Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Lion Guard - Talking Plush Bunga

In case you've missed it, we are massive Disney fans and the kids love all the shows on Disney Junior, especially the Lion Guard which is a spin off of the original Lion King so when I was offered a Talking Plush Bunga for review I knew Zachary would adore him.

Meet Talking Plush Bunga

Talking Plush Bunga, like his character on TV, is a cheeky but lovable little guy with the added bonus of being super cuddly. Bunga the honey badger is 30cm tall so makes a lovely companion for any little Lion Guard fan who like snuggling up with their favourite character. He features a light up 'Mark of the Guard' arm badge and makes four different, very distinctly Bunga sounds which my three kids love.

Mark of the Guard

The Mark of the Guard (sometimes known as the Lion Guard symbol) is a special mark given to members of the Lion Guard. It is in the shape of a roaring lion's head. Each member's mark changes colour to match their own pelt. It is given to them by the leader placing their paw over their shoulder and is a sign to all that the animal it is bestowed upon is a member of the Guard.

Bunga's Mark of the Guard arm badge

Our Verdict

Talking Plush Bunga has been a hit since arriving in our family, he has been the source of much laughter with his hilarious phrases and sounds and has accompanied the kids on many of daily adventures. The kids have always been fans of brave Bunga who is Kion's best friend but I think they have grown to love him that bit more since our plush version arrived. Director Howy Parkins once described Bunga as a "strong comedic character" and I think this is perfectly captured in this toy, just look at his face. 

Where to Buy

The Lion Guard range of Talking Plush characters includes both Bunga and his best friend Kion and are from Flair Plc with a RRP of £24.99. I have found Talking Plush Bunga currently on sale on Amazon for £18.83. If you have a fan of the Lion Guard they are sure to love these toys, mine do!

Schleich Smurf House with Papa Smurf and Gargamel and Azrael

I have always been a massive Smurfs fan so I have unsurprisingly passed my love of the little blue characters on to my three kids. We are all very excited about the new Smurfs movie, Smurfs: The Lost Village which is due to be released on the 31st March with preview screenings in some cinemas this weekend the 25th March. The exciting news is that Schleich have released a fantastic new range of Smurfs Figures and Playsets that will allow fans to relieve their favourite film scenes. We were sent a Smurf House with Papa Smurf and figures Gargamel and Azrael to review.

Schleich Smurf House with Papa Smurf and Gargamel and Azrael

The Schleich Smurf House with Papa Smurf and figures Gargamel and Azrael is not just fantastic quality, the kind of which we have come to expect from Schleich, but it is impressively detailed with realistic characters and the things we find in their surroundings. 

The playset contains a large iconic red and white toadstool Smurf house with working doors with a key which Zachary loves, windows with shutters that open and close that have a lovely heart shaped detail on them that Zoey spotted straight away, there are even little flowers on the roof to make it perfectly authentic. Included in the set are two figures, Papa Smurf and Gargamel with his loyal cat Azrael  to help make the Smurfs world come to life. 

The Playset requires some assembly but it is pretty straightforward to do,  here is what comes in the box. 

I love the fact that the instructions come are in a Smurf treasure map style which is very authentic and a lovely touch. 

Our Verdict

My kids are even more excited about the release of the new Smurfs movie now they have had a chance to play with the Smurf House and characteres. They love it and have been busy making up Smurf adventures inspired by the playset. It has been amusing watching the twins play with the set as they have decided the Smurfs and Batman should join forces and Papa Smurfs House sits alongside Zachary's Batcave where they work together to fight the Joker and Penguin. You have to love kids imaginations! 

Where to Buy

Smurf House with Papa Smurf and figures Gargamel and Azrael has an RRP of £29.99. You can see the the full collection of new Smurfs figures and playsets online at Schleich. I think we may have to start a new collection. 

BRIO Village Family House and Expansion Set

When you think BRIO you would be forgiven for thinking trains and tracks but it is so much more than that, there is a whole world of BRIO and it is totally awesome.

