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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.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Celebrating National Sandwich Week with Num Noms

This year National Sandwich Week runs from May 20th to the 26th; a week to celebrate the versatility and deliciousness of this iconic, culinary British invention. I love a good sandwich, packed with a delicious vegan filling such as a meat-free BLT or a chickpea and cheese melt or hummus, falafel and salad. They are easy to eat and taste great! What's not to love?!

Num Noms, the super cute scented collectable, food inspired toys are celebrating National Sandwich Week, challenging us to come up with a Num Noms inspired sandwich creation. Their Series 4 Dessert Tray collectables include a range of Ice Cream sandwiches: Terry Berrywich, I.C. Sandwich and Wintergreen Creme, all fragranced with the scent of berry, chocolate or mint. Ice Cream Sandwiches are another great way to celebrate the sandwich this week. We like to make a vegan Oreo and Swedish Glace ice cream sandwich dessert. It is very indulgent, rich and delicious!

With Num Noms, you can create thousands of flavour combinations using the scented characters, stacking them together and making your own unique blends. Num Noms fans can also enjoy the official magazine, packed with fab free gifts. The Num Noms lunchbox is a great addition to the range and is perfect for packing up your sandwiches for enjoying on the go!

Num Noms


My own mini chef Freddy donned his Num Noms chef's hat and got busy in the kitchen to create his very own sandwich creation to celebrate National Sandwich Week. He chose the Num Nom "Mocha Frappe" as his design inspiration for an open sandwich made with vegan chocolate spread and chunky peanut butter on half and half bread.

Num Noms Inspired Sandwich Making


Freddy had great fun spreading and cutting to make the shape and colour of Mocha Frappe and used blueberries for making the eyes, nose and bow. A slice of strawberry made the mouth and completed his Num Noms inspired sandwich creation. 

Num Noms Inspired Sandwich


Freddy really enjoyed eating his chocolate spread and peanut butter sandwich, which was extra tasty on accounts of it looking like a Num Nom!

Look out for Num Noms at retailers such asSmyths, Amazon, Argos and find out more at numnoms.mgae.com.

Friday, 4 May 2018

VelociTrax Pro from NIKKO - Super Fast and Furious RC Fun

Remote control vehicles have always featured on must have toy lists. There is something about taking full charge of a vehicle and watching it zoom about under your control that keeps kids entertained for ages. Freddy has always loved playing with remote control cars, making race tracks or obstacle courses and testing them to their limit. So his was really keen to test out the VelociTrax from Nikko.

The VelociTrax  Pro from NIKKO brings you full-function omni-directional radio control action with super fast speed,  ultra- manoeuvrability and futuristic styling. It has a big range of up to 40 metres and an impressive top speed of 14km/hr. It's a real action vehicle, ready for indoor or outdoor adventures.

VelociTrax Pro RC Vehicle from Nikko


This very fast and furious VelociTrax features 360-degree spins and allows you to race through any off road terrain and over obstacles using its robust caterpillar tracks. It has really impressive manoeuvrability and the spinning trick is a lot of fun! With its superior traction, it is great at getting over obstacles and Freddy made a course that saw the vehicle power over wooden planks, go through grass and mud and even knock balls out of the way. Controlling this speedy vehicle is a bit manic, but that adds to the fun.



I was very pleased at how tough and durable the VelociTrax vehicle is. As it is so quick, there are a few crashes involved when playing with it, but the bodywork is well made and it has withstood some serious playtime. It is better used outside where its speed and ability to power through obstacles can be fully enjoyed, but Freddy also enjoyed throwing 360 spins indoors on the laminate floor. It also looks really good with its futuristic design and colourful tracks and bodywork. It offers some great RC fun!

VelociTrax Pro RC Vehicle from Nikko


The car comes with a 7.2V Ni-Mh rechargeable battery that can be charged within 1 hour with the included quick-charge charger. This gives 20 minutes run time. The remote requires 3 x AAA batteries, which are included. The 2.4GHz remote allows for 10+ player head-to-head racing with a range of 40m, so if your friends have one, you could organise some serious races. It is suitable for children aged 8 and over.

