Cbeebies Swashbuckle Magazine

Swashbucklers, a children’s game show on Cbeebies is one programme that both my children love to watch.  They enjoy watching the challenges and always stand up to join in with the Swashbuckle Salute which they know and love.

Launched today is a fantastic new magazine, Swashbuckle, aimed at children aged 3-6, jam packed full of piratey fun!

swashbucklersThe magazine has all the characters from the program, Captain Sinker, Gem, Cook and Line and 4yr old Mister B couldn’t wait to get stuck in and complete the activities inside.  Firstly he was eager to open the gift on the front of the magazine, of which there will be a different gift on each issue.  Issue 1 includes a pirate hat, game spinner and a treasure chest with five coloured gems.  I think the free gift is brilliant and has had brought much entertainment to Mister B as he hides the jewels for his sister to find.

swashbucklers 1Inside are pages packed full of activities along with a sheet of 70 stickers.  There is so much to do and we sat down for a couple of hours and still didn’t reach the end.  There are sticker pages, questions, matching activities, stories, colouring and much more.

swashbucklers 2Some of our favourite pages that we thought were a bit different were looking through the telescope to see the octopus and learning all about octopuses.  We also downloaded the free Blippa app to our iPad which allowed us to scan certain pages where we saw the Blippa icon and it brought up a video clip for us to watch such as Gem doing the Swashbuckle salute or a real life octopus swimming about in the ocean.

swashbucklers 3We’ve thoroughly enjoyed Swashbuckle magazine and can’t wait to see the next issue.  With so much to do, and a pirate theme, this is sure to be a hit with most kids and great value for money too!

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

World Book Day, Pirates and Holiday Reading

World Book Day is an opportunity for us all to get inspired to read and pick up a book.

World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the globe.

The idea is for publishers and bookshops to promote books and reading to everyone in the hope that we get pleasure and enjoyment out of reading.  In the UK World Book Day is keen for children to be encouraged to read and it’s promoted across schools where children are issued with a voucher for a free book or money off a higher value book.

Miss M’s school is no exception and today are celebrating with a Pirate themed day at school.  All the days activities are centred around pirates, all the children seem so excited.  Miss M was dressed before I got out of bed this morning (unheard of!), as she couldn’t wait to get her pirate costume on ready.

World book day 2 At school they will be singing lots of pirate songs as well as reading pirate themed books.  I think it’s great to make a topic fun that children enjoy and encourage them to read at the same time.

world book day 1As important as it is for children to read books, I think it’s a great way for adults to relax too.  There’s nothing better than having a good book to read and enjoy.  I used to be an avid reader but since having children I struggle with time.  I do like to take a book on holiday though and can usually manage a chapter or two while the children play.

Thomas cook have come up with a clever new app to help you pick a book to take with you on holiday.  Just enter your holiday destination and favourite book genre and it will suggest the perfect book to read while you are away.  It even includes books for children and teenagers so a great way for everyone to find book inspiration before a holiday.

Why not try the Holiday Book Selector and see what your perfect holiday book would be?

Thomas book

This is a sponsored post.

Barefoot Books Review and Giveaway

Barefoot Books are a lovely children’s book company with a large range of beautifully illustrated titles for all ages.  The books are of a high quality both in the finish of the book and the detail inside.  They also have a large range of books with an included story CD, perfect for children to listen to independently or for long car journeys.  We received a couple of books to try out and they didn’t disappoint – see what we thought below.

Port side pirates barefoot booksPort Side Pirates is a delightful singalong adventure that both my children throughly enjoyed.  Pirates seem to be a popular theme for them and 5yr old Miss M had actually sung a couple of verses of this song with slightly different words in her pirate school assembly a few months back.  She was keen to lead the way with the words and 3yr old Mister B eagerly joined in.  The book has brightly coloured illustrations that we all enjoyed but the jolly nature of the song is what got us all up singing along, the children dancing and left us feeling high spirited.  A great little book with a CD that’s perfect in the car for singalongs – I think I’ll be hearing this one many times over – both my children love singing along and adding in their own pirate expressions between verses!!  “Shiver me timbers, me hearties”

