Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Brightening Up Our Day with Triominos Sunshine - A Review

We have another fabulous review for you today, this time covering the wonderful game of Triominos Sunshine, which is a bright and colourful version of the classic game Triominos. It is a fun variation of the well known Dominos, however instead of rectangular pieces, these are triangular shaped instead and if used wisely, you can create various formations and gain some extra scores too.


It instantly appealed to me from the outset, due to its portable size and handy travel bag packaging, which means that we will be able to take this with us on our adventures and holidays in the future. It can be played by 2-4 players and is recommended for children aged 6+ which I would agree is a suitable age.

The contents of our game included:
  • 1 x Handy Travel Pouch in Orange and Yellow
  • 56 x Triominos
  • 1 x Instructions
The aim of the game is simple and you must try to get as many points as possible by strategically matching the Triominos. Each Triomino is unique, so it is wise to think carefully before using a piece in the hope of achieving some extra points. The aim of the game is to be the player who scores the highest number of points and this can be done in a number of ways, by simply placing a piece down to adjacent numbers, or laying your pieces to create a shape such as a bridge or a hexagon.


We played this game initially with 4 players which meant that to begin we placed all the Triominos face down on the table and mixed them all up. We each then chose 7 random Triominos each and placed the remaining tiles at the end of the table to create a 'pool' of spare pieces. If you are only playing with 2 players then you each draw 9 Triominos instead.

In order to decide who begins, each player selects a Triomino from the pool and adds up the numbers on the tile. The person with the highest number gets to go first, which I think is a very simple way to select the starting player and also prevents any arguments.


The first player then places any Triomino of their choice on the table and adds up the value of the numbers. The next player must then try to place one of their Triominos next to the tile that is already on the table by matching the numbers on one side. This might sound easy but as the game progresses it can become quite difficult and requires some thought into your chosen move. Only one Triomino can be placed down per go and if you are unable to use any of your existing tiles, then you must select a spare from the pool. If you are still unable to go, then you can take a further tile from the pool up to a maximum of three times. For each Triomino that is selected this way, you must deduct 5 points from your score. If you select the maximum three pieces and still cannot place a tile then you lose an additional 10 points. This means that you can lose points just as quickly as you can earn them.

Bonus points can also be scored if you manage to create a shape such as the following:
  • If you form a Bridge you can score 40 extra points
  • If you form a Hexagon you can score 50 extra points
  • If you form a Double Hexagon then you can score 60 extra points
  • If you form a Triple Hexagon then you can score 70 extra points


The game comes to a conclusion when a player manages to place down their last tile and they then score a bonus of 25 points. In addition they can also add the total of all the points the other players still have on their racks.Each player then simply adds up their score and the person with the highest number of points is the winner!

Overall I really liked this game and I am pleased to have found a fun new game that is small and portable enough to come on our travels with us in the future. The handy zipped pouch is ideal for keeping all of the pieces safe and I loved the bright and vibrant colours. I would have liked the addition of a little score pad, so that you can keep a note of the points as you play, but we have simply used a small spare notepad instead. It is a strategic game that really encourages you to think and my youngest son Riley particularly enjoyed this game and working with numbers. With an RRP of £14.99, I think this is a very fair price for an enjoyable family game that can be used both at home and away and I would gladly recommend this to others.

Triominos Sunshine can currently be purchased online from Amazon, but if you would like to find out more about Triominos Sunshine or the other products in the Ideal Games range, then you can visit their social media pages on the following channels:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IdealGamesUK/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/idealgamesuk/


*Disclaimer - We were gifted with the game of Triominos Sunshine for the purpose of writing an honest review of the game and our experience. All opinions and thoughts are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains and Amazon affiliate link.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Family Fun with Othello - A Review

You will have hopefully read our recent post about a fabulous bundle of boredom busting games that we were sent from Ideal Games UK to help us keep busy and entertained over the coming weeks. My family and I had a wonderful selection of both classic and new games sent to us, which we shall be putting to the test over the next few days.

