Telly time – it’s the season for Christmas movies

It’s almost El and Jae’s favourite time of year – ChristBirthdaymas. Jae’s birthday is two weeks before Christmas and El’s birthday is just after it, so the celebrations just keep coming.

And we have started our celebrating early thanks to a new TV we are reviewing. It’s a Bush 24 inch TV/DVD Combination  from the LEDTV range at Argos.

We’ve given it as an early Christmas present to El’s little brother Eye. Because we love him. And because El already has one in her room.

It comes in 3 colour christmas-tv-reviewchoices – black, white or pink (Eye was not tempted by the pink) – and includes an integral DVD player and all the Freeview channels.

We had to plug in a portable aerial because we didn’t have an outside one, but it was very easy to set up and the picture looks great. The 24 inch screen makes it a good bedroom or kitchen TV.

So now, let the Christmas movies commence! These are our top Christmas films we plan to watch on the new TV:

  • Arthur Christmas
    El and Eye watched this when they got the telly and it really put them in a Christmassy mood. A lovely film to watch in the Christmas season and great for kids. We especially enjoy Steve Christmas’s little xmas tree shaped beard.  
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol
    We all LOVE this movie and we watch it at Christmas Eve. Christmas + Muppets = Fabulousnous (that’s not a word).
  • A Christmas Carol
    The musical version of this story makes Jae laugh as Kelsey Grammer plays Scrooge and for some reason he BOOMS all his songs. Seriously, he makes Tom Baker sound like a whisperer. Be warned, you may need ear protectors to watch this.
  • The Polar Express
    El remembers going to see this in the cinema when she was little and it brings back lovely memories. It’s such a sweet film. 
  • The Holiday
    This always seems to be on on Christmas Eve, when Jae is up late ‘testing’ the sherry. It’s about two women who swap houses and find lurve in the process. Then all the couples do a dance at the end. Yes, it’s a bit cheesy but if you can’t be cheesy at Christmas then when can you?
  • Rise of the Guardians
    Father Christmas has lots of tattoos in this one. That’s…er…different. But El really likes this movie and it works well for ALL OF THE SEASONS! 

Do you like our choices? What movies will you be watching on TV this Christmas?

This post is in collaboration with Argos

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November 29, 2013. Tags: , , . Reviews, Stuff we love. 1 comment.

Chew on this – Chewits Crazy Cool Carnival App

lots of chewits

We were asked to try out the Chewits Crazy Cool Carnival App and to get us in the mood the company sent us a mahoozive box of Chewits. Which was brilliant to come home to after school.

Now, Chewits are sweets that have been around for a long time, so much so that Jae used to have them when she was a child (Yes, people. It’s been that long).

They were her favourite sweets next to Toffos. You can’t get Toffos any more (boo hoo says Jae) but you can get Chewits in lots of different varieties such as Cola flavour and bubblegum.

They were famous for being chewy enough for dinosaurs. Remember this, oldsters?

Although El didn’t know that dinosaurs were picky about chewiness. She thought they just ate… everything.

Alas, El is banned from gum after the whole ‘pieces of gum stuck under the kitchen table’ incident, a dark moment in our family history. This basically means that El now only has chewing gum when she thinks Jae won’t notice, and Jae pretends not to notice.

So as you can see there has been a whole lot of chewing going on in our house. We especially like the new super sour flavours. Very good if you need help pulling a sour face.

So what about the Crazy Cool Carnival App?

Well, it’s a Facebook rather than a phone app (you can also register on the website and play it that way).

It consists of various mini-games, and the one we played most was The Claw. This is like an online version of the sort of grabber games they have on the pier.

It’s one of those simple games that’s quite hypnotic – you think you’ll just have one more go and then – whoops! – half an hour has passed and you’re still playing it. It also really, really puts you in the mood for some Chewits

We had mixed feelings about the main carnival game – you have to put in the names of two friends, and their pictures then get added in to a carnival ride. Basically you are giving the game access to you and your friends’ Facebook pictures (depending on their privacy settings). We would like to have seen clearer information as to what happens to these pictures – do they get stored on the website? Does your friend get sent marketing information? What if your friend doesn’t want to be on an imaginary carnival ride?

However, the ride it creates is really fun – it’s an animated ride around a fairground starring you and your top two pals:

Even your last Facebook update appears scrolling round a spaceship! It was all pretty funny, though we would have liked the option to just use your own details – maybe we are just anti-social!

