Monday 30 November 2015

8 Toys To Keep Your Kids Active

Your kids have a lot of energy, and, despite your best efforts, sometimes they just don’t have a place to channel it! We’ve come up with some indoor and outdoor toy options to get your kids moving and depleting some of their vast energy stores.

HARIBO Christmas Sweets Bundle Giveaway!!

This Christmas will be a happy one for HARIBO lovers as the treats giant have released a selection of special Christmas themed treats for your children - and lets face, for you!

Even better, HARIBO have put together a cracking bundle for me to give away to one of my readers!
The HARIBO Share The Fun Tub has all of HARIBO's most popular gums and jellies in one tub - bringing Starmix, Tangfastics and Super Mix together - no more having to choose - you can have them all! 720g divided into 24 mini treat bags to keep everything fresh until you're ready.

Sunday 29 November 2015

Coping With The First Christmas After Losing A Child...

The first Christmas after you lose one of your family is incredibly scary.

Christmas was always one of Elspeth's big things, she adored it and drank it all in with a glow of excitement. She'd sing carols from November onward and watch marathon sessions of Christmas movies. We had no idea how it could possibly be good without her there. As Christmas drew closer we began to panic more and do less.

One of the most crippling things about the depression following grief is that everything takes so much effort and seems so hard that you can't face it, but the longer you leave it, the scarier it becomes. Eventually you simply don't understand how it can ever be possible. We realised on 7th December that we were going to be letting our small children down if we didn't create Christmas.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Dream Letters - Making writing fun for children aged 5-12

Dream Letters is a big hit in France where it was first launched and now it's coming to the UK, just in time for Christmas. Designed to help encourage children to really enjoy reading and writing, it places your child into an imaginary storyline and uses their own responses to carry the story forward in a way that suits your child.

We'll be reviewing Dream Letters later on, but it'll only just arrive in time for Christmas, so it'd be too late to order if you want to look at it for your child.

Receiving letters through the post is a delight for any child, and writing letters in reply can be a great way to get a reluctant child to become excited about writing. When they are older penpals can be great for children, but younger children aren't really equipped to chat to a stranger who doesn't prompt them and talk about things that they understand.

Dream Letters is very different because your child is placed into their own personalised fantasy story. Your child's first letter informs them they're now King or Queen of their own kingdom, and the first pack contains 4 letters, a map, certificate, paper crown, stickers and a badge saying "Call Me Your Majesty".

Caseapp £25 Voucher Giveaway and 20% Discount Code

How would you like a new personalised case for your Samsung phone with your best dressed Saturday night selfie, or maybe you could sort out that tricky-to-buy-for person by having their pride and joy Subaru Impreza or herd of cats pasted into an iPad Mini case? With a £25 voucher from Caseapp, it's really possible.

Caseapp use 4 colour printing to get excellent reproduction of colour and high resolution printing, and have a choice of either high gloss or satin finish, whichever design you choose.

As well as using your own photo's, Caseapp have a huge range of custom cases for you to choose from for your iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or iPad, including plenty that will be great for this Winter...

Wednesday 25 November 2015

TinyMe Personalised Family Calendars Review

In my Christmas Present Giveaways I'm giving away a TinyMe £40 voucher, and here's a lovely example of what you can buy if you win. This year for the first time they're creating Personalised Calendars, and we were sent a voucher to order one for review.

TinyMe Personalised Family Calendars Review

Creating my calendar was a 5 minute job. It really was incredibly easy. The personalisation includes the wording on the front, the pattern or print, the inside layout with columns or a grid, and for most styles you can also choose the colours.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Raving With Big Fish Little Fish : 2-4 Hour Party People!

Big Fish Little Fish are, in their own words, "a music and events crew that put on family raves with all the freedom and excitement of a mini-festival, right in the heart of cities and towns".

I was asked if I'd be interested in coming along to review a Big Fish Little Fish Family Rave being held in Manchester. I had absolutely no idea what that was going to entail, but it sounded a laugh, and incredibly intriguing, so it wasn't an opportunity to be missed.

Big Fish Little Fish Family Rave Review Manchester

Kids And Video Games

This is a post by Sam Rimini.

