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littleowlski

littleowlski

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I'm back... a bit! Trying to catch up when I can.

Reviews written

since 21/10/2013

161

Lego DC Super Hero Girls 41235 Wonder Woman Dorm 24/07/2017

Super Lego Kit for Super Hero Fans

Lego DC Super Hero Girls 41235 Wonder Woman Dorm What's in the Box? Lego Set 41235 - the Wonder Woman Dorm is aimed at 7-12 year olds. With 186 pieces in the box and a RRP of £19.99 that makes it just over a penny a piece. Luckily, these pieces combine to create an impressive number of little models that will keep any little (and not so little) Lego builders entertained. The instruction manuals are the usual Lego type: easy to follow if you're familiar with the setup and bright and vibrant to look at. This kit makes a 'dorm' for Wonder Woman, presumably tying in to the DC Superhero Girls cartoon set in a high school. This includes a bed with a desk and a secret compartment with mini computer, a wardrobe, a stand to hold her motorbike and a spinning window attached to the main bed. There's also a sneaky looking orange creature... Constructing the Set My daughter is 4 and a half, so she needed quite a lot of help in constructing the set. She managed to do a few bits by herself, but it was more her attention span in putting it together that meant she didn't complete it. The instructions are straightforward: 3D pictures showing where each piece should be placed. She doesn't usually have much difficulty with figuring out which way round the pieces should go, but her attention was definitely not fully on this when we built it. Instead, I ended up finishing it off (and her little brother's set too) which I can't say I minded! It probably took me about 30 minutes from start to finish. That's not counting the breaks for drinks, ...

Learning Resources Primary Science Jumbo Eyedroppers with Stand 06/03/2017

Introducing Science Ideas at an Early Age

Learning Resources Primary Science Jumbo Eyedroppers with Stand As my children have got older, I'm increasingly trying to incorporate more science activities into our repertoire. They both love doing craft activities, but as they are able to understand a little more then I've found that they can appreciate some trickier concepts. I found a few things on Amazon last year to add to our equipment and these Eyedroppers immediately stood out as suitable for a number of uses. I can't remember how much I paid for them but they are currently available on Amazon for £11.49 with free delivery. The company 'Learning Resources' specialise in creating educational toys and resources to use in schools and at home. Their products are available through their own website www.learningresources.co.uk and on Amazon. Most of their products are brightly coloured, chunky and made from plastic. They sell a huge array of things and we've had a few of their products now to use in our activities. What Are the Eyedroppers? The eyedroppers are made from plastic with a rubber feeling squashy top. They all have a different coloured top and stand on a sturdy blue plastic stand. They are really chunky versions of the types of eyedroppers or pipettes you might see in a school or a science lab. They measure 11.5cm long and seem to be just the right size for little hands to hold and squeeze the top. I've found that the action of squeezing the eyedroppers and allowing them to fill up with liquid didn't come naturally to either of my children. It took them a few tries ...

Barbie Glam Jet Plane 03/03/2017

Glam Jet that Travels with its own Pool...

Barbie Glam Jet Plane Most of our kids toys come from the charity shop, mainly because I can't justify spending the money on things that are new. As a result, I'm always horrified by the cost of new toys. We buy many things with the intention of letting the children play with it for a while, and then selling it on; either online or through local selling sites. That was they get to play with lots of different things and we sometimes make a bit of money. This Barbie Glam Jet Plane was one of these purchases - definitely not something I would have 'chosen' to buy for either of the children. I paid £7.99 for it from the charity shop, there are lots of the little 'fiddly' bits missing but the majority of the larger pieces are there. Certainly enough to play with, otherwise I wouldn't have bought it. It is currently not available brand new but can be bought secondhand through ebay for about £70. What's in the Box and Building the Plane Firstly, it is a very big box! But I will tell you what isn't in the box: dolls to play in the plane with. Luckily, we have a few already but it seems like a bit of a con to put pictures on the box of dolls in their summer clothes, relaxing in the ginormous jet only to write in the tiniest font 'dolls not included'. I can imagine many parents would have given in to requests to buy a new doll or at least some new clothes to put old dolls in. Luckily, because we don't have a normal TV (and therefore no adverts) my kids are still unaware that doing things like this is ...

