Friday, 8 December 2017

Our Little Stars and Elf on the Shelf Fun

Yesterday was a big day for the Twins as it was their much anticipated Nativity performance for the Reception class parents with Zachary playing the part of a star and Zoey an angel. For the past few weeks we have been getting little snippets and previews of all the songs and accompanying actions so I couldn't wait to see it. They were all so adorable on stage, singing their little hearts out and remembering the actions, with a very cute moment of impromptu laughter from the all kids making it a very special treat for the audience  packed full of proud mummies, daddies and grandparents.

The excitement doesn't stop there though as it's Ben turn tonight, he will be doing his very first solo singing The Little Drummer Boy with his school choir at a local carol concert. I am really looking forward to hearing Ben sing and getting all festive listening to the Christmas carols.

Of course our Elves wanted to join in the kids fun, so yesterday we found them assembled around our Nativity with Snowflake dressed as an angel and Oswald in a star costume while Stardust was busy practicing Little Drummer boy solo just like Ben.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Elves are Back

Stardust, Snowflake and Oswald, our much loved Elves on the Shelf are back and adding lots of fun to the Christmas countdown again this year. Seeing the excitement and wonder in my childrens' eyes at this time of year is where the Christmas magic lies for me, and these little elves certainly help to make this happen. I love the mad scramble in the morning as the Twins and Ben jump out of bed and race around the house trying to find what mischief their elves have been up to the night before. 

Only six days in and our cheeky elves certainly have been enjoying themselves. They have had a disco party, read the Christmasurus, were found swinging from curtain poles, hid in the Lego Disney Castle, hung out with the peas in the pod and even got up to some decorating last night which meant the kids woke up to a magical sight when they opened their bedroom doors and discovered the elves had lit up the staircase with twinkling fairy lights. Here are a few pictures from the past few days to show what they have been up to. 

I love Elf on the Shelf just as much as the kids, this is our fifth year of having them visit and the magic these little elves bring is stronger than ever. I wonder what plans they have for tonight.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Meet our PNP Do-Good Elf & Special Discount Code

The Elves are Back

We have had a very exciting start to the day with the return of our three elves Stardust, Snowflake and Oswald who have brought a special present for the kids, "Smelf" our Portable North Pole (PNP) Do-Good Elf. Apparently Santa and the elves had overheard us discussing elf names and Daddy saying he would name his "Smelf" as in Smelly Elf (ooops!) and they found it hilarious so brought us a baby Smelf.

Christmas Magic with Portable North Pole

We are massive fans of Portable North Pole and the videos and calls have definitely added lots of Christmas magic over the past few years which is why I am so excited about reviewing our new Elf addition. According to the box, Santa has sent us a baby elf which we are responsible for teaching the difference between naughty and nice to so that one day he will grow up to be a valuable part of Santa's team. Thankfully Santa and his elves will be keeping a close eye on us and helping us by sending video messages.

Our Do-Good Elf also comes with his very own passport from Santa's Village and special Elf stickers which is a really nice touch, I love the fact you can properly personalise him so that he truly does become one of the family. My three can't wait to start filling in the passport, on the first page you add a picture of your elf, his name, date of birth and favourite colour and there are also other pages to record Elf Adventures. This is a really fun way to add extra Christmas excitement to the build up.

My first impression of our Do-Good Elf is just how well he is made and the extremely high quality of the materials used in doing so. I love the fact that his limbs are bendy and fully posable, his cheeky grin adds to his personality and Zachary was delighted to see he has big green eyes as it is his favourite colour. His clothes are fully removable and washable too which is good news if he needs a freshen up after any adventures or outings. We are hoping it snows so he can get outside and make snow angels with us. I have a feeling Smelf will be a very important part of our Christmas build up this year.

The Do-Good Elf comes with a special code for grown-ups eyes only which you enter into the PNP app or online and then unlock 4 video messages. I can't wait to show these to the kids and will be sharing them along with some of the other PNP videos and calls in the run up to Christmas so watch out for them.

Where to Buy

The Do-Good Elf (RRP £20) and other Portable North Pole toys and products are available to buy from John Lewis, the range has something for every taste and budget with Magic Baubles, Santa Letter Kit, Good Deed Jar and more. 

