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Hair grips in our house seem to have a tendency to disappear; admittedly they have probably just been sucked up the hoover, but this however means that I am constantly having to replace them as both me and my daughter use them. My daughter is coming up to a big dance show which requires her hair to be in a netted bun which requires and abundance of hair grips. I bought these hair grips when on a regular visit to boots several weeks ago so my daughter had plenty in time for her rehearsals. For these grips you will pay around £1.49 for which you will receive a total of 30 hair grips. The particular grips I am reviewing are the blonde ones however they do come in different shades, all of which are essentially the same product, just a different colour. The grips are attached to a handy purple plastic strip which is a reasonable size to slip into your handbag, safe in the knowledge that you're not going to have a dig into the bottom of your bag to find loose grips every time you need one! As previously stated our main use for these grips is for my daughter's hair. My daughter has quite thin hair so we are therefore in need of grips that are tight enough to hold her hair in place while having enough slack to be able to secure a bun net in place. Having now used these grips for several weeks during rehearsals I have found them perfect for our needs and have kept my daughter's bun and stray pieces of hair perfectly tidy and secure. Since we have the same hair colour I have also used these grips on occasion, mainly just for scraping my hair back for the gym and I have found them to be really good and suit my needs perfectly. They are neat and small and are easy to hide under a few locks of hair. I don't find them overly uncomfortable and I easily forget they are there after a while. I don't really have any particular negatives but I would state that after holding a bun in place they do widen and are not really great for normal use after this, but this is to be expected once you stretch them. I would highly recommend these grips, they are easy to use and are long lasting and versatile.
Majesty club Tuana park is very much a family resort mainly catering for families with (or without) children. The reason I state this is that it's a place you would definitely not come across the odd loud or rowdy group or hen or stag doo which is one of the most important things for me when considering where to spend my family vacation. It is an all-inclusive resort so there are no half board/self-catering or bed and breakfast options. The upside to this is that you don't have to wear ridiculous wrist bands which I have so frequently come across at other all-inclusive resorts. Location ------------------- Club Tuana is situated just outside of Fethiye in Turkey. It's a large family resort, similar to that of a holiday village. Its location is somewhat questionable however as it really is in the middle of nowhere. It's the perfect place to kick back and relax, not so great however if you are looking for a base to go and explore. There are ways to access the local area but the journey is long and it isn't something you would want to do every day. There are several busses that come by that can take you into Fethiye and there is also a boat that can take you there plus to other locations such as a boat trip over to Rhodes in Greece but like I said the immediate area surrounding the hotel is pretty much deserted. Arrival --------------- Having booked through Thomas cook we had a transfer ready from the airport to take us to the hotel. We were the only people from our flight that were going in that direction apparently as we had a coach to ourselves (party of 10) and therefore didn't have to make any stops along the way. It took approximately 45 minutes to get to the hotel. After the 4 ½ hour flight however this particular journey seemed much shorter. We arrived at the hotel around midday and was greeted by reception staff who's English was questionable, despite communication difficulties however check in was quick and easy and we were then greeted by some very smart and professional bell boys who loaded our suitcases onto golf buggy's and took us to our rooms, all in all this was an impressive start to our holiday. Hotel rooms ------------------ The hotel is rated as 5* and has a quite impressive reputation on trip advisor. It's a large complex with 3 different areas, Park 1, park 2 and the main club area. If you are after a quieter holiday you would be best staying in one of the two park areas, both of which have their own pool and bar. The main club area is situated in the thick of the action right next to the main pool, restaurant, entertainment and a verity of different bars. We stayed in park 1 and spent several days in that area, on the other days we travelled over to the club area which has (in my opinion) a much better atmosphere. The hotel is made up of a collection of different complexes, in that it's not one large hotel block. These little - almost houses - are very lovely and make the place look a lot nicer than if there was just one block. Each block has approximately 6 different apartments in them rising only two storeys high. We were situated on the ground floor and this suited us perfectly with a 5 year old. The rooms themselves are ok, we have stayed in better but they were adequate enough and ours had a brand new bathroom which was lovely. In terms of floor space, there isn't much - we had 3 beds all in a row next to each other and a dressing table and wardrobe. The storage was plentiful for the three of us however and the beds were adequately comfortable. The room also has a hairdryer, TV, a variety of mini compliments for the bathroom including slippers and boot polish, a safe and also a mini bar which was welcome. The air conditioner was good, usually I find them not powerful enough but this one was more than fine and the temperature was adjustable. Rooms are cleaned daily and towels replaced. The maids are lovely and very friendly, despite my daughter being violently sick in bed on her first night and had a little accident on the second night she still always had a nice smile for us every time she came. She even made pretty designs with the bedding on my daughters bed which she loved. It's safe to say we left her a generous tip when we left for all of her hard work. She even cleaned my daughter sicky and dirty pyjamas which is definitely beyond her job description. We travelled with family and they stayed in a club room because there was 4 of them and despite them paying extra for this room it wasn't much different, just another bed crammed into the corner and there bathroom was rather dated, although there balcony was larger than ours, ours was, although small big enough for two chairs and a small table so just what we needed really. Grounds & pools ----------------------- For me, the grounds at this hotel are what give it the wow factor. Everywhere was miraculously clean. The gardeners work extremely hard and their efforts really show, with it being such a large complex there is a lot to maintain but that doesn't affect the overall quality of the grounds. The grounds are full of pretty flowers and palm trees, there is also a lovely pond in the middle of the complex with some ducks and frogs. At night time the pool bar lights up and it looks spectacular. As I said previously the grounds are extensive so you are looking at a 10 minute walk into the main area if you are staying in one of the park rooms, it is a lovely walk though so it's not too much of a pain. There are 3 pools at this hotel as well as a slides pool. The main pool is the largest and it has a separate children's pool which has a mushroom and a small slide. Both park areas have pools with separate children's pools however these are not as large as the main pool area. Admittedly the water is very cold but as the weather can become very hot in Turkey it does make for a very welcome cool down. Park 1 also has a climbing wall in the pool which was a big hit with the children and it was really safe too. The slides pool was the biggest hit with both adults and children and has 3 large water slides, all of which offer a different experience. Sun beds around the pool were plentiful however beds around the main pool can fill up rather quickly, especially if - like us - you need 8 beds next to each other. The sunbeds were extremely comfortable and if you are lucky to find one there are a couple of extremely large cushions for extra added comfort. Beach towels can be picked up from a stand at the beginning of each day meaning you don't have to lug your own around. Food & drink -------------------- This all-inclusive is one of the best buffet style all inclusive that I have been to. The main restaurant is