|REVIEW|The Furchester Hotel Kids Magazine

 
I don’t know about you, but there are 2 areas in the supermarket that fill me with dread, the ride-on machines our little darlings so love to fill with 50p’s for a 2 minute ‘ride’ and the magazine aisle!
T discovered magazines or rather I should say he discovered the plastic tat gifts that are usually gracing the front cover and he’s never looked back, every shopping trip is highly planned to get in and avoid the magazine aisle at all costs!  I even can’t escape in Aldi as they have now started selling them, as soon as you walk through the door, yes cheers for that!
I try to stick to 1 magazine per month and so far this is working.  So when I was contacted and asked if I’d like to review a new magazine for Cbeebies as you can imagine, I was pretty eager.  As a stroke of luck T’s first magazine was received on the morning we were going away so he was over the moon, not only did he receive ‘post’ but he actually got a magazine to relieve his boredom on the journey, we were both thrilled.
The magazine in question is ‘The Furchester Hotel’ magazine, The Furchester Hotel is a Sesame Street production for the BBC and has the familiar characters of Elmo & Cookie Monster as well as some new characters who own and run the hotel.  The show centres on a problem arising and all the hotel staff working together to resolve it.  I must admit I really do like the premise and have no qualms in T watching or ‘reading’ the magazine.
T liked it from the front page and couldn’t wait for us to return from our trip so he could use this month’s free gift of a ‘make your own portrait’s’ set.
The magazine is highly coloured and contains a couple of story pages, lots of colouring and activities and to T’s delight stickers!  It managed to keep him happy for a good hour of our travelling time, happily sticking, colouring and making up stories from the pages he can’t yet read.  As a parent I particularly like that there are little notes for grown-ups’ on the pages explaining how you can extend learning or giving further information about what the activities are teaching.  It also supports the Early Years Curriculum.
Activities include puzzles, colouring, using stickers in learning and cutting, T is particularly keen on making the Cookie Monster mask!
 
The Make your own portraits set is really good, containing lots of craft items for you to either copy the ones shown in the magazine (like we did) or you can make your own.
 
Here’s a little peak at next month’s free gifts in case the free gifts entice you!!!!
The Furchester Hotel magazine launches TODAY! It is aimed at 3-6 year olds with the core age being 4 and is priced at £2.75 which I think is a really good price and I’d happily pay that once a month.
Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post.

|FUN|#tatsummerfun


So sorry this is late this week, I promise it won't be like this every week!  So how did you like our first week of #tatsummerfun ?  We had some fab pictures and I'm really enjoying seeing how you interpret each prompt!

Here's this weeks prompts list although I'm sure you've already seen it and are joining in ;)

I wanted to do a quick round up of some of my favourite posts, here's last weeks prompts and the phots that go with each!  Check the hashtag to see all the posts.

20th - playdough
21st - cowboy
22nd - green
23rd - ice
24th - loo roll


Of course I couldn't not choose this fab photo from @Laurenandpoppy1 (Instagram)


This awesome homemade hobby horse from Monkey and mouse's @jennyseaves (Instagram)


I loved the green interpretation from @theweavingideas (Instagram)


You've gotta love a spot of ice painting, I loved this photo from @ladybirdadventures (instagram)


We didn't have many loo roll photos which I was really surprised about but these binoculars from @jennyseave were very cute!

I tried to join in although I was away so one of our activities was at the weekend, here's a little collage of my entries.




|FUN|digging for treasure - guest post from Monkey and Mouse



Today I have a really cute tuff spot idea for you from Monkey and Mouse.  There's nothing better than digging for treasure and this is a perfect way to keep a little occupied for a while.  

Over to Jenny...

Hi, I'm Jenny from Monkey and Mouse and I am honoured to write a guest post for the lovely Leandra.

These photos were taken when O was only 2 and I needed to think of something simple to occupy him in the garden.  I had recently bought some plastic pirate coins from the Poundshop thinking they could be useful for a project and of course I decided that we needed to dig for pirate treasure!



I buried the coins in a heap of soil (on the tuff spot) for O to dig around in and find them, I suggested he could wear an eye patch, but he wasn't up for that.



