Playtime: Turtles Movie Deluxe Figure – Raphael

When I was a kid the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were big and there was no escaping Turtle fever. What had started out as a comic book quickly evolved into a popular cartoon series that led to a demand for a toy range that eventually spawned two feature films.

If like me that is where your relationship with the Turtles ended you may or may not be aware that the Ninja Turtles continued to fight crime in a popular cartoon series on Nickelodeon, and now they are well and truly back with their new look movie, which releases in the UK this weekend.

So it should come as no surprise that there is a hot new range of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys out on the market to coincide with the release of the movie.

ninja turtles movie deluxe figure raphael box

If you have seen any trailers for the film you will immediately notice that the look of the Turtles has been revised quite dramatically. They have evolved into lean, green and mean fighting machines, no more so than the character of Raphael, who we reviewed. It is quite a transformation that takes a while to get used to and I imagine it must have been a toy makers nightmare as the design is very different to the Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles that continue to be marketed.

You could argue that commercially it is better to separate the cartoon series and movie toys as they are essentially different brands, but to a child who asks for a Turtles movie toy and receives a cartoon series toy will it matter? I don’t know but it opens up the opportunity for disappointment and as a parent/ shopper I would buy with caution.

turtles movie deluxe figure raphael toy

The Combat Turtles are the scariest and most highly detailed ever, with multiple points of articulation. Raph comes in his red signature gear with his sais, non-removable body armour and elbow and knee pads. Just squeeze his legs to make him use his slashing sais.

When asked to review the Turtles Movie Deluxe Figure we were actually sent the Michelangelo figure and my son who turns 4 next month fell in love with it. Now, if you follow my blog then you may guess that I have a tendency to exaggerate but honestly he really loved that toy, so much so it went everywhere with him be it nursery, the toilet, in the bath, he even went to bed with him. But then disaster struck………… we lost him.

Turtles Movie Super Deluxe Figure Raphael toy holding

If your child has ever lost their favourite toy then you can sympathise that emotions were high and after a four day search party the mourning began. Mike was gone but his memories will live on.

But hey all was not lost as it only took a quick visit to our local Tesco for playtime to resume, but this time with his brooding brother Raphael. My son and I felt that as the biggest and possibly strongest of the Turtles that Raphael should be able to fend for himself if he happened to ever get lost too. Oh and Mikey turned up less than 24 hours later as reports reached us that he was found at my son’s friend’s house.

Anyway about the toy, the Turtles Movie Deluxe Figure is incredibly accurate to the look of the movie Raphael, they have really captured his ‘turtleness’.  At just over 13cm in height the deluxe figure is an ideal size for little hands, which is great as the toy is brought to life with a firm squeeze of his legs which results in both arms performing a slashing movement of his ninja sais.

Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Turtles Movie Super Deluxe Figure Raphael toy sewer pose

The incredible detail of the Turtles Movie Deluxe Raphael Figure is enhanced by the multiple points of articulation which, combined with the interactive slashing action, enhances the playability of the figure.

The Ninja Turtles Movie Deluxe Figure range includes all four of the Turtles; Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael. You can also purchase Splinter, Shredder and his Foot Soldiers which offers an exciting range of toys for a Ninja Turtles fan.

Turtles Movie Super Deluxe Figure Raphael toy sewer pose 2

The Movie Deluxe Raphael Figure is priced at £14.99 which, despite being at the top end of what I would pay for a toy of this size and functionality, it still offers great value for money if your child is a fan of the movie or the Turtles in general. I would be happy to pay it again to get the other Turtles in the range as I have seen first hand how much play my son gets out of it.

You can purchase the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Deluxe Figure – Raphael here or at a good local toy shop.

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Posted in Reviews, The Blog, Toys

The LEGO Golden Brickies Awards – A Day To Remember

The very first LEGO Golden Brickies Awards were hosted at LEGOLand Windsor last weekend and we were lucky enough to get an invite to join in the fun.

The Golden Brickies Awards were announced by the LEGO Group last month when they urged fans both young and old to submit their best LEGO Star Wars work using the #GoldenBrickies hashtag. Despite only having a limited time to submit an entry it didn’t stop thousands of creative builders of getting involved, me included.

LEGO Golden Brickies Awards Warwick Davis Selfie

The Golden Brickies is made up of four prestigious awards –  best picture, best mini movie, best set build and overall LEGO Star Wars™ winner for best content creation. The prize for the winner of each category was a  year’s supply of LEGO® Star Wars™ goodies, a LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort Annual Pass for a family of four and perhaps best of all a truly incredible bespoke LEGO® C-3PO award.

LEGO Golden Brickies Awards Storm Trooper Selfie

The awards took place on Saturday 11th October 2014 at the LEGOLand Windsor Hotel and guests were encouraged to embrace the force and don their very best Star Wars attire, luckily for me I woke up looking like a Wookie so not a lot of effort was required!

Although we weren’t nominated for any awards we were all very excited to be a part of it and particularly looked forward to meeting the legendary Warwick Davis, who played Wicket the Ewok in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. It was actually Warwick’s presence that inspired us to dress our 13 month old son up as an Ewok and as there was a prize being presented to the best dressed adult and child it felt the perfect opportunity to leverage the cute card.

