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Ever since we got Netflix, my daughter has been watching cartoons she has never seen before. One of the characters she has been introduced to is Franklin and with the season upon us, one of the films she likes to watch is this Franklin's Magic Christmas.
Franklin and his family are getting ready to go away for Christmas, they pack up the car and Franklin hands over his pet fish, Goldie, to his friend bear. On the journey to Grandma and Grandpa's house, Franklin realises he left his teddy Sam at home in the snow because Harriet, his sister, made him drop him, he demands they turn around but the parents say no. When they finally arrive at Faraway Farm, where mum grew up, they reunite with the grandparents.
Whilst at Faraway Farm, a storm hits so mum and dad go to visit the elderly neighbours to make sure all is ok and they haven't been hit hard. Back at Faraway Farm, grandpa has a nasty fall and grandma is worrying about how he will get to see a doctor. Franklin comes up with a bright idea of trying to get doctor bear, from back home, to Faraway Farm to help grandpa. Harriet and Franklin embark on a journey to try and get doctor bear back to grandpa, will they manage it?
Franklin's magic Christmas is a lovely Christmas film. The scenery is all snowy and Christmas is all around with carols, decorations and presents, it definitely gets you in the Christmas mood. The animation isn't the greatest with some scenery looking rather tired and unfinished, the backgrounds aren't very detailed and I believe if it had a bit more effort put into it, the animation would have been first class. The characters are all detailed well and Franklin and his family look exactly like they do in the television programme.
The audio of the film is great, the voices ties in to the different characters well and you really believe what they are saying. There is quite a lot of background music, gentle musical tones, nothing in your face, this background music doesn't tear any attention away from the film and it does make the scenes a little more emotive.
This film only has a running time of 52 minutes, this may seem a little short for a full length film but whilst watching it, there is no kind of rushed feeling and it runs really well. I think, had it of been any longer, then it would have just felt dragged out and boring. The length is perfect for my four year old and it holds her attention well.
My daughter enjoys watching this film, there are a few funny moments that really tickle her. At the beginning of the film, Harriet throws a snowball at Franklin and it makes him drop all of the presents he is carrying to the car, she thinks this bit is hilarious!
I would definitely recommend this film to any Franklin fans, it's nice to watch to get into a Christmas mood. The animation is good, audio is fantastic and it has a lovely story.
Gerry is a little overweight, he struggles to run for the bus, throw a ball over a fence and is generally unfit. School is out and his parents decide to send him to Camp Hope for the summer, Gerry is shown a video of the camp and realises it's a fat camp, a place kids go to lose a bit of weight. He isn't very happy and doesn't want to go but he ends up going after all. On the airplane Gerry meets a lad called Roy who is also on his way to camp and seems to know a lot about the camp as he's been before.
The tribe of camp goers all get on the bus and head to the wonderful Camp Hope. When there they meet a councillor named Tim who used to go to the camp but managed to lose weight and maintain the skinny loot, they like to take the mickey out of him and tease him with things like 'did you have a baby' and stuff like that! Gerry settles down to life at camp well and starts to enjoy his summer, that is until the owners of the camp have to file for bankruptcy and it gets bought by Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller). Perkis just wants the camp goers to lose as much weight as quick as possible so he can use them as a promoting tool for a special fitness programme. Nobody likes Tony Perkis and the way he is going about owning the camp so Gerry and councillor Pat lead the revolution to get Camp Hope back as their own.
I had never heard of this film before despite being released in 1995 but I wish I had seen it sooner as it is a brilliant family film. The majority of the cast is made up of kids and I wouldn't say their acting abilities are particularly that great, some seem to say lines like they are forced to do it but it doesn't take anything away from the film. They are brilliant at acting out the comedy scenes, one scene that stands out is not long after the kids arrive at camp when they are settling into their dorms and they start to hide the stash of sweets and nice food they smuggle into the camp, one of the boys taped food to his stomach and it goes everywhere so everyone else piles on to get a lick, it's hilarious and well acted. Ben stiller does a brilliant job of being the new owner who everyone hates, it's nice to see him do a fab job even early in his career.
This is a fantastic Disney film, it's definitely a Sunday afternoon watch as it requires no brain power at all and you can just watch, not take any of it in, but still really enjoy it. The storyline is great and I like the fact that it isn't too serious and quite funny. I think it's definitely worth a watch.
For my daughters fourth birthday, she received a VTech Storio reading system. As her birthday is in November, buying more accessories was a great idea for Christmas and one compatible book cartridge she received was this Disney Fairies software.
~*~ Price, packaging and getting it working ~*~
This Disney Fairies Storio software is available to buy from most places that sell VTech Storio goods such as Tesco and Amazon, for example. It has a huge RRP of £16.99 but it rarely costs that much, more like £10 tops usually.
