Saturday, 31 July 2010

Review: Toy Story 3 for Xbox 360

It's hard not to get swept in to 'Toy Story 3' fever. In fact I quite enjoy being swept in to it. Keep an eye on my blog over the next few weeks as I review all the latest Toy Story products and also transform my little boy's bedroom in to a 'Toy Story' room. I don't know who's more excited - me or him?

First up to be reviewed is the Toy Story 3 game for Xbox 360.

Here's the blurb:

Join Woody, Buzz, Jesse, Bullseye, Rex, Slinky, Ham and a host of new toys in the new Toy Story 3 video game from Disney Interactive Studios available on all formats on 16 July 2010. Inspired by the hugely anticipated new film players can either play as the famous characters and follow the adventures of the movie or create their own Toy Story universe in Toybox mode on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.

Toybox is a virtual world full of toys, bringing aliens, cowboys, space rangers and dinosaurs together and allowing players to customise characters, their environment and create their own Toy Story world. As players compete in the mini-games in Toybox mode they earn gold coins which can then be spent at Al's Toy Barn on more toys.

Woody avoiding laser in train rescue level.

In the film Andy is all grown up and his toys are sent to a nursery. In the video game Story Mode (across all platforms) players follow the film's action and help the toys escape the nursery. There are also imaginative play modes on the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC formats where you get to play as your favourite character in an exciting adventure such as Woody and the Runaway Train and Buzz in Star Command.

In addition on the Nintendo DS and PSP there are a series of mini adventure games including Rock Climbing with Woody and Lotso's Orders with Buzz.

This must be the first ever computer game that me and my seven year old son have actually squabbled over to play. Any cries of "I'm bored" have been banished in my household since getting this game.

Lotso bear preventing escape from the daycentre.

We were very excited to get this game as we love the Toy Story films, but at the back of my mind was a nagging doubt that the video game wouldn't live up to the film's fantastically high standards. As I took the game out of its packaging my seven year old quivered with the anticipation of opening it. From the minute we turned the game on we were immediately drawn in. All the visual delights were there of the film; such as the colours used and the characters looking exactly as they do in the film. SO it was almost like getting an extension of the film that we hadn't seen before.

Buzz Lightyear riding a sports car in Toybox Mode.

I can tell you that my son was so enthusiastic about this game that he even started to write my review himself. He loved the fact that each level was totally different; from riding horses, to collecting orphans, defeating Zurg and saving aliens. Some of the levels were even taken from the computer game that is played in the Toy Story movie. He has been totally absorbed in it and unlike some games there have been no moans or cries to look on for help.

Each level had the right amount of challenge to be fun but had adequate checkpoints not to become frustrated. Even if you were not playing the game, it was fun to just sit and watch because as I previously said the game carries the same magic that the movie does.

There are two modes of play:

Toy Box mode - which has tons of different engaging missions to participate in.
Two player co-operative mode - which allows two players to share in the fun.
It was brilliant because some levels we knew what to do because we had seen the characters in Toy Story act it out. I would really recommend this game for those rainy days over the holidays because it is a game that the whole family will enjoy. My son very begrudgingly let me take turns on doing levels with him. I say begrudgingly because he was enjoying it so much.

To infinity and beyond!

There's also lots of on-screen advice on buttons you need to press to perform actions, so you are never left frustrated.

Graphically the game is an absolute delight and the game play aspect is an absolute fun pool. This will remain a treasure in our household for some years to come.

Master Craftiness age 7 says: The levels are amazing fun and the Toy Box mode is really great; lots of things to buy and you can play as 3 characters - Woody, Jessie and Buzz. You can also ride Bullseye and fly with Buzz

A definite 10/10 for us. The fact that when we are walking around a huge fun park with my son and he is saying that he can't wait to get home to play on 'Toy Story 3' made me come to this conclusion.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Searching for Six Junior Toyologists

Thought I would share this amazing opportunity with my readers:

Working with the experts from and Asda six lucky kids are to be selected to test the hottest toys of this summer to play with and keep, could there be a better way to spend the summer holidays? The selected six will be sent a toy each week to test and have until the following week to submit their findings back to the Chief Toyologist for uploading and sharing amongst their peers. The words, pictures and videos will be displayed at and for all to see the rigorous testing procedures this panel of junior toyologists are putting their playthings through. Mark Spowart, Asda Buying Manager for toys said, "These guys are our toughest customers and the real experts when it comes to what's hot and what's not in the toy industry. We can't wait to get our team of mini toy testers on board and get cracking - working for Asda really is fun and games." Editor of and chief Toyologist Peter Jenkinson added “I'm really looking forward toworking with the kids on this event, I think it's the best summer job I've ever had too”.

