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I recently took my little boys to the Sandcastle waterpark in Blackpool and we had a great time. It has been refurbished in 2012 and has new rides. The park is straight forward to find, we simply followed the brown tourist attraction signs once we got near to Blackpool. Its easy to spot as it has waterslides coming out of the building. There is plenty of parking close to the attraction but this has to be paid for, although I think you can park for free on the streets further back but finding a space might be difficult. It best to check their own website for opening times and these do vary depending on the season, it opened at 09.30 the day we visited.
Now the admission price is slightly complicated, for admission to just the waterpark it is £13.50 for an adult if you buy tickets on the day. Plus a further £6 if you wish to buy a hyperzone wristband which allows you to ride four of the waterparks largest rides. Three of these hyperzone rides are for over 8's and confident swimmers, where as one is suitable for children aged 6-7years and they can pay an extra £2 to ride it. You may or may not wish to buy the extra hyperzone wristband. It best to check the website to find out which tickets your party will require. Family tickets can be cheaper and online booking gets you a 10% discount. Our family of 3 ticket was excellent value at £30.60 booked online. This attraction does get very busy, we went on a bank holiday, we arrived at the opening time and had pre booked tickets and still waited 10 minutes to get in. Once we got inside we were able to get a family changing area and a locker. There is a 50p deposit for the lockers which are quite small and you might need to couple to get all the families stuff in.
Once change we headed up the ramp from the changing rooms into the waterpark. It is warm inside and very there are lots of tables and seating. You can not take your own food inside but you can buy food like jacket potatoes, sandwiches, burger and chips. These weren't over priced I think a kids burger and chips meal with a drink was £3 and £4.50 for a adult meal. As we are early we didn't have to queue for slides for starters but it did quickly become busy and we were waiting longer and longer for rides as the day went on.
My kids aged 4 and 6 loved it here. We didn't use the Hyperzone at all as my two were too young for that so I can't comment on it, but we did enjoy the rest the park. First we entered the shimmiering shallows designed for younger guests, its just a shallow water area where the smaller slides finish, ideal for younger kids. Both the HMS thunder splash and fort riptide are locate here which both have mini slides for little children, non swimmers with armbands. My boys loved the Caribbean storm tree house this is play area suitable for non swimmers, water squirts out from the floor, kids can climb up stairs, shot water at each other, climb up rope ladders and tip buckets of water over unsuspecting passes by, lots of fun for kids. Next to this area was the treetop water slides, these are family friendly slides, they are colourful slides and three rides can race each other at once, they finish into very shallow water. Another big hit with my boys were the Thunderfalls waterslides, these are much larger waterslide, riders must be over 5 and able to swim to use the ride alone, younger non swimmers may ride with an adult. My 4 year old was happy to go down with me and my 6 year old loved going by himself. These are longer winding slides they end up in deeper water so you need to be able to swim to the side.
We spent most of our time in the Ushi-cushi river creek, described as a lazy river where you can lay back and let the river do the work while you enjoy the meandering rolling river, but watch out for the surprises. Well personally I found it far from relaxing, it was quite fast moving and with one child who was a non swimmer and another still new to swimming I found it exhausting chasing after them in the fast following current. There around float rings that can be used on the ride, ut as it go busier they were harder to get hold of so we went in without. It is powerful and the strong current dragged us around the river, as it got busier and busier it was more difficult to keep up and hold of your child/children. Waterfall down into the river in places. It was lots of fun and by far our favourite attraction but not as lazy as you think and care needs to be taken. We also enjoyed the typhoon lagon which turns into a wave pool, it is announced before the waves commence so you can decide to either enter or leave the water. The waves are quite strong but lots of fun.
The only ride we didn't use were the duelling dragon sides which are two fast slides for swimmers over 6 years old.
We spent over 5 hours here and would love to return.
BzzAgent.co.uk are the leading word-of-mouth (WOM) media and marketing company. I know quite a few folks on Dooyoo are Bzzagents too, so hello to any fellow Bzzagents.
Bzzagent.co.uk send out sample products to test for free and in return you are asked to spread word to family and friends about the product you are testing. If you wish to join you can sign up on the website and become a BzzAgent (naff name in my opinion). The idea seems to be to create a buzz around new products by sharing and discussing them with others.
BzzAgent.co.uk collect your personal data when you sign up, and post surveys on there site for you to take so they can match you to the Bzz campaigns they are running. This means you'll only be selected for certain campaigns by brands if you match the demographic of people they are looking for, you can increase you chances of been selected to take part in more campaigns and receiving more freebies by keeping a good bzz score. I will discuss the bzz score further a little later on.
