Ravensburger Break Free Game – Review

Break Free from Ravensburger is a fast paced interactive game best suited to ages 6+.  It involves chaining yourself up in a handcuff which is attached via a chain to other players and then being the first to unpick the lock and Break Free.

The Break Free game pieces consists of 4 special padlocks with chains, 12 unique locking puzzles that you insert in the to base of the handcuff – 4 of each level, 4 lockpicks and 12 tokens.  To play the game all players (can be played by 1 to 4 at a time) put one of the puzzle pieces (green for easy, yellow for a bit harder and red for tricky) into their padlock then attach the padlock to their wrist. You clip all the ends of the chains together and are then ready to begin.

The idea is in each round, the first player to unpick their lock, takes the highest numbered token, the next player takes the next highest token and so forth.  So the first round you all start with green which is the easiest and work upwards.

What I really liked about this game is that all four of us could join in, mummy, daddy, 10yr old and 8yr old.  We were really were all at equals trying to unpick the locks and although sometimes you though you got the knack, in the next round you would struggle again.

It certainly got competitive with everyone eager to unlock their padlocks and be the first!

Another aspect that I liked about this Ravensburger Break Free game is that within each level, all the lock puzzles have different sequences within them, so if someone works out a quick way to turn their pick to make their way through the lock, then if you play the game again and mix the pieces up, they are likely to have a different route to follow to unpick the lock which keeps everyone on their toes.

Even though the 8yr old got a little frustrated on the harder levels at times, you can see he is thrilled here when he beat his older sister.  The kids also loved it when daddy got stuck sometimes just going round in circles and not actually unlocking his handcuff so they had to help unpick his lock at the end – of course mummy succeeded in coming in the top two places in most rounds!

Break Free by Ravensburger is a fun family game that all ages can join in or the kids can just play alone.  My boy even enjoyed having a go on his own although I think he was trying to hone his unpicking technique for future rounds.  We like this with it’s fast paced competitiveness and the excitement it brings – a good one to add to Santa’s list I think!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

Our Family at Halloween

Since the children were born, Halloween has always been a fun event that the children really look forward to.  Once the boy’s birthday is over mid October we start visiting local Halloween attractions.  We particularly love the National Trust trails, with one of our favourite being at Saltram House, our nearest, although others nearby that we would recommend are at Buckland Abbey and Cotehele which also offers pumpkin carving and is set by a river estuary with beautiful gardens.  All of them though are stunning on a sunny day and never let you down with the amazing plants throughout the gardens and always provide a peaceful, calm experience that is enjoyed by all the family!

The view above is of our walk around Saltram House gardens whilst doing the pumpkin trail.  I love the colour of the Autumn leaves and seeing them fallen to the ground across the lawn, the house is the perfect backdrop for this.

The trails at Saltram always keep the kids occupied whether they are inside or out.  The pumpkin trail was through the gardens and consisted of looking for letters of the alphabet in areas where there were pumpkins and then solving the anagram of letters to find a word.  The newly 8yr old Mister B exceeded in his word knowledge as usual and came up with the answer a mere 5 letters into the 8 letter word!!

One thing I love about National Trust properties is the appeal to both young and old.  Although my children don’t notice certain elements, I really appreciate things like this gorgeous Autumn wreath abundant with golden colours upon one of their doors.

As it gets closer to Halloween the children are keen to carve pumpkins so we always go pumpkin shopping together.  This year we’ve been particularly busy so ended up at our local supermarket and picked out some large pumpkins (this did require Miss M climbing over several giant boxes of them to uncover the best looking/shaped ones!).

Here are Mister B’s, Mummy’s and Miss M’s designs:

And in the dark:

Waste not want not!

As we carve our pumpkins we firstly scoop out the pulp which is filled with the seeds.  If you run this under cold water over a colander you’ll find the seeds separate really easily away from the pulp which is great if you wish to toast them.  After discarding the pulp, give the seeds a shake, allow them to dry for a while then lay them out on a baking tray.  Give them a good slug of olive oil, a generous sprinkle of salt and roast in the oven for half an hour or so until golden brown.  These make a delicious snack or a great addition to a bowl of soup.

Once the pulp and seeds are gone, we use an ice cream scoop to scrape out some of the flesh from around the edge.  We find quite a lot comes out and by making the pumpkin wall a little thinner it is easier to carve.  I then add the flesh to some fried onions, garlic and a few vegetable stock cubes and boil up in my extra large cooking pot until softened.  Then I use my hand blender to smooth into a thick, easy to eat, hearty soup. Serve with a good grinding of black pepper and a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds.