My eldest son who turns 4 next month was dressed as a battle between good and evil, he was Anakin Skywalker at the front and Darth Vader at the back, which to be honest pretty much sums up his average day. Both boys looked great despite us having to dress them up in the hotel car park.

LEGO Star Wars Golden Brickies Storm Trooper

My Dark Sided Jedi

As we approached the LEGOLand hotel we were greeted by a gaggle of Storm Troopers and a very convincing Boba Fett lurking in the shadows, but even the most hardened in the galaxy could not resist the allure of our Ewok baby as my Wife and I were gently ushered aside and my 13 month old took the stage.

The next 5 minutes were a whirlwind as guest after guest wanted to marvel at our Ewok baby and then the moment we had worked for happened, Rex the Ewok and Warwick locked eyes, I would like to say that there was a mutual respect between the two of them but that bond was broken within seconds as my Ewok baby prodded his makeshift spear straight towards Warwick’s right eye, it was only for Warwick’s Ewok like reflexes that ensured he escaped unharmed. Then all was fine and we got a nice photo opportunity.

Baby Ewok Costume and Wicket Warwick Davis Star Wars LEGO Golden Brickies

My Ewok Baby – Photo taken by Mikel Buck – http://www.mikaelbuck.com/

Anyway enough about my family, this is about the LEGO Golden Brickies and the well deserved winners… did I mention that my baby Ewok actually crawled away as the winner of best dressed child? Ok sorry that’s enough, now on to the real talent of the day.

The Winners…

LEGO Golden Brickies – Best Picture Winner:

‘Ladies Knight at the Jedi Temple’ by Guy Frankland from Newcastle

LEGO Golden Brickies Ladies Knight

LEGO Golden Brickies – Best Mini Movie Winner:

‘Luke to the Rescue’ by Tim Sutcliffe and his sons Evan(5) and George(4) from Bristol

LEGO Golden Brickies – Best Set Build Winner:

‘May 4th Party’ by Nick Sweetman and his son Matthew (11) from Plymouth

LEGO Golden Brickies May The Fourth Nick Sweetman

LEGO Golden Brickies – Overall Winner:

Daniel Jamieson from London

Overall it was a fantastic day and now I have seen the bespoke LEGO C-3PO award in person I am desperate to get my hands on one. I guess I better get building now for next year’s Golden Brickies Awards.

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Posted in Dad-tivities, Love LEGO, The Blog, Toys

Playtime: Giggling Gourmet 4-in-1 Shop ‘n Cook Walker

This week we were lucky enough to be sent a 4-in-1 Shop ‘n Cook Walker by Bright Starts for the boys to play with. The timing of this toy could not have been better as my youngest son has just turned 13 months and although a bit later than some of his friends he is finally finding his walking feet. I hoped the the 4-in-1 Shop ‘n Cook Walker would give him more opportunities to practice his walking as well as being a fun toy to play with.

Giggling Gourmet 4-in1 Shop n cook walker by bright starts

The 4-in-1 Shop ‘n Cook Walker™ from Bright Starts™ Giggling Gourmet™ Collection entertains baby with 4 stages of play: the cook top is removable for sit and play; the cart legs lock in place so the cook top becomes a stationary activity table; when baby begins to toddle, the wide, sturdy legs are perfect for learning to walk – the popcorn pops as baby pushes the cart along!

BrightStarts 4 in 1 shop n cook walker toy

To be honest we already have two walker toys in our household that my son does play with and do a good job however the Giggling Gourmet 4-in-1 Shop ‘n Cook is so much more than just a walker. The 4 in 1 functionality enhances its playability and ensures it grows with each stage of your child’s development.

As always when there is a new toy in our house there is a crazy level of excitement and a collective pressure put upon me to get it out of the box as soon as humanly possible. Sometimes there is a need for me to get my screwdriver out before the boys get to play with a toy and this was one of those occasions.

The 4 in 1 walker assembles very easily with a few simple clicks and to ensure it remains secure it requires a number of screws to go in through the bottom of the trolley to the underside of the basket. It only took a few minutes and probably could’ve been done quicker if my eldest son didn’t insist on helping.

BrightStarts 4 in 1 shop n cook walker toy 2

Once the walker was built it was time to insert some batteries into the interactive table that sits on top of the trolley. I was caught a little off guard when I turned the walker on as it spurted out a language that was not English and my first thought was I had been sent a toy meant for a different country. Well I felt a bit silly 30 seconds later when I realised the on switch has 3 language settings – Spanish, French and English.

It was time to test the toy out, could it entertain a 13 month old and a soon to be 4 year old?! Could it buy me enough time to pee in peace?!

BrightStarts 4 in 1 shop n cook walker toy 3

Well I never get to pee in peace so that would be asking miracles but the toy definitely did entertain. I was really surprised how well each of the four functions worked and provided a different element of play. We started out testing the walker and my 13 month old pulled himself straight up and started toddling with the assistance of the well built trolley walker.

It didn’t take long for my eldest son to get involved and they both tested out the shopping basket, which was great fun as they loaded it up with the contents of their toy kitchen. For 5 minutes I felt like Dale Winton hosting an episode of Supermarket Sweep, especially when they tried stuffing an inflatable guitar into the trolley… unfortunately there were no cash prizes.