I really dislike the packaging for VTech Storio book cartridges, the cartridge itself is around an inch high and an inch and a half long but the plastic casing it comes inside is A5 size, it's way to excessive for what you get inside, a huge waste in my eyes and I'm not one to complain about packaging usually. Inside, you will find a user manual (maybe this is why it is so big!) which helps you with the different modes you can choose from.
The book cartridge slides into a slot on the top of the Storio reading system, it slots in and out with ease and my four year old has no trouble in doing it herself and as there is only one way of doing it, it is extremely simple. Once inserted, you simply click on the Disney Fairies book icon when the reading system is turned on to get it to work.
~*~ Disney Fairies book ~*~
Once you have clicked on the book icon you are sent to the main menu of the book cartridge which gives you four options, watch the story, reading games, story dictionary and settings.
After clicking on watch the story you are met with the familiar Disney Fairies pictures with Tinker Bell being the main character. As the story is read, the words being read to you are at the bottom of the screen and the text turns to green as it is being read. You can pause the story at anytime by pressing the play/pause button below the screen, you can also replay pages or bookmark them to return at a later time. Some words flash up purple as the story progresses, if you click on these words the story will pause and a description of each of the words is read. This story is Tinker Bell and the great fairy rescue, it is exactly the same story of that in the film of the same name. Tinker Bell gets captured by Lizzy, a girl, and Vidia attempts to rescue Tink.
If you click on story dictionary you will find a list of all of the wrods that flashed up purple during watching the story. You can click on any word and it will give you a short description of each word. If you click on flooded, for example, the word comes up and it says 'when a place is flooded, it is full of water'. Some of the words have a little question after them to confirm learning what the word means.
After clicking on reading games, you are met with eight different games to choose from. What happened? Is a game all about the story, the Storio will read out a question about the story and you have to click on the answer 'who asks Vidia to open the door' is one of the questions asked and you have to click on the answer, Tinkerbell, you can click on the word or the picture. Sound it out, is a game where you have to find words that begin with a letter, the Storio says the letter then the phonic and you have to click on the correct word. The special vowels game tells you to find words with two letters in it, 'o and r makes the sound orr, find a word with the sound or in it' you have to click on the correct word. Listen and spell, you have to listen to a word being spelt out and press the letter that is missing on the keyboard then press the picture that the word spells out.
Ups and downs is a game all about finding the capital letters during different sentences, the Storio will tell you to find a word that starts with a certain capital letter and you have to click on the correct word. During vowel time, the Storio will tell you what vowels sound like together and you have to choose between four different pictures with that vowel sound in it. You have to listen to the sentence and find the missing word for the reading game look around. The last game is who said that? A sentence is read out and you have to work out who would say that sentence.
The settings menu is very basic, you can choose whether to have the music on or off and whether or not you want the Storio to highlight the vocabulary.
~*~ Our opinions ~*~
My four year old daughter is a huge Disney Fairies fan and she loves watching all of the films over and over again so I knew this Storio software would be a hit since it is based on the third Fairies film, Tinker Bell and the great fairy rescue. I like the fact that it is identical to the film as my daughter has something to relate to when she is watching the story being told. Of course, it is a lot shorter than the film and does miss a few bits of the film out but on the whole it is a good story to accompany the main film. The story itself keeps my daughters attention right to the end which is good as not all of her different book cartridges do that.
Whilst the story is being played, I think my daughter gets that engrossed with it that she doesn't even think to interact with it at all. She has never clicked on the purple highlighted words to find out what they mean but often goes into the story dictionary afterwards and finds out what different words mean so I think this being included is definitely a plus otherwise she wouldn't know half of the words in the story.
This software is recommended for children between 5 and 7 years of age. I think this is largely down to the reading games that are included. My daughter can do a couple without any help from me but the more tricky ones which feature vowel sounds and capital letters are too hard for her but it means the software can grow with her and she will be able to complete the games in time stopping her from getting bored of the software all together. She enjoys the first game in the list the most, what happened? I think this is because it references the story so much and is probably the game that's got the most Tinker Bell as part of it.
I really like this Disney Fairies Storio reading cartridge, it's hard to think of any negatives apart from some of the games being too hard for my daughter but that is to be expected since she is younger than the recommended age range.
I'd definitely recommend this Storio software if you are on the lookout for an engaging Storio book. The Disney Fairies element of it is fantastic, the story matches the film perfectly and the reading games are educational but mostly fun at the same time too. The RRP is way too high for what it is but you don't have to pay it and if you look around you can pick this up for £6-£10 if you shop carefully and I think it's worth that amount without a doubt.
Netflix has recently added a lot of Care Bears movies and my daughter has quickly become a huge Care Bears fan. One of the films we watch is this, Care Bears - The Giving Festival.
