Review: SpyX Micro Gear Set With Giveaway

It’s fast approaching the Christmas season so lots of my readers are probably already working through their Christmas shopping list. I know that I started back in October and I’m glad I did because the last few weeks have been chaotic. If you’re shopping for a child who loves all things spy related then this could be a review you’ll be interested in. What’s more, there’s also a giveaway so that one lucky reader can win a SpyX Micro Gear Set. Read on to find out what’s in the set and what to do to win this prize.spyx micro gear set

So, firstly I should say that I was gifted a set so I could write this review. I received no money for this post and as always, all opinions are my own and have not been influenced by the fact the item was gifted. Now, the SpyX Micro Gear Set is suitable for ages 6+. To be honest, I would say it’s for the age range of 6-10 years. Any older than that and they’ll be looking for something a little more sophisticated.

spyx micro gear set

In the set are four SpyX tools and a belt that can be used to strap the tools to your waist. You’ll get a Micro Spy Light, an Invisible Ink Pen, a Micro motion alarm and a Micro listener. These are crime fighting gadgets that will really fire up kids’ imaginations and make them feel like real hero agents.

spyx micro gear set

For me, the item my son responded best to was the Invisible Ink Pen. When I was little you needed two pens to make invisible ink work – one with the invisible ink and the other you’d use to colour over the secret message to reveal it. Which actually wasted it because it was then visible and you could no longer use it. This invisible ink pen works by shining a blue coloured light over the hidden message and revealing what’s written. As soon as you switch the light off, the message is invisible again. So, that’s one item that we were definitely pleased with.

spyx micro gear set invisible ink pen

The Micro Motion alarm requires 2 x AAA batteries to get started and you’ll also need to open it with a screwdriver. I’ve got mixed feelings about this. It’s great that kids can’t easily get in and change the batteries themselves, especially if they are quite young but it is fiddly. The Micro motion alarm can detect either motion or vibration and we found it to be quite sensitive. However, it’s a loud alarm. Very loud! So long as kids are fine with loud noises, this won’t be a problem.

spyx micro gear set micro motion alarm

The Micro listener has a single ear piece and a small, round receiver. We’re still getting to grips with this item. The idea is that you can listen in on conversations from a distance. It doesn’t work perfectly but it’s still fun to play around with it and there are times when yes, you can hear things in the ear piece from a distance.

The Micro spy light is something that I’m sure my little one will not tire of playing with for months. The light is orange, which is great for seeing in the dark and hopefully won’t hurt anyone’s eyes.

Overall, I think this is a good gift set and would suit kids who have a fertile imagination and love the idea of being a spy. It’s relatively cheap at an RRP of £19.99 although some retailers might be slightly more expensive and is available from Amazon and Argos. If you’d like to get more information, you can visit the Trends UK website.

Which item in the set do you find the most intriguing?

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a SpyX Micro Gear Set, simply comment below with the name of your favourite fictional spy. Rules for the comp are below.

  1. There is one prize available only
  2. Open only to UK residents
  3. Winner will be notified by either Twitter, Instagram or Email
  4. Closing date is midday on 24th November 2019
  5.  Winner must respond before 30th November 2019 or another winner will be chosen
  6. Winner’s contact details will be passed to the distributor who will send the prize out and then discard their details.
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Mr Potato Head – Movin Lips Review

Life as a family blogger is weird. One day you’re writing about tea, the next you’re writing about press trips and then other days you’re writing about Mr. Potato Head? Yes, he’s back! When I was a little girl, I didn’t have a Mr. Potato Head, a fact that has bugged me since childhood. Everyone else had one but not me. Like many toys that I have never owned myself, I have, as a parent, taken great pleasure in seeing my son play with them… and taking a turn myself. Before I continue with this review, I should add that this item was gifted by Hasbro. I have received no monetary compensation for writing this review and it contains my own opinions, which were unchanged by receiving the gifted item. Now that the legal part is over, let’s move on and talk about Mr. Potato Head.

mr potato head movin lips

For those who don’t know, Mr. Potato Head is a potato shaped toy who comes with moveable and removeable facial features, limbs and a hat. In the box of the latest Mr. Potato Head you receive a head (which is mounted on top of two blue boots), two arms, two ears, a pair of eyes, a nose, a hat, two mouths and some instructions. The body contains a magnet which is how the pieces stick to the body. I always wondered about that as a child…

There’s also a Mrs. Potato Head which is sold separately and the parts are compatible with other Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head toys. The version which I was gifted is a Movin’ Lips head. If you press a button on one of the boots, you’ll get to hear him sing his own version of Meghan Trainor’s song, Lips Are Movin. I didn’t make the connection at first, because being impatient, I went ahead and pressed the button without reading the back of the box or the instructions. He’s got his own lyrics to the song which are, “My lips are movin, my lips are movin, my lips are movin, I’m a fried, fried, fried tater YEAH.” Quite catchy! And it’s also true that his lips move. They shift across his face as he’s singing.

mr potato head back of box

It’s suitable for children over the age of three, so my son, being eight, is maybe just coming to the end of the stage where he is excited by toys like these (although I’m thirty-nine and I say you’re never too old). There’s demo batteries included when you purchase the toy, but otherwise it will require three AA batteries. He has 4 parodies of popular songs and over 40 phrases such as, “I like you kid, you’re my bestest spuddy” and “You can tell me anything, I’m all ears.”

