Thursday 28 May 2015

The Beach Book by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield (review)

The Beach Book is one of the latest books to be released by Frances Lincoln Publishers, and will be available to buy from June 4th. Written by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield, it is full of ways for your children to spend their time safely around water.

The Beach Book by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield (review)

Whether your water is a river, a lake or an ocean, there are loads of fabulous ideas in this book. Fiona and Jo  have previously had great success with The Stick Book, The Wild City Book and The Wild Weather Book, and I think The Beach Book will be just as popular.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

How Children Cope With The Death Of A Close Loved One

No-one wants to have to tell their innocent, wide-eyed little people anything bad. We don't want to crush a single one of their dreams, but death is our only inevitability and they will encounter it, most likely completely unexpectedly and at a time when you aren't in a good position to have to try and explain it to them.

When their loved one dies your child will exhibit all kinds of unusual behaviour. Every example I give in this post, we have been told is absolutely normal and to be expected, so hopefully it will be helpful and maybe save you asking or worrying yourself.

How children cope with the death of a close loved one.

Children fall into several distinct groups, and you will see that very clearly in their behaviour and what they say:
  • Children under 2 will generally not be able to appreciate what has happened. I didn't have children under 2 at the time of our loss, so I won't talk about them in this post. 
  • Children between around 2 and 7 will be able to grasp an idea of death and permanence. 
  • 7 to 17 year olds will all behave in much the same way, and it is only once they are over this age that they react in the same way as adults. 
When we were first told this we thought it unlikely, but we did see that in our experience at least, it was true.

Monday 25 May 2015

Playing With Shetland Ponies at the Bank Holiday weekend.

We were due to be going to the Geronimo Festival last weekend, but unfortunately my hernia operation was cancelled a second time, and it would just have been too much, so we arranged to send a deputation in our place (their review will be coming up in a few days time)...

Playing With Shetland Ponies at the Bank Holiday weekend.

Missing out on Geronimo meant we could still take advantage of the gorgeous weather, go North to the Lake District and watch my partner's parents take part in a Horse And Pony Event. We don't get to see them very often as they live 200 miles away, so it really was a lovely opportunity.

Shetland Ponies Carriage Driving

Friday 22 May 2015

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - Baby Cakes DVD review and giveaway

It's no secret my two young boys love My Little Pony DVD's, we've reviewed a few in the past and they're always popular. The latest release from Hasbro Studios is My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - Baby Cakes, and it is in the shops and available on digital download from Monday 25th May.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - Baby Cakes DVD review and giveaway

Baby Cakes cointains 5 episodes from Friendship Is Magic season 2 - Baby Cakes, Hearth's Warming Eve, The Last Roundup, The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000 and Read It And Weep. The DVD is suitable for children of all ages, with a Universal rating, and a runtime of 1 hour 45 minutes. If you are lucky, your version will even have free badges!

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - Baby Cakes DVD free badges

Sunday 17 May 2015

Electric Stunt Buggy Kit Giveaway From Interplay

Interplay have some amazing kits to teach your child as they have fun. Specialising in craft, nature, science and technology kits, we have just reviewed the Electric Stunt Buggy kit and I'm very pleased to say that Interplay have kindly offered another kit as a prize for one of my readers.

Interplay model stunt buggy kit giveaway

 Everything you need in in the box apart from 2 batteries, from the cardboard body and chassis of the vehicle, to the foam wheels and electric motor.

Build an electric stunt buggy kit from Interplay

Interplay Electric Stunt Buggy Review (and Giant Hornet!).

I was given the chance by Interplay to review their electric Stunt Buggy, but at Blog On I found a Giant Hornet kit in my goody bag, and it's awesome, so I'm including that! Both sets are mainly card or thick paper, and the assembly is recommended for children aged 8+.

Interplay are a UK company formed in 1998. They specialise in making craft, nature, technology and science kits for children. All of my older children have had many Interplay kits, they've been a regular feature here since around 2002 - Christmas always brings a few to our house.

Interplay Electric Stunt Buggy Review (and Giant Hornet!).

The electric Stunt Buggy is from the Technokit range, and will help your child to learn about electronics and scientific principles. Everything except batteries is in the box, including an instruction leaflet.

Interplay Electric Stunt Buggy Review pack shot

Friday 15 May 2015

9 Months after losing Elspeth.....

It 9 months now since we lost Elspeth, and I think this has proven to be in many ways a far easier month, but a couple of very important factors have made it hard work.

