Shnooks – From bubble to best friend

Shnooks are SO FLUFFY

As die hard fluff fans we were really excited to be sent 2 from the Shnooks range to play with and review. Each Shnook comes in its own blister pack. Once you have freed the Shnook from it’s bubble, you give them a shake and POOF! They claim to grow to 8x their packaged size!

 

 

There are 6 to collect and each Shnook comes with their own comb, hairbands and hair clips. Each Shnook also has its own

To be honest I am not convinced that they do actually grow to 8x their size (though there is a LOT of hair) but they do appear a bit bigger after their shake and their cute factor more than makes up for this.

A really special touch I think is that all of the Shnooks have special best friend powers. Shweetly will always be by your side and Shmiley brings happiness you can’t hide. Shine gives you warmth so bright and Sheebah gives you courage and might.  Shnuggles gives cuddles so true while Shazam goes on adventures with you!

Each character is very cute and Lydia couldn’t wait to get stuck in! After a little trouble popping the shnubble-bubble on her own we helped out with a handy pair of scissors. 

Lydia gave them a good shake and was most impressed at the transformation. The shnooks reminded us a little of trolls with their very colourful hair and Lydia loved the little accessories with each of them and spent ages combing and playing with their hair. 

We were sent 2 shnooks for an honest review. All opinions are my own 

 

Project Mc2 Doll Review – Ember’s Fairy Wing Earrings

Project Mc2 is a Netflix original show

I must confess I hadn’t heard of Project Mc2 until I was offered the chance to review the “doll with experiment”. Bess was a whole other story though and when I mentioned it to her she excitedly began to tell me all about the Television show and it’s characters.

Project Mc2 is about four girls who use S. T. E. A. M. to save the world. S. T. E. A. M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art,and Math. The idea is to empower girls to work hard in school and to be smart.

I really like the concept and the more I heard from Bess the more I thought that this is exactly the kind of toy I would actively encourage my daughter and nieces to play with.

The Doll

As much as she loves the show, Bess felt like she was too old for the doll. Luckily my niece, Lydia, absolutely adores dolls and I knew she would be more than happy to roadtest Ember.

Ember comes complete with realistic eyelashes and a very nice woodland inspired outfit. I liked her freckles and pink hair and I think that with her moveable limbs she feels very well put together. She certainly stood up well to being played with by my nieces.

Body image is always an issue with girls, unfortunately even at Lydias age. As pretty as she is it would be nice to see the dolls take a more realistic body shape but I guess we can’t have it all!

All in all this is a really positive step forward I think. I would certainly be more inclined to choose a fashion style doll as a gift if it encouraged some creativity alongside the usual imaginative play.

The dolls retail at £24.99 and, of course, there’s a free app (the Project Mc2 Case Files) which accompanies them.

We received the doll in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Qblogger

A couple of weeks ago I joined a few new blogging friends to complete my first challenge as a QBlogger for our local Queensgate shopping centre

The whole QBlogger event was shrouded in secrecy

All I had been told was that we were to assemble (much like the Avengers) at Hotel Chocolat and await further instruction. 

 

You know you are about to embark on something rather exciting when it starts with a very indulgent hot chocolate and an envelope with a wax seal! 

 

Inside the envelope was a letter outlining my task for the evening ahead. I had to go shopping! Specifically I had to search the Queensgate shops for an outfit suitable for an evening dining with my Mummy friends. I thought about my Mummy friends and decided to look beyond the fact that we would be most at home necking a quick kebab (sorry ladies) in favour of a more civilised approach to the task at hand.

 

So, back to the hot chocolate. It was absolutely delicious and topped with an enormous amount of chocolate cream. While we all enjoyed our treat I took some photos of Hotel Chocolat’s gorgeous Christmas range. 

I love the tiddly pots (tubs of chocolate buttons in dark, caramel or milk) and I will definitely keep them in mind for a treat for Moose the next time we come for a mooch in town.

I need one of these wreaths. Pistachio, white chocolate and cranberry. The perfect trinity of flavour!

 

 

This is just a small selection of what is on offer this Christmas at Hotel Chocolat – don’t get me started on what look like the best advent calendars ever!

The Queensgate shopping centre is undergoing some really exciting changes at the moment but it is all still business as usual. I really love how colourful the new seating is though I have to admit, I still miss the sunken seating outside John Lewis!

I had to get my skates on

To say I am not the most natural of shoppers would be a little bit of an understatement. I am afraid that I am the classic stereotypical Mother who really only spends money on myself when it is necessary. What I lack in experience though I more than made up for in enthusiasm! The opportunity to spend on myself guilt-free? Yes please.

The first hurdle I had to overcome was finding a store which stocked my size. With the current reshuffle of shops it is admittedly a bit of a challenge to find a lot of choice for larger ladies in Queensgate while sticking to a budget. It’s not that none of the shops sell clothing in my size, it’s more that it is pot luck finding it to be on the rack! Usually I get around this by ordering online and collecting my purchases from the store.

By this point I had 1 hour to complete my challenge. Luckily New Look has a brilliant curves range which I was really impressed with.

I managed to spot a gorgeous suedette jacket and a charcoal top with sparkly silver detail (to add the requested touch of glam) and both were well within budget!

For me Autumn and Winter should be all about comfort and that means choosing fabrics which not only look nice but feel great too. I found a gorgeous mustard chunky knit scarf in Primark which definitely fitted the bill.

By the time I had located the scarf our time was up! I couldn’t believe how quickly it had flown by and how much fun we had completing the QBlogger challenge.

Our evening wasn’t over yet though, we had to meet the other bloggers at Turtle Bay restaurant. I cannot pretend that the prospect of meeting at one of my favourite restaurants didn’t fill me with glee!

