Amazon Voucher competition

The best thing about this blogging malarkey is being given the opportunity to review some awesome new products. I often have to pinch myself because it hardly feels real and I am always grateful for everything we receive – from snacks to toys and beyond – this summer Arlo has had the time of his life, and kept our postman extremely busy. The best thing however is that we have been lucky enough to be able to secure prizes from PR companies and toy manufacturers we have worked with, to share with you, our readers.

I’m going to work as hard as I can to get some more fun projects lined up in time for Christmas (and beyond) because sharing is caring – so watch this space! There’s nothing like the buzz of a competition prize win, and even better when it’s a prize which you can choose for yourself. I have collaborated with some awesome bloggers to bring you this awesome giveaway.

For today’s competition, we have two prizes to offer you. The first prize is a £100 Amazon Voucher and the second prize is a £25 Amazon voucher. Both of these awesome prizes will come in handy for Christmas this year. What will you buy with your voucher?

Who Brings You This Competition?

A collaboration of bloggers have got together to bring this prize to you, the prize comes out of their pocket as a thank you for supporting them over the past year. You will find the links below, please pop over and visit them. You never know, you might find a blog that you really relate to. Sometimes we think we are the only person going through something, when in fact there are others. These bloggers share their ups and downs so that nobody ever feels alone. 

Miss LJ Beauty /Me Him, The Dog And The Baby / The Little House By The Sea / Miss Tilly And Me / Mindful Slow Life / Jennie Pennie / The Heaton Fam / Mum Making Money / Just Average Jen/ The Free From Mummy / We Made This Life / Blog Bay Bee / Claire Mac / Ricecakes And Raisins / Life With Jupiter and Dann/ Childfree / Fruit Picking Farms / Best Lodges With Hot Tubs / A Suffolk Mum / At Home With Alice / Its Me Chrissy J / Simple Reveries / The House That Never Rests / Two Hearts One Roof / Lilac Storm / My Healthy Temple / Real Girls Wobble / The Amazing Adventures Of Me /


 

How Can I Enter This Competition?

In order to be entered to win the vouchers, you need to leave a comment on the blog post. Click on the rafflecopter and it gives you the instructions to do this. Then there are other options to follow the bloggers on their social media. The more entries that you complete, the more chances you have of winning a voucher (or even both vouchers). You don’t have to complete all ofthe entries to be entered, but each one you complete is an entry.

Tap this image to enter

Terms And Condition▪ UK Entries only.▪ Blog comments must be over 8 words long otherwise it usually goes to the spam file.▪ This is a collaborated competition and is not associated with Tesco or any other company.▪ You must be over 18 to enter this competition.▪ You don’t need to enter all of the other requirements but if you do say you have completed them, please ensure that you have. Otherwise, your entry is void.▪ You have 28 days to claim your prize or another winner will be chosen. ▪ After you have claimed your prize, you will receive the voucher within 28 days

Plus sized bras – Tutti Rouge review

Let’s talk about boobs.

Bazooka sized boobs which make you feel like you’re carrying watermelons strapped to your front 24/7 and not in a way which is going to make a Patrick Swayze look-a-like swoon all over you. I’ve got them, and I always have, regardless of my dress size and weight I have been blessed (or cursed) with an hourglass figure since puberty.

There’s going to be some people out there reading this who just can’t identify with the struggles of having big boobs, and think it must be incredible to have such an asset but trust me, it doesn’t make life easy at all. Along with the backache and the constant worry about gaping buttons on blouses, there’s the constant need to wear a supportive bra and thus sacrificing style. I’ve never been able to wear a strapless or spaghetti string top because I never wanted my inch thick beige bra straps to be on display. I’m the woman who takes my bra off as soon as I get home so that I can relax and feel free.

When I was younger I used to see friends pick up new colourful lacy little numbers every week from affordable and fashionable stores whilst I ended up heading to stores you’d normally associate with your grandma to spend a whole days wages on an ugly looking bra just because it was the only one in the store which would fit. Once I found the style of bra which worked for me I would buy it in the three shades it came in – black, white and nude. I used to wear these bra’s until the elastic gave in and then go back and try and find the exact same style.

