Kids Crafts: Disney Pixar Cars 3 Aquabeads Playset

Despite the recent sunshine, we have had a couple of rainy days. Over half term we had a rainy afternoon and decided to spend it doing some crafts. I had put aside Disney Pixar Cars 3 Aquabeads Playset for a rainy day, so we decided to crack it open and make our own Lightning McQueen!

Kids Crafts: Disney Pixar Cars 3 Aquabeads Playset

The Disney Pixar Cars 3 Aquabeads Playset contains a table tray, a bead palette, four templates, a sprayer, a bead peeler and 7 different colours of beads. The set is suitable for ages 4+ and it was just the thing for my 7 year old. Aquabeads (and any bead craft) can be quite fiddly for little fingers, but this is what makes them excellent for fine tuning hand-eye co-ordination and working their fine motor skills.

Kids Crafts: Disney Pixar Cars 3 Aquabeads Playset

There are four templates to follow in the set; Lightning McQueen, Cruz Ramirez, Mack and Jackson Storm. The templates each show two sections of car, one is the main body and the other is a section which you make separately and then stick on with water once they’re both dry. This makes them into 3D characters.

Kids Crafts: Disney Pixar Cars 3 Aquabeads Playset

The boy look his time making Lightning McQueen. He struggled a bit to put the individual beads on the board, so I lent him my rainbow bead pen from my Aquabeads Deluxe Studio set and then he just rocketed through. He spent around 40 minutes carefully putting all the beads on the board with the template underneath. Then he sprayed it with water and we left it to dry for the afternoon.

Kids Crafts: Disney Pixar Cars 3 Aquabeads Playset

The instructions say that you can peel the beads from the board after ten minutes; but we find if you leave them for longer, then they set a little better. Once they were dry and peeled from the board we then sprayed Lightning McQueen all over and fixed the 3D part to his front; then we left him to dry a little longer.

He was pleased with how his Lightning McQueen turned out. He was easy to make and Aquabeads are a really lovely rainy-day craft for both kids and adults alike.

The Disney Pixar Cars 3 Aquabeads Playset costs around £20 and is available from a wide range of retailers including Hobbycraft.

Disclosure: We were sent the Disney Pixar Cars 3 Aquabeads Playset to craft with in exchange for this blog post. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: Kinetic Sand Build – Crash ‘Em Cars

Working in a toy shop I’m very aware of the allure of a box of kinetic sand. It’s been one of the biggest sellers since before Christmas and people are fascinated with how it feels and behaves. It’s 98% sand and 2% silica oil and behaves a bit like playdough but without the sticky horror if it gets walked into your carpet. It’s a real winner for me and the small boy can’t keep his hands off it when he visits me in the shop.

kinetic sand

We were sent one of the newer kinetic sand products to try out, the Kinetic Sand Build – Crash ‘Em Cars. The kit comes pretty much ready to go and contains moulds to make the cars and cones, two car bases, a couple of ramps and two packs of coloured sand – red and blue. Always tough colours to choose from in a Mancunian household.

We opened the box, the inside of which is a colourful track and we began to build our vehicles. You press the sand into the plastic moulds and then put them onto the chassis. This takes a little bit of time, but it’s fun to do because you’re playing with the colourful and tactile sand.

Once you’ve “built” your cars and made your cones then it’s up to your imagination to run wild with it all. The boys raced around the track smashing into the sand cones and crashing into each other. There was lots of giggling and fun being had.

kinetic sand

The kit had them thoroughly engrossed building and racing their cars for a good hour or so, and they’ve gone back to it several times since, though the different colours of sand are all mixed up now. I think kinetic sand is brilliant. It’s nice to have a kit to play with and do something more than build and shape with it. Kinetic sand continues to be incredibly popular and you only have to play with it for a few minutes to understand why.

The Kinetic Sand Build Crash ’Em Cars set is priced around £14.99 and is available in toy shops and online now. To find out more about the Kinetic Sand range, visit the Spin Master Toys website.

kinetic sand

Note: We were sent a set of Kinetic Sand Build – Crash ’Em Cars for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Top Tips for Buying a Used Car

I am a bird and I don’t drive. I never learned, well I did start to learn but an accident (yes, I have more accidents than Mr Bump) meant that I never finished my lessons and ultimately I couldn’t be bothered. This does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that I hate cars, quite the opposite, I love cars.

