Showing posts with label Family Time. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family Time. Show all posts

Saturday, 9 April 2022

(AD) Getting Creative This Easter with Plasticine - A Review

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I have so many memories of playing with Plasticine as a child. It was one of my favourite creative activities and I was always excited when my childminder brought out the big Plasticine box after picking me up from school. My friends and I would all make different creations and play scenes and we would often try and make items that were based on the topics we were learning in school, just so we had an excuse to take our little models into class the next day to show the teacher.

Plasticine is a timeless classic and is the ideal modelling compound for children, due to it being soft and easy to use. It is recommended for children aged 5+ and it can be used in a wide variety of ways, that are sure to inspire artistic creativity.

When my family and I were recently offered the chance to review a selection of Plasticine products, I jumped at the chance to be involved and all the memories I had quickly came flooding back. Whilst Plasticine is wonderful for getting your children to be creative, it can very easily be enjoyed by adults too, so we had a lovely Easter themed afternoon where my kids and I tried out all the items and came up with some wonderful creations.

The products we received were Plasticine Uber Tubes, Plasticine Tower Blox, Plasticine Toolz Box, Plasticine Fluro and Plasticine 24 Colour Max. My youngest son couldn't wait to get started so we began opening all the items whilst beginning to think of what we would like to make together. My other children and my husband also had their own ideas so we split the colours and items fairly between everyone to ensure that everyone had enough of each colour along with some tools.


The Plasticine Tower Blox Set is fabulous and contains absolutely everything you need to create plenty of items or characters. The box is well presented and we loved the bright and bold colours. It is the ideal starter pack as it includes 10 different colours, all with their own funky storage tubs, 10 cutters, 2 modelling tools, a roller, a mat and an instruction sheet.


The Plasticine Uber Tubes was my son's favourite pack as this included 16 different colours of plasticine which provides you with plenty of creative opportunities. Again the packaging was bold and bright and I liked the fact that you could clearly see what colours were enclosed. Riley loved the characters on the front of the pack and thought that the sheep was really funny. Inside the pack we also found tools, a mat and a roller.


The Plasticine Toolz box is the ideal introduction to Plasticine, along with the Plasticine Fluro and Plasticine 24 Colour Max as all of these items offer excellent value for money and are also the ideal starter size packs. The Plasticine Toolz Box contained 4 small shaped cutters, 1 roller, 1 modelling tool, 7 colours of plasticine and storage tray. Riley loved being able to carry the box around and I liked the fact that it made items easy to store away when not in use.

The Plasticine Fluro pack includes 130g of plasticine in funky neon colours and is presented in the same shape and style as how I remember it being as a child. The Plasticine 24 Colour Max pack has 24 strips of different colours along with an ideas sheet to help give you some inspiration. I feel that these three items together would also make a lovely birthday gift due to their affordable price.


Riley spent ages putting all his creative ideas together and he was amazed at how easy it was to use and mould into the shapes he wanted. If something didn't work out quite the way he had planned, then he was able to reshape it and try again without worrying that it may have gone hard or that he couldn't use that piece again. The beauty of plasticine is that it can be used numerous times, as it never dries out, meaning that there are so many creative possibilities.
 

My daughter and I decided to make some Easter bunnies, but initially I wasn't too sure where to begin. I got some inspiration for the body shapes from some of the idea sheets that were enclosed with the products, whilst my talented daughter just began creating from scratch. I ended up becoming very invested in my miniature project and I found the tools really useful for helping me with the smaller details. I ended up making the white bunny in the picture above (which I am very proud of), whilst my daughter made the grey bunny, carrot and basket of eggs. 
  

Riley wanted to work with more rounded shapes, so he opted to make some Hot Cross Buns and an Easter Chick. For only nine years of age, I think he did very well and I thought his Easter Chick turned out extremely cute.  He also found it useful using the roller and the tools to help him with the finer details and he was really pleased with the final outcome.


Overall we had a lovely afternoon playing with the Plasticine. We came up with so many creations and really enjoyed helping one another and working together on some of the pieces. We love that the unused plasticine can be stored neatly in the blox cubes and we have used the tool box to store the tools along with some of our creations to keep them safe. My son has already decided that we are going to try and make zoo animals next time which sounds like a great idea. I think that the products are superb and also offer excellent value for money. I would therefore happily recommend these products to others and we will definitely be building on our plasticine collection going forwards. 

The Plasticine range of products are available to purchase at Amazon.