He spent some time digging and finding the coins, then hiding them again, but when he was finished with the digging he went and fetched a toy train (my train mad boy!) and continued playing in the soil for at least another hour. Who knew soil was so exciting?!

Why don't you hide some pirate treasure for your little one?

Look out for more pirate activities from us all month.  For more ideas you can also follow our pirate pinterest board here

LarabeeUK

|#toddlerapprovedtuesday|week 40 - 28 July

LarabeeUK

Thanks so much for a great turn out again last week! It's nice that people are still taking the time to join in even though things may have got busier over the school holidays, we really do appreciate it.

Remember you can post your weekly post to the #toddlerapprovedtuesday Facebook page too, I like every one which will mean you continue to show up in my feed when you post new posts! 

If you are not yet in the Facebook group send us a request and we'll add you. Feel free to post anything in there all through the week if it's relevant.

The #tatsummerfun activity and photo challenge started last week, look out for a round up post of my favourite's later, you can find more details here, but basically it's an Instgram photo-a-day challenge even if you're having time off blogging over the summer, you can still join in with that if you like!  And it's not restricted to just small people, we'd love to see some of your older children participating too!

And also remember you can still enter this months #parentideaswap competition by posting a picture on our Facebook group page or using the hashtag in Twitter or Instagram the theme is 'crafting with junk' full details for that here, there's a £15 hobbycraft voucher to be won.  Competition ends on Friday.  Look out for this months #parentideaswap on Monday night on Twitter 8-9pm.


I'm linking up a super cute digging for treasure activity guest post from Monkey and Mouse.


This week Becky is linking this fabulous number recognition activity.

My showcase posts this week

This tin foil river might just be one of my favourites of all time, we've got it on our list of things to do for our 'cousin club' on Friday so when I saw it linked up from babyfoote.com I had to include it in my showcase.  So simple yet so effective and fun!


And Clare has done it again, with another fabulous playdough invitation.  I love how this one screams summer in a week where summer has seemed to disappear for most of us!


Here are the rules:-

1. Link as many posts as you like (well with in reason!) BUT please remember to paste the #ToddlerApprovedTuesday badge on each post you would like to link up. 
No badge, no comment, no share, and your posts will be deleted sorry if this seems harsh but it's just not fair on others who do make the effort. We've yet to delete a post but you may have noticed that we have started to not comment if the badge isn't there. 

LarabeeUK
2. Pop by and comment on two or three other posts, more would be great if you can.

3. OPTIONAL: Share your post and the linky party (using the hashtag #ToddlerApprovedTuesday) on your social media, Becky and I will retweet all your posts via Twitter (make sure you mention us in your tweets @3princess_1dude/@larabeeuk). Even if you don't have a blog, please do join in by using the hashtag for your toddler approved tweets and Instagram posts, they will still be counted for the showcase! We have changed the way we share your posts, it takes so much time to pin and tweet and comment etc, so heres what is going to happen: We are opening up the Toddler Approved Tuesday Pinterest board to you guys too. Just send myself or Becky an email with your Pinterest name and we will add you, there is no limit on how many you add, it doesn't just have to be the post you link up with.

4. We will now only be retweeting posts Tweeted to us, and our showcased posts will also be retweeting too. We also have a fab new Facebook group for the Toddler Approved Tuesday community. Pop over and join us, share your posts, share any photos from inspiration you have had from a Toddler Approved Tuesday link up, share anything you like ;) 


|TOY REVIEW|Dora & Friends toys and Sing-Along-Summer dates


We were recently given the opportunity to review some of the new Dora and Friends Into the City toys and promote the fantastic twitter frenzy and Nick Jr’s Sing-Along Summer karaoke booth.  I actually really like Dora and Friends so I was happy to join in.

A new range of Fisher Price Dora toys hit the shelves this summer.  As you could probably guess, the toys are well made, bright and very cute!  The range consists of Dora magic charm bracelets which come with lots of super fun and cute charms, the adventure bracelet pack includes 3 bracelets to share with friends and retails at £9.99.
Magic adventure figures and charms can also be purchased to add to your collection, each figure contains a bracelet and 3 charms.  These retail at £7.99.  Even for a boy, T loves his little Dora figure, it’s nice for him to have a ‘girl’ figure to play with all his action figures!  He’s even loved sporting his adventure bracelet and charms!

