Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Giveaway #639 : Win a VR Real Feel Racing system - closing date 20/8


VR Real Feel Racing is a unique 3D system with a steering wheel for intuitive control and movement. With thrilling games and VR apps to download, the VR Real Feel Racing Simulator puts you in the driver's seat for a truly exciting and immersive virtual experience.


 Created by VR Entertainment Ltd, the company behind the popular Teksta range, VR Real Feel™ Racing offers technology that put players inside the action like never before. Featuring a 42mm lens headset that harnesses the power of Apple or Android™ smartphones, VR Real Feel Racing delivers pixel-popping graphics in stereo 3D.


A patented Bluetooth™ steering wheel with Max Force Feedback™, enables players to steer, accelerate, brake and change the view with the steering wheel, far more intuitive than tilting the head!
 

VR Real Feel Racing is available now for £39.99rrp. Available from Toys R Us, Amazon and Smyths, Halfords and Debenhams.



Main features:
- VR Real Feel Virtual Reality Car Racing Gaming System with Bluetooth Steering Wheel and Headset Goggles Viewer Glasses for iOS iPhone and Android
- Experience stunning 3D high definition graphics with pixel-popping graphics in stereo 3D with 42mm industry standard lenses for optimum viewing
- Patented Bluetooth Max Force steering wheel to steer, accelerate and brake for ultimate control!
- Unlike other VR headsets, no more tilting head to turn - this is the way virtual reality racing was meant to be!
- VR headset has a comfortable foam face, adjustable straps, and an adjustable phone cradle that will hold up to an iPhone 7 Plus



I have a VR Real Feel Racing system to give away to a lucky Madhouse Family Reviews reader. Fill in your entries in the Rafflecopter widget below.


UK only. Closing date : 20/8/17

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray !

You may also like to enter my other giveaways :

Trailclues - a new Urban Treasure Hunt platform


As you'll know if you're a regular reader of my blog, we love geocaching here at The Madhouse. (Click through to my geocaching posts to see our latest adventures.) It's a fabulous way of finding new places, it gets us out in the fresh air and it's always exciting finding a well hidden cache, swapping over treasures and helping travel bugs on their long-distance journeys around the world. It's also great as a totally free activity - I've seen numerous parents on my social media timelines wondering how to keep the kids entertained during the holidays with little or no budget, so geocaching is ideal. You just need to go to geocaching.com, create an account, download the app to your phone or upload caches to a handheld gps and then get out exploring.

When a press release landed in my inbox recently about a new Urban Treasure Hunt platform called Trailclues, it sounded right up our street too. I haven't had a chance to try it yet as it's only available in London and Portsmouth so far, but more will be added across the UK over the coming months. Here's what the release has to say - let me know if you get a chance to try it out. I'd love to hear how it works.

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Whether looking for a fun summer holiday activity in their local area or wanting to really explore a new destination, eager explorers have a new tool at their disposal. Taking players on an urban treasure hunt, Trailclues combines uncovering hidden gems, picking up fun, local trivia, and problem solving through a unique platform that’ll take them on an adventure through city landscapes.

Players race against the clock to solve clues along a trail, taking them to the next spot and another cryptic message to crack. Along the way, they’ll discover little known locations, learn fun facts about places that are often overlooked, and much more. Launching just in time for the summer months, Trailclues is the fun, unique way to go out and enjoy the sun. Tourists can get off the beaten track to discover locations that aren’t listed on the usual maps, while locals can expect to unearth charming features and destinations they never knew existed, simply by heading to the Trailclues website. Once signed up, all players need to do is respond to a received text with ‘GO’ to begin receiving clues directly to their phone.

Edward Mula, Founder of Trailclues, said, “Every city is filled with overlooked gems by tourists and locals alike. You might get a chance to glimpse these on a guided tour but Trailclues does away with that, giving people a chance to get involved in urban exploring at their own pace and without a huge cost. From first dates to corporate team building exercises, Trailclues is suitable for a huge range of groups and individuals that want to try something new and exciting in the city.”

