Sherlock and the Baker Street Curse by Sam Hearn

Sherlock and the Baker Street Curse by Sam Hearn is the second book in the series. We reviewed the first book Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond a while ago.

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Curse by Sam Hearn
Sherlock and the Baker Street Curse by Sam Hearn is the second book in the Sherlock series. The books are written from the perspective of John Watson’s diary, following him and Sherlock Holmes through school and any mysteries or cases they need to solve.

In this book, they go to Baker Street Academy, where the caretaker says he spotted a ghost. They try to solve the mystery, which involves finding out what the curse is and working out what was happening. Was it a ghost or not? Sherlock Holmes and John Watson have to find out.

The book has plenty of pictures and is laid out in a comic strip style, which is fun to read. H really enjoyed it, she says it felt like it made the story fun to follow and got her thinking about the plot and things that were going on a bit more than if it was a straightforward story.

There are also journal entries, letters, newspaper clippings and a detective dossier. Essentially it is Dr Watson’s casebook in junior form – ideal for younger readers who need an introduction to the world of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson and of course Martha Hudson.

It gets yet another thumbs up in this house!

Sherlock and the Baker Street Curse by Sam Hearn is published by Scholastic. It is suitable for age 8+ and is available now from all good bookstores. You can also buy it online here – but please support your local bookstores if you can.

We were sent this book for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own. Thank you to Scholastic for sending us a copy!

Cyberhawks Versus Stormtroopers by Mark Logie

It has been a while since we’ve done a book review and H has had her head firmly stuck into all of my Harry Potter books! We have a new book to read and review, so here’s H’s opinion about Cyberhawks Versus Stormtroopers by Mark Logie.

Cyberhawks Versus Stormtroopers by Mark Logie is a cyber thriller for children age 12+. Knowing how well H does with her reading, I knew it would be okay – and it was. She really enjoyed reading the book, but don’t take my word for it, this is what she had to say.

Cyberhawks versus Stormtroopers by Mark Logie

“It was a good book, my only problem is that it wasn’t long enough!” she tells me. So I’m wondering what makes it a good book.
“It’s an enjoyable read! The story was exciting and I couldn’t put the book down”. Sounds fair.

So what is the story about?
“Cyberhawks are a group of three friends, the Stormtroopers are an organisation for brain damaged children. The Cyberhawks are Ty, Kess and Corey. One day Ty receives an email written in code. Luckily he knows about computers and Ty cracks the code. He finds out that terrorists are going to attack the London Underground and it will be the worst attack the world has known.”

So what do the Cyberhawks do about it and do they tell anyone?
“Nobody listened to them, so they had to do it all themselves. I’m not going to say any more as I don’t want to give away the plot!”

H hopes there will be more books in the series as she really enjoyed reading it.

Cyberhawks Versus Stormtroopers by Mark Logie is available now from all good booksellers – order a copy here! (affiliate link). Mark Logie has a YouTube channel with songs that inspired the book here.

We were sent this book for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own.

Rabbitgoo No-Glue Window Film Stickers

Rabbitgoo no-glue window film stickers are my latest find. They provide privacy to our house where we haven’t got around to buying curtains. 

Rabbitgoo window stickers for privacy

Rabbitgoo is a simple, easy solution to privacy at home. Got windows which look out onto the road, and you’re not quite ready to buy curtains or blinds just yet? How about a simple plastic film which you cut to size and stick to your windows?

It really is that simple. My neighbour at our last house had some on her windows and recommended Rabbitgoo. 

Rabbitgoo is easy to apply as well. Cut the film to size first of all, and I’d also recommend peeling a section as it can be tricky. Simply clean your window surface, add soapy water and stick on the film. A squeegee is handy for getting rid of bubbles too. It can be peeled and re-stuck easily. 

The soapy water holds the film in place nice and securely too. We’re a week in and other than spotting a few bubbles here and there, it has done exactly what we need it to. 

The good news is there are several types of Rabbitgoo designs and Amazon has them all for sale. Each tube is around the £10 mark. We have enough I could do our windows again too.

I like that it gives us a bit of privacy through the day. With us being in a new build area, there are often people driving around looking at the different houses. 

rabbitgoo window stickers rainbow patterns

There are a lot of designs available with varying levels of privacy. I like the design I chose as when the sun comes through the windows it creates several little rainbows on our kitchen tops and floor. 

We’ve already had a lot of comments from friends about how good it looks as well!

Primark Foot Peel – Holler and Glow Purrfect Pedi

Sometimes you want to put your feet up and relax, and then you look at your feet. In my case, it’s dry, scaly and quite frankly, unattractive views which happen. It’s not great. So I bought the Primark foot peel from the Holler and Glow range. I want lovely feet.