My ridiculously huge Hernia has become our main focus at the moment. My planned operation was rearranged 2 days beforehand and I'm now due to go in next week. I've been bumped up to 'urgent' and 'as soon as possible'. I won't lie, it's sore now, and I'm struggling to eat. The weightloss is welcome, but not exactly a healthy way to diet. One of my main daily worries is clothes. The only skirt that's comfortable is dangerously close to wearing through, and maxi dresses are unusual attire for the school run in Manchester in May!

Thursday 14 May 2015

LEGO Marvel Avengers Quinjet City Chase set 76032 review

A couple of weeks ago we were sent the LEGO Avengers Quinjet City Chase set 76032 to review. My little boys love the LEGO Avengers, and so this was a very popular delivery! Recommended for age 8-14, the set has 722 pieces and is a slightly more difficult build, with a complex Quinjet that is pretty darn awesome...

LEGO Avengers Quinjet City Chase set 76032 review

LEGO Marvel Avengers Quinjet City Chase set 76032 review

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Kids Cook French Cookbook Review And Crepes!

Kids Cook French, or 'Les Enfants Cuisinent A La Francaise', is the latest release we've been sent from Quarry Books. Written by Claudine Pepin and illustrated by her father Jacques Pepin (himself a TV personality and world-famous chef), this 96 page book contains 30 French inspired recipes which you can cook together with your children.

Kids Cook French Cookbook Review and Crepes recipe

Although this book was originally released in the US, unlike some others we've reviewed, the recipes don't contain a list of unusual ingredients, and it is very UK friendly. Measurements are mainly in both metric and imperial units. Each page is repeated in both English and French, making this an excellent tool for learning without even realising....

Kids Cook French Cookbook in French and English

Monday 11 May 2015

Sprukits Halo Master Chief Level 3 Poseable Figural Model Giveaway

SpruKits model kits are pretty awesome, we love them, and I think you can tell from the reviews just how much they've taken over our house this last week or so. Poseable Figural Model kits which need no tools, no cutting, no glue or paint, and give fabulous results that look great and are brilliant to play around with.

SpruKits Level 3 Master Chief Giveaway

We've built 2 of the Level 1 SpruKits model kits -  Original Comic The Joker and the New 52 Batman....

SpruKits the original comic book The Joker and Halo Masterchief

Ozeri Weightmaster II 200kg Digital Bathroom Scale

Ozeri make gorgeous homewares that are also functional, and the WeightMaster II 200 kg Digital Bathroom Scale with BMI and Weight Change Detection is a perfect example. A gorgeous item to look at, which is compact, light and fits nicely into a corner of any room, it is also so much more than your standard bathroom scale.

Ozeri Weightmaster II 200kg Digital Bathroom Scale Review

Packaged well, and in a box which has all the information you need to get started, the scales also arrive with a large instruction pamphlet - this makes them seem very complicated, but actually it was straightforward and almost instant to set them up.

Ozeri Weightmaster II 200kg Digital Bathroom Scale Review

Saturday 9 May 2015

Halo Master Chief Level 3 Bandai SpruKit poseable model review

Yesterday I covered most of the fantastic selection of Sprukits Bandai have sent us to review, but I felt the Level 3 Halo Master Chief model deserved a post to itself, because the design and ingenuity of the figure is outstanding. The model is fun to build, beautiful to look at, excellently balanced and weighted and the articulation is amazing.

Halo Master Chief Level 3 SpruKit figural poseable model review

Halo Master Chief Level 3 SpruKit figural poseable model review

Friday 8 May 2015

SpruKits - Poseable Figure Model Kits Review - Batman and The Joker

SpruKits from Bandai are brand new to the UK. Poseable figural model kits featuring characters from DC Comics, Pokemon, LBX and Halo, SpruKits are available in 3 sizes with 3 levels of difficulty - enough to keep anyone from age 8 to adult entertained. And they really have, I'm smitten.

SpruKits - Poseable Figure Model Kits Review - Batman and The Joker

Frankly the packaging was exciting enough! And as I opened the box, it only got better....

What Makes A Hero - You do

Yep, these are a craft project for ages 8+ that requires absolutely NO TOOLS - although you may wish to tidy up the edges and bits of sprue. I haven't for any of the models so that you can see what they're like straight out of the box.

