Get traintastic with the new Chuggington StackTrack toy range


We are huge fans of the popular kids TV show Chuggington. My girls love playing with their trains and we recently discovered the amazing world of the all new Chuggington playsets.

If you haven’t seen Chuggington (Check it out, its brilliant!) then you and your children are missing out on one of the most fun contemporary animated series aimed at pre-schoolers around. The TV series follows three young trains – Chuggers- exploring the rails of Chuggington and learning new skills to be the best trains in the land! The trainee Chuggers learn positive values such as loyalty, friendship, teamwork and patience.

In the all new series 5, Wilson, Brewster and Koko continue to take on exciting new challenges and perfect their skills as hard working trains, under the watchful eyes of their trainers. The new series sees the introduction of a brand new freight and delivery hub- The Dock Yard- home to 4 all new characters, called The Haulers.

Kids of all ages love playing with train sets. A popular choice of toy for many generations and the super world of Chuggington keeps the fun modern, up-to-date and exciting while keeping imaginations running wild, role playing skills developing and everyone becoming their favourite heroic characters with hours of traintastic play!

The Toy Range

Tomy has teamed up with the creators of Chuggington to deliver an all new Tomy Chugginton StackTrack toy line, which allows children to build their own world with tracks, trains and scenery which all connect together to create amazing play scenes. We recently had the chance to check out the new toy range and put wheels to the tracks and see just how fun the new range really is.

chugginton stacktrack review

We soon learnt that the tracks can be built as high as the sky (or at least the ceiling!) and there is no limit to how you can build your track. All pieces are interlocking and work with each other.The die-cast trains are well built and sturdy, and glide along their tracks perfectly. The trains are chunky for small toddler fingers and are easy to play with. My 3 year old loved connecting the tracks, my 2 year old loved pushing the train along the tracks and my 7 month old loved just holding the trains and exploring them with her hands. And of course Daddy had to get involved in the fun, setting up the track and getting lost in his own little imaginative world… typical boy, whos never too old to join in with the fun! The whole set felt strong and sturdy and certainly well built, with heavy pre-schooler play kept in mind. The sets were not fiddly, and was easily set up in no time at all. Each playset can be used with all of the other Chuggington toys from the range, and the track was even suitable for us to push some of our own train toys (such as Brio) along too.

Chugginton Stacktrack reviewChuggington StackTrack Review

The track itself, slots together and has a bumper built up into the track, so the trains don’t just go whizzing off-course! Trains are kept in their place and glide easily from top to bottom of the tracks. I have found that when my girls have played with train sets and the trains fly off of the tracks they can easily loose interest when they have to keep having to move away from the toys to the other side of the living room to retrieve their AWOL trains. Because the Chuggington tracks have the side bumpers, play can continue easily with no annoying distractions… such as run away engines! Some sets include 2 adapter track pieces too, so the new StackTrack can be used with the older style wooden Chuggington playsets so both play sets can be used together for even bigger play. There are even expansion packs available too, for those who want to built their world of Chuggington even higher with more track pieces.

I made a short video looking at 2 of the die-cast trains in a little more detail AND the new Chuggington magazine available in newsagents too.

The Tomy Chuggington StackTrack toy range is available from Amazon, The Entertainer, Smyths, Toys R Us and Argos. Sets and trains vary in prices (between around £30-£40 per set) but are what I would consider to be very cheap in price despite being a strong, well built set of toys from such a trusted brand and each set is large in size with lots to play with. Each of the StackTrack trains are priced at £4.99, also a very reasonable price for such a solid toy. Expansion sets of extra track are £16.99.

Unwind with Olverum

As a busy mum of 3 girls, having a relaxing bath (alone) is pure luxury. I’ll be honest, it rarely ever happens. If I’m not sharing the tub with one of the kids, then one is usually staring over me like a hawk. Or the cat. The cat often likes to sit and stare at me too. And washing myself in baby bath bubbles are just not quite as relaxing as I ever hope for.

oxpasture bath


I decided that I would treat my body and soul to a relaxing hot bath, with the help of Olverum. I have had a particularly stressful start to October so far, and making me feel even more drained by the fact I have a stinking cold! I feel like I have not sat down for weeks, sleep has gone out of the window thanks to a teething 7 month old and my body feels very, very neglected indeed!

What is it?

