Watch Finding Nemo with the Fish!

Tomorrow we're heading off to SEA LIFE Blackpool for a visit with a difference as they will be hosting fun screenings of Disney ∙ Pixar’s Finding Nemo for visitors throughout the day on Saturday 27th August. 
Finding Dory and Nemo event at SEA LIFE Blackpool

The screenings are part of SEA LIFE’s event to celebrate the release of Disney ∙ Pixar’s Finding Dory, and will take place in the fun sea-themed schoolroom at the centre from 10am.

Visitors will be given a Finding Dory ‘Trail Book’ and cardboard goggles, looking for letters to spell out a particular word, earning them a prize at the end. The book also pulls out into a poster for them to take home and keep.

The kids are tasked with finding the Finding Dory character Hank the Octopus, which will be hidden in tanks and aquariums with fun facts on the various fish, and the letter clues they need for their Trail Books. Kids will also be given an exclusive ‘pop badge’ at the end which says ‘I Found Out About Dory At Sea Life’.

Jenn McDonough, general manager of SEA LIFE Blackpool, “Finding Nemo and Finding Dory are wonderful films that inspire many visitors to come to SEA LIFE Blackpool. 
Finding Dory and Nemo event at SEA LIFE Blackpool

“Our film screenings allow children to enjoy the original film before taking part in the Finding Dory trail so they can see real life versions of their favourite characters. We hope to create a complete experience, giving Nemo and Dory fans a day out they will never forget.”

Entry to the screening is included as part of a standard SEA LIFE Blackpool ticket, which can be purchased online at www.sealifeblackpool.com

We can't wait to see one of our favourite films amongst the fish in Blackpool tomorrow!

Discovering Engineering at MSI Manchester with Dyson and Currys PC World

The school holidays are in full swing and it's been tricky to carve out some one-to-one time with each of the children so Bud and I were delighted to be invited along to the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Manchester at the weekend, to explore engineering with our friends from Dyson and Currys PC World.
Discovering Engineering at MSI Manchester with Dyson and Currys PC World #DysonChallenge

Ask Bud what he wants to be when he's big and his immediate answer is 'a scientist'. I'm quite proud of this and we're always seeking out ways to promote that interest and help to broaden his scientific horizons beyond paleontology and Lego models. We were invited to visit MSI and take the #DysonChallenge - an opportunity to learn about two of their newest products and to explore some of their benefits using kids crafts.
Discovering Engineering at MSI Manchester with Dyson and Currys PC World #DysonChallenge Cinetic Animal Big Ball Cleaner and Pure Flow Air Purifier

Our day started with refreshments (including some yummy cookies, Bud was a fan) and the opportunity to mingle with the Dyson team and a few local bloggers and their children. It was lovely to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. There was a range of Dyson products out for demonstration purposes and Bud really got stuck into trying them out. He particularly loved the handheld cleaners and I was pretty impressed at how easily a 6 year old could operate one!
Discovering Engineering at MSI Manchester with Dyson and Currys PC World #DysonChallenge Handheld cleaner

When the more formal part of the day started two of the Dyson engineers introduced the new products we were there to see. First up was the Dyson Cinetic Animal Big Ball Cleaner. This cleaner brings together the Cinetic technology which uses cyclone technology to ensure that suction never drops, and that it picks up even the tiniest of particles.
Discovering Engineering at MSI Manchester with Dyson and Currys PC World #DysonChallenge Cinetic Animal Big Ball Cleaner

Dyson have been listening to their customers who have asked for a more effective way of emptying their cleaners and have come up with a really nifty way of doing so in this cleaner. Instead of opening the canister and tipping it in to your bin, You slide the seal down the container and it pushes even the smallest pieces out. No cleaning the container out after emptying your vacuum!

The most fun element of this new cleaner is the 'big ball', we've all trailed around a cylinder vacuum cleaner, dragging it around after us and had it tip over on us. With the new Dyson Cinetic Big Ball, when this happens it will simply right itself and pop back to upright on it's own. This was ably demonstrated by one of the children at the event and, despite rolling the cleaner all the way over, it did roll straight back up on it's own. The kids were fascinated by this and I know lots of them had a go at tipping it over.

The second item we had demonstrated to us was the Dyson Pure Cool Link Tower Air Purifier. This promises to remove 99.5% of allergens and pollutants from the air in your home, effectively cleaning and filtering the air and potentially removing toxic fumes! In addition to this it can work as a fan to keep your home cool on hot days.
Discovering Engineering at MSI Manchester with Dyson and Currys PC World #DysonChallenge

The Air Purifier has it's very own Dyson Link app (for Android and iPhone) which allows you to monitor the air in your home remotely and change settings on the go if needed. It also has a remote control, LED and night mode to make using it a simple process.