Once you have signed up and been selected for a campaign, you should shortly expect to receive the product you are testing in the post, usually you will either be sent the actual product to test for example I was recently sent two full sized right guard deodorants to try, along with a number of money off coupons to share with my family and friends. Sometimes I have been sent a full size products with smaller samples to pass along to family and friends. Or if it isn't practical to send the product through the post, you are sent vouchers that you can use in store to redeem and receive the product for free, as well as some lower value money off coupons to pass along to your family and friends. I prefer to be sent the product themselves as usually the coupons sent are to be redeemed in Tesco and Tesco isn't my nearest supermarket and I often end up making a special trip to collect products which isn't ideal.
So once you've tested your product and shared your views with your family and friends as well as passing along the samples you should now be reporting back to Bzz. You can do this in a number of ways. One way is to write a Bzz report. This a report of the conversations you have with people about the product and is not to be confused with a review. You can also review the product and it is important to give you honest opinion whether it is good or bad. You might be asked to submit photo's or video's of yourself with the product and you are usually encourage to share comments via twitter and facebook. The more you do the more your bzz score will increase.
Increasing your bzz score is the key to get more freebies, the higher you Bzz score and the more products you'll get to test. Your bzz score is a number on a scale of 0-10 with 10 been exceptional. A score of 0-2 needs to be improved, a score of 2-6 is average but can be improved upon and a score of 6-10 means your on fire and most likely to be considered for relevant campaigns. My score is currently sitting at 7.7 which I am quite please with. This year I have been invited to 9 campaigns so far. Sometimes I have two or three on the go at once, they usually last around a month and half. Your bzz score is calculated on both the quantity and quality of your submission to Bzz.. Everytime you report back to bzz in anyway your submission is graded as either poor and rejected, fair, good, great or exceptional. There are also virtual achievement badges to collect, these get rewarded for your first time doing something new and for exceptional submissions or completing 10 of a partial activity.
Here's a list of what I have tested so far this year to give you an idea of the sorts of products they send out. Colour Catcher Double Action sheets, Sure Compressed deodorant , Vanish Oxi Action stain remover, E45 lotion, Right Guard Xtreme Invisible deodorant, Veet EasyWax home kit, Fruity Lambrini wine, Danone Danio yogurts, Flora Original margarine.
My personal thoughts of the whole bzz experience are that at first it was wonderful to be getting products and money off coupons arriving through the post was great. But after doing this for sometime I have found some drawbacks. These include the product not been very good. I tired the Veet home waxing kit recently and I found it didn't leave me with silky smooth legs at all, in fact it took ages, was incredibly painful and left tonnes of hair still on my legs so a big thumbs down from me. Also I didn't rate the right guard deodorant I tested either. Sometimes its difficult to create a bzz about products that are a bit boring, I think its hard to get excited about a margarine and create conversations about it which I'll be expected to do on my flora campaigns. I have also had trouble finding supermarkets that stock the product I'm suppose to be testing, I tried 3 different supermarkets before finding the fruity lambrini in the 4th supermarket across town. I previously was rewarded with 25 Tesco points when I made a submission to bzz but that hasn't been the case on my more recent campaigns. It is actually quite time consuming for little reward in the case of the Danone campaign I just collected 3 free yogurts which while they were tasty isn't a huge incentive to me. I also get to see some great new products people are testing but I haven't been lucky enough to invited to join. For example I would have liked the Ben and Jerry core campaign which I would have loved as a massive ice cream fan. You can't decide which campaigns you'll be invited too but you can decline an invitation without it affecting your bzz score.
Over all I feel positivity towards the site and my bzzagent roll but on occasion I do feel slightly exploited if that makes sense. I'm drumming up free adverting for them with little reward really if you imagine the adverting budget these companies have.
I'm not a huge fan of Listerine mouth wash as in the past when I tried them, they were very unpleasant to use and seemed far too strong. However recently I noticed Listerine were offer a 21 day challenge, where by if you, try using Listerine® Total Care twice a day after brushing and flossing and if you don't love how clean your mouth feels in just 21 days, we'll give you your money back. So I decided after reading all the T&C I would give it go.
Now I bought the Listerine total care smooth mint as I was attracted to the lovely purple colour. It cost me £4.40 for a 500ml bottle in Tesco, however the price does vary in different stores, I have seen it on offer recently in Morrisons 2 bottles for £5 so much better value, so worth shopping around and looking out for special offers. I bought the Zero version thinking it would be less harsh tasting as it claims to be less intense due to having no alcohol in it. It can all so be used by children 6 and over.
