Blog Tour & Review | The Single Mums Move On by Janet Hoggarth

I was sent a copy of this book for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

I am very happy to be on the blog tour for The Single Mums Move On today. Do check out the other stops on the tour.

About The Book

Can neighbours become more than good friends…

After her husband left her, Ali and her daughter Grace enjoyed living in what became known as ‘the Single Mums’ Mansion’. However, with her best friends Amanda and Jacqui moving on, it’s time for Ali and Grace to make their own way. Thankfully, a chance conversation leads to them moving into the infamous South London gated community known only as ‘The Mews’.

In ‘The Mews’ everyone lives in each other’s pockets and curtain twitching is an Olympic sport. The neighbours are an eclectic bunch – from Nick the alleged spy, Carl the gorgeous but clearly troubled Idris Elba lookalike, to Debbie who is about to face the hardest fight of her life, and TV agent Samantha who is not as in control as she likes to pretend.

Each day brings another drama, but along with the tears, real friendships grow. And her neighbours’ problems might unlock the key to something Ali has yearned for all along…

Based on a true story – you’ll never be able to look at your neighbours quite the same way again… 

Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes, Mhairi McFarlane and Helen Fielding.

My Review

I hadn’t read the previous book The Single Mum’s Mansion so I was a little apprehensive going into this book. I was worried in case I couldn’t gel with the characters or found some of the plot lines confusing but I needn’t have been worried – it was fine. The author did give a semi background of the characters so you could go into the book having not read the previous one but she didn’t go into it too much so that those who had read the previous book didn’t have their experience marred – sign of a good author there, giving just enough information needed.

I liked Ali as a character, she reminds me of many of my female friends, struggling to find themselves after the end of a long term relationship and kissing many frogs along the way. The story started well but when it really came into its own was when she and her daughter Grace moved to the Mews.

The Mews is so well described, I could just imagine it in my mind and all the characters were realistic and vibrant. We were dealt with some surprises about some of the characters along the way and they really helped the storyline along.

There is a love interest (or two) in the book and I did find myself rooting for one rather than the other. It did seem like I wasn’t going to get my wish but all came good in the end.

This was a really great read and perfect for by the beach or pool if you are going away this summer.

About The Author

Janet Hoggarth has worked on a chicken farm, as a bookseller, children’s book editor and DJ with her best friend (under the name of Whitney and Britney). She has published several children’s books, the most recent ones written under the pseudonym of Jess Bright. Her first adult novel The Single Mums’ Mansion, a huge bestseller, was based on her experiences of living communally as a single parent.

You can find Janet on Twitter here and Facebook here.

You can buy the book here: Amazon {affiliate link} | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Degustabox | July

I was sent this box for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

It is that time of month again for my Degustabox review. This month, the theme of the box was ‘Picnic’. The box retails at £12.99 but you can get your first box for just £7.99 with shipping included. Just use this code WDGX9 on the website here (the code gets you a one time discount of £5).

So what did we receive in this months box?

MONIN Butterscotch Coffee Syrup – £3

Now neither me or Steve drink coffee but love butterscotch. We haven’t tried this yet but may use it in other things instead of coffee such as porridge.

Ribena Frusion – £2

I have been seeing ads for this everywhere and had been meaning to pick a bottle up so was glad to see this in the box. Everyone is really enjoying this – it is deliciously refreshing and is low in calories with no sweeteners or preservatives. Yummy.

Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne – £1.50

Steve loves a hot sauce so was very happy to see this included in the box. It is very flavourful and great paired with some BBQ food!

Ravish Pineapple & Yuzu salsa – £1.50

Words cannot express just how much Steve and I like this – it is delicious! It was almost gone within an hour of opening, we had to restrain ourselves from eating it all. We will definitely be getting more of this…so good!

Kallo Belgian milk chocolate mini rice cake snack packs – £1.99

These were another item from the box that almost went straight away. My kids love rice cakes as a snack and these snack packs each contain six miniature rice cakes. Both my kids really enjoyed these so we will be buying more on our weekly shop.

Ape Snacks Coconut Bites Sesame Seed – £1.49

These were a delicious little snack that I wasn’t expecting the kids to like but they really liked them too! Very coconutty and super crunchy, these are a great snack to have in your bag on days out.

Deli Kitchen Greek Style Flatbreads – £1.35

We love flatbreads and these are soooo good. They’re fluffy, filling and great for making something different for dinner.

Mister Free’d Vegan Tortilla Chips with Beetroot – £1.99

Now these did something amazing – Steve doesn’t normally like beetroot but he really enjoyed these, especially dipped in the pineapple salsa. These were fully consumed by us all on the day the box arrived, they’re so tasty!

