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Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Summer Fun with the Fuzzikins Campervan Carry Case

Fuzzikins craft sets are a great gift for creative kids that come with extra added play value! The Fuzzikins are adorable little fuzzy animal figures that you can colour in however you choose using washable pens before playing with them.

The craft sets offer hours of fun as kids can customise the Fuzzikins and their  accessories with the pens and stickers and then enjoy some imaginative play. The Fuzzikins animals can be washed and  coloured in again and again to create new looks.

Fuzzikins Campervan Carry Case


Freddy received the Fuzzikins Campervan Carry Case from Interplay (£19.99 rrp). The yellow and cream classic campervan can be decorated using the three colour-your-own sticker sheets with the felt pens that come with the set. With rainbows, flowers and peace symbols, kids can enjoy some real summery, hippy vibes when customising the campervan. Inside, the van has furniture for the cats including a table and chairs and a pull down bed, as well as a driver seat and steering wheel. The carry handle on top of the van doubles up as a surf board for catching waves. Perfect for a summer of fun at the beach. The set includes two cat figures, one medium and one large. They also have their own little felt blanket for when having a cat nap.

Fuzzikins Campervan Carry Case


The side of the campervan opens up to reveal the inside of the vehicle when playing and it has real wheels allowing it to be pushed around. Everything can fit inside the campervan for storage.It's a really good design and a lot of fun. We liked that the cats can be washed and recoloured, meaning that element of the toy can be revisited numerous times.

I was impressed that the Fuzzikins sets combine two types of play: the creative craft side as you decorate both the cats and their accessories and the miniature, imaginative play world where you can act out adventures with your characters.


                 


This beautifully designed activity craft set encourages creative and imaginative play and is all contained in a handy carry case. Fuzzikins craft sets bring a fuzzi world of fun and imagination to creative kids.

For more information visit:
https://interplayuk.com/collections/fuzzikins-craft/products/campervan-carry-case.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

The story or Rang-tan and the problem with palm oil

I am passionate about the environment and the animals that we share our planet with. I do my best to avoid single use plastics; my family enjoy a plant-based diet and I source as many cruelty free, ethical and sustainable household products as I can. I am constantly reading ingredients labels in supermarkets when I'm shopping, trying to find suitable things to buy. One of the ingredients I try to avoid is palm oil. You find it in so many things, in fact half the products on the supermarket shelves contain it, despite the fact that its production has such a devastating  impact on our planet.  The industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land is cleared to make way for palm oil plantations.

Greenpeace have launched a new campaign focused on raising awareness of the problem, with a new short animated film and children’s book to highlight the issue of palm oil and its link to the deforestation of our rainforests. Featuring a young girl who discovers an orangutan named Rang-tan in her bedroom, the book introduces children to the plight of the orangutans as man destroys their natural habitat. The book and the film contain a very powerful message and a dedication to the 25 orangutans that we lose everyday, but it also brings a message of hope that we can change things for the better.

Our consumption of palm oil is rising, and the cost to our global climate and environment is devastating. Currently, most palm oil is used in food products, cosmetics and increasingly for use in biodiesel. As a result, Indonesia has more threatened and endangered species than any country on earth. The Bornean orangutan population has decreased by half since 1999, and a new species of orangutan discovered in Sumatra in 2017 is already endangered – mostly due to the destruction of their forests for palm oil.

            


Greenpeace has teamed up with Dame Emma Thompson, who narrates the film, to reach as many people as possible to fight for the protection of our rainforests and all those who depend on them. Greenpeace are calling on the palm oil industry to clean up its act and calling on food manufacturers to stop using palm oil.  Iceland has already pledged to remove palm oil from its own brand products by the end of this year, paving the way for other big brands to hopefully follow suit.

It is International Orangutan Day on the 19th August – a day to encourage people to take action to help save this amazing species. The more people that watch and share Rang-tan, the more people can be reached in order to put pressure on brands like Nestle and Unilever to make sure the palm oil used to make their chocolates and soaps isn’t coming at the highest price for the world’s rainforests and the orangutans that live there.

You can help by sharing the film and signing the petition at greenpeace.org.uk.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Enjoy a Culinary Adventure with Emirates Holidays 'Little Foodies' Recipe Cards

Emirates Holidays reveals how travel broadens the taste buds of even the youngest holidaymakers and launches ‘Little Foodies’ recipe cards for families to try out over the summer!

