Timeless Toy Story with Thinkway Toys

toy story

The Toy Story films are so dearly loved in our household. Not only do the children love them, but they’re films that I, as an adult, could happily sit and watch over and over again!

I remember when we went to see Toy Story 3 at the cinema….  I had the twins but they were babies at the time, so we took my Teen, who would’ve been 11 and my Girl who was 5. Can you believe that was way back in 2010 when it was released? It doesn’t seem that long ago at all…. but I literally cried my eyes out at the end. That part when the toys all hold hands in the furnace, accepting their fate, then right at the end when Andy takes the toys to the little girl’s house and drives off…. all grown up and going to college! It really got me!

That scene has even more meaning to me now, with Teen being 18 and all grown up himself. I can’t watch it without becoming incredibly emotional.

Teen has grown up with Toy Story you see. The first one was released in 1995, to critical acclaim. I remember the hype as it was the first feature length computer animated film ever made. At the time I didn’t have children but a few years later my friend lent me the video (ha remember them?!) to watch with Teen when he was a toddler and I was just blown away by it…. everything about it was utterly brilliant. The fantastic storyline, the life like, amazing animation and the fantastically witty script.

My little baby boy was immediately hooked!

My Girl loves all 3 of the Toy Story films too, as do my twins now, and we’ve watched the original, plus the subsequent ones, repeatedly. We never, EVER tire of them…. each one as good as the last… they really are timeless!

This week, we were sent a very special parcel from B&M Stores who have collaborated with Thinkway Toys, producers of some of the best Disney toys, as they thought it would be lovely to send us some goodies to enjoy a family movie night together, watching the original Toy Story movie!

Our parcel included two of Thinkway Toys’ best loved Characters…. Buzz Lightyear and Woody… my Twins were overjoyed!

woody and buzz lightyear toys from thinkwat toys

Thinkway Toys is a Canadian-based company responsible for creating, producing and distributing creative and innovative high quality toys. They’ve produced toys for companies including Disney, Pixar, Universal and Warner Brothers since the early nineties. Licensed properties include the Toy Story films, WALL-E, Monsters, Inc., A Bug’s Life, The Incredibles, Cars 2, Despicable Me 2, Minions, Wreck-it Ralph, Planes, Spider-Man, The Avengers, The Dark Knight, and the Star Wars saga.

Our parcel also included the Toy Story DVD, a lovely cosy blanket and a brilliant ‘movie night’ snack box!

B and M stores movie night

I’m not sure we’ve ever owned the original Toy Story film on DVD so it was great to receive this! The kids couldn’t wait to watch it. All my children, including Teen, headed up to my bedroom to watch and the twins snuggled up under the lovely, soft blanket which costs only £9.99 at B&M Stores… such a bargain!

cosy blanket toy story

We grabbed the Butterkist Movie Night snackbox which included 2 bags of popcorn and a fantastic selection of sweeties and they all fought over who had what, in a nice way of course! But there’s loads to choose from so they were all happy with what they got. I think this is a great idea for a product and the children got really excited by it!

It was great watching the Toy Story film… it really is such a classic. We know all the words and it’s such a nice easy watch! I can’t imagine there being anyone in existence that hasn’t seen the original at some point… but if you haven’t, you really must!

Thinkway Toys produce some amazing toys….. I actually have to admit to having the original Buzz Lightyear and Woody that belonged to Teen when he was a little boy. We also have Jesse, who joined the cast in Toy Story 2… she belongs to my daughter!

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They are brilliantly robust toys and certainly built to last but as you can imagine, they are a little old now (we must’ve had them around 15 years) so having these brand spanking new Buzz and Woody’s arrive has been wonderful!

We haven’t sat down and watched a film all together for a long time so a huge thank you to B&M Stores for putting together this lovely, thoughtful parcel for us. It’s important to make time as a family and having the little treats to go with watching a film makes it feel like a proper event!

There is a brand new Toy Story movie in production… Toy Story 4…. which will be released in the summer of 2019! How ridiculously exciting? Can’t wait. So this parcel really is getting us in the mood already for that…. I’m sure come 2019 there will be huge Toy Story mania across the globe as everyone rushes out to see the next instalment!

It’s a long way off yet but…. in the meantime… I’m hosting a Twitter Party, along with a few other Bloggers, next Tuesday, 27th June 1-2pm… where we will be talking about all things Toys! We would love you to join in with us if you can… using the hashtag #imathinkingtoy and there will be B&M vouchers up for grabs too.. so keep your eyes out for that!

ToyStoryMPU

Collaborative post

Starting my Anti-Ageing Skincare Journey

I’m always on the lookout for new lotions and potions to help make my skin look more youthful. But are there any moisturisers out there that actually perform miracles?

