Toy Review: Teksta Voice Recognition Puppy

tekstaI’m currently on my quest to try to find new and exciting Christmas gifts for my little gang. They had seen the new generation Teksta Puppy advertised on TV and thought it looked brilliant and it was something that they were really keen to have. As soon as we were offered the chance to actually review it I jumped at the chance. On reflection this might not have been the best idea as i’m now short on my potential Christmas gift list, however its useful for readers and my kids have had the best Bank Holiday weekend playing with their new puppy!

The Teksta Puppy retails at £59.99 and is aimed at 7+ age group. It now has voice recognition, multi-coloured LED eyes and realistic ear movements. There are 10 voice recognition commands programmed in and state of the art artificial intelligence means he barks, whimpers and so on.

We’ve been having lots of fun with the Teksta puppy and one of the best features is oddly that he requires a fair amount of training (as does his owners). Myself and Fifi have found this great fun as she really wants her own dog and this is a great introduction to dog ownership. Have a look at our efforts:

We have found the voice recognition a bit hit and miss but in theory there are 10 commands ranging from making the puppy bark through to making him do a flip. Fifi likes the song and dance feature which has two different songs. She also likes making it walk towards her.

There is also a free app to go with the Teksta Puppy and that lets you do all the actions straight from the app. Its easy to use and is another way of controlling the puppy.

This is a brilliant toy for this age group as it is great fun and actually teaches them a lot about elementary programming, patience and training animals. Fifi has genuinely gained a lot from it and it continues to be a popular toy in our household. In terms of value for money the price of Teksta has really come down, I remember them being quite pricey a few years ago, however at £59.99 this represents excellent value for money for a quality toy.

Teksta Puppy has a friend: a Toucan, it looks like this bird will be on our Christmas list this year!

If you’d like more information or to buy it have a look here.

Toy Review: Peppa’s Alphaphonics Campervan

Peppas Alphaphonics CampervanI don’t do a lot of toy reviews, with three children I think we have just about every single toy under the sun. However, when this came along I thought it would be very useful for little 4 year old Ned who is desperate to read. Ned is slowly gaining a grasp of phonics (mainly helped by his speech therapy) but to be honest, he is the third child, i’m back at work, time is limited.

Peppa’s Alphaphonics Campervan is aimed at pre-schoolers (3+) but I think could probably be used by slightly younger children as a fun toy to teach sensory reactions. That way, you can extend the life of the toy and get some good value for money. Although at RRP £19.99 it wont break the bank if you opt for it for a Peppa fan who is slightly older.

There are 8 games for children to work on: Whats the Letter? Copy Me? and Find the Letter. Needless to say little Ned has enjoyed Find the Letter most as it seems to challenge him enough to keep him entertained.

peppas alphaphonics campervanThe thing which I have found most useful is that it does build upon existing knowledge of phonics and adds to it to extend to those letters which are not taught in phase one of jolly phonics. Another useful skill (dare I say it- especially for my little hyperactive boy) is the ability to concentrate on one thing for a while. Its proved most useful in keeping him focussed beyond the usual screen based equivalents.

There keyboard is really easy and intuitive to use, a sliding bar at the top enables you to choose the game you want to play. As a parent I have two main criticisms, first that it is a little bit loud and secondly there is no on-off switch. The campervan has an automatic shut off, which does mean that it cant be turned off easily if a button gets depressed in the toy box.

Peppas alphaphonic CampervanI’ve been looking for a non screen based interactive to help Ned with his phonics and this completely fits the bill. Its well made, sturdy and you’re guaranteed to get a lot of use out of it. Clearly it is most appealing to Peppa fans, so if you’re little one is in the right demographic then this is a great choice. It would also make a good gift for a child on the cusp of 3- Christmas is not too far off…

You can get hold of one at Argos

Disclaimer: We were gifted Peppa’s Alphaphonics Campervan for the purposes of review

Meerkat Movies!

batman meerkatIf your children are anything like mine they will be super hero obsessed. It was a bit of a stroke of luck then that a limited edition Batman Aleksandr Meerkat arrived on the day of my eldest boys birthday! He immediately fell in love with the little fella.

Compare the Market sent over the toy to celebrate the launch of the new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Movie. Of course the arrival of the toy as also meant that the movie was flagged up to the kids and i’ve had them begging to take them ever since. I think its too old for them yet so they’ll have to wait a while. In the meantime they’ll have to make do with the advert…

Win tickets to an exclusive Playmobil London Fire Brigade Party!

