BRIO Firefighter Set and Rescue Boat Review

I’ve mentioned before about Joseph’s love of BRIO and he’s had some great opportunities to review great BRIO sets out with me in the past but the latest he’s been tasked with putting to the test has to be his favourite to date.  His was lucky enough to receive the Firefighter Set (33815) and the Rescue Boat (33859) from his friends at BRIO.

BRIO Firefighter Set

The Firefighter Set has a total of 18 pieces including 10 pieces of track, a fire engine, a two piece fire train, gas station, one figure, a level crossing and other accessories.

BRIO Firefighter Set

I think it’s great how the set includes enough track to make a full circuit of track, and instructions of how to do so, as it makes a perfect first train set or a wonderful addition to an existing one.  There’s no assembly required at all and you’re ready to play in no time at all!

BRIO Firefighter Set

Joseph’s favourite thing was the fire train with it’s roll out hose and lift up ladder although the fire engine with lights and sounds came a very close second.

BRIO Firefighter Set BRIO Firefighter Set

BRIO Firefighter Set

The Rescue Boat was a very welcome addition to the Firefighter set, as it would be to any BRIO playset, it includes a car with a trailer that the rescue boat can be easily launched from in the case of an emergency as well as a figure.

BRIO Rescue Boat

As with all BRIO vehicles the trailer and car connect with magnets, are fully interchangeable and fit on the tracks.  All BRIO toys are also made to the highest of standards from only the best high quality plastic and sustainable beech wood and this really shows in just how robust they are.

BRIO

Joseph had a great time making up some fabulous combinations and taking them around the tracks, putting out fires and making daring rescues.  It’s been wonderful to see him having so much fun and putting his imagination to good use.

The Firefighter Set and Rescue Boat are both available from www.brio.co.uk and are priced at £39.99 and £14.99 respectively.

Cutting the Back to School Cost with Poundland

I recently read a shocking news article that claims the average cost of sending a 4-16 year old back to school each September is costing on average of £186.  That’s almost £200 on uniform, shoes, sports kit, lunch bags and stationary.  WOW!  Obviously I try and do what I can to keep these costs down as much as I can.  Using discount supermarkets for the uniform basics has saved a lot as has our local Poundland which was our one stop shop for all of the kiddywinks stationery this year.

Back to School with Poundland

As ever, Poundland has a great range suitable for everyone from primary school pupils right up to university students.  There are some lovely co-ordinating ranges which include the brightly coloured Neon, Craft and Nu as well as some favourite characters such as Spiderman, The Lion Guard, The Secret Life of Pets and Finding Dory.  Imogen loves the Neon range with its’ brightly coloured lipstick highlighters, lego shaped erasers and highly addictive maze pens.

Back to School with Poundland

We also found some great value branded stationery items on our recent trip to Poundland as well which included a 4 pack of Papermate Inkjoy ball pens which come in 4 different variations Black, Blue, Office or Fashion.  I use these for work and they usually cost me £3 for 8, so these were a great find.  Another bargain we found was the Helix Value Maths Set which contains a compass, 2 set squares, protractor, ruler, eraser, pencil and sharpener all for £1.  The cheapest I can find this elsewhere is double the price!

Back to School with Poundland

As every parent knows planning is a massive part of the academic year and diaries and wall planners play a massive part in making sure I don’t forget which friend I’m picking up from school, who has after school clubs and the next wretched cake sale!  Poundland have a great selection of these as well from pocket sized to A4, ones you can hang on the wall and weekly planners that you can stick on your fridge.  I love this photo calendar that I’m going to fill with pictures of the children and hang in the hall and this mint green diary that will live in my overstuffed handbag.

Back to School with Poundland Back to School with Poundland Poundland also have a great range of backpacks, lunchbags and drinks bottles featuring Avengers, Disney Princesses, Shopkins and Paw Patrol starting from as little as £2.  Cracking value and definitely worth checking out.  You can find your nearest Poundland here or you can now browse from the comfort of your own sofa at www.poundland.co.uk

Schleich Horse Club Riding Centre Review

Lucky Imogen received an awesome surprise from her friends at Schleich, the Horse Club Riding Centre, the latest addition to their Horse Club collection.

Schleich Horse Club Riding CentreI’m not quite sure what I expected but the box is huge and the contents extensive.  The horse stable itself does need assembly which, at times, does need a bit of brute strength but it doesn’t take long and the instructions are very clear and detailed.

Schleich Horse Club Riding Stable

When assembled there are four indoor stables and four outdoor paddocks for horses with the centre part of the roof being able to lift off completely to create an open air riding arena.  There are two horses (horse and foul) included as well as a rider figure and tonnes of accessories which include troughs, saddles, a bridle, hay bales and a sheet of stickers to enable you to personalise your riding centre just the way you want it.

