Epson EcoTank ET-4550 Printer – Review

Having not owned a personal printer for a few years, I was thrilled to try out the Epson EcoTank ET-4550 printer with it’s claim to be super economical and come supplied with two sets of ink, enough to print up to 11,000 sheets of paper!

epsonThe printer is a fair size, but one I’m quite happy with as I have plenty of space in a new home office that I’m currently setting up.  With 4 in 1 features, print, copy, scan and fax, this inkjet printer really does do everything you would need for a family at home.  Rather than the traditional ink cartridges, this printer has an ink tank system that you can refill using bottles of ink.  Included with the printer are two sets of ink, which should last you approximately 2 years based on the average household printing use.

The ink is easy to squirt into the relevant sections, just be careful not to spill any as it may stain.  The ink tank has handy see through windows so you can see exactly how much ink you are using and can see when a colour needs to be refilled.

epson 2The paper tray is easy to access at the front under the control panel, and between the two is the out tray which simply slides out to support the print outs.  I found the whole process of setting up this printer simple, a CD that you insert into your laptop glides you through the process and I had no issues at all.

The keypad and controls on the front of the printer are fairly self explanatory with a simple menu on the screen that guides you using the arrow keypad to what you want to do.

epson 3The big bonus for me with the Epson EcoTank ET-4550 printer is that it is wifi compatible, no more need for wires and leads around the house.  I’ve also downloaded the Epson scan app, which has been brilliant for scanning paperwork and it instantly appears on my laptop.

We have tried printing, scanning and photocopying with this printer and are really happy with the quality of all of them.  With the children bringing home from school more and more homework that requires printing, this is ideal for a family.  I’ve always been put off in the past of purchasing a printer due to the excessive ink costs but with this printer I’m hoping that the ink will last us the suggested two years which is fantastic!

My little boy loves photocopying his work to show his teacher and we’ve happily used the photocopying function many times. It’s simple to use, just lift the lid, place what you want copied underneath and press the button.

epson 4This printer has been a complete asset to our household and is so easy to use.  I think the biggest benefit has got to be the EcoTank feature, with the refillable ink tanks resulting in ultra low cost printing – perfect for families that require regular printing out.

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

 

U Hugs Customisable Dolls – Review

U Hugs are a new range of customisable dolls from Flair, that come with interchangeable accessories to create a multitude of looks.   The dolls comes with holes across the body to insert the accessory pins onto.  Each doll comes with 12 pins although you can mix and match these across any of the dolls.

U HugsWe receivd Sassy Fashion and Scary Baby to try out.  Aimed at children 5+, my daughter was quite excited at the sight of these and couldn’t wait to get them out of their boxes.  The dolls are made from a soft rubber, so are easy to play with and place the accessories into the holes.

U Hugs 2What is really clever and thought out about with these dolls is that they have a panel on the back of their bodies which unpins to reveal a cavity inside the doll, in which you can store most of the small accessories.  This is a brilliant idea as with most toys and small parts, they can easily get lost amongst other toys and it’s hard to find the bits you want.

U Hugs 4The U Hugs dolls have interchangeable eyes, mouths, accessories for their hands and holes in the front of their bodies.  The shoes can even be turned around for a different look.  The jacket on Sassy Fashion can be removed as can Scary Baby’s nappy.

Here are some different looks Miss M created by switching the pins around. She seems to enjoy the dolls and playing with the pins and is often found carrying one of these dolls around with her.

U Hugs 3The U Hugs are a new breed of dolls and so far there are six different models to collect.  They are fun, can be changed around to reflect your mood, style, feel for the day giving them a new look each morning.

U Hugs 5We’ve enjoyed these dolls, why not check out the range now?

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

Ravensburger Puzzles from eTwist

eTwist is an online retailer that sells something for everyone, from toys to watches, home goods and appliances and much more.  It isn’t a website I had come across before but after taking a look around, I noticed that there were a lot of recognisable, branded products at very competitive prices, definitely worth a look at before making a purchase.

