Sunday, 12 April 2015

Cake always makes you feel better

The Easter holidays are always an egg-citing time for us.  Not only do we have two weeks of holiday fun to look forward to but the kids get to do an Easter egg hunt and also it is my firstborn's, Joshua's, birthday!

This year my eldest turned 6.  It was actually going to be a special birthday as he had finished school on Friday.  He had an operation scheduled for Tuesday 31st March and then on Saturday 4th April was his birthday.  It was going to be a double birthday celebration at our house as it was Joshua's favourite's Uncle's 50th birthday the following day so there was a double birthday party at ours.



An operation for one of your children is always a scary thought.  I was very worried, and so was he.  But he coped with it really well.  He was such a trooper.  He was back to himself by the following day, Wednesday, and looking forward to the party which we had planned on Saturday.  He did say he was worried about the operation only because he wanted it to be over quickly so he could look forward to his birthday party and eat his Mr Kipling cakes which we had been sent.

Then, disaster struck!  Joshua came down with chickenpox on Thursday morning.  He was covered in them. Poor bubba. Which, then meant we had to cancel his birthday party.  OH No!!

He was devastated. Missing out on all that fun.  We had planned so many games and as it was a joint party (for Joshua and his Uncle) we had to cancel TWO parties! Joshua was quite upset, but he dealt with it like a true trooper. 

He had started to itch quite a lot.  For a 6 year old he had a lot to deal with (operations, chickenpox, party being cancelled).  But, on top of that he had also given up chocolate for Lent, and he had nearly done the whole period without any chocolate.  But, when his itching had started he asked if he could have a chocolate treat and he was eyeing up the Mr Kipling cakes that had been delivered.

Look at the smiles! A way to a boys heart is certainly through his stomach!

I couldn't resist and tore the packets open. Joshua was delighted and this was the first time I had seen him smile for at least 24 hours.

Cake certainly makes life a lot better. #betterwithcake

Even though we had so much to look forward to over the Easter Holidays, which we had to cancel (Joshua's chickenpox have finally gone down....in time for school tomorrow!), the cake was the one thing that put a smile on my boys face.

He needed that treat. 
He deserved that treat. 
And he savoured that treat!



This post is an entry for #betterwithcake Linky Challenge (http://bit.ly/betterwithcake), sponsored by Mr Kipling. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/mrkiplingcakes

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Lego Mixels - mixed up fun! - review

We are all love Lego.  The imaginative coloured blocks which give our children hours of fun. The creations my children have put together have amazed me and I see the joy on their faces when their ideas literally come to life.

Lego is an institution.  We are used to the look and feel of it. But, have you see the Mixels range?  Mixels are now on their 4th series and these quirky little packets of fun are the next generation of Lego.

Image result for lego mixels series 4 

Mixels allow you (and the kids!) to get even more creative.

There are three tribes: Orbitons, Infernites and Glowkies.  Each tribe has three different characters with their own special powers and specific builds.  When all three characters of each tribe are put together, they then become a Max Mixel (a giant mega Mixel who has all their combined powers).


Image result for lego mega mixels series 4
Combine the characters to create a Mega Mixel!
We were lucky to try out some of the Mixel range.  When I saw the packets, they were quirky little creatures, tempting you to open the packet and start building. Lego have really got the design right with the packaging and imagery. I love the little devils!

The kids shrieked when they saw the packets.  They were so excited.

The kids favourite was this Vampos Glow in the Dark Mixel






The kids got right into making the each character. Within each packet, there was an a comprehensive instruction booklet.  Easily understood by my 5 year old.

They boys only needed a helping hand a couple of times, but they mostly built the characters by themselves.






Once the glow in the dark Mixel was ready they ran into the cupboard to see how it glowed in the dark.  They had so much fun with it.  That's a lovely dimension to the character.








There are around 30 + pieces to put together in each packet.

Just enough to keep the little ones from not losing interest (sometimes they want them built really quickly).


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
You can see me in the background still trying to create a Mixel whilst the kids finished theirs (yes....they beat me!)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The boys loved putting the Mixels together, especially the glow in the dark Mixels. They were their favourites. Series 4 Mixels are great fun. And when they are combined to become a Mega Mixel, gives the characters an additional benefit.

The RRP is £3.00 for each packet.  Hours of fun for a little pocket money. These would also make great party bags fillers or prizes during party games. AND suitable for boys and girls!


Disclaimer: I was sent these products to give an honest review. All ideas and opinions expressed are my own.
 
 
 
 

Monday, 16 March 2015

HOME - the latest movie from DreamWorks

We absolutely love going to the movies. And we were lucky enough to attend the UK movie premier of HOME, the new movie from DreamWorks, at Leicester Square.

Image result for dreamworks home

Now, we knew this movie was going to be amazing as DreamWorks are the creators behind hit movies such as How to Train Your Dragon and The Croods.

