I was very pleased last week to be contacted by The Works, to ask if I wanted to take part in their 2 gifts for £10 review. I was very happy to oblige as I love The Works, it’s my go to shop for school birthday party gifts, and christmas stocking fillers.
I nominated Jacob, Thomas’ friend in school, and my grandad to receive presents, and sent a bit of information about their likes and hobbies. The elves from Santas Workshop at The Works then went to work, scouring the shelves for the best gifts in the deal that they all would love.
I was so so happy when our parcel of surprise presents arrived, and amazed with the quality of the gifts which were all 2 for £10, and also in awe of The Works Elves amazing gift picking skills.
For my grandad I mentioned that he likes to read a good book, but about things like nature rather than fiction. He will be thrilled with his brilliant value book and dvd set about birds, and a book about trains used during the war.
Next was Thomas’ school friend Gemma. She 10, and into arts, crafts, fairies and everything glittery.
The gift of a beautiful glittery box of beads, and a fairytale story book couldn’t be more suited to her. She’s going to be thrilled with those.
And finally Jacob, who I said was 7 (nearly 8 as he will hasten to add) and loves arts and crafts, and building things.
He’s going to be over the moon with his Paint your own dinosaur set and Dino Park Bulding Lego style block set. He was absolutely crazy about Jurassic World this summer, so these will go down really well.
Even though I’m used to The Works great value, i’m really quite surprised how many cool, interesting, and fun things that you can pick up at an incredible 2 for £10. Just take a look at the The Works website for yourself, and along with the above theres Magic sets, cookery books, Jewellery sets, books about space, and so much more.
This week we’ve been playing around with the highly amusing new app ‘House of the Twits‘ from Penguin Random House.
Obviously based around the hideously foul Mr and Mrs Twit from Roald Dahl’s famous ‘The Twits’, it’s full of deliciously anarchic fun.
Jacob’s been the one playing it the most, as it’s entirely his sense of humour, and he finds it hilarious.
Pulling out Mrs Twit’s glass eye, feeding the pair hideous food like mouldy cornflakes and Worms, surprise parcels with pranks to play on the Twits. Truly disgusting stuff that kids will lap up.
It’s great fun to navigate around the Twits hideous house. Causing mischief waking up Mrs Twit in the Living Room, and dishing up that disgusting grub in the Kitchen.
At first only Mrs Twit and the Kitchen are available to play, but you unlock more rooms the more you play. With Mr Twit playable from level 10. However it’s not hard to unlock the extra levels, and you’ll be rooting around Mr Twit’s beard in no time.
Disclosure: We received a download code for this app, but all opinions are our own
For the last two weeks we’ve been playing the new Nintendo 3DS game – Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer.
If you familiar with previous Animal Crossing games then you’ll be right at home with this title. It’s all the things you loved about doing up your home in Animal Crossing, but that’s the whole game.
Yes it sounds like you might be missing out on all the fishing and bug catching, but it’s actually really fun decorating other peoples homes.
You work for Tom Nook as a realtor at Nook Homes. Your job at first is to decorate your clients new houses to their specific tastes. However you soon advance onto actually finding a plot and designing the exterior of the homes too.
Plus it’s not just home owners you have as clients. The lovely Isabella from Animal Crossings town hall comes to engage your services, having you build and decorate various new civic buildings like schools and hospitals, and new shops and restaurants for the town.
Theres so much more furniture and furnishings to choose from than in Animal Crossing, so you can really go to town on your clients houses. Harnessing all your interior design powers.
A feature which I didn’t get the chance to try, but will definitely be on the look out for are the new Amibo Cards. Each pack of cards come with 3 Amiibo cards. Each card is an Animal friend, and you can scan the cards on your new Amiibo enabled 3DS or with the NFC reader accessory. The animal from the card that you’ve scanned will then be in the game, and you can invite them to different events in your town.