BrightStarts 4 in 1 shop n cook walker toy 4

Up next was the sit and play part which is basically the top cover of the shopping trolley that features a popping popcorn maker which also pops when the trolley is pushed along, much to the amusement of my youngest son. It also includes an open and close cheese toaster that flips up with a press of a button, a sunny side up egg roller and a light up button which when pressed lets off sizzling cooking sounds. I think it is safe to say the popcorn maker is the highlight of the cooker top.

I would definitely recommend the Giggling Gourmet 4-in-1 Shop ‘n Cook Walker not just to those with children learning to walk but the role play element of the shopping trolley makes great fun for older kids too.

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Posted in Babies for Beginners, Reviews, The Blog

Read Along With Woolly Soft Toy

One of the most exhausting parts of being a parent is the bedtime routine, even those who have mastered the art of it will occasionally dread the thought of having to wrestle their child to bed. Well I have good news for you all, bedtimes routines are now a thing of the past as I have found the ideal replacement for a parent. Woolly.

The Read along with Woolly Soft Toy based on the hit CBeebies programme Woolly and Tig is well equipped to send your child off to sleep with a smile on their face and a cuddle in their arms.

Ok ok perhaps Woolly can’t completely replace the need for you to do the bedtime routine but his presence alone is bound to make the overall experience better.

Read along with Woolly soft toy
Read Along With Woolly is a 22cm soft toy that is advertised as a fun interactive introduction to reading for children aged 10 months to 6 years. My boys are aged 12 months and nearly 4 years old so I initially thought Woolly would be a great toy for both of them but for different reasons.

My theory was confirmed when I unleashed Woolly on the boys. My youngest was instantly drawn to the bright colours of Woolly and it didn’t take him long to work out how to make Woolly talk. It was Woolly’s dulcet tones that caught the attention of my eldest son who came rushing over to press each interactive button located on the base of Woolly’s feet. The next 5 minutes were quite hectic as it felt Woolly was stuck on repeat thanks to both my boys taking it in turns to press every noise provoking button repeatedly.

Make learning fun with Read Along with Woolly! Perfect for bedtime, Woolly comes complete with his very own story book featuring four different stories.

Read along with Woolly soft toy 2

Read Along With Woolly has a total of 8 embroidered symbols located on each foot and when pressed he sounds out a different phrase or song, which is entertaining on it’s own, but the fun doesn’t stop there!

Woolly comes equipped with a small booklet that features four read along stories which includes photos and symbols that match those located on Woolly’s feet. The stories are short but sweet and cover the important topics of sleeping, hair wash day, sharing and holding hands. As you read through the story young ones are encouraged to press the relevant symbol on Woolly to bring the story alive.

Read along with Woolly Soft toy full view

I had purposely introduced Woolly to the boys just before bedtime as bait to get them up to the bath quickly and in bed with minimum fuss on the promise that Woolly would be in bed for story time. It may have been crafty but it worked a treat and before I knew it both boys were settled in their pyjamas ready for Woolly’s stories.

A brilliant way to encourage a love of reading; Woolly’s interactive features are bound to delight and entertain your little one.

Read along with Woolly soft toy4

Bedtime cuddles with Woolly

At this point my 12 month old was more interested in cuddling Woolly as my eldest wanted to play along with the stories, despite a bit of a wrestle for Woolly’s love we got through the stories fairly quick.

If I was to be super critical of Woolly the only thing I would perhaps change is the durability of the story book that comes with him. It is made out of a toughened card which is bound with a stitch so it isn’t exactly flimsy and for my near 4 year old it is perfect. However for a 12 month old that insists on chewing on more things than a famished goat, I fear that the book may not last that long.

I love Woolly and Woolly loves me, We’ve been together since we were wee

Read along with Woolly soft toy3

Story Time With Woolly

Overall I think Read Along With Woolly makes a fantastic toy both for his interactive functions and as a lovely soft teddy to snuggle up to. If your child is a fan of the popular CBeebies series Woolly and Tig then I am sure their eyes will light up with delight as they see Woolly for the first time. Woolly is priced at £29.99 which is probably at the very top end of what I would pay for this toy but having said that I think it still represents plenty of value for that price.

If your child is anything like my boys then Woolly will be going everywhere with you and not just restricted to a story at night time. Woolly is more than a toy, he is a friend.

Amazon currently have a sale on this product, buy your very own Read Along With Woolly Soft Toy here

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Posted in Reviews, The Blog, Toys

Playtime: LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Turtle Lair Invasion

If you were to rewind 25 years you would most likely find me searching the street for a loose manhole cover so I could join up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to fight off the evil Shredder. Sadly it was never to be and I lived an ‘ooze’ free childhood and instead settled for a Donatello action figure and a comfy place in front of the TV.

Today as I look upon the new movie version of the LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I find myself caught in a strange cocktail of emotions as a flood of nostalgia and a rush of kainotophobia battle it out for a suggestion of how I feel about the new movie Turtle design. I have to be honest I grew up with the Ninja Turtles and despite the numerous reboots over the years they have remained recognisable, this time they’re different, a bit too different. These Turtles are ready for a fight!

They’re the world’s most fearsome fighting team, They’re heroes in a half-shell and they’re green, When the evil Shredder attacks, These Turtle boys don’t cut him no slack!

