The one where we make a Doctor Who movie

Jae says:

I am going to tell you about something which is one of the best products we have ever reviewed. And not just because it kept the juniorlings occupied for days over the school holidays.

It’s because it helped us make a Doctor Who movie! And here it is:

The product we were reviewing is called the Honestech Claymation Studio and it’s a camera and software that enables children to make stop motion animation films. And you know the really cool thing about it?

The camera looks like a little dog:

The actual camera lens bit is in his nose, his legs form the tripod to keep him steady and he gets connected to the computer via a USB cable in his butt. Oh well, never mind little doggie.

The whole system was incredibly easy to use and Eye, who’s 9, had animated some of his Lego models within half an hour, without any adult help. When El and Eye worked on their Doctor Who movie together they were really co-operating and playing together well. At least I think they were. I had sneaked off to do some Mumstuff at that point.

We think the Claymation Studio is a really cool product that kid movie makers will love. It’s creative and fun. Claymation Studio 3.0 Deluxe costs £39.99 from Amazon and we think it’s well worth it. Would also be a good gift for a couple of kids to share.

As well as doggie cam, we were also sent another animation product to review: Crazy Talk 6 Professionalby Reallusion. This is harder to review as they sent us the more expensive Pro version by mistake. Eldad had a play with this – he is an animation expert as he makes cartoons for The Proper Telly. He thought it was great, but too advanced for home use.

For home movie fans, we reckon that Crazy Talk Animator (PC), which is around £30, looks like a better option.

The Crazy Talk system is all about animating faces. You can take any photo or picture you’ve made and turn it into a moving image. So again it’s very creative and fun. Or as we found out, it can be very, very disturbing.

You can even animate your own face, which is what El did with it. Probably best not to watch this if you’re under 12. Or alone. Or prone to nightmares. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Jae
Afraid, very afraid

with help from El
Terrifying

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September 25, 2012. Tags: , , , . Reviews. Leave a comment.

Eljae goes abroad – ooh la la!

Helloooooo my lovelies!

In the summer holidays me, Jae, Eye and ElDad (but sadly not Dennis the Cat) went on a magnifique holiday to France. We went to a wonderful static mobile home site from a company called Siblu. I made a video to tell you all about it (filmed and edited by me and starring me, Jae, ElDad and Eye):

Bonnes vacances!/Happy Holidays!

Mademoiselle El et Madame Jae

September 18, 2012. Tags: , , , . Reviews. 2 comments.

Derren Brown. Nuff said.

Hello there my dears. A couple of posts ago when I wrote about what I’ve been up to I deliberately missed out the most exiting thing that happened to me.

I went to a Derren Brown live show.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was INCREDIBLE! If you have been living in a cave or have an objection to Channel 4 or something and you don’t know who Derren Brown is then allow me to explain.

He is an amazing magician / illusionist / mind reader. Plus he’s really good at painting. And instead of saying cheese on toast he calls it toast under cheese. Genius!

Derren Brown is not just a man who performs tricks, he is so much more. He’s incredibly deep and meaningful in what he does. His last televised series was 4 specials called the Experiments. He looked at luck and crowd anonymity and he convinced a man he’d killed someone. Oh and he got someone to kill Stephen Fry. Not really, Stephen Fry’s fine. Fake gun and blood packs. But there was this audience who thought he’d been killed. If you want to check it out they’re all on 4od.

The show I went to see was called Svengali and it was AMAZING!!! I won’t give anything away though because he asked us not to. I’m too devoted to disobey him.

At one point he got a bit he was doing wrong. It’s not his fault it’s the human race’s fault for not having arms that reach to their feet. I think that’s great though because it proves that he’s not using actors or anything.

Derren Brown has also written two books called Tricks of the Mind and Confessions of a Conjuror. The latter is my favorite as it’s like an autobiography.

I went with a friend which made the experience even more fun. We went on the train together. Awesome!

At one point Derren Brown was in the crowd and he was at the end of my row and I was about 4 seats away from him. In my head I was just thinking ‘Omg! Omg! He’s so real!’

The night I saw a Derren Brown live show was possibly the best night of my life, even the night I was born (that was just messy and painful for everyone). I have vowed that I will see another Derren Brown show even if I’m old and manky. Unless he stops doing them, then I will cry.

So that is my Derren Brown experience. He’s so awesome it hurts. If you haven’t seen any of his shows then do! Now!

El.
Derren Brown Worshipper.

September 4, 2012. Reviews, Stuff we love. 1 comment.

Season’s greetings!

The Christmas season is our favourite time of year. Jae’s birthday is on 10th December, then it’s Christmas Day when we go down to Brighton beach to eat chocolate oranges. And then on the 27th it’s El’s birthday!

The only trouble with Christmas is that once it’s over you have to wait a whole year for it to come around again.

