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since 15/09/2009


Play-Doh Mega Fun Factory 02/04/2012

Fun at the Factory

Play-Doh Mega Fun Factory Play doh Fun factory The arrival in our house "Santa "Bought my four year old son a Pay doh mega fun factory. I happen to know that he paid £9.99 from the Argos clearance a few months before Christmas and as it has a recommended retail price of £29.99 this was a great price. using the toy The toy wasn't played with on Christmas day as there were many other toys to play with but the next day I set it up. The Factory does require two c cell batteries which are not included. The factory comes with a mat to lay the factory machine on which not only is a good cover for the table but also has shapes to cut out and a plan for children to follow. The factory itself is in three parts which do slot together easily. The machine and the mat are made from bright bold colours so does draw the eye in. The machine is made from tough plastic which makes it easy to peel play doh off and has not yet incurred any damage to looks like new when cleaned up. The first part is where you squeeze the play doh through to make a long think stripe ready for cutting. The next part is the conveyer belt which does have an on off switch which is easily operated by little hands. The play doh travels along the conveyor belt till it reaches a wheel. There are two choices of wheels one makes various sweets and the other toys. This is operated by simply pressing down and again my son can easily do this. It then reaches the cutter where the items in the moulds are separated. It the travels to the end of the ...

Blue Lavender Cake Decorating School 15/03/2012

Create a cake

Blue Lavender Cake Decorating School Blue Lavender Cake Decorating School Why I chose Blue Lavender School I receive Daily emails from Group on and noticed one day one for the Blue Lavender School to make cake pops. I thought they looked very different and while I do enjoy making cakes something I had not tried. I was not aware of the school’s Reputation or knew anyone who had attended a course but the website did look professional so decided to give it a try. I paid through Group on then could book through the website. There was a selection of dates but due to a bit of chaos going on in my life I couldn’t book immediately and when I finally booked places were limited. I managed to book a course for a Saturday afternoon which lasted three hours. Location and planning The Course takes place at various places in Derbyshire and the course I selected was in a village hall. A week before the course I received an email listing what I needed to take to the course this was simply an apron, container and a tea towel. My Experience I arrived at the venue 15 minutes before the course began and there had been a complication that the venue had been booked till the time the course was due to start so we were able to wait in the Kitchen where I was greeted by the course organiser Rachel and she made drinks for everyone. Drinks and biscuits were provided free throughout the course but after an initial cup of tea I was far too busy been creative to stop for a drink. We were all sat in table groups there was a ...

Mr. Bump And The Knight - Roger Hargreaves 29/12/2011

Things that go bump in the Knight

Mr. Bump And The Knight - Roger Hargreaves Mr. Bump and the Knight My son is an avid fan of the Mr. Men so I when I spotted Mr. Bump and the Knight by Roger Hargreaves I thought it maybe a little different from the standard Mr. Man books and create some variety in my life. The Story does feature the well Known Character Mr. Bump covered in bandages but this is a different Version. In this story Mr Bump is fed up that his careers choices haven’t worked out, he has worked as a brick layer but dropped bricks on himself, he was a baker but burnt his fingers and even working in a pillow factory but even then got a feather stuck in his eye. He goes for a walk to plan his future and when he sees a knight and decided a knight in shining armour was the perfect career choice for him as he would be encased in protective armour. The next day he takes himself to be fitted for a new suit of armour at the blacksmiths and then bought a book about all you need to know about knights. This is the beginning of his adventure. The first chapter he read was about what knights do and read all about jousting so he went out and bought a lance and a horse but this wasn’t very successful as he couldn’t even manage to stay on the horse and was laughed at by the other knights. The next chapter was about saving a damsel in distress but after easily locating a damsel he wasn’t able to climb her hair ladder as he kept falling off and took himself home. His final chapter was about slaying a dragon. He caught a bus to where the dragon was sleeping ...

Mattel Ratatouille Little Chef Remy 24/12/2011

What shall We cook today?

