Sunday, 30 September 2012

Hive Habitat Set Review

The Entertainer kindly sent us this set; we have a couple of HEXBUGS in residence already so it’s nice for them to expand on their accommodation.  I think they are getting spoilt with this latest addition.  


I really did like it and I guess mainly because my two boys will go off and play it on their own for AGES.  I have not seen them so enthusiastic spending so much time together in such a long time; it’s quite a novelty for me.

The Hexbug Nano Hive Playset is well worth the £25.00 price label.  I love that it is so portable, it folds together nicely for taking on journeys, so your children always have something exciting to keep them occupied.  I also think it is hard finding affordable presents come Christmas especially if you’re on a small budget, so this is one I think that is well worth the money.  You get one nano specimen to play with in the set, but if you had two or three children you could easily buy a couple more so they could all play.  Our two managed to share the set nicely (but luckily I already had a few extra nano’s up my sleeve!).

The addition of the construction pieces really kept their interest, they can keep changing the habitat to their liking so never get bored of it.  They enjoyed making mazes and keeping the nano’s busy trying to work their way through them.  I am surprised by how many pieces are included for the price, usually everything you want to buy that is a considered a “big” present costs at least double this.  I guess because it looks small until you unfold it, you get better value!

The set is simple to set up, you literally unfold and then its up to your child where they want to slot in everything else.  So they can start playing straight away and given the number of construction pieces there is no limit to the different quirky types of mazes they can come up with.  It is a great standalone item or you can keep building your HEXBUG world, with more sets so the nano’s can really stretch their mini legs!

Here is a video of the set so you can get a proper feel of it.



It is labelled as a 3+ toy and my 3 year old definitely loved it!

Head over to The Entertainer for more fabulous toys.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Paul Lamond Games What’s Up? Review

We have lots of games coming to be reviewed here, so sometimes we have a little backlog and the boys see them in my office but have to try and wait patiently.  Well when they saw the box of this game, they were chomping at the bit.  I have not seen them this enthusiastic just based on the picture of a game.  I think they liked the idea of wearing a silly headband with a picture card slotted into it!


It is a really simple game to set up, you just put a headband on your head (there are four included in the box), equip a card (making sure not to see what is on it!) and then ask questions in turns to guess what you have on there.  The headbands adjust to fit everyone in the family, with lots of slots of make them bigger as they grow.


Youngest is funny he is quite difficult to play with as he shouts out the answer “I LOVE LIONS, daddy it’s a Lion, a Lion on your head…” So I think the idea of the age rating 5+ is that by then they will have grasped not to give the game away!

Eldest (who is 5) knew not to reveal what anyone had, but when he started playing his questions would revolve around any other picture he could see.  If daddy had a cow, he would say is it a farm animal? Does it make milk? Then daddy would automatically guess his own answer!  But eldest is getting more sophisticated at it fortunately and learning not base his questions around someone else’s picture.

I really love this game, as a family it is one we very much recommend.  It has a novel format and really helps encourage questions so children learn more about animals, transport, people in professions and sports.  You can make it easier by restricting play to just one category or as your children get older use all the cards, then they will really have to get thinking about suitable questions to ask to narrow down what could be on their picture.  It is exciting and fun, perfect as the days draw in and you want something to occupy your children.

To find out more about Paul Lamond Games head to their website.

What’s Up? is available to buy from Amazon for £9.60. 

Friday, 28 September 2012

What does your Cocktail say about you?

I must admit I am quite partial to the odd cocktail.  I do not indulge very often, being a mum of two little boys I very rarely go out and when I do, it might be a trip to the local, where even flavoured vodka is unheard of... so something as exotic as a cocktail well... I should be so lucky!  So I am over the moon to be reviewing the cocktail menu at Frankie & Benny's shortly!  Until then I will just savour reading the press release about what my favourite cocktail says about me...

"We all know how stressful being a mum can be, taking care of the whole family often leaves very little ‘me time’.   Between cooking family meals, getting kids ready for school and running the house, plus often working a full time job, it’s easy to see how many mums end up frazzled!  With that in mind, Frankie & Benny’s has launched its new cocktail menu to encourage mums to take time out and sip on a delicious cocktail.  So what does your cocktail of choice say about you?

