Wednesday, 31 October 2012


If there's one thing I know you all like, it's a great freebie and I love the sound of this one. You can take a photo, add text or effects then get it printed and sent as a glossy postcard. The first one is totally free. What's not to like ?!


STANNP.COM POSTCARDS APP GIVES AWAY 1 MILLION GLOSSY POSTCARDS is giving away one million glossy Postcards to celebrate the launch of the Postcard App. The special App has won the support of Martha Lane Fox and delivers a brand-new picture to print-on-demand service with a whole host of new image editing and social features, alongside high resolution printing on Royal Mail posted cards. To send your free card: download the ‘Stannp’ App on the iStore or use this link:

Stannp Postcards is a free App enabling users to take a picture, add effects/text and then share the picture on facebook, via email or as glossy postcards, arriving the next day via Royal Mail post. The App provides each new user with one free hard-copy postcard, helping the public trial the ground-breaking, new service. The service is available on the iTunes store as a free-to-download App and via

Stannp postcards are printed every day. If ordered before 2pm, they will be dispatched in that day's post. The cards are printed on a 350gsm Trucard with a laminate finish (print facility). This finish protects the card from Royal Mail high speed sorting machines. All printed cards are delivered via 1st class Royal Mail post.

Sam Heaton, MD of is delighted to launch the new App and giveaway the million cards. He said, ' We developed the app to help people share photos with overlaid text either on Facebook, via email or on glossy hi-res picture postcards. This 1 million postcard giveaway will introduce people to the next generation free-to-download app that helps everyone share important photos from everyday life'.

'The main users will be people on holiday taking snaps and turning them into postcards, sending them that day to friends and family.  Most hotels these days have free Wi-Fi so you can just hook into that and order the card, and not worry about expensive roaming charges. The next big group will be parents keeping grandparents & loved ones involved with children's mishaps and moments in life'.
'So many of us take great images, we can now share these images with friends & family around the world'.

The Stannp Postcards App has been developed by Heaton Media Holdings Ltd, specialists in online greeting cards. Alongside, the firm runs sites such as: and
 To download the Stannp application for your iPhone and claim your free postcard, head to the iPhone Store and search for ‘Stannp’ or use this link:

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Calling all dog and cat owners - 500 free samples of Flea Clear available

Giveaway #233 : Win Drumond Park's Pumpazing game - closed - winner @kimmer2111

Here at The Madhouse, we've reviewed several games from Drumond Park, most recently Spin Mania, and the kids always have great fun. I'm pleased to say that we'll be reviewing some more in the run up to Christmas but not only that, you'll be able to win some too ! Here's what they have to say about their Pumpazing game that you can win :

Drumond Park’s new PUMPAZING action game for little children (rrp £19.99) will make a great present for anyone aged from three upwards. Zingy is a smiley, zany friend who they take it in turns - pass-the-parcel style - to pump with their arms as wide as they can until one of the colourful Zinger balls on his head comes flying off… then they pass him on to the next player as quickly as they can! Smiley Zingy emits all sorts of “Zing” and “Boing” sounds, and if he shouts “Uh Oh” as a Zinger shoots across the room, they’re out – till the next round!

Older children can take on the ‘Lose A Life Card’ challenge, where they lose a card each time Zingy says “Uh Oh”. This game is excellent fun for anyone who has oodles of energy to spare, just perfect as a light-hearted Christmas party activity… and a real giggle for the grown-ups, too!

For stockists visit or call 01506 855577

Find out more at

I am delighted to be able to offer a Pumpazing game to one lucky Madhouse Family Reviews reader. 

To be in with a chance of winning, just do the following :

- Comment on one of my blogposts (other giveaways don't count !)

- Leave me a comment in the comments box with a way of contacting you (twitter name or email) and tell me which of my blogposts you commented on. 

Bonus entries

You can do any or all of the following for bonus entries - just make sure you leave me one comment per entry so that they're all counted !

(1) Follow me on twitter (@cherylp59) and tweet about my competition. You can use the handy retweet button over in my side bar (feel free to shorten it if necessary) or write your own tweet but make sure you copy in @cherylp59 so I can track this.

(2) Like "Madhouse Family Reviews" on facebook ( and leave me a message on my wall

(3) I love reading your comments so leave me some extra comments on my other blogposts (maximum 5 - other giveaways don't count !) and I'll give you a bonus entry for each one. Just remember to leave me a comment here each time to tell me you've done so.