After the demonstrations we had the chance to get creative. Our first task was to make a self-righting egg similar to the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Cleaner's technology. We decorated our egg with a funky face, and called him 'Glasses Man; Bud ensured he had glasses just like his. From there we used ball bearings and blu-tac to make sure our egg would stand back up if he was knocked over. Bud loved making his egg and it led to a discussion about just why the egg stands back up again.
Discovering Engineering at MSI Manchester with Dyson and Currys PC World #DysonChallenge Self-righting eggs

The second craft was to make our own windmills to demonstrate the Dyson Pure Cool Link Tower Air Purifier's air flow power. We decorated our paper template then used a pencil to pin it together and make a windmill which spun in the air from the Air Purifier. It was a fun creative task and Bud really enjoyed working out why the air made the windmill spin.
Discovering Engineering at MSI Manchester with Dyson and Currys PC World #DysonChallenge Make your own windmill

After a tasty lunch it was time to say goodbye and I took home a very happy little boy who really wants to be a Dyson engineer when he grows up, he's also developed something of a taste for vacuuming which I'll definitely be looking to promote using our Dyson cleaner at home. It was a lovely way to explore the products and to explain their engineering to the children. Bud says it was the best day ever!

We attended the event as the guests of Dyson and Currys PC World and received a gift and goodie bag for our time.


Princess Peppa's Palace - Review

LM loves Peppa Pig and we've amassed quite a collection over the past few years. From the Classic range of toys through to the Holiday sets and Once Upon a Time, they've all been really popular toys here and the Peppa collection is played with on an almost daily basis. Recently LM was sent the brand new Princess Peppa's Palace from Character Toys and it looks like we have another hit on our hands.
Princess Peppa's Palace - Review Character Toys Peppa Pig

Unboxing the Palace is an easy process. The bright yellow building unfolds it's doors to open out to reveal the palace interior. Helpfully this locks to make storing the Palace accessories inside an easy process. Included are Princess Peppa, A small amount of assembly is required as two balconies are clipped on to the front,  two small flags added to the tops of the palace's towers and the bathroom floor is clipped in.. Sir George and a Fairy Godmother Suzy Sheep. As usual there is a range of furniture included - Peppa and George's beds, pillows and favourite toys (Teddy and Mr Dinosaur), three thrones, treasure chest a sideboard and jelly, wardrobe, mirror and bath tub.
Princess Peppa's Palace - Review Character Toys Peppa Pig

The interior of the palace is brightly decorated with the purpose of each room clear to see. There are windows in most rooms and it's easy to work out which piece of furniture goes where. This did meet with a little bit of an argument over which was Peppa's bedroom, with LM deciding it had to be the one with Peppa's photo on the wall and Bud choosing a different option.
Princess Peppa's Palace - Review Character Toys Peppa Pig
Princess Peppa's Palace - Review Character Toys Peppa Pig

The set lends itself to imaginative play beautifully. The different characters included and the accessories have had LM creating lots of different scenarios and it's funny to hear replays of the television show in her play too.
Princess Peppa's Palace - Review Character Toys Peppa Pig

All of the set is of the usual high Peppa Pig quality we have become accustomed to. They are all sturdily built and perfect for little hands. I'm really liking that, even though the same characters are in lots of the different sets now, they do make effort to make their outfits look different so we aren't adding to the collection of identical Peppa Pigs that we have. It makes such a difference to LM that she has a Peppa which clearly identifies with a particular set. I'm not sure why but I'm not almost 4!
Princess Peppa's Palace - Review
Princess Peppa's Palace - Review Character Toys Peppa Pig

There are a couple of little niggles with this set which I've noticed. The design of the palace makes it perfect for taking out with your child. A carry handle on the top would make that much easier. The inside of the Palace is large enough to store a good collection of other Peppa Pig characters and toys but you need to make sure not to put small items in the rooms with the larger windows as they will fall out.
Princess Peppa's Palace - Review Character Toys Peppa Pig
All in all this is a lovely playset. It's been a huge hit here, with Bud and Little E enjoying playing just as much as LM. I can imagine it being a hugely successful addition to many Peppa Pig collections .

Princess Peppa's Palace has an RRP of £49:99 and is available from Smyths Toys.