Mojito

Ladies who can’t resist a bit of spice will love this cool Cuban cocktail.  Made with fresh lime, mint and sugar, plus a generous splash of Bacardi rum, a mojito drinker is sure to be the first on the dance floor, ready to spice up any night.


Appletini

This fun and flirty drink is perfect for ladies who just want to have fun.  Packed with Eristoff vodka, pressed apple juice and gingerbread syrup, this delightful drink is sure to get the party started.


Cosmopolitan

A sexy and sassy Cosmopolitan is a great choice for those who like to keep it classic.  This zingy and zesty drink comprises vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice creating a cool and crisp taste.  Cosmo ladies love a bit of city glamour and always paint the town pink.

Classic Sour

For ladies who like to be adventurous, this quirky cocktail is available with Jack Daniels, Amaretto or Midori and finished with fresh lemon juice, egg whites for added smooth and is topped off with sugar.  It’s the ideal choice for someone who likes to stand out from the crowd.

Espresso Martini

This rich and sumptuous drink is ideal for ladies looking for a classic cocktail with a twist.  Fresh espresso teamed with vodka and a coffee liqueur offers an instant caffeine hit, a brilliant blend for any modern mum who is in need of a pick-me-up!


Gentle Breeze

A delicious non-alcoholic cocktail for those who like to behave rather than rave!  This drink combines a delicious blend of apple juice, cranberry and citrus juices and is served over ice, offering the designated driver something delightful to sip on.


Bramble


For ladies with a mysterious edge, this deliciously dark cocktail is a tasty mix of Bombay Sapphire gin and black raspberry liqueur.  An added kick of fresh lemon means this drink really packs a punch.


For more information on the new Frankie & Benny’s cocktail menu please visit http://www.frankieandbennys.com/sites/default/files/menus/FB-Cocktail-Menu-2012.pdf."

Mixy Dream Girl Review

These are lovely little sets perfect for any princess.  They are for children aged 5+, but my son gave the review set we had to his girlfriend who is 3 (almost 4), although she is a very mature and sensible!


She had a fantastic time making jewellery with her older sister.  She did however struggle with some of the clipping together, but then she was younger than the age recommendation.  Any 5 year old would be a whizz at this and as the set is aimed for them, I can hardly grumble.

There are plenty of beads to come up with a unique design, a necklace or a pretty bracelet, something to be really proud of.  The next morning, she was so desperate to show me her handiwork she waited for me at school.  The chunky pieces are very modern and the colours and designs well suited to little girls.


There are lots of different Mixy sets available all with different themes, so whatever your little girl loves you will find something appealing for them here.  If they adore animals you could get the furry friends pack or if they prefer music and dancing there is a dance showcase set.

With so many options to personalise jewellery to their taste its an activity they will never tire of and can even keep changing what they make depending on their outfit for the day!  The packs are exciting with the addition of 1 mystery bead... oooh the intrigue! 

To find out more about Mixy head to the website, this Dream Girl set is available to buy from Amazon.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Football Game Review

Our final review from box 1 was this lovely Orchard Toy Game; I had my reservations with it being football themed I thought we would be onto a loser before we started, as neither of my boys have ever shown much interest in the sport.  However at the end of playing a few games, eldest has conceded he now likes football a little bit, which is huge progress!!!


The game is easy enough to set up, at first with the two spinners I thought this looks more complicated but you soon get the hang of it.  It is aged 5+ but youngest was happy to play this and managed fine.

It is in part a little like snakes and ladders in that you can go up and down the board but with the football players kicking the ball forwards or backwards as you move along the board.  This does make it quite exciting as you have no idea who is going to win, you might be storming ahead then land on a whistle and spin onto the red card and have to start the game from the beginning again!


It did help with their instruction following as the boys had to listen to the rules carefully, so they knew what to do when the spinner landed on a yellow card (miss a turn), the red card or the picture of a football (for a free kick).

When you get to the goal at the end you spin the second spinner and try and get the ball on a side not covered by the stretched out goal keeper.  If you do you win!  And the crowd goes wild…

Great game for football fans and non-football fans alike.  Orchard toys just seem great at making appealing games for children, whatever the theme they choose!!!

Available to buy from Toys R Us shortly.