Crayola Twistable Crayons 26/02/2017

Perfect crayons for young children to use

Crayola Twistable Crayons Crayola are a well-known and trusted brand; when our first daughter was getting to the age of being able to colour in and draw a little bit, I very excitedly went out and bought a pack of the usual Crayola crayons. The excitement was short-lived when she snapped half and tore the paper off the other half within a few days. A few months later, I bought a pack of the Crayola Twistables when we were going away and thought these would be enough to keep her occupied on the airplane. Details About the Crayons I bought my first pack from the airport, so I paid some silly price for a pack of the mini versions. We've since bought a couple of the full size twistables, including a separate pack of neon ones which I've put away for a rainy day. A pack of 12 Twistables can be bought for £3.71 from Tesco, but it is worth keeping an eye out in charity shops as they do appear occasionally. You can buy different pack sizes, ranging from 10 up to 32 in a carry pack from Hobbycraft for £10. The larger packs contain metallic colours and rainbow colours. The 'neon' pack I bought included some of these as well, so they can be bought as a nice addition to just a standard pack. The main feature about these crayons that separates them from the thousands of other types, is that they have a twistable function to them. The crayon itself twists up and down - twist it up to get more crayon as it gets worn down, then twist it down once you've finished using it. For me, it's this function that makes ...

Waste Not Compostable Caddy Liner 02/12/2016

A Very Niche Product... Wish I'd Bought More

Waste Not Compostable Caddy Liner Back in July, our local Netto had a closing down sale and everything went to 50% off. It was both amazing and carnage: I was in there nearly every day buying stuff as they were getting deliveries each day with no indication of what might arrive. Let me tell you, if there's an apocalypse any time soon; depending on the type and whether I've survived the initial wave, we're well stocked up to keep us going for a while. These compostable caddy liners didn't immediately jump out at me as a 'must have in case of imminent zombie attack' but I did think about the compost caddy I had only just bought for our kitchen and thought they might come in use. What Are They? I bought about six rolls of them for something stupid like 30p each. Amazon are currently selling a roll of 20 for £6ish, which is a crazy price in comparison. You can buy a variety of brands and sizes, with tie handles or no tie handles. The ones I have are 10 litre bags without a tie handle. They're made from a biodegradable plastic and the idea is to fill them up with your compostable kitchen waste before slinging them into your compost bin. The bags themselves feel like quite a soft plastic, almost rubbery. They are light green with a darker green logo on. They look like they're good for the environment, which is obviously part of the branding, but it works effectively. Each little roll is small and fits neatly into my (overflowing) kitchen drawer. Using the Bags This is incredibly easy - I pop one in our ...

Lancome La Vie Est Belle Eau de Parfum Legere 22/11/2016

Life is Beautiful with Lancome Perfume

Lancome La Vie Est Belle Eau de Parfum Legere My bottle of Lancome La Vie Est Belle perfume was a gift from my parents last Christmas. They gave me a large 50ml bottle which currently retails for £64. There is a 30ml size available for £45 and at the time of writing, the Perfume Shop had an offer on the 75ml bottle to have it engraved for the same price as the 50ml size. My initial impressions of the perfume were that it was too strong for me, and I didn't wear it for months. After giving it another try, over the last year I've come to really like it, so much so, that I wear it pretty much every day. The perfume was released in 2012 and was created by Olivier Polge, Dominique Ropion and Anne Flipo. There are some interesting facts on the Fragrantica website about the perfume. Apparently it took 3 years and 5000 versions before the final perfume was settled upon. Packaging and Bottle Design I'm pretty ruthless when it comes to boxes, so after I'd finally decided to wear the perfume regularly, the box was thrown away. It was white and pink with metallic edges and a decidedly Art Deco look about the font and overall design. The bottle itself is very pretty and ergonomically satisfying. The design is curvy and fits into my grasp quite nicely. I have quite small hands, but the 50ml size is perfect for me to be able to hold the bottle and spray the top easily. The spray action is fairly strong and I would say that it gives out a medium sized plume of perfume. It's definitely not too watery nor too thick as it disperses ...

