Beados Gems Designer Studio – Review

Beados Gems Designer Studio from Character toys is a great way to turn your Beados designs into something useful.  Young girls love jewellery and 7yr old Miss M is no exception.  Having used other Beados sets before, she was keen to try this and make something she could wear.

beados gemsThe set does require minor assembly when it comes out of the box but does create a work station that stores all of the beads in separate sections at the top, and a tube which dispense the beads onto your template.  Included are packs of coloured beads, a water spray bottle, 2 templates to hold the beads, picture templates and accessories to turn the designs into jewellery.

beados 1 Miss M was very impressed with this and excited to fill it up with beads.  To dispense the beads into the tube you can turn the circular part until the colour bead you require is at the front then press the button on top and it lets a bead come down the tube.  Keep pressing until you have the required number of beads.

beados 2Once you have finished your design, you need to lightly spray it with water, which magically adheres the beads together, then leave alone until completely dry.

beados 3When dry you can carefully slide the designs from the bead template and they are then free to do as you please.  On the ones we wanted to use for jewellery we had some backing pieces to stick on using a squirt of water.  The bracelet flowers also required careful assembly and can get a bit sticky if you over water, something I had to keep reminding Miss M who loved to squirt the water sprayer!   Once everything is dry you can pop the pieces into the ring and pendant holders and wear your jewellery.  What is a nice idea is that you can easily swap the designs in the ring and pendant by simply popping them out and putting a different one in.

Here are our finished jewels:

beados 4This is a great craft set for a young girl, with which they will have lots of fun and enjoy creating.  I think this would make a lovely present at either birthday or Christmas time.

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

 

Summer Crafts with Baker Ross

Baker Ross has a fabulous range of home craft kits and the box of summer crafts we received from them certainly didn’t disappoint.  My two children love arts and crafts and couldn’t wait to get started! baker rossWe started with the Rainbow Lacing kits which they did when a couple of friends came over.  All the children were totally engrossed and loved this craft.

baker ross rainbow 1Firstly they had great fun using a pencil to punch out the centres of the pre cut holes in which the laces go.  Then they laced around the rainbow adding beads at the end before sticking cloud and sun stickers to give it a 3d effect.

baker ross rainbow 2Another lacing craft we did was the Wooden Frame Lacing which I wasn’t sure how keen they would be but both of them were so enthusiastic and wanted to do these, it surprised me.  They sat eagerly in the garden totally engrossing themselves in picking coloured strands of wool and threading them across the frame.

baker ross threadAnd here are their finished results!

baker ross thread 2The Garden Gnome Wind Chimes caused a lot of excitement over who was going to colour which design.  We also received some acrylic decoration pens which I was very impressed with.  They were so easy to use and left really vibrant colours on the wood as we coloured without any mess.

baker ross gnomesI loved the children’s creations and couldn’t wait to hang them in the garden.

baker ross gnomes 2Finally we set to work on this cute little craft baskets which the Deco pens worked perfectly on.  We also had some stick on gems, which had a simple peel off back to add some glitz to the baskets.

baker ross bags4yr old Mister B did his own designs, while 7yr old Miss M decorated some baskets especially for Nanny as it’s her birthday coming up and we are going to get some chocolates to put inside and use as a gift bag.

baker ross bags 2My children have absolutely loved the Baker Ross craft kits and have sat down over many days trying out different ones.  These are all perfect to occupy little ones over the summer holidays and are simple to do, but effective when completed.

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

 

 

Easy Nails Nail Spa – Review

Easy Nails Nail Spa from Character toys is every young girls dream, a gadget that paints your nails while you sit back and relax!  I have to say 7 yr old Miss M’s eyes lit up when she saw this and she couldn’t wait to get started and try it out.

nail spa 1The Nail Spa is aimed at ages 5+ and comes as one main unit.  The only separate parts are the brush heads, of which you get three.  They simply push in and out for easy removal to wash or if you want to use a different colour varnish.  Two nail polishes are also included in this set, a pink and a purple which sit inside the adjustable holder when in use.  Being adjustable means you can use any bottle of polish you have a home although what I did like about the ones included is that they are water based and peel off, which I actually prefer for my 7 yr old at the moment.

