Alphablocks : Phonics First Steps DVD – Review

What could be better than getting children to learn alongside watching the tv?  Miss M loves watching television, more than I’d ideally like, but there are times when a little bit of tv keeps her entertained and occupied and gives mummy time to do some housework.  So the NEW DVD that’s just been released from Abbey Home Media, Alphablocks : Phonics First Steps, is perfect.


Not only does it provide an entertaining cartoon, but each episode is centred around a certain set of sounds and each of the Alphablocks characters repeats it’s sound throughout the programme as it is used to make a word alongside other letters.  This is great as it can either be watched and enjoyed as 2 year old Mister B does, although he has now started to repeat some of the sounds which is a great start to phonics for him.  Or Miss M who now has a knowledge of phonics, gets the opportunity to practise and recognise the various sounds and try to say the words as she sees them before hearing them being sounded out.

“Based on best-practice phonics, your child will laugh and learn with the little letter people and their adventures, songs and all kinds of fun and games.”

With 18 episodes to watch on this Alphablocks DVD, therir is plenty to keep little ones occupied.  Also included is a Alphablocks alphabet poster which is rather fun and brightly coloured.  We have stuck this up alongside Miss M and Mister B’s reward charts so they see it everyday and Miss  has been very good and used it to practice her phonic sounds of each letter.

Overall I think this is a fun, yet educational DVD that is ideal for preschoolers or those in the early years of school.

Find out more at or at
You can also catch up with Abbey Home Media on Twitter or Facebook

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Magic Moves Electronic Wand – Review

The first thing Miss M said when she saw the Magic Moves Electronic Wand, was “Wow a microphone – can I have a go please mummy?”.   And how appropriate that when she switched it on, after a couple of presses of the button it asked her to Sing like a rock star, so that is exactly what she did.


The Magic Moves Wand captured both 5 yr old Miss M’s and 2 yr old Mister B’s attention right away with it’s easy to hold, brightly coloured design that lights up and flashes as you use it.  With each press of the button you are asked to carry out command such as Stomp like a dinosaur, Swoop like an eagle, Hop like a frog, Leap like a lion, Zoom like a jet etc.

The idea of the wand is to promote activity in children and it certainly did that – my two never sat down the whole time they were playing with it and it is a toy that has come out each day.  With 90 different commands it keeps them engaged and occupied while I can sit back and watch them having fun and giggles and also the odd battle as to who is going to control the wand!

Promoting creative movement, gross motor skills, and physical activity in children, I think the Magic Moves Wand is an excellent toy that young children love and will keep them entertained.  It’s great to just pick it up each day when they are feeling sluggish and get them jumping and dancing around.

To win your own Magic Moves Wand, check out the Learning Resources Facebook page as they have a competition to win one.  Closes on 1st March 2013 so get your entry in now!!

To see Miss M and Mister B in action with the wand – check out the video below:

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Tree Fu Tom Magic Sapstone Belt and Holopax Set – Review

Since Tree Fu Tom the programme launched on CBeebies, it has always been in Miss M’s list of favourites so she was really excited when we were given the chance to try Tree Fu Tom’s Magic Sapstone Belt and Holopax,  part of the new range of Tree Fu Tom toys from Flair.

Tree Fu Tom

The Tree Fu Tom TV series is set in an enchanted world where movement creates magic. Tom may appear to be a normal eight-year-old boy, but by putting on his magic belt and performing a special sequence of magic action-movements (known as Tree Fu), he transforms into a tiny but mighty magical super-hero! The show advocates the importance of movement and encourages kids to get up and move as they help Tom make Tree Fu magic and save the day!

As soon as we received the Magic Sapstone Belt and Holopax set, there was an immediate battle between Miss M and Mister B as to who was going to wear it first!  The belt has a motion activated glow – the more the child moves, the brighter the Sapstone glows.  Miss M loved this and couldn’t wait to for the next episode of Tree Fu Tom to come on so she could join in the actions.  It really does encourage children to move about – I don’t think she’s ever sat down whilst wearing it and is constantly running up and down the hallway and dancing around the front room in order to get the light to glow.

Tree Fu Tom

This is definitely a great toy to encourage activity in a child and even more fun if they are big Tree Fu Tom fans which mine are – Mister B tries to go to bed wearing the Holopax on his wrist – something he now wears all day long!!

Miss M’s final verdict:

Tree Fu Tom toys can be bought from Toys r us and The Entertainer.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Alphablocks : Phonics First Steps DVD x 5 to giveaway!!

