Tuesday 29 September 2015

Getting Ready for a Childrens Halloween Party

Any excuse for dressing up, eating cake and having fun - my little people have requested a Halloween party this year so I thought I'd share some of our plans with you!

I really wanted to set a theme for the room, we will be having a buffet so lots of decorations around the table. 

These spooky paper lanterns are brilliant from The Hanging Lantern Company, I've grouped some together in the fireplace and will hang some at the front of the house too. 

Having Harry Potter fans in the house, I couldn't resist this beautiful Snowy Owl, such lovely details, we've already had one small person whispering "is it real?"
Trying to decide what to include in the party bags was easy - we thought these Make Your Own Zombies from University Games are spooktacular! They are wind up zombies which you construct using air drying clay (4 designs available) 
We've got a few crafty ideas to do - such as ceramic pumpkin tea light holder that comes with a selection of paints to customise your own pumpkin from Hobbycraft 

We've gone for a Black Cat tablecloth from Sophie Allport to really set the scene! 

As ever, reusable bags are on my must have list - Handmade Skull and Cross Bones Fabric Party Bags from Charlie Moos are perfect for girls and boys and come in a variety of fabrics to select from. 
Look out! Theres a giant spider hiding in there! 
Love this Halloween bunting from Luck and Luck! The gold, black and white designs are beautiful enough to take us from the children's party in the evening through to the grown ups dinner party later!

For further inspiration, check out my Halloween Pinterest board!

Emma in Bromley 

British Blogger

Disclaimer: I received some of the items featured for the purpose of this article. 

Saturday 26 September 2015

Welcome to the Furchester Hotel DVD Review


Welcome to the Furchester Hotel Review
Check-in to The Furchester Hotel to laugh and learn with loveable friends like Elmo and Cookie Monster who are on an extended holiday to the UK from Sesame Street. Meet Elmo’s Aunt FunellaUncle Furgus and cousin Phoebe in their ‘almost’ world-class hotel as this furry family solves the zany problems their guests bring to the establishment. Welcome to the Furchester Hotel is the series’ first DVDfeaturing six episodes from the hit CBeebies show, and will be released by Abbey Home Media on Monday 28th September.

The Furchester Hotel is a series designed for 3 to 6-year-olds and is set in a ½-star rated hotel run by a close-knit family of cheerfully chaotic monsters. The series, which is designed to encourage creative problem-solving, is co-production by Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organisation behind Sesame Street, and the In-House Production team at CBeebies,

Welcome to the Furchester
Mr. Director and his assistant Carol are visiting The Furchester Hotel to shoot a video to promote the establishment and are very surprised when they find that it is run by monsters! Mr.Director follows the exciting escapades of the hotel and its residents, uncovering lots of unusual activities along the way.

Don’t Eat the Guests
Catastrophe strikes when the hotel runs out of cookies and Cookie Monster descends into panic. The arrival of Mr. Crumb, a living cookie, does little to help matters and responsibility falls to the Furchester Hotel team to ensure his safety whilst thewait for the cookie shipment.

Very Important Porcupine
The arrival of Pierce the Porcupine causes alarm amongst the hotels residents who fear his prickly appearance. Elmo and Phoebe relish the chance to make a new friend and ensure that Pierce has a fantastic stay at the Furchester.

Maegan Clement enjoying Furchester DVDA kerfuffle is caused when the hotels telephone ceases to work, calling for some creative thinking from the Furchester team. After trialing a series of tin can telephones, Furgus, Phoebe and Elmo turn to the hotels newest resident, Professor Fleece, for lessons in yodeling.

Count Your Chickens
Local tour guide, Griff, turns to the Furchester team to watch his latest group, consisting of five chickens, whilst he fetches his bus from the garage. Following his departure, chaos descends across the hotel as the chickens disappear and the Tea Time Monsters run riot.

The Veggietones
Funella hires The Veggietones to serenade the hotels guests, much to Elmo and Phoebe’s delight. The groups initial performances cause concern amongst the guests but a helping hand from Furchester team ensures everyone is able to enjoy the show.

Check in to The Furchester Hotel and embrace a world of creative problem solving, songs and fur fuelled mayhem.

My children - Blake (boy) age 6 and Maegan (girl) age 4 both really like Furchester - it makes them both giggle and has loveable old school sesame street characters such as Elmo and Cookie Monster in the episodes!

