We were asked to review the Zombie Aquabot from Hexbug, and as Hexbugs have been a favourite toy of the Soup Dragon family since our visit to Florida in 2010, we didn’t say no. Before 2010 I hadn’t heard of Hexbugs, but on discovering these engaging little creatures I think I have been more hooked than the boy!
One of the things I love about Hexbugs, is the science behind the propulsion. This is something that has fascinated the boy for some time and he was keen to see if he could work out how the Zombie Aquabot worked. The Zombie Aquabot is part of the swimming fish range of Hexbugs, with an RRP £7.99 and an age advisory of 3+ due to small parts. The boy and all his friends are into Zombies, so this is a great toy for his age group, and he was excited to see if it “Really glowed”.
We decided that the easiest way to review the Zombie Aquabot was in a bowl of water rather than the bath, the Zombie Aquabot is equally at home in either location. Dropping the Zombie Aquabot into the bowl will make him dive, and he swims efficiently around the bowl. I think he enjoys the space of the bath more as he can swim continuously all the time he is in contact with the water.
The boy soon worked out his propulsion secret as there are two sensors either side of the Zombie Aquabot, the connection being the water. The movement of this little creature is indeed fascinating to watch, but the real test was going to be “Did it glow” A quick charge in the sun, and a rush to the under stairs cupboard proved that the Zombie Aquabot is indeed a glowing deadly Aquabot!
Here is the proof
We love this little pocket-money toy, which currently has earned a place on the boys desk (only the best toys can make it there). The boy has already requested the Nano V2 Hexbugs for Christmas as he wants to see how high they can climb, and I will have to keep my fingers crossed that Santa will see my Christmas list and get me a reindeer Hexbug!
Disclaimer we were sent this product for an honest review.
It has been the perfect weather for a summer cycle ride, and something we love to do as a family. While the weather was still good we thought we would go out and try out my new cycle helmet. Yes I realised its time I followed the rest of the family and wore one. The boy chose the inland cycle route, which is a great track out towards the nearby town of Barnham. The place we catch our trains to London! It’s a great route and one I like as it has no traffic.
The track was busy, with dog walkers, and other cyclists, and we soon arrived at the other end, where I knew there was a new play park area. The boy and Dad enjoyed playing a game of football, and basketball. The boy enjoyed playing and climbing in the new playground and I enjoyed the sunshine and quiet.
I was trying to get the fit right on my new bike helmet. TMart.co.uk are a great website for all sorts of outdoor gear, and the Adult Cycle Helmet I was sent to review was perfect. The only problem was my head was too small. I am aware that it is important to have a well-fitting helmet, so after a couple of attempts, I decided the helmet is better fitted to Dad! I think the yellow colour rather suits him, and he found it a very easy helmet to adjust and wear.
While I now use the more subdued grey helmet, I am very impressed with the range of TMart helmets that they offer on their website. The price for this yellow cycle helmet was less than £17 which is a competitive price, and with all the safety certificates. The helmet was easily adjustable and very lightweight. The delivery was well packed and speedy, so great service all round.
The cycle ride home was beautiful as we watched the diggers finishing off the new road, and there were hundred’s of butterfly’s in the hedgerow. I kept having to stop to take photos, but the boy was gone. He loves the freedom of this cycle path, and we think they should build a few more. Cycling in one of the activities that will join our Summer Holiday activities list, and I think the boy would rate it in his top five things to do!
Disclaimer I was sent the cycle helmet in return for an honest review.
We were asked to review the ScienceX Dinosaurs kit from Ravensburger over the summer holidays. I am always looking for new things to get the boy excited about learning, and this kit which is part of a great range of ScienceX kits looked a perfect place to start.
The ScienceX Dinosaurs kit is available on-line and from shops with a RRP £7.99 and recommended age of 8+. The age advisory on this kit is due to the inclusion of plaster in the kit, where adult supervision is essential. The ScienceX Dinosaurs kit contains 6 activities, with a bright colourful guide full of information as well as details of each activity.
Supplied: Dinosaur cut panels for two models, Excavation block, Plaster powder, Plaster mould.
