Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Rockpool by Gibsons Games - A Review

Over the past couple of months, we have had the opportunity to try out three games from the Gibsons Games range of products. Our last two reviews covered Quirk! and Pass the Bomb! The Big One! which were both great fun, but today we have been testing out Rockpool, which is an educational game suitable for children aged six and above.

Rockpool comes in a lovely shell shaped box, which has lovely bright images across the front. There are recommendations along the bottom of the box that advise the age suitability, a suggestion of 2-6 players and an approximate game duration time of 10-15 minutes. The rear of the box provides a short description of the game in a variety of languages and it is described as being a great game for family fun! We therefore couldn't wait to put it to the test.

On opening the box, we found the following contents inside:

  • 36 Team Cards
  • 65 Shell Cards
  • 15 Creature Cards
  • 10 Starfish Cards
  • 14 Dog Toy Cards
  • 12 Rubbish Cards
  • 8 Wave Cards
  • 1 Rockpool Board
  • Instructions

To begin play, each player has to pick their own team. There are six teams to choose from and each team consists of 5 Child Cards and 1 Dog Card. One person then shuffles the Stone Cards and divides them into seven separate piles, which are to be placed around the Rockpool game board. 

When it is your turn, you need to take a Stone Card from the top of any pile and then place it face-up so everyone can see it in the Rockpool. Each player takes turns to do this until one of two things happens. Firstly if someone reveals a Wave Card, then the sea washes away the Rockpool's contents, which means that all the cards from the Rockpool are now out of the game. The Wave Card must then be placed face-up next to the pile of stone cards that it was selected from.


Secondly, someone can shout to empty the Rockpool, which can be done at anytime. You need to shout the right word and use a Team Card depending on which card has just been added to the Rockpool. The Stone Cards when placed in the Rockpool can reveal shells, dog toys rubbish, starfish or other creatures, so its important to make sure you shout the right word at the right time otherwise you must pay a penalty. The game is completed once all eight Wave Cards have been revealed or all Team Cards used.

At the end of the game you score your cards and the player who has the most Team Cards paddling in the Rockpool is determined as the winner. The score numbers are low and easy, making it simple for young children to add and subtract their own total. Riley really enjoyed doing this himself and used a piece of paper to keep count. We all liked the concept of the game, as well as the environmental message that was shared throughout play.


Overall we enjoyed this game, but Riley who is 7, did find the instructions difficult to understand when they were read out. However, he soon got the hang of it during game play and found it easier to learn whilst playing, rather than through the written advice. We all agreed that the graphics were great for children and the images were very clear and vibrant. With an RRP of £12.99, I think it is good value for money compared to other games and it can be purchased from good toy retailers including Amazon.

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



*Disclaimer - We were gifted this game 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.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Quirk by Gibsons Games - A Review

 A couple of weeks ago we shared a review with you of Pass the Bomb! The Big One! by Gibsons Games and I am therefore delighted to share another of their games with you today, which goes by the name of Quirk!

Quirk! is a fun game of sounds, actions & mischief and is recommended for children aged 5 and above. It can be played by 2-6 players and each game has a duration between 15-60 minutes to play. It is the ideal game for families to enjoy together and provides plenty of fun and silliness, that is quite hilarious.

The box for Quirk! is of a compact size, so it is perfect for taking on picnics, days out, travel and holidays, as well as playing in the home. The front of the box is really bright and eye-catching, with numerous different colourful characters featured across the front. The dinosaur and elephant immediately caught my sons attention and he was very keen to find out more about what the game was all about.

My son Riley opened the box and inside we found the following contents:

  • 78 Character Cards
  • 10 Steal Cards
  • 8 Stop Cards
  • 6 Block Cards
  • 10 Mischief Cards
The character cards come in sets of 3 and when you manage to collect three of the same character, then you have a 'Quirk!'. The aim of the game is to collect the most Quirks, with the person who manages this becoming the winner.


Some of the cards have a grey outline and others have a white outline.  This means that you can swap out Characters sets from the decks to make the game different each time. The characters in the white sets are also easier for younger players to act out, so you can switch between the two sets depending on the age range of the players.  A standard game will have 13 character sets and lasts between 15 and 30 minutes or you can also play with all 78 cards if you want to enjoy a longer game.

To get the game ready, you simply shuffle the Character cards and then hand three out to each player. You then shuffle the remaining cards again, but this time adding the Action cards to the deck. The deck is then placed face down in a location where everyone playing can reach. Each player should have a minimum of three cards in their hand throughout the game and if you drop below three then you must pick up additional cards from the deck.


