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  

7 Best Places to Throw a Kids Birthday Party in New Jersey

AD - This is a PR collaboration.

New Jersey is best known for casinos and more adult fun, but it is also a fantastic place to celebrate a child's birthday. Here are seven of the best places for a kids birthday in New Jersey.

Liberty State Park
One of the cheaper options, which is great for a family on a budget, this beautiful park offers great views across to the Manhattan skyline and has plenty of open spaces so you can enjoy a picnic, play games, and, when they are on, enjoy the many open air performances.

Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise
If you are heading to the Cape May area, why not treat your child and their friends to this gorgeous cruise. You will spend three hours on the boat, looking out for these big beautiful creatures and feeling awed at their magnificence. The three-hour tour is guided by a marine expert who knows where to look for the whales and dolphins and can explain a little about them to their fascinated audience.

Turtle Back Zoo
Apparently a part zoo, part funfair this zoo is packed with wonderful animals from all over the world, and boasts a range of rides, carousels and activities. It is a great place for a wonderful day out for the whole family – and the more the merrier, why not let your children bring their friends along too?

Camden Adventure Aquarium
With 15,000 sea animals, fish, crustaceans and more to view, you are sure to spend many happy hours in the aquarium. You can even walk through the underwater tunnel, watching fish and mammals swim overhead. Aquariums like this are loved by children of all ages and your choice of destination is sure to be a big hit.

Liberty Science Centre
Science is not just for school, and is, in fact, even better when learning about science is fun. The Science Centre is an especially good choice if it turns out to be rainy during your visit to New Jersey. There are loads of fun activities, plenty of exciting interactive exhibits, and many interesting items and ideas that will get your youngsters thinking that science is a lot of fun.

Hard Rock Café
Perhaps the most famous café chain in the world, the celeb memorabilia collecting Hard Rock Café is a must-see eatery for any visitor to New Jersey. If your celebration is a particularly important one: double digits, perhaps, or the advent of the teens – why not make it a full celebrity experience by arriving in limo before dining out in style? Check out professional limo services in New Jersey and get the car of your dreams, even if it is just for one night.

Keansburg Amusement Park
Half theme park, half water park, this venue is splashing good fun for all. There is a beach nearby, there are go-karts to put through their paces, a haunted house to spook each other in, and so more. If that all sounds far too exciting, you can even go fishing off the pier!

The NEW Roblox Toys from Jazwares - Review & Giveaway

AD - I received these products for the purpose of this review.

Noah has been a big fan of Roblox for years - sometimes it feels like it's all he talks about. He's also to blame for getting Ava and a couple of his friends hooked on it too. He's gone as far as creating accounts for both me and his Dad and we all play Adopt Me together - Noah and Ava being the adults and us parents being pushed around as babies in around prams! There are some less wholesome, strange games they enjoy, Piggy and Spider to name a few - but that's a discussion for another day..

With Noah's love for Roblox I jumped at the chance to review some of the lastest collection - especially as we are in lockdown and entertainment (and normality) are needed more than ever. That said, this isn't the first time Noah has been sent some Roblox toys to review - he reviewed a couple of series 5 toys last year which you can find here. Please read on to see what we received this time.

ROBLOX Apocalypse Rising 2 Six-Figure Pack / RRP: £19.99 - If these six rag-tag survivors want to outlast the zombies of Dualpoint Interactive's Apocalypse Rising 2, they'll need to share weapons, supplies, wheels...and danger. Keep them together and they might just make it through another night. Noah was straight into this pack first as he is familiar with the game on Roblox. He commented on the variety of characters, different accessories, and weapons and really likes how there are exclusive content cards included with every pack. This set comes with 6 figures, 6 accessories and the heads and helmets can be interchanged - perfect for mixing, matching, and creating your own Roblox characters.

ROBLOX - Murder Mystery Game Pack / RPP £9.99 - A horrifying crime has been committed. Will you be the one to catch the culprit? Find out by reliving all your favourite experiences from the massively popular horror game Murder Mystery 2, developed by Nikilis! Gather your fellow Robloxians and put your survival instincts to the test. Just remember to watch your back. This is another game on Roblox that Noah recognised and couldn't wait to play "in real life" - Ava also liked how there was a girl and pretty much nabbed that figure. The pack features to figures and 7 accessories - all of which can be mixed and matched. Great for roleplaying and creating your own Roblox scenarios. 

