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carlz2001

carlz2001

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Feeling a little happier with the site. Maybe my DIAMOND had something to do with it?! : )

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since 21/11/2009

459

Lego Elves 41172 The Water Dragon Adventure 27/07/2017

Fly with Naida and Merina to discover new parts of Elvendale!

Lego Elves 41172 The Water Dragon Adventure My daughter is an avid Lego fan, and particularly likes the Lego Elves range, so when she spotted the dragons on her latest trip to the Lego shop in Trinity Leeds she just had to have one! As with all her Lego sets she absolutely loves this one, but particularly likes the character from this set (I’m not quite sure what is so special about this character!). Building fun: There are 212 Lego pieces within this set, so it’s a fairly quick one to build, even for a child. I think my daughter completed this in less than an hour, but the beauty about Lego is the fun doesn’t end once it’s built, and it certainly hasn’t with this set. The dragon can be moved stand, sit or fly so it’s interactive for a child. My one and only critique of the set is the waterfall could have done with being a little bigger. Comparative to the dragon it just seems a little on the small side. There are some nice little features to this set such as a secret hiding place and little treasures which are perfectly sized to be hidden (these include a brush, perfume bottles, binoculars, water lily and a map). There is also a catapult (a particular favourite of my daughters) which can be used to throw catapult food to the dragon. Dimensions once built: The water dragon is 9cm tall and 21cm in length and the wingspan is 23cm. The crystal waterfall is 8cm high, by 8cm wide 8cm deep. Add on sets: There are plenty to complement the dragon set within the Lego Elves range. An increasingly growing range, there is a wide ...

Lego Friends 41101 Heartlake Grand Hotel 20/07/2017

A wonderful Lego item which will provide hours of enjoyment

Lego Friends 41101 Heartlake Grand Hotel My daughter is an avid Lego fan so this hotel seemed an obvious choice the Christmas before last. It hasn't failed to disappoint and has given her hours upon hours of fun. Building fun: There are 1551 pieces within this set, making it a ‘build over a few sessions’ set, although saying that my husband and daughter actually went all out on Boxing Day the year before last and built this in one go which is doable but could become a little tedious for younger children (my daughter is 9). As it’s a modular set, it’s easy to build and finish each section and leave it, rather than feel you had abandoned the set part way through. Dimensions once built: Size H37.8, W10.3, D58.2cm, however it is a modular structure allowing the rooms of the hotel to build upon one another however the child choses, giving them varying combinations and lots more fun! What the set includes: given this is a bigger Lego set (a main Christmas or birthday present sort of size) it does come with quite a lot, including 5 figures and 2 pets (Andrea, Olivia, Stephanie, Susan and Nate, a dog and a cat). Within the hotel there are some nice little touches such as a chandelier and grand piano and the rooftop pool comes with a sun lounger, umbrella and DJ booth! The black cab is fab, and my daughter spent hours just playing with this on its own as well as the figures (of which we now have hundreds!!), the boot opens and the wheels turn! The rooms within the hotel are a lobby and reception area, café, jazz bar, ...

Lego Disney 41150 Moana's Ocean Voyage 19/07/2017

The Ocean is calling

Lego Disney 41150 Moana's Ocean Voyage My youngest daughter is absolutely obsessed with Lego, we have enough Lego Friends and Lego Elves sets to set up our own Lego shop, so on a recent trip to Florida we spotted the Moana set. We hadn’t previously seen this range before, having only been in a Lego shop a few days before we flew (I told you she was obsessed!) she was really excited to find a ‘rare’ set as she called it. After an impulse purchase from mum (in an effort to silence her in the villa later!) I had an eager to build 9 year old daughter. For any regular purchasers of Lego sets, you will be aware of how they come packaged in clearly numbered well sealed packets inside a sturdy box. This set was no different, and always allows that the Lego can be built in sections relatively easy as the instructions clearly note which pack to open first. Build time: At 307 pieces it took around half an hour to build but has been dismantled and rebuilt a few times as this is my daughter’s favourite thing to do with Lego. The instructions as always are clear and easy for a child to follow (in our case our 9 year old can happily build Lego without supervision). Thoughts on the set: We really liked this one as it came with Moana and Maui. Maui does not come with the other set within the range so he can be transferred and played with between both sets. It also comes with some lovely little accessories (which I think is what Lego do best!) in a tiny banana, pineapple, map and oar to name a few. The boat and island allow ...

