Wednesday, 30 September 2015

How much Brits blow on a birthday party

It was only back in June that I was talking about how birthday parties for children seem to get more expensive as children get older. In the 4 years of Leo's life, birthday's have been more of a family occasion. We have little get together's and we put on a buffet, or Leo will ask for his favourite home cooked meal of Granny's famous Chinese chicken, but I know that now he is at school, Birthday's are going to be transform into something else.

Birthday's will be celebrated differently from the here on out, and that's absolutely fine. If Leo want's a party then we will obviously look at the most realistic and best way to make his dreams come true, and stick to a budget that works with the finances available. 

The fact of the matter is that children's parties today have changed from when we were younger, Children of 2015 are sassy and they know what they want. They know what they don't want and from a young age they want more than to pin the tail on the donkey, more than pass the parcel and more than just a birthday cake.

Sunlife have recently put together this fun infographic highlighting party budgets of us Brits spend based on our region, and it's quite enlightening. In the UK as many as 8 out of 10 families throw a party and spend around £100 on making it a celebration to remember. 

Sunlife

WIN a years supply of Heroes Chocolates with euroffice

euroffice

Back to Work: Become an office hero by helping eliminate post-holiday blues and WIN a years supply of Heroes Chocolates*
*A years supply is referenced to 52 boxes of Miniature Heroes

I am sure I don't need to tell you that summer has wrapped up for the year. Well the little bit of sunshine that we were lucky enough to bask under. If you have been on holiday over the summer period then you know all to well how returning to reality and the mundane everyday tasks can leave you with a terrible case of the holiday blues. 

I myself know exactly how this feels following my return from Tunisia back in June. If you are going to be in the office though, your might as well enjoy yourself right? Who doesn't like it when a colleague brings in a big box of chocolates or treats for the entire work place.

Maybe it's high time you became the office hero who can make such delights HAPPEN.

euroffice have created a rather super competition to help aid you with this super hero task. They are stepping the mark up to help you beat those holiday blues, and they are doing it by giving you the opportunity to win a YEARS SUPPLY OF CADBURY’S HEROES! for your entire office! 

To enter you just need to go into work and tell your colleagues about the potential opportunity to enjoy ample amounts of chocolate over the next 12 months, and I am sure they will be more than willing to assist you in coming up with a cool and creative way to build a holiday-inspired setting or famous landmark using your stationery.

There are so many different ideas you could run with, maybe an Eiffel Tower made out of rulers? Maybe the Big Ben out of sticky notes and rulers? What are you going to come up with... I would enter, but working for myself these days, on my own.. A years supply of chocolate would most certainly be my un-doing. 

Think creative, quirky and above all – original designs that remind you of your summer getaway! This can be anything from a landmark, travel essential or holiday scenario – the sky is the limit!

Once you’ve created your stationery masterpiece:

1. Follow @euroffice and like their Facebook page

2. Snap a pic

3. Tweet the pic @euroffice using #PostHolidayHero

To see all the entry guidelines, click here!
Good luck guys!


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Netflix Stream Team: September

Netflix Stream Team

These last few months I have been more addicted to Netflix than ever before, I have loved nothing more than tucking myself up in bed, flicking the TV on and relaxing with my latest box set addiction. Pretty Little Liars (Although I will be very careful about how I use the Netflix and chill terminology now I am familiar with the word on the street!).

I have finally come to the end of the line with Pretty Little Liars (well for the time being anyway!). I know who A is, and I never saw it coming, not for one single moment. That's what I have loved about the series since the get go, the twists and turns have really kept me on the very edge of my seat, biting my nails and reeling in shock. That's exactly what I look for in a series that I can really get into, each of the characters are all so unique and boast their own likability factors that you just can't help but love them. 

So with one love affair ending for the time being, I have left with a box set hole in my life, one that I needed to fill as quickly as possible, because if I am not writing on this here blog, if I am not at the gym, you can guarantee that I am taking advantage of my Netflix subscription. I told you all last month about the potentials for my next series, and I am now storming my way through the 3rd season of Orange is the New Black. 

This is a series I started watching not long after the release of the very first season. At the time I flicked that pilot episode on, I wasn't expecting great things in all honesty. It was a series that I didn't anticipate enjoying, but from the very start my expectations were just blown away. The Netflix original series are actually the exact reason that you should get an account if by some insane reason you have missed the explosion of television on demand in recent years, I have to ask the question, have you been hiding under a rock?

