WILF Books Subscription – Review & Win

WILF Books are a monthly subscription service which sends children a box of books (minimum of three) to enjoy, love and encourage their reading skills with.  The box can be tailored to your child’s age and tastes, so if there are any themes they don’t like you can excluded them.  The books can be fiction or non-fiction and are uniquely chosen for each child.

wp_20161124_12_36_42_pro The books come well presented and individually wrapped up with a cute note and sticker.  This all adds to the excitement when the child opens it up and they are eager to see what books are inside.  Also included is a freepost envelope where you can return any books that have been read or any from your child’s own collection that they no longer want.  As long as they are in good condition they will be recycled in other boxes so that more children can get enjoyment from them. The more you do this, the more likely that extra books will be included in your future boxes.

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We received three books all well suited to my 8yr old Miss M:

  • Atticus Claw Goes Ashore – Jennifer Gray
  • Darcy Burdock – Laura Dockrill
  • Gilbert the Great – Jane Clarke & Charles Fuge

Miss M was happy with all of her books and soon got down to reading them at bedtime.  They are all books she could enjoy and read at her leisure and she really enjoyed receiving the bundle of books. The idea of a subscription is a great idea for a gift for a child and something they can look forward to each month.

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For one lucky reader I can offer a one month subscription box from WILF Books, just fill in the Gleam form below:

WILF Books

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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Bing Magazine Review

Bing magazine is a brand new release this year from Egmont aimed at 3-5 year olds, full of fun activities that really do capture little ones imagination.  Bing is a bunny who has lots of fun and my little boy already enjoys watching the series on CBeebies.

bing magazineMister B is 5, so at the upper age range for this magazine but was really excited to receive it and kept asking when he can start doing Bing bunny!  He really enjoyed the garden toys attached to the front and has been playing with them everyday in his own little imaginative way.

bing magazine 3Each page of the magazine has things to do with a sticker sheet in the centre that is used across various pages.  There is a story, basic writing activities, colouring and plenty of pages to use the stickers on.

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There’s really fun page with a vegetable patch on and another page with lots of vegetables that you can rip apart and stick onto the vegetable patch which I thought was really cute and got us talking about vegetables.  Mister B’s favourite though was making silly faces with the stickers on a page of potatoes!

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I think Bing magazine is lovely for little ones, I like the themes running through it and thought it had a good balance of activities.

You can see more about the magazine in our video here:

We received the magazine to review and received compensation for this post.

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Win a Barbie Deluxe Styling Head worth £29.99

Barbie is most girls dream doll and the idea of styling her hair and make up is the ultimate fun activity!  This Barbie Deluxe Styling Head is the ultimate toy for young girls to practice hair and make up styles, everything from curls to plaits, nails to eye make up.

barbieThis deluxe version exceeded my expectations in size, the styling head is bigger than I thought, therefore making it easier to use.  Barbie’s arms fold out, which is a great added feature and allows you to decorate Barbie’s nails with the various stickers and fake nails included.  Barbie wear’s a very sparkly pink dress and the whole styling head looks well made and sturdy.

barbie 2The set contains numerous accessories such as a hair brush, clips, hair ties, clip in extensions, curling tong, scissors, nail stickers, fake nails, earrings etc.

barbie 3My daughter is keen to learn how to plait hair and this was her ideal opportunity.  She now wants me to teach her how to do fish plaits.  She’s also had fun sticking nails on Barbie along with the nail stickers.  There is quite a lot to keep a child occupied and if they are into hairstyling and beauty, then this is just the thing for them.  The hair does need brushing a few times when first opened as it has a kind of spray in it to keep it all in place, but once that’s brushed out the hair is soft and manageable.

If you fancy having a go yourself (I did find it tempting to do a few fancy designs to show my daughter), or winning one of these deluxe models for your child to play with, then check out my giveaway below:

Barbie styling

Scotch Pop Up Tape – Perfect for wrapping presents

Scotch Pop Up Tape has become my new best friend this year whilst wrapping my Christmas presents.  Simple strips of sticky tape in an easy to use dispenser that easily sits across on the back of your hand via an elastic strap.

scotch tapeI found the strips easy to use and it definitely allowed me to wrap a lot faster.  Normally I’m looking around for my tape dispenser on the floor, having moved it out the way as I’m cutting paper for the next present, but this is always on the back of my hand, so always there ready to use.

scotch tape 2With short strips there was no tangling of the tape and presents got wrapped at super speed and with ease.  Definitley a help that I needed with the amount I had to wrap!

