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karalouk

karalouk
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Member since: 05.03.2009

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      14.04.2014 15:22
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      • Quiet/peaceful/intimate
      • "Mostly good enclosures/Lots of OPEN enclosures - no cages"
      • "Plenty of shade"
      • "Reasonably priced"
      • "Nice way to spend a few hours"

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      • "Quite small"

      A quiet little 'zoo' in the South of Portugal

      We recently made our first visit to Lagos Zoo in the south of Portugal. Despite the name 'Lagos' the zoo isn't actually situated in Lagos (it's just outside) and it's best to reach it by car. There are a few 'zoo' signs leading up to it but the actual entrance itself is quite concealed and not very obvious (look out for the big stone gorilla statue!). It has a small car park at the front. The zoo is open all year round (10am - 5pm October to March and 10am - 7pm April to September). Ticket prices are 16 euros for adults, 14 euros for over 65's, 12 euros for children (4-11 years) and free for under 4's. I feel that the ticket prices are quite reasonable and the under 4 allowance seems quite generous. We visited mid-week during UK school holidays and thought that the zoo would be busy but it wasn't. In fact throughout our visit we barely bumped in to a soul, it felt as though we had the place to ourselves! It's has a very peaceful and serene atmosphere, much different to many of our zoo's back home. I was quite surprised at the size of the zoo, it was much smaller than I thought it would be and didn't have as many animals as I had expected (no 'big' animals or big cats). It's not really a place where you can spend all day, two or three hours was plenty for us. Lagos Zoo is quite intimate, it doesn't do any shows or put on any displays like most zoo's tend to do (this might be disappointing to some but I think it's a nicer environment for the animals). The whole place is covered in lush vegetation and plants. It's quite pretty and there are plenty of shady places to take shelter from the sun. It wasn't built-up and commercialised, there wasn't even a souvenir shop at the end... although I think they were in the midst of opening one during our visit! There were 2 lots of toilets, we visited one lot of toilets by the farmyard which were unfortunately pretty run-down (they even had birds flying around in there!). There is a restaurant which is situated near the entrance of the zoo but we didn't even see it. There is also a snack bar where we purchased some drinks which seemed sufficient enough. Outside the snack bar was a small play park. There is also another (and slightly bigger) play park at the other side of the zoo. Each enclosure we came across had information about each animal (translated in to English too) which was quite useful and interesting. The first animals we came to were reindeer. Most reindeer that I've experienced in zoo's tend to look quite tatty but these reindeer looked very healthy. The next selection of animals were birds. Lagos Zoo is home to an impressive number of different birds including Parrots, Macaws, Cranes, Hornbills, Owls, Flamingos, Vultures and Kookaburras. Our favourites were the Parrots, Mccaws and Rhinoceros Hornbills. I don't particularly like seeing birds in cages but all of the enclosures seemed quite spacious and many of them quite enriched so it wasn't too bad. There are a number of different ponds which have tortoises, fish and swans in them. Ducks and other birds (such as peacocks) also wander around the zoo. You can purchase food from machines for 1 euro to feed the fish, birds etc. Lagos Zoo is home to quite a few primates. Primates included Gibbons, Lemurs, Chimps, Marmosets, Squirrel Monkeys and Tamarins. I really liked the majority of the primate enclosures as they weren't caged. The smaller primates were caged but all of the bigger primates had islands to themselves (surrounded by a moat or pond) which seems like such a stress-free environment for them. Visitors can still get a good view of the primates but without invading their space. The downside to these enclosures is that they seem VERY escapable! Our favourite primates to watch were probably the playful gibbons. There were only a couple of areas which I weren't keen on - the first was the farmyard where you can pet the animals. None of the animals were endangered and I felt it was quite pointless having farm animals there. None of the enclosures were particularly big, most of them were overcrowded (I counted about 20 guinea pigs in one enclosure) and a lot of the animals were hot and panting (the sheep weren't sheered and had thick coats). Another thing that I was really unimpressed with was that there were a number of tiny baby goats in with a number of big rams (I have no idea why) - the rams were chasing and ramming the goats who were really scared. We had to tell a member of staff (we checked later on and they had been separated). The second thing I wasn't keen on was the Linx. The zoo had a lone Linx which was pacing around and looking very stressed. Other animals to see include Mara, Capybara, Wallabies, Prairie Dogs, Ocelot, Bobcat, a (small) crocodile, Iguanas, Porcupines, Snakes and Meerkats (my daughters favourites). My personal highlight was the Lyle's Flying Fox enclosure which you can walk through. The Flying Fox's are a type of bat and there were LOADS hanging from the roof of the enclosure. They were so intriguing to watch and you can get really close to them. As I've already mentioned, most of the enclosures seemed quite spacious and enriched which was nice to see. I especially liked the open enclosures. All of the animals looked healthy and most of them seemed stress free. The Lagos Zoo website does mention conservation, although I'm not really too sure what conservation efforts they make. They do seem to care greatly for their animals though. Overall Lagos Zoo was a few hours well spent and I'm glad we visited. I probably wouldn't visit again for a while but I'd be happy to recommend this quiet little 'zoo' to others.

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      • Pedigree Schmackos / Dog Food / 21 Readings / 19 Ratings
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        18.03.2014 13:32
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        Not bad dog treats.

        Schmackos are dog treats made by Pedigree. These aren't something which I buy too often, only now and again. They always seem to come in the Pedigree Dog Stocking around Christmas time. My spoilt dog always gets at least a couple of Pedigree Dog Stockings so we always have Schmackos in the house during December/January. They come in chicken or beef flavours (you can also buy mixed meat packs). My dogs stomach is more suited to poultry than red meat so we generally opt for the chicken Schmackos. These treats are quite generously sized - quite long (about 4 inches long and an inch wide) but very thin. They are a brown colour and are quite smooth. I like smooth treats like this because they don't have crumbs and don't make a mess which make them ideal for sticking in my pocket when we go out for walks. They don't have much of a smell either. Pedigree Schmackos come in a small 86g foil packet and contain 10 Schmackos (you can also buy 172g packets that contain 20 Schmackos). The packet has a resealable tab and seems sufficient at keeping the treats fresh. There isn't a size recommendation so these treats are apparently suitable for all dogs. The Schmackos are surprisingly soft but quite chewy too. They are not hard treats and I imagine they would be suitable for all breeds, even those with sensitive or ageing teeth. You can break the Schmackos in to bits if you want to feed in smaller portions or want to make the treats last longer (or for smaller dog). The ingredients of the chicken Schmackos include meat and animal derivatives (31% meat), derivatives of vegetable origin, minerals, cereals, various sugars, antioxidants, oils and fats. There isn't anything too worrying in this list, except for the unnecessary various sugars. They are said to contain added 'omega 3, vitamins and calcium' (maintaining healthy teeth, bones and natural defences) which is good to know. They're also quite high in protein (30%) and contain no artificial colours or flavours. My dog seems to like Schmackos very much and will do anything to get his paws on one. I find they're very good for bribing... I mean TRAINING your dog. I usually feed my dog Schmackos whole (he's a large dog) as a reward or just as a treat. However if we're out on walks or I'm attempting to train him to do something specific then I usually tear them in to pieces (so 10 pieces instead of 10 whole Schmackos!). My dog is stupidly friendly but when out on walks he can be quite odd with other dogs, I believe that rewarding him with treats such as Schmackos for good behaviour has really made our walks much more successful and enjoyable in recent years. I'd say the only real downside for us is that the Schmackos are very thin and my dog eats them very quickly, he usually eats a whole Schmacko in just a few seconds! I'm sure they would last slightly longer with smaller and less greedy dogs... Pedigree Schmackos are widely available at most supermarkets and pet stores. Packs of 10 cost around £1.00 per packet (or around £1.60 for packs of 20). Although one pound wont break the bank I still think they are a little on the pricey side considering you can buy a whole box of biscuits or large treats for the same price, plus my dog gets through them so quickly!

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      • Pedigree Cheesy Bites / Dog Food / 41 Readings / 40 Ratings
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        17.03.2014 00:38
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        Not really suitable for us.

        Cheesy Bites are dog treats made by Pedigree. They are not something I regularly buy for my dog but they always seem to come in the Pedigree Dog Stocking around Christmas time. My spoilt dog always gets at least a couple of Pedigree Dog Stockings so we always have Cheesy Bites in the house during December/January. They are very small treats and measure just a centimetre or two in diameter. They are oval shaped, quite flat and with a cream colour around the edges and a brown colour in the middle. They remind me a little bit of miniature steaks! They are perfectly smooth too. I like smooth treats like this because they don't have crumbs and don't make a mess which make them ideal for sticking in my pocket when we go out for walks. They're also very small too, so an ideal size for taking out and about (you can take loads!) and they don't have much of a smell either. Pedigree Cheesy Bites come in a small 70g foil packet (the packet seems sufficient at keeping the treats fresh). There are lots of Cheesy Bites per pack and I assume that if you have a small dog these treats would last for quite some time (they don't seem to last us very long as I need to feed my dog a few at a time). There isn't a size recommendation so these treats are apparently suitable for all dogs. The Cheesy Bites aren't crunchy, they're quite soft and you can break them in half (although that might be quite awkward because they're so small). They might be chewy for smaller dogs but they certainly aren't for my big dog whom can swallow a whole cheesy bite without it even touching the sides! Ingredients include cereals, derivatives of vegetable origin, various sugars, meat and animal derivatives (minimum 4% meat), vegetable protein extracts, fish Derivatives, milk Derivatives (minimum 4% Cheese), minerals, seeds, herbs, oils and fats. There isn't anything too worrying in this list, except 'various sugars' which seems a bit unnecessary. I'm also surprised that cheese and meat only make up 4% of the ingredients (8% combined), even though they're called cheesy bites and their big selling point is that they're 'deliciously different with a savoury cheese and meat flavour'! Each Cheesy Bite contains just 2 calories and they are said to contain added 'omega 3, vitamins and calcium' (maintaining healthy teeth, bones and natural defences) which is good to know. My dog will happily eat these treats and seems to enjoy them, but then my dog likes ANY sort of food! They aren't really sufficient enough for big dogs and I always seem really mean when I reward him with Cheesy Bites because they're so small that they hardly register (as mentioned above, they go straight down without even touching the sides!). Treats are meant be to indulgent but they can't be indulgent if you don't even taste them! I think Pedigree should state on the packet that these treats are best suited to small-medium sized dogs. On the upside I can see that they are useful for training and also you are able to give your dog quite a few Cheesy Bites at any one time for good behaviour which can't always be the case with larger treats. Pedigree Cheesy Bites are widely available at most supermarkets and pet stores. They cost around £1.00 per packet. Although one pound wont break the bank I still think they are a little on the pricey side considering you can buy a whole box of biscuits or large treats for the same price!