nail spa 2The Nail Spa does require 3 AA batteries which simply fit underneath.  It’s then time for the fun to begin.  You have four buttons, two pink and two purple which control the brush head.  Each colour does the same thing, but they have put one of each on either side so that you don’t have to reach over.  By pressing the pink button the brush moves down and dips into the nail varnish, then pressing the purple button the brush moves over and hovers just above the nail.  This is then your chance to move your finger to into place, which does take a bit of practice, so that when you press the button again, it paints your nail.

nail spa 3Miss M got quite engrossed in what she was doing and enjoyed positioning her nails and pressing the buttons to paint them.  The adjustable base where you put your finger does move side to side and up and down so it is fairly flexible to fit different shapes and sizes of fingers.  Once Miss M had painted each nail she could then choose to add glitter or gems that were included in the set.  She opted for a lot of glitter on her middle fingers!

nail spa 4Miss M has loved the Nail Spa and spent much time painting and decorating her nails.  She couldn’t wait to show her friends and I think that is where the value in this product comes.  Young girls making over their nails with their friends, having nail parties and trying different designs on their nails.  I can see this coming out every time a friend comes over!

nail spa 5We’ve been pleased with the Nail Spa and I do think Miss M being 7 is the perfect age for it as she can operate and use it alone, and is the right age to have fun experimenting without getting too messy.  Remember the polish just peels off so any mess on the side of the fingers will just peel off when dry and can be removed from nails whenever you want without needed a remover.

A great idea for something a bit different for birthdays and Christmas presents that young girls will love!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the Nail Spa in order to write the review.

Busy Busy Things That Go 2000 Stickers Book – Review

Busy Busy Things That Go 2000 Stickers by Parragon Books is an activity book to keep little ones occupied.  Filled with eight pages of stickers and lots of background pages, you can create many scenes using the prompts provided or your imagination as my 4 yr old loved to!

2000 stickers 3This book is packed full of colour pages for to put the stickers on with lots of transport style scenes to get you going.  In the centre are eight pages of stickers with all sorts of people, vehicles and accessories on to add to the scene pages.

2000 stickersWhat I really liked about the scene pages, is that they are full of prompts as to what sort of stickers to add to the page.  There are also questions, asking children to find certain things or draw in an additional item and also a few puzzle pages.  Mister B really enjoyed looking for the stickers he needed for each page.  I sat with him and asked him any questions that were on each page and he enjoyed spotting things as well.  He loves the transport theme of the book.

2000 stickers 2Due to the size and numerous pages in this book, it can be revisited many times to complete it all.  It really is a fun sticker book for pre schoolers and ideal for both at home or to take on holiday with you.  I always like to have something to hand to occupy the children should we have a rainy day or have some spare time, and this book would be just the thing for my 4 yr old.

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

Barbie Spin ‘N Ride Pups – Review

Barbie Spin ‘N Ride Pups is a fun new Barbie playset available from Smyths featuring Barbie and her two dogs.  Barbie rides a bike and the dogs ride along side on skateboards.

B1This is a fun playset with simple well built pieces that easily fit together for play.  Barbie can ride her bike alone, or you can attach one or both of the skateboards for play.  There are two dogs included, a big and small one each with appropriately sized skateboards which they simply attach to.

barbie

Barbie has a removal floral vest top, although her trousers are moulded on due to the way her legs are required to move on the bicycle.  Her boots are removal and she does have normal Barbie size feet underneath, so she can easily be dressed in other outfits you may have.  Miss M loved that Barbie has a removal bike helmet almost identical to her own.  She has long blonde hair which Miss M tied back in a ponytail to make it easier to put the helmet on.

barbie 1

The fun part about this Barbie toy is that Barbie actually cycles along as you push the bike.  Her feet clip into the pedals and her hands push through the handles on the handlebar enabling her to stay in place and move like she is really cycling.  As she moves the biggest dog nearer her moves along too and the cute little puppy on the small skateboard actually spins a full 360 degrees around the bigger dog.  You do need to try this on different floorings to get the best effect and movement for the small skateboard.

barbie 2

Miss M has a lots of fun playing with this Barbie, she loves the idea of her on a bike, being a keen cyclist herself!  With a bit of imagination you can take Barbie on all sorts of journeys with this toy and she easily fits in with other Barbie toys and can bring her dogs along to share the fun!

