Saturday, 21 October 2017

Get Arty and Crafty with John Adams Craft Club ft. Pixelo Neon Kit


Have you heard? John Adams has launched their craft club on Facebook - JA Craft Club, which will feature craft tips/ ideas, competitions, reviews and more! It'll be the perfect place to get great crafting inspirations (their latest one is a video on how to craft with pumpkins for Halloween, and it's not just by carving them!), win some crafty prizes, and learn more about craft products before you buy them.

To celebrate the launch, we are invited to review some of John Adams newest and best craft products. First up is their Pixelo Neon kit, which gives drawings a very arty effect in a much easier and fun way!


John Adams Craft Club Facebook page, John Adams Pixelo Neon kit, dotting art effect using Pixelo pen

John Adams Pixelo Neon Kit (RRP £18.99, suitable for 6 years+) comes with a Pixelo pen (requires 1 AAA battery), 7 markers in neon colours, 10 colouring sheets and instructions.

To attach a marker to the Pixelo, simply remove the cap of the marker and push it (while avoiding pressing on the tip) all the way into the Pixelo until it can't go further. There is resistance in the middle, just push it all the way in until you only see the tip of the marker (see video and pictures below).

There is an on/ off button on the Pixelo pen and when it's turned on (you don't have to press and hold, which is a relief!), it will move up and down like in the following video:

video

When you gently place the tip of the marker on a paper (don't press too hard or it will ruin the marker tip), it will create lots of dots. Simply move the Pixelo around the paper to fill an area. The longer you hover over one area, the more dense it gets, so you can easily create a shading effect (less dots on lighter area and more in shadowed area) for your art, even with just dots! Just make sure you keep moving or it might eventually dissolve a hole into the paper!

You can hold the Pixelo pen straight up or slanted to create different effects too:

John Adams Craft Club Facebook page, John Adams Pixelo Neon kit, dotting art effect using Pixelo pen

With 7 neon colours (black, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue and green) and the 10 colouring sheets included in the kit, you can dot some really pretty pictures:

John Adams Craft Club Facebook page, John Adams Pixelo Neon kit, dotting art effect using Pixelo pen

You can also colour in certain parts or draw your own pictures to accompany the dotty effect of course. I also tried mixing 2 colours in the same area.


John Adams Craft Club Facebook page, John Adams Pixelo Neon kit, dotting art effect using Pixelo pen

The kids had fun having their go as well, it's so easy. Just make sure that you don't stay on the same spot too long, and don't press the marker down too hard, and you'll be creating some impressive artwork in no time.

You will probably need a Pixelo pen for each child though, as Abby was a bit sad that she had to wait for Clay to finish! Or you can use this opportunity to teach the kids to take turn, and find some other crafty fun with John Adams instead while waiting for the Pixelo pen.

Stay tuned if you want to find out what we think of John Adams' Blopens Glitter Studio and eZee Beads 3D Mini Scenes!

Don't forget to join John Adams Crafts Club for other fun and prizes too!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Play against each other with Electronic Timer and Scoring in the New Classic Strategy Game Tetris Dual


One of me and hubby's favourite retro game is the all time classic Tetris. Love the beginning, and even though I get really stressed out when it sped up, I just couldn't seem to let go of it!

When I heard that the virtual game was being brought to life as Tetris Dual by John Adams IDEAL, I was really intrigued with the idea. Gladly, we were given an opportunity to review it as it's a really exciting game and we all love it!


Retro game Tetris, new Tetris Dual with electronic timer and scoring, strategy game for kids and adults

Retro game Tetris, new Tetris Dual with electronic timer and scoring, strategy game for kids and adults

Retro game Tetris, new Tetris Dual with electronic timer and scoring, strategy game for kids and adults

Tetris Dual (RRP £22.99, suitable for age 6+) is a 2 players game. The box comes with the base electronic unit (requires 3 x AA batteries) with 2 LCD screens and control buttons, clear plastic play grid with a row count slider, transparent tower block, purple tower block, 50 Tetriminos (25 blue and 25 orange; 5 different shapes each) and instructions.

To set up, click the transparent tower block on top of the base unit where the light is to turn it into a light up block, and the purple block on the other side. Slide the play grid in the middle with the row count slider at the bottom.

It is recommended that each player splits their Tetriminos by shape, so that they can find the piece needed quicker.

To start, players can choose

  • Game 1, which gives each player 60 seconds for each move, or
  • Game 2, which gives each player a total of 1200 seconds to win the game

by pressing the purple Start/ Stop button next to the transparent tower block (see first picture above), then press + for Game 1 or - for Game 2.

The transparent block that will light up in either orange or blue to indicate who's turn it is (orange or blue player).

Players basically take turn to play the game, each finding the piece the base unit tells them to use and slide it into the playing grid, add or deduct points based on the instructions, and then press the Return button (big rectangle one) to end their turn, which starts the next player's turn.

It's not as simple as that though!


