Now that Bess is in year 8, she really needs a device to help with schoolwork and studies. I did wonder originally whether I should just let her use my (now ancient at 5 years old) laptop but it is slow and a bit cumbersome due to it’s size. Bess has worked really hard this year and has an amazing attitude to school (and life generally). So, when we were asked recently whether we would like to try out the new Asus Zenbook UX410U I, of course, said yes!

asus zenbook

The Asus Zenbook UX410U is a lot smaller than my old thing. It’s a really pretty grey colour which when it catches the light looks a little purple. Purple is her favourite colour so I know Bess is going to love it!

The Zenbook has a 14″ screen so it’s small enough to slip into a backpack or bag without it weighing you down. It weighs just 1.4kg. This is a great device for using at home or taking along with you to be able to get work done on the go. With up to 8 hours battery life I can imagine it would be very comfortable to use at our local cafe.

The slimline design of the Asus Zenbook gives it a great aesthetic. The NanoEdge display means that you have a great field of view. There is very little wasted space around the edges of the screen. This makes it perfect for watching box sets or movies. Or in my daughters case Hamilton. So much Hamilton.

The Asus has an aluminium (rather than plastic) casing which adds to the feel of quality. Along with a combo audio jack, there’s a full-sized HDMI connector plus USB 3.1 and USB Type-C ports on the left-hand side. An SD card slot and two further USB 2 ports sit on the right. Asus tucks the speakers under the front lip of the laptop, and they’re worthy of the Harman Kardon branding – loud, clear and detailed.

I am not so keen on the keyboard. For me, the keys seem a little large? Maybe the keys on my old thing are on the small side though so it might just be personal preference. That said, they are fine to type with and backlit. I have heard murmurs about there being issues with the Zenbook’s touchpad. I haven’t found it to be a problem at all.

The Asus Zenbook UX410U was really easy to set up. The power button is right next to the delete button though. Guess which one I accidentally hit.. The Zenbook sprang to life and was soon talking me through password set ups and the like with the aid of Cortana!

Key Features

Up to 8 hours battery life
Light and portable at 1.4kg
Intel® Core™ i3 processor – for work & entertainment
4GB RAM – run 3 to 6 things like streaming & work docs
128GB SSD offers plenty of storage & super-fast loading

I think Bess is going to be absolutely over the moon with this laptop and I am even tempted to get another to replace mine! It has everything you would expect from a laptop in the mid range bracket and I am sure it will help Bess with her studies and socialising!

I received this product in exchange for a review. Opinions are honest and my own.

My knowledge of the periodic table is summed up in 2 points. 1) I know that Sheldon and Leonard have a periodic table shower curtain in The Big Bang Theory and 2) I know I don’t know enough about the periodic table.

That said, aside from a couple of questions on University Challenge I don’t believe I have ever had cause to use knowledge of the periodic table in my general adult life. However. We were recently sent a board game called FReNeTiC to review which is themed around the periodic table. I must admit that due to my aforementioned almost complete ignorance I was worried about how well I would fare against my opponents.

Spoiler alert: I won.

FReNeTiC

The idea of FReNeTiC is that it’s a word game with a difference. But make no mistake, despite its periodic table theme it is much more about words than science.

Play is started by player 1 choosing 8 tiles and placing them on their corresponding square on the board. All players then attempt to make words using the tiles on the board before the timer runs out. Player 2 then chooses 4 tiles and all players again attempt to make words from tiles on the board. Scores are added up using the atomic numbers on the tiles used.

Play carries on until somebody reaches 1000 points.

I really like this game. It might be my favourite board game of 2018 actually. I am in favour of toys and games which point toward STEM learning and we found that FReNeTiC prompted Bess to ask questions about the elements. I also like that you could quite possibly learn a fair amount about the periodic table almost incidentally really.

…..and maths, too

So as well as using our grey matter to find words. FReNeTiC also encourages learning about the elements and because the atomic numbers tended to be some pretty big numbers, Bess also got a bit of math practise too. This is a great educational game. I would definitely recommend it.

FReNeTiC is available from Amazon and John Lewis as well as lots of other shops.

We were sent a copy of the game to try it out and give our honest opinion.

Because my work involves being a bit creative and effectively playing with what Moose refers to as “grown up playdough”. I really quite like it when I find a toy that the children can sit up to the table and play with alongside me. Playfoam ticks pretty much all boxes where that kind of a toy is concerned.

