Mama OWL Blog: September 2012

I want.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

"I want, doesn't get", so my mother has always told me. However Sarah from MO3W has asked what I want, and so I will tell you.
  • I want to sleep through, properly, just for one night. Now the kids are all sleeping through and in their own beds, why am I still waking up at stupid o'clock in the morning?
  • I want the house to stay clean & tidy for longer than half an hour after I have spent ages doing housework. Living with five (six if you include the Mister) whirlwinds, this is unlikely. But I want it all the same.
  • I want to do some travelling. I have a whole list of places that I want to go before I die, and one day hopefully I will make it to a few of them.
  • I want it to NOT snow this winter. Please, for the love of God, no snow.
  • I want to go shopping and update my wardrobe so I don't look like a tramp anymore. And while I do this, I want to not feel guilty about spending money on things for myself instead of the kids for once.
  • I want my old body back. Especially the b o o b s. They were pretty amazing b o o b s... #WistfulSigh
  • I want to take my kids on a roadtrip across the USA in one of those huge winnebago things. I think that would make for an awesome summer.
  • I want a massage.
  • I want to go and get my hair done. I have a groupon for a salon appointment but have I made it there yet? That would be a no. I need to sort this mess out. It's too long, too split, too blah.
  • I want to know what I ever did to you that was so bad.
  • I want to know why it is so hard to find real friends.
  • I want to be able to have a shower, or even just take a piss without someone hammering on the door or shouting for me from the other side of the house. Just once. Just one time.
  • I want other people to help out with the housework without me having to ask them.
  • I want to go on another holiday with Kath.
  • I want to take the kids away again this year, preferably to their favourite place in the world, but even just a long weekend away somewhere with them would be great.
  • I want to lose about a stone. Or two. Not essential, but it would be nice.
  • I want to have a very large glass of wine with my roast today.
At least that last one is definitely do-able! I'm going to tag -


Sunday, 30 September 2012

I was tagged by both the lovely Kat (Sighs) and Sonya of Ramblings of a Formerly Rock 'n' Roll Mum to answer these questions that are all about me. If you're still awake by the end of it, you get a virtual cookie.

When was the last time you cried?

Er yesterday actually. With that said, I'm not a big crier. Not because there is anything wrong with it, just because it requires energy that I seldom have. Yesterday I was sitting folding laundry and was feeling a bit wistful and nostalgic, thinking about times gone by and some aspects of that reminiscing did result in me having a bit of a sob to myself over the pairing of socks. Mind you, that job alone is enough to reduce anyone to tears.

Are you named after anyone?

I am indeed. My first name (Julie, for anyone not paying attention) is after a song that my parents liked, so they tell me. My middle name, Ellen, is in honour of my paternal great-grandmother. It was meant to be hyphenated, however my mother made the mistake of entrusting this mission with my father, who forgot the hyphen on the birth certificate when he registered me. Not that it makes any difference, because I was still (am still) "JULIE-ELLEN!" when I've been up to no good  ;)

Do you have any kids?

Oh, yea, two or three... Or five.
Two girls aged 14 & 2, and three boys aged 11, 9 and 6. A busy household, but a fun one. And a loud one.

If you were another person would you be a friend of yourself?

I'd like to think so. I would do anything for my friends, be there at any moment night or day if they needed me, but I do expect that level of commitment in return... So, as long as I was a real friend to me, then I am sure me and myself would be great friends. All I need is Irene and we're set.

Do you use sarcasm a lot?

I could use sarcasm to answer this question, but I won't. The answer is yes, I am a sarcastic tw*t rather a lot of the time.

Will you ever bungee jump?

Absofeckinglutely not. And after reading Sonya's answer, I need you to think of me saying my answer in the most emphatic manner you possibly can. That.

What's your favourite cereal?

I'm not really a cereal person truth be told. I do quite like Special K, for no other reason than I like the taste. Weetabix isn't too bad either.

What's the first thing you notice about people?

