Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Kurio Watch 2.0 - Kid's Smartwatch Review

Kurio Watch 2.0  - The Ultimate smartwatch for kids

The Kurio Smartwatch 2.0 is the latest wearable tech to hit the market for children aged six and above. It's the ultimate smartwatch for tech-loving kids and has a whole host of features to entertain them. My six-year-old was delighted to be sent her very own Kurio Watch 2.0 to try out and review.

Kurio Watch - 2.0 - what's in the box

Kurio Watch 2.0 - What's in the Box

We opened up the packaging to find the Kurio 2.0 watch pebble unit with splash proof and scratch resistant screen, one pink strap and one purple colour changing strap, an instruction booklet and a micro USB charging cable.

Elizabeth loved the idea of the colour changing strap (that turns blue when exposed to heat such as body temperature) so chose that one to wear and couldn't wait to get it on her wrist! The user manual does recommend a 3 hour charge before first use so if you are buying this for Christmas, it may be worth sneaking it out of the packing and charging the night before wrapping so it's ready for play on Christmas morning! Also worth being aware that you will need your own USB plug as there isn't one included in the packaging, most households have a few of those these days.

Child messaging on Kurio 2.0 smartwatch

The Kurio watch is packed with features including: 20 pre-loaded apps; a multi-function screen; selfie camera and video; photo filters; calender; messaging; media player; activity tracker; phrase translator; calculator and Bluetooth compatibility. The watch has 256mb of internal memory and you can add a micro SD card to expand the storage up to 32GB. 

The set up of the watch was easy to do and only took a few minutes, my 6-year-old did need some adult assistance but I think many kids of this age would be ok on their own. As the screen is designed for little fingers, I found it easier to use a stylus rather than my chunky grown up sized fingers for this.

We entered Elizabeth's name and birthday, the date and time and also had the option to add 'In Case of Emergency' (I.C.E.) information. It was then time for Elizabeth to choose the theme from a choice of many colourful options and it was no surprise to me that she chose hearts on a pink background!

Even though it boasts an array of features, the watch does of course function as a watch first and foremost and I was impressed that it had a choice of both digital and analogue display watch faces to choose from. As Elizabeth has recently learnt to tell the time, she chose a pink candy analogue watch face to help her practice. 

Using bluetooth connection to make calls from a Kurio Smartwatch

Bluetooth and messaging on the Kurio Watch 2.0 

The first feature that she was keen to test out was the messaging. This utilises the Bluetooth function and if you know a friend who also has a Kurio watch you can pair them up and exchange messages and pictures and play 2 player games. Even without another Kurio watch, you can link it up to an android device to chat and even use the watch as a hands free kit to make and receive calls.

I have an iPhone and unfortunately, the Bluetooth on the watch will only pair up with an Android device so we paired it up with Daddy's phone. This was really simple to do by downloading a free Kurio Watch Messanger app from the Google Play store and connecting the two devises on Bluetooth. Both Elizabeth and Daddy had lots of fun exchanging photos and messages and even made a phone call to me from the Kurio phone which left Elizabeth in awe as Mummy was talking to her in her watch!

playing tic tac toe on Kurio watch 2.0 - games

Games and Apps on the Kurio Watch 2.0

The watch has over 20 pre-installed games and apps including Tic Tac Toe, Battleships, drawing, photo editing, voice translator and many more! These came in really handy over the weekend when we were at Alton Towers theme park and queuing for rides, Elizabeth was fully entertained by her watch and didn't moan about waiting around once!

As well as old favourites, there are also a number of motion detection games and apps that use the built-in accelerometer, including Snake, Ninja roll, activity tracker, Sport Challenge, Air play (this is a super cool air guitar app that Elizabeth loves) and lots more.

