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Fireman Sam is a wonderful friendly community firefighter from Ponty Pandy who always saves the day. My daughter is obsessed with Fireman Sam and when she turned 4 last month all she wanted was anything to do with Fireman Sam. She got hold of the argos catalogue and pointed this Fireman Sam fire engine called Jupiter.
Jupiter is a friction powered vehicle that is 24cm by 12 cm by 11cm which makes it easy for little hands to get hold of and push along the floor. It has flashing lights and a siren which makes a noise (which can drive parents crazy!) which are operated by 3 AAA batteries.
Jupiter has stabilisers that can come out the sides. These are quite hard to get out and my daughter cant manage to do this herself she has to get an adult to do it for her. It has an articulated crane arm and ladders that you can take out from the back and use against the side to let the character climb up to get onto the crane arm. The two front doors also open.
It is made in a vibrant red colour with yellow crane arm and grey covers on the sides to imitate roller shutter doors. It has blue lights that light up.
This vehicle comes with 3 figure Fireman Sam, Firefighter Penny and Tom who is a Australian helicopter pilot who puts out fires from the air that are articulated.
This is really robust toy that has put up with some rough and tumble from my daughters friends. It is one of my daughters favourite toys and I think it will remain so for a long time to come.
This is a great hairdryer for our family needs.
I bought it a little over a year ago when my last one bit the dust. It had lasted over 10 years and was therefore rather basic compared to the ones in todays market.
After spending hours (actually about 10 minutes as I was in a hurry and needed to get one as it was winter and I couldnt go out with wet hair) persuing the Argos catalogue I decided upon this one. Well really it was my little girl who chose it for its bright pink girliness. It was on offer at around £20 so was within my budget and the fact that the cord recoiled inside looked really cool. I have never seen any other hairdryer with this facility.
The hairdryer itself is slightly heavier than my old one but not so heavy that my arm aches while doing my hair which is fairly long (well below my shoulders) although it does hurt once I have dried the 3 kids hair after the bath.
The cord is simple to pull out and a sharp tug lets it go back in. Which is exactly as it is described. There are 2 slide switches, 1 for temperature and 1 for speed. You can chose from 3 different temperatures and 2 speeds. The switches were a little stiff to start with but that quickly wore off. I really like the fact that this has a cool set button. My old hair dryer had this which is handy for when you are setting a style for a night out or just for drying the kids hair when they dont like the heat. My hairdresser always recommends drying your hair on as cool a setting as possible as this prevents damaging the cuticles and making it frizzy.
This hairdyer is powerful at 2000watts and perfect for drying long and short hair. I only have one little complaint about this hairdryer and that is unless you use an extention cable then you need to be close to a socket as the cord is rather short.
This is a compact little deep fat fryer that is great if your just a couple or single person and on a tight budget.
I got the fryer before we had children so that I could could real chips without using a pan of boiling oil. The fryer is small, white and fairly round. It has little ruber non slip feet with is great for keeping it still whilst in use. It takes upto 1.5 litres of oil and can take 500 grams of food. Easily enough to feed 2 adults but now having 3 kids I tend to have to do 2 or 3 batches.
The fryer has an adjustable temperature thermostat that can go from 108oc to 210oc. I tend to cook my chips at around 190oc so they crisp and go golden in colour but do not burn. I have cooked various other things in the fryer including homemade chicken goujons, battered fish and chicken pakora. I find that I have to cook these at around 150oc as they take longer to cook through.
Once you plug the fryer in the power light on the front comes on so you know that the oil will be starting to heat. If you have the lid closed during heating it seems to heat faster, taking around 5 minutes, and you can look through the lid window to see if the oil is bubbling. With the lid open it takes around 7 minutes. The lid has a filter contained within it that you need to change, however I alway cook things with the lid open so have never needed to change the filter.
This is not the easiest to clean as you have to tip the oil out and try to clean inside without getting the heating element wet. I dont tend to clean it that often inside but always try to wipe down the outside after every use to stop a build up of grease.
My only complaint about this is that you have to take the handle of to close the lid and store it somewhere. Also if you are cooking with the lid closed then you have to take the handle of and it can be very hot and it is trickly to reattach it, especially when the fryer is full of hot oil.
I do really like the fact that the outside is cool to touch making it great if you are daft like me and forget that things are hot.
Still in argos at around £13.
