Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Bugs in the Kitchen Fun for National Unplugging Day

I think a lot of us parents (and kids) are guilty of spending a little more time than is desirable on our gadgets, be that phones, tablets or laptops. My three kiddies have a lot of love for their iPads and it does at times cause me concern which is why I think National Unplugging Day on the 25th June and pledging to #GoGadgetFree and spend the day from sun-up to sun-down without any technology is such a great idea. I'm not going to lie it will be hard not reaching for my iPhone to mindlessly scan through Facebook or check out Instagram and Twitter but I am willing to give it a go. So who else is with me?

Bugs in the Kitchen for National Unplugging Day

If the weather is as sunny as it has been lately, we will be spending a lot of time outdoors in the garden splashing in the paddling pool and having water fights. Another one of our favourite things to do as a family is play board games and the great thing is these can be done inside or out. We have recently been sent a pretty awesome one called Bugs in the Kitchen which comes with a Hexbug Nano who whizzes about a cutlery maze.

The aim of the game is to catch the bug in a trap and earn a token each time you do until a winner is declared. It is a very fun game which is great for developing logic and reasoning skills. You throw a die to discover which utensil you can turn and then by turning knives, forks and spoons you can direct the bug into the trap. Check out the video below to see the game in action.

Our Verdict

The kids have been playing Bugs in the Kitchen for weeks now and are yet to get bored of it, it's fantastic and I have to admit I really enjoy playing with it too.

It was easy to set up, first you pop out the cards which the kids did super quickly, you then slot in the plastic cutlery parts to make the maze and you are ready to go.

The game is aimed at age 6+ but the twins, who have just turned 4, really enjoy playing it with their big brother Ben who is 7. I have to admit I am seriously impressed with their moves at times and  I love watching them figure out their next best move, not to mention the celebrations when the bug is trapped. It is definitely a great game for teaching actions and outcomes.

Where to Buy

Bugs in the Kitchen by Ravensburger is available to buy at all the usual toy retailers including Amazon, Argos, Smyths Toys and more.  Amazon currently have it on sale for £16.98 which is great value so well worth grabbing while you can. 

Monday, 12 June 2017

The First Rose

Today as I left Tuco out in the garden I noticed a burst of pink above the trampoline, I went out to investigate and discovered the most perfectly pink rose had bloomed.

Our neighbours gave us a gift of this rose plant over 4 year ago when the twins were born but at the time we were so busy with our little preemies in SCBU it nearly died before we finally planted it in the corner of the garden. To be honest I hadn't held out much hope of it ever flowering, but every year it has grown taller and taller despite now being in the shade of the trees which have also been maturing and growing taller and the addition of the trampoline in front of it blocking more light. It was such a lovely surprise this morning to discover it had finally bloomed. This first rose is a perfect pink colour that brightens up the garden and better still there are lots of little buds growing alongside it, getting ready to bloom. It has most certainly brightened up my Monday. 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Masha and the Bear Birthday Playset

If you have a little Masha and the Bear fan who has a birthday coming up, I have the perfect toy for you - the Masha Birthday Playset by Simba Toys. It is seriously cute and Masha even sings Happy Birthday.

Meet Masha and the Bear

Masha and the Bear is a very sweet Russian animated television series which is loosely based on the oral children's folk story of the same name. The show focuses on the adventures of a little girl named Masha and a fatherly bear that always keeps her from disasters.

The Masha and the Bear Toys

The range of Masha and the Bear range of toys are designed exactly like the characters on the show so are fantastic doe recreating the adventures on the show. The thing I most like about the playsets is the sheer amount of accessories that come with them which makes them great for imaginative play just like the twins have been having. The Birthday set contains a pretty pink cake, wrapped presents decorates with bows, a toy train set, bunny, teddy and a balloon so pretty much everything you need to make a birthday celebration special. The twins love the fact that when you press Masha’s tummy, she sings the original "Happy Birthday" song from the series.

We also like the look of the Ambulance Playset which contains an ambulance with fabulous features, a Masha figure, two wolf figures, a wheelchair, a stretcher and many more accessories and the Playground Playset which is well equipped with a swing and slide.

Our Verdict

The twins had seen Masha and the Bear before so when I handed them the playset they instantly recognised Masha from the show. They were definitely very impressed that Masha actually sings Happy Birthday and got busy helping her celebrate her big day straight away. Zoey loved the fact that Masha's pink balloon which is decorated with flowers and stars was just like the one she got for her 4th Birthday recently and Zachary got busy assembling the toy train and choo-choo-ing it about. As Masha measures 12cm she is a really nice size for bringing on adventures and has accompanied us on her fair share of trips to the park and dog walks recently. 

