Sunday, 21 October 2018

Fortnite Battle Royale Ultimate Winner's Guide (sent for eview by Carlton Books).

Fortnite Battle Royale is a very popular game here and has been played by most of us at some point, although I can't say I've had more than a try! The talk of the playground, what every player aims for is to be the final character left on the map from the 100 who start.

Carlton's Fortnite Battle Royale Ultimate Winner's Guide is released on 1st November and is designed to give you hints, skills and tips to help you stay safe from the storm and earn the coveted title of Winner. We've been sent a copy to review and it's my youngest son who has taken a good look at this one...


Fortnite has age guidance of 12+ and my younger children do play under my supervision. Full of illustrations and simple to follow diagrams and instructions, Fortnite Battle Royale Ultimate Winner's Guide is a full colour guidebook. My son sat and flipped through for ages before he settled on what to read first...

Review Visit ~ Brick Or Treat LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Manchester

Brick Or Treat is an annual event at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at October half term leading to Halloween. Running until November 4th this year, we were given free entry and it was such a good visit that it would be rude not to tell you about it.


Brick Or Treat this year includes a pumpkin patch where you can add your own creation, a ‘Scarevenger’ hunt, spooky stop motion animation, Halloween character meet and greet, scarily themed mini land and until they run out, limited edition pop-badges and factory bricks!

Not only that but each paying adult can take one child who is dressed in Halloween costume with them for free!

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Ascarium Aquarium Half Term Halloween Fun at Sea Life Manchester (Sponsored Review)

This half term in the lead up to Halloween, Sea Life at the Trafford Centre in Manchester (like several other Sea Life venues) has been transformed into the 'Ascarium'. From 20th October to 4th November you can take part in special activities to celebrate Halloween....


As well as all of the permanent exhibits, there are lots of special displays and activities for visitors to discover, highlighting some of the spooky creatures that lurk beneath the waves. There's also a special challenge to find the missing magic ingredients around the centre to help the Sea witch cast her spell and claim your reward!

Friday, 19 October 2018

The Chameleon Family Party Game Review Age 14+ (sent by Big Potato Games)

The Chameleon is another game from Big Potato which is aimed at more grown up members of the family. Suitable for 3-8 players aged 14+ (although younger players can join in, see below), this is a family party game which we found hilarious. The answers can be brilliant.... and so random.


Packaging is great, with only a plastic wrapper to discard. The box is beautiful quality. Inside the box are 2 packs (green and blue) of Code Cards each with a Chameleon Card, larger green Topic Cards, a huge 'make your own' Blank Topic Card, 2 Dice and 1 dry-wipe marker, plus the rules.


There is no set up time and the rules are simple, so you can play straightaway once you've opened the box. The cards are all shiny coated, so they are okay to draw on with whiteboard/drywipe marker and they'll last you a lifetime.

The aim of the game is to correctly guess which one of you is The Chameleon. If you are chosen as Chameleon, it's your job to prevent anyone else finding out.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Digital Kids Show is back - 10th/11th November at Manchester Central

Digital Kids Show will be back for it's third year this November, bigger and better, and in a brand new location! This year it will be taking place at Manchester Central, which is much easier to get to if you don't have a car. The event runs over the weekend of 10th and 11th November and we'll be there again as guests to review!


My boys are huge fans of anything digital, so they are very happy that we'll be going back. The show covers just about anything tech, gadget, game or internet related which is child-safe and kid-friendly.

I love Digital Kids Show because I feel like a 'kid in a sweet shop' with all of the STEM toys, games and tech on offer. It's always so much fun and I get to see a hint of some of the independent toys which will be coming up next year...

Your Full Day Ticket includes all this (and more to be announced)!

