Our Christmas books from Buster

Buster Books have sent us over anothe book package this month. 3 titles in total; perfect number and all come with a Christmas theme to get us in the rather early festive mood.

And here they are!

The Pretty Christmas Colouring Book

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This is what I refer to as a “posh” colouring book and the reason I call it that is because it’s a far cry from those bog standard ones you find in many stockings on the big day. This one comes with a shiny, glossy front cover, better quality paper pages and more detail to the drawings.

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The pages are packed with all sorts of Christmas things everything from Santa and the reindeers to trees, stockings, candy canes and more just screaming out for a splash of colour. It costs £5.00. For me, if I was buying it then I would have to buy 3 so would work out a little expensive (it’s hard to get Ryan to share). It is a nice alternative colouring book tho.

Christmas World of Stickers

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I think all children love sticker books and this one could also double up as a colouring book too. The pages feature various images and Christmas scenes. Some in colour and others awaiting colouring in. At the back are several sheets of stickers. 800 stickers in total so lots of sticking to be done. Each set of stickers has the page number on of where they should go. Unfortunately little Izebella can’t yet read and simply tries sticking them just about anywhere be it in the book or on my walls.
This book comes with an RRP of £9.99 and seems good in my house for encouraging “sharing sisterly love”

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Where’s Santa

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Where’s Santa very much reminds me of “Where’s Wally” only it’s Santa and his ten elves to be spotted amongst the crowds and the chaotic scenes. Can almost be described as looking for a needle in a haystack and some of the scenes make Santa hard to spot. What makes it even more difficult is that several other characters on the pages are wearing Santa hats and beards too so we really have to look hard to find them.

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Of course for those who cannot find Santa and the elves or the cheats among us, the answers are at the back. As is a spotters checklist to try and spot even more characters.
Fun but tricky and makes my eyes go all funny after a few pages ha.
This one is £9.99 too.

Well my children are loving their new Christmas activity books and we are all fans of Buster Books. These books would make great stocking fillers and also nice presents to nieces, nephews, grandchildren etc. Personally I would give these to my children before Christmas as a pre Christmas gift and something to relieve the boredom and festive anticipation throughout the Christmas school holidays.
These books can probably be found in most good book shops and information can be found on the Buster books website.

Hot Headz sauces

I love trying out new foods and flavours. Before coming across Hot Headz sauces I claimed I could handle many hot, spicy foods and flavours. Little did I know that until the Hot Headz arrived, I had never tasted pure heat.

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Hot Headz sauces are certainly not for the faint hearted and not for young children either. They are made from pure strong chilli peppers and all deliver a serious kick, even the more milder ones. Many come with warning labels.

About Hot Headz
Hot Headz are Feiry food pioneers who began selling American hot sauces 14 years ago. These days they source hot sauce from every corner of the globe and their range includes literally hundreds of items including the sauces, mustard, mayonnaise and even non food items.

I thought I would give some of this hot sauce a try and Hot Headz kindly sent over a box full of various hot products.

Sauce

And lots of sauce too!

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I have five bottles of their amazing sauce. I have cleared out the top shelf of my food cupboards. Would not want to risk little Jordanna mistaking this stuff for her ketchup now.
All the sauces include Scoville scale measure which is the measure of hotness of a chilli pepper or any products made with them. The scale measures the concentration of the chemical compound capsaicin, this being the active component which causes the burning sensation in our mouths. This I feel is a must with this type of product. It’s good to know what I’m letting myself in for before I pour it over my food.
The heat scale ranges from 1-5 (mild to very hot) and will show images of little Chilli peppers like this along with the Scoville rating.

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My sauces range from 1-4 on the scale. I am happy I do not have a 5 (very hot) one. I find a 2 hard enough to handle.
My mildest sauce is Pasilla Pepper and even this has a subtle kick to it. My hottest is the Habenero which most chilli lovers will be very familiar with. This stuff is seriously hot hot hot. I can’t handle it. I have tried it just for the sake of trying it and my eyes were watering, my nose running and my mouth on fire. Water does not put out the heat, instead it makes it worse.

