Sunday, 29 May 2011

our adventure continues

It has always been important for me to let the children have as much 'free time' out doors as possible, before we moved, we were the luckiest people there was, we lived in the middle of nowhere with simple countryside and nothing else outside our door, away from the reality that is present for the majority, away from fast cars, and strangers, free to go and do as we pleased with only nature to cause us trouble.

So obviously my three children have spent their tender years experiencing the great outdoors, climbing trees and running through fields, watching as the seasons change and nature paints new pictures, never bothering if it is cold, wet or windy, always finding something outside that could occupy and entertain.

We spent so many happy days flying kites as the wind blew, building snowmen when it snowed, wrapping coats around to keep warm whilst looking into the dim sky, we spent time collecting insects, watching tadpoles become frogs, pond dipping to find what lurked below, we reared chickens and collected their eggs for breakfast, finding our way through trees using the branches to make dens or as weapons to fend off nasties, we watched sunsets and danced in the rain.
Obviously our adventures brought fun, but also lessons learnt finding our boundaries, realising nettles stung and its not wise to pass through thorns taller than your head, testing physics as rope swings broke followed by bones!

then we moved house...

With a heavy heart we had to leave behind where we'd always known, our lifestyle we knew and loved, our outside adventures.

We moved to where the rest of the world lived, we moved to where there are cars, and new dangers and houses outside our door where the fields used to be.

Yet amidst this our adventures continue, the great outdoors is not relevant to where in the country you live, nature is not only there for those who are lucky enough to be surrounded by nothing but its glory, oh no nature is everywhere, and there is an outdoor adventure waiting for everyone.

Now we have a garden with a fence all around it, but there are plants we are growing and insects still visit. Now we walk down the street to get to a nature trail, but once we're there we are emerged in what we know and love, and now there are new places to find and trees to climb.

Children grow and learn so much from being outside, and it is the truly simple things that matter, everyone is near enough to some sort of countryside, some park, some trees, so go find your out door adventures and watch them grow!

if you've got a minute - or ten, feel free to watch my slide show of a few of my favourite outdoors photos :D

I wrote this about a year ago when not many people read my blog...  so I'm linking it to TheBoyandMe's linky
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Saturday, 28 May 2011

Half term

It's half term again, another week off school, I love the school holidays, I really do enjoy having the children home, I often here mothers saying how they don't want the holidays to come about, or can't wait for them too end, and whilst I do understand this sentiment, (children can wear down and tire the most patient of people) I just can't bring myself to have the same opinion.
I love the slow mornings which are only present when there is no school run, I love the slow evenings, where you don't have to get homework sorted, children bathed and in bed at a decent time so to avoid the tired moods the following day. I love that the children don't come in with tempers and moods which I don't know what the cause was, and hence feel helpless about.
While I do think school teaches children a number of things I simply couldn't myself, about friendships, about routine and structure, and obviously all the educational grammar algebra and science, I do feel a pang of guilt having to watch my children learn the harsh reality that is life, that not everyone will smile sweetly at them and accept their little 'quirks'
So for this week I will bundle my little family up close, and forget the reality that is life and go back to the routine filled days and problems that school bring next week.
Enjoy the bank holiday weekend whatever it is your doing.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

