Friday, 14 December 2018

Scholastic Book Parties - earning money for yourself and books for your school.

If your childhood was like mine then a highlight of every term was the Scholastic Book Club Catalogue of dreams. Full of colourful and exciting books at reduced prices, my parents always allowed me to choose a book and the day the delivery came was something very special.

I've worked with Scholastic now for over 3 years and all of the children's books in this post were sent to us by Scholastic for review over that time. There are some excellent books from some amazing authors...

Nowadays we don't have to wait until the new catalogue release, we can buy from Scholastic online all year round. All of the books are available at prices that are discounted from the recommended price by up to 70% and they've been specially selected by Scholastic, so you know they'll be good.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Slurpees Snot Suckers Review Age 4+ (Sent for review).

If your children like gooey, slimey, horrible toys then they'll no doubt be hoping for Slurpees Snot Suckers in their stocking this Christmas. At £5 each, they're sure to be very popular - however disgusting they are. We were sent a delightful green package which excited the boys...

Inside were some Slurpees, plus a bogey green Winter survival kit. Socks, lip balm, hand warmer, hat, blanket and mug. The Slurpees Snot Suckers come in 4 different colour varieties and each has it's own 30g of coloured slime in a resealable pot.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

10 Quirky Christmas Gifts for Teenagers and Grown Ups.

Here at The Brick Castle we have the 2 young boys, but we've also got 4 grown up children. They are all still studying and haven't got their own families yet, so Christmas gift buying for us is more about finding interesting gifts for big kids than it is visiting toy shops...

Here are a few of the things we've been sent to review over the past year or two which have really impressed us and make a great Christmas present, especially if you aren't quite ready to grow up just yet. Oh, and Amazon links are affiliate. It only earns me a few pence each time if you order through my link, but it helps keep the website running and doesn't cost you a penny....

Mary Poppins Parrot Umbrella from Paladone

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.