Mellow Mummy : Taking life as it comes...

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Chill Factor Pull Pops Review

Today has been a gloriously sunny day and as soon as the sun appears, Holly pesters me for her paddling pool, and an ice-pop.  Thankfully this time I was ready with some of her very own homemade popsicles that she put into the freezer a couple of weekends ago.  Holly has been making her own ice pops using the Chill Factor Pull Pops kit from Character.

Inside the Chill Factor Pull Pops gift set you'll find two pull pops for you to create frozen popsicles using fruit juice, yoghurt or even fresh fruit. The kit also contains a little bowl for holding sprinkles or hundreds and thousands that you can dip your ice lollies into as well as a bottle to hold your favourite ice cream sauce.

In theory, making your own pull pop is easy - you use the handle to pull up your favourite juice or yoghurt into the pull-pop; twist the handle off and then place in the freezer to harden.


However, we soon found out that this was easier said than done. Holly and Lara both lacked the strength needed to pull the liquid up into the tubes so I had to help them. I'm not sure if there is a knack to this but I just can't seem to get them to form a good seal so I end up sucking in 50% air and 50% liquid. For this reason, we reverted to filling the tubes up using a spoon... not as much fun, definitely more messy but in the end it had the same result.

After you've filled the tubes, you have to twist off the handle before it goes into the freezer. We found this to result in the seal breaking again and we did end up with pink juice all over everywhere. Lesson learned.


Anyway, now we've found our knack, the pull pops are very popular because Holly can choose whatever flavour she wants. Her favourite to date is this one which looks alarming but is harmless... it is a strawberry yoghurt ice popsicle dipped in chocolate sprinkles and covered in strawberry sauce.

Holly sill finds it very hard to even push the melting popsicle out of the tube as she eats. Moments after these photos were taken, the entire frozen yoghurt catapulted out of the tube and landing on the living room floor.

Despite the struggles, I think the Chill Factor pull pops will become very popular over the summer and we are likely to have to keep creating more to put in the freezer.


The Chill Factor Pull Pops Gift set costs £9.99 but you can also buy the individual pull pops for less than £5.  Find them at www.character-online.com.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Babe The Sheep-Pig Live on Stage - A review

This weekend we took the girls to the theatre in Newbury to see a brilliant stage show of Babe, The Sheep-Pig.


Babe, The Sheep Pig is a live stage retelling of the famous Dick King-Smith story of The Sheep Pig and we added it to a wonderful restaurant lunch to turn it into a perfect family day out.  The show was perfectly pitched for families - not so arty as to confuse the children, but definitely not dumbed-down for kids. From the lighting to the costumes, from the singing to the puppetry, this theatrical retelling of the Sheep Pig was everything you'd expect from a stage show and would make a perfect introduction to the theatre for children.




Babe, The Sheep-Pig is a story about a little pig who gets taken in by a farmer and his sheep-dog. The maternal sheep-dog Fly looks after Babe and helps pass on some of the skills it takes to become a prize-winning sheep-dog. But Babe soon learns that he has one more skill he can bring - politeness - and this means he cstands a chance of being a prize-winning sheep-pig.

Lara and Holly both spent the entire show wrapped up in its magic. They giggled at the silly sheep (whose costumes were perfect); they oohed and aaahed at the terrifying wolf; they joined in with the chants to help Babe be his best and they cheered when Babe found glory.  Both Lara and Holly did find the end of the first act a little disturbing; there is strobe lighting, a very dark part-human / part-puppet representation of a wolf, a death scene and a threat with a gun. Surprisingly, most of the children in the theatre coped pretty well with this scene and it definitely got people talking and thinking before the interval.


We enjoyed all the costume changes, dances and musical numbers and we felt that the puppets fitted into the show seamlessly.

To see where Babe, The Sheep-Pig will be performing, visit www.BabeThePigLive.com. There are venues all over the UK from now until mid-September so there are lots of chances to see the show.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Cluedo Junior Review

These days, Lara and Holly play a lot of board games after school. Now that Holly is able to understand the rules of a game such as Cluedo (and to some extent, follow them!), the girls can have a lot of fun together playing quiet games after school, or to play as a family with us at the weekends. Cluedo junior is a perfect family board game which we can play as pairs with the girls, or as individuals for a slightly more competitive edge!



We've been playing Cluedo Junior, the case of the missing cake; your challenge is to find out who took the last piece of cake, when they ate it, and what drink they had with it. It's very similar to the traditional grown-up game of Cluedo but with a little bit more guidance and structure (and not a murder in sight!). Inside the box you'll find everything you need for a traditional whodunnit challenge - a set of characters to move around the board and a pad of papers which allow you to tick off the rooms, drinks and times as you move around the board.  Throw the die to move around the board, trying to remember which rooms and pieces of furniture you've already checked.  The girls LOVE the challenge of trying to determine the result by powers of deduction.

 


The girls have played Junior Cluedo several times recently so it definitely has the return-factor for playing again. There are six different characters to play as - some you may recognise (such as miss Scarlet) and others who are new (such as Dr. Orchid the biologist).  It took Lara and Holly a little while to remember the rules about which spaces on the board meant you could check for clues under which things - furniture, or people. Lara has now totally grasped the concept and is very competitive about trying to be the first to guess who ate the last slice of cake!  I think the cake theme is particularly important for Lara who is, herself, a bit of a cake fiend.



I think the beauty of this game is that it isn't childish; it's suitable for everyone in the family and is a genuine challenge but not so hard that it puts people off. I think Cluedo Junior is going to become a family classic in our house.

You can find Cluedo Junior at Smyths Toys for under £15. It is recommended for children from age 5 and I think, given Holly is just about to turn 5, that the age recommendation is spot on.
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