Not supplied: Tools for excavation (we used an old butter knife), paint brush, glue, measuring jug, and a pot to mix the plaster.
You can start with activity one, a fun Dinosaur timeline game, which explains when each species of Dinosaur lived, or like the boy, jump straight into building the T-rex! The first think I noticed about the ScienceX Dinosaurs kit is that it is not over packaged. The box is the perfect size for the content, and sturdy like the jigsaw boxes that Ravensburger produce. As a parent over packaged toys are a big bugbear of mine, and its nice to see that this ScienceX has only the packaging that it needs.
The boy set about activity six, building the T-Rex skeleton. He needed no help from me for this activity. The pieces pop out of the panels, and slot together to form a very pleasing model.
Next was the excavation of the Megalosaurus tooth. We talked about how archaeologists would take their time and care when digging up a fossil. So despite the boys keenness to get the tooth out, he did attempt to take his time. The block is formed of a fine powder, easy to scrape away with a spoon, or like us blunt butter knife. I think out of all the activities in the ScienceX Dinosaur kit this was the boys favourite. He was proud of his findings, and was excited to get on with the next activity.
There are two activities where you can make a plaster model of firstly a Nautilus, then an Archaeopteryx, and the instructions do tell you to weigh out 50g of plaster for each. As the kit only contained 50g of plaster we worked out that these two models had to be made at the same time. We used a plastic cup to mix our plaster and a lolly stick was a perfect stirrer. The boy couldn’t wait for his fossils to dry, and we were very pleased with the finished results.
The only disappointment with the kit was the Pteranodon model. You will need strong glue, as we used a PVA and this didn’t work at all with the shiny high gloss paper. The boy was disappointed with this model, and said he didn’t think it looked very good at all. I have to agree with this, and think it would have been more fun to have the Pteranadon as a flyable paper aeroplane, type model.
Overall we are very impressed with the ScienceX Dinosaurs kit. From my point of view the boy was entertained for a couple of afternoons, and learning. The kit is great value for money, and something I will consider for a friends party gift. It’s not over packaged (hurrah) and the boy?
He said “It was great fun getting the tooth out, the Pteranodon was not good, but the T-rex is the best and I think I will put on my desk”
Disclaimer, we were sent this product for an honest review.
When we were offered the Mickey & Minnie Eiffel Tower, I was hardly going to say no! Especially as this Ravensburger puzzle is 3D. Since we reviewed the 3D Taj Mahal the boy has been excited at completing a few more jigsaw puzzles which make a nice change from his usual construction toys.
I was excited to see what made the Mickey & Minnie Eiffel Tower different from the other Eiffel Tower puzzles that Ravensburger make. First it was nice to see that this puzzle comes in a box the right size for the content. I hate over-packaged toys, and this smaller box is a much better size. As with all the Ravensburger puzzles the Mickey & Minnie Eiffel Tower is made from the sturdy plastic pieces with their unique folding system.
Each piece locks beautifully together to form the tower starting from the heavy card base up through the two floors to the summit. There are two ways to complete the puzzle.
The hard way: look at the picture and match up the different sides, linking each floor together.
The easier way: Look at the back of each piece and follow the number and arrow system.
The boy loves the number system and as soon as this parcel arrived he wanted to put it together, even though we had visitors at the time. He sat for ages in his PJ’s before I made him go to bed, only to get up bright and early in the morning just so he could finish it.
Mickey & Minnie Eiffel Tower is a great puzzle, and was slightly easier to put together than the Taj Mahal, despite its smaller size it still has 216 pieces, and took the boy over an hour to complete using the number linking system. This puzzle has to be a must for all the Disney and puzzle fans, and despite the recommended age of 12+ the boy completed all except the very tricky top-level completely on his own.
The finished model is 44cm high, and quite impressive, I love the colours which give a night-time look with added Disney details of Micky & Minnie kissing under the tower. I think this would be a great gift for any Disney fan, and we have enjoyed building it. The Mickey & Minnie Eiffel Tower from Ravensburger is available online and in shops for RRP £22.99
Disclaimer we were sent the 3D Mickey & Minnie Eiffel Tower to review the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.
