Pip Ahoy Playtime! App Review

The monsters are real big Milkshake fan's so when we were asked to review the new Pip Ahoy Playtime app, I knew it would be something all the monsters would enjoy playing on.  The app, prices at £1.99 and available in the  iTunes, Amazon and Android stores, is aimed at preschool children and just like the TV show, Pip is star of the show!

The app consists of 5 mini games Where’s Alan? - a hide and seek style game, Ride the Bubble Train - drive the train and pick up characters along the way, Feed the Puffins - teaches colour and number recognition, I Spy with my Scopey Eye - title says it all! An I spy game! and Sail the Rubber Duck - Sail a boat and collect items along the way. All the games are inspired by adventures from the show and features the Pip Ahoy! theme tune for your Pipsqueak to sing along to. 


Each time they play a game you 'win' a virtual sticker which are stored in your very own virtual Sticker Book with in the app so that little ones can make your own Pip Ahoy! scenes. This is Jenson's favourite thing to do and listening to his Pip Ahoy! stories has become a regular thing!

This was a really great app, although simple, it is bright, colourful, super easy for little fingers to navigate and easy to play.  Its a perfect app for those times when you don't want to sit and have to play the games with them, because lets face it we sometimes have jobs to do, right!!


This is a collaborative post.

Chad Valley Babies to Love Lily Interactive Doll Review

If I have said it once I have said it a million times! My girls LOVE dolls! So when Chad Valley sent us the Lily Interactive Doll (RRP £24.99) I just knew they would love it when they saw it, and the fact that she has 10 different interactive features would just blow there minds!

Firework Safety This New Year

With New Year fast approaching some of you are no doubt beginning to think about celebrations and festivities for the big night. We all love a firework display and seeing the New Year in is one of the most popular times to watch a display. Did you know in 2014 more than 250,000 people gathered in London to see the firework spectacular on the Thames.


I love nothing more than staying up to watch the London display on TV, and I have always let Ellie stay up to watch it too, although neither she nor the other mini monsters quite make it to midnight...I wonder if this will be the year that they do!!


I remember back when I was 17 seeing in the new millennium with fireworks in our back garden, the only time we have ever had fireworks at home and it was wonderful, I still remember the excitement of a 'display' in our back garden but nowadays the thought of something going wrong just scares me so much...so much that I haven't even ever let the kids hold a sparkler, let alone hold a display in the back yard! Although according to the NCC Home Learning firework safety quiz I got 8/8 and understand how to be safe around fireworks so maybe this year I might give sparklers a go (we will see!) If you are planning a home display this year why not take the quiz yourself and see how you fare?

Take the quiz here: https://www.ncchomelearning.co.uk/blog/fireworks-safety-quiz/

Whatever your plans are this New Year make sure you have a good one, and remember to stay safe.

Easy Nutella Banana Bread Mini Muffins

As we head towards Chritmas its easy to get caught up on all the sweet treats after school, we have started baking these yummy mini muffins, which are perfect for when the bananas have started going brown and the kids refuse to eat them anymore! This recipe is really easy and a bit of a cheat's way as it uses pre bought sponge mix!


What you need:
3 Bananas
2 eggs
Nutella
Packet/Boxed Sponge Mix


Mash the bananas and stir in 2 beaten eggs. Add the cake mix and give it a good mix, then add a couple of spoons of Nutella and mix well before spooning into a mini muffin cake tray and baking in a preheated oven (gas 4) for around 15-20 minutes, until a skewer poked into the centre of the muffins comes out clean. Leave to cool before eating. These will store in an airtight tub for a couple of days, around a week in the fridge or you can freeze them for up to 4 months and take out as you need them.

Before freezing allow the muffins to cool completely and wrap each muffin tightly in cling film to lock in freshness wrap several times for the best protection. Put the wrapped muffins into a large freezer storage bag for an added layer of protection. Remove the muffins individually as needed, leaving the remaining muffins in the freezer, this means they are great for packed lunches too because you can remove a single muffin in the morning, and it should have thawed in the lunchbox by lunchtime, but maybe do a sample check first, we don't want little ones eating half frozen muffins do we!

Breaking Barriers with Bathing Solutions

My mini monsters are very lucky to have 2 sets of Great Grandparents, this was a rarity when I was small, in fact both my Great Grandparents died whilst me and my siblings were very young. But it would seem as we head into a time when for one of the first times in history we are about to see the number of our senior generation surpass that of the youth, with those 65 and up making up 15.6% of the global population by 2050, that Great Grandparents are becoming a norm in a young child's life.