Thursday 7 May 2015

Swimshop £25 Giveaway

This company never ever fulfilled the prize for the winner of this giveaway. I was less than impressed and wouldn't trust them again. I have edited this post to remove all promotion.

It's Summer! Get your bikini out!! Well, okay, it's blowing a gale and raining and less than 10 degrees in the sun. The UK is a bit hit and miss regarding the weather, but we still get a few days sunshine, and late Spring is the time we start to think about the Summer holidays and pull out the swimsuits, and then realise it's not the 80's any more, or worse - discover those 20lbs you lost/gained since last Autumn mean your old suit isn't quite as flattering as it used to be...

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Blog On MOSI 2015

Two years ago when I went to Blog On I was an absolute state. My partner was at home in early recovery from Meningitis. He still couldn't regulate his own temperature, he was in agony, on many different tablets and slept for about 21 hours a day. I left him and my small boys at home under the care of our 5 teenagers and panicked all day. Last year I got to relax and enjoy the event. This year it was my first big blogging event since Elspeth died, the first time I'd see lots of people who I count as friends, and I have a hernia that makes it look like I'm smuggling a saucepan. It's fair to say I was a bit scared. I nearly survived the whole day, very nearly.

Laura (TiredMummyOfTwo) had very kindly offered me use of a quiet room if I needed a break, Sim (Simslife) had got a last minute ticket, and we were picking up Jen (MyMummy'sPennies) en route. My hernia operation had just been cancelled, so I had that to fret about instead thankfully - as well as the fact that my partner was at home not only with our 2 little ones, but also with Sim's daughter. 

Blog On MOSI 2015 in Manchester

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Geronimo Festival Update - new acts announced!

It's less than 3 weeks until the Geronimo Children's Festival at Tatton Park in Cheshire, and tickets are still on sale for the 3 different days - Saturday May 23, Sunday May 24 and Monday May 25. At only £75 for a family ticket admitting 4 people, it's a great price for a full day's entertainment.

Geronimo Festival Update - Tickets Still Available

Geronimo is especially for children up to 12, and since my last update when I announced we were going to be ambassadors, lots of new announcements have been made.

Trespass Ladies Kangchen Rainjacket Review

It's now May, and for us in the UK the end of April annoyingly doesn't signify the end of the rainy season, raincoats are an all-year-round essential. Trespass are one of the better known brands in the UK, we've bought from them before, and even have a Trespass child's raincoat that has been handed down and worn by 3 of our children in turn.

Trespass offered me a product for review, and as my old raincoat was 10 years old I think it's my turn, so I chose the Kangchen - Ladies Trestex Jacket in Signal Red.

 Trespass Rain Jacket Review - Kangchen Ladies Waterproof and Windproof  Jacket

Trespass Rain Jacket Review - Kangchen Ladies Waterproof Windproof inside seams

Monday 4 May 2015

Thank Gosh It's Monday!!

When I was asked by Spongebob Squarepants if I wanted to write a post about why Mondays are great, I laughed. Mondays are awful, right? Monday mornings are a nightmare - people looking for school uniform, clean shirts and bags, teenagers frantically completing homework, everyone's tired, no-one wanted to get up, and the house is a state after a lazy Sunday....

But actually, the more I think about it, maybe Spongebob has a point. It's a Bank Holiday!!! Most of the country have got a day off and I get to play with my children an extra day. 4 times a year we get a day off because it's Monday. Awesome.

Sunday 3 May 2015

May The 4th Be With You

Yep! May 4th is Star Wars day - and it's also my 700th post! Any excuse to get some LEGO out and May 4th is traditionally very popular with your LEGO Star Wars fans, so we've had a little play with one of the new Series 2 Microfighters - set 75073 the Vulture Droid, and some of our Series 1 sets.

LEGO asked us if we could find a new world for our Microfighters, somewhere unfamiliar and alien to our Star Wars minifigures. It wasn't hard to think of a few new environments, lets face it, they didn't ever go to Earth in Star Wars (because it took place in a galaxy far, far away of course) so we were on to a winner...First stop as directed by my 5 year old - outside!!

Star Wars Microfighter 75032: X-Wing Fighter and Luke

This might look like the moment Luke landed on Dagobah, but in fact it's 3 feet up in a tree - or a beanstalk. There's clearly a giant...