Sunday, 28 November 2010

Christmas Book Review: Happy Christmas Boris! by Sam Lloyd

I really can't commend this book highly enough for the clever angles it incorporates to bring the book to life. I would describe this as a magical story book that is not dissimilar to a mini puppet theatre. Because of the way that you can manoeuvre the puppets expressions, the worlds your oyster in terms of how far you can bring this character to life. If you know a child who isn't fussy on reading then this one is highly recommended to entice them in to the magical world of reading.

The central character is very lovable, boisterous and a bit too loud but with a good heart. Bright orange with a mouth big enough to swallow you, all children are going to be eager to learn more about Boris.

The plot is great as we help prepare Boris to help Santa deliver presents, and through this plot we learn of the sensitive side of Boris and how we cater to people when they are feeling a bit upset.

From now on we are actively going to be seeking out Sam Lloyd books as we feel we have found the gold at the end of the rainbow in looking for a suitable book to read to both my children (aged 2 and 8). Sam Lloyd has not only incorporated the clever angle of using puppetry in this book, but has also used other clever techniques to engage children such as asking us to help stroke and feed Boris. The fact that he has also made Boris sad and uncomfortable in parts of the book also helps children to learn how we deal with people who are sad in real life.

I also liked the fact that the book allowed us to take on the part of the narrator and also the character of Boris.

Thanks to this book I have also been introduced to Templar Publishing; the publishers of this book and I am amazed to see the level of creativity that is used in the books that they publish. Far more than just reading books. Of course, anything that makes reading that extra bit special is worth its weight in gold in my book!

We give this the Sweet Craftiness Gold Award for 'Best Book of the Year'.

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Christmas book review: Ladybird Noisy Noisy Christmas!

There's nothing better than to cosy up with your little ones with a good festive book in hand, particularly so when it is so bitingly cold outside. My two boys are 2 and 8 and so it is hard to ever be able to find a book that interests them both, but there's something about buttons that produce sounds that never fails to enthral children young or old.

This book immediately welcomes the child with its festive metallic green sheen cover and the heart-warming picture of Father Christmas's jolly friendly face. The front cover informs the child that they are looking for the star button throughout the book to find a secret sound. Pressing the first page will result in 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas' being played.

Noises range from carol singers, elves in Santa's workshop, sparkling sounds of a Christmas Fairy, kissing noises under the mistletoe, the bells ringing of Santa's reindeer, the "Ho-Ho-Ho" of Father Christmas, children running with excitement on Christmas morning and finally the opening of the presents.

This book meets the need in all children to furnish their beliefs of all the exciting things they think happens at Christmas. Confirming that these things happen in such a magical sensory way is a fabulous way to contribute to children's excitement.

The text is simple and just the right length to maintain younger children's interest and overall we just thought that this was a very magical book. We will certainly be looking to get more from the 'noisy noisy' range as we have already read this book about ten times thanks to my two year old sons demands. Brilliant book!

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Sunday, 7 November 2010

Review: Zingillas Big Zing Play set

Moaning Stones beach playset featuring the Beach Byrds, exclusive Zak posable figure and the coconut clock. Watch the last coconut drop to see the stage light up and trigger the start of the Big Zing. Requires 3 x AA batteries.

My toddler son is absolutely Zingzilla crazy and so we were very eager to get hold of the 'Big Zing' play set. Avid fans of the Zingzillas will know that each episode always culminates in the ultimate spectacular show; otherwise known as the 'Big Zing.' The 'Big Zing' always commands the child's attention with the bursts of sounds and colours accompanied by the band playing a certain music type, and so when we opened up the 'Big Zing' play set we saw that all these attributes had been accurately incorporated. The set was bright, it was colourful and it contained the Moaning Stones and palm trees. You even have the twinkling lights and sounds.

Overall the play set is visually pleasing because of the bright colours that are used within the set. The Moaning Stones are very accurate to the way they appear on the show and the Beach Byrds add a little burst of colour in the corner. The twinkling lights create a serene and magical atmosphere within the play set.