Primark foot peel Holler and Glow purrfect pedi

The Primark foot peel has a bargain price of just £4. My kind of budget. But does it work? This is the important question. Will my heels be as soft as a baby’s.. um… heel?

The Holler and Glow range is low priced and from what I’ve read has good reviews of the face masks (I am yet to try them) – but what about the feet?

Last year I tried a foot peel and what should have taken a couple of weeks took almost two months to peel. It wasn’t fun. I didn’t have perfect holiday feet, I had peeling Birkenstock feet. Not an attractive look.  As we’re not going on holiday this year I figured it would be a good time to try again, after all, what’s the worst that can happen?

Things I learned from last time. Soaking feet helps a lot. Not soaking feet means it takes forever. So I was sensible, followed the instructions and kept these delights on my feet for an hour and a half. Attractive.

Primark foot peel - Holler and Glow

Imagine my surprise when experiencing the heatwave we’ve just had in the UK, on removing my socks from my sweaty feet, my feet had already started peeling quite significantly! If only I had known six weeks earlier… it took a day and the softer skin was coming off.

Annoyingly, it seemed to be only these sections of my feet which peeled off. The very dry skin is still there and very dry. I’m a couple of weeks in now with minor peeling left and I don’t feel like what I hoped would happen has happened.

I really wanted the hard skin on my heel to have gone, but it’s still there, as dry as ever. I’m not sure the Primark foot peel works the way it is meant to – possibly not getting deep enough into my dry skin layers?

In summary, if you’re expecting miracle soft feet from the Primark foot peel, it’s unlikely to happen. If you want to go in with a soft level peel, this might be a good place to start.

Me? I’m just waiting for next spring to try again. Maybe with my knowledge across two foot peels I might get it right the next time!

Smol Laundry Capsules – Washing by Mail Order

I’m not sure where I spotted the advert for Smol Laundry Capsules. It might have been Instagram or Facebook. But I was intrigued; laundry capsules sent to you by Mail Order. How so?

Smol Laundry Capsules are a pretty simple idea that I’m really liking at the moment. This year I have made a conscious effort to make sure we only use cruelty-free products and laundry was always the most difficult.

smol laundry capsules

Smol Laundry Capsules do not tested on animals, nor sell in countries that insist on animal testing. This is important to me, as quite often a lot of brands say they’re cruelty free “except where a country requires it” – so that’s hardly cruelty free, is it?

There are several options available. I went for our usual Non-Bio and sent off for a trial pack which costs £1. You can’t go wrong with nine washes for £1 can you? Unfortunately it took the Croydon depot a really long time to deliver it, my first proper delivery had already arrived!

After washing the first thing I noticed was the smell. Oh my, it’s a good smell, a lovely fresh scent. My clothes came up clean and so far, several washes in I have no problems to report. For larger washes I’ll use two capsules, though in this warm weather most of my washloads are fairly small.

When the Smol Laundry Capsules arrive, they’re in a nice small package. Probably around the size of a Graze box – letterbox sized. This means they also store well in the cupboard – I’ve often found my washing products take up a lot of space. Not any more.

smol laundry capsules storage

So how does it work? You work out roughly how much washing you do, Smol will then send you your next load of 24 capsules before you run out. At the moment I’ve put us down as doing a washload every day so should get more Smol in a week or so. If you do more then it’s easy enough to increase the amount, and of course if you’re on holiday it’s really easy to skip a delivery too.

Smol costs £3.85 for each pack of 24 capsules with postage included.

As a cruelty-free option for something I do a lot, I’m pleased Smol Laundry Capsules exist, and hope that more people will get on board – it’s a brilliant idea and so far I’m impressed.

For a free trial head over here.

Double Felix by Sally Harris – Our Review

We’re participating in a book tour for Double Felix by Sally Harris this week.

Double Felix by Sally Harris is a new book, also illustrated by Maria Serrano. It tells the story of Felix, an eleven year old boy with OCD. He does things in twos. This is from skipping on every second step to tapping door handles twice. Or even just placing everything in pairs.

Double Felix by Sally Harris

A new girl starts in school, Charlie Pye. She has cereal for lunch and lives on a boat – and more importantly hasn’t grown up with rules in her life. It’s a whole new world for Felix. How can he possibly deal with someone who has no rules or order in their life?

It’s safe to say, Double Felix has become one of H’s new favourite books. She’s on her fifth or sixth read already.  (whispers – it might have even replaced Jaqueline Wilson’s ‘Katy’ as the new-favourite)

So what was it about Double Felix by Sally Harris that made H go back and read it again? Here’s H (age 8)’s opinion :

I like it. Felix does things twice, he’ll say things twice. He goes to see Hugo Fielding, a counsellor at school which helps him. He’s taught to fight back against the thing in his head – Basil the Bully (named after the Basal Ganglia in the brain).

