I lost count long ago of the number of fights we’ve had in my house over tooth brushing, which is why I was keen to try out Playbrush

I don’t think you can start drumming the importance of oral hygiene into a child’s head early enough. I wasn’t as fortunate when I was a kid. As I said to a friend the other day, I grew up on a diet of sugar and neglect. Believe me, I’ve paid dearly for this over the years. I have numerous fillings, two missing teeth at the back and a handful of root canals. The only thing stopping me from looking hideous are the veneers which cost thousands of pounds. I live in fear of them falling off, and dread to think what is lurking beneath!  

playbrush

As you can imagine, it’s absolutely vital to me that my kids don’t end up following suit. Unfortunately tooth brushing resistance is a constant source of drama for us. All three of my kids have sensory issues and none of them enjoy the task.

I’m all for being child-led and taking a gentle approach, but there comes a point where they have to learn how to independently start taking care of themselves.

We’ve had a few gimmicky tooth brushes over the years. Electrical ones, flashing ones, super-eco bamboo ones. You name it, we’ve tried it. Still the dramas (and some days downright refusal) over brushing their teeth.

What is Playbrush?

Playbrush makes brushing interactive, translating every tooth brushing movement into gameplay. The children actively control the games as they brush, and during each 2-minute adventure, the gaming apps encourage your child to brush at the correct speed, within all quadrants of their mouth. The result is a unique and very fun brushing experience, that even the most reluctant tooth brusher will adore.

Playbrush is a smart attachment for any manual toothbrush that has been designed to make brushing more fun and to motivate children to brush for long enough and all around their mouths. Playbrush comes with two free games as well as quick brushing statistics, a reward system and a leader board. You can create as many user profiles as you wish on your app, so even if you have more than one child you only have to buy one Playbrush.  

I have to admit I was a little sceptical. Not just because the children will usually do anything to get out of brushing their teeth. Also because they find it difficult to switch off from games, especially on a small screen. I have no idea how Playbrush have achieved this, but the app is like magic for them. It’s engaging, the music and voices aren’t annoying and the kids are literally queuing up to brush their teeth now. Shocked much? Err, yeah!

It’s genuinely been a game changer for us. Take a look at this video to see the children in action. Not just brushing their teeth, but willingly and doing a marvellous job of it!    

A gift for my lovely readers  

playbrushWith Easter just around the corner, why not give the special little people in your life a real treat?  

I’d like to offer you all an exclusive 20% discount when you buy your own playbrush (enter the code MUMMYTRIES at the checkout).

Check out the Playbrush website for more info, and pop over and say hi on social media.

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**this is a sponsored post, for my full disclosure policy please click here**

 

My children adore everyone’s favourite ogre, so I was excited to tell them we’d be going to Shrek’s Adventure! on London’s Southbank. Better still, we’d be going with our dear friends, fellow blogger Mel and her four

The tour lasts for around an hour, and is very interactive with lots of different segments. It starts with a 4D bus tour, and although it doesn’t actually move, it wasn’t too dissimilar to feeling like we were on a roller coaster. Various characters from Dreamworks films are talking and flying all around you, and it’s a lot of fun.

I won’t ruin it by giving away too many spoilers, but during this early segment, a little disaster occurs, and the rest of the tour is based around getting home. You get to meet lots of characters from the Shrek films along the way, and join in to help bring certain items to the Muffin Man so he make a potion which will create a portal to return back.

The actors play their parts exceptionally well, and the children came out of the tour absolutely buzzing. It was such a joy to see them all this happy. Keeping seven kids aged three to nine entertained is no small thing, so hats off to Shrek’s Adventure! for doing so.

Things to know before your visit

Shrek's Adventure!Queues: if you visit at a busy time (we went in UK half term), be prepared to stand in line for a while. We had pre-booked tickets for the 3pm tour, but didn’t start our tour until a few minutes to 4pm. It was a teensy bit deceptive because there wasn’t much of a queue outside the venue, once inside however, there was quite a bit of waiting around.

