Tag Archives: games



This wasn’t June 1982, this was yesterday btw. The photo just arrived captioned like this.

I love this photograph.  Darlek has become a lot more confident with her reading, writing and spelling –  she even attempted Scrabble on her dad’s iPad yesterday.  This is a picture of her battling against the computer, with me faithfully on her side trying my best to help.  Considering how she’s struggled to get her head around spelling and sentences and the like, I was so impressed with her casual determination.

Not all of the words she came up with made sense, they weren’t all spelt correctly, but a lot of them were absolutely fine and fitted in well.  She has, as they say ‘cracked it!’   With her typical ‘I’ll have a go!’ attitude she dived into the game and  gave her all.  There was no ‘I can’t do this!’ or even a hint of a defeatist attitude – although she did of course try to get me to do some for her, as they do.  She wanted to win, and she wanted to use the knowledge she has gained and put it into practise.  Eventually she got bored, but it took quite a while for her to lose interest, and it was only because she was nosey about what her brother was doing that she gave up.  Needless to say she didn’t beat the iPad, but she tried.   I am very, very proud of her for that.

Darlek loves music and often loves to play her favourite songs, with the words on the computer screen so she can sing along now.  She reads shop signs, picks up books and absent-mindedly reads the covers, attempts shopping lists, pretends to lose her voice and writes me notes on scraps of paper, wants to write her birthday cards herself and the list of little triumphs goes on.

Maths has come easy to her, but english has not, and I have worried about her  intellectual inheritance if you can call it that.  Her dad has dyslexia, and I have a close family member who has struggled with the same condition all her life.  I’ll admit I worried Darlek would follow in their footsteps.  But after seeing her this weekend, switching her letters around, tweaking the word sounds, manipulating her knowledge into the Scrabble grid – I’m content to relax a little on her behalf.

Little victories mean a lot, to me and to Darlek too.  I must be doing something right if she’s doing alright.  My baby can play Scrabble now, how cool is that!  I’ll get her on Countdown before she’s 15, just see if I don’t! Right now I’m imagining my daughter stuck in a hothouse, feet dug into a ton of soil in a massive over-sized plantpot, soaking up words and numbers.  She’s growing up beautifully and blooming. :O)


‘Whatever Next!’ by Galt Toys.

‘Whatever Next!’ by Galt Toys.

A great game that gets you moving!

I have to say, whilst on holiday at the caravan it rained a hell of a lot.  We had rain, hail and thunderstorms with occasional sunny interludes.  Whilst it rained the kids richocheted around the caravan, pausing every now and then for fisticuffs.  It was of the utmost importance that we occupied them somehow.  ‘Whatever Next!’ helped an awful lot.

Bright, colourful, easy to understand, perfect for this age group!

To begin with you move from one side of the board to the other with a chosen counter, according to the number of spaces rolled on your dice.  Then you pick the appropriate coloured challenge or chance card according to what you land on, and if completed to a good enough standard (according to the other players) you get another go. That’s basically it. The winner is the person who gets to the end first!  Simple as!

The challenges are great fun and get everyone up and out of their seat.  For example: ‘Can you pretend to be a robot?’ or ‘Pretend to be a Deep Sea Diver’.  Below is a photograph of me completing the ‘Can you walk up and down holding one of your ankles?’ challenge which the kids thought was hilarious!  The challenges are just at the right level for younger kids, and are fun for adults too.  They do love to see us making idiots of ourselves!

Can I stop now please? *peals of laughter* 'No mummy! Not yet! You've not fallen over yet!'

Darlek pretending to be a Deep Sea Diver!

This was very popular with both kids, it was simple to get the hang of, physical and fun.  I do like to be fair with my reviews and give constructive criticism as well as praise – but I honestly cannot think of a single negative or even a tiny niggle in relation to either of the board games Galt Toys sent me to blog about.

Once again, 10/10 Galt Toys!  Thanks for saving us from ‘Caravan Fever.’

If you would like your own game of ‘Whatever Next!’ it is for sale here at £10.99.  Galt Toys kindly sent me the board game to review, no other financial reward was given. Warning – playing this game may result in extreme silliness.

Zhu-Zhu ZhuFari – Lion’s Park Playset

Zhu-Zhu ZhuFari –

Lion’s Park Playset

*sings* ‘We’re all going to the Zhu tomorrow, the Zhu tomorrow, the Zhu tomorrow, we’re all going to the Zhu tomorrow, and we can stay all day!’

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

(There’s a competition at the bottom too if you scroll down….)

My daughter is completely and utterly obsessed with Zhu Zhu pets, they were top of her Christmas list in fact.  With this in mind I pounced on the chance to review the Lion’s Park Playset which is part of the ZhuFari range.  Darlek was equally quick to pounce on the package when it dropped through the door.

Still caged, but ready to be released into the Lion's playset.

So, what is it?  Well, summarized briefly the Lion’s Park Playset is a jungle style playground for Zhu-Zhu pets and  Zhu-Zhu babies.  For the Zhu-Zhu babies we have a hamster tube for dashing down, a huge fairground monkey spinny thing to whizz around on, and for the Zhu-Zhu hamsters there’s a pretty pink bridge to cross and a free play area where they can go forwards and backwards and jabber a lot.

