Sandart

Last week we had horrendous weather, the remnants of hurricane Gonzalo, with heavy rains and gale force winds. Much too cold to go out and play. Luckily for us, that same day we received a sand art gift pack from SandArtPlay.

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SandArt originates from South Africa and enables children to easily create stunning pictures with minimal mess.

Inside our pack was 4 Sandart cards, each with an image of a sea creature, a peeling tool and 11 tubes of coloured sand which came in test tube like containers with lids.

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It’s extremely simple to do. First place a magazine or paper on the table and then choose a card. Using the peeler tool, simply peel off the top paper layer on the cards to reveal a sticky surface. Then sprinkle and spread the sand. It’s best to peel one section at a time to avoid mess or colours mixing. Every part peels off, even the whole background.

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It takes a bit of time, but Ryan and Jordanna seemed to enjoy it. If sand spills or too much comes out then it’s quite easy to tip it back in which is why we need a magazine under the cards. A little bit did end up on the floor but it’s easily hoovered up.

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Once all the parts have been filled with sand and the pictures are complete, they can be laminated. Each picture comes in a plastic sleeve. This plastic can then be cut and used to laminate the pictures by removing the paper covering the borer picture and sticking. We did find this bit a little difficult with some parts of the border just not sticking. Ryan used a tiny bit of tape on one of his pictures.

The end results are quite stunning and it’s an effect which could not be achieved using pens or crayons.

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I think they are quite proud of their mini masterpieces.

The coloured sand can even be mix and different techniques can be learned and applied. Jordanna came up with the idea of using a thin dry paintbrush to help her spread the sand easily.
SandArt comes with many educational benefits too such as imagination, logical thinking, concentration, fine motor skills.

Izebella seemed fascinated by it all but is a little too young with the sets being aimed at those 4 and over.
I had lots of fun helping them both too.
I think these gift packs would make lovely stocking fillers and don’t worry the mess is definitely minimal. Just use a magazine.

This gift pack costs £8.95. Many other kits and accessories can also be purchased from Sandartplay

Thinking Gifts

Thinking Gifts design award-winning book accessories and novelty stationery

In our house we all love our little pieces of stationary and novelty items. Little gifts go a long way too whether it’s just a gift to cheer someone up or something to put in a card or add as a stocking filler.

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Thinking Gifts started off selling book holders and now professionally design their own range of stationary and accessories. Their collection of stationary/gift items includes bookmarks, pens, desk accessories and notepads.
Here are just a few of their lovely things which we have been sent.

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We have a very cute assortment of little notepads and I was very glad to get 3 too. Saves the arguments!

The misfit notes which are like little weird animals with one eye have a magnet on the back and 100 pieces of note paper.

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The Tweets are owls in all different colours and also have the magnet. Great for putting on the radiator, means they won’t lose them (hopefully).

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Finally the Handbag notes. These come without the magnet and look just like mini handbags which is then opened up to reveal 100 pieces of paper. Izebella loves it.

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Take a look at the many other designs and styles of the notepads here and all under £5 too.

My children also have some fancy bookmarks too.

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The bookbraids will be loved by all little girls and even come with a choice of hair colour – blonde, brunette, redhead. Jordanna simply pops hers in a book and leaves the long lock of hair dangling over and then never loses her page in her book.

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The Compass marks all come with a vehicle from a by gone era and a handy compass too.

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Funny feet again with many choices look like a large paper clip, then when placed on a book page will make the book look like someone has dived in and left their feet on the outside. In Ryan’s case this is a naughty elf.

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All the bookmarks can also be purchased for under £5.00.

My children love their little gifts.

Disney Pictopia

We love playing new games as a family and so were very excited to be sent Disney Pictopia from Esdevium Games.

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It’s a game of team work which can be enjoyed by all of us. Children will love seeing all their favourite disney characters during game play.

Inside the box!
200 cards
6 scoring dials
30 wager coins
1 game board
6 movers
1 die
Instructions

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When reading how to play, it sounds more complicated than it actually is. Once we got the hang of it, it was lots of fun.

The game cards are all double sided. One side will show 4 individual pictures of Disney characters or scenes.

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The other side of the card is the question card. This also has answers on.

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There is 5 question options, each marked with a unique symbol- Pick 1,2,3 and Spotlight & Solo pick Each of these symbols matches a space on the game board and where the player lands determines which question they get.

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To play the game one player starts by rolling the dice and moving the number of spaces. Whoever is playing is also the host. Before reading out a question the host shows players the image side of the card and the players put there wager coin in the spaces on the board.
Whatever icon they land on, the host then reads out the corresponding question.

The players work together on 3 of the questions and individually on two of them using the answer dials.

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The wager coins are also double sided. One side being blank, the other with a number. The players cannot look at their coins and must place them number down. If they guess correct they can advance the number of spaces on the coin. The host does not advance whilst they are the host.
Then another player becomes the host and the winner is the first to get to the Disney castle and complete the final challenge.

