Spirograph Optical 3D Studio Set – giveaway worth £24.99

Spirograph Optical 3D Studio Set

I loved my Spirograph set as a child and I’m thrilled to be able to offer five of you the chance to win the Spirograph Optical 3D Studio Set in the run up to Christmas!

Spirograph Optical 3D Studio Set

Things have certainly since I was a child! The Goldfish & Bison Spirograph Optical 3D Studio Set comes with amazing 3D technology so children can watch their drawings come to life.  How fab is that!  This particular set retails for £24.99, but prices for smaller sets start at £4.99.

With its geometric and swirling patterns, Spirograph has helped kids big and small to create beautiful art, stunning designs and wonderful memories for generations.

The Spirograph Optical 3D Studio Set comes with 3D glasses that enable you to watch the different colours in your design pop out from the page in cool 3D.  You can see how it works in this video.


The Spirograph Optical 3D Studio Set includes:

• 12 Drawing Wheels and 4 Templates
• 3D Effect Dual Colour Pen, 2 fluorescent Markers, 3 Colour Pens and a Rainbow Pencil
• Optical 3D Glasses – includes 3 LR44 Batteries
• Spirograph Design Book
• 10 Drawing Papers and 1 Spirograph Sticker
• Sealable Storage Bag

Aimed at children aged 5 years and over I can see the Spirograph Optical 3D Studio Set offering hours of entertainment.  For your chance to win 1 of 5 sets of the Spirograph Optical 3D Studio Set just complete the Gleam form below.  Good luck!

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Terms and conditions:

(Please note that all entries will be checked against comments for validation).

Only the first step of this form is mandatory, all other steps are optional. Only one entry per person is allowed.

This giveaway is for UK residents only.

Once a winner is randomly picked, I will check if the winner has done what was requested and I will contact them, if they do not reply within one week, the prize will be allocated to another person.

The giveaway will close on 5th December 2014 at midnight.

Spirograph Optical 3D Studio Set – 5 sets to giveaway worth £24.99 each

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Colouring in Christmas with Eggnogg

 

Colouring in Christmas with Egg NoggWith Christmas fast approaching it’s about time we started working on some more festive arts and crafts projects here.  We are going to be working with Eggnogg over the coming months and they sent us a lovely parcel of goodies recently.  We will be colouring in Christmas with Eggnogg this year, with a little help from our friends.

Colouring in Christmas with Egg Nogg

Eggnogg design and sell lots of wonderful colour in items from table cloths to Christmas cards, aimed at children from 5 upwards.  We received Colour In Christmas Bunting Angels, Colour In and Make 3D Christmas Tree, Colour In Christmas present tags, and a pack of Colour In Christmas and Thank You Cards.

Colouring in Christmas with Egg Nogg

Monkey turns 5 in a couple of weeks, and I knew he’d enjoy colouring in the tags and Christmas cards.  I had an idea we could use them for a few special presents. So after school the other day he set to work.  I was really impressed with his drawing, he’s been a scribbler for so long, with no definition.  But colouring in Christmas with Eggnogg I can see a real improvement and he loved making cards and tags for his friends and teacher.  As he has a December birthday he wants to use the thank you cards for that.

I love the fact that you can write the name of the artist and his/her age on the back of the cards before sending them off – they are postcard style.  The tags, Christmas and Thank You cards come in various matching designs.  They are made of good quality thick card and the designs are lovely.  Monkey especially liked the Robins and we see them in the garden all the time.

Having looked at the Colour In and Make 3D Christmas Tree I thought that would be more suited to a slightly older child.  I instantly knew who I should ask to help us.  Redpeffer‘s daughter is a very artistic 8 year old and this project would be perfect for her.  I knew she could showcase it better than Monkey just now.

So when we met up at the weekend I set her a couple of challenges to help with colouring in Christmas with Eggnogg. I also asked Iona to give me her opinion on the making up process.  Over to you Iona!

If you enjoy colouring, or know some little people who do, this is an ideal way to get creative for Christmas. There is a lot to colour! It’s all quite detailed too, even the larger tree.  It’s quite a sight when you unpack it from it’s deceptively small packet. It comes folded like a map, and that is exactly what it reminded me of-a Christmas tree map. My daughter and I had a lovely time colouring in together-it was very therapeutic and something I’d like to do more of now she’s a little older.

colouring in Christmas with Egg Nogg

Once we had completed the Christmas tree, it was then over to the instructions for creating it as a 3D model. On the instruction it says, ‘you will need an adult’. In our case, it took two adults over an hour to work out how to put it together! And we’re still not totally convinced we did it right either.

