FarFaria – Review

FarFaria is an iPad app which I’ve been using for the last few months now, but due to workload and life getting in the way have never got around to reviewing. Until now.

Ever since I first downloaded FarFaria it’s been in nightly use. It’s become invaluable.

FarFaria is a play on “Far Far Away”, and is a collection of story books for young children to read.

I initially downloaded it as I was looking for more stories for Thomas my 7-year-old to read, that he could read himself. I was totally and utterly fed up with the Biff/Chip and Magic Key stories that kept coming home from school, and you can’t find time to go to the library all the time. So when I found FarFaria I thought I’d give it a go.

It’s free to download from the App store, and you get a 14 day free trial to check out whether FarFaria is for you. After the trial period it’s £2.49 or $3.99 a month subscription.

The great thing about having my subscription is knowing that there is always a new story to read every night. Currently there are over 400 stories, with new ones added daily.

It’s like having a library at your fingertips whenever you need it. It worked wonders when we went to the US on holiday, as the boys could still get their bedtime story without having to take along any books with us.

One of the best things about FarFaria is the incredibly child friendly layout. The boys both pick out their own stories every night, and enjoy having the choice and being able to scroll through and pick out what takes their fancy.

The way it works is that when you start-up the app a box with the latest additions will pop up. So if one of those appeals you can jump right in and start reading. If you’re in a particular mood then you can go to the map of FarFaria view.

Each of the stories are categorised into the 10 lands. You will find some stories will pop up in multiple lands though, as they may fit into multiple categories.

The Categories are Classics Grove , Fable Hills , Sing Along City, Good Land, Picture Point, Fairytale Forest, Looney Lagoon, Bedtimes Bluffs, Adventure Island, Animal Kingdom.

The boys and I love the variety of stories we get to enjoy every night. As well as classics like The Wizard of Oz and Peter Rabbit, there are also factual stories like The Christa McAuliffe story which Thomas recently read.

The thing I love the most about FarFaria is that both my 7 year old and my 5 year old can enjoy it. There are books for a variety of different reading levels. Thomas reads the level 4 stories. However Jacob is only 5 and just learning to read, so is working his way up from Picture Point up to stage 1.

Jacob also loves taking the iPad to his room for a bit of quiet time, and having FarFaria read one of the stories to him. All of the stories on FarFaria have an option for the story to be read aloud to you.

Have you ever had a bad day and ended up forgoing the bedtime story as you know it’ll go on and on and you just want the day to end? I hope that’s not just me. Well another big boon for FarFaria is that all the stories are a reasonable bedtime story size. Not too long that you’re the one who ends up falling asleep, or little one loses intrest in reading it., but not too small that your youngster feels short-changed. I would call them perfectly formed.

The only slight drawback of FarFaria that I can think of, is that it’s US orientated. So in some of the picture point books you will have the american words for objects, and American spellings for colours etc. For me it’s not a big deal, but I know some people don’t like that so I would say give the free trial a go and see how you get on.

For us FarFaria is indispensable. It doesn’t mean that we never read anything else, or that we don’t visit the library any more. We just love always knowing that a new story is only a tap away.

FarFaria is available to download from the App Store here

Mini Ninjas App – Review

App review time people. Get ready to find out about a new game to waste all your time on :)

Mini Ninjas is a running iOS game from Square Enix, and I’ve been playing it whenever I can for a week now.

Endless runners are my thing, and I love this game. The only downside being is it’s quite hard. Much harder especially initially than any of the others runners I’ve played, but I like that. I’m enjoying the challenge.

As you run and defeat the ninjas, you set free cuddly animals trapped inside a bit like in the old Sonic games.

Whilst running, jumping over fire, Ninjas, boulders and wall running, you also have to collect flowers. These are used to craft potions back at the Dojo, to help you progress through the game.

Playable animal characters can now be unlocked in the Dojo. Theres Panda, Fox and Crane.

It’s very Kung Fu Panda in style, so if your children love that film they would enjoy this game.