Demand television is the only way I get to watch anything these days, being a parent has meant that any TV that is used throughout the day, will undoubtedly be all of Leo's favourite programs and films, you can bet your bottom dollar that anything I want to watch...Well I can just forget it. That is exactly why Netflix is such a valuable asset to me, because there are evenings where I want to do nothing more than get into bed, turn the TV on, lock out the world and just simply lose myself in a story on the box. 

The convenience factor of Netflix has fit into my crazy existence and is perfectly suited to my busy (often hectic!) life. If I want to stay up until 1am and chain watch my latest series, then I absolutely can (and absolutely do!), if I want to pause it half way through and pick up exactly where I left of.. No problem. If Leo decides to get ill while i'm engrossed in what I am watching, the days of missing the ending are long gone. 


Disclaimer: As part of the Netflix Stream Team I am provided complimentary Netflix to meet my addiction. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.




Monday, 28 September 2015

Cycling Really is For Everyone


As you know, I am very interested in fitness. Staying healthy and active has a positive effect on how much energy you have, how you look and, most importantly, on how you feel.

There are all kinds of ways to stay fit, which is great because we are all different. A sport or type of exercise that I love may not appeal to you. In addition, health problems and age can all affect which form of activity is possible or suitable.

For example, a person in their 50s who has not done much exercise before is going to find an aerobics class too taxing whilst someone who runs regularly is likely to find the same class easy. However, some forms of exercise seem to work for virtually anyone almost regardless of their fitness levels or age. Two that sprint to mind are yoga and cycling.

They are both something that most people can manage to do at some level. Of these two all-inclusive forms of exercise, cycling is my favourite option.

Most people have ridden a bike at some stage of their lives, so they do not have to learn a new skill to be able to take part in this form of exercise. You know the saying – It’s like riding a bike – well it is true. Apparently, when you learn to ride a bike that knowledge is stowed away in your procedural memory, which is an area of the mind that stays relatively intact even in people with cognitive impairments.

For example, I recently discovered that some dementia patients are still enjoying cycling with friends and family. Some use a tandem or a side-by-side bike, but others with dementia are still enjoying riding independently with close supervision in traffic free environments.

Teaching your child to ride a bike gives them a skill that stays with them for life and one that can help them to stay fit and independent throughout their lives. It is also a great way for families to enjoy staying fit together. A cycle ride is fun and these days you do not necessarily need to take your bikes with you. In areas where there are mapped cycle routes, like nature reserves, stately homes and parks, it is usually possible to hire bikes. Although at busy times, it makes sense to book in advance.
Running your own bike

However, if you buy a bike, there is also the option to make cycling part of your daily life. Cycling to work, school or the shops is a great way to weave fitness into your day-to-day life. Radialcycles.co.uk sells a wide range of different bikes, so if you are looking for bikes for the family they are a good place to start.


Once you get the cycling bug it usually leads to an interest in other forms of cycling that can help you to take your fitness levels to the next level. A morning spent mountain biking or road racing burns thousands of calories and is a great way of building lean muscle. Therefore, if you are looking for an easy way to get progressively fit getting on your bike is a great option. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

What's on your plate?


Since I started eating clean back in February, I have learnt so much about what I should eat and why I should eat it. If it comes from the ground, if it's from the earth, then nature obviously intends for us to consume it. It's wholesome food that serves a purpose in fueling and aiding our bodies through our day to day life. 

Today I really do make sure that what I am consuming is benefiting my body, and my training. I have a new found appreciation for food. I realise that it's main purpose is fuel me, and that we really should steer away from over processed food and drink. When I began this journey almost 16 months ago, it really was a learning curve, it's rather amazing how much we all take food for-granted. When you start watching what you are eating or paying closer attention you realise that temptation is absolutely everywhere. On each and every till checkout in Tesco, or zapped to the nines with Sugar and un-healthy chemicals that our bodies quite simply don't know what to do with.

It really did and does continue to shock me, you don't realise just how over processed food is until you start to think about what you are eating and why. Even the things that claim to be doing our bodies good are actually over loaded with things that we don't realistically need, but because they say they are good for us, we usually believe them. 

My shopping list consists of mainly fruit and vegetables these days, obviously with the give in's of meat, but absolutely everything I cook is wholesome and good for me. I don't count the calories, I pile my plate full of vegetables and often devour 4 steaks at a time...


I consume fruit like it is going out of fashion, Pink Lady Apples, Blueberries, Raspberries, Mangoes and Banana's are firm favourites and I often have to ponder why I never used to eat them before? 

As I get through so many vegetables the logical thing for me to consider, would be to grow my own vegetables. It's a thought that has definitely crossed my mind at times, I would actually love to try my hand at growing my own Blueberries (I buy them on a daily basis). I do have to wonder whether or not I am blessed with the magical touch to rear my own fruit and vegetables, but the dream is there all the same.

