Saturday, 29 September 2012

AEG Ergorapido 2 in 1 Guest Review

This is a guest review from Danielle at She has been testing out the AEG Ergorapido 2 in 1. Just a few weeks ago I found I was one of ten lucky people who would get test out the AEG Ergorapido 2 in 1. Now I actually had no expectations for this, other than it was a hoover. When the box arrived, I was pleased to see how small and light the box was, surely this is a good sign for what the contents could include.. Opening up the box I found it required minimal assembly, and you simply just slot the top part of the cleaner onto the bottom. The base just needs the back rest clicked in, and you plug the power lead in. It is then ready to be charged. We were sent the Watermelon Red, but they are available in a variety of colours including blue, green, brown, black, aqua and purple! A colour for every house... The Ergorapido simply clips onto the base to charge. There is no extra plugs or leads. The Ergorapido has a lithium battery, so all you need to slot it on the base to charge it up, from full charge you get 30 minutes hoovering time, impressive. This means that you can remove the Ergorapido easily and quickly to clean up whatever it is you need to clean, you then simply slot it back onto the base when you are done. It is so light in weight that you can do this one handed, even me at 7 months pregnant. The weight of the Ergorapido is just 2.4kg. To turn the Ergorapido on, you simply press the button, this starts the device, but you can press it again to vary the speed of the suction. The Ergorapido is easy to push along the floor, it feels light to push and I can do this one handed easily too. BUT and there is a massive but, that's not just it....inside the Ergorapido is a mini Ergorapido in the middle which you can pop out just by pressing the buttons on the side. This is amazing for quickly grabbing and hoovering up the kids mess in a hurry, especially cake crumbs before it gets trampled into the carpet with their hoofs. It then pushes back into the main unit. To empty the Ergorapido, it has bagless technology, which means you simply open it up with a press of the button, empty it direct into the bin, pop it back together, and it's ready to go again. I have found it holds quite a fair bit despite the small size of the casing, I have 3 messy kids and a messier hubby and I can hoover my whole house a couple of times before emptying it. So how does it perform? As mentioned, I have 3 messy children and we have cream carpets downstairs, it has done an amazing job at picking up everything it has needed to. It has BRUSHROLLCLEAN technology, which is a handy button on the bottom of the head of the hoover. It means that the hairs and fibres which get stuck in the brushes simply get blitzed by pressing the button. I have super long hair and my annoyance with standard hoovers is that it takes me an age to clean the hoover head...but no more! It works well on my lino floor, laminate and even my tiled floor. It is easy to move around, and has 180 degree nozzle rotation, which means it directs around furniture easily, getting to all those tricky places. The LED lights on the front of the hoover are also incredibly handy. I wondered why they were there, but since having them on there I would miss them now! It means I can hoover behind the doors, under the sofa and it even helps highlight the crumbs in the kitchen. So what about a downside? Well I honestly cannot find any, it does everything I need it to. I wouldn't be without my Ergorapido now, it is light, easy to use, available in just seconds and I love it, it is a welcome addition to our household! You can find out more about AEG by following them on Facebook here: Or by following @AEG_UK on Twitter. The AEG Ergorapido is available to buy from all good electrical retailers, including Currys, The Cooperative, Comet, and John Lewis.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Toys R Us Toyologist - Pumpazing by Drumond Park

Pumpazing is a fun pass the parcel type game made by Drumond Park. It is suitable for ages 4+ & for 2 or more players. In the box you get 1 x Zingy Pumpazing Unit, 4 different coloured Zinger heads & 12 Zingy cards. The aim of the game is to not lose your zingy cards, but it is Zingy that decides if you lose a card or not so there is no skill needed in order to play, you just need some great arm muscle. To begin playing you hand out the Zingy cards to each player, if you have 2 players then they get 6 zinger cards each, 3 players= 4 zinger cards & 4 players = 3 Zinger cards. 