True Friends

I grew up around dogs, and when I moved out into my own house with my partner we got a dog from the RSPCA, a little mongrel called Dennis, when we had our first baby a year later, Dennis was there as a faithful protector, he was an amazing little dog, and never faulted in any way towards the children, he loved nothing more than to fetch balls, play football and spend hours just simply following them around as they scarped through the woods and fields. He would love them as much or as little as they wanted, put up with them pulling his tail and hiding his balls, he would sit patiently waiting for the dropped food never stealing from their clumsy hands. He taught them love and friendship and respect for other living things, he was a consistent part of their lives, something there before them and there every day with them. Then one day after 10 years of happiness with us he got ill, we took the children to school that morning and then took a trip to the vets, hoping with our hearts in our mouths, that there wouldn't be anything seriously wrong, yes Dennis had got old, he was not a puppy when we got him, he was around 13 years old now, and had always been so full of life, up till this day, when he just looked up at us with woeful eyes and was not at all his usual self. So to the vets we went, with my youngest, telling him all the while that we were just taking Dennis to the vets as he was poorly, but the vet would make him better, little did we know at that point we would not be bringing him home.
Dennis organs were failing, his liver, his heart, and the vet told us the kindest thing would be to put him to sleep, it simply was the hardest thing to have to do, our faithful little dog, our companion, our friend.
So then we had to tell the children where Dennis was. He now had taught them the cycle of life, about death, about sadness.
Having a dog is an amazing thing to give to a child, they teach them that caring and kindness is needed, that there are other things to think about than the latest toy, they give them a friend to talk to, to dress up, to run with, and they give them lasting memories and teach them the hardest lessons in life.
I know that there are horror stories in the papers about dogs mauling children, in their homes or even out in the street. Obviously dogs are animals and as such need to be respected, children need to learn the limits, and the owners need to learn the boundaries, I love dogs, and wouldn't be without one, however I would never fully trust any dog with a child alone, especially not a child who is unfamiliar with the dog. It's simply unfair on the dog and the child to expect them both to be aware of the others needs and emotions.
We now have Jackson, a boxer dog, he is now teaching the children that life carries on, that new memories are to be made, new friendships to be formed and that memories of past will remain. I remember the day we brought Jackson home, we had talked about getting a new puppy, a boxer dog as that was the one breed I had always loved. So I was thrilled to be bringing this cute little bundle of fun home that first day, however my eldest was not as happy, when Dad went to fetch the new puppy, he cried, I asked him what was wrong, and he told me he was upset we all wanted a new dog and thought that meant we had all forgotten Dennis. So with reassurance that we would never forget Dennis, that by giving Jackson a home, we could remember Dennis all the more, that we could teach Jackson some of Dennis old tricks and give him a loving home just as we had done with Dennis brought him round to the idea., and Jackson has brought love and happiness back to the house, brought a new faithful companion for the children, given us a reason to explore our new area when we had to move house, given us a new consistent friend!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

the ugly truth to being a parent

The thing about being a parent is that there seems to be a new hurdle around every corner, something unseen by you before.
some of these things are simply a matter of new experiences, new sights and feelings as you marvel at how this little being goes from a baby to a toddler to a tween and then an adult, but a side to the regular experiences, parenthood brings about a lot of gruesome discoveries too.
I have been fairly lucky in the disgusting stakes, and my children have been fairly free of grizzly bugs and infections, but they still have managed to have their fair share of virus' which prior to me being mum, I had no idea about at all.
And seems as the weather is warming up, its that time of year again when the bugs come out in force and their seems to be outbreaks of these virus' sweeping the preschools once more, so I thought I'd share my knowledge on a few of the less known but certainly very common ones;

Hand foot and Mouth.
I think everyone has heard of this, and it seems to rear ugly images of cows being slaughtered by the dozen all over the UK countryside, in the terrible outbreak in 2001 however we have to be careful because them instant images that seem to cloud out mind, are not the same virus that sweeps through nursery's. the virus that causes foot and mouth in cattle is not related to hand foot and mouth which humans catch.
Hand foot and mouth is normally a very mild virus, which can go with no outwardly symptoms at all, hence why most adults are immune and unaware they ever had it.
My experience with HFM was only with my youngest, and it did shock me, as I had never seen it before, and knew nothing about the virus.
My youngest had been a little under the weather but nothing notable, we were at a mums and tots session, and he was complaining his feet hurt, I took off his shoes and noticed a few small red spots appearing, I gave his feet a rub, he seemed ok, put his shoes and socks bachand foot and mouth, spots on feet childhood rash k on and within 10 minutes he was crying again about his feet, again I took his shoes off and his little feet were now covered in these spots, they were appearing before my eyes which I think was due to the heat, and then I noticed he was getting them on his hands, I had no idea what it was, showed the play leaders and they also were unsure of what it could be, so I took him to the chemist, who said it was HFM and there was no real need for treatment, Mikey was uncomfortable with the spots only when he had socks and shoes on, other than that they didn't bother him, and within a few days they had gone, he never got any on his face and only one small white spot in his mouth. The most concerning things was the rate the spots appeared, as spots always seem to conger up thoughts of meningitis which we all know we have to be so vigilant about.
HFM is contagious before the spots appear, hence it spreads very quickly, however not everyone gets symptoms, neither of my elder two had any symptoms around the time Mikey had it, and have never seemed to have caught the virus, but the chances are high they are now immune and just never had any symptoms.