Uhm. I'd not really thought about it. Maybe clothes? I tend to check out other peoples outfits I suppose.

What is your eye colour?

It's blue. Or rather, a bluish, greenish, greyish colour. Apparently they're quite nice, some people comment on them. Each to their own, I suppose!

Scary Movie or Happy Ending?

I'm a sucker for a happy ending I have to admit. I hate scary movies, they are just mindless and I really don't see the point in them. Not to get on my soapbox, but there is enough horror on the news these days, I don't have any desire to watch that sort of thing for "entertainment". I like a bit of action and maybe a thriller, but an resounding NO to anything scary or gory, I prefer actual entertainment.

Favourite Smells?

New babies, they're just divine. And I love how the air smells just before it rains. Ooh, and freshly baked bread. I also have to admit that I do love a man that smells good, I am one of those people who will approach someone to ask what aftershave they're wearing so I can get it for the Mister. I loooove a good aftershave.

Summer or Winter?

Neither particularly but if I have to choose between those two I will say Summer. I hate snow. I hate ice. Though, my favourite season is actually Autumn, if you really want to know!

Computer or Television?

Computer. I have a few things I like to watch on television, but mostly I am a surfer.

What's the furthest you have been from home?

The USA, 2002. We flew in to Detroit, Michigan and then spent two weeks in Ohio with friends.

Where were you born?

I was born in Bath, don't you know. Not Baff. Or Bahhff. Bahh-th. Yes. There.

Do you have any special talents?

Not really. I keep several small people alive while surviving on very little sleep and zero time to myself... Does that count?

What are your hobbies?

Blogging, baking... Er. That's about it. Drinking wine? Can I include that?

Do you have any pets?

We have two hamsters at the moment, don't ask me what their names are, L keeps changing them. We've also agreed as a family to get a dog. We don't know what dog, or when, but we will get one. I've been doing some research and with L's Autism there seems to be a lot of articles to suggest a dog is a good companion for children with ASD so... Now we just have to find the right dog for our family. We're not in a hurry, we want to choose the right one to suit us so, however long that takes...

Favourite film?

I'm going to be very predictable and say Dirty Dancing. I love that movie, I could watch it over and over. But I have many well-loved films that I could also include... Labyrinth, The Goonies, The Princess Bride, GREASE! Oh my, I love Grease. Gone with the wind... Lots. Lots & lots.

Do you have any siblings?

I do indeed, six of 'em. I'm the middle one. And obviously the best one.

That's me done... Well done if you made it this far. I shall now tag -

I look forward to reading your 'All About Me' memes!

The Sweet Escape.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

This is for someone that I am thinking of. Good times, good memories.

#R2BC - Reasons to be Cheerful... 1, 2, 3

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Happy Thursday!

I hope everyone is well, thank you for all of your lovely comments last week. For some reason my blog doesn't allow me to respond individually to comments (anyone know how to fix that?!) but I do reply underneath to everyone, I promise! I love reading your comments and always try to get round to everyone to comment especially on #R2BC but sometimes time runs away with me, I know that you all understand how that is!

On with this week's #R2BC hosted by the lovely Mich at Mummy From The Heart, be sure to pop across and link up and maybe leave some comment love to the other bloghoppers!

1. *whispers* E has started sleeping through, and in her own bed! I thought the time would never come. We thought we'd cracked it a while ago but she was poorly and it went to shiznit, but for the last couple of weeks we appear to be back on track. Hurrah! Potty trained and sleeping through, guess that means it's time for another one?! *dies laughing* Absolutely not. For anyone not clear, that was a joke. Never again.

2. It's nearly the weekend! I have been so busy lately but never managing to get anything done it seems, my house looks like we have been burgled and I have about three baskets of clean washing to put away (at least it's clean though, right?) so I am looking forward to a calmer weekend where I can potter at home and get some things done, and hang out with the kiddies.