Don’t worry though, there is plenty to look at while you’re waiting to keep you entertained. We also took a big bag loaded with snacks and activities with us. It wasn’t much of a problem for us, but it’s definitely worth bearing in mind if you have mobility issues to consider. They keep the tour group sizes fairly small, which was impressive, because never once did I feel like we were being squashed in like sardines in a can.

Buggies/baggage: there’s no cloakroom until you’re just about to go on your tour, and they ask you to not take buggies in. If you’re planning to go with a baby either take a sling or be prepared to carry them.

Mobile phones/photography: you’ll be asked to switch your phone off, and not turn it back on until the very end. I really like this aspect of the tour, because it keeps everyone fully present and focused on what’s happening, rather than trying to capture the moment to put on social media. Not only are you asked to switch phones off, you won’t be allowed to take photos on a camera either. At the very end of the tour you’ll get to meet the big guy, and can snap away and share until your heart is content.

Frightening: until about six months ago, Polly (8½) would find something scary about even the most innocuous films or books. There are a few parts on the tour that involve witches and/or all the lights going out. Both Freddy (4) and Clara (6) stuck to me like glue in anticipation of something scary happening, but didn’t cry or get freaked properly out at all. Again worth bearing in mind if you have a highly sensitive child who is likely to scare really easy. 

Shrek's Adventure!The verdict

Shrek’s Adventure! got the resounding thumbs up from all seven children. Yes really, I’m not just saying it. I think the best thing is that there are different segments every five minutes or so, which keep the kids completely enraptured.

There was a bonus section at the end too, where we got to meet the Kung Fu Panda. You’ll have to get down to the Southbank quickly though, because he’s only there to celebrate Chinese new year, and won’t be there forever.

Huge thanks to the PR team at Shrek’s Adventure! for inviting us to come for a tour. For what’s on and pricing, head over to the Shrek’s Adventure! website.

**Disclaimer: we were gifted our entrance fee in exchange for this honest blog, all words are my own, some photos were taken by myself, some by Mel. For my full disclosure policy, please click here.**

When London based bedmakers Warren Evans offered us the opportunity to review one of their super king sized beds, with a TEMPUR® Mattress, I literally punched the air!

Regular readers will already know that sleep deprivation has been a major feature in mine and hubby’s lives the entire time we’ve been parents. I almost don’t want to say this for fear of jinxing us, but our children are currently sleeping better than ever (more on that very soon). There is one catch though – Freddy, who is almost four, sleeps in our bed.

Every. Single. Night.

We’ve been through several cycles with him now, and for the last six months or so he has been very averse to the idea of sleeping in his own bed in any capacity. Co-sleeping certainly has many pros, but the obvious con is that I often end up being shoved to the bottom of the bed by a wriggly child. I’ve also woken up hanging out the side, with a terrible backache, more times than I can remember.

Drastic action was needed, but we don’t do sleep training or crying it out here. I figure that if Freddy needs the comfort and security of sleeping next to us then I’m not going to deny him. As we experience more stress than most families, I do everything and anything I can to counteract it. Hence the air punching at the opportunity to upgrade our old bed and trade it in for a much bigger, much better model. We went for the stunning Borneo frame, which you can view here

I’ve never slept this well

warren evans

The quality of a Warren Evans bed is undeniable. We fell in love with their beds after having a sleepover at our friends house, and now we have our own it has not disappointed. They are beautifully designed beds, and one the best things of all is that they are handmade here in the UK.  

We chose the TEMPUR® Original Deluxe mattress which moulds to the exact contours of your body giving optimum support and comfort. It also has the added benefit of TEMPUR® Soft-Touch quilted into the cover for a more luxurious feeling. This mattress contains pressure relieving properties that can reduce tossing and turning at night.