For users with a competitive streak, they can even go up against each other. Leaderboards for all the trails give players a chance to race through the clues as fast as possible in an attempt to register an impressive time. Teaming up and competing is also an option through Trailclues. Up to three teams can sign up to simultaneously tackle the tricky clues as they race against each other to get to the finish point first.

Trailclues currently has trails available in London and Portsmouth, with more to be added across the UK over the coming months. Every trail is designed to be completed in an average of two hours and clues are always within walking distance of each other. Eliminating the need for a guide or
expensive hire equipment, Trailclues is set to become the new way to explore the urban environment in the UK.

To find out more visit trailclues.com.

Monday, 24 July 2017

DVD review : Red Dog - The Early Years


Forget Clifford the Big Red Dog - there's a new copper-coloured canine companion in town, and this time he's a real dog, not a cartoon ! 

Red Dog : The Early Years - or Red Dog : True Blue, under its international title - is the sequel (or, more precisely, prequel) to the 2011 Red Dog film, but it really doesn't matter if you haven't seen the first one. We loved the clever opening sequence which shows characters from the film watching the original 2011 version in the cinema.

 The story is told by adult Michael Carter (played by Jason Isaacs, from the Harry Potter series and The OA), who recounts the story of his eleven year old self (played by Levi Miller) being shipped off to his grandfather's cattle station in the back of beyond in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia. Once there, he prepares himself for a life of dull hardship, but instead finds myth, adventure and a friendship with a scrappy, one-of-a-kind dog that will change his life forever.



It's often hard to find a film that will appeal to the whole family, rather than something that the parents endure for the sake of the kids, but this ticks all the right boxes - an exotic setting, a heartwarming tale, some eccentric characters and funny moments, along with a cute four-legged star. The Madhouse kids found it hard to understand some of the broader Aussie accents (you can tell they weren't brought up on a twice daily TV diet of Neighbours and Home & Away in their formative years !) but they loved the story and the madcap humour of certain scenes.

It's an uplifting, family-friendly, coming-of-age tale about a boy and his dog, with some great panoramic views of the outback and references to Aboriginal culture thrown in for good measure. It'll make you laugh but I bet it'll make you shed a tear too !

  • Actors: Jason Isaacs, Thomas Cocquerel, Bryan Brown, Levi Miller, Hanna Mangan Lawrence
  • Directors: Kriv Stenders
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Signature Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 24 July 2017
  • Run Time: 88 minutes



Disclosure : We received a copy of the dvd.

Colouring fun with Bic Kids (review)


Like all children their age, the Madhouse kids would be happy to spend half of their holidays with their eyes glued to various screens, whether that be TV, iPads or laptops. I, on the other hand, have other ideas and want to get them enjoying some good old-fashioned technology-free fun, like the kind I had in my own childhood - water fights, long walks with the dogs, blackberrying, going for bike rides, messy play, ... It was heartwarming to see how enthusiastic they were when I pulled out some new packs of colouring supplies from Bic and encouraged them to get their creative juices flowing !


The kids have each got a box full of colouring materials in their bedrooms, but there's something totally irresistible about a brand new pack of felt tips, pencils or crayons. I can totally understand the appeal : testing out the new colours, seeing how bright they are, appreciating the length and totally unchewed condition of the pencils, not worrying about the felt tips running out halfway through a big section and ending up with patchy colour, ... 


The Bic Kids products are particularly well-designed with little artists in mind. The Kid Couleur Felt Pens 12 pack (RRP £2.99) is ideal for school with all the main colours you need. They are durable and ultra washable (hallelujah !) with blocked tips, so you shouldn't need to replace them before the end of the first term back at school (as usually happens !). They are perfect for kids to explore their creativity without the mess.


