Keeping Memories with National Stationery Week

With the current climate most of us are stuck at home, whether that be working from home, homeschooling with the kids or using our time creatively to remember the tough times we are going through.   In these times stationery is an essential regardless of whether you are young or old, working in the office or at home so #NationalStationeryWeek has come along just when we all need it.

Essentials from Staples are great for home schooling or work.  Whether it be writing out a history essay, writing a poem or taking notes from the work online conference – a simple gel pen and lined pad are just perfect for the job in hand!

Whilst we are in Coronavirus lockdown we are finding ourselves writing by hand a lot more and there are many things you can use your stationery for to keep you occupied and make memories during this unprecedented time in our lives.

How about trying some of these:

  • Keeping a diary of days at home during lockdown, your thoughts, feelings and things you have done
  • Create a time capsule
  • Write down and cut out activities to fill a jar with and pull one out whenever you can’t decide what to do
  • Write down a list of things you want to cook or bake and plan to try a new recipe every day

If you fancy something a little more stylish to make your memories with then how about this multi tasking pen Tech3+ Brushed Black Multifunction Pen from Cross. It looks and feels premium and amazingly carries a multitude of tools in it’s standard sized pen casing.

 

The features include:

  • Classic design with three writing tips inside: a black ballpoint, red ballpoint and pencil
  • Continuous twist technology for easy tip selection
  • Wide 8MM stylus that also unscrews to reveal an eraser
  • Compatibility with most capacitive touchscreen devices
  • Lifetime mechanical guarantee
  • Premium Gift Box

I love the way the pen smoothly twists around to access each of the pen/pencil functions. It’s clearly been well designed and it’s solid exterior is incredibly durable.  This is a pen built to last for many years and being refillable is one that is sure to give you many hours of writing pleasure.

 

I can’t wait to use the Cross pen to fill my diary entries during this 2020 lockdown and it will certainly will provide some interesting reading in the future – who knows how life will change, although fingers crossed this pen will also still be around and functioning to live to tell the tale of the 2020 Coronavirus diaries!

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

Having an Easter Egg hunt with Ultra Dash game from Interplay

Looking for a fun idea for your kids Easter Egg hunt this year?  Then how about using the family fun game Ultra Dash from Interplay to add to the fun.  You can add chocolate treats to the targets for children to collect as they dash about following the flashing colours adding to their fun.  Also a great game during this stay at home isolation spell that we are having

The Ultra Dash game comes with five multicoloured targets that are bright and easy to see. This game is ideal for either indoors or outside in the garden if the weather is pleasant enough.  You simply place them on a flat surface either on the ground or on an easily reachable surface.

The Tagger is an ergonomic shaped stick that you hold and requires 3 AA batteries.  It then acts as your main tool in the game as from here you can control the number of players, timed countdowns and which game mode you wish to play.

It’s also is your main game controller that you hold during play and the top flashes various colours, each matching the colours of the targets and determines where you need to place the tagger.  It also records your score on how accurate you are in placing the tagger into the correct target.

There are three modes of game play:

  • Beat the Clock – A race to hit all five targets as fast as you can which you can either play alone or compete against others by taking turns and checking your scores.
  • Target Tally – Choose the length of your game whether it be 30 seconds or a minute and see how many targets you can hit in that time
  • Relay Race – split into teams and take turns of hitting five targets each before passing to the next player in your team.

As a fun idea for Easter we put chocolate bunnies into each target for the children to collect as they played – off course this was a hit and encouraged them to keep playing for longer!  I also found that by playing in the garden, the children were clearly keeping active by running between the targets and being competitive as they are, beat me in the the time challenges.

You can see the game in action in this short video clip we’ve made:

If you are looking for a fun game to keep the kids active then this would be great especially in the current climate.  It could be a long Summer if school remains closed until September to Ultra Dash is the idea way to have fun and keep fit!

You can also check out Interplay on their social channels to see Ultra Dash and other great play ideas that they have. They are on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.

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

Homeware Essentials from The Towel Shop – Review

The Towel Shop is an all round one stop shop for all your household towel and linen needs. From Egyptian cotton towels, to goose down duvets and quilted mattress toppers they really have something for everyone to  suit all of our household needs. We were sent a selection of items to suit our family home and have happily been trying them out to let you know our thoughts.

Having a grey bathroom, these Grey Luxury Face Cloth Flannels are perfect for every day use.  They are a really good size and feel lovely and soft.  With 12 in a pack it means we can change them often (usually every few days) and just grab a new one out the cupboard when needed. They are perfect to use when showering and wash really well and have so far stayed perfectly soft.

