Toys we play with including reviews

Dino Tales app review

Dino Tales app has completely taken me by surprise as I wasn’t expecting my twin girls to like it but since we downloaded it they haven’t stopped playing this game.

“Mum! she won’t let me have a go.”

I have had to intervene on plenty of occasions to call time out on one twin’s turn as we only have the 1 iPad and we’re constantly improving our sharing skills. The twins have been engrossed in this app for long periods of time, until I called them off in fact. I should set a playing time but as we share the game I’m not sure how to work out times for both of them.

My little princesses have never shown any interest in dinosaurs, they know about them and have read a couple of books when they came home from school for reading practise but their interest starts to wane pretty immediately with most Dinosaur related games.

Dino Tales is downloadable from the Apple App store for £2.99 and it is a learning game where kids explore a dinosaur island. As they explore they learn amazing facts and turn their own adventures into a storybook. It works on iPhone, iPad and iTouch.

Who is Dino Tales for?

Dino Tales is for children aged 4 – 10. It has a Parent’s Corner which is a pin secure area where adults can set the reading age, length of play sessions and receive emails of their child’s latest tale.

What’s it about?

dino tales app review

The game has been created with education specialists and has been tested with pupils and teachers across 25 primary schools in the UK. Children can customise and control a baby dinosaur and they go on to explore a 3D island full of dinosaurs, plants and fossils. There are 6 characters to try out and lots of games including lava slides, rock bowling and a scary cave.

The twins love the lava slides! I think this has been their favourite part of the island, that and the river.

How to play

First of all you must name your baby Cerasinops and give it a gender then you enter into the land of Dino Tales by turning the pages of a picture book. The island has rivers, lakes, mountains and caves to explore and more imaginative areas like Musical Boneyard and Boulder Alley. You are free to go wherever you like you can take a ride on the River Rapids or visit Scary Cave.

I struggled to move the dinosaur but the twins cottoned on immediately and have swept the island over and over in search of fossils and other treasures.

On your explorations you will discover and hatch 5 other dinosaurs and you can choose which one to play with from the main menu.

Every time you play a new story begins, on entering you find a story title and an activity prompt, Darwin also joins in the start by suggesting a game to start the story.

The Story Book

dino tales app review

This is an excellent way to encourage a child’s reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.

What I particularly liked about the Story book is it encourages children to be creative with language by providing various alternatives for the verbs, adjectives and adverbs as you go along. They are highlighted in orange and easily scrolled through to choose your own word by tapping on it. It’s a fabulous way of increasing a child’s vocabulary for example, ‘Timmy T-Rex was feeling tired and tried to eat the wrong kind of food!” Tapping tired shows alternatives to choose from: confused, drowsy, sluggish or greedy.


Darwin is a wise and very knowledgeable dinosaur who guides the game , stimulates curiosity and answers all of their questions about dinosaurs, fossils and other prehistoric topics.

There’s a fun counter kind of game where you choose a word at a time to make up your question to ask Darwin.

We asked Darwin, ‘How fast can you run?’ and he replied that running wasn’t one of his best skills.’

Verdict: I am pleasantly surprised Dino Tales has been an enormous hit with the girls and after a couple of weeks it is still going strong.

I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses, and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.

This is a Netmum’s sponsored review.To find out more click the button:

kidizoom action cam

Over half term Vtech invited us to the White Grounds Skate park as they wanted the girls to try out the Kidizoom Action Cam. We were very excited as there were to be displays and lessons in scooting, BMX and Skateboards too.

Vtech Kidizoom Action Cam

The Vtech Kidizoom Action Cam, also known as the Fun Cam, is a very neat gadget. It’s pocket size and can be hand held. You can take both photos and videos with it via buttons on the top of the camera. Other settings allow you to playback the footage or see the photos you have taken and watch/see them on the screen on the back of the Action Cam, where you can delete or add stickers and other fun features.

Kidizoom White Grounds Skate park

The Action Cam comes with a waterproof case so it can be used in the swimming pool and the sea and it also has a sturdy mount so it can be attached to bikes, skateboards, scooters and more.

Excitingly on our way home the girls were playing with the controls on the back of the camera to take a look at the footage they had made at the Skatepark and they found a games button with three different games, Super Boarder, Mountain Bike and Crazy Captain. These kept them busy all the way home as they drummed up points and mastered the new games.


