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Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy - New Release!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Last month Isla and I were lucky enough to be guests at Disney HQ in London to see a pre-screening of Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy. It was to be a secret for a while as the film wasn't 100% complete, but not in any way that we could possibly tell, and it meant that we were the first in the UK to see it. What a treat!

We went along with one of my friends and her little girl, another Tinker Bell fan, and they had fun in the foyer before we went in the special cinema. There was a pirate balloon modeller making all manor of pirate and fairy themed balloons. Naturally Isla chose something else, a dog! The girls also had their photo taken in front a green screen and then came away with a great photo of themselves with Zarina, the main character in this new film. 

This new film centres around Zarina, a dust-keeper fairy, who after her frustration at not being allowed to experiment with pixie dust, steals Pixie Hollow's all-important Blue Pixie Dust, and flies away to join forces with the pirates of Skull Rock. Of course Tinker Bell and her fairy friends decide to pursue Zarina and the pirates to try and get the pixie dust back. Along the way there are twists and turns. Zarina uses the pixie dust to change all the fairies respective talents, something they have to get used to quickly or their mission will fail. They also have to use their magic to get around the dastardly pirates! 

What did we think of the film?

We all loved it, mums included. It's a real action packed adventure. The inclusion of pirates in this one really gave a feel for Tinker Bell's roots in Peter Pan. The usual themes of friendship and loyalty feature as they do in all the Tinker Bell series so far, which I love, as it gives a bit of moral fibre. There are some great funny moments as well, Rosetta being the fairy that makes Isla and I laugh the most with her preciousness over the way she looks and her reaction to when her talent is switched and she becomes an animal fairy. In Zarina, we loved seeing a fairy who had a bit of a wild side for a change and seeing how the fairies band together to overcome adversity reminded me a lot of The Secret of the Wings. 

The film is released this coming Friday, and we think this is a must see for all Tinker Bell and fairy fans. Here's a taster:

For more Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy information check out the Official Website
or follow Disney on Twitter: @Disney_UK

We were invited to this screening free of charge.

Trying out the Britax KidFix XP SICT Car Seat - Review

Monday, 6 January 2014
Ever since we reviewed the Britax B-Agile 3 I've been thoroughly impressed with Britax. I feel like they are at the forefront of innovation and safety when it comes to travel products for children. Not only are their products safety conscious they are also design conscious. I didn't think twice about accepting the Britax Kidfix XP SICT Car Seat and as Noah was getting too big for his car seat the timing was good. Now I know that you'll all think hold on a minute, Noah is only 2 years old and typically this seat is for 4 - 12 year olds/ children who weigh 15 - 36kg but he is the size, and weight at 19kg of a lot of 4 year olds! Big boy I know! So he fits perfectly in this seat and it isn't any the less safe for him being younger, it is the child's weight that you should consider most when changing up to new Group 2/3 car seats.

It's a forward facing seat and comes in black fabric and has washable covers - which is a good thing when your kids like to snack on longer journeys! But far more important than what it looks like is how it performs and this is where I was really impressed. 

It has advanced side impact cushion technology (SICT) which helps to protect children in the event of a side on collision. On each side of the seat there are two round white disks that you can unscrew. You unscrew the disk closest to the window in order to give more side impact protection. Then the other nifty thing is the XP chest pad that diverts 30% more crash energy away from the child's chest compared to a normal seatbelt. 

The seat uses our car's ISOFIX connections so it means that the seat is fixed firmly in place and doesn't slip about (unlike Isla's seat that we really need to replace!). The seat uses the existing back seat belt in the car, so no more 5 point harness for Noah (see my point about that below). Everything is geared towards total safety and touch wood we never have a serious accident but if we do I know this seat will keep Noah the safest possible.

