Teksta Scorpion – A Review

The twins were very excited to receive the Teksta Scorpion. Such a cool toy they said!

It’s a wireless, interactive robotic toy and once it arrived they absolutely couldn’t wait to open and play with it.

teksta scorpian

It does require 6 batteries though, that we had to rummage round the house for… 4 AA’s and two AAA’s, so if you buy one for a Christmas present, make sure you remember to buy some! O wanted to have a go at putting the batteries in by himself, something he hasn’t done before but so eager was he to get the toy to work he wanted to move fast!

teksta scorpian

I was hoping it would be easy to use. I have a 16 year old and I remember him having the odd robotic toy just like this when he was young that we could never work out how to use properly. The remote controls never made them move the way they were supposed to and in the end, my boy would just get fed up and the robot would get thrown aside in favour of some other toy. Not what I wanted when I paid a small fortune for the things!

Thankfully, the Teksta Scorpion is as easy as pie to use.

teksta scorpian

The ‘remote’ comes in the form of a ‘watch’ type controller that ties around the wrist and once you have it switched on and aligned, the motion sensor allows you to move the Scorpion around with a flick of the wrist! Or you can simply hold it in your hand, which might work better for small children.

The green block it comes with is for the front pincers to ‘grab’, and even though it does pick this up easily, you do have to manually open the pincers first.

It moves around easily on all surfaces with it’s six little legs. One of them did keep coming off ours but it easily popped back on.

My twins absolutely love this and were pretty much fighting over the controller for the first half an hour until they settled down a bit! The good news is though that the Teksta Scorpion comes in two colours, Red, like ours, and also Bronze…. so we might just have to add the bronze one to the boys’ Christmas list because you can play up to 8 of these together all at one, in battle!

How cool is that? Definitely a must have toy for any boy!

The Teksta Scorpion retails at £39.99 and is out now in all good toy retailers.

teksta scorpian

We were sent the product in exchange for an honest review. All words and opinions are my own and honest.

PAN – A World Premiere

As events go. this one was pretty special!

We were invited along to the World Premiere (yes you read that correctly) of brand new Hugh Jackman film, PAN!

pen movie premiere

How exciting is that? I did wonder if it would be as amazing as it sounded. Last year we attended a premiere and it WAS fab, but we didn’t get to mingle with the celebrities really because they seemed to go through a different entrance onto the red carpet and the rest of us mere mortals went in later!

This one was very different!

As soon as we arrived in Leicester Square we got a sense of something very important happening. The whole of the ‘square’ itself had been cut off to the public (who had to walk a different way round) and it had been turned into what can only be described as a film set from the PAN movie itself!

PAN movie premiere

Once we had passed security and handed in our tickets, we walked through the gates and into the event. Instead of a red carpet, it was blue… to imitate the sea. There were film camera’s and press photographers everywhere, it was so exciting!

The star of the film, Hugh Jackman, who plays Blackbeard, was walking around casually chatting to TV interviewers and fans before heading up onto the main platform to be interviewed. He looked ever so dashing, I’m just a bit disappointed I didn’t manage to grab a selfie with him! Damn!

hugh jackman pan premiere

The whole blue carpet event was being streamed live by Warner Bros. The sets were so big and colourful, so much to take in…. but it gave us a glimpse into what the wonderful Neverland would look like in the film!

pan premiereMy daughter posing with some dodgy looking pirates!

pan premiereAnd here meeting her very own tooth fairy ;)

We also rubbed shoulders with the other stars of the film, including Cara Delevegne who plays 3 mermaids….cara delevingne

Cute as a button Levi Miller who plays Peter….  (apologies for poor photo quality here)

levi miller

Also Garrett Hudland who plays Hook and Rooney Mara who plays Tiger Lily. I was in my element walking around, soaking up the atmosphere…. but soon we were being ushered inside to take our seats ready for the Premiere.

pan movie premiere

So what’s the film like?

Well, first of all, it’s a prequel. It let’s us in on the early life of Peter Pan and takes us on a journey from his very humble beginnings in a London orphanage, to being whisked away on board a flying Jolly Rodger ship to Neverland! It’s here where he find out who he truly is.

I loved the imagination behind it. The film was heartwarming and felt truly magical the whole way through. It was fast paced with lots of action packed and dare devil moments. The special effects were amazing.

