Baby Born Surprise Bottle House Playset - Review

AD - I received this product for the purpose of this review.

I've said it once and I'll say it again - my children are obsessed with collectibles! You name a range of collectibles and I can guarantee we collect them or have done in the past. They really love to collect and one thing which keeps them both interested is when the brand release playsets to use with their collectibles.

Baby Born Surprise has done just that with their new Baby Born Surprise Bottle Playset - one look at it and I knew Ava would be in her element! It's a huge, colourful bottle, which opens up into a little house full of accessories. Included is a bath with working showerhead, a pretend bottle of talc, baby wash, hairbrush, teddy bear, bottle and an exclusive Baby Born Surprise doll.

It's the perfect home for Baby born Surprise dolls - bound to inspire little one's imaginations and role-playing skills. With four different rooms spread over two floors to explore there is plenty to do for youngsters. The ground floor features the playroom with baby gym and teddy bear. On the opposite side is the baby changing table with powder bottle and brush to get BABY born ready for her day. The top floor features a hanging mobile and bedroom ready for the Baby Born Suprise doll to hopefully, sleep the night through. There's also a space for the bath, which can be removed and played with elsewhere.

The bath is a nice touch as it can be removed from the bathroom and has a real working shower - perfect for washing your baby and to watch her hair change colour when washed with iced water. We did have a little trouble getting the water to come out of the shower - it was very temperamental, however, a friend has this set too and didn't have a problem with it.

I also like how there are a few elements which are a bit more interactive, like the mobile, the safety gate on the cot, the front door - other than that there isn't much else to it. Ava seems quite engaged with it though as she's spent a lot of time playing with it and looking after her babies. She also really enjoyed "opening" the babies eyes, seeing her nappy change colour, working out her name, and so on - which you can do with all Baby Born Surprise Dolls - read more about that here.

The Baby Born Surprise Bottle Playset is suitable for children from 3 years of age, retails at £34.99 and is available to buy online and at Smyths.

7 Tips To Follow When Buying Flooring Online

AD - This a PR collaboration.

Most of us have been there. You order something, you’re excited, it comes, then it’s completely different from what you expected and then you have to go through the returns process which can be stressful and time-consuming. Buying new flooring is an expensive and disruptive project, so you’ve got to be sure you’ve got it right before going full-in! Here are a few tips to make sure you’re completely satisfied and don’t encounter any disappointments along the way…

1. Order lots of samples
You may be eager to order your flooring and enjoy it in your home as soon as you can - however, it’s important to be sensible about it, especially when buying online. No matter how good the pictures are and how much you might trust the company, you can never get a proper idea of what it’s like until you’ve seen it in the flesh. This is why it’s so important to order samples of all the flooring you’re considering- if you can, order multiple samples of the same product as this will give you an idea of the natural variation you can expect to see across your new floor! Also, you might be really keen on one online then when it comes it’s nothing like you expected, as well you might see one online that isn’t so perfect but when it comes it’s much better than expected! You can directly compare it against your interior and see how it’ll go. Most companies post samples free of charge too.

2. Make sure you know exactly what it is you’re looking for
With there being countless flooring options available online, whittling them down to the perfect one can come as a bit of a challenge. Is it a cheap fix you’re looking at or are you wanting something with full luxury? Once you’ve decided on your priorities, then it becomes a much less daunting task! It’s not just flooring types you need to be clear on, there’s plenty of colours and surfaces to choose from too which is a whole other story.

3. Consider budget
Like anything, flooring differs in price and quality. If you’re buying a house, you wouldn’t dream of looking at properties that were out of your budget, well it’s the same with flooring! The best way to approach it is don’t torture yourself looking at flooring that’s too pricy, instead filter down the pricing on the company’s website, this will stop you from being tempted by something that’s not within budget!

4. Check the features of each flooring type
Flooring isn’t just about aesthetics. Your flooring is going to endure a lot of abuse in its lifetime, so of course, check the durability and practicality ratings of each type. One of the most important features to consider is whether you want underfloor heating. Natural materials such as solid wood cannot cooperate with it due to its warping and shrinking under heat, whereas flooring such as engineered wood and vinyl can. This can make or break your decision, you don’t want to find you’ve ordered a flooring that can’t withstand differing temperatures when this is something that you have in your home!

5. Don’t book your fitter before your flooring comes
This is something a lot of us do and on the face of it, it makes sense! You want to reduce the amount of disruption time, so having your fitter ready the day your flooring arrives seems sensible. However, this can cause a lot of problems. Sometimes there can be issues with the delivery and it doesn’t come on time, but you’ve still got to pay your fitter. As well, if you’ve purchased solid or engineered wood then it needs to acclimatise for several days before it can be laid. Our advice is to not book your fitter until the goods are on-site and you’re satisfied with them.

