Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Ladybird Tuesday - Snow White and Rose Red

The Ladybird book Snow White and Rose Red is part of the Well-Loved Tales, Series 606D, and I own several other books in this series. This particular copy is one of the more recent books, with a shinier cover and green spine. The look and format of the books changed in 1979, when this book was published. At Mrs Fox's you can see a review of the original version of the tale Snow White and Rose Red. The text in my copy seems to be the same, but the illustrations are very different and the text is also printed on both sides of the full page spread, not in the usual Ladybird style where text is found on the left and illustrations on the right.

Vintage Ladybird Snow White and Rose Red

I wasn't familiar with the story of Snow White and Rose Red. It's a bit confusing, because the character of Snow White in this book is different to the more well known Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. This story is about two sisters who are very close to each other, and yet also different in both character and appearance.

Snow White and Rose Red fairytale

There is still a dwarf in the story, although this is a rude and ungrateful dwarf that doesn't appreciate it when the girls save his life on several occasions. They also help out a large bear that spends the winter with them, and when he kills the dwarf an enchantment is broken which reveals him to be a prince. He then marries Snow White, leaving Rose Red to marry his brother, and they all live happily ever after with their mother in a castle filled with treasure.

Snow White and Rose Red

It's a pretty typical fairytale, written in a simple way for children to understand and with plenty of illustrations. I did feel a bit sorry for Rose Red though, who has to marry the unknown prince, but it's still a lovely addition to my collection!

I'm joining in with Ladybird Tuesday at Being Mrs C. You can see all my previous Ladybird Tuesday posts here.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Review - Hot Wheels Total Turbo Takeover track set

The Hot Wheels Turbo Takeover track set is part of the Hot Wheels Track Builder System which includes a variety of sets and individual pieces of track. The pieces can all be combined together, allowing children to design, create and customise their very own track challenges. The Turbo Takeover set includes two loops, a pull back button to start the car off and a battery powered booster to speed the car around the second loop. It also has a plastic piece that flips up into the air when a car hits it and a slope with 'rocks' that fall down one at a time when the car passes underneath.

Hot Wheels Turbo Takeover track set review

The set was pretty easy to put together, and Harry (5) can easily manage to build and customise it. The set includes instructions for a couple of different layouts, and it can also be combined with other sets from the same range. We don't have any of the other sets but I've seen some of them at friend's houses and I can imagine that you could build some pretty spectacular layouts with all the pieces that are available!

Hot Wheels track set review

The Turbo Takeover system is pretty good as a standalone set though. The battery powered booster takes 2 D batteries (not included) and it really does fire the cars along. The pull back initial launcher has three different settings and the booster has two speeds, so you can try out different combinations to see what works best. The pieces of track are smooth and flexible and feel sturdy.

We did find that the set didn't work with many of Harry's cars, and even Hot Wheels branded ones wouldn't always stay on the track. As the set only comes with one car, it would be nice if there were a couple more included. He didn't seem to be bothered though, especially as you only need one car at a time to use it. I liked that the set was easy to dismantle and doesn't take up too much space to store.

Hot Wheels turbo set review

The fun with this set for Harry was more in the designing and building of the track rather than the actual running of cars around it. He also liked playing with it just pushing his cars around it, not using the booster pieces.

He enjoys watching Hot Wheels videos on YouTube, and he had fun making his own video of the set. In this short video Harry demonstrates the set and shows a car being fired around the basic track layout:

We received this set to review. The RRP for the set is £39.99 and it's suitable for ages 3+. The set includes one die-cast car and 10 feet of track. 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Book review - Personalised children's books from Wonderous Ink

This week, Harry and Mia each received a lovely parcel in the post, addressed to them individually. Inside was a book each from Wonderous Ink, a very special book which not only mentions them by name but also uses the letters from their names to remind them how wonderful and unique they are.

Wonderous books review

The books are designed for children aged 2 - 8, but a book also makes a nice gift to buy for a newborn. The story follows a boy or a girl who is curious to know what makes them different from all the other children in the world. They go out for a walk to ponder the question, and find that they are lost in an enchanted forest. But on their way they meet a variety of different characters, each with a problem that the child is able to solve by using a letter from his or her name. In return the character gives them an attribute beginning with that letter of the name, giving them the courage to find the way home.

Book review - Wonderous Books

The book is really cleverly designed and printed on high quality, thick paper. Although there is a page designed for each letter, for example both Harry and Mia have the same page for 'a' (although still tailored differently for a boy and a girl), where there are two letters the same in a name the pages are different - Harry has both an r for remarkable and one for refreshing.

Wonderous books personalised book inside

The story is written in simple verse making it easy and fun to read aloud, and the illustrations really are lovely. Harry was thrilled to see his name repeated all through the book and Mia was delighted too - she's now just about able to recognise her name written down. It's a lovely book to share with your child and remind them just how wonderous and individual they are.

Each book also has a personal keycode which the child can use to create an online Wonderous World. You can read a continuation of the story in the book, and there is a quiz where children can answer questions based on the book.

On the Wonderous Ink website you can preview the entire book using your child's name, and then if you like it you can order it there and then for £19.99, including postage and packing.

