Monday, 29 April 2019

Map of the Universe 1500-piece jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger

difficult jigsaw puzzles

"Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."
Arthur C. Clarke

Earlier this month the whole world was astonished to see the first picture of the black hole at the centre of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. It is 55 million light-years away from Earth. It is an exciting and scary sight.

In the last few weeks galaxies and stars were pretty much on my mind, as I was working on a new stunning Map of the Universe 1500-piece jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger.

best jigsaw puzzles

If you enjoy challenging jigsaw puzzles, this is one fiendish puzzle, and I say that as a compliment.
It took me many days to complete, and when the last piece of puzzle was slotted in, I felt like celebrating.

best jigsaw puzzles

This is an amazingly detailed image of the Universe, with galaxies, solar system, stars and constellations.

challenging jigsaw puzzles

The colour palette is restricted, there is a lot of black, with small fonts and thin-line images.

best jigsaw puzzles

Typically I start with finding the frame pieces, and once the frame is established I build inwards.
With this puzzle, I found it quite tricky to begin with the frame, as the pieces were all black.

My tips would be to start sorting by whatever jigsaw pieces with colour you can find, and assemble the bigger wheel with months in it.

This is the work in progress:

gifts for jigsaw puzzle fans

Then it's the turn of the inner circles. Gradually build in the corners with the Spectra, Galaxies, Stars and Solar System.

best jigsaw puzzles

It might help if you have a knowledge of the map of the Universe, and move the pieces to their approximate locations (I'm not one of those clever people, alas).

The fonts for names vary, some are easier to read, some need a magnifying glass to read (I got one in the Poundland).

best jigsaw puzzles

Like all Ravensburger puzzles, this jigsaw puzzle is made from strong premium grade cardboard, with linen finish to minimise glare on puzzle image.

The drawings of the constellations are beautifully executed.
My younger son and I are reading Greek Myths at the moment, and he was interested to see the names of the characters like Hercules, Orion, Pegasus, Centaurus, Andromeda etc.

best jigsaw puzzles

This puzzle could be a great educational tool.

best jigsaw puzzles

The attention to detail is astonishing. It's a true work of art.

This beautiful puzzle will make an excellent gift for any jigsaw puzzle fan. Work on it on your own, or as a family project, and learn about the mysteries and beauty of the Universe.

challenging jigsaw puzzles

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Marvel .. lous Holiday Fun – Ravensburger Review

Well, its school holiday time again.  That means a few things. Children at home.  Lots of things they want to do costing loads of money.  Frustrated parents and children.  Boredom.  The latter being a huge concern during the school holidays.  Children want to be on the go, doing something all the time, constantly needing activities.   Well here is a Marvel … lous idea.  The super jigsaws from Ravensburger.  
Marvel Avengers Ravensburger Jigsaw Puzzles. 
Suitable for aged 5+, these perfect small jigsaws are each 49 pieces in size.  
Mixed pieces 
Rather than being in three separate bags, the Ravensburger jigsaw pieces are all mixed together adding to the enjoyment of sorting them into the three required puzzles. 
With larger than normal pieces, Ravensburger have created these puzzles for little fingers.  Easy to hold and piece together and sturdy enough for the extra pressure a child might give.
Additional Pictures 
Also included are pictures of the three puzzles contained in the box.  These are ideal to help to complete the puzzles.  Ravensburger have thought of everything 
Ravensburger has put several of your child’s favourite Marvel Avengers characters into these jigsaws and each one is different. 
My favourite character is the Hulk closely followed by Captain America.  
I am sure you will agree, that Ravensburger has made something that will keep your child busy for part of their holiday.   You could suggest they do one a day but if like my grandchildren they will want all three done. So they will sit quietly and complete these.    An afternoon free for you 🙂 
Who is your favourite Marvel Avengers character?

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Easter Gifts - Peppa Pig 35 piece Puzzle

Gift ideas for a 3-year-old - Peppa Pig
When Daisy and I are home for the day I like to plan lots of activities to keep her happy. Typically we will watch a film, complete some crafts and play with a puzzle or two. This Peppa Pig Puzzle, with 35 pieces, is ideal for children aged 3+. This is a little bit of a challenge for Daisy, as she has only just turned 3, but I have great fun joining in with her. The scene depicted on the puzzle shows the Peppa Pig family sitting around the table together. Daisy was SO happy when she completed it for the first time and the novelty hasn’t worn off yet!
Gift ideas for a 3-year-old Peppa Pig Puzzle
Puzzles are great for the whole family, and I love that they don’t take up lots of space either. If you’re a fan of keeping your home as clutter-free as possible, like me, then you can pop the puzzle pieces into a ziplock bag and store them like that.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Knit One, Purrl One With Crazy Cats!

