Category Archives: Technology

The Smiggle Craze

A couple of months ago Oscar came home from School telling me that some of his friends had scented pencils from Smiggle and asked if he could have some too. I went online and ordered him a packet which he was thrilled about! He then took them into school. They actually smell really nice.

Since then we have visited Smiggle quite a lot. To be honest I get it, I love stationary and the different boys and girls ranges in Smiggle are lovely. I may even buy a few bits for myself. When you walk in the stores the staff are always so welcoming and the whole store is full of brightly coloured, sparkly stationary that every little boy and girl (and Mummy) would love!

Last weekend I got an email in my inbox telling me there was 20% so sat with Oscar to pick a few bits which turned into more scented pencils, a pencil case, boxing pens and scented highlighters. All of their stuff is reasonably priced too and with the sale on it was even better.

Then this week we went to St Albans to meet my friend for lunch and walked past Smiggle on the way to the restaurant, of course Oscar clocked it. On our way back past we ended up going in to the store and emerging a quarter of an hour later with yet another pencil case, water bottle, scented felt tips, pens and a wallet that Archie chose.

We are now well into the Smiggle craze and there are a few more bits Oscar wants to go back and get next week with his Easter money. I’m going to grab myself a sparkly notepad as well!

#Blogmas Day 1: What’s On Oscar’s Christmas List & Gift Ideas

I LOVE Christmas! Everything about it, from the tree, to our annual visit to Harrods to see Father Christmas to hosting Christmas Day itself. It just truly is the most wonderful time of the year! The boys are super excited and as its our first Christmas in our new house so I want to make it our best Christmas yet!

Oscar is 7 almost 8 and his Christmas list this year contains a Nintendo Switch with the Mario Kart 8 game. He has wanted one since they were first released and loves playing Mario Kart on his handheld Nintendo DS. The difference with the Nintendo Switch is that you can use it as a handheld when out and about but use it as a proper games console when at home. We brought it off Amazon in the grey rather than the neon blue/red version for £279 and the Mario Kart 8 game for £41.99.

Image result for nintendo switch grey

Next on his list is a Drone with a camera and he wanted a camera that recorded as well. I really want one too so will be borrowing Oscar’s to make videos. I searched around and ended up getting the Sky Viper V2450HD Streaming Video Drone from Tesco Direct it was £120. It is only £69.99 at the moment on Amazon which is a great deal!

Image result for Sky Viper V2450HD Streaming Video Drone

Next on his list is the complete collection of the new Lego City Jungle range. Including the starter set there are 7 sets to collect, he has the smaller two already. We have got him the main set which is the Jungle Exploration Site which is £84.99 and the other sets have been distributed among the family.

Image result for lego city jungle

Oscar loves using my Apple watch and Kurio have a child friendly version of their own. The Kurio C17515 Children’s Blue Smartwatch 2.0 Plus is the Ultimate Smartwatch for kids! Personalise your watch with 2 x interchangeable coloured watch straps to match your style. Watch Pebble pops into an all-in-one strap and offers a splash proof and scratch resistant screen. Pre-loaded with 20 apps, a multi-function screen, camera/video, photo filters, messaging, media player, activity tracker, phrase translator and can also operate as a hands-free kit for a Smartphone when connected via Bluetooth. Boasts 256mb of internal memory and expandable storage upto 32GB. Includes one regular strap and one colour changing Thermal strap. I know he will love this!

Next up is the Playmobil Ghostbusters range. The toys look really great and Oscar has watched quite a few episodes of Ghostbusters now. I know Archie will like these toys too so it will be something they can play with nicely together. It looks really cool. There are six sets to collect ranging from £5.99 to £59.99. I love the Marshmallow man.

I hope this list has given you a few good ideas!

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Our Day At Legoland To See The New LEGO Scooby Doo Blowout Beach Bash Movie

Yesterday we were invited to Legoland Windsor for the screening of the new Lego Movie; Scooby Doo Blowout Beach Bash. It is the brand new film from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment and is available on DVD and to download now.


