Learning Resources - Coding Critters Ranger & Zip - Review & Giveaway

AD - We were sent this product for the purpose of this review.

Just like most children his age, Noah's favourite way to learn is through play. This is why we adore Learning Resources so much. Read past reviews here. Year after year, they continue to create innovative toys and activities which aren't just lots of fun but are educational too. Coding Critters are one of their newest products and we were sent one for the purpose of this review.

Coding Critters are suitable for children from 4-years-old and are the perfect way to introduce youngsters to the world of coding. There are 3 different sets to collect; Ranger & Zip - dogs, Scamper & Sneaker - cats, and Rumble & Bumble - dinosaurs. Each set promotes early STEM development through coding and play, with different activities and challenges to try out.

Included with the Ranger and Zip set:
Playset for coding games including ball, see-saw, house, and slide
Full colour storybook
10 Coding paw prints
3 Cardboard playset decorations
Multilingual quick start guide

The storybook that included with the set is such a fantastic idea. Not only does it introduce children to Ranger and Zip, whilst telling a story, but it also acts as a guide, to both parent and child. Together, we read through the book and coded along with the story.

To code, Noah simply pressed the direction buttons on the Ranger's back to create a coding sequence. Each step is roughly 10.2cm and up to 30 steps can be taken at one time. We coded Ranger to play hide and seek, fetch a ball and caught Zip as he slid down the slide. Noah seemed to pick it up pretty quickly and wanted to code over and over again. There is also an option for free-play and to create your own code games and activities. 

Coding Critters aren't just coding robots, they are interactive toys too. When Noah had his fill of coding for the day, he pressed Ranger's nose to activate play mode. He was then able to feed, stroke and play with Ranger. He thought this element was so much fun and he got the giggles when Ranger started to sing and dance!

Coding Critters are fantastic, another genius idea from Learning Resources. Noah hasn't stopped playing and learning with Ranger and Zip since they arrived last week. I'm contemplating ordering him the other two sets, they are that good. 
Retailing at £40.00 each, they are suitable for children from 4 years of age. Order online today at Amazon

How would you like to win a Coding Critters set? To enter simply use the Gleam form below and don't forget to enter my other competitions

Learning Resources Coding Critters Playset

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who win the prize mentioned above. Winner can choose the set.
2. Winners details will be shared with the PR to arrange delivery of the prize. 
3. Competition ends 31/08/19.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only

Noah - The End Of His First Year At School

Time flies when you're having fun, and when you have children. I suppose both of which go hand in hand. That's something that all parents grasp from the get-go, how fast the time seems to pass you by. That said, I thought that time would slow down a little when they get little older, but if anything it's going even faster.

Noah's first year at school, his Reception year has flown by in the blink of an eye. It's scary how fast it's gone. I was very emotional on his admission day when he got his first choice of school, on the eve of his first day at school, starting school and I'm just as much of a wreck now that he's finished his first year at school, Reception class. It's such a huge milestone in his life, and it's now over just like that.

Noah was very anxious about starting school, which is something he's struggled with since he was a baby. He's always felt anxiety when it comes to new places and being away from me. He knew that most of his friends from nursery were moving over to the same school with him, but he still struggled with the transition. For the first few weeks, he would cling to me, sometimes he would cry but he overcame it after some time, a lot faster than he did with his nursery transition.

As weeks and months went by I watched Noah blossom before my very eyes, in many different ways. Academically, he's at the levels that he should be, which for a boy who never sits still, who daydreams away into Noah-land, is really impressive. In the space of one year at school, he's learned to read, write, do basic maths, and much more. He's grown so much in himself, in his self-esteem and confidence. He's worked hard and has won a few awards over the year, the role model cup and medal, he's had lunchtime awards and star of the week.

His end of year report really made me smile because it was evident that they got to know him well. They noted how much of a people person he is, how he always strives to make new friendships and has many friends in class. They said that he's well mannered, kind and a joy to be around, which I think is something that all parents want to hear.

He'll be starting year 1 in a couple of weeks, but for now, here's to the summer holidays and all the adventures we have in store.