Whenever I plan my outfits, be it work wear, casual day outfits or my Saturday night dresses – everything would have to work around the bra. Nothing low cut would work for me and nothing backless either. Every so often I would fall in love with a new dress and head out to a shopping centre to try on a new style of bra supposedly for “fuller breasts” – heading to nee and upcoming lingerie stores only to find that the design of the DD+ bra’s were simply not supportive enough, with no adjustments made to accommodate the bazookas. I can’t even begin to tell you how many claustrophobic changing rooms I’ve encountered.

The trying on process always begins with a well meaning assistant brandishing a tape measure, throwing it around me and then counting up the alphabet on her fingers. I only go shopping for bra’s when I absolutely have to because I hate the experience so much. It always starts well, with the enthusiastic checking of the tags on the styles of bra’s I like, only for me to be told that they don’t go up to my size. I wait whilst store assistants end up checking the computer system to find which two or three styles do come in my size and then rummage around on the shop floor to find the one that is in stock. I always sit and wait patiently, and then try to feign happiness when the same boring beige number is eventually presented to me through the gap in the curtain.

So here I am, a mid thirties woman who’s only ever worn a handful of different bra’s successfully, and so when I was asked to review some lingerie from Tutti Rouge which was suited to fuller breasts I was sceptical to say the least – especially when ordering from an online retailer. I went off to scrutinise the size guide and was greeted with a series of questions which made me feel like finally this was a company which understood my needs. I confirmed the size of bra I currently wear and then also described the fit of the straps, cups and band to be presented with my size to shop the website. Not quite the size I usually shop but I thought I would trust the process.

I clicked over to the online shop and filtered the shop by my size. Not only did they have something in stock in my size – I had options. Clicking through different styles and colours available gave me a reason to be happy. Each style was displayed on the search landing page on a model with a full bust, and clicking through I managed to get views of the straps and band which made me feel confident that these bra’s indeed were designed with big boobs in mind. Having different options for the first time was a joy and feeling confident I clicked through to look at bralettes too.

As I browsed the website I felt ridiculous for even thinking that they would have a bralette in my size but then I clicked through to the ocean blue colour of the Ana. I’ve never worn underwear in a colour before and I added this to my wishlist immediately just for the novelty of having something bright blue. I hadn’t even thought about how I would style clothes over a bright blue bralette, but I knew I had to have it.

I never usually go for a matching set of briefs and a bra, I usually try to find myself briefs which compensate for the lack of style in the bra’s I wear – the matching granny pants always get left behind by me in the department stores – I can usually find something in the black, white or beige which works and doesn’t break the bank on the high street. Clicking through that website I noticed I had yet more options. Matching briefs in more than one style, and going all the way from XS to 6XL to accommodate all shapes and sizes. This was so refreshing, the online plus sized bra shopping experience with Tutti Frutti was fun in itself.

My order arrived via Royal Mail tracked delivery within a few days of ordering – discreetly packaged in a mailbag with my four items individually wrapped. I tore open the packaging of the Nika bra first. I say tore – even at this stage I was very careful to keep all of the packaging to be able to send everything back if it didn’t fit. With its Lacy black trim across the nude cups I had to try this bra straight on. I noticed immediately that the band felt strong and wider than I’m used to. The clasps at the back are spaced apart well enough to provide a strong and supportive frame. The cups themselves are made from a robust material which gives a smooth shape.

There was no side boob spillage, or appearance of the dreaded four boobed monster. I stood in the mirror and checked myself out from all angles – the Balconette style gave me a lift and a shape I wasn’t used to experiencing and I found myself reaching for a tight t shirt to see how the fabric would fall. I found myself standing just that little bit taller. Very impressed with this style and just to have matching pants was enough, but the same quality in design was represented, both well fitting and strong without losing any style or delicateness. I didn’t even need to adjust the shoulder straps – but I did notice the heart shaped detail on the sliders which is a lovely finishing touch.

The bralette had me feeling nervous – I wasn’t sure how this would even work holding up my boobs, but as soon as I opened it I realised that it had five hook and eye fasteners to the back and the double banding was not just part of the aesthetic but also served a function too. This bralette is basically a marvel of engineering! I was reaching for my high waisted jeans and a blazer and totally ready to rock that look before I realised that the cups were slightly transparent and I’m not quite brave enough to walk out of the house with nipples on display.

Just the feeling of walking out and knowing I have a matching set of beautiful underwear on underneath my clothes is enough to give me added confidence, I can’t believe it’s taken me twenty years to find underwear for big boobs which fits well and looks great too.

