99 articles Articles posted in Review

Interplay BFF Tag Jewellery Review

BFF Tag JewelleryA little while ago, Sausage and I were sent the Interplay BFF Tag Jewellery kit to review, something which I thought would be perfect for my little crafter! The kit uses a special clay and various metallic powders to allow you to make unique and personalised jewellery for you and your BFF and we actually made two matching necklaces before Edith had a play-date with one of her BBF’s…although being useless and disorganised as I am, I completely forgot to take photos of the finished product, so here’s what they kind of looked like!


The kit itself was definitely one where I’d suggest a bit of parental input – I can imagine that Sausage would have struggled slightly without my help despite the fact that she’s more than capable when it comes to these kinds of projects usually. The dough itself was a little tricky to knead at first and although she managed to shape it and stamp the letters on it herself, the metallic powder also required a bit of supervision. I also needed to be on hand for the tying-on of the fasteners.

Having said that, the result was really lovely. Sausage made 2 identical necklaces for her and her friend and they were really pleased with the results. Although it was one of the trickier craft kits we’ve used, it was well worth the effort. I’m always a bit scared of things which need to be baked because of various FIMO-related disasters in the past but I was pleasantly surprised with how good the necklaces looked once they came out of the oven. We’ve not been brave enough to try the stripey effect pictured above, opting to try all one colour for our first attempt, but I think we’d give this a go in the future as I think it’ll be easier than it looks but very effective and pretty once done.

This would make a great gift for kits who love crafting and making things and could even be bought as an activity to try with your BFF during a play date or sleepover. They can be bought direct from the Interplay site or through Amazon (affiliate link).

Travellers Joy Hungry Horse Review

Yesterday, we were invited along to our local Hungry Horse (the Traveller’s Joy in Rayleigh) to take a look at the new menu and have a family meal. We took my mother in law with us again, just like last year, so that we could see how it suited three generations of the family, and I have to say, it was a bit of a mixed bag.

Parking upon our arrival was a tricky affair as the car park was absolutely stuffed, although the fact that the place was so busy on a Tuesday afternoon is probably because it’s half term and it’s a very family-friendly venue, so the parking situation, whilst a bit annoying, was by no means their fault.

We were seated promptly and had our drinks order taken and were left to make our choices from the menu. Unfortunately, our server failed to tell us that the restaurant had no mashed potato, beef chilli or pulled pork, which was slightly annoying as two of our choices were meals which involved these items so we had to quickly scan the menu again to amend our choices, which I hate doing.

Our food arrived promptly and was hot and well-presented when it arrived; I ordered The Triple Rib Stacker, Husband had a Full Monty Mixed Grill, MIL ordered the Hand-Battered Fish & Chips and Sausage had the Cheese & Tomato Pizza served with a jacket potato and baked beans (BB had fallen asleep on the way there and slept almost the whole way through the meal and so missed out on our little treat). As was to be expected from previous visits to a Hungry Horse, all of the portions were huge but the quality of the meals was very varied.

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My ribs were absolutely delicious – the meat fell off of the bones and the sauce was beautiful. The coleslaw was really fresh-tasting and crunchy and the chips were cooked perfectly. I wasn’t a huge fan of the beans, but that’s just personal preference. If I had one minor complaint it was that my mini corn cob wasn’t served with a skewer or fork in the end to hold it with, so I felt rather self-conscious eating it with my hands in a restaurant.

MIL loved her fish and chips – I tasted her cod and it was really well cooked with a lovely crisp batter which wasn’t too thick. The little pot of tartare sauce was tasty and her peas tasted fresh. I was actually super impressed; MIL usually has a fairly moderate appetite and doesn’t like to feel too ful but she really soldiered through this massive portion and ate way more than I thought she would, which I think is a testament to how much she enjoyed it!