Children love to play video games. Traditional toys from the old days don't play the role they used to, although a good old teddy bear is always appreciated, especially when it can be personalized like at Build-A-Bear. Also, there is no problem with parents feeling the need to enact a new set of rules to govern how long their kids are playing, which is the case with video or games, or which titles they are consuming. While many of them offer a variety of benefits to players and they're not only meant for kids, there are numerous disadvantages, as well. The time has come to take a closer look at the pros and cons associated with kids interacting with video games!

Monday 23 November 2015

The Christmas Gift That Lasts All Year From

I'm a huge advocate of buying books for Christmas, but books aren't the only things we can read for pleasure. are the UK's leading magazine subscription site, offering subscriptions to hundreds of magazines, covering every topic you can you can think of and they usually work out substantially cheaper than buying each edition separately - regularly less than half price.

A magazine subscription is much better on your waistline than chocolates, and lasts longer than smellies. It really can be the gift that keeps on giving.

The savings by subscribing are possible because the magazine manufacturers aren't sending copies out to sit on a shelf and then go back, there's very little waste in the form of paper and ink, delivery, time and effort, so the savings from all of that can be passed on to you - and better yet, each issue is delivered to your door free of charge.

Sunday 22 November 2015

How To Choose Your Child's First LEGO Sets

Christmas is expensive, and presents that are opened and then sit in the cupboard all year are a disappointment to everyone. Especially when you are buying the first sets, you want to make sure your LEGO investment will be a set that your child will like, and will open up a huge world of creativity for them.

The most important thing is to start by thinking of LEGO as a creative puzzle toy, rather than a brand. Following a LEGO instruction book to build a model is not so different from following any model instructions, or even completing a jigsaw. The difference is that once you've finished, you can play with it, dismantle it and rebuild it however you want.

Choosing might be more simple than you think, and to me has 3 main questions:

1. What toys does your child like playing with?
2. What is your price range?
3. What age and ability range is your child?

Friday 20 November 2015

The Card Gallery Personalised Christmas Cards review

The Card Gallery are a Shropshire based online company selling personalised cards and other stationery. They started out 11 years ago catering for Weddings and Christenings, and now have a massive range of personalised products for all occasions including birthdays, thank you's, new babies and pretty much any event you can think of - including Christmas - and cards start at 70p each.

The Card Gallery also create personalised stationery and other products for business and schools. They even print iron-on name labels and personalised gifts for your child's teacher.

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Ticket To Ride: European Edition Family Game Review

Ticket To Ride is one of my personal all-time favourite games. A turn-based board game for 2-5 players aged 8+ where players create rail routes from location to location in order to score points. The original ticket To Ride was first published in 2004, and there are now 4 different full game versions, all together selling more than a staggering 3 million copies already. There are also a host of expansion packs featuring different maps worldwide.

Ticket To Ride: European Edition Family Game Review And Giveaway

Until now I've only ever owned a copy of the Nordic Edition, but I've been sent a copy of the European Edition of Ticket To Ride to review, and I will also being giving one away thanks to Esdevium Games.

Monday 16 November 2015

Win a trip to New York with the Disney Store 'From Our Family To Yours' charity initiative!

Last Thursday we were invited to a Magical Christmas Party at the Disney Store in Manchester Arndale Centre, to find out about their new charity initiative, which is taking place right up until Christmas this year.
"Take a festive photo in one of our stores, or dig out a classic from the family album and share it through Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #DisneyStoreFamily."
Disney Store From Our Family To Yours Initiative

For every treasured moment shared, Disney Store will donate a soft toy to children's charities. This year their chosen charities for the UK are Great Ormond Street Hospital and In Kind Direct. If you don't have Twitter or Instagram, you can also share via The Disney Store's page on Facebook.

That's not all though, each family that submits a photo will be entered into a competition to win a family trip to New York, including a private shopping spree at the Disney Store in Times Square. It's a huge prize for someone, and so we gave it our best efforts to win while we were there!

Sunday 15 November 2015

15 Month Smiles.

Everyone seems to be having it a bit rough at the moment. The clocks changed and Halloween and Bonfire Night came and went and the rain moved in, and lots of us haven't seen much daylight since then. In another week it'll be less than 5 weeks to Christmas and we can start getting excited/panicked, but this week is a low. It'll pass.