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        • Pedigree Jumbone / Dog Food / 34 Readings / 31 Ratings
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          16.03.2014 19:21
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          MAXI Jumbones - my dog loves them!

          I have been feeding my dog Jumbones for years, they are his weekly treat. Jumbones come in a number of different sizes so you can find one that is suitability sized for any dog. As I have a large dog I normally buy the 'Maxi' which is the largest Jumbone. They come in foil packets and some of the smaller sized Jumbones have more than one in a packet, but unfortunately Maxi Jumbones only come in packs of one (I sometimes buy him the size below, they are just as good but slightly smaller and you get two in a pack). They come in both beef and chicken (& rice) flavours. I don't think my dog is fussed either way but I usually opt for chicken as we have had bad experiences with beef products in the past (bottom explosions!). The Jumbone looks quite strange and not like a bone at all! It is about 5 inches long and a few inches thick. It's certainly a generous size. The outside is like a chew (dark brown coloured) and the inside has a soft meaty centre (lighter brown coloured). It completely smooth and almost looks plastic! Jumbones also have a strange smell, I can't really describe it but you can only really smell it when you get close to it, I never find that I can smell it when my dog is chewing on it. The packet states that the Jumbone contains added 'omega 3, calcium and vitamins' (maintaining healthy teeth, bones and natural defences) which is good to know. It's said to contain 2% fat which sounds quite good but on the back it also states that it provides 49% of a 35kg dogs daily energy requirements. Therefore you should only feed Maxi Jumbones weekly and main meals should be reduced accordingly. I usually just make my dogs breakfast and dinner portions slightly less than normal if I know he'll be having a Jumbone that day. As with all chews and bones, my dog usually needs a drink afterwards so I would recommend having a bowl of water available. Maxi Jumbones are not suitable for puppies or dogs weighing less than 20kg. The ingredients of the Chicken & Rice Jumbone include cereals (including rice), meat and animal derivatives, various sugars, vegetable protein extracts, seeds, minerals, vegetable origin derivatives, herbs, oils and fats. None of the ingredients worry me too much, except for 'various sugars' but I'd like to think it doesn't contain too many various sugars. My dog finds Jumbones extremely delicious and really gets stuck in to them. He refuses to leave it alone until it's all gone. He has very strong jaws and most of his treats last a matter of seconds but it takes him about 5 minutes of relentless chewing to get through a whole Maxi Jumbone. I believe Jumbones are not only tasty but they're very good at cleaning teeth. The Jumbone is nothing like a real bone, although it's very tough, it's not rock hard. Like most dogs, my dog is obsessed with chewing but I can no longer give him rawhide bones (which he really enjoys chewing on) as they're very dangerous and he has choked on them before. Although Jumbones don't last as long as rawhide and real bones, I find they're the next best alternative. My dog normally makes a big mess whilst eating his Jumbone, they aren't crumbly but they do get all slimy and bits tend to fall off as my dog chews it. For this reason I do not allow Jumbones on my sofa or rug! It's not all bad though as my dog hoovers up the remains afterwards... Jumbones are widely available at most supermarkets (which is handy as it means I can pick one up when doing my everyday shopping) and pet stores. Maxi Jumbones generally cost around the £1.50 mark. This might work out pricey if buying a few times a week but as a once a week treat I can't really complain. My dog thinks Jumbones are very tasty and they keep him busy for a while, as well as giving his teeth a good clean and providing him with added health benefits. I'm happy to recommend to all dog owners.

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        • Pedigree Gravy Bones / Dog Food / 51 Readings / 51 Ratings
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          14.03.2014 15:46
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          Worthwhile dog treats.

          Pedigree Gravy Bones are dog treats which I have been feeding my dog for years. They are crunchy biscuits with a meaty gravy coating. The Gravy bones are brown coloured and very smooth. I would almost describe them as shiny! I like the fact they aren't crumbly or powdery as this allows me to put them in my pocket. They are shaped like little bones and smell quite meaty. The packaging states that the Gravy Bones contain 'vitamins, calcium and omega 3' and contain 'no artificial colours or flavours' (maintaining healthy teeth, bones and natural defences) which is good to know. I'm not a scientist so I can't dissect the Gravy Bones and confirm this but what I can confirm is that my dog has always got on well with them, we haven't experienced any bad side effects - no itchy outbursts or dodgy stomachs! Ingredients include cereals, minerals, meat and animal derivatives, vegetable origin derivatives, oils and fats. The nutritional information is as follows: protein 11%, oil 7%, ash 16%, fibre 0.7%. I don't really know what this means (!) but I don't see anything particularly bad in the ingredients... My dog absolutely loves these little treats and will do anything to get his paws on one. I find they're very good for bribing... I mean TRAINING your dog. My devil dog will turn in to perfect pooch if I hold a couple of Gravy Bones in my hand! I find them particularly useful for when we are out on walkies. My dog is stupidly friendly but when out on walks he can be quite odd with other dogs, I believe that rewarding him with treats such as gravy bones for good behaviour has really made our walks much more successful and enjoyable in recent years. The Gravy Bones are about an inch to two inches long and I'd say they're quite generously sized for treats. My dog is quite happy to eat small treats but he eats them so fast that he almost inhales them! That really doesn't seem very indulgent and 'treat-like' to me. Don't get me wrong, Gravy Bones aren't HUGE but at least he gets a couple of crunches out of them and can actually taste them before they go down the hatch! The Gravy Bones can also be snapped in half if you want to make them smaller or want them to last longer. I'd say these treats are suitable for all dogs, both big and small. My dog is very big and enjoys these treats and we used to have a small dog that also enjoyed these treats. The only difference is that my big dog could eat 3 Gravy Bones in the same time that it took for my small dog to eat 1! These treats are crunchy but certainly not hard and not particularly chewy. I imagine that they'd be suitable for all dogs, even those with sensitive or ageing teeth. The Pedigree feeding guide recommends small dogs can have up to 6 Gravy Bones per day, medium dogs can have up to 12 Gravy Bones per day and large dogs can have up to 18 Gravy Bones per day. Whilst doing some research for this review I have read that some dogs have reportedly choked on Gravy Bones due to their outer smooth texture (which goes slippery when mixed with saliva). This is rather concerning so I may consider breaking them all in half from now on! You can buy Pedigree Gravy Bones at all supermarkets (which is convenient for me as I can pick them up with my everyday shopping) and pet stores. They stand out on the shelf as they are packaged in bright yellow Pedigree packaging and have a picture of the actual product on the front. They come in large bags (1.5kg), small packets or standard sized boxes (400g). I would say the most common are the boxed Gravy Bones, which is what we buy. They normally cost around the £1.50 but I often find that they're on offer (usually for £1.00). I always make sure I pick up a box when they're on offer but in all honesty I think the full price is pretty reasonable considering there are LOADS of Gravy Bones per box - very good value for money. Our box of Gravy Bones can sometimes last up to a couple of weeks. The cardboard box is easy enough to retrieve the gravy bones from (I usually just tip a couple in to my hand) and seems to keep the Gravy Bones perfectly fresh. My dog seems to find Pedigree Gravy Bones DELICIOUS and I think they're pretty neat too! I'm happy to recommend these convenient little treats to all dog owners.

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          • More +
            13.03.2014 15:19
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            A family friendly polynesian restauarant.