So next morning after brushing and flossing I decided to give my new Listerine a try. I poured out the Listerine and started swilling it around my mouth. It was very unpleasant to use, it felt very abrasive and I actually wondered for a second if I had in my bleary eyed morning state mistakenly started swilling my mouth with bleach. It was difficult to keep it up for the 30 seconds recommend as I thought my mouth was fire. Afterwards I have to say my mouth was feeling clean, it felt the top layer of the roof of my mouth and gums had been removed along with the coating of my tongue.
Perhaps it was because I'm not used to using strong mouthwash, but I gave it to my 6 year old son and he begged to go back to using his usual kids mouth wash. I put up with this torture morning and night for the full 21 days of the challenge, but have to say it did get better after about a week and half as I began to become more accustomed to it. I applied to get my money back from Listerine citing the above information as part of the challenge but instead received an adverse reaction form seeking permission to see my medical note and consult my dentist rather than my money back. I have nothing to hide but I would personally not feel comfortable with Listerine having access to my personal medical information so wont be giving them permission on this occasion.
So in summary it does work and my mouth felt very clean but it was so unpleasant to get that clean feeling I've given 3*
Up for challenge you can take part here but it ends soon
According to figures from the latest Adult Dental Health Survey - a report commissioned by the NHS Information Centre revealed that only 22 percent of people use floss as part of their daily dental health routine. It also found less than half of all adults in the UK have an acceptable oral hygiene routine.
I have to confess I was one of the 78% percent until a visit to the dentist a couple of years ago. He advised me I needed to floss more often, but in truth I never really flossed at all. I had tried once many years ago. I protested to the dentist that my teeth were far to close together, and in the past when I tried my mouth ended up a blood mess with cut gums. He told part of the problem of the bleeding gums was through not flossing regularly and he recommended I tried using Oral B satin floss, he said this particular floss would glide throught the gaps in my teeth no problem.
There and then I bought some from the counter at the reception with the dentists lecture fresh in my head. The floss comes in a small green plastic container, much like the other flosses you see on the shelves. When you pop the lid open you can pull out the required length of floss and cut it with a small metal cutter inside on top. The noticeable difference with this floss and other brands I had previously tried is that instead of been string like, it is more of a tape around 3mm wide but ultra thin. It is priced at £2.10 currently at Boots and Amazon for 25 meters.
Now at this point I still wasn't completely convinced that this was going to work, the width made me panic that it may be more difficult to use but it wasn't at all. The floss amazing glided between my teeth, removing some of the most digusting crap I had ever seen. I was horrified at the rubbish that was stuck between my teeth. It was totally gross. There and then I converted to flossing daily. The tape has a pleasent minty taste and my mouth always feels so much fresher after flossing. Regularly flossing means I don't get too big a build up rubbish between my teeth. Occassionly I'll come across a bit of blood when flossing with oral B satin tape but nothing major. I once ended up foolishly thinking I'd save a few pennies and buy the supermarket own brand floss. Biggest mistake ever, I struggled to get the string between ever single gap in my teeth, there was pain and much bleeding so I quickly learnt my lesson and binned the stuff and returned to the oral B satin tape.
I can honestly say my mouth always feel clean and fresh after using Oral B Satin tape and it worth that little bit of extra time taken to do it.
No excuse for not flossing.
I do have a regular roll on deodorant that I use and am very happy with it. It does its job and keeps me dry all day. I was sent by Bzz the new Right guard women Xtreme invisible spray to try. It comes in a 150 ml metal can which is predominately black but with some pink on the label and white writing. It has a removable plastic cap and you press the button on top to dispense it. I'm not a huge fan of the design of the bottle. I associate black coloured toiletries with mens, many famous men's brand toiletries are mostly black in colour. I perfer my toiletries to be a bit more on the girly side. I got mine to try from Bzz for free but to give you an idea of the usual price it is currently £2.29 at Boots and Asda.
I decided to put the new right guard extreme to the test. They claim "scientifically proven 72H protection" which I was dubious about as I have never had a deodorant live up to claims of 48 hours protection never mind 72 hours. But I wanted to give it a fair chance to live up to its bold claims. I was doing a proper test in difficult conditions but that were my real life. I knew I had a busy day at work ahead. Not only would I end up under pressure and stressed, I would also be wearing protective clothing, under lighting which often makes you quite hot at times a prone to sweat. This was a real challenge for the deodorant and I was hoping it would live up to its bold calms as I need to feel protected as I come into close contact with people during my work day and change in and out of my clothes so I am aware if I am starting to smell.