I loved the doggie day dolls which are priced at £10.99 and also include a charm for your bracelet, they are pretty natural looking and realistic which I think is a fantastic role model for little girls.

To keep little Dora fans happy there’s a talk and play smartphone for children aged 2+ which costs £9.99.
Throughout the summer Nick Jr. are touring the country with their karaoke booths, a great summer holiday activity to do with your little ones!
Some events even have costume character appearances!
The tour dates are:
Smyths Toy Superstore
  • Westwood Cross Shopping Park, Thanet  - 28th July
  • St David’s Retail Park, Swansea – 29th July
  • Crown Retail Park, Leeds (Dora Costume Character) – 31st July
  • Clifton Moor Retail Park, York (Dora Costume Character) – 3rd August
  • Ravenhead Retail Park, St Helen’s – 5th August
  • Halls Mill Retail Park, Bury – 6th August
  • Middle Engine Lane, Wallsend – 10th August
  • Glasgow For Shopping Park, Glasgow (Dora Costume Character) – 12th August
  • Boulevard Retail Park, Aberdeen (Dora Costume Character) – 14th August
Sky Retail Stands
  • White Rose, Leeds – 1st & 2nd August
  • Intu Eldon Square, Newcastle – 8th & 9th August
  • Bon Accord, Aberdeen – 15th & 16th August
Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post.

|LEARN|letter recognition with game tiles


This week, we've been practising our letter recognition and the relationship between upper and lower case letters.

One of T's most favourite things is to empty out all the scrabble (or similar game!) tiles and asks me to write a word and he copies, this he can do no problem now so I thought I'd extend it now by using this little printable where I've typed words in lower case to allow him to match.


If you would like to try this activity yourself, I've created a pdf which you can download and print out, you will need to fill in with your own words, which can either be done by hand or you can covert to word.  Of course this is not necessary for the activity as a handwritten version would do just as well!  Download here.

LarabeeUK

|#toddlerapprovedtuesday|week 39 - 21 July

LarabeeUK

What a quiet week we had last week, I guess everyone is winding down a bit for summer, because I don't have school holidays to contend with its all the same for me, just trying to cram as much as possible in before the days get shorter and the nights draw in, although I do love the autumn too to be honest! 

There have been quite a few posts on the Facebook group which is great, thanks too for supporting that.

Remember you can post your weekly post to the #toddlerapprovedtuesday Facebook page too, I like every one which will mean you continue to show up in my feed when you post new posts! 

If you are not yet in the Facebook group send us a request and we'll add you. Feel free to post anything in there all through the week if it's relevant.


The #tatsummerfun activity and photo challenge started yesterday, you can find more details here, but basically it's an Instgram photo-a-day challenge even if youre having time off blogging over the summer, you can still join in with that if you like!

And also remember you can still enter this months #parentideaswap competition by posting a picture on our Facebook group page or using the hashtag in Twitter or Instagram the theme is 'crafting with junk' full details for that here.



This week Becky has this awesome alphabet soup post for you, I just love this and that photo,must fab!



I've got a letter recognition activity for you, at the moment T is learning to recognise both the upper and lower case letters so I created this for him using his favourite thing to play with - alphabet game tiles.


Showcases this week



I love this cardboard box car from thejoyoffive.com such imagination and fits in so well with our crafting from junk #parentideaswap.


2. The trip to cockfields farm post from Gymbunnymummy appealed to me because it showed that memories can still be made even if things don't go according to plan, thanks for sharing!