Even at the tender ages of 7 and 5, Thomas and Jacob are both pretty advanced ios gamers. Jetpack Joyride, Chase the Train, they love all of these.

Mini Ninjas was a bit too difficult for Jacob. I think it’s the initial level of difficulty being so high, rather than the usual ease you in which they he never quite got used to. Thomas is that bit older so was prepared to persevere and hone his Ninja skills. Mini Ninjas has really tapped into his imagination, and he’s now saving up his koins for one of the new in-game animal friends.

As for me, I love it. It took me a while to get into it, but now I’m getting the hang of crafting potions and the way the enemies work I’m really enjoying it.

I’ve just unlocked the Fox character, which means I can double jump finally. Panda is next on my Dojo wishlist.

In my opinion Mini Ninjas is one for the adults and older children to really sink their teeth into. So if your after a bit more of a challenge, give it a try.

Apparently there is a cartoon series based around the Mini Ninjas planned. So we will be seeing a lot more from Hiro and co in the future.

Mini Ninjas is available now for £0.69/€0,79/$0.99 from the App Store on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch:https://itunes.apple.com/app/mini-ninjas/id577106023?mt=8


Cut The Rope Toys – Review

My boys like most other children and adults, are app crazy. Were a very tech savvy family, so I suppose it was inevitable they would be so attached to their tablets and iPods.

Obviously with so much choice of tech in the house with iPads, Games consoles and tv, they do spend as much time as I let them looking at a screen. So monitoring screen time, and finding ways to get them off playing is very important to me.

Lego is a big draw that will get them creative and off the screens, but another trick I have found is bringing their favourite apps to life with related toys and creative play.

Jacob has a passion for puzzle games, and Cut The Rope is his favourite. He absolutely adores the little green guy Om Nom. So when we were offered the opportunity to review some of the new Cut The Rope toy range from Vivid, he was ecstatic

He had already been saving his pocket-money for a plush Om Nom after seeing the advert on Cartoon Network, so when he arrived it was a big surprise and caused great excitement.

We received a new Talking Om Nom in a brilliant brown box complete with a ‘Feed with Candy’ sticker. 10 out of 10 for presentation :)

Although he’s called Talking Om Nom, he doesn’t talk per say. Rather he will let out his familiar crunching and munching noises. Jacob has been transfixed with Om Nom ever since he arrived in the post, and he’s even taken to sleeping with him.

It’s lovely to see Jacob enjoying a bit of time away from the lure of the screen, as he has his favourite app buddy to play whatever he wants with him. They have been seen playing with cars, joining in with the Angry Birds plush collection, and I even saw him driving a tractor around the conservatory yesterday.

As well as the Talking Om Nom, Vivid have also released a series of small collectable Om-Noms similar to the Moshi Monster figures, called the Nommies. There are 32 figures to collect in Series 1 of the Nommies. 16 characters plus an additional 16 ultra-rare gold versions of the figures.

The Nommies are available as a blind bag (RRP £1.99) and the 5 figure collector pack (RRP £4.99)

Jacob is now saving up for the Nommies instead. He’s especially after the Nommie wearing 3D glasses, as this sends him into fits of laughter whenever he sees him.

Most children seem as enamoured with Om Nom as my Jacob is, so I think the small collectable Nommies could go onto being to be the next big playground craze

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Completely…. Magazine – Review

Ever since I finally gave in and let Thomas start watching Dr Who with his dad (I was always worried it was a bit too scary for him, but he loves that) It’s been a weekly trip to the news agents for me on a Thursday to pick up Dr Who Adventures.

The problem is if your buying for one, you have to buy for the other don’t you, and Jacob is a bit more hard to please. There’s the Moshi Monsters magazine which is a no-brainer for Jacob, but unfortunately is only monthly. So for 3 weeks of the month I have a dilemma over which magazine to buy. Most seem a bit old for him, and apart from the slightest of glances are not really read.

Well today I actually found a magazine that I know Jacob will read from cover to cover, however maybe only for this month. Confused? Well I’m not surprised.

Completely is a new magazine only on issue 2, which is all about a totally different subject every month. Last month was Winx Club, next month is Hot Wheels, and this month is Cut The Rope.

