Tag Archives: reviews

Get Sugar Poking

19 Jun

when looking for gifts online it can be a bit of a jungle out there. But there are some real gems to be discovered and the fabulous Sugar Poke is one of them.

If your looking for something special, personalised yet yummy Sugar Poke is the place for you (especially with its 5 star rating).

Sugar Poke allows you to choose a fabulous delicious edible gift from its huge online selection whether your after sweets, chocolate, muffins, brownies, cakes, cookies and more besides, Sugar Poke will have something right up your street.

You then choose a free card from the many designs available and personalise it with your chosen message.

Your chosen gift(s) will then be packed with tender loving care and sent to your door by first class post. They even stock many letter box friendly products, perfect for those not in to take delivery.

Oh and did I mention first class post is free?

Sugar Poke offers so much more than your average box of chocolates, packaged in pretty packaging and tied in pretty ribbons, or something more manly perhaps, Sugar Poke takes care of it and best of all… It’s a really inexpensive way to put a smile on someone’s face.

I was chuffed to get the opportunity to review one of the Sugar Poke products, I had no idea what was being sent which kinda added to the excitement.

From the time the review was arrange till the time it landed on my door step this was nothing more than a couple of days. Everybody loves a speedy services and this was just that. The children had not long set of to school and it was just myself and the toddler at home when the delivery came. Harley always gets excited at the sight of the postman which is probably down to my eBay addiction *amen* So, he was keen to see what was in the box and yes, so was I!

Well, the toddlers eyes almost popped out from his head at what we discovered. A beautifully packaged feast of sweetie treats and cakes and enough for the whole family to enjoy.

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We had been sent the wonderful “Fruity Affair” to review

A large green bucket filled with fruity sweets and cakes, then packaged in a beautiful green cello covering and tied with red ribbon. What an impressive bucket load of treats to feast on (diet we will meet again next week)!

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The bucket load of treats cost just £16 with free first class postage (next day delivery is an additional £4.99).

I think what we received is very reasonably priced and I would be pleased to receive this from a loved one as way to brighten my day or even be the gift bearer.

Here’s what our sugar poke consists of

Oh so fruity! With: 3 x Berry Delicious fluffy blueberry muffins…

2 x Carrot Cake Genius: A big slab of moist, melt in the mouth cake packed with carrot, fruit and spices and finished with a delicious sweet sugary glaze and cream cheese frosting… Yummy ….

Nice Pear (Drops): A bag of retro pear drops in vibrant colours…

Blimey Mate: A retro treat of 10 scrummy chocolate limes with a zingy lime shell filled with milk chocolate…

Who Love’s Ya Baby: 6 delicious assorted fruit flavoured lollies, the toddlers favourite…

Gotta Chew: Bag of 10 delicious Haribo Maoam stripes chews!

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This was an awesome little treat to receive on a Thursday morning.

There is so much to choose from on the Sugar Poke online store. Prices range from as little as a fiver so there is something to suit all pockets.

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To check out the lovely Sugar Poke just click here. You can also check them out on twitter.

Disclaimer: This is a product review. I was not paid to write to review but did receive a product sample in-order to share my honest opinion with my readers.

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Help… Alice-Sara needs you!

8 Jun

So yesterday we were sent a very exciting email with an attached copy of the Ice Age 4: Continental Drift trailer to download. The film is the upcoming fourth instalment of the Ice Age films and to celebrate this exciting new release, ODEON are searching for their first Official Junior Reviewer for the film – which will be showing in cinemas from July 13th. It’s a brilliant and fun opportunity to be a part of, and the winner will receive some very exciting prizes.

My daughter Alice-Sara is a huge Ice Age fan and was really excited to get involved. All she had to do was film make a short review of the trailer and tell us why she would like to be chosen as the Official ODEON Junior Reviewer for Ice Age 4.

We would then need to upload her video onto YouTube and post it and then get as many friends and family as we can to view the video.

The top five videos will be shortlisted based upon the number of views received, and a panel of judges will pick the overall winner.

Here’s what the winner will receive. It’s an amazing prize.

The winner will receive their own ODEON Platinum card, which gives them access to visit any ODEON cinema, anytime, with a friend, FREE for a year! In addition 4 tickets to one of the very first ODEON screenings of Ice Age 4 will be given, with the full Junior Review professionally filmed afterwards. This will then be featured on the ODEON Facebook and YouTube page, as the Official Ice Age 4 Junior Reviewer.

The winner will also be invited on an all inclusive Ice Age 4 Pirate family trip for four, to Bristol which will include:

· A two hour cruise around Bristol’s historic harbour and to add to the excitement, your child will also have the chance to steer the ship!
· 1 nights accommodation in a 4 star hotel in Bristol, including breakfast
· £100.00 towards travel and spending money
· An Ice Age 4 goodie bag

The four runners up will also receive an exciting Ice Age 4 prize.

So here it is… Please please just click and watch that’s all it takes to give my little princess this awesome opportunity is a view because the more views she gets the more chance she has of becoming an official reviewer. I think she did awesome.