Freedom Festival, Hull 05/09/2016

Travelling Baths, Headless Ladies and Exciting World Music

Freedom Festival, Hull The Freedom Festival in Hull has its beginnings in 2007, when a one off event was organised in the city to commemorate the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade, led my MP William Wilberforce, Hull born and bred, in 1807. After the success of the first event, it was decided to continue the events each year, with the Freedom Festival officially launched in 2008. The idea of 'Freedom' runs through the festival and all of the events and acts that appear there; the organisers' website states that "For us, ‘Freedom’ is more than just a name. We aim to give a voice to the city’s unique identity moulded by the spirit of Wilberforce, and to make Hull a recognised home of artistic freedom." (http://www.freedomfestival.co.uk/our-story/our-vision/) Freedom Festival, 2016 In 2016, the festival took place from Friday, 2nd September - Sunday, 4th. Across the city of Hull, there were over 200 free performances taking place at a number of different sites. The majority of the festival took place in and around the Docks, Fruit Market, the Tidal Barrier and the Deep. There were other parks and libraries around the city hosting events too, but for us, as we were visiting with two young children it was easier to concentrate mostly on the Dock area performances. We missed the Friday due to my other half being at work, but we spent all of Saturday and Sunday there, from pretty much the start of the festival at 12pm on Saturday until 6pm on Sunday evening. There were programmes ...

Playmobil 4404 Hospital 02/09/2016

Check up at the Clinic

Playmobil 4404 Hospital I was lucky enough to find one of these Playmobil Hospital sets in a charity shop a few weeks ago. We'd seen it in there a few months ago, being sold for £30. We ummed and ahhed, deciding to leave it at that price. However, they had reduced it to £10 last time I went in. For that price, I couldn't leave it. My intention was to sell it on eBay, but my daughter loves it so much (and I think her dad and I do too), that I can't bear to get rid of it yet. Details About the Set The Playmobil 4404 is a large hospital set up, apparently designed to fit in with other Playmobil City sets. We've never had any other Playmobil sets before, other than some tiny Christmas models. The box it came in is huge, and it's unsurprising considering how much comes with this set. * Measures 75 x 50 x 40 cm when set up * 609 pieces in total * Made from plastic * Suitable for ages 4 and up * Two floors including a lift large enough to fit the hospital bed in * Features beds, accessories for a children's ward, scan machines, drips, 8 figures including adults, babies, children and a clown... * Operating theatre, recovery ward hospital reception The set is now discontinued. It was being sold for £149.99 RRP but can now be found secondhand on either Amazon for around £175 or eBay for around £50-£60 depending on the condition. Setting up and Playing with the Clinic Luckily for me, most of the really fiddly little bits of the clinic had already been put together. The walls, floors, roof pieces and ...

How To Get Away With Murder Season 1 (DVD) 01/09/2016

Lies, Lies, Lies and More Lies....

How To Get Away With Murder Season 1 (DVD) How To Get Away With Murder is an American legal drama series which aired on ABC in America and is available on Netflix in the UK. I've been watching it over the last couple of weeks, and after spending the day in bed yesterday feeling ill, I finally finished it off in a bit of a binge-watching session. Basic Plot and Premise Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) is a law professor at a Philidelphia University. Every year, she chooses her five best students to work for her at her practice, gaining on the job experience alongside their studies. They also compete for a trophy which Annalise awards to the student who most impresses her at any given time; this can then be turned in to skip either a lecture or an exam whenever the student who is currently holding it wishes. Alongside Annalise's two assistants, Frank and Bonnie, the five students and Annalise become entangled in a complicated murder investigation. Secrets and lies abound throughout and the characters struggle to free themselves from the web of deceit that is created. Who will tell the truth and who will remain ensnared by the lies? It's difficult to say much more about the plot without giving away any revealing plot details. For the first few episodes, I watched the programme thinking, 'Yes, this is quite interesting but where's it going? What's the point?' It seemed almost too simplistic in the storyline, despite a quite interesting use of flashbacks to give the viewers a hint of what is to come. I was wrong. It's ...