            We visited Walt Disney World in Florida last year. Whilst doing some 'pre-restaurant planning' I came across a breakfast dining experience called 'Ohana's Best Friends Breakfast featuring Lilo & Stitch'. It was a character breakfast and included Lilo & Stitch (from the Disney movie of the same name) - we had children with us and my daughter loves Lilo & Stitch so I booked it. You can pre-book visits to Disney restaurants months in advance (whether you are staying in a Disney hotel or not) and you can do it online. It's quick and easy to pre-book but you will be charged a percentage if you don't turn up. Ohana's Best Friends Breakfast takes place inside a restaurant called 'Ohana' which can be found inside the Disney Polynesian Resort. It serves American/Polynesian cuisine and is a buffet/family style restaurant. The restaurant serves breakfast and dinner. We arrived at the Polynesian Resort via monorail which runs around a number of deluxe Disney hotels and some of the Disney parks. The monorail is free for everybody to use and drops you off right outside (almost inside) the resort. As we were staying in a 'budget' hotel we had to get the Disney shuttle bus to the Magic Kingdom where we then got the monorail to the Polynesian Resort (it took just a couple of minutes). As we approached the Polynesian Resort we were met by a big beautiful wooden building surrounded by lush plants and trees, as well as fire torches! We were also greeted by friendly Disney staff - none of them will say 'Hello' to you but ALL of them will say 'Aloha' to you! The Polynesian theme is brilliant and very well done (I'd love to stay there one day!). We didn't really take a look around the hotel but you do have to pass through the reception area to get to the restaurant (if I recall correctly you need to go upstairs a floor or two). There's was a desk at the front of the restaurant where they gave us a buzzer which buzzed when our table was ready, however our buzzer went off after about a minute which was brilliant! During that time we were all given pink flower garlands to wear around our necks and were asked to stand in front of a 'Ohana' backdrop for a photograph. The photographer came to our table half way through our breakfast to show us the photo. I wouldn't usually bother with these sort of things but it was very nice so we decided to buy it (plus we felt it was a nice reminder of a great Disney morning!). It cost a rather pricey $30 (which we paid for at the table and picked the photograph up after our meal just outside the restaurant) which included a large photograph with themed mount and a couple of smaller copies. You get to keep the garlands, which the kids loved and made good souvenirs (as well as making our meal seem a little more polynesian!). We were seated at a huge round wooden table with big comfy chairs. The restaurant is very large. We didn't have a window seat so I couldn't tell you about the view! It was very busy inside, I didn't see one empty table. You definitely need to pre-book breakfast at Ohana or you're very unlikely to get a table. As we were seated the children were all given maracas which unsurprisingly they were thrilled with (not so thrilled when they had to give them back at the end!). The theme and atmosphere was great and very relaxing. The whole restaurant looked as though it was made from wood and our part of the restaurant had lots of plants and totem poles/tikis. The Ohana Best Friends Breakfast is a buffet but not a buffet that you walk up to. Instead the food gets brought to you. There is no menu, so we were simply brought food and drink as soon as we sat down! The service was incredibly fast and very friendly (all of the staff acted very 'Disney' and all got in to the Ohana spirit). There was a large variety of drinks (teas, coffees, juices , soft drinks etc). We were given jugs of juice to help ourselves and the staff were constantly walking around offering hot drinks. Trays of fresh fruit (including apple, raspberries, pineapple, mango and fruit dip) and breakfast breads (sweet and absolutely delicious) were put on our table. At the same time we were served hot and savoury options which came in a huge pan. Inside the pan was a giant pile of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, Mickey Mouse shaped waffles and fried potatoes. You're welcome to ask for more (we asked for more scrambled eggs, breads and juice) but the staff do a good job of making sure you're topped up! The one and only thing I wasn't too keen on is that they served the meat among the other food which is quite disturbing from a vegetarians point of view! Characters included Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch. They come around all the tables so there is no mad rush to meet them and everybody gets a turn (plus it's more personal and you get more time with them this way). They were all happy to take photos and sign autographs, the kids were very excited and particularly enjoyed Stitch who was acting very silly! Every now and again (maybe every half hour) there is music that comes on and all the kids are encouraged to get up with the characters (with their maracas) and dance around. Our kids absolutely LOVED this. Breakfast is served daily between 7.30am and 11am and prices are ROUGHLY $22.00 - $26.00 per adult (depending on the time of year) and $12.00 - $15.00 per child 3-9 years (under 3's are free). I think this is pretty good value for money, especially if you make the most of the food! Ohana also accept the Disney Dining Plan, which is how we paid. The Disney Dining Plan are meal cards that are purchased pre-holiday (they save more money than paying on the day). They entitle you to a number of meals, snacks and drinks per day at certain Disney establishments. The breakfast counted as a 'table service credit' and we didn't have to hand over any cash for our meal at the end, however you are still expected to leave a tip. This is a lovely place to have a special breakfast and was probably one of my most favourite breakfasts whilst visiting Walt Disney World. I felt that the food was not only delicious but there was a good variety (of sweet and savoury) for everybody to enjoy. We ate until we were stuffed! The theme and atmosphere were brilliant and the inclusion of characters made my daughters day! The service was extremely fast, efficient and very friendly. If you are making a trip to Walt Disney World, I would definitely recommend the Ohana's Best Friends Breakfast, you wont be disappointed.

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            • CuddleUppets Lambie / Soft Toy / 46 Readings / 46 Ratings
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              11.03.2014 20:46
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              Gorgeous blanket.

              Cuddleuppets are blankets that double up in to puppets! I have seen Cuddleuppets around for a year or two. They used to come in a handful of different fun styles (elephant, crocodile, monkey, unicorn, pink poodle, yellow dog and ladybird) but now there are lots of different Cuddleuppets to choose from. Many of the new styles include characters from film and television such as Sulley (from Monsters Inc), Winnie The Pooh and Minnie Mouse. My daughter had been asking for a Cuddleuppet for a while so approaching Christmas I decided to buy her one. As we both love Monsters Inc, I thought that Sulley would be the best choice. However as I scrolled through the different styles of Cuddleuppets on my computer, there was one that really caught my daughters eye - it was Lambie from Doc McStuffins. Doc McStuffins is a childrens television programme on Disney Junior. It's a fun and engaging programme with cute characters and teaches children about basic first aid. The main character is a girl called Doc McStuffins and her patients are her toys. The programme is very popular at the moment and is mostly aimed at children 3-5 years. My daughter is 6 years old and is probably getting a bit too old for Doc McStuffins. She doesn't watch it all the time but will happily watch it now and again. She recently told me that she actually likes the characters more than the programme! Lambie is one of Doc McStuffins toys that features in every episode (she is a cute looking stuffed lamb). I thought the Lambie Cuddleuppet was nice but it wasn't my favourite, until I picked it up from Argos! Oh my, she is lovely! The photo above doesn't do her much justice but she has a huge head with 2 ears either side, a bow on top and adorable face. She is pink and white coloured and looks just as she does on television. The 4 corners of the blanket have little pink feet/hooves on too! The blanket is all white with a pink stripe across it (which it supposed to look like Lambie's pink tutu skirt). You can put your hand inside her head (from underneath) and control her mouth. The mouth is easy to control and is big enough to fit an adults hand inside. I like the fact it doesn't have Doc McStuffins references printed all over it, as this means the Cuddleuppet can still be used when my daughter has grown out of Doc McStuffins - she will just have a cute looking lamb blanket! I had never seen an open Cuddleuppet up close and was initially surprised at how big it was. The blanket is a good size and perfectly sized for my daughter. It is long enough to cover her entire body or wrap around her a few times. It measures approximately 40 inches long and 27 inches wide. Another great thing about the Lambie Cuddleuppet is that it's really soft. The head (and feet) are plush and squishy, and the blanket itself is so soft and fleecy. At the time I bought this, it was quite hard to find. Argos was the only convenient place to buy it. However since then it's widely available at lots of places including Toys R Us, Very, Amazon, Tesco and Smyths. Normal Cuddleuppets are currently priced at around £10.00, however the Lambie Cuddleuppet costs £20.00 - £25.00! That's quite a price hike for a change of look. I also think it's a little overpriced in general (£10.00 - £15.00 seems more realistic). Unsurprisingly my daughter loves her Lambie Cuddleuppet. It's very cute and unusual looking. The blanket is so big and so soft that my daughter finds it very comforting and will often snuggle up with it on the sofa etc. She likes to take it to bed with her sometimes and enjoys taking it to nannies for sleepovers. I find that it's useful for taking out and about in the car, especially on long journeys when she might fall asleep and need something cosy to cuddle up to and wrap up with (also particularly useful for winter mornings!). I expect this might also be useful for taking out and about in buggies etc. The puppet aspect is a bonus in my opinion, my daughter likes to play with the puppet every now and again (you can cover your arm with the blanket to make it look more realistic!), but seems to prefer Lambie as a cute looking blanket. One thing I was slightly disappointed about was that I noticed a small rip underneath Lambie's chin after about a week of owning her. We stitched it up and it's been fine since (hoping this was just a one-off). One of my concerns is that because her head is rather large and the blanket it quite thin, that maybe it may tear. We haven't experienced this problem yet but I'll happily update this review if it does. I also find that white isn't the best colour to have in our household! I recently noticed Lambie was looking a bit grubby so I put her on a cold wash cycle (as stated on the tag) and she's now as good as new again. I'm happy to recommend to all.

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              • More +
                09.03.2014 21:25
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                Be a Minion doctor!