I was planning to test it for 24hours in total not the full 72 hours as I could never go that long without a shower, 24 hours was pushing it. After my morning shower I applied as instructed and headed off to what I knew was going to be a challenging 10 hour day at work, as well as whatever the rest of the brought. I applied plenty as I knew I was in for a long day and so wanted and needed this to work.The spray went on easy and had a pleasant fragrance. I was able to stick my clothes straight on with out having to wait for it to dry like I do with my usual deodorant. When I got changed into my uniform at work at the start out the shift I could still smell the pleasant fragrance and all was well.
Then after a very busy and difficult shift I did actually notice and feel sweaty under my armpits later in the day which I don't usually feel with my usual roll on. I was worried that it might be noticeable to other although at this point I wasn't aware of any odour me escaping, I just felt a tad conscience that I was sweating. At the end of the shift I was disappointed when going to change I could definitely smell sweat under my arms along with the fragrant from the spray. I had expected more from it, my usually deodorant performs much better and am dry and not smelly at the end of a shift. Still wanting to put the 72hours claims to the test, I decided not to shower on returning home and see if it could even last 24 hours and I went to bed without shower. I awoke next morning, with very sweaty smelling armpits and jumped straight into the shower. Not even a subtle hint of fragrance remained. I felt it hadn't stopped me sweating at all through the night. I was very disappointed. It certainly doesn't offer the claimed 72 hours protection I think 12 hours would be pushing it.
I used this again the following day which happened to be a day off and I was going to visit family, there was much less running around and no stress and I found the deodorant did keep me dry and protected all day but I wasn't particularly active. It was certainly still present on my skin in the shower and needed a good scrubbing off so it certainly faired better on day two.
What I do like about it you can throw your clothes on straight after spraying, it is invisible like it claims. I felt safe putting my clothes over it straight away where as usually I would have to wait with my usual roll on to make sure it was properly dry.
I shall start with me and a bit about my loathing of play doh. I am not usually a fan of play doh, I have cringed in the past when my kids have been bought play doh set by other people as the mess it causes is a nightmare it ends up everywhere and trodden into carpets and its difficult to get out. My second issues is that it all turns into a ugly brown mess when the colours get stuck together. However my six year old saw the advert for this Candy Cyclone playset and begged for it. The advert of course makes the Candy Cyclone playset look amazing with the bright colours and funny voices of the play doh men my kids were drawn in and had to have this. Cue huge amounts of pesting from both my boys about how much they want this. As it was on special offer on Amazon at a mere £9.99 and them having there own christmas money to spend I caved in and ordered it for them.
I thought they may be a slightly disappointed as toys are rarely as good as they look on tv. I was also dreading the assemble of this product as it mentioned adult assemble required and I hate setting up toys. Dispite my fears it was very easy to put together. You simply click a few peices into place and it is ready for action. I had bought them extra play doh tubs so they had plently to play with. It is very easy for a child to use. I demonstrated how it worked to my kids and they were able to do it all for themselves. Even my 3 year old had no problems getting to grips with this set. First to make the dough balls you need to roll out a peice of play doh into a log shape. If you want plain balls use one colour, if you want your balls to different colours mix two or more colours together. Then you pop the log into the top of the candy cyclone machine and turn the handle, after a few turns the balls will start to come out of the bottom. Once you have created the balls you can place the balls into the stamper which makes various shaped sweets or put them in to what looks like a syringe and squeeze out a long thin piece that can be wrapped around the lolly pop handle to make colourful lolly pops. Making lolly pops is the most difficult part as the playdoh does tend to crack sometimes when been wrapped around. Making the candy balls is lots of fun, they look great rolling out of the machine. My son's aged 3 and 6 played for hours with this when they got it. It has become a favourite toy.
It is worth noting that the colours do soon become a green/brown mess as you would expect when mixing them together over and over again but I just told the kids they were making chocolate and they were happy. I believe this is a clever ploy of the manufactors to get you to intentional mix the colours together so you end up buying more playdoh. Currently Argos sell 20 tubs for £9.99 and its also in the two for £15 offer so you could get 40 tubs for £15 so might be worth taking advantage of this great offer and stocking up. The machine is actually really easy to clean. The back panel comes open so you can clean away any play doh stuck inside. I have discover play doh is a still as difficult as ever to remove from carpets but supervising the kids closely when playing could prevent this happening.
I am glad I gave play doh a second chance as this is a great set which has provided my kids with hours and hours of fun.
My 6 year old son got the blue Kidizoom twist camera for Christmas and it has been a huge hit with him. It looks the same as the one pictured but its blue and orange in colour.
This is a two megapixel camera that has a twisting lens designed for children to take pictures and video's. The camera features a 4x digital zoom, built-in flash, colour screen, five great games and dual view finders. It is possible to edit your photos with a variety of frames, stamps and wacky effects. The camera requires 4 AA batteries.