Bic Kids Evolution Ecolutions colouring pencils (RRP £2.99) are described as ultra-resistant, wood-free colouring pencils with a resistant chew-proof lead and barrel, making them highly durable. What’s more, they are easy to sharpen and extra safe, as they don't splinter. They tick all the boxes for my pet niggles when it comes to colouring pencils !


The one that most impressed us, though, was the BIC KIDS Plastidecor crayons (RRP £2.99). My own childhood experiences with wax crayons weren't all that great - they seemed to snap a lot, ended up all over my hands and sleeves (from leaning on the bits I'd coloured) and I spent half of the time peeling off bits of paper to reveal the rapidly dwindling crayon part. These ones are extra long and hollow so they are easier to hold and feel more like you're using felt tips. Ideal for children over the age of 30 months and recommended by teachers, these crayons are easy to sharpen and are super resistant to breakage, as well as being extra clean on hands and fabrics. Once again, they've taken all my pet niggles and solved the problems.


Pierre tested the felt tips and loved the bright colours and the fact that they didn't smudge, bleed into the paper or make the top surface of the paper fluff up. He also managed to not get felt tip all over his hands, which was a miracle, although the fact that they are ultra washable means that it wouldn't really have mattered anyway.


Juliette tried out the colouring pencils and came up with a seaside scene, complete with palm trees, whales in the ocean and a colourful hot air balloon drifting through the sky. She said that they gave great coverage and you didn't have to press really hard so they were more comfortable to use than her current pencils.


Our surprise favourite, though, was the Plastidecor crayons because they provide such vivid colours. We also discovered that if you draw with one colour then colour over the top, the original lines can still be seen through it, which opens up more creative possibilities. Pierre asked if we can redo something he did at school - colour in a whole piece of paper with the crayons, then paint black paint all over the top. When it is dried, use a pair of rounded-end scissors to scratch off parts of the paint to make a pattern and reveal the bright colours beneath. I remember doing this myself at school to create a firework scene, so we'll definitely have to give that a go during the holidays.


If you're looing for a way to keep the kids entertained and you have a budding artist aged 5-11, Bic currently have a fabulous competition running on Mumsnet where children can submit their drawings and be in with a chance of winning a £50 BIC bundle, as well as get their artwork featured on a billboard in their hometown!

Rebecca Huda from BIC explains : “It doesn’t matter if your child thinks the sky should be yellow, the sun pink, or the grass purple – we want to see the nation’s most imaginative drawings. All you need to do, is send a photo of your kid’s best drawing by the 6th August. Entries will then be judged by our panel of expert creatives and winners will be notified before the billboards are launched in September.” 

This competition is open to all UK children who will be aged between 5 and 11 years old on 6th August 2017. The competition is open from 17th July - 6th August so you've got plenty of time to get creative!

Disclosure : I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a voucher as a token of thanks for this post.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Sienna Collection Friendship Hearts review


You shoot me down in flames
You put me down a lot
But I'm giving you my heart
Go on take it
Please be careful not to break it
Just remember it's the only one I've got
It's the only one I've
Don't break my heart

I'm sure these gorgeous glass hearts weren't the inspiration behind the classic 80's UB40 song, but it would be the perfect song to sing (or write out as a poem if you haven't got a great voice) when you give one to your loved one. And if you haven't got a loved one? Well, gift one to yourself then, because they look gorgeous hanging on your bedroom wall !


When Peach Perfect asked if we'd like to receive one for review, the only tricky part was choosing which one we liked best. In the end, we opted for blue but they're all lovely. They look especially pretty hung in the window where they will catch the light, or they can even be put outside.


According to the attached gift tag, these hearts were traditionally made by glass blowers at the end of their shift with left over glass, then given to family and friends to attract good luck and friendship. As they are hand blown, each one is totally unique. Presented in a gift box, they are perfect for a birthday, anniversary, wedding, engagement or just because....

