Thursday, 8 December 2016

Classic Tiny Tears Doll has had a Makeover

If you're a regular reader of my blog then you will know by now that Eva is a big fan of baby dolls and playing mummy, so we were very grateful to be asked if we would like to review the Classic Tiny Tears doll. 



Tiny Tears is one of the original baby doll brands. In fact you may have had one when you were a child. She celebrated her 50th anniversary last year which we were lucky enough to be a part of. If you can't remember the review we wrote then have a read here, Tiny Tears 50th Anniversary Doll.

She is back fresh from her celebrations and with a brand new look. Tiny Tears has had a makeover. She now features a new dress which is specifically designed for Tiny Tears. She is made for children aged between 3-6 so perfect for Eva's age.



When she arrived Eva was thrilled. She came with a bottle, potty, new dress, knickers, dummy and a hairbrush. She can drink her bottle, cry and use the potty.

The first thing that caught Eva's eye, much to my surprise, was not her pretty new dress but her lovely long hair. She instantly wanted to brush it. She spent the best part of an hour grooming her and popping lots of various clips and bobbles in from her own collection.

Her new dress and hairband are lovely. They make her look more like a toddler than a young baby which is what I think Eva likes about her. She has a newborn looking doll which she just feeds and changes the nappy with but with this one she she does more 'grown up' things. She plays games with her and also tries to teach her things which I think is really cute.

She also uses a lot of imaginative/role play and uses both her Tiny Tears dolls together. She calls them sisters. They are like real sisters. They quite often fight but they love each other really. I love a child's imagination.



Eva has been really happy with her new Tiny Tears. I would have liked to have seen her have a new function but then again that would take away from her 'classic' features. The fact that she's not an all singing, all dancing doll teaches Eva to use her imagination more.

The new doll is available from all good retailers and you can find out more about her here, Tiny Tears Classic.

If you are on twitter then make sure to get involved with the #tinytearsparty where you could win lots of prizes.






SaveSaveSaveSave
SHARE:

The Christmas Blogger Interview - What The Redhead Said

Next up to feature on my Christmas Blogger Interview series is Donna from http://whattheredheadsaid.com/




1 - Do you have any family Christmas traditions?

When Hubby and I got together we had traditions that we'd both carried on from growing up with our individual families but once the children came along we decided to start our own traditions based on our experiences.

Each year we all get new pyjamas on Christmas Eve and a new Christmas movie to watch. It's when Christmas really starts for us and Christmas Eve ends with the children leaving a mince pie and a drink out for Father Christmas and a carrot for Rudolph. 
In our house Father Christmas leaves all the presents downstairs under the tree - and maybe stockings hanging from the fireplace but nothing upstairs. He also uses a magic key as we don't have a proper chimney.

2 - What’s your ultimate Christmas movie?

My favourite is still Santa Claus the Movie, one I have loved since I was small and one I will never tire of watching. I love it's classic Christmas charm and how it modernises the original story of Saint Nicholas. But, as a family we now love The Polar Express. Hubby and I watched it at London's Imax in 3D when it first came out and we introduced the children to it at the very first opportunity! A modern Christmas classic. 

3 - What 3 songs would be top of your festive playlist?

I love Chris Rea, Driving Home for Christmas. Every year when I've been at work for Christmas this has come on the radio when I've left the office on Christmas Eve and it always makes me feel quite emotional - there's nothing like being with your closest people over the festive season.

Another favourite is Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. No specific version but it's on most Christmas albums and it always has a feel good, happy feeling to it.

Lastly, All I Want For Christmas. It reminds me of Love Actually - another lovely Christmas movie. The song is just so nice, and has so much hope and honesty in it. I love it.

4 - Are you an online shopper or do you go to the actual stores?

I mostly do shopping online but I put money aside each month towards Christmas and shop in the sales through the year so usually, by December, I just have stocking fillers left to get and they're much easier to buy from the shops so I usually have a festive shopping trip, revolving around plenty of tea and cake stops, purely to get the little bits and pieces you can't really get online.

5 - Do you make shopping lists or buy things when you see something nice?

Through the year I just buy things I think people, especially the children, would like but closer to Christmas I work out who I still have things left to buy for and write a list to make sure everyone has a gift they'll love at Christmas.

6 - Do you send Christmas cards?

I do! We have another tradition of having photo based Christmas cards where we take a nice family picture or a festive photo of the children and send it to everyone. It's a bit American and a bit cheesey but I love it. We keep one for the memory box too. 