As a parent I like the fact that this toy comes with a bunch of accessories as it makes for extra play possibilities. The twins have held many birthday parties recently for their other toy figures such as Barbie, the PJ Masks and Batman to name but a few with Masha always leading the Happy Birthday singing. 

Where to Buy

The Masha and the Bear range is available at The Entertainer, the Birthday Playset has an RRP of £19.99 and is aimed at children 3+ years.

*Disclaimer: I received the Masha and the Bear Birthday Playset for review. All views and opinions are my own and unbiased. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Mini Stretch Armstrong Review

To say Mini Stretch Armstrong has been a hit in our house is definitely an understatement. He has been the source of much amusement and entertainment ever since he arrived with the poor guy being pulled and stretched every which way and it certainly hasn't fazed him, spring back to size and looking as good as the day he arrived.

The Stretch Armstrong Range is Expanding

The Stretch Armstrong range had expanding even further with the launch of this new 7-inch stretchable action figure and his friends. With the strongest formula yet, these new action figures can be stretched again and again, but always return to their original shape. I was seriously impressed at how quickly Stretch just springs back to shape. To keep things even more interesting Character Options have added some villains, namely the iconic Vac-Man and Stretch Monster along with Stretch’s friend the Octopus, the super stretchy dog Fetch and Mini Stretch Scooby to the impressive new line-up.

Our Verdict

I had seriously underestimated the entertainment factor when it comes to Stretch Armstrong. The kids love it as do every grown up who gets their hands on him. Poof of this was when Zachary decided to bring him along to collect his big brother from a party recently and all the kids went nuts for it, begging their parents to get them one. After having a go themselves the parents had to agree Stretch is a very cool toy and there were some epic stretch-off's done at the party. I have to admit I quite fancy getting one of the full size Stretch Armstrongs now and seeing just how stretchy he is!

Where to Buy

Mini Stretch Armstrong and the rest of the range is available to purchase online from Character priced and has an RRP of £10.99 and you can also find him in stores such as Smyths Toys and Argos.  We are definitely giving him a massive thumbs up. 

*Disclaimer: I was sent Mini Stretch Armstrong for review. All views and opinions aremy own and unbiased. 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Despicable Me Mineez are Here!

As most of you are probably aware by now the Minions are back for the summer with Despicable Me 3 coming to the big screen at the end of June so get ready for lots of screams of "banana' from kids everywhere.  Despicable Me Mineez from Flair are the new range of collectible toys based on the hit movies and we have been sent a selection of them to review including a Blind Pack, Micro Key Ring, Drop and Pop Minion and a Collector's Tin.

Our Verdict on the Despicable Me Mineez Range

We loved the surprise element of the Blind Pack (RRP £2.99) and the kids scrambled to get the fun Minion ball container it comes in opened to see who was inside. There are over 75 characters for kids to collect from across 5 different segments with the added excitement factor of rare and limited edition ones to be found also. We got a hilarious Hungry Minion holding his 'Watz fo Lunch?' sign, perfect for my kids who never stop asking for more and more food!

There are twelve fun Micro Key Ring (RRP £4.99) characters to collect which have a super strong big clip which will pretty much attach to any rucksack etc. The Key ring is also blind packed for added surprise. We got a Beehive Minion.

Out of all the toys we were sent the Drop and Pop Minion Bob (RRP £8.99) was definitely the biggest hit and the one with the most entertainment factor guaranteed. You pop you Minions trousers down, twist and drop him and he then bounces off the floor and really high into the air - so high all my efforts to do a video clip of it have failed miserably.

There are three different ones to collect and they are definitely a lot of fun. The only thing I have to mention about this is that the kids need help to pop the Minions trousers down as it is quite tough to do for little hands.

The Collector’s Tin (RRP £14.99) not only looks great but it is perfect for safely storing all the Mineez figures which gets a big "Mummy thumbs up" from me as it means no more wrestling them off Tuco the chihuahua who loves stealing little plastic toys like these Mineez.  It also comes with two exclusive figures to kickstart your collection and then keep them safe.

We got the Tiki Trash Can and Clive Robot inside ours. As you can see there is plenty of room to store loads of Mineez inside the tin.

The Despicable Me Mineez toys are fun and with blind bags priced at £2.99 make great pocket money toys for little fans to collect. Mineez are the perfect holiday toys to bring with you to keep kids entertained too as they are small enough to pop in you bag and bring along anywhere. The range is aimed at ages 5+ years and you can find them online at Flair and in the usual toy retailers including ToysRUs and Smyths Toys