Category Archives: Reviews ♥

Mini Adventures | Little Diggers Christmas Grotto at Carr Gate Garden Centre

So it appears that without me noticing it, December has crept up on us. And December means twinkling lights, Christmas trees, panic shopping and, most importantly, a trip to see the Big Man himself. That is Santa, Father Christmas, St Nick, Kris Kringle, that big dude in red…whatever you choose to call him, if you have children you will undoubtedly be seeing him at some point before Christmas Day.

We’ve been on our annual Santa trip to various places over the last five years but the first place we ever visited Santa with Elsa was Carr Gate Garden Centre. So we decided to make a return visit for this years trip.

The Grotto visit begins with a meander through a Winter Wonderland. Ted was in love with the animals, wanting to stroke and kiss them all. Elsa found the Giant intriguing and a bit scary in equal measures.


There are various scenes set up featuring both traditional Christmas themes and slightly less traditional such as the giant and a fairy scene. Lots of animatronics are used which all the children there seemed to love. Who doesn’t enjoy a singing reindeer?


When we reached the Grotto the helpful elves directed us into the correct queue. I would totally recommend pre-booking as we had done. We joined a much smaller queue than those that hadn’t prebooked and we were whisked through with only a short wait.


Just before we headed in to see Santa himself, Elsa and Ted planted a magic tree seed with one of the elves. A magic seed went into the pot with some magic soil and this was placed in a magic cupboard when we went into the Grotto.


And now for Santa!! My children, particularly Elsa, can be quite shy and she made Santa work hard to get any conversation out of her. He was excellent though and not at all put off by her one word answers and reluctance to go within 10 feet of him. He had a good chat with both of them, usual questions about what they would like for Christmas and he actively encouraged them to be nice to each other and not fight in the run up to Christmas. I hope that they listen to Santa on this one because they certainly don’t listen to me.


The presents for both were good quality. Elsa received a Crayola stamping set which she has enjoyed so far. Ted received a set of stacking cups which I thought was a little young for him, however has spent most of the weekend building towers with them so they went down well with him.


As we were about to say goodbye to Santa his Elf assistant reminded us about the plant pots we had placed in the magic cupboard and when the cupboard was opened the big reveal showed that their very own mini Christmas trees had grown! This was very exciting for both of them, they were blown away by the magic of it.

After leaving the Grotto Elsa and Ted spent some time at the craft table decorating the mini Christmas Trees that they had grown.


The whole experience last approximately 30 minutes. The planting and growing of the mini Christmas Tree added a lovely twist, something I have not seen done before and the kids loved being able to bring it home.


You are quite welcome to take photos throughout the experience and with Santa. Santa’s Elf does also take a photo of the children with him. This can be purchased afterwards. I did buy the photograph and I am slightly disappointed with how it has come out. It looked really lovely on the screen but seems to be much darker when printed and my own photos are actually lit better. Unfortunately I was too busy talking to an Elf afterwards to have a proper look at the print out or I may have asked for it to be reprinted.


Overall we had a lovely time visiting the Little Diggers Grotto at Carr Gate Garden Centre. The cost was a reasonable £10 per child and tickets can be booked here. Pre-booking is the way forward! The Grotto is open daily right up to Christmas Eve.


** We were invited by Wyevale Garden Centres to visit the Little Diggers Christmas Grotto in return for an honest review. All words, photos and opinions are my own**

Review | Toddler Jump at Jump Inc Leeds


Elsa attends Nursery (pre-school) for 15 hours a week, Monday to Wednesday. Having Thursday and Friday together I am often looking for new and exciting activities to do with her so when I heard that Jump Inc ran Toddler Jump sessions this seemed like an ideal morning out.

Jump Inc Leeds is a new addition to the popular Leeds trampoline scene, opening recently near to Elland Road football ground. The huge arena features over 200 trampolines, a dodge ball area, Walk The Wall and lots of other exciting trampoline stuff that looked way beyond my bouncing ability!


Toddler Jump is a specific session run every weekday morning for children aged under 5. Elsa has a crazy amount of energy and burning it off with some wild jumping and charging round is ideal. During the toddler sessions the usual super cool tunes are replaced with the toddler friendly sounds of Disney songs, cartoon themes and all the other noise that small children love!


