Keeping the kids busy with Spinmaster toys

Products in this post were provided for the purposes of this or previous posts and reviews

I have always been a big advocate of all toys being meant for all children. There are no boys toys and girls toys in this house! Spinmaster are a brand whose toys have been consistently a hit with my children as well as nieces and nephews over the years. Now that we are heading from Spring and into Summer (and we all have far more month left than money) we are going through and sorting out toys to play with indoors and outdoors too! Here are a few of our Spinmaster favourites.

Fuggler

I will be honest, I’m not sure whether it’s me or Moose who loves these little guys more but since our first, Snuggla the Fuggler came to live with us, we have had many other Fuggler additions to our family. You can read more about our adventures with our very first Fuggler here

Meccano

For over 100 years, Meccano has inspired countless engineers, designers, architects and creative minds of all ages. Meccano is more than just a toy, it is a tool for teachers and educators.

Meccano has worked with the best schools and universities, including the USC Engineering and Robotics Research Lab, to make its Meccano Maker System line highly compatible with STEM initiatives.

Kinetic Sand and Rocks

kinetic sand

A toy I both love and hate in equal measure. Don’t get me wrong, it is utterly brilliant for creative play but if you have ever tried to clean Kinetic rock off a rug then you know… Outdoor play with this stuff is (in my humble opinion) the way forward.

That said, Moose will play with his Kinetic rock or his Kinetic sand at any given opportunity and once it’s out, it keeps him occupied for AGES!

We were lucky enough to review both and you can read more about Kinetic rock here and Kinetic sand here.

Hatchimals

Moose loves a collectable and he enjoys a surprise toy. Hatchimals is seriously up his street! The characters are cute and the process of getting into the eggs is easy and quick enough for him not to get bored. A good all rounder I think. We were sent some Hatchimals to review and you can read more here

Air Hogs

Who doesn’t love a rocket? What I like best about the Air Hogs Sonic Rocket is how simple it is. Because it really is simple, Moose and his friends have hours of fun with it. You can read our review here 

Cool Maker KumiKreator

Easily spin to create: The cool maker kumikreator is a breakthrough bracelet maker, it makes it so easy to create friendship bracelets without a single knot needed! We have reviewed this one in the past – you can read about it here. Bess still uses it! Moose loves the bracelets his sister makes for him too.

Bakugan

This one has definitely been the big hit of the Spring in our house. Moose has been playing with this one most days! You can read our review here.

Bakugan Battle Arena and Bakugan Starter Set Review

These products were sent to us for the purpose of writing this post. All opinions remain honest and our own

Moose is at such a weird age when it comes to toys. On one hand he still has (and loves) his dolls house and soft toys but he is definitely heading in a wholly different direction of play too with action figures and much more complicated games. Complicated for me, you understand, not him.

Moose was over the moon when we were sent the Bakugan Battle Arena and Bakugan Starter Set recently. I had a vague concept of what Bakugan was in that I knew that there was an animated series where there were “brawls” and that it was very popular. That was about it.

bakugan

Whats in the box?

The Battle Arena

I suspected that the box might be needed as part of the play for the Arena. I picked at the sellotape carefully and managed to open it in such a way that it could be used if needed. This turned out to be entirely unnecessary. You don’t need the box at all. Hopefully the bin men will marvel at my meticulous unpacking. Sigh. Anyway, inside the box you will find:

  • 1 Bakugan Battle Arena
  • 1 Exclusive Bakugan
  • 2 BakuCores
  • 1 Ability Card
  • 1 Character Card

Bakugan Starter Set

  • 1 Bakugan Ultra
  • 2 Bakugan
  • 6 BakuCores
  • 3 Ability Cards
  • 3 Character Cards

How do you play?

How DO you play? This was my thought having read the instructions (twice!)

Having scoured the instructions until my few remaining braincells ached I followed this up with a search on Youtube and managed to find this really helpful video on how to play a basic game. There are more games and brawls to be had and you can find out all about those online or within the instructions if you can understand them – I have a feeling that my teenagers would have no problem at all.

We will definitely be learning how to play the more complicated games but I think that sticking with a basic brawl makes good sense for now!

What did we think?

Well, funny story.. As I write this we are, like the rest of the country, on lockdown. This means that non essential shops like toy shops are closed. Thanks to a slight technical hitch we were not sent the Bakugan through the post and I had to add them onto a supermarket shop. Not a problem except I was entirely unaware that to play Bakugan you actually need to start off with 3 each. Sadly we only had 2 each so we compromised and just played a slightly shorter game but twice. We will definitely be adding to the collection though. It will be a much more entertaining game with lots of Bakugan to choose from. Plus, Moose loves the little creatures.

I like that there is an educational aspect within the game where the players have to read the numbers and see which are the highest to find the winner. I can see the collectable aspect being very popular with Moose. He already wants to add to the collection!