This DVD release got a big thumbs up from both my children!

Emma in Bromley xx

Disclaimer - I received a copy of the DVD so that I was able to review it. 

Wednesday 23 September 2015

My Heart Broke a Little Today - Teaching Einstein

As a parent, there's always going to be moments that sting like a mutha flippa, when your child snaps something nasty at you - mine today was the moment my son (Blake age 6) turned around and said I never teach him anything.

Blake Clement as Albert Einstein

I do, of course I do - and I'm not just talking about the mum stuff we all teach our kids, I love to teach him things so much so that I actually looked at home schooling or flexi schooing (best of both worlds - a bit of school and bit of home school) I have a degree and I'd like that opportunity to be there should either of my children decide it's for them. 
I actually hated school but that was because of bullying (total geek girl with massive glasses and terrible teeth)  and opposing to half of the system! - I went to a church school and we had to sit GCSE Religious education - our paper was written by the Church of England (back in the 90's) and didn't really include other religions so I didn't feel it was very interesting and it also meant that I had to sit the Dual Science papers rather than being able to do separate sciences for GCSE. I also had the major grumbles with choosing History, it was only afterwards that we were told that the entire 2 years would be spent studying WW2 - I'd loved and had (still do) great interest in ancient Egypt, Greeks and Romans so was a tad miffed!

Anyway .. Back to Blake, the thing that really stood out to me was when he started to become interested in Albert Einstein - by the age of 5, I'd taught Blake what E=MC2 meant and an introduction to the theory of relativity - I'm pretty sure thats not something all mums teach their 5 year olds!

By the time Blake was 3 he understood what an Author, Illustrator and Publisher were.

And he's love for animals means I've taught him enough to have more animal knowledge than most grown ups do!

I feed that kid's (and his sister's) imagination and mind on a daily basis! Telling me I don't teach him anything was a deep cut! Ouch!

Emma in Bromley xx

Parenting Blogger 

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Find and Fetch Findo

My daughter, Maegan (age 4) loves Doc Mcstuffins so I couldn't wait to get my hands on a new Doc McStuffins product from Flair - Pet Vet Find and Fetch Findo Playset

Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Find and Fetch Findo
We're very excited about the new Pet Vet collection. 

Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Find and Fetch Findo
In the box, you get Findo, a bone, brush and lead - he doesn't come with batteries so you need to have 2 AAA batteries handy.

Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Find and Fetch Findo
Findo's bone is magnetic so that he can "fetch" the bone
Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Find and Fetch Findo
If you brush Findo with the pink brush, he will bark!

Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Find and Fetch Findo
Findo has sweet little features such as his bandana and stitch detail ears. 

Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Find and Fetch Findo
Findo's folding lead simply hooks onto his collar so even little people can easily put his lead on or off ready for walkies!

Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Find and Fetch Findo
When Findo is switched, he walks forwards, his legs have oval shaped wheels on the feet so that when he walks, his legs move up and down in a more realistic fashion. 

Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Find and Fetch Findo
Time for Walkies Findo!

Although Doc is mostly targeted at girls, sometimes boys like to join in! Maegan's big brother Blake (Age 6) also enjoyed playing with Findo but was a bit miffed that the brush and lead handle are pink and glittery - he didn't think they needed to be given that Findo is a boy dog and that this could easily have been a unisex toy - fair point from a 6 year old I think!

Emma in Bromley xx

Disclaimer: I received Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Find and Fetch Findo for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, photos and link choices are my own. 

Monday 21 September 2015

Character Online Wild Pets Spider Review

My little boy loves spiders - when Blake was 4, there was a mini beast workshop at school and Blake touched a tarantulas bottom! Since then he has asked a few times if he can have a pet tarantula! I was really pleased to receive a Wild Pets Spider from Character Online to review - an electronic pet spider is a brilliant idea because I'm not keen on having a real life tarantula roaming around my house for some reason!

Wild Pets Spider Review

Perfect for Halloween season! Blake (age 6) loves his Wild Pets Spider - it's soo creepy! It took Maegan (age 4) about 20 mins to stop being scared! 

Wild Pets Spider Review - Blake Clement

The Wild Pet Spider from Character-Online has a flocked body so he has that fur/hairy feel to him.

Wild Pets Spider Review

Terrifying realistic colours and markings - we have the red back one but there's four colours to collect! 

