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Music magpie is an website which will buy your old CDs, DVDs and computer games, subject to all artwork, discs and cases being undamaged. You enter the barcode of the CD / DVD / Computer game you wish to sell on the website and it tells you how much they will give you for it, you then decide whether to proceed or not. The minimum amount of items you can sell is 5. Some items are worth nothing, the more popular the item the less it is worth. They claim the price quoted will be held for 24 hours. Once you have entered the barcodes and proceeded to the checkout they send you address labels with your order number on for you to post the CDs to back. They then send your payment.
I first came across music magpie on money saving expert and promptly
entered a lotof CDs and got offers for about 50, I then proceeded to the checkout, it was really easy to use the website and set up the account. I then sat back and waited for the address labels, after a few weeks I contacted music magpie to enquire if the address labels had been sent, I was told they would be sent shortly. The address labels never came. Whether I had entered to many CDs or they were very busy after being on money saving expert I am not sure.
About 12 months later I tried again, this time I only proceeded through the checkout with 10 CDs and about a week later the address labels arrived and I sent the CDs back. After a few weeks I had to chase them about the payment and I received a letter saying it was being processed and received the payment a few weeks after the letter. I have since used music magpie again to sell CDs and DVDs and after a long wait received the payment.
I would recommend music magpie as a way of getting rid of unwanted CDs and earning a bit of money but you have to be prepared to wait for the payment.
I chose this phone specifically for the fact that I could get the "Ovi Maps" free on it, and the phone itself was free on my contract.
What I like about this phone is its size, its more reasonable for me, like the Nokia N73, you know you are holding it.
There are only 3 physical buttons on the handset face, which are for dialling, ending calls and accessing the main menu, there is also a slider button on the right side to lok / unlock the phone and a volume button / camera "shutter" button.
The face of the phone also has a sensor on it so when you are on the phone the touch screen is deactivated so you are not randomly scrolling through menus whilst you are on the phone. There is also a media button to gain quick access to music / pictures / videos etc on the phone.
Through the Ovi Store (which is the newer version of Nokia PC Suite) you can also download numerous applications to use on the phone.
The "home" screen has a touch button so you can call up the traditional phone dialler to make your call.
The touch screen can either be used in portrait or landscape mode, in landscape mode when for instance typing a text it will give you a qwerty keyboard to use.
Everytime you use the touch screen the phone buzzes / vibrates very subtely, this can be adjusted up or down. The one thing you cannot seem to adjust is the camera noise.
I would highly recommend this phone to anyone.
Well I saw the trailer and went to see it with my daughter. It's a PG certificate film and it states at the start that everything should be OK for children over 8. However there are obviously great voids in what I think an 8 year old would watch as hearing the word "pissed" and "crap" within the first 20-30 minutes probably was not what I had hoped for and indeed it brought nothing to the film to use that language.
My daugthter found the end quite upsetting, at age 8, so if you were thinking this film was a nice follow to Hannah Montana the Movie think again. I would have liked more engagement on the music aspect and the characters.
The brother - sister relationship in this is indeed very well played and their connection was believeable.
This storeyline for the film tried to cram in too many different angles to the detriment of the story of the central character I felt. I'm glad I have seen it, but next time I would not take my daughter. The DVD won't be on the Christmas list this year.
Junior Scrabble contains 2 games, the first game is words and pictures and is for children aged between 5 -8. The second game is colours and counters and is for children aged 7 and over. Both games are for 2 - 4 players.
Junior Scrabble contains 84 letters tiles, 1 double sided playing board, 29 blue counters, 16 red counters and 1 tile bag. The counters have scores on 1 side.
The game board for words and pictures shows a word and a picture of the word. Each player takes it in turns to place two of their letters on the board, when a player completes a word the collect a blue counter, keeping the score face down. Once all the words have been completed each player turns over their counters and adds up the scores, the winner is the player with the most points.