I didn’t even know you could get Zhu-Zhu babies until this set arrived, they do look very cute pictured on the box.  Unfortunately you don’t get any of those with this which is a shame, I would have loved to have seen how they ‘play’ on the playset.  I did however have a Zebra-Zhu-Zhu hamster sent, and my daughter owns two other Zhu-Zhu hamsters so they socialized happily in the free play area and bombed in and out of the ZhuFari set up via the Barbie-esque bridge.  To be honest, I do think you need at least one Zhu-Zhu baby to really appreciate this.  The Zhu-Zhu Hamsters don’t fit down the tube, and they don’t fit on the monkey either, although that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy spending time in each others company in a jungle setting I suppose?

Are lions bright yellow? Do hamsters dress up as zebras? Oh yes they do! Welcome to the wierd and wonderful world of ZhuFari!

As for quality, it’s not bad at all. The sturdy plastic  fits together reasonably easily  (we found it a bit tricky at first, the top bit of the bright yellow lion didn’t attach very easily) and it didn’t randomly fall in bits whilst being played with which is always a good thing.  The colours are nice and the kids and I liked the striking african style design too.  It does seem a little expensive though I have to say.

Do not, repeat, do not, DO NOT look at the crappy gas fire in the background.

I really do have to take issue with one of the statements on the box too: ‘Zhu-Fari animals prance and play in the magical Lion’s Park Playset.’  Right, let’s get this straight, what Zhu-Zhu pets do is gibber strange snatches of music and make odd electronic sneezing noises at each other, whilst going backwards and forwards and backwards and forwards a lot.  As for Zhu-Zhu Babies, I haven’t a clue, although I strongly suspect they don’t prance very much.

A Punk Zebra Hamster! Darwin would have been baffled

So, would I recommend the Lion’s Park Playset from the Zhuniverse of Zhu-Fari?  I think so, I can’t say for sure without seeing the Zhu-Zhu babies in it as I think it’s primarily designed for them. It certainly looks fun, but I think the full size Zhu-Zhu Hamsters got a little bored of making wierd noises and bumping into each other in the middle bit after a while.  If you’d like your very own Baako the Zebra Zhu-Zhu Hamster you can find him HERE for £11.99 and if you want to invest in a Lion’s Park Playset there’s one HERE too for £20  I’d definitely advise buying a couple of Zhu-Zhu babies if you want your kids to make the most of the playset, you can find these little bundles of joy HERE at various prices.

And a quick note from this blog sponsor: “We’ve Just learned that with Zhu-Fari you can even win a break for all the family at the Safari Hotel at Chessington World of Adventures. It’s a great competition, you can enter HERE!

We were sent a Baako the Zebra Zhu-Zhu pet to release into the wild by Evolution PR, who also sent us the Lions Park Playset.  If anyone reading this can translate Zhu-Zhu please feel free to contact me, I’d love to know what the little blighters are waffling on about. Thank you :O)

No other financial reward was given.

Playing in the Park!

Playing in the Park!

Now Darlek and Sausage are back in school and nursery, I’m slightly guiltily breathing a sigh of relief.   I do love spending time with them, I just think you can have too much of a good thing sometimes.  I do miss them, but, the space is nice, the house is quiet, there’s no-one climbing on my knees or asking for TV…it’s calm.

Mind you I have no excuse to go to the park now I have no kids with me.  I love nothing more than casually swinging back and forth on one of the swings, dragging my feet on the floor – once I’ve managed to wedge my bum onto the seat of course.  Maybe I’ll never grow up, I hope not.

I was checking through my photos over the summer hols and found some cute ones of the kids messing around at the local parks and thought they were lovely, so thought I’d share them.   If you’re interested, Darlek is wearing her Muddy Puddles snuggly fleece jumper in a few of the photos.

Some people complain about nanny states and the like, but I am always amazed at the quality of parks these days.  Call me an old git, but I remember concrete floors that’d split your head if you fell on them, roundabouts you could trap yourself under and slides with barely any safety rails.  In regards to kids playgrounds, I love health and safety!  I say ‘Yay!’ for spongey floor tiles.


There may be issues when it comes to finding things to do for teenagers and older children, but at least we’re sorted for stuff to do with younger kids in Lancashire.  If the kids are climbing the walls and trying to cellotape the cat, take ’em to the park I say!

I'm the king of the castle!

One day in the summer I quite literally went on a tour of the playgrounds in our immediate area.  A full afternoon’s worth of activity, for no cost at all.  There were four playgrounds within half an hour’s walking distance, and all for different age groups.

Well, I suppose there’s always the weekend.  I can take them again then maybe. More often than not I’ll sit on the witches hat roundabout, and spin round with them; pretending I’m sat there simply to help them go round faster, when in fact I’m probably enjoying it as much as them.


* Is there such a thing as a half sponsored post?  This is about parks really and me being a big kid mostly.  Muddy Puddles provided the jumper a while ago for review, no other reward was given for my time.  It’s a lovely hoodie and it’s washed lots, been worn lots and fits well.  So there you go!