Mine It Diamond & Gold from Character Toys

Mine It is the latest craze from Character Toys that kids will love.  Available in either a block of gold or diamond shape, the substance requires chipping away using the included tools, a shovel, mallet and also a magnifying glass to help search for your gems.  It’s a fun and novel way at doing a bit of mini archaeology play that keeps kids entertained and excited about finding a precious gem.

Each Mine It set contains a 1 in 24 chance of finding either a real piece of gold or a real diamond.  If you don’t find one of these then you will find another type of rock or gem such as Red Onyx, Picture Jasper, Black Line Jasper, Tiger Eye, Volcano Rock or Rose Crystal.

My two children were quite excited at the idea of these and couldn’t wait to get started.  They found it fun bashing away at the sand like substance and couldn’t wait to get a peek of what they would find inside. My 7yr old particularly liked peering through his magnifying glass from time to time to see if he could spy a glimpse of his precious stone.

They both really enjoyed this activity and it kept them going for a fair while without being too quick or equally not too long that they got bored and gave up.  As you can see below they both ended up with a lump of Volcano rock from their Mine It sets and although would have liked to find the diamond or gold, were quite happy with their discoveries.

To see Mine It in action and a bit more about how the children found it then do check out this video below which shows them both engaging in this activity.  I think you can see from their expressions that they are both happy, excited and thoroughly enjoying themselves throughout!

All reviews are my own and my honest opinions and I received the products in order to write the review.

Superdrug Some Body Range of Protein Snacks

Superdrug have launched a new range of Some Body healthy snacks and shakes filled with protein and optimised to be part of a healthy lifestyle.  The range is quite extensive and different to any other similar style brands I’ve seen with some interesting and unique products.  As well as protein powder to make shakes and protein packed snack bars you can find detox tea, flavoured waters, pancake mix and popcorn!

With the start of 2018 initiating a lot of New Year New You thoughts for people the Some Body range has hit the shelves at the right time and fits well into my current lifestyle of trying to eat healthier, get fitter and feel better before the Summer months come along.

New research from Superdrug has revealed that for 6 out of 10 Brits a simple compliment in January is the way to stay motivated with New Year goals, with 88% believing more compliments need to be given in January than any other month to encourage, inspire and motivate during the bleak cold winter.  I definitely agree with this and certainly think a comment brightens someones day!

Dr Becky Spelman, Registered Practitioner Psychologist & member of BABCP backs the findings, saying, “When it comes to getting fit, losing weight, or focusing on our health, positive acknowledgement is very useful. Hearing that we are looking good from people, and that the time and effort we have invested in our health are bearing fruit, actually spurs us on to do even more.”

So onto the products, first up I’ve been trying this Some Body Banana Protein Powder to make up a shake for my breakfast each morning.  I find that when I get up it’s too early to eat and I don’t really have time to sit down and consume a bowl of cereal so this is an ideal way for me to get my morning energy boost and keep me going throughout the first part of the day – it also helps prevent me from snacking on things I shouldn’t be!

glass full of frothy banana protein shake

What I love about it is that not only is it quick and simple to make but you can use either water or milk to add to the powder.  A quick shake up of the ingredients and you have a truly nutritious and filling shake to drink!

I always find snack bars handy to have with me when out and about or if you get that afternoon slump at work and the Some Body Natural Protein Salted Fudge Bar is perfect for that.  Being 100% natural in it’s ingredients, it tastes moist and delicious and certainly fills a little hole in a better way than a chocolate bar would.

Some Body Sweet & Salt Popcorn is a great idea for grazing on during the day or ideal to perk up your Saturday night with.  It tastes utterly delicious with a light but crisp texture, the mix of salt and sweet is just perfect and quite frankly I could eat a bag of this every day – really impressed with the flavour and at just 116 calories for the bag  – who could say no?

The product I was most intrigued to try was the Some Body Protein Pancake Mix.  With 4 pre portioned sachets that just require mixing with water before cooking what could be simpler? I made two mid sized pancakes with a sachet and before they had even cooked I knew from the smell I couldn’t wait to try them.  Even though they are plain they have a rich thick mixture with a sweet taste and along with a bit of fruit are the perfect snack to fill you up with their added protein and give you that burst of energy that’s sometimes needed.