The summer holidays are disappearing fast, and we have been having great fun getting out and about as a family. This last week, we were out every day either on the beach, on our bikes, one of our favourite days had to be at the new adventure golf course.
Situated at Chichester Golf course, I was excited to find out if this New Jungle Paradise Adventure Golfwas anything like any of the American style crazy golf courses. I have to say we weren’t disappointed, I had looked at the website, and seen that they had wild animals, and a full-sized airplane on top of a water fall. With 18 holes and lots of watery obstacles the boy was excited too.
This is where I have a small confession, I love crazy golf, I don’t know why, it is my favourite thing to do. It makes me smile and giggle, and I usually get a hole in one. My family think it is quite sad how excited I get over crazy golf, and how I have a weird dream of one day owning my own little golf course, by the sea of course!
This course didn’t disappoint, we couldn’t believe how many people were there on a cloudy Tuesday morning. You can’t miss the course as you turn into the entrance of the Chichester Golf Club. You start your tropical experience at the Kiosk, which is a fun looking jungle hut, choosing coloured balls is a nice touch, and means no arguments over who is who. There are 6 colours to choose from so perfect for big family’s. We set off for the first hole, which looked super easy, just a straight forward put through the trees. Then we realised that there are no sides in places which mean you fall of the green and drop a shot!
We soon decided that the boy should have two try’s at each hole and took the lowest of his two scores. There was some waiting around, as each of the 18 holes had a family on it, this proved a good solution to keep the boy’s interest. Now I may get holes in one, but the format usually follows that Dad M wins, and I come last. with a maximum score on each hole of 6 things did not start well for me.
The holes are very clearly marked, everything is clean and with sound effects, and the summer sun it felt very tropical. There are some great information trivia boards with a quiz on your score card. These also give you a little insight into the theming behind the Jungle Paradise Adventure Golf. We enjoyed the holes round the lake and waterfall, before curving round the back and discovering the boys favourite thing. The raft! Yes the boy decided this was wicked and spent ages pulling everyone willing to let him across to the next hole. (there is an alternative route round the raft)
Each hole is a good mixture of easy, hard, and fun. Snaking through and even under the waterfall, with a cheeky little surprise. Looking for the animals hiding round the course, the boy was aiming for the crocodiles, just so he could use the net to scoop the ball out of the water. It came as a bit of a surprise to everyone when it was the boy who scored the hole in one! I even managed to capture the moment on video. So here is our mini video of our day out.
We had a great time at the Jungle Paradise Adventure Golf, and will certainly be back. The cost for one round, for a family of 4 is £25, which did seem a little expensive, but we were on site for 2 hours, the second round if you fancy it is half price. You can also go to the club house for a spot of lunch where they have a new kids jungle menu. We notice a traditional crazy golf course, as well as the usual driving ranges, so you could spend a day with something for everyone.
And here is our final winner, by one point, and yes, I came last!
The New Jungle Paradise Adventure Golf gets a big thumbs up from us, and if you live locally is certainly worth a go, why not keep up to date with them on their Facebook page. Where you can see the monthly draw winners, and hopefully spot some special offers.
Disclaimer: we were given entry to the New Jungle Paradise adventure golf in return for our review, our opinions have not been altered.
We were sent the new Dobble kids game to review, and just like Dobble it didn’t disappoint! This versatile little game may be simple, and even at first sound like the appeal would be over in five minutes. We have found that it is a game that we keep coming back to.
The difference with Dobble kids, and original Dobble is simply the pictures are easily recognisable to children of ages 4+ and maybe younger. Being animals and not objects means everyone can get involved, with play for 2 to 5 players. The boy loves original Dobble, but some of the pictures are not everyday objects, i.e.: a treble clef.
Dobble Kids, comes in a great tin with instructions, and 30 cards. The basic concept of Dobble Kids is snap. Spot the animal in common. Depending on the mini game the one with the most/least cards is the winner. There are 5 mini games in the instructions and each takes only a few moments to learn, but as I found out, given a couple of goes and the boy was beating me on reaction speed.