This chart (taken from Hot Headz info booklet) shows the Scoville ratings for the sauce. You can clearly see the difference between the Pasilla and the Habanero.

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I also have the Serrano, Chipotle & Jalapeno sauce.
These 3 all have the number 2 (Mild/Medium) heat rating making them hotter than the Pasilla and much more bearable than the Habanero.

The back of each bottle also contains information about the best use of each sauce, be it cooking, dipping, dressing, marinades etc. Each sauce comes from a different part of the world and will contain different Chillis and ingredients so some will obviously be more suited to different cuisines.
One thing I do find is that all of these sauces go down well with Chicken. Marinade it, drizzle it over or just pour on a plate and dip the chicken in. Everything goes with chicken.

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It’s a similar story with steak too. Here I am braving the Serrano with some steak and onions. It certainly livens the meal up a little.

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Of course if none of these sauces quite do it for you or you just want to go even hotter then take a look at what else Hot Headz has to offer with their mega hot sauce bottles. Try some Super hot Chilli sauces (I wouldn’t dare) or for the braver the Untouchable sauce range or maybe for the extreme their is even a selection of Pure Pepper Extracts. Remember these sauces are unbelievably hot and do not come with warning labels for nothing.

More Hot Stuff
Hot Headz do much more than bottles of sauce, and as well as all my hot sauce I also have all of these hot products too.

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A fine selection of jars containing an assortment of relish, pickle, salsa, mustard, ketchup & more.
These too are majorly hot. I was sent over six of these jars in total and five of them have the 4 chilli heat rating (Hot). You can probably spot the Scotch Bonnet Chilli Picallili in my photograph. This stuff seriously blows my head off. It’s pretty unbearable so I would hate to attempt a hotter one. Don’t get me wrong it tastes good at first until the heat begins to kick in. The others just as hot – Smoked Chilli & Garlic hot sauce I do actually like this despite the heat. Indo relish nice if you enjoy hot burgers, Hot Chilli mustard with jalapeño & Serrano Chillis, hot chilli mustard with Chipotle and the more milder one being Harissa (Tunisian hot chilli sauce
Quite a hot combination

When using these sauces and jars I only use a tiny amount so my head does not blow off. I can therefore see them lasting me a very long time indeed and I now know what “real heat really means.

I can see my Christmas dinner being a little spicier than usual this year

If you love heat and love Chillies and a bit of spice and kick to your food then head over to Hot Headz and treat yourself to some real spice.
Everything is individually priced from just a few pound to a little bit more for the more limited edition finds. Many of these products will be very hard to find elsewhere.
I would advise to read the description very carefully and to make sure you know what you are buying beforehand. I will not be responsible for burned tongues or worse still; burned insides. Several products cannot be consumed directly – you have been warned!!!

Halloween at Aldi

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Aldi is about to turn very spooky with the launch of some very inexpensive Halloween accessories, including costumes, masks, decorations, food and lots more.
We have been sent over some spooky goodies to test out.

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First our rather scary Pumkin mask. there are 3 other masks to be found and they are excellent value, costing just 79p each. They make a great addition to costumes.

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Also a spider headband. This one is probably more silly than scary but again would go with most outfits and again very cheap costing just £1.49 each.

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For those wanting to push the boat out this Halloween and decorate their whole house, there are these very low cost LED berry lights.

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The lights come with a choice of 3 colours and with 40 lights a piece. They work on batteries so can be hung literally anywhere. I think they would be best hung over those big hanging skeletons or horror statues. These lights cost just £4.99 each.

Finally and probably the best item is our big pack of Play Doh. in the packet are 15 small individual tubs of assorted colours.

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This Play doh was soft and squidgy enough to use straight from the tubs and is very easy to work with.

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Ryan seems to love this stuff. Jordanna started making some things but got fed up and walked off so it was left to Ryan to make some spooky creations.

