Lin The Panda Bear
We have been fans of the HEXBUG brand in this house for some time and therefore always more than willing to test drive some of their new offerings. This little cutie landed through the front door recently. My 3 year old claimed it and this review is mostly his thoughts. The almost 7 years old wasn’t quite so keen so in terms of age I can see the appeal really for the 3-6 ages.
The premise of this toy is to teach kids about their favourite endangered animals. We received Lin the panda bear to review and the product contained Lin and its Bamboo home environment. The panda itself is interactive in that when you press a sensory zone, the panda makes playful noises, the panda also responds to movement and touch. I kind of thought I would react to its enviroment but it doesn’t seem to aside from the snoring when its asleep (!).
Some interesting facts that we did learn from this product were:
- Pandas are located in the Yangtze basin in the heart of China
Lin The Panda Bear
- They can eat ip to 26-48 pounds on bamboo everyday
- An fully grown panda can weigh 330lbs
This products heart is in the right place in that it teaches kids about endangered species. At around €15 its not cheap for its functionality so not quite pocket money not quite collectable. However that being said the almost 4 year old really loves caring for things, teddies, doll etc and Lin now sits pride of place next to his bed where he gently rocks it to sleep before he sleeps himself. Adorable!
For information and to see others in the collection see HEXBUG
Note: We were sent the product for review, however all opinion mine or the kids where appropriate.
I’m not very musical but I really hope my kids are. There is something so lovely about the ability to play an instrument. It really is a life long skill. When my oldest was around 2 he fell in love with Ed Sheeran’s song – Thinking out loud and with that his love of guitar music was born.
We were sent the First Act Ukulele to review and the boys are just crazy about it. It really is the perfect size for little hands and priced at around €18 it is a lot more affordable than some of the others on the market at the moment, especially if you want to trial to see if they really are interested in the instrument or is it more of a fad.
It’s a soprano style ukulele with nylon stings that make the traditional ukulele sounds. The strings are tuned guitar style which certainly added to the appeal here. The nylon strings also make it easy on little fingers. They are much gentler. The one we were sent was the black with blue stars but it also comes in white with blue butterflies.
This has got a huge amount of play here since it arrived and it has also survived Mr Destruction which is no mean feat!!! Our local library offers free ukulele lessons and my oldest cannot wait to get started.
One thing for sure is that as he kids are moving up the education ladder, I have become some much more involved in helping them and assisting them with their after school activities. I often fell like their PA. I don’t mind one bit. My family gave everything to give us the best start in life and I wish the same for my kids. There are absolutely loads of fantastic resources out there to assist with education such as Killer-Papers who offer a help with writing. Their website references a CS Lewis quote which I heard many times as a child and its very apt
you can make anything by writing. C.S. Lewis.
Note: We were sent the ukulele for review however all view are mine or the boys where appropriate.
My youngest is a Rusty Rivets fanatic! I’m not quite sure which part appeals to him the most but he really is a super fan! Before Christmas Botasaur landed in our post box and he was mega excited. Botasaur retails at around €35 which puts him (in my view) at the pricer end of kids toys however I can see why he is a little more costly than the average character toy.
If you have ever watched the show you will know Boatasaur is one of the main characters in the show and is Rustys side-kick. I think him forming such a pivotal role in the programme is a huge influencing factor in his success at least here in the Mamma Fairy house!
So what doe he do!! Botasaur comes in parts that you piece together to bring him to life – just like in Rusty Rivets! Parts included are: 1 Head/Body, 1 Torso, 1 Tail, 1 Spine, 2 Feet, 2 Legs, 2 Arms, 1 Seat, 4 Big Wheels, 4 Axle Hubs. He is definitely a good size for little hands. When you press the button on the back of his head and his eyes will light up and flash and he makes Botasaur sounds the same as the programme.
What I like about this is that the parts are durable, easy to assemble and dis-assemble making lots of combinations of parts possible. There also isn’t loads of small parts, I found with very young kids (mine is almost 4) he gets so upset when he looses parts but with few and large parts this isn’t so much an issue. Big plus with toys that come into our house will always be that they spark imaginative play, which is critical for developing little minds. Thumbs up from the little men in the Mamma Fairy House!
A pet hate of mine is toys requiring batteries that don’t came with batteries, thankfully not the case here, its does come with 3 LR44 batteries.
Note: We were sent the toy for review however all view are mine or the boys where appropriate.
I strive every year to purchase functional, educational toys. I loath the sheer quantity of plastic rubbish that appears every year. This year I have compiled a list of tried and test STEM toys which we love in the The Mamma Fairy. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and maths. The concept has evolved so much over the last number of years and is now viewed almost as cool and trendy much to my enjoyment (as a woman in STEM!)