Air Unlimited Burnley - Review & Giveaway

AD - We visited free of charge and received family passes in exchange for this review.

Living in Burnley, with two youngsters, I'm always on the lookout for new local places to explore and enjoy with them, especially if they are within walking distance. Air Unlimited is just that. Opening its doors last year, it's the only inflatable playground in Burnley and we couldn't wait to see what it was all about. We were invited to attend an Air Unlimited Family Airtime session for the purpose of this review, which worked out perfectly for us.

Noah and Ava's eyes lit up as soon as we set foot in the building so I was glad it was a quick and straight forward process on arrival. I simply signed waiver forms for myself and the kids via an iPad and was handed four pairs of grippy socks (they cost £1.95 a pair, however, you get to keep them for next time.) I was pleasantly surprised by the free to use lockers (ideal for storing your shoes and your valuables) and by the cafe which had snacks and drinks at a reasonable price. 

It didn't take long for the kids to find their bearings and they were both zooming around like two bolts of lightning. They were both in totally in their element exploring all the different inflatable courses. Noah being five-years-old was more adventurous and attempted all the obstacles to the best of his ability. Naturally, his favourites were the ones he could jump off! Ava being 2-year-old would try to keep up with him but preferred to run around, jump and go up and down the slides. Nick and I were exhausted from just running around after them. We had so much fun together, so much so that we are already counting down the days until our next visit. It's a new favourite of ours and one which we've already been recommending to friends.

Family Airtime sessions are running daily throughout the summer holidays, usually, they are just at the weekend. Please note that Family AirTime can only be booked online. It costs £4 for toddlers, £7 for children and £2.50 for each accompanying adult. All airheads must wear AirUnLtd grip socks, this is for safety and hygiene reasons. These are £1.95 and can be purchased when you arrive. Other sessions, times and prices can be viewed on their website.

x5 Air Unlimited Inflatable Park Passes (Burnley)

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who will win x5 passes (to be used by 01/09/2019)
2. Prize provided by myself. 
3. Competition ends 31/07/19.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only.

My Sunday Photo - 29/52

WowWee Fingerlings Untamed Dragons Shockwave - Review & Giveaway

AD - We were sent this product for the purpose of this review.

Fingerlings have been a household name ever since their release in 2017, three years later and I think they are just as popular now. WowWee introduces new breeds of Fingerlings every so often and I think that's what keeps things fresh and their momentum going. We've seen the likes of unicorns and pandas, and we have now welcomed dinosaurs and dragons too!

There are various Fingerlings Untamed Dragons to collect, which all look awesome, however, we received Shockwave for the purpose of this review. Shockwave is blue, purple and red and looks quite menacing! Noah was really intrigued when he saw him in the packaging, as was Ava decided to roar continuously at him.

Fingerlings Untamed are can be switched on or off using the button on the back of their head. They are super interactive and respond in numerous ways, from motion,  touch and sound. They move their head, blink their eyes and make an array of different sounds. Noah discovered that touching certain spots like on his nose or the back of his head that he would do different things and could be rocked to sleep too.

Untamed Dragon’s jaws light up when they are angry but they aren't just ferocious beasts, they can be tamed too. Noah tamed Shockwave by simply stroking his head and his neck. He then began to purr and the light in his jaw came to a fade. To make him untamed again you simply need to hold him upside down or press any of his sensors.

Fingerlings Untamed Dragons are suitable for children from 5 years of age, retail at a recommended retail price of £14.99. They are available to buy online and in store at Tesco, Smyths and most leading retailers. 
How would you like to win a Fingerlings Untamed Dragon? Simply use the Gleam form below and don't forget to enter my other competitions!

Fingerlings Untamed Dragon

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who win the prize mentioned above. Style may vary.
2. Winners details will be shared with the PR to arrange delivery of the prize. 
3. Competition ends 18/08/19.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only

Hatching Our Zuru Smashers Epic Dino Egg & Dino Smashers Series 3 - Review & Giveaway

AD - We were sent these products for the purpose of this review.

