Hazel Village soft toys – review

A Hazel Village friend

Woodland animals and children go together like jam on toast – and never more so than when the animals in question are the charming, quirky, soft and cuddly organic cotton toys from Brooklyn company, Hazel Village. So when the equally charming Yoyo & Flo asked if we wanted to review one of their organic woodland animal toys, I couldn’t say no!

Hazel Village soft toy, Flora Fox, with cardboard gypsy caravan

These utterly charming woodland animal toys come from Brooklyn company, Hazel Village.

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Peaceable Kingdom Board Game – Co-operative Play

‘Race to the Treasure’ Board Game Review

Have you ever wondered why we get kids to play board games that pit them tooth and nail against one another, when we’re otherwise so keen for them to work and play together? I certainly have! Often, playing board games with my kids makes me feel less like I’m raising the Brady Bunch, and more like I’ve birthed the next Addams Family. While the thrill of a win can raise one child up, inevitably another is cast down into deep disappointment and rage (oh my goodness, the rage!).

Thankfully the lovely One Hundred Toys has come to our rescue – sending us a game by the ‘Peaceable Kingdom’ board game company to review. Peaceable Kingdom create co-operative games requiring kids to work together, rather than competing against each other, to win. How intriguing – and possibly sanity-saving! Perhaps with these games we could find that nirvana of family harmony I’ve heard so much about. Read on to find out what we thought, and if both siblings are still alive to tell the tale…

Peaceable Kingdom board game 'Race to the Treasure'

No, you don’t get our big pile of treasure with this game (sorry!) but the kids do get to have lots of fun working together to win.

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Eco Glitter Lino Printing with Kids

An Earth Day Art Activity

For this year’s Earth Day, we used our new environmentally-friendly eco glitter, sent to us by the lovely people at Eco Glitter Fun, to make these super-sparkly lino printed fishes. Read on to see how we did it and to find out more about our Earth-friendly sparkles!

eco glitter and child-made lino print picture

Earth-friendly art for Earth Day!

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Okido Children’s Arts and Science Magazine Subscription Review

​The Perfect Gift for Curious Kids

A magazine subscription can be the perfect gift for children who are otherwise drowning in heaps of new and old toys. My kids love magazines, but too often it’s the shiny (and short-lived) ‘free’ gift on the front cover that attracts them, rather than the content of the magazine. There are a couple of exceptions out there, and one of our favourites is the very brilliant Okido magazine, so we were thrilled when we were invited recently to become Okido Amabassadors. Read on to find out what makes Okido so different, and why I think their Christmas Subscription Package this year is one of the best around.

Issues of kids' arts and science magazine - Okido

Okido is a gorgeously illustrated arts and science magazine for kids around 8 and under.

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HABA ‘Master Building’ Wooden Marble Run

Reviewing the premium HABA wooden marble run

We LOVE marble runs, and over the years have amassed a few different versions. Wooden marble runs are usually considered the best of the best – not only do they look and feel beautiful, they also offer far more flexibility, challenge and play-possibilities than their plastic counterparts. Wooden marble runs can be quite an investment though, so what is it that makes them so special? We were very privileged to get the chance to review one of the best – and biggest – sets around when the lovely people at HABA sent us their Master Building set, plus one of the many add-ons that are available. Read on to see what we thought of this HABA marble run, and if it’s as special as (let’s face it) it looks…

HABA Master Building Marble Run set in its box

Reviewing the Master Building wooden marble run set for HABA

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Book Love: ‘Topsy and Tim’s Bonfire Night’

Bonfire Night is a very special night for our family;  it’s a birthday for one of the kids as well as probably my all-time favourite event. Who doesn’t love fireworks, bonfires, roasted chestnuts in a paper bag, and (let’s not underestimate this thrill for kids) going out after dark for all of the above on a crisp and cold autumn evening? So when I saw this vintage edition of the ‘Topsy and Tim’s Bonfire Night’ book, I had to buy it – read on for a look inside!

Front cover of vintage children's book Topsy and Tim's Bonfire Night by Jean and Gareth Adamson

Front cover of Topsy and Tim’s Bonfire Night by Jean and Gareth Adamson

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HABA Terra Kids – Real Woodworking Tools

We love a bit of woodwork with the kids – whether out in the woods, at forest school, or at home with a bit of softwood, so we were very happy when One Hundred Toys asked us to test out a pile of fabulous-looking, kid-sized real tools from HABA. Read on to find out why we’re now eschewing pretend tools for the real deal.

Boy using saw at a worktable in a forest

HABA’s folding saw is kid-sized and just right for taking to forest school.

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Our Gypsy Caravan Holiday at Farrs Meadow, Dorset

It’s no doubt a result of my childhood as a bookworm devouring Enid Blyton stories that when I think of Dorset, I think of the  Famous Five – ruined castles, mysterious islands, lashings of ginger beer, and gypsy caravans. So when we decided to take our kids on holiday to Dorset this summer, I was thrilled to discover the beautiful Farrs Meadow, near Winborne, where they have two fully furnished gypsy caravans to hire. And they each come with a fire pit for proper evening campfires… And there’s a nearby river for wild swimming… And Saturday night is home-made-in-an-oudoor-wood-fired-oven Pizza night… At that point, we were all sold! So on a Saturday morning in August, we headed off on our very own caravan adventure. Read on to find out what it was like, and for our review of this quirky and charming campsite…

Boy sitting reading on front step of gypsy caravan

The gypsy caravan we hired for our holiday at Farrs Meadow, Dorset.

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Marvellous Maileg Mouse Review!

Have you heard of Maileg? Maileg (pronounced “My’lye”) are an award-winning Danish toy company that produces gorgeous, swoon-worthy soft toys with a nostalgic, storybook appeal. We’ve been ogling them for quite a while, so we were beyond thrilled to receive a parcel the other day containing a beautiful Maileg ‘Big Sister’ Mouse, complete with matchbox bed, that was kindly sent to us for review by One Hundred Toys. If it’s possible to create Hygge in toy form, a Maileg Mouse must be it! Read on to find out why.

Maileg Mouse - Big Sister - sitting in oversized matchbox bed

Maileg’s Big Sister mouse comes complete with her own giant matchbox bed!

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Book Love: The Bog Baby, by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward

book 'The Bog Baby' by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward

Book Love – ‘The Bog Baby’ by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward.

‘The Bog Baby’ by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward is one of our favourite picture books, being that rare beast that can captivate both a seven-year boy and a three-year old girl time and time again. I couldn’t count how many times I’ve read this to the kids, but it still brings a tear to my eye too (in a good way!!).

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