Playing this game put us in the mood for eating Chewits, which was lucky cos we had masses of them, and Eye even opened one packet to find that it was just one big long Chewit!

They never had that in Jae’s day!

Thank you to Chewits for inviting us to try out this app. As you can see we were sent a chewylicious mound of sweets, and Chewits have promised to send us some theme park tickets so we can have a go on the ghost train for real.

Happy chewing!

El & Jae
Just call us Chewbacca

October 8, 2013. Tags: , . Reviews. 1 comment.

10 things you need to know about Animal Crossing New Leaf on the 3DS

El has been playing Nintendo’s Animal Crossing New Leaf all summer. Here are our previous posts:

This is our introduction to the game

and this is from when El had played it a lot more.

And so to round things off, here are her top tips:

  1. You can share pictures from the game with your friends on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.animal-leaf-new-crossing-3dsxl
  2. You can also send your friends special ACNL e-cards
  3. If you get the pre-loaded 3DS you can also use it to take pictures and send messages.
  4. You can download new, free content for the game from here
  5. If you hold down the B button your character will start to run fast. This will speed things up A LOT
  6. You can design your own clothes!
  7. You really should save up for your house deposit. Don’t be the only one in a tent.
  8. Hit the rocks. Sometimes they have valuable things inside…
  9. You can stack fruit.
  10. Get a net, a fishing rod and a shovel. They are essential!

But above all remember that there are lots of surprises in this game, and the more you play it, the more you will unlock!

Animal Crossing New Leaf is available for the Nintendo 3DS and costs about £28 for the game

El was sent a special 3DS XL which comes pre-loaded with Animal Crossing New Leaf. If you are thinking of getting one of these for a lucky someone for Christmas then do it soon because these are limited edition and it doesn’t look like there are too many left!

Hope you enjoy playing the game!

El & Jae
People Crossing New Blog

September 30, 2013. Tags: , , . Reviews, Top Tips. 2 comments.

Tights Frights – Louise Rennison Books Reviewed

The Taming of the Tights

If you have been reading since the start you may recall that way back last year El met the top author Louise Rennison.

Louise Rennison is best known for writing Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging which was also made into a film adaptation of that book and the sequel (It’s Ok I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers). But she’s written tons of other books too and recently the publishers sent El three of them to read.

Free books! It’s like a bookworm’s Christmas. Bookmas! Chrisworm! Or something.

Anyway El was really pleased as she’s read the entire Angus, Thongs series (and there are quite a few of them) so more Louise Rennison books was a dream come true.

This is what El thought of the books she was sent:

 

Withering Tights

This is the first in Louise Rennison’s series of books about Tallulah Casey. El really like the punny name and really enjoyed the book too.

It was about Georgia’s (from Angus, Thongs) younger cousin who goes to a summer drama school in Yorkshire. She meets new friends, boys and does a good Irish dance. Also there are little owlets. Which are cute. Also there were the Dobbins with which she stays who are hilarious and the twins remind El of Just William’s younger cousin in that Christmas story.

A very funny read that El enjoyed. Worth reading if you enjoyed Angus Thongs or if you’re a teen girl who likes a light read that will make you laugh.

 

A Midsummer Tights Dream

The second in the series and is a little slimmer than the first one at 333 pages to 351. Tallulah goes back to the drama school but this time as a proper student. It’s more of the same light humour with yet more boys, yet more larking with mates and more Irish dancing.

In this book Dother Hall looks set to close which would be the end to Lullah’s dreams. If you enjoyed the first I would definitely recommend reading this.

 

The Taming of the Tights

This is the most up to date of the Tallulah Casey books and was just released in July on hardback and Kindle – you’ll have to wait until next January for the paperback.

This book definitely lives up to its predecessors. El would very much recommend reading it if you liked the first two. It could be read alone but I wouldn’t recommend it as it was written to be another in a series and not a stand alone book. However the fact that the name pun wasn’t really a pun and was just the words tights shoved into a Shakespeare play annoyed El.

In conclusion, El thinks that you will like these books if you are a teen girl and if you enjoyed the Angus Thongs series.

 

El & Jae
4 Legs Good – especially in tights

We love Louise Rennison!

We love Louise Rennison!

