Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Education Quizzes

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I guess my sons are typical boys. Teaching them in a classroom environment will only ever achieve so much. And now they are aged 7 and 10, there are certain strengths and weaknesses which seem to be coming out in their schoolwork.

Numbers. Numbers are fun for them. Give them any maths activity to do and they attack it with relish.

Words? Now they are a whole different matter.

Being  a journalist and blogger, you’d think my boys would take the same kind of joy from words as I do. But I guess we’re all different. They love storytelling and have colourful imaginations.

But the technical side of words – spelling, grammar, tenses, nouns, pronouns…….. start teaching them that stuff and their eyes roll back in their heads as they daydream about going out on their bikes.

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Give him the gift of memories #TruprintDads

+08-23 05=51 Brodie, Blake Grose @ Kinneil House Roman Day, Bo'Ness, Scotland IMG_4388

As the boys grow up, they’ve become accustomed to having a camera shoved in their face.

So much so, they refer to their Dad as “The Paparazzi”.

And despite sometimes feeling a little grumpy about having a lens pointed at them during some of the most private family moments, we now have a collection of images from virtually every week of their lives, which I for one am very grateful for.

And when it comes to Father’s Day, their Dad appreciates it too. Especially since this year he’s spending more time away from the family.

So for Father’s Day, we decided to give him gifts which will keep the boys with him, wherever he goes.

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Review: Dino Tales

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At the age of 2 and a half, Brodie discovered dinosaurs.

All of a sudden, his toy trains didn’t matter any more. His imagination was sparked by Triceratops and Spinosaurus, by T-Rex and Diplodocus.

We themed his birthday parties on them, we booked tickets to see shows about them, we visited attractions which had them.

They’ve taught him a lot. These prehistoric creatures have widened his vocabulary, improved his spelling, and sparked his imagination.

So when the lovely folks at Netmums invited us to review the Dino Tales game, promising it would be educational, I had no doubt.

But now that he’s 8, Brodie is fairly knowledgable about dinosaurs, so I wondered if there was anything new this game could teach him about his favourite creatures.

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Save cash with Oony and win a £50 Amazon voucher

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Ever heard of Oony?

If you haven’t already, and you’re interested in saving money, then you should.

Oony started in 2010 with the aim of helping every person spend less on each purchase they make.

From bank discounts to coupons, daily deals and moneysaving resources. All angles were explored, until the people at Oony realised the best way to save money was to combine all these things on one site.

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Review: Wooden Pirate Ship Set

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If you’re anything like me, you’re probably sick of the plastic rubbish that so many toy shops offer to kids over the Christmas period.

Your little ones convince themselves they must have these items. And you buy them.

Then halfway through Boxing Day a piece breaks off. Your child shrugs, discards the toys and moves on to play with something else.

You might as well have set fire to your cash.

I’ve always found that good quality wooden toys are a hit with my boys – plus they’re hard-wearing enough to withstand their rough play.

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Let’s all Be Safe Be Seen

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Is it just me or did someone in the sky turn out the lights?

Seriously. After many months of long Summer nights, desperately putting up the blackout blinds so my boys would go to bed before 10pm, all of a sudden the sun has disappeared.

By the time school’s out, the light is rapidly fading.

And I’m driving home from work in the pitch black, feeling a serious case of Seasonal Affective Disorder coming on.

Which is why the Be Safe Be Seen campaign is so important.

Road safety is something I’m trying to drum into my six-year-old – who runs everywhere at a million miles an hour.

At this time of year, it’s even more important that Blake knows to be careful when crossing the roads, when it’s likely motorists will struggle to see him.

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Review: Nintendo 3DS XL

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Brodie got a Nintendo 3DS XL to try out, and took his role as a reviewer very seriously.

My eldest son is 8 years old and in Primary 4. He’s had an original Nintendo DS for the past couple of years, which we bought second hand to see whether he’d like it or play with it regularly.

It gets picked up much more in the colder months, when he’s stuck indoors. Or we bring it on long journeys or visits to doctor’s waiting rooms and the like, when it helps to pass the time.

Brodie likes to stay active, so gaming consoles aren’t always on his radar. But he does like returning to his DS every now and then, especially when there are new games to be tried.

We were also lucky enough to get New Super Mario Bros 2 to play on the console.

So what is 3DS XL?

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Review: Nintendo 2DS

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The trouble with games consoles is that no sooner do you buy one, the company brings out a new, upgraded version.

Before you know it, you can’t get games for your old-fashioned console any more. And all the newest, latest games your kids are nagging you to get are only accessible to them if you fork out another £100-200 for version 2.0 of the player.

It annoys me. And with this in mind, a couple of Christmases ago, when we were buying the boys their very first Nintendo DS consoles, we got second hand reconditioned ones from a store.

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Review: Back To School with Clarks

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It’s the Back To School job I always dread.

Shopping for school shoes can be about as pleasant as going for a tooth extraction at the dentist, as poking a fork in your eye, as standing on a piece of LEGO (and I’ve done that a few times!)

Especially since I always manage to leave it to the last minute, when the crowds are descending, my boys are whining and wriggling because they hate shopping, and I’m sweating like a … well I think I’ve packed enough similes into this post already to tell you how much I dislike this task.

So when Clarks invited us to sample their back to school range, I knew it was an errand we’d be running anyway, but I can’t say I was relishing the idea.

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Review: Den building with pl-ug

 

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“Can we build a den Mum?”

Every weekend when they have friends round, it’s the same question.

And although I know that a “Yes” will keep them happy for a couple of hours, I also know there’s a price to be paid.

Mainly that they’ll pull out every blanket they can find in the cupboard – and sometimes the duvets from their beds – to make a house.

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