3 June 2021

Review: Grogu Soft Toy from The Mandalorian

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I know there's lots of mad Star Wars fans out there and we're no different in our house, in fact we've started watching them all again with our son Logan. It's such a great movie series to get your teeth into and the merchandise is always amazing. 

In fact for Star Wars fans everywhere you can now get your hands on one of their latest arrivals, this cute 18cm soft toy Grogu (RRP £9.99) who is now available from Amazon and Very. This cutie is made from the highest quality of fabrics and perfectly embodies the fan favourite character from the Mandalorian series.


As you can imagine as soon as Harlow spotted Grogu she was in love. She's been desperate to have one of her own for ages so this was a dream come true. She basically treats him like a little baby and carts him around the house and on trips. It's very sweet to watch.


Here are a few Grogu facts for you; as most of you will know Grogu is a character from the Star Wars Disney+ original television series The Mandalorian. He is a toddler member of the same unnamed alien species as the Star Wars characters Yoda and Yaddle, with whom he shares a strong ability in the Force. And of course he's adorable!


Grogu is super soft and the perfect size for little hands, he's easy to carry around since he's quite light weight and my daughter absolutely loves him. He's definitely a winner chicken dinner in this house! If you would like your very own Grogu then do check out both the Amazon and Very websites. You definitely won't regret this purchase.


Grogu has been gifted for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. 

31 May 2021

Father's Day: Gift Ideas for the Dad in Your Life

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The months have been creeping by at an alarming rate and with Father's Day in the UK fast approaching, it's a good idea to be prepared for Sunday 20th June. I've selected a small range of gifts which I think any Dad would love. There's definitely something to suit everyone's taste and style. Read on to see what I have picked for my gift guide. 

TrendHim Lance Navy Backpack
Since the world has opened up again we've resumed our family trips and days out which means we normally need a good quality backpack to carry all our snacks, water bottles and the usual bits an bobs. The husband doesn't really have a decent backpack so this beaut from TrendHim (RRP £59) will be a great gift from the kids. With a classic mountaineering look and feel, this handsome navy backpack is perfect for day-to-day essentials as well as trips out. The main compartment clips securely shut and is colourfully lined for a discrete burst of colour. Features include a padded laptop pocket to keep it safe and protect from knocks, two zipped front pockets help organise and allow quick access and adjustable padded shoulder straps give a comfortable fit. Excellent for business Dad and fun weekend Dad.

Box of Hugs
Can't be there this Father’s Day to give your brilliant dad a big hug? Well, why not send him a big hug in the post with a Box of Hugs, full of thoughtful treats, to let him know you are thinking of him. You can include a personalised message with your Father's Day gift to make it even more special, and for every Father’s Day card bought with a Box of Hugs, a 50p donation will be made to The Brain Tumour Charity. How fabulous is that! Three mums, and also sisters, launched Box of Hugs London after going through bereavements and illnesses, including their own mother’s battle with a brain tumour. During these times the sisters realised finding a unique and thoughtful gift idea, that wasn’t flowers, was tricky. This was the inspiration behind launching Box of Hugs London. Prices range from as little as £21 and there really is something to suit everyone. Even if there's not a particular box that catches your eye you can build you own. I particularly love the So Glad You Are Mine Hug In A Box Father's Day box but they're all so nice and top quality. Highly recommend. 

Mary - Botanical Blend
Gin is all the rage these days so it's always nice to find a different one on the market. Meet Mary, the vegan low calorie gin who is sugar and carb free. It's also low alcohol so can be enjoyed at any time throughout the week, especially now that the nicer weather is coming in. This botanical blend has hints of basil, thyme and sage and tastes absolutely amazing. Excellent gift to give any dad this Father's Day and one I'm sure he'll thank you for. 

Conifox Father's Day
If you have young children then why not treat Dad to a wee day out at Conifox Adventure Park. On Sunday 20th June all Dad's get free entry with a paying child, so why not take Dad along and have fun on the bouncy pillow or the go karts or football golf! Spending some quality time together is always a winner. Remember to book your tickets online to secure your space. 

