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Tuesday 20 September 2011

Tom & Jerry do The Wizard of Oz! Really? Review

Don't you just love Tom and Jerry?  I know I do, they take me right back to my childhood, along with the roadrunner, the kind of programmes I watched as I grew up in the seventies and thanks to my dh my kids are familiar with these old slapstick kind of cartoons.  Luckily they love them too, must have inherited our sense of humour.

When I was asked if I would like to review Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz, I said yes straight away as I knew my kids would enjoy it and they did, loads.  This DVD has been on so many times in the last couple of weeks it is untrue.

All the important parts of the original Wizard of Oz story are still there and the cartoon Dorothy really reminds me of the original one and those sparkly red shoes, yes I want some, as do Misses M and E too!

“In this captivating story, Tom and Jerry are twisted up into a powerful tornado, soar over the rainbow and down the yellow brick road, where they encounter some of the legendary story’s most cherished characters including Dorothy, her little dog Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Lion, the Wizard and many others. The cat and mouse team go paw to paw against a legion of flying monkeys and set out on a dangerous quest to storm the Wicked Witch’s castle in a heroic attempt to return Dorothy and Toto safely back to Kansas, because after all, there is no place like home! This exciting new story is full of heartwarming and hilarious moments, and beautiful songs, including the memorable, Over the Rainbow.”

Dh commented to me that the art and animation was really good for a made for DVD movie and who am I to argue? Overall I think this is a great movie, it is retailing at £4.99 and you can't argue with that price. With a certificate of U and a run time of about 45 minutes it hits the nail right on the head.

Released on 19th September 2011, you can buy your own copy now on Amazon for an amazing £3.69.

Top Family Score 5/5

Disclaimer:  We received this DVD free of charge for the purposes of this review.  I was not instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Eric Carle's New Book Review: The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse

If I said to you Eric Carle?  Would the name mean anything to you?  For me I would think it familiar but would not be able to put my finger on why. Say to me The Very Hungry Caterpillar and then it would click.  Ah yes the guy who did that amazing children's book, the international best-selling author!

Well there is good news for Eric Carle fans as he is just releasing his first new picture book for four years. The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse is being published by Puffin in hardback on 4th October 2011 and we were sent a copy to review.
If you know your art you will recognise that the paintings are inspired by the work of the great Expressionist painter Franz Marc. For me this book is all about the art and it would suit a family who are very visual and enjoy being creative. The book is described as a celebration of creativity and colour. Eric Carle will inspire young artists everywhere to use their imagination.

I gave the book to my 4 year old twins, thinking they would enjoy it and we did have a chat about the paintings and whether we would like to see a purple fox or orange elephant in real life.  They sat engaged for a few moments and both agreed that the polka dotted donkey was their favourite but then they moved away.  I put this down to them being too old for the book as there are very few words and not really much of a story if I am honest. My 8 year old literally flicked through the book and reported that it was for babies.

I am not sure what age this book is aimed at, I expect if my girls were younger and were just learning their colours and animals then this might have been used more but for two 4 year olds who are hungry for information and good stories it just did not cut it for them. So sadly the book was not a big hit at our house but perhaps if you are more cultured than us and enjoy a good visual book and some superb artwork then this will be for you.  One thing to note if you are looking to get this book for younger children is that whilst it is hardback the pages are actually paper and could therefore rip easily.

Like I said though it is very beautiful and the paintings are super quality.

Disclosure:  We received a copy of this book for the purposes of this review.  I was not instructed what to write and I remian honest.

Monday 12 September 2011

Review & Giveaway: Humf & The Fluffy Thing DVD

OK, I'm about to make a big revelation here and you must not laugh at me. Ready?

I love Humf, it is such a beautiful and simple program for pre-school kids. Are you laughing yet?  Stop it!  There is nothing wrong with a bit of kids TV or in this case DVD.  I really do not watch much TV with the kids so I am unsure quite why I have seen so much Humf, I think it is to do with the time of evening that it is shown on Nick Junior.  Quite often we get the girls all showered ready for bed and then snuggle up on the sofa together to watch something calm and age appropriate and many times Humf is the chosen program.  My near 8 year old JJ also really enjoys it but I am sure he would not readily admit that to his mates!

