Sunday, 19 June 2016

Brio Safari Starter Set Review

The twins were beyond excited when I gave them the BRIO Safari Starter Set to play with. Zachary was delighted as he loves trains and building tracks and this one was green, his all time favourite colour. Zoey immediately grabbed the monkey and placed him hanging on the tree saying "how cute" he was. It is definitely safe to say the set was a hit from the get-go.

What is in the set

The box contains seven track pieces, a poseable ranger figure, a train and wagon with load, a crossing point with tree, a magnetic monkey and a zebra. Just as you would expect from BRIO the quality of each piece from the trains, animals to the track pieces are high quality and the set itself is cleverly designed.

At Play

I love watching the twins and Ben playing with this starter set, the pieces included are well thought out and lends itself to fun and imaginative play. The magnetic monkey is a genius addition and has resulted in lots of laughs and giggles with shouts of "you cheeky monkey" as he steals the train's load while it chugs along the track. There is so much detail on everything right down to the animal footbrints on the tree track piece which the twins were very excited to discover. 

The set itself is compatible with other BRIO and a variety of other wooden rail sets which is great news as it allows the fun and adventures of the safari to grow. Wooden toys like this which encourage kids to use their imagination are definitely high on my list of top toys, it is clear to see that the kids get so much enjoyment out of making up little stories and adventures while developing their motor skills and hand-eye coordination slotting everything into place.

Our Verdict 

The Brio Safari Starter Set definitely gets the thumbs up from us. It is a fun set that can be built upon to expand and grow along with your child's love of trains, age and ability. It is suitable for children aged 3+ so makes the perfect introduction to trains for little kids. The BRIO Safari Starter Set has a retail price of £21.99 and is available to buy from the usual toy retailers and online from Amazon.

*Disclaimer: I received the BRIO Safari Starter Set in exchange for a review. All views and opinions are my own and unbiased. 

Mr Kipling Cake Stand by Cadson

We have been eating a lot of Mr Kipling cakes recently thanks to one of the twins new favourite toy, a Mr Kipling Cake Stand by Cadson. The kids were very impressed when they saw all the cakes arranged across the two-tiered cake stand and couldn't wait to get their tea set out and have a tea party to play with them.

The stand is definitely very cute, I'd like a real life one for when we are entertaining if I'm honest. It is stacked with an instantly recognisable selection of well loved Mr Kipling cakes including French Fancies, Jam Tart and Battenberg. In the interest of research, the kids have insisted we get a different type of Mr Kipling cake every time we go to the shops and who am I to argue (any excuse for cake), after all it is my duty to insure they are well informed on exactly what they taste like so they can decide which ones are their favourites. Zoey loves the French Fancies, Zachary the Jam Tarts and Ben is torn between the Cherry Bakewell and Battenberg. The very clever thing about this toy though is it is more than just a pretty cake stand, it is also a shape sorter so not only fantastic for role play but shape-sorting fun too.

Our Verdict

Ben and the twins and their friends have had lots of fun playing with this cake stand. They have had many tea parties and picnics since we got it where the cake stand is the star of the show. They love pretend trying the different cakes and the twins have been known to come running to Daddy as he gets in the door from work with a Cherry Bakewell (his favourite Mr Kipling cake) for him. I love the shape sorting aspect of it, the twins love matching up the right shapes. The cake stand is a permanent fixture in the kids play kitchen and is brought out at least once a day. 

Where to Buy

The Mr Kipling Cake Stand is available to buy from usual toy retailers and online from Amazon. I can definitely recommend it as it is one of those toys that will be played with again and again and let's face it who doesn't love Mr Kipling cakes - it's guaranteed to bring smiles to all who see it. 

*Disclaimer: I received the Mr Kipling cake stand in exchange for a review. All views and opinions are my own and unbiased. 

Schleich Horses Range

My kids love horses, most probably something I have passed on to them from growing up surrounded by them. Therefore I knew they would love to have the opportunity to review the fantastic Schleich horses range which is so true to life and full of amazing details that I was seriously impressed. Schleich clearly don't cut any corners when it comes to reproducing real life animals and their accessories in toy form.