The camera is designed specially for younger children. The bright colours grab there attention, the chunky sides make it easy for little hands to hold as well as offering additional protection should it get dropped. At first I thought the eye pieces were a bit pointless as it has a viewing screen too but it wasn't until my youngest son aged 3 started playing with the camera that I noticed he prefered to look through them rather than at the screen. The buttons are easy to press and the camera is very robust, it has been tugged, bumped and dropped as boys will be boys and it is still working perfectly.
The camera is so easy to use, my son began taking pictures with it straight away. Then he gradually began exploring its other features, he quickly got to grips with how it worked and even began showing me games and functions I didn't know it had at first as I hadn't bother reading the instructions. He loves playing on the games, a particular favourite is a germ zapping game. I believe it goes through lots of batteries as he is on the games so much. He has a made a number of videos using it and encourges his youngers brother to do silly things and makes him the subject of his video. He also likes to edit his photo's and the camera is often filled with pictures of scary monsters. The twist function is excellent as it allows him to take photographs of himself which he can then have lots of fun editing.
Once you have taken your photos you can simply download them to you pc or laptop the camera comes with a lead that allows you to quickly transfer everything. The camera rrp is £49.99 and it seems to be that price at them moment in most stores. I paid £34.99 for mine before christmas but I have seen them from time to time on Amazon for less than £30 so its worth looking at different stores for promotions.
A final word of warning be prepared to have the most unflattering photo's taken of yourself ever as your child just snaps away taking photo after photo. Thank goodness it digital and you can just delete them.
I am a bzzagent and get sent products to test from time to time. I was lucky enough recently to be sent this conditioner to try for free. My hair was in a total state before receiving this product. I have been dying it far too often and it had really started to take its toll on my hair.
The product comes in a stylish red tube, it looks like a salon product. I wasn't convince this was going to live up to it claims but I didn't care as free products are always a welcome bonus. When I first gave it a try I use the same make of shampoo first which was nice then moved on to the conditioner. I read the instructions which stated it should be left on for 2-5 mins for an intense treatment. To give this product a fair chance as my hair was in such a state I left it on for the full 5 mins suggested. The product has a nice fresh smell is good texture not too running or too think and is white in colour.
I actully truthfully noticed a difference after the first wash, my hair somehow felt softer and smoother. Once it was dry and styled I was very please with my hair. I have continued to use both the shampoo and conditioner and the difference in my hair is amazing. A number of people have commented how great my hair looks recently and the only thing I've been doing differently is using these products. Recommended
I saw this beautiful film recently. I was unfamilar with any of Cory McAbee the writer and director previous work but I had a friend who was a fan and I decided to tag along to screening at the Leeds Film festival where Cory McAbee himself was present to introduce the film and hold a question and answers session afterwards.
I really didn't know what to expect I usually go to see main stream films and usually view the trailer first to know whats going on. I hadn't even had chance to read the synopise of the film. The title Crazy and thief didn't give a huge amount away.
So whats it all about then.
The film opens with two young children playing on the street. Crazy a little girl aged around 7 played by Willa Vy McAbee and Thief a little boy aged about 2 played by John Huck McAbee. They create a star chart out of paint and the adventure begins. The film follows them as they embark on a journey to find the north star and the time machine given to baby jesus. Yes thats right apparently Jesus travelled back in time and give himself a time machine at his birth in this verison of the christmas nativity. According to the director this idea came from little Willa herself. So the film see these two young children heading by themselves to bethlehem in the USA not the middle east to find the time machine. So the plot may sound a tad obscure but trust me it works.
This is a low budget film and very much looks like a home movie. I was slightly concerned as the last movie I saw shot like this was the blair witch project and I don't usually get on well with jitter camera's but this was fine. The children who play the central charaters in the film are not professional actors but the directors own children. They are simply adoreable and very natural on camera. The eldest is clearly taking some direction at some points to guide the film rather than it all been all totally improvised. The two year old Thief aka 'Johnny' is subtitled which is novel and works so well. He is able to jabber away like any other two year old and we the audience are able to fully understand what he saying.
The film is split into chapters and it kind of has a mythological theme with a cyclops played by Gregory Russell Cook and Giant played by Graham P. Stanford. These are just regular people but to the children they see a large man is a giant, and the cyclops has a badly damaged eye. It like the childrens own Odyssey.