6. Check returns policy
This slips a lot of us up, no matter what you’re buying! There’s nothing worse than when you go to read the returns policy after you’ve bought it to then get a nasty shock that you’re not eligible for a return! For something that is such a large investment like flooring, the returns policy becomes more important than ever. Each company has different rules, don’t assume they’re all the same.

7. Make sure you’ve got the right underlay and accessories
Although something most of us finds boring, spend some time reading up on the correct underlay and accessories – we promise you it’s more boring if you get it wrong and it isn’t compatible with the flooring you’ve purchased! A lot of companies don’t accept returns on under-lay or glue that’s been opened and used either.

Less Stress During Home Renovations

AD - This a PR collaboration.

Home renovations are always going to be a bit stressful, if only because it’s impossible not to make some mess no matter how small the job. Taking a logical, step-by-step approach will help the task go smoother with a minimum of stress and fuss for everyone.

Initial Planning
Taking a step back and pausing for thought before plunging into a renovations project lets you see the bigger picture and can give plenty of clues for how to get started.
● What materials do you need? Estimate quantities and costs, make lists and tick items off as you collect them.
● Do you have a clear result in mind? Be sure about colour and texture choices. Samples and tester paint pots really help.
● Have you fixed your budget, and can you stay within it? Overestimating how much money you’ll need to complete the project will give you a bit of wiggle room for any unexpected problems or expenses.
● What storage or packing arrangements do you need to make so you can carry on as normal a life as possible during work? Everyday tasks can turn into ma-jor undertakings during kitchen or bathroom renovations, for instance.
● When is the most convenient time to start? School holidays might not be the best, for example, if children at home will slow down work or put them in any danger.

Preparing Your Work Area
Start by clearing your space. If you need to move heavy furnishings, decide ahead of time where they’ll go, and collect some boxes to store items as you empty cabinets or sideboards before you try to lift them. With a clean work area, do the prep for the type of job you’re doing. If you’re sand-ing, lay down dustsheets; if you’re painting, make sure woodwork or walls are dust-free, clean and dry before you start. While you’re stripping wallpaper, have rubbish bags handy so you can bundle up the scrap paper as soon as it comes off the wall. Put pets somewhere safe while you're working - wet paint and dogs don’t mix well.

Tips for Storing and Safeguarding Possessions
Clearing your space, as mentioned in the previous section, is easy to say but harder to do. Bigger renovation jobs mean you’re likely to need a lot of alternative space in which to store the things you’ve cleared. Put all the smaller, loose items into boxes rather than piling them on the floor or dot-ting them around other rooms. You’ll save on breakages, protect items from paint spatters, and make replacing them easier when you’re done. Plus, it gives you the chance to have a bit of a declutter, which is never a bad thing. Consider self-storage for larger items of furniture, or if you have a lot of boxes that would otherwise get in the way. Some renovation projects can take several days or weeks, and life can quickly get stressful and muddled if you’re tripping over boxes piled up around the house, especially if you also have small children. If you don’t need a whole self-storage room, some self-storage facilities also provide lockers. You might also want to consider these if you’re hiring contractors and want to keep valuables secure. Make sure the items you pack up to keep at home are well protected. Use old newspapers to cushion breakables in boxes. Towels and tea towels are also handy for wrapping up delicate items. Creating a work plan, clearing space and organising materials before you start helps the project go faster. You’ll be able to just crack on and create your perfect new space with a lot less stress.

Do you have any tips you would like to share?

Baby Annabell Milly Feels Better Doll, Medical Scanner & Clothing Assortment - Review & Giveaway

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

Babies and role-playing are two of Ava's favourite things - she spends most of her time role-playing. Sometimes she's a dentist, doctor, or vet, and other times she's a teacher, singer, or wrestler (that's my girl) usually with a doll or two under her arm! With this in mind, I knew the Baby Annabell Medical Scanner would be a great toy for her and I was delighted to review it for her.

Please note that the Baby Annabell Milly Feels Better Doll that's mentioned in this post was not sent to review, however, with it being the perfect doll for the scanner (with her poorly red cheeks and reacting to the medicine spoon) I thought it was worth mentioning so you can see them both in action. You can read more about the doll on the Zapf website. Other dolls can obviously be used too.

The Baby Annabell Scanner is designed to help Baby Annabell feel better, in particular, the Milly Feels Better Doll - who reacts to some of the accessories. Included is the medical scanner and 10 medical accessories, including a stethoscope, medicine spoon, thermometer, pager, and many more. There's even a handy little drawer on the side of the scanner for you to store a couple of them.

Simply roll or hold the scanner over the spot that is poorly or hurts and the display on the scanner will tell you what is wrong - it also shows you what cure is needed/ which accessory to then use next. The SOS ambulance button is a nice touch. The scanner has various light and sound functions so batteries are required - x3 AA batteries which and not included.

