Dream House – the boys dream

We have been invited by Ocean Finance to take part in the Lego dream house challenge. This is something the boy and I couldn’t turn down. We were sent a box of standard bricks to start us off, and after much discussion and thought the boy set about building.

I have found the boy recently is much more likely to want to build from instructions rather than his imagination, so it took me a while to convince him that this challenge was not so much about what you can build, like a cake, or a boat. But much more about what sort of home he can dream up, and that dreams and imagination while not always possible are something that you can make come to life with Lego. I know that I had clear dreams about what my dream house would be like as a kid. I think I am quite close, I have a big garden, two cats and apart from the fact I would love to look over the sea, we are all very happy here.

The boy and I had many in-depth discussions about what the boy wants to be when he is older, and he is still set on being an GB Olympic fencer. This is a dream he has had since we went to the London 2012 Olympics, and one I truly hope he has the opportunity of making come to life. It turns out the he has discussed this with his small circle of friends and they have come up with a plan to all live together. they decided that their dream house would encompass their combined dreams and needs with a home for the three of them. A large garden for the boy to practice fencing, while his friends programme computer games in the living room. Somewhere they could live close enough, but not in the same home. The boy also explained that this home would be in the USA, but that he would still only compete as a GB athlete coming home to see us whenever he could. Combined with the boys desire to become a policeman when he is grown up, and it would be a tough task to make a dream home where all these things could be included.

The boy decided that after building a basic home, window door roof! it needed a helicopter pad to land his police helicopter on. It would of course need a fast car for catching all those criminals, and lots of space to practice fencing. It of course would need a nice big sign to tell you that the police lived there and he was done. This is the boys final creation, a super dream Police house!

Ocean Finance Lego Dream House

I have loved having a peek into my son’s future, and where he sees his life going. I hope that he will continue to dream big, and enjoy what life has in store for him. For over 20 years, Ocean has been helping people create their dream homes throughout the UK. They provide personal finance solutions including personal loans, homeowner loans, credit cards and mortgages. To find out more about this super creative competition visit the Ocean Finance website here.

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The Lego Movie – Review

The Lego Move – So the question is who hasn’t seen this film? I know that we love it, and haven’t just watched it once, no I can say that now we have it on DVD the boy in some places is almost word-perfect!

Emmet has found the Lego movie

If you haven’t seen this film (and you really should) then here is the outline of the story:

Emmet is the unlikely star of the film, and just a normal everyday construction worker. Emmet starts every day the same, with the same trip to work, following the same instructions to the same job…One day he comes a cross a strange hole, and on spotting something different bumps into Wyldstyle, falling into a hole and unwittingly getting stuck to the piece of resistance.

Wyldstyle believing Emmet is the chosen one, sets off on a wild and wacky adventure through the different Lego lands, on the path to destroy the Kragle, and Lord Buisness who is hoping to take over all the Lego realms…

The characters are great, with an all-star cast of voices from Will Ferrell, to Morgan Freeman. The film is completely engaging for both kids young and old, and having watched it more than once, I am yet to get bored with spotting all the little details and retro Lego flashbacks. I have a soft spot for Benny who is so like my brothers Lego men. The boy and I love nothing more than slipping into conversation “Honey, Where are my Pants?” Good cop, bad cop is the boys favourite, and so the list of favourites gets longer.

So if you haven’t seen The Lego Movie, “Why not?” and if you have bought the DVD watch it again, because it really is that good.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of the Lego Movie on DVD to watch and review for suppose.com where you can track products and prices on all sorts of things! The words and opinions remain ours and have not been altered.

Brian – My half term Lego Build

When I saw a competition to build a Lego version of Brian from confused.com I knew what I would be spending my spare half term days doing. I am not usually allowed to build my own Lego, as the boy likes to make the models his own now. Spurred on by Jenny from the Brick castle, that it is ok for adults to actually make their own Lego models, I knew I had to give it my best shot! The boy quickly decided that building a replica Brian was too difficult, so started on his own version of a robot complete with jail, tower and minifigure’s. There are two competitions running side by side, one for an Apprentice builder and the other for Master Builder, so we can both enter our efforts.

Brian

So starting from the bottom up I set about trying to make my very own Brian, the Master Builder brief was to make your model as close to the real Brian as possible. The first problem was finding some suitable tracks and this is where we started to deconstruct some of the boys other Lego sets. The first model to be raided was Chima Lavel’s royal fighter with the Technic style pieces forming the base. Next I built up a platform using lots of my white or slightly yellowed 1970’s bricks. I needed to form a slope across the front which was achieved with a hinge on the back of two Star Wars base panels.

The most difficult pieces to fit were the curved areas, and this was achieved with the base of the Lego City Airport control tower, finished with some of the Ninjago Ice Dragons scales for the hint of blue. Still building up the back of the model with my vintage bricks I fitted another panel as the torso of Brian made from the roof of the Lego camper van. This was hinged again to get the right angle from the front, and then a small printed logo added for effect.

