Zak Storm Toy Review
It impossible to keep up with my pair and the cartoons they like. Zak Storm is the newest dude on their radar. I thought he was a superhero however I am reliably informed by an almost 6 year old that he most certainly is not! Rather he is a really cool pirate who ended up with sucked into the Berumda Triangle after taking his fathers necklace. From here he captains a ship called “The Chaos” (how very appropriate for my house :-)) and goes on many adventures in an attempt to find his way home.
The are lots of different toys in the collection available however for the purpose of this review we were sent the hover vehicle and figure together with the coins which are available to buy separately.
While I can’t profess to know much about the TV series what I can tell you about is the cool add on feature to this toy. You can download the Zak Storm app for iOS or Android for free. From this you can play the game or if you wish you can buy the coins (4pk) which feature a unique QR code that you scan via the camera feature on your tablet to reveal digital rewards, including weapons, powers, and health. This was the biggest selling point for my oldest. While he still loves playing with toys, the ability to add Tech to the mix and he is sold right away. For hims its almost taking it to the next level.
He had no problem scanning the codes nor playing the game. I was impressed by the fact the coins aren’t an essential part of the game rather a bonus add on. They are a little pricey at around €5 but do add value to the game.
All in all its a thumbs up from us. My son claims the app feature is seriously cool so I can see this one sticking around our house for a while.
Note: We were sent the hover vehicle and 2 packets of coins for the purpose of this review however all view are mine and/or the boys where appropriate.
The Rubix Cube
The Rubix cube is pretty iconic, I suspect there aren’t many people who don’t know what one is. Originally developed in 1974 and its been gracing homes around the world ever since. However in a world so engrossed in all thing technology, old school toys such as the Rubix have to jostle that bit harder for their place and to grab the kids attention. Quite excitingly that exactly what Rubix have done.
Range of products
Rubix Junior “Bear”
I will admit I always though Rubix just sold the stand cube we are all familiar with however that could be further from the truth. They start with Rubix Junior which are “cubes” shaped like animals (four different ones to collect).
These are most suitable for ages 3 up wards. My youngest really likes this and it has become my changing bag staple when we are out and about as I prefer during meals out to avoid the phones and tablets if we can.
Admittedly I always thought Rubix just came in the well recognised 3×3 version however again there are lots of different combinations from 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 and even 5×5. Added to this is lots of variants of these from the tower to the void to the twist (for more on these see here).
My oldest thought the 2×2 cube would be easier as there are less cubes however there are still 3,674,160 permutations and only one solution!! His personal favourite is the 3×3 cube. He hasn’t solved it yet but its only a matter of time according to himself.
Mamma Fair Verdict
We love these and they have become a birthday present staple for the boys friends. From €10 upwards they aren’t expensive and give hours of play. Ideal for us for travelling with the kids as they are very portable. They are readily available online or in toy shops such as Smyths, my local Tesco even stocks them!
Note: We were sent a selection of Rubix products to try however this in no way influences mine or the boys views of the product.
You might have read some of my previous posts on our mega home renovation project. Its been a stressful couple of months (ahem years!) however we are thankfully getting there now. A family friend having done similar said to me her advice would be – install the latest gadgets that your budget can afford as smart living is the future and you don’t want to have to start retro fitting gadgets in years to come. Armed with this advice and my husbands love for all things techie one of his big requests was for the house to fitted with Panasonic Multi Room Speakers.
I was in two minds about this as I thought it might be a bit excessive. How wrong was I?! I (and the kids) absolutely love listening to music as we potter around the house. They especially love being in the bath with the music blaring! How are the teenager years going to be? I dread to think. Its funny how even from such a young age they have definite favourite songs. The oldest loves Nathan Carter signing Wagon Wheel while the youngest loves the Gummy Bear song!
This got me thinking and I reached to my fellow bloggers to see what songs their kids liked to listen to.
- Andrew from Mad Dad Skillz – his daughter loves Loreley by Blackmore Night. I have never heard of it, I must check it out.
- Pete from Household Money Saving his five year old loves a song which I totally concur – Once I was Seven Years old. Beautiful song, my own five year also enjoys listening to this one.
- Georgina from Gee Gardner has a heavy metal fan who falls asleep listening to Slipknot, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden! Brilliant!