I really enjoyed playing Animal Crossing – Happy Home Designer. It’s a gentle game, no checkpoints or levels to complete, it’s very easy going. It’s been great for me to sit down for 20 minutes when the kids have gone to bed after a stressful day, and relax and unwind by designing someones house and garden.
For the last 2 weeks the number one game being played by all of us has been Super Mario Maker. Jacob is so taken with it, that it’s a fight to get the Wii U out of his hands to have a go yourself.
The game is a genius idea. Give the players the tools to create their own Super Mario levels on the Wii U gamepad. It’s amazingly simple, but utterly addictive.
It’s not just the brilliance of being able to make your own levels, but you also get to play everyone else’s level creations.
We were sent a copy by Nintendo to review, complete with a Super Mario Maker Amiibo and a very cool little Mario flip book which the boys loved and fought over, and broke the cover off. Trust me to have two boys!
As I mentioned Jacob is the one who’s played it the most, as he won’t let anyone else on it. As well as making his own levels, he loves playing other peoples challenges. The way that you can share your levels with other players online via codes is really great.
Jacob loves watching his favourite Youtubers Super Mario Maker levels, and being able to use the codes to download and try them himself. That is probably his favourite part of the game. Playing the same levels as Yogscast and Stampy Longnose, plus levels made by his Youtubing heroes.
You can use the Amiibos you have in your collection to add to the fun in the game. By pressing them onto the Wii U gamepad you can make your Amiibo characters jump into your levels.
Super Mario Maker starts off quite small. Theres a little tutorial level at the beginning holding your hand as you start building, and then it’s you turn. However you might be surprised when you begin at the amount of things you can add to your level. However don’t panic this is just Super Mario Maker letting you in gently. Keep level designing and soon your first item truck will appear, adding more to your arsenal of blocks and templates.
It takes around a week until you will collect everything the game has for your levels. Every morning Jacob has jumped out of bed and straight downstairs to the Wii U gamepad to see what the item truck has brought him. He’s so excited now he has all the items.
Although you can play on the big screen TV as usual, It’s much easier to just take the Wii U Gamepad and build your levels comfy on the sofa. It’s great that you have the option of tv play or simply via the Wii U gamepad screen. Especially since Jacob doesn’t want to let the game go.
Super Mario Maker is the perfect game for a creative kid like Jacob, he’s absolutely in his element throwing Bowsers here there and eveywhere. It’s really easy to pick up and start making your level, but making a good level takes time and patience.
This is something he’s starting to realise after playing it for 2 weeks, yes you made a level, but you could make it better if you spent a bit more time on it.
It’s definitely a game that he’ll still be playing just as much 6 months from now. I think his level making skills are only going to get better with time. Plus the whole Super Mario Maker community are going to grow as well, so they’ll be even more brilliant user submitted levels to play.
As you can see from Jacob’s video review, it’s a big hit!
Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Super Mario Maker by Nintendo in order to write an honest review. All opinions are our own.
As you must know by now, my boys absolutely love LEGO. Well we all do.
So when we were asked to review the new LEGO Awesome Ideas book from DK Books, we couldn’t say yes quick enough.
The LEGO Awesome Ideas book is a brilliant book packed full of so many crazy, exciting, imaginative ideas for things you could build with the LEGO you already have.
Most of the big ideas show you exactly what pieces you would need, and which sets those pieces could be found in. Theres also suggestions for alternative pieces you could use, if you didn’t have some of the very set specific pieces on hand.
However it’s not a step by step guide on how to build LEGO models, it’s more of a general “How about making this?” or “Hey we made this cool space station, how about giving it a go?”
The variety of things included astounded me. Yes theres the obvious houses, space ships, cars and trains. Theres also crazy things that I would have never though were so easy to make like a box of LEGO chocolates, Bunsen Burner and Test tubes, and a bathroom shaving mirror.
After reading through the book for over an hour, the first thing Jacob decided to try his hand at was the Cream-Pie Catapult. We have lots of Creme-Pies from His favourite Joker and Krusty the clown mini-figures, so we started off with that.