Or do you?

Last week we went to a bunch of Christmas previews, where companies show off all their Christmas treats. It was kind of a weird thing to do on a Summer day but good fun.

First of all we went to Sainsburys. There were lots of food bits, little hampers of cheeses and stuff like that but we sniffed the air and pounced on the CHOCOLATE!

Daintily naturally. We had a reputation to upheld.
El particularly liked the chocolate covered pretzels which were situated near some sweet apple and cinnamon popcorn (also scrummy). There was cake in the shape of a snowman, called Snowie, salted caramel cream, mistletoe shaped sprinkles, macaroon making kits, and even one of those make your own gingerbread house kits. But it wasn’t all about the food.


We had a nosey round the gift section and spotted a Lego Darth Vader alarm clock, some Lego bag tags (not a great gift in El’s opinion, what child has ever asked Santa for a Lego bag tag?!), some Pacman themed stuff (Jae was surprised that El knew what pacman was), a new Kung Fu Panda game called Po’s Winter Wonderland (prompting giggles from El as a po is also a kind of chamber pot), a Master Moves Mickey Mouse (with over 15 moves in his repertoire), really the list goes on and on.

Then we went to Thorntons. There were three rooms full of as much chocolate as you could eat, plus a giant chocolate Christmas tree. And an elf with a rubber chicken. No, we have no idea either.

We met Keith, the Thorntons Master Chocolatier, whose job it is to think up new flavours of chocolate. His job also involves eating a lot of chocolate, about a kilo a day! (We don’t quite belive that he eats that much as he is a slim man.) What a dream job.

He let us interview him and Jae asked him serious questions. El asked him if he prefered white, milk or dark chocolate. Milk apparently.

Keith says that chocolate changes like fashion – nowadays they have chocolate with salt in which people in the past would’ve thought was bonkers. But we tried some and it was actually quite nice.

We sampled lots of the new Thorntons range and the one we really liked is the Family Night In, where you have to spin a wheel to decide which choccie you get. Let fate decide!

Then we went to Argos, where there were lots of new toys such as Monopoly and Game of Life that you can use with an iPad, and a funny little yellow robotty thing called My Keepon which El was totally hypnotised by.

And of course the newly relaunched Furby, which has eyes that can see into your soul.

Emma Bunton of the Spice Girls was launching her new range of clothes for little kids. They were all really cute and not all pinky.

So that was our fun day of Christmas in July. Only trouble is, now we are impatient to see Father Christmas again!

 

Merry Eljaemas!

El and Jae
Making a list, checking it twice

July 28, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Reviews, Stuff we love. 2 comments.

Review: We Are Scientists

School’s out for summer!

School’s out for ever!

Actually, it’s not.

We’ve got to go back in September, but let’s pretend for now.

Even though our brains are in need of a big rest, we don’t mind educational toys as long as they are FUN.

The appliance of science

El and Eye both did really well in science class this year, so we were really pleased to have a play with some science kits which were sent to us for review by DKL Toys. At first glance these aren’t the most excitingly packaged toys – Jae thought they looked more like classroom resources than something you’d pick up in a toy shop. But when we opened them up we found that they were a lot more fun than the outside suggests.

First up, we tried out the Miniland Jet Air Rocket Kit. It’s designed to teach you about physics and air power. This was a very simple kit to put together – in under 10 minutes we’d created a rocket. It’s stated as being for

Professor Dennis builds a rocket

age 8-14 but younger children could manage it with help. Dennis the cat will help if you like. It costs £12.95, comes in a nice metal tin and is a good size for a birthday present.

Then we moved on to a bigger kit, the Miniland Electric Circuit Kit. At £24.95 it’s more expensive than the jet rocket kit, but we spent much longer playing with it.

Over all we think it gives good value for money as it offers a wide variety of experiments which a number of children can work on together. It includes 88 pieces including motors, switches, lights and noisy sirens.

It’s also marked as suitable for age 8-14 but El and Eye were learning about the kind of circuits it contains in Year 2 (so aged around 7). Eye who’s 9 had no problem using the kit.

Experimenting with Miniland Electrokit

You can use the kit to do up to 80 experiments, which are clearly explained in the booklet that comes with it, including lighting a bulb, creating a siren and sending signals.

Be warned though – batteries are not included and you will need 4 AA batteries – we ended up cannibalising the TV remote, so with this kit you may end up watching less telly, whether you intend to or not.

El and Eye’s verdict:

We like these kits – they’re cool! The experiment we liked best involved making a flying fan that flew right up to the ceiling. We also liked being able to make our own circuits as we enjoyed doing that at school but hadn’t been able to do it at home before.

