The Must-Have Toys for the Holidays – List 3 #GIVEAWAY

The Must-Have Toys for the Holidays

Are you ready to see what the must-have toys of the season are? We (yes “we” does include me) had a lot of fun testing out the newest toys for the Holidays and I am excited to finally let you know what they are. Brace yourself there are A LOT that we loved and want to share! All these toys were sent to me for review and I have hand picked our favorites.

NHL AirPuck (3+)
This is going to be a HUUUUUGE hit this season!!!!
The amount of marks and dents I have on my wall in the basement from hockey pucks/balls hitting it is my new kind of normal. My big guy started playing hockey 5 or 6 years ago and used to practice shots in the basement with my husband. It wasn’t until a puck ALMOST hit my little guy in the head that I stopped it. There is a solution!!!! The brand new NHL AirPucks have protective foam padding around it so it won’t damage walls. Turn it on and it lights up and hovers over smooth surfaces. This actually makes playing hockey fun for my 5 year old.
Side Note: it does not come with batteries so make sure you have it accessible (4 x AA)

Where to Buy: Party Rock $25

AirPuck

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MGA Entertainment’s Ready2Robot Battle Pack (4+)
A gift within a gift within a gift within a gift!!! Just when you think you got your toy, there is a blind box that the kids unwrap (parents get the scissors out for this one) and it reveals different parts of the second battle robot which the little one’s assemble (don’t worry, it’s easy to put together). What really made my little guy laugh was that he had to stick his fingers into a little container of gooey slime to get the little character that goes onto the top of the robot! If you want a stocking stuffer or to collect more, you can buy the blind boxes separate.
Note: Make sure to open all three areas of the chamber to get all robot parts. 

Where to Buy: Indigo $30

Battle Robots

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MGA Entertainment’s Crate Creature Flingers (4+)
Brake the crate to let your creature free! We can’t seem to get enough of these little guys (i’m a sucker for a not-so-scary monster). Not only are they cute, but you pull their tongue and they say funny things and best of all (what gets the kids laughing), they belch. For the parents (like myself) that dislike toys that just randomly talk when they aren’t being touched, this is not one of them and there is an off button on the back. These are great as a stocking stuffer or as a smaller gift (he is about the size of my hand)
Note: they come in larger furry creatures 

Where to Buy: Indigo, Amazon $15.99

Crate Creatures Flingers

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Flushin Frenzy – Pop the Poop by Mattel (5+)
Talk about getting a laugh, this game is a MUST have for the Holidays!!!! I mean, what child wouldn’t love a game with a flying poop. Yup, you heard me: roll the dice and plunge the toilet as many times as the dice shows to unleash the flying poop. The first person to grab it or catch it in the air gets a coin. The first person to get the most coins wins (it’s just that easy).

Where to Buy: Amazon.ca, Indigo, Toys R Us $17.50

Flushin Frenzy

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Hydro Strike by Pressman Toys (7+)
So first off this game totally reminds me the old school pinball games but mini version. My big guy really liked this one and that says a lot since he doesn’t really play games anymore with me 🙁 Fill the two little containers on the side with water, drop a ball down ramp and try to keep it out of your zone. If the ball gets through your zone, the game will squirt you. Not to worry parents who don’t like a mess, it’s just a little squirt but since they are little it gets them bang on (hence why he took his shirt off) LOL.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com $38.50 (includes import fees)

Hydro Strike

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Grossery Gang Bug Strike (5+)
Back 5 years ago, my older son was introduced to Grossery Gangs by his cousin. My mini has since taken over his collection and we have a bin … yes a BIN full of Grossery Gangs. The newest line is called Grossery Gang Bug Strike and they are little rubbery creatures that kids can collect. The best way to describe these is that they are the boy version of Shopkins. The best part is that they come in little toilets which you add water to (before you open it) and when the kids break the seal (no pun intended) it is filled with a yellow bubbly substance with the figures inside (you dump it out after – it’s just for giggles).
They come in smaller toilet packs (great for stocking stuffers) and larger packs (great for the bigger presents), as well as a lot of garbage trucks and motor bikes the kids use the little figures with.

Where to Buy: Toys R Us, Price ranges from $3.99 – $24.99 for the packs

Grossery Gang Bug Strike

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Flik Flak Watch
A few years ago, my big guy was learning to tell the time so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to buy him a watch. First stop, the Swatch booth at Yorkdale (their kids line is called Flik Flak)! We were offered a chance to check out Flik Flak’s new line of watches and my mini was so excited because he was finally getting a watch. They both have not taken them off since. This year they are offering really great patterned and textured bands great for their little audiences and their older audiences.

