Sip n Sound Farmyard Animal Straws

Sip n Sound Farmyard Animal Straws from Flair are a fun new interactive range of straws for children, that along with the fun element also encourage health benefits by using a straw as opposed to a cup.  In the Farmyard Animals range there are four straws to choose from, Horse, Cow, Sheep and Pig.

Each straw is quite solid and easily slides inside the animal so can simply be removed for washing.  The animals stay put at whatever height you put them on the straw although we did find you need a sturdy cup to use them with so they don’t tip the cup over.

The children’s faces were all smiles when they saw them and they couldn’t wait to try them out, not quite knowing what was going to happen.  When they heard the animal sounds as they drank through the straws they were in fits of giggles and thought they were really funny!

The straws are great fun and the children love using them, it certainly encourages them to drink plenty of liquid everyday as they kept asking for refills so they could use the straw again.  Also drinking through straws is much better for oral health and helps prevent tooth decay.

So what did the kids think:

Mister B – “They are amazing – I love them, can I try a different one now?”

Miss M – “Brilliant, they are really funny, can we use them for dinner later please?”

As you can see the Sip n Sound animal straws have been a success with my children and they can’t wait to share them with their friends when they come round.  Being reusable and easily washable I think these will get many months of use!

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

Bunchems! 3D Creations Fun for Kids

Bunchems! from Spin Master are clever little colourful balls that stick together and can be built up to create 3D structures simply and easily.  Just as quick you have built one, you can also pull it apart and rebuild into something totally different.  My children have been eyeing this up over the last few months so I knew they’d be eager to try them out and have fun seeing if they were as good as they thought from the adverts!

We received a Mega Pack and Under the Sea glow in the dark pack of Bunchems! to try out.  Within these sets there are plenty of coloured pieces to start playing with a long with what I thought was a good selection and variety of accessories which can be stuck onto your creations to add personality and bring them alive.

My 6yr old who has been eager to try these for a while, got stuck straight in and was building things all by himself.  I was really impressed at how easy and quick they are to build and certainly kept both him and his 9yr old entertained all afternoon.  The circle pieces have tiny hooks on the end of the spikes which simply hook together as you push them close.  There are also small holes in one side which the accessories attach to.

Within just a few minutes my little boy had recreated this rather cute bird that he saw on the front of the box.  He was very proud of it and I was amazed he made it so quickly and independently.

Before long I was being shown lots of wonderful creations – they all look fabulous!

I think Bunchems! are great and perfect for a range of ages although I’d say my 6yr old enjoyed them the most.  They are non messy and great to do on a table or tray and can just be stored in a box when play has finished (we found a lidded plastic box perfect).  For a different way to craft, create and have fun, then Bunchems! are a great toy to try out.

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

Hot Wires Plug & Play Electronics Set

With British Science Week upon us, John Adam’s Hot Wires Plug & Play Electronics Set is the perfect toy to generate interest in electronics and circuits for children.  Miss M age 9 was very excited to try this out as apparently has recently done a similar experiment at school with some wires and a light bulb so she was eager to get started and see what she could create.

The kit contains everything you need to make over 100 experiments along with a full colour instruction booklet that sets out each one clearly.  The connector parts are numbered for ease of use and there are many parts such as lightbulbs, speaker, finger sensor, buzzer, switch, LED lights… the list goes on to the extent that once you get the hang of it you can come up with your own creations.

Miss M didn’t waste any time and was straight in the box, creating before I even got a look in and the next thing I knew, she had an invention ready to show me – it’s that simple!

Miss M and her brother had created some sound effects and thought they were hilarious as I don’t think they were expecting to be able to make multiple sounds from what they saw in the box!  After calming them down, I managed to record this brief clip of the sounds effects in action:

Next up they decided to make a doorbell.  With it having been my birthday the day before they couldn’t believe it when they pressed the finished doorbell, and the tune was that of ‘Happy Birthday’ which none of us were expecting and it was a pleasant surprise.