We loved it!

My mind was still somewhere in the original story for a while though trying to link everything together, but I didn’t need to.

You see, with this film, you really don’t need to know or remember the original because this could be a standalone story all of it’s own. There are nods of course to the famous Peter Pan story that we know and love, and most of the characters are there but the emphasis is on different ones. Tinkerbell for example only makes a fleeting visit and Tiger Lily takes more of lead role. Hook isn’t the Hook we’re all used to, it’s Blackbeard who’s the one we’re loving to hate here!

Little Levi Miller, who plays PAN was sooo cute. He was brilliant and appeared in almost every single scene bless him.

Hugh Jackman was hardly recognisable as Captain BlackBeard. He was fabulous and deliciously bad! (I just love Hugh).

I won’t give away the storyline as  I think it will spoil it for you, but I definitely think it could carry on further into a follow up…. I’d love to see more!

The movie is out on general release on 16th October… Make sure you go and see it, it’s a great film that the whole family can enjoy together.

We were very kindly offered complimentary tickets for the Premiere but I was under no obligation to write this review. All words and opinions my own.

#HappyReaders with Roald Dahl at McDonalds

All kids love a Happy Meal don’t they?

It always feels like a treat for them, and for a very reasonable price, the kids get fed and also get a new toy – bonus!

I cannot tell you how many McDonalds toys we’ve collected over the years… probably millions! We do keep a lot of them because the children do go back and play with them again and again. But I have to admit to throwing many away when the kids aren’t looking!

Somehow though, I don’t think I’ll be throwing away any of the new offerings about to hit Happy Meals from today!

McDonald’s UK is bringing the extraordinary world of Roald Dahl to life for millions of children through a landmark books partnership.

Over the next six weeks, 14 million books featuring extracts from Roald Dahl’s most popular stories will be distributed as part of McDonald’s Roald Dahl Happy Meals. Families will be able to discover the famous author’s magical universe of characters, from the BFG and his ‘human beans’, to mischievous George and his Marvellous Medicine.

The results of a major, cross-generational survey of more than 3,000 UK grandparents, kids and parents on books and reading, are being released to mark the start of a landmark partnership between McDonald’s Happy Readers, the National Literacy Trust, Penguin Random House Children’s UK and the Roald Dahl Literary Estate.

McDonalds Happy ReadersWe attended a special event at the weekend in McDonalds Charing Cross, London to launch the new #HappReaders Partnership. We received all the books that you can collect with the Happy Meals over the next 14 weeks!

There are eight specially created Roald Dahl books being featured in the Happy Meal. Each book contains extracts from two Roald Dahl books plus brand-new activities. 

  • Roald Dahl’s Extraordinary Friends (featuring The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me and The BFG)
  • Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Families – (featuring Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fox)
  • Roald Dahl’s Magical Mischief – (featuring George’s Marvellous Medicine and Matilda)
  • Roald Dahl’s Secret Plans – (featuring Esio Trot and The Twits)
  • Roald Dahl’s Curious Characters – (featuring The BFG and James and the Giant Peach)
  • Roald Dahl’s Beastly Creatures – (featuring The Witches and The Enormous Crocodile)
  • Roald Dahl’s Incredible Inventions – (featuring Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and George’s Marvellous Medicine)
  • Roald Dahl’s Clever Tricks – (featuring The Twits and Matilda)

mcdonalds happy readers
There are also three books available from £1 from WH Smith or Eason with the Happy Readers £1 book voucher:

  1. Spotty Powder and Other Splendiferous Secrets – featuring a secret chapter from the draft of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that was cut from the published book
  2. Roald Dahl’s Mischief and Mayhem – extracts from favourite Roald Dahl stories, with ideas for tricks and pranks inspired by them
  3. Spotty Powder and Other Splendiferous Secrets is also available as a free ebook via Kobo.

The event was super fun, we got to be involved with a special interactive story-telling experience.

happy readersPhoto credit: David Parry/PA Wire

The children were also given lots of activities to get involved with, including face painting, colouring in and making masks….

happy readers mcdonalds

As parents, we know how important it is to instill a love of reading into our children. I know how difficult this can be, especially with all day kids TV channels, tablets and games consoles. I sometimes have to force my children to pick up a book themselves, although they do absolutely love being read to. Any form of encouragement kids can get to read more these days, is an absolute godsend!