Where to Buy: Amazon Swatch $80-$95

Flik Flak Watches

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DC Super Friends HeroDrive Batman Racer by Funrise (3+)
Calling all Superhero fans! Little one’s are going to love these racers, with lights and sounds they are sure to please those curious little minds. I thought they might be too young for my mini but he has been playing with them using his little superhero figures that we have.  There are a lot of options in this new line: the Signal Squad cars have a signal light that illuminates on walls and retail for $12.99, from the Mash Machines which make sounds and have flashing lights retail for $9.99 and lastly the ultimate Batman Racer has lights, engine sounds and music  which retails for $29.99. The added bonus, all come with batteries!!!

Where to Buy: Toys R Us and Home Hardware

Batman HeroDrives

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Professor Maxwell’s 4D Chef’s Kit
This is neat!!! Now that it’s getting colder out, parents are always looking for indoor things to do with their kids and this is a great activity! Cooking brought to life. Download the app onto your phone, insert your phone into the virtual reality glasses then look at one of the recipes and Professor Maxwell comes to life introducing your child to the recipe and he even explains the science behind the food. Look at all the steps and it activates “how to” videos. Note: this product DOES NOT come with the food, but it does come with all the utensils (measuring cups, cutting board, spatula, measuring spoons, apron, hat and much more!
Side Note: the VR glasses were too heavy for my mini to wear so he lost interest

Where to Buy: Scholar’s Choice Best Buy $40 (other options available: Science and Chemistry Kits)

Professor Maxwells 4D Chef

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Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty (8+)
Remember the days when putty was only a beige colour and came in an egg and we thought it was the coolest thing ever? Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty has completely changed putty and it can’t get any cooler. You name it, they have it. Everything from: sparkly putty, magnetic putty, hypercolour putty, unicorn putty, glow-in-the-dark putty, scented putty to name a few. When my kids saw these, they begged me to open them. One was the Strange Attractor Putty which is magnetic (which they were fascinated with) and Super Fly Putty which is an illusion putty. What they were even MORE excited about was the Mixed by Me Thinking Putty Kit which they create their own heat sensitive putties and even make their own tin labels. This one makes for a great rainy day activity – my new go-to birthday gift! I love that it’s non-toxic and made in the USA.
Side Note: the tin can be hard to open, I had to use a fork to separate the tin (part of the putty was under the lid which is why it was sealed as tight as it was)

Where to Buy: Amazon $32 and Scholars Choice $30

Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty

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Tic Tac Tongue by Yulu (4+)
This is a very easy game that the whole family can play. Put the tongue through the frogger face mask, attach the mouth cap to it (easier to clean), insert the number images into the little stands, put them randomly in a row and begin the game. The object of the game is to get the most cards in your colour by choosing the correct number shown and knocking it down with your frogger tongue. This game is perfect for the little one’s who are learning to recognize numbers, plus they loved blowing out the tongue!
Side note: the kids loved the face mask but I had a really hard time with having my face covered 

Where to Buy: Amazon $17.99 or Indigo $20

Tic Tac Tongue

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LeapFrog LeapStart Learning System
This is fabulous learning tool that is actually a fun way for kids to learn! My recommendation: purchase some books right off the bat. First you are going to need to charge your LeapStart Book then download the audio for the books you have purchased by going to the leapfrog web page. If you want to know which books are suitable for your kids, you can go online and see what they offer by grade. Once that is all done, your little one takes the pen that is included with the LeapStart and tap on all different points of the book and it will read/say what you have touched. There are different icons at the bottom of some of the pages, those will guide you to different activities/challenges/problem solving etc that your mini can do throughout the book. Up next for us, the beginner learn-to-read series! Big fan.

Where to Buy: Amazon $50 and Mastermind Toys $60, Books range in price from $10-$25

LeapFrog LeapStart

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HexBug Ring Racer (8+)
I feel like this is the kind of product I would walk right by at a toy store (probably because it’s small), but now that we have tested it out, that would have been a mistake! Out of allllll the toys we have gotten to test, this is the only one that caused a fight because they both were fighting over who got to play with it. So first, let me recommend BUY TWO if you have two kids. They can battle it out together and create their own unique stunts (my kids had it fly down the stairs)! The HexBug Ring Racer tumbles, spins and flips over 360 degrees using the little controller. There are two speed settings: regular and fast mode. Best of all, the batteries are rechargeable so no need to go through a ton of batteries. Just make sure to charge it before you give it to them (it comes with a cord and charges pretty quickly).

Where to Buy: Mastermind Toys $30 or Amazon $32

HexBug Ring Racer

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There are two more toys that I wanted to show you as I thought they would be great for the Holidays, however I did not test them so I can not review them, BUT I am going to purchase them for my kids if that helps 🙂

A. Crate Creatures: I have the Crate Creature Flingers which made my list but this is the larger version that is plush and makes tons of hilarious noises that kids just love! Plus you have to break them out their crate which is always fun for kids
B. Kerplunk Game: A game that would be great for both of my kids to play. Carefully pull out the sticks but don’t pull the the wrong one otherwise all the balls will fall.

