Posts tagged reviews
We are big fans of Orchard Toys in the Brown household. We have a few of their games already which are played with all the time and whenever we go to birthday parties I usually buy an Orchard Toys game as a present. When they sent us their latest game Pirate Shapes to review, we were more than happy to help
Pirate Shapes is a game for aged 2.5+ and for 2-4 players. The game consists of 4 playing cards with 6 removable shapes in each one. The cards feature pirate scenes which are a huge hit with my two children. We have a thing about pirates in this household with MasterB having to wear an eyepatch for two hours a day to correct his squint
The game itself is simple enough for young children to play, you place all the shapes upside down in the centre and take it in turns to turn one over. If it is a piece that belongs on your playing card then you put it in the correct place, if it isn’t then you turn it back over and the next player has a turn. First to complete their playing card wins.
This game is great for a number of reasons, it teaches shapes, matching colours and also teaches about memory. If you see another player turn over a piece you need then you need to remember where it is so you can turn it over next time. Of course, as with most Orchard Toys games, you don’t have to play in exactly that way and you can make up your own games around the cards. MissB and MasterB love just sitting and completing them all like a jigsaw
Pirate Shapes sells for £9.50 which I think is great value considering how many hours MissB and MasterB sit playing with it together. Any game that gets my children playing happily together and is educational at the same time always gets a big thumbs up from us
Just before Christmas, we received a lovely bundle of goodies all wrapped up in a Christmas stocking from Warner Bros. It contained chocolate (always a bonus), candy canes and three great DVD’s to watch. It’s been a rather hectic Christmas in the Brown household so I’ve only just got round to writing about them now
The first DVD was Polar Express, fabulous festive viewing for the family MasterB and MissB loved the whole train thing but they are still a little young to make it the entire way through the film but I have a feeling it is going to get brought out and played in the run up to Christmas every year from now on
“It’s Christmas Eve, and you’re about to roller-coaster up and down mountains, slip-slide over ice fields, tetter across mile-high bridges and be served hot chocolate by singing waiter more astonishing than any you can ever imagine. You’re on The Polar Express!
Tom Hanks stars in and Robert Zemeckis directs this instant holiday classive filmed in dazzling performance-capture animation that makes every home magical.”
I really love this film and I really hope MissB and MasterB grow to love it too! It’s one of those lovely films which you just HAVE to watch in the run up to Christmas. There is something so magical about it and it even has me wondering whether I should be listening out for the bells on Christmas Eve.
If you have kids then you MUST have this DVD in your collection!
Second up was The Dark Knight Rising
“It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act.
But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.”
Action films are something I haven’t seen much of in the last couple of years. I think it’s because my TV now seems to be controlled by toddlers and I’m lucky if I can watch anything other than In The Night Garden and Mickey’s Club House I don’t really know what I was expecting with this, it’s been a while since I last saw a Batman film and I was surprised at just how much I got into this one.
It’s action packed from the word go and I found myself really drawn into it. Of course a nice set of abs encased in black rubber always helps The special effects are spectacular and I’d love to watch it in 3D, I bet it is amazing! If you love action films then this is definitely one to watch, it has a fast moving plot, great action and a good story line. It didn’t disappoint!
and finally, we spent New Years Eve watching the rather aptly named New Years Eve When you have two toddlers and nobody to babysit then New Years Eve is more about sitting by the fire, with a bottle of champagne watching films
“New Year’s Eve” celebrates love, hope, forgiveness, second chances and fresh starts, with intertwining stories told amidst the pulse and promise of New York City on the most dazzling night of the year.”
This film is pretty much everything you need for an enjoyable evening, although the story line does jump around a little which can get a little confusing when you are half way through a bottle of champagne I admit I may have lost track of the plot a little at some points but it all came together in the end.
The connections between the characters as the plot progresses add an interesting element and it pretty much has everything you need in a romcom from births, deaths and even a bit of Bon Jovi thrown in for good measure I am a big Bon Jovi fan so it was guaranteed to be a hit for me from the minute I knew he was in it! I really enjoyed watching it, my husband wasn’t too enthralled by it but romcom’s aren’t really his thing. I think it’s definitely one for the ladies rather than the men!
MissB really loves playing dress up at the moment so when Simply Fancy Dress contacted me recently to ask if I’d like to review one of their costumes I was happy to oblige MissB has a little obsession with princesses at the moment (I knew it was inevitable she’d turn all girly on me at some point ) and so after checking out their website I decided we would like to review this beautiful Cinderella Sparkle Disney Costume.