The game board for colours and counters is on the otherside of the board and has squares on it, some are blue and some are red. Each player takes it in turn to make words from their 5 letter tiles, when a word crosses a blue of red square the player takes a counter of that colour and turns it over. The winner is the player with the highest score.
Junior Scrabble is an excellent educational game as it helps with spelling, familiarisation with the alphabet and new words and is fun to play, I would recommend this game.
We bought the My Book Essential external hard drive 6 months ago to back up our home computer. The hard drive is 500GB which can hold up to 60 hours of HD videos or 125,000 MP3 files or 100,000 JPEG files.
I am not very good with IT however we found this easy to install. The My Book Essential comes with an external power supply and a USB cable. Plug in the power supply and connect to the computer using the USB cable. If you are a windows user a Found New Hardware window appears, simply install the driver to activate the drive settings.
The user manual is available on-line to download. It is easy to set it up to automatically back up the computer once a month. The My Book Essential stores 5 back-ups and then writes over the oldest back up. The My Book Essential features a visual display on screen which displays the content categories and memory used in each category, however if you hover the mouse over the display for an information window giving the memory used and number of files.
The My Book Essential is excellent and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to back up their computer with minimum effort, after we set it up we have not had to touch it. It sits by the computer and automatically backs up the computer once a month.
It is also secure as you can limit access to it by establishing a password.
Like all games from Orchard Toys Party Party Party is a fun and simple way to learn basic skills.
The game is for 5 - 9 years and 2 - 4 players, it is made up of 1 off (jigsaw) playing board, 4 off 3-D handbags, 28 picture cards , 8 off character pieces with stands, 1 dice and instruction leaflet.
The object of the game is to be the first player to fill their handbag with one present and five party accessories and join the party in the centre of the board.
To play the game each player chooses a character and a handbag, the remaining characters are placed in the centre of the board and the picture cards are spread out face up. The youngest player rolls the dice and moves that many places clockwise around the board. If the player lands on a picture or present they place the corresponding card in their handbag, until they have 5 picture cards and 1 present card. If a player lands on a square with a picture of a dropped handbag they lose a card. If a player lands on a picture of a mobile phone they pretend to phone another player and that player removes a card from their handbag. The players continue to go around the outer ring of the board until their handbag is full. Once they have a full handbag the player can proceed to the centre and join the party and win the game.
This is a simple game to play and is great fun, although it is hard to see in the handbags and an adult is needed until the game becomes familiar.
I am a late comer when it comes to enjoying the experience of banoffee, but my love for this combination has been sealed by the experience of the weight watchers (from Heinz of course) Banoffee Dessert.
The science part - one box will give you two banoffee desserts, each with a 3 points value and a calorie value of 170 and fat content of 4.4% each. The desserts are bough frozen and should be stored accordingly and defrosted before eating (yes that means abit of a wait - torture). And to conclude on this section, there are no artificial flavours (good), colours (very good) and hydrogenated fat (bonus).
So working from the bottom of the dessert up, a small toffee sponge (reminiscint of a cheesecake base) no more than 5mm deep. Above this a large section of banana mousse with toffee sauce drizzled around the outer edge, above that the toffee mousse with a piped finish decoration then finally there are chocolate shavings of banana and toffee coloured chocolate on top.
There should be a warning on this box - that this dessert is so delicious you may not be able to refrain from eating more and an unsuppressable desire to bathe in them.
Once you appreciate the true delicious and complete melt in the mouth flavours of this dessert, it is important to establish a routine for eating them in order to savour the flavours to their maximum potential. I personally have perfected the sectional eating approach, carefully eating the chocolate shaving first, then moving to the toffee mouse so as not to disturb the banana mousse or sauce, if you achieve this you may then sucessfully move onto extracting the toffee sauce from the sides of the banana mousse, then devouring said mousse. In order not to be purely disappointed at the end with just the sponge you may wish to intermingle the last bits of mousse with the sponge.
