Mr Potato Head – Movin Lips Review

Life as a family blogger is weird. One day you’re writing about tea, the next you’re writing about press trips and then other days you’re writing about Mr. Potato Head? Yes, he’s back! When I was a little girl, I didn’t have a Mr. Potato Head, a fact that has bugged me since childhood. Everyone else had one but not me. Like many toys that I have never owned myself, I have, as a parent, taken great pleasure in seeing my son play with them… and taking a turn myself. Before I continue with this review, I should add that this item was gifted by Hasbro. I have received no monetary compensation for writing this review and it contains my own opinions, which were unchanged by receiving the gifted item. Now that the legal part is over, let’s move on and talk about Mr. Potato Head.

mr potato head movin lips

For those who don’t know, Mr. Potato Head is a potato shaped toy who comes with moveable and removeable facial features, limbs and a hat. In the box of the latest Mr. Potato Head you receive a head (which is mounted on top of two blue boots), two arms, two ears, a pair of eyes, a nose, a hat, two mouths and some instructions. The body contains a magnet which is how the pieces stick to the body. I always wondered about that as a child…

There’s also a Mrs. Potato Head which is sold separately and the parts are compatible with other Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head toys. The version which I was gifted is a Movin’ Lips head. If you press a button on one of the boots, you’ll get to hear him sing his own version of Meghan Trainor’s song, Lips Are Movin. I didn’t make the connection at first, because being impatient, I went ahead and pressed the button without reading the back of the box or the instructions. He’s got his own lyrics to the song which are, “My lips are movin, my lips are movin, my lips are movin, I’m a fried, fried, fried tater YEAH.” Quite catchy! And it’s also true that his lips move. They shift across his face as he’s singing.

mr potato head back of box

It’s suitable for children over the age of three, so my son, being eight, is maybe just coming to the end of the stage where he is excited by toys like these (although I’m thirty-nine and I say you’re never too old). There’s demo batteries included when you purchase the toy, but otherwise it will require three AA batteries. He has 4 parodies of popular songs and over 40 phrases such as, “I like you kid, you’re my bestest spuddy” and “You can tell me anything, I’m all ears.”

Personally, I think Mr. Potato Head is a classic toy who should always be a popular choice with children. He’s cute, funny and interactive and should keep kids entertained and make parents nostalgic. Dare I say it, I think he’s a perfect choice for Christmas. Yes, I know it’s only September but I’m going there.

side of mr potato head box

Mr. Potato Head Movin Lips has an RRP of £19.99 and is available from lots of stockists such as Smyths, Amazon and The Entertainer. I’ll also be including this toy in my Christmas toys round-up posts later in the year.

Was there a toy you wanted as a child and never received? Share in the comments below.

Advertisements

Bunty Pet Products Review: Rum’s New Love

If you’re a regular reader of Rock Paper Spirit, you’ll know that I adore my dog, Rum. He’s a wee cracker. Rum is an almost four year old Jack Russell and he’s not just a pet. He’s part of the family, the best therapist I could ask for and he is also an influencer in his own right. That’s correct, you didn’t misread that. The biggest fee I’ve ever commanded for my freelance writing on this site was brought in by Rum. It’s a special kind of dog who can contribute to the running of his human’s household, isn’t it? This week, Rum received another gift through the post from a brand called Bunty Pet Products. This item was gifted in exchange for a review but all opinions are mine – and Rum’s.

family therapy dog

I wanted to work with Bunty Pet Products because I took a look at their website and just fell in love with a particular dog bed. Why? Because it matches my sofa. Yes, I really am that shallow, but this is the honest truth of the matter. I wanted Rum to have a black velvet bed to match the black velvet cushions that sit on my silver velvet sofa. Bunty Pet Products had one that was a great fit. So, when this arrived, it was packaged in a strong plastic bag and folded into a cylindrical shape. I unfolded it and placed it where I thought Rum would like it. He took a while to warm to it. He sniffed around, stared at it and avoided it for the first few hours. Then I got fed up and sat him in the bed, so he could see that it was his and he wouldn’t get in trouble for using it. Oh boy, has he used it since then… it’s gotten quite hairy and the one drawback of a black dog bed and a white dog is that his hairs really show up.

