Silent Sunday 21/12/14

London Coliseum

 

OneDad3Girls

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

pokemon

We recently attended a launch event for new Nintendo games Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. An incredibly successful brand, Pokemon has been around a while and keeps churning out new and anticipated releases, both in video game and animation format!

I first came to be familiar with Pokemon as a TV series that my Teen used to watch when he was a little boy, he’s now 16. I remember it being one of the first Japanese cartoons we saw and being intrigued by the difference in how the animation looked. There wasn’t anything like it at that time in terms of visuals and I remember the theme tune so well; how brilliantly catchy it was! Yes, this really took off in a big way!

I think the whole Pokemon phenomenon originally started with a video game for the Nintendo GameBoy around 1996/7 (I had one of these) with the TV series following along just after. Pokemon have a huge fan base and there’s always plenty of hype surrounding anything new, this was obvious by the amount of people at this event….. childless people!

IMG_3112.JPG

There were plenty of consoles around to try out the new games, I had a little go and even though I’m no gamer… I can see what all the fuss is about. You can almost decide your own destiny as you journey along the world of Hoenn, collecting Pokemon and unlocking their powers. And ok, I had no real clue what I was doing but I could see lots of people who did and they seemed resolute in their opinion that this was absolutely brilliant!

The main event for us though was seeing the premiere of new Pokemon movie ‘Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction’ before it aired on CiTV.

Pokemon Alpha Ruby Omega Sapphire

Pokemon Alpha Ruby Omega SapphireThe film was introduced by the directors and producers of the game, Shigeru Ohmori and Junichi Masuda who had traveled over from Japan, a very talented duo that’s for sure. This was a very special treat for some of the serious fans that were at the event.

Now, even though I’m familiar with Pokemon stories, in that there’s a main boy, Ash with his own Pokemon, Pikachu, who is the most famous one of all and the one that most people recognise (cute and yellow!), I was a little worried that I would be lost trying to understand the full length feature, or at least my children would be! But I needn’t have worried, the film was really very enjoyable, my children loved it and I was very pleasantly surprised!

The story went something like this….. there was a special Pokemon,  Princess Diancie who could make heart diamonds which were needed to help keep her kingdom alive. But because her strength wasn’t yet strong enough to create a big enough diamond, she went in search of a magical creature to help her realise her potential and gain her powers. The journey was, of course, full of danger with thieves and bad guys trying to capture her but after meeting with Ash, his friends and of course, Pikachu… they embark on the adventure together in a bid to save the day!

We thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m sure it will be a big hit with kids and die hard fans alike.

The Nintendo games are out now.

 

 

 

Christmas Shopping

So it’s the week before Christmas and I’m struggling to find presents for the kids. It’s a difficult year this year in that respect.

Usually, all the children have a clear idea of what they’d like but this year they don’t. Apart from Teen who wants a Moped. Still.

He wanted one for his birthday last month…. he went on and on and ON about all the ways it would be beneficial for him (and us) to buy him one. In the end I managed to talk him out of it and instead we bought him a new bike. Which at the time he was happy with, but as a couple more of his friends have managed to persuade their own parents to buy them a moped, he is back on the moped bandwagon once again!

We ARE coming round to the idea though, simply because since he’s had his bike, a road bike, I’ve been worried sick. He races around at god know how many miles per hour, no helmet, nothing. So it’s got me thinking…. would he actually be safer on a moped? Restricted (which his will be) their maximum speed is 30mph, he’ll be in the middle of the road so can be seen easily and he’ll be wearing a helmet. But we’re not entirely sure. The price tag is another issue…. we’ve been looking for a decent one in the lower price bracket and have seen a couple but they keep being snapped up before we get the chance to look at them, so we’ve had no luck. At this rate Teen will have nothing for Christmas.

My daughter hasn’t got a clue what she wants. She’s come up with some very random and differing suggestions over the past few weeks but none have stuck. I know she’s just saying things for the sake of saying SOMEthing. I cleared out our playroom recently and was shocked by the amount of toys in there that never get played with, so I’ve made a pact with myself to not buy tons of new toys this year.

We normally go overboard and it’s stupid. Our children have pretty much everything, there is nothing new out there that they want. There’s just more of the same.