Food really is the key ingredient to absolutely everything, I know when I have eaten well and when I haven't. My body tells me, I literally only have to look at my stomach to know the difference between a good day and a bad day (or month in this instance) but I know that with the right fuel at the helm, my fitness goals are all within reach.

What is a typical meal in your house?

Fireman Sam Heroes of the Storm DVD Review

Fireman Sam Heroes of the Storm

Back in the Summer Holiday's Leo and I were invited to London to a rather exciting premier. The premier of Fireman Sam's latest feature film: Fireman Sam Heroes of the Storm. Unfortunately we were busy that day and couldn't make the rather splendid event. The fantastic team over at Mattel very kindly sent us the DVD and a Fireman Sam Helmet with sounds so that we could still get involved. 

It made a lovely treat for Leo when he arrived home from school last week, as last week was the start of his first full day in the school setting, so when he arrived home to such a lovely surprise he really was over the moon. It is safe to say that school is tiring that little man of mine right out, so we are opting to spend afternoons following the school day, quietly and usually with a film. Of course the movie of choice last week was Heroes of the Storm!

Fireman Sam Heroes of the Storm

What's it all about?

The Pontypandy Fire Station has been closed down following the construction of a much newer modern station, and with that two new recruits have arrived. While the new station is being constructed the crew are having to work from a mobile command unit. Of course if something can go wrong...It wil go wrong and in this instance, it's the approaching hurricane that is about to hit Pontypandy!

The crew jump in to action to prepare the town, with Sam rushing to the old mines to warn Penny and Elvis left in charge at the station. As the wind whips up and the rain lashes down, it's a race against time to save the residents of Pontypandy. 

The film has so many different emergencies going on that it definitely helped keep Leo entertained and the entire duration of the film saw Leo sat on the very edge of his seat. He asked questions about what was going on, why was Sam doing that? And the entire time saw him sitting with his very special Fireman Sam Helmet on his head.

The film retails at: £5.99 and you can get your very own Fireman Sam Sound Helmet from Amazon for £14.97.


Fireman Sam Heroes of the Storm

Disclaimer: We were sent the Fireman Sam Sounds Helmet and Fireman Sam Heroes of the Storm DVD in exchange for our honest thoughts and opinion. 



Despicable Me 2 Talking Dave Soft Toy Review


Has anyone else noticed the Minion phase that has swept over the children of the nation? I am sure it isn't just me, from Despicable Me it was inevitable that these cute little yellow characters weren't going to capture the hearts of the nation. In fact for me the Minions were the only things to get me through Despicable Me 1 and 2 so I had high hopes for the film, which in my honest opinion was a bit of a flop after such a dramatic build up. 

Despite the film not living up to expectations, we still love Minions in this house. Minion Dave in particular. Leo has recently been cosying up with a Plush Talking Dave, and the play value that Leo has shown with this soft toy has actually provided more play time than I first anticipated. Leo has never really been one for cuddly toys, but then I suppose those cuddly toys weren't Minions...


Minion Dave is a nice size at 29cm tall, and he is made out of soft cuddly material. The only aspect of him that isn't cuddly are his goggles which are quite heavy. The Minion straight out of Despicable Me 2 has a variety of words and phrases that he speaks when you push his tummy. When you do push his stomach and he speaks, his eyes also light up and bulge out of his head which is a feature that Leo really enjoys.

Minion Dave has been Leo's right hand guy, and it has been rather nice seeing him take to a soft toy like he never has before. Leo has always been all about his blanket, a cot duvet that he has had since he was a baby, and even today he cannot go to bed without it. So Minion Dave has slotted in quite nicely between blanket and cuddles at bedtime, and it is not un-common to hear random Minion chatter coming from Leo's bedroom after the lights go out... If it's not Dave, then it is usually Leo shouting 'BANNANA'.


Dave requires 3 X AA batteries that come included when you purchase him and so far they seem to last rather well despite the non stop use he has had since arriving with us. Dave is currently on offer at the House of Fraser for £34.99, discounted from £39.99.

We really enjoyed Minion Dave, and it would seem that he will be heading off to sleep with Leo for some time to come.

With Christmas just around the corner, Dave could make the perfect gift to open on Christmas morning, so if you are already thinking about the big day (that isn't all that far away) keep an eye out for upcoming reviews that may help you make the all important gift selections. 

Disclaimer: We were sent a Despicable Me 2 Talking Dave Soft Toy for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and those of Life Unexpected.