Trunki Bernard the Bee 28/08/2016

Makes Travelling with Little Ones Easy Bee-zey...

Trunki Bernard the Bee We bought our Bernard the Bee Trunki secondhand for £5 from a Facebook selling site about a year ago. Since then, it's been on numerous weekends away, a couple of camping trips, a couple of holidays abroad and ridden round fields, airports, landings, streets, parks... We're so pleased with the Trunki, that we've bought another one for our son now that he's old enough to pull his own suitcase around too. What is a Trunki? The Trunki is a ride on suitcase with a hard shell. All of the Trunki suitcases are based around the same design with four wheels underneath, two antennae at the front to hold onto, a strap to pull it along, two locks either end, a key on the main strap, a handle to carry it with and a strap inside the main case to hold everything in one place. There are a number of designs for the outside of the cases now: plain, brightly-coloured ones, a cow version (which we also have) and a Gruffalo one which looks quite cool. You can now even design your own Trunki on their website, so you can really tailor it to what you want. The RRP for the Trunki is £39.99 but I've seen them for cheaper than this if you shop around. They're quite often on our local selling pages, so it is worth keeping an eye out for them. Until writing this, I didn't realise that they came with a free 5 year guarantee, but that gives a bit of piece of mind in case it breaks - and indicates that the manufacturers also believe it should last for at least that amount of time. The Trunki is ...

Lonsdale Hand Wrap 19/08/2016

Wrap it up with Lonsdale - Protect Those Knuckles

Lonsdale Hand Wrap I've been going to a Boxercise class for a few months now, and over that time my power and fitness has increased to the point where I needed to buy my own gloves and wraps to use. The lightweight fitness gloves that were provided at the leisure centre weren't really supporting my hands enough, and I was starting to get sore knuckles and wrists after each session. Slightly different advice was given by other members of the class as to what weight gloves to get, but the unanimous advice was to get some hand wraps or tapes. I picked up a pair of these Lonsdale Hand Wraps (I call them tapes usually) from Sports Direct when I bought my gloves, plumping for a fluorescent pink pair to combine with my black gloves. I paid £3.99 for them from Sports Direct, and they are still on the Lonsdale website for that price. What Are They? The tapes, or hand wraps, are long, thin pieces of material with a loop on one end and velcro on the other. These ones are 3.5 metres long, with a slightly stretchy material. After using my friends Decathlon wraps one session when I forgot mine, these Lonsdale ones feel less stretchy than those ones, with a more canvas feel to the fabric. In comparison, these ones are more firm, more supportive and I felt that they protected my hands better. The hand wraps are machine washable too which is useful as they get very sweaty and smelly. They do dry very quickly though so can be bunged in at the last minute. Using the Hands Wraps As you would expect, boxers ...

CrazyGadget Tuff Spot Mixing Tray 14/08/2016

Tuff to Beat this Tray for Messy Play

CrazyGadget Tuff Spot Mixing Tray One of the best things about having kids, in my opinion, is the joy that comes with getting utterly messy - just for the fun of it. I honestly mean it: as long as I've got the time and inclination, I love a bit of messy play with the kids. Whatever you want to call it, messy play, sensory play, heuristic play; it's great fun and has huge learning benefits for kids of all ages. However, tidying up after messy play can be a bit of a problem. This is where the Tuff Spot Mixing Tray comes into play... What is the Tuff Spot? Originally designed for builders, the Tuff Spot is originally intended as a mixing tray for concrete and mortar. Apparently, it can also be used as a composter base or tray. I've only ever seen one being used by a builder in real life once, a couple of weeks ago on a street next to ours. I actually stopped and pointed it out to the kids as I knew my eldest would find it amusing. The Tuff Spot is a large tray, measuring 100 x 100 cms at the widest point, with a raised up edge measuring 6.5cm, a hook for hanging it up and is made from a very strong, durable Polypropylene. Despite its size, it is relatively light at 3.1kg so it is fairly easy to move around, although it's shape and size does make it cumbersome indoors. The hook is a useful addition for hanging it up in your garage, although we never do. Widely available in black, you can also get them in some really bright colours. My sister bought one on my recommendation and got a bright green one. So, ...

