Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Outdoor Fun with Bunch O Balloons - A Review

(AD - This review features gifted items)

Whilst the sun has recently been shining, we have been trying our best to enjoy the garden along with some outdoor family fun and games. Last week saw temperatures soar, so what better way to cool down than with an epic water fight that saw the battle lines drawn between siblings. Admittedly, it looked far too much fun to let them enjoy it all by themselves, so I was also on standby for some balloon throwing and water gun blasting excitement!

Bunch O Balloons kindly sent our family a fantastic selection of water toys that guaranteed us a splashtastic time. This lovely gifted bundle consisted of over 500 water balloons, a Zuru Filler/Soaker, a Zuru XShot and a Zuru Xshot Micro Fast Fill. We certainly had plenty of equipment to keep us busy and we couldn't wait to put them all to the test.


Admittedly, it has been a couple of years since we last played with water balloons, there was something about having to stand by a tap for lengthy periods of time, along with the struggle of then trying to tie them, that kind of took some of the fun away. I seem to remember it taking around an hour to fill approximately 15 balloons which then only lasted a few seconds at the most.

However, Bunch O Balloons have solved this problem with their awesome fast fill design that allows you to fill AND tie 100 balloons in only 60 seconds. I was really keen to find out if this was really possible and my children found a bucket each to put their balloons into. They also selected their water weapon of choice, with Ben opting for the Soaker, Riley choosing the Zuru X-Shot Fast-Fill and finally Emma with the Zuru X-Shot Micro Fast-Fill.


The products all come in really eye catching and bright packaging, with the items very clearly on view. This means you can see exactly what you are getting for your money which is always my preference when it comes to how toys are boxed. Each product had accompanying images, which all really appealed to my children.

The Zuru Bunch O Balloons Filler/Soaker is dual purpose as this can fill your balloons, as well as blast water at your opponents. It is really easy to use and you simply connect the valve to a water source and pump the water into the balloons. It has an RRP of only £12.99 which I think is very good value for money, considering the fact that it also comes complete with 100 water balloons. This fabulous soaker is also great for the pool or beach and can reach targets from almost 30ft away!

Riley's water gun of choice, the Zuru X-Shot Fast-Fill has an RRP of £12.99 and can be reloaded with water in as little as one second. You simple dunk it in a water source (we used our paddling pool), pull the hammer to fill and then release it again to seal and continue with your water battle. Riley found this really easy to use and it had a great accurate target range of 30ft.

The X-Shot Fast-Fill Micro version works the same, but is more of a compact size. This model has an RRP of £10 and despite its smaller size, it still has a shooting range of up to 26ft. This collection together was the perfect trio for my children and we were all really impressed with their quality and design.


The Bunch O Balloons Water Balloons are completely stress free and are super simple to use. They are self tying, so there is no need to spend ages fiddling with awkward knots and instead the balloons release with ease. We had several buckets and containers ready to store the balloons in, so that each participating family member had their own supply. The balloons each have individual straws connected which then leads to the valve at the top. You then simply switch your water source on, watch them fill and once you are happy with them, you turn the water off. We then just pushed the filler in a quick downward motion (like a jolt) and the majority of the balloons simply fell into the buckets. For the odd couple that remained attached, we just used our hand to push them off the straws at the bottom. It really couldn't be simpler!


We placed a dividing line across the garden whilst the children decided who was on which team. Each of them had a bucket or bowl of balloons and they began to aim them at one another. They were very easy to throw and they broke well on impact. Once the balloon stocks had all been used they began to use their water guns which ensured that the fun could continue even longer.

Another thing we really love about the Bunch O Balloons, is that they are recyclable. Prior to using them, I had thought about the effect of having the remains of 500 water balloons spread throughout our garden. However, I turned the collecting of the rubbish into a game and offered 50p to the child who could collect the most pieces (genius I know)!

