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I first came across Arty Apple on Twitter and as soon as I had a peek around Amy’s online shop I knew I had to work with her.  She hand makes personalised items for little one’s and their bedrooms or nurseries from taggie blankets to wall art and everything in between.   Browsing the Arty Apple website made me a touch broody as there are some beautiful handmade gifts and baby essentials available there. Amy very kindly offered me the chance to review some of her products and I went for

We enjoy eating out as a family, and it always features on our list of things to do when we are on holiday.  During our weekend away visiting Warwick this was no exception and when we found out there was a Pizza Express just down the road from our hotel, it seemed like the perfect choice for eating out together.  We all love pizza, but there’s something about eating at Pizza Express that makes it feel like an extra special treat. I like restaurants that provide good quality food, a great

I must admit, I do like to have carpets in the house.  Even better than carpets, I like to have clean carpets, but when you have a young family this can be quite a challenge.  Children spill things, it’s just a part of life.  Cups of orange juice get knocked over, jam on toast gets dropped on the floor and don’t get me started on the amount of times the kids have come running in the house with muddy feet without a care in the world. Sometimes the parents have

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, the incredibly popular children’s story is coming to our TV screens this Christmas and I’m really excited about watching it with my children.  My daughters adore this wintry adventure by Michael Rosen, and my 4 year old knows the story word for word.  I think it’s a very popular story with preschool and Early Years children, regardless of the time of year.  It’s one of those stories that really captures the imagination of the young mind. We were sent a box of ‘We’re Going

Can you believe that it’s been 3 years since Frozen hit our cinema  screens?  I know I can’t, as my daughters keep one of the best Disney story’s of all time alive each and every day with their dressing up and constant renditions of Let It Go.  It’s not in the least bit tiresome, honest!  My youngest dresses as Ana everyday, and attracts a lot of attention when she visits the supermarket.  As hard work as a toddler in a full length velvet dress can be, it’s lovely to see

When I was growing up I remember having a Scalextric set.  I think it was to keep my Dad happy as much as me, but it definitely worked on both counts.  We loved racing the cars round the track back in the day, so when I was offered a My First Scalextric for the girls to review, I had to say yes.  I think it’s so important for them to have a variety of toys to try and keep a balance to those gender stereotypes we can soon find ourselves

A few weeks ago, someone backed into our car.  It was the most ridiculous accident.  I was driving into a car parking space and the car parked next to it just started to reverse.  I watched in complete amazement, waiting for the sound of the crunch as there was literally nothing I could do about it. As the accident was clearly the other drivers fault, we jumped through the hoops of the car insurance to get our car repaired.  Our car went into the garage just before we went on

Recently, we’ve been lucky enough to try out the new Sands Alive Glow and Create set from John Adams.  We reviewed Sands Alive a while back, so we were keen to see what this latest toy from the range was all about.  How was the sand going to glow?  It seemed a little bit to good to be true. We got the Sands Alive Glow and Create set out for a play date, to make sure that we really put it through it’s paces.  The set comes with a good

As you may have guessed already, my daughters love dolls.  It’s the toy that they most enjoy exploring real world play with and like to explore what caring for a baby maybe like.  Tiny Tears is one of the original doll brands, and you might well remember playing with her yourself as a child.  Well now you can relive your childhood memories and share the Tiny Tears doll with your own child. Not one, but two Tiny Tears dolls arrived at our house which made for two very happy little girls indeed.  My youngest

Toys play a huge part in our children’s lives helping them to learn and grow.  As parents, we want to get the toys we give our children right, giving them something to play with that will create lasting memories.  Think back to when you were a child.  What was your most memorable Christmas toy?  There might be a few on the list if you cast your mind back.  Perhaps you had a train track that Santa left for you that you have fond memories of.  Maybe it was a particular

Have you ever had breakfast with Santa?  It’s not something we had done until very recently, but I think it’s about to become one of our family Christmas traditions.  Wyevale Garden Centres invited us to join them and Santa for some festive fun at their Leicester branch one Saturday morning this December.  The girls were so excited at the thought of having breakfast with Santa, that they put on their favourite costumes for the occasion. You have to dress up for Santa, don’t you? We were greeted by Santa’s elves,