luxury black velvet dog bed

Rum has really fallen in love with this bed. He shows the bed itself a lot of affection, rolling around on it and choosing to sleep there instead of his old cushions. He growls if we touch it and often sits with his jaws around the edge of it, tenderly holding it in his mouth. He insists on moving it around the house with him and we have now nicknamed it, “Rum’s girlfriend.” He actually humps it a lot. If that’s not the best endorsement a dog can give, I don’t know what is.

bunty pet products dog bed review

What I really like about it is how good quality the material is. It feels just like my sofa does and that cost me a four figure sum. So, to get a reasonably priced bed that matches in both feel and appearance was awesome. It’s also good because Rum is a true pack animal. He wants what we have. That sometimes means food, but often he just wants to sit on the sofa with us. Now that he has a cushion that looks and feels the same, he’s delighted. Plus, I don’t have to keep telling him to get off the furniture. He gets off on his own furniture instead.

It vacuums easily and so far, smells haven’t stuck to it. I spray it every morning with some antibacterial pet bed spray and it hasn’t done any damage at all to the fabric. And yes, I do wash it a lot more than I would normally wash a dog bed because of his affection for it.

bunty pet products review

Bunty Pet Products do a whole range of really cool dog beds and accessories. There’s durable bowls, light-up collars, doggy raincoats, poo bag dispensers, microwavable bed warmers – you name the dog’s need and they have something for you. I know exactly where I’m going to be doing the Christmas shopping for Rum this year. The bed we got was the Bunty Belagio Bed in black and costs £19.99 from their e-store. It comes in silver velvet too and it’s available in four sizes. If you’d like to see more of their products, you can visit their online store, and I highly recommend that you do at least take a look, especially with Christmas coming up.

Adagio Teas Review

As a blogger, I’m given the opportunity to try some really interesting product that I wouldn’t otherwise have heard of if I wasn’t blogging. One of those products is Adagio Teas. And to my shame, I received a huge box of Adagio Teas and brewing accessories as a gift way back in June and this is me just getting around to writing the review. This is partly because the box was absolutely massive and it’s taken time to get through them all, and partly because I have been trying to find my feet, firstly in the new job and then having left the new job. But that’s a story for another time. Today, we’re talking about the lovely subject of tea!

adagio teas

To me, you’re either into tea or you’re not. I’m definitely a fan of tea, but not the weird stuff. I like my bog-standard decaf black tea and I like the well-known brand of fruity teas who shall remain nameless because today is all about Adagio. If you’re anything like me, you find a brand you like and you stick to it and I think most of us are the same. When I go to my parents’ house and they make me a cup of tea, the difference is evident. It’s just not the same. However, sometimes it can be good to push yourself out of that comfort zone and try a new brand, especially if you’re looking for something quirky or different.

earl grey tea boutique

So, let’s start with what I received. There was a massive box and it contained lots of different types of tea. Tropical teas, fruity teas, herbal teas, teas to help you sleep, black teas, green teas… there were so many. So this is a good indication that whatever your taste is, you’ll find something in the Adagio range for you. I personally favour fruity teas usually.

iced berry teas

So, what if you don’t like hot drinks? What if you like a cold tea better than a hot tea? There are drinks in the range that are suitable for brewing, cooling and chilling, such as the iced berry samples I received. Now, I made a big mistake when I was making these the first time. I thought they were like the cold water infusions that a well-known brand have introduced recently. They’re not. Please don’t try to make these with cold water because it won’t work and you’ll just waste the tea. You have to brew it hot first and then chill it.