The giving festival is on its way and everyone is getting prepared, it is quite stormy and the wind is jeopardising everything. The care bears look back on other adventures they have had while they wait to see if the wind will stop the giving festival from going ahead. The bad care bear, Grizzle, attaches his home to the care bear cloud to try and tug it out of the way in the first flashback, in the second some of the care bears get stuck in a cave and then in the third true heart bear is trying to get over her fears and face the rollercoaster. Will the giving festival go ahead?
Looking at the artwork for this film, you would think it would be a Christmas themed film but it's not. I guess the makers are trying to make it suitable for everyone to watch but I was expecting something quite Christmassy and disappointingly there is no references to Christmas at all. Although this is meant to be a feature length film, it doesn't really feel like it, it has more of a few episodes shoved together feeling to it rather than a proper film. It doesn't reference back to the giving festival that often which is a bit of a shame.
I'm sure we can all remember the care bears from years ago, I remember it from my childhood but the whole look has been totally modernised. Thinking about it, back in the day it did look quite lame but now the animation is up to date and very fresh looking. All of the characters are well made and bright looking. Both the scenery and the characters themselves are very colourful and vibrant and they work together really well. The voices used are just ok. Some of the voice actors are hard to understand and you do struggle to try and make sense of what they are trying to say, the majority of voices are good, but these hard to understand voices do let the film down. The music in the background is very fitting and helps set the scene throughout the film.
My four year old absolutely loves this film but I'm not really sure why, I think it is quite poor. The film doesn't really flow very well and it feels more like episodes thrown together. I think, had it given more thought to the main story of the film, it would be slightly better. I don't really know why the film is called the giving festival, it hardly features at all.
This is a film by daughter would watch over and over if I let her but I wouldn't recommend it unless you are looking for care bears episodes rather than a film. The story is rubbish and some of the voices are hard to understand.
My daughter received a Storio for her fourth birthday and I didn't realise how much it would eat batteries. Luckily, it seemed to run out of battery every time we were in my mums company, I think she got the hint and she went out and bought a VTech adapter so it wouldn't go through quite so many batteries.
My mum got this adapter from Argos for around £8 I think it was. It can also be purchased from places that sell VTech Storio, Innotab etc. products like Toys'r'us.
The adapter comes inside a small blue cardboard box which features the familiar VTech branding. Inside the box there is the adapter itself and an information leaflet. The adapter is white in colour and the main part that plugs into the socket is approximately 4cm high, 2cm long and once in the socket, around 2cm wide. On the back of the adapter there is a sticker which tells us the model number and all the technical bits about it. The wire that attaches the adapter to the product is around 1 meter 75 centimetres.
My daughters Storio seemed to eat batteries as she loves playing with it a lot so buying some sort of power source was a must otherwise it would have cost a fortune in batteries and at less than £10, it's definitely a more cost effective way of powering it. The Storio has a hole in the top of it for the adapter to plug into so when it's in and my daughter is playing with it, the wire is firmly out of the way and she doesn't have to worry about knocking it or anything.
The adapter doesn't charge the Storio up, it simply powers it once it is turned on so not something you could use to charge it up then take it out with you, you will need some batteries if you want to take the Storio out. The length of the wire is really good too so my daughter doesn't have to sit next to the plug socket to use it at all.
I'd definitely recommend this VTech adapter if you have any VTech products that need powering. It does the job well and is out of the way when my daughter uses her Storio and I think it provides fab value for money.
My daughter has been going to nursery for a couple of hours a week for over a year now but since she got her funding for more hours at the start of 2013 she has been going for full days as well as her normal afternoon session. This means she needs to take lunch with her. I was using a see through plastic tub I got from Poundland for her snacky bits but it was taking up too much room in her lunch bag. After spotting snack pots in Asda, I purchased a couple to give her a little more room.
This Peppa Pig snack pot is available to purchase either in store or online from Asda and currently costs only £1. It is also available to purchase in lots of different character options, we also have the Disney Princess, others available include Moshi Monsters, Hello Kitty, Spiderman and Spongebob Squarepants.
The snack pots are pretty to look at. The main body of this one is bright yellow in colour and has a pink lid on the top. The pink and yellow match lovely and the addition of the Peppa Pig design really adds to the overall look of it. My daughter couldn't chose between this and the Disney Princess one and as they were so cheap I let her have both but she loves this Peppa Pig one. On the edge of the lid are four snap down sides that secure the lid onto the main body of the pot.
The size of the pots is perfect for what we use them for. My daughters packed lunch is so healthy compared to the packed lunches I used to have when I was small. The snack pots are circular and approximately 5 centimetres in diameter and a few centimetres deep. They quite easily fit in a handful of cherry tomatoes or grapes and are perfect for cucumber or carrot sticks.
