Thursday, 18 June 2020

Family fun at home with Funko Pop Vinyl and Funkoverse game

All of my children love the funky range of Pop Vinyl collectible figures and accompanying toys and collectibles. 

When we received the amazing Funko products I didn't even know there was a Funkoverse; Jurassic Park game so we dove straight into that to find out more and how to play. 

Being at home a lot recently has brought us together as a family and games are one of the things we are trying to do more of so this was perfect timing for us. 

Funko family at home began with the Funkoverse; Jurassic Park game. 

Bring the magic of Jurassic Park to life with this exciting Funkoverse Strategy Game.

Containing two Funko Pop! characters, with this cool strategy game players go head-to-head in exciting scenarios, using each character's unique abilities to gain points and achieve victory!

Each pack contains two exclusive Funko Pop! figures (not available anywhere else), a double-sided board, tokens, cards, dice, plus a special item.

For between 2 - 4 players, Playing Time: 20-60 minutes and suitable for children aged 10 years and over. 

We loved this and it's great to have a new game to all get around the table and play especially while we are all at home and able to spend time together learning and playing. 


The Funko pop vinyl figures were a great addition to an already growing collection with the children too. There are so many to collect and we received Vincent Van Gogh, Hello Kitty, Harley Quinn and Batman as well as a Harry Potter plush, Harry Potter mini collectible and a pen. 


The Things all chose a pop vinyl each to add to their collections. Pop vinyl figures are great as collectible and at a good price point it means they can ask for them as gifts on birthdays or at Christmas and even use their pocket money towards them too. 


The Funko soda can collection features some great characters from Batman to The Flintstones and Batfink to Masters of the Universe. The Batman figure is 1 0f 10,000 with a gold figure that can be found too with a 1 of 1600 figures to be found and collected. 

There are also these fab mini collectible blind box figures which are at a great price point and fun to find and collect. This was from the Harry Potter collection and there are 14 to collect in total. 

As a family we didn't realise how much choice there was from the Funko range. Being on week 13-14 of staying at home we really were on the look out for new things to do and new games to play and the Jurassic Park strategy game was something different from what we would usually buy but we all really enjoyed it. The children have also been busy sorting their Pop Vinyl collections and making space for more! 

Disclaimer; We were sent these products for the purpose of this write up and review. all thoughts and comments are our own. 

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Review {AD} Hey Duggee interactive flip and learn toy phone

Review {AD} Hey duggee flip n learn phone 

Toddlers love a phone to play with. Toy phone or real one if there’s one nearby they just what to push all the buttons and make lots of noise.

That’s why this Hey Duggee flip and learn phone from Trends UK is a perfect toy for toddlers. With a flip phone style and lots of wonderful buttons to press with lots of different sounds and Hey Duggee’s voice.

Includes skills to learn such as colour and number recognition, basic communication and fine motor skills.

Interact with Hey Duggee and the squirrels and have fun learning about colours, numbers and fun facts.

Hey Duggee is a very popular character at the moment and this colourful, fun interactive toy is a delight for toddlers age 18 months plus.

A small sized toy for inquisitive hands and an ideal size to carry anywhere for play time and fun.

It has a backlit screen and asks the child to find colours & numbers, listen to greetings and pretend to take pictures.

Grandbaby1 absolutely loves this. She’s a big Hey Duggee fan so the character choice is great and it means she plays with it a lot. The learning element is great too. It's not a flimsy phone so great for small hands but feels like it can withstand the demands of a toddler in play! 

With a price point of £10.99 and available at John Lewis it’s a great price for an interactive learning toy.

Disclaimer; We were gifted this toy for review purposes. All thoughts and comments are our own.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Our walking water 'stay at home' rainbow experiment. Fun & easy home school idea for the children.

A few days ago I decided to show the children the 'walking water' experiment. A very simple yet effective lesson and fun for everyone. With a very quick and easy set up time too, it's great as a quick experiment with fun results. 