We began our first game as a standard game with 39 green Character cards, 5 red Steal Action cards, 4 blue Stop Action cards, 3 orange Block Action cards and 5 yellow Mischief Action cards. When it is your turn, you need to make the decision as to whether you will try to win a Character card from another player, or whether you will try to steal another players completed Quirk. To try and win a character you will need to select one of your existing characters and then choose another player to try and obtain another of the same kind, however you cannot simply ask for it and this is where the fun begins!

In order to obtain another character you have to act it out with sounds and actions. So if you had a cat character, then you could act like or cat, or perhaps make a meow noise. If the other player then has the card you are looking for, then they must hand them over to you. So if they had 2 cat cards, they would need to give you both, allowing you to complete a Quirk. If they don't have the card you are looking for, then you will need to pick up another from the deck. In the event that the other player misjudges your acting skills and provides you with the wrong card, then you simply have to keep quiet about it and then try again on your next go.

When you complete a Quirk, then you place these face up on the table. However, this doesn't make them safe, as if a player comes across a red Steal card, then they can steal your completed Quirk, that is unless you have an orange Block action card. You can definitely use these cards to your advantage as the game progresses, in particular the blue Stop card, which prevents someone asking you for a particular character. These action cards need to be used wisely, as once they have been used, they need to be placed on the discard pile. 


The yellow Mischief cards add further variation to the game and you can choose whether to include these in your deck or not. If someone picks a Mischief card during game play then it has to be placed face up on the table so that all players can see. These cards feature various different mischievous tasks such as everybody having to pick up an extra card, or having to use actions only for one round. This can create a lot of additional fun and drama to the game, especially if you have to redistribute your Quirks. Once all 13 Quirks have been collected then game play ends and the person with the most sets of Quirks is the winner! 

Overall we loved this game and had such a laugh throughout play. It was so funny seeing the way that different family members would act out different characters and although a couple of the family were a little shy about doing this to begin with, they quickly became more extravagant and hilarious with their character impressions. It is a very simple game to set up and understand, making it ideal for both the home and trips away. I am sure this will quickly become my childrens game of choice for the foreseeable future and look forward to including this regularly in our future family games nights.

If you would like to find out more about Quirk! or the other products in the Gibsons Games range, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Instagram: @gibsons_games


*Disclaimer: We were gifted this game 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.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

A Cat-tastic Day Out at Gulliver's meeting Lampo & Milady from 44 Cats! - Review

Last Friday, we visited the wonderful Gulliver's World in Warrington, for a Cat-tastic day of fun in the sun with our family. The weather was just purr-fect for our day out and we excitedly set off from our home in North Wales at around 10am, looking forward to the day ahead. This was only our second day out since lockdown ended and so it was such a relief to be able to go out and enjoy ourselves just like we usually would during the summer.

On arrival we found a parking space and then joined the social distancing queue to get in. Everyone seemed to stick to the rules whilst waiting to get in and there were staff on hand to remind people, as well as taking temperature checks and informing guests about the need to wear masks. It was very well organised and we were inside the park in no time at all.

Since the 25th of July, Lampo and Milady from 44 Cats have also been making daily appearances at the park, offering visitors the chance to enjoy a social distanced meet and greet in the main stage area. Riley was really excited for this, so we checked what time they would be appearing and set our phone alarms to make sure we didn't miss the event. We had been invited along to spend the day at Gulliver's at meet Lampo and Milady, so Riley was also kindly given a gift bag containing a 44 Cats playset and we were also provided with some delicious cupcakes, which was a really lovely start to our day.

If you haven't heard of 44 Cats before, then you can find this pawsome animated tv series on the UK's leading free-to air children's channel POP everyday at 12pm, as well as on Nick Jr Too at 4pm. It has risen in popularity tremendously and the series has quickly become the 6th most watched pre-school show in the UK!

Each episode tells 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 the show being a great source of music and entertainment, 44 Cats also has a wonderful educational element that teaches children about diversity, tolerances, helpfulness and being friendly to others, through their cleverly thought out storylines. We were therefore really looking forward to seeing two of The BuffyCats crew and Riley couldn't wait to give them a wave and have a little dance.

On the day of our visit, the opportunity for a meet and greet with Lampo and Milady, or to take a photo was at 2:30pm, however I am unsure if this varies each day, so if you check the board need the entrance or ask a staff member you will be able to get the most up to date information on the day of your visit.