They are 100% recyclable which immediately put my mind at ease and with their partnership with Terracycle, this provides the ability to not only recycle the balloons, but all the packaging including the stems, which I think is fantastic. You can read more about their recycling program over on their sustainability page here: https://www.bunchoballoons.com/sustainability/

If you are also looking for other ideas of how to use your Bunch O Balloons, then you can find a great post over on their website which suggests 10 backyard activities for kids and features games such as Water Balloon Pinata, Bunch O Balloons Juggling and Parents vs Kids to name just a few. This handy list can be found here: https://www.bunchoballoons.com/10backyardactivitiesforkids/


Overall, we were extremely impressed with Bunch O Balloons and I will absolutely be buying more in the future. With our holidays for the remainder of the year now cancelled, we are looking forward to making the most of our garden and planning lots of fun that we can have together throughout the summer. I therefore have no doubt in my mind that this will involve a weekly water fight, which I will enjoy just as much as my children.

The products are really good quality and very reasonably priced and I would definitely recommend these items to other families looking to enjoy some outdoor fun together this summer. They can be purchased from toy retailers including Smyths, The Entertainer, Argos and Amazon.

If you would like to find out more about Bunch O Balloons, then you can visit their website and social media pages on the following channels:

Website: https://www.bunchoballoons.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BunchOBalloons/
Instagram: @bunchoballoons
YouTube: ZuruToys


*Disclaimer - We were provided with a selection of Zuru and Bunch O Balloons products for the purpose of writing an honest review of the items and our experience. Thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Superzings Series 5 Collectibles and Superzings Mission Playsets - A Review

(AD - This review features gifted items)

My son Riley was first introduced to Superzings towards the end of last year and it is safe to say that since then, he has become a huge fan and has regularly been adding to his collection. He was therefore really excited to learn more about the new Superzings Series 5 Collectibles along with the new Superzings Mission Playsets and wasted no time at all, in opening the latest additions.

Created by Magic Box Toys, Superzings are based on everyday objects that can transform into superheroes or supervillains. They are a fantastic collectible series that encourage children to use their imagination and create scenarios that bring their characters to life. Not only are these a great fun range of toys, but they are also excellent value for money, with the blind bags having an RRP of only 80p per pack. They are recommended for children aged 4 to 8, which I would agree is the suitable age range.


The first items Riley began to open were the blind bags. He opened one and then took some time to look over the leaflet inside so he could see all of the different characters that were available. This leaflet also showed which ones were rare in this series and Riley was hopeful that he might find an Ultra-Rare in one of the packs.

This series also features some new special vehicles called Skyracers, which each have their own unique attack method. Priced at only £4 the vehicles also come with a Superzing character, making them ideal pocket money priced toys. There are 4 different models to collect which are the Hungry Hunter, Mighty Cannon, Rusty Blades and Turbo Kicker.


Riley carefully cut each pack open and began to line up his new characters on the table. He did get a couple of duplicates, but this didn't bother him at all and instead he just pretends that these characters are twins. He absolutely loves blind bags and the anticipation of what is inside, makes it so exciting for children as they open them up and get to reveal the character within. I love watching his reaction and then seeing him check the leaflet to find out what their name is.


This series has also seen the introduction of some new Superzings Mission Playsets which have an RRP of £15. The characters can be seen through the packaging on these items, so it does remove the element of surprise, but Riley was extremely happy with these regardless. The first mission playset he opened was Mission Fire Strike and this consisted of a fire engine, helicopter, 2 exclusive figures and some accessories.

Each vehicle has its own special feature and in this playset the helicopter can shoot fireballs, whilst the fire engine can shoot water jets. As you push the helicopter along, the rotating blades also spin, giving a great effect whilst carrying out your imaginative missions.


Riley's favourite however, was the Bank Assault Mission Playset, which contained two exclusive Superzings characters, 2 exclusive vehicles and a bank vault that can be filled with gold bars. Riley really enjoyed this playset, especially as it connected well with some of his existing Superzings toys, such as the police station. This meant that he could come up with countless scenarios and really enjoyed pretending to recover the gold from the Supervillains.


The gold bars all fit into the vault nicely and it is a really fun accessory to have within the set. Riley also asked me to hide the gold around and within his other playsets and he would then try and find it with the help of the superhero figures.


The exclusive figures that come with the vehicles in the Mission Playsets also sit nicely in them. However, the great thing about Superzings is that they are interchangeable, so you can use any of your figures in the vehicles and then swap and change them as you wish.

