My Sunday Photo - 38/52



Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Season 3 - Review

Hatchimals CollEGGtibles are tiny little critters, waiting inside speckled eggs, waiting to be lovingly hatched by children. They are so much fun to hatch and even more fun to collect. Noah loves collectibles and Hatchimals CollEGGtibles are a firm favourite of his, they are so cute though, we can't resist them.

Hatchimals CollEGGtibles season 3 has been just as popular as the previous seasons, introducing us to over 100 new characters to collect! Noah was delighted to receive some more Hatchimals to review, included in the bundle. Included in our review box was; a Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Season 3 1 Pack (RRP £2.99),  a Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Season 3 2 Pack and Nest (RRP £4.99), a Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Season 3 4 Pack and Bonus (RRP £9.99) and the Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Season 3 One Dozen Egg pack (RRP £24.99). What's great about these prices is that there's something for every budget, whether it's for a present or a pocket money treat.

Having reviewed Hatchimal CollEGGtibles a couple of times in the past, Noah wanted to hatch them all differently this time. He asked to open all the packs, put the un-hatched eggs together and then crack them one by one. We did this by hand, by rubbing the heart until it changed colour, then by pulling apart the shell. We also used the Hatchimal CollEGGtibles Hatchery Nursery from a previous review (highly recommended) to hatch a couple too.

There's so much delight to be had when it comes to discovering which critters you'll find inside the eggs, and I think that season 3 adds more excitement because each Hatchimal CollEGGtible has a twin, squad or best friend. 

A new favourite of ours is the limited edition 'fuzzy' called Shimmering Girreo, who is from Shimmering Sands. He looked so cute, curled up in a ball fast asleep. We discovered him in the two pack with the nest, so it was only right for him to rest up inside it.

The One Dozen Egg Carton comes with 10 eggs, 2 hatched CollEGGtibles and a hard plastic egg carton. It's been very popular with Noah and I also think it's great because the egg carton can be reused. It's the perfect place to store some of Noah's CollEGGtibles.

Our Hatchimals CollEGGtibles collection has now grown thanks to SpinmasterIn total, we had 17 eggs to hatch and we didn't find one dupe! Instead, we discovered 4 sets of twins, a couple of best friends and a multitude of limited edition and rare characters! We even found an ultra rare Petal Deeraloo, who is now our all-time favourite! We hope that there'll be a season 4 (and 5, 6, 7 and 8) so that we can continue to enjoy these fantastic collectibles.

- We were sent these products for the purpose of this review, however, all opinions are my own.  


Choosing Noah's Birthday Presents With The New Smyths Catalogue

You know that it's almost the most magical time of the year when the toy shops start releasing their new catalogues. I don't know about you, but for me, they really adds to the excitement of Christmas. Spending hours flicking through them, circling the different toys I wanted that year was right of passage in my childhood and is now a popular tradition that I do with my own children. To be honest though, we do it year round too. It's not just a Christmas thing!

With this in mind, I was delighted with Smyths got in touch, offering to send us their latest catalogue, alongside a Smyths voucher to treat the kids. Bursting with over 300 pages, there's endless inspiration to be had when it comes to gift giving. Whether you need ideas for birthdays, Christmas or perhaps for just a treat, there's something for every child.

Noah was at school and Ava was busy playing with her dolls 
when the catalogue arrived, which gave me an opportunity to flick through it myself. I grabbed myself a cup of tea, sat down and I was able to really look through and discover all the wonderful toys and games which are available. I noticed how everything is set out in a way which makes finding things quick and easy, a plus for both children and adults alike. Looking through also made me feel so nostalgic; cabbage patch kids, lego and Barbie, oh my!

Noah was very excited when he came home from school to find the new Smyths catalogue waiting for him. It didn't take long before he had it on his lap, searching for his favourite toys. It came as no surprise that he headed straight to the Imaginext section, pointing out not one, but two playsets that are new and that he needs for his collection! His words, not mine! He then moved onto the WWE pages and circled the announcer microphone, the zombie wrestling figures, AND the WWE title belt! Ava, on the other hand, she was cooing at the realistic newborn baby dolls, so that's certainly a gift idea for her.

I'm impressed with the new Smyths 
catalogue, not only is it filled to the brim with so many great gift ideas, it's a great tool to gauge what the kids are interested in. You can also make it into a fun craft activity for them by helping them cut out the toys that they'd like, then by sticking them onto pieces of card, creating a visual representation of what they'd like for their birthday or Christmas this year. 

If you'd like a copy of the new Smyths catalogue simply, click here. It's free and will be sent straight to your door. Happy shopping!

- Wrote in collaboration with Smyths.