- First up is OKIDO – OKIDO magazine, an award-winning, high-quality, interactive publication designed for children aged 3-7. Each month, you will receive a magazine covering topics from Coding to Architecture to Robots to Breathing to Planets and Outer Space. Each issue starts with a story from the much-loved, hand drawn character Messy Monster and also includes science answers from Zim, Zam, Zoom, regular character features, stories, puzzles, doodles, games, activities, science experiments, a poem, a recipe and a pull-out card activity. OKIDO was created as an antidote to the plastic-wrapped, poor quality publications on the market. OKIDO is a content-heavy, beautifully designed, quality product with high profile contributors including artist Paul Noble, illustrator and author Benji Davies and illustrator and animator Lesley Barnes. Since its first issue in 2007, OKIDO magazine has won a host of awards and celebrity fans. Lauren Laverne wrote in Grazia “A kids design delight that has become a cult favourite for adults too….as fit for gallery walls as it is for playroom floors.”
- Salt Water Car, This is pretty genius and very budget friendly. Salt Water Fuel Cell Engine Car Kit contains everything you need to construct your own 4WD. But, instead of requiring endless batteries or electricity, this nifty bit of 4 wheeled kit is powered by water. My oldest just loves this. From the initial construction to the play after that. Its fun, educational and eco friendly whats not to love! It makes an ideal gift for the kids birthday parties. Its pocket friendly and educational too.
- Top Quarkz by the Remarkablz is a game designed to encourage girls in STEM. A 2018 take on Top Trumps, showcasing some of the best female (and male) STEM role models to inspire children and young adults to explore exciting disciplines and aspire to their own superpowers regardless of gender, ethnicity or disability. As a female in STEM I just love this!
- Slime Factory What kid doesn’t love slime! I ignore the mess as my kids just love it. This slime kit was a big hit, is messy, its fun, it interactive! Lots and lots of play for my two boys with this one particularly the glow in the dark ones. My pair literally wiled away hours and I mean hours playing with this kit. Yes it is messy but go with it, its educational and fun and kept mine entertained for hours.
- Clementoni Mind Designer Robot this is heading up the price scales but in my view very worth the heftier price tag (€59.99). This innovative robot guides your children through the process of learning maths, arithmetic and geometry. It introduces your child to design using the precision motors which enable them to create geometric shapes and designs of varying complexity with extreme precision. This robot can be programmed manually or by voice using the innovative voice recognition function. Using the exclusive free App, your child can experiment with coding instruction blocks, create complex geometrical shapes and play with loads of original interactive code-games. My oldest adores this, he is in the right age bracket for it and used the app feature on my ipad for it. Its really clever its functional and provides hours of independent, educational play.
- Meccano was around even back in my day (and long before!) and its really stood the test of time. Its doesn’t have to high tech to be STEM. Meccano is one of the brand names that have endured the generations which is obvious a testament to its strength and popularity. Our current favourite is the Ferrari kit, I mean whats not to love. Admittedly its pitched at a slightly older age group but this have proved some great fun for the Dada Fairy and my oldest to have some bonding time. The bits are small and at times a little fiddly so do keep away for teeny hands!
- Power Tracks Back to the theme of coding, next up is Power Tracks. Power Tracks helps stimulate curious minds and teaches elements of STEM with Volty – the friendly programmable robot! Kids can take their first steps into coding and the exciting world of programming and circuit building. Connect the large tabletop tiles to make 1 of 20 circuits, or design your own. Use the direction of the buttons to program Volty with commands to guide around the circuit. Discover Volty’s many hidden features as Volty travels over special tiles. We love this one as its portable and the kids have endless fun with the different combinations of play available. I love the fact it encourages independent thinking.
- Another favourite of ours is the old school favourite – a microscope. These really can add hours of fun. I still have such fond memories of a Christmas over 30 years ago where santa brought one for our family. An age old but still very popular option. However in terms of choosing which one it can be a minefield, this guide on how to buy a microscope for your kids should really help and prove a valuable resource to bookmark.
Has anybody any other favourties? Id love to hear them.
The day has finally arrived. In our house anyway the only bigger celebration is Christmas. My kids love Halloween so they were mega excited when the day arrived. Costumes more or less agreed on, goodies purchased for the trick or treats and most likely a night of little sleep when the inevitable sugar rush kicks in!!!
Just before Halloween a new super cutie arrived in our door….Sir Growls a Lot! Great name, I may keep it in reserve 🙂
I hadn’t heard of Fiesty Pets but my pair knew instantly what was about to happen. Do not be fooled.
