Little Passports Early Explorers – Famous Landmarks

Our second Little Passports Early Explorers box arrived, and it was just a wonderful box. We loved it so much. Little Passports Early Explorers

This one was themed “famous landmarks” and came with five ‘mini figures’ – little figurines of five well known landmarks: The Great Wall of China, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Taj Mahal, The Great Spynx, and The Eiffel Tower.

Along with them comes collectors cards with information on each landmark, ,and a printout with more information on each one. There are also stickers that can be stuck on the continents map, on Asia, Europe and Africa.
Little Passports Early Explorers

The activity book that came with the ‘landmarks’ box is full of landmark themed activities – spot the difference, finish the picture, odd one out and so on. They are perfectly targeted at 3 – 5 year olds and are really just so lovely to sit and do together.

Little Passports Early Explorers

We also received a ‘flashlight’. It is one of the smartest things I’ve seen! It’s basically an A4 booklet, but inside one side is a darkened bit of plastic, so you can’t really see what’s behind it. There’s a press-out ‘flashlight’ with a grey beam, and at the end of it is a white circle. You slot the beam under the plastic, and move it around, which ‘highlights’ the area it’s on, making it show up. It’s quite ingenious. This shows different things from the theme, and also gives you a hint as to the contents of next month’s box.

Little Passports Early Explorers

Click on the image below to go to the website. Use the code LEARN15 to take $15 off a 12-month subscription 


Shopping With Trolley Bags {Review}

I love little things that make life easier. In the years before paid – for shopping bags, we’d always have a bag of bags in the kitchen, to be used for clearing out the car, taking out small bits of rubbish, or for general carrying purposes. Of course now, whenever I take a bag out of the bag of bags, I think “eek! that’s a 5p bag / 10p bag! should I really be using it for this!

I’ve tried various reusable shopping bags, but the Trolley Bags we’ve been trying recently are really fab, and they tick all the boxes, especially for larger families who do bigger shopping trips.

Trolley Bags Read more: Shopping With Trolley Bags {Review}

Capture the Flag – Clip & Activities

The film weaves a fantastical tale of a boy, his father and grandfather who come together to protect the legacy of the original moon landing while restoring the relationship between 12 year old Mike’s father and grandfather.

“Space travel runs in Mike Goldwing’s family: both his father and grandfather were astronauts and they all live on a NASA base. But the plucky 12-year-old’s estranged grandfather, Frank, has lived a life isolated from his family after missing out on the chance to make history as a member of the Apollo 11 crew.

However, when Mike discovers that an eccentric billionaire plans to fly to the moon, claim its vast, valuable mineral resources, and destroy the American flag planted by the Apollo 11 astronauts, the countdown to a spectacular adventure begins! Mike, teamed with his grandfather, best friends Amy and Marty, and a clever chameleon, blasts off on an incredible moon-bound mission, determined to thwart the billionaire’s evil plan, capture the flag, and reunite his divided family.”

You can see the opening scenes from the film here:

Read more: Capture the Flag – Clip & Activities

The Original Mr Frosty – Crunchy Ice Maker

There are things in every person’s childhood that, when reintroduced sometime in your future, they get really excited about. Well, Mr Frosty isn’t actually one of mine, having not grown up in the UK, but when I told a friend that I had received a Mr Frosty in the mail, she squealed down the phone so loudly I had a fright! Apparently Mr Frosty of her childhood filled many a summer and she was really excited to hear that they were being relaunched in the UK. And yes – her childhood was in the 90’s. Mine, not quite!

Mr Frosty is an at-home slushy maker that comes with a snowman with handle and removable drawer, with an internal grater for crushing the ice. 9bc1faf9-cb5e-497d-9c84-c7a06667c92e

It comes with two bowls and two spoons – the bowls are tiny, but perfectly child sized. They don’t honestly need more, and seconds aren’t a problem. There is also an ice mold with summery ice shapes – fire hydrant and summer fruits – and a lolly maker for three icy popsicles and snowman handles. Finally there’s a squeezy penguin with a removable hat so that you can fill it with cordial and a hole in the hat so you can squeeze it out over the plain ice. I’m told that the Mr Frosty of the 90’s came with sugary syrups, but in this 2016 version, those aren’t included.  You can, however, buy concentrates from your local supermarket, or choose to use something else or nothing else! The kids won’t know the difference, really!Read more: The Original Mr Frosty – Crunchy Ice Maker

Summer Time, Beaches and Gazillion Incredibubble Wand

Tonight I’m sitting here shivering because my skin is burning up from sun exposure. Warmer weather took it’s time in coming, but it’s here, as the back of my neck can attest! One of the best things about summer for my kids is bubbles on the beach. I quite literally have up to 6 bubble wands in the boot of my car all summer long because I know that wherever we are, the kids are going to want bubbles! They bring kids together in a play ground, they make even the dull at the beach look up, point and smile, and they turn ‘mummy I’m bored’ into a great session of running and squealing in the garden.