To set up the Zingy Pumpazing unit you will need to put 3 x AAA batteries into the unit then switch on & press the reset button which is a blue button parallel with the eyes on the unit. Push each of the Zinger heads into the holes until you hear a click, the faces on the zinger head must be facing the same way as the unit in order for them to click into place. 
You are now ready to play, starting with the youngest player 1st they need to pump the zingy arms in & out until a zinger head comes flying out if Zingy says "zing" or "Boing" you are okay & play passes to the next player but if Zingy says "uh-oh" you lose a zingy card then play passes onto the next player. Once all 4 of the zinger heads have coming flying out then press the reset button, push the Zinger heads back in & continue play. If a player loses all their zingy cards they still continue to play until all of the players have lost their Zingy card, the winner is the last person to lose all their cards.
Tristan loved playing this game, he especially loved trying to aim the Zingy heads in our direction & on some occasions he got a direct hit, they don't hurt if they hit you as the force is not that strong thankfully. It is great for teaching your children to take turns & to also listen carefully. It is a great game for all of the family to take part in, my daughter who is 15 months loved collecting the zinger heads once they had gone flying across the room, she also learn't to say "uh-oh" so every time a zinger head flew out she would say "uh-oh" & my niece who is almost 1 would laugh hysterically each time too.
I think the age recommendation is correct because a smaller child would struggle to pump it as it does require some arm strength. I would definitely recommend it to family & friends.

Pumpazing will be available to buy from Toys R Us in time for Christmas. 

Trunki Shark PaddlePak review

A Mummy News Review.
The Trunki PaddlePak arrived quickly, it was well packed & we couldn't wait to try it out. The PaddlePak is water resistant & features a roll top seal of the bag which stops any water from getting into the bag & most importantly onto the contents of your bag, once rolled & clipped into place this looks like the mouth of a shark, my sons really love this part & my 4 year old said his things are now in the sharks belly. It can hold quite a lot with its 10 litre capacity, my son fitted everything he needed(and more) for the beach into his Shark PaddlePak. It has well padded shoulder straps which don't dig into the shoulder at all & the back is also well padded so your child's back is well protected from anything that could dig in on them. 

The padded Straps feature 2 reflective patches & the Trunki grip which can hold your sun glasses so they are easy accessible. The tail of the shark has a reflective T on one side but on the underside it has a zipped pocket which is perfect for holding your child pocket money, there is a meshed side pocket which you could carry a drink in. The PaddlePak is recommended for children ages 6+ but Tristan who is 4 claimed it as his & as you can see from the images it does not hang to low & the straps easily adjust to fit him, so I think a smaller child would be able to use this PaddlePak.
The zipped pocket is great for valuables, the padded straps feature the Trunki grip to hold you sun glasses in & the roll top seal is perfect for keeping your items dry.

If sharks are not what your child wants there is 4 different designs that the PaddlePak comes in & they are £29.99 for this you get a well made bag that will last your child a long time & your child will love the unique designs, it has many uses whether it is used for going to school, sleep overs or the beach & pool this bag will keep all the things you need safe & dry.

Toys R Us Toyologist-Zoobles Jump Rope by Spin Master

Zoobles Jump Rope was 6th out of our Toyologist box & Madison made a grab for it straight away but as we are not testing her age range Tristan is the one who actually tested it out for us. In the box you get 1 x birdie zooble who loves to jump rope, 1 jump rope happitat, 1 picnic blanket, 1 zooble mini friend, 1 plastic mini bag & various cardboard foods for the picnic. 

Setting it up is really easy, all you need to do to assemble the jump rope is attach each side of the rope into both of the tree stumps by slotting them in, then attach the handle. The jump rope is operated by your child turning the handle around this then makes your zooble jump. 

Curl your zooble up into a ball by pressing in her legs then place her in the middle of the flower, when your child turns the handle your zooble will jump over the rope, you can count how many times your zooble will jump before her legs pop out. You can pop out your zoobles legs by placing her on the pink flower at the side of the jump rope, my son is convinced this is magic. I think this will make a great addition to any zooble collection & your child will have lots of fun trying to get the zooble to jump the most times before her legs pop out, any Zooble can use the Jump rope so you could compete with the zoobles to see how many times in a row they can jump. Tristan loves to pretend they are having a picnic & will pass the cardboard carrots to his zooble whilst he pretends to eat the bread so this aids imaginative play. Zoobles Jump rope is suitable for ages 4-7, but I do think a slightly older child would also love it just as much.