However, the end result does look impressive and my daughter was really pleased with how it looked.

colouring in Christmas with Egg Nogg

I would say based on our experiences, that this kind of Christmas craft kit is definitely more suited to older children as there is a lot of detail to colour in and much patience is required. It took my daughter and I around an hour and a half to do the tree alone.

And then you have to add into the equation the folding. I have no skill in these kind of things whatsoever and couldn’t visualise how to put it together at all. My husband eventually figured it out. We found it tricky as well because you’re having to make new folds across some of the original folding for the packaging.

Fortunately, I’m not a perfectionist-ours looks a little ragged around the edges, but that’s a fairly good summation of much of our craft! And it doesn’t stop us liking it and doesn’t mask the enjoyment we had in completing it either.

The Angel Bunting looks really effective too.

Colouring In Christmas with Egg Nogg

Thank you Mary for giving us the chance to have some fun with this!

I think they did a great job with it, don’t you? Monkey has certainly loved colouring in Christmas with Eggnogg and I hope the recipients of his artwork will be impressed with his endeavours.

For more information on the full range from Eggnogg, and for a list of suppliers, then please just pop over to their website.

disclaimer:  we were sent these items in exchange for an honest review

 

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The Hugging Bears – a book review

I haven’t been to Kensington Gardens in London for a long time, but apparently the gardens are home to a statue of two bears hugging.  This statue is the inspiration behind a book we recently received called The Hugging Bears, by Carol Butcher.

The Hugging Bears

Published by Austin Macauley on 31st October, The Hugging Bears is a 16 page hardback book which tells the story of two little bear cubs – Ruggley and  his sister Teddi.  They’ve been born in a cave in the midst of winter and get to explore the world outside with their mother.

The Hugging Bears

We follow the two bears as they learn that the outside world can be a cruel place when their mother is shot and killed.  The young cubs are rescued by some passing ranchers and are lovingly hand reared by the children.

Sadly, as the bears mature they are split up and sent in different directions and have very different experiences.  Will they ever see each other again?  You know I never ruin an ending.

The Hugging Bears is a story which has given Monkey and I much to talk about.  He’s seen brown bears at Whipsnade Zoo so knows that can live in captivity.  We’ve discussed their natural habitat and why some humans are quite cruel to animals.

The only thing I’m not keen on with this book, is the font and changes in colour of the text. My eyesight, even with contact lens could be better, and I found the font off-putting, and couldn’t see any benefit in having colour changes to the text.  But that’s just my opinion.

We liked the story itself.  It’s worth noting that the profits from this £10.99 book will go the charity, Happy Child International, which supports the street children of Brazil.

disclaimer:  we were sent this book in exchange for an honest review

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Christmas ideas, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A Year Full of Stories – review and giveaway

I  can remember as a child have a bumper book of stories, tales to keep me occupied throughout the year.  Now Monkey can experience that too with A Year Full of Stories – a collection of stories and poems for every day of the year!

A Year Full of Stories

A Year Full of Stories is written by Georgie Adams (a favourite author in this house) and contains beautiful illustrations throughout by Selina Young.

I love the idea of reading a story or poem for a specific day and we’ve had a lot of fun after school since receiving this book.

A Year Full of Stories

Monkey runs to his magnetic calendar in the kitchen after school and then comes back to tell me what the day is so we can find the relevant page in A Year Full of Stories.  He’s found the whole idea of starting a book at the back (for November) rather than the beginning quite exciting.

A Year Full of Stories

As you can see in the picture above the stories and poems are all fairly short, which makes this book a great add-on for bedtime reading, or for a chill out moment after school.  It’s a book that will keep Monkey entertained for a long time to come.  This November I’m reading him the stories, by next November I wonder if that will be the case or whether he’ll be reading them to me.  Time will tell.