- Jen from Just Average Jen – her son loves classical music. My own kids love the calm tones of classical music. I often put it on low when they are going to sleep to help them relax. There is something intrinsically relaxing about classical music.
I read an article about a year ago which mentioned a song called Weightless which reportedly helps to reduce anxiety by up to 65% and helps you sleep better as a result. Interestingly the song was actually constructed especially to do just that with the help of sound therapists. It is no surprise that is is the top played song in our house. We have it on every evening going to bed for the boys. I can honestly say hand on heart it really does relax them for bed.
So what are your little ones favourites songs? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
Note: This is a collaborative post
A couple of weeks back we were asked to give Tunetoo clothing a try out on my little men. Anybody who reads our adventures will know we love getting out and about exploring whatever the weather. Always ready for a task we said why not and off we went on line to the Tunetoo website to pick our designs.
About the Brand
By way of background Tunetoo are based in France having launched in 2013. The produce a range of personalised clothing for kids and adults such as hoodies for kids or kids tshirts (and for the grown ups too!). Not only clothing they also produce accessories (hats, bags, towels) and gift items such as personalised mugs and mouse pads.
Pic Credit: TuneToo
So I let the wee men loose to pick exactly what they wanted. It was an easy decision both wanted hoodies. In order to get some inspiration we decided to look at the Art Shop section which is the pre printed designs. Both fell in love with the dancing sheep design in aqua blue (pic opposite).
I am not exaggerating when I say the variety of options and colour combinations is endless from animals to automobile and everything inbetween. I could spend hours browsing the designs.
All designs are also available in male/female and kids…….family hoodies anyone?
Mamma Fairy Verdict
Durability is a mega plus here. They have been worn many times resulting in being thrown in the washing machine many times and they have maintained there shape, colour and the graphic totally intact. This is a huge bug bear for me when you buy printed good and the graphic fades but this really wasnt the case here.
So if you are often a fab personalised or customised product thats hard wearing and reasonable do check out the fab selection from TuneToo.
Note: We were sent the hoodies to review but we were not asked to write this I (and the boys) genuinely love them.
Peronalised Toy Basket Review
As I have mentioned previously on the blog we have been renovating the house of the last number of years. The last big task was the boys play room. When Kiddiewinkles asked if wanted to review a personalised toy basket, I thought it would be an ideal addition to the boys room and hopefully clear away the toys which never seem to make it back to presses!!
Personalised Toy basket from Kiddiewinkles
We personalised the basket with their surnames which they totally loved. We choose the blue gingham design as it complemented the room colour scheme perfectly. Have a look on their site above, there is a huge selection of fabulous colours and patterns.
The personalisation is the big thing for my pair. They adore anything with their names on it!!
What we thought:
- Quality – amazing, its durable, hard wearing and survived being used as a boat by my pair!
- Size – the basket is deceptively large, it holds a huge amount more that a first glance when this neatly folded package landed at my door (see opposite – spot our much used Spider Catcher !!)
- Value – at £25 plus extra for personalisation this product in my view is excellent value and would make an ideal Christmas present and with the huge number of options of patterns there is definitely something for everybody.
Overall its a thumbs up from my pair who just love seeing their name in lights!
Thanks to Kidiewinkles for sending it to us however this in my way influences mine or the boys views.
PJ Masks Deluxe set review
You might recall how I mentioned the utter hyper reaction to the arrival of the Sea Patroller well this was pretty much repeated with the arrival of the this fabulous set of PJ Mask figures. PJ Masks really is the programme of the moment for kids my boys ages. They both love it. In fact I am not longer Mamma they refer to me as “Owelette” my oldest is “Catboy” and the youngest is “Gekko”.
I am a huge believer in imaginative play and sets like these do wonders to foster it. I see how the kids can be consumed with TV and tablets so I try do encourage this type of play. The fact they love the show is a massive help in this task.
The set is made up of 16 parts that’s 14 figures and 2 accessories:
- The core crew of Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko
- The bad guys as im reliably informed of Romeo, Luna Girl, Night Ninja and the Ninjalinos (these guys are stackable and pretty adorable!)
