Algy’s Amazing Adventures in Space – Review

Algy’s Amazing Adventures in Space is one of the latest books from the Orion Early Reader series.  It is a red Early Reader which means it is perfect for those who are to read by themselves or to a listening adult.  Miss M is 6 and a fairly confident reader so this is perfect for her to sit down and enjoy.

Algy early reader orion Algys Amazing Adventures in Space   ReviewThis book follows the adventures that a young boy Algy has when he visits the shed at the end of his garden.  Behind a loose plank always lies an amazing adventure which he visits with the girl next door and her little brother.  In this book they find themselves in space on another planet where they find a little tin dog who leads them to a crater where the dog’s owner GUS, a robot has fallen.  Algy and his friend’s adventure follows their journey rescuing GUS from the hole and then learning a bit more about the planet such as the strange plants that are grown.  They soon decide to return home through the shed after learning that the masters of the planet are due to return and they are aliens!!

Algy early reader orion 2 Algys Amazing Adventures in Space   ReviewThis Orion Early Reader is a fun read, one that all children will enjoy.  Miss M found it exciting and eager to read what happened next which is great to motivate her to finish the book.  The book is full of colour illustrations on each page too which keep a child’s interest, Miss M always like to stop and look at the pictures before continuing to read.

We love the Early Reader series from Orion and think Algy’s Amazing Adventures in Space fit in really well, definitely something all young readers will enjoy.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and the book was sent to us in order to write the review.

Fruit Bowl Snacks for Kids – Review

Fruit Bowl offer an incredibly appealing range of prepacked snacks aimed at children, with the bonus of being healthy, in fact most of them provide 1 of their 5 a day portions of fruit.  There are various varieties of snacks from fruit shapes, to fruit peelers and fruit bars.  There are also yogurt coated fruit pieces although these only count as half of 1 of your 5 a day.

My children’s eyes lit up when they saw the selection of snacks we received from Fruit Bowl to try as they do love their snacks and are keen on fruit.

Fruit bowl 2 Fruit Bowl Snacks for Kids   ReviewThe Fruit Bowl Fruit shapes come in jungle or sea varieties and both of these were a big hit with my children.  They love eating them and view them as a pack of sweets even though they contain 1 of their 5 a day.  Made with apple, pear, strawberry and blackcurrant juices and containing no added sugar, these really are a handy but healthy snack.

Their other favourite were the Fruit peelers, which come in strawberry, raspberry and blackcurrant varieties, these are easy to eat and peel down into six thin strips.  My children were really keen on these and it’s such an easy way to boost their fruit intake in a day.

fruit bowl 3 Fruit Bowl Snacks for Kids   ReviewSchool Bars are a chunky, fruity bar ideal for pack lunches.  My two did find these a little hard to bite and were ok with the strawberry and raspberry flavours but not so keen on the apple and blackcurrant variants.

Yogurt Raisins were a big hit with Mister B and he probably could have eaten them endlessly if I’d let him.  He loves raisins anyway, so covered in yogurt just makes them extra tasty.

Being pre packed, I found Fruit Bowl snacks really handy for when out and about.  They are also useful for pack lunches but I found them most invaluable when on days out at the weekend, after school activities and days with Mister B when he’s not at nursery.

I can always carry a few packs in my handbag, particularly the shapes and peelers in my children’s cases as these were their preferred options, but being fruit based they couldn’t melt or get crushed.  All importantly though, I know that I’ve always got a healthy snack on me for them that I know they’ll enjoy.  I’d definitely recommend trying Fruit Bowl if you haven’t already,  a healthy option that kids love!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and some Fruit Bowl snacks were sent to us in order to write the review.

Matalan School Uniform – Review

Since my daughter started school almost two years ago, uniform is something I have had to start to think about and purchase.  We’ve tried pieces from various high street shops and supermarkets with varying results in quality and durability so I was intrigued to see how the new Matalan uniform fared.