That’s why I’m super happy that McDonalds are adding these books to their childrens’ meals.

This isn’t he first time though. Since 2013 McDonald’s has distributed more than 22.8m books through its Happy Meals and Happy Readers programme.  McDonald’s Happy Readers campaign was created to put more books into the hands of families, with recent research from the National Literacy Trust showing that only half of children enjoy reading and almost one in seven don’t have a book of their own. This is shocking to me.

But even if your children ARE addicted to their tablets (as mine are), technology can help bring stories to life, through storytelling tools such as live sounds effects. So, in addition to the 14 million books, McDonald’s UK has developed a new, original companion app that will bring to life scenes straight from Roald Dahl’s imagination through sounds, colour and motion.

Available from Wednesday 23rd September, the Happy Readers Companion App immerses readers in the magical world of Roald Dahl with a selection of activities and voice activated sounds and animations! You can download the App for iOS and Android devices by searching Happy Studio!

We’ve already tried it and it’s lots of fun!

mcdonalds happy readers

The National Literacy Trust is a charity that transforms lives through literacy. They want to get more families reading because children who read in their own time do better at school and later in life.

Here are some of their top tips for reading with children:

  • Bring the story to life by using different voices for the characters. Try out a greedy, gravelly tone for the Enormous Crocodile or a wise and whispery voice for the grandmother.
  • Make your child the author! Stop at exciting moments in the story and ask your child to invent what happens next.
  • Make reading with your child a special time for you both every day.
  • Children of all ages love to hear stories read aloud. Don’t stop reading to your children just because they can read by themselves.
  • Let your child help choose the books that you’ll read together. If your child is excited by the subject, the story will hold their interest better.

Look out for the books the next time you order a Happy Meal and create your very own little #HappyReaders :)

Qixels – A Review

Now that Christmas is officially on it’s way (sorry!), the kids TV channels are packed with commercials advertising all kinds of new toys. One of which my children have noted has been the one for Qixels!


We’ve had one to review recently and the kids have really loved it!

When it comes to buying toys, I think all parents would prefer to buy something a bit educational or crafty, so Qixels seems to be a good choice. It can easily fit into the ‘crafty’ category.

I think the first and obvious thing that sprung to mind when I first saw the toy, was that it looks like the Hama/Aqua Beads toys, which are aimed at girls. Qixels is aimed at boys. There’s a nod towards the Minecraft game too I think, with the colour scheme and the the fact that the ‘beads’ are square. They look like computer pixels, hence the name and you can build your very own pixel world!

My daughter played happily with this game though, if not more than the boys, so I would say it’s definitely universal.

qixelsKids couldn’t wait to rip open the box

Qixels, by Character, are ‘the cubes that fuse with a blast of water. Add the tray and templates to your Turbo Dryer then add Qixles to build your design! Spray with water then press and spin to dry your designs super fast! Simply Make, spray, play – no heat, no glue’.


So what’s in the box?

This particular pack which is priced at around the £19.99 mark comes with the following…

  • Instruction Booklet
  • Storage Tray for the beads
  • 500 Qixels Cubes
  • 1 Bag Tag and Thread
  • 2 Stands & Display Bases
  • 2 Plug in Accessories
  • 4 Design Templates
  • 1 Water Sprayer Bottle
  • 1 Turbo Dryer

qixels toys

The templates are great, the designs are simple to follow and the fact that there aren’t too many colours means nothing is too complicated and young children can make a picture without any help!

qixels character toys boys

Once the design is complete, you add some water to the little bottle and spray the Qixels picture. This activates the special built in glue. Then, instead of having to wait for the glue to set (as you would with similar products), Qixels has a special spin dryer that dries the image in seconds!


 qixelsSome of the finished designs!

There are enough cubes to make all of the designs but I would’ve liked more in this set. They do seem to run out pretty fast. You can buy the cubes separately though, along with different design templates… so we have made a date to go and purchase some more very soon!

This is a really fun way to spend time for the kids. Both my twins and my daughter have gone back to it again and again to get creative. Even Teen couldn’t resist having a little go (he made the sword in the above photo!) ;)

qixels game character toys

Qixels was given a big thumbs up in our house… so if you’re considering buying it for a present, or your child puts it on their Christmas list, then I would fully recommend. It’s available to buy at all the usual toy outlets now.