To enter just visit ** and fill out a short form before the 4th August, six kids will be selected between the ages of 3 and 10 to participate in the program and receive their first delivery the week after.. Participants really won't have to think too hard about their return to school project “What I did during the holidays”.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Guest Review: Baby must-haves - Dribble-ons, Sock-ons and goodies from Littlebirdtoldme

This month our guest reviewer is Jenny Smith.

Here's our lovely reviewer!

Jenny is mum to 3 month old baby Vinnie and here she gives her opinion on some of the latest baby must-haves:

Softly Snail Multi Activity Playmat & Gym £59.95

This playmat is amazing! I already have a Fisher Price jungle mat which Vinnie is not that keen on; he actually prefers laying on his changing mat to the playmat. I thought that it was playmats in general but it turns out that I was wrong! The Littlebirdtoldme mat is gorgeous! It's really padded and even has a head rest for him. He is very comfortable laying on it for long periods of time and there is just enough going on to keep him amused without being overwhelming.

Vinnie having a wonderful time on the mat.

The mat is also nice and light and easy to move from room to room or even put into the car if you are going to visit someone else's house. It has several different toys that you can attach to the structure of the mat. One of which is a mirror and a butterfly, when you pull the butterfly it plays ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.’ Vinnie loves this, he spends quite some time talking to the butterfly and he also likes to put it in his mouth!

Vinnie busy admiring the butterfly!

The base of the playmat has lots of different textures and makes different noises when you touch it. I think that this is great as it encourages him to move his legs and also stimulates him with different sounds and feelings. I cannot fault this playmat in anyway, it is ideal for babies in every way and I would certainly recommend this product to other people with young babies. Another great feature is that you can continue to use it as your baby grows! If I were to give it marks out of 10 it would have to be a 10!!

For more info please visit

Soft Activity Spiral £18

The Activity Spiral is another great product. Vinnie is a very inquisitive baby and gets very easily bored, especially in his pram when no one is paying him any attention! This was the first time that I have used a toy like this and I have to say that it is a great hit! There are three hanging toys to keep his attention, they entice him to grab and hold them and this helps him with his co-ordination. The toys are made from different materials and rustle when you touch them. One of them vibrates when you pull the cord. I think that it would be great if this had a similar feature to the playmat where music is played, as that would hold the babies attention even better than it just vibrating. I can also put this on to his car seat when we go in the car and later it can be used on the buggy. Not only is this a practical toy but it also looks beautiful and the colours would suit both boys and girls. Several people have stopped and asked where I got it from whilst I have been out. This would have to be another 10/10 for me.

For more info please visit

Dribble-ons Bib

I really like the Dribble-ons bib. It's great at protecting the babies’ clothes and neck from dribble and it also looks really nice if you are feeding the baby whilst you are out and about. Vinnie sometimes gets a milk rash on the front of his neck which this has stopped and it has also meant that I don’t have to change him after every feed because he is wet! It is made of a very nice soft material and washes very well which is something that I really liked. I have found that a lot of bibs go hard and bobbly after a few washes, and obviously they get washed a lot! The only downside with this product was that it was a little tight around the neck. It does have two settings to fasten it but I think that even the second one will be uncomfortable for him in a few weeks. I really love this product, I just wish they could do the bibs in slightly bigger sizing. I would give this product 7/10

For more info please visit

Sock Ons

Oh my god, I love these!! I am forever losing socks or going out and realising that one sock has fallen off Vinnie at home! This product is brilliant. It slips over the sock and keeps it in place and it's as simple as that! They are made from a Lycra material that stretches over the foot and sock holding it in place. I am not sure that they look that great on with some outfits if you were going out somewhere special, but for everyday use I think that they are a miracle. I can honestly say that I haven’t lost a sock since I have been using them! Other mums that I have spoken to have commented on them and voiced what a fantastic idea they think that they are. Vinnie seemed very comfortable wearing them and definitely can’t get his socks off anymore! I would recommend to everyone, especially those who have a baby who has discovered the trick of getting their socks off! I would have to give this product another 10/10 as I think that it is a genius idea that works wonderfully.

