Monday, 1 September 2014

Pedal powered fun with a Kettler Nitro Extreme go kart - a review

"Hurry up with the photo Mum, I want to do another lap!" Our son, age five.

Our son loves cars more than almost anything in the world, and he's had his own go kart since he was about three.  He's loved all his Kettcars, and needed absolutely no persuasion to try out the Kettler Nitro Extreme go kart.

After 50 years making go-karts, the Nitro Extreme go kart is still one of Kettler's best sellers.  It's really easy to see why.  It's top notch quality, skilfully engineered, looks great and is absolutely begging to be taken out and ridden.

The go kart comes flat packed for easy transporting.  Most of the hard work is done for you, so it's just a case of assembling the steering and seat.  The instructions are very clear, and it can easily be done in about 20 minutes by one person.

The go kart weighs around 22kg (that's about 48lbs in old money) and is very solidly built.  This makes it weighty and sturdy enough when being driven fast, but still light enough for me to be able to handle.

It measures 115cm from front to back, 70cm wide and 70cm from the ground to the highest point.  It's suitable from around age five to 10.  Our son is very tall and nearly six, so he's on the second of the five clip-adjustable seat settings (no screwdriver required - great!).  There's plenty of room in the seat adjusts, so I'm sure it will fit him for a good few years.

As you'd expect from Kettler, the German engineering and attention to detail on the Nitro Extreme go kart is fantastic.  The number one on the front is clearly there because anyone who drives it is a number one driver!  Our son thinks the black slide-on 'suspension' is real; it's a really good detail which really adds to the overall look.

The seat has a foam strip in the middle, which helps to gives the driver a comfortable ride.  A really nice touch is the seat molding for comfort and to help stop the driver sliding out on tight bends.   I love the embossed Kettler logo on the back of the seat, which is also somehow reassuring as our son whizzes off into the distance.

We all love the black and yellow which is understated but still very cool.  The Nitro Extreme sticker on the main part of the body adds a nice streak of colour and our son thinks the reflective stickers on the rear of the go kart look great as they change colour when light reflects on them.


The Kettler logo in yellow on the steering wheel is a nice touch too, and is a real sign of the attention to detail throughout the go kart.

"Mum, look at the wheels, they're like Dad's car!"

Our son absolutely loves the wheels and pedals on this go kart.  I'll explain why!

The wheels are made from rubber, and have proper tyre tread.  This is great for a few reasons.  They're quiet, for when you're out of the house at 7am on a Sunday (sorry neighbours), they have fantastic grip for those "whoa, what a great skid that was" moments, and with a wheel size of 12.7cm/5" and overall diameter of 25.4cm/10" they're great for really gripping the pavement to make the go kart go faster whilst keeping stability.

Which brings me on to the pedals.  Our son thinks he loves the pedals, which are a great size for his feet and in a great position for pedalling.  But actually, he loves the torque and traction the go kart has which come from his pedalling combined with the grippy tyres. At low speeds he can pedal easily to gain momentum, and at higher speeds the pedals are still under his control.  The torque is strongest at low speeds, but it still has plenty of go in it as it gets faster too!

"Look at my three point turn!"

The handling on this go kart is great too.  At low and fast speeds the steering is very responsive, and goes exactly where our son wants it to.  As well as three point turns, he loves to skid using the handbrake while he's moving along.  I think we'll have a rally driver on our hands one day!  The neutral and first gear make him feel grown up, and are useful if you need to wheel it along freely by hand.

We absolutely love this go kart, and I'd recommend it to any parent with a young child.  It's so well made and really brilliant fun.  It's great for getting out and about in, really encourages children to exercise with all that pedalling and most of all have a great time.  You can see our son driving it in this short video.  He never stops smiling when he's in it, so it's a definite thumbs up from us.

The Kettler Nitro Extreme go kart has a recommended retail price of £249.  In my opinion you won't find a better quality or handling go kart.  Kettler go karts last for years and hold their second hand value - although if you're like us, you won't be able to part with them.  Here's our son's collection, waiting for toddler girl!

Back: red, black and white Kettler Spa, ages 3-5.  Middle: yellow and black retro Kettcar, picked up from eBay.  Front: black Kettler Nitro Extreme, ages 5-10.

Family Fever

Disclaimer: we were sent a Kettler Nitro Extreme go kart for the purposes of this review.  All thoughts, as ever, are  my own (and in this case, my family's).

Sunday, 31 August 2014

My Sunday Photo

Our son has been so lucky this week to be testing and reviewing a fantastic Kettler Nitro Extreme go-kart.  While I type up the review, this picture made it onto the cutting room floor, but I didn't want to let it go entirely.

It sums up a week of going to the park all the time, timing him doing laps of the climbing frame in his favourite new toy.  His record at the moment, is 11.62 seconds, although I'm sure he'll beat it later!

Linking up with One Dad 3 Girls for My Sunday Photo and Coombe Mill for Country Kids.