We had such a great time making the video and if you checkout my YouTube channel you will find a very funny video of Alice-Sara’s very funny out-takes. She really is a star.

A Mothers Day Competition

15 Mar

Evening all, just popping on to with a treat for all you lovely mothers that read the blog.

In celebration of Mothering Sunday the Lovely Daniela Sacerdoti, author of Dreams & Watch over me, has given me 3 copies of her book to give away to 3 of my lovely readers.

If you’re really lucky this Mothers Day, you’ll me able to engage in a bit of “Me Time” and why not do so with a good book!

I’ve Included a little about the title below, which I’m sure will be enough to get you entering!

Eilidh Lawson’s life has hit crisis point. Years of failed fertility treatments, a cheating husband and an oppressive family have pushed her to the limit. Desperate for relief, Eilidh seeks solace in the only place she’s ever felt at home – a small village in the Scottish Highlands. There, Eilidh slowly begins to mend her broken heart but soon learns she is not the only one in the village struggling to recover from a painful past. Jamie McAnena, Eilidh’s childhood friend, is trying to raise his daughter Maisie alone. After Maisie’s mother left to pursue a career in London and Jamie’s own mother, Elizabeth, passed away, he has resigned himself to being a family of two. But sometimes there is more to a story than meets the eye. Despite their reluctance, curious circumstances keep bringing Jamie and Eilidh together. For even when it seems all is lost, help can come from the most surprising places.

An ethereal and beautifully written debut novel, Watch Over Me is a poignant story about letting go and moving on – with a little bit of help from beyond the grave

The Novel published back in November 2011 and has received some great reviews! Check out the Good Reads website, were it displays a glowing 5 star review with some brilliant feedback.

To enter for your chance of winning one of three copies, simply do the following

Leave me a comment telling me why you, or your mother, deserves a little me time! You must leave a contact with your comment, either email or twitter to ensure I can contact you if you win.

For extra entries

Tweet: “#Win a copy of watch over me with clairelouise82 & @danisacerdoti” Adding the URL of this post, then comment to let me know you have done it by leaving your twitter handle.

Use any of the share buttons within this post (I extra entry for each) Please remember to leave a separate comment for each to validate your entries.

Competition will close at 11.59 pm on the 2nd April 2012 will the three winners being contacted soon after.

Visit Daniela Sacerdoti Blog HERE.

‘Watch Over Me’ is RRP at £11.99 and can be purchased online at Amazon for £7.70 (paperback) or £5.49 in Kindle edition.

 

T&C

Open to the UK only, those entering must following all the rules to validate their entries. Email or twitter handles should be left with all comments. There will be 3 winners drawn randomly. Winners will be contacted by either email or twitter and will have a time period of 72 hours to respond to the winning notification, those who fail to do so, risk a re-draw. The prize is as stated and there is no prize alternative. Details should be sent to the email address in the blog side bar, which will be forwarded on to the prize provider to dispatch.

Last Minute Christmas toys

24 Dec

1

DAY TILL CHRISTMAS

So, it’s just one more day till Christmas, are you excited?

Today is literally your last chance to shop!

For those of you, who still have one or two more gifts to buy, here’s a little inspiration.

Something for the toddlers

Octonauts Gup B-Vehicle with Kwazii & shark playset

This fabulous bath toy sent to my Little Harley to test by Argos, is the perfect toddler playset.

This toy is so super that you can even find it in the Argos ‘Fab 15’ (Top toys for Christmas).

If like me you have no clue what Octonauts even is, it’s a new CBeebies undersea animation that little CBeebies fans seem to love.

Strangely, on presenting the toy to Harley he shouted out “Kwazii… Wow” to which I didn’t have the slightest idea what he was talking about!

You see, I’ve never come across the series which is a tad weird considering CBeebies is daily viewing in our house, I guess I had never took notice of it! When It came on a few days later, it was only then I connected the two. Harley however seems to love Octonauts and is fully aware what it is, making this a pretty awesome choice of toy to review.

My, now 2-year-old has always been something of a water baby, so the fact this is also a bath toy makes it that bit more special!

The Octonauts set can be played with in and out the bath, just put Kwazii in the driver’s seat by opening the clear dome and your ready to go! On dry land the Gup B Vehicle can zoom about the floor with the use of it’s wheels or take it in the bath and treat it like a submarine. By pushing the Gup B’s fin its Jaws open and close and Harley just loves pretending that it’s eating all of his other toys, just yesterday I discovered Bob the builders legs hanging out of its mouth. This feature also works really well in the water and when pushing the fin Gup B chomps and squirts water everywhere (very delightful). If this wasn’t enough to amuse my little fellow, the set also comes with a small grey shark with rod that once in water, changes colour.

Harley really has had lots of fun playing with the Octonauts playset! Argos stock a whole host of Octonaut toys and considering how much of a fan Harley is of his current set, I’ve brought him a few others for Christmas.

Parental perspective

A well made, great value play set with lots of playability. Harley never seems to get board of playing with it and it’s joined him for each and every bath his had since he received it some weeks back. The set comes with an age recommendation of 3 years, Harley is 2 but plays with it without any problems whatsoever (note the rod & shark are a little small so may not be ideal for the child who enjoys chomping on their toys).