Once our tummies are filled with a warming bowl of soup it’s time to get out in the neighbourhood trick or treating.  Mister B doesn’t like the scary look so opted for the cute skeleton dress up this year whilst Miss M preferred a Dracula style image.

Despite several heavy downpours, nothing deterred these two from their Trick or Treating.  With a bag in hand to carry any treats they received, I have to say they did pretty well.  As well as a mega haul of sweets, they came back with a chocolate doughnut, a plastic spider and a freshly made spider cake (although this got devoured on the way round!).

What did your family get up to for Halloween?  Did your kids go Trick or Treating?

Hempz Milk & Honey Exfoliating Herbal Body Whip Review

Hempz Milk & Honey Exfoliating Herbal Body Whip is part of the new Milk & Honey range.  Featuring fully vegan products packed full of natural ingredients including 100% pure Hemp oil, I was excited to check it out and see how if faired on my skin.

Upon opening the pot of Milk & Honey Body Whip the smell of this product is amazing – I can’t stop sniffing it!  The texture is whipped making it ultra lightweight and it feels really soft as you massage across damp skin.  With finely cut walnut shells to exfoliate it feels really gentle and natural but effective as you use it to revive and liven up your top layer of skin.

Key ingredients include:

  • 100% Pure Natural Hemp Seed Oil
  • Agave Extract, Rice Extract
  • Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Shea Butter
  • Vitamins A, C and E

Perfect for use in the shower, I couldn’t wait to give it a try and include it in my daily bodycare routine several times a week.  To keep dry Winter skin at bay or get that Summer smooth body this is perfect for year round use.  Keep reading to see what I thought about it below.

This Hempz Milk & Honey Exfoliating Herbal Body Whip is really easy to massage across your body and feels really gentle but stimulating helping to bring the skin alive.  I loved the light but effective texture and it also has lots of moisturising properties that left my skin really soft and glowing.  The fragrance lingers and my skin feels ultra supple after use.  This is a really fabulous, luxurious exfoliating product that gets a big thumbs up from me for both it’s results and it’s natural, vegan ingredients!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

Ravensburger The Country Station 100pc Jigsaw Puzzle & Giveaway

Ravensburger The Country Station 100pc Jigsaw Puzzle has extra large pieces to enable fiddle free and easy puzzling. With the puzzle pieces being around double the size of standard pieces, they are easier to find and quicker to complete along with being able to see more detail on each piece.

The Country Station is no.2 in the popular Day in the Country puzzle line and shows a nostalgic image of a station scene.  There is lots of detail and colour from the people and the skyline making the puzzle a joy to do and simple to find the correct location for the pieces.  With the pieces being larger than normal it’s easier to identify where they should go and we couldn’t wait to get started.  My 10yr old daughter decided she wanted to give it a go and sat down one afternoon and completed it.  She found it enjoyable to do and it looked good when finished.

Below you can see the finished Ravensburger puzzle of The Country Station which measures 49 x 36 cm when completed.  With a linen finish to the top it helps to avoid glare and the pieces are a sturdy premium cardboard.  Lastly I’m pleased to offer one of my readers a chance to win a copy for themselves – it’s simple to enter, just scroll down and fill out the Gleam form below!

Ravensburger The Country Station puzzle

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

Mix-Up Clay – the Non-Messy Craft Activity – Review

Mix-Up Clay from Alphabet Pie is a unique mess free clay and colouring tints that are a winner with kids and adults alike.  It’s hard to imagine a substance that doesn’t make a mess especially when colour is involved so I had the art mat on the table in case but actually the Mix-Up Clay proved to be as clean and friendly as it suggested and a great pliable play substance for all ages.  My 7 and 10 yr olds were both keen to have a go so I divided the pack of clay between them and let them create!

They found the white Mix-Up Clay substance to be very lightweight, soft and easy to manipulate making it suitable for really young ones.  They loved pulling it apart, rolling it into balls and seeing how far they could stretch it. The tints are incredible, you just take a small piece on the end of your finger and mix it into the white clay and knead it around until the colour spreads throughout.  By adding further tint you can strengthen the colours to form really bright bold colourways.  You are given the three primary colours along with black and this enables you to create any colour you want, so for example my children mixed a bit of yellow and blue tint on a piece of clay to create green.

It wasn’t long before shapes started forming and my 7yr old began with some eyes for his creation.  He decided to make some fruit shapes, an apple and banana whilst the 10yr old make a monster!

