Sunday, 23 July 2017

BIC Kids colouring products **REVIEW**

James loves to draw and so when we were recently asked if he would like to try out some of the KIDS range from BIC I leaped at the chance.

I have always found the packaging for BIC products to be bright and eye catching and this range is no different. The fun packaging caught James eye as soon as it arrived and the colours inside are exactly the same. The pens, pencils and crayons all offer a rainbow of bright vibrant colours within each pack.

I wondered how the colours would be reflected on paper and if they would offer up the same vibrant colours and we were not disappointed! The colours were just as bright on paper as they look in the pack and James and I both agreed they were really fun and easy to use. James said he loved how easy the pens were to colour in and that they didn't run out even when he used the pens on a big area.

I gave the crayons to Evelyn who has just turned 3 and they were ideal for her. The crayons are aimed at kids age 30 months + and are super easy to grip. They don't have paper around them like other crayons I have seen which was a bonus for Evelyn as it meant she didn't have to keep peeling away paper as she used them. I also loved that the crayons can be sharpened with a regular sharpener!

Here is a closer look at the BIC KIDS range -

BID KIDS Kid Couleur *12 pack*

The BIC KIDS Kid Couleur felt tip pens are durable and ultra washable pens with blocked tips. These felt tip pens are perfect for kids to explore their creativity and create vibrant bright drawings and colouring.

BIC KIDS Evolution Ecolutions colouring pencils *12 pack*

The BIC KIDS Evolution are ultra resistant, wood free colouring pencils that are ideal for every day use. They have a resistant chew proof lead and barrel making them highly durable.

BIC KIDS Plastidecor crayons *12 pack*

BIC KIDS colouring crayons are ideal for younger children and are easy to hold and grip. They have been recommended by teacher, they are easy to sharper and super resistant to breakage make them perfect for the younger child.

The whole range feel like great quality and out of all the colouring items we have these are now the first ones both kids reach for. Even I have been using some of these colours for my adult colouring in book and they are fab. The pencils are great for shading too.

If you have children aged between 5 and 11 who love drawing too Mumsnet currently have a competition where your child could win their art work on a billboard in your home town! Its simple to enter, just get your child to draw a picture of anything they want and they post a picture of it HERE in the Mumsnet forum. The competition is open until 6th August 2017 after which 10 winners will be chosen to win their art work on a bill board as well as a £50 BIC bundle. One lucky winner will also be chosen at random to win a £300 voucher!

Here is James entry he drew using the BIC KIDS range shown above. He used the crayons for the sunflower and then the pens and pencils for his dragon.

I would love to see your kids pictures too so please so pop and share them on the Tantrums To Smiles Facebook page (but make sure you add them to the Mumsnet forum linked above to enter the competition!)


“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product however I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. All opinions are my own”

Sunday, 16 July 2017

WWT Slimbridge - Dusty's Wildlife Rangers Event.

This summer WWT are giving you and your children the chance to become Wildlife Rangers!

A full day of discovery and adventure awaits families with a wide variety of Wildlife Ranger activities being held at our nine UK WWT centres including, wetland survival skills, ranger training, wildlife recording, tracking, pond exploring, safaris and lots more.

When you arrive to start your day your children will receive their very own log book. This is full of information and space to record all your exciting discoveries around the wetland centre as well as all the wildlife ranger activities available. To become a super ranger you will need to complete 6 out of the 8 listed activities. As you complere each activity you will receive a sticker in your log book, if you complete at least 6 you will receive a big "super ranger" sticker in the log book.

Dusty's wildlife rangers will be available at 9 WWT centres, take a look on the website to find you local wwt centre and take part.

We were invited along to our local WWT centre which is Slimbridge to try out the nature trail which is part of the wildlife ranger activities and we had lots of fun! The kids loved discovering nature and learning lots of new and fun facts about the nature around them. Our guide for the nature trail was fantastic, he was full of information and great at engaging the kids with them all listening to his every word, answering questions and wanting to know more. We stomped through the reeds, sniffed otter poo, discovered how the reed bed filters water and much more.  

Here are some photo's of our day -

If you want a break from walking or fancy exploring the waterways of Slimbridge a little closer why not jump in to a canoe and see the sights of Slimbridge just as the ducks and birds do. You can hire a Canoe for just £5 per adult (kids go free) with each canoe fitting 3 people in. There is a 1 hour time limit on these but that is plenty of time to explore (and after all that rowing you will be ready to return after an hour!). The views from the canoe really are beautiful and it gives a whole new perspective to WWT Slimbridge and all its wildlife.

