Friday 18 December 2015

Scotch Tape Handband - one-handed wrapping.

This weekend and next week parents up and down the land will be spending their evenings secreted away very busy wrapping presents for Grandma and maybe some other people. Cursing at accidentally buying wrapping paper thinner than tissue, and wondering why it was ever a good idea to buy more than 1 gift per child.

The lovely people at Scotch sent me their Pop-Up Tape Handband Dispenser to have a play with, and actually I really like it! Obviously it's not your cheapest way to wrap, but I spent yesterday evening tackling some of our mountain and it was a pleasure - my partner and I even watched a movie at the same time and made a pleasant evening of it.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Star Wars The Force Awakens - Is it okay For 5 year Olds? (NO SPOILERS Review!).

We have just got home from taking our 5 and 7 year olds to see Star Wars The Force Awakens. Before I went I was party to a lot of discussion about whether it would be suitable. Our opinion is now a 'Yes', and this is why....

Star Wars The Force Awakens - Is it okay For 5 year Olds? (NO SPOILERS Review!).
"I don't want a photo! I want to go and see the movie!"
If your child likes action movies then they've probably already seen at least one Star Wars movie. If they like Star Wars then they've probably seen more than one Star Wars movie. They're actually not going to see much that they haven't seen before.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Guinness World Records 2016 and the GWR Gamer's Edition Review

Surely everyone has heard of the Guinness World Records. Throughout my childhood I always wanted to break a record and in the last 3 years I've had a part in breaking several - as have the rest of my family. It's always officially amazing, and a real buzz to be a part of something so exciting.
Guinness World Records 2016 and the GWR Gamer's Edition Review

We had an awesome time visiting the Guinness World Records HQ in London during the Summer, and my boys took home a goodie bag each with the Guinness World Records 2016 book and the Guinness World Records 2016 Gamer's Edition. My 5 year old adores his Gamer's Edition book. He fell in love with it the moment they met....

Tuesday 15 December 2015

16 Months After Losing Elspeth....

It is now 16 months since we lost Elspeth and we're well into preparations for Christmas. We've bought and ordered presents for most people and even sent some cards. While it may not be as far as most of you, it's far in advance of the place we were at this time last year.

We even took down the decorations from the loft and got the living room ready for our Christmas tree - which we bought this evening. It's gorgeous - just look at the smile on him! We are cooking on gas.

We're also very aware of how broken we all still are. Since last month our teenager in hospital had a temporary inpatient visit from their father. Taking my partner to hospital, and passing straight through triage for the 3rd time in 2 years, this time in an ambulance with flashing lights, was not in my plan....

Monday 14 December 2015

Lost My Name Book Giveaway and Free Children's Newspaper!

Lost My Name are a company I first worked with nearly 2 years ago. Since then they've gone from strength to strength, with over a million copies of their first book now sold and a second book also topping the tables.

The Lost My Name books are different enough to really stand out as special, even before you consider the amazing artwork. Lost My Name take personalised gift books to a whole new level.

Sunday 13 December 2015

Disney Charades (age 6+) from Esdevium Games (review)

We've reviewed quite a lot of games from Esdevium recently, the latest being Disney Charades. This is a team game for 4-10 players aged around 6+.

The classic party game has the Disney makeover, and this a simplified version where there are clues, sounds and a limited number of answers, so younger children have a better chance of playing on an even level.

Disney Charades (age 6+) from Esdevium Games (review)

Disney Charades is presented in a gorgeous tin, which makes it an ideal game to give as a gift, and to take out and about. Charades can be played by people of all ages, so it's great for family games evenings. A little Disney knowledge is useful, but even if you don't have that you will learn as you go on, and can always take a guess.

Pip Ahoy's Christmas Ahoy! DVD for children aged 2-6

Just in time for Christmas Cosgrove Hall Fitzpatrick are back with a festive DVD from Pip Ahoy! Christmas Ahoy! will be released tomorrow December 14th, and we were lucky enough to be among the very first people to see it because we have been sent a copy for review...