Mattress Covers are an essential in our house as they help avoid a world of sins on the mattress itself whether it be a drink spill, sickness or other.  This one fits our king size bed and is fully elasticated for an easy fit and even reaches over our deep mattress. It helps add a softer layer to sleep on as well as protecting the bed.

I do like a good pillow and am rather partial to a lightweight feather one that your head just melts into. This set of Roma 2 pack Goose Feather & Down pillows are just perfect to lay your head onto at night. They have a strong outer cotton cover and are filled with light floaty feathers that allow the pillow to adapt easily to your head shape.

I’m delighted to be able to offer a giveaway prize of a pair of these Roma pillows – the perfect accessory to give you a good nights sleep!

Simply fill in the Gleam widget below:

The Towel Shop pillows

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

So Slime Glam DIY – Review

So Slime Glam DIY from Canal Toys is a fun, scented slime pack that you create and keep in cute little beauty shaped containers. Perfect for an afternoon of fun and then to get out and play with whenever you fancy a bit of slimy, stretchy fun – what kid doesn’t these days?

picture of so slime glam set

Contents of So Slime Glam DIY

  • 3 Shakers
  • 3 Scented Slime powders
  • 3 Bags of glittery decoration

contents of the so slime glam set

Slime is something my children are very fond of so this set put a smile on their faces straight away and they couldn’t wait to try it out.  It’s really simple to make and you simply add one sachet of scented slime powder into each of the shakers.  Then add water up to the marker line inside the container, put the lid on and give it a really good shake.  We did find you need to give them a thorough shake for a few minutes and then massage the slime through to ease out any lumps.  We also found the slime became a lot smoother by the next day which allowed for lots of stretching and playing with it.

showing the children making the slime

Once you have your ready made slime, it’s time to add some sparkle.  To do this simply pour the glitter onto the slime an knead it in until it’s all mixed around.  This really does leave your So Slime Glam DIY looking really pretty and glamourous.

adding glitter to the slime

Each coloured slime has matching glitter with it, as you can see the red one below had little red lips glitter which made it look bold and vibrant. You can see how stretchy it is as my daughter pulled it from one hand to the other.

adding glitter and stretching the slime

What we thought about So Slime Glam DIY

Each coloured slime is a great size and smell amazing.  We love that each have their own container for storage meaning you can put them away and get them out again another day for play.  They definitely improved over 24 hours as well, giving them really impressive stretch.  The other things we loved about this slime is that it is totally non sticky and doesn’t leave any mess – you can’t go wrong with that!

stretching slime into big flat shapes

So Slime Glam DIY is available for £9.99 from all good toy retailers and would make the perfect party present – I think slime is one of those toys appreciated by most children at the moment no matter what age!

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

The Comic Club – Kids Magazine Subscription – Review

Aimed at 7-11 year olds, The Comic Club offers children a chance to read a couple of fun but educational magazines each month, delivered straight to their door along with an activity sheet encompassing fun things to do from both magazines.  They can either read them alone or great to read as a family discovering things you didn’t know whether that be about wild species of animals or the latest environmental and eco news.  There are even fun recipes to bake and we found some delicious gooey brownies to make in one of this months magazines.

We received a National Geographic Kids and Brilliant Brainz magazines along with the activity sheet from The Comic Club.  Each child friendly activity refers you to the page in the relevant magazine to refresh your memory and give you some inspiration for things such as writing a short story, drawing ideas for things or for those who love a bit of Maths, how about practicing multiplying up the brownie recipe found in the Brilliant Brainz magazine?  My boy enjoyed putting his logical head on for this one but equally used his imagination in his short story about an animal.

The magazines are both packed full of interesting content that both my boy and I enjoyed reading through.  The National Geographic Kids issue featured several pages about wild cats and as soon as we came across Ocelots, my boy said “I know what they are”, “really?” I replied, “yes he said, I have them in Minecraft!”.  Well I never knew he’d of even heard of one but there you go, although it was great to read more about them although sad to see that their population is decreasing due to habitat loss. I thought the Real or Fake article was interesting and my boy surprised me with how much he new about all things eco when we read the pages that covered green issues.  They clearly are drumming recycling, reusing and beach cleaning etc into them at school these days.

The Brilliant Brainz magazine isn’t one we’d come across before but it has plenty of things to do and think about inside it.  The ‘Mind Blowing Brownies’ are on our list of bakes to make!  This magazine covers a wide range of topics such as music, science, art, health and the environment so all good subjects for children to be reading and learning about.  Most pages include activities to do whether it’s just thinking about something, telling jokes, making something crafty, trying an experiment etc so there is a lot to keep kids occupied.

