Moose attends pre-school from Monday to Thursday. During those days I try to get lots of work done. Sometimes that means working with clay, sometimes it means writing. I am lucky that I love my work so it doesn’t really feel like work at all. Friday though, is our day. Moose and I have the whole day to ourselves to do whatever it is that takes our fancy. I absolutely love our time together and I am trying to push all thoughts of it coming to an end next September out of my mind and just enjoy these moments while we can snatch them.

This week Moose asked if we could make lunch and bake some cakes. It just so happened that I had received the Vremi baking cups and apple slicer to try out so I figured it would be a great idea.

We decided to start with cake

This was entirely Moose’s idea but I didn’t put up much of a fight. We had a Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles cake mix in the cupboard so that seemed the obvious choice. If you know me, you know about my lacking baking skills… Surely not even I could mess up a box mix though!

Moose had great fun making the cake mix and spooning it into the silicone cases. Of course, I appreciate I am late to the silicone baking cup game, this was my first experience of such a thing. I eyed Vremi’s claim of them being non stick with a healthy amount of suspicion. I was however delighted to read that they are dishwasher safe!

Vremi’s set of 24 Nonstick Silicone Baking Cups come in pink, green, blue and yellow and I love how bright and fun they are. Incidentally, the cups did not stick to the cakes at all and emerged from the dishwasher as good as new. There is no going back to paper for us now. 

Slice slice baby

While our cakes cooled on the rack we turned our attention to preparing lunch. Moose loves cheese, apple and grapes with crackers. He is really fussy sometimes so it’s a relief when he requests normal food. 

The Vremi slicer comes with 3 sets of blades designed to cut mango, apple and potato (into chips). I am usually a knife kind of a girl so this too was a bit of a revelation. I honestly thought that this would be one of those faddy gadgets which I would use once and then leave languishing in the back of a cupboard (I am looking at you candyfloss machine). The big easy grip handles means that small (and big) hands go nowhere near the sharp blades so it’s great for when the kids want to “help”. 

I like apples but I have a weird aversion to eating one whole. This handy little gadget though has upped my apple intake by a surprising amount! The kids too. We seem to much prefer to eat pre sliced apple. I am yet to try the chipper but I do believe it will be a game changer

Fancy winning these two great products yourself? Enter via Gleam below: (Ends 17/12)

Win the Vremi Silicone Baking Cups and Apple Slicer #6

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 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.

 

 

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.

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!