Friday, 30 December 2016

LEGO Star Wars Captain Rex's AT-TE set 75157 Review

It really wouldn't be Christmas in our house without Star Wars LEGO, and very kindly Santa and LEGO conspired together for my latest review. My 8 year old found the LEGO Star Wars Captain Rex's AT-TE in his stocking, and it was built by Boxing Day lunchtime....


There are 5 minifigures in this set, which is based on characters and the AT-TE from Star Wars Rebels. Captain Rex, Commander Gregor, Commander Wolffe, Imperial Inquisitor Fifth Brother and a Stormtrooper.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Goodbye to the Kick-Ass Princess

You can't choose a girl their hero. You can supply them with all kinds of politically correct and gender neutral toys and books, teach them about Mary Seacole, Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks and Emmeline Pankhurst. You can tell them they can be anything that they want to be, but you can't decide which influences they'll find most important. You can only watch and hope they chose a sensible path.


Primary school for me was generally awful, but never during the Spring of 1978. I was in demand, because I was the only 1 of the 7 girls in my year who liked Star Wars. The boys couldn't play Star Wars properly without the female lead role, and none of them wanted to play a girl. For every breaktime that Spring, I was Princess Leia.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Spy Net Touch Video Watch and Eyeclops TV Microscope reviewed

We have been selected to be part of  the Jakks Toys Spy Net Blogging Panel and our first mission is to try out their brand new Spy Net gadgets! We've been sent The Spy Net Touch Video Watch and the Spy Net Eyeclops to review.



Spy Net Touch Video Watch


The Spy Net Touch Video Watch appears to be a normal watch, but it has a hidden camera and microphone that will secretly capture up to 20 minutes of video, 2,000 photos and three hours of audio.


The full colour touch screen allows for easy playback of videos and photos, whilst also functioning as a normal watch to keep enemies fooled. Charge the watch and download all photos, videos and audio files via the USB cable included, just like a real spy...

Friday, 16 December 2016

Midnight Taboo Adult Game Review (age 18+) for Hasbro

Midnight Taboo is a very different sort of game review to my usual because it's not exactly a family game. Suitable for age 18+, it takes the original Taboo word guessing game to a whole new grown up level, and it's probably not great for the easily offended...


Inside the box are an egg timer, score pad, 4 packs of Midnight Taboo cards and a battery operated buzzer (2 x AA not included). We actually played mainly while the kids were in bed, and although the buzzer isn't horrendously loud, we didn't use it a lot.

Wise Words From.... Mum And Dad Personalised Book Review

You may feel you have a whole book full of clever things to say to your children, or you might be completely lost for words. Either way with the Wise Words From Mum And Dad book from The Book Of Everyone, you can create something that makes you sound intelligent and witty in abundance...and you don't even have to be 'Mum And Dad', these wise words will be gladly accepted from anyone...


There are a few basic choices at first - cover and style, personalising names and dedications, and then you are given a complete book template. You can choose to go with that, or you can spend however long you want personalising it. Most pages can be swapped or edited to your liking.


All of the books on The Book Of Everyone website are made in the same way, so this has 50 thick pages in a similar design to The Book Of Dad and The Book Of Everyone, which we have previously reviewed.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

December #TBCSmiles - 28 Months After Losing Elspeth

This time last year I was really feeling that we'd reached 'as good as it gets' and it was never going to be very good. 12 months has taught me that it continues to get slowly easier. Easier for all of us to think about Elspeth, easier to talk about Elspeth, easier to go about our lives with a distinct lack of Elspeth.


We've bought cards and presents, and last night five of us went to choose our Christmas tree. We have taken our little boys to some amazing events, Christmas is happening. It's still very hard, it's so full of memories for us all. It's utterly exhausting, and a sometimes it has to take a pause in favour of doing nothing. My Christmas cards are yet unwritten because I don't know how to sign them off at the end, and I hate that I can't write 9 names, but they'll be done.

Part of the reason for our 'up' is that our young person in hospital is really seeming to be doing very well. They've been reunited with their little brothers recently, which has been a joy to watch and be part of. I am really excited at the prospect of our 19 year old coming home from University, and getting everyone together for the first time in months. They might be too cool to always admit it, but they all miss each other a lot...