Why not give Scotch pop up tape a try?

scotch tape 3All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received some Scotch products in order to write an honest review.

Marsh Mills Beefeater Restaurant – Review

Beefeater restaurants are somewhere I remember fondly from childhood.  It was often somewhere we went for a family meal when I was a child and over the years even though I now live on the opposite side of the country, my local Beefeater Marsh Mills is somewhere we go to from time to time with my own children.

With a newly refurbished restaurant and revised menu in place, I was offered the chance to review the Marsh Mills branch of the popular restaurant chain, which I was eager to do and knew my children would be keen as they love eating out.

We headed off for a 5pm booking, quite early as my children prefer to eat earlier and it tends to be less crowded at that time of day.  We were greeted with a modern looking reception area and a nicely styled restaurant.

beefeater 1We were handed menus and given a few minutes to decide our drinks order.  I loved the kids new look brightly coloured Mr Men menus.  My two children both enjoy the Mr Men characters and this certainly engaged them in looking through and picking their choices.  I was disappointed though that there was no kids activities provided as usually with Beefeater and similar style restaurants the kids look forward to doing some colouring in or puzzles but nothing was given to us which did leave the children a bit fidgety whilst waiting for food.

The kids menu is £4.49 for a main course and drink of squash, with an added course making it £5.49 or 3 courses for £5.99.  Usually I just make the children have the included squash but as we haven’t been out for a while and having spotted a rather yummy looking milkshake on their menu, I let them order the “handmade to order” chocolate milkshake with Beechdean icecream.  This was an additional £1.99 each on top of their meals, I have to say I was rather disappointed when a small carton arrived at the table for each of them as below!!  I had been tempted to order the adult milkshake for myself as I am a bit of milkshake fan but got swayed into having a glass of vino instead.  I do wonder if at £3.99 for the larger adult milkshake, would I have been presented with two cartons instead of one??

beefeater 2Starters soon arrived, of which we’d all chosen nachos, a family favourite.  The kids enjoyed theirs with a small dish of salsa to dip their tortilla chips in, but the adults version just didn’t do it for me.  I often have nachos when out and about and I have to say this was one of the poorest versions I’ve encountered.  Large lumps of raw spring onion scattered across with a sparse sprinkling of cheese and a rather unappetising looking dip in the middle.  It tasted ok, the tortillas were crisp and tasty but not a starter I’d come back for which is not normally something I say about nachos.

beefeater 3With the restaurant fairly quiet and my husband sitting facing the kitchen, he did notice a couple of meals which looked suspiciously like our main course order sitting on the hotplate while we were still enjoying our starters.  Needless to say as our starter plates were taken away, the waiter came immediately back to the table with our main courses from the hotplate meaning the fries were only lukewarm rather than piping hot and we didn’t even get a few minutes break between courses.

For main course I had a Quorn burger which came with fries and a pot of coleslaw, which tasted fine and was what of the standard I’d expect and the kids also enjoyed their chicken, fries and baked bean dinners too.

beefeater 4Desserts were also fine, I had the chocolate brownie which was served with icecream and the children had the mini chocolate challenge which they loved as all the bits came in separate bowls for them to build up themeselves.

beefeater 5So it came to the end of the meal and we paid, I did have a quick scan through the bill and it didn’t seem quite right but we paid anyway.  On returning home I checked it out and it seems the kids meals aren’t charged quite as the menu suggests.  The mains were £4.49 each but the other courses were an additional 99p each which brings each childs meal to £6.47, not the £5.99 for 3 courses that we saw on the menu.  Normally I’d expect to see a discount at the bottom of the receipt as we ordered 3 courses but not in this case.

After we paid the bill, the kids were offered a balloon and a small plastic Mr Men toy which was nice, although maybe if the toy was handed out once we arrived it would have given them something to play with rather than the cutlery.

Our overall experience of the Marsh Mills Beefeater was slightly disappointing, especially as we had all been looking forward to going.  It hasn’t left us with a feeling of rushing back there next time we are going out to a restaurant, although it’s a shame as I think it could so easily be improved and isn’t like the standard of Beefeater I’ve come to know over the years.  I do hope the points I’ve raised are taken on board and make it somewhere I’d want to visit again.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received some vouchers towards the cost of our bill (and we paid the rest) in order to write the review.