The minute MissB saw the costume she was excited and she couldn’t wait to try it on. Of course getting her to stand still in it so I could get some nice photos proved a rather difficult task and so you’ll have to excuse the slightly out of focus photos but I think you can tell from her smile what she thinks of it
The dress does come with a lovely matching tiara, although MissB isn’t too keen on wearing that at the moment. The only thing she will ever wear on her head is a woolly hat at the moment MissB has just turned 3 and I’d say she’s pretty average sized. We got the small sized dress suitable for 3-4 years and it fits her well. If she doesn’t grow too much then I think it will last us for a good while. If your child is almost 4 though, then I’d be tempted to order the next size up.
I love the quality of the costume, I’ve seen some which have felt very cheaply made but this is a lovely quality and we particularly like the details like the sparkly fabric and the jewels and sequins embellishing it. The Cinderella badge is also a lovely touch, whenever MissB now sees Cinderella on TV she keeps telling me that she has that dress My little princess has finally got her wish and got herself a proper princess dress – the trouble I now have is persuading her that she doesn’t need to wear it to go to the supermarket or nursery in (particularly in this freezing weather).
The Cinderella costume sells for £17.99 on Simply Fancy Dress which at first I thought seemed quite expensive but after receiving the dress and seeing the quality for myself and the size of the smile it has put on MissB’s face then I think it’s worth it. It would certainly make a lovely Christmas or Birthday present for any wannabe princess, and if Cinderella isn’t their favourite Disney Princess then Simply Dress have lots of other princess fancy dress costumes to choose from
It’s no secret that MissB is obsessed with shoes, she has a bigger collection that me nowadays but when the lovely people from Barratts contacted me and asked if I would like to review a pair of their Girls Boots, I couldn’t say no After much deliberation (because there is such a huge choice on their website) I finally decided on this gorgeous pair of Hush Puppy Coley Boots! MissB has a new pink coat and so I thought they would match perfectly (and no matter how much I resist, we really are entering the pink and girly stage nowadays!) I was given credit to spend online so I could experience the full buying online process and I can only say how impressed was. I ordered the boots around 8pm on a Tuesday evening and they arrived Thursday morning. (There was even 25% off online and free delivery – it’s definitely worth checking out their website for current offers!)
MissB instantly fell in love with her new boots – I mean what isn’t to love about them? They are pink, furry and gorgeous! They are also extremely good quality and sturdy so I’m expecting them to hold up well to her busy toddler lifestyle! I ordered MissB size 7 boots as she currently has new trainers in this size, I was impressed that along with the boots arrived 2 spare insoles in different thicknesses which meant I can adjust the size slightly to ensure that they fit her perfectly (which they do). As you can see below, they complement her coat perfectly and she now looks like the uber trendy winter toddler
These boots sell for £40, when I got them there was a 25% off offer (I’ve just checked their website and there is currently a 30% off offer available!). I think with the discount it is an excellent price for these gorgeous boots, the quality is excellent and they really do look fantastic! MissB wants to wear them everywhere and if it were up to her she’d probably wear them in bed Would I shop with Barratts again? Definitely! I’m just about to order MasterB some new shoes from there as I’ve been so impressed with the service!
A rather fabulous parcel arrived on our doorstep from Warner Bros on Halloween, it contained two great dvds, bubbles, sweets and a cat mask. You can always rely on Warner Bros to put a smile on MasterB and MissB’s faces
MissB is a little obsessed with Tom and Jerry at the moment, since we started watching old episodes on the Ipad and so when she saw this DVD she was extremely excited. A whopping 22 new Tom and Jerry cartoons to watch The DVD hasn’t disappointed and MissB will happily sit for hours watching it, we now have it in the car to put on the DVD player in there on long journeys as it makes it so much more peaceful
“Tom and Jerry are in for spooks galore in this monster collection. With 20 eerie episodes plus two bonus episodes, your goodie-bag will be overflowing with fun! Tricks and treats are at every turn, from ancient Egypt to Transylvania, from creepy houses to haunted forests, the
hair-raising hilarity is non-stop! Our favorite cat and mouse mingle with ghosts, mummies, werewolves and witches in these terrific tales. Of course Tom and Jerry have a bounty of tricks up their own sleeves as well! Fear not, the chase is on! It’s a scare-iffic good time for the whole family!”
The second DVD was Scooby-Doo Big Top
“When Scooby and the gang hear of a werewolf plaguing a traveling circus, they go undercover as circus performers to get to the bottom of the mystery. Things soon go from bad to worse when the number of werewolves starts increasing, and the members of Mystery Inc. realize they might be in danger of turning into these monstrous beasts themselves!”