I made sure my daughter was capable of undoing the lid herself so she could be independent when she is at nursery and at three and a half years old has no problems in doing the flip down sides on the lid. They are quite loose so easy for her to do, but as they are so loose I don't know how long they will last before snapping off altogether but so far so good, there isn't any signs of them snapping off just yet. I wash the pot up with my normal washing up and it handles this fine with no sign of the Peppa Pig design fading. I don't own a dishwasher so couldn't tell you if it's dishwasher safe.
At only a pound, I think this Peppa Pig snack pot is an absolute bargain. It frees up some of the precious space in my daughters lunch bag but at the same time, still contains enough room for her snacks without a problem. She can open it herself and it washes well, recommended!
I absolutely adore the Disney Fairy films, since my daughter has been into watching full length films I've been able to watch family films without looking too sad! For Christmas this year I bought my daughter some new DVD's
Tinker Bell is back doing what she does best and the film starts off with her getting the snowflake baskets ready for the winter fairies when a wild rabbit isn't going the right way to the winter woods so Tink offers to lend a hand. When they get to the border Tink finds out that warm fairies can't enter the winter wonderland and the winter fairies can't cross the border either but as inquisitive as she is she crosses in anyway and when she does her wings begin to magically glow. When she gets back on warm ground her wings are frozen so she is sent to the fairy hospital and when her friends come to see if she's ok she tells them all about the glowing wings. She comes across a book all about wings but it's been eaten, the librarian tells her all about the keeper, the writer of the book, the one that has the most knowledge amongst fairies, he is a winter fairy though so she'd have to cross the border again if she wanted to find out more.
Tink makes an outfit to keep her and her wings warm and protected in the winter wonderland and hides herself inside a basket ready for when the snowy owls come to pick them up. The basket crash lands on a frozen lake when Tink drops her book all about wings, a winter fairy gets hold of it so Tink follows him as he is returning it to the keeper. Once there, Tink hides in the shadows when another fairy named Periwinkle is there explaining to the keeper about their glowing wings, Tink does the same and comes out of hiding. The keeper has written about glowing wings but never seen it with his own eyes. Why are both fairies wings sparkling and what will it mean for both the warm and cold fairies?
If you've read some of my previous film reviews especially the Disney Fairy ones you will know how much I love them. This one is the fourth Disney Fairy film that has been released and has the same beauty as the others.
The visuals, as always, are absolutely stunning. This is where the film differs slightly from the others as you get to see the winter woods properly and not just from the outside looking in. It's nice to see the snowy land and the visuals are perfect for the cold season. The scenery is beautiful, there is a lot of detail and it's nice to see the fairies twist on different things like the hospital and library. The characters are well animated and they express their emotions well. The sound is as beautiful as ever too. All of the same voice actors have been used and the songs have the same Disney magical tone to them too.
There's a lovely part of the film where Tink and Periwinkle are getting to know eachother, Tink references previous movies when she is talking about all she has been up to. She also Tinkers ice skates out of paperclips! Tink learns all about the winter woods and what the fairies get up to there. It's nice to see the relationship develop and blossom and gives the film a lot more depth. The storyline is strong and there is a nice twist towards the end that you don't expect.
Both me and my daughter love watching this film, we had seen it a couple of times before Christmas and I'm glad I decided to buy it on DVD as it means we can watch it when we like. It is a truly magical film.
I love the Disney Buddies movies but one I hadn't seen before is this Spooky Buddies film, with Halloween around the corner, I decided to give it a watch.
Back in the 1930's an evil warlock and his Halloween Hound get trapped inside a mirror after he has turned a cute little puppy to stone. The ghost of the puppy is kept inside the spooky house. Fast forward to the present day and five friends and their puppies go on a field trip around the spooky places in their town. When they get to the spooky house the puppies go inside and say Halloween Hound three times to the mirror and nothing happens.
On Halloween night itself, the evil warlock and his hound get let out of the magic mirror, he wants to get his magical staff back and get the five puppies back to the mirror to turn them to stone. The ghost of the puppy that was turned years ago goes out of his way to warn the puppies of the evil warlocks plans. Will he get to them on time and save the day? What happens to the evil warlock and the Halloween hound?
I am a huge fan of all types of family and animated films, me and my daughter usually watch them together but I am partial to the odd family film when she is in bed. I saved this one to watch by myself as she is only four years old and I wasn't sure how spooky this film would actually be. I'm glad I did it this way as I do think she is a little young for this, maybe in a couple of years it would be more suitable.
Of course, like the other Buddies films, the dogs really steal the show, they are animated really well with mouths moving when they are talking and look so adorable. With this being a Halloween film and mainly set on Halloween night, the dogs are dressed up in costumes and this really adds to the adorable nature of them. The Halloween theme runs throughout the film, with the kids going trick or treating to houses draped in Halloween decorations, it really does get you into a Halloween mood.
The storyline was quite confusing to begin with, I didn't get what was happening at the start with the evil warlock until the film really got going, but once everything clicked in my mind I was hooked. The film really makes you want to find out what happens at the end and it isn't disappointing.
