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Thursday, 23 November 2017

Elves Behavin' Badly are Getting Ready for Advent

December 1st is just over a week away! That means that my friendly resident elves will soon be getting up to some naughty antics to celebrate the countdown to Christmas. This alternate advent idea promises to be a lot of fun and will definitely entertain Freddy, as he discovers what the elves have been up to the night before.

The Elves Behavin' Badly are getting a bit excited about the prospect of their stay with us here Inside the Wendy House. They are already starting to get up to mischief and are planning their exploits for month ahead.

elves behavin badly


They've being busy checking out the catalogues choosing Christmas Presents for their list to Santa.

elves behavin badly


And Elfie has been taking Selfies, getting ready for her social media debut on December 1st!

elves behavin badly


We're going to have so much fun with our elf house guests this year. They will make the countdown to Christmas more creative and inject some laughter into our mornings. Find out more about the Elves Behavin' Badly at www.elvesbehavinbadly.com.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

No More Fading to Grey with Surf Perfect Black

Surf has a new formula specially designed to keep your dark clothes looking like new for longer - Surf Perfect Black. As someone whose wardrobe is predominantly black, I was really interested in this new product. Black clothes usually ends up fading to grey, but Surf Perfect Black ensures dark clothing retains its colour better and for longer. Fragranced with Midnight Orchid and Lily, it comes in both super concentrated liquid and bio-capsule formats. Laundry is clean and fresh, and the product is effective even when used in cold washes.

Surf Perfect Black


It's good to see a laundry product designed especially to care for your darks, to help avoid the dreaded fade! I'm hoping to buy some new black jeans this Christmas and hope I can keep them looking black instead of them turning grey. Dark jeans are definitely the worst culprit when it comes to laundry fade, so if I can stave this off I'll be impressed.

I must admit that part of me kind of wanted the liquid itself to be black! But no - it's a normal white colour. It smells really pleasant with its floral scent and so far it's doing a good job of making my washing clean and fresh. It's nice to have a formula designed specifically for my dark washing.

Surf are urging customers to display their darks online in the #SurfPerfectBlack challenge!

Surf Perfect Black is available to buy in selected Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's stores for an RRP of £5.50 for a 25 wash liquid or 20 wash bio-capsule.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

A Magical Start to Christmas at the Intu Trafford Centre

Today we were invited to the Intu Trafford Centre to watch their Magical Christmas Parade. Arriving before the parade began, we had the chance to meet the stars of the show in a private meet and greet. Freddy loved seeing Peppa Pig, Bing & Flop, Shimmer & Shine, Marshall & Skye, the Minions, PJ Masks and Branch & Poppy. There is something so magical about seeing the children interact with their favourite TV stars in real life! We had a really nice breakfast, juice and coffee supplied by Leon, which was much appreciated after our early start.

intu Trafford Centre, Peppa Pig, Bing, Trolls, Minions


We were then lucky enough to be able to watch the parade from the VIP enclosure at the side of the stage in the Orient. There was a procession of the characters alongside dancing princes and princesses, jugglers, drumming soldiers, stilt walkers, ballerinas, dancers, Father Christmas and his elves.

intu Trafford Centre


The all singing, all dancing performance ended with a magical blizzard of snowflake confetti, which was really lovely.  We left feeling very festive after our wonderful morning at the intu Trafford Centre.

Afterwards we got to do some Christmas shopping and get some lunch. The Christmas lights made the experience very sparkly and festive.

Check out what is happening at the intu Trafford Centre this Christmas at intu.co.uk/traffordcentre.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

The latest installment in the Despicable Me movie franchise is out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital courtesy of Universal Pictures. The story of Gru, his wife Lucy and their three girls continues with plenty of action, adventure and comedy. 

Despicable Me 3 DVD


Gru finds himself fired from the Anti-Villain League after failing to capture vengeful former child star Balthazar Bratt, an eighties obsessed bad guy whose evil plot threatens the whole of humanity. He is trying to steal the world's largest diamond to power up a robot with world domination in mind.

With Gru now out of a job, the Minions hope he will now return to his old life of villainy. Disappointed at his refusal, they go on strike and leave their master, getting themselves into their usual brand of slapstick trouble, which lands them in jail.