Kerplunk and Crate Creatures

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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!!!!
Just in time for the Holidays, we are giving away (1) Hydro Strike game to (1) lucky reader! This contest is open to Canada and US residents. Here’s how to enter: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
Thanks to our friends at Stortz Toys, they are offering (1) lucky reader a chance to win (1) NHL AirPuck (your team choice). This contest is open to Canadian residents only. Here’s how to enter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: all items were sent to me for review. Opinions are strictly my own

Spin Master’s Holiday Must-Have’s – List #2

The Must-Have Toys for the Holidays

O.k brace yourselves for some of the coolest toys from Spin Master that I chose to review and my kids LOOOOOOVED!!!

Air Hogs Supernova (6+)
This is officially the coolest toy EVER!!!!!!!!! I knew my kids would love this but what I didn’t realize is that I would love it just as much. The Air Hog Supernova requires NO assembly …. I repeat NO assembly (that’s already a big win in my books as I have heard nightmare stories about putting drones together). It comes with a little charge already so you don’t get the kids all excited giving it to them and then .. oh wait … you have to charge it! Turn it over, find the teeny tiny on switch (the light will be green when it’s ready – you  might need to put it on a flat surface to get the light on) and then throw it up in the air and watch it go. While it is in the air, put both hands on each side of it (but DON’T touch it) and it will spin, put one hand on one side of it (again DON’T touch it) and it will fly in the opposite direction!!!! When it started flying, my 5 year old mini’s exact words were “SICKKKKKK” and I happened to catch that on video which is now on my Instagram (terri_babylishadviceblog). Big Hit, HUGE!!!!!

Where to Buy: Indigo $50 Toys R Us (online only special price) $40

Air Hogs Supernova

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Tech Deck Dudes (5+)
We love all things little especially those that have a little blind bag in it – makes for a fun surprise! These little guys are set in all different positions on skate boards with wheels so kids can use their imagination. You can buy smaller packs which are great for bribes (come on we all do it) or great for stocking stuffers for the holidays. A must-have with this is the Tech Deck Ultimate Half Pipe (which I just ordered from Amazon) or Ramp set where your little one’s can build an entire skate park.

Where to Buy: Toys R Us (4 Pack) Amazon $14.99

Tech Deck Dudes

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Flush Force (4+)
The obsession is real!!! It seems to be a family obsession since both my nephews collect them too and bring them over to trade. Since the new series Flush Force was released, we can not get enough of them. So much so that lately we have been getting a lot of duplicates in the blind bags (which happen to be toilets by the way). We have well over a hundred of these guys (duplicates and all). My mini sleeps with them, brings them to school, has them in every jacket pocket and I even find them hidden in his school bag now. What does he do with them you are wondering? Good question: He uses his imagination and has them battle each other or his action figures. Now you can get the Potty Wagon to add to the imaginary play (yup I just bought this to give to him for Hanukkah).

Flush Force

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Pimple Pete Game (5+)
The idea behind this is so gross, but these days with kids the more gross something is the more the attraction (am I wrong?). The game is super easy to set up, the kids had to put the pimples into his face, I attached the filled plunger into the back of it and we started to play. Put Pimple Pete on a higher flat surface and spin the arrow to find out what part of his face to extract the pimple from. Try not to pull too hard otherwise you will pop the Mega-Zit which squirts you (with water) at which point you get no pimple points for that round – make sure to reload the plunger with water. The game continues until all pimples are out and each “style” of pimple is allotted certain points (thicker one’s have more points). The player with the highest points wins. We had fun with this one especially when I popped the Mega-Zit!

Where to Buy: Amazon $20

Pimple Pete

Happy Holiday Shopping
T.
xo

Hasbro’s Hottest Toys for the Holidays #GIVEAWAY #FortniteMonopoly

The Must-Have Toys for the Holidays

Hasbro always has the best toys and I have tested and reviewed some of our favorites for the Holidays. So here we go:

Nerf Modulus Ghost Ops Evader 8+
Alright friends, this Nerf gun is the Nerf guns of all Nerf guns (well that I have seen)! I am sure there are many of you that don’t want to allow a Nerf gun in the house because A. you worry about the fact that “they are playing with guns” and B. you worry about someone getting hurt. I had this same thing but I have to tell you, it got my kids off their devices and actually running around the house playing games with it. I had one rule: WAIST DOWN and they happily abide by it because they know I will just take them away. This puppy has a motorized blaster that shoots out one dart right after the other (fits 12 darts). The blaster illuminates so they can play in dark(ish) rooms. You can even buy extra parts for it with the entire Modulus system.

