Air Hogs Sonic Rocket

Moose loves to play outside. He has a few garden toys but now he is bigger he has outgrown a lot of them. Most of the time outdoor play ends up with me being prodded by the random stick he has picked up and decided is his new “lightsaber”.

I was elated then when the Air Hogs Sonic Rocket landed on our doormat for us to try!

Air Hogs Sonic Rocket

At first glance there doesn’t appear to be much to it. For a toy which is priced at £19.99 I wasn’t so much disappointed as I was a bit bemused. Just under £20 for a bit of foam with a usb charging point seemed a little much. It felt a bit flimsy when we picked it up and it was quite apparent that this is the reason that this toys recommended age range is 8+.

What’s in the box?

Inside the box you will find comprehensive instructions, a foam rocket, a plastic clip together base and a charging lead.

Did it do what it was meant to?

And then some! The Sonic Rocket is almost ideal in its simplicity. The only assembly required is the plastic base which easily slots together. The rocket requires charging before it’s first use but as it is a usb lead and takes at most 20 minutes, you could do it in the car on the way to your destination of choice.

You will need space. I mean you could try and set it off in your garden but even the smallest gust of wind will set it way off course so why risk it? Unless you are looking for an excuse to get to know your neighbours. I’m not so off we went to the park.

Working out how to use the rocket is easy. Moose (age 3) cracked it straight away leading to me quickly grabbing the rocket before it shot off into a lake. There are 3 power modes: 50ft, 100ft or 200ft. All you need to do is press the button once for 50ft, twice for 100ft and three times for 200ft. Simple. There are rocket sound effects and the rocket propellor turns 5 times counting down to the launch.

Each charge will allow for approx 50 launches but after maybe the 30th it felt like it was losing a little oomph on take off. 

Was it worth the money?

Despite my initial reservations about the feel of the rocket, it was actually pretty great. It held its own against an excited 3 year old and his equally excited 12 year old sister and as long as it doesn’t blow too far astray on one of its Orbit flights I believe that we will get a lot of use of it! I think that this would make a great gift for several of my nieces and nephews too. 

The Air Hogs Sonic Rocket is available to buy from Amazon here 

 

sonic rocket

We received this product in exchange for our honest review.

 

NCS

Last year Col was finishing year 11 and looking for something to do for the summer. I happened across a post on social media showing teens getting stuck in to some outdoorsy activities. In the post, the teens were smiling. Actually smiling! Teens!

As any parent of teens can confirm, this is most unusual and as such it caught my eye. I read on. The post was an ad for a scheme called NCS and as it turned out, that post was about to become a big deal for our family.

The National Citizen Service (NCS)

In a time when a lot of what we see in the news are stories of division and intolerance and violence between people, bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience has never been more important. NCS was established in 2011 to help build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society

This year more than 100,000 teenagers from different backgrounds will come together in common purpose on NCS. The two to four week programme which takes place during the summer holidays includes a week of outdoor team building exercises, a residential week at a university where teens can learn life skills, a community based project to encourage our young people to be more active within their local area and an end of programme celebration event.

 ncs celebration

In a nutshell, the programme:

  • Puts young people through a series of challenging activities to take them out of their comfort zones and develop their strength of character
  • Provides a progressive journey that hands over more responsibility to young people as the programme progresses and develops leadership skills necessary to succeed in the workplace
  • Enables young people to connect with their communities through social action. 

teambuilding

What’s the catch?

So as I was reading through the list of what was included and all of the benefits I had this niggle that it was going to cost an arm and a leg. I was wrong. 

NCS is amazing value for money. The whole experience including food, accommodation and travel costs just £50 and bursaries are available on a case by case basis. Support is also provided for young people with additional needs.

If you have family time planned already over the summer then worry not! NCS is nationwide so there are many dates to choose from. It’s easy to register your interest online and NCS will be able to find a time to suit your family. 

ncs

Our experience

Col got so much out of joining the 400,000 young people who have already taken part in the NCS programme. He was incredibly anxious about the first day but by the end of the first week he was really into it. 

Time spent with his peers, concentrating on upping his self esteem and getting to know not only many new friends but to get to know himself too was so important for him.

As a parent I think it is one of the best things Col has ever done. I saw a change in him right away and it was definitely a change for the better! I would urge other Mums and Dads to consider registering their child – I wish we could do it again but this is a one time only deal.

ncs first aid

Even though NCS can only be completed once, they are really focused on providing a way for previous participants to keep that mindset of social action. There is a section on their website dedicated to this and they even have an Action Day on March 17th where “Grads” can come together to bring social change to their local communities. 

I believe that encouraging our young people to consider their responsibilities to their local community is massively important and the NCS programme mentality will ultimately lead to a better country for all of us. This is an important initiative and anything that gets our teens out of their bedrooms and off their consoles has to be a good thing, right?

 REGISTER

 

nc yes

 

Stuck Indoors For The School Holidays

A few weeks ago something happened which stressed me out so much that my cortisol levels went haywire and it left me with a bubble of fluid in my actual eyeball. My retina to be precise. More on that later but as I am currently viewing a very wibbly wobbly world I am having to avoid driving (or going outside if I can help it).

The timing of this is not brilliant. Easter with kids means 2 weeks with the little darlings at home. Fortunately the weather has been utterly rubbish so that has limited outing options anyway. Remember last years Easter break weather?

