Children’s book review: Lego Ninjago Brickmaster

August 11, 2011 Joanne Mallon 2

Lego Ninjago brickmaster I used to wonder if Lego were trying to do slightly too much with the Ninjago range – it's a construction toy, a trading cards game, a toy spinner, a collectible – and now with the release of Ninjago Brickmaster, it's a book as well.

But what do I know – the range has become enormously popular. Last term it was the toy of choice to smuggle in to school for every small boy I know.

The Brickmaster range from DK is a sort of hybrid – half story book, half Lego building project. The left hand side of the book is a cardboard sleeve containing around 130 Lego bricks, designed to make at least five different models. The right hand side is a combination of the sort of Lego instructions you'll know, but with extra text giving facts about the models and a story involving the escapades of Frakjaw, Skeleton of Fire.

UPDATED: This bag’s too good for kids

June 22, 2011 Joanne Mallon 5

UPDATE: Check out the bottom of this post for a discount voucher code to save money off a Leather Satchel Company satchel


Daughter of Mine is off to Hogwarts soon and she needs a schoolbag. Specifically, she wants a vintage satchel-style bag, just like everyone from Hermione Granger to the cool kids of Brighton seems to have.

When I was at school, it was only the geeky bookworms who had leather satchels. That's still the case, but the crucial difference is – it's a good thing. Geeks have inherited the earth, and it's cool to be a bookworm now.

And so satchels have been featured everywhere from Elle to Vogue to The Guardian. They're very much the 'in bag' of the moment, and definitely not just for schoolkids.

And then The Leather Satchel Company, a Cheshire-based company that's been making satchels since the 1960's, got in touch and sent us a beautifully packaged parcel.


Look at what was inside:

Zumba Fitness for Nintendo Wii game review

June 9, 2011 Joanne Mallon 6

Longterm readers will know that I do a yearly gym challenge, where I aim to go to the gym 150 times a year, and it always turns out to be a lot, lot harder than I expected. Since this is the fourth year of the gym challenge, I've racked up over 500 gym visits and unsurprisingly I'm ready for a change.

One class I've wanted to try for a while is Zumba, a dance-based aerobic workout set to Latin rhythms. I was even thinking about changing gyms to try it out. Turns out I don't even have to leave the house.

A new Zumba Fitness video game has just been released, and I was sent a copy of the Wii version to try out. It comes with a special belt to tuck your Wii controller into, so the game can track your movements – the idea is to move in rhythm with the onscreen instructor.

This ad gives you a taste of the moves and shows you how it works with the belt. Ignore the cheesy voiceover:


Random Reviews: LEGO City Police Boat video review

May 29, 2011 Joanne Mallon 3

The kind people at LEGO sent us a treat – the newest police boat from the City Police range. Here is Son of Mine, ably interviewed by Daughter of Mine, to tell you what he thought of it:

This was a much simpler model to put together than the last Lego set we reviewed, the T-6 Jedi Shuttle. The main body of the boat is already in one piece, so most of the modelling is to be done on the top half.