There is comedy through out the movie and I found myself giggling a lot. You couldn't help but smirk and laugh at some of the remarks made by the kids when interacting with each and other grown ups in the movie. When Jonnie goes to a shop to steal food for the journey the fact that he only manages to come away with a lemon is so sweet. Just watching the siblings share the lemon was utterly compelling viewing and from that point I was totally engrossed in the movie. The film also revisits the lemon incident later on when the giant who finds the children calls the police and in his decription of the two of children he notes they smell of lemons which is very funny and had the audience in fits of laughter. The ending to the film when the kids actually make it to the time machine is wonderful. I loved the films soundtrack and it really adds to the films charm. I hope I haven't given too much away in the review they are just snippets of some of whats going on in the film.
This is a feel good film and which will leave you with a warm glow inside.
IMDb Ratings: 7.6/10
This is a must see movie in my opinion.
The Funky Pigeon.com website sells personalised greetings cards and other gifts too. While you may not be familar with the site you may have perhaps seen the adverts on telly voiced by Will Mellor, with the irritating jingle funky pigeon dot com which rings through my head for the rest of the day. Not to mention the crazy pigeon wearing a crash helmet and driving a bike to deliver the cards.
Funky Pigeon has a lot of competition for the likes of Moonpig, Card town, Hallmark as well as the supermarkets and photo website getting on board the personlised card market. I have used lots and lots of these site in the past as they often offer a free card for new uses but I always end up going back to Funky Pigeon. I am a huge fan of funkypigeon.com. I have been using them for a couple of years now to send personalised cards to friends and family. I think personalising the cards give them an extra special touch and show you have really put some thought into the card.
The sheer number of cards available is astounding. They cater for just about everything occassion I can think of and even celebrations I have never even heard of. Here are just a sample there are many more on the website.
Bon Voyage Cards
Christmas Thank You
Father's Day Cards
Get Well Soon Cards
Good Luck Cards
Happy New Year Cards
Mother's Day Cards
Naming Day Cards
New Baby Cards
New Home Cards
New Job Cards
Passed Driving Test Cards
Passed Exams Cards
Same Sex Wedding Cards
Special Anniversary Cards
St Patrick's Day Cards
St George's Day Cards
Thank You Cards
Thank You Teacher Cards
Thinking of You Cards
Wedding Acceptance Cards
Wedding Save the Date Cards
Wedding Thank You Cards
The site is very easy to use and browse around. Creating a the personalised card is very straight foward. First click on the design you are going to use. Then next to it will appear a box where you can enter your own text a name perhaps or on some cards upload a photo. Photographs can be upload from your computer or facebook and positioned on the card. Once you have finished in putting your details you can preview your card and see what your card will look like. Then you need to select the size of the card you like with an A6 card starting at £1.99 up to an A4 card which is £5.99. After this stage you can then personalise the text inside the card. After this stage you can choose to either mail it directly to the reciepent or back to yourself with an extra envelope. Standard first class delivery cost 60p but if you add another card you get free postage.
I have always been delighted with the quaility cards, I often get them sent to myself so I can have nosy at the before giving them away. Particular favourites of mine included the tatty teddy Christmas cards I find them simple adorable and sent many of those to family last christmas. My kids have always like the character cards I have sent them which have included peppa pig and Ben 10.
Considering the price of greeting cards on the high street I find these good value. However you can save even more money with the lovely discount codes funky pigeon regularly offer for example currently you get 25% off exam congraulation cards. Another current offer is 4 for 3 on all same size cards. Also if you buy £10 credit you get a further £2.50 credit free. But at the moment for a limited time the lovely folks at funky pigeon are giving a whooping extra £10 credit when you buy £20 worth of credit. This is an amazing saving.
Another bonus funkypigeon offer is the refer a friend and get £3. If your friend signs up to funkypigeon using your referal link, they get 50% off there first order and you get £3 credited to your account.
If you like the sound of the site and are planning to order yourself would you please consider entering my referal number 587491 for 50% off your first order and £3 credit for me.
The Pencil is an award winning children book by the author Allan Ahlberg, one of the most acclaimed and successful authors of children's books including the best-selling Jolly Postman series, Allan has written nearly 140 titles for children. The Pencil is illustrated by Bruce Ingman winner of the 1996 Mother Goose Award as the most exciting British newcomer to children's picture books. This formidable duo have a created a masterpiece in my opinion. This review may seem a bit bias as both myself and my boys aged 3 and 5 adore this book but I feel it has so many great features to it.