The Original Stretch Armstrong - Review

I have faint memories of Stretch Armstrong from my childhood in the early 80s so I was rather surprised to find out that he has returned to stores for brand new adventures recently! Bud received his very own Stretch Armstrong and we've been having lots of fun testing him out.
Original Stretch Armstrong Box Blog Review

Stretch Armstrong arrives in a sturdy cardboard box which promises that he can stretch up to four times his size! Bud was rather intrigued by this and very keen to try him out.



Stretch measures about 30cm tall and has a rubbery body which feels rather strange! He looks like a mini wrestler with his muscles and dark trunks. I'd describe it as a dough-y texture, if you poke him it will leave a finger mark and, of course, you can mould and stretch the figure by pulling on his arms and legs.
Stretching Stretch Armstrong doll blog review

Fresh from the box Stretch isn't as stretchy as you would expect but he loosens up as he is played with and really starts to stretch. Bud had so much fun playing with him and he quickly realised that he could stretch the figure, tie him in knots and generally do lots of crazy things with Stretch Armstrong, knowing that he would ping back to his normal size again straight after. Very funny!
Stretching Stretch Armstrong doll review blog

I'd really recommend reading the Stretch Armstrong instructions quite carefully as he can be damaged and these show how to fix him, should that occur. We've had no problems beyond him getting a little dirty and sticky from playing in the garden and we solved this with a quick wipe from a damp cloth.
Stretching Stretch Armstrong doll review blog

I was surprised by how much fun we had with Stretch Armstrong and Bud has taken him on a couple of playdates since he arrived as his  Sister tends to just fall over when they play tug of war. Having friends who are just as strong really helps!
Stretching Stretch Armstrong doll review

Stretch Armstrong has an RRP of £19:99 and can be purchased from Character Online.

Magic Twirl Mim-Mim Plush - Review

LM really enjoys watching Kate and Mim-Mim on cBeebies so she was delighted to be sent the brand new Magic Twirl Mim-Mim Plush from Just Play recently. For those not in the know, Kate and Mim-Mim features an imaginative five year- old, Kate and her purple toy rabbit, Mim-Mim who travel to a fantasy world of Mimiloo where Mim-Mim becomes a larger than life friend. LM loves watching Kate and Mim-Mim's adventures so I knew that the prospect of her own Mim-Mim to twirl with would be an exciting one!
Magic Twirl Mim-Mim Plush -  Blog  Review Kate and Mim-Mim cBeebies

Magic Twirl Mim-Mim looks exactly like the Mim-Mim from the show. As soon as LM saw him she exclaimed 'Mim-Mim' and then couldn't wait to get him unpackaged. His bright purple plush fur is beautifully soft and snuggly and he wears the same flying helmet as Mim-Mim on the TV show.
Magic Twirl Mim-Mim Plush -  Blog  Review Kate and Mim-Mim cBeebies

The rabbit's ears are fully poseable which means you can point them in as many directions as you like. This is a fun feature as it makes Mim-Mim look different as you change them. All of Mim-Mim's details are there, including his fluffy, white bunny tail.
Magic Twirl Mim-Mim Plush -  Blog  Review Kate and Mim-Mim cBeebies

Mim-Mim has two interactive features. Press his tummy to hear familiar phrases from the show. The other is really fun, take Mim-Mim's paws in your hands (you need to hold both) and he says the exciting phrase from the show... 'Kate and Mim-Mim, me and you. Let's twirl away to Mimilou!'. LM loved twirling with Mim-Mim, just like Kate does, and it's very clever that your child has to hold Mim-Mim in the same way as Kate does to make this feature work. I had to show LM how to hold Mim-Mim's paws to make this work, she was able to do it herself after this.
Magic Twirl Mim-Mim Plush -  Blog  Review Kate and Mim-Mim cBeebies

I'm very impressed by this toy. It's really good quality and is the perfect size (around 50cm) for snuggling and playing with. He's not the best to take to bed as he tends to start talking when LM moves in the night, as we found out a few nights ago. It's lovely to be able to share a favourite TV show character with LM in this way.

The Kate and Mim-Mim range of toys is available at www.flairplc.co.uk.

Toy received for review purposes.