3. The sun is shining, what's not to like about that? We were very fortunately spared the terrible storms and flooding that other areas have seen and have only had a handful of downpours, absolutely nothing like some have had to deal with. We hope you're all okay out there and aren't dealing with any or too much damage!

Don't forget to link up, I look forward to reading your reasons to be cheerful! Big loves xx

#TheGallery : 8pm

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

I don't think that this picture even requires me to write any sort of explanation.

And this isn't every night, I hasten to add before you all sign me up to AA meetings (and we're not talking car breakdown services either) but sometimes, there is nothing quite like a nice glass of wine in the evening after a particularly rubbish day. Or even just after a 'day', actually, sod it, who needs an excuse? Bottoms up!

Come and jump in Puddy Muddles at Westdale Park!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Just on the outskirts of the beautiful market town of Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, on Holt Road opposite the town cemetery you will find Westdale Park Home & Garden Centre, the home of Westdale Nurseries and their RHS Gold medal winning Bougainvilleas, the world's most versatile and colourful plant.

In recent years, Westdale have welcomed several new businesses to the site, which was founded by Charlie Clarke Snr & his wife Eva in the 1940s and arrived at the current site in 1954, to create a new business park in the picturesque and historical town. It was passed on to & is now managed by their son Charlie Clarke Jnr & his wife Patricia, and is diversifying to meet today's needs and is pleased to be welcoming new customers every day.

Westdale is now home to eight businesses including their own greenhouse of spectacular Bougainvilleas, and boasts ample free car parking along with on-site WC facilities and a children's play area.

The most recent addition to Westdale is Puddy Muddles, a brand new shop specialising in new and preloved  baby and children's toys, equipment, clothes and gifts. With three rooms for new items, preloved and clothing, there is something for everyone and to suit every pocket. They are currently offering a special pre-order offer on fantastic wooden balance bikes in time for Christmas, further details can be found on their Facebook page. And coming on October 20th, they are hosting a very special event and Peppa Pig will be visiting the shop!

During Peppa's visit there will be treats a-plenty available to buy at Eva's Cafe, the home of home-made. Named in honour of Eva Clarke, Eva's Cafe will be offering dinosaur biscuits and Daddy Pig's favourite, chocolate cake amongst many other culinary delights. Eva's Cafe is open to the public and serves delicious home cooked meals and freshly baked cakes, as well as being available to hire as a party venue, and for cupcake classes (and cupcake decorating parties!) and even off site catering for parties & events. Contact or check out the Facebook page for further information and how to book.

Also at Westdale, you will find ACE Dog Grooming for all of your pet grooming needs, the Wiltshire Garden Furniture showroom with their fantastic range of furniture, Charlie's Parlour Pet Cremation Services - because pets are family too, Different By Design bespoke landscaping design company, and Avonfield Garden Centre.

Enjoy a leisurely afternoon at Westdale browsing all of their fantastic businesses, stay and enjoy lunch or tea & cake at Eva's, come and jump in Puddy Muddles! And keep your eyes open for new businesses and exciting new opportunities opening up very soon.

**Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, just a very shameless plug about my parents business park, written in the hope that I might get an extra special Christmas present this year for my trouble  ;) and er, because I love them very much...

Hedbanz Game & Eiffel Tower 216 Piece 3D Puzzle [Toyologist Reviews #4 & #5]

Monday, 24 September 2012

Hedbanz Game

I love the idea of Hedbanz, such a simple concept but LOTS of fun. The kids found it hilarious that they could see each other's cards but the person wearing it could not, cue much laughter when cards such as 'chicken' and 'cow' were selected...

Hedbanz is for 2-6 players and is recommended for ages 7 years +. I also recommend waiting until your loquacious two year old is in bed before you start playing, as otherwise you'll find you have to change your card a few times after she has proudly informed you that you are, in fact, a banana.

To play, you set up all of the cards in the middle of where you are playing. Each player puts on a headband and is dealt one card, placed face down. Without looking, you have to put the card in to your headband so that everyone (except you! & no cheating!) can see the picture, and each player is dealt three blue chips.