(4) Subscribe to my blog by email (near the top of the right-hand sidebar) so that all the new posts pop into your inbox in a handy digest every morning

(5) click on the google +1 button over in my sidebar and/or add me as a friend on google+

(6) add a +k klout point to @cherylp59 on Klout and tell me which category you added it to

(7) Follow my blog with Google Friends Connect (over in the right hand side bar)

 UK only. Closing date : 14/11/12

Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter. If I haven't heard from you after a week, I'll have to pick another winner. 

Other giveaways you may be interested in : 

Philly Black Widow Spider Chocolate Cup Cakes for Halloween

If your kids are anything like mine, they're already getting impatient about going out trick or treating later on. This fun recipe for scary Halloween cupcakes may be just the thing to help pass the time before the witching hour !!


Halloween is a great time for kids and for adults especially when it is less of the tricks and more of the treats. 
Here is how to make some Black Widow Spider Chocolate Cup Cakes using Light Philadelphia with Cadbury.

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 18 minutes

Serves: 12


For the cupcakes
125g light sunflower spread
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g self-raising
25g Cadbury cocoa powder
1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk

For the topping

120g Light Philadelphia with Cadbury

A selection of sweeties to make the spider legs and eyes such as liquorice catherine wheels, strawberry laces or cola lances. White chocolate buttons or liquorice allsorts and small red sweeties to make the spider eyes. e.g jelly beans


1. To make the cakes, beat the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time then fold in the flour and cocoa. Fold in the milk.

2. Line a 12 hole bun tin with paper cake cases. Spoon the mixture into the cases, filling about two thirds full. Bake at 180°C, gas mark 4 for about 15-18 minutes or until firm and risen. Leave to cool.

3. When the cakes are completely cold, spread some Philly over each of the cupcakes. Arrange 8 short lengths of the liquorice, strawberry laces or cola lances on each cupcake to make the spider legs. Add the sweeties for the eyes and a little more liquorice for antenna.

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Philadelphia have the perfect Halloween Menu for the family

Introducing.... The Limited Edition Build-A-Bear Workshop® BBC Children in Need Collection

Pudsey, Children In Need

The uncontested Special Bear of the Day today is the orange, pumpkin-festooned Pumpkin Pal Halloween Bear from Build-A-Bear, who - apparently - will be coming out trick or treating with us later ! But once all the cobwebs and glow-in-the-dark skeletons have been packed away for another year, the very special New Bears On The Block will be this year's fabulous Pudsey and friends bears, specially designed by Build-A-Bear to help support Children in Need. They're very cute and a percentage of the price goes to the charity for each purchase.


Pudsey, Children In Need

Pudsey Bear (£15, £5 donation)
This year the new Pudsey is available with either a hoodie, jeans and cute trainer combo or with gorgeous set of cosy PJs! The ultimate gift for the little Build-A-Bear Workshop aficionado in your house.

Pudsey, Children In Need

Blush Bear (£15, £5 donation)
Pudsey’s best friend Blush is right on trend for BBC Children in Need this season, showing off her spots with a pretty polka dot matching bow and pink t-shirt.

Pudsey, Children In Need

Pudsey Smallfry™ (£8, £1 donation)
New for 2012, Pudsey smallfry™ comes dressed in a cool t-shirt with signature patch and paw print.

Pudsey, Children In Need

Blush  Smallfry™ (£8, £1 donation)
New for 2012, Pudsey’s best new mini friend Blush smallfry™ wears a cute polka dot bow with fetching red t-shirt.

Stockist details:-

The limited edition Build-A-Bear Workshop collection is available across all Build-A-Bear Workshop stores nationwide and via the website:

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Character Building Doctor Who Dalek Spaceship Set review

Dr Who, toys, reviews, Daleks

A few weeks ago, we received a Dr Who-themed construction set from Character, designed to create a rather impressive-looking Dalek Spaceship. Seeing the 5+ label on the box, 7-year-old Juliette excitedly asked if she could make it and tipped out the contents of the box.

Dr Who, toys, reviews

When she saw the sheer quantity of plastic bags containing tiny plastic elements now strewn across the table, not to mention the entire book of rather complicated instructions, she realised that she'd bitten off more than she could chew and hastily handed over the project to big sister Sophie.

Dr Who, toys, reviews

11-year-old Sophie relished the challenge and tipped all of the pieces into a cardboard box before settling down for an entire afternoon of contented spaceship building.

Dr Who, toys, reviews

If you're anything like me, as soon as you hear the words "construction kit", you automatically think of Lego and the little interlocking plastic pieces of this kit are very very similar.The instruction booklet is detailed and fairly simple to follow, using big pictures rather than text, although the fact that the colours don't correspond to the pieces you need to find make it confusing at times.

