Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Changing Our Colour Scheme To Match The Seasons

14 June 2021

Last October we decided that we would start to change our colour scheme in our living room to match the seasons. We bought lots of oranges and browns for Autumn, red was the perfect colour for Christmas and for Spring we chose yellow. Supermarkets and other shops that have a homeware department are the perfect place to look and you can usually buy most of the items in one place. When it came to Summer I wasn't too sure what colour to choose but we went for pink and grey. 

living room

There are two main focus points in our living room, the fireplace and the walls. We have a rug in front of the fireplace so that sets the tone for the room. Our walls are quite big so we need large pictures or art to fill the spaces so they don't look bare. We found some lovely prints online at Desenio that not only matched our new Summer colour scheme but are personal to us too. 

Desenio was founded in 2010 and has grown over the years to now have an online presence in 33 countries. The idea behind the brand is to offer stylish wall art at affordable prices. 

As well as wall art you can also add Desenio frames, hangars, picture ledges and clips to suit your needs.

Whilst browsing Desenio I looked through the maps and cities section. There are a few places that are special to us and I was hoping that I could find a print of New York and Paris. New York is where we got married and Paris is one of our favourite cities as it's home to Disneyland Paris the most magical place on Earth

Paris in Bloom

New York in Bloom

When I found the New York in Bloom picture it was just a perfect fit. It has a lovely Summer feel, it's pink and it's New York. I then found Blooming Paris which is a similar colour scheme with the Eiffel Tower in the background. 

gallery wall tool from Desenio

These were perfect and I knew they would go together well and match our colour scheme. If I was unsure I could use the Gallery Walls tool. This is perfect for those who don't have an eye for what things may look like. You start the by choosing a background. Our pictures are going above the sofa so I chose the sofa background. You can then choose how many pictures you wish to hang in the space and the sizes. I could then added my chosen prints and the tool showed me how it would look. You then have the choice to add frames to your order giving you a choice of colours. You can select the different colour frames to see which suits your print better. Once you are ready you can add to cart ready for you to purchase. 

Desenio Wall Art

The Desenio prints arrived swiftly and match the colour scheme perfectly. We have ordered some different prints too so we can swap after a few months but for now I love seeing our two favourite cities in bloom in our living room. 

Do you change your colour scheme to match the seasons?

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Xplora XGO2 Smartwatch Review

1 June 2021

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Disclosure - We were sent the product below for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our unless stated. This post contains affiliate links. 

The Xplora XGO2 is designed to be your childs first Smartwatch.  The XGO2 focusses on safety for your child and control for you.  The watch itself is availble in four colours with Black, Blue, Green and Pink available to choose from.  The XGO 2 has a premium feel to it, and although a little chunky has been designed for small hands to be able to use with ease. 

XGO2 Smartwatch

The user interface is pretty straightforward, with button presses, screen taps and swipes enabling you to navigate the menus within the basic setup.  The XGO2 is able to make calls and send messages using a SIM, and the watch will then have its own phone number that can be used.  Most sellers ship the XGO2 SIM free so you can choose your network and pricing structure.  With a built in microphone and speaker both making and receiving calls is pretty straightforward. 

XGO2 Smartwatch

With a focus on safety the XGO2 makes use of GPS, Wifi and GSM triangulation to provide a reasonably accurate idea of where your child is.  Using the parental app, you can track your child's movements to be sure where they are, and you can also set up 'Geofences' or 'safe areas' where your child can move within.  If they move out of these preset areas you will be notified straight away. 

XGO2 Smartwatch

The watch can also be set to 'school mode' which limits the user to watch display only for the during of the school mode time.  Using the parental app you can still track your childs movements and Geofencing will still be active.  There is also an 'SOS' mode which can be used in the event of emergency to contact you. This will remain active even in school mode

XGO2 Smartwatch

For the children the watch can be used as a step counter which has proved popular here, and these steps can then be converted to Xplora coins which can be used to play games on the Xplora website.  Sometimes there are also competitions for highest scores on games to be able to win prizes.  The current prize is based around Fast and Furious and Tom and Jerry with prizes available for steps and gameplay scores. 

