Air Hogs E-Charger Dragon from Spin Master

Air Hogs E-Charger Dragon from Spin Master is aimed at children ages 8+ and is a sturdy well built plane that charges in just 30 seconds allowing it to fly up to 100 yards through the sky.   The children were keen to try it out so we headed out to an open space to see how far it could fly.

The plane is easy to fly and charges really quickly.  The charger requires 3 x AA batteries and then it’s ready to go.  Once you are ready to fly you simply unfold the charging pin on the top of the charger, push it into the charging port on the underside of the plane and hold the button on the charger in for 30 seconds.  As soon as you remove the charger you can hear the power in the plane waiting to be released into the air.

We found you do need to throw it quite well into the air and let it catch the wind but when you do get a good throw – wow!!  This thing really does fly!

It was hard to film it in action because it was sunny and it flew so fast but I managed to get a couple of short clips of the plane in flight.  The children loved it when it twisted and turned through the sky and it definitely went some distance so really do make sure you are in a good open space.

We thought the power on this plane was great and really gave it a boost to fly through the sky.  Once it lands you do need to charge it up again for the next flight but for us it was a challenge to see what flight paths we could get it to do.  When it went well, it really goes for it but it is definitely set at the correct age guidelines.  My 9yr old and husband were quite able to set this off in the air, although my 6yr old struggled but being aimed at 8+, this made sense.

Overall the Air Hogs e-charger is a great gadget toy for the over 8’s that gets them running around in the fresh air chasing after the plane as well as a lot of fun watching it zooming the sky.

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

Shrinkles Mini Packs – Dinosaurs, Unicorns & Puppies

Shrinkles Mini Packs come in a variety of designs and we’ve been trying out the Dinosaur World, Magical Unicorns and Playful Puppies.  Although they’ve been around for many years they aren’t something I did as a child so I was excited to do them with my children and see what they thought about them.

Inside each mini pack are two sheets of pre drawn Shrinkles, a coloured and transparent piece of Shrinkle paper, a 4 pack of coloured pencils, some stands for the finished pieces and instructions.

It was then a case of colouring in the pre printed designs in the theme for each box.  The children enjoyed this but didn’t quite understand the concept of how much they would shrink until we’d ‘baked’ our first batch.

I was a little worried when I saw the designs curling up in the oven but if you leave them a little longer, you will then see them flatten out again.  At this point I removed them from the oven and left them to cool.  The children couldn’t believe how much they had shrunk and also were impressed how they had become solid and hard, like a 2D plastic figurine.  They then put them on stands ready to play with.

Then we had a go at making our own designs using the plain pieces of Shrinkles paper.  My daughter carefully traced the outline of a front cover of a book she is reading which came out really well.  They also tried some other designs and below you can see the best of what they made,  I think they came out really well and are now sitting as trinkets on the shelves in their bedrooms.

Overall Shrinkles has been a success.  It was something new to us that the children enjoyed trying out and had fun making.  They loved watching them shrink through the glass in the oven door, which was novel and different, resulting in finished pieces that are sturdy and will last for a little play afterwards.

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

Rocks Sparkling Elderflower Drinks

Rocks Sparkling Elderflower Drinks are part of a range of ready to drink individual bottles from Rocks.  With a gentle Elderflower flavour and sparkling texture these are perfect for Summer days whether at home in the garden or out and about on a picnic.

The drinks are primarily made with a majority of Organic ingredients and also stick to a simple list of ingredients making them uncomplicated but naturally tasty.  I just love the gentle sparkle included which for me always makes a drink a bit more fun and refreshing.

My mum is a big fan of Elderflower so we tried these new drinks together served chilled from the fridge and found them to be the perfect afternoon refreshment.  We both enjoyed the flavour and fizziness within it.  I hadn’t heard or tried Rocks drinks before now and seeing as they are locally made in Devon, I’ll be sure to look out for them again in the future.

Other interesting flavours in their ready to drink range include Sparkling Raspberry & Lime which sounds delicious, along with Sparkling Ginger & Wasabi, Sparkling Strawberry & Blackcurrant and a couple of still options.  There really is a flavour for everyone so definitely check them out if you come across them.

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

Lee Stafford Chopstick Styler QuickDry Gloves

Lee Stafford Chopstick Styler QuickDry Gloves are a innovative but simple idea that making towel drying your hair a dream, getting rid of all the moisture but without the effects of rubbing a towel on it, hence leaving it frizz free.