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

 

Chicago Town Pizza – Review

Pizza is our family’s favourite Saturday night treat for dinner so we were keen to try out some pizza’s from Chicago Town who have a new style pizza out, The Pizza Melt along with The Deep Dish and The Sub which have new flavours for 2015 available.   Being vegetarian I stuck to some of the more traditional cheese and tomato flavours although other family members did try the Meat Supreme Pizza Melt.

pizzaxWe had the The Deep Dish Four Cheeses first which was a hit with all of us.  Containing Mozzarella, mature Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Emmental cheese this pizza was simply bursting with cheese which balanced well against the thick deep crust of the pizza but also had the right amount of tomato sauce inbetween to keep it juicy and easy to eat.

pizzaNext up we tried The Pizza Melt, a snack style pizza which can be eaten in two halves or put together like a pizza in a bun!

pizza 3 pizza 4

The Pizza Melt is loaded with pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, Edam and Cheddar cheeses all tucked inside a crispy bun.  This was enjoyed by those that ate it, my daughter Miss M particularly likes a bit of pepperoni on her pizza.  The Pizza Melt is designed more for a quick snack and is a generous size which would ultimately fill an adult up at lunchtime!

My personal favourite was The Sub, a long french bread style pizza topped with tomato sauce, three cheeses, Edam, Cheddar and Mozzarella, and herbs.  These are ideal for lunchtime with a side salad for a really tasty meal.

pizza 2We all really enjoyed trying out the Chicago Town range of pizzas with most of the family favouring The Deep Dish, but for me The Sub.  There are so many flavours available now, that there really is something to suit everyones tastebuds, so why not check them out!

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

Gold Stars Dinosaurs by Parragon – Review

Travel Back Through Time to the Land of Dinosaurs is a book by Parragon in their Gold Stars series, meaning it is educational but fun, encouraging young ones to engage in learning, almost without realising it.

dinosaursWith over 100 full colour pages there is so much to learn and do in this action packed book and my 4yr old Mister B was eager to get started.  One of his favourite activities in these type of books are mazes, and there were plenty of them in here to keep him occupied.

dinosaurThe pages contain a mixture of facts and activities, plenty to learn and do.  What I really like about the facts and information in the book is that it is set out in numerous different ways encouraging interest rather than being paragraphs of information.  For example to understand how big dinosaurs were, there are diagrams likening them to the size of buses.  There are also things for children to do on the same pages as information, therefore I found that I could read out bits while Mister B enjoyed a bit of colouring or drawing but he also discussed the facts with me.   He was rather amused to learn that a Diplodocus made the biggest dinosaur poo, due to the amount that it ate!!

What a fabulous book to use to occupy your child at the weekends or over the summer, knowing that they are having fun but learning at the same time.

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

Wicked Uncle Online Gift Shop – Review

Wicked Uncle is an online gift retailer with a little difference.  It aims to be of help to those unsure what to buy or what is appropriate to a certain age.  It covers all ages from babies to teens so there really is something for everyone.

Rather than sitting for hours scrolling through pages of gifts, they are categorised by gender and age, don’t worry, lot’s of products are included in both boys and girls but it helps to segregate them by what is most popularly bought for the relevant category.

w1Once you have chosen you are then given a large page of gifts to look through all of which will be age appropriate for the child you are purchasing for.  There is a wide choice available from crafts to magic, stationery to gadgets and bath treats to edible items.

I had a look through and chose a couple of items I thought my children would love to see what they thought.  I chose the Melissa and Doug Rainforest Stamp Set as my two love stamping, particularly Mister B and I knew this was something he’d be happy to sit and do.  Also they love animals and there’s lot of different scenes they can create with these.

rainforestRetailing at £14.99, I thought it was great value with a total of 20 stamps, a double coloured stamp pad and pack of coloured pencils.  They also come in a wooden tray style box which is great to store craft bits on a shelf.   My two children were eager to get stamping when they saw this and I gave them each an A3 sheet of paper to get creative on.

rainforest 1They soon realised that if they put the stamp over both colours of the ink pad they could get mulitcoloured stamps which they thought was fascinating.  The stamps are all of great quality, being wooden means they look good too.  The choice of stamps in this set is really good with a mixture of animals and some foliage designs too.

rainforest 3The children really enjoyed these and I think it’s a lovely set, one that I definitely recommend for anyone who fancies a go with stampers.