Pierre looked on in awe as a rather impressive spaceship started taking shape before his eyes.

toys, reviews, Dr Who

The press release promised "a highly detailed and functional playset with moveable parts, detachable skimmer car, laser cannons and a transparent dome" and we weren't disappointed. Sophie was very proud of her creation.

Dr Who Dalek Spaceship Set

I'll show you the official photo to finish because we'll never get it to look absolutely 100% right, despite our best efforts, especially as a couple of pieces keep falling off ! It's a very impressive model and was great fun to make, although the 5+ age range is hopelessly optimistic. It took a whole afternoon for 11-year-old Sophie to build it, with some help from me, so buying it for anyone under the age of 10 would lead to disappointment and frustration when it turns out to be much too hard. It's definitely the perfect kit for any slightly older Dr Who fan though.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £29.99

Disclosure : We received a Dr Who Dalek Spaceship set in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

The winners of the first ever Slow Toy Awards

Little Dish Fresh Pasta review

food, pasta, children, Little Dish

We've already reviewed Little Dish toddler meals in the past and the Madhouse Mini-testers' verdict was that they were very nice, so I was interested to see what they would think of their new range of fresh pasta. We received a bag of Mini Ravioli with Spinach & Ricotta and Mini Tortellini with Cheese & Tomato to review.

food, pasta, children, Little Dishfood, pasta, children, Little Dish

Both varieties are made with free range eggs, 100% natural ingredients, no unnecessary salt and no additives or preservatives. The packaging tells us that they are kid-tested and suitable for home freezing.

food, pasta, children, Little Dish

I decided to cook up both packs at the same time and give them to all three Madhouse Mini-testers (aged 3, 7 and 11). I snipped the tops of the bags and was impressed by the appearance of the uncooked pasta.

food, pasta, children, Little Dish

They look just like smaller versions of proper, grown-up, fresh pasta.

food, pasta, children, Little Dish

After several minutes in boiling water (3-4 minutes for the tortellini and 6-7 for the ravioli), they had gone soft but perfectly kept their shape. After consulting the Madhouse Mini-testers, they wanted to eat the pasta with just a knob of butter rather than sauce, so that they could really taste the flavours of the fillings. I had a quick taste and found them to be slightly bland but not bad at all.

As predicted, 3-year-old Pierre loved them and wolfed them down.

But they also got a thumbs up from big sisters Sophie and Juliette.

The small 230g bags are designed to contain enough for two toddler-sized servings and the two bags were the ideal quantity for three older kids' meals. They're really quick and convenient, taste lovely and I love the fact that they aren't full of unnecessary junk. They do work out quite expensive, compared to normal pasta, but you do have the reassurance of knowing that it's a natural product that isn't packed with artificial additives.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £1.99 for 230g

Disclosure : We received two bags of Little Dish pasta in order to write an honest review.

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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Harry The Hapless Ghost Puppet Theatre Kit review - part 2

Last week, I told you about the puppet theatre kit that we'd been sent to review from Little Creative Days. I wanted to tell you about it with plenty of time to buy one before Halloween but knew we wouldn't have time to do it justice before the big day. Well, we spent a whole morning working on it yesterday, the same again today and it's still only half done, so this is a project that will be keeping the Madhouse Mini-testers busy for the entire holidays !

Sophie was very impressed by the size of the box - it's massive ! That's because it is the size of the cardboard puppet theatre.

Inside the box is ... a box ! And inside the second box is a whole host of crafty bits and pieces to make the puppets.

Sophie unpacked the cardboard puppet theatre, already getting excited about getting her paints out !

The puppet kit contains everything you need - even down to several pais of scissors so there's no squabbling if several children are working together !

Sophie started drawing round the templates and cutting out the clothes in the pieces of coloured felt. Pierre helped passing things but there wasn't a great deal he could do at this stage.

I was expecting the instructions to tell you to glue the pieces of felt to the spoon but it actually teaches you the rudiments of sewing. This is great for older children - 11-year-old Sophie managed, with a little guidance from me - but this does mean that younger children feel a bit left out at this stage.

They soon got hands-on with the painting though - lucky I thought to put an old sheet down on the ground before we started !

Three mucky pups, lots of big smiles and a puppet theatre waiting to dry so we can carry on making it tomorrow !

Another day, another painting session ! With the black background now dry, it was time to decorate it with paint, glitter and spooky Halloween stickers (from our Warner Brothers box, these ones didn't come in the kit).

Here's the front ...

The back ... (Théâtre de marionnettes = puppet theatre)

and the inside !