Cut The Rope is among the top 5 games Jacob plays on his Google Nexus, so I just know he is going to go nuts over this magazine when he sees it.

Inside Completely every month you’ll find competitions, puzzles, Crafts, stories, Posters, basically everything about that months subject you could want. Jacob is going to love The Magician photo comic, as he’s always watching the video online, and wants me to watch it too.

I know next months Hot Wheels issue is a definite buy, and can’t wait to see what June’s issue has to offer. It’s going to be quite exciting seeing what the next issue will be every month.

This months Completely…Cut The Rope which also comes with a Notebook, Om Nom Stickerbox and Pen is out today March 21st. Next months Completely…Hot Wheels is out on the 18th April.





Attention Lego Hero Factory Fans – Competition

Regular readers of Toybuzz will know how much we all love Lego, and Jacob’s love in particular of Lego Hero Factory.

Being official Lego Family Bloggers this year has already been amazing, and it’s just got a whole lot better for us. We’ve been invited by Lego to attend the opening of a brand new area at Legoland Windsor Resort on the 30th March 2013, The ‘Lego Hero Factory Build and Test Area’.

Lego Hero Factory Brain Attack is the newest range of Hero Factory figures. The story goes that evil brains have hatched and are taking over the innocent of Makuhero City into mutated beasts.

In the new area you’ll be able to create your own hero or Villain at the building tables, and join in the battle against the evil brains. Sit back and relax watching some Lego Hero Factory TV Episodes, or Branify yourself with the Lego Hero Factory App at the game station.

If you haven’t tried out the Lego Hero Factory Branify App yet, you should give it a go as it’s very fun seeing what happens to your pictures when you do. It’s free to download and available for ios and Android.


I can hardly believe I’m saying this, but Lego have been amazing and given me an unbelievable prize to give away to 4 lucky Toybuzz Winners. You could be coming with us to the VIP opening of this brand new attraction, plus much much more.

Heres the full details of this amazing prize :

  • Free tickets for the day (30th March 2013) Family Tickets for 2 adults, 2 children
  • Private screening of the all new Hero Factory TV episode before it airs on Cartoon Network in the Imagination Theatre at LEGOLAND®!
  • A goody bag full of exclusive Hero Factory treats!
  • Be one of the first to try out the all new Hero Factory Brain Attack treasure hunt!
  • The launch will take place in the morning so you will have from around 11am onwards to explore the park at your leisure.
  • N.B. Parking is not included, this will cost £3 per vehicle. Travel and accommodation is also not included. Families will be required to enter the park before 9.45am in order to view the private screening and receive their goody bag.

This promises to be a brilliant day all round and I already can’t wait to get there and get going on the treasure hunt!

To enter this branify-ingly good competition all you need to do is leave a comment below answering this very simple question:

Which Channel does the Lego Hero Factory Cartoon air on? (Hint: Maybe there’s a clue above)

Competition ends Midnight on the 15th March 2013. Please be sure to leave your contact details so I can get in touch with the winners.

Best of luck and hope to see you there :)

Find out more about Hero Factory at: LEGO.com/HeroFactory

LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group 2013 The LEGO Group.

Toxic Magazines First Interactive Issue out Tomorrow

If your already looking for something to keep the kids entertained for a while this half term, then I’ve got the perfect solution. Why not get the kids the newest edition of Toxic Magazine.

The latest issue out 13th February is the first ever Interactive edition of the magazine. Featuring augmented reality technology, the magazine is choc full of video clips, and trailers all related to the in magazine content.

All you need to do to view the interactive content is download the free Aurasma app onto your smartphone or tablet, and then hold the screen over the specially indicated pages. Alternatively if you don’t have access to a smartphone or tablet you can view all the videos at www.toxicmag.co.uk.

My boys were lucky enough to be sent a copy to test a few days early, and have been enjoying the magazine immensely. They were both wowed initially by the video clips suddenly appearing on the screen of their iPod, but they quickly got used to it and Thomas asked me why all magazines didn’t have this?