If you do this it might last 30 to 60 seconds!!! Well I'm only human.
I should really be saying this is awful don't buy them, then the supermarkets would always have plenty stocked for me, but this is an experience I just need to share.
Well done weight watchers from Heinz!
Within our household we only have 4 DS games - the last one to arrive being the Tinkerbell DS Game. I have to admit to being abit sceptical at first about it - don't get me wrong I love the film but I was unsure how this would provide a lasting game that my daughter would play with - how could this compare to Nintendogs? How wrong I was.
The theme of the Tinkerbell film is that the seasons we are familiar with on Earth and how animals walk, swim, fly and all natures details are all as a result of the preparations that the fairies do. To do this the fairies reside in a place called Pixie Hollow and once all the preparations are complete they bring them to the mainland. Within Pixie Hollow the fairies are categorised from birth according to where their strengths lie. Tinkerbell is a tinker fairy.
So, within the game there are 6 language choices: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch.
The main menu for the game leads to Playing the Game, Todays Fortune and Options. Todays Fortune is where Tinkerbell tells you your fortune for the day, within Options you can turn the volume on or off (quite useful as the music gets quite repetitive)or delete your saved data.
Playing the Game - the game is based in Pixie Hollow which to be honest is vast and as the game progresses it just gets bigger, so on the top screen you are able to view an overally map of Pixie Hollow and there will be an icon of Tinkerbell on there to show where she is.
Preparing the Seasons
Tinkerbell must first meet the Minister of the Season to obtain a Preparation List, Tinkerbell must then repair all items for the season, play mini-games and do favours for the fairies of Pixie Hollow to gather everything on the list, deliver all items to the Minister, then bask in the glow of accomplishment and watch as the Minister brings the Season to the mainland.
Tinkerbell meets many fairy friends who may need help. some require seeds to be found, some will need to trade items such as flower petals, some will just need favours like delivering light beads and shells. There is a to-do list in the command menu that helps with remembering them all.
Blue sparkles on the screen show where to find items, yellow sparkles show where to find fairy friends.
The command menu will display:
Your achieved title i.e Fixer Upper
Your medals to spend in Pixie Hollow
Your darts to use in the roulette game
Materials Owned (what you are collecting for tasks or seasons)
A button to return to the game
A button to view any forgotton tutorials
Progress throughout the game can be saved.
So reverting back to the command menu, there were sub-menus mentioned:
Pick and choose Tinkerbells clothes and accessories here (you will also collect some throught the game), you can also create your own costume design, but she has to have a few seasons under her belt to do this, if she wants to make more then she has to either give an outfit away or leave it in the Accessory Shop where the person who picks it up might leave a gift in appreciation.
Stamps can be used to decorate the clothes, when the game commences you have 4, but upto 16 can be collected. The colours can be altered too, dependent on the berries collected.
Here you can view your ever growing collection of materials. Organised into Flower / Animal / Water and Light Materials, it's as easy as can be to find what you need.
Use this list to check the fairies you've met and things you've collected.
List of Achievements
This is a list of everything accomplished from mini game scores to items you've collected.
As Tinkerbells title changes this enables her to make accessories such as hair ornaments, anklets and bracelets for herself and other fairies. The items collected can be used to make the accessory, in accordance with the respective Recipe Card.
The accessories are ranked based on rarity of materials and craftmanship. Higher rated accessories will earn Tinkerbell more praise, more FAiry Medals. Again any accessory left in the accessory shop, can be taken by a fairy who may leave a fairy medal or two to show her thanks.
The bedrock of the game is friendship, by doing things for the fairies, or just havign a nice chat, Tinkerbells friendship meter with that fairy improves, however her friendship with that fairy will suffer if she doesn't keep in touch or complete an errand on time or even if she gives the fairy something she doesn't like.
The friendship meters are loacated in the Lists opion of the command menu.