My parents kindly gave me this as a gift last Christmas along with a few other gadgets as unfortunately I have recently been diagnosed with rheumatiod arthritis and my hands suffer dreadfully making it difficult to do things like chopping.
My first impressions of this mini chopper were good. It was small and compact so wouldnt take up much space and would be easy to store. It was made by Wahl and James Martin. Wahl seem to make quite a lot of electrical products and I own clippers made by them and they are still going strong after 6 years. James Martin is a well known yorkshire tv celebrity chef who has been working in catering since he was a boy as his dad was a chef too.
When I took it out the box I liked the fact that it was heavy enough to hold its self in place and not move about due to the little rubber feet but was light enough for me to move about and pack away easily. I also liked the fact that it looked modern and silver so fitted in with my decor in the kitchen. It has an instruction booklet with it and a recipe book. On looking it up they are relatively cheap at around £17.
This is where the positive bits stop and am afraid the negative bits start.
The mini chopper has 3 speed setting but they dont really make much difference. The chopper is plastic and seems to have great difficulty chopping anything. The only thing it does really well is make good pulp. I have tried it with herbs but it just whizzes round. I end up with some pulverised and some still whole. Tomates go to mush so thats the salsa and brushetta out the window. Garlic gave it trouble as again I got puree with lumps. Worst of all were nuts for pesto. They just created a huge banging noise and I thought they were going to fly all over the room.
So I gave up. I took it apart and washed it. Which I have to say is really easy as you can put the top int he dishwasher and being able to take the chopper out is a great idea. It is now taking up space in my cupboard and will remain there until there is a jumble sale or something that I can donate it too.
Sorry Mum and Dad, it was a great idea in theory, unfortunately it didnt work in practice.
Charlie and Lola is a television series that has many accompanying books and other merchandise.
It is about a little girl called Lola, who is 4 years old and her big brother Charlie, who is 7 years old.
Charlie and Lola are always together in the series and talk about their parents and grandparents but we never got to see them. They live together in a high rise flat
This paperback large book tells the story of the time that Lola desperately wanted a pet dog but due to the fact that they lived in a flat Lola is not allowed to get one of her own. She loves animals and thinks that she knows everything there is to know about looking after a pet dog.
On this adventure, written and illustrated by Lauren Child, Lola tries to convince Charlies best friend Marv that she, together with her best friend Lotta can look after Marvs dog. Marv has a tiny little sausage dog called Sizzles, who he claims is the cleveriest dog and can do tricks. He calls "sit........sit..........SIT" and then Sizzles does sit.
After much begging by Lola and Lotta Marv gives in and entrusts Lola and Lotta to look after Sizzles while they have a game a football with their friends in the park. Lola and Lotta start fighting over who knows more about looking after a dog and then before they realise Sizzles accidently gets off his lead.
He then disappears behind a tree and Lola and Lotta cant find him. They begin to panic and think they are going to be in big trouble. Just then they see him coming out from behind a big tree and Lola shouts "its Sizzles" but Lotta is shouting "its Sizzles" too. There are actually two identical sausage dogs so Lola and Lotta have to choose which one is Sizzle. They try saying "sit.......sit........SIT" and then one dog sits so they think that must be Sizzles.
When Marv and Charlie return the girls are nervous that they picked the wrong one. Luckily Marv explains that is Sizzles ever got lost that they could easily identify him because all dogs where a name tag. As he reads the tag they realise they had picked the right one as they learn afterwards that dogs wear name tags.
This is a fantastic book which my daughter repeatedly asks to read during the day and at bed time.
I purchased it last Christmas as part of a set of 10 Charlie and Lola books. Each one has a fun filled adventure accompanied by beautiful, simple illustrations that will appeal to adults and children alike.
I bought this microwave after my old one decided to explode in my kitchen. I then tried to live without one for a few months but found I really needed one, especially for reheating meals for my husband when he comes home late.
When I went to look for a new one I found this Cookworks one on offer in Argos for £38 from £89 so I decided to buy it. I had never had a microwave with a grill in it before but thought I might use it once I had worked out how to use it.
The microwave is quite compact, size H26.2, W39, D45.2cm, and with its silver and black and look it is very stylish and fitted with my decor perfectly.
I tried to read the manual but got a bit bored to be honest. Using it for basic functions like reheating and defrosting is very simple but you do have to use the dial to set the time you cant just type it in. If you want to change the time after you have started it, you have to restart it.
