ZURU SMASHERS Series 2 have just got GROSS!

GIFTED: Kids love collectables, don’t they?  And having survived the onslaught of Shopkins and Cupcake Surprises, we recently discovered that we’d missed out on the first season of  Zuru SMASHERS from the award-winning toy company.

We were sent some Zuru SMASHERS from the second series, each of which contains a disgusting surprise inside…. various revolting creatures! These SMASHERS come in the shape of an eyeball, just right for Halloween.

There are over 100 characters to collect and this series also features select Smashball Eyeballs with creepy mini-beasts covered in slime!

Ghastly creations include a selection from ‘Odd Bodies’, ‘Icky Insects’, ‘Ooze Dudes’, ‘Awful Animals’, ‘Filthy Food’, ‘Toilet Humour’, and ‘Smash Trash’, with rare, ultra-rare see-thru characters and playset exclusive characters to collect.

Suitable for ages 5+, the SMASHERS Series 2 collection is available in one, three, and eight packs – all full of horrifically foul surprises!

You can store your revolting creatures in a disgustingly gross Collectors Tin which can hold 50 SMASHERS and comes with a grungy Limited Edition Smasher inside!

You can even take your SMASHERS on the road with the Sludge Bus.  Unveil two exclusive characters and unfold the playset to uncover the rank restroom where you can shoot your SMASHERS into the toilet!  Lovely.

To discover your creature, smash the eyeball on the ground (I wouldn’t advise doing it on laminate flooring) and see what is living inside.  Caitlin and Ieuan enjoyed the smashing and the collectables inside are all rather cute, with the possible exception of Poopy and Poo Paper.

You could, if you had the time and energy, reassemble the plastic pieces to recreate the eyeball but my two found the inhabitants far more interesting.

SMASHERS Series 2 are suitable for ages 5+ and available nationwide.  Prices start from £1.99 through to £19.99.

If those aren’t scary enough for you, how about Zuru’s Robo Alive Spider?  I’m not kidding when I say if you don’t like spiders you definitely won’t want one of these scooting around your floor.

It is rather lifelike and, happily, comes with a battery supplied.  Needless to say, the kids are planning to ‘surprise’ the grandparents with it!

And it wouldn’t be Halloween without some slime, would it?  Oosh’s Non-Stick Slime is suitably gross and, um, dangly.

 

You can find Zuru toys, including the new Gross Smashers at Smyths, Argos and Tesco (in-store only).

Find out more about Zuru Toys at www.zuru.com, or connect with them on Facebook @ZURUToysCompany, or Twitter @ZURUToys.

Review: Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister Doll With Cocoa Bronzer

When I was young, I used to love Sindy, Pippa, Action Girl and, as a toddler, Tiny Tears.  But in those days, a doll was just a doll.  You could dress them up and, in my case, cut their hair off (yes I did) but that was it.

As you know, we are big fans of the Project Mc2 range of toys which combine fun toys with an educational element and we were recently sent a Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll with a cocoa bronzer experiment to try.

Caitlin with the Project Mcs McKeyla McAlister doll

Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll

If you caught our review of the Project Mc2 Pixel Purse, you’ll know that we are new to the Netflix series Project Mc2 and are really enjoying the growth in interest in STEM-based projects for kids and the recognition that science is for everyone, not just boys.

Caitlin with unboxed Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) is all about building a love for learning and a solid base for understanding key concepts later on as your children work through the Key Stages in school.

The Project Mc2 series is set in the fictional city of Maywood Glen in California and is about STEAM activities (STEM plus Art!).

Heroine McKeyla McAlister and her friends work for a secret government organisation called NOV8 (“innovate”) and they protect the world using their science and technology skills.

The Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll

The Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll comes with a burgundy moto-style jacket with faux fur shoulders, a sequin dress and signature plaid shirt tied around her waist.  This is a rock band outfit which both Caitlin and I agreed we would wear.

Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll - wardrobe detail

She’s one of a range of well made and attractive dolls which come with their own scientific experiment.  For example, there’s the Adrienne doll which comes with a perfume experiment, Camryn with her skateboard, Bryden with her glow stick and Devon with puffy paint.  Check out some of the other Project Mc2 dolls here.

The Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll is fully articulated (knees, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck) with glossy brown hair, glass eyes and eyelashes. She’s a decent size too, measuring in at around 30 cm.

She comes with a ‘make your own bronzer’ kit – you get a compact with a lid and a sponge applicator.  You need to supply your own coconut oil, cocoa powder and nutmeg, plus some surgical spirit for a quick clean of the compact.  We skipped this bit as I’ve read that surgical spirit can be irritating to some skins.

All you need to do is mix 2 teaspoons of coconut oil with 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder and melt is for 15 seconds in a microwave.  Add a dash of nutmeg then mix and fill the compact 3/4 full.  Pop into the fridge for 15 minutes and hey presto, your own bronzer with no chemical nasties.

I was a little sceptical but actually, it gives quite a good colour and is certainly safer for Caitlin’s skin than some of the other kiddy make-up compacts you get attached to magazines these days.

The only downside is that in this hot weather you might need to keep it in the fridge because the coconut oil soon becomes liquid again.

The manufacturers suggest that the age range for this doll is 6+ which I think is about right.  I would say 8-9 is probably the top end of the age range these dolls would appeal too as, at nearly 11, Caitlin has almost outgrown dolls.  Kids these days are so sophisticated, aren’t they and the inclusion of an experiment with each one is a neat idea to keep their interest.

Other Project Mc2 dolls are available from Amazon, Argos and Tescos.

You can find out more at the website at www.projectmc2.com for new experiments, videos and updates.

Read our other Project Mc2 Reviews

Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic (Spy) Journal

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

Project Mc2 Pixel Purse

Review: Two Great New Games From The Makers of Rubik’s Cube

The Rubik’s Cube has been with us forever (well since the 1980s) and I still haven’t mastered it but now, happily, this May sees the launch of two new games from John Adams Leisure, the makers of the original Rubik’s Cube. There’s “Flip”, a tile-based strategy game and “Battle”, a quick-thinking card game based on the Rubik’s cube colours.

Since we are on holiday in Devon and there have been one or two drizzly days, these have both come in very handy when even boredom with the iPad sets in.  It’s a rare event, granted, but it does happen occasionally.

Two great new games from Rubik’s

Rubik’s Flip

Rubik’s Flip is the fast-moving strategy game for 2 with only 8 moves per player! Place a tile into the grid then flip one of your opponent’s. It sounds simple but is a challenge to master. The winner is the first player to place 3 tiles of the same colour in a row that cannot be flipped.

Caitlin loved playing this one with her dad and was a very worthy opponent.  You do need to use quite a bit of strategic thinking for this game which is not dissimilar to noughts and crosses but with far more potential to outwit your opponent without them even noticing.

Rubik’s Battle Card Game

Rubik’s Battle Card Game is a quick-thinking, fast-action card game for 2-6 players. Deal out the cards and each player flips over their top card. Be first to spot a unique colour match and win the cards. Collect all the Battle cards to win!

This one is similar to Snap but you have to spot which colour is missing from your opponents’ cards or pick out a unique colour and that can make you go a little cross-eyed if you’re not at full mental sharpness.  (Comes with the territory when you’re a parent!)

Both games are suitable for the 7+ age group but work best, we found when played as a family as younger children may need a bit of help.

We thought both games were excellent value for money and ideal for adding to your suitcase for holidays and weekends away.  Great fun for adults too.

Rubik’s Flip and Battle Card Games are available in all good toy shops and from amazon.co.uk.

*We were sent PR samples for the purpose of this post which contains affiliate links.

Review: Gazillion Crazy Wands – Bubble Fun For All The Family

It doesn’t seem to matter how old you are, bubbles are always fun and a great distraction.  We were recently sent some Gazillion Crazy Wands from Funrise to play with and you can see how Caitlin and Ieuan got on in the video below.

Gazillion Crazy Wands - Vampire Teeth Set

Gazillion Bubbles is the premium bubble brand that gives bubble fans the ultimate bubble experience! With spring just around the corner, what better way to encourage kids to play outside with friends and family than with the Gazillion collection of bubble machines, blasters and games.  Let’s be honest, anything that gets them away from the Xbox is a bonus!

