Monday, 19 August 2019

Rubik's Summer Scrambles Puzzles Giveaway

We've just taken a good look at the new releases from Rubik's for Summer 2019 and John Adams have kindly offered one of my readers 2 of the new puzzles for themselves. One winner will win a Rubik's Edge and a Rubik's Cage, together worth well over £25.

Rubik's Edge and Rubik's Cage in box

Rubik's Summer Scrambles Games Review (Age 8+) Sent by John Adams

This Summer Rubik's have a whole new 'Summer Scrambles' assortment of toys, games and fidgets to play with and they've sent us a big bundle to look at. Rubik's are small, portable toys which are great for taking away with you on holiday or visiting relatives, and they are perfect for entertaining your children on long journeys.

Grouping of all 6 items in the Rubiks Summer Scramble new releases

We've been sent Rubik’s Cage, Rubik’s Edge, Rubik’s Orbit, Rubik’s Block, Rubik’s Match and Rubik’s 3x3. The variety is massive and we are long-time fans of Rubik's Cube here, my partner can even complete one in 26 moves (or something), so he was one of the first to want to dip into this lot.

Rubik's Classic Original 3x3 Cube boxed

Rubik’s 3x3 - the classic cube that we all know. So much better than cheap imitations, and I have actually managed to complete it a couple of times, but don't ask me to do it unless you've got about 4 hours while I figure it out.

The classic Original Rubik's Cube Puzzle completed

I've got a little room for improvement, the current record (held by Yusheng Du) stands at 3.47 seconds *gulp*. RRP £10 - there is also an environmentally packaged version which is cheaper - nice one Rubik's.

Friday, 16 August 2019

60 Months... #TBCSmiles

The smiles are a day late this month, as they have been before in August, but that doesn't make them any less beautiful. Sorry if I confused anyone with the delay.

5 years ago we lost one of our children, and that is why #TBCSmiles began. I started collecting my family's smiles to remind me we can do this, and being happy is what it's all about in the end, so making smiles is exactly why we keep going.

Elspeth's Field oil painting

A HUGE thank you to everyone of you who shares your smiles with us, they are contagious and wonderful, and really do brighten up my day. Anyone can join in - just use the hashtag #TBCSmiles on a smile on any photo on Instagram!

For the next month if you happen to have a sunflower in your photo, I'm working with Sudocrem and you can enter my giveaway for a sunflower t-shirt if you take a photo of someone with a sunflower, and one person will win a mural for their school. I'm not suggesting cheating, but we won't be asking for proof that it's actually your sunflower - a big grin and a golden flower will be enough...

Thursday, 15 August 2019

5 Years, 60 Months, 1825 Days...

5 years ago today we woke up to find one of our children had died. I've never gone to bed without checking on everyone in my house since. Each night I tell them I love them, and I'll see them in the morning. They have to answer. They have to repeat it back to me. I have to know that they intend to still be there.

Everyone who loses someone they love to suicide is a survivor. When you lose them you need to know why? But to understand why is the worst that could ever happen, so you can't ever understand exactly why. That door has to stay shut. Forever. Your job is to let those questions go, and carry on.

In the beginning everything seems so hopeless, pointless.  To keep going is the bravest and hardest thing you'll ever do, and 5 years on, I am so proud of my family for fighting through everything.

Beautiful bright image of a field of sunflowers in front of a lively moving sky

We have three big grown up kids at uni, something I'm incredibly proud to tell anyone, but whenever I say it, I know there should be four. I know that if she had done a 3 year course, Elspeth would be graduating now, alongside her school friends (well done to all of you who graduated this year - I hope you have something awesome to do next).

Two of our big kids have "moved out". Gone to live in the world of bills and private landlords. One of them has moved in with his boyfriend, and genuinely it makes my heart glow to see them together. Always though, you wish Elspeth could have met him and given her seal of approval - probably by taking the p1ss.