Meet & Greets with popular You Tubers* / Ice skating / Virtual Reality / Minecraft competitions /  Fortnite tournament / Indie gaming zone / JustDance2019 competition & prizes / Family Fair rides / Giant inflatables / Under-5s inflatables / Spinning Bumper Cars / Live shows including Little Fix & DJ set with Clint Boon / Princess Parlour & Superhero training / Last Man Standing / Build with Geomag / Code robots with BinaryBots / Play with Gravitrax / Code in Minecraft / Scooter Disco / Thunderbirds

It's nice to see something especially for the grown ups this year. Personally I'm a huge Clint Boon fan, I won't be wearing my 1990 Inspiral Carpets Cool As Heck T-shirt though...

There are going to be 11 different zones and here's a taste of what you'll find...


The Greatest Show! - The live stage with a host of stars including original Minecraft legend iBallisticSquid, Amy Lee, The Wizard, Kiddyzuzaa, AshDubh, Speedy, SB737, DJ Clint Boon, Little Fix, DragonHat, BinOfTrash, Flax and aerial circus and dance artists, Zu Aeriel, and more....

Spy Code - Operation: Escape Room Game (age 6+) Sent for review by Smyths #Ad

Our latest toy review is Spy Code - Operation: Escape Room from Yulu Toys. Sent to us for review by Smyths Toy Superstore, it's suitable for 2-6 players aged 6+. This is a really brilliant game and we love playing it, the boys laugh and watching them running about frantically is great fun...


The box is sturdy and great for storage between uses. There are plastic bags protecting parts in transit, but unwrapping is almost instant. Minimal assembly is required before first play, which looks daunting at first, but is straightforward and only takes 5 minutes.


The game is played by two players at a time over 4 different parts. The concept is that one player is locked up and it's up to another to rescue them by solving the puzzles dotted around the room and collecting the keys locked inside. The final key stops the timer and releases the trapped player. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Forest of Forgotten Discos! Contact Theatre at Hope Mill Ticket Giveaway

Manchester's Contact Theatre's permanent home on Oxford Road is being transformed, so they are still out and about for their Christmas show, The Forest Of Forgotten Discos!, and it will be performed at the acclaimed Hope Mill Theatre – The Stage’s 2018 Fringe Theatre of the Year.

The Forest Of Forgotten Discos! is a fun, heart-warming story that can be enjoyed by all types of families and anyone aged 5+. We'll be attending to review and I'm really looking forward to it - although excuse me if I don't wear sequins or spandex!


Contact have teamed up with Jackie Hagan to present The Forest of Forgotten Discos! She is a stand up comedian, playwright and theatre maker who creates work that celebrates the experiences of people left out of the mainstream and director Nickie Miles-Wildin had a starring role in the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony. The Forest of Forgotten Discos! integrates sign language and visual storytelling into all performances. Truly inclusive.

Contact is dusting down its glitter ball to solve the mystery of the year. Everyone in the forest has forgotten about dancing and bright lights and disco. Even Alexa the virtual assistant from the Amazon Rainforest, who normally knows everything, doesn't understand what's happened...

Word Bandit from Drumond Park (age 8+) Review and Giveaway (sent for review).

This month Drumond Park have sent us a copy of Word Bandit to review. Suitable for 2 teams with any number of players, this is a word game which really caught the attention of my 8 year old. Recommended for age 8+, Word Bandit takes traditional pencil and paper word games and upgrades them, with the addition of a unique one-armed bandit.


There is very little plastic packaging, no assembly, no batteries and you can have the box open and be playing in under 5 minutes. Set up takes no time at all, even before first play you only have to add the sticker to the bandit front. Entirely Christmas morning-friendly.


Word Bandit is a fast-paced word game where players have to make words and initials using a selection of letters given to them at random by the Word Bandit machine. The machine is well made and works perfectly. It's a little light, so you do have to hold it still as you pull the arm.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Rainbow Rush Family Game Review Age 8+ (Sent by Big Potato Games)

My next review for Big Potato Games is Rainbow Rush, which is suitable for anyone 8+. This is a really fast-paced game for 2 or more players. The winner is the first to collect a rainbow of colours, but it's not as sweet and innocent as it sounds - this is fairly frantic!


No wasteful packaging and everything is stored in a neat little specially shaped box, ideal for storage and transportation, which you keep in sight during play to remind players of the rainbow order.