Bakugan Battle Arena and Starter Set are available from Amazon as well as all good toy shops and supermarkets

 

The best pancakes ever recipe

Calling something the best ever is a bold statement. This, however, is the hill on which I am willing to die. We are 2 weeks into lockdown with 5 yr old Moose. He (much like his Mum) is very much led by his stomach so, when he woke up in a bit of a grump on Sunday I knew there was really only 1 thing for it. Pancakes!

Now, usually I would go and buy them. I know, I know, but although I’m a decent cook my Husband would attest that I have a tendency to use every single item in the kitchen. This leaves a whole lot of mess that, frankly, I cannot usually be arsed with.

Obviously at the moment just nipping to the shops is a no go and I am trying REALLY hard to meal plan and stay in budget. This left me with only one option. Make the pancakes (have you met a grumpy 5 yr old? not making them wasn’t the answer here)

I got it into my head that the situation called for big fat fluffy pancakes rather than the thin English (French?) style ones I usually go for. Nope, we needed American style nosh. Luckily I had the ingredients to make them – ish. For toppings I borrowed some sausages from tomorrows dinner and found some strawberries and blueberries which needed eating along with maple syrup and spray cream.

eggs and whisk

Ingredients

2 eggs

12oz Self raising flour

2tbsp Caster (or whatever) sugar

Big pinch of salt

1tsp Bicarbonate of soda

200ml Buttermilk

400ml Milk

3oz Butter (melted)

 

Method

First job for me was to make the buttermilk. If you have some then kudos but I use it so rarely it feels like a waste of money to buy it. Besides, it’s really simple to make by mixing 1 tbsp of lemon juice (out of a bottle) with 200ml milk. If you don’t have lemon juice, white vinegar will work too.

Sieve the flour, sugar, salt and bicarb in a bowl together. In a separate jug mix the wet ingredients and pour into bowl of dry ingredients, mixing as you go.

You really don’t need to beat this much, a quick whisk will do to combine it into a fairly smooth batter. Don’t over do it!

Use the best non stick pan you have. On pancake day I bought a pan from a major supermarket who happened to be running a “pancake day bits for a fiver” scheme. It was surprisingly good and since then my husband has been getting the Baskin side eye (if you know, you know) every time he goes to get the pan out for something other than pancakes.

Heat a bit of butter in the pan over a moderate heat and then use a ladle to put the batter in the pan. Big dollops for big pancakes and smaller dollops for smaller pancakes. Turn the pancake over after about a minute. They should be golden brown and fluffy. Don’t feel bad if it takes a bit of practise. Pancakes are like children, the first one is sometimes a bit weird.

I opted to have mine with sausages and maple syrup. The kids love theirs with strawberries and an absolute ton of spray cream. What do you have on yours?

Buttermilk pa

 

 

 

 

Meal plan – No takeaways but all the pancakes.

If there is one thing to come out of all of this Covid-19 madness it is this: The closure of restaurants has seriously made me address my eating habits. This is easily the longest I have gone without eating out in years. Like, a lot of years! If I am being honest I reckon I get through 4 takeaways and 2/3 dining out meals per week. Mostly lunches. Since the whole self isolation stuff kicked in eating out obviously isn’t an option.

I know we COULD have a takeaway and there are still a few open around here but it just feels a bit wrong to. What’s the point in doing all we can to limit contact with others and then ignore the food in the cupboard in favour of phoning out for something prepared by people we don’t know who could ill and not even know it. I would rather not take the risk. Plus of course having my income take a massive nose dive has also factored heavily..

There are other options though. I have been doing loads more cooking and I have even had a go at making my own Chinese takeaway meal (check out Ziangs channel on You Tube. I love it!) and I made the best pancakes I have eaten this weekend (don’t panic dear reader, I took  pic and will share my recipe) so all in all I am looking at things in a positive light. Hopefully it stays that way!

 

chicken parmigiana

Our week in food 

Saturday: Chicken and veg tray bake with Jacket spuds

Sunday: Roast lamb with mash.

Monday: Sausages and dauphinoise potatoes with peas.

Tuesday: Chicken Parmigiana with homemade garlic bread. Never made garlic bread before but how hard could it be?

Wednesday: Fish and chips and mushy peas (I can already hear my kids protests about the mushy peas)

Thursday:  Egg fried rice, satay chicken and pork dumplings.

Friday: Chicken wraps. If I win it will be enchiladas, if my family win it will be fajitas. I might have a go at making those crispy potato thins. Cannot think of the name of them, any ideas?