September 2, 2013. Tags: , , , . Reviews. Leave a comment.

Turning over a New Leaf on Animal Crossing

While we were on holiday we had NO INTERNETZ!!! Quelle horreur!

This meant that we read lots of books and also had lots of time to play Animal Crossing New Leaf.

This is the special Nintendo 3DS XL we were sent, which is pre-loaded with Animal Crossing. It’s got a bigger screen than the regular DS, and comes in white with lots of cute little symbols on it.

animal-crossing-new-leaf

HOW THE GAME WORKS

Basically Animal Crossing is your own little town and your neighbours are little animals that you can talk to. You can buy clothes, furniture etc and collect things.

There have been four Animal Crossing games released since 2001 and Animal Crossing New Leaf  which we are reviewing is the latest one which came out in June this year.

This is the first game in the series where the player gets to be the Mayor of the town instead of an ordinary villager. You play the game in real time according to the DS’s clock, so the game changes depending on the time of day and year. Can’t wait for Animal Crossing Christmas!

You can also customise it a lot, so everybody who plays will do it in a different way. El played it a  lot on holiday and developed her community.

animal-crossing-new-leaf-screen-shot

More people are moving in to Ledworth (as she has called her village – Doctor Who fans will get the connection! Yes we know it’s really Leadworth) which means that there are more characters. El’s also figured out how to design her own clothes.

She’s started a thing to build a bridge and everyone has to donate to the project. There’s a little guy you can donate to.

More than one person can play on this game, so we let Eye have a go and this is what he thought: It’s very imaginative. I am a boy and not mayor. You can do a lot of things and it gives you responsibility like buying a house and donating money to projects. The 3D effect is really cool.

Once they were both playing, El and Eye could write letters to each other within the game which was fun. They were in the same town, but if you play with friends online you can visit each other’s towns.

Jae likes that this is quite a sweet game – no baddies; it’s more of an open-ended game about building a community. It’s a nice little world to escape into.

animal-crossing-new-leaf-night-screenshot

This is good stuff for kids to learn if they grow up and start a town on Mars. Yes that could happen.

This is a nice, restful escapist game suitable from around age 7. Probably more of interest to girls but we think some boys might like it too.

You can do lots of other things with the Nintendo 3DS and Animal Crossing New Leaf, so we’ll tell you a bit about this in the next post.

El & Jae
New Leaves

Animal Crossing New Leaf is out now for Nintendo 3DS, or if you get the console shown here it is already pre-loaded

August 19, 2013. Tags: . Reviews. 1 comment.

El meets Animal Crossing New Leaf

animal-crossing-nintendo-dsSomething super exciting happened recently – El was asked if she would like to try out the new Nintendo 3DS game Animal Crossing New Leaf.

And we were sent a lovely Nintendo 3DS XL which came pre-loaded with the game to try it out on. Huzzah!

But be warned if you buy this model as it doesn’t come with a charger, so we had to order that separately which was frustrating. Luckily the charger is only about £4.

So, on to the game.

Animal Crossing is a game that has been around for a while in various formats, but we haven’t played it before. It’s a type of community game where you the player live in a village along with various animals.

Originally El was horribly conflicted as all the little animal people seemed to think she was the new mayor. Plus there was an over friendly dog on the train. But when she got a letter (because despite living in a tent in the game El has a postbox) from the guy who was SUPPOSED to be mayor her conscience cleared.

It is kind of annoying to walk everywhere because although the fictional town of Ledworth (named by El after the Leadworth of Doctor Who except without the a as only 8 characters were allowed) is very small but it is split in half by a river which has ONLY ONE BRIDGE! It can get a little tedious. So far, El’s just put down the down payment on her house (yet to be built) and her approval rating is 92% so she’s almost got a permit thingy she needs for some reason. It’ll all be clear soon. There are quite a few animal neighbours

We are off on holiday to France soon, and there will be lots of travelling time in the car and on the ferry so El will have plenty of time to explore the Animal Crossing world. So we’ll report back soon on how things are going in Ledworth and what fun times Mayor El is having with her animal subjects.

Au revoir!

El and Jae
Channel Crossing

August 1, 2013. Reviews. 2 comments.

A #W1ndows phone for teens!