Where to Buy: Walmart Amazon $40

Nerf Modulus Ghost Ops Blaster

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Nerf Laser Ops Pro – AlphaPoint
Ok, so you want a Nerf gun but you hate the idea of darts shooting out and possibly hitting you or your little guy in the face … am I right? The solution is right here! The new Nerf Laser Ops Pro uses lasers instead of darts. My kids (husband included) ran around the house hiding in places trying not to get shot. Once you get “hit” a sound will go off noting that you have been hit. There is a back display noting your health and how much ammo you have left and has an easy reload button to get them quickly back in the game. This one is a no brainer! Bonus: no darts to clean up. It’s a win win.

Where to Buy: Toys R Us Amazon $50

Nerf Laser Ops AlphaPoint

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Play-Doh Poop Troop Playset (3+)

It seems there is a common theme with this years hottest toys, poop!!! I am actually shocked that wasn’t my mini’s first words because he certainly likes to talk about poo and makes (the worst) poo jokes and sure enough he belly laughs every time he says the word so obviously he would love the new Play-Doh Poop Troop Playset. It comes with 12 jars of Play-Doh in all colours so kids can make their very own poo emojis. Complete with eyes, ears, arms and toppers, have your kids come up with their own creative poop emojis.

Where to Buy: Amazon $35

Play-Doh Poop Troop Set

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Yellies (5+)
This is one spider that we are not scared of! The louder your mini yells, the faster these guys go. Don’t worry, it’s not only just yelling they respond to: talk, sing, clap or play music and the Yellies will move and watch their eyes light up. These guys make a great stocking stuffer. Collect all the critters and have your little guys run around your house chasing after them.

Where to Buy: Amazon Toys R Us $20

Yellies

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Connect 4 Shots (8+)

Winner winner!!! The game is Connect 4 meets Cup Pong where you have to bounce the ball and get it into a cup but instead of a cup you have to get it into the row you want. It seems easy, but those balls don’t always go where you want them to and you end up helping out your rival (clearly that’s what happened when we played). Easy to put together and easy storage as it folds flat.

Where to Buy: Amazon Toys R Us $20

Connect 4 Shots

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Fortnite Monopoly (13+)
Need I say more … SOLD!!!! Those who know, know! My big guys went CRAZY over this.

Where to Buy: Walmart Amazon $25

Fortnite Monopoly

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
Guess what I am giving away???!!! FORTNITE MONOPOLY – WOOT WOOT. 1 lucky reader will win the hottest toy of the season. You must be a resident of Canada (excluding Quebec) and 18 years or older to enter. Here’s how:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comment below letting me know which toys you think your mini’s will love!
T.
xo

The New Play-Doh Poop Troop Playset is sure to get Laughs! #GIVEAWAY

I bet I got your attention with the word POOP didn’t I?!!!!! Or wait is that our children that can’t get enough of that word!

I feel like I am not alone with this, but it seems that the word “poo” is one of the funniest words alive according to my 5 year old and 8 year old (along with a few other words). It’s almost impossible to say the word “poo” without someone belly laughing and that is precisely why the new Hasbro Play-Doh Poop Troop was a HUGE hit in my house.

I mean what is better than creating your very own Play-Doh poop emojis!!! Even I had fun with this one.

What I love about the Play-Doh Poop Troop Playset
(what is not to love really)
– it comes with a whole assortment of Play-Doh colours so your kids can really use their imagination
– it comes with funny arms, eyes, ears, noses and mouths to add to your poop emoji
– they creations are endless
– the set comes with a poop mold OR a tube where they can design their own poop shape (for the non-traditional poop)
– both of my kids loved playing with this (we did a contest of who can make the most creative poo – clearly it wasn’t mine on the bottom right)

Play-Doh Poop Troop Set

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
Thanks to our wonderful friends at Hasbro, they are giving away (1) Play-Doh Poop Troop Playset to (1) lucky reader. Must be a resident of Canada (excluding Quebec). Here’s how to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Poop Creating
T.
xo

The Back-to-School Snack Struggle #SimplyProtein

Simply Protein Kids Bar

For those who know me and my children well, you know I struggle with my kids eating! I have VERY picky eaters and I am not ashamed of it though I do feel judged at times when people ask me what I pack my kids for lunch daily.

So now you are curious right?!
Snacks: while I do always try to pack a fruit, likely it will come back untouched (depending on their moods that morning), crackers of every sort, and any kind of snack that hides a vegetable in them.
Main lunch: cold dry toast, cold toasted waffles and any and every kind of cereal that you can imagine (no sugar cereals as they are not allowed in my house)

Yup, THE STRUGGLE IS REAL FRIENDS!!!!!!!!