There was a little debate as to which game we should try first, but after having a good look through the games on offer, we decided to start with Othello. All of us enjoy fast paced strategy games, so this seemed the perfect choice to begin our family games night with.


Othello is a two player game, where the object is to trap and capture your opponents disks, whilst strategically placing yours on the board. If you trap the other players disk, then you can flip this over to match your colour, but of course they can also do the same to you, so it helps to try and think ahead before placing your next move.

We hadn't actually played this game before, so we each had a good look at the box and read through the instructions before starting to play. The front of the box has a large image, which shows a green playing board along with black and white disks. There is a caption that runs along the bottom that states "A Minute To Learn.... A Lifetime To Master!"

The rear of the box provides much more detail, along with a brief explanation of how to play. There were numerous images that gave examples of the game in play, which were also accompanied by some short sentences of written instructions. Once we had all taken a look at the box and the enclosed guidance, then we were ready to play and began to set up the board.

On opening the box we found the following contents:
  • 1 x Instruction Manual
  • 1 x Playing Board
  • 64 x Reversible Disks
  • 4 x Playing Board Feet
There isn't much assembly involved in this game at all and the only preparation you need to make is inserting the 4 playing board feet into the base and lining up your disks in your players row. Each player has 32 disks, with one person playing the white colour and the other person the black. The object of the game is to be the player with the most disks of your colour at the end. 

To begin play you both start with 2 disks placed in the centre position as shown below. Each player then takes it in turns to place down a new disk, whilst also trying to outflank your opponents disks. Outflanking means to place a disk on the board that traps your opponents disk at either end. If you outflank their disk(s), then you get to flip them over to your colour and the game continues.


To outflank a disk(s), it must be in a continuous line but can travel in a number of directions including vertically, horizontally and diagonally. This means that if you carefully observe the board, you could place your disk to actually outflank your opponent in a number of different ways.

If at any point there is no possible move for you to make to outflank your opponent, then you must forfeit your go, however if there is a move available then you must take your go, even if this would not be to your advantage. Once it is no longer possible for either player to make a move, then the game is over and the player with the majority of their coloured disks is the winner.


Overall we really enjoyed this game and to be honest I liked it more than I had expected to. My first impressions were that it would be a very simple game and it would be over in seconds, but in fact it requires quite a lot of thinking and consideration of your next move or strategy. Riley is only 7, but he picked up the concept of the game really quickly and I liked watching him take the time to think out his next move. My two older children aged 12 and 13 also found this game to be really fun and it was great to see them playing against each other in such a calm, yet competitive way. As it is only a two player game, it wasn't possible for us all to play at the same time, however we turned it into a family championship instead and did a series of rounds, semi finals and finals until crowning our Ultimate Othello Champion!

Othello is a game that is simple to learn and enjoyable to play. It has an RRP of £22.99 which I think is a reasonable price for this game. It can be purchased from retailers such as Argos and Amazon.

If you would like to find out more about Othello or any of the other products available from Ideal Games, then you can visit their social media pages on the following channels:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IdealGamesUK/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/idealgamesuk/



*Disclaimer - We were gifted the game of Othello for the purpose of writing an honest review of the game and our experience. All opinions and thoughts are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.


Monday, 6 April 2020

Boredom Busters From Ideal Games

We are all going through worrying times at present with the current pandemic and for children in particular, there has been a lot of change and uncertainty created. Like most parents, we are trying our best to stay positive and encouraging our kids to continue with their school work, take some time out in the garden, speak with their friends regularly and talk to us if they have any worries. They have been absolutely fantastic these past couple of weeks, however it is only inevitable that the boredom will gradually start to creep in for all of us.

We have therefore been looking for some boredom busting games and activities that we can enjoy together, make us laugh and help us to take our mind off current events, if only for a moment. We were therefore absolutely delighted (and a little overwhelmed) when the lovely team at Ideal Games sent us a fantastic selection of products to keep us busy over the coming days and weeks.