Noah has been a fan of collectibles for as long as I can remember. I've lost count of the different collections that he has on the go, and I dread to think of the amount of money we've spent on them! He has his favourites amongst his collections and Smashers quickly became popular with him after we reviewed Smashers season 2 last year. With this in mind, I was delighted to be given the chance to review a couple of products from the Dino Smashers series 3 range, and so was he. 

The focus of this review is the Smashers Epic Dino Egg but I have got to mention the two fantastic packs included in this bundle. The Zuru Smashers Dino 8 pack - RRP £9.99 and Zuru Smashers Dino Collectors tin - RRP £7.99 are great to opt for if you want to start a collection off with a bang, for birthday gifts or for pocket money treats too.

Noah chose to open both the 8 pack and collectors tin at the same time so that he could smash them all in one go. He threw them everywhere, on the floor, on the sofa, on the windowsill. He loved smashing them just as much as finding the collectible dino's amongst broken pieces. It's worth noting that these eggs can be pieced back together once broken. I think this is great because not only can children smash them over and over again, it means that all those pieces of plastic aren't going straight to landfill.

Next, we have the Smashers Epic Dino Egg which is huge and really impressive to look at. It made Noah scream in excitement when he first saw it and he couldn't wait to see what was inside. He peeled off the plastic packaging, then bashed it on top of his toybox to open it. 
It didn't take long for him to get into it and that is when the fun began.

x1 Epic Dino Eggshell
x1 Dino Egg Yolk Bag
x1 Scratch Map
5x Compounds
6x Smash Eggs
x1 Digging Tool
x1 Exclusive Smash-o-saur Dino (3 to collect)

Inside the Smashers Epic Dino Egg is basically everything that kids love; slime, putty, sand, collectibles and a bath bomb! Within each component are different bones which all connect together to create a Smash-o-saur. He quickly 
picked up the scratch map to get started and was in charge of scratching the map to find out what we needed to do to find the bones.

As you can see this can be quite messy, but it is so engaging and fun! Usually, with toys like this, the activity is over within ten minutes but having so many different tasks to complete with this gave us lots of time to enjoy it. Once the bones were clean it was time to assemble the Smash-o-saur and discover which out of the three we had. While I put all the bones together Noah did a fine job of smashing the six eggs which come with the Smashers Epic Dino Egg. He discovered fossils, rares and had no dupes whatsoever.

Zuru Smashers have gone and done it again with this series. The Epic Dino Egg, in particular, is something else, it's awesome as Noah says! Suitable for children from 5 years, it retails at £24.99 (cheaper in some places) and contains 25 surprises inside. It's excellent value for money and offers a lot of fun and intrigue. Find this range at Smyths, The Entertainer, Argos, Tesco, Asda, B&M, Sainsbury's and all the major retailers.

How would you like to win a Zuru Smashers Dino 3 Pack? To enter simply use the Gleam form below and don't forget to enter my other competitions! Good luck!

Zuru Smashers Dino 3 Pack

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who will win the prize mentioned above.
2. Prize provided by myself. 
3. Competition ends 11/08/19.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only.

Preparing For A Family Road Trip

AD - This is a PR collaboration.

With the six-week holidays coming up fast we have started to plan a few trips and family days out. It's so important to get out and about this time of year, especially when it comes to making the most of the weather. We've already been abroad this year, so during the summer holidays, we intend to explore the UK and what better way to do this than by planning a road trip. To help us with our plans I've asked fellow bloggers to share a couple of tips with me.

1. Plan ahead
Make a couple of lists and check them twice! When it comes to traveling I'm all about preparing and making lists, lots of lists. I like to jot everything down and tend to overpack, but I'd rather have everything with me than forget something that we need.

2. Invest in a Sat Nav
I'm not going to lie, I'm that reliant on technology these days that I wouldn't trust myself or Nick with a map. Satellite Navigation has saved our behinds on numerous occasions, without them we'd have been driving in circles. We are currently on the lookout for an upgrade and we've found some quality Navigation Systems here at buycarparts.co.uk.

3. Take a first aid kit
I have a travel first aid kit that I take everywhere with me because my kids are very accident prone. It contains plasters, nail scissors, antiseptic wipes, Calpol sachets, even bravery stickers! Lisa from The Familly Ticket suggested something that I hadn't thought of, which I will be adding my kit; "Every time we go on a family road trip we have to make sure we stock up on travel sickness tablets. It's the only thing that works for our eldest."