I came across this charming children's picture book when it was been read by Micheal McIntyre on the Cbeebies bedtime hour. I had plonked my boys in front of the TV while I was cleaning up after dinner when suddenly there were cries of mummy, mummy its the funny man off the TV. My eldest knows I love Micheal McIntyre. To my surprise there was my favourite comedian reading this delightful story on the cbeebies bedtime hour. I was totally engrossed, I kept on having to shh my boys as I listen intently to the story. As soon as he finished I rushed onto Amazon to order my copy. I paid £4.49 for my copy but the rrp is £5.99
The story is about a pencil, a lonely little pencil who one day starts to draw. When he begins to draw the characters come to life and interact with the pencil as well as each other. Firstly he creates a boy named Banjo, and some friends for Banjo in the form of a dog named Bruce and a cat named Mildred. He also creates a world for Banjo to live in with a house, a street and a park. All is well for while until the characters start to complain and things begin to go wrong when a rampaging rubber enters the scene, resulting in an exciting climax. Can the courageous pencil save the day? You will have to read for yourself to see. You might wonder how this story could be of any interest but it is the wonderful illustrations that are integral to the book and the key to its charm.
The concept for this book is very clever and not something I have seen before, the story begins which the pencil drawn simply in grey as a pencil would look on the white page, as the story continues the pencil draws the characters in pencil and the world around him. These simple pencil illustrations are suited to the book and story. As you move onto the next page the pencil drawings become more detailed as the story unfolds. Then the pencil creates a new character Kitty the paintbrush and the pencil drawings suddenly become beautiful colourful illustrations filling the whole page. I love how the story and pictures build up together drawing you in to this fascinating new world created by the pencil.
The text of the story lends itself to easy narration in my opinion and you can't help but become a great story teller. It is an easy read with fairly short text on each page but a good use of vocabulary. Sometimes the text is in big bold letters which I assume is meant to be read out louder than the rest. I love the characters in this book, the clever pencil is the hero in the story who creates all these wonderful characters and gets to name them all, even Sebastian the ball. I never thought a simple rubber could become a baddie in a story but it works well. There is lots of humour throughout the book. The story builds up and your hooked and rooting for the pencil to defeat the baddie. There is suspense as you wait to turn each page to discover whats going to happen. This book really is a delight to read and I really recommend it for children over 3.
I can't really think of any flaws to this book, but I some how think it could have done with a more inventive title, although I don't have suggestions.
If you want to see The Pencil been read on the cbeebies bedtime hour it can be viewed through this link.
The details if you want to get yourself a copy are
The Pencil Format: Paperback ISBN: 9781406319552 Published: 07 Sep 2009 Price: £5.99 Size: 240 x 270 mm Pages: 48 age 3+
We visited this gem of an attraction in the Yorkshire dales in June. The website describes it as The Strangest Place in the World. The Forbidden Corner was originally built as a private folly by Colin Armstrong, the owner of Tupgill Park and the architect Malcolm Temptest. It has quite a colourful history as planning permission was never obtain and the Yorkshire Dales trust wanted to shut it down, but due to public demand was subsequently opened to the public. Through the years it has continued to grow.
I had been told by friends about this place and frankly was more excited than my boys aged 3 and 5 about going. My expections were high and I can say I wasn't disappointed in anyway. Adult tickets are £10.50 and for children aged 5-14 years tickets are £8.50 under 4's are free. Its worth noting that admission is by pre-booked tickets only you can order them by phone on 01969 640638 or online at http://www.theforbiddencorner.co.uk.
I consider the admission price good value compared with other attractions as if you went early in the day you could spend the whole day looking around, it opens at 12 noon monday to saturday and 10am on sundays and bank holidays and is open until 6pm. Getting there was straight forward I followed the brown tourist signs from Middleham and enjoyed the beautiful drive through the countryside. Parking at the attraction was free and the toilets in the car park were surprising good. On the day we visited the weather was mostly dry but there were few rain showers which didn't spoil the fun as the kids had coats and wellies on.
It is difficult to describe but there is lots to explore both outside in the gardens and inside through the tunnels and grottos. It is kind of like a huge maze as you make your way through sets of wooden doors into different sections. The place is full of little surprises and random objects. Sometimes objects talk to you, spray you with water and there is even music. We had the booklet and after about two hours of exploring we found just about all the items on the list but as we didn't find everything and we will use this as an excuse for another visit. It isn't always clear which way to go and this in my opinion adds to the fun, we saw it as a big adventure, the whole idea is to explore and see as much as you can. We enjoyed going back to places to see them again. The entrance with its sound effects proved a popular favourite with my kids, they also loved the stepping stones. As cheeky little boys they found the peeing statue very funny and other rudey nudey statues as they call them had them laughing. My 5 year old enjoyed spotting creatures from popular myths and they loved getting wet in various places.