You can find Nikko RC vehicles from Smyths, Amazon and Argos. At the time of writing, the price of the car ranges between £30 to £50.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Make Your Own Slime with So Slime DIY Cosmic Slime Shakers

Like most kids his age, Freddy is obsessed with slime! We have tried numerous times to make our own using detergent and PVA glue, but have never had much success, ending up with nothing more than a sticky mess and sore hands. So when he was offered the chance to try out the So Slime DIY Slime Shakers from Canal Toys, we were hoping for a good result, and we were not disappointed.

The Slime Shakers give a safe and fool-proof DIY method of making your own cosmic slime by simply adding water to the sachet of slime powder in the shaker pots. You shake the pot (with the lid on!) for 30 seconds, wait for five minutes and then the slime is ready to play with. It's as easy as that.

So Slime DIY Cosmic Slime Shakers


The Cosmic Slime Shakers make a metallic purple, greeny-blue and pink pot of slime. Each can have glitter or confetti added for extra sparkle. Each pot also includes a little surprise figurine such as a cat, mermaid, unicorn, cloud or star, which can be added into the mix. There are three other fun and imaginative designs in the Slime Shakers range; Rainbow, Creepy and Insect each with their own unique colours, decorations and characters. So whatever your child is into, there is a style of slime to suit them.

The slime can be kept in its colour coordinated pot to keep it fresh and clean. The slimes and figurines can be combined for colourful cosmic effects and extra fun.

The So Slime DIY Slime Shakers are a great rainy day activity for families with children aged 6 and over. The DIY element adds extra educational play value to the product. Freddy could follow the instructions and make the slime, adding the powder, glitter and water up to the measuring line on the pot, then shaking it vigorously. He was pretty pleased with the results knowing that he had done it himself. Once made it can be stretched, oozed, squeezed and played with, for hours of slime-filled fun. 

So Slime DIY Cosmic Slime Shakers



The 3 pack Slime Shakers are £9.99. The fact that it is safe for kids, is made easily using just water and is mess free keeps everyone happy. The So Slime range is recommended for children aged six and over. The So Slime DIY products are available in UK stores now and include the DIY Slime Shakers, DIY Case and DIY factory. 

Monday, 23 April 2018

Move Over Water Pistols, Here Comes the Slime Blaster!

Zimpli Kids, the creators of Gelli Baff and Slime Baff  that transform water into slime or goo, have a brand new product that is perfect for the summer. Set to revolutionise the classic seasonal water fight, the Slime Blaster is a pump action gun that shoots slime at your opponents, adding a brand new weapon to your arsenal. It's fun, it's messy and it's brilliant!


Zimpli Kids Slime Blaster


The Slime Blaster uses a 100% safe Slime formula, and can shoot a blast of slime up to 7 metres. Simply fill up the water tank with water, add the slime powder sachet, shake and wait 5 minutes to create the slime then get ready to fire.


Zimpli Kids Slime Blaster


Each Slime Blaster comes with 12 x slime blaster sachets giving 200+ slime shots. That's plenty of slime action for an exciting outdoor slime fight.

Zimpli Kids Slime Blaster


The gun itself is funky with its white, orange and green design. The water tank unscrews easily from the end of the blaster to fill it up. The Slime Blaster water tank comes with a cap so you can secure it while waiting for your slime to develop. The pump action works well and fires the slime a good distance. We all really like the Slime Blaster as it brings a very unique and novel twist to the traditional water fight concept.

The slime rinses out from clothes and washes off skin easily and is completely safe and non-irritant. The Slime Blaster is recommended for children aged 5 and over. Slime sachet refills are available to buy separately once you've used up the supply that comes with the Slime Blaster.