Anyway… we were lucky enough to receive the LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lair Invasion set to review, and despite my initial hostility to the new movie character design it didn’t take me long to warm to the LEGO Minifigure versions. After all everything is better in bricks!

I didn’t even have to open the Ninja Turtles Lair Invasion box for the excitement levels to reach fever pitch in our house, shrieks of joy could be heard for miles as we poured out the bags of LEGO from the box. This was going to be an epic build and luckily with the help of my four year old it would slow the building down to snail pace so we could savour the pleasure.

LEGO Turtles Lair Invasion Overview

The Complete Set

The LEGO Ninja Turtles Lair Invasion is the premier set of the new movie range of the LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and boasts a whopping 888 pieces, 6 minifigures, multiple interactive functions and probably most importantly, two LEGO pizzas. This set is impressive!

The Turtle Lair is under attack by Shredder and his Foot Soldiers. Splinter, Donatello and Leonardo must split up to defend their home. Use the bank of screens in the surveillance room to keep an eye on Shredder’s maneuvers. Grab the weapons and defend the manhole cover entrance to the Lair. Climb the ladder and use the cool trap function to drop barrels on the bad guys.

My first thoughts of the Turtles Lair is that this set has been built for playing, although it looks impressive as a stand alone set the real fun is to be had with the interactive features that bring the good vs bad battle alive.

LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lair Invasion - The Build

The Build

The Lair Invasion set has a recommended building age of 7 – 14 and with two thick instruction books this is quite an intensive build. My son is only 4 and although he could never build this by himself he did play a big part in helping put it together, although it did take 5 long days and 12 snack breaks to complete! The downside to such a big set is that it takes time to build which is great for most of us but when the box teases you with all the fun features I imagine as a small child all you want to do is play with it!

Don’t let the evil invaders explode the wall to the fan room, and if the Foot Soldiers discover the hidden door, elevate the slide behind it to drop them in the prison! Shut the cage door to trap intruders and make those villains pay for trespassing on Turtle property!

LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lair Invasion - Playtime

Playtime

The LEGO Ninja Turtles Lair Invasion set consists of three main structures that link together to create the Turtles lair. The biggest section of the lair stands three stories tall and has the fun addition of a helter skelter style slide that wraps around the structure from top to bottom, a fantastic way to get to the control room quickly when you are under attack! Out of all the features this was my son’s favourite part and he spent ages sliding all sorts down it. The best was the cozy slide ride between Shredder and Splinter that apparently reminded my son of us when we go down slides?!

LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lair Invasion - Battle

Let the battle commence

The centre piece of the lair stands two stories tall which is made up of the fan room on the ground floor and a vault door that protects the lair entrance on the top. The fan room features a cool exploding wall that acts as an entrance point to the boisterous Shredder and his balaclava-ed Foot Soldiers. The smallest section of the lair has a sliding cage door that protects the weapon storage and could also act as a great space to trap Shredder and his clan in.

LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lair Invasion - Pizza

The Take Away

As I write this review I realise just how many parts on this set are interactive and enhance the overall playability, which to name a few include a rotating training platform, the barrel launcher, hidden weapon sliding drawer and hidden door. All of these well thought out features allow the seige to play out across all elements of the lair to prolong the fight.

LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lair Invasion - Shredder

Even bad guys love the slide

This set is currently priced at £79.99 which means it is probably better suited as a birthday or Christmas present than as an impulsive purchase. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are definitely enjoying a new lease of life as the new film realeases next month in the UK and movie merchandise is starting to pop up everywhere. I think it is safe to say that the Turtles will be featuring on a lot of Christmas lists this year and if you want to buy something special then this set offers fantastic value for money in terms of building and playability.

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Posted in Love LEGO, Reviews, The Blog

Pimp My Ride: Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Makeovers

The Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Ride-on is instantly recognisable with its trademark red and yellow colours and classic chunky design. The cozy coupe has been around for over 30 years now and it seems that year after year it is the ride on car of choice for even the most discerning toddler. It is no surprise then that with this product being produced for so many years that often these classic ride on cars are passed on from sibling to sibling or even family to family and occasionally their new owners need to breathe new life into them.

We actually have two Little Tikes Cozy Coupes of our own, one is a fairly new Little Tikes Police Car which is great and we also have a second hand classic red and yellow one that is in desperate need of a makeover. I had planned to pimp it up into a Batmobile but I have never found the time to do it, however after seeing what others have done I definitely feel inspired to get out there and give it a go.

You only have to do a quick search on google or pinterest for the term Cozy Coupe Makeover and it will display hundreds of results with a wide range of designs. I have listed below some of my favourites, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

The Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Ride-on – 30th Anniversary Edition
In case you have been living in a cave in a remote location all your life below is a photo of the original version of the cozy coupe.

The Classic Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

The Classic Red Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

The Batmobile
There are several different versions of the cozy coupe Batmobile but this one is by far my favourite, I think it is the attention to detail that really makes it, the classic red bat symbol on the wheels is inspired!

