Thursday, 16 August 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 16 - Scared of soap

This is a great little activity which takes seconds and, like the Gluten activity earlier, it helps children understand what it is that really makes up the foods they eat. We are going to scare colour into running away...


Scaring away the colour in milk - with soap

EQUIPMENT:
A breakfast bowl
About 2oz milk - enough to cover the bottom of the bowl. Any milk should work, although I've not tried them all!
A tiny amount of food colouring
2 drops of washing up liquid

48 Months #TBCSmiles

It is time for this month's smiles, and it has been a pretty hard month for us. The Summer holidays are full of memories and waiting for results is very difficult to stomach, even if you disregard anything about the stress of the actual outcome.

Our young people, no doubt like yours, worked so hard and all had to keep going when they already had more than enough stress. Our household was not a happy place yesterday and one of our teenager's future career depended on really tough entrance qualifications. Thankfully that wait is now over and it's with a huge amount of pride that I say we will have 3 young people at University next month.

Not getting what you hoped never makes you a failure, it just makes it more difficult to take that path. There are a million more routes and a billion other options. You are so much more than your exam results.


Yesterday marked 4 years since we lost our 16 year old, Elspeth, and it made this week especially hard. I wrote about that yesterday, and I have to thank everyone who sent messages, replied to posts, commented, changed their profile photo or shared a sunflower. You are always there for us, and we couldn't be more thankful. To have so many people who care makes us richer than any amount of money ever could. Thank you.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

48 Months, 208 Weeks, 1461 Days. 4 years.

It's been 4 years since we lost Elspeth.

If you have a 4 year old, all that time they've been alive, she's been gone. While they learned to walk and talk, make friends and use a crayon, she's not gone any further. It's such a long time and she should have done so much, but she didn't give any of it a chance.

Our kids have grown. Our big kids are all grown adults now. Work and thoughts of Uni are filling their heads and it's so hard not to be seeing Elspeth off for her 3rd year. She should be going. She should be getting wasted and staying up all night to finish assessments. Living on 17p noodles and bringing all of her washing home, and expecting me to do it (which I do, because I'm soft).

She should be playing board games with her little brothers, she loved to play and they're both old enough now to play proper games. She should be watching her favourite movies with them, and they should still be happy to belt out songs from Les Miserables.


What I really want to say is that it's all just a bit shit. It's really crappy and unfair. We should have her with us, but because at the moment she decided she'd had enough, no-one happened to ring or send her a message, or knock on her bedroom door, she's not here.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 15: The Spinner

Back in the old days, before plastic and huge toy companies filled our toy boxes, children had to make their own toys at home. Here's one we can all make which can also help us understand colours...


The Spinner
Can you make it hum? Hmmm? 

EQUIPMENT:
Large cardboard pieces - cereal box or pizza box is great. If you have no card then stiff paper works too.
A small plate - the cardboard must be at least as big as the plate.
Scissors
Pencil
Colouring pens or pencils
Ruler or a straight edge
A small book
A teaspoon with a plain handle
Sticky tack

Monday, 13 August 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 14 - The Diver

This project helps you to understand some really complicated Scientific principles, including pressure, volume and buoyancy - but it is really easy and it's fun... And you don't need anything special.


The Diver
Neutral Buoyancy

EQUIPMENT:
A water bottle with a screw top lid.
Water
Small square interlocking construction bricks - 4 stud LEGO or similar.
Sticky Tack or Dough

Sunday, 12 August 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 13; Floaty Paper Boat Challenge

Playing with water is great fun, but always make sure you are safe. Never lean your body over water more than 5cm deep without a safety harness or a responsible grown up, in case you fall in. You actually only need a sink half full of water to test your boat, but safety first...


We Are Sailing
Make a floating boat

EQUIPMENT:
A4 Paper - it will not survive it's bath, so scrap paper is perfect.
Wax Crayons

Hopefully you've made a paper boat before, and if not then it's definitely time. Paper isn't generally a very floaty material, but our boat can float for 5 minutes or more...

Saturday, 11 August 2018

5 MInute STEM Activity 12 - Cleaning With Acid

Every child has to make their coppers shiny at least once, it's a right of passage. This is a very effective experiment to make us all consider what we are really putting into our mouths and tummies...


Shiny Pennies. 
Cleaning the filth from money

EQUIPMENT:
Money - only coins. 1p and 2p 'copper' coins work best.
Small cups or jars - NOT metal. Glass is best.
Acids - for example, Cola, vinegar, lemon juice
Patience.

