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Mums 4 Mums Reviews

Our Mums' Network have been busy reviewing all sorts of products and services for the family including toys, health care & days out.  These are real Mums (and Dads!) that have used these products and services to save you time and money.

Click on the categories below to read our Mums 4 Mums reviews and if you'd like to join our Mums' Network please contact us, we'd love to hear from you.

 

Toys, Gifts and Books         
Family Health & Care

Family Days Out   

Home & Garden

Education & Learning

Parenting & Advice

Clothing and Sportwear Food & Drink Family Holidays
Apps & Gadgets Eating Out
Just 4 Mum & Dad

 

Latest Reviews!

Revell Junior KitPolice Car

Harry's Review: My 7-year old loves constructing things but finds LEGO very fiddly and hard to deconstruct if he's made a mistake so the Revell Junior Kit was an absolute delight. He managed to create the Police Car all on his own using the very clear instructions and tools. He was over the moon! Once complete, the car is very sturdy and has been played with for hours and hours without coming apart. A great idea - we will look for more kits for future birthdays...

Designed for ages 4+, the multi award-winning Revell Junior Kit bridges the gap between Playsets and Construction Toys. Available from Amazon and all good toy stores. For details visit http://juniorkit.revell.de/en/, @RevellGermany or Facebook.com/revell.

 


Revell My Arts Sand ShakerSand Shaker

Scarlett's Review: This is a great idea as my kids love sand art ...but it's SO MESSY! With the Sand Shaker, everything is contained so no mess. You can add up to four colours of sand to the shaker and you choose to release them once you have removed the relevant colour-coded paper to reveal the sticky part. It's great fun shaking...shaking...shaking to make sure the picture is coloured - the kids loved this bit (and no sand all over the carpet). Fab idea and it takes quite a while to make one picture so the set lasts for a long time.

The Sand Shaker offers girls and boys, ages 5 and many creative possibilities with coloured sand. Depending on the age of the child, the works of art can be created by different approaches: Stage 1: from lasered creative templates can the protective foil, step by step. The underlying, self-adhesive surface is then "sanded" in Sand Shaker. Stage 2: solid color preprinted designs are wetted by Gluepen with glue and sprinkled color by color with the sand in a shaker. Animal motifs or funny cartoon faces can get with accompanying stickers the perfect finish after that. Step 3: With Glue pen and own motives. Most preferably, the favorite motif first vormalen with pencil and then continue working with glue and sand. The imagination knows no limits! Available from all good toy stores. For details visit www.revell.de/en


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - West Yorkshire Playhouse

Sophia's Review: This was a real treat of a show for us! We all LOVE the movie version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang so we were very excited to see the live musical show (althought my little brother (6) was a bit nervous about the Childcatcher). 

It was however all fantastic! The two spies (Goran and Boris) are hilarious and their disguise outfits (bushes, petrol pumps...etc.) had us all in stitches. Of course, we knew all the songs and they were brilliantly brought to life by the dancers - and particularly by the children playing Jeremy and Jemima (Henry Kent and Caitlin Surtees on the night we were there). It was a sell-out and there was a great atmosphere, we couldn't help but sing along ...and even found ourselves clapping when Chitty actually drove onto the stage (my little brother even said this was his favourite character!). Our favourite songs were 'Me Ol' Bamboo' and 'Posh'.

We won't spoil it, but the stunts are the best and what Chitty can actually do is amazing! My mum said it was one of the best shows she had seen for special effects. 10 out of 10 from us ...and we all skipped back to the car singing "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang we love you..."!

Directed by West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining, with choreography by Stephen Mear and production design by Simon Higlett, this new production of the much-loved Sherman Brothers musical stars Jon Robyns and Amy Griffiths. The memorable score includes such standards as Truly Scrumptious, Toot Sweets, Hushabye Mountain and the Oscar-nominated title song Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The run at the West Yorkshire Playhouse (2 December 2015 - 30 January 2016) will be followed by a UK & Ireland Tour. Suitable for all ages 5+. See more at www.chittythemusical.co.uk

 

Popcorn Machine

Films and popcorn go together like Thelma and Louise, like Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor… you get the idea. Unfortunately, when you try and get popcorn at the cinema these days you often end up paying more than you did for your ticket! Well you can have cinema style popcorn right at home thanks to this nifty little machine. All you have to do is pour some un-popped kernels into the classically designed machine and switch it on. Once the air is hot enough the kernels will begin to pop into your favourite crunchy treat, then all you have to do is take them out, pick your seasoning (we like salted, we're sweet enough already) and enjoy! RRP £29.99. Available at http://www.stocking-fillers.co.uk/popcorn-machine.

 

 

 

Kid's Afternoon Tea at Dobbies Garden CentresAfternoon Tea

Abi's Review: Afternoon tea was really yummy! When the food arrived it looked amazing, different tiers of delish fun food. The bottom was our sandwiches (l had ham). I enjoyed the little jar with the carrots, cucumber and mayonnaise. I enjoyed it so much that I ate my friend Sophia's! On the next tier there was a chocolate cake with a clock face and a star biscuit with a face in chocolate too. After this tier I had to take a breather as I was rather full so I sipped my cup of tea. The top was just amazing there was a cone filled with cream, a jar filled with different flavours of Angel Delight and marshmallows covered in chocolate! I didn't manage to finish it off as I was ready to pop! I really enjoyed the afternoon. 

Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or simply want to treat the kids, why not try Dobbies delicious Kids’ Afternoon Tea? Your little ones can enjoy a scrumptious selection of tasty sandwiches, veggie dips, sweet treats and a drink. A great option for a children’s birthday party with a di­fference!  With three layers of treats to enjoy, all presented on a traditional tea stand, your little prince of princess can feast for just £4.95 per child. Perfect for a kids' party or a little reward, check out the menu for full details. Full details at www.dobbies.com. Booking recommended. Subject to availability. 

 


Jurys Inn Southampton & Paulton's Park
Peppa Pig World

Why not combine at stay at Jurys Inn Southampton with a visit to Paulton's Park, home to Peppa Pig World, this summer? Located in the heart of the city overlooking East Park, Jurys Inn Southampton is just a 15 minute walk from the Central Train Station. The hotel is conveniently situated for all the city’s key attractions, from the City Art Gallery and the Mayflower Theatre, to WestQuay Shopping Centre and 02 Guildhall Southampton.

Visit our Junior Editor's Blog to read more >>>

 

 

New Forest Aqua ParkNew Forest Aqua Park

Just 2 years ago, New Forest Water Park launched their state of the art Rixen Cable wakeboard system which proved to be a huge hit but on 2nd May 2015 they created an even bigger splash when they launched the UK’s first outdoor aqua park, in partnership with Heart FM. Similar to the assault course used on ‘Total Wipeout’, the Wibit consists of interlocking sections providing endless on-water activities from the likes of slides, monkey bars, trampolines and even a climbing ice tower.

Visit our Junior Editor's Blog to read more >>>

 

 

EcoOutfitters: Organic SchoolwearEcoOutfitters

Melanie's Review of Organic Cotton Pinafore with bow: "I thought the organic material of the dress was a little stiff at first but it washed really nicely. The fit was perfect for the age and having a girlie daughter who loves dresses of any kind  - she thought it was lovely. She was very proud to show off the "posh bow" to her friends at school on the first day of wearing it."

Beautifully designed school pinafore has two side pockets, gathered detail, a stylish bow feature, and a coconut shell button. £18.95

Sarah's Review of Organic Cotton Classic Fit Trousers: "Because of the organic material these trousers look different to any others we have had from the high street - but in a good way! They are very soft to the touch, yet hard wearing, and they look so much smarter than any other trousers we have had in the past (that end up looking shiny and cheap after a few weeks). After the initial 'these are a bit different' comments from my 6 year old, he now looks for them in the laundry pile to ensure they are ironed and ready to go on a Monday morning!"

EcoOutfitters' classic fit school trousers have two front side pockets and an adjustable waist to ensure the ideal comfortable fit. The garment is made from durable 100% Pure Organic Cotton that is better for child’s skin and for the environment. Choose ethically produced organic cotton for your children's school clothes. £18.95

Kate's Review of Organic Cotton Gingham Checked Summer Dress: "This is a lovely, hard wearing dress that is super soft to the touch. The attention to detail is fabulous with the added bow (and 'secret pocket') and my daughter loves it. It is a little expensive compared to high street/supermarket dresses that are available but it washes lovely, looks wonderful, feels comfortable and seems as if it will last years so well worth the extra investment."

Light, comfy, and breathable, this pretty pure organic cotton gingham school dress is ideal for the warm summer months. £18.95

EcoOutfitters

To find out more about EcoOutfitters visit www.ecooutfitters.co.uk. You can also keep up to date with news and offers on Facebook & Twitter.

 

 

Itsyourstory: Personalised Travel Mug

ItsYourStory

Kate's Review: "What a brilliant Fathers Day present! Great experience...ordering was simple and effortless and the delivery was speedy. The thermal cup looks amazing, the photos are of great quality and are in the perfect place to go with the superhero picture. The cup is an excellent quality travel mug and perfect size. A great quality item."

Itsyourstory: Celebrate Dad's unique 'SuperDad' status with this personalised travel mug. It's the ideal practical gift which shows your appreciation of what a very special Dad he is! Great for Father's Day too with the option of 'Father's Day 2015' printed on the back.

The 14oz Stainless Steel Travel Mug has a separate plastic inner section to keep liquids warm and comes with a non-spill lid and opening for drinking.
The dye sinks into the material making it very robust and scratch/chip resistant. Also available in two more designs featuring one child and two children as his superhero companions.itsyourstory

A SuperDad mug is also available. Remind Dad that he really is a ‘SuperDad' every day with this 11oz personalised ceramic mug featuring him in a classic superhero pose.

Itsyourstory launched in 2004 with just three books. They were the first company in the UK to sell photo-personalised books on the web – and are still the best! Their range has expanded to 26 books as well as clothes, water bottles, mugs, posters, cards, party invites, e-books and e-cards. They have worked with companies including Nestle and Disney. To find out more visit https://www.itsyourstory.co.uk/. You can also keep up to date with news and offers on Facebook & Twitter.