ROBLOX - Core Figure Jailbreak Secret Agent / RRP: £7.99 - Bring the popular Jailbreak game to life with this Jailbreak Secret Agent pack. Included within is 1 Figure, Accessories - including a huge parachute, collector's checklist & the exclusive virtual item code that you get with every toy. Already having a Jailbreak set Noah was super excited to receive this one and was throwing him down the stairs with his parachute within minutes.

Last, but not least we have the ROBLOX - Mystery Figure Series 8 / RRP £3.99 - Assemble the ultimate Roblox toy collection with these iconic characters from your favourite games! There are a dozen new figures from Series 8 and each comes with a code for an exclusive virtual item that can be redeemed on Roblox. Noah has a soft spot for mystery toys however, he decided to set one aside for a competition! All toys are suitable for children from 5 years old, available to view online at Jazwares, and are available at a multitude of different shops, online and in-store. To enter the competition for a Roblox Mystery Figure simply use the Gleam form below.

Roblox Series 8 Mystery Figure

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who will win the prize mentioned above.
2. Prize provided by me. 
3. Competition ends 30/08/20.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only. 18 years old to enter.

CBeebies Love Monster - TV Show, Books, And More - Review

AD - We were sent these products for the purpose of this review and compensated for our time.

2020 has been such a rollercoaster of a year - the kind of rollercoaster you want to get off or didn't want to go on in the first place. The severity of everything that is happening in the world is a lot to handle and I often look at Noah and Ava and wonder what they must be thinking, and feeling. Life has changed so much for them. There have been times when they've been weepy, frustrated, and confused, or just plain fed up. They miss visiting their family more than anything, so when lockdown eased a few weeks ago it was such a relief to see their grandparents again. Unfortunately, that has all changed again in Lancashire and they are we are no longer allowed to visit family. This sudden decision by the government has sent their emotions into overdrive - they don't understand why they can't see them again. It's resulted in so much frustration, especially for Ava who really can't grasp what is going on, she's only three.

Love Monster is a TV series that helps children learn all about their emotions - what they are and also how to express them. We watched a couple of episodes together this weekend and I have to say that I benefited from it too. It's a reminder that all feelings are ok and shouldn't be labeled as 'good' or 'bad'.

Bouncy Slidey Day was one of our favourite episodes. It opened up a discussion about fear and bravery and how it's easier to be brave with the help of a friend. It was very apt as they both have big changes coming up. Noah is moving up a year in school and Ava finally starts nursery after COVID delayed it somewhat. It also led to a chat about their best friends and how they can't wait to see them again in September - that's if school and nursery reopen.

They both said they wished Love Monsters hometown 'Fluffytown' was real because it looks like such a lovely place to live, filled with dozens of cute characters; Book Cub, the In-Chicks, Delivery Duckling, Tiniest Fluffiest Bunny and, Bad Idea Puppy. It's lovely to get to know each character and see that they have vulnerabilities too.

Love Monster doesn't just end with the TV series - there's are different books to collect too. I think this is brilliant because sometimes you would rather settle down with a book, instead of in front of screens. The illustrations are bold and bright and the stories are so endearing. 

We've read the Perfect Present story a dozen times now - it seems to be the favorite out of the two. It's all about Love Monster and how he doesn't have enough money to buy his friend the present that he wants. He's sad but he comes to the conclusion that the most important gifts are ones made with love - it really is the thought that counts. Ava has taken a shining to this book so much that she even brings it on walks with us.

Included in our package were different Love Monster themed activities; colouring, mazes, spot the difference, painting, mask making, seed planting, and more. Ava often helps me garden and enjoys painting so she had her plant pot decorated and cress seeds planted in no time. I love how this activity is a little nod back to the Plant a Seed Day episode - which focuses on patience and how growing plants is so rewarding.

Ava can't stop talking about "lub monster" and how she wants to give him a big hug. He's such a sweet and caring character and the TV series and books are so charming and endearing - I'd definitely recommend Love Monster to all parents, grandparents, and carers out there. Love Monster is our new friend. You can watch episodes every weekday on Cbeebies or on-demand on BBC iplayer.