                My daughter received a Despicable Me 2 Operation game at Christmas. I was quite surprised because I had never seen it before. I have had a look around for it since Christmas and it seems the only place it's available is at Toys R Us. It is just like the classic game 'Operation' (which I'm sure most of us adults owned as a child) but is Despicable Me themed. The game is by Hasbro and is recommended for ages 6+, I'd say this is about right as the game is quite tricky (plus there are a lot of small parts included). In the unlikely event that somebody in the world doesn't know what Despicable Me is... Despicable Me is a 2010 movie that centres around a man called Gru who is a loveable villain that adopts 3 girls in a bid to steal the moon... long story! He also has a large number of Minions who live with him and work for him. Minions are small, pill-shaped, yellow creatures who all look almost identical. They are strange but cute looking. Most of them have two eyes but some have one eye and all of them wear goggles and overalls. Despicable Me 2 is a sequel that came out in 2013 where Gru works alongside the 'anti-villain league' to catch a super villain. The original Operation game is available at Toys R Us for £14.24 (currently £10.00 at Amazon) and the Despicable Me 2 Operation game costs £19.99. That's quite a price hike for just a slight change of theme, however if you're a big fan of Despicable Me and Minions then you'll probably think it's worth the extra. The game requires 2 AA batteries which sadly aren't included (although our batteries are still in use 3 months on). The game comes in a nicely decorated cardboard box (it's clear to see it's a Despicable Me game) and there are written instructions inside. The contents include a gameboard, tweezers, 4 exclusive Medic Minion toys and 11 small shaped pieces of plastic (which I will call 'funatomy parts' for the rest of this review - as stated in the instructions!). The gameboard is extremely similar to the regular Operation game (rectangle shaped, made from plastic with cardboard on top) but instead of a picture of a man on top, there is a picture of a Minion on top! The Minion is one-eyed Stuart and he has 11 shaped holes in various parts of his body. Each hole is labelled to avoid any confusion. The gameboard also has a small red light on it. The tweezers are attached to the gameboard which is handy as it ensures we don't lose them! In short, the aim of the game is to take turns and use the tweezers to carefully remove the funatomy parts from the holes in the Minion, without touching the sides. Each hole is surrounded by metal, if the tweezers make contact with the metal the game will buzz loudly and the red light will flash. The funatomy parts are all Despicable Me themed and suggest all different kinds of problems that need to be solved with an operation! They include a banana (Banana belly), brain (Nutty noggin), pot of jam (Jammy joint), table tennis paddle (Paddle pain), unicorn toy (Unicorn fluff), bottle of chemicals (Toxic tongue), cupcake (Cupcake cavity), gun (Trigger finger), hammer (Hammer toe), boot (Boot blister) and Fart gun, of course! The game is quick and easy to set up (in fact it requires hardly any setting up - just place the funatomy parts inside the holes in the gameboard). I appreciate games that require little setting up as it doesn't allow my daughter to get bored, distracted and lose interest before the game has even begun! The rules of the game are very simple (good for younger players) and are just like those of the original Operation game. The winner is the player who successfully removes the most funatomy parts. This is a game that requires a lot of concentration. We all really find ourselves getting stuck in to this game and trying to keep a steady hand whilst we attempt to remove all the pieces. The buzzer is quite loud and can really make you jump when it goes if, I think this adds to the fun and adds a little bit of suspense! My 6 year old finds it quite tricky (the funatomy parts are very small and fiddly), although she has got quite good at it now and really enjoys this game - she's even happy to play it alone from time to time. I don't always particularly enjoy playing some of my daughters games but this is one I'm always happy to play with her. You can shake the game up a little bit by using the Medic Minion toys. You can earn Medic Minions by removing certain pairs of funatomy parts - for example, if you remove Fart Gun AND Cupcake Cavity, you get to keep Nurse Bob. Medic Minions include Nurse Carl, Tim MD, Doctor Dave and Nurse Bob - they are small but look great. The winner is the person who has the most funatomy parts and Minions at the end. We have played the game with the Medic Minions a few times but I must admit that my daughter prefers to play the normal version and usually keeps the Medic Minions as toys to play with! I personally like the inclusion of the Medic Minions and expect my daughter will enjoy playing the game with them more as she gets older. Downsides? Well, apart from being overpriced and not widely available there aren't many downsides. Some people may expect the game to make Minion sounds and such, but it doesn't (the only noise comes from the buzzer). Overall I think this an enjoyable game that requires concentration and a steady hand. It's perfect for families as it's fun for kids as well as adults. The Despicable Me 2/Minion theme is well done and is sure to please all fans of the movie(s).

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                  06.03.2014 13:58
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                  Definitely not 'the poor mans Disneyland'... but you may be poor on your return!!