Taking part in Dusty's Wildlife Rangers is included in the price of admission to WWT Slimbridge (or free if you are already a WWT member!) with only the canoe's costing extra. Its a fun packed day that would be perfect activity to do during the summer holidays. Kids are sure to leave with lots of new knowledge and facts having had lots of fun and probably quite tired. You get to keep the log book as a souvenir of the day and to look back at all the new things learnt and discoveries made.

Don't forget to also grab a bag of bird food/grain when you first arrive, the ducks here are always hungry and are definitely not shy when it comes to food. The kids always look feeding them when we visit and Evelyn will quite happily sit and let the ducks feed from her hands. At the moment there are lots of ducklings about too.

Dusty's Wildlife Rangers will be running between Saturday 22nd July and Sunday 3rd September so be sure to head down and become wildlife rangers!


**We were invited along to try out the nature trail and canoe's for free for the purpose of this review. However all words, opinions and images are my own.**

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Tomy - Paw Patrol Aquadoodle **REVIEW**

Evelyn loves to draw, colour and doodle but still hasn't quite mastered the art of doing this without also colouring in herself and her clothing!

So when Tomy recently offered us the chance to try out a Tomy Aquadoodle I thought we might be on to a winner, even more so when it arrived and it was Paw Patrol themed... Evelyn's favourite.

The Aquadoodle mat is a mess free alternative to drawing, it allows kids to be creative and draw without any of the mess pens or crayons can often make. Even better it doesn't waste paper as it only uses water so once dry leaves a blank canvas to start again!

Each Paw Patrol Aquadoodle mat comes with an easy to grip chunky "pen" and a roll along Chase truck. These are easy to use with the pen just twisting apart and the truck just needing a small dish or plate of water to roll him through. The mat also features colourful pictures of the familiar Paw Patrol characters around the edge of the mat.

Evelyn is loving her new Aquadoodle and its her go to thing now over the pens every time! She loves trying to find the Paw Patrol characters that arehidden within the mat, I this was a great touch (the characters are hidden until you go discover them with water). The drawings stay long enough for her to enjoy but equally the mat dries fairly quickly meaning she never has to wait long for a blank canvas to start her next doodle.

The Aquadoodle feels great quality and feels like it will really last which is always a quality I look for especially in kids toys!

The pen that comes with the set is really easy to use, to fill you simple twist the blue section off and fill with water and replace the top. We found the Chase truck a little more tricky to get going but once we had worked it out he printed lots of paw prints as he was rolled across the mat. We discovered the Chase truck actually needs to be socked in water on a plate and rolled back and forth a few times to make sure the pads on the bottom are all wet. I think it would be a nice idea to have the set come with a little dish or tray to use with Chase as we only had big plates. However this really didn't effect the use or the fun Evelyn had!

We really love this set! Its so much fun and mess free which is always a winner for me as a mum. It folds away tiny and neatly so easy to store when not in use. It dries quickly, I would say though to make sure its properly dry before tidying away to avoid any staining etc. The Paw Patrol Aquadodle is suitable for children aged 2 years + but I would say it can be used as soon as they are able to grasp a pen (the chunky style pen supplied makes it super easy to grip!). Even James who is 7 has enjoyed having a doodle.

The Tomy Paw Patrol Aquadoodle is currently available to purchase from Toys R Us, Argos and Amazon!


** We received the Tomy Aquadoodle for free for the purpose of this review. However all words, images and opinions are my own.**

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Puppy Surprise **REVIEW**

Like most kids her age Evelyn loves animals, the smaller and cuter the better but in reality she loves all animals. So when I recently received an email offering us the chance to review a Puppy Surprise toy I jumped at the chance.

I knew the puppy surprise would be something Evelyn would love caring for and might just be the solution to her constant asking for her own puppy (we can't have pets where we currently live).

I wasn't wrong! When the Puppy Surprise arrived the smile on her face was huge, she just wanted to get the puppy out of the box and hug it. She couldn't believe her luck when I told her there were actually baby puppies inside the mummy dogs tummy.

Puppy Surprise is a soft toy that includes a soft and huggable mummy dog with a surprise number of puppies in her tummy. Each puppy surprise dog has a surprise number of puppies inside ranging between 3 and 5 pups. The puppies could be boys or girls and there is sometimes even a runt of the litter (a smaller pup)!

