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Dyson Small Ball MultiFloor 14/09/2017

Cleaning all the floors in our home

Dyson Small Ball MultiFloor Once my old Dyson had reached the end of it's five year guarantee I began to look at newer models as, once no longer covered by guarantee, I found replacement parts to be quite expensive. I have a combination of flooring types in my home - carpets, laminate flooring and tiles so a vacuum that could cope well with this was ideal. I opted for this Small Ball Multi Floor model, which cost me £189 delivered from PRODUCT INFO The dimensions for the hoover are given as H 1057mm x W 281mm x L 384mm. It has a weight of 6.9kg. The cord has a length of 9.4m which contributes to an overall reach of 13.8mm. Suction power is 90AW in powerful mode and there are two washable filters contained in the unit - one above the bin and one in the ball. There are also two tools provided - a stair tool and a combination tool. It uses 'Radial Root Cyclone™ technology' which means there is optimised airflow which captures dust and allergens in the bin. There is a clear hoover head with a purple and red brush bar contained which has three different settings to 'adjust suction to suit the task in hand – for deep pile carpets, large debris pick up, and MAX mode for that ground in dirt'. This is attached to a grey plastic ball which makes the machine easy to remove. Above this is the clear plastic bin where the debris ends up. This can be detached by simply pressing a button then emptied directly into a bin, also via the press of a button. The handle is extendable and also detaches easily to form ...

Lego Super Heroes 76053 Batman Gotham City Cycle Chase 05/09/2017

Sturdy Cycles to Race

Lego Super Heroes 76053 Batman Gotham City Cycle Chase My son loves to build Lego and is keenly interested in super heroes too. He has therefore amassed several of the 'Lego Super Heroes' building kits. One that he recieved last Christmas was the 76053 Batman Gotham City Cycle Chase. This is recommended for children aged 7-14 years and is currently priced at £15.99 on Amazon (September 2017). THE SET The set comes inside a cardboard box with a picture of the completed set on front. This is essentially two motorcycles with very large wheels. There are three minifigures included in the set - Batman, Harley Quinn and Deadshot. Various weapons are included: Batman's Batarang and grapple-hook gun, Harley Quinn's hammer and Deadshot's stud-shooting bazooka. The set comes with a glossy instruction booklet and the Lego pieces in numbered clear plastic bags. BUILD AND PLAY My son built this set aged 5 years and despite being under the recommended age for the set, he managed to do so with relative ease. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and he could do so completely independently. It is not one of the most 'involved' Lego sets and probably only took him 20-30 minutes to build it total so as far as build value goes, this doesn't offer the greatest amount. However, having said that he did enjoy this build and I think that was partly because of how quickly it did take shape and it's relatively simple steps. Once built, the motorcycles are quite sturdy and relatively robust. He will certainly push them across the floor and ...

Zapf Creation My First Baby Annabell 30/08/2017

Lovely First Doll

Zapf Creation My First Baby Annabell My daughter was interested in dolls from an early age and we bought her this 'My First Baby Annabell' for her first birthday. It is recommended for children aged 12 months plus and it currently sells at £17.99 at Argos (August 2017). THE DOLL Baby Annabell is an extensive range of dolls with various dolls aimed at different ages and lots of clothes and accessories available. As you can tell from the title of the product, this is one of the first in the range, aimed at younger children. The doll is approximately 40cm in length. It has a soft body but it's arms, legs and head are made of plastic. It has an attractive face, with bright blue eyes, rosy cheeks and a mouth which is fixed slightly open. The doll comes with a small plastic milk bottle so this can be inserted in here to 'feed' the baby. The eyes are fixed open, they do not open or close as the doll is moved. The doll is dressed in a pale pink baby grow with a gold picture of a lamb's head on and a small badge sewn on reading 'My first Baby Annabell', again with a sheep on - the symbol of the Baby Annabell range. There is a pink spotty ribbon sewn in to a bow on the front of the romper too. A pale pink hat is also provided and this is sewn onto the back of the romper so that it isn't lost easily. The romper has two Velcro sections on it's back and can be removed from the doll completely. PLAY TIME My daughter loved this doll instantly and was really attracted to it's friendly face. It is lightweight and a nice ...

