Monday, 10 December 2018

Owlet Press Children's Christmas Story Books (Sent for review)

We love books and Christmas is a great excuse to read together. Snuggling up under a blanket and reading is the perfect way to spend a Winter's evening and Owlet Press have sent us a couple of their Christmas storybooks to take a look at...

Both of our books have a very strong message about what is truly important:
Santa's Wish considers, what would Santa want for Christmas?
The Christmas Next Door is a book about a family coping with their first Christmas after losing a loved one and features a main character has Autism.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Maqio Toy Boxes And Storage Solutions Review (sent for review)

Maqio are based incredibly locally to me and have just launched a new low-cost toy e-commerce store specialising in Maqio Boxes. These are specially decorated storage boxes that will never peel because they use In-Mould Labelling (IML). During curing the labels are fused with the box, so your box can be washed and used for years, but the pictures and patterns won't ever wear away or look tatty.

We've been sent a big selection from the Maqio Box range to review - and the prices are good. This whole lot is well under £50, and if you buy before 20th December, there's an extra 10% off throughout the whole site.

We were sorting our Christmas decorations anyway, so they couldn't be handier - although they will mainly end up storing toys upstairs in the bedrooms.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Black Beauty At Z-Arts, Manchester Theatre Review (Review Visit)

Last night we were guests of Z-Arts to review Black Beauty - their Winter show presented by Red Bridge and Traverse Theatre Company. This is a modern and very imaginative retelling, but it'll satisfy true fans as well as newcomers and we all loved it.

Funny and honest but light-hearted, it's actually more of an homage as Black Beauty's life story is told in a different way than ever before...

I love Z-Arts because, as I said on social media last week, walking in is like going to the home of family you didn't know you had. The atmosphere is always happy and friendly, it's full of excited children and milkshake is 35p. You couldn't be in a more relaxed venue. It all changes once the lights go down though, audience behaviour has always been sensible and impeccable.

Gardensite £100 Of Christmas Decorations Giveaway (sent for review)

We've got a really exciting giveaway today - and it's about as festive as you can get! Gardensite sent us a bundle of Christmas Decorations worth over £100 and one of my readers can win the same! Apologies if you don't like what we chose, but we let the children write a big list of things they liked, honed it down to the options that didn't need a stepladder or a huge display area (sorry light up Moscow) and chose 5 items that can really add a bit of sparkle this Christmas...

Outdoor Acrylic Penguin Family (£33.99) was chosen by our 10 year old. In fact his wishlist had 6 items and 5 of them were penguin lights - I think he's trying to tell us something!

Suitable for indoors or outside and mains powered with the plug and transformer included. The cord is just over 1m long, which is long enough to be helpful for most jobs. There are 48 LED's in this set and the tallest penguin is 9 inches tall.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas Review, Waterside, Sale, Manchester.

Last year Waterside brought us Raymond Briggs’ The Bear and this year Lyric Hammersmith & Pins and Needles are back with another Raymond Briggs favourite: Father Christmas. We were offered the chance to review and I couldn't wait to say yes.

If you follow my blog you'll know what a huge fan I am of children's books and Raymond Briggs' is a true favourite. Father Christmas is in my top 3 books. I know every single word and frame of the book off by heart, so I was a bit worried it wouldn't be 'right'. I needn't have worried, it was spot on, right down to the sandwiches on the roof and the chattering false teeth.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Nickelodeon Slime Station Review (age 5+) Sent by Sambro

Slime is incredibly popular this year and pretty much all children love playing with it. We were given the Nickelodeon Slime Station and a large pot of delicious orange slime to review for Sambro. Suitable for age 5+, this is like a little factory for making non-toxic slime, with a big choice of different textures and glittery bits to add to it.

No batteries, packaging is mainly a big handy cardboard box and very little inessential plastic. Opens in seconds, you only need to add plain tap water and you can start immediately. Christmas morning-friendly.

You have the Slime Station itself, plus lots of other items:

3 Storage Tubs With Secure Lids
10 Activator Packs
!0 Coloured Slime Powders
4 Beads / Confetti Packs
2 Packs Of Styrofoam Balls
4 Packets Of Glitter
Slime Shaker
3 x Lidded 'Test Tube' Storage Tubes

Friday, 30 November 2018

Air Hogs Supernova Hand-Controlled Drone Review (age 8+) Sent by Spinmaster

For our latest review SpinMaster Toys have sent us the Air Hogs Supernova. This is a small indoor drone which is unlike any of the others we've used because it moves using the power of your hands. Mostly... Suitable for age 8+, this can turn anyone into a magician or give them the power of the force...

Packaging is attractive for shopping, doesn't take too long to open and you can use it for storage although it's not very traditional. No batteries needed, but you will have to charge the drone for around 1 hour before use, so bear that in mind for Christmas morning.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Staying Warm This Winter With Modern Fabrics (Sent for review)

Winter is approaching fast and the zero temperatures mean a change of clothes. Some of the best ways to keep yourself warm are by wearing sensible shoes and layers, and fabrics have become so clever that this is far more comfortable than ever before...

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Meccano Formula 1 SF71H Ferrari Kit Review (level 3, age 10+) Sent for review by SpinMaster

Meccano is a long time favourite construction toy in our house and the latest model they've sent us to review is the Formula 1 Ferrari Car. Based on the SF71H this is the latest model and at level 3 it's suitable for more experienced modellers aged 10+. A nice strong build and also a gorgeous shelf model that'll please fans no end.

Meccano boxes have changed and now have a rip off strip to help prevent theft from boxes. It will close snugly and is strong, so it's useful to keep for spares and dismantled models. No batteries, very little waste packaging and no fastenings - world and Christmas morning-friendly.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Botley The Coding Robot Activity Set Review Age 5-9 (sent by Learning Resources)

Learning Resources might not have the snappiest name in the business, but they have some of the most interesting toys. Designed, as you'd expect, to stimulate your child's brain while they play, the hardwearing and long-lasting toys and games from Learning Resources are not only used at home, they're also popular in schools and nurseries.

They've sent us the Botley The Coding Robot Activity Set to review. This is aimed at children aged 5-9. My youngest child is 8 and he's reviewed with a 9 year old friend.

Opening the box is exciting because it has a little window on the front and is full of colour. You will need 5 x AAA batteries (3 for Botley and 2 for the Remote Control) and a tiny Phillips screwdriver, otherwise it's ready to go straight out of the box. Minimal packaging, nothing to undo and a useful storage box for afterwards. Christmas morning-friendly as long as you've got those batteries.