My kids love wellies.  They seem to be the ultimate fashion statement for them, and it’s perfectly acceptable to wear them at any time of year when your a kid.  Recently we were asked to try out the The Original Muck Boot Company new Hasbro collection for children, and my two young ladies literally couldn’t wait to get their hands on them.  They first saw the My Little Pony outdoor boots at the The Original Muck Boot Company event at Kew Gardens.  Unfortunately, due to some rather heavy London traffic on

What things do you do get you into the Christmas spirit?  We are definitely starting to feel very festive here at Zena’s Suitcase as we have already started on some of the Christmas traditions.  There’s been a few old ones, and some new ones that have crept in that I think are here to stay. We started our winter celebrations with a Christmas holiday.  This was a new adventure for us, but I think it’s going to become a regular occurrence.  We ventured to some new cities and explored the

Over the last month, we’ve had a some great kids books and craft supplies for preschool and early years children sent to us that I wanted to share with you.  With Christmas coming, I thought this could help you out with some Christmas gift ideas for kids who like to read and create. ChalkOla Pens The first is ChalkOla and we love this product.  They are chalk pens without the messy dust that goes with them, and they are great for kids!  One thing that drives us mad is chalk

I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to keep it a secret from the girls that they were going to be seeing Frozen Disney On Ice at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham.  Bless them, it didn’t even dawn on them what was happening when I said they could both wear a Frozen dress on a Sunday afternoon.  We even got to the arena, and because they are still quite young, they still didn’t really understand what was happening until we pointed out all the Frozen merchandise and

We were absolutely delighted when Premier Inn invited us as a family to stay in their Lewins Mead Hotel in Bristol.  It’s the best compliment a blogger can have when you are able to build a relationship with a brand you love like this.  You might remember, I recently stayed at Premier Inn Stansted Airport before my trip to Venice very recently and had a great experience.  Staying with Premier Inn really added to my holiday experience, but as you know, I wasn’t travelling with my family on that occasion. This time

Christmas jumpers aren’t just for children!  They should be a family affair.  They can cheer up even the grumpiest of Daddy’s and melt all that bah humbug away quicker than you can say Scrooge.  Winter can be cold, dark and quite depressing at times so I am all for embracing the Christmas cheer for as long as possible.  It cheers me up at a time of year that could take a real turn for the worst if it didn’t feature some sparkle and silliness. Matalan Christmas Jumpers When Matalan got

Recently we went on a family road trip.  We were heading to Bluestone in Pembrokeshire, but experience has told me this is a long way to drive with two small children.  We planned an over night stay at Premier Inn Lewins Mead in Bristol and discovered there was a Brewers Fayre at the same site. When Brewers Fayre found out that we would be passing through, they very kindly invited us to try their restaurant at Lewins Mead in Bristol.  As you might already know, we’ve been to Brewers Fayre

Did you know there was a Playmobil Advent Calendar?  We certainly didn’t until we received the Dress Up Party Playmobil Advent Calendar to review as part of our role as a #PLAYMOBILPlayologist.  What we also didn’t know is there is a whole range of exciting non chocolate advent calendars in the range suitable for boys and girls, no matter what they love. There are Christmas themed advent calendars, Fire Rescue Operation, Pirates or Farm related sets to choose from so if you are looking for something a bit different for your child this

Holiday Inn Express very kindly invited us to stay at their London Stansted Hotel when we returned from our short city break to Venice.  Our flight from Venice Treviso Airport wasn’t due to arrive at London Stansted Airport until 11.40pm in the evening, so the thought of driving back to Nottingham at that time seemed an incredibly unsafe thing to do.  I’m no spring chicken and I value my sleep, especially after spending the day exploring Venice, making a mad dash to the airport bus stop, and being slightly delayed

