Tag Archives: review


Well, the summer holiday seems have flown by. It only feels like it was Harry's last day at nursery yesterday and we had a long seven weeks stretching ahead, with no real plan of how on earth we could keep an energetic four-year-old boy entertained (or at least occupied) all day, every day. Somehow, we are on the last day of the break before he starts in Reception. Quite where the weeks have gone I don't know.

A couple of weeks into the break we decided to investigate the possibility of a holiday. We needed somewhere that wasn't too far from a train station and had activities on site due to not having our own car. The husband and I also wanted somewhere that would be relaxing and we didn't want to be surrounded by crowds of people. We had a budget in mind (including our travel costs) that we couldn't go over.

Whilst musing on Twitter, someone suggested I take a look at the Hoseasons website. I had heard of the company before but assumed that they either wouldn't be able to offer what we wanted or, if they could, it would be over our budget much like other holiday companies I had looked at. I am so pleased I did look despite my initial misgivings and found Hengar Manor.

For less than £300, I found self-catering accommodation for a full week. I was worried that the company considered the first week of September as off-peak, as many schools weren't returning until the second week, and that therefore there would be no entertainment or activities. So, prior to booking I tweeted with Hoseasons and was reassured that an activities programme would still be running and that yes, there would be evening entertainment. I was emailed a copy of the activities programme and advised that evening entertainment is changed on a weekly basis. Even before booking, I very much got the impression that nothing was too much trouble.

Hengar Manor

That vibe continued through our holiday. We got a train to Bodmin Parkway and then a taxi from there to Hengar Manor. There was a long, sweeping drive from the main road to the reception which certainly added to the sense of feeling secluded and truly getting away from it all.

Phil at reception was warm and friendly (something we soon found out was common with all the staff at the site) and check in was a quick and easy process. As we didn't have our own car, Phil offered to help us with our luggage to our accommodation, which the husband refused and said we could manage with the map. Once leaving the reception area, another member of staff (whose name I didn't manage to get) offered to help us despite going in the opposite direction. This offer of assistance we did take!

We were really impressed with our accommodation. It was light and airy, spacious and super-clean. The husband thoroughly inspected all the rooms as he always does (a bit of a clean freak is my husband) and couldn't find a single fault,. I am afraid you will just have to trust me when I say that is a rare thing indeed, although the fact that he is a chef should give some indication! We were also provided with a welcome pack; soft drink, a bottle of wine, chocolates, pasta and a few other bits, although I got the impression that is something the owners of that villa provided rather than being standard with the accommodation.

Hengar Manor

After a thorough inspection and unpacking our cases, we sat outside the villa for a cuppa to absorb our surroundings and a sense of calm descended, all we could hear were the birds tweeting and the ducks quacking. Any misgivings that had remained with us disappeared; Hengar Manor had made an excellent first impression!

We paid in full for our holiday and any associated costs for activities. However, we were given upgraded accommodation in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions remain our own.


Last year whilst at Britmums Live, I signed up to join Parragon Book Buddies. I received a collection of books suitable for Harry's age, one of which was Muddy Paws. Harry absolutely adored the tale of Ben with his new pet puppy and was thrilled when,  in February (yes I have fallen *that* far behind on the blog!)  we received the next installment of Muddy Paws' adventures; Muddy Paws' New Friends.

Muddy Paws' New Friends

In "New Friends" Muddy Paws is taken to puppy school by Ben, where he makes some new friends called Droopy and Patch. The trio have a whole heap of fun together, becoming friends, learning new tricks and trying to impress Ben, Muddypaws' very best friend.

Just like the first Muddy Paws book we received, this story is very easy to follow for toddlers and pre-schoolers and is a beautifully illustrated and sweet tale of making new friends whilst holding on to old ones.

Disclosure: I was sent Muddypaws' New Friends to review with Harry. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

If you like my blog, please consider me for a nomination in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards. I would be honoured. Alternatively, please do remember to nominate any of your favourite blogs! 

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I have always liked a nice handbag (or ten).

When Harry was a baby, I'd still take my handbag out as well as a changing bag. I didn't really have the money for one of the well-known brands of changing bag and besides, I didn't really identify myself as a "Yummy Mummy" type; so we just stuck to the free one you get when you sign up to a Baby Club.

How I wish that I had known about Mia Tui then.

Mia Tui's by-line is "a bag for all reasons" and the brand really does offer everything; from the largest in the range, the "Amelie" which can be used as a weekend bag, to the smallest "Lottie" a small essentials bag and even the "Ascot" especially designed to appeal to men, Mia Tui really have thought of everyone.