One thing I will mention, just for the purposes of people who have rather large 2 year olds like I do - mentally they don't quite understand the need to not 'pop' the seat belt, which they are able to do when they use the back seat belts that come with the car. This happened on a couple of occasions. For us this actually happened when Noah was having a tantrum and this was always before we'd started the journey. My way to deal with it was simply to let him finish the tantrum (imagine a bucking bronco in the back of the car), calm down (him and me) and then belt up and get on the way. Thankfully tantrums are few and far between now and he understands the need to be belted up - "I won't undo my seatbelt Mummy" said on many occasions when getting in the car! 

You can find more information on the product here: http://www.britax.co.uk/car-seats/car-seats/kidfix-xp-sict

We were sent this car seat for purposes of review. All opinons are my own.

Giving Extra to Someone Special...

Monday, 30 December 2013
Illness. It's taken a bit of a hold on my family recently. I wish it would bugger off. It's not welcome. Especially at a time of year when everyone should be together as a family and celebrating. For the first time in a long time I spent Christmas day without 2 very important members of my family as it just wasn't going to be practical or comfortable for them to travel to join everyone due to ill health. The last time I didn't see them on Christmas day was when I was in my twenties and I went off to Thailand on holiday - that was my choice. As a family on Christmas day there is usually a houseful. This was still the case but I thoroughly missed those who couldn't make it. I made sure that I posted photos to Facebook so they could see the day and feel part of it, but it's not the same.

When I was asked if I wanted to take part in the 'Give Extra to Someone Special' campaign I knew that I would choose one close relative to be the recipient of gifts that would be useful to her for her upcoming hospital stay and operation. This lady is very special to me and has always been there for me, all through childhood and is still there for me now when I have children. I bought some luxury toiletries in a new wash bag and a 'hottie'. The wash bag and toiletries can be taken to hospital and I thought the hottie would be useful for when she comes out of hospital and needs to feel cosy and warm. 

I made a surprise visit to give the gifts and they were received well. I just wish I could give the gift of health. If it was within my power that's what I would do, give people a clean bill of health and have Christmas day with them all over again.

Thanks to Halifax for providing the opportunity for me to treat this special person in my family.

Skinted Vs Minted - Aldi Girls Fashion Shoes - Review

Monday, 16 December 2013
This year I got badgered by Isla for a pair of Lelli Kelly Shoes. I only gave in when I was able to get them in the sale for £32, which felt okay considering they usually retailed at £44! She loved those shoes as they had sparkle and she wore them to death until they were worn through. 

I do believe that Lelli Kelly's are overpriced and so when Aldi offered to send me a pair of their version of the most popular fashion shoe I was intrigued. We received them and I could tell the difference. They are clunkier, not quite as finely made, but the important test wasn't what I would think of them, it was what Isla made of them. And the verdict was a thumbs up! She loves the gems and beads they are decorated with. They are slightly too big for her, so they haven't had a wear yet but she is chomping at the bit to strut her stuff in them. We were sent the black version, which if she'd been give the choice I know she would have plumped for the pink - her favourite colour. For my part I actually like the fact they are black because they won't show all the dirt in the way her white Lelli Kelly's did! 

The shoes come in store on the 19th December, and are part of the Aldi Specialbuys range. So when they're gone, they're gone people! I fully intend to go to our local Aldi and try and get the pink pair too because when they only retail at £8.99 per pair you can afford to buy two pairs.

We were sent a pair of shoes in exchange for this review. All opinions are honest and our own.

My Favourite Festive App

Wednesday, 11 December 2013
My favourite festive app has to be the the 12 Days of Gifts from iTunes. I join in with it yearly without fail. It's so simple, every day from the 26th December to the 6th January iTunes give you the chance to download a free gift. You have 24 hours to claim the gift before it changes to a new one. Over these 12 days you get the opportunity to get free songs, apps, books, films and games. 

I still have songs and apps now that I downloaded from the 12 Days of Christmas from years back. They're still useful to me and that's what I love. The other thing I think is great is that you can decide daily if you want to download the freebie, if you don't like Coldplay you don't need to download a free copy of their latest song for example. In the 12 days there is something to interest everyone. Not everyone appreciates it but I say, "it's the thought that counts people!". 

