30 July 2020

What I want to keep from lockdown

So lockdown has finally eased, albeit replaced by a myriad of other less invasive rules. It has made me think about all the various aspects of my life that were changed by lockdown, and what I actually want to retain fin the future. It has been interesting to see what other people have found to have been the positive impacts of lockdown - usually they tend to circle around time-use and family - and I find my list is similar. 

Lockdown for most people has been a negative experience. If lockdown made you reassess your whole life, and you want to live it completely differently from now on, it is worth thinking why you were living the wrong life before. I'm paraphrasing here wiser people than I am, but it is a point worth considering. Personally, I am not looking at the whole lockdown with rose-tinted glasses - by and large lockdown was difficult and pretty awful, and I am glad life is getting back to more normal now. 

That said - there are some things I want to retain.

sisters baking a cake together

1. More eating together. During the lockdown we ate together every evening, or at least sat down with the kids while they ate their earlier dinner. It is just nice to sit down and have a chat and eat, and do it consistently. We also ate breakfast together, though lunches we often had at different times dictated by nap times and work schedules. 

2. More relaxed family times. Many a weekend went past where we would not do much at all, just chill back home. We enjoy going to new places and visiting attractions, but lazy family film days are prefect antidote to a hectic week. 

3. More outdoors pursuits. During lockdown it was a daily ritual to have a walk or a park dash with the girls. I also enjoyed having a morning walk, for fitness sake, but also to get a bit of peace and quiet in my day. 

4. Shopping small. During the lockdown I purposefully tried to find and support smaller businesses, and there were so many great ones I found. Unique and varied, there are so many great products and services out there outside the big supermarkets and Amazon.  

5. Shopping local. So many local small businesses did amazing things with home deliveries and innovative products. In the future I want to support more of my local shops, and shop for all kinds of things near by. Our high street is very small, but hopefully it will continue to flourish. 

6. Working from home. I've long worked from home several days a week, but now that we have finally got our home office sorted with a proper space, a good desk, monitor, and all (albeit I'm still missing a proper chair), I am set for working from home permanently. I would still like to go to the office for some meetings and for collaboration purposes, but mostly, I'd be happy to work from home most of the time. 

7. Daily exercise. I started pretty good with this, been more lax and lazy with it recently, and want to start doing it again. Not having two hours of a commute helps in finding the time!

8. Gardening. I'm definitely not green-fingered and our garden is a sorry state of paved surfaces and parched potted plants, but I've been making an effort and it is getting into a much better state. It is such an important space for the girls as well, especially now with social distancing and less going out. 

9. Finding time for self-care. I found myself rediscovering other lost interests too, such as skincare routines, and reading, and listening to podcasts and audiobooks, that were difficult to find time for in the past. Skipping the commute definitely helped in finding time for things outside the hectic family life.

10. Fixing our home. During the lockdown we haven't quite been the DIY enthusiasts as many people, probably with no kids or older kids, have been. We just haven't had the capacity. But we have been eyeing at different areas of the house and slowly making plans to make them better. 

So quite a few things I want to keep on form lockdown - mostly family-oriented, spending more relaxed family time, and shopping small and shopping local, and pursuing my own interests too. None of these things were huge changes from pre-lockdown, but now that I have been able to do more of the, I want to retain them and keep them as a big part of our daily lives from here on in. 

What kind of things would you want to keep from the lockdown period?

You might also like: What I've been thinking about the lockdown

20 July 2020

What to do with Harry Potter Magical Capsules?

A new collectible you say? My lucky seven year old Harry Potter- fan received a PR sample of the new collectible toy from KapToys so we could review it here on the blog. This post contains a review of the new Harry Potter Magical Capsules collectible toy, as well as instructions for how to open it. As we all know, kids love to grab these collectible toys and just rip them open, but this particular toy... You get so much more out of it if you know what you are supposed to do! (This post may contain affiliate links.) 

girl looking at a toy

harry potter magical capsules toy

girl opening a toy

harry potter magical capsules crest


After opening the toy, my seven year old reviewer said of the Magical Capsules: "Really good. I like playing with it". 

OK, so seven year olds don't tend to be the most descriptive, so here are my thoughts from a parental perspective! 

At £9.99 RRP this is quite the normal price for a collectible toy. Overall, there are lots of little packages to open, there is good attention to detail in the wrapping (they look like Hogwarts letters), and the toys feel like good quality. After several days of opening the toy, my child still plays with them at times. The toys look quite cute, so would appeal to kids of all ages. We got Harry Potter, and there were also a suitcase, Hedwig the owl, a letter and a wand included with Harry Potter doll. 

The idea of the toy is that you open the packages in a sequence - first the number 1 compartment, then number 2, then number 3 and work yourself from the smallest package to the biggest, all the while getting more clues as to what your character will be. Unfortunately, the box does not contain instructions on this, so had I not sat with my kid supervising/reviewing the item, she would just have opened the biggest package first, and not get the point. She would also have struggled to understand what to do with the first clues (one you have to warm up, the second, make wet). 

So great idea but execution less so. It would be good to include proper instructions in the shrink wrapping, maybe even pointing the child with arrows where to open it first. Not all kids will have seen a video of the toy first. 

harry potter magical capsules first clue

harry potter magical capsules first clue

harry potter magical capsules second clue

harry potter magical capsules little toys in bags

harry potter magical capsules little toys and clues opened


1. Get rid of shrink wrapping and find the compartment labelled with 1 first. There you will find a crest. Warming this up with your finger will reveal the house colour, giving you your first clue. We got red.
2. Go to compartment 2 next. Here you will find a spell written in magic ink... You will have to dip the spell scroll in water first! Ours was Expelliarmus. 
3. Then you get to compartment 3. Several little packages there and one big one. Start with the little ones! All the little packages will give you more clues as to who your character is. My kid guessed by the spell already that it might be Harry Potter, and this was confirmed with the owl. 
4. Confirm your suspicions by opening the biggest bag! 
5. The toys can be housed in their crest - very handy to keep them safe, as the little toys (especially the wand) go missing easily. 

Overall, a fun little toy. Gets opened quickly, but for Harry Potter fans it will be a fun experience and as the toys are good quality, they will last well when played with. Would be improved by clear instructions written on the package, so in the absence of it, help from parents is important. 

girl with harry potter magical capsules toy

harry potter magical capsules opened toy - harry potter figure

Have you seen these toys yet? You can buy them now on KapToyspreorder them on Amazon UK, or if you are in US, ToyWiz.com has them too on preorder. They will soon also be stocked by all major retailers such as supermarkets, so keep your eyes open!

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