She's never truly gone, she's always there in your head. We all feel it, everything we do is tinged by a heavy atmosphere that we have to claw through to stay in the moment. The unsaid.

In some ways it still feels like this isn't a reality, that I could still wake up and find out I dreamt it. Life happens 'to us' much more now, we have less control over where we are going. I really don't have a good chronology of the last 5 years, just a jumbled mess of memories. It's like my brain tried to hold on to the important stuff, but it wasn't quite sure what that was.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

20 Second Showdown Party Game Review Age 10+ (Sent by Big Potato Games).

We really are huge fans of Big Potato Games and it's rare we find any of their games we don't like. I wasn't sure if 20 Second Showdown would be my thing, but they sent us a copy for review and it is brilliant! Active, but not too active. Silly, but not too silly. Fiercely competitive and frantic at times? Ohhh yes...

20 Second Showdown Game Review box photo

We were sent a whole box of treats and goodies to make an evening of it and 20 Second Showdown is suitable for 5 players or more, so we even invited a friend over for the first play through. As with all Big Potato Games, the rules are simple to understand, but it's once you start playing that you can really get into the swing of it.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Share Your Sunflowers And Win A Mural For Your School (Paid Partnership With Sudocrem)

In the late Summer a lot of people already share sunflower photos with us, and they are all absolutely beautiful to see, especially as our garden is pretty much a peat bog and we can't grow our own (we've tried many, many times). This year, for anyone who wishes, you can share a photo of your child(ren) with a sunflower and have a chance to win a professional mural for their school or nursery - and I have a couple of gorgeous specially printed sunflower t-shirts to give away too.

We don't have many sunflowers growing nearby unfortunately, but we do at least have plenty of trees - and my 10 year old, who is just about as tall as me now and definitely growing...

Photo of 10 year old boy in front of huge oak tree with sunflower t-shirt

Hopefully you have grown your own sunflowers this Summer. They're easy to grow from their exciting black and white seed, and almost all UK gardens can easily grow a 5ft beauty. There really is no better flower for children because the end result is so useful and impressive, and maybe even taller than they are.

Solitary sunflower in front of setting sun in large field
Thank you to Sim for this sunflower

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Billy Stink's Incredible Circus Children's Book Review (Age 7+) Sent by Book Guild Publishing

Billy Stink's Incredible Circus is a recent release from Book Guild Publishing, who sent us a copy for review. Written by Rik Arron, this is a very special book as the entire text is a poem, but it's still a full length short story, with some great little illustrations by Nicola Anderson.

And it's really very good...

Billy Stink's Incredible Circus Children's Book cover with circus big top and bright loud illustration

Billy Stink runs a circus and one day a young boy, Titch, turns up. Titch has run away and the circus people have no way to find Titch's home and family, and he won't tell them anything, so they welcome him into their extended family and let him earn his keep working for the circus.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Pandemic Family Board Game Review (Age 10+) Sent by Asmodee

This month Asmodee have sent us Pandemic Board Game to review for the Blogger Boardgame Club. Although I didn't own a copy, I have played Pandemic in the past, so before we even opened the box we knew we'd have a good evening.

Pandemic Board Game boix cover showing mysterious figures in outfits - workman doctor soldier medic businessman

Matt Lacock's multi award-winning game Pandemic was first released by Z-Man Games in 2007 and is so popular that it's spawned a host of different editions. The aim of the game is simple, prevent plague from infecting all of humanity and ultimately save our species from extinction...

Pandemic Game Review box contents Game board bags of items rulebook

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

X-Gen VR Virtual Reality Centre Review, Stockport. (Guests to review)

X-Gen VR is a brand new Virtual Reality Centre which has opened in Stockport and excitingly they invited us down to have a look and a play on all of their new VR systems and games machines. We are all gamers, so it was a unanimous yes.

