We’re big Disney fans in this house so when we were recently asked if we’d like to review Colours of the Sea Ariel we were just a little bit excited! I did a bit of research on the product before it arrived and quickly realised it’s a bath time toy – perfect for Florence as she absolutely loves a bath yet we have a very sad selection of toys for her to play with whilst she takes a soak.

As you can see Florence was beaming when she saw Ariel and I was surprised how big it is. It’s much bigger then some of her other Disney dolls and seemed like good value for the price.

colours of the sea ariel

The doll arrived before school so Florence was very patient and waited until the evening before opening her up.  I’ve not seen Florence so excited for a long time – she was almost shaking with anticipation! I finally untied and cut Ariel from the packaging and handed her over. Florence didn’t realise Ariel lit up and sang so when I told her to press Ariels necklace she just stood there in awe as Ariel belted out all the classics from the film whilst her tail flashed in time with the music. What I love is that the doll sings quite loudly so even when it does go under water you can still hear it. There are 14 phrases in total and I guarantee after 24hrs of owning Ariel you’ll be singing all the songs too!

After dinner Florence was bouncing around the kitchen asking for a bath….I wonder why! We filled the bath and she asked for all her other toys to be taken out.  Seems like there’s a new favourite toy on the block!

I thought we might have to dim the lights in the bathroom to see the lights but they were so bright, even under water.

jakks bathtime

Ariel also comes with Flounder, her fishy companion, which squirts water. Florence has found this particularly useful when sharing a bath with her little sister; Elsie.

Ariel takes three AAA batteries which are actually included when you purchase the doll so Ariel is ready to play with as soon as you are.

disney ariel

I was really impressed with this toy.  All too often we buy toys for the kids and are left feeling like you really didn’t get a lot of your money but I’d recommend Colours of the Sea Ariel (RRP £34.99) to anyone with a child over the age of 3.

 

#jakksbathtime

 

*I was sent Colours of the Sea Ariel for the purposes of this review.  All opinions are my own.

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After our rather disappointing first visit to Brewhouse & Kitchen, Cheltenham on Fathers Day we were invited back to give them another chance.  I have to say, however, that ever since I posted my initial review on my blog I appear to have been blocked by Brewhouse & Kitchen, Cheltenham on Twitter as I now cannot find them to tag them in any posts. Such a shame as I had many good things to say about our latest visit and wanted to share photos in real time whilst we were actually in the restaurant.

Upon arrival, on Saturday evening, we were shown to our table; a booth in the window as we had previously had. Our waiter came over to our table (much different to last time when we had to place our own orders at the bar) and introduced himself and asked what we would like to drink.  My husband asked for advice on the lager and ale selection and our waiter was very knowledgable and happy to help him choose.

brewhouse and kitchen, beer

The drinks arrived promptly and we had already chosen our food so we placed our order. We all wanted burgers; the kids had chosen one from the children menu, Matt went for the classic burger and added blue cheese and bacon and I went for the spicy jerk chicken burger. In the meantime we fed Elsie and entertained Logan and Florence who were both tired after a long afternoon in Pitville Park.

The restaurant wasn’t too busy when we arrived but filled up throughout the course of our meal. Everyone around us seemed happy and the restaurant had a good atmosphere.  A marked improvement on our previous visit.

Our food arrived and once again we were impressed with how it looked. We didn’t hang around and soon demolished our burgers; kids included. The consensus was the food was good. Hearty, tasty and filling. I still think some of the items seem to be on the pricier side but I think you do get pretty good value for money.

burger, jerk burger

classic burger, daddy, daughter

Florence trying to feed Daddy a chip!

kids meal, children meal, kids burger, brewhouse, cheltenham

It really did make such a difference having table service and not having to contend with a miserable member of bar staff.  Following our meal we spoke to the manager who apologised for our previous experience and asked if we’d enjoyed our meal. Saturday’s visits to Brewhouse & Kitchen, Cheltenham was a totally different kettle of fish to our first visit.  What a shame they couldn’t get the service right on Father’s Day. I asked Matt at the end of the meal if he would go back again, baring in mind the meal was around £60 for two adults and two children, and he said he would.  I would say thats a pretty good result! However, it does make you wonder if it was all a show. Now if only I could share this on Twitter….

