My Family

My Family

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Chad Valley Design a Friend Styling Head Doll #Review

Chad Valley Design a Friend Styling Head Doll Review 


As part of the Chad Valley Play Panel we get to review some of their awesome toys. This month we've been playing with their Chad Valley Design a Friend Styling Head Doll. 

Lily has already got several of the Design a Friend dolls from the Argos collection which she loves, you may have seen our last Chad Valley review post about her newest doll Tiffany. 

The styling head doll is a very different kind of doll to the other ones though as it's more of a styling and make over toy whereas they're more lifelike. Lily's never had a styling head before although she has asked for one several times, I was just never sure about them. I kind of thought they'd just make a mess and then get left in a corner abandoned after being played with once. So this month Lily got her wish and got her first styling head.


The first thing I really liked about this toy is that it pretty much came straight out of the boy all ready to play. There wasn't loads of ties to undo, just two and one string to cut free. Inside the box you'll find your pretty Design a Friend styling head and shoulders on a heart shaped stand. The doll has a naturally pretty face and long blonde hair which comes ready bunched in pigtails. The stand has several spaces in it for the make up and hair accessories to go. Included are: 4 eye shadow colours with applicator, 6 coloured hair braids, a lip stick, a lip gloss, a hair band, 4 glitter hair stickers and a hair brush. You do get quite a lot to play with included but you can always use your own hair accessories and bobbles too.


Lily loves brushing her hair and changing her hair styles daily. One day she might have her hair down and straight and then the next she may have a crazy plaited braided style. It's a great way for Lily to practice doing her own hair as even though she'd 9 years old now, she still struggles to do her own hair. I'm hoping that after a few more weeks of playing with this, she might get the hang of it and actually start trying to do her own which would be great.

The make up included can be used either on the doll or on yourself. Lily likes to give them matching looks, the other day they had matching pink eye shadow with pretty pink lipstick. 

The Chad Valley Design a Friend Styling Head Doll is a lovely toy. Lily really enjoys playing with her and she hasn't yet ended up in a corner like I had feared so that's great news. You'll be happy to know that the doll is easy to clean as the make up wipes off really easily. I don't let Lily have too  much make up so this set has been a real treat for her and she's loved it. 


I'm happy to say that the Design a Friend Styling Head doll has been a hit with both of us, She's a very pretty doll with lovely long hair just waiting for a new style and hair do every day. Lily's had lots of fun playing with her and I've had lots of peace and quiet whilst she was. Any toy that can keep Lily quiet and happy for a while, gets a thumbs up from me.

Disclosure: We received our Chad Valley Design a Friend Styling Head Doll for free for the purpose of this review but all the opinions expressed within it are 100& our own and honest.

Oral-B GENIUS 9000 Rose Gold Electric Toothbrush #Review

Oral-B GENIUS 9000 Rose Gold Electric Toothbrush


Christmas gifts for me are all about the things that people want but necessarily wouldn't want to buy them self. Maybe for money reasons or personal reasons but whatever the reason, this is where I come in. Christmas gifts can be both practical and magical. You don't have to spend a small fortune to make someone's day and you don't have to buy diamonds.

We each have an electric toothbrush in our house, my kids get new ones for their Birthday's or for Christmas as they can be quite pricey if not in the sales. This past few weeks I have been reviewing the Oral-B GENIUS 9000 Rose Gold Electric Toothbrush from Boots.  

First of all, it's so pretty as it's rose gold which is very unusual but also very nice. This is no ordinary toothbrush though as it has so many weird and wonderful features, it's pretty cool.


The Limited Rose Gold Oral-B Genius 9000 in Rose Gold is the latest and most glamorous addition to the GENIUS smart toothbrush range. With it’s 3D whitening brush, which the shape of a dental professional’s tool to gently polish away surface stains, revealing a perfect white smile. The unique triple pressure sensor technology alerts you if you are over brushing and a revolutionary combination of cutting-edge motion sensor technology in the brush, called ‘Position Detection’ guides you to a perfect clean smile with no zone missed.