We were sent a selection of pieces to try out and first impressions were very good.  I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the designs were, nothing was plain, they all had pretty features such as flower shaped buttons, some flower stitching and other nice finishing touches.

The Matalan red checked summer dress was an instant hit with Miss M, with the warm weather we are having now it’s perfect to keep her cool in the hot school classrooms.  The collar was a nice round shape with pretty flower buttons down the front to put the dress on and off.  These undo easily which is essential for P.E. days.  I know some shaped buttons can often be tricky to undo.  There is a belt that fastens at the front and is fixed around the back so can’t be lost.  There is also a pocket which Miss M likes incase she needs a tissue or lip balm with her.  She enjoys wearing this dress, found it comfortable and is happy to wear it each day.

Matalan uniform 1 1024x1024 Matalan School Uniform   ReviewHer favourite feature of the dress was the matching hair scrunchie!  With her unruly curls she hates having her hair done but has insisted in wearing this in her hair to school each day.  I like this extra touch and think it’s great to have a hair accessory to match the outfit.

matalan uniform 4 Matalan School Uniform   ReviewMiss M was also very impressed with the pack of three socks and the shoes. I thought the socks were excellent, quite a thick quality cotton and three different pretty designs that match her uniform.  She has loved them so much and worn them all, and eagerly awaits for them to go through the wash each time.  I already have these on my list to buy her another pack as they are some of the better socks I have seen around.

She also adored the shoes and couldn’t wait to put them on.  They are a half size too big but as they only come in whole sizes we tried these.  Miss M is really pleased with them, although I’m always dubious when it comes to shoes.  These are coated leather so it’ll be interesting to see how well they wear, although hopefully any scuffs can be covered with shoe polish.  For me it’s the soles that I find wear out in shoes, usually the heel area, which is something I won’t be able to judge until we’ve had a couple of months worth of wear. On the other hand these shoes cost a bargain price of £12 so if they were to last a term then great value.  We have had much higher priced leather shoes that only last one term due to the heel wearing through.  In fact we usually go through 3 pairs of school shoes a year!!

matalan uniform 2 Matalan School Uniform   ReviewWe were also very pleased with the skirt and blouses.  The grey skirt is a lovely design with a nice pleated detail at the side and some flower stitching on the bottom right of the skirt.  The material felt good and it was easy to put on with an adjustable waist.  Miss M isn’t too keen on long sleeves so we received a pack of two short sleeve blouses.  These were a lovely design with a small rounded collar, cropped sleeves and a pretty pintuck detail on each side of the buttons.  Again with these the buttons were all a pretty flower shape.  I am really impressed with the designs, just the sort of thing I look for when buying uniform.  Miss M also loved wearing both of these, in fact these are the only two blouses she’s worn from her wardrobe since receiving them!

matalan uniform 3 Matalan School Uniform   ReviewEssential school staples such as vests and tights were gratefully received.  The vests come in a three pack and are a lovely soft stretchy 95% cotton with 5% elastane.  They have thin silky straps and a small bow detail.  Miss M loved the comfort of these and has happily worn them day and night.  The tights feel nice and soft and fit well.  Miss M did try these on but hasn’t worn these for a whole day due to the weather.  She seemed happy with the fit though and will gladly wear these once the colder weather comes in later in the year.  We have had Matalan tights before so I’m sure these will be worth buying and I would again.

matalan uniform 6 Matalan School Uniform   ReviewThe grey pinafore we received is really lovely, I like the design and the quality I wouldn’t have put as Matalan.  It feels a good weight and looks modern.  It’s very easy to undo with large round buttons and has two pockets which are always a bonus!  Miss M was happy to wear this (excuse her face below – it was exceptionally sunny!).  It seems very comfortable and is perfect for days at school.