 

 

Katykicker

Our Easter plans 2020

Some of the items in this post were received in exchange for inclusion. All opinions are honest and my own

Ordinarily our Easter plans would be very different. I love the Easter school holidays because it’s really the first one of the year where the weather is good enough to be able to head outdoors. A few months ago I bought a spring/summer pass for Sacrewell Farm which is local to us. My plan at the time had been to spend the bulk of our Easter holidays there at the farm! They have great out door spaces as well as all of the cute animals but then along came Covid19 to just stomp all over everyone’s plans.. Easter is no exception by the looks of things.

It does suck but it’s not the end of the world (just yet) so let’s just buckle up and let Easter be a big ol’ distraction, mmkay?

Edible treats

G&B’S ULTIMATE ORGANIC EASTER EGG BASKET

The Ultimate Green & Black’s Easter Egg hamper perfect for indulging all your family and friends at Easter. Delivered in a beautiful black twisted paper woven onto black metal frame hamper with black faux leather with two silver metal clasps. Open the Ultimate Easter basket to to reveal the new collection of indulgent organic dark and milk chocolate chocolate eggs from Green & Black’s.

cadbury gift basket

Lily O’Brien’s Desserts Collection

This indulgent box of assorted chocolates inspired by the world’s best loved dessert and pudding recipes.

Each chocolate box contains 18 chocolates including milk, dark and white chocolates including Hazelnut Torte, Passion Fruit Posset, Banoffee Pie, Creme Brulee, Raspberry Infusion and Key Limey Pie.

Personalised Retro Red Sweet Hamper 

The best things come in small packages and this hamper is packed to the brim with a fantastic assortment of retro sweet classics. It is beautifully presented and very unusual so will make a great gift for any occasion.

The dimensions of the hamper are: 5.5cm high x 25cm wide x 17cm deep

Inside is a 500g classic assortment of all your favourite Swizzels sweets.

Contents may vary but will include a combination of some of the following: 500g assortment of old school classic sweets that includes Love Hearts, Refreshers, Drumsticks, Parma Violets, Double Dip, Double Lollies, Fizzers & Fruity Pops.

Mixed Gnawbles Taster pack!

If you are searching for your new favourite lower sugar treat, this is the ultimate taster pack of Gnawbles for you! With 4 delicious without doubt flavours for you to try, you can’t go wrong here!

All flavours are Vegan and Top 14 allergen Safe… that’s right, even the hazelNOT flavour!

 

DAIRY MILK POPPING CANDY HOLLOW BUNNY

Cadbury chocolate shaped hollow bunny made with delicious Cadbury Dairy Milk with popping candy in. This will appeal to adults and children alike!

 

chocolate bunny

Non Edible treats

 

A DIY non edible egg hunt

Moose absolutely loves these surprise eggs. There are all sorts which I like to treat him to sometimes on shopping trips. His current favourite is the Treasure X Aliens eggs. Break open the hard outer shell to discover a squishy alien egg inside Squeeze to hatch and watch it explode Inside, covered in alien ooze is a mini slime sucking alien plus an alien treasure. Will you find a real gem? 12 to collect

They would make a great egg hunt and because they aren’t chocolate, they are great for a warmer Easter or for children for whom chocolate isn’t an option.

Smiggle Egg-cellent Surprise

What’s inside? It’s a surprise!

Each egg contains 6 items including

  • 1x Fluffy Sand
  • a Sticky Slap Hand
  • 1x Slapband
  • a Keyring
  • 1x Squishie
  • a Wallet

 

Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Spring Bouquet

Hatchimals are ready to bloom for Spring! This beautiful Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Spring Bouquet includes six exclusive characters – five hidden inside flowers and one cutie ready to play! Remove each stem from the bouquet and gently crack open each flower to reveal your new Springtime friends. Discover exclusive brightly-colored characters with golden glittery wings inside each bloom! Place the stems back into the bouquet and display your characters on top.

With a total of 12 characters to collect from two different bouquets (each sold separately), the Spring Bouquet is the prettiest way to display your Hatchimals! The Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Spring Bouquet is the perfect way to celebrate Spring and makes a great Easter gift for kids aged 5 and up. Hatch the sweetest flower bouquet with the Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Spring Bouquet!

Real Littles Stacey Cakes’ Icy Treats Scooter

Shopkins Real Littles™ have arrived in the frozen aisle! Real brands from the supermarket freezer, made mini! Discover and collect all the new Mini Packs to create your own mini mega market frozen food aisle! Meet the sweet Stacey Cakes and her 2 “Good Humoured” Shopkins – Sami Strawberry Ice Cream and Lil’ Chip Cookie Sandwich!

Stacey Cakes is ready to go shopping on her Icy Treats Scooter, and she can store her Mini Packs in the scooter’s storage box, ready to ride! This is the coolest way to beat the heat! With more than 40 Real Littles™ mini frozen brands to collect the Shopkins Real Littles™ are great fun for girls and boys who love shopping play, collectibles and cool surprises.