Overall I have to say I’ve been really impressed with the Some Body range from Superdrug.  It looks quite simplistic but actually they’ve developed some really tasty products that fill you up and are satisfying to eat.  I’ll definitely be visiting the Some Body shelves in Superdrug next time I pass by to stock up on some of these healthy goodies to incorporate into my attempt at a healthier, cleaner eating lifestyle!

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

SuperZings Collectibles – Hero vs Villain in Kaboom City

SuperZings if you haven’t already heard about them yet, are the latest collectibles to hit UK stores from Magicbox Toys  and consist of 80 multi-coloured figures, each being either a hero or villain that live in Kaboom City.  The unique thing about these collectibles are that each of the characters form half of a pair, so each hero has a partnered villain. So for example ‘Tangle Boy’ a ball of wool pairs with ‘Mad Blades’ a pair of scissors.

There’s a variety of ways to buy Superzings from little 80p blind bags, to larger ones with Hideouts (the Superzings place to live or hide), packs of Supercars and then larger blister packs and a starter pack with a comic that didn’t fail to disappoint my little boy who has read it front to back at least twice a day!!

Aimed at ages 4-8 years the Superzings have totally captured my 7yr old’s attention and he is just loving playing with the start of his collection.  With different coloured hideouts including shiny ones along with rare characters – 6 silver, 2 gold and 1 super rare Enigma, there is plenty of variety and lots of pieces to collect.

With two silver Superzings (both a hero and matching villain) found so far, my little boy uses them as leaders of the groups for the others.  Metal Crunch ruling the goodies and Darknetic leader of the baddies.

To aid play and boost their imaginations, Superzings includes various accessories, the supercars which have a little notch to sit the characters on, the hideouts, superblasters with super discs, and there is a large supertrap which we don’t have but my little boy is planning on purchasing this weekend to trap all of the baddies in when he plays out his little games with the Superzings

Available now Superzings are sold at The Entertainer, Tesco, Asda, Co-op, Spar and many more so keep your eyes peeled for these ideal pocket money toys!

For further information visit www.magicboxint.com  or you can follow them on twitter  @magicboxtoysuk

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

Illuminated LED Star Light – An Interior Delight from Maplin

A star is not just for Christmas, particularly in the case of the Illuminated LED Star Light from Maplin that has recently taken centre stage on my hallway shelf.  I’m rather fond of stars, if you hadn’t already noticed and this freestanding piece of home decor is suitable for anytime of the year or if you prefer just keeping it for the festive season then that’s fine.

Being battery operated means it’s super easy to set up and place in any location of your choice.  Requiring two AA batteries in a little box which I have hid behind another item on my shelf, the light is simply operated with an on/off switch on the battery box.  At 28cm tall and 27cm wide the light is a good size and the LED’s emit a warm bright light that gives a great glow in the evenings in my hallway.  We don’t need the main light on as the glow is enough when passing room to room.

I absolutely adore this light and admire it every day.  It looks good when it’s off during the day and even better when it’s glowing in the evening.  It adds to the decor, ambiance and mood lighting for my hallway – a perfect choice!

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If you like gadgets then this next one is for you, a USB Clock Fan, also from Maplin.  Who’d have thought but it is actually incredibly impressive.  First off the chrome style finish gives it an edge over any white or cheap looking model.  This is stylish and something I want to show off around my laptop.  Secondly it works by USB which is amazing, don’t you hate endless products requiring batteries?  Thirdly this actually works well in all aspects.  The cord is bendy but stays put wherever you angle it to, the fan when on is effective, great for use in the warmer Summer months, to the point I’ve had to keep it switched off for now as it’s too damn chilly!

And the final feature of this fan is the clock which lights up when the blades go round. How cool does this look?  Even my children were super impressed but I’ll be keeping this one for my laptop.