At the moment my daughter has a few presents. A couple of new toys and a pair of Hunter wellies! We have yet to decide on her main present.

silver huntersSilver Hunters which my little girl will love

I started wrapping some presents today and actually, I think the twins have enough now. They have quite a few new toys, but this year I’ve bought them some clothes, new dressing gowns, pyjamas and slippers instead, and I know they will love opening those too. I also put away some toys from their birthday in August because they had so many. After their party we had at least four black bags FULL of presents and we’d already bought them a lot ourselves; they were overwhelmed so I decided to keep some back. Good plan as I have now re-wrapped those (they had no idea I hid unopened presents by the way) in the same paper as the other gifts and voila – more presents! Quite pleased with myself for that little move!

For a main present for the twins we have bought them a Hudl2 each from Tesco. I have researched the whole tablet thing extensively and the Hudl2 seems to come up top for the best tablet right now, other than the iPad. I considered iPads (mini’s) but I’d want to buy the most recent up to date one and they cost around £300+ each, and being as I would probably need to buy three (my daughter would go mad if I bought the boys one and not her, but she has a kindle fire already) I was looking for a decent, cheaper alternative. I also have points on my Tesco Clubcard which means I have practically got one Hudl2 for free!!! Pretty cool eh? I will restrict play but I think a tablet is the way to go as they absolutely love playing Minecraft and it will stop them fighting over our Ipad, or trying to get our phones or one of the older kids’ devices! They will use them more than they would any other toy anyway and there’s only so many toys a child needs!

hudl2Hudl2 I’ve bought one in blue and one in red

I love Christmas and I want the kids to have piles of presents under the tree on Christmas morning. I can’t wait to see their little faces light up is amazement and disbelief as they clap eyes on the mountain of presents before them that Santa has delivered! Of course it’s easier to make a huge pile when there are four kids but I love that they stand there for a moment, aghast, not knowing where to start…. then diving in! I mix up the wrapping paper too so they all have to search for the presents with their own name on… they love this and it really adds to the excitement.

So, here I am again… school’s finishing up and I’m not finished shopping. Every year I say I’m going to start my shopping much much earlier but I never do! I’ll most probably be nipping out Christmas Eve for the final few bits, as usual!

Have you finished all your Christmas shopping? Do you start really early? What have your children asked for this year from Santa?

Night At The Museum 3 – A Review

Now that my twins are 5 years old it’s great that we can watch more family movies together. They used to only have the attention span for animated kiddie films but now they will happily sit, watch, understand and enjoy most family features.

When I saw that Night At The Museum (by Twentieth Century Fox) had a third installment being released and I had the opportunity to go and see it, I jumped at the chance!

I have seen both previous movies and recently, my three younger children saw the original Night at The Museum for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a great concept, especially for children; the idea that all the museum exhibits come to life at night is terribly intriguing and exciting. We were definitely looking forward to seeing this new film in London’s West End.

night at the museum 3Arriving at the cinema for the special preview screening

night at the museum 3Meeting some of the films characters

night at the museum 3Fun in the foyer

When we arrived at the cinema, we were treated to an array of dressed up characters from the movie mingling around with everyone… of course my twins thought they were the actual characters which was cute! It was very busy, lots of families there to see this last ever offering in the mega popular film series, and lots of activities were provided to entertain before the screening! We had the opportunity of taking part in a green screen photo shoot, there were face/arm/caricature painting artists as well as all the delicious refreshments!

Then it was time to take our seats! The screen in the IMAX theatre in Leicester square was, of course, enormous! Quite astounding to be honest….

night at the museumA spokesman from Fox introduced the film.. he looked almost microscopic next to the gigantic Imax screen!

 

 So what’s the film about?

Well, Night of Museum 3 is being billed as the wildest and most adventure-filled Night At the Museum ever as Larry (Ben Stiller) leaves New York City for London, uniting favourite and new characters while embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever.

Our Verdict

Well, I have to say that I absolutely loved this film! It was fast paced and hilarious, some real laugh out loud moments that all three of my children babbled on about for hours after! Each of the funny characters all had their own appeal, from the dumb Neanderthal who grunted his way through the film, to the bossy, cheeky little monkey who pee’d on the two miniature people to put out a volcano’s lava (my twins favourite bit!).

There was plenty of action as the characters were on a race against time to get the magic tablet to London and keep all the exhibits alive before the tablet’s magic ceased.

