Monday, 12 November 2018

Harry Potter Sleep Wear for Grown Ups!

I love the Harry Potter books and movies and I'm delighted that it is a fandom that everyone can enjoy no matter their age! You may have read my Top Stocking Fillers for Harry Potter Fans gift guide where I brought together some great gift ideas for Hogwarts wannabes, well I'm now thrilled to discover that New Look have brought out a fabulous range of sleepwear and loungewear for big kids just like me who love J.K.Rowling's stories of witchcraft and wizardry.

Harry Potter Hogwarts PJs from New Look

Released just in time for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, out this week, these PJs and dressing gown would be perfect for snuggling up and re-watching the Harry Potter movies on a cold winter evening!

Harry Potter Gifts for Grown Ups

I've been sent a couple of items from the new range that would make perfect gifts this festive season. 

Ladies Harry Potter Hogwarts Shortie Pjs

Harry Potter Ladies PJs

The Harry Potter Hogwarts Pyjama set  would be perfect for packing in your trunk to Hogwarts or maybe for a festive break away. This two part PJ set consists of a short sleeved stretchy t-shirt with the Hogwarts crest on the front and a pair of toasty green tartan brushed cotton shorts, with a matching tartan drawstring bag to keep them together. Available in sizes S, M and L with an RRP of £19.99 these would make an ideal gift for Mums, Sisters, Aunties or teen children who are big Harry Potter fans!

Harry Potter Gifts for Adults - Book, Pjs and wand

Harry Potter Men's Robe

If you're buying for a guy who who's a big Potterhead then don't despair, as New Look have something for the men too! This fabulous men's Hooded Dressing Gown can be found on the New Look website here, and I've been sent one for a sneak peek and I can't get over just how soft and snuggly it is! An ideal gift for your husband or boyfriend so that you can steal it back again when you're feeling chilly, maybe? This robe may be super warm and fluffy but it's not too girly for the man in your life! In black velour, it has two burgundy pockets and is trimmed in the Hogwarts tie colours of burgundy and gold with a matching belt. The chest has an embroidered Hogwarts crest and the back has the word Hogwarts embroidered in bold white text. The details are exquisite and the quality is high, making its RRP of £27.99 very good value!

Men's Hogwarts Robe

Do you have any Adult Harry Potter Fans to buy for this Christmas? I would highly recommend checking out the sleep wear range from New Look if so!

Harry Potter Gifts for Men - Dressing Gown, Wand and book

Join in with the #HarryPotterPJParty on Twitter

Join me tonight for a chat over on twitter all about getting cozy in your Jammies and watching the Harry Potter movies! There may even be some prizes to be won! Join myself @mymummyspennies and the lovely @DanielleGParker who will be hosting the twitter party from 8pm-9pm tonight (Monday 12th November 2018) Down forget to follow #HarryPotterPJParty!

We were sent the Harry Potter Sleepwear items from New Look in exchange for this post and the twitter party. All opinions are our own.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Spy Code - Operation: Escape Room from Smyths Toys - Review #ad

Spy Code Operation Escape Room board game

Escape rooms seem to be all the rage at the moment, they are a fun group activity that challenge your minds and encourage you to work together with others. Most of the ones I've seen around tend to be for grown ups and my puzzle mad 11 year old has been quite disappointed that he's not been able to experience the concept for himself yet. He was absolutely thrilled to to find that Yulu games have created an escape room in a board game that you can play at home!

Ideal for kids who love puzzles and perfect to play together as a family, Spy Code - Operation: Escape Room is aimed at children aged 6 and above and can be played by between 2 and 6 players. Gameplay includes a test of skill, strategy and luck and offers different levels of difficulty so that it can be played over and over without getting repetitive!

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room -  what's in the box?

Spy Code - Operation: Escape Room - What's in the box?

Ben was very eager to get started and couldn't wait to open the box! Inside the box he found an instruction leaflet with game rules, a Timer strap, a Key Cage, a Quiz Master with 45 coloured puzzle cards, a Lucky Spinner, 2 sticks and 3 keys. There is some assembly required but this was simple to do and just took a few minutes to set up. The timer does require 2 x AAA batteries which are not included with the game so it's worth making sure you have these ready before you want t play. (As with most battery operated toys and games these days  - a small phillips screwdriver is required to install the batteries in their compartment.)

We were soon ready to play!

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room -  locked in

How do you play Spy Code - Operation: Escape Room?

The concept of the game is that one player is trapped and the other players have to work as a team to solve the three puzzles in order to release them! The game is played against the clock and it's all about - Search - Solve - Release!

