Friday, 25 July 2014

Reviews: Sugru & new CBeebies show: Kate and Mim-Mim

I have to laugh typing the title above, because if ever there could be two things more different to review in one go, these are the ones.

As usual, I only review items that I'm genuinely interested in and Sugru caught my attention somehow and when I checked the product out on the website, and listened to the pitch by its inventor and CEO Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh, I was hooked. It was meant to be promoted as a father's day gift idea (oops, this review IS late), but honest, this is such a clever little invention that it shouldn't be gendered in any way. I even suspected that I'd get more excitement out of it than my better half, but was proven wrong because he was as  intrigued as me (and neither of us is a DIY enthusiast). Sugru is a nifty substance, a bit like plasticine, that can be shaped in any form and will attach to most surfaces, then dry out and presto, stay put.

The world's your oyster how you want to use it. I've seen it used to waterproof those leaky holes in shoes, while simultaneously adding a bit of bling to them (Sugru comes in different colours, see). It can be used to attach all those things that have become detached, without the danger of superglue sticking forever joining the tips of your index finger and thumb. My 7 year old went straight into exploration and design mode and had the wackiest of ideas, and we settled for now to create fun hooks for all those loose bits that can be hung up. Because you can shape it, it fits better and you can create just the perfect hook for the item wanting to be hung up. It can be used to mend, fix, insulate, seal, to craft, to decorate and much more. Ideal for any small fixing job. It comes in primary colours which can be mixed to create your own custom colour. The website comes with great ideas too, for a bit of inspiration. Definitely a thumbs up for Sugru! You can get Sugru in most usual DIY outlets, and Maplins.
*******Disclosure: I received samples in return for this review. ****************

Kate and Mim-Mim is a new show about to be aired on CBeebies and we were given an advance copy of the first episode to review. It's aimed at preschool to 6 years of age, but my 7year old actually likes programmes for younger children and was keen to give it a test view while the actual target audience was asleep. Cubling thinks it's good to watch. That's as much as she'll say, she was a bit disappointed that it was short (but psst, that's a good thing, we don't want too much screen time do we now). Kate and her toy rabbit go on lots of adventures, and her cuddly toy becomes massive as they enter their imaginary world. Together they have adventures, explore and work out solutions in team work. All good stuff and role models (tick). The animation is cute and simple enough not to overwhelm the younger viewers (tick), with educational messages and easy to follow storyline (tick), so it's a good addition to the programmes on CBeeBies. I'm still hoping for my target audience to get an opportunity for a test viewing, but it's sunny and the paddling pool is a bit more attractive right now and I was meant to review it before the screening of the first episode, which incidentally is coming to a screen in your house very soon indeed: Kate and Mim-Mim will screen daily as of Monday 4th August at 5:30pm, so you can check it out yourself!
*******Disclosure: I received a copy of the first episode and a set of Mim-Mim ears in return for this review (but my little monkeys are in agreement (a rare occurrence) that I'm absolutely not allowed to wear the (sob)). I was allowed to eat half of the sweets though, because little sister was asleep at the time (yes!)*********

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Knitting and Crochet love

A little while back I realised that if I blogged most nights, I didn't get time for anything else, and it was a hard decision between letting this blog go a bit quieter and knitting/crochet. You can tell from the frequency of my posts which one won. One good friend even missed my posts, so here's one especially for you! (you know who you are ;) ).

There was a wealth of babies born to my colleagues at work, 3 in the space of 3 months, and now I have a feeling that there may be a baby born to my neighbour kind of right now. So there's been a wonderful excuse for a lot of knitting and crochet for babies, and while I used to make hats for new babies, I've currently a weakness for blankets. I've tried to bear the season in mind, so there's warm woollen blankets for the winter baby (no picture because picture wasn't great but the link has some photos), and lighter cotton ones, with one currently on the hook for the summer baby. Oh yes, and a jumper that resembled very much the apple tree blanket that brought be back to knitting 8 years ago.

On our holiday (more of that hopefully soon), there was a lot of travel involved, perfect for some easy projects that keep you busy. I even read some books, imagine that. Both books I can recommend (Chris Cleave - Gold: it was  a bit harrowing, maybe I just get emotional too easily but I had to put this great book down now and again because it was just a tad too good at creating engaging characters and their plight hit home a little bit too hard. Jonas Jonasson: The 100-Year-Old Man who climbed out of the window was much more lighthearted and possibly the longest book I've read in a long time).

I also always make a point of visiting yarn shops when abroad, just because they have a slightly different range. I failed to do this in Munich, partly because they have too many, and partly because it was just too hot to do any extra walking, but managed just before we headed back home in Dormagen. We must have been memorable on our last visit two years ago because the owner recognised us... The kids picked their favourite yarns for some winter knitting (cardigan for snowflake and scarf for Cubling) - not quite my choice of yarn but hopefully better on the they-will-be-more-likely-to-wear-it front. So once I've finished the last blanket, it'll be time for some winter warmer knitting (hard to believe in the current blazing sunshine!)



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