James and the Birthday Balloon by Nicola J. Rowley - Book Review

Being massive book lovers, we always like receiving new books in our house. We recently got our hands on a copy of James and the Birthday Balloon by Nicola J. Rowley. It's a short illustrated story which seemed perfect to read to both 3 year old E and 5 year old C.

The story follows James and Ruby who are best friends. It's Ruby's birthday and she throws a party on the farm where she lives. Each child receives a balloon from the entertainer and although they've been told to hold onto the string very tightly, Ruby accidentally lets go of hers and whilst running after it, trips and injures herself.

This is such a beautifully descriptive story that really puts you in the book and the imagery helps picture the scene. It's a lovely book about friendship and I love how James is described as being able to make everyone around him smile and be happy - just how I see my own son C. 

As well as the friendship aspect, as Ruby needs to go to the hospital after her accident, it explores her feelings about being scared but reassures readers that everything will be okay and hospitals shouldn't be scary, it is where we go to get help. Great for any child who does need to go into hospital.

We love this book and C has even had a go at reading it by himself, it's perfect for early readers. As if that wasn't enough, there is a QR code that you can scan to get the free audio book read by one of C's favourite's - Dr Ranj!

You can purchase your own paperback copy for £7.99 on Amazon.

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

Disney Vampirina Boo-Tiful Dress - Review

We are massive Disney fans in our house and Erin's current favourite, aside from Frozen which I think she will be obsessed with for years, is Vampirina.

If you haven't heard of Vampirina, it is a show on Disney Junior which follows Vampirina "Vee" Hauntley who becomes the new kid in town after she and her family move from Transylvania to Pennsylvania. They open a bed and breakfast called the Scare B&B for visiting ghouls and goblins. Each episode is packed with music which I think is what E loves so much about it. She has even progressed from just watching the show to watching people play with Vampirina toys on YouTube, and then subsequently asking me if I can buy her every single one.

E was so excited to get her hands on the Vampirina Boo-Tiful Dress so that she could transform into Vee herself. E has always been a massive fan of dressing up, we have a huge box full of costumes and she likes just embodying the character. The Boo-Tiful dress comes with the dress, a bat wing headband and fingerless gloves.

The dress is suitable for children aged 4-6 years. E is a little under that at 3.5 but it does fit well (she wears 4-5 years on occasion) with a fair bit of growth so I would say it's true to size. I absolutely adore the dress and with its velour feel, it seems a bit higher quality than most other costumes that we own - this does mean that it must be handwashed only though. The addition of sparkles to create the web effect on the dress and the images on the gloves really caught E's eye - she's a sucker for glitter and you even have a little badge with the image of Vampirina on the chest.

The headband and gloves are a nice touch to set off the costume. The headband fits E's head perfectly and I am pleased to say that even two weeks later, the bat wings haven't drooped and still stand erect. Although the gloves are baggy on the hand, we did have to jiggle and really push her fingers through the holes to get them on properly without feeling like they were going to fall off.

This is a gorgeous little costume for any Vampirina fans out there and I've actually struggled to get E out of it, she loves it that much! It retails at £24.99 and is available to buy from Debenhams.

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

Crocodile Dinner - Review

Now that the children are getting a little older, we try to have family game night every week and our games collection is steadily growing. One of the things that we really need to work on, with C especially, is turn taking, sharing and coping with losing as he struggles with those quite a bit.

Sambro have released a game called Crocodile Dinner which is so simple but fun. The game comes with three crocodile masks in purple, blue and green and 13 foam fish (five green, five purple, five blue and one orange or 'gold').

The premise of the game is simple. Each player attaches the crocodile mask to their face, tightening accordingly using the straps on the side. You need to make sure that it's under your chin correctly so that the mask opens and closes as you open and close your mouth.

One player must count down from three, throw all the fish in the air and the "crocodiles" must try and pick up the fish of their masks' colour with their mouths, making sure not to use their hands. Once they've got all their coloured fish, the first player to get the gold fish wins!

C thought the game was really fun but he did struggle a little with how tight the mask had to be on his face in order for it to move. The fun factor for him was keeping his hands behind his back when trying to get the fish. He kept forgetting himself then bursting out laughing.

He liked that it wasn't too much of a turn taking game, everyone could play at the same time with made it even more competitive. It's a really great family game for children aged 5+.

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

UNTAMED Raptor by Fingerlings - Review

Last year, you might remember the craze around the Fingerlings monkeys. They were being advertised everywhere and parents were stressing to find one before Christmas as everywhere was selling out. Now, WowWee have developed a new style - Raptors! My five year old son C wasn't too interested in the regular Fingerlings but anything dinosaur related and he is on it like a shot. I have to admit, I was never too sure how Fingerlings worked and thought they didn't really do much but sit on your finger and look cute.

The UNTAMED Raptors come in four different characters with their own unique name and personality; Stealth (which we have received), Blaze, Fury and Razor. They sit on your finger and are fierce and unpredictable - not exactly like their cute Fingerlings cousins. They will either become a friend or a foe, all depending on how you interact with it. C is exactly the type to wind you up so I knew he'd try his best to anger it.

If you shake or poke him, he will roar, hiss or chomp at you. Alternatively, if you act kindly by petting his nose, he will hum, coo or purr. The UNTAMED Raptors have blinking eyes, snapping jaws and gripping claws and they react to touch, motion and sound and make over 40 different sounds - C especially like when he farts and will be in fits of giggles. Typical boy!

Upon opening, I did think that perhaps C would play with him for a short while and get bored but it does take a little while to get used to what actions or sounds to make around it and figure out what will make it react - it's all a learning curve! He would sit for ages just testing different things out. I love that it's so easy to play with independently.

They are made from sturdy plastic with a little on/off switch on the back so you don't need to worry about hearing it hiss or roar at silly o'clock, scaring the living daylights out of you. They fit perfectly onto his finger and although it's battery operated, it isn't too heavy. I am a sucker for anything interactive that responds to something that you do so I think these are perfect for little dinosaur fans!

The UNTAMED Raptors are suitable for children aged 5+ and retail at £16.99. You can find them at Smyths Toys, Argos and The Entertainer.

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

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