To find out more about Plasticine and the other products in their range, then you can visit the Flair Group website, or their social media pages on the following channels:

Instagram - @flair_gp 



*Disclaimer - We were gifted these items for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All thoughts and opinions are our own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


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.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Windermere Lake Cruises & The Lakeland Motor Museum - A Review

In a recent blog post, I reviewed our experience at the Treetop Nets located at Brockhole Visitor Centre in the Lake District. We had an incredible time and plenty of fun, but once our two hour session was over, we were keen to see what else there was on offer in the area, as well as having a little bit of time to relax.

It can often be hard to find an activity where the parents get a little bit of time to chill out, without the kids immediately declaring their boredom, but we found the perfect solution by combining a Windermere Lake Cruise with a trip to the Lakeland Motor Museum.

We walked the short distance from the Treetop Nets to the Brockhole jetty, where there was a Windermere Lake Cruises ticket desk to purchase your tickets. You can also buy them online if you prefer and then simply exchange your booking confirmation for the tickets on arrival. We did the latter and exchanged our online booking voucher for tickets with minimal fuss. I had printed a copy of the timetable off the day before, so that we knew exactly where and when we could catch the boats throughout the day.

We had a Freedom of the Lake ticket including Lakeland Motor Museum entry, which meant that it could be used on any of the boats for a duration of 24 hours and that we could also use it to visit the museum. However, if you did only wish to travel on a particular route, then you can buy tickets specifically for the journey that you require. There are a great range of ticket options available, along with the choice of adding an attraction for greater value for money. Attractions that can be added are the Lakeland Motor Museum, the Lakes Aquarium and the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway.


There was plenty of seating for us to wait on until our boat arrived and then when it started to come into the jetty, all the customers began to form an orderly queue. On first glance it looked as though our boat was nearly full, so I was slightly worried about us being able to find seats altogether. Whilst it was busy, there were in fact still plenty of seats available on the upper deck, so my family and I sat on two rows upstairs, so that we could get a great view of the scenery.

We had decided that we would travel to Bowness first, prior to visiting the Motor Museum, so as our boat travelled on a circular route, this meant that we firstly had to travel to Ambleside, before returning back past Brockhole and onto Bowness. This was a really relaxing and enjoyable boat journey which had the most picturesque backdrop to our travels. The boat guide pointed out some areas of significance and also highlighted some peaks to us in the distance. My children really enjoyed looking out for wildlife, as well as trying to spot some of the hotels and landmarks that were mentioned on the journey.


As we continued our journey to Bowness, we passed numerous other watercraft all enjoying time out on the lake. This varied from yachts and motor boats to kayaks and paddle boards. Riley loved waving to everyone as they went past and it was great to see so many people wave back.

On arrival in Bowness, my children immediately spotted an outdoor stall selling ice cream, so we disembarked and had a little walk around the waterfront, before purchasing a cone each for us all. There was also a little arcade that we played in for a while, before we continued further up the road in order to explore some of the town.

We had last visited the area a couple of years ago, so Riley couldn't quite remember his last trip, so we walked up to the outside of the Beatrix Potter Museum and took him for a look inside the shop. Both my boys collect coins, so they were keen to see if they had any of the new Peter Rabbit coins on sale.


After we had spent a short time in Bowness, we decided to catch another boat and then continue our onward journey to the Lakeland Motor Museum. I had printed the timetable off from the website previously, but there were also plenty of leaflets and boards which advised when the next departures were. Our boat was already boarding at the jetty and fortunately there wasn't a large queue, so we were able to get onboard straight away and find some seats.

There was a choice of seating available and as the weather had become quite cold and overcast, we decided to sit downstairs for the next part of our journey. There were some long seats with tables in between, along with large picture windows at the side, so you could still see all the scenery as you travelled. A small refreshment shop was also located downstairs, so we enjoyed some hot drinks and snacks to warm us up.

All of the journeys that we had with Lake Windermere Cruises were really smooth along the water and not bumpy at all. I sometimes get a bit dizzy or light headed when travelling on boats, but these cruises were really relaxing and enjoyable and it was nice to be able to enjoy this time together as a family.

If, like us, you decide to visit the Lakeland Motor Museum, then you will need to catch a bus once you arrive at Lakeside. These run regularly and in time with the boat arrivals and departures, with the journey on the bus taking approximately 10 minutes. It is a great little service which makes exploring the area really easy.


On our arrival to the Lakeland Motor Museum, my children immediately remembered it. It has some superb displays and exhibits that my kids always find really fascinating. The museum itself is located within a converted mill and it boasts a massive collection of over 30,000 exhibits that cover a wide range of transportation from the twentieth century. As well as the main museum, there is also a separate exhibit in an adjacent building, that is dedicated to The Bluebird and the racing career of Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell.