#LondonGetsKinky with Kinky Boots

kinky boots london uk

Having attended stage school for years when I was younger, I practically lived and breathed musical theatre.

I could probably recite many a score from all the old musicals we did them so many times. Even now, being a busy Mum of 4 and after leaving that life behind me many years ago, I still get a huge buzz from being inside a theatre. There aren’t many shows that I see today that make me wish I was still performing though, but this new offering to hit London’s West End I really do wish I was in! Please someone offer me a part!

I feel very honoured to have been one of the first people to preview the brilliant Kinky Boots, which has it’s official premiere here in the UK at the Adelphi Theatre on September 15th!

I went with a friend and we were absolutely blown away! As were the rest of the audience. During the interval, every single person seemed to be on a high. And that’s exactly how this show makes you feel.

kinky boots london uk

So what’s it all about?

Well, Kinky Boots is brought to you by iconic Grammy and Tony Award winning Cyndi Lauper, who has written all the music and songs. The story is taken from a book written by Broadway legend and four time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein.

‘Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price (Killian Donnelly) is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola (Matt Henry), a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos’

This is a fast paced, funny, all singing, all dancing full on glamour fest! Big characters and big voices…. oh the voices – the singing is amazing! The contrast between the two main characters is key and very clever. Charlie comes across initially as very bland and it’s great getting to know him and follow him on his journey, (the solo he performs towards the end is incredible by the way), but this is what makes his unlikely friendship with drag Queen, Lola utterly fascinating.

Matt Henry who plays Lola, was so charismatic…. seriously…. both my friend and I agreed that we literally couldn’t take our eyes off him. He was mesmerising. He owned that stage and he was truly fabulous. Such a star!

I didn’t recognise any names on the cast list when I read it briefly before the show, but there was one face I spotted on the stage that I couldn’t mistake. It was the very gorgeous Marcus Collins who appeared on the X-Factor a couple of years ago! I was a huge fan of him on that, he was runner up to Little Mix, remember? He was brilliant back then and he was absolutely brilliant in this too! I was so excited to see him!

Directed and choreographed by two time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, Hairspray), Kinky Boots is the winner of six Broadway Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Choreography.

kinky boots london

The show has everything you’d want from a musical. It’s laugh out loud funny, it’s moving, it’s glamourous, it has a great cast but above all, the music and choreography were out of this world incredible. It was right up my street.

I’m not sure there are any adjectives worthy of describing how amazing it was!

On the night we watched, there was a much deserved standing ovation at the end. I think this is happening every night too from what I hear. I really didn’t want it to end, I could’ve watched it over and over!

My friend and I were absolutely buzzing on the way home! I can’t wait to see it again!

It’s the best thing I’ve seen in a long time and I just know it’s going to be a massive hit – I’m so glad I had the opportunity of seeing it before everyone else…. it’s like I’ve witnessed something very special!

I was offered two complimentary tickets to see Kinky Boots, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions my own.

Some Modelling and some Digging at Willows Farm

willows farm

First of all, if you’ve read my blog before, you’d know that we frequent Willows Farm in Hertfordshire on a regular basis. It’s a great family day out, so much to see and do. They always have seasonal events running throughout year too which are lots of fun.

Coming up this month they are holding their annual Potato Shindig. We went last year and it’s brilliant! They have a great big field that they cultivate, which visitors can then dig up to reveal thousands of gorgeous fresh spuds. Each person is given a spade and bucket and is welcome to fill them up and take them home… for free!

willows farm

This year, Willows Activity Farm is marking 70 years since the end of World War II with its biggest ever Potato Shindig event, encouraging families to learn about the Dig For Victory campaign.

During wartime, a shortage of food led the government to promote the use of land such as gardens for growing vegetables under the famous ‘Dig For Victory’ slogan. To commemorate this campaign, Willows is giving children the chance learn about where their food comes from whilst enjoying getting their hands dirty digging for their dinner :)

I love this! I love the fact that Willows is marking this very special anniversary and encouraging people, children, to think about and remember those that lived through the war and of course those that fought for our freedom.

