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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box

Lucky Gecko is a company that specialises in activity boxes for children aged 8 to 12.  Developed by an experienced personal tutor, the boxes are designed to encourage curiosity, build confidence and let imaginations run wild. They make learning fun and exciting and keep children entertained and inspired.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Box


The latest box is the Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box, which is jam packed full of things to do, challenging children and helping to keep their minds busy over the festive holidays. Freddy received one of these boxes and was eager to check out the contents. Everything comes well packaged in a sturdy cardboard box and the contents are wrapped in tissue paper, sealed with a Lucky Gecko sticker.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box


Freddy was really impressed with the huge array of contents, which included a game, some creative crafts and some fun science based activities to keep him busy over Christmas. Everything you need for the projects is included inside the box including paints and Sharpie markers. The enclosed booklet has full instructions, ideas and information as well as quizzes, puzzles, competitions and challenges. This really is a box filled with things to inspire a child's desire to create, discover, have fun and learn.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box


Using the contents children can make their own Christmas placemats, thumbprint gift tags, cool penguin racers and tealight snowmen. They can create and learn about crystallization with a magic tree and also make some magic snow and build a miniature snowman. There is also a game of Time Shock which will test children's spatial awareness and their ability to stay calm under pressure as they race to match shapes into the right holes against the clock. Time Shock is a great game to challenge the whole family this Christmas.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box


The book has some excellent information about Christmas including trivia about feasts, traditions and festivals and the history of Santa. There are lots of quiz questions and challenges, which will make for a fun festive family quiz this Christmas. Plus there are some ideas for festive reads and winter writing activities to help bridge the gap between home and school while the kids are on holiday.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box


What we loved most about the Midwinter Activity Box from Lucky Gecko is the fact that the whole family can get involved. The Penguin Racers and Magic Snow are things that we can have fun with together, and the Time Shock game is great for family games nights. And any child would be proud to supply the placemats for Christmas dinner or tag a gift with a homemade gift tag.

The quizzes and facts have been enjoyed by us all, I even learned a few new things! I really liked how children are encouraged to develop their leadership and organisational skills to host the family quiz themselves. Freddy enjoyed researching some of the answers to the questions online using the laptop, polishing up his investigative skills before asking us the questions. It's lovely to have the kids in charge of some of the festive activities.

Freddy's big sisters love helping him do arts and crafts activities so the placemat designing, gift tag making and creating of snowman tealights become a team effort. Doing activities like these together is a really bonding experience and Freddy loves it when his older siblings get involved with his stuff.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box - Tealight Snowmen

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box - Tealight Snowmen


Boxes come addressed to the child and are really inviting, ready for the contents to be explored. A Parent Pack email is sent to the grown ups, highlighting what's inside the box and giving ideas and advice for follow up activities. The answers to the quiz questions in the booklet are attached for the kids' eyes only, giving them ownership as the quizmasters!

Children are encouraged to enter the competitions and share photographs of what they have made with Lucky Gecko, which gives them recognition for their hard work, giving them a great confidence boost. Children's work can be featured, for example there is a bookmark included in this box designed by a Lucky Gecko winner.

Lucky Gecko Midwinter Activity Box


The standalone Midwinter Activity Box would be a wonderful and thoughtful gift for a child this Christmas, delivered directly to their door. These boxes are limited and ready to ship now for the price of £30 from  www.luckygecko.com.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Freddy loves Captain Underpants. His big sister bought him the set of  books for Christmas last year and he has read all of them, some more than once! They are the first books that he has read independently for pleasure and they have even inspired him to draw his own cartoon strips. So Captain Underpants is definitely a family favourite in our house!

When we discovered they were making Captain Underpants into a film we were really excited for the opportunity of seeing Freddy's favourite character come to life on the big screen. And now the DVD and Blu-Ray of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is going to be available to own on December 4th from Dreamwork's Animation. It is an absolute must-have and will take pride of place in Freddy's film collection.

To celebrate the release of the film, I have received a bespoke pair of festive, fun party pants featuring Captain Underpants himself made by Bags of Love. They'll definitely be my pants of choice this Christmas!

Don't Let Christmas be Pants


Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie follows the story of best friends, pranksters and comic book makers George Beard and Harold Hutchins. One day they accidentally hypnotise their grumpy school principal and nemesis Mr Krupp, turning him into the dimwitted, underpants wearing superhero, Captain Underpants.  Life at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School would never be the same again!