The youngest player goes first, you flip the timer and take turns asking each of the other players a question that will help you figure out what is on the picture on your card. Once you've asked everyone a question, you begin a new round. There are some 'question cards' to use as inspiration if you get stuck for what to ask. You can use any question except "What am I?" but at any time you may ask "Am I a...?". If you guess the picture before the timer runs out, you take another card put it in your headband (no peeking!) and continue asking questions until the timer runs out. For each picture card you guess correctly, you bank one of your chips, and then it is the next player's turn. To win the game, you have to be the first player to get rid of all of your chips.

It's a great game and we really enjoyed playing it, but after a while we did alter the rules to suit ourselves and make it easier, doing away with the chips & timer and just taking it in turns to ask questions, so that the first person to guess their card was the winner. To be honest, you could play it either way and it is still a very enjoyable game and is ideal for a family game night to suit younger ones and the grown ups, I can see it being a firm favourite in the Mama Owl household.

Hedbanz will soon be available to buy from Toys R Us.

** Disclaimer: Toys R Us sent the Hedbanz game free of charge for my family to review as part of the 2012 TRU Toyologist program. The views shared are my own honest and personal opinions of the product.

Eiffel Tower 216 Piece 3D Skyline Puzzle

When I spotted this puzzle in the box, I knew that J in particular was going to have a great time building this 3D replica of the Eiffel Tower from Ravensburger, available to purchase from Toys R Us for £14.99 at the moment, on sale from £19.99 and is recommended for children aged 10 years +.

It took him three sittings to complete as he was fitting it in between school and football but he was completely engrossed in building the puzzle and quickly developed his own system for finding the numbers he needed next. As the puzzle is in three sections, he used the boxes to separate the pieces for each section and worked his way up. The puzzle pieces are numbered and also feature arrows which point in the direction of where the next piece should be fitted. The pieces are made of plastic, and are very sturdy & robust, not made out of cardboard or at all flimsy like one might expect from your usual run-of-the-mill puzzle.

I think my favourite thing about this puzzle is that it really encouraged J to want to do something besides play on his computer games, he asked if there are other puzzles like this one and wanted to know if we would get him "Big Ben" for Christmas (which we will be). As he neared the end of 'construction' you could see the excitement on his face and how proud he was that he had built it by himself, he had a real sense of achievement and satisfaction and couldn't wait to show everyone. He found it a bit fiddly as he reached the top and the puzzle narrowed but with a little help from the Mister he managed to get it done.

I think it is a great new spin (3D) on an old idea (puzzles) and it has provided J with hours of enjoyment and no doubt will again & again in the future, it's a real winner in our house.

** Disclaimer: Toys R Us sent the Eiffel Tower 216 piece 3D Puzzle free of charge for my family to review as part of the 2012 TRU Toyologist program. The views shared are my own honest and personal opinions of the product.

Meal Plan Monday #mealplanningmonday

Monday, 24 September 2012

Monday 24th September - Macaroni Cheese with broccoli, served with garlic baguettes

Tuesday 25th September - Oven baked potatoes with coronation chicken and salad

Wednesday 26th September - Brinner

Thursday 27th September - Cottage Pie

Friday 28th September - Chicken Fajitas

Saturday 29th September - Takeaway

Sunday 30th September - Roast Chicken with mashed potato, roast potatoes, mixed vegetables, onion rings, yorkshire pudding, sage and onion stuffing, and gravy

I've linked up with Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky with this post.

#R2BC - Reasons to be Cheerful... 1, 2, 3

Friday, 21 September 2012

To give you an indication of how manic my week has been... I am a DAY LATE joining in with #R2BC. Those of you who are here every week will know that this never happens. This week, however, it did. Crazy busy. I am exhausted. But, everything is good in the land of me, absolutely no complaints.