Each 12cm heart has an RRP of £13, but to celebrate the launch of their new website, Peach Perfect are currently giving you the chance to win one. The competition is open until midnight on 31st July so don't miss out !

Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.

Gel-a-Peel - the summer festival fun edit ! (review)


There's always a squeal of excitement when I receive an email from Gel-a-Peel with news of their latest crafty challenge. After making a funky Unicorn Jewellery Box last time, we were keen to see what the next theme would be, and the answer was, summer festivals and days out.


They provided us with a pack of funky Glow-in-the-Dark Gel-a-Peel and a pair of pink plastic sunglasses for this challenge, but Gel-a-Peel can be used on pretty much everything, from fabric and wood to glass and paper.


Inside the pack, there is also a  mould tray that you can use to create letters and numbers, as well as emojis and symbols including a heart and a rainbow - perfect for personalising your most treasured possessions. Judging by the letters that she filled up, that is Juliette's plan !


If you've never used Gel-a-Peel before, it's an air-drying silicon gel that comes in tubes like glitter glue, with a selection of nozzles for different effects and textures. It's really easy to get a 3d effect so you can also use the gel to create beads, charms and bracelets.


 I did snigger and say she looked like a cross between Willy Wonka and an Oompa Loompa in this photo, but Sophie thinks they're very cool !


 The fact that this Gel-a-Peel is glow-in-the-dark makes it ideal for summer accessories for evening barbecues and late night parties - the mini disco in Turkey will be ideal for showing them off when we go on holiday in August !


Juliette has also been creating lots of embellishments to stick all over her laptop - my favourite is this heart with a moustache !

Gel-a-Peel is aimed at children aged 8+, but if your children are younger, it can be a nice craft to do alongside them, maybe creating something special to wear during the holidays. You could try accessorising plimsolls, flip flops, bags, ribbon to create wristbands and so much more. Let your creative juices flow !



Disclosure : We received the product in order to take part in the challenge.

#MySundayphoto #SundaySnap 23/7/17


First to find !! (Sorry, you have to be a geocaching fan to understand the excitement of being the first person to fill in the logbook !)

OneDad3GirlsSunday Snap


Saturday, 22 July 2017

Giveaway #638 : Win 1 of 10 Relivio duos from HelloSkin - closing date 29/7


HelloSkin is a one-stop online store for trusted skin care products catering for people with psoriasis, eczema, acne & other dry skin conditions. One of their best selling brands is Relivio, which is a brand name of LEO Pharma, a well-established Danish pharmaceutical company founded in 1908. LEO Pharma is an independent fund, meaning that it does not have to answer to owners, shareholders, or other interests, and is able to concentrate on the needs of patients.

Relivio Dry Skin Body Cream (RRP £5.25) is a moisturising body cream specifically formulated for people with dry or very dry skin. This includes those who suffer from dry skin conditions such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and senile xerosis. This cream’s emollient properties make the skin smoother and protect it by helping to restore the skin ‘barrier’. Using patented MLE technology, the cream is able to mimic the lamellar structure of the natural skin lipids. A combination of plant-derived ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterol, means that the cream’s structure is identical to that of the skin’s natural lipid lamellar structure.

Relivio Dry Skin Body Lotion (RRP £7.75) is uniquely formulated for use by people with a range of dry skin conditions, including psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and senile xerosis. Regular, daily use of this lotion will help to moisturise and revitalise dry and sensitive skin that has become itchy as a result of a condition. This makes scratching of the skin less likely, and therefore helps to protect against infections. As an emollient, the lotion works by reducing water loss. It does this using a patented technology called MLE technology: MLE mimics the skin’s natural lipid structures, using a special blend of plant-derived ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids. By supplying the skin with oils that are similar to the natural lipids produced by the body, the lotion is able to help restore the skin’s protective ‘barrier’. This provides lasting assistance with reducing water loss through evaporation, making the skin suppler, less itchy, and less tight. Despite being an emollient, the lotion has a non-greasy, non-sticky texture and is rapidly absorbed by the skin. People of all skin types can use this lotion.