I'd definitely recommend Disney's Spooky Buddies if you are looking for a non scary Halloween film. I don't think it is suitable for young children as it is still quite creepy but I really enjoyed it.
Originally posted on Ciao
My daughter started her Rosebud toy collection during Christmas 2012 when she received the main dolls house, since then the collection has grown and grown and with her birthday and Christmas late 2013 it's since grown even more. One of the sets she received is the Rosebud playground.
~*~ Price, packaging and assembly ~*~
The Rosebud toys are from the Early Learning Centre, they are a beautiful collection of girly play sets made to a high quality from mainly wood materials. There are a variety of different sets to buy from the main Rosebud house, furniture sets to things like a farm, bus and playschool. This playground set can be purchased from places that sell ELC products like ELC, Mothercare and Boots. It has a full price of £20 but can be found in the half price sale ELC usually have and there are often discount codes available if you search around for one.
The packaging differs for this set compared to all of the other Rosebud sets my daughter has had. This one comes in a cardboard box with the same Rosebud girly branding but it is shaped like a house, usually they are just basic square or rectangular boxes. As with the rest of the range, there are no plastic ties or anything annoying with the packaging, it's all placed in a cardboard insert so it can all be recycled.
Inside the box you will find a park base, roundabout, see saw, swing, water fountain, bench, tree, fence and two dolls. As far as assembly goes, nothing has to be screwed in or anything like that, all you have to do is slot the middle of the roundabout onto the little nook on the park base.
~*~ Rosebud village playground ~~*~
The base plate of the playground is approximately 40cm x 20cm and can be folded in half if you wish to pack it away but ours stays open. On the base there is a nice picture with green grass, rocks around the edge and a hopscotch pattern. There is also a thin strip of pink which is where the fence is supposed to sit and a small sticky out bit that the roundabout slots on to. It is made from a thin wood, thin compared to the rest of the set, but it is still strong and high quality.
The swing, slide and see-saw are made from the same high quality wood as the rest of the Rosebud range. They all feature the same colour scheme of pale pinks, blues and creams with girly flowers printed on the sides tying it all into the playground theme. The swing has a seat with a back to it so it's easier to keep one of the dolls in place. The see-saw has a front and back bit to the seat so the dolls can stabilise themselves on there too. Finally, the roundabout has string around all three of the different segments so dolls can stay on. All three pieces can be used alongside the Rosebud dolls so it fits in with the main house well.
When the dolls are in place on the various playground activities they don't really stay in place very well. I think ELC could of done more to keep the dolls in place where they should be. The swing for example, has been balanced at a slight slant so that when it's being pushed the dolls should stay sat down but they never do and tend to topple backwards when my daughter is playing with it.
The bench, water fountain, small fence and tree are nice inclusions in the set as they really set off the whole playground feel. They are extremely basic though and are used more as fillers rather than anything else. Occasionally my daughter will put some of the adult dolls on the bench to keep an eye on the children but that's about it when it comes to playing with these pieces.
There are two dolls included with this set. Both of them are children, one girl and one boy. They are both made of wood and have rope limbs so that the arms and legs can be moved, they are a little stiff to start with but the more you play with them the suppler they become. They both have their own style of clothes but the clothes can't be removed. This is a good thing for my four year old as she takes the clothes off of everything then tends to misplace them!
All items of the set have been made out of wood and they have been sanded down so that they feel smooth and pose no hazards to children with regards to splinters and such. The set is recommended for children over the age of three and I think this is about right. Younger children couldn't play with it properly and there are quite small pieces that might cause a choking hazard.
At £20 full price, I do think it is on the expensive side. As the set includes a couple of dolls, it could be an addition to a growing Rosebud collection or played with as a standalone toy. This is one of the least played with elements of my daughter's collection, I think this is down to the dolls not always staying on the play activities. That being said, it is as beautiful as the rest of the Rosebud collection and still has the same charm.
My daughter received the Rosebud dolls house for Christmas 2012 and as it is well loved I decided to buy her a couple of sets to go with it for her fourth birthday in November and for Christmas. One of the set's I purchased was the bus.
~*~ Price, packaging and assembly ~*~
The Rosebud bus is an Early Learning Centre product so it can be purchased from ELC either in store or online and from places like Mothercare, Boots and Amazon. It has a full price of £20 but can often be found on sale for £10.
The set comes inside a pretty, girly cardboard box and features the normal Rosebud branding. Inside the box is the bus, a bus stop and a bus driver. The only kind of assembly you have to do is to put the bus stop into the stand so it can stand up straight and all this involves is simply pushing it in. I love the Rosebud range for the lack of assembly, even the house just slotted together!