The gloves are a large in size but fit over your fingers easily, in fact they do look like big pink monster hands which my children thought was hilarious but if they do a good job then they would be worth looking like a monster for a few minutes after the shower.

To use I simply gave my hair a quick squeeze when I’d finished washing it and then put the gloves on to remove more moisture from my hair.  I just squeezed through the lengths and pressed over the scalp and the gloves soon absorbed the majority of the moisture.  This allowed me to go and get dressed without wet hair dripping all over me or a towel wrapped around my head.  Personally I’m really pleased with these and prefer them to my regular microfibre hair wrap which although keeps the wet hair out of the way, doesn’t absorb much of the water.

My 9yr old daughter has even taken a liking to these, with her very thick, wavy hair, the gloves are a simple way for her to get the wetness out of her hair before I plait it for her.  They are easy to use and really soak up moisture so a great tool for her to use to dry her hair as being so thick she doesn’t use a hairdryer and leaves it to finish dry naturally.

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

Flower Fairies Candytuft Teapot

Flower Fairies Candytuft Teapot from by Enesco available from Gift Giving… All wrapped up is a beautiful ceramic teapot, perfect for every afternoon tea event.  With it’s Flower Fairy design and pastel pink shade, it really does give off an elegant feel and would look fabulous either on a dresser or on a table for tea when friends or family pop around.

The teapot comes in a pretty and sturdy cardboard box with a handle that actually makes it an attractive package, perfect for gifting to someone.  Standing at 16.5cm tall the teapot is a really good size, perfect for lots of tea over an afternoon of chatter!

The design is sturdy but has a delicate feel with the Flower Fairies decor originally drawn by Cicely Mary Barker and first published in 1923.  They’ve now been given a contemporary update with the coloured background and been applied to a range of gifts to include jugs, cups, tote bags and scarfs.

The teapot is easy to hold and has a simple outline that’s easy to clean and use.  The lid is really pretty with the floral decor echoing the print around the sides.  I’m really pleased with this teapot and it’ll be displayed alongside some cake stands and other ornamental but useful pieces that I have and bring out for various occasions throughout the year.

If you are looking for a teapot that’s pretty, pink and a really good size then be sure to check this Flower Fairies one out!

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

Soreen Disney Mini Loaves in Toffee and Chocolate

Soreen a household name in malt loaf products have brought out Disney themed mini loaves in both Toffee and Chocolate flavours.  How could they not be a winner with kids?  With Pixar images on the chocolate flavour and Frozen images on the toffee flavour I couldn’t wait to share these with my children for a full verdict!

Soreen is a popular snack in our household, the larger loaves with the adults and the mini loaves with the kids as they are absolutely ideal for snacks, especially when out and about.  Not only do they come individually wrapped, they aren’t messy, can’t melt and provide a fairly healthy bite to eat.

We kind of knew what the Chocolate flavour would taste like as we’ve had the large Chocolate loaves before and we all love them.  The Toffee flavour was new to us but proved to be a hit and was enjoyed by both children.  I have to say that the Disney packaging didn’t go unnoticed either and they loved picking out which character they were going to have before eating one.

I love Soreen products, not only do they taste great, they are low in fat.  The mini loaves all come in at 100 calories or less, are individually wrapped and loved by both children and adults.  Great for days out or snacks on the go – I know I use them for a multitude of occasions such as after school trips to the park, a snack after swimming/sports lessons, family days out, picnics etc  Also watch out for special edition Soreen flavours in various sizes such as the Winter Spice edition large loaf that is available over the festive season – with every new flavour that Soreen release, be it chocolate, toffee or Winter Spice, they’ve never failed the taste test with us!

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

Is Creating a Work, Family Life, Me Time Balance Always Possible?

Is it always possible?  That’s the question running through my head right now.  At the moment life is a juggling act, our routine changes from day to day due to the husband’s shift work, the endless kids activities after school, in the evenings and at the weekends and depending on whether I’m working or not each day.  Since 2009 when I returned to work after a year’s maternity leave with my first born, I cut my hours down to just 20 a week having previously been full time.  I also chose to work two and a half days a week, the first half so my working week finishes at Wednesday lunchtime.  This has been working well for me in my home, family, work and me time balance but unfortunately with significant changes at work this option is being taken away from me.