Rowntrees Randoms Squish’ems & Sours sharing bags – £1.29 each

We’ve had Randoms a few times in the boxes recently so it was nice to see two different items from the Randoms range rather than just the original pack. These were very popular with the whole family and tasted great.

Simply Cook Piri Piri Chicken 3 Step Meal Kit – £2.50

Steve and I love piri piri chicken so this is very handy. This is a chef’s authentic flavour blend and you pair it with your fresh ingredients for a tasty meal. We are yet to use it but it will definitely be used and enjoyed.

The boxes contents come to just under £19 which is great when you consider the box costs you just £12.99. That’s a saving of almost £6 and whilst other boxes have sometimes been over the £20 mark, it is still a great saving.

Getting Out And About With The Two Bare Feet Retro Cruiser Skateboard

We were sent a skateboard from Two Bare Feet for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

I’ve mentioned before that Jack is quite sporty – he loves football, golf and running – and he is always trying to learn new things. He has been begging me for a skateboard so when Two Bare Feet got in contact and asked if we would like to review something from their range, I had to say yes. He was super excited to find out one was on its way to us!

Two Bare Feet date back to 1994 with their original high street store opening in Torquay. They have continually developed their range of products including watersports, extreme sports and recreation equipment. They sell wetsuits, skateboards, paddle boards, snow gear, scooters, baby swimming and accessories.

We were sent one of their retro cruiser skateboards. Ours is yellow in colour with yellow wheels but there are a variety of colours to choose from or you can even create your own custom build, selecting your own deck, trucks and wheels. There are classic designs and a number of blend options, or even printed retro skateboards.

The cruiser we were sent is 22″. Retailing at £29.99 usually, the products are actually on sale right now as of 17th July 2019 at £14.99!

Now Jack hasn’t ever really tried skateboarding before so despite the desperation for one, he was a little apprehensive about stepping on. He has been trying for a few weeks now since it arrived and he is slowly getting better! Even Olivia has attempted it!

Let’s talk about the board. At 22″, it is smaller than your average board but is perfect for someone starting out like Jack.

The colour is perfect for summer and I can see Jack using it a lot over the summer around our local common and in the park. The board is good quality, it seems quite durable. I hate when you buy items for children and they aren’t great quality and break easily, you can tell that this will last the distance.

Overall, we are very impressed with this skateboard. It is good quality, very affordable and great for those starting out on a skateboard. I can definitely see Jack using it a lot over the summer and I know Olivia is keen to be allowed on it more, she’s such an independent little daredevil!

Have you tried skateboarding? How did you get on?

A Wonderful Day Out At Carters Steam Fair

We were gifted with free rides and food and drink for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Who doesn’t love a funfair? I know I do – and my kids do too. Something I really love is vintage style funfairs with carousels and rides like that. When offered the chance to come and review Carters Steam Fair who were in my area this past weekend, I just knew I had to say yes. It sounded like a dream come true for me and I knew the kids would love the day out. It has plenty more dates for the rest of the year so be sure to visit if it is coming near you!

Carters Steam Fair is a traditional English travelling steam fair. Their rides date from the 1890’s to the 1960’s and they have spent the last 40 years rescuing and restoring vintage fairground rides whilst taking them around London and the South East for the public to enjoy. Carters Steam Fair itself actually started in 1977 when John and Anna Carter bought the Jubilee Steam Gallopers that they still operate today.

Carters Steam Fair are unique in the fact that the engines, rides and transport all have absolutely beautiful signwriting, lining and traditional fairground decoration from Joby Carter and his team. He is a leading expert on the traditional craft of sign writing and fairground art and hosts training courses at the Carters Yard throughout the year which I think is incredible.

We arrived and headed over to the token booth to pick up our pack which enabled us to our free rides for the purpose of review. You can also buy tokens here or around the site from one of the many machines and you can even buy tokens online and take advantage of special deals! The rides are very affordable – the tokens are 50p each and the smaller, toddler rides are around £2 to £2.50 in tokens with the bigger rides a little more.

We were gifted with twenty free ride tokens so we could give a fair review of the rides they had to offer, two tokens for candyfloss, two tokens for a hot drink, two tokens for Hook-A-Duck so the kids could both have a go on the sidestall and a VIP ticket for a token deal should we wish to buy more.

There are many rides on site and Jack and Olivia did their best to try them all, although some even Jack wasn’t quite brave enough to try! I’m going to talk a little about the rides below.