For the selfie-mad, Gazillion Crazy Wands are great for parties and fun for the whole family! With 6 crazy styles (sold in packs of two), these photo-booth style wands are a must have for any occasion. For only £3.99 you receive two wands, a dipping tray and an 8oz bottle of Gazillion premium solution.

There are 3 different sets to choose from:-

  • Crazy Wands Bunny Teeth & Tongue
  • Crazy Wands Moustache & Lips
  • Crazy Wands Vampire & Monster

We found the bubble mix to be a decent strength and it is non toxic and non-staining.  That said, I’d still recommend you use these outdoors.

One bottle of bubble mix (8 oz) lasted my two about half an hour but it would have lasted longer if the kids had remembered to blow the bubbles as soon as they’d dipped the crazy wand in the bubble mix!  Still, you can always buy more Gazillion Premium Bubble Mix or make your own, of course, with washing-up liquid.

Great for a summer’s day in the garden with the added bonus that you look ridiculous whilst blowing your bubbles.  Still, you should get some interesting selfies for your Insta and Snapchat feeds!

Gazillion Crazy Wands are available at Amazon and ASDA stores. We found them to be better quality than lots of the other bubble mixes we’ve tried – and there have been a few!  You can also find these at The Range.

Which Gazillion Crazy Wands would you choose?

Review: Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack

Caitlin has been talking about Glam Goo for months and we have managed to distract her so far by making homemade slime or the foam dough in the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit so when we were offered a Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack to review, she was very excited.

Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack - front of box

Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack - box detail

Slime lovers can make their own slime fashion accessories by filling the bow bracelet and the bunny charm with goo decorated with their own combination of shimmer powder, sparkles and coloured balls and scent them with the peach scent “So Peachy”.

Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack - contents of box

There are several Glam Goo sets to choose from but this particular set comes with:-

  • small container with fluffy slime
  • bow bracelet
  • bunny charm
  • 2 pots of slime decorations (coloured balls and sparkles)
  • 2 coloured shimmer powders
  • 1 scent

Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack bracelet and charm

The instruction leaflet comes with some suggested combinations for your Glam Goo mixing session – for example, there’s Rainbow Sherbet which requires mixing the goo with the So Peachy Scent and adding the Dance Mix (coloured balls) and Have Fun – one of the shimmer powders.

Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack - Caitliln playing with the goo.

Caitlin was happy to do her own thing and spent a happy half hour mixing and playing with the Glam Goo which has a strangely sticky consistency, slightly different from homemade slime.

You will need to cover the play area as the contents of the kit tend to go everywhere and obviously you will need to make sure that the powders, balls and goo don’t go near mouths or eyes.  There is also a possibility of some colour transfer so a craft apron wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Whilst Caitlin did enjoy playing with this, it is really, in my opinion, a one-time-only toy.  There is not a huge amount of Glam Goo to play with and once you have filled the bow bracelet and/or the bunny charm with your mix, that’s about it.

Oddly, the bunny charm does not come with a clip or loop to attach it to anything which makes it a little redundant once you’ve filled it unless you have a necklace chain or keyring.

The scent is a tiny bottle of liquid which appears half full and which, to be honest, I couldn’t smell.  Ours was called So Peachy and although Caitlin said she could smell peach, I certainly couldn’t.

The age range is 6+ and children under 3 shouldn’t be given it due to the risk of a choking hazard. I would say 6 or 7 is probably the top of the age range for this product.  Adult supervision is recommended and I would certainly second that.

We would have preferred a much bigger pot of the Glam Goo as this is the thing that the kids really want to play with.  Not surprisingly if you don’t put the goo back in the pot and put the lid on it, it dries up completely.

The bow bracelet looks quite pretty once filled but we are still not quite sure what to do with the bunny!

At around the £23 mark, I think the Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack is quite expensive for what you get, however, I can see that hardcore Glam Goo fans might still love it.

We’ll be sticking to the homemade slime.

You can find out more on the Glam Goo website.

*We were sent a Glam Goo Confetti Pack for the purposes of this review.