These are great for getting children moving about while using tech and encourage exercise that's fun to do!

games on the kurio watch 2.0 - snake

Selfie Camera and Video on Kurio Watch 2.0 

I am often found with a camera in my hand and I believe that my six-year-old daughter has inherited my love of photography. She is always asking to borrow my phone to take photos and has even had a few goes with my DSLR that didn't turn out bad at all. True to the younger generation though, she does love a good selfie and was delighted to discover the selfie camera on the Kurio Watch. I was a little disappointed myself as the photo quality isn't great but Elizabeth didn't care at all, she loved the freedom of having her own camera and posing for as many selfies as she wanted! She even recorded herself filming a 'youtube' style introduction... I may have to get her, her own youtube channel soon!

There are a great selection of photo effects and frames to choose from too and you can also set a photo as the background on the watch.

child taking selfies on the kurio watch 2.0

photo background on kurio smartwatch 2.0

Playing Music on the Kurio Watch 2.0

If there is one thing my six-year-old loves, it's music, especially dancing to it! She's already building up quite a music selection and is a big Strictly fan! It didn't take her long to find the music player on the watch and she was soon bopping away to some tunes. The music player app comes pre-installed with some basic songs but you can add more using a micro SD card or by connecting the watch up to your PC or MAC with the USB cable where you can transfer music, video and photos.

playing music on the kurio watch 2.0

Overall Thoughts on the Kurio Watch 2.0

Overall I'm really impressed with the Kurio Watch 2.0. It's jam-packed with features that are aimed at exactly the right level for its target audience of six to ten year olds. (Although I'd say especially six to eight-year-olds) They get a really well thought out piece of technology that looks grown up, yet is still fun and safe for them to use and doesn't need a smartphone or other device to function.

It's a good size and Elizabeth has worn it most of the weekend without it being uncomfortable on her wrist. It seems really sturdy and even after being dropped a few times on a wooden floor when we were setting it up, didn't show any damage at all. 

The watch was ideal for Elizabeth on our day out yesterday, not just for playing games in theme park queues but also for keeping entertained on a long car journey and warming up with the Sport Challenge app while we were waiting in the cold for the park to open. It's much less cumbersome than carrying around a tablet or portable console and the battery lasted for most of the day!

I would love to see an app released for IOS as well as Android, and it would be great for it to have the option of installing more apps as I see that after a while some children may get bored of the same choices. However I do think that this is amazing value for money and offers so much more than just a watch with some games. 

The Kurio Watch gets a big thumbs up from both myself and Elizabeth! 

Sport challenge on kurio watch 2.0

The Kurio Watch 2.0 smartwatch is also available with red and blue straps and retails at £79.99. It is available from a number of retailers including Amazon, Smyth's Toys and Toys R Us. If you shop around at the moment there are some great offers available.

We were sent a Kurio Watch 2.0 for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own. The post contains affliate links. 

We're going on an adventure

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure at Manchester Arena - Review

On Wednesday we visited the newly re-opened Manchester Arena to see Disney on Ice Presents Passport to Adventure, it was our sixth time watching a Disney on Ice show and my Disney mad daughter declared that it was the best show ever!

We donned our Disney themed clothing to get into the spirit and jumped on the tram after school to head into the City Centre to Manchester Arena. It was our first visit to the venue after the terrible events that took place in May and it felt quite emotional to be there again. However, the staff were all fabulous, super friendly and made us all feel very safe. The security was fantastic and handled really well, taking note of the information on the arena website, we took very little with us so passed through the airport-style scanners quickly and easily.

Happy Family meeting Mickey Mouse at Disney on Ice

Both children were super excited to have the very special opportunity to have their photo taken with Mickey Mouse before the show. (OK, I admit it I was excited too!) We soon found our seats and took our places ready to enjoy the Disney magic!

Before the main show began, we were treated a Fit to Dance pre-show warm up with the stars of Zootropolis, Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde. It's definitely worth arriving early to give your children the chance to see this extra segment and join in the dancing!

Mickey and Minnie Mouse with friends at Disney on Ice Passport to Adventure

It wasn't long before the much-loved characters, Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald and Goofy came out onto the stage ready to start the show, their costumes were amazing as always and perfectly themed with the 'Passport to Adventure' title, they even had their suitcases ready!