Well, apart from one... Thank you so much to everyone who wished my mum well last week, however her surgery was cancelled at literally the last minute. She was packing her bag ready for an early start in the morning and they cancelled it because they found something on her test results that they need investigating before they can continue. She is of course devastated because she is in a lot of pain 24/7. Fingers crossed that they will get this fixed for her soon.

Back to more cheerful and positive things...

1. L was invited to a birthday party! Now I know lots of you take your children to loads of parties. Some even two or three on one weekend, and you are probably wondering why this is a big deal. L has been invited to - I believe - four or five parties. EVER. Not including family parties of course. Part of L's Autism is that he really struggles to make or maintain friendships, and is never invited to parties. He seems to be popular in school, and is liked by the other kids, but never invited anywhere. To me, I have to say this says more about the parents than it does about the children themselves. He is VERY excited and can't wait to go, we have a countdown on the calendar so he can keep track of the days until it is time to go. I'm so pleased for him and hope he enjoys it.

2. It's Friday, this means Fajitas! And we're having family game night tonight to try out one of the fab looking games we received as part of the Toys R Us 2012 Toyologist program. Now we just have to wait for the mister to get home!

3. I've nearly paid up all of my Christmas savings money, so in a couple of months I can go on a spending spree! I started saving on Boxing Day, and buying one or two things here & there in sales throughout the year so I am pretty well organised and looking forward to going out and doing a 'big shop' in November! I'm looking at a balance bike for E for Christmas, Puddy Muddles has them for a special pre-order price of £30 with a year's warranty which is a bargain, I really like the "Oowee" design. I am trying not to get ahead of myself but I do love the festive season and am really looking forward to it!

Don't forget to link up with Mich and maybe share some comment love with the other bloggers who join in this fab linky!

Epic Fun with @BritMums & Cravendale's #EpicStraws

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Are you a bottle burglar? Or a secret slurper?

L & H loved being official Cravendale #EpicStraws inventors and had great fun creating the two sets following the instructions included in the pack, as you can see from our pictures.

They were both very proud of themselves when they had finished building (and luckily we were sent vouchers to stock up on Cravendale milk, because they got through two litres during testing and racing!).

And we even made a few videos of our epic fun with Epic Straws!

^ Collapsing into giggles! ^

^ Take two... ^

^ In all fairness, I think it was actually a draw! ^

You can find out more information about Cravendale's Epic Straws at as of September 24th. Keep a look out for more of our "Adventures in Epic Straws" when we threw away the instructions and designed our own!

In the meantime, watch out for those little bottle burglars...

GIVEAWAY from Brainbox Games & The Health Counter

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

I am delighted to offer my readers two fab giveaways courtesy of BrainBox Games and The Health Counter. UK residents are free to enter both giveaways, which begin September 19th 2012 and end October 3rd 2012. The prizes are non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives to these prizes.

BrainBox Games are brought to you by The Green Board Game Company, and use a high content of recycled/recyclable material in their games. They are offering a fantastic prize of THREE of their range of games and puzzles for kids for one lucky winner -
All you have to do to enter to win these great prizes is register your entry with using the widget below and leave a blog comment, following the instructions from Rafflecopter, it's that simple!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And for our second great giveaway...

The Health Counter have offered one lucky winner a £20 Gift Voucher for their website,, enter for your chance to win by registering your entry with the Rafflecopter widget and following the simple instructions.

The Health Counter offers a wide range of products from health & toiletries to Mother & Baby essentials, and electrical and gift items. They also offer free delivery on orders of over £30. Enter to win this fab prize and stock up on the essentials, or just treat yourself!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


**Disclaimer: I have received no payment and am acting simply as a host for these giveaways. Prizes will be supplied to the winners directly from BrainBox Games and The Health Counter.

#TheGallery : Breakfast

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

I have lots of breakfast pictures... Stacks of pancakes stuffed with bananas and dripping in maple syrup, eggs & bacon sitting on top of hot buttered toast & grilled tomatoes nestled beside them. I LOVE breakfast. We all have birthday breakfasts on our special days, and enjoy our indulgent breakfasts at Christmas & New Year.