We were given the chance to try out some Ravensburger puzzles on their website to keep the kids occupied over the holidays.  Being familiar with the Ravensburger brand, I could see the prices were really good for these items, and we chose something the kids have longed for, a 3D puzzle.  I found one of Big Ben with the Minions on, something I knew that would have the utmost appeal and I can safely say it didn’t disappoint!

puzzleBoth children were super excited upon seeing the Ravensburger 3D Minions Big Ben, and standing at 41cm tall this is a fantastic looking puzzle that doubles up as model on a shelf.  With 216 pieces this was a great puzzle for 8yr old Miss M and just the challenge she needed.  The pieces for this are unlike a traditional puzzle, and are numbered on the back to help you construct the pieces in the correct order.  We all helped looked for the right numbered pieces but Miss M was chief builder.

puzzle 1We soon saw progress with the puzzle as it rose from the ground, into the shape of Big Ben, and the minion aspect kept 5yr old Mister B amused.  He made his mission to put the finishing yellow piece of the tower on the top!

puzzle 2This puzzle is of excellent quality with plastic pieces, many of which are hinged for the corners and angles. These work really well to create the added dimension to the puzzle and in fact a puzzle that has been exceptionally well received by not only my own family but by others that have seen it!

puzzle 3Our second puzzle to complete was this Crazy Cats at the Perfume Shop which I just adored.  It is a 500 piece puzzle ideal for families to complete together.  We love cats and 5yr old Mister B was my chief corner and edge finder!puzzle 5

We have all had great fun completing this puzzle right down from the children up to the grandparents putting in a few pieces when they pop round.  We spent a few days doing this but loved looking for pieces for each of the cats and the children were eager to be the ones putting in the last few pieces.

puzzle 4Puzzles are much loved in this house and are something everyone can join in with.  They are a great activity for rainy days and school holidays.  Why not check out what eTwist has to offer to keep the kids occupied over the next couple of weeks, puzzles are just one of the things on their site as well as much, much more!

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

 

Numberbundle Maths Activity Box – Review

Numberbundle are a new range of activity subscription boxes aimed at ages 3-7 years and support the Early Years foundation stage and National Curriculum.  The boxes are themed each month and we received the ‘Number’ themed box aimed at reception age children for 5yr old Mister B to try out.

WP_20160219_15_12_49_ProEach box contains activities involving:

  • Cookery
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Active games
  • Solo puzzles
  • Cross stitch
  • Outdoor activities
  • Science
  • Narrative

Each activity is clearly set out in it’s own individual leaflet, making it easy to follow and clear to see what extra things you may need such as colouring pencils, scissors etc.  All extra’s are just basic items you would have at home anyway.

Mister B was keen to start with an activity that he saw used an egg box, one of his favourite junk modeling items so he eagerly started cutting out some numbers for his ‘Random Number Shake’ and numbering inside the sections of the egg box.

numberbundle 2He then stuck the numbers into the lid of the box and a couple of spare one’s on top.  We then put a button inside which he loved shaking about to see what number it landed on.  There are many options for games and activities with this from getting the child to write down the number they land on, write the correct number of dots corresponding to the number or taking turns to see who can land on all the numbers first.

numberbundle 3We then moved onto making an abacus using the box that all the bits came in and some included string and beads.  Mister B absolutely loved sitting threading the beads on each piece of string and sat in deep concentration until he had finished and I attached the ends to each side of the box.

numberbundle 1I think this was a brilliant activity and we have spent much time over the last week playing with the finished abacus.  Mister B loves working out little sums for me and has been adding and taking away from ten quite confidently!  Even big sister Miss M has been joining in.

numberbundle 4We’ve also been doing some science experiments turning dirty old coins into shiny new looking ones and laying them in sequences.  Another of Mister B’s favourites was homemade play doh which he used to make the correct number of spots on ladybirds.  A game we had lots of giggles in is ‘Don’t roll as six’ as when you do, you have to do 10 seconds of exercise such as running on the spot or star jumps.  Mister B loved this and now wants to play it all the time!