open for breakfast dinner and lunch and there are various snack bars located in the main area and in both park areas which offer a range of different foods. The breakfast for me was the best meal of the day, because I am a fussy eater I often find all inclusive rather challenging so the chocolate covered pancakes that I so feverously demolished every morning was my largest meal of the day. The rest of my party who are not as fussy as I found the rest of the food choices quite extensive and of a good quality. Breakfast choices offer everything you could think of wanting for a full breakfast, the only negative was the absence of bacon and the poor quality of the sausages. There is also the option of every type of fresh fruit, toast - with a variety of condiments, a wide selection of cereals and a wide selection of pastries and cakes. There was also a great selection for lunch, you could chose to eat either in the main restaurant area where they serve food similar to dinner or you could eat in one of the three snack bars where they serve full sized pizzas which were delicious. Snack bars also serve burgers and chips as well as cakes and donughts although the opening times for serving differ for each item. Ice cream is also available at the snack bars and come in a wide range of flavours. Personally I didn't like the ice cream, the texture was rather chewy, but they went down a treat with the children. At dinner there is a great selection of food to choose from, there are pre-prepared dishes and they also have different food stations where they cook the food fresh in front of you such as kebab's, fish, pizza and a range of different meats such as chicken and pork. Side dishes were plentiful including a very lovely salad bar, chips, rice among many others. The bread and butter selection for me was the best, having an extensive selection of baguettes to choose from you can cut your own slices or even take a full baguette. The dining areas were superb, there was plenty of space for us to get a table to fit 10 and you can choose to sit inside or out, tables are kept lovely and clean and the staff in the restaurant are very attentive. There are also three restaurants on site, a Turkish, fish and Italian. These have to be booked in advance but are still part of the all-inclusive. The food was lovely at the restaurants however it's a set meal so you pretty much get what you are given which can be difficult if like me you are a fussy eater. So on to the more important stuff - the alcohol! The main reason we chose this hotel was the excellent reviews on the all-inclusive drinks. Most all inclusive's we have been to haven't offered a great selection of alcohol - or normal drinks for that matter. This hotel however didn't let us down, the quality of the drinks were excellent and not like your usual all inclusive's. There are 7 bars in total at this hotel, most of them offer the same drinks however the main pool area ones differ slightly. Each bar has fridges full of bottled water which is on a help yourself basis as well as bottles of wine. There are also a couple of help yourself beer pumps which are mainly Carlsberg, if you want any other drinks you have to ask at the bar. The majority of drinks are branded such as Effes beer which you can get in draft or cans and also the mixers are branded such as coke a cola and tango and Schweppes. The spirits are not branded but it's not the cheap stuff either, all was rather nice and didn't feel as though it was stripping a layer of skin from your mouth! There is one cocktail bar which is located on the beach, this was quite popular in the evenings as it's nice to sit back and watch the sun set. Children's drinks were plentiful, having fruit juices, slushies, milkshakes and children's soft, non-alcoholic cocktails. Beach -------------- The hotel, being in the middle of nowhere an all, has its own private beach, this however was really the only thing that lets this wonderful hotel down. Being a manmade beach its more rock than it is sand. It's a decent size for the hotel guests to use and there are no shortage of sunbeds but its defiantly not your average golden sands beach, I think Blackpool beach could even top this one! Its saviour however is the lovely jetty which leads from it. From the jetty there are plenty of options to go swimming in the sea with stairs leading down into the deeper water for those that don't want to jump, there is even a diving board right at the end. It's a lovely place to go at the end of the night and watch the sun set over the mountains; it truly is a beautiful setting. It's not safe for children however as there are no railing etc so beware with that, I didn't like taking my daughter on it, even when holding her hand I was on edge all of the time. Entertainment ------------------------ The entertainment, where to start; this hotel must have the most energetic and fun animation team ever. They work such long hours and are always upbeat and cheery. I have never met entertainers like these before and they truly made our holiday wonderful. We were greeted on our first day and they all seem to have an uncanny ability to remember names and faces. They would come and see us every day and have a quick chat. During the day there are many activity's going on from 9am around the main pool such as water polo, darts, aqua zumba among many others. The animation team do a club dance everyday round the pool and people are encouraged to join in however they are not pushy about it. This hotel, I noticed is great for teenagers as the teenage club rep Neyo was amazing with them, he would entertain them all day, eat lunch with them and take them on boat trips etc and he wasn't too bad on the eye for us mums to sit and watch him all day either! Evening entertainment is varied, some were good, some not so. There is a large amphitheatre where the evening entertainment takes place. It starts with the kids club which all of the children love, and I'm still singing German songs as I'm doing the dishes! As the hotel caters for different nationalities (lots of Russians) the evening shows are expressed mostly through physical performance rather than spoken. Some of the shows included Shrek, grease and there were the usual holiday participation shows such as battle of the sexes. There is an evening beach disco which is on from 11pm-2am every night, this was mostly for the young'uns however we decided to venture over that way on our last night and there were some questionable old men 'watching'! The disco was ok, the animation team go every night making me question just how much sleep they actually get with them having to be up and round the pool at 9! The music is ok, and the atmosphere is good, but really it's a place for the teens. Activities ---------------- There are loads of activities on site such as a mini zoo - although this wasn't too good! A tennis and basketball court and beach ball court. There is also a water sports centre although this isn't included in the all-inclusive. It runs activities such as diving trips, fishing trips, island tours, parasailing, speed boats and jet skis. Prices were reasonable and we went on a 7 island tour which was amazing and highly recommended. At around £14 per person we got a 2 hour trip which included drinks, and snorkelling gear. What is included in the all-inclusive are the canoes and pedalo's, which was lovely to take a nice bottle of wine onto a pedalo out into the sea and to relax. Busses run regularly into Fethiye and are reasonably cheap. We went on market day (Tuesday) and had a really nice time, the market is one of the best in the area apparently and we were able to pick up some decent things. The only thing to be wary of is the men, one was insistent on marrying my 5 year old daughter! At first it was laughable but when he started kissing her hands I was ready to test out my kung-Fu skills! Shops -------------- The complex has a small shopping mall offering mainly souvenir type items however there is also a hairdressers, what looked like an estate agents?, a spa and newsagent. They are mainly overpriced but you don't really need to buy much from them anyway. The spa was rather rated by other holiday makers however we didn't use it so can't really comment on that. There are also professional photographers who go around taking your pictures during the holiday and there is a photo shop to purchase them from if you so wish to. Overall we had a fantastic holiday and I would definitely recommend it if you are after some relaxation, again I wouldn't recommend it if you are after some Turkish culture as they don't even want paying in Turkish lira here, or at the market for a matter of fact, they much prefer English money. Being out of the way of the touristy things I would recommend a hotel much closer if that's what you're after.