Meanwhile, Gru discovers he has a long lost twin brother who desperately wishes to follow in his brother's old despicable footsteps, dreaming of being a super villain like their father. Even though Gru wants to stay on the straight and narrow, the two brothers do eventually bond and together plan a heist to steal the diamond. However, they fall out after Dru discovers that Gru's plan is to actually return the diamond to the AVL in the hope of getting his old job back. This gives Balthazar Bratt the opportunity to steal the diamond for himself and power up his evil robot. The twins, along with the Minions who have since escaped, must take on Bratt in the ultimate showdown, hoping to save the world from his eighties inspired villainy.

Fans of the Minions will love this new movie, and the talent show scene will definitely bring plenty of laughs. It's great to see how Gru's relationships are developing with Lucy and their three daughters, as they work together on becoming the family they want to be.

Despicable Me 3 will be a perfect family film to watch together this Christmas and will make a lovely stocking filler!

Despicable Me 3 Activity Sheet

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Make Mornings Fun with Ready Brek and Despicable Me 3

There is a distinct chill in the air in the mornings that is making the presence of winter feel really imminent. When the cold weather closes in, a good, hearty breakfast is so important to give us the best possible start to the day. But with time being  such an issue on a school morning, breakfast still needs to be quick and convenient. That's when Ready Brek comes into its own. Thanks to Ready Brek, Freddy can enjoy a warming, healthy start to these wintry mornings and fuel his body with some long lasting energy that will see him through to lunchtime.

Ready Brek with Despicable Me 3


I love that Ready Brek Original contains nothing nasty, unexpected or unnecessary, the ingredients list contains just wholegrain oats and oat flour, with added vitamins and minerals. Plenty of things that growing boys and girls need in their diets, such as protein, fibre, calcium and vitamins B and D. We make it using almond milk and Freddy likes to top it with a squeeze of maple syrup for a bit of sweetness. Other serving ideas include topping with fresh fruit, dried fruit, yogurt, golden syrup or nuts, or it can be used as an addition to smoothies or as an ingredient in breakfast muffins.

Ready Brek with Despicable Me 3


Ready Brek have teamed up with Despicable Me 3 bringing some extra added fun to breakfast time. The special packs feature the Minions, fresh from their role in the new Despicable Me 3 movie. On the back of the pack is a fun activity and you can also win despicable prizes every hour, such as drones, scooters and night mission goggles, by entering the unique code found in the pack on the winwithweetabix.co.uk website.

Despicable Me 3, which is out on DVD and Blu-ray now, is the latest installment in the Despicable Me franchise. Starring Gru, his wife Lucy and their three girls, as well as the Minions, DM3 is a great family film. The eighties obsessed super villain, Balthazar Bratt who is intent on vengeful world domination, and Gru's long lost twin brother Dru, who wants to follow in his brother's old villainous ways, are new characters that add to the fun! Throw in a Minions strike that leads all the way to prison and you have the recipe for a real adventure. The DVD also features an all new mini-movie that little fans will really enjoy. Perfect family viewing for the Christmas holidays.

Despicable Me 3 DVD


To celebrate these two family favourites, Despicable Me 3 and Ready Brek, teaming up, I've come up with a super simple Minions inspired combination for Freddy's breakfast. As those little yellow Minions love bananas so much, it seems fitting to combine the delicious wholesomeness of Ready Brek with some yummy banana! Making a Minion face using sliced bananas and raisins brought an element of Despicable Me 3 fun to breakfast time, while adding the extra goodness of fresh and dried fruits. Freddy loved it!

Ready Brek with Despicable Me 3


In keeping with the Despicable Me 3 theme, Freddy has also discovered Despicable Me Mineez, collectible mini DM3 figures. You can collect your favourite characters such as an assortment of Minions in various guises, Gru, Lucy, the girls, the Yard Dog and Niko.

DM3 Mineez Collectors 6 pack


The deluxe Mineez collector's six packs feature a mystery character, which could include the ultra rare jail minions or the limited edition golden Minions. There is even an ultra lost Unigoat waiting to be found. The little, squishy figures are very detailed and cute, perfect for any Despicable Me fan to collect. There are over 75 in the Series 1 collection. It costs £9.99 for the Despicable Me Deluxe Mineez Collectors 6 Pack, which would make a great stocking filler this Christmas.

Ready Brek with Despicable Me 3


Ready Brek is suitable for children aged six months and above and comes in original, chocolate, honey and seriously oatey varieties from £2 a packet. It's available in boxes or sachets, from all good supermarkets and food stores. Look out for the special Despicable Me 3 packs in store now.