For more info please visit

Thanks Jenny!!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Review: St Eval Candle Company candles

The St Eval Candle Company is renowned throughout the UK for their growing collection of hand-finished candles with unique fragrances and styles, and now also has an enviable reputation in the use of beautiful and unusual containers. Having traded for over ten years, the St. Eval Candle Company also provide a bespoke candle making service, and currently supply many international companies including Molton Brown, Elemis, Kenneth Turner and Emma Bridgewater.

St Eval use traditional methods to manufacture candles, this includes a centuries old process known as 'drawing', which results in superior burning qualities and time. Whenever they can, St Eval uses materials from sustainable and renewable sources. They endeavour to produce as little waste as possible and all packaging is sourced from recycled materials.

Here is my video review of the St Eval Candle Company 'Tea with the Queen' candle from the English Eccentrics range and the St Eval Candle Company Vanilla Scented Tin:

For more info please visit

Ultraviolet by Paco Rabanne Eau de Parfum review

For more info please visit

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Ted Baker Woman: Limited edition

There's nothing quite like an English summer, and Ted Baker has created the perfect scented addition to ensure 2010 won't be forgotten.

Inspired by Ted Baker collections for Spring/Summer, Ted Baker has dressed two new Limited edition fragrances, 'Woman' for her and 'Skinwear' for him, in key prints from this season's fashion collections. With complementary caps, gun metal for him and gold for her, Ted Bakers here to ensure you smell as good as you look.

Woman Limited edition:

Flutter through the hazy days of summer with this seasonal edition of the classic fragrance adorned with the butterfly cluster print. Woman has been transformed into a decadent blend of musk, rose and jasmine, topped with notes of bergamot, pepper and plum.

RRP £24.00, 100ml Eau de Toilette

Check out my video review:

Available at selected department stores, pharmacies, perfumeries and

Stockist number: 0800 083 8416

Monday, 5 July 2010

Review: Surf Pushchair

I got hold of this pushchair back in May and I have made sure that I have put this pushchair through its paces in the name of reviewing.

I was first drawn to this pushchair because of the obvious good looks. Yes, it is still a pushchair I am talking about. Anyone who is a member of Facebook or any mums' forum, will know the amount of vigorous testing that goes in to 'Pram shopping.' After good looks I really liked the fact that it could turn into a rear-facing pushchair. I had seen so many contented looking babies in rear-facing pushchairs staring in to their mother's eyes that I couldn't wait to get my 16 month old in one. Fast-forward to when I get this pushchair and I was sadly disappointed; my son absolutely hated being rear-facing. It's a wonder I don't develop a complex - I mean why wouldn't he want to look at my face lol. But that was the absolutely wonderful thing about this pushchair - I hadn't lost anything because I could simply turn the pushchair around to be a forward-facing pushchair. He absolutely loved this pushchair then. I think the fact that he is an older baby means that he no longer wants to stare in to my face but wants to keep in touch with nature and his surroundings. After all the big wide world is fascinating! The rear-facing is probably more suited for younger babies but I was so glad that I had the option of switching the pushchair around.

So now my pushchair looks like this:

And I get tons of comments about what a lovely looking pushchair it is! Best of all my son loves it and can't wait to get in and pull the safety bar over him. I am totally safe in the knowledge that if he was to have a tumble in the pushchair it gives such a lot of protection.

Anyway, the most amazing thing about this for me was the suspension. I no longer felt every bump and even on the most pebbliest of roads I just glided along it. Silver Cross's slogan for this pushchair is 'It's all about the ride.' After using this pushchair I totally agree!

I also love all the accessories that come with this pushchair. In particular the parasol; combined with the hood of the pushchair, you can totally cover up your precious little baby. So often with pushchairs you always get a patch of sunlight targeting your child. This simply is not a problem for me anymore.

It's so often the case that pushchairs proclaim to be this and that; and I can say that the Surf Pushchair lives up to everything it claims to be. We have even taken this pushchair along the beach with ease even. It really is an amazing all-terrain pushchair.

Fully reversible seat unit, forward or rearward facing

Ultra light weight chassis (7.5 KG)

Unique babynest seat suitable from birth

Three position recline to full lie flat

Shopping basket

Super light and compact fold

Puncture free tyres

Another brilliant thing about this pushchair was that I could let my son go to sleep upright and then put him totally flat when he fell asleep. The way the head and feet supports are positioned it almost mimics the way they lay in the womb - so it all looks very cosy! My son goes to sleep in this for hours at a time!!