Puddle lane takes me way back to my childhood and consists of several books that I remember fondly. When I spotted this collection of stories in a book shop several years ago I was very excited to welcome it to my daughter's collection. This particular puddle lane book, published in 2007, contains five of the original puddle lane stories, all of which were originally written in 1985. Puddle lane, or to be more accurate, tales from puddle lane, was initially a TV series in the 1980's which in the latter half of that decade was turned into a collection of books by Sheila McCullagh. The collection was primarily a reading programme consisting of 5 different stages with a total of 54 books. The original collection contained two different versions of each story, an easy read for children to read themselves and then a more thorough and in-depth version which is to be read to children. This particular collection of books however is unlike the originals as it no longer contains the children's easy read version of the story. Instead it contains five rather difficult stories which you could definitely not expect a child of a reasonably young age to read. The five books in this collection are: The Vanishing Monster (Stage 1) The Griffle and Mr Gotobed (Stage 1) Two Green Ears (Stage 1) Tale of a Tail (Stage 1) The Little Monster (Stage 2) These particular five books are focused on the magic Griffle. The Griffle is a special kind of monster who lives in the Magicians garden at the end of puddle lane. He's not however your typical monster because the Griffle just so happens to be a vanishing monster. The children who live on the lane often play within the magician's garden and these five stories introduce us to the children's first encounters with the Griffle followed by a string of fun adventures. The Vanishing Monster --------------------------------- The first story - the vanishing monster - introduces us to the Griffle and more importantly to the Griffle's first encounter with Davy, a boy from puddle lane. Davy and his sister Sarah feature prominently throughout the book and it's fair to say that, along with the Griffle himself, these are the main characters. The story starts with Davy playing alone in the magician's garden when he suddenly hears a strange noise. Looking closely Davy begins to notice two green ears moving towards him, and then he notices a green tail, before he knows it a fully sized green monster is stood before him. Here we come to learn that the Griffle is more scared of Davy than Davy is of the Griffle. The remainder of this story focuses on establishing the relationship between Davy and the Griffle and gives the reader a wider insight into these characters. The Griffle and Mr Gotobed ----------------------------------------- The first story informed us that the Griffle - despite being a monster - is in fact a friendly monster, who is extremely timid and easily scared. This story however shows how the Griffle is ready to face his fears in order to help his friends. When Davy and his friends are playing with a ball in puddle lane it accidently flies through the window of Mr go to bed, Mr go to bed is asleep and the ball needs to be retrieved before Gita's Grandmother arrives later that afternoon. Can the Griffle overcome his fears of people and save the day for the children? Two Green Ears ---------------------------- One day while playing in the magician's garden, Davy and Sarah decide to look for the Griffle to ask him to join them in their games. The Griffle however was feeling rather nervous so rather than letting the children find him, he stayed invisible. After playing, the children make their way back home down puddle lane and are suddenly confronted by a large dog. Fearing the dog, the children freeze and are scared as to what to do next. All the while the Griffle has been watching the children without them knowing and despite being scared by the dog himself the Griffle overcomes his fears in order to save the children. Tale of a Tail --------------------- This story see's the Griffle trying to overcome his fear of people by revealing himself to one of the residents of puddle lane, Mrs Pitter-patter. Slowly the Griffle starts to reveal little parts of himself such as his tale, his ears and his eyes. Mrs Pitter-Patter doesn't believe Sarah when she tells her that those parts actually belong to a vanishing green monster so when the Griffle finally does reveal his whole self to Mrs Pitter-Patter she is very shocked and scared and runs away. Her reaction scares the Griffle and he vanishes leaving Sarah alone in the street, he promises to return but the encounter with Mrs Pitter-Patter has left him scared and shaken and even further away from overcoming his fears. The Little Monster ----------------------------- The children's favourite game with the Griffle is hide and seek. Because the Griffle is a vanishing monster it makes the game all that much more fun. While playing a game of hide and seek with Sarah in the magician's garden the Griffle comes across a 'little monster' which he is scared of. This little monster is in fact a mouse and is equally as scared of the Griffle. Can Sarah take care of the little mouse and convince the Griffle it isn't something to be scared of? These five books work really well together and share a lovely insight into the larger collection of puddle lane stories. Altogether there are 96 pages within this hardback book, all of which have a fair share of words and pictures. I can't say that the stories are huge but there is, on average one or two paragraphs of writing her page. The pictures throughout the book are rather splendid and contain a mix of old and new by the original 1985's illustrator Tony Morris and Prue Theobalds who in 2007 made additions and changes to some of those originals. This set of books has not disappointed and I enjoy reading them to my daughter just as much as my daughter likes to hear them. The books are so well written and (being one of the only old books on my daughters book shelf) makes for a striking contrast to the more modern books that we have. Not only is it just a difference in age, there are clear differences in writing style. I find this book generally more pleasant to read than any others. Each story throughout the book, despite having the same people and scenery, Have very unique and different stories which are individually interesting and fun. There isn't a particular one which me and my daughter favor because they are all so interesting and different in their own way. My five year old daughter really enjoys this book and has become fascinated with the Griffle. She gets so excited by the Griffle, and due the simplicity of the stories, they are more believable which has led to my daughter believing the Griffle is real which makes the whole reading experience more magical for her. I would highly recommend this book, the quality of the book is of a reasonable standard and is rather long lasting, and the durable pages allow for some tough love by a child and can still survive to tell the tale. A lovely book to share at bedtime and can be bought for a very reasonable price either new or second hand from a variety of book shops and online retailers.
Before now I have never bought sunglasses for my daughter - what with this great British weather and all, I have never felt the need to - my summer shop usually consists of a new pair of wellington boots, not sunglasses. Early last month however we were preparing to go abroad on holiday which would have been my daughters first time and the realisation of all of the things I would have to buy soon hit me. Among many of things sunglasses were high up on the to-buy list and without having to go far out of my way I found these Hello Kitty sunglasses on one of my regular trips to asda. The sunglasses are very basic and white in colour, which although plain, is very versatile and can be worn with every outfit therefore avoiding having to buy more than one pair. The frame is rather large and chunky and the glasses have a dark tint which also has 100% UV protection which makes these glasses rather perfect for in very sunny conditions. I felt totally satisfied buying them and was happy in the knowledge that these would be very beneficial when abroad. The description of these glasses state that they are hello kitty and although this is not entirely obvious, they do have a rather small but lovely picture of hello kitty on each side and a small hello kitty logo on one of the glasses. This however is perfectly enough decoration; I prefer the glasses to be plain, any more decoration could run the risk of making the glasses look tatty. The glasses come in one size only however there isn't really any indication as to who this one size will fit. I found they were a comfy fit on my 4 year old however and they seem to have enough give in them to last her another couple of years. As previously mentioned, I have never had to buy sunglasses for my daughter before so I was worried that she wouldn't want to keep them on. There was absolutely no need for me to worry however as she absolutely loved them and she had no issues keeping them on, if anything she found it quite exciting to put them on. The only real issue my daughter had with them is that they reduced her visibility because of the partial tint, she would often take them off to have a drink or to enjoy an ice cream as she complained that she couldn't see. Obviously a slight overreaction as she wore them any other time. This is however just a small issue considering they protect her eyes it's worth the slight inconvenience, having said that most sunglasses are tinted so they would all have the same effect regardless. All in all I have found these to be a great pair of sunglasses, they are very durable, they have been dropped countless times and have also been fully submerged in the pool and they still live to tell the tale. They are available from George at ASDA for a very respectable £4.00 which is well worth it in my opinion. I would highly recommend these glasses, they are cute, cheap and moreover they protect little eyes from UV rays.