The set consists of a reasonably sized Gup B vehicle with Kwazii figure and colour changing shark.

It’s my opinion that the picture in the catalogue and that of the one on the internet doesn’t do this toy much justice! It’s much bigger than I expected, which is a good thing! It came well packaged but was a breeze to free from it’s packaging which is always a bonus (if you’re like me and hate all them twisted wires and overload of tape you’ll love how easy this one is to set free).

Priced at £13.99 I’d go as far as branding this toy a true bargain and would highly recommend it.
A deserved 5***** stars are awarded.

To view or get one for your tiny tot just click HERE

Something for the girls

Barbie Puppy water park playset


Alice was overjoyed at discovering Argos had sent her a Barbie puppy water park to review (another toy listed as one of Argos fab fifteen). This nice sized set comes complete with Barbie, her 2 puppies and a fabulous water park for them all to enjoy.

I have to admit my first thought was, “Great, my floors are going to get soaked” it’s not that this is a massive toy that holds a great deal of water, it’s just that my daughter always seems to soak her entire surroundings if she doesn’t play with this kind of thing in the bathroom! Well, I need not have worried as when she wasn’t stuck in the bath playing with this for hours on end while wrinkling up like a prawn, Alice laid down her big beach towel on the floor and just about managed not to soak a thing!

Alice’s thoughts

Alice told me she really likes her new Barbie and puppies when asked what things made it great she stated that the waterslide was lots of fun and she wishes she could ride one the same in real life (looks like we’ll be heading to the swimming baths following Christmas)! Other things she commented on was Barbie’s lovely swim wear and all the accessories that come with it.
Alice gave it a 4 star rating out of the possible 5

Parental perspective

The set includes a fair bit so isn’t badly priced, the doll is nicely made and doesn’t feel cheap and plastic. Alice-Sara is forever taking her Barbies in the bath and sometimes we end up with a good 20 Barbies draining in the sink following her bath time so this was a good edition. I’m pleased Alice likes this set as I often worry that she’s going to lose interest in dolls, she’s 8 years of age and will be 9 next month, yet at the moment fashion dolls such as Barbie, Moxie and her all time favourite “Monsters high” all seem to remain at the top of her wish list.

From a parents perspective I award this one with 4 stars.

Barbie Puppy water park playset is priced at £24.99 but can currently be purchased from Argos at a reduced price of £22.49.

To view or buy click HERE

Lastly, a huge thank you to Argos for being a fantastic brand to work with this year.

Merry Christmas to everyone

Joining Forces

2 Nov

autism awareness ribbon

Image via Wikipedia

A boy with Aspergers, When I was a kid & John Crane are joining forces 

 I know that the blog has been showcasing some toys recently as part of the ‘Santa’s Little helpers feature’ however I’ve also made a very exciting agreement with ‘Paul’ the daddy & owner of the independent toy store ‘When I was a Kid‘ alongside the people at ‘John Crane’

 So, what’s so exciting about this you may ask? Well, a while back I was sent a huge (I mean Huge) John Crane catalogue that contained each and every one of their products. The Idea was for me to choose six items and then give some feed back on them. Why? Because Paul (When I was a kid) & John Crane, generally want to make their toys more autism friendly.

How great is that!

 I felt privileged that Paul came to me with his ideas and given this is a project that will benefit children like my own I wanted to get involved. 

 You see, most of us don’t actually want a special range of toys designed especially for children on the spectrum! We are forever heard saying that we don’t want our children excluded from daily activities, we state that our children should be allowed to play freely amongst their peers. We don’t want them being pushed together playing with their “specialist designed toys” 

Don’t get me wrong people, my son goes to a ‘Special school’ so plays amongst his peers on the spectrum daily, It’s not about that, It’s about making toys appealing to all.

 What we do want is for more toy brands to be aware of children with special needs whether its autism or something else all together. We want them to consider children as a whole when designing their toys. Ok, Yes, their will be toys, aimed at different interest, ages and abilities but shouldn’t brands be thinking of the benefits each toy makes to the non “Typical” child too?

 The reason I started doing the ‘Santa’s Little helpers’ feature was mostly down to the number of visitors who found my blog as a result of googling terms such as, “Toys for children with autism” or “What toys may be suitable for children with autism at Christmas” etc, etc…

 Like all children, those on the autism spectrum all have different interest and abilities and I’m not stating that one toy that is beneficial for one child with autism is beneficial for all. I’m simply stating that certain toys have that edge to them, whether it’s educational, sensory, visual and so forth. When you get one or even better, a number of these things combined you often find that the toy at hand is actually more beneficial to the child with autism than some may think.

 I do hope that what I’m about to write, isn’t taken in the wrong way!

There are to many toy companies out there who take a toy slightly adapt it and label it as a “specialist” toy! This type of toy can be found in specialist shops, may it be those aimed at the sensory side of things or Occupational side. The thing is with this toy being given the label “Specialist” it then tends to score in price! Why should it be a way to make additional pounds?

Now not all specialist toy companies do this but so many do!