I would definitely recommend this book for Lego fans. I think fans from around aged 8 and over would get the most from this book, as it’s not a step by step guide just a jumping off point into Lego Building. Possibly younger fans would get a bit frustrated, as some of the designs can get very intricate and detailed.
However even if your in the mood for building some LEGO, if your a fan it’s simply a great book to sit back and enjoy. The Designs are amazing, the ideas are brilliant, and I just love the whole look of the book.
I think as my children get older it’s a book that’s going to be used more and more.
Never has getting up early before school been more worth it!
This morning our lovely postman rang the bell with a special delivery from Lego for us.
All in aid of Force Friday, the day when all the new Star Wars movie – The Force Awakens toys are released, which if you hadn’t already heard just happens to be today.
We received 2 brand new sets from the Lego Star Wars build able figures range. Theres 6 different buildable figures to choose from:
Jango Fett (RRP £14.99)
Clone Commander Cody (RRP £14.99)
Obi-Wan Kenobi (RRP £19.99)
Luke Skywalker (RRP £19.99)
Darth Vader (RRP £24.99)
General Grievous (RRP £29.99)
We were sent Obi-Wan and General Grievous, and were thrilled with them. General Grievous is arguable the best new character from the prequels, I mean he has 4 lightsabers, you can’t argue with that.
We didn’t have lots of time before school, so General Grievous is only half built so far (I’ll add a picture when he’s built). Thomas did however finish building Obi-Wan this morning, and he looks so cool.
He doesn’t look like he’s built out of Lego, it looks like a brilliant action figure or model. The way he stands up and holds his lightsaber is awesome. Plus he’s so flexible, you can put him in so many battle poses. I especially like his wonderful flowing cape.
The boys didn’t have any trouble putting the sets together. It probably helps that they are both huge Lego Hero Factory fans, as the Star Wars buildable figures use a lot of the same pieces, and are built similarly.
Update: General Grievous is now finished!!
Heres a video of our special Force Friday delivery unboxing
As well as the buildable figures, there are 7 new The Force Awakens Vehicle sets –
Millennium Falcon (RRP £129.99)
Kylo Ren’s command shuttle (RRP £99.99)
First Order Transporter (RRP £79.99)
Poe’s X-Wing Fighter (RRP £69.99)
First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter (RRP £59.99)
First Order Snowspeeder (RRP £39.99)
Rey’s Speeder (RRP £19.99)
Jacob has already asked me for Kylo Ren’s Command Shuttle for christmas. He really wants a Kylo Ren mini figure, with that super cool cross lightsabre.
He’s also got his eye on Poe’s X-Wing Fighter, as he’s after one of the super cute BB-8 mini figures. Plus there seems to be a lot of projectiles included, which is always a plus for him.
Thanks so much to Lego for making our Force Friday super!
Dixit is a delightfully different and clever card based board game that we’ve been having lots of fun playing recently.
Dixit is unlike any game we’ve played before, it’s emotional, thought provoking, and had us in fits of laughter.
The game is really simple to play, although might sound a bit different when I try to explain how to play.
Each player has 6 cards. The storyteller of the round describes one of their cards, and the other players have to choose one of their cards that best fits what has been described.
You can choose to describe your cards in words, song even mime.
The chosen cards are then laid out and everyone guesses which card was the one being described originally. You get points if you were correct and move around the board.
That is a very simplified version of the rules, and it may not make much sense but it really does when you start to play. You’ll soon get it.
We started off simply describing the cards to ease our way into the game, but were soon miming, singing songs, dancing, poetry, it all started to come out.
The cards are so beautifully illustrated and imaginative that you can really get creative with your stories. The remind me a bit of the illustrations you get on Tarot cards.
The best part of the game for me was the fact that everyone had fun. No arguing, no tantrums, just a good time as a family. Thomas who’s officially the most competitive game player, and worst loser in the world actually commented whilst laughing half way through the game that he was losing and he didn’t care as he was having so much fun. I was truly shocked by this as he can have such a bad attitude when losing some times.
