Thursday, 20 August 2015

Casdon Happy Helpers Henry Cleaning Trolley Review

We all need a helping hand with cleaning and tidying up around the house. So, start them young I say!

We were sent the Casdon Happy Helpers Henry Cleaning Trolley to review and it's been a real help motivating the boys to help cleaning up like grown ups.

The Casdon Henry Cleaning Trolley is inspired by the iconic Henry hoover brand.  A brand which is easily recognisable, fun and functional and used throughout homes and offices across the country.

The Little Helpers Henry Cleaning Trolley is a little person's version of all the items (apart from the actual hoover) you use to clean your home.

















Inside the box are all the items needed to assemble the trolley.  The Henry Cleaning Trolley comes with:


  • a long handled broom
  • a mop 
  • a cloth
  • a bag
  • a dustpan and brush
  • a squeazy cleaning bottle


The Henry Cleaning Trolley was really easy to put together.  Really easy for me as I didn't do any of it, my 6 year old did it all! 




There were Henry stickers and their famous eye stickers which needed to be stuck on various equipment (i.e dustpan, bottle etc). Both my boys got excited doing this part (stickers and boys = winning combination!).

 

The whole Trolley was very easy to assemble, is very light, but still sturdy and all the items have a particular place to be stored on the trolley. So, no lost pieces.

The boys love using the Trolley.  When I need something cleaning up, I only have to ask once, before I hear them running for the dustpan and brush and sweep it up.  It has really encouraged the little ones to truly become Little Helpers

 

 
The Trolley is perfect for little hands. It is on wheels, so very portable. The mop, is obviously a mop, but my kids tend to use it as a hoover.

The Trolley is available at all usual toy stockists, priced around £15.  Which is great, and super cheap, if you think of all the time saved whilst the younger ones do the cleaning!.

There are a number of other items available in the Little Helpers range:

  • Hetty Cleaning Trolley (pink version of Henry)
  • Ironing Set
  • Pan Set
  • Henry Vacuum Cleaner
  • Shopping Trolley


These other items are all reasonably priced too.

I'm glad we were sent this product to review. I can sit back and relax whilst they clean up happily. 


Disclaimer:  I was sent this product to review. All opinions and views expressed are my own.


Friday, 7 August 2015

Back to School Smiggle range



It may seems like summer holidays have just started, but it does feel like a short summer holiday...there's only 3 more weeks until the kids are back at school. "Hooray" I hear some of you shout! :)

In preparation of the new school year, we were invited to an exclusive show of Smiggle's fantastic, colourful children's stationery and gadgets range.  When I say colourful, it really is colourful.  There isn't a colour not used in the store's range of products.


If you haven't heard about Smiggle, this is the store which sells all children's stationery, gadgets and gizmnos.  The ranges are quirky, fun and colourful, but also inventive and practical. And always, the talk of the playground (and at home when children come back saying their friends have a certain water bottle or pencil case!). The store reminds me of a child's treasure trove, (think Paperchase, but aimed at children), but with the added benefit of adults going down memory lane at all the items they used to collect or have when they were younger. There were some of those moments for me when I went to the store.

Smiggle is an Australian company that opened it's first UK store in Feb 2014. The Store has been so popular it currently has 25 UK stores and plans to open another 40 before the end of this year! The company also has over 185 stores in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

 Each store is a kaleidoscope of colour. Stock is changed frequently, so there is something new see at each visit. With all that colour you would think it would be a nightmare to find or see anything, but the Smiggle's Genius (as I call it!) have colour coordinated their ranges. Reds in one section, blues in another, etc etc.  It makes shopping so much easier.  There is also a fun, creative area for the little ones to get doodling on whilst you shop away.

The stores Back To School range is perfect for trendy and creative children. The pencils cases are great fun, traditional and quirky fused together. The ranges and colours are extensive. The ranges include everything you could need for your school requirements, plus more gadgets. There was a great rotating kaleidoscope which beams the colours and images onto your ceiling. I thought this would be perfect as a night light for the boys.

We visited the Richmond, West London store. The staff are very helpful and knowledgeable about their products and functions.



The colours and ranges suit both girls and boys and a wide range of ages too (I'd say 3 years to 60!). The ranges aren't just pinks and blues. There is a spooky ghosts and gouls section, which would be ideal for those who are interested in spooky images, but also perfect for Halloween.  My youngest is born on Halloween so had to have a ghost snap band!

Perfect range for Halloween!
My two boys couldn't leave the shop without some items (non-school related!). So we bought the Halloween inspired snap band, a red digital watch snap band, which shows the time at a touch of a secret button and a couple of spy pens (pens which write in invisible ink and you have to shine a light on the writing to display your hidden message).