No.

So at the moment I’m using my basic skincare favourites… usually swapping around with products that I’ll buy in Superdrug or Boots, but keeping to similar price points. I’m not splurging too much because I’m just skeptical that the high end, mega expensive products will pretty much do the same job as my cheaper brands.

I’ve researched this topic loads, I’ve exhausted all angles to be honest, and there’s nothing that points me to a particular brand or product that is going to give me the supersonic results I crave. Yes, some products receive better reviews than others but am I prepared to pay over £50 for a moisturiser (I looked at one yesterday for £80!) that hasn’t really got any additional ingredients in than something I can purchase for £25… or less even! Yes they may have certain ingredients that feel lovely on your skin and if that’s what you’re after, then by all means, splash the cash! But I want ingredients that are proven to make a difference! Plus, all the websites, blogs, magazines I read have differing views on what’s considered to be the ‘best’ product!

The most important thing I’ve learned is that it’s all about personal preference. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. Also, we all have different problem areas we want to target on our skin, so one product won’t fit all!

For me, it’s sagging skin (lovely) and wrinkles. I’m in my early forties and my skin has been relatively good so far, but I want to start buying products now that are going to seriously target those two areas.

That means I need some of the important ingredients in my products like Peptides and AHA’s, which boost collagen (the main substance that keeps the elasticity in the skin), Hyaluronic Acid for moisurisation, Vitamins and Antioxidents and, for morning moisturisers, an SPF. I do already look for these and try and ensure my creams have at least some of these in.

The really big gun though that some beauty experts rave about is Retinoid.

Retinoid is derived from Retin-A… a chemical that’s used in creams to treat acne and other skin disorders. Retin-A is so potent that it can only be acquired from a doctor, on prescription. It’s use in mainstream products hasn’t been allowed so far, due to certain side effects like skin peeling and sensitivity to sunlight. But Retinol is a very watered down alternative and is becoming a popular ingredient in moisurisers. It’s supposed to be the best way to boost collagen. The difference between this ingredient and others, is that it has been proven to be able to penetrate the skin deeper, rather than just the surface.

While Retinol isn’t powerful enough to give dramatic results, for me I think it’s worth giving it a try in this diluted form to see how it goes. It does need to be used with caution and won’t be suitable for everyone but I’d like to climatise my skin to it with the intention of increasing the strength later on.

With that in mind, I’ve purchased this night cream….

retinol cream

I spent quite some time in Boots recently, checking out products with Retinol in and found this one.. the Super Facialist Retinol+ Night Cream. It’s a brand I’ve never heard of before… not sure whether that’s a good or a bad thing…. but I compared a couple of similar products and this one seemed to get straight to the point and with it having the cheaper price tag (£13), I was swayed!

The main active ingredient is the Retinol. It doesn’t say how much is in there, probably not much, but that’s fine. It says to use every third night initially then if your skin doesn’t have an adverse reaction, you can build up to using every night. I must stress that Retinol does make the skin sensitive to sunlight so it’s very important that you use a daytime moisturiser with a high SPF, or a separate sunscreen altogether.

I’ve only used this a couple of times so far and my skin seems to be ok with it at the moment.

There are more anti-ageing products I’ve got my eye on and want to try, but I don’t want to introduce them all at once. I will try one new one at a time so that if my skin flares up, I will know what’s caused it. I don’t normally use an eye cream so this is definitely the next thing I want to buy, along with some skin soothing oils that seem to be a new trend right now.

I would also like to try some of the Philosophy at home treatments like this one….

philosphy microdelivery peel

I’m getting serious about my skin now, as it’s only going to get worse if I don’t take action and I’m curious to find out if I can make a real difference just by having a really good skincare regime. As well as eating healthily and drinking lots of water obviously!

I’ll update in a couple of weeks!

The Wind in the Willows at The Palladium

As you all know, we love the theatre and I’ve just received an exciting invitation to see the brand new, much anticipated, West End musical, The Wind in the Willows, which opens on 29th June! I’m so excited!

I’ve been hearing about the show for over a year and thought it definitely sounded like a must see so I can’t wait to see it on opening night and tell you all about it!

There’s some well known faces taking on the main roles…

the wind in the willows london palladium theatre

the wind in the willows london palladium theatre

the wind in the willows london palladium theatre

the wind in the willows london palladium theatre

Produced by Jamie Hendry and based on Kenneth Grahame’s treasured novel which has captivated generations of readers for over a century, THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS has been adapted for the stage by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and Olivier Award-winning composer and lyricist duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. This riotous comedy follows the impulsive Mr Toad whose insatiable need for speed lands him in serious trouble. With his beloved home under threat from the notorious Chief Weasel and his gang of sinister Wild Wooders, Toad must attempt a daring escape leading to a series of misadventures and a heroic battle to recapture Toad Hall.