The thing I love about Humf is that it is a very innocent program, there is no hidden innuendo. Humf and his friends Loon (don't you just love that name for a pink feathery bird?) and Wallace (green friendly monster type thing if you were wondering) are all good little kids and never do I have to feel as if I should be censoring my children's viewing.  Even the youngest of children could happily watch this program without ever being scared or inappropriately influenced.  We all know that kids learn what they live and my Miss M shouting 'You silly old fool' out the car window to someone was proof that Nanny Plum from Ben and Holly can sure say some inappropriate things!

My girls (just 4 year old twins) were made up when they found out they were the chief reviewers in our house for the new DVD (released today) Humf and the Fluffy Thing.  The DVD contains 10 episodes of about 7 minutes each and they are all equally as entertaining and easy to view. The added bonus is that for the RRP of £9.99 you also get a bonus DVD with another 6 eposides for free.  Bargain, hey? but don't think it stops there as I have spotted that you can buy a new copy on Amazon at the moment for just £6.20. A fantastic little gift for Christmas I say.

Humf is narrated by Caroline Quentin and she does it really well, taking us through the day to day life of 3 year old Humf and his view of the world. Humf normally seems to be described as a purple fluffy thing, he is super cute and cuddly as are all the characters in the show. Normal daily activities such as a trip to the shops or the park become a fun adventure as you discover things through the eyes of a pre-schooler.

I asked the girls how they voted for Humf and they both agreed that it should get top marks 5/5

So would you like to win a copy of Humf and the Furry Thing DVD?
  • Mandatory - Follow my blog on google friends connect (in the sidebar on the right) and leave a comment to say you have done so, let me know how I can contact you - twitter ID or email.
  • Additional entry - tweet 'I want to #win a Humf DVD in @michelletwinmum's #giveaway #competition http://bit.ly/n3l9Zs'
 Terms and Conditions of Entry:
  • The winner will be chosen at random
  • Open to UK and Ireland residents only
  • Giveaway closes at 12 noon on Wednesday 21st September 2011
  • The winner will be contacted within 3 working days of the competition closing
  • The winner needs to contact me within a week of my announcing the winner or I will draw again
  • The prize is not transferable and there is no cash alternative
  • The DVD will be sent direct from the PR agency 
Disclosure:  I received this DVD free of charge for the purposes of this review.  I was not instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Review: Jabra Drive in-car Speakerphone

I am finally starting to catch up with the rest of the western world when it comes to technology, last November I got a smart phone and about a month ago I was lucky enough to receive a Jabra Drive in-car speakerphone to test out.

I love to speak on the phone when I am in the car. As a busy working mum of three the car is often the only place I get a bit of peace and quiet but until now I have used the little headphones like you use with an iPod. They have never been that successful for me, low volume, crackling and the ear plugs dropping out and falling away from me just when I get to an interesting bit in the conversation.

I have seen those bluetooth wireless speakerphones that go in your ear but I have never fancied one of those. The Jabra Drive is the perfect answer for me, it clips (like a big tie clip) onto my sun visor and when I get in the car I switch it on by flicking the button and set my phone to bluetooth enabled and it verbally confirms to me it is 'connected'.

Then if a call comes in I just reach up and press the speakerphone to answer, I do not need to look away from the road as the pad is large enough to do by feel. There is also an easy to use volume set + and - switch.

I also love the fact that when I leave the car, I just turn the speakerphone off so as not to waste the battery life and I slip it onto my sun visor facing the other way, then all that shows is a metal clip and it presents no interest for anyone who wishes to steal anything. I need not worry about the charge though to be honest as once fully charged the unit provides 20 hours of talk time and 30 days of standby time, pretty impressive, hey?  I can't imagine I'll ever be going off on a 30 day drive. An in-car charger is provided to use with the cigarette lighter socket.

As I mentioned I am a novice with all things techie and I was able to unpack the Jabra Drive, plug it in for its initial charge and then set it up with my phone without reading the instructions.  It really is very intuitive and easy to use. Another good advantage is that it can connect to two mobiles at a time and seeing as dh and I only have the one car this is super useful for us both to be able to use it without any fuss.

In all I am really pleased with the Jabra Drive.  The performance is very good.  I have used it numerous times and have been able to hear the person I am speaking to perfectly and they confirm that they have a good, clear connection from me too. I would happily give it 5/5  and at £49.99 RRP I think it is good value as well as I expect it to last a very long time.  You'll be pleased to hear that I have found new ones on Amazon selling for just £36.03.

