Friday, 7 September 2012

Jingle Puzzle: Five Speckled Frogs! Review

Anything which encourages a love of music and especially singing is a good thing in my opinion, all too often I hear of children who have been told they can't sing or they're not musical. So the opportunity to review a Jingle puzzle was something I was keen to do!

The Jingle puzzle comes with a cd of songs, an activity sheet, stickers and most helpfully a word sheet! Everything is brightly coloured, and easy to follow, so even if you are a musical novice yourself you can still follow the pack! Also, the emphasis is on getting on and singing, so even if you can't read music you can still join in with the songs!

The puzzle Boo found fairly easy, but it was a great way to get him talking about musical notation and how you read music as well as play games including both boys with the counting songs! The other songs on the cd are also mostly counting related and we learnt a few new songs along the way!  Boo has just found a confidence in his singing, and so really enjoyed loudly singing along with the CD, while E took a quieter approach but enjoyed listening. E has started to sing along when the CD is on without the puzzle, and I'm suprised how tuneful his singing is becoming!

The activity sheet was really useful, and my only complaint is that there is only one included, I ended up photocopying it so the boys could have one each. But obviously it would be even better if there was an option to print additional copies from their website? Boo has asked to play with the puzzle several times, and we have listened to the CD a lot since it arrived, so we've been singing the songs constantly since!

It is a great introduction to learning music, and could also be used to help slightly older children learning to read music in a fun way! Priced at £9.99 the Jingle Puzzles are good value, available from the Music Room, free delivery is available on orders over £15!

Disclaimer: We were sent a Jingle puzzle for the purposes of the review, all opinions are my own honest views of the product.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Home Visit - Starting Reception at Primary School

I've been quiet the last week on the blog and twitter, I have been busy preparing for Boo's new teacher to come to visit. I have to be honest, the idea of having his teacher visit I found terrifying and invasive. I felt that Boo was going to be judged on the basis of how clean and tidy our home is, and hence my huge decluttering session.

I found myself anxiously cleaning the skirting boards with wet wipes, cleaning the windows of any tiny smears and polishing the dining room table...(after of course clearing the dining room table of all Boo's craft projects!). Mr G is normally a pillar of calm, but I even made him anxious, suddenly deciding he must redecorate the dining room in case she didn't approve of our choice of dramatic colour scheme. We found ourselves arguing over whether we should offer her a cup of tea in a mug or the best china, should we greet her in our normal clothes or dress up for her arrival?! So when she arrived in her casual clothes and merrily greeted us with a huge smile, while the learning support assistant sat down and entertained Boo and E with a huge basket of toys, we breathed a small huge sigh of relief.

No white gloves checking for dust, no raised eyebrows at our choice of artwork adorning the walls and shelves, all she wanted to know was about Boo. Not what he could do academically, but a bit about who he is, what he doesn't like, and how we'd describe him. Describing him was harder than we anticipated, the words 'sporty' 'confident' 'active' 'competitive' were thrown around, and then I wittered off into talking about how he liked to do puzzles and 'small lego'.

The discussion then turned to what they will be learning for the first term, it was all about making their own play dough and baking. I remembered my fear that I hadn't done enough with him to be ready for school, and smiled as I realised we've done lots of baking and making our own play dough, so for the first few weeks at least he'll be OK! Now I just need to address my fear of the school gates on Boo's first day!

Cocoa Boutique -- Luxury Chocolates!

Normally when anything edible enters the house, the boys instantly announce they will assume responsibility for taste testing. However, when the box of chocolates arrived from Cocoa Boutique, I peeked inside and proclaimed loudly that unfortunately these were Mummy's chocolates and not for sharing! Well, look how beautiful they are:

Cocoa Boutique is a newly launched company offering luxurious tasting boxes of luxury chocolates created by the finest chocolatiers (including Barry Colenso who helped to create The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding cake!) delivered direct to your door. The box offered a great selection of Milk, White and Dark Chocolates each beautifully crafted.

I have to confess, I was amazed how much I enjoyed the chocolate coated coffee beans, the chocolate was dark and rich and I found them really moreish! There was none of the bitterness I normally associate with chocolate coated coffee beans. The chocolate buttons were divine, rich melt in the mouth chocolate which left me wanting more - I would have happily indulged in an entire box of these!

Undoubtedly my favourite chocolate in the selection was the 'Pamela' which is a cassis pear ganache in a very rich dark chocolate, the flavour was equisite and it looked divine to! I have to confess, if it hadn't been in the taste box I would probably never have tried the exotic flavour!


I have to be honest, not all chocolates were to my taste, specifically the brandy truffle and sadly the pink champagne truffle I found a little disappointing, the textures and flavour were not what I hoped for I found the alcohol overpowering the chocolate (not a bad thing some might say but it didn't appeal to me).

The taste boxes will cost £34.95 delivered, and  you'll be able to choose whether you want them delivered monthly, 2 monthly or even quarterly! However, they are running a special introductory offer where you can try a box for £9.95 and if you decide to sign up after this initial box you will only pay £19.95 for each subsequent box! This might sound expensive, but personally I was very impressed with the quality and variety sent. The chocolates were very well packaged, and arrived in good condition - with the exception of the dark buttons which had suffered slightly in the heat, but they still tasted fabulous.

Cocoa Boutique are giving you the chance to win your own box here enter before the 31st October 2012 for your chance!

Disclaimer: I was sent a box of Cocoa Boutique for the purposes of an honest review, all opinions are my own.