Friday, 8 December 2017

Playing Games at Christmas - Catch Phrase Review and Giveaway

For me, Christmas time is the perfect time to play board games. As a family we don't often go out on Christmas night. After stuffing our faces full of Christmas food its usually a short nap (for some) and then we all get out some yummy Christmas snacks, some festive drinks, and a brilliant board game to all enjoy some family time together. 

We were sent a CATCH PHRASE game to review from Drumond park and It is going to be the perfect game for us all to play on Christmas night. 

A little about the Game
ITV’s hugely popular CATCH PHRASE game show is back on UK TV screens. Now up to six players can take it in turns to step into Stephen Mulhern’s shoes and play host in the latest version
of the All-New CATCH PHRASE TV Board Game. 

The ultimate aim is to accrue the most ‘money’ by guessing Catch Phrase puzzles over each of the
rounds… with increasing amounts of ‘prize money’ on offer.

Our Review 

I was so excited to get to play this game. I have often watched the show and loved trying to guess the catch phrases, although I wasn't always very good at it. I am also a huge lover for board games so could not wait to try out this game.

When I opened the box it was full up of lots of items. The contents are - 
  • 96 Double Sided REGULAR Catch Phrase Cards
  • 15 Double Sided BONUS Catch Phrase Cards
  • 48 Single Sided SUPER Catch Phrase Cards
  • 1 Mr Chips Card Holder
  • 1 Bonus Catch Phrase Picture Frame with Clip
  • 1 Super Catch Phrase Board
  • 9 x Window covers
  • Sand Timer
  • Red Filter 
  • 60 Bank Notes 

The game was really easy to set up and the only things that needed to be done was pop out the holes of the bonus frame and pop out the frame covers. You also needed to pop out Mr Chips and bend the arms of him so then he would hold the cards.

We firstly played the game with just 2 people. The game does play better with more than 2 players but there is a 2 player option. One player is the host and one player is the contestant. You take it in turns who is the host and the one with the most money wins.

The host places the cards onto Mr Chips, turning the timer round giving the contestant 20 seconds to guess. The card will show an image which is a 'Say What you see' image and you have to guess what you think the phrase is. The answer is on the back so the host can see but the contestant can't.

I loved playing contestant and did quite well to get some of them right. Each time I get one right, I got £100 of pretend money and got to remove a square onto the bonus board. I then had to try and guess what the bonus picture was. I didn't do too well at this part though and didn't win any money.

Round 2 is the Super Catch Phrase round and the host puts the catch phrase cards picture side down on the board. The host goes through all of these and each card is worth a different amount if you get it right. I love how the host can reveal the answer. You can't see any writing on the card until the host places the red filter over the card and it magically reveals the answer. 

The only thing I wasn't actually sure of was when players moved onto round 2 and I could not see this clearly in the instructions.

After both players have played, you count up your money and the one with the most is the winner.

When playing with more players it is much more like the real show you watch on Tv. You play just like the 2 player version and each player gets a chance to guess whats on the card to win money. They also get to have a guess of the bonus round when they guess one correctly.

There is also a quick fire round where the host shows them the card and the person to give the answer first in the 20 seconds wins the money.

When it comes to the Super Catch Phrase round, when playing with more players it works just like the quick fire round where who ever gives the answer first gets the money. Again the one with the most money wins!

I think the game does take a little getting used to but when you do get used to it, it is great fun. It is definetly more fun when playing with with more players and so I look forward to Christmas night when there will be a big group of us playing. It is perfect for around 4 players.

If you are a fan of the show then you will LOVE this game as it really is just like being on the show. Apart from unfortunately, you aren't winning real money. 

The game is recommended for children aged 8+ and retails at £22.99. If you fancy playing this game at christmas then you can buy it here.

The game isn't just great for christmas though and is perfect for all year round and so I have got one game to giveaway to my readers.
For your chance to win, enter on the Gleam App below. 