The polo shirts were yet again another pretty design, flower buttons and some flower stitching on the right side.  These feel well made and definitely ones I’d consider purchasing.

matalan uniform 5 Matalan School Uniform   ReviewOverall I have to say I have been impressed with the Matalan range of school uniform.  The designs have surpassed my expectations for what I imagined to them to be.  Thought has gone into the designs, they are pretty and something that young girls will enjoy wearing.  But the great thing is that although they look pretty, the quality hasn’t been comprised.  I am really happy with how the items feel, the thickness of some of the materials and the comfort.  An important aspect of school uniform is not just what I think as a parent but whether the child likes it and how comfortable it is.  Miss M has can be very fussy in her clothes and won’t wear anything too tight or that doesn’t feel right – she loved all of this uniform and gave it a big thumbs up.

I would definitely consider Matalan a place to check out school uniform, I’m sure it’s improved since I first looked there two years ago when Miss M first started school and the items I’ve received have definitely shown me that they are as good, if not better than some of the other main supermarket and high street chains that sell uniform.

Why not check them out – Matalan?

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and the uniform was sent to us in order to write the review.

Nancy B’s Scientific Microscope and Activity Journal – Review

Nancy B is a former science teacher and science enthusiast who always longed for a microscope as a child.  She has now invented her own range of science tools to help children engage in the world of science and enable them to investigate and experiment themselves.  Each tool comes with a colour page activity journal with lots of ideas of things to do and it’s a place to record and document your findings.  The range is aimed at children 8+ and includes a Microscope, Moonscope, Aquascope, Binoculars and a Crime Solver Scope.

We were sent the Nancy B Microscope from Learning Resources to try out which comes with an activity journal and an impressive array of accessories.

Nancy B microscope 1 Nancy Bs Scientific Microscope and Activity Journal   ReviewThe set includes:

  • Microscope
  • Activity journal
  • Tweezers
  • Scapel
  • Spatula
  • Stirring rod
  • Test tube
  • Pipette
  • Specimen vial
  • Petri dish
  • 7 cover slips and slide labels
  • 4 prepared slides and 7 blank slides

The Nancy B Microscope is a great piece of equipment.  It does require 3 AAA batteries in order for the light to work but the detail you can see through it is incredible.  It comes with three different magnification levels, 30x, 100x and 400x.

Nancy B microscope 2 Nancy Bs Scientific Microscope and Activity Journal   ReviewIt has two lights, a top light to see 3D views and a bottom viewing light to see through things.  There is a focusing knob that easily turns either way, a rubberised eyepiece for comfort when viewing and a specimen holder with clips and a adjustable stopper to hold items in place.

Miss M who is getting ever closer to 7yrs old was keen to start observing.  As she is at the younger age for this range, I carefully showed her how to operate the Nancy B Microscope and assisted her in finding specimens to view.  We started with the pre prepared slides which I think are a fantastic idea to be included with this set.  On these we had items such as a peacock feather, a goldfish scale and some wool.  It was amazing how miniscual these samples were and showed that you don’t need much of a sample in order to see fantastic detail on the objects.

Nancy B microscope 3 Nancy Bs Scientific Microscope and Activity Journal   ReviewShe was eager to be hands on and put items on the slides herself, using the included tools.  She also took the sample pots in the garden with her to collect small items to look at.  We used the activity book for ideas which I have to say is also fantastic.  It really does guide a child through using the microscope and starts with really basic objects before moving on to more interesting ideas. Everything is detailed in step by step stages, it has been really thought through and written for a child to follow and understand.  They are also spaces for the child to write their observations down, becoming a journal to look back on.

Nancy B microscope 4 Nancy Bs Scientific Microscope and Activity Journal   ReviewSome of the simplest ideas start from drawing some pen lines on a piece of paper, using a pen, pencil, crayon etc and then seeing what the difference is between them close up.  We then looked at the skin on our face by putting a piece of sticky tape on our cheek and peeling it off to look at the results. You can also look at cells from inside your cheek, different foods and of course anything from outside although I did have to remind Miss M as she dashed off to find some bugs, that the journal does say to only use dead bugs and don’t kill them to view them.  We did manage to find a dead fly on the windowsill and hope to find some other things over the summer.  Flower petals and leaves were interesting, in fact your possibilities are endless, keep trying different things, you may be surprised at the results.