Schleich Horse Club Riding Centre

Something Imogen loves about the riding centre is that she was able to move gates and fences as well as the roof so that it could work around her play.  Either making small, individual paddocks for the horses or one large one for horse shows and competitions.

Schleich Horse Club Riding Centre   Schleich Horse Club Riding Centre

Another thing she loved was the attention to detail, which is the same with all Schleich toys, the horses are beautiful as is the building itself.  She was impressed that the stable doors open as they should and have little working locks!

Schleich Horse Club Riding Centre

As you expect from Schleich the quality is also amazing and in my opinion it’s well worth it’s £99.99 price tag.  It’s really extended the play value of her other Schleich figures including other Horse Club figures and she’s had hours and hours of enjoyment from it already and I expect this to continue.

Schleich Horse Club Riding Centre   Schleich Horse Club Riding Centre

The Horse Club Riding Centre is just part of the Horse Club collection available from www.schleich-s.co.uk.

Gemmies Design Studio Review

Imogen loves getting arts and crafts and putting her hand to anything creative so she was incredibly excited to receive the Gemmies Design Studio from her friends at Character. Gemmies is a new creative brand where a sparkly 3D world comes to life.

Gemmies Design Studio

Inside the box is the design studio which has plenty of storage, a hand tool, over 500 beads, connectors and bands as well as templates and instructions.

Gemmies Design Studio

On the top of the design studio there is a place to slot your design template in, there are 5 included each varying in difficulty.  There is also a light up stand in the centre, which will shine a rainbow of light through your finished crystal creations.  We decided to start with the easier of the 5 templates and collected all of the beads, bands and connectors needed to create an ice cream and placed them in the containers on the top of the studio.

Gemmies Design Studio

Gemmies Design Studio

The idea is to slide a band over the hand tool and then clip the beads on in sequence, following the instructions and adding more and more beads and bands.  Imogen found this really complicated and quite fiddly with some of the beads popping off and the instructions quite hard to follow.  On the instruction card is a web address for tutorials so we got that up on the iPad but despite them being pretty good they didn’t seem to help us much.

Gemmies Design Studio

After a good hour Imogen admitted defeat with her ice cream but has since gone back to it and created some rings and bracelets.  I think once she gets the hang of the basics she will go back to creating more designs both from the templates included and the online tutorials.  I love the concept as does Imogen but I think an age of 6+ is very ambitious considering that Imogen is 8 and struggled.

The Gemmies Design Studio and complimentary Gemmies Activity packs are available at £29.99 and £9.99 respectively from www.character-online.co.uk

BRIO Horse Stable and Horse Jumping Set Review

We’ve always loved BRIO in our house and Joseph now has a sizable BRIO wooden railway, which was first started by Imogen, comprising of stations, garages, roundhouses, tunnels, bridges and enough track to go round his room at least twice.  But the railway is where our BRIO collection starts and finishes, we’ve just never thought of expanding it in other ways. BRIO changed all of that and sent us the Horse Stable and Horse Jumping set to see what we thought of it.  BRIO Horse Stable and Horse Jumping Set

Firstly we opened up the Horse Stable and I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the stable itself came fully assembled.  There are a further 10 pieces included including two figures, two horses with removable rugs, a wheelbarrow and a bale of hay.

BRIO Horse Stable

At the front of the stable there is a section of railway track which enables it to connect to the rest of your BRIO collection.

BRIO Horse Stable

The horse stable is also hinged and opens up fully to reveal six enclosures with storage for hay above, there’s even a clever shute to load it into the wheelbarrow easily.

BRIO Horse Stable

The Horse Jumping Set is the perfect partner for the horse stable as it contains a massive 25 pieces including 5 figures, 3 horses with rugs, fencing, 3 jumps, seating and a horse trailer.

BRIO Horse Jumping Set

With the two combined Joseph had a blast putting on his very own horse show with Silver, Sky and Flash.  There were show jumping competitions, races and a best in show competition which Silver won hands down!

BRIO Horse Stable and Horse Jumping Set   BRIO Horse Stable and Horse Jumping Set

BRIO Horse Stable and Horse Jumping Set

As with all BRIO toys they are made with little hands in mind so there is no frustration whilst exploring all of the aspects of play that the set includes.  It is also of exceptional quality, genuinely built to last which is becoming hard to find in toys now.  I love the imagination it’s inspired in Joseph’s play and the whole new lease of life that it has brought his BRIO railway.  We’ll most certainly be expanding his BRIO collection in other ways from now on and he’s already spotted the Fun Park theme which has given Santa ideas.

The Horse Stable is priced at £39.99 and the Horse Jumping Set at £23.99 and both are available from www.brio.co.uk.