These cuties are not what they seem, squeeze them at the head and the super cutie turns super cross!
Just look at Sir Growls a Lot – I actually thought the 3 year old might be frightened! Not a bit, he loves them too.
The six year old has been having bad dreams of late and he thought of the idea of keeping Sir Growls a Lot beside his bad to keep the bad dreams away. I love that idea and I love how much the teddy now means to him. It was never the intended purpose of it but it works and im leaving well enough alone.
I think these guys would be a great gift for the upcoming season. They come in a range of different animals and priced around €18. They don’t require batteries always a mega plus!
Along with Sir Growls a Lot arrived with some very cool Snazaroo face paints. I have said I before many time and ill say it again. I am not creative. Not even the smallest bit so I delegated to the kids.
Request one- “Can you paint me like Sir Growls a Lot”
Drum roll please…….be warned the likeness is uncanny………maybe just maybe my kids have inherited my (
lack of) creativity.
Note: We were sent the Fiesty Pets and Snazaroo Face paints however all views and opinions are mine or the kids where appropriate.
With the kids fully back to school, naturally along comes the next school yard collectable. This term it is SuperZings series 2. My pair were already big fans of the first series so were only too delighted to get their hands on series 2. So whats new with series 2. Mammy is so out of touch with these things that I roped in my oldest to fill me on all the new features:
My oldest loves the excitement of getting one of the rare ones and we can excitedly report that we got one of the rare silver finish ones”Super Riff” – can you spot him in the pic opposite?!
Mamma Fairy Verdict
Pic Credit: The Mamma Fairy Blog
The boys love these, the highlight was the SuperZings comic which sets out all the characters and their matching rival which is a great way to keep track of the ones you have they tick them off the comic book. The play sets will be on this years Christmas wish list, a great idea for gifts or stocking fillers. The best thing about this series is aside from the fact they are so collectable and with the amount of them there seems to be less risk of duplicates but conversely less chance of obtaining the elusive Professor K!
This series is so pocket friendly and another plus for me is the different types of products and associated prices from the character by themselves, to one with a hideout and right up to the play set.
There is also the Super Zings website www.superzings.com with lots more information and activities.
Note: We were sent some items from series 2 to try however all views are mine or the boys where appropriate.
Your Smile Direct
You might remember a post from earlier this year where I shared my thoughts of my new smile journey from Your Smile Direct after the first month. I am well over the half way point and thought it was the ideal time to give you a further update. There will be progress pictures but ill keep you in suspense a little longer! I have shared lots on Twitter over the last few months so this isn’t going to come as a surprise but I LOVE LOVE LOVE my teeth and the changes that have taken place.
Since my early 20s I have always been so conscious of my teeth, hating photos and never smiling when dragged into one. Not anymore…..I am not over reacting when I say making time for me and doing something for me has given me a confidence I didn’t know I had. The biggest benefit of the Your Smile Direct aligners is their ease of use and portability. Since I began my treatment I have been to Hamburg and Berlin with zero issues taking and using my aligners.
If you are thinking of taking this journey and like me your constantly on the go I can highly recommend Your Smile Direct. Between work, kids and our love of travel I have really put them to the test. And they consistently deliver. Watching the progress has been pretty incredible. I remember looking at aligners sets 7,8,9 and thinking no way will my teeth ever look like that. But guess what they do and im so thrilled.
People are complimenting me on my teeth, honestly that would never have happened 4 or 5 months ago. Rather than keep you in suspense any longer here are some progress pictures from the last 4 months. ……
Its hard not to be impressed, the difference is so noticeable, add that to the fact I smile so much more. If you are thinking of a treatment like this a couple of reasons from my personal experience why you should choose Your Smile Direct:
- Excellent customer service, always available to help and advise
- The aligners are so easy to use and fit perfectly in when travelling or running around after busy kids!
- Just look at the difference in such a short space of time – in short they work
- Very budget friendly
- If in doubt book a consultation to see if you are suitable and the staff there will take time with you to guide you through the options
- Us mammies need to look after ourselves and this was my thing. To say im happy is an understament and lets be honest happy mammy equals happy kids.
Im always happy to anwer questions on my new smile journey either comment below, email or on any social media.
******update: Your Smile Direct have very kindly offered the following to Mamma Fairy Readers – use the code HSMAMMA50 to get either 50euros off your Home Smile Kit or Smile Clinic visit and their Smile Bright Kit. Please note I don’t receive any monetary benefit by sharing the above*****************
Pic Credit: Spinmaster
We love board games in the Mamma Fairy house. We have reviewed many different ones in the past. In a world so engrossed in all things techy I love being able to drag my pair away and have some good old fashioned fun.