I don't remember much of both sets of Great Grandparents other than them being quite old looking and very frail, with walking frames, in care homes and they didn't really have a lot to with us, there were definitely not any lifelong memories made. I hope I don't sound disrespectful when I say that, it's just quite a stark contrast to the monsters Great Grandparents, their Great Grandad goes to football at weekends and is highly active. And my Nan, also in her 70's, has Ellie over to stay every week, I do think that Ellie being older is a factor in this as I wouldn't ever send the mini monsters that's for sure!  I've also found that since the mini monsters started school, a lot of the people in the playground are Great Grandparents, as Grandparents are still working, the Great Grandparents take role of child carer now too.


My Nan is always going on about how she is 'behind the time', and how she should learn how to do stuff, which may I add she isn't, she recently went out and took part in a computer course, which she completed, she was so so proud of herself for doing it! Even if some of her terminology was wrong, she still got that certificate at the end of it, and she could not wait to tell everyone about it. From her Grandchildren, to the random lady in the queue at the post office, she let everyone know the her age had not stopped her completing and gaining a new skill.

The fact of the matter is that with all of the amazing advances in healthcare and improved standards of life quality for older generations, mean we are all living longer. But it also had the lovely folk over at Bathing Solutions asking, 'Why does society often cast off its seniors as 'incapable' or 'unable' to learn new skills?' With it's new #BreakingBarriers campaign, Bathing Solutions encouraging our older generation to take action and learn new skills, whether that be learning a new language, learning pilates, or how to cook like Mary Berry there are lots of ideas on the Bathing Solutions website, you can also find more information about community courses in your local area.

#4 Top 5 Essentials For...Creative Play with School Aged Children with Thimble and Twig

Welcome back to part four of my Top 5 Essentials, guest blogging series, for details on how you can take part, head to the bottom of this post. In the meantime, I hand over to Jemma at Thimble and Twig.


Family Fun with Anki Overdrive

If you have children with quite a big age gap you will know that it is quite hard to find stuff to do as a family in which everyone enjoys themselves, so last weekend we had the chance to head over to London for the very cool Anki Overdrive Christmas event, it was a miracle that we were all as excited as each other! Jenson, 5, was excited to play a racing game. Ellie, 11, excited to try out some new tech before her friends!


Anki OVERDRIVE is described as a combination of "Scalextric, Lego and Mario Kart" making it the world's most intelligent battle-racing game. The level of technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the game is unprecedented.


You build tracks, big or small, within seconds and each supercar is a self-aware robot driven by AI.  It's not just a racing game as cars battle each other and each has its own arsenal of weapons that you can control through an app on your mobile device (works with both iOS and Android). With the game being software-driven, players have access to continuous free software updates, as well as new pieces of kit on a regular basis! The brand new SuperTrucks were launched just last month (October 2016)


The magnetic track snaps together quickly. And because it's wireless and durable, you can build your battle track anywhere, your smart device and the Supercars connect automatically and then you are ready to race! With the starter kit (RRP £149.99) you can build up to 8 tracks and with extra kits for available the track of your dreams in not far away! Your smart device and the Supercars connect automatically  available as well as extra cars, the possibilities are endless!




The monsters had so much fun playing with Anki on Saturday and it is most definitely on our Christmas list! Click the Amazon links to get your Anki Overdrive in time for Christmas! Believe me you wont regret it! For more information head to over to the Anki website

     

     





Bunch'ems Review

When we were asked to review Bunch'ems I was slightly dubious after reading lots of stories of them getting stuck in children's hair. But as the kids kept asking for them when they saw the adverts I thought what the heck and jumped in with a yes!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links, I've done the searching so you don't have too! Just click through to buy, it doesn't cost you any extra but I receive a small amount of commission in return for sharing Amazons links*

Belles Musical Tea Cart Review

You know me and my guys love Disney, and that my girls love a princess toy! So a while back when I went to the BlogOn conference and spotted the Jakks Pacific Disney Princess Belles Musical Tea Cart I knew my girls would love it and promptly added it to my mental 'they need that for Christmas' list! Imagine my delight when a few weeks later we got an email asking if we would like to review it! Of course I squealed with delight as I quickly typed my reply, knowing my kids would love this early Christmas present!

#3 Top 5 Essentials For...Potty Training with Vie Choufleur

Welcome back to part two of my Top 5 Essentials, guest blogging series, for details on how you can take part, head to the bottom of this post. In the meantime, I hand over to Halina from Vie Choufleur.