This week we got a new toy – the Giant Gazillion Incredibubble Wand set, and it was an instant hit. You just have to look at these pictures to see why!

Gazillion Incredibubble Wand

Read more: Summer Time, Beaches and Gazillion Incredibubble Wand

Bear Claws And Alpa Bites Review

Last week we were sent a box of Bear Claws and Alpa Bites for the kids to try out. They did, and what happened suggests that they loved it.

We were recording their review for YouTube – you can see it at the bottom of this post – and finished reviewing the Bear Claws, which consisted of two packs of 5 snacking portions. My camera battery went flat, so I nipped to the room to find the spare battery, which had already been packed away for our house move, and when I returned to the lounge, not ten minutes later, they had finished off all ten packets! I was really quite cross, but I guess it’s a good testament to what they thought of the Bear Claws!

Bear Claws

The packs we were sent were Mango & Carrot flavour and Apple, Pear and Pumpkin flavour.

On opening the Mango and Carrot packets, you get a definite aroma of carrot, but there’s very little carrot flavour that comes through. It’s a strong mango flavour instead, which makes it a hit with us.

The Apple, Pear and Pumpkin sounds like an odd mix and the flavour we found very hard to put your finger on, with Aviya saying it tastes like ‘everything’ – a mix of all three and none in particular. That said, it’s a delicious flavour. There weren’t any left!

These fruit packs count as one of your five a day, and they are 100% fruit and veg with “no nonsense added”. And they are shaped like animal paws and eyes, so kind of quirky and fun for the kids.

I am sure these would make great lunch box snacks as they are tart and sweet to make you not want or need any chocolate or other sugary snacks, but we never got to try that theory!

Alpha Bites

We’ve had Alpha Bites before, and I don’t remember the kids being overly excited by them last time, but this time they really like them. They’ve almost finished the whole bag of breakfast cereal in less than a week, so that’s something surprising considering they’re not made of chocolate!

In fact they are more honey-like in flavour, which Ameli says goes well with milk.

What draws the kids to them is also the fact that they are alphabet shaped, so even if you don’t have them in milk and instead have them as snacks in a lunch box, they sit trying to make words with the letters – educational food. What’s not to love!

To find out more about Bear Claws and Alpha Bites, watch the video here – and don’t forget to subscribe!

YouTube Direkt

Create Little Explorers With Little Passports Subscription Boxes

Ameli never stood a chance, really. She was born to a mother with itchy feet, and by her second birthday she had been to 20 countries. That’s more than many people see in a life time! Unfortunately our circumstances changed and our travelling slowed down somewhat, but I like to think the impact of all those travels have landed and she will always be a little world traveller.

When we were offered a 3-month subscription to Little Passports I was really excited, because I knew she’d love it.

Our first parcel arrived, and we set off on our Little Passports adventure. Little Passports Subscription Boxes

Being six, Ameli receives the World Edition for 6 – 10 year olds. The first parcel contains the blue and green cardboard suitcase, a ‘passport’ and a wall-sized world map. It also includes a welcome letter from Sam & Sofia (which I’ve managed to convince Ameli are real people!) and stickers to decorate the case, (later boxes include stickers for ‘passport stamps’ for the passport) a photo of the two friends and an activity sheet. There’s also a boarding pass with an access code for online games in the Boarding Zone.Read more: Create Little Explorers With Little Passports Subscription Boxes

Schleich Farm Animals

For some reason, young children are always encouraged to have an interest in farm animals. From Old McDonald Had A Farm to petting zoo parties to story books, there’s a definite theme there! And it’s a good thing, I suppose. It’s important they have an understanding of the world, especially if farm animals aren’t a regular sighting.

Schleich have a range of farm animal toys out that can pretty much stock an entire play farm. Schleich is a well known brand, and has been around forever, and the great thing about their figurines is that they slot easily into other play – my girls have discovered that they are a great addition to their Playmobil stables, for example, although Schleich also have a beautiful stable and farm themselves.

We received two sets to review – My First Farm Animals Set (41424) (RRP £12.99) and Stable Cleaning Kit with Calf & Lamb (41422) (RRP £6)

My First Farm Animals Set contains an adult cow, an adult pig, a hen and a lamb that my children have decided is female on account of her light colour – not scientific, I know! There’s also a bale of hay, some apples and carrots, cause they need to eat and all.Schleich Farm Animals

The Stable Cleaning Kit comes with  a Shropshire lamb and a Fleckvieh calf, newly born, and it also comes with carrots and bucket and a broom, perfect for cleaning out the stables.Schleich Farm Yard

These are just two of the sets containing hand painted farm animals, but they are obviously highly interchangeable – my girls have decided that the calf belongs to the cow, for example, with no thought to the fact they come from different boxes.