Disney Rapunzel Enchanted 16/02/2015

Rapunzel Rapunzel let me dry your hair

Disney Rapunzel Enchanted Just before Christmas I was looking for small gifts for my daughters that would give them a feeling of having a little more independence at home and I particularly wanted them to take a little more responsibility for showering / getting themselves ready so I thought a hairdryer would be the perfect way to get them to do so, particularly my youngest who still has a nasty habit of getting me to do everything for her. Around the time I remember looking on various sites and particularly wanting a character hair dryer as I knew she would take to it more, so when an offer came up on Groupon for this particular set for just £11.99 I snapped the deal up. I did actually see the same product at the time for £25 at Tesco (where it’s still for sale at the same price), and £17.99 on Amazon (again, still for sale at the same price). A perfect gift What I really like about this set is the presentation. It’s offered for sale in a Treasure box which can be used afterwards as a keepsake box (something that is very popular in our house at the moment), a little tiara (to be honest this is poorly made and will no doubt get broken or lost, but is a nice edition nonetheless) and a Rapunzel door hanger. The door hanger went down a treat and I think she may have even liked this more than the actual hair dryer! I would consider buying this little set or another very similar (there are different Disney Princess sets available, all with the same idea of the presentation box, tiara and door hanger) as ...

Lego City 7498 Police Station 21/01/2015

A good value item from Lego

Lego City 7498 Police Station Lucky to work in a large organisation, there are always people selling items on our staff intranet, and when I saw that somebody was selling several large Lego City pieces for £50, I snapped it up. My girls are massive fans of the Lego Friends series, which is the girly range, however I knew they would have just as much fun with the Lego City, and it would be nice for them to play with something a little different. I also figured it would be great fun for my husband to build with them, as it was a change from the usual bright pink / purple stuff he gets made to build! We have found that the more you spend on Lego sets, the more value for money you get. The smaller sets that are under say £20 are a waste of time, but spend say £40 and you get way more than double what you would compare to a £20 set. The same can be said of this Police Station, with an RRP of £79.99, you can pick it up much cheaper than this (Argos currently have it on sale for £59.99). With 854 pieces, and lots of little things to build, I think its great value and worth every penny (not that we paid anywhere near its high street price). This particular set would work well with a larger collection, however if budget is an issue, or you’re just starting out with Lego, this is a great place to start as the set includes (aside from the police station!), a police car, police motorbike, helicopter with two side compartments, and crook's tow truck with grappling hook, four pairs of handcuffs, three walkie talkies, ...

iPad Mini 2 32GB 20/01/2015

My Small Wonder

iPad Mini 2 32GB You’ve decided iPad, but which one?! Just before Christmas I got the excellent news that I’d got a fairly decent promotion at work, and because of this I decided to splash out a bit more on presents. I’d already pretty much done for the girls and my husband, but as the only iPad in the house was mine (and I like to read it at night in bed), I figured an extra one in the house that they could share between them might be a nice surprise that even my husband wouldn’t know about. I’d also had my own iPad since 2011 so it is starting to get a little slow and soon will no longer be supported with updates etc., so having an extra one seemed like the right thing to do. My biggest challenge would be deciding which one to opt for: iPad mini 1, 2 or 3? iPad Air or iPad Air 2? How could I possibly decide? With prices varying wildly from £199 for the iPad mini 16GB to a whopping £559 for the iPad Air 2 128GB. After hours of searching online, there didn’t seem to be many websites offering a comparative, and as my husband would normally be the person I’d ask, I was feeling a little lost. I didn’t want to overspend, but at the same time didn’t want to end up with not having enough memory (like I suffer with my 16GB iPad). That took care of the memory side of things, I would go for the 32GB, but there was still the task of choosing between the models. In the end I found the Apple website the best, and I simply went down the specs to see what I would want. I figured a mini would suit our ...

