Last But Not Least Lola

This week Boo was introduced to Lola Zuckerman

Lola Zuckerman’s name is a big problem because she’s always Z-for-Zuckerman last.

Lola always seems to be getting herself into trouble despite her best efforts not to. She’s a love able character that will appeal to all youngsters who are just starting to read independently. Aimed at 7 to 10 years old the books have short chapters with fun illustrations. 

We were sent three books to review.

Last-But-Not-Least Lola Going Green

Lola Zuckerman hates being last for everything. If only she were Lola Adams or Lola Appleby or anything but Z for Zuckerman. And she is having a particularly hard time right now. Her best friend Amanda Anderson is now her ex-best friend. Her grandparents have moved back to Texas, and her mother is launching a new career. Why is everything always changing? What would make things much, much better is if Lola were to win the Going-Green Contest at school and beat Amanda Anderson, who is determined to win first place too. How can Lola, who is always last, prove that she’s not least? This first book in the Last-But-Not-Least Lola series is a laugh-out-loud, heartwarming, and intensely satisfying story about the importance of friendship and creative problem-solving.

Last-But-Not-Least Lola and the Cupcake Queens

Lola’s mom is home but not home, because she’s frantically working all the time. Lola’s friends are here but not here as allegiances among the foursome change faster than you can forget your lines for a school play. Lola means well but can’t help acting on her emotions and getting into trouble. She’ll need to dig for bravery as she deals with a possible ghost next door, stage fright, and, hardest of all, making amends with her friends. In this heartwarming tale, Lola is braver than she thinks, and her friendships are stronger than she realizes.

Last-But-Not-Least Lola and the Wild Chicken

Lola’s back! She patched things up with frenemy Amanda Anderson, but it’s not happily ever after for these two best friends, at least not yet. Lola doesn’t want to share Amanda, especially not with Jessie, who seems to be around . . . all the time. Can there be more than two best friends? And what does a wild chicken have to do with anything? Hint: The answer involves a class trip to a farm. When Lola is around, you never know what will happen next. This second book in Christine Pakkala’s dynamic series is sure to capture the hearts of readers who love a spunky heroine and some unexpected antics.

Our Verdict

Boo has really enjoyed reading these books, they have captured her imagination and ignited her love of reading independently. 

Disclosure: We were sent these books for free in return for our promotion. The links in this post are affiliate links which will cost you no more but may earn me a little money if you use them. Thank you.

Keeping in Touch with Neveo

Recently, I was contacted by Neveo and asked if I would like to try their product. I was really thrilled and I have been dying to tell you all about my experience with it.

If you are a regular reader you will know how much I love my photographs. I love printing them off and making photo books too and I’ve shared many of them with you. 

We like to share our photos over social media, with a click of a button you can share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. But what if the person you want to share with doesn’t use technology? We tend to forget that there is a whole generation out there that finds technology difficult to master. My Mother had never been near a computer and my Mother-in-law really has no clue what to do on one. Even her mobile phone is used for calls only.

Staying Connected

Neveo asked me to make a magazine of photos to send on a regular basis to my kid’s grandma. With their app. on my phone I can transfer photo’s directly and add some text. Then Neveo take them and print them in a lovely glossy magazine. 

Example magazine
Example magazine

We used to live in the same street at the kid’s Grandma and she would see them every day. Since we moved away they see her less and less, and she’s missing out. But, even if we were still living nearby, I’m sure she’d love a magazine of their photos every month. It’s such a lovely gift, something to treasure.

You can use it for other family members too, just create a profile for Grandad, Auntie, Uncle, Cousin etc. The choice is yours. Once you’ve chosen your recipient you can also ask other family members to join in and add their photos to the same account. For example, for my kid’s Grandma we also asked my husband’s brother to add photos of his children, her other grandchildren.  Then all the photos were combined in one album.

Pages from my album for my kid's Grandma, featuring six photographs with text.
Our magazine

The whole process was simple and the finished magazine was a real treat.