Once we got to Legoland we headed to the 4D cinema in the imagiantion centre and sat down to watch the film. The cinema there is great, it’s really laid back and it didn’t matter if Archie wandered around a bit. Oscar always loves the Lego films and the computer animation is just brilliant. They get it right every time! The Scooby Doo Blowout Beach Bash is a fun, comical and spooky film where Scooby-Doo and his pals Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy are on their way to have fun at the annual Blowout Beach party. It is three days of fun, dancing, singing, partying and food. Once they arrive at their hotel they realise the whole town is deserted and soon learn from the hotel owners that the ghost pirates have scared all the partying teens away. So now there three-day break has turned into a mystery solving break instead, much to Scooby and Shaggy’s disappointment. So it’s up to Scooby and the gang to solve the mystery and get the party back up and running. Obviously with a few twists and turns on the way! I won’t let on anymore as I don’t want to ruin it for you. The Blu-Ray DVD is £7.99 and to download on Sky Store to rent in HD is £5.49, or buy and keep is £13.99. We already downloaded it as soon as we got home as Oscar wanted to watch it again!

190517scoobydoobluray

After the viewing we then went off around the park to go on the rides. We had fast track passes which was absolutely fantastic as we got to go on all the rides we wanted to without queuing once. In the future we decided we will always purchase these as it makes the day so much more enjoyable without queuing for ages with excitable children! We have been to Legoland lots of times but this was the first time that Archie (now 2) was tall enough to go on most of the rides and he really enjoyed himself.

We followed the map, until I realised there was an app to download which was much easier to use and check off which rides we had been on. Firstly we went on Sky Rider, Archie got so excited waving at everybody as we travelled 20 feet above everyone. You get a great view of the whole of Legoland. Then the space tower  by the imagination centre.


We made our way down to Duplo Valley which is fantastic for the younger children. If the weather is nice there is a fantastic splash park ‘Splash Safari’, some children were on it and were having a great time. In Duplo Valley we went on fairy tale brook, raft river racers and the Duplo valley airport. There is also a fantastic playground, Brickville soft play area and the Duplo theatre where they put on puppet shows.


We then walked to Lego City, where Oscar went on the driving school, we all went on coastguard HQ, balloon school and the fire academy. Archie was just a little to young to go on the L-Drivers but when he is three he can go on it.


We then ventured down to adventure land where we went on the Atlantis submarine voyage. It’s a really good ride and both the boys loved being ‘under the sea’ searching for the ancient ruins whilst lots of different fishes and sharks passed us by. Afterwards you walk out through a little aquarium.


We the went at got some lunch at the Pirate’s burger kitchen. There are lots of different places to eat around the park, four quick service restaurants like the one we went to, two A la carte restaurants, two buffet restaurants, three grab and go restaurants and then plenty of snack and coffee shops. There are also lots of picnic areas if you want to bring your own food with you.


After lunch we stayed in Pirate Falls and Oscar panned for gold and got a medal. Oscar and Daddy then went on the Pirate Falls: Treasure Quest log flume, they got absolutely soaked! I had to buy the photo as Oscar’s face is absolutely hilarious. When they got off the ride they were literally dripping wet. For £2 you can use the drying machine which warmed them up and dried them off a bit. I was glad I had to skip that ride and wait with Archie!


As they were already soaked we walked to the Land of the Vikings and they went on the Viking’s river splash. They didn’t actually get that wet and Oscar loved this ride.


Oscar had been desperate to visit the Ninjago World which is new for 2017 since it had opened. When we got there the Ninjago building is really impressive. All four of us could go on this ride and you wear 4D glasses and it is a 4D interactive game where all of your ninja skills will be put to the test as you battle through ice, wind and fire with the Ninjago heroes. It got a bet competitive (haha) and of course I won with a score of 134,750. I was absolutely knackered afterwards as you are constantly jabbing for about three minutes!


We then went on the Heartlake City Express train where I got soaked this time, I sat on the wrong side of the carriage! I will know for next time! We then watched the Lego Friends to the rescue show as we had an ice-cream before we looked around miniland then made our way home.