As we entered the main shop and reception area, my children were provided with some quiz books that they could fill in as we had a look around and they were really pleased to see that some of the questions were different from our previous visit. The quiz book encouraged them to read the information on the displays, which helped them to learn more and gain a greater understanding of the vehicle that they were looking at.

My eldest son found the original prices of the cars really interesting, so he downloaded an app whilst there, that allowed you to convert historical prices into the modern day equivalent. One vehicle originally cost £400 new which sounded so inexpensive, but once you converted this to today's money, it would have been the same as thousands of pounds.


There were some new exhibits in place that had arrived since our last visit, so it was great to be able to have a look at some new vehicles that we had not seen before. It is actually quite amazing how they manage to fit so many displays in one place. Everything is so well laid out and the route through the museum is really easy to follow. The extensive car collection covers a large time span and features some wonderful cars ranging from prestige and luxurious, to performance and iconic.


Along with the vehicles, there are also some really fun shop displays, as well as old vehicle and fuel station signs all adorned along the walls. As an added bonus there is also a small room upstairs that features some old arcade style games. Each of the games cost 20p to play and there is a change machine so that you can exchange a £1 for a few coins. My son Ben loved the Super Steer-A-Ball game and managed to get his timing to perfection so that he could complete the route successfully.

There was also a fantastic display of bicycles and motorbikes upstairs in what was quite a magnificent collection. With so many to look at and compare, it was really interesting to view some of the older and more unique designs that varied quite a lot to todays modern comparisons.


My youngest son Riley really enjoyed learning about the Bluebird and he even chose to watch the video that played in the exhibit, sitting nice and quietly and listening to everything that was being said in the documentary. He absolutely loves to learn and find out new and interesting facts, so he was amazed hearing all about the record attempts that took place on the lake. Another couple visiting actually commented on how well behaved and quiet he was, which was a lovely compliment to receive.

Once we had finished looking around all of the exhibits, we returned to the shop with our completed quiz books so that the children could claim their prize. They were all rewarded for their efforts with a lovely little medal, which Riley was particularly proud of, especially as he had managed to answer most of the questions all by himself.


Overall we had a fantastic time with both Windermere Lake Cruises and the Lakeside Motor Museum. The boats looked really well maintained and all the staff on board seemed very accommodating and friendly. A small refreshments bar on board ensured that we could buy some hot drinks and snacks, whilst enjoying a leisurely cruise around the lake. Riley absolutely loved waving to the other boats that went past, whilst Ben enjoyed looking for wildlife both in and around the lake. The on-board commentary ensured that we didn't miss anything of significance and this also kept the children interested as they tried to spot what was being described by the guide.

The Lakeland Motor Museum was well enjoyed by my children and although we have visited previously, they still found it just as fascinating as our previous visit. There were some new exhibits that we had not seen before and the quiz that children are provided with on entry was also different. My kids really enjoyed looking for all the answers throughout the museum and also had a great time playing on the vintage games in the upper floor. Both attractions were superb and it was a fantastic way to spend a relaxing afternoon together.

For more information on Windermere Lake Cruises or the Lakeland Motor Museum, then you can visit their websites or their social media pages on the following channels:

Windermere Lake Cruises

Website - https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/windermerelakecruises
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Windermereboats
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/windermerelakecruises/

Lakeland Motor Museum

Address: Lakeland Motor Museum Ltd, Old Blue Mill, Backbarrow, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 8TA
Website - www.lakelandmotormuseum.co.uk
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/LakelandMotorMuseum/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/LakeMotorMuseum
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/lakelandmotor/


*Disclaimer - We were provided with a complimentary Freedom of the Lake & Motor Museum Ticket for the purpose of providing an honest review of our experience. Opinions are my own unless stated otherwise. All details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, however these can be subject to change for example admission, prices and opening times. I would therefore always recommend visiting the attractions own website prior to visiting in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Pointless by University Games - A Review

You may be familiar with the game show Pointless, which regularly features on BBC television. My children Emma aged 12 and Ben aged 11 first introduced me to this show after they had been watching it with their gran. I must admit that it took me a couple of times watching the show, to fully understand how it worked, but since then its become a programme that we watch regularly. My two eldest children really enjoy it and although the questions are sometimes a little too tricky for them, they do like to challenge themselves and guess some of the answers.

We were therefore really interested to find out more about the Pointless board game by University Games, which replicates the BBC TV quiz show in the comfort of your own home. It features plenty of new questions as well as the ability to download the infamous scoreboard on your phone using an app. The app is free to download and it helps to keep a record of all the scores. It also calculates the (pretend) jackpot in addition to stating the reigning pointless champion.


