tiger skin rug 4

Book Review: Tiger Skin Rug by Joan Haig

When Kelly at Cranachan Publishing asked if we would be interested in joining in with the Tiger Skin Rug blog tour we jumped at the chance. Reading the information we were sent we knew we were in for a treat when the book arrived and we certainly weren’t disappointed.

Tiger Skin Rug is Joan Haig’s first children’s novel but you would never know this- from the beginning you are drawn in and taken on a magical journey. I have never been to either India or Scotland but I feel like I have just visited both.

‘Lal and his brother, Dilip miss home, They don’t like drizzle, midges, or the tiger skin rug in their creepy new house. All they want is to leave Scotland and go back to India.

But that’s before they make friends with Jenny, and before the tiger comes back to life…

The tiger tells them it will take them home in return for their help: it cannot rest until it fulfils an old promise.’

tiger skin rug 2

I loved this book and found it difficult to put down but I had to wait a long time to get chance to read it because Lottie got there first! Not only did she and my Mum read it together a chapter a night, she insisted on re-reading the whole book again on her own as soon as they finished it. There aren’t many books you want to read again as soon as you have finished but Tiger Skin Rug is definitely one of them.

You can really imagine how Lal and Dilip feel being moved halfway across the world to a strange creepy new house that doesn’t feel like home. You get a real sense of how lost they feel, especially Lal.

Jenny and her Granny are just what they need, I liked the fact that a Scottish girl was the one to become friends with them as it illustrates how it doesn’t matter how different your backgrounds are or whether you are a male or female but you can still be friends.

When the tiger skin rug comes alive it’s both magical and scary. Lottie was a little frightened at this point but also desperate to read on and see what happened next and I could see how Lal would be disbelieving and wary, whereas Dilip is younger and totally believes in the magic.

I love how the children understand how important the tiger’s promise is and how the adventure begins.

As the story moves on the picture that Joan Haig paints of India is so vivid. You can feel the cold night as they glide through the air and you can really imagine the slums and understand how Lal feels seeing India through Jenny’s eyes when it isn’t the India that he knows and loves. I can visualise the huge contrast between there and the richer parts of the country. Both the slums and the plantations feel so exotic sitting here reading about them on a rainy English February day, you are easily transported into the story and to many miles away.

There are so many themes running through Tiger Skin Rug that everyone adult or child will find something to relate to. It makes you think about tiger poaching which is so important.

You think about people and how there are good and bad people in all areas of life and it reminds you that sometimes you can be something you didn’t know you were and that other people can always surprise you- I like the way that Lal realised that Jenny was braver than he expected, learnt that Dilip was great at peace keeping and discovered that he was a natural leader.

I love the way the theme of family and home runs through the whole book and think the ending is perfect whilst still being both happy and a little sad at the same time.

Tiger Skin Rug is aimed at children age 8 to 12 which I think is perfect, Lottie is 8 and absolutely loves this book and I am 12 and easily got lost in it. I am sure it would also appeal to older readers too though, my Mum loved the style of Joan Haig’s writing and really enjoyed the story- she and Lottie cheated near the end and swapped their chapter a night for three chapters as they were enjoying it too much to stop!

I really hope Joan Haig has plans for more children’s novels in the future.

Don’t forget to follow the other blogger’s on the blog tour to find out what they thought about Tiger Skin Rug too.

Tiger Skin Rug Blog Tour Image

 

 

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Tiger Skin Rug for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

This post contains affiliate links, should you choose to order using these we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you

tiger skin rug 4

The Snowman by Carrot Productions

Our trip to see The Snowman didn’t quite go according to plan but thanks to the lovely people at Carrot Productions Lottie and Mum were still able to get there and took Lottie’s friend and her sister with them. Whilst it wasn’t the family trip we planned it sounds like she had an amazing time and Mum said we definitely should all plan to go next year.

Lottie’s review.

My friends Emily, Isla and I went to see The Snowman at Ely Cathedral with our Mum’s just after Christmas. It was absolutely brilliant. The Cathedral was a fantastic place for the performance. It was beautiful.

I had never seen an orchestra before and I loved it. Each musician showed a little clip of what their instrument sounded like and that was so interesting. The drummer was very funny. My favourite was the violin and the bass and we all loved the harp.