Zoobles Jump Rope will be available to buy from Toys R Us in time for Christmas

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

John Crane Paragon Pirate Ship Giveaway

Ahoy me hearties it is #woodentoywednesday but this week it is a little more exciting because I have a lovely Paragon Pirate Ship to give away to one lucky reader. The Paragon Pirate ship features in week 2 of my #woodentoywednesday  & is one of my son's favourite toys, he loves it & it is the best wooden pirate ship I have come across. To enter to win this lovely Paragon Pirate ship from the fabulous John Crane just fill out the rafflecoptor form below & fair winds me bucko.

Competition now Closed
Our winner is below
For more competitions visit our competition tab

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 24 September 2012

Toyologist 2012-Rhyme Robber by Orchard toys

We are massive fans of Orchard Toys, Tristan loves every game that we have played that are made by them & Rhyme Robber was on our list to buy so when I saw that we would be testing it I couldn't have been happier.
Rhyme Robber is suitable for children ages 5-9 & 2-4 players can play, as with all of Orchard Toys games it is an educational toy that encourages observation & language skills, development of recognition & rhyming skills & it links in with the national curriculum English key stage 1. Your child will learn to take turns so developing social skills all whilst they play.
In the box there is 4 x rhyme robber boards, 48 rhyme cards, 1 double sided rhyme game board & 1 set of instructions. The boards are wipe-able & are really hard wearing.
Tristan & I have played every day the past week & I have noticed him learn more skills each time, although he is still a sore loser & is far from a gracious winner.

To play the game each player chooses a rhyme robber board, then you shuffle all of the rhyme cards. Each player receives 2 cards that are placed face down so the other players can not see the cards. Four cards are placed in the middle face up & the rest of the rhyme cards are place face down in a pile next to the 4 cards.
The youngest player goes first, they begin play by looking at their two cards & trying to see if any of the four cards rhyme with them for example, cat, rat, hat & bat. If there is 1 or more that matches then the player places them face up on their boards, they then take 1 card for themselves & make up the cards on the table up to 4 from the pile. If none of the cards match then they place 1 card next to the 4, making that 5 that are face up & they then take a card for themselves off the pile, play then moves onto the next player.
Other ways to collect cards are; if a player has a card/s on top of their rhyme board that rhymes with the players card then they can be stolen off them & place on their own board. Once all the cards have been played the winner is the person with the most cards, you may have some cards left over in the middle, these will be the ones that don't rhyme with any of the top cards or cards in the players hand at the time.

We all really enjoyed playing Rhyme robber & I would recommend it to family & friends, Tristan is 4 & can play it fine even if he does cheat occasionally, we filmed us playing the game, watch out for the children that cheat.

Rhyme Robber will be available to buy from Toys R Us in time for Christmas

Operation Christmas child- shoe box appeal

I'm doing Operation Christmas Child

This year I am once again taking part in operation christmas child in making shoe boxes for disadvantaged children across Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. As a parent I know the joy it brings to a child and parent when they receive a Christmas present and they rip into the shiny wrapping to reveal what they have inside, not many children get to experience this joy for many different reasons,but a shoe box full of goodies can change this it can bring the widest smiles to a child who has very little.

operation Christmas child is the largest children's Christmas project in the world, and is run by the christian charity samaritans-purse they have been sending gift filled shoe boxes to disadvantaged children since 1990 and have brought joy to over 94 million children.

last year alone  people got involved they wrapped and packed around 1.1 million shoe boxes.

If you and you family would like to get involved please click here to find out how

Last year we managed to fill 3 boxes and passed them onto my sons school but this year I am hoping to fill a lot more than 3 but to do this I need help, if any company has any products that they would like to donate please contact me on a product list is below of things to pack in a shoe box, I am happy to display your company logo with a link attached to it as a way of saying Thank you. The more products I receive through donations means I can make more boxes for the children. I love taking part & knowing I have done my bit it making sure a child will that would normally not have a present at Christmas will have one with my help.