Apple iMac (MF883B/A) 19/01/2015

The Apple of my eye

Apple iMac (MF883B/A) In the summer, after years of nagging, I finally gave in and let my husband order a Mac. There were two conditions, firstly I would only give in to the entry level desktop, I simply couldn’t pay close to £2,000 for a computer, no matter how good it is (a note to Apple, I’d want it to do my washing, ironing and cleaning for that price!), and secondly that we ordered it through Very as I had (and this had something to do with me giving in!) received an email offering me £150 cash back on any desktop Apple product. This would take the £899 price down to a more sensible £749, and one that I could live with (it’s rare for Apple products to be on sale, so this seemed a fairly decent offer). Our laptop had somehow managed to stumble through around 6 years of pretending to die on us before it suddenly and very dramatically did, so we were without one. It seemed a good time to make the transition back to a desktop, especially seen as though we had moved into a house which had a dedicated office; we finally had the space to be able to put a PC. After a little deliberation, and a list of what we would be using a PC for, we decided on the entry level, we knew the difference would be noticeable between the different levels of macs, but as we hadn’t ever used a mac before and had only had i-pads, we knew to us it would be a dream, plus we only really use it for listening to music, the kids playing on the Lego website or basic internet browsing so we knew that the entry level would be ...

Toucan Box 16/01/2015

You can Toucan!

Toucan Box Toucan Box Toucan box is a company that sends boxes of crafting activities to children aged 3 – 8 through the post. Although we hadn’t been aware of Toucan boxes before, I had been a regular subscriber to Graze boxes for a couple of years and Glossybox too, so I was aware of the subscription by post services that were available, so was interested to learn there was one that was specifically aimed at my girls which could be tailored to their individual interests. I found Toucan Boxes particularly inspiring for me, as I do so much with the girls, always taking them here, there and everywhere (as most parents do!), engaging them with learning by fun activities at home, but sometimes I just need an hour or so when I can get on with my ironing or prepare a meal. Being at the ages they are (6 and 8), 9 times out of 10 they will happily entertain themselves, but there are occasions when I get the ‘I’m bored’ and they need me to provide them a ready-made activity, usually when I’m in the middle of something! This is where Toucan boxes are fantastic, unlike some craft sets you may find in the supermarket where it’s got everything included except a loo roll, glue, birds feathers, piece of unicorn hair (you get the picture), Toucan boxes include everything you need for a project. Okay you may need a cup of water if it involves paint, but that’s about the extent of it (painting is a good example actually as it will even include the paintbrush). This is what I love about these boxes; you ...

Vauxhall Astra GTC 15/01/2015

As easy as GTC

Vauxhall Astra GTC I regularly like to change my car, I get easily bored and I love my cars, something I seem to have inherited from my granddad who was a bit of a boy racer even in his late 70s! I absolutely adored my last car, my Nissan Qashqai DCI N-tec, but the fuel was getting silly, it was making a few funny noises and was coming up to needing its first MOT, so much to my husband’s horror, after 18 months it was time for it to go. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to change my car to but I knew that I fancied something a lot smaller and quite sporty. Like any other normal person, I decided to change from my spacious 4 x 4 to a coupe, now to decide which one… When we arrived at a Nationwide dealership, it was mainly for a quick look around to try and decide on a particular make / model, after all I have a private registration on my car which I didn’t want to lose, so expected I would need to sort this before I could even consider a part ex, however when a 6 month old Audi caught my eye, things started to get more serious, I had to have a new car! After sitting in the Audi, I had to say, despite its nearly £20,000 price tag, I was really disappointed, it was lovely to look at from the outside, and of course had the Audi badge, but when I sat inside I felt like I was sitting in the most basic of cars, it wasn’t for me, I like my interiors just as much as my exterior! I work hard, spend a lot of time in my car, and don’t want to feel deflated when I sit in it. The salesman suggested I sat ...