7 - Do you have an elf on the shelf? What do you do with it?

No, I don't. Each to their own but we'll never have an elf in our house - I have enough to do in December without an elf to think about too! :)

8 - Do you have chocolate advent calendars or something else?

Usually we have a homemade advent calendar, with pockets that I fill with chocolate coins or anything else little that I can find. But, this year, due to us being in the middle of having an extension, we're gone down the very commercial route and the children have Playmobil advent calendars. But, they also have really cheap chocolate ones as all their friends had chocolate ones and I know, even though they have a new toy each morning, they would have been disappointed without chocolate too. 

9 - Do you do a Christmas eve box? If so what’s in it?

I do! We have a hamper that I fill each year and it usually has in it new pyjamas, a new Christmas movie and we put Santa's special plate and the magic key in it. I also usually buy some Christmas eve treats like special cookies, hot chocolate or cake. 

10 - Do you make any gifts?

No, I'm not the most creative of people - although I love to look at all the creativity on Pinterest!

11 - Do you do any Christmas crafts?

Not really... We usually get Christmas colouring packs, colour in stocking and other simple things but nothing too creative really. 

12 - If you could only eat 3 things from your Christmas dinner, what would they be?

Oooooh! Pigs in blankets, roast potatoes and honey glazed parsnips. YUM! If I could have gravy on it all too that would be amazing. I could eat Christmas dinner all year round if given the chance.

13 - What’s your favourite festive tipple?

Baileys. I absolutely love opening the Baileys through December and enjoying it in the evenings.

14 - Where are you spending Christmas this year?

Due to our extension we're off to Hubby's parents' house - and I'm really looking forward to it. We're staying their Christmas Day night and so we can really relax and have a nice family day.

15 - If you could go to any Christmas market in the world where would you go?

I've been to Bath and Winchester so many times and they always put me in the Christmas spirit. It would be fantastic to go to one abroad and I've heard great things about the ones in Germany so it would be somewhere there.


Thank you to Donna for taking part. I'm so pleased to hear you still send cards. There's not many people that still do which is a shame. 

You can find Donna on the following social media by clicking on the links:
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

SHARE:

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Father Christmas at Hamleys Cardiff

We were recently invited to the launch of meeting Father Christmas at Hamleys in Cardiff. This was an offer we couldn't refuse as Hamleys is a fantastic place when you're a child so I knew Eva would love to meet the big man himself there. I'd also heard some very good reviews about the experience last year so I was keen to visit to see how it compares with others around Cardiff. 

Myself, husband, Eva and Ophelia all attended along with lots of my Welsh blogger friends and their families.

The experience started as soon as we walked through the store entrance. Much to Eva's amusement we were greeted by some Elves who handed the girls their name stickers and also had a chat with them about Santa and the grotto to build up their excitement. 

The Elves told us that in order to meet Santa (in the party room) we had to form a line and sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer all the way to the back of the shop. This confused quite a lot of the shoppers although lots of them also joined in the merriment and sang along.

Once we got to the door we discovered it was locked. Luckily after a lot of shouting of the magic word and also sprinkling some magic dust, the door opened into the beautifully decorated, festive room.


There was a large Christmas tree, fireplace, Santa's chair, wreaths and other festive decor. The room is quite small but it's still lovely. You can't hear anything from the store whilst in there which I was very surprised and impressed at.





Before Santa arrived the kids were invited to decorate some cookies. Eva loved being able to do this. 



After that the main doors opened and Santa arrived much to everybody's excitement. I have to admit I was quite emotional and taken aback. He is the best Santa I have ever seen. He really looks like the real article. In fact he reminded me of the Santa in Miracle on 34th Street. He made an effort to go to all the children (even the babies) before settling into his armchair.


He spoke to the children before reading the classic story 'The night before Christmas'. Eva loved this part as she chatted to him for rather a long time. Santa then played some games with the children including elf, elf, reindeer (duck, duck, goose) and Father Christmas Footsteps. 

We were then split into two groups. One group sat at the table to write their Christmas lists whilst the other got to meet Santa individually. We had to help Eva write hers as she can't write yet but she still enjoyed this activity. She spoke with the elves and told them in great detail about all the things she was hoping to receive.



It was then our turn to meet Santa. We got quite a few minutes with him and it didn't feel rushed at all. The girls were absolutely mesmerised with him.