El Trebol apartments are situated in the Costa Teguise region of Lanzarote. This was our first time staying there, in fact it was the first time taking our daughter abroad so we were very much hoping that this would be a fantastic place to stay and luckily for us it was wonderful. El trebol apartments consist of 222 Apartments all of which have self-catering facility's, however half board, full board and all inclusive options are available. We opted for all inclusive as this suited us best. The apartments are spread out over several blocks, all of which are located around the four pools, restaurant/bar area and snack bar which is in the middle of the complex. As you could imagine the complex is rather large so it therefore has a spacious feel rather than being cramped between building blocks. Apartments -------------------------------- Ok so the hotel rooms are not 5* but I would not have expected that, they are a very good 3* which is all I could have expected for the price paid. The bathrooms are nice and modern and I particularly found the shower to be wonderful. The rooms are cleaned almost every day and the towels are changed every three days. I have to admit the beds are not overly comfy but after a busy day exploring the island that becomes less of a problem. The best part of the room in my opinion was the large balcony. There are two double doors leading from both the bedroom and from the living area onto the balcony. The hotel has only three floors and we stayed on the first floor and I found this to be great (as there are no lifts). The balcony does also have a washing line so you can put your wet clothes out after a day at the pool. The biggest downside to the room however was the lock on the doors leading to the balcony; It was placed in easy reach for my four year old to be able to open by herself which did make me feel uneasy, especially at bedtime. Pools -------------------------------- The main reason we chose this hotel was for the slides pool which we thought would be perfect for our four year old and thankfully she loved them. They were just right for her age which also meant there were a lot of children her age as opposed to older children. The water was a tad cold but my daughter didn't mind and I noticed that after you stay in the pool for a little while the water doesn't feel as cold. We didn't use the other pools as much but they were all nice and they were cleaned regularly while we were there. The only concern I had with the slides pool is that they don't get turned on until half past 10 and they are turned off at around 10 past 5. Therefore to gain a sunbed near to the slides pool you have to be down way before they are actually turned on. Yes you do get people who put there towels on the sunbeds a daft o'clock but the morning time is usually windy therefore blowing the towels away. There was always sunbeds available throughout the day but the slides pool only has a small area containing 5 or 6 sunbeds so to get one there you have to be down early. One other problem I found was nude sunbathing, ok so I'm not one for complaining but some people were sunbathing topless by the kids pool which I just found totally inappropriate. If you are to do such a demeaning thing you should keep it to your balcony or the adult's only pool, NOT the kid's pool. I think the hotel should have more rules in place about this sort of thing. Anyhow we didn't let it spoil our holiday! There are four pools altogether at the hotel including the kids slide pool, there is another, smaller kids pool along with two larger pools, one being the larger main pool and the other a smaller but adults only pool. All of the pools were nice and clean and there were plenty of sunbeds for everyone however none of the pools are heated which I did find to be a slight disappointment. Food and drink ---------------------------- The food was lovely, nothing to complain about there. Every meal was set as a buffet style which meant that although I am a very fussy eater I always found something to eat. For breakfast there was everything you could want on a full breakfast, there was a choice of cereals, a choice of bread rolls, croissants, cakes, doughnut's etc. but for me the best breakfast was freshly cooked pancakes topped with hot melted chocolate, it was gorgeous! For lunch there was a large choice of food ranging from pastas to pork chops. There was always a wide choice of different food and there were always chips to go with it. The salad bar was also great, it was huge and everything was delicious. Dinner was similar to lunch except there was more choice, lots of different meals to choose from and lots of little snacky bits too such as pizza, chicken wings, ribs etc. Also there were different themed nights, during our 10 days we had an American theme, a Chinese theme, Spanish and an Italian theme, all were lovely and the choice of different food was welcome. The only downside to dinner was the deserts, everything wobbled? It wasn't for my liking anyway, there was a choice of ice creams but after eating one that was labelled toffee which actually turned out to be coffee I was a little put off. There is fresh fruit however which is great for the kids. As we were all inclusive I would definitely say that the food was great, however if you were to go self-catering there are a lot nicer and cheaper places around the area to go to as the hotel does charge Euro12.50pp for dinner which is rather expensive considering. To end on a plus, the restaurant staff are very attentive, they make sure you have everything you need and they are always there to clean your tables as soon as you are done, couldn't fault them. The all-inclusive drinks are better than expected; there is a wide range in the restaurant such as fizzy drinks, tea and coffee and soft drinks such as orange, apple and pineapple juice. There is also beer, wine and sangria available in the restaurant, these are all help yourself. The pool bar and main bar have a wider choice and when we had ran out of drinks to try the kind bar tenders made us a selection of different cocktails to try out. Although the alcohol is defiantly weaker than normal the drinks are still nice and very refreshing. Especially the orange juice, I would recommend trying that with your breakfast. Pool bar ---------------------- The pool bar is fab, it has food such as chips and burgers and it has as much ice cream as you can eat. The pool bar also has better flavours such as strawberry and cookies and cream. There are also plenty of places to sit whether inside or out. The only criticism is that the food doesn't seem as fresh as it does at lunch or dinner, it didn't really bother me too much though. Entertainment ------------------------------ The entertainment is ok, it's not excellent but it's fun. Much goes on during the day but we never got involved with this although we did sometimes watch and we witnessed things like grown men belly flopping into the pool and holiday reps getting thrown in, which I'm sure is fun for some but it's not our cup of tea. We would go to the evening entertainment which was much better. It starts at 8pm with the dizzy and shades shake down which my daughter loved. It involved lots of games and dancing but they do get parents up to dance so ifs that's not your thing I wouldn't advise getting front row seats. Bingo starts at 9pm which is rather expensive at 5 euros a night buts it's fun. The entertainment at 10pm differs, one night we had a reptile show which was great and we got pictures taken with the snakes but then another night we had a show called African boys which was dreadful so avoid that one if it comes back again. All in all though the entertainment was ok and it wasn't all geared towards children, they did have Mr and Mrs while we were there and rock the room which was all good fun but then children loved the stuff like the falcon shows. Kids club ---------------------- The kids club was ok but shame we didn't know about it earlier. The kids club is right at the back of the hotel where you would never consider looking, we therefore didn't find out where it was until two days before we were leaving. It's a shame as my daughter liked the time she did spend there and the kid's club staff were very nice and friendly. The kids club has some great stuff going on during the day such as arts and crafts and sports competitions. A couple of negatives ---------------------------------- I only have a few niggles with this hotel nothing major but you do have to pay extra for a lot of things such as the safe, TV and kettle. Also there is a lot of graffiti, which of course is not the hotels fault but the furniture, inside cupboards and draws, there was a lot of graffiti. My last concern is with the reception staff, as kind as they are they don't know an awful lot about the hotel and after asking on several occasions they couldn't point me in the direction of the kids club, tennis court or launderette as they didn't know where they were. Area ------------- The area is lovely, I couldn't really fault it, there are lovely views and it's also rather close to the beach which is a 5 or so minute walk down the road. Once at the beach there is an array of shops, bars and restaurant which are all lovely. The beach also has a very long promenade which goes around the whole of the costa Teguise region, the hotel is pretty much situated at the end of the promenade so it's really nice to be able to walk the whole thing although it is very tiring. We did happen to find some lovely beaches by doing this though; they were a lot nicer than the beach which is closest to the hotel. Also the hotel is the neighbour of a very beautiful aquarium which is a lovely place to go if the weather turns bad, or like in our case you want to escape the sun for a couple of hours. The whole of the costa Teguise area is very family oriented, as is the hotel. I would definitely advise that the hotel is for couples and families, its quite a quiet and relaxing hotel and it's not really suitable for your clubbing type holidays as the main clubs are situated at the Puerto-del-Carmen region which is a completely different part of the island. All in all we had a fantastic holiday, the hotel was lovely, the staff were lovely and the area was also lovely. There is so much to see and do and I would definitely recommend getting out of the hotel for a couple of days and going on some excursions. We found the Rancho Texas park to be an excellent day out.