With only 30 cards in Dobble Kids as opposed to 55 in Dobble, the games are shorter, the boy was also able to make up his own games, and even sat and played solitaire finding the matching animals. This game has been a great distraction on the train, as well as last week in our hotel. It’s such an easy game to grab and throw in the rucksack, with no fear of loosing parts, or getting dog-eared in its cute round tin.
Here is an example of game play, lots of concentration and guess what the boy wins!
We are huge Dobble fans, and as with all simple games, I am sure Dobble kids will become a classic game that all families have in their games cupboard. If you would like the chance to win your very own then simply follow the Gleam instructions below, and fingers crossed.
Dobble kids is available from Amazon RRP £12.99 follow the Dobble fun on Facebook, or buy now in time for Christmas!
Disclaimer, we were sent Dobble kids to review, the opinions remain ours and have not been altered.
Terms & Conditions:
The giveaway is open to the UK only
It is mandatory to leave a comment in the post comment section answering the question specified, you are also required to like Dobble on Facebook. Other tasks completed will gain additional entries. The winner will be checked to make sure they have both left a comment and completed the task for the winning entry.
This giveaway ends Monday 15th September at 23.59 GMT
Winner will be drawn randomly with the Gleam app.
The winner will be sent an e-mail to the e-mail address left at time of entry. The winner will need to reply to the e-mail within 7 days of the notification. Every effort will be made to contact the winner, but if no response is made within the 7 days a new winner will be chosen.
The prize details are stated at the top of the giveaway, and no alternatives will be offered.
The prize will be posted by the promoter, unfortunately I cannot be held responsible or replace missing parcels. Please contact me if there is a problem.
Please alow 28 days from notification for your prize to be sent out.
We are so lucky to live near the sea, and I know that as a family we don’t spend nearly enough time taking advantage of this free local resource!
This year is my first as a SAHM. I decided days building sandcastles on the beach, either cycling down for an ice cream or simply rock pooling would be part of our summer days out. Sometimes it’s so easy as a family to think that spending vast sums of money on expensive days out will bring family happiness. But as we are finding the simple, fun, and often free days out are more memorable.
When I saw that Littlehampton (just down the road) were having their sandcastle competition, I dragged the boy and Dad along. As a child I remember enjoying making complicated castles, and know that you can make spectacular and elaborate sculptures in sand. The boy and Dad, were sceptical, but after a little practice, and some persuasion were brought round to my way of thinking.
We set of with spades, buckets, and a few props to see if we could wow the judges with our Dragon inspired creation. The boy was entered into the under 11’s, a tough category, and although we did help with digging and collecting, the sculpting and decoration was all the boys handiwork. I especially love the stones for eyes, which the boy found complete with holes.
I think he did a Fantastic job as this was his first real sculpture, and I love the detail he added in for the scales. We didn’t win a prize, but with 200 entrants, it was always going to be about having fun. We decided that we all needed a treat, a nice cup of tea, and some of the new BN biscuits from McVitie’s would be perfect. While the boy thinks the chocolate BN biscuits are not chocolaty enough, I think both are fun, and certainly went down well with a cuppa.
Making sandcastles on the beach is a cheap and easy day out, and one that we are planning to repeat at the end of the month. I have entered us into the Wittering’s Sandcastle competition, where we will compete in categories for the tallest, most elaborate, and people’s favourite. It should be fun as we have a full 3 hours this time for our creation, and we have high hopes. Now fingers are crossed that our sandcastles wont be washed away by the rain!
This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN Learn more by visiting their website #sweeet
Medieval Tournament week at Arundel Castle took place this year from 22nd to 27th July and is just one of the many special events run by Arundel Castle through their visiting season which runs from 1st April to 2nd November 2014.
I had heard good things about the Jousting tournament week, from one of the boys fencing Mum’s who said that they go every year, and I will confess to being more than a little excited to be going. When Mary from Over 40 and a Mum to One said that she was coming to Bognor for an event, a plan was formed and we picked Friday to go and find out more.
Mary and Monkey had told us all about the Jousting they have seen at Blenheim Palace, and the boy and I were even more excited to see what all the fuss was about. We were not disappointed, after the very short drive, we parked in The Mill car park. (Arundel can get very busy in the summer, so parking can be a real problem. Arrive early and the Mill Car Park opposite the castle is a reasonable £5 for the whole day). A quick walk across the road, we headed to the gate to collect our tickets and on into the castle grounds.
