Monday, 21 May 2018

The Empire Strikes Back: Star Wars Puzzle

My husband and children might be what you could easily call Star Wars fanatics…they watch the movies countless times and even dress up in costumes for the occasions; and not just at home, either – oh no – they’ve been spotted pretty much everywhere from the library to the seafront in character (the children dress up in public, not Phil…that I know of).  So when Ravensburger asked if we’d be interested in reviewing The Empire Strikes Back Star Wars Puzzle from Collection 2, I knew that if I wanted to keep the peace in the family, I had better put a request in for this 1000 piece puzzle.
The Empire Stikes Back Star Wars Puzzle at Castle View Academy
The puzzle was sent out to us, but it missed the hyperspace lane as it took a detour in the post, but it did eventually fly onto our doorstep, which made for some happy space-hoppers.
Castle View Academy homeschool loves Star Wars!
Kallista and I knew this package was on the way, but Tristan didn’t know what was inside.  He was a little surprised, to say the least, and this was one puzzle he was keen to work on.  Tristan started on it immediately; finishing up his school work in record time to get started!
Phil doesn’t always work on the puzzles with us, but  when the right one comes along, he will work on it until it’s done, and this was one of them.  I don’t have as many photos as I might usually as Phil would work on the puzzle in the evenings while I was working; and I didn’t want to have my post filled with photos of him in his pjs…even if he does own a Star Wars onesie.
Castle View Academy homeschool works on a Ravensburger Star Wars puzzle
On more than one occasion I had to ban Phil from putting together any more of the puzzle so that I could get a picture of it….just one more piece…I’m just working on this area…. such determination he has when he sets his mind on it!  If only I could get him to use this Force for good 😉
After the frame of the Star Wars puzzle was done, the faces of the characters were the next to be completed; Luke, Chewbacca, and Lando, and the Millenium Falcon, as well, of course.
Then came Boba Fett, one of Phil’s favourites in his (first) childhood.
Tristan and Kallista tried to sneak in during the day while Phil was at work and click a few pieces of the puzzle together.
A Star Wars puzzle is a family gathering at Castle View Academy homeschol
Before I knew it the puzzle had been completed!  Everyone gathered around to have their photo taken along with their accomplishment.
It’s been a long time since Phil and Tristan have worked so hard on a puzzle, and it was good to see their minds at work on something other than creating 3D graphics on the PC of…you guessed it – every Star Wars ship ever conceived.
Yes, indeed, there is a puzzle for everyone, just call up the Force to help you hone in on their interests and put their engineering and spacial relations brain modes into gear.
Castle View Academy has finished the Star Wars Puzzle

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The Royal Family are all over the news at the moment, aren’t they?  Firstly with the recent arrival of little Prince Louis and then with the imminent wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle which takes place in May.  I thought I’d carry the theme on today as I’ve recently completed the What If? No 16 The Wedding 1000 piece puzzle from Ravensburger.