XGO2 Smartwatch

There is a small front facing camera for taking selfies, which can be saved and viewed, however the watch has no internet browser or social media apps, which could be positive or negative depending on your point of view.  The camera is sufficient for children to take a quick picture but at only 0.3 Megapixel, you are limited on quality. There is a flashlight built in which can be accessed from the user interface quickly and easily. 

Finally, the included charging cable is magnetic, which makes it easy to attach and disconnect, however the battery life on the watch means you will need to charge at the end of every day in order to be sure there is sufficient charge to last the next day in full.  

XGO2 Smartwatch

Its important to remember that the focus for this watch is on safety and peace of mind for parents and carers and this watch does deliver in that regard. Whilst there is no internet of built in games the watch doesn't try to hide that fact and looks instead to reward your child for moving around. If this is something you are looking for then the XGO2 is a great choice. 

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The Ice Cream Farm, Tattenhall Cheshire

7 May 2021

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The Ice Cream Farm is a family friendly attraction that offers a children's play area, lots of pay as you play attractions and over 50 flavours of ice cream to choose from.

Boy sitting on a deck chair

What To Expect At The Ice Cream Farm, Tattenhall, Cheshire CH3 9NE
The Ice Cream Farm is located in Tattenhall in Cheshire. Like most days out and activities you now have to book in advance online. You can choose a 1, 2 or 3 hour pass. The passes cost just £1 or 90p if you are a VIP pass holder. You can choose a time slot that suits you. We went at 2pm and stayed in the farm until 5pm.

The attractions inside are pay as you play however we chose to buy a play pass online before we arrived. This cost us £15 per pass and allowed us to access the attractions inside at a discounted rate. Our play pass had 5 credits on so instead of paying £4.50 on the day per attraction it had only cost us £3.

Tree house at the Ice Cream farm

Tree house at the Ice Cream farm

boy crawling through a tunnel

Daisys garden

Once inside you have access to Daisy's Garden which is included in your entrance fee of £1. This is a lovely play area with lots of different play equipment for the children. 

There is a large treehouse with rope ladders and slide. A selection of in the ground trampolines. Balance beams and tunnels. Rope swings and lots more. 

In-between attractions it was a great place to let the kids play in whilst we waited for the next. 

strawberry falls

boy playing mini golf

boy playing mini golf

Strawberry Falls golf was a lot of fun and is probably the main attraction at the farm. There were 12 mini golf type holes on the course.

We had to book this attraction using the virtual queuing system. It was quick and easy to book your time slot and meant we didn't have to queue. 

Each player pays £4.50 or uses a credit from their play pass. You are given a scorecard, golf club and ball. Make your way around the course weaving in an out of lots of decorative yummy treats.

boy and dad looking for gems

Gemstone Cove was lots of fun. You are given a small sieve and a mesh bag and then you are ready to go and find some gems. 

All you need to do is dig in the sand and water and then sieve it out and see what you've found. 

We found lots of stones of all different colours. 

Again this costs £4.50 per person or 1 credit from a play pass. We were asked to keep to a time limit of 20 minutes. 

two boys on a quad bike

SilverCone costs just £1 and you do need a £1 coin to put in the slot of the quad. You can then drive your quad around the track and straight to the finish line

boy looking at a bouncy castle

Unfortunately we couldn't play on the marshmallow mound as little J has broken his finger so he just watched as his cousins had a turn. It's a huge inflatable bouncy pillow and they have a smaller one for little ones too.

The marshmallow mound costs £4.50 or 1 credit from a play pass. You are given a timed slot to return to the marshmallow mound and the children have a limited time bouncing.

There were a few attractions we didn't do including Rocky Road. This is another self drive attraction. The inside play attractions where closed due to restrictions and we also didn't see the farm this time. 

picnic area

There is a lovely picnic area too which we will remember for next time. 

We finished the day with Ice Cream. There are over 50 flavours to choose from. 

boy looking at ice cream flavours

The ice cream parlour usually has an indoor seating area however due to restrictions it was closed. There are places to sit around the play area though if you wanted to sit whilst eating.

boy bouncing on a trampoline

boy on a trampoline

Ice Cream Farm

Ice Cream Farm
We had a lovely day at the farm and would definitely recommend it. Pre booking tickets online meant it wasn't too busy and it felt safe. The virtual queuing system also meant less waiting times at the attractions too. 