The game itself is stated as suitable from age 3+, and I sure this relates to the content, however if your child cannot read this game will not mean an awful lot and seem quite laborius. From Age 5-6 is more suitable.
When it comes to childrens games Orchard Toys have really got the inside track with their educational, fun and high quality toys. Shopping List was the first game of theirs our household owned and it was bought as a gift, I having previously never heard of them.
The game itself is suitable for Age 3 - 7 (and adults), Number of Players 2 - 4
Game comprises: 4 shopping trolleys, 4 shopping lists and 32 item cards.
The instructions for the game are on the base of the box which outlines that each player is given a shopping list and a shopping trolley (which is flat illustrated gloss card), then the 32 item cards are turned upside down in the middle, starting with the youngest player each player takes it in turns to turn over a card, if the item is not on their shopping list then they return the card, if the item is on their shopping list then they put the item into their shopping trolley. The first player to fill their trolley wins.
The game is essentially a variation on the pairs game and assists with memory as players try to recall the position of returned cards that might be on their list.
This is an excellent game for players at the bottom end of the age range of this game, although at that age they are unable to read the names of the products on the lists but will of course recognise the pictures.
Having now moved on from this game in the Orchard Toys range, I would also like to point out that the resale value of Orchard Toys in good condition on auction sites is excellent which serves even further to make this product a sound investment.
There is alot that has already been written about the itunes, I am new to the world of Apple with an ipod only entering our house this Christmas. Some of my key observations were that the itunes software took 3 hours to download, I am not sure whether this was because we tried to do it on Christmas Day but a useful tip is to maybe do it the night before if possible, not always so if the application is going on your childs computer.
CDs were easy to transfer - once loaded the CD details appeared (although I understand from my Uncle that older CDs might not have all this data on them and need to be manually input), you can select which tracks to transfer and it moves them across to your library. One CD in particular proved a problem - Alesha Dixon, it did eventually transfer but took an age and then when it was played back on the ipod the quality was not so good. Also compilation CDs such as High School Musical and HM the Movie became fragmented in the Library because of the mulitple artists involved on the CDs. I haven't worked out how to put these all back together again.
We made good use of the free downloads after Christmas and now have 2 videos for my daughter on there, again no problem transferring these.
Purchases from itunes come with the album artwork, but for the CDs you put on you can also right click on the album and ask them to "get album artwork" this can also be done from the advanced tab and scrolling down to get album artwork. It didn't get everything for the CDs we had which was abit suprising as there were no CDs older than 3 years but nonetheless - they still look good.
We subscribed to the cbeebies radio 7 podcast which has a release every week which syncs to the ipod when connected. In this area I found there were numerous Childrens / Family podcasts but not alot of sources that i would trust 100% for my child to listen to.
In the audio book area of the store I thought I might be able to download some favourite Rainbow Fairy books, as I didn't really enjoy using the search and filters for the books I just typed in Rainbow Fairies in the search box on the top right of the istore, I was a little surprised at the result and glad I had typed it and not my daughter. It transpires these books are not on their system, but we did have a CD for one so I put this on, however it is in with the albums - I couldn't find a way of segregated it out as a book - however I'm sure I will. But at present if you were to play the albums randomly - every now and then you would get a chapter of Pearl the Cloud Fairy.
I haven't tried Genius which creates mixes etc from your playlist - we are a simple family that do not strive for this - just happy to find the album and play, the ipod can randomise them if needed.
We have enabled home - sharing so that we can operate the itunes account from a PC and a Laptop, this is good, however and I suppose logically the ipod will only synchronise itself with the version it was first linked to and registered with.
For those without an ipod the software can be used on the PC / Laptop / Netbook and used to play music etc from there.
I have found that alternate site such as Tescos etc are cheaper to use than itunes but really there is always going to be abit of shopping around for maintstream music if you want to ensure you paid the best price.
But as whole package I think this is the optimal system to beat, for capacity, variety and functionality beyond my capabilities. Abit of refining on the search facility would help - but overall a highly recommended system.