Ready Brek with Despicable Me 3



Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Family Games Night Fun with Boom Blast Stix and Five Nights at Freddy's

Games nights are a great way to bring the whole family together for an entertaining evening away from the TV, smartphones and iPads! Whatever your age, a games night is guaranteed to bring laughter, some healthy competition and plenty of family fun. Games allow us to unleash our inner child, whatever our age, and come together as one to enjoy some quality time. Spending an hour or two at the weekend or on an evening indulging in some family games is perfect at this time of year when the weather means we are often stuck in the house. My children have always loved it when we all sit down to play something, whether it's a card game, a traditional board game or one of the newer, more modern games on the market.

We received two new amazing games, Boom Blast Stix and Five Nights at Freddy's, so we could enjoy our own family games night. These games are far more exciting than the traditional games from my childhood. Both include a unique element of suspense and surprise, bringing extra excitement to games night. Family games night has never been quite so thrilling!

Boom Blast Stix


Boom Blast Stix is an explosive new game that keeps players on their edge of their seats. It features forty interlocking sticks that are under tension and can explode at any time. The aim is to stack as many of the pieces on top of the lid before the structure goes off causing a boom of cascading, spring-loaded pieces that literally fly across the room. It happens so suddenly, you can't help but jump out of your skin!

Boom Blast Stix


The high risk, addictive and unpredictable gameplay, is guaranteed to elicit laughter from everyone as they anticipate the blast. You have to try and be as gentle and calm as you can be as you place your next piece on the pile, but the tension makes it really tricky. You just don't know when the exploding  pile will go off. Even Ian with his steady hand was caught unawares a few times as the pieces exploded on his turn.

Boom Blast Stix


The packaging doubles up as the base for building the stack. You can use the lid alone or go higher using the box and lid together. Everything tidies away neatly inside after use. The design in this respect is really good.

Boom Blast Stix


Boom Blast Stix has been featured on CITV's Scrambled, and is set to become a fierce family favourite! A perfect choice for some fun this Christmas, and great value at £14.99. It is recommended for kids age 6+.

My youngest Freddy is 8 years old and loves the world of his namesake from Five Nights At Freddy's, having played the game online many times. This game brings FNAF's demon teddy Freddy Fazbear into real life in 3D form for another really tense and nerve wracking family game. Five Nights at Freddy's is famed for its jumpscares and this game definitely delivers the right level of jumpiness that kids will love.

Five Nights at Freddy's Game


Freddy holds pieces of multi-coloured pizza in his tray that players need to take from him in turn using the tongs. All is calm at first as Freddy sits back and snoozes. Creepy music plays, adding to the tense atmosphere, as each player takes their suspense-filled turn to spin the dial and take the relevant number and colour of pizza slices according to where the spinner lands.

FNAF, Five Nights at Freddy's


However, someone will try to take one piece too many and will wake up Freddy from his slumber and unleash his rage. It's jump scares all round as he suddenly leaps up, opening his red eyes and screeches, signalling that player is out of the game!

Five Nights at Freddy's Game


 The winner is the last player standing. This game has the nostalgic element of games like Buckaroo, bringing that sense of tension, suspense and anticipation with each turn. However, the character of Freddy, brings the genre right up to date for today's kids to enjoy.



Five Nights at Freddy's is a great game for FNAF fans and is priced at £24.99. It requires 3 AA batteries and is recommended for kids age 8+.

Five Nights at Freddy's Game


Both games have that quality of being really exciting, as players wait for the moment when it all kicks off! Whether it's Freddy springing to terrifying life or the Boom Blast Stix firing off around the room, you can guarantee there will be squeals of laughter and plenty of jumps. There won't be a single dull moment during games night, as these high energy games keep delivering the surprises.

My Freddy, literally screamed out loud and jumped backwards against his chair the first time that Freddy Fazbear woke up. He was not expecting it at all! It was quite a hilarious response that had us all laughing. The creepy fairground style music is really unsettling and a great part of the game adding a very spooky atmosphere that Freddy says is "terrifying in a good way".

The Boom Blast Stix exploding was also quite unexpected. They go off with some force and everyone ends up ducking for cover as they fly off. The game keeps you on the edge of your seat. My 15 year old daughter loves this game and thinks it is "very intense, a lot of fun and a little bit lethal!" Freddy also enjoys playing this on his own trying to build the highest stack that he can. It is definitely a new favourite in our household.