We can't wait to go again. 

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Dunham Massey, Altrincham Greater Manchester

5 May 2021

We have visited Dunham Massey twice over the past few months and it has quickly become one of our favourite National Trust properties.

boys looking at house across a lake

What To Expect At Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Greater Manchester WA14 4SJ.

Dunham Massey boasts a garden for all seasons, ancient deer park and a house that is filled with treasures and stories.

On arrival at Dunham Massey your tickets will be checked as you drive in to the car park area. Pre Booking tickets is advised and guarantees entry. Once your tickets are checked you are shown to the car park area and ready to start your day out.

The reception area is just as you enter the estate and has a cafe, toilets, gift shop and an ice cream kiosk. It is probably the largest reception area we have seen in the National Trust places we have been to, and its really modern and fresh. 

boy on grass

When you are ready to enter the main estate you can head up the steps or the accessible route which leads you to the courtyard. There is a large lake which you walk past here which has fountain sprays which fire up from time to time and are really nice to look at.  In the courtyard you have access to toilets, ice cream parlour, the gardens and the deer park.  The courtyard also has some pop up stands with freshly cooked pizza, coffee, and cakes to choose from. 

The house, mill and stables are closed at the moment but there is still plenty to explore.  The house itself looks really impressive, and well preserved so we are looking forward to being able to have a look around when it opens.  

boys sat on a bench

From the courtyard you can choose to head out onto the deer trail, or into the gardens. Both are different experiences and I would recommend you visit both when you go. 

The Gardens are a lovely walk through brightly coloured plants and flowers and large open spaces too. There are plenty of benches dotted around for a break or just to take in the views.  The open spaces are really flat which makes it a great place for a picnic, or to play some games. We played frisbee and the area was perfect for that.  As with most National Trust areas a lot of the trees and flowers are labelled so if you want to have a look and see what everything is you will be able to. 

deer park at Dunham Massey

The Deer park is a much larger and open spaced part of the property. You can choose to wander across some of the more open wooded areas, or you can walk the deer park paths, which in places you can't go off as you have the Deer Sanctuary areas which are left alone for the Deer.  There is so much space to explore and the wide areas reminded us of Tatton Park.  If you follow the defined path you will be able to walk all the way to the end of the estate and come back along another path where we did see some deer from a distance.  There is lots to explore and plenty to climb over, run through and generally enjoy the outdoors. 

boy holding an Ice cream

All paths will lead you back to the Courtyard area, which is a good idea as you can get refreshed and have an Ice Cream before you head back to the reception area and have a look in the shop if you like. 

Anything Else?
The car park at Dunham Massey is free and has lots of parking spaces. It's open daily from 9am-5:15pm (weekends) and 9:30am - 5:15pm. (weekdays)

Please check the individual opening times for the gardens, cafe, shop before you visit.

Well behaved dogs are welcome in the parkland (9.30am – 5pm) and gardens (12 noon – 5pm), but must be kept on a short lead at all times to protect the herd of deer.

Pre Booking tickets is essential. 
Prices are 
£8 per adult
£4 per child
£20 per family

There is plenty to see and do at Dunham Massey to keep you busy and makes a lovely day out. 

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Too Good To Go App

28 April 2021

A few months ago a friend of ours used the Too Good To Go App. I had heard of it before but had no idea what it was. If you haven't heard of it I have since found out it's an app that allows you to save food from local restaurants, cafes and stores from going to waste. 

Cafe Nero

As you may already know we love money saving and cash back apps so we decided to give it a go. We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to use and we were impressed with the food we collected. 

How Does It Work?
Too Good To Go is an app available to download for free from your devices app store. Setup was quick and easy with just a few questions to answer including your name and email address. 

When setup is complete,  you then search for food in your local area. Find your location by pinpointing it on the map, searching by city or using your location. 

Once you have selected your location you can then decide to search within 3, 5, 10, 15 or 30km. The larger the range then the further you will have to travel, but the more choice you will have. 