As for the wheels, even my aircraft engineer husband was highly impressed with them. Surf is the world's first pushchair to use magnesium alloy castings. It's over one third lighter than aluminium and a dream to push your baby along on!

Here's the specs:
Age suitable for:Birth-3yrs
Height (folded):72cm
Width (folded):59cm
Depth (folded):28cm

An absolutely amazing pushchair!
Verdict: 10/10 from the Sweet Craftiness household.

For more info please visit

Friday, 2 July 2010

Review: girls goodies

Ok, well I've explained why we love the 'Blue2' section of and now I am going to explain why I love the 'Think Pink' section. I don't have daughters to spoil with pink and girly items but it's still lovely to indulge my feminine side with all things pink. So I've picked some of the treasures that 'Think Pink' stock that even appeal to the adults.

Firstly we have the wooden blocks 'Home' sign. Wooden blocks are bang on trend in the world of home styling. And these blocks fit in to most colour schemes because of the pastel colours used. An example of how I have used them in my house is below. Although my whole colour scheme revolves around neutral colours, these wooden blocks make an eye-catching centrepiece. And certainly add warmth to the room.

In some home design stores letter blocks can be very pricey. But I was over the moon when I discovered that these blocks only cost £9.99. I love the 'Eat' and 'Love' letters they do too. They are a lovely weighty item and the colours used are just fabulous. Every morning I walk in to my living room and these letters immediately cheer me up. Although my son is slowly trying to send me mad as each time I go in to the room he has rearranged them to spell 'mhoe' or ehom.' But overall I adore these letters.

Next up we have this adorable recipe book. This is great for keeping yourself organised or would make a great teacher gift. Even if you have no intentions of storing recipes in it, it looks fabulous placed on the kitchen worktop.

For me personally this is a godsend. I love testing out new recipes from magazines and online and now I can keep track of the ones we like and the ones we have tested out and dislike. Now I can keep all my recipes close to hand in this stylish book which comes with clear pockets, lined paper and tabbed sections to help you keep sauces separate from your marinades! This will get tons of use in my household and I love the fact that I can tear out pages from magazines and slip them in to the pockets too!

So if you fancy browsing for something girly to cheer yourself up then visit

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Review: boys goodies

We have just found an adorable online store called The girls department being 'Think Pink' and the boy's being 'Blue2'. What we love about this store is the fact that all their products are exclusively designed by them. Meaning that when I buy this pencil case for Master Craftiness it's highly unlikely that it's going to get confused by someone else in school for theirs. Better still is the fact that the characters that have been designed are so adorable. We think the characters could quite happily belong in a TV show of their own they are so good.

So what products do they do?
Pirates, Space Cadets, Robots, Dinosaurs, Secret Spys. They've let their imagination run wild to produce amazing boys products. We've picked two of their products to review, and these are from their 'Monster Range.' We particularly liked the 'Monster Pencil Case' which we feel inspires you to draw because of the beautifully illustrated characters adorning the front of the pencil case.

The characters possess all the qualities that appeal to children and in particular boys; the characters are quirky, colourful and best of all monstrous!

Inside the pencil case you have a lovely range of coloured pencils, a sharpener, a rubber, a ruler and most importantly a pen to define all your cartoon drawings. The pencil case opens by a quirky little monster tag on a zip. This pencil case will be brilliant for long car journeys.....

Anyway, we were so inspired, myself and Master Craftiness settled down for a quick doodle of the monsters. Here's our work:

Two drawings by Master Craftiness

I had a quick doodle with Master Craftiness and before long the monsters had come alive on the page and were explaining why we loved so much!

And what will we be storing in the pencil case in when we go on holiday? Well it will be none other than the Monster Wheelie Rucksack from

It's great because not only can it be worn as a rucksack but if it gets too heavy it can be wheeled around like a trolley. Master Craftiness can't wait to fill it with his goodies. Again, you have one of the monsters gracing the front of this rucksack so it immediately appeals to children. Even better is the fact that it has a Velcro piece by the monsters mouth and comes with a variety of Velcro speech bubbles that you can stick on to the outside of the case. So your child can customise it to suit his or Mr Monster's mood. Wicked!!

These make the perfect accessories for any holiday or even just the perfect gift if you would like to inspire your child with creativity.

Take a look and see what wonderful things you can find at