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

How to Achieve More in 2018

With a New Year upon us, it’s time to think a bit smarter about who we are and what we want to get out of life. After all since hitting my 40’s a few years ago, I’m constantly reminded by just how short life really is as I watch the years pass by and my children grow up in an every changing world around us.  If we want to do things, see things around the country or the world, we can, it’s just about being organised and reaching for our goals.  A lot more is possible than you first think, just think big, think positive and you’ll achieve it.

  1. Write lists
    Make lists everywhere, in your notebook, on sticky notes, put them on your fridge, on the wall, in your handbag and cross things off as you do them.  Keep checking them throughout the day and it’ll make you get more done as you won’t forget things and it’ll also make you feel good seeing jobs with lines crossed through them and marked as done.  If you manage to clear an entire list you’ll feel a sense of achievement!
  2. Set yourself goals
    Whether they be mini daily goals (such as going on a walk, cooking a healthy meal, sorting out some paperwork) or weekly goals (go alcohol free, getting to the gym 2-3 times a week, decluttering a room, doing a bit of much needed DIY, clearing out your wardrobe).  Write these down and tick them off as you achieve them.
  3. Plan ahead
    Think of things you would like to do throughout the year and write them down, start planning for them in order to make them happen, whether it’s a holiday, a new kitchen, change of job, saving money for a new car etc.  If you start planning it at the start of the year, hopefully it will happen before the end.
  4. Be spontaneous
    This I know sounds completely contradictory to the above, but a bit of spontaneity in your life brings happiness and helps you to feel like you’ve achieved things. So if you planned to get up Saturday morning and clean the bathroom and do the ironing, but you look outside and it’s a beautiful day, then why not pack your bags and head to the beach with a book.  If you’ve got kids they will love it, you’ll all enjoy the warmth and fresh air and when you come home you’ll feel that you achieved something, the cleaning can be squeezed in over the next few days to catch up!
  5. Switch off your phone!
    Whether you do it for a day at the weekend, or an evening or two during the week, just try it for a few hours.  I know you’ll be itching to check your emails or catch up on social media but the reality is you’ll fill your time getting much more done either doing chores or spending quality time with kids and family.

I’m aiming to carry out all five of the above every week and believe it will gain me a more productive, organised and happier lifestyle, achieving and getting things done along with making things happening and moving on with life, allowing me to enjoy and experience more things leading to a happier, more content lifestyle for me and my family.

Let me know how you aim to achieve more in 2018?

 

Photo credit thanks to my pre children holiday to  Las Vegas in 2006 (Grand Canyon was amazing if you’re ever think of visiting!)

 

Win Vosene Kids Fruity 2in1 Shampoos

The Vosene kids range of hair care is always a winner with my two it smells great, leaves hair clean and soft and gives a nice lather when washing allowing you to create that ‘elfy’ look with it sticking up on your head before washing off again!

With two fruity flavours available in the 2 in 1, I found my daughter loved the strawberry and my son loved the melon (although they may just haved picked their favourite fruits) but at least it meant there is no arguing over who is using which one.

Vosene-2in1-ShampooStrawberry 2 in 1 Shampoo (RRP £1.99, 250ml)

 Lovingly developed for kids, our Strawberry 2 in 1 Shampoo will ensure your children’s locks smell as good as they look. With a fresh, fruity strawberry scent, the whole family will appreciate the burst of natural fruit extract which also helps to leave your children’s hair soft and tangle-free.

Image result for melon 2 in 1 fruity goodness vosene kids

Melon 2 in 1 Shampoo (RRP £1.99, 250ml)

Our fresh Melon 2 in 1 Shampoo adds a fruity twist to bath time, resulting in soft and great-smelling hair which is free from tangles and knots. Your kids will love the fresh, fruity melon smell of this mild and pH balanced 2 in 1 shampoo.

Having used the Vosene brand on my kids for a number of years now, I can honestly say it’s reliable and effective and one that kids enjoy to use.  The fruity fragrances always help appeal to them.