Sgt. Stubby Movie Review, Activity Sheets and Plush Sgt. Stubby Giveaway (3 winners)!

Sgt Stubby was released in cinemas in the UK this weekend. An animated movie which is a more grown up film than you might at first expect, especially as the star is a very cute little stump-tailed Terrier dog. This is the story of the official mascot of the 102nd Infantry Regiment (United States) and America's most decorated dog.


The movie is set in wartime and features wartime events, including frontline battles and infantry in trenches. It's noisy and honest, and my boys at 8 and 9 understood the storyline with depth.

The film tells the story of the real four-legged American hero, Sgt. Stubby, and when it starts he is a stray, rescued by a young 'doughboy' just as America declare war they are joining World War 1 and havoc really begins. The young man takes Sgt. Stubby with him as his infantry mascot.

Friday, 10 August 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 11: Mind Control

Human beings think we have free-will to do whatever we want, but nature has other ideas. We are bound by instinct and our bodies' will in just the same way as fish returning to their spawning grounds and birds flying South for Winter. Most of it is necessary to keep us alive and protect us from harm, or at least used to be necessary, and we often take our cues from people around us...


Mind Control
Control your family

EQUIPMENT:
Yourself
Another person
We react to what other people do and even copy their actions - it is built into us and has protected humans from potential danger and made us 'part of the pack' for thousands of years. There is safety in numbers, not only because our mates can help us fight off bears, but they can help us spot potential dangers too.

There are absolutely loads of things you can make other people do without discussing it. Not everyone will fall for every trick, and a few people won't be completely caught out by any - but you should get some degree of success with anyone. Here are a few to try. If you want to prove your powers, write down what you are going to make them do, and show them afterwards.

Nerf Laser Ops Pro Alphapoint Review (age 8+) for Hasbro

We love Nerf and their latest release is the Laser Ops Pro range. Brand new laser battling blasters which bring Nerf, Laser Tag and augmented reality together in a brand new and very different type of battle to any other Nerf we've ever played with... and it's really rather fun.


In the box are 2 x Nerf Laser Ops Pro blasters and 2 x rubbery armbands to hold smartphones - which are optional. You will need 8 x AA batteries - 4 for each blaster. The packaging is great. Plastic-free and you have storage for your set afterwards to keep it all safe.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 10: Blowing out a candle with gas

We can't see lots of things, including a lot of gasses, but we can prove that they are there. We can create Carbon Dioxide gas very easily, and because it is heavier than air, we can use it for a trick...


Blowing out a candle by magic...
Gas-powered

EQUIPMENT:
1 candle - a tealight is perfect
1 bowl with about 1cm water in the bottom
A small jug, mug or beaker.
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 big glugs of vinegar (about 1oz)
Cling Film


CBBC Summer Social Review 2018 Croxteth Hall And Country Park, Liverpool

Lat weekend we were guests of CBBC and Croxteth Hall And Country Park for the CBBC Summer Social. The weather was on our side, dry and not super hot, and unusually gates opened at 9.30am, so we set off bright and early, in time to take a few photos before the crowds really descended.


The CBBC Summer Social is a festival for families with children aged around 0-11, and loads of children's TV favourites were there. It was lovely to find the whole site is really flat and relatively compact, especially when you consider what they managed to fit in!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 9: Spoon Catapults

Cavemen probably played with miniature catapults as children, the technology is incredibly old. They are very simple to make and this is one of the simplest. It is a great way to use energy and motion to create different types of energy and motion. Mechanics, powered by your finger...


Spoon Catapult
Fantastically Flingy

EQUIPMENT:
Small collectible toys, rubber are best*. The type that come in blind bags and don't cost more than 50p each - then your mum won't be mad you won't be sad if you do temporarily lose any (don't use your favourites).
Dessert or soup spoon
Plastic water bottle, half full of water with the lid on tightly or cardboard tubes (kitchen roll or crisp tubes).
Sticky tape
Plastic bowls or similar for targets

*Small objects to fling - if you don't have any small collectible toys or yours are too precious to risk losing, you can use tightly crunched up paper. There are other rules:
a. Your objects cannot be metal or glass, or feel heavy or hard like metal or glass - e.g. dice.
b. Your objects cannot have sharp edges, points or corners.
c. Never aim towards animals or people, and watch out for your cat/baby brother getting into the way.
d. Your objects must not be bigger than the spoon, if they overlap the edges, they're too big.