Whilst waiting for the time to arrive to meet the cats, we took the opportunity to enjoy all the wonderful attractions on offer at Gulliver's World. There is a great selection of rides to choose from and we were pleased to see that the park had implemented plenty of safety measures throughout the park. This included customer spacing in the queues, wiping down handles and rides after each use, hand sanitising stations around the site and compulsory mask wearing on the rides. Some of the staff were also very vocal about reminding guests of the rules and we were particularly impressed by the lady at Apache Falls who communicated loudly and clearly with customers when queuing.

Apache Falls was Riley's favourite ride of the day, however he also enjoyed Billy Bob's Bi Planes and The Veteran Cars, as well as watching others ride on the The Antelope Wooden Coaster. The queues never seemed too long and the longest we had to wait all day was 30 minutes for the Apache Falls. We also had the chance to enjoy a spot of lunch in the Big G Diner and had some delicious chicken burgers and cold refreshing drinks. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank Gulliver's for hosting us and ensuring that we had a great day out.

Once it got to 2:30pm, we headed towards the main entrance and Riley excitedly waved at Lampo and Milady as they made their way on to the stage. The costumes were fantastic and so realistic to the characters in the television show. It was a shame that Riley couldn't give them a cuddle or a high five, but he understands that there are lots of new rules in place now and he was more than happy to simply wave and strike a pose for a photo. In order to ensure that guests remain socially distanced from one another, as well as the characters, children are asked to queue to one side and then stand in a hula hoop placed on the floor. Every child we saw seemed quite happy to do this and there were plenty of smiles all round.

Overall we had a lovely day out at Gulliver's World in Warrington and I am sure that we will be returning again in the future. It was great for Riley to meet Lampo and Milady and the meet and greet was well organised. Riley would have usually given them a big hug, but unfortunately due to the current coronavirus restrictions this wasn't possible which is very understandable. All the children we saw seemed to adjust well to the new socially distanced way of meeting the characters, which was really nice to see, as there were still plenty of smiling faces. If you have a fan of 44 Cats in your home, then make sure you don't miss out on the chance to see Lampo and Milady at Gulliver's World this Summer!

If you would like to find out more about 44 Cats, then you can find their website and social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://www.44cats.tv/en

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/44CatsOfficial

Instagram - @44catsofficial

YouTube - YouTube

*Disclaimer - We were provided with complimentary entry tickets to Gulliver's to spend the day at the park and meet Lampo and Milady from 44 Cats, for the purpose of writing an honest review of our day and our experience with 44 Cats. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Pass the Bomb! The Big One! by Gibsons Games - A Review

If you are a regular reader to the blog, then you will already know that we are a big fan of family games. They are a great way to spend some fun time together and we really enjoy trying out the latest games for children and adults to enjoy.

We were therefore delighted to be sent Pass the Bomb! The Big One! from Gibsons Games which is recommended for players aged 8+ and contains 5 different challenge groups that are sure to put your brainpower and skills to the test. It can be played as a two player game, but is also suitable for groups of up to 8, making it the perfect game for our family of five.


Pass the Bomb! The Big One! comes in a square shaped, brightly coloured box, that immediately catches your attention. It is very vibrant and eye-catching, but you cannot tell much about the game from the front of the box or what it may involve. However, the rear of the box provides much more detail and you can gain a clear understanding of the game from both the images provided and the written detail.

I read out the information on the back of the box to the rest of my family so that everyone had a good idea of how the game worked. We then sat round the table ready to play and opened up the box. Inside we found the following contents:

  • 1 x Board
  • 165 Cards
  • 8 playing pieces
  • 4 puzzle tiles
  • 1 wooden ball
  • 1 cup
  • 1 dice
  • 1 electronic timer (red time bomb) - Please note that this requires 2 x AAA batteries which are not included.

We began to set out the contents on the table and placed the game board central to all the players. We then separated the cards into categories, shuffled them and placed them face down on the table next to the board. I then placed the time-bomb, cup and ball, the puzzle tiles and the dice next to the board on the opposite side, so that everything was laid out easily and in clear sight of all the players.

The aim of the game is to think of an answer or solve one of the tasks quickly, whilst the time-bomb ticks away.  The game includes five different challenges which are Rhyme Artist; Word Acrobat; Category Captain; Puzzle Pro and Bounce Boss. Each player continues to play and hope that the time-bomb doesn't detonate. If the time-bomb does detonate, then you must move your playing piece by one space on the game board, which moves it closer to the "explosion" at the centre of the board. At the end of the game the winner is the owner of the playing piece that is the farthest away from the "explosion" in the centre. 


When we were all ready to play the first player rolled the dice and set off the time-bomb. They quickly completed their task before passing it to the next player. This continued until the time-bomb detonated which certainly added to the pressure of completing the challenges. Each challenge really got us thinking and certainly tested our skills. Our favourite was the Rhyme Artist challenges which tests your rhyming abilities and for some reason we all found these ones really funny.