the twelve dancing princesses barefoot booksThe Twelve Dancing Princesses is a high quality hardback book by Xanthe Gresham, with the most elegant, exquisite illustrations I have seen.  Illustrated by Miss Clara, this really is a book to treasure and should last a young girl many years of enjoyment.  Being quite a lengthy book, I read this to Miss M although she did enjoy sitting trying to read the pages herself.  The story follows the mystery of twelve princesses who go dancing each night through a secret passage under the castle.  Princes are invited to discover where they are disappearing to in order to win their hand in marriage and eventually one does.  A lovely story with a magical feel to it, we’ve really enjoyed reading this.  Miss M loves the secret staircase and the enchanted woods the princesses pass through each night.  Definitely a book to enjoy again and again that would suit girls of many ages and also includes a story CD, perfect for Miss M to listen to in her room.


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Barefoot Books have an extensive range of children books, all with lovely illustrations sure to catch a child’s attention.  They have been kind enough to offer one of my readers a book of their choice to win.

Just fill in the Rafflecopter form below:

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Pirate Den’s – Children’s Summer Fun

After four days of glorious sunshine, we woke to cloudy skies this morning.  To occupy the children Grandad had a pre-planned idea of a pirate camp with lunchtime picnic.  With Miss M, Mister B and cousin Miss L having a morning swim in the pool, Grandad was busy setting up pirate camp on the upper patio.  He used the outdoor lounger cushions so build a den, covered the floor in a pirate tablecloth and added accessories, such as golden coins, pirate hats, swords and a fabulous pirate flag flying high above the camp!


The little pirates arrived with hats on, stickers and full of energy eager to get to camp!!
The picnic was a huge success – the children couldn’t wait to tuck in and fill themselves up before exploring the other treasures within the den.  Miss M and Mister B love the treasure map and couldn’t wait exploring looking for gold!

Pirate2Miss M got completely into the swing of things and guided the other two on their journey.  She found the pirate map that Grandad had made and set off to discover buried treasure.

pirate3Miss M loved the pirate theme and guided the two younger ones on their journey.  She suddenly decided that the pirate ship was sinking and they all had to abandon ship and grab everything and take it across to the island on the other side of the patio.

They had much fun rolling in the cushions and setting up their new pirate camp.  In fact they had so much fun that the whole activity from start, through lunch to finish lasted a good few hours.pirate4

What a great way, with using just a few props to keep little ones occupied on a day over the summer.  With their imagination and a few prompts they loved the set up, it gave them great inspiration and they had a fabulous picnic lunch followed by imaginative outdoors play.  This could easily translate to indoors play if the weather is bad – definitely one to try over the summer!

Craft Party Kit’s by Interplay

Yesterday we held a children’s craft party with some fabulous kits from Interplay.  Miss M was very excited and invited five of her friends from school.  Of the four kits on offer we tried the Fairy Princess and Pirates boxes.

craft princesscraft pirate





Each Kit contains enough contents for six children aimed at ages 5-8.  In the Fairy Princess box the children can each make a tiara, wand and wings and they each get a sticker sheet with more than enough stickers to decorate the items, as well packs of stick on jewels to share and a bag of fluffy pink feathers.

The Pirate box had contents to make pirate hats, eye patches and a plastic treasure chest to paint with gold coins to go inside which I thought was a lovely touch.


The girls started off decorating their Fairy Princess items.  I was amazed at how quiet the room was as they all got stuck in sticking on jewels, feathers and other bits being quite creative in some cases.  I was impressed with their designs and loved watching them totally engrossed in what they were doing.



party2Once they had finished decorating their wings, I assisted them in threading the ribbon through so they could wear them.


The princesses were so proud fo their new accessories, that they spent the next five minutes all dressed up running around the room shouting “I’m a fairy”, “I’m a princess” and even “I’m a queen”.  It was so cute watching them all especially as they had made the items themselves.

It was then time for some food, we had heart shaped pizza, heart shaped sandwiches, and jewel shaped cheesy snacks – perfect for my little princesses!!


After some food it was time to become pirates, having had a pirate themed week at school a couple of weeks ago, they were very keen and knew all the phrases – “Shiver me timbers”, “Ooh arghh me hearties”.

