Give the gift of Floof It’s October so surely I’m allowed to talk about Christmas now?

Most people who know me well know that I adore the Christmas time. Every year I can’t wait to get started with the planning. I love buying gifts for people. I adore the day itself. Made even more magical now that I have my own children to make magic for.

So in the run up to Christmas time I will be sharing review posts of items I have agreed to test out. The reviews will always be my own work. I will not be paid for the posts. This is my blog so I can write what I like. All the items I review will either be bought by myself or sent to me (with prior agreement) and I will personally try them all and let everyone know what I think of them.

picture of floof box

Without further ado I’ll jump right into the first thing I’ve agreed to review…Floof! Yes I know it’s an odd name but to be fair it’s quite catchy. I can tell you are probably sat there now repeating it in your head..Floof..Floof….Floof!

picture of floof mr and mrs snowman set box

So what is Floof?

The official description is: Floof is a marshmallow-like molding material that has to be felt to be believed. This kinetic toy is as soft as a pillow, as light as a cloud, and as malleable as clay. Use it for fidgeting, building, or as a pure tactile treat. Since Floof never dries out, you can always keep some out and ready to play.

So to get hands on with some Floof I’ve been playing with the Builders set and the Mr and Mrs Snowman set.

picture of the inside contents of floof builder set, which has a play tray, a packet of floof and 4 tools to build with.

 

It’s recommended for ages 3 and up, but thankfully it’s non-toxic so no need to worry if you have younger ones around that get hold of it. Obviously with any substance I’d advise using it under adult supervision.It’s really hard to describe what floof feels like. It’s similar to a mixture of the kinetic sand stuff and the fake snow at Christmas.

Hand full of fluffy floof

I like it, it feels soft and squeezy.

squeezed ball of floof

One of the massive bonuses for me is that it doesn’t dry out. So you can leave it out or leave the lid off and it’s all still fine and ready to use again and again.

Inside the Mr and Mrs Snowman Floof kit you get a packet of Floof, a snowy scene background and some snowman accessories.

In the Floof builders kit you get a packet of Floof,a play tray (which I think is great for younger children over 3). As well as some tools to use with Floof.

 

Clean Up Carpet Test!

Now if you are a mum reading this you’re probably thinking that’s all well and good but does it get stuck in the carpet? I can report that I did a test and no it doesn’t! Hip hip hurrah! I even managed to vacuum it up very successfully when I’d finished the carpet test!

floof on the carpet all rubbed in

Now you see it (my best effort to actually rub it in too!)

plain carpet after floof is all vacuumed up

Now you don’t!

Would I recommend it? As an alternative to any other kind of moldable dough yes absolutely. The downside I’d say is that it only comes in one colour. However for the fact that it never dries out and it can be cleaned up very very easily (this part is the winner!) then it’s a hit with me! It also feels lovely too, I can imagine little ones who like to feel new textures will love Floof! There are various sets of Floof available at different price points which would make a great stocking filler and give little ones something to do.

If you like me have young children desperate to learn to drive then this post is for you! This weekend we had a new experience. Well one of us did! Thomas was invited along to his first ever driving lesson!

If you’re aged between 5 and 17 you can learn to drive a car with Young Driver in an area near you. Little people aged between 5 and 10 years old they offer lessons in a firefly car. These little cars tour the country and slots book up quickly so be sure to book early. For those young people ages 11 and above get to drive in a real car!

 

Information sent by email after we’d booked was very clear so we easily found the venue (just look for the big red bus!).

 

Thomas was super excited to get signed in when we arrived. Everything was well signed so we knew where to go. Theres a short disclaimer form to sign upon arrival by the accompanying adult but after that its get set go!

Ready, Set…Go!

 

The little ones who are taking part in the firefly vehicles get 20 minutes in the car. This is broken down into a 5 minute instruction session with a member of the staff and 15 minutes driving in the car on the road system laid out.

 

 

 

 

When the instructions are finished it’s time for the parent or guardian to get in the car and be driven around! Don’t worry though you get an emergency stop button just in case your child goes wild!