Make sure you download 12 Days of Christmas in order to get a few nice freebies from iTunes. 

This is my entry into the Forever Family competition to win an iPad Air.

Bring Christmas home to the family with Sainsbury's film

 Every year Christmas TV seems to become more elaborate, more theatrical and more extravagant. Though in some cases this can lead to a Christmas overload, there’s something different about the recent Sainsbury’s Christmas film and it’s very quickly bringing the true meaning of Christmas back to families across the country.

At this time of the year, filling the family full of festive cheer is almost as important and filling them full of festive food. And luckily Sainsbury’s can help in both areas.

So if you’re just about to embark on your Christmas transformation, here’s how you can bring Christmas home to the family with Sainsbury’s Christmas in a Day film this year.

Get everyone together

For most of us, it’s our family and friends that can make or break Christmas so why not get things off to a positive start by getting everyone together to watch the epic Sainsbury’s Christmas ad.

After just one viewing your friends and family will be brimming with Christmas spirit and will be more than ready to get stuck in to the nitty-gritty of making the magic happen.

By David Dixon (Father Christmas at Albert Square) 

Remind them of the true meaning of Christmas

The warmth, charm and emotion of the Christmas in a Day film serves to remind all of us of the true meaning of Christmas.

And though the video does contain plenty of gift giving, the overriding message is about sharing these special moments with the people you love.

Even children seem to forget about material possessions as they rush to prepare the house for Santa’s arrival, carefully counting out carrots and cookies to ensure that the reindeer, and the man himself, are well fed and ready for action.

Be inspired

Apart from being a much-needed winter heart warmer, Christmas in a Day is a great source of inspiration for households up and down the country.

Seeing into other people’s living rooms and watching their Christmas celebrations is a great way to find new and interesting ideas for your own festive celebrations.

And if you’re struggling to decide what to buy your loved ones, the presents given in the film may give you some great gift ideas for all of the family.

Getting the look

Getting inspired is one thing, but getting that perfect Christmas look for your home is quite another. The best way to transform your home into one of the warm and cosy houses you see in the film is to hit the web.

On the Sainsbury’s website you’ll find loads of ideas for decorations and special touches that will add loads of character to your home. And if your children have a creative flair and need something to entertain them when school’s out, you can also find some fantastic festive craft projects that both you and your kids will enjoy for hours.

Use these special homemade decorations in the most important parts of your home like the living room and around the tree. If you’ve got a separate dining room, hold some of the decorations back so that you can go all our and transform the space when it comes to the big day.

These little homemade touches will not only look great in your home, making them will help to bring your friends and family together, giving you a chance to share your old memories and create new ones at this special time of year.

Though you’ve probably got your Christmas preparation down to a fine art, there’s no doubt that the Sainsbury’s Christmas in a Day film will help to re-emphasise the true meaning of Christmas and bring it home for your whole family.

This is a guest post.

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland at The Polka Theatre - Review

Sunday, 8 December 2013
Last weekend I took Isla, my best friend Soula and her son Samuel along to the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon to check out their new production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Soula is a busy mum like me but when I asked her if she'd write the review of the show, she obliged,as in another life she would have loved to write and with the little spare time she does have she wrote this wonderful piece for I Heart Motherhood! Over to you my lovely.

Having a best friend who runs a successful blog does have its occasional perks; so when she invited my son and I to go and see Alice in Wonderland with her at the Polka Theatre I thought I’d be a mad hatter to turn her down! 

