Once Upon A Time In Birmingham : Women Who Dared To Dream | Review

Last year I didn’t really read much and that is something I really want to change this year. I’ve just finished my first book of the year – Once Upon A Time In Birmingham: Women Who Dared To Dream by Louise Palfreyman {affiliate link} and I wanted to share some thoughts about it.

This book is an introduction to thirty awe-inspiring women, past and present, who’ve made Birmingham what it is today. Some names may be instantly recognisable such as Denise Lewis, Elizabeth Cadbury and Malala Yousafzai and others may be new names to you like they were to me.

It is truly an empowering collection of women who’ve helped to shape the city into what it is and who’ve pioneered in fields such as technology, athletics and activism.

What I love about this book is that the stories about them are so quick and concise but leave no details out. You find out exactly how these women have changed the world without the author rambling on. She keeps it snappy and interesting.

I also love that there are a number of different illustrators who have worked on the book. The beautiful illustrations add to the charm of the book and really help you feel like you are getting to know the women that are being spoken about.

Something else I absolutely love about this book is the space given to write your own stories. The book is extremely inspirational and I think this is a great addition so that you can jot down your thoughts. I also really like that the selection team were included with their thoughts about the book.

Whether you are from Birmingham or not, this is a fascinating piece of non fiction which talks about some amazing women and what they have done, not only for the city but also the world. I’d definitely recommend you read it if you get the chance!

Bobby Bus RascalPack | Review

Item sent for purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

A few weeks back, I posted on Instagram about the RascalPack we had been sent to review, Bobby Bus. I received quite a few DM’s asking about it and am now here with a full review. Please do consider liking the RascalPack Facebook page here so you can find out more about the wonderful products they have to offer.

Available to buy from Bear and Squidge, the RascalPack is a fun combination of a rucksack and a character vest. It has all the safety features of a reflective vest. The Bobby Bus RascalPack in particular is very bright in colour which is great for little ones as they love colourful things.

The rucksack has a fun character design of Bobby Bus with reflective strips. It also has a top handle for ease of carrying (often the case if my toddler wants me to carry it instead) and padded shoulder straps for comfort. If carrying with the top handle, there are press studs to handily attach the vest and rucksack together.

The straps are adjustable and there are loops to hold any dangling straps, to avoid any danger. Something I love especially about the rucksack too is that there is a place for your child to write their name and an emergency contact number. This is a great feature.

So what did we think? For £19.99 (available to buy here), this is a steal. It combines the usefulness of a rucksack and the safety of reflective vests. I sometimes have to walk home from school in the dark after Jack’s football practice and the reflective quality of this rucksack fills me with confidence that she will be seen. She is always holding my hand or in the pushchair but you cannot ever be too safe.

Olivia also loves to take things out and about with her so this is very handy for storing all the little toys she wants to take out with her. She can carry them on her back and then if she decides she doesn’t want to carry it anymore, I can easily pop the vest and rucksack together and carry it with the top handle. It is easy to store and the colours are perfectly bright which keeps Olivia’s attention. The print quality of the Bobby Bus design is fantastic and the straps seem good quality too. Olivia seems very comfortable when using this, even joyful as shown in the pictures.

If you’ve been looking for the perfect backpack for your little one, you may want to consider a RascalPack – after all, you’ll get the safety elements of the pack too. You will love it and your child will love it too!

Do your kids carry a backpack with them?

Degustabox | December

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

It’s time again to talk about our Degustabox – a subscription box, delivered monthly, with 10 to 15 surprise products, many which are new to the market. The box costs just £12.99, including delivery, and it normally works out as great value for money with the contents usually totalling wel over £20. Find out more about the box and how to order here.

So what did we get in the December box?

I was interested to see some brands we hadn’t ever seen before and was a little disappointed to see some yet again, I must admit.

Maggi Fusion Noodle Pots (Chow Mein/Spiced Curry/Sweet Chilli0 – £1.15

We have had Maggi before in the Degustabox boxes but it hasn’t been for a while now and I am always happy to see Maggi products included. I tend to try to be as healthy as possible with my breakfasts and dinners but I am always looking for something quick, easy and tasty for lunches, especially if working to deadlines or having an especially busy day, working from home. These are ready in just four minutes and are packed full of delicious flavour.