Arundel Castle is set high above the surrounding countryside, and the views as you drive in towards the town are beautiful, but as you enter the grounds of Arundel Castle, you are still taken aback with the size and splendour of the 11th Century castle. We didn’t have to walk far before we realised that we were on the lower lawn where the jousting takes place, with the first joust of the day, we picked our spot lay out a rug and waited.
The jousting itself takes place three times each day, with a slightly different format each time. There are four teams to cheer on, with some very different characters, and magnificent horses. While the commentary was given clearly through a pa system, nothing was missed. Of course the boy chose to cheer on England while I just chose to cheer whenever I could. Both boys were transfixed and despite the day starting to heat up as well as the battles, we enjoyed the demonstrations of skill and horsemanship. I just kept wondering how on earth they were still riding in full armour in the heat with 70lb of armour, as I was melting sitting on a rug!
We were treated to amazing displays of skill, all demonstrating beautifully just what was expected of a medieval knight, resusatating the poor dummy who had a nasty blow to the head made us all chuckle. With a whole camp to walk round, tents to admire we didn’t leave the lower lawn till lunchtime. Heading into the Encampment area, you are taken back completely in every way to a medieval camp. With so many people all in costume, it is like the whole castle has been transported back in time.
While Mary and I were seeking shade, Monkey and the Boy were keen to watch the weapons demonstration, with swords and more costumes, we were all encouraged to cheer on our favourites. We all needed some lunch and after a quick picnic, and some strange tree climbing from the boy. We headed towards the castle entrance this time distracted by the story-teller, with his tale of George and the Dragon. Members of the public form the cast, and the peasant hat game fun was a giggle to watch. I think the mums enjoyed the shady story as much as the boys did.
Before we knew it was time for the next joust, and the boys didn’t want to miss it, so back the way we came this time we had a different viewing angle. With all four teams, England, Poland, France and the Burgundian Alliance competing to win not just that days matches, but score and win the weeks tournament, there was plenty to get excited about. If like the boy and me you have never seen jousting, you are in for a treat as it was full on, fast and had plenty of thrills. I didn’t think anything to rival watching the boy fencing, but jousting is now up there on my list of exciting new sports!
By the end of another very hot jousting session, and England clinging onto their lead in the competition, we were all keen for something cool. Ice cream was the answer, and the Castle has a very nice restaurant and coffee shop. After a quick regroup, Mary and Monkey decided to explore different parts of the castle, while the boy wanted to have a go at archery (ages 8+) so we agreed to meet for the last joust of the day a bit later.
Walking through the grounds you get a feel for the size of Arundel Castle, and the archery tucked up near the Fitzalan Chapel was the perfect activity for the sporty boy. I decided that if I had to queue up as well I had better give it a try. It was great fun, and while some people made it look easy, I found that only one arrow hit my target. The boy after a change of hands, as he cant shut one eye at a time? was a little wobbly. He did still enjoy the archery and if there hadn’t been a long queue would have liked a second go. As the wind had picked up and black clouds were looking ominous over the castle keep, we headed back past the entrance, for the last jousting match of the day.
The boy had bumped into his fencing friend B and the two of them were mock fighting their way down the hill. Mary and Monkey were waiting for us, and as we took up our spot under a tree the rain set in. Despite the cold rain, we stayed till the last fight had been won by France, before saying our goodbyes and heading home.
When I look for days out, I find myself looking to other counties, Arundel Castle has given us the most fantastic day out on our doorstep. I think I loved the jousting more than the boy, and the elegant and amazing horses, costumes and even smells coming from the encampment transported me back 100’s of years in time. It made the whole day something I know I will remember for a long time. We didn’t get time to see inside the castle, so will have to make sure we come back another day, and I will definitely be putting the jousting week in my diary for next year.