Slap Cheek
Again this is a very common, contagious virus, which often goes un noticed, as symptoms aren't always obvious, unlike hand foot and mouth tho, alot of people have not heard of slap cheek at all even tho it is considered the 5th most common childhood virus.
It gets its name from the red 'slapped cheek' rash that is its most outwardly symptom, other symptoms are pretty much like any common cold.
It was with my daughter I had experience of this virus, when she was 4, her cheeks gained this bright red appearance, and the rash was also on her arms.slap cheek, red rash on face children with red blodges, red hives arms body
When I first saw this rash I had not heard of slapped cheek at all, and so a trip to the doctors was what told me what this rash was. Chloe was not unwell with it, and no treatment was needed,the unsightly rash cleared up and went after a few days, again neither of the boys had any visible signs, but its likely that they both did catch the virus and hence will now be immune.
the main concern with slapped cheek, is for pregnant women, as it can have complications for the baby, but as it is a very common virus, most adults have already been exposed well before adulthood and hence immune.

This was a real eye opener of a virus to me, having never heard of or seen this before it shocked me when my daughter first got these horrible looking spots when she was about 5, they look like big nasty emollescum spots under arm, childhood zits like red angry spts with white center veryday spots, my daughter had them under her knees, and they first appear as white pimples, then they grow and turn red and angry looking, they spread easily and there is normally one main master big red spot, which gets white center to it, surrounded by several smaller white pimples. the virus is the white center to the master spot, and if scratched it spreads. The spots themselves are harmless and do not hurt at all unless scratched and picked, and there is little treatment available for removing them. the most upsetting part of this virus is the ugliness of these persistent spots, and the length the virus lasts, it can last for several months or even years, and batches of spots can come and go frequently, since my daughter had the virus I have known others who also have had the virus some cases are alot more severe, thankfully my daughter only got spots behind her knees, and my son under his arm which are places you can keep covered to prevent spread and humiliation, one little girl I know had a very sever case and she had spots all over her face, with the nature of this virus that can become very distressing for everyone, as the spots can vary from small and fairly un noticeable to big and unsightly it can obviously make people extremely self conscious if they are visible, also with the fact it is highly contagious it can be distressing in knowing you will be potentially passing the virus on to all you come into contact with, but with its length of persistence you can not exclude children from schools who have the virus, and as it is 'harmless' there is not need to hide away.
After my daughters bout drew to a close my youngest son seems to have gained them, his seemed to be in greater numbers than my daughter, his were under his arm, and again they seem to follow the exact pattern from small and hardly noticeable to one growing big and angry looking, then disappearing to another batch reappearing elsewhere, my eldest son did seem to have a couple of mollescum spots around the same time as my daughter, but his was a very mild episode and hardly notable. Alot of people are immune to mollescum and will never catch the virus, others will be far more prone to it, if you do experience this with your children the one stead fast piece of advice seems to be - DO NOT PICK, as it does not make them disappear, it will only cause them to spread, Leave them alone and they will go by themselves.
Like with all these virus once you have contracted them and your body had fought them off, you build up a barrier and it is likely you will not have to endeavor the virus again in adulthood, which is great because whilst we have to watch our children suffer these normally harmless, yet definitely unsightly virus, we can normally be safe in the knowledge we will not be effected.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

when I say no...

I'm really not good at being a strict parent, I try so hard to make sure that they learn right from wrong, but they seem intent on doing as they please, insisting that 'I'm a horrible mother' and give me that look if I care to comment!

It certainly has got harder as they have got older, everyone seemed to tell me how hard it is when their little, the sleepless nights, the temper tantrums at 2, the breastfeeding, the nappy changes, weaning, potty training all met with stacks of advice and sympathy for everyone going through them stages, however now they all seem to be older, now past these 'awkward' stages that's it, your almost left on your own, yet the dilemmas don't disappear with age, if anything they seem to multiple!
Now we have to contend with allowing them their freedom, whilst keeping them within my boundaries, but that's difficult because everything seems to be a battle of wills.
there seems to be so many things to decided on at the moment, so many new rules to make.
interesting article on BBC breakfast this morning which I only caught a glimpse of as I rushed around trying to find matching school shoes and clean polo shirts, but from what I remember there was a professor in America saying that there's no point in being a strict parent, as your children will ultimately turn out however regardless of parenting? I only caught a bit of this, and so didn't get to hear what his argument actually was, and I have just googled and can't find any reference (doesn't help that I don't know the guys name!) anyone else watch it, or am I hearing things!