Funkin Cocktails Funkin Passion Fruit Martini Shaker – £4

I actually just recently enjoyed this on Christmas Eve – we had some friends round and added some vodka. I found it absolutely delicious and think it is great value. I’ll definitely be trying out the other flavours in the range.

Jack Daniel’s Lynchburg Lemonade – £1.80

This was the product I was a little disappointed with – we’ve had Jack Daniel’s products included for so many months now. My brother in law drank these at Christmas time – I’m thankful for this as they would have sat in my fridge for ages unfortunately.

Nestle Shredded Wheat Breakfast On The Go – £1.99

I am quite liking these on the go breakfasts being included in the box. Whilst I am not a Shredded Wheat fan myself, I know that these will be great for Steve one morning.

Delverde Spaghetti – £1.99

Spaghetti or pasta is always going to be a good addition to the box for me – we eat a lot of it. Delverde is a new brand to me and they make their pasta with the best durum wheat and the water from the Verde river.  I was very happy to see this included.

Green & Black’s Blueberry Velvet Fruit and Orange Velvet Fruit – £3.29 each

Now I am not usually a dark chocolate fan but I have to admit there is something about Green & Black’s that I really do love. These were delicious – all of us quite liked them (especially Olivia!) and felt super indulgent. In regards to the price, these wouldn’t be a regular buy for me but rather an occasional treat.

Slush Puppy Sour Cherry – 1.29

This is the product of the month and the product Jack and Steve were both super excited about. We love Slush Puppies and to be able to have them in our own home is fantastic! They are available in sour cherry, blue raspberry and strawberry. You simply need to freeze, squeeze and drink and they are only 95 calories apiece. They are now also available in multipacks of 3 for £3 in Tesco stores.

Real Good Tomato Ketchup No Added Sugar 78% less salt

We go through a LOT of ketchup in our house so this was always going to be a good addition for us.

Nature’s Store Salted Caramel Popcorn Bar – 89p

Salted caramel is one of my favourite flavours and this new popcorn bar combines popcorn, seeds, dates and gluten free oats with no added sugar Belgian chocolate. They’re less than 150 calories per bar and this was tasty!

Sleep Well Chocolate Milk – £1.25

Jack really enjoyed this – it is a new, natural milk drink that helps you to relax and get a better nights sleep. Jack certainly seemed to! I tasted it and it seemed just like a very chocolatey milkshake. It is a long life drink made whole jersey milk, honey and valerian – delicious.

The content value works out at around £24 which is just under double the price of the box – great value, I’d say!

Have you ever tried a food subscription box like the Degustabox?

Christmas Crafting With Baker Ross | A Great Activity For The Christmas Holidays

We were sent some craft materials to aid with this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

If you love crafting then you will probably have heard of Baker Ross. We were recently sent some of their Christmas craft materials – see how we got on below. If you are looking for something to do over the Christmas holidays, Baker Ross crafts are a great idea.

As you can see, we were sent a vast variety of items so we thought we’d give a few different crafts a go.

First of all we made the Christmas cards. As you can see, Olivia was so pleased with her creation and didn’t want anyone else to touch it! These were super simple to make – everything was provided in the set, all you needed was some glue.

Do you have any festive traditions? We usually buy a new decoration for the tree – well, two now that Olivia is here. This year, we made them thanks to our Baker Ross craft kit. Even Steve got involved! We picked out the box of festive ceramic decorations, Jack chose a star, Olivia chose a snowflake and Steve chose a tree. Using the fabulous paint pens that were also provided, we set to work making the decorations.

Some people like to have their Christmas trees matchy matchy without any homemade decorations on the tree – I’m not like that. I love it when Jack makes one at school and brings it home or they create ones like they did with the Baker Ross ceramic decorations. I’m sure you will agree they are quite lovely!


Another option for the tree was these cute penguin baubles. I let Olivia loose by herself without guidance from me on this one – so her penguin ended up with all the body parts in the wrong places, haha! These were also super simple to make – we were provided with the baubles, the string, the stickers for the body parts and the most we needed were glue and scissors – something all crafters would have anyway!

