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Cottage Croquet Set In a Bag – A Review

Big Game Hunters are a company that specialise in big family games for the garden. They recently sent us a Cottage Croquet set to review.

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The set contains 4 beautifully crafted mallets that are light enough for a child to hold (suitable from age of 6 upwards) and each provide a grip which is ideal for anyone that may be overly eager on their swing. The quality of the mallets are what impressed me straight away. They are excellent quality and sturdy, yet a light enough weight for this to be suitable for the whole family. Also included are 4 brightly coloured balls and all the associated pegs and hoops.

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Little Z couldn’t participate in playing this as the mallet was almost the same size as him but he did enjoy trying to steal the brightly coloured balls and declaring they were “mine!”.

The whole kit fits into a nylon waterproof bag making it easy to transport and store away.

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We really enjoyed playing with the set although we haven’t had a proper go with the hoops yet. That’s on our list once the weather gets better. Incidentally all equipment does clean easily after a roll around the park.

Overall we were very impressed with this set and would recommend it for a family that are looking for a garden activity for a variety of ages.

We were sent the cottage croquet set to review. No payment was received. All views are my own.

Arbonne – A Review

I’m not one for much every day make up and usually stick to the concealer to keep my panda eyes at bay. I was, however, lucky enough to have my make up done by Arbonne International at the recent MADs awards and there was a tiny part of me that wasn’t sure what to expect for the final result. They did a brilliant job and, more than anything, it felt good and I didn’t feel like I was “caked” in it.

So when I was asked if I’d like to review some products I agreed. I was sent a berry blusher and an eye liner in an olive shade.

 

I was a bit unsure about the olive eye liner, having only ever worn black any time I put it on. Not being very adventurous I’d decided at first glance that I wouldn’t like it very much. Having tried it on though I was pleasantly surprised. Its not olive in the “green” sense but a very dark shade which looks off black and provides a hint of difference to the normal eye liner that most people wear. There is also a shimmer in it which means I wouldn’t wear it every day but it would be perfect for an evening out. It glides on really nicely and isn’t too inky which means a novice like me doesn’t end up drawing all over my own eye lid by accident.

 

The blusher is also shimmery and not something I’d probably buy myself. I always lean more towards matt shimmer-less shades but again this is, again, ideal for an evening out. I think I vaguely remember this being used on my own skin for the MAD awards and I loved it! Its probably a shade I need a push to wear out a few times before I got used to it. It was pinkier than it looked in its case but applied well and is a lovely colour.

It takes me some time to venture away from the one or two brands I usually use but I would definitely go for the eye liner. Simply because it applies so easily and well and I’ve always found it hard to find a good eye liner. The blusher was very nice too but the eye liner just tipped it slightly for me.

(I was sent the blusher and eye liner to review. All views are my own).

Red Hot World Buffet – A Review

Until recently the Red Hot World Buffet is somewhere thats always been on my list of restaurants to visit. For one reason or another its never happened though so when I got asked if I would like to visit and review it I thought Oooooh yes please!

The Red Hot World Buffet is a restaurant that boasts 300 dishes from different world cuisines including Indian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican and Italian. I love buffets in general but there is always a small part of me, when I first visit, that wonders whether the catering will be for the masses i.e. mostly frozen ok-ish quick and easy food. I expected a bit of that with our visit here too.

How wrong we were. We visited the restaurant in Manchester and the first thing that strikes you is how organised it all is. We were seated straight away and the staff couldn’t be friendler or more helpful. I found the service was excellent and plates were cleared away very quickly without being annoying or giving the impression of hovering around to see what the customers are doing. There is not the rush of buffets and the venue is quite large so creates a relaxed atmosphere in a place where people are to-ing and fro-ing with their dishes.

The food area looks huge at first glance and we found ourselves walking around it all just to familiarise ourselves at first. The thing that stuck out for me the most was the presentation. Everything is laid out with so much care and detail. It is obvious that presentation is an important feature of the restaurant and it works very well as a distinguishing feature when compared with other buffet restaurants.

I tried a few things mainly from the Chinese, Italian, Indian and Japanese counter and everything is very nice and flavourful. The one thing I didn’t quite enjoy was the Thai Green curry but everything else was very very nice. I could have spent the whole day visiting the noodle counter having different stir fries made for me. There are a lot of stations that provide a made to order service and I love these. I resisted the urge to be too adventourous but even the straight forward musroom risotto turned out to be lovely.