Adding in the detailed pieces for the sides was a fiddle, as I was not used to using the more advanced Technic Lego, which allows you to build on the side as well as top and bottom. The addition of a couple of Star Wars round dish shapes, and then the joints from the Ice Dragon allowed me to complete the side. Lego Hero arms were perfect for the model and not to off scale so I used these to complete the arms.

On to the all important face. I knew I had the blue dots from Lego City police cars for eyes, and a Star Wars grill for a mouth. But getting the shape how I liked it was tricky. I had a couple of attempts and then I found some more curved roof parts from the camper van which I think worked perfectly. Adding the head so it can both tilt and swivel allowed the face to have a little more character when I took the photos.

brian collage 1

I am so pleased with my finished model, and he is currently a proud addition to the model collection in the boys bedroom. If you would like to wish me luck, of have a look at some of the other amazing Lego Creations then pop over to the Brian Facebook page and my effort can be found here.

I love a creative competition, and this one is by far one of my favourites as I have a bit of a soft spot for Brian and the funny adverts that confused.com make. They certainly do stick in your mind.

Carcraft Lego challenge

Carcraft are challenging bloggers to make a story using Lego and we chose to use some of our cops and robbers (Our Lego set arrived after the video deadline).Getting to build the Baddies for the Lego Carcraft Challenge

Over the half term we have been practicing stop start animation, with about 300 pictures making up a 30 second piece of film. In the past we have made films using a camera with this technique, the animation software we have now makes things much easier. We had the odd mishap, the hand in shot, plus trying to find a way of keeping the scenery very still. With the addition of music, and a little poetic licence this is what we came up with, we hope you like it!

Our animation shows that crime doesn’t pay! If you are looking to buy a car Carcraft, can help as the country’s leading used car supermarket, with no added nasty’s!

Building Lego

 

Disclaimer, we have been sent a Lego set to keep, the video, ideas and opinions remain our own.

 

 

Half term fun

Last week was our half term, and time to spend the whole week with the boy. I find it strange that although we spend all week together it seems like we spend all our time doing other things and not quality together time. I had nothing planned, and felt quite bad when I talked to another Mum who said she didn’t have a day free! But then I thought of all the fun things we could do, and lets face it the weather hasn’t been that great so decided to just go with it.

And guess what it was a lovely week! I wanted to catch up on all the things we never seem to have time to do, so first was to decide on a couple of competition entries. The boy, and children in general have a much better chance of winning than adults as there are far less entries, so I told the boy about 5/6 that I had found and let him choose. Of course he chose the Lego ones, but I decided another fun one would be building a marble run.

Monday

We started off in the garden, I had bought some garlic and onions and needed to get them in the ground. We have some lovely gardening posts coming up with some fab reviews so watch this space…

the boy

Tuesday

We spent the day just chilling, the weather wasn’t nice, so we baked scones for lunch and started to build our Lego masterpieces. We had great fun making Lego animations with our new Hue Animation studio while we chatted about things, school, friends and the Olympics.

Lego

Wednesday

I had booked some last-minute swimming lessons, as the boy wanted his swimming badge for cubs and needed to be able to complete his 25m. Our local pool do a 2 day crash course, and for £12.50 I thought this was good value. The boy seemed to be having fun and it turned out he knew two of the boys, so was very happy. After swimming we decided we were hungry, with very little food in the house a trip to Asda! OK!, I had a reason for the 1/2 hour journey as I knew they were doing some fun half term Lego activities. We made a Lego figure and had our photos taken, then a hot drink and cake in the café, followed by shopping. Finally we headed to Hobby Craft, just to pick up some paper. Unknown to me they had half term activities too, and the boy was soon engrossed in a bead workshop. I think his Minecraft inspired creation is wonderful, and lots of the other kids were in awe too!

minecraft

Thursday

Swimming time again, and this is a great way to get up and out as we have to be at the pool for 8.30am! An hour of swimming and the teacher was happy that he could earn his cub badge, not only that but he has moved up a group as well. The boy was very pleased with himself, and a treat of a donut in the café was on offer. But the call of the marble run, and Lego building was calling and he wanted to get home. So the rest of the day was perfecting the marble run. 30 seconds sounds ok, but when it takes up all the dinning room and lounge you realise it is quite a task. Videoing was also a challenge, as after 17 attempts, the battery ran out on the camera. Finally we managed to capture the whole run, and you can tell the boy was pleased.

