Tuesday, 18 July 2017

School Sports Day Review

Times have changed since I was a kid.  Sports Day is one of them  Back in my day (this phrase may be making me feel old), sports days wasn’t much different from any other day except instead of one hour of phys ed, we had a whole afternoon of it and we received a little inch of ribbon to put on a safety pin for each activity we participated in.  No parents, nothing out of the ordinary here.  But things have evolved and School Sports Day by Ravensburger finds the humour in it.

School Sports Day Can Be Puzzling fun at Castle View Academy homeschool

Ravensburger sent us a copy of Best of British No.17 – School Sports Day enjoy.  I know it may seem weird that we’re reviewing a puzzle about school sports day when we homeschool; but that doesn’t mean our children don’t have their own sports events they attend with others, or set up in our own back garden…..and us parents can remember ‘way back’ to our own school days.
Last year our local school’s sports day was postponed a few times due to rain, but this year it was right on schedule with unusually hot and dry weather for the first half of June.  Last week, however, the weather was bleary and rainy, and I was tired of feeling cooped up and working.  I needed a break, even if I didn’t think I should have one; I was feeling agitated.
I looked over… and I saw the School Sports Day puzzle sitting there looking lonely.  That’s no way for a puzzle to be; so I thought I would spend a few minutes separating the pieces and then continue with it another day with my family.

Sorting out Sports Day puzzle at Castle View Academy homeschool
It was just the break I needed from the day.  Phil was in the kitchen with the children baking cakes; Kallista wanted to make one from her own imagination, while Phil and Tristan stuck more closely to a recipe.  I put a few more pieces together…
…and I had to stop myself to take this picture because I had completed half of the puzzle without even getting up off the sofa!

Half way done the Sports Day at School at Castle View Academy homeschool

Now that I was up, it was time to make a cup of tea and stretch my feet.
I should have gone back to work – I am seriously behind in every area.  But once I started I just couldn’t stop!  And it’s good to take a break and spend time with others on the weekend instead of cooped up in a room by myself.  That gets so lonely and uninspiring.  And I like to be inspired; it’s so invigorating!
I began with the border (I’m so predictable), then filled in the sky and colourful bunting.  Next came the larger areas of purple plaid, reds, browns, speech bubbles and signs, and I continued on from there.  The trees were the final thing I had left to complete.
Just what I needed to give myself a little brain break…although…
Kallista, of course, took her cake out of the oven and showed up just in time to sit down and take the glory of the puzzle and put in the last three pieces.

Putting in the last puzzle piece for Sports Day at School at Castle View Academy homeschool

It figures.  But that’s okay, I love her, and she also enjoys puzzles.  I can share a puzzle if she can share some cake!
Once the puzzle is completed, you will be able to see the little details and read all of the signs and speech bubbles and have a giggle.  Geoff Tristram, the artist has a great sense of humour!

  • The spoon and egg race course had many raw and broken eggs along the ground.
  • The parents’ section (kept in check with an electrical fence) sported a wine bottle in a handbag.
  • An arrow missed its target and nearly impaled a someone’s head.
  • The Ardliworth-Gowen Primary School
  • Parents Cage Fighting
  • And so many more!
Ravensburger School Sports Day puzzlei is complete at Castle View Academy homeschool

This was a 500 piece puzzle, and although it’s half the number of pieces of a 1000 piece puzzle, it went together in about an eighth of the time.  So instead of the whole family working on it for a few days (or weeks), it went together in an afternoon while the rest of the family was baking!  Just a short break from reality, but easy to do and then tidy up instead of having it around for ages.  I enjoy big puzzles, too; but sometimes it’s just a small break I’m looking for.
And those cakes, in case you were wondering.  They were quite delicious and Kallista’s was the best!  Orange zest in the cake and raspberry jam between the layers with a dusting of icing sugar over the top.  I do hope she makes it again!
Best of British No.17 – School Sports Day 500pc Jigsaw Puzzle is available through fine retail stores and Amazon.co.uk.
The Ravensburger Puzzle Handy is also available from Amazon.co.uk and retail outlets.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Flower Fairies 500 Piece Jigsaw Review

Flower Fairies
We love puzzles in our house, the boys did 16 one morning the other week. I blame my mother in law because she also loves them and has bought most of the boys puzzles. Whenever I am asked would we like to review a jigsaw puzzle I always say yes so Flower Fairies was no exception. I sent it to the MIL to keep her busy and it looked super hard and complicated.
When reviewing our last Jigsaw the Mischievous Meerkats Marie completed it on a puzzle matt which I have since seen for myself and they are amazing. I would highly recommended one if you like doing puzzles with lots of pieces so you can store it away and come back to it when you are free. She used the matt whilst doing the Flower Fairies as you can see from the pictures.
Flower fairies is a 500 piece puzzle and is quite detailed. You have to really concentrate to match the pieces and get them in the right place. James tried to help out with this one and placed one piece which was wrong so that was the only one he tried. Marie is good at puzzles and has the patience to sit and work them out. She did the Flower Fairies over a few days as it was quite complex.
Flower Fairies
Marie like me does the outside of the puzzle first and then works on filling the inside. The Flower Fairies is quite hard because lots of the colours are the same so its hard to work out exactly were the pieces go. Certainly one you need the picture to refer to.
Flower Fairies
The flower fairies took a few days to complete because it needed a lot of concentration to work out the pieces. It’s a beautiful jigsaw when completed though and would make a great work of art for the wall if varnished and framed.
Flower Fairies
Like all other Ravensburger puzzles the quality is excellent and the puzzle is made from good quality card. The pieces are strong so don’t bend and rip easily which can happen with some puzzles.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017