Featuring eye-poppingly beautiful design, exuberant choreography and a gloriously British score, The Wind in the Willows brings an explosion of anarchy, humour and heart to the famous London Palladium!

the wind in the willows london palladium

the wind in the willows london palladium

I remember The Wind in the Willows as a child and I just know it will be great as a lavish West End musical… I’m taking my daughter with me to see it and we both can’t wait!

First Preview: Friday 16 June 2017.
Opening Performance: Thursday 29 June 2017.
Booking Until: Saturday 9 September 2017
Performance schedule: Monday at 7pm Tuesday – Saturday at 7:30pm Tuesday & Saturday at 2:30pm
Tickets from: £15 *NO BOOKING FEES*
Kids Go Free: Subject to availability.

Visit The Wind in the Willows website to find out more and book tickets!

Camp Bestival Ambassador 2017

camp bestival ambassador

I am so excited to be chosen as a Camp Bestival Ambassdor this year again!

Our time at Camp Bestival last year was the absolute highlight of our year and my children haven’t stopped talking about it since. That’s how you know you’ve created some of the best lifelong special memories for your children, when they go over their experience of it time and time again.

It’s fair to say we can’t wait to head back there this year and we are counting down the days.

The magical, amazing festival for families that is Camp Bestival at Lulworth Cove in Dorset, really does have something for everyone.. amazing live acts, brilliant music, comedy, crafts, sport, circus, funfair, bars, food and so much more! I defy anyone to not LOVE it as much as we did!

It’s the perfect place for novice campers too as all your neighbours on the camping site are families and everyone helps each other out. Everyone is super friendly and just so happy… enjoying these few days at the start of the Summer holidays  which really does kick the summer off perfectly!

camp bestival 2016

But you don’t have to take your own tent if you don’t want to! There are so many different options available to you if you don’t fancy pitching up yourself! There’s the pre-pitched site….. normal tents but are already pitched for you to step right into. There’s a variety of funky tents to hire like the Bells and Yurts, fromt he basic to the luxurious. There’s the wooden Pod’s and the Cloudhouses! The choice is extensive so they can be sure to have the perfect sleeping options for you. There’s even a pop up Hotel this year! So pop over (get it) to the Camp Bestival website where you can see for yourself the choices on offer!

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Being at a Festival with the kids is a wonderful feeling for them and for you. We stayed up late, donned the glitter, danced in a field at the main stage while listening to some amazing music! It’s a surreal experience to do this with kids but one that will stay with you forever!

The lineup this year includes acts such as Mark Ronson, T’Pau, Madness, Leftfield, All Saints, Anne Marie, Lightning Seeds and many more. That’s just the main stage. There are literally hundreds of other acts and attractions to see, in fact… you’ll be stumped for choice as to where you want to to be as you’ll certainly want to be in two places at the same time!

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Being with great friends was, for me, the best thing! Myself and my best blogging buddies, Ruth from Rocknrollerbaby and Katy from Modern Mummy, left the men at home, pitched our tents together and had a blast all weekend while our kids ran riot!

 

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There’s only two months to go till Camp Bestival so you’ve still got time to book those tickets! I cannot recommend it highly enough…. everyone that goes always goes back… this will be my friend Ruth’s fourth year and Katy’s fifth….. if that doesn’t tell you how awesome it is then I don’t know what will!

This will be our second year and we really can’t wait!

Hope to see you there ;)

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WIN a Deluxe Gourmet Escape Smartbox with BuyaGift

Do you love a weekend away?

Who doesn’t? I really must make the effort to do it more often as it’s such a treat. Just escaping for the night and getting away from the everyday can do absolute wonders for your wellbeing. It can be expensive though, admittedly, but the vast selection of breaks offered at Buyagift.com are so reasonably priced, that you really have no excuse!

Buyagift.com is the leading provider of gift experiences in the UK and with over 5,000 options to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect gift for either yourself (go on treat yourself) or for someone special! Buyagift.com provide something for everyone, including once in a lifetime experiences such as bungee jumping and skydiving, adrenaline fuelled activities such as driving supercars and flying, to more relaxing experiences such as spa days, hotel breaks and gourmet meals.

