Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Crushed Children's Fast Fruit Snacks

I bumped into the ladies from Crushed at the Little Fun Fest, and they were so smiley and their gazebo so full of laughter (despite being a bit worse for wear after heavy winds first thing) that it was an absolute pleasure.

Crushed is a small independent company started by two Mums who wanted a nice mess free snack for children that provided around 2 of your recommended 7-A-DAY portions of fruit and vegetables. This is a full 100g pouch which is suitable for age 1+ and ideal for pre-school, infant and junior school children.

Crushed Fruit Snack for children smoothie kids

Crushed children's fruit snack is in a squeezable packaging that needs no spoon or bowl.  It has a long shelf life and doesn't need to be stored in the fridge - although they taste even better chilled. Made entirely from fruit they aren't watered down or full of unnecessary ingredients, so they're suitable for veggies and are nut free.

Crushed packaging shot squeezy pouch

Available for now in two flavours -  Apple & Strawberry and  Apple & Banana - they aren't tart or bitter at all like some snacks. I don't know if that is because of the inclusion of  Chokeberry (Aronia) in the Strawberry version, but my boys clearly love it.

It's a real treat to have fruit like this for my boys and they begged for them every day until they were all gone. I'm certainly going to be adding them to my shopping list whenever I can get them. As these are a new UK launch they're currently available in Waitrose and will be coming to Ocado very soon. Brilliant for camping, holidays, day trips and lunchboxes, and a real treat, they're a winner here.

For news about new stockists and products stay in touch with Crushed via their website, Facebook Page and on Twitter @CrushedUK

And if you ever see these two at an event - go over and chat - they REALLY don't bite! 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Playing in the sunshine!

It's been so gorgeous here today and the first day of the year that we've been able to play outside. No-one at work or school, even the teenagers doing their GCSE's taking time off from revising and enjoying some sunshine.

It was even actually warm enough for the water pistols! A bit different from last year's Easter holiday snow drifts!

And an opportunity to be a bit sneaky!

And while we were outside we discovered someone we didn't see last year....
The boys have named him Mr Bush....

The LEGO Movie sets 70801 Melting Room and 70800 Getaway Glider

I said when we reviewed MetalBeard's Sea Cow that I'd review some smaller LEGO sets and here I have two of the £11.99 sets recommended for builders aged 6-12. The Melting Room and the Getaway Glider.

The LEGO Movie The Melting Room 70801 Review

The Melting Room (set #70801) is a 122 piece set. It contains the melting room equipment and 3 great minifigures - Emmet (with Piece of Resistance), Wyldstyle (with hood) and Robo SWAT.

The LEGO Movie WyldStyle Emmet Robo-SWAT cop minifigure man character

The way the set goes together is interesting as it has various hinges and will stretch and bend for easy play.

The LEGO Movie The Melting Room Set 70801

It's actually quite a complicated build and my 5 year old found it interesting and challenging. Once together it makes total sense, but it uses some nice techniques to make the different parts that go together. It stretches a younger builder, but shouldn't overly frustrate them.

Once completed you have a nice play scene from the movie which moves about for play and has an almost infinitely adjustable laser and a great tilting stand for Emmet to be chained into.

The LEGO Movie The Melting Room Set 70801 Laser Robo-Swat Emmet chained

My boys have played with this set a lot and got a great deal of fun from it. The 3 characters included are really generous and ideal to spark the imagination in any child. It's quite hard to get the chains onto Emmet's hands and it's not entirely a sturdy build, but great for a 6 year old to play with. Excellent value.

The LEGO Movie The Getaway Glider 70800

The Getaway Glider (set #70800) is a 104 piece set containing the glider and 3 minifigures - Emmet (with Piece of Resistance), Deputron and Sheriff Not-a-robot with his horse.

Sheriff Not-A-Robot, Deputron, Emmet minifigures Getaway Glider

This is a very pretty set. It doesn't 'do' an awful lot - as a playset it's limited, but it's really beautifully put together. The minifigures are great.

Sheriff Not-A-Robot on horse minifigure LEGO Getaway Glider

This set too has some interesting techniques. The wings are beautifully made with lots of detail, and designed to move during play, so don't fall off constantly. 
LEGO Getaway Glider set 70800 review Emmet minifigure

This set is not as much fun as the Melting Room, but it's an attractive model and nicely done. It doesn't really offer a lot of play value alone, but it gives you the Emmett with the Piece Of Resistance, and the Sheriff and Deputy to add to your other LEGO Movie minifigures, and that does add a lot to play value as they're important characters.