We spent the fortnight getting cracking on the planting of stuff last year. It didn’t grow (obviously, gardening and I do not mix well) but at least we were out there I suppose.

It did occur to me though when looking back through Instagram pics that we didn’t really go anywhere last year either and despite starting this holiday feeling more than a bit guilty about it, I am actually ok with not being my child’s Minister for Entertainment. Here’s why

1 Only boring people get bored 

Having nothing planned means that your child must fill that gap themself. This encourages creativity which can only ever be a positive, right?

When your mind is full of everything in your life it is incredibly hard to think creatively – the same is true for your child. My brother used to be able to get from one end of our home to the other without ever touching the floor (as that was lava of course) and I am sure that was bred of moments of pure boredom

2 Home does not = boring

You do not need to go to a farm or a theme park. Just look em in the eye and ask them what they want to do and engage with them on their level.

Why not let your child paint some rocks and go and hide them for other children to find?

Do they love to play on their gaming console? Then grab that second controller and be their player 2. No stress, no financial outlay, just time to connect. They will love you for it. 

3 Boredom teaches independence 

You can’t always be there to tell your child what to do every step of the way, and you shouldn’t have to. Being bored teaches your kids that they have to rely on themselves. It teaches them to be independent with their learning and find ways to entertain themselves.

4 It’s a life skill

Coping with situations which they do not find very exciting or stimulating is definitely something your child will need to learn how to do as they grow. I cannot begin to count how many times this has happened as an adult but if I add up all of those work meetings, Toddler groups (sorry, they are boring. You know it and I know it) and times when my child is telling me about minecraft. Well, it’s a lot.

Being bored as a kid has allowed me to perfect my “this is so interesting” look (while mentally preparing meal plans or planning my next creative writing masterpiece) 

5 Boredom doesn’t really exist

The word “boredom” was first used by Dickens in Bleak House in 1852. Of course, tedium has been around a lot longer but the actual word boredom is relatively new. 

As an adult I quite enjoy moments of nothingness. Just silence to sit and fill with my own thoughts. As a Mum it doesn’t happen often.

not bored at home

Boredom is a choice. I choose not to get bored, instead I value the time and use it to be mindful which I think is really important for mental health and generally feeling Human again! This is something I am hoping my children will learn for themselves but what better way than to lead by example?

How do you cope with bored children over the holidays? 

 

Alienwork Quartz Watch Review and Giveaway

This week I was offered the chance to try out the Alienwork quartz watch. Happily the email landed in my inbox just as I was attempting to find a present for Cols upcoming 17th birthday. What’s even better is that I was offered an extra one to give away to one lucky reader! Result!

I chose the black on black design with a Milanese style strap and decided that it would be the perfect gift for 17 year old Col.

The Watch

The watch arrived quickly (I love Amazon Prime) and came packaged in a felt wallet with button detail. I thought it made a nice change from a box and would come in handy for travelling and such. I have nabbed the wallet for keeping jewellery/make up in my handbag.

The watch itself is surprisingly good quality. It has a really slimline and lightweight design but it does feel like it would withstand life on a teenagers wrist quite nicely. I chose the black design which Col absolutely loves but I did notice that it’s not the easiest to read in dim lighting.

mens watch

Because Col is a bit of a rake I was a bit worried that perhaps the watch strap might be a bit loose for him. Luckily the strap is adjustable. It fits him perfectly and will continue to as he grows. Col loves how smart the watch looks and I agree, it is understated but really stylish.

For an RRP of £32.22 (and currently on sale for just £20) this watch has exceeded my expectations. I would definitely recommend it as a fabulous unisex gift. You can find them here

 

Win an Alienwork Quartz Watch #4

Easter Gift Guide 2018

Easter is all about the chocolate. People might try to tell you that your kids deserve better or more but (frankly) at least when they get fed up with chocolate, you benefit!

That said, I can concede that there is a LOT out there to choose from and sometimes you might not want to buy a mountain of chocolate. So, with that in mind here is our guide to some cool Easter buys for 2018

Hotel Chocolat

All of it. Honestly, you cannot go wrong with an Easter treat from Hotel Chocolat. We love the Easter H box which contains 15 spring tiddly eggs brimming with caramels, pralines and tipples, all in our Chocolate Easter Egg Box. They say it’s great for sharing, but nobody is going to make you…

Tiddlytubbies book

If you have a very small person to buy for this Easter you might want to look at non edible gifts. This Tiddlytubbies book is reasonably priced, brightly coloured and best of all you can order it without leaving the house.

Divine Milk Chocolate Popcorn Easter Egg

This fair trade popcorn Easter egg is made with Divine’s signature smooth and buttery milk chocolate, and is encrusted with air-popped gourmet salted caramel popcorn from award-winning popcorn brand Joe & Seph. The first of its kind, this totally fair trade egg is contains two extra snack-sized Joe & Seph’s salted caramel popcorn sachets.

Holland and Barrat Moo Free Bunnycomb Easter Egg

This dairy free Easter egg is made from award winning organic, dairy free alternative to milk chocolate in a factory that has only ever been used to make dairy free products. Now available is original, orange and bunnycomb.

 

Smiggle Easter rubbers

the ultimate easter gift is back! Contains 6 scented 3d and puzzle erasers. get in quick, designs are only available in this easter carton. plus find a lucky white egg in your easter carton and you could win a 150 pound smiggle shopping spree.