Now when you get a toy with developmental benefits that states its good for all children including those with autism, doesn’t brand itself as specialist, therefore containing the same price tag as it would for a similar toy in its range that doesn’t make the above claim, then isn’t this fairer? I think so!

 That’s why when we review toys on, ‘A boy with Aspergers’ we try to look at the benefits for all children and If I feel the toy in question would also suit the child with autism or special needs, then you will happily hear me state it (Well, in most cases write it). Maybe that’s why you find toys from your everyday brands here on the blog. I hardly ever review the toys branded “Specialist” There are a great section out there, yet the price attached to many are enough to give a reader a heart attack. I have visited sites that state that they sell specialist toys for children with disabilities, I have seen some of the prices, I’ve then gone to an everyday well-known retailer and seen similar or the same toy for less. Yet many parents buy the first toy! Why? Because they think it’s the right thing to do!

 Both ‘When I was a kid’ & ‘John Crane’ already have shelves stacked with toys that offer great benefits to a child with autism & special needs. I want to help them uncover them and then share them with you guys!

 I saw some toys in that catalogue that got me very excited (I’m a big kid at heart). Many were great in their current form, others would be extremely beneficial to all if adapted slightly. 

 So, yes I’m really overjoyed to have a part in this and am looking forward to working with these guys.

 What you can expect over the Coming months

 A number of toy reviews that will be extremely detailed in order to show you the benefits of a toy for both the child with autism and other special needs as well as the child without. 

 A specially designed page both here and on the ‘When I was a kid’ website, showcasing the toy reviews and other beneficial features

 Guest post by me on both the ‘John crane’ & ‘When I was a kid’ site.

 This is more than a toy review. All toys featured will be sent to customers with an attached note detailing some of its benefits while letting you know we recommend it! 

So, next time you google that question, “What can I buy my child with autism as a gift?”  My guess is… you’ll now get your answers and for me that’s pretty awesome. 

Let’s play a little Dotto

12 Oct

I love reviewing board games as for me they’re a way of encouraging social interaction and having a child on the autism spectrum, makes that an important factor for me.

As mentioned in my last review of the board game ‘Faqir’, blog-match successful teamed us up with the guys at Tactic Games. Not only was we sent Faqir but also the game ‘Dotto’ in which I’d like to share with you all today.

DOTTO

Dotto is a dice game that requires luck, skill and speed! Race against the clock to match the sequence on the card to the positioning of the coloured dice on the board, the only problem is the timer (supplied) goes of randomly meaning you have to be super quick the entire time.

Warning… Beware not to pick up the “Miss a turn” card and watch out for the reverse card, that will completely reverse the order of play.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:

Game board

10 coloured dice

Timer

55 pattern cards

15 tokens

pouch for storing dice, cards and tokens

Rules/instructions

I’m a little confused as to why they didn’t just use the card that was popped out the board allowing room for the dice, to be used as the tokens as these no longer have any use.

WHO’S IT FOR AND HOW MANY PLAYERS:

Ages 6+

2-5 players

PUTTING DOTTO THROUGH IT’S PACES

“I absolutely loved it!”

What a big kid I am. I’m really competitive and give no chances, not even to my children. I played the game with both Little man and his sister, ‘Alice-Sara’ It was originally just the two of them but only five minutes in, it was turning into a game of war so I intervened.

My daughter gave up half way through and I almost lost Little man a few times when he got the total hump when I was leading and also through frustration, convinced the timer was plotting against him, (I do admit that the unlucky little bugger seemed to always get the shortest amount of time to copy and build his pattern sequence).

Little man does have a range of difficulties that come down to his inability in doing things in sequence unless there are visual aids to assist him! Luckily with this game you get just that in the patterned coloured cards. The timer was a different story altogether. He hates having to rush things, plus the fact he had no control over how long it would be before the buzzer went off, drove him loopy!

Regardless of these factors he stuck with it, giving all he had which was awesome.

Practise would clearly help to better develop a child with autism’s sequencing skills and their ability to deal with the unexpected (buzzer).

Alice gave a big fat no stars score (through ignore this she didn’t even play and I think that’s properly why.

Little man gave it a 3 stars *** where I gave it the full ***** five stars it deserved.

Note: The timer takes three AAA batteries (not included) and you will require the use of a small screwdriver so worth having one to hand.

WHERE TO BUY:

Get Dotto for £14.99 at Amazon

and a variety of other toy providers

Scooby-Scooby-Doo

26 Aug
The Scooby-Doo Show

Image via Wikipedia

Exciting news for all you Scooby-Doo fans (Yes, including this 29 year old mum and her brood).

 For all the latest Scooby-Doo news, including details of new television shows and all the latest Scooby products, (Video games, DVDs, toys, books and more) then get yourselves over to Facebook where you can now discover and be part of the first ever UK official ‘Scooby-Doo fan page’ 

Here, you can find all the above, plus loads of fun scooby-Doo facts, games & art work. Look out for, ‘Monster Mondays’  and ‘Fun Fridays’ when games & fun content is shared, ensuring hours of Scooby-tastic fun!

Click HERE to become a Scooby-Doo fan on Facebook.