Win The Game Catch Phrase by Drumond Park

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Who gives your children the presents at Christmas time?

So we all know who delivers the presents, Father Christmas? Your children wake up christmas morning and amazingly he has been and dropped off lots of presents.

I remember waking up and being amazed at seeing all the gifts left for me. I have one year on video where my mum asks "has he been?? and Im shouting YES YES" at the top of my voice. I also say in that video that he has eaten the milk and drunk the mince pie. Yes, I think I may have still been half asleep haha

But the one question I want to ask my readers is -  Who it is that the gifts are from? You or Father christmas?

As a child all my gifts were labelled with who the gifts were from, and Father Christmas was the one who delivered them and a few extra toys that he had brought from his toy workshop. I also learnt that If I wanted to buy a gift for my mum or dad, that gift I bought would get sent to Father Christmas and he would deliver it for Christmas. My Nan and Grandad would usually take me shopping and this is what they would tell me would happen.
I did always find it amazing that those earrings I bought my mum one year ended up under the tree and was always thought it was amazing that it was Father Christmas who put them there.

This is the way I teach Lily about gifts. Father Christmas isn't the one who gets her all the gifts, we are and then we send them to him. He also has her list to check off all the items we send to make sure that we have got her what she asked for... Otherwise whats the point in writing a letter to Santa? Right? 

Father Christmas will of corse be giving her a few presents, but they won't be anything over the top. Just a few simple nice gifts.

I really want her to appreciate that it is us that get her gifts as I think its important for her to learn appreciation. She knows we go to work to get money and she understands that money buys things. 

I understand that maybe children thinking its Father Christmas supplying all the gifts is maybe a little more magical, but no magic was ever spoiled for me.

But the one thing I wanted to write about is how I have seen parents out there asking parents to be careful about telling their children Father Christmas is the one getting all the gifts. In the same classroom of school there would be parents who can afford a lot and parents who can afford a little and after christmas children will be chatting about what they got. Some children may think that Father Christmas is favouring some to others if one child got more than the other and it could be upsetting, especially now with such big presents such as ipads and mega expencive interactive dolls. So I can compleatly understand parents concerns about this one. 

So I am very curious to what people do tell there children about Father Christmas and do urge parents to think about other children out there and other childrens parents when telling there child that Father Christmas gets them ALL their gifts. 

What do you tell your children about Father Christmas in your home? 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Making Christmas Special for your Kids

It is now December so I can officially say its Christmas Time. Of corse Christmas is a really special time of year itself, but I do find that it can be made even more special by doing extra things that children will love. 

Here are a few things you can do to give your children an extra special Christmas this year. 

1. Buy them an extra special advent calendar
Lily is loving waking up each day and getting to open one of her doors to her advent calendar. It really makes each day special for her and is also a great way for her to countdown the days until it is Christmas day. You can get all sorts of calendars from toys, colouring, pictures and Lily's favourite, chocolate. You can also buy ones that are themed to the child's favourite characters such as this Teletubbie one.

2. Make your own Christmas Cards 
Lily loves doing arts and crafts and so this year we shall be making our own Christmas cards. I think this is a lovely way to put a touch of personalisation to them and also a great way to get your child to get crafty. There are so many ways you can make the cards too. We have some special sequins and stickers ready for ours.

3. Decorating the Tree

I think no matter how young your child is, they can always help you decorate the tree. Or better yet, why not let them have their very own tree to decorate. Lily is going to be decorating her very own tree tonight and then she also has this mini advent tree where she adds a decoration a day. In each drawn there is a tiny little decoration ready to place on the tree. This is also another lovely way for her to count down the days to Christmas.

4. Christmas Baking
Getting the children involved in the Christmas baking is such a lovely thing to do and will create such nice memories. They will love getting involved in doing the mixing and stirring and then also love getting to do some great decorations. Some great things you could bake for Christmas are Ginger Bread Men, Cookies, Shortbread Stars, or even Mini Christmas Cakes. There are so many ideas. Then comes the best bit! Getting to eat it all.. YUM!