I have to say that I dont know why people would use the grill function unless you dont have a cooker with a grill function as it takes ages to grill anything even cheese on toast (and it doesnt even do that great).
It is white inside so it is easy to clean but try to clean it straight away as it can get baked on.
My only negatives are that when I open the door if I dont hold the microwave with the other hand then the whole microwave moves across the worksurface and that it is quite noisy.
I bought this dvd player nearly 2 years ago when I was going into hospital for a week and thought I would ger really bored. It was £49.99 so not to expensive and I thought that my kids would be able to use it afterwards.
When I bought it I noticed that it didnt really come with any accessories so I bought a set of headphones (didnt want all the patients having to listen to my rom-coms). I also bought a case for it to go in as I didnt want it to get damaged.
The actual dvd player is quite heavy and appears bulky but then there is less chance of you dropping it. It has a 7" screen and has a really good picture quality , especially for the price.
This dvd player is silver in colour but does appear a bit plasticky looking.
It also come with a remote control which meant I could press play and have it on the table over my bed without having to sit up which was perfect. The buttons are really easy to use on the dvd player and on the
remote, even my 3 year old can manage it.
In hospital I used it with the power cable that it came with but it does have a battery that can last up to 1 and a half hours (no good for really long movies as you would miss the end).
It was perfect for my hospital stay but has been useed loads since by the kids in their bed room and on car journeys although we did have to buy an incar charger as it kept running out befor ewe reached our destination. We have even taken it on the aeroplane when we have gone abroad.
Overall a great purchase that has lasted well over the years.
My daughter loves cooking and seeing the finished product. She already had a Dora toastie maker which I am surprised is still working as it has been used so much!
So when I seen this in Currys a few years ago I thought I would pick it up because a) it was reduced to around £8 and b) my daughter birthday was coming up and I thought this would make a wonderful surprise for her birthday morning.
When I got the box I was actually surprised by how heavy it was. I expected the machine to be quite cheaply made for the price however I have found it to be above average quality.
On looking at it, it is shiny chrome and red (unlike the black in the picture here) It has strong hinges and a hard plastic clip to hold the waffle maker closed. It has a picture of Mickey Mouse etched into the top. There is a light situated above Mickeys head that goes red when you plug it in and switch it on. When the waffle maker is at ideal temperature the light goes out.
This waffle maker came with a small instruction booklet containing 4 basic waffle recipes. As my daughter loves having pancakes for breakfast, I am used to making up batters and have always found it much easier to prepare the batter mix the night before and put it into a jug ready to pour in the the pan/waffle maker when required. The mixture is simple for even a child of 5 to make.
First we had to wipe the non-stick plates with a damp cloth. Then the waffle maker took around 5 minutes to heat on her birthday morning and we poured the batter into the 4 Mickey Mouse moulds. My daughter was a little heavy handed and we had a slight over flow but it was easily mopped up. I made sure I was the one that cleaned it up as the maker gets extremely hot.
The waffles only took around 4 minutes to cook and they were beautifully sweet and tasty. The browned on both sides and were eaten before I could sit down so I made another batch. This time I didnt fill the moulds as much so they didnt spill over but they didnt brown as well on the top. Through trial and error we have discovered you have to fill them as high as possible.
The machine cooled down quickly when switched off and before closing I would recommend wiping it over to clean both inside and out as it is much easier when to clean when it is still warm. Just use a cloth with warm, soapy water as a scourer can damage the non stick coating.
It is fairly easy to then wrap the cord around the bottom before putting it back in the box for next time.
Overall an excellent purchase and a great way to get the kids eating something different. My daughter is so inventive with toppings from plain grated cheese - to maple syrup with ice cream or homemade fruit salad.
We recently moved into a new house and my sister in law kindly gave me a Prestige Deco toaster and matching kettle.
The toaster is a 2 slice toaster that is shiny silver at the ends and a cream colour over the middle (I believe you can get different colours depending on your colour scheme). It is definately a compact 2 slice toaster as it doesnt take up much space in our kitchen which is great.
The width on the 2 slots can be altered depending on the width of your bread, or alternatively your bagels. This toaster has a specific bagel button which lightly toasts your bagel making sure it is warmed all the way through but not burnt on the outside. Our old toaster always burnt the outside.
This toaster has a crumb tray to tray and catch some of the falling debris and need to be emptied regularly or can give off a slight burning smell.
