Friday, 20 October 2017

Thomas & Friends™ Super Station


 The ultimate Thomas & Friends track set yet, the Thomas & Friends™ Super Station.
Compatible with all your favourite Thomas & Friends engines, TrackMaster, Adventures, MINIS and wood, and with room for storing over 100 engines, little one’s imaginations will soar to the Island of Sodor! 


For those of you who follow the blog you'll know how much Ru enjoys all sorts of vehicle toys, his love for his cars is strong but a close second is playing with his Thomas & Friends railway tracks.

He adores watching the trains go round and round - something that I put down to his sensory traits.
Often when he's had a hard day / week the one thing I know that will instantly help is building up a track and letting him slip away into a little Thomas trance.

Watching the trains go round instantly takes his focus and makes him smile!

All the parts 
MINIS, Adventures, Track Master and Wooden Railways track toys.

So when I was asked if we wanted to review the brand new Super Station I jumped at the chance and responded with a yes straight away.

Ru had seen the advert for it on the television and pointed it out to me, something that he rarely does.
So I knew he would love it.

I really wasn't expecting it to be as big as it is, as sometimes toy size can be a little misleading but the Super Station is true to form and it is pretty massive.

It was so big that I had to move it from the lounge half built to the kitchen as I knew it was going to take up far too much room in the lounge.

Something that you can see for yourself in the pictures.


 Key Features;

Compatible with TrackMaster, Adventures, MINIS and Wood engines
  • Room for over 100 engines
  • 10 metres of track 
  • Features iconic locations including Tidmouth Sheds, Brendam Docks, Knapford Station, the Sodor Steamworks, the Dieselworks and Blue Mountain Quarry
  • Use the adapter pieces to connect to other playsets to create an even bigger playset for hours of fun
  • Suitable from 3 years+
  • RRP: £129.99


Ru was keen to get playing as soon as I started building and he wouldn't leave me alone until I had placed some batteries inside the TrackMaster Thomas engine.
So whilst I built the track he let Thomas ride around the parts I had built whilst eagerly telling me to hurry up.


After deciding which track we were going to build first it took me around 20 minutes to build it.
As well as building the track correctly, I took my time making sure the stickers which were supplied along with the instructions were stuck nicely and in all the right places.

Once it was done, even I was impressed by it's size. 
Ru was so impressed that he took his time walking around and looking at it taking it all in and whispering 'wow' to himself.


Ru loves that the track is the perfect height for him.
He can either sit down to play with the track on the floor or stand up to play with the train shed track and Cranky.

He gets so involved in play that I can actually get stuff done around the house with out him noticing.

I even managed to go to the shops on my own whilst I left him with Jon (something that I can rarely get away with) as he was just so immersed in watching Thomas go round & round and up & down that he hadn't notice me pop my shoes on and head for the door.


I love how you can store all the different trains on the track, as I'm always finding Ru's MINIs dotted around the house, so its nice that we now have a cool place to store them.
At least now we have all his trains in the one place and I don't have to spend ages searching all the toy boxes for them.


Unfortunately for me the Super Station won't actually fit in Ru's room so it will have to live in the kitchen until Ru allows me to take it down.

Though saying that, I have found myself enjoying making up all the different tracks whilst Ru is asleep to surprise him with in the morning.
It's becoming rather addictive in a way and I have been doing it every night this week!


Rupert really adores the Super Station, the twins enjoy a sneaky play and even Noah likes to get involved when Ru isn't looking and as I just said I can't help but enjoy building new set ups!

 A definite win for all the Mini Beast crew.


This is definitely one of the top toys for this Christmas and if I hadn't been extremely lucky enough to  be offered the opportunity to review it, it would have been on the top of our Christmas list.

xx


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Vegan Flapjacks

A few weeks ago I got invited to a special Robinsons Fruit Shoot event at Home Cottage Farm but unfortunately we couldn't make it due to the distance.
So they kindly sent me a little hamper with some goodies to get busy in the kitchen at home.

