Tuesday, 21 April 2015

New on the Nintendo Wii U - Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush

This last weekend my girls had some serious fun crafting with dough making Kirby and friends figures. Miss E was adamant that Kirby needed a whole bedroom of furniture so he could be comfortable.  Just look at them in action -

My girls are very much into using their imaginations and free styling but if your child wants to create a Kirby and fancies some instruction then why don't you check out how to make your own dough and this great instructional video -

The girls were making Kirby figures to celebrate the upcoming launch on 8th May of the new Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush game for the Wii U. In this latest adventure, the evil Claycia has drained Dream Land of all its colour and your task is to help Kirby and his Waddle Dee friends bring their homeland back to its bright and beautiful best.

You can find out more information and see a sneaky preview of the game over on the Nintendo website here.

Disclosure: We were sent a box of craft goodies as we are Nintendo Ambassadors this year. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Surviving winter with Domino's Pizza

I am so glad we have not any snow this year. Whilst it is beautiful it seems to cause chaos in Britain and we are just not prepared for it. Massive traffic jams, train delays, school closures and deliveries abandoned.  Of course the kids are beside themselves and that would be the only reason I would have enjoyed a few days of snow, so they could have tried out the sledges we bought 18 months ago when we moved to East Sussex and into the 220 acre estate that we live in now.

It's not been a harsh winter so far this year and that is a really good thing, we have still been getting out and enjoying the grounds where we live but just for shorter periods of time than normal as the kids are cold and really hungry when they arrive back indoors after a muddy game of football or hide and seek.

I was pleased that Domino's asked us if we would like a little treat one night during half term.  So after a good stroll and some fun in the woods we drove to our nearest Domino's to pick up our dinner. Sadly as we live in the middle of nowhere we can't get a delivery but we combined our pick-up with a trip to the library and pound shop, both things the kids enjoy!

Once we arrived back home my husband came home from work to join us and we tucked into our pizza feast and watched a good movie on Netflix. The film of choice was called Hunters and was pretty good for family viewing.

We all tucked into the Big pick and mix deal, which is £24.99 for a large pizza, medium pizza, chicken side and another side as well as two 500ml drinks. We also added on a combo and our order came to £31.34. On the Domino's site as you add all your items I was pleased to see that Domino's picks the best deal for the items you have chosen and this means you get a deal every time.

You can choose to remove the deal and use a voucher code if you have one. I received one on the menu which came with our meal and this gives you 40% off an online order of £40 or more but if you google for deals there are some even better ones out, there like 50% off a £40 order which ends up taking your spend down to about £20. You can also check out the Domino's blog and see what is being advertised on there too.

We really enjoyed our Domino's feast.  As always the chicken strippers were my favourite, JJ loves the potato wedges with barbecue dip and dh did a really good job of tucking into our large Meateor pizza.

This is a treat we really enjoy a couple of times a year.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Pancake day with Hartleys jam

The kids had some great fun last night decorating pancakes and making some portraits, who they are of I have no idea!

Hartleys jam sent us through some of their squeezy smooth jam which the kids thought was great. It is so much easier for a child to squirt jam on their toast/ crumpet/ pancake (insert whatever you fancy here) and then spread it rather than dipping buttery knives into the jam pot and potentially making the whole pot go bad! I've not bought the sqeezy jams before as they are about £1.69 for 340g whereas the no-bits jam in a jar is just £1.00 for the same amount. I do think they are fabulous for something like pancake day when you want to be creative though.

I'm a big fan of the Hartleys brand and often buy their no-bits strawberry jam and when it is on offer I'll splash out and enjoy the Best range too. Whilst Hartleys can be more expensive than the supermarket own brand it is really enjoyable and worth the little extra I think.

Thanks Hartleys, the kids had a great time.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Review: Dr Cool Science Kits

The kids were over the moon when we were sent four Dr Cool science sets a couple of weeks back.  I literally got nagged from the moment they arrived until I let them crack them open and then I had the joy of them arguing over which sets they each wanted. At least this means they were something they thought looked great and really wanted to play with.

This is what we received, clockwise from top left - Crystal growing kit, Mine for gems, Ultimate volcano science kit and Break open real geodes.

The first thing to say is that I like the packaging of the Dr Cool sets, the boxes are a good thick quality cardboard and the items inside the box are presented well.  Every kit comes with colourful instructions, additional information relating to the science activity you are going to do and also an activity book with word searches etc inside.  My 11 year old had no interest in the activity book but the 7 years olds like them and they seemed to be age appropriate.

Mine for Gems
This retails for £29.99 on Amazon so is not a cheap toy.  One of my 7 year old twins started off digging and she was bored within about 10 minutes (but this is her nature) and then my 11 year old boy happily took over. He had two sessions of about 2 or 3 hours a piece and happily sat there and dug away at his piece of plaster.