We still need to make the puppets but the Madhouse Mini-testers have already been having great fun popping their heads inside to make up their own stories !

Happy Halloween !

for more information :

Disclosure : We received a  Harry the Hapless Ghost Story kit in order to write an honest review (which I will be doing next week).

Other reviews you may be interested in :

MU ha ha ha ha… Recipes for Halloween

Warner Brothers Halloween Box of Delights

Warner Brothers, I love you ! Why ? Because every time the school holidays come around, you send through a fabulous package of DVDs and extra bits and bobs to help stave off the cries of "I'm bored" and the ensuing tantrums/whingeing/squabbling ! This time, they sent through a fabulous Halloween-themed package containing :

Tom & Jerry Tricks & Treats - 22 episodes featuring the famously feuding cat and mouse including several in spooky settings in honour of Halloween, but also many non-Halloweeny ones so you can watch it all year round. Total runtime of 134 minutes so it's one that we've been dipping into to watch a couple of episodes at a time.

Big Top Scooby Doo (Original Movie) - As the title suggests, this feature-length Scooby adventure sees the gang heading off to a werewolf-infested circus. Now, I admit I was popping in and out doing various other things while this was on so I didn't really follow the whole plot, but there was much giggling going on and all three Madhouse Mini-testers watched the whole thing from start to finish. The DVD has a total run-time of 77 minutes and includes a few extra circus-themed bonus episodes. Great family viewing.

Lego Hero Factory Savage Planet - We haven't watched this one yet because it's PG-rated so I want to make sure it's not too scary for Pierre. The blurb says : "The Hero Factory is a place where the most advanced and skilled heroes of the universe are built with one purpose - to save the world from evil. When rookie Rocka responds to a distress signal sent from Aldous Witch, who has crash-landed on a far-away planet, he suddenly goes missing. Stormer, Furno, Nex, Bulk and Stringer are sent to find him, only to discover that Aldous Witch has transformed into the evil Witch Doctor, and that he has transformed a once beautiful planet into a deadly wasteland set on destroying everything on it... including the Heroes."  Run time 43 minutes.

Ben 10 Destroy All Aliens - Another PG-rated one that I've put to the side to make sure I'm around when it's on it case it's too scary. Ben 10 is usually OK though so I'm sure the "mild fantasty action violence" won't be too bad. The blurb says : "Ten-year-old Ben Tennyson is finally back from his summer vacation, and his life is a mess! Humiliated by his teacher, harassed by bullies, grounded by his parents, and cursed with a malfunctioning Omnitrix that's vaporizing his homework, Ben jumps at the chance to get away from it all at the Total Alien Immersion training program on the far side of the galaxy. Little does Ben know that total immersion means he can never turn human again. Crashing back to earth and stuck in his alien forms, Ben becomes the target of an all new evil alien, Retaliator, engaging in a deadly cross-world battle, where
nothing is as it seems." Runtime 69 minutes.

Once we'd finished looking at the DVDs, Juliette was just as excited to discover the cat mask and Halloween stickers.

And all three of the Madhouse Mini-testers were over the moon to discover the little ghoulish bottles of bubbles, running off outside to play with them ... then runnng back in to watch the DVDs when it started hailing !

Disclosure : We received a box of Halloween-themed DVDs (and some extras) in order to write an honest review.

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Kids' DVD review : Daddy, I'm A Zombie !

The winners of the first ever Slow Toy Awards

slow toys 2012

It's inevitable that modern kids, however young they are, are going to want and, dare I say it, need, electronic gadgets and battery-operated toys. It's an essential part of growing up in the modern world and teaches them important life skills. But I also think it's very important to maintain a balance between hi-tech gadgets and the more old-fashioned, traditional toys that rely on imagination and creativity, not batteries, to work. I told you about the Slow Toys Movement last year and even shared my top slow toys nominations with you. This year saw the first ever Slow Toy Awards, so I thought you might be interested to find out which toys were picked as the winners.


Welcome to the Slow Toy Awards ... recognising quality, tradition, creativity and toys that care!

Following the success of the ‘Slow Toy Movement’ last year, this year the team decided to return to inspire and challenge the industry once again and develop the campaign significantly by announcing the first ever Slow Toy Awards.

The original concept was to raise awareness of the increasing presence of battery operated plastic toys that distract children with countless functions and the subsequent move away from traditional toys. The disappearance of the educational abacus, the beautifully crafted wooden toy and the much loved dolls house that encourages creativity and imagination is very much the issue at the heart of this campaign.