As part of the launch the Scooby gang have invited me and the children to become part of the team by reviewing Scooby-Doo’s latest products.

Wow, how could we refuse, after all Scooby happens to be one of my oldest childhood friends, (as I write this the Scooby-Scooby-Doo tune is making it’s way around my head and out my month. What will the neighbours think)!

We received our package last week, from a very smiley delivery man. It was kinda like Christmas, in the fact I had no idea what was being sent out, (well, apart from the fact it was Scooby-Doo related that is).

 We were not to be disappointed when we finally got the box open, for we had been sent the awesome, ‘Hide & Seek Scooby’ Little man too deep in his bus route planning, failed to even look up. However, an extremely excited 8yr old, accompanied by a bouncing 20m old toddler resembling, ‘Tigger’ who was shouting, “See, see” were very keen to get Scooby out of his box.

I have to confess… I was now acting the big kid by declaring, “Mum needs to have a proper look first in order to establish how it works and its suitability, much to the children’s horror!

What you get:

Hide and seek Scooby is a soft interactive toy, that comes together with a remote control which acts as a locator. 

How to play:

The idea of the game is to get someone to hide the Scooby soft toy (be sure to switch him on first) then those with the interactive remote can try to track down Scooby. The locator interacts with Scooby giving the children spoken clues as they go, (a few being, “Your colder than a snowman, and “Your on the right path” etc.) The remote has a light system which also helps the children establish just how close they are to finding him. The light goes blue for cold, yellow indicates you’re getting nearer, and Red means your red-hot (very close to finding him).

Note!

Warning… This toy requires 7  AAA batteries between both Scooby and the remote. This toy is aimed at children 5 years and over.

Putting it to the test:

It was so sweet watching my toddler of 21ms hugging and kissing Scooby. Although the whole concept of the game, is a little much for Harley to understand,the toy itself makes a great cuddle buddy. Harley also had fun finding Scooby alongside his sister. I tried my up-most best to find the most sinister of hiding places, *Evil laugh* Alice loved the clues and the lights which indicate just how close you are to finding Scooby. After about ten minutes she successful found Scooby in the airing cupboard (where the children never visit due to spiders, ha-ha-ha what an evil mummy). 🙂

Verdict:

We all really like the hide & Seek Scooby, even little man had a little go with his sister which makes a pleasant and welcome change from arguing. 

Rating: *****

Hide & Seek Scooby is featured in our Santa’s Little helpers and can be brought from all good toy stores including Argos & Toys R us for £29.99 (price does very)


Thank you WoodenToyShop Love Little Man

16 Jul

  It’s been a great first month, which is all down to the WoodenToyShop!

 For those who read the blog on a regular basis, will know that my daughter was featured as our first little helper in the blogs new feature, ‘ Santa’s Little Helpers’ that showcases some of the best and hottest toys form July to December! These little elf’s otherwise known as my three children will fully put all toys and gadgets to the test then give you their honest opinion and overall rating in-order to create the best Christmas wish list to be found online! Giving us her thoughts & inspirational craft ideas when reviewing the Melissa and Doug friendship stamp set from the WoodenToyShop, I found myself very proud of her professional approach when it came to being a toy reviewer (given that she’s only eight, over-excitement was kept to a minimum)

This week our Little helper is the one and only Little Man himself, sharing his thoughts on the… WAIT FOR IT…. DRUM ROLL PLEASE… “Children’s Large Wooden Cricket Set” from the fabulous online toy retailer, ‘WoodenToyShop’ I must state that  I did find this an odd choice what with the  fact he would have done almost anything to avoid a game of Cricket in the past! 

When the WoodenToyShop kindly invited us to pick something from the online catalogue I didn’t dream Little man would request they send him out a cricket set! It took him just seconds to score the content on the site before finally shouting, “Yes, this one please mum” I remember thinking, “What on earth…”For one I was stunned that he had spent so little time choosing! This is normally something that takes him some hours… admittedly he does get this from his mother, which only highlights my confusion that little bit more! The choice of a cricket set baffled me and for this reason I admit I didn’t email my choices right away giving it a few extra days convinced he would change his mind… If anything I would have bet money on it that this was going to happen sometime in the next few hours! However… realising that in-fact my son who has Aspergers syndrome, was in fact looking forward to the arrival of his new “Cricket Set” I got ordering, FAST… while secretly praying for a fast delivery given my delay he was already getting impatient. 

As his mother I then made the decision to embrace my sons optimistic attitude and over all willingness to try his hand at something new!

You may now ask yourselves, “What the hell has this got to do with the review of a cricket set?” when you go on to read the next part of this post, I promise, Its relevant, so stick with it! 

Some few months back I took the Little Man for an Occupational therapy assessment in London’s Harley street, where he was asked to perform a number of task requiring a demonstration of his ball skills. This would show the assessor how good he was at using his upper body “upper co-ordination” The Assessor would set a number of challenges to establish what difficulties if any, he has with both fine and gross motor skills and that of his sensory processing! Little man went ballistic, “I’m not doing this, its stupid!” he unpleasantly stated. I sat patiently as the assessor gave it her all trying to convince him to participate in the activities asked. I made a suggestion to which I so rudely received a one finger gesture before he slang me out the door. My son hated to be asked to do something if he knew it was something he struggled with. He would fall to pieces and panic. I could hear him so stubbornly  refusing, shouting, “You think because I have Aspergers I can’t do it! I hate all off you” Two hours passed before we finally left Harley street and headed home.