Like I said the instructions do sound a little complicated and especially so for younger children, but once you start to play and re read a few times over it actually becomes quite simple.

The cards are beautifully designed with lots of Disney characters, both the very well known ones such as Dumbo, Bambi, Brave and a fair few rarer characters that we were not too sure who they were.

IMG_0309.JPG. There is also images from classic movies and tricker puzzle images to try and work out.

Up to 5 people can play. We have 3 as Izzy a little too young just yet. It’s aimed at ages 7 and older. Ryan and Jordanna love it tho Jordanna will struggle with some of the answers and a lot of it is just guess work. It’s a great fun family game and just perfect for Christmas time too.

Disney Pictopia
Can be found over on AMAZON for £19.99 and at many good toy retailers.

Happy Halloween: Southport

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Yesterday we woke early and boarded a train to Southport. From Southport station we headed to the coast and found our way to Pleasure land for a spooky spectacular Halloween family event called Happy Halloween.
I have been to Pleasure land many times but this time was different. From the moment we arrived we were greeted by all sorts of weird and wonderful characters. Scarecrows, witches, huge spiders and more.

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Both statues, some of them moving and very lifelike and people in costume, everywhere we looked there was pumpkins. I have never seen that many pumpkins in one place.

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All the rides at Pleasureland are included in the price of the ticket which must now be purchased at the entrance as all the internet allocations are sold out.
There are many rides there, even something for the very small ones. Izebella is now 2 and was very happy going on lots of rides with big brother and sister.

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Jordanna being a little taller now was able to go on many big rides herself. Ryan won’t go on them and I couldn’t as I had Izebella. Jordanna even went on the big Piranha water shoot ride alone too. Ryan went on the ghost train and I would have took Izebella on but she point blank refused to go on. I did see one parent literally drag a screaming toddler onto it. Poor kid will no doubt have nightmares for weeks to come.
My girls loved the slides and trampoline too.

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One of the special Halloween attractions is Trick or Treat street. It is set up like a small street with several doors. Children walk through it and knock on each door and either get a treat in the form of sweets or a trick which involves being sprayed with water or a whistle blown or something else. None of this is too scary for younger ones.

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To add to all this fun, several different shows take place every half hour. We went to see 3 of them- Twitchy Witch which is a short pantomime and seems to have themes from Labyrinth, hansel & Gretel, The witches and Wizard of Oz. It’s quite entertaining tho Izebella was a little scared of the witch. Afterwards there was photo opportunities with the cast.

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The next one was a magic show and as per usual, Jordanna was picked to go on stage and assist. I think she screams louder than any other child when asked for volunteers! Anyway she took part in a very spectacular trick which involved her walking through a solid mirror. She can’t explain how it happened either!!

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She got a big spider balloon thing for it which unfortunately popped within an hour.
We also saw a puppet show but my battery was starting to die by this time so no pics sorry.

I think we were there a good 6 hours going on all the rides and watching shows. We had an amazing day and the rain stayed away too. It’s not often we get days out together as good as this one. Happy faces all round but very tired by the end of it.

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The food and drink there is pricy and I really should of thought beforehand and took sandwiches and drinks of my own. A small tray of chips with gravy worked out at £3.00 and kids bottle drinks a pound each. It might not sound a lot but when there’s 4 of us it did work out expensive.
I would say definitely worth a visit and we hope to return next year.

It is open throughout half term and you pay at the gate.


http://www.happyhalloween.uk.com or http://www.southportpleasureland.com
Facebook/happyhalloweensouthport

Bring the moon inside – RC Illuminated Moon

Having a 10 year old budding scientist in my home means I am surrounded by all sorts of kits, experiments, gadgets and gizmos. I live in fear of my house exploding! well ok! No maybe that’s an exaggeration, Ryan is not quite ready to be playing with plutonium just yet, but he does love anything to do with science.
His latest gizmo that he has been busy reviewing is a RC illuminated moon which comes from Brainstorm toys. If your reading and also have a young scientist then I highly recommend you take a look at their website for lots of gift ideas.

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It’s a medium size box as far as toy products go and inside – The moon and the remote control, along with a guide.

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First thoughts were that it does in many ways look like the moons surface with a bumpy, rocky appearance, colours of grey and white and crater marks. Obviously it’s on a much smaller scale.

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The moon can be hung on a wall but I was a bit disappointed as no hooks are provided. This is a bit of a let down as I am hopeless at DIY, even smile tasks such as hanging things up and had to try and find the correct screws. The moon has 2 hanging points. One for those in the Northern Hemisphere and the other for the South.
Before hanging it, it needs 4 AA batteries which are not provided. Good job I have a huge drawer full of the things!

The moon is controlled with the remote and can be set to manual or automatic mode as well as sleep. It illuminates with a soft glow and is great for a night light. It will scroll through 12 lunar phases just like the real moon.

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Although this moon toy has a flat back, it’s surface is sphere shaped and so when hung on a wall it gives the illusion of a full illuminating sphere.