I was offered the chance to try out the kids Simply Protein kids bars and although I was slightly worried about having them try something new (that is no easy task), I love Simply Protein’s bars for myself so I figured I would give it a shot. Of course, I had to try it out to make sure they were “mom” approved and I have to say I really liked them!

Note: Keep in mind that all my reviews are my honest opinions. If I don’t like it, I don’t review it PERIOD THE END

What I love about Simply Protein Kids Bar
The texture is close to a Krispy Bar (if you get what I am saying ;)) which is great for the picky eaters because the texture is familiar
It is very sweet appealing to the young audiences
– They are peanut free so safe for school lunch boxes
– Each bar has 4 grams of protein, has only 2 grams of sugar and 4 grams of fiber
– The ingredients are plant based
– They are kosher for those families who are observant or go to schools which only Kosher foods are allowed
– They are gluten free
– Come in 2 flavors: I tried the Strawberry Vanilla one, but there is also chocolate brownie which I am very curious to test out
– Doesn’t leave a weird after taste, but the strawberry vanilla flavor definitely lasts a bit in your mouth

Simply Protein

Check out your local grocery store to purchase a box and try them for yourselves
T.
xo

Celebrating with Disney Princesses #DreamBigPrincess

Calling all Disney princess fans!!!!

So it’s starting to get chillier out (well not this weekend) and you don’t want to freeze your butt off sitting at a park so what can you do instead that your kids will still enjoy???

Well, we are celebrating with Disney Princesses of course! This fall from September 7th to October 11th, all major television networks (YTV, The W Network, SRC (French CBC)) will be airing your favorite Disney movies like Tangled, Frozen, Cinderella, Pocahontas and many more. Who doesn’t love a good ol’ Frozen sing-a-long!!!!

So pull out your little one’s favorite Disney princess dolls, line them up on the couch and have them join you for your family movie night. I’m sure they would love watching themselves on t.v 😉 Dream big and live your story!

In celebration of this, I am giving away the ultimate princess gift: Belle, Ariel and Cinderella dolls PLUS a Disney Princess Pop-Up Palace.

Disney Princess

Here’s how to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Bath Kneeler

The Bath Kneeler

I have to say that these girls who created The Bath Kneeler, they get it!

I remember moving into my new house over 5 years ago and instead of decorating it with adult type beautiful pieces, I made everything into a baby/toddler zone. Instead of an end table next to my couch, I had a pack n’ play (my logic: those who were sitting next to it, could put their drink on the bassinet). Instead of a carpet, I put those heinous bright coloured puzzle alphabet mats down (my logic: if the baby barfs or someone spills it was easy to wipe up), toy bins were in every corner because who wants to run to the freezing basement every five minutes and bathrooms were filled with squishy water toys and Avengers bath mats (no logic there, I was limited in my options).

Fast forward 5 years and now I have an end table beside my couch and a real carpet in my living room but the one thing I couldn’t shake were those damn Avengers bath mats and squishy bath toys in all our bathrooms.

As I scour Instagram, I have to say that I am kind of jealous that the baby products on the market are getting fancier, more high tech to make moms/dads life easier and simply prettier. I follow a company called The Pieces on Instagram, not because I need their mats (I am sorta past this stage in my life), but because I absolutely love what they have created: gorgeous (yes I am using the word gorgeous to describe a kids product) play mats that I wish were around when I had a baby.

Yesterday, I saw on their Instagram that they announced their newest product called The Bath Kneeler and yet again wished it was around when my kids were little because not only are they extremely useful but they are soooooo pretty! Of course I instantly thought I could somehow use this in my bathroom in front of our sinks but sadly they are just a little too small for that (hopefully they come up with this because I would buy them in a heart beat).

Here’s why I love The Bath Kneeler
– Highly cushioned so you don’t kill your knees while bathing your mini’s

The Bath Kneeler
– They are made out of neoprene which is very absorbent and quick drying
– It comes with a velcro loop so that you can hang it on your towel bar to dry (if your kid is a splasher)

The Bath Kneeler Velcro
– It is VERY reasonably priced at $32
– It can be easily washed (just make sure to hang it to dry)
– It has a non-slip backing
– Of course my favorite part, they come in three beautiful prints

The Bath Kneeler Print

Where to Buy: check out their website for easy ordering

T.
xo

 

 

The Royalton Riviera Cancun Review

The Royalton Riviera Cancun

Like my previous review post of the Nickelodeon resort, I am starting this post off by saying I was NOT paid to review The Royalton Riviera Cancun, nor was I given anything (NO freebies) to review it … I am simply providing families looking to travel a detailed and most importantly an honest review since pictures on websites make everything look perfect and well we all know that perfect doesn’t really exist. Brace yourself it’s a long one, but it’s an honest one!