All in all these are great kits to encourage an interest in science – if the summer carries on like it’s been doing then this could be a good investment for indoor fun. And we like the look of the rest of the Miniland range too – they seem like proper science rather than a flimsy craft kit. And by the time you go back to school you will be top of the class!

 

Professors El and Jae
We has skillz

July 21, 2012. Tags: , , , . Reviews. 2 comments.

Turtle time!

Did you know that the Sea Life Centre in Brighton has re-opened after it was closed for ages for refurbishment? All the animals had to go to temporary homes but they are back now. Yay!

We went for Eye’s birthday and met some lovely turtles who swam right up to us. (They were MUCH bigger than they look in this picture)

Totally turtely

El and Jae both touched a starfish which was a bit odd to be honest – did you know they’re actually quite soft? And then El held a crab which was very nice and didn’t bite her. It was quite still really and hardly wriggled.

No pinching!

But what on earth is this???

I’m not holding that!

Jae’s money saving tip

We had a great time at the Sea Life Centre in Brighton. The refurbishment looks great and the creatures are fab.

BUT whatever you do, don’t just rock up and pay the door prices, cos they’re pretty steep – £16.20 for adults, £11.40 for kids. If you’re smart about it you don’t need to pay that. The building has just reopened after being closed for a while, so there are lots of offers around to encourage people to visit.

We had a 50% off voucher which El picked up at WHSmith – thank goodness, it brought our ticket bill down A LOT. There are also 2 for 1 offers running until September if you’re coming to Brighton by train.

And if you can’t find a deal like that, you can still save a bit if you book on the website. Best prices are from 3pm (it closes at 6pm – we’d seen everything in about 2 hours so this should give you plenty of time). If you do this then a family ticket reduces from £48 to £33 and you will have more to spend in the gift shop.

In conclusion it was a great way to spend a birthday and we all recommend giving it a visit.

El & Jae
Sea-Life Sillies.

June 30, 2012. Tags: , , . Reviews, Top Tips. Leave a comment.

Win a Horrible Histories DVD Box Set COMPETITION CLOSED

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS CLOSED. DON’T LEAVE A COMMENT, IT WON’T BE COUNTED

We have got a fantastic competition for you! The award winning TV show Horrible Histories has been released in a box set of the first 3 series. And we have two to give away – happiness!

THE PRIZES

Two winners will each get a box set of series 1-3 of Horrible Histories. This set contains nearly 20 hours of awesome HH fabulousness and extra features including:  Outtakes ~ Unseen sketches ~ Deleted Scenes ~ Savage Songs ~ Quiz questions

HOW TO ENTER

To enter, leave a comment below saying why you want to win this box set of awesomeness.

EXTRA CHANCES TO WIN

There is another competition running over at Jae’s other blog, and she’s also got two copies to give away, so scoot over there via this link and you can enter that competition as well.

CLOSING DATE

This competition closes on Tuesday 10th July at midnight, so post your comment before then. Two winners will be chosen at random as soon as possible after that, and the box sets posted out straight away so you will have them for summer holiday fun. (no El, you can’t stay up until midnight on a school night to choose the winners).

ENTRY RESTRICTIONS

We love Horrible Histories!!!!

One entry on each competition per person. UK and Eire only. These are Region 2 DVDs and may not be playable outside Europe.

And if you’re not lucky don’t worry – Series 3 of HH has just come out on DVD, and this box set is available now too. The box set is about £15 and series 3 is about £6.

El’s Review

I looooove this box set! It was wonderful getting to re-visit old episodes and getting to re-live the happiness I felt when I first saw them. I would really recommend this box set and they would make really great gifts for friends and family. Horrible Histories is really funny and educational. I’m so happy to be able to watch this wonderful program. I especially love the Savage Songs part. I love being able to sing along and have a little dance. Both me and Eye love HH so when we put on this DVD there is no complaints! I think Jae secretly watches over her laptop.

Be horribly lucky!

El & Jae

June 19, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Competitions, Reviews. 59 comments.

The one where El goes mad for Swingball!

We went to an activity day in a local park, and played Swingball. It was fantastic and we were thinking about buying one for our own garden, but our garden is a bit small and we weren’t sure. And then the Swingball people got in touch and asked us to review Swingball Pro, so we had a chance to find out. Yaaaay!!!!!

However, it’s been raining for the last few weeks. You can’t play Swingball in the rain, right?

Wrong – you just need to put your coat on:

Swinging in the rain

We has ENDURANCE!

We have been playing the advanced version which is called Swingball Pro.

You have to fill the base with water or stones (or even sand if you live on a small beach) to make it sturdy, but it’s very easy to set up. (This is what makes it different from the classic original Swingball, where you put the pole in the ground.)

It’s very sturdy and hasn’t fallen over when we’ve been playing, even when we’ve whacked it very very hard.

You can adjust the length of the rope, so you can still play even in a small garden like ours.