Harry and Mia received a book each in exchange for this review.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Halloween Hama bead napkin rings and decorations

I love crafting for Halloween and I've definitely been enjoying the Halloween Hama bead crafting this year. I've had to buy several extra packets of black Hama beads! These simple little Halloween designs are shaped as they cool so that they can be attached to a ring of cardboard. They can then be used as free standing table decorations, or perhaps filled with small sweets at a Halloween party. They can also be glued to a circle of card to make themed napkin rings that can be taken home as party favours.

Halloween Hama bead decorations

I made two of each of my Halloween designs - a skull, witch's hat, pumpkin and witch. One set are mounted at the base of cardboard rings to make free standing Halloween table decorations. The second set are mounted into the centre of a cardboard ring to make a Halloween napkin ring.

Halloween Hama bead napkin rings

All the designs are created using the square Hama bead peg board and a variety of suitable Hama bead colours. The ring is made from orange cardboard. When you have ironed the designs, before they have completely cooled, wrap them around a cardboard tube and hold them in place while they cool down.

Halloween Hama skulls cooling to a curved shape

When the designs have fully cooled they will retain their curved shape.

Curved Hama bead Halloween decorations

The circle of orange card is stapled at the back, with the Hama bead motif glued on the front. For the decorations it is glued at the base of the stand, for the napkin rings it is glued across the centre.

If you enjoy making Hama bead designs, you might like my other Halloween Hama projects! I have also made Hama bead witches and a Hama bead Haunted House.

I also have lots more Halloween crafts and activities for young children on my Halloween Pinterest board:

Follow Jennifer Jain's board Halloween crafts and activities on Pinterest.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Christmas ribbon and Hama bead bauble tree ornaments

You may remember that I recently shared some ribbon crafts using some lovely ribbon from Fantastic Ribbons. Well I was recently sent some gorgeous ribbons from their new Christmas range, and today I'm going to show you my first Christmas ribbon craft.

Christmas ribbons from Fantastic Ribbons

I received two rolls of Christmas ribbon - 15mm Satin Ribbon "The Holly and the Ivy" and 15mm Twill Ribbon "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". Each roll measures 4m and is priced at £2.50.

For my first Christmas ribbon craft I turned to my favourite Hama beads and made some Hama bead ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree, decorated with a generous ribbon bow. I love the rich green colour of the ribbon. It may be that when we come to decorate the tree the colour becomes a little lost in the green of the tree, so I might use the ornaments to decorate the fireplace instead, but these would look lovely on a white or pale coloured tree.

Ribbon and Hama bead Christmas ornaments

The ornaments are really simple to make using just the square Hama bead pegboard. Here are the basic designs that I used, but you could vary them in all sorts of ways using different colours and patterns. The key element to include in your design is the top part which you use to hang the ornament and to wrap the ribbon around. I used gold Hama beads for this part but yellow would work just as well.

Hama bead ornament designs

When you have ironed the designs (I ironed on both sides to make them sturdy) you just need to tie a length of ribbon around the top to form the bow. Then take some thin thread or cotton and use a needle to thread it through the Hama beads on the top layer and tie to form a loop. Even if the hole has closed as a result of the ironing, the beads should still be soft enough to easily push a needle through.

Hama bead and ribbon Christmas ornaments

These ornaments are so simple to make that children can get involved too, and they make a lovely small gift to pop in with a Christmas card!

Look out for some more ribbon crafts as we get closer to Christmas.

As a Fantastic Ribbons blogger I received these two rolls of Christmas ribbon to review.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Hama bead witches for Halloween using the princess pegboard

I buy most of my Hama bead pegboards individually from the craft shop in my village. They have a great selection, and they are reasonably priced. Most of the boards that they sell are also available in the larger Hama bead sets, but I like to buy the boards and large boxes of beads individually, and if I need inspiration there is plenty online. 

I bought this Hama bead princess pegboard with the intention of making some pretty princesses for Mia like the ones in this set from Craft Merrily, but with Halloween approaching I thought that instead I'd have a go at using the board to make some witches! I also had to stock up on bags of black Hama beads, these boards do use them up quickly.

Hama bead witches for Halloween

I experimented with different lengths of dress, sleeves and skin colours. This is another great board that is really versatile, you can come up with lots of different designs. I can quite happily while away an evening or two trying out different things!

My second set of witches are a bit scarier:

Halloween Hama bead witches

I've not decided what to do with them yet, apart from knowing that they will be displayed around the house for Halloween. Perhaps across the mantelpiece, or maybe lined up in the window for trick or treaters to admire! I've also thought about hanging them as a mobile or stringing them to make bunting.

If you are making Halloween decorations from Hama beads you might also like my Hama bead Halloween Haunted House.

Hama bead Halloween Haunted House

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Book review- The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-cat

Recently I reviewed the new picture book edition of The Owl and the Pussy-cat by Edward Lear, and today I'm sharing the sequel to the poem, The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-cat, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Charlotte Voake.

The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-cat cover

Included in this paperback edition is an audio CD which contains two readings of the story - a straight reading by the author and a performance of the poem set to music performed by Julia and Malcolm Donaldson.

The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-cat inside

The story picks up right where we left the Owl and Pussy-cat, just after they have married. But a crow flies off with their ring and so they set off to find it, meeting all sorts of nonsensical characters along the way. This original sequel really captures the spirit of the original poem and it's a joy to read.
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