I had a sift through my pictures, breakfasts that I have shared with friends online (whether they wanted to see them or not) via Facebook, Twitter & the usual sharing sites, and then I found this one, and I remembered my favourite breakfast.

This breakfast isn't hot, or sweet, or even aesthetically pleasing. It's actually not even edible. It's a snapshot taken from my old phone a little while ago, because I wanted to capture the moment that someone else made me breakfast for a change, and I didn't even have to ask.

The picture itself is nothing special, but this breakfast was 'made' for me by Miss E, who is 2, and is without a doubt the best breakfast I have never eaten. She makes a cracking cuppa, too.

I have linked this post with Sticky Fingers #TheGallery linky.

The Land of Why

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sometimes it feels like I live in the land of why. Everything is why. Why why why. Especially for E who sometimes confuses why with what... Why his name? Why that noise? for example.

I was tagged by Anonomum to share my Whys. This was originally started by Mummy Central and it invites us to ask questions of our kids, in response to their constant WHYS.

So, Let Us Why...

Why do you get up so early on the weekends, but have to be dragged out of bed for school on weekdays?

Why do you always lose one shoe every single morning?

Why can't you open the washing machine to put the clothes inside, when it is clearly empty?

Why don't you ever lift the seat when you pee?

Why haven't I learned to check before I sit down?

Why do I have to repeat myself constantly?

Why do I have to repeat myself constantly?

Why do you always put the empty milk carton back in the fridge, but leave it out on the side when it's full?

Why will you eat MY dinner, but not your own when it is exactly the same thing?

Why do you always realise you've forgotten something just as I've shut & locked the front door?

Why can't you sleep in your own bed? ANY OF YOU?

Why do you think I'm a bin, and hand me your rubbish when you've finished with it?

Why do you always need the toilet when I'm in the shower/bath?

Why can't you just use the other sodding toilet?!

The Rules

  1. Post your whys – as few or as many as you like
  2. Link up your post with Mummy Central and post a comment if you can
  3. Tag 5 bloggers to keep this going
  4. If you’re not a blogger, leave your whys as a comment below. We’d love to read them
  5. Show your support by reading a few others and commenting on them.
Who I'm tagging

Little Super Sparks
Confessions of a Stay At Home Mum
Mum of Three World
The Ramblings Of A Formerly Rock & Roll Mum
One Dad 3 Girls

Due to repeats, new tags are

Ups & Downs, Smiles & Frowns
The Organised Penguin
Ojo's World

Special K Strawberry Biscuit Moments Review

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Last week I received a sample of Kelloggs Special K Strawberry Biscuit Moments to review.

Special K Biscuit Moments are baked, crispy biscuits with a soft fruit filling, and topped with a drizzling of vanilla.

I was very keen to give these a try as they seem like the perfect low calorie snack option because a pack of 2 biscuits is only 98 calories, ideal for sticking in your handbag for a snack-on-the-go. To be honest, they're also extremely handy to tote around in my bag in case of a 'hungry child emergency' (with five of them, this as I am sure you can imagine happens fairly regularly, despite them having eaten only minutes earlier most of the time).

I openly admit that I have quite the sweet tooth and do enjoy the odd biscuit (*cough*... or three), and I found that a two pack of these guilt-free biscuits was plenty to quell the craving when it hits. They have a lovely texture and are nice & crunchy, and the strawberry filling is very flavourful and sweet. The kids absolutely love them too, I'm going to have to squirrel away the remaining samples somewhere secret!

If you are looking for a diet-friendly, low calorie snack option that will keep your hands out of the cookie jar, then look no further, these will definitely do the trick. Just remember to hide them from the kids!

** Disclaimer: I received the samples of Kelloggs Special K Strawberry Biscuit Moments free of charge for me and my family to taste and review. The views shared are my own honest and personal opinions of the products.