5. Paint your own Biscuit

What better way to mix 3 great things, Christmas, Cookies and Crafts! These biscuits you can paint and then eat by just adding water to the colours and then painting the icing. It is all edible and Children will love that they have personalised there own cookies. They are also great for stocking fillers, Christmas party bags or Christmas Eve Boxes. You can buy these for your children here.

6. Visiting Father Christmas 
I think this one is quite the obvious one, but a trip to see Father Christmas is always such a special thing to do. Lily isn't to keen on the big guy just yet, but I know one day she won't be able to wait to meet him and tell him all about what she would like for Christmas. If you search "visit santa" in your local area, it should tell you the best places you can visit him. I did this and found out that near me there is a steam train ride where he is onboard. So it is worth a look to see if there is something special happening near you.

7. Leaving out a Special Santa Tray
Now that Lily understands Father Christmas, she is really excited that he will bring her presents. I am now starting to teach her some of the traditions of Christmas, like when santa comes and what he does and so I have been telling her all about how we have to leave him some milk, a mince pie and a carrot for the reindeers. I spotted this tray while out shopping and just thought it was a lovely idea. Im really looking forward to using it to put out all our santa items on Christmas Eve. 

8. Read Christmas Stories 
We are starting to get a nice little collection of Christmas stories now. It is a really nice way to help build the excitement of Christmas and also fill there dreams of nice christmassy thoughts. There are so many titles out there and we still need to find some more to read for this Christmas but you can go to my book section and read all about what we was reading last Christmas

9. Letting your Child choose a New Decoration
This has started to be a little bit of a tradition for us. And each year I let Lily choose a new decoration for our main Christmas Tree. Her first year she was 5 weeks old, so she didn't that year, but at one year old she chose some owls, and 2 year old she chose a rocking horse, and this year she chose this little glass Christmas Tree. She loved her choice so much she wanted to hold it all day but of corse I couldn't let her as it would break. But it now sits nicely on our tree.

10. Giving your child a Christmas Eve box 
For the last 2 years Lily has had her very own special box that contains Christmas goodies. I usually put new Pjs in there and always some activities and a nice Christmas treat like biscuits and chocolate. My Christmas eve box also has a little key that she can leave out for Father Christmas, as we don't have a chimney. It also has a little letter from him telling her that she needs to go to bed and sleep tight so then he can come. I shall be sharing the contents of this years Christmas Eve box on the blog soon.

Which of these ideas do you already do with your children? Which do you think you may start doing? 

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Brio World - Village School and Expansion Pack Review

Lily currently really enjoys playing with her Brio railway. But lately she has got a lot more into the characters and using her imagination to make them act out a scene. So Brio kindly sent me a Brio World Village School and the Expansion pack to review. I knew Lily would love them! 

The sets are both 3+ and with Lily recently turning 3, they were the perfect toy to try out with her. 

Lily was so excited when she saw the boxes and especially loved that the school set came with a slide. 

I decided to start with the school set and so we got to taking the contents out of the box.

The school set is partially built when you get it out and then comes with some extra pieces. Such as Slide, Ladder, Bricks and Benches. Also 2 little characters and some steps so they can walk out of the buildings.

I set to putting the school together. It is really easy and the 2 buildings just slot together making it one building. Then you put 2 side panels onto the roof, slot in the slide and ladders, place the steps by the entrance and its all ready to play with. Although the buildings do come in the box set up, you can pull them apart so you can make your own designs with them.

It looked great when it was all put together. Its really nice that they have used a mixture of plastic and wood in the set. One of the things that I do love about brio is that they always do involve wood in their toys. 

Lily started to play with her set straight away and was putting the people down the slide and making them have conversations. The set is so good for the imagination and lets children make there own little world up. 