Overall I think The Comic Club is a great idea and the fact that they are delivered to your door, saves you walking down the supermarket aisles with your kids allowing them to view the realm of kids magazines covered in plastic tat toys with little content inside.  By having a subscription also means they have something to look forward to each month from the postman.

Why not check out The Comic Club where you’ll find details of how to subscribe along with a free online Kids Zone with fun facts and activities that they can access at any time!

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

Sweets for your Sweetheart this Valentines with Swizzels

Swizzels are the perfect brand to find Sweets for you Sweetheart this Valentines with an array of fun hampers and of course the iconic Love Hearts that never fail to disappoint with their cute messages.  Also from now until 14th February 2020 you can use code V15 for a 15% discount!

Love Hearts are one of those sweets I’ll always remember from my childhood and enjoying turning each one over to read the message or logo although these have been updated over the years keeping them relevant and now include fun emoji’s.

You can even get a personalised tube with a name of your choice on for just £9.99 containing 25 mini rolls of Love Hearts – perfect for that special person in your life.

Or if you like pink, how about these cute limited edition pink coloured rolls, they come in a gift bag of 30 packs, tied with pink ribbon and the logo “For You” on the wrapper.

An alternative to Love Hearts are Swizzels rather fabulous range of hampers that cater for all budgets from small letterbox size ones at £2.99 up to £21.99 ones packed full of sweets in a little wicker hamper.  We had a 500g one that retails at £7.99 to try out and it’s safe to say it went down a treat with my family.

These are full of your favourites such as Double Dip, Drumsticks Rainbow drops, Squashies and Fruit pop lollies.  In fact the choice of hampers is actually really impressive and they are all reasonably priced so it’s well worth checking out as a surprise gift for someone close to you or a lovely treat for a loved one who can’t be with you as how fabulous would it be to receive one of these through the post!

If you think Swizzels could be the perfect choice for your loved one this year then don’t forget to check out the website and use code V15 by 14th February for your 15% discount!

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

illooms LED Light Up Latex balloons – Review & Giveaway

illooms are the perfect balloons for celebrating with and the LED light up feature gives them a gentle glow so that they shine right through the evening but equally look stunning in colour and design during daylight.  Available in a variety of colours, designs and finishes we were delighted to try out the world’s first latex LED balloons for our combined New Year’s Eve and birthday celebrations for my daughter who turned 12 on New Year’s Day.  A fantastic way to ‘Light up life’s special moments’.

The illooms are simple to use and come with guided instructions on how to inflate and deflate.  There is a paper tab you need to pull from the end of each balloon to activate the LED light inside, then you simply pump the balloon up as you normally would.  With a minimum glow time of the LED light for 15 hours, although this may last considerably longer until it fades away, this allows you time to set up your balloons before any event.  Fortunately I had a group of helpers to get ours pumped up fairly quickly on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve.

There are some really fun and different designs of illooms to choose from, such as silver, gold, stars, marble, happy faces, aliens, special celebratory and themed designs for things like birthdays, halloween etc and even unicorns!  We opted for silver and stars along with a special personalised balloon for the birthday girl.  As you can see below they are quite pretty and vibrant in daylight.

When the lights go down, you get this really pretty glow…

They are so pretty close up.

The personalised balloons from illooms are foil and perfect for ‘Making moments more memorable’.  Ideal for filling with helium and with a LED light that last for up to 24 hours they really do help to make a celebration special. They come with a large black sticker sheet full of letters, with duplicates for common letters that get repeated in names.  You simply peel off the letters you want to use and then stick them to the balloon. I found this really easy to do and they stuck perfectly first time.  They are available at Card Factory from £5.99.

Overall we are really pleased with the illooms and they certainly brightened up our evening with both adults and children enjoying the decor.  I have to say also that a week later the balloons are still looking fantastic, although no longer glowing but have a great colour and fullness still to them so will make the perfect backdrop when my daughters school friends come to celebrate with her this weekend.

Stockists for illooms include: Card Factory, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda (selected stores) with an RRP from just £1

I’m pleased to say that I’ve teamed up with illooms to offer one of my readers to win both a Silver 5 pack & a Mixed colour 5 pack to use at their next celebration.

To enter the giveaway simply fill in the Gleam form below:

illooms balloon bundle

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

Top Toys for Christmas from TOMY

TOMY have revealed their top toys for Christmas and they have something for everyone, the list covers across the ages from toddler toys, to games and even a smartphone photo printer.  With Christmas fast approaching here’s a chance to check out some great gift ideas for any last minute buys.