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own. 


12 May 2021

Home Learning Must Haves from Learning Resources

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I'm so glad the schools are now back to full time education and the kids have a more settled routine but that doesn't mean the fun of home learning has to stop. I personally found all the school work overwhelming but home learning doesn't have to be all paperwork and no fun. Learning Resources have a range of lovely home learning must haves which will make discovering new facts and interesting topics a joy to share with your child. Luckily for my two Learning Resources sent Logan one of their GeoSafari Motorised Display Solar System and Harlow received the awesome GeoSafari Jr. Talking Wildlife Camera. As you can imagine the kids were thrilled and we've had lots of fun them with.

The Motorised Solar System is great for anyone learning about planets or who are totally into Space. It's super quick and easy to put together, and Logan now has his proudly displayed in his bedroom. Contained in each box is a central tower with LED light, 8 planet orbs on rods with identifying planetary symbols, Sun sphere and a Northern Hemisphere star dome. You'll need 4 AA batteries for the central tower before you start building up the planets, and once that's done you can check each planet for their special symbol and reference it in the table guide (in the instructions booklet) to correctly place your planets around the Sun. It's really easy to do and won't take you long at all. Once all the planets are in place you can turn on the motor/lamp at the base of the tower and watch the model move and glow. 

Logan really loved watching the planets circle around the Sun plus it acts as a great sensory light at night. The Northern Hemisphere star dome can be swapped with the top of the Sun so you can see all of the star constellations, another great sensory addition for at night and good educational talking point. Details on the planets and stars can be found within the instructions booklet. It also has extras such as Solar System Fun Facts, Planet Riddles and Solar System Basics. A great booklet to keep hold of for future use.

The GeoSafari Motorised Display Solar System is aimed at ages 8-12 years and costs £36.00. It's a great addition to home learning and definitely makes things more interesting and fun. Not only does it have the planets but getting to turn the lights out at night and see a stellar star show on your bedroom ceiling is pretty cool and something to remember. Logan really does love his solar system, it would make a great birthday gift for sure. 


Next up is Harlow's GeoSafari Jr. Talking Wildlife Camera and what a fab piece of kit it is! This toy camera comes with 130 built-in high-resolution wildlife images that guarantee a successful wildlife viewing experience every time. It features over 30 animals from all around the world and includes 2 modes of play that feature over 120 facts and 120 quiz questions narrated by Animal Planet’s Crikey It’s the Irwins co-star, Robert Irwin. This camera was designed with extra-large dual eyepieces and easy-grip handles for a steady viewing experience that little hands will find easy to use. It's a good sturdy camera measuring at approx. 19cm L x 22cm W x 13cm H and the Tripod measures approx. 15cm L x 15cm H x 20cm H. You'll need 3x AAA batteries to get it going. 


Harlow absolutely loves this camera and the fact that it talks to you. The controls and buttons were easy for her to pick up and use and she had great fun trying out the quiz and answering the questions. When using the camera in view mode you can explore the world's wildlife with Robert Irwin as your guide. There are 5 regions to choose from and more than 30 different animals to learn about. Harlow particularly liked African and knew straight away to look into the camera's double eyepiece to spot the animals in the wild and hear the facts about them. 


In Quiz Mode, Robert will challenge your wildlife knowledge. You have to look through the camera eyepiece to select which animals to be quizzed on then choose your answer by pressing either 1,2 or 3 buttons located on the back of the camera. When trying True or False questions you press 1 for True and 2 for False. Multiple choice questions are 1,2 or 3 to answer. If you're first guess in incorrect just try again. Harlow picked everything up so quickly and was working the camera herself within 5 minutes. I was amazed at how long it kept her busy for and it's now a toy she goes back to again and again.


As well as watching awesome animals in view mode you can also use the camera in pretend play mode. Simply remove the camera from the tripod and turn the lens to see out of the viewfinder. Great if the kids want to take it out and about in the car or on a walk. A point to note is that the audio and images will not work when the camera is detached from the tripod but pretend play is still lots of fun!