My Top Money Saving Tips from 2016

So I know 2016 isn't quite over with yet but I thought I would share a few of the ways we have saved money this year. I wont lie, it has been a tough year money wise, we stuck our heads in the sand with a few bills and, as we know, sticking your head in the sand soon catches up with you, so this year we pulled our heads out and started sorting out our finances. No more skipping that bill so we can have that day out. No more ignoring that red letter so that we can have a holiday. We have had less days out, less weekends away,  less treats, less meals out. As well as becoming more responsible, it has also made us more grateful for the days out, the weekends away and the treats.

So where to start? You see, we are in no way saving hundreds. We are living on a tight budget, we don't have savings and sometimes we still have to borrow money from parents to help towards our rent.  Its lots of little things that make up a big picture, so whilst these next few steps may seem like very little, in OUR personal picture they help us. Let me know how you save money in the comments below, but here are the top 3 ways we saved money this year.

1) Swap to e-cig's.



Earlier this year Dean made the swap from cigs to e-cigs. This saves us a good chunk of money as it was costing £10-15 a week for his cigarettes. Vaping is not only more economical it is said to be a safer alternative to smoking. E-cigs come in a variety of designs and you are sure to find a flavour to suit even the fussiest of fussers (believe me if the hubby can find a flavour you can!!)
2) Meal Plan.
We save so so so much money by meal planning! It literally makes all the difference. At the begining of our meal plan journey we ate for a whole month using what we already had in the house, with just a small top up shop for milk, bread, fruit etc each week. Our first meal planned shop cam in and £15 FOR A MONTH! After that an we were out of most stuff our shop went up to £60 a week, but lately we have managed to dwindle it down to less than £40 a week for 6 of us. Find out how in my little video below...


3) Become a camping convert!



Did you know that camping costs, on average, around £20-30 per night? Compare this to a £150+ hotel stay you can make some mega savings! And with these savings probably be able to afford more than one holiday too! So OK, you need your equipment, but we went to carboots, searched internet selling sites and all that jazz and we picked up a 6 man tent for £20, we picked up sleeping bags for a couple of quid each and our BBQ cost just a tenner from Wilkos. Right now is the perfect time to pick up such bargains too as they are not in very high demand so there are plenty of bargains to be had!

How do you save money? I would love to hear your tips so leave me your messages below!

This is a collaborative post

Family Meal Plan #14

Remember a few months ago when I shared with you how I was managing to get our weekly shop for 6 under £30 a week? Well lately I haven't been meal planning and we have been going crazily over budget on our food shop! Its time to rein it back in and start with the meal plans again. Last week I used most of what we already had and our grocery shop cost less than £20! I stuck to the meal plan and we didn't need any mid week shop dashes, apart from needing extra milk due to an obsession with yummy hot chocolates! But hey I am still having a heck of a lot of money making them at home, so an extra carton or 2 of milk is nothing compared to the £20+ I would have spent going to Starbucks!

This week we still have quite a lot in the cupboards and freezer so another cheap week for shopping, I am typing this on Sunday morning and thinking I can get my shop this week for around the £25 mark. Pop over to our YouTube channel to watch my grocery haul and see how well I did, but for now, here is our meal plan for this week. (I will try and remember to embed the video here but in case I forget, which is highly likely just follow the link!)

Lots of lovely, autumnal family friendly meals, most of which I plan on using the slow cooker. And off course it wouldn't be my meal plan if I didn't have a 'use what ya got/freezer meal night'!!



Lilys Driftwood Bay Talking Soft Toys | Review

Its no secret that my monsters are big fans of kids TV. So when we were asked to review some of the brand new EXCLUSIVE  to Argos range of Lilys Driftwood Bay from Golden Bear Toys, we jumped at the chance!


House Of Fraser for Kids Little Dickins and Jones Star Print Coat | Review

We were recently asked by House Of Fraser if Evie would like to review their star print padded coat. And with the weather all of a sudden turning wintry she didn't have to wait long to give it its first test drive!

#2 Top 5 Essentials For...Twins with Twinderelmo

Welcome back to part two of my Top 5 Essentials, guest blogging series, for details on how you can take part, head to the bottom of this post. In the meantime, I hand over to Beth from Twinderelmo.


NEW Bob The Builder Toys | Review

My monsters are big Bob The Builder fans, as much as it pains me because I much prefer the 'old version' but any how..we recently got send a big bundle of the new range of Bob The Builder Toys from Smoby and they went down awesomely! The monsters love them, especially Elsie who has been getting her ''fix it'' on at every opportunity!!