My eldest son really liked the dexterity challenge Bounce Boss where you need to attempt to bounce the ball on the table and land it into the cup. He was really good at this, but I wasn't, so when this challenge was involved, it was almost inevitable that the time-bomb would detonate on me. We also really enjoyed the word challenges and I felt that these also encouraged my children to use their vocabulary skills in a fun and exciting way.


Overall we really enjoyed playing this game. It was very easy to understand and it created plenty of laughter and funny moments during play. It is recommended for players aged 8+, however my 7 year old joined in and had no problem grasping the concept of the game. It is fast paced and entertaining, so there was certainly no chance of boredom whilst playing and it was a great way for us to pass some time sat together in the evening. My only disappointment was that batteries are not included, however this often seems to be the way with games, so fortunately we do have a supply on standby for this purpose. Otherwise it is a fantastic game and we would happily recommend it to others. It currently has an RRP of £22 and is available to buy from toy retailers including Amazon.

If you would like to find out more about Pass the Bomb! The Big One! or other products in the Gibsons Games range, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website - gibsonsgames.co.uk
Instagram - @gibsons_games
Twitter - @gibsons_games
Facebook - facebook.com/gibsonsgamesofficial


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

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

CarGoSeat - The 2-in-1 Booster Seat and Travel Suitcase - A Review

As frequent travellers, it is fair to say that we have tried numerous products over the years to try and make our journeys as easy and as comfortable as possible for our children. Compact suitcases, an extensive collection of travel games and numerous pillows with blankets have all been tried and tested in our aim for stress-free family adventures. However, there is one particular comfort and safety aspect that has always bothered me - Booster Seats!

My two eldest children no longer require a booster seat, however my 7 year old still does and this has presented numerous problems on our journeys. Firstly, we sometimes get a minibus to the airport in the UK, especially if this works out cheaper than parking, however our usual taxi company does not provide booster seats and so you are left with the choice of travelling with no booster seat (a no go from me) or using our own seat and then either having to leave it with the taxi company or hauling it around the airport with us and on holiday.


Secondly, when we then book our transfers overseas we are often faced with an additional charge for the use of their booster seat. An example of this was on our trip to Italy last year, where we were charged an additional 20 euros each way, for a booster seat that looked so grim and tatty. However, faced with no other option, we choose to pay it, to ensure that Riley had a safe journey.

You can therefore imagine just how happy I was to hear about a brand new and innovative product called the CarGoSeat, which addresses all of the issues I have faced previously. Not only does the CarGoSeat offer a safe and sturdy booster seat for travel, but it can also be used as a 10 litre travel suitcase, offering a 2 in 1 product that is perfect for mini travellers.


The CarGoSeat is suitable for children within the weight range of 22kg to 36kg, who are also at a height of 125cm or taller. It comes in a lovely selection of colours which are Purple, Green, Pink and Blue. Riley chose to review the Blue one and I must admit that it is a really nice bright and vibrant colour which looks great.

The outer packaging of the product is minimal and can either be retained for future reference as suggested on the rear, or when you are ready to dispose it can simply be popped in the cardboard recycling bin. This is also another element of the product that appealed to me, as once you have finished using your product to the point that it is no longer required, there is an address on the back of the packaging that you can send it to, for the CarGoSeat to be recycled.


Obviously with any booster seat, the most important features are the safety aspects. This was therefore the first thing that I looked into once it arrived and I was reassured to see that it meets ECE R44/04 Regulation Standards, as well as noting that it has been rigorously crash tested. It also comes with a 12 month warranty.

Once I had removed the packaging, Riley had a good look at his new CarGoSeat and started wheeling it around the house. We tested the wheels on a variety of surfaces such as the carpet, kitchen floor, grass and the pavement and experienced no problems with movement. I am therefore confident that Riley will be able to manouvere this comfortably when we next go to the airport.


Riley was also keen to see just how many of his toys, clothing and other belongings he could fit inside, so he spent some time learning how to open the clasp safely and how to lock it into place, before filling it with items. With there being 10 litres of space, this is an ample size for some travel toys, snacks and a few pieces of clothing.


When it came to placing the CarGoSeat in our vehicle, we found this to be really simple and it literally took seconds to get it into place. It has to be used with a diagonal 3 point lap belt and it is not suitable for use with a lap belt, so this is an important fact to remember to ensure its safe use. When you are ready to use it, you simply place it on your chosen seat and lift up the arms which are located either side by pressing in the yellow button located within the wheel on each side. You then need to ensure that the red clip is placed at shoulder height for your child and then attach this to the seatbelt and ensure that the belt is safely secured across the seat. There are pictured instructions located on the side of the CarGoSeat should you ever need a reminder.