What If? No 16 The Wedding 1000 piece puzzle from Ravensburger
The What If? No 16 The Wedding 1000 piece puzzle from Ravensburger is the sixteenth puzzle in the What If? series.  With these puzzles you aren’t recreating the puzzle as you see it on the box, the dream, you are puzzling the reality.  In this instance, we can see the bride’s idea of her dream champagne wedding reception, set in a fancy hotel, with an a la carte menu any every dressed up for the occasion.
Little does the poor bride know that her bridegroom has a very different vision of what the perfect wedding reception should be.  Your job is to uncover exactly what that reality is.
What If? No 16 The Wedding 1000 piece puzzle from Ravensburger
First time around I didn’t have a wedding reception as such, I got married in Mauritius and we didn’t take anyone with us.  We just had a celebration party when we got back with nothing formal other than a cake a friend had made for us.  The second time around I actually got married in a church, we had a hotel reception but we didn’t want the traditional top table layout, as my partner had just lost his father.  But one this was for sure, we were on the same page when it came to the overall vision of the event.
I think Id have been as livid as this bride if it had turned out the way her’s clearly did.  The notice board for the Rundown on Sea Social Club quickly gave me some idea of the scene I was creating, along with some of the speeches.  Things weren’t quite in the same league as her vision.
What If? No 16 The Wedding 1000 piece puzzle from Ravensburger
Whilst the What If? No 16 The Wedding 1000 piece puzzle from Ravensburger is aimed at jigsaw puzzle fans aged 12 years and over, my 8-year-old son loves the whole idea of making a puzzle without knowing what the finished image will be.  He’s getting very good at placing pieces for me and it’s a good way to get him to really concentrate on a task.
What If? No 16 The Wedding 1000 piece puzzle from Ravensburger
He was even more intrigued when it looked like Queen Elizabeth I had been invited to the event.
Grab a drink with us or have something to eat. It would be amazing to see you both
There is so much humour in this puzzle and you do have to wonder how long this particular marriage will last with such different views on perfection!
What If? No 16 The Wedding 1000 piece puzzle from Ravensburger
If you’ve not completed one of these puzzles before I would recommend putting the box to one side, and pretty much ignoring it.  Make up the edges as you normally would and then pick out words and features and piece the puzzle together that way.  It will all start to come together and then look back to the box to see how each character has changed.
What If? No 16 The Wedding 1000 piece puzzle from Ravensburger
This puzzle has been a lot of fun to complete, I’ve enjoyed watching the story unfold and trying to work out who is now wearing what, as well as seeing what the guests are eating and drinking.  It would not have been my dream, that’s for sure!
What If? No 16 The Wedding 1000 piece puzzle from Ravensburger
I’ve included my Amazon affiliate link below in case you fancy trying out the What If? No 16 The Wedding 1000 piece puzzle from Ravensburger for yourself.  We give it a big thumbs up here.

Disney Princess XXL100 jigsaw puzzle (age 6+) review

Ravensburger Disney Princess XXL100 piece jigsaw puzzle 6+

We’ve loved working with Ravensburger recently, however, it has quickly become clear that although my son has enjoyed completing the puzzles we’ve been sent, he needs something a bit more challenging than 3+ and 4+ puzzles.

Ravensburger Disney Princess XXL100 piece jigsaw puzzle 6+ box

Disney Princesses are his sister’s very favourite thing so I thought – somewhat naively – it might be something they could work on happily together.

The Disney Princess XXL100 jigsaw puzzle features all of the pre-Frozen (as in the film. The alternative would be odd indeed) Disney Princesses; Belle, Jasmine, Aurora, Tiana, Cinderella, Ariel, Rapunzel, Mulan, Merida and Snow White. Yes, I am very familiar with all of them. You don’t even get that level of detail on the official description.
Made from strong, premium-grade cardboard, the pieces are over an inch squared so still fairly easy to handle.
Ravensburger Disney Princess XXL100 piece jigsaw puzzle 6+
The 100 piece extra large puzzle measures 49 x 36 cm when complete so will easily fit on a table.
The puzzle is aimed at children aged 6+ however my two year old completed it without help because that’s apparently what he likes to do.
His sister tried to help at the start but got told off for doing it wrong and eventually lost interest.
Disney Princess XXL100 Jigsaw Puzzle - Ravensburger 100 piece jigsaw puzzle for 6+
I pulled him away to have dinner (mean mummy) but he finished it the next morning. It kept him amused for at least half an hour, which is great.

What we liked about the Ravensburger Disney Princess XXL100 Jigsaw Puzzle.

The design is lovely; probably more appreciated by my daughter who loves all things Disney Princess, she loves the way it features all the princesses. Who can pick a favourite, after all?
As I’ve come to expect from Ravensburger children’s puzzles, the jigsaw pieces are thick and slot into place very easily without having to force or bend. It all fits back into the box for storage.
It would make a great gift for a child of 4-7. However if you, too, have a puzzle-obsessed child of a similar age who just can’t be satisfied by an age-appropriate jigsaw then this might just be the level to go for; not too easy and not too hard!
The Ravensburger Disney Princess XXL100 Jigsaw Puzzle has an RRP of £7.99 and can be bought from good toy shops or via Amazon using this affiliate link.
For more information, visit the Ravensburger website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.
Disney Princess XXL100 Jigsaw Puzzle - Ravensburger 100 piece jigsaw puzzle for 6+