There are so many ways to play with the scanner and Ava has had hours of fun with it already. She likes to use the stethoscope first to examine her patient, taking the temperature with the thermometer, giving injections and medicine. The Baby Annabell Scanner is suitable for children from 3 years of age, retails at £29.99 and is available to buy online and in-store at most leading retailers. 

I was also sent two sets of clothing/accessories for Baby Annabell, one of which I have set aside for this competition. Ava had to have first dibs on the Baby Annabell Sweet Dreams Pyjamas - she squealed when she saw them. The top is so soft and fluffy, just like the ones Ava likes to wear to bed. The colours and design are so sweet, and realistic - I could actually see something like this on a real baby. I found them easy to put on the doll which will be great for when Ava starts wanting to dress the dolls herself. The set retails at £15.99 and comes with a reusable coat hanger, and teething ring.

How would you like to win two pairs of Baby Annabell tights? To enter simply use the Gleam form below and don't forget to enter my other blog and social media competitions!

2 Pairs of Baby Annabell Tights

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winners who will win the prize mentioned above.
2. Winners details will be shared with the PR to arrange delivery of the prize. 
3. Competition ends 29/02/20.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only. 18 years old to enter.

Living Arrows - January 2020

It's been a minute since I last took the time to post something like this, in fact, it was last summer that I last linked up with Living Arrows - weirdly enough Ava is wearing the exact same hoodie in both posts! She hardly ever wears it too!

I'll be honest, I'm a bit disappointed in myself as somewhere in the midst of 2019 I lost direction with my blog. I was mainly focusing on brand work and forgetting what the essence of this space is; my family. I'm going to make it my mission this year to get the balance a little bit better - watch this space!

So, one of my first posts of the year (and many more to come) has got to be of Noah and Ava at their Great Grandparents house one Sunday afternoon, building train tracks. We visit them every Sunday, they are in their 80's, absolutely dote on the kids and the feeling is totally mutual. Family is so very important to us.

Living Arrows

Blippi Toy Range from Jazwares - Review

AD - We were sent these products for the purpose of this review.

If you have a preschooler you are probably well aware of Blippi by now - he's a YouTube sensation with other twelve billion views! Blippi's character is very childlike with his boundless energy and enthusiasm - he looks the part too with his colourful and eye-catching garb. His content is totally child-friendly and educational, focusing on preschool basics such as counting, letters, shapes, colours, and so on.

Ava is a huge fan so I was delighted to be offered the brand new Blippi toys to review - I have to admit that I had my eye on the postman for the week leading up to the delivery day! When the box arrived I couldn't make Ava wait any longer. She absolutely squealed with delight when she saw the huge Blippi box - she said "Blippi? For me?"

Once she'd unboxed it all, it was time to take a good look at the range. Inside we discovered; My Buddy Blippi - £17.99, Be Like Blippi Role Play - £11.99, Blippi Surprise Boxes - £9.99, x2 Blippi Mini Vehicles - £5.99 each and x2 Blippi Ball Pit Surprise Balls - £3.99 each.

My Buddy Blippi was first to be opened and lots of hugs and kisses followed soon after. He's a plush doll, with a hard plastic head, which measures 16" long - the perfect size for little ones to hold and carry around. The fun doesn't stop there as it also plays 15 classic Blippi sounds and phrases with the simple press of the belly. My Buddy Blippi is a must-have for all Blippi fans - such a fantastic toy and Ava's new best pal.

The Be Like Blippi Role Play Set was de boxed and on in a flash - causing Ava to grin from ear to ear. Kids can now dress just like their idol as the role-play set contains a bow tie, suspenders, hat, and glasses - just like the ones Blippi wears! Ava wasn't wearing the suspenders in this picture as she was wearing dungarees but they've been on since. She likes to skip around the house declaring that she not Ava anymore, she's Blippi!

The Blippi Ball Pit Surprises also receive a huge thumbs up from and at £3.99 each they don't break the bank either. The ball pit surprises come in 4 different colours and contain 12 different Blippi figures, with building block, and letter flashcard. The letter blocks are designed to be stacked so children can put together new words, or just build a tower if they feel like it. It's a nice touch to have each figure holding the item which is on the flashcard - Ava wants 'D for dog' next.

The Blippi Surprise Boxes retail at £9.99 and includes an exclusive Blippi figure and 9 mystery boxes. Each box is labeled 1-9 and inside contains 9 different gifts, all collating with the number on the front - 1 whale, 2 shoes, for example. Ava was so excited to open up each box to see what was inside, some contained figures and others contained stickers.

Last, but certainly not least we have the Blippi Mini Vehicles which retail £5.99 each. There are currently four to collect; a fire truck, garbage truck, excavator, and the Blippi Mobile. Each one has a unique feature, perfect for racing and role-play - I think we will have to collect them all.

All in all, we are really impressed with the Blippi toy range - there's quality there and it's evident that a lot of thought has gone into each product. You can find the range online and in stores at Smyths, Tesco, ASDA, Entertainer, Amazon, and all other good retailers.