Check out our short video clip of both James and Evelyn opening up the Puppy Surprise and discovering just how many puppy's were inside our puppy, we received Cali! -

The most fun element to these is of course the surprise element to them. The kids loved the fact they didn't know how many puppies the mummy had and they loved discovering them inside her tummy. I was a bit miffed that one of the puppies was already visible in the box and outside of the mum which I think took away part of the surprise, we already knew what the pups looked like etc. I think this bothered me more than the kids though!

One of our pups barked which was quite cute and Evelyn is particular loved this. Both the mummy dog and the puppies are soft bodied but have hard heads/faces which I think makes them a bit more durable and hard wearing, which is always good when kids are involved! The hair on the mummy dog is brushable something which Evelyn has loved doing, it would have been nice to have a little brush or comb inside the box for this but it didn't take away from the toy at all. Evelyn loved caring for her mummy dog and it gave us a great talking point to talk about how we would care for a dog or puppy and how we should look after them.

There are several cute touches to the puppy surprise which make it even cuter including the sparkling collars on both the mummy dog and the puppies and the touches of glitter throughout. The soft bodies are great for snuggling which is great news as Evelyn hasn't stopped wanting to cuddle her dogs.

If there were any negatives for me I would have like to have seen a little more detail in the pups, the faces seem really detailed but the bodies were lacking a little and seemed a bit plain. It would have been nice to have seen them a little more plump and dog like just like the mum. However that's more from an adult perspective and it certainly hasn't bothered Evelyn who is besotted with her new pup pals.

When not in use the puppies can be stored back inside the Velcro pouch that they originally came from on the underside of mums tummy. I thought this was a great idea as it meant they didn't get lost and it was handy to have somewhere to store the tiny pups when Evelyn wanted to bring them all out of the house with us.

We received a wave 5 pup however there is actually a new range of pups out now (wave 8!) with 4 new pups to collect (Eliza, Lexi, Chloe and Stacey). Or if you already have a puppy surprise did you know that you can buy refill packs for your existing puppy surprise? Each refill pack also has a surprise element too!

Is puppy surprise something you think would interest your kids too?


** We received a puppy surprise free of charge for the purpose of this review. All images, opinions and words are my own.**

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Literary Inspired Baby Names.

** This is a guest post from the lovely Jane over at Is That You Darling, the link to her blog is at the end of this post so if you have enjoyed reading please do pop over and check out more posts on her blog**

I don’t have babies, and I don’t know if I ever will. But that doesn’t stop me playing the ‘What would I name my babies game?’ from time to time.

People have lots of different reasons for choosing the names that they do for their children; sometimes it’s a family tradition, sometimes it’s after a loved one that is no longer with them. And sometimes it’s just because they love a name.

I’m a big reader, and so when I’m thinking about names that I love, I often think back on the books I have read, and the characters I have loved. With that in mind, here’s a few names that I love that are inspired by literature.

Darcy Somewhat obvious, maybe, but is there a more iconic character than Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice? I think Darcy is a lovely name for a girl, but I think it could work for a boy as well.

This is a fairly popular name, with John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, and Frank Lampard having daughters called Luna. As a Harry Potter fan, and a Luna Lovegood fan, I think it’s a beautiful name!

Inspired not by a character in a book, but by a poet – W.H. Auden, who is perhaps most famous for his poem Funeral Blues. A perfect name for a little girl or a little boy.

Bronte Another name inspired by a writer rather than a character, a baby girl called Bronte would honour the three sisters: Emily, Charlotte and Anne, famous for such novels as Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

This one would be a little awkward for me, as my oldest sister’s married surname is Sawyer! But I love it as a name for a girl or a boy. It is inspired, of course, by one of American literature’s most famous characters, Tom Sawyer.

Another Bronte-inspired name; Nelly is the narrator of Wuthering Heights, and is a lovely old fashioned name for a little girl.

Ada is a character in Cold Mountain, portrayed by Nicole Kidman in the Oscar-winning movie adaptation. It’s another old-fashioned name, the likes of which seem to be very popular right now!

Pip Would you be setting your son up for a childhood of teasing if you named him Pip? Possibly, but I think it’s ever so cute! Pip is a character from Great Expectations, though you could also go for Pippin from The Lord of the Rings!

OK, so as someone called Jane, it might be going a little far to call my baby girl Janie. But it’s a lovely version of Jane, don’t you think? It comes from a book called Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, a book I studied at university.

This is my all-time favourite name for a little boy; I can’t imagine anything cuter than a baby boy called Huck! It’s obviously inspired by The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but it also doesn’t hurt that there’s a West Wing connection (my favourite show of all time!).