The Bus: with your travel agent, make sure to have transportation to and from the airport as part of the package. As soon as you hit the baggage area you are hit up by a million people offering you transportation. Just walk out side and find the travel company with which you booked and get on the bus! We probably waiting on the bus for 10 or 15 minutes before it left, but the good thing is you can start your vacation and grab a beer while you wait. The best part of all is that the bus ride to the resort was only about 10 minutes and you are the first stop.

Royalton Riviera Cancun

                                           Notice beer in hand

The Diamond Club: while I was pretty unsure of this upgraded feature when booking (my travel agent highly recommended it), after being there I have to say it was absolutely worth the upgrade!! The main reason is because you can make reservations at the restaurants if you are a diamond club member. Now, this doesn’t seem to be a big deal, however I met quite a few families that did not have this upgrade and they told me that a lot of the restaurants they could not get into OR there was a crazy long lineup and would take over an hour to be seated (those with little one’s that sounds like a legit nightmare). Other Diamond Club features: you have a morning and afternoon butler (seems weird I know, but they were super helpful especially with making those reservations), you have access to the Diamond Club pool area, there is a Diamond Club restaurant, a Diamond Club beach (from what I was to understand, you will never have an issue getting a seat at their pools or on the beach … which we didn’t) and there is a Diamond Club check-in office that is nicely air conditioned
**to note: bring lots of $1 bills and $5 bills for tipping

Royalton Riviera Cancun

                             Diamond Club Pool and Beach Games

The Rooms: We booked the Presidential Swim Out Suite and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the room(s). There was a nice sized living room with a pullout couch, lounger beside the couch (which I pushed together so that one kid could sleep on that and the other in the pullout couch), a table in the middle of the room, a bathroom and a full bar area stocked with booze, pop and water. It doesn’t stop there though .. the Presidential room has a full bedroom attached which was really quite large. It had a king sized bed, a chaise, desk and a crazy large bathroom with double sinks, huge double head rain shower, huge bath centered in the middle of the bathroom and toilet with a door … oh and a hanging closet. Both the bedroom and the family room have sliding doors to access the swim out pool attached to the room (this was a first for us). The pool was definitely not a necessity however when we wanted some down time out of the sun, we would bring the kids back to swim.
**to note: if you have young kids that go to bed relatively early, I would recommend asking for a room not in the sections closest to the main central pool as they have nightly events which tend to be quite loud

The Royalton Riviera Cancun

                             Presidential 1 Bedroom Swim Out Suite

The Staff: They honestly could not have been nicer! My older son slit the heel of his foot on a piece of the tile in the pool and within a matter of minutes we had three lifeguards, two cleaning ladies’ and our room butler taking care of him. After this whole debacle, we went back to our room and our butler had a ton of balloons with a colouring book with crayons on his bed which made him so happy (plus we got him a coke float – coke and vanilla ice cream – which topped it all off). Now I don’t know if it is just in the Diamond Club area, but they had Bingo by the pool daily (with little prizes for the kids) and on the beach they had the staff set up nets with a soccer ball to play with the kids and bean bag toss which occupied them for a chunk of time.

Royalton Riviera Cancun

The Food: I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the food! I don’t know if I was surprised because I expect mediocre food from all-inclusive resorts based on my past trips, but I found that all the meals I had were not half bad.
Here’s where we ate:
Grazie – Italian food: There was a HUGE lineup when walked in at 6:30pm, but again since we were Diamond Club we had a reservation, the food was pretty good
Agave – Mexican food: We thought the food was just ok but were really expecting to see Fajitas and Tacos which they strangely didn’t have
Zen – Japanese food: there are habatchi tables up top and my kids LOVED this. The chef cooks your food on the habatchi in a fun way creating a little show for all sitting around the table (this is the most sought after restaurant in the resort and apparently at 2:00pm  you can lineup there to make a reservation
Armadillo – Tex-Mex food: This is a Diamond Club restaurant only, we had lunch there and really enjoyed the food (their guacamole was really quite good)
Gourmet March Buffet – Everything: this is a huge restaurant that is buffet so serve yourself and they have a lot of options which changes nightly. There is always a pasta station which is great for the kids who only eat pasta with butter (like mine) and there is a kids area where they offer chicken fingers, french fries, hot dogs, burgers and CEREAL (it’s like they knew we were coming). Fruit and ice cream are served nightly (oh and the kids area has fun deserts like Coco Krispy treats, chocolate marshmallow pops etc)
There is a cafe next to the lobby area where you can get latte’s, espresso drinks and coffee as well as ice cream. One thing I noticed is that they offered a pistachio ice cream and was using the same scoop for the nut ice cream as they were in the regular ice cream which is not great for those with nut allergies like my husband. Luckily I noticed and told him he wasn’t allowed to have the ice cream however they did have a soft serve area which he could have but he said it wasn’t very good – EEK.
**to note: if you are a Diamond Club member in the Diamond Club pool area (near the entrance to the beach) they cook fresh food daily so we had quesadillas and guacamole every afternoon – YUM!