A journey to health and wellness

I’ve written previously about how I lost a sense of self over lockdown. A year of sitting at home with nothing to do but bake really had an impact on my waist line which in turn had an impact on my identity.

As the world tentatively re-opened I decided I needed to turn things around and completely overhauled my lifestyle. I started at home with thirty days challenges for myself. Some based on fitness and others on my mental health, and some just for fun. I also began to change the way I eat and incorporated exercise in to my routines.

Then the summer holidays arrived and all routine went out of the window. With a four year old snack monster it would have been easy to slip back in to old habits and I certainly struggle to find time to head to the gym but I was set a little challenge by the team at Everyone Active. We participated in their week long everyone is family challenge – designed to promote health and wellness and make it fun for all the family.

There are four different week long programmes you can choose to participate in, each with a range of activities designed to make it fun for families to engage in sports and healthy activities together, at your local leisure centre or even from the comfort of your own home.

We chose our activities together from the adventure programme (of course) and decided to attempt a family swim session first of all. Arlo and Paloma are both aged 4, Lincoln is 6 and Logan is 9 so it’s been a challenge finding activities this summer which are appropriate and engaging for all of them to enjoy, but they all love the water so it was a great place to start.

On our first visit to the leisure centre we noticed the clip and climb walls and not being the type of kids to shy away from a challenge they insisted we book in for a session. With even the little ones feeling confident and wanting to brave the heights. There’s nothing more energising than getting to the top of a wall! We had a great time cheering each other on and conquering the heights.

This week we have also been participating in fun together outdoors – the activity planner suggested a bike ride but I couldn’t get four in the car to take to the park so we opted for scooters instead – the beauty of these activity plans is that they’re flexible and can be adapted to suit your family. We have been touring our local area and enjoying open spaces. I wear my fit bit and keep an eye on my step count so even if I can’t get to the gym I know I can hit my 10,000 step target which is easily achievable when chasing after these kids.

Of course I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours for myself, and I’ve been doing group exercise classes. I find working out in classes to be really motivating, I always want to finish the sets and pull another rep out of the bag when I see other people beside me putting the work in. I’ve been attending group classes since gyms’s opened their doors back in May and the support from others attending the classes is incredible too. It can be really intimidating attending a class for the first time but my advice is always to just go for it.

After all of this activity it seemed only fair to book in to visit the spa at Bromsgrove Leisure Centre, purely to give the place a thorough review. A couple of hours to myself relaxing and enjoying a treatment is just what I need after all of that hard work!

Everyone Active has leisure centres across the U.K. with a full schedule of family friendly activities and adult workout out classes to enjoy this summer holiday – and beyond. Check out your local leisure centre and find out what’s on, you could start your own family challenge, get the kids active and start your wellness journey.

Membership provided for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


Sarah and Duck at the outdoor amphitheater

The Mac has done it again. Our first experience of live theatre in over a year was simply delightful. We were transported in to the whimsical world of Sarah and Duck, the BAFTA award winning children’s show for an hour on a summer afternoon. The setting for this performance is the outdoor amphitheatre at the MAC in Cannon Hill park which is just perfect because you can meet ducks before and after the show walking around the pools in the park. Click here to book your tickets this weekend.

Just before the show started we had the chance to read a book we bought from the merchandise on offer which included several of the story books and of course plushie versions of Sarah and Duck themselves.

The performance features all of the much loved characters recognisable from the books and tv show, even the flamingo and they’re all bought to life through skilled puppetry, designed by Lauren McEwen. Seeing how the stage props came together was magical in itself, turning the construction of the big top circus in to a song and seeing it spring in to life was like watching masterful design in action. The attention to detail was incredible and nothing went unnoticed by Arlo. Transforming the stage set in to a zoo to meet the penguins, and then back to the big top after a huge gust of wind blew it over, and then back to the park bench was masterful.

The show was engaging throughout, set at just the right pace for pre-schoolers. Continued repetition of words and phrases, sing along moments, a and audience participation kept Arlo occupied and interested in the storyline. I’m surprised at just how many references to the show the writers Pete Glanville and Sarah Gomes-Harris managed to include. If you love Sarah and Duck then you’ll know what I mean when I say the moon and the ribbon sisters were spot on!