Another aspect that I really liked about this product is how easy it is to clean. The seat pad is easily removable and washable and the fully plastic body makes it very simple to wipe over after each use, ensuring that it doesn't retain any crumbs or get too grubby.

Overall we are really impressed with the CarGoSeat and we will definitely get plenty of use out of it on our travels. I love the innovative design and the colour range that the product is available in. It is very lightweight, making it easy to carry and I found that the wheels moved well on a variety of different surfaces. Riley was able to fit plenty of his items inside for safe keeping and he found it a real novelty that he was putting toys and clothes inside a booster seat. Both my husband and I found it very easy to fit in the car and I can't wait to use this on our future travels. With an RRP of £49.99 I think that it offers really good value for money and would happily recommend it to others.

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

Website - www.cargoseat.com
Facebook - facebook.com/CarGoSeat
Twitter - twitter.com/cargoseat
Instagram - instagram.com/cargoseat

There is also a fabulous Twitter Party planned for July 16th 2020 between 4pm and 5pm, so why not pop over and join in with the fun.


*Disclaimer - We were gifted a CarGo Seat for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All opinions and thoughts are my own unless otherwise stated. 

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Win a Learning Resources GeoSafari Jr My First Microscope - Competition

You may have seen our recent blog post about the fantastic outdoor learning products we have been using during lockdown, from Learning Resources UK. These items have been such a great help with our home schooling, with Riley's favourite product being the Learning Resources GeoSafari Jr My First Microscope.

This wonderful microscope allows Riley to view items with up to an 8x magnification and its bright and chunky size really appeals to him, as he is able to use it independently and with ease.


The Learning Resources GeoSafari Jr My First Microscope is recommended for children aged 3 to 7 years of age and the fixed platform means that children can observe both flat and 3D objects through the comfortable, extra large, dual eye pieces.

Riley found the microscope very comfortable and easy to use, which made him really keen to explore and view such a wide range of objects. He loved pretending to be a scientist and very quickly got the hang of using the microscope by himself. It also has a really cool feature of a bright LED light, which helps you to enhance the viewing of small details and the button was simple for Riley to control. This requires 3 x AAA batteries which are not included.


The Learning Resources GeoSafari Jr My First Microscope has an RRP of £20, which I think offers excellent value for money. It is available to purchase on the Learning Resources website here, however if you are feeling lucky, then why not enter our fabulous competition to win one!

For your chance to win, simply read through the terms and conditions and then enter using the gleam form below, before the 11th July 2020. Good Luck!

Win a GeoSafari Jr My First Microscope

Terms and Conditions

  • There is 1 (one) prize of a Learning Resources GeoSafari Jr My First Microscope
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years old or over
  • Competition closes on the 11th July 2020
  • A Winner shall be drawn within 7 days of the closing date and notified via email
  • The winner will have 7 days to confirm their acceptance of the prize, before an alternative winner is drawn from the remaining eligible entries.
  • No bulk or third party entries
  • The winners details shall be shared with the promoter for the purpose of prize fulfilment and permission shall be obtained from the winner prior to doing so.


*Disclaimer - We were gifted a Learning Resources GeoSafari Jr My First Microscope as featured in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Getting Crafty with Aquabeads - Review, Tutorial and Competition

My son Riley absolutely loves Aquabeads and if you are a regular reader to the blog, then you will have seen that we have reviewed a lot of their products over the past few years. My family and I think that Aquabeads are great and provide children with a fantastic way of getting crafty and creative, whilst also helping to improve hand to eye coordination and concentration skills.

During lockdown, we have been using our Aquabeads sets to create some wonderful designs using the online templates that are available on the Aquabeads website here. We were therefore delighted when we were sent some new products to review and Riley decided that he wanted to make some of his own designs and experiment with what he could make.


We had a little look on the Aquabeads website to get some ideas and Riley decided to create a name plaque for his door. He also wanted to incorporate a rainbow theme, so he wrote down a few ideas and did a little sketch so that he had a design to follow. Once Riley was happy with his design, he set about making his creation.

To make his new door plaque we used the Aquabeads Star Bead Starter Set, which comes in brightly coloured star shaped packaging and has an RRP of £14.99. The front and rear of the box are covered in plenty of design ideas to show what you can make with your beads. Riley particularly liked the look of the dragon and the rainbow designs which looked fantastic. Other images around the outer edge of the box, also included pictures of the kit inside, the contents and bead colours.