 

 

Chatsworth House & Gardens

Chatsworth

Sam's Review (13): "We recently enjoyed a jam-packed day at Chatsworth which combined history (for me and the adults) and exciting places to explore for eager children (my little sister & brother!). Chatsworth is set in beautiful countryside, just the place for summer picnics, the drive towards the house was stunning - we were all wishing we could've lived in a fantastic house such as this!

We explored the gardens which are fantastic. There are plenty of places to run in and around, fabulous water features including an enormous lake with a towering fountain and plenty more fascinating sights around every corner such as walkways, rock gardens and lots of interesting statues.  There is a lovely little cafe where we enjoyed an ice-cream in the sun...aaaaah!

ChatsworthNext, we walked up the hill to the farmyard. My little sister and brother were delighted with the baby animals - goats, lambs, calves - and even a baby donkey that was only 2 weeks old. But, for me, even better was the adventure playground with high walkways, trampolines and fab slides. There was also a really clever sand and water playground where you could extract water from the passing steam!

Of course, there is also the actual house, and believe me, it is truly breathtaking. From the rich entrance hall to the huge fancy bedrooms with bathtubs and stunning artwork, I found it all fascinating! There are also great collections throughout the house including ancient statues, crystals and a display of shotguns, rifles and even swords. I am a Junior Librarian at school so I was particularly fascinated with the library - it was HUGE! I could've stayed there all day... 

For opening times and ticket options, visit www.chatsworth.org.

 

'Broadway Baby' by Chorus UK : Sheffield City Hall

Sam's Review (age 12): "Guess what?  Today I have been to a great concert with amazing music in the stunning Sheffield City Hall!  The concert was named'Broadway Baby' and was performed by a choir called Chorus UK and accompanied by Sheffield Pops Orchestra.  The whole show was hostedChorusUK by the funny  and wonderful Andy Booth as conductor, which when you sum it all up equals a simply marvellous show!

The show was in two acts with an interval (that gives you a moment to recall the fantastic music and save your breath for the next exciting half) and - as in the title - you will be able to guess that many popular songs from Broadway and West End musicals were performed.  The first act included three songs from (my favourite!) the musical that tells the untold story of the Witches of Oz: 'Wicked'.  The songs were the opening number just after Elphaba's demise (No One Mourns the Wicked), then the most popular song of the show when the green witch makes a broomstick fly (Defying Gravity) and finally the song between the two freinds Elphaba and Glinda who make up just before Dorothy throws a bucket of water over the witch (For Good).  Next, we heard a song from the jazzy musical 'Copacabana' and then the chilling title song from 'The Phantom of the Opera' celebrating the beloved works of Andrew Lloyd Webber.  There was also a song of dreams from Les Miserables (I Dreamed a Dream), which was a beautiful, stirring solo performance.

In the second act there was a section from Chicago about a group of women who had been locked up after witnessing startling events (my mum had to explain this song to me, I was shocked!!).  Then came a soloist who sang the charming lullaby tune from'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' (Hushabye Mountain) and next was the most well-known song (Memory) from Andrew Lloyd Webber's masterpiece 'Cats' sungChorusUK by the melancholy but warm hearted cat, Grizabella.  The finale was a lively song from 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' and then (sadly) that was the end of a memorable performance.  I can't find the right word so I suppose I better say that it was ...Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!!!"

For more details visit http://www.fono-productions.co.uk/chorus/what-is-chorusuk/ or follow Chorus UK on Twitter and Facebook.  Next concert ' Princes of Rock' is on 29th March 2015.

 

Enjoy a 'Staycation' with Holiday Inn & Yorkshire Wildlife Park

If you fancy spending a family holiday a little closer to home this year, then why not consider a yorkshire wildlife parkweekend break in South Yorkshire? The Holiday Inn Doncaster has a new leisure package which means you can take the family away for a break that is both exciting and educational. This great value for money package includes overnight accommodation, plus four tickets to Yorkshire Wildlife Park, all from £109 per night. 

Yorkshire Wildlife Park features a whole world of animals including lions and meerkats and some of the most cutting edge habitats in Europe. It’s great fun no matter how big the kids may be!  The park is lHoliday Innocated just a short drive away from the Holiday Inn Doncaster, which is just a stone’s throw away from the A1(M), in the heart of the quiet village of Warmsworth. With well appointed bedrooms and its own restaurant, serving a range of tasty meals that will suit all tastes, Holiday Inn Doncaster is a relaxing home from home. The hotel also features its own health club with an indoor heated pool, ideal for having a fun splash about at the end of the day!  For more information, or to book, visit www.qmh-hotels.com or call 01302 799988.

Brian's Review: The Holiday Inn is ideally located next to the A1 (M) but you could be a world away... We checked in at the peaceful hotel and soon found our spacious family room (with 'pick & mix' pillows!).  Shortly after check-in we headed to the health club for a family swim - it's only a yorkshire wildlife parksmall pool but - for the most part - we had the place to ourselves and it was a lovely relaxing way to start our weekend.  I must say that the hotel staff were extremely obliging during our stay, we needed something additional in the room and it was promptly sorted out. Breakfast the next morning was also extensive and a suitable table for the five of us was prepared very quickly. We really didn't know what to choose first!  We were also the last residents to leave the restaurant but we never felt hurried at all. yorkshire wildlife park

The drive to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park took less than 30 minutes and, as we arrived during a rainstorm, we were soon checking out the HUGE indoor slides!  There is plenty to fill a whole day at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park and you can time your stroll around the park to coincide with feeding times and animal talks. Our children particularly loved the baboons and the meerkats - all very entertaining. Definately worth a return visit as now they have a new Polar Bear enclosure that need to be checked out!