The Mac always hosts great performances and the opportunity to experience a show in the amphitheatre doesn’t come around often, so head over this weekend – the performance is outdoors so be prepared with sun cream and/or waterproofs as it’s so unpredictable.

The Sarah and Duck show is on tour so head to their website to check out if they’re coming to your town.

Hosting an Epic Water Fight this summer

(The toys featured in this blog were provided by Zuru for the purposes of review)

I have been working with Zuru toys over on social media and they have sent us across some epic PR packages. Arlo was delighted to receive the Bunch O Balloons box which was packed full to the brim with all sorts of surprises. Everyone loves a water balloon battle when there’s a heatwave but no one likes inflating the balloons – until now!

The unique feature of Bunch O Balloons has been designed to enable you to inflate water balloons in seconds. Each bunch comes with dozens of Ballons and a screw cap which you attach to your hosepipe. Simply turn the water on and watch them expand before your very eyes.

Bunch O Balloons are available to purchase from supermarkets, toy shops and on Amazon in a variety of different formats and colour options. The best thing about these is they are made from 100% recycled plastic and are also recyclable too.

We had so much fun setting up our battle stations, filling up buckets with water balloons ready for a big splash – our Top Tip is to add a little bit of water to the container you use which helps the balloons to inflate and drop off their stems smoothly. Of course it’s optional for you to sit in the bucket too.

I’m not quite sure who won round one, in the end I stopped taking pictures, kicked off my flip flops and joined in with the kids, which was utter chaos but so much fun. I’d hidden washing up bowls full of balloons behind the shed and bench to surprise them and the kids were also able to top up their own stashes, until we eventually called a truce.

Luckily this heatwave has been sticking around and so we had the chance to up our game with these water blasters which are just as fabulous, and the play lasts even longer because these blasters refill with water in seconds and so as long as you have a water source you can play until it’s bedtime!

Zuru sent us out a box featuring six blasters, including three different kinds and so I invited the cousins and nanny along to the park for a battle to end all battles and it’s safe to say that there’s a blaster in this range for everyone.

The intuitive refill system took us no time at all to figure out, each blaster has a button/switch which you press to release a watertight cap and then submerge the hole in water to refill instantaneously. The entire process takes a second, as claimed on the packaging and this delighted the little ones who usually have to ask for help with water refills on fiddly toys.

We had an hour of running around in the park and running back and forth to the stream to refill. We swapped and shared the blasters to try out the different sizes and surprisingly Paloma and Arlo seemed to really get along with the water warfare blaster which was the biggest in the box. The older boys kindly conceded them the first choice of weapon which I think they later regretted because Paloma was fearsome!

I think she liked this best because it had the longest range, water was blasting over 30ft away so she was a safe distance away from the boys and managed to avoid getting soaked in return until she decided to run a campaign through the stream with Arlo. I think they worked really well together as a team, inventing their own tactics before turning the water on to me!

Nanny was also a fan of the warfare blaster and employed some great tactics attempting to defend the stream water source but when the kids decided it was four against one she stood no chance and was surrounded from all sides. Paloma and Arlo were also just as happy to test out the Smaller X shot fast fill which also had an over 30ft range – and we launched streams of water across the stream to put this claim to the test.

In the end it was every man and woman for themselves, and once everyone got soaked we called a truce and head across the park to nanny’s house for supper – what a way to finish the weekend! The kids are already planning summer holiday trips to local parks with streams for another epic battle.

For your chance to win an awesome Xshot blaster set including six blasters from Zuru Toys then enter our giveaway here or click the image below. Competition closes at midnight on 14th August.

Terms and conditions apply – click here for full details

My squishy little dumplings

Introducing The Squish 
The adorable Doe, Dip, Dee and Dot have arrived. Can YOU resist The Squish?! The My Squishy Little Dumplings from My Squishy Littles are on a world tour. First stop the UK and we were so excited to be the first to get our hands on this new toy.

There are four adorable little interactive characters with BIG personalities to collect. They come with the cutest accessories to match! Arlo was besotted with Dot and his little glasses and cap, and he ran off to find his own accessories to match. My Squishy Little Dumplings are the perfect pal that fit in the palm of your hand. You squeeze their cheeks to pop out their unique personalities, and they spring in to life.