Snap band digital watch
press a secret button and the time displays














Next weekend we are doing our school uniform shop but I am sure we will be including Smiggle into that day.  Smiggle isn't just for school items, it is perfect for birthday presents or gift ideas.  There are loads of items you could get as stocking fillers too (if you want to start thinking about Christmas already!) or even great as party bag ideas.  The list is endless!

Thank you to Smiggle store, Richmon for a great evening.  My boys are still beaming about their gadgets! See you soon!


Disclaimer:  I was invited to the store and was given a goody bag.  This has not influenced my ideas and thoughts and opinions on this post.



Thursday, 11 June 2015

Great Gizmo's Mini Stencil set

We recently received a mini stencil set from the amazing Great Gizmo people.  I love their products, they are so creative.

We received the Meadow Kids Mini Stencil (3+) which says it is aimed at boys. Personally, I would say it is unisex as the stencils have shapes, dinosaurs and various animals in them.


This little set is great for travelling as the box is sturdy and all the items (stencils, pencils, envelopes, paper) fit neatly in two drawers.  It's a lovely use of space.

The boys were too excited to let me take pictures, they couldn't wait to open it and start drawing.
boys couldn't wait to open this!













As there is a special day for Father's coming up in a few weeks, Joshua wanted to create a card for his daddy. It was really sweet.  Even though he had spent the day at school and had a swimming lesson, he was still eager to do this with no moaning! (He usually wants to plonk himself on the sofa and watch the ipad!)

When you open the box, the contents: 

1 booklet of mini stencils (which included sea life, farm animals, wild animals, circus shapes, common shapes, letters & symbols)
5 colouring pencils
6 cards and envelopes
1 pencil sharpener
1 design booklet.

These are all laid out in two drawers: 

The boys got busy selecting their stencils.  I initially thought it would be hard to share one stencil book between two children, but the stencil pages come out easily and can be put back easily too.
I also thought, the stencils would break quite easily, as the plastic looked quite flimsy but again, I was wrong (I won't say that too often!). 

The boys spent some time creating their cards and decorating.  Choosing "which stencil would daddy like".  It was lovely seeing them work together. 

 


Joshua created a lovely card for his daddy and has put a secret message inside (even I haven't seen it). He has sealed it in the envelope and hidden it so he can give it to his daddy.  (His daddy loves sharks, has even swan with them, in case you are wondering why he has selected the shark!)
 

There will be happy faces all around when Father's Day comes.  

This stencil set is great for all children.  I was even getting involved. The stencils are great for improving writing ability, using imagination and generally being creative.  It was also lovely to see the boys communicating together to create something wonderful.

The stencil set costs £11.95 and this is a great buy for something that will keep the children entertained for hours.


Disclaimer: I was sent this product to give an honest review. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

WWF toy range from Great Gizmos

We are huge animal lovers in our household.  We love toys and games. We support the World Wide Fund for Nature ("WWF").

Combine all of that and what do you get?  Amazing WWF toy range from Great Gizmos.

We were sent two toys; a Miombo Tumble Tower, aimed at 3+ years, and a 1000 piece jigsaw, aimed at adults.  I was happy to receive something that I could play with for hours, for once! 


This game is based on the popular tower blocks falling game. BUT, it takes it one step further!


Each block is made from FSC wood from well managed forests and features patterns from Africa's Miombo woodlands including a giraffe, zebra and cheetah. There are 48 wooden blocks in each tub. I have to comment on how sturdy and well-made these blocks are. The sides and edges are smooth, so great for little (and big!) hands, no cuts or splinter worries. Even the box is beautifully made AND carries the WWF logo.

 

The aim of the game, once the tower has initially been made, is remove each piece carefully without letting the tower fall AND place the piece back on the top of the tower. A dice is thrown which determines which type of block can be selected (cheetah, giraffe, zebra, WWF panda logo or a blank piece). It really means you have to think hard for the whole game. It is loads of fun.

As it is so well made, this game will last for many years. Many years of enjoyment, whilst helping the WWF. What a winning combination!

This games retails at £21.95. It is quite pricey but you need to realise it does tick all the boxes:
  • Fun game
  • Thinking game
  • Hand/eye co-ordination
  • Balance skills
  • Supports a worthy cause
  • Long lasting
  • Well made, good quality game
  • Storage - the container it comes in, is it's storage box too and it won't break after a few games
This is a winner in our house.  Not just for the children either, I love playing it!



I love puzzles.  The larger ones give you a little grown up thinking time, whilst relaxing. This puzzle is no exception. 


I was excited to start this puzzle.  Not only because I like puzzles, but because the picture were all relating to the world's big cats (my favourite!). I knew it was a challenge, but I was eager to start. 