“Learn to read with the Alphablocks” is soon to be released by Abbey Home Media on DVD.  Alphablocks is a hit CBeebies show that introduces phonics, encouraging little ones to learn the sounds and develop reading skills.  This will be perfect for Miss M who is just learning to read and brings a new phonics sound home from school each week.

The Alphablocks are 26 living letters who fall out of the sky and discover that if they hold hands and make a word, it magically comes to life!

Based on best-practice phonics, your child will laugh and learn with the little letter people and their adventures, songs and all kinds of fun and games.

So I’m excited to say that I have 5 copies of the NEW Alphablocks DVD due to be released on 25th February 2013 to give away – just follow the instructions below.

Volume 1: Phonics First Steps
Phonics First Steps introduces the first letters and sounds that children are taught at school
and starts them off making simple words. With repeat viewing, children can build key phonics
skills and boost their reading confidence – while having lots and lots of fun.
This DVD also comes with a FREE Alphablocks, Alphabet poster!

Find out more at or at
You can also catch up with Abbey Home Media on Twitter or Facebook

If you fancy getting your hands on a copy of the Alphablocks DVD, then Abbey Home Media have kindly offered me 5 copies to giveaway to my readers – so just follow the instructions below.

To enter, please comment below  (compulsory entry)

To gain up to a further 3 bonus entries – Please leave a separate comment for each entry for it to be counted:
1.Subscribe to my blog (at top right of page) – either through email or RSS feed
2.Like my Facebook page
3.Follow me on Twitter and tweet   I’ve entered to #Win the NEW Alphablocks DVD with @star100x

Terms & Conditions
Winners selected at random

If a selected winner has not fulfilled the first entry criteria or any others to which they made comments they will be disqualified
No automated entries
Competition ends Friday 8th March at 9pm
If a winner does not make contact within 48 hours an alternative winner will be drawn
UK only
ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions


Freddie the school bear visits for the weekend!!

When I picked Miss M up from school on Friday, she was grinning from ear to ear, as she was very lucky to have her name picked out the hat to bring Freddie, the foundation class build a bear home for the weekend.  She had wanted to bring Freddie home for a while now and had been eagerly awaiting her turn.  With Freddie’s bag on her back she walked hand in hand with Freddie along on the ground.

First stop with Freddie was Miss M’s ballet lesson where Freddie had the pleasure of joining all the little girls in their pink outfits in the dance studio.

Fred6Then it was home for tea, bath and bed.  I was very surprised and how keen Miss M was at caring for Freddie and he joined her and Mister B in everything they did.  At bed time, she carefully changed Freddie into his pyjamas before brushing his teeth and tucking him in alongside her in bed.

Fred5On Saturday morning, the sun was shining bright and Miss M couldn’t wait to take Freddie to the park.  So after squeezing him into the little basket on the front of her bicycle, she carefully cycled down to the park and took Freddie for a ride on everything.  She was so excited and proud to have him by her side.

Fred1Fred2After a lovely morning Miss M then spoilt things by being very naughty, not doing what she was told and being rude to us, so unfortunately we had to take Freddie away from her until she calmed down and behaved properly.  But she did get Freddie back in time for bed and they snuggled up for a well needed, good nights sleep.

On Sunday morning I had promised Miss M and Freddie that they could make cakes.  So off to the supermarket we went to buy some eggs and Miss M insisted she took Freddie for a go on all the rides outside the entrance!!

Fred4When we got home Miss M and Freddie eagerly put on their aprons and mixed up a lovely chocolate batter which we put into some little pink cases.  Mister B did join in for a final mix and to help Miss M lick the spoons and bowl at the end.  With a little assistance from mummy to ice the cakes, Miss M carefully decorated them.  She was very proud of her cakes and I was very proud of my little cook.  She loves baking and likes to be very independent too – doing as much as she can on her own.

Fred3Unfortunately, the weekend soon came to an end so we packed Freddie’s belongings in his bag and wrote in his diary.  We had a lovely few days with Freddie the class bear and Miss M was very sad to see him go on Monday morning as he returned to school, but she did have the pleasure of telling her class about all the activities they had done and sharing a few cakes with her teachers.

The idea of Freddie bear is to give the children a bit of responsibility of caring for somebody and having to look after them etc.  Her enthusiasm shone through over the weekend and I’m very proud of how well Miss M performed this task set upon her.

Terrible Two’s is one thing… but the Feisty Five’s!!