Mattel Ratatouille Little Chef Remy Little Chef Remy I bought this my twenty month old son this for Christmas and it was a complete hit at the time. It does say on the packaging for 4 years and over and the Amazon website states 6 years and over but I am not sure why it has that age on it as it is doesn't have small parts and my son can work it so I am happy for him to won it. When I bought this Remy Ratatouille wais one of my son’s favourite films and Remy is the main character in this film. Therefore one I know the while script to. So I thought he would love this toy. When I looked up merchandising from this film most of them seemed to be small plastic figures which my son was too young for so this did seem ideal. It is advertised as £25 but I found it on a star by promotion in the entertainer for £5. I did pay postage on top as I didn’t realise that all items on website were likely to be in store however this was still a huge discount. The Remy Toy is larger than you expect, he is about 30 cm tall. He has solid feet so doesn't have any problems standing. The spoon he is holding is attached although there is some movement so won't get lost, However as my son got older he figured out how to remove the spoon and would often use it for his own cooking. . He is a hard robotic type toy with fur covering but is not soft and not the sort of plush toy you would want to cuddle. He has a long felt type tail and this has stayed secure for many years despite when my son was younger he would carry him around by his ...

Early Learning Centre Bubble Machine 23/12/2011

I am forever blowing bubbles

Early Learning Centre Bubble Machine Early Learning Centre Bubble Machine My son visited the Early learning Centre in search of a birthday gift for him off a friend. I asked her what her budget was prior to entering the store as the sky seems to be the limit and wanted to steer my son away from anything that was more than she wanted to spend. We walked through the door and immediately in front to of us was a large display of bubble machines. My son instantly wanted one. We walked round the store but from the moment he set eyes on it was the birthday present of his dreams. When it was bought it came with an offer of a free bottle of bubble mixture. The bubble machine is available in both blue and pink which seems to be more and more prevalent in the ELC centre these days however as my son's favourite colour but it does seem to be reinforcing stereotypes. There is a campaign to reduce the number of pink and blue toys. I don’t actually see any reason why a toy like this would need to be pink or blue , a colour that would be equally loved by both genders would be more appropriate. The bubble machine comes in a cardboard box ready assembled although batteries are not included. It takes four C cell batteries which are secured with a screw. Prior to use you are advised to fill the bottom with bubble mixture simply by pouring the mixture in the front. There is a large hole that exposes four wheels with bubble wands rotating. To stop and start you simply press the button on top. It also comes with a bright red carry ...

Spin Master The Wiggles Wiggling Dancing Guitar 20/12/2011

Play your Guitar with Murray

Spin Master The Wiggles Wiggling Dancing Guitar Wiggling Dancing Guitar My son was a huge fan of the wiggles from when he first saw it at about one year old and I spotted a wiggles guitar in a charity shop and he was immediately excited. The Wiggles is an Australian TV series which main characters are : Sam Moran wears yellow and sings lead vocals Murray Cook wears red and plays guitar Jeff Fatt wears purple and plays keyboard Anthony Field wears blue and plays drums They aim to teach preschool children morals and lessons through music and song. The guitar is part of the merchandising from the TV show. The product The guitar is not a usual guitar but has some very novel features it is a brightly coloured purple guitar with a yellow handle. The guitar has images of eight of the characters in the show including the wiggles and Captain Feather sword which when you press play a song that you are immediately familiar with if a fan of the show. It has six silver buttons which have various sounds including Snoring. It does have a rotating knob which can turn the guitar off onto low volume or higher although there is not much difference between the two. It has a yellow leaver which initiates a tune and dancing by the guitar. The arm on the guitar in sections and this will wiggle around. The top has a button in the base which when pressed or the guitar is stood up the dancing guitar and music begins. This is for me very useful as so long as it is switched off can be stood up for storage. It takes three AAA ...

