When AO.com got in touch to see if I’d like to take part in a blogger Christmas challenge, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Not only would I receive a Secret Santa type gift, but I got to choose a blogging friend to exchange a gift with. I asked the lovely Mel from Le Coin de Mel if she would like to join in, and she was as enthusiastic as I was. We were given a list of ten items to choose from, and had to pick three for each other, AO then picked one of the three to send to us.

I’m not sure what Mel’s three choices for me were, but I was sent a gift that I desperately needed. Our not even two year old vacuum cleaner died on us a few months ago after being involved in a collision with the wall (don’t ask). We have been using a hand me down Dyson ever since, which is well over five years old and not in the best shape. Needless to say this was an exceptionally well timed present. Thank you Mel, and thank you AO!

dysonDyson Light Ball Multi Floor and V6 Cord Free Bagless Vacuum Cleaner Bundle

This is the cake and eat it version of a vacuum cleaner. You get the compact and portable cord free, which gives you twenty minutes cleaning time, as well as a more traditional upright vacuum, which is also lightweight.

Considering it’s completely cord free, the V6 is very powerful, and has great suction. It’s perfect for giving the house a quick going over, or thoroughly cleaning the stairs, etc. It’s quite interesting seeing how fast twenty minutes goes though, and I’m often convinced that I’ve only been at it for five minutes when in actual fact it’s fifteen.

The upright Light Ball is a few generations up from what we currently have and is a dream to use. Easy to manoeuvre and of course, as with all Dyson’s, wonderful suction. You can adjust the settings depending on whether you are vacuuming a hard floor or carpeted one.

A too short power cable has been a bugbear of mine in the past, but this one is 9.4m, which is more than enough for the entire downstairs of my house. It weighs in at an impressive 6.9kg, which makes it exceptionally lightweight. So much so that 5yo Clara can handle it perfectly and she does a fab job with it, earning her pocket money.

The two cleaners together make a great team, and this bundle is excellent value. I’m genuinely struggling to find a bad word to say about either of them.  

Clara demonstrating the vacuum cleaners in this short video

Key Features

  • Upright and cordless vacuum cleaner package
  • (Light Ball) Radial Root Cyclone™ technology captures more dust
  • (Light Ball) Easily manoeuvre around furniture with Ball™ technology
  • (Light Ball) Two Tier Radial™ cyclone technology captures more dust
  • V6 provides up to 20 minutes run time from a single charge 
  • Washable lifetime filters that never need replacing 
  • Lightweight and compact 
  • Energy efficiency rating A 
  • V6 comes with a two year guarantee
  • Light Ball comes with a five year guarantee  
  • For the full spec head over the AO website

Why buy from AO.com?  

In a nutshell, they are an amazing company to buy from. I’ve had several orders from AO and their customer service is always second to none – they are rated excellent on the reviews site Trust Pilot. Many products are available on next day delivery, and they deliver from 7am to 7pm, with four hour slots. They send you a text on the day of delivery, and if there are any problems en route will call to let you know. What more could you ask for? 

**Disclaimer: I was sent these products FOC in exchange for this honest review. For my full disclosure policy, please click here.**   

I’m a little obsessed with sneaking facts into my children, and think there’s a lot to be said for stealth learning. As a home educator I’m always on the lookout for books and resources to help with this.

My favourite type of factual information is the bite sized variety, because at 8, 5 and 3 my children are too young to absorb massive chunks of information. Which is why I adore this book from Bloomsbury – Facts! One for every day of the year by Tracey Turner.

What’s the book about?

Essentially this is a book of 365 exceptionally interesting facts, aimed at children my kids’ ages. Some correlate to the day of the year (i.e. such and such happened on this day), whilst others are completely random. Alongside each fact are gorgeous, eye catching illustrations.

The book bestows snippets of wisdom about anything and everything you’d want to know. From when Mozart wrote his first symphony (eight years old), to how many species of animal live on the island of Madagascar (250,000).

I love how digestible the book is, and can see us using it as an everyday education tool. I enjoy planting seeds and letting my kids direct their own learning, and this book will really help with that. I can already envisage them starting mini projects off the back of some of these fascinating facts.

Here a few of our favourites

    • Flamingos pee down their legs as a way of cooling down.
    • To compliment someone’s cooking in Portugal you should kiss your index finger, then squeeze your ear.
    • During an average lifetime, your heart will beat about 2.21 billion times, and you’ll take around 672 million breaths.
    • The most expensive jewel ever sold was the rare Graff Pink diamond, which was bought for US$46 million.
    • The world’s smallest insect is the fairy wasp, an adult is only 0.44 millimetres long.
    • An octopus has three hearts, nine brains and blue blood.

Overall thoughts on the book

I’d highly recommend this book to parents and grandparents of young children. It’s engaging, fun and super interesting. Fairly priced at £12.99, this book would make an ideal Christmas or birthday present. I’m confident that most kids would relish bamboozling their friends with their newly learnt facts after reading this book.

Facts! One for every day of the year was published today, and is available on Amazon and in book shops.