The little fireflys are great fun! There’s an accelerator pedal and a brake pedal, as well as a switch to change between forwards and backwards motion.

Theres venues all over the country including Scotland and Belfast so where ever you are based there will hopefully be one based near you. You can check venues on the website.

20 minutes passed quickly however I think it was just long enough to enjoy everything and park up at the end.

Felix couldn’t miss the opportunity for a photograph too although he’s still a little young to drive or have a ride.

Passing his Test

At the end of the lesson Thomas was given his very own driving licence which he was super chuffed with. I did have to explain though that he couldn’t actually drive us home afterwards in our car!

Thanks to the Young Driver company for invited us along to take part in a lesson. I’m sure we’ll be back when the middle monkey turns 5 as he was desperate to have a go! Thomas has made us promise for his 11th birthday he can go in the real cars too!

We did take some footage on camera and as soon as I’ve edited a video together I will be posting it up too!

You can find out more information about the Young Driver lessons here.

Thomas tests Thomas Track Playset!

This week the boys were sent a new toy to test, and test it they did. With thanks again to Bladez toyz who sent us the Thomas Track Playset. As always I only ever mention things on my blog that we would buy ourselves. I have not been paid for the review, the words are my own. We always only give our honest opinion.

First off where can you buy one? You can buy it from Argos here. If it’s something you think your children would enjoy too. The link is not an affiliate link so I won’t make any money at all if you click through.

Thomas Track playlet comes with 8 puzzle pieces and a motorised Thomas train. The Thomas train requires 1 AAA battery to be installed which is not included. You will need a tiny philips head screw driver for installing the battery.

The concept is simple. Just click the pieces together to make a track for Thomas to run along on. There are grooves in the puzzle pieces for the motorised wheel to run along.Apparently there are 50+ track combinations. The boys enjoyed using the pictures on the back of the box to make some tracks before going off and making their own combinations.

Overall the boys loved it. The pieces are really easy for small hands to connect together which is a bonus. The fact that you can make so many different tracks keeps play interesting. Thomas will also run without the track which is another bonus and way to play. It has provided hours of entertainment so far and we haven’t had to change the single battery yet. The only downside I could see is that it does need a battery so at some point it would need replacing.

We thought we’d make a little video to demonstrate it to you! Enjoy!

Don’t Rock the Boat – Or you’re out!

We love family games in our house so Don’t Rock the Boat was a welcome addition this week. Games that have a quick setup. Easy to understand. Most importantly fun to play with our age children!

don't rock the boat

University Games kindly sent us ‘Don’t Rock the Boat’ to play. It’s suitable for age 3 and over. You will need a minimum of two players (although to be honest my 6 year old enjoyed playing alone in what he called solo mode!) up to a maximum of 4 players.

The concept is simple its a balancing game.

don't rock the boat

 

 

There’s a boat which is set up to balance. A whole load of pirate penguins. Players take turns to balance a penguin on the boat anyway they like. If a penguin falls off when it’s your turn you lose and the player last to place a penguin wins.

 

 

My boys were finding inventive ways to hang or place the penguins. It clearly states in the rules that it doesn’t count as a lose if a penguin falls over. The penguin has to fall off the boat to count as game over. This point was taken to the extreme in our house as penguins were hung all over the boat!

don't rock the boat

Conclusion

Another great game from University Games. Quick and easy to set up. Simple for little ones to understand and most importantly easy to play!

don't rock the boat

My favourite point has to be worth mentioning too……

This guy on the back of the box made me chuckle for quite a while!

don't rock the boat

Slimline Wine –

Remember the ronseal adverts – does what it says on the tin. Well this week I’ve been sent some Slimline wine. Does what it says on the bottle!

slimline wine

Quite often as a blogger I will kindly get offered things or sent things to review and/or write about. However I don’t want my blog audience to just keep seeing reviews. Thats not what I’m about. I will only ever write about things that I’d actually buy and use.

Since I’m on slimming world at the moment and also love a bottle of red wine, when this arrived I thought perfect!