It was poignant watching the utterly brilliant Robin Williams in one of his last films, taking on the major role of Teddy Roosevelt, as well as Mickey Rooney… also making an appearance; both of who are sadly no longer with us. I was also mesmerised by Dan Stevens who played Sir Lancelot in the movie… of course, here we all know and love him for playing Matthew in Downton Abbey, a role he left to make Night at The Museum 3 so I was curious to see how he performed, he didn’t disappoint!

Ben Stiller was, as usual, fantastic, as was Rebel Wilson who played the night guard at the British Museum…. she was hilarious, we laughed so much at some of her scenes!

I think this is a real feel good movie, it’s nice and easy but action packed and oh so funny! A great family feature that gets a definite thumbs up from us.

Night At The Museum 3 opens in cinemas across the UK from this Friday 19th December. 

‘The Best Christmas Jumper’

Unless you’ve been hiding under a stone lately, you would’ve known all about the Christmas Jumper Day yesterday.

Now into it’s third year, the Save The Children campaign has really gained momentum and millions of people up and down the Country have been getting involved and into the Christmas spirit by supporting the campaign.

We all made a pledge in the office where I work to join in, we were very much looking forward to donning a fab Christmas jumper in exchange for a donation of £2 to the charity. You can give how ever much you like and the Government will double your money, matching every pound you give! It was a bit of fun for us, we felt as though we’d contributed and really it brightened up what would’ve been an ordinary working Friday!

christmas jumper at workMyself and a couple of friends at work

George at Asda are the official retail partner of Save The Children and have been selling a range of Christmas jumpers for men, women and children with prices ranging from £12 to £16. The jumpers will remain on sale and will raise funds for Save the Children’s vital work in the UK. Globally, 6.6 million children still die before their fifth birthday every year, most from easily preventable illnesses like malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia. Some don’t survive simply because they can’t get enough nutritious food. Here in the UK, 3.5 million children are living in poverty. Too many families here can’t afford nutritious food, heating, household essentials like a cooker, or good quality childcare. While their peers come to school well fed, well rested and well prepared to learn, these poorer children are missing out on a fair start in life.

For more information and to sign up visit www.christmasjumperday.org

My boys also got involved! They were sent these fab jumpers from Mothercare, who are also a big supporter of the Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day. By posting a photo of our children in their Mothercare sweaters (which I did!), the very generous childrens’ store donated £25 to the charity. How fantastic is that?

christmas jumper day save the childrenMy gorgeous twins in their gorgeous jumpers from Mothercare

In addition to the jumpers, we were also sent a lovely little package from Costa, which consisted of a delightful ‘bedtime’ gift pack for my children and promised to ‘bring a sprinkle of #CostaChristmas magic to story/bedtime this festive season’.

christmas jumper costa coffee

Included in the package was this fab nightlight which is just perfect for my little H as he’s been having a few night terrors recently. This is small enough to take to bed with him and the glow is perfectly soft, not too bright. Then there was ‘The Best Christmas Jumper’ book which has been on sale in Costa’s UK stores since November and you’ll be able to purchase it until the end December for £1.50, with £1.17 from the sale of each book being donated to Save the Children. Authored by award-winning children’s writer Rachel Bright and illustrated by Vicki Gausden, the book follows Costa’s charming Christmas cup characters –Santa, Snowman, Reindeer and Elf and aims to spread cheer and support disadvantaged children this festive season.

christmas jumper

The book is really sweet and easy to read. Not many pages and rhyming words make it a joy to read, it’s colourful with a heartwarming story and characters, and my children loved it! I’m a big Costa fan anyway but hadn’t noticed the book in the shops so if you pop in there, be sure to have a look out for it and do your little bit for Save The Children. Maybe you didn’t don your Christmas jumper for whatever reason,  so this is the perfect way to be involved… it would even make a great stocking filler and the proceeds will be going to help children here in the UK get the reading skills they’ll need for a brighter future.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Mothercare and Costa for sending over these little gifts, however I was not obliged to write about them.

The Half Shell Heroes Wish you a Merry Christmas

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

My boys are huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Tutles fans, they have a few of the action figures and play with them often. Like most kids, my boys have lots of toys but these are some they go back to time and time again. They also have some of the masks and weapons the Turtles use and pretend to be one!

Flair, the manufacturers of the toys must be doing a roaring trade round about now…. I know my boys have put in their order with Father Christmas for some new Ninja Turtle toys…. They haven’t asked for many things so I’m sure they will have an abundance of the Turtles and related products in their stockings on the big day!