Overall we absolutely love this Hot Wires set, it’s safe, it’s simple to use and the possibilities are endless.  Miss M can use it independently and create some amazing things that both children enjoy looking at and playing with.  She’s managed to expand some sets with further pieces to change the pitch of the sound that she made.  This really is good to get children thinking, learning and experimenting with electrics in a safe and educational way.

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

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Chill Factor Frozen Brain Slushy Maker

Chill Factor are know for their fabulous home slushy cups and have a new edition to the range called the Frozen Brain Slushy Maker.  This has a fun monster style face on the casing with a brain shaped lid, which is appealing to most kids believe it or not!  My daughter was excited when it arrived and couldn’t wait to get the inner cup into the freezer ready to try it out later that day.

The cup comes with easy to pull apart pieces that are all washable.  To start you need to dissemble and put the bottom part in the freezer for at least 4-6 hours although I always find it best to leave it overnight for optimum slushiness the next day.  You also need a chilled drink to make slush so my children always make up a cup of juice and put in the fridge to chill until their slushy cup is ready.

When your drink is chilled and cup is frozen simply piece the cup together, I did find the monster eye a little fiddly initially to fix on, but once you get the hang of it, it’s ok.  Pour your juice inside and begin squeezing.  Within a minute or two you will see that the juice has turned into icy slush.  It’s quite fascinating to watch and has never disappointed my children who adore drinking a slushy drink.

The straw needs to be inserted under the lid upwards and then you can get the spoon end down into the slush which adds to the fun of drinking these.  Excellent for Summer months, these are the perfect cooler drinks for when kids are playing outside.

My daughter absolutely loves slushy drinks and this Frozen Brain Slushy Maker cup will get regular use having had the thumbs up from Miss M!

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

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Best First Pets for Children

Kids need entertainment, kids need companionship, kids need fun, and they need to learn some responsibility too. In all reality, there is no better way to provide all of those things for your child than by getting them their very own pet. Here we have a list of the best first pets that you can get for your kids, ones which will certainly make them smile.

2 Common First Pets For Kids & Families

These are without a doubt the most common first pet choices that kids get and the definitely make for some solid choices. Let’s talk about them quickly.

Dogs

A dog is a fantastic first pet to get any child, especially a smaller dog. First of all, dogs are really fun for kids, mainly because dogs love to play. Dogs like playing fetch and they like running around the house chasing things, just like kids. Guaranteed your child will have loads of fun with a dog. Moreover, most dogs are extremely friendly so you don’t have to worry about your child’s safety, plus a good dog can guard your child from threats if need be. There is also the fact that dogs really don’t take that much maintenance either.

Aside from feeding, walking, and a little grooming, there is not much effort needed to take care of a dog. Your child can learn some responsibility by having to feed and groom the dog, and even take it on walks too. Most things which a dog requires can be done by your children. If your child is too young to really take care of the dog, you can be happy with the fact that they don’t provide too much work for you either. Dog is man’s best friend and your child’s too.

Cats

A cat is another great first pet choice for your child, and that is mainly because they require virtually no maintenance. Unlike a dog, cats don’t need to be walked. You can either let them go in the litter box, in which case you will most likely have to change the litter, or if your child is old enough they can do it themselves. Other than that and regular feedings, you really don’t have to do anything to take care of a cat, something that makes it perfect for kids who don’t have too big of a sense of responsibility yet.

Also, cats make for great snuggle buddies and they just love to curl up beside you, something that your child will appreciate every day as they are watching TV on the couch. Moreover, cats can be pretty entertaining too. They do a lot of wacky stuff that we all love to watch, plus they love playing with string and toys. Your child will get hours of fun out of a cat and that is a guarantee. Cats are awesome pets that are fun, easy to take care of, and quite friendly too.

If you do decide on either a cat or dog, it’s always a good idea to consider pet rescue homes as there are lots of animals that need a home, and you are doing a good deed by rescuing too.

3 More Suggestions That Don’t Require Too Much Maintenance

If you are not a big fan of either cats or dogs, and you would like something smaller that does not require much maintenance, you can always check out these great pet ideas for your child’s first pet.