Spring is arriving, and the days are getting longer.  We’re shaking off the cobwebs and starting fresh.  But of course, there’s always time for a good puzzle!  Last week we were working on Crazy Cats Vintage – Knit One, Purrl One between some spring cleaning and other things we’re catching up on.  Kallista thought this puzzle was so cute, and indeed it is!
Crazy Cats Puzzle Reviewed by Castle View Academy
Ravensburger kindly sent us a copy of Crazy Cats Vintage – Knit One, Purrl One, to put together and review.  It’s a 500 piece puzzle, so it’s a quick one to do, compared to a 1000 piece puzzle.  We’ve done these in a morning before, but this time we took our time, but it still went together very quickly!
Castle View Academy separating puzzle pieces
I started by spending 30 minutes dividing the pieces into frame and centre and building the frame while dinner was in the oven and the kids were finishing up their homework.  I love using our Puzzle Handy because it outlines where the frames for both 500 and 1,000 piece puzzles go, which is very…handy!
The first areas of this cute crazy cats puzzle to stand out and be pieced together first was the bit teal sign at the top of the puzzle, “knit one purrl one” (we love puns here, so we found the plays on words on the posters within the puzzle funny).  The balls of wool on the floor and the blue chair were obvious areas to do, as was the birdcage – watch out blue tits, that black and white cat has its eye on you!
Crazy Cats Puzzle underway at Castle View Academy homeschool
The soft vintage colours of this puzzle are appealing, and the little details in the picture are fun to see as they’re put together.  Amusing signs, crazy eyes, sneaky cats, colourful balls of yarn; everywhere you look, there’s something going on.
I couldn’t resist putting a few crazy cats together while Phil was putting our date night dinner together and we settled in to watch a movie.  I had to stop – not because of the movie, but because I needed to take a photo but the evening light wasn’t agreeable so I had to wait until morning!
Crazy Cats Puzzle at Castle View Academy
Sunday I hid myself away to work, but joined the family for a lovely roast dinner and a family movie and again, I snuck in a few pieces when no one was looking!  Now I was working on the wool cabinets.
Monday morning the kids and I went out for a walk, and on the way home, a black and white cat came to say hello to Kallista, as it often does.  It’s a bit like the cat with the red mitten in this puzzle.  Then closer to home, another cat greeted her, this one more akin to the brown cat on the top of the shelves in the left of the puzzle.
Finishing the Crazy Cats puzzle at Castle View Academy homeschool
After we were home and settled again, Kallista joined me to finish off the puzzle.  I had to move fast to grab the camera before she had it completed!
The completion of puzzles are always bitter-sweet.  The satisfaction of finishing a puzzle and the sadness of not having it to do any more at the same time.
Crazy Cats Vintage – Knit One, Purrl One 500pc Jigsaw Puzzle is available through fine retail stores and Amazon.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Review: Ravensburger My First Puzzles - Farmyard Friends

During our weekend at Butlin’s, Squidge and his cousin Bear needed some quiet activities to do as well as all the racing around, swimming, messy play and digging. One of the activities we took with us was the Ravensburger Farmyard Friends Puzzle. suitable for 18 months and over, it is perfect for them to work on at ages 2 and 3.
Each of these 2-piece puzzles features a different farm animal. The set includes a pig, cow, chicken, sheep, goat, horse, duck, dog and cat. The colourful puzzles are made from super-thick, double laminated card and are presented within themed frames.

The puzzles can be used in conjunction with the frames too, making them three-piece puzzles and allowing children to match the animals to their frames. Each frame theme is linked to the animal in the jigsaw, creating talking points around the theme choice. For example, does the carrot frame go with the horse, or is it the frame with hay around it? Talk about what the options are and why, and then give your chosen frame a try!
For Squidge, learning around the puzzles were based on naming the animal and identifying the sound it makes. Squidge loves this kind of game and he had a lot of fun playing at being all the different animals. Unfortunately, monkeys don’t tend to feature on farms and they’re his favourite, so Ravensburger – how about a matching Jungle Friends Puzzle!
Each puzzle measures 18 x 10cm when complete, so the pieces aren’t fiddly for little hands. Rather, they are perfectly and ergonomically designed for toddlers to be able to piece the puzzles together easily and add the frames on their own too.
The RRP for the Ravensburger Farmyard Friends Puzzle is £9.99, though Ravensburger is selling it on Amazonfor less at the moment.
Squidge really enjoyed these puzzles and I think I’ll build on his enthusiasm by creating a farm themed tuff spot this week.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Disney Collector's Edition jigsaw puzzle - Dumbo