This is Oral-B’s most premium brush ever. it features: a new handle design, longer battery life, an LED SmartRing customisable in 12 colours and a Travel Case that not just charges your toothbrush, but also your smartphone too which is so clever and pretty cool. It features 6 modes: Pro Clean, Daily Clean, Sensitive, Tongue Cleaning, Whitening, and Gum Care.

With a dentist-inspired round head and superior oscillating-rotating and pulsating technology, it is clinically proven to provide superior cleaning and whiter teeth starting from Day 1. Many people press too hard when they brush, but how do you know if you are brushing too hard? This new GENIUS 9000 features an automatic speed reduction, which alerts you and slows down the brushing speed if you brush too hard. How clever is that!


What's inside the box?
  • 1 GENIUS connected handle with 6 modes
  • 4 brush heads
  • Premium travel case
  • Upgraded charger
  • Refill holder and Smartphone holder


I happily swapped my old Oral B electric toothbrush for this new much prettier and much smarter version and am so glad that I did. Brushing has never been so quick and easy. 

Not only does it clean my teeth really well but it packs away nicely so I can take it everywhere and anywhere I want too. I love the smart charging case that charges your phones as well as the toothbrush. It's made brushing on the go so much easier and much more discreet. Now if I want to take my toothbrush with me, I just pop it into the travel case and off we go. I've never had anything rose gold before but now I love the colour. It looks so lovely sat on my bathroom window shelf next to the less pretty other ones that belong to my family. My daughter's have been so jealous over this toothbrush, they all want one now.

If you're looking for the perfect Christmas gift for your Mum, Sister or maybe even Best Friend then this could be it! It's not only practical and useful but so pretty and clever too.

This toothbrush is exclusive to Boots and used to cost £280.00 but it's currently on sale for just £99.99 which is a huge saving of £180. You can't ask for much better than that.

I love this toothbrush and definatley won't be going back to my old one, no way.

Disclosure: I received my Oral B Toothbrush for free in return for an honest review.

Family Fun Time this week was in the form of a Pate Party - Castle MacLellan pate #Review

Family Fun Time this week was in the form of a Pate Party - Castle MacLellan pate review.


Family time can be anything from watching a movie to playing a board game. For us this week our family time was spent doing something a little bit different as we had a pate party. 

I love pate but don't have it too much throughout the year so I tend to go a little over board at Christmas time. If we're having Christmas Dinner Starters or Starters in general then I will always go for the pate option as I just love it so much. The other options are usually Prawn Cocktails or Soups which I'm not a fan of either so it's always got to be the pate for me.


I'd not heard of Castle MacLellan pate before so we were excited to try it. I must admit that when 5 pots of it arrived, I was over the moon and way too excited to get stuck in. I didn't want to buy too much fancy bread so I opted for a simple box of assorted crackers. Daddy, Chloe and I tried each of the pate's and have to say we did have a great time doing so.

There are five different pate's available to choose from: 
  • Chicken Liver Pate: A smooth, rich and creamy chicken liver pate enhanced with the sweetness of Scottish heather honey.
  • Orkney Crab and Scottish Smoked Salmon Terrine: A delicious dual layered Orkney crab terrine and Scottish Smoked Salmon terrine enriched with full fat soft cheese, crème fraiche and lemon juice.
  • Smoked Salmon Pate: This pate is a blend of smoked and poached salmon, enriched with cream, lemon juice and horseradish.
  • Oven Roasted Mushroom Pate: A rich, creamy, oven roasted mushroom pate made with full fat soft cheese and créme fraiche, and seasoned with a hint of garlic and thyme.
  • Rannoch Smoked Duck Pate: A deliciously smooth duck liver pate with pieces of Rannoch smoked duck, complimented with locally produced Bramley apple jelly and aromatic tarragon.