The GeoSafari Jr. Talking Wildlife Camera is aimed at ages 4-8 years but it's great fun for everyone, even Harlow's big brother was trying to get in on the action. Retailing at £60 this wildlife camera is a great piece of learning kit and I 100% highly recommend for budding wildlife and camera enthusiasts. I so wish there was technology around like this when I was younger, I would have loved it!

As you can see from my lovely photos both Logan and Harlow are super impressed with their new home learning goodies and I'm happy to say they've played with them again and again. It's something for us all to talk about and engage as a family and the kids are thrilled. Why not pop over to Learning Resources UK and see all of the wonderful resources they have to offer!

These products have been gifted for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. 

10 May 2021

Review: Cutetitos Unicornitos Wave 2 Assortment

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Cutetitos are cute cuddly pets wrapped in a super soft burrito blanket just waiting to be unwrapped and discovered. Harlow has collected a few over the years however there's some new fabulous friends on the block - Cutetitos Unicornitos Wave 2 Assortment! These beauties have just launched and Harlow has been lucky enough to get her hands on 3 adorable stuffed unicorns to review. 

So basically Cutetitos are now more magical than ever, in brand new limited edition Unicornitos! There's 8 all new styles of Unicornitos in beautiful prints to collect and they come with a cool rainbow burrito wrap. Harlow of course thought this was amazing as she loves rainbows and unicorns. Her room is unicorn decorated after all.

Cutetitos Unicornitos are adorable, super-soft stuffed unicorns wrapped and hidden in a rainbow burrito blanket ready to be unrolled and loved. You can discover your Cutetito's personality (mild, medium, hot, or super spicy) by checking out its "hot spot" - a chili pepper shaped icon you can find on its hip. Harlow's 3 Unicornitos were all Mild and she was very happy with that. A pet collector card is included with additional information about your new pet including its name, birthday and "hot spot" spice-o-meter rating.

Harlow was super excited to discover which Unicornitos she had so got right into unwrapping them super quick. She was lucky to receive Shineito and 2 Purplito unicorns. She loved this as it means she thinks she has twins, bless. They really are super super soft and so is their burrito wrap. There's 8 different styles to collect and range from Common to Ultra Rare. We didn't find an Ultra Rare one this time but Harlow's desperate to the next time she gets one. 

These Cutetitos would make great little gifts and incentives for kids if they deserve a nice treat. Aimed at ages 5-7 years their RRP is £7.99 which I think is reasonable for a quality soft toy with blanket. You can purchase direct from Smyths Toys but they are also available in ToyMaster and all good independent toy stores. Harlow really loves these and 100% wants more so it's a big thumbs up from us!

These products have been gifted for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. 


26 March 2021

Alternative Easter Gift Ideas from Learning Resources

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I can't believe the school have now broken up for the Easter Holidays and we'll soon be inundated with a plentiful supply of chocolate eggs and goodies. I know not everyone can maybe have chocolate for Easter so Learning Resources have stepped up their game and produced a lovely selection of alternative Easter Gift Ideas for you to choose from. We've been sent a few for the kids are they're brilliant, read on to find out more.

Playfoam Pals Unicorn Magic 2-Pack
Playfoam is 100% a massive hit in our house. It's a lovely soft squishy texture so great from a sensory point of view but it also doesn't smell, make a mess and is non-toxic. With the new Playfoam Pals Unicorn Magic it's even more fun as you get 4 fantastical surprises inside! There are 45 mystical creatures to find and collect, and I love that each pot is shaped like a rainbow with clouds on the end. It's just so cute! Each rainbow of Playfoam Pals contains a mystery collectable unicorn toy figure such as a unicorn, kittycorn, llamacorn or you could even find the rare twin baby gem unicorns. There's also a mystery charm, Playfoam and collectors guide included. This two pack retails for £12 and is worth every penny for hours of fun, a great alternative to chocolate eggs.