For any families out there that enjoy board games, I intend to write a full review on each game pictured and I will upload a new one every couple of days throughout April. This will not only help us to keep busy as a family, but I also hope it will help to provide other families with some ideas and inspiration of games that they can also enjoy together.

Be sure to check back in the next couple of days to see our latest review, we just need to decide which of these great games we are going to play first!

If you would like to find out more about any of these games, then you can visit the Ideal Games social media pages on the following channels:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IdealGamesUK/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/idealgamesuk/


*This is a collaborative post and we have been gifted the games featured in this image for the purpose of writing an honest review. 


Thursday, 2 April 2020

Wordsearch Junior - A Review

Like most parents we are still trying to find the right balance between learning at home and still having some fun, during the school closure period. My children are doing great with the work that has been set by their teachers, however I think it is also good to add a touch of educational fun into the mix to help try and maintain a positive mood.

Therefore, when an opportunity recently arose to review Wordsearch Junior, I thought this would be an ideal game to help Riley learn how to identify and read some new words, in addition to working on his spellings. We therefore excitedly waited for it to arrive, before involving it in one of our literacy lessons this afternoon.


Wordsearch Junior is described on the box as being a fun way to play and read. It is recommended for children aged 5+ and can be played by 2 to 4 players at a time. There are three levels of play which each vary in difficulty, so you can choose the most appropriate game boards for your child.

The front of the box is really bright and vibrant, which features the name of the game across the front in large text. The rear of the box has some really clear images, that give you a good idea of how the game is played and what you will find inside.


On opening the packaging we found the following contents:

  • 1 x Game Board (consisting of a base, transparent disk and ring)
  • 6 x Blue Picture Grids
  • 6 x Red Picture and Word Grids
  • 6 x Green Word Only Grids
  • 140 Counters (35 red, 35 green, 35 yellow, 25 blue)
  • 1 x Instruction Manual

The grids have varying levels of difficulty, with the Blue picture grids being the easiest. These grids consist of pictures only and you have to look for sets of 3 pictures in the right sequence. The red grids feature both pictures and words, so this is ideal for younger players who can use the picture clues to help them locate and identify the words. The green grids are words only and you simply have to search for the word as quickly as possibly against your opponent.


As this was Riley's first attempt at such a game, we opted to try one of the red grids first, so that he could get use to the game and understand exactly what he needed to do. We therefore chose one of them and placed it into the base of the game board. I then covered this with the transparent disk, which then holds the grid into position, before finally adding the blue ring.

To begin the game, you simply turn the board until the grid colour appears in the word gap in the ring. Each player then takes a turn to turn the grid and reveal a new word and reads this out aloud for everyone to hear (or in the case of the blue image board, simply describe the picture instead).

The words can be displayed in any direction so it is important to look not only left, right, up and down, but also diagonally too. Everyone searches for the word and the first player to spot it, shouts out the word and points at the answer. If this is correct, then they can place down their coloured counters to cover the word.

Game play continues like this until all the words have been found and the coloured section appears in the word gap again. If a word you find has to cover a space that already has another players counter in, then you can remove it and replace it with yours. Riley particularly enjoyed this part of the game and thought it was hilarious that he could remove my counters.

Once a full turn of the grid is completed then each player counts how many counters they had placed down on the board, with the winner being the person who has successfully used the most counters. A player can also win by using up all their counters, which Riley managed to do on a couple of occasions, much to his delight!


Once Riley had got the hang of the game, we decided to try one of the harder levels and switched from a red grid to one of the green wordsearch grids. Riley was a little apprehensive at first as he thought he would find it too difficult, but to be honest he surprised both himself and me, winning the first game with ease!

The green grid works in exactly the same way, except you are solely looking for words and there are no images this time to help you out. There were a couple of occasions where I thought I had found a word only to find that I was wrong, so make sure you definitely know where the word is before shouting it out.