It just goes to show what a good game can do.
Disclosure: We were sent a bundle of board games including Dixit by Esdevium Games to give an honest review
After our previous fun with the Crayola Colour Alive Mythical Creatures colouring book, we were thrilled to be sent the new Crayola Colour Alive Minions set.
Crayola Colour Alive is a series of colouring books complete with special marker pens. When coloured you can scan your pictures into the free app which then magically pops them off the paper and onto the screen.
As you can see from the picture opposite, it really does look like your coloured image has come to life in front of you. You can have great fun taking pictures with your coloured creations.
In our last few we had a few problems with the app responding, but these seem to have been fully resolved in the latest update as we had no problems at all.
As well as taking pictures with your new friends, you can also use the app to add more colour or special effects like glitter or for the Minions their favourite Bananas to your creations.
Here a few other pictures that Jacob coloured in and we played around with in the app.
Crayola Colour Alive is a great way to get your gadget loving kids creative with pen and paper again. Best of both worlds if you like.
We’ve had great fun with both of the Crayola Colour Alive books we used, so am definitely going to be on the lookout for some new ones.
Disclosure: We were sent this Crayola Colour Alive book to review. All opinions are our own.
For the last few weeks we’ve been having tons of fun playing with the latest Lego set we were lucky enough to receive for review – Jokerland.
The Jokerland Lego set is totally, totally awesome. Possibly the best Lego set that i’ve seen.
Having a son who’s a Lego Batman fan he literally freaked out with joy when he saw it, and wanted to get straight to work putting it together.
We had tears when I said no as we were leaving that morning to go on a caravan holiday, however I explained that he had something amazing to come home to and he soon cheered up.
As soon as we got home he dived straight into the box, and set about building this mammoth set.
The Jokerland set comes in at a very substantial 1037 pieces, in 8 different bags inside the box.
The set comes with 8 mini figures:
Batman with Super Jumper
Plus two cool little guys – a Jokerbot and a tiny Penguin who holds dynamite.
The manual is a little strange as usually with the big sets you get 2 or 3 different manuals, but this one is a big fat phonebook of a manual with the whole build detailed in one. I think I actually prefer it like that as it makes it easier to keep tucked away for if we need to build it again.
The set is marked as an 8-14 age range, so I thought I may have to give my 7 year old Jacob a bit of help along the way. However he must be a master builder as he worked hard and built it all himself over the course of a weekend.
One tip that he has for a good Jokerland build is to use a base plate or two if you have some big enough, to help keep everything together. We found that the Penguins Deadly Duckies falls apart really easily if not built on a solid plate. You obviously don’t have to, but it makes it easier.
Jokerland is made up of 4 distinct parts –
Penguin’s Deadly Duckies fairground ride
Harley Quinn’s Wheels of Fire Bike ride
Poison Ivy and the Carnivore Free Fall ride
Joker’s Jokerland Fun House
Penguin’s Deadly Duckies ride is Jacob’s favourite as he loves Penguin the most, and even laughs like him at times. The Duckies look really good, and you can spin the ride around by twisting a button at the back.
Jacob likes to load Batman and Robin into the ducks and then try to get them to be flung out by spinning the ride around as fast as he can. It’s definitely the Deadly Duckies then.
My pick for the best ride would be Poison Ivy’s Carnivore Free Fall. It’s one of those tall freefall rides that most of us have been on at the funfair, only made out of a man eating plant. Plus you can’t get off the ride as your handcuffed in place.
Harley Quinn on her Bike probably looks the most impressive of the rides, as it spans the whole length of Jokerland.
You can hang any of the mini figures onto the underneath of Harley’s bike , hanging precariously over the flaming garbage cans. Then It’s time to call Batman to save them in a daring escape.
A very clever piece of Lego engineering and imagination.
The main bulk of the set is taken up by Joker’s Funhouse Jokerland itself.