At the webuyanycar Negotiation Academy a few weeks ago I got to reconnect with my inner petrol head and meet a real life petrol head, Richard Evans.

Richard is the Head of Technical Services at and has been a mechanic for over 30 years. What he doesn’t enthusiastically know about cars isn’t worth knowing. On the day we got to give a car a once over, checking for things that might give clues to a cars history and things to look out for which might be costly at a later date. Richard was amazing and is a key part of the webuyanycar academy team. His top tips in full are written below, but I urge you to check out his YouTube video.

Richards’ Top Tips:

Essential checks on a car forecourt to make sure you’re paying what the car is worth.

  • Colour panels: Stand 2m away from the car and check the panels match. If they don’t, work has been carried out -ask what and why.
  • Dashboard: Make sure no lights are illuminated when you run the engine. Especially engine management, anti-lock brake and airbag lights as they point to problems that are very expensive to fix.
  • Integrated satnav: Make sure that a dis is there. If not, it’s useless and a replacement is costly.
  • Tyre tread: Beware of anything that is less than 3mm as they will need to be changed.
  • Bolt-on panels: Check bolts to see if they have been turned. If the paint chips off the car has had work done – again ask why.
  • Modified cars: Enhancements are often done by DIY enthusiasts – meaning dangerous wiring, expensive insurance and a car thrashed to within an inch of its life. Check for alloy wheels, low suspension and souped up exhausts.
  • Air conditioning: Turn on and test it to avoid an uncomfortable or costly summer!
  • Service history: Check the paperwork is correct by calling the garage last to see it.
  • Mileage: Check the stats add up by visiting
  • Upholstery: Lift up any mats in the car, look out for any rips, tears and burns or even holes from high heels.
Richard Evans
Richard Evans

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the Negotiation Academy, given a scrummy afternoon tea and my travel and childcare expenses were covered. 

Taking a Spin Round Legoland Manchester

What to do with a small boy during that terminally long gap between the close of nursery and actual Christmas Day? It’s always harder to try and entertain them in the winter, when you’re naturally less inclined to brave the elements and head to the park for a go on the swings. We were definitely starting to feel a bit cooped up and tempers were already beginning to fray.

Luckily the generous sorts at Carcraft could sense the end of a tether being reached, and were kind enough to send us to Legoland Manchester for an afternoon of small plastic building block shaped joy. Thanks guys.

We’d not been before but it was super-easy to find. Just follow the signs for Barton Square at the Trafford Centre and you can’t miss it. We arrived and were ushered through to have our pictures taken. Splodge was bemused at best and I’d neglected to brush my hair, these were genuinely THE worst pictures ever taken of us, ever. But you know, it still was kinda fun.

We went up in the lift to a room which acted like a holding pen, there were Lego things to see and do while we waited for the “factory tour”. The tour itself was tiny but brilliantly done, scientifically accurate, interactive and enjoyable. At the end we were presented with a special edition brick as a souvenir of the tour. It was a really lovely touch.

We then passed through to the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride which was a journey through a medieval kingdom as a noble knight. Using laser guns you zap the spiders, skeletons and trolls to save the captured Princess. Splodge enjoyed it but didn’t really have a clue what was going on, thus allowing me to massively out-score him in the killing of trolls. Result.

We then toddled through to the main room which held the majority of attractions including the 4D Cinema; Friends Olivia’s House; Forest Pursuit; the much admired Merlin’s Apprentice Ride; the amazing looking Fire Academy; Construction Site and Master Model Builder area.

P1000434What with us being vehicle mad, we headed straight for the Lego Racers: Build & Test. We built a couple of cars and set to work racing them down the tracks. Splodge loved the racing more than the building, his little three year old fingers found the Lego bricks a little fiddly. At home we’re still playing with Lego Duplo which he loves. But the racing was a big hit and I could’ve spent ages designing and refining my championship car. Lego isn’t just for kids you know. What? Don’t look at me like that.

We had a look around the rest of the attractions. He was keen to try the Merlin’s Apprentice Ride but he was too little, something we’ll save for next time. He loved the Fire Academy soft play area and was wowed by the Forest Pursuit section.

We’ll definitely be back. It was a great place to while away a wet winters afternoon. There was something fun for everyone and as he grows he will appreciate different areas and activities. Oh, and the big red race car in the shop, brilliant!


Disclaimer: We were given free tickets to review Legoland Manchester by Carcraft but it’s somewhere we’ve been meaning to go to for a little while.