Hama Beads Pirates Medium Gift Box 24/08/2017

Aha Me Beady Hearties!!

Hama Beads Pirates Medium Gift Box My six year old son loves craft activities and we are always looking for new sets for him to do. We got him this set for Christmas last year for around £8 (it currently sells at £10 on Amazon - August 2017). There is no age recommendation given but it does say that the set is not suitable for children under the age of three years due to the small parts. THE SET The set comes in a cardboard box with a picture of the items that can be made set out on an island to form a pirate scene. The items that can be made in this set are: a fort/turret, a shark, a sail boat and two pirates. There are 3000 coloured beads provided, a peg board, a sheet of ironing paper and a glossy sheet with pictures of how to make the items on a pegboard. The beads are small, hollow cylindrical shapes and of various colours. There are also 8 bead supports provided which are essentially small stands to enable the finished items to be displayed in an upright position. MY SON'S EXPERIENCE My son is used to similar craft sets such as qixels so he was familiar with the concept of how the items are made using the pegboard. However, in previous sets he has used, he has placed the template picture underneath the pegboard and placed the corresponding coloured beads directly in top. Here, it is a case of copying the picture so it was really a step up for him in terms of accuracy and patience - and one that he really seemed to enjoy. He chose to begin with the shark as this looked to be the simplest item on the ...

TIGI Bed Head Hair Care Elasticate Conditioner 16/08/2017

Another Thumbs Down From Me

TIGI Bed Head Hair Care Elasticate Conditioner As I have said previously I am a big fan of the TIGI range of shampoos and conditioners and have tried a number of their different varieties. One of the ones that I have tried recently is this Elasticate Conditioner (I also tried the shampoo - please see my earlier review)/ The conditioner comes in a large plastic bottle that is bright green in colour and there is flick cap on the top to remove the product with. It is available in two sizes - 250ml and 750ml. I purchased the larger size for around £8. It is available on various beauty websites. The conditioner is a 'protein and elastin conditioner. For strong breakage resistant hair'. It is a creamy white in colour and has a thick creamy texture. It is supposed to have quite a fruity scent - with hints of kiwi, blackcurrant and grapefruit but none of these are apparent to me. Instead, I would describe the scent as quite artificial and synthetic - not really distinguishable as a particular fruit or scent at all. I apply quite liberally to my hair, concentrating most of the mid lengths and ends. I usually leave for around 5 minutes before rinsing off to allow it to absorb in to the hair shaft thoroughly. It rinses off quite easily and doesn't leave my hair feeling greasy or oily like some conditioners can. The smell doesn't remain on the hair after rinsing - which is not really a bad thing in this case as I don't really like the scent of this at all. It does leave my hair feeling soft and manageable but, after extensive use ...

LeapFrog Learn & Groove Music Player 04/08/2017

Baby Girl's Dance Machine

LeapFrog Learn & Groove Music Player My one year old daughter had a real love of music. Whenever she hears any, she stops what she is doing to dance along. When I saw this LeapFrog Learn and Groove music player, I knew that it was an ideal gift for her. The player is suitable for children aged 18 months plus and has an RRP of £9.99, although it currently sells at £7.98 on Amazon (July 2017). It requites 3 x AAA batteries (which are not supplied). THE PLAYER The player is actually available in two colours - pink as we own and a white and green version. It is quite a chunky handheld unit at approximately 10cm x 5cm x 3cm. The back is a dark pink plastic and the front a pale pink. At the top, there is a small electronic screen which displays various pictures when the unit is switched on. Below this are the main controls for the unit - a round purple push button with a paw print on it with a larger oval button surrounding it. This larger button has a sticker on it dividing it into four sections - a yellow section with the letters ABC and numbers 123 on, a blue section with music notes, a green section with a cat surrounded by stars on and a red section with a dog playing with a ball of string on. On the left hand side of the unit, is a sliding switch to turn the unit on and select from two volume settings. PLAY TIME When initially switched on, the toy says 'hi, lets listen to music' and Scout the dog appears on the screen, waving. The larger button can be pressed to select what music/phrases play - the yellow ...