Wild Pets Spider Review

Touch sensor on the spiders back let you choose between creep mode (blue eyes) where he will creep in a circular motion, explore (green eyes) where the spider will randomly crawl around the environment and attack mode - complete with red eyes and fast forward running! Will make you jump!

Wild Pets Spider Review

The rubbery legs jiggle about adding to the fun!

Wild Pets Spider Review

(For the sake of all arachnophobes!) Luckily there's an on/off switch!

Spider comes with batteries already fitted so he's ready to play straight from the backaging.

Wild Pets Spider Review

"Are you game to tame a Wild Pet? Pick up your pet spider and pet him - your touch controls his behaviour - but beware, he feels and moves just like a real spider! So prepare to scare and freak out your friends - its totally wild! Leave your spider alone and he will creep around in a small area. One touch will put the Spider in explore mode but if you press and hold the sensor look out as your spider will be in Attack Mode and will chase down any target! With LED colour changing light up eyes to indicate what mode your spider is in. This is the creepiest, wildest pet that only you can tame! Four different characters to collect - Creepster, Eyegore, Chiller and Wolfgang each with their own distinctive colour. Collect them all!"

Wild Pets Spider Review - Blake Clement

Emma in Bromley xx

Disclaimer - we received a spider for the point of this review - all photos, thoughts and link choices are my own.

Friday 18 September 2015

The Relaunched Bratz Dolls - Review

When I was asked to review the new Bratz dolls I was intrigued ... Bratz isn't really a brand I'm all that familiar with, but with my daughter starting to play with this type of doll, I was keen to know more... The selling point for me was that the accompanying press release boasted 

"Bratz, the iconic fashion doll, has been relaunched with a new look and an ethos that engages with today’s girl" 

I'm not overly keen on the OTT barbie pink forced  (read more here) on the current generation of girls and of course I'm keen to adopt a "pro girl" approach to raising my daughter.

We received the "Hello My Name Is Cloe" Bratz doll - I'm not sure if that's an alternative spelling to Chloe or pronounced Chl"ohh" 

Hello My Name Is Cloe Bratz Doll

She's not suitable for children under 3 because she comes with lots of small bits and the packaging suggests a guide age of 5+ - my daughter is 4 and has just started reception at school so only just shy of the guide age. The packaging has a bit on the back about how Cloe is all about her friends and it's all about life before boys so I'd guess from the guide on the box of 5+ and the pre boy bit that she's targeted at 5-10 year olds ... 

Hello My Name Is Cloe Bratz Doll
Cloe comes with some lovely accessories, a cute little bucket and spade, necklace, earrings and bracelet, backpack (that really opens) cute little heart sunnies and a hair brush.

Hello My Name Is Cloe Bratz Doll
The outfit confuses me - as a woman, I'm failing to see how an extreme micro raa-raa skirt, denim crop top with bra stitching (why!?) and mammoth platforms is really reflecting today's look and ethos of young girls? With the bucket and spade and sunglasses I'm assuming it's supposed to be a beach outfit but even still it's a bit "tarty" for my personal preference!
The shoes are absolutely massive platforms I wondered if they were supposed to also act as a stand for the doll but she hasn't got any balance at all with or without shoes.

Hello My Name Is Cloe Bratz Doll

Cloe has pierced ears and a lot of makeup which again lead me to some confusion over the today's look and ethos statement and what age this is supposed to be for?

Hello My Name Is Cloe Bratz Doll
Whilst I was left feeling confused over this doll, my daughter was absolutely loving playing with her until she removed Cloe's shoes and disaster struck! There were lots of tears - my daughter thought she had broken the doll. I had to google it and it turns out that Bratz really don't have feet - just nobbles! So you either have to have insane shoes or freaky stumps! I can't express enough how frightening the stumps are to a young girl.

Hello My Name Is Cloe Bratz Doll
Cloe has spindly arms which move at the shoulder but no other articulation, her head can spin and she has really good hip and knee joints.
She's made from sturdy plastic and seems quite robust!
Her blonde hair is soft and easy to style. 

Hello My Name Is Cloe Bratz Doll
Hello My Name Is Cloe Bratz Doll
As a mum, I'm a little concerned that the body image Cloe is giving out to girls age 5+ is not as positive as it should be - it's certainly not childlike at all. She's got breasts, a tiny waist, low rise underwear with unrealistic lower spine curvature and strange bottom protrusion with a very, very large head in comparison to the rest of her.