The last month has actually been the hardest for us in a long time. It's been 15 months since Elspeth died, and to the outside world 15 months is such a long time. We should be learning to live with our new life. In many ways though, the new life is just beginning. Our child who was struggling and literally 'wasting away' has been in hospital for the past 3 weeks.

Thursday 12 November 2015

My Little Pony - Equestria Girls: Friendship Games Full Length Movie DVD Christmas Present Giveaway

Friendship Games is the latest release this year in the My Little Pony - Equestria Girls series. A full length animated adventure featuring all of your favourites from the more 'grown up' branch of My Little Pony.

Lasting around 72 minutes, the Friendship Games movie tells the tale of the 4 yearly Friendship Games, where all of the regulars from Canterlot High meet up with their rival school Crystal Prep Academy to compete in a series of games with the aim to make friends and have fun, and bring harmony to all.

The Incredible Adventures Of Professor Branestawm Family TV Movie DVD Review And Giveaway

Last Christmas The Incredible Adventures Of Professor Branestawm was a huge hit on BBC TV, and on November 30th it will be released for you to own on DVD and Digital Download. Just in time too, because this Christmas the successful team will be back with the second installment - The Further Adventures Of Professor Branestawm.

Based on the book by Norman Hunter, Professor Branestawm first appeared in 1933 and hasn't really changed since. The screenplay is written by the master of many roles Charlie Higson and it stars equally multi-talented Harry Hill as the Professor himself.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Magformers Wow Box Children's Magnetic Construction Toy Christmas Present Giveaway (age 3+)

We've been playing with Magformers for the last week or so, and I've been really stunned at the amount of play value in our Wow Box. 16 magnetic construction toy pieces for children aged 3+ that allow you to build all kinds of structures and vehicles in moments.

Now Magformers have very kindly offered a Wow Box for one of my readers. The Wow Box is ideal for building vehicles and comes complete with wheels and a driver/pilot/passenger who is designed to always stay upright whichever position he's in.

The giveaway is a late addition to my Christmas Present Giveaways, and will end with the others at midnight November 30th, so that you can have your Magformers ready in plenty of time for Christmas.

Magformers models only take minutes to build, and moments to take apart, so it encourages your child to rethink their designs and add modifications. They aren't frustrated or disappointed when their model suffers a breakage as it's so quick to put back together, and there are no tiny pieces to lose under the sofa.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Magformers Wow Box Children's Construction Toy Review (age 3+)

Magformers are a multi-award winning construction toy which has multiple educational benefits, as well as being really great fun to play with. The way they are constructed means they are mainly safe for children of all ages, and model sets exist for children aged around 18 months and over. We've been sent the Wow Set to review, which has a recommended age of 3+.

Magformers Wow Box Children's Construction Toy Review (age 3+)

Magformers are mainly regular shaped strong plastic toys which are used for construction. They need no fixings and you don't have to be precise, because they attract together with rotating built-in magnets.

Monday 9 November 2015

Happy Christmas 2015 from Stick Man (Children's Story by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler).

Stick Man is written and illustrated by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. They are a prolific pairing who have created over 20 of our best loved children's books together, including The Gruffalo, Zog, Room On The Broom and The Snail & The Whale.

Stick Man Gift Edition Book Review Julia Donaldson

Stick Man is exactly as old as my 7 year old and it really is a top 5 favourite book in our house. I was delighted to discover that this year Magic Light Pictures have created an animated film version to be the big BBC TV children's Christmas Story Of 2015.

Friday 6 November 2015

The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home ~ Personalised Children's Book Review

The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home is the brand new personalised book from the people behind the fabulous Lost My Name books, David Cadij-Newby and Pedro Serapicos. It was recently chosen as one of only 7 books which will be sent up to the International Space station to be read aloud as part of the Story Time From Space project.

"An incredible journey from outer space....back to a child's own front door."

The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home ~ Personalised Book Review

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Disney Pictopia Family Board game (age 7+) Christmas Present Giveaway

Disney Pictopia is a picture trivia game which is just perfect for Winter evenings when you are warm and cosy inside your house while the wind howls around outside. A fabulous game to play with anyone aged 7+, you really have no idea just how much you know about Disney until you start playing - and trust me, unless you consider yourself a Disney superfan, you're likely to be surprised!