The Slow Toy movement and its awards aim to recognise the ‘real toys’ on the market that are well made, inspire the mind and provide children far more than the noise and flashing lights commonly associated with the toys of today.

These toys have been awarded by the judging panel for encouraging traditional play, boosting creative thinking, inspiring the developments of one’s own imagination. They are not made of plastic, are without batteries and are sold in independent toy shops. They are durable, stand the test of time, without thousands of different functions and, are officially Slow Toys!

Following some vigorous judging by the panel, which included: Peter Jenkinson from Toyology, Al Boxall-Gordon from IzziwizziKids, and three mummy bloggers: Nicola from ‘Monsters Funhouse’, Fiona from ‘Mummys Little Stars’ and Kate from ‘What me and the Boys say’ we have our winners of 2012:

slow toys 2012

The Wonderworld Eco House, by Wonderworld

The Wonderworld Eco House is made entirely from sustainable rubberwood and is essentially a traditional dolls house with furniture and a family, but with a modern twist. All sides of the house are open to allow easy access for small hands and encourage children to play together, whilst the Eco features help to teach children about the environment and ways in which they can save energy around the home. Included in the Eco House are recycling bins, a water butt, solar panels, an electric bike, wind turbine, 3 family members and furniture. And the best bit, for every tree used in manufacture, another 2 are planted in conjunction with Thai farmers
RRP: £112

slow toys 2012

Rory Story Cubes, by Coiledspring Games

A game of nine dice, each face with a different image on it! Players simply roll the dice and tell a story with the pictures in front of you. With over 10 million different combinations, you can be sure that you’ll never tell the same story twice! Instead of sitting in front of television and watching a story unfold, a round of Rory’s Story Cubes will get children really thinking outside the box. A child’s imagination knows no limits, so the stories are sure to be inventive, witty and highly original! All you need to play Rory’s Story Cubes is an active imagination and a sense of adventure!
RRP: £10

slow toys 2012

Triangular Activity Centre, by Bigjigs toys

The beautiful Triangular Activity Centre, which features a colourful abacus on one side, a blackboard on the other and wooden letter and pictures blocks on the other, is a great educational toy for children aged 1+. Each end also features colourful counting and animal sorters. This wonderful wooden toy offers a modern twist on a classic toy encouraging learning through play, enriching the educational experience.
RRP: £24.99

slow toys 2012

Oobicoo, by Totseat

Oobicoo is an enchanting, soft and huggable toy tot who at 60cm tall, is the perfect size to be an instant baby brother, sister or best friend to a toddler. Oobicoo was designed to be dressed in hand-me-down-baby clothes, a simple idea that encourages the reuse of outgrown baby clothes, providing Oobicoo with an instant wardrobe - all ready for imaginative play! And best of all with each sale, Oobicoo raises money for the Children's Immunology Fund. Oobicoo encourages creativity and imagination and is ideal to help develop communication skills. What’s even better is, Oobicoo is completely eco friendly having been manufactured from recycled and recyclable materials.
RRP: £46.80

slow toys 2012

Multi-solution Puzzle, by P’kolino

In four unique designs, the multi-solution puzzle is made from chunky durable wood, perfect for little hands. The puzzles develop a child’s ability to creatively solve challenges as they have many solutions holding their attention for longer. Best of all the clever designs mean age is not necessarily a barrier to enjoying the creativity of these puzzles. Imaginative, educational and a great design, these fun toys are the next generation of wooden puzzles.
RRP: £14.99

slow toys 2012

Wondercube, by My Wonder

The sheer delight little ones get from tearing wet wipes out of the packet is the inspiration behind this activity toy – a simple soft box with squares to pull out! Each square has a different feel and sound to explore and the pieces can be pulled apart, stuck back together and rearranged in any order. Suitable from birth, it can
help stimulate babies’ senses and develop their fine motor skills. It’s also designed to grow with the child. With a choice of innovative add- on fillings, suited to each child’s needs - including numbers, letters, animals and storybooks - the adaptability and versatility of this simple cube is infinite. The Fairtrade My Wondercube is made from organic woven cotton and is ethically produced and eco-friendly. This wonderful box of tricks is educational and hours of fun and is a toy that will endure and amuse for years.
RRP: £14.99

slow toys 2012

Stacking Hoops, by Play to Z

A gorgeous and ethical sensory-rich alternative to a traditional stacking toy. Stacking hoops gives children the freedom to simply explore and play as they wish, exploring the hoops individually or following their own mission of stacking and sorting. The unusual sensory appeal of the carefully sourced items and fascinating stories ensure maximum appeal. This resource inspires discussion, investigation and imagination galore.
RRP: £48

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