Henry Hugglemonster’s Roarsome Scooter review

This week we’ve been reviewing the new Henry Hugglemonster’s Roarsome Scooter.

               Roarsome!

                             Roarsome!

Golden Bear has just launched this great little toy as part of their new range based on the hit Disney show, Henry Hugglemonster. Henry is the middle child in the Hugglemonster family, a close knit but madcap family, and the increasingly popular Disney Junior series follows the five year old’s daily life and the ups and downs he faces.

So, on to the toy – it’s really cute and feels nice and robust in little hands. Arthur enjoyed making him scoot along and I was impressed how well it balanced. You can also detach Henry from his scooter for more play.

      Henry Hugglemonster

               Henry Hugglemonster

I like the fact this cute little chap is wearing a helmet and Arthur was quite taken with it asking: “ Can me have a hat like Henry.” When you press his tummy he has some set phrases, including his trademark: ‘ Roarsome’ which Arthur found hilarious and after scooting him around for a while, spend ages just sitting down pressing his tummy!

All in all, he’s really well made, robust and a great toy for boys and girls and at £14.99 it’s not a crazy price for a good toy.

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An introvert you say? No way!

I’m an introvert. There I’ve said it.

I’ve tried to hide it for years, behind cupboards, under mattresses, anywhere I can get away from people and I think I’ve been rather successful.

But I think it’s about time I fessed up. I’d love to be the extrovert people seem sure I am but I’m not. This week, after the millionth wanky psychometric test at work I was resigned to everyone looking, incredulous, as I, once again said: “ Yes, I am in introvert.”
“But how can that be” they all wailed as their extroverted lack of personal space awareness left me cornered. “Well, um, I just am, I love people but I love my own company so much too. I recharge by being on my own blah blah blah.”
“But you seem so lively and outgoing.”

Well guess what extroverts – you don’t have the monopoly on that. Well, ok maybe you do but not all the time.

It’s a shameful tag for someone working in the world of communications but us introverts are so misunderstood. We don’t sit in corners cowering at social interaction. We don’t necessarily have trouble speaking to people and, while I can’t speak for everyone, I’m usually the first person on the dance floor. There are many occasions I’ve channelled my introvert into all manner of groovy shapes, fuelled with vodka and gin. I don’t have permanently damp hands and a slight hint of body odour. I don’t think, oh god perhaps I do….I do have an unhealthy level of inappropriate angst.

 I am aware of these and give myself a good hard slap every now and again.
But the truth is I find it all very exhausting. I love going out but if I’ve been out I need time on my own. When Jonathan works away I’m not filled with fear and dread but a warm feeling of being by myself.

It always seems cooler to be an extrovert – someone fearless in the face of new people – someone unfazed by more than two social engagements a week. How freeing to not need a darkened room and a good book on prescription. But after years of keeping my introversion to myself I’m going to shout (but not for too long) about it. Here are the positives:

    • It means I’m reflective and take time to think things through
    • I never get lonely
    • I get to know people slowly
    • I choose friends wisely and those I spend time with are hugely important as they are not one of 1000
    • I like me. I think I’m good company and that’s what I spend so much time with myself!

So, here I am, an introvert. Time for a sleep.

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Nude dancing and mould cleaning – make it count!

This weekend was a simple affair – walks; cycle rides, a little toddler rugby and unexpected time with all three of us as a family.

The big boy was supposed to be working but last minute changes meant he was at home instead. Lovely. Well I say lovely now but at the time I felt a little annoyed his plans meant mine would change.

I was also annoyed there was some paint peeling in the bathroom, totally pissed off our bathroom sink tap wasn’t working properly and basically huffing and moaning my way through Thursday. I did get my period Friday so that explains some of the ridiculous angst but still, come on I was a whinging old cow until I decided to snap out of it and stop sweating the small stuff.

For someone who likes to worry continuously about most things not sweating the small stuff is like asking a toddler not to overreact when you ask him to remove his rucksack – a little specific I know but you get the gist. I made a conscious effort to stop whinging about things that really don’t matter. Never will I lie on my death bed filled with sorrow for the lost moment I could have retouched the bathroom paint. Never will I wish I’d nagged Jonathan more or hurried Arthur up because I needed to do something.

That’s the full stop that counts. Never ever will I wish I’d made him walk faster or talk less. I don’t want to read books to him a little quicker than I should because my mind’s on hoovering – that’s shameful. It might be a little clichéd but hell, I’m up for a bit of soul-searching mind clearing cliché if it does my family some good.

So this weekend I did tell myself to shut up and I gritted my teeth when the house looked like an incompetent toy burglar had ransacked the house. Maybe because I was whinging less, miraculously Jonathan retouched the paint in the bathroom and never even mentioned it once.

Arthur’s favourite thing at the moment is to strip off and dance in the nude to Pharrell’s ‘Happy’. It’s bloody hilarious and instead of letting him do it for a while then worrying he was cold or might need a wee I just left him. Eventually, after laughing himself silly he stopped, got dressed and came and sat on my lap. Tantrum avoided too. His happiness is not wrapped up in social expectation or served with a side order if middle-class guilt. It’s as it is, plain and joyous and devoid of all life stuff. To capture and remember it just for a few moments is a tonic – one I’ve overlooked too many times.