 

 

Lantern & Larks, Sweffling Hall, Suffolk: A Magical Glamping Experience

Picture this if you will….you’re standing on a veranda, glass of wine in your hand, golden fields, light blue skies and poplar trees are your view, you can hear children playing in the distance, but you know they’re safe, their laughter accompanied by two woodpeckers chattering as they swoop from tree to tree.

Our Welcome

This was our very first evening at Lantern & Larks, Sweffling Hall, Suffolk. As we were greeted on arrival by the friendly face of Laura, our host, we were shown to our Safari tent which was to be our home for the next couple of nights.  There were four tents, very well-spaced on the large field, although the retreats were completely booked we were unaware of our neighbours.

Now, think Harry Potter and the way the tents are described by J K Rowling: “Most looked almost ordinary; their owners had clearly tried to make them as Muggle-like as possible, but had slipped up by adding chimneys, or bellpulls, or weather vanes….. A little farther on they passed a tent that had three floors and several turrets; and a short way beyond that was a tent that had a front garden attached, complete with birdbath, sundial, and fountain. “Always the same,” said Mr. Weasley, smiling. “We can’t resist showing off”  The tents at Lantern & Larks are ‘showing off’ tents indeed, complete with double and bunk beds, comfy sofa, kitchen, warm shower, flushing toilet, you get the picture.  They also seem incredibly larger inside than out.

What can you do?

We’d brought our barbeque food with us, after purchasing a bag of charcoal and essential marshmallows from the honesty shop we were set for tea. After which we took our dogs for an evening stroll across the fields, catching the flash of a small deer every now and then.  We had seen that the nearby pub, just a short stroll along the lane, was highly recommended, but by this time we’d mesmerised the children with the fire pit and were too lazily relaxed to wander any distance from our tent.

Although the beds were extremely comfy, with fluffy duvets, cosy blankets and bedside lanterns, some of us rose early to catch the sunrise, which is a must when sleeping outdoors. Having ordered a breakfast pack, we busied ourselves with cooking bacon, eggs and sausages supplied on our log burning stove.

After establishing that there was little in the way of Wi-Fi connection and no TV the children sourced some board games from amongst the books and toys to swap in the honesty shop, so we spent the best part of the day playing. Something I think they were pleasantly surprised to enjoy. We laughed as the younger children from the other tents engaged in wheelbarrow races across the field.  A ten minute car journey to nearby Framlingham supermarket meant that we could stock up on more bbq goodies for tea. Another late night around the fire pit was enjoyed by all.

In short

Yes, you can buy yourself a tent and supplies, and book a pitch for a minimal cost at any of the hundreds of campsites in the UK.  And honestly, Lantern & Larks does cost the same amount as renting a holiday cottage.  But why, when most of us live in houses would we want to experience the same day to day routine on holiday? When you book a stay in these palatial canvas retreats you’re booking an experience, you’ll gain memories that will last a life time and you can rest assured that you’ll be warm, dry and you won’t have to share the conveniences with anybody else.

If you'd like to book your magical stay at Lantern & Larks please visit their website here or call 01638 563 478

 

Pirate School Stickers

pirate stickersThe School Stickers pirate themed reward chart is a vibrantly designed high quality card sticker chart. Its corresponding stickers feature colourful sea characters and can be personalised with the name of the school or child, and are perfect for rewarding good behaviour at home or in school.

Bev's Review: My little boy (5) LOVED these stickers! He is sticker-mad anyway and collects them with great pride so a nice big sticker reward chart and stickers with his NAME on...! Wow!They have been a great incentive to get him to spend more time practising his football and learning words and phonics. We will definately be on the look out for more when this supply has been used up (which may not be long at all...!)

 

Lonely Planet, 'Not for Parents'

lonely planetLonely Planet is the world’s leading travel content provider, supplying inspiring and trustworthy information for those planning a trip, on the road or browsing as an armchair traveller. This month, Lonely Planet has also revealed four new destination titles in it’s Not for Parents series, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Lonely Planet’s Not for Parents children’s series is designed for children aged 8-12 to help kids to understand the world through interesting information and quirky illustrations.

Sarah's review: Wow! What a book! The whole family loved this and this range will certainly be on Christmas wish-lists this year! This little guide to just about everything is presented in a quirky, cartoon style graphic, with eye-catching facts and amazing bits of information! Our favourite bit about it was that there was literally something for everyone. It kept our 7-year-old daughter occupied, looking at all the images and reading the short bursts of text, and the amazing (and sometimes slightly gruesome!) bits drew our 13-year-old son in too. There is nothing there which is unsuitable for a younger audience and we felt that it would encourage younger readers to want to read, whilst having enough interest to hold the older audience. Great value for money too. We love it!

