Sunday, 29 September 2013

TalkTalk - Phone - Broadband and TV - Review

Recently I was asked if I would review TalkTalk phone, TV and broadband packages and I instantly agreed.

We are so much an internet household, but because of this we never watch live TV, in fact we have never had a Sky subscription, and have not even got a working TV aerial, we very  rarely buy newspapers and a huge chunk of my friends have been made through the virtual world.

As an existing TalkTalk customer I already knew the broadband  service was good, we had been experiencing good reliable connection for years, however the TV side of things had always passed me by and I was interested to see how TalkTalks TV extras worked.

Getting Started

I was contacted by the staff at TalkTalk who tested my internet connection - and advised me that upgrading to Fibre Optic would improve the TV experiences.

We were sent out the new routers ( you need 2 control boxes for Fibre Optic to work) in the post and then waited for the friendly engineer who arrived in the time slot specified to install the new Fibre Optic Internet service.

Our internet connection was not interrupted at all in the run up to the go live date, and after the new router was installed we were rewarded with 70mb (yes seventy!) which is crazy fast speed (a huge upgrade from our 2mb broadband prior)

Installing the Fibre Optic broadband was simple a change of socket and the two new boxes and we were up and working.

TalkTalk offers HomeSafe service, which includes lots of  options to provide safer internet access for the whole family, and free local phone calls.

With 3 computer systems, an xbox  and a laptop, which on occasions are all being used at the same time, it is great to have the super fast speed - uploading videos to youtube takes just seconds and downloads are even quicker! The service has been problem free and the whole process  has been a great experience.

But what of the TV?

TalkTalk TV package includes a YouView set top box, which enables you to pause record and rewind all the freeview live TV shows which you get access too via a standard TV aerial.

Also the YouView box  give you a chance to have extra TV boost packages added to your subscription on a month by month basis increasing your options on channels you wish to receive.

As I mentioned earlier, we didn't initially actually have a TV aerial, but the YouView box also connects upto your internet and streams TV through your broadband connection so a TV aerial is not essential to enjoy some of the most popular TV channels.

An engineer arrived with the YouView box a few days after our Fibre Optic broadband went live, and he was hugely professional and very friendly, we talked about the fact that we didn't have a TV aerial as yet to use and he offered to help connect up an aerial, or set up a stand alone aerial if we had one (however we didn't take him up on this)  he talked us through the YouView box options and explained how the TV boosts all worked via the internet connection so we decided, for us, the aerial connection wasn't essential at this point.

sockets on back of talktalk youview boxHe showed us how to navigate the channels using the remote control supplied, and left us with a useful user guide for further reading.

TalkTalk youview user guide instructions

What really makes The YouView box from Talk Talk special however is the TalkTalk Player feature which is exclusive to TalkTalk customers, and provideds  a great choice of additional channels available as add on boosts, all streamed via the internet which  means you do not need a TV aerial or a Satellite dish to access some of the top programmes.

The YouView TalkTalk Player services let you pause and rewind shows that are streamed via the internet as part of the boost packages, but  it is worth noting that at the moment you are unable to record live   shows on these additional channels. (This option is currently only available for Freeview channels broadcast via a TV aerial)

However there are OnDemand sections for most of the Sky channels which means you can pick out your favourite shows to watch as and when you require.

TV Boosts

Each boost is on a paid month by month basis, you can add boost depending on your needs.

To access the additional channels you have to view the TalkTalk player section, the menus are all accessed easily via the remote control  although sometimes they do take a little longer to load.

TalkTalk remote control features

Once in the TalkTalk Player you can see a full list of additional channels and select through the various boosts, you can add channels to your monthly subscription directly via your remote control - you will need a 4 digit pin.

It is worth keeping this private so the children don't add additional channels without your agreement.
(any upgrades will be charged per month until you cancel the boost through your online account or ringing the helpline )

The choice of additional channels is huge with options to add on all the families favourites on a month by month contract.

Sky Movies for example is £15 a month and gives you access to the 11 top movie channels including Sky Movies Premier, Sky Movies Disney and Sky Movies Family.