The Slime Blaster is available from stockists such as Tesco and Amazon. (I have found  them currently on offer at  just £13.50 at Tesco Direct so it's worth searching for a good price.)

The Slime Blaster is definitely going to be a summer favourite for us this year!


Monday, 16 April 2018

Engaging Teens and Helping Shape their Future with the National Citizen Service

My daughter Kezia is going to be sixteen years old this year. My youngest daughter is all grown up. Life is a whirlwind of homework, friends, concerts, YouTube, make-up tutorials, playing music on vinyl, vegan snacks, Snapchat and shopping trips. 

She is fast approaching the time when she has some big decisions to make with regards to her future post-16 options - whether she chooses to do A'Levels at college with a view to going on to university, or if she opts for a more vocational course and an apprenticeship. Whatever she chooses to do, I'll be there to support her and encourage her every step of the way, hoping that I've helped her develop the tools needed to thrive in the big wide world.

There is one decision that I hope she decides upon that will help her to shape her future and grow as an individual at this important time in her life. The National Citizenship Service is a once in a lifetime opportunity for 16 - 17 year olds to take part in a 3 - 4 week experience that helps build confidence and self belief, giving teens a taste of living away from home, developing important skills and meeting new people. This would be a great opportunity for Kezia to do something challenging while embarking on a journey of self discovery that could really help her to grow as a person. As well as the fun and adventure involved in taking part, participation in NCS will also look good on a UCAS personal statement or CV.

Teenagers


NCS is a government backed programme established in 2011 open to 16 and 17 year-olds across England and Northern Ireland, to help create a more cohesive and engaged society and helping to tackle some of our country's biggest social challenges. The two to four week programme takes place in the school summer holidays, and includes outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for learning essential life skills, a community-based social action project and an end of programme celebration event.


By bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience, NCS helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens. These Generation Z teenagers have the power to change the world for the better. They are tomorrow's adults; our future leaders and influencers and could prove to be an unstoppable force!

National Citizenship Service


The NCS programme puts young people through a series of challenging activities to take them out of their comfort zone and develop their strength of character and leadership skills. They are given the chance to really connect with their communities through social action, organising events or raising money for local charities. This year more than 100, 000 16 - 17 year olds will be taking part in the scheme. The benefits of the NCS is great, not just to the teenagers who take part, but to their communities and to society as a whole. Investing in our young people is an investment in our country's future. For every £1 spent, the NCS summer programme in 2016 delivered up to £2.42 of benefits back to society.

This opportunity is a chance for teens to do something really worthwhile over the long summer holidays. As a parent, I think this is definitely worth pitching to my teenager as it will be way more rewarding to her than lazing in bed until midday throughout the whole of August! I hope she'll say yes to NCS.

NCS is amazing value for money. The whole experience including food, accommodation and travel costs just £50, which is an incredible bargain when you think of what your child can gain from taking part.  (Bursaries are available on a case by case basis and support is also provided for young people with additional needs.) Even if you have commitments over the summer, you can register for further details and NCS will try to find a spot for all interested teens at a time that suits.

There are still places available for Year 11s to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity this summer. To sign up now, go to the NCS website using this link: www.ncsyes.co.uk.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes - The Flash on DVD

If you are looking for a great alternative gift to Easter Eggs for the kids this Easter, then look no further than Warner Bros new direct to DVD animated film: LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes -The Flash.  This animated adventure features DC Comics' speedy superhero the Flash in a 75 minute adventure.

When the Joker attacks Metropolis, the Justice League unites to fight him and stop him. Meanwhile, Reverse-Flash manipulates the Speed Force to put the Flash into a time loop that forces him to relive the same day over and over again—with progressively disastrous results. The Flash must find a way to restore time to its original path and face his worst enemy before all is lost.

It’s up to Batman Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and their new recruits: The Atom, Krypto the Super Dog and Ace the Bat Hound, to help The Flash to recover his powers, defeat his nemesis Reverse-Flash, save the universe and escape the time loop in an exciting finale!

LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes - The Flash on DVD


With the classic LEGO Super Hero movie humour, this is a great film for keeping the kids entertained over the Easter holidays. It's a fun-filled, action packed adventure that LEGO Super Hero fans will really enjoy.  It was nice to find out more about The Flash and his story!

You can buy it from Amazon for just £7.

Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment - a show for all the family

Last night we had the privilege of attending Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment at the Genting Arena in Birmingham. We enjoyed a VIP Meet and Greet with Mickey Mouse himself before the show, which was a real treat.

Before the show starts, there is a short pre-show, Fit to Dance. Children are encouraged to get up out of their seats and join in with some energetic moves to music. It was a great way to get the kids warmed up while they are waiting for the main event.

The show itself is introduced by Disney favourites Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy bringing their own slapstick comedy and fun. First up is Toy Story starring Andy, Woody, Buzz and Jessie alongside the toy soldiers, Mr and Mrs Potato Head, Hamm, Slinky, Rex, Bull's Eye, Barbie, Ken and Lotso. As Andy prepares to leave for college, the toys find themselves in a sticky situation ending in them having to execute a daring escape from Sunnyside Daycare.  The costumes are just so incredible and a highlight in definitely the Ken and Barbie storyline with Ken's fashion show!

Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment


Next up is The Little Mermaid with beautiful ice dancing, great fishy characters and wonderful music. I loved watching Ariel and Eric's love story and their fight with Ursula the Sea Witch.

Mater, Sally and Lightning McQueen take to the ice as they help Mickey's car get souped up and ready for action. Seeing the full sized cars on the ice was very impressive.

The story of Frozen closes the show. With incredible special effects, brilliant ice dancing from Anna and Elsa and the amazing music from the movie, this part of the show is a real spectacle. Olaf brings some comedy and visual humour and is a real crowd favourite. The story of Frozen lends itself so well to the Disney on Ice show and it is done so beautifully.

The show is just so lovely. We all really enjoyed it. From the talented, skillful and impressive ice skaters, the entertaining choreography and storylines, the magical costumes and the Disney soundtrack, everything comes together to create something that the whole family will love. From my 8 year old son Freddy to my teenager Kez and her best friend Amelia to my husband Ian, everyone had a great time.

The show is touring and will be in Birmingham until April 1st. Find out more and book tickets at: www.disneyonice.com/gb/en-gb/worlds-of-enchantment.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Disney On Ice presents Worlds Of Enchantment is coming to Birmingham

The Disney on Ice show Worlds of Enchantment is coming to Birmingham’s Genting Arena on March 28th 2018! Four favourite Disney stories will  magically come to life on the ice to delight Disney fans of all ages.

Disney On Ice presents Worlds Of Enchantment


Lightning McQueen, Mater and the crew of Disney Pixar’s Cars will be revving their engines and racing across the ice with some exciting, high octane action! Dive into Ariel’s enchanted undersea kingdom where you get to meet the sea-witch Ursula, Prince Eric and The Little Mermaid’s aquatic friends. The toys are back in town when Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie and the Toy Story gang escape from the tots of Sunnyside Daycare in their most daring adventure ever! Plus, enter the wintry world of Arendelle with Frozen's Anna and Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff, as they learn that true love comes from within. With wonderful costumes, super talented ice skaters and magical Disney music, Disney on Ice is family entertainment at its best!

What’s more there is a chance to warm up at the Fit to Dance pre-show party giving kids a chance to create their own wonderful stories and share them through dance. Children will be inspired to get up and get active with a Disney twist.

Find out more and book tickets to the show at www.disneyonice.com. Disney On Ice presents Worlds Of Enchantment will be at Genting Arena Birmingham until April 1st so book quickly if you want to experience the magic. 