He found 10 gems in all and these were a good size and quality. In the kit he received a digging tool, small brush and magnifying glass as well as the instructions and activity booklet.

JJ loved this but I'd recommend that you buy it as an outside toy as it does make a mess, there is plaster dust all about (so probably not suitable for those with asthma) and I had to keep sweeping the floor. JJ also got it all over his clothes, granted it washes off easily but it was still a mess.

Break open real geodes
Miss E was so excited about this set and finding real crystals inside the rocks. She received 4 rocks and we put on the goggles supplied and set about cracking them open. I discovered we needed a hammer and chisel and I could not find one so I tried a very large and heavy spanner with a screwdriver but even when I was whacking them with this generally there was no give.

We did manage to crack one with a screwdriver and the spanner but the other three were beyond our skills, We next put one in a sock (as recommended) and trying whacking it against the stone floor or stone on our house and again no joy, nothing happened except we ruined the sock.

As a last resort we took the geodes down to the groundsman where we live and he tried to crack them with a big hammer and chisel.  He had no luck either so he took his diamond blade and cut them with an angle grinder.

You'll see from the picture that of the three he cut for us, only one was hollow and Miss E was over the moon with the crystals in that but the other two were a disappointment as they were not hollow. I suppose it is hard to know what is inside, but I suppose it would have been good to know this so I could have prepared Miss E. At £19.95 this is quite a costly investment.

We haven't started on the crystal growing or volcano sets yet, they will be in the next few weeks.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Trying out some new Nescafe Dolce Gusto Pods

About eight months ago I was sent the Nescafe Dolce Gusto mini-me drinks machine to review and I love it. It is so convenient when I want a treat to be able to enjoy a speciality coffee with no extortionate price tag. Drinks are ready in just a couple of minutes and they do not require anything too taxing from me but I'm pleased to say that you get the genuine rich coffee and frothy milk tastes and textures that you would expect from a very good coffee.

Earlier this week I was sent through a nice little package, including some more pods to try. I was super pleased to see that my favourite cappuccino was there and I had one of those straight away.

Also included were Chai Tea Latte and Americano.  My husband drinks classic coffee and not too milky so the rich Americano taste suits him and I tried the Chai tea Latte with some cinnamon on top and it was super yummy, I'll be having that again.

There are so many different pods to try out, my JJ loves the Chococino and has even asked me if he can pay for some with his own money.  As I was ordering them I spotted the website exclusive of Chococino caramel and they have been added to my list!

I also spotted that there are some nice recipes on the Dolce Gusto website, this mint chic-chip-chinno looks really good as a special dessert or in the summer when you need to cool down.

Disclosure: I was sent a couple of mugs and three boxes of pods to try out and enjoy. I wanted to blog about them as I am genuinely enjoying using my Dolce Gusto machine and am happy to share with my readers.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Review: Karcher Car Interior Cleaning Kit

I've been very lucky to try out and review lots of Karcher products over the last year. One of my favourites has been the MV3P Multi Vac cleaner, which I am using most days to clean the house. It really does have superb suction and is so light for such a large volume cleaner.

I also use this cleaner for doing the car but I'll be honest and say that does not happen very often as my car is my one slobbish area of life. I do despair of my car though as it gets absolutely filthy, my three kids don't seem able to keep their pens in their pencil cases, their crumbs in their packets or even put their packets in the bin!

Life has got a bit easier though as Karcher sent me their car interior cleaning kit to use with my multi-vac. The kit includes an extension suction tube, a long narrow attachment, a hard flat attachment, a soft brush, a hard brush, a chamois and a duster. At £57.99 this kit is not cheap at all but after using it today I am convinced of its value.

I hate cleaning the car and find it normally takes ages as the regular vacuum end takes so long to pick anything up but with all my attachments the time really was cut. Now I realise that makes me sound like one of those rubbish TV adverts trying to sell you things but honestly they are good. I used the hard brush on the chairs and this easily cleared off crumbs and sand that were loitering, I used the long thin attachment for between the seats and under the chairs where I cannot normally reach and my favourite attachment is the wide (but narrow gap) hard attachment that I can do the boot and car floor with. This made easy work of getting up dog hairs and also all the ground in dirt that has been on the floor for a number of months!

Miss M came to help me clean the car and everything was very easy for a 7 year old to use too, she was happy cleaning and it was not hard work for her. She was switching the attachment heads herself in no time.

Take a look at the difference in this foot well, the cleaning kit really did make easy work of cleaning it up -

There is something in the kit to clean all aspects of the car - chamois for the windows, soft brush to do the tricky air vents and such on the dashboard and a micro cloth for the rest of the dashboard/ interior. The brushes and attachments I've already mentioned are really decent quality plastic and bristle and I think they will last quite some time.