Both games really do add that extra layer of entertainment to games night. Even the hardest to entertain children will love them. We will definitely be getting Freddy's older siblings playing these games with him when they are home for Christmas this year!

You can find both games at www.character-online.com.


Monday, 13 November 2017

Slither.io Toy Range

Slither.io is a game that has taken the internet by storm, with the app being downloaded over 150 million times. 124 million games are played each month in the UK with 60% of British kids under the age of 14 having downloaded it. Slither.io has been a huge influencer on YouTube with many famous vloggers doing videos of the game on their channels. The ever growing, colourful Slithers are an iconic gaming phenomenon.

Now fans of the game can enjoy the characters off screen too with the release of the Slither.io range of toys. The super cool and instantly recognisable collectible toys feature the skins found in the award winning game, with many different ones to collect including ultra rare, patriotic and rainbow versions.

Slither.io Toy Range


The bendable Slither figures are approximately 14cm in length and come in blister packs of three (including one mystery Slither) and blind bags containing a single mystery Slither. They have body segments making then bendy, and they have a cute little face. There are 15 skins to collect in Series 1, in varying colours and designs.

The Slither bendable plush soft toy is cute and cuddly. They come in a range of designs and are 8" long. They are lovely for hugging and have a detailed, expressive, embroidered face.

The Mini Mystery Squishie Slither comes in a sealed hexagonal tub. There are 15 designs including two rare and one ultra rare to collect. You don't know which one you'll find inside.

Freddy is 8 and a big fan of the Slither.io game and YouTube videos so he was extremely excited to discover this range of toys. Like most children of his age, Freddy also loves collectible toys, making them a huge hit. He was thrilled to find a rare purple Slither in his blind bag. He is planning on using his Slithers to make a stop motion animation!

The RRP of the 3 pack is £10.99, the blind bag is £3.99, the mini squishie is £3.99 and the plush toy is £9.99.

They will most definitely be excellent as stocking fillers for the kids this Christmas. They are cute, colourful, collectible and will be loved by fans of Slither.io old or young.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Superman - Justice League 7" Stretch Figure

The Justice League is big news at the moment with the release of the latest film this month. Superhero fans young and old will no doubt be clamoring to see the movie and would definitely love to get their hands on their own Justice League stretch character.

Superman - Justice League 7" Stretch Figure


The 7" Justice League stretch characters include Flash, Batman and Superman. They can be stretched and twisted and will always return back to their normal state. There is something so fun about playing with stretchy toys. My husband, eldest son and future son-in-laws always make a beeline for Freddy's stretch toys! Being superheroes, these new 7" Justice League toys from Character Options will definitely become firm favourites.

Superman - Justice League 7" Stretch Figure


The seven inch stretch figure has classic Superman styling and comes with a red cloth cape and yellow belt. He has his iconic Superman logo on his chest and his abs and other muscles are well defined. His head is well detailed and made of firm plastic. The body itself has very rubbery feeling hands and feet, while his legs, arms and torso feel more solid and stretch really far when pulled. In fact you can stretch him up to five times his original size.

Superman - Justice League 7" Stretch Figure


After he has been stretched, he will retract back to his normal size without any loss of definition. Freddy stretched the arms and legs really far and he still went back to his original shape and size. It is strong and robust as long as it doesn't get punctured, knotted or exposed to extreme temperatures.

Superman - Justice League 7" Stretch Figure


The stretchy Superman toy is definitely proving a lot of fun. The fact that it is a superhero adds that extra element of play value and Freddy has enjoyed incorporating his new super stretchy Superman toy into his games.

The Justice League 7" Stretch Figures are recommended for ages 5 and over and are £12.99 each. They are a great Christmas gift idea for superhero fans - even the grown up ones!

Find out more and buy your own 7" Justice League Stretch Figure at www.character-online.com.

Friday, 10 November 2017

BioCare's Vitamins and Supplements

I am pretty health conscious and spend a lot of time thinking about the diet that my family has. I aim to ensure that everyone gets at least their five a day with plenty of colourful and nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. I try to include wholegrains, pulses, nuts and plant based proteins in meals. As we are vegans I am very aware of the need for B12 and vitamin D in our diets. However, there will always be days when what we eat falls a little short on vitamins and minerals or times where we need a little extra help to stay as healthy as we can, and for that reason I am a big advocate of  dietary supplements.

