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!

 

 

 

A couple of weeks ago we received the Kinetic Rocks playset to try out. I love sensory play but I hadn’t thought of this toy as fitting into that category until Moose and Bess began to play with it.

The Kinetic Rock Crusher set gives children the chance to have some real construction fun at home. Kinetic rock is real rock that magically sticks together making it perfect to shape and mould. The set comes with:

  • 12oz of Kinetic Rock.
  • Dump truck with bucket.
  • Rock crusher.
  • Workman figure.
  • Bolder mould.
  • Tools
  • Transformable sand box.

The Kinetic Rock Crusher playset looked pretty simple to put together so to test that theory, I got Bess to do it. It really was easy and in no time she and Moose were ready to play.

The idea is that the tiny gravel like pieces never dry out. The downside to this though is that it is sticky. Great for playing with but it can get messy. Once this stuff hits the floor you will be picking it off EVERYTHING pretty much forever. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

90 minutes had passed before Moose began to lose interest. AN HOUR AND A HALF. This alone prompted me to immediately order another bag of the rocks You don’t get very much of it and it gets everywhere as previously mentioned so you probably will need more.

I have set aside a tray for him to use while he is playing with it on the patio. It’s a great toy but it is not going to be an inside toy! This would be ideal for an outdoor TUFF tray. I really like the creative and sensory aspects of this playset and Moose is really into imaginative play at the moment so I know he will play with it loads.

 

Disclaimer: I received a playset in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and my socks are still picking up rocks.

WITH THE FIDGET SPINNER I WAS LATE TO THE GAME 

Poor Bess didn’t tell me she wanted one so I assumed she didn’t. First rule of parenting a tween? Assume nothing.

With this in mind, when we were given the opportunity to review the next big thing in the fidget toy universe we would have been utter fools to resist.

At first glance this piece of beechwood looks like the handle from a skipping rope (it still looks like this after a few glances to be honest) but it is so much more!

The Mokuru arrives with no instructions. We had absolutely no idea what we were meant to do with it other than to “flip it”.
mokuru Fidget Desk Toy

It seemed like a good idea

I thought it would be fun to see if we could figure out this thing without going online. Our method was to (with some force) kind of flip it over and throw the Mokuru down onto the breakfast bar. 5 minutes in and I concluded that we needed some help before we started taking chunks out of the kitchen.

You tube saved the day

So it turns out that Mokuru is already pretty popular. There are loads of people showing off their skills online. We picked a vid and 2 minutes later we were having a go for ourselves.

We were overthinking it if anything. You kind of just gently push it over and it flips itself. Some kind of magic science not meant to be understood by the likes of me but needless to say it was not long before both Bess and I were hooked. It did admittedly bring out our competitive streak but we were soon keeping the Mokuru flipping between each other for ages! The great thing about this toy is that you really do get better every time you pick it up.

WIN!

We have 2 Mokuru fidget toys to give away. To enter just follow the instructions in the form below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:

1. The prize consists of 2 Mokuru Fidget Sticks. There will be two winners who will each receive one Mokuru fidget Stick. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
2. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over.
3. Closing date for entries is 12:00am on 30th September 2017
4. Mokuru stick may come in a variety of different colours
5. The winners will be chosen at random from all valid entries
6. The winners will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen
7. The winner’s name will be available on request
8. The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address
9. Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions

 

Despite being born in Peterborough and having lived here for 31 of my 35 years I didn’t know that the walk through from Bridge Street to the back of the town hall has a name. It does, it’s called St Peters Arcade – and that is where you will find Middletons Steakhouse & Grill.

tables and chair steakhouse

Middletons isn’t just any old restaurant

All of the meat served here comes from their own butchery based in Norfolk. Middletons is a large 230 seater restaurant set over 2 floors with good disabled access and stylish decor. I absolutely love steak (who doesn’t?) so when we received an invitation to come along to one of their preview nights, how could we resist?

seating at middletons

So much choice

We were seated quickly by Shona and John came to introduce himself as our waiter for the evening soon after. Following a long look over our menu I decided on the Calamari to start. It arrived in good time and was fresh, crispy and golden. It was also big! Each golden breaded ring was about the size of my fist! An excellent start to the evening.

calamari from above middletons

The menu at Middletons offers a massive array of delicious sounding meals but as we were at a steakhouse it felt only right that we should choose steak. I went for the “Steak & Sticky” which was a 6oz sirloin with a half rack of sticky BBQ ribs and a chilli & spring onion garnish.  All meals from the grill menu come with a choice of 1 side. I chose Coleslaw which was really creamy – perfect for me! The ribs were wonderfully juicy and the meat just fell off the bone.