HarperCollins New Releases

We were sent three new books; I think I actually heard our bookshelves groan when they arrived.  But they are still three worthy additions, all tackling the topic of friendship in their own ways.

This Moose belongs to me by Oliver Jeffers


I love the illustrations in this book the author is extremely talented, coming up with sweet stories and doing the pictures too.  The story is all about a boy who comes across a moose and decides he wants to keep it as his pet – in the high hope of having Marcel run around after him!

It is quite entertaining and filled with great humour.  You do find yourself captivated by Wilfred; seeing how he gets on with training his Moose.  It is a good story about friendship.  As much as you might hope your friend will do exactly what you want, you have to realise they are an individual and learn to accept them for who they are.  They might not always want to do what you want to, but they might be there when you need them most.

The Great Granny Gang by Judith Kerr


This book is perfect to get children to respect the older generation.  This motley crew of friends had much more energy than me and they even manage to stop a burglary of a bakery.  They are so much larger than life, living out their dreams and making the most of being alive with a rebellious streak!  Although my youngest thought the granny characters were silly, in the opening scene when they jump from a moving van; he said they need to park first.  Glad he is thinking safety first haha.

But it is a fabulous yarn with grannies and their love of adventure, the thrill of the chase, all lion taming crocodile babysitting adrenaline junkies!  Seriously what happened to an appreciation of knitting, bingo and the WI (not to stereotype here of course sorry!!!).  I get tired just reading about their antics.  Might need a lie down now… 

Grannies really are great!

Walter And The No Need To Worry Suit by Rachel Bright


This is the first tale by this author and I was impressed.  I definitely hope to read more with my boys.  Even the place the characters live got them in fits of giggles, Woollybottom.

The book is a handy starting point to bring up the topic of anxieties with your child, what worries them and how it makes them feel.  Walter’s worries do make you laugh though as they are quite blown out of proportion and slowly spiralling out of control!

His friends with their best intentions try and help by coming up with a special suit for him to wear so he can compete in the funday events without worrying.  With features like magic stay on trousers and anti giant mouse stamping helmet, it is quite something to behold.  But unfortunately the suit and the sports events are not entirely compatible.

He soon learns with just the support of his friends he can do anything and conquers his fears.  It really does illustrate the importance of friendship and supportive people in our lives.

Head over to Harper Collins for more information and prices on any of these books.

Jungle Junction Party Rocked

The Jungle Junction parties hosted last week with the lovely people from Flair and UKMums.TV were a huge success.  We had so much fun at ours.  We had a handful of children chosen by youngest, he made sure he included his girlfriend... (shakes head, he is only three!!!).

I did a spot of face painting, with mixed success; here is one of the better ones of Zooter, usually I nominate hubbie for face painting duties but he had to build the Jungle Junction toys (me with my infinite wisdom thought I would remove them from the box and they would be already built, how naive am I... luckily hubbie and two other parent helpers were quickly on the case, otherwise the children may have only admired the boxes!).


Everyone shout Jungle Junction!


A talented mummy made Jungle Junction palm trees with her fabulous cheese string modelling, which went down well with the children.


The Jungle Junction toys were very well received.  So much so that us parents had a very relaxing time at the party, the toys did such a good time entertaining the children we could idly drink tea!


We had some thrilling races.  And they were off...


We also managed to fit in a spot of colouring and some Plasticine modelling.



It was so hard picking a winner for each of the competitions, we just handed out the prizes at the end as luckily there was enough for everyone.  On top of that each child had a little toy and two bath toys each to go home with.  It left a few of them wanting Jungle Junction toys for Christmas!


It was great being part of Jungle Junction trending on twitter.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

How To Iron Like Your Mum Sponsored Video

I am not a huge fan of ironing, but then I could blame my equipment, our iron was the most budget buy you could find at the time.  We were watching our pennies and thought it’s only an iron; surely we do not need to spend much!  Given how long our clean washing stays in the basket before being ironed, that was an elementary mistake, by then the creases are pretty much established and set to stay forever…

It becomes a battle of the wills to try and get the clothes looking close to presentable!  I am sure we must burn lots of calories with the effort of it!  As I iron everything to an inch of its life and it still looks a little dishevelled.  Note to self must upgrade to a better model, something flashy with more iron power.