*post contains affiliate links

Review: Project Mc2 ADISN Electronic (Spy) Journal

As you’ll know from our previous reviews of the Project Mc2 Pixel Purse and the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit, we were newcomers to the Netflix series Project Mc2 when we were asked to review these products, specially designed to reflect the current interest in STEM-based projects for kids, particularly girls.

Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic Journal box held by Caitlin

STEM, in case you’re new to the term, stands for science, technology, engineering, and maths. The idea is to build a love of learning and a solid base for understanding key concepts later on as children work through the Key Stages in school.

The Project Mc2 series is set in the fictional city of Maywood Glen in California and is about STEAM activities (STEM plus Art!). In the series, heroine McKeyla McAlister and  her best friends work for a government organisation called NOV8 (“innovate”).  They are a secret group of teenage female government operatives trying to protect the world using science and technology skills.

The Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic Journal

This time we’re reviewing the Project Mc2 ADISN Electronic Journal which stands for Advanced Digital Intelligence Spy Notebook.

It’s your chance to interact directly with NOV8 by becoming a secret agent just like McKeyla McAlister™, using your personal Project Mc2 ADISN device.

Inside you’ll find a bracelet to unlock the journal (ours said Genius but there is another that says NErDy), an invisible ink marker, a UV light tool hidden in a secret compartment, an activity booklet, and sticker sheets.

The Genius bracelet which unlocks the Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic Journal

To open you need to place the bracelet against the logo on the front and then the journal will spring open with a cheerful welcome message.  There’s a different message when the journal closes too.

Inside the Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic Journal

It took us a while to find the secret compartment with the UV light but there are printed instructions in the packaging which tells you where to look.  Write your messages on the left-hand side with the secret marker and reveal them with the UV light.

There’s a secret compartment which fits a smartphone (not included) and you can find free IOS app Project Mc² ™ “Case Files” in the App store.  Note:  it does not fit an iPhone Plus and the app is IOS only.

As with the rest of the toys in this range, the Project Mc2 ADISN Electronic Journal is sturdily made and well thought out.  The booklet inside the journal could be a little bigger, however, the size is restricted by the journal itself.  Had it been any bigger there would be less room to hide precious things and, the true jewel I imagine to most teens, their mobile phone.

Since Caitlin doesn’t have a phone yet, this aspect of the journal wasn’t particularly appropriate for her, but she loves being able to hide things from her brother and having the ability to write secret messages.

The Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic Journal is suitable for ages 6+ and is available from Amazon, Argos and Tesco.

I would suggest that since this, and the Pixel Purse, rely on a smartphone as an integral part of learning and play, the age range is possibly higher than 6+ and certainly more useful for those children who already have a mobile phone (a highly contentious issue) or have regular access to their parents’ phone.

You can find out more at the website at www.projectmc2.com for new experiments, videos and updates.

Read our other Project Mc2 reviews:-

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

Project Mc2 Pixel Purse

Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister Doll with Cocoa Bronzer

 

Review: Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

When I was in school, science was taught in a lab complete with bunsen burners and the heady pong of phosphorus. The Periodic Table was tacked to the wall and we were frequently tested on formulae which I can confidently state I have never used since, with the possible exception of some unfortunate experimental cooking. Caitlin was recently sent the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit to test so I was obviously the natural choice of assistant.

Caitlin with the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

If you caught our recent review of the Project Mc2 Pixel Purse, you’ll know that we are new to the Netflix series Project Mc2 and particularly enjoying the growth in interest in STEM-based projects for kids and the recognition that science is for everyone, not just boys.

Caitlin holding the red Project mc2 ultimate lab kit bag

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) is all about building a love for learning and a solid base for understanding key concepts later on as your children work through the Key Stages in school.

The Project Mc2 series is set in the fictional city of Maywood Glen in California and is about STEAM activities (STEM plus Art!).

Heroine McKeyla McAlister and her friends work for a secret government organisation called NOV8 (“innovate”) and they protect the world using their science and technology skills.

What’s in the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit?

The Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit is a great asset for any new NOV8 recruit.  The kit comes in a sturdy red case designed like a bag which, when opened reveals a great selection of toy science equipment and a mini booklet which contains over 30 experiments you can try using ingredients you are likely to already have at home, or which you can easily find in your local supermarket.

The Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit contains a real working microscope with 4x power (batteries required). Inside you’ll also find 30+ additional pieces including 3 glass slides, 2 test tubes with a stand, a funnel, a beaker jar, 3 lab flasks, 15 pH strips, a pipette dropper, a petri dish, safety goggles, a Project Mc² ring, and 2 sticker sheets to examine and decorate.

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit - test tubes and bottles

The microscope does work but don’t expect miracles.  It does allow you to demonstrate how one works and the principle of examining things on slides.

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit microscope

There is enough contained within to keep even the most curious budding scientist occupied for hours, particularly if mum and dad join in the experimentation.

Loads of experiments to try

We tried 3 of the experiments with, it has to be said, varying success.

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit experiment booklet

Make a cloud in a jar

You need:

  • an aerosol can such as hairspray
  • a jar with a lid
  • boiling water
  • ice cubes
  • an adult

Fill the jar with a little boiling water and then spritz some hairspray into the jar. Flip the lid over and put some ice cubes on top of the lid. After a few moments lift the lid.

This shows you that the cloud forms because the boiling water creates a lot of warm water vapour which is cooled by the ice forming loads of tiny water droplets – in other words, a cloud.

You are supposed to remove the lid to let the cloud escape but we found keeping the cloud jar-bound gave a better result.

We then tried to make giant gummy bears.  You place two gummy bears in the test-tubes, add a little water and wait for them to grow.  This demonstrates the process of osmosis where the water is completely absorbed by the sweet.  In our case, however, the gummy bears dissolved completely!

Our best success was at making foam dough.  This is a mixture of cornflour, shaving cream and food colouring which, when mixed together, creates a very oddly textured type of dough.  Just be aware that coloured dough can equal a bit of mess and the smell of the shaving cream does tend to linger so don’t use your best mixing bowl!

Despite the fact that our results were patchy, this is a great kit which offers endless opportunities for experimentation.  Other experiments include things like “make Fake Boogers”, “make a red cabbage PH indicator” and “make a rainbow in a jar”.

The experiments are a great starting point for explaining the basic scientific theory and, of course, time spent with your kids away from tablets and PCs has a particularly special value these days.

Caitlin wearing the safety goggles from the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

There is no reason why you couldn’t then go on to devise your own experiments, whether you use the kit or not.

We thought the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit was, like the Pixel Purse, a well made, well thought out toy which offers a gentle introduction to science.  The experiments break down various scientific topics in a way which is easy to grasp and fun to explore.

The Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit is suitable for ages 6+ and is available from Amazon, Argos and Tesco.

You can find out more at the website at www.projectmc2.com for new experiments, videos and updates.

Read our other Project Mc2 Reviews

Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic (Spy) Journal

Project Mc2 Pixel Purse

Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister Doll with Cocoa Bronzer

 

*post contains an affiliate link

Project Mc2 Pixel Purse Review

We are new to the Netflix series Project Mc2 but with the groundswell of interest in STEM-based projects for kids, particularly girls, we were delighted to be asked to review the Project Mc2 Pixel Purse.

Project Mc2 Pixel Purse Review

STEM, by the way, stands for science, technology, engineering, and maths. It’s all about building a love for learning and a solid base for understanding key concepts later on as your children work through the Key Stages in school.

Project Mc2 Pixel Purse - Caitlin holding the box and smiling

The Project Mc2 series is set in the fictional city of Maywood Glen in California and is about STEAM activities (STEM plus Art!).

The heroine is McKeyla McAlister who, with her best friends, works for a government organisation called NOV8 (“innovate”).  They are a secret group of teenage female government operatives trying to protect the world using science and technology skills.

Having made a note to pay more attention to Netflix, we turned our attention to the Pixel Purse which is one of a range of toys from Project Mc2.

Project Mc2 Pixel Purse displaying the word "cool" in pink

The Project Mc2 Pixel Purse (we say handbag!) is about the same size as a clutch bag and it’s made of hard plastic in a bright pink colour with a display screen.

Be aware that it is not a toy handbag and you cannot actually keep things in it.  The only space available is to slot in your mobile phone to download your pixel designs.