That's it - you are now ready to browse available food that will go to waste in your local area. 

You can browse via a list or a map and choose food you would like to buy and collect. 


What Food Will I Get?
Each restaurant, cafe and store offers magic bags. The magic bags are mystery food bags that you will not know the contents of until you collect. Stores can't predict exactly what food will be left over at the end of the day so they offer a magic bag which will be full of surprises. 

What Restaurants, Cafes and Stores are included?
I think this depends on your local area as there are well known brands such as Costa, Cafe Nero, Baruritto and Spar but there are also local stores close to us that are not part of a bigger chain.

How Much Does A Magic Bag Cost?
The price of a bag varies depending on the restaurant, cafe or store. The cheapest bag I have seen is £2.59 for £10 worth of products and the most expensive is £10 for £40 worth of products. 

Costa Sandwiches

How Do I Collect The Bag?
This was really easy as every store we went in had the bags ready and understood what we asked for when we mentioned the magic bag.  We found it easier for us to show the app and explain we had a bag to pick up and this worked really well.  

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A Mole Like No Other Children's Book

27 April 2021

Disclosure - We were gifted a copy of A Mole Like No Other for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. This post contains affiliate links. 

I love finding a book that is the perfect balance of a good bedtime story and also a book little J is confident reading alone. Although we read to little J before bedtime he likes to follow along with the story and will sometimes take over reading. Our most recent bedtime story is A Mole Like No Other by Julia Grantham.

A Mole Like No Other Book

The story is based on a toy mole. He is an unwanted toy animal that for as long as he can remember has been in a dark and stuffy box. With a bright yellow tractor pressed up against him and a smelly old football boot near his over sensitive nose Mole can only dream that one day he will see the light of day again. 

When he feels the box lift off the ground, Mole is sure his life is about to change and begin again. Mole soon hears a familiar voice, one he hasn't heard for a long time. His owner Lorna. Lorna has taken Mole to an Easter fair to sell him however she is sure no one will want an 'ugly old mole' so even offers him for free. Will Mole find a new owner that will love and care for him?

Luckily Mole is bought by a little boy called Ashley. Ashley decides to call him Moley and takes him home to be with the rest of his stuffed toy animals. 

Moley's new home is a beautiful English cottage surrounded by nature and animals. Follow Moley as he makes lots of new friends thanks to Ashley's stuffed animals and real animals on his adventures. 

A Mole Like No Other is a lovely bedtime read which touches on emotions and friendships. It's funny in places and a perfect choice book to read aloud. 

If you would like to be in with the chance of winning A Mole Like No Other I have two copies to giveaway. All you need to do is complete the entry form below and pop back daily for bonus chances to win. 

If you are not lucky enough to win you can purchase A Mole Like No Other in paperback on Amazon or it is completely free on Kindle. 


Competition closes on Sunday 16th May 2021

Entrants must have a valid UK address. 

Bulk, third party or any other entries using automated software will be disqualified. 

All entrants and entries are checked and verified. 

2 lucky winners will be chosen at random by the Gleam application. 

Playdays and Runways will contact the lucky winners within 7 days of the competition closing. 

The winners will be emailed to the email address given at the time of entering. 

The winners will not be announced on my blog or social media until they have agreed that their name can be displayed. 

The winners must respond within 28 days, if no response a new winner will be chosen. 

This prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative 

The Prize : A Mole Like No Other Children's Book

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Dino Falls Adventure Golf, Trafford Manchester

22 April 2021

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Dino Falls Adventure Golf offers 36 holes over two courses. No need for golf experience the Dinosaur themed golf adventure is perfect for all ages and all abilities. 

dinosaur golf

What To Expect At Dino Falls, Trafford, Manchester. M17 8PG

Dino Falls Adventure Golf is situated in The Trafford Golf Centre close to the Trafford Centre. There are two courses to choose from each consisting of 18 holes. 

tyrannosaurus rex

boys head in a tyrannosaurus rex

Dinosaur fans will love this themed adventure golf featuring prehistoric caves and winding fossil paths. There are a range of moving dinosaurs including Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops and Velociraptors.

