Tuesday, 17 July 2018

FabLab Festival Face Tattoos Review

Today is Break the Rules Day at school which was the perfect opportunity to put FabLab Festival Face Tattoos to the test. With over twelve different tattoo designs, including super sparkly glitter ones Zoey was in her element picking her rebel look.

Inside the Box

The pack contains over 5 sheets of colour tattoos, 2 sheets of glitter tattoos, a scissors, an applicator sponge, a bottle of tattoo remover and an 8 page instruction manual.

Like all FabLab cosmetic products, the Face Tattoos kit is fully tested to EU Toy and Cosmetic Standards, they contain no harmful chemicals and are 100% non-toxic and hypo-allergenic so safe for children's skin.

Putting them to the Test

Getting three kids "rebel-ready" for school this morning meant time was going to be of the essence so I was hoping FabLab Face Tattoos would live up to their claim to be quick and easy. My main concern was whether the design would transfer to the skin without breaking as I've had a few disasters in the past with the temporary tattoos you get in party bags or candy stick packs. I needn't have worried though, these were a dream to apply.

I looked through the instructions last night and was happy it would be a straightforward process before surprising a very excited Zoey with the kit when she got up. Deciding which one of the gorgeous designs she wanted was the part which took the longest. Once finally chosen, I cut out the tattoo, peeled the clear film off and placed it (design side down) on her face.

Then, with the dampened sponge, I dabbed the tattoo to saturate the backing paper, held it in place for 30 seconds and the backing slid off to reveal the awesome tattoo.

Our Verdict

Applying the FanLab Face Tattoos was so super easy to do and produced an amazing result, I was really impressed. The tattoos are of a very high quality and far superior to any temporary tattoos I have tried in the past which meant that the design didn't break or crack during application.

The large sponge makes the transfer process easy as it lets you saturate the backing paper with just the right amount of water. The mix of colour and glitter designs are brilliant for all occasions from parties, sleep-overs, festivals to as in our case, break the rules days. I had a very happy little girl heading to school this morning.

Where to Buy

FabLab Festival Face Tattoos are available to buy in the usual toy retailers and online from InterPlay and Amazon with an RRP of £12.99. 

Monday, 16 July 2018

GraviTrax - STEM in Action

I am very excited to tell you about GraviTrax, an awesome new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) track system from Ravensburger. If you are looking for something to keep the kids entertained over the upcoming six weeks summer break then this is perfect and it has the added bonus of teaching them about gravity, magnetism and kinetic energy. Kids learn best when they are having fun and Gravitrax is guaranteed to deliver on the fun factor. I should also mention it is a lot of fun for us "big kids" too so will keep everyone happy.

What is GraviTrax?

GraviTrax takes marble runs to the next level, allowing little engineers to design and build structures using STEM concepts. Inside the box, you will find lots of pieces and components but don't worry there are clear instructions and guides included to help you get started.

GraviTrax is brought to us by the newly formed Innovations Lab at Ravensbuger and this statement by Clemens Maier, CEO of Ravensburger AG sums up what it is perfectly, “GraviTrax takes the classic marble run and makes it a modern experience that brings STEM concepts to life in a really active way. Whether you are all about the hands-on-action or want to tinker and endlessly refine designs, GraviTrax offers something that fits the needs of curious minds of all ages.”

Inside the Box

The set includes a set of Instructions, a set of Blueprint, an Exercise booklet, 4 Card Bases, 2 Transparent levels, 6 Gravity Spheres, 3 Long Rails, 6 Medium Rails, 9 Short Rails, a Magnetic Cannon, 21 Curved Bases, 3 ‘X’ intersection Bases, a Vortex Base, 2 ‘Y’ Points Bases, an End target, a 3in1 Base, 4 Bases for inserts, a 3 Way Starter Base Insert, 2 Catcher Base Inserts, 2 Switches, a Base Insert, a Free Fall Base Insert, a Target Base Insert, 40 Large Vertical Tiles and12 Small Vertical Tiles.

Putting it to the Test

After you have opened the box and been amazed at just how many pieces are inside, I recommend taking a really good look at Instructions and then the Task Booklet and Construction Plans. The difficulty levels are colour coded so you may want to opt for an easy one to begin with.

We started off with an easy design from the Construction Plans which are straightforward to follow and got us up and running really quickly.

We then moved on to something a bit trickier and even more fun.

The individual pieces are all of a high quality, strong and built to stand the test of time as your little engineers get busy working on design after design. The plastic bases slot in easily to the cardboard base and the other pieces fit together as expected. I have tested similar types of sets in the past where the bits don't quite fit properly and it can really impact the overall result but I am pleased to say this is not the case with GraviTrax.

It wasn't long before the kids were busy linking a variety of bases, with rails, using switches and even a magnetic cannon which the boys love. The possibilities are endless and it is all about trial and error as you pop the balls in and put your engineering and architecture to the test.