Riley finds all the toys so easy to use and the chunky, colourful and well made designs, means that he doesn't have to be too gentle with them, or be scared of them breaking quickly. For example on the police vehicle below, the top can open so that you can sit your chosen figure inside. This can be done with ease and doesn't feel flimsy or easily breakable when doing so.


After Riley had finished checking out all of his new Superzings, he began to lay out all of his Superzings Toys to create one huge combined playset. It was great fun creating some new play scenarios and Riley set up teams of superheroes and supervillains. The villains were on a mission to try and steal the gold from the vault, whilst the superheroes were working hard to prevent the robbery and then retrieve the gold.

All of the toys really encouraged his imagination and after capturing all the villains and placing them in the police station, he then created a new hide the gold game. This involved me hiding the gold bars around the various playsets whilst Riley then looked for them using his superhero characters.


Overall we have been really impressed with the Superzings range of toys. The products are such good quality and offer great value for money. Like most children Riley absolutely loves opening the blind bags and enjoys the surprise of seeing what is inside. He was so excited opening each pack in the hope of finding a rare. I personally think that the design of the characters is great and I love looking at the details on each one. They are ideal for birthday gifts or pocket money treats and both Riley and I look forward to seeing what other products join the Superzings range in the future. These items can be purchased from supermarkets, toy retailers and online retailers such as Amazon.

If you would like to find out more about Superzings, then you can visit their social media pages on the following channels:

YouTube - SuperZings
Instagram - superzings_uk
Twitter - @superzings
Facebook - SuperZings.UK



*Disclaimer - We were gifted the items featured in this blog post for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. Some products featured in the images from earlier series have previously been gifted or purchased by myself. This blog post features amazon affiliate links.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

National Stationery Week with Cross Pens - A Review

As I work from home, it is fair to say that I have accumulated a fair amount of stationery over the years. My collection includes everything from post-it notes to pencils, paperclips to pens and staplers to sharpeners and I like to keep it all nicely organised.

I was therefore really keen to be involved with National Stationery Week this year, which is happening this week up until the 26th April 2020. With the lock down still in place, it is also the perfect time to support National Stationery Week, by getting your stationery out and writing a letter or drawing a picture to send to a friend or family member to let them know you are thinking of them.

My children and I have decided to write my parents (their grandparents) a letter this week, to let them know just how much we are missing them. They live only half a mile away from us, so it has been so hard to not be able to just pop round and see them every couple of days like we usually would, so we thought that writing a letter would bring a smile to all our faces instead.


In collaboration with National Stationery Week, one of their sponsors Cross, kindly sent us a lovely gift of a Wanderlust Pen, which I am really excited to use to write my letter with. I have always considered Cross to be a premium brand and their products appear to me as being sophisticated, professional and most importantly excellent quality.

The Wanderlust pens have been inspired by Planet Earth and as someone who loves to travel, the idea behind these designs suits me just perfectly. Mine is the Antelope Canyon Ballpoint Pen, which is just over 5 inches in length. It has a lovely and elegant curved clip, which complements the white lacquer and gold plated engravings beautifully.


This pen will cost you £65.00 on the Cross website and it comes nicely presented in a premium gift box, making it the perfect stationery treat for yourself, or as a quality gift to celebrate a special occasion or birthday.

Overall, I am absolutely in love with my Cross pen and it is a pleasure to write with. The pen just glides across the paper and writing seems much more effortless. I am definitely going to treat myself to some other items in the Cross range in the future and if you would like to take a look at some of the products available, then you can visit the Cross website or their social media pages on the following channels:



If you would like to find out more about National Stationery Week, then check out their social media channels below. I have also found some fantastic competitions over on Twitter in celebration of #NatStatWeek, so be sure to check out the hashtag too!



*Disclaimer - We were gifted a Cross Wanderlust Pen in collaboration with Cross and National Stationery Week. All opinions and thoughts are my own unless otherwise stated.



Sunday, 19 April 2020

Rubik's Cage from Ideal Games - A Review

Over the past couple of weeks, we have written reviews on some of the great family games available from Ideal Games. However, as much as we have enjoyed playing these together, we also love a good puzzle. My eldest son has always been a fan of Rubik's and as had various original 3 x 3 cubes over the years. He still hasn't managed to successfully complete it yet, but has certainly enjoyed trying and he has definitely got closer than me in his attempts.

