Smoby Chef Corner Restaurant - Review

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

One of Ava's favourite things to do is role-play - doctor, vet, mummy, superhero, baker, ninja - you name it, she's been it! With lockdown still looming I was delighted to be offered the Smoby Chef Corner Restaurant to review - a playset perfect for different roleplay scenarios, something to keep her busy and entertained while life is on a bit of a standstill - and beyond of course.

It arrived in a huge box with lots of bits and pieces - the instructions said that it would take two people 1.5 hours to build but it was almost 3 hours for us. The instructions are quite clear but there's just so much to assemble, tons of stickers, and some parts were quite fiddly - I'm looking at you tap! I would recommend building it before gifting to a child as the kids were constantly asking if it was ready and they were both trying to help, ha ha.

Once assembled it stands at an impressive H82, W23.5, D76cm. There's an option of making it taller as your child grows - this is great because kids often struggle to use playsets like this once they are at a certain height. It features kitchen sound effects, a sink with a real water function, a till with play money, a mobile phone, an attached table, stool, and a working calculator with an LCD screen.

It also includes over 70 accessories; cutlery, pots, pans, mugs, condiments, chopping board, recipe cards, and various food items. The pizza is Ava's favourite accessory - she likes piecing it together like a puzzle and adding different toppings. The cutting carrot is great too - perfect for practicing those fine motor skills.

I sat back and watched the kids play – Ava opting to be the chef and Noah the bossy customer. She took his order, hanging the recipe card on the serving shelf, and made him a hot chocolate from the espresso machine while he waited. His pizza was ready in no time and she provided service with a smile too - not bad for a 3-year-old!

It's worth noting that Noah is quite tall for a 6-year-old and it's a great size for him. With it being a large playset he felt like it was "grown-up" enough for him to play with too. It was lovely watching them play so nicely together and switching roles.

Smoby encompasses everything that little ones love about play and they’ve certainly proven that with the Smoby Chef Corner Restaurant. I’ve seen some play kitchen/restaurant setups in my time but my word, this is the daddy of them all. With so many features and accessories, it’s extremely immersive and encourages children to role-play, be creative, and use their imagination. The kids have played with it for hours and I can see them getting many years of use out of it.

The Smoby Chef Corner Restaurant is suitable for children from 3 years of age, retails at £150 and is available to purchase at Argos.

Back to School Essentials from wilko

AD - I was sent these products for the purpose of this post and compensated for my time.

2020 has been such a surreal year which has turned everyone's lives upside down. I've tried to think of the positives of our personal circumstances - being home with each other and making memories - that said, many things changed drastically for the kids. Noah's school closed in March, opening for a few sessions in June and Ava was due to start nursery in April but I chose to push it back to September. As much as we've all enjoyed being home with one another I know they need to get back to school, to have some normality, some structure, to learn, to play, and make friends - space to grow.

Wilkos recently got in touch asking if I'd like to collaborate on their back to school campaign - they gifted me £50 to spend online, on their back to school essentials and I was so impressed with the variety of products available.

As you can see you get a lot for your money when shopping with wilko - which is a relief when you have so much to buy for back to school. There is so much variety too, from homeware, food storage, to stationary, to crafts and so on. I decided to spend the voucher not just on essentials for taking to school but on bits and pieces which will be great for keeping at home - for rainy day projects and for homework too.

The first products that caught my eye were these pieces from wilkos Newstalgia range which are currently in the 3 for 2 offer! The Wilko Newstalgia Lever Arch Rainbow folder - RRP: £2.50 is perfect for keeping documents and paperwork organised, all while keeping you motivated with the cheery quote on the front. The Wilko Newstalgia Exercise Book A6 3pk - RRP: £1.50 and the Wilko Discovery A4 Display Book - RRP: £2.50 complete the duo and the fantastic 3 for 2 offer. I can imagine them being popular with high school and college kids. 

I then headed for the food storage section on their back to school section. I chose the Wilko Set of 4 Rainbow Containers - RRP: £1.00 for packed lunches as the kids have to take clear, washable containers. I like how there are four different sizes, great if your kids are like mine and like to have their foods separate. The set contains four different sized containers that are stackable and easy to store. They are microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe.