HelloSkin have kindly offered 10 packs of 1 RELIVIO cream and 1 RELIVIO lotion to give away to lucky Madhouse Family Reviews readers. Please be aware that the expiration date of these products is September 30th 2017. Fill in your entries in the Rafflecopter widget below.


UK only. Closing date : 29/7/17

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray !

Extra T&C's for this giveaway : Entrants to this prize draw must be aged 18 or over and a resident in the UK. The promoter of the competition is HelloSkin, Silkegade 8, Copenhagen, Denmark. Winners will need to send the following contact details : Full name, Postal address, Phone number & Email address (to pass on to promoter)

You may also like to enter my other giveaways :

Fab freebies of the week 22/7



Morning all - it's Saturday morning. You know what that means? Yep, it's time for another roundup of UK freebies for your perusal !

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on the Charles Worthington facebook page : Do you want to keep your blonde ice cool and say goodbye to pesky yellow tones in just 1 wash?? Then follow us, like this post and send us a Facebook or Instagram message with your postal address and we will treat you to a FREE travel size of our NEW Ultra Violet Shampoo - the strongest violet toning shampoo on the UK high street. Hurry because only the first 5,000 Worthington Women who apply will get a free blonde transformation!

Request a free festival pack and be in with a chance of winning a week's European camping holiday at Camping Chateau du Gandspette in Eperlecques, France. Your festival pack will include one string of bunting, a flag, a sticker, and 4 wristbands to share with your friends.

We are giving away 1000 free AUVA® lip balms, simply fill in the form below. UK Only. Visit us here: https://www.auvaskincare.com/ You must also like our Facebook page to get the free sample: https://www.facebook.com/AUVAskincare/ - Offer ends 7th August 2017

Get a free sample of FELIX FunSauces, when you claim a GO CAT Crunchy & Tender ADULT sample

Paperchase are hosting free unicorn mask making sessions instore next week

On the Anarchy Reigns facebook page : Feel like you're about to explode?! Just Like and Share this post to win a free stress ball to squeeze that strain away

Try Balance Mineral Drink for FREE. Run, shake, and hydrate with our Balance Mineral Drink. Full of electrolytes it helps you fight fatigue during and after your run. Claim your free 5.5g sample now.

Request a free sample of make up remover wipes from Natural Wipes

Sign up for a FREE J2O ...AND BE THE FIRST TO HEAR ABOUT THE LATEST NEWS & OFFERS (from Toby Carvery)

Aveeno still have bodycare samples up for grabs

FREE SAMPLE!! To claim a 10g free sample of our highly rated Pre-Workout. #RT and #like.
We will then contact you for a address. Uk only.

DM for free samples of this wonderful activated charcoal teeth whitening powder. Available on Amazon.

You can see previous weeks' freebie roundups by clicking here but be warned, many of the offers are only valid for a short time. Let me know if any have expired and I'll remove them from the roundup.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Beat the boredom with Nick Jr's Make It & Bake It competition


Parents beware - the average child will utter their first ‘I’m bored …’ just TEN DAYS into the summer holidays ! Researchers who carried out a detailed study found that while the majority of the nation’s school children are longing for the six-week break to begin, they will soon run out of things to do. Even more worrying is the fact that once the kids hit the boredom breaking point, parents can expect to hear the dreaded moan up to FOUR times every day.

The study also revealed the most popular replies for long-suffering mums and dads, with: “But you've got loads of toys’ coming top. Here's the complete list, which made me smile, because I say several of them !

MOST POPULAR THINGS PARENTS SAY TO BORED KIDS:

‘But you've got loads of toys’
‘If you're so bored you can always help with the chores!’
‘Go and amuse yourself’
‘When I was your age I had a lot less and I managed’
‘Tidy your room’
‘You don't know how lucky you are’
‘Can't you go and see your friends?’
‘We'll go and see your grandparents, then?’