Captain Underpants


A new teacher arrives at school and George and Harold soon find out that he is really a disgraced scientist, Professor Pippy Pee Pee Poopypants, with an evil plan to rid the world of laughter and turn the school children into humourless zombies. Together with school swot and tattletail Melvin Sneedly, Professor P. unleashes the Turbo Toilet 2000 on the town. The boys and Captain Underpants have to come together to stop his evil plan.

The film really brings the books alive, capturing the style and essence of the first four titles perfectly. We loved how the comic books, which are such a major part of the series, were incorporated into the movie. Freddy found the film laugh-out-loud funny and thoroughly enjoyed all the visual humour and jokes. The slightly rude, toilet humour is definitely right up my son's street and the joy of Uranus gags never gets old! The romantic interest  with Mr Krupp and Edith the dinner lady was a nice addition that warmed the heart and the strong theme of friendship sends a powerful message of the importance of being a BFF.

The Captain Underpants DVD or Blu-ray will make a great Christmas gift or stocking filler this year, or you can enjoy the movie for a festive family film night. Giggling is guaranteed!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Tumball - the nerve wracking, bead stacking game

Tumball is the new nerve wracking game from Megableu that the whole family will enjoy. The idea of the game is to take turns placing beads onto a cluster of suspended hanging balls without bringing the whole precarious lot crashing down!

Tumball


The contents includes a base, arm and hook that are easily put together and dismantled. A ring with seven hangers attaches to the hook and the coloured beads are pushed onto the ends of the hangers. There are 24 white beads and four wands that are used to place the beads.

Tumball


The beads are divided between the players who take turns to position their beads onto the balls. You need a steady hand and nerves of steel as you place your beads. If any drop, they are added to your collection. The first player to get rid of all their beads wins.

Tumball


It takes a lot of concentration to position a bead through the hangers and into a space where it won't bring the whole lot down. If you tremble, the balls will tumble!

Tumball


We all enjoyed playing Tumball together. I loved the fact that Freddy had as good a chance as winning as his older sisters or me. It definitely tests your dexterity, nerve and fine motor skills as you position the beads, and it is always a bit of a shock when your turn causes the hangers to shake, separate and bring all the beads crashing down. It's a clever little game that is really quite addictive as your strive to get rid of all your beads first and build the biggest stack on top of the balls.

Tumball


The game is for 2 to 4 players aged 5+ and is £17.99 RRP.  It's a great Christmas gift idea and will a fun game to play together over the Christmas holidays. Find out more at www.megableu.com/uk/tumball


        

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Robinson's Fruit Creations #GrownUpSquash

The Robinsons name is synonymous with fruity squashes, which have been loved by kids for generations. Now Robinsons have introduced a range of squashes with the adult palate in mind. After investigating new food trends, they have come up with some exciting new combinations and tweaked some family favourites, reformulating them for a grown-up market. The Fruit Creations range is even more fruity, less sweet, more adventurous and more exotic, containing twice the fruit content for more mature taste buds to enjoy.

Robinsons Fruit Creations


Each serving of Fruit Creations contains no more than 10 calories with no added sugar, no artificial colourings and no artificial flavourings. Each glass helps keep you hydrated. For anyone who doesn't enjoy drinking plain water, Robinsons Fruit Creations is a great alternative.

I received a bottle of new Crisp Apple & Elderflower Barley, which is a more sophisticated squash flavour. The delicate elderflower and crisp apple combine to create a refined drink, brimming with fruitiness.

Robinsons Fruit Creations


The drink is very refreshing with a crisp fruity flavour followed by a note of floral elderflower. It's definitely good for us grown-ups who want a soft drink that isn't too sweet. It makes it easy to stay hydrated during the day. My eldest daughters both enjoy having this as an option when they are home, so I'll definitely be keeping a bottle in the kitchen from now on!

Look out for the Robinsons Fruit Creations and new fruit cordials in supermarkets.


Saturday, 25 November 2017

Give the Gift of a White Christmas with Insta-Snow

We're singing songs about dreaming of a white Christmas. There are images on Christmas cards portraying snow covered landscapes and carrot nosed snowmen. However, most children in the UK  have never actually experienced a white Christmas. Most Christmases in recent memory have been pretty grey and damp without the magical addition of a sprinkle of snow. In fact the last time we saw snow on December 25th was seven years ago.

