Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Ugglys - Electronic Pup - pet

The world of Electronic Pets has just taken an uggly twist.

Brand New for 2013 is a new Electronic dog who is, well, truly Ugly.

This Rubbery electronic hand puppet, is a  pug pup straight from the city pound ready to become your gross best friend.

Priced around £29.99 these are set to become a hit this Christmas, and my three certainly loved him, however the repetitive noise is a bit on the annoying side for us adults who don't quite find the same humour in making burping noises, however the more you play with uggly the more new noises he seems to come out with - we so far have heard cuckoo, neighs, mieows and lots of others!

The Ugglys are approx 10cm in length and have a hard plastic bottom, with a large opening to fit your hand inside, I can get my hand in to control the Uggly, but the hole is more suited to smaller hands, however very small children will struggle to make the uggly open his mouth fully so may find it difficult to make the full range of the sounds.

The Ugglys need 3 x AAA batteries and are controlled by the hand movements. Ugglys make around 30 different sounds, including a fly 'bzzzzz' when you press the black fly button on the Ugglys collar.
The silver button can also be twisted to change the pitch and style of sounds that your Uggly makes, he will also snore if you leave him alone for a while.

The detail on the Puppet is great, with the green snot and big bulging eyeballs, they are suitably gross in a friendly sort of way, and really do have instant child appeal.

Inside the box you get a quick instructions leaflet and a Uggdoption certificate so you can name your new best friend and record the date.

These are fun toys and a sure hit for children.

Take a look at our video review:

Fashion Jewllery Making Kits

Chloe really loves crafts and making things, she is always really happy to see a new craft kit. When we were sent the MyStyle Craft Design and Make Shamballa jewellery making kit from interplay to review she was really excited.

This kit is a lovely kit for older girls as it is quite a sophisticated jewellery making kit. The recommended age is 8 and above and this is about right.

Shamballa Jewellery is a really trendy way of using knots to make brilliant fashion bracelletes and necklaces, you may have even seen some shamballa jewellery in shops.

The kit includeds everything you need in order to make 5 pieces of Jewellery - 3 bracelletes, a necklace and a set of earings along with a sturdy craft box to keep everything inside.

The instruction leaflet is really clear and easy to follow, however because the method involves knotting cord it is a bit fiddly, especialy finishing off the braceltte.

The fire beads in the set are really pretty and make very beautifully pieces of jewellery.

The attachments for the necklace are metal clasps and fixing of great quality, making this a real grown up jewellery making set which really appealed to Chloe.

how to make a braclette

The retail price is around £12.99 which is great value for money as this kit not only gives you 5 beautifully crafted jewellery pieces, but it also teaches you a new skill.

This craft set is a perfect way to learn how to make shamballa jewellery in a simple clear and easy to understand way perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to make jewellery at home.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A bad day.

Yesterday was a bad day.

You know the sort, where one thing after another seems to crop up and taint your mood.

We are into the second week of the school summer holidays and so far we have had fun relaxing and doing not too much, but not having much time to do anything more.

Yesterday however we had chewing gum in Chloes hair, a broken glass cabinet and several tears.

I would love to post a photo of the chewing gum covered hair but I didn't grab my camera, and Darren thankfully got it out whilst I was breaking up the boys fights!

So I was pretty relieved to get the children into bed last night.

Then Chloe popped this note under our door along with her pocket money shes been saving

and no, toothpaste does not get chewing gum out of hair... it just makes it smell even more minty!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Labyrinth - aMAZEing moving maze game

We have really  enjoyed being part of the Ravensburger Puzzle club over the passed year, the quality of all the puzzles has been simply great, strong sturdy pieces with brilliant designs to fire the imagination of everyone.

We were therefore interested to see a board game arrive as our monthly puzzle.

Labyrinth is a wonderfully thought provoking game of forward thinking tactics with a stroke of luck thrown in for good measures made to the same high standards as other Ravensburger products.

Inside the box you get an instruction leaflet to let you know how to play.

A set of cards each with a different object on. A sturdy game board with several fixed pieces and lots of individual maze sections which you need to place onto the board randomly before you start.

The individual maze sections turn the board  into a moving maze, the simple idea is to place your colour wizard shaped counter on the board and try to make your way around  the corridors of the maze until you arrive at the items depicted on your cards.

The twist is that each time a player takes a turn they push in a maze section wherever they decided, this moves the row of maze pieces along, which in turn alters the board creating new pathways and cutting off others.