The only thing that I was disappointed about with this play set is the fact that it only comes with one character. Until I purchase more of the characters I don't think my toddler will gain the full play potential of this set as he can't really make the characters interact in any way. Nonetheless he seems content posing Zak and making him dance all around the stage. I look forward to getting the other figures as I think it will look quite impressive when all three Zingzillas are playing in the band.

Character-wise we were very impressed. Zak was bright and colourful and his little face fitted in all the minute detail that is proportioned in to his larger face on the show. Very clever! The characters also come with a great range of accessories. Zak certainly looks great when he is plugged in to the stage and he repeats his catchphrases and sings.

A great play set!

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Christmas Gift Idea: Boots Miniature Scents of Attraction gift set

This Scents of Attraction Fragrance Gift Set contains
  • Ted Baker X20 For Her 10ml
  • DKNY Be Delicious 7ml
  • Ghost Original 5ml
  • Guerlain Insolence 5ml
  • Givenchy Very Irresistible 4ml
REVIEW: So many of my favourite fragrances packed in one gift set has got to be a good thing. The clever people who work for Boots have managed to combine many of the scents which they believe boost your powers of attraction. This gift set is great because it has so many really popular scents that no matter how fussy the person that you are buying for is, you are almost sure to hit upon one scent that they will like, if not more.

Here's my rundown on the specific perfumes:

Ted Baker X2O for Her - This is a passionate and sensual fragrance, with a base of Musk, and vibrant hints of Star Anise, Grapefruit, Magnolia and Water Lily. Quite a light and fresh smell perfect for everyday wear. Rating 7/10/

DKNY Be Delicious - I'd already purchased this before I got hold of this set. I know I am superficial but I always get drawn to bottles of perfume if they have an unusual designed bottle. I expected this to smell very much like green apples but it has a slightly more complex fragrance containing American Apple, Cucumber, Grapefruit, Candid, Magnolia, Tuberose, White Muguet, Rose, Violet, Sandalwood, Tender Skin Accord, Blonde Woods and White Amber. There is an overall fruity scent which emanates from one squirt; one squirt is all that is needed with this fragrance as it is quite a strong scent. This is marketed as being a free-spirited and refreshing smell and I totally agree as it seems to rejuvenate your senses. In fact almost every time I have worn this whilst out and about I have had someone come up to me and ask what the lovely smell was. The smell of the fragrance also lasts a very long time which is good. Rating 8/10

Ghost - This perfume was certainly a pleasure for the senses to experience. To me this has a musky smell that has a hint of Turkish delight. It is a very evocative smell and is light and wearable day or night as it is a very subtle smell. I think that maybe where the name comes from as it is a ghostly and subtle smell. Ghost fragrance is a timeless, feminine and romantic soft floral. Mellow hibiscus, rose petals, and musk characterise Ghost - the first fragrance from the designer label. Subtly combined jasmine, spicy sandalwood, and warm incense dominate with gentleness, while overtones of vanilla, musk, ambergris, and apricot provide a satiny quality to the fragrance. Rating 8/10

Guerlain Insolence - This is my absolute favourite perfume of all time. I actually first discovered this perfume after swiping my wrist over a magazine fragrance swatch and instantly knew I needed a bottle. It reminds me of the sweetness of parma violets. If I was to liken this to a fragrance I would say it is a little like Daisy by Marc Jacobs. Extroverted and daring Guerlain Insolence combines Violet with a hint of Orange blossom and Rose. Fruity red Berries, Lemon and Bergamot are introduced in the heart notes while sensual Iris and Tonka Bean resins finish the scent. The result is young, daring and radiantly feminine. Rating 10/10

Givenchy Very Irresistible - Very Irresistible Givenchy Eau de Toilette was created, from a unique alliance of 5 roses, the queen of flowers, emblematic of Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn. This had a very strong rose scent and for my taste, I found this a little too strong and unbearable. I thought liking 4/5 with a fragrance kit was very good though. Rating 2/10

Overall, a lovely little set. At £18.00 it won't break the bank and gives the owner of the sets enough perfume to last them quite a while and also introduces them to perfumes they might not have tried before. Brilliant!

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