BioCare, the professional supplement specialists, stock a huge range of dietary supplements through their online shop, with many being suitable for vegans. Products can easily be filtered for allergens, making you able to shop with confidence. They have products specifically suitable for men, women, the elderly and children, covering a whole host of health applications including supporting weightloss, detoxing, seasonal immunity support and digestive health. Advice on the website helps point you in the direction you need for specific health concerns or you can directly contact a nutritional therapist on the clinical nutrition advice line.

We received some of BioCare's products to try out, to help us through the winter months, supplementing our diets, supporting health goals and helping support our immunity against seasonal bugs.

BioCare Nutritional Supplements


The BioCare Adult Multivitamins and Minerals are a good all round, one a day supplement for nutritional support, that are Vegetarian Society Approved and are suitable for vegans. They contain bioavailable minerals for easy absorption. They contribute to the maintenance of normal bones, muscles and teeth; to the normal function of the immune system and to the energy-yielding metabolism. A pack of 30 capsules is £11.95.



Children's Elderberry Complex has been especially designed for children aged 3+.  It is a fruity liquid that can be used in drinks or added to foods. It contains zinc and vitamin C and is suitable for vegans. It will help little ones by supporting their immune system, especially important at this time of year. A 150ml bottle is £8.95.

Children's Elderberry Complex


Everyday BioAcidophilus contains 10 billion of the clinically-researched LAB4 live bacteria plus natural prebiotics to support gut health.  They are free from common allergens like dairy and are suitable for vegans. They come in convenient 7 days strips - handy for taking on-the-go – and don’t need to be refrigerated. A pack of 28 costs £13.96.

Everyday BioAcidophilus


FemForte Multi is a comprehensive, high potency multivitamin, mineral and antioxidant complex, particularly suited to the special requirements of women. It contains high ratios of nutrients supportive of female health, and also includes green tea extract. They are suitable for vegans. A pack of 90 is £27.50.

FemForte Multi


Red Berry BioMelts are for children. The individual sachets contain unique live bacteria with vitamin D in a delicious, natural red berry flavoured powder that melts on the tongue and is easy for children to take.  The Department of Health recommends that a daily supplement of vitamin D should be given to young children and this is an easy way to do so.  A 28 day supply is £17.95.



NEW Vitamin C Rosehip Complex is a great tasting vitamin C powder with minerals, bioflavonoids and berry extracts. This handy powder dissolves easily into water making it good for people who struggle to swallow capsules or tablets. Each 5g dose provides 1g of vitamin C with minerals such as zinc and manganese. This is great for the winter months as it contributes to the normal function of the immune system. It is suitable for vegans. 150g costs £15.95.

Vitamin C Rosehip Complex


You can find these and many more products at www.biocare.co.uk. Delivery is free on orders over £25 and same day dispatch is available.

Monday, 6 November 2017

A Magical Christmas Parade is coming to Intu Trafford Centre

A Magical Christmas Parade is coming to intu Trafford Centre on November 18th 2017. 

As a family, we really enjoy our annual Christmas shopping trips to intu Trafford Centre. There is always something exciting going on and the decorations really put us in a festive mood. We love the Santa's Grotto in Barton Square, which is always so innovative and exciting! So we are really looking forward to experiencing the new Magical Christmas Parade this year.

This brand new event is bringing the magic of Christmas to families with a parade featuring the stars of Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig, Shimmer and Shine, Trolls, Bing and the Minions. Little ones will love seeing the stars of TV and the big screen brought to life in a show stopping parade.

Filled with music, dance and festive fun, this captivating Christmas carnival takes place in the Orient with two  parades starting at 11.30am and 2.30pm. The enchanting experience will give families a chance to see their favourite children’s characters alongside a dazzling array of princesses, princes, nutcracker dancers and traditional toy soldiers. Even Father Christmas himself will be taking a break from his festive grotto in Barton Square to appear in the procession and welcome the crowds to the Christmas event.