Husband’s mixed grill, on the other hand, was not such a positive experience. The piece of rump steak, which he ordered medium rare, was on the cremated side of well done and was really not a good quality piece of meat. On a couple of occasions, he looked rather green around the gills after taking a forkful and realising it consisted mainly of fat and gristle, and on one occasion actually excused himself to go to the bathroom to spit the meat into a hanky. The gammon was nice and well-cooked, as were the sausages, although the chicken breast was incredibly dry and the tomato looked as though it had been chucked on a grill for about 2 seconds and was basically raw and cold.

Sausage’s meal obviously came from the kids menu and although the choice is massive, I wasn’t hugely impressed with the quality of her meal. The pizza was (I’m pretty sure) a Chicago Town microwave pizza but it looked rather over-cooked and her jacket potato and beans looked more than a little bit sorry for themselves. I mean, I’m glad that there are kids options which don’t only come in nugget form and accompanied by chips but the overall quality wasn’t great. Having said that, Sausage demolished it, so perhaps my adult standards aren’t matched up to what a kid expects or finds appetising?

Not to be deterred by Husband’s bad experience, us ladies ordered dessert, with MIL going for the Jam Doughnut Pudding with Custard and the girls and I sharing The Ultimate BIG Candymania. MIL really enjoyed her pudding, which was warm and hearty and would have been perfect for a cold winter afternoon. The girls and I gave it our best but didn’t even come close to finishing our sundae, which probably would have comfortably served about 8 people but it was very tasty and the perfect thing to have as a treat.

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All in all, I’d say that our experience this time was mostly positive, however I was really disappointed with the quality of Husband’s meal. The young ladies who were serving us were really attentive and polite, although forgetting to tell us about the items which were off the menu hampered us a little in the beginning. We’d go back to the Traveller’s Joy Hungry Horse again given the value of the meals; our food would have cost £44.94, not including drinks, which is great value for three adults and a child, in my opinion, but I think Husband would be avoiding the steak next time around. Thanks to the Travellers Joy for having us and providing us with the meal for the purposes of this review.

Review: Little Dish – My First Pizza

Little Dish My First Pizza

Burrito Baby is a really good eater these days and since we’ve discovered that she can now have dairy, she happily eats things with normal cheese without any issues and is a huge fan of pizza. So when Little Dish got in touch and asked if we’d like to be some of the first people to try their brand new range of pizzas, My First Pizza, aimed at toddlers, we jumped at the chance. Here’s the blurb on the new products:

Our new range of My First Pizzas have been created in partnership with our nutritionist to ensure that they are not just yummy, but also nutritionally balanced. These tasty pizzas are made with 100% natural ingredients, contain 35% less salt than the average children’s chilled pizza* and have no added sugar, additives or preservatives. Plus, each mini pizza contains 1 of child’s recommended 5 a day thanks to the yummy toppings and hidden carrot puree into our unique pizza bases.

*35% less salt when compared against the average salt content (per 100g) in all children’s chilled pizza found in UK supermarkets

We were sent all three varieties of pizza; classic margherita, mini meatballs and veg, and pesto chicken and veg. The pizzas by themselves were the perfect size to give to BB for a hearty lunch and because they contained one of her 5 a day, as well as 35% less salt than conventional “kids” pizzas, it didn’t feel like we were giving her something unhealthy.

One of my favourite things about all of the Little Dish meals, not just the pizzas, is that they don’t patronise when it comes to ingredients. There seems to be an accepted wisdom that there are certain things that kids just won’t eat, and while there are plenty of fussy kids in the world, my two are really open to new flavours and textures and BB absolutely loved the butternut squash and spinach on the meatball pizza.

Little Dish My First Pizza

Obviously, there are some days when most toddlers decide to be difficult, which why these pizzas are so great – even the plain margherita contains carrot, peppers, onions and tomatoes, all hidden in the base and sauce, so you have the peace of mind that they’re eating a nutritious meal while they get to exert their toddler will and think they’re getting away with being fussy!

If you wanted to make a larger meal out of the pizzas, I’d wholly recommend serving them with sweet potato fries or wedges, for added calories and nutrition, or some steamed veg such as broccoli. We’ll definitely be buying these pizzas for BB in the future as they went down an absolute storm. Thanks, Little Dish, for sending them to us, along with the adorable little hamper and goodies to go with them.