Our most exciting sample was a drop of water from a pond,  Although the pond was covered in algae, the drop we took using the pipette looked clear, but in fact under the microscope, there were two micororganisms dashing about across the drop of water.  Miss M found this very exciting and we all jumped up to take a look.  Even Mister B showed his interest and wanted to take a look although we did hold the microscope carefully while he did this.

Nancy B microscope 5 Nancy Bs Scientific Microscope and Activity Journal   Review

I think the Nancy B Microscope is excellent.  It really helps children to engage in science and gains them many new skills through using this.  Miss M has learnt how to carefully collect samples using different tools, how to prepare the slides and how to operate the microscope.  She did require a little assistance focusing sometimes as depending on the object, different levels of magnitude were better but she did get the hang of the focusing knob and learnt how to move it away from the light so as not to crush the specimens!

I think the included accessories are excellent, I wasn’t expecting such a range but there really is a tool or pot suitable for every sample.  I think the design and quality of the Nancy B Microscope is great too and see it as a lasting piece of equipment that will be used time and time again.  I’m sure it will come in handy for many school projects and homework too, so definitely see this as a valuable piece of equipment that your child can enjoy over many years.

Why not take a look at Nancy B’s science range yourself, whether your child loves nature, water, the stars and sky, there is a piece of equipment to suit everyone!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and the microscope was sent to us in order to write the review.

 

A Trip to Looe Beach in Cornwall

A few weeks ago, we ventured down to Looe in Cornwall for the day.  The husband was working and the children are always itching to get out and love the beach so Looe seemed like the ideal place to go without being too far to travel.

The weather wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, a bit drizzly, but the children didn’t bat an eyelid as we parked up and walked off.  We couldn’t help but walk past a rather fun play park at the end of the car park so I let them have ten minutes to run around.

In fact the park was so good, I wished it had been nearer to home as it would be a great place to pop to for the children to have a play.  Mister B loved climbing a spider web like rope structure to be like his favourite superhero “Spiderman”.  Miss M was at home on all the ropes and swinging paraphernalia being the action girl that she is!

looe 1 A Trip to Looe Beach in CornwallWith swings, slides, things to climb on and lots of rope activities, they could have stayed here all day, but we soon headed down towards the beach.

looe 2 A Trip to Looe Beach in CornwallThe children were delighted when they saw the vast sandy beach in front of them, Miss M ran straight down to the water to fill the buckets whilst Mister B couldn’t wait to start digging in the sand.  He happily built himself a little castle and found a feather to put on top.

looe 3 A Trip to Looe Beach in CornwallThey both played happily in the sand before deciding to dig a hole by the sea.

looe 4 A Trip to Looe Beach in CornwallThe tide was coming in so they dug faster and faster eager for the sea to fill their hole, and when it did they excitedly giggled before encouraging each other to dig even quicker to make a longer river for the sea to fill.

looe 5 A Trip to Looe Beach in CornwallAs you can see the finished river was quite long and if it wasn’t getting a little chilly and the sea wasn’t coming in quite so fast, I think they would have been happy to stay their until bedtime!

looe 6 A Trip to Looe Beach in Cornwall

looe 7 A Trip to Looe Beach in CornwallAll in all a successful day at Looe, my children love the beach whatever the weather and being somewhere we can travel to in just under an hour, it’s a great day out that always guarantees fun and excitement.

As you can imagine, after something to eat and a hot bath, they slept soundly through the night after a day in the fresh sea breeze.