~*~ Rosebud bus ~*~
The bus itself is a very good size, it's bigger than I imagined looking at the pictures of it. It's approximately 30cm high, 45cm long and 10cm deep. It is a beautiful pale pink colour and has lovely detailing around the outside of the bus including the bus number and destination on the front, and Rosebud village advertising on the sides. Even the lights and bumpers are included to bring it to life. The bus is actually a double decker and the top floor can simply be pulled out to allow you to get dolls into their seats downstairs without having to try and get your hand through the door at the back of the bus. By the door there are some stairs so that the dolls can get up to the top deck. The bus is open topped so that it is easy to play with the dolls inside without a strain.
~*~ Our opinions ~*~
My four year old daughter has been a huge fan of the main dolls house and tree house she received last year so I knew that this bus would be well received as it gives her more things to do with the dolls that are in her collection. I wasn't surprised with how excited she was when she opened this. It was one of the things she wanted me to take out of the box so I'm glad there weren't any of those damn plastic ties or anything when I opened it.
The overall quality of the wood used is fantastic, the main body of the bus is quite thick so it withstands a lot of rough and tumble play. It has been sanded down and painted so there are no signs of any splinters or anything that could possibly hurt a child which is always a plus. It has a smooth feeling and looks nice although the paint is of a matt substance rather than having a glossy finish. The whole bus is made from wood, even the wheels are wooden and have no problems in turning.
The bus has plenty of seating which is ideal for my daughter as she has had the doll children set to accompany the doll family set and dolls that come with other sets. She has a lot of the dolls so to take them all on a day out on the bus, it needs to have a lot of seats! Other than the bus drivers seat, on the bottom level there is a single double seat and two double seats next to each other and on the upper deck there are three rows of two double seats. As all of the dolls have rope type legs it is easy to get them to sit down on the seats and there is a little raised back so they don't just topple backwards. As the top floor can be removed, my daughter finds it easy to seat the dolls on both levels of the bus opting to make the dolls walk up the stairs if they wish to sit on the top deck. There is quite a lot of room between the two levels so the dolls on the bottom deck don't look squashed into place.
The bus set comes complete with its very own bus driver. The bus driver is approximately 7cm tall, this is slightly taller than the Rosebud children so it's nice to have a bit of realism in terms of sizes. He is wearing a bus drivers uniform of grey trousers, white shirt and black shoes. The detailing on the shirt is fantastic with a tie, pockets and shoulder pads, he really does resemble a bus driver. As with all of the Rosebud dolls, the driver has rope style arms and legs so that he can be moved into whatever position you would want.
There is also a bus stop included. This is quite a simple piece of the set, it's around 15cm tall and includes where the bus is going 'Rosebud Village' and the bus number 23 as shown on the front of the bus itself. The stand is of a good size and keeps the bus stop perfectly upright.
My daughter has had the Rosebud house since Christmas 2012 and has been a well loved toy ever since so I knew the matching bus would be a hit and I was right. My daughter had a few extra Rosebud sets and this bus helps the dolls to travel around the different sets and around the downstairs of our house! Sometimes it's only the children that go out on school trips and sometimes the family uses it to go to the park. My daughter is four years old and I really do believe this bus is helping her imagination alongside the rest of the Rosebud toys she has.
I do think this bus set is best used along with other Rosebud toys as the playability of it on its own isn't that great with only the bus driver being included but I guess that's the joy with a collection like this, you can have as many sets as you want and a simple doll sets would be good to purchase alongside the bus or it would also be an excellent addition to an already growing collection of Rosebud toys.
£20 is a little steep for this Rosebud bus but as it's often on sale I would definitely recommend it. It ties in with the rest of the range well, being pink and girly. It is extremely well made, looks cute and works well. I'm sure it is going to be equally as loved as the rest of the range my daughter already has.
Wrapping paper is something I refuse to spend a lot of money on, especially for my daughter anyway. All she wants to do is get into presents as quick as possible them dump it on me, she isn't fussed if it is luxurious, premium wrapping paper so I purchased some of this fairy wrapping paper.
The wrapping paper is an Asda product so can obviously only be bought from Asda stores or online. This fairy wrapping paper costs £1 a roll.
The design of the wrapping paper isn't over the top Christmassy, it has more of a pink and girly theme with subtle hints of Christmas thrown in for good measure. The paper is pale pink in colour and covered in the same design of fairy, the only difference is half of them have a pink dress and the other have a purple dress, the fairies have an old style type of design and I think it really looks lovely. Between the fairies are some Christmassy type designs, small presents, Christmas tree's and merry Christmas text. The designs cover the paper well and it doesn't look plain or boring, it has a gorgeous, almost vintage, design to it and overall is really very pretty.
The roll has a standard width, I would estimate it at around 75 centimetres wide and is 10 metres long. This makes the price work out to only 10p a metre! As it's so cheap, you can't really expect much in the way of thickness. This is extremely thin and rips really easily, great for my daughter on Christmas morning but not for me trying to wrap awkward shaped presents. As it's so thin it also means that when I want to cut a section off, the scissors can skim right up the width of the paper instead of having to snip all the way up which saves a bit of time and some of my sanity too!