As a Mum of a toddler now, I might not need to carry as much around as I used to but that doesn't mean I wouldn't still ultimately like one bag for all of my day-to-day needs. Whether it is a sunny trip to the park complete with snacks or a trip to the swimming pool or going to the local coffee shop with my laptop for a bit of people spotting and blogging in peace, I wanted one bag for them all.

mia tui

Step up the Mia Tui Minnie Amelie. Each bag comes with a coordinating clutch bag with wrist strap, a clear PVC bag with wrist strap (fully compliant with airport security guidelines dontcha know!), clip for your keys (super handy for me as it doesn't seem to matter what size my bag is, I always misplace them!), insulated bottle holder, extendable shoulder strap and a zip closure for extra security. This is super flexible and stylish enough to be used as a work bag as well as a day-to-day bag.

mia tui

The Minnie Amelie also came with an "outer bag" to be kept in, keeping it protected from dust and dirt, although all Mia Tui bags are waterproof and easily wipe cleaned.

mia tui

Big and practical enough for all of your needs, smart and stylish enough that no one would even know that you could be using it as a changing bag if you wanted!

Now, I just have to decide which one I want next...

Disclosure: I was sent a Minnie Amelie bag in exchange for a review. All words and opinions are honest and my own.


Regular readers will know that in August, after nine months of being homeless, we finally got our own home. A complete blank canvas to work with all rooms having been white-washed.

Our first priority after such a long period of uncertainty was to decorate Harry's bedroom. He helped choose the colour and theme and has loved it ever since.

With my younger cousin's being just a couple of years older than Harry, we are lucky enough to get a lot of hand me downs, both clothes and toys. The problem we have is with storage. Harry already has one toy box from Ikea, which a group of bloggers were kind enough to buy for us (along with several other items). He also has a couple of small chests for books and puzzles but these have proved impractical, particularly when Harry wants a certain puzzle or book; they are so disorganised and impossible to keep organised!

I would love some personalised furniture so I did what we all do in the technology age and headed to Google. I found a beautiful site called Pitter Patter Furniture. This company creates simply beautiful hand-crafted personalised furniture for children; toy boxes, bookcases, shelves, chairs, and name plaques.

The company pride themselves on crafting high quality products to be durable and child-safe. I particularly love this low-level bookcase; perfect for easy reach for small children. Whilst Harry loves us reading to him and doesn't seem at all bothered that his books are currently in a cupboard, shut away, I know for many children it can be a case of "out of sight, out of mind".

bookcaseTheir customisation tools are really easy to use and the one for the toy boxes gives you a vast array of choices for your child's toy box. The furniture is designed in neutral tones so it really won't matter should your child have a change of heart over their decor, which they will naturally do as they grow up. I know Harry would love any of the products (in fact whilst I was looking through the site earlier he kept asking for everything!) but his favourite by far would be the toy box, despite having one already that he likes!


If you are looking for furniture for your child's bedroom or playroom (if you are lucky enough to have one!) I really would recommend having a look at Pitter Patter Furniture; I meanwhile am working on persuading the husband!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.


When I was at Britmums Live a few weeks ago, Parragon books were there, offering a selection of books for us to take away and review for them.  Harry and I love reading together.  It is "our" thing to do, mainly because I love reading myself and so am keen to pass that onto him but also because it is one of the few things I can do with him on my worst days.  So I was keen to have a look at what they had on offer.

By the time I got to their stand on Saturday, they had run out of the packs suitable for Harry's age and only had the 0-1 years or cookery pack.  I explained that we love reading but as my husband is a chef, I didn't feel comfortable taking the cooking pack; he doesn't ever follow recipes and is the main cook in our home.  Jessie kindly gave me two different books to review.

First up is Muddy Paws.

Muddy Paws

When Ben gets a new puppy, he struggles to find the perfect name until the puppy shows him it.

I have to say, ever since first reading this to him the day after I returned home from Britmums Live, Harry has requested it at least once every day since.  As the puppy gets into mischief, Harry joins in and says "Naughty dog!" and giggles at all the right times.

The illustrations are colourful and bright, yet not glaringly so and the simple story makes it easy for older toddlers and pre-schoolers to enjoy.  Harry loves pointing out familiar objects within the story such as the ball in Ben's bedroom or the kite at the park.

It is safe to say that Muddy Paws is the new favourite book on Harry's block.

Muddy Paws

The other book I was given was Super Animals 2000 Stickers.  Probably not my wisest idea with a 3-year-old sticker obsessed son!

2000 Stickers

I honestly thought it would be perfect.  Lots of stickers with pictures to put the stickers onto inside the book.

Best laid plans and all that...?  Harry hasn't quite got to grips with the fact that the stickers are meant to go on the pictures in the book. Not on the floor, or the table, or Mummy's face or Daddy's arms.

Still, it has provided a lot of fun and ultimately, I guess that is the main point of it!

Disclosure: I was given these two books by Parragon at Britmums Live, with no obligation to review.

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