After playing with this one for a while I got out the expansion pack for Lily. This one came all dismantled and was in 14 pieces. This was great as it meant we could design the buildings to look how ever we wanted them to. There was a panel with a green door, and 2 with windows and one that was to look like a glass panel. It then had 3 floor pieces and 2 roof pieces. It also had 3 supports and a bench. This set did not come with any people as it was just an extension to the Brio World buildings. 

I started the building off with Lily, and then she joined in and helped. She was very adamant to where she wanted everything to go. Lily managed with some parts of the building but needed my hair a fair bit to build it correctly. But she has only just turned 3 and so it's something she will learn in time. 

It really is great that these sets the children can build them selves. It teaches them to design and is also great for there motor skills.

I am not the best at building houses, and I must admit that later on in the night my partner made a much better one than I did, but I managed to make something for Lily and she enjoyed playing with it. 

The other great thing about the expansion pack is that you can join it onto the school to make the school a bigger school.  

I think this toy is great and would really recommend it to parents of children who love play sets. I can't wait to get Lily more people and more buildings to extend her Brio world play further. 

You can see more about the Brio World Toys on the Website. 

What would your child enjoy about the Brio World toys? 

Friday, 1 December 2017

Monthly Book Roundup - What we have been Reading in November

Its time for my monthly book round up again. Each month I write about new books that I have introduced to Lily at bedtime and what we think of them. We always read around 3 books a night and most nights we end up reading the same ones with a few odd ones read in between. I find reading the same books helps Lily relax and not get over excited at bedtime but she does grow fond of the stories each month and is happy when I pull out the stories she enjoys.

You can read all our other monthly roundups here.

This month I found a few Birthday related books to read to Lily seen as it was her Birthday on the 18th of November. They were really good for getting her excited for Christmas.

We only managed to read 3 new books this month because Lily kept asking for a few of her old ones and she also had some paw patrol books for her birthday she wanted reading. I wasn't going to review these as its pretty much a paw patrol episode in book mode. 

So here are the 3 books that we have been reading in November. 

1. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown 
This was the one non birthday book that we read this month. As soon as I got it I knew it would be a lovely story to read to relax Lily. I had seen it in stores many times and never thought about buying it and to be honest I really wish I would have got it for Lily a lot earlier than now. I luckily won this book in a Toppsta Competition. The story is all about a room and the objects in the room. One by one you say good night to each object. It's a really relaxing story and the repetition of good night should really help children start to be ready to go to sleep. Lily was always really calm when reading her this story, but no stories ever make her fall asleep and so unfortunately this one didn't help with that. You can buy this book in most book shops.

2. Miffy's Birthday - By Dick Bruna 

I have had this book for quite a while now but been waiting for the right birthday to read it to Lily. I felt that turning 3 was the perfect age for me to read her this. It is a really lovely story of Miffy waking up on her birthday and getting presents and a birthday party. Lily loved it and it really got her all excited for her up coming birthday. When she saw the images of the birthday gifts on the pages she would pretend to open them. I think this book is a really lovely little read for the build up on any child's birthday. I was sent this book from Miffy when they were celebrating her real birthday, but you can head online and buy this book along with other Miffy stories. 

3. The Adventures of Abney and Teal - Party Time by Joel Stewart 
So the first thing that is great about this book is the fact that it is a lift flap book. It also doesn't just have one flap on either page either, this book is full of them. At bedtime it would be one of the ones we read first as Lily would get excited to lift the flaps and I am wanting her a little calmer at bedtime, but we just had to read this book seen as it was the build up to her Birthday. The story is all about preparing and having a birthday party. There is decorating, party hats, bubbles, and lots of fun. As you go through the book there is also opportunities to try and find all of the Poc Poc's that are hidden under the flaps. It really is a great book to get a child excited for their upcoming party. I was sent this book from Books and Pieces Online store and you can head there and buy a copy yourself. 

Which of these books do you like the sound off?