The kids especially loved making these as they were so fun and so quick that they could finish one and make another!

We really loved doing some Christmas crafts with the products Baker Ross sent us and we still have a few more to do – the perfect activity over the Christmas holidays! The Christmas range is currently on sale here so make sure to grab some if your kids love crafting. Don’t forget to check out their general crafts too – we will certainly be getting more once we’ve finished these crafts!

Do you enjoy doing festive themed crafts?

Making Science Fun With Letterbox Lab

This item was sent for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Excuse how long it has taken me to get this post up since mentioning it in my Christmas gift guide in November but I wanted to make sure I really did the box justice. Letterbox Lab are kids’ science experiments for children aged 6+ which can be posted straight through your letterbox.

Jack is science crazy – he even mentioned it as one of his favourite subjects at his latest parent’s evening – and he loves trying new things and seeing how things work so I knew he’d be excited about giving the experiments in this box a go. The box we were sent was the Investigate Box for ages 8+ and featured six different experiments. Jack was 6 when we did the experiments and has just turned 7 but I wouldn’t say he struggled with any of these. You can choose the Explore box for ages 6+ however if you so wish.

What I loved in particular about this box is not only is it small enough to fit through your letterbox – so no need for Mummy or Daddy to wait around for the delivery of each monthly box – but it also has absolutely everything you could possibly need to do the experiments with – safety glasses, bottles, petri dishes, pens, scissors, pipettes, safety gloves and so much more. It can be so frustrating to settle down to do an activity with your child and realising that there are things missing so you can’t complete it there and then.

From just £9.50 a month, your child can get hands on experiments that surprise every single time. You get the reassurance that they are designed for children and completely safe to use and that the experiments are linked to – and go beyond – the KS2 curriculum in all parts of the UK. Below I will talk about (with photos) two of the experiments we did.

This experiment was Brilliant Breathless Balloon which had a messiness rating of two out of three. I think this was Jack’s favourite from the box as it was very exciting. Within the bag you had a clear plastic bottle, bicarbonate of soda, a balloon and citric acid. You needed the safety gloves and goggles from the main box and some water.

You had to pour half of the bicarb of soda into the big bottle then half fill it with water then put the lid on. You then needed to shake until the bicarb had dissolved and pour about half the citric acid carefully into the balloon. You then had to carefully stretch the neck of the balloon over the bottle whilst leaving the balloon hanging over the side.

This is where the magic really happens – and Olivia was in awe, watching from a distance with her Daddy. Jack lifted the balloon so that the citric acid fell into the bottle and as he did, it mixed with the bicarbonate of soda which caused the balloon to blow up – without any breath or helium needed. Very exciting and interesting to watch. Jack really enjoyed this experiment and reading the booklet to find out why it had done what it had done – he had made two solutions and when they reacted with each other, they made a gas which blew up the balloon.

What I liked about this experiment is that it is linked to an experiment to come in a future box – I like the way Letterbox Lab are tying the boxes together and keeping the knowledge fresh and exciting.

The other experiment I wanted to talk about was Incredible Inks which has a messiness rating of two out of three also. This required the felt tip pens from the bag, chromotography paper, petri dish, coloured sweets, two bottles of salt, dropper tips, scissors from the box and some water.

Jack had to add water to the bottles of salt, insert the dropper tip and screw the cap on, then shake the bottles to dissolve the salt. Jack then had to pour some water into the petri dish, get a bit of the chromotography paper and draw a big black line about 2cm from the bottom with the black pen. Jack then held the paper into the water to see what happened and was amazed as the black ink dissolved into different colours – he very excitedly said which colours he could see!

He then tried the experiment with the sweet – he put the sweet in the water and watched as the dye was removed from the sweet. He then placed another piece of chromotography paper in the water and wathed as the dyes made their way onto the paper – a sight to behold for sure.

All in all there were six different experiments to do in Jack’s Letterbox Lab box and they were all very exciting and different. He loved trying different things, seeing how they worked and investigating. He has already asked about getting another box so it is certainly something I am considering for a Christmas gift.

Are your children into science?