First it's great to get the children to predict what may happen once the experiment starts. Get them to write down their predictions. 

You will need; 

7 plastic cups/glasses
3 food colourings; Red, blue & yellow
Kitchen towel

Set the 7 glasses out in a row and fill every other cup with water. You should have 4 with water and 3 without water. Next add the same amount of food colouring to each cup. As you can see we had red in each of the end glasses and blue and yellow in the other two. 

Next you need to fold the kitchen towel (and trim if needed) and put kitchen towel between each full glass and the empty glasses. Six pieces in total. 

Now watch as the coloured water starts 'walking' towards the top of the glass and over into the empty glass. What is going to happen? Two colours are going into one empty glass so what colours do you predict will be in the empty glasses?

It didn't take the colours long to start moving and we checked back on the experiment every couple of hours to see what was happening. By the next morning we could do our final check to see what new colours had appeared in the empty glasses and which two colours had mixed to make the new colour. 

Why not give it a try as a stay at home school activity and record your results as part of your school work. 

The children loved this experiment,  it was so quick and easy to set up and has great results. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

A Celebration of Slytherin At Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. 3rd April to 6th September 2020

 Fans are invited to discover the Slytherin common room for the first time ever. Known throughout the eight films for its ambition and links to dark magic, Slytherin house is home to some of the greatest wizards of all time. From April, visitors to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London will discover the secrets behind some of the iconic costumes and props belonging to their favourite, cunning Slytherin characters.

Visitors won’t have to be under the guise of Polyjuice potion to discover the secrets of the Slytherin common room up close, as for the first time ever, fans are invited to gather around the imposing fireplace and sofas where Ron’s magical transformation began to wear off, revealing his ginger hair. During this special feature, a 25-foot high section of this iconic set will be on display, furnished and dressed with authentic props. 

When envisioning the Slytherin common room, Production Designer Stuart Craig wanted a very different atmosphere to the warm colours of Gryffindor so designed the set to look like a dungeon carved out of solid rock. The hand-designed wall tapestries visitors will see had red tones completely taken out of the colour palette to add to the austere atmosphere and further highlight the iconic Slytherin colours, green and silver.

Entering through the Great Hall doors, visitors will be greeted by a sea of green as the Slytherin house banners from the film series are suspended from the enchanted ceiling, denoting a Slytherin victory of the House Cup. Over the teacher’s table, Gryffindor banners will be displayed in reference to the final scenes of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in which Dumbledore awards last-minute house points resulting in a Gryffindor triumph.

Paying homage to some of Slytherin’s most esteemed witches and wizards, a number of original costumes belonging to the Malfoy family will be on display allowing visitors to see how the designs changed to depict their rise and fall in power and status alongside Lord Voldemort. Also showcased will be the evolution of Voldemort’s costumes showing his growth from orphan, Tom Riddle, to young Hogwarts student and finally to prolific villain.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London’s Celebration of Slytherin feature will run from Friday 3rd April – Sunday 6th September 2020 and all additions are included in the ticket price.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Why all of the 'hate' recently? Spread the love.

Why do we find it so easy to hate on each other? Not so much face to face but online and on social media, hidden behind a screen we let the hate flow freely through the keyboard. 

So many people think that it’s ok. It’s not said to someone’s face so maybe it won’t hurt as much? 

Some things I’ve seen and read online recently are just awful. Would you really go up to someone in the street and say that to their face? Maybe some people are cruel enough to? 

Is it ok to comment because you think someone spends too much. ‘Oh I would never spend that much money on my child’ or ‘That’s a ridiculous amount of money to spend on an item of clothing’.  Well maybe you wouldn’t spend that but that doesn’t give you the right to dictate what others spend their money on. 

Or what about ‘What do they think they are wearing?’ or 'What do they think they look like?' Just because it’s not your taste in clothing or style doesn’t mean it doesn’t look nice or feel right for that person. The world would be a pretty boring place if we all had the same taste or style. 