 

You can see them all here in this video or read below for more detail:

Rizmo (rrp £59.99)

First up is Rizmo also coming in the Dream Toys Top 12, this cute friend is sure to be top of a lot of children’s Christmas lists this year.  Highly interactive Rizmo will listen, learn, remember and evolve depending on how much you interact and entertain the toy.

rizmo toy in box

This looks fantastic and one that I know my children will enjoy, we can’t wait to see what he turns into and will be sure to show you more about him once we’ve had time to explore his ways.  Here’s Rizmo in its initial fluff ball stage before any interaction has started, once we remove him from the box it releases the battery strip ready for action!

With 5 play modes that become 7 once fully evolved and coming in three colour ways, Berry, Aqua and Snow there is plenty to do and keep kids occupied.  Each Rizmo comes with it’s only musical style although you’ll only find out what your’s is once you let it grow.

Ritzy Rollerz Dance n Dazzle Spa Playset with Tori Tada (rrp £34.99)

How cute is this?  Suitable for ages 4+, this unicorn shaped spa playset opens up to reveal the perfect place for Ritzy Rollerz to go to get pampered in charms.  With 30 charms included there are plenty of places to show them store and display them as well as lights and music features. If my girl was younger this would be the ideal toy for her, I think it would be perfect for little ones who love a bit of glamour!

Articulate Phrases Game (rrp £32.99)

We love playing family games and this promises to be a good one.  Working in teams, it’s a case of getting the most phrases correct and moving around the board to determine the winner.  Although aimed at ages 12+, we’ll have a go at this with my 9yr old and daughter who turns 12 in two weeks.  Being a team game you can easily adapt and with lots of family visiting in the next few weeks it’ll be a chance to put this game through it’s paces  – stay tuned to find out what we thought of Articulate Phrases game.

Pile up Pirates (rrp £12.99)

This game looks fun and is aimed at ages 5+ and can be played solo or with up to 4 players.  With 16 pirates and 8 planks you take turns in stacking them on top of the ship until one of them falls.  Cleverly there are two settings to make it easier or harder which also means it will suit different ages and as the child grows you can move it to the harder level.  Pile Up Pirates looks like a lot of fun, helping kids with their motor skills and also having a fun contest with their parents – this is fun game that anyone can join in with.

Puff Ball (rrp £9.99)

When my kids saw this they were super excited – apparently there is an advert on tv and they think it will be so much fun to play.  Puff Ball is a game with a difference – you use your own puff to move the ball along the assault course going up ramps, over see saws and through hoops – the first person to get to the end is the winner.  This should be great fun and we can’t wait to try it out!

Build A Johnny Tractor (rrp £24.99)

How cute is this for little ones – not only is Build a Johnny Tractor a fun toy to play with, you can take him apart and build him together again.  It comes with a drill and several attachments so little ones from 18 months plus can get stuck into some DIY action. Covering both motor skills and construction skills this is the perfect toy for those moving on from baby toys.

KiiPix (rrp £39.99)

This is a great one for the teens or even adult.  If you love taking pictures with your smartphone then the KiiPix is a great way to print out your favourites instantly.  It’s simple to use, requires no battery or wifi.  You do need to separately purchase the film for this so don’t forget to get some if you are buying this as a present this Xmas so it can be used on Christmas day.  It requires Instax mini film, which is easily available from Amazon and other retailers.

To use you simply place your phone on the top with the photo you’d like to print on screen, press the shutter button and rotate the dial and out pops a polaroid copy of your photo which is cleverly done by using your phone’s screen brightness to burn the image onto the paper.  Available in three colourways, Cherry Blossom, Sky Blue, and Jet Black, I think the KiiPix will be a big hit among the teen/young adult market this Christmas.

Pink Valtra Playset (rrp £34.99)

Wow – I love this! The limited edition Pink Valtra Playset donates £1 of every sale to Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now.  It’s a gorgeous high quality toy, you can just feel it in the weight of the box.  The diecast tractor comes with a double bale lifter and two pink bales which can be attached and then released again by simply pressing a button on the tractor.  So much imaginative play to be had with this one,  a timeless toy that has hours of play value for younger ones, or even older ones to have as a collectible – I sure would of loved a pink tractor when I was little!

Adorbs (rrp £4.99)

These are perfect for ages 3-6, a tulip backed dressing up dress that girls can put on by themselves and they come in a handy storage ball.  With a choice of dresses available in each orb, you can collect them all!