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The Play doh does state that it’s suitable for ages 2 and over but I was a little wary about letting Izebella play with this just yet. I can imagine her trying to eat it and getting it everywhere, hence why she is not in the pictures either.
Anyway the Play doh costs just £4.99 for a 15 pack and will bring lots of fun even once Halloween is over.
So for a relatively inexpensive Halloween I would advise everyone to get down to their local Aldi as products seem to sell out very fast in stores. Many of their Halloween products can also be viewed on their website here.

Aldi also have a cool range of downloadable crafts and activities here

Revell-Control Cloud Attack RC Plane

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Ryan is a very lucky boy to be trying out one of the latest rc models from Revell . This time it’s the Cloud Attack plane.
When I first chose this product for review I was thinking along the lines of small helicopter size, so when a rather large box arrived containing the Cloud Attack plane, my first thoughts were just how big it was compared to other RC planes and flying models.

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This plane measures a rather impressive 430mm in length and boasts a wingspan of around 500mm and weighs just 85g.
Cloud Attack is suitable for those aged 8 and over, thus meaning it’s fairly easy to use and control.

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Inside the box- the plane itself along with the remote control and an instruction booklet in several languages.

The remote control requires 6 AA batteries which are not included. As with all RC products it’s best to use quality batteries to ensure the best performance. The remote control also comes with a charger plug which can be hidden away under it’s cover. This charger plug plugs into the plane next to the on/off switch. We know it’s charging as a red LED will continually blink. It is recommended to charge for up to 40 minutes.

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The planes electric impeller gives users the experience of a jet feel. No flying experience is required, even amateurs and complete RC plane beginners can easily fly the Cloud Attack plane.

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Unlike many other plane models, this one can both take off and land on the ground. The E impeller helps to give a straighter drive too.
It takes a bit of practice to accelerate and descend but once we had a few goes it got much easier. It’s all about controlling the throttle. Too much throttle will make the plane crash or continually rise.

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Space is a key thing to fly this plane too. Our back garden is not the biggest tho not tiny either but the plane needs a big space. Our front is perfect being a very small street (just 10 houses), no high fences, noroads, just lawns. Perfect for flying meaning the plane won’t get stuck anywhere and no risk of it flying into a road or cars.
Ryan loves it.

Revell have their own video showing just how well this plane can fly.

I did try to take my own mini video but as you can imagine: filming is difficult whilst trying to control the plane at the same time and Ryan hasn’t quite got the hang of it just yet.

The Cloud Attack plane comes with an RRP of £39.99. The plane is made of durable EPP foam material and is therefore virtually indestructible. I have a feeling this plane will be very popular with males young and old this Christmas.
I have found one listing for this over on AMAZON but it’s selling out fast. More information about the Cloud Attack model along with where to buy can of course be found at Revell Germany .

Abney & Teal children’s magazine

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A brand new children’s magazine is about to hit the shelves on October 23rd. DJ Murphy are the publishers of the new Abney Teal magazine which is aimed at pre school children and based on the hit Cbeebies show of the same name.

I have a copy of the first issue and have been going through it briefly with Izebella. The first thing we noticed is the front cover and the freebies attached to it, being a toy guitar and a flute music set. Izebella seems to have a strong liking for musical instruments and just loves these.
The magazine is full of friendship and music just like the show. The pages are packed with stories to read together and lots of activities to do such as colouring, puzzles, learning, and lots more to do.

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Each page features the characters Abney & Teal themselves.

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The magazine comes with lots of learning and educational benefits too. Activities such as counting, adding, matching and number tracing are included in a workbook section.
In the middle of it all there is a page of pull out stickers too.

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There is even a competition to enter.

It is approximately 35 pages full of things to do. Printed on quality paper and feels more like a short book rather than the usual magazine glossy crinkly pages.

Izebella being just 2 is a little young for many of the activities and puzzles in the magazine just yet but still enjoys looking through it and loves the free music set gift.
I would say it’s probably more suited to a 3-5 year old.

The first issue goes live in stores on the 23rd October and can probably be found in many supermarkets and newsagents. It costs £2.99 and from what I have read in the magazine; I believe it’s a monthly issue so therefore not too expensive at all. I also read that issue #2 also comes with a free gift but I won’t spoil the surprise. You will have to buy issue #1 to find out for yourself.