After we had been introduced to the musicians they showed The Bear and the Piano on three screens so you watched the story to the soundtrack of the Orchestra playing which was really lovely.

© David Litchfield Illustration

 

Once the film had finished The Snowman came out and the Orchestra played a song called The Snowman Waltz which was upbeat and exciting and the snowman danced around and around. We got to shake hands with him which Isla was especially excited by!

© Gareth Widdowson

 

Then it was time for The Snowman to be shown. I have seen The Snowman lots of times before but never like this. It’s hard to describe how special it was with the orchestra playing. The boy who sang was amazing. You really felt like you were drawn right into the film.

© Tom Bangbala

 

I was so sad when it ended. I wish it had gone on for longer. I absolutely loved the whole thing and would love to see another event with an orchestra. It has even made me want to practise my violin much more!

My Mum said it made her feel really peaceful and my friends loved it too.

We will be going back next year and hope to go to another Carrot Productions event soon.

 

 

Disclaimer: We were gifted our tickets for The Snowman but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

tiger skin rug 4

Lottie’s Harry Potter themed Christmas gift guide

By Lottie age 8

I am now up to The Order of the Phoenix in the Harry Potter book series and love reading them with my Mum. We went to Harry Potter World for my birthday treat and there were so many amazing Harry Potter toys, games and costumes that I would love I thought I would put together my Christmas wish list and gift guide to give other Harry Potter fans some ideas.

Lego Knightbus

We all love LEGO in my house and the Knightbus is one of my favourite sets that I have. My brother’s have loads of Star Wars LEGO but this is my set that I made myself. It’s a three story bus and you can take the top off to play with it. It comes with Harry, Stan and Ernie. It is really good to play with and it also looks really nice on display in my bedroom.

Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set

I have been going to chess club at school for the last two terms and really enjoy it. My Dad and I play together and I have now started teaching my Mum how to play. I do have a chess set but I think the wizard chess set looks absolutely amazing and I would love to have this.

Invisibilty cloak

Everyone needs an invisibility cloak! I don’t know how well this would work but I think it looks like it would be a lot of fun. I would really like to try and fool my brother’s with this. It looks like you need an app so you would probably use it to make videos and trick people with. It looks like it would be funny.

Hermione’s Yule Ball Dress

I saw this at Harry Potter World and it is beautiful. I would love it. You can also get a doll wearing the dress which I quite like, I have seen a proper dress based on the outfit at Boden which is beautiful

The Sorting Hat

This would be great fun- I could see what house everyone I know should be in. When I do the tests I sometimes get Gryffindor and sometimes get Ravenclaw so it would be good to see what the hat actually thinks!

The Marauder’s Map Guide to Hogwarts

My friend gave me this for my birthday and it’s really good. It has lots of interesting facts and is good fun as you can use your own invisible map. I really love it but I would only recommend it for people who have read all the books – otherwise you might find some sad things out before you get there.

Interactive Hedwig

I absolutely love Owls. I have done bird handling for the last year and the owls are my very favourite. As you can’t keep owls as a pet this would be the next best thing, it looks so cute!

Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit

Luke has this game and it’s really good fun. There are questions on lots of different topics, like Hogwarts, The Dark Arts, Magical Objects and Magical People. You do have to know quite a bit about the stories so it is best if you have other people who love Harry Potter to play with.

I hope this has given you some good ideas for Christmas gifts for Harry Potter fans, I will be very happy if I get something off this list.

 

 

Disclaimer: This posts contains affiliate links, this means we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through the links. Thank you

 

 

 

 

tiger skin rug 4

Rofy Stealth hockey stick review with Hockeyspullen

I absolutely love playing hockey. I started when I was 5 and it’s still the highlight of my week. I train at the local club with the U12’s on a Sunday and now I am at Secondary School I have joined the hockey club there once a week too.  I can’t wait until I move into the U14’s as then I get to play on a Thursday as well.

You can imagine how excited I was when the people at Hockeyspullen asked if I would like to review one of their Rofy hockey sticks. I spent ages looking at their website, there are so many amazing sticks to choose from it was like looking at a sweet shop!

