Review: Poo Bum Memory Game

poo-bum-memory_hr-cover

Poo Bum Memory
To be released by Gecko PressOctober 2016

Last night we could hear our children giggling to each other that they wanted to play “Poo Bum”. Before my husband could growl at them for saying inappropriate things, the six-year-old called out, “We’re going to play the Poo Bum card game!”

Crisis averted.

Poo Bum Memory is the classic memory card game, featuring illustrations from Stephanie Blake’s Poo Bum. It can be played at two different levels, with the cards differentiated with a star marking the “difficult” pairs.

As with any Memory game, this can be adapted to the abilities of your children – use less than 36 cards to make it easier, or use all 72 to make it trickier. The cards are a really good size and thickness, withstanding the rough handling of an excited preschooler very well.

My boys also like to play Snap! with these cards, so you’re really getting two games in one. It’s presented in a sturdy, easy to open box, which also makes for easy clean up too – phew!

Poo Bum Memory is a cheeky and fun version of the game we all played as kids, and has proved to be a winner in our house.

Thanks to Gecko Press for our review set.

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Review: My-books Photo Book

Towards the end of last year, I got sent a voucher for a free My-books classic photo book. The voucher had an expiry date three months into the future. I thought to myself, “Yep, I can make something pretty awesome in that time…”, and then promptly forgot about it until about three weeks before the expiry date.

The great thing about My-books and their easy-to-use free software is that I was able to create something pretty awesome in the space of 24 hours. I’m so pleased with what I was able to make in that time, that I’m keen to see what else I can create at a more leisurely pace.

My-books photo book  Creating a Photo Book with My-books:
* the software is easy, free and fast to download, plus I like that you don’t have to be connected to create your project
* it’s simple to upload photos (in bulk) and I like that they get categorised as “unused/used” once they’ve been added to the page, making it easier to select the images you want
* playing around with layouts, themes, text and graphics was easy – there were loads of each to choose from
* there were many options to choose from when it came to style, size and orientation

My-books photo bookDetails of my photo book:
* style: classic square – simple and a good shape/size for a coffee table flick book
* pages: 20 – as specified by the conditions of the voucher
* layout: one photo per page – I like the simplicity of this layout
* cover: hardcover – as specified by the conditions of the voucher
* theme: elegant – I love the pages where the image is duplicated for the background
* text: none – I prefer the pictures to speak for themselves; I played around with inserting various texts but decided the simplicity of none was what I was after

My-books photo bookOrdering from My-books:
* the checkout process was simple, although I twice clicked on the wrong button and had to start again
* I like that I was prompted to save my project, and that there are a couple of reminders to check again that you’re 100% happy with your work
* uploading the project from the software to the My-books website didn’t take long at all

The finished Photo Book:
* the printing is flawless – no grainy images or colour differences
* the paper quality is great – a really nice weight and gloss
* the cover and binding is superb; the edging is lovely and the way the book was packaged meant no damaged corners

I have printed photo books through other sites before, and have been disappointed with the end results. However, I am thrilled with the photo book I received from My-books, and will definitely be using them again for my next photo project.

Other things I like about My-books:
* they are NZ owned and operated
* they offer a range of other products, such as photo cards, calendars and canvases
* their team are super-friendly and they often have special deals and competitions

While My-books provided me with a photo book in exchange for this review, all opinions expressed here are honest, and my own.

Product Reviews: Revisited

During a conversation over hot chocolate and nursing baby’s heads, Angela and I discovered that we had both reviewed a product that turned out to be not as great as we first thought. We agreed that it would be rather unfortunate if someone purchased said item on our recommendation, and then discovered the same, so we came up with the idea of a reality-TV-style “Where are they now?” round-up.

Let us give you, therefore, Product Reviews: Revisited; Angela’s revisited reviews can be found here.