Mister Maker Play Stick Pets Puppets Kit Set 19/12/2011

Create Your own Pet

Mister Maker Play Stick Pets Puppets Kit Set Mister Maker Play Stick Pets I bought a few Mister Maker craft kits from House of Fraser for £2.50 in the January sale Last year when they were half price. One was a set to make Plat pet sticks. When I bought them I thought they may be quite useful for my son to use in his puppet Show. Mister Maker is a presenter of his own art show on CBeebies which is a favourite with my son. We have actually made quite a few things from the show but these have often required me to prepare the night before. The set is designed to make eight pets: Four cats and four Dogs. Included in the pack are: Wooden sticks Felt sheets Felt tip Pens Flower tags Pipe cleaners Pomp poms , googly eyes And PVA glue The only additional item you need is a Pair of scissors. How to create your pet? To create your own pet the first job is to pick, although the sticks do have the same design they are not identical in shape. The next job is to decorate your pet using the felt tip pens. The design is completely in your control; although brown is included also more obscure colours for the fantasy pets such as green and red. Glue on the eyes using the included glue. The ears are made by cutting out the shape out of the felt sheets. The pom poms are a wide mired of colours and can used for tails or noses The pipe cleaners create a colour which you can thread your tag through. If you want to Name your dog it is easier to do so before you put it on your pet. Our Experience. I gave my son this set for his ...

Orchard Toys Crazy Chefs Game 14/12/2011

Create a meal

Orchard Toys Crazy Chefs Game Crazy Chefs by Orchard Games Both my son and I have got a great deal of entertainment and that has helped his educationally by Orchard Games. I bought this game for £3.50 when it was on offer. I do find that some Orchard games can be quite similar but this one looked very different to the other games he owned. Orchard Game as are British makers of quality board games and puzzles. These are quality products which don’t focus on the current marketing trends so these games don’t go out of Fashion. The game Crazy chef is designed for between 2-5 players with an age recommendation of 3-7 years of age. Setting up the game To set up the game each player decides which dish they want to create. You have a choice of prawn noodles, cottage pie, fairy cakes, Pizza and Kebabs. Each player selects the board that goes with the dish. All the small cards are placed face down, the empty plates are put in a pile and the finished meals are also put on one side for near the end of the game. The game also comes with a spinner but again this is not needed at the beginning of the game. The game The game starts with choosing who goes first, Orchard do state on all their games the youngest player goes first but this is something I disagree with so always chose to ignore it. The players take turns to turn over one of the 35 small game tiles and check whether the ingredient is one needed for their dish. If it is then they place it on their food board and if not then it is returned face down to ...

Oxford Reading Tree: Stage 1+: More Patterned Stories: Making Faces - Roderick Hunt 13/12/2011

How Do you feel today?

Oxford Reading Tree: Stage 1+: More Patterned Stories: Making Faces - Roderick Hunt Making Faces by Roderick Hunt Making faces by Roderick Hunt is a story on the Oxford reading tree that my son has bought home in stage 2. The book is in divided into various levels. This is advertised on Amazon as Stage 1+ but my son’s book is an older version so I do believe these books have been revamped to include a level one plus. The book my son has been written in 1995 where the level 1+ version was printed in 2008. The Oxford Reading tree defines all their stories are carefully written using simple, natural-sounding language that children can understand. ‘Key’ words are repeated throughout the storybooks so that children gradually increase the number of words they can recognize and read. The books all use familiar characters of a family with mum, Dad, Chip, Biff, kipper and floppy the dog. The Story starts with the family playing a game of charades. It starts the family playing a game of charades but this is a simplified version which they are displaying emotions. The first player is Dad who is fierce, this follows on with chip been sad, and this is not only displayed with text but also with illustrations. In Each illustration the character is holding a piece of information Biff is good and then in the illustration of biff standing up straight and you can see in the illustration that Kipper is on his hands and knees out of the room. My son is four and started school in September. He does like the familiarity of these characters. The stories always do usually have ...