The world tour of Disney delights started with a beautiful display of costumes from around the globe, skating to It's a Small World, which my daughter loved as it took her back to our Trip to Disneyland Paris earlier this year and her favourite ride!

Timone and Pumba at Disney on Ice - The Lion King

I don't want to reveal too much but the first half continued to take us on a whistlestop world tour, stopping at  Africa in the Pridelands and getting us all dancing to 'I Just Can't Wait to be King', then London and Neverland on a magical adventure full of Pixie Dust with Peter Pan.

Peter Pan and Captain Hook Crocodile

After a short interval where I successfully veered the children away from the rather shockingly priced merchandise (but did treat them to a box of popcorn each for £4), we headed Under the Sea to visit with Ariel and friends, which involved some amazing skating that had the audience oohing and ahhing throughout.

The Little Mermaid at Disney on Ice Passport to Adventure

The final destination we visited was Arendelle, where we were treated to a mini-retelling of the Frozen story including all the much-loved characters and favourite songs! We've Frozen featured in Disney on Ice previously, but I think this may have been the most entertaining yet, we just wanted to sing along!

Elsa - Frozen - Disney on Ice Passport to Adventure

The spectacular finale brought all of the stories together and ended the show with a sparkly bang!

Each segment had something unique to offer and our whole party were enchanted throughout the show, however, one had us just squealing with delight and that was Peter Pan! It's long been a favourite of both my children and everything from Tinkerbell, Peter and the Darling children flying high across the Arena to the wonderful costumes of the lost boys and of course those pesky pirates led by my son's favourite, Captain Hook!

Peter Pan and Wendy flying at Disney on Ice

We thoroughly enjoyed the show and had a wonderful family evening! 

If this has got you singing your favourite Disney tunes and ready to dance along why not book your tickets now?

The tour continues at the following venues: 

Arena Birmingham - 18th -29th October
SSE Arena, Belfast - 3rd - 5th November
Citywest Hotel, Dublin - 10th - 12th November
FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield 15th - 19th November
The O2, London - 20th - 30th December

You can book tickets and see the full schedule on the Disney On Ice website.

Check out what We're going on an AdventureThe Brick Castle and Red Rose Mummy thought of Disney on Ice presents Passport to Adventure too!

We were invited to attend Disney on Ice at Manchester Arena free of charge for the purpose of review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Snot - The toy no one wanted. Now available at Smyths Toys #picksnot

Have you seen the new Smyths Toys Christmas Ad? It tells a sweet story about Snot - the toy no one wanted, narrated by much-loved children's author, David Walliams.


One dark, stormy night a toy was created in error and thrown out with the rejects, not to be deterred, this little green blob set out to find a place to call home, but just as he found Smyths Toys Superstore, he encountered a huge 50ft monster and with his bravery (and stickiness!) he saved the day! This was witnessed by all the toys in the toy shop and he was hailed a hero!

If you've not watched the ad for yourself you can watch it below:

Now we had a very special package delivered yesterday, which my six-year-old was delighted to open to find her very own Snot cuddly toy! She absolutely loved the advert and we've already downloaded and read the story together.

It's not just a heartwarming story though, the #picksnot campaign is donating all profits to the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity to support their work helping seriously ill children, so why not pop to your nearest Smyths Toys Superstore and give your children the chance to pick Snot today?

All for a good cause and just £9.99 for the plush and the book.

Snot book and toy from Smyths

Find out more, play an online Snot game and download the story on the Smyths website.

This is a collaborative post.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Space Themed Toys and Gifts for Kids

NASA images of planets -  Space Explorer Room Projector

It's World Space Week and Brainstorm Toys have sent us a fabulous selection of space-themed toys and gifts that would be ideal for would be astronauts of all ages! It's really important that children have educational toys that are also fun and exciting and in my opinion, Brainstorm are fantastic at providing these.