Thanks to Jess for letting me guest post here at Tantrums to Smiles! I blog at Is That You Darling, and it’s mostly about books and general life stuff if you’d like to stop by!


Monday, 19 June 2017

Keeping kids cool in a heatwave

Since last week the temperatures have been rising with summer well and truly on its way! This weekend temperatures hit 30 degrees here in Bristol! It seems all across the country temperatures have been soaring and it can be unbearable when it gets too hot, especially for kids!

With that in mind I have joined up with some great bloggers to share some of our top tips for keeping kids cool in a heat wave -

Bedtime can be a real pain at the best of times but in the heat and bedtime becomes impossible. I really can't blame the kids for struggling to sleep in the heat as I do too but I have found that using ice packs can help a little. I use the ice packs you can buy for picnic bags etc (the thin blue ones) and freeze as many as I can during the day. I then place each one inside a sandwich bag and place them inside the bed about 45-60 minutes before the kids are going up to bed. The sandwich bags stop them from getting the sheets wet but it leaves the pillows and sheets lovely and cold when they get into bed, making it a little easier to settle.

Sophie from Sophie and Lily and Elizabeth from Where roots and wings entwine are both big fans of making ice lollies to keep their little ones cool. Sophie suggested using fruit to keep the ice lollies healthy which is a fab idea. Elizabeth also had a great idea of freezing breast milk and making them into little lollies if you are breastfeeding which is such a sweet idea.

Lianne from Anklebiters Adventures suggested using the water spray bottles filled with cold water and letting the kids spray themselves to keep cool. Which sounds like a great idea to me, James also likes the handheld fans you can buy which are handy especially in a hot car. I found these funky fans which combine the water spray bottle and a handheld fan in one in Argos, they look like they would do a great job at keeping you cool!

Vikki from Family Travel with Ellie suggested hanging a damp cloth a safe distance from the fan if you have one in the room, this ensures all the air circulated is nice and cool which definitely would help keep the room nice and cool.

Emma from Me and B make tea has a super fun suggestion of freezing toys into blocks ice, not only keeping them cool when handling the ice but keeping them entertained trying to break their toys out too. I love this idea and will definitely be giving it a try with James and Evelyn.

During the summer months my fridge is usually packed with more non edibles that food! Keeping things such as baby wipes, after sun, moisturisers, even t-shirts and shorts can make them really refreshing to use especially when its boiling outside. The kids love finding their cold pjs in the fridge to slip on before they for to bed!

I also love Donna from Bobsy's Mum suggestion of frozen Frubes! I best these taste delicious, would cool you down and very little mess as they are in the tubes! Will definitely be giving these a try.

Finally... you can't go wrong with a paddling pool! My son loves it when he comes home from a hot day at school and finds the paddling pool up in the garden ready for him to dive in to! It instantly cools him off and is lots of fun too, just don't forget the sun cream.

Do you have any top tips for keeping the kids (or even us grown ups) cool during these hot summer months and unbearable heat waves? I would love to hear them in the comments below!


Friday, 9 June 2017

Happy 3rd Birthday Evelyn!

Well this has come round quickly and hit me hard, how on earth can my baby girl be turning 3 today!?

I'm not going to say where has the time gone, I've felt every moment of it... heck we haven't even mastered bed time yet! But I have adored being able to spend every minute of my day with you Evelyn.

Seeing you smile for the first time, take your first steps and talk for the very first time. Now I'm about to watch you grow up (way to quickly for my liking) and head off to nursery, and I know your super excited because you want to be just like your brother. But I'm going to miss you just like I did James too.

I don't know whether its because you have your big brother to look up to but my gosh Evelyn you are determined. You know what you want, how your going to get and hell hath no fury on those who get in your way! Your head strong and beautiful and I love that you aren't afraid to show the world your bubbly diva like personality and always with a smile on your face.

When you came along you completed our family and we couldn't have been happier, you make us smile every single day even on the days I didn't think it was possible. Your cheeky and loud and a real mummy's girl but you have such a sensitive side too
You love cuddles and especially love it when we stroke your neck or back when you roll your eyes back and totally relax. You have your very special "blabley" (blanket for you and I) who you wouldn't be without, he's your comfort when your sad, sleepy or happy.

Evelyn I want to say Thank You. You have shown me what confidence looks like and allowed me to become stronger by learning from you. You have no fear just an amazing imagination, a want to learn and the desire to smile. I never want you to lose those things and I will do everything in my power to tell you every day to never change who you are, be strong, be determined, be you... even if you are a diva at times!

Happy Birthday baby girl, I love you to the moon and the stars!