Rudi by Em cushion covers
(Original review here)
Still love ’em, would recommend Em’s products to anyone. Being able to tailor cushions to suit your interiors and taste is a big plus, and she produces a beautiful product very promptly. I just wish she could make them self-cleaning…or teach my children not to smoosh their grubby faces into them…. /staring at Emma expectantly

Penny Scallan Sleepover Bag
(Original review here)

Still going strong, having accompanied us on all our holidays this year. No sign of wear and tear on the bag or the handles, and it cleans up nicely too. Tiny recently took it on his first sleepover to Grandma and Grandad’s, and it was the perfect size to cart all the things he didn’t need required.

Penny Scallan Collectibles Box
(Original review here)

Sadly, this box has not lasted well at all. I’d been warned that the handle might fall off, but it was the lid that tore away from the rest of the box here. It’s not been designed for handling, but what kid is going to want to put it on a shelf and look at it?? Also, the road mat inside was filed under ‘R’ for ‘Rubbish’ – it got tatty really quickly, and the design (the roads ran off the page) was unappealing to Tiny and me. If it had been made of vinyl or even laminated, it might have been better; as is, it felt like a bit of an afterthought. Love the three wooden cars, however – and the pullback truck still pulls back and races along.

Stuck on You Collectibles Box: brokenStrawberry Jam hooded towels
(Original review here)

Love. Love love love. After ??? many uses, they are still soft, they dry really well, they’ve held their shape and they still wrap around our three-and-a-half-year-old. Love.

Stuck on You Party Range
(Original review here)

This is a hard one to revisit, because after the big day, you don’t really look at the products again. The cards didn’t stand up to much handling, and the envelopes didn’t seal very well, but otherwise…nothing more to say.

Breastmates Nurture top
(Original review here)
Apart from a slight elastic issue, I can’t think of anything to add about this top other than I was complimented every time I wore it, and I plan on wearing it long after Pickle and I are done nursing. Love it, and feel good in it, and Franny is brilliant.

Nuts for Nuts: National Nut Day 2013

Pistachios. If someone told me I had to choose one nut to eat for the rest of my life, I would choose pistachios.

However, if someone else came along and said, “Actually…we’re all out of pistachios…you’ll have to choose something else”, I’d have absolutely no qualms about choosing cashews instead.

Mother Earth NutsRaw, straight from the shell, roasted, dry roasted, salted, honey-roasted…I’ll eat ’em any way you offer ’em. So when Mother Earth sent me some of their Barbecue Cashews to try, I couldn’t wait to try them…and five minutes later, the bag was empty. I did have some help, in the form of a three-and-half-year-old grub, which was a huge surprise as he has never been a fan of nuts before. The flavour was smoky and tangy, but not overpowering or sickly (obviously, as I inhaled  three-quarters of the bag) and I liked that they still tasted like cashews.

Mother Earth Barbecue CashewsI was also sent the Heart Vitality mix. Um – nuts and dark chocolate? Yes please! These were a delicious combination of nibbly bits, and were very moreish. And the best thing is – they are good for you. We all know that dark chocolate is good for our hearts, but nuts have had a bit of a bad reputation until recently.

Today, National Nut Day, is about celebrating the humble nut. About recognising its place in a healthy, balanced diet, and appreciating it in all its tasty goodness.

A number of years ago, I took part in a University of Otago study looking into the effects of nut consumption (30g daily) on an individual’s weight, and the results were surprising. This same study also found that lightly roasted and lightly salted nuts were as beneficial, nutritionally, as raw nuts – a big plus for those people who prefer their nuts a little seasoned! One of the long-lasting things I learned from this study is that eating 30g of ground almonds is not a pleasant experience: dry, they try and choke you; sprinkled on cereal, they become soggy sawdust (nutdust?). Ugh.

For further information regarding the health benefits of eating nuts, visit Alison’s Pantry or Mother Earth.

These nuts were provided to me for the purpose of this review (and to promote National Nut Day), but the opinions expressed here are my own.

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Product Review & *GIVEAWAY*: Rudi by Em cushion covers

When we moved into our new home, it became quickly apparent that our existing cushion covers weren’t going to cut it in our new lounge. The silk covers I bought from a market in Chiang Mai had toned in beautifully with our old lounge walls, but they didn’t look right once we’d moved everything in to the new place.