Sunday, 18 March 2018

The Great Oreo Cookie Quest Challenge #OreoCookieQuest

As a family, we are huge fans of Oreos, which just so happen to be our favourite 'accidentally vegan' brand of biscuits. The fun and tasty little sandwich biscuits make a great occasional treat for all the family to enjoy. A serving of two Oreos makes the perfect after school snack for Freddy to enjoy, along with a glass of chilled almond milk and a handful of grapes.

Oreo is currently celebrating The Great Oreo Cookie Quest promotion, with special promotional packs available in store now. You can pick up a pack for the chance to win some great prizes including a once-in-a-lifetime trip to California and the Googleplex!

Oreo


Oreo are challenging everyone to experience their own joyful family moments, to celebrate The Great Oreo Cookie Quest.

Making everyday moments into precious memories is something that we always strive to do. It's often the little things that happen during the course of the day, that create some of the sweetest, most unexpected and cherished memories. The times when the kids do something spontaneous and funny can lead to some genuinely joyful moments, filled with laughter.

#OreoCookieQuest Challenge


We love spending time as a family. My five children are aged between 8 and 29 years old and getting everyone together is always chaotic, noisy, hilarious and filled with absolute fun. We never fail to create some joyful family moments, creating memories to last a lifetime. These are the times I adore the most, more than anything else. And of course, it's always good to have some Oreos on hand to serve up as a teatime treat for my (mostly) vegan family!


Family Moments
Family Moments


We also  love playing board games and card games together as a family. It's nice to take some screen-free time away from technology and get back to basics with a game that involves dice and card decks instead of batteries or an app. Everyone can join in, whatever their age or ability and enjoy some quality family time. It often ends in a lot of laughs and we never take things too seriously. Rules are regularly bent!

Family Games Night


To add an extra element of Oreo fun to our games night this Friday, we decided to use them as a prize with the additional chance to enter the code on the pack to win wonderfilled prizes from Oreo! At the end of the games, Ella who was the winner, shared the packet so everyone could enjoy a post-games snack. She also scanned a cookie and entered the code into The Great Oreo Cookie Quest app, keeping her fingers crossed! Unfortunately her winner's luck ran out and she didn't win this time. Look out for the promotional packs in store now - and good luck!


Oreo Cookie Quest Promotion


This post is an entry for BritMums #OreoCookieQuest, sponsored by Oreo.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Staccups - cup stacking fun!

Staccups is a fast, furious and fun family game from University Games. With no batteries required, it's a simple game that results in hours of competitive fun. The aim  is to stack coloured cups in order, according to the coloured tab on their base, in the quickest time against your opponent.

Staccups


The contents include 32 coloured cups and a podium stand spinner. There is minimal assembly required to set up. You simply have to clip the bases onto the coloured cups and you are ready to go. The quick paced game involves reaction times and hand-eye co-ordination as you race to stack your cups in a colour coordinated order. You have to match the top of the coloured cup to the previously put down coloured base, so you have to think fast and be precise to win.

Staccups


Staccups is great for 2 to 4 players with the recommended age of 8+. There are different rules for games for 2, 3 and 4 players. However, Freddy enjoyed practicing on his own to try to hone his colour matching and super speedy stacking skills! There are several adaptations of the game to include an advanced and a strategy game. The shot sized cups are colourful and sturdy.




Play begins when the button on the podium is pressed, giving a starting colour for the game. Then play proceeds with players stacking their cups accurately in the quickest time. Opponents can challenge play if they think you have cheated or made a mistake.

Staccups


It's a game that makes you think and which keeps your mind alert and your reflexes sharp. I love the simplicity of the game and that it requires no batteries and has uncomplicated rules. It's a good family game for everyone to enjoy.

Staccups is currently £12.99 from Smyths Toys or Amazon. (RRP £19.99)

Friday, 9 March 2018

Gazillion Bubble Pong Game

We've all seen the game where you get to splat each other in the face with cream pies, but now we can experience the first game of its kind that lets you blast your opponent with bubbles: the Gazillion Bubble Pong game!  Everyone loves bubbles, they are so much fun. Bubble Pong brings a new dimension to our love of bubbles by adding an element of competition into the mix. The aim of the game is to compete against each other by bouncing your ball into a hole, causing bubbles to blow out into your opponent's face.