Interplay Butterfly World – Review

Interplay Butterfly World is a butterfly rearing kit for children allowing them to follow the life cycle of a butterfly from a caterpillar.  It contains all the equipment you need including an informative guide by Nick Baker.  This is a great way to introduce children to nature and something they can watch and see an amazing end result with.

interplay butterfly rearing 1 Interplay Butterfly World   ReviewThe kit contains a small plastic lidded pot to collect your caterpillars in, a paint brush, a mesh jar cover and a pop up butterfly rearing cage.  There is also an order form should you wish to purchase caterpillar eggs.  It also suggests were to look for them in gardens, parks etc.

interplay butterfly rearing 2 Interplay Butterfly World   ReviewThe children were delighted to see the kit and couldn’t wait to get exploring for a caterpillar.  I carried the handy little sample pot and paint brush in my handbag and we looked around wherever we went.  The paint brush is used to pick up the caterpillar once found so that you don’t damage it in any way.  After a few unsuccessful trips searching, I decided to head to a large park that must have lots of caterpillars where the children had lots of fun looking through bushes, turning over leaves to see what they could find.  And then we found her, hanging from a leave on a tree, Mister B named her Jasmine, our new pet caterpillar.

interplay butterfly rearing 3 Interplay Butterfly World   ReviewJasmine the caterpillar has been very busy munching leaves and the children enjoy collecting fresh leaves for her on the way home from school.  The guide in the Interplay Butterfly kit explains how to care for your caterpillar by cleaning out the jar regularly and the importance of fresh leaves.  She has started spinning silk and it’s fascinating watching her hang down from the top of the jar from such a thin thread and then climb back up again.

Although our caterpillar is very active around the jar, she has yet to pupate ready to turn into a butterfly.  When she reaches this point we will transfer her to the pop up butterfly cage so that she has room to fly around.

I think the Interplay Butterfly set is a wonderful kit for young children and definitely brings a bit of nature inside.  We all love looking through the jar each day and be the first to spot her.  I really hope our caterpillar finally decides to pupate and become a butterfly as it will be a fascinating experience for the children to see and then we can have fun setting her free!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and the Buttefly kit was sent to us in order to write the review.

LEGO Friends Magazine – Review

LEGO Friends magazine is a new monthly title that hit the shops last week aimed for girls around the 7-11 age range.  Each magazine features a free LEGO gift, the first one being Charlie the puppy dog set.

lego friends 231x300 LEGO Friends Magazine   ReviewThe first issue has introductions to some of the LEGO Friends girls such as Olivia, Emma and Mia, giving you little bios about each of them.  There are also several comic strip stories, posters, quizs, puzzles and some fabulous LEGO sets to be won in competitions.  There is a also a nice craft activity included to make tissue flowers.

Lego friends magazine LEGO Friends Magazine   ReviewMy daughter Miss M is 6 and became a fan of LEGO friends at Christmas when she received a few sets and then some more on her birthday.  I’d say this is the perfect magazine for her, lots of fun things to do and is totally aimed for someone of her age.

She is a competent reader for her age and happily sat reading through the comic strip stories.  She couldn’t wait to get the LEGO pieces off of the front and put them to together, which she did completely unaided.  These are cute pieces that easily go alongside any other LEGO that you have.  In fact she is incredibly excited about the free gift on the next issue, a cute beach set with a LEGO bucket and flippers for the LEGO friends to wear on their feet!

lego friends 2 LEGO Friends Magazine   ReviewFor me, this is the perfect magazine for my daughter, the content is just right for her and I don’t have to worry about what she might be reading.  She’s enjoys sitting reading it in bed before sleeping, played with the LEGO during the day and doing the puzzles during the day.

When I asked what she thought about the magazine, her reply was “I love it!”, and I have to agree, this is just the sort of magazine I’d buy for her with a lovely quality toy attached.

The first issue is in the shops now, so why not grab a copy?

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and the magazine was sent to us in order to write the review.