My 3 year old son was slightly nervous in places where it was cramped and dark, but with a little reassurance he soon got into the swing of things and found it very enjoyable. I can imagine some parts could be quite scary for younger kids, and if your child is scared of dark this wouldn't be suitable day out for them. We went as a party of 3 adults and 2 children. I think had I gone alone with the kids I would have been a bit more nervous about losing a child or them fallen in a water feature. With younger children under 5 I would advise a 1/1 adult ratio but had I gone alone with two kids I think they would have stayed closer and I wouldn't really have been a big issue. I would also say to get maximum enjoyment your child does really need to able to walk around for a good hour as having a buggy would be a big hinderance in my opinion. Wellies are must I think for kids and I actually planned ahead and took a change of trousers as I know if there was water my kids would be soaked and true enough they were, as they decided to step off the stepping stones and into the water lots of times. They tried to get as wet as possible.
We didn't eat in the cafe so I can't comment on that, but we took our own picnic and used the picnic tables and were soon surrounded by tons of ducks trying to pinch our food which added to the fun.
My kids have been lucky enough to visit lots of attractions recently including Diggerland, Lego discovery and Magna science museum but it is The Forbidden Corner that they talked about most and want to go back too. I can't wait for our next visit.
This film was on TV last and after enjoying transporter I thought it had to be worth a viewing. In this film Jason Statham returns as Frank Martin, a professional "transporter" who delivers packages without questions. Set in Miami, Florida, he chauffeurs a young boy who is soon kidnapped, who Frank tries to save.
I have no idea why I liked this film. The plot is ok but its been done before. Baddy has a virus, he's going in infect people and only he has the antidote so we've been there before.
Baddies side kick is a sexy blonde who only wears smokey eyes and underwear throughout in the entire film but oddly enough this didn't bother me and kind of made sure I didn't take the film to seriously.
Many of stunt are so unbelieve even for a action movie I found myself saying no way that just couldn't happen.
Some of the special effects are simple dreadful, myself and my husband found ourselves laught out load at one particular final scene as to just who bad thay were but it some how didn't matter.
Jason Statham is excellent as the transporter and is perfect for the part and I think he gives the film its charm as I have to say I was throughtly enjoying watching this film. For everything that it does wrong he seems to make it alright. I also adored his wonderful french detective friend played by François Berléand and the relationship they have together. Both actors made this film great. If you like action films its well worth a viewing.
I've always enjoyed playing House of Dead on arcades so I was delighted when it came to wii. The game includes house of dead 2 and house of dead 3. Personally I perfered playing 3. Both games are very similar so I'll review them together, basically all you do is blast lots of Zombies. The is some story but I try are by pass it as its pretty poor and a bit irrating to be honest and perhaps is one of the downside of the game. The actual game play is great so don't let this put you off.
This is great Zombie shoot em up that can be played with the addition of a gun or not. Personally I didn't think it mattered either way. I used the gun designed for the latest house of dead game some of the time but I don't think with or with out the gun controller effected my enjoyment of the game. You can play in single player mode or 2 player mode.
The graphics aren't great but it kind of match the feel of game and made me like it even more. Modern gamers might not be as impressed if used to slick graphics on other games.
It is fairly easy to complete if you play in the easy mode, I'm not a avivd gamer and it didn't take me long to complete house of dead 3. Even if you do complete it theres plenty more from the game. Each time you play you can unlock different areas on level through various actions so no game needs to be the same and you can play the game in very hard mode if you want a challenge.
Fun zombie shooting game
The EIFFEL 65 song I'm blue da ba dee da ba die comes into my head everytime I see posters for Avatar. I can't help but laugh at myself when it does and it happened loads lately as the world has gone mad again for Avatar with the release of the DVD.
When Avatar was first released I wasn't too impressed by the trailer and decieded to give it a miss and never saw it at the cinema. Following all the hype and its release on DVD I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and bought myself a copy of the DVD and Blu ray for £14.99. I thought this was an odd combination dvd and blu ray together but it worked for me as I could watch the dvd and my folks have blu ray so I treated them at the same time as treating myself.
I think the film must lack something on dvd as I certainly wasn't blown away by this film. I was expecting great things and was certainly disappointed.
The story isn't great its predictable to say the least. Set in 2154, Humans are on a planet called Pandora mining a precious mineral unobtanium, the planets locals the Navi big 10 foot tall blue aliens are getting in the way so scientist make Avatars from a mix of human and navi DNA and they used by the humans to go and try to convince the Navi to leave.
While the film has got plenty of action and the planet scenary is good I just felt something was lacking and I didn't see what all the fuss was about, it wasn't a bad film but it certainly wasn't a great film either.
Total over hyped