you may be able to get from the government, which could include childcare vouchers, tax credits and help with childcare. This can go an incredibly long way in helping you to significantly reduce costs, especially in the long run.
No matter which government scheme you end up using, be sure to factor it into your budget, as well as monitoring any changes to eligibility which may occur as your child grows up.
There is no doubt that raising a child is an expensive business, but it is also worthwhile and extremely rewarding. By planning ahead for the costs, you will take a lot of the stress away from childcare, and help to protect your family’s finances in the long run.

 * Collaborative post. 

Learning Resources Bright Basics Pull Along Tractor Review

Firstly, anyone who knows my little boy, Freddie, knows that he is obsessed with tractors. We have many toy boxes in our home, and I guarantee you will find more than one tractor in each box. So when Freddie was sent this Pull Along Tractor from Learning Resources to review, I'm sure you can only imagine his excitement. He literally jamp up and down and was so excited for me to open it up for him. I've always been a big fan of Learning Resources products. I find their products great for children of all ages as they help with learning new things and help their development.

This Bright Basics Pull Along Tractor is great to help improve their development skills. Along with the tractor, comes a Cow, Pig, Dog and a Chicken. The chicken sits in the tractor seat, and it can be easily put to sit or pull out. Each animal hooks together, nose to tail that is great for helping your little one learn new skills. Freddie loved concentrating to hook each animal on and off each other.

Each animal has 4 sets of wheels which make them easy to pull along with the long piece of string that is in front of the tractor. In total, it measures roughly 70cm! Freddie loves pulling the tractor around the house with him, from one room to the other. This set is high quality and a toy that will definitely be loved by little ones who love farm animals and tractors. I'm sure your little one will have hours of fun with this toy, just like Freddie has and still does.

* We were gifted this item in return for an honest review.
All words, images and opinions are our own.

Vampirina Disney Toy Range Review

Ever since the kids found Vampirina on the Disney Junior channel, they have been obsessed with her. Especially my middle daughter, Elliw. So when they receive a huge parcel full of Vampirina goodies, I am sure you can just imagine the excitement in this house. There's a whole new range of Vampirina toys out at the moment, and there's so many different, great quality and fun toys that true Vampirina fans will fully enjoy.

The first toy was the Scare B&B Playset which is a huge 3 floors. There are 6 special spots throughout the house where if you place Vampirina, she will glow up. The kids were amazed. Included with Vampirina's house is Vampirina herself and a Poppy figure. The house is just like the one you see on tv, and there are so many different features in the house such as a bookcase that transforms into a guest day bed, and the secret reveal telescoping bedroom tower. There's also a record player that moves and shakes when Vampirina dances and a 360 degree spinning TV in the living area.

Any Vampirina fans will have hours of fun playing with this playset. Along with Vampirina's house, we were also sent Vampirina Hauntley's Mobile Vehicle. Again, just like the house, it's great quality and super fun. Not only is it a vehicle but it also transforms into a drive-in cinema. It's a bright purple bat-themed vehicle - perfect for Vampirina. There are real working headlights and also sound effects, phrases and music from the original show. Also included with this vehicle is a Vampirina figure.

Another product we were sent was Vampirina Fangtastic Friend Set. This Vampirina figure set comes with 10 figures, all characters from the show. To be exact, the figures are Vampirina herself, Oxana, Boris, Demi, Bridget, Case of the Battys, Nosy, Gregoria, Woflie, Vampirina back pack accessories. All the figures have poseable arms which will make playing with even more fun as it's great for imaginative play. Vampirina herself has some glitter on her dress, something Elliw loved.

Vampirina Backpack Set is another great toy as part of the Vampirina toy range. Kids can wear it just like a real back pack with its adjustable nylon strap. Great to carry around and carrying all the spooktacular accessories around with you. Included with the backpack are: light-up necklace, sunglasses, bat wing hair clips, creep caroline backpack clip and sticker sheets. Again, a great toy for any Vampirina fan! Not only is it great for carrying all the accessories, but it would also be great to carry around some Vampirina figures, from the figure set too!

We were also sent some other figures packs such as Vampirina Ghoul Girl Doll. This Vampirina figure doll has poseable arms and legs, great for imaginative play. She also has a removable dress and her bat-tastic backpack. The other figure sets we were sent were two Vampirina Spooky Scooter Set, one of Vampirina and the other her friend, Poppy. Each comes with their friend/pet, scooter and skateboard. Vampirina and Poppy's friends: Wolfie and Gergoria can ride along with their skateboards behind their scooters. You can mix their scooters, figures and skateboards as they all work together too. The figures have poseable arms and articulated head and waist. Both figures have safety gear and helmet, which may help children understand and learn that it is always recommended to wear safety gear when riding scooters.

Last but not least are the Vampirina Collectible Boo Figure. They are blind bags, and there are 12 characters to collect. Each character has a flat bottom, which makes them great for standing, and you could also stand them on a shelf for show. Each bag comes with a collectable figure and a checklist so you can tick off each character as you collect.

If you know someone who's a fan of Vampirina, why don't you come along and join in with the Twitter Party that is on 24th of October at 1pm until 3pm. There will be lots of games and chats going on. You won't want to miss it! Look forward to seeing you there.

You can find Vampirina toys over at SMYTHS and all other good toy stores, as well as Amazon.

* We were kindly sent these items to take part in a Twitter Party.
However, all words, opinions and images are our own.