We had an absolutely fantastic day and we can’t wait to go back!

Mumsnet FreedomPop Review – 100% Free Plan Mobile Network

For the last few weeks we have been trying out the FreedomPop Mobile the 100% free Network for Mumsnet that offer a 100% Free Plan that includes 200 minutes, 200 texts & 200MB data every month for no cost at all.

Now when I first heard about it I thought it sounded to good to me true but after using the FreedomPop network fro nearly a month it is fantastic. You simply purchase the SIM card for 99p and it is a trio SIM so can be used in any phone and runs of Three’s 3G and 4g network. When changing over to FreedomPop you can keep your old number which makes life much easier or if you want to have a new number.


There is a 30 day money back guarantee so you can try FreedomPop out without any worries and with no contract at all you are not signed up to something for a couple of years like most networks.  If you do need for minutes, texts and data than on the basic free 200 package you get a month you can upgrade without being in a contract and still as you can see below even the premium deals are super cheap!

freedompop-uk-plans

We were asked by Mumsnet to let you know our thoughts about FreedomPop and the prime user was Oscar to see just how great it is for kids/teenagers to rule out ever getting a huge mobile phone bill from your child!

Who is trying the FreedomPop service?

Oscar is 7 years old and is trying out the service as he likes to play games on my phone and uses my phone to message and call his best friend after school.


Did you try the handset or the SIM only?

We were kindly sent the SIM and the Samsung Galaxy phone.

Why did they/ you want to try it?

I wanted to try it out as a network that offered 100% calls and texts seemed to good to be true and after reading stories of kids racking up huge phone bills Freedom Pop sounded like the perfect answer to stopping that. Oscar likes to message his friend on my phone and he feels very grown up having his own phone.

Was it their first mobile?

Yes it is Oscar’s first mobile. Obviously at 7 he doesn’t carry it round with him everywhere but after school he likes to message and ring his friends. He also pesters Daddy by ringing him as well and has been sending us very sweet messages.

Do you see FreedomPop as a mobile service alternative for both parents and children?

Totally! Their data packages are so well priced and I do use my phone a lot for my blog but a lot of the time that is on my Wi-Fi. I then pay a huge amount for data each month that I don’t use. Using Freedom Pop would bring my bills down massively. For kids/teenagers its just fantastic. Knowing you will never get a huge bill at the end if the month is a god send for parents that are worried about the cost of their children having a mobile phone.


How did your child get on with the phone?

Oscar found the phone really easy to use and the home screen is easy to navigate. The camera is great too and he keeps taking lots of photos. Writing a message is easy too with predictive test it has helped him to write the messages he wants to write without any help.

What did you like about the service? And what features would you like to have in the future?

I think the service is great. Like I said above having a service that does exactly what you need out of a phone network at an amazing price. It has made me realise just how much the network I am currently with are obviously ripping me right off! I can’t think of anything that I would add at the moment. Also being able to see who Oscar is going to call or text I am sure in the future when he is in his teens will come in very useful!

 

  • This post is in collaboration with FreedomPop and Mumsnet. All opinions are honest and my own.

Our Day At The Epson EcoTank #PrintingDory Event

Yesterday we went into London to the Epson #printingdory event to get hands on with the new EcoTank printer range at The Disney Store on Oxford Street. As Oscar broke up from school on Friday for the Summer he got to come along too and was so excited. We drove into London, parked up and walked round to the store and was shown upstairs to where the event was being held. When the lift doors opened we were greeted by a gorgeous brunch and drinks and Oscar was drawn straight to the photo booth basket of all of the characters in the new Finding Dory film which is released on the 29th July and we can’t wait to go and see it!

We were then given a short presentation from Leonie and Neil from Epson and Bobbi from Disney. So what are the new EcoTank printers all about? Epson’s new EcoTank range of printers features revolutionary refillable ink tank technology that offers an unbeatable combination of convenience and value for homes, home offices and small offices. You can now print without cartridges at a very low cost. Research showed that most people use around 70 ink cartridges over a two year period when using an old printer but now thanks to the Eco Tank way of printing when you buy a new EcoTank printer it comes with two years worth of ink which is up to 11,000 pages in black and colour! It truly is a printing revelation. When you finally run low you simply buy the additional ink bottles and refill your EcoTanks inside your printer.