 All three toys arrived together I watched my daughter grab hers and disappear while I opened baby Harley’s (coming soon) However, Little man continued to watch the TV, he seemed to have lost interest… I feared this would happen! Two days later I came down and there it was hanging out it’s box, just as it was the day it arrived! Yes, I understood better then anyone that Little man could be an impulsive buyer, but he had continued to remain positive up in till the day the toys arrived.

Day 4… and the cricket set is still sat lonely and untouched in its box! Day 5 and movement was looking slim as I discovered it still sat there in its box getting dusty. With this I decided to leave it be for one more day, at a push two, then I would return the product, that or ask a family member or child’s friend to do the review, either way it seemed that little man wasn’t even going to look at the thing let alone review it. 

Day 6… I went into the hall to package up the cricket set and drop it at the post office before early closing in-order to send it back to it’s rightful owner but….

 “It was gone!”

 Following the faint sound of thumping I ended up in the garden where I stood, jaw on the floor and feet rooted to the ground… I saw my Little man stood there in his pyjamas swinging his bat back and forth, forcefully hitting the little red ball against the brick wall that was just about holding up this old house. He occasionally ran side to side as not to allow the ball out of his sight, trying hard not to miss. My little man couldn’t see me stood there tears in my eyes. The cricket set from the WoodenToyShop turned out to be so much more then a review of a toy, but it provided me with an insight and valuable lesson, “Have more faith in what your child can do!” I’ve always believed in him but from what I saw at the OT assessment and throughout the past I stupidly drew to the conclusion that he wouldn’t be that good a cricketer just as his mother isn’t! Shame on me!!

He was out there some hours, spending time on both his transport fascination and practising his ball skills. I kept going to the kitchen window to grab a peek and felt my heart leap with pride with every single trump of the ball against the rattling wall. He had a smile so huge, I melted… Deciding not to trigger any challenges I decided not to snap a picture in fear of being caught and didn’t even ask him to give any feed back on his new toy in fear of being told to sod off so I waited patiently just as I did at that OT assessment at Harley street. 

Day 8, I found this next to my bed…

“Dear Mangers of the woodentoyshop, thank you for sending me your cricket set. I really like it, its solid which is a good thing as I loath toys made of plastic, maybe that’s why mum thinks your a great toy shop. I didn’t like the colour of the ball and think you should make black ones. but that’s just an opinion rather than criticism. The ball did bounce off the way displaying amazing speed, I’m quite good and only missed a few times! My mum thinks I can’t do it because she has never seen me do it, she tells me I can do a lot of things and is always proud of me and my sister and brother but I’ve been practising for a long time with my school tutor who I miss because I now go to school, “The best school” The lady in London who mum took me to see, asked me to do this almost ruining my mum’s surprise! I even kicked her out the room, it was crazy! 

My score 1 Only joking 3… Joking again! 10 is my final answer, thank you WoodenToyShop Love XXXXXX XXXXX aka Little man.”

Shocked I grabbed my phone to call the OT but remembered it was the weekend which meant it wouldn’t be open! I checked my emails for her report  but was quite sure it wouldn’t be there as yet, it was to soon maybe! How could I possibly wait till Monday to make contact? Then right at the bottom of my inbox  I discovered an unopened email with an attachment, realising it was sat there unopened in my inbox… just like the cricket set and for almost the same length of time. 

I downloaded and opened it, It was the longest report I had ever read. My son had areas of difficulty in all seven of his senses, bilateral co-ordination, running speed and agility, fine motor precision, fine motor integration amongst others… I read that he had very low muscle tone, and was struggling to cope with his sensory processing mainly due to his extremely sensitive senses. This was of course a lot to take in as his mother I knew that this report was going to shock me and upset me a little… But then I noticed what I had first come looking for..

 “UPPER-LIMB CO-ORDINATION… This test comprised of eye-hand Co-ordination activities such as throwing and catching a tossed ball, dribbling a ball and throwing a ball at a target. XXXXXX displayed excellent ball skills and managed appropriately with throwing and catching a small ball using two hands and with one hand, and also managed well with dribbling a ball while alternating hands.”

This was said to be his strength, I was blown away! Yes, he will need a programme that is devised by his OT and implemented throughout his school day by teaching staff as well as six individual OT sessions a term from a professional OT each lasting 45 minutes each, Yet just this one thing above was all it took to prove that my little man had the ability to make me eat my own hat. 