Zoggs Aqua Ball 13/01/2015

A versatile and light weight ball for the water

Zoggs Aqua Ball My eldest daughter who is 8 swims for a club and competes in galas etc, so spends an awful lots of time in the water, but my youngest doesn’t seem to have an incliniation towards it at all. Aside from her weekly swimming lessons, we were keen to get my youngest daughter to realise how much fun you can have by swimming, and that a swimming pool doesn’t just mean galas / hard work, etc. I don’t want her to grow up and resent water because her older sister took up so much time in it! Eager to think of toys that we could buy to take along to the local swimming pool, I navigated towards the Zoggs range straightaway. We have several of their items and it’s a brand I’ve always considered to be of a good quality and designed well. There were several items that we bought all at the same time, but the neoprene Aqua ball is one of the family’s favourites now. Because of the neoprene material it is perfect for the water, it doesn’t get slippery when in water and its perfect for little hands to be able to grab hold of. The size of it also means that its nice and easy for a little one to hold. It doesn’t get heavy in the water, so doesn’t sink. I think if it had sunk in the water, it would have been left there by my daughter! We’ve played with this ball quite a lot in the few months since we purchased it and to say its constantly getting wet, then drying and rotating this same cycle, it has faired really well. I expected that it would have started to show signs of wear by now, but its ...

SpinMaster Boom Boom Balloon 09/01/2015

Ultimate game of anticipation.

SpinMaster Boom Boom Balloon We love to play games as a family, the more unusual the better. For Christmas I bought the girls the Boom Boom Balloon game by Spinmaster on a whim after seeing it flash up on my Amazon recommends page based on our previous purchases. Out of all the toys / games that the girls received at Christmas time, this one is my favourite! The game reminds me a lot of kerplunk, and basically involves blowing up a balloon which sits inside a plastic 3 sided frame. Each side of the frame has 3 holes in it, and once the balloon is blown up and attached to the bottom (this is done really easily by looping the end of the balloon into two ridges) you carefully insert each of the 9 plastic sticks (10 are provided which is handy in case you lose one) into the holes which sit in place ready for play. The die is thrown by each player to decide upon who goes first, and then on the turn of each player the die is rolled again to determine whether they must prod the sticks in either one, two or three times. There are notches on each of the sticks so each move will click into place but start to prod the balloon more. The more you play the more the balloon is stretched and squished! It gets a little nerve-wracking when you have been playing a little while and someone rolls a 3! I don’t have any safety concerns with this game, yes it’s not like sat playing a board game such as monopoly, and it does ultimately result in a popping balloon, but as long as youre not sat hovering over it with your face, ...

Alex One Two Tie My Shoe 08/01/2015

One Two, Buckle My Shoe

Alex One Two Tie My Shoe Having a clear out the other day I came across the One, Two Tie My Shoe set which hasn’t been used for some time, but has prompted me to write a review! This set is a really fun way of teaching young children how to tie shoe laces. The set comes with four very large foam shoes, a perfect size and texture for small hands to be able to grab hold of and get used to laces before making the jump to their own tiny little shoes. The colourful foam pieces are bright and engaging and will spark a little ones interest just by looking at. The set says its suitable for ages 3+ which is probably around the time they start having the coordination to tackle something like tying shoelaces. My daughter found it quite tricky and it seemed to take her around a year before she could independently tie her laces without help from an adult. This little set did help though as it sparked her interest in wanting to learn to tie her laces. The set comes with 4 lacing shoes, 4 printed laces and a shoe lacing lesson card although we didn’t use this. Because they are made from foam they are durable and will last forever! The set will help to develop fine motor skills and develop their skills for practicing how to lace, loop, and tie shoelaces. The RRP of the product is £16.50 and I just can’t see its value in that price at all. Yes its an excellent piece and I’m sure well thought out design wise, but in terms of manufacturing costs it can’t be anyway remotely near to justifying this price. We ...

Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow Blaster 07/01/2015

Not a toy with a long life span

Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow Blaster My daughters for Christmas each received a Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow. Much like Lego introduced a range for girls a few years ago with the Lego Friends range, the Hasbro branch ‘Nerf’ have also cottoned on that girls play with toys too and have made a girls version of the Nerf gun! The bows themselves have been designed to look like an item a young girl would want. Not overly girly, they are ‘cool’ as my daughters have told me with flashes of white and purple and tattoo style art emblazoned down the sides. It’s easy to brand something as a girls toy by plastering it in pink, so well done to Hasbro in this respect for making it appealing to girls in a less pink way! In terms of the quality of the actual product, it is well made but there’s no getting away from the fact that it feels ‘mass produced’. It may be that the light weight plastic body of the bow has been made with the intention of reducing the weight of the item with the intended user in mind. It seems well made enough that it wouldn’t fall apart if it was dropped etc. If you are considering purchasing one of the guns / crossbows etc. from the Nerf Rebelle range, I would strongly consider some add ons to enhance play. For a start you’ll definitely need the dart refill pack which includes 12 Rebelle foam darts in 6 different patterns. Expect to pay around £5 for this. Secondly is the door target which includes storage for the blaster, a mirror (?!) and of course several targets. This retails at around £25 but is ...

Crayola Colour Explosion Glow Dome 04/01/2015

Brings your childs creations to life

Crayola Colour Explosion Glow Dome For Christmas, my daughters received a set each from the new Glow range at Crayola, which is something that not only captured their imagination but also mine! I thought that for a toy, it was a really innovative product and completely different to anything that I've seen before. My girls have a love of crafting and drawing and they have adored playing with toys from this range in the short period since they have owned them. The Glow Dome is a dome which will bring your childs art to life. The dome is very durable and my daughters found it really easy to draw onto. They can chose to draw freehand or with the starter scenes that are included, they can opt to trace using the neon markers. Once they have finished creating their masterpiece simply turn out the lights, switch on the dome and watch their creations come to life! The dome is really easy to operate. It has 3 different speeds (slow, medium and fast), and by simply pushing a button, the dome comes to life and rotates the drawings around the dome. There is also a light feature which is adjustable to light up either the inner panel, outer panel or both. Because of the different speeds, the different ways to illuminate, and of course the many animations that can be drawn onto the dome I feel that this toy would have a long longevity and so far my girls seem to have played with this toy the most out of everything they received at Christmas time. The surfaces wipe clean easily with a small amount of water. We have found ...

Just Dance 2015 (Wii U) 31/12/2014

Dance like nobodys watching!

Just Dance 2015 (Wii U) My daughters are big fans of the Just Dance games for the Wii so when we decided to upgrade to the Wii U it was a natural progression that we purchase a Just Dance game to compliment the console. The Just Dance 2015 game was the latest offering and so we opted for this one despite there being older versions which were cheaper, we liked the song list of the 2015 version and didn’t think the £20 price tag on Amazon was bad. We have owned probably 4 or 5 different Just Dance games over the years as my girls love to dance and it’s a nice way to play computer games as a family for a laugh without getting that square eye syndrome. Each game over the years has improved and they have become quite sleek games when I think back and compare one of the earliest ones with this latest one we have bought. Song list: Some songs instantly jump out at you when purchasing a game such as this but I also know some of them won’t ever get played such as that old classic (cough cough) Fatima by good old Cheb Salama! The favourites in our house are Let it Go (Frozen), Summer (Calvin Harris), Happy (Pharrell Williams) and Best Song Ever by One D. As with anything like this there are really good tracks but then shocking ones too and this game isn’t any different. I’d compare it to a Now CD, there are ones you will play over and over again and others you will skip over. What’s nice with the track list is the mixture of throwback tunes with current hits. This meant that at Christmas my mum had a ...
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