Friday

A chilled morning, some TV together, a spot of lunch and a bit more Lego. We finished off a couple of our gardening projects and soon Dad M was home. We watched the Olympic short track and commiserated that Elise Christie was disqualified again. We needed cheering up! With Fencing every Friday we don’t often get the chance now for our Friday curry so this week was a special treat!

dinner

Sometimes with the rush of the week, all the clubs, cooking, cleaning and just general family life I forget to slow down and enjoy my time with the boy. This week we had fun, lots of cuddles, tickle fights and Lego. I was allowed to build Lego on my own, which is a first and quite refreshing! I wonder too who enjoyed their week more, me or the other Mum rushing round trying to fit everything in?


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

My life in LEGO

LEGO has been around since my childhood and I can remember the very first time I stood on a brick it hurt!! My most recent encounter with the pointy end of a star wars x-wing model and I certainly came off the worse

LEGO has been part of family life for so long, I can’t remember a time without it. I remember as a child making houses, lots of them and in the absence of any people, yes I am older than minifigs! I used to house ladybirds. I’m not too sure they liked my luxury airless accommodation as I always seemed to be in need of new tenants.
I remember wheels when you had to fix them into a block, I remember windows with shutters, and strange round people with long octopus like arms. I will confess as an adult I missed my building fix and did have to purchase a couple of dragons.

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Then the boy arrived. We had Duplo of course from before he could walk with towers as tall as a room, and fun knocking them back to the floor. Hours of giggles as the boy thought he was getting the better of his tower building Mum.

Soon the grown up LEGO, how it has changed, now full of fun working pieces, minifigs, windows and doors that open. Christmas has brought with it a new project starting with a fire station, we loved the coffee machine. Police station, airport (My favourite) campervans, cars and now Star Wars, ships, fighters, and bases. This years surprise is the Millennium Falcon I can’t wait!
My boy is fascinated, from the building, reading the instructions, and then setting up scenes, battles of his own and the only down side is I am not needed anymore. That is unless I am sent in to find that elusive piece. You know the grey four one with the thingy on the end?

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So will we be at the front of the queue for the New LEGO Movie? I think that is a silly question. LEGO is as much part of our family as oxygen, and we all know how much we need that?

Please note all items of LEGO pictured are original and belong to me and my family. For any ladybirds hurt or fatal wounded in my childhood I am eternally sorry.

Legoland Windsor, our review

in June we had a sneaky weekend at Legoland, Windsor, we booked into the hotel which doesn’t come cheep but as we had an inset day we thought it would be a nice way to spend a couple of days. This was also to be park number 11 in our Merlin challenge, where as a family we are attempting to visit all 31 or the Merlin attractions in the UK in one year. I think for an average family of 4 it will cost about £100 to gain access to the park but if you choose you can pay more for Q-bots and extras. I know lots of my friends use their Tesco vouchers as this is a way to greatly reduce the cost as well as taking a picnic!

We went to Legoland Winsor for the boys 5th Birthday, and he did enjoy it but was a bit young for some of the rides. This time he wanted to go on all the rides and a particular favourite was the Dragon coaster. This is not a very scary coaster and it could do with going round twice but it is fun and perfect for a thrill seeking 7-year-old.

My favourite rides were tomb blaster and the Atlantis submarine, these were both rides that opened early for hotel guests and as they are popular usually have very long queues. The boy loved making the Lego models and I think he would love Legoland even more if there was more Lego building. He still loved the bouncy ride in the tomb blasters exit, this is his favourite whichever park we visit!

One place the boy likes to stop is the model making workshop. You choose the difficulty level, we went for expert and you can sit at a table and build. There was something for everyone from animals to motorbikes and also some of the newer Lego friends for the girls. The boy built a motorbike, and the parents get a well-earned rest.

It’s also worth mentioning mini land. We went for a look round and see if there had been any new additions since our last visit. There is however something new for everyone as I spotted things I didn’t notice last time but the boy assured me had been there all the time!

Another good attraction if you have a Star Wars fan was the model exhibition. Although you can’t touch the models, there were buttons to press to activate some of them. Our favourite was the millennium falcon which took off in front of you and was quite dramatic. The boy took lots of photos of all his favourite characters.

Some of the other rides worth a mention are the driving school, which the boy wasn’t old enough to do last time but loved this time. Also make sure you stop and watch the show, Pirates of skeleton bay. This hadn’t changed since our last visit, but was still a good all action show for all the family to enjoy.

I think if I had to choose I would rather go to Legoland discovery in Manchester, as this had more to entertain a huge Lego fan, like the boy. If you choose this park then I think the best ages for the park are between 5 and 8 as  at these ages there are lots to keep them entertained. If you want to avoid the crowds then don’t go in the summer holidays as it is always busy. We found that Sunday was much quieter than the Monday to our surprise and if you stay after 5pm the ride queues were almost empty. We didn’t go to the New Duplo water area as we had a pool in the hotel but from what I could see this looked great fun for little ones.

 

This is my opinion and is not a sponsored post.