Pip Ahoy's Christmas Ahoy! DVD for children aged 2-6 (review)

Pip Ahoy! is created by the people who brought us Count Duckula, Chorlton & The Wheelies and Jamie & The Magic Torch, and a character that David Jason made famous, Dangermouse. Christmas Ahoy! also features the voice talent of Sir David Jason as a handful of the friendly animal characters living in Salty Cove, including Pip's Uncle, Skipper.

Getting your oven ready for Christmas with Oven Pride

Oven Pride challenged me to cook a full Christmas dinner, then clean my oven using the Oven Pride Complete Cleaning System and cook another pretty much identical Christmas dinner and see if I could spot any difference. We ate our dinners two days apart so that we could really give an honest impression.

To take part in the challenge you had to have not cleaned your oven in 3 my defence I had a hernia and a big operation, and lots of other stuff happened, so it may have been a smidgen longer than that...

Getting your oven ready for Christmas with Oven Pride

The fact is that cleaning the oven is a job we all choose to put off. It seems dirty and stinky, and very hard work, and while it still works and there are a million other things to do, it doesn't seem top of the list.

Friday 11 December 2015

Enterprising Child book review (a book for parents).

Enterprising Child is written by Lorraine Allman with Mary Cummings. It is a book which aims to help parents develop their child's entrepreneurial potential.

Entrepreneurial potential is seen not only as a route to monetary wealth or business success, but also as a route to reach your full potential in other areas, by using the child's natural ability and interest to take them further in other aspects of life.

Enterprising Child book review (a book for parents).

Thursday 10 December 2015

A Vault 111 Fallout 4 Jumper for Christmas from Numskull

Numskull are a UK company who make officially licensed merchandise based on Games, Movies and TV. With partners including Capcom, SEGA, Playstation, Disney, BBC, Ubisoft and Bethesda, they really do have something for the geek in all of us.

A Fallout 4 Christmas Jumper for Christmas from Numskull

I pretty much jumped at the chance to review one of the jumpers Numskull are selling this Christmas. If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that in my spare time (if that exists) I've been playing Fallout 4. My partner and I were both gamers when we met, and when the kids are in bed, if we aren't watching movies, we're usually on the Playstation...

Disney Rummy from Esdevium Games (review)

We've reviewed quite a lot of games from Esdevium recently, and the latest two they've sent for us to review are Disney Rummy (£17.99) and Disney Charades (£12.99). Two family games which can be played with your younger children, and still enjoyed by their Grandparents.

Disney Rummy Family Game from Esdevium Games (review)

Disney Rummy is suitable for 2-4 players aged around 4+. It's a simplified version of the ever-popular card game Rummy, but in this version there are 2 ways to play, and instead of cards we have plastic tiles. The tiles are easier for children to manage, and instead of a pile, you lay the cards face down on the table.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Smart Ass family board game for age 12+ review

Smart Ass is an incredibly easy-to-learn trivia board game from University Games. Suitable for 2 to 8 players aged around 12+ because of the difficulty of some of the questions, my teenagers were delighted when they saw we had been sent this to review because they had all played Smart Ass before and already knew they liked it!

Smart Ass family board game for age 12+ review

Each player has a counter which you move along a pathway on the board until someone reaches the final space.

When it's your turn you roll a coloured dice to decide which question you will ask the rest of the players. The question cards are either Orange: Who am I?, Blue: What am I? or Green: Where am I?

Tuesday 8 December 2015

The Works Christmas Gifts 2 for £10 Review

This Christmas The Works are offering a huge range of Christmas gifts to suit everyone - priced at the very reasonable £7 each, or 2 for £10. They've sent me a selection to review, to find out if they really can please all of my lot for a fiver each.

I honestly expected a small box, so the giant one which arrived was a complete surprise! The contents were also a very pleasant shock - instantly they looked much better quality than I'd anticipated, and so much more for your £5 than I'd have believed.

The Works Christmas Gifts 2 for £10 Review

The Book Of Everyone - personalised keepsake gift books review.

The Book Of Everyone make lovely light-hearted keepsake books personalised with your choice of name, gender and date of birth for recipient, and you even give your name and relationship to them, so that the book is especially from you. Your book design can be completed in practically the time it takes to type those details.