The Beach: The sand was perfect, white and not boiling hot! The beach area near was nice with the palm trees and blue water, but the shore of the water was covered in seaweed (I guess that is what it was) including on the sand which was not attractive to look at or step on. Looking back at some of the reviews of the site, I remember seeing a lot of comments about this. My kids loved to play on the beach this stuff didn’t really seem to bother them.
**to note: ask one of the towel butlers if they have sand toys. They didn’t seem to advertise it but I asked as I didn’t want to spend $20 on dollar store type toys and they always brought some for my kids to play with. Just be kind and return them when you are done so other kids can enjoy

Royalton Riviera Cancun

The Kids Club: Although the staff there were extremely nice, the kids club was a huge flop! In quite a large space there are three televisions (hooked up to gaming systems like PS4 and Wii) and a bunch of round little tables. They did host daily activities like making a pinata (which they told my kids they would have candy to put inside but this was not the case – to say the least my kids were NOT impressed) and other arts and crafts activities. My older son wanted to go there to play some video games and was told after we left he could not play them anymore and had to partake in Spanish lessons – I mean come on, this is vacation! Night time Kids Club activities started at 7:00pm and finished at 8:00pm which was mandatory pick up (seems kind of early) as it was fun to drop them off there so my husband and I could have some time away from kids and have dinner but we literally ate and ran so we could get back in time. They offered a night time magic show which my kids said was pretty bad and a movie night watching Toy Story which they liked. The one great thing about Kids Club is that they give you a pager that works around the entire resort and when the kids want to leave the staff just page you to come, I really liked that aspect of it but all-in-all, I have to say Kids Club was a HUGE disappointment.

The Kids Pool: A kids pool is very important to us when looking for family destinations. This pool was quite large with a lot of fun things to go up, go down and go on and most importantly there is very shallow water (helps us parents not panic anytime there little one’s fall down). Separated from the kids pool is another area that has three slides (different widths and speed I guess) which my kids literally went down a hundred times a day. Just when you think that is it, there is another kids pool behind the water slides (you can’t see it at first because it is high up – you need to walk up stairs to get to it) and there are a lot of fun structures to climb on and climb in. Be prepared though, the water is FREEZING!!! It didn’t seem to bother my kids too much, but the other pools are way warmer … weird right?!

Royalton Riviera Cancun

The Grounds: Walking into the Royalton you are hit with the most breathtaking view of the ocean, blue sky and sun from the large, open lobby. We were ushered to the Diamond Club Lounge to check in. The check-in process took a bit of time, but my boys were immediately offered chocolate milk and they were able to run around (from the sounds of it, on the second floor there was a computer for them to play with). Once given our room, they walked us over with our bags and showed us around. I have to say the grounds are kept in impeccable condition. At all times I saw the tower entrances being washed, roofs and flooring being repaired and painted and ash trays/garbages being cleaned at all times. There are shops in the lobby (sunglasses, clothing, pool toys, treats etc) as well as in other parts of the grounds (primarily near the kids pool) but I am going to tell you everything is VERY expensive! Sunscreen was $25 US, kids sun shirts were over $50 US, straw hats were $40 US and pool/sand toys ranged from $10-$30 US. There are 8 or 9 different room towers which makes the resort seem huge, but it is all walkable and nothing is far. For those who are curious, there are about 5 pools to choose from + two kids park pools.

The Royalton Riviera Cancun

Night Life: Every evening there was some sort of band that would sing live music for an hour. One evening they had a Mariachi band and they got the kids and adults up dancing with them, it was really quite cute. At around 9:00pm there was some sort of nightly show. I can’t tell you much about what they were as my mini was always exhausted by 8:00pm so I took him back to the room and therefore didn’t partake in evening festivities. That being said, our last night we kept the kids up to watch the Pirate show and my little one couldn’t take his eyes off of them (I mean adults playing with fire really is quite cool). After the show is over, you can head up to their night club (again I can not comment on it as we were all in bed by 10:00pm) or go to their sports bar to have a snack and drink. That’s where the foosball tables are FYI – my older son loved it there!
**to note: go up there and get a seat on the balcony for the 9:00pm show, it’s the best view