Each puzzle should be hidden around the room you are playing in and the first task is to find each one, solve it and then use the key that you release to start the next puzzle once you have found that! You must play the puzzles in order and you can't move on to the next one until you have solved the one before and released the key!

The final key lets you stop the timer and release the trapped player!

Firstly, you need to choose which player will be 'trapped' and they wear the timer belt, I have to say that the belt isn't overly generous in sizing so we found that it was best for one of the children to do this. (Don't worry - if you need to release the belt for any reason there is an an emergency release button on the back!).

Once it's in place you set the timer, the instructions suggested that we set this for 180, so we did but you can set it for any time to suit those playing the game. Once it starts it has a rather loud ticking which does help to build up the pressure of the game!

using fine motor skill in the key cage challenge

Puzzle One: Key Cage

This one is all about perfecting fine motor skills! You spin the arrow on the top of the cage and that determines which wall (each has a varying level of difficulty) of the cage you need to use to try and get the key, using the special shaped sticks provided! It's a lot harder than it looks and it great practise for children perfecting their fine motor skills and pen control, especially those like my son who have hypermobile joints and find this a challenge. Despite this, he was determined to  beat the cage and was so pleased with himself when he did!

He did it! Spy Code Operation: Escape Room - the key cage

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room - the quiz master cards red

Puzzle Two - The Quiz Master

Once you have release the first key from the cage, it's time to tackle puzzle two which is the Quiz master, this time my daughter took a turn, she often has her head in puzzle books so she was eager to give it a go but being only 7, we did allow her to choose a green card (which are the easiest - yellow are medium and red are the trickiest). These challenges need you to use maths or science skills and knowledge to solve them, so are great for using STEM skills in a fun way. You turn the dial to the card number and then select the corresponding letter to the answer on the large dial - if it's correct, the key is released a third of the way! Three correct answers for three different cards and you have released your second key! 

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room - the quiz master cards

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room - the quiz master key

Puzzle Three - The Lucky Spinner

Whereas the first two puzzles used skill and knowledge this one is all about luck! Insert your key into the top of the spinner and then spin. Choose up to three doors to open to see if you can locate that final key!, if you don't find the key first time, you may be lucky enough to to get a clue in the form of an arrow telling you in which direction the key lies! You have three goes to find it or you need to start all over again!

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room - the lucky spinner

Did you Beat the Clock?

Once you have your final key you can release your trapped team mate and you have 'escaped the room!'.

Play again to try and beat your best time!

What we thought of Spy Code - Operation: Escape Room

We had great fun with this game, there was lots of laughter, a little frustration and a good deal of team work! The children worked together really well and supported each other in each puzzle and they happily used skills and STEM knowledge without realising. 

Each challenge completed gave the children a sense of accomplishment and was a great way to subtly build their confidence. Although each game only lasts about 10 - 15 minutes it's something that can be played over and over again without boredom as they are plenty of different aspects to it and the children loved the idea of trying to beat their previous time!

This would make an ideal gift for any puzzle loving child and would make a great game to play as a family after dinner over the festive season.

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room in box

Where Can you Buy Spy Code Operation: Escape Room?

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room is available exclusively from Smyths Toys and has an RRP of £19.99 but is currently on offer at just £14.99 and as always with Smyths Toys, you can check the stock in your local store and 'Click & Collect' for free! 

We were kindly sent Spy Code Operation: Escape Room and some toy vouchers from Smyths Toys in exchange for writing this review, all opinions and images are our own.

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room - Kid's board game toy review

Monday, 5 November 2018

Taffy Mail American Candy Box - Review

What's in Taffy mail - American candy subscription box

We have recently been sent the October Taffy Mail Extra subscription box packed full of American treats and sweets! The October box was themed for Halloween and includes a great selection of candy and snacks with some that I hadn't heard of before!

Sweets and sugary snacks are treats that we enjoy in moderation, but it's nice to discover some new and different brands to try that aren't easy to get hold of in the UK such as Hershey's, Runts and Mountain Dew.

Taffy Mail offers subscribers the chance to do just this with three different monthly subscription levels available to choose from:

  • Taffy Mail Lite Box - a taster box containing 4 - 5 American treats  - £7.49 a month
  • Taffy Mail Classic Box -  a box of 10 - 12 American treats including at least 1 can of American branded soda  - £14.99 a month  
  • Taffy Mail Extra Box - the biggest box to treat the whole family including up to 20 American treats including at least one can of American branded soda and a premium item such as twinkies or cereal - £24.99 a month
Each box is delivered to a UK address free of charge and can be cancelled at any time.