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The phases can be manually scrolled through or left on automatic and it will scroll through each one and repeat.

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Sleep button will of course put the moon in sleep mode until any button is pressed to reactivate.
It comes with an auto shut off after 30 minutes of inactivity.

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The light is soft and not too bright. It works best when dark and Ryan loves it in his bedroom, especially because of the fact that he can control it with the remote without leaving his bed.

The includes booklet/info guide contains lots of factual information about the moon, including it’s surface, moon landings, light, phases, eclipse and a moon calendar. Well worth a read for the young scientists and handy to keep too should any moon homework or school projects comes their way.

This RC moon would make a fantastic gift. It would be a nice idea to have the wall hook included but never mind. We found one.
It comes with an RRP of £29.99 but Amazon sell it here for £21.67 so as with anything it’s just a case of shopping around for it. It should be available in most good toy shops too.

Save energy, with a higher tog duvet

Slumberdown have created this infograph.
The infograph is about how having the heating on throughout the night can make people feel unwell. There advice to both save money and health is to simply invest in a higher tog duvet over the colder months instead.

Is Sleeping With The Heating On Making You Ill

Research from the UK’s leading bedding specialist, Slumberdown, has unveiled that the majority of UK adults who have left their heating on overnight to stay warm in bed, are suffering with ill health as a result.
The survey* revealed that nearly half (46%) of people who sleep with the heating on overnight wake the following morning feeling ill with over a third (37%) suffering from a headache, dry mouth and dehydration (20%) or generally bunged-up (18%).
As many as 70% of those surveyed have left their boilers blazing overnight resulting in a fifth (20%) admitting waking from their slumber overheated and drenched in sweat.
Almost a third (29%) said they had left their heating on overnight despite energy bills being one of the most expensive household outgoings.
Around the British Isles, the temperature North of the Border could explain why Scots are the worst culprits for leaving the heating on overnight (82%) resulting in 37% who wake up feeling ill. Nearly three quarters (72%) of people in the south east admitted to feeling the bedtime chills and slept with heaters blazing compared with a slightly more resilient 63% of northerners. Northern Ireland folk would appear to be the least hot headed with a cool 45% opting to leaving their heating on as they slumber but over two thirds (36%) of those that do this reported feeling unwell the following morning.
Over half of those surveyed (51%) confessed to not changing their duvet for a higher tog winter duvet.

Slumberdown is a leading supplier of filled bedding products including duvets, pillows and mattress protectors. To get the bedroom ready for winter, Slumberdown offers the Winter Warm collection including 15 and 13.5 tog duvets, electric blanket and fleecy mattress protector. Selected products from the Winter Warm collection are available in Tesco, Argos, Asda & Sainsbury’s and Matalan.

Drumond Park Shout! review & Competition

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We have been having an enjoyable few nights playing our latest family game from Drumond Park quite simply named Shout!.

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The shout game comprises of 167 double sided cards, a timer and scoring pegs.

Each of the cards has 9 individual squares. These squares are the answers to the question on the reverse side. They may be images, words, figures. The question will for example be to spot the different kings. The pictures will all be answers but the players may need to look and think hard to answer. The answers won’t be obvious and for example could be a king size bed, King Charles spaniel or an actual King.
Here is an example of one of the cards.

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One side of the card will show the question which is to correctly identify human body parts. Underneath are all the correct answers. Obviously only one player or team will see this side. The other player/team will see the picture side only with the 9 image clues. They then have to work out all the clues or as many as possible in 60 seconds. In this case for example – Number 2 is an ear of corn and Number 4 an arm chair and therefore an arm.

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The game can be played in teams or as separate players. The egg timer stand needs putting together prior to playing but it’s easy enough to do.

Once the minute is up. Players/teams get one point per each correctly guessed image. Each team/player then places there peg in the counter hole on the timer and moves along as the points increase and the first to 69 points wins.

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The game comes with an option to double your points and give more chance of winning. Double or Nothing cards can be opted for.

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However with these cards comes the risk of getting no points at all. What makes them harder is that all 9 answers must be given, it’s either all 9 or nothing at all.

Shout is aimed at teenagers and adults ages 12 and over. Therefore as you can imagine my two children did find it a little difficult trying to work out the answers to the clues but they did get a few correct. Some of the clues can be quire difficult to work out, even for us grown ups. As with anything, the more we play the better we get at it.
It’s fun and even educational too trying to relate images and words to come up with answers to clues.

Believe me Shout is a great game. It sounds quite complicated when you read what it’s all about but we really enjoy playing this one.

£29.99 from most good toy retailers.

COMPETITION

Win the Shout board game for you and your family to enjoy in your own home and right before Christmas too.
Drumond Park are giving away one copy of this fun amazing game to one of my lucky blog readers.
The competition will run throughout November, ending on 30/11/2014 and is open to residents of the UK.
Enter by

*RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY*

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com