I am someone who uses a printer a lot. From printing off boarding passes to photos to update our picture wall in our lounge and it is so annoying when your in the middle of printing and suddenly one of the colour cartridges becomes low and the rest of your printing is not as clear as when you started. I love that with the new Eco Tank printers you can just top up what ever colour is needed using the individual bottles. I did have a good look at the printer and the bottles and refilling the EcoTanks looks so simple and easy to do. I can’t wait to have our new printer delivered to try it for myself!

The EcoTank printers have a wide range of connectivity options making it so easy to print anything from your laptop, tablet device or smart phone using Wi-Fi with auto-setup, Wi-Fi Direct and Ethernet. These are combined with the simplicity of email print and the ability to print from your Android and iOS phones and tablets using Epson’s free iPrint app. EcoTank printers also support AirPrint. I often use the email function on my printer so whatever I need is ready for me to grab when I get home.

We then sat down and took part in lots of Finding Dory arts and crafts that Epson have put together with Disney which will keep your little ones entertained over the Summer holidays. Oscar loves doing art and crafts and it hardly costs a thing and we can spend hours making different things and spending quality time together. Research showed that most families over the Summer holidays will spend a whopping £1500 on days outs and activities. Epson have made some great and easy to make printable art and crafts activities and we made Squirt the turtle, some photo booth props and a pretty collage. There is also pop up cards, origami Dory and many more things to choose from.

We had a really lovely day and the boys enjoyed it so much! I can’t wait to get started using our new EcoTank printer and I will write another post so you know how we got on with it. Thanks Disney and Epson for a really special day!

Aloka SleepyLights Review

A few weeks ago we were asked to pick one of the fun designs in the Aloka Sleepylights multi-coloured LED light range from Potwells. I knew Oscar would love the Robot design and when Oscar came home from school to find his new light set up in his bedroom he absolutely loved it. There are 26 lovely designs to choose from and six of these designs are now stocked at John Lewis and Mothercare.

John Lewis stock these designs:

Mothercare stock these designs:

So what is so great about these new amazingly fun children’s lights…… Firstly Oscar loves having a remote control and lays in bed constantly changing the colours and leaves it on a different colour each night. You can also leave it to rotate through the 12 different colours and the light gives off a soft and calming glow which is perfect for bedtime. Having the control is great for younger children too who can use the control which is great for practising their fine motor skills and learning all the different colours as well. The lights also have a side-lamp feature which leaves your light on a bright white glow which is also great for when you are reading a bedtime story and need a bit more light.

The light also has a dimmer function which is great and you can choose from four varying levels of brightness, it also has a sleep button which will automatically lower the light to create the ideal calm and dreamy environment to fall to sleep in. I also set the timer to turn the night light off after an hour saving the need to enter the room to switch it off as the evenings are lighter at the moment although Oscar sleeps with the remote under his pillow and turns it back on if he wakes in the night.


Oscar’s favourite light setting is the bright blue but my favourite without a doubt is the beautiful rainbow light show! Archie likes watching the light show too I am going to order the Giraffe light for him as it is perfect to have in a nursery.


The Robot Aloka SleepyLight has an RRP of £39.99 and I think is great value. Not only does it look great in Oscar’s bedroom but buying a SleepyLight will last you for years when using it from newborn.

Disclaimer: We were sent the light for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are honest and my own.

Thomas & Friends Start Your Engines DVD #TeamThomas

We are one of the lucky few that are in #TeamThomas and have sent the brand new Thomas & Friends Start Your Engines DVD which has never been seen before on TV and is due to be released on the . The DVD has six jam packed full of fun episodes all with a racing theme which Oscar loved. He loves anything to do with racing so this DVD went down a treat! Oscar also loved the mini games in between the episodes.