After a disastrous encounter with our kitchen blender exploding early on last year we decided it wise to not buy a new one for the foreseeable future, however when I saw this children's lets cook blender I decided to purchase it so that my daughter could continue to have her favourite banana milkshakes. What it looks like ------------------------------- The blender comes packaged in a very compact box along with an instruction leaflet explaining how to use it, you don't really need this however as it is very easy. The blender itself is very small but as it is a children's toy it is only designed for children's portions, taking this into account it's big enough for our needs. The blender itself is very attractive looking, the outer, main jug being a clear plastic with the base being white with a green rim, the lid is yellow and there is also a purple badge saying lets cook. The combination of colours gives this blender a very attractive look which is very appealing to children. I think it really stands out on the kitchen side, especially when placed next to a very colourful bowl of fruit. How it works --------------------------- This blender works like any other really; well it has the basic functions of any other blender. There is a little cap at the top which once opened leaves a wide enough hole to pop your ingredients into. There are then 4 blades at the bottom which (are supposed to) mix the ingredients together. This blender is battery operated, and once applied the blender is ready to use. After you have put all of your desired ingredients into the small compartment at the top it is ready to turn on. To do this you simply press the rather large button on the side and leave it to blend for as long as required. So now for the performance, to put it simply this is not the greatest but I actually think that it is ok. I have been shocked to find that this doesn't have a single good review on amazon as it is a children's toy listed under 'role play' in the toys and games section. Obviously you should not expect this to act as a normal blender would. Although the performance is not like a 'kitchen appliance' blender it actually makes our banana milkshake rather well. Ok, so it doesn't actually blend the bananas but it does mix it well enough (when mixed with milk) to make a very bananary flavoured milkshake. We have also tried other fruits (all of which being soft fruits) and they too have worked rather well and gave the milk a lovely fruity flavour. Although there isn't a filter on this blender - which would have been handy - there is a little pouring spout which, if you position the lid at a slightly slanted position acts as a sort of filter and blocks most of the large fruit chunks from falling into the cup. My daughter always drinks her milkshakes with a straw though, just to be sure. Safety ------------------------- One of the major benefits of this blender is the safety aspect. I am fully confident to allow my daughter (4 years old) to make her own milkshakes unaided (but still supervised) knowing that she is fully free from harm. For a start the jug is made from plastic meaning it's not going to smash or cause injury that way. Also the metal blender itself does not seem at all sharp, but that doesn't matter anyway as a child would never be able to get their fingers anywhere near it. As I previously mentioned there is only a small gap to fit the fruit, this is because there is a plastic guard coving the entire top of the jug, it looks a little like a spiders web in the way it branches out leaving only small gaps. Even if a child's fingers could fit through the gaps they could never reach the bottom giving complete protection. This guard is also fastened by screws, which if not complicated enough ensuring a child can't get in, the screws are fixed with a triangle screwdriver, I know we don't have one of these in our house so I feel extremely confident that this blender is completely safe for my daughter. Overall opinion ---------------------------------------- Overall I don't think that this is at all too bad. Considering that it is basically a toy I am actually rather pleased that it partly works rather than being upset that it partly doesn't work. And besides it's not for me and the main decider of whether it is good or not is my daughter who just so happens to think that this is the best thing ever. She absolutely loves her banana milkshakes and she also loves the independence of being able to make it all by herself. The main benefit for me is that, because my daughter loves it so much, I can avoid having to give her more sugary milkshakes that usually come in the form of Nesquik or Yazoo. With this blender all we have to add is banana (thinly chopped) and milk. No sugar involved. This blender does all of the things that we need and it costs less than a 10th of a normal blender. I don't think children are really to fussed about great performance, as long as they have fun, are safe and get a great treat at the end everybody involved is happy, especially the bank balance. Of course there are also some downsides to this 'toy' blender, the main reason being performance as discussed before but one of the greatest troubles for me is the inability to clean it properly. I am yet to find a scrubbing brush to fit through the guard at the top which means leaving the jug to soak for a rather long time in the hopes that any bits of fruit left at the bottom will wash away. As this guard is designed with safety in mind I can't really complain though. Another issue may also be presented in the fact that it is battery powered; it doesn't really bother me as they last a long time, but it is something to take into consideration. I would defiantly recommend buying this if you are looking for a fun kitchen toy for your child to get involved with. You should not however buy it if you are looking for a cheap alternative for a kitchen appliance as this just doesn't fit that bill. It is simply a lovely way for children to get involved in the kitchen in a safe and secure way while getting them very interested in fruits and food preparation. After buying this I have found my daughter to be taking a greater interest in different fruits as she is always wondering what new concoctions we can make. The blender is an all-round winner in our house. Where you can get it ---------------------------------------- I bought this blender for around the £7.00 mark but it can currently be found in home bargains and other discount stores for approximately £3.99! There is an age recommendation of 5 plus but I have found it perfectly suitable for my (recently turned) 4 year old and she is very much capable of understanding what it is, what it does and she knows never to use it without supervision. All children are different but I would recommend this suitable for children aged 4. The blender requires 4AA batteries which are not provided; this blender does however have long lasting power as we have so far not had to change the batteries since we bought it. Despite it having a whole host of bad reviews on many sites I would recommend you give this a try. For such a low price I think this is amazing as does my daughter. Just don't buy it expecting it to be and act like a blender as it does specifically state that it is a 'toy' designed for role play.
This was another of the many characterised Dora the Explorer toys to find its way under our Christmas tree last year. As an avid Dora fan I knew that my daughter would absolutely love this. Upon looking for a Dora backpack I came across many different styles but the sturdiness of this particular backpack caught my eye and I there for decided to purchase this; Dora the Explorer talking backpack. The main appeal for this particular toy is that it replicates the very popular backpack which Dora the Explorer uses on the television programme Dora the Explorer. Also just like the one Dora has, this toy backpack is a talking one and uses many of the phrases used in the show. The backpack is purple in colour and is made from a very thick and sturdy plastic. It also has a rather chunky lid which is secured shut using a little clasp. The inside of the backpack has less room than you would presume; this again is because of the chunkiness of the plastic. There is however enough room to store a few little things inside. The front of the backpack is decorated with a face; it has eyes, a mouth and eyebrows. This is in the same design as the backpack off Dora the Explorer and it is designed in a way that you can immediately tell what it is. We have bought some Dora toys and my daughter couldn't even tell it was Dora! We have no issues like that with this backpack however; she knew immediately what it was. One of the only problems with this backpack is that you can't actually use it as a backpack. The straps that you would use to put over your shoulders with a normal backpack aren't here and in replacement there is a small handle at the top. In all fairness I knew when buying it that this was the case but my daughter did ask questions as to why she couldn't put it on her back like Dora does. As I previously mentioned this is a talking backpack, the talking aspect is activated when pressing the mouth which is very conveniently a hidden button used to activate the speech. There isn't an overly large variety of phrases however the order of when they are said change every time so trying to count them proved a difficult task. I can definitely say that there aren't more than 10 all together with one of them being the very popular backpack song which is sung on the show. Other phrases include; "Hi you" and "are you ready for an adventure today? Let's get packed and go!" The voice of the phrases are very similar to that of the backpack from the show giving it more of an authentic feel. There is no volume button to turn the sound up or down but the sounds come out at a very nice level, not being too quiet but again not overly loud either. There is an on off button underneath the backpack and this is to control the sound aspect. The backpack also comes with a couple of small accessories all of which have previously been used in the backpack on the show, these include; a small plastic hair brush, a friendship bracelet, a telephone and the map. The map was for me the major disappointment of the backpack as it is my daughter's favourite thing. This one however is very poorly made and is cardboard. I would have expected something a little better as there is a compartment on the side of the backpack for the map to go like it does on the show, this one however is not designed to roll up to fit inside this compartment. I thought it was a very silly design. The other accessories are ok but again are rather tatty. All in all this is an ok toy and my daughter absolutely loves it. She has took it on many adventures (in the garden and to the park) and it has really helped with her imagination. She is frequently acting out scenes from the show and she creates obstacles that we have to overcome on our adventures. She uses the map to see where we have to go and she loves to pretend to call me on her pretend phone. This is a very frequently played with toy and is, in my opinion one of the best Dora toys that we own. The backpack costs around the £20 mark but my daughter has played with it so much that I would definitely say that it is worth it. As it is plastic it is easy to maintain and clean, as we play with it outside frequently it does get dirty but I quick wipe with a wet cloth and it is looking shiny and new. My daughter has also dropped this outside several times but because the plastic is so chunky and sturdy it doesn't break or even scratch. There is an age recommendation of 3+ but as there are no small pieces I would suggest that it could also be enjoyed by younger children. The backpack requires 3 AA batteries but it does come with some already in it and we, as of yet, have not needed to change ours. I would definitely recommend this toy, as a Dora fan it is one of my daughters favourites and I have found it to be well made and of good quality which is rare for such a character toy. It's not the cheapest price for what it is but it's guaranteed to get a lot of play.