                  Disneyland Paris first opened in 1992. It was originally called Euro Disney but the name changed in 1995 (for the better in my opinion). I have visited Disneyland Paris on numerous occasions - a couple of times in the early years and a few times in more recent years. ===Where is it? How do I get there?=== The Disneyland Paris Resort can be found in Marne-la-Vallée which is approximately 20 miles from the centre of Paris (so not Disneyland PARIS at all then!). There are a number of ways to reach Disneyland Paris including plane (you can catch a train or shuttle transfer from Roissy/Charle-De-Gaulle airport), car and Eurostar. I have previously visited by car (via Euro Tunnel and ferry) but as I live nearby a Eurostar station I prefer to use Eurostar. Direct Eurostar trains take you straight in to the Disneyland Paris Resort (Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy train station) and I have always found the trip quick and convenient. The parks are just a couple of minutes walk away and there are free shuttle buses located outside of the train station to take you to your Disney hotel. ===What does the Disneyland Paris Resort consist of?=== The Disneyland Paris Resort consists of 2 Disney parks (Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios), the Disney Village (a strip of shops, restaurants and entertainment) and 7 Disney hotels. ===Hotels=== There are 7 Disney hotels - Sequoia Lodge, Hotel Cheyenne, Hotel Santa Fe, Hotel New York, Newport Bay Club, Disneyland Hotel and Davy Crockett Ranch. They're all themed differently and have different star ratings. There are non-Disney hotels nearby (but not in the Disneyland Paris Resort) which are generally cheaper to stay at, however if you do stay at a Disney hotel (excluding the Davy Crockett Ranch) your park tickets and buffet breakfast are included in the price. There are also free shuttle buses which run to and from the hotels and parks. The buses are usually packed but are REALLY handy and run regularly. The best and most expensive hotel is the Disneyland Hotel (which actually overlooks the Disneyland Park), followed by Newport Bay Club, Hotel New York and Sequoia Lodge. The most budget hotels are Hotel Cheyenne and Hotel Santa Fe (besides the Davy Crockett Ranch which are more like cabins than a hotel). One day I would like to stay at the Disneyland Hotel (of course!) and Hotel New York (they even have an ice rink outside in the winter months). To date I have stayed at Sequoia Lodge (mountain lodge themed), Hotel Cheyenne (western themed) and Hotel Santa Fe (New Mexico themed). I have had good experiences at them all, however I would say that my least favourite was Santa Fe and maybe quite surprisingly my favourite was Cheyenne (I have written separate reviews of them both if you would like to know more). I found that the downsides of Hotel Cheyenne were that it was pretty basic and the breakfast could have been a little better (very hectic, crowded and the food wasn't the best). However the upsides were that it was very well themed (good for kids and families), the rooms were adequate, it was good value for money and was in a great location (in walking distance to the parks and probably one of the nearest hotels to the parks). Hotel Santa Fe was located a lot further away from the parks, I didn't really like the lay-out of the place, it seemed a little run down and the breakfast wasn't great either. If you stay at a Disney hotel you are also entitled to Extra Magic Hours which I would definitely recommend taking advantage of. It allows you in to the parks before the general public, which enables you to get on to certain rides without waiting in enormous queues. I normally use Extra Magic Hours to get on the most popular rides. ===Disney Village=== The Disney Village can be found nearby the entrances of the 2 Disney parks and is a strip of shops, bars, restaurants and general entertainment. Unlike the parks, it is free for everybody to enter. It has no rides and is strictly a place for shopping, eating and light entertainment. It is similar to Downtown Disney in Florida but MUCH smaller (it isn't very big at all). Most of the shops are Disney shops but the restaurants and eating establishments are a mix of Disney (Cafe Mickey etc) and random franchise restaurants (Rainforest Cafe, Planet Hollywood, Mcdonalds, Starbucks etc). This is where I prefer to do my Disney shopping as there is so much choice, plus it's easier not to carry my shopping around the Disney parks! My favourite restaurants in the Disney Village include Cafe Mickey (a must do if you have children), Rainforest Cafe (a rainforest themed restaurant) and Annette's Diner (a fifties style diner). It gets very busy in the evenings and I would recommend pre-booking evening meals at all of the restaurants. Disney Village is also home to a giant hot air balloon called PanoraMagique Balloon. The balloon floats up to 100 metres in the air and stays still rather than making a trip. It can carry up to 30 people at a time and stays afloat for 6 minutes but in that time you have enough time to have a good look over Disneyland and the surrounding areas, and get a few photographs. There is a charge to ride the balloon but the prices aren't too bad (12 euros for adults and 6 euros for children). There is also a Wild West show (which I have never seen so can't comment on). ===Disneyland Park=== The Disneyland Park is the original and most popular park. It is very similar to Disneyland in California and Magic Kingdom in Florida. If you're not staying at the resort a one day ticket to the Disneyland park costs £52.00 for adults and £47.00 for children (3-11 years). The park is split up in to 5 different themed 'lands' - Fantasyland, Discoveryland, Main Street USA, Adventureland and Frontierland. The Disneyland Railroad is a steam train that goes all around the outside of the Disneyland park. It stops off at all the lands, except Adventureland. The railroad is relaxing, charming and a good way of getting around the park without tiring your feet out. Every guest at Disneyland Paris is entitled to use the Fastpass service. Fastpass is a free service which allows you to 'jump the queues' on lots of rides (but not all). Just pop your park ticket into a Fastpass machine at the entrance of your chosen ride and you will issued with a Fastpass ticket which tells you a time to return to the ride - this is particularly useful for the very popular rides. You can pick up a park map at the park entrance (which I suggest you do) as well as character/parade/attraction timetables. There's a daily parade at the Disneyland Park which starts at Fantasyland and ends at Main Street. Parades change from time to time (you also get 'special' parades on holidays such as Christmas and Halloween) but on the whole are a must do. They're brilliant - full of characters, music and magic! Appropriate music is also played throughout every part of the park, which makes everything seem so much more whimsical... Main Street USA is the first thing you will see when you enter the Disneyland park. It is situated at the very beginning and runs right through the centre of the park. You have to walk the length of Main Street USA to reach the other lands. Main Street USA is an actual street, with a road which runs through the middle and shops/restaurants on either side of the street. It has a turn-of-the-century theme but also has references to the 1920's - rather stunning (I especially love the brilliant window displays on Main Street USA). Sleeping Beauty's Castle can be found at the very end of Main Street USA. The castle is huge and BEAUTIFUL, a total spectical! The view of the castle down Main Street USA has become very iconic (the perfect photo opportunity). It's a really exciting sight, particularly for children as it symbolises the start of the magic! Main Street USA looks even more spectacular at night, when the street and castle is all lit up. Disney also make a special effort of decorating Main Street for special occasions such as Christmas and Halloween. There are no rides and attractions here. It's strictly shops and restaurants. Horse drawn trams as well as a number of victorian cars and vehicles drive up and down the street from time to time and I've also noticed that the more traditional and classic Disney characters can be found on Main Street (Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, Winnie The Pooh etc). Fantasyland is set up like a scene from a storybook, from the buildings to the walkways to the music playing throughout. It really is a land of fantasy! It is also the land that is primarily aimed at young children and toddlers (all of the rides are child friendly). It is largely based around childrens animated Disney classics such as Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, Winnie the Pooh and Dumbo. Rides and attractions include Mad Hatter's Tea Cups (where you sit inside tea cups and spin around. This is a fun ride that the whole family can enjoy and get involved in), Peter Pan's Flight (where you fly over Neverland in a ship. This is one of the most popular Fantasyland attractions and thankfully one you can Fastpass), It's A Small World (in which you sit inside boats and sail around to see children from all different countries around the world. It's lovely if not slightly annoying! This is another Fantasyland favourite and because each boat seats lots of people, the queue is never too long), Dumbo The Flying Elephant (where you sit inside your very own flying elephant. You can control how high/low you fly too. Usually has a long queue so it's best to ride first thing in the morning), Les Voyages De Pinocchio (where you ride around the story of Pinocchio. Not my most favourite ride and it's not very long, but it's worth a ride nonetheless), Le Carrousel de Lancelot (a beautiful, traditional and relaxing carousel ride), Snow White's Scary Adventures (a slow moving ride which takes you around the story of Snow White. It heavily features the Evil Queen and may be a little disturbing to very young children but certainly not enough to avoid the ride altogether), Le Petit Train Du Cirque/Casey Jnr the Little Circus Train (a surprisingly fun train ride on the Casey Jnr train from Dumbo. Not slow moving but I wouldn't say particularly fast either - great fun for little ones), Le Pays Des Contes de Fees/Storybook Land Canal Boats (a slow moving boat ride through different popular stories including Rapunzel, The Wizard of Oz, Aladdin, Beauty and The Beast and Fantasia. Not the most exciting but still a lovely ride that I definitely recommend) and Alice's Curious Labyrinth (a walk around maze that is Alice In Wonderland themed. Nice for kids and great for Alice in Wonderland fans - just don't get lost!). You can also explore the inside of Sleeping Beauty's castle and even see the LIVING dragon that lurks beneath the castle! There are some lovely shops in Fantasyland (and carts/stalls), as well as plenty of places to eat (I do believe 3 counter service restaurants, an ice cream parlour and a rather expensive but wonderful sit down restaurant with princesses - must pre-book). Characters make appearance throughout the day. We have met characters from Alice In Wonderland, Peter Pan and Cinderella in Fantasyland. The best place EVER for little girls is the Princess Pavilion where Disney Princesses make scheduled appearances. The only downsides are that you wont know which princess you will meet until you meet them, plus the queue for the Princess Pavilion is HUGE. My advice would be to get a place in the queue before it even opens in the morning! There is also a Mickey Mouse meet 'n' greet building (which we haven't yet visited). The theme of Advenureland is hard to describe as it's quite varied. At one side of Adventureland there is a Middle East/Arabian theme, with a Moroccan influence (think along the lines of Aladdin). The rest of Adventureland appears to be an unexplored jungle land, with a heavy Indian influence. There are lots of caves, rocks and bridges and there are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. In the centre of Adventureland is a lake where Captain Hooks ship is moored and a huge rock shaped like a skull, with water that flows out of it's mouth - a great photo opportunity. Rides and attractions include Pirates Of The Caribbean (a slow moving boat ride that explores pirate territory. Expect drops and skeletons! This is one of my favourite Disney rides), Indiana Jones and The Temple of Peril (this is an Indiana Jones themed rollercoaster ride which isn't amazing in my opinion, but it's not bad. Also has a small 360 loop), Le Passage Enchante d'Aladdin (a walk around attraction that takes you through different scenes from the film using moving models, complete with songs from the film in the background. It's rather charming and small children will love seeing their favourite Aladdin characters. There's never a queue and you're usually in and out within minutes. Not the most exciting attraction but worth a look), Pirate's Beach (a kids play area) and The Swiss Family Treehouse (another walk around attraction mostly situated in the treetops. We are usually too tired to do any more walking!). In Adventureland you can often find characters from the Jungle Book, Aladdin, The Lion King and even Jack Sparrow! There is one sit down seafood restaurant (where you normally need to reserve a table) and a counter service restaurant, as well as random food stalls/carts dotted about. The shops and stalls in Adventureland sell pretty cool and unusual stuff too! Discoveryland is futuristic/space themed. It is similar to Disneyland California and Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland. Rides and attractions include Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast (this is a ride where you board a space cruiser and blast away at targets with your very own Astro Blaster guns! This is a great ride for kids and fans of Toy Story. It's very popular but can be Fastpassed), Space Mountain (which is an indoor dark rollercoaster ride set in 'space'. It's very fast, has inversions and therefore isn't recommended for younger riders!), Star Tours (this is a brilliant ride where you board a Starspeeder 3000 and 'fly' off in to space on a tour that goes slightly wrong! This is another one of my favourite rides and can be Fastpassed), Autopia (this is a 1950's highway themed attraction that allows you to drive your very own race car. It's on a track so it's suitable for children and is worth doing, however there are usually long queues and it cannot be Fastpassed), Orbitron (this is a similar ride to the Dumbo ride but you ride in rockets instead of elephants. Again this is one that has large queues and cannot be Fastpassed unfortunately), Les Mysteres Du Nautilus (better known as Captain Nemo's Submarine from the film 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. This is a walk through attraction where you are able to explore the submarine. Certainly not the most exciting attraction but pleasant enough. It rarely has a queue and is suitable for all ages) and Captain EO (which is a 3D film with special effects and is considered to be one of the first 4D attractions ever made. It stars Michael Jackson and originally ran between 1992-1995 before being brought back in 2010. It was made in the eighties and is extremely retro, plus the pre-show is really long and boring. However the attraction itself is good fun - it's like an all singing, all dancing Star Wars!). I'm sure there are characters to meet in Discoveryland but I don't think we've ever seen any there. Most of the rides have pretty good shops at the end of them and there are a couple of places to eat (no table service restaurants though, just counter service and food to takeaway). Frontierland is wild west themed (1880s American West). It is home to cowboys, pioneers, saloons, red rocks, wagons and an old steam train. It is also home to a big river and the colour scheme is very much brown and red/orange, due to the large amount of wood and rocks. Rides and attractions include Big Thunder Mountain (which is a runaway mine train ride which reaches speeds of up to 35 mph and is suitable for slightly older children and adults. I wouldn't call it scary but it's quite thrilling! It's one of my 6 year olds favourite rides. It usually has a big queue but can be Fastpassed), Phantom Manor (set inside a big eerie house on top of a hill. You ride around in carts of up to 3. It's slow moving and there is no height/age restriction. It's not scary but might seem quite spooky to very young children - my daughter hasn't been scarred by it!), Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing (this is a huge Mississippi riverboat and is a focal point of Frontierland in my opinion. It takes you around the lake and is slow moving, relaxing and suitable for everybody), The Chaparral Theatre (a theatre that puts on random shows, although we have never watched any shows here) and Pocohontas Indian Village (this is an outdoor childrens play area which my daughter enjoyed playing at whilst I put my feet up for 10 minutes!). Woody's Roundup Village is a great place to meet characters - is it tucked out of the way and was virtually empty during our last visit. It is a small western village, half of which is themed around Woody's Roundup. We found Daisy Duck and Pluto outside during our last visit. We then made our way through the themed houses where we met Goofy, Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse. At Woody's Roundup we met Woody and Jessie, as well as seeing a lifelike statue of Bullseye (the horse) and Stinky Pete! Frontierland has 3 counter service restaurants, a table service restaurant and a buffet restaurant (that also has characters and usually needs to be pre-booked). There are plenty of Frontierland themed shops and shopping carts too. ===Walt Disney Studios=== The Walt Disney Studios is situated next door to the Disneyland Park, you can't miss it. It takes a matter of minutes to walk between the two parks. Look out for the Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror and the 'Earfel Tower'! Unlike the Disneyland Park the Studios has one clear theme - cinema and television. It largely focuses on 'behind the scenes' - think film sets, acting, props, stunts and special effects. The park is split into different 'studios' which include Front Lot, Toon Studio,Toy Story Playland (which is AMAZING!), Production Courtyard and Backlot (although in my opinion this isn't particularly apparent when you are inside the park). I like the fact the Walt Disney Studios is dedicated to cinema and television as not only is this a fun and interesting theme, but it's where Disney all started so it makes perfect sense. The Studios is very visually pleasing with movie set backdrops and props at every turn. There are also quite a few attractions that tie in with the cinema and television theme but isn't overdone and has plenty of somewhat unrelated and exciting attractions. If you're not staying at the resort a one day ticket to the Walt Disney Studios costs £52.00 for adults and £47.00 for children. It is a lot smaller than the Disneyland Park which means it's easier on the feet and you can usually see and do everything in one day (which is virtually impossible at the Disneyland Park). I've also found that the Studios tend to have slightly smaller queues than the Disneyland Park. Despite being smaller than the Disneyland Park I couldn't really describe it as 'small' as the Walt Disney Studios covers a large area and is home to plenty of rides and attractions. There is a daily parade (which is currently Stars 'n' Cars) which is definitely worth checking out if you have kids, not quite as spectacular as the parade in the Disneyland park but still GREAT! Lots of different characters wonder around the park. There are specific areas to meet Monsters Inc characters and Toy Story characters. A Ratatouille ride is due to be opened in 2014. I don't think there is a table service restaurant but there are about 3 counter service restaurants and a buffet restaurant. As expected there are a few nice little shops and shopping carts too. Some of my favourite rides and attractions include The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (which is probably my all time favourite Disney ride. The ride takes place inside an eerie old hotel where you are taken up 170 feet in an elevator before being DROPPED to the ground! The height restriction is surprisingly small for this ride so most children can ride if they are brave enough - my daughter is terrified of this ride and loves it!), Crush's Coaster (this is a mostly indoor rollercoaster that I highly recommend. It doesn't go upside down but is very fast and the restraint requires a lot of upper body strength so isn't suitable for young children - this is disappointing as it's fun AND Nemo themed), Stitch Live (this is an interactive show that uses real-time animation and digital puppetry. It's a fun and clever attraction in which guests can actually talk and communicate with Stitch), Animagique (an indoor show which is set in total darkness. It features Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, as well as characters from The Little Mermaid, Dumbo, The Lion King and Jungle Book. It has a great story, is extremely entertaining and very clever), Moteurs... Action! Stunt Show Spectacular (a brilliant stunt show that is filmed live and played back to the audience to show how stunts and special effects transfer from real life onto the big screen. Expect cars, motorbikes, guns, fire and lots of crazy stunts!), Rock 'n' Rollercoaster (an indoor dark rollercoaster ride that accelerates 0-60mph in just 2.8 seconds and plays Aerosmith through the headrest in your seat! Can be Fastpassed), Armageddon - Les Effets Speciaux (the concept of this attraction is to demonstrate set effects and special effects used in movies. After a LONG pre-show you are led to a reproduction of a space station from the film Armageddon and invited to take part in shooting a new scene for the film in which a giant meteor is heading towards your space station. Expect lots of steam, fire, water, wind and other surprises) and Studio Tram Tour: Behind The Magic (a tram ride takes you past a number of genuine movie props and film sets. Most peoples favourite part of the Studio Tram Tour, including mine, is called Catastrophe Canyon where you get to experience a simulated earthquake which involves fire and LOTS of water). Other rides and attractions include Art Of Disney Animation (see and experience how the Disney classics were made), Cars Race Rally (a spinning ride themed on the Disney-Pixar film, Cars), Flying Carpets Over Agrabah (ride your very own Aladdin themed magic carpet where you can fly and tilt the carpet yourself), Toy Story Parachute Drop (where you sit down inside a parachute and are elevated high above the ground before slowly being dropped back down. Based on the Toy Story soilders), Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin (where you spin around inside Slinky Dog from Toy Story), RC Racer (ride inside RC Racer from Toy Story up and down a half pipe. Quite fun although queues can be long), Cinemagique (a clever show which is half cinema screen and half real life) and Disney Junior Live On Stage (a live show featuring realistic looking puppets of Disney Junior favourites from such shows as My Friends Tigger and Pooh, Handy Manny and Little Einsteins. Expect surprises such as bubbles and 'leaves' falling from the ceiling! Very entertaining for little ones). ===Overall=== Now I'm going to try to summarise everything up in just a few sentences! Disneyland Paris is MAGICAL, mostly for children but definitely for most adults too! There's no doubt about it, it's a brilliant family holiday. HOWEVER the weather can be a big downside. The magic just doesn't seem quite to magical when it's freezing cold and raining (I once visited in the winter and would never return in the winter again). I also find that Paris has unpredictable weather much like the UK, I never really know what clothes I should be packing! The American parks can be relied on for almost all-year-round good weather. Another comparison that I can't help making between the Paris park and the American parks is the staff. I don't like to generalise but in my experience the Paris staff are no where near as happy and as 'Disney' as the American staff. Most of the American staff that I have come across have gone above and beyond my expectations, they're so welcoming and friendly. The French staff seem to have a more 'relaxed' approach to customer service (although in my experience there isn't much of a language barrier as most of the staff speak pretty good English. A lot of the speaking characters are English too which is nice - my daughter wouldn't be convinced by a French speaking Rapunzel!). I'm not overly keen about a lot of other visitors at the parks either - a lot of them seem to be lacking in common courtesy in my experience. I have encountered people openly pushing in queues, people pushing and shoving to meet characters and people acting like animals to get a seat on the bus (we were OFFERED seats in Florida!). One thing that I HATE about Disneyland Paris is that a lot of the characters that walk around don't have a proper queue to meet them - this sadly results in pushing and shoving (of children too!) and lots of waiting around whilst others push in. However I recently read that Disneyland Paris are changing this so that each character has a proper queue - I REALLY hope this is the case. Another downside is that it's SO expensive. The price of staying at the Disneyland Resort doubles, sometimes triples, in the school holidays - I would advise visiting in term time if possible (it's also VERY busy during school holidays and therefore less enjoyable). You will need to take a lot of spending money with you as absolutely everything is overpriced. The last time we visited we spent more in 3 days than we paid for the holiday! As we didn't have a car we felt a little bit 'trapped' inside the Disneyland Resort and like we had no choice but pay the extortionate prices to eat. I feel like I have really concentrated on the negatives but I have only done so because there are a lot more positives than negatives and I would be writing for even longer if I delved in to all the good bits (in fact the majority of this review has been based on the 'good bits')! Both of the parks are both fantastic. I favour the Disneyland Park slightly more than the Walt Disney Studios but I expect the Studios will be expanded in coming years to rival it. There's so much to see and do, you need at least a few days to fit everything in. There's a good mix of attractions to suit all ages and all of the parades/shows/character meetings are so magical. There's plenty of places to shop as well as varied places to eat. I enjoy staying at the resort and really appreciate the little added extras such as free buffet breakfast (even if it is chaos!), free shuttle buses and Extra Magic Hours. I thoroughly recommend a visit to Disneyland Paris.