 The DVD has 6 new episodes, 4 bonus features and 2 new sing-along-songs which Oscar and Archie loved. Archie especially loved the sing-along-songs and bopped to the music. Oscar was very much team blue rather than team red, this is because he loves Thomas and also because he is a Chelsea fan 🙂 The DVD is great and a fantastic taster of the new Thomas film ‘The Great Race’ which is released at the end of the month. We can’t wait to go and see it!


You can also get involved with your little ones and join in with all the fun with #TeamThomas on the Facebook page and try and win some fantastic prizes!

​​

Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie Review

When we were given a code to download the soon to be released on DVD and Digital HD Download and Blu-Ray Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie, Oscar was really excited. It will be available from Monday the 30th of May. Oscar and Daddy actually watched the film in the cinema last Summer when we were in Toronto, Canada and he absolutely loved it!

The film has all of the famous Peanuts characters in that I for one watched and loved as a child. You have Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved PEANUTS Gang making their feature film debut, like they’ve never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation. I absolutely love watching old characters that I watched as a child come to life in 3D for Oscar and Archie to enjoy now and afterwards we can talk about what it was like when I watched it when I was their age.

Charlie Brown, the world’s most beloved underdog, embarks upon an epic and heroic quest, while his best pal, the lovable beagle Snoopy, takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron. It teaches children that even if you are the underdog you can still achieve whatever you want. This is a great message to young children. Oscar often says to me that he can’t do something, or he isn’t good enough at a certain game or sport and I always tell him he can do whatever he wants to do if puts his mind to it and it really comes across in the film.

The film itself is refreshing to watch and perfect for cuddles on sofa on movie night on the tv or iPad and Oscar has also downloaded it on to my iPhone and has watched it quite a few times since we downloaded it over the weekend. It really is a lovely film and in HD the quality of the picture is amazing. Listening to Oscar giggle throughout is very sweet and it really is a film that you just smile throughout watching. I felt like a kid again and love anything that takes me back to my childhood.

img_8706

You can watch the film trailer below and get a snippet of how fantastic the film really is!

The Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie is available in all good DVD stores and online from Monday 30th May on digital download, Blu-ray and DVD priced around £9.99.

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

 

EE’s ‘Light The Arch’ App & Our Visit To Wembley Stadium #LightTheArch

EE have launched their exciting new app which allows 7-11 year olds to ‘light the arch’ at Wembley Stadium. The web application is designed with children aged 7-11 in mind to learn the basic principles of coding, although Oscar is 6 and got how to use the app easily. So to celebrate the launch and try out the new app we were invited to Wembley stadium last Monday which Oscar was so excited about!

We arrived at the Club Wembley entrance and was shown upstairs to one of the boxes where Oscar couldn’t believe the amazing view of the pitch that we had. We were then given a tablet to use and Oscar designed through coding exactly how he wanted to light up the arch of the stadium. After he had finished and named his show the app transformed his design into an amazing display with a countdown and fireworks. He couldn’t believe it and had great fun using it.

The web application is endorsed by the educational technology charity Apps for Good and it is based on the technology used to light the arch at major stadium events. Apps For Good are supporting the new online tool and ensuring it gets into the hands of educators across the UK. They are an education technology charity working to transform education to help young entrepreneurs thrive in a tech driven future, which when I was told about I thought was fantastic. The Light the Arch initiative supports EE’s wider commitment to battle digital exclusion and get more young people into technology and coding. EE has pledged to get at least 100,000 people using the web app before the end of the year and after using it and seeing how much fun it is I am sure they will reach their target as children will love it! Amazingly the educational online tool is based on the technology used to light the stadium’s arch at major events and a lucky few will be able to see their design translated into a real-life display at the England match on 29th March!!

When using the web application you can choose from over sixty different colours and eight patterns to play with such as clap, sweep, twinkle and rainbow. You can then choose which way the colours go in the rainbow and also change the colour configurations and the length and of time and speed each part of the show will last. You can also add wording and when you want to add things such as ‘Goal Scored’, ‘Red Card’ and ‘Welcome to Wembley’. When we took the tour of the stadium afterwards the tour guide told us everybody when playing a concert at Wembley always uses the same three words; “Welcome to Wembley!”