We were therefore really excited to learn more about the Rubik's Cage, where unlike the original cube that is for a sole player, this puzzle can be played by 2-4 people at a time. It is a 3 in a row strategy game, which although sounds easy, it is definitely not as simple as it may first appear.


The box is quite small, so it is easy to take away with you and use as a travel game and there is a clear window at the front, so you can see the product inside. It is bright, colourful and certainly eye catching, with the phrase "Drop It, Twist It, Flip It, Win It" written across the bottom. The rear of the box provides some brief details as to how the game is played, along with some supporting images and a list of contents.

On opening the box, we found it included:
  • 1 x Rubik's Cage
  • 24 x Cubies
  • Instructions

Setting up the game is really easy and you simply start with the Rubik's cage empty. The number of cubies each player has, depends on whether you are playing a 2, 3 or 4 player game. We played a two player game first, so this meant that each player selected three different sets of coloured cubies. For example, I chose red, blue and orange and Riley chose white, yellow and green. In a two player game, each person should have 12 cubes. 

The object of the game is to be the player who manages to align three of their coloured cubies in a row on one face first. This row can be vertically, horizontally or even diagonally, which might sound simple, but once the game is in play, anything can change.


Each player must take it in turns to make a move, which can be any of the following:
  1. Drop a Cubie - This is when a player places one Cubie into any of the eight sections.
  2. Twist the Cage - This is when a player turns one layer of the Rubik's cage 90 degrees in either direction.
  3. Flip the Cage - This is when a player turns the cage upside down by rotating it 180 degrees.
It is also important to remember that you cannot simply reverse the previous players move, no matter how much you may want to!


The winner is the person who manages to get three of their Cubies of the same colour in a row on one face of the Rubik's cage first. If the game continues until all pieces have been played then it is classed as a draw.

Overall we absolutely loved the Rubik's Cage and felt it was a great addition to the Rubik's puzzle range of toys. It is really easy to understand how to play, but we loved that you needed to think carefully about your move to prevent your opponents from winning, making it the perfect family strategy game. With an RRP of £19.99, I think that it offers good value for money and can definitely keep you entertained. It is available to purchase from toy retailers including Smyths Toys, Asda and Amazon and I would happily recommend this product to others.

If you would like to find out more about Rubik's or other products in the Ideal Games range, then you can visit their social media pages on the following channels:



*Disclaimer - We were gifted this Rubik's Cage puzzle for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product and our experience. All opinions and thoughts are my own, unless otherwise stated. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Junior Rummikub from Ideal Games - A Review

During the Easter Weekend, we have continued to enjoy playing some of the games that we were kindly sent from Ideal Games. Today we have decided to review Junior Rummikub, which is a fast paced numbers game for the whole family to enjoy.

The front of the box is a lovely bright red colour that features some fun graphics including a cheeky monkey, a cute blue rabbit and some vibrant colourful stars. It is really eye-catching and also shows you some of the game pieces. The top right hand corner identifies the game as being suitable for children aged 4+ and that it can be played with 2-4 players.


The rear of the box provides you with a brief overview of the game, which gives you a good idea of how it is played. There are also some images of the actual contents that are included, along with a list. The box contains:

  • 40 Tiles (1 to 10 in 4 different colours)
  • 4 Joker Tiles
  • Star Counters
  • 4 Tile Racks
  • 1 Instruction manual

We carefully removed all the items from the box and began to set up the game. The instructions were relatively straight forward and it was very simple to get everything into place. Once we were ready to play, I read out the instructions to the rest of the family and although a couple of my children didn't quite get it intially, this all fell into place once we began to play and in just a few minutes it all made sense.


The aim of the game is to collect as many stars as possible by creating Runs of numbers or adding to them. A Run has to comprise of at least 3 tiles and these tiles must also be in consecutive number order. In addition, all numbers in the run must be the same colour.

To begin, we each selected a playing rack and 6 stars, before turning all the tiles over on the table face down to create a tile pool. I then told each player to select 6 tiles at random and we each placed them on our tile rack, whilst ensuring that our opponents could not see which tiles we had selected.