I'll hand over to Jabra to give you the product specification:
  • Bluetooth 3.0, including eSCO 
  • Multiuse™ – connects to 2 Bluetooth devices at the same time 
  • Voice guidance system alerts low battery status and Bluetooth connection 
  • Crystal clear sound with echo and noise cancellation (DSP) 
  • Automatic volume adjustment 
  • Auto-paring to mobile phone 
  • Dedicated control buttons 
  • Stream audio from GPS applications 
  • Up to 20 hours of talk time and 30 days of standby time 
  • Dimensions – L104mm X W56mm X D18mm 
  • Weight – 100 grams/3.38 ounces 
  • Includes a Micro USB cable, in-car charger, clip for visor and quick start manual
For more information on Jabra’s line of in-car speakerphones and other mobile products, visit BuyJabra.com or follow us on Twitter at @jabraeurope.

Disclosure:  I received this speakerphone free of charge for the purposes of this review.  I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Review: Morphy Richards Accents One Cup

As a Houseproud Innovator I get sent many lovely items to test out and this month it is the Accents One Cup.

I have to be honest and say there is only so much you can say about this little gadget.  It does what it is supposed to, it boils one cup of water in 30 seconds. Perfect if you only want one cup at a time. It is pretty compact and does not take up much workspace in the kitchen.

Really I think it's best use will be for bedsit/ student living or on your desk at work.  Sadly if I take it in to work and stop doing the tea round I may be ostracised, so that won't work for me but I have decided that I will give this a test and then pass it on to my Nan who lives alone. As an older person she has become more frail and lifting a heavy kettle can be hard and also potentially dangerous.

All my Nan has to do is fill up her cup with cold water from the tap, pour it into the chamber on the Accents One Cup, press the illuminating button and wait 30 seconds whilst the water boils and pours through - bingo, perfect! Even a little drip try to catch any stray drops if she knocks her cup as she takes it away.  The chamber holds between 150 - 300ml of water, so most cup sizes are appropriate.

No water waste at all, very energy efficient! The Accents One Cup comes in black or red and matches the rest of the Accents range.  The red is less bright than the picture makes it look. If you would like to read more reviews or find out about the latest great deals and giveaways on Morphy Richard products then visit the Home of the House Proud.

The Accents One Cup retails for £34.99 and you can buy it directly from Morphy Richards HERE.It comes with a 2 year guarantee.

Disclosure: I received this product free of charge for the purposes of this review.  I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Thursday 1 September 2011

Review: Disney Winnie the Pooh DVD

When I said yes to reviewing the new Winnie the Pooh film on DVD I had thought that the reviewers would be my twin 4 year old girls but I was wrong.  You know who loved this film most?  JJ my near 8 year old nutty boy! He summed the film up as 'great', he really enjoyed spending an afternoon on Mummy and Daddy's bed watching the DVD and chilling out.  The story was good and it kept him engaged, he was made up with the ending but I won't reveal and spoil it for you!

Sadly my little twinnies have ants in their pants and they were up and down but since this first screening they have watched the rest of the film and they liked it too but in their normal style they wanted to watch it in many parts accross a few days.  Whatever suits you I suppose.

I was really pleased to see that this Disney film keeps the beautiful innocence of Winnie the Pooh and it was so good to watch a children's film that did not have any adult inuendo in it.

What Disney Say:
Walt Disney Animation Studios proudly presents the wonderful new adventure, Winnie the Pooh. Return to the Hundred Acre Wood for a heartwarming original movie, and reunite with the beloved bear and his silly but steadfast friends for a magical family experience.

When sad old Eeyore loses his tail, Owl sends the whole gang – Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Kanga and Roo – on a wild journey to help Eeyore and save Christopher Robin from the mysterious Backson. In the end, it turns out to be a very busy day for a bear who simply set out to find some hunny. Inspired by five stories from A.A. Milne’s books and created in Disney’s legendary, hand-drawn style, this all-new classic introduces one of the world’s most cherished characters to a whole new generation. Narrated by John Cleese and bursting with brand-new songs performed by Zooey Deschanel, this wonderfully whimsical film is a must-own for every family’s film collection.

Take a peek at the trailer:

The DVD is now on sale and I saw it was going for the bargain price of £10 at Asda at the moment.  I would say this is definately something to pick up with some popcorn for this tricky last week of the school holidays.

And if you fancy downloading some activity sheets, then just visit HERE.

Or visit Winnie the Pooh's very own Facebook page too!

Disclosure: I was provided with a DVD free of charge to review. I was not instructed what to write, the opinions are my own and I remain honest.