Here are the rules:-

1. Link as many posts as you like (well with in reason!) BUT please remember to paste the #ToddlerApprovedTuesday badge on each post you would like to link up. 
No badge, no comment, no share, and your posts will be deleted. 
LarabeeUK


2. Pop by and comment on two or three other posts, more would be great if you can.

3. OPTIONAL: Share your post and the linky party (using the hashtag #ToddlerApprovedTuesday) on your social media, Becky and I will retweet all your posts via Twitter (make sure you mention us in your tweets @3princess_1dude/@larabeeuk). Even if you don't have a blog, please do join in by using the hashtag for your toddler approved tweets and Instagram posts, they will still be counted for the showcase! We have changed the way we share your posts, it takes so much time to pin and tweet and comment etc, so heres what is going to happen: We are opening up the Toddler Approved Tuesday Pinterest board to you guys too. Just send myself or Becky an email with your Pinterest name and we will add you, there is no limit on how many you add, it doesn't just have to be the post you link up with.

4. We will now only be retweeting posts Tweeted to us, and our showcased posts will also be retweeting too. We also have a fab new Facebook group for the Toddler Approved Tuesday community. Pop over and join us, share your posts, share any photos from inspiration you have had from a Toddler Approved Tuesday link up, share anything you like ;) 

|CREATE|a real treasure map!


This week it's our turn to share a project with the kids make and bake club.

If you like the video, we'd really appreciate a thumbs up and remember to subscribe to see a new video each week!  You can also join the kids make and bake club facebook page.

T has been making a 'real' treasure map this week.




Look out for more pirate and mermaid activities from us all month.  For more ideas you can also follow our pirate and mermaid pinterest board here

Trash 2 Treasure

|FAMILY|ideas for your next staycation


Planning a staycation this summer?  Here are our top tips!

You can see our staycation posts here.

1. Join your local town's facebook event pages, you'll find many places cheap or free.
2. Make the most of free museums in your area.
3. Check your local forestry commission timetables, many have things planned for kids through the holidays for free or a minimal price.
4. Local shopping centres often run events through the summer holidays, ours has a beach... And it's free!
5. Explore your local waterways, canals and rivers are bussing with activity at this time of the year.
6. Go geocaching! We had no luck with this, but I'm sure it's great if you find one!
7. Attend a history or ghost walk in your town, don't have one? Create your own!
8. Take a picnic and frisbee to a park.
9. Visit your local library for ideas and events. 
10. Treat your home like a hotel, have breakfast in bed. All snuggle up for a movie night in bed. 
11. Camp and cook in the garden. 
12. Go for a walk in the dark (we call this a midnight walk!)
13. Visit some local restaurants you've never been to. 

Mums' Days
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|TOY REVIEW|wicked uncle toys


We were fortunate enough to be picked to review the Wicked Uncle website. It took me ages to order, not because I couldn't find anything but because there's just so many great things I struggled to choose!!


The first thing I chose was this fab bubble factory, now let me first mention that this is our 3rd bubble machine, we just can't find a reasonably priced one which does a good job, this one was £15.59 and a little pricier than we've paid so far but it's absolutely brilliant, well worth the money, it lets out a continuous stream of bubbles and lasts for ages, simply one of the best things I've ever bought! 



I also chose this Mix and match up game at £8.95 it was a little more expensive than other card type games that T has but it's made of very high quality card and stored in a sturdy box. I did think that for the money, the cards should have been separated but this was quick and easy to do. 

T loves it, he likes making up names for the mixed up animals and then gets excited when one matches. 



This childrens plastic Swiss Army Knife has been a massive hit, T loves it, loves the fact it has a spoon and fork and that it has a mini saw to 'cut down' trees!  I wasn't sure if he'd like this but he absolutely got it straight away!  This was £6.99. 



Finally I ordered this magnifier and tweezers  I've been looking for a reasonably priced children's magnifying glass for a while now so when I saw this at £6.95 I couldn't resist, and it's fantastic. The high quality of an adults one but with the durability needed for children. It comes with a pair of jumbo tweezers too which were an added bonus. 



I really liked the format of the wicked uncle website, you can search by age and gender which I found really useful.


I found ordering really simple, I ordered on a Thursday and recieved my parcel on Saturday, fantastic service!

The range of toys is amazing, and I really liked that there were things I'd never seen before, like the Swiss Army knife.  

Disclaimer: we were given products in exchange for an honest review, I will certainly be using wicked uncle again and would have no qualms in recommending!