I have teamed up with the lovely people at Buyagift to bring you a fantastic competition!

buyagift competition

You can win this Deluxe Gourmet Escape which is the perfect treat for you and your loved one thanks to a winning combination of 4-Star hotels, UK and Europe wide locations and decadent cuisine. Whatever location you choose you’ll be staying in a luxurious venue where you will be treated to a delicious three course dinner to excite your taste buds and satisfy your cravings.

buyagift competition

To top off your deluxe experience you can enjoy a wonderful breakfast the morning after your stay. You could take things easy and relax with a night on the Norfolk coast or enjoy a little more excitement and head for the bright lights of Newcastle, the choice is yours!

buyagift competition hotels

How wonderful does that sound? To be in with a chance of winning, please enter via the Gleam widget below and make sure you enter with as many options as you can to be in with a better chance! Competition closes on 20th June 2017 – Best of Luck!

buyagift

Mummy Endeavours – Win a Deluxe Gourmet Escape with Buyagift

A Fantastic London Day Out with AttractionTix

Living so close to London we visit frequently.

I love it!

I never cease to be amazed at the beauty of the whole City. No matter how many times I walk along the Thames or drive past the Houses of Parliament, or scurry along the little side streets in the West End…. it can still take my breath away. There’s something truly magical at every turn.

I’ve visited many of London’s attractions too but I don’t think I take time out to do this enough, so when AttractionTix got in touch recently to ask if we wanted a day out visiting some… of course we jumped at the chance!

They were offering an amazing day out for us by the South Bank. AttraxtionTix supply tickets for the best attractions, theme parks and tours all over the world and offer UK exclusive packages that you can’t get at the attractions themselves! They will also offer in-depth guides and essential information that will help you to perfect your holiday plans, with a choice in how you pay and how you’ll receive your tickets. They also have a UK call centre, which is always helpful!

First up, a visit to Sealife to check out the brand new Ocean Invaders Jellyfish experience! We were so excited about this. My younger three children have never been can you believe?

Sealife london ocean invaders jellyfish

The Jellyfish area is a brand new part of the Sealife attraction and is visually stunning! It’s a little bit dark like being under the water I guess, and lit up beautifully with gorgeous colours, showing off the pretty Jellyfish.

Sealife london ocean invaders jellyfish

Sealife london ocean invaders jellyfish

There are different zones as you wander around the Jellyfish experience, which is the largest in the UK here at Sealife London. You can learn all about their life cycles and the different types… the good ones and the bad ones! Did you know they’re older than any of our ancient reptiles?

There’s also lots of interactive areas, as you would expect at Sealife.

Sealife london ocean invaders jellyfish

Sealife london ocean invaders jellyfish

My children loved this Jellyfish game played out on the giant screen! There’s lots of hands on buttons to play with and holes to poke their hands in… always a big hit with kids, and simply gorgeous tanks of these truly beautiful creatures bobbing around!

The ocean Invaders Jellyfish exhibition is fascinating and a wonderful treat for all the family.

Sealife has so much more to offer too…. even though you could spend hours gazing at the Jellyfish.. we loved the huge tanks with the sharks and giant turtles in…

sharks sealife

…as well as the colder, icy area where there are lots of cute penguins. This was a very popular area and very busy… lots of eager children with faces pressed up against the glass to watch the penguins waddling around or swimming in the water! There are many feeding times throughout the day at Sealife for a number of the creatures so be sure to catch those.

sealife london penguins

We could’ve stayed in Sealife all day. We arrived when it first opened as we were treated to a special Bloggers Breakfast, but I think this is probably the best time to arrive because it was quiet. It started to get very busy as the morning wore on.

After Sealife, we headed out to lunch before meeting back up for a River Cruise! We joined the London Eye River Cruises for a gorgeous, relaxing journey up and down the Thames, taking in the best views in town!

river cruise the thames

A River Cruise is really a great way to see the sights! Not only is it incredibly relaxing and fun, but also very informative. There’s a live, commentary along the way that’s interesting and at times, very funny! It’s also inexpensive from as little as £11 for an adult.

Last but not least, we headed to Shreks Adventure! This is something we’ve wanted to do for ages. Sadly no photo’s were allowed to be taken but I can assure you it’s very good fun!

I was a little apprehensive as it says the recommended age is 6yrs old as may not be suitable for younger or sensitive children. My twins’ are 7 but they are very sensitive so I wasn’t sure they would like it. They don’t really like the element of surprise and Shreks Adventure had this in abundance!

The tour itself takes you on a journey through Shreks world, with real life actors taking on some of the famous roles from the films. There’s a 4D wrap around cinema screen which looked amazing, my daughter said it was, but my twins didn’t want to go in that so they were taken round the back to watch the short film on a normal TV. Then the adventure jumped from room to room, with some of the eager children being chosen to carry out tasks, which they loved!