Players have to think about the best place to place the piece by pre planning how the maze will change, they need to try to open up pathways which enable their counter to move along to arrive at the picture on their card.

This is a simply wonderful board game and has had everyone we know loving it.

The slightly spooky element to the skulls, dragons, bats and ghosts mean this appeals to the older boys which I really like as more often they head for computer games.  Labyrinth gets everyone away from technology, and because it  holds a lot of fun factor the game also appeals to the young.

Labyrinth really got my 11 year old and his friends interested along with my 6 year old and it is a game they can happily play together.

The fact you really can change the game play is great,  if you think wisely you can have a very interesting game, but because  alot is down to simple luck means younger players can join in too.

Overall we simply love Labyrinth and highly recommend this to everyone, very young players can soon get the idea with a little help, and older players including adults can still find a certain degree of skill to this game which keeps them wanting to have another go!

For busting the holiday boredom, rainy afternoons, this is a great game to pack into a camping trips essential time passer suitcases or for a great Christmas family gathering game.

Look out for it in all good retailers (including Argos, Tescos and Amazon ) priced around £19.99 

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Children Blogging

Blogging is one of those things, maybe abit like marmite, you either love it or hate it, some people simply can't fathom quite why anyone would do it, others can't understand why you wouldn't!

So then what happens when your child asks to start a blog?

I obviously sit on the love it fence, although I am quite often not sure what on earth I am doing, and never really think I've got a focus, there is one thing I can't deny and that is blogging has brought some wonderful things our way.

I have tried to explain it before, and its something that I get asked alot, what REALLY draws so many people to blogging? I guess for me anyway its creativity, an outlet to share, and a way to keep upto date and learn and keep up with the ever changing technology.

With that said, isn't being creative and forward thinking something we want to encourage in our children?

But obviously blogging is online - its open and public, is that such a wise mix with children?

This is something I have pondered alot, I have an  online presence and I am very aware of that, I am fully aware that public are onlooking into every single thing I put online, I am also old enough and hopefully wise enough to draw a line between personal and public, meaning I keep a fair chunk of our lives firmly private.

But children... do they have the ability to understand this?

My daughter has for the past few years seen me blogging, I have never hidden the fact that what I post becomes public, that the photos I share can then be seen by people right across the world.

I have shown them the numbers on my stats, I have discussed with them the amount of people who have seen our youtube videos, they are abit unbothered by it and I guess see that as perfectly normal, the boys never really mention much about blogging Chloe however is very interested.

For months she has been creating blogs on a backline to this blog, they pop up and plague my sign in screen, she moan and complains at me to make her blog better and 'get people to look at it' as she sits and spends her time watching people become famous on youtube her world is very digital not reading magazines but blogs, not watching tv but youtube, and she has a longing to join in, to try things herself,  create the media not just watch it, and I admire that.

A few months ago after all the children were asking, we created them their own youtube channel, they happily uploaded a few videos over the half term break  of them messing around and then learnt a valuable lesson on returning to school, that people saw those videos!

Of course I watch over what they are doing and keep dibs on the comments and such like, I try hard to teach them about online privacy. So when Chloe still pestered and begged for her own blog,  I eventually set her one up, made her a header and left her too it.

She surprised me by posting a fair bit on it and so far she seems to be enjoying it. (you can pop over and see her blog here :

Her writing is riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes, (must get that from me too!) but she is finding her own style and experimenting with so many different media types, adding photos and videos to her posts and learning to write creatively.

I can't wait to see how she takes it over the next few months, and if she sticks with it, hey she might turn into a better blogger than me with more fixed focus!

But the niggle of the 'public' space she is venturing in has to be addressed, the wisdom of age that I carry with knowing what to share and with who is something I keep on reminding her.

I do think blogging is a great way to document times for both adults and children, a great way for them to practise writing and creativity and get to grips with the internet. I guess as long as you're there to guide them and watch over them then the public online presence thing, isn't that much of an issue.

How about you, would you let your children Blog?

Silent Sunday

Friday, 19 July 2013

It's PARTY time - craftparty time!

Next Thursday 25th July 2013 between 4 and 6pm we are going to be having a party, and everyone can join in the fun on Twitter

We were asked by ukmumstv and interplay if we would host a party and tweet with them whilst doing it.  We have hosted a couple of twitter parties before and each time I am abit behind and unorganised... but I think I am getting better so, this one is going to be amazing, please do join in on twitter using the hashtag
#HaveaCraftParty and following @ukmumstv and @interplayukltd and myself @sarahdazjc 
During the twitter party you can chat to the other blogger party hosts, see how we are managing host a party and win some fab craft party prizes

In order to help us run a craft party and keep lots of children entertained for 2 hours - whilst tweeting we have been sent a craft party pack.