The down side

You have to watch out for the ball as it really hurts if it whacks you in the face. El can still feel that bruise. Plus if you play it for too long you can get blisters on your hands from the bats. They can hurt your hands! And we now have two worn out places on the grass where we have been playing it. ElDad is reeeeally thrilled about that!

Also, we discovered that cats aren’t very good at Swingball. And Dennis really, really wanted to play:

Peepo!

El is now on a personal mission to play Swingball every day from now until the end of June when our next door neighbours are coming back from Korea and will be able to play with us, and we will challenge them to a Swingball tournament. HAHAHA!

Give that girl a gold medal

Swingball Pro is available in lots of toy shops and places like Argos or John Lewis, and online at places like Amazon, priced around £40, or you can get classic Swingball from about £15.

Or you could just come round our house and watch El play swingball.

(Also Jae has been playing it in the daytime when El is at school and thinks that nobody has noticed)

El & Jae

Swingball Superstars

June 18, 2012. Tags: , . Reviews. 1 comment.

Cybher – our day in sketches

El and Jae at Cybher!

We are all pooped out today because we spent yesterday at Cybher, the blogging conference for women (and girls) who blog.

El was mega chuffed to meet another El – it was superstar blogger El from A Thrifty Mrs, as seen on Superscrimpers and Harry Hill’s TV Burp. WE LOVE YOU EL.

El, meet El

We also met the guys from the Leather Satchel Company, which was great because El takes one of their satchels to school every day – we love them too.

And we met the Disney people and told them the world needs More Muppets, so hopefully they will take heed.

At lunchtime we had a crisp shaped like a heart! And other stuff too of course.

The crisp of love

We liked the pink lights, sweeties on the table and the cool bags.

El recorded the day in sketches, and here are some of them:

What’s it called again?

We loved Biba‘s talk about apps, and even more we loved the bunny hair clip in her hair. At least we think it was a hair clip, and not a tiny baby bunny perched very still.

That’s one appy bunny

Everywhere you looked, people were tweeting and iPading at the tables:

Sketching is like tweeting from the past

El had no iPhone so she had to make her own:

No batteries required

We went to some workshops and picked up some great blogging tips:

They don’t teach us this stuff in school!

Everybody we met was really nice, it was like a big friendly community:

Oh yes we are

We found out lots of things about technology:

Make friends with your tech

We learned how to re-design your blog:

Bloggybloggyblogblog.com that is

A big hello to all the lovely bloggers we met at Cybher, thanks to Sian for putting it all together.

Oh yeah!

El & Jae 🙂
Cybher-riffic!

May 13, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Reviews, Stuff we love. 18 comments.

(Harry) Pottering around in Pottermore

Jae says:

I used to have a lovely daughter called El. Then she disappeared to a strange land. She got there via the computer, and not platform 9 3/4. For this land was called Pottermore, and it’s JK Rowling’s new online world of Harry Potter.

Will I ever see El again, now that she’s gone to Wizard school? At least she eventually came out of the wardrobe after that day trip to Narnia, though she did have a lot of snow on her boots.

The good news for parents is that Pottermore is free, it keeps the little pests darlings quiet for hours and they might even be inspired to read a book afterwards. That’s assuming they ever come back.

El says:

Years and years ago in the mists of time my dad bought me Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In the first chapter Harry’s parents die. Waaaay too scary for little old me. So it sat on a shelf for years gathering dust. And then I found it. And I read and I read. And it was good. Really good. I gradually devoured the series. And years on I still love it.

So when I heard that Pottermore was finally up and running (after lots of delays) I signed up as soon as I remembered to. I’m a Ravenclaw, my wand is 10 3/4, hard, pine wood and the core is phoenix feather.

It’s better if you’ve read the books before going on Pottermore, because otherwise you won’t know what’s going on. The website picks out important moments from each chapter of each book, though only the first one is available now. So when you are on the site you can pick stuff up, unlock new material and make potions which gives you house points. Sometimes I’ve gone on to the site and it hasn’t worked – maybe it’s too busy?

Pottermore gives you a user name so you don’t use your real name. You can connect with your friends if you know their user name but don’t connect with anyone you don’t know because they might not be as spectacular as you. You can give your friends a nickname you choose to help you remember who they are.

I like Diagon Alley and the sorting hat the best because they’re very interactive. In Diagon Alley you can buy a wand and an animal – that animal then becomes your avatar. I’m a barn owl!

I wish there were more mini games, but I enjoyed the making potions (even though they take a long time) and duelling.

Over all, if you’re a Harry Potter fan then Pottermore is an absolute must. You get to pretend that you really are at Hogwarts doing magical stuff. 4.5 stars out of 5.

 

El 🙂

April 29, 2012. Tags: , . Reviews, Stuff we love. 5 comments.

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