I wasn’t even aware of the Polka Theatre (although later discussions revealed that I had indeed been there with my father as a child many years ago). The theatre is solely aimed at producing and presenting Children’s theatre and to my surprise has been there since 1979 (probably why I can’t remember going as a child)!   Samuel and Isla were born 3 months apart and the two of them are good friends, and their excitement as we walked to the theatre was palpable.  As we entered we gathered in the main foyer where the kids could play with the various toys scattered around, whilst we purchased some snacks for the performance  - from a reasonably priced bar which even served a decent cappuccino!  As we made our way to the main theatre we passed a lovely area filled to the brim with teddy bears, which the children can play with, and enjoyed the nostalgia generated by seeing the more collectible bears displayed in beautifully presented glass cabinets;  remember Super-Ted and Fozzie Bear from the Muppets anyone? Well this is where they are enjoying their retirement!

On to the show… Now I have to hold my hand up here and admit that I have never actually read the original book of Alice in Wonderland and have only seen the rose tinted Disney version – and even that was many years ago.  This meant that as the show began, I was trying to remember what I could about the Disney adaptation – and it ended up being quite different to what was actually portrayed!  The show opens with Alice and her sister stuck indoors on a cold snowy day. Alice is energetic, inquisitive and a total contrast to her older more restrained sister. They bicker and at this point I wasn’t really sure what happened as Alice calls her sister a ‘Pig’ and then suddenly she is falling into Wonderland.  If there was a reference to the rabbit hole I must have blinked and missed it because I remain still unsure of how she actually entered Wonderland!   

Alice’s indecision about whether she should drink the potion labelled ‘drink me’ had the audience laughing, and the way she moved her body to represent shrinking and growing, was clever enough that my 4 year old understood what was being portrayed.   The show goes on to accurately portray the chapters in the book (something I have learnt now having investigated the original story)  and Alice progresses through her journey in Wonderland meeting varied and interesting characters along the way.   The scene that introduces the duchess, her cook and the Cheshire cat is noisy and bewildering, with lots of shrieking and sneezing, and banging, amidst a smoky haze – and quite frankly is completely bizarre to those unfamiliar with the book.  

The fearsome Queen of hearts was played brilliantly and her frequent cries of ‘off with their head’ kept the audience amused before we observed the most entertaining game of croquet I’ve ever seen! As Alice’s journey through Wonderland comes to an end, and she herself almost becomes a victim of the queen’s ruthless rein, we breathe a sigh of relief when she is transported safely back to her home, just as she had left it – with head firmly attached to her body!

I thought the small team involved in the production do an amazing job – not only portraying all the main characters between them, but also managing all of the props and stage rotations.  The entire cast is played out by just 6 people, with some playing up to 5 characters each!  The costume changes were so quick it was hard to believe the same person had just been playing something else.  They were all great but of course I think it’s the Queen who steals the show.

Samuel enjoyed it although I think a lot of it went over his head (to be fair he is only 4 and the production is aimed at children aged 6 and over so he was probably a bit too young really).  That said, he and Isla were completely gripped throughout and both had a thoroughly good time. 

All in all I thought it was a clever production and well worth seeing. The Polka theatre in itself is a lovely venue and worth a visit even if you are not taking in a show – they even do children’s tea parties there which I imagine are a nice way to celebrate a birthday if you live in the local area. Thanks to Sharon for inviting Samuel & I to Alice in Wonderland and for introducing me to the Polka Theatre – I will be returning… and to make up for my ignorance I promise to also read the original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland  by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (more commonly known as Lewis Carroll)!

Thanks Soula for writing a brilliant review! All I have to add is that I thoroughly enjoyed it too and the only thing that Isla was aggrieved about was that Alice retained her head! When her head was on the block she groaned audibly, to which I asked her what was wrong and she sighed and said she thought she would see her head come off….not sure what to make of that, she's not usually such a lover of gore… 

Alice in Wonderland is on at The Polka Theatre until 15th February 2014 and tickets are available here and by calling the theatre on 020 8543 4888. If you're looking for any other shows the kids will love then you should also check out our review of another Polka Theatre show Gorilla.

Thanks to the Polka theatre for inviting us to see Alice in Wonderland. We received 4 tickets in exchange for this review. All opinions and views are our own.