A girl arrives at school, she doesn’t wear the correct uniform and that annoys Felix to start with. They become friends, and that helps him a lot. He has someone to talk to and play with. They don’t seem to have anything in common, but their friendship grows. I really liked that. 

I asked H what it was that she liked. She couldn’t really pinpoint what it was, but liked that it had a happy ending.

She breaks the rules and to start with Felix can’t deal with that. His life revolves around the number two – he doesn’t like odd numbers, he doesn’t like to get odd numbers on things. Only even. Even the chapters are in even numbers! The only odd number chapter is Chapter 27. This is because it’s the last chapter in the book, and Felix has learned to accept odd numbers I think. 

It’s a really good book and I’ve really enjoyed reading it. I feel like I’ve learned about people who have OCD a little bit by reading this book. 

Sally Harris’ website is over here

Sally Harris

Double Felix by Sally Harris is available to buy now over here. (affiliate link). We were sent the book for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own.

Double Felix by Sally Harris Banner

I’m Loving my Moto G6 – My First Impressions

My last phone was a Samsung Galaxy S5. It served me well, but was slowly dying, falling apart. With vouchers I had for my birthday as well as other ones I found, I was able to buy myself a new phone and opted for the recently released Motorola Moto G6.

The Moto G6 is a bit bigger than my previous phone and it’s way more powerful. With twice the capacity at 64GB I’m having a much better experience. I have a sim-only deal with Three and didn’t want to enter into a contract as my deal is a good one.

Moto G6 HDR Hampton Court crown

My main concern was the camera. I loved my S5 camera, but making the switch to a different brand was going to mean re-learning things a bit. Actually, I now prefer the camera – you can focus and move the exposure within the shot. I know the iPhone has this function, but my Samsung never did. It makes a huge difference having the option.

My photos have definitely improved too – I need to get to a gig to see if that will be trickier as I’ve read review saying the Moto G6 has a slow camera. I haven’t felt this is an issue for me.

Moto G6 Portrait

I’m really enjoying the filters too – I love the portrait filter so much.

Moto G6 Weasley Red using spot colour

There’s also a spot colour option – I tried to get it to pick up my red hair, but it also got a lot of my red face!

Moto G6 spot colour in green

My most favourite camera feature is the text scanner. Oh my goodness – it works really well too. This will be a huge timesaver when I need to copy up notes.

The Moto G6 runs on Android 8.0.0 (Oreo) which is the latest version.

The other place we use our phones a lot is the car. We always use our in-car connectivity via Smart Link – and the difference is astounding. More often than not the S5 would be slow, couldn’t connect and would frustrate us especially when we were lost. Not so with the Moto G6 – it connects straight away and loads immediately. The extra space on the phone has made a huge difference.

We haven’t actually had it not connect yet…

Then there’s charging. The Moto G6 can fully charge in an hour and a half from empty, thanks to something they call turbopower. I am very impressed with this turbopower – my battery lasts for a couple of days as it is. Nothing seems to be draining the battery at all. It uses a USB-C cable.

Moto G6 Votes for Women

Security-wise, the Moto G6 uses my fingerprint to unlock it. This frustrates Shaun and H a lot as they want to play on my phone, but at last I can deny them this delight. There is also a pattern you can draw on dots as an alternative but they haven’t seen that yet….

One feature I like is the phone arriving with a protective case included. I like when companies think about the little things you’re likely to forget.

The Moto G6 takes a nano sim. That’s the tiniest one. I had to go into a Three store, who were able to issue me with one straight away.

Moto G6 wine glass reflection

This is the other good thing; I’m with Three on a sim-only deal. I pay £15 a month for unlimited texts, 200 minutes of phone calls and 30GB data. I don’t want to change it, so I needed to find a good reasonably priced phone which has everything I need.

The main difference between the two phones is that this one isn’t waterproof. I never tested the S5 to see if it was, but now have to be ultra careful where I wasn’t before as I had that added security. However, the G6 is water repellant. Handy when your daughter is kicking water at you… but not handy if you drop it in water (which I have never done with any phone).

 

Moto G6 splashing water Hampton Court magic garden

There is a slightly more expensive dual sim phone option, but my deal on Three means I should never need it – I can use my phone around the world without any bother.

So far, I’m loving my Motorola Moto G6. After vouchers I paid £30. It currently retails on Amazon at £214.97 (affiliate link). I’m looking forward to more days out to take more photos – and I’m loving that everything is backed up to my Google account and seems to be unlimited too. Hopefully this means my phone will last me for a good 4-5 years.

Moto G6 Hampton Court roses

Here’s Motorola’s page with full specs.

Shaun is so jealous of my phone he’s going to buy one for himself as well. It’s a lovely phone, an amazing price and I’m not feeling limited when comparing it to what I used to have.