Chill Factor Ice Cream Magic Tray Review

It’s Summer (apparently) and is there a better way to cool off than with your very own homemade ice cream?  Chill Factor who have previously brought us slushy, milkshake and jelly makers have now launched The Ice Cream Magic Tray so you can make your own delicous ice cream creations in minutes!

Chill Factor Ice Cream Magic Tray

Inside the box is an ice cream workstation with removable tray, a measuring jug and plastic utensils for scraping, scooping, cutting and smashing.  The first thing that needs to be done is preparing the tray, this is where your ice cream will magically be made and needs filling with salt water and freezing for at least 4-6 hours.  We did ours the day before and left it in the coldest part of the freezer.

Chill Factor Ice Cream Magic Tray

Once the tray is frozen solid you need measure out 75ml of double cream using the little jug, you can flavour this anyway you like bit we used Tesco milkshake syrup in a squeezy bottle and found it really effective and tasty.  Then pour your cream onto your tray and use the scrapper to move it around,  the bottom will freeze and when this is removed and replaced with liquid cream you’ll have ice cream in next to no time.  Joseph found this quite labour intensive and got tired easily but Imogen happily took over.

Chill Factor Ice Cream Magic Tray  Chill Factor Ice Cream Magic Tray

What you’re left with is a nice soft scoop ice cream, Joseph decided to add chocolate chips to his chocolate ice cream and Imogen added strawberries and chocolate chips to her strawberry ice cream, both served in a cone naturally!

Chill Factor Ice Cream Magic Tray Chill Factor Ice Cream Magic Tray

The kiddywinks are looking forward to an entire Summer of creating new and exciting flavour combinations, Imogen quite fancies custard cream ice cream at the top of Joseph’s list is mint choc chip!  I like the fact that they can create their own treats without the additives and sugar of shop brought ice cream and we’re going give it a try to crate frozen yogurt too.

The Chill Factor Ice Cream Magic Tray is priced at £19.99 and is available from Character.

Opening Fairy Doors Review

Imogen has always been obsessed with fairies, we regularly go for woodland walks looking for them and her and her school mates have a secret fairy club in which they are all fairies with different magical powers.  In the Spring we started our own small fairy garden which she has total responsibility for looking after.  One of her favourite things in the garden is the brightly coloured fairy door so I knew she’d fall in love with the Opening Fairy Door set from Character she received at the beginning of the Summer holidays.

Opening Fairy Doors

There are three different styles to collect Willow (lilac), Meadow, (blue) and Luna (pink), Imogen received Luna and was, of course, thrilled!  The set includes a minature door, two fence panels, a window, mailbox, wall stickers, tiny fairy sized stationery, an “official fairy friend certificate” and some fairy dust!

Opening Fairy Doors

The door, window, fence and mail box are fixed to the wall with double sided adhesive tape that come included, they are easy to use and are designed with a tab that sticks out which, when pulled, will remove it from the wall without causing damage.  I felt that this distracted from the overall look and decided to position my tape so that the tabs didn’t show and will retouch paint if and when it’s needed.

Opening Fairy Doors

The attention to detail on the door is magnificent and Imogen looked adding the finishing touches which the wall stickers.  Outside the window and behind the door is a beautiful fairy scene but the best thing about this is that it can slide out and be swapped for your very own fairy land.  Imogen is busy putting pen to paper and creating her own magical meadow as I type.

Opening Fairy Door

Imogen loves the fairy stationery and has written to Luna, her fairy, many times and she writes back everytime!  I love the creativity and imagination that the Opening Fairy Door has inspired in Imogen as well as Joseph, who is also a believer.

Opening Fairy Doors are available from Character priced at £14.99.

Puppy in My Pocket Soft Carrier and Blind Bags Review

Imogen has always been a huge fan of collectibles.  It started many years ago with the Puppy in My Pocket figures she’d save her pocket money to buy at our local shop, since then that shop has always been called “The Puppy Shop” despite it not selling actual puppies and having not stocked Puppy in My Pocket for a very long time.

2016 sees Puppy in My Pocket return to it’s collectible best with more than 100 different puppies to collect including ultra rare glitter puppies!  Imogen was sent the Puppy in Pocket Soft Carrier and a couple of blind bags from Flair to start her collection off.

Puppy In My Pocket

The Soft Carrier comes with 4 puppies as well as a collector’s checklist and there are 3 different styles to collect.  It’s made from soft plastic trimmed with sparkly sequins and a glittery bow and has a carry handle and two transparent pockets at the front to show off your favourite puppies. The main compartment of the carrier is large enough a sizeable collection of puppies as well as the all important collector’s checklist and other essentials.

Puppy in My Pocket

The blind bags are pocket money priced at £2.49 and each contain one puppy and a checklist. Both Imogen and Joseph are fairly obsessive about blind bags and love the excitement of opening them up to find out what lies inside.  There was no disappointment with Puppy in My Pocket, the miniature, flocked puppies are ultra cute and they’ve loved checking them off their lists and reading their bios on the website.