TIGI Bed Head Hair Care Elasticate Shampoo 14/07/2017

Not My Favourite TIGI shampoo

TIGI Bed Head Hair Care Elasticate Shampoo I am a big fan of the TIGI range of shampoos and conditioners and have tried a number of their different varieties. I am always keen to try any different ones that I come across that would suit my hair type so when I saw this 'Elasticate' shampoo I decided to give it a go. The shampoo is available in two bottle sizes -250ml and 750ml. I opted for the larger size, which cost me around £12. It is available from salons and a range of beauty websites too. The shampoo comes in a large plastic bottle that is bright green in colour and there is flick cap on the top to remove the product with. The shampoo is said to 'work to strengthen hair, add texture and enhance definition' as well as 'gently cleanse hair to eliminate impurities, boost elasticity for increased flexibility, and restore shine '. It contains hydrolysed wheat protein, kiwi fruit extract and has a fragrance of 'pink grapefruit, blackcurrant and nectarine'. The shampoo has a creamy white appearance and has a quite a thick consistency. As soon as I pump the shampoo from the bottle I can detect the fragrance. I hoped that this would be a fruity fragrance as described by I can't smell any of the fruits described. Instead, it is quite an artificial, synthetic scent and not a particularly pleasant one at that. It does lather well in the hair, I have quite thick, long hair and it does take quite a decent amount of the shampoo to fully clean my hair - probably about three squirts from the bottle. It rinses from the hair ...

Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set 10/07/2017

Baking Biscuits

Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set My daughter got a wooden play kitchen as her first birthday present and we have added various accessories to it over time. I have stuck to wooden play food as I like the quality and I think it just lasts better than plastic. We bought her this Slice and Bake Cookie set by Melissa and Doug as a Christmas present last year. It cost us around £12 - it currently sells at £14.95 on Amazon (July 2017). It is recommended for children aged 3 years plus but my daughter has played with it from 18 months and I have no safety concerns with this/ THE SET The set is predominantly made from wood. There is a silver baking tray with 12 small circles of Velcro evenly spaced on. There are twelve round wooden cookies provided too - these are approximately 5cm in diameter. These have small circles of Velcro in their centres on both sides. One side of these attaches to the baking tray and on the other side, there are twelve icing 'splodges' provided. These are in four different varieties - white with coloured 'sprinkles', white with coloured dots, brown with coloured sprinkles and brown with coloured 'waves'. These have a circle of Velcro on their bottom side. There are two wooden utensils also provided - a spatula and a large knife. There is also a red and white checked cloth oven glove. There is also a cardboard tube provided with 'cookie dough' written on the side and the biscuits provided fit inside here. PLAY TIME My daughter really enjoys this set and it offers lots of imaginative play ...

Melissa & Doug Sandwich Making Set 26/06/2017

Building Sandwiches

Melissa & Doug Sandwich Making Set We got my young daughter a wooden toy kitchen for her first birthday and added various wooden play food sets to it at Christmas to put by for when she was old enough to use them. One of the sets that we have recently got out was this Sandwich making set by Melissa and Doug. It currently retails at £14.89 on Amazon (June 2017). It is recommended for ages 3 years plus but my daughter (not quite two) plays with this and I have no qualms here as there are no small parts etc. THE SET The set comes in a wooden crate and it is initially shrink wrapped to hold the pieces in place. Crate measurements are 33 H x 24 W x 5 D cm. The crate has a red and white checked exterior with 'sandwich making set' written on one side. There are 17 pieces included in the set. There is a wooden knife, 4 slices of bread and a bread roll (sliced into a top and bottom piece). Each of the bread pieces have a circle of Velcro in their centre on one side. There are also various slices of other items to fill a sandwich - cheese, meat, tomato, lettuce and pickles. These are all made of wood and have circular patches of Velcro on both sides. PLAY TIME The pieces are all a good size for my daughter's young hands to grip - approximately 5cm x 5cm. The wood is quite thick and durable too. The Velcro holds the pieces together well and my daughter enjoys piling these on top of one another - good for hand-eye co-ordination and manipulative skills. Building the sandwiches helps develop her imaginative skills and ...