My daughter was bought this a couple of years back as a birthday present when we were only just vaguely familiar with the brand Orchard Toys, and although I love their range of games for their vibrant colours and drawings, high quality cardboard and well thought out educational base of their games, I have to admit when this game came out of its box I thought myself "this game won't take two minutes to play". Wrong!
This game is recommended for children aged 4 - 8, and at least two players with a maximum number of 4 permitted. Each player is represented by a small bus mounted on a stand that travels around the board, each player also has a larger bus which has 10 windows (or seats). The board is oval in shape and represents a typical street with houses / trees / park drawn on the board. The cardboard counters painted with the passengers heads on, are all placed in the middle of the board face up.
The object of the game is to get back to the bus station with the most passengers on your bus. The start point of the game (on the board) is shown by a white arrow.
As in most games the youngest player commences play. There are two dice provided with the game you throw both simultaneously. The red die indicates the number of spaces to move around the board, the white die indicates the number of passengers to be added or subtracted from the bus - this will be denoted on the square you land on which will have either a plus or minus symbol.
Passengers are always taken from and returned to the centre of the board. If you land on a plus sign and your bus is full play moves to the next player. Also if you have to set down more players than you have on your bus then you can only set down the maximum passengers you have on your bus, or if your bus is empty then you cannot set down any and play moves to the next player.
The end of the game is denoted by a red stop sign on the board and you do not have to throw an exact number to complete the game. The game is finished when all players have reached the stop. The winner is the player with the most passengers.
The initial squares are cleverly constructed so that passengers are added whilst the latter squares are littered with more minuses making the likelihood of losing passengers greater.
This is greatly enjoyed in our family and again a very subtle way of introducing counting and adding and subtracting.
Santa was kind enough to deliver a Karaoke machine this Christmas for my daughter and with it came this disk.
The disk is a CDG type this means that when the kartaoke machine is connected to your TV or if it has an integral display then words will be displayed and they will change colour as you are required to sing them.
The CD contains 20 tracks that are segregated into 4 films, namely:
High School Musical
Each film has 5 songs, comprising:
Mammia Mia, Honey Honey, Dancing Queen, Our Last Summer (not as known by recent generations unless you have seen the film recently) and Super Trouper. These are alll excellent to sing to.
Grease, Summer Nights (a fave in our house), Hopelessly Devoted to You, You're the One that I Want and Sandy. These songs are best suited to your altos.
High School Musical (very similiar story line to Grease), We're All in this together, Breaking Free, Start of Something New, Bop to the Top and When there was you and me. All really great again to sing to.
Dirty Dancing: She's Like the wind, Hungry Eyes, In the Still of the Night, Love is Strange and The Time of My Life (not a bad range ).
With regard to the CD, the pacier tunes are the better ones at getting the atmosphere going, however this CD provides an excellent mix for most tastes and ages (whewn you consider we bought other multi box CDs too - this one is outstripping them).
I love the fact that the music is played in a key that automatically makes you want to sing higher and makes the result that much more humourous.
Put this CD at the top of your collection for karaoke CDs.
The Orchard Toy range provides high quality board games and jigsaw puzzles whilst also being educational in very subtle ways. The price ranges from £3 tp £13, this game retails for £11 directly from Orchard Toys but from websites such as Amazon it is under £10.
The Orchard Toys Magic Cauldron game is for 2 to 4 players age five and over. Each player has a cauldron (board) with 10 places on the board. There are two types of cards, one has a picture on onside and a number on the other, these are the spell ingredients and are piled up picture side up. The other type of cards have a sum on one side and a ghost on the other and are spread out sum side up. The youngest player starts by taking an ingredient card, looking at the number, they then find a card with the sum which makes that number, to check the answer they rub the ghost on the rear, a number appears, if they are correct then the ingredient is placed on the cauldron. If they are wrong the sum card is replaced and the ingredient is put to to the bottom of the pile, the winner is the first player to collect 10 ingredients, thus filling their cauldron.