Personally, I think Mr. Potato Head is a classic toy who should always be a popular choice with children. He’s cute, funny and interactive and should keep kids entertained and make parents nostalgic. Dare I say it, I think he’s a perfect choice for Christmas. Yes, I know it’s only September but I’m going there.

side of mr potato head box

Mr. Potato Head Movin Lips has an RRP of £19.99 and is available from lots of stockists such as Smyths, Amazon and The Entertainer. I’ll also be including this toy in my Christmas toys round-up posts later in the year.

Was there a toy you wanted as a child and never received? Share in the comments below.

Raising A Good Man – Guest Post from Tracy Mackenzie

Here at Rock Paper Spirit, we regularly welcome guest bloggers because we love to show a range of different views. Today we are delighted to welcome Glasgow-based author Tracy Mackenzie. Tracy describes herself as a tea-fuelled writer in waiting, blogger and crafter. She’s the author of Tales of the Guild and was a Times/Chicken House longlistee in 2019. Today she’s going to share her thoughts on raising the next generation of men.

When The Boy and The Girl were toddlers I often grumbled that the books on pregnancy prepared you for birth, the first few weeks of your newborn’s life and then ditched you with the speed of a cheetah leaving you alone to scramble through the jungle of childhood. On reflection, I now understand that a) a book big enough to tell you all about childhood would put some serious strain on your book shelf and b) it’s not wise to put that much stress on a pregnant woman.

I’d always thought that the major challenges would be with The Girl but I was wrong (but there’s still plenty of time for that to be reversed, added to or multiplied). It’s not that The Boy is badly behaved, or overly stroppy (yet), it’s more that I have realised the pressure on us as parents to raise a man.

With so many prominent leaders in the world falling short of being or doing the best they can and with so much upset and tension (yes, I know that’s an understatement) in the world we need our future adults to be as prepared as they can be to make the world better. I’ve had to examine what it means to be a man which, as a woman, I’ve never had to do before. What does he need to know? I don’t mean what subjects should he take in school, I mean what does he need to learn to be considered A Good Man?

After much consideration, I have put together a list of characteristics and attitudes that I want him to have when he’s an adult and I’d like to share them with you:

1 – Respect – of himself and others

2 – Confident – in who he is and what he believes

3 – Sensitive – to the needs of others and to his own needs

4 – Strong – to know and do the right thing, even when it is difficult

5 – Understanding of and interest in the world around him

6 – Consideration – that he will know what ‘no’ and ‘stop’ means

7 – Kind – demonstrate love and take care of others

This isn’t a perfect, or exhaustive, list but I think it covers the basics. It is also the same list of ideals that I want The Girl to grow up with. As parents we have to teach our children to navigate the world, which is a tough and challenging place, and the best thing we can do is to teach them to be decent human beings.

I don’t know what kind of a man my son will be but I know that I have a responsibility to bring him up in the best way I can. I know some of the pressures and the temptations that he will face but I cannot predict how the world will change over the next decade and how that will affect him.

The one thing I do know is that if we want the men of the future to be the best they can be then we, as parents, guardians, and carers, need to do our bit to give these boys the best start possible.

What Will Your Kids Be Doing In Summer 2019?

It’s approaching that time again when the schools are finishing up for summer and up here in Scotland, that’s going to be happening very soon. In fact, it’s going to be next Friday! I can’t wait to spend more time with my son. That’s one thing I don’t understand about other parents and can’t relate to; they complain about the summer holidays and are desperate for their kids to go back to school. I don’t feel that. In fact, I’m really excited about all the fun things that we’re going to do together over the seven week break. Despite starting a new job, I’ll still have plenty of time to spend with him. So, here’s my list of things to do to keep you and your kids busy over the summer break.

Cook Something

As if my family need an excuse to eat?! One of my favourite things to do with my son is to bake. He’s allergic to egg so that limits our choices when it comes to what recipes we can make and he’s not a huge fan of cakes etc. anyway. However, we do have a great recipe for low-fat scones that we got from a Weight Watchers book a few years ago. Once a week, we like to make scones together and that’s definitely something we will be doing over the summer break.

little boy baking scones

Picnics

Yep, food features heavily on this list of top 5 things to do with your kids during summer break. We’re a little short on money this year, but thankfully we do have a bus pass that we can use to get around and neither of us need to pay. We’ll be using that to visit various different parks and gardens around Ayrshire and we’ll be taking a picnic with us. Our favourite things to have on picnics are cold pizza wedges, scones (obvs!), little juice boxes, bread sticks, crisps and raisins. Neither of us are into sandwiches. It’s so much cheaper than eating out and helps those with food allergies to enjoy eating out without worrying about cross contamination.

mother and son on picnic

Geocaching

This is like a treasure hunt, but you use your phone’s GPS to find the treasure. It’s fun to do and doesn’t cost anything. Or alternatively, you could play augmented reality games that get you out into the fresh air. They’re a real hit with my son because he’s very much a visual learner and he’s more likely to learn valuable life skills if we bring technology into the games.