Inside the box are 2 packs of cards (hard and easy), 7 coloured stacks made up of 10 blocks and instructions. Set up takes no time at all and nor does learning the rules - Christmas morning-friendly.


The Grumpy Gnome's Garden by Della Jane Hales Children's Book Review

The Grumpy Gnome's Garden by Dell's Jayne Hales is my latest review for Matador Books. A more traditional children's tale, it stars The Grumpy Gnome and his housemate, The Little Fairy.

Although The Grumpy Gnome's Garden is suitable for independent readers aged around 6+, I actually think this book works better for reading together and is ideal for bedtime with younger children who enjoy fairy stories.


The author wanted to encourage children to see the enjoyment and reward that comes with gardening, and the friends build a beautiful garden together. They grow flowers and vegetables and herbs, and working together as a team create something very special to them both, which also benefits the animals, birds and insects.

Monday, 15 October 2018

October #TBCSmiles 50 Months

It seems weird posting the smiles today because my Social Media feed is absolutely full of candles for a wave of light to remember babies who didn't have the chance to grow up. Today's collection of smiles are dedicated to everyone who ever lost a child, however small your child was.

The pumpkins are just starting to creep in, the nights are drawing darker and Autumn is here. It's my favourite season. I don't see it as an end, I see it as a necessary change, everything hibernating and buckling down for the Winter. I love the colours on the trees and snuggling up under blankets indoors while the wind blows. Movie nights are so much better when it's already dark outside and my youngest sleeps before 11pm....

Sunday, 14 October 2018

October Event Round up for Families in Manchester and NorthWest UK

The half term break is almost upon us and as usual there is plenty going on to entertain families in the Manchester and North West areas. Here is a round up of what's happening over the next 2 or 3 weeks.


Don't forget your local library and museum and local parks, who often run activities for children or families in school holidays. 


Manchester Folk Festival
HOME, Manchester

18-21 October
Manchester Folk Festival takes place including events at HOME which will be of interest to audiences of all ages. Far too much to list and ticket prices vary, so find out more on the Manchester Folk Festival website, but including...

Sat 20 October
Family Song-Writing Workshop hosted by Manchester Sings -  on the theme of Manchester. What does the city mean to you? Whether you were born here or have made Manchester your home, the aim is to come up with a series of songs which pay tribute to our city. No musical or song-writing experience is necessary! This event starts at 3.30pm and is suitable for everyone aged nine upwards. £6.60 Per Person, book on the Home Manchester website.



Ascarium
Sea Life, Trafford Centre, Manchester

20th October – 4th November - we were invited to take a look and you can find my Sea Life Ascarium Review here (ad).

Sea Life will be transformed into an Ascarium, with lots of special activities to help discover the spooky creatures that lurk beneath the waves, plus find the missing magic ingredients around SEA LIFE to help the Sea witch cast her spell and claim your reward!

Meet the Merwitch in her lair
Find the missing ingredients
Help cast the magic spell
Take part in our creepy creature twister game
Watch our spooky pumpkin show
Claim your FREE SEA LIFE reusable cup
Remember your visit with our fang-tastic photo boards

This event is included in the standard admission price and single attraction tickets start at £11.95 per child - combi tickets with LEGOLAND Discovery Centre are better value. Book online to guarantee entry and find out more on the Sea Life Events page.



Brick Or Treat
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Trafford Centre, Manchester

20thOctober – 4thNovember
Get into the Halloween spirit with our Brick or Treat event! Always fun - we've been many times and we have reviewed Brick Or Treat this year too! Best miniland ever.

Featuring some fun spook-tacular activities such as:
Creepy creations – Add your creation to our LEGO® pumpkin patch
‘Scarevenger’ hunt
Spooky stop motion animation
Meet and greet with our new Halloween character mascot!
Scarily themed mini land
Limited Edition pop-badges and factory bricks whilst stocks last
Not only that but all little Vampires go free! - All kids who come down to this event in Halloween costume will gain free entry into the attraction! Please note; 1 free child per paying adult.