My future feels just like this rock I encountered in the Grand Canyon back in 2006, a balancing act that could topple either way, will it make it, will it fall?

In just a few weeks I’ll be required to spread my hours across five days a week, that means working Monday to Friday every week.  To add an extra twist to the equation I currently work in the road next to my children’s school which has its obvious advantages. I’m also able to walk to work (albeit a 2 mile hilly hike! lol) but it keeps the fitness up and enables us to juggle being a one car family and my husbands shift work – he takes them to school more often than not whilst I head to work, if he’s late shift he leaves the car at my work and walks home ready to cycle to work at lunchtime etc. (He always rides a bike to work so has no need for a car).

In the Summer the building I’ve been employed at for the last 15 years is closing its doors and being sold off, whilst the staff are being relocated almost 4 miles away across the city to another of the company buildings, on a route that’s accessed by a road bridge that is renowned for being gridlocked at not just peak but various others times during the day (should there be a breakdown or accident, you can forget arriving at your destination any time in the near future!).

So here’s my dilemma – in just a couple of months I will not only be working 5 days a week but I’ll also be responsible for all the school runs in order that I can have the car to travel to work.  It means my start time will be some point after school drop off and when I have managed to navigate my way through the city centre traffic and prayed that the bridge is clear.  My finish time will be 4 hours later and by the time I return home I’ll hopefully have 1 whole hour of child free time, yes you heard it right, instead of a couple of hours Wednesday afternoon and all of Thursday and Friday, I’ll now get a measly hour each day after a shift at work.

This my friends will become the one hour a day in which I can do my child free housework, child free food shopping, child free nip into town for errands, child free ironing, child free gardening, child free blog photos/writing, child free house renovation planning, child free DIY (yeah like painting a room in an hour is gonna happen), child free coffees with my friends/mum and most of all child free ME TIME.  Yes and by me time I don’t mean sitting with my feet up, painting my nails and reading a magazine, by this I mean getting to dye my ever increasing grey hair in peace, having a bath without constant interruptions and just being alone in the house being able to sort things out and concentrate without the constant nattering, interruptions of the kids!

So as you can see the chances of my new house being fully decorated are ebbing away, my small window of opportunity each day is limited and squished between the morning school run, a dash across the city and 4 hours at work, then breath before school pick up, after school clubs, cook dinner, read school books/homework, bath kids, bedtime routine and then to be honest I’ll be shattered and my bed will be calling, well after I’ve had time to make pack lunches, get school uniform/work clothes ready, clear up the house, get a wash iron, squeeze some ironing in and dash the vacuum round!

Really I’m finding myself in a bit of a quandary, working 5 days a week isn’t the part time working lifestyle I envisaged and I’m not sure how successful it will rank in balancing the duties of a household, family life and me time.  Daddy will form a lesser part of the children’s lives, missing out on all of the school runs, after school trips to the park on days mummy used to work and if you remember he works shifts so is often not there in the evening when we come home, works many weekends and will find his work free time alone in the daytime when the kids are at school and mummy is at work!

With this configuration of part time working – is it even worth it?  As much as I need the money for my new mortgage/house renovations – will I be comprising family life/child free time?  I don’t want to end up super stressed and feel like I never get a break/can’t get household things done (kids just don’t appreciate you being on the phone to utilities/insurance companies, endless trips around bathroom/kitchen shops)… time will tell, fingers crossed for now!

i-SPY Books for Kids

i-SPY books for kids from Collins are a great way to entertain children especially when out and about, on long journeys or visiting new places. Pocket sized and packed with over sixty colour pages of things to spot along with useful facts, they are sure to keep children entertained.

With a lot of long journeys for us at this time of year I knew the children would love to try out the i-SPY On a car journey and i-SPY On a road trip books.  We will also be going on a ferry in a couple of months so I knew that the i-SPY On a ferry would be a hit with them then and keep them occupied.  They already been checking out the pages and seeing what they remember from the ferry last time and can’t wait to take it with them on our trip.

The books come with true to life photos of things to spot relevant to the theme of each book so it’s really easy to tell what you are looking for and tick it off once you’ve found it.   There’s even a points system where by each picture is worth a certain number of points which you can add up and apply online for a certificate when you reach 1000 points.  They’ll also send you a badge through the post – a nice little touch that gives that added bit of motivation to keep finding things!