I contacted Emma, of Rudi by Em; she makes gorgeous cushion covers when she has a moment to spare (she has three lovely kiddies (aged three-and-a-half, almost-two, and four-months old), as well as a menagerie of animals and a wicked vegetable garden the size of a small nation, so I’m in awe as to when that is!).

Rudi By EmAmongst her fabric samples, I spied a lovely teal spot that I thought would work beautifully with our sage-mint-teal walls, and a coral chevron that I adored. We sent a few messages back and forth, discussing ideas, backing colours, pairings…I knew Em would have a good eye for what would work and what wouldn’t, and I was happy to trust her judgement. All I knew was that even though I loved the chevron, it could date pretty fast, and I didn’t think my husband could handle four of them!

Rudi By EmI love the covers so much – I never thought it possible to love furnishings, but I smile each time I snuggle up on our couch. The combination of colours and patterns (both backed in a simple-yet-effective black) looks great, and they are beautifully made. The chevron fabric is quite thick and rather tactile; the spot fabric is thinner but delightfully soft.

Em is happy to do custom orders, so if you’re after something specific, she’ll be more than happy to discuss your ideas with you.

Here comes the best part: I’ve teamed up with Rudi by Em to give one of YOU a cushion cover!

There are three to choose from (pictured below), and having seen them all in real life, I know you’ll have trouble choosing your favourite.

Rudi By Em Cushion Covers(The Dump Trucks and Pink Hearts covers fit a size 14 inner; the Purple Chevron fits a size 16 inner; please note that this giveaway is for the cover only.)

To enter, simply visit Rudi by Em on Facebook or Felt, and leave a comment on this post telling me which is your favourite of her fabric options.

For extra entries:
~ Like Rudi by Em on Facebook
~ Like my brand spanking new Tall, Short, Tiny & a Pickle page on Facebook
~ Tell your friends about this competition by blogging, Facebooking or tweeting about it

Please leave a separate comment for each entry (with links where applicable).

Giveaway will close on Friday 25 October 2013 @ 5pm (NZ time) and is open internationally.
The winner’s name will be drawn from a hat by one of my grubby-handed boys; please ensure your email is linked to your name, or include it in your comment, so I can get in touch if you are the lucky winner.

The opinions expressed here are my own; no payment was made for this review.

Reading and Reviewing: ‘Eat Up, Little Donkey’ and ‘Toucan Can’

We were recently sent two new books for review by the lovely team at Gecko Press, and both have been read to Tiny every night since. No exaggeration: every night and a thousand times each day too. Poor Pickle has had to be content with stealing a look when his brother’s at kindy.

Eat Up Little Donkey Eat Up, Little Donkey, written by Rindert Kromhout and illustrated by Annemarie van Haeringen, is a lovely little story about Little Donkey’s refusal to eat his lunch, and the consequences that follow. The illustrations are simple but very sweet, as are the words and message.

Eat Up Little Donkey4The pages are gloriously thick but it still feel like a bigger kid’s book; Pickle has had a good play and enjoys the act of turning these pages immensely. He’s simply not interested in board books anymore.

Eat Up Little Donkey2The story is aimed at toddlers, but Tiny, at three-and-a-half, absolutely loves it. He knows the consequences of not eating meals, thus the story appeals to him on many levels. After just one read-through, he was flicking through, re-telling the story; the language is at the perfect level for him to repeat word-for-word.

Eat Up Little Donkey3

When I asked what he liked about this story, he grinned and said, “I like that Little Donkey wants to throw his plate like a plane!”

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Toucan Can

Toucan Can, written by Juliette MacIver and illustrated by Sarah Davis, is such a fun story! It’s great fun to read, with tongue-twisting lines that make us giggle every time. The illustrations are as hilarious as the rhyme, and there’s a cute craziness about it which appeals to adults and kids alike.