On opening the box, we found that the contents inside consisted of:
  • 1 x bead tray lid
  • 1 x bead tray
  • 1 x board
  • 1 x flip tray
  • 1 x bead dispenser
  • 1 x bead sprayer
  • 3 x reversible template sheets
  • 1000 beads of varying colours

The first thing that Riley noticed, was that the kit contained star shaped beads, which is something he has never seen or used before, so he was really excited to be able to use these in his designs. Riley had initially decided on a rectangle shape and that he also wanted his name across the middle. I therefore suggested making his name on the board first, so that we could then incorporate the rainbow colours around it. By placing the name first, it also meant that he could check that he was happy with the position, before we began to place all of the other beads on the board.


Once the letters were all in place, we began getting the rainbow colours ready and working out how many rows of each colour we needed. To do this we counted the paces across the board and also checked how many beads we had of each colour. We then began doing the outline and opted for rows of either 3 or 4 in each block of colour.


When Riley first started placing the beads on the board he used his fingers, but as the board began to fill, he found that it was easier to use the bead dispenser to get them accurately into place. We also sprayed the design once half was completed to prevent any beads from moving as the board began to fill. However, just before doing so, Riley decided he wanted to change the black beads for a light blue, so we were able to amend these to his chosen colour before he sprayed the water.


Riley was so pleased as the design started to take shape and he was so proud that it was his own idea that he was making, without the help of a template. The whole design took him around half an hour to complete and he was so happy with the end result. We gave the design a good spray and left it to dry before removing from the board.


We had used a large quantity of beads, so we took advantage of the refill sets to top up our beads. I really like the fact that you can buy refill packs, so that you can continue making great designs, without the need to buy the larger sets. If you already have a board, sprayer and bead dispenser then the refill packs are a great way to build up your collection.


Overall we were really impressed with the Aquabeads Star Bead Starter Set and felt that it contained a huge variety of beads to help make some fabulous creations. As you can see the possibilities are absolutely endless with Aquabeads and as well as using one of the many templates available both in their sets and online, you can quite literally make whatever your imagination desires. With a little patience, determination and creativity, you can create some wonderful designs, animals and objects, which look fantastic once completed. We really like the fact that we can top up the sets with the many refill packs that are also available to purchase and feel that all the products in the range offer excellent value for money.


Aquabeads are available to purchase from most good toy retailers including John Lewis, Smyths, The Entertainer and Amazon.

However, if you are feeling lucky, then we have a fantastic prize to give away of an Aquabeads Star Bead Starter Set for one lucky winner. If you fancy your chances, then simply enter using the gleam form below. Good Luck!

Aquabeads Star Bead Studio Set


Terms and Conditions
  • There is 1 (one) prize of an Aquabeads StarBeads Starter Set
  • Entry is open to UK Residents aged 18 years or over
  • Competition closes on the 11th July 2020
  • A winner shall be drawn within 7 days of the closing date and notified via email.
  • The winner will have 7 days to confirm their acceptance of the prize, before an alternative winner is drawn from the remaining eligible entries.
  • No bulk or third party entries
  • The winners details shall be shared with the promoter for the purpose of prize fulfilment and permission shall be obtained from the winner prior to doing so.
*Disclaimer - We were gifted the Aquabeads sets featured in this post for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.


Thursday, 18 June 2020

Garden Fun with the Giant Pass The Pigs Game - A Review

As we regularly enjoy holidays and weekend breaks, it is fair to say that we have accumulated a nice selection of travel games over the years. However, one of our favourite games, which always comes with us on every trip, is the classic family favourite of Pass the Pigs. My children love this game and the simple uncomplicated rules, makes it easy for even the younger members of the family to join in.

We were therefore delighted to hear about an even bigger and better version, that not only could we take on holiday with us, or to the beach, but that we could also play together in the garden whilst enjoying the sunny weather outdoors. But what could possibly be better than the original Pass the Pigs?............GIANT Pass the Pigs of course!!


Giant Pass the Pigs comes presented in a medium sized box. The front of the packaging features a large image of two inflatable pigs, along with an age recommendation of 6+ and a suggestion of 2-4 players. The rear of the box provides more images along with some suggestions of where you could play the game. There is also a contents list that explains exactly what you get inside.

On opening the box, we found that the contents included:
  • 2 x Inflatable Pigs (approximately 50cm x 40cm)
  • A Carry Bag
  • Pencils
  • Score Pad
  • Repair Kit
If you aren't familiar with the game of Pass the Pigs, then it is really simple to learn and very easy to play. Firstly we removed the pigs from the packaging and inflated them, before moving into the garden to begin our game. We each took it in turns to be the "Swineherd", which is the person in charge of both the pigs and the points. You then simply place one pig in each hand and hold them by the ears, before swinging them up in the air at the same time and releasing them. You then have a look to see how your pigs landed and match it with the score point images to see how many points you gained. Super easy and plenty of fun!