The film did make me giggle, but ironing is predominately done by the man of our house anyway.  Hubbie knows I was getting close to putting our clothes under the mattress and hoping our weight overnight would get the crinkles out!  I truly am that fed up with our current iron… daydreams idly about the   Tefal GV8431 steam generator revolutionising our lives!!!




My mum’s ironing style is to put on an afternoon film and spend far too long ironing away, until either cramp sets in or the film ends.  I too think she needs to investigate the exciting world of Tefal advanced ironing!  Leaving us all with more time for cocktail drinking and other more favourable hobbies!

Scientifically women are meant to be better at ironing (according to MindLab International) but that does not mean we enjoy it anymore than the males of the species (just saying!) – hmmm and was that research funded by a rich male hoping to get out of his share of the chores…

Visit the Tefal website and the official Facebook page to get the chance to win a steam generator

This article has been sponsored by Tefal, but the ramblings are my own.

Orchard Toys Rhyme Robber Review

The game was relatively easy to get started, I liked the addition of a rhyme guide board this was very helpful when eldest (who is 5) first started playing the game.  


After a few full games though, he seemed to understand the game better and develop his rhyming skill, as he did not rely on the board anymore for help.  I did sometimes have to give him a little nudge when he says no nothing rhymes and I would say are you sure, then he would look again and find it on his own.  


He is definitely becoming more competent at it and needing less prompts!  As the game is for 5 – 9 year olds, I think he is doing quite well considering he is right at the start of the recommended age.

I was not sure how he would react to the stealing element of the game, where if you have a card that rhymes with the top one of another players pile, you can rob the lot!  He did grumble about it being unfair when daddy got all of his hard earnt pile right at the end of the game, but its good for him to learn he might not always win games.  Although on his third time playing he managed to pinch the cards back using the same method just after daddy got them, so he is enjoying it much more.  It can get quite exciting then and you do get caught up in the game, frantically watching the other player’s top card in the vague hope you can do another spot of robbing for your own swag bag (just for the record in no way do I encourage petty theft normally!).


The game can be played with up to four players so when youngest is a little older am sure he will be desperate to join in to.  He did try but he was more interested in slinging the cards around (cue giving him a book quickly to look at instead!).

The cards are well made and strong which is a relief as I think this is one game that is going to be returned to again and again.  If eldest had his way he would have kept postponing bedtime to keep playing, but daddy and mummy NEED the evening to collapse after busy days!  Another hit from Orchard Toys!

Available to buy from Toys R Us soon.


Transformers Prime: Season One Review

We were sent a review disc of this up and coming release.  My boys are 3 and 5 and not entirely sold on Transformers yet, but I thought it would be nice to have a new film for them to try whilst we were on holiday.  Well they went and surprised me and absolutely loved it.  I think it’s actually made them more interested in their Weaponizer Optimus Prime toy we had as part of our toyologist box 1.


Seeing the characters on screen has definitely impressed them, they loved seeing them transform from a vehicle into robot mode.  Am sure they will go back to their toy with more enthusiasm now that they know what a true epic hero Optimus Prime is.

The DVD is broken down into five manageable episodes, but the boys were enjoying it so much they were begging to watch it in one sitting.  But after a couple of episodes I did insist they went to bed to resume the rest another day.  Although I was quite into the plot myself at that point and was tempted to keep watching whilst they slept!!!  But it is more fun watching it with my boys.

It has a PG rating, my two boys aged 3 and 5 seemed okay with it, but obviously I would recommend sitting with your children just in case (plus you might find yourself getting into it too!).  The autobots are a mixed bunch but they show lots of great characteristics and humour and with plenty of action scenes I have no doubt Transformer fans would love this.  You are intrigued seeing the three human kids endearing themselves to the robots as they try and protect them from harm.  Cue lots of booing over the antics of the Decepticons.

This DVD is available from all major retailers from October 22nd with an RRP of £10.99.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Chimp and Zee Silly Socks Game Review

My son was over the moon when he set eyes on this, he was excited he got a mini washing machine as part of the game.  