They have a whole host of funny noises, from a funny little laughter like sound when their body pops out to all sorts of other quirky little giggles and I think I may have even heard a hiccough too. They have over 50 reactions so Arlo has been playing with Dot to explore exactly what he can do, and when you throw them up and down his hair and cheeks light up too. The colours all mean different things – there’s no surprise Dot is often green which shows he’s feeling energetic – the perfect companion for Arlo!

 The more you squish their cheeks the more they say – this little guy sings a little song and then when you turn him upside down he sings “weeee wooo Boomba” – it’s hilarious and our parrots love the noises too – this new language is called Squish Pop and the box gives you a handy guide or “squishionary” to get to know these little dudes.

They are available now for £14.99rrp from Smyths Toys, The Entertainer, Amazon.co.uk, Very.co.uk and other retailers and we have been kindly given the chance to host a competition for you to win your very own.

Click the image below to enter.

(Terms and conditions apply, competition closes at midnight on 10th August, click here for more details)

Cats Vs Pickles plushies review

When we were sent on a special mission to find and review a Cats vs. Pickles collectible plushie, Arlo was most excited and we went on a little trip to our local Smyths toy store to hint down these Mischievous characters. I have to admit that I had no idea where or why these have suddenly become popular but I must have been living under a rock. Seeing viral videos of real cats reacting to pickles has had me in stitches so it’s no wonder these toys are the latest trend for tweens, teens and everyone in between.

Cats vs. Pickles invites you to enter a world in which cats are nothing short of paw-trified of Pickles! But, for their green pickled adversaries, this fear is a cu-cumbersome burden to bear, because Cats have simply meows-understood! All they want is a bit of love! Arlo was very happy to pick pickles for his team and got himself ready to run in to Smyths to find himself a pickle.

Cats vs. Pickles already has a huge fanbase, thanks to the splendidly silly videos that can be viewed over on the Cats vs. Pickles YouTube channel. So pick a team, Team Cat or Team Pickle, and get ready to immerse yourself in this brilliant new world with this exciting new toy collection. Here’s what’s available in the range… 

Cats vs. Pickles Collectable Plushies

Available from Smyths Toys (RRP £4.99)

Collect all the silly and soft Cats vs Pickles characters – there are more than 100 different styles to find! Irresistibly squishy, each super-soft character has an adoprable print design that reflects its paw-sonality! Fans can collect different themes of Cats, as well as sought-after, rare plush Pickles. There are Foodie Cats like Paw-Purr-Oni; Sweet Cats like Mint Chippie; and even Smarty Cats like Mew-sical Meow! Each Collectable Plushie comes with a special hang tag that contains the character’s name and bio, with a QR code for a free app game download! (App and device not included)

Of course as soon as Arlo realised there were so many different characters he wanted to take them all home. We spent quite a long time looking through all the colourful characters before eventually deciding on Super Cat and switching to #teamcat (for now).

Cats vs. Pickles Collectable Plushies Themed Multipacks

Cats vs. Pickles Collectable Plushies are also available as multipacks! Choose from lots of fun themes! Great for little scaredy-cats, there’s a spooktacular Scary themed pack, and the Swimmy packs are sure to make a splash! Each multipack comes with a guaranteed, blind packaged Pickle character! And all the Cats are exclusive to the packs! 

Wondering where you can get your hands on these the Cats vs Pickles Collectable Plushies? Check out the shopping links below:

Single Packs (RRP £4.99) – Smyths Toys Superstores
Two-Packs (£9.99) – Amazon UK
Four-Packs (RRP £19.99) – Smyths Toys Superstores, The Entertainer and Amazon UK 
Six-Packs (RRP £29.99) – The Entertainer
12-Packs (RRP £59.99) – Amazon UK

Cats vs. Pickles Jumbo Plush Character Pillows 

Available from Smyths Toys Superstores (RRP £14.99)

For kitty cuddles of a grander scale, there are six Jumbo Plush Character Pillows to collect! Each 10” plush pal is super soft and snuggly. Be sure to keep an eye out for the lone Pickle character in the collection!  

(Products in the blog provided for the purpose of review)

Setting up a garden padding pool – essential hints and tips

Paddling pools are the number one summer garden accessory. When you think about how many hours the kids spend jumping in and out of the water they’re fabulous value for money. My advice having had many different types of pool over the years is to go for a simple shape rather than one with all sorts of different inflatable options, because they’re more robust in the long term. Go for a pool which is big enough for the grown ups to enjoy too.