We were lucky enough to be sent the BRIO Village Family House and BRIO World Village Module Expansion set which the kids are having so much fun playing with.

The BRIO high quality and design is definitely evident in these sets, it is beautifully made from FSC certified wood which is sure to stand the test of time and any robust play little hands may inflict on it. The BRIO Village Family House is completely modular allowing you to build and rebuild the house in new and unique ways every time. You can one floor, two floors or even three and I love the fact that it is also fully compatible with the other products in the Brio village range with expansion sets such as the one we were sent available to add to it.

The BRIO Family House set includes 4 figures, 2 chairs, a table, bed, toilet, bookshelf block, 2 kitchen blocks, a bench, 2 fences, a step, 3 roofs, 11 columns, a ladder, 9 panels and 6 base plates.

The BRIO Village Module Expansion Set allows you to make your house bigger and get even more creative with your layout. With these extra walls, floors, roofs and windows you can build and rebuild as often as you like. It includes includes 2 roof pieces, a bench, 3 columns, 5 panels and 3 base plates.

Our Verdict

I love the fact that this BRIO Village Family Home and Expansion set is the kind of toy that all three of my kids ranging in age from 3 year old boy / girl twins to a 7 year boy old can sit down together and play with. They work together, with minimal arguing, to create and recreate the house in wonderful new ways each time. The fact that it comes with things like a bed and a toilet along with four figures makes it a wonderful playset once build and lends itself to hours of imaginative play. I can definitely recommend the BRIO Village Family House and Village Modules, not just for their quality but the engaging, creative and imaginative play they offer. 

Where to Buy

The BRIO Village Family House has an RRP of £59.99 and the BRIO World Village Module Expansion set has an RRP of £19.99 and along with other Village Modules are available to buy online from BRIO

Wissper and Peggy Starter Set

Recently I watched as Zoey and Zachary sat transfixed by a programme on Milkshake called Wissper. It is by the same creators as Waybuloo and about a little girl called Wissper who can talk to animals. It is one of those beautifully imaginative kids TV shows that transports little ones into a magical world of adventure with it's bright colourful characters and their wonderful stories.

Who is Wissper

Those who are familiar with the show will know that the  animals always go to Wissper for help. She can magically transport herself to anywhere there is an animal in danger by saying the magic word “Sssshhh…” She is very caring of all the animals but she can get cross if they misbehave! Eye’s closed tight, Wissper’s coming to make things right. Check out the clip below if you would like to know more about the World of Wissper.

Wissper and Peggy Starter Set

I knew there would be a lot of excitement when I showed the twins that our very own Wissper and Peggy Starter Set  had arrived for review.

In the box you will find a Wissper articulated doll figure, a Peggy figurine, a panpipe accessory, a bag accessory, a mirror accessory, a hair brush accessory and binoculars. Both Wissper and Peggy are just like the characters from the show so it is the perfect toy to transport kids into the imaginative world of Wissper and the accessories make for lots of interactive and engaging play.

Our Verdict

My two have definitely fallen in love with this set. They love using the panpipe to enter a new world just like in the show and Zachary's favourite thing is to use the binoculars and dash about the place looking for animals that might be hiding, he makes me laugh telling me he is searching the jungle or forest otherwise known as our garden for animals that need Wissper's help.

Watching the programme I have come to the conclusion that Wissper shares a lot of similar qualities with Zoey being sweet and cute yet determined, a tad headstrong and sometimes even fierce when animals are behaving badly. I think that may be the reason why Zoey loves the Wissper doll so much.

Where to Buy

The Wissper range of toys will be available to buy at Toys R Us from the start of April with the Wissper and Peggy Starter Set having an RRP of £19.99.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Wild! Science Cake Soap Review & Global Competition Details

Ben loves science and has been learning all about materials in school recently. We have been having lots of discussions about how things change from different states when heated, cooled etc so when I was offered a Wild! Science kit for review I thought it would not only be a lot of fun to do with him, but also a great learning opportunity. There are a range of sets including a Lava Lamp and Glitter Tube Lab, Bath Bomb Factory, Perfume Factory and the one we were sent which is the Cake Soap Factory. It does come boxed in pink and girly packaging but once Ben got over the initial "it looks girly" thing and I handed him the instructions, he couldn't wait to start experimenting.