I always have a Sunday list of house things I need to do, including soul-sucking things like washing, ironing, fridge cleaning – or this week’s particular gem. ‘remove mould from shower grouting’. So from now on, I’ll do these things when I can. I won’t turn into a whinging old hag on a Friday when things and plans change and I will make moments count.

If it’s a toss up between nude dancing and mould cleaning I know what I’ll be doing from now on!

Sk:n – tattoo removal

I’ve always been scared of tattoos – not the way they look, they can be amazing. It’s the fact they are there, permanently, relentless and subject to the ages process just like the rest of us!

I often think how I would feel if, along with the belly button piercing I got at 18, I’d also gone through with the bird tattoo on my ankle. I can still see it clearly, a blue bird with stars around it. And guess what – I absolutely hate it now! A good friend of mine did go through with it and now wears her pink flower and snake shoulder tattoo with wincing embarrassment.

There is hope though with companies such as Sk:n  offering effective tattoo laser removal . It’s much more effective then removal creams and other more invasive treatments and uses lasers to breakdown the ink pigments in the skin. According to their site and much of their customer feedback on there, it’s not painful but there is a tingling, slightly burning sensation and you can be left with red skin. But this usually goes completely after six months – so preferrable to the tattoo you are trying to get rid of!

Laser-Tattoo-removal-at-Skin_page_image

I guess one of the biggest barriers to laser removal is the actual tattoo removal cost  and at Sk:n they do offer courses so you can actually save up to 25% on a course of 8. As it takes several to get rid of the tattoo it’s a cost effective way of dealing with your unwanted tattoo.

Sk:n, as the name suggests, is a skin specialist with years of experience dealing with all kinds of skin problems from the fairly common laughter line to laser hair removal, skin tag removal and microdermabrasion. They have loads of articles on their site so you can get more of an understanding about the treatments they offer and hear what customers have said about their experiences.

So, if you’re looking right now, at that little mistake on your arm from 20 years ago – then Sk:n might just be the perfect place to start.

 

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BeWILDerwood – a magical family day out

There are some places that hold special memories in your heart. For me BeWILDerwood is definitely one of those.
I started going when Arthur was tiny and not even a fully fledged Twiggle! So when I was lucky enough to review this lovely place again I jumped at the chance.

All together we were a group of four families all with children around three, with one nearly five and a one-year old.we had picnics and buggies and children with a lot of energy to burn!

From the lovely man on the entrance to the magical new Boggle Houses ( you’ll know what I mean when you go!), the whole place is about sparking little people’s imaginations. Encouraging them to play and explore and enter a world of make believe in which they can be main characters.

Magical Twiggle houses

Magical Twiggle houses

We took the boat into the BeWILDerwood and Arthur and his friends loved hearing about the Twiggles in the trees and the Boggles down in the marshes. Everyone, including the adults got a big surprise when Mildred the vegetarian crocodile sprayed everyone with water!

It was relatively quiet and the sun was beautiful when we arrived so everything was looking good. We spent ages on the slides and I managed to sustain a slight slide-related injury. My own fault I might add, should have kept my feet in the bag!

            Sliding around!

Sliding around!

The children loved the wooden rope bridges, witches house and wonderful zip wires especially for children. Every time you look up you can spy tiny houses painted in bright colours and I even saw some tiny Twiggles socks hung out to dry – it’s this attention to detail which makes it extra special too.

Zip wire fun!

Zip wire fun!

The story telling is also a favourite and the children loved dressing up as Boggles and Twiggles and listening to how you make real marshy marshmallows! BeWILDerwood was borne out of the books by local author, Tom Blofeld and you can feel this wonderful world spilling out of the pages and into your child’s world.

There is also a fantastic free play area for den making and Arthur and his friends built a magical house complete with seating and a barbecue outside. It’s so lovely to see the world through their eyes and places like this really bring this home.

There’s a great Toddlewood area too, for some gentler play for tiny ones where they can build sand castles and explore their own little houses which are not quite so high in the trees.

We stopped to have our picnic and could see a fire being lit. I went to have a look and to my utter joy realised it was a special wishing fire where children could find a pine cone on the floor – of which there are an abundance. Then make a wish before throwing the pine cone down the magic shoot and into the fire. Oh god, as a little girl I would have completely exploded with excitement!

               Make a wish

Make a wish

There are loads of places to sit and eat, whether you buy stuff or want to picnic. There’s even a lovely nursing area which offers feeding mums somewhere discreet to go should they want to.

We had an amazing day, it was relaxed, and full of wonderful play in one of my favourite places in Norfolk. I really can’t recommend it enough. Obviously it’s man made but it feels as though it’s just grown out of the trees. There were children of all ages there when we went and it seems to appeal to everyone -including the adults!