How it Works

You can pick an album of up to 50 or 100 photos to be sent every month. For 50 photos the price is £9.99 per month, for 100 it’s £14.99. There is no extra cost for postage even if you are sending it to another country and you can cancel at any time. Currently there is a special offer of 3 months free on a yearly subscription.

Then you download the app. on your phone and start adding photos to your album from your camera roll, Google or even Facebook.  You can also view these on your online account and add extra photos from your computer. 

example of the app. on a mobile phone
phone app. example

You can also invite other family members to add their photos. They will need to add their own name and password, and only they will be able to add text to their photos.

You can write a quick description about each photo, or add a couple of sentences to make it more personal and chatty, like writing a letter. 

The app. sizes and prints the photos along with the text which means you don’t have to spend hours organising and editing. You can however, move the order of the photos around if you wish.

At the end of the month the magazine is printed and sent off to it’s recipient who it going to be thrilled to receive it.

 a copy of a completed magazine for Grandma
Our magazine

Neveo

Neveo currently has a special Christmas offer where you can get 3 months free on a yearly subscription.

You can download Neveo on IOS Apple

Or Android or you can visit the website

What do you think? Do you have family member who’d love to receive this every month? 

Disclosure: I was asked to review this product but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

InflataNation – Birmingham

We were really excited to receive an invitation to visit InflataNation inflatable theme park. My Children have always loved bouncy castles and InflataNation is the perfect place for children of all ages to bounce and play.

We visited the Birmingham InflataNation but you can also find parks in Manchester, Cheshire and Beverley. 

Inflatanation sign

What is InflataNation?

InflataNation is a theme park full of inflatables. Exactly what you would imagine it to be. There are inflatable slides and bouncing areas along with ball pits and activity zones. The park is open to all ages and abilities, so yes, the adults can bounce along with the kids. There is also an area especially for the under fours so that they don’t miss out on the fun.

If you don’t want to bounce, or can’t like me, then there is a fabulous cafe area where they sell food, snacks and drinks.

large inflatable theme park

The Theme Park

From the moment you enter you are floating on inflatables. But there is so much more to do than bounce. The slides are great fun for all and you get a choice of height just in case you are not brave enough for the bigger slides. We liked how you could slide down together in two aisles, it’s a race to the bottom. 

large inflatable slide

My kid’s loved the wrecking ball area where you each stand on an inflated pillar while swinging the wrecking ball at each other. The last man standing is the winner.

There is also a gladiator style duel where you hit each other off the podium with inflatable batons. And an inflatable assault course which two people can race to complete.

Or if you just want to bounce or play in ball pits you can do that too.

You get an hour in the park to enjoy all the activities and there is so much to do the time just flies by.

child pushing a large peg into an inflatable wall

The Cafe

The cafe area was clean and spacious and in the perfect place to watch all the action. 

We decided to have lunch there and were happy with the food served. Two of my children had meals from the kid’s menu, Star and her Dad had pizza and I had a panini. The kids had slushies with their meals while me and their Dad had some nice coffee.

I thought the prices were reasonable, we spent £36 for five of us, but we could have saved money by not choosing the more expensive drinks. Also available were family servings, so you could have pizza or hot dogs for the whole family at a cheaper price than buying individual meals.

The food was served within 15 minutes which was good and it was brought to our table.

the cafe
the menu
Part of the menu, there were also kid’s meals and snacks available

Safety

You are advised to wear long sleeves and long trousers in the theme park because it is possible to rub your skin after excessive play. It is well ventilated to keep you cool, but it’s  constant physical work while in there and you are bound to get a bit hot. I’d suggest covering up in something light. You will need to wear socks.

Before you go in you can read the safety rules which are shown on a big poster on the wall in the cafe. There is also a short safety video to watch and you are guided to view this five minutes before your session starts.

Other Features

There is a viewing area which looks out over the park and you can watch your children play. There are also extra tables and chairs up there to take your food and drinks. This area was accessible by stairs only so I didn’t get to see. Graham took some photos for me.

a view of the inflatable park from above
a view from above of the large slide

There is also a kid’s party venue, a special place set aside for the party goers before they go into the park to bounce.