It is pitched at 3 – 5 years old, youngest is 3 so given his short attention span I wondered how he would get on.  But it was a very simple game and only takes a few minutes to play, so perfect for this age category.  My 5 year old liked the novelty of the washing machine but he needs more of a challenge in games now, he is better suited to mini monopoly, as he likes long games with lots going on.

But for the little ones this is really the perfect game to get them started.  Learning to take turns and play nicely, still with the educational value of identifying patterns and matching up the socks.

I sometimes moan that children’s games are too difficult to understand and I spend so long reading the rules, the boys have lost interest.  Fortunately I did not have to sit scratching my head, deep in thought, trying to fathom the inner workings of an elaborate game, I just opened the box, laid it all out and so we began…


Up to four players can play, but if you have more children, its easy enough for them to play without your guidance, so if you have a bigger family or your children have friends over it would not be a problem.

The game pieces are all sturdy and you get a little washing basket to put your matched socks in.  The winner is the first to get three matching pairs of silly socks, retrieving them from the washing machine.  This game might also be a handy introduction to the importance of the washing machine!  Supposedly 75% of teens (according to a Tefal press release) have never loaded a washing machine…  better get them accustomed to loading their socks and underpants in this mini one quick smart then!!!  So no excuses for when they are older.

More information can be found on the Paul Lamond Games website.

The Deep Review

Whilst reviewing our lovely stay at Sand Le Mere, we scheduled a visit to The Deep in Hull.  It is a spectacular aquarium, with giant tanks filled with an assortment of marine life (a staggering 3,500 creatures when you include the bugs!!!).


Two very enthusiastic boys, keen to see everything, dragged us round but in such a frenzy I do not think we did it justice.  Luckily when you buy your ticket you can fill in a form and then return to The Deep for a further 12 months free of charge (terms and conditions apply).  Which makes it a complete bargain!  If we lived in the area I would definitely be back plenty of times as it was a very atmospheric experience, I have never seen such big tanks.


The boys were completely fascinated seeing one of the staff with her hand in the cockroach enclosure, she was putting in fresh fruit and the cockroaches were roaming all over the place.  She seemed completely calm about it!  I bet she does not need someone else to get rid of the big spider in the bathroom… like when I call hubbie in a panic!


Somehow in our rush of the aquarium we managed to miss the 3D “Bugs” screening, so although we went round the entire place in a few hours, you could happily spend a whole afternoon here.  Some couples (minus children!) seemed quite content, happily watching the fish.  Mine were like “oooohh what’s that?” “Oh look over here?” (Cue frantic chasing after them!).


Then they saw the soft play, when it comes to soft play they have complete and utter focus.  It is lovely though having a soft play area midway through the aquarium, for the parents to rest their weary legs (especially given their pace) and the boys enjoyed hiding in the tunnel.


The boys were especially pleased seeing the divers in the water, you watch a live screening of them preparing for the dive, what is important when getting their suit ready and learning about what essential jobs they do in the tank.  It was all very educational and you could see the boys’ eyes sparkling with their newfound knowledge!

The aquarium as a whole is very interactive, there are opportunities to get closer to some of the creatures during the discovery sessions and there are plenty of interactive screens to help teach about endangered habits and the effects of pollution.


At the end of the aquarium you can take an exciting ride in the popular glass lift to see the whole of the 10-metre tank and admire the green sawfish, giant rays and sharks.  We chose to take the stairs, as there was a queue (plus we like to keep burning the boys energy levels so come bedtime we have no fighting, they fall asleep as soon as their head’s hit the pillow).

Overall it was a fantastic experience.  I do recommend a visit if your in the area.  To find out more head to their website: http://www.thedeep.co.uk

Justin’s Funny Faces Sticker Activity Book Review

Youngest was very pleased to find this when he came home from school; he only goes for two hours so there is still lots of the day I need to find activities to keep him occupied.  Luckily this book kept him amused for quite a while (especially as I am feeling sorry for myself with a stinking head cold!), he enjoyed seeing Justin looking silly on each page, a little picture that fitted in with the bigger face to decorate with lots of different stickers.


There was a huge assortment of stickers to get creative, like silly mouths and a comedy moustache.  The stickers claim to be reusable and I did manage to get one off to test it, but not sure if you could keep doing that for long, but for such a small price, I do not think anyone could grumble about that!