4. Pack the potty
We are currently potty training Ava so we always need a potty at hand. Emily from Emily and Indiana said to "Take a
 travel potty, wipes and a spare change of clothes in the car for little ones. You never know when they’re going to need the toilet!" I couldn't agree more!

5. Take breaks during the journey
With young children, you have to make the odd pit stop, that's a given. Michaela from Adventures of a Yorkshire Mum shares this great tip; "Section the road trip into small bites. Work on a map and find suitable pit stops in between to break up the journey and get the kids out of the car and stretching their legs for a little bit of time."

6. Travelling with older children
Want to become the cool parent to your teenage children and their friends? How about thinking outside of the box and hiring a San Fransisco party bus for your road trip? Don't have kids? Hire one for yourself and you're grown-up friends.

Do you have any tips that you would like to share?

Reasons Why You Should Create A Budget Every Month

AD - This is a PR collaboration.

You don’t have to be a financial expert to be better with money. Sometimes, it’s the simplest of gestures that make us more confident and secure in our financial self. Searching for financial security doesn't have to mean buying a lottery ticket every week (even though winning would probably help), you can, in fact, create financial security for yourself simply by being careful with your money and creating a monthly budget.

Whether you want to retire comfortably, or you want to put some money aside for your children – this website can help you with junior ISAs – if you choose to create a budget, and monitor your funds then you’re much more likely to reach your financial goals. Need some more inspiration? Check out the top reasons why you should create a budget every month, below.

You’re in more control of your money
When you’re not in control of your money, it can feel like your life is out of control. If you don’t know where your money is going each month, then it’s vital that you create a budget to put the brakes on. Most of us have the misconception that our finances should bring dread and worry. However if you’re setting a budget and keep tabs on what’s going where each month, then you’ll be able to enjoy your money more and be much happier.

A budget gets you closer to your goals
As mentioned above, if you want to save money for your kids or for a rainy day, then budgeting correctly each month will get you a step closer to your goals. A detailed budget can help you to siphon money away each month and with various tweaks and subtle changes, you can add as much as you can or even reduce the amount if necessary to get you over a difficult financial hump. Your budget gives you flexibility!

It keeps you accountable
When you have a budget, you’re more inclined to stick to it. It keeps you accountable for any of those additional spends that have knocked you off track. Every penny spent needs to be accounted for, and when you’re in charge of your money, you’re more likely to make better financial choices.

You gain back control of your debts
Debt can be scary. Phone calls, demanding letters, the money draining out of your account each month. When you have a budget it’s much easier to dedicate sums of your money to cover your outstanding debts and bills. Making simple adjustments can keep you and your family in the black and also give you enough wiggle room to cover a financial emergency. The better you handle your debt, the better your credit score will be!

You’ll sleep better
Money problems can indeed keep us awake at night. Which can lead to depression, anxiety, stress, and physical health issues. When you’re in better control of your money thanks to your monthly budget, you’ll be much happier and more content.

Fabulous Family Events In London This August

AD - This is a PR collaboration.

August is an exciting time in London, filled to the brim with fun events, cultural happenings, and things to do for all the family. The kids are off school and the weather is shaping up to be sunny, so take advantage. Here is my guide to the best pop-ups, parties, and events in August in London 2019:

Underbelly Festival in South Bank
This fun-packed and free-to-enter festival of live entertainment and alfresco dining enjoys its 11th year, with stages full of affordable theatre, cabaret, circus acts, music, comedy, and children’s shows on the south bank of the Thames.
The Underbelly Festival also boasts one of London’s largest outdoor bars; you can sip from the Pimm’s Hut while the children take in a show.

Notting Hill Carnival
Always a good idea, Europe’s largest street festival, the Notting Hill Carnival, takes over west London over the August bank holiday weekend. Join more than one million people for a huge Caribbean party, with the colourful floats and parades guaranteed to entertain all the family.