There are some dark rooms and jumps and bangs along the way, but my twins settled into it and by the end they were really enjoying themselves!

Now they know what to expect, I think we will have to visit again to get the most out of it!

At the end there were a series of zones dedicated to some of the other famous Dreamworks animations!

shreks adventure

We had such a fun filled day out… made even more great by the wonderful company we were in. The lovely Emily from Family Four Fun and Emma from The Joy of Five – both with their families, joined us for all the action! My feet were literally dropping off by the end and the kids were suitably shattered, falling asleep on the train home!

Booking a day like this through AttracitonTix is definitely the best way to do it because you have all your tickets before hand, which gives you piece of mind. No worries about being turned away because the attraction has sold out for the day! It also means you can combine any attractions you like to tailor your day to suit your personal tastes!

I love making memories like this for my children. It’s days like these that really stick in their minds forever, to look back on with a huge smile!

Disclaimer: We were given complimentary tickets to review the attractions here, but all opinions are honest and words my own.

Emirates Childrens Book Launch

We were recently invited to the Emirates Aviation Experience in Greenwich, to celebrate the launch of the their new book for children, Monkey on a Plane. The invitation also included a wander round the Emirates Experience and a trip on the cable cars so we were very excited about this!

Hosted by the book’s award-winning children’s author and illustrator duo, Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, the morning promised to be a fun filled event with exciting activities.

emirates children book monkey on a plane

On arrival to the Emirates Aviation Experience we were treated to some continental breakfast before heading off to hear all about the book! Emirates has launched its first ever children’s book, Monkey on a Plane! which is available now for families to download and read from the Emirates Flight Time Stories website.

It was released on World Book Day as part of the Emirates Flight Time Stories programme, which encourages families to get creative and take inspiration from their holidays, and aims to get people excited about travelling during their story time.

We were lucky enough to have the book read to us by the author and illustrator, Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre.

emirates storybook for children

The children were each given a copy of the book and they all followed along with the story with enthusiasm and interest. It was a big hit! Monkey on a Plane is a lovely tale about Enrico the Monkey, who is bored of living in the forest so packs a suitcase to board a plane and embark on adventures all over the world! The illustrations are beautifully bright, fun and colourful!

Philip and Sarah took inspiration for the book from a story written by Maddison Penney, aged four from Dorset, who last year won the opportunity for her idea to be created into a book.

As well as the reading, our children also took part in a fun drawing session, whereby Sarah did a master class with step by step instructions on how to create lead character from the book, Enrico the Monkey. Us parents joined in with this too which was brilliant fun!

Lots more drawing and colouring in happened and everyone got involved! The children received a fab goodie bag to take home with a cute travel cuddly toy companion, complete with blanket and a copy of the book, which was duly signed by the ever so lovely Philip and Sarah!

emirates flight time story

We were then free to explore the Emirates Aviation Experience which was a real treat. I didn’t actually know this was here, even though I’ve been on the amazing cable cars right next door to it! When I heard we would be coming to this event here and would be able to look around, I really didn’t know what to expect. A museum about planes? Well I thought my twin boys might like it but I wasn’t so sure about myself.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised! It’s an amazing place! Wonderfully high tech and bright inside with interactive aviation displays and life-size aircraft models! It was full of hands on stuff for the kids to mess around with. It’s not very big but we spent rather a long time here…. the children loved it!

From sitting in seats to experience the feel of travelling in an Emirates Aeroplane…..

Emirates aviation experience

… and checking out the amazing video wall displaying an A380 aircraft turnaround and touch screen game! My boys spent literally ages at this part….

emirates aviation experience

…..To playing in this model cockpit. This was fabulous… who wouldn’t want to mess around in here? There were even captains hats to don too but I didn’t manage to get a photo with my boys wearing them!

There’s even a real life Flight Simulator here which can be booked in advance. It’s not suitable for children under the age of 9 but my older teenager would love it so we are going to come back with him next time!

After the event, we were able to visit the Emirates Air Line cable car, to enjoy new views of London with a trip over the Thames. We have done this before and it’s a great experience. Flying over the river, seeing the magnificent Millenium Dome and the Royal Dockyards…. it’s incredibly cheap at just over £3 a ticket and a real novelty thing to do!

Emirates cable cars

We had a great time visiting the Emirates attractions and hearing all about the lovely Monkey on Plane book.

The beautifully illustrated book is also designed to encourage young children to use their own imagination through creative writing and drawing tasks. This includes challenges and tasks for them to complete including dedicated space for them to draw their own monkey and write their own travel-inspired story.

To find out more about Emirates Flight Time Stories, please visit: https://www.emiratesflighttimestories.com/.

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