Sleeping in our new bed is what I imagine sleeping on clouds would feel like. My backache is a distant memory, and I’m getting quality uninterrupted shuteye for the first time in nine years. A good friend of mine bought a similar bed over a decade ago, and travels a lot for work. She said no hotel bed has ever been a match for her own.  

Don’t just take my word for it though, here’s what international tennis ace Serena Williams says about TEMPUR®:

“I’m really able to just get a deep sleep. It makes a huge difference.”

A little bit about TEMPUR®

Developed by Nasa in the 1970s to cushion and support astronauts during lift-off, TEMPUR® material distributes weight and pressure evenly, so all you feel is weightless. Today, TEMPUR® material lies at the core of all their mattresses and pillows and is still the only mattress product recognised by NASA and certified by the Space Foundation.

In my opinion, a TEMPUR® mattress is worth every single penny. They come with a ten year guarantee as standard which tells you everything you need to know. Warren Evans also offer interest free credit, and a price match.

A little bit about Warren Evans

Warren Evans has 38 years of award winning experience handcrafting beds, mattresses and furniture from their London workshop. Their superior service and quality products, at a fantastic price, means you get great value and a perfect night’s sleep.

I was super impressed with the delivery service, and was kept informed every step of the way. They sent an email and text message to confirm the order. Then on the day I had a phone call to tell me they would be with me within an hour. The drivers turned up on time, were polite, professional and efficient. They were in and out of my house in just under an hour, and that was to install this bed as well as the girls new bunk beds.

It does not surprise me one bit that Warren Evans was the highest rated UK mattress shop in the Which? Members “Best Mattress Retailers” Survey 2017.

Overall an outstanding service, and I cannot recommend Warren Evans or TEMPUR® highly enough! If you’re in the market for a new bed, and are feeling a bit tempted, now is a great time to take a look.

Warren Evans have many beds on sale, and I have an exclusive discount code just for you. Enter ‘WETEMPUR’ for an extra £50* off!  

Follow Warren Evans on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube

Follow TEMPUR® on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

*The discount code will expire on 5th March, and the minimum spend is £1000*

**Disclaimer: This is a collaborative article, sponsored by Warren Evans. Click here for my full disclosure policy.** 

Are you going to buy a real Christmas tree this year, or are you in the fake camp?

We usually buy our Christmas tree the first weekend of December. Prior to having kids, and especially living in house shares, this would be a lovely fun filled affair. Usually involving lots of mulled wine along the way, and spending the day half cut decorating the thing only to realise it looked like a dogs dinner the following morning. Nowadays, what with being a non-driving family, the reality of buying a Christmas tree doesn’t exactly match the fantasy in my head or comparison with what it used to be.

One naturally conjures up romantics scenes of the children choosing the perfect tree then coming home all excited to decorate it, which is not exactly what happens in our house. The buying of the tree usually involves arguments between the kids over which one will get bought, then arguments over who will get to put this or that decoration on. Not to mention the drama of getting the damn thing home on public transport. Last year we admitted defeat and bought a fake tree, and the children were not impressed at all. Once you get used to having a real tree, it’s just not the same.

As you can imagine, I was super excited when Fantastic Services (who I am brand ambassador for) offered us the opportunity to review their new Christmas tree delivery service.

Christmas Tree CollageWhat Christmas tree services are Fantastic offering?

The team of two who carried out the delivery were true professionals. They are every time they come to my house, but were extra smiley yesterday, and who could blame them? I can imagine that delivering Christmas trees to their customers will be quite a jolly job over the coming weeks.

They brought the tree into the house, unwrapped it, spread it out for us and took the rubbish away. The tree looks impressive and smells fab but not too over powering. It has shed some needles on the floor, but not so many that I’m dreading the extra vacuuming. It’s very sturdy on its base too, which has been a problem in the past. Check out my Insta Stories for more details.    