Monday, 21 September 2015

A Typical Food Day for this BBG Girl



I have been following Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide for the past 31 weeks now, and one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that when you are trying to achieve your goals, food is the absolute basis for everything. 

You can exercise all you like, but unless you follow through with your diet plan, long term you aren't going to for fill your all time objectives. I tell you this from experience. Back in August I was much leaner than I am today, and that is because my eating was working hand in hand with my exercise regime. 

Today my eating is getting back where it should be, but I expect it to be a good few weeks before I get back to where I was. It really does just go to show how much you can undo when you fall off the band wagon and your eating goes to pot. Today I wanted to walk you through a typical meal plan for a typical day in my shoes. I am no dietitian, I don't proclaim to know everything, because I am not trained and I quite simply don't, but this is what works for me personally, and they are meals that I enjoy...


Breakfast

Breakfast can be a variety of different things for me, after all it is the most important meal of the day. 

These are some of my favourite and a regular go to breakfast choice for me.

- Hard Boiled Eggs on Rye - It's a great way to start the day and always keeps me feeling full and sustained.
- Coconut Porridge with honey - This is an indulgent breakfast for me, I absolutely love it and I could eat so much more than I probably should!

- Green Smoothie - I enjoy these as it is a great way to kick start the morning, your getting a blast of everything that is good for you, it's filling and nutritious all at the same time.

- 2 Weetabix with coconut milk and honey.

Bikini Body Guide Food


Snacks

I snack throughout the day, one in the morning around 11am and once again in the afternoon around 3pm. It's so important to keep yourself fuelled especially when you are training so you want to pick snacks that are going to provide you with energy and there are many different options that can help you feel full and benefit your goals.

- Celery and Peanut Butter
-  1 Apple
- Almonds
- Water Melon
- Blue Berries
- Hard Boiled Eggs

I seem to be favouring eggs in every corner of my day to day life at the moment. For me they are the ultimate fast food and I think that is why I love them so much. I boil them up in batches and keep them in the fridge so that I have a protein blast to hand whenever I fancy one. The problem is..I can eat quite a few in one sitting!

Lunch


I find if I have a big breakfast, sometimes I am not feeling a huge lunch. A typical lunch for me could be anything of the following:

- Omelette with a sprinkling of cheese and a side salad.
- Chicken Wholemeal Wrap
-  Ham and Cheese on Rye Crackers
- Steak and Salad
- Chicken and Salad
- Water Melon

Dinner


Dinner is by far my favorite meal of the day. and I seem to go through phases of what I am really enjoying. If you follow me on Instagram then you will know that I am absolutely loving Steak at the moment. Thankfully there are so many different ways that you can enjoy steak.

- Chilli Steak on a bed of baked Broccoli, Spinish and Kale with a sprinkling of fresh Parmesan. 

- Chilli Steak with Sweet Potato Fries and Corn on the Cob

- Chilli Steak and Mediterranean Vegetables

Other dinner variations include:

- Chicken Pesto Pasta 
- Chicken topped with Pepperoni and Cheese on Whole Grain Rice
- Honey and Soy Chicken with black pepper and vegetables
- Chicken/Steak Stir Fry
- Omelette
- Vegetable Base Pizza - Why not try Courgette Base


Night Time Hunger Pangs

If you are anything like me than night time is the worst. It's when you want to just reach for the chocolate and be done with it, but you don't have to throw in the towel. When hunger strikes the first thing you need to do is drink some water. It could just be that you are thirsty. 

If that doesn't cut it, then maybe these solutions that I use regularly might to do the trick:

- Camomile Tea with Honey (my favourite flavour has to be Twinings Soothing Camamile and Spiced Apple! It's got a gorgeous taste and is a great way to un-wind for sleep!).

- Cacao Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon and Honey. You can find the recipe here.

I especially find that the Cacao Hot Chocolate stops you feeling hungry because it's so thick and indulgent, and not to mention that it sustains your sweet tooth at the same time! 

It's all about moderation...

I am currently taking my eating right back to basics and making sure that I am giving my body everything it needs for fuel. I let it get out of control but I am taking it back, and I am now ready to continue hitting my goals.




An un-expected Drive to London


On Saturday Leo and I were due in London bright and early. I set my alarm and got my head down for an early night ready for the excitement of the day ahead the following morning.  When Leo rolled into my room bright and early, I didn't think for a second that my alarm had failed me, and that it was now the time that we should be boarding our train out of town. His arrival into bed made me glance at the clock and recall on horror, Before I knew it I was up, in the shower and getting ready so that we could make a break out of the house.