My Pet Story (Gary the Cat Update) - with Petplan

It's about time I updated you on what Gary is up to, although it is with a degree of disappointment that I inform you he still doesn't have a 3-storey cat hotel, but you never know, one may just be in his near future... Black Friday is only getting closer...


For anyone who has missed Gary's story, he arrived, he squealed (for an hour). We let him in, he repaid us in hugs and a terror of the outdoors, followed by a persistent inability to have a wee. The internet raised some of the money, the vet took a hatchet to Gary's credentials and he's been just fine since.

He's only 3 and he's had the most adventures of any animal I've ever had.


Gary is the only cat I have ever actually tolerated liked. I'm not a natural cat person, I like dogs - but don't tell Gary. He's very excited by passing dogs, but I don't think he intends to befriend them.

Monday, 6 August 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 8: The Banger

The Butterfly Effect suggests that when a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon jungle, the ripples around the world might cause a roof to blow off in China, an apple to fall from a tree in the UK, or a Russian woman's hat might blow away. We see the butterflies' wings flap, but we can't see the waves of pressure it causes. In this activity we can hear them though...


Bangers and Sound Waves 

EQUIPMENT:
A sheet of A4 paper

World Calligraphy Day 15th August #SaySomethingSpecial

World Calligraphy Day isn't just about showing off your calligraphy skills (thankfully because mine are very limited!), it's about getting everyone writing. Manuscript Pen Company have partnered with Birmingham Children’s Hospital and created the ‘Say Something Special’ campaign.


The campaign is encouraging as many people as possible to write a special letter to the children in  Birmingham Children's Hospital. These can be sent to: Say Something Special c/o Small Man Media, 2nd Floor, 6 Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton, WV1 4BL. All of the letters will be forwarded on to Birmingham Children’s Hospital alongside some Manuscript products for the hospital to use for their art classes and play sessions.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 7: Is it warm, or is it cold?

Today's 5 minute activity is one of the very simplest, but most effective. Our bodies and brains are incredibly complicated and clever, and most of the time they work together really well, but it is possible to confuse our brains and make it appear that something isn't what it seems.


Is it warm, or is it cold?
Confusing Your Brain.

EQUIPMENT:
Your hands
1 bowl cold water - from the cold tap
1 bowl lukewarm water - 2/3 cold and 1/3 hot
1 bowl warm water - comfortably warm and toasty


Friday, 3 August 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 6 - Turn Black To White (well, almost...)

Science can't explain everything, but sometimes it has a very simple explanation for something that seems impossible. If you hit yeast extract (Marmite, Vegemite etc) it appears to change colour from very dark brown to very light tan colour, almost from black to white. But why?


Turn black to white.
Marmite Bashing. 

EQUIPMENT:
1 level teaspoon Yeast Extract - Marmite, Vegemite etc.
A spoon, fish slice or other utensil to hit the yeast extract with.
A plastic plate or shallow bowl - not a Melamine camping plate, it'll break. The softer sort of plastic.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 5 - Step Through A Hole In A Postcard

Here's something for the engineers of the future to get their teeth into. You can make a hole in more than one way, and if you do it carefully, you can even walk through a hole in a postcard...

This activity is quite hard because it requires concentration and careful cutting. Younger scientists may need older assistance, and there is always sticky tape!


Step Through A Postcard

EQUIPMENT:
A postcard sized piece of thin cardboard. A postcard is perfect, cereal box is great.
Scissors
A light coloured, thin felt tip or a pencil or wax crayon
A thick marker or felt tip in a dark colour.

Grandpa's Old Watch by Angela Poulain Personalised Adventure Book Review

Grandpa's Old Watch is one of two 'My Little Adventurer' personalised children's story books written and illustrated by Angela Poulain. Suitable for reading together or for independent readers, these are adventure story books, where the reader makes choices about what will happen next...


I've reviewed with my 8 year old. Ordering was incredibly easy, the personalisation is a bit limited, but my son opened his book and immediately shouted, "The kid in this book has the same name as me. Is that why you got it for me?". So that was a hit!

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 4 - What is Gluten?

Lots of people are diagnosed Gluten-intolerant, but it's very hard to understand what that actually means. It's very easy to 'make' Gluten, and when you do then you will be able to understand why people with Coeliac Disease have trouble digesting it...



What Is Gluten? 
Separating flour.