LEGO Getaway Glider set 70800 review Emmet Sheriff Deputron

All in all  I think the Getaway Glider set was a little disappointing, but I'd still buy it - and indeed did - as I think it is worth it for the figures.

LEGO Movie Emmett and Wildstyle THe Melting Room 70800

The Melting Room and the Getaway Glider are available from the LEGO shop in person and online. 

The LEGO website has free games and videos galore to keep your children amused over the Easter holidays, and the LEGO DUPLO 30 second video competition still has 3 weeks left to run!

I was sent a Getaway Glider by LEGO to review, but I'd actually already purchased both of these sets myself.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

LEGO Turtles Karai Bike Escape set 79118

TMNT LEGO set 79118 Karai Bike Escape Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I told you about the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles LEGO sets a few days ago, and today I'm reviewing one. The LEGO Karai Bike Escape is a new set from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles range for 2014. It contains Karai  and Leonardo with weapons and skateboard, Karai's bike, a road sign and a newspaper vending machine.

TMNT LEGO set 79118 Karai Bike Escape rear of pack

With a suggested age range of 5 -12 it's a very simple set - my 5 year old put it together in less than 10 minutes and didn't open the instruction book until after he'd completed the bike. There isn't a lot to build, this set has only 88 pieces. 

Karai is currently only available in this set (although is expected to appear in the Big Rig Snow Getaway later in the year). Leonardo appears with a different head and other features in the Turtle Lair Attack and Turtle Sub Undersea Chase.

TMNT LEGO set 79118 Karai Bike Escape Leonardo minifigure

They're pretty cool minifigures and Karai's bike is really nicely done with double stands, twin exhaust, and a hook for the helmet. There's a rope to pull Leonardo along and the bike itself is around 9cm long.

TMNT LEGO set 79118 Karai Bike Escape Motorbike Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

TMNT LEGO set 79118 Karai Bike Escape Motorbike Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The newspaper vending machine is designed to 'explode' when the street sign is tipped over, adding to the play value and pretty much as you'd hope from a Turtles set.

TMNT LEGO set 79118 Karai Bike Escape Newspaper Stand
TMNT LEGO set 79118 Karai Bike Escape Full Set Leonardo Turtle Karai minifigure two colour hair

In my opinion at £11.99 this set is priced at the top end of standard for a licensed LEGO set of this size, and really offers lower value to anyone who isn't keen on Karai or collecting all the Turtles.

If you want a TMNT LEGO playset then you're possibly better off saving your money a while longer and spending £8 extra on the Mutation Chamber Unleashed 79119 or even the Stealth Shell In Pursuit 79102.
If you just want a bike playset then you'd be far better off with the LEGO City High Speed Police Chase - 2 bikes, a police car and 2 minifigures for only £1 more.
If you are a big Turtles fan and like bikes - this is the set for you.

I was sent this set to review as part of my role as a LEGO Family Blogger.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Little Fun Fest at Red House Farm April 2014

We were lucky enough this year to be picked as Bloggers Extraordinaire for the Little Fun Fest at Red House Farm at Dunham Massey near Chester. We had an absolutely brilliant time when we visited Little Fun Fest at York Maze last year, so I knew we were in for a real treat again.

This is Manchester, so naturally it was raining, but we're used to that and it was really quite warm and the ground wasn't very slippy, with loads of straw just in case, so it didn't dampen the day.

Baby Ballet Bears and Ballerina

First we went into the barn and watched the Baby Ballet for a few moments and said 'hiya' to Mrs Hannah (Karen from Grumpyishmum) who had moved inside after her marquee blew away before everyone arrived!

Mrs Hannah's event catering Little Fun Fest

Then we went over to watch Harry Potter and Professor McGonagall. My boys really liked the Harry Potter area last year and still have the wands they made, and it was actually what my 5 year old was looking forward to most.

Harry Potter Sword through neck trick Little Fun Fest 2014 Professor McGonagall

What we didn't expect was that he'd be pulled out of the crowd to be a magician's assistant and have a sword put through his neck! Now Harry Potter really is his ultimate hero!

Harry Potter Weasley's Flying Ford Anglia Car
Children can't resist a mirror!
The boys planted magic beans with help from a young Professor Snape.

On our way to the main field we stopped to chat with the Crushed ladies, who were clearly having a great time in spite of nearly losing their marquee in the wind earlier.