Kanoodle Cosmic 
For the older child in your life (or even an adult) why not give the gift of this out-of-this-world brain game - Kanoodle Cosmic! Aimed at ages 7+ to adult and only 1 player required you can construct oodles of 2-D puzzles with this brain-twisting solitary game. Simply pick a puzzle from the book, set up the challenge, and then place the remaining pieces to solve the puzzle. Simples! There's hundreds of possible combinations but only one completes the puzzle... Retailing at £12.50 it's a great gift that'll keep on giving plus it's compact and makes for a brilliant travel game where ever you venture.

Playfoam Putty 4-Pack
As you know we're big fans of Playfoam but have you heard about the new Playfoam Putty? You can mould, stretch and squeeze this uniquely textured kids putty and hear it make satisfying crackling sounds with every squish. The best part is, it never dries out! I've had to throw so many different putty type toys out because they always dry out over time but Playfoam Putty is here to stay. This fun sensory toy combines the squishability of award-winning Playfoam® with stretch of putty for a fun multi-sensory creative play experience. The 4-Pack contains 4 cool neon colours and of course the child-friendly Playfoam is non-toxic making it an excellent fidget toy. Retailing at £13 this is a great interactive toy which will last.

Hoppy Floppy's Happy Hunt Game
We love a good game or two and adding new ones to our collection so how cute if this Hoppy Floppy's Happy Hunt Game! Hoppy Floppy rabbit needs your help finding his carrots so get stuck in and help him out. This attractive family fun game will keep early learners engaged as they develop a variety of key skills through play. Aimed at ages 3-7 years (and 2-4 players) it's great for developing core skills such as; matching, strategy and colour recognition. The rabbit-themed plastic squeezer will help build fine motor skills and encourage pre-handwriting skills whilst the fun game play will introduce early social skills, including turn taking. It really is a lovely little game and at £16 it won't break the bank. 

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own.


18 March 2021

Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Marvel: Hulk vs Spider-Man

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Marvel characters have to be some of our absolute favs, so much so Logan's bedroom is currently decorated with Marvel wallpaper and bed sheets. So that's why we were really pleased to receive some of the Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Marvel characters to review from Character Toys.

You might be wondering what Goo Jit Zu toys are and I like to describe them as a fun mix between Stretch Armstrong and those soft squishy filled toys that you often see kids with. If you like the sound of that then you can now get your hands on your favourite Marvel characters who have joined the Heroes of Goo Jit Zu team to become the ultimate squishiest, stretchiest and gooiest heroes ever! Each action hero has a unique goo filling with a different texture and feel. They're a real sensory delight!

The latest Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Marvel Characters are – Radioactive Spider-Man, Gamma Glow Hulk, Iron Man, Venom, Black Panther, Groot and all new characters for 2021 are Miles Morales Spider-Man and Thor. We were sent the original Hulk and Spider-Man characters which retail for £12.99 each and the kids love them!

I'm so thankful the kids have one each as they've been using them to battle each other, a real Hulk vs Spider-Man and there's been lots of "debate" around who would win. It's quite amusing to watch. The kids each have a favourite with Logan preferring the Hulk and Harlow preferring Spider-Man. Logan loves the bright green colour of Hulk and the soft squishy sensory feel of him. He thinks the Hulk's water bead filling is really cool and it acts like a fidget toy for him which is a bonus. Harlow is loving Spider-Man and when you give him a good squeeze you can see his awesome web filling. These Goo Jit Zu Marvel characters have definitely been a big hit in this house.

If you want a good guy and a bad guy then the all new Versus Pack contains one super mushy Spider-Man Goo Jit Zu hero with amazing gooey web filling and one super squishy Venom Goo Jit Zu hero with awesome water-bead filling. This pack retails for £24.99 and is sure to be very sought after for all those Spider-Man and Venom fans out there. 

Goo Jit Zu characters are available from all good toy shops and there's even some bigger Supagoo Characters to collect which are Thanos, Hulk and Spider-Man retailing for £29.99. These characters are bigger in size at around 20". Thanos looks pretty cool and I'm sure he'll be next on the list for the kids. 

Both of my children really enjoyed these Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Marvel Characters and I can definitely see myself buying them as gifts in future. They've been played with a lot over the last few weeks and are still going strong with no damage which is great. Highly recommend.