If’d you like the chance to try it out for yourself then I have two bottles (one of each flavour) to give away to one of my readers.  If you’d like to enter then just feel out the Gleam form below:

Vosene

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

Smartick – The Online Learning App for Maths

Smartick is an online Maths learning programme and unlike other apps, it uses artificial intelligence to adapt to each child’s style of learning.  With only a 15 minute daily session allowed, it means that children won’t get bored, fed up, and encourages them to perform their daily questions in order to earn stars which they can spend at the end of each lesson on things such avatars and items for their online house.

Each day starts with a welcome and series of faces to see how the child is feeling along with the child’s own avatar that they can customise through their earning of stars.

It then goes into a series of questions which start off easing the child into a topic, breaking it down simply with pictorial questions if needed, then moving onto the same thing but in a different way.  If a key pad is required, it will pop up in the corner of the screen, otherwise things can be dragged across the touch screen.

You are expected to let your child get on with this on their own which I did 100% of the time although I did watch over their shoulder a few times in order to write this review.  The programme works intuitively and won’t move your child onto harder problems the next time if they struggled to grasp something this time.  At the end of each session the child also gets a chance to retry the questions that they get wrong along with receiving extra stars of course!
The end result of each session is that the child receives a number of stars.  This acts as an incentive for them as they get to finish the session and try to get things correct otherwise they won’t have stars to spend at the end. They can then use these to buy things to decorate their room, by virtual pets, presents for other players and clothes for their avatar.
What I particularly like about this programme is that I can log on to my online account and see how each of my children are getting on.  But even better than that is that I receive an email everyday either reminding me that my child hasn’t yet done their daily session “This message is to inform you that Blake hasn’t completed today’s session yet.”  Also immediately after every session completed an email comes in to let me know the kind of questions they have been working on along with their scores.  I find this incredibly useful and interesting and it saves me having to log in and check for myself.
Seeing this also encourages me to get them to use the app as I can see the benefits of it and see that they are learning as they play, although it’s not strictly a game, they do actually enjoy answering the questions and have more fun spending their stars earnt at the end.
Smartick has been a fun learning tool that has had a lot of use between my children and I encourage them to complete their daily questions as often as possible.  They don’t find it boring and actually enjoy using it, I think due to the short sessions and the fun way the tasks are presented. Smartick allows your child to move ahead faster than in school because it does not follow the national curriculum nor the Key Stage system so I’ll be interested to see how my children improve at school over the year, so far all is good and if they are happy to do Smartick then I’m more than happy to let them!
All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received access to the product in order to write an honest review. 

Christmas Gift Guide for Kids

Wondering what to get your child for Christmas this year, then here are a few ideas aimed at both boys and girls.  My son has become rather interested in Pokemon this year with it being used throughout his school as a method of achievement by attaining certain Pokemon qualities so anything related to that would be a hit with him.

This Pokemon nightwear set from Argos (£26.99) is right up his street and would suit any young fan.  It’s bold, bright and features the cute character Pikachu who everyone loves.  The pyjamas have a short sleeved top which is great as my son gets hot at night and black trousers featuring little Pokemon images all over.  The matching robe makes the set a lovely gift at this time of year and is super soft and cosy making it perfect to wrap up in on cold Winter evenings!

My children love to play on the iPad so these comfy kids headphones from Snuggly Rascals are perfect to use to listen to the sound without the rest of the family having to listen to it.  Available in a range of brightly coloured characters they are soft and snuggly and you wear them just like a headband.  It  has a large velcro pad so you can adjust the sizing and the earphones cleverly sit by either side of your head.

My daughter has found these an absolute pleasure to use over the last week and finds them very comfortable to wear.  What I like about them is that the speakers and wire can easily be removed from inside to allow the headband to be machine washed for freshness.  These are perfect for use both at home and when travelling – ideal for long journey’s in the car or plane.

Next up we have some more Pokemon fun with the Pokemon Battle Figure 2 Pack which features two random characters.  I know my little boy loves little figures like this and can play with them for hours using his imagination – they are great for taking out as well, I know he always likes to play with things like this in the car or in a restaurant whilst waiting for the food to arrive.

The Pokemon Trading Card Theme Deck is a game suitable for ages 6+ and includes everything you need to play the Pokemon trading card game, with a ready to play 60 card deck in a deck box, a metallic Pokemon coin and damage counters.  I can see lots of fun with this one and again a great game for playing at home or on the go.  My little boy also enjoys just sitting looking through the cards on his own being engrossed in the Pokemon theme right now!

