Review: The Red Lion, Alvechurch

A few weeks ago we took advantage of a lovely sunny Sunday to go on a little mini road trip. South Birmingham really isn’t somewhere we know much about or have explored, so when the opportunity to try out a pub in the village of Alvechurch came up we decided to go for it.

We made the most of the morning sunshine first by exploring Lickey Hills Country park, where Imogen even had her first go on a swing!

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Bath time with Vital Baby

Imogen is now just over 8 months old, and although she has always seemed to love being in the bath (apart from a 5 days wobble where she hated it!) she is now getting to the age where properly splashing about and playing with toys during bath time is really coming into its own. Up until now we’ve only had a couple of bath toys, the quintessential rubber duck and swimming tortoise, so I was excited to try out a couple of new toys from Vital Baby with Imogen.

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First up was the Float & Slide. I loved the look of this – a floating slide that bobs around in the bath with two cute little ducks on surfboards to slide down it!

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The slide was very easy to put together  – a couple of clicks and you are good to go. It’s also made from safe BPA, latex and phthalate free materials so no worries there.

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Imogen loved watching the ducks whoosh down the slide and plop into the water. She’s not quite at the age where she can do it herself, but she kept scooping up the duck as it splashed into the water near her feet with a look of joy on her face. The toy is marketed as 18m+, and I think this is because this is likely to be the age that they can play with it themselves, but as children will always be supervised in the bath anyway, I think it would be a great one to use for this younger age group too.

The second toys we tried out were the Swim Rings. These are fully connectable and floatable and come complete with 6 colour coordinated sea themed squirters, a hippo, tortoise, octopus, crab, fish and a starfish.

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Like the Float & Slide, they are marketed as 18m+ and  made from safe BPA, latex and phthalate free materials. They are designed to develop counting skills and hand to eye coordination and I think these will be great to use as Imogen grows up and is able to connect and disconnect them herself, and match the colours of the rings to the squirters.

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Currently Imogen likes to grab the squirters and squeeze them, and the bright colours keep her very entertained!

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I was really impressed with both toys and we’ve been having a lot of fun over the last few weeks using them in the bath and I’m pretty sure the fun will just grow and grow as she does. If you’re buying for a little one of Imogens’ age I would definitely go for the Float & Slide, or they would both be great for slightly older toddlers.


Disclosure: We were gifted the toys from vital baby in return for an honest review of how we found them.

Review: The Crown, Four Oaks

A few weeks ago, when an email popped into my inbox inviting me to go and have a meal at The Crown, an Ember Inn in Four Oaks I was intrigued. You see, I grew up merely 100 yards from that pub and saw it evolve from a slightly strange place that had three different restaurants inside and was a but like a food court ( this sounds very odd, but if you lived in Four Oaks circa 1995-2000 you will know what I mean!) and then when I was 17 or 18 it was taken over by Ember Inns, just in time for me to spend an incredible amount of my spare time in it! In fact the last time I was there was probably my mid twenties when we won the pub quiz! Given all this, I have hardly ever eaten there so was happy to give it a try and take a trip down memory lane, whilst making some new memories with my little family.

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Toasted Marshmallow milkshake

Toasted Marshmallow & Vanilla Milkshake

A milkshake. Indulgent. Naughty. Bad for you.

But every so often everyone deserves a treat right? American style thick shakes are becoming more common in the UK, particularly at burger joints like Byron and Diners like Eds Easy Diner. For me they’re more like a pudding than a drink to accompany a meal but boy are they good. You might need to avoid all sugar related items for a month after but occasionally its worth it!

Toasted Marshmallow & Vanilla Milkshake

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