 

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Bruzz Hygenic Nail Brush – Review

Bruzz is a revolutionary new nail brush designed to me more hygenic than traditional nail brushes.  With two young children who come home from nursery/school most days with fingernails full of mud, play doh or paint, I was keen to try this out and see if it improved our nail cleaning experience and made life a bit easier.

bruzz 2Bruzz is available in hot pink, blue and white, available from Boots for £9.99.  We received a hot pink nail brush to try out.  The brush has a chunky, easy to hold design, with three dimensional bristles inside the brush.  By placing your fingers inside along with a squirt of liquid soap and scrubbing you actually give all areas of your nail a really good clean, on top and underneath.

The bristles are a soft silicone and at first I wasn’t sure how well they would work, but actually they did a surprisingly good job!

bruzzThe Bruzz feels gentle on you skin but is thorough at removing dirt.  The bristles are anti bacterial and impregnated with a vanilla fragrance leaving your hands clean and smelling fresh.

Another bonus is that because the bristles are inside the brush, it reduces the splash effect caused with normal nail brushing, something my little boy hates.  With this nail brush he doesn’t moan as much which means I can get his nails cleaner quicker!

So how do you keep the bristles clean?  Well the black bristled area literally pops out of the unit and opens up so you can give it a through clean – it’s even dishwasher safe.

bruzz 3I’ve been impressed with the Bruzz nail brush and it’s definitely a step up from the old, traditional style nail brush currently in our bathroom.  With the bristles being on the inside it also means they can’t be damaged and bent so really this has lots of advantages over traditional models.

I’m pleased we tried it and it will remain a firm favourite in my household to deal with all those mucky fingernails each day.  What not try one out, I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the results!

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

 

Barbie in Princess Power DVD – Review

Barbie™ In Princess Power dvd stars princess Kara™, a modern princess living a relatively normal everyday life, until one day she is kissed by a magical butterfly that gives her super powers.  When she senses trouble around she is able to turn herself into Super Sparkle, a super hero who can save the day!

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Miss M who is 7, couldn’t wait to watch this film.  She was excited to see Barbie™ turned into a superhero, something a bit different for Barbie™ films.  The DVD comes with a pink superhero mask to wear and we settled down early on a Saturday evening to watch this.  With a running time of 71 minutes it’s the perfect length for young ones but enough time to tell a good story.  Super Sparkle acts as a superhero to save numerous disasters happening around town, rescuing people from danger and chasing after baddies.

It then turns out that the Baron of the castle where she lives is trying take over and it takes the power of both her and her cousin Corinne (who has the power to become Dark Sparkle), to finally save the day!

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Both my children thoroughly enjoyed watching this film and in fact were glued to it throughout, I’d definitely recommend the Princess Power DVD for any Barbie™ fans who love an action packed adventure!

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

Disney Frozen Elsa Magic Snow Sleeve – Review

Disney Frozen Elsa Magic Snow Sleeve is one of the latest Frozen toys to be released by Flair and is sure to have instant appeal to any Frozen fans out there.  A sleeve that can be worn on your arm, with a can of magic snow attached that dispenses when you lift your arm in the air, turning the world into an icy, snowy scene just like Elsa.

frozen sleeveWe also received a Princess Elsa costume from Rubies, a well made costume with plenty of pretty detail and detachable snowflake veil.

frozen sleeve 2The Disney Frozen Elsa Magic Snow Sleeve consisted of a plastic holder, a decorative turquoise sleeve to wear, a can of magic snow and a plastic reusable water bottle to use when the magic snow can has run out.

frozen sleeve 1We found the can/water bottle simple to attach to the holder and Miss M did this on her own along with putting it on her arm.  And then came the magic….

frozen sleeve 3I have to say I have never seen two children so giggly, excited and caught in the moment of snowy mayhem!

The only disappoint was that after just a few minutes the can of magic snow was empty and I had two children desperate to continue play.  We then filled up the water bottle which works in the same way although requires pumping (so pushing your hand forward and back) rather than a continuous spray like the snow.

This did allow the fun to continue and I can see the children having fun with this during the summer in the garden.

See the Disney Frozen Elsa Magic Snow Sleeve in action with Miss M here:

Don’t forget that Frozen Fever, the new short sequel film to Frozen is released on 27th March, perfect to watch with any young Frozen fans.