I have to say I’m really impressed with their finished clay pieces which then require around 6 hours drying time.  The whole process couldn’t be more simple and mess free – mould your clay, colour it as you wish, then let you design air dry!  Throughout the entire process your fingers stay clean, non sticky and don’t pick up any of the colour of the tints.  The clay doesn’t crumble into little pieces as you pull it apart so you really do end up with a mess free table as well as clean hands – a fantastic unique product that I’ve not come across before.

The finished designs are really lightweight, almost with a foam like weight to them so it’s easy for children to carry them around without them being too delicate.  My impressions of Mix-Up Clay are very favourable and it definitely kept my two children occupied for a while and they both loved it’s ease of use in both manipulating the clay and also the simple ability to colour it.  I love it due to it’s mess free nature and it’s definitely something I’d purchase again for them, perfect for indoor crafting any time, any day!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

Go Ape Haldon Forest Devon – Review

Go Ape is known across the country for it’s Tree Top adventures among other activities such as Forest Segway and last week Haldon Forest in Devon opened up it’s brand new Tree Top Junior adventure – perfect for children over 1m tall and is available to both children and adults alike.  I knew my two would be delighted to try it out so as we were passing Haldon Hill for our holidays, we popped in to check it out.

The children had no idea we were stopping as we heading Exeter bound on the A38 so when we stopped off at Haldon Forest and they spotted the Go Ape signs their eyes lit up with excitement in anticpation of what lie ahead!

There is a large car park at Haldon Forest for all your foresting adventures and once parked up we followed the directions that lead us to the Go Ape reception.  The staff were very welcoming and asked us to read the safety guidelines and sign in, and then we were directed over to the Tree Top Junior starting area.  Again here we found the staff incredibly friendly, happy to help and encouraging as they gave the children their harnesses and showed them how to proceed along the structures between the trees.

Needless to say both children were incredibly excited and fearless as they made their way around the Go Ape Tree Top Junior courses and loved waving to me from up high.  Every section of crossing is different with the wood structure that you step on laid out differently from straight planks to crosses, zig zags to netting walk throughs.

At the end of each round you get to zipwire down to the ground and it’s a great size with a fantastic landing pad at the end.  The children were thrilled with the height it came down from and certainly helped end each round on an ultimate thrill.  There are loops to follow through the trees and if you are fast paced you can repeat some again until your hour time limit is up.  The hour around the course costs £18 per person and for what it entails it is good value and certainly left my children feeling overjoyed and incredibily upbeat at the end.  The staff as I’ve mentioned beforehand are incredibly friendly and help the children at various points along with double checking their harnesses are tight.  A nice finishing touch is a sticker and certificate to certify that they have completed the Tree Top Junior course and left them feeling delighted at their experience at Go Ape Haldon Forest!

Would we attend again?  Most definitely yes as according to my kids the experience is “amazing, phenomenal and can we come again?”.

I think I can safely say if my kids behave we’ll be back for treat days out at Go Ape Haldon Forest – just 40 minutes up the road from home it’s a great place to visit to explore the outdoors with adventures at Go Ape along with walking trails, bike trails and much more!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

Incredibles 2 Puzzles from Jumbo Games – Review & Giveaway

Incredibles 2 has landed on the big screen and is a fun family film featuring the Elastigirl, Mr Incredible, Jack-Jack, Violet and Dash as they go about their normal day to day life before coming together again to save the day.  Jumbo Games have come up with these fun, great quality puzzles for children of various ages to do.  I love that they have both a 100 piece one aimed at children 5+ and a 200 piece one for 7+.

My little boy age 7 was eager to give them a try so we got our puzzle mats out and he started with the 100 piece.  He loved the chunky pieces, and before long he completed it entirely on his own.  He then moved onto the 200 piece which did prove a little more tricky.  I know he is able so always make him do the puzzles on his own, but hint and point out areas that would be easy to start with.  He always starts with the edges and I helped him find them but he put them all together.

He then move onto the the eyes and faces of the Incredibles 2 characters as these are the prominent areas and the pieces were easy to pick out and he could identify where they went on the board.

By the end of the day both puzzles were completed and I had one very proud little boy!  These Incredibles 2 puzzles are great fun and come in lovely bright colours to keep kids interested.  Featuring the characters from the film, they are instantly recognisable and kids love to see images they associate with.

To celebrate the release of the film, I have both of these Jumbo Games Incredibles 2 puzzles to give away to one lucky reader.  If you want to enter just fill in the Gleam form below:

Incredibles 2

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

Poonicorns – a combination of Unicorns and Emoji Poo

Poonicorns are the latest creation from Bandai toys, combining two of the hottest trends ‘unicorns’ and ’emoji poo’.  The plush collection contains an array of different size characters including little blind packs of Squishiez so let’s take a look below.