The interactive content includes current Toybuzz favourite ‘Disney’s Wreck It Ralph’ (we’ve already gone to see it twice its that good!) Lego, Monsters Inc, Skylanders Giants, and some pretty scary spiders.

The Interactive aspect of the magazine is very cool, and has kept my boys going back to try it again and again, but they also loved Toxic’s rundown of the top 50 Cartoon Characters and the Angry Birds puzzle Page.

This is the first time they have ever had Toxic Magazine as I think they always thought it was too old for them and overlooked it in the shops. However it’s been a big hit and Thomas especially being that bit older at 7 has read it cover to cover and keeps going back to it. I will definitely be buying it again for him.

The first ever Interactive issue of Toxic Magazine is out tomorrow Feb 13th for £3.99 and also comes with a bumper pack of gifts, including a Bow and Arrow, Squirt Phone, Parp Whistle, Pokemon Magazine and Haribo Sweets.



Farmville Hungry Hungry Herd – Review

I really love it when a cultural phenomenon comes along and manages to transcend all ages, as it means that me, hubby and the boys can all enjoy some family time together without one of us being bored to death.

For our family its Angry Birds, Super Mario Bros, and Regular Show. We all absolutely love these and I really cherish our family enjoying them together.

Well with this in mind Hasbro and Zynga have teamed together to bring some of Zynga most famous and best-loved online games out of Mummy and Daddy’s computer monitor and onto the kitchen table for all the family to play in board game form.

Words with Friends, Draw Something, Cityville and Farmville have all been given the  Hasbro/Zynga Mashup treatment, and the results are family fun all round.

We were lucky enough to be sent Monopoly Cityville and Farmville Hungry Hungry Herd to review, and we’ve had a blast with these new games. You can look forward to the Monoply Cityville review coming out later this week, so let’s get to reviewing Farmville Hungry Hungry Herd.

As you’ve probably already guessed Farmville Hungry Hungry Herd is an updating of that classic Hasbro game Hungry Hungry Hippos. A game which never seems to get old, but looks good for its little Farmville makeover.

The Hippos are replaced with A Snacking Sheep, Chomping Cow, Munching Pig and a Gobbling Horse. The marbles are now coloured coded, and each animal has its own prefered “food”.

The Horse likes Orange Pumpkins, Pig’s go for Red Apples, Snacking Sheep prefer Purple Grapes, and the cow is partial to Yellow Corn.

Once all the players have sorted out the food into their chosen animals preference, you let the food free by pressing down on the marble launcher.

Once all the food is in the middle area, it’s 3,2,1 go – Every animal needs to gobble up as much food as they can.

The winner is the animal who at the end has chomped the most food, regardless of what colour it is.

The game board itself is simple to put together, but each animal has to be added at the beginning and dismantled at the end of every game.

It’s a bit of a kerfuffle getting the animals on and off each time. I’m not sure if it’s because the game is brand new. I’m hoping after a while the plastic wont be as stiff and it will get easier.

One thing I do like about the board is the marble storage underneath. The screw top pot which holds all the marbles safe in between plays is a great idea, as my boys often knock over the games boxes while playing and watch the pieces fly across the floor, never quite managing to pick everyone back up.  The Marble storage underneath totally eliminates that problem, Genius!

A nice bonus that Hasbro and Zynga have thrown in for us parents and older children is the code to redeem 50 Farm Cash on Farmville which is included in every box. That’s great value if you’re a regular Farmville player, and there’s always something cool to spend your Farm Cash on.

Farmville Hungry Hungry Herd is a great game for really young players, and although they might not get the Farmville reference, it makes things a bit more fun for Mum and Dad joining in.

Farmville Hungry Hungry Herd is out now exclusively at Argos with an RRP of £19.99

Look back later this week for my review of Monopoly Cityville


Kurio 10 inch version now available

You’ve probably already heard about the new Kids tablet – Kurio, and how it’s set to become THE must have toy of Christmas 2012. Well now the buzz around the Kurio has got even bigger, because the new larger 10″ version of the Kurio is now available.

