Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The Stink Before Christmas Book Review (age 3-5+) for Scholastic

The Stink Before Christmas is an especially festive book release from Scholastic. Written by Children's TV presenters Sam And Mark (Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes) and illustrated by Tom Knight, it is of course a retelling of Twas The Night Before Christmas - with just a little tweaking of the storyline. In Sam and Mark style...

We were sent a bonus item - a whoopee cushion. I never thought I'd pretend 'I don't know what I'm about to sit on' so many times in my life. This is child no.7, I can spot a whoopee cushion from the next room.

HP Sprocket Photo Printer Limited Edition Gift Box Review

Photo printing has changed beyond recognition in my lifetime and one of the latest developments for the home market is portable photo printers. This Christmas the printing experts HP have released a special gift box edition of their gorgeous and almost pocket-sized Sprocket Photo Printer and they've sent me one to review.

There will also be a Twitter Frenzy from 6pm until 7pm Thursday 23rd November and HP will be giving away some incredible prizes - Shopping Vouchers and HP Printing products including 2 Sprocket Gift Boxes! Follow the hashtag #reinventmemories

Inside the box is the gift bundle.  The HP Sprocket itself in white with rose gold trim, Zipped Case/Wallet with wrist strap, HP Sprocket Photo Album and voucher for a free personalised skin from Wrappz.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

ROXI Music Streaming Hub from Electric Jukebox Review

The ROXI from Electric Jukebox is a small music streaming hub unit which connects to your TV and can be used for 5 different functions, including streaming music from Electric Jukebox. One year's premium pass is included, as is a remote control which doubles as a microphone and can be used for Smart Voice Search and karaoke.

Our house has always been full of music and my older kids have introduced us to a variety of apps and gadgets over the years, they all have subscriptions to various music streaming services too, so reviewing the ROXI is a very natural step for us.

In the box you have the ROXI hub, ROXI controller, USB charge lead, Power adapter, HDMI cable and 12 month Premium Music Pass. It's nicely presented and looks really neat. The hub itself is very small, wall mountable and in a choice of 3 colours - classic charcoal grey, bright blue or coral red.

The controller is USB rechargeable.  A charge takes around 2 hours and lasts 24 hours of constant use, so it'll not need recharging often. It really isn't too big or unwieldy. It's surprisingly light and comfortable in any size of hand and your children shouldn't drop it every 5 minutes.

Set up was ridiculously simple and took about 2 minutes. You don't have to register, add your card details or make an account, you just plug in the HDMI and the power, log into your wifi and use the controller to control the onscreen cursor to say 'yes' to starting your first Annual Premium Pass - which is included.

A Christmas Carol Theatre Review at Bolton Octagon

I love A Christmas Carol. It is easily in my top 5 favourite books and I've read it many times. I also love Bolton Octagon Theatre, so I had high hopes for last night's performance and I really wasn't disappointed.

Bolton Octagon is theatre in the round and this was a fairly traditional performance, with Charles Dickens' lines making me smile each time I knew they were coming and then heard them spoken aloud. The performance is family-friendly and nothing is too scary. My 7 and 9 year old boys were quite disappointed actually when Jacob Marley did not drop his jaw. The humour in the book is expanded and Scrooge especially was hilarious, making the whole audience laugh and giggle many times.

A Christmas Carol is of course the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge, originally written by Charles Dickens in 1843 and portrayed and retold in their own style thousands (if not millions) of times since by everyone from The Muppets and Bill Murray to.... in fact, just everyone.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Paddington 2 Book Bundle Christmas Present Giveaway (2 Winners).

The new Paddington Bear movie, Paddington 2, was released on 10th November and to accompany the film Harper Collins have released a whole range of fabulous books. We love books and I'm delighted to have an awesome bundle of 5 to give away to two of my readers in my Christmas Present Giveaways...

Paddington Bear has been around for almost 60 years now. As a child I watched him on TV and read the books, I even had a well-used jigsaw puzzle. The lovable little lost bear from Peru has stood the test of time and I think most children have at some point wished they could be like the Brown family and bring their own bear home.

The bundle contains 5 different products from the Harper Collins Paddington Range, suitable for children from tiny tots to around 11.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Digital Kids Show Review, Event City, Manchester 2017

Yesterday was the first day of the two-day Digital Kids Show at Event City in Manchester, and we were hot-footed it over there as soon as we'd watched the Magical Christmas Parade next door at intu Trafford Centre.

First thing we spotted when we walked in was the Lightseekers stand. I'd heard from them and promised we'd take a look, so we stopped off. I was genuinely really impressed. Playfusion have built some great quirks into this multi-platform game title.

My 9 year old and partner sat down to learn the card game version, while I checked out the light and sound poseable action figures. There are also an app and a console game which play very well.

The intu Trafford Centre Magical Christmas Parade 2017

Yesterday we were over at Trafford Park for 2 different events - so we were up and out bright and early to the intu Trafford Centre Management Office for a very unusual breakfast meet and greet with some of the stars of the Magical Christmas Parade!

We were treated to a buffet breakfast supplied by Leon (both of my boys devouring the sausages and bacon), as well as visits from several of the children's TV favourites who would be taking part in the parade.

My boys yet again refused photos, so I stepped in. The Trolls were lovely - they're my new mates.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Zing Games Bundle Christmas Present Giveaway For Kids 4+

Zing Games make active family games that will keep everyone awake this Christmas. They have given me two of their new games to give away to one lucky reader - Blast Box and Stik’em. Lively and fast-paced, these are party games everyone can play and if your children are anything like mine, they will love them!

Blast Box (£19.99rrp) is not one for the faint-hearted! Inside the box are a big plastic crate, spinner, hammer, 30 plastic nails (not sharp), a balloon pump and 100 small balloons - plus 20 cardboard fasteners (brilliant because my kids can never manage to tie off balloons themselves). You can see where this is going!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Pass The Pigs Family Game Bundle Christmas Present Giveaway

Pass The Pigs is a time-served dice game for anyone aged 3+ or older and more recently they've added 2 extra versions to their range. They have kindly offered me all 3 different Pass The Pigs games as a prize for one of my readers - Pass The Pigs (in a travel case),  Pass the Pigs Giant and Pass the Pigs Party.

Pass The Pigs is a dice game with a big difference - there are no dice. Instead you use small, cute little piggies to count and score, with different poses scoring different totals.

There are now 3 different variants of the Pass The Pigs game priced from £9.99 to £14.99, so there's something to suit everyone.

Zing Every Day Play Fidget Toy Range Christmas Present Giveaway (4+)

If your house is anything like mine then you'll be very familiar with fidget toys. Zing make a great range of Every Day Play fidget toys that are played with by children, but also used by professionals, and they have offered a bundle of 6 awesome and varied toys for one of my readers - Metal Chucks, Tumblstix, Spinbladez, Klixx, Thumb Chucks and Zing Dama.

The quality is great and 4 of the 6 light up - which was quite a surprise when I opened my box and everything inside was glowing! They are all packaged in card with a plastic front cover and open very easily and quickly, so you can play immediately - Christmas morning friendly.

Thumb Chucks (£7.99rrp) are the original light-up fidget balls which have been joined by several variants. I've seen Thumb Chucks demonstrated at events several times and there are loads of videos online - basic tricks are easy to learn, but trickier moves take hours of practice to master. This isn't just a fidget toy, it's a skill toy.