The Book Of Everyone - personalised keepsake gift books review

As soon as I started making my book I was really impressed. It had far more pages than I expected, and they were witty and humorous, and actually very interesting to read. It's not a collection of blah facts you've read in crackers, it's intelligent and very nicely put together.

Monday 7 December 2015

The Imaginary by A.F.Harrold - Children's Book Review (age 8+)

The Imaginary by A. F. Harrold is probably best described as a fantasy book best suited to children aged around 8+. A tale of imagination, loss and friendship, it poses the question 'what happens to our fantasies when we don't remember them any more?'

The Imaginary by A.F.Harrold - Children's Book Review (age 8+)

The central characters are Amanda and Rudger. No-one except Amanda can see Rudger, and he lives in her wardrobe, so I think it's fair to say he is imaginary, and Amanda has an excellent imagination.

But then one day a man called Mr Bunting comes to the door and he can see Rudger. This is when the plot starts to get exciting...

Saturday 5 December 2015

Snow Queen at Z-arts in Manchester

I haven't been to Z-arts before, but I had heard of it. A huge building in Manchester which plays host to a range of arts groups for families and children, with an aim to be accessible for all. Tickets to the show are only £6 for children.

We were invited to the initial showing of their latest production - Snow Queen - an updated version of the Hans Christian Anderson classic tale about friendship and perseverance and hope. It is a bit scary, so suitable for children of school age around 7+.

Brought into the modern day by Philip Osment and Director Jonathan McGrath, the Snow Queen steals away the young boy through his computer game screen, and it is his adopted foster-sister who comes to find and rescue him, meeting a range of puppets and characters along the way.

A Day Out At Martin Mere Wetland Centre - with a Giant LEGO Trail and Sail With Santa

This Winter Martin Mere Wetland Centre is host to a collection of 10 new exhibits - and they won't be needing a new enclosure because they're giant models of birds and other creatures you might find at Martin Mere which are built from LEGO.

Through weekends in December Santa will also be in residence on his own island, and children actually ride a boat out to meet him!

Sail with Santa and LEGO animal trail Martin Mere Burscough

We went along last weekend to see the giant LEGO creatures, and to 'Sail With Santa' ourselves. Children who see Santa also get a gift, a letter to Santa and a reply and a Christmas craft activity. We started with our craft activity - making glittery Christmas Tree decorations.

Friday 4 December 2015

Miles Kelly Children's Christmas Gift Set Book Bundles

Miles Kelly are a children's book publisher who specialise in fact books for children. They make interesting books that are full of answers to the myriad of questions that all children have, with loads of illustrations and other interesting features to tempt your reluctant readers.

This Christmas they're making it easier for you to choose books for your child by selling a range of gift sets for different interests and age ranges.

The bundles each contain 3 books which are themed to complement each other, and each bundle costs £20, saving money on buying separately.

Thursday 3 December 2015

Star Wars Reading Campaign Children's Books Giveaway and Review with Egmont Publishing

Egmont Publishing are working very hard this year to encourage children to develop a love of reading, and one of the ways they're doing it is by releasing a huge range of Star Wars books. We've been sent the Star Wars Treasury: The Original Trilogy and the Star Wars Starfighter Workshop, plus a Star Wars Young Reader each for my 5 and 7 year old boys.

It'll be no surprise to regular readers that my young boys both love reading, we're very lucky. My oldest son was a very reluctant reader, and one of the ways I managed to get him to read was by buying Star Wars books and annuals. We still have them, and my little boys still read them!

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Christmas at Eureka Children's Museum in Halifax

Eureka! The National Children's Museum is by the train station in Halifax, which is just off the M62 between Leeds and Manchester. Absolutely cram-packed with exhibits designed for children aged 0-11 to experience, touch, play with and learn from. During December they have several special events, including Santa's Grotto and a special festive show 'Night Lights'.

I've never been to Eureka before, I feel bad about that now because we actually only live 45 minutes drive away and my little lads adored it. They loved it there so much that we had to promise we'd come back just to make them leave.