Meal Plan Monday #mealplanningmonday

Monday, 17 September 2012

Monday 17th September - Lasagne served with garlic baguettes

Tuesday 18th September - Gammon steaks with mashed potato & vegetables

Wednesday 19th September - Brinner

Thursday 20th September - Home-made beef burgers in sesame buns, served with chips and salad

Friday 21st September - Chicken Fajitas followed by waffles & ice cream for dessert

Saturday 22nd September - Pepperoni & Cheese Feast Pizzas

Sunday 23rd September - Lamb chops and mint jelly, served with roast potatoes, mashed potato, mixed vegetables, onion rings, yorkshire puddings & gravy, followed by New York cheesecake for dessert

I've linked up with Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky with this post.

Monster High Create A Monster Lab & Doggie Doo Game [Toyologist Reviews #2 & #3]

Monday, 17 September 2012

Monster High Create A Monster Lab

In all honesty I was expecting to have to delegate the testing of the Monster High Create A Monster Lab to my ten year old niece, however once he heard the words "Monster" and "Lab", L was all over it.

The Monster High Create A Monster Lab is a laboratory play set that comes in a handy carry case with storage drawers for the all of the tattoos that you use to design your doll.

It contains one doll that is fully customisable with a variety of funky transfer designs that can be used to create your own spooky frankendoll! It is priced at £39.99 and recommended for ages 6 years +.

You must first fill the lab with water and then press the pump until the sponge on the applicator is completely wet. You need to repeat that for every tattoo application. Then you match the codes to each body part with the code on the tattoo sheets, make sure the code is positioned correctly within the applicator before lining it up and pressing the applicator on to the body part until the lights in the eyes of the skull stop flashing.

I don't recommend putting all of the body parts in to the monster lab at once when you're applying tattoos to the limbs, as it could possibly interfere with other applications. I'd also suggest waiting until the transfers are completely dry before putting the wig on to the doll, as otherwise the hair may stick to the surfaces.

L enjoyed creating his own designs, and then E took ownership of the doll after he was done (as you can see, she kept a watchful eye over the design process)!

To remove the tattoos all you have to do is wash the doll down with warm soapy water, or some baby oil will work if you have any handy (not included).

There are so many possibilities for design combinations which will give hours of play time with this toy.

You can check out all of the reviews by the 2012 Toys R Us Toyologists by visiting the Toys R Us Toybox.

** Disclaimer: Toys R Us sent the Monster High Create A Monster Lab free of charge for my family to review as part of the 2012 TRU Toyologist program. The views shared are my own honest and personal opinions of the products.

Doggie Doo Game

I have to admit, my first thought was "Bleurgh!" when I looked at the box and realised that this game involved scooping poop... However, I knew immediately that it would definitely appeal to my boys who very much fit the 'slugs & snails & puppy dog tails' stereotype.

The Doggie Doo Game is aimed at children aged 4+ years, is for 2-4 players and is priced at £22.99 at It is literally as it sounds (and the sounds are rather interesting too...), you feed and walk the dog and if he poops, you scoop! The first player to collect three poops on their scoop, wins.

I'm not sure whether it was an intentional aspect of the design (I imagine it was), but the boys quickly discovered that when you're "walking" the dog (squeezing the leash), the dog's behind makes a noise similar to that of - shall we say - 'breaking wind' as it walks (definitely not the terminology my boys used... I'm so proud...) as the "doo" is squeezed down. We made a little video for your, er, viewing pleasure  ;)

This of course was found to be highly amusing and entertained them almost as much as the actual game itself. It's a very simple game with basic rules and is easy for little ones to understand and enjoy as much as the big kids, and provides lots of laughs throughout.

You can check out all of the reviews by the 2012 Toys R Us Toyologists by visiting the Toys R Us Toybox.

** Disclaimer: Toys R Us sent the Doggie Doo Game free of charge for my family to review as part of the 2012 TRU Toyologist program. The views shared are my own honest and personal opinions of the products.
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