Schleich Dino Set with Cave - Review

My son C has always been interested in dinosaurs, ever since the age of 2 when he became obsessed with Andy's Dinosaur Adventures on CBeebies and proudly told me that his favourite was a parasaurolophus (which I promptly had to Google - how could a 2 year old outsmart me?) Four years on, his love of dinosaurs is still there so he was very excited to get his hands on the Schleich Dino Set with Cave (recommended for age 5+).

I love the Schleich range and you can tell just by looking and holding them that they are a great value, well made and will stand the test of time. We reviewed some Schleich animal figures two years ago and they are still going strong, have been borrowed by C's nursery for a while and now enjoyed by both of my children with not a breakage in sight.

The Dino Set with cave comes with four pieces to build the cave (cave, column, stone and stone slab), a Herrerasaurus with a moveable lower jaw, a Psittacosaurus, a Microraptor and a fossil head. Upon opening, the first thing I noticed was the sheer weight of each piece, you know that this is a fantastic quality toy. The cave itself was simple enough for 6 year old C to build alone and he loved that you can transform the front part into a catapult when the stone column is moved.

The dinosaur figures themselves have been crafted with exceptional attention to detail. The colouring on each is second to none and I was surprised to see that they are all handpainted because they look so incredible. The size of the cave and figures are decent too.

C, although a lover of dinosaurs, wasn't actually aware of these types so we had a quick Google about their backgrounds, what they ate and he was very interested in learning more. Watching C's imagination come to life when he is playing with this set is wonderful. He will have them fight each other, try to run or fly away, have one dinosaur remove the stone trying to crush another, all while roaring as loud as he can and you can just feel his excitement.

We love the Schleich Dino with Cave Set as it combines two of my favourite things; playing and learning. I even learned a bit more about dinosaurs too! This set retails at £44.99 but for handpainted, high quality toys that encourage creativity and imagination, it's definitely worth it. You can purchase your own at the Schleich website.

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 

Peppa's Laugh and Learn Laptop - Review & Giveaway

Peppa Pig is one of those shows that I don't think has been off my television for a single day since I became a parent six years ago. Kids are just drawn to the show and, I'll admit, she's grown on me a little. My four year old daughter E loves Peppa so we were excited to receive the Peppa's Laugh and Learn Laptop and it was perfect timing with E starting nursery.

E began nursery at the start of the month so we will be focusing a lot on her numbers and letter sounds at home to go along with what she's doing at nursery. The four game modes focus on colours, numbers, letters and word recognition so it sounded fantastic.

The laptop is full of bright colours, as well as an image of Peppa on the front, perfect to pique a small child's interest. It also has a little handle so it can be carried around easily. 

Upon opening, you are met with a whole host of buttons and E couldn't wait to see what everything did. Along the side, there is a slider to change activity; Discover, Quiz, What Can You Find? and Music. It's really easy for a young child to choose their activity by themselves and E happily played around with the buttons to see how they'd changed for each different one. 

When in the Discover mode, pressing one of the six buttons in the centre corresponds to one of the images on the backlit screen eg. telling you that there were "three red clocks" - great to teach both numbers and colours. The Quiz activity asks questions such as "What is the first letter of the word 'coin'? At 4 years old, E did need a little help with these but I definitely feel that when she gets playing more and more, it will teach her a lot of things that will get stuck in her head and aid her learning.

What Can You Find? is similar to the Quiz mode but will ask questions based on sounds, so it will play the sound of an aeroplane taking off or a clock ticking, then the child has to choose the correct button. E loves this setting and it would be great for younger children too. The Music mode transforms the main six buttons into piano sounds so when they are pressed, you can create your own tune.

The six buttons along the bottom add a little extra to each activity. Whether it be musical sounds from the bongos, recorder or saxophone or just telling you the character names of George, Danny Dog or Suzie Sheep.

I think this is a great little toy for children aged 2+. I love a toy that is both fun and educational and the addition of a well loved character helps. The Peppa's Laugh and Learn Laptop retails at £19.99 from all good toy shops.