My daughter was very lucky to receive this lovely Barbie head as a birthday gift last month. Out of all of her birthday gifts this one was the one that got the biggest reaction. She has of late been very interested in dolls, in particular Barbie dolls. I'm not actually sure that my daughter knew what this was at first, but she definitely recognised the packaging stating that it was Barbie and as a result we got a very high pitched "Barbie" yell when she tore open the wrapping paper. This doll is not actually your typical Barbie doll, it is an enlarged version of Barbie's head, designed specifically to play with the long flowing blonde hair that is attached to it. It's of a reasonable size, perhaps a tad small, this does however enable a small child to place it on their knee to play with without much trouble at all. There really isn't much to this doll, it comes with a couple of accessories but the main ones are the clip in earrings which are designed for the child rather that the doll. I thought it a tad strange that it didn't come with any bobble or clips etc. as its sole purpose is to play with its hair. It does however come with a small plastic brush and a little crown which is a very nice and welcome addition to the set. We weren't overly fazed by the fact that it doesn't come with any hair accessories as my daughter doesn't mind using her variety of clips and bobbles in its hair. The quality of the dolls head is not all that great either, I mean it is very pretty and I have no qualms with the quality of the plastic head or the design of the face, they are all fine, again it's the main/or sole purpose of this doll that was a little bit of a let-down for us. The hair just feels too thin and there isn't much of it there really. Under the top section of hair the head is made up, mainly of different sections containing either plastic or hair, it doesn't just flow all over the head as would be presumed. The thinness of the hair does make it difficult to apply big clips and bobbles, there is even difficulty running a normal hair brush though it, my daughter has had to resort to using the plastic brush which in all honesty doesn't work all that well. Despite everything just said my daughter has enjoyed playing with this, prior to owning it she used to love putting bobbles over her teddies ears (because they were the only place to fit) so I'm really not surprised that she liked it as it was something that from previous playing experience I knew that she would really enjoy. It's not a toy that gets used for long periods of time but when my daughter does decide to play with it she has a lot of fun changing the bobbles and clips. A plus point of the toy is that the hair is very manageable, it doesn't knot easily and although it doesn't look like it does in the picture anymore, my daughter can make some very pretty hairstyles in it. There is an age recommendation on this Barbie which is 3 years +, I would definitely have to agree with this as a child of a younger age just wouldn't be able to use it for its proper function. As far as I am aware this can be bought for £9.99 from Argos and it is also part of the 2 for £15 deal. All in all I would recommend this toy, it's a nice price and it's a bit of fun!
Over the years my daughter has gone through many phases, she has enjoyed the likes of in the night garden, micky mouse and toy story however all of the phases seem to fizzle out over time, so when it comes to buying character toys I am usually a bit cautious. As she has gotten older however she seems to be further discovering her interests and as a result she has become very firm in her likes and dislikes. For the past year my daughter has been very interested in Dora the Explorer so when it came to buying Christmas presents this year I didn't hold back when buying characterized Dora the Explorer toys. One of the many Dora the Explorer toys to find its way under our Christmas tree this year was this Dora the Explorer igloo shelter tent. My daughter herself is a little explorer and I thought this tent would be a brilliant idea to aid her role playing and let her creativeness flow through. The tent comes packaged in a small and very compact box, this however is unfortunately its only storage so do take care when opening it as you will have to put it back in somehow. Unlucky for us, my daughter had ripped the box open at the top, I have managed to fit it back in but it looks terrible. To be honest I am very disappointed that it didn't contain a storage bag, I would have at least expected it to have one to store the poles. The tent itself is very much bright pink in colour, it does have a slight bit of purple too but the main colour is definitely an in your face kind of pink. The tent also has two large pictures of Dora, one on either side. These pictures are very pretty and definitely succeed in giving the tent that 'tatty' character product look. Anyhoo, its nice enough, it's not as tatty as other character things you can buy. The tent takes all of 5 minutes to assemble, it's pretty straight forward. Once assembled the tent is a reasonably nice size measuring 120 x 120 x 85cm. We have so far only used the tent in the house, I found it a reasonable size to use in the living room, my daughter was able to play comfortably whilst I was still able to move around the living area. The tent does have a waterproof base indicating that it can be used outside which is great for in the garden in the summer and trips to the beach. I wouldn't however trust this tent to be fully waterproof and I wouldn't want to test it out. It just doesn't look like its good enough quality for that. For a start, the top section Is mesh, granted there is a cover for it, it's just not very well fitted so in bad weather conditions I could imagine rain seeping through. It also doesn't have any ground pegs so it couldn't actually be used for camping anyway. I think I may be being a little too sceptical about this tent as for £15 I really shouldn't complain, especially since I didn't buy it for any of the reasons listed above. I simply bought it for my daughter to use as a little indoor den. This it does do well and my daughter loves it. The door area also rolls upwards with a little tab to keep it in place. My daughter has, as I expected found many functions for this little tent. In the period of approximately one month it has been used as; a bus, train, school, dolls house, dolls bed, an elephant (don't ask me how she managed that one!) and it has been used as a little den to snuggle up in in front of the television. So, despite me having many little qualms with this tent, my daughter couldn't care less, she absolutely loves it. I suppose that's all that matters. To be honest she hasn't been overly interested in the fact that it is Dora the explorer but again, for the cheap price it doesn't really matter. This tent has provided my daughter with hours of fun and games; she even gets the dog involved who, unbelievably seems to really enjoy curling up at the back of the tent whilst Kerry pretends to drive him to Blackpool and back. As the tent surface is waterproof it is easy to clean and maintain, it also seems ok quality in terms of lasting, the material isn't too thin and it doesn't look easy to rip or break. Ours is still in one piece and we have it up most days. I think we are soon going to have to purchase a storage box for it though as the cardboard box it came in has just about had it. Despite me have many little niggles with this tent I would recommend it, my daughter absolutely loves it and again for the price there can be no complaining really. It keeps my daughter happy and entertained.