Googly Eyes | Review

I am always on the lookout for things we can do all together after school, my monsters get easily bore and much prefer to have games and activities rather than 'just play'. When I heard about University Games 'Googly Eyes' I knew it was a game we could all enjoy!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, I've done the searching so you don't have too! Just click through to buy, it doesn't cost you any extra but I receive a small amount of commission in return for sharing Amazons links*

Top 5 Essentials For...Breastfeeding with Chillling With Lucas

I have been wanting to start a guest series for a long time, but could never think of a theme. It then hit me that it had been a really long time since I regularly posted my 5 Ideas For posts, mainly because I ran out of ideas! So, it hit me one afternoon, why not open it out to other bloggers, and ask them their 5 essentials for a topic of their choice.

Review. Baby Annabell Bedroom

You know my guys love to play with dolls, especially their Baby Annabel and Baby Born dolls. So when we were asked to review the new Baby Annabell Bedroom I could not turn it down!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links, I've done the searching so you don't have too! Just click through to buy, it doesn't cost you any extra but I receive a small amount of commission in return for sharing Amazons links*

Halloween Popcorn Mix

Its challenge week over on Kids Make and Bake Club and we have been challenged to come up with last minute Halloween ideas. The monsters decided they wanted to make a popcorn mix, they are currently obsessed with popcorn mixes, and this one is perfect for a Halloween movie night.


What you need:
Popcorn
Halloween potato snacks (we got ours from Poundland and Lidl, but have seen them in most supermarkets)
Halloween chocolates
Jelly worms

Start of your base with popcorn and some potato snacks, then add the other bits from there. Watch the monsters video to see how we did it...



It makes the perfect snack for a party or movie night.

 

Check out the other Kids Make and Bake Club members ideas here:

Georgia makes Halloween Slime

Thomas make Jack O Lantern Crumpets


We would love to see your Halloween makes and bakes, share them on Instagram and use the #KidsMakeandBakeClub hashtag so we can see your creations. Ohh and don't forget to subscribe to the Kids Make and Bake Club for new uploads every Monday at 6pm.



Top Tips For The Perfect Kids Halloween Party & Warner Brothers DVD Giveaway!

I can't believe we are just days away from Halloween! We are having our annual Halloween party over the weekend, and we are all super excited! I thought I would share my top tips for creating the perfect Halloween party for kids.


1. Embrace the treats!

It wouldn't be Halloween without a few treats, no one is saying you have to go all out and feed your kids sugar on spoons, but embrace it, let them have a few. If you really want to limit, make your own treats so that you know exactly what they are eating. Why not try some red sugar free jelly with grapes made into eyeballs using a small amount of icing? Or why not try this eyeball snot tail, super fun with fruit, fruit juice and sugar free jelly! Serve fruity amoothies with a twist, like these Jack-O-Lantern Smoothies from Eats Amazing. Alternatively why not just pour milk into a clear cup and draw a ghoulish face on the cup with a marker pen.


2.  Balance out the treats with fun savoury goodies!

We usually go with the usual party food nibbles but this year we are planning a couple of warm gruesome meals to eliminate waste. We are making sausage mummies ahead of time, (chipolatas wrapped in pre-bought croissant dough) and we also plan to make 'pumpkin peppers' filled with spaghetti bolognaise and oozing out the pumpkin's face! 

3. Make sure your decorations are age appropriate!

No one like to think of their kids being truly scared, so make sure your decor is fit for the age group. There are lots of fun party decorations out their. Try places like Wilkos, Home Bargains and Poundland for decorations that don't break the bank!


4. Make your own entertainment.

Party entertainment doesn't need to cost a bomb, make your own. Turn old tins into a tin can alley for a fun game, carve pumpkins, or why not try a messy play activity...if you are feeling brave! For a super simple game why not try this Halloween Straw Race featured on Adventures of Adam.


5. Swap trick or treating for a Halloween themed movie night. 

There are LOADS of Halloween movies suitable for kids,  or if you don't think your little ones will sit though a whole movie why not try some fun Halloween cartoons?

Encouraging A Tidy Bedroom With Minene Laundry Basket

I've spoken a couple of times about chores for children, and I have a whole video chatting about it on our YouTube channel coming soon (will replace with a link once it goes live!) the girls, 4 and 3 are now at an age where they can start helping to keep their room a little tidier, one way we have been encouraging this is with this funky new laundry basket from Minene.


The Minene laundry basket (£32) comes in 6 different designs, from a cute pale pink to a funky monochrome chevron. As the girls bedroom is currently deep plum and grey (it used to be our bedroom an we haven't gotten round to decorating!) the grey chevron was the perfect choice for us.  Made from cotton the basket has built in handles for easy transport and is lightweight, durable and practical. This is the perfect accessory to brighten up any room and has the added bonus that it folds flat when not in use...not that there is ever an empty wash basket in this house! 

