Thursday, 27 February 2014

Review of Wild Science Weird Slime Workshop


What is it with boys and their love of all things slimy and frankly a bit yuck?  JJ loves it all - gruesome tales, gory jokes and disgusting toys, so when he was sent through the Wild Science Weird Slime set he was over the moon.

Even more exciting was the fact that you have to be over 10 years of age to play with this set and it requires you to wear gloves, a mask and big goggles – real life danger (well in his eyes it was and this meant it was a great fun toy). Thankfully of course whilst you do need to exercise some caution whilst using some of the ingredients in the set it is not actually too dangerous.

Under my watchful eye JJ and I set about trying out some of the science experiments with the Wild Science Weird Slime set. First up we had to make the Alginate stock solution and then the Calcium Chloride bath, these were both simple but you do need time. JJ was dismayed to see he had to wait at least 20 minutes after making the first solution so that it goes all gloopy and is the basis of the slime.

Once the two solutions are made the real fun can start. We made mock fish eggs, slimy worms and pretend leeches with the two coloured food dyes that were included. JJ thought it was amazing to be able to crush the fish eggs between his fingers and watch them give-way under the pressure of his fingers and the slime ooze out. He was having such fun he wanted to go and see his Dad at work and show him the products, I assured him a 40 year old man might not be quite as impressed as a 10 year old boy! lol

It does take a little skill to make a large egg or to be able to get a nice long worm/ snake but I was impressed to see that there is plenty of gloopy slime solution and you keep on using it time and time again as long as you keep it in an airtight container.

It is worth mentioning that once you make the little products – fish eggs/ worms etc if you want to keep them you need to provide your own small airtight container as otherwise they will just shrivel up in the fresh air. JJ was not impressed to come to the kitchen the next morning and find his pride and joy were no longer plump and slimy any more!


The Wild Science Weird Slime set retails for £12.99 and you can purchase it from Interplay Toys. Both JJ and I think it is a nice toy for a child of 10 years or more, it is engaging and also helps them to learn about science and the different reactions you get when you mix chemicals.

Also, it is National Science & Engineering Week (NSEW) from 14th - 23rd March 2014. It is a ten-day national programme of science, technology, engineering and maths events and activities across the UK aimed at people of all ages. Do take a look at the website and see which events are on in your area, it is a great way to get your youngsters engaged with these important areas of study and enjoyment.

Disclosure: We received this set free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Barbie Mega Bloks Review

As a family we have never owned any Mega Bloks before, we do enjoy construction toys and we have tons of Lego but I suppose because we had Lego handed down to us we just never bought the other major brand, Mega Bloks.

I was really pleased to find that these Barbie Mega Bloks sets are great, very similar to Lego really. The pieces fit together well and you can tell they are a quality product. My girls have really enjoyed playing make-believe with their little sets and because it is Barbie they are even happier. There are some lovely colour building bricks and very cute accessories.

We made a short video to show you the girls opening, building and playing with the two Barbie Mega Bloks sets we were sent.

The Build 'n' Play Luxe Camper and Ballet Studio -


Take a peek -



The Luxe Camper set retails for £29.99 and the Ballet Studio for £19.99, I have to say they are tiny when made and it feels like quite a lot of money for what you get but the price is comparable to other similar toys like Lego and Polly Pocket, so it is just a case that this kind of thing is expensive. You do get lots of cute little accessories, they girls loves having tiny hair pieces and lipsticks to play with. I personally found it all a little fiddly but then my hands are far bigger than theirs.

I also mention in the video that I found it a bit odd that the pieces are packed in multiple plastic bags but there is no order to how they are packed so you have to open all the bags to find the right pieces as you go along.  I found the instructions very good and clear but my girls enjoyed playing with the sets far more than building them but that is just them. I'm sure other 6 year old's would love the thrill of putting together their own toy and taking joy as they see it come together.

I like as well that on the back page of the instructions there are a couple of pictures of the set built a little differently, so if the girls want a new challenge, they can rebuild and play with it in a different way.

Probably the most annoying thing was that the little Barbie figures keep coming undone, especially the hair, that pops off all the time. I'm just about to glue my girls figures hair on as it defeats the object when it won't stay on otherwise!