Over the last several months - especially since starting my second year at university - I have noticed that I have become more tired and lethargic and my general daily routine has appeared to become more and more of a struggle rather than a natural process. Moreover, during the last two months in particular I have started to get severe headaches and I have found myself taking more and more naps throughout the day. Now, I couldn't go through a full day without taking a nap at some point, if I can't fit in a nap during the day I find myself feeling really ill and as a result I tend not to be able to get out of the bed the next day. Obviously my first thought was to visit the doctors, after several blood tests the results came back as normal. On a positive note that means there was nothing seriously wrong but it did not help in my conquest to rid myself of my tiredness and headaches. Soon after I started on a self-remedy route, to start I would by vitamin drinks from marks and spencer's at the train station daily to give me a little boost, this would see me through the train journey home without falling to sleep but it did not offer a permanent solution. I came across the basset's soft and chewy daily energiser whilst on a routine shop in asda. I had planned to buy some sort of vitamins and since I am rather a fan of the basset soft and chewy range I found these the perfect item to buy. The daily energisers can be bought for £3.48 a packet in asda, each packet containing 20 pastilles. These daily energisers, as suggested by the manufacturer, are designed for busy or sluggish people who need a natural energy boost. They also state that they are to improve general health, the immune system, and metabolism and to generally increase energy levels. If you ask me, this is a lot of promise for one small pastille that looks tastes and feels like a jelly sweet. When I first took one of these pastilles I was soon to notice that they are very similar to that of the children's orange bassets that my mum used to feed to me in replacement of the carrots and any other fruit and veg type that would accidently find its way into the dogs bowl! The pastilles have a very squishy feel and as mentioned above look very much like a jelly sweet. Upon tasting them, again the sweet came to mind. They have a very citrusy flavour, they do taste very fresh and sweet but they do have a very very faint chemically taste, but that's me just being fussy. Over all I don't find them a hindrance to have to take every day as they do actually taste rather nice. Despite tasting rather nice these pastilles are not a miracle cure. They haven't cured my tiredness or my headaches, I do feel a little less sluggish but it is not at all what I would call a great improvement. To be honest I wasn't expecting these to be excellent, but the effect I get from these I could quite easily get from a cup of coffee. So as you can imagine, not amazing. Despite not doing much to help, I have continued to take these, I don't actually know why; perhaps I am thinking they will suddenly keep me awake all day, I somehow can't see it. I bought two packets from asda as they were on special offer but I won't be buying anymore once they run out. There are many other vitamins that I can try; perhaps they will do a better job.
Snow white is a much loved character within our house, my daughter is an avid reader of the book and she absolutely loves dressing up in her snow white costume. This Christmas she received this very lovely snow white doll and it is to date her most played with toy. This snow white doll comes packaged in what you might describe as an overly decorated box, this actually makes the toy look a lot more interesting than it actually is, the box is beautifully decorated with a woodland theme in the background and the box being bright, bold and attractive colours. Admittedly this does make this doll look better than it is as once taken out of the box it just looks like any ordinary doll. Don't get me wrong, the doll is great; it just seems a little disappointing once it's out of the box. This snow white doll is like your typical Barbie doll or one similar, it is small in size being approximately 20cm tall. It has all of the same features as these types of dolls, removable clothes; long, adaptable hair, movable limbs, and of course has a very detailed finish from the shape of the hands to the facial features and lipstick. The doll is very beautifully presented and I think that it looks very much like snow white, it has lovely long dark hair with a pale complexion accompanied by a very beautiful face which has a little bit of make up on. The dress that snow white is wearing is identical to that from the original character; this I think is the most important part as this is what allows my daughter to recognise that it is snow white rather than one of her other similar dolls. As I said earlier the clothes are removable and once my daughter had removed the pretty snow white dress and dressed the doll in another outfit, the doll didn't really look like snow white. As well as having the doll this also comes with a small ring and bracelet to be worn by a child, the sizing is very small and I don't think that the bracelet would fit a child over the age of 6. It has a nice comfortable fit on my daughter's wrist but she is only 4. The bracelet and ring are really nothing special, the plastic material is cheap and tacky but it's a bit of fun and my daughter enjoys them, she likes to wear them with her snow white dress and in doing so she says that she looks more like snow white which is really cute. My daughter really enjoys this doll and as I have previously mentioned it is her favourite toy. Being as small as it is, it's the perfect size for my daughter to enjoy at every occasion. She likes to take it to bed with her, she will put it into her dolls pram (although it is too small for this) she also likes to sit and watch the television with her. The doll is excellent quality as are the clothes. My 4 year old is not exactly careful or light handed so this doll has taken a fair beating. It has even had a fall down the stairs but it is still in one piece and it has no signs of braking just yet. The clothes are easy to use and my daughter is quite capable of removing them and putting them back on with ease, they are also fitted with Velcro, this makes it even easier for her. We (thankfully) have not had any spillages yet so I don't know how the outfit would turn out in the washing machine, saying that, I don't think it's recommended so perhaps a damp cloth would do. I would highly recommend this doll; it is my daughter's absolute favourite as I am sure it would be for any young princess. Apart from the accessories I can find any faults with it at all and costing £15 it's a bargain too.
As a huge Shrek fan I just had to buy these Shrek ears as a stocking filler for my daughter when I saw them. As suspected they were very popular come Christmas morning, gaining more attention than some of her more expensive presents. These Shrek ears are very simple and basic, they come with minimal packaging with the ears being clearly visible to see and touch. The ears are presented as a headband style which is designed to easily slide onto the head. The headband has two ogre ears that are presented at either side. The headband is green in colour with a darker green being present within the inside of the ears, they look very similar to that of Shrek's ears from the films and I find they have been made very well to resemble them. The headband comes in one size only however I find this to be very versatile in the sizes it fits. It has enough stretch to snugly fit my daughters head as well as fitting on mine with a bit of a squeeze. The headband is made from a very soft material therefore giving it a comfy feel while on, the ends of the band also has an extra layer of fabric to stop it from irritating or hurting the ear area. This headband is very simple and there really isn't much too it, that doesn't however mean that a lot of fun can't be had with it. My daughter absolutely loves putting them on and pretending to be an ogre; she even likes to wear them when she settles down to watch her favourite Shrek DVD. The options of role play with this small item are endless and they are perfect to buy for any Shrek fan of a varied age range. This headband can be bought from amazon for a very reasonable £1.50. I would definitely recommend these; they provide a cheap way to have fun and plenty of laughs.