I love the fact that this toaster has a decent length of cord so I can move it around the kitchen and it doenst have to be right beside a socket. It also has a cord storage place so you can wrap it up if it is right beside the plug and no cord shows.
I like the face that the outside of this toaster doesnt get hot and that you cant get the toaster to do anything if it is not plugged in and switched on.
This toaster has a defrost function and a reheat function, perfect for when the doorbell or phone interrupt you.
But I haved to say that my favourite thing about this is that when the toast or bagel pop up it pops up above the top of the slots so you dont have to try and stick your fingers into the top of the toaster slot to get your bagel out safely.
This is an intriging book written by Jane Yolen and illustrated Mark Teague that that will appeal to all young dinosaur fans.
It is an A4 book full of detailed illustrations including Protoceratops, Deinonychus, Lambeosaurus and many more.
It starts with a Cryolophosaurus sitting at the dinner table ready to eat and asks if he burps and makes rude. The next page shows a protoceratops and it asks if he throws his cereal and drops his cup hoping someone else will pick it up.
The story continues in a similar manner, each page detailing a differnet dinosaur with there name cleaverly hiden somewhere on the page to be found.
The book then goes on to say, No he says please and thank you and sits very still, he eats what he is given and tries new things. He doesn't make any unpolite noises or throw things on the floor, he even asks for more.
I think the reason this book appealled to us, is that my son thinks he is a dinosaur, he tries to walk like one and eat like one and this book tells him that even dinosaurs are polite and eat properly with cutlery.
This book is part of a set that includes How do Dinosaurs get well soon and How do Dinosaurs say goodnight. The set included 10 titles and was £9.99 but my son was only given this one as part of a party bag following his friends party, which I was very greatful for.
We have a beautiful hardback copy of this book which comes from a series written by Ian Whybrow and Illustrated by Adrian Reynolds.
We were avide viewers of the tv program as a few years ago it was part of channel 5s morning Milkshake show. I say we, I actually mean my son and daughter, I wouldnt have tuned into this personally (honest).
The series is all based around a little boy called Harry who lives with his sister Sam, Mum and Nan. He has a bucket full of little dinosaurs that he can magically jump into and appears in Dinoland. He goes on many diffent adventures each tackling there own issue.
This book tackles the issue of fear of the dentist. Harry is due to visit Mr Drake, the dentist, for a check up and gets really frightened when is big sister Sam tries to scare him by showing him her filling. She goes on about the big drill that he uses.
When Harry arrives at the dentist he is scared to get into the up-down chair so presses a button on his bucket and gets Terry his Tyrannosaurus to grow big and sit in the chair first as he has lots of teeth. Mr Drake is taken aback but is nice and when Harry sees this he doesnt mind getting into the chair and realises that there was nothing to fear in the first place.
My children really enjoyed this approach to talking about dentists and have told there dentist about it. It sticks in there minds and they can easily re-tell the story which demonstrates that it has grabbed there attention and imagination.
This isa great book full of lively illustrations and is well worth purchasing or borrowing from your local library. It costs around £4.99 at bookshops.
This is a wonderful story of Topsy and Tim going on one of their adventures.
At the start of this one we meet Topsy and Tim in their trademark dungerees going with their Mum to visit her friend who happens to be the farmers wife.
At the farm they are given an egg box each and invited to go to the hen house and collect 6 eggs each. So they set off all alone down the farm path. The come across some hissing geese beside the hen house so they run inside where it is very dark. The book explains that it is not scary as their eyes become accustomed to the dark and they find some large white and speckled eggs. When they leave the hen house the geese are blocking their path so they decide to go back to the farmhouse by crossing through the field which is full of cows.
Topsy and Tim become disorientated and begin to think they are lost when the farmer approaches on his tractor and invites Topsy and Tim to help take the cows to the milking shed. Topsy and TIm think they will get to milk the cows but find there are machines to do it for them. But luckily there is a calf that they get to help feed with some warm milk. Topsy is scared to try at first but soon is happily teaching the calf to drink.
The farmer then takes them back to the farmhouse and Mummy says its time to go home. Just as they are setting off home down the path, the farmer comes up behind them on his tractor with their eggs that they left behind when feeding the calf and he also has some fresh cream for them.
Topsy and Tim are very happy following their visit to the farm.
A wonderful adventure for children to listen to and get involved with from and early age, my daughter has been enjoying these stories since she was 1 and she is now 5 and still picks Topsy and Tim at bedtime.