All of the toys and gifts that follow have a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) aspect to them but they are also things that both my children (age 6 and 8) would choose in a store full of other toys as they are colourful, engaging and each have an interactive element to them.

My Very Own Solar System - RRP 39.99 - Suitable from age 6+

My very own solar system - light up toy - space - planets - brainstorm

My daughter actually circled this when she was going through the Smyths catalogue last week choosing her Christmas list, so she was delighted when it arrived!

This amazing remote-controlled, rotating, diameter solar system mobile will make a fabulous centerpiece in a space themed bedroom or playroom.
As well as the giant sun, it includes includes 8 detailed colour planets which rotate on three independent orbits around the sun. This has a huge potential for STEM learn and includes a secret code to unlock fascinating online space facts!

Once mounted onto the ceiling the solar system is 85cm diameter at it’s widest point, so do make sure you have enough room for it!

The remote control allows your children to illuminate the sun and stop and start the rotation of the planets. 

My Very Own Solar System - RRP 39.99 - Suitable from age 6+

Be aware that this is a little fiddly to set up so will need so grown up help to attach the planets and to screw the base plate into the ceiling. 3 x AA and 2 x AAA batteries are required and are not included and it requires a mini Philips screwdriver to fit them so make sure you're prepared!

Space Explorer Room Projector - RRP £14.99 - Suitable from age 6+

Space Explorer Room Projector - RRP £14.99 - Suitable from age 6+

Kids can explore the universe from the safety of their own bedroom with this fabulous little projector. It comes with 3 disks, each featuring 8 colour NASA and Hubble Space Telescope photographs of spacecraft, astronauts, planets and nebulae, which are really easy for children to change and turn. Each projected image can be up to a metre wide depending on the distance between the projector and the ceiling, the images work best with the lights out and really are fantastic quality! It even comes with a booklet full of interesting space facts to accompany the image. When not being used as a projector a flick, of a switch turns this into a nifty nebula night light.

This is a huge hit with both my children and I may have to invest in a second one for my daughter's room as she reluctantly let her brother take ownership of this one! It would make a great value gift for any space fan.

NASA images Space Explorer Room Projector

It does take 3 x AA batteries which are not included and requires a mini Philips screwdriver to fit them so make sure you're prepared!

Aqua Dragons in Space -  Live Astro Pets - RRP £29.95 - Suitable from age 6+

Aqua Dragons in Space -  Live Astro Pets - RRP £29.95 - Suitable from age 6+

What are Aqua Dragons? They are live, aquatic pets which hatch out of their eggs once you’ve created the right environment for them. They grow, swim, eat and they can even reproduce. The dragons are very similar to triops or sea monkeys. but these aqua dragons are extra special as they were part of a payload of aqua dragon eggs that were sent into space and tracked on a mission surpassing the earth's stratosphere into space and then recovered! They really are out of this world pets!

We've not had the opportunity to start hatching and growing our eggs yet but you can read a full review of the Brainstorm Aqua Dragons in Space – Live Astro Pets Deluxe Kit from our friends over at Hodge Podge days.

It takes 2 x AAA batteries which are not included and requires a mini Philips screwdriver to fit them so make sure you're prepared!

The Original Glow Stars  - RRP £5.99 - Suitable from age 3+

The Original Glow Stars  - glow in the dark stickers - RRP £5.99 - Suitable from age 3+

This MEGA pack of over 1000 glow in the dark stickers, includes stars, moons, rockets, and spaceships and lets children create a magical night sky in their bedroom! As well as walls and ceilings, these are ideal for decorating bikes, scooters, bags and much more! If stuck onto a white background, they are 'hidden' in daylight. Just expose to a light source for a few seconds and then watch them glow in the dark!

These would make a fabulous stocking filler for kids of all ages!

We were sent these items in exchange for featuring them and taking part in the #WSW17 #Brainstormtoys twitter party. All views are our own. This post also contains affiliate links.