Monday, 16 May 2011


well yesterday was abit of a mad blur, so nervous all morning anxiously staring at facebook, even tho I knew it wouldn't help, the results would only be posted after 12noon, but there was that thrill of waiting, wondering and hoping! Then to see my name on the all important list of toyologists was simply mind blowing, my hope at the beginning of the year was to really push my blog and get it rolling, this now was becoming a reality.
I then panicked!
I got picked, me! a newbie blogger, a personal facebook user, not known in the blog world and completely useless at twitter!
Could I really stand up to the amazing honour that toys R us, had just bestowed on me?
Well one way to find out I guess, jump straight in feet first!!

So, first off a facelift for my blog... yep out with the 'standard' heading, and in with my own, that made me feel better, feel more like I now at least might 'look' like I know what I'm doing :)

then to promote my simple little blog and create myself a facebook page, (as for twitter, well I'll keep trying with that one!)

now all that's left to do is decided what people most want me to ramble about, what do people want from a parent blog? how much is too much, and whats not enough? I guess I will learn this all as I trudge along, I'm hoping to not only have a great time with my family testing the toys from Toys R us, but also to have guest reviews from friends and blog readers, competitions too
I am waiting now to hear from Toys R us, with my 'welcome' email, giving me hopefully some pointers as what they want and where to go with this, but me personally am hoping to have fun, and be able to give something back too, I have a great connection to homestart and would love to boost this charity amongst others, Exciting times and I can't wait to get started!

yay!!! we made it!

What a roller coaster of a week this has been, and how amazing to have got through it and been selected! I can't thank those at toys R us enough!

So, we were all sitting anxioussly watching our facebook pages, refreshing the toys R us page, every second, passing comments between each other, all hopeful that it *could be us* but never truely admitting this could become reality!

We were told the news would be announced at 12 noon, so we all waited on tenterhook, looking out for that all importnat message from Geoffrey, checking emails, facebook, twitter (well I didn't check twitter because I still need to get my head around that!) then after keeping us on our toes, Geoffrey finally put us out of our misery and posted that he had choosen his toyologists, and I was gobsmacked to see my name on that list, along with these amazing bloggers:

Wendy McDonald - Inside the wendy house
Sharron Blundell-Rice - Mummiefun
Helen Jessup - The Crazy kitchen
Claire Kendrick-Anderson - Seasider in the City
...Damian Johnson - Dads toybox
The Boy and me - Theboyand me
Jennie Narin - Edspire
James Spence - James Spence
Kate Pollard - what me and the boys say

Huge congrats to the winners, and extra well dones to those not selected this time, it must have been a really tough choice for the team at toys R us

Sunday, 15 May 2011


Well todays the day, Geoffrey and all those at Toys R us, will put all us on the shortlist to become toyologists out of our misery, its been a long week, of constant refreshing on the toys R us facebook page, waiting for the shortlist to be announced, and then being over joyed to see my name on that list, to now waiting again to see who got the ten most wanted places on the web!

I have been spending more time trying to think how to take my blog forward, it was something I really wanted to do this year, then our lives got disrupted momentarily so I lost a few months, however I am back with the ball rolling again now, and this opportunity with Toys r us, has made me more determined, whilst I've been pondering what way to take things, what to write about, how to attract readers, I have been adding and changing the pages and badges on my blog, I hope so much to be able to add the all important toyologist badge to the side of my blog!

I will update here as soon as I hear, but I'm sure you'll be able to hear my cheers anyway if we get through
Fingers crossed everyone, I am truly honoured to be this far along with some amazing bloggers, and this has been a great experience and learning curve :)

9 years...

My eldest is 9 now, Nine!! seems such an old age. next year he'll be in double figures, which is a scary thought, then he'll be fast approaching the dreaded teenage years, crazy!

Anyway back in January when he turned 9, I put this montage together :)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Lego Ninjago Review

For Mikeys birthday the other day, we brought him a couple of sets of Lego Ninjago, which was the main thing he had asked for (not sure if that was his choice or if he'd been influenced by his older brother!) lego always goes down well, the little figures seem to have a certain appeal to small hands, maybe its the fact their limbs remove, or that you can change their heads, who knows but these small little plastic figures seem to have more longevity than alot of other toys.
Although lego in itself is an age old classic, it never seems to date, and as it is so universal all sets go well together, so you really can't go wrong buying more and more of the stuff, I guess the only down side is some of the pieces are very small and easily hoovered up!