Galt America Paint a Tea Set 09/08/2016

Interesting Idea but Poorly Made

Galt America Paint a Tea Set We bought our set of the Galt Paint a Tea Set from a charity shop just before Christmas. I think we paid £1.99 for it, but it can currently be bought for £8.99 on Amazon. It was in as new condition and we decided it would be good as a small present for our daughter. At the time, she was just three and despite it saying it was suitable for 5 years and above, we thought she'd be fine to have a go. The Set: What's in It and Painting It The set itself is a white ceramic tea set that contains a tea pot, a milk jug, a sugar bowl, four cups, four saucers, 12 x 3 ml ceramic paints, 1 paintbrush and a guide. The picture on the outside of the box makes the set look really good: the designs they've painted make it look cute, bright and inviting. Unfortunately, the tea set when it is unpainted looks quite boring and cheaply made. My daughter didn't seem interested at all in it and while she was excited about painting it, I don't think she really understood what the set was. This was probably due to her age and that she'd never really played with a tea set before. The paints are small but there is a wide choice of colours. We found that the paint went on quite streakily, and while it did dry a little better and could be repainted over, generally it didn't look that great. It didn't help that my little girl kept getting water into the paints which made them even thinner. The paints took a few hours to dry properly. The colours were quite accurate: drying to the same colour as they ...

Melissa & Doug Sand Art Bottles 05/08/2016

Creating Little Bottles of Art from Sand

Melissa & Doug Sand Art Bottles We gave a set of these to our daughter for Christmas last year. At the time, she was just three and really interested in sand, art and making patterns. So this little set appealed as it seemed to encompass all of those interests in a slightly different craft kit. We have a few of the Melissa & Doug toys and art sets, so as I ordered this, I felt quite confident that it would be of good quality. Contents of the Set It is recommended for ages 4+. The set contains 8 bags of different coloured sand, three shaped bottles with corks, a funnel and a scoop. It is only a cheap little set - current price is £5.99 on Amazon, and I'd say the contents felt about their money's worth. The bottles aren't the strongest or best made things, and they are made from plastic, albeit with proper cork tops. The sand comes in little bags and although the tops of the bags in the picture are shown as resealable, ours definitely weren't. They were the perforated kind of bags, where once you've taken off the top, there's no way of sealing them up again. This caused issues with sand escaping everywhere, getting mixed up, trickling out and leaving a mess... it would have been much easier with a resealable top to the bags to store the sand when not being played with. The little scoop, 'design tool' and funnel that comes in the set are made from plastic. The scoop is quite big, and my daughter found it difficult to use as it was too big for her hands. However, she was a full year younger than the ...

Boots No7 Naturally Sunkissed Gradual Facial Tan 04/08/2016

Sunkissed? Sun-missed, more like...

Boots No7 Naturally Sunkissed Gradual Facial Tan My friend is getting married at the weekend and I've been asked to be one of her bridesmaids. Being rather pale, and with a very pale pink dress to wear, I was worried that I would look pretty translucent on the pictures. I've got some dodgy tan lines on my feet and shoulders too. So, I bought this No.7 Gradual Facial Tan along with the accompanying body lotion on a 2 for £15 offer a couple of months ago. I figured if I started with the gradual tan a couple of months ahead, it would give me plenty of time to get a natural looking colour. I'm not one for sun beds, lying in the sun or even a spray tan, so this seemed like a good idea. I've now been using this facial tan for a couple of months, at least once or twice a week. It is safe to say, I won't be repurchasing it once it runs out. The Product Features: * An SPF 15 * Moisturises as well as gradually tans, for up to 12 hours * Tan is supposed to build up gradually to look natural * No need to exfoliate first, just apply the product straight onto skin * Contains anti-oxidants to protect skin from sun exposure * Hypoallergenic Packaging The packaging has been updated from the picture that Ciao is using. The current bottle is, in my opinion, much better looking. I'll include a picture to show it but it's definitely an improvement. It looks quite elegant and expensive - which it should do, as I think it's quite expensive for what it is. Other than looking nice, the bottle also works well to dispense the product. The ...
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