Merlin Park Challenge List

With all the school activity, after school clubs, you may think I have forgotten about our Merlin Park Challenge list. But I have been busy planning around all our other exciting trips. So this weekend we are off for a little treat and have booked a night in the LEGOLAND hotel.

I have been trying to win a nights stay ever since it opened and with a school inset day, and some Christmas pennies I decided to take the plunge. I think possibly I am looking forward to this a bit too much! The idea of two days filled with Lego, and the odd ride makes me smile and I hope the boy, and Dad will have fun too. In fact this weekend will be a busy one, with a nice girly trip to watch Robbie, and maybe the odd Pimms on route. Then next weekend a little trip to watch a new BBC1 game show filming in London while the boy is at camp… The summer starts here…and I certainly will have plenty to write about!

Our Merlin Park Challenge List

We set ourselves as a family a challenge at the beginning of the year to try and visit all of the UK Merlin parks. This came about with a lovely competition from Sterimar Baby and tots 100 to win a family Merlin Pass.
This is not something that we would have purchased for ourselves, but as this year we had decided that we couldn’t afford a big holiday we decided that this would make a great alternative. So on Sunday 27th January we activated our passes and started our challenge.
Now 8 parks into the 31 in the UK I have started to loose track of where we have been so thought it was a good idea to compile a list, not just for easy reference for me. But also a good review reference for you if you plan to visit any of these parks.

Merlin parks listed in order as per the website!
with links to our reviews!

Scotland
The Edinburgh Dungeon
SEA LIFE Loch Lomond
Scottish Seal Sanctuary Oban

North East
9 SEA LIFE Scarborough
10 The York Dungeon

North West
19 Blackpool Tower Dungeon
18 Blackpool Tower Ballroom
20 Blackpool Tower Circus
21 Blackpool Tower Eye
Blackpool Tower Jungle Jim’s
4 LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre
16 Madame Tussauds Blackpool
22 SEA LIFE Manchester
17 SEA LIFE Blackpool

The Midlands & East Anglia
3 Alton Tower Resort
5 SEA LIFE Birmingham
SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth
SEA LIFE Hunstanton
2 Warwick Castle

South East
8 Chessington World of Adventures Resort
13 EDF Energy London Eye
15 The London Dungeon
11 LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort
12 Madame Tussauds London
14 SEA LIFE London Aquarium
1 SEA LIFE Brighton
THORPE PARK

South West
6 Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park
Cornish Seal Sanctuary Gweek
7Weymouth SEA LIFE Tower

Ireland
SEA LIFE Bray

this challenge is certainly taking more planning that I first thought, but we have all enjoyed going to places that we haven’t visited for a while or places we have never been too. I hope that you will join us on our journey…

Lego Chima challenge at Chessington

We were lucky enough to join Lego and Chima challenge teams at the launch on Monday at Chessington. The boy had entered a Lego drawing competition with the club magazine and was lucky to be chosen as one of only 15 winners.

We set off early with a friend to keep the boy company, and with no traffic on the road arrived in super quick time! We were greeted with our press pack, and the VIP lanyard made the boy very happy as he enjoyed the feeling of being a VIP. He kept saying he had never been important before!
Afterwards we were treated to a lovely brunch, with animal themed biscuits, swamp juice and lots of pancakes and donuts. There were some new Lego Chima sets to look at and test, some fun interactive displays, colouring and puzzle sheets. We had our fill of food and settled down to watch the Chima film, which the boys loved. I can see the appeal for boys as it is full of action, fast speedors, and animals. I’m not so sure about the appeal for girls, although there are female characters.

We enjoyed the tomb blaster ride, and then went to try the new Zufari ride. I won’t spoil it for you as it is a great introduction to a ride. You are loaded onto a jeep, travel on into the park to see the animals. unfortunately it was a little chilly, so most of the animals apart from two brave zebra were sheltering inside to keep warm. I can see on a warmer day this will be a great and unique ride for the uk and defiantly worth the queue.

We popped back to the tent to catch up with the Chima team, and it was great that they recognised us (read my Manchester post for our first Chima experience) they christened the boy krispy creme boy!
The challenges have changed but they are just as much fun and the two boys really enjoyed themselves. So much so we went back later in the day for another go. The boys both had their scores added to the leader board and goodie bags with stickers, tattoos, mask and a magazine. This time the prize is a chance to go back to Chessington in the October half term and have a speedor challenge with the other winners. The overall winner will be given a hotel stay and passes to the park, a great prize!

We went back into the park for a few more rides (it was such a shame the runaway train was closed) before stopping back at the hotel for a bite to eat. We think the new ride is a great addition to the park and I can see will be very busy in the summer.

Lego Chima will also be a hit as both boys spent the journey home planning which setsto buy, and how they would save up for them. They loved the animal connections and had some great conversations on the way home!