 

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About a week ago I received an email from the new Brewhouse & Kitchen restaurant which has recently opened in The Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham. The email was advertising the fact they still had space for Fathers Day meals and that they’d be serving roast dinners and offering free beer tastings for fathers. Knowing Matt loves ales and all things beer and lager related I thought it sounded ideal, and who doesn’t love a roast? I booked a table via the website for 6pm on Fathers Day and that was that.

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We arrived at the Brewhouse at 5:45pm and asked if we could be seated a little earlier. The four of us; Matt, me, Flo and Elsie, were shown to a table. We knew Elsie needed feeding and asked for some hot water which was quickly brought to us along with a kids menu and crayons for Flo. Good service so far!

We checked out the menu and Matt went up to the bar to order. I went for a New York Burger, Matt chose the Roast Beef and Florence picked Macaroni Cheese. To order you go to the bar along with your table number, although I do believe table service is available. Matt came back from the bar shaking his head and explained that the barman said that before Matt could place our order he needed to check with the chef to see whether they were still serving food! Unsurprisingly Matt was shocked as that was the whole point of us being there; for a Fathers Day meal! Matt also asked about setting up a tab and the barman seemed unwilling to set it up and asked Matt if he’d just prefer to pay there and then. We knew we’d be adding to the bill so wanted a table running. Eventually the tab got set up and we were ready and waiting for our meals.

We fed Elsie at the table and it was nice to sit and watch the world go by outside from our seats in the window. A few moments after we had ordered a waiter came to our table and said there would be a delay on our food as they were cooking the Macaroni Cheese from scratch…..well I should hope so?!  Anyway, how long does Macaroni Cheese take? Not that long in my experience. What a strange thing to say! Immediately I thought “great, we’re going to be here ages!”

We waited, and waited and started doing that thing where you fixate your eyes on the kitchen and the waiters and wonder whether your food will ever, ever come.

The waiter came back over and said the meals were just being plated up. Hallelujah! The food looked lovely and was as ordered. I did think the prices were at the higher end of the scale for essentially ‘pub grub’ but not bad if you get a great experience alongside….

brewhouse and kitchen, new york burger, cheltenham

roast beef, brewhouse and kitchen, cheltenham

Florence’s meal came with a free ice cream which she obviously wanted and so after dinner Matt went to order another beer at the bar and ask for Florence’s ice cream to be brought out as Elsie was getting restless. The guy behind the bar said “what ice cream?”; he didn’t have a clue about the menu and when Matt explained about the kids meal deal the barman stated he usually worked on the brewing not the bar hence his lack of knowledge. Poor excuse if you ask me, if you’re working on the bar the bar manager should make sure the staff know their onions!

macaroni cheese, brewhouse and kitchen, cheltenham

We waited for the ice cream but it never came, we got sick of waiting and left. Matt settled the tab prior to leaving and as he did I noticed the table two down from us were also lodging a complaint with the lady that lead us to our table. The same waiter who served us then went to their table and apologies for something. I’m glad we’re not the only ones who’ve experienced bad service.

Funnily enough, I posted a photograph on Instagram whilst we were at the restaurant and my friend commented that they’d had bad service too.

It’s such a shame when good food is let down by poor service. We certainly won’t be going back anytime soon, there are plenty of other restaurants in Cheltenham with great food, efficient service and friendly staff.

And, after all that, there was no sighting or offering of a free beer tasting either. What was supposed to be a nice treat for the husband was a total let down. I’d definitely not feel comfortably recommending the Brewhouse as an eatery.

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We’ve all been there, you’ve had fun in the pool and the kids are finally shattered but then you have to face getting everyone out the pool and dry; juggling the shampoo and underwear all whilst trying to keep your kids warm and happy. It’s difficult to say the least.  Last year we took the kids away to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands which is renowned as ‘the windy island’.  Getting out of the pool was always a bit of a challenge as the wind made it feel about 10 degrees cooler then it actually was and so we had shivering, whingey kids to contend with and faces like this….

cuddle dry swim

Trying to ask a 2 year old to hold up their towel, not trip over, dry themselves and remain happy is basically impossible!  And if your kids are anything like mine then they probably come out of the pool starving and thirsty and before you know it your sangria has a dash of chlorine and snot too!