The oldest player then starts off the game play by trying to lay down a run. If they are unable to go, then they must pay the bank one star and pick up a tile from the pool. The person to the left then takes their turn. Once a player is able to lay down a run, then the next person has the choice to add another tile or tiles to the run laid out, or alternatively they can start a new run of a different colour.


To help you to earn stars there are a series of rewards and for every tile that you manage to lay down, you can claim one star. If you manage to lay a run then you can also claim another star and on the last tile played which clears a player's rack, then this also entitles you to a further bonus star.

For example if I was to lay down a new run consisting of the numbers 3, 4, 5, then I would score 4 stars. It is very simple to pick up once in play and as soon as we had finished our first round, my children immediately requested to play again.

There are also 4 Joker tiles that can be drawn and these are very useful and valuable tiles, due to the fact that they can be used as any colour or numbered tile in a run. You can also use two or more jokers in the same run which can make the game quite exciting.

The game is complete once a player manages to successfully lay down all of their tiles from the rack. The remaining players must then each pay the bank one star, for each tile that they have remaining. The winner is the player with the most stars, but in the event of a tie, then the winner can be determined by who managed to put down all of their tiles first.


Overall my family and I really enjoyed this game. Whilst I initially thought it would be most ideal for my youngest son Riley, it ended up being something that we could all enjoy and it has been a great addition to our family collection. Everyone picked up the idea of the game very quickly which meant that no one got frustrated trying to understand how to play. I particularly liked the fact that it was helping my youngest son with his numeracy skills, as well as encouraging him to use logical thinking. With an RRP of £22.99, I think that this is great value for money and I would definitely recommend Junior Rummikub to others.

Junior Rummikub can be purchased from toy retailers including Amazon.

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



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

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Regal Entertainments Ltd to Present a Free Easter Pantomime: Rapunzel - The Lockdown Panto

This Easter, despite the lock-down, Regal Entertainments Ltd have created a free online Pantomime for all the family to enjoy, and what better fairy-tale to be presented during a lock-down than that of a young girl locked up in a tower?

Rapunzel: The Lockdown Panto will live stream daily on St Helen's Theatre Royal's Facebook and Instagram accounts from Sunday 12th April to Saturday 18th April 2020 at 1:30pm.

The uniquely filmed production will star a host of the regular stars that appear at St Helens Theatre Royal. Olivia Sloyan will play Rapunzel, James Lacey as the Witch, Lewis Devine as Daft Dave, Samantha Palin as the Queen, Warren Donnelly as the King, Andrew Geater as the Prince, Abby Middleton as Fairy Anna(logue) and Jenna Sian O'Hara as Pixel the Pixie.


For this special production, each cast member has recorded their own section of the pantomime at home, and, through careful editing, the story is brought together, to create a unique online pantomime that the whole family will enjoy. The pantomime is written and directed by James Lacey and choreographed by Sarah Walker.

Regal Entertainments had to reschedule their usual Easter Pantomime at St Helens Theatre Royal, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, which will now take place in the Autumn.

Producer and Director at Regal Entertainments, Chantelle Nolan says: "During the national lockdown we wanted to reward and entertain families for being responsible and isolating. So many of our customers were disappointed not to be able to come and see our Easter pantomime in St Helens, so we thought that, this year, we would bring the panto to them.

"We have an incredibly talented cast, who are more than up to the challenge of creating a unique, new show and we're going to put on a fantastic online show that all ages can enjoy."

Rapunzel tells the tale of a young girl stolen from her family and locked away from the world in a tower by a wicked witch. Unable to leave, she must let down her golden hair for the witch to climb to bring her food. One day a handsome prince discovers the tower and sees the beautiful girl. Will Rapunzel and the Prince find their freedom? Will they live happily ever after? Or will the wicked witch catch them?

To watch the show, viewers will need to become a fan of the St Helens Theatre Royal Facebook or Instagram accounts where information to view will be posted, the show will launch daily at 1:30pm from Easter Sunday.

Listing Details

Show - Rapunzel: The Lock-Down Panto
Dates - Sunday 12th April to Saturday 18th April 2020
Time - Daily at 1:30pm
Tickets - Free online performance

This show can be watched online for free on Facebook (@StHelensTheatreRoyal) or on Instagram (@TheatreRoyalStH).


*Disclaimer: This post has been written based on a press release kindly provided by BEA. 


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.