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Winter Wonderland Review, Event City, Manchester 2016

Until Sunday 1st January 2017 Event City at Trafford park in Manchester has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland, offering children under 12 and their families the UK's largest indoor Christmas theme park, and a magical experience they'll remember forever...

Why Choose Wooden Toys As Gifts For Kids This Christmas...

This post is written by Ian Tolledo (and I have added the photos).

Plastic toys make up the majority of toys in shelves right now, but there’s nothing quite like reminiscing over the toys and games that defined our childhood. They were toys that provided us real joy, and now it’s time to pass the tradition onwards. Building blocks, dolls, tools, etc. – there are plenty of kid’s wooden toys for everyone.


Not only are wooden toys traditional, but they can also come is bright colours and can be formed in any kinds of shapes. They are safe, foster imagination and are an awesome investment because they are lasting and durable. Here are some reasons why you should choose wooden toys as gifts.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Christmas Gift Guide 2016

There are tons of awesome goodies out there for fans of the Harry Potter series, and the release of Fantastic Beasts has only added to the merchandise available. We've been sent a host of goodies to take a look at - Christmas came a little bit early...


Our children have all grown up with the Harry Potter books and movies, the older ones introduced the 2 youngest to Hogwarts long before they could read. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them may be a little darker than Harry Potter (and the youngest 2 might have to wait a while before I let them watch it), but J.K.Rowling's world of Wizards and Muggles is a fantastic shared interest for all of our children from 6 to 22...


The Harry Potter Hogwart's Crest Light from Paladone runs on either USB or 3 x AA battery power and has 6 LED's which shine through the slot-in crest, giving an awesome glow. The supplied USB cable is an impressive 5ft (1.5m) long.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Getting Into The Christmas Spirit With A Festive Family Movie...

Warner Brothers have asked me if I want to write about some of their Christmas Family Movies, and I'm more than happy to oblige. Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of year for films. Everyone has some actual time off to relax, the weather outside is frightful and the whole family are home for Christmas. Get the popcorn and some hot chocolate, grab a blanket and snuggle up to spend some special time together getting into the festive spirit...


Animation is a festive winner and The Polar Express is a gorgeous Christmas movie which has a lovely tale of honesty and friendship behind it. Adults watch this one for the nostalgia and the quite tricky storyline, children at first watch it as a magical train to Santa, before they get a bit older and begin to understand the deeper meanings. The animation style does fall deep into uncanny valley, so it's not to everyone's taste.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

RC X Bladez Quad Blaster with Missile Launcher (8+) Review

Bladez make all kinds of R/C toys, including the R/C X-Bladez Quad Blaster with Missile Launcher. Either encased in it's removable 23 cm3 cage, or with the blade guards on, this is a very manoeuvrable little drone which will also climb up walls or travel along the floor, and with the bonus of missiles for target practise, it adds another dimension to R/C flying toys.

Friday, 9 December 2016

dealspotr Deals Website Review

I've been asked to take a look at dealspotr, a website relatively new to the UK which aims to bring you the most up-to-date deals, offers and voucher codes, to save you money on just about anything.


Money is tight, so I save it whenever I can, and I hate it when I've lost a coupon or can't remember where I saw an offer. I'm a big fan of vouchers and voucher websites, but I do hate it when all you can find are expired deals.

dealspotr is full of publicly viewable user-generated content. Each submission made by site members can be validated by other members and commented on, even including photographic evidence, so you know whether or not it is live and actually works.

Underneath A Magical Moon Review - Waterside Arts Centre, Sale.

The Christmas show this year at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale in Manchester is presented by tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal. Underneath a Magical Moon - a re-imagining of Peter Pan as retold by Wendy Darling - is written by leading playwright Mike Kenny, and is suited best to children aged around 3-12, and their families.


The scene is set in the small garden of the 3 children - Wendy, John and Michael, and takes place sometime after the events in Neverland. They are camping out overnight, and Wendy relates the tale of Peter Pan for the boys, with the three of them playing all of the characters.