Things to put in your shoe box

toys- bear, soft toy, tennis ball, finger puppet, jigsaw, yo-yo, building blocks, small musical instrument,
for boys- truck, cars etc
for girls dolls clip on earings etc
educational supplies-felt pens, pens, pencil, pencil crayons, eraser, sharpener, colouring book, note pad, picture or puzzle book, chalk, stickers etc
Hygiene items- toothbrush, tooth paste, flannel, bar of soap, hair brush or comb bobbles, hair clips etc
other items- sweets( sell by date must be at least march the following year), gloves scarf hat. sun glasses, cap, bangles, necklaces

you should include 1 or more things from each catagory

please don't send

No Food

 especially chocolate - non-chocolate sweets are allowed

No medicine

 or vitamins of any kind

No war related items

 toy guns, soldiers or knives of any kind

No clothing

 other than listed above

No fragile items

 glass containers, mirrors.

No liquids

 including blow bubbles, shampoo, bubble bath, toiletry sets or aerosols.

No dangerous items

 sharp objects, scissors or razors

No novels

Nothing of a political nature

No hand-knitted stuffed toys without a CE mark

 Knitted items that can be sent are here

If you would like to be involved yourself & make up your own shoe boxes you will need to attach a label below & also donate the cost of postage.

once your box is decorated you need to decide if your box will be for a male/female and what age group then you need to attach the appropriate sticker

please don't forget to include £2.50 to help with the distribution cost you can pay here then download and print the bar code place it in your shoe box and you will receive an email that will let you know where your box went to.

Thank You
for your kind donation

Redakai Championship Set

Toys number 5 out of our Toyologist box is Redakai Conquer the Kairu, it is the Championship set by the makers Spin Master.
In the box
1 x Exclusive x-Drive
1 Rare Gold pack X-Drive
42 Additional X-Drives
1 Card Sceen
1 Battlefield
1 Draw deck
1 set of instructions

When I first opened the box & read the instructions it left me baffled, I honestly could not work out how to play the game which frustrated me, so I left my husband to figure out how the game worked. After he managed to get his head round it he taught me the rules.Tristan aged 4 & I age old set up a game for a battle. 

We could only play the Basic setup game because in order to play the advanced game setup you will need 2 sets, each player needs 3 x character cards & at least 40 monster & attack cards for the advanced game. 

Basic game setup
Each player selects a character card, then the each player also puts 10-40 attack & Monster cards depending on how many cards you have into a deck ensuring that the cards are shuffled. To determined which player will go first flip a coin or in my house we have the youngest goes 1st rule. The 1st player takes the top card off their own deck, if it is a monster card then can go on top of their own character card this will increase your defense zones & sometimes heal damage zones cause by the attack cards(monster cards are never discarded). If the card is an attack card then this is placed on your opponents card, if it is a red attack card then only the red defense zone is in play so if the attack power is larger than your combined red defenses then the attack hits & this stays on top of you opponents card/s causing Damage to their damage zone when applicable. If the Attack power is lower than the combined amounts then this card is placed in your own discard pile. To win the game you have to fill your opponents Damage zone so all 3 zones are red or if your opponent is unable to draw a card when it is their turn then they lose the game.   

The game is suitable for ages 5+, I think this game is too complicated for a 5 year old to understands straight away, however if a child of 5 will have the help of an adult then they will find this game fun. Tristan who is 4 enjoyed beating me every game we played, especially as he kept getting the rare gold card that destroys the other players cards, to win against this attack you really need the best defense possible. He really is not a gracious winner, he celebrated each win by dancing around saying "mummy is a loser" & he wonders why I won't let him win when we play games. The cards are really hard wearing plastic cards that feature a 3D hologram effect. The game doesn't last that long & not every game is the same so it keeps a child's interest. They can build up their decks by buying card packs. I imagine this will be a big hit for the boys especially this Christmas. Although this game was quite difficult to learn once you have played 1 or 2 games it is easy to play.

It is available to buy from Toys R Us for £24.99.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Christmas List in September.