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                    04.03.2014 15:26
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                    A Princess Perfect Play Tent.

                    The Disney Princess Castle Play Tent is something that my daughter spotted in the Argos catalogue shortly before Christmas and put on her list. The tent is made by Worlds Apart (who make all sorts of lovely childrens furniture) and I've only ever seen the play tent being sold in Argos (although a Google search informs me that it's available at a few other places including Play.com and Boots.com). It is ALMOST identical to the one pictured above - I think ours may be an 'updated' version. The play tent comes flat packed and inside a pink cardboard box (the box is worth keeping so you can fold the tent up and can store it back inside). There are instructions inside the box which show you how to assemble and disasemble the tent. Argos describes the tent as 'pop-up' so I was a little disappointed the first time we opened the box and found plastic sticks inside. These sticks need to be clipped together (to make 4 long support sticks) and they slide inside each end of the castle to keep it propped up. This isn't a hardship (in fact it's very quick and easy) but it still isn't as simple as a fully pop-up tent. I think Argos would benefit more by describing it as a 'semi' pop-up tent! The first thing to mention is how absolutely beautiful the play tent is! All little princesses are sure to be impressed. The tent is shaped like a castle - it is a box shape with 2 tall cone shapes at the front (either side) which are purple with pink royal flags on top! There is a fabric door that can be opened and laid out on the floor like a small path. The door can also be closed (there are velcro tabs which are very easy for little fingers to operate). The whole tent is mostly different shades of pink and purple. It's covered in sparkles, swirls and of course princesses! There is a picture of firm favourite Rapunzel on the front, along with a pretty plant and a plaque reading 'Princess' over the door. Belle, Cinderella and Ariel can be found on the side (no sign of Sleeping Beauty though). They all wear their trademark dresses. The other side is plain light pink with a round window hole. The back is plain bright pink and opens up in the middle (almost like curtains). The roof is also a bright pink colour and has a large round hole in it. The tent is suitable for indoor or outdoor use. We mostly use it indoors but have taken it out once or twice (roll on summer!). It has no pegs (or peg holes) so you can't peg the tent in to the ground outdoors, however if it's particularly windy you can weigh it down perfectly by putting toys or books inside the tent. The play tent is recommended for children 2+ years. I thought my daughter would be a little too old for this (6 years) as I previously thought these sort of play tents were mostly suited to pre-schoolers. But how wrong I was! My daughter absolutely LOVES her play tent and I haven't really been able to pack it away since Christmas. She does everything in her tent - plays with friends, toys and generally just enjoys hanging out in there (she would eat her meals in there if she could... in fact she has had her lunch in there on occasions!). I think she enjoys having a little enclosed area of her own. She normally closes the door behind her (to shut out 'the real world' no doubt!) and will often poke her head out of the top. The hole in the roof is a great idea and my daughter gets a lot of use out of it, however I think it's a shame that it doesn't have a little cover to go over the top, so children can chose whether to have it open or closed. My daughter sometimes asks me to put a blanket over the roof to cover it up! My other concern was that it would be too small but it's surprisingly large (approximately H110, W75, D75cm). The upside of this is that there's plenty of room inside to play (particularly handy if you have more than one child) and the downside is that it takes up a fair amount of indoor space. Another thing that I like about the tent is that it lets in a lot of natural light (there are 4 openings in total and 2 of those can be covered over), which makes playing inside the tent a little more comfortable and pleasant. The tent is made from a good quality fabric which seems strong but is also very soft (and easy to wipe clean). Despite being really pink and really girly I have found that her male friends and cousins are quite happy to play in the tent too, which is an unexpected bonus! Overall this is a fantastic little play tent. My daughter adores it and gets so much use out of it. It's good quality, a good size, looks fantastic and is easy to set up. Plus at just £20.00, I'd say it's great value for money! I fully recommend to all young Disney Princess fanatics.

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                    • M & M's World / Supermarket / 47 Readings / 45 Ratings
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                      03.03.2014 12:23
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                      Worth a visit if you're in the area.