Freddy reading the Facts book

**Disclaimer: this is a collaborative piece, for my full disclosure policy, please click here.

I’d say that every paleo family has their 80/20 cheats, and for mine it’s sushi. Everyone adores it, and although we sometimes make it at home with mashed avocado instead of rice, it’s just not the same. So you can imagine how thrilled my girls were when I told them they would be going to a Yo! Sushi Mini Ninja Class to properly learn how to make one of their favourite foods.

We were out the door nice and early and headed into London’s Southbank to the Yo! Sushi at the Royal Festival Hall for 11am. The class lasts for an hour, which is absolutely perfect for the age range they recommend of 5-12. Our chef Malio, was lots of fun and very good with the children. His instructions were clear and easy to follow, but he also kept a look out for anyone who looked like they were struggling and needed help.

What happens in a mini ninja class?

Yo! Sushi Mini Ninja ClassThe children sat around one of the counters, with all their sushi making paraphernalia laid out in front of them. As hygiene is of the utmost importance at Yo! the very first thing the kids had to do was put on their catering gloves and chef hats. This is quite important to know in advance, just in case your little one might have an issue with wearing them.

Malio explained which three types of sushi we would be making – which were cucumber maki, salmon nigiri and crab handrolls. My kids would choose the nigiri and maki from a menu anyway, so were really happy to be making their faves.  

Malio took the children through each of the steps to make their three dishes, and afterwards their efforts were boxed up to take home, along with a little goody bag. All in all a productive way to spend an hour, and we stuck around afterwards for lunch. I even managed to feed myself on the GAPS Intro Diet, with delicious sashimi and miso soup. 

Mini Ninja classes are running on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August, and will set you back £15 per child. The cost includes what the children have made, plus one blue plate from the sushi train. It is also possible to book a private class for a birthday party or function, just enquire at your local branch.     

Did you know? A few facts about this fabulous sushi chain 

  • Yo! Sushi are a British company, who are celebrating their twentieth anniversary this year
  • Their first restaurant was opened in London’s Soho
  • Freshness is everything to Yo! Sushi – their tuna is frozen at us minus 60 degrees on board the boat where it’s caught 
  • All their seafood is sustainably sourced, and approved by Fish2Fork
  • You will never see bluefin tuna on a Yo! Sushi menu, because it’s an endangered species. They serve only the finest yellowfin and albacore tuna in their restaurants
  • They currently have 33 vegetarian dishes and 16 vegan dishes on the menu

Yo! Sushi Mini Ninja ClassCheck out Yo! Sushi on social media

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Website

**Disclaimer: we were given our mini ninja class, and our lunch afterwards FOC, in exchange for this honest blog post. Full my full disclosure policy, please click here.**  

Have you ever used a handyman to come and help out with niggily jobs around the house? I hadn’t until last month, but would not even hesitate next time!  

It’s been a really rough couple of months for us, and during times of crisis I tend to hide away. This inevitably means that the jobs that need doing start piling up, and before I know it I feel like I’m going to be buried under the never ending to-do list. 

Knowing when to outsource

Like many, knowing when to ask for help used to be a problem for me, but these days I’m a bit better at recognising the need to outsource. Why do everything myself when there are others who are more than capable of taking these tasks off my hands for a reasonable price?  

When Fantastic Services asked me to become a brand ambassador it was a no brainer. I’ve worked with them a few times now, and have always been super impressed with the quality of their work. They asked me to chose a service to review, and after quickly surveying my house, decided on a handyman.

HANDYMAN

The job list

Our fridge wasn’t closing properly, and was only staying shut with a 20kg kettle bell in front of it

Our freezer door was hanging off its hinges     

The seal around the bath was going black in places 

The wood had come away from the sink in the kitchen and was going rotten 

The seal had fallen off our main skylight, and was letting in an awful draught

The simplicity of hiring a Fantastic Services handyman 

Requesting a handyman couldn’t be easier – you can organise one through the GoFantastic app or via the Fantastic website. They have a great live chat function and their customer service team are second to none, always readily available to answer any questions you might have. 

Click here to see for yourself, and use my exclusive code ‘mumtries’ for a £10 discount.

My experience of a Fantastic Handyman

Most of my list was straight forward, the skylight being my main concern, as it’s so high up. The seal fell off last Autumn, and we went the entire Winter with a massive draught coming in through it. At one point a few months ago I looked into buying a telescopic ladder for my husband to reattach the seal himself. The ladder would have cost more than the entire Fantastic bill, so I’m really pleased we didn’t go down that road.

I can’t rave about my experience enough. My handyman was with me for 90 minutes, and completed every job on the list. Not only did he tick the jobs off, he was a true professional the entire time he was inside my house.

He didn’t leave behind a mess either, which is always a concern. Overall I couldn’t be happier with the standard of work, and can’t wait for my next visit from Fantastic!     

HANDYMAN

Other Handyman services on offer  

You can rely on Fantastic Services to help you out in your hour of need. For any professional assistance you might have, or when you’d like something repaired, improved, installed, or uninstalled. Whether it’s putting together flat pack furniture or repairing a leaky tap, they’ll not let you down.