Each was very different and had it's own good and bad points. I don't like mushrooms that I skipped that one but Daddy however loved that one and chose that as his favourite out of the five. Chloe chose the duck pate as her favourite and almost ate the whole pot. My favourite had to be the chicken liver as that one was just so rich and delicious. There's a flavour for everyone and a texture to suit all too. Some were totally smooth whereas others were more chunky. I don't mind the difference in textures as I love both smooth and chunky.


We had lots of fun trying out all the delicious flavours of pate from Castle MacLellan. It was a tough job but someone had to do it. Nothing beats an evening of pate tasting in front of the TV with the family. It's almost my perfect night in, just minus the bubbly champagne.

Did I enjoy the pate? Yes, each one was unique and enjoyable but would I go out of my way to buy it instead of my usual supermarket brand? No, I don't think I would. Maybe I'm just a creature of habit or maybe I just prefer to grab it off the shelves as and when I pass by.

Overall, we had a lovely time trying them all out and did enjoy the tastes and flavours.

Disclosure: We received our pate samples for free in return for an honest review.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Tonka Diecast Emergency Three pack #Review

Tonka Diecast Emergency Three pack 


Kids can now re-create their own emergency adventures with the full range of Tonka Die-Cast. The UK Emergency range, contains an Ambulance, Fire Engine and Police Car, which echo the exact colours and markings of the real-life emergency teams! They're very collectable so kids can collect the whole fleet and stop a disaster from happening right in their own bedrooms! They may be small in size but they sure are mighty in playing power with a Tonka Tough lifetime guarantee. Tonka toys are build to last and made for getting dirty!


The Tonka Diecast Emergency Three pack costs £11.99 which for a set of toys that will last a lifetime is a pretty good price. We have several of the larger Tonka trucks which Ryan loves to play with but when he saw this little set, he was so excited as now he had some that were the perfect size for playing with indoors. They're fantastic pocket sized treats.

Ryan loves pushing them around on his own little adventures, well someone's got to save the town. He's pretty rough with his toys, we've had cars in the past where wheels have fallen off or whole cars have broken apart when dropped. I can happily say that these three little fellas have been well and truly tested as they've been dropped, thrown, stood on and more. All three of them are still in perfect working order and still ready to be played with.


Not only are they fun to play with but they're pretty cool to look at too. When they're not bust driving around saving the town, they're parked up on the window ledge for show. 

Ryan is very happy with them and has great fun playing with them all so far. They'd make great stocking fillers for Christmas for any toy car or Emergency Vehicle lover.


Disclosure: We are apart of Tonka Tough Mums, this review is one of our tasks.

Drayton's Magical Christmas is now open! #Review

Drayton's Magical Christmas is now open! 


Drayton's Magical Christmas opened it's doors to the public this weekend and we we were lucky enough to be there on the opening day. The sun may have been shining a little but Drayton Manor was very much a Christmas wonderland as we were surrounded by beautiful snow covered decorations and Thomas Land characters throughout the park. 

We were invited to make Christmas food parcels for some of the Zoo animals which I have to say was very enjoyable. Lily made an edible wreath for the Lima's and Ryan made a Sweet Potato Bauble for the Tamarin. Some children also made Maggot filled presents for the Meerkats. Once we'd made our gifts we got to then visit the animals to watch them open them. My 3 loved this activity and practically followed the Staff member until it was all over.


After visiting the our Zoo friends we stopped by to say hello to the Reindeer who were happily resting before their big day with Santa. The best thing about being in Drayton Manor Park in the winter is that the queues are very small or non existent even as we got to ride the Ben 10 Roller coaster 7 times in less than half an hour which was awesome fun. All my three love the Ben 10 ride but have only been on it once before as it always has a huge queue in the summer months as it's a very popular children's ride. I know, we all love it!

All of the Thomas Land rides were open and covered in a pretty dusting of snow as Thomas Land had several snow fall showers throughout the day. Thomas himself was all dressed up and looking great. There were Bell Ringing shows and lots of musical things going on around us too. Thomas Land was in full swing and looking very magical filled with smiling faces every where. It's not only pretty in the daylight though as it's even prettier by night.