Cows Schleich Farm Animals

Here’s a short video for you on what the girls think of the Schleich Farm Animal sets:

YouTube Direkt

From a parent point of view, Schleich guarantee all their toys in terms of both materials used to make them, and in fact the fair working environment for the people making them too. Their toys meet not only the safety standards of the EU, but also the additional of the US and many other countries too. The plastics and softeners used are the same as those used in food packaging, so while you shouldn’t try to eat your Schleich Farm Animals, you’re not likely to experience ill effects should one end up as a temporary chew toy!

Schleich Farm Animals are available from most major toy retailers and from Amazon

Vango Starwalker Junior Sleeping Bag {Review}

Summer is coming! As I write this, the sun is shining brightly, though there’s still a chill in the air. Soon though, soon, the weather will be balmy – or as balmy as it gets here in the UK – and we’ll be heading out to sleep under canvas. Read on to find out why the Vango Starwalker Junior Sleeping Bag is a must-have for young campers this summer.

The Vango Starwalker Junior Sleeping Bag for kids comes in either a panda or dragon design. We received the panda free in exchange for our review, and if you watch this video, you’ll see just how much the children loved it.

YouTube Direkt Read more: Vango Starwalker Junior Sleeping Bag {Review}

Skandika Teepee Review

At the very end of last summer we were sent a Skandika Teepee tent to review, which we took out in the last week of the summer season at our local holiday park. We were offered a number of different tents, some very practical for families, some great for erecting single-handedly, and everything in between. I really had my heart set on the Teepee -style tent, and despite the warnings from Skandika that the tent didn’t have a sewn in groundsheet, I really wanted it, so they were kind enough to send it out.

Skandika Teepee Review

Things I loved about the Skandika Teepee:

I love the look of it, and the design. I love that I can stand up in it, and that there’s so much room, you can actually enjoy yourself, even on a rainy day – which let’s face it, if you’re camping in the UK, you’re bound to come across.

I love that it has two doors because it is a polyester tent, so when the sun is baking down on it, it can be really, really hot. Having the two doors open allows the wind to blow through, cooling everything down. This is a real winner!

I love how easy this tent is to put up. I put it up on my own with two little helpers and it took us less than 20 minutes, including having to move it as we realised that one side of our pitch was slush and the other was cement. The main thing is to make sure that you have the guide ropes in the centre laid out properly, otherwise it’s all skewed and takes forever to figure out.

I love how it looks on a field, with or without other tents around. It stands out as different from most other tents. There might be regular tents, or bell tents, but ours was the only teepee tent. I really liked that.

I also love the golden colour of the sunshine through it on a bright morning.Skandika Teepee Review

Things I didn’t love about this tent:

Okay, so the fact that the groundsheet isn’t fitted bothered me a lot more than I thought it would, and I was warned about it, so it’s not fair really to put it in things I didn’t like, but at night, it did feel that the lack of sewn in groundsheet (combined with the really soft ground) caused the tent to billow above our heads. I did find that unsettling!

The only things I thought were actual ‘flaws’ in the tent though, were the windows. Some of them were windows that you tie up, and some are the pretty plastic diamonds. The problem is, there’s no way of closing the diamonds, so anyone walking past can see in. We put suitcases and backpacks in front of them. The other thing is that the ones you could cover you could only cover from the outside, so you had to head out of the tent in your pyjamas to do them up in the middle of the night. Not really ideal.

So for me, this isn’t really an overnight tent, which is unfortunate as they are a few design issues that could be changed to make this a superb tent. That said, if you’re camping in a group this could very easily be your central, communal area between your tents, giving you a covered space to be together away from the elements. It is certainly spacious enough!

So what is the Skandika Teepee good for?

We used it for Aviya’s birthday party in March, decorating the inside and put all the food inside too, so the kids could run around in the marshy field we were in, but have a dry floor to sit on to eat and play party games. If we had a big garden I’d put it up without the groundsheet all summer long too, as it would make a perfect summer house, of sorts. It’s a fantastic event tent, able to hold at least 15 seated people, which is what we had in it for Aviya’s birthday party.

I have to say, despite the windows and the groundsheet, I still love this tent. If I knew we’d have good weather the whole trip, I’d love to sleep under this tent without the groundsheet. Couldn’t get much closer to nature than that.

In terms of Skandika as a brand, however, I have nothing but good things to say about this tent. It held it’s own in the wind, the pole is sturdy, the stitching is good on the tent, and I would happily try another Skandika tent, because I can’t complain about the quality!