The star of the show though was of course the steak. My knife glided through my medium rare sirloin without any trouble at all. The meat was succulent and melt in the mouth perfection. One of the best steaks I have ever eaten in fact.

jaymee from the mum diaries blog

After a quick loo break during which I ran into my sister blogger, Jaymee, from The Mum Diaries it was time to order dessert. After much deliberation I decided upon the Creme Brulee. My dessert was the perfect ending to what had been a fabulous meal. 

middletons creme brulee

Would i go again?

Yes, I would. In a heartbeat. There are so many dishes on the menu that I think it would be difficult to get bored here. Prices range from the £50 36oz steak all the way down to the £9.99 set menu so there really is something to suit all budgets at Middletons.

The staff were friendly and attentive without being overbearing and our water bottle was kept replenished throughout our meal. 

I noticed that there is also the facility on their website to pre order your food when you have a table booked – a very useful function when you don’t have much time to spare! 

I think Peterborough finally has the steakhouse it has needed for a long time.

 

Disclaimer: We were invited to have a meal in exchange for a review. All opinions are as ever our own.

Reading has always been something I have loved to do. bESS TOO!

Ever since I was a small child I have enjoyed the escape offered by a good read.

Bess has thankfully inherited this love and is rarely seen without her nose stuck in a book. Her most favourite author is and has been for some time. Jacqueline Wilson. She has read everything Dame Wilson has written but has a special fondness for a character called Hetty Feather.

You can imagine how excited we were to receive an invitation to travel to the Foundling Museum and have the opportunity to meet Bess’s aforementioned idol!

Getting There

As we don’t often get to spend one-to-one time together I decided we should make a day of it. My brother kindly did his Uncle duty and agreed to look after Moose overnight so that Bess and I could catch an early train.

We hopped on the 7am train to Kings Cross and we were off! It was nice and quiet for most of the journey so we spent time chatting about how excited she was to meet Dame Wilson.

The Foundling Museum

The Museum is found on Brunswick square – the nearest tube station being Russell Square. It is set inside the Foundling hospital which was established in 1739 to offer care to babies at risk of abandonment. The founder, Thomas Coram was helped in his endeavour by the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel. Over the years many artists have become fellows which allows them to use their talent to create a project to inspire and involve young people and contribute to the work of the museum.

In 2008 Jacqueline Wilson became part of this fellowship and she created the character of Hetty Feather.

Picturing Hetty Feather

The exhibition is situated in the basement of the museum. At first glance it isn’t that big but to a Hetty fan I can assure you that it is a trove of delights! As well as costumes and props from the television series you will find other items such as a meal planner for the hospital and a set of rules for Matron.

watching Hetty Feather

I call this look; “sweaty, frizzy tube hair”

As well as things to see, the children could also dress up in some of the costumes from the series. Sadly I couldn’t persuade Bess to do so this time.

It was really interesting to explore the museum and try to imagine the lives of the foundlings and as a Mother I found some of it quite emotional. To have reached the point where signing your child over seemed like the best choice for them must have been so desperately sad.

Meeting Jacqueline Wilson

So, as we walked through the exhibition I saw a small set woman with white hair sitting quietly next to a desk and it took me a minute for my brain to catch up and realise that it was Dame Wilson.

Bess took her place in line (and grumbled a bit about deciding to leave her copy of Hetty feather at home) and soon it was her turn. To say Bess was starstruck was a bit of an understatement. She very politely asked Dame Wilson if she could please take a photo with her and told her that she was a massive fan. Dame Wilson was really lovely and thanked her for her kind words.

After that Bess didn’t stop grinning. We stood and listened to Jacqueline Wilson speak about Hetty Feather and her new book ‘Hetty Feather at Christmas’ as well as a book she is working on about a character called Rose Rivers which will be one to watch out for next year!

Admission

£8.25* Adults
£5.50* Concessions
FREE for children, Foundling Friends & National Art Pass holders

An additional £3 applies for Picturing Hetty Feather (FREE for children & Foundling Friends)

*Ticket prices include a voluntary Gift Aid donation

Open

Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 – 17:00
Sunday, 11:00 – 17:00
Monday closed

Joanne Whelan (Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones) is one of the impressive cast from the CBBC series

She just cannot walk past one without having a go (we didn’t get chucked out this time)

We really enjoyed our experience at The Foundling Museum and I would visit again. There are plenty of activities for families over the summer and into September. You can find more information here

 Bess hasn’t stopped talking about meeting Dame Wilson and I hope it’s something she will remember for a long time.

Love 

Mummy & Moose