We spent an hour bouncing, jumping, balancing and face planting and I was absolutely exhausted. What a work out for this Mama! Elsa and her friend declared that they loved it and couldn’t wait to visit again for another bouncing session.


After all that  bouncing around we were definitely ready for a spot of lunch. The Jump Inc Kitchen offers a selection of sandwiches, wraps, pizzas, salads and more. All very reasonably priced with jacket potatoes from £3.25 and grilled ciabatta’s from £4.25. We tried out between us a selection of sandwiches, a mozzarella, pesto and tomato ciabatta, a pizza, onion rings and my absolute favourite, sweet potato chip. It all got a resounding thumbs up from children and adults alike.


We absolutely loved the Toddler Jump at Jump Inc Leeds and this will be a regular haunt for us now. The Toddler Jump sessions run every week day 11am to 12 noon. The sessions are £3.50 per child (under 5) with one accompanying adult free. Jump Inc socks are required at a cost of £1.50 but these can be kept and used again and again.


For more information and to make a booking visit Jump Inc here.



*Jump Inc Leeds kindly invited us down to experience the Toddler Jump and have lunch. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own*


Review | Sledging Snow Fun At Snozone


So it’s August, it’s forecast to be the hottest day for 13 years, you wake up to a clear sky and bright sunshine. So what would you do? Well, we spent the day sledging of course!

In temperatures of 26C we donned our wellies and winter coats, gloves and scarves and headed off to Snozone Castleford for a chilly experience.



Snozone Castleford is a purpose built indoor snow slope using real snow to give an authentic slope experience. They provide first-class indoor snow facilities for skiing and snowboarding, as well as providing snow experiences such as tubing, sledging, and family snow play sessions.

The sledging sessions are for children 3+ right through to the Grandparents. You are given an aerodynamic sledge and sent on your way down the slopes! I was a bit concerned that Elsa might be a bit daunted by this but after need an initial nudge to get going, her screams as she set off turned to hysterical laughter as she slowed at the bottom and not so gracefully fell off.


We also spent time riding in the large rubber ring things and Elsa even made a whole family of snow angels. At 45 minutes the sledging session was timed just right. Long enough to have plenty of snow fun but we were just feeling the cold as the session came to an end.

My top tip would be to invest in some ski gloves. Elsa was just wearing bog standard woolly gloves and they got very wet and cold, which she was not happy about.

Sledging sessions at Snozone Castleford can be booked here. There is 25% off all bookings until 30th September with code SLEDGE25.

Snozone Castleford also offer Sno-play sessions for toddlers and children who are not so confident with the sledging. They can have fun in the snow, throw snow balls, make snow angels and a drink for the children afterwards is included in the deal. There is a free soft play area so it is ideal for something different to do with the little ones.

We had a lovely time in the snow and can’t wait to go again. Although we might try to choose a cooler day next time!




Review | The Baby Swimming Shop



Summer is here and with the ‘Big School Holidays’ looming we will all be spending our long hot days outside, basking in the glorious sunshine… Oh wait, this is Britain, famed for it’s grey, wet and this year, decidedly unpredictable weather. But we will surely make the most of it anyway…

So when The Baby Swimming Shop contacted me about some swimwear for Elsa & Ted I opted to try out a couple of Platypus Australia UPF50+ suits in the hope that we might actually get some sunshine.


Sun safe swimwear is perfect for us, ultimately I like my life to be as easy as possible so whether in this country or abroad having UPF50+ inbuilt in the swimming gear means I can be sure that those bits of the children are safely covered. The less room for error the better as far as I am concerned.


The Baby Swim Shop is a new online webshop offering a full range of children’s swimwear. They cater from babies up to age 11 and stock everything you could need for swimming at your local pool, swimming lessons to seaside holidays.


Before placing my order on the website I had a few queries and they we answered speedily and concisely. The website is clear and well organised with lots of hints and tips for sun and water safety. My order also shipped quickly and arrived within a couple of days.


Elsa, who knows her own mind and what she wants to wear these days, opted for the Platypus Australia Bloom UPF50+ Fitted Short Sleeve Rash Vest with Boyleg set. This compromises a short sleeved rash vest and coordinating shorts. We opted for age 3-4y as the next size up is 5-6y but in hindsight we should have gone bigger. I would recommend sizing up if you are unsure.