Once wrapped, I think the presents look gorgeous, not that my daughter cares one little bit. I am happy to wrap her presents in this as its pretty paper, doesn't cost a fortune and my daughter can rip it easily come Christmas day. At only £1 for 10 metres, I think this fairy wrapping paper is definitely worth it and I would recommend it without a doubt.
I seem to be forever buying socks, I swear there is something wrong with my washing machine and it just gobbles them up and loses the forever, my daughter's socks especially! As the pairs of socks often become just single socks never destined to find their match again, I tend to buy cheap socks as they don't really last long. My daughter has numerous socks from Asda including these woodland ones.
Of course, being a George product, the socks are only available to purchase from Asda stores that sell clothing or online from their website. The pack of five pairs of socks currently costs £4 but a delivery charge will apply if ordering online.
There are five different designed pairs of socks in this pack and the main theme of the designs is woodland animals. Despite being a woodland animal theme, two of the pairs included don't feature any animal designs, one pair is pale blue with white polka dots and the other is lots of different colour stripes. The three designs which feature animals have a lovely design. One pair is pale blue with a pink top and a cute picture of a racoon type animal, another design is pink featuring an owl and the last pair is pink with lots of different owl and racoon heads with hearts. The overall design of all five pairs all fit in together and are nice and girly.
The socks are available to purchase in sizes 3-5.5, 6-8.5 and 9-12 childrens shoe sizes. My daughter has just gone into a size 8 in shoes and the size 6-8.5 size socks fit her well, they aren't on the tight side despite being at the upper end of the sock size. The toe's of the socks have the stitching over the toes so they stay in place without any problems and the heels fit in the heel of the sock without any problems too. These are ankle socks so they go up my daughters legs a couple of inches. My daughter has had cheap socks before that rub into the bottoms of her legs but these don't rub at all but still stay up her leg without falling down.
I wash the socks alongside my normal washing on a 40 degree wash and they clean the socks without a problem and the overall results are good. The socks haven't misshapened at all despite being washed on numerous occasions.
If you are looking for cheap but good quality socks then I would definitely recommend this pack of woodland animal socks, it contains five pairs of good designed, well fitting socks at a good price.
I buy a lot of my daughters clothing from supermarkets, my local town has nowhere else to buy children's clothes apart from TK Maxx! That's not a problem though as I find the quality and price to be fantastic. On a trip to Asda, I picked up this jumper for my daughter.
The stripe ribbed top is a George product so can only be purchased from Asda either in store or online and costs £4.50.
The top is from Asda's younger girls clothing range so it is available to buy from 9-12 months all the way up to 5-6 years. The size my daughter currently wears is 4-5 years. We had the top in 3-4 years too but my daughter recently outgrew that. She turned four at the beginning of November so it lasted her well. I find the 4-5 size to be pretty much spot on, it isn't too big for her but there is enough room for a little more growing too. As is the case most of the time, Asda's sizing is spot on.
I love the design of these tops, I'm not really sure why Asda describe them as tops as they are definitely jumpers, I take tops to mean thin either t-shirts or long sleeve tops! This jumper has the turtle neck time neck band which is perfect for the cold weather as it saves wearing a scarf and keeps my daughter nice and cosy while she is indoors playing. Although there is only one colour choice on the Asda website, a jumper with pale coloured stripes, I picked up one in store with brighter, darker stripes. My daughter's jumper is a mixture of greens, blues, orange, white and purple, I know this doesn't sound very appealing but the actual end look is very nice and a welcome change to girly colours!
I wouldn't say the jumper is the thickest, winter jumper my daughter has but I think the turtle neck definitely makes up for it and keeps my daughter nice and warm even though it isn't too thick. The neck line is one big bit of material and once pulled over my daughters head, I can fold it over to get it in the right place. The jumper is made from 100% cotton so it is on the soft side. I wash it on a 40 degree wash and let it air dry and I find that it washes up really well, I don't tumble dry it so can't tell you what the outcome would be if you did.
At only £4.50, I think this top/jumper is incredibly good value for money. It keeps my daughter warm, looks different but good and washes up well so I would definitely recommend it.
I let my four year old daughter decide what she wanted to spend her birthday money on, big mistake! We looked around the toys in our local Asda and explained to her about the two toys for £10 or £20 promotions and she decided to use the offers and chose this magnetic dress up set.
This is available to buy from Asda either in store or online and has a full price of £12 but it is also part of the two toys for £20 promotion and this makes it a little cheaper.