I knew it was too late for our first train, it had already left. The second train out of the station got us in far to late for the event, so we opted to hop in my prized automobile and head for Oxford in the hopes that we could pick up another train that would get us there in time. I pulled the car over as we got into Oxford, which is about an hours drive with traffic from the town I live in Worcestershire. It was then that I realised we were about to miss our second train of the morning. I didn't want to let Leo down as I had promised him a trip into London, so even though we were going to miss our main purpose of visiting London, I was adamant that we were going to make it.

It was then and there that I decided to throw myself well and truly out of my comfort zone. I had already danced on the line when I decided to drive to Oxford, but now I was going to drive to London. I decided that we would drive to Uxbridge, park the car and then hop on the tube into London City Centre. Leo was excited for the road trip and I was buzzing, I had already got so far, what was another 50 minutes? My adrenaline levels were bubbling, and instead of fearing the motorway stretch that I knew was coming, I was looking forward to it. 

I drove around the roundabout taking the exit for the M40, and as I merged I was smiling. I was doing something that I never ever thought that I would do in my life. I was now on the motorway and heading towards the capital with Leo cheering as we went. The road trip was all part of the fun, and today I am still pretty proud of myself. 

On the way home we spent 70 odd miles on the M40. Now for the average person it might not sound like much, but for me. A self confessed nervous driver who had thrown caution to the wind and proven that she COULD do it, and she had done it!

Leo and I spent a fabulous day in London and even hopped on the open top tour bus, something that I had never had the opportunity to do with him before. The sun shone and the September day was just beautiful.

We are hoping to head to Newquay in the October half term, just the two of us. Once upon a time this would have only been possible if I researched the trains and made sure we could make it to the hotel from the station. Now I am so pleased to be able to say that I will get in my car, and we will drive there with big smiles on our faces with tunes blaring.

Before we plan that trip though I need to have a look online and reserve new tyres for local fitting as my current set are nearing the end of their life span. I often like to use tyre dealers such as Point-S as they are local to me in the West Midlands, and for the over all convenience factor of being able to see what I am paying up front. 

It just goes to show that life won't deal you a hand that you can't handle. These things are sent to test us, and it is up to us to rise to the occasion!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Daring Dragon Drop Set Review


For any long term reader you will know that Leo has always had a little bit of a love for trains, and Thomas the Tank Engine in particular. Over the years we have seen A LOT of train track, and seem to have trains coming out of our ears, not the mention the abundance of Thomas and his friends that seem to be at the helm of each and every toy box. Yes...We may have a train problem. 

We have put a number of the Fisher Price Thomas range through their paces over the last couple of years, much to Leo's delight, and they are all toys that he still gets out on a regular basis. True love never dies they say, and the fire that burns for the reviews below has never gone out.


With Christmas just around the corner I thought it would be a great time to re-capture the love for these toys before telling you all about the latest Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Set that we have been having a play with over the last few weeks. The new Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Daring Dragon Drop Set.


So what makes a great train toy in 2015? Well for Leo if you have a nice amount of track, you have a few trains to help fuel his imagination... You have a winner, and the Daring Dragon Take-n-Play Drop Set has all of this, I can tell you before I even get any further into this review, that this latest set has been a big BIG hit with the four year old.

What's in the box?

A die-cast metal Thomas, a volcano, a dragon bridge with zip-line, a bridge track and a loop of track

The first thing to note about this play set is it's generous size, with a train track I think size is important. It definitely is for Leo. Bigger is most definitely better in his frame of thinking, and on the size factor this ticked every box. What's even better about opting for this play set is that you can fold it up and put it away at the end of the day. Yes trains are pretty cool, but it is also nice to get your living room floor back at the end of the day when the kids have gone off to bed! 

It comes included with the 2 AAA batteries that it requires, so that as soon as assembly has been completed, little ones can enjoy it right away.


The set has a rather exciting story behind it, and if this doesn't aid imaginative play then I don't know what will 'When Thomas finds a shield on Misty Island it inspires him to bravely seek out the legendary dragon on Dragon Island. As Thomas rides along the track from Misty Island to Dragon Island the volcano erupts and he must escape! He rides up the ramp right onto the dragon bridge. Can Thomas zip-line safely back to Misty Island?'


The story has prompted so many different play scenarios for Leo, and honestly watching Leo play trains is often just to humorous for words. There are almost always train crashes, trains getting stuck, other trains coming to the rescue...You name it. It happens. What really aids Leo's play with this particular toy is the 'erupting' feature on the volcano! To activate this you just need to push the top down, and then it is time to get Thomas away as promptly as possible. Or at lightning speed if your name is Leo.