This event is included in the standard admission price. Book online to guarantee entry. Find out more on the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Events page



Spooky Southport

Saturday 20 October to Sunday 28 October
From spooktacular Halloween events to scarecrow festivals and autumnal welly walks, there’s an array of exciting activities to keep everyone entertained! Way too much to list here, so these are just a couple of the things on offer:

Thursday 25 – Sunday 28 October.
Annual Halloween Festival, Little monsters will be spoiled for choice with all kinds of Halloween happenings including, a Haunted Maze in the Town Hall Gardens, a visit from a Ghostly Pirate Crew on Chapel Street and a ghoulish Fancy Dress Trick or Treat Trail. And for the first time two giant Dragons will swoop and soar through the streets to the sounds of original songs, breathing smoke as they go.
For full event details and timings visit: www.spookysouthport.com

Saturday 20 – Wednesday 31 October
Super Spooky Scarecrow Festival featuring an array of locally created creepy characters that line the street to both frighten and delight the crowds!  You can even take part in a scary scarecrow making workshop on Saturday 20 October.

Thursday 25 October
Crafty’s Halloween Spooktacular at The Atkinson - the golden pumpkin, the biggest Halloween party in town and trick or treating are just some of the ingredients of this brand new family fun show.
Tickets can be booked at: www.theatkinson.co.uk

 For further information and to plan your half term visit: www.VisitSouthport.com



Beauty and the Beast
St Helens Theatre Royal

Saturday 20 – Sunday 28 October
Regal Entertainments are bringing their enchanting panto to audiences in St Helen's, starring Channel 5 Milkshake’s Kiera-Nicole Brennan.
This family friendly pantomime that tells the timeless story of Belle – the beautiful young woman who falls in love with the most unexpected of princes, who has been cursed to look like a hideous beast. Will the beast learn to love and be loved? Will the spell be broken in time for all to live happily ever after?

Times: Daily 1pm / Fri – Sun 1pm & 5pm, Tickets From £12*
*All prices are inclusive of a £1 per seat booking fee. On-line bookings are subject to an additional 50p per seat on-line processing fee.

For more information, please visit: www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com



Z-access
Z-Arts, Hulme, Manchester

Sunday 21 October, 10am-2pm.
Z-Access Free Family Fun Day
Specially designed for children and families with disabilities or additional requirements. Accessible creative activities including arts and crafts, music, drama and dance. Resources available to families on the day include a BSL interpreter, a sensory space, a quiet space, and a visual menu in Z-café.

Z-access is a free event, but booking is required to ensure Z-arts can make the day enjoyable for everyone. All those who book in advance will be sent a pre-event email which will include a map and social story of the day ahead.

Complementing the day will be a relaxed 11am performance of children's theatre show A Square World, which is all about changing the world so it is accessible for everyone to enjoy! Presented by Daryl Beeton and non-verbal. (Tickets are £6 - £9)

A Square World (Sunday 21 October) When the daily routine of three friends’ lives suddenly changes, they discover with a little fun and some mayhem how to adapt their world so they can keep playing together. Set to an original commissioned soundtrack, Daryl Beeton’s A Square World is an honest, touching and quirky story for ages 3 – 6 years looking at the unfairness of being left out in a world designed for everyone else but yourself.

Adrift (Tuesday 23 October) A poignant and important play from acclaimed children’s theatre company Action Transport Theatre and writer Beverley Hancock-Smith, Adrift tells the story of two children adrift at sea fleeing conflict, a heart-warming and touching celebration of the resilience and imagination of childhood for ages 8+ and their families.

Plink and Boo (Thursday 25 October) Some might be Plink, and others are Boo. Why does it matter, what’s the to-do? The topsy turvy world of Plink and Boo welcomes ages 2 – 5 years and their grown-ups. Using acrobatics, live music and mountains of toys, Plink and Boo is an interactive adventure exploring what happens when people don’t fit into boxes (even if it is the neatest place to put them).

For more information or to book tickets for Z-access or A Square World, please pop into Z-
arts in Hulme, go online z-arts.org or call Z-arts Box Office on 0161 232 6089.