TalkTalk sky movies channel add on list

The Kids TV boost is just £5 a month and includes all the childrens favourites.

talktalk entertainment extra channels optionsWe have a 3 month free trial of the Entertainment Boost - which includes the Kids boost. The entertainment boost is normally £15 a month and includes over 60 of the best channels.

There is a huge variety of programs to choose from, something to suit all ages. With firm favourites such as Peppa Pig, Dora the Explorer and Mickey Mouse Club house for the younger viewers to Victorious, iCarly and Sam and Cat for the older children.

My daughter was especially thrilled to have access to Nickelodeon enabling her to watch Victorious and iCarly on demand. She now can finally watch the programs so many of her friends talk about at school.

 I will be doing several more posts over the coming months showing other features to the TalkTalk TV phone and broadband packages.

If you want to see the latest price packages and offers then visit the TalkTalk homepage
or follow TalkTalk on Facebook and Twitter.

Here is a Video review (please excuse the colour in the programs it is the way it recorded from my TV to camera-  not the way it is broadcast!)

We have received free Phone, Broadband and TV for 18 months for the purpose of this review - all views and opinions are however my own.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Blingles Glimmer Glitter Studio Review

Last year we reviewed the very popular Blingles Bling Studio - and it was a huge hit with Chloe and all her school friends.

When I heard about the new products in the Blingles range - Glimmer Glam Stickers I knew Chloe would enjoy reviewing it.

Blingles allows you to get creative and add a touch of bling to almost anything. The original Blingles Bling Studio incorporated little gems to add a touch of colour to your items, the new Glimmer studio allows you to use Glitter to add sparkle!

Blingles sticker glitter glam glimmer set

What do you get in the box?

In the Blingles Glimmer Studio kit you will find everything you need to create a lot of glittery stickers in a variety of designs

included in the box is:

4 tubs of glitter - black, yellow, purple and silver
8 sheets of sticker templates with several designs on each sheet (approx 60 individual stickers)
The studio base to help you create you designs and store everything neatly together.
1 x brush
1 x sticky pen
1 x glitter tray
A few gems.
 and a simple instruction leaflet

blingles instruction leaflet how to use

How does it work?

It is very simple to use Blingles Glimmer Glam studio, the glitter pots have a roller in the lid, which you simply use to roll over the stickers, leaving the glitter in place.

blingles glitter roller in glimmer studio set

Although glitter is notoriously a messy item to allow children loose with, the Blingles Glimmer studio minimises the mess. The rollers don't always pick up lots of glitter and put it in the correct place on the sticker design sheet, but using the brush means you can easily get a great effect and make sure the glitter is where you want it to be.

The stickers peel off the sheet easily and Chloe had no trouble doing it alone with no help from me.

There are plenty of designs to pick from included in this set, which have lasted a long time (we haven't used up all our stickers yet - not even half!) and so you don't instantly need to think about purchasing refills which is nice. Although their are only 4 colours to choose from in this kit you can mix up the designs and use your own colours to personalise the stickers however you like.

blingles glitter glimmer glam plastic studio tray

The stickers themselves stick to any flat surface, we tried them on mobile phones, laptops and paperback note books and they stuck very well to each item.

The glitter, once stuck, does not appear to come off the sticker and so far has stayed in place well meaning the stickers look very glittery for a long time which is great.

Here is Chloe taking a first look at the Glimmer Glam studio and showing how easy it is to make a shinny sticker.

We really love the Blingles Glimmer Studio and think it is good value at around £19.99 it would make a great Christmas present, allowing girls to add a personal touch to their electronic devices, books and stationary.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Helping Children learn to Count.

With the new school year well underway and children settling into their new classrooms, new teachers and  learning new things as a parent my mind always flicks to how I can help my children more at home.

Maths is a subject which is quite easy to encourage in day to day life, and is such an important skill for children to master, yet its one that is often a struggle.

However learning can begin from any age, and adding educational things into daily life really does help, if you want to you can also find learn at home resources to build on what your child is learning in school and give your child a helping hand at subject they may struggle with.