Assembly

You would think that after putting a multitude of these sets together over the years, that I would be a pro at this by now. Well...You would be wrong. Even with the instructions being as transparent as they, detailing exactly what to do, I always seem to struggle and pass the building task over to someone more competent. Once it's together though, you are good to go.

Over all we really liked this latest addition to the Fisher Price Thomas and Friends collection, and it is currently lay in wait for Leo to finish school and complete the adventure that he started this morning. 

The Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Daring Dragon Drop Set retails at £36.99 at Smyths Toys.


Disclaimer: We were sent the Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Daring Dragon Drop Set for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.



















The Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set Review

Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set

Ever since the LEGO Movie stole Leo's heart, Bat Man has been a bit of a big thing around here (another sign that the little baby I once knew has grown up on me). The lovely team over at Fisher Price very kindly sent Leo the new Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set to have a play with, and I cannot even begin to describe how excited he was when it arrived. Leo is at the age now where he is a sucker for adverts, you know...Toy adverts. I remember the age well from back in my day when I was all about the dolls and latest barbie, and now I am living it through the eyes of my 4 year old.

Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set

Leo had seen this particular model on the television and that just made the unpacking that little bit more exciting for him. There isn't any construction necessary (Thank you Fisher Price) it was literally just a case of taking it out of the box and unleashing Leo and his over active imagination. It requires 2AAA batteries that come pre-installed so you don't even need to worry about having the batteries in, which is ideal when you have a 4 year old who is just wanting to get playing.

Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set

The Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave is an interactive play set with lights, sounds, 2 play characters (Bat Man himself and Joker) and gadgets to fight the crime that is always occurring in Gotham! The set is geared at children aimed 3 and up, I think that Leo at 4 years is the perfect age for it right now, at just turned 3 I don't think he would have benefited from the play value aspect as much as he does now. Leo can spend hours playing with the Bat Cave, one minute Joker and Bat Man are the best of friends, and the next Leo has concocted an evil play and Joker is back to his old tricks! Thankfully Leo knows how to handle the situation and it's not long before Bat Man is back on top, and Joker is locked away in the very depths of the cave in jail.

Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set

Imaginext is a brand that Leo and I just love, there are so many different and marvelous creations. It is suffice to say that the Bat Cave certainly hasn't disappointed. As always with Imaginext toys there are hidden aspects that just make it even more exciting for the play dreamer to explore and un-cover. You can use Joker and Bat Man to transform the Bat Cave by using them to turn the power pods, resulting in the Batwings opening and Batman's eyes lighting up!

We have had this play set with us for the last couple of weeks, and it gets played with daily. For me that's what it comes down to, before I ever buy anything I want to know if Leo will actually enjoy it, if he will actually use it. My experience has shown that the less complicated the toy is, the more it will get played with. I mean that in the sense that if it is something that he can use his imagination for, he is more likely to play with it over say a all singing all dancing toy that bounces around the room, that has the potential to lose it's play value pretty quickly, where as with this he can make up a new adventure each time he plays, and he certainly does that.

The Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave retails at £59.99 at Smyths

Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set

Disclaimer: We were sent the Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave for the purpose of this Review. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.









Crazy Legs Scooby - Review

Crazy Legs Scooby

Growing up I am sure we all caught Scooby Doo on the television, and all of these years later Leo is getting to enjoy the show for himself. We were very recently asked if we would like to put Crazy Legs Scooby through it's paces, and when I confirmed with the 4 year old, he was more than happy to put Scooby through his paces.

Crazy Legs Scooby is a fun addition to the toy box, aimed at children 3 years and over and comes equipped with 4  x AA batteries for the test features to be carried out in the 'Try Me' Option. To get Crazy Legs Scooby to go crazy, he requires 6 x AA batteries.

Crazy Legs Scooby

Leo has been getting Scooby out to play over the last few weeks now, and even now he enjoys watching him spin around the room. Standing at around 30cms he is a nice size and easy for little hands to enjoy, he is operated using his head, you simply need to push it down to make him go.

Once set in motion Scooby's paws start to spin and he starts to move forward, backwards and can even demonstrate a 360 degree spin! Alongside the movement features, Scooby of course talks which adds another aspect to keep little one's entertained.

Crazy Legs Scooby

Leo is 4 years old and he has enjoyed Crazy Scooby. It isn't a toy that he will spend hours playing with, but I find that he gets him out and sets him off on a regular basis. 

Crazy Legs Scooby is priced at £29.99 and is available from Amazon.