I did genuinely like this car cleaning accessory kit, I'm very glad to have it and I can see it being used a lot (well as much as I clean the car anyway) but I have to be honest and say the price is a bit heavy for me. The best I could find it for was £52.08 on Amazon but thinking about it the multi-vac itself was an excellent price and the basic model is as low as £69.99 and combine that to the £57.99 RRP and you do have a good vac with excellent accessories for a very reasonable price.

Thanks so much Karcher, it has been great to work with you this year as an ambassador.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Review: Jabra Sport Rox Wireless Earbuds

A few years ago I received a Jabra drive to use and review and I'm happy to say that three years later I am still just as happy with the performance of my in-car Jabra hands-free speaker as I was when I wrote the review back in September 2011. So when I had the chance to review the Jabra Sport Rox wireless earbuds I jumped at the opportunity and I knew they would be super.

The Jabra Sport Rox wireless earbuds are premium earbuds to be used by those who love to indulge in serious sports whilst listening to their music or podcasts. They retail for £129.99 on the Jabra site but I'd recommend shopping around as I managed to find them as low as £75.59 on HandTec which is a seriously great price. They'd make a superb Christmas present for a runner or gym lover.

For sports use only?
I'll clarify for you now, I am NOT a serious sports star, many of you will have seen pictures of me and I'm just not cut-out for it but I do go to the gym each week and I love to walk round the three lakes at my home so these earbuds are great for the not-so-serious sportsperson too. The two earbuds are attached by a short wire that you wear behind your head/ neck and there is a tiny fitclip that you can put on the wire if you wish to make it shorter/ a more tight fit but do be careful as it is so tiny it would be very easy to lose and I have already dropped it under the fridge once!

I was impressed to see that these little earbuds have been built to US military standards and are sweat, rain, shock, sand and dust proof.

The ear buds are clearly marked with L and R so you know which ear they need to go in and there are 4 sets of different size EarGels which are very easy to attach to the earbud and ensure you have a nice cosy fit in your ear, of course this is important so they don't drop out whilst you are exercising. They also act as a good barrier to sweat getting in to the earbud. As well as the EarGels to ensure a good fit there are also 3 sets of different sized EarWings which fit into the top of the ear and give even greater stability to the earbuds.

I love the fact that if you want to pause your workout you can just hang the earbuds around your neck and the steel metal plate/ back side of each earplug is a magnet and they connect together so they don't fall off or get lost. When the magnets are connected they also send the earbuds into power saving mode which is very useful. The white colour is really stylish and anyone would be proud to be seen wearing these. Although to be honest once they are in they are nice and inconspicuous.

You can do everything you need to with this tiny headset - play and pause music, skip tracks, control volume, and even take calls with a quick tap on your headset. With the built-in microphone these earbuds are great for taking calls when you need your hands free to do other jobs as well.

As well as the earbuds, EarGels and EarWings you also receive a USB charger and armband to put your phone/ iPod in.

How easy is it to set up?
Super simple is the quick answer. They’re Bluetooth (4.0) and NFC/Perimeter Pairing-compatible, so you can choose the set up method that suits you, I used my Bluetooth. The instruction book says it is a 5 minnute set-up guide and it really is. You turn your headphones on for the first time by pressing the button on the earbud wire for 5 seconds and then you hear the audio set up instructions. Basically I had to make sure my Bluetooth was on and go to that menu and the Jabra Sport Rox appeared and I pressed it and it automatically paired and was ready for us.

I switched the EarGels to the right size for me and added on EarWings so I had a good close fit and that was it I was ready to go.

What is the performance like?
I loved the sound that came out of these tiny earbuds. It was so good and it is great that you can download the unique Jabra Sound App to experience Dolby sound (code included with each purchase). I didn't experience any interference or noises that I was not expecting, just good clear songs and speaking from my music and podcasts.

There is 5 hours music playtime before the earbuds need recharging and you can do this easily by slipping away one of the metal coverings and revealing the mini USB charging port. Plug the included lead into any laptop or USB charger and in 2.5 hours you will have fully charged headphones again.

The standby time is roughly 432 hours and talk time if you are using it as a phone headset is about 5.5 hours. I think these are all pretty good times and certainly enough for me exercising! It is also pretty darn good that you get a verbal cue to tell you when it is time to recharge the headset.

I'm really pleased with the Jabra Sport Rox earbuds, if I'm honest I think I am more of a traditional earphone kind of girl as I'm not so sure about having the tight fitting earbuds but then again as I do not do the rigorous sports I don't really need them. I was chatting to my friend Natalie who is an avid runner and she tried out the headset for me on a run and pronounced them a Godsend, so that is high praise indeed!

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