Puppy in My Pocket IMG_6367

Puppy in My Pocket

Imogen has already added to her Puppy in My Pocket collection and I’m sure she will continue to do so.  I’m really impressed with the quality of the puppies in comparison to other collectibles in the same price bracket and have heard that there’ll be a Kitty in my Pocket range launched later this year!

The Puppy in My Pocket Soft Carrier and blind bags are available from Flair prices at £12.99 and £2.49 respectively.

Peppa Pig Home & Garden Playset and Laugh with Peppa Review

We’ve always been huge fans of Peppa Pig and even as the kiddywinks get older I can’t see it changing anytime soon.  Between them, Imogen and Joseph have a lovely collection of Peppa Pig toys and can often be found snuggled on the sofa watching a Peppa marathon on Nick Jr after a long day at school.

Character have just added some awesome new Peppa Pig toys to their range and we were sent the Peppa’s Home and Garden Playset and Laugh with Peppa to try out.

Peppa Pig

Having given Laugh with Peppa a poke in the belly whilst in her box and realizing that she might be quite a lot of fun Joseph was ultra keen to get her out and test her out properly.  This plush Peppa is traditionally dressed in her red dress with black shoes and stands roughly around 30cm tall.  Tickle her tummy and she’ll say phrases such as “I’m Peppa Pig”, “I can’t stop giggling” and “Let’s be silly”.  She’s also fall backwards with her legs in the air and gives them as well as her hands a good wiggle just as she does on the TV.  This has caused the kiddywinks great amusement and they’ve really enjoyed playing with her.  Laugh with Peppa will be available from Argos soon priced at £19.99.

Laugh with Peppa Laugh with Peppa

Next up was Peppa’s Home and Garden Playset.  This is a great fold out playset of Peppa’s house featuring five rooms, the kitchen, lounge, bedroom, bathroom and attic.  There are removable pieces of furniture including a bed, TV and fridge and it comes with both a Peppa and a George figure.  The set needs very little assembly it’s simply a case of opening small bags of accessories and slotting in the attic floor and the wall that divides the bathroom and bedroom.

Peppa's Home & Garden Playset Peppa's Home & Garden Playset

 

The front of the house folds out and creates the garden and this is accessorised with a see-saw and a lovely big tree.  Joseph loved how these could be moved around and either used by themselves or with other playsets.  Of course the garden also features Peppa’s most favourite of things, muddy puddles!

Peppa's Home & Garden Playset Peppa's Home & Garden Playset

At the end of play the set packs away neatly and and can be carried with the carry handle.  You’ll need to slip out the bathroom/bedroom wall to fit the see-saw in and the tree with need to be positioned carefully but there’s plenty of room even for extra figures.

Peppa's Home & Garden Playset Peppa's Home & Garden Playset

Peppa’s Home & Garden Playset is priced at £19.99 and is available from Argos along with Laugh with Peppa.

Take a look at the latest Peppa Pig advert featuring the Home & Garden Playset.

 

Mary Go-Round Limited Edition Carousel Pony Zelf Review

Regular readers of this blog will know that Imogen is a huge fans of the Zelfs so of course she’s extremely excited about the impending release of the sixth series of these ultra cute collectibles.  As with all of the previous series there is an ultra rare limited edition Zelf be to the crowning glory of your collection.  This season the honor falls on Mary Go-Round the Pony Carousel Zelf and lucky girl Imogen was sent one from her friends at Character.

Mary Go-Round

There have only been 10,000 of these limited edition Zelfs made and only 400 available within the UK.  I’ll tell you just how you can get you hands on one soon but let’s take a look at her first.

Mary Go-Round

Mary Go-Round comes packaged just like any regular Zelf and with the usual hair bands, comb and collectors leaflet but also has a sparkly horse-shoe charm and a token with your Zelf’s limited edition number printed on.

Mary Go-Round

Mary Go -Round has the signature shock of hair in pink and white with a pink body with contrasting turquoise legs and horn.  She also has a sparkly saddle and flowers on her chest, face and around her wrist.  She’s just as poseable as the other Zelfs as well so she’s ready for play.  Imogen is obviously extremely pleased to own such a limited edition Zelf declaring her her favourite out of her collection.

Mary Go-Round3

To get hold of your very own Limited Edition Mary Go-Round Zelf all you need to do is collect at least £30 of receipts from your 2016 Zelf purchases and send them off with a completed claim form.  The form and full terms and conditions can be found here.  Series 6 Zelfs can also be previewed on the Character website and will be available to purchase at the end of July, they’re all very cute and Imogen has declared Peak-a-Boo, the Ghost Zelf and Flitterbelle the Mermaid Butterfly Zelf must haves!

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