This year, we can all enjoy the excitement, fun and magic of snow thanks to Insta-Snow. Winner of the Science Toy Awards 2017, Insta-Snow creates the magic of real snow, with the added benefit of teaching STEM skills. Insta-Snow’s unique super absorbent polymer changes its state from a dry powder to a big, fluffy and moist snow-like consistency. It’s science, but with added magic!

You simply add water and the powder expands to 100 times its original size, fluffing up like real snow. Just without the chill!

Insta-Snow Powder


Insta-Snow doesn't melt or dissolve and so it lasts for ages. When it dries out, you can add more water to enjoy the fun all over again.

At just £3.99 for a single pack it makes a great stocking filler, guaranteeing a white Christmas for your little ones this year, whatever the weather! It's also available in a 100g jar for £7.99.

Find out more at www.trendsuk.co.uk/insta-snow.

Friday, 24 November 2017

A Vegan Lunch at the Toby Carvery

At this time of year, we are all busily preparing for Christmas, which is rapidly approaching. Christmas shopping can be exhausting, especially when fighting the Black Friday crowds for a pre-Christmas bargain. So a good lunch after hitting the town is a well deserved treat.

Toby Carvery


Toby Carvery invited me for a post-shopping lunch at my local Telford restaurant. With the Christmas decorations, the seasonal menu and the Christmas tree, there is a festive atmosphere - perfect for enjoying after a spot of Christmas shopping. I invited my parents and my sister Paula to join me for a morning of shopping for the grandkids followed by a meal and they eagerly accepted the invitation.

Toby Carvery


We were seated at our table and offered drinks straightaway and then looked at the menus. We had worked up quite an appetite from shopping!

Toby Carvery


The menu for the carvery includes a section for vegetarians and vegans. The fact that a carvery, such as Toby offers these options is really impressive. I wish all chain restaurants could take a leaf out of Toby's book and make their menu accessible for those of us who choose a meat free diet. There were several options that we could pick from including the meat-free carvery, grilled aubergine stack and root vegetable roast.

Toby Carvery

Toby Carvery


We all opted for the Portobello Mushroom Bullseye Tart. As we are vegan, we asked our server what vegetables were suitable for us. She consulted with the chefs and came back to tell us that the cabbage was glazed with butter and the mash contained milk. However, the chef offered to make us our own mash and unglazed cabbage, which would be brought to our table when our mains were ready. This was a really nice touch that we appreciated very much.

Toby Carvery


From the carvery deck, we were able to have stuffing, peas, parsnips, carrots and roast potatoes. We then added some of Toby's vegetarian gravy. The mash and cabbage was brought out at the same time as our mains. Everything was piping hot and well prepared.

Toby Carvery, vegan, mushroom tart


The mushroom tart was delicious with a whole Portobello Mushroom on a tasty savoury, mushroom sauce in a rich, crimped pastry case. The vegetables were all lovely, fresh, well cooked and delicious. We had a huge plateful each and all thoroughly enjoyed it.

Even though we were pretty full, we simply had to sample the vegan dessert from the menu - a chocolate and cherry torte. It was rich and dark and studded with juicy cherries. A nice combination that was nicely served with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Toby Carvery, vegan dessert


Overall, we were very impressed with our meals and the price of around £10 a head for two courses is great value for money. The accompaniments to our main course were plentiful and we liked being able to help ourselves to what we wanted. The staff were all friendly and the chef who did us the extras was especially kind, making sure we were happy with what he'd made for us. It was a great experience and we enjoyed refuelling ourselves ready for our next round of Christmas preparations!

Check out the website at www.tobycarvery.co.uk.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Elves Behavin' Badly are Getting Ready for Advent

December 1st is just over a week away! That means that my friendly resident elves will soon be getting up to some naughty antics to celebrate the countdown to Christmas. This alternate advent idea promises to be a lot of fun and will definitely entertain Freddy, as he discovers what the elves have been up to the night before.

The Elves Behavin' Badly are getting a bit excited about the prospect of their stay with us here Inside the Wendy House. They are already starting to get up to mischief and are planning their exploits for month ahead.

elves behavin badly


They've being busy checking out the catalogues choosing Christmas Presents for their list to Santa.

elves behavin badly


And Elfie has been taking Selfies, getting ready for her social media debut on December 1st!

elves behavin badly


We're going to have so much fun with our elf house guests this year. They will make the countdown to Christmas more creative and inject some laughter into our mornings. Find out more about the Elves Behavin' Badly at www.elvesbehavinbadly.com.

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