Click here to see the Lonely Planet, 'Not for parents' books on Ebay.

 

Maynards discovery Patch 'Body Bits' and 'Animals' sweets

maynardsThese delicious new fruit flavoured jelly sweets have only recently launched and are the perfect alternative to Chocolate this Easter. They come in three different, exciting variants; Animals, Body Bits and Myths and Monsters and come wrapped up in a bag full of fun facts and quizzes perfect for the family to enjoy together, with plenty of fun and discovery. Furthermore, from the bag you can download the new Explore and Play app which allows families to enter into the world of augmented reality and delve into the depths of their imagination.

Sarah's review: The kids had great fun reading the fun facts on the packets, and identifying the ‘body bits’ and ‘animals’ as they ate. Each pack has a free Maynards App you can download, and when the front of the pack is scanned further fun facts can be accessed. Considering the all-natural flavours these were really pleasantly juicy and, unlike some other ‘natural’ sweets we have tried before, the consistency of the jelly was great too. We would definitely recommend them.

Click here to see Maynards Discovery Patch Sweets on Ebay.

 

Dino Bite

dino-biteThe DINO BITE monster action game (age 4+, rrp £19.99) is fearsome fun for everyone – and is, of course, especially popular with boys. A large green leaf covers twenty tiny, helpless Dino-babies who’ve been stolen from another dinosaur’s nest, by a huge T-Rex dinosaur. You’ve come to rescue them, but beware… the Dino will try to grab you, roaring out loud and lunging terrifyingly forward!

Claire's Review: Lovely Game for little ones, easy to put together and clip T Rex inplace. The dinosaur jumping made all of us jump!! My 3.5 year old was a bit scared by the leaping dinosaur, but was happy to help the dino babies escape. He struggled with the tweezers to get hold of the babies, so hooked them out instead. Lots of fun and screeching (although that was mainly mummy who jumped nearly everytime T Rex jumped!) Lovely game that has entertained other little boys who have come to play.

Click here to see Dino Bite on Ebay.

 

Magic Tooth Fairy Game

MagicToothFairyThe MAGIC TOOTH FAIRY board game (age 5+, rrp £19.99) ‘magically’ changes teeth into gold coins! When you land on a ‘Go To Bed’ space, place a tooth under the Magic Pillow, plunge the Tooth Fairy wand… and hey presto, when you lift up the pillow, the tooth has gone and in its place is a shiny gold coin! Both girls and boys become enthralled with this game – and it’s fun for the grown-ups to play with them, as well.

Paula's review: Both my children aged 3 and 6 were very excited when I showed them this game, and they were keen to help set it up. It is quick and simple to set up and both kids enjoyed sticking their plastic teeth in their plastic mouths. The game is quite simple to play and we all soon got the hang of it - it says on the game suitable for ages 5+ but with a little help my 3 year old played along quite happily. The most exciting bit of the game (according to the kids) is where you get to put your teeth under the magic pillow and it changes into a gold coin - they were both fascinated with this idea and were keen to keep playing so they could get to this bit. It was a great game which both ages could enjoy.

Click here to see The Magic Tooth Fairy Game on Ebay.

 

Kids Baz Bag by BeanBagBazaar

beanbagChildren can sit on this huge bean bag in up to four different seating positions, making this one of the most versatile kids’ bean bags available. It can be used as a giant floor cushion, an upright chair, a lounger or a canoe seat. The Kids Baz Bag® is made using 100% waterproof polyester which means you don’t have to worry about spillages - they run right off! It also means that sticky finger prints can be wiped away quickly and easily with a damp sponge. This waterproof fabric also means that the bean bag can be used outdoors in the summer months either as a garden sun lounger or sun chair bean bag.

Sarah's review: From the minute this big, bright, and brilliant bag arrived, it has been much used and loved! My daughter (aged 8) has loved discovering new ways to sit on it and has had lots of fun using it - the best discovery was using it to sit on whilst sliding down our stairs... cue much giggling!

The Kidz Bag is really comfortable and can be used as a seat in a variety of positions or just as a lovely big floor cushion. It's lightweight too which means it can easily be carried around the house but sturdy enough to withstand lots of use! The bag is a lovely bright colour and very easy to keep clean with it's waterproof and 'kid proof' covering, and we are looking forward to using it outside too as the weather improves. Think we will have lots of fun with this and we are sure it will last for years to come!

Click here to see The Kids Baz Bag by BeanBagBazaar on Ebay.

 

Reading Chest

reading chestResearch shows that reading with children for just ten minutes per day can make a dramatic difference in how well they perform at school. But finding enough interesting reading material at the right level for your child can be difficult, with few schools changing books on a daily basis and few libraries providing a solid selection of reading scheme books.  However, now you can encourage children to develop their love of reading with Reading Chest, an innovative book rental service for primary-age children learning to read.

Carrie's review: The Reading Chest is a great resource for a my child who is nearly 4, before they get to school, and also once they are there if you are concerned your child is not getting enough variety of books from their school to keep reading fun. I was able to easily choose his correct reading level on the website as it shows a selection of pages from books in each group. You can also select the type of book (fiction or no-fiction) or specific reading programmes you wish to include in your selection. The books arrived within a couple of days of registering.The first package arrived addressed to my son, which he loved! He was delighted with his book bag and keen to see which books he had. He has also enjoyed putting a sticker on his book chart when he has read a new one. Every night he has read at least one of his books and has also proudly taken them to pre-school to share with his friends and staff. I will be sending his first four books back soon for a new selection!