Do Not Open This Book! - Michaela Muntean 09/12/2011

A book Worth Openeing

Do Not Open This Book! - Michaela Muntean Do not open this book by Michaela Muntean The author is most well known for writing Sesame Street but when I spotted this book it looked nothing like anything I had ever seen so decided to purchase it for my son. The cover The cover stands out from all other books as it is bright yellow with bold red letters stating “Do not open this book”. Obviously this idea is that you do open the book and inside you see pig who immediately tells you off for been rude then explains the reason why you can’t open the book is as the book isn’t written yet. The pig tries to plan his story but gets more irate with the reader staring at him. He tries to make a deal to be quiet and then not turn the page however his words get mixed up and the pig is scared by a huge mouse with pink teeth and lands on a box of dangerous words leaving him in darkness. His attempts to control the reader continue by writing very heavy rock in words with the appearance of rocks. As the reader turns the page the pig is impressed how strong the reader is and asks if you work out at the gym. The pig then decides to include you in the story. It is very cleverly done as the pigs ask your name and can’t spell it and leaves a blank each time you need to insert your name. The story he write is about a pest who he describes as having humongous ears and too many teeth amongst other things and so gets hold of a Giant pest control company to get rid of the reader. As you turn to the next page he suggests other things to ...

Dickie Francesco RC Cars 2 Mini Speeder Quick Charge 07/12/2011

Little Francesco

Dickie Francesco RC Cars 2 Mini Speeder Quick Charge Francesco Mini Speeder I bought my son a Francesco Mini speeder in the Sainsbury’s half price toy sale so it cost me £7.50 which is far more than I planned to spend on him for a treat but as what he picked originally was something Santa had already bought I had to use diversion tactics. The toy for a more basic description is a mini remote controlled car. The toy comes boxed and in two sections a small scale model of Francesco and a control box which is approximately 15cm by 10cm and requires Four AAA Batteries are which are not supplied. These are secured by a small cross screw. The batteries for the car are included. To charge you have to open the Flap on the top of the unit and push down and pull back, this is not simple and something I struggle to do each time so for a young child I would think impossible. One the car is finally attached you simply press the charge button and it takes 5 minutes to charge. There is a green power light that indicates that it is still charging which will turn off when fully charged. Removing the car is a little easier but still fiddly. There is a tiny on off switch on the base which needs to be turned on but then it is ready to play with. The Base unit has a number of options from A, B, C, D...You are told in the instructions that Francesco is on Wavelength B It operates on infrared and this means that should you buy other cars in the series they can all be raced. This is something I would think would be useful in a house with more ...

Oxford Reading Tree: Stage 1+: Patterned Stories: The Headache - Roderick Hunt 06/12/2011

Who gave mum a Headahce?

Oxford Reading Tree: Stage 1+: Patterned Stories: The Headache - Roderick Hunt The Headache My son bought home a copy of The headache home by Roderick Hunt. It is for sale on Amazon and Listed here as level 1+ but the book my son bought home from school is Stage 2. The copy we have was printed in 2001 where the one on Amazon is printed in 2008 so I assume it was previously Level 2 before they introduced level 1+. This follows on from simple sentences and onto patterned sentencing. The Headache is part of a series by Oxford reading tree which as used in over 80% of schools. The book features a family Mum, Dad, chip, and Biff, Kipper and Floppy the dog. There are other characters which feature regularly but this family are always central to the stories. This makes them familiar which is often comforting. My son started school in September so this is the beginning of learning to read so as you can imagine these books are quite short, only eight pages long. The Idea behind these books is that while there are words to read they also use the pictures as clues to reading the story. The story is very basic as there isn’t much chance for a detailed plot in eight pages and with only been able to read about forty words. The Story starts with Dad in the attic retrieving his trumpet, this is actually the front cover but part of the story. It then follows the same word pattern such as kipper had a Guitar and Chip had a Drum. This use of high frequency word helps the child get chance to practise in context and gain confidence in reading. These are all characters ...