Yes you read right it says Christmas, we are in September & today my two eldest girls presented me with their Christmas September!. I am a bad shopper, I leave it all till last minute & I don't wrap them till Christmas Eve, I know I should wrap them early but it has now become a tradition of mine that on Christmas Eve I have a glass of alcohol whilst I am knee deep in wrapping paper & having a fight with the sellotape. Yes I have ran out of name labels but I have created my own to make up for the ones I didn't buy!. 
So back to the Christmas list, please tell me I am not the only parent that has been given their child's list. I think Madison is going to be rather disappointed that she will not be getting all of her Christmas list because she has asked for quite a few items that don't come cheap.

Madison's list
A scooter just like the boys down the road
Ezy-roller just like C's
Doll & doll stuff
New Shoes
(I take this as a hint that the 3 pairs of shoes she has just been bought are not enough)
Some Clothes
3DS (She has a DSi) 
3DS games
Roller Skates
Justin Bieber (yes don't most young girls) 

I actually love her list & if she was an only child then she most likely would of got everything on her list apart from Justin Bieber hopefully she means the dolls & not Justin Bieber himself but she is 1 of 5 so cut backs are going to be made.

C's list
Hair Curlers 
Pack of false nails(I blame my mother)
Roller Skates

Now this list is more manageable although we had planned to get her a laptop so she can stop trying to steal mine so again she may not get what is on her list.

Does anyone have this weeks winning lotto numbers I think I am going to need them after seeing 2/5 Christmas list! 

13 weeks till Christmas!!!

Groupon- Cooks professional blender Review

I was asked to review for Groupon, I was given a voucher to purchase one of the great deals that they have on offer all over the UK. Registering with the site was straight forward & easy to do. Once I was registered I set about browsing the deals, you can do this buy selected your local area or you can select goods which will bring up all the deals that you don't need to be local to. I selected goods & came across the Cooks Professional Multi Blender that was £22.99, I made a saving of £67.00 by making my purchase through Groupon. When you see a deal it displays the Price & how long that deal stands for then if you do purchase, once the deal has ended that is when you will be sent the information on how to arrange delivery of your product. 

My blender arrived quickly & was well packed. In the box there is 1 power unit, 5 350ml cups, 5 different coloured rings, 5 stay fresh sealed lids, 1 shake lid, 2 steam lids, 2 different blades which are 1 cross blade & 1 flat blade, the instruction manual & a recipe leaflet that has recipes for milkshakes & smoothies. Using the blender was really easy & it blended fruit really well. It does say that ice can be crushed in it but I did find that it is quite tricky to do & needs to be done in small amounts with the cups only being 350ml so I recommend only putting a small amount of ice in each cup. Overall it is a great blender for making milkshakes or smoothies.

For more great deals on a wide range of deals head over to Groupon

I received a voucher in order for me to review groupon & the range of products on offer, all wording & opinions are my own.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Spin Mania by Drumond Park

4th out of our Toys R Us Toyologist box is Spin Mania by Drumond Park. Spin Mania is a game that will test your child's speed & agility. Your child will be able to play on their own or with friends.

If you are playing with friends, then the player who will go first leaves the room whilst the other players hide the 3 stands, these can be hidden anywhere in the room but in a reachable place & in view of the player, so don't hide them in the washing machine as the player will not be able to find the stands. Set the spin machine on a sturdy flat surface along with the 3 plates & the spin spike, a table works better than the floor. To begin the the game the player sets the timer to the start position & the tip of the spin machine will start to spin, once you are ready to play press the orange button & place your 1st plate on the spinner. The aim of the game is to move all 3 spinning plates from the spin machine to the stands using the spin spike whilst they are all still spinning, if all 3 are spinning on the stands then press the orange button to stop the time but if any fall or stop spinning you must re-spin these plates. Place a marker peg in the slot closest to the timer point. Play then moves on to the next player & the winner is the person who completed it all in the fasted time.
If the player is playing alone then the aim is to beat your best record & you place the stands where ever you wish too around the room.
I knew this game would be a hit with Thomas because he has an obsession with anything that spins, Tristan age 4 did lose interest after he realised that you needed a little bit of skill to move the spinning plates onto the stands but he is 2 years below the recommended age of 6+. Madison age 8 got really good at the game but I still hold the record(I will not be beaten).

Overall it is a fun game that can involve the whole family.