Which includes the fantastic interplay craftparty box sets. Each box set contains everything you need in order to put on a craft party at home for just £24.99

In the box sets you get an arty activity for 6 people to complete and instructions for ideas to play several themed games to keep the children entertained, the set come in 4 different themes include pirate, pony princess and treasure themes. 

So to put on a party all you need is some party food, some plates and cups and a few balloons and sweets and your good to go!

Please do join us on the 25th to see whats inside these sets, and find out what we think of them and if the party runs smoothly!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Can we take photos in school - and Should we?

This is for many, the last week of term, the week that school children everywhere celebrate the upcoming summer break.

Schools are active with fetes, performances and sports days.

For children everywhere this time of the school year is the most fun, the bits they will always remember.

I remember my schools sports days, I remember my school productions and it makes me smile when I look back at those photos.

Obviously when I was in school photographs were on films, sent to be printed out and returned in envelopes, but my mum happily passed them around friends, family and anyone who would like to take a look.

Now however digital photograph has made it so much easier to share photos - with EVERYONE

And so very often I hear of school saying 'NO PHOTOS!' they say they will record the performance and maybe sell copies, or they might take photos on the promise to distribute them after the performance, but this often results in families not having the photos to remember these times of our childrens childhood. These times which will be long standing memories.

What harm does a photo do, I am sure not many of my old school friends are going to be too devastated to see this old photo crop up on my blog here now 25 years later? and I am so pleased my mum was allowed to take this, and it is a shame to think many people no longer are allowed to capture these moments.

I therefore was pleasantly surprised to attend my sons leavers performance of Robin Hood last night and find a letter attached to the seat stating photos are welcomed, infact ENCOURAGED. The headmaster went on to say it is a myth that photographing children is not allowed in school. There is simply no reason to NOT take photos, in fact please DO take photos this is an important moment in your childrens lives, one they hopefully are proud of and one that won't happen again. Lets store those memories.

The only thing that he asked was that people use Common Sense and if sharing into public online spaces then to seek permission from the people in the photograph, he said it is not the schools responsibility to ensure the photos are not in the public, but obviously people will come back to the school if their upset their child is online when they didn't want them to be, thats sensible, of course I wouldn't share photos in to public spaces of other peoples children without permission, but it is nice to have photos of the school friends for our personal collection of memories,  so I applaud the school for taking that stance when so many headteachers decided to simply to veer on the side of caution for fear of people coming to them angry.   He is a great head teacher, coming to the school when it was in special measures, just as my eldest two started there, he took the role, he is firm and fair, reasonable and sensible. Everything a teacher needs to be, and as such the school has flourished. When it snowed he took the same Common Sense approach too and allowed snowball fights. (you can read about that here)

I am so very pleased that I have film footage of Jake and his friends in a performance that was in all aspects amazing, and am very proud of the children and the school for pulling it all together.

It was a real performance the children could feel proud off, the first the school has put on in a long long time. all thanks to the headmaster who didn't take the easy option of not bothering, assuming it would be too much trouble, maybe the children wouldn't be any good.. no, he persevered, stuck at it, and taught the children to stand tall and embrace the stage. He held firm in his vision of a great play and with his backing support and encouragement the children did the school proud.

All the children and staff have obviously worked extremely hard to make it all come together. With many of the children who had never done anything like this before, each child in year 6 had a part and every one of them acted brilliantly, I am certain it will have helped them with confidence for their move to senior school, it would have been terribly sad not to have at least one photo to keep as a memory of this, and show family who couldn't attend.

I am also pleased to have photos of my youngest who this week celebrated his sports day, the first proper sports day thanks to the British weather preventing previous years activities.

I am proud to have that moment that he stormed ahead in the egg and spoon race captured to share with him in years to come.

these are moments we won't get again, yes we can store memories in our heads, but photos are special, they are amazing and I am so thankful our school understand that.

Summer Holiday Activities In and around Derbyshire

I wrote the other day about being optimistic about the summer holidays, and I still am I genuinely do look forward to the time off school

I like to ensure I have a good back up of things to do locally that are cheap (or where possible  free) so that when the moans and whines get too much I can quickly and easily look over to see if there is anything that can take our minds of things.

Each summer there is a surprising amount going on in the local area and I never manage to get to participate in everything I ear mark.