Featuring 1000 questions to keep gameplay fresh for a long while, Pictopia can be played by 2-6 players, and what we discovered very quickly was that each player has a very different Disney experience and can answer very different questions!

With more than 70 Disney movies spanning from Snow White in 1937 through to all the more modern Pixar movies, our teenagers and young children could answer questions we couldn't and vice versa. It means that you can actually play with 2 or 3 generations of players and everyone has a chance of winning.

FabLab Style Lab From Interplay Christmas Present Giveaway (age 8+)

Interplay are one of our long term favourites. All of our children have found their craft, science, nature and technology based toys in their stockings several times each over the years. Toys that give a child a project to complete, and skills to learn.

The FabLab Style Lab is ideal for your more artistic young people. The Style Lab contains everything they'll need to create some great designs with body tattoos and body art, nail decoration and hair colour - and it all washes off!

A couple of our teenagers would love this set even now. It wouldn't be flowers and love hearts though, we'd have tattoos of Adventure Time characters and Thirty Seconds To Mars.

Two Tractor Ted DVD's Christmas Present Giveaway

Tractor Ted has been delighting children for over 13 years with his friendly farm antics, bringing the countryside into the living rooms of children who live even in the biggest cities. The range of Tractor Ted products available to fans is huge, and there is even a Tractor Ted show which tours the UK.

This giveaway is for 2 Tractor Ted DVD's and a Tractor Ted keyring. I was given them when I went to the Talk To Mums event last month, and while they're great, my boys are getting a bit old for Tractor Ted. They won't get properly used here, so I'm sending them to one of my readers.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Bee Good Youth Enhancing Skin Care Range Giveaway (worth over £65)

A Christmas Present Giveaway list wouldn't be complete without something lovely that's mainly for the ladies. Bee Good are a British company making gorgeous natural skincare using the honey, propolis and beeswax from our native bees. They use excellent quality ingredients in their skincare products, and you can really tell.

Bee Good have offered one of my readers their Youth Enhancing range. 3 products for the face which suit people of all skin types, but which are especially good for maturing skin.

Rock Face For Men Entire Range Giveaway (worth nearly £45)

Since 2010 Rock Face have been making men 'look good and smell great with a minimum of fuss'. A range of 10 products for shave, shower and body which all have the same clean, fresh, masculine scent, and are practically effortless to use.

The smell and sight of Rock Face is something our household are used to, as their products have been the choice of our oldest lad for a few years - and one of my readers can win the entire range of 10 products for a man in their lives, or for themselves - why not? It is nearly Christmas....

Bratz Study Abroad Raya Christmas Present Giveaway (age 5+)

This Autumn Bratz Dolls have had a revamp, and there are a whole host of new releases, including the Bratz Study Abroad range. Cloe, Yasmin, Jade, Sasha and Raya are off to foreign countries to learn more about the world, complete with their bags and cases, souvenirs and a spare outfit to take with them!

Bratz Study Abroad Raya Christmas Present Giveaway (age 5+)

All of the Bratz dolls have the unique Bratz style, with an overly slim, tall figure and super long hair. It may not be realistic body image at all, but I think promoting the idea that girls can travel the world studying is a great thing for our children to aspire to. My 15 year old was obsessed with Bratz when she was little, I'd have been delighted if it had been able to give her aspirations about future education plans.

Bratz Study Abroad Range of dolls review (age 5+)

Monday 2 November 2015

TinyMe £40 Gift Voucher Christmas Present Giveaway

TinyMe were initially formed in Australia in 2006. They are a company who make personalised products which are really carefully designed to give best usefulness while still looking really good. They care about details and most of their products are offered in a range of muted shades that give them a real classical appeal while still being very modern.

We've bought and reviewed TinyMe goodies a few times now, and I've been delighted with the quality and durability of what we've been sent, but mainly I have just ooo'ed and aaaa'ed at how beautiful it is. TinyMe make excellent gifts..

Drumond Park Prize Pair Christmas Present Giveaway (2 Winners).

We are huge fans of Drumond Park, and have been reviewing their games now for nearly 3 years. It's a wonder we haven't played them all yet, but each year new releases add to the list, and it is two of this Autumn's new games that feature in this giveaway.