On Instagram last year one of my child’s so called ‘friends’ put a poll to vote for the ugliest girl in their year and there was a vote for my child before the post was removed. Why would that child even put up something like that and then why would another child vote? Why the hatred? Why the dislike for others? What was the point? 

Just because you don’t agree with what others are doing doesn’t mean you can comment on it in a negative way. If someone followed you around and scrutinised every part of your day, each and every day, can you imagine how much that would drag you down to the point of being completely depressing. Even when you in yourself think you are doing the right thing someone else is there to make you think you aren’t. 

So why do it to others and even more so over social media or even in the media. Hidden behind a screen doesn’t mean you have the right to say what you like when you like. Hatred is spread far too easily recently and at the expense of others and their wellbeing and mental health. 

If we put as much effort into building each other up rather than tearing each other down the world would be a better place. Yet people can’t seem to do it. They can’t pass one nice comment on to someone no matter how small. That one comment could pick someone up for the rest of the day or even week. It could be that one comment that makes that person feel better about themselves just when they weren’t feeling at their best. 

So why can't we turn the hate into love. One small comment to someone who we wouldn't normally pass comment to. Leave a small note in a loved one's lunch letting them know how much they mean to you or you hope their day is going well. Leave a note on a colleagues desk thanking them for their help or input into work life. Drop a message to someone wishing them a good day or even offer 5 minutes of your time for a chat if needed. Spark up conversation to connect people together. 

All of this could make the world of difference to someone who may really need it and yet we don't always know it at the time. Be Kind.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Are they all yours?! An ode to the larger families out there and more of the silly questions that get asked on a daily basis!

My face when I get asked these questions!

After being asked these questions on a daily basis I thought I would put into writing what I felt like saying most of the time. I think it was the look of dread on the waiters face in Pizza Express over the weekend that said it all really but the children were well behaved and the waitress that ended up serving us was patient and attentive with the children which I thank her for. So many are quick to write you off as soon as you walk in the door and assume you are going to be a nightmare, sometimes they are! We only have five children, anyone would think we went around with a truck full. :-)

So here we go, one of the questions that gets asked a lot, along with 'Do you have a TV?'

'Are they all yours?' the old lady just asked
No, I stole him off that woman when she walked past

'Are they all yours?' said the man at the till
No, my Aunt left me a couple in her will

'Are they all yours?' asks a waitress in the cafe
No, they just seem to follow me they won't go away

'Are they all yours?' they say pointing at me
No but I'm selling them do you want one, only 50p

'Are they all yours?' the old man did shriek
No, one was delivered by courier only last week

'Are they all yours?' you must be brave
No, I just bought them to be my slaves

'Are they all yours?', is it true
No, they belong to the old lady who lives in a shoe

'Are they all yours?', are you insane,
Yes that's me, how did you know my name?!

Foraging in the local woods, how else are we meant to eat??!

I would like to point out that I've never said these responses to anyone although I would love to see their face if I did. Other questions include:

Where do you keep them all?. I was actually quite taken aback by this one. I mean come on, common sense would tell you that as long as they have a roof over their heads it doesn't matter how many children I have. 2, 3, 4 or more in one bedroom wouldn't be an issue. Or did they expect me to say in a zoo, or a cage?!

4 of the 5 Thing's in question!

How do you afford them all? Last time I looked it up I seem to remember that I didn't pay the midwife for any of my babies before leaving the hospital. Unless things have changed since Thing 5 was born, babies are still free. Apart from the usual baby/child paraphernalia which comes at a price but a price that you set, at a budget you can afford. Not what others tell you that you should or shouldn't be spending or buying.

I do feed them, these pictures show yoghurt and chocolate! 