The school summer holidays are in full swing and many families are taking well deserved breaks to foreign climes. Travelling with children raises a number of considerations, one of which is the issue of food. Research by Emirates Holidays has revealed that 55% of parents worry about what their kids will eat when they’re away, when their home comforts and go-to meals may not be available. 64% of worried parents will even stash emergency food in their suitcase, with the most popular items to take being biscuits (55%) and crisps (49%). However in reality almost half (45%) of brave British kids are willing to try at least one or two local dishes on holiday as they embark on a family culinary adventure. Little ones experiment with unfamiliar dishes and flavours when on holiday with 35% trying curry, 49% eating flatbreads and 28% munching on olives.

When families get home, a third of parents are pleased to find their children are more comfortable trying more unusual dishes – however 40% confess their kids revert straight back to their old eating habits as soon as the plane touches down, with 62% of children choosing pizza and 53% choosing pasta as their first choice foods.

To help families experience some amazing foodie delights, Emirates Holidays has partnered with a selection of chefs from their top family hotels to create a series of exclusive ‘Little Foodies’ recipes for download so families can cook together, expand their taste buds and prepare for - or remind themselves of - their holiday culinary adventures. You will be able to taste your way around the world with Emirates Holidays this summer.

Emirates Holidays Little Foodies Traditional Mauritian Chilli Bites


Freddy and I have tried out one of the Little Foodies recipes. Not only do we love cooking up a storm in the kitchen, we also love exploring the ingredients and dishes of other cultures. We aren't venturing abroad this year, but the Emirates Holidays 'Little Foodies' recipe cards are giving us a gastronomical adventure in the comfort of our own home, transporting our taste buds with the local flavours of exciting destinations.

Traditional Mauritian Chilli Bites


We were excited to try the Traditional Mauritian Chilli Bites made with yellow split peas, shallots and onions, flavoured with cumin, curry leaf and chilli. This plant-based recipe is filled with authentic flavours and children can get involved, helping to prepare them in the kitchen.


split peas


We used a food processor to make the Chilli Bites, making it a quick and easy recipe. The split peas and spices are processed to a thick paste before pulsing through chopped onion and shallot. Just be sure to soak the split peas overnight so they are ready for using. Kids can get involved by adding ingredients to the food processor and helping shape the bites ready for an adult to fry.

Emirates Holidays Little Foodies Traditional Mauritian Chilli Bites


Freddy enjoyed discovering all the different ingredients; their aromas and flavours. Cooking with kids is a great way to get them interested in a range of foods, encouraging them to try new things and explore exciting new tastes.

Emirates Holidays Little Foodies Traditional Mauritian Chilli Bites


I deep fried the chilli bites and served them up hot with a bowl of sweet chilli sauce for dipping. Freddy was really impressed with our handiwork. The bites had a nice kick of warming chilli and the fragrance of cumin and curry leaf added an authentic aroma. The crispy bites had a soft inside and tasted delicious!

Emirates Holidays Little Foodies Traditional Mauritian Chilli Bites


This signature recipe has been created by a top chef at the Emirates Holidays Mauritian Attitude Hotels Resort.  The Chilli Bites are adventurous while still being kid friendly, inspired by the Indian immigrants who made their way to this idyllic island in the early nineteenth century.

Emirates Holidays Little Foodies Traditional Mauritian Chilli Bites


You can find this recipe for Traditional Mauritian Chilli Bites in the Emirates Holidays Little Foodies Recipe Cards. This free to download collection of family friendly recipes take your taste buds on a culinary tour around the world, allowing you to discover new foods or relive gastronomic holiday memories.

Emirates Holidays Little Foodies Traditional Mauritian Chilli Bites




Thursday, 2 August 2018

Crate Creatures Surprise - Meet Blizz!

Crate Creatures Surprise are a brand new toy range from MGA Entertainment. Featuring characters such as Blizz the ice monster, Pudge the troll, Sizzle the fire breathing dragon and Snorthog the bog warthog, the Crate Creatures are ferociously fun, monstrous creatures, which each come with 45+ cool creature sounds and effects. Each creature comes chained up in its own crate and is waiting to be broken out using the crowbar. Once the beast is unleashed, it is ready to play!

Crate Creatures Surprise


Pull the creature's tongue and it will vibrate and make noises as his glowing eyes flash. A motion sensor reacts when the creature is turned upside down or knocked over making it respond to being played with. Arms flap when you pull the tail and there are roars of delight when you shake them.You can record your voice and the creature will play back your message in his own monstrous voice. Each creature also comes with its own tasty snack and will chow down on it noisily.