Special Magic Pass Discount - Unlock Videos and Calls

If you would like to add some extra magic and excitement to the build up to the big day with PNP video messages and calls then I have some good news for you. I have been given a special discount code which gives you 20% off the Magic Pass that gives you access to videos and calls that can be personalised, just use the discount code PNP7BLG20. To redeem the promo code, follow this link to create an account and then at the payment cart apply the code to get the discount.

The video messages are definitely magical and I have found the calls fantastic to encourage good behaviour in the kids especially if they are in risk of getting put on the naughty list.

Here's a look at some of the Video Messages available.

Below you will find some of the calls you can personalise, "Try Harder to Listen to your Parents" will no doubt be used a few times in the run up to Christmas as it was last year with much success.

So there you have it, watch out for more posts on PNP videos and calls here over the next few days. I can't wait to see Ben, Zoey and Zachary's reaction to them. In the meantime go and have fun making some of your own special magical memories with the help of PNP for your little ones.

*Disclaimer: I received a Do-Good Elf and PNP Magic pass. All views and opinions are my own and unbiased. 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

#PowerRangers12DaysXmas - The Power Rangers Ninja Steel Collection

Over the past 12 days my seriously lucky kids have been taking part in a very special #PowerRangers12DaysXmas campaign where they have unwrapping a different Power Rangers toy from the Ninja Steel collection every day. It really has been a case of Christmas come early in our house. I used to love watching Power Rangers as a child and it wasn't until recently I realised just how long these Ninja heroes have been around, did you know 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of Power Rangers?

The Power Rangers Ninja Steel Collection

The Power Rangers Ninja Steel collection is simply awesome with very well designed and excellent quality toys that are perfect for Power Rangers fans who will love reenacting scenes from the show with their ninja accessories and weapons. Parents will be pleased to hear that there is something for every budget so you can pick and choose what is right for your child and bank balance. If you have a Power Rangers fan, you may well be familiar with the fact that Ninja Stars are a big thing, the good news is that additional Ninja Stars included across the different toys are cross compatible which my three were very excited to see. Read on to check out what we revealed every day. 

Day 1: What a fantastic start to #powerrangers12daysxmas with five super detailed Power Rangers Ninja Steel action figures.

The boys were super excited and Zoey's face was priceless when she saw the Pink Ranger as she always pretends to be her when they play Power Rangers. If you are looking for Christmas gift ideas for Power Rangers fans that won't break the bank then these action figures are a fantastic choice. They have a RRP of £9.99 and can be found in all good toy shops. Zoey and the boys love playing together with them and they are a perfect toy to bring in the car or if you are visiting friends or family as they are small enough to pop in a bag but engaging enough to keep the kiddies entertained.

Day 2: Next up was this totally awesome Ninja Steel 30 cm Red Power Rangers Action Figure with an RRP of £12.99. The kids opened it before school and couldn't wait to get home to play with him. The level of detail in this figure is really great and he has all the features of the character on the show.

Day 3: Saw us opening up the parcel to reveal an awesome Mega Morph Cycle with Red Ranger fully articulated action figure with an RRP £16.99.

The super cool thing about this is that the cycle transforms into a Ninja Star. This was a massive hit with the kids who loved the fact that it goes from cycle to Ninja Star.

Day 4: Next was the awesome Power Rangers Ninja Steel Ninja Blaster  which has an RRP £17.99.

This blaster can launch Ninja Stars for ultimate battle action which we had some serious fun with as we set up some targets and took turns trying to shoot them. It's not just fun but great for developing hand eye co-ordination.

Day 5: This was the very cool Ninja Steel Sword Star Shooter with an RRP £17.99 which can be hidden under the palm of your hand allowing you to use your best ninja stealth skills to make a surprise attack on villains. This was another morning where I felt bad sending the kids to school without getting a proper chance to play with it. I, on the other hand had to do my best parental duty and put it to the test while they were out (any excuse to play with toys) and can report this is lots of fun. It is a little tricky for the twins to load and shoot but Ben had no problem with it.

Day 6: If your little one wants to be a Rock Star Power Ranger then you need to check out day 6 of our #powerrangers12daysxmas which was this awesome Power Rangers Ninja Steel DX Rockstorm Guitar. It is a 3-in-1 blaster, sword, and guitar that includes extreme battle sounds and allows you to fire ninja darts with the epic pump blaster. Cool or what? Zachary loved this one the second he set eyes on it. It has an RRP of £29.99 and is available from Smyths Toys only. It gets a big thumbs up from us.