But wait…. what is this? There are some brand new Turtles on the block and they come in the form of The Half Shell Heroes…. same characters but smaller!

The Half Shell Heroes very kindly sent us a fun, personalised Christmas card and a gorgeous little Half Shell Hero Turtle toy, one for each of my twin boys, all wrapped up in a Christmas bauble as a gift, and to promote this new range which is directly aimed at the younger fans, from 2-5 years.

Half Shell HeroesHow special is this? A personalised card and toy for each of my boys!

Just the right size for small hands, these chunky, sweet Ninja Turtles are perfect for toddlers and small children who want to enjoy all the fun of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but with toys made just for their age group, small, colourful and cute!

HEROES IN HALF SHELLSMy little O with his card and toy, and one Half Shell Hero hanging on the Christmas tree!

If you fancy being in with a chance to win one for your little Ninja Turtle fan, then head on over to UKMumstv where they are running a month long competition during December, to win a toy from this range…. they are giving away a prize a day! There is also the very exciting Half Shell Heroes Advent Calender that’s running too, do be sure to have a look.

A big hit with my boys, they literally haven’t put them down their #halfshellheroes since they received them! It’s very true that although young children love all action figures, they do tend to lean towards the smaller types as they are much easier to handle. My little lads even took them to bed with them last night! So sweet! I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes out for more of these when I’m shopping, to add to their growing TMNT collection :)

Half Shell HeroesO and H say Thank you for our lovely new Half Shell Heroes!!

Tatty Teddy Crafts

Children love making things. Crafting is big business right now and many parents enjoy the whole process of making things from scratch with their children at home; anything from painting and creating or making  play doh or cards/decorations,  and we are often told how beneficial it is for our developing children in terms of honing their fine motor skills and encouraging imagination. Beats sitting them in front of the TV that’s for sure!

But if like me, you’re not majorly into crafting and you lack interest in trying to come up with something amazingly imaginative for your little offspring to make, then buying a ready made kit to put together is a fabulous alternative.

We were sent two Tatty Teddy and His Blue Nosed Friends kits, by John Adams Toys, to try at home.

tatty teddy sew keyrings

Tatty Teddy Sew and Create Soft Felt Keyrings – RRP around £8

Tatty Teddy is cute, I think all children love him and always a big hit in whatever form he arrives, my daughter had a little knitting Tatty Teddy set last Christmas where she could actually KNIT her very own bear!

And this one is similar.

tatty teddy sew and create keyringsThe pack comes with pre-cut felt Tatty Teddies with tiny holes in for easy sewing, and easy to follow instructions

tatty teddy sew and createThe keyrings are very easy and straigforward to make, just sew and stuff with a bit of tissue or cotton wool

My daughter absolutely loved making the keyrings and because they were easy for her to do which she liked, it meant she could get on with it independently and instead of doing the usual running stitch, on one teddy she did the ‘overstitch’ – in an attempt to be a little bit more creative! My 5yr old twins even had a little go…. that’s a bit of their sewing in that last pic!!  I even wanted to have a go  myself they looked so much fun (a bit sad I know!)

Next up to try was the Tatty Teddy Sparkly Jewellery Kits.

tatty teddy sparkley jewellery setTatty Teddy Sparkly Jewellery Kit. RRP around £10

Again, these were relatively easy to do which meant my daughter could make them on her own and wasn’t constantly asking for help. There’s nothing more frustrating for a child than desperately wanting to do something themselves but not being able to, because the product is simply not designed for that age group, or the instructions don’t make sense. We did do this together but sometimes as a parent, we buy toys to entertain our children when they’re bored, something which they can get on with whilst we get on with the many jobs that need doing around the house! And let’s face it, toys that keep the children busy and entertained for a while that don’t involve a screen are quite a rare and a special find in this day and age! These two kits do just that!!

tatty teddy sparkly jewellery kitIn the box was some ribbons, fasteners and lots of beads and again, easy to understand instructions

tatty teddy sparkly jewellery kitWe made some pretty designs

Another reason I like toys like this is they’re great for when your children have friends over. My daughter always wants to do some crafting of one kind of another when friends come round, and it’s lovely to make things like this because then their friends can take home a creation too!

I would definitely recommend these two lovely sets, they’re cheap and cheerful, a recognisable brand in Tatty Teddy and very easy to make. They would make great Christmas presents for any little girl.

 

Disclaimer: We were sent the two toys in exchange for an honest review. All words and opinions our own.