For younger members of the family, the blue grids are ideal as these feature pictures only, so it is a great way of improving observation skills from an early age. I felt that these boards would have been too easy for Riley so we didn't attempt them, but they looked great and easy to understand.


Overall I really enjoyed playing this game with Riley and felt that it was a great way to help him learn some new words, whilst also staying focused. He enjoyed reading out the words, as well as racing against me to be the first to find them. We also made sure that we spelt out each word as we placed our counters down, which I hope will help Riley with his spellings going forward. We both found it to be a fun educational game and I look forward to playing it with him regularly going forwards. 

The game is very easy to set up and it has simple instructions to play, making it an ideal game for families to enjoy together. Wordsearch Junior has an RRP of £19.99 and can be purchased from Amazon.


*Disclaimer - We were gifted with this item for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.



Tuesday, 31 March 2020

So Slime DIY Slimelicious Soda Shop - A Review

You may have seen from some of our previous reviews, that Riley absolutely loves all things slime, especially when it comes to making his own slimelicious creations. I therefore decided that whilst home schooling this week, we would use a So Slime DIY kit for one of his creativity lessons, that we were recently sent to review.


So Slime DIY have a great selection of products available, but for this review we used the Soda Slimelicious Set which is recommended for children aged 6+. The front of the box has a bright and colourful design which resembles a shop front and features plenty of images along with three clear windows so that you can see some of the products inside.


On the side of the packaging is some simple three step instructions and the rear of the box provides even more images along with a contents list. The whole design is really bright and appealing, which definitely makes it stand out. I also noticed some small pieces of text that stated it was a no mess product, which definitely gave it bonus points from me.


The box was simple to open and we were able to remove all the items from the packaging with ease. The full contents included:

  • 2 Mini Slime Shakers
  • 6 Scented Slime Powders
  • 2 Charms
  • 3 Decoration Bags

Riley lay all the different coloured slime powders out and decided that he wanted to use the green colour first. He then chose which decorations he would like to add once the slime was ready and we began to create our slime.


The whole process was super simple and made no mess either. Firstly we poured the powder into one of the slime shakers and then added some water up to the line. I then clicked the lid into place to ensure there was no spillages and Riley set about shaking the water and powder together for approximately 30 seconds.

We then left it to set for just over 5 minutes before checking on it and letting it set for a further couple of minutes, before adding our chosen decorations. Riley decided to add the Lemon Fizz packet and he did this by pouring a small quantity directly into the slime and then added a further amount with his hands, mixing the slime and decorations together. The slime is also nicely scented, with the smell not being too overpowering.


We both really liked how easy it was to make and the slime shakers can also be used as storage tubs, so that you can place your slime in there to be used again. The inclusion of six different powders also means that it is a set that can be used quite a few times before you run out and being small in size they are easy enough to put away for use another day.

Overall this was a fun and creative product that Riley and I really enjoyed doing together. It was so simple to use and the instructions were very easy to follow. The RRP of this set is only £7.99 which I think represents really good value for money and I like the fact that there is the opportunity to make six sets of slime. I will definitely be purchasing more So Slime DIY sets in the future and would happily recommend this toy to others.

This item has an RRP of £7.99 and is from Canal Toys. If you would like to find out more about Canal Toys and their great range of products, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website - www.canaltoys.com


*Disclaimer - This is a collaborative post and we were gifted this So Slime DIY set for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

44 Cats and Their Pawsome New Range of Toys - A Review

My youngest son Riley absolutely loves animations and he would happily sit all day watching them on repeat if he was allowed. Like most children he has his favourite shows and one of those is the kids television series of 44 Cats, which became a ratings success following its UK launch last year.

The pawsome CGI animated series of 44 Cats can be found on the UK's leading free-to-air children's channel Pop, as well as on the digital network, Nick Jr, with each episode telling the story of four adorable feline friends, with super cute names that are Lampo, Milady, Pilou and Meatball. They all absolutely love to sing and dance in their fabulous music band called "The Buffycats" in addition to enjoying their clubhouse and helping their friends!