Day 7: #powerrangers12daysxmas are proving to be beyond awesome. Day 7 and we unwrapped the DX Ninja Blade which has an RRP of £29.99.

The blade not only extends to 24 inches long, has a Ninja Star which can attach to the hilt and be spun just like on TV, but it also makes extreme battle sounds and has light effects. This is one of Ben's favourites and I am pleased to say it is strong enough to withstand lots of robust play as my three definitely put it to the test.

Day 8: Eight days into the #powerrangers12daysxmas and we revealed the DX Ninja Battle Morpher which has an RRP of £34.99.

So what makes this awesome? Well it has hidden weapons for 3 unique modes - sword mode, claw mode and morpher mode and it comes with 2 ninja stars which connect to the Morpher to activate unique sound effects. It is perfect battle gear for Power Rangers fans and was another hit with the kids.

Day 9: The DX Gold Ninja Battle Morpher which has an RRP of £34.99 and is available from Toys R US only.

This awesome Morpher has hidden weapons for two unique modes: blaster mode and morpher mode and comes with 2 Ninja Stars which you can connect to the Morpher to activate unique sound effects. We loved putting this to the test.

Day 10: There was serious excitement when we unwrapped Day 10 of #powerrangers12daysxmas and revealed the mighty Power Rangers Ninja Steel Megazords (RRP £42.99) which combines the power of the five zords to create one epic megazord, just like the TV show.

The Megazord can morph into multiple modes, and any Power Rangers 5" figure can ride inside the cockpit. It includes a Megazord weapon, a figure, and the 5 zords. This is definitely one for any Power Rangers fan's Christmas list of the level of play my three have had with it is anything to go by. There is a lot of play to be had with this Megazords toy, my kids love taking it apart and playing with the zords separately together and then putting it back together again. Hours of entertainment with this one, it is a very clever design which is very true to the show.

Day 11: This was the super cool Ninja Master Blade (RRP £44.99). The wow factor with this is that it is a sword and chainsaw in one.

You pull the chain for the triple blade spinning action and chainsaw sound effects. The good news is it also comes with one Ninja Star, so by Day 11 we have definitely built up quite a collection of these stars as they are included in many items across the Power Rangers Ninja Steel toy line and are cross-compatible with Ninja Steel Role Play toys. As previously mentioned, the Ninja Stars are a big thing as they unlock features and allow you to use your Ninja powers to their maximum effect.

Day 12: The 12th and final day was by far the most awesome of all when we revealed the amazing Lion Fire Fortress which has an RRP of £119.99 but you will find it at a reduced price at Toys R Us and Smyths Toys at the moment. This is the biggest Megazord playset of all time and has three epic Megazords in one.

There is so much to do with this toy, you can roll into battle in Fortress mode, and fire missiles, then lock up the villains in the stockade. The Megazord is over 50cm tall and has twenty battle features and accessories not to mention awesome battle sounds.

If Ben and Zachary's reaction when they saw it is anything to go by this is by far, the ultimate Power Rangers toy for fans.

Our Verdict

We have loved being part of the Power Rangers 12 Days of Christmas campaign. The toys are amazing, they are engaging and fun for children and encourage role play with the added bonus of helping to develop their fine motor skills and co-ordination through doing things like loading ninja stars, pulling triggers and taking apart and building the pieces of zords and megazords etc, all the while helping to get them up and active pretending to be their favourite Power Rangers Ninja. The fact that the toys in the range are cross compatible is a big win for me as it allows your child to build and grow their collection over time. The quality and robustness of the toys in the range is also a big bonus as they can withstand plenty of rough play. I can definitely recommend the Power Rangers Ninja Steel collection. 

*Disclaimer: I was sent 12 Power Rangers toys to review. All views and opinions are my own and unbiased.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Childhood Memories in the Making

I love those times when I see my kids just being together, happy and content in each others company, not necessarily doing a lot but sharing a moment. A few nights ago while I was helping Zoey with her reading homework, Zachary climbed into bed with Ben and I found them like this, with Ben reading to his little brother, totally unprompted with Zachary hanging on his every word.

It was one of those heart swell moments where you can see your childrens memories being made in front of your eyes, the ones you know they will remember. I can't help but think that one day Zachary will fondly talk about how his big brother used to read to him and Ben recount the times when his little brother idolised him so much he wanted to snuggled up to listen to him read.