I also chose a couple of Wilko 700ml Fruit Infuser Water Bottles - RRP: 2.50 each. These bottles come with a removable basket, just the right size for holding fruit, or fruit teabags to infuse the water - which they'll only be able to do at home as their school only allows plain water, eek. Made with BPA-free plastic they are dishwasher safe and just the right size for popping into your child's school bag.

The kids then picked out their own pencil cases - which they thoroughly enjoyed! Ava chose the Wilko Hard Pencil Case with Sloth Character and Noah went for the Hard Pencil Case with Monsters Characters which both retail at £5.00 each. Inside the hardtop pencil cases are 2 net pouches and 6 pen holders - plenty of space for children to store all the stationery they need for school. The Wilko Pocket Calculator - RRP: £2.50 and the Wilko Kids Mini Scrunchies - RRP: £2.00 were two essentials that went straight into my basket too.

Last, but certainly not least I selected an array of different arts and crafts products; Wilko Craft Platter - RRP: £3.00, Wilko Primary Colours Paint Set 6 - RRP: £3.50, Wilko Paint Tray - RRP: £2.00, Wilko Paint Brushes - RRP: £1.75, Wilko Felt Tip Pens x50 - RRP: £2.50, and Wilko Coloured Paper - RRP: £1.50. I think every item is a bargain and perfect for homework projects, rainy day activities, and perhaps even home learning if it ever comes to that again.

Having all these essentials purchased and ready for back to school has put my mind at ease - it's one less thing to do. I cannot recommend wilko enough. Their website was so easy to use, there's so much choice, everything is great value for money, fantastic quality and it arrived quickly too! I don't think I could have asked for anything more - I'm really impressed.

Are you ready for back to school?


Living Arrows - August 2020

August picked up for us, despite the weather being very hit and miss. I have more interesting photo's to share this time - especially, compared to last month. We had a dozen days out, favourites being Blackpool Zoo, Thornton Hall Farm, and Knowsley Safari Park - can see a running theme? We adore animals! Our last trip of the month was Knowsley and I forgot how good that place is. We got up close and personal with a lion, who literally touched the car with his nose. I also got extremely close to a rhino which we loved. I was also really impressed with the COVID measures in place, we all felt so safe and looked after. 

September is on the horizon and things are trying to get back to normal with Noah going back to school and Ava finally starting nursery. It's been a long time coming and I don't really know how to feel about it right now. We'll see - see you next month.

Living Arrows

Pound Puppies Newborns & Classic Plush Toys - Review

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

Pound Puppies were a household name back in the 80's - the must-have toy! They were originally released back in 1984 - this was before I was born but my cousins had them and I was ever so envious. I secretly hoped they would grow out of them and pass them on to me but they never did. My partner Nick also had one when he was a child - he named it Patch and it was his best friend for many years until he managed to lose it on a ferry to Spain. He was so upset that his Nan ordered him a new one but a dark brown one arrived in the mail - she told him that he'd gotten a tan while in Spain!

As you can see Pound Puppies meant so much to children back in the day and I was delighted to hear that they were making a comeback. Basic Fun has just released replica Pound Puppies which are just like the originals, just a bit brighter - it's time to relive the magic!

We were sent two Pound Puppies for the purpose of this review - one large Pound Puppies plush which measures at 17 inches long and an eight-inch Pound Puppies Newborns plush. Each pup comes with its own retro-style cardboard kennels and adoption certificates. The lack of plastic packaging with these toys is very refreshing. The cardboard kennel they are displayed in can be reused as a toy carrier, as a keepsake, or somewhere just to store it.

Ava insisted we open the "big doggy" first and was delighted when she spotted the collar and birth certificate - she named him right away like a good Mummy! Introducing Chip; 17 inches long, dark brown, and super soft and cuddly! He has hard eyes and nose, just like the originals - giving a huge dose of nostalgia.