Spin Mania will be available to buy from Toys R Us in time for Christmas.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Hot Wheels Mega Loop Mayhem 2012 Toyologist

The 3rd toy we got out to test as part of being Toys R Us Toyologist is the Hot Wheels Mega Loop Mayham. To be totally honest when I saw it in the box I wanted to leave it till last because in the past I have avoided Hot Wheels just because I thought the tracks were flimsy & would easily come apart, I couldn't of been more wrong!. 

Setting it up was straight forward & the instructions are really easy to read, if you do get stuck at all looking at the box illustration will give you a better idea. You will need 4x D batteries to be able to operate the 2 motorised boosters that are positioned at the bottom of the orange & blue loops, they help to shoot the cars around the track. It features a lever which your child can pull back on when they are ready to launch the car, this then releases the car from the loop sending it really fast around the track, once the lever is released the car will continue to go around the loop until the power is switched off or released. The track is connected to each other by a notch on 1 track fitting into the hole on the connecting track, this method actually works really well at keeping the track together even after it has been played with for hours.

Tristan age 4 & Thomas age 10 loved watching the car speed around the track & being able to control when the car is released onto the track. Unfortunately in the set you do only get 1 car which means you will have to purchase another car in order for you to race each other but both the boys happily took turns to control the lever however each track does have its own lever. When assembled it is a large track so it would need a fair sized floor space, it does all come apart if you would like to store it away when not in use, over time though this could possible weaken the notches so I would recommend only doing this if necessary . This track is suitable for ages 5+ & I would recommend it to family & friends, in the future I will purchase more Hot Wheels sets which I am sure my boys will be very pleased about.  

The Hot Wheels Mega Loop Mayhem will be available at Toys R Us in time for Christmas  

Something special Mr Tumble

If you have children of a young age you would of most likely come across Mr Tumble, my children especially Thomas loved learning the makatron sign language. Thomas learn't quite a few before he was able to speak which I always found fascinating.

Golden Bear have brought out their something special & we was asked if we would like to review some of the range, we received the Mr Tumble Phone & the Something Special Pick & Match Pairs game.

Something Special Pick & Match Pairs Game 

Tristan loves to play pairs so this game is something he really enjoyed playing, each card shows a picture of the word that is being signed, some show the object & some show Mr Tumble dressed up, Tristan loved Mr Tumble dressed as a flower the best & would laugh each time he found that pair. This is suitable for ages 3+ & the RRP is £4.99. Tristan enjoyed finding a matching pair then trying to copy the sign.

Something Special Mr Tumble Phone

The Mr tumble phone is suitable for children ages 3+, the RRP is £12.00. The phone comes with 3 different discs that you insert into the phone to hear the fun character phrases. To hear the phases your child only needs to insert the disc then press the large numbers button, whilst the phone is in the packaging this can be quite loud but once you remove the safety tab the sound is reduced to a safe level for your child because this is a phone a child will place it next to their ear. My daughter loves to pretend she is on the phone & she loves changing the disc to hear the different voices.

I would recommend both these Something special products to family & friends.

I received the products for the purpose of the review only, all wording & opinions are of my own. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

John Crane- Tidlo Rainbow Cubes Review

#woodentoywednesday is here again & today it is all about the Tidlo Rainbow Cubes by John Crane. In the box there is 10 wooden cubes all painted in a different bright colour & all feature a number, the number wording, fruit & an animal. 

The Rainbow Cubes are suitable from 18 months but Rhian who is 15 months enjoyed playing with them especially when she could knock them over. They help to develop hand eye coordination when they balance them on top of each other, spatial awareness is another skill that can be developed when they are placing then into each other or stacking them. Each cube features a number according to size, the biggest cube being 10 working all the way to the smallest cube which is 1, by stacking them in size your child can learn numeracy skills by counting them from the top to the bottom or counting the amount of fruits on the side of the cube, once they can count them they can see the number on the other side of the cube so eventually they will learn their numbers from 1-10. Your child can  be taught their colours by using the brightly coloured cubes, my son who has special needs seems to have taken a shine to these cubes & I think it is the bright colours that he likes. 