As well as being a great source of entertainment and music, 44 Cats also has a wonderful educational element, that teaches children about diversity, tolerances, helpfulness and being friendly to others throughout their storylines.

We were therefore really excited to learn about the new 44 Cats range of toys that have recently launched at both Argos and The Entertainer. They are available to purchase both in store and online, with further playsets due to be available from the Summer. This pawsome new range will include:
  • 12 Collectible Characters from the series, who are hidden inside a dustbin (RRP £3.99 each)
  • Twin packs of colour-change figures of the four hero characters (RRP £14.99)
  • An 8" Musical Plush Toy
  • Playset with figures assortments (RRP £16.99)
  • 44 Cats Treehouse (RRP £49.99)
  • Auto Garage (RRP £44.99)
  • Vehicles with characters assortments (RRP £14.99)
  • Lampo's Light-Up Musical Microphone featuring four pre-programmed songs from the series and recordable ability (RRP £14.99)

We have recently been sent The Clubhouse Lampo's Place playset from this cat-tastic new range to review, which immediately caught Riley's attention from the moment it arrived, due to its brightly coloured and appealing packaging.

The front of the box has a clear plastic window, which means that you can see inside the box and gain a clear understanding of exactly what is included with your toy. It also features a cute image of Lampo on the bottom left hand side, along with the 44 Cats logo on the right.

The rear of the box provides more images and also shows you what you can do with the toy. For example with this playset, you can slide the fish up and down and see the chair move. There are three clubhouse playsets to collect, which when combined together are sure to provide plenty of 44 Cats fun!


The aim of this playset is to bring Lampo's place to life and it features his trusty guitar and favourite food. It also includes a three inch figure with moveable arms and legs, wearing a brightly coloured purple and green top, with blue cap. This outfit design is also exclusive to this set.

I really liked the size of this toy as it is small enough to carry around in my bag, or pack away to take with us on a journey. The pieces all seem to be of a really good quality and very sturdy, so they are perfect for little ones hands, but not too small that they will get lost easily.


Riley really liked the bright and vibrant colours of the toy and also loved the fact that you could move Lampo's arms, legs and tail to adjust his positioning. This meant that Riley could create a number of scenarios and move him around with ease, which I felt helped to inspire some imaginative play.

At the top of the guitar is a chair, which can be moved up and down by simply sliding the fish that is placed on the side of the instrument. It took Riley a little bit of maneuvering to get Lampo to sit in the chair without falling out because of his tail, but he realised that he could adjust his position by moving his tail and legs to make him more secure.


Riley enjoyed this playset as a standalone toy, but said that he would also like the other two character sets that are available in the range to make it a larger and even more enjoyable set. I believe that this would expand the imaginative play opportunities and allow him to recreate scenes from the show, which I think would be a great idea.


Overall this is a nice little playset for any 44 Cats fan and with an RRP of £16.99 it won't break the bank either. We found the toy to be good quality and simple to use, which is always a huge bonus. The vibrant colours and attention to detail make the product stand out and it appealed to Riley from the moment he saw the box. We both liked the fact that the toy is very easy to carry around, but is also small enough to tidy away neatly too. It is recommended on the box as being suitable for ages 3+ and I think it is a lovely toy that would be ideal for the 3 to 7 age group.

You can currently purchase this toy and others from the 44 Cats range at The Entertainer and Argos, with even more playsets due to launch this summer!


*Disclaimer - This is a collaborative post. We received the product featured in this review free of charge, for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience with the product. All opinions and thoughts are my own unless stated otherwise.


Friday, 28 February 2020

Beauty and the Beast at the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool this Easter

*Please note that this show has now been postponed

Get ready to be swept off your feet this Easter as the timeless classic Beauty and the Beast brings magic and adventure to the Epstein Theatre.