There are numerous positions your pigs can land in, which all have various points allocated to them. The aim of the game is to earn as many points as possible and the first to reach 100 is the winner. However some positions could see you earn zero points, lose all of your points, or even force you to retire from the game. The positions and their points are as follows:
  • A Sider (1 point) - This is when both pigs land on their same side.
  • Trotter (5 points) - This is when a pig lands on all 4 legs.
  • A Double Trotter (20 points) - This is when both pigs land on all 4 legs.
  • A Razorback (5 Points) - This is when a pig lands on its back with its legs in the air.
  • A Double Razorback (20 Points) This is when both pigs land on their back with their legs in the air.
  • A Snouter (10 Points) - This is when a pig lands on its nose and front trotters.
  • A Double Snouter (40 Points) - This is when both pigs land on their nose and front trotters
  • Leaning Jowler (15 Points) - This is when the nose, trotter and ear are to the ground.
  • Double Learning Jowler (60 Points) - This is when both pigs land with their nose, trotter and ear to the ground.
  • Mixed Combo (Add points together) - A mixed combo is the combination of a trotter, snouter or learning jowler and you simply add the individual points of each position together.
  • The Rumper (15 Points) This is when you pig lands on its bum with its nose in the air.
  • A Double Rumper (30 Points) This is when both pigs land on their bums with their noses in the air.
  • Pig Out (0 Points) If the pigs land on opposite sides, then you don't score any points.
  • Makin' Bacon (Lose Points) If your pigs land and they are touching, then you lose ALL of your points!
  • Piggy Back (Retire) If you get a piggy back, then you are out of the game.

Overall we absolutely love Giant Pass the Pigs and it has been great fun to enjoy together in the garden. The rules are so easy to understand and it is an enjoyable game to play with family and friends. With an RRP of only £14.99 this represents excellent value for money and I would absolutely recommend Giant Pass the Pigs to others. It is entertaining, fun and easy to play and this will no doubt become one of our top garden games to play this summer. Giant Pass the Pigs can be purchased from retailers including Amazon.

If you would like to find out more about Giant Pass the Pigs or the other games in the Pass the Pigs range, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website - www.passthepigsofficial.com
Facebook - facebook.com/passthepigs
Twitter - @PassthePigsGame
Instagram - @passthepigsofficial


*Disclaimer - We were gifted the item featured in this post, 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.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Outdoor Learning and Education with Learning Resources - A Review

(AD - This review features gifted items)

Like most parents we have been busy trying to juggle our home life, working life and our children's home education over the past few months. My youngest child's school has been fantastic at setting work and this has been easily accessible since the start of lockdown, mixed full of literacy, numeracy and practical homework tasks. However, my son has been flying through the work set and so I have tried my best to introduce some other elements with educational tools we have at home.

With the weather being so nice, both Riley and I have been very keen to work outside and so when the opportunity arose to review some of the fabulous Learning Resources products, we quite literally jumped at the chance and couldn't wait to find out more about nature, our environment and space. We were sent a wonderful selection of items which were sure to keep Riley motivated whilst we explored some fun and creative ways to home school.


The Learning Resources products we received are part of their GeoSafari range and included a GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope, a GeoSafari Jr. Mighty Magnifier, a GeoSafari Jr. Bug Viewer Jar, a GeoSafari Vega 360 Telescope and also some Discovery Acorns. My youngest son Riley was so excited to try these out in the garden and my eldest son Ben was also really looking forward to testing out the telescope at night.

The first item we used was the Discovery Acorns. These are recommended for children aged 3-7 years old and are the perfect size for little hands. Riley enjoyed searching around the garden for little objects to put inside the acorns that we could then take a closer look at. The design makes them look just like real acorns with their natural colours and it was very easy for Riley to remove and replace the lids on them as and when he wanted to.


We played a few little games with these items which were great fun. The first game was that Riley would collect a few objects and place them in the acorns without showing me. He would then describe the items that were inside and I had to guess what they were. This really helped Riley to improve his description language skills and it taught him how to speak about colours, shapes and textures. We each took it in turns to do this and admittedly we both really enjoyed it.