We’re VTech Toot Toot Friends Ambassadors!

A few weeks back, Burrito Baby and I received the awesome news that we’d been chosen to be VTech Toot Toot Friends Ambassadors and would be receiving all of the new range to play with and review. As you can see, BB was over the moon! The smaller characters retail for around £8.99 each, while the Trot and Go Pony is £15.99. The Hospital playset is a very affordable £29.99 and even the Discovery Sounds House, which is the bigger of the two playsets, is only £44.99.

VTech Toot Toot Friends

What we discovered, being Toot-Toot Friends noobs, is that all of the playsets can link together, forming a big town, and each character can be used in all of the different areas. Want to take your horse to the hospital? Go right ahead! These areas are called ‘Magic Points’ and allows kids to use the individual  characters to interact with the play sets. There are also points within the Busy Sounds Discovery Home where characters can sing to one another, something that BB seemed to regard as being akin to magic!

BB has really good gross and fine motor skills for her age (I mean, the kid is NEVER still, even when she’s sleeping!) but all of the elements of the characters and the playsets were solid and easy to hold, even for the tiniest hands. It also feels like it would stand up to a whole lot of toddler punishment, too; BB has developed a habit of throwing things when she’s in a mood but I can’t see even the biggest toddler tantrum being able to do damage to the Toot-Toot Friends!

I really like the fact that these feel like “next level” toys in more ways than one; in terms of BB’s development, they feel more in-depth than all the other ‘flashing lights, ABC, 123’ toys that she has and they also feel like they incorporate all of the things that babies of this age love with the technological expertise the VTech is famous for. They’re interactive, educational and intuitive, all things which I think are important for development through play.

If I had ONE minor complaint, it’s that the stickers are a little bit fiddly to apply when you’re assembling everything, especially as some of them are located behind or inside certain parts. If you’ve got a steady hand, you’ll be fine, but the best advice I can give you is to assemble everything when you don’t have an excited, slightly tyrannical toddler climbing all over you.

I also think that selling all of the characters and sets separately is a great thing. It means that you can still buy Toot-Toots friends toys even on varying budgets, and if a birthday or Christmas comes around, the playsets can be bought as a main present, while the smaller components can be bought by friends or relatives to build a full and comprehensive collection.

BB and I feel like we’re off to a great start as ambassadors for VTech Toot-Toot Friends – we already love the toys and can seem them being a great source of fun and education for BB in the months to come.

GetTheLabel.com Review

A few weeks ago, the guys at Get The Label asked if we’d like to review their site, and given the fact that we’re heading towards cooler weather and both girls seem to have outgrown all of their clothes, we jumped at the chance! We were given £150 to spend across the site, and this is what we got:


Burrito Baby wears:

Adidas Baby Girls Essential Jog Suit – £12.99

Converse Baby Girls 2 Piece Fleece Set – £14.99

Adidas Originals Infant Girls ZX 850 Trainers – £19.99

Skechers Infant Girls Keepsakes Boots – £12.99

Sausage wears:

Adidas Junior Girls Rock It Zip Hoody – £14.99

Adidas Junior Girls Rock It Jog Pants – £14.99

Adidas Junior Girls Wardrobe Jog Pant – £14.99

(vest models own!)

Mum wears:

Vero Moda Womens Alba Jumper – £9.99

Converse Womens CT Ox Diva Trainers – £32.99

GRAND TOTAL: £148.91

Given the amount of branded stuff we were able to buy, I think coming in at under £150 was actually amazing and really good value. The girls’ trackies were absolutely perfect for the autumn weather and both Adidas and Converse are brands we’ve bought before so we know the quality is high. BB’s trainers are so ridiculously adorable and the Velcro fastenings make them really easy to get on and off. Her boots will be perfect for the cooler weather and are sturdy enough to help her to walk easily, without being heavy.

As for me…well, I couldn’t let the opportunity to grab a new pair of Converse pass me by, especially as I’ve worn my old ones to the point of decimation! I was trying to find myself a grey pair, but they didn’t have them in my size, so I opted for something a bit more eye-catching! I’d not actually seen this design before, either, so I was rather chuffed with my purchase.