Noah's Dream Horse with Petplan Equine

Animals, you either love them or you're a little impartial to them. We adore them, often preferring the company of our furry friends to fellow human beings. I suppose it's only natural that our children are following suit, with lots of love and respect for animals. We only have one cat at home, but there are many other pets in the family and Noah and Ava both love visiting farms and rescue centers to visit the different animals.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Petplan Equine, asking if Noah would like to create his very own dream horse. His creation would then be made into a soft toy, making his dream horse a reality! Well, in a cuddly toy sort of way! I couldn't think of a more fitting collaboration and we were both so excited to get started.

Usually, Noah isn't one for sitting down to draw or colour. However, when it came to creating his dream horse, he sat and coloured for a good 15 minutes, something I've never seen him do before! Not for that amount of time anyway.

Once he got started his imagination ran wild, just like the dream horse he envisioned in his mind. I drew the outline of the horse, then he took over, adding stripes using his favourite colours. He used black to colour the hooves, mane, tail, and reign. Then he finished the look with black polka dots and two brightly coloured stars. I was really impressed with how it turned out and I think he was really proud of himself too.

We then sent our finished design over to Petplan for them to work their magic. 
With the soft toy being handmade they did say it could take a while, but we didn't have to wait long at all.

Our dream horse arrived a few weeks later, while Noah was at school. I couldn't resist taking a sneak peek, and I was blown away by how similar it was to his design. It was perfect. When Noah came home from school he was equally impressed. He couldn't believe that they'd included every little detail, from the red and white nostrils to the different coloured ears!

Noah's dream horse, known lovingly as Rascal, now sits proudly on the end of his bed. He often tucks him under his arm when we are reading a bedtime story, they've become such great pals.

Petplan Equine Horse Insurance ethos is to keep the horses of this nation, healthy and happy, along with their owners. They offer fantastic policies whilst providing great customer service. They have helped countless owners get their beloved horses back on to health following illness or injury over the years.
- This post is a collaboration with Petplan Equine, however, all opinions are my own.


Living Arrows #8 - Growing Up Way Too Fast

Last week, I shared a photo of Noah standing in front of our blue front door on the morning of his first day of school. Well, it appears to be Ava's turn for this week's Living Arrows!

Lately, I find myself using my DSLR more and more, taking so many pictures of the kids, a lot being of Ava while Noah's at school. I do the same with Noah, especially when he was a toddler, but I've found myself taking more photo's this time around. I think it's mainly because we aren't having any more children. Every 'first' that Ava has, is a 'last' for us as parents and knowing that makes everything even more bittersweet. I thought that Noah flew through babyhood at the speed of light, but nothing could have prepared me for how fast it goes the second time around. I blinked and Ava went from a 9lb 4oz chunk of love to a fully fledged, sass queen. I don't think it helps that she's so forward with everything that she does (second child syndrome) or the fact that she looks like she's two already! 

Lately, I've found myself trying to soak up every moment of her toddlerhood because before I know it, she'll be off to school just like Noah. Here are a few unedited photos of my little whirlwind of a daughter. People often say that she's been here before. Which is quite an eerie turn of phrase if you ask me!

Living Arrows


Diamonds - More Than Just A Girl's Best Friend

What's the first thing that comes into your head when you think of diamonds? Engagement rings, necklaces, earrings, a girl's best friend and all that jazz? It is for me. Beautiful and extravagant jewelry is what I associate diamonds with, but I have to say, now that I've read the Diversity of Diamonds by Element Six, I'm totally enlightened and amazed by the way in which they can be used. Here are some of the alternative ways that synthetic diamonds can be used.

Synthetic diamonds are invaluable in the healthcare industry and you may have reaped the benefits from them without even knowing. They are currently used when someone needs Radiotherapy or has to undergo minor operations. The use of this unique compound makes operations faster, which makes procedures easier for the patient. Hopefully, the use of synthetic diamonds will continue to grow in the healthcare industry as the benefits are astounding.

Synthetic diamonds on cars? No, the diamonds aren't used for bling on the dashboard or for a bit of glamour on the upholstery, instead, they are vital components for various parts when it comes to automobiles. They are used for such tasks as building the engine, fixing up the gearbox and for the windows and body panels too.

Consumer Goods
You may not know this but many of the gadgets that we use on a day to day basis have been touched by the wonder that is synthetic diamonds. Speakers, tablets, and computers, to name a few! This component increases sound quality, provides more precision and faster speeds, just what everyone wants and needs when it comes to our electronics.

There are so many ways other ways in which synthetic diamonds can be used, it's such an invaluable component, one which I think will be used more frequently in upcoming years.

- This is a PR Collaboration.


Learning Resources Beaker Creatures - Review

It's no secret that we are huge fans of Learning Resources, they are firm favourites of ours. They are a company that we've followed for years and have worked with from time to time. They continue to push boundaries when it comes to educational toys and we are always excited to see what they'll release next. Beaker Creatures are one of their newest ranges and something that I thought would really interest Noah! Was I right?