PicMonkey CollageI went for the Platypus Australia Regatta UPF50+ Baby Sunsuit for Ted and given that he is a bit of a chunk, I went for the 18-24m size. This was the right choice, again I would recommend sizing up if you want the to last.


Elsa’s Bloom set costs £34.95 and Ted’s Regatta one piece is £28.95. The Baby Swimming Shop offers free UK postage on orders over £50. Pop on over and have a browse at all the fabulous swimming gear on offer. If you do it with a cocktail in hand you may even feel like you’re on holiday (use your imagination!).



*The Baby Swimming Shop kindly sent the swimwear for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own.*

Mini Adventures | Blast Off With The Rainbow Factory Space Theme



We are massive fans of reading and books in the What Elsa Wears household so The Rainbow Factory, down the road from us in Leeds, is one of our favourite places to visit. And last week we had an extra special visit for the launch* of their latest theme – Space.

*Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.

This tied in brilliantly as Elsa is learning all about space and the solar system at nursery this month. So as we trudged through the very soggy snow, singing the Solar System Song, we were very excited about what we might learn at the The Rainbow Factory.

As usual we were greeted by Boggles, The Rainbow Factory mascot who introduced us to the story of the day; There’s No Place Like Space starring The Cat In The Hat.

We followed the yellow brick road into the ‘rocket’ and went on a journey with The Cat In The Hat through various other story scenes, collecting letters at each one to eventually spell out a Space themed word (I won’t spoil it for you and tell you what it is!).

The staff were once again excellent as they try to involve all the children. Elsa is very shy and it can take her quite a while to warm up in front of people she doesn’t know. It is hard work trying to involve her when you are met with silence and a sullen stare but none of the staff let this put them off and kept trying with her.



After the tour we headed to the craft area, Goldilock’s Kitchen, where there were plenty of activities on offer. Elsa coloured in her own rocket, made a spaceman’s helmet and created a spaceship complete with it’s own alien. Massive points at Nursery when we took those in for homework!


coll2All the kids also got the opportunity to create a Nebulous using squishy gel stuff and food colouring. This went down a treat and it is the kind of messy stuff I would love to do at home but never actually get round to.

While we were at The Rainbow Factory the staff also put on two shows in which they encourage the children to get involved. Elsa eventually came out of her shell and was up on the stage hunting for aliens!

So once again we had a lovely afternoon and pretty much had to be kicked out at closing time. For full detail for The Rainbow Factory and their Space theme see the website here. We can’t wait to go back!


*We were invited to the launch of the Space theme by The Rainbow Factory. All words and opinions are my own.*

Review | The Shoemaker’s Christmas Wish at Rainbow Factory, Leeds




One of our favourite places to visit in Leeds is the Rainbow Factory so Elsa and I were thrilled to be invited along to a sneak preview of their Christmas show, The Shoemaker’s Christmas Wish, a couple of weeks ago.


A reimaging of the classic tale of The Elves & The Shoemaker, the show was written by and starred local actors Emily Goldie & Jennifer Carss. The show was a wriggle proof 40 minutes long which was perfect for Elsa. It was cleverly written and acted and was thoroughly enjoyed by all the adults and children in attendance at the preview. Full of music, laughter and clever lines I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these two talented ladies.




Tickets for this show are completely sold out but a trip to the Rainbow Factory is fabulous at any time. Hours of entertainment for children, capturing their imagination with storytelling, arts and crafts, dressing up and running wild! Elsa genuinely loves visiting the Rainbow Factory (she is particularly enamoured with the sinks and hand dryers at child height – little things!) and we are looking forward to visiting again in the New Year. A lovely day out for anyone in the Leeds area.



Credit for the professional photos goes to C Johnston Photography (apart from my dodgy one of Elsa!)

Full details of opening times and events at the Rainbow Factory can be found here.


*We were invited to the performance of The Shoemaker’s Christmas Wish by the Rainbow Factory. All words and opinions are my own.*

Review | Magical Tales And Fabulous Fun At Rainbow Factory, Leeds



As part of the Big Birthday Week, to celebrate Elsa turning 3 whole years old last week, we paid a visit to the wonderful Rainbow Factory in Leeds. Ted is a bit young to appreciate the magic of books and storytelling so we took along Little Cousin Martha to join in the fun.