Galt Mini Masterpiece

When Galt challenged us to create a mini masterpiece of a famous painting, I knew Miss M would be up for the challenge.  She loves art, always digging around in her art box creating me decorative picture.  The challenge was to decorate a picture of The Kiss, a famous painting by Gustav Klimt.

We were sent a box of Galt Mega Mosaics to inspire us and printed out some copies of The Kiss to colour in.

galt Galt Mini MasterpieceMiss M was eager to start and decided to colour some parts of the picture in, she also stuck tissue to other areas to fill them with colour .

galt art 2 Galt Mini MasterpieceMister B was fascinated with the Galt Mosaics and keen to stick the coloured squares on the numbers.  This was a new activity for him and something that he really enjoyed, he had to really concentrate but it really helped with his fine motor skills.  It also inspired Miss M to use some of the sticky mosaic squares on her picture along with tissue paper squares that she cut out herself and glued on.

galt art Galt Mini MasterpieceAnd here is the finished result, a combination of colouring, sticky squares and tissue squares.  She also did a second picture on the right using just coloured pens.

I think her artwork is great and she thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, hence creating two designs.  Well done Miss M!!

galt at 3 Galt Mini Masterpiece

We were sent the Galt Mosaics to inspire us in creating the Mini Masterpiece.

Bath Crayons with Bathtime Buddies

Bathtime Buddies Bath Crayons were an instant hit with my two children, the idea of drawing in the bath was fun, but actually being able to draw on the bath itself and the tiles proved even more exciting.

Bath crayons 1 Bath Crayons with Bathtime BuddiesEach pack contains five crayons, in bold looking colours although they aren’t as bold as they look, so don’t worry, these aren’t going to stain your bath!

Both my children were very excited to see these and they were thoroughly entertained in the bath using them.  They bounced off each other with ideas as they used the crayons to write their names, draw round their hands and draw rainbows!!

bath crayons 2 Bath Crayons with Bathtime BuddiesMiss M even drew the words Bathtime Buddies and spelt it all correctly, I was very impressed!  She then decided she wanted to write numbers as Maths is her favourite subject at school at the moment, so she proceeded to write the numbers 1 all the way up to 100!!

bath crayons 3 Bath Crayons with Bathtime BuddiesMister B drew lots of squiggles but kept rubbing them out when done so it was hard to capture them.  But without a doubt, this is one of the most occupying activities we have had in the bath, the children kept on squiggling until the water was cold!!  They were washing a lot off as they went but the bits that I did have to rinse off after came off with minimal effort just using the shower spray over the tiles and it instantly washed away!

 

 ***  WIN £120 Supermarket shopping vouchers ***

If you want to have a go and try the crayons with our children then email hello@bathtime-buddies.co.uk to request a sample and if you are one of the first 50, you’ll be sent a sample of crayons for your children to get creative with in the bath!

Just upload your child’s creation to the Bathtime Buddies Facebook page to be in with a chance of winning a weeks worth of shopping!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and the product was sent to us in order to write the review.

Transformers : Age of Extinction – Comic Review

Transformers : Age of Extinction is a brand new comic released this week.  Aimed at ages 6+, it’s packed full of games, puzzles, comic strips and competitions.

cover mag 862x1024 Transformers : Age of Extinction   Comic ReviewMy children aged 6 and nearly 4 were really excited when they saw this, Mister B loves transformers and couldn’t wait to get his hands on the free gift figurine attached to the magazine which now comes out and about with us everywhere!  They loved looking through at all the characters, some old and some brand new ones along with character bios and activities.  Being older Miss M loved doing the wordsearch and Mister B enjoyed the comic strip stories being read to him at bedtime.

transformers Transformers : Age of Extinction   Comic ReviewI do think this magazine has wide appeal and comes each month with free gifts including Topps cards and autobot figures.  There are some great competitions to be won inside too.

Available monthly, the first issue is in shops now with the second issue coming out on 24th July.  If you have a child that enjoys transformers then why not pick up a copy now?

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and the product was sent to us in order to write the review.