Priced at £20.00 A Year Full of Stories is an investment, a book to keep the family entertained and it would be well placed on any book shelf.  It’s currently on offer over on Amazon for £15.00 – you can click through my affiliate link below to purchase.

disclaimer:  we were sent this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Now I have some good news for you – Orion Books have kindly offered one reader the chance to win A Year Full of Stories for themselves.  Just complete the Rafflecopter below – good luck!

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Terms and conditions:

(Please note that all entries will be checked against comments for validation).

Only the first step of this form is mandatory, all other steps are optional. Only one entry per person is allowed.

This giveaway is for UK residents only.

Once a winner is randomly picked, I will check if the winner has done what was requested and I will contact them, if they do not reply within one week, the prize will be allocated to another person.

The giveaway will close on 10th December 2014 at midnight.

A Year Full of Stories hardback book worth £20.00

Posted in Book Reviews, Christmas ideas, Giveaways, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Christmas with Miffy

There are some characters that are just timeless and Miffy is one of them.  In fact this little rabbit is looking rather good considering she was born in 1955; yes she is older than me!  I  can remember still remember borrowing Miffy books from the library in Aldershot when I was a little girl.  I have a great little sticker book to share with you today; Christmas with Miffy.

Christmas with Miffy

The 16 page sticker book comes complete with over 60 stickers to keep little ones amused. There are also activities to complete, pictures to colour in and even some Christmas decorations to make.

Christmas with Miffy

Any Miffy fan is going to love this Christmas with Miffy book priced at £4.99.  For other Miffy themed ideas why not pop over to her website, I’m in love with the Nativity Scene – how lovely is that!

disclaimer:  we were sent a sticker book in exchange for an honest review

Posted in Book Reviews, Christmas ideas, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Christmas Treasure Hunt – giveaway

I have a lovely giveaway for you today thanks to the team at Campbell Books.  The Christmas Treasure Hunt is a really wonderful life the flap hardback book which I can thoroughly recommend for any household.

The Christmas Treasure Hunt

You may recall that we reviewed The Christmas Treasure Hunt last year and it was an instant hit.  It has become a much loved book in this house and will be well read again this Christmas.

Ag Jatkowska’s illustrations bring this book to life as the animals search for the presents in the annual Christmas Treasure Hunt.

The Christmas Treasure Hunt

Priced at £9.99 I can thoroughly recommend The Christmas Treasure Hunt and I’m thrilled to be able to offer one lucky reader the chance to win their own copy.  Just complete the Gleam form below – good luck!

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Terms and conditions:

(Please note that all entries will be checked against comments for validation).

Only the first step of this form is mandatory, all other steps are optional. Only one entry per person is allowed.

This giveaway is for UK residents only.

Once a winner is randomly picked, I will check if the winner has done what was requested and I will contact them, if they do not reply within one week, the prize will be allocated to another person.

The giveaway will close on 3rd December 2014 at midnight.

The Christmas Treasure Hunt board book worth £9.99

Posted in Christmas ideas, Giveaways | Tagged , , , , , | 51 Comments

Christmas with Wilko

Back in July I was invited up to London to experience Christmas with Wilko.  Yes, it was a bit of a strange experience, but it wasn’t long before they had me in the festive spirit!

Christmas with Wilko this year is based around 5 themed collections – Pixie, Wild Wood, Humbug, Odyssey and the Kids collection.

I really like the Pixie collection – red always says Christmas to me, and I liked the introduction of pale blues with the white too.  Across all the ranges you can find matching wrapping paper and accessories so everything can be coordinated.

Christmas with Wilko

The Pixie Jingle Bell collection of 9 baubles is lovely and only £3.50 and I really liked the Pixie decorated padded Girl hanging decorations at  £2.00 each.

I thought I had my Christmas theme all sorted until I turned around and discovered the Odyssey collection – yep, that was it.  Love at first sight, totally my colours!

Christmas with Wilko

Anyone who knows me would say that the Odyssey collection was made with me in mind. I live in these colours, and know I can have a Christmas filled with them too!

Christmas with Wilko

The Odyssey Teal Glass 80mm and the Odyssey Glass Ombre 80mm baubles are my absolute favourites.  The photos just do not do them justice, and at £2.00 each they are a must for this household. The Odyssey Blue Ombre baubles are supplied in packs of 4 at £3.00 and will look lovely on my tree this year.  I just love this range and to have matching wrap, ribbon etc – heaven!