adagio tea pot ingenuitea brewing accessories

Speaking of brewing, you might wonder how exactly you go about this. Well, there are some teas in the range that come with teabags but there are also others than come loose leaf (I use the word “leaf” very loosely since some of the teas look a bit like bark – don’t worry, this is totally normal). If you have a loose leaf tea, you’ll probably need a pot and I’m not going to lie, I fell in love with the teapot more than the teas themselves. Not that the drinks weren’t awesome, but the teapot really is brilliant. It’s currently on the website for £18.

ingenuitea

The teapot holds about two cups. It holds the liquid inside the pot while it’s infusing and then when you’re ready to pour your cup, you only have to sit it on top of your mug. The liquid strains down as soon as it’s sat on top of a cup or mug. No additional strainer required. It has little legs on it so when you sit it down on a worktop or the drip tray (pictured above) you won’t make a mess. It’s only when you sit it on a cup that the liquid drains. It’s easy to clean although it does need a good rinsing to get the soapy bubbles out of the bit between the filter and the bottom of the pot.

paper filters tea

Suppose you don’t have the teapot, or you don’t want to buy the teapot. Maybe you’re on the move. You might be on holiday or going away for a night and don’t want to carry your beloved IngenuiTea teapot around with you (understandable, I love mine too much now to risk breaking it in a suitcase). There’s also paper filters available to buy. Honestly, I didn’t try these. I spent a lot of time sampling the teas and using the teapot/mug, so I just wasn’t that interested in paper filters. However, they are available and I’ll be taking them on holiday to Mallorca with me next month so I can give them a go then. I don’t see the point in using them while I have a pot I love so much. They come in boxes of 100 which is plenty to keep you going through a break away from home.

herbal teas adagio

I don’t want to comment on the individual flavours of the teas because it’s really a personal matter. I might love a particular flavour but my opinion won’t make a difference because people either like it or they don’t. So, I won’t say too much about which ones I liked and which ones I didn’t, but I’ve listed a few different flavours below so you can have a look and see which are available that you might like to try.

If artisan loose tea sounds like your kind of thing, please do give Adagio Teas a try. I was really impressed with the brewing accessories in particular. The teapot would make a lovely housewarming gift for the tea enthusiast in your life. I also want to say thanks to Adagio formally for sending me some teas to try. You’ve kept me hydrated throughout the summer! They’re now offering some autumnal flavours on their website which are nutty and spicy and the first time you visit the site there’s a popup offering 10% off. They also offer free shipping on orders over £30 within the UK.

What’s your favourite kind of tea? Share in the comments below.

Zippos Circus – The Best Night Of The Summer

Featured

Every once in a while, a press trip comes along that is an absolute dream come true, because not only does it give me some fantastic pictures and a great story to share with you, but it makes my son laugh for two hours solid too. Monday night delivered such a trip. My family and I went to along to see Zippos Circus at the Low Green in Ayr. We were gifted tickets to see the show and have some snacks, but all opinions are my own.

Zippos circus tent

If you live in the UK, you might have seen posters for Zippos Circus around over the years. I know I have. They were recently in my area as part of the Big Top 2019 Tour – The Magnificent Top Hat but then moved on before coming back for the shows in Ayr. The ringmaster was Norman Barrett MBE. In case you don’t know who he is, but many of you will, he’s a veteran and possibly one of the most famous ringmasters around, if not THE most famous. I remember seeing him on This Is Your Life when I was a wee girl. He’s also got the Guinness World Record for the being the world’s longest-serving ringmaster. So, seeing him made it a pretty special night to begin with.

norman barrett mbe ringmaster

There were so many “wow” moments, I don’t know where to start. I guess I’ll start with the Mongolian contortionist. She appeared in a jar. I’m not even kidding, she was curled up inside an actual jar, as you can see from the photo. How she got in there is anyone’s guess. She didn’t seem to have much trouble coming out of it. She then went on to fire a bow and arrow with her feet. For someone who, at times, struggles to climb in and out of the bath without getting into a cramp, this was an incredible act.