Do you have a TV? Yes we do. We have a few actually. Some evenings I will be watching Corrie whilst the OH is somewhere else watching Sport or other such boring stuff. Our Sky signal may have gone down, about 5 times perhaps?! ;-)

How do you feed them all? I'm assuming people mean that my food shop must be horrendous rather than them wanting to know if they eat from a trough or at a table like 'normal' sized families. I mean it's not like you can't get tables bigger than a four seater! Food shopping isn't horrendous, well the cost of it isn't, shopping with all of the kids is though!. Thank heaven for the online shopping angels and I shop with offers and discount codes which makes it easier on the pennies. They just don't get caviar and lobster every day, only every other day.

One day's worth of clothes washing and three more lines were drying

Plus many more questions that make us feel like we shouldn't have 5 children. I don't think we are a larger family although according to statistics, online booking services when it comes to booking any family day out (COME ON PEOPLE, LARGER FAMILY TICKETS PLEASE!), the local restaurant when you book a table for 7 plus the grandparents and they ask if it's a party, plus all the above mentioned members of the public who think it's OK to question you then Yes we are classed as a larger family.

Oh and I don't live in a shoe.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Nights out with friends & family. Do you have FOMO or JOMO?

Parenting changes your life. It doesn’t mean that everything has to change but sometimes you can feel like you are missing out...... or you just need to get out!
Having children doesn’t mean you have to stay at home until they are 18. You can meet other parents for coffee and play dates and babysitters can be a godsend when it comes to a night out. Some of us really look forward to a night out and a night off from looking after the children. 

However do you want to go out or would you rather stay at home? 

Dadof5 definitely has FOMO (fear of missing out). We were the first people among his friends to have children so we were either battling to find babysitters so we could go out or taking the children with us if it were allowable. Even now that more of his friends have children he still asks them what they are doing for New Year’s Eve or their birthday. Or he says ‘Oh I haven’t heard from X person in a while’ when he hasn’t made the effort to contact them and meet up either. Nobody is doing anything massively amazing but he still feels like he might be missing out on something that his friends are all doing.... he’s not! As I stated in a previous blog post I’m going to try and spend more time with Dadof5 this year, the same could be said for spending more time with friends but things are different now. It’s more of a catch up over coffee or a meal out. No more partying and clubbing for us! 

I’m more of a JOMO person. To be honest I only heard about JOMO (joy of missing out) recently. Although not so much the joy part of it, I am not overly joyous that I have missed out on something, sometimes I just don't want to go. Don’t get me wrong, if it’s an afternoon tea or lunch out I am there for sure but nights out, some of the time, I’m just not up for it. I’m definitely more of an ‘in my pyjamas by 6.30’ kind of gal these days. If it’s someone’s birthday meal or a special occasion then it’s a definite yes. Even now that we have the older ones who we can leave to babysit we need to make sure they are all prepared for us to leave, the younger ones are in their beds and they all know where they stand behaviour wise, you know what I mean! I don’t want to come home at midnight and everyone’s still awake, that’s the part of the evening I don’t like. 

Mention afternoon tea and I am there. As you can see I love an afternoon tea! 

Having children can change your social life. If you have a good network of babysitters then you can still go out lots. Although the cost of arranging babysitters does then bump up the price of a night out. As I said, now the children are older it is easier in that aspect but we still don’t go out a lot. Although I have challenged myself to change that in 2020. 

Some of us don’t want to leave the children to go out and yet others really do want to get out and get away from the house (and the children) for an evening and meet up with others. It can do us good to get out and have some time for ourselves. 

So do you have FOMO or JOMO? Would you rather stay at home in the evenings. Or do you sometimes wish you could go out and see your friends more. 

Saying that, we’ve not had a good meal out with friends for a while. I’m off to book it, if I can drag myself away from my cosy pyjamas! 

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

[AD] REVIEW of the Clementoni action & reaction set and mechanics laboratory monster truck STEM kits

We had these amazing STEM kits sent to us from Clementoni to review and the children loved them. 
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and maths. 

There has been a lot of focus on STEM recently as it’s thought that less children/young adults are focussing on these as a college or career path now than in past years. 

In our house the children can spend a bit too much time on their tablets. Playing games, watching YouTube or occasionally getting some homework done. 