I also liked the Wild Wood collection – yes I was like a kid in a sweet shop. I like the rustic feel to this range, reminded my of the Christmas market in Cologne I visited a few years ago.  I particularly loved these Metal Robin decorations at £1.75 each.

Christmas with Wilko

The Kids collection has lots of fun ideas, I particularly like the Finger Puppet crackers – the box even turns into a theatre!  Priced at £4.00 for a box of 6 crackers, we will be having lots of fun with these this year.

Christmas with Wilko

The Humbug collection features lots of black with neon pinks, blues and yellow.  Not really my thing, but if you want something modern and clean cute then it’s for you.

Something else I really liked was the homemade wreath idea from Christmas with Wilko.  I am no flower arranger, much to my sister-in-law’s dismay.  You have florists in the family and it’s a big ask to compete!  But I thought this was a great idea.

Christmas with Wilko

You can get the shaped oasis, lots of decorations, hangers etc and there is even this useful video to help you along the way.

Has that got you in the Christmas spirit yet?  Can I just say that if you are reading this Father Christmas could I please have the Wilko Free Standing Mixer for Christmas – promise I’ve been a good girl!

Christmas with Wilko

disclaimer:  I was sent some of my favourite items in exchange for an honest review

Posted in Christmas ideas, Home goods, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate

Being big book fans and with Daddy P selling fruit and veg, we are loving a new series of children’s books that popped through our letter box recently.  The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate are a collection of stories which aim to entice children to eat their fruit and veg.

The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate

Monkey has been lucky enough to receive the first two stories in The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate series – The Jelly Giant and The Fruity Fish.

I’m really lucky that Monkey loves pretty much all fruit and is very good with veg too (in the genes with greengrocers in the family).  He loves me reading to him, and as soon as I mentioned pirates, Mummy, that’s what I want for bedtime please!

So our introduction to The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate comes in the first book – The Jelly Giant.  The Cuddle Pirate and his crew of fruit and veg loving seafarers discover the magical island of Jelly Bean Island.

The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate

The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate books are written by Kelly Elsworthy and have lovely, colourful illustrations by Becky Dench.

The only inhabitant of the island is a Jelly Giant, who loves eating wonderfully naturally flavoured jellies.  Whilst the crew search the island for hidden treasures they are being spied upon by the Sugar Shark and his gang of sugar fiends!  Monkey particularly likes Pop, the Burping Piranha – he burps from his mouth and bottom.  Yes a nearly 5 year old Monkey thinks that is totally hysterical.  It’s a boy thing!

We follow the crew as they get to meet and make friends with The Jelly Giant.  They show him how by adding fruit to his jellies, they become even more scrumptious.  The giant gives them some jellies to take back to the ship, but the Sugar Shark wants them all for himself so he can cover them in lashings of sugar.  Can you guess that this shark has really rotten teeth.

Of course the good guys always win don’t they!

In The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate – The Fruity Fish Milky Max discovers a message in the bottle.  The Fruity Fish needs the help of the Cuddle Pirate and his crew as the Sugar Shark has stolen his treasure chest of exotic fruits.

The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate

Monkey loves this story, the bottle controls the steering wheel of the Grapevine Galleon and takes the crew to the poor Fruity Fish.  It’s magic Mummy!

Can The Cuddle Pirate and his crew rescue the treasure from the Sugar Shark and his gang before they ruin all the fruit by smothering it in sugar?

Both stories in The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate series have really captured Monkey’s imagination.  He loves the ideas that seashells can become diving helmets and he knows that eating too much sugar is bad for him.  Looking at the Sugar Sharks teeth has shown him what happens if you do eat too much!

Each book finishes with a yummy fruit filled recipe, a nice touch.

The books are priced at £5.99 each and can be bought directly from The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate website or from Amazon and Waterstones.  You can keep up to date with all the Cuddle Pirate news on Twitter and if you join the Crew on the website you can download some activities and a reward chart.

Monkey really loves these stories and we are eagerly awaiting the next book in the series – The Cuddle Pirate and the Mango Monkey!

disclaimer:  we were sent these books in exchange for an honest review

We're going on an adventure
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Argos My Christmas Wishlist App

Monkey will be 5 in December and he’s starting to get a bit more vocal in his wishes when it comes to presents for his birthday and Christmas.  Gone are the days of Mummy deciding exactly what Monkey wants!  So it’s time to hand over the reins and the Argos My Christmas Wishlist App has come into its own.