 Junior Scholars have a whole range of great learning resources to help support children of all ages from 6 months to 16 years. This great website has a huge range of products from study guides, educational board games to wall charts.

Today I have a  guest post from Junior Scholars with lots of tips on how you can help your children incorporate maths into their daily lives no matter what age they are:

Helping young kids learn to count

Some of the first experiences your child will have with numbers will be by counting. In a similar way that a child will learn a nursery rhyme via patterns, they will learn to count. Children typically learn the pattern of counting words by repetition and in the beginning it isn’t unusual for your child to invent numbers or miss numbers out all together. It is important for your child to be given plenty of opportunity to practise counting so they recognise and learn numbers.

There are many ways you can include counting in games or activities you do with your child at home. Here are some ideas as to how you can encourage and help your child to learn to count.

Counting physical objects: Counting physical objects is a great way to start practising numbers with your child. For example, you might count the steps up to the house, the number of eggs in the box, the number of pegs you use to hang up the washing or the number of times you throw a ball in a game of pass.

Nursery Rhymes: It is great to sing nursery rhymes with your children that include number patterns. ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ is a traditional favourite. Some other recommendations include ‘Five little Ducks’, ‘One, Two, Buckle My Shoe’ and ‘Ten Green Bottles’.

Simple counting activities: Ask your child to count as far as they can and then encourage them to join you as you continue counting for them. Also consider starting from a number other that one to prepare your child for group activities at school.

Chores: Asking your child to do chores that include counting is a great way to trick them into counting without realising it. Setting the table is a good example because your child will need to count out each place setting. You could also challenge them to tell you how many times they brushed their teeth before bed.

Games: Games are a fun and engaging way to teach your child to count. Some of the household favourites are Dominoes, Snakes and Ladders, card games and any board games that include a die.  Each game helps develop your child’s counting ability as well as reading level.

On holiday: Holidays offer a multitude of opportunities for you to interact with your children and help them with their counting. You can count shells on the beach, boats in the harbour and seagulls on the beach. Try to pick something you know they will enjoy counting so it is fun and exciting. A great one for car journeys is to count cars of a certain colour or model.

As they get older: The older your child gets the more complex the games should get. Ask your child to remember your phone number and then press the correct number into the phone. Telling the time and having your child tell you what the time will be in 3/4/5/6/7 hours time is another counting game.

There are games all around you and you can adapt any menial task into a fun counting game. Get creative and have fun!

Visit Junior Scholars website to see their range of educational products, or why not follow them on Twitter to be kept upto date with their competitions or visit their facebook page to see their latest offers and information.

Friday, 13 September 2013

What I did this afternoon...

You know sometimes when you really should be doing something else... but you just find yourself playing around with something pretty neat.

well thats what I have done with my time this afternoon.

I have a list longer than my arm of things that need to get done, but I couldn't help myself when I found this cool site which has animation software making it really easy to create great whiteboard animations - you know, videos which show someone writing as if on a white board.

I couldn't help myself and mess around with the free trial for a bit and see what I could do and here is my effort:

Its not perfect, but I like it.. now do I keep trying to make better drawing animations.. or should I go back to that todo list....

If you want to give it ago yourself then take a look at the software and get yourself a 7 day free trial to have ago too. heres the link : VideoScribe

Sunday, 8 September 2013

JewelCandle - a ring in a candle!

We were recently sent a lovely handmade scented candle from  to review and everyone who I've shown it too has loved the idea so I couldn't wait to share it with all my blog readers too. This is a very special candle with a ring inside.

a ring in a candle

Jewelcandle is a unique surprise gift  incorporating scented candles and beautiful jewellery.

The candles are handmade with the up most love and care ensuring the attention to detail from the packaging to the candle and then the jewellery,  everything is done to make this a beautiful gift available in a variety of flavours including cherry, cupcake, pina colarda and passion fruit.

The idea is a unique one, each candle holds  a surprise hidden gift which is revealed as  you burn the candle.

ring in a jewelcandle

You can choose if you would like a ring or ear rings inside your candle, and what flavour scent you would like but as for the style and value of your jewel - thats the surprise!