This Christmas I was adamant that I was going to - instead of buying anything for my daughter that caught my eye - buy practical stocking fillers that were going to last longer that the duration of the Christmas break. Because of this my daughter received a lot of books off Santa this year to replenish her book shelf, one of those books being this Dora the explorer book called "Swim boots swim!" This book, as you may have guessed is based around the very popular television programme Dora the explorer. This particular story sees Dora and boots going on a swimming trip to the beach but there are some complications along the way. Firstly we learn that boots cannot swim. Dora soon fixes this however by arranging to meet with marina the mermaid who can teach boots to swim once they get there. The second problem they face however is actually getting there. The story follows Dora and boots as they try to find their way to the beach. The book is written very much like it is shown on the television. The map tells Dora and boots which way they need to go, this involves going through some obstacles, in this instance for example Dora and boots need to go over the flying fish bridge and then find their way through the silver sand dunes to get to the beach. This book (rather than just being a story to read) very much involves the reader is various activities. For example as Dora and boots get to the flying fish bridge it asks to the reader to say the colours of the fish as they go under them, the book them proceeds to list the colours in both English and Spanish. Other activity's involve a maze, completing this will help Dora and boots find their way through the silver sand dunes and then towards the end of the book there are steps to complete to help marina the mermaid teach boots how to swim. I really like how this book involves the reader as it allows my daughter to feel more involved in the story. Throughout the whole book the words are directed at the reader, as though it is talking directly to the reader rather than telling a story. This makes the book feel a little more personal to my daughter and she absolutely loves it, she is forever answering the questions asked, for example it asks "will you come too?" It then has a small break in the words for you to answer and is then followed by "Great let's go!" The book in terms of quality are in my opinion its only let down, the book feels extremely thin and the pages feel very delicate and easily breakable. Another small issue with the quality are the pictures, although there are large and detailed pictures that cover the entire page they just seem like bad quality and look faded and a little bit grainy. This isn't a huge issue however and the quality is definitely reflected in the price. Saying that however the cover of the book is very glossy and shiny and the bright and attractive pictures make up for the disappointment inside. Altogether there are 12 double sided pages in this book making a total of 24. The book is also more picture based as the pictures are what tell the story the most. There approximately around 2 sentences on each page making this story rather short. Despite this however, there is still enough to make the story interesting and entertaining and as there are several activity's in this book it takes about 15 minutes to read. This book has proved a great hit with my daughter, being the only Dora the explorer book that she owns she constantly wants to read it. On average we read it at least two times a day and she is so far not showing any signs of getting bored of it. I also find this book entertaining; at least I find my determination to improve my Dora the explorer accent quite amusing. I do find the Spanish parts hard to understand as in all honestly I have never tried to read Spanish before. Some of the more challenging looking words either get brushed over completely or sometimes when I am feeling brave I will attempt to put words like " Vamos a nader" into some form of speech with the result being some form of gibberish! However on the plus side there isn't too much Spanish in the book and it can easily be left out as most of the words are at the end of the sentences. All in all, despite having some qualms with this book I would definitely recommend it to Dora fans. Due to the simplicity of this book I would suggest that it be suitable for pre-school children or those of a young age, I think this book maybe too simple for older children. This book can be bought on amazon for a very reasonable £2.57. The book is available in paper back and comes in one size being 8x8. The author of this book is Phoebe Beinstein.
It was a couple of months ago, as the weather was gearing towards winter that I decided to by my daughter this outfit. I have a very peculiar taste when it comes to buying clothes for my daughter and the colours and patterns on this outfit immediately drawn me to it along with the fact that it looked very ideal for the cold weathers. The outfit is specifically from next and is called 'welly fur gilet suit.' There are three parts to this outfit, the main part being the dress, secondly there is a small fur jacket and thirdly there is a pair of tights. The dress is a lovely shade of green, it's a very natural shade (not at all overpowering) and it is decorated in a pattern of wellington boots. There are wellington boots of all different colours and patterns ranging from floral to block colours printed all over this dress, this is mainly what attracted me to the outfit, it's very unusual and I haven't seen anything similar to such a design. The jacket is really more like a shrug, it's a creamy colour and it is very furry and fluffy to touch, I find this really makes the outfit unique and different and I wouldn't think to use the dress on its own without it. The little shrug is detachable from the dress and is fastened into a bow with ribbon at the front. The tights that come with the outfit are very simple but again compliment the rest of the outfit. Apart from them being a lovely beige/brown colour there are two small little bows on the ankle area of each side. The quality of the outfit is excellent, all three items feel like very good quality material and they have been in the washing machine several times and still come out looking like new. The only downside is that the fur shrug hasn't looked the same since its first wash, it now has more of a wet fur look rather than the fluffy new look it had when first purchased. I am not disappointed by this fact however as this was expected with this type of material. My daughter doesn't really have a care for fashion; neither does she particularly care what she wears. She does however have a problem with uncomfortable clothing but I am pleased to say that she has never had any issues with this outfit, she hasn't even complained about the tights like she usually does with other pairs. As well as the obvious of looking extremely cute and adorable, especially when worn, this is also a very practical outfit. The dress, shrug and tights are extra comfy and thick providing warmth in the winter months. Tights are also very practical for wearing boots over the top; this is what we usually tend to do in such extreme weathers. This is definitely the nicest outfit I have bought my daughter this winter and we have had quite a lot of use out of it and I will predict that this outfit will last all the way until next winter too. The size we bought 4-5 is a lovely fit for my soon to be 4 year old and it still has plenty of growing room without looking baggy on her. This is an outfit that would suit a young child of any age and style as it is so versatile. I tend to find that certain colours don't suit my daughter but as this outfit is so unusual I would recommend it a style to suit everyone. This outfit is part of the young girl range at next and sizes range from 3 months to 6 years. The outfit was rather pricey at £27 but it is totally worth it as it is excellent all round and definitely one that will last a rather long time. I would definitely recommend making the purchase.
Pop up pirate is a game that I remember playing as a child, it is one of those games for the whole family to enjoy together and it is for that reason that I bought it for my daughter last year. It is imperative to me that we have a large selection of family games to play, it seems that nowadays as my daughter is getting older I have to bribe her time with an array of games and prise her away from her collection of toys that she would rather play solitarily. Pop up pirate is basically a game of luck; you are given 4 different coloured swords - with there being a different colour for each player, so there can be 4 players in total. - The aim of the game is to take it in turns to place the swords into a special barrel trying not to pop the pirate as you do so. The person to pop the pirate is the loser. The barrel which holds the swords and pirate is basically as it sounds, it's very plain and simple in design and looks very similar to a normal barrel, the only difference being the slots all around the sides to hold the swords and the hole at the top within which the pirate sits ready to pop up. There is not much skill involved in this game and it's not difficult to learn the rules, even for a three year old. This game states that it is for children aged 4 years and over, I bought it for my daughters third birthday because I didn't think that that age range was correct and I turned out to be right, my daughter had no problems learning the rules within the first play and she had relatively little problems whilst playing it. To begin the game you have to load the pirate into the barrel, it took us a couple of plays to learn this but every time you load the pirate you must twist him onto the base to reset the barrel. If you fail to do this correctly the pirate will continue to pop up when the sword is placed into the same hole as the time before. Setting up the pirate correctly resets the hole and creates a new game every time. The thing I like most about the game is the ability to play it with my daughter, the thing she likes most however is the surprise of the pirate. During the whole game her face is lit up with both excitement and nerves waiting for the pirate to pop up and when it does pop up she gives a little jump accompanied by a pearl of laughter which is lovely for me to be able to see. The game doesn't last for very long and this is definitely one of its major downfalls, an average game with two players last no more than 5 minutes, of course you can play it again and again but it does become rather boring and tedious after a while and even my daughter gets fed up after the third round. Overall I do really like this game and more importantly so does my daughter. I don't think that it is really a game for older children and it is definitely not something I would buy for older nieces and nephews, I think that because the game is so simple and easy to play it is definitely one for younger children of around preschool age. I wouldn't say that this is the best game that we own, but it does provide some fun and my daughter enjoys it despite the game play not being very long. The game comes in a handy storage box which perfectly fits the barrel and all of the accompanying accessories, it's just the right fit so it doesn't take up too much room in the cupboard either. We have owned the game for almost a year now and I must say that the quality of the game is ok, but not excellent. It is still in full working order due to it being mainly plastic but there are (or were) many stickers on the barrel. These actually fell of eventually leaving a very ugly looking sticky residue on the barrel. This isn't a major issue however and doesn't affect the game play at all. This game doesn't require any batteries or such things and can bought from amazon for £16.99 which is a relatively reasonable price to pay. I would recommend this game with a warning that the game play is not very long.