Crate Creatures Surprise


Freddy received Blizz, a white and blue yeti with a ring through his nose, who has his own ice lolly snack. To unbox him, you use the crowbar to pop the padlock, then release the lid of the crate. Then Blizz pops out to play! He has big feet, yellow horns, a long, red tongue and flashing green eyes. To fully activate the Crate Creature, you have to switch him fully on, accessing the switch under his fur using the velcro section on his back. This activates a whole host of interactions, funny noises and gross sounds such as chomping, snoring, roaring and farting!

Crate Creatures Surprise


The voice recording feature is a huge hit. Freddy made him repeat lots of funny things as I'm sure you can imagine! The creature can record and replay 10 seconds of audio, simply by pressing his belly to activate the recorder. Hearing your words repeating in a funny monster voice is a lot of fun.

Crate Creatures Surprise


When you've finished playing, you can secure Blizz back into his crate for safe keeping. The crow bar fits onto the side of the crate and the chains and padlock can be re-secured easily. The re-usable packaging is a really good feature of this toy and the boxed Crate Creature will look good on a shelf with his eyes peeping through the bars and tongue lolling out.

Crate Creatures Surprise


The Crate Creatures Surprise toys add a gruesome element of  monstrous fun to playtime. The crate, crowbar, padlock and chain are a novel feature and add to the play value as you break out your very own creature. The toy pops up when the lid is opened, which is a nice touch. The designs of the creatures are very appealing to kids with their fuzzy fur, glowing eyes and waggling, sticky-out tongues. Children will thoroughly enjoy interacting with the creature and the funny noises are guaranteed to make them giggle. Freddy particularly enjoyed Blizz's snoring! Blizz can hold his ice lolly in his gripping hand and sticking the lolly in Blizz's mouth elicits lots of noisy and gross eating sounds, which is very amusing. Blizz is a cute, furry little ice monster who will definitely melt any child's heart.

Crate Creatures Surprise


Each Crate Creature takes 3 x AA batteries, which are included. Each of the four creatures comes in a padlocked crate with its own favourite food item. They are recommended for children aged 4 and up and retail for £39.99 RRP at stores such as Amazon, Argos and Smyth's Toys.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Sweet Pups - discover the magic hidden inside

The latest collectable toy is due to be launched at the end of this month and they already promise to be hugely popular. Sweet Pups, from Trends UK, are a range of soft, plush puppies hidden inside delicious looking pretend pastries. With 12 adorable breeds to collect in series one, there is a perfect puppy for everyone or you can collect them all.

Sweet Pups look like the most delicious croissants, macaroons and sticky buns on the outside, each scented with the sweet aroma of cinnamon, chocolate, strawberry or toasted bread. Inside, there is a sweet surprise, just waiting to be discovered.


Sweet Pups


You can transform the Sweet Pups toys from the delicious looking, sweet scented pastries into cute and cuddly plush puppies simply by turning them inside out. Your favourite puppy will be revealed – ready to love and play with. You can choose from twelve different breeds including Chewy Chihuahua, Raisin Pup, Pretty Poodle, Sweety Peety or Rocky Roll.

We've received a Buddy Roll Sweet Pups toy, which is a sugar roll pastry concealing a cute, plush tan and brown puppy with big blue eyes. The toys come individually packaged in a clear plastic dome with a cardboard sleeve, so you can see which one you are getting. Sweet Pups are a very novel, quirky toy that combine patisserie favourites with the cutest puppy dogs. I'm sure they'll have huge appeal to children who love collectables and cuddly toys with a unique twist.

Sweet Pups


Sweet Pups will be available from Claire’s Accessories and Amazon for £7.99 rrp from next week and are suitable for ages 3 and up. 

Monday, 4 June 2018

The First Signs of Summer with Little Tikes

Summer is the UK’s favourite season. For me, I start to feel summery when the weather gets warmer and my winter clothes get relegated to the back of my wardrobe in favour of t-shirts and summer dresses. The lighter evenings also signify the start of the summer season for me and I enjoy making the most of the longer days. However, according to a recent survey, most Brits consider it to be the start of summer when the month of June begins.

The survey of over 2000 people carried out by Little Tikes, found that despite the Solstice on June 21st being the official start of summer, the majority of UK residents class the first week of June as the start of the holiday season. In fact, just one in ten considered the start of summer to be Solstice week and some didn't consider it summertime until the schools break up for the summer holidays.