The Rainbow Factory is a new venture in Leeds based around a magical wonderland of storytelling, fairy tales and encouraging little imaginations running riot. Classic and modern storybooks are brought to life through whimsical scenes featuring handmade models, crafty activities and the acting out of exciting tales.

We originally visited Rainbow Factory in the summer school holidays. As it turns out it was one of their busiest days ever & it was a bit overwhelming for Elsa. I was very pleased to be invited back to try out the latest themes and experience a quieter and more personal Rainbow Factory.

The Rainbow Factory journey begins with a trip down the yellow brick road to meet the resident creature, Boggles…….



Before venturing through the heavy red curtains in the world of whimsical characters and hand modelled scenes.The models have all been painstakingly created by hand and have a beautiful ‘crafty’ feel to them. They have character and charm and provoke questions and curiosity from children looking at them. The scenes and characters will rotate slightly and changes are planned for the coming months. I had the privilege of a sneak preview of the ‘works in progress’. Coming months will see Snow White and her Dwarves and Jungle Book characters all make an appearance.





Each month the ‘theme’ at Rainbow Factory changes. When we visited this time the theme was ’emotions’. the staff talk through the scenes and characters with the children, encouraging them to recall reading the books or to describe what they can see in front of them. Children are given a little bucket in which to collect an ’emotion’ (star) from each story scene which they can use to craft bunting or a crown or anything they wish in ‘Goldilock’s  Creative Kitchen’.

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After spending some time creating star and glitter masterpieces in Goldilock’s Kitchen (and fully embracing the dressing up box) Elsa and Martha joined it with an active storytelling session involving dance, singing and all round toddler fun.

The staff get fully involved in the stories they are reading, acting out characters, encouraging participation from the children so they ‘become’ part of the story and immerse themselves in the world of the book.

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As it was a beautiful October day we ventured outside to look at the newly opened Secret Garden. Full of scarecrows, fence murals and strangely seculded from the car park below, on a sunny day like this we could have been in the countryside! Bubble blowing and giant dominoes fun in the glorious sunshine followed until it was time to leave. A very reluctant Elsa removed her fancy dress outfit and came away full of talk of her crafting and playing and when could we visit again?

The Rainbow Factory is a fantastic and enriching experience for children, from young to not so young. There is a wealth of activities to get involved in and your time there can be as structured or unstructured as you please. We love this place and cannot wait to go back. It is so different to anything else out there and is an experience like no other.


Full ticket prices can be found here with children (3-12) £8, under 1’s free, age 1-2 £4, adults £4. Ticket price includes a whole day at the Rainbow Factory. Annual tickets are also available priced at £96 (£8 per month) for one children and one adult. 

Opening hours can be found here but are subject to change. After the October school holidays the Rainbow Factory will be closed to the public on both Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Lots of seasonal activities will be taking place in the near future, from Halloween events to Christmas celebrations. Full details can be found on the website or via the Facebook page


*We were invited to visit the Rainbow Factory for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own.*

Review | Penwizard Personalised Book – The Snowman & The Snowdog



As well as being a clothes-a-holic Elsa is something of a book lover which makes us very happy at What Elsa Wears HQ. Elsa’s Daddy reads two books a week and I used to be the same before I had babies. I now just fall asleep when I try to read anything more challenging than Twitter!


We are also huge fans of books ‘featuring’ Elsa & Ted. This is fairly easy for Ted; he has a couple of shelves in his bedroom solely dedicated to books such as ‘One Ted Fell Out Of Bed’ and the ‘Detective Ted’ series. But not as much luck with Elsa, particularly when we are trying to avoid the Ice Queen association. So personalised books are the way forward.


The Penwizard version of The Snowman & The Snowdog is the classic tale with the added twist that it stars your child. Elsa was immediately intrigued by the story having her name in it & found the drawings of ‘her’ fascinating.

“That’s Big Girl Elsa”, is her favourite thing to say.


My initial thought was that the story may be a little old for Elsa at just under three. But although it is longer than most books we read it does keep her interest.




The Penwizard website is very simple to use and the books are easily personalised. Just enter the child’s name, a personalised message if required and a few options on hair style and pyjama colour and hey presto – your personalised book is done.


The illustrations are beautiful and whilst the options on personalisation of them are obviously limited I think that you can create enough of a likeness to your child. I can definitely see Elsa looking a bit like this in a few years!