This activity involved painting which they all loved and once again got stuck in.  They had a little plastic treasure chests to paint and also included in the party box was a bag of gold coins to put in the boxes.  There were also hats and eye patches to become a complete pirate.

party pirate 2

I was impressed with how carefully they all wanted to be in painting the boxes.  I had to monitor this activity a little more closely to help pass the coloured paints around the table and mop up any mess as they went along so they didn’t lean over into it.  They particularly loved trying to make their chests look old and even painted the insides too!

party pirate

Overall I have to say the Interplay craft party was a great success, the children loved making things and the parents thought it was a great concept.  We had a few games at the end which we got from the list found within each party box.  The ideas for the games are all theme based depending on the party but simple to play.  The Princess games include things like TinkerBell Says and Dancing Fairies, whereas the Pirates games include X Marks the Spot and Musical Pirate Ships.

I think the key success of the party is whether the children enjoyed it.  When I asked them what they liked best, they all shouted out everything they had made so it all was a hit with them.  Secondly I think party success is the effort for parents.  In this case I think the Interplay craft party boxes are great as they really do include everything you need to entertain the children, you just need to add food.  I found everything easy to set up and games easy to play.  The only thing I wished is that I had been a bit more prepared for the painting activity, but I know for next time.

If you want to find out more about or purchase one of Interplay’s craft party sets, check out the Interplay website.

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.

Craft Party Boxes by Interplay – join us for some twitter fun and win!! #haveacraftparty

Craft Party Boxes by Interplay are a great all in one party kit to entertain up to six guests with crafty things to make and party games ideas.  Join me and other party hosts this week on Twitter to find out what makes this a great choice for kids parties and win some spot prizes!!

Craft party logo

Thursday 25th July 4-6pm on Twitter using the hashtag #haveacraftparty

 Interplay offer four different party boxes:

  • Fairy Princess
  • Pirate
  • Treasure Boxes
  • Mad about Ponies

Each party kit contains enough to entertain six guests with a recommended age range of 5-8 years.

Each child gets to make items around the party theme then play games from a themed list included in the pack.

craft princesscraft pirate





We are lucky to have the Fairy Princess Party and the Pirate Party boxes.  5yr old Miss M is thrilled – she’s a huge craft fan and can always be found making something.  She loves to be a princess but is also a huge pirate fan – in fact last week in her class at school it was pirate week and parents attended a lovely assembly to listen to all their songs and see all the things they’d made.  Miss M has invited a bunch of girls from her class who are all very excited about the prospect of a crafting party so we’re hoping it’ll be a big success with everyone.

Pirate Maisy

So if you want to find out more don’t forget to join us this Thursday between 4 and 6pm!! You may even WIN a spot prize – so just look out for and use the #haveacraftparty hashtag.

See you there!


Pirate Shapes by Orchard Toys – A Review of the game

Pirate Shapes – a fun and educational game from Orchard Toys, really appealed to me as it is one of the few turn taking games available for young children.  Suitable for ages 2 and half plus, I had the perfect candidate to test it out – Mister B.  Having an older sister who loves her games, he always takes an interest when we play but usually is too young to understand the rules.

 Pirate shapes - Orchard Toys

Suitable for 2-4 players, Pirate Shapes comes with four brightly coloured, high quality cardboard picture boards, each with six shapes cut out.  The object of the game is to complete your board using overturned shapes in the centre of the table and take turns in selecting a shape and to see if it fits your board.

Being a simple concept it was really good to see how well Mister B picked up the idea of taking turns and definitely a great introduction to game playing for him.  Five year old Miss M was very encouraging and loves to help him although being the older sibling, she took the more tactical approach in selecting her shapes and always completed her board first!!

This didn’t bother Mister B who was happy and smiley every time he found all his shapes and gave himself a little cheer.  The other major educational benefit to Pirate Shapes is shape recognition, along with learning colours and we even spotted a few patterns.  I’ve found that Mister B is the perfect age to benefit from the learning aspects of this game.  He already recognises some basic shapes and colours so Pirates Shapes reinforces these along with teaching him a few more.

We’ve loved playing this game, and even when on his own Mister B has enjoyed playing the game like a puzzle, finding the correct shapes and fitting them to the boards.  A great game for two young siblings to play together.

Please watch our short review video of Pirate Shapes in action:

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.