63% of Brits stated that summer is their favourite season of the year. However, less than a quarter (23%) said that warm weather heralded the start of the season for them. So despite us having the hottest May in decades, many people still didn't consider it as being summer for them.

For one in ten Brits, summer officially starts with the smell of cut grass, whilst for others, it is the smell of the first BBQ of the season (for us it's a vegan BBQ), the sound of children playing outdoors, the first spray tan of the year or even, the Queen’s Birthday. An unlucky 3% of Brits know it’s summer when their Hayfever symptoms kick in. A further 3% believe the season starts when they book their official summer holiday and begin to look forward to sunbathing on a tropical beach.

The first BBQ of the summer


Almost half of those asked, didn’t feel they spend enough time outdoors during the summer months although they would like this to change. So this summer, Little Tikes is calling on all Brits to make the most of the season by spending time together outdoors. 

Little Tikes offers a full range of outdoor play products – from playhouses, sandboxes and water tables to the iconic Cozy Coupe. All of my children have enjoyed playing in the classic Crazy Coupe cars over the years! This season they have also launched the new Fun Zone range, which features toys like Splash Face, Dual Twister, Tumblin’ Tower and Drop Zone - for water-play with a twist, keeping the kids (and the grown-ups) cool this summer!

Little Tikes Dual Twister


You can shop the full Little Tikes range at https://www.littletikes.co.uk.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Make Science Fun with National Geographic's Dig Kit and Crystal Lab

Freddy loves anything to do with science and has a very inquiring mind. He can often be found Googling things and watching YouTube videos, absorbing fascinating facts about the world, the animal kingdom and the solar system. So he was very excited to get hands-on and try out the National Geographic STEM science sets from Bandai.

National Geographic is a well-known, trusted and reputable brand. Their range of experiment based kits support the STEM subjects, making science accessible, exciting and fun to children aged 8 and over. The kits include expert learning guides and cover subjects that kids will find fascinating. Each kit includes a real piece of the natural world for kids to examine and learn about. The packaging is also really lovely. The sturdy boxes are embossed with glossy images that grab the attention and raise interest.

National Geographic Dig Kit and Crystal Growing Kits


The Dino Fossil Dig Kits bring out the paleontologist in any child, giving them a chance to look at genuine artifacts from the past as they include three real fossil specimens: a Mosasaur Tooth, a fossilised dinosaur poop and a dino bone. The three specimens are embedded in a dinosaur head shaped dig brick. The kit includes an excavation tool and brush along with a magnifying glass. A glossy booklet gives plenty of facts and information about paleontology, fossils and about the specimens inside the dig brick.

National Geographic Dig Kit Dino Fossil


Freddy absolutely loved excavating the specimens. The tool worked really well, cutting through the brick, which was just the right consistency. If the brick is too hard it can be soaked with a little water to make it easier to work with. With some patience and a delicate touch, the fossils can be gently removed ready for examination. A quick wash removes any remaining brick dust. The guide book gives some really fascinating details about the artifacts. Freddy was particularly intrigued by the thought of having a dinosaur poo fossil or coprolite as it is scientifically known!

Other Dig Kits include a Gemstone and a Shark Tooth variety, each with genuine artifacts to discover and explore.

The Crystal Growing Kits provide everything needed to grow and inspect an amazing crystal, and also include a real Fluorite, Amethyst or Calcite crystal.  Freddy received the Fluorite Glow-In-The-Dark Crystal Lab. It includes a bag of glow-in-the-dark crystal growing powder, a seed rock, a magnifying glass, stir stick, display stand and information guide along with the genuine fluorite specimen.

National Geographic Crystal Lab


The experiment to grow the crystals takes 7 - 10 days to complete, but after this time you should have grown some genuine fluorite to compare to the sample included in the kit.

National Geographic Crystal Lab Fluorite


The Learning Guide booklet includes lots of information about crystals and the science behind their structure and formation. Our experiment to grow our crystals is ongoing, and it is really exciting for children to witness chemistry in action!

The National Geographic kits shown are just £9.99 RRP. In addition to the Dig Kit and Crystal Growing Kit, there are also Geode, Build Your Own Volcano and Ultimate Play Sand Kits. I love the fact that they support the learning of science, one of the STEM subjects, in such a fun, exciting and engaging way. The sets encourage children to explore the subject matter further and hopefully this will instill a love of science, which will continue through the years to come.

Stockists include Tesco and Amazon.

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