Morphy Richards 102100 Accents Special Edition 13/06/2017

Stylish and Functional

Morphy Richards 102100 Accents Special Edition We use kettles a lot in our house - I am a big tea drinker, so we usually find ourselves buying a new one every few years. Our current kettle, which we purchased around 6 months ago, is this special addition kettle in the Accents range by Morphy Richards. The kettle currently sells for £38 on Amazon (June 2017) but has an RRP of £64.99. The kettle has a pyramid shape and sits on a circular base which plugs on. The lid and spout are a silver colour but the bulk of the kettle is 'azure' which is a light blue colour (which matches perfectly to our kitchen). At the base of the kettle, there is a silver flick switch which you push down to boil the kettle and it flicks back up once boiled. Whilst the kettle is boiling, there is a light blue light above it which lights up so you can see instantly if the kettle is still boiling. The handle of the kettle loops over the top in a semi circular shape and is covered in black plastic. The lid is a circular shape and sits on the top of the kettle. It is pulled off to fill the kettle and pushed back in to place. To give a rough idea of size, dimensions are given as 22 x 22 x 27.3 Centimetres and it has a capacity of 1.5 litres. I love the look of this kettle and this is really what attracted me to it in the first place - it looks stylish and the colour is lovely. The capacity is good too and it easily makes at least 4 cups of tea. There is a gauge on the side that tells you how much to fill it to make 2 or 4 cups of tea but I do not find ...

Hasbro Captain America Civil War Blaster Reveal Shield 04/06/2017

Nerf Civil Wars

Hasbro Captain America Civil War Blaster Reveal Shield My two boys love superheroes and they also enjoy firing nerf guns whenever they visit friends' houses. At Christmas last year, we decided to bite the bullet, so to speak, and get them some Nerf guns of their own to fire. One that we got our eldest son was this Captain America Reveal Shield blaster. It cost us around £19.99 but currently sells for around £22-29 at various stores/sites. It is recommended for children aged 5 years plus. The Nerf gun takes the form of Captains America's iconic shield and is instantly recognisable as such. It is made of plastic and has a diameter of approximately 30cm. There are red and white concentric circles and in the centre, a blue circle with a silver star at it's centre. Pressing this star causes part of the shield (approximately a third) to retract to reveal the area from which the Nerf bullets are fired (as pictured by ciao). On the back of the shield, there is a red plastic handle which the shield can be held by. This has a grey button on the side which can be squeezed whilst the shield is being held and this fires the bullets that are loaded in the gun (there are two loading points). There are two bullets provided with this gun. These are about 7cm in length and cylindrical in shape. The bulk of the bullet (or 'dart') is blue hollow foam and the tip is a bright orange rubber. My son was very excited to receive this and soon worked out how to operate it. At six, he is towards the lower age recommendation for the toy but he is still ...

Asmodée Dobble 23/05/2017

Speed Matching

Asmodée Dobble My six year old son loves to play games and he was very happy to receive this Dobble game as a gift from a friend for his birthday this year. It was a game that I had frequently seen but never played at that point so I was very interested to learn what was involved too. The game costs around £10-12 and is available at a variety of stores. It is recommended for ages six and up and can be played by 2-8 players. THE GAME The game comes in a handy yellow and purple tin which is circular in shape and has a lift off lid. Inside, there 55 circular playing cards and an instruction booklet detailing 5 mini games that can be played with the cards - the towering inferno, the well, the hot potato, gotta catch them all and the poisoned gift. Each card has a yellow and purple back with a purple hand symbol and the word 'dobble' on it. On the other side (the playing side) there is a white background with 8 coloured picture symbols on it. There are 50 different symbols in the game - examples of these include: anchor, clover, bird, tree, bomb and a cactus. The basic idea behind the game, and the principle that all the mini games work on, is that any two cards picked from the pack will have just one symbol in common. PLAYING THE GAME As I mentioned there are 5 minigames that can be played but these all have the same basic principle - players compete to be the quickest to find the two symbols that match between two cards. The player that wins the most mini games is the overall winner of ...