Overall I'm confused.
I'm personally failing to see anything that reflects the launch statement "Bratz, the iconic fashion doll, has been relaunched with a new look and an ethos that engages with today’s girl" my daughter has blonde hair and blue eyes just like the doll but at no point at all in her childhood (particularly age 5-10) will it be ok for her to wear that much make up or an identical outfit to the doll's.

I don't know what age the doll is supposed to represent, it's full of mixed messages and contradictions! It's almost like a failed blend of 2 into 1!

With a suggestion of age 5+, robustly made doll, described as not being into boys yet, heart shaped sunglasses identical to ones in all the children's departments, pink frilly skirt, a bucket and spade, cute freckles and a toddler style size and shape backpack makes me believe that she is age appropriate, I like this side to the doll, my daughter likes these parts too.

But then the outfit with the cropped top with bra style stitching, the pierced ears, the style of the jewellery, and the massive platforms, especially combined with the OTT makeup and strange body shape make me think she's supposed to replicate an 18+ year old! 

Emma in Bromley xx

Toy Reviews

You may also be interested in my Lottie Doll review

Disclaimer, I received Cloe Bratz doll for the purpose of this review, thoughts, opinions and photos used are all my own.

Thursday 17 September 2015

Casdon Little Shopper Toy Shopping Trolly

We love playing shops in our house so I was really pleased to receive the Casdon Little Shopper Toy Shopping Trolley to review!

Casdon Little Shopper Toy Shopping Trolley

Little ones adore role play and pretending that they are doing real life jobs – just like the grown-ups! This Shopping Trolley has been specially designed to provide hours of fun and stimulation so your little shopper will really feel part of your world while developing essential life skills.• Role play activities for exploring imagination and developing social skills
• Wheeled trolley encourages physical dexterity and motor skills
• Bright colours and realistic ‘play’ packs for visual stimulation
• Play encourages the development of hand-to-eye co-ordination 

Casdon Little Shopper Toy Shopping Trolley

There is a lot of self- assembly involved! All the way down to making the little food boxes (which can take a little time) - it was actually much simpler and the trolley assembly is quicker than I first thought it was going to be... you need a little screw driver but that was all, and its a one person job. 

Casdon Little Shopper Toy Shopping Trolley
Brilliant small details such as the coin slot with is lovely to see and children love it!

Casdon Little Shopper Toy Shopping Trolley
At first I thought it could have done with being a little taller as its quite low down, however both my 4 year old and 6 year old love playing with it and could push it around happily. Surprisingly both my children like to sit on the floor and organise the contents of the trolley - now I know I usually try and keep freezer, fridge and fruit stuff together but the organisation my two displayed means I might have to up my game next time we go shopping! 

Emma in Bromley xx

I received the Casdon shopping trolley for the purpose of this review. 

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Lottie Dolls Review - Pro Girl Childlike Doll Review - Finn Doll.

I'm really excited to share with you  Lottie Dolls for Girls and Boys (Check out Finn further down this post!) The way things are at the moment is that pink (did you see my #banpink post?) is very much forced on girls and the majority of the figure dolls aimed at small girls are designed to replicate some sort of tarty teenager - many seem to be dressed extremely inappropriately and don't replicate a natural body shape. So when I was invited to review Lottie Dolls - I couldn't wait! - Here we have a Doll for a child that actually looks like a child and dresses like a child!
Launched in August 2012, Lottie™ is a new, innovative doll for children aged 3 - 9. Since her debut, Lottie has won 24 awards in the USA, Canada and UK, including 5 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Awards, generated international press coverage and been the beneficiary of positive parent and blogger reviews. Lottie is now on sale in over 30 countries.
Maegan Clement with Pony Club Lottie

Lottie is fun and educational; an affordable, aspirational ‘pro girl’ doll.
Lottie comes with an inspirationally mini story printed on the back of the box set in fictional Branksea (inspired by Enid Blyton territory of Brownsea)

Maegan Clement with Pony Club Lottie and Seren the Mountain Pony

This is why Lottie is so brilliant:
  1. Child-Like Body

    Lottie’s body is based on the average proportions of a 9 year old girl, developed alongside academics in the areas of child psychology and nutrition. Lottie represents a healthy view on body image, and is a positive role model.
  2. Age Appropriate