After we had had a go on the application we were taken on a tour if the stadium which is fantastic and well worth going on. The history of the stadium is fascinating and Oscar’s favourite parts were sitting by the Chelsea shirts in the changing rooms and jogging out of the tunnel to the pitch. That must be so daunting for football players as until you are standing by the pitch I wasn’t aware of just how huge the stadium is with a whooping 90,000 seat capacity.

Afterwards we went outside the stadium to watch Oscar’s light show on the actual arch which was absolutely amazing and he is so lucky to have had the chance to do this! Thanks EE and Mumsnet.

Head over to www.ee.co.uk/light-the-arch to create your own light show to Light the Arch at Wembley Stadium and don’t forget to use the hashtag #LightTheArch to share with everyone. Don’t forget to share your video before the midnight on the 27th March 2016 to be in with a chance of having your light show used at the England vs Netherlands game on Tuesday 29th March.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a tablet as a token of thanks for this post.

img_6876

Mum’s Want Phone Calls Not Flowers This Mother’s Day

Did you know that two thirds of Mum’s happy to get a digital message rather than a card or flowers this Mother’s Day. Mum’s now spend on average 14 hours a week on their smartphone keeping in touch with the family. As a nation of smartphone addicts, we’re often criticised for spending too much time staring at our screens, but our devices are actually helping us to celebrate Mother’s Day – and mum doesn’t mind.

 According to a new TalkTalk Mobile study into the ways families stay in touch, 66 per cent of mums with children aged over 18 years would be happy to have a video call or message from their child rather than a card this Mothering SundayBusy lives, large extended families and distance mean only 53 per cent of mums will spend the day together with their child. Instead, 43 per cent of UK mums expect to receive a text or WhatsApp message from their child and nine per cent anticipate a video call, through the likes of Skype or FaceTime.

 Traditional ways of showing our appreciation have fallen in popularity as only 52 per cent of UK mums don’t think they’ll receive a Mother’s Day card and 63 per cent don’t think they’ll receive a present. However, 19 per cent of mums say they prefer modern communications to cards and 76 per cent don’t mind if their child doesn’t send them a card this Mothering Sunday, as long as they have sent a message or call. The advent of more affordable smartphones and plethora of apps mean families are using their mobiles more than ever to stay in touch. One in seven families now have a dedicated WhatsApp group and UK mums admit to spending on average 13 hours and 45 minutes a week on their smartphone communicating with just their family. I whatsapp my Mum all the time and send her photos of the boys throughout the week.TalkTalk Mobile infographic-3

 Seeing pictures of their children and grandchildren is considered the top benefit (99 per cent), followed by being able to receive texts and messages from them (79 per cent), and being able to receive instant updates from family members (53 per cent). As a result, four out of five mums with grown-up children say they feel closer and more connected to their family.TalkTalk Mobile infographic-2

 The top apps mums use to stay in touch with their children and grandchildren are:

 1. Text message

2. Facebook Messenger

3. Video chat e.g. Skype, FaceTime

4. WhatsApp

5. Twitter

One mum who’s been encouraged to take to technology by her grown-up children is singer and TV presenter, Cheryl Baker. “My twin girls are always on their phones and the only way I could keep up with what they’re up to was to get tech savvy,” said Cheryl. “I’m often away touring, which means we spend quite a lot of time apart but because the girls are never far form their mobile, we’re constantly in touch. I probably speak to them more now than ever.“ Dan Meader from TalkTalk Mobile commented: “Technology will never replace spending quality time together as a family, especially on Mother’s Day. But as the research shows, our mobiles are helping us feel closer to our loved ones. The message from modern mums is clear – it’s the thought that counts, not the way it’s delivered.”

TalkTalk Mobile offers SIM, smartphone and tablet bundles starting from £3.95 a month, which all include free unlimited calls between family members linked to the home account. TalkTalk is also currently offering 50% off for the entire the length of the mobile contract on its Small and Medium SIM-only plans. 

TalkTalk Mobile infographic-1