A few weeks ago a very mysterious package arrived at House of Eljae. What could it be? Possibly a mindmeld from Derren Brown?

el-surprise

But no, it was a very special smartphone for teenagers and it was sent to us for El to try out. It’s a Huawei Ascend W1 Windows phone in a very lovely blue colour. Sherlock not included:

huawei-ascend-w1-phone

Would it survive the teen stinkeye? Not many things do.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been using this phone. Well, not exactly ‘we’. Basically El has kidnapped the phone and not let Jae get a look in, except for occasionally taking a picture of her with the phone.

huawei-smartphone

(She’s frowning in the second one because she’s attempting to do some homework) And here are some of the pictures El has taken. There are also lots of shots of her friends pulling silly faces but we have omitted those out of courtesy. Also we need them for Facebook.

huawei-phone-camera-collage

El’s opinion of the Huawei phone:

It’s a really sleek and easy to use. It looks lovely and I really enjoy having it (although I refuse to give up the Blackberry so I’m double phoning at the mo). It’s really awesome and so, just, brillopads. It’s basically just like those Windows phones in the ads except the brand name is really nice to say: wah-way!

El also showed this phone to her feral teenage tribe and this is what they thought:

Everyone really seemed to like it. Some people thought it was a Nokia and it was mostly referred to as a “windows phone”. But quite a lot of people seemed to like it and a certain someone became obsessed with taking many selfies and changing my lock screen so that every time I turned it on I would be greeted with her face (which I’ve changed to Sherlock because it’s sooo good and omg Sherlock and I might have to blog about it because I have become slightly obsessed).

Jae’s opinion

At first I barely got to see this phone.

In order for El to download apps I had to go to the Windows website and do a thing I didn’t quite understand.

As a Windows phone it does lack some of the apps that I enjoy most – Instagram and Twitpic. And the Dropbox app is read-only and won’t let you upload files, which kind of misses the point of Dropbox somewhat.

But you can’t blame the actual handset for this. As a parent I would definitely recommend this to other parents looking for a smartphone for their teenager. The price is pretty low but it does an awful lot for that. It’s reliable, works well and has a long battery life. The touchscreen is great, really responsive.

What is good about a Windows phone is that it has Microsoft Office, so you can create documents and Powerpoint presentations then access your work later via your laptop or PC. This was useful when El remembered that she had some homework to do when we were away from home.

The phone was given to us with £50 worth of credit and after several weeks of use it’s still got over £35 remaining. As far as we can tell it doesn’t seem to be charging for calls as the rest of the family is on 02 as well. We are mega meanie parents who get El to pay for her phone credits so she is very pleased about this. But it does seem to be charging £1 when El goes on the interwebs even if she does have wifi which is supa dopa annoying.

THE FACTS

The Huawei Ascend W1 is available in blue or pink from 02. The screen has toughened Gorilla Glass which is useful for monkeys. It has a 5 megapixel auto focus camera with flash. It costs either £129.99 to buy on Pay as you Go, or from free on monthly contracts. We were given this phone for free for the purposes of review.

WE ENJOY IT 😀

El & Jae
Smart as phones

June 18, 2013. Reviews. 1 comment.

Play with your food!

We are big fans of crisps (understatement) – when we watch Doctor Who we always have crisps as that is The Law. But El does not generally get crisps in her lunchbox as Jae knows that she would rather have an apple or some tasty bark. Mmmm bark.

But still, we have been hard at work testing out a new crisp-type snack from Walkers.

We were sent a cute & cuddly toy monkey who was clutching a bag of beef flavour Hoops and Crosses. However, since we are vegetarian we didn’t fancy the beef flavour (though it turns out they are actually suitable for veggies – how does that work?). Jae toddled off to the supermarket and bought some of the salt & vinegar flavour which cost £1.80 for a multipack of 6. We love salt and vinegar. Yum nom nom.

The reason Jae doesn’t put crisps in lunchboxes every day is mainly because she thinks they’re too salty. Crisps once or twice a week is OK, but any more than that she’s not keen on. El disagrees but Jae won’t listen to her that crisps are what they’re on about when they say 5  a day.

Nutritional info:

Each individual packet of Salt & Vinegar Hoops and Crosses contains:

  • 84 calories
  • 3.7g of fat
  • 0.7g of sugar
  • 0.3g of salt (5% of an adult’s daily amount – children’s daily maximum amount of salt varies and is lower than an adult’s)

We also suspect that the small size of these packs probably helps the nutritional aspect. How unhealthy can you get when there’s only 18 grams in there? We quite like that the bags are small, it’s a bit healthier than those mega ‘grab bags’ you can get. Here’s the bag and what you get in it:

walkers-hoops-and-crosses

This shows you the packet on the left and on the right are the contents.