Kids eat free during Half Term at Turtle Bay
Various locations including Manchester, Liverpool, Blackburn, Huddersfield, Preston

Monday 22nd  October -  Friday 2nd November 
Turtle Bay’s newly revamped kids’ menu arrives 22nd October and to celebrate they’re inviting kids to eat free throughout half term. We'll be visiting as guests to review on Monday - watch this space!

Bring a bit of Caribbean sunshine into your half term with this bespoke new menu for the “Little Turtles” in your family. The new look Caribbean kids’ collection includes a Tiny Turtles and Bigger Turtles menu.
Tiny Turtles main course, side and drink for just £5.95. Dishes include Grilled Chicken with Lemony Rice, Fresh Avocado Turtle Wraps, Sweetcorn Fritters and Flat Bread pizzas.
Bigger Turtles dishes include Quarter Jerk Chicken and Sunshine Quinoa, Chicken and Cheese Toastie with Caribbean Slaw or Crispy Squid with Fries.
If they've any room left, buy them a special ‘mocktail’ from the collection and puddings include Fresh Tropical Fruit selection,  Salted Caramel Fudge Brownie or there’s the halfway house treat of two good old scoops of vanilla, coconut or vegan chocolate ice cream.
Meanwhile grown-ups can feast on Turtle Bay’s new menu of sharing platters, hearty dishes, small sharer plates, vegan specialities, salads and of course their signature Jerk Chicken.

Offer valid from 22nd October – 2nd November 2018 only
1 free kids menu main & kids soft drink with every paying adult eating from either the main menu or the set lunch menu.
This offer excludes Kid’s mocktails and puddings
Not be used in conjunction with any other offer
Turtle Bay reserves the right to amend or withdraw the offer at any time


Halloween Family Events
intu Trafford Centre

Thursday 25 October 10am- 2 pm and Friday 26 October 10am-2pm
The annual intu Trick or Treat family event in partnership with our stores and restaurants.
Get your fancy dress outfits at the ready and descend upon the centre in hunt for goodies.
Little Trick or Treaters can pick up their free special bucket from the customer services desk and then scour the centre for specially decorated pumpkins in spooky windows... if you're lucky these will be traded for some sweet treats!
Please note, there are a limited amount of Halloween buckets so they will be given out on a first come first served basis and you must be signed up to our family club to take part.

Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 October
To celebrate the return of the hit musical Wicked to Manchester this Christmas at the Palace Theatre, join us on  to experience the magic of the show with exclusive free performances of some of the most spellbinding songs on the main stage in The Orient.
There will be two shows on Saturday 27 October at 4pm & 5pm and three shows on Sunday 28 October 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.
And from Sunday 28 October until 17 November, 3 of the iconic costumes will be on display in the Main Dome.
Wicked flies back to Palace Theatre Manchester 4 Dec – 5 Jan.

Find out more on the Trafford Centre Events page


Spooky Screenings
Victoria Baths, Manchester 

Thursday 25, Friday 26 & Saturday 27 October

The Village Screen Pop up Cinema is bringing the ultimate Halloween movie experience to Manchester’s Victoria Baths with screenings of Jaws, The Lost Boys and The Witches.

Screenings are all held in the stunning Gala Pool of this iconic Edwardian Grade II* listed building. Fancy dress is actively encouraged, with autumnal food, drink and live DJs all combining to create a spook-tacular party atmosphere!

Thursday 25 October: Jaws – doors open at 18:30, screening at 20:30. 16+ only.
Friday 26 October: The Lost Boys – doors open at 18:30, screening at 20:30. 16+ only.
Saturday 27 October: The Witches – doors open at 16:30, screening at 18:30. Suitable for all ages.