The larger screen space will be a real boon to families who are planning to use the Kurio as more of a whole family tablet, rather than just for the kids. A kiddie tablet in the day, and then as an adult android tablet in the evening.

Obviously you can still do this with the 7inch version, but personally I whilst perfect for the children I have found the 7inch a bit too small for my liking. Luckily I have my own iPad, if not I would definitely trade up to the 10″ Kurio if I was using it as well.

One possible downside is that you don’t get the kid safe bumper with the Kurio 10. However being that bit larger, the kiddos are less likely to be on the move as much with it,  and I’m not sure the extra bulk of the bumper would look good on the larger screen.

The Kurio 10 is an interesting proposition, and gives mum and dad even more to think about this Christmas. For only £50 extra the larger screen is a big bonus, but would make it possibly a bit too large for the smallest of users.

I would probably still go for the Kurio 7 for kids aged 4-7, and then the Kurio 10 for children any older.

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Top Ten Baby Toys for Christmas 2012

Well it’s that time of year again. Time for me to get rubbing at my crystal ball and start predicting what your little darlings would love to see Santa to leave for them underneath the Christmas Tree.

I’m up to my last list already, This time around it’s finally time for the Baby’s!

Check out the other lists here:

Top Ten Boys Toys for Christmas 2012

Top Ten Toddler Toys for Christmas 2012

Top Ten Girls Toys for Christmas 2012

As always the lists aren’t in any sort of order of importance, it’s just the top 10 things that I think will be most appreciated by the littlest of little ones Santa will visit for the very first time this year.

Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Dance And Play Puppy

Suitable for babies from 9 – 36 Months

When my youngest was just a little one, he had an earlier version of the Laugh and Learn Puppy which he loved so much.

That’s why I felt compelled to add the new Laugh and Learn Dance and Play Puppy to the list, as he’s the same cute puppy but a lot more livelier.

This loveable pup has two play modes, one educational and one which is plain singing and dancing (with a lot of wiggling)

With easy actions like clapping, and blowing kisses, the Dance & Play puppy encourages baby to play along and copy his actions.

Singing songs about ABC’s, Counting 1-10, Opposites, Manners, Parts of the body. He will keep your baby enthralled for hours.

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Lilliputiens Liz reversible Handbag

Suitable For Any Age

Lilliputiens simply has to be one of my favourite toy brands ever. I could have easily chosen a full top ten just from their range.

Which is probably the reason that this is not the only time they will pop up in this list.

This gorgeous little handbag is just the ticket to stop baby rummaging around your bag and trying to steal your keys and lipstick.

Letting baby have their very own Purse, Keys, Phone and compact mirror is a genius idea. Plus it looks super cute.

Also comes with the lovely Liz soft dolly, who sits inside the front pocket.

Lilliputiens products are designed by mums, with safety very much in mind. All pieces are non toxic and completely safe for all ages.

Lilliputiens Liz Reversible Handbag

Little Tikes Garden Activity Playset

 Recommended age 6 months+

Don’t let the name fool you, this isn’t for outdoor play. It’s a babies playhouse, which helps to bring all the fun of the garden indoors.

Hours of giggles will be had by baby in this lovely little playhouse. Then unfold out the sides, and it becomes a two-sided play centre with all round fun.

Amongst the many bits and bobs that will keep baby occupied are the mirror, learning clock, ball shaker, moveable clickable bugs, Moveable lookout telescope, opening shutter windows, shapesorter mailbox, ball drop flowerpot, and a three language interactive telephone.

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Leapfrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket

 Recommended age 6 months+

This one isn’t new exactly, it’s been around for over a year, but I still love this and have bought it several times as a gift for others.

Small babies will love simply lifting up the lid of the picnic basket and posting the food inside.

As they grow older  they will start to learn colours, numbers, shapes and much more, all from this friendly picnic basket.

Leapfrog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket (Entertainer) Entertainer Logo


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Scramble Bug

Recommended age 1-3 Years 

The Scramble Bug is unique in that in not only moves forward and backwards, but it also goes sideways, well anyways you want really. Full 360 degree fun.