Retro game Tetris, new Tetris Dual with electronic timer and scoring, strategy game for kids and adults

While you make your move, the electronic base unit will be counting down (the count down pauses when your turn ends). If you chose Game 1 and you couldn't make your move in 60 seconds, the timer will beep faster until it turns 0, and automatically deduct TWICE the score you should get from placing the Tetrimino correctly (each piece gives a different score).

A player will also lose points by creating an unfillable hole under the piece they just placed. Then, even if they get everything right but their Tetrimino isn't touching any of their own Tetrimino that are already inside the grid, the player won't get any points from their move (ie, they must place their piece where it touches their other pieces to score a point).

However, if the player completes a row by placing a piece (that does not create any unfillable holes), they can press the + button x 3 for each row the piece completed. And if the piece does touch their own colour pieces, that will be another + button to press.


Retro game Tetris, new Tetris Dual with electronic timer and scoring, strategy game for kids and adults

Retro game Tetris, new Tetris Dual with electronic timer and scoring, strategy game for kids and adults

It's good to use the first game as a trial game while both players try to get used to the game play and rules. It takes some thinking to fit each piece perfectly in place (there was a lot of turning, gauging and placing the piece against the grid on the outside), and then having to remember to add (or deduct) scores and pass the turn to the next player too, but players will get used to it after the first game or so.

So far 60 seconds is plenty to play a turn, but Abby did panick at the beginning and created lots of unfillable holes in the grid while still pressing the + button for it and not the Return button (to pass the game to hubby). It was quite funny and we kept teasing her that she killed the game by closing 7 potential rows in one move (we told her not to do it but I think she only heard the timer ticking haha)! She still won at the end though, probably because of not deducting enough haha!


Retro game Tetris, new Tetris Dual with electronic timer and scoring, strategy game for kids and adults

They understood the game more after the first round and Clay joined in as well. We all think that the game is really fun to play and great for training our brains. The only thing missing is the classic Tetris tune. Now that will make it perfect!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Ravensburger Despicable Me 3 Pencil Pot and Storage Box 3D Puzzle


We have always been a big fan of Ravensburger's quality 3D puzzles. Last year we reviewed their practical Funky Owl 3D puzzle range (a vase that can store water, as well as a pencil pot and storage box to store stationery, bits and bobs) and Abby is still using them.

Ravensburger has released even more designs since, including licensed ones such as Despicable Me 3, which we were sent for review.

Clay was over the moon as he has been collecting his own stationery (so he doesn't have to "borrow" from me and Abby anymore), but still had to share Abby's storage for them. Now he can have his own Pencil Pot and Storage Box to store them all. The bonus is that he could build them (he just loves building things!) and they came in his favourite Minions design too!


Despicable Me 3 Minions Stationery Holder, Ravensburger 3D Puzzle, build your own pen pot and storage box

Ravensburger Despicable Me 3 Pencil Pot (RRP £5.99, suitable for 7-99 years) contains 54 quality plastic puzzle pieces, pot base and top, a yellow card paper to line the inside of the pot and instructions.

Ravensburger Despicable Me 3 Storage Box (RRP £14.99, suitable for 9-99 years) contains 216 quality plastic puzzle pieces, box top and base, a tray that fits inside the storage box, 4 yellow card papers to line the inside of the storage box and instructions.


Despicable Me 3 Minions Stationery Holder, Ravensburger 3D Puzzle, build your own pen pot and storage box

Despicable Me 3 Minions Stationery Holder, Ravensburger 3D Puzzle, build your own pen pot and storage box

With minimal instructions (to follow the numbers and direction indication on the back of each puzzle piece), Clay completed the whole 3D pencil pot all by himself! He didn't ask for my help to put the top and base on either and presented me the completed pot to my surprise! He was so proud of himself, especially because he has no problem sorting the numbers out.

The pencil pot looks really good, and we love the colour of the rims as it matches the Minions pants!


Despicable Me 3 Minions Stationery Holder, Ravensburger 3D Puzzle, build your own pen pot and storage box

The storage box was a bit more challenging, with corner pieces to be folded and having to find the correct number from the big pile. So I helped Clay sort the first 100 pieces out in tens, which helped a lot and he had no problem attaching the corners either.

Abby eagerly helped Clay with the rest of the pieces, although they struggled to attach the base and the top. Even I struggled as the completed puzzle was quite wonky! However, as soon as it's locked in between the top and base, the storage box became very neat and sturdy. Look at how happy they are!

Despicable Me 3 Minions Stationery Holder, Ravensburger 3D Puzzle, build your own pen pot and storage box

To make it more challenging for the adults, simply don't look at the numbers.

We really love the quality of Ravensburger's 3D puzzles. They are made of solid plastic and even the pieces that needs to be folded are strong. We all love the Despicable Me 3 designs chosen for each item (especially love the side of Gru with the girls), and they are very well printed on too!


Overall a brilliant product range from Ravensburger, we highly recommend you to check the 3D puzzles out. There are a lot of designs, from Big Ben, to vases, orbs and the new Sneaker shaped pen holder, there bound to be something for everyone!