The idea behind ninjago, is that ninjas have learnt the new art of spinjitzu, where they can spin so fast they make tornadoes defeating their enemy made up of remarkably cute looking skeletons.

The starter set retails at £12.99 from all good toy shops, toys R us etc
this is a great set and not too highly prized, you get two figures one all important ninja and one skeleton, you get several weapons, some cards to add extra elements to the game, 2 spinners and a simple arena.

Ninja Ambush set retails around £6.49 and you again get 2 figures, ideal set to purchase with the starter kit as the figures are different in each, you also get some weapons and you get a nice little set which when built has a push up button which opens the gates and fires the ninja forward. Be aware tho that no spinners are included in this set, the spinners being a highly important part of the whole 'ninjago' range.

These sets have been greatly received by my two boys, and have brought new adventures to their existing lego, we now have ninja hide outs and skeleton caves made up of our old lego pieces.

Overall lego will always get a high mark I think, but these sets do have that little extra 'fun' about them with the spinners and the cute characters, also the sets seem reasonable priced and have really brought out the imaginations of my boys.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Lets Play...

Over at ' TheboyandMe' they are doing a linky about play.... Play, well its something all children excel at right? well mine do love to play, most often their play is more exploration together, outside climbing trees, hiding in long grass, catching butterflies and looking for four leaved clovers or frogs and bugs! But for a while each day they 'play' in the common sence of the word, with toys, together, without my guiding role and I love listening to them playing, one of my all time favourite things is when I wake up in the morning and hear them chattering away completely involved in their games, they seem to play so much nicer in the early hours of the mornings, it is at these times when I think it is so nice to have three fairly close in age, after school the older two are often too ratty and tired to play so nicely, but those hours in the morning they will happily create worlds where they are completely emersered in wonderful childhood!
Jake and Chloe being only 18 months apart have always been fairly close and always shared these early morning play sessions, even tho Chloe has her own room, they wake and end up in the boys room, which is where all their toys seem to find themselves, Chloe who is not a huge 'player' is far more arty, and at all other times seems to turn away from any conventional 'toys' she has never been into dolls, or figures in any way, no barbies give her much pleasure, however anything arty and crafty she loves, although I seem to have spent a lot of time trying to find something to spark her imagination in the same way as the boys get from their figures, castles, cars and trains, it is only in these morning hours she will entertain the boys games.
The boys however do play together pretty much the majority of the time, they set up good guy and bad guy bases, that span across the entire floor, they rope in all sorts of things to join their gangs, from teddies to bricks and books the scenarios they come up with vary from the conventional fights between goodies and baddies, to things more interesting like family scenarios they call 'playing life' which I think comes from Chloe who as I say seems to not be quite as imaginative as the boys so her play always seems to drift to reality situations.
these morning playing sessions are top on my 'favourite sounds' list and its truly refreshing to lay awake in bed listening to all three of them playing.. however these blissful situation shatters the second I wake, they seem to be powered by my awakeness to turn into unreasonable monsters, maybe they subconsciously know when I'm in bed they have to sort things between themselves, but as soon as they hear me up the 'muuummmmmmmmmm' calls seem to echo through the house I have checked the theory that it is due to me being awake that triggers these out bursts and it truly seems that way, I can sit awake in bed, silently for an hour or two with not a whimper of 'mummmmmmmmmm' or 'hes moved MY toy' or such wonderful phrases, but the second they hear so much as a scuffle in the room they are drawn in to see if I am actually 'awake' and as soon as I venture down the stairs you can guarantee no matter how much I praised them for 'playing nice' and asked them to continue whilst I sort breakfast, they will, give it 5 or 10 minutes, be trailing down the stairs one after the other with what has caused them great concern and then that will single the end of the blissful sibling togetherness, and then through the remaining of the day Chloe will not entertain her brothers, and its hit or miss if Jake and Mikey will spend time together, some days the boys never faulter and their games will expand and go on all day long, others they can not get the togetherness right and they have to play separately, so I guess that's why the mornings seem so special as its in these mornings I let my self believe that all three do actually get along and are rather fond of each other as at other times I do have to wonder!