Image result for dreamworks home

HOME is a great, fun movie about the relationship between an alien and a young girl. The story centres around a hapless alien, called Oh, and his race (the Boov) and an adventurous girl called Tip. They meet when The Boov invade Earth and relocate the human race to another area, but Tip and her loyal cat, called Pig, get left behind. The pair learn from each other and together they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.

The story is wonderful, the animation is brilliant and there were plenty of laughs and giggles (I even had a little tear in my eye at one point).

I am not going to spoil it for you and tell you all the action that happens. It really is a brilliant family movie. It will be one that will be watched and loved for many years. Especially now that there are a range of toys available which really bring the movie to life.

Here's the trailer to whet your appetite!  The movie is on general release from 20th March 2015.  Go to the cinema and see it, then go HOME!

To see some of the HOME toy range click here.

Disclaimer: we attended the movie to give an honest review. All opinions and views expressed are my own.

HOME - DreamWorks movie toy ranges

HOME, the new movie by DreamWorks is an amazing new animated movie. We got to see it at a premier this weekend and I can honestly say it was loads of fun. See my HOME movie post here.

Image result for home movie



To bring the movie to life, Flair, have brought out a range of toys celebrate this magical movie. The collection includes all the main characters in the movie, such as Oh and Tip in a selection of plush toys, dancing toys, dolls and pocket money collectibles.

We were given a few to review and I can honestly say that the kids loved them all. There isn't one which was overlooked and not played with.

HOME - mood ears 

I'll start with the Boov ears. The Boov are the race of aliens who take over Earth and who Oh, the hapless main character is an outcast from. The Boov ears let you become part of the race. The ears are bendable to reflect each mood. You can choose which mood you want to be: happy, excited silly, angry, frightened, grumpy, bashful, sad, loving, naughty, shocked, joyful, cool, fascinated and doubtful. You can then bend and twist the ears to correspond to that mood.
 
The children loved this as they woke up in the morning demanding to wear the ears, even whilst brushing their teeth! They would decide what mood they wanted to be and put the ears on. The packaging comes with a guide of all the moods and the ears shapes. We have this pinned to,our fridge so that the kids can freely choose what they want.



The Boov ears are a great price at RRO £3.99 and they come in a collection of colours.

HOME - animated dancing plush Oh


One of the main toys was the dancing, talking Oh. This is a soft, cuddly toy which features three songs from the movie and four popular phrases from the movie. When you switch Oh on you can see him shuffle around the floor and waves his arms along to the music, just like the film!

This is a great, when switched off my little one likes to cuddle him and when he is switched on and dancing he loves to watch his moves.



The dancing plush is RRP £29.99.

HOME - The Shusher Wand

 19148 Captain Smeks Shusher Wand open
 
The Shusher Wand is a great role play toy as it is the same one Captain Smek uses to 'Shush' his fellow Boov. When you press the button you will hear realistic sound effects and real phrases from the movie. Inside the top is a hidden Smek which you can see when you press the button.  My boys have been using it to 'shush' me all the time!  (I may need to hide this so I can finish a sentence!)
 
The Shusher wand is RRP £9.99
 
HOME - Mood Bubbles
 
 
 
These great little pocket money treats are ideal for role play and imaginative play.  There are 18 to collect and are come with different moods, so lots to choose from.
 
Each mini figure comes in a gold standing dish and is then encased in a plastic orb (similar to the one in the movie).
 
Mood Bubbles RRP £2.49
 
 
The orange and purple Oh's are the colour changing figures
These are great!  They are robust and change colour in response to heat and touch. If you rub the figure it changes colour and returns back to the original colour when cooling down.
 
My kids love to have these in the bath and watch it instantly change colour.  They fill the sink up with cold water to change it back and then drop it back in the bath with them.  Hours of fun!
 
Colour changing figures RRP £7.99
 

The range from Flair for the Home movie is quite extensive.  There are plenty of toys to choose from to suit all budgets and genders.  Go on take one 'Home'!


Disclaimer:  I was sent these products to provide a review. All opinions and views expressed are all my own.




Thursday, 26 February 2015

Lamb, aubergine and potato pie - comfort food

Pies are great. Savoury or sweet, they always manage to hit the spot.

I decided to make a lamb pie this evening (my eldest isn't a  big fan of chicken and my hubby loves lamb!).

I wanted the children to get part of their five a day in the pie to so decided to add aubergine (which always goes really well with lamb) and potato and sweet potato.

I fried off the diced red onion with garlic, then added the diced aubergine to brown.  I then added the par-boiled potatoes and sweet potatoes.  I added a little freshly ground curry powder, just a little as it's quite stronger (stronger than the shop bought ones).

I cooked this off for about 15mins with just a dash of water to stop anything from burning.