Bookings can be made at www.thevillagegreenevents.co. Tickets £10-£15per person. Online booking fees apply



Snazaroo Halloween Book Reading Event
Waterstones, Manchester Deansgate

Saturday 27th October
11am – 4pm
Snazaroo will be transforming Waterstones into a Halloween haven where little ones will be able to listen to classic children’s Halloween stories and have their faces painted by Snazaroo’s dedicated team of face painters. The face painters will be able to share hints and tips so you can easily re-create the look on Halloween night too.
There will be regular storytime throughout the day as follows:
11am – Funnybones
12pm – A Werewolf Named Oliver James
1pm – Winnie the Witch
2pm – Bedtime for Monsters
3pm – Spider Sandwiches
4pm – Hortense and Shadow

The event is FREE and first come, first served. Tickets can be booked via Eventbrite, Halloween at Waterstones.



Storyhouse, Chester
The Gruffalo’s Child Live

Tuesday 30 October, and on Wednesday 31 October
No Gruffalo should ever set foot in the deep dark wood…so join The Gruffalo’s Child on her adventurous mission in Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation of the much-loved picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
This musical adaptation of the popular children’s book guarantees entertainment for all ages. Songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3 upwards and their grown-ups, in the hugely popular show that’s toured Britain and the world.

Tuesday 30 October 2018 at 2pm
Wednesday 31 October 2018 at 11am and 2pm

Tickets: £14 (each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee)             

Suitable for youngsters aged 3 upwards
Duration approximately 55 minutes (no interval)

Book tickets Online at www.storyhouse.com, By Phone 01244 409 113 or in person

Further Afield (Over the border)



Sea Creatures Tour
Harrogate Convention Centre

30th October 2018 – 28th November 2018

The groundbreaking Sea Creatures exhibition which, in a UK first, allows visitors to explore life beneath the ocean, by viewing incredible cross-sections of REAL animals including ethically-sourced whales, penguins and Great White Sharks plus show-stopping centrepiece, 3 tonne Hai Hai the Minke whale - the first ocean mammal to undergo the complex plastination process developed by Gunther von Hagens in 1997, with the process taking 23 months and costing over one million pounds to complete. Sea Creatures is an interactive and immersive exhibition that takes you on a deep dive into the anatomy of some of the ocean’s most iconic marine species.

The exhibition also features unique digital experiences, including an interactive touch table, augmented reality installations, a mini cinema and even a giant ball pit with interactive games that allow children to learn about marine conservation while they play

Tickets £13.52-£19.99 per person. Find out more on the Sea Creatures website.



We didn't receive anything in return for the entries in this post - although we have visited some of the places featured for review. If you have anything you wish me to include, please contact me by email! 

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Secret Science by Dara O'Briain Children's Book Review Age 9+ (Sent for Review)

Secret Science: The Amazing World Beyond Your Eyes is a new release from Scholastic Books. Written by Stand-up Comedian, Mathematician and Scientist Dara O'Briain, it's like taking a foray through his head as he goes about his every day life, and if you know him from TV like I do, you'll read it entirely in his voice.


Subtitled The Amazing World Beyond Your Eyes, in this book we don't see the world as we would normally, we are shown the science behind everything we take for granted, from sleeping to flying to building sandcastle, and it is fascinating.

Simple Science is full of interesting illustrations by Dan Bramhall and they work perfectly. The whole package is incredibly funny and witty, with plenty of dry humour, but this is also an intelligent book.

Friday, 12 October 2018

MiniMaster Sports Company 1/8th Scale Football Review! Age 8-99+ (Sent for review)

I'm really pleased to bring you this review because MiniMaster Football is an excellently designed product with lots of care and attention and masses of added value. Miniature football you can play indoors, but big enough that you can stand up to play. You control the 1/8th scale footballer as if he's a real player, infinitely adjusting his angle and direction of kick - you can even chip, toe-poke and of course aim.


I first discovered MiniMaster Sports at BlogOn and they gave me a Football Set to bring home and review. Unusually for a family with 5 boys living in Manchester, although we follow football and watch a few matches, we don't have anyone who is footie mad, however everyone loves this!