I finally decided on the Rofy Stealth 100% Carbon mid bow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It arrived really quickly within just a couple of days which was amazing and as soon as I unpacked it I could see the quality. I have used lots of different hockey sticks and this is by far my favourite.

It looks amazing, it’s a really nice design, stealth-like on one side and bright red and visible on the other side, it’s very eye catching and looks really good.

It feels brilliant to play with, the grip is excellent and whilst it’s incredibly lightweight because it is 100% carbon and is easy to run with it still feels extremely strong especially in a tackle.

I am really enjoying playing with the mid bow, it’s great for flicks. I also like the way the ball sticks to the stick when you are dribbling, it hits so well and is good all round for a game.

The Rofy Stealth is easily the best hockey stick I have ever played with.

I would highly recommend Hockeyspullen to anyone looking for a new stick, whether you are a beginner or a veteran, whether you are just training or playing in matches there is a choice for everyone. They even have ones for small children starting out in fun designs which are perfect for my little brother’s age. I don’t think I would ever want a stick from anywhere else. I absolutely love my Rofy stick and would definitely choose that brand for my next one. I am so pleased I was lucky enough to be sent mine

I can’t wait for our next tournament- I have a good feeling about it!

 

 

Disclaimer: Luke was lucky enough to be sent his ROFY hockeystick by Hockeyspullen in exchange for a review but all thoughts and opinions are his own.

 

tiger skin rug 4

Madagascar the Musical at The Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury

By Lottie age 8

I was so lucky the other night, I was invited by Artspod to go and see Madagascar the Musical at Waterside Theatre in Aylsebury. I couldn’t wait, I loved it when we went to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea there earlier this year, it’s such a nice theatre.

Luke couldn’t come so my Mum, my friend, his Mum and I headed off to Aylesbury soon after school. We were so excited in the car, we had a very funny journey and couldn’t wait to get to the theatre and see the show.

When we arrived at the theatre it was really busy and felt like everyone else was looking forward to it too.  I liked that there was people of all ages there- we had people with little children in front of us, people with children our age one side of us and an older lady and man to the other side of us.

From the minute Madagascar the Musical started to the minute it finished we didn’t stop laughing, it was so funny. The actors were really good. We kept changing our mind about which character was our favourite, they were all so good. I am still not sure I have a favourite as they were all brilliant!

I had been wondering how they would show people as animals but it was actually really easy to believe in the characters- the costumes were amazing and the actors were so good at playing the parts, they just seemed right. My favourite costume was Melman’s, he was such a brilliant giraffe, it must have been really hard work to act in that! I really liked King Julian too, he was so funny, everyone was laughing so much.

The music was great, I only knew one of the songs but they were really catchy and I went out singing one of the other ones!

 

I absolutely loved Madagascar the Musical. It was such a fun show to see. We came in really excited and left feeling like we had had a really good time. I loved the fact that my Mum and my friend’s Mum laughed just as much as we did. It’s definitely a show for the whole family.

I would love to see it again sometime and I can’t wait for my next visit to Waterside Theatre. Don’t miss the Madagascar the Musical Tour if you get chance to see it.

Disclaimer: Huge thanks to Artspod and Waterside Theatre for our tickets to Madagascar the Musical, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

tiger skin rug 4

Madagascar The Musical

By Lottie age 8

I am getting very excited because I am heading back to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre again this week. We went there earlier this year to see The Tiger that Came to Tea which was brilliant and have been invited back by the theatre and Artspod to see Madagascar the Musical.

I really liked Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, it was really nice and modern so I am looking forward to going there again and I am so excited to see this show.

I have watched the trailer for Madagascar the Musical and it looks like it’s going to be really good fun! Everyone knows the film but it’s really hard to imagine how they are going to do it on a stage with real actors so I am looking to finding out. The costumes look like they are awesome and I think the songs are going to make me want to dance! I think there will be lots and lots going on and it will be very energetic.

I am looking forward to writing my review once we have seen the show- I hope you will enjoy reading it!

If you want to see Madagascar The Musical for yourself then don’t miss it at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from Thursday 19th September until Sunday 22nd September.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: We have been gifted tickets for Madagascar The Musical by Artspod and Aylesbury Waterside Theatre in exchange for our honest review afterwards.