However I’m always very keen to get them more hands on and involved in making and doing projects either on their own or working together. 

First of all the children wanted to try out the Clementoni action and reaction set. With more than 120 buildable components there are so many possibilities to make a track to watch the chain reaction of events on this marble run style kit. 

With this truly unique scientific kit, finding out about the wonders of physics becomes easy and great fun! A science lab packed with special pieces and accessories offering lots of playing options where kids can experiment with gravity, forces and levers. The illustrated manual will guide the little players as they attempt increasingly difficult tasks, entertaining them as they learn! It comes with some scales, a hammer pendulum, slides, towers and lots of other pieces for kids to grow in knowledge as they build ingenious compositions. 

The children absolutely loved trying out different configurations of the track. Each ball is weighted slightly differently so you have to use each one correctly to create the correct reaction. We loved this and it’s been played with so many times since we received it. 

The next kit was the mechanics laboratory monster truck kit. With over 200 components to make 10 different vehicle combinations each with a different difficulty level this kit is great. Build, engineer and experiment with motion transmission. 

Build the vehicles using levers and gears with independent suspension on the vehicles too. Choose from the monster truck or other vehicles such as the hot rod, spider truck and many more. 

With the easy to follow instruction booklet or online with the 3D instructions in the mechanics laboratory app this was a great kit for our 2 children aged 10 and 13 years. Our youngest at age 7 helped out Daddy with a build too though! 

Both kits are recommended for age 8 years + although with a little help our 7 year old loved these too especially the action and reaction set. 

With a great price point too these Clementoni STEM kits are fantastic value and with so many to choose from you can really get hands on with so many different activities. 

We will definitely be looking into getting more for the children to enjoy. 

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Everything that is wrong with school attendance awards

Schools seem to grade EVERYTHING these days.

I get the need for GCSEs/grades for getting into college and putting on your CV in later life but even then you can’t always gauge someone’s talent just on their ability to sit exams and the grades they get from them. Children thrive in very different environments. 

These days there is so much pressure on them to succeed even in their SATs tests that they sit in Year 2 and Year 6 and yet what is it all for? When your child goes for a job when they are older will their potential employer bask in the success of their Year 6 SATs, no. Will they rejoice that they had 100% attendance all throughout Junior School, no. 

Now I’m not saying that school attendance isn’t important because it is. 

If there are parents keeping their children home because they can’t be arsed to take them into school, sort it. Parents that keep their children off school to go shopping or to a theme park because it’s their birthday, sort it. 

However there’s those times that we can’t help that they aren’t at school. 

Illness for example. We can’t help it when our children are ill and believe me they love to pass an illness around. Coughs, colds, sickness bugs, you name it and kids breed it. Once it hits one child you will find that they drop like flies. There’s nothing worse than making a child go back to school when they aren’t feeling 100% better. However, there’s so much pressure put on parents about attendance that we find ourselves sending them back to school sooner than we should. 

A poorly Thing after a hard day at school.

Then there’s the awards for attendance. What’s that all about?? 

Here you go Tommy here’s an award for not being ill in the last school year, meanwhile we won’t give Sarah an award because she was off, even though it was for important hospital appointments that she had to attend due to an illness/condition that she has no control over. She was at school every other day of the year though.......... but tough. 

Then we have the class attendance records so we are now pitching classes against each other and at the end of each term all of the children with 100% attendance get the chance to win something. However, Sarah can forget about it for her whole school career, she isn’t ever going to get anything...... but tough. 

Getting into school on a snow day.

So schools, listen up. While as parents we get that school attendance is important please quit with the attendance awards. If they are ill they aren’t coming into school, if they’ve got vital hospital appointments to attend then they are going to go but please don’t penalise them for it, it’s not right.

Friday, 10 January 2020

'We have no food Mum'. What no food means to my child and what it means to me!

There's no fooooood, grumble the children at me incessantly. What no food actually means is that there is no rubbish for them to eat. 