Now my girls love to get themselves changed about a thousand times a day so when I popped this in their room they got straight to work filling it with the random clothes they found dotted around the bedroom, hiding in toy boxes, squashed in between books on the book shelf, tucked into the end of the bed...you know the usual hiding places!

The laundry hamper fits in perfectly in their bedroom and looks great too. We have had it for a week now and as of yet, I haven't found any clothes in places they shouldn't be! It really has encouraged the girls to keep their room tidy...although it wouldn't be a child's room with a teddy or 2 on the floor right!

We were sent this product in return for an honest review.




We were sent this item in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

Chad Valley Remote Control Excavator Review

If you saw my last post you will know we are very excited to announce that we are on the brand new Chad Valley Play Panel,  this month our play package included this awesome Remote Control Excavator (RRP £29.99, currently £23.99).


Tatamiz Character Play Mats | Review

We were recently asked to review the Tatamiz range of character play mats. We were given the option of choosing our design and it was a tough choice between Paw Patrol and Frozen, but eventually the choice was made (IE: the girls won!) and our Frozen Puzzle Play Mat was on its way.


Angry Birds Popcorn Mix

Tonight we are having an Angry Birds movie night, and I wanted to make some Angry Birds inspired movie snacks. The first snack I made was this popcorn mix inspired by the Angry Birds. Come back in a couple of days to find more snack ideas.


Messy Goes To OKIDO Talking Messy Monster | Review

There isn't much that keeps this house quite, so when the weekend comes just 5 minutes of peace where I can grab a coffee and a 5 minute breather from the madness of 4 monsters running around! This 5 minutes comes at exactly 11.50, when the monsters favourite little monster comes on TV. Messy Goes To OKIDO...

Disclaimer: we were sent this product in return for this review.

Saving Money with SodaStream Power

It's no secret that we love to save money, we, as a nation love to grab a bargain. Did you know that with just some simple supermarket swaps, switching up your fizzy drinks or even trying out that wonky veg that everyone is talking about, there are some easy money saving tips that can save your family a whopping £3,700 per year. Sue Hayward, Money and Consumer Expert, said: “If you're looking to save on the family finances, getting value for money is likely to be high on your list. There's lots of small and easy changes families can make to save themselves some serious cash over the course of a year. Savvy moves and simple supermarket swaps, like cutting out expensive fizzy drinks and using a SodaStream for fresh sparkling water on tap will make your money go a whole lot further.”


*This post contains Amazon affiliate links, I've done the searching so you don't have too! Just click through to buy, it doesn't cost you any extra but I receive a small amount of commission in return for sharing Amazons links*

A Tough Decision To Make #ToddlerApprovedTuesday

Sorry to any reader who isn't a blogger, apologies to any bloggers who don't even know of #ToddlerApprovedTuesday, this post isn't really for you. I don't mind if you click away..honest I don't.

Because this post is mostly an apology  to anyone who links up regular to #ToddlerApprovedTuesday. Its an apology to Clare, my wonderful co-host, who manages to host week after week. She also manages to comment, week after week, and then there is me. I have become very flippant about posting, I rarely get time to comment (but trust me I do read every post linked up, usually on my phone, in bed on a weekend night, when to be honest I either can't comment or when I'm just to tired to comment.) 

You see I don't think my heart is in it right now.

I think its time to make a decision, about the future of #ToddlerApprovedTuesday over here at 3 Princesses and 1 Dude.

I need to take a break, and maybe never return.

I want to get back time to link up with other linkies, I want time to read blogs, I want time to comment on blogs, and I'm afraid the upkeep of a linky interferes with that.

So for now it is farewell. And thank you to anyone who has ever linked up with us and shared the #ToddlerApprovedTuesday love!

5 Ideas For...Family Halloween Movies

Its almost time! Its almost my most favourite time of year (second to Christmas of course!) Halloween is on its way and as our most favourite thing to do is have a family movie night I thought I would share some family favourite Halloween movies.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links, I've done the searching so you don't have too! Just click through to buy, it doesn't cost you any extra but I receive a small amount of commission in return for sharing Amazons links*

The prices listed are correct as of 08/10/2016, I am not responsible for any fluctuation in price. If you do spot an incorrect price, ket me know in the comments below and I will correct as soon I can!

1.  Casper £3.00


2. Monster House £2.22


3. Hocus Pocus £3.49


4. The Nightmare Before Christmas £3.00


5. Coraline £6.75




Even more family friendly scary movies...