Playfoam is a super lightweight non toxic playstuff which resembles polystyrene balls (think the inside of beanbags). They are coloured and they smoosh together but they never go that horrible murky grey colour. Playfoam is sticky but not in a sticks to everything and never be able to clean it up way. It is pleasantly sticky. If that’s a thing.

SURPRISE

Moose really like the blind bag aspect of this toy. Within the Playfoam is a creature. There are 12 to collect and included is a little tick sheet so you can mark them off as you go. We were lucky enough to find a golden creature too!

I really liked this toy and I could see it making a really good stocking filler. It is definitely something I will be looking out for in the shops for Moose. Despite trying to think of any cons I really can’t. It’s easy to play with, pretty clean and it encourages imagination!

 

I am determined that this year that our Christmas will be more about being than about buying.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The children love toys and gifts and of course they will have some but I am trying to concentrate my efforts on the other “stuff”.

Family is very important (just as well, we don’t have a small one) and growing up there were things we did every year and I remember them fondly. Hopefully one day I will be able to give my own children some memories like that.

One of the things we do every year is to give the children a pair of new Pyjamas. I love Christmas pyjamas and over the colder months my lot seem to want to come home from school and get straight into their PJ’s and dressing gown. Who can blame them?

La Coqueta kindly sent Moose a pair of their pyjamas for him to try out. I really love how well packaged they were. Wrapped in tissue paper and presented in a cotton drawstring bag.

The detailing on the pyjamas is really lovely. The red gingham with a little bit of green and white reminds me of candy canes.

I think I will always prefer the traditional pyjama style to the more contemporary alternatives. I don’t mind clothing with characters on it but I think they have their place and besides, the traditional ones always look nicer in photos. It’s all about the ‘gram!

Moose loved his new La Coqueta pyjamas. The material they are made from is a lightweight cotton but they seem to keep him warm. They are machine washable but don’t tumble dry them. He loves the little pockets and he has stashed many small toys in them already.

I really rate these pyjamas highly. They would make a lovely gift and I will definitely be using La Coqueta in future!

 

we received the featured product in exchange for our honest opinion.

 

Even though the youngest member of our family happens to be a boy, we have not escaped the current craze for Unicorns. Those things are EVERYWHERE right now and our house is no exception. Slime is also very much on our radar too. Put those together along with what is effectively a giant bling bag style toy and you have the ingredients for a hit toy!

Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise is a sure favourite on the top toys lists for Christmas 2018 and we were recently sent one to play with.

poopsie

What’s in the box

Well, Poopsie is a surprise. A bit like a giant blind bag really. There are 4 to collect: Rainbow Brightstar, Oopsie Starlight, Whoopsie Doodle and Dazzle Darling. Along with your unicorn character you will also find other accessories such as: a diaper (it’s a nappy but let’s go with what the packaging says..). a t shirt, measuring cup, poop character keychain, unicorn spoon, collector’s sheet, potty, unicorn food and unicorn magic.

 

How does it work?

Poopsie is a cute unicorn doll with a slime making feature.

Once you have fed Poopsie the ingredients to make the slime, give her a quick shake. Pop her on her glitter potty and press her tummy button to see the slime.. erm… appear.

Sounds simple? Well, it is and it isn’t. Here are some tips to ensure you get the best from your Poopsie experience.

  • Make sure the switch is in the correct (feeding) position before you start
  • Consider using slightly less water than the instructions tell you to. Add more unicorn magic if you need to
  • Cover all surfaces. You do NOT want this anywhere near your carpets
  • Don’t put the nappy/diaper on to make the slime – we found that it pressed the tummy button in and generally got in the way
  • If your slime is still runny leave it to set for a little while longer
  • Tie your unicorns hair back before starting as it will get in the way

I was expecting this toy to be my idea of hell

It was very cutesy, VERY pink and it combines poo and slime. Not really my idea of a good time at all. However, I was somewhat surprised at how much Moose liked it!

Moose really enjoyed the role play aspect of the toy and spent ages dressing the unicorn and feeding her (even before we had started making the slime) and I think as a doll it is a pretty appealing one.

The slime wasn’t as complicated to make as I had feared and I found that by tweaking the instructions and adding just slightly less water than told to made for a good batch of slime! This Poopsie set comes with enough ingredient to make 4 batches, though refills are available to buy.

Moose liked how glittery the slime was but he did get a bit bored waiting for it to set. I suggest having a distraction planned for the 20-30 minutes it takes to set to a slime consistency.

We had fun playing with Poopsie and I think if you have a child who is into dolls and unicorns and slime this is a pretty safe bet for Christmas. It’s not a cheap toy but it feels well made and I like the blind bag set up of the packaging.