Course 1 - Rapids
Navigate along the winding river and the following waterfall on the Rapids course. Make sure you don't get sprayed by the Pterodactyl overhead. 

Course 2 - Volcano
Head out on the ultimate adventure along the Volcano course complete with colossal erupting volcano. 

boy playing mini golf

Both courses feature engaging obstacles with a pre-historic twist, selfie stations and fascinating facts to keep you informed as you play. 

boys playing mini golf

£8 Adult
£6 Child Under 16 and students
£24 Family (2 adults and 2 children)

Booking is essential and guarantees your entry however payment is not taken online, you will need to pay on arrival. 

Opening times are 7:30am-10:30pm daily. Last tee time is 9:25pm. 

The cafe and bar is open for takeaway only and does not allow sitting/waiting inside. 

Dino Falls Adventure Golf is all outdoors so it would be wise to come prepared for all weathers. 

You must arrive 10 minutes before your tee off time. It is estimated that a round of 18 holes will take 1 hour when playing as a group of 4. 

Parking is free at the Trafford Golf Centre. 

Close by is The Trafford Centre which is home to lots of shops, bars, restaurants, cinema and amusements. 

Dino Falls sign
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Quarry Bank Mill, Wilmslow Cheshire

19 April 2021

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At the weekend we visited a new National Trust property, Quarry Bank Mill in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Although some of the property was closed it was still definitely worth a visit. 

Quarry Bank Mill

What To Expect At Quarry Bank Mill, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 4LA.

Quarry Bank Mill is one of Britains greatest industrial heritage sites, home to a complete industrial community. Although the mill and apprentice house remains closed at the moment there is a huge estate to explore.

On arriving at Quarry Bank Mill you will be checked in by a member of staff. Pre booking tickets is essential and guarantees entry. 

boy running on grass

There are a couple of paths to choose from once inside the estate with most heading towards the upper gardens. 

The path that leads to the upper gardens is only a short distance away. The upper gardens are filled with beautiful spring flowers and landscape gardens. There are toilet facilities in the upper garden as well as a small shop and newly opened Garden Cafe.

Boy overlooking gardens

3 people walking ahead

There is a downward winding path from the upper gardens which takes you in to the lower grounds and mill. 

view of landscape

view of landscape

view of landscape

view of landscape
The path can be steep in places however there are oils to hold on to in certain parts. The path features lots of spring flowers and benches to enjoy the view of the estate below. 

boy on grass
Once at the bottom you can access the lower grounds, a range of walking routes, the mill (when open), weaving shed restaurant, mill shop and stables ice cream parlour. 

Southern walk at Quarry Bank Mill

There are four walks to enjoy in and around Quarry Bank Mill. 

The Southern Woods Walk
Distance 2.5km
Duration 50 minutes

Walking routes at Quarry Bank Mill

The Kingfisher Walk 
Distance 2km
Duration 50 Minutes

Giant's Castle Walk 
Distance 6.2km
Duration 2hrs30

dad and son looking in the river

boy walking down a hill

Boy climbing up a hill

boy sitting on a riverbank
We took the Southern Woods walking path and did the route in reverse. There are plenty of things to see along the way including rivers, wildlife and stunning views. There are benches along the way for those who need to rest or take in the views. If walking with the kids there are plenty of opportunities for them to explore and climb.

All routes are circular so bring you back to the estate. 

Anything Else?

The car park at Quarry Bank Mill is free and has lots of parking spaces. It's open daily from 8am - 8pm. The estate opens at 8:30am and there are individual opening times for the range of facilities available 

Gardens 10:30-5pm
Garden Shop 12-4pm
Mill Shop 10:30-5pm
Stables Ice Cream Parlour 10:30-5pm (weekends only)
Weaving Shed Restaurant 10:30-4pm (weekends only)
The Garden Cafe 10:30-5pm 

Dogs of all shapes and sizes are welcome at Quarry Bank Mill. 

Pre Booking tickets is essential. 
Prices are 
£8 per adult
£4 per child
£20 per family

There is plenty of grounds and space around the gardens and mill to ensure social distancing. 

quarry bank mill

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