I'm Batman! Batmobile Cozy Coupe Makeover

I’m Batman! Batmobile Cozy Coupe Makeover

Ghostbusters – Ecto1
When I started researching the idea of customising our cozy coupe I thought the Batmobile would be my favourite, and it was until I saw this unbelievably awesome Ghostbusters Ecto-1 cozy coupe! This is pure genius, everything about this project is quality and the attention to detail is second to none from the number plate to the blue hosing from the roof to the petrol tank. Having said that I think that this is slightly too ambitious for a man of my DIY skills.

ecto1 cozy coupe makeover

Who you gonna call?! Ghostbusters custom cozy coupe

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Michelangelo

Cowabunga Dude! This custom cozy coupe is brilliant and very topical at the moment with the upcoming release of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film.  I am also loving the fact that they have chosen Michelangelo by far my favourite turtle. A lot of work has gone into this project from the detail of the turtle shell on the roof which looks like dark green tape and the orange material that utilises the cars eyes to full effect. There are some very creative people out there!

Cowabunga! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cozy Coupe Makeover

Cowabunga! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cozy Coupe Makeover

Planes – Dusty
I have not seen the film Planes but I have seen enough of the trailers and merchandise in stores to know that this custom cozy coupe has done a great job in bringing Dusty to life. The most impressive thing about this project is the introduction of the propeller, wings and tail. There is one very lucky child out there that will be the envy of all his/her friends.

planes dusty cozy coupe makeover

Dusty from Disney Planes

Spider-Man

Spider-man, Spider-man does whatever a spider can… or in this case a car. It looks as though the body of the car has used the original red paint work and just added the spider web effect and Spider-man logo with a custom blue paint job to the roof, the result is great.

Spider-man cozy coupe makeover

Spider-man cozy coupe makeover

Fire Truck
Most of the cozy coupe makeovers out there have adopted a beloved theme from a TV show or movie, this person has gone for the classic Fire Truck with some cute addition to help spark the imagination of any budding fire fighter out there. The introduction of the ladder and the hose really help to finish the Fire Truck off, I am surprised the Fire Engine isn’t available in the original range, if it is I must have missed it. If you want to have a go at creating this check out the sweetcsdesigns blog.

Fire Truck Cozy Coupe Makeover

Fire Truck Cozy Coupe Makeover

CAT
Do you have a budding Bob the Builder in your household? If so then you may want to have a go at creating this custom cozy coupe, the classic CAT.

CAT Cozy Coupe Makeover

CAT Cozy Coupe Makeover

Minnie Mouse
This custom coupe is a great interpretation of Minnie Mouse with the pink with white polka dot body paint and the classic mouse ears on the black roof. This coupe is super cute.

Minnie Mouse Cozy Coupe Makeover

Minnie Mouse Cozy Coupe Makeover

Scooby Doo – Mystery Machine
Scooby Doo where are you? Your custom cozy coupe Mystery Machine is parked on a double yellow line! This design of the Mystery Machine is one of my favourites, Scooby Doo is very popular in our house and I could image this would make someone very happy and probably my son too!

Scooby Doo Mystery Machine Cozy Coupe Makeover

Scooby Doo Mystery Machine Cozy Coupe Makeover

Dukes of Hazard – General Lee
I imagine this cozy coupe makeover was probably the idea of a fanatical parent rather than the child it was designed for but either way they have done a great job. I hope they practiced jumping in straight through the window!

General Lee Cozy Coupe Makeover

General Lee Cozy Coupe Makeover

Toy Story – Woody
Last but not least this custom Little Tikes cozy coupe based on Woody from Toy Story is a brilliant idea and one I would never of thought of. I love the fact the paintwork mimics the clothing design of the lovable cowboy Woody. The details on it are great and I imagine a lot of patience was needed to create the chequered shirt and belt buckle. Brilliant.

woody cosy coupe makeover

Woody from Toy Story Cozy Coupe Makeover

If you fancy having a go at doing a cozy coupe makeover you should head over to ebay to see if you can pick up a bargain or if you are a fan of the original you can pick the Cozy Coupe 30th anniversary version up from Amazon for a reasonable price.

I struggled to find the original source of a lot of these cozy coupe makeovers, if anyone knows who the creators were please contact me so I can add a link to the original source as I would love to know more about how they were made.

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Posted in For Dads Eyes Only, The Blog, The Parenting Paradox

Playtime: Halo Mega Bloks UNSC Flame Warthog

This week I was sent a set of the new Halo Mega Bloks UNSC Flame Warthog to build and play with. It made a nice change to get something for me to build and play with as the product is more aimed at gamers than younger children. I have to be honest up until today I very much had the preconception that Mega Bloks was a brand aimed at very young children and produced chunky easy to build blocks and although I had seen the Halo sets in toy shops it wasn’t something I had instantly associated with Mega Bloks.

Not just for recon operations, the all-new UNSC Flame Warthog by Mega Bloks Halo tackles multiple missions. The M12 Force Application Vehicle is the UNSC’s primary ground vehicle, commonly used for its scouting and reconnaissance capacity.

Halo Mega Bloks Flame Warthog

On the hunt…

The packaging of the Halo Flame Warthog box is not only bright but eye catching especially with the Halo imagery on the front, I am sure it is definitely a head turner for any Halo fan. Having highlighted my preconception of the brand I was dubious of how good the quality of the bricks would be and how it would compare to other leading construction brands. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and the quality of the bricks combined with the easy to navigate instructions evaporated any concerns I had.

With an actual working suspension and 360 rotating turret, the highly mobile all-wheel drive “Hog” with all-new flame paintjob is clearly ready for battle!

Halo Mega Bloks Flame Warthog 3

SPARTAN!!

