Pop Pops Pets Series 1 Review*

If you are a regular reader of the blog, you will know that Darcy loves collectibles. So imagine how hype she was when she found out about Pop Pops Pets. 

Pop Pops Pets are collectible pets that come in bubbles filled with slime.You get to pop the bubbles to reveal the slime and surprise. There are either pink or purple slime and lots and lots of pets to collect.

Darcy has done an unboxing over on Instagram, do check it out as she is a budding Youtuber in the making.

There are 60 Pop Pops Pets characters to collect and there are a total of seven groups: Kittens, Seals, Sloths, Llamas, Penguins, Piggies and Wiener Dogs. There are common, rare, super rare and special edition to collect. Darcy decided she wanted to keep the slime, so will popped them all into a container. At the time of this review going live, the slime is in really good condition.

Series 1 includes; 3 and 6 starter pack, 12 deluxe pack and Poptropolis Carousel Play Set. There is
1 surprise pet inside for every 3 bubbles .

If your child love collectables and slime? They will love these Pop Pops Pets!! They are available to buy from Smyths Toys store and online

Special thanks to Yulu Toys for sending Darcy these Pop Pops Pets! I’ve earned some serious Mum’s points. We received the influence box to review, however, all thoughts and opinions remain our own.

Choosing the Right Fragrance for a Night Out in London

Prior to having kids, most women have a range of perfumes to wear for a variety of different occasions. However, as time goes on (and raising children becomes a priority), mothers often rely on one favourite fragrance for all occasions. If they bother wearing one at all!

If you’ve got out of the habit of wearing perfume, now’s the time to embrace it again – especially if you live in a vibrant city like London. Here’s a quick guide to help you select the right fragrance for you.

Selecting a fragrance for a night on the tiles

First, ask yourself the following:

Where will you be going? Your destination may well influence what sort of perfume you wear. For example, if you’re having a dinner in a restaurant with a friend, you might want something more casual than if you’re going out for cocktails.

What will you be wearing? If you’re getting dressed up in a sexy skirt and towering heels, you’ll want a perfume that’s sensual and exotic. If you’re slinging on a pair of jeans and an elegant blouse, something more casual might be better.

What do you like? Fragrances can have a powerful effect on our mood. Work out what sort of scents make you feel happiest (or most desirable, or however you want to feel!). For example, citrus ingredients lift the spirits, whereas oud oil and sandalwood are good for making you feel sultry and attractive.

Putting them to the test
Whatever you do, don’t buy blind. Do your research first, and find out what’s in some of the most popular designer fragrances out there. Usually, they’ll fall into one of the following categories:

  • Fruity – dominated by scents like lemon, bergamot, apple or mandari
  • Floral – with notes of rose, jasmine, ylang ylang or lavender
  • Sultry – featuring ingredients like oud oil, amber, sandalwood and ambergris
  • Unexpected – with unusual aromas like mint, pink pepper or pineapple

The best thing to do is to test them all out. Department stores will usually spray some on your wrist – but this is a bit limiting, as you can only try one at a time. Some online stores, like the designer-inspired Copycat Fragrances, have 5ml tester bottles, and each contain a few applications. This is useful for road-testing the scents in a range of different situations.

Ask your friends and family
It’s always useful to get opinions from others. You can always trust your friends to be honest about whether the fragrance suits you or not (sometimes brutally so), and family members are usually happy to share their thoughts too. Your children will also chip in their opinions, though how seriously you want to take them is up to you.Then, when you’ve identified some great fragrances that you like, purchase a smaller bottle (it’s better to start small, then buy a larger size when you’re confident it’s for you). Now, all that remains is to hit Soho and gau
ge everyone’s reactions.

Teaching the kids in the garden vegetable patches*

One of the best ways of keeping your kids interested in the garden is to have a vegetable patch. In this article we will go through some of the fastest growing vegetables that will help keep the little attention spans interested and hopefully teach them some of the basic skills of gardening along the way so let’s get started with some of the quickest growing veg and how to look after them.

Growing lettuce in the vegetable patch - but watch out for slugs
Lettuce is a great start for the kids because it’ll grow very quickly. Typically we can get a good crop of lettuce within 21 days. If the soil is well looked after and worked into a fine grain plus watering is taken care of daily then you are sure to have the kids excited with what you can produce from the garden, and so quickly too.

