Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Nativity 3 - Dude Wheres my Donkey family puzzle by Falcon Deluxe puzzles

We here at Bloggomy Towers love a good puzzle and with the Christmas holidays giving us endless hours of family time we took the challenge of completing the Nativity 3 Family Puzzle.

Nativity 3 - Dudes Where's My Donkey Family Puzzle 
Now for a start the description 'family puzzle' really doesn't give much away in regards to what to expect. Yes families can spend time grappling over the last edge piece or squirreling away the red pieces to shout with a satisfying "got it!" as the last piece is slotted into place, but it really refers to the size of the pieces themselves.

Something I have not seen in a jigsaw before was the 615 pieces that made up the Nativity 3 picture were, in my opinion, ingeniously designed for literally all the family to be able to get involved.  All the pieces were all able to fit together but were differing in size.

Puzzle contents - varying sized pieces for all the family
Divided into (for ease of description) 'big' pieces for smaller hands and those younger children not so used to puzzles (or Aunty Agnes that's forgotten her glasses or Uncle Harry that's had a sherry trifle too many) 'middle' pieces for those slightly older children or newcomers to the joys of jigsaws and finally 'small' or average size pieces for those that have done a puzzle or twelve.

So of course we started of with the biggest of pieces which also meant that 'Little Man' at 4 years old could join in and make a contribution to the picture.  He really enjoyed being able to be a part of the action and to be honest, apart from puzzles I have bought for him to complete, I have never encouraged him to get involved with a more grown up jigsaw before.  

Usually the thought of 4 children of differing ages and abilities when it came to puzzles trying to complete one together makes me quietly shudder.  The arguments over who had what piece first and all that malarkey is not what makes me jump for joy but I think if there were more designs out on the market with the same differing sized pieces design I would be tempted to buy them as it really did make the world of difference.  The older children (aged 13 and 15 years) were leaving the large pieces to their youngest sibling to slot together with their help whilst they pieced together the smaller pieces.

 So we were getting the hang of this multi-sized puzzle lark now!  Big pieces went together quickly as you would expect...

I really liked how large pieces connected to middle and then smaller pieces incredibly well.  I thought there may not be the crisp connection you get with same sized pieces but it was impressive.  Middle sized pieces were slightly more taxing than the large pieces but still we were getting on well and all the Nativity 3 characters bar the 3 main ones were now pieced together.  Then we hit the 'wall'.

In order to complete the puzzle you are left with not only the smallest jigsaw pieces but also only 3 characters and more white areas than I've seen on a frosty morning!  This made things a lot more difficult as you were now relying on just trying to twist and turn each remaining piece until you found the right one to fit the gaps... I was left by now with just 'the only girl in the family' aged 15 years determined to see it through to the last piece.  The younger boys came over for a look but apart from picking up the odd bit, turning it round, trying a few puzzle holes and giving up we were on our own.

After much 'ooohhhing and arrrring' over the few pieces remaining we finally got there.  About 4 to 5 hours to complete in total with the white areas getting us scratching our heads and wanting to just give up (but no where's the fun in that?!) 

Good fun for a large variety of ages and abilities.  Will definitely be keeping a look out for other designs in the future.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Silent Sunday - 12th May 2013

To the quick witted people of Twitter - come on confess....

Do you ever wish you were funny?  Now I do have a laugh when I look in the mirror (well it's better than shedding a tear at the onslaught of my wrinkles!) but no I mean funny like witty.

I often read peoples bio's on their Twitter accounts and sigh as I laugh at their witty, humorous descriptions of themselves, I have seen loads that had me smirking like a fool and desperately trying to get my obviously not that way inclined mind to think of something as clever and witty to say about myself - and fail miserably.

Am I not funny? Well I have a sarcastic sense of humour and that is brought to the fore when I spend time with Eldest Son who's quick wit has me in stitches - he has the 'humour gene' but as soon as I have finally found something funny to spurt out the moment has passed or it no longer seems as funny as it did when it was whirling around in my oh to serious head just a few moments before.


So do these people with the quirky, witty bio's on Twitter spend ages thinking them up (come on say yes so I can feel better about myself) or do they just pour from their fingers into their PC's like water from a tap?  Have I lost my sense of humour? How do I get it back if that's the case?  I could be chasing around after it for ages if thats the case.

As I have got older I laugh less and life seems to be too serious and mundane and that needs to stop. Worry seems to have absorbed my funny bone and taken over without me even realising.  I find myself worrying about things that have never, will probably never happen and spend way too much time thinking about "What if?"

So for those lucky quick witted people of the world - come on confess your secret ability to make something funny seem effortless, oh and throw some my way please!!


Wig Wam Bam - Fun in the May Day sun

The sunshine is making an appearance - well trying to. May Day Bank Holiday was glorious so we headed out into the garden to make a WigWam in the sun.

Little Man was intrigued by the possibility of a new hiding den and was eager to help.  The Wigwam was really easy to construct and the poles and canvas covering were made from, in my opinion, good quality materials.

Firstly we unpacked the contents, laying them out carefully and slotting the poles together to make them longer, and the included instructions were concise and easy to follow which made the whole thing easy.

The shape of the Wigwam came together quickly and all the pieces fitted together well and no extra tools were needed in its construction.
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The canvas that covers the Wigwam was a lot thicker and more substantial than I thought it would be and I was very impressed by this, the poles sit inside a 'pocket' at the base of the canvas (see middle photo above) rather than a method using ties around the poles.  I think this works better for use with younger children especially from a safety point of view and held the Wigwam structure together firmly along with a velcro strip halfway up the poles. The only area that is tied using cord was at the very top where the poles meet.  This was well out of reach of my nearly 3 year old but he was supervised in the Wigwam at all times so this was not an issue for us. You can see the Technical Specifications here.

I loved the bright designs on the Wigwam canvas and they gave it a real Aztech feel. Each section of the Wigwam had its own pattern, deers, rabbits or lizards with a red pattern along the bottom incorporating a green cactus.  The Wigwam door has a a red zigzag with a bright cheerful sun on each side of the opening.

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Once the Wigwam was constructed I was surprised how much shade it provided, this is probably due to the thickness of the canvas covering, although it is not obviously UV protection against the sun itself.  The top of the Wigwam by the top poles had a well stitched opening that allowed extra air to circulate through it. Again this had its own bright design in keeping with the rest of the Wigwam patterns and designs.

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In no time at all our Garden Games Wigwam was ready to use and Little Man had a great time sitting in the new den which had enough room for his fold up garden chair in it.  He took his toys in and played happily for ages.

This Wigwam is, in my opinion, far superior to anything made from plastic and when we were heading in after playing we didn't take the whole thing down but merely collapsed the poles together at the height they were and wrapped the canvas round them.  The whole thing then, with a little persuasion, slotted back into the box with about 1/3 of it above the top of the box.  This means when we want to use it again we just pull it out of the box, open up the poles into the Wigwam shape and its ready to go again in no time at all - Wig Wam Bam!
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This is a Review.