Disclaimer: We were sent a sample of Crazy Legs Scooby for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and those of Life Unexpected.



The one where Leo goes full time at school


Leo has always marched to the beat of his own drum, there's a steady rhythm and his song plays loud for all to hear. It's not the typical chart music that gets over played and annoying, it's cosmic, bouncy and peaceful all at the same time, just like him. 

I knew that starting school was going to shake everything up, I knew it was going to be tiring for him. I knew that it was going to be hard, and throughout it all he has been so big and so brave. First days are always daunting and whether we care to admit it or not, they don't ever get any easier as the years roll by. 

We are into our second week now and Leo's steady drum continues to beat, he gets up each morning and I help him get ready for the day ahead. We have breakfast and slowly but surely we are getting there, getting ready to drive the short drive to school. As the days have gone by, Leo seems to have gotten more worried about going into school, he wants more cuddles, more kisses and he doesn't want me to leave. 50 hugs and kisses later he finally goes into his class room, sometimes there's tears, sometimes he's absolutely fine. He proclaims he's tired to the teacher as soon as we see her, and I know that tactic. That tactic is so that he can try and wiggle his way out of doing things, he tried this at nursery and for a long time really pulled the wool over everybody's eyes. Everybody except me of course. I know that little man of mine, and I know that he went to bed before 7pm the night before and slept like a log. 

I know that as soon as he get's through the door of his classroom and I am out of sight that he will be absolutely fine. 

I have been getting to school earlier so I can watch him play from the roadside, I can't help but be curious to what he get's up to when he is at school. When he is outside playing, witnessing how he plays with the other children, how he smiles, how he laughs. For the first week and a bit each time I arrived he was stood among the children, he looked a little lost and was holding onto the rope of the play castle that stands in the reception play ground. I edged closer, and finally walked into the playground to let him know I was there and it was time to come home. That's when he turned on his heels and walked away, back towards the play castle to hide. It was as though he was angry at me for leaving him, and I just wanted to scoop  him up and give him a cuddle.

That's how the first week went really. Leo was absolutely fine within minutes of me collecting him, and I worried that this may progress into something more. I watched as the other children were exstactic to see their parents, running towards them and throwing their arms around them, and there was Leo walking away from me as fast as he possibly could. Thankfully this week has been a turning point, and on Tuesday when I rolled up at 1pm to collect him, he saw me. Beamed a beautiful smile and shouted 'Mummy!!' and ran towards me for a mammoth of a cuddle. The first thing he told me was that school had given him Broccoli for lunch that day, and it was disgusting! 

Yesterday's collection was just as happy, and I picked up my happy boy from school to bring him back home again.

Today has been Leo's very first FULL day at school. I expect to pick up one very tired little man with a mood to match, but I am sure that underneath the sleepy eyes and busy day, he will still be marching to the beat of his own drum.

Zombie Blast - Revew

Zombie Blast

If there is one thing I have realised about little boys since experiencing one of my own, it is their love for anything and everything that has the potential to be either a little bit gross or scary. So when we were recently asked to put the new Zombe Blast toy through it's paces I decided that we should give it a whirl.

Zombie Blast allows you to take part in your very own Zombie apocalypse.I was a little bit weary of how Leo may react to it. I knew that the fact it was a target game would go down pretty well, as the aim of the game is to shoot the Zombie until it's limbs come off and ultimately to stop it walking towards you. 

In the Zombie Blast box you will find:

- 1 zombie
- 1 pistol 
- Instructions

 Zombie Blast

You have to shoot the Zombie down before your the time wraps up in around 30 seconds. You do this with the pistol provided, and you can shoot the walking Zombie from up to 2.5m away. There are 3 stages that you need to progress through, and each one becomes more difficult. Shoot him 3 times and one arm will blast off, shoot another 3 times and his other arm will detach, shoot him a further 3 times and he will die and fall over. It's actually really funny to watch and not gruesome in any way.

The game is controlled by the pistol which has the 'on/off'' switch  and of course the'start' button that sets up the games, If you aren't a fan of games that include zombies or guns, then this won't be the toy for you. We thought we would give t a whirl and see how we got on, and I think it has to be noted that the adults seemed to really enjoy this toy! Especially the 'grown up boys' i.e Dad's!

Leo enjoyed the game but it has to be noted that he was a little bit scared of the zombie, even if he doesn't care to admit it. He was never the one to put the arms back on the zombie and tentatively waited for me to piece him back together again. That being said though, he was more than happy from a distance to use the pistol... Just as long as the zombie didn't get to close to comfort which is pretty understandable.