Even us blogging mummies managed a picture together. From left to right is Alina from We Made This Life, Leanne from A Slice of my life Wales, Cathryn from Cardiff Mummy Says and Alana from Baby Holiday.



Tickets cost £19.99 and can be purchased here, Booking. There are two age group sessions available, 2-5 years and 6-8 years. It's also worth mentioning that only one parent would be allowed into the room. 

The gift the girls received was lovely. It was a bag filled with a teddy, chocolate, small book and toy and also a balloon. 




We had a fantastic time. The Santa is wonderful. He's very good with children and really makes an effort to make everyone feel special. The elves were brilliant and very friendly.



I do think the price is expensive. If you only have to pay for one child then it's ok but I think if there were a few children to pay for then it could be a bit excessive for the experience. 

*Thank you to Hamleys for inviting us to the experience in exchange for our own honest opinion*
SHARE:

Baby Annabell Learns To Walk Review

Playing mummy has been one of Eva's favourite things since her little sister was born so as you can imagine we were very excited to be asked if we would like to review Baby Annabell - Learns to Walk' from Zapf Creation. She always tries to change Ophelia's nappies, comfort her when she's crying and help move her from A to B (much to my distress).




Eva already has a baby doll but this one is far more advanced than what she has. This Baby  Annabell can sit up, crawl and even walk when assisted. She also makes noises and falls asleep. Therefore she is a great substitute for Eva's little sister. I much prefer Eva to attend to this baby in the caring (very rough/haphazard like a normal 3 year old) manner than her actual sister.


The doll is recommended for children aged 3 and up and it stands at around 42cm. It's worth mentioning that she doesn't come with any batteries so remember that if you are planning to get her as a Christmas present. 

Eva loved her outfit. I think she looks very cute and certainly looks like a baby. She finds the outfit easy to remove and put back on.




She has a switch on her side to turn her on. Once she's on she will make noises and be able to perform her movements depending on what position you leave her in. Her joints are easy for Eva to move.



When baby Annabell is in a seated position with her arms out in-front of her she begins to have a tantrum. She gets very upset. Eva loves this feature as in her words this is just like her sister. Once baby is picked up or her arms are by her sides she will stop crying.


Image from the Zapf Creation website

To make her crawl you place her arms and legs in a crawling position and lift her head up so she can see where she is going. She will then start crawling. It's actually very realistic and similar to a real babies movements. She gurgles and giggles when she is on the move but if she trips and falls or gets tired she will start to whimper. Just like a real baby.




To get baby Annabell to walk you place her arms above her head and hold her hands. This took a bit of getting used to for Eva but she's now mastered the technique. Baby Annabell loves to toddle. It's also Eva's favourite feature of the doll. 




I can't comment on how long the batteries last for as we've only had the doll a couple of weeks. We haven't had to change them yet.

Eva plays with her doll every day. Ophelia is at a stage where she's learning to walk so Eva loves to walk Annabell next to her sister.

Overall, we have been so pleased with this doll. It's the best one i've seen for the price. Personally I think baby dolls are quite pricey but this one has a lot of features for the price you pay. She'd make a lovely Christmas gift and would be a perfect gift for a child who is going to become a sibling for the first time too. You can buy her at all good retailers such as Smyths, Argos etc.

*We were sent Baby Annabell to review in exchange for our honest opinion*
SHARE:

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Ophelia's 1 year update

I'm a little bit late in writing this post as Ophelia turned 1 a couple of weeks ago. I honestly cannot believe where the time has gone. It has flown by but what a year we've had when I look back.


She ventured into the world through an emergency caesarean and we didn't get off to the best start as we ended up having to stay in hospital for a week due to both of us having an infection. Whilst we were there my mother in law passed away. It really wasn't the greatest few weeks.





Shortly after Christmas I made the decision to take both the girls to Australia to spend some time with my mum and sisters. I wasn't getting a lot of support from my husband in those early weeks due to him losing his mum so when Ophelia was 5 weeks old, we headed to Australia and ended up staying there just under 3 months. We had such a fab time. Whilst we were there she started smiling and laughing and also cut her first teeth at 12 weeks old.  She got to meet some Australian native animals. She went swimming for the first time and loved time at the beach. 



At around 6 months she decided to start moving, well what she did was commando crawl. We thought she would start crawling properly shortly after but she didn't start doing that until she was nearly 12 months old. She was quite happy with what she was doing. She has a very laid back attitude which I love. She's very content and is always so happy.

