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.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

39 Months.... #TBCSmiles

For those who don't know, there is a more serious side to The Brick Castle. 3 years ago we lost one of our teenagers. It's not a nice tale, but you can read it here if you are inclined. Every month we collect our smiles. We look at them to remind us that it's always worth carrying on, and they are the reason we do so. I don't just collect my smiles, anyone can share theirs with the #TBCSmiles community on Instagram.

Christmas is hard work for everyone, but really stressful for a lot of people and the fear of it going wrong can be crushing. Take the time now to list those things that make Christmas great for you, then put them into order and start to get them ready and ticked off. You'll find there are very few things which must be included, the rest is sparkle. Sparkle is nice, but it isn't what is ultimately important and you don't need to lose sleep over it. Remove some of the stress and everyone will have more time and energy to create their own sparkle - the type that makes smiles you can't predict or plan in advance. The type that makes the best memories.

November 16-22 is Children's Grief Awareness Week. Each classroom in the UK has, on average, one child who has lost a parent or sibling. This year the hashtag is #YoureNotAlone.

Often bereaved children don't want to talk to their family because, like you, they don't want to upset their loved ones. It can make the world a lonely place. Take the time to talk, but more importantly take the time to listen. Remind someone that they aren't alone, you are there when they need you.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Meccano M.A.X. Robot Review (age 10+) for SpinMaster Toys

The Meccano M.A.X. (Meccano Advanced Xfactor) set 17401 is a really impressive robot who combines Artificial Intelligence with customisable programming, to create a unique character that is truly your own creation, and your mate, because he'll tell you jokes and facts and dance with you, and have seemingly intelligent conversation, among other things.

Your M.A.X. is housed in a really impressive and huge box - although I have to say it arrives taped because it isn't really sturdy enough for the job and you will find it's not ideal for storage afterwards. It is however incredibly exciting inside...

Inside the box you have 332 Meccano Parts plus AC/DC Wall Mount Charger (10.4W), 1 Rechargeable Ni-MH Battery 1800 mAh, 2 Tools, Sticker Sheet, M.A.X Brain Module, IR Sensor Module, 2 Smart Motor Modules, LED Module, 3 kgs Servo, 1.9 kgs Micro Servo, USB Cable and Instruction Booklet.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Xootz Retro Racer Go Kart Review for Halfords

If you've been to your local Halfords or looked at their website recently, you may have noticed they have a dedicated Kids Zone. The Halfords Kids Zone is where you'll find everything for the younger members of your family, from car seats and safety equipment to bikes and scooters. They currently have a sale, with selected ride ons and scooters discounted up to half price off, and we have been sent the Xootz Retro Racer Go Kart to review - in classic British Racing Green.

For my 7 year old this really couldn't have come at a better time, as he's recently discovered Go Karts and I think his face really says it all. There's love in those eyes...

Friday, 10 November 2017

Who's The Dude? Age 16+ Adult Game Christmas Present Giveaway

Who's The Dude? is a very different sort of game and it is designed especially for the more mature members of your family. Mature in age possibly, but certainly not in behaviour! This game revolves around a pack of cards and a full size blow up dude... yep - you read right!

Suitable for 3-8 players (or more in teams), this is a great game for after the younger children have gone to bed because you can't help but end up with some very suggestive actions. Hilarious and active, we all laughed non-stop, but funnily enough people were reluctant to have their photos added to this post (I've saved them for birthday embarrassment later on).

Mayka Toy Block Tape (age 3+) Christmas Present Giveaway

We reviewed Mayka Tape for the Rainbow Toy Awards and it's a great fun product that my 7 year old has used all over his furniture and walls to suspend his favourite minifigures. Super easy to use, it adds a whole new dimension to playing with bricks.

You can read my full Mayka Tape review here. Mayka Tape is a rubbery studded tape that is compatible with LEGO and other plastic bricks and has a sticky tape on the back. It is really beautifully presented in a really handy case that stops it unravelling and keeps it safe - it makes a great gift.