As you can see we’ve had non stop activities and fun from this subscription box and there are still more activities on top of what I have mentioned. I think the value in the boxes is up to you to make the most of them with your child, but if you do there really is hours of things to do and you can play certain things again and again.

I think what’s most important here is that the child is having everyday fun, but learning at the same time without really realising it.  Mister B just thought it was a box of fun things to do when he got home from school each night and asked to try a different thing each day.

If you’d like to try one of these Numberbundle boxes, which will of course be appropriate to your childs age, then I am able to offer one of my readers a chance to win a box by simply filling in the Gleam form below:

Numberbundle

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

Celebrating 150 years of Beatrix Potter – Giveaway

The year 2016 celebrates 150 years of the life of Beatrix Potter, most famous for her endearing tales of Peter Rabbit and friends, encased in little white books that formed a fond part of my childhood.  With 23 tales in all, Beatrix Potter was not only a successful author, but an ambitious businesswoman helping launch the range of Peter Rabbit merchandise, as well as being a botanical artist and passionate conservationist.  With a year full of various celebrations around Beatrix’s life, I’m here to join along a blog tour taking over from Jo yesterday, sharing with you some of my memories as well as giving you the opportunity to win some fabulous Peter Rabbit goodies!

150th logoTo mark the occasion we have been trying out some of the newly released merchandise in the form of this rather delicious milk chocolate Peter Rabbit from Charbonnel et Walker (rrp £15).  It’s beautifully detailed and consists of thick milk chocolate, that tastes rather divine.

Peter Rabbit Novelty Side ViewThis Peter Rabbit plush by Gund stands at 16cm tall.  It’s really soft and beautifully made, a perfect gift for anyone this Easter and suitable for ages 1+.  This soft toy is available from H Samuel and F Hinds.

Gund PlushWhen I was a child I was an avid reader, and recall fondly visiting the local library at the top of our road once a week to change my books. I always remember picking up one of the little white covered books by Beatrix Potter as one of my selection and gradually worked my way through all the titles, before reading through them again and again.  I loved the tales of Jemima Puddle duck, Miss Tiggywinkle, the Flopsy Bunnies and Squirrel Nutkin to name just a few.  I’m pleased to say I’ve managed to pass on some of my love for Beatrix Potter onto my children and they have several books that I read to them each nighta and they enjoy them just as much as I did.

To celebrate 150 years of Beatrix Potter with my readers I have the most gorgeous bundle of baby goodies to giveaway from Mothercare and Puffin books worth almost £48!

peter rabbit

The bundle consists of a really smart bodysuit £8, Hat and Mitt set £8 and grey shawl £22 from Mothercare. This are all simply beautiful and if I was having another baby now, I’d have this on it, I just love the soft grey and white colours.  Also in this bundle is this really lovely set of Milestone cards £9.99 in Peter Rabbit designs.  Again these are so nice and I wish they had been around when my children were born.

I also have two other Beatrix Potter giveaways running – 4 tickets up for grabs for entry to Peter Rabbits Playground at Willows Farm, just enter HERE and a family ticket to the World of Beatrix Potter HERE.

To win the lovely bundle of baby goodies simply fill in the Gleam form below:

Peter Rabbit baby bundle

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

Win a Family Ticket to The World of Beatrix Potter

The World of Beatrix Potter is a vibrant family attraction based in the heart of Bowness-on-Windermere in the English Lake District. Visitors can explore the enchanting world that Beatrix Potter created in her little books as all 23 of the famous tales are brought to life, recreating the beautiful Lake District countryside complete with sights, sounds and smells.

World of Beatrix Potter attractionThere’s chance to meet your favourite characters including Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggy-winkle and Jemima Puddle-Duck and step into Peter’s Garden to see the cos lettuces that Benjamin Bunny nibbled on and the gooseberry bush where Peter got caught in a net as he tried to escape Mr. McGregor.