Falcon Jumbo Shaped Wooden Peg Chicken Puzzle 05/12/2011

What goes first the chicken or the eggg?

Falcon Jumbo Shaped Wooden Peg Chicken Puzzle Chicken Wooden peg Jigsaw This was a jigsaw that I asked someone else to purchase for my son for his second birthday after reading a review of these jigsaws on Dooyoo. The Jigsaw is available from jigsaw direct for £.6.99 with £1.95 delivery. There is also the same type of jigsaw available in a fish and dog in the same design. The jigsaw has only four pieces and is of a picture of a chicken and an egg. It is very bold blocks of colour which draws younger eyes in. The egg is the traditional first level out the piece in a hole where the chicken is in 3peices which slot together like a traditional jigsaw but have the inset shape of the chicken to help guide the pieces into place. It has small wooden pegs to make gripping easier. These are large enough to make it easy for little hands to grasp. The jigsaw itself is 22cm x 22cm x 3cm It states on the site that it is suitable for over one year olds but is in the 18 month plus age range. The pieces are quite thick and looks like it can take a fair bit of rough treatment which is important for any product that I buy for my son. The reason I wanted this jigsaw for my son was that he is able to complete the first level jigsaws where you put the shape in the hole and this looked like the next stage to me. This is something that I haven't seen in any shop. The picture itself so very basic and so it doesn't take too much imagination to work out what the picture should look like. My son was very pleased with his jigsaw and ...

Rachel's Holiday - Marian Keyes 03/12/2011

Rehap for the famous

Rachel's Holiday - Marian Keyes Rachel’s Holiday- Marian Keyes I picked this book up for 50p from a car boot as part of my new year's resolution to start reading again so that I get something different to think and talk about other than my son or what has been on TV. Although the reason I was attracted to the book was the fact that Marian has been on loose women a few times and I have found her very entertaining so hoped that her book would be the same. The plot The book starts when Rachel the main character is living in New York with her best Friend Brigit. She is approaching her thirties. She lives the party lifestyle and works to earn money to buy drugs, drink and little else. She falls for Luke who is also Irish but she battles between her own emotions and her desire to be looked up to. After one night of too many drugs she end up in hospital having her stomach pumped and this is when her family get involved and encourage her to go to the cloisters , a rehab unit in Ireland. Rachel knows that some famous people have been there and although she doesn't believe she has a drug problem she thinks it will be like going to a spa and a chance to mix with the rich and famous. The story from the cloisters is divided into chapters some of her life and experience in the rehab centre and the others of her memories of life with Luke in New York. The Main characters Rachel comes from a large Irish family but has followed her friend Brigit to work in New York. Rachel is a social climber who wants to ...

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus - Mo Willems 14/11/2011

A book for the little one's to join in

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus - Mo Willems Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus Don’t let the Pigeons Drive the Bus is written and illustrated by Mo Williams. You may well not be aware of his name but he is known for been a writer and Animator on Sesame Street and the creator of Cartoon network. It is a very simple design on the front of the book with a beige background it looks a basic book which does make you wonder why it would attract a child but it did attract my son. The first page you see a series of Images where a pigeon is dreaming of driving the bus. This is followed by instructions from the Bus driver asking you to keep an eye on the bus and then asks that you don’t let the Pigeon drive the bus. This book must be read aloud as this is the way it works. The pigeon behaviour is a great reminder of how of many children behave. He will try every angle to drive the bus. He will use pleading, begging, bribery, looking cute and sad, persuasion, and a big tantrum. On each page the child is required to say no, this. My son loves this and will get louder and louder. He misses the humour for the adult that this representation of a child trying to get their own way. He looks sad when he doesn’t get his own way but scarpers when he sees the bus driver returning. The bus driver checks if you let the pigeon drive the bus.The pigeon then moves onto his next dream. What I love most about this book is how interactive it is. Even children who have little interest can’t help but be drawn in. This is a great book to read ...
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