I was recently asked if I wanted to try out the Cuddledry Poncho Towel* and with the face above in mind I jumped at the chance.  I already own the original Cuddledry towel and absolutely love how easy it makes bath time with a baby so I was really excited to receive the poncho. I didn’t realise until the towel arrived that it actually has UV protection  to a sun protection factor of 50! I’m already in love as sun cream is another bug bear of mine but that’s a story for another day.

cuddledry poncho

The poncho is a lovely bright colour and once I had taken it from the box I could already feel how absorbent and warm it was going to be.  It’s made from a mixture of bamboo and cotton which keeps it feeling soft and cosy yet soaks up water like a sponge.

Florence wanted to put it on immediately and I showed her how it buttoned up under the arms to make little sleeves.  I love this feature as not only does it help keep her warm but it stops towel draping and knocking things over.

cuddledry swim towel

Seeing as I am in my third trimester of pregnancy we aren’t planning any sun-soaked holidays just yet but we have been down the local health club a few times with the kids and so the next time we went we packed the Cuddledry poncho.

I was sort of dreading the post swim change as being pregnant and not too agile myself it’s difficult to get Florence dried and dressed as quickly as she would like.  However, I needn’t have worried. I unrolled the Cuddledry towel from our bag and Florence sat, as good as gold, on the bench whilst I sorted myself out and did not moan or complain about being cold once. She was twirling around in the mirror looking at her reflection and asking “do you like my new towel mummy?”

cuddledry swim poncho

Being a rather tall three year old I was worried the poncho might come up small on Florence but it didn’t. It came to her knees which was the perfect length as it covered and dried all the wet bits but also meant she wasn’t tripping over a large beach type towel.

We’ve also been using the towel in the garden now we are starting to see some warmer, sunnier days. The UV protection is ideal for this use and Florence is happy to pop it on and off as she gets in and out of the paddling pool instead of struggling to wrap a large towel around herself which would inevitably end up dunked.

I’ll be posting a short video wearing the poncho in during one of our impromptu paddling pool sessions so make sure you’re subscribed to my You Tube channel.

*This product was sent to me free of charge for the purposes of this review. All opinions of the product are honest and of my own making.

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Ever since Logan was about four years old he has shown a keen interest in telling the time.  He’s had various watches, both analogue and digital, yet he’s never really grasped the concept of time and how you read it from a watch.  Perhaps he was too young for a watch as he used to fiddle with the knob at the side and I’d get “Muuuuum, my watch has stopped working”, when really all he had done was stop it temporarily. The straps were always a fiddle too – he couldn’t do it up on his own so once it was off, he’d not bother putting it back on.  I’ve lost count of the number of watches he’s had and lost because he couldn’t be bothered to come and ask an adult for help.  But that’s just kids I suppose.

A few weeks ago I was offered the chance to review a new type of watch for kids by a brand called ‘Aniworld‘.  I jumped at the chance as I knew Logan would love ANOTHER new watch.  I looked through their range of watches and let out a little squeal when I saw they had watches themed on various animals and dinosaurs.  We had literally just finished Logan’s school project on dinosaurs and written all about Triceratops and Ankylosaurus so I thought this would be a great time to try and encourage time telling.  I chose the Triceratops watch and waited patiently for it to arrive.  It was delivered within days and arrived in pristine condition.

The watches are called ‘Anisnap Watches’ and, as the name suggests, it has a snap strap which is like those straps that were all the rage back in the 90’s. Just one firm tap on the wrist and it’s secure.  The watch is water resistant and what I really love about the watch is that the little dial on the side of the watch face is covered so it stops little fingers fiddling with it and accidentally stopping the watch or changing the time.

Logan already managed to get the bright Yellow strap of the watch filthy whilst doing his homework but the smudgey black marks wiped right off with a damp cloth and it was as good as new.  The watch is available from John Lewis, Amazon and Boots and retails for just £9.99.  I don’t recommend just anything on my blog as I would hate for parents to waste their precious pennies on something which isn’t worth it but I really think this watch is the ideal starter watch for children learning to tell the time.  Follow @aniworldkids!

*This product was kindly sent to us to review, but all opinions are my own.

 

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