Royalton Riviera Cancun

Travel Agent: I am telling you about the travel agent I use to book my all-inclusive trips not because she is giving me anything to put her name out there, but because she has ALWAYS been a pleasure to work with and I love passing along my great finds … she is one of them (I don’t even remember how we found her). I emailed her a month before going away, I gave her the criteria of what I was looking for: the specific week we could go – there was only 1 week we could go away, a resort that is great for families, had to have a kids pool, had to be close to the airport, some place that has great weather (I told her i was interested in Mexico or Jamaica .. at the time), no or very minimal time difference and yes I am an enormous pain in the ass let’s be hones!!! She came back to me with the Royalton Riviera Cancun which fit ALL my criteria. She even emailed me the day we left to check in and make sure everything was going o.k. Last year we ran into some problems with the resort we were at and she was right on it even on the weekend!!!! Her customer service is by far the best I have experienced and I adore her. Her name is Mandy Delve from Beyond Travel Designers – if you want to contact her, her email is info@beyondtraveldesigners.com 416-626-7455
**to note: she travels to a lot of these resorts to check them out and therefore can recommend them first hand

So there you have it … my views of the Royalton Riviera Cancun! You can see I didn’t really hold back 😉 Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to email me terri@babylishadvice.com or comment below. If you have been here and have comments, I as well as others reading the post would love to hear what you think, just comment below.

Happy Travels
T.
xo

The Movie “Wonder” Will Bring You to Tears #GIVEAWAY

Wonder Movie

I am not sure if you are looking for a tear jerk-er for movie night, however the movie Wonder is a MUST see!

As a mom of two young boys, I always worry about them bullying another child and it’s something I am constantly talking to them about (especially my 7 year old). I have tried explaining to him that it doesn’t matter what someone looks like or how they act, there are no excuses. No child ever deserves that!

The movie Wonder is about a little boy who was born with a rare facial disfigurement. His mother (Julia Roberts) and father (Owen Wilson) decide to stop home schooling him and integrate him into a private school. With kids staring, laughing and whispering about him, the movie follows this little boy, Auggie and his daily struggles to fit in. Having made a friend Jack, he soon feels more content in his environment, but within time he stumbles upon a bunch of kids (including his one friend) making fun of the way he looks, calling him a “freak” (cue the tears) and for the remainder of the school year he is bullied by this group who do and say awful things to Auggie. Not wanting to ruin the rest of the movie for others who have not seen it, I can say that the movie finished and I noticed that I had a big smile on my face (of course with tears still streaming down my face).

There are so many important lessons that come out of this movie which is why it makes a great movie to see with your kids and to discuss with them after:
1. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover
2. Be a leader not a follower
3. Choose kindness  

I know you will enjoy this movie as much as I did and I really recommend watching it with your older children

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
I am giving away 4 copies (yes that’s right 4) to my readers! The contest is open to residents of Canada only (excluding Quebec). You must be 18 years or older to enter. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Newest Toy to Hit the Market – Your Hearing About it Here First

Simbrix

You probably don’t know about Simbrix and it’s not because they are hidden on the shelves,  it’s because they are a hugely popular product in Europe and now they are launching here in Canada for the first time (lucky us).

I don’t know where to begin because there are so many things I love about this new toy Simbrix.

A Contained Mess: If you know me, you know I hate toy mess, it drives me CRAZY!!!! It’s like my boys know this about me and purposely take their toy and flip it upside down so it scatters all over the floor and then likely within 10 minutes someone steps on a piece and ends up in tears (by the way it’s usually me). Well Simbrix comes in this amazing, two level plastic container and has a handle for easy carrying. First impression … like WOW!

Simbrix

Be Your Own Designer: the Genius kit comes with a large stack of cards and by colour they show you how to make a fun design. The cards start with easier images and then gets to harder images giving the little one’s a challenge which is great for different age groups.

Simbrix

Let’s Get Creative: Getting my kids off their device is always a challenge (don’t judge), but as soon as I unpacked this and showed it to him he immediately put down his iPad and asked how it works. He decided to be CRAZY and use his imagination. He decided to make a face and after countless hours of working on it, he finished and was so proud of himself (frankly so was I).

Simbrix

Keep It or Leave It:  once your mini is done with their design and feeling proud of themselves, there is a chance they will want to keep it and collect their beautiful masterpieces not to worry, all you need is parchment paper and an iron to preserve their creations. HOWEVER, if they don’t really care and are onto the next design, simply pull apart the Simbrix pieces and put them back in their case. The beauty of not keeping their designs is that you will never run out of the pieces or colours.

Assembly: slide two Simbrix pieces into each other … that’s it! It’s just that easy.

Simbrix

Word of Advice: obviously I had a lot of fun making a design with my son (because I love testing the toys for myself), I HIGHLY recommend when making something, start from one side and work your way in. Do not do the outline and fill the inside, I found myself having to rearrange the way the Simbrix pieces connect (left side, right side, top and bottom is how they connect).

Where to Buy in Canada: Amazon.ca

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

Thank you to our wonderful friends at Simbrix, they are giving away (1) Geek Kit to 1 lucky reader! The contest is open to residents of Canada and the US. Here’s how to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck
T.
xo