All you know is that each hidden jewel is guaranteed to be between £10 and £250 in value and have been picked to ensure they are top quality  pieces of jewellery that you are sure to love and want to wear with pride.

The candles themselves burn for around 150 hours in total ( you can remove your jewel after around 10 hours of burning) and they smell lovely.

jewelcandle ring and jewellery in a candleI choose the birthday cupcake candle. Which arrived  with a pretty Happy Birthday graphic on the front of the sturdy glass jar, coupled with a white bow these are truly beautiful gifts which anyone would appreciate.

We burnt the candle for approx 8 hours until we could see the jewel packaging poping above the wax, we really should have left the candle to burn for a few more hours so that the whole package was laying on the top, but as we were abit impatient to get to the ring, we used a fork to gently lift out the package breaking through the last bit of wax holding it in.

This didn't damage the candle at all and it is still burning filling my room with the creamy cupcake smell, which is not too over powering just a gentle fragrance.

On removing the silver package, we found a small black bag, which is to ensure your jewel is in perfect condition without any wax touching it at all.

We opened the black bag and revealed a very pretty silver ring, with a tag attached informing us it had a value of £25.00 the heart design with  glittering stones around the edge is very elegant and is truly a lovely ring that I would be happy to wear - That is if I  can get it off my daughter - who as you can see in this video loves the Jewelcandle!

I really do love the whole jewelcandle idea and will be purchasing a few for Christmas presents this year, the idea that you just don't know what the value of jewellery you have hidden in the candle is great and really does add to the excitement!

The ring candles are priced £24.95 each the ear ring candles are £16.95  They represent amazing value, as the scented candles themselves are lovely, with a great choice of flavours and messages on the candles. With the lasting piece of jewellery too.

You can not specify the size of the ring, but all rings are the most common sizes, and the ring we received fit me perfectly - is a touch big for Chloe but that doesn't stop her wanting to keep it for herself!

Do take a look at JewelCandles website which can be found here or like them on Facebook and follow them on twitter to keep up to date with their competitions and latest news.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Just how many people really look at your photos.

Isn't that what we all would love to know? How can we tell how many people have looked at our photos.

I know that I often wonder if  people actually see the photos I share across the social networks.

Are they slipping under peoples noses, or are people actually viewing them.

It's always nice to get comments, likes or plus ones on a photo you've shared, but not everyone who looks interacts do they? Infact most people look and skip past.

So is there any way to tell just how many people really are looking at your photos?

As far as I'm aware there isn't on Facebook.

But I have just found out that there is on Google+ - yes thats right you can check just how many views your photos have had, and whats more you can also check how many views other peoples photos have had too!

So I thought I'd share this information with anyone else who didn't realise there was this hidden date available for all to see, this is my google+ profile and the photo I shared a few hours ago...

113 views, not bad really, then again the Quote I shared from someone elses time line has had over 133,000 views.

So there we go, now you can monitor your photos views.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Focus on something new

Thats it - Summer over. 

The children are all back at school and as I sit here in a silent room I know I should be making sure I get on with the list of things which have been left to one side for the past 6 weeks due to the hussle and bussle of children with the demands for attention.

Yet I find myself instead not really sure quite where to start. I want, as I have for many many many months to really give myself a shake and pour all my creative flair into something that I can really bite my teeth into, something I enjoy doing that will build myself a bit more of a regular income. 

But thats the un answered question always isn't it? What is the one thing I want to focus on, which thing should I really try to give all my attention too to drive forward?

I think at the moment I just simply cut myself too thin, I have so many bits and bobs, little activities here and there, and don't get me wrong I love each aspect  and thats why they all get their tiny bits of attention, but without the full focus each one isn't brilliant. 

Doing several things ok isn't really as good as doing one thing well - or is it? 

I don't know, I guess I have always been the last to make a firm decision, always abit undecided on what to do and that shows in my jack of many traits personality.