                      M&M's World is a store that can be found in Las Vegas, New York, Orlando and London. They are stores that specialise in M&M sweets. Each store is dedicated entirely to M&M confectionery. Unfortunately I haven't visited any other store than the London store so I will be basing this review on the M&M's World in London (and cannot compare it to the other stores). M&M's World first opened in Leicester Square in 2011. The nearest tube station is Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. It has 4 floors and is said to be the worlds biggest candy store at 35,000 square feet. It's pretty huge, you can't miss it. The building is a glass fronted building, full of colours, with the big M&M's World logo at the front. We visited last year (2013) during school holidays and it was very crowded. Although it's quite the tourist attraction, it is also just a normal store and there is no charge to enter. The store has a great atmosphere and I'm pretty certain most people visit just to walk around and see things, rather than shop (although the store does do a pretty good job of making you want to buy things that you don't actually want or need!). It's well lit and there are different colours absolutely everywhere! There are big M&M character statues scattered throughout all 4 floors. The characters are all London themed (they are dressed up as James Bond, a London guard, the queen, a footballer), my favourite statue is of four M&M characters recreating the iconic Beatles Abbey Road album cover. These are all great photo opportunities too. There are also pictures made entirely of M&M's, M&M character portraits, a big London Bus (which you walk through to enter the store), a giant M&M's union jack sign, an interactive M&M's quiz and even a 'Mix Lab' (where you can watch an 'M&M scientist' at work!). A couple of the floors have rows and rows of tubes full of different coloured M&Ms (you can grab a bag and fill it up with whatever M&M's you wish) which looks great! There are colourful staircases to each floor and toilets can be located on the ground floor. The store is crammed full of every object you could possibly think of - all M&M branded! Of course there are all sorts of M&M sweets available too - bags, tins, packets, boxes, seasonal sweets etc. The 'create your own' tubes include peanut M&M's, plain chocolate M&M's, crispy M&M's and seasonal M&M's (they had Halloween sweets during our visit). I can't honestly say that M&M branded clothing or homewares really appeal to me. I prefer to just eat the things! But I guess I can see why true M&M lovers would enjoy owning some of the quite bizarre stuff that they sell here. A lot of the merchandise is London themed (M&M's dressed up as London guards etc) and made specifically for the London store - this includes clothing, homewares, edibles and toys (too many more to mention!). I can see these sort of things appealing to tourists as I think they would genuinely make good souvenirs and even good gifts for loved ones back home. All of the merchandise is really colourful, fun and would appeal to most children too. The main downside is the price. Everything is very overpriced. We didn't go mad on our visit but we brought a tiny little M&M plush toy for about £10.00 and a 'create your own' bag full of M&M's which came to more than £10.00! Be very cautious. I wouldn't go out of your way to visit M&M's World (it's just a shop full of M&M merchandise afterall) but if you're in the area and have a sweet tooth (or kids!), then I recommend a visit!

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                      • More +
                        01.03.2014 21:34
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                        Not my most favourite Rainforest Cafe.

                        Rainforest Cafe is an Amazon rainforest themed restaurant. There are 32 Rainforest Cafe's worldwide (most of them in the US) but only 2 in Europe and 1 of those is in the UK. I have visited Rainforest Cafe's in Paris and in Florida in recent years. I had great experiences at both so finally decided to try out the London Rainforest Cafe last year. The Rainforest Cafe can be found on Shaftesbury Avenue, right next to Piccadilly Circus. It's on a main road and a few doors down from Ripley's Believe It Or Not. The nearest tube station is Piccadilly Circus. There is a big Rainforest Cafe sign at the front of the restaurant as well as a life-size crocodile in the window! You enter and exit the restaurant through the cleverly situated Rainforest Cafe shop which sells all sorts including toys, clothes and homewares. The shop has a large variety (as well as a big talking tree!) but most of it is pretty overpriced. The first thing you will notice is the décor, most notably the leaves and vines (and snakes!) hanging from the ceiling. There are stairs at the back of the shop that lead downstairs to the restaurant. I have heard that the Rainforest Cafe gets very busy in London. It's advised that you pre-book a table (you can even do this online), but our trip was a last minute decision and we didn't pre-book. However we decided to dine between lunch time and dinner time (about 4.30pm) so it wasn't too busy at that time. There is a desk at the front of the restaurant as well as a bar situated under some giant mushrooms! We were seated within minutes. There's so much to see that when you are seated it might take you a long time to even take a look at the menu! The whole ceiling is covered in leaves, vines, branches and the restaurant features all sorts of animals including parrots, frogs, butterflies, gorillas, elephants, zebras and monkeys! Some of the animals are animatronic which are great fun to watch (notably the gorillas and elephants) - for children and adults! However I do think that some of them may need some updating soon - technology is growing fast and they might run the risk of looking a little outdated in coming years. Every 30 minutes there is a simulated thunderstorm which involves flashing 'lightning', loud 'thunder' sounds and simulated 'rain' (you don't get wet though) which is good fun. We also spotted a real fish tank full of tropical fish and a fountain. There is no background music, just the sounds of the rainforest, which I really like as it makes the experience feel more 'real'. All of the Rainforest Cafes have very dim lighting to give the illusion of being in a real rainforest. This Rainforest Cafe was no different. I felt that the London Rainforest Cafe was quite small (maybe not small but certainly a LOT smaller than the other Rainforest Cafe's that I've visited) and that there were a lot of tables crammed inside, so not much space to move around. I found the lack of space and the dim lighting (plus the fact the restaurant is underground) slightly claustrophobic. I also noticed that there was no 'iconic' fish tank arch at the front of the restaurant which was a little disappointing. Whilst I enjoyed the atmosphere, I felt as though it didn't compare to Paris or Florida in the slightest. However those who have never experienced a Rainforest Cafe before will probably feel differently. As soon as we had been seated we were all given menus and my daughter was given a childrens menu and crayons. Children are given an activity sheet (you can also purchase an 'activity pack' for a cheeky £3.00 extra), although they aren't likely to get bored as there is so much to see. None of us fancied a starter so we all took a look at the main dishes. The waitress soon came over and took our order. She seemed friendly enough (I felt neutral towards all of the staff we came across - nobody made my day but they were all pleasant enough). Unfortunately we were really disappointed by the menu which seemed really limited, especially for vegetarians. There were only 2 vegetarian main options - salad or noodles, neither of which we really wanted. There were no veggie burgers, pastas or pizzas etc. It was very expensive too, especially paying for something you don't really want! At the other Rainforest Cafe's we had previously visited they seemed to have more options (in which case you don't mind paying such high prices) and at least served veggie burgers! I reluctantly settled for the noodles. We didn't have to wait long for our food and it tasted good, although it wasn't particularly memorable and definitely wasn't worth the money I paid for it. We didn't bother with desert (there is a lovely little crepe place around the corner!). On the upside, it looks as though Rainforest Cafe may have finally listened to their customers because they have recently updated their menu and there seems to be a LOT more choice. To give you an idea of the current menu... Starters include Jungle Safari Soup Of The Day, Lava Nachos, Veggie Wrap, Leaping Lizard Mezze (hummus, tomatoes, olives, mozzarella cheese in balsmatic vinegar served with grilled flat bread), Mojo Bones (pork ribs with BBQ sauce and creamy coleslaw), Rio's Chicken Crunch, Coastal Calamari and Raging Thunder Buffalo Wings. Starters range between £4.95 - £9.95. Main meals include Rainforest House Salad, Ceasar Salad, Asian Style Salad, Tagliatelle Verde Carbonara, Volcanic Chilli Con Carne, Quesadilla Mexicana, Rasta Pasta (chicken, pasta, broccoli, red peppers and spinach, tossed with garlic & scallion alfredo sauce, topped with Parmesan cheese), Veggie Bean Burger, Grilled Sea Bass, Veggy Tart, Rainforest Classic Steak Burger, Calypso Chicken Sandwich, Meatball Mambo, Grilled Salmon Supreme, Blackened Salmon Salad, Volcanic Cobb Salad (chicken breast, blue cheese, olives, tomatoes, eggs, bacon, baby gem and rocket salad), Wild Wok Noodles, Major Mojo Bones (rack of cajun spiced pork ribs in BBQ sauce, served with fries and coleslaw), BBQ Chicken, Braised Lamb Shank, Aztec Chicken (chargrilled chicken breast, goat's cheese, herb garlic mash potato with mushroom sauce and French beans), Linguine Prawn Pasta and Primal Steak. Main meals range between £15.30 - £24.30. Deserts include Dairy Free Ice Cream, Chocolate Brownie, Belgian Waffle and Ice Cream, Knickerbocker Glory, Iggy's Ice Cream (3 scoops of your choice of ice cream), Banana and Toffee Crepe and Sparkling Volcano (chocolate brownie volcano with vanilla and chocolate ice cream, chocolate and caramel sauce and whipped cream). Deserts range between £6.50 - £13.50. You can also buy a birthday cake for £25.00. There is a separate childrens menu which includes a main dish, desert and drink for £12.50. My daughters favourite 'meal' is tomato pasta/spaghetti and they didn't have this on the childrens menu in Paris. However they did have it at London (with chips too) which she was very pleased about and ate it all up! Other mains include Andy Pandy Mash (mix of potatoes, cabbage, roasted red peppers and virgin olive oil), Cha Cha's Chicken Salad, Create Your Own Pizza, Ham and Cheese Pasta, Macaroni Cheese, Maya's Meatballs, Ozzie Burger, Penne Bolognese, Snappy Salmon Fishcakes and Tree Top Tenders (chicken goujons with peas, sweetcorn, carrots and fries). There are 5 different deserts to choose from and drinks include smoothies, sodas or juices. My daughter was pleased with her entire meal, especially her Banana Blast (split banana topped with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate & butterscotch sauce) which lasted the whole of 5 minutes! The Rainforest Cafe has a mascot called Cha Cha (who is a tree frog), my daughter was really excited when Cha Cha came out and went around each table to meet all the kids. This was a nice touch and not something we had experienced at other Rainforest Cafe's. Do I recommend this restaurant? Well it is most definitely overpriced. The food was pleasant but also quite average - in our experience the price tags weren't reflected in the dishes. You are definitely paying for the atmosphere. The menu seemed extremely limited too (although the new menu looks quite good, so it might be worth checking out). The service was fast and friendly enough. The meet and greet with the tree frog was good too! I'm glad we made a visit but doubt we will return again. The theming of the restaurant is excellent and is probably the main reason why people visit Rainforest Cafe - if you haven't visited a Rainforest Cafe before then it's probably worth a visit (particularly if you have children as they will LOVE it), however if you've had a great experience at another Rainforest Cafe, don't bother!

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                        • More +
                          28.02.2014 17:22
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                          Nice doll but with flimsy wings.