COMPETITION: Maleficent

LONDON August 14th, 2014 saw the release Disney’s most iconic villain “MALEFICENT”
Following the runaway success of Frozen, now the 5th biggest film of all time, Maleficent provides audiences with another twist on the idea of true love by exploring the relationship between Maleficent (Academy Award®-winning actress Angelina Jolie) and the young Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning). This wickedly fun twist on the classic “Sleeping Beauty” will be available on DVD, Blu-ray TM and 3D Blu-rayTM, October 20, 2014.

This is one movie that I am very much looking forward to watching over Christmas. I did intend to watch it at the cinema but as per usual my plans never worked out.

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Plot Summary
A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal – an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces a battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom – and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well. to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces a battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom – and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well. true happiness as well.”

It sounds like a modern day take on the Sleeping Beauty story. Just the type of movie I love full of fantasy, darkness, magic and monsters.
If you have not seen this movie yet then take a look at the trailer.

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This may just be one of those classic family movies that will be much remembered for years to come!

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© 2014 Disney

COMPETITION
Disney are giving away one copy of their magnificent move Maleficient! to one of my blog readers. The movie will come on Blu-Ray format and will be delivered to the winner in time for Christmas.

All you have to do to be in with a chance is enter by…

*RAFFLECOPTER*

Ends November 17th and open to UK residents.

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/maleficent-blu-ray-0#sthash.TPo3L3sk.dpuf

Our “Next” Halloween Entry

Next have been busy asking bloggers like myself to post about how we celebrate Halloween as a family. There is £50 of Next goodies up for grabs and entrants can tweet using #NextHalloween as well as uploading to the Next website.

So here goes

Our Halloween celebrations seem to differ from one year to the next depending on what’s happening where we live. However my children always get a new Halloween outfit without fail and always dress up for it.
Here are just a few pics from previous years.

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And

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And it’s not always just the horror costumes either. When younger they would opt for well known characters.

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And even the odd alien.

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Once dressed we will walk around our area, knocking on doors and shouting “Trick r Treat”. In the hope of getting some sweets. They usually end up with a large bucket full plus money.
Then on to a party to party the night away with the other ghosts and ghouls.

This year we are doing something a little different with the help of my blog. We are visiting a Halloween attraction in Southport called Happy Halloween a few days before the big day which looks a great place. Then on Halloween we go trick r treating earlier and onto a party at the local play centre where we will have food. Then later on a local family club are having a joint Halloween/Bonfire party. It’s going to be a busy one this year!

Strictly Come Dancing Puzzle

Here’s another fine puzzle from Ravensburger which I am sure many ladies out there will just love.

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And guess what? It’s a huge 1000 piece one too.
Have I completed it yet? NO! of course I haven’t. I have only had it less than a week and a puzzle of this scale is bound to take me a fair few weeks with running around after 3 busy children.
However I have made a small start.

As with all fine puzzles from famous puzzle makers Ravensburger this also features the premium soft click technology making jigsaw completion much easier as the pieces easily click together.

This Puzzle when completed will show several of the best scenes from Strictly Come Dancing. It’s not in cartoon format either but actual photographic scenes, which I think makes it slightly more difficult.

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There are 9 different scenes in total with 8 of them being in a photograph of their own plus the big main scene.
The finished puzzle measures 69.9 x 49.7cm when complete and is made from strong premium grade cardboard.
It is aimed at both adults and children ages 12 and over but I do think many 12 year olds would find a 1000 piece jigsaw difficult. I find it difficult! and I’m much older than 12
The biggest challenge with this one for me is the outside/edging bit as it’s all pretty much the same. A purple background with lights and flashes so it’s a case of trial and error working out what part goes where.

Hopefully I will complete it one day soon.

As for cost, well I spotted this over on Amazon for £11.99. I imagine it will be a popular one considering how many Strictly Come Dancing fans are out there.