EQUIPMENT:
1 cup of flour - strong bread making flour is best.
Water
A bowl.

If you don't have bread flour then use plain flour. I've used plain flour here just to show that it can still be done, but bread flour gives a much better result. If your mix doesn't seem to be working, wait half an hour and come back. It's not failure, it's science!

Crate Creatures Surprise Review (age 4+)

Crate Creatures are a brand new toy and they're actually rather good. Furry animal monsters captured inside a crate, your job is to release them and befriend them. It's easier than it sounds - although these little critters will shout and growl and try to scare you off. It's as if they don't understand you're being kind...


This is packaging genius. The crate is the packaging for the toy, but also the storage and the actual toy. It's brilliant. It's common for my 8 year old to play with the box, he doesn't usually play with it more than the contents.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 3 - The 5cm World Challenge

Some activities make a great challenge, either for yourself or against other people. Today's activity is an outdoor one that is perfect for a quick competition and makes you look at the world in a different way to normal. What is everything made from? Is concrete just concrete? Is grass just grass? Where do the living creatures hide in your garden? You can get better at noticing your world, the more you pay attention...


The 5cm World: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral
Get up close and personal with the ground beneath your feet.

EQUIPMENT (for each person if you aren't challenging yourself).
Outdoor space
2 sheets of paper or card (we used 1 of each).
Something to write with
Scissors

Monday, 30 July 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 2 - The Floating Arm Trick

I've drafted a few 5 minute simple STEM activity posts and I'll share them with you over the next few weeks of the Summer holiday. These 5 minute activities are designed to make your children think and learn about what makes up their world. None of them require anything complicated or any scientific qualifications, and if you want to learn more - you have the Internet and the entire knowledge of the world, right there in front of you...


The Floating Arm Trick.

You don't need any equipment other than yourself and a flat wall. A closed door works perfectly.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

The Kitchen Science Cookbook Review - and a 5 Minute STEM Activity (Age 4-14+)

Here at the brick castle we are very keen on easy and fun science experiments. Children ask loads of questions and by exploring their world they learn the skills to answer those questions for themselves.


I've written several 5 minute STEM activity posts that cost pennies, and I'll be posting one a day for as long as I can keep up. By coincidence we were asked if we wanted to review The Kitchen Science Cookbook by Dr Michelle Dickinson. She is part of Nanogirl Labs and believes, like me, that science should be for everyone.

The Kitchen Science Cookbook is chock full of fantastic experiments and challenges, so the first 5 minute STEM activity for this Summer holiday is from this book.


The Kitchen Science Cookbook is a big hardbacked book which is split into several sections of experiments and activities - colourful, construction, edible, electricity, motion, pressure, reaction, sound and surfactant. Before that though, it has information about safety and how to conduct experiments, note taking and other useful tips.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Bunch O Balloons - easy fill water balloons review and bundle giveaway! (Age 3+)

We've all seen the adverts and 'oooooh'ed' and 'ahhhhh'ed' at the sight of loads of water balloons filling up at once, with no knotting and no surprise bursting. The stuff of dreams for a young child or a harassed parent, can it really be true? This is a video review, so you'll see our results - and Zuru Toys are also giving a bundle to one of my readers...


Bunch O Balloons were a new thing to the UK last year and this year our sunshine really means they're perfect. We've been sent the Bunch O Balloons Launcher Value Pack to review. Suitable for age 3+, although obviously someone older will have to supervise and help with filling, this set is a full battle set!

Friday, 27 July 2018

Flat Squirrel by Fiona Faith Ross. Children's Chapter Book Review

One of the latest releases from Matador Children's Books is Flat Squirrel by established author Fiona Faith Ross. The Flat Squirrel of the title is called Duggan, and he's a flying squirrel. Duggan and the other animals all face the usual struggle for survival, especially concerning finding food.


Duggan lives nearby a busy road, and lost his Mum there in a tragic accident which he remembers all too well. He needs to cross in search of more food though, and once over, he spends time with a new bunch of animals who are tentative friends, prepared to share what they have, but always a little wary of the others.

Although the characters are animals, this isn't 'babyish' and I imagine it in a similar animated style to 'Over The Hedge' or another modern movie. The storyline is modern and even though I haven't ever seen a Flying Squirrel in real life, I can picture the scenes easily in my mind. This is in no small part due to the excellent illustrations by Fraser May. Black and white line drawings, they are very well done and remind us that we are talking about real animals, especially when they are in human environments.