Toucan Can4The illustrations are stunning; each page is a feast for the eyes. The kung fu pages are my absolute favourites, while Tiny likes Aunt Samantha’s panthers. There is so much to look at, and we find something new at each reading; I look a book that feels fresh with every turn of the page.

Toucan Can3In the earnest way of a pre-schooler, Tiny nods along and tries to do everything Toucan can; watching him dance in his bed with Toucan, Ewan and the aunts is pretty cute. This is a delightful, energetic and hilarious read, and has become a firm favourite in a short space of time.

Toucan Can2(Please note that Eat Up, Little Donkey and Toucan Can were provided to me for the purpose of review, but the opinions expressed here are my own)

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I’ve recently finished yet another Haruki Murakami novel: Norwegian Wood. Having been confused and intrigued by the others of his that I’ve read, I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much because I was constantly (a) waiting for it to turn all tricksy, and (b) wondering if I’d missed some vital chapter or line which took the story into his usual metaphysical realm. It was an ordinary story, comparatively – by design, according to the note at the back of the novel; Murakami sought to “test” himself by writing a straight, simple story – but still colourful and a bit far-fetched at times. It had some rather graphic sexual passages which I didn’t really like (I’m no prude, but found this a bit much), and the characters were still most definitely Murakami-characters in that they were quite unusual. The narrator is supposed to be an 18- to 20-year-old university student, but he is written well beyond these young years.

I’m also reading War of the Worlds on my phone while I sit beside Pickle’s cot, helping him get to sleep of an evening. I’m really enjoying it – more than I thought I would, actually.

{Review} Stuck on You: Party Range

When the kind folks at Stuck on You contacted me to ask if I’d like to review their new Party range, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was just starting to think about Pickle’s first birthday, and given that I had no clue as to what we were going to do…having a few supplies sounded perfect.

I went online and created our personalised items, which was a straight-forward process; there are a number of themes, colours and fonts to choose from, so you can tailor-make these products to suit your event.

Stuck on You Party Range2The range of products is fantastic – I love the personalised invitations and thank you cards (and the fact that you can play around with the design online to get exactly what you are after in terms of wording and overall look), and the matchy-matchy-ness of it all (even though I can’t don’t do Pinterest-perfect parties, I must admit that the idea of a matching range had me swooning, a whole heap just a little bit).

Stuck on You Party RangeI also really liked the versatility of the products. For example, the cupcake toppers, party dots and party dots cards can be used in any number of ways – as they are intended, or as decorations, on thank yous…whatever you like. Whether they’ve been designed this way on purpose or not, these products allow you to use your imagination, which is a big plus in my mind.

IMG_4061The quality of the products is great; the invitations, thank you cards, place cards, party food cards and party bag toppers are all made of good, thick card with a delightfully smooth finish. They withstood a bit of crumpling from our three-year-old, which is always the big test!

Stuck on You Party RangeMy favourite of all, however, were the slim address labels. Oh my golly, seeing our baby’s name and address printed on his very own address labels was just too darn cute, and everyone commented on how sweet they were.

Stuck on You Party Range3I think the price point of these products is great -you’re getting a good quality product for a reasonable price. The printing was excellent, and the fact that you can play around with the wording online is a bonus; I like to see each change and how it affects the overall look of such products.

The only drawback is that you need to be organised in plenty of time to allow for printing and postage, but if you’re sensible and don’t leave the party planning to the last minute, then this is definitely the way to go – I’ve got my eye on the race car themed products for Tiny’s 4th birthday, and will be ahead of the game for sure!

NB:
~ for obvious reasons, certain personal details have been blacked out in these pictures.
~ the range of products was provided to me for the purpose of this review, but all opinions expressed here are all my own.~ Stuck on You also provided an awesome ‘Pin the Banana on the Monkey’ canvas party game, but given the age of our party guests, we decided to put this away until Tiny’s birthday next year. However, I can say now that the quality and design is fantastic, and we can’t wait to play!

For more fantastic products, plus the latest news and some fantastic competitions, follow Stuck on You on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.