Whilst the filling was cooling I rolled the pastry out (shop bought I'm afraid) and covered the ovenproof dish.  I then brushed with beaten to make the pastry all golden.

15-20mins in a pre-heated oven and voila....a delicious dinner.

Try it for yourself, it's so easy.



Saturday, 31 January 2015

LEGO Minifigures: mini toy, maximum joy!

We all know how great LEGO is. It really gets the imagination flowing.  Children (big and small) can play with it for hours.

There are so many ranges available that there is always something to appeal to the avid fan as well as the first time player.  The genius people at LEGO seem to have thought of everything.



Series 13 LEGO Minifigure packs.
So when I informed my boys that we would be receiving some Series 13 LEGO Minifigures, they were very excited. The Minifigures are a huge hit with not only our boys but, it seems, most of the children at my son's school!


The boys are very excited to open these bags.
Each series 13 LEGO Minifigure, like previous series, come in individual packs. Each pack comes with the figure, which you have to put together (easy for even my three year old to do) and with a unique code which unlocks the physical character on the LEGO Minifigures multiplayer game at www.lego.com/minifigures.



This additional game feature is wonderful as it combines the great LEGO character/s in an online, fun and creative way. But, the best part is.....it's free!  Can't say that very often can we!

There are 16 characters to collect, consisting of Galaxy Trooper, Alien Trooper, Evil Wizard, King, Goblin, Lady Cyclops, Snake Charmer, paleontologist, Carpenter, Hot Dog Guy, Sheriff, Samurai, Disco Diva, Unicorn Girl, Fencer, Egyptian Warrior.

The boys were very excited opening, building and finding out which figure they had. It was like Christmas had come all over again!



"I love him" (he got the snake charmer!)
 



 Lots of building and playing resulted in me, eventually, getting this picture of the LEGO Minifigures we received:-


Evil Wizard,  palaeontologist, Galaxy trooper, King
 
I have to say, I really do believe these are a great little toys.  The packs cost around £2.50 from lots of stockists. The children have played with them for hours, so they aren't throw away items. The online game also makes the characters have a longer shelf life. If they do get a character which they have already got they swap them with their friends. Develops their negotiation skills!

We are currently using the LEGO minifigures as an incentive for my youngest son to stop getting out of his bed at night.  For every two nights he sleeps in his bed for the whole night he gets a new minifigure.  It's great as they aren't expensive and he is really motivated (he's done two nights already).  He is a happy little fella surrounded by his new LEGO minifigures.

You could also buy these as general treats or they are fab for party bags. Sure hit for everyone!

I, and my children, really love these. My favourite has to be Disco Diva, which we are still waiting to collect.

The great LEGO Minifigures, with maximum pleasure!


 Disclaimer: I was sent this product to give an honest review.  All my opinions and views expressed are my own.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

How fit are you? MeasuPro Pulse Oximeter

We have all over indulged over the festive period.  I am, probably like many of you, trying to be careful with what I eat after nearly a month of excess!

I do run (a little).  I have traditionally been a treadmill runner but I'm trying to push myself and run outside, it's such a new thing for me and I am struggling a little, but I am enjoying it.

I know I am not unfit, but I am trying to get fitter. When I haven't done much exercise and I get back into it again, my main aim is to try and get my lung strength back.  By that I mean, not getting out of breath so quickly.  Apart from knowing I can run further without getting out of breath so quickly, I realised that I could actually measure my fitness electronically too by using the MeasuPro Pulse Oximeter.



The amazing MeasuPro Pulse Oximeter is a tiny little device which  measures haemoglobin oxygen saturation and pulse rate. This is a vital piece of equipment if you are fitness training, so you can measure your recovery rates.  It is also an essential gadget to have around the house to measure your general level of fitness and oxygen saturation (basically how much oxygen you are taking in efficiently).

The MeasuPro Pulse Oximeter measures your heartbeat and oxygen intake via a little unit you put on your finger.  It takes seconds to read (and is totally painless) and the display can rotate around, by pressing a little button.




The Oximeter is battery operated and the unit comes with batteries (great news!). I took the above picture after I did a little 2 mile run. The 99 shows my oxygen intake (max is 100%) and the 60 is my pulse rate. The lower the pulse rate the better, if you are relaxing (obviously this depends on age and fitness).  I was pleasantly surprised how good this reading was.  I wasn't as unfit as I thought!

When I took this to our family sunday day, the whole family wanted to know what their reading was.  They were all intrigued and comparing notes and wanting to improve their next reading.  So it is a great gadget to motivate yourself (and your family!).

This is a great gadget for finding out your fitness levels and also to find out your general health. The Oximeter is really easy to use, is not too bulky, comes with a lanyard and comes with full instructions. Another great feature is that it turns itself off on its own, saving battery power.  It is a great addition for all households.

Disclaimer:  I was sent this product to review and all views and opinions expressed are my own.