Trafford Centre, Santa, Christmas


The full Magical Christmas Parade cast will feature:

Chase, Marshall and Skye from Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol
DreamWorks Animation Trolls lead characters Princess Poppy and Branch
Bing and Flop from Emmy-award winning CBeebies cartoon Bing
Mini superheroes PJ Masks in their trademark pyjamas
Family-favourite Peppa Pig
Nickelodeon’s twin-sister genies-in-training Shimmer and Shine
Fresh from Despicable Me 3 - the Minions
A cast of magical fairy-tale princes and princesses
Traditional, festive nutcracker dancers and traditional marching toy soldiers
Father Christmas leading the way as the star of the show

Peppa Pig


Alison Niven, regional centre director at intu Trafford Centre, said: “The Magical Christmas Parade is the perfect festive, family day out – the Orient will come alive with music, dancing and wide-eyed little ones looking out for their favourite stars.... it’s really beginning to feel like the magic of Christmas has started.”


For all the festive, family events at intu Trafford Centre, visit: intu.co.uk/traffordcentre/events.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Christmas Presents for A Fiver from Sports Direct #sdfiverchallenge

SportsDirect.com has always been my usual first choice when it comes to shopping for low cost tracksuits, swimming costumes and football boots for the kids and it's our go-to place for when we need new trainers.

With Christmas coming up, I've been challenged to choose some Christmas gifts, with a budget of £5 for each present, from Sports Direct. Initially, I envisioned everyone on my Christmas list getting multipacks of Donnay trainer liners or a logo'd polo shirt under the tree this year, however, I was surprised to discover that the website sells so much more than just cut price sportswear and socks.

With a range that includes jewellery, accessories, bags, cosmetics, fashion wear, fragrance, books and toys, Sports Direct offers hundreds of products, many of which are priced at £5 or less. Thanks to their buying power, many items cost less than they do elsewhere.  These lost cost finds make ideal gifts for teachers, the kids' school pals, Secret Santas and stocking fillers.

Searching the website, it was easy to use the filters to bring up items in each category priced at £5 or less, and there was plenty to choose from. From teddy bears to art sets to mugs to t-shirts, the range was quite extensive and interesting. I was able to find gifts to suit most people on my list.

Ordering was simple, with a flat £4.99 postage charge and my delivery came within a few days.

Donnay Basketball Play Set £5.00

This is a great gift idea for both children or adults. It makes a good novelty game for grown-ups who can hook it up to the office door or wall and relieve stress by shooting hoops. The soft ball is safe for indoor use.

This would be a great stocking filler for my young at heart 29 year old son. He's a sporty businessman who I can just imagine shooting hoops between making deals!

Donnay Basketball Play Set


2 in 1 Prehistoric Excavation Kit £5.00 (RRP £10.00)

This is perfect for budding paleontologists who will love unearthing fossils and bones in a dino dig using the digging tool and brush. There are four replica fossils and a T-Rex skeleton to excavate from the plaster blocks. A magnifying glass lets junior scientists study their finds. The dinosaur bones fit together to create a 3D model.  I love that this is both fun and educational for children with an interest in STEM subjects.

I have a dinosaur loving nephew who would really enjoy finding this gift under the tree on Christmas morning. The physical activity of bashing the rocks would definitely keep him entertained and the model and fossils would be proudly displayed afterwards.

2 in 1 Prehistoric Excavation Kit


Rain Check? Umbrella £5.00 (RRP £12.99)

I love this see-through, black handled, dome plastic brolley from Miso. It has a cute 'rain check?' logo that has a very John Green-esque style with the pale blue cloud and white font.

It is a great gift for my university student daughter who is doing her Masters in wet and rainy Manchester! As she is also a John Green fan, the design is perfect for her too.


Rain Check Umbrella


Zartz - Urban Throwing Darts £5.00

This is a really fun gift that consists of a super sticky, oversized dart and two hand held targets. You can it, whip it, flick it and stick it! The tip of the dart is made from SOFTEK foam that sticks to loads of different surfaces and can be played inside and outside. Kids will love it, but so will the young at heart!

Freddy, who is eight is going to love throwing around this dart on Christmas morning. I can imagine him enjoying some target practice with his older siblings and I'm sure it will be aimed at various objects during the day. I just hope the TV won't become a target during the Queen's speech!

Zartz - Urban Throwing Darts


Plastic Boules £3.00

Boules is a great family game and at £3 would be a great priced present for neighbours or family friends. The set consists of eight weighted balls and a little white jack in a black plastic case. For the price, it really is top value - cheaper than a box of chocolates and much more long lasting!

This is going to be a great gift for one of my friends and her kids. With life being so expensive these days, we agree that we won't spend a lot on each other and just choose a token giftsexchange. For the money, this is a good choice. They will enjoy playing it together long after the festive season is over.

Plastic Boules


I was impressed with all my buys. For the low price tag, they are good quality items. My only complaint is that my goods arrived in a plastic postage bag, and the box of the Excavation Kit was damaged in transit, which is a shame when being bought as a gift. Other than that, everything arrived in good condition and arrived as expected from the descriptions on the website.

There was many more things I could have chosen that would suit everyone from young children through to adults. Some things have a sporty theme such as football team teddy bears, fidget spinners and wallets, but there are plenty of non-sporty items too. You can find things from big brands such as Playmobil, Fisher Price, Playdoh and Playskool and there are also items featuring favourite characters from Disney, Bratz, DC Comics, Barbie and Marvel. There are some brilliant rock band mugs on the website at the moment that are great value at just £4.99 for the music lovers in the family. So Sports Direct isn't just for the sports fans in the family. It's definitely worth taking a look at the website for some gift buying inspiration this Christmas.



This post is an entry for BritMums #sdfiverchallenge Christmas Challenge, sponsored by Sportsdirect.com.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauces #vegan

Jack Daniel's do an amazing range of barbecue sauces and glazes, with lots of vegan varieties available. Perfect as a dipping sauce, a glaze, marinade or as an ingredient, the Jack Daniel's sauces add the taste of authentic Tennessee to everyday dishes. 

vegan, barbecue sauce


There is a Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauce to suit every taste from Smokey Sweet to Extra Hot Habanero. Whether you want a warm, smoky hickory flavour or a spicy, fiery kick added to your meals, Jack Daniel's has a barbecue sauce that's right for you, each with an added touch of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whisky.

At this time of year, I think the Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauces make the perfect addition to winter warmer recipes. They add that delicious warmth and authentic barbecue flavour to dishes, making you feel all cosy and comforted. For example, the Extra Hot Habanero sauce is great to add to a five bean chilli, giving a lovely depth of heat and flavour, while the Smokey Sweet glaze makes a delicious marinade for chunky cut roasted vegetables or tofu.

My favourite recipe using the Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauces is a super quick and easy seitan 'rib' roast recipe (inspired by a recipe I saw on bosh.tv). This plant based recipe makes a hearty, 'meaty' and filling main, with a smoky, sweet, sticky barbecue glaze. The texture is chewy on the outside and succulent in the middle. It's perfect served with chunky chips and peas for a winter warming vegan meal.

vegan


Jack Daniel's Smokey Sweet Seitan Ribs

Ingredients

1 cup of wheat gluten *
2 tbspn nutritional yeast *
1 tbspn chickpea flour *
1 tspn smoky paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tbspn Jack Daniel's Full Flavour Smokey Barbecue Sauce
1 tbspn soy sauce
3/4 cup of cold vegetable stock
4 tbsns Jack Daniel's Smokey Sweet Barbecue Glaze

Method

Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
In a jug mix the stock, soy sauce and the Jack Daniel's Full Flavour Smokey Barbecue Sauce.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well to form a dough.
Knead lightly for 2 minutes then shape into a flat rectangular shape.
Put into a greased ovenproof dish and put into a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and glaze with the Jack Daniel's Sweet Barbecue Glaze.
Return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
Remove the 'ribs' from oven and put onto a chopping board.
Cut into slices and serve.

* Find these ingredients in health food stores.

Jack Daniel's Smokey Sweet Seitan Ribs, vegan


You can find the Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauces in supermarkets nationwide. They make a really versatile store cupboard staple. Find out more about Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauces at jackdanielsbbqsauces.com.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Anki OVERDRIVE - a groundbreaking AI battle-race game

Freddy has got a new favourite toy, one that combines all the excitement of a car track racing game with cutting edge robotics and artificial intelligence. Played using a physical track and cool supercars via an app on a smart device, video gaming, toys and robotics come together to create one of the best and most advanced family games that we have seen in a long time - Anki OVERDRIVE.

Anki OVERDRIVE


Anki OVERDRIVE is bringing consumer robotics into everyday life, creating an entertaining and unique experience using today's technology. It's exciting and impressive!

We've all enjoyed playing car track racing game in the past, but they have limitations. The need to plug them in, the trailing controller wires, the fiddly track construction, bulky storage, unreliable cars, frustrating handling and the repetitive game play have made these games feel very old and tired. Anki has revolutionised this genre of toy, blowing these predecessors completely off the track, bringing track racing games into the 21st century.