We are massive Disney fans and C especially loves the Cars franchise. Ravensburger have recently brought out a Cars 3 Giant Floor Puzzle to coincide with the third installment being released in cinemas on July 14th. I actually won tickets to a early screening so we have already seen the movie and it is fantastic - just as good as the first two!

When we received the puzzle to try out, C was so excited because as much as he loves Lighning McQueen, he has taken a liking to Jackson Storm and so he was thrilled to see him included on the puzzle too. There are 60 pieces and C can sometimes feel a little thrown in at the deep end when the pieces are small, but because this is classed as a 'giant' floor puzzle, each piece is about the size of his hand and the finished picture is large too.

It is recommended for children aged 4+, C will be 5 in September and this is probably the first puzzle that he's needed minimal help from me with. I gave him prompts such as finding all the pieces with blue and yellow on or "can you find the rest of Lightning McQueen's eyes?" but all in all, he was able to do the majority of it himself and boy, was he proud of himself!

The familiar characters definitely helped and I think they made him enjoy it more. Even though he could see what the puzzle would look like on the box, he couldn't wait to complete it and see it for himself. The puzzle pieces are bright and colourful and it's perfect for any Disney Cars fans!

The Car 3 Giant Floor Puzzle retails at £9.99 and can be purchased from Amazon and all major retailers. You can find out more at the Ravensburger website and you can keep up to date on Twitter.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Flower Fairies 500 piece jigsaw puzzle review

best jigsaw puzzles

When I was a child, my Mum bought me a book about the world's best illustrators 
of children's books. I loved that book and spent hours looking at all the fascinating 
pictures and dreaming of reading all of those books one day.I was completely 
entranced by the images of Flower Fairies, and thought that surely nothing could 
be more beautiful than those delicate little sprites created by Cicely Mary Barker.

Her illustrations which first appeared in 1923, are world renowned, and have many 
fans among both children and adults. The flower drawings are botanically accurate 
and depict delightful fairy images. Each Flower Fairy has a lovely poem written in 
her honour.

I have recently revisited my childhood dreams, working on a new Flower Fairies 
500pc jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger.

best jigsaw puzzles

The puzzle presents a tapestry of several famous images from Flower Fairies 
collection, as well as a poem Spring Goes, Summer Comes.

This colourful and detailed puzzle is made from high quality cardboard and 
measures 36x49cm.

best jigsaw puzzles

Admire the graceful floral illustrations of lavender, pinks, sweet peas, buttercups, 
daffodils and more, as well as delicate butterflies and dainty fairies.
It is an enjoyable puzzle, which will make a lovely gift for any jigsaw puzzle fan.

best jigsaw puzzles

best jigsaw puzzles

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Spider-Man XXL100 puzzle review

This fun and colourful jigsaw puzzle features Spider-Man in his fancy red suit, and some of the most notorious villains including; Vulture, Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, Rhino, Venom and Lizard

The artwork is stunning with lots of detail especially Green Goblin and what's really nice is the inclusion of Vulture who is making his big screen appearance in the up-coming Spider-man: Homecoming movie out this week!

The puzzle is ideal for Spider-Man fans aged 6 and up and measures 49 x 36cm when complete. Puzzles are excellent value for money, as they can be done over and over again and perfect as a gift/birthday present.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Ravensburger Minion, Prisoner Shaped 54pc 3D Jigsaw Puzzle – Review