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Want to win one for yourself? Just enter via the Gleam widget below. Good luck!

  Peppa Pig Laugh and Learn Laptop

  • This giveaway will run from 13th September until 30th September
  • One winner will win one Peppa Pig Laugh and Learn Laptop
  • Open to entrants aged 18+
  • UK residents only
  • One entry per person
  • No automated entries  


Ravensburger Paw Patrol Four Large Shaped Puzzles - Review

Both my children love reaching for a jigsaw puzzle when they are feeling a little bored and want something fun to do. We have a huge pile already in our house and they love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with seeing the full image at the end. It helps when it's a fun character that they like! 

Ravensburger very kindly sent E one of their Paw Patrol Four Large Shaped Puzzles sets and she was so excited to get started. Paw Patrol is one of her favourite shows with a special love of Everest and Skye. 

Inside the box you get 52 puzzle pieces in different sizes, depending on what puzzle they are for. One puzzle has 10 pieces, another 12, one 14 and finally one at 16 pieces. 

As E has only just turned four, I gave her a little help. She was able to split the pieces into piles happily, knowing which piece was for which puzzle just by looking at the image on the box. 

In the end, it took her no longer than around 30 minutes to complete all four, letting out a little shriek of excitement and pointing out which characters she could see. Each puzzle depicts a different scene and I liked the addition of words as, now she has started nursery, we are working on letter sounds. All four are full of colour and so pretty to look at. 

The Ravensburger Paw Patrol Four Large Shaped Puzzles retail at £9.99 and is suitable for children aged 3+. You can purchase your own at Amazon.

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Planning Our Dream Garden

Chris and I have lived together for the past seven years and during that time, we have only ever lived in terraced housing with little to no outdoor space. We've since had two children and we are at the stage where we are looking to buy our own house, as opposed to privately renting like we are right now. We have a few "must haves" such as living in a suitable area close to the children's school, having a third or maybe even fourth bedroom, a garage and most important, a garden!

I feel like I'd love a garden for the children to run around in and play whenever they like as outdoor time is so important and it's much easier than taking a trek to the park. I would also really enjoy having a more grown up space for us. I've put together a little plan of what I would have in my dream garden (although I doubt I'd get the size!).

Outdoor Toys
 Photo by Luana Azevedo on Unsplash

This is probably the most important for me. I'd love to get the children one of those huge outdoor frames that comes with a swing, slide and lots to climb - it would keep them entertained for ages and would feel just like being at the park. Both children have also expressed interest in having a playhouse so I think we'd opt for a wooden one just so it lasts a little longer. I've also seen some companies that specialise in outdoor chalkboards that fasten to a fence. C and E would both definitely love that and it saves them from using chalk on the patio. Win win!

Food Area
I spend a lot of time on Instagram following home accounts and I am completely envious of Mrs Rackley Home's food area outside. Beforehand, I'd happily just have a patio with some gorgeous rattan furniture and a fancy barbecue, but she has gone that little bit further and installed her own built in pizza oven. I need one of those in my life too! It would be lovely to invite all the family around for a nice alfresco meal in the summer with the children playing next to us.

Grow Your Own 

This is one thing that Chris and I have always said that we would like to do - grow our own veg! There is no way I could have a garden without cordoning a little part off just for growing vegetables. It would save us so much money and it would be a great way to get the kids interested in it and teach them where our veg comes from.

Home Cinema
This is another thing that I didn't know I needed until Instagram came along, this time courtesy of Lust Living. Okay, it probably isn't realistic because you'd need a huge amount of space but hey, a girl can dream! Just imagine sitting outside as the sun goes down, with your favourite movie playing via a projector. Bliss!

I admit, I am not green fingered at all and wouldn't know how to keep a plant alive but it's definitely something that I'd love to learn if I had a garden. I'd probably opt for artificial grass for the main part (just so it looks pretty and green all year round!) but I'd love a "frame" of beautiful, brightly coloured flowers around the edge of the garden. I think it would really set the whole area off and just make it a lovely place to be.

What would you have in your dream garden?
(This is a sponsored post.)
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