Unlike a lot of opportunities to play with VR, X-Gen VR allow children to join in from age 7, and have hundreds of available games, including absolutely masses which are age and ability-appropriate for any user. You can shoot aliens, race bikes, ride rollercoasters or take a canal trip to Amsterdam!

collage of photos from X-Gen VR Virtual Reality Centre Review

X-Gen VR is easy to find, at one of the entrances to the Merseyway Shopping Centre, opposite the WarHammer Game Shop. There is lots of parking nearby (the Merseyway Centre's own parking has a 6ft1in limit). Our GPS tried to send us in via the main entrance of the shopping centre - this one was much closer...

How to find X Gen VR in stockport

Monday, 5 August 2019

Wonder Park (PG) Family Movie Review and DVD Giveaway (Sent by Paramount)

Wonder Park is a sweet feel-good family movie which has a couple of slightly more serious moments. Paramount Home Media Distribution sent us a copy to review, as well as some Wonder Park goodies, and we all really enjoyed it! Out today on Download & Keep, and on Blu-ray and DVD from 19th August, it's a great film to fill a rainy Summer afternoon.
Wonder Park (PG) Family Movie Review and DVD Giveaway pack shot with lots of smiling animated animals

Wonder Park has a great cast including Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis and Ken Jeong, and centres on a young girl named June, who has created an amazing amusement park with her mother. They imagine and draw all of the rides and attractions, fill the park with animal characters who have fun all day, and it's a very happy place to be.

When June's Mum becomes ill, June loses her happiness, and she turns her back on the Wonder Park. Unknown to her, it can't function without her and it quickly falls into disrepair, and is overtaken by Chimpanzombies. When she returns she finds it broken and the characters desperately unhappy. June feels the weight of responsibility and realises it's up to her to cheer the whole park up in time to save it, and in the process, she also finds her own joy...

Friday, 2 August 2019

National Geographic Mini Dig Kits STEM Toy Review Age 8+ (Sent by Bandai)

This month Bandai have sent us three of the Mini Dig Kits from National Geographic for review. Smaller than the standard Dig Kits, each contains one genuine specimen which your child can dig out using the tool included.

National Geographic Mini Dig Kits in boxes Dino Poop Treasure and Shark Tooth

The Mini Dig Kits are hard plastic-wrapped, so not very eco-friendly. With scissors they're much more easily opened, but can have sharp edges, so watch your fingers. Inside is your specimen and a digging tool, as well as a leaflet with information.

National Geographic Mini Dig Kits packaging plastic and sharp

I may not be so keen on the packaging, but I love the contents and so do children. Dig Kits offer a surprise reward - you don't know what you'll end up with exactly, and no two end results are the same.

Stars of Paradise By Mary Obozua Children's Book Review Age 6-9+ (Sent by Hashtag Press).

Stars of Paradise is the first book in The Wonderful Life of Daisy & Ewe (The WLDE) series by Mary Obozua and I've been sent a copy for review by publisher Hashtag Press. Previously better known for her designer shoes and brand Mary Smith, she promises the series to bring girl power, a multicultural cast, mystery and fun packed adventures.

Stars Of Paradise is recommended for young independent readers aged around 6-9 and stars two schoolfriends, Daisy and Ewe.

Stars of Paradise By Mary Obozua Children's Book cover with softly coloured stars and clouds and feathers

Daisy and Ewe are quite girly girls. They're a bit pink and fluffy, but they are also incredibly intelligent and fantastic gadget-makers. These are the sort of heroes I like best. They remind me of my own childhood hero, and really do prove that you should never judge anyone by how they look.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Knowsley Safari Park #UltimateBrickSafari Review (Guest Visit)

This Summer Knowsley Safari is hosting the massive Ultimate Brick Safari, and 80 lifesize LEGO models have taken their places among the real live animals and attractions. We were invited over to take a look, and my daughter and her boyfriend tagged along with us too.

It was 30 degrees all week and the Summer heatwave records broken, so naturally we arrived at Knowsley in the pouring rain. It was warm though, and quite honestly the damp didn't spoil our day.

