30 Nov 2017

Christmas Toy Gift Guide for Under £20

Christmas is nearly upon us. Children are writing letters to Santa, festive adverts are everywhere and you are still wondering about what toys to buy.

If you are stuck and looking for inspiration, here are a few ideas to help you along. I have rounded up a selection of toys and games, all for under £20, that will make great Christmas presents.

From cute and cuddly to high-tech and educational, here is a round up of toys and games that will make great Christmas presents. And all for under £20!

29 Nov 2017

Elf - The Musical at The Lowry is a Festive Delight!

You know when you go to watch a show not knowing what to expect and end up being pleasantly surprised? That was me watching Elf – The Musical at The Lowry.

If you already have tickets to watch Elf, be assured you are in for a treat. If you haven’t bought them yet, all I can say is this. If you are looking for a feel-good, festive, family-friendly outing to get you in the Christmas spirit, go watch Elf – The Musical at The Lowry. We may not know it, but we all need a big, warm hug sometimes.

I have never gotten round to watching Elf – The Movie starring Will Ferrell, so had no idea how the musical would unfold. All I knew after reading the synopsis was that Elf was the story of a child called Buddy who ends up crawling into Santa’s toy sack. He is raised as an Elf at the North Pole before eventually figuring out that he is human. He then goes to New York to look for his father.

My six year old son and I took our seats armed with only this information. Boy, were we in for a treat! We were hooked from the word go and I had a smile plastered across my face for the next 3 hours.

27 Nov 2017

Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park

We love visiting Tatton Park in all seasons. Whether we are celebrating Roald Dahl’s birth centenary or practising for a big cycle ride, Tatton Park is our go-to place. Its beautiful landscaped gardens, imposing mansion, thriving farm and deer park are a great place to recharge your batteries. This beautiful National Trust property in Cheshire is only a short drive from Manchester and makes for the perfect family day out.

Christmas is always a magical time of year at Tatton Park. Its beautiful landscaped gardens, imposing mansion, thriving farm and deer park make it fabulous for a family day out. The decorations in the Mansion this year are inspired by The Twelve Days of Christmas and are a glamorous mix of traditional and contemporary.

Christmas is always a magical time of year at Tatton Park. We visited this weekend, and despite the not-so-great weather, my son and I had a lovely time together.

23 Nov 2017

Planning a Festive Getaway in Newcastle Gateshead

The twin cities of Newcastle and Gateshead, separated by the river Tyne, are where I spent a large part of my adult life. I don’t visit Newcastle and Gateshead as often as I would like since moving to the North West. Perhaps reminiscing about Christmas past spent in this happy corner of the North East will inspire me to plan a visit this festive season.

Newcastle and Gateshead have always had a lot to offer over the festive period - for shoppers, for families and for those looking to have a good time. Here are highlights of what to expect when visiting Newcastle Gateshead over Christmas and New Year.

Newcastle and Gateshead have always had a lot to offer over the Christmas period - for shoppers, for families and for those looking to have a good time. Here are highlights of what to expect when visiting Newcastle Gateshead over Christmas and New Year. 

20 Nov 2017

Digital Kids Show, Manchester

It was our first time at the Digital Kids Show, and I was not sure what to expect. Was J too young to attend? Will there be enough to keep his attention through the day? What will we parents do while the child is having fun?

Turns out, the Digital Kids Show surpassed all expectation. We spent the entire day trying out a variety of toys, games and gadgets and generally having a good time.

The Digital Kids Show, Manchester, is a fun and fantastic family day out. It is where you get a chance to play with all the latest gadgets, tech toys and games. If you are planning a visit, here are things to know before you go.

The Hallé in Concert at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

We may not have had formal training, but music has always been a big part of our lives. M and I are fond of classical music and there was a time before parenthood when we routinely attended live concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and the Sage. 

We had heard wonderful things about the Bridgewater Hall after moving to Manchester, but never had the opportunity to visit. Until now.

The Hallé has been Manchester’s orchestra for more than 150 years. We were privileged to watch the choir and orchestra perform at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. If you are planning a visit, here are things you need to know before you go.

15 Nov 2017

How to Design a Brand Logo with Logojoy

I have recently been giving the blog an overhaul. I have updated the header and social media buttons. I have changed the layout and colour scheme. Next on the list was a brand new blog logo. Logojoy, a blog designing website, invited me to try out and review their software.