The Hairdresser; Putting The Pieces Together With Style

We’ve had a lot of rain this spring, which has meant some time spent indoors and feeling a little bleah.  One way to help feel good again (in addition to spring cleaning) is to take a little time to refresh yourself; if you feel better you look better and if you look better you feel better, as the saying goes.  One way to do this is to go to The Hairdresser, so mark your calendar to put together this Ravensburger puzzle!
The Hairdresser; Putting The Pieces Together With Style at Castle View Academy
Ravensburger sent us their Happy Days at Work #14 The Hairdresser 500-piece puzzle to work on.  Funnily enough, this review fell in with an appointment I had with our own town salon, where I had my hair professionally coloured for the first time in 10 years, almost to the day.  I think it was interesting for the children to see the differences between the salons of the days of yore and current days; from the hairstyles to the hair dryers, there are many differences!
Castle View Academy homeschool gets up early to work on a puzzle
Kallista really took to this puzzle and has done at least 1/3 to 1/2 on her own, which she likes to remind me.  I was going to say that this puzzle has taken us a longer time to build than usual, but this would be the reason why!  Instead of sitting stationary and putting it together in a day, it’s been set up for a month, and Kallista puts together a few pieces at a time between homeschooling subjects.
She separated all the edge pieces from the middle pieces herself, and built most of the frame before I even knew she had it started!
Working on The Hairdresser puzzle at Castle View Academy homeschool
Then I sat and worked on it on a Saturday evening while Phil was making our date night dinner.  I worked on the car, buildings, and the combs sitting on the table in the foreground.
Kallista and I also worked on The Hairdresser together for a little while one day when we all needed a break.  This is when we put together the heads and faces, the photos on the wall, and a few pieces here and there.  Sitting with family and working on a puzzle together is relaxing and a good time to have a chit-chat about things that don’t have to do with work or school-yeah!
I’ve been working many times more hours than usual over the past on a big project for a client, and while I’ve been doing this, Kallista has been diligently putting pieces together.  She walked into tell me that she was done the puzzle – all but the final piece!  She had put together all of the flooring and the most difficult part; the flowered capes around the clients.
Castle View Academy homeschool has completed The Hairdresser puzzle
Then….while I gathered up my camera to take a photo of the completed puzzle, disaster struck…I walked into the front room to see the puzzle on the floor!  It had been knocked off the table and clear off of the Puzzle Handy!   This could have been much worse; the puzzle could have been in shambles, but with Ravensburger’s SoftClick technology, the puzzle was still held in one big piece, with only a few pieces knocked out of place.
I really should have taken a picture of this, but at the time all I could do was walk out of the room shaking my head….
The Hairdresser puzzle is finished at Castle View Academy homeschool
Tristan and Kallista picked it up and put it back together; which was much easier than old Humpty Dumpty, and the Kallista patiently waited for me to take the final photo of her completed puzzle.
She’s done a terrific job; now it’s time to clear it away so Tristan can start on the next puzzle challenge: Star Wars Collection 2 1,000 pc Puzzle (Empire Strikes Back.
And here you can see how the puzzle easily stays together; but don’t worry, it isn’t difficult at all to dismantle when you want to!
Putting away a Ravensburger puzzle at Castle View Academy homesechool
This was a fun puzzle to do, even if it did make me feel a bit old as I have sat under those huge hair dryers back in the ’90s, although I’m not near old enough to have owned the car sitting outside the window!
Ravensburger Happy Days At Work No.14 – The Hairdresser, 500pc Jigsaw Puzzle is available through fine retail stores and
The Ravensburger Puzzle Handy is also available from and retail outlets.
Follow Ravensburger through their websiteFacebook, and YouTube.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018


With the Easter holidays in full swing (we get 2 weeks in our area) we had a welcome distraction from Ravensburger come through the post to get the kid's brains ticking over a little bit. As huge Marvel and general action hero fans they were excited to see the Avengers Infinity War XXL 100 piece jigsaw.
From the new movie, Avengers Infinity War movie is sparked their interest straight away, its a high quality 100 piece jigsaw puzzle with XXL pieces making them easier to spot, find and connect. As with all Ravensburger puzzle, it is made from strong premium grade recycled cardboard that has a linen finish print which minimises glare on the puzzle image. The puzzle itself is suitable for ages 6 years and over and once complete is measure 49 x 36cms.
Mr C was the one who decided to have a go at the puzzle, he is the only one with the patience to do it. I love the concentration on his face when he is puzzling, its a really good brain work out! I helped him with some of the outer patterns, so he had the base there to work on. I think the XXL pieces are a great help for the younger ones, you can see the picture better which means they can easily match it up to the design. We always have the box lid on hand to display the complete picture for ease.
I think that Mr C was quite pleased with himself for completing the puzzle (with a little help from me) and it was a rainy day activity after some lovely sunshine the day before. I am sure it will be taken out a few times during rainy April. The Avengers Infinity War jigsaw is available from Amazon for £8.99.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Ravensburger Alvin and the Chipmunks XXL 100 piece puzzle