Arundel Castleprices vary so it is best to visit their website, but start from £9.00 upwards to £19.80 for an adult depending on which parts of the castle you want to see. We were given a family gold+ pass to visit the castle during jousting week and this would cost a family £49.50 which covers up to 2 adults and 3 children (children under 5 are free). I think that Arundel Castle was a much better day out than I had expected, there was certainly plenty for all ages. Even thought the boy has been to Arundel Castle recently with school, he still learnt something new and there are some great special events coming up including Pirates and Smugglers days.
Disclaimer, we were given press passes to attend the medieval jousting in return for a review, the opinions remain our own and have not been changed.
We started our list of 42 Summer Holiday Activitieswith the new Beechdean Scooby-Doo Ice Creams, and a preview of the new Live Scooby-Doo show at Butlins, Bognor. Butlins was the perfect choice of venue to celebrate the launch of the three new Scooby-Doo ice creams with Chocolate, Honeycomb and White Chocolate and Strawberry flavours.
We started our trip to Butlins, meeting up with Mary and Monkey from Over 40 and a Mum to One, and a quick visit to the fairground. Butlins has a great little fun fair on site, and we couldn’t resist a go on the Dodgems before heading off for lunch.
Beechdean had put on a fab spread of nibbles, before the kids tucked into the new ice creams. On such a hot day ice cream was going to be the perfect treat. The boy has to be in the mood for ice cream and today was going to be one of his off days! so I was forced to sample the new flavours on his behalf. I was very impressed with the Honeycomb flavour, with plenty of crunchy chocolate coating and a great flavour ice cream. Finding out that the Scooby-Doo Ice Creams have a RRP of 90p was even better, and these will be available in ToysRus stores and independent shops in the UK.
Beechdean, had chosen to hold their event at Butlins so that we could be the first to see the exciting new Butlins live Scooby-Doo show, and this was a great end to our afternoon. The boy loved the live show, and the story was what you would expect from Scooby-Doo, with music, slapstick comedy, monsters, and dancing. The boys were soon shouting and joining in. The show is lively, great fun, and the characters were very funny, and the boy said he enjoyed it, even if the centre stage was a little warm!
Not everyone will be lucky enough to catch the New Live Scooby-Doo show at Butlins, but perhaps you will be lucky enough to catch the Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine Ice Cream Van, and enter your #Scooby-DooSelfie for your chance to win a holiday. For more information on how you can enter, pop over to the Beechdean website. You will also find details on how your entry will entitle you to a £20 Butlins online discount code.
Treating yourself to ice cream, is something we like to do, whether it is at home, or on a day out it somehow has the taste of summer whichever flavour you choose!
Disclaimer we were invited to the event to sample the new ice creams, the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.
I cant believe that the summer holidays are here and we are already a week in. I decided a while ago that I would attempt to put together Summer Holiday Activities to help make the time fly by. This will be the first summer since the boy started school where I haven’t had to play the childcare juggling game, it has therefore taken planning of a different kind.
Each year I have made a simple wall calendar that the boy can customise, with details of which childcare provider he was visiting, a mix of grandparents, paid clubs, and parent holidays. This year I have made a planner and added days out. Having one special day out a week means he can see where things fit in. The fridge is the ideal place, and post-it notes can be added for extra activities.
I have been looking for inspiration from from other bloggers, like this summer holiday boredom board from The Life of Spicers. I have searched websites as well as social media for ideas of fun things to do together as a family. I also hunted out some fun kids competitions and this year there are some great ones, look on Super Lucky for a list of current kids competitions, and tips on how to maximise your entries.
So here is my list of Summer Holiday Activities.
Treats: Treats don’t have to be expensive, sometimes a walk to the park, playground, or beach and an ice cream are a great way to get out of the house over the summer and have an inexpensive treat on the way!
Family Days out: Days out can be expensive, so I plan one or two over the holiday, and this year we went to Arundel Castle to see the Jousting, this was a great way to spend the day, and something new that we had never done before. Look for vouchers in newspapers, and your local Tourist information, sometimes you can get some great discounts.
Playing board/card games: sometimes it nice, especially if its wet outside to get out some of your favourite board games. One of our favourites for this year has been Dobble Kids as its easy to play and great on days out.
Sandcastles: if like us you are lucky enough to live near the coast then why not pop to the beach and build some sandcastles. This year we took part in a sandcastle competition, and it was great fun.