Puzzles are infectious. You know once you open one and start, then people tend to come out of the woodwork somehow and start helping and then it becomes a great family event! That is exactly what happened here!

 It started with just me, then within about 15 minutes there were 4 of us working on it.

The pieces are quite small, so you really have to think about the picture and refer back to it all the time. It is challenge, but with all of us doing it, it was also fun.

It did take us quite some time to get the border done.  We still aren't finished, but we have vowed that every time we get together we will all have another crack at it again.  I'll post another picture of the finished puzzle.

Even my youngest attempted to help.  He actually did better than the adults!
This puzzle is retailing at £9.95, which I  think is a great price as the puzzle is really well made and also carries the WWF logo.

There are quite a few items within the WWF range from Great Gizmos. Click here to see them.  I think the whole range is great and it's also a bonus when you get something you can enjoy which also benefits a great cause.


Disclaimer:  I was sent these products to give an honest review. All opinions and views expressed are my own.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Five Guys burgers - 5 stars!

Hands up who loves burgers and fries?  I don't think there would be many who would say 'no'!

We love burgers, we generally make our own with fresh mince, but as tasty as they are they never have the same feel as 'proper' burgers.

Well, we had the opportunity to try 'proper' (you have to say it with that added emphasis on proper!) burgers at Five Guys' new store in Ealing, West London.

Five Guys is a burger/hotdog and fries fast food franchise which first opened as a family run business in Virginia, USA.  The popularity of the food grew so quickly that franchises across America and now the UK are opening up.

We visited the newly opened Ealing branch.  The decor has obviously stuck with the recognised white and red branding.


Upon entering the branch, we walked to the back of the store and a very helpful member of staff helped us select our food choices.  As we hadn't been to a Five Guys before (but had heard that the burgers were awesome!) the staff were particularly helpful.  They gave the children the time to choose their food, without rushing them, explained the menu, recommended favourites, even suggested not ordering extra chips as it will probably be too much!. I have to say, I was totally impressed.  Service like that is extremely rare.

Along with the burger choices, their are extra toppings you can choose from (which are totally free), like jalapeno peppers, grilled onions, relish, mayo, sauce, peppers etc etc). Just to make your mouth water even more!

At the counter you can see the open kitchen. Rows and rows of their famous Five Guys buns, which are thought to be sweeter and lighter than ordinary buns.

The staff don't treat your food like rubbish, they really take pride in their preparation. It's not just about churning them out but the whole experiece of 'The' burger!


Have I whet your appetite?!  Let's get to it.....

 

We ordered two hot dogs, one with bacon, one veggie burger, one bacon and cheese burger, one oreo cookies milkshake with added chocolate and whipped cream, one oreo cookies milkshake with added chocolate, one strawberry and bacon milkshake (yes, I did write that correctly, bacon) and one oreo cookies milkshake, one little [plain] fries and one cajun fries. PHEW! The staff even cut my youngest's hot dog in half so it was easier to eat!

All the hot food comes wrapped in foil, to seal in the moisture. The fries are made using peanut oil (so if you have allergies I'm afraid this isn't an option for you), but I have to say, that way of cooking makes the fries so different from the rest.  They are delicious, not too oily, crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle.  Pure heaven!

Now, I know you are probably wondering about the strawberry and bacon milkshake....here it is;


The milkshakes are big and thick, perfect consistency. The strawberry and bacon milkshake (th at was one that I raised my eyebrow at) was my hubby's choice. He was pleasantly surprised.  I refused to try it (as I don't like bacon), but I gave in.  It was actually really nice.  The fresh strawberries was the first taste and then right at the last second, just as you swallow you got the faintest hint of crispy bacon bits. In terms of taste combinations it is similar to a salted caramel (sweet/salt flavour).


My hubby said "this is the best burger I've ever had". My children were quiet for 20 minutes whilst they were devouring their hot dog and milkshake. My veggie burger was delish. The Five Guys are definately worth Five Stars! Only warning....take some wet wipes with you.....their is so much in your burger that you are bound to get a little dirty!

 


I have to also mention the complimentary peanuts.  These are flown in all the way from the USA.  I don't know how they do it but the salted peanuts are not only salty on the outside shell but on the inside. And, its not the same kind of salted peanuts we get here, they are soooo moorish! Don't fill up on these as you will miss your burger pleasure!



It's no wonder that Five Guys has an online cult following and remarkable brand loyalty!

I totally recommend, Five Guys.  Amazing burgers and exceptional service.  We are definitely going back.


Disclaimer: We visited Five Guys, Ealing to give an honest revie . All opinions and views expressed are totally my own.