You can’t beat a bit of Scooby for all round family entertainment, although the monsters do have MissB hiding behind her blanket occasionally She does however love Scooby and it’s much better than all these modern cartoons where I don’t know any of the characters, it’s nice to be able to share memories of my childhood with my children It’s a lovely DVD which has been played about 20 times since we received it so I guess that means it gets a big thumbs up from our household
Both these DVDs can be bought from all the usual places, I have included links to them on Amazon below
When I was asked if I would like to choose something from Big Green Smile to review, I felt like a kid in a sweet shop! I was particularly impressed with their large range of Vegan and Vegetarian friendly products After some careful thought I asked to review the Faith In Nature Chocolate Gift Set being the complete chocoholic that I am
I admit I was a little disappointed that when my gift set turned up, it didn’t include the soap that was specified on the website so I only received the 250ml shampoo, 250ml conditioner and the 250ml bath foam/shower gel. I was also disappointed that on looking at the shampoo and conditioner it states for “dark hair” and as you know I’m very much blonde. On looking at the website it does state on the individual product pages that the shampoo and conditioner is for dark hair, it just doesn’t mention it on the gift set page. As a customer if I had ordered this, I would have been annoyed as they just aren’t suitable for me.
BUT I was left with the shower gel to use (I’ve given the shampoo and conditioner to a dark haired friend, who thinks they are fantastic!) which smells lovely and left my skin feeling lovely. Looking at the range, I just wish I’d chosen a little more carefully as there are some lovely looking products suitable for blonde hair but I just couldn’t resist the lure of chocolate so I guess it serves me right
The chocolate gift set sells for £11.73 and would make a lovely gift for somebody with Dark Hair but I’d just check with them whether the gift set includes the soap or not before you order – maybe the missing soap in mine was a one off Overall I will be checking out The Big Green Smile for other interesting and vegan friendly products as there are some fab products on there.
Since writing this blog post, the website has now been updated to reflect the lack of soap and the fact that the shampoo is suitable for dark hair. This is a great response from The Big Green Smile, it’s always lovely to see companies responding to feedback and this gives them an even bigger thumbs up from me
We love playing board games in this family and I’ve been dying for MissB to reach the age where she can play them with us so when Imagination Games sent up The Hungry Frogs ‘Magic Sound’ Board Game to review, I was intrigued to see how she got on
The Hungry Frogs is a very simple and easy to play board game aimed at aged 4+ for 2-4 players. The aim is to get around the board and collect 3 flies, the first to make it home is the winner. Movement is decided by spinning a spinner to see how many moves you can make forwards, if you land on a lily pad you get to pick up a token (hopefully a fly). If you land on a log then you just wait until your next turn. However if the spinner lands on the magic sound then you get to press the button and anybody who is sitting on a log is sent back to their home point.
Now MissB is not quite 3 yet but she did sort of understand the game, however her attention span isn’t great so if the game dragged on too long then her mind did wander but we resolved this by adapting the rules slightly so that the winner was the first to get 2 flies rather than make it home. She loved pressing the magic sound button and she loved sitting and playing a “grown up” game with mummy and daddy. I’m sure when MasterB is also old enough to join in the fun then we will have lots of fun playing it all together
You can find The Hungry Frogs Board Game in various retailers including Debenhams and Tesco for around £10
When I was asked by Garden Games if I would like to review one of their play-tents, well I could hardly refuse. I’ve been thinking about getting one for ages. I opted for their Wigwam, with having a boy and a girl I tend to steer clear of anything pink and lets face it everybody loves wigwams!
The weather of course has not been good to us up here in the North East so far this year but luckily we have a huge lounge and so for now our wigwam is set up in there. When we get some nice weather I’ll be taking it out into the garden for MasterB and MissB to play in.
The Wigwam was relatively easy to set up, just connect the 6 poles together, slide into the fabric, thread the string through the holes in the top (adding a wooden bead between each one) and tighten the drawer string on the canvas. All you do then is stand it up and spread out the poles. You don’t even need any tools to construct it, it probably took me about 20 minutes The wigwam seems really well made, the poles are solid and the fabric is a really heavy duty cotton water resistant canvas which I doubt my two could destroy if they tried
MissB and MasterB seriously think I am the best mummy in the world for getting them their wigwam, from the minute they saw it they have been obsessed with it MissB likes to sit on the cushions in there and read her books whilst MasterB loves playing hide and seek with us. There is plenty of room for them both to play in it together (and have the occasional wrestling match in there) and with a bit of a squeeze mummy and daddy can both fit in there with them too
The Wigwam stands 1.9m tall and has a diameter of 1.4m which is lovely and spacious. It does take up a fair bit of room in our lounge so if you are tight for space then it is probably best used in the garden. I can’t wait until we can get it in the garden as it will give them a nice way of getting out of the sun (looks longingly at the sky).