Olverum is a stunning bath oil made from a luxurious blend of 10 aromatic essential oils; lavender, pine, eucalyptus, and juniper to name just a few. Just a 5 ml dash in your bath water is enough to tingle your senses and relax your whole body instantaneously, Especially after a particularly stressful or hectic day. Olverum has a truly natural scent, of pine and lavender along with other subtle hints of rosemary and lemon that help to decongest and open up your airways.  I thoroughly recommended a steamy soak with Olverum if you have a cold stuffing up your nose. As soon as I started running my bath the lush scent started filling the bathroom and unlocking my nose right away. My husband even commented on how beautiful the smell was as it drifted down the stairs, and actually filled our whole propetry with such a fresh scent that lasted all night long, as we could still smell it in the morning! I do like to leave my bath water in the tub overnight when I have used any nice smelling products, as I believe that no pretty smells should be wasted down the plug hole! Also, I find if we keep the bathwater in the tub overnight, it actually helps to heat the upstairs of the house in the winter. A sneaky energy saving tip 😉

The good bits

The bath oil mixes well with your water and while it smells very strong aromatically, the scent is left subtly on your skin and not over-powering. I was expecting my skin to be left smelling strongly of Olverum, but I was pleasantly surprised when I was left with just hints of the bath oil scent. In the past I have used bath oils which have felt slimy on my skin, and left me covered in a greasy film. Olverum did not do this, instead it left my skin feeling soft and moisturised being absorbed into my skin rather than just sitting there blocking pores.

Olverum can even be used sparingly as a massage oil. Whether you’ve just got back from a tough work-out, or if your partner decides to treat you, a few drops warmed on the skin feels divine and relaxes muscles instantly. Another pro-point for this product. It just keeps getting better in my opinion!

The bad bits

I couldn’t find any bad points about Olverum actually. Not a single thing… other than I felt like I needed a huge bottle living on my bathroom shelf and I did not have one in my possession! Putting Olverum in my bath definitely gave me one of the most unforgettable tub moments I have ever had. My husband even heard me moan as I sat down into the water, it felt and smelt so good.

Who’s it for?

Olverum really is a unisex product, which would make as a lovely gift for someone special in your life (whatever their gender). The scent is not overly flowery, but instead a nice alpine medicinal aroma, without your bathroom smelling like a chemist. The bath oil is just an artistic blend of 10 essential oils and is kind and gentle on skin, even suitable for those with sensitive skin.

Where can I buy some?

Olverum is available from the Olverum website directly or Harvey Nichls and Fenwick stores. Bottles are priced at £23.50 for 125 ml (25 baths) or £36.95 for 200ml (40 baths). An investment that I do belive is completely worth it. There are endless products made to give you an ultimate realxig bathtime experience, but I think Olverum really is the ‘cherry on the cake’ … or should I say ‘the Bubble on the bath’.



Disclaimer: I was sent a sample of Olverum in exchange for my honest opinion of the product.


My First Miles For #Miles4MAMA Challenge

I’m just coming up to my first completed month doing the #Miles4MAMA challenge, which sees me covering 1500 miles in just 10 months for the superb MAMA Academy. MAMA Academy are a charity that are helping more babies arrive safely, by and the #Mile4MAMA challenge is raising money for their Made To Measure campaign, promising to save the lives of 1000 babies lives through the nationwide uptake of customised growth charts, which can better detect growth restricted babies, a key early warning for stillbirth. I am honoured to be an ambassador for this superb charity that really have babies, mums and midwives interests at heart.

I started the challenge in the 13th of September and will be finishing on the 13th of July next year. So how have I found my first 24 days? Well, not too hard. Just recording my walks on the school run and errands around town, as well as taking the dog on some brisk walks have all added up to…. *drum roll please*… 130 miles!!! I am actually quite pleased with this. As I am only 24 days in, and If I can do this mileage (and a bit more) each month, I will smash my target!

Not too bad I don’t think. If you would like to sponsor me on my challenge you can give here on our fundraising page. Even if it’s just £1, you really will be helping to save babies lives. Don’t forget to Gift Aid it, if you are a UK tax payer, as this adds an extra 25p from the government for every £1 that you donate.

I’m not the only blogger sweating it out for the #Miles4MAMA challenge either. You can check out these other super bloggers who are also doing their bit. Jenny who blogs at Great North Mum. Vivienne who blogs at Another Bun.  Laura at Life With Baby Kicks. And Trudy at Titanium Trudy.