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

Shopkins So Cool Fridge Playset – Review

Shopkins has been a big hit with my children since we reviewed the Shopkins supermarket last year and they were excited when the Shopkins So Cool Fridge playset arrived.

shopkins fridgeConsisting of an American style refridgerator with various compartments, two shopkins and a tray of eggs, their eyes lit up when they saw it.  This has been particularly popular with my youngest, Mister B who can sit playing with it for hours and adds other small characters he has to let his imagination run wild!

shopkins 1The fridge has a large opening door with three shelves inside, and two shelves on the back of the door.  This holds the egg seesaw, a shelf that tips from side to side depending on how many eggs you have sitting on there.  Six eggs with different expressions on their faces are included.

There is a drawer at the bottom of the fridge and on the left is an ice dispenser.  This comes with a yellow ice bucket that if you push into the bottom of the dispenser it will fill up with any items you have stored in the small cupboard at the top of the dispenser.

Also included are two shopkins, a soda bottle and an ice cream sundae, both perfect for chilling in the fridge!

There are also two sheets of stickers to decorate your fridge with and the children had fun applying these on the doors and around the sides.

shopkins 2Shopkins do seem to have a much higher play value than I initially thought and my two really have played with this for long periods of time and got engrossed in a world of little characters.  They’ve used other play figures they own to come and buy things from the shop and fridge, they’ve added other tiny figures and things into the fridge to boost the play potential.  They love all the different little places to hide things in the various doors and drawers, not forgetting shooting things down the ice dispenser!

shopkins 3What more can I say?  Shopkins has definitely been a hit with us and kept my children entertained for longer than I expected.  It’s made of a sturdy plastic and is not at all flimsy, therefore withstanding falling over etc.  The doors don’t just fall off like some toys we have.  I think this is a toy that will be revisited many times for some imaginative, fun play that both children enjoy!

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

Mr Thorne Does Phonics – App Review

Mr Thorne Does Phonics is one of a series of apps by Mr Thorne a primary school teacher who has produced numerous YouTube videos on the teaching of phonics, spellings and also various maths topics.

We downloaded Mr Thorne Does Phonics to the iPad to see what it was like.  The app contains all the Youtube videos relating to phonics sounds in one easy place, so you can just tap the sound you want to practice and the video plays.

Mr ThorneWhen I first showed 3 yr old Mister B the app, he was a little disappointed as he was expecting an app that he could be more interactive with by pressing the screen rather than just watching it.  It took some encouragement from big sister Miss M who sat watching them herself and repeated the sounds and words that Mr Thorne says.  Mister B being one who always copies his sister started saying the sounds too and got really into it, soon watching Mr Thorne himself and repeated the sounds that he heard.

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This is really good to get little ones practising phonics sounds and basic words.  All sounds and words are displayed clearly on the screen alongside a real life Mr Thorne who is pronouncing them.  Mister B is really starting to grasp his letter phonics and this is great for him to sit down with to listen and repeat.  When he’s in the right frame of mind he quite happily sits there copying the sounds – it’s so lovely to hear and you can really hear the enthusiasm in his voice.

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For 6yr old Miss M who is becoming an increasingly confident reader, the one thing she struggles with is spellings.  Sometimes I’m amazed at how well she reads but then writes a story with quite poor spelling, she literally writes how she sounds it out.

Mr thorne spellbookMr Thorne’s Spellbook is a series of spelling tests, each of which consist of 10 spellings.  Miss M has sat quite happily trying these out and worked out that if she gets all ten right then she gets some items to display in the museum.  This helped motivate her into trying hard as she could see lots of empty museum shelves that needed filling and wanted to try and gain the rewards.

mr thorne 3I love this app for Miss M as it really does challenge her, we have a lot of apps on the iPad that are below her age, and although she loves to play, they don’t challenge her in anyway.  This is brilliant for spelling practice and is one area I really feel she lacks in.  The first level on this is perfect for her ability, she can easily get 7 or 8 correct but needs to repeat the other few.  There are two further levels concentrating on harder words that she has yet to reach.

Mr Thorne’s apps are simple, to the point and do the job they should – they teach children.  There are no gimmicks, the children learn straight away but in a fun way.   Obviously you need to have the child in the right mood to respond and react to the app but I can definitely say that these apps have been of benefit to my two, they’ve enjoyed them and continue to use them to this day.

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