    Lottie is all about doing many of the activities a real child her age would do, and is not concerned with growing up too quickly. Lottie doesn’t wear make-up, high-heels or jewellery.
  3. Ethnically Diverse

    Lottie dolls come in a range of diverse eye, hair and skin colours.
  4. Relatable #justlikeme

    Lottie wears the kind of clothes that kids wear in real-life, whether that is pretty party dresses, hard-wearing clothes and boots to get muddy outdoors, sportswear or fun dress-up costumes! Lottie is doing all the activities that ‘real’ kids do; be they ‘girly’ activities like ballet, or imaginary tea parties, getting muddy outdoors, being sporty and active, as well as robot - building projects, to stargazing and fossil-hunting. Imaginative dress-up play too, whether as a Queen or a pirate or superhero. Lottie represents all the positive, different facets of childhood, without limitation.
    Maegan Clement with Pony Club Lottie and Seren the Mountain Pony
  5. Tactile Fabric and Hair

    Lottie’s hair is made from premium quality Saran, which has a wax component and a silky texture which means it does not tangle or knot. Lottie’s clothing is composed of tactile fabric, with great attention to detail, and has Velcro fastenings, easy to dress and undress.
  6. Bendable Knees

    Lottie encourages children to be active and outdoorsy, she has bendable knees, and ball socket hips and arms. Lottie’s head can move from side to side, and Lottie can do the splits, all of which help for gymnastics, karate and playing with friends.
  7. She’s 18cm tall, and can stand on her own two feet

    (always a useful life skill for all girls, big and small)
  8. Awards

    Lottie has won International awards, including 5 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Awards.

    Pony Club Lottie and Seren the Mountain Pony
    Pony Club Lottie with Seren the Welsh Mountain pony - Many people often comment on the unusual spelling of Maegan, so let me explain ... my husband's side of the family are welsh and when we were thinking of baby names, we really wanted to include a little welsh heritage in there, we finally settled on Maegan after seeing this spelling in a welsh baby name book - but on the shortlist included other names - one of which was Seren so it was extra sweet that the name of the Welsh Mountain pony was Seren!
Maegan Clement Pony Club Lottie and Seren the Mountain Pony

Maegan Clement Pony Club Lottie and Seren the Mountain Pony

Pony Club Lottie

Maegan Clement Pony Club Lottie and Seren the Mountain Pony

Pony Club Lottie and Seren the Mountain Pony

Maegan's pony collection on her dollhouse bed
One of theatre reasons why Maegan loves Pony Club Lottie is because she has quite the Pony collection herself!

Blake Clement with Kite Flyer Finn by Lottie Dolls

Kite Flyer Finn is just brilliant for boys (and girls) and got me thinking - I can't think of anything similar for boys on the market at the moment - now Action Man is obsolete, none of the other boys action figures seem to come with removable clothes, they all tend to be moulded plastic superheroes...I'm hoping there will be more clothes coming for Finn, a superhero costume would be great!

Blake age 6 adores his Finn!

Blake Clement with Kite Flyer Finn by Lottie Dolls

Blake Clement with Kite Flyer Finn by Lottie Dolls

Blake Clement with Kite Flyer Finn by Lottie Dolls

Blake Clement with Kite Flyer Finn by Lottie Dolls

Blake Clement with Kite Flyer Finn by Lottie Dolls

Blake Clement with Kite Flyer Finn by Lottie Dolls

We also received a Muddy Puddles Lottie - I just want to point out that the packaging for the Lottie Dolls have medals on them representing some of the awards they've won - but its worth noting that the ribbons on these medals are inspired by both the US and British Suffragettes!
Muddy Puddles Lottie Doll - Emma in Bromley

Muddy Puddles Lottie Doll - Emma in Bromley

Muddy Puddles Lottie Doll - Emma in Bromley

Muddy Puddles Lottie Doll - Emma in Bromley

These are just 3 of the many different sets you can buy, Lottie comes in a range of diverse eye, hair and skin colours, and you can purchase extra outfits and accessories too!

More from Lottie

Find us on Facebook:www.facebook.com/lottiedolls

Emma in Bromley xx

Disclaimer: I received 3 Lottie Dolls for the purpose of this review. All photos and thoughts are my own... and Yes, I'd recommend Lottie Dolls to a friend!