If you are looking for an ultimate present this year then I have to recommend M.A.X from Meccano – a robotic interactive toy with artificial intelligence.  Aimed at ages 10+, my 9yr old daughter managed to build this herself and he is just the cutest little robot ever.

You can build on his knowledge by playing with him daily and unlocking new levels and teach him to do new tricks.  He tells jokes, loves to dance, play games and you can train him to carry items through from one room to another by programming the route in him.  If you find a M.A.X. under your tree this year, you can be sure all of the family will want to interact with once built (2-3 hours) he’ll keep you entertained throughout your festive afternoon and for many more months afterwards.

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

Ravensburger Buggaloop Board Game with Hexbug

Ravensburger Buggaloop board game is a fast paced game featuring a Hexbug nano that is on a mission to push your bugs off their path across the board.  Aimed at ages 6+ and with 2-4 players I knew this would be something they would enjoy after the success we had with the sister game Bugs in the Kitchen.

The contents of the box are the 3D board which stays inside the box for sturdiness, 2 plastic loops which require minimal assembly to stand them up at the start of each game, 12 bug tokens, a dice and of course the Hexbug.  My little boy couldn’t wait to get the Hexbug out and get him moving whilst my daughter carefully set the game up ready to play.

The idea of the game is to get your bugs across the board from one corner to the other.  With each roll of the die which has numbers 1 to 4 around it (1 and 2 appear on two faces) you can move a bug that number of spaces, if they land on a raised space then they are safe from the Hexbug.  During play the Hexbug is continually moving and goes from one loop to the other but as soon as he gets on to the centre of the board play stops, during which time you have to hope one of your bugs don’t get knocked off of their space because if they do, they go back to the start!

As you can imagine the game can get quite exciting with moments of moving bugs, then moments of the Hexbug coming along and everyone gasping and cheering as the Hexbug either knocks their bugs off or misses them.  The game ends when one player has got all of the bugs to the other side of the board and is declared the winner!

My children loved playing this, particularly my little boy who is 7yrs old.  I think it’s the Hexbug that really brings this game alive and keeps the action going. Although you can have a little strategy in which path you take across the board it really is the Hexbugs decision as to which bugs it knocks off so this really is a game of luck but with an edge of unknown and excitement.  Why not check it out for some family fun?

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

Christmas Gift Ideas for £5 or Less From Sportsdirect

Sports Direct has been a great shop to kit my children out with sports wear over the last few years but would you have thought of popping in there for your Christmas gifts?  With an array of items under £5, it’s well worth checking out whether you are just after a small gift, secret santa or stocking filler item.

I was challenged to pick up a few gifts from there and was actually surprised at the choice available for both adults and children.  For me toiletries or socks are always a winner when it comes to stocking fillers or added extras to main presents so I was pleased to pick up some items that would suit my family this year.

The Korres gift set seemed a bargain at £5 and contains two quality products and is perfect for someone I know (just a shame that the box is a bit battered but I will put the contents in a gift bag with tissue paper instead).  I’m sure you are well aware that I have a little minion crazy boy at home so what better than a set of Despicable Me mini shower gels.  I love these small sizes as he does have a tendency to tip a whole bottle out at a time – oops!  Star Wars socks will be a hit with him too so ideal for his stocking (he’s a massive believer in Santa at 7yrs old so lots of little surprise gifts keep him happy!).  The Star Wars gift set looks great and I have a couple of people in mind for that one.

Overall I’m really pleased with my Christmas purchases from Sports Direct and shopping online was simple as you can filter gifts into one place.  You have the option of delivery at £4.99 or if you click and collect in store you still pay the £4.99 but receive a voucher to spend in store for the same amount valid for 12 months (well worth doing if your store is easily accessible).

Why not check out Sports Direct online and see what goodies you can find this year for Xmas?

This post is an entry for BritMums #sdfiverchallenge Christmas Challenge, sponsored by Sportsdirect.com.