“One thing you’ll need to watch out for is the slugs and snails. Personally I like a natural slug repellent over chemicals repellents. One great way is to pop down some sand, eventually it’ll make its way into the soil and improve drainage in time. They really do not like the course granules and it’ll really put them off.” According to Shelly of https://www.gardentoolbox.co.uk. Her theory seems well backed up by some prominent names, Wikihow certainly agrees sand is a great way to repel slugs too.

Baby carrots grow really quickly
Baby carrots are a great one for the kids because they grow very easily and have a high success rate. The best thing is they are really tasty and in the right conditions will be ready for eating in four weeks. They will need looking after and watering regularly but the results are quick and it will be a real confidence booster to your kids when they see the fruits of labour from the garden.

I’ve always had a lot of success getting the kids to eat baby carrots and that stems from two things really. Firstly, they always see bugs Bunny on TV and with all the drive of kids programmes promoting the idea of seeing in the dark and whatnot, they tend to want to try them. The second factor is that once they tried them, it was an instant realisation of just how tasty a baby carrot is, and for that reason it’s one of my top picks for the vegetable patch when involving the whole family.

Get started in Spring ready for Summer
Spring is the time you look to revive the garden, we have spent months not doing anything in the garden and the vegetables are a great place to start along with cutting the grass and cleaning up the barbecue and washing off the garden furniture. Don’t let time slip by too much, take full advantage of the first warmth in March or April, I know this year has been a cold start but there have been a couple of days. I would highly recommend taking advantage of the next warm day and heading into the garden to get the vegetable patch started with the kids, it’ll improve the garden for a family as a whole over the Summer.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Their First Occupation*

As parents, it’s difficult to know what the future holds for our kids. Technology is changing at an exponential rate, and so is the job market. Occupations that were lucrative and growing a decade ago are now obsolete. New career paths are popping up all the time. We may be able to prepare our children for their first job, but what about their first real occupation? Thankfully, we don’t need specialized training to help prepare them for the career of their dreams. As our kids grow up, we can equip them with the skills they need to be successful.

Encourage Curiosity
When I was growing up, my parents answered all my questions with, “curiosity killed the cat.” Young children ask silly questions all the time, and it’s easy to give them silly answers. Instead, we should be encouraging their curiosity! Curious children are motivated to learn, to solve problems, and to overcome obstacles. Let them ask questions and support their curiosity. That doesn’t mean giving them all the answers. Teach them how to search for answers themselves through research and experimentation. Share your own curiosity and search for answers with them. Curiosity in young children can lead to innovation in adults. Kids who wonder how things work become adults who make things work better.

Foster Independence
Children want to be independent. They want to dress themselves, pack their own lunches, and do their own homework. They will fight you for their independence, so let them have it. Give children space to figure things out on their own. They may struggle, but they will build self-confidence. When they are very young, let them make their own decisions about little things. Let them dress themselves or make their own lunch. They will not always make choices you approve of, but they will value your trust. As your children grow into teenagers, they will have more important decisions to make. They are choosing high school classes, hobbies, and even their friends. Give them guidance and support, but let them make their own decisions. Independent kids are decisive adults. They will be confident in their ability to make an informed, intelligent choice.

Develop Responsibility
You can’t have responsible children without giving them responsibility. Give your kids chores. When kids contribute to the household, they learn that their actions directly affect those around them. The responsibility of the chore should grow with your child. When they are mature enough, raise the stakes by having them pitch in with more important work. This could mean cooking meals, helping to care for younger siblings, or even balancing the budget.

When your kids are old enough, you could give them the opportunity to contribute financially. Kids as young as fifteen can get a part time job, allowing them to cover many of their own expenses. If this is right for your family, be sure you are open about the financial impact of their hard work. Figure up the impact their new job has on the family budget. Are they paying for their own gas? Buying their own lunch at school? Consider putting those extra pennies in a savings account for a special occasion, like a family vacation. Seeing a tangible result of their hard work will help them understand the impact of responsibility.

Let Them Fail
We all struggle with parenting sometimes. We are just trying to do what’s best for our kids, and that looks different for everyone. Whatever you do, please don’t be a bulldozer parent. It’s great to give children opportunities, but removing every obstacle from their path can cause more harm than good. Kids who don’t learn to deal with adversity are plagued with anxiety, perfectionism, and indecision. They avoid risk and crumble under pressure. Failing leads to innovation, grit, and work ethic. Young children don’t avoid risk, they embrace it! Even when it scares us to death, they will jump off the jungle gym or pick up a bug in the back yard. Even failed endeavors can still be positive experiences for kids. As my high school theatre teacher used to say, “if we fail, let’s fail magnificently.”