The jumper I bought, however, has become a part of a saga of heartbreak. I saw it on the site and absolutely loved it, and had actually planned to go back at a later date and buy myself the jumper in the other colours. However, the first time I EVER wore the turquoise one, I was standing at our local noodle bar waiting to pick up a quick dinner, holding BB as we’d just got out of the car and I looked over my shoulder only to notice that she’d got her little fingers into the knit and pulled a massive thread out! I was absolutely gutted as I very rarely buy myself anything new, and although Husband offered to replace it for me, I stubbornly refused!

LEARN FROM MY FAIL! Don’t wear that jumper if you have a fiddly toddler. Other than that, you’re good to go; it’s an absolutely gorgeous jumper which is lovely quality and very well made. It’s just that mine got destroyed!

Delivery from Get the Label was really quick and the website was easy to navigate and nice to use. We’d definitely recommend Get the Label and will be going back to buy more stuff for all of us in the future.

TutorFair Review

tutorfairAs you’ll know if you’ve read this post, Sausage is a super bright girl, but thanks to being let down by a previous teacher, she lacks confidence in Maths and related topics. So when we were asked by Tots100 if we’d like the opportunity to receive a couple of tutoring sessions with TutorFair in a topic of our choice, we jumped at the chance. TutorFair offer teachers in a number of topics, including instrument tuition, but it seemed prudent for us to take advantage of some extra help with maths, if only to show Sausage just how capable she actually is.

The TutorFair website is one of my favourite things about the whole experience – it gives you the ability to narrow down what you’re looking for by subject, area, even budget, so you don’t end up trawling through a list of irrelevant teachers at prices you can’t afford. It also gives you an overview of the experience and qualifications of each tutor; the young man who came to see us was a Physics graduate and did his post-grad teacher training at Cambridge University, which is pretty impressive!

On the day, our tutor Sam arrived early for the session but jumped straight in (after taking his shoes off at the door, despite my protestations – excellent manners!) and gave Sausage a special programme to work through on his iPad to show him exactly where she was in terms of her knowledge. This allowed him to see exactly where she needed help and meant that their time together was properly optimised.

Using a combination of iPad and traditional pen and paper, Sausage and Sam worked through a whole load of topics (with me hovering around to get a good overview for review purposes) and it seemed like he was really able to connect with Sausage and pass on some new techniques for doing certain sums. I try not to criticize the UK’s free education system too much as it’s fantastic for most families, however there can be a slightly “one size fits all” approach to teaching when class sizes are large which means that some kids catch on quicker than others. Extra tuition like the sessions Sausage received are a brilliant way to solidify knowledge that’s passed on during school time and make sure that all of the new concepts have really sunk in.

In terms of cost, the tutor who came to us would usually cost around £38 per hour, which is by no means the most expensive session on the site and could be well worth it if your child is having a lot of problems with a subject. There are also tutors who offer help with 11+, GCSE’s and A-Levels and Sam told us that, in some cases, 11+ tuition begins as young as 8 years old.

All in all, I felt like we had a really positive experience with TutorFair. Sausage felt a lot more confident even after one session and it’s something that we would definitely consider continuing with, should she need the extra help. As a final point, another thing we liked was that, if you were a normal TutorFair customer, all payments are made via the website, so there’s no awkward exchange of cash at the end of the session – this may sound like a silly little thing, but it just made me feel like I’d be a lot more comfortable about using the service in the future.

For more information on tutors in your area, visit the TutorFair site.

Beanies Coffee – A Review

A while back, we were sent a selection of items by Beanies Coffee to taste-test and review. For those of you who haven’t heard of Beanies, the company makes flavoured coffee, both roast ground and instant, in a wide selection of flavours. I opted for Cherry flavour and Maple Syrup flavour in the roast ground, and Amaretto Almond in the instant.