Crushed UK Children's Fruit Smoothies

And we visited the Big Top to watch the Altrincham Children's Show Choir belt out some great songs - here singing 'I Predict A Riot' by The Kaiser Chiefs

Altrincham Children's Show Choir Little Fun Fest Dunham Massey

The main field was absolutely full of amazing activities - everything we had a go on was FREE! My boys couldn't believe it when they'd had a funfair ride and then I let them have another, and another, and another....

Fairground rides Little Fun Fest Red HOuse Farm

My 5 year old wasn't so keen on the pirate ship though....

Time for lunch and because it had been dry for a while and the sun was trying to peep through, we went and sat in the play area to eat our Mrs Hannah's lunch boxes. We had a couple of visitors during lunch! One of the nicest things about Fun Fest is the way all the celebrities and characters wander about and talk to the children.

Spiderman That Poetry Bloke Little Fun Fest

After lunch it was back over to the main field and a chance to try a couple more free activities.

The only problem with a bouncy slide in the drizzle is cold feet!
3 year old circus skills tightrope walking

 Next it was time for the official 'meet and greet' with the celebrities and stars.

Cat Sandion CBBC Cbeebies meet and greet
Cat Sandion from CBBC
Flynn Rapunzel from Tangled Disney dress up characters
Flynn and Rapunzel from Tangled
Flynn Tangled dress up costume smoulder
The 'smoulder'
Frozen Disney Princesses Little Fun Fest Red House Farm Chester
2 Frozen Princesses and someone else.
My youngest didn't like the 'official meet and greet'. He doesn't like it when strangers try and talk to him and clamps down. He's okay straightaway afterwards, but he won't join in at the time. But something magical happened.....

Dr Ranj meet and greet Little Fun Fest Red House Farm Chester CBBC Cbeebies

Dr Ranj came over to talk and take a photo....

And he was concerned. He didn't like that our 4 year old wasn't participatory and looked sad...

And so he sat with him for a good 5 minutes, and he talked to him, and he laughed, and he made jokes....and eventually my littlest boy came round...

Dr Ranj didn't have to do that. He could have just moved on. Some of the other celebrities had already left, and he'd had a long day. We wouldn't have thought twice if he'd gone, but instead what he did was he gave up 10 minutes of his day for my son. He showed what an incredibly lovely man he is and went far beyond what anyone would expect. Thank you Dr Ranj.

Then it was over to the Big Top for the Gunge Tank. The victim was decided by a Balloon Pumping contest. One contestant was Laura from Tired Mummy Of Two who works with Little Fun Fest, and the other, after many calls to the audience for volunteers was Duncan from Six Degrees Of Harmony. It was very competitive....

Alex Winters Little Fun Fest Red HOuse Farm Gunge Tank Mr Topper Balloon Pumping Contest

Laura won! Her balloon popped first, which caused panic for Alex Winters and The Mad Hatter. They'd tried to fix it so that she lost! Poor Duncan was in for a make it worse his own son pulled the string!

It was hilarious and my boys really got into it - shouting and cheering and having a real laugh. Duncan was a really good sport.

Alex Winters 6 Degrees Of Harmony Duncan Gunge Tank Little Fun Fest 2014

After the Gunge Tank it was time for the characters and celebrities to come and dance with the crowd. My boys were shattered and didn't want to to stay, so we went outside and waved goodbye to everyone as they came past.

We had a fantastic day and the boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Little Fun Fest is an amazing event, especially for children aged around 2 - 8ish. Small children don't understand that everything costs - they see it, they want it. At Little Fun Fest it's in with the cost of the ticket - it IS free. If they want to ride on the tea cups 15 times or bounce on the inflatables for 2 hours it won't break the bank.

Everyone involved with Little Fun Fest is lovely. They all give everything to make sure the children have a great day. Spiderman jumps around all day, Alex Winters wanders through the crowd checking everyone's having a good time. Harry Potter must wave that wand a million times and the Disney Princesses never stop smiling. There is so much to see and do that you won't be able to do everything, and you won't spend a moment bored. We'll be back again next year and I'd recommend it to anyone with young children.

We received our tickets free of charge as Bloggers Extraordinaire. The 'official meet and greet' is by invitation only, but you can meet all of the characters and celebrities as they walk around on site during the day. In April 2014 a family ticket for 4 cost only £64, which is definitely well worth it. Children 18 months and under are free.

To keep up with Little Fun Fest news visit their website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.