I think it’s safe to say that the Wigwam is a huge hit with both of my children! You can find stockists of Garden Games products on their website here, I also found it on Amazon (link below) for around £50 which I think is fantastic value for a really well made product which will give both of my children hours of entertainment both indoors and outdoors
When I was asked if I would like to review a photo book from MyMemory.Com well it doesn’t take Einstein to figure out my answer I got to make and review a 50 page Square Hardcover Book. I remember when MissB was born, I spent a year gathering photographs for a photo book which I gave to my husband on the Christmas just after her first birthday. It was a beautiful memory of her first year and I’ve always felt a bit guilty as I hadn’t got round to doing one for MasterB yet but this has solved my problem
I was told I could have up to 50 pages in my book which would have cost £43.87 including free delivery, the books start at £25.99 for 26 pages and is 21cmx21cm. All I needed to do was visit their website and create my book by uploading my photos and then designing the layout. If you are doing a book I’d strongly advise that you spend time going through all you photos and arranging them into a separate folder on your computer first so that uploading them is nice and simple.
I wanted my book to basically show the first year of MasterB’s life and I ended up using around 150 photos. It was a relatively simple process to upload them all to the website and designing the book was straight forward. There is an option to let the website automatically design the book for you but as I’ve used similar websites before I was happy starting the process from scratch myself. I knew I only wanted a maximum of 4 images on a page and what colours I wanted to choose for backgrounds so I found it quite easy. The only time consuming part was getting the photos into the correct chronological order (but that’s because I’m picky ). It was really easy to navigate the websites menu system when designing the book, just click on the layout to select how many and what you want the page to look like. Select a background colour, drag your photos into the right places and voila The preview mode allows you to see what the completed book will look like before you order it. It probably took me about an hour to design my 50 page book but that was because I started from scratch and I spent ages rearranging the photos so they were in the correct order.
My book arrived on my doorstep within a week of me ordering it and it is lovely quality. The photos have all come out beautifully in it and the quality of the pages is good. It feels and looks a quality book The book arrived just before Fathers Day so I gave it to my hubby as a Fathers Day present and he absolutely loved it
My photos of the book really don’t do it justice (they are taken on my iphone and photos of photos never really work that well ) I really do love making photo books like this, I take so many photos and they always just end up stored on my hard drive and rarely get seen. These books are the ideal solution and they make lovely gifts. We’ve already decided that now we’ve done MissB and MasterB’s first years we are going to start doing an annual photo book starting with 2012 which will show the story of each year. Having been impressed with the quality of the book I’ve received from MyMemory.Com I’ll certainly be using their services again
We’ve been sent a copy of The Land of Sometimes to review, The Land of Sometimes is a CD which combines a story and songs aimed for children 2+. It tells the story of twins Elise and Alfie as they go on a journey to the Land of Sometimes.
“Over the ocean, far away, there is a magical place called ‘The Land Of Sometimes’ where four seasons pass within one day, and everyone who lives there has a song…”
“As the story unfolds, children all over the world will be enchanted by this collection of deliciously eccentric characters and their original songs. Catchy, melodic, somethimes hilarious – ranging from reggae to disco, Irish folk, poetry, New Orleans jazz and just simply beautiful tunes, these songs have a universal appeal and are a mesmerising introduction for children of all ages to the eternal power of music and story telling”
I originally put this on to play to myself before letting MissB listen to it. It really is great to listen to. I love the story telling element in between each song and the songs are varied and enchanting. I particularly love The Ballad of The River Slouch Sling and Mr Smaller Than Smaller Than Smaller Than Small Thing.
I’m not usually a huge fan of childrens’ music (let’s face it what parent is?) but this is actually quite easy to listen to and draws you into the story too. MissB who doesn’t have the greatest concentration span in the world (well she is only 2!) did like listening to the CD, I’ve been putting it on in the car whilst driving around and it makes her smile (after a couple of plays I end up singing along to the songs which MissB finds hysterical ) MissB loves The Chant of The Chameleon Catcher
Pop over to The Land of Sometimes website and meet the characters and listen to clips of some of the songs. The Land of Sometimes CD Booklet package can be bought on Amazon for £10.97. The CD case is in the form of a booklet with beautifully illustrated images of the characters and songs.
I’ve been given a copy of The Land of Sometimes to give away to one of my lovely readers and here is all you need to do to enter:
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