I would definitely class myself as a coffee drinker; I drink instant at home at least twice a day, and usually have a latte somewhere if I leave the house, plus Husband and I stick the pot on for a “proper” cup of coffee a few times a week, too. I also have a personal filter coffee machine which makes a thermally insulated flask of coffee for one person which I often take with me when I’m out and about. See – definitely coffee people!

I was worried at first that the sweet flavours of Beanies coffee meant that they had added sugar; being a diabetic means I have to avoid excess sugar, but I needn’t have worried. Beanies sweetness is explained on the website’s FAQ:

Your sensory cells for taste and aroma respond to the sweetness of the flavours and although they contain no derivatives such as dextrose, fructose, lactose or syrups the receptors tell the brain that the product must surely contain sugar. Therefore when you taste our coffee you in fact smell the familiar flavour notes and your brain is automatically tricked into thinking the drink is sweet. Clever eh!

Each of the three flavours I tried were very authentic – the cherry really tasted of cherries, while the maple syrup and amaretto versions definitely tasted of maple syrup and amaretto! All three flavours smelled amazing, too. It was almost worth brewing a pot just for the amazing aroma that permeated around the house! 

I have to admit, none were sweet enough for me, despite the Beanies claim that you shouldn’t need to add sugar or sweetener, but then I do have my coffee pretty sweet on a day-to-day basis, adding two sweeteners to a normal mug, so it may well be sufficient for someone who doesn’t like their coffee as sweet as me.

All in all, I was really impressed. I’m not sure that flavoured coffee could replace every mug for me, across the day, but it definitely makes a lovely mid-morning treat and I could happily see myself tempting a guest to try something flavoured rather than our usual brew!

If you want more info on Beanies, head to their website, or take a look at their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.

Star Stable Review

Star-Stable-5Sometimes, having two kids with a large-ish age gap can mean that it’s tricky to find ways to spend one-on-one time with your eldest. Burrito Baby gets me to herself all day while Sausage is at school and although we’ve tried to maintain certain activities, like swimming, that Sausage and I do together, sometimes fitting things in around naps and bedtimes can be hard. That’s why, when I was asked if we’d like a free membership to Star Stable for Sausage and I to play together, I jumped at the chance.

Sausage is pony mad, having done some casual lessons for the past few summers, and loves anything to do with them, so the chance to design and name her own personalised pony within the game was definitely right up her alley. We downloaded the game and it loaded up with ease, even on my slightly decrepit laptop. Within the game, you use the directional keys to move around, along with the mouse for clicking on menu items, which made it a doddle for Sausage to get the hang of.

The actual environment within the game is really attractive – galloping through meadows in various weathers makes it feel really authentic, and although I’ve never actually been on a horse in real life, there’s something about the way the horses move that looks really lifelike – no mean feat for a game which doesn’t require a top-end graphics card to run.

One thing that Sausage really liked was the requirement to actually care for your horse within the game. Trusty steeds must be fed, watered and groomed, otherwise they simply won’t perform properly, giving a really ‘all-round’ feel for what it is to own a real horse, which require a lot of upkeep.

There’s a chat window which can be opened within the game, allowing you to interact with other users while you trot around, and although this is something I’d be slightly wary of if Sausage were to play the game by herself, playing it together means that I can keep an eye on any chatting that goes on, and to be completely fair, there seemed to be entirely innocent chat about school and the game going on, leading me to think that the boards are closely monitored.

If I’m being completely honest, I haven’t only played the game whilst Sausage has been around. More than once over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself with half an hour to spare and have been drawn in by the game, which I find oddly relaxing! There’s something about the slightly soft focus and gentle background music which I find really soothing and I could easily wander around for hours if Burrito Baby let me!

Having played other online games of this type before, I have to say that I wasn’t expecting Star Stable to be as good as it is, but the graphics, game play and character options were all really impressive. If I could add one MINOR criticism, it would be that it’s only possible to play as a female character, and while I get that the game is mostly aimed at tween girls, it would be nice for there to be a couple of male character options in case boys wanted to get involved too.