Gazillion Bubble Pong delivers fun and excitement as you bounce ping pong balls into your opponent’s side of the console. If you get your ball into the opponents goal, you score points, but more importantly, you get to blast them with a burst of GAZILLION bubbles. The first person to score 3 times wins.

Gazillion Bubble Pong Game



Bubble Pong includes 1 game console, 6 ping pong balls, 2 removable trays, 2 removable bumpers, and an 8 oz bottle of Gazillion Bubbles Solution.  The game has 4 levels of difficulty, making Bubble Pong fun for the whole family.

Gazillion Bubble Pong Game


When the Bubble Pong game is over, you can switch to bubble machine mode for some non-stop bubble fun. Perfect for barbecues and parties, Bubble Pong is  a great game for outdoors in the warmer summer months. The two in one functionality makes the Gazillion Bubble Pong Game, a great value and versatile toy. 

Young children adore the magic of bubbles and will enjoy running around to chase and pop the bubbles, while the older children will enjoy the competitive element and practicing the skills needed to get their ball into the goal to activate the bubble blower.


Gazillion Bubble Pong


Gazillion bubbles are premium bubbles, which are available in original and Big Bubble solutions. Refils come in 8 oz, 2 l and 4 l sized bottles. They are definitely one of the best brands of bubbles that we have ever used. They really are good quality, making lovely, long lasting bubbles.

The Gazillion Bubble Pong Game is priced at £19.99. Batteries (8 x AA) are required and are not included. The game is aimed at children aged 3+, so is suitable for the whole family to enjoy together. It is available to buy now at Amazon, Argos Online and Smyths.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

New Schleich Dinosaurs for 2018

This year, Schleich are introducing some new exciting dinosaur figurines to their pre-historic Dinosaurs collection including the Oviraptor, Tawa and a brand new design Velociraptor.

All of the Schleich figurines are designed with great attention to detail and meticulously painted by hand. The Dinosaurs collection enables children to explore the fascinating prehistoric era and discover its creatures through play. Each figure comes with its own mini fact file, so children can learn about these amazing creatures that conquered the Earth. Playsets are also available in the range helping create a pre-historic landscape for imaginative play.

dinosaurs


The Oviraptor was a large flightless, bird-like dinosaur who lived 75 million years ago. The figurine is well detailed with a feathery body, beaked head and clawed wings. It's an odd looking creature and a great addition to a dinosaur collection, bringing its unique avian appearance.

The Tawa is a  carnivorous dinosaur with a slender snout and long neck. It was a lightweight, fast dinosaur with a long tail that originated in South America.

The Velociraptor is a very popular dinosaur because of their role in the Jurassic Park movies. They were intelligent creatures that hunted in packs, and who could run at up to 65 km/hr. Terrifying! This new figurine has jaws that open and close, and a mouth filled with impressive teeth. The arms also move up and down, adding to the play value. The detailing includes the clawed hands and feet, including the deadly sickle shaped claws on its toes. The yellow, blue and green colouring is quite vibrant and the skin texture has a suggestion of feathering. It's an impressive creature and a great addition to a collection.

dinosaurs


The Oviraptor and Tawa are £7.99 and the Velociraptor is £9.99 available from
www.schleich-s.co.uk.




Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Schleich Wildlife and Farm Animals

Learning about animals opens up a fascinating world for children and with Schleich’s vast collection of farm and wild life animals, little ones can learn as they play. With an extensive range of beautiful animal figures, Schleich puts the world in children's hands, allowing them to play, explore and discover.

Schleich animals are perfect for collecting and collections can be added to to create an entire play world for children to enjoy. Ready-to-play sets and accessories add extra elements to the play value and with new animals and accessories being added year after year, children's collections can grow alongside their imaginations.