- Pet figures for each of the core crew ie – Catboy’s Cat, Owlette’s bird, and Gekko’s lizard
- The accessories included are Squashatron, Luna Girl’s Luna Orb, and Night Ninja’s Sticky Splat
Toys like this I really feel are almost guaranteed to be a hit such is the popularity of the underlying shows. Personally what I liked was the size of the figures, often sets like this come with small figures which get lost easily and result in poor mama spending hours searching for them. By way of illustration see pic of opposite of Gekko in my five year old’s hands. At the pricely sum of €36 this set isn’t cheap but having given it a through road test by the five year old and a trial with my almost 3 year old aka Mr Destruction the set is pretty robust. I think this is a great option as a gift for little people ages 3+ the popularity of the show and the comprehensive nature of the set will make it a sure fire hit.
Note: We were sent the set to review however all views are mine or the boys where appropriate.
The Top 10 books we are loving
I loved reading as a child and I still do. I think my own love of reading developed from my own parents love of it and the time they spent with us each evening succumbing to the often relentless – one more story please. History is most definitely repeating itself in The Mamma Fairy house and requests of one more story are nearly always met! I have put together a list of our current 10 favourite books. At the moment this is the core group where “one” (!!) story is chosen from these nights.
- Midnight Creatures (By Helen Friel) – This is really cool, its a pop up story book that you use your torch to find various animals across the five scenes in the book.
Midnight Creatures – Pic Credit Laurence King Publishing
The detail is really intricate and the kids absolutely love being using their torch to show the shadows on the wall. This one suits both boys ages 2 and 5 and keeps both engaged.
- Pirates Love Underpants (By Claire Freedman and Ben Cort) – Nothing like the mention of underpants to emit howls of laughter from young kids. Join the pirates as they search for the fabled pants of gold!!! It doesnt matter how many times I have read this they love it every time and laugh their heart out a the mention of “big knicker bay”. Its beautifully illustrated. Their are loads of other underpants loving books by Claire Freedman, kids are looking forward to adding to their collection!
Stunning illustrated books
Animal Architects (By Julio Antonio Blasco and David Nassar) – This is a stunningly intricately illustrated hard back book that gives you an insight into how animals build there homes. It really is a fascinating book. Each home contains a pull out section with more details. The kids adore this book.
- Hide and Seek (By Charlene Man) – As with number 3 above this is another Laurence King published title with the same level of intricate detail. While not strictly a story book this is more of a interactive book where you have to find the animal that doesn’t belong in the scene. The illustrations are just gorgeous and its a firm favourite in our house.
- Salty Dogs (By Matty Long) – Sticking with the pirate theme. Salty Dogs is another action packed mad cap story involving the Salty Dogs setting off on an
Some of our current favourites
adventure around the Pirate Islands. Each page of this one has absolutely tonnes of detailed illustrations with something new to spot each time. This one is enjoyed by both boys.
- Rhyme Crime (Jon Burgerman) – Not quite a fall asleep type story but a funny interactive one. Premise of this that a thief has committed a crime and everything he stole is replaced with a rhyme! Really silly but really funny for the kids. Probably not the wind down before bed type of book though!
- I want to go first – (By Richard Byrne) – This one id say is my youngest little mans favourite at the moment. Its a gentle tale encouraging (just enough) reader participation. The story centres around a baby elephant who in contrast to elephant rule wants to go first not last. She enlists the help of the reader to assist her. I like this one, its really nicely illustrated too.
- How to Babysit a Grandma (by Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish) – our love affair with this book began well over a year ago and its certainly a testament to its popularity in the Mamma Fairy house that its still going strong a year later. In a reversal of roles this clever book teaches you how to babysit your grandma. I am not joking when I say I can quote from this word perfect.
- Animals at home (By Claudia Boldt) – Not strictly a book but I have included this one as its our bedtime game. Quite simply its a gorgeously illustrated card game where you match 27 animals to their home. Its really lovely and both kids play together for this one which I really love to see.
- The Magic of my Name – This book belongs to my oldest and its a personalised story based on the letter of his name. I think all kids go through that stage where they ask why did you call me x. Its a really detailed book, in fact my husband calls this “the long one” as there are about 40 pages in it!! Kids love it and the mention of their names makes it all the more special. Again like many of the others above it contains lovely illustrations.
Reading back the above I have come to realise visual books are what really appeal to the boys.
I love reading with them, its a lovely special time when my time is 100% theirs no distraction. I do hope they grow up with the same love of reading that I did. All books above readily available both online and in traditional bookshops with the exception of number 10 which is personalised therefore available direct from the publisher.