Use matting

First things first choose the space where you’re going to put up the pool. If you only have grass that’s okay, but I prefer to use my patio, so that (after mowing it) the lawn doesn’t get flooded. When we have spells of warm weather I like to leave the pool up so this can create patches on the lawn too. So predicting that Arlo would jump in to the pool immediately I got these mats to act as a soft barrier between him and the floor. It also protects the base of the pool from tears. These mats were £14.99 from Halfords.

Fill her up

We have an outdoor tap which is where we connect the hose. The water is ice cold and so when it’s looking like a spell of warm water is coming and its a pool putting up day this is done first thing in the morning. We have an attachment on the hose that you can clip to leave it running, but getting Arlo involved is just as fun. This pool took about an hour to fill up.

Warming the water

This is a tough one, naturally as the day progresses the water does warm up slightly. At first we tentatively dip our toes in to test the water and the chill takes your breath away and makes you think twice about splashing in. By the time the sun is highest in the sky however, that’s the exact feeling you want and theres no hesitation. I did try the binbag hack. Laying out black bags in the pool in the morning meant that the water did warm up as the sun shone down, only by a few degrees but it was noticeable. Boiling a kettle and mixing it in just doesn’t work for us. I’ve also seen hacks to use the kitchen mixer taps and putting warm water through the hose.

Time to Splash

Then it’s time to splash. I let Arlo invent the play – he was racing end to end and diving in and all sorts. I have some balls and other bits and bobs he can use in the pool and he also went and found some plastic water animals at one point. In the past he’s had a slide propped up over the edge of the pool too. I keep a towel hanging on the washing line for him to grab hold of and always put it back up there to dry out.

At the end of the day

I have used a bed sheet to cover the pool over night to reuse the water the next day. Before I do this we dip the watering can in the water and use it around the garden to water the plant pots and hanging baskets. This is a fab evening job for Arlo to do, and we top up the pool from the hose the next day. Water tends to last a good few days before it gets too grubby, because we reuse the water I don’t like to add any chemicals. I send Arlo out with his bug net to pick out any leaves and bits which are in the water.

Once we are done with the pool I empty it out completely and give it a good wipe over, hang it on the line to dry out and deflate it all before folding and storing inside binliners in the shed, ready for the next spell of warm weather.

Bestway pool available from Very at £34.99 – gifted for the purposes of a previous review.

Think Tank at Millennium Point

Finally one of Arlo’s favourite places to visit in Birmingham has re-opened and we were delighted to be given press tickets to visit and explore this weekend. Navigating around the ever changing roadworks in the city centre was a nightmare but eventually we found the car park and arrived at five minutes before our ticket time. The entrance is within the millennium point complex which is also hosting a vaccination clinic and so the main entrance is now on the ground floor.

We’ve been learning all about space and the solar system and so our new Grogu plushie came along with us and Luckily we managed to book slots for a planetarium show- we chose “the little star that could.” (slots are very limited due to social distancing so plan ahead for this). As soon as we finished checking in which was a simple process, we began to follow the one way system which was marked out with unmissable red arrows, and we head out to explore the ground floor.

This space has some awesome machines. Of course Arlo is a bit too little to pause to read the signs and understand all of the science behind the installations but he enjoyed it none the less. With life size train engines and cars, not to mention fully functioning pistons and various interactive displays with buttons to press this was a fantastic place to start exploring. There’s really something for everyone here, and on previous visits his grandparents have enjoyed the tram, which they recall from when it actually ran in and around Birmingham.

We took the stairs up to the first floor which gave us an awesome view of the spitfire which hangs in mid air. The spitfire was manufactured in the city and it makes me proud to see exhibits which not only help to give kids a science lesson but also help deliver a bit of local history too. It’s great that the exhibitions feature so many different points of interaction and it gave me great pleasure to see Arlo enjoying new things over a year after our last trip. I feel as though we could return time and time again and learn something new.

There’s more to see on this floor, which focuses on science and Industry with a huge collection of exhibits. There’s so much space at ThinkTank we had no trouble social distancing and I noticed that the team were very present wearing gloves and cleaning the interactive displays regularly. Arlo wanted to touch everything, from changing tyres to rewiring robots. There’s so many screens activated with buttons which offer short informative clips relating to exhibits this it’s impossible to cover it all in a day.