                          I bought my daughter a Tinkberbell Flutter Doll about a year ago whilst shopping in London. Like most young girls she loves Tinkerbell and dolls, so I guessed she'd like it! The doll is made by Disney and comes from The Disney Store. I've seen plenty of Tinkerbell dolls in other shops but none with wings quite like the Tinkerbell Flutter Doll. There are a number of other Flutter Dolls from The Disney Fairies range (including Iridessa, Fawn, Rosetta and Periwinkle) but I thought I'd play it safe and stick with Tinkerbell! She is a very pretty doll and is very dainty. She looks just as you would expect and has a true likeness to how she looks in the films. She has tiny lips and nose, rosy cheeks and huge blue eyes. Her hair is blonde and is up in a bun (secured by a band and piece of material), she also has a fringe that frames her face nicely. My daughters dolls hair is still tied up but it's less of a bun and more of a pony tail on top of her head now! She still looks fine though, plus I think tied up hair is much easier to care for than loose hair (my daughter has SO many dolls with long matted hair). She wears her trademark little green dress which is glittery on the top half and little green slip-on shoes (with white pom poms on top). My daughter loves to undress and dress her dolls so she appreciates the fact that her dress and shoes are removable. She has green knickers printed on underneath her dress too! The doll is a good size, about the size of an average Barbie doll. It's made from a very good quality plastic. She feels very solid and is very durable. Not only does she have posable arms and legs, but she has elbow joints so you can bend and twist her arms in to all different positions. The arms and legs are great quality and are made so that you can twist them the whole way round. If you tried this with a lot of other dolls, their limbs are more than likely to snap off! Her head can also be twisted the whole way round. The main feature of this doll is her wings. She has lovely big wings attached to her back. The wings are made from thin transparent plastic and are decorated with green glitter. There is also a small round button on her back. When you press the button, her wings move backwards and forwards. This is a nice little feature to have - the button is easy for little fingers to push and the wings look beautiful and shimmery as the light reflects off the glitter when they move. Another good point is that the wings don't require batteries. The downside of the wings (and the doll in general) is that they are very flimsy. They are easily bent and one of my daughters wings snapped in half after just 2 months of use. The dreaded toy box was just too much for Tinkerbell! We still have the doll but she now has a cellotaped wing (and the top of the other wing is slightly bent), which as you can imagine has made her slightly less appealing to my daughter now... The Tinkerbell Flutter Doll is recommended for children 3+ and costs £12.50, which is about average for a doll like this. Overall I'd say this is a nice doll with a nice feature. However the flimsiness of the wings is a big let down.

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                            27.02.2014 17:48
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                            A lovely plush from The Disney Store.

                            My daughter is not only a big fan of all things Disney but her all time favourite animals are orangutans, so I felt the King Louie (from The Jungle Book) soft toy was a very appropriate gift that was given to her for Christmas! The King Louie soft toy is a 'Disney Store Exclusive' which means it can only be bought from The Disney Store. There is a round patch sewn on his lower back to confirm this (it reads 'Genuine, Original, Authentic Disney Store'). I think King Louie is a good choice of soft toy as he's a little less obvious than the usual Disney soft toys that you normally find - Mickey Mouse, Winnie The Pooh etc. The toy is described on the website as 'medium'. I would say it's a very good size (approximately 48cm tall and 24cm wide), not huge but certainly big. He's probably slightly bigger than most of my daughters other plushes and he's perfectly sized for cuddles! Despite the generous size, he's also very lightweight and easy enough to move around. All of his body parts are thick and squidgy (including his long arms which you may have expected to be quite skinny), especially his big plump belly. His outsides are made from different types of material and every type of material is very soft - especially the fleecy material which covers the majority of his body which is super soft. He really is everything you'd expect from the perfect plush toy. King Louie looks great, there's a lot of attention to detail and he looks just as he does in the film. I suppose King Louie is actually classed as a bit of a villain in The Jungle Book but he just looks so silly and has such a lively personality (and great voice!) that he's kind of hard to dislike. The toy has rather long legs but very long arms, just as you'd expect from an orangutan. He is covered in orange fur (except for his belly which is covered in light brown fur) with tufts of orange fluff on his elbows and around his head - this really gives the 'big HAIRY ape' effect! He has a really cheeky face too. His mouth is huge! Unlike a lot of soft toys, King Louie actually has a little added feature - sticky hands! He has velcro on both hands that allow you to stick his hands together. My daughter enjoys sticking his hands together, hanging him from stuff (orangutans love to hang and swing afterall!), making him 'hug' other toys and hanging him around her neck for a cuddle (and just generally walking around with him hanging off her!). He doesn't stand but you can sit him upright independently. Like most Disney Store toys, it's very good quality. There are no removable parts, everything is well made and it's very durable. We've had the toy for a couple of months and it's in very good condition. There is no age recommendation as the toy is described as 'suitable for all ages'. The King Louie Soft Toy is available from The Disney Store and from The Disney Store website (ours came from the website). It costs £18.00 which is a little expensive for a plush toy that doesn't do anything, however it is a lovely soft and squidgy toy that looks great and is very good quality. Fans of The Jungle Book and apes are sure to love him!

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                              26.02.2014 11:53
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                              Fizzy fun.

                              My Moshi Monster mad daughter has taken over my house (and bank account) with Moshi Monsters and has now discovered Moshi Monsters Magic Fizz! ===What are Moshi Monsters?=== Moshi Monsters started as an online game where children adopted and cared for their own virtual monsters. Moshi Monsters has now progressed in to something much bigger and has taken on a whole new life of its own! There are all sorts of Moshi Monsters merchandise available including magazines, books, video games, toys, trading cards and even a music album! The most popular Moshi collectibles tend to be Moshlings which are small plastic monster figures. ===What is Moshi Monster Magic Fizz?=== Moshi Monster Magic Fizz is basically a dissolvable star with small Moshling toys inside. They come in both blister packs and foil bags. Some stars contain 2 Moshlings but some only contain 1 - it depends on the size, there are 4 slightly larger Moshlings and the rest are smaller (you either get 1 large Moshling or 2 smaller ones). The packaging didn't make this very clear so my daughter was really excited the first time she done her Magic Fizz and discovered 2 Moshlings (but slightly confused the next time she done it and only got 1!). The stars come in all different colours and there are 16 different Moshlings to collect. All of the Moshlings are mostly from Series 1 and 2. Many of them are also 'rare' Moshlings that are normally hard to find (in blind bags). Earlier series are now retired so these Moshlings are almost impossible to get hold of nowadays. My daughter is really happy that she's managed to collect some of her Moshi grails through Magic Fizz. Moshlings include Poppet, Furi, Katsuma, Diavlo, Sooki-Yaki, Jeepers, Iggy, White Fang, Mini Ben, Rocky, Roxy, Wurley, Lady Goo Goo, ShiShi, DJ Quack and Snookums. ===Fizzing the fizzer!=== After you have removed the star from the main packet, you then need to remove it from the coloured paper around it. Underneath the coloured paper is a thin layer of plastic that you also need to remove. I find this a bit silly, fiddly and time consuming. They should just make a fizzer that you can put straight in to water. Oh well! Underneath all of the packaging the fizzer just looks like a normal bath fizzer (except star shaped) and is a plain white colour. It measures around 3 inches in diameter - not huge but big enough to create a long lasting fizz! The fizzer shouldn't be used in the bath and the age recommendation is 3+ years. We normally fill up our bathroom sink with warm water and my daughter drops the fizzer in. The fizzer instantly begins to fizz and makes the water bubble. It doesn't smell and doesn't appear to change the colour of the water (although it does make it slightly cloudy). You can't really see the star whilst it's fizzing as there are too many bubbles but my daughter likes to have a good look to see if she can make anything out. She normally just watches and waits for the fizzing to stop (it's quite exciting and suspenseful) but she also likes to give it a prod every now and again. The star isn't messy and goes straight down the plug hole without any fuss. Once the fizzing has stopped (after about a minute) my daughter likes to stick her hand in to the water to discover what Moshling(s) she has. She has been really pleased with all of her Moshlings to date and has been really surprised by some of her finds! ===Look=== The Moshlings in Magic Fizz aren't the same as normal Moshlings. My daughter didn't notice right away (but I did). However she noticed shortly afterwards. They are very similar, they have the same look, you can tell exactly who they are but there are a few differences. The Magic Fizz Moshlings are slightly smaller than regular Moshlings (especially the smaller ones) and they also have quite a rubbery look to them (like they might be squidgy but they're actually not). You can also take them apart which I find really unusual. They're quite good but they just don't seem like 'the real thing' and aren't as good quality as normal Moshlings. ===Duplicates=== One of the main problems with Magic Fizz (and Moshi Monster blind bags in general) is that you can't choose and don't know which Moshlings you will get, therefore there is a strong possibility that you will get duplicates. My daughter has done about 10 Moshi Monster Magic Fizzes and has gotten about 3 duplicates which she quite rightly has been disappointed by. It also feels like a waste of money if your child has nobody to swap their Magic Fizz Moshlings with. ===Price & Availability=== I must admit, I have been buying these on the cheap lately! Moshi Monster Magic Fizz is available at most supermarkets and toy shops. Blister packs cost around £5.00 and foil bags cost around £3.00 (regular non-fizz Moshi Monster blind bags cost around £2.00 for 2 'real' Moshlings and card). I feel that this is quite overpriced for what is actually inside. I guess you are paying more for the fun of the fizz but I don't really think the fizz really justifies the extra cost! I have been fortunate enough to recently find Moshi Monster Magic Fizz in Home Bargains at the (home) bargain price of just 99p per foil bag! They make for good pocket money toys and stocking fillers etc. ===Final thoughts=== Overall Moshi Monster Magic Fizz is a fun and unusual way for fans of Moshi Monsters to collect Moshlings. I can imagine that all young children (4-8 years?) would find them a lot of fun. I also like the fact that some of the eggs contain not 1 but 2 Moshlings, plus many of the Moshlings are 'rare' ones which my daughter really appreciates. However they are quite overpriced, they aren't quite as good as regular Moshlings (slightly smaller, almost rubbery looking, they come apart) and you're very likely to get duplicates.

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