In my hamper I received;

3 bottles of Robinson Fruit Shoots - Orange, Lemon and Summer Fruits
Ice Lolly moulds,
A baking set which included a Whisk, Rollin pin, Wooden spoon, Sieve, 6 Silicon cup cake cases, Measuring jug and 3 Cookie cutters.
A couple of recipes.


Out of the 3 recipes I went for the flapjacks.
Flapjacks are a firm favourite with the Mini Beasts and I've never really used a flapjack recipe without the normal mountain of sugar and syrup.

So I was excited to give it ago, I'm always keen to try new things in the kitchen and to try and fool the boys into eating healthier treats!

Banana & Raspberry Flapjacks

1 Ripe Banana,
150g Dates,
70ml Boiling Water,
85g Dried Figs,
40g Dried Apricots, 
160g Oats 
100g Raspberries.
Makes 16 (depending on how you cut it.)

Method

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 2,
Pop the kettle on and grease and line a 20cm x 20cm tin.
Peel the banana and break into pieces. Place in a jug with the dates and boiling water. 
Leave for 5 minutes.
Chop the figs and apricots into cm squared chunks.
Using a blender blitz the banana and dates into a fine purée.
Combine the purée, oats and chopped fruit in a bowl into well mixed.
Carefully stir through the raspberries.
Press into the pre greased & lined tin and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from the tin once baked and leave to cool.

Store in a firm tin for up to 5 days.
Freeze well wrapped for up to a month!
Defrost at room temp before serving.


They were super quick to make and I knocked up a batch before putting the dinner on.
It was nice to use different ingredient to what I'm normally used to and all the boys seemed intrigued in all the different dried fruits I was using.
I did actually forget to add the raspberries but luckily I remember as I shut the oven door, so I whipped it out and added in the raspberries and then replaced it back in the oven.

We all really enjoyed tucking into a slice after out dinner.
A perfect after school bake!
No refined sugar and 100% yummy!

From now on I'll be using this recipe rather than the sugary one I normally use.


Rather than having the boys fight over which Fruit Shoot they wanted I decided to make up some quick ice lollies using the Fruit Shoots and remaining Raspberries.

Even though the weather is starting to turn the boys still all enjoy an ice lolly and will always beg me to buy them when I go shopping.

These were easy to do and took only a couple of minutes.
Fill up the mould and then pop in 1 raspberry and make sure you get the lolly stick in the hole of the raspberry to hold it in place.
Freeze over night and enjoy!



Robinson's Fruit Shoots,

MADE WITH REAL FRUIT

There’s real fruit in every drop of Fruit Shoot and each and every one is filled with multi-vitamins. Better still, we don’t add any sugar, artificial colours or flavourings at all.

**Flapjack Recipe creator - Holly Bell**



Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Why I've Been So Quiet On The Blog Recently .....


Now the craziness of the wedding planning has calmed down and I've caught up on some blog work I thought I'd fill you all in.

It's been one hell of a crazy month!


The Tuesday after the boys had all gone back at school after the summer holidays started with Jon deciding he was going to clean the kitchen windows at half 7 I the morning .... he managed to do one door before he tore one of his already damaged disks.

Which made his whole body cramp and him fall to the ground.
 (At the time we had no idea what had happened.)

I was upstairs getting ready to get the boys to school and Oscar ran up to tell me 'Daddy had fallen over and he needed me to help'.
So I flew down the stairs to find Jon outside on the patio unable to move.

Now I'm not the strongest person in the world and was completely scared to move him or pull him to hard I wanted to call an ambulance but Jon insisted he didn't need one.

I managed to help him onto his side whilst I stuffed pillows under him and covered him in a blanket. 
I'd called his parents who were still in bed at the time to ask them to help.
I even called Jon's sister to see if her husband was about to help me try and get him inside.

The minutes passed by slowly, with Jon still on the floor and me begging him to let me call an ambulance.

It a fit of fear and tears I rang my mum for help even though she's in Surrey, but she's my go to when I need medical help and I told her what had happened so she gave me some tips on how to help him which I did but none worked.