There are lots of places to shelter from any weather conditions, including the regular Sea Lion Display - I've written about the Sea Lions at Knowsley before, so I concentrated on the LEGO on this visit.

Knowsley Safari in the pouring rain looking at Sea Lion display building

It didn't take us long to spot the first of the 80 models. They start as soon as you enter the park, and really are spread all over the site, all around the walking route, or 'Foot Safari' . The baby gorilla and pandas were two of my favourites.

Photo heavy post - click on any image to enlarge it...

Knowsley #Ultimatebricksafari LEGO ibex gorilla panda lion cub

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Nudge - Eco-friendly Strategy Board Game Review and Giveaway. (Sent for review).

We like to find new and exciting things here at The Brick Castle and Nudge definitely counts. An addictive, quick-paced but intelligent board game for 2 players, which is incredibly simple to learn yet hard to master, and entirely created from fully recyclable materials.

We've been sent a copy of Nudge for review, and I also have one to give away to one of my readers.

Nudge Review - Addictive Family Board Game in cardboard packaging

The game arrives in the regular post, packaged in a recycled and recyclable bio-plastic bag. Your game is all contained in a sturdy cardboard box, which is a great shape and size for storage.

Nudge Game box contents neatly laid out and tied with string

Inside the box the contents are really very beautifully arranged. An envelope containing the 6 Bioplastic Game Discs and the 5x5 Game Board, tied with string. There is absolutely no waste here and total commitment to the environment, while still being a beautiful game. No plastic, no extra dyes or even extra card or paper. The game rules are printed on the back of the box.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Blockbuster Movie Game Review (Age 12+) Sent by Big Potato Games

Blockbuster is a brand new game from the very clever people at Big Potato. A party game for 4 or more, played in 2 teams, film knowledge is a bonus, but definitely not essential.

Frankly it's hilarious and even my 9 and 10 year old boys, who don't even know 2/3 of the films on the cards, think it's hilarious too.

Blockbuster Movie Game Review (Age 14+) Pack shot - blockbuster video box

Our parcel arrived with a big "Quik Drop" label, and I knew what it was instantly! I practically lived in Blockbuster for about 10 of my most influential years. The very thoughtful people at Big Potato had sent us everything we needed for a movie night...

The packaging is THE BEST PACKAGING IN THE WORLD EVER!! A real genuine imitation Blockbuster video box. Nostalgia is pouring into my soul.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Coral Island Blackpool Free Entry Indoor Attraction Review (Guest visit)

We've been to Coral Island in Blackpool more times than I can possibly remember. A very popular spot for us, up between the tower and central pier, and an ideal place to escape the sun, wind or rain for half an hour, or stop in to have lunch. We reviewed 18 months ago, we loved our day out, and they invited us back again this year as guests, to check they haven't changed...

Collage of Coral Island photos showing games

Coral Island is Blackpool's biggest free admission attraction and it's all indoor. I love Blackpool, and it can be hot and sunny at times, but often it's bracing and Northern. An indoor drop-in attraction is a great thing. You can find my 2018 Coral Island Blackpool review here - where we spent £20 per person for the entire day, including meals. Prices were roughly the same then, as they were this year...

Coral Island Blackpool view from outside car park behind sealife

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

So MAGIC DIY Wonder Magic Garden Terrarium Review (Age 8+) Sent by Canal Toys

As soon as I saw the So MAGIC Wonder Garden I loved it. As a child I was fascinated by real and imitation miniature gardening, and my Grandmother used to buy me magic trees as a very special treat. We've been sent the DIY Wonder Garden for review and it's great to introduce my own children to one of the real joys of my own childhood.

Rear of pack showing So Magic Zen Garden illustrations and design features

The main packaging is a sturdy cardboard box, which my postman trashed, so this is a rear view. Inside there are lots of smaller separate components which are mainly packaged in plastic bags. You can play instantly, so it's Christmas morning-friendly, but lacking points for Earth-friendly.