Fantastic will send a fully equipped, skilled handyman to your home or workplace to handle your needs quickly and efficiently.

Here are some of the odd jobs they cover, but this list is not conclusive: 

Loft ladders installation
Picture and mirror hanging
TV mounting
Fitting locks and new handles
Fitting rails, tracks, curtains, and blinds on your windows
Mounting cabinets and shelves
Plumbing handyman services
Kitchen repairs
Bathroom repairs
Furniture assembly
Electrical work
Appliance installation

handyman

*Disclaimer: As a brand ambassador for Fantastic, I was given my handyman service free in exchange for this honest review. Click here for my full disclosure policy. Had I paid for this job it would have cost £127.

**Photo credit for the main image at the top of this post: Fantastic Services. 

blog title ClaraKidZaniaFireFighterWe were invited recently to review KidZania London, which is located inside Westfield shopping in White City. The best way for me to describe it is by saying that it’s role play with go faster stripes! I knew we’d have a good day, but I was blown away by how much my girls enjoyed it.

What is KidZania?

KidZania is a child sized city, where the children are completely in control. There are sixty interactive experiences for them to choose from, which they either pay for or earn a salary from in the KidZania currency KidZos. 

You have four hours inside KidZania, and each child is given fifty KidZos upon entering. The experiences last on average for fifteen minutes, which was perfect for my girls (4 and 7) to learn and understand what they were doing, without getting bored. We were also lucky to not have to spend too much time waiting around in queues. There is such a vast variety of experiences to chose from, I believe there would be something for everyone within the 4-14 recommended age range.  

KidZania Hospital collageAmong other things, the children can learn to be pilots, police officers or fire fighters. They can work in the hospital, dentist, beauty salon or recycling centre. They can make and eat an actual burger (very tasty), see how ice cream is made, or learn the ins and outs of chocolate making. They can be newspaper reporters, or radio DJ’s. They can abseil down a wall, or play sports. They can be whatever they want to be for the day, which is probably every kid’s dream!

Everything my girls did during their four hours

KidZania Innocent collageBurger making at GBK (cost 20 KidZos)
Supermarket customers (free activity), they could have worked on the checkout and earnt 8 KidZos
H&M fashion studio – modelling/styling (earnt 10 KidZos)
C – Fire Fighting (cost 8 KidZos)
P – The Vault (earnt 8 KidZos)
Smoothie making with Innocent (cost 12 KidZos)
Worked in the ice cream factory (earnt 8 KidZos)
Cabin crew with BA (earnt 8 KidZos)
Worked on the maternity ward of the hospital (earnt 6 KidZos)
Made an Eat Natural fruit and nut bar (cost 12 KidZos)
Came home with 60 KidZos for next time!

KidZania collage h&m, vault, supermarketA few do’s and don’ts

do your research in advance, and pick out your must-go experiences.
don’t stick to rigidly to your plan, in case the kids change their mind. We scoped out a dozen or so experiences, and only went to half that were on the original list.
do check to see if your child needs certain skills, such as reading or writing, as some of the experiences require them.
don’t worry if they start something that they don’t like, you can move them along to a different experience quickly and without fuss.
do be completely child led during your time at KidZania. It would have completely ruined things if I had tried to tell the girls what they should be doing.
don’t waste loads of time standing in a huge queue. Unsurprisingly whenever we went to the chocolate factory there were lots of kids waiting for it, so we visited Eat Natural and Innocent instead.
KidZania collage eat natural, ice cream and cabin crew
do bring a packed lunch/snacks. You’re on the go from the second you arrive and the children will get hungry. 
don’t obsess over taking nice photos. You aren’t allowed inside the experiences so will be mostly taking them through glass doors and windows. The KidZania photographer will capture many precious moments for you (note, there is an extra charge for the photos).
do ask if you need to come back for anything. I missed out on Polly doing a fashion show because I didn’t realise it was part of the H&M experience, and had been queuing up with Clara for something else.
don’t worry about not fitting everything in, there’s always next time!
do have one adult per child if you have children with vastly different tastes, or big age gaps.

KidZania burger making collageOur Verdict 

It would be hard for anyone to argue that there isn’t enough to do at KidZania. There were a few moments where I had to remind Polly to take a big breath, and calm down, but both girls did incredibly well. They had an absolute ball, and it was great to see them buddying up and working as a team. It was fantastic for me to take a step back, and witness their joy.    

The majority of activities are aimed at 4-14 year olds, which is why I only took the girls, but they have plenty to do for the under fours too, including a science lab. Next time I will definitely take Freddy along. As well as hubby, he was gutted to miss out on all the fun. 

Enter here to win a family ticket to KidZania, London

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition rules
– over 18’s only
– UK residents only
– no cash alternative given
– prize will be sent directly by the KidZania, London PR Team

Listing this competition on: U, Me & The Kids, Super Lucky, Competition Database, Tots100 and The Prize Finder

**Disclaimer: I was given free entry into KidZania in exchange for this review. All words and opinions are my own. For my full disclosure policy, please click here.**