Classic Peppa Pig Toys - Review

We've been a houseful of Peppa Pig toys since LM was about 12 months old and she discovered the world of Peppa and her friends and we've been watching, playing and joining in with Peppa Pig ever since. Bud and now Little E have all been sucked into the fun too and now we have quite the collection of the little pink pig toys. There have been special ranges including Holiday and Once Upon a Time in recent years but we always return to the Classic toys range so LM and Little E were delighted to receive two new toys from the range recently.
Classic Peppa Pig Toys - Review Laugh with Peppa

Classic Peppa Pig Toys - Review Laugh with Peppa

The first toy we received was Laugh with Peppa. This is a soft doll version of Peppa and, when you press her tummy, she falls backwards and  laughs and says various Peppa Pig catchphrases. She needs 3xAAA batteries which are supplied and she's provided in demo mode, you just need to click 'on' and she's fully operational It's a lovely soft doll (with a hard tummy), around about 30cm tall.
Classic Peppa Pig Toys - Review Laugh with Peppa

Classic Peppa Pig Toys - Review Laugh with Peppa

Laugh with Peppa has been a huge hit in our house and all three children have been playing with her. The favourite activity is to make her laugh and then show her to Little E who really chuckles along with her! Although she's designed for children age 3+ he loves to watch the toy in action and is genuinely delighted by it. This is the biggest Peppa LM now has and she's been an ever present since she arrived, and played with on a daily basis.
Classic Peppa Pig Toys - Air Peppa Jet

Classic Peppa Pig Toys - Air Peppa Jet

The second toy to arrive was one of the playsets - the Air Peppa Jet - this is a much more familiar toy to LM as she has quite a few of the Peppa playsets already. The aeroplane arrives complete wth Peppa figure (I was pleased to see the aeroplane motif on her dress as we have so many of the plain Peppa Pig figures, it's nice when they are a little different), two suitcases and the ubiquitous Miss Rabbit as the pilot (you can see her head but she can't be removed). The cockpit opens, as does the top of the plane and there is room inside for three figures.
Classic Peppa Pig Toys - Air Peppa Jet

Classic Peppa Pig Toys - Air Peppa Jet

When we unboxed the aeroplane LM quickly went to grab her Rebecca Rabbit figure to go on holiday with Peppa. It's always good to be able to play with figures from other sets so we can make lots of use of them and the three seats in the aeroplane adds to this. The plane is quite realistic and LM remembered her flight on holiday last Summer and used these memories to make good use fot he role play element of this toy. Little E really enjoyed this toy too, again it's 3+ but he played well with  it with supervision. LM loved flying the aeroplane around the garden so Peppa and her friends could go on holiday.
Classic Peppa Pig Toys - Air Peppa Jet


Both of these toys are new additions to the Peppa Pig classsic toys range and both have an RRP of £19:99. It's great to see the range of toys being expanded once more and I am sure we will continue to add to our collection. This video shows the full range to great effect.


CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL RANGE OF TOYS AT ARGOS

We were supplied with the toys for review purposes. 

Limited Edition Carousel Pony Zelf

Zelfs are one of the biggest collectable crazes of recent years with the cute little hairy figures which look so similar to the trolls I remember from my childhood. With five series of Zelfs already released the brand new sixth series is due on sale from the end of July.
Limited Edition Carousel Pony Zelf Blog Review

To celebrate the new series a brand new limited edition Zelf has been released. This is a real money can't buy Zelf as the only way to get your hands on one is to spend £30 on the rest of the Zelfs range. Only 10000 of the Carousel Pony Zelf have been produced and the UK only has 400 of these so owning one is very special!
Limited Edition Carousel Pony Zelf Blog Review

LM doesn't actually own any Zelfs at the moment but she does love anything with hair to style, and if it looks like a horse or a unicorn, so much the better! The Carousel Pony Zelf is a lovely unicorn Zelf in a pretty pink and turquoise colourway, she has fluffy pale pink hair and curly long tail and LM is completely delighted by her!
Limited Edition Carousel Pony Zelf Blog Review

Carousel Pony Zelf arrives with three hair bands and a comb (great for styling her hair and tail), a sparkly purple horseshoe charm and a disc showing which number of the edition your Zelf is. LM quickly asked for the horseshoe charm to be placed on her backpack and it was really simple to just loop this through the zip. 

Although she's only small the Carousel Pony Zelf is really lovely to play with. Her head and arms move and she has some really pretty flowers and saddle details. She and LM have been inseperable since she arrived and I can often find her combing the Zelf's hair and tail. 
Limited Edition Carousel Pony Zelf Blog Review

If you'd like your own Carousel Pony Zelf then you can claim one for free from here with £30 of 2016 receipts showing Zelfs purchases. 

To keep up to date with all of the Zelfs news, why not join the Zelfs Club?