Youngest thought the moustache looked good on him; forget putting it in the book!


Here is one of his finished pages.  It is good to see him practising where the different body parts go, although I was slightly concerned he was adamant the wooden spoon was an ear… bless him!


The activity book has an RRP of £3.99 and is due to be published on the 4th of October and is a lovely addition for fans of Justin Fletcher.  I am quite tempted by the joke book in the set, as eldest has started taking an interest in telling jokes, it would make a nice stocking filler for him.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Dr Hilary Jones Talks Food Allergies in Children

My roaming reporter from DaisychainBaby attended this event and here is her report back:
"The first day at school is a time fraught with anxieties for most parents – worrying about how they will cope (both child and parent!), will they fit in, will they get picked on and so on. Imagine how much worse those anxieties would be if you had a child with allergies, or suspected allergies. So far you have been able to protect them, cautiously keeping them away from anything that can cause a potential reaction but now they head off into a minefield of sharing foods, germs, dirt – a whole host of environmental factors that could make your child very ill if you have reason to believe or evidence that something triggers an allergic reaction.
A report released by the EAACI – European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology – showed that food allergies now affect an estimated 4-7% of school children and life-threatening allergic reactions have increased 7-fold in the last decade. Parents could be forgiven for thinking the outlook is quite bleak. All is not lost though! A couple of weeks ago, I popped along to a breakfast briefing hosted by Thermo Fisher Scientific at the South Bank centre to hear Dr Hilary Jones give a presentation about allergies, and how a simple blood test can now ascertain if your child actually has an allergy and what type it is. This then can lead to effective management of the allergy which is vital for children, parents and schools to ensure that the risk of any potential reaction is reduced.
Click here to visit DaisychainBaby
A simple blood test can now help correctly diagnose food allergies
The biggest problem with food-triggered allergies is that so much of the time these are mistaken for a simple dislike of certain foods. I remember as a child having a very quick gag reflex for anything I didn’t like – which included most vegetables and sadly, because my parents didn’t make me eat them, there are still some that I have tried again and again but I can’t stomach (like leeks!) These days, especially with there being so many odd food fads and it being (in my honest opinion) almost “fashionable” to have a food allergy, I may well have been described as having an allergy to those vegetables when in actual fact, and as is still so often the case, I simply didn’t like it. The solution to this would have been to sit me there until I ate it and learned if not to like, at least to tolerate. I would have grown bored and given in. NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) in fact states that food allergies are often incorrectly self-diagnosed with only 25-40% of assumed food allergies clinically confirmed as true.
Imagine the impact that an incorrect self-diagnosis could have! As Dr Jones described: “Food allergies undermine quality of life especially for your children at school where they may be exempt from school dinners, left out of birthday celebrations or the simple pleasure of sharing snacks with friends in the playground” which is a life that no-one wants for their children unnecessarily.
The most common food allergens have been identified as cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds and cashews), fish, shellfish, soy, wheat and between them are responsible for around 90% of food allergies and we probably all as adults recognise the reaction which can develop in us if our bodies disagree with any of these such as IBS or Celiac Disease. The blood test for IgE (Immunoglobulin E) is available to your doctor and involves taking a sample of blood and sending it to a laboratory to check for the IgE proteins. One test can be used to check for many food allergens, which means suspected allergies can be either be pinpointed making them far easier to manage, or a confirmation that is simply intolerance which will pass in time (hopefully!)
We also heard about plans to improve the understanding amongst schools regarding effective management of pupils who suffer from allergies. Again, from a teacher’s perspective, meeting a new child at school and then learning from the parents that he/she is allergic to a particular type of foodstuff would certainly cause anxiety for that teacher who may need to administer fast and correct care in the case of a child going into anaphylactic shock. The Task Force on the allergic child at school (TACS), a European collaboration within the EACCI, has issued a position paper which documents a comprehensive approach – outlining a ‘best practise’ for managing allergies among schoolchildren. This would certainly put my Mum’s mind at rest – an infant teacher for 40 years, its at the point in her school where health and safety is so ridiculous she is barely even able to put a plaster on a cut, let alone administer life-saving treatment! Correct training and awareness is a must – after all, getting a diagnosis and being able to manage it can potentially save a life."