Hamster

A hamster is a fantastic little first pet choice for your child. First of all, they are small and soft, which means that your kid can lift them up and cuddle with them as much as they want. They aren’t heavy, so that’s not a problem, and they are very cuddly too, something that everyone can appreciate. Moreover, as far as rodents go, hamsters are probably the friendliest of them all, with minimal chance of being bitten by them.

Hamsters are also very fun to watch. I don’t know how many times I have caught my own kids watching that furry little creature run itself into exhaustion on that hamster wheel. Something about watching them run on that wheel is just so mesmerizing for little kids. Best of all, hamsters don’t require much maintenance.

All you need is a cage, some food, a water dispenser, some bedding, and of course the hamster itself. Occasionally you need to clean the cage, remove the hamster waste, change bedding, and make sure it has food and water. However all of those things are very easy to do, they don’t take long, and they don’t have to be done that often. Even if your child is too young to really take care of the hamster, at least it won’t be too much work for you.

Betta Fish

In our opinion, one of the coolest pets that you can get your child is a fish, specifically a Betta fish. Now, these animals take a little bit more maintenance than others, and they require some special tools too. You will need a special betta tank (Aquascapeaddiction has covered some good tank options) and a protein skimmer (this post explains how skimmers help), a filter and a light, and some fish food too. However, in the long run, none of these things are very expensive, nor are they hard to set up or use.

Once you have the aquarium set up, all that needs to be done is to feed the betta fish regularly, change some water, and clean the filter, all things which a child older than 6 or 7 can probably do on their own. Also, betta fish are very beautiful creatures that will add a certain elegance to your child’s room. These fish are also very fun to watch as they swim around the tank all day long.

Ant Colony

The final cool first pet choice to get your child, and the one that takes perhaps the least amount of maintenance, is the ant. Well, you don’t get just one ant, you get a few dozen ants, which is called a colony. These are interesting pets, because sure, you can’t

pet them or really lift them up, but they are definitely fun to watch as they borough through the dirt and create a plethora of tunnels.

There is also the fact that ants require virtually no maintenance. As long as you have a glass ant house, some lettuce or carrots, and a handful of dirt, there is nothing standing in the way of a thriving ant colony. All you need to do is feed them, that is literally the extend of an ant colony’s required maintenance, something that every parent will appreciate.

Conclusion

There are many different cool first pet choices which you can surprise your child with. Just make sure that your child will be able to keep them alive on their own, and if your child can’t, you need to be fine with doing the work yourself. That being said, a pet is a fun, rewarding, and educational thing for any child to have.

In collaboration with Craig from Aquascapeaddiction

Storks comes to DVD

Storks is the fantastic new family film that’s been enjoyed in cinema’s recently and now been released on DVD to enjoy at home.  A family favourite this is great for adults and kids alike and is perfect for my 6 and 9 year olds to enjoy.  With fast paced easy to understand storylines and humourous scenes, we couldn’t wait to watch it for the first time as a family at home on the sofa.

Storks deliver babies… or at least they used to. Now they deliver packages for global internet giant Cornerstore.com. Junior, the company’s top delivery stork, is about to be promoted when he accidentally activates the Baby Making Machine, producing an adorable baby girl. Desperate to deliver this bundle of trouble before the boss gets wise, Junior and his friend Tulip race to make their first-ever baby drop – in a wild and revealing journey that could make more than one family whole and restore the storks’ true mission in the world.

The film quickly gets into the storyline and both my children quickly became engrossed in the film and were silent throughout – always a good sign!  They laughed and were kept entertained throughout.

After it finished I asked for their thoughts:

Mister B ” It was aweswome – can we watch it again?”

Miss M ” It was a brilliant film, I loved watching it”

I think that says it all, we as adults enjoyed watching it to and I think it makes a great film for us all to sit down and watch together.

If you haven’t seen it yet, plan your next weekend, get a copy of Storks on DVD and sit down with the family at watch it!