Ravensburger is always a great source for our puzzles, in fact, I do not think we own any puzzle that is not a Ravensburger puzzle and it is because I feel the quality is at its best.
Not only has Ravensburger over the years developed a wide range of designs and ideas ranging from children's puzzles with wooden pieces to puzzles with 500, 1000 or 1500+ pieces, but they have also developed 3D puzzles, round-edged puzzles such as the puzzle ball and also the pyramid puzzles.

This week we have been looking at a new puzzle and it is one of the children s favourite movie characters, Alvin and the Chipmunks.
This puzzle is as bright and cheerful as the characters themselves and it really does show incredible detail as if the characters themselves are jumping out of the puzzle and onto your desk.
This puzzle is specifically designed for children ages 6 and over and is an XXL 100 piece puzzle which means when built it is an approx 49 x 36 cm.
This puzzle was great fun to sit as a family and do together.
We are going to put it in a frame and put it on our wall near our musical corner.

Price - £8.99
Ages - 6+
Available from most leading retailers
Pieces - 100 XXL

I would like to add that Ravensburger also does a replacement scheme for missing pieces, so if your child or yourself lose a puzzle or game piece that belongs to this brand and their products it can be replaced, just click here and fill in the form.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Ravensburger PJ Masks jigsaw: 4 in a box large shaped puzzles (age 3+)

PJ Masks 4 large shaped puzzles (19)

We’re on a roll with jigsaws puzzles; they are now better than anything at keeping the smallest amused which given the awful weather we’ve been having has been a total godsend.
Latest to join our collection is this; the Ravensburger PJ Masks 4 in a box Large Shaped Puzzles.
PJ Masks 4 large shaped puzzles (15)
Ravensburger have released several new jigsaws to coincide with Series two which starts this week. We were sent the PJ Masks Four Shaped Puzzles (age 3+) for review.

The PJ Masks 4-in-a-box Large Shaped Puzzles come in a large box containing 52 large puzzle pieces.

There are four puzzles; Owlette, Catboy, Gecko and the villains Romeo, Night Ninja and Luna Girl (I can tell you’re impressed with my knowledge. I have spent many hours studying). Each jigsaw is made of between 10 and 16 pieces which are mixed up inside the box, and all are small enough to be completed on a child’s table.
The puzzles are aimed at children aged 3+ but depending on how much your child likes jigsaws I think they would be fine from two years; my son certainly found them fairly easy to do.

What we liked about the Ravensburger PJ Masks Jigsaw Puzzles.

Well, first off we love PJ Masks and this not only expanded our jigsaw puzzle collection but also our sub-collection of PJ Masks jigsaw puzzles.
Yes, we have a collection, and they are all very well used.
PJ Masks 4 large shaped puzzles - our puzzle collection
The four jigsaw puzzles are in different shapes however all of the pieces are mixed inside the box, which is good for encouraging colour matching and sorting.
As I have come to expect from Ravensburger’s children’s puzzles, the pieces are very large and easy to handle. They are made of sturdy cardboard which means they don’t bend easily and last longer than other makes of children’s jigsaw puzzle we have tried.
This jigsaw puzzle also came in a large box, big enough to take all the pieces without forcing them in. I am considering a second extension for these boxes now.
PJ Masks jigsaw: Ravensburger 4 large shaped puzzles (18)
My son the jigsaw fiend did this jigsaw in minutes and was very proud of himself; sorting and matching the pieces first and then putting them together. It’s a great activity for five or ten minutes of peace, easy to pack away and no mess.

Why not check out our other Jigsaw Puzzle reviews?

The Ravensburger PJ Masks 4-in-a-box Large Shaped Puzzles have an RRP of £9.99 and can be bought from good toy shops or via Amazon using the affiliate link above.
For more information, visit the Ravensburger website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.