Taste and texture-wise they’re similar to Monster Munch. As a wholegrain product we didn’t notice anything different to other non-wholegrain crispy-type snacks.

We like the fact that they are baked rather than fried.

When El had a packet in her bag one day it made her super happy! They were quite puffy which was nice as it meant that although there probably wasn’t a lot it felt like there was more. There weren’t so many that it was unhealthy but El didn’t feel cheated of crisps. Plus they didn’t crumble in the bag which means that they were WHOLE!  They were satisfying and for once El didn’t feel a bit left out at break time because most of her friends have crisps everyday. 

Disclosure: We were sent a packet of Hoops & Crosses and will be compensated for this post

 

El & Jae

Fried, not baked.

May 9, 2013. Tags: , , . Reviews. Leave a comment.

It’s the pits! But treat them kindly…

Make no mistake – we’re talking about stinky pits, rancid arm caves, skanky hollows, whatever you want to call them.

Personal hygiene is very important, which is why we recommend that you HAVE A WASH. Don’t wait until you feel smelly because by then it’s probably too late.

But if you are a kid then you probably want to feel fresh but not necessarily with the aid of chemicals. But there isn’t much choice for natural teen de-stinkifiers, even in Brighton where we live, where everything is made of knitted lentils.

So we were pleased to be asked to try a new range of natural deodorants for kids which go by the lovely name of Keep it Kind. They are for pongy kids aged 11-14.

Keep it Kind kids deodorant

El was sent the spray called Missy for girls (there’s also Blast for boys in the range) and Fresh Kidz which is a unisex roll on. She’s been putting them through their paces during heavy duty PE classes.

The good thing about this range is that they aren’t tested on animals (other than kids) and are free from aluminium, parabens and alcohol. Fresh Kidz is also fragrance free. They contain natural ingredients specially for younger skins and won’t mark your clothes like some deodorants can.

The packaging is designed to look nice in your bag.

El is a deodorant user (thank god) and in comparison Keep it Kind worked very well. Also it was fun to spray Missy around like in an advert. Jae thought that Missy smelt like a garden. El wanted to know why Jae was using her deodorant. Hmmmm…….

Keep it Kind deodorants for tweens and teens are available now from Boots priced around £3.

El & Jae
Well-washed

March 12, 2013. Tags: , , , , . Reviews. 1 comment.

El meets Stephen Fry and his yellow tights

Do you remember when El live blogged Stephen Fry’s Gadget Man (I don’t think anyone could forget it)? Well on her birthday El had the ultimate Stephen Fry experience. First of all she got a bunch of Stephen Fry audio books.

Then she was given the ultimate Stephen Fry-related gift – tickets to see the great man himself live on stage in Twelfth Night.

Here is a picture. If you look up on the right hand side you can see El.

 

stephen-fry-twelfth-night-arrow

 

One of El’s favourite bits was when they first went in and some of the cast (Stephen Fry included) were getting their make up and costume done on the stage (as seen in the photo).

It was an absolutely amazing play and Stephen Fry was truly astounding, he was flabghastinglyaboslutelyterrifichewassogooditmademyeyespop! (Yes, I know that’s not word!) They put him in box at one point and he wore some magnificent yellow stockings. He was sososososososososo good!

It was very funny when Olivia was on the stage because the whole plot point depended on her being this beautiful girl that everyone falls in love with but because she was being played by a man she was a very ugly girl (although the actor who played her was not an ugly man).

The only other actor El had heard of was Barty Crouch Snr (can’t remember his real name). You know, he was in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. And he was the cyber controller in that episode of Dr Who. He is a very famous stage actor but El only knows him from these things.

In conclusion Stephen Fry was amazing hewasbetterthananyoneheisagodtomeomgheWASmalvoliohewastransformedmylifeiscomplete!

And if you get a chance to see him then you MUST go. Also Shakespeare AMAZING! People who think he’s boring just haven’t seen the light yet!

El and Jae
Makingwordsup

February 28, 2013. Tags: , , , . Reviews, Stuff we love. 1 comment.

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