Although I’m not the biggest fan of emoji poo, my 7yr old little boy is and along with that is fascinated by the lastest unicorn craze so these ‘Poonicorns’ have been a huge hit with him and covered both bases.  What I really like about them is their bright neon colours which help you forget the emoji poo aspect and then they have the unicorn elements in the form of a yellow horn and rainbow hair.

My 7yr old just adores his Poonicorn pillow which at approximately 40cm tall is a great size along with being ultra soft and cuddly.  It lives on his bed and is cuddled religiously every night!

Smaller Pooincorns in the range include a 9cm hanging Plushiez, 6.5cm Droplingz, and a 15cm Plushiez priced at £3.99, £4.99 and £6.99 respectively.  This makes them great prices for pocket money or gift items.  They are all really soft too, meaning kids love to cuddle them and the clips allow them to be hung to bags or used as keyrings etc.

The Droplingz come in brightly coloured specked eggs which add to the excitement of not knowing which one you will get inside.  My boy also loved the egg casing and has kept it to play with.

Last but not least are the little collectible Squishiez Poonicorns (shown in the picture below alongside a Droplingz egg) which each come in a single coloured round plastic ball but you won’t know until you open it which colour you will get. The casing also doubles up as a little stand to display your Squishiez on and my little boy has these displayed along his windowsill.  These characters are soft and squidgy and are fun to play with.

How cute are these once on show in there little egg stands?

So I think you can tell these have been a big hit with my boy – he loves his collectibles along with emoji poo and unicorns so I think Poonicorns are the perfect answer to his favourite things!!

Have your kids caught onto the latest Poonicorn craze yet?

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

I-Top Electronic Spinning Top – Review

I-Top is the latest spinning top toy from Character Toys and comes packed full of challenges.  With an electronic display as it spins it will display your last score, highest score and various images as you unlock certain numbers.

The I-Tops spinning tops coming in four colours, red, blue, green and purple.  Batteries are included which is great as they are ready to go when opened.  My first impression of the spinning tops was that there were sturdy well made pieces and I love the fact that the centre post folds in so they are essentially flat – great for travel, in your pocket and taking around with you.

The children aged 10 and 7 were eager to give the spinning tops a try and were soon addicted.  The fact that you can see your previous score and highest score was a big bonus and incentive to try and achieve more.  Each time you spin the I-Top, it shows your last score for 5 seconds then changes to your high score.  There are then additional challenges, such as stop the spinner at 99 revolutions to gain a star and spin no more than 30 revolutions each alternate way 4 times to get a compass with N, E, S, W points on your spinner!

Certain numbers dictate certain images too, so managing to stop on 314 (Pi), 606 (UFO) or 777 (slot machine) for example will give you fun pictures to look at on the spinner.  My children love these and we find them great competitive fun even if it’s for a few random minutes during the day.  They are always lying around ready to be played with and as soon as someone has a spin, the others watch to see what score they achieve!

My 10 yr old daughter has been the most successful so far with a pretty amazing score of 653!!! Wow!!!  Can you beat her?  Would love to hear about any high scores you have!!

The I-Top is available directly from Character toys or also from Amazon and is a great way to bring back that childhood spinning top toy to the modern day, and one your kids will love with it’s dynamic instant light up score of the number of revolutions along with other fun images and challenges!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

Incredibles 2 100 Piece Puzzle from Ravensburger

Incredibles 2 is due out in cinema’s on 13th July 2018 and brings us the fun loving family of superheroes who love to fight crime and beat the villains.  With baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superhero powers it’ll be fun to see how he gets on in this adventure helping the others.  To celebrate the release, Ravensburger have produced this fun new 100 piece puzzle aimed at 6 years plus.

My boy aged 7 was excited when he saw this and couldn’t wait to get started.  I know he is able to do this unaided and despite him asking for help initially, I just verbally guided him and let him put all the pieces in place.  He started with the edges and soon got to grips with finding pieces and before long was flying along at his own pace.

The finished Incredibles 2 puzzle is a really good size and looks great on the floor or table.  The individual pieces are also well sized and great for little hands.  The size of the pieces also allows for more recognition of what area of the puzzle it may belong too, e.g. the writing across the bottom was easy to spot on pieces and one of the first edges my boy completed.

As you can see my boy was thrilled to complete the puzzle and felt proud that he had achieved it all by himself.  I love watching them do simple things like puzzles as it gets their brain working and takes them away from technology for a while.

On the other hand, don’t forget to head to the big screen from 13th July onwards to catch the new Incredibles 2 film and see the adventures of this superhero family in action!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.