 

Party Bags

partybagThe All About Party Bags Magical Bag contains everything any mini-magician could wish for, available in a choice of coloured cellophane bags with curling ribbon. The awesome delights inside include a magic wall walker insect which miraculously tumbles down any smooth vertical surface mimicking the action of a real insect and a magic painting book in which colours appear after simply sweeping a paintbrush dipped in water across the page. Also included is a wipe-clean magic slate, a classic childhood favourite , and a magical magnetic picture containing iron filings and a magnet pen for hours of fun. Sweets can be included as an optional extra if desired.

Carrie's review: As we all know, the party bag is the sole reason most children go to parties!
I requested to try the 'Magical Party Bag' from the selection available. The bag would have been £1.80 to purchase. My initial impression of the party bag was that it was nice and colourful and well presented.  The contents were pretty standard party bag type items, with the addition of the Chinese finger trap which I have not seen in party bags my children have been given before. Both children have spent hours throwing the tumbling wall-walker man at every available surface!On the whole I would say the bags were not bad value for the money, easy for busy parents planning a party and the range of themed bags available was very varied. It saves you the hassle of making up your own party bags but don’t bother with the chocolate!

 

Doh Nutters

dohnuttersIt’s an elephantastic fun-for-all! Everyone loves playing the famous and great value DOH NUTTERS action game (rrp £14.99, age 4+). Using your bespectacled ‘big ears’ trunk mask, you and the other players frantically scoop up all of your own coloured doughnuts as fast as possible. The first one is easy, the next harder - and with the final doughnut, tension reaches an all time high!

Angela's Review: I was so looking forward to giving this game a whirl! What could be more fun than putting on a mask and having a whole load of fun. When the product arrived I was very impressed with the bright packaging and on opening the box and tipping out contents was even more impressed with the bright colours of the masks and rings. At first was very hard to get the donuts to slip over the trunk but after one of us discovered the knack to this it became a very fast paced and competitive game. There is a knack but I’m not going to spoil your fun trying to figure this out. Hard for little ones to keep rings on while attempting to get other rings so we adapted so kids could sit the captured ring to side. A well made and fun product lots of family fun in store only negative is the board.

Click here to see Doh Nutter on Ebay.

 

New Jubbly Smoothies
jubbly smoothieCalypso’s Jubbly Smoothies have proved so popular in schools, that 2014 now sees them in supermarkets. Made with 50% pure juice and crushed fruit, these new individual sorbet-like desserts, are ready to freeze at home and are fast becoming the ‘go to’ healthy, great tasting treat for parents.  Available in two delicious fruity combinations: Strawberry & Banana; and Orange, Mango & Passion fruit, they freeze into a luxurious sorbet like dessert providing a healthy and refreshing snack. With no artificial flavours, colours, sweeteners or preservatives, they are school approved and provide an ideal dessert at home.

Michelle's Review: Lovely Jubbly Smoothies! A frozen smoothie – what a lovely treat on a hot summer’s day! It is so nice to find a refreshing frozen treat that isn’t full of sugar or contain added colour, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives. I have a feeling this product would even be suitable for vegans!  Well, we have tested them out and all loved them! My three year old son does not like cakes, chocolate or ice cream. But he loves Jubbly Smoothies! He keeps on asking for them - so I guess he knows what’s good for him!

Angela's Review: The packaging of the inner product is nice and neat perfect for filling all those wee gaps in your freezer. Perfect that can just freeze a couple at a time, rather than whole box. The Strawberry and banana one was my personal preferred choice, the consistency of this one felt smoother like a very tasty sorbet.  Good to have in the freezer on a hot summer’s day when a drink just doesn’t cut it and the fact they have decent fruit juice content in each little container is a big bonus. Also great for out and about due to the ability to rip open squeeze and eat creating very little mess for little hands and big hands alike. My Daughter loves these and just the right size for little ones and well the big ones can always have a few.

 

OtterBox iPhone 5/5s

otterboxThe Commuter Series Wallet for iPhone 5/5s is a protective smartphone case that also provides concealed storage and quick access for your cash and cards. Convenience, security, trusted OtterBox protection — it's everything you need all in one. Now all that's left for you to do is grab your essentials and go.As the only iPhone 5/5s wallet case on the market with a front-facing access drawer and audible click closure, this case gives you peace of mind knowing the items inside are safe, secure and for your eyes only. The wallet drawer holds up to three cards and one bill and slides open for quick access to the contents inside. See more at: OtterBox

Tom's Review: This case is fantastic! It makes carrying money and cards less of a hastle. The case doesnt obstruct any other features on the phone such as camera, sound buttons, sound etc. The case makes for quick access to money and cards when ever you want. I personally think having a wallet on the back of the phone is great because I have my phone out almost all the time!

Click here to see the OtterBox Iphone 5/5s on Ebay.