I really liked the idea of the app and love the fact that the game incorporates modern technology. I have often found with other games that the play can be slowed down a lot when you have to make manual notes of scores or write things down, so with the assistance of an app, it certainly makes things much more simple.

The front of the box features familiar Pointless graphics, including the logo and the scoreboard. It suggests that it can be played either as 2-4 players or in teams and the reverse tells you a little bit more about the game as well as providing some information on the app, along with several images. It is a small sized box, so very simple to carry and store away when not in use, and all the contents fit neatly inside.

The box contains -
  • 270 x questions
  • 1 x Answer Sheet Pad
  • 3 x Question Card Holders
  • 1 x Pointless Trophy
  • 1 x Rules of Play
It is recommended for players aged 12+, though I feel that this is purely down to the amount of general knowledge required for the game as the concept itself is actually really simple. I had a quick glance through the questions and whilst some would have had my children completely baffled, I think the majority worked fine for their age group. For the first couple of games my children went head to head, but after this both my husband and I teamed up with the children and found that a team of one adult and one child worked great.


Unlike many other games where you need to gain the highest score, Pointless is actually quite the opposite. The object of the game is to score the least number of points and this is done by providing a correct answer that you think fewest of 100 people surveyed would have given. If you are able to provide a correct answer that the people surveyed had not thought of, then that provides you with a Pointless answer scoring zero points.

Setting up the game is really easy and is simply a case of installing the app and entering the players details. Someone then needs to be chosen as the Question Master and the remaining players can then be split into teams. The Question Master can also be part of a team, but must ensure that they do not look at the answers on the question card whilst placing it in the holder. Once it is in the holder, the answers are hidden so there is no chance of someone taking a sneaky peak at the answers. During play the app will show the current (pretend) jackpot, which will then rise during the game if a pointless answer is found during the rounds.

As my children were playing the first couple of games themselves, I did remove some of the question cards to ensure that the remaining cards were all topics that they had some knowledge of. I then sorted them into four separate piles for Rounds 1, 2, 3 & 4 and placed the cardholders next to them. When my husband and I joined in with the later games I simply returned the cards I had removed back to the piles. I really liked the fact that I could adapt the game to suit us and found that this worked really well.

For example the cards I kept for round four included Books by David Walliams and Harry Potter Teachers. My daughter Emma is a huge Harry Potter fan, but even she commented how hard it is to think when being put on the spot. She was determined to win that round and also managed to get a pointless answer after much deliberation over which teaching staff member to choose.

In round one each team decides who will answer first and the Question Master reveals the question. During this round there is no conferring allowed between team members and once the answer is given the Question Master enters the relevant score into the app and then turns it to face the players. Once you press "Go" the scoreboard counts down just like it does on the television show and this creates lots of ooh and aahhh moments as everyone waits to see the results. If there is a second player in the team then they take their turn at answering the same question. The app will then automatically add the score and reveal the winner of that round. The highest scoring player or team is then eliminated. Round two then continues in the same format with the remaining teams.


Round three is the head to head round where the two remaining players or teams battle it out. During this round players are allowed to discuss their answer with each other and the first team to win two questions will have the opportunity to win the (pretend) jackpot as well as receiving the "Pointless Trophy".

In Round Four, this is what is known as "The End Game", during which the Question Master randomly selects three questions and reads them out. The remaining team then has just one minute to come up with three answers. The answers can be from any of the questions, so they can come up with three answers to one question, or one answer for each of the questions asked. It is completely up to the players how they choose to use their three answers. If one of the answers proves to be Pointless then the jackpot is considered as being won. If not, then the jackpot will simply roll over to the next game.

My children became very competitive whilst playing and they actually surprised me with some of the answers they gave.


Overall we really enjoyed this game, the rules are simple to follow and it was a great game to enjoy with my older children once my youngest son Riley had gone to bed. I think the idea of integrating an app into the game is great and we loved the concept of a traditional board game being combined with modern technology. The trivia element definitely got us all thinking and we had plenty of competitive fun trying to think of the most 'pointless' answer. I can definitely see this being a game that we will play regularly and I would definitely recommend to other quiz loving families.

This game has an RRP of £14.99 and is recommended for 2-4 players aged 12 years and over.

For further information on Pointless or other University Games, then please visit their website or social media pages which can be found on the following channels:

Website - www.university-games.co.uk
Twitter - @ugamesUK
YouTube - University Games


*Disclaimer - We were sent this game on a complimentary basis, for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.