I regularly buy these for my daughter instead of a magazine as I think they are much better value and last longer. I tend to buy them at WH Smiths, where they are £2.99 each but are quite often on BOGOF.
When we discovered that our school followed the Oxford Reading Tree Learning Scheme we decided to purchase some of the books just before our 1st child started school 2 years ago and this book was one that my son really liked.
All of the books revolve around the main characters, Mum, Dad, Biff (the daughter), Chip and Kipper ( the sons) and there is also Floppy the dog. They are all written by Roderick Hunt and illustrated by Alex Brychta.
The books progess in stages and this book is a stage 3a book.
This book is called the old tree stump and has a picture of Kipper, the youngest son trying to pull out an old tree stump with a rope.
The story starts with Dad saying that the old tree stump in the garden has to go. He ties a rope round it and tries to pull it out by himself. He cant manage so he calls for Mum to help and she then calls for Biff to help, who then calls for Chip, who then calls for Kipper.
They still cant pull up the old tree stump but then Floppy the dog comes along and spots a bone in the hole that the stump in in and starts to dig it out and then the whole stump comes out and the family fall over.
My children really laughed at this part and I think that it is similar to the enormous turnip story that I read as a little girl.
I think one of the things my kids like is that inside the front cover there is a picture of 10 minibeasts that the children have to find that are hidden through out the stroy. This helps them to take in what is in the pictures and understanding of what is happening even before they can read all the words. The common, repetitive words in this particular book are but, come, didn't, help, it, pull, they, up, and want. There is also a rhyming game inside the back cover.
This book retails individually at £3.99 but it is possible to buy it as part of a pack which make it a lot cheaper.
I have 2 younger children who are already familiar with the characters and we will get a lot of use out of these books, making them realy good value.
My daughter got these for her 1st birthday from my friend and I thought that they may be a little to advanced for her but yet again she proved me wrong.
I have 2 older children who sit at the table doing their homework and my little one always wants to be involved so she sits up at the table and while I am helping the others she is drawing all over the table or the walls.
Once she got these she happily sat at the table and I knew that my walls were safe.
This set included 4 different mats each 17cm x 27cm and were like a piece of thin cardboard. The pictures were all of Disney Princess' which pleased my daughter as her bedroom is decorated in Cinderella as she is her favourite.
To use the mats you simply have to fill that small pen with water and as you use it to draw on the mat the picture begins to colour and show up.
It is a similar concept to the old magic painting books that you used to get but the best thing is that as they dry the colour fades and they can be used again and again.
I have found that these are great for travelling in the car and we have also taking on an aeroplane.
I love the fact that if you lose the pen or if other kids want to join in you can use an ordinary paint brush.
My only criticism is that if you bend the mats then you cant colour over the crease and that ruins the picture.
I think at £5.99 they are reasonable value especially for a young child (1 year +) but I think an older child (4+) would get bored of these very quickly.
My son got this as a gift about 5 years ago and has been constantly played with ever since.
He was about 1 when he got this. It is recommended for age 1 - 5 but generally I would say 9 months - 3 as it really interested my 2 daughters when they started to sit up and could crawl to get it but by the time they are 5 it is not very stimulating.
The Fisher Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm is a lovely bright red barn with white roof and green grass. It came in a large red and blue box with a see through plastic front.
The farm building is hinged and opens up to create a little farmyard. The farm comes with Farmer Jed, a cow, a sheep, a cockerel, a horse and a pig. We have purchased many more animals separately to add to this.
The animals have their own gates with their picture on them and when you open them they make that animal sound. There is also a slide from the top of the barn which my children love sliding the animals and the farmer dowm.
The animals themselves are small and chunky, perfect for little hands and mouths. They are to big to choke on but a perfect size for teething on.
The farm requires 3 AA batteries to make the sounds. I think they could have included them for the price that they charge for this farm. Currently it retails around £30, I dont think we paid that much for it 5 years ago but it has certainly lasted well considering it has survived 3 children and their friends pulling at the doors and chewing on the animals. Also batteries seem to last forever in this as I only remember having to change them one in the last 5 years.
I think that this has really encouraged all my children to learn the different animal sounds and repeat them. It is also really good for playing other games like peek a boo. My daughter could spend hours hiding behind this and then opening the double gates and looking through saying peek a boo again and again.............. and again
There is a huge range of little people to choose from and I would certainly recommend this one.