Price: £13.99
Age Range: 12 years+
Manufacturer’s Description: The story of Dumbo, the circus elephant, was created in 1941 and is one of Disney’s shortest full-length films. Here the cute elephant with the huge ears is enjoying a lovely bubble bath, watched over by his only friend, Timothy Q Mouse.
Rating:  (5/5 stars)
Review: With the live-action adaptation of Dumbo in the cinemas, it is the perfect time to get nostalgic about the original, created in 1941, and still one of the best classic Disney movies. This jigsaw is a lovely celebration of Dumbo and is a really enjoyable puzzle.
The jigsaw is packed in an attractive Collector’s Edition box – Ravensburger have released a whole selection of jigsaws in the Disney collection, and they all look beautiful.
I started by sorted out the edge pieces as per normal, and fitting them together on this puzzle is certainly a challenge, as it is all blue with stars! I liked the extra challenge this presented, as it made the puzzle a little more difficult than it would be otherwise. 
The finished puzzle shows a scene from the classic film, with Dumbo enjoying a bath while Timothy Q Mouse looks on. Further scenes from the full-length cartoon are featured on a section of film strip at the top of the design, which is a really lovely touch.
I really enjoyed putting this puzzle together; it is a really lovely scene from the film, and it is a colourful and attractive image. As is pretty standard for the 1000 piece size, the finished puzzle measures 70 x 50cm when complete. 
I have come to expect a high quality of jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger, and this puzzle doesn’t disappoint – the linen finish really cuts down on glare, especially in bright sunlight – and the cardboard is sturdy. None of the pieces had to be pulled apart, they were all well cut, and the ‘soft click technology’ ensures you know that you have the right pieces when you fit them in place.
The other classic films featured in the Disney collection are Little Mermaid, Jungle Book, Cinderella, Fantasia, Peter Pan, Bambi, Beauty & the Beast, The Lion King, and Snow White. Each of the puzzles has a ‘hidden Mickey’ somewhere in the illustration – can you spot the Dumbo one below?
Five stars for this beautiful puzzle.

Monday, 18 March 2019


We at Family Clan really do love Ravensburger. Having reviewed a number of their puzzles in the past, each new puzzle that we receive is always fantastic quality and as good as the last.
When asked to review this My First Puzzles – Mothers and Babies puzzle we said yes, as we knew that Jensen would love this!
My First Puzzles – Mothers and Babies from Ravensburger contains 6 different animal puzzles that each have 2 pieces.
Jensen took a big instant liking to these puzzles, although he is nearly one, the puzzle is suited for 18 months. But I know that starting him at this age will do no harm at all and will be great for his development.
The bright colours are a big hit for this age and he couldn’t wait to explore.
Each of these 2-piece puzzles is cut to a unique shape and shows a different mother and her baby.
The “baby” puzzle pieces lift out from their mothers’ tummy area, and can be placed back inside when required, allowing children to match the mother and her baby.
The animals in the puzzles are duck & duckling, cow & calf, dog & puppy, sheep & lamb, cat & kitten, pig & piglet.
The puzzles are made from super-thick, double laminated card and are presented within different coloured frames.
These simple puzzles are ideal for youngsters aged 18 months upwards. Made from strong premium grade cardboard, with linen finish print to minimise glare on puzzle image.
We have reviewed other Ravensburger Jigsaws:


Ravensburger also have over 100 years’ worth of experience in the manufacture of puzzles. Not only do they make the best selection of puzzles, but also pride themselves on having the highest quality.
Individual pieces are stamped with such precision that a quiet “click” can be heard when one piece is inserted in the other – this phenomenon is so unique that they have given it its own name ‘Soft click Technology.’
The puzzles are made using unique punching templates and punching tools, which are hand-crafted with watchmaker precision to ensure the greatest possible accuracy and variety of the puzzle pieces.


My First Mothers and Babies Puzzle from Ravensburger is aimed at children aged 18 months and over, Logan has really enjoyed showing Jensen how to do these puzzles and watching them bond together has been lovely.
You can find this puzzle on Amazon.