mongolian contortionist in a jar zippos circus

contortionist

Then there were a group of Kenyan tumblers who appeared numerous times throughout the night. They’re super talented and just seem to bounce and roll around the ring. What’s it like to have that much energy? They also did a limbo act where they performed under a limbo pole that was on fire.

kenyan tumblers

There was also a group of springboard acrobats from Cuba called Revolution. At first I thought they were simply dancers but then this mattress appeared. I knew there was something bigger coming. So, what they basically do is use a see-saw to springboard each other into the air, where they revolve and obviously stay graceful and then they land perfectly onto the mattress. It’s impressive! You can see it on my Instagram story, which is pinned to my profile.

The highlight for my family were the team of Brazilian motorcyclists – also known as the Globe of Death Lucius Team. Now, the first time I saw the Globe of Death, I was intrigued. It looks like a giant cat toy.

zippos circus globe of death lucius team stunt motorbikes motorcyclists

Then they wheeled it into the centre of the ring as the last act before the interval. They opened it up and the motorcyclists started driving in, one by one. You see the first and you think, this is crazy. This guy is driving a motobike inside a ball shaped cage and not toppling over. Amazing. Then the second guy goes in and it’s even more impressive, but when a woman stands in the middle of the cage and they manage to do it with her in there? My blood pressure hit the roof. Thankfully, the woman stepped out but then three more motorcyclists went into the cage. They’re so skilled and brave. Rather them than me!

zippos circus motorbikes

circus performer high 10 little boy

There were numerous other acts – too many talented people to mention individually. I do love the acts that perform at height but the exclusion of a net or mattress terrifies me. They also do that thing where they make themselves drop a few inches really quickly and you can almost feel everyone in the room panicking. You certainly hear all the gasps. I’ve included a few videos in pinned my Instagram stories so you can see for yourself how these acrobats created an atmosphere that was electric within the ring.

high height performer zippos circus

child circus

What else can I say? Knife throwers, foot jugglers, people who dance with fire? Norman Barrett’s famous budgie show? I have to leave something to the imagination and let those planning to go to Zippos Circus experience it for themselves! But I do want to say a little about Paulo Dos Santos, my son’s new hero. To be honest, he stole the show. He’s not only a martial artist and acrobat who displays incredible strength and skill, but also a hilarious comedian and quite simply, a phenomenal showman. He entertains and excites inside the ring, but has that unique connection with the crowd that few possess. He broke down the invisible walls between performers and audience. I just love him! He’s awesome.

paulo dos santos circus performer

Ok, so to round up, here are a few facts that people might like to know before going.

  • The seats are comfortable, especially if you get the ringside seats which are padded and covered in velvet.
  • The toilets: Take extra toilet paper in your bag in case they run out because they get busy.
  • Popcorn is £5 per tub, as is candyfloss. They take contactless payments throughout the circus for snacks and souvenirs.
  • The only animals involved are budgies in Norman Barrett’s part of the show.
  • The show lasts around 2 hours with an interval that lasted around 20 minutes.
  • They offer face painting for kids

Tickets for Zippos Circus cost between £7.50 for kids or £9 for adults and £27.50 for the best seats in the house/tent and if you use the code ZIP50 you can get 30% off the price of your tickets. Personally, I’d recommend buying ringside seats if you can. It really does make a big difference to your circus experience. Here’s a quick list of where and when you can catch the rest of the 2019 Zippos Circus tour.

5 – 10 September – Fulham

12 – 17 September – Twickenham

24 – 29 September – Peckham Rye

1 – 6 October – Guildford

8 – 13 October – Rochester

15 – 20 October – Finsbury Park

22 – 27 October – Hampstead Heath

zippos circus inside the tent

Love Your Tummy With Rennies

DISCLAIMER: This post is an advertisement for Rennie but is based on my own story and opinions.