The entrance has warped joker smile mirrors on either side. Next up is a bow tie which you can make spin, then up again is a huge Joker head with moveable eyebrows and bowler hat.
Inside Jokers Mouth is a platform for his tongue which you can use as a spring to push Joker into the mouth, down the slide and into the Toxic Tank at the bottom. Or if he’s unlucky Joker can push Batman down the slide. Depends on what mood your in!
Lastly the Two other things you have are a shoot-o-matic cannon which shoots out cannon balls, dynamite, even custard pies.
However probably the best part of the whole set is getting an amazing looking Batmobile. It’s so awesome, and Jacob absolutely loves that he made a Lego Batmobile and that it looks so cool.
The Batmobile fires missiles out of the front and the back.
The front missiles are the long stick type, however the rear shoots out stud missiles.
The giant batwings on the back of the bat mobile make it look “beast” as Jacob says.
Another brilliant part of the set is all the little extras you get. Theres Batarangs, Dynamite, Cannon balls, custard pies, handcuffs and special handcuffs with cool locks on them.
The Jokerland set has been really well thought out, it’s so creative. There is so much play potential to be had with this set.
Some days Jacob has huge superhero battles, other days they are all friends and just go on the rides together. He has had so much fun and enjoyment out of the set already. He has been especially careful, much more so than usual to keep everything looking just like when it was built as it’s such a great set he wants to keep it built and together forever.
With an RRP of £89.99 it’s not a cheap set, but in our opinion it’s definitely worth the money for the amount of play potential it has. Simply having the amazing Batmobile and 8 different Mini figures makes it a must have set.
Obviously it’s not something I would buy on a whim, but for a birthday or Christmas gift I would not hesitate to recommend it.
Thanks so much to the Lego Uk and The Lego Family Bloggers Panel for sending us this amazing set to review
This month i’ve been feeling like everything around me is cute, cuddly and woolly, and it’s all down to the latest game we’ve been reviewing on the Wii U as part of the Nintendo Family Bloggers – Yoshi’s Woolly World.
The game is a beautiful puzzler, full of colour and cuddly yarn filled enemies.
Jacob and I absolutely love this game, and we especially love that we can play it together as two Yoshi’s helping each other out to finish the level.
In the game you jump around and flutter between platforms, collecting yarn balls and tossing them at enemies as you go.
You can find yarn balls inside big sewing boxes dotted around the place, and also make yarn balls from your enemies instead of eggs as Yoshi usually does.
As well as shooting your yarn balls at enemies, Yoshi also needs to throw them to create platforms, or sometimes to find secret entrances and hidden rooms.
Each level has tons of collectables to find as you play. If you can find them all you can unlock bonus levels.
One of the funniest parts of the game is when Yoshi suddenly unravels, and then knits himself into an accessory like an umbrella, or a mega Yoshi. It’s exciting when it happens to see what Yoshi is going to change himself into.
Another great feature is the really cool way Yoshi’s Wooly World can use Amiibo’s.
The new Woolly Yoshi Amiibo is definitely my favourite Amiibo so far, he’s gorgeous.
However in the game, if you have other Amiibos like Bowser or Mario, you can change your in game Yoshi to change into one of those.
Mario Yoshi is the funniest we think, as it’s hilarious seeing Yoshi with the plumbers curvy little moustache.
I so wish I could knit as we had such an amazing box of crafting things sent to us from Nintendo with a copy of the game, including some yarn and knitting needles. I’ve even been on Youtube trying to learn as I would love to make a cuddly Yoshi of my own, but to be honest I’m getting nowhere. I will get there eventually though, I’m not giving up
Yoshi’s Woolly World is a really fun game, whether playing alone or with a friend. I like the way that if you want you can power through the level as fast as you can and progress onwards. Or you can take your time and try to find every single collectable and hidden area. It’s really up to you.
Thanks so much to Nintendo for our awesome Yoshi’s Woolly World Bloggers box.