Subscriptions are open from the 2nd of the month and close on the first of the following month and your Taffy mail will be dispatched on the 15th of the month and expected to arrive with you within 5 working days.

We enjoyed trying out the Taffy Mail Subscription, it was especially good fun unboxing the treats and revealing each one as we routed through the box!

Inside our box we discovered 17 yummy treats, including:

  • TGI Fridays Potato Skins
  • Herr's Deep Dish Pizza Cheese Curls
  • Andy Capp's Hot Fries
  • Sour Patch Kids Tricksters
  • Brach's classic Candy Corn
  • Flix Candy Box of Boogers
  • Peeps Marshmallow Pumpkins
  • M&M's White Candy Corn
  • Skor Crisp Butter Toffee Bar
  • Twix Ghost
  • Snickers Jack O'Lantern
  • Air Heads grape flavoured chew bar
  • Boyer Mallow Cup
  • Can of Pibb Xtra Soda
  • Efrutti mini gummi burger
  • Charms Blow Pop Sour Apple
  • Laffy Taffy Strawberry
  • Laffy Taffy Cherry

I think that this would make a fantastic Christmas gift for for a friend or family member with a sweet tooth!

As a special treat I am offering My Mummy's Pennies' readers a discount code that offers a fabulous 10% saving on your first 3 monthly boxes! (This can be cancelled at any time!) just enter promo code PENNIES at the Taffy Mail checkout to claim the offer.

Taffy Mail American Candy Box

We were sent a complimentary Taffy Mail box in exchange for this post, all opinions are my own.

Friday, 12 October 2018

A tale about friendship

I'd like to tell a little tale about friendship and how sometimes the smallest gesture can mean so much. This could be about me, about you, or about that friend you used to be so close to you shared everything, yet you've forgotten the last time you spoke. It may not feel familiar to you, or it may just make you pick up the phone...

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

As a child our friends are often people we see every day, in school, at activities such as sports and other clubs, play dates, going round for tea, birthday parties and so much more. We get used to having them in our lives as a constant and our days are brighter for it. When we are small we may draw them pictures or write them notes then as we grow maybe spend hours making them friendship bracelets, as a teen we share photos, silly selfies, puppy dog filters and more. All these are small things but they are ways of letting someone know we care and are thinking of them.

When we were five it seemed so natural to draw a rainbow on a piece of paper and give it to our best friend because they made us think of rainbows and we wanted to make them smile, but as we get older that starts to wane. Maybe as teens we worry it would be uncool, maybe we want to impress, but we still do things together, our friends are who we spend time with our worlds revolve around them, we go out dancing, go to festivals, listen to music and watch shows together, our beliefs and views are shaped from shared experiences. We share our heartache, our worries and our secrets, but most of all we share our joy. New love, new clothes, new babies. These may not be the same friends from our youngest days but are still so important to us. Then we get older still and busier, we may move away from those friends sometimes geographically, but often just emotionally and we have less time to share. We may make new friends with shared interests such as children a similar age or careers in common but even these can start to falter.

A regular catch up for dinner becomes a quick coffee, which then becomes a phone call each month and eventually a text or whatsapp. We become engrossed in our own busy lives with our partners and children and all of a sudden it's been two years and it feels like it's too late to make that call or send that message and especially to draw that rainbow on a scrunched up piece of paper just to say you were thinking of them.

As a thirty something, working mother of two, life is busy, it's hard and it's tiring. 

Sometimes it seems too busy for friendships, maybe we manage to keep up with some friends online, or we get together with the kids, but there's never time to actually talk, to finish a sentence or listen to something they might really want to share with us. 

Life is lonely without friends. 

There are people all around us, we work with them each day and we chat to them but they have their friends in the real world and they assume we have ours. 

We walk down the street and see the joy in the faces of people as they meet up with friends after work, ready to talk (and maybe drink) away the worries and stresses of the working week. 

We watch movies that portray life long friends growing old together and being there for each other through every up and down.

We see our children running across the playground to give their bestie the biggest hug because they have missed them so much since yesterday.

Each time we feel a huge pang of loneliness, but that guilt of being a poor friend, the embarrassment of knowing that we may not have been there when it mattered stops us reaching out.

Then the phone rings and we realise we didn't need to reach out this time because they did. They drew a metaphorical rainbow to show they were thinking of us and it made us smile.