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

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Spring has Sprung with Baker Ross Kids Crafts

After dull Winter days it’s nice to see the colours of Spring coming out in the garden and these craft kits from Baker Ross are perfect for kids to make and brighten up the inside of the house too!  From flowers to bugs, everything is bright and colourful and they are all so simple to make, that I find they have a wide appeal which both my 9 and 6 year olds love to get stuck into.

Without any hesitation, the children sat down and started making, colouring and sticking, they love these kits and it’s always a joy to see them engrossed in creating something we can enjoy to look at for the next few months.

I thought the Flower Suncatcher Decorations looked stunning strung across the kitchen windows catching the sun as it beams through.  Everyone that has visited has admired these and they really brighten up the view.

These Creative Colouring Flower Wreaths are so simple but look so effective, the children are working their way through colouring the whole set so I can hang them up somewhere.  They love dipping in and out of colouring these after school, at breakfast time etc.

How cute are these Bug Pom Pom Decorations?  A simple pom pom ball with a few sticky accessories that makes them come alive.  Making the pom pom is best suited to slightly older children so Mister B left these to Miss M to make.  She’s finished this little ladybird and is currently working on a bee.  I can’t wait to see the trio of finished bugs altogether, so cute!

One of the children’s favourite to make were these Peacock Crinkle Decorations,  so simple by just fanning some crepe paper for the feathers and then just sticking extra details on.  These look lovely on my kitchen wall and I think it’s great for the children to see and admire all the beautiful things they make everyday.

As you can see, Spring really has sprung inside my house with all these beautifully coloured crafts the children have made for me using the fun kits from Baker Ross.  These make a great anytime activity, which children enjoy and love seeing the finished results!

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

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Meet the Zomlings Series 5

The latest range of pocket size toys from Magic Box Toys are Series 5 of the Zomlings.  This pocket money range of toys seem to have mass appeal especially my little boy who was excited to check out the new range.

The range comes in various size packets, ideal for pocket money to be spent on or a as a small treat.  We recevied a selection which once opened out gave us the selection of Zomlings shown below.  The series consists of not only characters but city towers (buildings) and big zom-mobiles (vehicles). Everything is bright and colourful and attractive to children to play with.

There is a also a big town guide map which is double sided, one side lists all the characters which my little boy loved matching his figures onto and picking out others he’d like to own.  The other side consists of a play map with places to house each of the buildings and vehicle stations.

Each building has a sign saying what it is that folds out.  The door also opens so that you can put Zomlings inside and the buildings cleverly stack upon each other to save space.

My little boy loved the play map, it encouraged lots of ideas and fun and he loved moving the Zomlings around in their vehicles across it.  The vehicles have a fold up roof and then you can fit the figures inside.  There are two notches on the base of each vehicle which a figure will sit on so that they are upright.

There are many other fun packs to buy in the Zomlings range, there is so much to collect, you can create a whole Zomlings world.  Why not check them out today – I’m sure your kids will love them as much as my little boy does!

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

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Fred’s Box Minifigure Subscription Box for Kids

Fred’s Box is a new monthly subscription box aimed at kids and filled with a mystery selection of minifigures to play with and enjoy.  The figures are of a standard size and compatable with other similar figures.  Each month is a surprise but you can be sure to expect to recognise some figures from the box whether that be superheroes, tv characters or even someone such as Santa around Christmas time.

The figures arrive in a small enough box that if fits through your letterbox and when you open it up the figures are presented across some shredded tissue.  It looks good and the figures are protected.

We received a mixed selection of minifigures, but all of which I thought would appeal to my little boy as he just loves little figures and toys like this.  As you can see a number of them come with accessories such as a skateboard, guns, lightsaber to add to the play value and look of the character.

So it was time to give them to Mister B to see what he thought.  His grin said it all when he opened the box and then proceeded to jump up and down saying thank you mummy!  He absolutely adored the minifigures in Fred’s Box and couldn’t wait to take each one out and check them out before playing with them in his own little world.  Being very imaginative these fit into play easily for him and little figures and characters really appeal to him more than big toys do.