Fantastic can decorate the tree for you, if you wish for them to do so. As you can imagine though, I had three excited children on my hands who’d already earmarked that job for themselves. In fairness there was a lot less fighting over decorations this year, I think not going out in the freezing cold to buy the tree first helped no end with that.

The other great service that Fantastic offer is collection. They shall be collecting the tree from us on the first week of January and taking it away to be recycled. If your local authority is anything like ours, dying Christmas trees will be piled high in the corner of the bin store until some time in late January when they are finally taken away. There will always also be some bright sparks who chuck them into the waste bins, which of course are already packed to the rafters with wrapping paper and Christmas rubbish. This part of the service is a godsend for us.

How much does having a Christmas tree delivered by Fantastic cost?

christmas tree salt dough decorationsFantastic deliver within the M25, and prices start at £69, which I think is very reasonable. Considering that we’ve spent roughly the same buying trees from our local high street, and have still had to factor in missioning home with it.

Ordering your tree couldn’t be easier, simply go to the Fantastic website, select order a tree, input your requirements and choose your delivery slot. All in all it takes less than two minutes. 

The children spent the afternoon making salt dough decorations, and have been beavering away since 6-something this morning making them pretty with the fabric pens. Dare I say it, for once the reality matched the fantasy. 

For those rolling their eyes, yes I am aware that it’s November (just!) but I’m glad that we’ll get to have our tree for an extra week this year. Thanks Fantastic, for another wonderful service.

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**Disclaimer: we were given our Christmas tree FOC in exchange for this blog post. For my full disclosure policy, please click here.**       

   

Our review for the My Size PAW Patrol Lookout Tower

Regular readers will already know that Freddy (almost four) is absolutely cray cray for the PAW Patrol. We made his dreams come true by seeing them on stage earlier this year, and he’s been talking about his “very own lookout” ever since. You can imagine my delight when Spin Master gave us the opportunity to review one. Watching the glee on his face while we opened the packaging was similar to Christmas morning joy. Even the girls were super excited about it, even though, in their own words, they are far too old for PAW Patrol.

The spec

The tower stands at almost 70cm tall, which is the perfect height for my little man. It’s an impressive toy, and once put together is very sturdy. It took around half an hour to assemble, and the instructions were easy to follow. I suspect it would take other people a lot less time to construct, but flat packs are not my strong suit. Polly filmed me on a time lapse (31 seconds) which you can view here.

What’s included

As well as the tower, complete with a working lift, rotating periscope, slide and talking pup pad you get two members of the PAW Patrol, and one of their vehicles. Chase comes with his police car, and pup pack, and Marshall comes with his pack. The talking pup pad takes two AAA batteries, which are also included. Should you so wish, you’d need to buy the rest of the gang separately, as well as Marshall’s fire engine. 

PAW Patrol Lookout Tower

Key features

– Product dimensions: 68.6 x 22.9 x 38.1 cm, weighs 6kg
– Easy to assemble with simple instructions 
– 2 pups, 2 pup packs and 1 vehicle included (Chase and Marshall)
– Interactive pup pad with lights and sounds from the TV show
– Pup pack storage area
– Working lift and slide for the pups
– Rotating periscope
– Rotating vehicle launcher

Our verdict

It’s safe to say that Freddy is in absolute awe of his new toy. He has played with nothing else since it arrived, and I can’t see that changing any time soon. It’s interactive without being super annoying, and doesn’t have too many noisy flashing things. There’s plenty within to keep a child entertained. I’m giving the PAW Patrol Lookout Tower a resounding thumbs up, and would wholeheartedly recommend it for any pup obsessed fans out there. 

Where to buy

The My Size PAW Patrol Lookout Tower can be found in all good toy shops, and retails for £109.99. It’s selling today on both Amazon and Argos for £87.99, which is the best price I could find here in the UK.

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**Disclaimer: we were sent the PAW Patrol Lookout Tower FOC in exchange for this blog post. For my full disclosure policy, please click here.**