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Fingers firmly crossed!

Toys R us, on their facebook page ran a competition to find this years toyologist, to enter you had to review a product to be in with a chance to become part of the toys R us toyologist program, this would be an amazing opportunity, so I set about making my review, which you'll find here: zhu zhu hamster review there was around 150 entries which Geoffrey and the team at Toys R us, read through and picked out a shortlist of 25 hopefuls, I was so pleased to be picked into the shortlist!
So I was sent the final stage questionnaire, which I filled out (maybe a little hastily!?) and now am sitting patiently waiting and hoping with everything crossed that we 'might' just be lucky enough to be picked to be toyologist!
Please keep your fingers crossed for us!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

4 years...

It was my littlest birthday the other day, and he is now 4 years old, seems like the past 4 years have passed so very quickly, but then in the same way it seems like hes been here forever.
It does seem a little crazy that I now am 'mum' to a 9 year old, 7 year old and 4 year old.. seems like they are all so grown up now, well and truly out of the nappy stage, all proper little people with their own views and opinions, which is certainly intresting!

Anyway we had a small tea party just the family, and a BBq with granny and grandad the next day, it was lovely, Mikey desperately wanted Lego Ninjago for his present (which may have been influenced by his older brother!) and I also got him some lego hero factory sets, and he was very impressed with them all, lego certainly never fails to entertain and they have such good variety of toys there is something for everyone! I do like the hero factory toys they clip together easily and offer a variety of play opportunities, they can all be mixed up to creat new heros or stick to the book so to speak, the main draw I think to lego toys is the fact they come apart, my boys seem to love to engage in games and battles between there toys ultimately having a winner and all the others seperated into several pieces where through the battle they have lost there limbs one at a time!

I even went all out and tried to make stripy jelly not the most difficult of tasks but it certainly pleased my three, coupled with sandwiches, cakes and balloons what more do you need for a party!

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 7 May 2011

leaving behind... looking forward..

When I started this blog, I wanted to blog about our 'good life' style life, we seemingly had everything you need, we had a nice house in a beautiful area, with plenty of rural open free space for the children to play right by the back door, my children were all happily settled into there local countryside school with just a handful of children per year group.. they had their friends they had grown up with and all was on the most part, blissfully sweet. We had chickens, a little pony a vegetable patch all so very simple and free!

Then just as I started up my blog in the new year, things turned and everything was thrown on its head, although it wasn't a complete shock.. to be honest our 'good life' was never so stable, there was always going to be a thorn in our side and as much as we tried to forget about it, and carry on, that thorn would not budge and it became too uncomfortable to bare, and thus we really did have to make the new year our new start.

I never wanted to move, and it tore my heart out having to leave the place my children had become so familiar, change not only there home, there lifestyle but also leave their friends and their school, it made my heart ache for them because they were entering something unknown, but in the face of it all they took it completely in their stride and never once saw it as a bad thing, something I so wish was easier to do.

So we moved, we had a new home, a new life style, a new school... and are trying hard now to make new friends.

We had to leave so much behind, we had to rehome our pony, as we no longer have fields right outside our door, we no longer have chickens, rope swings or our vegetable patch, and the school has more children per year group than the old school had in total... But we do still have our family, we still have Jackson, our dog and we still are smiling because now the one thing we no longer have is that thorn in our side!

Now we have a new way of life, we have new roads to learn and paths to follow, but whilst we follow this new path I have realized it isn't really a matter of where your house is positioned or being in a situation that is easier to maintain, its about having your own thoughts and points of view and sticking to them, going ahead and following the road you want which is always there even if the route may have changed abit between.

The things we loved so much, we still have, they may have just changed slightly, we may not have vast countryside as soon as we open the door, but its only a 2 minute walk to find the same, we may not have a huge garden with rope swings ponies and hay to hide in and trees to climb, but we do have plants to grow in our border and a trampoline to burn off excess energy, we may have left behind good friends and neighbours, but we are learning new skills to enable us to make new ones.
So as much as I didn't wish to leave our old home, I am happy that what we have now is just about as good :D

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Zhu Zhu Hamster Review

One of the Toys high on my 3 childrens Christmas list was Zhu Zhu Hamsters, and as it was something which all three asked for, I thought they were a good idea.
So on Christmas day morning when Santa had been and left a selection of Zhu Zhu hamsters and Kung zhu Hamsters there were three happy children.

