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  1. We all have one. You know that child who can't keep their hands to themselves on long journeys. Wondering hands is a huge contributing factor to arguments in our car! This summer we have been on some long old car rides and a few trains, I don't think we'd have had survived them all without a V-Cube living in Charlie's backpack!

    vcube backpack

    So what is a V-Cube?

    A V-Cube is a new generation cube type game system, the simple aim is to solve the puzzle and crack the enigma. The cubes come in various sizes, 2x2, 3x3, 4x4 and go all the way up to 10x10. V-Cube was invented by some very clever people in Greece and are perfect for restless hands and active minds, the mechanical cubic system rotates smoothly on three axes. What makes the V-Cube different to it's 80's counterpart is that it comes in the classic flat design or “pillow” which has rounded corners which Charlie loves. They are super tactile and you can't help but pick them up and play. Personally I think this a) contributes to the fact we've not cracked it! b) is due to that pillow design it fits so comfortably in your hands.

    Aimed at 8-14 year olds this toy is perfect for Charlie (although big kids can try too – Daddy Moo failed miserably!) The V-Cube is also available in funky designs, such as illusions and flags. Being small, light and portable and they don't need any batteries makes them a great companion for travelling children.

    v cube

    What did Charlie think?

    It's quite hard. I haven't managed to put it back together. When I got it out of the box I wanted to do it straight away, I wish I had paid more attention to how I mixed it up. It's good for keeping your hands busy in the car and on the train. If I keep practicing I might one day get the Guinness World Record for the fastest V-Cube! Or I might stick the spare stickers on and start again! ” (Cheeky!!! I don't think so!)

    The definition of irony is clearly taking your V-Cube out of the box mixing it up for a day or two then watching How To Be Epic at Everything who show you a fool proof way to mix and fix in 20 moves!!

    V-Cubes are priced between £8.50-£54 depending on size. I think these are great and would make awesome Stocking Fillers for those hard to buy adults and children this Christmas. (Sorry for mentioning the C word in August!)

    For more information visit : v-cubes.com

     

  2. If you follow my Instagram account  (and if you don't off you will do now right?!) you will know Charlie is pretty much space crazy at the moment. His passion has been fuelled by Tim Peake and the amazing coverage of his time in space. The marketing team really did a superb job on, from Tim giving an award to taking Stargazer Lottie and Miss Mouse into space. There really was something to engage everyone. Other than wearing a Gryffindor Cloak to his Harry Potter party Charlie doesn't do dressing up, never has done so I took a bit of a gamble on his 9th Birthday present. After sourcing and purchasing all the badges Tim had on his blue boiler suit I decided the best way to display them was on a suit. I found a company on eBay that offered embroidery and ordered a blue suit. It took absolutely ages to sew the badges on they are so thick, I shall never moan about Cub badges again! He was over the moon on his birthday with his suit and wears it regularly! He wore it to school for “What I want to be when I grow up” day and he even dressed it up with a running medal and Blue Peter badge to get that authentic Tim Peake look. When organising our yearly mini break to Nottingham I just knew we had to visit the Space Centre in Leicester on your drive up. Charlie insisted on taking his suit with him.

     national space centre tower

    As you drive up Exploration Drive and see the iconic 42m high Rocket Tower I was mesmerised! The semi-transparent tower is clad in high-tech ETFE “pillows”, specially designed to house the Centre’s largest artefacts, including the Blue Streak and Thor Able Rockets which are so amazing up close!The National Space Centre has six interactive galleries, the UK’s largest planetarium, unique 3D Simulator experience and is pretty much an out of this world experience.

    national space centre collage

    Here are our top 5 things :

    1. The Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium : OMG this was pretty stunning! Visually amazing but the continual movement over the 360º fulldome cinema experiencesometimes left you wondering if the chairs were moving! The content “We Are Stars!”, narrated by Andy Serkis takes you through a journey of discovering what we are made of, where we come from and connect life on Earth to the evolution of the Universe. It was way over Charlie, Megan and Olive's level of understanding but the experience is one not to be missed and we never heard a peep out of them. As part of the entry ticket you will also be able to see one of our award winning planetarium shows at no extra cost.

    2. 3D Simulator Experience : Olive was too short to ride the simulator so she went adventuring with Nanny. If like Charlie you dream of becoming a member of the All Earth Space Agency, and journey to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. Then you NEED to ride this! A lovely little touch was when the ride operator thanked Charlie for dressing appropriately for the occasion and suggested as the pilot he sit at the front. There were a few hairy moments including some bone-shaking Spaceflight definitely not to be missed.

    3. Columbus Module from the International Space Station : Dressed as his hero, standing where his hero would have worked daily, I may have shed a tear or two! 

    4. Taking off like Tim : There is a hidden screen with what looks like comfy chairs to sit on and watch a video. However as the video progresses of Tim taking off the chairs start to shake and you get to experience just what it must have felt like. OMG! Insane!

    5. Interactive, fun and informative : I loved the mix of interactive exhibits like driving the moon buggy and the informative artefacts, moon rock, Roswell alien head and spacesuits alongside fun things like dressing up. Although the girls are less space interested and Olive is only 5 there was a lot to keep them all engaged.

    national space centre

    With prices from £14.00 an adult and Child (5 - 16)* £11.00 it's a great family day out. Parking (all day) £3.00 and the Space Centre is located next to the Pumping Station which is free to enter. We had planned to visit there too but ran out of time (we literally got kicked out last people in the shop after 5pm!). We were provided our ticket for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.