The new our changing planet instillation was a space which Arlo really enjoyed on the next floor. I think it’s aimed more at older children in terms of educational value but the visuals really intrigued him. He’s been learning about “trash” and recycling at nursery and talks about this a lot at home so looking at the display about plastics opened up a valuable discussion opportunity.

There was more to explore on this floor, with huge displays detailing everything you need to know about the human body – from digestion – where to help push food along to the stomach before finding out about the contents of large intestines and colon and pressing a button to make a fabulous splash and flush noise. Each exhibit includes different sensory opportunities, designed to be interacted with. This was spot on for Arlo’s age and we spent a lot of time on this floor, because there’s more to see.

Arlo remembered the animals and ran around this display enough times to make me feel dizzy. By this point he had got the hang of the arrows and I found that they have been arranged in the most useful way to take you through the exhibitions. This floor is also where the gift shop is. I must say that gift shops are usually my worst part of the day but Thinktank has a wonderful selection of bits and bobs. Plenty of toys with educational value, beautiful books and pocket money toys which don’t break the bank. I even asked if I could come and visit the shop (thinking of birthday gifts) without having to pay entry and they said yes!

The top floor takes us up to Mini Brum which is easily Arlo’s favourite place. It’s a fully immersive role play for kids, with areas for construction, a doctors surgery, a cafe, post office, super market, mechanics, train station and so much more. Each space is built with little people in mind and inspires imaginative play. I personally would pay to come to ThinkTank just to visit this space with a toddler. Again this space had a queue system entry to allow for distancing and the team were constantly cleaning toys and equipment without intruding.

At some point in the day, about four hours after we arrived Arlo decided that he was feeling peckish and we we went back down to the ground floor and enjoyed table service at the cafe. I ordered an adults hot dog meal at £7 and a kids snack pack which had a sandwich, a carton of juice and other bits he could choose including cheese and grapes for £4.95. Service was efficient – mid meal I had to stop to rush Arlo to the loos and the lovely team helped us find the nearest ones and get back to our table with no problems at all. During the meal Arlo noticed other children playing outdoors in the garden.

The science garden is one of Birmingham’s best outdoor spaces for little ones – you won’t find a traditional play area here – every single apparatus delivers a science lesson and buckets of fun, although if you have a child like Arlo you might want to take a change of clothes as the water tables are bound to be splashed about in.

This fascinating structure captured his attention for such a long time, the frame has a series of different mechanisms – pulleys, winches and wheels to be turned which when played with cycle a series of balls around the frame, and as the balls move around they hit bells making noises. It sounds really simple, looks really complex and it made the cogs in Arlo’s brain turn.

At our booked time slot we made our way back up to the top floor with our snack of dehydrated space food to visit the Planetarium. Tickets are £2.59 and there were several different shows on throughout the day. We watched a 25 minute show about a little star, an average star with no name as he journeyed through the universe – we eventually discovered was our sun and had an introduction to various different types of stats and all of the planets in our solar system too.

Arlo really enjoyed the show, it was his first experience inside an auditorium post lockdown so I wasn’t sure if he would sit through, but it was pitched at just the right level for his age. He’s obsessed with all things space related and so to come out of the planetarium and explore the exhibits with the Mars rover and a full size spacesuit was slightly overwhelming for him.

Then by the time we got to the interactive robots he could barely contain his excitement, he ran from screen to screen pressing buttons to make the displays light up and spring in to life. Once we had explored every floor I asked Arlo if he wanted to go home but he wanted to go back and revisit some of the spaces again, and so we went up and down in the lift – of course back to the digestive system to listen to the toilet splash once more.

Tickets to ThinkTank are bookable online, adults £14, kids £10.25 and under threes go free.

Tinktank is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm. (During May half-term the museum is open 7 days 10am – 5pm)

Visitors can become a member of Birmingham Museums and get 12 months free entry to Thinktank Science Museum, plus other amazing museums in Birmingham!

Thinktank is part of Birmingham Museums Trust, a charity that cares for the city’s collection of over 1 million objects and artworks across nine venues, bringing people’s stories alive through exhibitions, special events and activities. All proceeds from your visit to Thinktank, help Birmingham Museums Trust continue to educate, inspire and entertain!