The build of the Halo UNSC Flame Warthog was really enjoyable, I had picked a time where my two boys were out of the house so I wouldn’t have to wrestle bricks off them or surgically remove anything from a small snotty nostril. It took me about 30 minutes to build the set and as you would expect with a recommended builders age of 8+ as an adult I didn’t have too many problems although I did find clicking in the axles that supported the wheels a bit sticky.

Features two new super-articulated micro action figures with customizable armor, includes 2 Spartan GUNGNIR.

Halo Mega Bloks Flame Warthog 2

Making a stand…

I really enjoyed adding the finishing touches to the set with the likes of the 360 degree rotating turret and especially placing the super poseable ‘Spartan Gungnir’ micro figures into the vehicle.

When built the Flame Warthog is a robust vehicle and benefits from the real working suspension as it pushed along rough terrain. Although the likelihood is if you have bought this set for a gamer then it will probably just sit proudly next to the TV rather than being played with as all the action tends to happen on screen.

I think this would be a great gift for any gamer dads or if you just want a great construction toy then this set offers great playability especially for the price. The RRP is £24.99 which I think is fair for what the set offers bearing in mind you get the flame warthog vehicle and the two micro figures.

Mega Bloks offers a full range of Halo sets to keep the gamer fans in your life very busy for a long time!

Posted in Reviews, The Blog

LEGO® Star Wars™ introduces ‘Oscar-Style’ awards just for fans!

Warning, reading this post may result in a sudden yelp of excitement and have you donning a brown hooded dressing gown for days of intergalactic building.

Today the LEGO Group announced the event that all LEGO Star Wars fans have been training for… the Golden Brickies, an award ceremony that has been created to reward families with the most creative LEGO® Star Wars™ builders.

LEGO® Star Wars™ announces its first ever intergalactic national ‘Oscar-style’ awards just for fans! The ‘Golden Brickies’ Awards launch today on the LEGO Facebook page to celebrate the best fan created content for all the creative Jedi builders, budding photographers and film makers out there.

LEGO Star Wars Golden Brickies Awards

Better get building!!

In homage to the legendary movie franchise and upcoming Episode VII, LEGO® is inviting families across the UK to take part in this epic event which will culminate in an exclusive red carpet celebration event at LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort Hotel with other amazing prizes up for grabs.

Still not convinced? Well check out the details of the prizes on offer:

  • An invitation to the prestigious red carpet LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort awards ceremony on Saturday 11th October 2014
  • A chance to meet Return of the Jedi actor, Warwick Davis, as well as the bods behind the LEGO® Star Wars™ universe
  • A year’s supply of LEGO® Star Wars™ goodies
  • A LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort Annual Pass for a family of four
  • Entry into LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort afterwards to enjoy the Resort’s 55 rides, shows and attractions. PLUS entrance to the LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland, which re-creates the most iconic scenes from the legendary movies and the animated TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars™ in over 1.5 million LEGO bricks.
  • Your very own bespoke LEGO® C-3PO award

If that doesn’t get you bricking it, I don’t know what will!

There are four categories of awards at the #GoldenBrickies:

  • Best picture – create a LEGO® Star Wars™ inspired photograph using your collection
  • Best mini movie – either create a LEGO® Star Wars™ movie blooper or your own alternative movie ending
  • Best set build – LEGO® Star Wars™ inspired build
  • Overall LEGO® Star Wars™ Golden Brickies winner for best content creation

The winners will be selected by an all star judging panel which includes the legendary Warwick Davis who played Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi.

Now to the all important information of how to enter the #GoldenBrickies:

Simply upload your video or picture entry to the Golden Brickies page on the LEGO® Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter, using #GoldenBrickies and that’s it! Submission of entries will be open between 12th September and close at midnight on 26th September 2014. The award ceremony will then take place on Saturday 11th October so make sure you can make it before you enter!

I have already seen a few entries pop up on my social media streams and the competition will be strong, I am hoping to use the force to convince the judges that I am the winner they are looking for. 

Even if you don’t win it will be fun trying and sharing your work with other LEGO Star Wars fans…. here is a photo I took earlier #GoldenBrickies

LEGO Star Wars Millenium Falcon

Save me a seat Wicket!

May the force be with you!

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Posted in Love LEGO, The Blog

Playtime: My 1st JCB Big Wheeler Joey

We were recently sent a ‘My 1st JCB Big Wheeler Joey’ from Golden Bear to review and we finally got a chance to play with it this weekend.

I have two boys, my eldest will turn 4 in a couple of months and my youngest just celebrated his first birthday this week. Even though our house is cluttered with toys I sometimes think we don’t have enough hands-on toys for my youngest to play with, he seems to get caught up playing with toys that are typically too old for him as he likes to hijack his brother’s playtime. I thought the ‘My 1st JCB Big Wheeler’ would be an ideal toy for him to enjoy on his own.

My 1st JCB Big Wheeler Joey is a super sized ‘Kid Tough’ character! Pull his exhaust to lift the scoop and you can lift the rear digger bucket for added play. His chunky big wheels are ready for any indoor or outdoor challenge!