No waste, very little non-essential or wasteful plastic, no batteries and everything is in a fairly compact box considering the size, which you can store it in afterwards. Christmas-morning and Earth-friendly.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Disney On Ice Presents Dream Big at Manchester Arena 2018 (Review Visit)

Last night we were guests of Feld Entertainment to review Disney On Ice presents Dream Big at Manchester Arena. We all love Disney On Ice and it's always a really good night. Dream Big saw the first appearance by Moana and her sidekick Maui, one of my children's favourite characters, plus classic characters Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, one of my favourites...


Before the show we got to meet and greet with Mickey Mouse, and for the first time in ages my youngest joined in with the photo. Hes not keen on dressed up characters and has avoided them for a while, so it was really brave of him and hopefully a sign of things to come!


We had seats to the right side of the arena and first up was the Fit To Dance warm up, with a host of skaters on the ice in sparkly costumes that were really impressive. They looked great and really had the audience joining in.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

GraviTrax Interactive Ball Track System Review Age 8+ (Sent by Ravensburger)

Ravensburger are well known for puzzles and although it can use some brain-power, GraviTrax is a completely different story. A fantastic and incredibly attractive interactive ball track system, this takes your imagination and engineering skills to new levels. Make coloured metal balls roll, fly, bounce and drop along a pathway of your own creation. You can even race a couple of your friends...


We've been sent the Starter Set which has an rrp of £49.99 and 3 of the Expansion Sets at £9.99rrp each, The Catapult, Magnetic Cannon and Hammer. All of the GraviTrax system is suitable for age 8+. Children younger (5+) will be able to play with it, but are more likely to find construction frustrating.


The GraviTrax Starter Set has an impressive selection of pieces, over 100 in all (listed at the base of the post), including lots of special parts and plenty of pieces to make a proper length of track. There are 6 metal 'Gravity Spheres' or balls included, so even if you lose one under the sofa you won't be devastated.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Winter Wonderland, Liverpool:St Luke's 'BombedOut' Church (Family Ticket Giveaway!)

I'm not getting anything in return for doing this giveaway, but it looks such a great event and the price is very fair, so I'm more than happy to promote it! Set in the centre of Liverpool at St Luke’s “Bombed-Out” Church at the top of Bold Street (one of Liverpool's most iconic Heritage sites), Winter Wonderland is a 4 week long spectacular which should create a Christmas Grotto visit to remember forever.

Set against a beautiful and atmospheric festive backdropsand with lots to explore, families will be escorted by an elf and immersed into their very own Christmas spectacular full of festive characters, workshops and fun activities,

Winter Wonderland at St Luke’s “Bombed-Out” Church will take place from Saturday 1 December and Sunday 23 December 2018. Sessions are available to pre-book now.

Fondly known as the ‘Bombed-Out’ Church, St Luke’s is one of Liverpool’s best loved heritage sites and the inside will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland. Families will take part in a whole host of festive activities, including meeting the big man himself. Tickets are booked in advance for a 2 hour timeslot and there is plenty included to keep anyone busy.

Monday, 8 October 2018

The Price Of Magic by Gavin Neale Young Fiction Age 9+ (Sent for review)

The latest children's book I've been sent to review by Matador is The Price Of Magic by Gavin Neale. A good old-fashioned fantasy with battles and fairies and elves, swordsmanship and guardians. It also stars a feisty young lady called Abby, who is no stranger to this bizarre and magical world as she had to rescue her mother from it a couple of years ago.


Backstory is provided, so although The Price Of Magic is a sequel, it is also a standalone story. Abby and her neighbour Thomas are being looked after by two elderly ladies, Daphne and Nora, while their parents work. It all seems very ordinary until the surprise arrival of Erykah, the Queen of the Land of the Fairy, and Bryonny, her Pixie Chief ally.

Daphne and Nora are in fact witches and Guardians Of The Peace Accord between dimensions, they just pose as ordinary elderly ladies. War is threatened, the gap between the Fairy Realm and our Earth has been breached. Thomas is kidnapped and it is up to Abby to rescue him, but her guardians are very reluctant to let her become involved in the impending war.