 

LifeProof iPhone 5/5s or Samsung Galaxy S4

lifeboxLifeProof, the award-winning maker of all-protective, everyday cases for smartphones and tablets, have launched the LifeProof fre; a water proof, dirt proof, snow proof and shock proof case for the iPhone. The LifeProof fre provides protection from the elements as well as from drops, scratches, sweat, dirt and other hazards of daily living.  LifeProof fre was put through a series of independent lab tests to meet military standards for shock and impact protection, and has an IP-68 rating for water, dirt, and snow protection. In addition, every single LifeProof case is water-tested at the factory before shipping to customers.

Toms Review: This case is beyond perfect for a festival or anywhere where it might need protection. I put it on my Iphone for 3 days to test it out and was very suprised. The case isn't bulky or off putting, It doesnt alter the width or length which is good in term of comfort. It is infact water proof. I tried this by putting it in a bowl of water.. It came out fine!(Thankfully) The tight case and design is flawless . I would recommed this to anybody thinking of taking their phone to a festival or somewhere rough.

Click here to see The LifePorrd Iphone/ Smasung Case on Ebay.

 

Jabra Solemate Mini

bluetooth speakerThe new Jabra SOLEMATE Mini is the perfect travel companion that lets users take their music to places they’d never have thought possible. Hassle free and designed for use anywhere, the SOLEMATE mini has many handy features including Bluetooth and NFC technology, durability, 8 hour battery life and an integrated cable in the sole of the speaker so users have the choice to connect wirelessly or wired. Available in a range of bold primary colours. £79.99 | Available from Amazon.co.uk

Tom's Review: This Pocket sized Jabra Solemate is big sound in a small package. I used this over the  Easter weekend when I had a few friends over and they were all stunned by its performance. The sound quality is great and volume is perfect for a room. The jaggered design at the bottom gives it grip so it wont fall off the surface its placed upon. With it being BlueTooth, it is super easy to connect up any of your devices. Great little house/portable speaker.

Click here to see the Jabra Solemate Mini on Ebay.

 

QDOS Q-BOPZ Suction speaker

bluetooth speakerAvailable in 7 different eye catching colours, the QDOS Q-BOPZ features a handy suction pad to enable it to stick to almost anything. It can be stuck to the back of a smartphone or tablet and used as a stand with sound, or stuck to a window, desk, or car dashboard for music on the go.  Perfect for parties or relaxing at home, it's covered in silicon which makes it durable and splash resistant. The bluetooth range is 10 metres and it provides up to seven hours continuous playback. The volume goes pretty high too!

Tom's Review: This speaker is genius. The suction pad makes it 100% portable. One minute I was using it in my car and the next it was on the back of my phone while I was walking around. The sound quality of the speaker is great considering the low price. I was pleasantly suprised with the bass and overall sound quality. If you need a portal speaker I would recommend this. 

Click here to see QDOS Q-BOPZ Suction Speaker on Ebay.

 

Tech Too Smart Phone, Tablet, Keys and Remote Control

For parents, losing your gadgets and technology totechtoo your toddlers is an all too familiar situation. KD UK is here to help and has introduced Tech Too – realistic child-proof versions of a smartphone, a tablet, a bunch of keys and a remote control.  Each Tech Too item has educational benefits, teaching pre-schoolers about colours, numbers, the alphabet, phonics, spelling, and even first words in French!  The Kooky Keys feature a fun flip-out car key; My First Remote Control offers discovery and quiz modes, as well as a French option; the Smooth Touch Smartphone introduces animals and numbers; And the Alphabet Tablet helps children begin to recognise letters, sounds and spelling.

Charlene's Review: We found this product very similar to the real thing and both my children enjoyed playing with it. Although its made for small children my 6 year old found it interesting as its bilingual and I found him learning to count along with it in French! Interested to see what the Alphabet tablet can do.

 

Razor Berry Scooters

Here comes the fun! The kids are out of school and full of energy. If you’re worried about how to keep them entertained, look no further than these top Scooters from re:creation, which promise oodles of outdoor fun! Walking is so last year! Scooting on the Razor Berry is the coolest way to travel and get kids exercising the fun way. Aimed at girls and boys aged 6+, the Razor Berry has a cool skateboard style deck and comes in three juicy colours – raspberry, gooseberry and blueberry!

Sam's review (10yrs): I recently received one of Razor Berry's cool scooters! I wrote this review so people know how brilliant they are. I received the 'blueberry' scooter which is blue and orange but you can have other funky bright colours too! The scooter is very good to improve your balancing skills and I have had hours of fun. Mum and Dad like it as it gets me out of the house. Yep this company make cool & funky scooters, so don't delay buy a Razor Berry product today!

Dad's review (Not 10yrs!): The Razor Berry scooter is excellent! Well made and very sturdy, it's very colourful and attractive to the eye. The scooter ticks all the right boxes from a parent's perspective. A sure fire winner of a gift idea to encourage your kids to get outside and enjoy some fresh air!

Click here to see the Razor Berry Scooter on Ebay.