Advertisement

I’m not one for oversharing these days, but some bodily functions are worth discussing and today I want to write a blog post about heartburn. It’s a complaint that I’ve suffered with occasionally over the years. Most episodes of heartburn have been brief and mild but in 2010 I had a pretty lengthy period of indigestion that lasted a few weeks. I did a lot of reading up on the topic then and learned how to look after my digestive health. It’s honestly really important because having a stomach complaint can seriously impact on your happiness. When I was asked to collaborate with Rennie and write a post about heartburn, I jumped at the chance.

Rennie tummy health

What is heartburn?

For me, heartburn feels like a burn in my throat that doesn’t clear by drinking water. It can feel like heat or pain and can be anywhere from my chest to my throat. Some people refer to it as acid reflux because that is usually the cause. There’s a ring of muscles, called the sphincter muscle, that should stay tight at the entrance to your stomach. When this ring of muscles doesn’t do its job properly for any reason, stomach acid can pop up into the oesophagus, also known as the food pipe. If that sounds unpleasant, that’s because it is! There are a number of things that can cause heartburn and most of them are harmless and can be treated with over the counter medications. I want to add that you should always consult a healthcare professional if you have an extended period of heartburn or if you’re not sure what’s going on.

What causes it?

When I suffer from heartburn, it can be for a number of reasons, but they’re usually quite obvious. Eating too much spicy or acidic food can be a cause, but it can be something like fatty foods, onions or dark chocolate too. You might need to look for alternatives to your usual choices. It will be different for each individual. Another cause can be lying down with a full stomach or lying flat too soon after eating. There’s also pregnancy. Any woman who has been pregnant will tell you that the hormone changes added to the position of the baby can cause almost unbearable heartburn. Personally, I was really lucky that I didn’t struggle too much with heartburn during my own pregnancy but I’ve known a lot of women who did.

*Medicines can affect the unborn baby. Always talk to your pharmacist or doctor before taking any medicine in pregnancy.

There’s another cause that is a trigger for me and that’s stress. In 2009 I experienced a traumatic incident and a few months later, when my brain got round to processing that incident, I had sudden, unexplained and prolonged heartburn. Over the counter products should not be used for prolonged periods of time, so I had to tackle the route of the problem. I visited the pharmacist and GP who were pretty sure it was not related to a physical problem. I had to tackle the problem with diet changes, address the issues that were upsetting me and I consulted a healthcare specialist in stress who provided massage therapies to help me relax.

Abdominal pain

How to Avoid Heartburn

I’ve found the best way for me to avoid heartburn is to take care of my stomach. I can’t tell you how miserable I was for the time that I was living with almost constant heartburn, caused by stress. It was a nightmare. It’s important for me to eat well, keep my stress levels low and listen to what my stomach is telling me. If certain foods cause heartburn, I cut them out or restrict them. If I have any problems with stress, it’s usually my stomach that tells me I need to slow down before I have any other symptoms. I also try not to eat too late at night.

There are loads of diet tips on the Rennie website that tell you what to avoid and it suggests alternatives. For example, if you suffer from heartburn, avoid smoothies with citrus in them for breakfast and try a blended fruit and yogurt ice-lolly for an on-the-go breakfast instead. What a clever idea! Now that summer’s here, I think I might try that.

What treatments are out there?

If your indigestion is mild and you’ve already consulted a healthcare professional, you might choose to take an antacid like Rennie Peppermint. I personally find the taste of Rennies quite pleasant, so I don’t find them difficult to take. There’s also a ©Rennie Liquid Heartburn Relief Oral Suspension in their range and ©Rennie Heartburn, Indigestion & Wind Relief Chewable Tablets. Obviously, you should consult a doctor or pharmacist if you’re pregnant too or on medication because over the counter remedies aren’t suitable for everyone and always read the label.

Have you suffered from heartburn? I’d love to hear other people’s stories and how they address the complaint. Share in the comments below!

This post is in conjunction with Rennie® but is based on my own personal experiences and all the opinions in this article are my own.