I can see this becoming the travel accessory of the summer 2015, with kids having great fun trying new skills on their bikes or scooters and taking videos of their stunts. It’s a means of learning how to improve and mastering the art of video at the same time.

All the images and footage can be downloaded on to a computer and kept for future reference.

White Grounds Skate Park – London Bridge

We were invited along by Vtech to a very cool skate park minutes from London Bridge Station and under the arches of the train tracks above. With graffited walls and special slides, arches and steps put in for stunts we watched some members perform tricks and stunts to get the kids into the spirit. Then each child could choose to use a skateboard, a scooter or a BMX bike.

kidizoom Alice BMX

Surprisingly, for me, Alice went for the BMX and after an hour of riding around she has mastered standing up and riding gently up a slope. I think she has potential and would like to give her the opportunity to discover more as I could see she was really enjoying it. Her Kidizoom Action Cam is attached to the centre of the handlebars taking in all her stunts and cycling.

kidizoom action can bessie scooter

Bessie went with the scooter, the difference being from the scooters we have at home that this was a stunt scooter meaning the board you stand on could turn 360 degrees on itself. She too managed to scoot slopes and in and out of the kids successfully. See Bessie’s Kidizoom Action Cam mounted on the handlebars in this image.

Disclosure: We were invited to the event in London and the girls were given a Kidizoom Action Cam to take home. All words and opinions and images are my own and may not be copied without my permission.

littlest pet shop

It’s been a while now that one of the twins latest crazes is pets, dogs to be precise, they would, ‘…really, really, please mummy, please daddy, like a real pup,’ and we are taking that into serious consideration but whilst we are thinking Hasbro’s Littlest Pet Shop will do just perfectly.

littlest pet shop

The range includes the individual animals and also a host of shops and rooms to go with them to enhance the play even further.

We were sent three rooms and two boxes of pets to play with and I have to say I’m very impressed.


There is quite a bit, the animals and pieces of the rooms come in a cardboard box and then held in plastic to stop the bits moving around.


There are instructions which are simple to follow and the construction of each room takes about 20 minutes to complete. There is a base which the two ends slot into with a click. The back of the room, which is card, slides into the back and the sides are constructed with coloured plastic see through panels that slide into place. The panels have lots of pin holes in them which are used later for decorating. Another piece clicks into place on the top and has a door in it which opens up. All three rooms of varying sizes were constructed in the same way.


Then there are lots of stickers and tiny little pieces called Deco Bits including love hearts, flowers and cute things to decorate your room with. There are no instructions for this as it is intended for players to do as they please and personalise their shops and rooms.

Littlest Pet Shop Blythes Bedroom Style Set

littlest pet shop

The first one we opened was Blythes bedroom set. It was the biggest of the three boxes and includes a figurine of Blythe and her pet Penny Ling. It has a balcony on the front and comes with a bed, table, chair and other room accessories. Blythes bedroom is one of the largest rooms. It is priced anywhere between £20 – 30 right now

Littlest Pet Shop Spa Style Set

This is where the pets can be washed dried and pampered, there is a sink with a shower attachment, a bath, a stool and plenty of hair accessories to play with. Zoe Trent pet comes with this set. Costs around £14 – 15

littlest pet shop

Littlest pet shop Playroom Style pet

This is where the pets come to play, the set includes a slide a tunnel and an exercise ball. Hamilton Rumble and Chomper McConnell are the pets included with this set. Costs around £14 – 15

Play value

The beauty of these rooms is that they can all be placed alongside each other or stacked in any formation and played as a larger ‘hotel’ which is how the twins played.

They liked that the Deco Bits could be used as earrings on the pets too.

I felt the toy was a little fragile and had to come to the rescue a couple of times to reclip walls into place after they had got a bit heavy handed. I also found all the Deco bits to be a bit of a nightmare as they are tiny and there is no place to keep them all. I kept finding them all over the floor.

littlest pet shop

The twins however were thrilled and played all evening with their new toy. I have now found a place for it on the sideboard in their bedroom where it is at perfect playing height for them and I am able to group all the bits in one place ready for play next time.

Disclosure: This review has been written in collaboration with TOTS100 and Hasbro and I have been compensated for my time. All opinions are my own.

Science Museum shop

Science museum shop

Bluewater, our local shopping centre is totally amazing at this time of year and one thing I always look forward to is the pop up shops as there is always something exciting to go and see. This year is no exception, we were asked to go along and visit the Science Museum shop and report back to you our findings.