Logojoy uses artificial intelligence to generate beautiful, unique logo ideas to suit your business. You can design a logo for free and keep refining it till you are completely happy with the result. You only make a payment once you are satisfied with your logo.

Logojoy uses artificial intelligence to generate beautiful, unique logo ideas to suit your business. You can design a logo for free and keep refining it till you are completely happy with the result. You only make a payment once you are satisfied with your logo.

13 Nov 2017

Meccano M.A.X - the Interactive Toy Robot, Review

I grew up in the 1980s watching The Terminator movies and reading Isaac Asimov’s principles of robotics. It was a time when artificial Intelligence (AI) was the stuff of sci-fi fantasies. I never thought that one day I would own an intelligent, learning robot that can tell a joke!

Meccano M.A.X. by Spinmaster is the new AI-powered smart robot designed to learn through interaction. The more you play with it, the smarter M.A.X gets! As a personalised STEM toy, M.A.X. has the capacity to stimulate young minds and foster a passion for science and critical thinking.


Meccano M.A.X. (Meccano Advanced XFactor) by Spinmaster is the new AI-powered smart robot designed to learn through interaction. The more you play with it, the smarter M.A.X gets.

12 Nov 2017

170 mile Cycle Ride - Training and Weight Loss (Week 6 Update)

I am at the end of week 6 of training for The Way Of The Roses and after missing all of week 5 to a nasty cold bug, I am glad to say this week has been a lot better. I managed an average speed of 21mph on a stationary bike at a level 9 tension. This session may have lasted only 25 minutes, but it is the fastest I have ever ridden on any kind of bicycle.

My on-going struggle with chronic sinusitis affects cycling performance. I have introduced kapalbhati pranayama into my morning routine in an attempt to overcome this. I am also practising mindfulness because the mind plays just as big a part in performance as physical training.

10 Nov 2017

The Great British Sewing Bee Sewing Studio Review

I don’t do sewing machines.  I can crochet beautiful patterns and I can sew with a needle and thread, but I don’t use sewing machines. The last time I used one was a couple of years ago when, under the watchful eyes of professionals, I managed to sew a Christmas gift bag.

What is life without a challenge, eh? So I accepted the task of using and reviewing the The Great British Sewing Bee Sewing Studio.

The Great British Sewing Bee Sewing Studio comes fully equipped with a pro sewing machine with features like a finger safety guard, auto speed settings,  and a thread spool compartment. It can be battery operated or you can plug it into the mains. The Sewing Studio is aimed at ages 6 and above, but only with adult supervision. Creating with the Sewing Studio can be a fun family project, something to spend time together and bond over.

6 Nov 2017

Mi-Mic Karaoke Microphone Speaker - Review

I love to sing and so does my six year old son. I have never had any formal training and J is only just beginning his, but we have always bonded over music. We love to listen and sing along to our favourite tracks at home as well as in the car. So when the opportunity arose to review a karaoke microphone, I knew it was something we would both enjoy.

The Mi-Mic is a karaoke microphone with an in-built speaker and Bluetooth functionality. The Bluetooth allows you to connect the Mi-Mic to any paired device, so you can channel the music through it as you sing. It comes with 7 coloured LED lights for added fun. Mi-Mic is perfect for children's parties, as a single charge gives 4 hours of play-time.

2 Nov 2017

LinkIt Card Game - Review & Giveaway

PikyKwiky is a UK based start-up company that has launched a family card game called ‘LinkIt’. This unique picture card game has been designed to help children sharpen visual perception and language skills in a fun and competitive atmosphere.

LinkIt is a picture-based card game for all the family. LinkIt has been designed to help children sharpen visual perception and language skills. The aim is to spot the link between cards as quickly as you can! It will make for a great stocking-filler this Christmas.

In LinkIt, players compete to find the link between the cards in front of them. The aim is to spot the link as quickly as possible  before the other players spot it. No prior knowledge or game strategy is required, which means adults have no advantage over children when it comes to winning at LinkIt.

Your Winter Maintenance Guide for Outdoor Furniture

Relaxing in your garden may be wonderful during the summer months. As winter comes around, the harsh weather can be hard on outdoor furniture.  With the right care and maintenance, you can make sure your furniture survives the cold season and is ready to enjoy come summer. Whether your furniture is metal, wood, plastic or rattan, this maintenance guide will help you look after your outdoor furniture.

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