Smooshins Surprise Maker Kit Review Age 7+ (Sent for review)

My boys love all kinds of toys and they aren't scared by pink, so it was their choice to accept a Smooshins Surprise Maker Kit for review. The kit contains everything you need to make 4 different 8cm tall Smooshins - colourful, tactile and cute hand-sized characters - and you start with a Colour Pouch full of two-part liquid and a Smooshin Maker.


The box is a strange shape which isn't incredibly useful for storage and there are some necessary plastic bags, but unpacking is 5 minutes. You will need a small phillips screwdriver and 3 x AAA batteries (not included), but then you can read the instructions and start straightaway. Fairly Christmas morning friendly.


The Kit contains 2 Surprise Character Moulds in disposable secret surprise eggs, 4 Colour Pouches, 4 Headpieces, 4 Faces, 4 Bellies, 4 Character Stands and 1 Special Pouch Squeezing Tool which is also a 'key' to unlock the egg surrounding the Surprise Character Mould.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Hatchimals Hatchibabies Review age 5+ (Sent by SpinMaster Toys)

My boys were very lucky this week because they were sent a brand new Hatchimals Hatchibaby to review. I have done a video showing everything, including how long it takes to hatch and how to hatch your Hatchibaby, a link is below. Hatchibabies are, just like real babies, either male or female, and they also come in 2 varieties - Ponette or CheeTree.


There is an instruction booklet inside the box, which you should really read before you begin, as well as a Tips And Tricks sheet and a HatchiBirth Certificate which you can write the Hatchibaby's name and date of birth on, and add the secret slip of paper announcing 'Girl' or 'Boy' which you'll find once your Hatchibaby has hatched.


Your Hatchibaby is lots of fun straight away because it is really interesting even at the egg stage. It will interact and react from inside the egg, as soon as you have removed the locking keys at  the bottom, so play with it and make the most of this time.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Dixit Family Game Review (age 6+) for Blogger Boardgame Club (Sent for review)

This month's review for the Blogger Boardgame Club is Dixit from Asmodee and Libellud. Suitable for 3 to 6 players aged 6+, this is a family board game which we all really enjoyed and it's utterly beautiful.

Very easy to play as well as fun and funny, this is a great one for late into the evening when you don't fancy being physically active and want to calm the bigger kids (and grown ups) before bed. It's also a fascinating insight into everyone else's head!


Inside the box are 6 sets of press out cardboard voting tokens, 84 large Story Cards, 6 wooden rabbit player score markers, instructions, and the game board. There is very little waste packaging from the cards, the game is plastic free and the box is brilliant storage for your game afterwards. Full marks and Christmas morning friendly.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Science Museum Approved RoboMaker Pro Review for Clementoni (age 10+)

I spotted the RoboMaker Pro in the Toy Awards at BlogOn and it was one of the big toys that caught my eye. Clementoni construction sets are brilliant for encouraging STEM learning while having loads of fun.

Your child will practise engineering and design skills when building their model and then they'll learn about electricity, block programming and coding while they get to grips with controlling it - and with different sensors and lots of movement, there is absolutely loads it can do...


Cleverly there are instructions for 5 different models included, and they start fairly easy and become really quite complex. plus you can of course create your own models. Inside the box is everything you need except 4 x AAA batteries. Parts are still attached to the sprue, so you'll need 10 minutes to remove them before you first start.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Cirque Du Soleil Review: OVO Tour at Manchester Arena (ReviewVisit)

Cirque Du Soleil launched their UK Arena Tour in Liverpool and the tour continued at Manchester Arena until Sunday, followed by Birmingham and Belfast. Last Friday we saw the show in Manchester as guests in order to review.


The cast of OVO features 50 performing artists from 17 countries, including the UK's Alanna Baker, 2011 gymnastics European Champion and a host of incredibly talented artistes. This is theatre and circus with amazing costumes and lighting, rolled into one huge jaw-dropping bundle.


OVO means 'egg' in Portuguese and when we arrived we were greeted by a ginormous egg on stage. As the performance started, characters appeared and mingled with the audience, eventually settling on stage. The giant egg deflated and the performance proper began.