The Jungle Thriller Ark is suitable for both adults and children and costs 5 tokens per person. This can go quite fast and can get quite busy as there are plenty of different animals and things to sit on. The ride speeds around and rises up on ‘hills’, much like waltzers do. Jack really enjoyed this ride.

The Jubilee Steam Gallopers is the oldest ride the fair owns, built in about 1895. The ride is gentle and is suitable for all ages although smaller children should be accompanied by an adult. This ride costs 5 tokens per person and was one that both kids really enjoyed. It truly is a magnificent piece of art too, so many beautiful designs and excellent craftmanship.

Jack was much braver than me and gave the Chair O Plane a go. This is for those who are over 1.1m in height and costs 5 tokens per person. This ride dates from the 1920’s and is a rare example of a working vintage Chair-O-Plane. Jack loved it although did a look a little bit worried by the speed and the wind when he was up there, haha!

The Mini Octopus was one of the kids most favourite rides. It costs 4 tokens per person to ride and two people can fit in a car. It is suitable for pre school age up to around the age of 6 although Jack did go in too and he’s 7. It spins you around and takes you up and down and both my kids loved it, especially being able to ride together.

Toytown was probably one of Olivia’s favourite rides! As you can see, she went on it quite a few times. It costs 4 tokens per person to ride and you can ride a train, a tractor or even a horse! It is a great little ride for little ones.

The Autodrome can fit quite a few people in each car and the kids loved going round, steering the wheels like they were driving it themselves.

Somehow the kids managed to persuade me to take them on the Hurricane Jets – they are suitable for all ages but young children need to be accompanied. It costs 5 tokens per person and is lots of fun as you control how high you go with the lever in your jet. The ride flies fast and high and as you can see, my kids really enjoyed it!

The boat ride is for sailors under 1.1m in height and is 4 tokens per person. Young children can be accompanied by an adult. The boats slowly glide around as the children pretend to sail in them and both my children loved the ride.

We didn’t manage to get on all the rides and did go on some such as the Ghost Train but didn’t take photos. I couldn’t believe that the gentleman in the above pictures was actually powering this particular ride by hand – amazing!

We had a wonderful time trying out the rides and also checking out the sidestalls, especially the Hook-A-Duck where both kids left with a little prize. There are a number of side stalls including a coconut shy, arcade and shooting salon.

Steve and I also found the living wagons absolutely beautiful – I’m sad I didn’t actually take photos of any but you can see just how beautiful some of them are here. There are also a number of beautiful vehicles to check out. I mentioned early on in the post that I find vintage funfairs so beautiful and this funfair was both a pleasure to the eyes and to the soul, my kids had an amazing time as did we.

If you find that Carters is coming to your area, please do consider visiting. You won’t be disappointed.

The Lion King Talking Plush Toys | Review

We were sent these toys for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

The Lion King is one of our most favourite films in our family so you can only imagine just how excited we are for the live action movie coming out this week. To celebrate the release of this much anticipated film, we were sent a couple of the brand new talking plush toys from Just Play.

We received a talking Simba (RRP £22.99) and a talking Timon (RRP £9.99), perhaps my two most favourite characters from the film! These plush toys are suitable for ages 3+.

Olivia and Jack were super excited to play with them – they’ve been waiting patiently for the new film to come out and were so happy to see the new plush toys that had arrived for them.

Simba stands at 14″ tall and has a few different catchphrases – you simply press his paw to hear what he has to say. Unlike some toys where the audio can come through quite crackly, his phrases are as clear as a bell. He’s super soft and great to cuddle – well, according to Olivia as she has barely put him down since he arrived!

Simba’s phrases are ‘Trust me, I got this!’; ‘Follow me to freedom’; ‘Well, I’m not letting anyone tell me where to go, what to do or even who to marry. There will never be a king like me’; and ‘I’m going to be the king of Pride Rock’.

There are three plushes of this size to collect – Simba, Nala and Pumbaa and the kids are desperate to collect them all! They do require AAA batteries but these come included – something a parent loves as there is no scrambling around trying to find some!

Now Timon is smaller in stature, coming in at 8″. You can get Timon, Pumbaa, Simba and Nala in this size. He also says a variety of phrases and is super soft and cuddly. He also comes with batteries included, although these are button batteries owing to his size.

Timon’s phrases are ‘Hmm….tastes like chicken’ ; Welcome to our humble home.’;  and ‘Repeat after me kid, Hakuna Matata’.

As you can see, these are really good quality toys with clear audio, super soft to the touch and super cuddly. My kids barely put them down and I’m sure will be taking them to the cinema to watch the live action film when it is released later on this week.

Who is your favourite character?