We received three products for the purpose of this review; the Beaker Creatures 2-Pack with Bio Home, Beaker Creatures Magnification Chamber, and the Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab. Noah was delighted with this haul, as he knew it'd give him a great head start when it came to starting his Beaker Creatures collection! I let Noah choose which to open first and he decided to go for the
Beaker Creatures 2-Pack with Bio Home, which I thought was a good choice because it looked quite straightforward to do. The Bio-Home is a great little starter pack which retails at just £10.00. It includes 7 pieces; a Beaker Creature Reactor Pod, Plastic Bio-Home, Two Classification Cards, Two mini posters, and a bonus Beaker Creature.

I had a bowl of water ready for Noah to start his experiment, in which he placed the Reactor Pod and watched it fizz away! The water turned bright green and left behind was a Beaker Creature, encased in a plastic pod, ready to be identified. You can do this either in or out of the Bio-Home but it features a built-in magnifier in the top for close-up viewing. It's also a great way to display a Beaker Creatures collection as they can be stacked on top of one another to save on space.

Next, we have the Beaker Creatures Magnification Chamber which retails at £15.00. Included in the set is a three piece Magnification Chamber, two Beaker Creature Reactor Pods, two Classification Cards, two double sided mini posters and an experiment guide.

Noah filled the chamber with water and poured onto the Reactor Pods. He did this in the same water, so the colours mixed and changed to a murky brown colour, which he loved! Yuck! The magnifying glass is a great addition, perfect for getting up close to those little Beaker Creatures.

Last, but not least is the Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab which retails at £25.00. This set certainly has the wow factor and includes so many items and accessories; the Liquid Reactor Super Lab Base, two beakers, two hydroplungers, tongs, a stirring rod, two Beaker Creature Reactor pods, two Classification Cards, two double sided mini posted, a full sized poster and an experiment guide.

I assembled this quickly and filled the syringes with water, then it was ready to go! Noah carefully lowered the Reactor Pod into the champer, pushed down the syringes and watched it fizz and pour everywhere! (Make sure to have towels ready!) This is another exciting way to discover and identify Beaker Creatures and a must have for every collection!

Well, what can I say? Learning Resources have gone and done it again! Beaker Creatures are collectibles with a difference, they are a fun way to learn through play. With over 35 different Beaker Creatures to collect I know what will be on Noah's Christmas list this year!

- We were sent these products for the purpose of this review, however, all opinions are my own.


A Guide To The Ultimate City Break

Are you heading off to your favourite city in a few weeks’ time? Are you planning to switch off from making plans and simply wait for the first day of your break? Do you realise there are savings you could be making that will mean you’ve got more to spend on your holiday? Wherever you’ve decided to travel there are things you can do that will mean you get to have more fun. From saving on travel insurance to planning how you’re going to get around. Let’s look at some of the ways you can make savings before and while you’re enjoying your holiday.

Travel Insurance
You might not have bought yours yet so now’s the time to shop around for the best deal. There are a number of different comparison websites that will help you find the right level of cover at the best price. Don’t be tempted to skimp on buying it as you can never predict falling ill or being involved in an accident. The best travel insurance should also cover you for flight cancellations, loss of luggage and any special activities you’ll be taking part in.

Organise Your Currency
If you leave the exchanging of your currency until the last minute, you will be restricting your options. Changing currency at the airport can work out to be very expensive. It’s quick and easy to order a range of different currencies at your local bank, and it will mean you don’t get stung by high airport exchange charges. Unless you’re traveling somewhere very remote, you won’t need to carry much of the local currency anyway. A pre-paid currency card is one option worth looking in to, or you can use your regular credit or debit card for purchases.

Will You Need Airport Transfer?
Most city airports, including those in London, are not located in the middle of the city. To get into the city centre, for example, to take advantage of a London attractions offers, you’ll need to get a train or bus. However, if you need to travel somewhere a little more out of the way and airport transfer service may be the better option. It is also something you can organise well in advance. There’s nothing worse than arriving in a city and having no idea how you’re going to get to your hotel.

How Are You Going to Get Around When You Arrive?
The answer to this question will depend on the city you’ve decided to visit. The very nature of a city should mean there are a variety of transport methods to choose from. Before you travel, spend some time researching your options. You need to find a way that’s convenient, flexible, cheap and the best. Many cities offer cheaper options for travel if you book for a few days in advance. Barcelona offers a two-day card that includes unlimited public transport. An Oyster card that can be bought for traveling around London is 50% cheaper than a regular travel card.

Whether you’re going away for a short city break of planning a trip for much longer, don’t sit on your laurels and wait for the first day of your holiday. Spend the time looking for deals and special offers. You’ll be glad you did when you get there because you’ll have more money to spend.

- This is a PR collaboration.