The Handlebards present Twelfth Night at Ordsall Hall Theatre Review.

Last night we were guests of Salford Community Leisure and Ordsall Hall Open Air Theatre to watch the world's first cycling theatre company, The HandleBards, perform Shakespeare's classic comedy love story Twelfth Night.


The weather is currently amazing, so we took folding chairs and umbrellas (as insurance), covered ourselves in factor 50 and set off. Parking was arranged close by and it was possible to book a picnic in advance, which was waiting for us when we arrived. Proper night off.

I've never been to Ordsall Hall before, but I will definitely visit again with my children. It's an amazing location which was first mentioned in records in 1177, and sits amid the apartment blocks and factories of Salford. Shakespeare's own rose between many thorns. The museum is free to visit and open all year. We had a glimpse, but no chance during this visit to look properly.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

i-Top Electronic Spinning Top Game Review (age 8+) for Character Options.

As soon as we hear 'Spinners' now, we think of fidgets and I expected i-Tops to be similar, but in fact they are much more like the traditional wooden toys we've all played with - but with a brilliant use of electronics to count spins, create animations and keep high scores. Competitive spinning!


The packaging is really massive compared to the size of the toy and half plastic. It's really easy to pull open, but you aren't going to need it afterwards, so only a few points for Earth-friendly. It's Christmas-morning friendly though, batteries are included and play is instant once it's in your hand.

Dr Beckmann are getting steamy in the laundrette...

It is warm, or is it just me? If you are as old as I am then you will definitely remember the iconic 1985 Levi's ad, where the rather attractive Nick Kamen took his kit off to wash it in the machine at the laundrette. Dr Beckmann remember it too, and they've very kindly recreated it for our viewing pleasure...


The Dr Beckmann version stars former Eastenders and Extras star Shaun Williamson, and he was given hints on how to really get the hearts pumping and turn up the sex appeal by the team from Queer Eye. When asked for a comment he said:
“I’ve played many a character in my time, but the opportunity to step into Nick Kamen’s shoes for Dr. Beckmann’s latest ad was one I simply couldn’t turn down... I don’t usually do the laundry in my underwear, but then again I wouldn’t usually wash blue jeans and a white t-shirt together - turns out you can with Dr. Beckmann Colour and Dirt Collector sheets.”
Susan Fermor, Marketing Director for Dr. Beckmann, said:
“In the absence of the gorgeous model from the original ad, Shaun was the obvious replacement".
Take it away Shaun...

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Cyril And Pat by Emily Gravett Children's Book Review And 3 Book Giveaway

Cyril and Pat is maybe a little young for my family, but Emily Gravett's work is so beautiful and the story is such a fabulous message that sometimes an exception should be made. This large format hardback book is written in rhyme and very cleverly leads you to the final word of each page... and then surprises you by saying something completely different.


I read together with my 8 and 9 year old boys - because reading together is still nice sometimes, even when you can read yourself.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Meningitis - 5 years later...

Five years ago my partner was in bed unable to control his own temperature, stay awake more than about 30 minutes or concentrate on anything more complex than Storage Wars.

He was 10 days into his recovery from Meningitis, and I was attending my first ever Blogging Conference, leaving him in the care of Elspeth, who regularly presented him with fluids and medicines, took temperatures, and opened and closed his windows accordingly all day.


I had a broken toe that I'd smashed against the bed frame, so I was wearing flip flops (not actually a wise move. My toe set bent and I couldn't get shoes on until it was re-broken). I was so exhausted that when I caught the tram home I zoned out, came to and tried to get off the tram 2 stops after I'd got on, no-where near my home. But I had to go to the conference because I needed to take time off being nurse, and I had people to thank.

In the most terrifying hours, when he first became ill, it was bloggers on my screen who told me I was doing the right thing and soothed me and told me it was going to be okay. When I was all alone at night, in a house full of worried sleeping children, having left my incredibly sick partner in the care of the hospital and terrified he might die, it was bloggers who kept me company until I slept in the early hours, and who were there for me when I woke at 6am.

The blogging community is huge and inevitably there will be losses, but this week I have watched this group of people come together in a mutual horror and sadness over the sudden loss of one of the old school. One of the pillars who felt like she had always been there and we had every right to assume she would be there a long time yet. The sudden death of Kate, best known for WitWitWoo, is a blow indeed. I met her several times and in real life she was as big a personality as she was online. I was always in awe of her. Tall, always perfectly dressed, with amazing hair and just oozing confidence and sexiness. I wished I had the balls to be as confident as her.