In all the girls really like these sets and I'd say if you have a little one that likes Barbie and also likes construction type toys then they will really love these as there is so much for them to play with and use their imagination.

Disclosure: We received these sets free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Review: Hero by Sarah Lean

When I was offered the new Sarah Lean book to review I knew I had to say yes. My 10 year old son JJ is an avid reader but he seems to be more enamoured with comic strips and easy read comedy's, I felt it was time he widened his reading horizons a bit. I've bought him different books before like a modern take on the Shakespear classics, Michael Morpurgo and Anthony Horowitz books and he often just announces they are boring and goes back to Tom Gates, Horrible Histories or the Beano.

I'm glad to say this book has been different. JJ has enjoyed Hero and it has taken him quite a few days to read, this has really cheered me up as it means he has actually read it rather than just skim reading which is what I'm sure he normally does. JJ says this book is a good one which he would recommend for both boys and girls and he thinks you need to be about 9 years old or more to enjoy it.

Hero is a 293 page book, so it is a meaty read but the writing is fairly big and spaced as you might expect for a child. JJ did mention to me that he found the short chapters a bit frustrating, he could not put his finger on why though! They tend to be about ten pages long and as the writing is quite big that is just a short times reading.  To be honest I would assume this is a good thing as when I let one of my younger children try to read it, ten pages is probably all she likes to do in one session and then there would be a nice easy break point.

Hero is about a young boy called Leo who dreams of being a hero, he has an avid imagination and in his own mind he is as brave as a mighty gladiator. When a little dog called Jack Pepper goes missing Leo decides that surely he will be a real hero if he can find him... but there are some twists and turns in this story and it is good to see some important topics like being kind, courageous and telling the truth being tackled in a way that an older child can relate to. The language in this book is age appropriate and and it is a good, heart-warming read.

Sarah Lean is not an author I had heard of before, but I see she has written a few books. Her book 'A dog called Homeless' was a massive hit in 2012 and she has a short book called 'Jack Pepper' which will be available for £1 for World Book Day this year.

Hero is published by HarperCollins and is released on 27th February 2014, it has an RRP of £6.99 but I see it is just £5.80 on Amazon, available for pre-order now.

Disclosure: We received this book free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest. 

Friday, 14 February 2014

Review: Fitflop Due Ballerina Pump in Diving Blue Patent


I received a pair of Fitflop Due ballerina diving blue patent pumps a couple of weeks ago to review and I have been happily wearing them whenever I can. I say whenever I can, as we are in the throes of the wettest winter in years. Big sturdy boots are the main staple at the moment but trips to the cinema, out for meals, going to work and even picking the kids up from school on the dryer days have seen me wearing these pretty shoes.

Truth be told I’ve been wearing them about the house too as they really are as comfy as a pair of slippers. I have a bit of a soft spot for pretty pumps and patent ones with a platform sole are high up on my must-own list.



I choose the Due ballerina pumps as I thought they were really cute and the diving blue colour attracted me as it is quite different to most you see. I have plenty of black pumps and also red so I thought it was good to go for something a little different and I have had loads of comments from friends about how fab my shoes are.

These Due pumps retail for £60.00 currently and that is a price I’m happy to pay for a very comfortable pair of shoes. I find as I get older I really want to enjoy wearing my shoes and not have to worry about my feet aching at the end of a busy day.

The shoe is made from leather and the inner is a cosy leather too. The under foot is super cushioned and the slimline Biometrix midsole is height-enhancing too, great if you need an extra inch!  Fitflop say that this shoe features their Biomimetix™ midsole. Inspired by their Non-Stop Ergonomix™ philosophy, they are biomechanically optimised to deliver unparalleled comfort and pressure diffusion. Sounds technical to me but the unparalleled comfort stands out for me.

There are a number of colour options for the Due ballerina pump and the prices vary depending on the colour option chosen, there is regular leather as well as patent options. There are also many more styles which are similar but different, I found there to be an amazing selection of shoes on the Fitflop website and I never would have guessed.



My shoes arrived in a sturdy box and they were packed well and in pretty tissue paper too, I had a returns slip in the box too, in case they did not fit or suit me. I do find it can be hard to order shoes online as you never quite now what the fit will be like, the same size on different websites can come up quite differently but I found these to be true to size and on the wider side of things – which really suits me. It might be that if you have a slim foot you need to go down half a size but the good thing is you can check this out by printing off the sizing guide and checking it against your foot before you order.