The magnetic dress up set comes packaged inside plastic packaging that is easy to get into with a pair of scissors. Inside the packaging you get the main house, two grass side bits, two dolls in their underwear, two stands and thirty pieces of clothing to dress on the dolls. As far as assemble goes, all you have to do is screw two screws in each side of the house to attach the grass sides on, this then enables the dolls house to stand up without it wobbling everywhere.
The house itself is quite big, it's approximately 45cm high and wide and about 5cm deep. There are two storeys to the house, downstairs is a kitchen and upstairs is a bedroom. The lower storey is big enough to stand up the dolls inside but the bedroom is too small and quite pointless, you can fit one doll in their lying down but it doesn't look right and just a waste, in my opinion.
The dolls themselves are of a nice size at about 20cm tall. They both have different features and my daughter prefers the brown haired one when we play together so I play with the one with mousy brown/blonde hair. They both have different skin colours too which is always a bonus. Both dolls are wearing a vest and knickers so you can build up the layers and put their proper clothes on. They stand up in the house well without the stands provided but if you are playing with them without the house, the stands come in very handy and once the dolls are placed inside, don't wobble.
There is a mixture of clothing included, 10 tops, 10 bottoms, 5 hats and 5 pairs of shoes. The 10 tops include long sleeve, t-shirts and vest style tops, the bottoms include skirts, jeans, skirts and leggings and even a tutu. All of the hats and shoes have different designs too. You can make a whole load of different combinations to achieve different looks on the dolls. My daughters outfit of choice is usually the pink tutu, pink vest, smart shoes and crown, I never get a look in with them pieces!
The whole reason of this set is to dress up the different dolls and it's extremely easy to do this with the pieces of clothing being backed with the grey/black magnetic material. Once placed on the dolls, they stay on the dolls extremely well but you can still slide them around to get them in the right place and to remove them, they don't feel like they are glued to each doll. The quality of everything is fantastic with everything being made of wood, it's all sanded down nicely so there are no risks of splinters and it will withstand a lot of vigorous play.
The idea behind the set is a good one and the set is really good apart from the house. I personally feel like it's just been added to bump the price of the set up, when my daughter plays with it she never uses the house with it so I do think it's pretty pointless, an expensive, useless addition and for that reason I wouldn't recommend it. The price is simple too expensive when all my daughter plays with is the dolls and clothing. Perhaps had the set just been dolls and clothing and a little cheaper then I would recommend it but I really can't justify the price.
My daughter was extremely spoilt for her fourth birthday. Her uncle bought her two toys from the Asda two for £20 promotion, one of these was this create your own doll set.
As this is an Asda product it can only be bought from Asda either in store online and currently costs £14 full price but you can get it a little cheaper if you take advantage of the toy promotion.
The set comes packaged inside a rather large cardboard box, they definitely went overboard on the packaging and it could have been made smaller. Inside the box is a doll, a set of pyjamas, dressing gown, stuffing, a birth certificate and some cardboard circles with different designs on them. For some bizarre reason the box says this is suitable for children over the age of 8 but I think this is well over the top and children younger will be fine with the set.
To 'create' your rag doll you have to stuff the bag of stuffing inside the back of the doll, the hole to put the bag of stuffing into is really small and you end up having to manipulate the bag to get it all in and after my four year old couldn't do it, it was passed to me and after getting stressed with it, passed to my brother and he eventually got it into the back of the doll with a bit of a struggle. Once the stuffing is in there you are advised to use the circular bits of cardboard to put inside with it, the circles have designs on them with things such as 'cool', ;funky' and 'BFF'. My daughter didn't want to put any inside and saved them for her craft box instead. Once everything is inside the doll you simply pull the two pieces of string to secure everything in place and do up the velcro, and that's it, you have created your doll.
The doll comes with the pyjama top already on but this can still be removed to dress and undress the doll and it comes with a pair of trousers too. The pyjamas are white and come with red and green flowers printed all over them. The dressing gown included is pink and white. The doll itself is very soft and the design of the face is quite babyish in my opinion. My daughters doll has blonde hair and this is mainly made up of a thick string. There are a couple of different variations to buy with different hair colours and designs of pyjamas.
Once we made the doll, I asked my daughter if she wanted to name the doll and write out the birth certificate but she wasn't interested in this in the slightest. The birth certificate was just a small piece of thick paper and wasn't anything special. I wouldn't say my daughter is particularly taken with this doll. The only time it gets a look in now is at bedtime and she has to take the dressing gown off and put the doll at the end of her bed, it definitely isn't a doll she plays with.
The overall look of the doll makes me wonder what 8 year old would really play with this as it doesn't have a modern up to date look and does look very babyish, the inclusion of the cool circular bits of cardboard to include might appeal to them but I think that's as far as the appeals go. The whole create a doll thing isn't fantastic with all you having to do is stuff a bag into it's back. That being said the doll does look cute and is extremely soft. I don't think it is worth full price at all but it could provide a good gift for somebody.