After all the excitement of the rides we got to take some time out and sit down for 15 minutes to enjoy the 4D Cinema Experience which was The Polar Express. I'm a huge fan of the 4D cinema so this was a must see for me and I'm so glad we made time to fit it in. The show was magical, there was snow flutters, moving seats and even water splashing. The shows run every half hour or so throughout the day so do stop by and watch it.

After such a fun few hours, we headed off to see Santa as we'd saved the best until last. Santa's Elfs are very friendly and talk to the children whilst you're waiting to see the big man himself. Santa was fantastic, he looked amazing and was so good with the kids. He talked to them for a good 10 minutes and made them feel really welcome. I've never seen a Santa say 'Respect' with a Fist Bump before but my kids thought it was amazing. We had our photograph taken but you don't have to purchase that and they do let you take your own which I though was really nice of them. After a good old chat and a promise to tidy their room being made they were each given a Christmas goody bag gift. I have to say that I was really impressed with the contents this year as each child got a huge chocolate coin, an Elf on the Shelf plush bear and a Golden Ticket to return to Drayton Manor next Summer.


We had a wonderful time at Drayton's Magical Christmas and really enjoyed ourselves. 

Drayton's Magical Christmas experience is open from Saturday 19th November for selected dates until Saturday 31st December with selected rides open throughout. Opening times are  9.30am and Ride Opening times are 10.30am. Closing times do change depending on when you visit so please do see the website to find these. Prices are also on the website but if you're planning on going this year, booking in advance will save you quite a lot of money.

Disclosure: We attended the Drayton's Magical Christmas Press Day.

Competition - #Win a £75 Argos Gift Card in Time for Christmas.

Competition - Win a £75 Argos Gift Card
 in Time for Christmas.


You might remember a few weeks back, I told you how we'd joined the Chad Valley Play Panel and were going to be giving away lots of Argos Gift Cards to celebrate. We gave away a £75 Gift Card last month to one very happy winner and now have another one to give away again, just in time for Christmas. So if you would like to win, make sure you enter below using the Rafflecopter Form. You can do as little or as many of the entries as you like.


You can spend your winnings on anything you like. Maybe some new Chad Valley toys for the children or some new bedding for your bedroom. Super cool gadgets for Dad or sweet smelling perfume for a Sister? One lucky winner will be able to spend £75 of Argos Gift Cards on whatever they like and all in time for the big day this Christmas - Good Luck x


Terms & Conditions: One winner will be chosen at random from all the correctly made entries on Sunday December 4th and then contacted by email using the email used to enter. This competition is open to UK only. The Chad Valley Play Panel are providing this prize. 


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Chi Kitchen Birmingham's New Christmas Menu #Review

Chi Kitchen Birmingham's New Christmas Menu


Yesterday was a good day. A friend and I went along to Chi Kitchen Birmingham to check out their brand new Christmas Menu. You may remember I visited Chi Kitchen Birmingham before back in August for my Lunch for Two at Chi Kitchen Birmingham Review

I loved it so much the first time that I just had to go back again and see what was on their Christmas Menu. Last time I took my Mum with me (who loved it) but this time I took a friend of mine. It's always good to hear different people's thoughts to compare to my own, I think.


The Christmas Menu is a 3 course meal consisting of a Starter, Main with Accompaniment and a Dessert. You all get a complimentary glass of Mixed Berry Bellini with our without alcohol. There's a set price of £21.95 per person so it would be £ £43.90 for two.


Every table is brought a lovely bowl of Prawn Crackers with a Sweet Chilli and Soy Sauce Dip whilst you are browsing the menu. They're a pretty tasty was to start your meal.

I'd picked out beforehand what I would have choose from the menu if I'd had to choose and have to say that what I would have chose and what are enjoyed most are not the same.