As you can see from the above photo, the publicity shots for this years event starred none other than yours truly…. that’s me and my beautiful kids right there! Dressed up as little World War 2 kids with their World War 2 hardworking Mum, digging to eat!

When I was asked if I’d like to take part in this, my first reaction was to consider if my shy boys would be up for it, when there were costumes to change into… hmm, this could be tricky! But I knew my daughter would love it and it meant getting to spend a day at Willows so of course I accepted!

On the day of the photo shoot, which took place last week….. it poured with rain! Typical, but it didn’t matter, the kids seemed excited so I had high hopes that the twins would participate.

And participate they did!

They put on their costumes without a single complaint and posed for many, many pictures. We managed to get a moment of dry weather but even when it started to rain again, they didn’t flinch! So proud…. and they looked absolutely adorable too. All of them! I even quite liked my own outfit :)

Here are some more of the photo’s that were taken that day…..

potatos at willows farm

We had a lovely time, it was a great experience so thank you to Willows and the PR team! The kids were such naturals I think I may need to find them an agent now ;)

After this, our 4 big bags of potatoes were put in reception ready for us to take home (they are delicious by the way, I’ve already cooked most of them!), while we spent the rest of the day having fun. The weather was awful so we spent the majority of the day in the indoor play area and had a yummy lunch. And of course, we couldn’t leave without seeing the animals and holding some guinea pigs!

willows farm

If you get the chance, make sure you head down to Willows for this special event, there are thousands of Picasso potatoes waiting to be harvested in the Potato Patch for those who want to dig for their own victory.

Open daily from 5 – 27 September, children can even try Willows’ new ‘Potato Fingers’ recipe – specially adapted from a dish served during the war. There’s also the new Big Dig sand & splash play area, potato arts and crafts or you can find Spuddy, the Potato Shindig mascot, performing in his own show at weekends.

For more information visit the Willows Farm website or follow @Willows_Farm on Twitter for all the latest news and updates.

Steffi Love Magical Dreams with Pixie Lott

steffi loveLast Friday we were invited to a very exciting launch at Hamley’s toy shop in Central London.

Pixie Lott has put her name behind the new collection of Steffi Love Dolls by toy makers, Simba. She has worked closely with the iconic Steffi Love fashion doll brand and created a gorgeously girlie assortment of dolls called ‘Magical Dreams’. They have been inspired by her own magical moments that she dreamt of throughout her own childhood!

steffi love dolls

I’d been staying at my Dad’s with the kids for some of the school holidays but made sure I was back home in time to attend this particular event, as my daughter was keen to meet the super lovely Pixie Lott again. We met her last Christmas at a Netflix event, where she very kindly posed for a photo with my girl, even though she was out with her family!

pixie lott

When we arrived at Hamleys, before the store officially opened so we could meet Pixie and enjoy time in the store before the public came in, the place was awash with pink and buzzing with excitement.

steffi love dolls

steffi love hamleys

Once the handful of bloggers and press were inside, it wasn’t long before Pixie Lott made her appearance, much to the applaud of all the young fans, including my girl!

pixie lott hamleys

Pixie told us all about her collaboration with Steffi Love and how excited she was to be a part of it. She looked absolutely beautiful, much like a doll herself… and her enthusiasm really shone as she chatted to the kids and answered all their questions!

We were then taken to a private room where we could meet Pixie one to one, have a photo with her and get our very own Steffi Love doll (which we were very kindly gifted) signed! She was absolutely lovely and we chatted for a while… she even remembered meeting us last time!

pixe lott at steffi love launch

We had a great time and my daughter couldn’t wait to open her new Steffi Love doll! Here it is…. with a fabulous signature from Pixie Lott included on the left hand side here on the box!

steffi love

steffi love doll

My girl likes the doll very much and can’t wait to add some more from the collection… she’s got her eye on the mermaid! She loves this doll’s hair and huge wings…. the button in the middle of her tummy opens up the magical wings to show their true glory! She also loves the colours and shoes!

The Steffi Love by Pixie Lott: Magical Dreams range is now available at toy stores nationwide and costs from £3.99-£14.99.  Each doll comes complete with a VIP invite code from Steffi and Pixie Lott, for children to unlock secret videos and fun games online steffilove.co.uk.

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