Find a new batch of characters

You know what it’s like. Kids can get a little bit bored with the same characters. For example, Luke was crazy for the Numberjacks once, but he soon got bored with them. Then it was Angry Birds and then Minions. They go through little phases. The best thing to do to keep them occupied during the summer is to introduce them to a new batch of characters and keep a supply of toys in the “going out” bag. For those wondering, we have a bag filled with toys, games and things that Luke isn’t too familiar with and doesn’t get to play with at home. We bring this bag out at restaurants and stressful situations where he needs something to do or something to play with. Yes, we have at times used a tablet or phone to help him through that kind of situation but he tends to zone out with those and it’s useful to have a bag of toys that he can really enthuse about and might use to play with other kids.

Top Wing Mission Ready Track

Top Wing Rod toy

I’ve kindly been gifted a few Top Wing items by Hasbro which I’m adding to this summer’s bag. Top Wing a new show on Nick Jnr. and I have a sticker activity book, a hardback book and some Penny and Rod figures, complete with their vehicles! We’ve also been gifted a Top Wing Mission Ready Track, which I think we’ll keep at home because it’s so big. I would highly recommend discovering some new characters like the Top Wing ones and introducing them into your child’s play set to combat summer boredom.

Top Wing Penny Toy

Top Wing Meet The Cadets Book things to do with your kids during summer break

And last but not least… A pillow fort!

You can’t beat a good pillow fort. And you’re never too old. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In fact, I sometimes think I enjoy building pillow and cushion forts more than Luke does and I am not ashamed to say it!

What will you be doing with your kids this summer? Drop your ideas in the comment box below!

Action Man: The Perfect Fathers Day Gift!

Action Man is an iconic figure of childhood and the very first hero we knew for many of us. I never had one (I wanted stationery and a typewriter rather than dolls) but my husband recalls asking for an Action Man for Christmas when he was a little boy. He was devastated when he got a rival branded doll instead and it’s one of those stories that he brings up every now and again. He wanted an Action Man and never got one. Well, now is the perfect time for him to finally get what he wanted because Father’s Day is coming up! It’s the 16th June this year, to be exact. I’ve been gifted two classic Action Man dolls to enable me to write this post, which my son, Luke has now gifted to his Dad. I haven’t received any monetary compensation and all opinions are my own.

Fathers Day gift dolls

Action Man makes a great gift for Dads as well as for the kids and since receiving the Action Pilot and the Action Sailor, both my son and my husband have kept themselves busy playing with them. It’s actually really cute how the two of them are interacting by playing with them! What’s great about these toys is that they encourage kids to get imaginative in a way that tablets and video games don’t. I love using technology to help my son play and as a parent I have no problem with it, but when Luke plays with a doll like this, there’s a whole new side to his personality that comes out.

Classic Action Man dolls Soldier Pilot

The Action Man Timeless Classic range is packaged just like the original range, so it’s authentic and will really bring back memories for the Dads. There’s a Sailor, a Soldier and a Pilot available in single figure packs. They’re priced at £14.99 which I thought was quite reasonable. They’re 30cm tall and come dressed in their uniforms with the signature Action Man dog tags and authentic buzz cuts.

Classic Action Man Pilot Doll

I received the Sailor Action Man and the Pilot Action, but there’s also a soldier available who comes in desert camoflage, sand boots and a beret. Sailor is dressed in a blue sailor suit and the Pilot has a vibrant orange flight suit, helmet and goggles. If you want to pay an extra tenner, you can get the Action Man Deluxe Classic Sets (priced at £24.99). These deluxe sets have extra accessories. Action Man Deluxe Soldier has forest green camo, Bergan and a machine rifle. Deluxe Pilot is dressed in blue rather than the orange flight suit and has a black flight helmet, sunglasses and a back pack. My favourite, the Deluxe Sailor has a classic sailor suit, a white hat, walkie talkie, binoculars and a duffle bag.

Classic Action Man sailor doll

I asked my husband Alex what he thought of the Action Man dolls we received and he said, “They remind me of my childhood, when I really wanted an Action Man but never got one. So, I was delighted to get one at last! The Pilot is my favourite.”

I then asked my eight year old son, Luke, for feedback. He gave me a thumbs up and said, “They’re good.” When asked which was his favourite between the Pilot and Sailor we received, he said, “Both.” What can I say? He’s a man of few words!

If you’re into nostalgic toys and want to treat your Dad or father figure to an Action Man this Father’s Day, (or even just buy one for yourself!) I would recommend buying one of these dolls. Seeing the way that Alex and Luke played together with them was magic. Even my own Dad‘s eyes lit up when he saw them sitting in my living room. They were definitely a hit.