I've been meaning to do a review on these toys for a while, and when I heard Toys R us, were holding another competition to find there new 2011 Toyolgists on their facebook page, I thought we would finally get round to reviewing these Christmas toys.

So heres our Review.

The toys we have are:
The Kung Zhu Battle arena : £29.99
The Kung zhu Headquarters : £19.99
Sgt Serge : £9.99
Rocko : £9.99
Kung Zhu Special forces Armour : £9.99 x2 pieces
Kung Zhu Alpha training ground : £14.97
Kung Zhu Bravo Battle training Ground :£14.97
Rockstar Hamster - Pax : £9.99
Rockstar Hamster - kingston : £9.99
Grooming Salon - £19.97

Initially I thought these toys were expensive, and perhaps wouldn't be worth the money. You have to buy several sets to get anything like what is portrayed on the pictures on the boxes, but that being said, the main draw of these toys was the fact that all three children seemed equally interested in them, and this turned out to work as I hoped and every time they play with these toys they do so together happily, the oldest who is 9 now, and the youngest who will be 4 in a few days, all seem to be able to interact with these toys and make up various games to suit their age.

The sets clip together with the same connection mechanism which is simple enough to use, and with or without instructions the sets are easy to piece together, there is no 'right' order to place the different sections of the training grounds so they can be made up into different arenas and create a new game each time. each piece is plastic and sturdy enough, there are a few 'extras' such as flags and guns on the kung zhu sets, and brushes and shampoo bottles in the grooming salon, which are perfect child sized not too small that they get lost straight away! With the Kung Zhu toys, the idea is to set up your arena and training grounds, then place your hamster at the start of your course and watch him make his way over the obstacles and into the main arena, where you can meet with another hamster and they will bump into each other until someone falls over and a winner is found, but my children seem to make up different versions of games each time!

The grooming salon has plenty of features, including a light up mirror and a real spinning fan dryer, which start up when a hamster is clipped into the dryers seat.
The grooming salon also comes with a selection of small brushes and hair dryers and such like which my daughter loves!

All the hamsters take 2 x AAA batteries which come supplied, and as yet we haven't had to replace ours. The hamsters start up when a button on there back is pressed, and they make several sounds and move around, they can go forwards or reverse and turn, they interact with various sections of battle ground or grooming saloon where there are raised areas on the tracks, they also react to the armour when it is placed on the hamsters and then make new sounds.

The hamsters are cute looking handsized toys, and when not in use ours are kept on the window sill, and often get brought into various games even when the battle arena is not set up.
The main downside to the whole zhu zhu range is the overall size of the sets. The grooming salon on its own is an ok size to be left up, but the battle arena and training grounds cover the majority of any of our rooms floor space, so are not kept out set up, therefore in order to play with the toys the children need to first get out and set up the arena, but I think in some ways this is half the fun for the boys as they seem to enjoy re arranging and creating different courses for their hamsters to venture through.

Overall these toys have been played with a fair amount of times, and have been enjoyed by all three children equally, there is plenty of range of sets to occupy any child, it is something which can be added to time and again if you want to, and each time you add a different set you will rejuvenate interest in previous sets. I would definitely recommend the hamsters, they are fun and seem to have a variety of play opportunities as they do not need the sets to be played with. As for spending lots on the whole range of sets I probably won't be adding any more to our collection due to the size of them, but may well increase the collection of hamsters.

hereis our video review:

Bank holidays!

We've been lucky this month the bank holidays have all been lovely weather wise, and we were given another bank holiday to celebrate the Royal Wedding, something I was skeptical about and wasn't overly interested in on the run up to, but the day came, and we all sat and watched the wedding live on TV and I must say I was so glad we did, it was a lovely wedding, a beautiful service, the atmosphere was so nice, I was truly happy for HRH Prince William and Kate, I wholeheartedly wish them well in the future.

With that aside tho, we have enjoyed not only the Easter bank holidays, but the wedding holiday and then coming up May day holiday tomorrow.

I will be sad to see the new term begin at school and go back to the steady routine of early mornings and grumpy children in the evenings, but it is not all that long now till the summer holidays!

Heres a Picture from the other day at the local forestry park.

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