Wild! Science Cake Soap Factory

The Cake Soap Factory comes with two different types of soap, a special transparant casting soap and a professional grade Titanium Oxide pigment soap which can be melted and moulded to make almost any solid shape. The kit comes with an instruction book which contains recipe like instructions on how to make cupcake soaps, macaroons, fluffy meringue, jelly, foamy buttercream and soapy decorations.

We got to explore how different actions produce different results, for example whipping the soap creates a stable foam that can be piped onto soap cakes to make any sweet creation you can imagine. The clear glycerine soap allows light to pass through, but when the soap is whipped with air, it becomes an opaque, white foam. Adding white pigment or colour to the clear soap changes how the soap looks because it changes which colours of light are absorbed or reflected by the soap. Learn about solids and liquids, melting and freezing, aeration, dissolving, stable foam, reflection, absorption and scattering of light and density: floating and sinking.

Putting it to the Test

Ben was very excited to get experimenting with the Cake Soap Factory and we kicked off by making Soap Cupcakes. 

The instruction manual is easy to follow and Ben got to work straight away measuring out his ingredients which included two blocks of the clear soap base and one Titanium Dioxide pigment soap which he placed in one of the beakers included in the kit. 

We then popped this in the microwave to be melted. One word of warning, make sure there is a grown up about to supervise and ensure that the soap is melted in 10 second intervals at a time, reduce to 5 seconds intervals if necessary until the soap is melted and you if you see it starting to bubble, it is too hot. We carefully removed it from the microwave, it will be hot so my advise would be to let an adult do this. Next Ben added a couple of drops of colour and stirred it using one of the sticks included. 

Finally he poured the mixture into the cupcake moulds and we put it in the freezer to cool. A few hours later and we had cupcakes ready to ice. 

Icing followed a similar process of melting the soaps but we also included water this time. When melted we whipped the mixture with a fork before piping on top of the cupcakes, just as you would when decorating edible cupcakes. Interestingly we learned that the whipped soap becomes harder after a few hours as it dries out as the whipped soap contains a lot of water and as some of this water will evaporate, turning into a gas and move into the surrounding air which makes it harder. 

Our Verdict

Ben really enjoyed using the Wild! Science Cake Soap Factory, the instructions are well written and easy to follow and it definitely brings science to life for kids. The fact that you use this factory to make a product such as these pretty awesome soaps and then actually use them or give them as gifts is fantastic. Ben was very proud of what he produced in the end and I know he is also planning on making some more to give me as a Mother's Day gift. The one thing I would like to see is a change to the packaging as I think the very girly pinkness might put some boys off using it. Apart from that minor point, we loved reviewing the Wild! Science Cake Soap Factory and can definitely recommend it. 

Where to Buy

The Wild! Science Cake Soap Factory and other fantastic science kits are available widely from the usual toy retailers and can also be found online from Amazon with an RRP of £14.99. 

Wild! Science Global Competition

I also want to tell you about something very exciting, the Wild! Science Global Science Challenge which is giving families (2 adults and 2 children) everywhere the chance to win:

  • A trip to Orlando Florida, 
  • Entry to Disney World, 
  • Accomodation in a 5-star resort for 7 days 
  • Care hire for 7 days 
  • A full set of Wild Science products 
  • Entry to the Kennedy Space Centre to meet a real astronaut! 

How to enter: 

It is a very interesting competition for little budding scientist and inventors and if they are anything like my Ben will get them excitedly thinking about science and ways to explore it. Here is how you enter:
  1. Buy a Wild! Science Kit and send a receipt copy with your online application 
  2. Design and create an awesome new Wild! Science Kit 
  3. Write and illustrate a basic instruction book to show other kids how to use your awesome Wild! Science Kit.