Included are: several different colours of sand, small gems, glittery stones, 4 characters, an arbour, a rainbow, 2 magic trees, instructions, 2 double-ended tools, cylindrical terrarium cover, plus of course the actual garden base itself - in shocking pink!

Magic Garden Review entire box contents laid out on table

Monday, 22 July 2019

Rain Town by Andy Donaldson Children's Fiction Review (age 9+) Sent by Matador

Rain Town has been sent to me by Matador for review and it made me laugh aloud. It's brilliant. Written in a very modern tone and full of comments and 'Dad jokes', it's actually a light-hearted look at modern life, corporate crime, middle age and redundancy.

The stars of the book are father and son Sidney and Stanley, and their respective friends. Stanley's schoolfriends are Billy and Chloe, and Sidney's initially more reluctant sidekicks are Terry and Billy's Dad, Bobby.

Cover of Rain Town by Andy Donaldson showing night time scene in a town street

Sidney is a struggling single parent to Stanley. He's also The Raven, a nightime crime fighter alter-ego, sometimes described as "the crazy guy in the bin bag". No-one is entirely sure The Raven really exists, except Billy, who met him once and is his greatest fan.

Friday, 19 July 2019

AlphaBriks and Classic Brik Set review (age 4+) Sent by Strictly Briks.

Strictly Briks manufacture building blocks and other elements which are designed to work along with your own collection of building products and give you new and different options during play. We've been sent a couple of products to review. A 156 piece Classic Brik Set and the Strictly Briks AlphaBriks Set, which contains a 10" x 10" green baseplate, 100 letter and symbol tiles plus drawstring storage bag.

Strictly Briks.AlphaBriks and Classic Briks on baseboard spelling strictly briks

Strictly Briks produce elements you won't find from other manufacturers of building blocks, such as tall stacks to create levels, silicone baseplates, trap doors, flexible joining pieces and much more.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Timber Family Friendly Derbyshire Woodland Festival Review 2019 (Review Visit)

We were very honoured to be invited back to Timber Festival for a second time to review this year and it was even better than the last one. A very laid back festival which intertwines arts and nature, and takes place in the woodland in Derbyshire. It's a place I really feel at home...

Collage of scenes from Timber Festival 2019 showing people laughing and having fun

Timber Festival 2019 took place on Friday 5th to Sunday 7th July at Feanedock, near Ashby de la Zouch in the National Forest and it was, to put it bluntly, epic*.

*Except for the bit where I drank 'not enough water', bumped into Stuart Maconie and told him who he was, that I hadn't caught him on stage this year and that he'd just done the Jarrow March - clearly he already knew most of that, so I'll just pretend that never happened...

Photo heavy - click on an image to enlarge it...

Timber Festival 2019 Site Map

We arrived around 6pm, set up camp, collected our wristbands and went into the festival. There's plenty going on, even after 8pm on the Friday. The sunset was amazing, as was the view from the top of the big hill - all across the site and over to where they are still quarrying. You relax immediately...

Timber Festival 2019 review sunset over the site from the top of a big hill

Monday, 15 July 2019

#TBCSmiles July 2019.... 59 months.

This month didn't exactly go as expected for us, in fact the last week has been a bit of a roller-coaster of emotions. We had an excellent 4 days at Timber Festival (as guests and I will get my review live this week), but we came home to find that Gary the cat was not well.

Gary was an internet star from the moment he arrived, and possibly my glowing review helped. He lived his life on the internet and I know a lot of people cared about him. He owed a lot of people a coffee.

Gary was really poorly. He didn't survive the night and died in the early hours - peacefully and not in pain. We all had an extra day off work and school to say goodbye and help bury him. I think it was harder because Gary arrived at a time when we really were feeling the huge gap left by Elspeth. Losing him was like losing another part of her, but it was right I told everyone, and I did so in a blog post eulogy. 