 

We also chose something a little bit different to try out from Wicked Uncle, something practical that I knew Miss M would enjoy.  The Big Cheese Making Kit, allows you to make cheese in your own home and lots of it too!  Miss M loves cooking and I wanted to pick something that was useful and I think this was just the right thing.

cheeseAt £22.99 this wasn’t cheap and when the box arrived, it was pretty small.  Inside was a sachet of salt, sachet of Citric Acid, 2 rennet tablets, thermometer and muslin cloth.  The kit enables you to make either Ricotta or Mozzarella cheese, all you need to add is millk, a LOT of it!!  So was it worth it?

cheesexWe decided to try the Mozzarella cheese, which required 8 pints of milk per batch.  I wasn’t sure how long it would take or how easy it would be but Miss M and I set to work.  I actually found the whole process to be incredibly easy and it was more or less a case of simply heating the milk in a large pan, adding a piece of rennet tablet, salt and citric acid, then stirring continuously as the curds and whey separated.

cheeseOnce you have just the curds in a bowl, it needs microwaving to heat up at which point you need to wear gloves as the cheese needs to be stretched and kneaded until it becomes shiny which can then be broken up into balls of Mozzarella.  We made rather a lot of balls of cheese with that one batch (not surprising considering we used 8 pints of milk) but the set does contain enough bits to make upto 10 batchs of cheese of this size.  Obviously you need to add the milk each time but at £2 per batch I think it is pretty good value for the amount of cheese you get.  Also bearing in mind that part of it is the experience and fun of doing so.

cheese 2We’ve enjoyed eating the cheese in salads and on puff pastry tarts with roasted vegetables.  Obviously Mozzarella has many uses and in our next batch we are planning to make some pizzas with it.  We also want to try making some Ricotta cheese for which you use the muslin to strain the cheese, I’m thinking spinach and ricotta parcels for mains and ricotta cheesecake for dessert!  All in all I’m very happy with the cheese set, it was fantastic to try something new, a very different experience that Miss M loved helping out with and we had fun eating it!

Why not take a look at Wicked Uncle, the choice of gifts really is vast with some really different things available that you don’t normally see!

 

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

Cupcake Masterclass at Mrs Brown’s

Last weekend I met up with 8 other Plymouth bloggers at Mrs Brown’s, a local bakery and decided to do a vintage cupcake masterclass.  I’ve always loved making cupcakes, although finding less time as the children get older and more demanding of my time.  I’m a huge buttercream fan and tend to stick to this as is easy to work with and tastes delicious so it was interesting to work with other types icing and learn how to create different effects.  I certainly picked up a few tips that I’ll be putting into practice the next time I bake.  Can you believe I decorated all the cakes below with my own fair hands!

cupcakes 2First off we learnt how to make an edible rose decoration.  Would you believe that you start with 11 little balls of icing and by using your fingers to flatten and mould they become petals which in turn become a finished rose.  Spray on a bit of silver lustre, add a sprinkling of pearlised balls and voila, my cake is done!

cupcakesWe then tried some other ideas before stopping for a break and trying a piece of a rather huge Victoria sponge cake, covered in chocolate coated strawberries, that Georgie (owner of Mrs Brown’s) had made for us.  We then went back to our decorating class before boxing up our four creations ready to take home.

cupcakes 4Here we are showing off our handiwork:

cupcakes 3It was a great way to spend a couple of hours and I couldn’t wait to get home and see what the children thought.  I think the pictures below show you of their approval for mummy’s cakes!!

cupcakes 1Going to the cupcake class really reignited my love of baking and although I have a hectic few months ahead, I do hope to try out some new things and bake more regularly in the future!

cupcake 5

Red Fish Yellow Fish Little Learners Book – Review

Little Learners is a gorgeous new range of books from Parragon aimed at babies and toddlers. With different styles of books in the range from nursery rhymes, peek a boo books and simple colour/shape recognition books, we were given a colours book to see what they were like and share our thoughts on this new series of books.

red fishRed Fish, Yellow Fish is a board book, with really thick solid pages, perfect for little fingers.  What I really like, that I haven’t seen before is the finger holes at the bottom right corner of the book, which makes it much easier for little ones to hold and turn the page.

This is a colour recognition book, which gives the opportunity for little ones to learn and practice their colours.  It also focuses on sealife, so the child also gets to learn about animals that live in the sea, thus learning two things at once.

red fish 2I like the simple, cute drawings that are bright enough to catch little ones eyes and draw them into the objects.  With creatures such as crabs, starfish, octopus and many others to look at, all put into pairs of different colours, there is lots to learn, and this makes it a great starter book for little people!

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