Build a Growth Mindset
Growth mindset is essentially the belief that we can work to develop our skills. Sure, everyone has talents and abilities. A fixed mindset tells us that we are “good” or “bad” at something, and those abilities can’t change. A growth mindset tells us that we can work hard to improve our abilities. So, don’t let any success (or failure) go to waste! Praise your children for their effort, no matter the result. Teach them to learn from their mistakes! A growth mindset helps children become confident, capable adults.

Occupations are changing, and so are the skills that young people need to be successful. Recruiters, HR directors, and hiring managers are looking for 21st century skills. To be competitive in the job market of the future, young professionals need more than a specialized degree. We can foster creativity, grit, and work ethic in our children. Those skills will prepare them for success in any occupation.

Ron Stefanski is the founder of JobsForTeensHQ.com and has a passion for helping teenagers find jobs. He created the website because he feels that teenagers need to focus on their professional passions much earlier in life and aims to teach them how they can do that. When he’s not working on his website, Ron is a college professor and loves to travel the world.

4 Delicious Places to Eat in Soho*

If you love the theatre, shopping and nightlife, then Soho is the place for you. Plus, there are tons of hotels in Soho for those who are visiting London and want things to be easy. One thing about Soho that some people may not realise is that it has a great range of restaurants from traditional british dinners, Dim Sum to Vegan delights there is something for everyone!

I thought I would share with you 4 delicious places you need to visit in Soho.

If you like interesting and flavoursome Indian street food, you will love Dishoom.They have multiple locations around london and the UK, including one off Carnaby street. They only take a limited number of reservations for 6 or more for dinner. I suggest you do what we did and head down for breakfast so you won’t have to wait in line, plus their breakfast menu is amazing and child friendly.

I opted for the Kejriwal, which is chilli cheese on toast and eggs,which was delicious with a bit of a kick. If you order a regular chai staff will come around and offer to refill it for you for free which is great. Darcy went for the fire toast, which is served with home-made preserves: pineapple-pink-peppercorn jam, and orange marmalade with star anis. Breakfast is served from 8am until 11:45 am weekdays and from 9am to 11.45am on weekends.

If you want to try something different, head on down to Old Compton Street. HipChips sell fresh crisp and dips, with the menu being limited it is easy to follow and chose what you want. There are 3 different sizes. small, medium and large. The small box has 2 dips, the medium box has 3 dips and the large box has 6 dips.

There’s five different types of potatoes all mixed up. You then can decide if you want to have them salted or sweet. There is a range of sweet and savoury dips to pick from. We went for smokey cheese fondue, jerk sauce and the lemon tart with raspberries.

There’s a range of drinks to pick from, including soft drinks, cocktails and beers and coffee. If you love your gadgets you will love their ipad self serve coffee machine

Chin Chin Labs
Take a scroll down Greek Street and you will find Chin Chin Labs. Famous for their Ice cream wizardry using liquid nitrogen, with classic and quirky flavours, and a range of enticing toppings.

I went for the Sticky Toffee Warmie, with a scoop of Tonka Bean ice cream, whilst Darcy had Tonka Bean ice cream with Bee Pollen Honeycomb and Hazelnut Sand topping. They also sell a range of teas and coffee and their instagram famous hot chocolate with handmade torched marshmallow.

If you love desserts and ice-cream this place will be heaven for you. There are some vegan options to pick from also.

Chinatown Bakery
You can find a large range of savoury and sweet buns and pastries. These include tuna, chicken and pork fillings in both flaky pastry and brioche-type buns. There are also teriyaki-style buns, and Chinese sweet treats like custard tarts, coconut bun, pandan and lotus cakes. 

You just grab a tray and tongs and pick your selection. As you can see it is very difficult to visit and leave with just one item. Our favourites Roast pork BBQ buns and the banana bread.

Chinatown bakery is on Newport Place, be warned though, it is cash only for any orders under £10 and they don't take American Express but will take other cards.