Buckingham Palace tour
Whilst the Queen is on holiday, her official London residence opens its doors to tourists until the 29th of September. Explore one of the world’s few remaining working palaces and its lavish interiors. Perfect for children interested in the Royal Family and its history, whilst adults can take in breath-taking paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin, and Canaletto.

Open-air cinemas
London’s open-air cinemas are becoming increasingly popular. Try the Rooftop Film Club in some iconic London locations for the ultimate film experience, and experience the capital’s largest outdoor screen with
Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House. Child-friendly screenings include Blank Panther and The Princess Bride.

Afternoon tea
Yes, you read that correctly! Afternoon tea for children is all the rage, with restaurants creating menus for kids which complement their adult counterparts. Budding wand-wavers will love the wizarding feast at Cutter & Squidge, Brigit’s Bakery serves afternoon tea on a big red bus, and Monmouth Kitchen is offering a pizza and chocolate-inspired menu.

Hampstead Beach
If you’d like to add a sandy experience to your city retreat, head to Hampstead Beach. This an urban beach, complete with an inbuilt paddling pool and splash areas. It’s free to visit, but be prepared to splash out on food, cocktails, and special events while you’re there.

The London Dessert Festival
Embark upon a voyage of dessert discovery at the London Dessert Festival this summer. Through the use of scents, flavours, sights, sounds, and textures, you and your children are guided through a celebration of London’s finest desserts. This is a truly immersive experience which will capture your family’s imagination, one which you’re guaranteed to never forget!

Stay in a family-friendly hotel
To enjoy all of these delightful events in London, book ahead to secure your hotel for August – it’s a very busy time in the capital.
The Dorsett Hotel, Shepherds Bush, can be a great base for the family fun, stylish and comfortable accommodation in a great location for exploring.

Which of these events do you like the sound of the most?

Disney's The Lion King Live-Action Roaring Simba & Plush - Review & Giveaway

AD - We were sent these products for the purpose of this review, however, all opinions are my own.

The Lion King is a favourite of mine and has been ever since I was a little girl. I had the VHS, the storybook, the soft toys, the Simba hot water bottle and would regularly crawl around the schoolyard pretending to be Nala! I now relive those memories through my own children because they adore The Lion King too. It's an ageless story, enjoyed by generations and if you are anything like me then you'll be excited by the upcoming release of the live-action movie. Coinciding with the new movie is a range of live-action toys, brought to you by Flair, which I'll be reviewing today.

For the purpose of this review, we received the Disney's The Lion King Live-Action Small Plush with Sound - RRP £9.99 and The Lion King Live-Action Roaring Simba - RRP £39.99. Ava couldn't wait to play with them and discover what they do.

First, we have The Lion King Live-Action Roaring Simba toy which caught Ava's attention right away. It quite a decent size, standing at 12" tall and is made from soft, deluxe fabrics. It's rather realistic looking which makes it great for both play and cuddles. 

The Lion King Live-Action Roaring Simba features an abundance of different phrases, and sounds, including an adorable roar. It doesn't walk, but it moves it's head and opens and closes its mouth. You get it to do this by pressing a button on its leg, above its paw. It's also motion activated whilst in play mode which Ava found fascinating. I caught her tiptoeing around it, trying to sneak past without making it roar! She also likes to peer right inside its mouth!

The Lion King Live-Action Small Plushes are available in four different characters: Simba, Nala, Timon, and Pumba. They are smaller in stature at 8" tall but are just as soft and cuddly. We received Nala and thought the likeness to the live-action movie character was remarkable. At first glance, we thought it was just a teddy, however, it talks and makes noises too! I have a feeling Ava will want to collect all 4 and seems to refer to Nala as her baby.

Both toys require batteries, which are included, and are both suitable for children from 3 years of age. They are available to buy now at Argos, Amazon and other leading retailers.

How would you like to win the Disney's The Lion King Live-Action Small Plush with Sound? To enter simply use the Gleam form below. Good luck and don't forget to enter my other competitions.

Disney's The Lion King Live-Action Small Plush with Sound

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who will win the prize mentioned above.
2. Prize provided by myself. 
3. Competition ends 31/07/19.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only.