Wendy is older, and knows she is beginning to lose her innocence and 'grow up', and the three children all consider what this will mean, and how they feel about the inevitability. It's nicely done, and left me wondering when it was that I stopped being excited by the idea of a garden camp out.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Checking Out My Risk Of Breaking...Osteoporosis Screening Test Review

On the day I was turning 45 an email about reviewing Osentia Osteoporosis Screening Test popped into my inbox.  At first I ignored it, but I kept seeing it and wondering why I hadn't deleted it, and I became more and more intrigued about what my results might be. I decided it was an omen, so I replied, and a few days later my testing kit dropped through the door.


It's got to be fair to say I'm becoming aware of my age, I'm being reminded of every old injury each morning, and I wonder just what pressure my life and my lifestyle has placed on my body over the last 4 1/2 decades. What is my risk of breaking a bone due to Osteoporosis?

I've carried 5 children, then breastfed them for just over 8 years in total. I've broken a few minor bones, dislocated my arm and had major abdominal surgery. I've drunk far more than my fair share of alcohol and never had as much sleep or exercise as I should. I've been a vegetarian for over 30 years, and although I do have good understanding of nutrition, you can't help but wonder if any of the people who tell you "you'll never get enough xyz" are right.

The National Osteoporosis Society say:

"1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis."
"It is estimated that around 3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis. This can lead to bones becoming fragile and breaking easily, resulting in pain and disability. Much can be done to treat osteoporosis and prevent fractures. We are committed to helping people with osteoporosis live the lives they want to lead."

Scholastic Christmas Gift Guide and #GiveABook Competition

November saw the launch of the new Scholastic Christmas Gift Guide, a time-saving round up of over 150 of the most popular books this Christmas. The guide is for children aged from toddler to teen and selected from around 70 publishers, featuring a host of well-loved authors and characters, and we've been sent 3 of the best for children aged around 6-9 for review.


All books bought through Scholastic will be significantly discounted with up to 70% off the RRP, and for every order over £10, Scholastic donate 20% worth of FREE BOOKS back to the shopper’s nominated nursery or school. Schools can build up their rewards and spend them on free books whenever they want. Books currently start at £1.99.

From now until Midnight Friday December 16th 2016, Scholastic have a competition whereby your school or nursery can win £50 credit for their Scholastic Books account. To enter, simply tell Scholastic which children’s book you’d love to give to a child this Christmas and why, tagging Scholastic and using the hashtag #GiveABook. More details at the end of the post!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Case Company Voucher Giveaway - win a case or sleeve of your choice.

Case Company make custom cases for tablets and over 100 different smartphones, as well as laptop sleeves, and unusually they even make a wooden iPhone case. One of my readers can win a voucher for a free case or laptop sleeve of their choice from the Case Company website.


Case company keep the prices low and offer free shipping, which takes around 7-10 working days, although you can pay extra for faster postage.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Win A Big Box Full Of Christmas Stockingfillers!

Over the past year I've picked up all kinds of stuff which I haven't got around to doing anything with, and we've amassed quite a lot of treasure (my partner calls it something else). Some of my treasure needs to go because we need the cupboard back, and could fill a couple of Christmas stockings, so I've boxed it up and will give it away to one of my readers.


There is a ton of stuff and I'm not listing it all, but it does include Pirate and Fairy Theatres, Brio, Plasticine, Skylanders Battlecast, Hexbug Nano, A Nightmare On Elm Street (I somehow did 2 jobs with the same movie). There's also a Frozen puzzle and Bug Safari.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Older Teenagers and Young Adult's Gift Guide 2016

Buying gifts for teenagers and young people can be tricky. You may not know their taste or what they have already, and once they have wages from part-time jobs, they're buying their own treats. This list should give you a few ideas. These are things that I like and know will suit at least one of my young people aged 16, 17, 18 and 22.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Christmas Gift Guide For The Man Who Already Has Enough Socks...

I have 3 fully grown adult men living in my house now, none of whom wear a tie or carry a hip flask, play sports or shave. Gift buying for the man who already seems to have everything can become a case of falling back on old favourites and/or beverages. Here are a few ideas that might help you think outside the box, or remind you of those smaller extra presents which everyone loves to open....