I see there is free delivery at the moment up to midnight on 23rd Feb 2014, just enter SS14LAUNCH at the checkout.

Obviously I’ve only had my shoes a couple of weeks so far so I cannot tell you about the longevity of these shoes but I’m really happy with them at the moment and I’ll update this review post in time.

Disclosure: I was sent this pair of shoes free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The hidden costs of being in a relationship

Image Credit
Love, romance and companionship are among the most important elements in our lives, the things that inspire us and keep us going. But although money can't buy you love, love can cost you money. Being in a relationship has some hidden costs that can add up over time if you don't keep an eye on them. 

Without buying into stereotypes about dating, the fact is that you'll probably spend more money on things like dining out than if you were single. When you're seeing someone, you'll want to do things that make your time together special, whether it's going to the cinema, taking a trip or enjoying a meal together. Similarly, should you marry and have children, there are an almost limitless number of expenses associated with parenthood. These are the obvious costs of being in a relationship. But there are some less obvious ones as well.

Travel

Unless you live with your partner, you'll find that travel costs can add up quickly. Even frequent trips to another part of your town can lead to significant expenditures, and this is even truer if you're seeing someone who lives in another city. Driving or taking the train to see him or her regularly can put a serious dent in your budget. Upping your travel budget is a small price to pay for being with the one you care about, but it's something that will require your attention.

Communication

Your phone contract will seem generous right up until you meet the person whose voice you need to hear every day. Install a usage tracker on your phone if you haven't already; it'll help you keep an eye on how much of your minutes, texts and data allowance you're using up and avoid expensive overruns. Don't place too much reliance on your mobile phone, anyway: in a relationship there's no substitute for face-to-face communication.

Living Together

If your relationship is successful, there may come a time where you eventually decide to live together. Obviously, moving in together can cut costs in many ways. However, if you've only previously lived alone you may not be prepared for some of the expenses a new partner brings. For example, you'll be surprised to see how your electricity bill skyrockets. Energy costs aren't exactly low to start with, and the addition of a new person with all their various gadgets and appliances can really add up.

Connections

As a relationship progresses, more and more expenses start to accumulate. For instance, you probably won't be expected to remember birthdays or anniversaries for your other half's family in the first year or two of a relationship. But as it matures, watch out! You'll acquire a whole new set of Christmas obligations. Of course, there are upsides – like a whole new set of people who feel obliged to give you gifts on your birthday!

A new relationship brings joy and excitement; a long-lasting relationship brings support and partnership. But both of them can bring unexpected new costs, from fuel bills to electricity prices. Obviously, these expenses aren't a good reason to embrace the single life, which has hidden costs of its own. But they are a factor that many people overlook to their cost. Whether you're starting a new relationship or taking an existing one to a new level, being aware of the hidden costs can help you avoid some awkward situations. 


Thursday, 6 February 2014

5 Top tips to help you beat a winter cold


Unsurprisingly it's because women tend to spend more time around children, who fall ill more often than adults.  Children tend to get a lot of colds because the body takes time to build up immunity.  Your body learns to fight off a particular kind of virus every time you get an infection, which is why you get fewer colds as you get older.

But how do busy women like you power through when you’re ill and give the kids the attention they crave?

Follow the 5 steps below and you and your family might just get to Spring without bearing the worst of what Mother Nature has to throw at us -

  1. Wash your hands often as cold and flu viruses can survive for up to 2 days on hard surfaces
  2. Sounds strange but keep your nose warm during the cold winter months.
  3. Drink water throughout the day to replace liquid lost due to sweating and a runny nose.
  4. Regular exercise boosts your immune system, giving your body the strength to fight harmful bacteria and viruses.
  5. Trust Vicks family products, such as Vicks VapoRub* and Vicks Sinex** Soother, to help relieve your cold.

*For the relief of Nasal congestion, sore throat and cough due to colds. Do not use on children under 2 years or as an inhalation for children under 8 years.  Always read the leaflet.


** For the relief of Nasal congestion – a nasal Spray that contains Oxymetazoline. For Adults and children over 12 years.  Always read the leaflet.

Brought to you by Vicks.