We also went on holiday to Turkey during the summer. It's somewhere I have been to often. She absolutely loved it especially swimming in the pool and trying to copy everything her sister did.




She's been quite well travelled this year. We've been to Tenby a few times and made the most of playing on the beach. We also went to Disneyland Paris where she loved all the sights and sounds.




We've had a great first year which is probably why it feels like it has gone so quickly. Now she's 1 here what she's doing:

Talking
Her first word was actually mama!! In your face hubby. I was so pleased. She doesn't say a great deal but she says, mama, dada, kisses, hiya and also tries to say Eva and Alfie. She babbles a lot but nothing very clear at the moment.



Movement
Ophelia is now crawling properly. She pulls herself up and will walk along furniture but she doesn't seem to be in any rush to actually walk unassisted which is fine with me. She can climb up the stairs, much to my horror.


Sleeping
She has 2 naps a day. I'm hoping this will continue for a while. She sleeps all through the night except when she's unwell.



Eating and Drinking
She loves her food. She decided to stop breastfeeding at 9 months, you can read about that here, When baby decided to stop breastfeeding. She still has milk everyday to go to bed with at night. She adores yogurts and any food with a bit of flavour to it.






Personality
Ophelia has been an absolute dream from the moment she was born. She is a very happy go lucky character. She's very content and just happy doing anything and everything. She's always smiling or laughing. Her laugh is infectious. She loves music and dances whenever she hears it. She always tries to get Eva's attention and approval. They are at an age now where they play together which is lovely. They also sometimes fight but I guess that's what their relationship will be like for the rest of their lives.



Clothing
Ophelia is very petite. She is now wearing size 6-9 months.


There you have it. That's my beautiful 1 year old. I'm sure i'll be writing her 2 year update before I know it.




SHARE:

The Christmas Blogger Interview - Teddy Bears And Cardigans

Next up in my Christmas blogger interview series is Sally from http://www.teddybearsandcardigans.com.




1.Do you have any family Christmas traditions?

Family Christmas Traditions sounds like we actually put some thought into it and not just do the same every year!. We are not religious at all so Christmas is about family and not worship. We do not go to Midnight Mass or any carol services but it always included a visit to the pantomime at The New Theatre.

When the children were small we would leave food for the reindeer and a drink and mince pie for Father Christmas. This was always eaten and sooty footprints would be left near the plate.

We open ALL the presents on Christmas morning as early as possible. I get so excited that I would be up hours before everyone else banging and stomping so they would get up.

Lunch is always Chicken, I’ve never cooked a turkey, with a homemade pork and herb stuffing passed down from my mother and possibly her mother. We must have pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon) but the sausage-meat must be homemade. Christmas pudding is shop bought and always set on fire with brandy.

Crackers! They must have a cheap paper hat, a joke and motto in them. The quality of the gift is truly irrelevant as long as we all groan at the joke they are a good cracker.


2. What’s your ultimate Christmas movie?

Oh that’s hard because there are so many really good ones. I love It’s A Wonderful Life but we would probably watch whatever was the most Christmassy one on TV.

3. What 3 songs would be top of your festive playlist?

Number One Fairy Tale of New York by the Pogues. I just love it and if it was the only Christmas song I’d be happy. We have a Christmas CD we put on full of cheesy songs that the children groan at but I know they love it really, so anything from that too.

4. Are you an online shopper or do you go to the actual stores?
A bit of both. If I had young children I would do it all online in October and have it done with. When ours were little we would have a day off work at the end of November and buy everything on that day. That gave us a month to search for the toys that every child wanted but wasn’t in stock.

5. Do you make shopping lists or buy things when you see something nice?
When the children were young I would make a list, now I leave it until the last minute wishing I’d started earlier and just buy something I see that I think they would like. I also ask what they would like so they get at least one present that they really want.

6. Do you send Christmas cards?
Very few. Our immediate family live away so we send cards to them, I deliver a card to everyone in our close (only 11 families). When I was working I didn’t give cards to colleagues a group of us would donate to a different charity each year instead.

7. Do you have an elf on the shelf? What do you do with it?
Haha! No we don’t. This is a new “tradition” that may appear when Bear is a little older and understands what Christmas is.

8. Do you have chocolate advent calendars or something else?
Always had chocolate advent calendars and until recently I still bought one each for my grown up children!