Ravensburger Star Wars Collection Jigsaw – The Empire Strikes Back

May the 4th be with you, as they say. We finished our Ravensburger Star Wars collection jigsaw on May 4th as well. It’s a toughie and is a Ravensburger Adult puzzle; read on to find out more.

Ravensburger Star Wars Collection Jigsaw box

Our Ravensburger Star Wars Collection Jigsaw is from The Empire Strikes Back; where Han Solo is frozen, where we meet Lando Calrissian for the first time. So if you’re expecting a jigsaw which features Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia then this isn’t the one for you.

If, however, you’re looking for an Empire Strikes Back jigsaw which nods to the upcoming Solo movie, then maybe this Ravensburger Star Wars Collection Jigsaw will be the one for you.

Ravensburger Star Wars Collection Jigsaw starting out

It has 1000 pieces, and is a Ravensburger Adult puzzle. Normally we’d do jigsaws together, but this one is pretty tough. There’s a lot of blue. Quite often you won’t be able to work out where the blue goes. There is so much blue it starts to feel like you’ll never finish it!

All in all it probably took us a couple of weeks to finish this Ravensburger Star Wars Collection Jigsaw. I’d like to think that we’re pretty good with jigsaws in general, and with work every day plus activities after school, an average or easy jigsaw takes a few days.

Ravensburger Star Wars Collection Jigsaw - nearly finished

I think this would make a great present for an older Star Wars fan – younger fans would end up frustrated (I’m going for H’s age – 8-9 year olds here). There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s good to have jigsaws for older people too – and H enjoyed helping from time to time.

Ravensburger Star Wars Collection Jigsaw finished

We were sent the Ravensburger Star Wars Collection Jigsaw for the purpose of review. We give it a big thumbs up, it kept us busy in the evenings. You can buy it over here (affiliate link) – though looking around I’ve now seen this one – oh my! (the price, the pieces!)

Word Has It – Fun from University Games

Word Has It is a fun game that’s suitable for all the family. It is easy to pick up, and a bit like Dobble, one that you’re fairly evenly matched.

Word Has It is good fun – it is easy to follow and has been one of those games we’ve really enjoyed playing, and that H immediately plays with her friends.

Word Has It in action

It has simple rules. There’s a wheel in the middle of the board, spin it to see which letter you need. Then choose a card. Press the button in the middle and you have 40 seconds to select individual word tiles and make a word beginning with the letter, based on the theme on the card.

Word Has It starter button

Now, you would think being an adult vs a child may be an unfair match, however, once the music gets going it’s a distraction. Imagine playing Countdown at home where it all seems lots easier vs playing it in the studio where I’m sure the music would make me even more nervous. Word Has It is like that. You need to focus on what you’re spelling as well as finding the letters. Then you have to build your word and the music tempo keeps building to add to your nerves.

It’s great fun. Even if H takes to putting up silly words from time to time!  The main thing is that if you keep things simple it’s a really fun game. It has been good for seeing how H thinks as well. Options on the cards include ‘made from metal’ or ‘found in a garage’. As an adult I’d think differently to my daughter which has resulted in some clever answers.

Word Has It letters and categories

Word Has It is for up to four players, and is recommended from age 7 upwards. I love that H has played it with her schoolfriends after school;  they’ve sat playing for at least half an hour too. Highly recommended!

For more information head here.

Ravensburger Make It Medley Jigsaw

We have been getting out as much as possible of late, but with some weather you don’t want to venture too far – and we’ve got into jigsaws of late. We have been sent a Ravensburger Make it Medley Jigsaw to review.

The Ravensburger Make it Medley jigsaw is a lot of fun – they’re billed as ‘a tantalising, tricky treat for puzzle fans. It’s challenging…. but not impossible’

doing the Ravensburger make it medley jigsaw

I would honestly say this was a fairly easy jigsaw to do. We had spent almost two weeks doing a Harry Potter jigsaw which felt like it was taking forever. It has a wooden frame around it which is really difficult to assemble – after all, you start around the edges first!

So this Ravensburger Make it Medley Jigsaw was quicker – but that didn’t make it less fun. Someone (aka Shaun) might have stayed up until 1am one morning doing some of it as he was enjoying it so much…

The pieces were good shapes – with enough of each image to work out where it belonged. I liked having the lid and a piece of paper with the image on so we could all share it to work out where things went.

The design of the puzzle has various things you would use to make things; bobbins of cotton, wool, ribbons and more. There were lots of beads on there too – plenty of different things going on.

ravensburger make it medley jigsaw

This was suitable for H (age 8) too. She would often get a bit frustrated if her jigsaw was too difficult, so kept at this one and didn’t need a break from it. When we finished she had a real sense of achievement!

The Ravensburger Make it Medley jigsaw is available now. (affiliate link) We were sent one for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.