So before I had children I was well aware of the Terrible Two’s – I’m sure most people have heard of them.  In fact looking back now I would consider them relatively tame.  Miss M was a typical tantruming two year old and I couldn’t wait to reach the threes.  But unfortunately no one had warned me of the tiresome three’s!!  And then there was the Fearless Four’s but the Feisty Five’s – that is something else!!

As much as I had understood that children were hard work, I do truly believe that this is the hardest year yet of caring for my Feisty 5 year old and Terrible 2 (although Mister B is an absolute angel and I don’t believe he has reached the “Terrible” stage yet!!).   Miss M on the other hand is one demanding, fiery, feisty little madam who throws a tantrum at every given opportunity of not getting her own way.  Tiredness is a huge factor although the simple matter of getting her to bed is a battle going on until 9/10pm most nights!!  In the morning the debate starts over clothes – she doesn’t like skirts/dresses/tights/leggings/cardigans – you name it!!  Pass over some Hello Kitty tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt and she’s happy.  I wouldn’t mind so much if her wardrobe wasn’t adorned with price tagged, unworn dresses and pretty little jackets that she turns her face away at in favour of her old school anorak, trainers and hat to cover the unruly curls that she detests being brushed or pulled back in pretty little plaits with ribbons.

Ok I admit she does have a tomboy streak in her which is something I wasn’t overly prepared for but am trying to adapt to, but her overall behaviour is still not to be excused.  The rudeness when she doesn’t get what she wants to eat, the argumentative manner that is displayed when it’s daddy’s turn to bath her and the emotional state she puts on when I dare to leave the house for an exercise class in the evening twice a week (the only 2 hours a week I spend apart from Miss M unless she’s at school).  Often it’s like the flick of a switch where’s she’s playing us but it becomes incredibly draining over the months especially with Mister B deciding that after two years of sleeping the night through he has decided that it is appropriate to wake at 1 and 4am and wander into our bedroom, then proceed to climb into our bed!!

Ok, so I am having a bit of a rant now but I am getting beyond tired, stressed and craving just a couple of hours of time to myself, child free, husband free – just me, a hot bubbly bath and pure silence!!

Barefoot Books – childrens CD story books

When we were sent a selection of books from Barefoot Books I knew my children would be really pleased as they both love reading and are constantly bringing a pile of books to my lap saying “Please read some books mummy”.  The first thing that stood out about the books were the brightly coloured covers along with the high quality shiny pages.  These books definitely looked inviting so I couldn’t wait to take a look inside.  The three large picture story books are a lovely size with lots of bright, detailed illustrations throughout with the added bonus that they each include a CD tucked into a little pocket at the back of the book.

Red Riding Hood

The first book we read was Little Red Riding Hood, the classic tale we all know and love from our childhood.  Miss M loved this story and it is a firm favourite that she has selected each night for her bedtime stories.  It’s easy to read, she roughly knew the story anyway but it is story that never fails to please.  We then listened to the CD which retells the story from the book.  This has proved really successful with Miss M who loves to listen to the CD when I’ve finished reading to help her drift off to sleep.

The Kite kitePrincess is a story about Princess Cinnamon Stitch, a tomboy who doesn’t enjoy sewing and all the other usual ladylike princess activities.  Instead she would rather be outdoors cart wheeling in the puddles and running around in the fresh air.  But eventually she puts the sewing skills she has learnt to use and sews together lots of fabric to create a kite and goes flying off freely outside the castle.  She is so happy.  The story reminds me of my daughter Miss M who isn’t as girly as I thought she would be and would much prefer to be scooting down the street with the boys!!  She really enjoyed reading and looking through the pictures of Princess Cinnamon.  She also liked the instructions to make a kite at the end of the book and I have promised that it will be a future craft project one weekend.  The CD went down very well with Miss M and this also has made it’s way to the bedtime CD pile.


Driving My Tractor immediately caught the eye of Mister B – with his love of all things on wheels, a transport theme to this book was sure to be a hit.  With it’s brightly coloured pages and lots of farm animals in the pictures, it has been great to read and spot things in the pictures.  Again the CD has been a hit and has been happily playing on short car journeys around town for the last few weeks.  Mister B loves jigging away in his car seat to the tunes and has enjoyed reading the book when being at home.

We have all really enjoyed the selection of books we received from Barefoot Books, they are all made to a high standard and look like good quality books. The added bonus of a CD in the picture story books adds great value to the stories and takes them from just being a story book to something a child can enjoy independently.  The CD’s will also be great in the car for both long and short journeys to keep the children entertained.  These books would make lovely gifts for children and I know my two will enjoy the books they received for a long time yet.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.