With free activity sheets for kids, a superb themed family friendly café and a world famous gift shop, everyone can enjoy a bit of Beatrix Potter magic, whatever the weather!
In summer 2016, to celebrate Beatrix Potter’s 150th anniversary, the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction will be showing the world premiere of the unique new stage show, ‘Where is Peter Rabbit?’. Inspired by the wonderful stories, this musical adventure brings to life Beatrix Potter’s favourite characters in a not to be missed visual spectacular. Visitors can enjoy special ticket packages including breakfast or afternoon tea with Peter Rabbit himself!

BPDocHeaderTo win a family ticket worth £20, just fill in the Gleam form below and don’t forget to enter my other Beatrix Potter giveaways to win 4 tickets to Peter Rabbit Playground at Willows Farm and a Peter Rabbit baby bundle worth £48!

World of Beatrix Potter

Win 4 Tickets to The Peter Rabbit Playground at Willows Activity Farm

Willows Activity Farm in St. Albans is thrilled to be opening a brand new, one of a kind, Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground on 2nd April 2016.

Willows Farm2The new area features activities themed around the world-famous and much-loved stars of the animated CBeebies series, including Peter Rabbit Secret Treehouse, built around a 100 year old ash tree, and Benjamin Bunny Treetop Adventures, where children can climb and play.

Find acres of adventure based on your favourite characters including Mrs Tiggy-winkle Kitchen, Jemima Puddle-duck Coop and Jeremy Fisher Music Pond.

Visitors can spend time finding their way through the Garden Maze and exploring the Mr. McGregor Shed before enjoying a delicious lunch at the Peter Rabbit Burrow Cafe.

Peter Rabbit and Lily Bobtail will be appearing in live shows in the Peter Rabbit theatre with daily meet and greet sessions with Peter.

The Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground is part of a full family fun day out at Willows Activity Farm including farmyard animals, Tristan the Runaway Tractor, funfair rides, adventure play with all-weather indoor play too. Located in London Colney, St Albans, just off junction 22 of the M25, free car parking.

This looks like a fabulous place to take young children and if I am ever up around that way I’d love to take my two for a wonderful day out.

As well as entering to win tickets below, don’t forget I have other Beatrix Potter giveaways running to win a family ticket to the World of Beatrix Potter worth £20 and a Peter Rabbit baby bundle worth £48!

To win 4 tickets for you and your family which can be used for either a child or adult, simply fill in the Gleam form below:

Willows Farm

T’s & C’s

4 individual tickets are being offered as a family ticket prize. These can be used for adult or child admissions (Child entry £19.50, Adult entry £18.50) so value for 2 adults and 2 children £76 (note for future info discounts up to 25% are available online when purchasing in advance). The ticket can be used anytime from 2nd April 2016. 1. The free admission voucher admits one free adult or one free child to Willows Activity Farm (excludes Santa’s Grotto event). 2. There is no alternative prize or cash alternative. 3. Visitors are responsible for the cost of their own transport to Willows Activity Farm. 3. Under 2’s are free.

Snackeez 2 in 1 Snack and Drink Cup – Review

Snackeez is a revolutionary new idea from Character combining both a drinks bottle and a snack pot in one.  Great for people on the move and something I know my children would adore, not just for the fun aspect, but for convenience, ease of only having one container and it comes with a straw – always a bonus!

snackeez

The drink has a simple, brightly coloured design, each cup combining two colours.  Incorporated into the top is a lid which opens up to the snack pot and also a straw which reaches down to the lower part of the container where the drink is stored.  There is a soft easy to grip band around the centre making the cup easy to hold.