Ravensburger Minion, Prisoner Shaped 54pc 3D Jigsaw Puzzle - Review
Do you like the minions? The twins love watching them on TV and we even have a giant Minion teddy. When asked would we like to review one of the 3D puzzles from Minions I jumped at the chance. We actually have two now so the boys quite happily have one each.
The puzzles come with 54 pieces and each piece is numbered to make it easy for you to assemble. Unlike a normal jigsaw it’s all about doing it in number order rather than matching the pieces. This makes it somewhat easier than a large puzzle. The puzzle is aimed at children over 7 years old and I can see why as it needs number recognition and patience. Once built it was fine for the twins aged 3 to handle and play with but remember it will have small parts when broken.
Ravensburger Minion, Prisoner Shaped 54pc 3D Jigsaw Puzzle - Review
After completing two Minions and then re building after breakages I feel I am an expert at them now. My advice and tip would be sort all your numbers into order before hand. This makes it much quicker to assemble. 
Ravensburger Minion, Prisoner Shaped 54pc 3D Jigsaw Puzzle - Review
Once you start adding pieces it clicks together and becomes quite sturdy. You will notice every third of four pieces seems to click slightly different from the others like it’s really holding it together. It does seem flimsy to begin with but once your about 10 pieces in it starts to become more solid.
The final 3 or 4 pieces can be a little tricky to put in as you need to be gentle but once clicked in it the Minion itself is extremely sturdy. 
Each minion comes with its own little display stand as you can see below. I love this as you can collect them and put the on display. The twins would love these in their bedroom but I know they wouldn’t last very long. Jack has kind of adopted them for now on his window with his giant Minion ornament.
Ravensburger Minion, Prisoner Shaped 54pc 3D Jigsaw Puzzle - Review

You can see the boys are extremely happy with their new minions and I am definitely going to look into some other 3D puzzles now I know how easy they are to assemble.
Ravensburger Minion, Prisoner Shaped 54pc 3D Jigsaw Puzzle - Review
You can buy your own minion puzzle from lots of places. Ravensburger have a huge range to choose from. 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

3D Unicorn Puzzles; Pretty and Practical!

With the beauty of the summer flowers around me, I am trying to simplify and organise many areas of my life.  In the midst of this, Ravensburger’s 3D unicorn puzzles have come to the rescue.  How? You may asking.  Read on to find out!
3D Unicorn Puzzles; Pretty and Practical! Castle View Academy homeschool puts them to the test
Kallista was very interested in Tristan’s 3D Graffiti Shoe Pencil Pot from Ravensburger, so when they contacted me to see if Kallista would like to try out two of their 3D unicorn puzzles, I just couldn’t resist.  These are the 3D Unicorn Vanity Box and Vase puzzles.
Putting together a 3D Unicorn puzzle vase at Castle View Academy homeschool

Unicorn Storage Box

Kallista started off working on the Unicorn Vanity Box first for two reasons.  First; this was Kallista’s first time working on a 3D puzzle and it looked a little more straight-forward for a novice.  Both of these puzzles are recommended for children aged 9 and up, but Kallista did very well on her own and only needed a little help to get started and with fitting the end frame pieces onto the puzzle.
The corner pieces have built in ‘hinges’ that snap together when you fold the corners into shape.
For the Unicorn vanity case, Kallista followed the numbers on the back of the pieces, working her way from 1 to 216, and following the arrows as to where to place the next piece.
Having fun with Ravensburger 3D puzzles at Castle View Academy homeschool
She worked hard and had fun working on it while some of the elder family members worked on Flying Home.
To make things easier for her, I helped put the pieces into piles of 1-20, 20-40, 160-180, etc.  Younger children could help with this puzzle by lining up the pieces into number order.
Before too long, the puzzle was done, the inner cardboard pieces were slipped into place, and the nifty sliding top container was dropped in, and Kallista had her very own storage box!
3D Unicorn tidy box at Castle View Academy homeschool
Rather than use it to keep her headbands tidy (coincidentally, she keeps them on her riding unicorn), she has chosen to use this box to keep the books she reads at night tidy, along with her flashlight, as well as other things she thinks are important.  She’s so happy to have such a storage box to call her own!  And I’m happy things are better contained.

3D Unicorn Vase

Next, Kallista worked on the 3D Unicorn Vase.  She was feeling more confident now that she knew how things worked.
Instead of strictly following by number, for this project she also worked according to the picture, more like a ‘regular’ puzzle.  For the vase, the pieces are moulded into slightly curved shapes that will give the vase its pretty shape.  Keeping things going with the curves didn’t seem to be a problem for her at all, which was great!
 The 3D puzzle pieces are quite a sturdy plastic, although the ‘tab’ of one piece has broken.  However, the puzzle was still able to be completed without the little tab (we’ll glue the bit into place now that the puzzle is completed).
Putting together a 3D Unicorn puzzle vase at Castle View Academy homeschool
 Once the structure of the vase is completed, the plastic cup slides up through the bottom of the vase.  You can fill it with water and use the 3D puzzle as a real vase!
Of course, Kallista had to hop outside and pick some flowers to give her new vase a purpose and make it feel at home.  She wanted just the perfect flowers for her new vase.  A neighbour saw her struggling to reach a chosen bloom and came to her rescue.  She came in with the cup filled with flowers….
A puzzle that's a vase - cool! Castle View Academy homeschool
and then realised that the vase itself would have to go over the top and she would need flowers with longer stems to work!  So back outside she went, along with Daddy so she could point to the blooms she wanted and Phil could cut them for her.
Now her vase and flowers make a great match!  The wildflowers we planted two years ago have come back again and are perfect for unicorns!