Pro Match Set Foooz Review

My two boys are not particularly crazy about football.  Eldest says he cannot play it; he has to go in the goal (reluctantly) at school.  I have tried to encourage him but he still shows little interest, which is fine, after all I was never very sporting orientated (think Garfield and you have my attitude to life really!).  But more and more of his friends are now spending break time playing football, so I do not want him twiddling his thumbs not sure what to do with himself.  So I had high hopes this toy might instil a love of football for him.

But you must either love it or hate it, football must be like marmite, so he is still showing a general lack of interest to all things football.  So the appeal in this game was very short lived.  I do think children who love football and play it all the time; maybe they are a member of a local football team or even watch a match or two on telly will be over the moon with it.


It includes enough for the price; the target card got more enthusiasm, as you needed more skill to get points.  


There is plenty here for it to be a worthwhile purchase for Christmas.  Youngest liked that you had some stickers to decorate the kit of the two football players. 

You also get some skill cards, so you can see how to do other moves, like a header with your character.  So good for developing ability I guess.

The crowd goes wild the striker in yellow scores!  Now can we skip to the eating oranges bit...


But overall I am quite blessed I am not a football widow (or going to be anytime soon anyway!).  As with three boys in residence I would never have a look in at the telly!

And in the meantime eldest will stick to his karate and swimming to keep active.

Available to buy from Toys R Us in time for Christmas.

snazaroo Face Painting Kit Review

We had so much fun with this set, the boys have always liked face painting, whenever we are at an attraction or at a family fun day they badger and badger to have something done.  The only thing is it can get a little pricey if you do it regularly, so it makes sense to invest in a decent set of your own.  

It is great to whip out at parties then, at the Jungle Junction party we recently hosted, it would not have been complete without a spot of face painting.  What I lack in skill the paints make up with being easy to apply and remove, plus young children are generally enthusiastic whatever you paint on their face!  


It’s the older children which are much more selective and give you a hard time if perfection is not achieved…

Available to buy for £9.99, I highly recommend it and being non-toxic and hypoallergenic it’s reassuringly gentle on your children’s skin.   My boys have had no unwanted reactions from using this product.  I know cheaper sets are available to buy from pound shops but you cannot guarantee the ingredients used would not irate their sensitive skins.  Plus snazaroo always go one step further anyway including a useful step by step painting guide, so even the most novice of face painters can achieve a great effect!

An extensive fancy dress wardrobe really needs a face painting kit to get completely into character and follow through on some imaginative roleplay.  My husband is quite talented at doing it, as you can see the boys then had lots of enjoyment with plenty of army and pirate adventures!

Youngest shouting “walk the plank scurvy sea dog”


"Sir, yes sir reporting to duty"


Available from toys r us now.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

See Ben and Holly on Stage

From the makers of Peppa Pig and the producers of the two hugely successful Peppa Pig theatre tours comes the first ever stage version of the BAFTA award-winning TV animation, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom. And we have tickets to give away!


The Little Kingdom – where everyone is very, very small – is home to Princess Holly and her best friend Ben Elf. Holly is a young fairy princess who is still learning how to do magic properly and sometimes her spells don’t work out quite right. Ben is an Elf. Elves don’t do magic but they are very good at making things. Ben doesn't have wings like Holly but he flies on the back of Gaston the Ladybird.

In this exciting new musical adventure, Ben and Holly have fun and games helping Gaston clean up his messy cave; they go on a trip to The Big World with tooth-fairy Nanny Plum; and still have time to plan a surprise for King Elf’s birthday party, complete with an unplanned jelly flood.



Packed full of games, songs and laughter, this is an enchanting and magical visit to the Little Kingdom, live on stage for the very first time. This beautiful story of elves, princesses and childhood innocence will delight all the family.

This brand new UK tour is on the road from 26 October until July 2013 and we have 1 family ticket up for grabs at the venue of your choice, subject to availability. A family ticket is for 4 people, minimum 1 adult. The tickets are non-transferable. No cash alternatives, accommodation or travel are provided in this competition. For further show information and tour dates: www.benandhollylive.com

To enter please complete the rafflecopter below by the 2nd of October.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone, we will be reviewing one of the performances ourselves in January and are very excited!