What makes the Pixel Purse special is that it features a multi-coloured LED display which can be personalised with custom designs and phrases by using the free iOS and Android apps.

Go to www.projectmc2.com/pixelpurse for a list of compatible devices.

The purse also comes ready-programmed with 10 animations so you can play with it straight away, although you will need to replace the demonstration batteries with 4 x AA ones.  Make sure you have a screwdriver to hand.

The app is very easy to use and it took Caitlin no time at all to start creating designs for display on her pixel purse using the app on my iPhone.

Once you have created your design you save it and then connect the bag to your device (mobile or tablet) by inserting the cable inside the purse into your phone’s headphone jack.

We were a little thrown at first because I have an iPhone 7 plus which of course doesn’t have a headphone jack but luckily the Husband remembered that an adapter was included in the iPhone box.

Happily, this worked and it was a simple process to clip the mobile into the specially designated slot, stick the cable in and wait for the app to tell you that your design has been downloaded.

Turn the bag around and marvel at the brightly lit and flashing design all of your own making.

We did find that the designs need to be quite big and splashy.  Originally Caitlin did her name which didn’t register as well as her later attempts of hearts and snowflakes did.

The Pixel Purse light display is pretty impressive and it is light enough to carry.  It’s just a shame you can’t put anything in it.

This, of course, is not the point because its aim is to teach kids about how a light display works and specifically the role of pixels.

As the box says “if you were to look at a phone, tablet or television screen with a magnifying glass, you would see it is made up of lots of tiny dots called pixels.” Each pixel in the purse’s display can change colour and inside the pixel purse is a microchip which can remember the images and the order in which to display them.

We thought the Pixel Purse was a well made, well thought out toy which teaches quite a complex subject in an easy to grasp and non-threatening way.

The Project Mc2 Pixel Purse is suitable for ages 6+ and is available from Amazon, Argos and Tesco.

You can find out more at the website at www.projectmc2.com for new experiments, videos and updates.

Read our other Project Mc2 reviews

Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic (Spy) Journal

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit 

Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister Doll with Cocoa Bronzer

 

Review: Xtrem Bots Trooper Bot

Christmas is just around the corner now and if you’re haven’t done your Christmas shopping and you are still looking for presents for your kids (and any big kids), you’ll love this one. Meet the Xtrem Bots Trooper Bot.  He’s a hi-tec infra-red robot with 50 programmable actions, arms control and the ability to shoot missiles.

He talks, he dances and even moonwalks.

 

Trooper Bot has multi LED eyes giving a number of different facial expressions which make you wonder what he’s thinking! He is a big toy, standing at over 35cm tall and he comes ready charged which is a great bonus.

You get a USB cable to recharge him and 5 missiles to shoot which click into the missile carrier on his arm.  He is controlled using a very clearly set out hand-held remote.

The infra-red transmitter reaches a range of more than 5 metres which is pretty generous and great for extended play.

The Xtrem Bots Trooper Bot was easy to get out of the box and the only thing we had to do was put in 2 AA batteries before we could start getting to know him. (You will need a screwdriver).

He shoots by firing his missiles from the missile launcher built into his arm and you take aim and fire using the infrared remote control. He has his own celebratory dance for when the battle has been won.

Xtrembots Trooper Bot is designed for ages 5 years and up but we all enjoyed him. He has his own language which makes as much sense as when the Husband explains Excel spreadsheets to me but, you know, he’s company (the robot, not so sure about the Husband).

The robot is easy to recharge too – just use the USB charger cable with a power pack, PC or wall socket. There is a small charging light on the back of the toy which goes off when he’s fully charged. Generally charge lasts for around 2 hours.

The Xtrem Bots Trooper Bot is a great toy  for ages 5 and up and has an RRP of £59.99.  Available from Amazon and other toy stores.

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*PR collaboration. Post contains affiliate link

Toy Review: Awesome Little Green Men Collectables Series One & Game

After years of indulging Caitlin’s passion for Shopkins and Cupcake Surprise, it made a nice change to review a collectable that Ieuan showed some interest in – Awesome Little Green Men.

Awesome Little Green Men

Awesome Little Green Men is the name of a military collectable which also includes a table top (or floor) game to play.