The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own

Simple Stir fry beef with veg & Cashew nuts | #MeatMatters

Being a busy mum, I l adore dishes like this that can be cooked from scratch, easy and quick to make, as there is only the two of us, there is plenty to freeze and reheat when I am short of time, but want to make sure Darcy is eating something filling and healthy.

Did you know, beef is a source of iron, which helps reduce tiredness and fatigue, as well as providing eight essential vitamins and minerals (Niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin, plus iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus) that support good health and well-being.

As you can see Darcy loves getting involved in cooking, I think it is important that kids learn how to prepare their own food as it helps them to build a healthy relationship with food. Darcy is a really good eater and loves to try new foods.

I served our dish with rice, however you can also have it with noodles or just as a dish by it own.


1 tablespoon olive oil or any low fat cooking oil spray
500g beef rump steak, cut into thin slices
1 handful Tenderstem broccoli

1 handful Green Beans
1 Red Pepper
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon chilli
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons of cornflour
1 cup water
Salt to taste
Toasted cashews

Heat half the oil in a large wok or skillet over a high heat, gently tilting the wok to allow the oil to completely coat the side of the wok or pan
Mixed together the cornflour, ginger, garlic, chili and soy sauce into a paste
Cook the beef in batches, for 1-2 minutes, until well browned.
Remove from the wok and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the wok or pan over a medium-high heat.
Add the onion, green beans, red pepper, broccoli
Cook, tossing, for 3-4 minutes or until just tender and broccoli turns a gorgeous bright green colour.
Return the beef to the wok with the sauce
Add 1/2 cup of water and Toss until well combined and heated through.
Season with salt
Scatter over the cashews and serve

This post is for the #MeatMatters Challenge sponsored by Simply Beef and Lamb. Learn more about the benefits of cooking and eating beef and lamb along with recipe ideas and inspiration here: https://www.simplybeefandlamb.co.uk

Animal Adventures - Half Term Fun at Chessington World of Adentures*

So it is half term and Darcy uttered those two words that all us parents hate "I'm bored" Unaware to her I have already planned to take her to Chessington World Of Adventures for their Animal Adventures week.

This year there is How to be a Zookeeper LIVE! — an interactive show where you can learn what it takes to become a Zoo Keeper and meet some of their amazing animals along the way!

Although a lot of the rides are not open, it is the perfect opportunity for younger thrill seekers to explore the resort. It is less busy so much easier to get around and the queues are much shorter. We did not have to queue any longer than 20 minutes and even better the tickets are only £15.

We got to pack in quite a lot during the day, including visiting the Sea life Centre, Zoo and Farm.  Darcy especially loved the Penguin Bay, and now wants one for Christmas....

There is actually a lot to do, so do not be put off by the lack of rides. Chessington also offers a Rainy Day Guarantee , when you book tickets on line for a specific visit date in the season, if it rains for one hour or more, they will guarantee you a free like for like return visit later in the year.

2019 is going to be a big year for Chessington with the launch of Room on the Broom - A Magical Adventure opening on 10th March. It’s another tie in with Julia Donaldson after their successful project on The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure in 2017.

As well as the new Room on the Broom – A Magical Journey attraction, there will be two Room on the Broom themed hotel rooms in the Chessington Safari Hotel. We are super excited to come back and lose ourselves in the magic!

Animal Adventures is running until the 24th February, so there is still plenty of time to plan a trip down to Chessington World of Adventures 

Are you planning a trip to Chessington World of Adventures soon? 

I am a Chessington Blogger Ambassador, I was given a Chessington Annual Pass to do this review with my family and I was not paid to do this post. If anyone would like to confirm any details in the post, please email press.office@chessington.co.uk

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter

So one of my favourite people in the world Marla, brought me tickets for Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter for my birthday/ Christmas present. She knows me so well. As I am north of London and we chose to drive. It was fairly easy to get to and has plenty of free parking.

I cannot begin to say how much I enjoyed this tour, I had high expectations as I've wanted to visit the Harry Potter Studios for some time and I have to say they were exceeded. We visited on the last day of Hogwarts in the snow, all the sets were decorated for Christmas plus it was snowing.

Touring around the studio makes you realise how much effort the people have put in to make the magical world come true, It's just truly mesmerizing.The staffs were excellent and very knowledgeable, you can tell that they really enjoy working there!

I found it easy to walk around as a person with mobility issues. The only place I struggled was in the cobbled street where the shops are, it is very bumpy however manageable.