New school year tho, new beginnings for all three of my children, new experiences and time for change, especial for Jake as he heads into senior school. Maybe I should take this time to knuckle down and really focus on something to make that one thing better.

Just to decided which direction to go in I guess....

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Back to School - share your photos and win free shoes!

I love the summer holidays, but going back to school is great too, and I love seeing all the back to school photos from all my friends on Facebook. Each morning for the past few days my facebook has been awash with smiling faces as many children set off to start a new year at school.

As I sat and looked through the photos yesterday morning a realisation dawned - My eldest would be joining the smiling faces the next day and my younger two the day after - only one problem, we hadn't got our school shoes yet!

Luckily we had been contacted by Brantano asking if we would like to go along and see how they measure childrens feet and ensure they get correctly fitted shoes, it is so important to have childrens feet measured correctly and it doesn't have to be a bank balance straining exercise.

 Brantanos offer a huge range of shoes ranging in price from lots of the big brand names including Clarks, Start Rite, skittles and fleet street so you are sure to find something to match your budget and childrens style.

So we went along to our local Brantanos store, where the staff were very helpful and tried to encourage the childrens enthusiasm in finding school shoes (not always an easy task as the range of school shoes isn't the most appealing to youngsters!)

The trained staff ensured measurements were taken of both feet, and then helped us to locate the selection of shoes in the right size  whilst being very patient with my childrens demands and moans giving out stickers and plenty of helpful information and advise.

Brantanos have a team of staff expertly trained in shoe fitting, with staff members going through rigorous training to ensure you get the correct shoes for your childrens growing feet. Shoe measurement service is free with no commitment to buy, which is great - stores have long opening hours too making it perfect to pop in and double check your children haven't out grown their shoes.

Childrens feet grow in bursts so it is recommended that you get school aged childrens feet measured every 3 - 4 months, but as every parent knows shoes can be expensive but Brantanos have a huge selection to choose from in a range of prices, the staff are happy to help you pick a pair of shoes that fits your budget and personal style preferences.

Then before you purchase the shoes you can walk up and down the long isles to ensuring they are correctly fitted, comfortable and the staff can then check again, advising if your child need insoles - like in our case where Chloe has one foot slightly larger than the other.

After we had all settled on a pair of shoes we were told of the importance of checking growing feet and given a handy little card to bring back in 3 months time for a free fitting check, and 15% discount of adult shoes which is a nice added touch.

Brantanos also sell many other school essentials such as pumps, lunch boxes, drink bottles and wallets - so you can kit out everyone in one stop.

We left very happy, with all three finding a pair of shoes that fit well and looked great.

Jake went for the classic black school shoe from Clarks priced £30 with Chloe picking out a pair osh Kosh pretty detailed shoes priced £28 and Mikey settled on the slightly more trainer style, but still smart enough for school, shoes from Osaga for a great value £16 I really was impressed with the huge variety of shoes on offer and will be visiting again to get new trainers for the children.

This morning I was able to post a photo to join the others on facebook of Jake as he set of on his journey to senior school, sighing with relief that I think he had everything he needed.

Now I can relax, without having to rush anywhere, and tomorrow I can hopefully get a photo of all three in their uniform to proudly show share and then stash in the memory archives.

And whats more everyone who has taken photos of their children this year, along with sharing with friends and family on facebook why not use them to give you the possiblity of getting your hands on free shoes for a whole year!

 Brantanoes are offering 5 lucky winners Free Shoes for a year - to be in with a chance simply email your Back to School photos  to   

Full terms and conditions can be found on Brantanos website. They will also donate 10p for every photo received to Tommy's children charity!

So what are you waiting for - share those back to school photos and be sure to check out Brantons facebook page to be kept updated with news offers and latest competitions.

Disclosure : we were given 1 free pair of shoes as a thank you for writing this post, I however paid for the other two pairs myself.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

SpyZone Matlock Review

Matlock it is a lovely place to visit, right in the heart of Derbyshire with the rolling countryside views and the quaint stores to explore, chip shops and amusement arcades to entertain its a nice family day out.