9. Do you do a Christmas eve box? If so what’s in it?

No. I find this a strange new tradition. I come from a generation of post war austerity and toys were only given on Christmas day and birthdays. Some people may have opened their presents Christmas Eve or after lunch on Christmas Day but they still only had one sack of toys. Christmas Eve was all about going to bed early to make Christmas Day come quicker!

10. Do you make any gifts?

I don’t think I have since I was a child myself. I do not seem to have the skill or time to make it look like a genuine gift rather than a botched try.

11. Do you do any Christmas crafts?

I used to make the decorations for the tree but that was because I always wanted to change the colour scheme and it’s expensive to buy everything brand new.

12. If you could only eat 3 things from your Christmas dinner, what would they be?
Chicken with stuffing and cranberry sauce. We only have Christmas stuffing at Christmas so it is special.

13. What’s your favourite festive tipple?

Brandy and dry ginger. It’s the only time I drink it. It smells and tastes of Christmas.

14. Where are you spending Christmas this year?

At home. I was a nurse for over thirty years so always had to work a shift at Christmas so we have always had Christmas at home. All our relatives live too far away for a quick visit and it would mean going for a few days.

This year, the first since 1982, we will not have either of our children here on Christmas Day. Before anyone says “oh no” or “how sad”, no, it’s fantastic!

Of course I would like them all here but they have their own homes now, and like us all those years ago, they want Christmas day to be just their family. They can then start their own family traditions.

I said at the beginning that our Christmas is about family. It is. It is about giving not taking, so my children have the gift of spending Christmas day wherever they choose without having to feel guilty or make an excuse.

Boxing Day, that’s different, they are all coming to me so we will have the Christmas CD on loud and have chicken with the traditional stuffing. We’ll pull crackers and play a silly game. We will laugh and make memories.

15. If you could go to any Christmas market in the world where would you go?
I’m going to sound like a complete bah humbug but I don't see the fun in Christmas Markets. Although a lot of the products are handmade they are very expensive and it’s cold! Every year Cardiff’s Christmas Market gets better but I have only ever bought one gift from there. Bears real name in wooden jigsaw pieces. If I did choose though it would have to be Germany, where I think they started and possibly Dresden.


Thank you Sally for taking part. You can find Sally by clicking the following social media links:

SHARE:

Monday, 5 December 2016

Cardiff's Winter Wonderland - Festive Family Fun

We were very lucky to be invited to the opening evening at Cardiff's Winter Wonderland. It's something we visit every year and even more frequently now we've had children. All four of us went to see what they had an offer this year.



First up we headed to the ice-rink. Hubby and I took it in turns to look after Ophelia whilst the other was skating with Eva. It costs £9.50 for adults and children aged between 3 and 7 are £6.50. This year the ice rink is under cover which is great as you'll still be able to skate even if the weather is bad.




Eva couldn't wait to get on the ice. We had a penguin which helped support her (and me) whilst skating. There are also plenty of helpers there for encouragement and support.




We had so much fun. She didn't want to get off. She stayed on there for a full hour and she loved every second of it.




Next up we headed to the Alpine village to sample some festive food and drink. Hubby and I had a mulled wine in the cosy bierkeller bar. It has a lovely atmosphere in there. I think if we didn't have the kids with us we would have happily stayed there and relaxed all evening.




All of us had a german sausage roll for food. They do smaller sizes which both the girls ate and of course we had the normal sized ones. 



Next up was a go on the big wheel. I'm not very good with heights but I went on because Eva really wanted to try it. The views are great and I imagine they are much better in daylight. At £5 per person I do think it's rather pricey though.



Then we headed for all of the rides. There are lots to choose from and there were plenty that were suitable for Eva's age (nearly 4). Her favourite was the helter skelter which she went on with daddy (i'd had enough of heights for one evening). They also loved the dodgems. It was lovely watching them together on there. All you could hear was laughter and squealing. I actually had a go on the snow slide which I thought was fab. 




We finished up by getting ourselves some hot chocolate and doughnuts to enjoy on the walk back to the car.


Overall, we had a fantastic time. It's things like this that transport you back to being a child again and allow you to relax, laugh and enjoy some quality time together as a family. We will definitely be going back. My mum, stepdad and sisters are coming back to Wales for a holiday this Christmas so we plan to head here again on Christmas Eve to get in the festive spirit.


*Thank you to Cardiff Winter Wonderland for inviting us in return for our honest opinion*
SHARE:
BLOGGER TEMPLATE MADE BY pipdig