Zombie Blast retails at £24.99.


Zombie Blast

Disclaimer: We were provided with a sample of Zombie Blast for the purpose of this honest review. All thoughts and opinions are those of Life Unexpected.



Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Decorating your childhood room

Life Unexpected

When I moved back to the parental home last year, it meant coming back to my childhood bedroom. A room with Pink walls, and when I say Pink. I mean hot Pink walls. I went backwards and forwards trying to make a decision on whether I should re-decorate or not, at then 25 I should have a room a little more grown up right? In the end I couldn't justify the cost, as after all I was only going to be here for a couple of months. 15 months later I still haven't gotten around to moving out again, but life has been anything but simple over those last 15 months, it has involved redundancy, change, loss of a job, they have seen Leo starting school. It has just been a busy old year, and moving out hasn't really been an option again right now.

Of course as I am now still at home, the decision of not decorating before I moved all of my worldly belongings back in is grating me. I wish I had taken the opportunity to give the room a complete over haul. The shocking pink paint job occurred when I was a mere 18 years of age, and to say that it is a little bit of an eyesore is an understatement in it's self. 

Still we live and we learn right?

Over the last couple of weeks I have been seriously thinking about giving the room a complete make over. I have been sourcing ideas from Homify, but I think the most I will be able to really get away with is a lick of fresh (Anything but pink) paint. In my head I think keeping it simple is the way to go, I have a gorgeous king size bed which is the main feature of the room, boasting a black leather headboard. Maybe even a feature wall with some darker boutique style wall paper behind the bed would make the room that extra little bit cosy. I would then be half tempted to just pick a creamy colour to cover up the glow of the pink paint. I am sure it would help me in actually feeling my age a little bit more, because as if being at home again isn't crazy enough, I actually still...at times...feel 18.

Working from home

Maybe in the next few weeks, now I am actually working form my desk out of my bedroom (high five anyone!?) I may actually put these dreams into action. It would definitely make it a nicer place to spend a substantial amount of my time... 

In fact I may just pop into the store after I collect little man from school. I am suddenly feeling inspired and should probably action it before I change my mind again.

How are your days shaping up?

New school, new dreams, new room

Starting School

Letting go of our kid’s hands as they start a new school can be a tough moment as a parent. It’s a time you have to be cruel to be kind, before they get used to this new environment.

Change is hard for even the most experienced of us, so I can only imagine what’s going on in those tiny little heads across the country as they take their first steps into the world of education. It’s a scary thing, but maybe there are a few ways to make change more acceptable.

One way I’ve been thinking about making the idea of school and change more appealing is to do a spot of redecorating. Create a place from your child’s room that is exciting and filled with all the new dreams and ambitions that school can bring.
These are my recommendations:

Do it together
When so much of our lives and our kid’s lives will now be spent at work or at school, it’s more important than ever to do activities together. Plus this is a perfect opportunity to help your child understand that change can be good and new experiences can be wonderful. Make it a fun and exciting activity for everyone.

Go beyond the limits
Involve your child as much as you can in the decorating process, from the choosing, the preparing and the actual decorating. This may seem daunting, but this is a test for you to. You need to start letting your child express themselves, push the limits and be independent. This is a terrifying thing for most mums, I know. When time goes so quickly you just want to bundle them up and keep them your baby forever. But let them be creative and independent, at least just in their own room. This means even letting them choose those clashing colours and patterns if they like.

Reflect their dreams
Education is a time when you start developing your hopes, dreams and ambitions. Yes they might change from year to year, but it’s so important to support these dreams each time. Your kid’s room is the perfect place to support these. I’m thinking wallpaper could be the best way to get across this is a fun way. Just looking through some of the designs in Dulux Decorator Centre’s children’s range, you could express anything from travel, engineering and science.

Rest and relax
The school day is so tiring for little ones, there’s no denying that. So, not only must their room be a fun place to be, it must also be a place to rest and recharge in comfort. Let it inspire a blissful sleep and happy dreams, ready to wake up refreshed and raring to go in the morning.

Make it last
Lastly, with all this fun and fantastical decoration, don’t forget to make the room practical. I wouldn’t want to go through all this work, only for the paint to flake off or dirty marks to spoil the look. Looking through some of my options for painting, there are certain paints that are designed to be hard wearing and durable such as Dulux Trade Diamond Matt, no matter how many little sticky fingers it ensures.

Now go out and create an amazing place with your child. Doing something fun like this will hopefully make going to school and leaving their mummy or daddy behind a little less frightening for your little one.


So good luck and keep your head up as you send your boys and girls of to the big wide world of education.