 

tiger skin rug 4

Othello Junior Championships and a chance to win

We are giving away an Othello Classic game to celebrate the upcoming Othello Junior Championships. The Championships take place in Cambridge on 21st September and the winner gets to go on to represent the UK in Hong Kong. You can find out all the information here and see if you have what it takes to be a champion!

Even if you aren’t the next Othello Junior Champion you can still read our review to find out our first experience of playing the game, for a chance to enter and try to win a copy for your own family.

othello 5

Othello has been our best new family activity for the Summer- Lottie and I have played it at least once a day since it arrived early on in the school holidays. It’s brilliant to find a game we can both play together, it’s fairly quick to play, not much setting up and Mum is happy not to have to be a referee!

I can’t believe we hadn’t come across Othello before now, it’s a two player game and it’s really easy to learn. You get a board and 64 discs. The discs are white on one side and black on the other. To start with you have two black and two white discs diagonally in the centre of the board.

othello 1

The first player places down their colour next to the other players colour. Then any disc trapped between their colour disc gets flipped over and becomes the first players colour. The other player then goes and they in turn flip any trapped discs. The winner is the player at the end when the board is full with the most discs of their colour.

We love the fact that this is a game that needs a bit of strategy planning and makes you think. The game is aimed at 7 plus and we think that’s about right because it would be a bit hard for anyone younger. We have enjoyed that it’s really quick to teach our friends how to play but we both think it’s right that the manufacturers describe Othello as being ‘A minute to learn, a lifetime to master’ – just as you think you’ve got to grips with it your opposition will turn things round and win!

othello 4

It’s a really good family game and we have both had fun playing with Mum and Dad, we think it would be good fun at Christmas to have a family tournament.

Othello is available to buy from all good toy stores and you can find information about stockists on John Adams’ website.

One lucky winner will receive a copy for their family to enjoy by entering our competition below.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclaimer: We were gifted a copy of Othello for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions are our own. This post contains affiliate links, should you choose to order through these then we would earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you

tiger skin rug 4

Doodle Doo Game Review

By Lottie age 7

We have a family game night most weeks. Sam is now old enough to join in sometimes but Luke and I find most games for 4 year olds a bit boring so we were excited to be sent Doodle Doo, which although it’s from age 6 up, Sam was able to join in with properly without too much help.

In Doodle Doo you have to make it out of the animal maze with a blindfold on and drawing your way out of the animals digestive system, you keep going until one of the other players squeezes the fart cushion to warn you that you have gone out of the lines. The winner is the first person to reach the end of their maze.

It sounds really simple but it’s surprisingly difficult and very, very funny. We were all laughing and making each other jump with the cushion!

Sam promises he isn’t peeking underneath!

 

Doodle Doo is recommended for children age 6 and upwards and 2 to 4 people can play at the same time.

You get:

4 x Double sided maze boards

4 x Pens

1 x Cleaning sponge

1 x Blindfold

1 x Whoopie cushion

We really like that this game is funny enough to all play together but also easy enough that Sam and I can just play it together on our own without any help. It’s a really good family game.

My turn to play against Luke- he kept making me jump!

 

Disclaimer: We were sent Doodle Doo to review but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Please note this post contains affiliate links, should you choose to purchase through these then we would earn a small amount of commission at no extra charge to you.

 

tiger skin rug 4

The Tiger Who Came to Tea Live at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

By Lottie age 7 with a little help from Mum

Sam and I were very excited to go and see The Tiger Who Came to Tea at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre yesterday. Artspod had invited us to review it and we couldn’t wait!

Sam has that book for a bedtime story at least once a week and he loves it, it’s definitely a favourite in our house. I was very surprised it could be a show because I thought it might be a bit too short but they had made it just right with a few extra surprises to the main story.

Lottie and Sam tiger

Aylesbury Waterside is a really nice theatre, it’s big but not huge or scary and very new and clean looking.

tiger who came to tea 2

We arrived and got some drinks and treats and went and found our seats. We had a really good view of the stage. The set was like a proper kitchen, it looked really good!

Sam had never been to the theatre before and he was a bit scared and worried it would be too noisy but was excited too.

tiger who came to tea 3

When the show started the actors- Sophie, Sophie’s Mum and Sophie’s Dad all came running through the audience waving and saying hello and did a hello song which was good as Sam soon stopped being scared.