Matlock bath view gullivers kingdom

Matlock boost lots of tourists attractions, along with the lovely countryside views and the River Derwent there is the heights of Abraham if you are feeling brave, or Gullivers Kingdom if you want to incorporate more structured activities into your day out.

Gullivers Kingdom is a theme park aimed at the lower age range, centred round children this is a great day out if you have youngsters. However as children grow up they might find the rides and attractions on offer abit boring, which is why Gullivers Kingdom in Matlock have just added a new activity to the park to give the older children something to entertain them.

SpyZone is aimed at children aged between 7 and 13 this is an action packed purpose built training facility for budding secret agents. It is a separate attraction to the main Gullivers Kingdom Theme park and tickets can be purchased for SpyZone without having to have access to Gullivers Kingdom, however entrance to both means you get bundled discounts on the individual ticket prices.

Getting to Gullivers kingdom is easy and well signposted from all directions, and once you are there you will find several car park options, it is however worth noting the location is a very hilly one so the walks from lower car parks upto the entrance is quite sloped.

The adverts for SpyZone entice with promises of exciting sounding activities including dodging laser beans, cracking codes and defusing bombs - right up any active childs street, after watching the trailer on Youtube and reading other peoples reviews we were all very excited to be asked along to review SpyZone.

spy zone banner matlock bath attractionWe decided on an afternoon slot, and arrived around 1.30pm

The car park was very busy and we had to park a small distance away from the entrance, the car park we found was a pay and display car park and cost £5 for the day, with cheaper option if you are not staying very long.

gullivers kingdom car park close by

We entered the SpyZone building and were greeted with a friendly member of staff, the waiting room is lovely, with black leather sofas and TV's showing the footage from the cameras filming inside the SpyZone itself giving entertainment for people waiting.

There's also plenty of refreshments available in the waiting room and a selection of small spy related souvenirs.

Spyzone itself has been designed for older children and those aged 10 and above can go through the spyzone alone, under 10's are also welcome to join in but must be accompanied by an adult.

gullivers kingdom new spyzone
As my youngest is 6, me and their dad accompanied the children. The activity is started by entering a small holding area, where you are briefed by a staff member

We were told that we would be exploring 8 rooms and have to find hidden words in each room and write them down on the scorecard. The staff member told us roughly what to expect and how to use the different pieces of spykit to help us crack the codes.

Unfortunately we were given only 2 spykits, between the 6 of us, due to the numbers of other families booked to attend, this was a shame and I'm sure it  would have been  a better experience if every member of the group had their own kit, as we only had 2, each child who was without a secret torch, or bugg detector was left abit disheartened.

children inside the spyzone matlock bath

However, ever optimistic we set off, with the promise of swapping the bag each time we entered a new room.

The rooms are separated by tunnels which you have to crawl along, scramble up and drop down, they are fairly dark but not too difficult to navigate, and definitely add to the overall enjoyment of the activity.

inside the tunnels at spyzone matlock

Upon entering each room you have to press a button which activates a voice recording telling you the mission in that set room, you then get around 5 minutes to complete the task.

I am not sure if we are just useless spys, but we found it actually quite difficult to crack the codes, the children were too excited to really listen to the instructions, and much preferred just exploring the rooms.

children inside spyzone matlock activities

One of the rooms had lots of slight of hand buzzers, the idea was to move the handle along the wire to the finish position, without the buzzer going off and the red light appearing, once complete your secret word flashed on the control box.

Unfortunately several of the buzzers were not working correctly and were permanently showing red lights, however this didn't seems to matter to the children.

One of the rooms everyone enjoyed was the bugged room, where we had to find 8 bugs using the BDB (bug detection device) in the spy kit. Everyone enjoyed looking around this room, then leaving through the door in the cupboard!

spy zone matlock secret doors and tunnels
leaving the room through the secret cupboard door!

As we progressed through the rooms we found other areas where the attraction had sadly been damaged, I guess that in the nature of the attraction - excited children and sometimes without adults along side them, it is only a matter of time before things get broken by heavy hands, and when the attraction is busy like the day we visited there was no staff going into the rooms between each family to ensure the room was how it should be which was a shame.