My 1st JCB Big Wheeler Joey Toy

My 1st JCB Big Wheeler Joey Toy

The bright colours and character design of Joey the JCB were the first thing that caught my eye and the interest of both my boys, I hadn’t even removed it from its box when I had been pressured into opening it ‘quicker’ with chants and grunts of impatience. The JCB toy is aimed at children aged 12 months + and what I thought would be perfect for my my 1 year old seemed to have equally as much play appeal to my near 4 year old.

Once I removed the toy from its eye catching packaging we took it straight into the play area for a test drive. The toy is clearly advertised as ‘kid tough’ which is quite a statement but one that I think holds up to its promise, as although the JCB is a light weight toy the plastic moulding seems fairly robust. I am not sure it would hold up on a real construction site but it certainly did its job when raced across the room in an overly enthusiastic manner.

My 1st JCB Big Wheeler Joey Toy Playing

Playtime

The My 1st JCB Big Wheeler Joey measures 25cm in length and 17cm in height which combined with its light weight design makes it perfect for a 12 month old to push along and engage with, not too small and not too big. Apart from the big deep treaded wheels the JCB has two moveable functions, the front moving scoop and the rear digger bucket. Both these features make the toy a little bit more interactive as you can introduce sand, soil, stones or even a pile of jelly beans to the play zone.
My 1st JCB Big Wheeler Joey Toy Playtime
The My 1st JCB Big Wheeler Joey is available from Amazon at a fair price of £9.99 however it is currently on sale at £7.49, a bargain.  I think for the price you really can’t go wrong with this toy, it is fun, interactive and durable, it would make a perfect gift or an impulse buy to inject a bit of life to a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Golden Bear have a wide range of ‘My 1st’ toys available which would complement the JCB and they even have talking versions too.

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Posted in Reviews, The Blog

Looking back… The thoughts of a second time Dad-to-be

My youngest son had his first birthday yesterday and I thought it would be interesting to look back at how I felt about the prospect of having a second child and compare it to the reality. I wrote the following post when my wife was pregnant but it never got published and thought it would be nice to share it now. 

24 weeks in and pregnancy feels different this time around. Instead of worrying about the unknown I panic over the thought of containing a turbo charged toddler whilst supporting the needs of a newborn baby and an exhausted mummy. Life with just one can sometimes be overwhelming, how will we cope with two?!

People say it gets easier when you have more than one child, I really can’t imagine how. At the moment we struggle to even leave the house in the morning, or as I like to call it ‘The Great Escape’. It is near on impossible with a toddler, how are we going to do it with a baby in tow? I am already one bad morning away from sleeping in my work suit in the hope it will shave a couple of minutes off the morning rush.

Where will the extra energy come from to survive the sleepless nights and high octane days? I find myself puppeteering my wife around the house, as the combination of a non-stop toddler and the growing bump eat away at her energy. I have flashes of guilt as I step over her pregnancy induced narcoleptic body to fulfil the needs of our demanding son. I am consciously aware that my wife is getting less pampering this time around but I comfort myself by thinking I am helping in other ways.

baby bump loading image

As our family grows so do our expenses. I find myself unintentionally counting down to the birth by pay days rather than weeks. I don’t mean that in a negative sense but from a budgeting aspect, I want to make sure that with the inevitable cut backs we can still enjoy the odd treat. After all my… er.. my son’s LEGO addiction won’t fund itself.

As I sit here now in my only place of peace, the toilet, I have time to argue a positive for every possible negative that may cross my mind. I hear the familiar sound of my son repetitively asking “Why?” in tandem with the groans of my wife as she wrestles to get his socks on. The commotion warmly reminds me of the rollercoaster adventure that we are about to embark on. Yes our nerves are in tatters from the first time around but it’s the ups and downs, thrills and spills that make parenthood so rewarding.

I can put my hand on my heart and say that since becoming a dad I have never felt more complete. My relationship with my wife has been tested at times through tiredness and stress but the love and laughter shared has ensured that our bond is stronger than ever. The overwhelming sense of pride I get when I see or hear my son do something new is a feeling that money can’t buy and now I can look forward to experiencing it all again.

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Posted in Babies for Beginners, So you're gonna be a Dad, now what?, The Blog

Top 10 Best Worst Baby Gifts…

It seems a lot of people I know have either just had a baby or are having a baby which means that gifts will need to purchased. I like to think outside the box when it comes to baby gifts and as a Father of two myself I know no matter how cute and nice a baby grow looks it can become a bit dull after the hundredth one. So this has led me to scour the deepest and sometimes scariest parts of the internet to try and find the perfect baby gift, this is what I found…

1. The Windi Gas Relievers…

Yes these baby butt plugs are real and come from the company that brought us the ‘snot sucker’ among other essential items. Wind can be a problem for all of us but for babies it can appear to be excruciating at times so no doubt there is probably a place for this product. Personally I prefer a less hands-on approach to dealing with the problem.

“The Windi is designed specifically for this purpose. The soft, pliable, hollow tube features a rounded tip that is long enough to reach past the muscle that prevents the release of the gas, and also has a stopper to prevent an insertion too far.”

windi gas reliever for babies

Feeling windy?!

2. Baby Wigs

Are you feeling anxious that your newborn baby daughter’s bald head will cause random strangers to mistake her for a boy?! Well baby bangs could be the product for you!

“For the girl who has everything, except hair!”

I have two boys so I am not in a position to state whether this product is a must buy or not. I am sure it has it’s fans but personally I like my babies au naturel!

baby bangs hair wigs

Wig-diculous?