Paw Patrol Sea Patroller
Paw Patrol Sea Patroller – Our Review
You have to picture the scene for this one…..you are four years old and love the TV show Paw Patrol and wait for it …..this lands through the door! I only wish I videoed his reaction. I can only liken his reaction to my own if I won the lotto!!
He is beyond thrilled as he had been eyeing it up on the TV ad for the last number of weeks. The product itself is recommended for ages 3 plus and retails at a hefty €80. So whats included for the price -key features include:
Paw Patrol Sea Patroller contents
- The Sea Patroller itself can be converted to both a land and a sea vehicle quite easily (but its not a water toy!);
- It does light up and make sounds (it takes batteries but they are included);
- It comes with Ryder and his quad or ATV as im reliably informed. Not sure I knew what an ATV was at 4!
- A cage to lower Ryder down for his rescues
- A life ring launcher (this is what the kids totally love!!) – it quite literally launches the life ring when you push the button;
- Its quite big, definitely much bigger than I expected but im not complaining – it has the wow factor and its the ideal size of sharing and going on “secret missions” as my pair call them.
Mamma Fairy Verdict
I’m calling it now, I think this going to be one of the hot toys for 2017 – last year it was the Paw Patrol Air Patroller among my sons pre school friends and I sense this will be this years equivalent. Its a big toy with lots of fun parts to it and therefore lots of opportunity for kids to let their imaginations run wild.
Just one word of caution though, it doesn’t come with any of the pups. My Paw Patrol fanatics already had most if not all of them so wasn’t an issue but perhaps something to keep in mind. I think Santa will have his work cut out this year making Sea Patrollers and if the excitement here is anything to go by I suspect this toy will be very well received.
It’s readily available both on line and in most toys shops.
Note: We were sent this toy for the purpose of this review however this in no way influences mine or the boys opinion where appropriate.
Our review of Brainstom’s Big Beard Battle
Big Beard Battle Game
Big Beard Battle – Ready to play
As you might have read, we recently went glamping. A couple of weeks previous we had been sent Big Beard Battle by Brainstorm to review. I decided to keep the game until our glamping adventure as I knew the kids would enjoy playing a fun game like this in the absence of all things techie! We are already board game fans in this house especially my oldest, he really loves them.
This game can accommodate up to four players but can be played by less players and not impact on the game. There is a little bit of pre set up work required, simply to attach the velcro dots to the beards but that takes only a couple of minutes to do.
The game itself is very simple, the aim being to grow the longest beard without it being cut or shaved off. Its so simple but so much fun, made all the funnier by the fact the Dada Fairy has an actual beard!! You start with the youngest player and spin the spinner that comes with it. The spinner determines you task, whether thats growing your own beard or shaving or cutting another players beard. The game is aimed at ages 4 and up however the littlest man (2 and half) got great fun out of it so it is really a game for all the family to take part.
Games like this are ideal for Christmas and at approx €15 not bad value at all, all the parts are very durable and well able to withstand our very own Mr Destruction.
If you too have a board game fan in your house, it a big thumbs up from us.
Note: We were sent the game for the purpose of the review however all opinion are my own or the boys where appropriate.
Brianstorm Toys Mega Globe Review
Mega Globe – Fintra Beach, Donegal
A couple of weeks back we were sent Brainstorm Toys Mega Globe to review – and it is indeed mega!! When inflated its about 50cm.
Mega Globe – Fintra Beach, Donegal
It is packaged really neat so no issues transporting it. We took it with us to our usual holiday destination in Donegal and the kids had tonnes of fun playing on the beach with it. It is a great size and it wont get lost too easy. It is readily available both online and toy stores.
I sat back and watched the kids play and try to pin point their exact location on the map. We are a travel loving family and the kids are lucky to have been on many adventures both around Ireland and overseas. They had so much fun locating the places they have been and the places we plan on going to next. The Dada Fairy even got involved in the action. They ran, jumped and hopped after it. While it comes with some suggested activities the kids just loved making up their own games with it.
One bit of advice is that you do need a pump or you may need to pop into the local petrol station to pump it up!!
It really made me think – they really do have the whole world in their hands to explore, to discover, to investigate. And I hope they take full advantage of it. I think im a tad sentimental these days with my oldest starting school
Note: We were sent the Mega Globe for the purpose of this review, however all view are my own or the boys where appropriate.