Turtle Bay

Upon entry to the restaurant Jaymee and I were welcomed by the lovely Becca and Leigh and I was introduced to the other bloggers present; Rachel from Helpless Whilst Drying and Laura from Loved By Laura.

A little after we arrived we were joined by Sabina from Deepin Mummy Matters

turtle bay

I just love the food at Turtle Bay so I was not disappointed to have so many lovely dishes to try. Pictured are the Just Jerk Platter and the Goat Curry with Festival Dumplings and Rice and Peas. Delicious! 

Despite feeling incredibly nervous about my first QBlogger event it was lovely to meet everyone and have a good chat! Before we knew it was time to retreat back to our cars and head home.

I have to be honest, I really dislike being in photographs but I felt like I should show off my lovely New Look jacket so here is me looking aloof (it’s actually awkward more than aloof but I went with it), and a fence and some very autumnal leaves. You’re welcome. 

I naively thought that my purchases would remain my own. Moose had other ideas and the morning after our challenge he immediately adopted my chunky scarf for himself. I have since negotiated its safe return.

Thank you so much Queensgate for an exciting evening and for making me part of such a fabulous group of people!

 

Peppa Pig Interactive Play Mat Review

Like many families we have a love/hate relationship with Peppa pig

On one hand she is very rude and incredibly entitled. On the other hand she has provided my son with entertainment on days when I just needed 10 minutes to myself to go to the loo/drink a hot coffee/answer the phone and actually some of the episodes make me laugh. Okay so I am 35 and I have favourite episodes of Peppa Pig. Don’t pretend you don’t too…

peppa pig play mat review

Moose was overjoyed

When the Peppa Pig Interactive Play Mat arrived Moose was extremely keen to get stuck in right away. Luckily we had the required 3 x AA batteries in stock. The first (and I believe the most important) thing I check for on these kinds of toys is a volume switch. The Peppa Pig Interactive Play Mat has an option to choose between a high or low volume – handy!

The Peppa Pig Interactive Play Mat is a large (81cm) square. I was concerned that Moose might be a bit big for it but I needn’t have worried. The mat is recommended for ages 3+ but I think a younger child would enjoy playing on it with supervision too just because it’s really colourful and wipe clean.

peppa pig

What does it do?

Peppa Pig Interactive Play Mat has 4 activities to choose from.

  • Numbers
  • Peppa says
  • Sing Along
  • Find

Moose really enjoyed the sing along activity, Peppa Pig Interactive Play Mat features 3 songs for you (because you know the words by now) to sing along to including “big balloon” and “the Bing Bong song”. His other favourite activity was definitely Find – Moose loved trying to locate the various characters and items.

What did we think?

Moose loved how easy it was to play with and I have to agree. As well as being appealing to very young children aesthetically, this Play Mat is a great advertisement for electronic learning. I am a pretty easy sell on this subject. I really believe that a good electronic toy is excellent for developing a child’s communication skills as well as encouraging number and colour recognition. Because of the different activities available with this play mat I would recommend this toy as a great choice.

peppa pig play mat

Where can you get one?

This Play Mat would make a lovely gift for any Peppa fan and you can get your own here

We received a Peppa Pig Interactive Play Mat in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Kuato Famous Five Adventure Game Review

The Famous Five books were a firm favourite of mine growing up.

Growing up Enid Blyton was my favourite author and I am pretty sure my bookcase groaned under the weight of almost every book she ever published. I must admit though that even when I was reading them some <cough> 25 years ago they felt a little old fashioned. That’s not to say that Blyton’s books haven’t lasted, if you consider that The Famous Five celebrates its 75th birthday this year they have really done very well. 

famous five adventure game app

Bess is 11 and she has lots of Blyton books of her own and loves them – it’s amazing to me that these stories written so long ago could be loved by so many children down the generations. Bess is an easy sell though when it comes to books – her nose is never out of one. I love that she inherited this love of reading from me. She met her idol Jacqueline Wilson earlier this year which seemed to make her even more passionate about reading. 

Bringing the stories to life

When I was approached to take a look at the new Famous Five Adventure Game app for the iPhone I did not need much persuading! I knew Bess would love it but I decided instead to approach this review a little differently. My nephew Leo from The Knight Tribe is almost 12 and like a lot of boys his age is not really an Enid Blyton fan. He likes to read but prefers modern authors and comic books. Who better then to see how well this 21st century offering of The Famous Five would connect with a new generation of adventurers? 

Famous Five Adventure App

Kuato Studios has launched the new Famous Five mystery game on the App Store for iOS systems. It costs just £2.99 and the much loved characters of Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog have entered the 21st century. 

The app is a mystery game aimed at children 8-11 (although with a little help I think younger siblings would enjoy the game too) which sees the user able to select a quick game or a normal game. I think this is great for children who have a shorter attention span. 

Children can choose to be one of the Famous Five characters (yes, even Timmy) visiting Kirrin island and seeing lots of locations familiar to fans of the books. They can play lots of mini-games and puzzles which will help to solve the big mystery. When the mystery is solved a storybook of their adventure is generated for the child to read back. 

For dyslexic readers, there is a section within the parents corner where you can choose from accessibility options, including, OpenDyslexic font and colour overlays to help readability. 

What we thought

I really like that there were no adverts during the gameplay on this app. So often ads can get in the way and it made a refreshing change. The illustrations were lovely and the puzzles seemed to hold Leos interest really well. I think all in all that this app provides an excellent introduction to the Famous Five stories and as you can see from Leos massive smile this was a big hit with him!

Disclaimer: This was a collaborative post but all views remain honest and our own!