So I thought I would just do a blog post to place together all the things I have found that are going on locally this year which have great family free activities.

D.A.S.H - The Discover Activities in the Summer Holidays is a council run scheme for people in East Staffordshire with lots of activities running all through the summer holidays at various locations.

Free sports activities will be taking place at the following venues

Carver Road Community Centre, Tutbury Youth Centre, Holland Sports Club Barton underNeedwood, Waterside Community Centre, Bramshall Road Park, Canterbury Road Park, Uttoxeter Community Centre, St Peters School Marchington, Queen Street Community Centre, Yoxall Cricket Club, Waterside Community Centre, Eton Park and Church Leigh Village Hall

To see the full range of events, times and prices check the Online Brochure here : DASH Holiday Activities

SDDC Summer Activities

Like East Staffordshire each summer South derbyshire council host a lot of free events in local parks and play centres this year activities include wacky sports such as dodgeball, tri golf, frisbee and human table football, wheelsmobile where there will be skateboard activities and biking ramps and skill training available, climbing walls and crafts.

There are activities available across all South Derbyshire parks including; Stenson fields, Church Gresley, Egginton, Hilton, Newhall, Ticknall, Weston on Trent, Hatton, Midway, Repton, Linton, Hartshorne, Shardlow, Findern, Overseal, Swadlincote Eureka Park, Melbourne, Woodville, Cotton in the Elms, Aston on Trent, Barrow on Trent, Walton on Trent and Netherseal be sure to check out the activity planner online Summer Activities 2013

Nation Play Day 2013

Wednesday 7th August is National play day and there are several organised activities set up across the different counties all activities are complete Free so its a great day out.

At Shobnall Fields in Burton Upon Trent from 12 - 3pm there is activities to suit all ages including bouncy castles, wacky races and much more.

At Church Gresley Maurice Lea Park between 12 - 4pm there is again a host of free activities including laser combat, climbing wall, and art and craft activities

Sky Rides - There are lots of free organsied bike events all over the country to get more people out on their bikes. Take a look at the website to find a local ride, with guided rides ranging in terrain and difficulty.

There are rides going from Mickelover to Etwall,events at Shobnall, Lecicestershire and many more throughout August. The bike rides are suitable for a variety of age groups and are sure to be a great fun way to get out and about and are a fun free activity for the whole family.

Rosliston Forestry Centre

 Rosliston foirestry center is a lovely place to visit even when there are no organised activities to go along too, with the fantastic play areas and nice nature walks it is a fantastic day out.

Throughout the year there are lots of activities and many throughout the summer holidays. this year activities at Rosliston include Laser combat, Kraftiz, Archery, Night time walks some activities are paid for and the price range varies so its always worth contacting before hand to see what is happening on the day, but there are always the free walks and playparks.

Newhall Old Post

This summer holidays here are lots of Free activities at Newhall Old Post centre,  including clay workshop days and street dance classes. Activities are all free to participate in and are running throughout the whole 6 week holidays they look to be a great range of activities to join in with if the weather isn't great.

Sharpes Pottery Museum Swadlicnote

Sharpes Pottery Museum is a great place for taking the children for free fun activities in the summer holidays, this year Sharpes celebrates its 10th birthday so there are even more celebrations.

Every Friday and Saturday all through August Sharpes host a range of childrens activities to suit all ages all activities are free although donations can be made to the museum, suggested donations sometimes are around £2

If I come across any other free activities I will add them to this post.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Down Side to Dogs

We are huge dog lovers here, having Jackson has been a joy as he comes upto his 3rd birthday he has grown up and turned into a lovely dog, and he has taken to our new Springer Spaniel Lacey really well.

Having two dogs at home has brought its benefits and its negatives.

Jackson and Lacey really do love to play and spend hours running around and playing together, instead of spending his hours sat looking out of the window and waiting for our adventures into the woods, he now has a permanent playmate to play with at all times of the day.

Seeing how Jackson has accepted Lacey into our family has been lovely, people say Boxer dogs never grow up and it certainly mirrors his playful behaviour having a new puppy here to chase and play with and someone to stop and rest with too.

both dogs have brilliant natures and are fantastic with the children, having a dog is one of the best parts of childhood, a faithful friend who will always be there to share the fun times.

But of course having two dogs has doubled the trouble, having a new puppy has meant that we have had to go through the chewing thing stage again, the learning to rules of the house and building up the trust to enable us to leave her home when we go out.

