Category: Reviews

Hape Scoot Around Toddler Bike Review | {#AD – GIFTED}

Hape Scoot Around Toddler Bike Review | {#AD – GIFTED}

I’m back talking about our favourite toy brand, Hape, again. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work with them to help showcase their awesome range of sustainably made wooden baby and toddler toys and today I’m taking all about the Hape Scoot Around toddler […]

Baby Ball Play with Dooballs | {#AD GIFTED}

Baby Ball Play with Dooballs | {#AD GIFTED}

With William now almost four months I am loving introducing him to different play. I especially love watching Florence playing with him. We’ve been sent some really adorable soft play balls for the children to play with from Dooballs from BabytoLove and over the last few […]

Florence’s First Cinema Trip with Showcase Cinemas & PAW Patrol (GIFTED)

Florence’s First Cinema Trip with Showcase Cinemas & PAW Patrol (GIFTED)

Sean and I are big film lovers. Before having children we would go to the cinema at least once a week and it’s pretty much the only thing I really miss since becoming a parent. I’ve been toying with the idea of taking Florence to the cinema for a little while now. She loves Disney Films and is becoming more and more able and willing to sit and watch an entire feature and I have always seen going to the pictures as a great family activity – especially on a rainy day.

This weekend Florence and I were invited to Showcase Cinema in Bluewater to watch an exclusive preview of the new PAW Patrol movie – PAW Patrol Mighty Pups. I’ll be honest I was a bit apprehensive about taking a not even two year old to the cinema and wondered whether we’d have to leave mid way through the film — let’s face it, toddlers don’t always have the greatest attention span do they? However from the moment we arrived in the foyer of Showcase Cinema De Lux, we were so well looked after and I was immediately reassured by the calm yet excited buzz of the place that this was a venue more than equipped for young children. Once checked in, we were invited to meet the Pups and have our photo taken with them, however sadly Florence was terrified of the characters up close and so we stood aside the queue for a while as we waited for the next activity. The gentleman who I suspect was the manager of the cinema was so very kind and walked us through to the lounge which was full of PAW Patrol balloon characters. Florence chose a seat nearest to a Chase balloon and she was much happier to get acquainted with one of her favourite characters in balloon form. 

Laid out on the tables were lots of activity sheets for the children to colour and complete while they waited for the screen to be ready. These were great! Despite being too young to complete some of the puzzles, Florence loves to colour and it was the perfect distraction from waiting around for the film to start.

We chatted and relaxed in comfort at a table for four and were joined by another family with a young boy. The X Plus lounge itself is spacious and, in my opinion, a brilliantly designed space for families in particular to wait and enjoy a little prefilm natter away from the main and very busy foyer. I’d happily arrive early for my film showing just to go and chill in there for a little while, or even stop in there on the way out to digest and chat about the film we’d just watched.

This was the lounge after the event.

When it was time to go and watch the film I had wondered what we might have to do with the pram, however as soon as I walked in I realised I needn’t have worried. At the front of the auditorium, if you didn’t want to leave it to one side, there are three or four rows of seating which have more than enough room in between for a pram or wheelchair to sit without obstructing anyone’s view or the walkway which I think is a brilliant feature and probably the thing that impressed me the most about the venue. I could easily have taken William in his pram and sat him next to / in front of me without having to worry! The soft leather, recling seats were more than luxurious and created a really nice home from home feel which is ideal for a little one’s first cinema visit, not to mention achieving ultimate movie viewing goals for us. The relaxed setting immediately put Florence at ease and she made herself at home ready to watch the ‘Big Tetty’ as she called it.

PAW Patrol: Mighty Pups was played on one of Showcase Cinema’s state of the art XPlus screens reaching from wall to wall and equipped with Dolby Atmos Sound for a completely immersive cinema experience. The film was great too, telling the story of Ryder and the PAW Patrol team saving Adventure Bay from Foggy Bottom’s Mayor Humdinger and his nephew Harold’s naugty plots! This time though they were equipped with special super powers thanks to the Cosmic Space Rock which had fallen to earth, and end having to rescue Ryder when Humdinger & Harold’s plan to use their own powers from the rock for their own personal gain throws the safety of Adventure Bay into question. Florence thoroughly enjoyed the film and was glued to the screen for the most part. For those brief moments that she got distracted we pulled out the activity sheets from earlier in the day and had a quick colouring session or snuggled up on the more-than-big-enough for-Mummy-and-Florence seats! The film has it’s official premiere taking palce today and will be on a screen near you from next Friday, 17th May. If you have a toddler of Florence’s age, I’d thoroughly recommend a visit to one of the 21 Showcase Cinemas in the UK to watch PAW Patrol: Mighty Pups as the whole experience and film were just a perfect introduction to cinema for little ones. 