I love the Schleich animal figures. The attention to detail is enhanced by the high quality paintwork that brings each animal to life. Children can learn so much about the animal kingdom through their Schleich collection and engage in imaginative games. We've collected Schleich animals for many years and they have been played with by each of my children. They are so well made they last for years so are a great investment that I can see being played with for many more years to come by the next generation of our family.

Lion


We were delighted to receive an Indian Rhino, a Lion, a Black Bull and a Fresian Cow to add to our collection. As expected, each figure is beautifully made with realistic detailing and quality paintwork. The Schleich animals are solid with a good weight, making them sturdy and robust and able to withstand being played with, even by younger children aged 3 and over, making them perfect for pre-schoolers, introducing them to the animal kingdom.

cows


The Indian Rhino has wonderfully realistic, textured skin, while the Lion has a very detailed mane and whiskered face. The Cow and Bull are a lovely pair with their hooved feet, gentle eyes and long tails. The anatomical realism is very well observed in each animal figure.

rhino


The Lion has an RRP of £5.99 and the Rhino, Cow and Bull are £7.99 available from
www.schleich-s.co.uk.


Saturday, 27 January 2018

A Vegan Recipe for Chocolate Cake Day with Num Noms

January 27th is Chocolate Cake Day and who doesn't love chocolate cake! Especially when it's a delicious vegan chocolate cake, perfect to celebrate the end of Veganuary.

Num Noms are celebrating Chocolate Cake Day by challenging us to create Num Noms inspired chocolate cakes with some Num Noms Series 4 flair! We were sent a Series 4 Sweets Sampler, which includes the cute little Hottie Chocolate. Scented with delicious chocolate fragrance, Hottie joins other Nums such as Confetti Crunch, Tia Tea-Time and Madelyn Macaron. Perfect inspiration for baking delicious treats at home.

Num Noms Series 4


Each colourful, scented Num is cute and quirky and bursting with personality. The Series 4 Sweets Sampler contains ten Nums including a surprise Mystery Num along with two Noms. The Glitter Lip Gloss Noms come in a variety of flavours such as Mint Swirl Gloss-Up and Lemon Drop Gloss-Up. They also come in individual blind pots, making collecting fun! Inside, there is a Nom lipgloss or nail polish and a sweet foodie flavoured Num. You can find limited special edition characters and there are 120 characters to collect.

Our chocolate cake recipe is made with 100% plant based ingredients and is rich, chocolatey and delicious. It has a rich chocolatey frosting and filling and is decorated with chopped nuts. The method is very simple, so that means it is great to get the kids involved with the baking. And because it is vegan, there is no danger when it comes to licking the bowl!

Vegan Baking with Kids


Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

10oz SR wholemeal flour
2oz cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
9oz caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
135ml rice bran oil
1 1/2 cups water

Frosting

2oz vegan marg
3 tblspns water
9oz icing sugar
2 tblspns cocoa powder

Vegan Chocolate Cake


Method

Sift flour, cocoa and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
Stir in sugar and vanilla extract.
Beat in oil and water.
Pour the batter into two prepared 7" cake tins and cook for 30 mins at 180 degrees centigrade until springy to the touch.
Allow to cool completely before turning the cakes out.

Meanwhile put the marg and sugar in a pan and heat until the marg is fully melted.
Remove from heat and beat in sifted icing sugar and cocoa.
Use to fill and top the cake.
Decorate with chopped walnuts.


Vegan Chocolate Cake



Enjoy a big slice of Vegan Chocolate Cake to celebrate Chocolate Cake Day on January 27th! Delicious!