Actually, the name is a little misleading because there are also little blue military men to collect. Figures can be bought singly or in collections and there are also ‘blind boxes’ where you chance your luck to see if you get a super rare figure.

Awesome Little Green Men Battle Pack

We received the Awesome Little Green Men Battle Pack and two blind boxes to open. You can enlist your figures online so you can track which ones you already have.  The little military figures are given a rank, role and squadron – they even come with their own dog tag which the kids can wear.
Awesome Little Green Men individual figures
The Battle Pack contains 8 soldiers, 8 dog tags, 1 chain, 1 new recruit poster, game pieces and a game guide.

There are 100 unique characters to collect in Series 1, including four super rare figures in the green army and the blue army.

Each figure has their own expression which helps you recognise which is which – they are quite distinct.  For example, Major Boo-Boo drives a little ambulance and Corporal Kickbutt has a gun.

Super Rare General Panic

Super rare General Panic

The game is based on the concept of paintball when the aim is to ‘hit’ members of the opposing army. There is obviously a strong incentive to buy extra soldiers here so that the rivalling armies are of a similar size.  Our current blue army is decidedly underpowered.

Playing Awesome Little Green Men game

You line your armies up facing one another and move by using two sliders – stickers which you need to stick to a coin. There’s a marching one so that you can move closer before your strike, and an attack one which you flick at the opposition to see who you can hit.

I think that’s basically it.  Hands up I did find the game slightly confusing and Caitlin and Ieuan just wanted to play with the figures and make up their own stories. You can, however, find full instructions both in the Deluxe Pack and print them off online too.

The stated age range is 6+ but I think the game is better suited to older children and I suspect that Awesome Little Green (and blue) Men will work best as collectables.

The figures are really well made and quite amusing (for us adults a little more ‘in the know’). They are also a decent size and are unlikely to be lost down the back of the sofa or in the carpet somewhere. Always a bonus!

I am sure there will be some parents who will object to the military aspect of the game.  (I was once taken to task at the traffic lights by a mother objecting to Ieuan carrying a toy gun!).  I think you have to be pragmatic about these things and the introductory video on the product’s website states that the reason the two armies are fighting is not serious – for example, it could be that they are contesting the superiority of ketchup over mayonnaise. (Mayonnaise on chips. Weird, no?).

The Awesome Little Green Men Blind Box is RRP £3.99 and comes with one soldier, one dog-tag, a new recruits poster and game guide.

The Awesome Little Green Men Starter Pack is RRP £12.99 and comes with four soldiers (one in a vehicle), four dog-tags, a new recruits poster and game guide. But who’s in the blind box?

The Awesome Little Green Battle Pack is RRP £24.99 and comes with eight soldiers (three in a vehicle), eight dog-tags, a new recruits poster and game guide.

To find out more information about Awesome Little Green Men and The Battle Game, visit https://awesomelittlegreenmen.mgae.com.

You can find them on Amazon or at ToysRUs.  Read more of our toy reviews here.

Review: BLO PENS Glitter Studio by John Adams

I am a complete and absolute craft duffer but Caitlin loves whiling away the time making things that are glittery, sparkly or designed to annoy her brother.  The BLO PENS Glitter Studio was obviously an ideal set for us to review.  I say us, I mean of course the Husband and Caitlin.

BLOPENS Glitter Studio Outer Box

In case you don’t know what they are, BLO PENS are a sort of felt pen in a tube which allow you to blow through them and create an airbrush effect.  You do, I have to say, need a strong set of lungs but once they start to work they produce a wash of colour with no problem.

Caitlin with BLOPENS Glitter Studio set up

This is the BLO PENS Glitter Studio which allows you to create the airbrush effects of the standard BLOPENS but with the addition of glitter to sparkle things up a bit. The kit comes with a number of stencils and decoration sheets which allow you to create your own pretty unique pictures and even a pretty butterfly mobile to adorn a bedroom.

Mat pressing out the stencils

The set contains:-

8 stencils (5 picture stencils and 3 decoration stencils)
5 BLO PENS
4 decorations (3 flowers, heart and butterfly mobile),
4 tubes of glitter, ribbon and a glue pen.