Hedbanz arrived in perfect time for our road trip to Lough Erne Resort. Hedbanz is the ideal travel game no batteries needed and you can quite easily adapt it to play it on the road. You simply have to guess ‘What am I?’ based on the card on the headband on your head. Very easy game for 2-6 players and equally as much fun whether you have 2 or 6 players.
I love the sheer simplicity of this game. The fact it forces you to engage your brain and think what exactly you could be either an animal, food or an object. The game comes with s 68 clue cards, 6 question cards, 6 headbands, timer & 24 chips. The suggested age is 7 upward however I can safely say ages 6 to 60+ enjoyed this one.
I think this game is a really great and reasonably priced option for birthday gifts or dare I say the C word. Santa has a tradition of bringing a board game to this house, more specifically one for all the family to enjoy when the turkey and roses are long devoured. If you are thinking of something like this. You wont be disappointed. So much fun and most importantly can be enjoyed from 6 to 60+ as it was in our house.
Note: We were sent this game to review however all view are mine or the boys where appropriate.
School holidays are upon us and each year its the same challenge keeping my pair entertained. While I do allow screen time it is very much in moderation. I prefer to let them use their own imaginations through play. I have written about this before – imaginative play is always high on the agenda in The Mamma Fairy house. We were very fortunate to receive a fabulous bundle of treats from Casdon for my crazy pair to try out. As I mentioned before my youngest is affectionately knows as Mr Destruction possessing the unique ability to destroy even the best made toys!
We received three products to review:
- Toy Play Food Set
- Toy Shopping Trolley
- Henry Mop and Bucket
First a little bit about the brand. Casdon have been making replicas of real products for over 65 years. You will see names like Hetty and Henry and the renowned Dyson brand. When you have a look at their website you will want to be a child again. Huge selection of products available.
I’m going to review this in order of preference as determined by kids ages almost 6 and 3. A First up is….
Casdon Play Food Set
Toy Play Food Set
I tried to get a picture before they tore the packing apart but had little success. They were immediately drawn to the food set. There are 44 realistic items in it. They are a great size, realistic details and the size is just perfect for little hands. I’ve been pretend eating all sorts of strange concoctions since this arrived! They are looking for an oven next. Hopefully some real life skills being learned here too! This is a great gift idea as I can see how it would provide lots of varied play for kids.
Henry Mop and Bucket
Shopping Trolley and Henry Mop
This is utterly adorable. My youngest in particular loved this one. We have a real Henry in this house so he loved following me around with his mop and bucket. Priced around €8 this is a a great little gift idea. Probably aimed more for the younger of the age bracket. Nonetheless a well made toys with lots of potential
Toy Shopping Trolley
Pic Credit: Casdon
I’m DIY challenged so I delegated the making of this one to the Dada Fairy! He is much better
(more patience) than me for these kinds of tasks! It did take him a little bit of time which either means its a bit fiddly or else he was distracted by the world cup! Once assembled again its a sturdy toy which comes with a selection food. When coupled with the Toy Play Food set above the boys had a huge amount of pretend food in their supermarket. Again probably aimed at the lower end of the age bracket as they handle isnt very tall. However both of mine enjoyed this one and I can see lots of play from this one too.
I am a fan of real life simulated play and Casdon not only with the above but across their entire range deliver that in spades. With the durability, selection and playabilty I will definitly but coming back to Casdon for future products. Already on my list for my nieces upcoming birthday.
Note: We were sent the above for review, however all opinion are mine or the boys where appropriate.
When this gem came through our letter box, the paper torn off it queue squeals of delight. My pair are at the age now where toilet humour is sure to be a big hit!!
If you thought the name Poopy head generated excitement how about head bands with poo (!!) and a whoopie cushion well now…….we were at needing ear plugs excitement here.
The game comes with 5 headbands with a poo (!! – yes i know!) on it, a whoopie coushin and some playing cards.
What we thought
Despite going through the rule multiple times with my pair, I think they found them a little hard to grasp. Its a game of speed you need to put down the cards as quickly as possible and in the right sequence: Toilet, poo, Toilet Paper, Washing Hands and then when a player has no more cards left to play you then must hit the whoopie cushion. The winning player is the player with the most cards left who then get a poo head band ( i cant believe I am writing this!!) and then a new round starts.
Despite my pair showing a blatant disregard for the rules of the game they thoroughly enjoyed this one and to be fair as did I. The sheer idea of Mama with a poo on her head was just too much for them!! I would give this one a big thumbs up as a party game, guaranteed to get the kids laughing.
Note: We were sent the game to review however all view are mine or the boys where appropriate.