General admission tickets at Bluewater’s Showcase Cinema De Lux are actually fairly reasonable considering the whole experience and the facilities on offer with adult tickets coming in at £9.35 and child tickets at £8.60.

We’re going to be heading back to Bluewater in a couple of weeks time to watch The Secret Life of Pets as one of Florence’s birthday treats and really cannot wait to go back!

JUST SO YOU KNOW…

This cinema trip was kindly gifted to us by Showcase Cinemas & Nickelodeon in return for promotion of the cinema experience & PAW Patrol:Mighty Pups. All words and opinions are my own.

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Gift Ideas for Baby’s First Easter

Gift Ideas for Baby’s First Easter

I can’t believe how quickly William’s first Easter has come around. While he is clearly too young to know what on earth is going on, let alone take advantage of the chocolate fest Easter brings, I still wanted to make him up his own little […]

Book Review: Playgroups & Prosecco | GIFTED

Book Review: Playgroups & Prosecco | GIFTED

I’m really excited to share this latest review with you. Fellow blogger and mother of two, Jo Middleton AKA Slummy Single Mummy, has written her debut novel and I feel super honoured to be among the first to read it. Even more exciting is that […]

Toy Review: Hape Busy City Railway

Toy Review: Hape Busy City Railway

Ever since Florence was born I have been SO excited to introduce her to the wonder of train play. I don’t remember having a train set myself as a child, I think I had cars and vehicles but not necessarily an actual train set with track and such. However, a friend and her Thomas obsessed children showed me how wonderful playing with trains can be and just how many opportunities for learning and imaginative play it can bring and so it’s been at the top of my toy wish list for Florence. Our friends over at Hape have made my train play dreams come true just in time for Christmas and have sent us this Busy City Railway Play Set to test out and share our thoughts with you. I’ve not actually shown it to Florence just yet, as it, along with some other train bits, is one of her Christmas presents however I have had a go myself! Once the cat is out of the bag and she’s opened it on Christmas morning I’ll probably be back to share some different ways to play with train & track as well as any further thoughts we have on this little (it’s actually not that little) set.

The Hape Busy City Railway is comprised of over 40 pieces including wooden track, trains and carriages, a station, a bridge and a tunnel as well as people and signs. Included in the box is an instruction leaflet which shows just one of the ways you can set up the track and I’ve followed them to create the scene in the photos below. I think though, to start with we may opt for a more simple configuration when it comes to play and then move on to make more ambitious routes as Florence’s understanding and enjoyment builds.

There is a bright red passenger train which has a total of three carriages which connect via magnets. It seemlessy pushes around the track and fits perfectly through all of the elements, even serving the Busy City commuters from the station platform. The station is sturdy and detailed, complete with a ticket machine and timetable and even has little details like the yellow line on the platform.

Designed to demonstrate the idea that trains aren’t just for people, they are important as working vehicles too, there is a crane and freight train included with removeable and magnetic shipping containers that can be loaded onto the truck and driven away through the automatic gates at the level crossing.

Predominantly made from sustainable wood with only certain parts being plastic, the Busy City Rail Set is clearly built to last ready to be played with again and again. Full of colour and jam packed with realistic features the set offers so much potential for teaching little one’s not only about trains themselves but also colours, numbers and language through their play.

Being that I don’t drive yet, Florence is already fairly familiar with train travel and we often talk about the different parts of our journey and trains while out and about so I am excited to bring this real life experience into our play at home.

The Busy City Railway is marketed as suitable for three years and up with clear instructions not to leave little ones unsupervised when playing. I can imagine this is most likely due to the small parts included. You can buy it from Amazon for £64.54.

DISCLOSURE: We were sent a Busy City Railway play set for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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Review: A Beautiful Baby Gift from the Baby Hamper Company

Review: A Beautiful Baby Gift from the Baby Hamper Company

A little while ago, The Baby Hamper Company got in touch and sent me one of their Mother & Baby Luxury Hampers to review and oh my word, I am a bit blown away by how beautiful everything inside is! Everything arrived enclosed in an […]

Toy Review: Hape Xylophone Shape Sorter

Toy Review: Hape Xylophone Shape Sorter

I’ve teamed up with one of my favourite toy brands to share my thoughts on their top picks for Christmas for babies & toddlers as part of my toy review series. Hape are the worlds largest producer of wooden toys priding themselves on their use […]