We particularly liked that the box turns into an easel and handy storage space for your pens and glitter. You could easily take this with you on holiday.  Surprisingly, it doesn’t actually make much mess at all – which is a blessing for any glitter-phobic parents out there.  Just pop the stencils on a bit of newspaper and you’re good to go.

Collages of artwork made from BLOPENS Glitter Studio

This set is designed for the 6+ and we found that an adult’s help was definitely needed in popping out the templates from their card and in assembling the mobile.  And in my case the husband explaining to me VERY SLOOOWLY how to assemble the BLO PENS.  To my shame, there are quite a few YouTube videos of 8-year-olds assembling BLO PENS at high speed so I suspect it might just be me.

In case it isn’t, I do think that the instruction sheet could be a little clearer but patience wins the day and once you get the hang of it this set is quite impressive and gives hours of crafting fun. We’ve had a fair few craft sets which haven’t held Caitlin’s interest for more than 20 minutes or so but this one is solidly made, has enough variety to keep kids interested and, even when the mobile has been made, there are still loads of templates to play around and keep creating with.

BLOPENS Glitter Studio Mobile

Another plus point for me is that the BLO PENS ink is non-toxic, although they may stain clothing, so be careful.

BLO PENS Glitter Studio retails around the £25 mark which we thought was pretty good value for a set which can be used multiple times.

Just remember to put your Blo Pens away properly so that they don’t dry out.

Caitlin was pretty impressed with what she managed to create (with a bit of help from the husband). I was relegated to coffee and squash duty.

Find out more at on the John Adams website.  Available to buy at Amazon.

Review: Pass The Pigs Game

You might recently have seen ITV This Morning’s Ruth and Eamonn playing Giant Pass the Pigs and, in case you’re wondering what they were doing, Pass The Pigs is a classic family dice game which will keep everyone entertained both inside and out, no matter what the weather.

Travel Pass The Pigs Game & Giant Pass The Pigs Game, Toys, Toy Reviews, motherdistracted.co.uk

The game is really easy to play. Simply throw the 2 piggies up in the air and see how they land. Compare the pigs landing positions with your scorecard and earn points, the first to 100 wins. Each landing position is given a funny name and awards a set number of points – so a pig with all its legs in the air is a Razorback (5 points) and if it lands on its backside it’s a Rumper (15 points).

How to play Pass The Pigs, Score Chart, Toys, Toy Reviews, motherdistracted.co.uk

The Pass The Pigs Travel Game

A game of skill for 2 to 6 players suitable for aged three and above, it comes with a handy carry case, 2 pencils, 2 pigs and a pocket-sized scorecard. It is ideal for taking on holiday as the Pass the Pigs game comes in a handy travel case. It is available to buy online, from Amazon and all good toy retailers.

Giant Pass the Pigs

This is a super-sized version of the game which is perfect for parties.  These giant inflatable pigs can bounce around the garden, house, beach or even the pool. Inflate your pair of porkers, throw them and see how they land. Will you get a Leaning Jowler, a Mixed Combo or will you Pig Out? It is suitable for aged three and above and available to buy from online, good toy retailers and Amazon.

Caitlin and Ieuan quickly got to grips with the game and loved the giant version.  It takes you a while to match the pigs’ positions with the scorecard so you will need a strong referee (the ‘Swineherd’) to adjudicate and stop the fights!  You’ll also need a bit of puff to inflate the giant pigs!  We’ll be taking the travel version with us in a couple of weeks when we head back to Devon as the sun seems to have vanished since the kids broke up from school!

Find out more at www.passthepigsofficial.com.

Pass The Pigs, Giant Pass The Pigs, Games, Indoor Games. motherdistracted.co.uk

There are two versions of the game available by Winning Moves UK Ltd:-

Pass the Pigs – with its travel case and cute dice pigs, it’s the ideal family entertainment, whether indoor or on the go! (£9.99)

Giant Pass the Pigs – play with adorable inflatable pigs – great for gardens, parks or inside on the floor play – plus doubles up as pool inflatables. (£14.99)

Have you ever played Pass the Pigs or is there another family dice game you love?

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