All in all, Sausage and I are really enjoying Star Stable and would definitely recommend it to other girls, aged 6 and upwards, as well as to Mums who want a nice game that they can enjoy with their little ones, to give them some quality time together without costing a fortune or even needing to leave the house!

LamaLoLi Review

A while back, the guys at LamaLoLi got in touch and asked if we’d like to review some clothes for the girls and offered us a £40 voucher to cover the cost. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure that £40 would cover very much for both girls, but boy was I wrong! Here’s what we got:


We also ordered a Minnie Mouse set for BB, but unfortunately it wasn’t included with the items we were sent, however we were absolutely thrilled with the items we received. Sausage is an enormous fan of Big Hero 6 and a lot of the clothing we’ve seen to far have been very masculine, but the t-shirt on the LamaLoLi site was totally unisex and she loved it.

Obviously, both girls love Hello Kitty and there’s a huge range of Hello Kitty stuff on the site, for all ages. We also found the range of characters available quite impressive; Husband is a huge fan of Warner Bros. characters from his childhood and it’s fairly rare to see them on kids clothes nowadays, but the Baby Loony Tunes t-shirt that we chose for BB was gorgeous and very modern.

All in all, we were really pleased with the items from LamaLoLi; the prices are genuinely bargainous, the clothes are all of a really high quality, everything fitted perfectly and there’s a great range of stuff that you wouldn’t find on the high street. We do love a little bit of uniqueness in the MTW house! I’d absolutely recommend LamaLoLi for kids clothes and I’ll definitely be ordering from them again in the future – I reckon I could kit out both girls for the entire summer for under £100 with change for an ice cream left over.

Head over to the LamaLoLi site now for some true bargains and high quality products.

Funky Giraffe Bibs Review

About 400 years ago (okay, it was about six months, but you know how time flies when you’re trying to go for a wee without a baby climbing up your leg having fun) , we were asked if we’d like to review Funky Giraffe Bibs, a brand which creates bandanna bibs in super funky prints. I’ve been absolutely rubbish at getting blog posts written lately, but I thought it was about time that I shared our opinions of the bibs we chose.

The real difficulty was narrowing down which bibs we wanted to try from the enormous selection of designs – there are just SO many choices, each more appealing than the next and I genuinely laboured for hours to make my mind up! In the end, we opted for a ‘Little Sister’ design in pink, a lovely yellow bib with a large cherry print and a lively cartoon bird print, as well as a pretty pear motif on a bright blue background. Funky Giraffe Bandana Bibs

The great thing about Funky Giraffe bibs is that behind the vibrant designs is a very soft, fleecy material; BB has really sensitive skin, just like her big sister and even the slightest bit of friction can leave her skin red and irritated, but she’s able to wear the bandana bibs without any bother. They also come with two sets of poppers which mean that the bibs grow with your baby and will last for pretty much the entire time they need a bib.

BB is a terrible dribbler when she’s teething and ordinary bibs just aren’t sufficient to soak up her spit AND keep her skin dry at the same time, but the Funky Giraffe bibs did an admirable job of wicking away the moisture while keeping it well away from her skin, which I guess is the beauty of the double thickness of the bandanas.

Obviously, if you’re anything like me then the real million-dollar question is ‘How do they wash up?’. There’s little more frustrating than buying a gorgeous baby item made from highly patterned material, only for it to go dull and discoloured, or stained, after being washed. Never fear though; the Funky Giraffe bibs actually seem to get better after a few washes because they soften and become even more comfortable for baby. They also seem to repel stains (possibly due to the printed fabric), which means that they wash up brilliantly, even if you use them during messy mealtimes.

There are some excellent deals to be had on the Funky Giraffe site. Bibs actually get cheaper, the greater quantity that you buy and there are special offers available which mean that you can get your hands on a bundle of bibs which work out at just £1.50 each – bargain! Amazingly enough, Funky Giraffe bibs are also available in Australia, so if you’re one of our lovely antipodean readers, head over to the Funky Giraffe Australia site for some beautiful prints and excellent bargains.

Are you a fan of Funky Giraffe bibs? Are you tempted to try them after reading this? Leave me a comment below.