DIY Fire Pit

Recently there have been a few posts floating around Pinterest and Facebook showing people who have turned old washing machine drums into fire pits. We tend to BBQ a lot over the summer months, and we spend a lot of time in the garden (all year round) gardening and relaxing. We were wanting to buy a fire pit, but without a huge budget we were limited to what we could actually afford. All we wanted was something that we could sit around to keep warm during the evenings, and that we could also cook on occasionally. Many shop bought fire pits are not only costly (The cheapest one we saw was around £30 and the most expensive was just short of £200!), but are not also made suitable for cooking on.

So, I took to Freecycle and found an old battered washing machine that had lived outdoors for a while. The seller told me it was still working, and would make a great work-horse for the shed. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I would be smashing it up. A friend of mine turned an old washing machine into a fire-pit that they also regularly cook on, so I asked her for advice in how the best way to smash it open to retrieve the drum would be. She told me “brute force”. Simples.

Once we had got the washing machine back to ours, my back garden resembled a scrap yard (and the language that I was expelling could also similarly be found on a scarp yard, as I was becoming frustrated with my lack of this ‘brute force’ that my friend told me about.) But, once I got my husband and his sledge hammer involved we quickly had the drum freed from it case… and a surprising amount of concrete that was also surrounding the drum, now shattered all over the garden. We later used a big lump of the concrete to stand the drum on, to keep it off of the ground when in use.

We couldn’t wait to fire up the drum, and my dad got the honours of being the first person to light it. The drum worked perfectly, and as night fell we were actually complaining of being too hot, awkwardly shuffling our bodies further away from the fire. I used our old BBQ grill to rest on top of the drum, and cooked a quick supper as a ‘dinner test’, that was simply tinned spaghetti and toast. If you’ve never toasted bread over a fire before, give it a go. There’s something very therapeutic about it.

The great thing about the drum is that it is so light! It can easily be moved from place to place around the garden, or slung into the back of the car for camping trips. My dad also noticed that there was 3 evenly spaced holes on the top of the drum. He suggested that we fix some metal poles into them and join some chain between all 3, to hang a kettle or cooking pot onto. That will be our first modification to the drum. My husband also wants to files some grooves into the top rim to stop our BBQ grill from slipping about when cooking.

So, all in all, the fire pit didn’t cost us a penny (except for the £2.50’s worth of petrol that we used picking it up), and a couple of grazed fingers.

Washing Machine fire pit


Inspire Yourself At The Festival Of Thrift

I am a huge fan of all things frugal and we live as ‘green’ as possible, so an event of pure thrift is just our cup of tea (with the teabag used twice for extra enjoyment!).


The festival takes place in Darlington on the 26th and 27th of September at Lingfield Point and offers visitors a unique cultural celebration that brings together nationally known scrimpers, leading and emerging artists, musicians amongst special installations, demonstrations, debates, and the chance to see some fabulous stalls selling up-cycled, recycled and second-hand goods, activities, crafting, music and tips and advice.

With over 1,200 things to see and do, the festival is the perfect chance to develop your frugal skills; learning how to reuse, recycle and upcycle with some incredible workshops running all weekend.  With many different workshops focusing on such a wide rage of activities, you can have a go at tapestry weaving, making a flower crown, learning about creating candles and creams from beeswax, Creating a tea-plate cake stand (my personal favourite), furniture upcycling,  jam making, wine blending (also a favourite), bread making… the list goes on and on! There really is a workshop suitable for everybody, whether it is just trying something new or developing your skills.

You can also bring along any of your old broken household items (such as your busted toaster or snapped guitar) and the clever folk at the Fix It Café will show you how to fix it, not fling it. There is also going to be a pop-up Swap Shop, for you to swap your items at. Perhaps you don’t want to wear last years winter coat again this year, instead you could treat yourself and swap it for a new style. It’s not just clothes that can be swapped either. The festival are focusing this year on toys, gardening equipment and plants too. The brilliant thing about swapping items is that it won’t cost you a penny and you still get to go home with something new.



The best part about the festival is that it’s all FREE. There are not many things in life that are now available for free, especially great days out for the while family! Form more information about the Festival Of Thrift you can visit the website here, packed with more information about the weekend event, how to book your place on one of their amazing workshops, and how to make the most of your weekend.