This enchanting, family-friendly panto production will run from Friday 10th April until Sunday 19th April and Regal Entertainments Ltd have recently announced a fantastic line-up of stars.

Channel 5 Milkshake's Amy Thompson will appear as Belle opposite Timothy Lucas as the dashing but troubled Beast.

They will be joined by Philip McGuinness as dastardly Gaston and Lewis Devine as French Frank, along with James Lacey as the hilarious Potty Polly and Sarah Walker as Fairy Rose.

Amy Thompson is no stranger to Beauty and the Beast having previously played Belle for Regal Entertainments at St Helens Theatre Royal.

The TV and stage actress's other panto credits include Sleeping Beauty (Malvern Theatres, Pavilion Theatre, Mansfield Palace and Floral Pavilion, New Brighton), Aladdin (Blackpool Grand), Cinderella (Blackpool Grand and Sunderland Empire), Snow White (Rhyl Pavilion) and Little Red Riding Hood (Hull Truck Theatre).

Timothy Lucas takes on the role of the Beast, doomed to roam his castle in hideous form until true love frees him from a wicked curse.

The Liverpool Theatre School-trained actor has recently appeared as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz at St Helens Theatre Royal. His other panto roles include the hilarious PC Noodle in Aladdin, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast and the notorious Captain Hook in Peter Pan.

Meanwhile Philip McGuinness returns to the role of the preening Gaston after playing it to acclaim at St Helens Theatre Royal. His other panto roles include Tin Man and the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, Captain Hook in Peter Pan and the villainous Abanazer in Aladdin at St Helens.


Lewis Devine makes a welcome return to the Epstein after winning the hearts of audiences playing the hapless Buttons in Cinderella at Christmas.

His career started at an early age when he first appeared on the first series of ITV's Kids Stars in Their Eyes, which he won with his impersonation of Donny Osmond. His panto credits include Muddles in Snow White and the title role of Peter Pan, both at St Helens Theatre Royal, and French Frank in Beauty and the Beast at Stockport Plaza.

Liverpool actor and producer James Lacey takes on Dame duties as Potty Polly. James has more than a decade of panto experience on his busy CV and in addition to that was the body double for Richard Madden in Sir Kenneth Branagh's big screen Cinderella.

And dancer and choreographer Sarah Walker will bring all-round sparkle as well as twinkle toes to the role of the goodhearted Fairy Rose.

Beauty and the Beast is directed by Andrew Geater and produced by Regal Entertainments Ltd.

Producer Chantelle Nolan said: "Beauty and the Beast is one of the most magical fairytales with its beautiful and kind-hearted heroine and a troubled hero to root for, all surrounded by a brilliantly colourful cast of larger-than-life characters and with an important message for theatregoers young and old.

"I'm delighted to be working with such a fantastic group of actors, and I can guarantee Epstein audiences are in for an egg-stra special treat this Easter."

Beauty and the Beast tells the timeless story of Belle - the beautiful young woman who falls in love with the most unexpected of princes.

Will the Beast learn to love and be loved? Will the spell be broken in time for all to live happily ever after? Come down to the Epstein Theatre this Easter and find out.

Listing Details

Show - Beauty and the Beast
Venue - Epstein Theatre, Hanover Street, Liverpool
Dates - 10th April until 19th April 2020
Times - Times vary, so please visit the website to obtain the most up to date information.
Tickets - Tickets start from £13

To book tickets please call 0844 888 4411* or go online at www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk* or in person at The Epstein Theatre Box Office from 12pm - 6pm, Monday to Saturday.

*Subject to booking fee. All prices include a £1 per ticket venue restoration levy.

For more details please check out www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk to join their mailing list. Alternatively you can follow them on Facebook or on Twitter @EpsteinTheatre.

*This post has been written based on a press release kindly provided by BEA. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but is subject to change. I would always recommend visiting the venues own website, in order to obtain the most up to date information.