3. The Daddle – For Dad that likes to take babies for a ride!

“The Daddle is a soft-stuffed model of the real thing. Comes complete with adjustable stirrups, soft saddle horn and a latigo strap designed with Dad’s comfort in mind. Provides interactive fun for kids and adults alike. The Daddle is made of washable sturdy cotton and will bring hours of enjoyment to your home. Daddle Up!”

To be honest, having experienced a few years of being rode bareback the thought of the Daddle seems a necessary luxury! In fact I have a birthday coming up so if anyone feels generous I would be over the moon to receive a gift like this.

The Daddle

Daddle up!

4. Zakky Infant Pillow

I am considering renaming this post to the best baby gifts as the Zakky Infant Pillow may look like “Thing” from the Addams Family has ventured into childcare but I think it is an ingenious invention. When my baby boy wakes in the night it can often just take a calm soft hand to settle him down, almost in an instant, but then take it away and all hell breaks loose. The next time you are stuck with your arm wedged between the bars of a cot at 3am while you have fallen into a heap of sleep you too will be racing to buy ones of these ridiculous looking pillows.

zakky infant pillow hands

Need a helping hand?!

5. The Baby Butt Fan

“The Original Baby Butt Fan™ makes diaper rash prevention a breeze! It’s the only portable fan on the market that has been specifically designed with baby in mind.”

In theory The Baby Butt Fan seems a great idea but in reality I like to get in and out of the danger zone as quickly as possible, plus I cannot imagine the kind of looks you would receive if someone walked in whilst your were fanning your baby’s butt!

baby butt fan

6. The Baby Mop

Having a baby is exhausting and it doesn’t get any easier as they get older, especially when they start crawling. However the Baby Mop pays off for the parents that encourage their baby to get crawling and explore different areas of the home especially the dirty parts!

These baby mops are super soft and comfortable. The mop is made using ultra absorbent materials and engineered to clean and shine your floor.”

the baby mop

7.  A Celebratory Cake

Childbirth is a different for everyone and whether an easy or horrific experience it is exhausting for all involved, therefore the thought of rewarding the new parents with a celebratory cake may seem like a good idea. To be honest cake is always a good idea, unless…. you completely misjudge the situation and present a detailed designed cake that brings back memories of the birth.

worst baby shower cake ever

Mary Berry would be proud…

8. The Noisiest Toy

Remember when your childless friend bought your son / daughter a really annoying noisy toy and handed it over with a smug look on their face?! So that same friend has just had a child…. payback.

I happen to have some extensive experience of enduring the noise of annoying toys, even possessed ones that go off in the dead of the night and there is one toy that is simply the worst. The flute.

My son has had quite a selection of flutes over the last couple of years all of which have been re-homed. If you have payback to give then go for the flute.

noisy childrens flute

9. Baby Poop Alarm

I love technology and have way too many gadgets however, I think the Baby Poop Alarm is a step too far for even me. However if you suffer from Anosmia then you may want to invest in this clever gizmo that will alert you every time your darling angel has done a poop, for the rest of us I am sure the overwhelming stench will be enough to raise the alarm without the need for this gadget.

baby poop alarm

10. Mr Milker

With the Mr Milker Dads can now breastfeed too. I would love to see the face on a Dad that unwraps the Mr Milker in front of the family. I think any device that can give men the opportunity to form closer bonds with their babies early on is worth exploring…. however…

“Breastfeeding Envy” is what many psychologists are now saying is the most common and least-discussed concern among today’s young parents.

the mr milker

The breast gift for Dads

Have you come across any other best worst baby products on the web? If so please share!

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Posted in Babies for Beginners, So you have a baby, now what?, The Blog, The Parenting Paradox

Countdown: LEGO Minifigures Series 12

Finally an official launch date has been announced for the LEGO Minifigures Series 12 collection – 1st October 2014. There are plenty of images of the collection doing the rounds on the web at the moment but we can’t actually get our hands on them for another month! I suppose that gives me just enough time to attempt to fill in the gaps of the previous series!

LEGO Minifigures Series 12 - Released 1st October 2014

LEGO Minifigures Series 12 – Released 1st October 2014

I was quite late to join the party of the LEGO Minifigures Series so it has taken me longer than others to perfect my LEGO bag fondling technique. I have gone from a discreet 5 minute fumble in the corner of the store to a quick assertive stroke stood brazenly in front of the merchandise. I am no expert but I have got lucky on a few occasions.

With the full range of Series 12 now confirmed I have gone back and forth to try and decide what ones I want the most. It is really hard to call a favourite as many of them have appeal for different reasons. For example I really like the ‘Prospector’ for the attachable beard but then the ‘Rock Star’ looks awesome, a definite must have for the guitar alone!

lego minifigures series 12

Prospector and Rock Star [LEGO Minifigures Series 12]

Hopefully between myself and my son we will actually be able to complete a Minifigures series for once, although that is probably doubtful, we are still scouring the country for Mr. Gold from series 10!

If you fancy going interactive with your LEGO Minifigures then you can try out the Minifigures Online game that is currently in BETA mode. I have downloaded it but yet to have a proper play on it, will feedback more when I have, or take a look for yourself.

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Posted in Love LEGO, The Blog

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