The Anki OVERDRIVE Starter Kit contains everything needed to begin your exciting adventure into the battle-race arena, you just need to download the free app to get started. The kit contains two very cool supercars, Skull and Ground Shock, along with a four car charger and enough FlexTracks to create a number of customised battlefield tracks. The sturdy packaging is so well thought out, storing everything neatly and easily inside the box after each use.

Anki OVERDRIVE


To begin, you download the Anki OVERDRIVE app and synch the cars to your device. This then becomes the controller for the physical cars. You can play against each other, or against the AI commanders in various modes such as race or battle. The set up is simple to use and seamless. The design is just so well conceived.

The modular track is lightweight and has magnetic connectors making it so easy to snap together. There are bridge adapters allowing you to create figure of eight style tracks that cross over. I love how simple and quick it is to build or change the tracks, it literally takes just seconds. There are eight recommended track designs that you can make using the starter kit. As there are no wires or power supply to the track, you can set it up anywhere, limited only by your imagination!

As you play, the cars learn the track layout. If they spin off, they will right themselves and continue in the right direction. They avoid collisions and take corners with impressive speed, choosing the most effective route. The undertaking and overtaking is so fast with the cars able to switch lanes! The more you play, the better the cars become. Your self-aware AI opponents learn tracks and strategies to keep the race and battle action fresh and competitive. You can upgrade and up level your vehicle, unlocking and customising  weapons making the gameplay evolve each time you race.

Anki OVERDRIVE


The app is really well designed, adding excitement to the game, using a futuristic interface, immersing players into the world of the epic driving battles.  In battle mode, you can shoot your opponents, disabling them or slowing them down on the track. It adds to the fun and keeps you thinking strategically.

The gameplay is very intuitive and Freddy was able to build the track and race his car against the AI commanders using his iPad independently. It's great to have some tech that can be enjoyed by Freddy on his own or played together with the whole family.


           


You can add to the starter kit with various expansion kits, adding in more track for extra twists, turns, banked corners, deadly intersections and even epic launched jumps. You can also buy new cars, each with their own weapons and skills or buy Supertrucks, which are three times bigger than the cars and come with access to a new game mode. Anki OVERDRIVE has the potential to grow and expand as desired and software updates keep the game fresh.

The Anki OVERDRIVE Starter Kit retails at £149.99 and is available from Argos or directly from www.anki.com/en-gb/ overdrive with free shipping.

Anki OVERDRIVE would make an excellent Christmas gift for children aged 8 and up, but equally for adults who enjoy cool gadgets, racing games and technology. Anki even have a Fast and Furious edition that will appeal to fans of the high octane franchise.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Awesome Little Green Men - collectible toy soldiers

Kids have enjoyed playing with toy soldiers for generations, from the lead soldiers that my own dad used to play with to the Toy Story style soldiers that my son Freddy has.

Awesome Little Green Men is the brand new collectible toy to hit the UK, and its fresh approach infuses battle game play with the collecting of unique characters to bring the toy soldier genre into a whole new age. There are 100 figures to collect in Series 1 including four super rare characters in both green and blue armies.

Little Green Men


Each individual soldier has its own expression, weapon or vehicle and has unique stats, allowing players to build the strongest troops to win battles. The figures are cartoonesque and quirky with oversized heads and helmets.

Awesome Little Green Men


We received two sets: the blue Marksmen Squad and green Ranger Unit. Each includes four soldiers, one of which comes in a blind, top secret box and one in a rare vehicle, along with four dog tags on a chain. There is also a collector's poster and a game guide in each pack.

toy soldiers


Basic gameplay is quite simple. You set up your armies on a smooth surface about six feet apart, using the soldiers in formation to protect and guard a chosen object. Soldiers each have a number of power points printed on their bottom, so you can build an equal army to your opponent. You then use a coin as a slider, which you flick up the battlefield to march your soldier forward or to attack your opponent. The aim is to capture your opponent's guarded object. Each soldier has a number of hit points and when they have been used up, your opponent can capture that soldier.

Awesome Little Green Men


It's a fun game to play, but if you prefer simply being a collector, the soldiers each have their own appeal with names such as Colonel Sonic, Captain Quiver, Sergeant Sure-Shot, Major Attack and Private Matters and each have their own individual personalities. Children will enjoy collecting and displaying them. Find them in Smyth's Toys or find out more at  awesomelittlegreenmen.mgae.com.

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