It’s a simple designed bottle and is new on the market. It claims to be a zero sugar, zero carb wine.

slimline wine

 

 

 

 

It’s available in white, red,rose and also very recently sparkling too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I’m no wine expert. My credentials are only that I have been drinking wine since around 21 years of age (thats about 15 years….cough cough!) I only started really liking red at around age 25 so roughly 10 years. I know what I like wine wise. I’m not a red meat eater so tend to just drink red on its own rather than with a meal as many people do. I couldn’t tell you the ‘underlying flavours’ or what vintage is what. I just no if a wine tastes nice to me and is easy to drink.

So with a little trepidation I thought I’d give the Slimline Wine a whirl as my weekend drink.

slimlinewine

 

 

The website has this description “A proper Red, with all the depth and flavour you expect although a little lighter on the tongue. Made from Barbera grapes.” For those counting calories there are 55 per 100ml in the white wine. So much less than normal wine.

Did I like it?

Yes – I was really surprised! I was expecting it to be a different taste to regular red wine. It absolutely does not have any taste in it that would give it away as a low cal wine. I honestly didn’t expect it to be as nice as it is. I thought that perhaps it would be a little like no alcohol wine in that it’s an ok substitute. How wrong I was. In a blind taste test I’d never be able to tell that there is a difference at all. To me it was easy to drink….a little too easy. I was soon on a lovely second glass! It needs to be pointed out that its 10% vol alcohol wine so similar to usual wines. Again a fact I was surprised by.

Where can I buy it?

Currently its available to order on the website.

You can also find out more about the wine on the website too.

milton

I love breastfeeding my baby. I’ve written about it lots of times on my blog. It’s not always been easy. However when it’s going well it’s amazing. Breastfeeding obviously requires me to be around baby all the time. In order for me to get a break from baby I need to express some milk for other people to feed him.

milton

The best time to express is after feeding has been established. So I waited until baby is eight weeks old knowing that my supply has now properly established. For expressing milk I use a mixture of an electric breast pump and a small one piece manual one.

For the first two boys I had an electric steam steriliser. It took up a lot of room on our kitchen counter and constantly needed descaling. I also needed to be organised and make sure everything fit inside properly and I’d allowed enough time to get it sterilised.

With this baby I haven’t bought a steriliser. I’d already decided this time to try Milton tablets, because I’ve been using them to clean and sterilise the boys school water bottles on the weekend in the sink. So when Milton approached me a couple of weeks ago I was happy to give their new products a whirl with the aim of being able to go to the cinema with my mum.

milton

Milton kindly sent me a Combi steriliser and a mini portable soother steriliser to test out and this week was the perfect time.

The Combi works with both cold water sterilisation which takes 15 minutes and is super easy. Also microwave sterilisation which takes just two minutes.

If you’re not familiar with Milton cold water sterilising it works by dissolving a Milton tablet in water then submerging the already clean items you want to sterilise in the water. After 15 minutes the process is complete. The combo steriliser can hold 5 bottles of any make at a time. When it’s done there no need to rinse just drain and go.

As I am using breast milk I also want to make sure the pump is lovely and sterile too so I popped it into the combo with no problem at all.

As baby hasn’t had a bottle at all yet I’m starting with just the very cheapest ones I can find. No point in paying lots of money when I don’t know if he’ll even take a bottle yet!

Milton Portable Soother Steriliser

When he was born both wrists had skin peeling off where he had been sucking his curled up fists whilst inside my uterus. I should have known this was a sign that he was a sucky baby. This means thought that he likes to settle himself by sucking on something. Usually this means breastfeeding but if I’m not around or I’m somewhere I can’t feed then I carry a dummy to try to settle him. Neither of my other two boys had a dummy, not through lack of trying but they just wouldn’t take one they wanted the real thing! Roo will only take one now if he’s super tired and it’s useful to try to calm him down. So carrying dummies out and about is totally new to me with this baby.

Milton’s portable soother steraliser is just the thing for dummies on the go. It’s a simple concept but works really well.

milton

Inside the screw together ball shape are two sponges. When you first open them they are very hard and dry. They just need to be soaked for a little while so that they are ready for use. The portable soother steriliser uses tiny Milton tablets that you can buy separately (although it comes with some ready to use). Once its ready to use and the sponges have been dampened then you add the Milton tablet and a little more water. Inset the soother and wait 15 minutes and its sterile.

