Tuesday 24 February 2015

"London, thou art the flower of cities all!"

I feel exhausted tonight after not getting home this morning till close to 1am. Many years ago strolling in at 1am usually meant something had happened to stop me from partying longer. These days though if we get home that late it has a knock on effect for all of us (not that I'm complaining though, we had an awesome couple of days). Mrs M had some work on in London and i used it as an excuse to get me and the boys down there too by offering to drive. Our good friends Sam and Jamie offered us beds for the night so we were sorted for our London adventures.

The drive down seemed to take so much longer than usual but everyone was in high spirits, looking forward to some vegan pizza (which sadly we cant get in Shropshire). When we finally got there it was great to hang out with Sam and Jamie and scoff great food. I wanted to make sure we made the most of the following day with the boys so Sam helped me out with a strategic plan of trains, stations and times.

In the morning Mrs M headed off to be amazing at what she does and i began our adventure with the boys being awesome at what i do best (being a dad). Our first port of call was the museum of childhood, Sam caught the first train with us to make sure we got off to a good start which was lovely. We got there a little early so we went for a wander looking for food and stumbled on a juice bar which was lush, after masses of pizza the night before we were definitely in need of some greens.

I'm a huge fan of the museum of childhood as many of the things on display there transport me right back to my own toy heavy childhood. The last time we visited, Seth wasn't with us so i was really looking forward to showing him all the toys from my youth as he is always asking about the things that kept me entertained growing up.

Boglins!!!! I didn't remember seeing this the last time we were there but this gruesome rubber hand puppet took me right back to 'bring a toy into school day' at the end of one of our school terms. Being a child at that age was amazing. Seth thought the trolls were really funny and he found it even more entertaining that when i was at school people would take them in to exams to bring them good luck (crazy). One of my favourite toys back then was my 'My pet monster' (remember them?). I took mine everywhere with me, carried by the handcuffs around my neck.

 Although i love seeing all the old toys it does make me a little sad that i sold some of my collections over the last few years. He-man was one of my favourite toy ranges growing up and i had a big crate of the toys until a few years back when i sold them to get Seth something that he wanted. Who knows maybe I'll start a collection again one day.

The boys had a great time pottering about looking at toys and we had a great conversation about what we thought may be on display from Seth's childhood when he's older. Seth said that if school is anything to go by it will just be a huge cabinet of video games and consoles. Its a shame really that that's how he see's it.

Before going in to the museum i said to Opeie that i bet we would find an old looking Paddington bear on display, It was London after all. Ive been looking at these Gabrielle Paddington bears for quite some time as a gift for Opeie so it was lovely to see one on display there.

After a couple of hours walking around it was time to jump back on the tube to get to our next destination on the list, The Tate. More trains meant more chance of taking the wrong one and that's exactly what we did, oops. Good old Seth pointed out mid journey that none of the stops were on our map and we had in fact got on the wrong line, so we jumped off.

We soon turned it in to a positive though when we noticed the following trains destination said 'via Paddington' so we used our unexpected detour for Paddington bear to get another fun photo opportunity. I actually think going to Paddington station made Opeie's day.

at this point the photos stopped for a while, walking around somewhere as busy as London with two children is really hard graft. When i wasn't carrying Opeie on my shoulders, i was holding both of their hands and it felt like i had really heavy weights pulling me down (on top of carrying a weighty backpack too).

By the time i had got the camera out again we were heading over to Hamley's for a spot of toy hunting. It was amazing how much more familiar parts of London were and as soon as we got off the tube at piccadilly circus we knew exactly where we were going for that enormous toy store.

Straight up to the top floor for us, its all about the LEGO. I love all the LEGO creations up there but ill be honest i was a little disappointed with the selection on sale. We were planning to spend some cash but there was actually a better selection in out local Smyths store so they got our money instead the following day. Hamley's is an awesome toy store though, its the way all toy stores should be, staff demonstrating the products, magic shows and people blowing bubbles.

I really wish i had taken more pictures during our day out but i am so much more over protective of the boys while we are in London because of all the people. Its handy when Mrs M is with us as the extra pair of hands really helps. 

The boys were shattered by 5ish so we headed back to Sam and Jamie's and got to hang out with Jamie for a few hours which was great as hes such a great bloke.We are really looking forward to our next London adventure and we're hoping to go with our friend LEGO Steve next time with his family so stay tuned.

"It's not the size of the ninja in a fight, but the size of fight inside the ninja!"

With season 4 of Ninjago just starting on Cartoon Network the world of LEGO has been going Ninja crazy. Seth has been telling me that it is all the kids at school are talking about. I've been meaning to review one of the boys favourite kits which happens to be the Ninjago x-1 ninja charger for a while now. So this seemed like the perfect time.

What I loved about this kit as soon as I saw the box, is that I imagined changing it all in to black, as the motorbike that shoots out of the front would be perfect for our own take on the Lego tumbler. But first we needed to see how the Ninjago kit had been created and what fun and clever extras it had to offer.

All Lego kit builds start out the same at the Gifts from the pirates HQ. You can't possibly go bag by bag as our littlest builder insists on opening all the bags so that he can get at and build all the minifigures first. I was drawn in by the hair on the Ninjago figure. I think Opeie's own minifigure will be getting a new hair do. The kit comes with Kai and two Nindroids with rocket packs and a great vehicle that looks like a giant circular saw.

There are quite a few LEGO Technics pieces on this build so lots of pegs and posts to hold it together. This means it takes a little longer to build but the extra time is so worth it for the completed build. Who doesn't want a cool looking sports car with a motorcycle that shoots out the front. If only our Peugeot had the same specs.

The kit is awesome when it is completed, a lot of thought has gone in to the design of this kit. Its definitely worth the money and there are some great parts that (like all LEGO) can be used for future builds. There are a great selection of buildings, vehicles and minifigures from the Ninjago range, my favourite being the Titanium Dragon set. So if like my boys, your children like acting out the TV shows with there figures there are plenty of characters and vehicles to chose from.

We went to visit friends last week in London and while adventuring around on the tube we popped to Hamley's. They had great Ninjago window displays promoting the new series and LEGO range.

Sadly we missed the London premiere which looked awesome, check out the video below.

"The building's identity resided in the ornament."

It only seems like a few weeks since we were reviewing the LEGO Mixels series 3 range and now series 4 has landed and it is definitely our favourite yet. First up the Glowkies and what a great trio of cute LEGO monsters. Seth was up for a bit of a wager and wanted a LEGO Mixels race, I'm not the competitive type but when it comes to LEGO building different rules apply.

The Mixels are Such a great creation from LEGO and they are really doing a service for parents. Especially for the ones that have brick loving kids but don't have the disposable income to cover the costs of some of the larger kits. For £3 these are really great for adding pieces to any brick collection and the versatility means they can be used over and over for different building ventures.  

I love that with each series of Mixels there are new fun pieces. I especially loved these downward facing teeth, which haven't been included in any of the other three series (as far as I know).

One of the great things about this range of Mixels is the old school glowing plastic. I remember my mom holding many of my toys up to the light before bed to charge then before turning out the light. The boys have loved this about some of the LEGO products ever since I got them glow in the dark LEGO skeleton horses from the Monster fighters range.

The Mixels didn't stay built for long, but that's the great thing about LEGO. It's diversity is the reason LEGO gets so much of our attention throughout the week. We sat and created our own Mixels with the parts from all three. Thanks to LEGO it was more fun quality family time spent. I don't think i could ever lose interest in this product. Go team LEGO!!!