 

LeapFrog’s Scribble and Write 

LeapFrog’s Scribble and Write, helps children learn how to write upper and lowercase letters and numbers in a mess free environment – a perfect addition from Santa’s sleigh on Christmas morning. This innovative product has an easy-to-grip stylus pen to fit perfectly in little hands and provides instant accuracy feedback on shapes and proper stroke order along the way. Suitable for children aged three plus, this device also helps children explore letter sounds, counting and much more. It uses a retraceable surface and is easily portable to allow little ones to play and practice wherever they go.

Eva's review: I got the Scribble and Write for my 4 year old daughter who has just started learning to recognize and write letters at school. It teaches lower and upper case letters and numbers 1-10 by tracing the lights with a stylus with easy to follow instructions. Children can interact by stamping their feet, patting their tummies or clapping their hands e.g. 3 times after writing number 3. When finished writing, you move the slider at the bottom to rub it out and start again. It is a very sturdy and durable toy. We already have Leapfrog Count & Draw which she loves - it is very similar but teaches numbers, shapes and has early maths games. Overall, very educational toy which helps my daughter practice writing and keeps her occupied, so brilliant on those long car journeys.

Click here to see LeapFrog's Scribble and Write on Ebay.

 

The Deep

The Deep, one of the most spectacular aquariums in the world is located in Hull, East Yorkshire. This award-winning visitor attraction is home to over 3,500 fish including spectacular sharks and rays – making it the perfect family day out. The dramatic building offers a unique blend of stunning marine life, interactives and audio-visual presentations which together tell the dramatic story of the world’s oceans. Journey from the birth of the oceans into the future. Travel from tropical lagoons to the icy waters of Antarctica. As you descend deeper into the oceans come face to face with sharks, rays, shimmering golden trevally and hundreds of other exotic species. Daily highlights include dive presentations and animal feedings when our fully trained divers go into the tanks, discovery corner sessions where you can get up close with some of our animals, taking a ride in our glass lift through the 10m tank and walking through Europe’s deepest viewing tunnel. 

Sam's (11yrs) review: We went to a very special place...the worlds only submarium....THE DEEP! It was absolutely amazing! It was bursting to the brim with fish and facts. Budding marine archeologists and sea scientists this is for you! There is so much to see. I didn't know for example that clownfish used yucky sticky slime to live in their homes.Believe me you should book your tickets as soon as you can because it is the perfect family trip. And especially with the moon jelly fish the rays and the new bug champions exhibit. So don't delay visit THE DEEP today!

Dad's review: We had been to The Deep before but were looking forward to our return trip. With 4 kids in tow (two boys and two girl, ages: 11, 7, 6 & 4), The Deep didn’t disappoint and we had a great day with plenty to keep all 4 kids (plus one ‘big’ kid) entertained. Our highlights included: ‘finding Nemo’ (ie. Checking out the Clownfish), Green Sawfish, Sharks, the tunnel, glass lift, discovery corner and soft play area – there was plenty to do. We took our own picnic on this occasion but there is an onsite café. The Team at The Deep were very welcoming, knowledgeable and happy to help with any questions. It's good value for money, especially compared to other aquariums / zoos we have visited. Top Tip: complete a Day Plus Pass and your ticket(s) remain valid for a year so you can come back again without having to pay again.

 

The T-shirt Booth App  

From Digital Giving, The T-Shirt Booth is a free phone and web app which will enable people to buy uniquely personalised T-Shirts featuring their favourite children’s characters while raising money for good causes. Characters including Moshi Monsters, Paddington Bear, Ben 10, Forever Friends and the casts of Lazy Town and Adventure Time, are among a long list of well-known children's characters that have signed up to the T-Shirt Booth app, enabling young fans to choose which screen star they want to wear, along with a message, and a photo. Each T-Shirt will cost £9.99, with £2 from each sale going to the charity associated with the character purchased.

Rachel's review: The t-shirt booth App is easy to download. Attractive and easy to use, you select your choice of character then size of t-shirt and choose a background colour and upload a photo with choice of name underneath. Payment is via paypal and the order arrives via Royal Mail very quickly. The t-shirt quality is good and sizing is accurate. The picture quality will be lost slighty so make sure the photo is clear to start with. This is a great idea for a unique, reasonably priced gift. There is a helpline if needed and the customer service is outstanding. 

 

Stryder Radio Controlled Dart Blasting Attacknid 

From Wow!Stuff, The Attacknid is the ultimate action blasting robot! Explore terrain like no other R/C wheeled vehicle can! Carpet, laminate, grass, gravel, sand and even snow – nothing stops your Attacknid from reaching its target! The 360-degree rotating head delivers ultra-maneuverability meaning you’ll never get stuck in corners or behind objects again! The Attacknids are the perfect present for anyone who loves robots and can be played with alone or for more fun re-enact battle scenes with groups of friends. 

Debbie's review: This is a ‘WOW’ present! The kids were very excited by the Attacknid! In fact, everyone who was allowed to have a go with it (aged from 3 – under close supervision, to 48) absolutely loved it! They enjoyed moving the robotic arms and legs to make it move around the room, then aim and fire at targets! The blaster controls on the radio controlled handset allow all 12 darts to be either fired quickly in succession or individually fired after being lined up at different targets. The Attacknid has quickly become my son’s favourite toy.

Click here to see the Stryder Radio Controlld Dart Blasting Attacknid on Ebay.

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