For me it was fate, God delivered us this cricket set for my Little guy to display his skill while delivering my surprise (No, I’m not a big god person, but you have to admit this was as if he was being rewarded for all his hard work) If I could give this product a rating of 100 I would… The maximum ten is what it will have to be then. Perfect for any child who loves ball games, or just wants to improve and practice in the back garden. It’s simple design with just a small logo/image, but mostly plain… that for us was perfect, extreme colours or patterns would have sent Little man into a sensory overload. For all those artist, paint it, go crazy with a spray can, my daughter would! Of course the set allows you to Play alone or with others, it has four stumps allowing some good old-fashioned rounders. Little Man can build up his confidence and hopefully as his social skills improve he will start to challenge others. With the ability to build social skills, improve eye-hand co-ordination and healthy exercise… For under a tenner its got to be a winner.   The large wooden cricket set has an astonishing price tag of just £6.95 10/10

The woodentoyshop.co.uk is still right up there in my opinion and remains a 10/10 top marks for a site that is fairly priced, offers a discount day via a code from facebook page or twitter (Fridays) Best of all… A discount for nurseries and schools accompanied with the chance of winning all the returned but undamaged stock that can no longer be sold due to the fact its been opened (completely safe and usable condition, draw is done on a monthly basis)

 Be sure to return for the Competition to bag your child an awesome gift from the WoodenToyShop, while supporting my first ever give away!

Visit the WoodenToyShop blog for product reviews, new lines, guest post and more.

revolutionary device designed to keep children from wandering could benefit families of children with autism

4 Jul

Scrolling through my twitter timeline I came across a link that lead me to a site called, ‘Safe Girl Security’ who were promoting a really great product. To my delight some few weeks later I was approached and asked to review that same product, to share my views with my readers, to which I was happy to oblige!

Why?

Because I could see a great idea that could benefit families of young children especially those with autism

The Mommy I’m here teddy bear child locator is designed to give parents like me a little extra piece of mind!

 The locator is designed in a fun teddy bear design making it more appealing to a toddler or small child!  The locator is offered in a choice of two colours, pink or brown

 This locator is designed to send a signal from a hand held transmitter to a receiver that will give off a high pitch chirping sound allowing a parent to successfully locate a wandering child.

Given you notice that your child isn’t where they are meant to be in a reasonably good time after they have wandered off the locators chirps are loud enough to lead you to your child avoiding a potential accident or even fatality.

 When I first read about the Mommy I’m here locators my first thought was for parents with children on the autism spectrum and those with other special needs. I have sadly read one to many stories in the news and social networking sites that highlight a missing child with autism or sadly one that has had a terrible accident after becoming lost. This locator itself can of course be used for an older child however the product does seem to be aimed more at mothers with younger children. Nevertheless it’s my view that it all comes down to safety and the locator can do what it does for a younger child just as well for the older one.

 Putting it to the test

 I received the ‘Mommy I’m here’ child locator and was pretty keen to give it a go right away. However this wasn’t possible and it was a few days till I got the privilege of putting it to the test. Although my little man who has Aspergers syndrome has done a bit of wandering in the past his learnt as his grown to stick to the no wandering rule. He can be very rule bound and now tends to seek permission before going anywhere

So, the obvious choice for me was my 19 month old toddling terror Harley. Yes, he is at that wandering age and don’t I just know it!

 There was however one little issue! The teddy bear locator we received was pink and little man being so rigid in his thinking laughed continuously for some hours branding his little brother a little sister! Not like this mattered in anyway whatsoever to Harley… After all who says boys can’t do pink?


 I thought Harley would happily participate in my little test but he seemed to be in one of his little moods. I put the teddy receiver on to his shoe but he just wanted it off in-order to discover and play with it… Trust Harley!

Plan B was to attach the teddy receiver to the belt loop in Harley’s jeans. My trick… To do this before actually putting them on him! I made sure the teddy receiver was  switched on by switching it on at the back and checking that its tummy was displaying the bright red light. With this I opened my street door and waved him off (Seriously guys I’m joking!)

 I did in-fact open the back door allowing Harley a little explore time in the garden

 I went back inside and stood at the kitchen window watching Harley trying to pull the washing of the line (not impressed) I then took the transmitter out of my pocket (that comes on a key chain and has a little extending arial) and pressed the button.

 Well, it worked and pretty well too!

 Tip! let the little one get used to the noise or at least make them aware that they are wearing it. What started of as a good idea actually back fired on me when Harley almost jumped out of his skin. What’s great is you control the receiver, once you have your child in sight you can quickly stop the chirping at the touch of a button. The noise was extremely high pitched and I guessed it could be heard from a distance (every dog on the street barked that’s for sure)! I later tried it out again at the park! Daddy took Harley and walked ahead, after five minutes once out of sight I hit the button and tracked them down like a mother in the special forces. It was fabulous, one mother even asked where I got it from to which I happily told her.

  It’s worth noting that the noise produced by the locator may upset a child with auditory sensitivity but for me the safety aspect would far outweigh this.

I would suggest that you try to get your child as familiar with the sound as possible in order to avoid any distress. This is worth any time and effort.

 Although we mothers hate to think about the possible risk involved with children we need too in order to keep them safe! The world today doesn’t only offer our growing children a host of adventures but a host of dangers too. Like it or not there are some very unpleasant people in the world and this alarm could help keep your child that bit safer. If somebody attempted to snatch your child the noise is so high pitched and loud that this would possibly startle an abductor.