Overall we think Tomy’s toy selection this Christmas is great, some really lovely products and everything is of a good quality.  With something for everyone – make sure you check them out!

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

Takeout The Card Game – Review

Takeout: The Card Game is a social card game suitable for 2-4 players and with a suggested age of 10 years plus although my 9yr old loves playing it.  From Small Monsters Games, it is fast paced card game as you try to beat the other players to get an entire Chinese meal for yourself.

The scene is set for the game:

In Takeout, players are a group of young backpackers in a tiny noodle shop down an alley in China. Although none of you speak Chinese, you’re determined to sample authentic Chinese cuisine. The object of the game is to get one dish of each flavor (sweet, sour, salty, spicy and bitter) and a cold drink into your meal, before any of your friends do.

In the Takeout card box are a variety of cards, food cards and action cards which start together in a kitchen pile but are discarded into either a food pile that other players can select the top one from or a general discard pile.

There are also cards which show the complete range of flavours you need to collect in our meal and each player can have one of these cards in front of them to remind them of what they need to collect.

It’s then time for the game play to start. The instructions are fairly simple although it’s good to have a first round of play where you are not competitive and just getting to grips with rules.  After that everyone was at battle to get their meal prepared first!

The Takeout game starts by dealing out 5 cards per player, and then each player takes a turn that consists of drawing a card, playing a card and discarding a card.  If you get a food card you have the option of keeping it, playing it of discarding and this is were you get tactical. Sometimes it’s worth playing a duplicate food card to conceal the fact you have another one to complete your meal.  But also you have to remember the action cards come into play and you get the option of helping yourself to one of your friends dishes, sending one of the other players dishes to the bottom of the kitchen pile, swap a meal with a friend or pick a random meal you fancy from one of your friends!

We’ve really enjoyed playing this game as a family with my 9 and 11 year old children. It is fun, they are always eager to be the first to complete their meal first and they love the action cards when they can either steal off of others or put a part of someone’s meal back in the kitchen.  It’s a game of both chance with getting the meals you need and tactical playing to complete the entire meal.  With Takeout being a card game it means it’s great for carrying around with you for play anywhere, great for travelling, holidays etc as well as simply playing at home.  A fun game that we’d recommend!

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

Fun stocking filler and party games from Ginger Fox – Review

If you are looking for some fun this Christmas then head to Ginger Fox who have a plethora of fun, family games suitable as stocking fillers, secret santa’s or just to put on the table as an after dinner party game. There are some great ideas out there that will suit all ages and are guaranteed fun – take a look below.

First up is Space Dash a game for 3-6 players and a recommended age of 8+.  The object of the game is to collect the correct sequence of cards in order to ‘touch down’ and be the first player to do so.  It’s a quick, fast paced game that my children love as you all play at the same time in a scramble to get your sequence of cards first.

Bump This is a thoroughly modern game that young people will enjoy.  Hand shaking and fist bumping galore in a variety of ways.  The idea is to build a sequence of hand shakes until a player gets one wrong and then you move onto the next round.  From just 2 players upwards this is fun to play with just the two of year or ideal for parties or an after dinner game.

Catchphrase is my boy’s favourite Saturday night tv show so I knew this game would be a hit here.  With a recommended age of 12+, we did adapt the game to allow my 9 year old to play and do give him time to make a guess as he loves it so much and has so much fun trying to guess some of the clues.  Being a card game makes it very portable and everyone has a laugh with some of the guesses being made.

Ginger Fox have an array of novelty mugs available and I think this Inky the Ghost from Pacman is just the cutest – perfect for kids stocking fillers. They have many for adults too, such as guess the tv shows, films, rude plants and cats to name just a few – go check them out!

Yule Duel has to be the ultimate game for after dinner games over the festive season.  With three games packed into this cute compendium of games box, they are ideal for to get the entertainment started and bring on some laughter without having to set up a structured board game. Suitable for 4 players upwards these mini cards are great to play either around the table or chilling out on a sofa, as long as you can grab a card when it’s your turn, play can happen anywhere.

Here are the games included:

  • Who am I? A classic game of yes-or-no answers. It’s a race against time to work out who you are.
  • Charades Are you a master of mime? Put your skills to the test as you take turns to act out a TV, film, book or song title!
  • Slip of the tongue The party game that will have you tongue tied. Describe what’s on the card without saying the forbidden words!

I’m super impressed at this little bundle of games and think we’ll have lots of fun over the festive season playing them when friends and family visit.  Available on Amazon although I also these games in Debenhams on my Christmas shopping spree last week, in the 3 for 2 gift section so be sure to check them out!

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