We were very impressed, it’s situated on the lower level on the stretch that runs from House of Fraser to Marks and Spencer. The shop is well lit and open which invites you in to browse. Once you’re in it’s like being in a wonderland as all the products have a scientific slant to them. The first one the girls picked up was The Underwater World by Clementoni.

I smiled at the Potato Clock and I know a few people who’d love to find some spy glasses or a spy pen in their Christmas stocking this year. If you know someone looking for a Lava Lamp you’ll find one here but also gifts for adults too, like the Mojito Molecular Mixology kit.

Loved this shop and you’ll find lots of stocking fillers too.

What If? Puzzles no 9

what if puzzle

Ravensburger have a fabulous humorous range of What If? puzzles out. We’ve been sent No. 9 to review  …. What if Santa and Rudolph swapped jobs?

The picture on the box shows Rudolph’s usual situation and him thinking Santa has it cushy, eating mince pies and drinking sherry. Whereas the puzzle inside the box shows what could happen if he changed jobs.

The beauty of this puzzle is you have to go one step further and imagine what if? With no picture to help you you must piece the puzzle together alone. If you do get stuck you can contact What if? HQ and they’ll send a small print of the puzzle.

I love this idea but I haven’t started my puzzle yet, I’m saving it for when the girls break up and we can spend time on it.



The latest Degustabox to arrive in Mari’s World was packed with excellent goodies as always but what caught my eye immediately was the beautiful golden cider that comes from the foothills of Trentino – my second home!

Montano and it was delicious. A lot of really interesting products this month. We loved the Holy Cow Rogan Josh curry sauce and are looking forward to trying the Fajita taste pots too. We’ve talked about the Kettle Chips previously, the apple juices were both polished off by the twins and I’m looking forward to using the chutney. No need to talk about the chocolate, that was superb.

If you do remember my first post you will record my box arrived in a cardboard box different to the one pictured here. Degustabox called me and told me there had obviously been a problem with the courier as they send all their boxes out as you see above.

 Disclosure: I have been sent the above products for the purpose of this review

LeapTV Tess Daly

As one of the LeapFrog panel bloggers we get to play and review the brand new products as they are launched and the most exciting product launched recently with the help of Tess Daly is the LeapTV.

Take a look a this short video for a great idea on what the LeapTV is.

What is the LeapTV?

The LeapTV is a game console that is plugged into your TV and allows children to play in three different ways. The LeapTV video game system puts learning into motion

  1. Body Motion: The motion-sensing camera captures a child’s moves and instantly puts them into the game as they explore activities like dance and martial arts.
  2. Pointer Play: Pointer play takes pretend play to new levels of engagement. The controller turns into a pointer with a simple twist and lets kids snap jungle vines, slice through coconuts, and more.
  3. Classic Control: Classic control puts fun at a child’s fingertips. They can press the A and B buttons for fast-paced gaming, or tilt and shake the controller to navigate through an enchanted garden or race in a classic kart-racing game.

What games can be played on LeapTV?

There are over 100 game cartridges, game downloads and videos with favourite characters and brands. Including Spiderman, Toy Story, Monster Inc, sofia the First and Jake of the Never Land Pirates plus the LeapFrog library of characters too.

Why a separate console?

Most houses already have games console but they are targeted for an older audience, LeapFrog decided to create one for children aged 3 – 8. Care has been taken to make the controls easier to use especially for smaller hands and to make the games simple and intuitive user interfaces

Why a new system?

This system is set to revolutionise gaming for children by combining activity and movement with educational skills such as reading, maths, problem solving and science. The games can be set to offer the right level of challenge for age or level and will automatically adjust as they progress. Many games also have audio instructions for those who can’t read yet.

LeapTV has already been included in Hamleys’ 2014 top toy for Christmas list, making it likely to be top of the Christmas wish list for many families.

What’s in the box?

Opening the box you’ll find a console, a motion sensing camera that sits on top of the tv with the aid of an included camera mount. A transforming controller with wrist strap, an HDMI cable, 16 GB memory and built in Wi-Fi allowing to download directly.

Our review to follow shortly.

LeapTV what's in the box

How much does it cost?

The LeapTV system RRP £119.99

Game cartridges RRP £24.99

Downloadable games and apps starting at RRP £3.50 and up will be available via the LeapFrog App Centre in December. For more information, visit


Disclosure: As part of the LeapFrog panel of bloggers we have been sent a LeapTV to review with one game which we’ll be getting back to you with very soon.