My two children were excited when they caught sight of the new i-SPY books having been fans after using them several times previously and before we had even left the house they were flicking through deciding which things they really wanted to spot when we were out and about.  Just a few days later we embarked on a 260 mile round journey to visit their cousins so this was the perfect road trip to check the books out on.  One had On a car journey, the other had On a road trip and it proved great fun listening to them spotting things and helping each other out along with describing signs for me to look out for in order to help them.

The i-SPY range of books have always been popular with us and we’ve had a combination of both travel and nature themed books which always create a buzz with the children that not only encourages them to learn but they have great fun at the same time.

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

Turning Tears into Smiles with Elastoplast #tearsintosmiles

Kids love to play, and like most my two prefer to play outside, so as long as the weather is dry they can be found in the garden either bouncing on the trampoline, shooting some basketball goals, playing tennis, skipping, football – you name it, they play it!  Our garden shed has become home to an array of garden games and it’s great to see them play, get them outdoors and encourage any kind of active activity whenever possible.

Unfortunately though, it’s inevitable that from time to time, minor accidents will happen and the kids will come running in full of tears with scrapes, bumps, grazes and cuts to show me, hoping that I can make it all better again.  Turning tears into smiles isn’t always easy but a few simple steps can help the tears go away and the smiles appear again.

  1. Give them a big cuddle – there’s nothing more they like than to feel hugged by their parents arms wrapped around them.
  2. Check them over for damage and apply cold packs where necessary (we keep a small supply ready in the fridge)
  3. Apply antiseptic creams or Elastoplast  strips as necessary (especially some rather cool Frozen or Star Wars ones which is half way to generating a little smile on their faces!)
  4. Give them a drink and small snack to enjoy while they take 5/10 minutes to recuperate and distract them from any mild pain they may be feeling.
  5. Talk to them throughout, the sound of your voice is calming and distracting and before long, despite their little injuries, they’ll be bounding out of the back door again to play!

Outdoor play is such an important part of a child’s life and should always be encouraged.  Fortunately with my children they’d rather be out than in, but that means we have more chances of slips, trips, knocks and falls than some.  But following my tips above, means we always turn our tears into smiles within a few minutes and always remind them to be a bit more careful when running about, looking where they are going and watch when someone is throwing a ball at them!

Within the last few days we’ve already had a couple of incidents.  Poor Mister B fell over in the park grazing both knees and his elbow, but fortunately R2D2 came to the rescue and covered up the worst cut which did eventually bring a smile back to his face even though it did continue to hurt him.  Miss M managed to cut the end of her finger so we carefully wrapped a Frozen plaster around the top to protect the cut from dust and dirt.

Elastoplast are great for helping to save the day with fun designs that kids will love!

A worldwide brand that you and your whole family can rely on – we offer you modern and high-quality solutions to the demands and small inconveniences of everyday life.

This post is an entry for the BritMums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast. http://campaigns.elastoplast.net/plastermoments/uk

Lee Stafford CoCo LoCo Blow & Go Nuts 2400W Dryer

Lee Stafford CoCo LoCo Blow & Go Nuts 2400W Dryer is a sleek designed, lightweight hairdryer in a pretty pale pink and rose gold casing.  Featuring 3 heat settings and 2 speeds this is perfect for everyday use at home, giving salon quality results. Coming with a sleek concentrator nozzle and ample length of cord I was keen to give this a try in my morning routine.

The first thing I loved about this hair dryer, other than it’s pretty colour of course, is how lightweight it is.  This makes drying so much easier and effortless when you haven’t got that weight on your arm.  The 2400W also helps dry your hair really fast which is exactly what I need in the morning before going to work.  Not only did it give a super quick dry but left my hair feeling really soft with a freshly blow dried look.  It comes with 3 heat settings including a cold shot and 2 speeds so you can really adjust it to suit your needs.

The added bonus with the Lee Stafford CoCo LoCo Blow & Go Nuts Dryer is that the grille is infused with coconut oil to heal your hair with essential oils and nourishing proteins.  This helps smooth your hair and add shine along with  preventing damage from the heat.  I could smell this vaguely but more noticeably is the softness of my hair once dried which did feel better than other dryers I’ve used.

Overall I really enjoyed using this hair dryer and is perfect for drying my long hair quickly and efficiently whilst maintaining the hair’s condition.  I only wash my hair 2-3 times a week depending on time available but this fits perfectly into my hair care routine and will become a regular tool that I’ll continue using.

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