The Snowman & The Snowdog books would make a lovely Christmas (sssshhhh!) gift and are available in either paperback or hardback format with prices starting from £17.99. Visit Penwizard here to create your very own personalised book.




*We were sent the Penwizard personalised book for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own.*

Review | Kit For Kids Ellergenic Pocket Sprung Mattress



Since Ted was born I have been looking at and researching  mattresses with a view to replacing the one that Elsa used with the cot bed for the last two and a half years.

I came across the Kit For Kids range of Ellergenic mattresses and they kindly offered one for Ted to try out. We were sent the Ellergenic Pocket Sprung Mattress, part of the Ellergenics range which is the first in the UK to receive the Seal Of Approval from Allergy UK.

This prestigious award has been given because this unique range of mattresses reduces the presence of yeast, fungi and most importantly, dust house mites.  The mattress core is sealed, preventing the transmission of fluids into the core or microbes out. And because it is sealed the mattress can be washed in the bath or completely hosed down. Perfect for the dreaded poo-explosion situation we have all had to deal with.




At 8 weeks old Ted is still in his moses basket in our bedroom on a night but I have been putting him down in his cot bed for a nap to allow him to get used to his surroundings before we do eventually move him. He seems very comfortable in this mattress. It is lovely and firm and the removable (washable!) covering gives a slight ‘spongy’ feel which I would like to lie down on!

Another huge bonus for me personally is that Kit For Kids are supporting The Lullaby Trust with this range of mattresses. £2 from the purchase of every Ellergenics mattress is donated to The Lullaby Trust, supporting their research into SIDS and supporting the families affected by it.

The mattress can be purchased here and retails at £189.95.

Kit For Kids also sent Ted a lovely sleeping bag to try from their By Carla range.



This is a fantastic quality sleeping bag, with the handy addition of detachable sleeves. This is perfect if you put baby to sleep in just a vest or bodysuit. It is also helpful if you are putting baby in the sleeping bag whilst out and about. The sleeves can easily be detached when putting baby to bed so they do not overheat.

My favourite feature of this sleeping bag is that the zip fastens in the opposite direction to most other sleeping bags I have seen. It opens from the bottom, up the side. This gives easy access for night time nappy changes rather than having to disturb baby further by removing the whole bag. I love anything that makes it as easy as possible to get back to sleep quickly during those night time feeds!

This By Carla Lazy Days sleeping bag can be purchased here and retails at £12.95.


*We were sent the Kit For Kids Ellergenics mattress and By Carla sleeping bag for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own.*

Review | Dr Brown’s Natural Flow Bottles: A cure for colic?

Ted is windy. And pukey. At times I’m not sure if it’s him or his Daddy doing the burps and trumps.

So whilst Ted has not been suffering with the crying & tummy aches associated with colic I was/am a bit fed up with being covered in freshly puked baby milk. The opportunity to give Dr Brown’s bottles a go came at the right time!

I have seen these before but never paid much attention as we are mainly Tommee Tippee users. And in all honesty these are not the most attractive of bottles out there.

But, who cares if they solved the windy-ness & sick problems?

The bottles comes with a tube & vent system that does something to stop things being as gassy. There is some science behind it here, but being a tired mother of a toddler & 7 week old my only interest is not how they work but “do they work?”.

The vent and tube system appears a bit daunting and faffy at first but after a few attempts it is very straightforward.  The main thing to remember when making up formula in these bottles is DO NOT SHAKE THE BOTTLE. It will leak and you will be covered in milk. The exact opposite of what I was trying to achieve using them!

Getting down to the nitty gritty. Do these bottles work to eliminate wind and sickness? Simply, yes. Having been provided with two bottles to review I used them alongside the standard Tommee Tippee bottles. The difference in Ted after having a feed from a Dr Brown’s bottle was measurable.

Considerably less wind from both ends & minimal puking. No face full of projectile milk for this Mama!

These bottles are not a miracle worker, Ted is going to be a windy & sicky baby it would seem. But the Dr Brown’s bottles have minimised this and the improvement is hugely noticeable. I am certainly going out to buy more of these bottles to replace the standard Tommee Tippee ones we are using.

Dr Brown’s bottles are available to purchase here, starting at £6.99 for a single 240ml bottle.

*I was provided with a twin pack of Dr Brown’s bottles for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are my own*