The desserts area is very impressive. Each portion is small but its a good way to encourage you to try other varieties (or simply help yourself to more of the same!).

I think from our whole trip I only had one negative which in this case were the toilets. Whilst they were very clean, I thought they could do with a massive coat of paint on the doors. The restaurant is so modern looking and well presented its a weird contrast when you walk to their bathrooms and see something that needs a bit of decorating. Its a minor thing but if you happen to be visiting you’ll know what I mean.

The friend I took along is a bit of a connoiseur when it comes to restaurants and she was visibly impressed, even using the word “brilliant”. I would thoroughly recomend this to anyone that loves buffets and good food. It is very family friendly and has a good choice of kids counters too, although there is enough kid friendly dishes in each of the cuisines. I would definitely go back for more. The confirmation for us was well and truly nailed as we walked out and saw the queue had stretched to the outside doors.

We were paid to review the Red Hot World Buffet. All opinions are my own.

Elmo

The Other half absolutely loves novelty singing and dancing toys. I’ve had to stop him many a time buying a dancing or singing chicken every time we visit a place like Blackpool. He usually palms them off to his nieces and nephews but has an overwhelming urge to purchase them. They drive me crackers. I don’t particular enjoy the obligatory side to side rocking motion and the big beady eyes they all tend to have.

So when he came home with a Sesame Street Let’s Rock Elmo toy not so long ago I was a bit dubious. And, it seems, so was Baby Z…

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He circled it cautiously for a while and the Other Half did his best to demonstrate that Elmo is a much loved little guy that’s loved by millions through the world (both myself and OH we’re huge Sesame street fans as kids!).

It didn’t take long. This particular Elmo comes with a set of drums, tambourine, a toy microphone and his own little rock star tshirt and will sing and dance for you every time it’s foot is pressed. I was pleasantly surprised to find it doesn’t do anything cheesy. Baby Z has quickly turned him into his favourite toy and will regularly try to carry him across the room.

Elmo will recite or sing phrases or songs and nothing is too scary or too loud for a 20 month toddler. (And none of them is too annoying for an adult either!). Elmo is actually very polite and even says thank you which I love. Its also proven to be quite robust which is perfect considering Baby Z wants to carry it around everywhere now.

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What I’ve loved most about it is that it’s introduced Baby Z to Sesame street. We’ve found a lot of Elmo videos that he absolutely loves and between the toy and videos he’s now discovered “singing”.

It retails at around £30 and takes 6 AA batteries.

You / Your Toddler Will Love This If…
They love interactive toys and / or singing toys
They love teddy type toys (although beware its not a cuddly version, although looks utterly cute!)
You / Your toddler loves Elmo or Sesame street

This has been submitted to the Toys R Us Toylogist campaign.

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Plum Oaty Chomps

When I first started weaning Baby Z we used a combination of things including finger foods and puréed fruit and veg. It was both an interesting and slightly nerve wracking time but I always loved watching him enjoy his food. One thing we’ve always loved are Plum products, so when we were asked if we’d like to review their Oaty Chomps we were more than willing.

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We were sent two flavours; Pumpkin pie and Strawberry cheesecake and, to be honest, I had my eye on the strawberry cheesecake ones

The first thing that I liked about them was they are small, kiddie sized bars. One of my pet hates is having to carry around big packets of fruit and snacks for Baby Z. He usually has a few and then gets bored and runs off. I inevitably end up finishing it. The bars are nicely sized snacks which means minimal waste and an ideal snack to shove into the side of changing bags.

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I was impressed with the contents of the fruit bars. Both of which contained good portions of raisins and oats and then pumpkin and strawberries respectively. I thought Baby Z would prefer the strawberry ones seeing as he loves them so much. To my surprise he preferred the pumpkin pie flavoured ones! I ended up finishing the strawberry cheesecake one off for him!

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Would I buy them? Yes! Probably not the strawberry ones as Baby Z seemed to like the pumpkin ones but as they are all individually wrapped and are a healthy snack, to me, they are ideal for a mid afternoon munch or for a long journey. Suffice to say we are taking them with us tomorrow!

Thanks go to Plum for sending us some Oaty Chomps to review