Our Verdict

We have been loving putting GraviTrax to the test, it is definitely a very engaging set which has been getting lots of use. The guides are great for inspiration but it wasn't long before the kids began working on their own custom designs, both individually and joining up to work as a team together.
With over 100 pieces and 18 unique action parts they have been able to come up with some awesome designs, some may not have worked as planned at the start but that is the great thing about this set as it lets kids experiment.  It is wonderful to observe the kids designing, building and then adjusting and readjusting their tracks, experimenting with heights and watching as magnetism, gravity and kinetics produce different results. It teaches them to build and test in iterations and then fix any issues and/or enhance before retesting just as you would do when building software which is a fantastic thing for them to learn in addition to the physics and engineering involved. 

GraviTrax App

We also downloaded the GraviTrax app where you can virtually create your track and test it. Ben likes doing this and then using it as a blueprint to work on the real-life version.  I have to say I love the idea of being able to marry the tech and the physical versions. 

Where to Buy

The GraviTrax Starter set is available to purchase online from Amazon and has an RRP of £49.99. It is suitable for ages 8+ but the twins aged 5 have joined in playing with Ben who is 8 and really enjoy being part of the GraviTrax engineering team. The Gravitrax track system can be extended indefinitely with extra track packs and add-on's available to purchase separately.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

My Fairy Unicorn Garden Review

Zoey loves the My Fairy Garden range so was very excited to get the opportunity to review the Unicorn Garden from Interplay UK. Like all the My Fairy Garden products this comes with a very special fairy, but this has the added bonus of a sparkly unicorn too which brings a whole lot of magic to their new home.

A Closer Look at the Unicorn Garden 

The set comes with Belle the beautiful fairy, a unicorn called Sky, a little mouse, a toadstool, super speedy growing grass seeds, a jar fairy dust for making wishes, a wishing well, bunting and more. All you need to add is the compost and your creativity and imagination. The result when you put it together is a very pretty playset that doubles up as a magical display.

Making the Unicorn Garden

Zoey and her twin brother Zachary had a lot of fun creating the Unicorn Garden, it was a perfect activity to do in the garden on a recent sunny day. They carefully added compost, put together the arbor and decorated it with little flowers, assembled the wishing well and bunting, decorated the path with the rainbow pebbles, sewed the grass seeds, added the flowers and finally the mouse, toadstool, unicorn and fairy were placed in their new home before the magic fair dust was scattered and wished made.

What Zoey Thinks

Now it is over to Zoey herself on her new YouTube Channel, Zoey's World to tell you all about her Unicorn Garden. (P.S. She would love if you could subscribe to her new channel, she's desperate to be a little YouTube vlogger).

Where to Buy

Unicorn Garden is available to buy online from Interplay or Amazon and can also be found in the usual toy retailers such as Smyths Toys. It has an RRP of £19.99 but is currently for sale for £14.99 in Smyths and on Amazon and is suitable for children aged 4+ years. 

Thursday, 21 June 2018

World Cup Crazy

I am loving all the excitement surrounding the World Cup, especially when it comes to the England games. Zachary was lucky enough to draw England in the class football sweepstake so he is super pleased with himself and has been muttering about Harry Kane in his sleep. Forget the Power Rangers he has a new hero.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Sling Stix Review & Giveaway

I have something very cool to tell you about called Sling Stix, the revolutionary new ball game for all the family from Helix. We certainly have been having a lot of fun putting it to the test.

What is Sling Stix

Sling Stix is basically a set of two catchers, the Stix, which have a suction cups on the end that you use to catch and throw the ball with. You simply press the trigger to release the ball and can sling up to 30ft so best to play somewhere you have lots of space.

Our Verdict

We started off with a few practice throws indoors before heading outside. The kids quickly got the hang of the whole sling, stick it and sling again process and it wasn't long before they were getting further and further apart and covering more and more ground. Thankfully the ball is bright green so easy to spot if it is slung quite a distance or winds up in a bush. 

All hail the Sling Stix champ Zachary! 

The game reminds me of a cross between playing tennis and catch, two activities all three of my kids love and I can't help but feel it will be really good for developing their basic racquet game skills, not to mention improving hand-eye coordination and reaction times.  Once you get the hang of the whole sling and stick you can start impressing everyone with your trick shots, think acrobatic cartwheel catches which I will be sure to update this post with once Zoey perfects her moves.

Once you have enough of playing catch with them you can take inspiration from my hubby's use of the Stix.

Where to Buy

Sling Stix are available to buy from the usual toy retailers including Smyths, Argos and Amazon with an RRP of £14.99 and are suitable for ages: 6+.

Enter to Win Sling Stix

The good news is that I have a Sling Stix game up for grabs. Entry is easy, just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. Giveaway closes on 9th June at 12am. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I received Sling Stix for review. All views and opinions are my own and unbiased.