They told the story of The Tiger Who Came to Tea together and it was very good and really funny.

Sophie’s Daddy was very silly and he tried to put his shoes in the toaster which was very funny! I liked it when his toast popped up as he was going to work and he caught it in his bag.

It was really clever because when the tiger ate the all food and drank all the drink because it all really disappeared! It looked like a very simple set but it was really surpising because there were lots of secret bits. I also liked how they used things to make other things- like using the table and chairs as their car! I really don’t know how Sophie’s Mummy’s shopping basket got filled with food- that was amazing!

There were lots of chances for the children to join in with singing and dancing and they were all jumping up and down and being excited. I didn’t see any that were scared at all, not even the very tiny children- the Tiger seemed like a very friendly Tiger!

My favourite bits were the funny bits (but I can’t tell you them all or it wouldn’t be a surprise when you go) and when the stars came out at night, that was so pretty.

We really enjoyed watching The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Sam said it was all magic and said he would like to go the theatre again- he asked Mummy ‘what else do they do there?’ so I think he wants to go back soon!

tiger who came to tea 4

We managed to get a program at the end which had a brilliant huge poster, some colouring and some activities in. Sam is taking it for show and tell at nursery tomorrow. Mum also treated us to our own proper The Tiger Who Came to Tea tigers, they are so cute and very cuddly!

We loved the show and think it is perfect for children age 2 or 3 upwards, my Mum thought it was ‘lovely and really well done’ so I think even adults will enjoy taking their children to this one.

I can’t wait to go back to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre again soon.

tiger who came to tea 1

Disclaimer: We were lucky enough to be gifted tickets by Artspod and Aylesbury Waterside Theatre but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

 

 

 

tiger skin rug 4

World Tetris Day 2019

Did you know it was World Tetris Day last week? We love Tetris in our house- my Dad used to play it when he was a kid and I got Tetris Dual one year for Christmas which Lottie and I play loads. It’s the 35th birthday of Tetris!

We were really excited to hear that a new game called Tetris Speed has been launched. This is a card game and involves putting one card face down in the middle of the table and dividing the rest of the cards up between the players. The first card is turned over and you’re away. Each card has a picture on it of a Tetrimino piece and then a smaller picture depicting the next piece to be laid, the race is on for the players to search through their hand and find the next piece the quickest, the player who puts all their cards down first is the winner.

tetris june 19 6

Tetris Speed  is huge fun and had us in fits of laughter trying to beat each other, it’s much harder than you think for what looks like such a simple game- you can’t take your eye off the pile for a second or the other player will be ahead of you. There’s no turn taking either, it’s each player for him or herself! Lottie was running along really well and getting  rid of card after card when suddenly she couldn’t go and I could so I got the momentum- literally anyone can win if they are fast enough. Even though I won twice in a row and dinner was ready Lottie was still asking to play again! I am going to have to beat her again this evening!

We think this is a fab game for all the family, it doesn’t take too long to play but is loads of fun and because it’s in a box we can take it out and about with us too. It’s kind of like Tetris meets snap but for big kids- you really do have to use your memory! You can also make it bigger if more people want to play by adding a second set of cards in which is a brilliant idea.

tetris june 19 5

We do still love Tetris Dual though and play it quite a lot, we reviewed this with some friends last year and you can find the full review here but were lucky enough to be sent another copy which we were excited to pass on to Lottie’s best friend Emily and her little sister, Isla, for them to try.

tetris june 19 7

Emily and Isla loved it as much as us, they had a great time playing after school the other day. Isla is nearly 6 and Emily is nearly 8 and they found it perfect to play together.

They told us it was like a jigsaw that you had to really think about but also at the same time had to stop the other person getting their jigsaw finished!

tetris june 19 4

We love the fact that Tetris are always coming up with new ways that you can play for a game that has been around such a long time and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

The people at Ideal and Norton PR have kindly given us a copy of both Tetris Dual and Tetris Speed to give away to one lucky family, so don’t miss our competition below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

Disclaimer: We were gifted Tetris Dual and Tetris Speed but all thoughts and opinions are our own