He brought us joy and laughter, love, and someone warm who was always willing to have a cuddle. I admit it, my opinion of cats has changed somewhat. I miss him. He's left a shredded stair carpet, a box of chewed cat toys and a small cat-shaped hole that will never be filled in.

The universe realised we were short of a pet and needed a distraction, so it intervened and sent us another to save. My eldest son saw a magpie fighting a tiny bright green budgie near a park in Withington, stepped in and rescued the little fella.

He might be a full grown bearded adult, but he did what all kids do when they aren't sure what the next move is, he took it to his Mum. That's me. In his pocket, on the tram. I preferred it in a cardboard box (it's a proven rescue animal storage method).

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

A Eulogy To A Cat...

Gary was left outside our house. At first we thought he was a lost kitten, and we printed off big photos and put up posters looking for his owner. No-one rang and we were sad for an imaginary young family of children or elderly lady pining for her cat.

When he arrived, despite the fact I had a strong dislike for cats, Gary was determined he was at the right place. He knew how soft I am really and he knew he could break me down. I think he knew everything. Cats are smarter than we realise.

Thing is, he was really scared of outdoors and he really didn't want to go back out. He stayed with me all day, following me around the house and climbing onto my knee whenever I sat down. His eyes barely left mine and I chatted away to him the same as I did with my toddlers. Sometimes he even replied.

No-one ever came forward to claim Gary - who was named Gary by our youngest "because that's his name". We fed him boring dry food and left the door open for him to leave, but he didn't. He even went to the toilet inside - in the actual toilet (or the bath). It's one of the things I particularly liked about him.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

ColourMyWall Draw On Wall Prints For Doodlers. Sent For Review.

Most parents have at some time discovered their miniature Picasso has decided to do some impromptu home decorating - usually their bedroom wall with the only working permanent marker in the house. ColourMyWall have created a solution to give amateur artists a nice big safe area to doodle and draw without causing any damage.

ColourMyWall Draw On Wall Paper logo and small portion of poster

ColourMyWall create repositionable vinyl stick on wallpaper, which can be drawn on with dry wipe markers to your heart's content and then wiped clean and you can start again. Perfect for doodlers and amateur artists...

Colour my wall review giving idea of size of poster along wall

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

National Geographic STEM Build Your Own Volcano Kit Review (Age 8+) Sent by Bandai

We've all made volcanoes before and they're a real crowd-pleasing, reliable experiment which is easy, safe and dramatic and teaches children a lot. This month Bandai have sent us the Build Your Own Volcano Kit to review and it's hands down my favourite home volcano science kit.

National Geographic Build Your Own Volcano Kit box photo

Inside the box is everything you'll need in generous quantities, and it's all in a cardboard tray which pulls out and can be used as a work surface to keep everything neat. I love the National Geographic STEM Kits for this.

National Geographic build your own Volcano box contents

You are given plaster of Paris and a 3-part mould to create your own volcano. There is masses of plaster and we propped the plastic mould up in the shaping of the box to hold it still while we filled it and it set hard.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Gen7 Crossroads Storytelling Adventure Game Review (Age 14+) Sent by Asmodee

Gen 7 is a mainly co-operative 'crossroads' game, where players decisions affect the outcomes and change how gameplay and the storyline progresses. Made by Plaid Hat Games, we've been sent a copy to review for the Asmodee Blogger Boardgame Club, and it's brilliant.

Gen 7 Game box with filmstrip illustrated characters

Suitable for 3 to 4 players aged 14+, you are the 7th generation to exist aboard a huge colony ship fleeing Earth for a fertile new home planet. The journey is around half way through and everything has gone well so far, until now. The entire mission and lives of everyone on board are threatened and it's up to the crew to find the clues, solve the puzzles and save humanity.