Scholl Dual Action Foot File 11/05/2017

Getting My Feet Summer Ready

Scholl Dual Action Foot File It's the time of year when I start to think about getting my feet presentable for a season of sandal-wearing (hopefully!). After a long winter in boots and other such hard-wearing footwear, this means that my feet need a little TLC and one of the main tasks is removing areas of hard skin. These tend to build up on the soles of feet, particularly heels and balls of feet as well as around the big toe. I purchased this Scholl Dual Action Foot File for £5 from Tesco, but it is available from various other retailers at a similar price. The file comes in a cardboard box which has a diagram of the product on the front and instructions on how to use it on the back. Inside the box, the file comes in two parts, which are easily pushed together to build the file. The file is made of a white plastic with a pal blue plastic handle. It is arched in shape and the file end is almost triangular in shape. There are two 'blades' for filing the skin which feel bumpy and similar in texture to a pumice stone. These are pale blue and one side has one white dot on the plastic and the other side two dots. To use, you soak your feet in warm water to soften the hard skin. You then use the 'coarse' side of the file (one dot) and move back and forth over the skin with a little pressure. This removes the hard skin build up. Once the skin has been removed, the finer side (two dots) can be used to smooth and buff the skin. I found the file really easy to use. The handle part is rounded in shape and quite ...

Drumond Park Word Search 08/05/2017

Competitive Wordsearching

Drumond Park Word Search My six year old son loves to complete word searches and also has a passion for playing board games so for his birthday earlier this year we bought him this wordsearch game by Drummond Park to combine those two interests. The game is recommended for children 8 years plus (there is a child's version available) but we felt that he would be able to play and enjoy it despite being below this recommendation. It can be played by 2-4 players. It is currently priced at £18.49 on Amazon (May 2017). We paid around £20 for it but in other stores it can be priced as highly as £25-30! THE GAME The game comes in a strong cardboard box with a lift off lid. This has a picture of the game board on the front. The back of the box has more pictures on and a brief description of how to play the game. Inside the box there is a black plastic playing board and a clear plastic circular piece with a series of 'wells' or 'dimples' in. The black piece has four dipped sections, one in each corner. These are for holding each player's coloured counters. These are provided in separate plastic bags and there are 70 of each colour - red, blue, yellow and green. There are also 10 double-sided cardboard discs that fit inside the game board with the clear plastic piece placed on top. These disc have a word search puzzle on and the words to be found written around the edge of the circle. There is a green plastic ring piece supplied to place over this and this has a small gap in so that one word can be revealed ...

Playskool Clipo Big Bucket 30/04/2017

A Different Way to Build

Playskool Clipo Big Bucket When my eldest son was around 18 months I wanted to find him some building toys to extend his play and aid his development. I remembered 'stickle bricks' from my youth and these Clipo bricks from Playskool were the closest I could find. I bought these from Home Bargains for around £10 I believe although this was around 5 years ago now. My 18 month daughter currently plays with them so we have certainly had good value for money from them. THE BRICKS The 'big bucket' contains 50 pieces. The bucket that they come in acts as a storage container for the set. The main section is a red plastic with a ridged bottom to resemble a brick. On the front is a picture of a toddler playing with the set and the recommended age for the product - 18 months plus. On top of the is a bright yellow lid that can be pushed on and pulled off, The top has a section of ridges which are compatible with the blocks so this can itself be used as a baseplate during play and built upon. The pieces come loose inside the tub and these are all made of a thick, colourful plastic and are in various shapes. There are 12 bright green square pieces, 6 pink circular pieces, 4 longer yellow rectangles, 4 shorter blue rectangle, 8 orange square shapes with a 'hole' in the centre and 2 green triangle shapes with a 'hole' too (as you can see in my product photograph). There are also two plastic head pieces - one boy with blond hair and one girl with red bunches, a purple and green cube shape and two purple and green ...
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