Out and About

However as a busy mum you’re more likely to want to take it out and about with you. That’s the thing I really love about it. It comes with an attachment for out and about. I’ve had it clipped onto the buggy and also the changing bag.

milton

If the soother has been used whilst out and about you can pop it back in the steriliser. As long as its clean. It will be sterile again in just 15 minutes.

milton

 

Thanks to Milton for sending the items for me to test out and write about. As always I only review items I would buy myself and all my opinions are my own.

Dehumidifier by Maplin

The week we’ve been testing out a Maplin dehumidifier.

We are lucky enough to have a playroom in our house, which is the conservatory.

The problem we have though is that it gets cold and damp in winter and hot in summer. Until we can afford to have a real roof put on to it we’ll have to find temporary solutions.

One such solution is a dehumidifier in there to make it less damp and to dry out the air.

They kindly sent us the Peltier mini dehumidifier which is a mini dehumidifier with a 2.2 litre capacity water holder.

It’s designed for smaller spaces so could be used within a closet or utility room if you wanted to. It’s also recommended for use in a caravan or outdoor workshop over the winter months when you wouldn’t necessarily be using the space. It helps to keep smaller areas damp free. It’s mains powered but only uses 72w of power so doesn’t cost much to run. ITs also quiet and only produces 43db. This to me sounds like a quiet fan gently whirring away.

I’ve had it running in the conservatory now for 3 days and I’m amazed at how much moisture it’s already managed to collect.

Even though its a mini dehumidifier it still has an automatic cut off when the tank is full. So you can leave it safely running without constantly checking the tank isn’t over flowing.

If you using it near to a water disposal area you also have the option of using the included hose. This helps by  continually emptying the water from the dehumidifier tank.

How it works

Dehumidifiers work by cooling the air so that it turns to moisture and the moisture then drains away to a tank (or in this case a hose)

With the aid of a small electric radiator we’ve been able to heat the playroom too and make it a much more pleasant environment to play in.

Previously the boys would avoid staying in very long due to how cold and damp it was. Instead choosing to drag the toys into the house, defeating the object of having a beautiful play space.

If your looking for a small space dehumidifier then I’d say this one is just the job. If it’s a larger space you need to dry out then Maplin also have a great selection of dehumidifiers  that would be perfect.

Winter Wonderland Manchester – Eventcity

Winter Wonderland Manchester is back and we’ve been to check it out!

Manchesters biggest indoor Christmas attraction is not to be missed!

This week we kindly invited to check out this years Winter Wonderland at Eventcity, right next to the Trafford Centre.

We’ve been before so knew what to expect but this year really is bigger and better!

Legendary children’s TV show Rainbow are the star attraction of this year’s Christmas extravaganza, Winter Wonderland 2017!

 Winner of the Best Family Day Out at the Raring 2 Go Awards 2015, the festive family favourite event is back for its fifth consecutive year.

 The fabulous festive event will return to Manchester from Saturday 9th December 2017 toMonday 1st January 2018.

The mammoth 22,000sqm exhibition space at EventCity will be transformed in to an unbelievable wonderland extravaganza, featuring over 50 family rides and attractions all under one roof – including new rides for 2017, and all included in one ticket price.

When you book you’re tickets you can chose a 4 hour time slot. During that 4 hours you can ride as many rides and see as many shows as you want to. Tickets are available to buy here. But be quick, it’s a popular event and some dates may sell out so it’s advisable to book online before you travel.

winter wonderland

We had so much fun in the fours hours we were there. I lost count of the amount of rides we went on. Theres rides suitable for everyone. Theres even a baby chill out zone for those little people who just want to play with some toys.

We took little Roo who is only 10 days old and he was really good. I even saw a few friends I know who were more than happy to have cuddles with Roo!

winter wonderland

With food stalls a plenty, a visit to Father Christmas included and a whole host of fun. Winter Wonderland is once again sure to be a great day out for the whole family this Christmas. Have you been yet? If you have let me know what you thought!