We also played hide and seek with the acorns and I would hide them around the garden. We have quite a large garden so there were plenty of hiding places and Riley loved trying to seek them out. Another game we played was a memory game, where I would place items in the acorns and then Riley had to try and remember which item was in which acorn and write it down. Each acorn has a animal silhouette on its base, so we would write all of the animals down in a list, with another list opposite of the contents and Riley would have to try and remember what was in each one and match it up. The Discovery Acorns are available on the Learning Resources website for only £9 which I think is excellent value for money.


The next item we tried was the GeoSafari Jr. Mighty Magnifier which is recommended for children aged 4-8 years old. This allows children to see items up close and are perfect for scientific observation of nature. As we have been doing a lot of work in the garden over the past few weeks, we have come across many creepy crawlies and Riley loved wearing his Mighty Magnifier to see creatures and other objects up close.


The Mighty Magnifier has a built in headset with comfy eyecup supports which means it can be worn. This allowed Riley to keep his hands free, allowing him the ability to still touch or move things whilst he observed. The magnifier could easily be changed between a 2 x and an 8 x magnification, so Riley really enjoyed experimenting with each. We would play a game where he would look at an object in 2x magnification and write down what he could see, before he then increased it to 8x and would write down anything different that he could notice once the object appeared larger.


I really liked how the Mighty Magnifier is light enough to carry around, so it is ideal for us to take in our backpack on one of our walks so Riley can take a closer look at other nature that we might see on our travels. This item has an RRP of £14.00 and it can be purchased on the Learning Resources website here.


Riley also really enjoyed using the GeoSafari Bug Viewer which allowed him to see all kinds of different bugs up close. Admittedly I was too scared to pick up any bugs or spiders to place in it, so I left that in the capable hands of my eldest son, who was more than happy to oblige. The bug viewer is recommended for children aged 4 to 8 years of age and the jar allows children to collect their specimens and see them through the transparent casing.

Once you have found a bug to take a closer look at, you simply place it in the jar and then secure the magnifying lid. I had initially been concerned about the bugs being able to breathe, however there are air holes and also a handy measuring grid. Riley enjoyed finding different creatures and then using the measuring grid to write down their sizes and compare them. The magnifier has a 3x magnification so it was great to be able to see them so clearly. At a cost of only £4 on the Learning Resources website, this is great value for money and is at a pocket money price too!

Riley's favourite educational item was the GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope which allowed him to view items up to an 8x magnification. It's bright and chunky design really appealed to Riley and it was the perfect size for him to be able to use himself. It is recommended for children aged 3 to 7 years of age and the fixed platform means that children can observe both flat and 3D objects.


The dual eye pieces are extra large so it makes for very comfortable viewing and prevents the need to close one eye. Riley absolutely loved pretending to be a scientist and soon got the hang of using the microscope by himself. It has a cool feature of a bright LED light which helps you to enhance the viewing of small details and the button was very easy for Riley to control. With an RRP of £20 I think it is excellent value for money and it can be found on the Learning Resources website here.


Riley's older brother Ben has helped him a lot with his outdoor learning, especially when it involved bugs and spiders, so it was only fair that Ben had the opportunity to stay up late and try out the fantastic GeoSafari Vega 360 Telescope once the night sky appeared, so that we could take a closer look at some star constellations and the moon. This is recommended for children aged 8 to 12 years of age and as well as taking a look at the night sky, it can also be used to take a closer look at nature, your surroundings, birds and animals.


The telescope comes with two different eyepieces which are 20mm and 9mm in order to offer different viewing magnifications. We used it together with the included tabletop tripod and we were able to see different objects at 20x, 40x and 80x magnification. Ben loved observing the craters on the moon and was surprised to be able to see so much detail.


We had hoped to catch sight of the International Space Station and the Space X Rocket on the first launch attempt, but due to it being postponed for a few days, we were unfortunately unable to spot this. However, now that the weather is dry again, we are hoping to get back out in the garden and look for the space station once again using the telescope.

We found the telescope to be really easy to set up and really lightweight too. I have already promised Ben that once we can travel again, we will take this on holiday with us, so that we can take a closer look at different environments. The GeoSafari Vega 360 Telescope is available on the Learning Resources website for £48 and is the perfect item for budding young scientists.

Although Riley is in bed before it gets dark at the moment, he is looking forward to searching into space later in the year once the early nights return. In the meantime he has loved listening to what Ben has spotted and he has also enjoyed using the telescope to look at some of the birds that land on the top of our shed.


If you would like to find out more about Learning Resources and their fabulous range of products, then check out their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://www.learningresources.co.uk/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/LearningResourcesLtdUK/
Twitter - @LRUK
Instagram - @learningresourcesuk


*Disclaimer - This is a collaborative post and we were gifted the items featured for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.