Two winners will each win Og On The Bog, and LOGO Lite - two games which were developed entirely in-house by the Drumond Park team and have both already won awards.

LEGO Full Set Of Bionicle Protectors Giveaway

It wouldn't have been right to run my Christmas Present Giveaways without any LEGO, and I've a great prize for any fans of figures. One winner will win the entire set of 6 LEGO Bionicle Protectors worth nearly £60. Suitable for builders aged around 6+, Bionicles have been the favourite of my 7 year old for a couple of years now.

When built the Bionicle figures are very poseable and as each one comes complete with a Skull Spider, they make a complete playset on their own - 6 of them is going to be very impressive!

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Complete Season Two DVD Christmas Present Giveaway

Cantering into a DVD shop near you in plenty of time for Christmas is the latest release from My Little Pony. A compilation of all 26 episodes of the second season of Friendship Is Magic, plus a host of extra bonus features including songs and printable colouring sheets, and even some collector cards inside the DVD box. 

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Complete Season Two DVD Christmas Present Giveaway

This is a huge box set with 5 DVD's which added together give a runtime of a staggering 546 minutes - that's over 9 hours of My Little Pony - enough to keep any pony fan happy this Christmas! 

Sunday 1 November 2015

Project MC2 The Doll Who Knows Smart Is The New Cool - Christmas Present Giveaway (age 6+)

The Project MC2 doll isn't your usual children's fashion doll. She may have long hair and a hairbrush and care about her appearance, but she uses her brain too. The winner of this giveaway will win a Camryn doll, who comes complete with her own science experiment.

It's not a science experiment you might remember from school - it's way more cool. Camryn is a girl who skates, and what's more, she can put together her own board using her special blueprints.

Disney Big Hero 6 Projection Baymax Christmas Present Giveaway from Bandai

The Disney movie Big Hero 6 was a huge hit earlier this year, and Big Hero 6 merchandise is sure to be a very popular choice this Christmas. The main characters Baymax and Hiro are incredibly likeable, even loveable, and I'm sure every child would like their own Baymax watching over them.

Disney Big Hero 6 Projection Baymax Christmas Present Giveaway from Bandai

Bandai have a great Big Hero 6 toy range this Christmas, and they have very kindly offered a Big Hero 6 Projection Baymax as a Christmas present for one of my readers. 
Disney Big Hero 6 Projection Baymax Christmas Bandai
Suitable for children aged 4 and over, when you lift up the Big Hero 6 Projection Baymax Toy's arm he speaks (using the original film voice) and projects images from the film onto his belly. At 26cm tall, he's big enough to reflect his 'real size' in the movie, but still small enough for a child to hold.

Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters - The Complete Season Three Box Set DVD Christmas Present Giveaway

We've reviewed the 3 Transformers Beast Hunters DVD's as they've been released, and just in time for Christmas Hasbro have compiled all 13 of the Season 3 episodes plus the full length Predacons Rising movie into an amazing 5 hour 36 minute DVD box set. That's enough to keep any Transformers fan happy.

Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters – The Complete Season Three will be released on November 9th on 3 DVD Box Set and Digital Download.

Miles Kelly 100 Facts Children's Books Christmas Present Giveaway (2 Winners)

This is a fantastic giveaway with two prizes! Miles Kelly publish 80 different books in their '100 Facts Series' and two winners will be able to choose five books each from the range for their children this Christmas. The 100 Facts books have sold over 80 million copies to date, in more than 30 different languages.

On Angel Wings Children's Christmas DVD Review And Giveaway

To launch this year's Christmas Present Giveaways I have a Children's Christmas DVD. On Angel Wings is a new release from Kaleidoscope films. Based on the book by Michael Morpurgo (the author of War Horse) it retells the Christmas Nativity story as seen through the eyes of a child, Amos.

Voiced by a great cast including Sir Michael Gambon and Juliet Stevenson, Dominic Cooper and Colin McFarlane, On Angel Wings was aired last Christmas on BBC1 for the first time, and from November 2nd this certificate U film is yours to own on DVD and Digital Download.

On Angel Wings Children's Christmas DVD Review And Giveaway