There are more elements included in the Gen7 box than just about any game I've played. It makes it seem very exciting, but it also seems much more complicated than it actually is. The secret nature with lots of hidden information adds to the anticipation.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Rocketbook Everlast - Almost Everlasting Intelligent Notebook Review and Giveaway (paid collaboration)

A couple of weeks ago we were sent the Rocketbook Everlast for review. An almost everlasting intelligent notebook which can be used, scanned, erased and reused for years. Combined with a clever app. which includes Optical Character Recognition, you can save or send your scan, and convert handwriting to typed print instantly.

Rocketbook Everlast bag and contents for 2 basic sets

We were all excited about receiving the Rocketbook because we use a lot of paper. My household includes myself, an I.T. Man and 3 University students who all makes lists and notes constantly and rely on notebooks every day.

In the Rocketbook Everlast Executive pack are the Rocketbook itself, plus a soft cloth to wipe pages clean and the Pilot Frixion pen, which you do have to use, but they are a gorgeous pen to write with.

The pages in the Rocketbook are made from a special hardwearing but thin plastic coated material, which feels pretty much like regular paper when you write and wipes completely clean afterwards. I've found if you press on hard then the pen leaves a slight indent which scared me at first, but so far even this has actually vanished after cleaning and resting for 5 minutes.

The clever stuff comes with the app. Each of the 32 pages has a QR Code and very faint symbols across the base of the page, which can be read when you scan into the app. You can really easily associate those symbols with cloud services or email addresses, so when you mark over the symbol and scan a page, it is automatically sent to the folder you want.

I was a bit daunted before I started because it seemed like it would be complicated, but it took seconds to work my way around the app. and decide where I wanted everything to go - all to my own email address as default - I jot, doodle and work mainly alone.

There are lots of cloud services the Rocketbook app. can link to, and you can also choose to 'share' in the same way as you can share any images or documents from your phone, so sending to multiple people or places is again, really easy, intuitive and familiar.

Still in Beta, but working exceptionally well, is the OCR - Optical Character Recognition. The software 'reads' what you've written and converts it to typed text. When you scan and send a page, you can choose to also include a printed text version, and you can even search your notes.

You can give a page of written text a title using double hashtags, which is a really handy feature. I didn't make any effort to tidy up my writing because I wanted a real test of how well it read when I was behaving normally. I'm really impressed. For notes the transcription is perfectly good enough, and when I've made only a tiny bit of effort it's been perfect.

My partner has also found that the Rocketbook app. can read his writing, and I can't, so bonus! You can see it in action and hear what we all thought of our Rocketbook Everlast in this 3 minute video:

I mainly use my Rocketbook for lists and notes - my job list, weekly job list, daily to-do lists. Shopping lists, household chore lists and for noting down points for reviews as they come to me. I've found it ridiculously handy because I can delete and add to my lists or notes at will, and a clean page is a job well done.

I genuinely didn't realise how much paper I was using each week and it's a great bonus for my uni students, who have reams of notes from lectures. We like Rocketbook Everlast - two of us have already swapped from paper to Rocketbook.

Rocketbook is available in different sizes. 'Letter' is similar to A4 costing £34.99rrp and 'Executive' is similar to A5 at £32.99rrp. You only need plain water to wipe it clean and replacement Pilot Frixion Pens are available at most stationers in a variety of colours and thicknesses.

We all love the Rocketbook Everlast, so I'm delighted to have a discount code for my readers. If you order on the Rocketbook website before 28.9.2019 then you get 10% off any Everlast notebook, in any size, with the code TheBrickCastle10 

Rocketbook Everlast is also available on Amazon

I also have a Rocketbook Executive Everlast to give away to one of you. Entry to the giveaway is via the Gleam form below and open to UK entrants only. Your details are only used to administer this giveaway and not shared with anyone else. The giveaway will end at midnight Sunday 28th July 2019. Full terms and conditions are at the bottom of the Gleam form.

You can find a link to help if you are new to Gleam and see my other UK giveaways here...

Rocketbook Everlast - Almost Everlasting Notebook Giveaway (paid collaboration)

We were paid a small admin fee for the time taken to administrate this giveaway and sent our Rocketbook Everlast for review.