This freedom of movement mean it’s the ideal first ride on for little ones, just starting to get to grips with pushing and steering themselves around.

Light and easy to carry, the Scramble Bug folds down for compact storage and transportation.

No assembly is required, just unfold out the legs and handle until it looks insect like and your done.

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 Fisher Price Apptivity Case

Recommended Age 6 – 36 months

All kids love playing with mummy and daddy’s gadgets, years gone past it was the TV remote that got most babies attention.

Nowadays though its mummys phone that baby wants to get their sticky mitts on, and who can blame them.

Full of lights, funny sounds, colourful graphics, lots of funny buttons to touch, expensive to replace. Everything a babies looking for in a toy

Well if you want to let little one have  a play around on your iPhone without the tears and tantrums (that’s your tears not theirs) then the Fisher Price Apptivity Case is your answer.

This sturdy case will prevent dribbles, drool, and unwanted calling and app purchasing.

Use with the free to download Laugh and Learn App from the App Store and your baby will be able to enjoy over 75 songs, tunes and phrases. Learning about shapes, letters, animals and numbers.

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 Vtech Tiny Touch Tablet

Recommended Age 6 – 36 months

Staying on the reclaiming gadgets theme. We have the Vtech Tiny Touch Tablet

Obviously styled to look like mummy’s and Daddy’s iPad or Android, the Tiny Touch tablet will probably not fool even the youngest of babies.

However hopefully it will give them something else to enjoy when the iPad is safely out of reach.

Press the light up buttons to hear happy songs, animal noises, abc’s and numbers.

Baby can also pretend to keep in touch with their friends by checking their messages and taking photos.

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Fisher-Price Stroll along walker with Baby’s 1st Doll

Recommended Age 9 months+

This is another product which has been in my top ten for a few years, but I still love it and think it’s a brilliant gift, so it’s going back on again this year.

Combining baby walker and your little girls first dolly and pushchair is a master stroke I think. Fisher Price have got this one exactly right.

The wide wheel base and sturdy handle makes sure that it’s easy for baby to push and move around.

The soft and huggable plush My First Doll fits perfectly in the stroller seat, and baby will love taking her for a walk. All the while honing her walking as she goes.

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(some stores are selling the walker and doll as a set, some and selling them separately. Be sure to check before you buy)

Lilliputiens Little Doctor Set

Recommended Age 9 months+

Second outing for the Lilliputiens team on the list, but I just love this little doctors set so much it just had to be included.

This gorgeous mini doctors bag contains everything your young physician will need, even a little teddy bear patient to practice upon.

The brightly coloured bag has lovely plush versions of 7 essential doctor accessories including: Thermometer, Syringe, stethoscope, medicine pot, blood pressure pump, and a white apron.

Lilliputiens. Little doctors set.

Little People DC Superfriends Batcave

 Recommended Age 1 Year +

It’s never to early to get the kiddos into their superheroes, and with the excellent World of Little People DC Superfriends range they wont need much persuading.

Your baby will have fun for literally hours and hours with this two level playset for these chubby little superheores.

downstairs has an opening garage with door for storing the Batmobile. Upstairs has the landing pad for Robins helicopter.

The ramp down the side with lift off lever means Batman can jump into action and be on duty quick as a flash.

Includes Batman and Robin figures, Helicopter and Batmobile.

Batmobile makes fun sound effects when you push a figure down in the driver’s seat.

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Toys R Us Massive 3 for 2 Offer

Hurry and grab yourself a great bargain this weekend at Toys R Us, either online or in store.

Running until midnight Sunday 16th September, Toys R US have 3 for 2 bargains running on Moshi Monsters, Skylanders, Lego and Crayola.

There is also free delivery across the whole site, again until Midnight Sunday.

Seems like a great time to stock up on some Christmas goodies. Hot toys for this year like the Moshi Monster App Monsters, Skylanders and Lego Lord of the Rings sets are all included.

But hurry, stock is limited and when it’s gone, it’s gone!