The largest cube measures 16cm x 15.5cmx15.5cm & when they are fully stacked they are approximately 104cm. Rhian loves to knock them over then stack them again, she can not yet tell her colours or count but I am sure with the help of the rainbow cubes this skill will be learnt whilst we play. My boys, especially Thomas who has special needs gets them out of their box every morning to play, they both stack them then count & say what each animal is, we get a range of animal noises when they are saying what each animal is too so my house can sound like a zoo most mornings. If you have wooden flooring the cubes will get more knocks or wear on them than they would on a carpeted floor so I recommend using them on a carpet rather than wooden floor. They store away easily as they nest into each other so the storage size is the siz of the largest cube. 

I would recommend the Tidlo Rainbow Cubes to family & friends. To purchase just head over to John Crane to find your local stockist.

Follow John Crane on facebook & twitter to keep up with all the latest news & competitions.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

My First Clock by Ravensburger

Second on my testing list as part of the Toys R Us Toyologist is the My First Clock, here is my review.
Teaching your child the time can be really tricky especially when they are so young or have learning difficulties. My First Clock from Ravensburger helps to make learning this skill easier, we have not yet got round to teaching Tristan who is 4 to tell the time yet so he is a complete novice!. It is suitable for ages 4-9 years & 1-6 players can play each time. We played with Tristan age 4 & Thomas age 10(mental age of 5-6)

In the box you get 1 set of instructions, 1 clock with movable plastic minute & hour hands & 27 clock cards. On one side of the clock cards it shows the time in digital for both am & pm & on the other side it shows the time as a standard clock face or analogue clock face.

In the instructions it has 3 game suggestions;

Game 1 - A whole day

Choose a selection of clock cards that you want to play with, If you have children who are new to learning the time I suggest you just stick to the O'clock times. One player who is able to tell the time can read out each clock card then ask what activity you normally do at that time of day so for example if the time is 5 o'clock then you would be eating your evening meal. This helps to teach your child the hours of the whole day & also to recognise the time.

Game 2 - Setting the Clock 
Select the clock cards you wish to play with, again if your child is still learning stick with the easier ones to begin with. The youngest player starts 1st & then each player takes their turn to take a card from the box, without looking at the time on the clock card, they pass it to the nominated reader, the reader then says the time out loud, the player then has to set the time on the clock, once the player is happy with their set time you then compare the clock face to the clock card, if the player has correctly set the clock they get to keep that card but if it has been set incorrectly they then have to place the clock card back in the box. It is then the next players turn always moving in a clockwise direction.
Once all the clock cards have been played, the winner is the player with the most clock cards.

If only one child is playing they can pick a card from the box & look at the digital time side of the clock card, they then set the clock to what they think is the time. Once they are happy the clock card can be turned over & they then compare them both to see if the clock has been correctly set. If Tristan got any wrong he corrected the mistake so he could then compare the correct clock faces which I found really helped him to learn how to place the hour hand correctly.

Game 3 Fast time
This game is all about speed, the faster you can recognise the time the better you will be at this game. Place all the clock cards analogue face up on the table, the oldest player takes the clock and sets a time on it, once set you show the clock face to the other players & also announce the time on the clock. Each player has to then choose the clock card that they think matches or is closest to the time on the clock as quickly as they can. The player that has the nearest or correct time then gets to keep the card, all the other cards are put back down on the table & play then moves onto the next player in a clockwise direction. The winner is the player who collects 3 clock cards first.

We played a few of the games in a variety of ways & I was quite surprised at how quickly both the boys started to recognise the time. They both really enjoyed playing it & eagerly awaited their turn, each time they correctly set the time it seemed to spur them on even more & got quite competitive with each other. The design of the game is appealing to small children & children with learning difficulties too, it also allows them to self correct. Learning through play is the best way I have found that my children absorb the information, we played it over a few days & each time we played the did get better so I highly recommend this game to family & friends.

Schleich Wildlife Range Review

Schleich are toy makers who make perfect miniature models of a range of figures & animals, they have asked me to review their wildlife range & if you are a regular reader you will know I do love my wildlife as do my children. 
Each animal is made in a mould which I have to agree with them that they are brilliant, they are hand painted with great detailing. Each model is small enough for a child hands to play with, they are also great for teaching your child about the animals that live on our planet, many children will never get to see these animals with their own eyes, so many children don't know the difference between a skunk or badger so with the help of Schleich we can teach our children about the amazing creature that live all around the world.