Some of the rooms took a while for us to understand what we should be doing, or if what we were doing was right as it was hard to tell if the items were broken or if we were simply doing things wrong.  I am not sure how a group of 10 year olds would get on if no adults were present at all.

The rooms at the end of the set were the most popular, one room, which was a favourite, had several Nerf guns and a firing range.

matlock spyzone nerf gun activityThe boys loved this room, there were no codes to crack here just a free time to fire into holes as you try to remember your own score.

Then came the laser corridor, which was where we were met with the staff member again, she led us into the laser corridor and we all took turns to jump over and crawl under the laser beams without setting off the warning light, this was the most enjoyed section for everyone, only Chloe managed to completely get through without setting off any alarms.

The final area had no code words to find, which meant we didn't have to worry about that side of things.

The final room was abit like a maze which we walked around, but  left us not quite sure if we were getting things right, no obvious sounds if you stepped off the markers, the instructions said there should be more lasers but we couldn't see them, the safe containing what I assume must of been the bomb to complete the mission unfortunately was also broke, with no lights or beeps as we inputted the codes and so no matter what we tried we couldn't open it leaving us not really sure to what should have happened at the end.

So we  jumped through the escape hatch, and were finished. If the country is depending on an upcoming generation of code breakers and my children are anything to go by, I think we're doomed!

We were not greeted with any staff to check our answers or tell us if we had done well - or not as our case may have been.

Instead there was a table asking us to leave the spykits there, and our bags were waiting for us to collect underneath.

Overall the children  did enjoy it, personally I feel it could have been a little better.

Reading other peoples reviews and the information on the website it sounds like we may have visited on a off day, but still it is a shame when such a good concept like this is let down by several little things which could have easily been rectified.

 Besideds the missing Spy Kits and damaged sections inside,  the children  did struggle to keep on track I feel the lack of involvement from staff meant the children didn't really feel compelled into completing the activities and so didn't really get any enjoyment from that side of the attraction, instead they found fun in the more physical elements crawling through the tunnels and exploring the rooms,  this may be because my children are just over excitable and not focused enough, other families may have a calmer attitude to it all and get more satisfaction from the code breaking aspect.

The whole process took around an hour, and is definitely a group activity so would be great for birthday parties if there was more input from staff to ensure things ran smoothly a good enthusiastic member of staff could make a good activity amazing.  I would say the ideal age would be around 6 to 10 years old with an adult going through the Spyzone with them.

Overall was it worth the ticket price?

If you take advantage of the entrance bundles which give you access to Gullivers Kingdom and Spyzone for £17.95 per person (just £2 more than park tickets alone) then it is well worth it, as a stand alone attraction, it may be abit on the expensive side at £7.95 each for something that is potentially a short activity,  however Matlock itself is a lovely place to explore meaning you can happily make a day of it, and with it a completely undercover attraction it is always somewhere to retreat too when it rains.

After we had been through spy zone we found plenty of things to occupy everyone in Matlock Bath
We looked around the shops.

Spent some time in the arcades trying to beat the 2p machines,

We enjoyed  chip shop food for tea whilst soaking up the sights.  Drinks  however, were very expensive everywhere,  so its a good idea to take your own.

As I previously mentioned  Matlock is very Hilly so there are plenty of walking  uphill involved to get to see the best views, but if you don't mind this then there are lots of places to explorer around the River Derwent with the bandstand and a nice childrens play park.

If you are thinking of taking a visit to Matlock Bath, it is worth a visit to Gullivers Kingdom and SpyZone too, and it may be worth noting that through September to the end of October there is the annual Matlock illuminations which means on Saturdays and Sundays there is a parade of illuminated boats which take to the river, accompanied with entertainment and firework displays in the evenings which would extend the entertainment even longer.

To find out more about Matlock Events visit the Derbyshire Dales Website here

To find out more about Gullivers Kingdom and Spy Zone take a look at the website here.

 We were provided with free entry tickets in exchange with providing a review, all photos and opinions are my own.

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