These products have been gifted for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.


10 March 2021

Social Emotional Learning Tool Kits from Learning Resources

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With all that's going on in the world at the moment it's good to keep an eye on your child's Social and Emotional Learning. I think it's key to be in the right SEL head space before academic learning can be fully embraced. No one really learns well when under stress so I'm really thankful that Learning Resources have a few packs, kits and toys available to help and teach our youngsters a bit more about themselves socially and emotionally.


Logan and Harlow have both been sent a lovely pack each to test out and see what they think. Logan received the Sensory Fidget Toy Kit and Harlow has received the Learn About Feelings Activity Set. With Logan being autistic he really does enjoy a fidget toy and honestly they make his life so much easier. There are so many benefits to fidget toys from helping people to focus and increase concentration, decreasing stress and anxiety and even helping to lose weight due to increased calorie burning. I know some people think of them as a distraction from learning but in my experience, for autistic people, they have the complete opposite affect and completely aid learning along with calming mentally.

The Sensory Fidget Toy Kit from Learning Resources is fantastic and full of lovely toys perfect for the fidgety person in your life. Logan loved this kit and has had many hours of fun playing with everything. Inside each pack there are 2 glow sticks, 1 Sensory Fidget Tube, 1 Playfoam Jumbo Pod, Link n Learn Chain link (100 pieces), 1 rainbow coil spring, PopCubes snap-together cubes (20 pieces), 1 globe stress ball, 2 marbleised poppers, and multilingual Getting Started Guide. It's an ideal kit for use in the classroom, at home or on the go and toys such as Playfoam and PopCubes also help with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.. It's also worth noting that the Sensory Fidget Tube and Playfoam Jumbo Pod varieties are randomly selected and may differ from images shown on the Learning Resources website.


This kit retails for £30 which I think is a fair price for everything you receive and Logan really was over the moon with his. He particularly loved the marbled poppers, especially when I told him I had them when I was a child. He also loved the PlayFoam as it doesn't smell and stick to his hands or clothes. He thought it had a really nice feeling to it and enjoyed pulling it apart. He described it as "so satisfying" and it was lovely to see him so calm and engaged playing with the foam. Another favourite was the rainbow coil spring, Logan loves the movement and noise of this so much and he can sit for hours with it. Since he's still at home doing his school work these fidget toys have come in really handy to help him concentrate. He has a computer desk and laptop in his room and he can struggle to sit at it for long. I've noticed with these fidget toys to play with whilst he works he can sit for longer and complete his work quicker. A great set and one which I'd recommend if you're on the look out for sensory fidget toys. 


Next up is the Learn About Feelings Activity Set which Harlow received. It's aimed at children aged 3-7 years and is designed to help children build important social-emotional skills that teaches them about feelings and emotions in themselves and others with 10 engaging activities. Children can match body postures and facial expressions, learn that emotions can look different on different people, and discuss how situations may cause an individual to feel a certain emotion. Harlow is such an emotional soul herself and can go through her own range of emotions in a day so I feel this is an activity set which will really help her understand and also give her confidence in herself. 

Included in each set are two question cubes, four plastic character cubes, 12 character cards, 18 situation cards, one poster and Getting Started Guide. The question cubes are used to prompt conversations and encourage discussion about feelings, and the picture cards help children learn to identify feelings in real situations. The blocks are also sized for little hands and stick together for easy, convenient use. They're ideal for the classroom or home learning.

There's lots of different activities in the Getting Started Guide to show you how the cubes and cards can be used. There's everything from Exploring Feelings where you match the character cubes together and discuss each feeling, to Feeling Memory game where you can use the character cards and turn over two at a time to try and match the same feeling. Each activity is simple and easy to do and this set retails for £17 which again I think is a fair price. 

Harlow took a while to engage with this set as she does struggle with her feelings quite a lot at times but once she started her confidence grew and she became quite fond of discussing emotions and playing the varies games and activities. I'd definitely recommend if you have an emotional soul at home or ever just introducing your child to emotions so they can identify their own, it's a great tool kit. 

These items have been gifted for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. 


 

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