Tesco Finest award-winning Easter

When Tesco offered me a chance to review some of their Easter goodies, well, it would’ve been rude not to. I love Easter chocolate, the crack of the shell, the promise of more deliciousness inside and generally the fact it appears in your house in abundance.
This year
Tesco’s Finest* Medley of Belgian Chocolate Easter Eggs, £25 has cracked it by beating luxury rivals to take the title of Good Housekeeping Easter Egg of the Year. This is the second year running that Tesco has won the coveted award.
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I was intrigued, it wasn’t your standard one egg with something inside business. Oh no, this was revved up, cooking on gas, steroid injected Easter egg.

It looks fantastic, almost too good to eat. But I quickly got over this and sat back to enjoy the ride. It really is special and I guess that’s why it beat big names like Harrods to the top spot. It has white, milk and dark chocolate and while not too thin, it had a good crack and felt high quality from the start.

Small boy tried the white choc bit and I had some milk chocolate. I loved the coconut pieces and it’s not something I’ve tried before in an Easter egg and they were scrummy! There are also raspberry and butterscotch pieces but I didn’t get in quick enough to try these. It both got the thumbs with the raspberry bits being described as ‘properly raspberry’.

I’ll admit I’m not a huge dark chocolate fan, I don’t mind a little but it can be overpowering. So over to big boy in the house again, who said: ” Yep, that works.” A ringing endorsement.

It’s not a cheap choice but it feels special and indulgent and each element is well thought through and delicious so for someone special I’d definitely give this the thumbs up. It’s also a great choice for a family as there is something for everyone. It comes in a rather lovely wooden box too – it adds a little something and just shows you don’t have to go too far afield to find something that feels ‘high end’.

It’s not just their eggs either, this year Tesco Finest hot cross buns came out as winners too. They won the Good Housekeeping Hot Cross Bun tasting with their finest* 4 Hot Cross Buns. These come in at £1.70 and while you can get them cheaper these were gorgeous, lots of fruit and easily eaten without butter and weren’t dry at all. Arthur loves hot cross buns and when these ran out he had a full on melt down – praise indeed!

There was a hint of spice which I enjoyed and they didn’t have loads of dried peel instead of fruit, something I’ve found in buns from other supermarkets.

So, would I buy them, the hot cross buns definitely and I’ve already bought some more for the freezer. The Easter egg? Well, I just hope someone buys it for me – hint hint.

Birthday Bonanza and why I’m licking windows

Currently I am lying, like a spatchcocked chicken, across my desk willing 5.30pm to come around so I can limp home and die.
birthdayboypic

This maybe a little meoldramatic granted – but in truth I’m bloody knackered and looking forward to Monday coming to a close. This weekend has been Arthur’s 3rd birthday weekend and it’s been filled with fun, parties, family and lots of lovely friends. It has been wonderful and spanned Thursday to Sunday with delicious aplomb but I’m clearly too overwhemed by the whole weekend to go into detail.
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birthdayblog1I also suffered a rather severe slide-related bum injury and as such can’t sit at a computer typing for long for fear of never standing upright again. So here are some photos and I’ll be back once I’ve regained full consciousness and stopped licking the windows.

Who the bloody hell am I?! #AllAboutYou

On my way to work this morning I decided to email the head of the local school to complain about the children walking along, four deep, and blocking my way. I was incensed and even my loud huffing did nothing to move their steely resolve to walk in my path.

Oh god, I can almost feel the descent of middle age weighing heavy on my shoulders.  So far I haven’t emailed but it might be just a matter of time. Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote to the council to complain about the amount of dog pooh on my road. A valid point you may argue but as I was writing a little voice inside was saying ‘ You’ll end up like  one of those Alan Bennett characters, thick with pathos and never ever taken seriously again’.

Sorry Alan – I love your work but I don’t want to be it.

I’ve also bought two air fresheners for my office because, well because, it just doesn’t smell too great. I’m beginning to concede, air fresheners, angry letters to councils and emails to schools does not a cool carefree girl make.

So what the bloody hell am I?

Before I head off into an Alan Bennett stage production never to be seen again I wanted to spend a few moment s thinking about it.

This week I:

  • Read my home insurance policy document because I wasn’t sure what was covered under accidental damage.
  • I saved my bread crusts to make bread crumbs to make ‘nice’ chicken nuggets.
  • I drank ridiculous amounts of alcohol on Saturday night and danced – I also, embarrassingly, threw up!
  • I bought a Flash mark eraser because they were on offer for 99P
  • I told a driver to f*** off and gave him the middle finger
  • I smoked one solitary cigarette during drunken Saturday night antics ( and I loved it and it might have been two)

This list is far from exhaustive – I did manage to wash, eat and dress myself and Arthur – I’m nothing if not a multi-tasker.

So I think what I’m saying is I’m either a middle-aged woman who likes to get drunk or a thirty-something mum warding off middle-age. Or perhaps I’m neither or a bit of both and that’s ok. I just need to make peace with this slightly schizophrenic scarf wearing, drunken insurance expert.

Right, I’m off to construct a very angry email – pass me the gin.

Mother.Wife.Me