For those of you not already in the know, Doc McStuffins is a six year old girl who ‘fixes’ toys, with a little help from her stuffed animal friends, Stuffy, Hallie, Lambie and Chilly. This year, Doc has been transported to McStuffinsville to become the Chief Resident of the Toy Hospital, where she and her toy friends will help toys from all over the world! Doc McStuffins Toy Hospital Bag Set The girls love dottie Doc McStuffins and were recently sent the new Doc McStuffins Hospital Bag set to play with and

A few weeks back we went to Smyth’s Toys to find out all about the new doll collection from the Baby Annabell range.  One of the dolls really caught my daughter’s eye, and she was very lucky to receive the Baby Annabell Learns To Walk doll to review a few weeks later.  Her eyes lit up straight away when she saw the new doll, and she was so excited for it coming out of the box.  There were little hands everywhere trying to get involved in the unboxing. We were

As blogger ambassadors for Drayton Manor Theme Park, we were lucky enough to be invited to the first night fo the end of season fireworks spectacular inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  This is a hugely popular event and draws a massive crowd to Drayton Manor Park, for one of the best theme park parties of the year.  The atmosphere is amazing throughout the park as the excitement builds for the big event, which kicks off at 7pm. Each year Drayton Manor fireworks pick a new theme for their

We have literally got the best toy for any Bing fans out there to share with you today.  Both my daughters really enjoy Bing on CBeebies, and I’m pretty sure they aren’t the only ones.  For anyone not in the know Bing Bunny, and his friends are curious preschoolers learning all about the world around them in each episode.  The adventures are so relatable for little ones as they deal with the things that happen in little children’s everyday life, like how to share and going to the toilet!  Yes,

We literally had a smashing time when we went to Pizza Express recently to try out their new autumn menu and celebrate Daddy’s birthday.  Not one, but 2 glasses hit the deck as one slipped out of my daughter’s hand at the beginning of the meal and Daddy took one off the table with his coat as we left.  To say we were slightly embarrassed was an understatement, but fortunately we had a very lovely and understanding waitress who dealt with it all without any fuss.  That’s what you need

We are really getting stuck into our new role as #PLAYMOBILPlayologist toy reviewers and this month my 4 year old daughter was lucky enough to receive a range of toys from the PLAYMOBIL Hospital Range.  PLAYMOBIL are one of the top manufacturers in the preschool toy sector and it’s an absolute pleasure to be associated with the brand.  You can see our last review of the PLAYMOBIL Fire Car here. Princess was super excited about getting to play with the PLAYMOBIL ‘Maternity Room’ and ‘Doctor and Child’ sets from the hospital

A lot of the children’s reviews that we feature on the blog are often aimed at my older daughter, but every now and again something comes along that will suit our Little Pudding down to the ground.  She’s 2 1/2 years old, and I knew she would love to get her little hands on the Teletubbies magazine that has just hit the shelves from Egmont.  She enjoys the Teletubbies show on CBeebies a lot, so seeing them and interacting with them in the magazine is very much a natural step

My daughter loves Princess’s, she’s also quite a fan of mermaids so when the Disney Princess Ariel Bath styling head arrived for her to test she was really excited.  The first thing that we both loved about the doll was the bright red hair, finished with a cute blue streak.  She’s got a lot of hair, which is perfect for little girls to style.  The cute blue streak also changes colour when wet. As well as the blue hair, the eyes and lips also change colour but the water has to

Do you know when a day out is just so good, you firstly struggle to pick your favourite moment and secondly, you are still talking about it a week later.  That’s exactly what happened to us when we visited West Midlands Safari Park for the day.  It’s been somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a while, so when they got in touch with us on Twitter, I was absolutely delighted and accepted the invitation immediately.  

Do your kids love playing with dough?  I know mine do.  When it’s time to set up an activity, playing with dough is the first thing they ask for.  So when we were asked if we would take a look at the Peppa Pig Softee Dough Picnic Playset, it was a bit of a no brainer really.  I like sets like this that give kids some structure and guidance to playing with dough, as it means they are less likely to just mix it all together into a random creation.

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