The Argos My Christmas Wishlist App is free to install and you can set up parental controls, but it gives children the ‘power’ to create their own present wish list from the site and then to email that list to friends and family.  It’s aimed for children aged 3-7 years of age, so perfect for a very nearly 5 year old Monkey to test.  The app is available on iTunes and Google Play.

Argos My Christmas Wishlist App

In settings you set up the email address that you want to receive the wish list, the maximum price per item and the number of items that can be included.

You can turn music on or off (I found it annoying so switched it off before Monkey got his hands on my phone!).  There are also sound effects – I left that on as I knew Monkey would like them.

It was then time for Monkey to take control.  Eek, being a bit of a control freak, this doesn’t come naturally to me.  I was also slightly concerned as pretty much all of his birthday and Christmas presents have been purchased by family and friends.

Argos My Christmas Wishlist App

Monkey’s first task was to select a monster Helper to help his complete his wish list.  He picked Stik – a lovely friendly, blue monster.  He then took a photo of himself and added his name.  Then he was straight into the Argos Wish List app and the various toy categories.

Argos My Christmas Wishlist App

One thing I think could be improved with the app – it would be great if you could select age range in settings.  For example, Monkey spotted the Lego ranges, but as there was no way of filtering on age, he was happily selecting sets which were beyond his nearly 5 year old capabilities.  This can only lead to frustration and disappointment when a child doesn’t get what they want! This puzzled me considering the app is aimed at children aged 7 years and below.

We’ve also found that the app can be slow to upload images of items within a brand category once Monkey moved from one category to another. He’s quite young and loved the idea of zooming from one section to another, but the app couldn’t keep up with him.  Maybe it’s an issue with it being on my iPhone?  I’m not sure.  He liked playing peek-a-boo with the monsters though.

Argos My Christmas Wishlist App

But other than that, Monkey loves the Argos My Christmas Wishlist app.  He could pick his items, if he reached his limit (he didn’t realise that I’d set one!) he could remove an item and add something else if he wanted.

When his selection was completed he could add numbered stars to his favourites so the wish list recipient could see which ones he REALLY wanted the most!  he could write on the list too.

Then a click on the envelope icon and the wish list zoomed on its way to its recipient – in this case me.  The email arrived within seconds.  The wish List arrives with a picture of Monkey, images of his selections and starred numbered.  Below that you find the list of ‘starred items’ that he really loved, and below that the other items he’d selected on the wish list.  Click on the relevant item and you get taken straight to the relevant item on the Argos website.  Easy!

Argos My Christmas Wishlist App

You can see here exactly how easy it is to use the Argos My Christmas Wishlist App:

disclaimer:  we received a set of childrens Skull Candy headphones and a toy in exchange for our honest review of this app

 

 

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Yu! Mini Fruity Chews

We really like Yu! snacks here, you may remember we reviewed the range last summer. The company have recently changed their packaging and launched some new Yu! Mini Fruit Chews.

Yu! Mini Fruit Chews

The new Yu! Mini Fruit Chews are Raspberry Mini Chews, Mango Stars, Lightly coated Yogurt Apple Bites and Strawberry Hearts.

As with all products from Yu!, these new additions are made from 100% fruit are high in fibre, have no added sugar, are suitable for vegetarians, vegans and are gluten free.

So what did my chief taste tester think of the new snacks?  They got the big thumbs up. Actually I was interested to see what he made of the yogurt coated Apple Bites.  He has gone right off the normal fruit snacks that are thickly coated in yogurt.  I expected him to try one and give the rest of these new snacks to me.  But no, he really liked them, so that was a nice surprise.

As you all know we are always out and about at the weekend, so it’s always really handy to have snacks in my handbag for Monkey, and sometimes even me!

These Yu! Mini Fruit Chews and the rest of the range can be found in the home baking sections of Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and in the healthy snacking aisle in Waitrose.  Why not follow Yu! on Twitter  to keep up to date with all the latest news.

disclaimer:  we were sent these items in exchange for an honest review

Posted in Food and Drink, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments