Sunday, 15 October 2017

Review: Dobble Card Game - Fabulous Fun for All the Family

Back in 2013 we were sent the card game Dobble to review. I said yes to reviewing it as I thought it would be good to take on holiday with us and I was right. In fact over the last four years Dobble has been so many places with us, it is our game of choice when waiting in restaurants for our meal to arrive, we've played it on the plane going to Spain and it has been out with all number of friends who've been here to play.

Dobble is such a simple game, but not so simple it is boring. I really love it as it levels the playing field and the youngest kids can beat the adults in the family, which is such a good feeling for them. It takes just a couple of minutes to explain and in no time at all my 5 year old twins had picked up what they needed to do. The first time we played it was JJ (age 9) and my husband and I sat with one of the twins each but they really didn't need us once they knew what to do. So the next game it was straight on to the 5 of us playing together as frankly the girls could easily cope with it. Here we are playing out in the fresh air back in 2013 -

Dobble is 55 quality cards in a 10cm tin and on each card are 8 different symbols of differing sizes. There are 50 different symbols in total and every single card has one matching symbol.  All you have to do is be the first to spot and name out loud your matching symbol and it sounds so easy but there are sometimes I am sat there scratching my head - I just can't see for looking!

There are 5 different suggested games that you can play and we took a good 30 minutes the first time just playing the simplest game, which is pretty much like a glorified snap game. Over the last few years we've played the other games but truth be told we always go back to the original game and enjoy it immensely. I have even started to use Dobble in my coaching sessions were I go into a local school and met a young lad who needs a champion. He really loves it when he beats me!

Every one of us in the family commented that we love Dobble and the best thing is it is small enough to stay in my handbag and whenever we are in need of something to occupy us it is there and ready. Back in 2013 I awarded Dobble 9/10 and the only reason being is that I thought the cards could be a little thicker and thus more durable. However I am now willing to change that to a 10/10 as we have played the game a lot over the last 5 years and they are still as good as when they were sent to us!

You can play Dobble with 2-8 players and a game takes about 15 minutes.

Overall score: 10/10 

Dobble retails for £12.99 but I have spotted it on Amazon for £9.99 including postage.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Boom Blast Stix - What A Fun Game!

We've been playing a new game at our house and I can tell you one thing, it has been keeping us on the edge of our seats. The first time the stix ever went boom I screamed so loud my neighbour told me she heard me!

I love the fun and simplicity of Boom Blast Stix. My son described it as a modern take on Buckeroo and I suppose it is, a little! The game play is simple and as such any age can probably play, although the manufacturers recommend it for upwards of 6 years.

You receive the large tub. 32 springs and an instruction booklet and that's it. All you have to do is take turns to lock the spring and then add it to the pile. The red lid of the storage tub is used as the base to stack on and you can either use this alone so the game is closer to the table or floor and is slightly less explosive or you can use the red lid on top of the storage tub and then when the stix go boom they literally go everywhere. We were playing in our dining room and I had to get the kids to crawl round and collect up all the springs.

The springs are pretty easy to lock together and my kids had no problem doing it, I suspect it is this aspect that means there is a 6+ years recommendation on the game. It felt as if different springs had different tensions, so you could never know when they were going to pop open and explode the pile everywhere.

You have to have strong nerves with this game, as it is a waiting game of suspense. You can't be of a nervous disposition to play this game as it is startling when it goes boom! Watch this short clip to see Miss E building up the stix and waiting for the inevitable boom!

I'm really looking forward to taking this game into school in the coming weeks as I know the boy that I coach will love playing this with me. It only takes around 5 minutes to play and it is high intensity with lots of laughter resulting, so it will be just perfect as a session starter when he is having a low day.

You can buy Boom Blast Stix from Character Online for £14.99. It is a good sturdy tub and springs and I think it ill last a long time and provide a lot of fun.

Why not pin this post for later?

family fun, family game, boom blast stix, review, suspense game,

Disclosure: We received the Boom Blast Stix game free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Twelve Top Tips for Buying a Used Car

Image: Thanks to Sandown Motors

I think we've got to the point where we will definitely need to get a new family car. We have a seven seater Toyota and it has served us well but frankly our family has out-grown it and now we need something with more leg and boot room I'm not quite sure if we will go for another seven seater or just a much more spacious five seater. Whatever it is, I will ensure it has enough space that I don't have to constantly listen to my three children squabbling as they feel too camped together. Honestly, who'd have kids, I ask you?

As I've been looking for a new used car, I thought I could share some of my wisdom with you and here's twelve top tips for buying a second-hand car -

1.   Why buy new when you can nearly always pick a year old car up for around 25% less than list price (in fact the AA state it can be up to 40%)? And lets face it, it probably won't have done much more than about 10,000 miles in that first year. Of course luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz hold their value better as the cars are such high quality and specification but you only have to take a look on the Sandown Group Used Car site to see there are some bargains to be had.

2.   Buy from a reputable dealership, you might be able to find a car cheaper from Bobs garage down the road or via Auto Trader but how will you know that the car really is what it says it is? By buying from a good dealership you have the peace of mind to know you can head back there if anything is looking amiss.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Review: Oral-B Pro 2500 Electric Toothbrush

In June JJ (my near 14 year old toothbrush hating son) was sent the Oral-B PRO 2500 electric toothbrush to try out and review. He's been wanting one for quite some time but in honesty due to the cost I hadn't done anything about it as I'm quite happy with a traditional old style toothbrush.

However having done a bit of research I now see that I was in the wrong and ideally my whole family should be using an electric toothbrush. A number of studies were pulled together and reviewed by the British research publication, The Cochrane Library and they found there was an 11% reduction in plaque at one to three months of use, and a 21% reduction in plaque when assessed after three months of use. So these are strong findings for making the switch to an electric toothbrush.

In short JJ has been loving using his new electric toothbrush and I've been loving the fact that he is remembering to brush his teeth more and that each session is lasting longer and is therefore more through and will ensure better dental health for him long term.

Have a watch our our video review to see the Oral-B PRO 2500 in action and hear what JJ thinks of it.

Many thanks to Pure Smiles dental practise based in Fulham for sending this toothbrush through to JJ. Pure Smiles offer a variety of services such as teeth whitening, dermal fillers, smoking cessation programs and sleep therapy. Why not check them out if you are local to them and I'd certainly be reassured by all the excellent customer reviews they display on their website drawn from Facebook, and Google.

Disclosure: We received this toothbrush for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Review: Gel-a-Peel Accessory Kits - Pearly Pastels and Glow In The Dark

This weekend my 9 year old twin girls have been having some crafting fun with a couple of Gel-a-Peel accessory kits. Gel-a-Peel isn't something we have used before and nor heard of to be honest but as soon as I showed the girls the packages they knew it would be something they would enjoy.

One of my twins is far more crafty than the other and she was really looking forward to the act of making the silicon jewellery. The other one is a real fashionista and the part she was really looking forward to was wearing the jewellery and making sure of the cute shapes and charms.

Each accessory kit of Gel-a-Peel has an RRP of £14.99 and for this price you get 3 different coloured tubes of gel, 5 different shaped tips for applying your gel, 16 different design templates, a clear application board, cleaning and spreading tools and one set of hardware to make some hanging pierced earrings. We received the Pearly Pastel and Glow In The Dark its but there is also Neon and Sparkle accessory kits.

There are many more different kits too, large deluxe ones with beads included or a full design station which retails for around £29.99. You can also buy small starter sets for £4.99 with just one tube of gel and all the bits you need to get started. This is probably a good idea for a new user to see if they enjoy this craft. I was really pleased to see that you can buy replacement tubes of gel for just £2.99 each.

Using our Gel-a-Peel for the fist time
The instructions that come with the kit are very good and easy to use. First up you have to remove the protective cap on the tube and add the tip that you wish to use. You can choose the template design you want and place the clear application board over it. It is best to use masking tape to keep both in one place on the table so the design comes out perfect.

The gel tubes are very easy to use and the gel flows well, not too much and you don't need excess effort, which is very good for kids. You do need to make sure that you use a good amount of gel to give a thick and even coverage or it can break and be too fragile once dry. Once you finish with one colour you can move onto the next and get your design completed.

As well as making bracelets, cuffs, bookmarks, necklets and rings using the templates you can also use the gel tray, which has gems, flowers, letters, number, emojis etc on them. With these you just apply the gel into the cavity, use the little grey tool to make sure there are no air bubbles and the mould is full of the gel and then use the pink squeegee to go over the top and flatten the back. These small charms can then either be attached to a piece of Gel-a-Peel jewellery by using a bit of the gel as the glue or stuck onto anything else you fancy using a hot glue gun. In our house they have gone onto jewellery boxes, roller boots, pencil cases and buttons!

Once you have finished your design session, you do need to take the application caps off the tubes and clear out any excess gel left in them. I used the grey tool provided to do that and it wasn't difficult. I was also pleased that not much gel was lost doing this. Pop the protective cap back in and the lid and the gels will stay fresh for the next session.

The design templates tell you how long you need to leave the item to dry before you can use it. Simple designs with just one line of Gel-a-Peel are around an hour and the more complex bracelets and cuffs with multiple lines and layers of Gel-a-Peel can be around 5 hours. We left ours overnight.

You then carefully need to peel them off the clear application sheet once dry and you can then enjoy and wear them.  One of Miss E's bracelets broke as she took it off the sheet as she had left the gel a little thin in one place. This is easily fixed by putting some new gel over where it has snapped and waiting for it to dry.

What did we think?
Thanks a lot Gel-a-Peel, my girls had a lot of fun and they were both talking about getting more for their birthday. At nearly 10 years old they found this easy to do without me having to be involved. I think the older the child the easier they will find it and the more time and care they will take. Younger ones could do it, with supervision but it is recommend for 8+  years.

Why not have a watch of this video where you can see the Gel-a-Peel being used and see for yourself just how simple it is.

Disclosure: We received two Gel-a-Peel sets free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.