The kids idea of food they want to eat

Between 7 of us I am sure at least 5 of us know where the shops are and are capable of walking down to the local one! However, it's down to me to think about always having the cupboards stocked and if they aren't I'm in for it.

When they say there is no food in the house what they really mean is that there is nothing that they reallllly fancy eating right at that very minute. We are low on food and I have a food shop coming but if for some reason there was a freak storm outside and we were all housebound for a few days we would survive! There would be some interesting meals made and we would be eating dry cereal for breakfast or maybe frozen peas, but we wouldn't fade away or die from hunger.

The weekly food shopping bill seems to go up and up yet we still don't have any food, or so they say. 

Most days I stick my head in the freezer and wonder why it's not full to the brim with every possible flavour of Ben and Jerry's for me to choose from. It just isn't going to happen! There is never going to be a time when you pop your head in a cupboard or in the fridge and there will be that one thing you are craving right at that very second. It's just the way it works. I can easily spend over £150 a week on the food shop and someone will still moan that I forgot to buy something that they really wanted.

I want to downsize the shopping bill whilst still being able to feed us all for the week and not get to the point where they are all moaning at me because there is 'no food'. That and the fact that they are just being fussy, what's wrong with mushy peas for breakfast??!

My children's idea of what food they neeeeed!! 

My one gripe, there's never any milk in the fridge when I want it!!!!! I can't get through the day without tea. I'm off to grumble at myself for being rubbish at food shopping and not making sure everyone has everything they want 24/7. What a rubbish mother and wife I am??!

Is it the same in your house? Am I the only person who gets to the point where there is 'nothing' to eat? Do you think others in the house should be a bit more active in helping?

Growing up as an 80's child. The freedom we had!

I was born in 1979 so I’m officially old! 

Growing up in the 80s was fab. We lived down a street with a lot of family living just doors away. My uncle lived next door, one Nan lived 3 doors away and my other Nan and Grandad lived opposite. My Dads uncle lived just a couple of doors away from my Nan and Grandad too.

We also had a few family friends down the street too.

Back in the 80s it was still a fairly ‘open door’, or at least unlocked door, era as far as I remember. Popping in and out of my grandparents houses fairly often as well as walking down to the friends houses too.

Parents would sit and chat with friends whilst all of the children played outside. Football, roller skating, bike riding, tree climbing. You name it and we did it. We knew our boundaries as set by our parents but they certainly aren’t as limiting as we need to be these days. 

We didn’t have mobile phones for our parents to check up on us or for us to call them if we needed them. We had a set time to be back or they would come and find us. If we weren’t at the park we were all congregating at one friends house. Where you found our bikes parked outside you found us! 

We would rush in from school, grab a snack, get changed and we would be out the door again. ‘Be back in time for your dinner’ would be all we heard as we ran out of the door. And we would be back for dinner, most of the time. Dinner would be hurriedly eaten so we could try and get out again before we lost the sunlight.

We weren't tied by over worrying or the 'health & safety' implications that we seem to have now. We would find out afterwards why it wasn't a good idea to do what we did!

We would tie a skateboard to the back of our friends bike to tow each other along behind or climb over the fence at the park instead of using the gate and it's only afterwards we would find out that maybe it was a great thing to do. We lived in our roller skates as we grew up too and we had a huge sloped concrete driveway, this was fab for rolling down, picking up speed and it did end up in the road! 

Who didn't have bruises everywhere and scabby knees from our adventures outside and the freedom we had to explore and learn??

We had so much more freedom back then and I do feel sorry for our children today. At the same age as Thing 4 is now I was out on my bike riding 10 minutes down the road to my friends house. I wouldn’t let him do that now. Maybe we worry too much, maybe we should let them have a bit more freedom than we do whilst still understanding that it can't be exactly the way it was back then. 

Do you wish we could give our children the freedom we had? Do you find your children are indoors more than they are outdoors? Should we let them go further than they do or is it just not possible any more?