This weekend hundreds of bloggers have donned their swimsuits and bikinis and enjoyed the sunshine with confidence - they've all been a bit more #witwitwoo and the smiles show they've all enjoyed it. They took their life back for themselves for a moment and to hell with anyone who didn't like it.

My partner is now 5 years into his recovery and we are realising now just how broken he is. He can control his temperature now, but he can't remember very much of the last 5 years. He is failing to make new long term memories and is very forgetful in everyday life. He has permanent pain in his hands and legs, and his extremities don't have as much sensation as they should. He walks with a limp and tires easily. But he is still here. We are in that respect lucky.

In the last 5 years we've had to race straight through hospital triage 2 more times with my partner as he experienced massive bleeding due to pretty impressive tonsilitis and also when he attempted to have a heart attack. I have my own issues with my intestines refusing to stay in the correct place and am facing my 3rd surgery to stuff them back. We also lost one of our teenagers, destroying everything we thought was true and everything we expected to happen, and placing us somewhere we never anticipated. We have all become far more aware of our own mortality.

Kate's legacy is a fabulous one, because we should all be able to find the courage to do those things we want to do without listening to the scorn of others. We should all be able to laugh at those who tut. We should all have the confidence to #bemorewitwitwoo

Life is short. You aren't going anywhere, you are already there. Don't wait for the right time for too long, because it may never come. Eat the cake, wear the swimsuit with a big grin, throw water balloons with the kids. Stop what you are doing and step outside and just shut your eyes and feel the world turn. Take joy wherever you find it. Live your life for now, don't save it for later.

My thoughts tonight are with Kate's boys, her family and friends, and also with Em of Snowing Indoors and her children, who lost their husband and father suddenly today. 
Love and strength to you all xx

Friday, 20 July 2018

Refract:18 Launch at Waterside, Sale - including Long Shot by PanGottic review.

Refract is the annual Summer arts festival at Waterside in Sale. Featuring events, performances and music that challenges you to think differently, this is a huge programme which starts 19th July and runs for 9 days until the finale on Saturday 28th - music from the very popular The Magic Numbers.


We were invited along to the launch at Waterside in Sale, which includes a performance of Long Shot by PanGottic. The festival offers something for all ages, and Long Shot is suitable for age 7+.


We were promised "a catapultastic evening of clowning, contraptions, comedy and courage, as one man’s belief in the near impossible is put to the test" and I think that sums it up perfectly.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Hexbug Robot Wars Arena review (age 8+)

The Hexbug Robot Wars Arena is a small scale replica of the real arena, with a large printed floor, barriers and screens and remote controlled robots made in the image of some of the most famous and popular robots from the TV show. It's really quite exciting.


Robot Wars used to be a really big deal in our house. For many years we sat and watched every episode, we even went to see it live and have a collection of remote controlled 2ft high models in the loft somewhere. We're also quite keen on Hexbugs and have played a little with the Battlebots. A Hexbug Robot Wars Arena has to be a great thing.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Weird Things Humans Search For game review for Big Potato Games (Age 14+)

Weird Things Humans Search For is our second review for Big Potato Games. Suitable for 3 or more players and recommended for around age 14+, you can play as individuals, but this really comes into its own as a team game for teenagers or older and makes an ideal party game.


A game about 'Weird Things Humans Search For' instantly has the potential to be hilarious, and we weren't disappointed. There are plenty of giggles and genuine belly laughs as players attempt to guess the most popular ending to an internet search phrase. A sort of modern day equivalent of  Blankety Blank meets Family Fortunes.


Everything you need is in the box, including pencils and paper, so you can play immediately. There's no set up, play centres on the Question Cards and the rules are simple. Each round choose 1 player to be 'The Search Master', who reads out the question and knows the true answers. We simply took it in turns.

Monday, 16 July 2018

The Price Of Magic by Gavin Neale Young Fiction Review for Matador (Age 9+)

The Price Of Magic is the second book from Gavin Neale and features reliable old-fashioned good versus evil, with swords and kings and children who have been dropped into a world entirely unlike their usual reality.


This is fantasy in the style of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe mixed with The Lord Of The Rings and given a dash of later years Harry Potter. Dwarves, elves, fairies and magic come together with a very special young hero, and save the world.