We were sent the Horse Feeding Playset and the Eventing Rider set and oh how they bring back memories for me. The Eventing Rider comes complete with a beautiful horse, rider figure, saddle and bridle, the rider definitely looks set to take part in the next big event. 

The Horse Feeding playset is very well designed with paddock fences that click together and can be configured, a beautiful Trakehner stallion and his little foal, a girl figure, carrots, hay and a feed basket that hangs on the paddock. This combination of pieces opens up an amazing and endless world of play and imagination, with a different story and adventure to be told each day.

Horses at Play

The twins have certainly been kept entertained playing with these horse playsets. They love clicking together the paddock and then putting the horses inside and feeding them carrots and hay. I love watching and listening to them as they play, they very cutely offer them carrots and play games with them. They play hide and seek with the little foal hiding behind the bales of hay and the daddy and mummy horse search to find him. It has given me the opportunity to explain to them what a bridle and saddle is and how a rider uses them which I'm sure will impress their horse obsessed Grandad when next they see him. 

Our Verdict

Having grown up with horses and familiar with all things equestrian I can honestly say these play sets are of amazingly high quality and without a doubt true to real life. It is a joy to watch the children play with them and see their imaginations fire as they invent stories and play. I can definitely recommend both the Horse Feeding Playset and the Eventing Rider which are available to buy from Amazon and the usual toy retailers.

*Disclaimer: I received the Schleich Horse Feeding Playset and the Eventing Rider playset in exchange for a review. All views and opinions are my own and unbiased. 

Fun with Mr Frosty

I have an admission  to make, ever since I was a little kid I always wanted a Mr Frosty. I was very jealous of our neighbours who had one as they were always making the coolest ice creations. Finally I have my own and the kids are just as excited as me that we have the very cool piece of kitchen magic to use. Ben's face says it all when he opened the box and discovered what was inside.

The kids (and I) couldn't wait to put Mr Frosty to the test and we definitely weren't disappointed.

What is Mr Frosty

Mr Frosty is a crunchy ice maker, perfect for the summer for kids young and old. It is not only lots of fun but makes the best, most refreshing and cooling drinks which can be made in a variety of flavours by simply adding some juice, cordial, squash or for us adults turned into a cocktail with a splash of your favourite alcoholic drink.

Putting Mr Frosty to the Test

It is easy to do, you just need some ice which has been left out at room temperature for around 30 minutes. Pop  it in the very retro and cool Mr Frosty Snowman, put his hat on, turn the handle and watch as the tray fills up with crushed ice which you can then transfer into bowls or glasses, squirt with the flavouring of your choice from the penguin squirter and enjoy! We certainly have been.

You can also make fruity ice shapes and ice lollies as it comes with special shaped moulds which are easy to do. All you have to is fill up the moulds with your favourite drink and pop in the freezer to do their magic. You can enjoy these as they are in drinks or put them in Mr Frosty to make tasty crunchy ice delights. There is so much fun to be had with Mr Frosty and if you are like us, you and your kids will keep enjoying finding new ways to do so.

Our Verdict

We love our Mr Frosty, he makes the best icy treats and is perfect for summer as it not just lots of fun but a refreshing and tasty way to cool down too. At the slightest hint of sunshine Ben and the twins ask me if we can use Mr Frosty, our favourite thing is to make crushed ice with blackcurrant and apple squash squirted on top. The kids have a little system going, the twins load in the ice and pop Mr Frosty's hat on while Ben turns the handle to make the crunchy ice magically appear. Then it is all about the fun of the flavours, we use no added sugar squash diluted in the penguin squirter and it is definitely a hit all round with kids and adults on a hot day. We have yet to try making up some flavoured ice and trying it but it's on my to do list  for the summer holidays. 

Where to Buy 

You can find out more about Mr Frosty and Flair’s range of creative products for children here. Mr Frosty is available to purchase from all the usual toy retailers including Smyths Toys priced at £19.99.

Spice up the ice with Mr Frosty!

*Disclaimer: I received Mr Frosty in exchange for a review. All views and opinions are my own and unbiased. 

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Book of Us: Chapter 05 / Page 13 - Sunshine Swing Time

The sun was back today and the twins were delighted to get back out in the garden, soaking up the sun on their swing.