The theme park also offers several classes including fitness classes, inflata tots and disability friendly sessions. The disability sessions are for those on the autistic spectrum where a calm environment is created and parents or carers can enter for free.

The Cost

The general cost is £9.95 per person for one hour play for over 4s. £5.95 for under 4s. However, there are many offers available such as family passes for two adults and two children for £32.50. You can also pay for extra time, £7 for over 4s and £4 for under 4s. There are also passports for those that wish to attend regularly and different prices. 

Parties vary depending on what package you want but the cheapest price is £12.50 per child.

You can also book adult only parties if you don’t want the kids getting in the way!

Our Verdict

The kids gave the park a big thumbs up and would love to go again sometime. They had tons of fun and it totally wore them out. Graham had fun too, but I think maybe he should have been a bit easier on himself.

I thought the place was clean and spacious. The cafe area was a really lovely place to sit and watch while waiting. Access was easy for my wheelchair and there was a disabled toilet.

The food was nice and the portions a good size.  There was a nice variety of fast food to enjoy and service was good. The coffee was especially nice.

I think the cost was reasonable, especially if you take advantage of the special offers. It makes for a great family outing.

Boo in the inflatable theme park

Please visit https://www.inflatanation.com/ 
for more information. It is recommended that you book your session before arriving.

Disclosure: we were given free entrance to InflataNation for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Christmas Shopping with a Difference at Etsy

Have you ever had a difficult gift to buy, someone that you want to treat with something special but just can’t find that special thing? Then you may want to consider the Etsy market place. If it’s handcrafted, vintage, custom or unique it’s on Etsy.

I’ve put together my gift list of some of the special things you can find on Etsy. There is so much to choose from though, if you don’t like anything I’ve put you can always go and look for something else.

Slime

The slime stores are my go to places. It’s where my girls go to spend their pocket money. Forget about those pots of gooey snot like slime you can buy in the shops, on Etsy you can get some incredibly beautiful and long lasting slime. It’s all made to order and there is so much to choose from. Here’s a few from our favourite seller SlimeMarshmallowsUK

My girls will be getting these in their Christmas stockings.

a pot of light brown coloured slime with gold sprinkles from Etsy
Egg Nog Scented Christmas Butter Slime

Egg Nog Scented Christmas Butter Slime is an eggnog scented layered slime, with thick slime at the bottom, butter slime in the middle and a layer of clay on top! Mixing them all together is very satisfying! From £6.

blue and white slime with sparkly snow flakes and stars from etsy
Shimmering Snowflake Slime – Scented

Shimmering Snowflake is a tri toned cloud slime consisting of dark blue, light blue and white! Its topped with snowflake fimo slices and iridescent star glitters!  From £6

Jewellery

When it comes to jewellery, Etsy is your place. There is so much to choose from but don’t worry, it’s all easy to find. Just check the categories for what you want and narrow your searches. You’ll soon pick up something that’s perfect.

I’m going to show you a couple of items that I’d love to receive myself.

a beautiful heart shape necklace with lapis lazuli from etsy
Lapis Lazuli Heart Necklace

A Beautiful Lapis Lazuli Pendant

Individually Handcrafted using a water clear resin with lapis lazuli, aluminium and golden metallic glitter. £40

When I saw this pendant I fell in love instantly. I really love lapiz lazuli, but this is really unique. 

a green stone bracelet with a turtle charm. from etsy
Sea Turtle Bracelet

The Sea Turtle bracelet is hand made in England. It features Grade-A Green Aventurine and Howlite gemstone beads, measuring 8mm diameter and threaded on to high-quality stretch cord. The Sea Turtle is Peruvian ceramic and hand painted, measuring approximately 13mm

I love bracelets, I love semi-precious stones and I love turtles. This is one example of how you can find something perfect for someone on Etsy. 

Musical Gifts

Have you ever given anyone a mix tape? Are they a thing of the past now, do people still share their favourite music. Maybe it’s done on a USB now? Well, I’m old fashioned so this retro mix tape really caught my eye. It’s an actual cassette with a USB stick.