Just look at that face and those puppy dog eyes - he's irresistible. Ava likes to "bop" him on the nose with her finger and tickle behind his ears - just like she does with our real-life pup Tucker. Speaking of Tucker, he's been a little jealous of all the attention we've been giving to our Pound Puppies. Don't worry, there's enough love to go around

Also included, within the reusable carrier, is a sheet of adorable Pound Puppies stickers. Ava decided to use them as plasters when playing vets with him - I love how her mind works. 
The large Pound Puppies plushes retail at £19.99 each and there are four different pups to collect - we will probably have to collect them all.

The Pound Puppies Newborns are a fraction of the size at just 8 inches long. They are just like the large ones, just smaller versions which in my opinion makes them even cuter! There are 8 different newborns to collect which I think is wonderful - you can create a whole Pound Puppies litter. It's worth noting that the Pound Puppies newborns don't come with a tag on their collar or sticker sheet, however, they do include a small carrier and a birth certificate. I think this is fine, especially at just £7.99 each.

This series of Pound Puppies is in partnership with Dogs Trust - the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, rehoming around 14,300 dogs every year. For each Pound Puppy sold (keep a lookout for the Dogs Trust logo on the cardboard carrier) Basic Fun will make a donation to of 11p for each Newborn Pound Puppy and 27p for the Classic Pound Puppies. I think this is wonderful for raising money and bringing awareness but also as an avenue to teach children about adoption and rescuing animals, about compassion, and creating life long bonds with our pets.

This delivery from Pound Puppies have brought so much happiness into our home during lockdown - they are lovely and just how I remember them. You can purchase them today, online, or in-store at Smyths, Argos, and Tesco.

Little Live Pets Lil’ Dippers and Season 10 Lil’ Birds - Review

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

The kids are huge animal lovers - just like their Mama so I was delighted to agree to review a couple of the toys from the Little Live Pets range here on the blog. Prior to this, we were quite new to the brand, not owning any of the previous toys and having only seen them in shops. We received two products from the Little Live Pets Lil' Dippers and one product from the Lil' Birds range - we were very excited to see what they were all about.

First, we opened the Little Live Pets Lil Dippers Fish Tank Playset with retails at £24.99. Included with this set are x1 fish tank, 1 unicorn fish, 1 magnetic fish feeder, 2 tank accessories, and 1 Instruction manual. The fish requires 3 X LR44 batteries which are included - yay!

We decorated the tank with the accessories, filled it up, and placed the fish in the water. Please note, on opening the tank take care not to take the fish out of the plastic packaging as it's "magic" and the fish swims out of the bag when placed in water. It's quite the reveal and really wowed the kids! Lil' Dippers feature realistic side-to-side and up-and-down motions - very lifelike and impressive. The magnetic feeder adds another interactive element as the fish will follow it around the tank. It's such a pretty toy and has also sparked an interest in aquatics - you've got to love a toy that inspires!

As a parent I think it's quite good value for money at £24.99, however, I do think that the tank is a little sparse when it comes to decoration and perhaps a lid would be a good idea too. That's just me nitpicking though because the kids have nothing but great things to say about the Lil' Dippers.

We then opened the Little Live Pets Lil' Dippers single pack which has an RRP of £12.99 and includes x1 fish and x1 magnetic fish feeder. There are three different fish to collect and it's a great way to fill your tank with your favourite fish. That said, you don't need the tank playset to enjoy Lil' Dippers - they are even more fun in the bath, the sink, or even the paddling pool. Please be aware that the tank is not intended for use with real fish. Please ask an adult to help with filling the water and protect delicate surfaces. Empty the tank when not in use.

Last, but not least, we opened the Little Live Pets Lil' Birds which cost £9.99 each. They seem to be one of the most popular pets in the range as they are now on season 10. x2 AAA batteries are needed but they are not included. Once the batteries are in they really come to life in many ways - you can pet it to watch it turn its head, it makes over 20 cute bird sounds, and the more you play with it the more it responds. There's also a record and playback option too which makes a
 cool feature.

There are 3 Lil' Birds characters to collect, each with their own unique pattern and personality. They are super cute with the glitter features and fluffy eyelashes. are the most collectible, attractive bird with cute eyelashes and glittering feathers! Little Live Pets toys are available to buy now online and in most toy stores. You can also win Little Live Pets prizes and more over at