This game is a fun way to teach maths, the sums are add, subtract and a few multiplication, the numbers are mostly between 1 and 10. a basic knowledge of maths is needed to play the game.
It is highly enjoyable and gets the children thinking about their sums and great enjoyment from revealing the answers.
I first heard about Swadlincote Ski Centre after seeing a local bus pass me with an advert on the side.
As my daughter is an avid skier I thought I would check out the website - it is an outdoor ski centre but when you look at the home page there is an image of the centre in the snow, taken I presume on one of our snowy days, none the less - the site looks impressive.
There are snow and ski boarding lessons, plus open sessions and segregated sessinos for families, after school and so forth. Snow - tubing is also available (rubber ring with a cover one side of the hole). What appealed to me was the Childrens Parties where 4- 11 years can do an activity of choice for one hour then have a set choice meal, the choice is the same for 12 - 16 year olds - so I wasn't sure why they made the distinction between the ages. Snowboarding is only available for the over 10s, but depending on the activity chosen and the child age prices are from £11 to £19.50 each.
Based on the images and the information I thought it worth a drive out to see what the facilities are like.
I am not sure how old the centre is but it feels dated when you arrive is certainly dated inside. You pass through the "Alpine Lodge" to the slopes, there is a large main slope with a drag lift and a smaller slope for beginners / children, interwoven around these is a toboggan run, which has a mechanism for taking you in the toboggan to the top of the slope then you are free to steer around or down the 500m run.
The facility is good but the reality is far from the images on their website.
The room we were shown for serving the food after the party was fairly uninspiring too, and at the price per head you are paying I think it is reasonable to expect something of a certain standard.
I cannot comment on the format or structure of the lessons, the centre was only visited for the purposes of investigating a party, however due to our varying climate I thought it abit too risky to consider an outdoor party.
My daughter has recently taken up horse riding and like any new thing a child starts until you know for certain that they are going to enjoy the activity you don't wish to commit to heavily into buying specialist items. However certain things are a must for safety and necessity - this review consists of reviewing two products only which I have found to be excellent and not too expensive - considering the price levels of some items on the market.
Jodphur boots - on booking the first lesson we were advised that footwear such as trainers would not be acceptable for riding as the solve needed to have a defined heel, walking boots or school shoes (!!!) might be ok whilst we established whether we wished to proceed with lessons. Duly noted we took this on board - but persevered to find some cheap jodphur boots also. Tesco have an equestrian range but at over £22.75 (excluding delivery) for a pair of boots I felt I could find a pair cheaper.
Much googling brought me to the website www.bluepony.co.uk where you can buy a pair of childs Hasley jodphur boots for £15.99. There was a delivery charge of £4.95, bringing the total to £20.94, they were ordered on the Sunday 4th Oct and despatched on the 5th Oct and were in my hands on the 6th October. A fantastic delivery. The boots in question are of great sturdy quality and fit a treat.
My second item is the riding hat. Traditional riding hats come in traditional hat sizes and with a childs head constantly growing having to replace hats can be an expensive game. A solution for this is found with the "design a Polly Hat 4 Kidz". This product provides a riding hat that can fit heads from 48cm to 52cm (it achieves this via an adjustable dial at the back of the hat just like a cycle helmet). The hat is certified to BS EN 1384-1997, and is both modern and lightweight. It also comes with its own blue carry bag and stickers so you can customise the hat if you wish (more aimed at girl riders I felt). Aswell as the dial adjustment there is also a 3 point under-the-chin strap to ensure that the hat also stays on the head. Despite being "plastic" in appearance this hat really does look the part but if it is a concern hat covers can be bought in a range of colours too.
This hat was bought for £19.99. And on the www.pollyproducts.co.uk website there is a document listing all the stockists of their products. There are also other polly hats for juniors and adults that go beyond the size range of this hat.