Vegan Chocolate Cake


Find Series 4 Num Noms at Amazon, Smyth's Toys and Claire's. The Sweets Sampler is £16.99 and the mystery packs are £3.99. Find out more at numnoms.mgae.com.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Wholefoods, Healthy Eating and Veganuary Inspiration from Aldi

It's easy to believe that adopting a healthier diet is going to cost a lot of money, which for some people is enough to put them off making a healthy change. Many of the wholefood products can be very pricey when bought from specialist retailers. However, Aldi have introduced some excellent products into their stores, which enables us to eat healthier for less and makes niche products far more accessible to all. This means that there are now a few less excuses against adopting a wholefood, vegan diet in 2018!

vegan, wholefood, Aldi


Aldi have a range of Organic Bean Spaghetti (£1.99, 200g), available in Organic Edamame Spaghetti, Black Bean Spaghetti or Organic Soybean Spaghetti. Rich in plant based nutrition, naturally gluten free and vegan, this pasta is made solely from beans and provides the perfect base for a nourishing meal that’s quick, easy, naturally colourful and delicious.

Sriracha Mayonnaise (£1.65, 200ml) is a spicy, vegan mayonnaise made with water, chilli, soybean, sugar and distilled vinegar. It's a great topping for a delicious vegan falafel and houmous wrap. Aldi's The Deli chilled falafel is £1.29 for 200g and the houmous is just 69p for a pot. Both great Veganuary lunchtime staples.

Bounce Energy Balls are a sweet treat packed with nutrient dense ingredients, which are a perfect energy boosting snack (£1.29, 40g). There are two delicious flavours: Almond Spirulina and
Cashew Peanut. They are high in veggie protein with their combination of nuts and seeds.

Aldi’s Funktional Foods Powders are perfect for adding to juices and smoothie bowls, sprinkling on porridge and salads, or even mixing into soups. They are a fraction of the price of other food powders on the market and add a wonderful boost of extra vitamins and minerals.


  • Green Superblend (£2.49) – a perfect combination of Wheatgrass, Pea Protein, Barley Grass, Spinach, Ginger and Spirulina, which is high in protein to support muscle growth.
  • Spirulina Powder (£2.49) – packed with protein and vitamin B12 to help support the immune system.
  • Wheatgrass Powder (£2.49) – high in iron to help reduce tiredness and fatigue.
  • Maca Powder (£2.49) – a rich source of vitamin B2.
  • Cacao Powder (£1.99) – full of Iron, Potassium, Copper and Magnesium to help boost the immune system.

Aldi has its own range of non-dairy milks including their fortified Actif Leaf Almond Milk priced at just 99p. This is really good value, making the transition to a dairy free diet much cheaper.

vegan


Aldi also have a great selection of excellent value dried fruits, nuts and seeds including the superfood black Chia Seeds for just £1.15. Chia seeds are great for sprinkling on cereals or adding to smoothies and can also be used to make a super healthy pudding. Nuts and seeds are so versatile and play a huge part in a vegan diet as both a snack, a nutritional boost or an ingredient in both sweet and savoury recipes.

The paleo wholefood bars and raw snack bars are incredibly good value at £1.99 for five. They are gluten free, high in fibre and ideal for guilt free snacking. I love the Cashew Crush and Pecan Pie bars, made from nothing more than nuts and dates.  They are just so good! Equivalent products can cost many times more.

snacks, vegan


Other exciting finds include the Tricolour and White Quinoa at £1.29 a pack, rice noodles at 59p, brown rice at 99p and the red and green Thai Curry Kits at £1.39. The Coconut Flour and Coconut Sugar at just £1.69 each are also excellent buys for healthier baking.

You can fill your cupboards with these great wholefood products to kickstart 2018 while developing some beneficial healthy eating habits for the years to come. Wholefoods don't need to cost the earth!

The in store fruit and veg range is extensive and offers exceptional value for money. Aldi also has its Super Six fruit and vegetables on special offer in store every fortnight. I picked up spring onions, celery, tomatoes, Iceberg lettuce and beetroot for just 39p each! Who said healthy living was expensive?!

Aldi, fruit, veg, vegan


Aldi has made healthy eating more accessible and much cheaper for the masses, giving everyone the chance to adopt a healthier, wholefood or vegan diet. Find out more at Aldi.co.uk.

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