The sets, costumes,props, Hogwarts train were better than anything you can ever imagine, areas can get a little crowded but it’s expected. 

Of course I couldn't come to The Making Harry Potter and not try the Butterbeer. It was a little bit too sweet for my liking but refreshing, It's non alcoholic so children can have it too. My friends had the Butterbeer ice cream and both agreed that it was lush.

The Forbidden Forest is fantastic and The Hogwarts Castle at the end is simply breathtaking. The souvenir shop is a bit on the pricey side but that is to be expected!  

Harry Potter fan or not, I highly recommend you visit and lose yourself to the magic of Harry Potter.

How To Dress For Playing In The Snow | Cold Weather Dressing Tips*


Well, it looks like Winter is here to stay! and winter kids clothing is definitely a must. Unlike us adults, kids are more sensitive to change in temperature. The heat retention system of kids is not fully developed. Which makes it more difficult for them to adjust to the low temperature.

The struggle is real! Keeping kids warm while playing outside in the cold is a battle. Here's some quick tips to save your sanity and allow you all to play outside longer!

Layer up, base layer should ideally be wool, NOT cotton. Primark do really good thermal vests which wash well. After the base thin material long sleeves tops are good for laying up without being heavy. 

But, not too many layers, layering your kid with too much outerwear can actually make them colder. That’s because excess layers can cause your child to sweat, which makes their clothes wet, allowing the cold and wind to bring their temperature down

Cover the gaps, which are the wrists, ankles, neck and waist. Also long sleeve gloves are perfect as the fit over and under a coat. For the ankles long socks or tights are great for under trousers. 

Pick the correct footwear, wellies or snowboots with a deep, strong, rubber tread, are good for all types of snow, ice and slush.

And don't forget hats, gloves and scarfs, child’s head, face, ears, hands, and feet are most prone to cold exposure and frostbite.

When your sash windows look like they need repair*

If you live in London then youll be familiar with wooden sash windows.My Mum is lucky enough to have orginal sash windows however they are looking a little worse for wear and she is really hoping they dont need to be replaced. The quotes she has got have ranged from £300 per window to simply overhaul and draught proof them, (fixing the patches of rot was additional), all the way to a £3500 for a brand new double glazed hardwood sash window. 

We had mixed feedback from the companies I invited round, many suggested entirely replacing my original sash windows, its not worth the hassle of repairing and theyll most likely need to be repaired again in another five years time. Other companies quite rightly pointed out that wooden sash windows will always require maintenance and repair but have already lasted a hundred years and theres no reason they wont keep on going with a little TLC (a lick of paint every five years or so). 

Sash window repair seemed much more friendly and affordable 

This to me seemed logical, I didnt want her bias swayed by the fact its considerably cheaper and all companies that quoted were clear; sash window draught proofing has an extremely positive effect on the overall temperature. Thats good then because when its windy her sash windows rattle and cold air floods in, stopping me from ever building any kind of consistent temperature. This is also well documented by this government draught proofing factsheet. They mention draught proofing a window will save between £25-£35 per window.  

So assuming sash window repair is feasible as this London sash window company suggests, it seemed pretty obvious to me that restoration and draught proofing was a far more sensible option than entire replace. We have no reason to doubt them, their reviews online are outstanding. Not just because new hardwood double glazed sash windows are outrageously expensive, but also, it seems rather sympathetic to a building thats been standing a hundred years or more. 

So my Mum had the final quotes in, the average cost for sash window repair and draught proofing was around £500 per window, where entire replacement averaged £3000.00. This is pretty much the average price in London Im told. To my mind the only significant benefit of new double glazed sash windows would be the improved acoustic performance over single glazing. If the heat issue is resolved with draught proofing then it seems less of a concern. I know that she is not overly worried about the noise so much, this is my childhood home and we have put up with it for years. 

One London company offered an alternative solution which wasnt really appealing to me but worth a mention, they said they could install double glazing into the original frames. The cost for this process was around £1100 per sash window which seemed far more affordable than brand new double glazed sash windows but still, a lot of money and I dont think the reduced noise warrants the additional investment. 

It was quite a pleasant experience being quoted by all companies, they all operated in London. I know she will have the sash windows repaired, draught proofed, and then decorated in the summer. Now we just need to decide which sash window company to use. Its not always advisable to go with the cheapest quote, but the one you believe you felt most comfortable with and who will do an honest, quality job.