We’ve enjoyed trying out Fred’s Box and as you can see it’s been a hit in this house.  I think lots of children would enjoy receiving one of these through the post every month, an exciting and fun delivery.  There are different options available to suit different budgets which vary in the amount of figures you received.  Why not check them out today – I’m sure they’ll bring a smile to someone little that you know!

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

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The Brightside Gifts from Really Good

Finding gifts that are a little bit different is always a challenge but The Brightside are a funky range of modern gifts with fun slogans that are available from Really Good, a small boutique online retailer.  They sell a mix of gifts and homeware accessories and use in house designers alongside individual artists to continually create and evolve the ever growing ranges.   A lot of The Brightside range centres around storage tins, always useful to keep various bits and pieces in, but these tins also look great and have fun words on the front.  The range is vast and there really is a tin to suit every person or occasion so we were excited to try out some of the items aimed at children and they arrived beautifully wrapped ready for us to try them out.

Some of the tins have a small padlock and key on the front which is a fun idea that kids will enjoy especially with the “Secret stuff to hide from parents” tin.  Although they may not be so keen on the “Screen time is suspended until further notice” tin but this one is a great size and perfect for locking away phones and tablets in.  Some general storage tins include the “Boy Stuff” and “Girl Treasures” which are both beautifully decorated and are great to keep bits and bobs in.  I like the way they use metallic colours on the tins to keep them bright and fresh looking.

There’s also a really fun, modern height chart with quirky sayings as they reach different heights.  One of my little boys favourite items is the handy torch shown above, a credit card size light with LED bulbs that very cleverly lights up as you click the button on it.  It also only stays on when you hold it in, so as soon as you let go it turns off – a revelation for me and my little boy who loves torches!  No more endless battery supplies needed with this one and it’s also very bright so my little boy loves to use it in the den under his bed and when looking for little things around the house.

Miss M just adores the bunny rabbit Pyjama Bag, a very cute drawstring bag, perfect for taking to sleepovers to pack her pj’s in.  It’s simple but has an effective silver bunny rabbit design all over that girls love and has already been to two sleepovers this year!!

Mister B loves the wooden door sign which immediately made it’s way onto his bedroom door.  The money tin is perfect for all those pennies he keeps finding out and about and the super hero plasters are just the coolest thing he has seen for cuts and grazes. Each plaster has a slogan such as “Dinosaur Bite” or “Dragon Burn”.

Being away at New Year saw this back pack get it’s first outing as Mister B carefully packed it with his toys and pyjama’s and put it on his back ready to go out.  He looked so cute and I just love the fun design on this bag, so different to anything you see on the high street, you can be sure he won’t get his bag mixed up with anyone elses.

One of my favourite products is the behaviour book.  It’s a high quality A4 chart where you can list both good and naughty things the child has done on each day of the week.  There’s a few sheets of stickers for you to use too to help encourage children to improve and brighten up the chart.  Each page can be ripped off at the end of the week ready for a fresh week ahead. This will be brilliant for my children and I’ve decided to keep the sheets we use to look back on in future months to see how well they’ve done (or not!).

They also have a range of celebration cards which do not disappoint.  I love all of them!! The age designs are all quirky but cute and look really lovely.  Being unisex too, they can be given to anyone on their birthdays.

The top line of cards are from a different range, Showtime – How fabulous are these cards?  Each come with an individual letter on the front and by pressing the button in the bottom corner, they light up!  I just love these cards and think they are perfect for celebrating with and will look amazing on someone’s mantlepiece both during their birthday and as a keepsake afterwards.  I’ll certainly be keeping our ones as we were lucky to be sent our initials which are just perfect!

All in all, I think The Brightside range of goods are really lovely.  They have their own unique style and fun words that will appeal to everyone and you could really pick a gift out for someone of any age.  Available from Really Good, I would highly recommend a visit as there are many other The Brightside gifts aimed at adults along with many other exciting ranges.  You’ll be sure to find something, if not many things that catch your eye from this fresh thinking, unique retailer!

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

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