There are 3 Starters to choose from: Chilli Prawns, Turkey Spring Rolls and Sweet Potato with Mixed Berry Mayonnaise. We got to try all three which was pretty amazing. From looking at the menu I would have choose the Turkey Spring Rolls but actually enjoyed the Sweet Potato the best. Don't get me wrong, everything tasted amazing and looked so good. 

The colours are so vibrant and the textures are delightful. The flavours are a real mix up, you get some sharp tastes but also some really subtle ones. The Chefs do an amazing job.

The Turkey Spring Rolls were delicious and packed full of Turkey which was great. On the side was a Sweet Chill dip which suited them perfectly. The Chilli Prawns looked really good, but as I don't eat prawns I got my friend to try them for me. She's not a huge prawn lover herself but really enjoyed them. She said the flavours were really nice and not too spicy seeing as they're made with chilli. The Sweet Potato was surprisingly my favourite starter out of the three. Usually I don't like sweet potato as it's too soft and I miss that crunch of a normal potato chip which is where these were spot on. The sweet potato was coated in a crisp light batter that didn't take away from the flavours but added an amazing texture.


Again there are 3 Mains to choose from: Turkey Insal, Salmon Teriyaki and Vegetable Nyonya Curry. Each one tasted delicious and looked so colourful. From the menu I would have chose the Turkey Insal as I often go for the white meat option but after tasting all three, the Vegetable Nyonya Curry came out on top for me. Both the Turkey and the Salmon were beautifully cooked. The turkey sauce was like a soy based sauce which was quite subtle, pairing really well with the turkey whereas the Salmon's sauce was much richer and stronger in flavour. I'm not a huge fan of Salmon and would never order it through choice if I'm honest but I did try a few mouthfuls and it was pretty tasty. Crispy on the outside but soft and flaky on the inside. The curry was beautiful in both colours and tastes. It was quite spicy but it was a nice spice. It didn't burn your mouth but gave the curry great depth to it.


There's a choice of two accompaniments: Egg Fried Rice with Snow Peas or Salt and Pepper Chips. The rice was light and fluffy and cooked to perfection. There was nice chunky sized pieces of egg in it so it was proper Egg Fried Rice. The Salt and Pepper Chips were again cooked really well and seasoned just right. I loved the chips and almost ate the whole bowl. I scooped a few spoonfuls of rice and chips onto my plate and covered them in the curry and was more than happy. I think I repeated that move a few more times as I was enjoying it so much. I loved both of the side dishes but if I did have to choose just one then I think I'd go for the Salt and Pepper Chips as they just had that flavour edge for me.


There are 2 Desserts to choose from: Walnut Chocolate Brownie with Clotted Cream and Custard and Apple Gyoza with Vanilla Ice Cream. When I looked at the menu, straight away I wanted the Chocolate Brownie. I always order the chocolate option no matter where I am.

The Walnut Chocolate Brownie was very smooth and practically melted in my mouth. The ice cream and custard gave you plenty of flavours to enjoy with it. It was decorated so nicely with a strawberry on one side and a raspberry on the other. The plate was further decorated with white chocolate sticks and white chocolate patterns too. It really was a pretty dessert.

I had no idea what to expect when I saw Apple Gyoza but I have to say they were amazing!
They were sweet little dumplings filled with warm apple slices. I've never tried anything quite like these before but have to say they really stole the show and were the highlight of my whole meal. That warm apple mixed with that sugary pastry and then with that ice cream. I was in total food heaven! I would go back again just for those alone, they're that good.

My friend and I had such a lovely time and felt so spoilt as all of the staff there were just lovely. Everyone was so friendly and helpful and really made us feel welcome throughout our visit. Hopefully I've converted another family member/friend into a Chi Kitchen fan.

As of Black Friday (Friday November 25th) Chi Kitchen Birmingham will be open a little later than usual as the Birmingham Bullring opens for it's later evenings for Christmas. Last orders will be taken at 9.15pm and then the restaurant will then close at 10pm most days.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Christmas meal for the purpose of this review.