Overall seven in ten parents said they find it difficult to keep their kids entertained through the school summer break.


The research was carried out by Nick Jr. to highlight the channel’s summer ‘Make It and Bake It’ campaign, which encourages kids to bake cakes and treats, the best of which will be shown on the channel’s most popular shows.

Virginia Monaghan, VP Creative, Marketing and Communications, Nickelodeon UK & Ireland, who commissioned the study for Nick Jr., said: “The school summer holidays can seem endless and full of possibilities when you are younger. In reality, staying entertained for such a stretch of time can be a challenge and parents will need to get their thinking caps on for activities if they are to keep their kids busy through the seven-week break.”

The national survey, by OnePoll.com, also uncovered the top 50 ways to keep your kids entertained in the summer months. Family days out came out as the number one distraction for restless youngsters, followed by watching TV as a family, and a visit to the cinema together. Forty eight per cent of parents occupy their kids with a bit of messy home baking, while one in two play video games as a family. Just over a third sit down to play board games together.

Here's the full list of the nation's top 50 favourites :

TOP 50 ACTIVITIES TO KEEP KIDS ENTERTAINED THIS SUMMER:

1. Take them on family days out
2. Watching TV/movies
3. Cinema
4. The beach
5. Swimming
6. The park/Play park
7. Computer games
8. Cooking/baking together
9. Outdoor walks
10. Playing with them in the garden
11. Play time with their toys
12. A play date with their friends
13. Board games
14. Read a book
15. Bike ride
16. Arts and craft at home
17. Take them to a theme park
18. Museums/Galleries
19. Go sightseeing
20. Take photos
21. The library
22. Gardening
23. Visit a fair
24. Jigsaw puzzle
25. Bowling
26. Camping
27. Fruit picking
28. Build a den
29. Go to the arcade
30. Sports clubs
31. Play dress-up
32. Fly a kite
33. Play group
34. The theatre
35. Bug hunting
36. DIY
37. Draw pavement art
38. Youth club
39. Roller-skating
40. Bird watching
41. Writing stories/poetry
42. Organise a treasure hunt
43. Take them to a music festival
44. Stargazing
45. Plant a tree
46. Play parlour games
47. Sailing/Kayaking
48. Flower pressing
49. Teach them a magic trick
50. Watch a Punch and Judy show


To break up the summer, 71 per cent of parents make sure they go away on holiday with their kids for an average of ten days across the break. As kids near a loose end, two thirds are likely to moan to mum and dad about their situation, and 17 per cent have thrown tantrums in frustration.

Virginia Monaghan added: “We know shared family time is important to both kids and parents, regardless of the season. As kids look for more to do in the summer to keep them occupied, a fun family-based activity can keep kids entertained while providing a valuable shared experience.”


“Baking is fun, creative and just messy enough to be enjoyable for almost every kid. Or why not get crafty with the PVA glue and glitter and start a project together, whether it’s creating something new or building a character from a favourite TV show?”

* Nick Jr.’s Make It and Bake It runs on Nick Jr. and NickJr.co.uk until 30th July. Featuring crafts and bakes inspired by Nick Jr.’s biggest shows such as PAW Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Rusty Rivets and Nella the Princess Knight, Make It and Bake It provides a resource for families looking for fun activities to take on across the summer holidays.

* Nick Jr. are also looking for the UK’s best makers and bakers from across the country. Families can win a Nick Jr. goody bag and have their culinary or crafty creation shown on Nick Jr. To find out more about Nick Jr.’s Make It and Bake It activities and the competition families should visit http://www.nickjr.co.uk/make/.

Even if you're hopeless at crafts and baking, you can still enter because there are three categories for judging your creation: Best Make, Best Bake, and Best Make It and Bake It Fail !