A cassette mix tape with a USB stick from etsy
Mix Tape USB stick

UNIQUE and ORIGINAL gift: This is an authentic USB Mixtape using a REAL TAPE CASSETTE. £15.99

Our retro AUTHENTIC Mix tape is the real deal – manufactured in the UK so premium quality is assured – Exactly the premium quality and original retro design that you would wish to give a loved one as a special gift. 

a guitar key ring from etsy
Guitar Key Ring

Abalone Guitar keychain 

Guitar keyring, finished with iridescent shimmers of Abalone Seashell. £12.60.

The perfect little gift for a guitar player

Christmas Decor

While you are shopping for your presents, why not take a look at the Christmas decorations on offer at Etsy. 

Personalised Wooden Name Family Christmas Tree  £8.09

Set of Superhero minifigure Christmas Baubles £4.99+

Personalised Christmas Stockings £10.42

Felt Christmas Tree Decorations £4.50+

A collage of Christmas decorations from etsy

Have you considered buying your Christmas gifts from Etsy?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which will cost you no more to click but may earn me a few pennies. Thank you for clicking and Merry Christmas.

Advent Calenders 2018 Part Two

I previously wrote about some unusual advent calendars you can buy this year, from pork crackling to coffee pods! This time I’m going a little more conventional with chocolate and alcohol. Better hurry though, it’s nearly December!

Chocolate

The kids always love a chocolate advent calendar so here’s a few of my favourites for the kids and adults, with some fabulous money saving bargains to boost.

Have more than  one kid and forever getting their advent calendars mixed up? Why not get a personalised one from Thorntons, you can even buy 3 for 2 saving up to £20. Here’s the Snowman personalised Advent Calendar for £7.

The Rituals Advent Calendar is my personal favourite from Thorntons. Not only is it full of delicious delights, it’s also incredibly pretty. At £12 it’s also part of the 3 for 2 deal.

Get all of your Cadbury Favourites in the Heroes Advent Calendar and at the moment you can get £1 off making it £8.98

Or maybe you want to go with the traditional choice of a Cadbury Dairy Milk Advent Calendar. Currently priced at £2.19.

Alcoholic Advent Calendars

I will admit, I’ve never tried an alcoholic advent calendar, I’ve had chocolate, cosmetics and even stationary, but alcohol is something I’ve yet to enjoy. I think it would be nice to open one after the kids have gone to bed and have a tipple. Of course they tend to come with a higher price tag too! I think I may stick to chocolate (or pork crackling) but here’s a few I’ve found to share.

Gin

Gin is very popular at the moment, as are gin Advent Calendars. This Edinburgh Gin Advent Calendar has 25 5cl bottles of gin for you to enjoy. It costs £120 and is exclusive to John Lewis and Partners.

The Gin and Tonic Advent Calendar is a little different, it comes with a full bottle of Lakes Explorer Gin and then you open the door to a different 200ml tonic mixer each day. Again, exclusive to John Lewis and it costs £95.

Wine and Prosecco 

“Wine down” to Christmas with 24 mini bottles from around the world. This Advent Calendar is the ideal way to countdown to Christmas. Each door conceals a 187ml bottle of red, white or rose wine. The cost is £70.

Next is a lovely selection of 200ml bottles of prosecco, cava and sparkling wines. It also includes a 20cl bottle of Lanson Champagne for Christmas Eve. The Prosecco and Fizz Advent Calendar is exclusive to John Lewis and Partners and costs £125.

Beer

This Beer Advent Calendar contains a selection brewed by Adnams in Southwold. Designed to take you on a tasty beer adventure from lagers via pale ales, it provides a very “hoppy” start to your Christmas celebrations. It comes with a total of 9.9ltrs of beer for £70

Have you got your Advent Calendars yet? Which would you go for? 

This post contains affiliate links which will cost you no extra if you click them but may earn me a few pennies. Merry Christmas

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I’ve also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me…is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I’ve loved. If I don’t love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It’s always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I’ll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.