The thick Velcro strap is designed to keep the locator in a secure position throughout your child’s wear. I found the strap allowed you to secure the receiver in such away that someone attempting to remove it quickly would have to do some fumbling around to achieve this. The fact that it can be discretely hidden under any layers of clothing made this even better.

 This is a great product that I would highly recommend for toddlers, young children and those with special needs and autism. Just imagine having your child wear this when shopping in a busy supermarket, at the park or when visiting the beach.

The locator would also be great to use when your child is on a school trip or when out and about with a group of children, when its much easier for a child’s wandering to go unseen.

 You really can’t put a price on your child’s safety. Yet living in the real world I’m fully aware that piece of mind often equals a huge price tag! Not all parents including myself are in a position to part with a load of cash, especially when you’re a stay at home mum or dad or a  carer for a child with a disability.

That’s why I recommend the, ‘Mommy I’m here child locator‘ that  little bit more! At £29.99 I think it’s a great price that is very affordable allowing all parents regardless of their income the ability to keep their child safe from possible harm.

 Recommended: Check out the mommy I’m here child locator with new alert feature. This means the locator will send an alert to the key chain transmitter when the child wanders out of  range .

Visit the safe girl security website or call 0844 579 1129 where you can find a number of other fantastic products for all ages. Panic alarms, blinkies and child locators are just a few.

This week we’re loving the WoodenToyShop

2 Jul

As some may know already, I’ve decided to give my children a fun and exciting job! 

To review toys!

Aww, the life of a kid ah! 

Little Man, his sister, ‘Alice Sara’ and little brother Harley (Or should I say monster) have been very busy this week! The children have been working with an awesome collection of toys supplied by WoodenToyShop.co.uk

We love wooden toys in this house so this fantastic online retailer was the perfect match for the children. This is a company that I will certainly be using this christmas! Yes, yes… I understand its only July but before you know it Christmas will be upon us and if your anything like me your be buzzing around on Christmas week like a ‘Bee’ taking pro-plus! However that’s in the past, I’m a reformed woman now (come back and ask me nearer the time and your see)! 

Today it’s the turn of Alice-Sara, my beautiful, creative, art loving daughter who is eight and already a bit of a diva! Alice is putting the Melissa and Doug friendship stamp set to the test. It couldn’t be more fitting, a true match made in heaven.

Alice set up the table, keeping all bits out of little brothers reach (wise girl, I don’t want my furniture decorated with stamps thank you) 

So at £9.45p what do you get for your money…

  • 9 Funky reasonable sized wooden/rubber stamps
  •  5 Coloured pencils
  • Double Ink pad (we got pink and blue)
  • All presented together in a sturdy wooden box that can be used time and time again. 

The only downside here was no pad of paper was provided with this set (well, for the price, lets not get greedy)!

The set has a recommended age of 4+ This made me question whether Alice was actually a bit to old for the set. Well, I needn’t of feared she really enjoyed using the stamps and used them for a number of projects.

here’s 10 great ideas on how to get the best out of your stamp kit. As recommended by Alice herself

  1. Your stamps can be used to decorate cards.
  2. Customise your own pictures,drawings or paintings.
  3. Create funky boarders for all your art work.
  4. Stamp, colour, cut then stick them around your room to decorate and brighten things up.
  5. Do the above to decorate school books (Teachers permission required)
  6. Use in scrapbooks to add cool, girlie additions 
  7. Why not decorate the plain wooden box it came in. 
  8. Use stick down gems and plenty of glitter (not supplied) Alice-Sara states that by adding the glitter to the rainbow design will really make it stand out and sparkle, giving it a beautiful finish (her very next project I believe)!
  9. Stamp on to some durable card (not included). Colour the design and decorate with gems and sparkles (not included). If using glitter leave to dry, then laminate the card and cut your designs out. Lastly add small magnets or safety pins at parents permission, (available cheaply from many craft shops) to create fridge magnets and badges.
  10. Make mum a beautiful stamped card.

The possibilities are endless, making this stamp set a whole box of  girlie fun.

 ALICE RATES IT: 9/10

 Mums thoughts

 Its wooden, stores away neatly (no horrid cardboard boxes taking up needed space). It isn’t even super messy which is always a bonus in our house! The ink is washable so can be easily cleaned from skin and clothing (as I later discovered when Harley stamped himself from head to toe). The product was delivered in a matter of days, its fun, very girlie and kept my little lady happy for hours giving mummy some me time which she spent swimming in the tub till she became a wrinkled old prune. 

 Oh, a fantastic price too!

 MUM RATES IT 9/10

(I even gave it a go myself but… Sssh don’t tell the kids!)

 My thoughts so far on the online retailer WoodenToyShop.co.uk

 10/10 

An awesome site that I spent hours trailing through. There are all the classic wooden toys taking me back to my childhood, plus some new and exciting fresh ideas. Just check out the play food, the wooden cup cakes on their own tiered stand just look absolutely brilliant. If the cakes don’t do it for you then I bet either the outdoor play, train-sets or dolls house’s will. 

WoodenToyShop.co.uk has something for everyone big & small.

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