Jon's parents arrived 20 minutes later and then so did his sister.
As soon as his dad saw him he got on the phone to the ambulance.
Jon was no longer in control and I could slightly relax a little.
I know I should have taken control but I was in a bit of shock myself.

Thankfully the boys kept themselves busy playing on the Wii and Noah hid away in his room.
Noah is the sensitive one and knows when it's best to keep away.
Jon has a long history with his back and unfortunately Noah knows all the nasty side effects it can have on Jon.

The boys were already late for school by now but as the ambulance was on its way and Ken and Helen their to stay with Jon I practically ran all the boys to school and back home again.
The schools were all very supportive and told me they'd keep an eye on the boys incase they became upset.

It took a well over an hour for the crew to get Jon up from the floor outside to a chair just inside of the kitchen, using gas and air.

Once inside he eased up a little and the ambulance crew arranged for our local doctor to come out and see him.

Hours later still sat on the same chair the doctor arrived and prescribed Diazepam.
Jon was starting to get uncomfortable and needed to get to the lounge to sit in his chair which gives him more support for his back.
So it literally took myself and his parents over an hour and a half to help him walk him from the kitchen using chairs as supports to get him into the lounge.

Once their he decided he'd have a sleep on the sofa.... little did we know that when he woke he'd be in the worst pain of his life..

I again left him napping with his parents whilst I went and collected the boys.
Once home I found Helen stood in front of the living room door telling me not to let the boys see daddy.
He'd woken up and his whole body had cramped up.
The only part of his body he could move was one eye.

We re-called the ambulance and then the rest of the night was a bit of a blur.
Two ambulance crews, one car crew and then eventually the air ambulance crew.
Our living room was buzzing with machines bleeping and crews all trying to think what was wrong and how they were going to move him.

They pumped him full of a cocktail of drugs but eventually ended up knocking him out with Ketamine and then shuffling him off the chair and getting him onto the stretcher.
Then it was the slowest ambulance journey ever, even cars were over taking even with the blue lights flashing.
Any sudden movement would send Jon into shock, so they really had to take their time.

Jon spent a further two weeks in hospital after that, having tests and scans done to find out what had happened and drugged up to high heavens on all sorts of pain relief.
It was a hard and stressful week, one that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

(Because the air ambulance crew were being filmed for part of a tv programme which will be aired on channel 4 soon, Jon was filmed. We'll be seeing the footage in a few week .... well Jon will, I won't be able to watch it again and if he agrees it will be aired on TV.)

He's home now but he's still in a lot of pain and can't do much without getting tired.
It's going to take a long time to heal but he's home and he's safe which is the main thing.


Whilst Jon was in hospital he suggested (whilst on a LOT of drugs) we get married whilst my Gramps was down visiting, which I took with both hands and ran with it!

So since he's been home I've been full on wedding planning bridezilla mode.
Which has taken over everything!
But now everything is falling into place and all the big things have been sorted I'm slowly getting back to normal life.


The Church we're getting married in.
We have our second meeting with Reverend tomorrow to tell her the ins and outs of the ceremony.
Then from then its only a month to go!!!


Little Link has really settled into family life and is getting on really well with Ray and has just started playing with Indie.


As a little treat I finally got one of my worst tattoos covered up.
10 years ago I got some Hebrew lettering on my wrist in black with some sort of uber crappy shading in red around it.
 It was was meant to say Noah (but it probably didn't) and it was just 100% awful.
It only cost £10 so you can kinda guess how shocking it was.
I have been wanting to get it sorted for years but never really knew what I could cover it with as I knew red ink is a pain to cover.

I recently decided I really needed t get it covered as it was just making me unhappy, so I did a bit of research and finally decide on a black rose with a hint of red and after speaking to my tattooist he agreed that it would work.

So here it is....and I'm in love!

It's so much nicer and I no longer feel embarrassed about having my wrists on show.
It's healing nicely and I love how the leaves pop out of a long sleeved top!


xxx