Excavation Gems from Science4you – review

Excavation Gems from Science4you is a great place to start in the world of geology for children aged 5+ and RRP £9.99.

The boy has really started to get into experiments since he started cubs. He loves exploring and asking questions so I am always on the look out for interesting kits. I know there are lots of places on the internet where you can look at ideas for experiments safe to do at home. I’m not the most experimental person when it comes to that sort of thing so these kits are perfect as you have everything you need in one little box.


The boy was sent a Excavation Gem kit, and as he does love collecting all sorts of things this was a perfect choice for him to find out more about geology. Each Science4You kit comes with a booklet. I was pleased this had a great mix of both information on each of the gems in the kit, as well as detailed explanations of how rocks and crystals are formed. We enjoyed reading about the stones and minerals and how to tell the difference between different gems before the boy started to dig for gems himself.

The Excavation Gems kit contains: a 24 page booklet, small wooden chisel, brush and a plaster block with 5 hidden gems. The best part about this science4you kit as far as the boy was concerned was that his block might just have a piece of Obsidian (this will mean a lot to Minecraft fans, and nothing to me!)

science4you gem excavation

The boy set about scraping his way into the plaster, and it wasn’t long before he found his first gem. They were evenly hidden and it took a good while to carefully remove the first one from the plaster. The boy was excited to use the book as a guide to work out which of the 25 possible gems was the one he had discovered. The gems are a good size and some are polished so make a nice addition to his rock collection.

The boy was soon onto his next gem, and as the plaster block is relatively soft it did not take long for him to find it. Spurred on by the hope his block would contain Obsidian he made short work of the first 4 gems. Number five and to his surprise he hit gold! (would have been good if it was real) no not fools gold but Obsidian! The boy was so excited that he had found a piece of what I thought was a fictional rock that everyone has had to have a look at what is now his pride and joy.

science4you excavation gems

This science4you kit was great value and would make a perfect stocking filler of Birthday gift for a friend. With each of the Excavation Gems kits from Science4you having different contents you could try to collect them all. For more information or to see what other science kits are available have a look at the Science4you website here. We excited now to try out our wind powered generator kit, look out for our review soon.

Disclaimer, we were sent this Science4you kit to review the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.

New Minecraft handbooks

There are two Minecraft handbooks, Combat and Construction, available now for RRP £7.99 from Egmont publishing. As soon as the boy spotted them in Waterstones last week, he didn’t stop talking about them. I was hoping to keep their arrival a surprize for our two weeks at home, but in the end I had to tell him. Each day waiting for the postman was like torture, and after a few problems the box finally arrived.

The boy couldn’t even wait to get the tape of the box he was so excited, and he wasn’t disappointed either. These Minecraft books just like the ones we reviewed earlier in the year, are a Minecraft fan’s dream. Despite the distraction of his favourite TV programme, he was soon nose buried in a copy of the Minecraft Construction book.

Minecraft handbooks

There are now four of these handy sized books, with The beginner’s handbook and redstone being the first two. The combat and construction books follow on from the first, and have a great mix of hints, tips, and visual information. Who am I kidding! I know very little about Minecraft, I know you build things, and I know the boy loves it like lots of other 8 year olds.

minecraft fun

Even I can appreciate that these books are detailed enough and simple enough for anyone to follow. The boy convinced me that we would have to have a go at building together, and if I could work out how to make the x-box do this it would have been a lovely way to spend an afternoon. However, it turned out that the boy would have to build on his own for now. Sparked by all the fantastic buildings from the contruction handbook, he enjoyed his afternoon of creations and made a fantastic castle. Not quite the mansions of the Minecraft construction book, but still pretty impressive.

reading about minecraft

We even found a Minecraft Dragon, and now I know all about what it takes to slay and Ender Dragon! Not that I will be doing anything like that to a fellow dragon. The boy says that these books are “Epic” and didn’t disappoint, despite the wait. Its just a shame he cant use them as part of the school reader scheme, but we will be studying them to use for his cubs readers badge instead.

minecraft construction
These new Minecraft books are a great gift, and one that I think we will be getting the boys cousin for his birthday later in the year. Minecraft handbooks are all available now for RRP £7.99 each, look out for offers, as our local Waterstones was doing buy one get one half price. There are also some great Minecraft days in Waterstone across the country so keep your eyes peeled at your local shop, or on the Egmont Facebook page for more information.

Disclaimer we were sent these books for review and the 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.


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


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.



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!



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.


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!


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

Minecraft, Beginner’s Handbook

Today sees the release of The Minecraft Beginners Handbook and to celebrate Children’s Book Week we are giving you the chance to win the boys NEW favourite book, from Egmont publishing. Aimed at children aged 9+ and priced at RRP £7.99,  ok, I know last week his favourite was the Minecraft Annual, but this week it is the Minecraft Handbook.

So why does the boy like this book so much, I think it is the love of Minecraft, and the way this beautifully laid out book gives him all the information he needs. The format is well thought and laid out, which he can easily understand. As a parent I don’t think this book is something I would have chosen, but for the amount of enjoyment the boy has had out of it, it’s been the best value for money from a book we have had in a long time.

The boy has kept going back to this book to find more information, he keeps trying to tell me about all about buildings, what turns what into what, and he especially likes the table of elements. I think the Minecraft Handbook and Annual are two of the nicest looking and feeling books, they are certainly unusual in their vintage feel with fake leather covers and gold embossing.

We give this book a HUGE 5/5 and I know the boy will have the next Minecraft handbook on his Christmas list. You can find out more about Egmont on their website, Facebook and Twitter.

Now it is your chance to own this beautiful book and see what you think. Simply fill in the rafflecopter and keep your fingers crossed!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link up, Read, Enter and Enjoy!

Children's Book Week Badge

Disclaimer we were sent this book to review and keep, the opinions remain ours and have not been changed. This competition is open to the UK only.