Do you remember I posted about Playmobil Brigade a little while ago? Well, there is even more exciting news!

London Fire Brigade PlaymobilLondon Fire Brigade have recruited a specialist #PLAYMOBILBrigade to celebrate their 150th year. This means that fire stations will be hosting 65 collaborative open days across the capital throughout 2016 to teach children about fire safety in the home. I cant stress how brilliant I think this is, it is such an important thing to be aware of for both adults and children.

To celebrate, we have 1 VIP family ticket to the launch party on Saturday 9th April to give away to one lucky winner, allowing you exclusive entry before its open to the public

There’ll also be a special birthday cake baked by Great British Bake Off star Firefighter Mat Riley, and an appearance by London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson and the Brigade’s first ever Young Fire Safety Officer, 7 year old Archie Cosaitis! Your little ones will be able to meet real firefighters and life-sized PLAYMOBIL ones, plus enjoy toys and activities galore!

The open days are a perfect day out for anyone who’s ever fancied playing firefighter for a day. Limited-edition London Fire Brigade versions of popular PLAYMOBIL Fire Brigade sets have also been created for little ones to learn through play at home. 10% of proceeds will be donated to the Brigade’s charities of choice, with toys available from April to purchase at the open days and from PLAYMOBIL customer services.

The open days follow the release of the PLAYMOBIL crew’s catchy sing-a-long video, showing how London Fire Brigade fights more than just house fires and highlighting how much they do for the community. It is being used by London Firefighters and the Brigade’s Education team as part of their fire prevention outreach work.

For your chance to win, simply watch the video here and answer the following question:

What causes the third emergency that our PLAYMOBIL firefighters are called to?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To find out how to join in the celebrations throughout 2016, visit

Full Terms & Conditions:


Participation in the competition is free of charge and does not require an order to be placed. By entering the competition – with the consent of his/her legal guardian if the user is of minor age – accepts these terms and conditions, and any other conditions or deadlines mentioned separately.


PLAYMOBIL will handle all personal details such as family name, first name, phone number and email address in accordance with legal provisions.


Entry to the competition is open to all persons aged 18 and over, and resident in the UK. Legal representatives and employees of PLAYMOBIL or LFB and their family members are not eligible.


To take part in the competition the user must submit the correct answer to the question on this page by midnight on 31st March 2016.


The winner will be randomly drawn from all entries in relation to the competition. Any recourse to courts of law is excluded.


The winner will be notified via email and will need to reply by email to confirm acknowledgement of the prize. If a winner fails to make contact by midnight on 4th April 2016, the prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be drawn at random.


The prize:

  1. There will be 1 winner who will win 1x family ticket (2x adults, 2x children) to the launch party
  2. The family ticket allows 2x adults, 2x children entry to the exclusive invite-only section of the event on Saturday 9th April, 11am-2pm, and they are welcome to stay during the section open to the public (2pm-5pm)


PLAYMOBIL reserves the right to replace the advertised prizes with other prizes and to change the game rules any time. The change takes effect the next calendar day. In this event the participant is not entitled to lodge a claim of any kind against PLAYMOBIL.


PLAYMOBIL shall not be liable for any loss or injury which the participant may incur as a result of accepting or making use of the prize. 


PLAYMOBIL is entitled to exclude participants from the competition at any time in the event of a serious breach of contract.


PLAYMOBIL has the right to cancel the competition at any time without prior notice and without indicating any reasons, particularly if technical complications arise. 


Any recourse to courts of law is excluded.

Review: Natural History Museum Dinosaur Times Tables Tutor

times table tutorTimes Tables are the bane of my life. I thought the nightmare of learning them had ended them when I learnt them (by rote) at school. Unfortunately that wasnt the case as I’ve got to go through it all over again with the children. We have tried virtually everything, some children can do it simply, others take some time. I’m at my wits end and willing to try everything and anything!

We were sent a pack of Dinosaur Times Table cards. These are basically a series of playing cards with illustrations of dinosaurs and different numbers. The cards enable you to play a series of games which can be played with two to four players.

times table card gameMaths games are great because the children learn without realising it. These are great because they are very portable meaning that you can take them with you on days out.

For children that have difficulty grasping times tables through learning by rote, but are competitive, this is a positive way of getting them to learn them without realising. We’ve enjoyed playing these games and I think it has been quite a valuable learning experience.

These would make a fantastic educational gift for any little (particularly KS1/2 learner) who likes dinosaurs. You can get hold of them here at The Natural History Museum shop.