With thanks to Winter Wonderland for inviting us to come and have some highly recommend festive fun!

Power Rippers – No batteries needed!

This week we’ve been testing out a new toy called Power Rippers! Despite what you might think this toy needs no batteries, hurrah! The power for the Power Ripper comes from your own hand. The faster you pull, the faster your ripper will go!

power rippers

There’s 16 fab Power Rippers to collect in the first set. With lots of different characters available from sharks to robots. With single Power Rippers starting at a RRP of £4.99 theres something for everyone’s budget.

power rippers

The way they work is with a rip cord which slides easily inside the ripper and you pull and pull until you’re happy with the speed, then let it rip!

Want to race the Power Rippers with friends then you can with the 2 in 1 Competition Play set which also opens up into a battle arena!

power rippers

Rev up your Power Ripper and watch it loop the loop on a long track. Or battle with friends for the best time against each other in a head to head loop the loop. Set up the track however you want and add a fantastic jump at the end. Be quick though to catch the action. These Power Rippers don’t hang around long!

power rippers

In battle mode you can go head to head with friends to battle the Power Rippers in the arena, think robot wars on a mini scale. Will your Power Ripper win the ultimate battle and keep going longer than the other rippers?

When you’re finished for the day, pack everything back up in the case and it’s ready to travel anywhere!

Overall Experience

power rippers

What we loved:

  • Theres no batteries needed so it’s just set up and go
  • Theres lots of way to play, we liked the long track best
  • The battle arena was fun to watch and more a game of luck than skill which is great for smaller children
  • We got quite a lot of play from the set and the boys were keen to play again the next few days
  • The track set up is pretty easy to do with lots of configurations possible

Other thoughts:

  • It can be tricky to get the hang of starting the power ripper on the track so be sure to practice lots before you agree to battle with friends (unless you want to lose!)
  • Mind your fingers! Power rippers are powerful so keep your fingers well out-of-the-way of the fast spinning wheel!

Power Ripper Video

Most of our video footage had to be shot in slow motion as the Power Rippers are just so quick!

If you want to find out more visit the Power Ripper website.

Power Rippers are available now in many toy shops across the UK.

We were kindly sent the toy for review but were not paid for the content, all our views are our own.

Radio Controlled Minion – Mel

This week we are celebrating all things minion. With the release of Despicable Me 3 on DVD and Blu-ray it’s time to rekindle the minion love in time for Christmas.

radio controlled minion

Bladez toyz kindly sent us our very own radio controlled Mel Minion to test out. If you like me have minion mad people in your house this little guy makes a fantastic gift.

radio controlled minion

Aimed at ages 3+ he comes with a simple remote control. The remote control features just one large button with just two options.

radio controlled minion

Even little hands are able to grasp the concept of moving Mel around the room. The two controls are forward and spin. So you have to spin Mel to the direction you want then move him forwards.

All the inflatable r/c toys in the Bladez range do need inflating once you get them out of the box. But don’t worry you won’t need a pump. I managed to do this in just a few breathes without feeling dizzy! Far easier than inflating some party balloons that’s for sure!

radio controlled minion

Look out in the box too for a small repair patch incase any minor accidents happen with the inflatable you’ll be able to repair him. I did have to stop my youngest from trying to ride the minion!

We loved playing with the radio controlled minion, he is a great first introduction for little people to remote control toys as he’s just so easy to control. He worked well on both carpet and hard wood floors. So whatever you have he’s fun to control.

radio controlled minion

The Workings

You will need 6 AA batteries to power him, 4 for the minion and two for the remote control.

radio controlled minion

So be prepared on Christmas day with the batteries if it’s a gift as they are not included. He comes with a switch on his base with a choice of “Off”, “On with sounds” or “On without sounds”. The sounds on Mel are minion noises which do repeat after a while so if you get fed up of hearing it (which my boys didn’t!) then you can always run him without them!

Available to buy at The Entertainer and other toy shops.

With thanks to Bladez for sending Mel. I was not paid for this review, as always opinions are my own.