My daughter absolutely loves the Snackeez and finds it brilliant to use when she goes to sport lessons, or playing in the garden as she has her snack with her alongside her drink. Grapes are a good healthy snack that we often use and you get fit a generous portion inside the pot.  For a treat on a Saturday night she enjoys some popcorn in the snack pot along with a fizzy drink.  The cup is versatile and quite large, ensuring both a decent size drink and snack can be put in it.

snackeez 2

The Snackeez has been a big hit with us and one that both my children enjoy using.  It’s really handy and useful as you have less to carry and it makes snack time fun.  We’ve found it easy to wash out, all the parts separate easily and equally simple to slot back together.  Our’s has been well used so far and will be great for summertime, why not try one for yourself?

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

Easter Crafting with Baker Ross

Easter crafts are always fun for the children and Baker Ross have a wonderful choice of easy to make kits that always look great when finished.  For Easter there is everything from cross stitch card shapes, make your own jigsaws, and some rather lovely scratch art birds.

With Spring finally here and the sun starting to shine in the garden, the children couldn’t wait to paint the Wooden Apple Bird Feeders.  These little wooden house shapes have a metal pole across the centre upon which you can place an apple and then hang from a tree for the birds to eat from.  We have plenty of birds in our back garden so we couldn’t wait to get these up in the trees to see the birds enjoying them.

baker ross easter 1With birds in mind, we had some really lovely scratch art bird kits, perfect for Easter crafts, that the children love to do.  The scratching is really simple to do and my 5 yr old sat eagerly creating a pretty design on his birds wings.  The scratch art effect underneath the main colour is rainbow coloured which is really fun and bright.  He also enjoyed making designs on the Make your own jigsaws.  The first one he made was a volcano with lava coming out, not particularly Easter themed, but a design he thought up himself and enjoyed doing.

baker ross easter 2I love the Baker Ross cross stitch kits.  A simple piece of shaped card that you colour in, and then cross stitch on top with a chunky plastic needle.  8yr old Miss M loves these and tried the egg shaped one first.  These are bright and fun and make a great gift for grandparents at Easter or are also great hung up as Easter decorations.

baker ross easter 3As usual Baker Ross have provided a great selection of crafts to do for Easter.  We also got some golden coloured plastic eggs which we plan to hang some ribbon from and put a little chocolate egg inside and then hang around the garden as part of our Easter hunt.  I’m sure they will prove highly popular with the children and lots of fun on Easter Sunday!

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

Blaze and the Monster Machines Toys – Review

Blaze and the Monster Machines is a highly successful new programme on Nick Jr that has my little boy gripped and I’m even surprised to say my daughter loves watching it too!  Following on from a successful Twitter party a few days ago with @ukmumstv where the toys were introduced and we did some fabulous STEM activities based around the toys, we’ve now got an opportunity to look at the toys more closely.

First up is the hugely popular Transforming Blaze Jet (from £15).  This is a large, very sturdy plastic toy from Fisher Price.  When you lift it off the ground it’s wings automatically pop out enabling it to fly.  There are also multiple sounds that can be activated by pressing the large button on it’s bonnet.

blaze party 1

The diecast character cars (£4.99) are a really good size, bigger than your usual small car and big chunky wheels to help them get around.  These are perfect for little hands, and great for not losing under the sofa!  These have been highly successful with my little boy who just loves playing with them to create an adventure with Blaze.

blaze party 2

The Blaze Turbo Launcher (£12.99) has proved a really fun toy.  Coming with a diecast Blaze and two accessories, a helicopter and hang glider topper that simply press onto the top of Blaze.  The launcher itself is easy to use and you just slide the car back and press the button and off Blaze goes, in fact any of the diecast cars can be used with this.

blaze party 3

We had great fun at our twitter party incorporating these toys in our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Science) activities, building obstacle courses for Blaze and friends.  We even decorated a biscuit to look like a big monster wheel!  It’s great to incorporate toys into activities as it is something different for the children to do, adds play value and the children learn things without realising.

blaze party 5

As you can see we had a lot of fun with the Blaze and the Monster Machine toys.  They were a big hit with all here and the tv programme continues to be watched regularly.

Be sure to check out Nick Jr and Fisher Price for more fun and info.

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