 A regular visitor to our back gardens is the cute white breasted hedgehog, they like to keep hidden as much as they can & if they are disturbed they will curl them self up into a ball of sharp prickles. The Schleich Hedgehog comes with its very own plant but fear not there is no sharp prickles on him.

The cheeky Chimpanzee loves to play in the trees, they also love to groom each other clean, they sleep up high in the trees away from predators that would have them for a meal, the detailing on him is really good, from his fur to his teeth these models are accurate in the animals features.

The Raccoon makes its home high in the trees but if they live near humans they will quite happily make the roof of your home their home, they love fruit & will forage for food from your left overs that have been thrown away. The Schleich Raccoon won't eat your rubbish but it will provide hours of fun play for your child. 

A badger returns to his sett as the sun rises, they are shy nocturnal animals so are not often seen, they can be quite vicious and will protect its burrow against many animals bigger than itself, the Schleich badger however will not bite, he is really beautifully made & he would make a great addition to your collection of Schleich wildlife.

Zebra's are found in Africa, they live in herds & their main diet is grass, they also migrate to find food. The zebra is always on the look out for predators & by having stripes & sticking together in their herd it is hard to tell where 1 zebra begins & another 1 ends. The Schleich model is very well made but is your model white with black stripes or black with white stripes?.

The Kudu Antelope hides away in thickets, they are never found on open land. The Kudu's markings help them blend into their habitat, if they stand still they are very hard to spot. They can jump up to 10 meters & reach heights of 2 meters, I wouldn't like to try & catch one. 

A lone wolf Howls on the highest rock, calling out for his pack, they howl to communicate with the other members of their pack. The Schleich Wolf will be really quiet, but watch out as some of the other Schleich models the wolf likes to eat.

All of Schleich products carry the CE mark so they meet all the necessary safety requirement for whether you're collecting or playing. Unlock the imagination of your child with the Schleich wildlife Range, Prices start from £2.99.

I received 7 Schleich products for the purpose of the review, all wording, images & opinions are my own. 

Friday, 14 September 2012

Play-doh Candy Cyclone Review

Our first box from Toys R Us has arrived & first up for testing is the Play-Doh Candy Cyclone, Tristan was delighted to see they had delivered Play-Doh because he loves creating things & what better way to be creative than to make sweets made of Play-doh(not for consumption they taste salty). 

Setting it up was really easy & is done in four easy steps, the instructions are easy to follow & a child would be able to assemble it by looking at the images on the instructions. The tools & variety of lolly sticks all can be placed upright onto the bottom of the tray, there is a variety of moulds to create lovely sweets & also a syringe to push through the play-doh which helps you make spiral or twister shaped lollipops. In this set you get 4 small pots of play-doh in blue, pink, yellow & white.

To create the balls all you need to do is to roll out some play-doh to the thickness of around 2cm, you can use a single colour or mix 2 together to get a variety of colours in your sweets, then place the rolled out play-doh log into the top of the globe until it is visible, turn the crank clockwise & watch the balls roll through & roll down the spiralling slide to the bottom of the tray ready for moulding(some moulds they may require more than 1 whole play-doh ball). Choose your mould & place it under the press then place the ball in the mould & press firmly, you can then remove the mould tray & tip out your play-doh sweet, I found this part to be quite tricky as I failed each time to get my sweet out of its mould in one piece, I was much more suited to making the lollipops but Tristan who is 4 managed it each time so I am not sure what I was doing wrong(maybe it needs a kids touch). 

All of us in mummy2five's household had fun creating sweets, my house was not covered in play-doh either because all the balls stayed in the bottom of the tray. It will provide hours of fun & is a sturdy plastic toy that your child will not grow bored of. To take care of it clean it out after each use & put the play-doh back into the tubs & secure the lids. The Play-doh Candy Cyclone can be bought from Toys R Us for £24.99 & is suitable for ages 3+.