Then there is of course the other bad bits of owning a dog, the food intake had increased, and so obviously has the dog muck to have to clean up. All doubled when you have two dogs instead of one, and of course the hairs!

The one thing which is probably the most annoying about being a dog owner is the sheer amount of hairs that they loose, it seems a never ending battle wiping the floors and collecting up handfuls of fur!

The rugs collect so much hair and I am not sure I could manage without our trusty Vacuum cleaner.

When we brought Jackson home as a puppy I was not sure how much a boxer dog would malt, but I have since found out that they do indeed malt alot, especially in the summer months, coupled with the added hairs from Lacey I really do need a new vacuum cleaner, and have been having a look at the range of  Vax Hoovers at TJ Hughes who offer fantastic discounts and home delivery, I like the look of Vax hoovers, with Vax being a leading name in vacuum cleaners that are known to offer great value and quality. Having a high performance vacuum cleaner can help so much with allergy suffers as they really do get rid of all the allergens trapped in carpet and are a must for pet owners.

Even with the hairs I don't think i could ever be without a dog, because no matter what, they give the best of hugs!

This is a sponsored post

Meet the Zelfs!

Over the years there has been so many collectible toy ranges, but the icon one of my own childhood was the Trolls, I am sure most people will remember them, the cute long haired plastic bodied creatures in various colours and sizes which everyone just had to collect.

Last summer we saw Shoulder buddies which sported the same long troll like hair, and this summer there is a brand new cute collector series to excite children everywhere - The Zelfs!

zelfs long hair new toy collection range

These are very similar to trolls,  however they are magical little fairy elves called Zelfs who each have their own distinct look and personality trait to match.
Zelfs should be available to buy from all good retailers very soon, we were sent some of the very first ones to take a look at.

There are several varieties of Zelfs to collect ranging in price and size.

The biggest in the range are priced at £9.99 and are sure to make great birthday gifts or centre pieces amungst Zelf Collections, the large Zelfs have two toned hair and pretty detailing to their bodies, which match the Zelf personality.

purple glitter zelf with long hair buttershy
They are jointed too so can be positioned into a sitting or standing position, and come with hair accessories and a brush.

little cute funky long haired zelf purple yellow

There are 6 large Zelfs to collect which are all unique in their appearance from blue Mermalade whose Zelf trait is to explore and look for adventure, to Vampula who is a cute little vampire whos trait is beauty.

the whole 2013 brand new collection zelfs

These Figures are really lovely quality and their hair is easily styled by twisting and turning or brushing to one side and they really do have instant appeal. They are extremely cute!

small lil white zelf and large purpler buttershy zelf

Next in the Zelf range there are medium sized Zelfs, these zelfs  represent  12 characters which include the same 6 as the large Zelfs, plus 6 more including a ultra rare Miss Clover there is also a playset pack. The individual medium figures are reasonably priced around £5.99

tiny little green zelf with bright pink hair

Then there is the smallest Zelfs, which are perfect pocket toys at pocket money prices just £1.99 each these adorable cute little figures each come in their own flower pot house, the flower pots have a hole in the top so the brightly coloured hair can poke out the top making them look like funky flowers when they are hiding away inside.

small lil zelf in plant pot toy

There are 36 of these small Zelfs to collect, they are not quite as detailed as the larger Zelf in terms of the patterns are not present, and their hair is only one colour instead of the two toned colours of the larger Zelfs. Again the 12 characters are portrayed with each character in the little Zelfs series coming in three colour finishes Glitter, Pearl and Standard which is sure to give a great display and keep them interesting.

small white and green zelf and large buttershy

The large Zelfs are about 4 inches tall and the small Zelfs just an inch, they also have curved holes between their legs to make them universal as pencil toppers so the Lil Zelfs can go everywhere with you.

I am sure Zelfs are going to be a big hit amongst all girls this year, and to run along side this collection there is a one off Magazine which will be available in all good stores within the next two weeks, we were sent a pre release copy to have a look at.

love your zelf magaizne

It is a lovely Magazine with lots of activities, colouring in pages, stories, posters and information and kept Chloe happily entertained for ages, Zelfs are suggested for ages 5 and above.This magazine is priced at £3.99 and it will also come with a free Zelf and some extra gifts to really give girls a good insight into this new toy range and start your collection, a perfect something for long car journeys this summer or just for entertaining the children whilst on holiday.

self magazine stories pictures colour in pages

We really do love these Zelfs and cant wait to see them in shops.

Here is our video review, or why not check out the Zelfs website

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