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 29 August 2014

Christmas #WotW

My word of the week is controversial at this time of the year!

I love Christmas, and think about it all year round.  I get so excited thinking about it that I'm rarely organised and last year we ended up in ToysRUs a few days before Christmas day.  Ridiculous!

This year, I was thinking about blogging all the things I've been planning, making and doing in preparation for Christmas.  Hopefully to keep me organised.  I settled on posting once a week as roughly enough to keep me busy without being overloaded.  And then I wondered if other bloggers might do the same.  Would it be worth starting a linky *gulp*?

What do you think?

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Oxford notebook review and giveaway

It's back to school time, and parents and students everywhere are stocking up on essentials.  We've been out buying uniform, shoes and stationery.  I love stationery and always get carried away.

In WHSmith, the Oxford project book below caught my eye.  I've used Oxford project books before and know they're great quality.  I'd be lost without my many notebooks, which contain my many lists for staying on top of working, family and blogging life.  This A4 lined project book is top notch, and really useful not just for forgetful, list-mad people like me, but also teachers, bloggers and working people who need to keep track of life. 

This project book is filled with '200 pages of the finest quality paper at 90GSM' (that's the technical way of saying good quality!).  I love that the three coloured dividers are repositionable within the book, which is a great way of helping me keep track of not only where I am, but also organising different areas of life and lists.

200 lined pages at A4 is a great size too, and will last me ages.  Now I have no excuses for forgetting anything!

And the reason this book in particular caught my eye?   The competition!

Oxford Notebooks and its sister brand Elba Filing, are holding a great competition with its notebooks and filing products at the moment.  Entering the unique code printed on the inside of the promotional slip into the brand's site means you're entered into a daily draw to win a pair of Converse trainers.  The trainers come in the form of a £50 Office voucher - much easier to post!  The competition closes on the 8th November, so there's plenty of chances to win by entering a code everyday.

The nice people at Hamelin (parent company of both Oxford Notebooks and Elba Filing), have given me a lovely new Oxford project book to giveaway, which contains a brand new code to enter into the 100 pairs of Converse in 100 days competition.  You can't say fairer than that!

To be in with a chance of winning, please complete one or more of the Rafflecopter options below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be shipped to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 28th August 2014 until 23:59 on 2nd September 2014.
  • Entry is via one and/or more of the methods in Rafflecopter widget.
  • Winner(s) will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.  Winning entries will be checked and must be current at time of checking.
  • There is one prize.  The prize is one Oxford project book with new code for entry into the 100 pairs of Converse in 100 days competition.  There is no cash alternative.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 19th September 2014 and asked to confirm their delivery address within 48 hours.  If no reply is received, a new winner may be chosen.
  • I'll do my our utmost to get the prize to the winner within 14 days, but can’t guarantee it.
  • The winner's name, as registered when logged into Rafflecopter will be displayed after the end of the competition. The winner will also be announced on Twitter.
  • Judge’s decision is final.

Disclaimer: I purchased an Oxford project book, and was given one to review and giveaway by Hamelin Brands.  As ever, all view are my own.

Win competitions at

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Slow cooker Chinese fakeaway - hot and sour chicken and prawns

I love Chinese food and it's quite simple to make in a slow cooker, although it's something that does need slightly less cooking than most of my slow cooker recipes.

This Chinese fakeaway hot and sour chicken and prawns* tastes even better than you get at your local Chinese. Put it on in the afternoon and it'll be ready once the kids are in bed, and you won't even need to go out in the car to collect it. Perfect.

I threw chicken and prawns* and a lot of different veg into the slow cooker, but you could simplify it with just chicken or prawns*, and one or two veg. Once the sauce is there, you can just experiment. I'd love to know how you get on!

Slow cooker Chinese fakeaway - hot and sour chicken and prawns*
Serves 2-4 people, depending how hungry you are

Two free range chicken breasts
Eight-10 jumbo frozen king prawns*
One pak choi
One green pepper
One small tray baby corn
One tray shitake mushrooms
225g tin of pineapple chunks in juice
225g tin of sliced water chestnuts in water

For the sauce
2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 red chilli, deseeded
Tbsp soy sauce (I use dark, but light would be fine too)
Two tbsps cornflour
Tsp Chinese five spice
Tbsp sherry vinegar
Tbsp hoisin sauce
200ml veg stock (one veg stock cube)

 First up, make the sauce.  Chop the ginger and chilli as finely as you can, and then mix together with the Chinese five spice, cornflour and all the 'wet' sauce ingredients.

Chop the chicken into bite sizes pieces, and add to the slow cooker with the frozen prawns* and sauce.  Give it all a stir, put the lid on and cook for 3-4 hours.

Chop the veg ready for the next stage.  Slice the mushrooms in half, slice the green peppers, slice the pak choi lengthways and slice the baby corn lengthways too.

After the chicken and prawns have been in the slow cooker for three or four hours, add in all the veg, including the drained tin contents.

Give it all another good stir, put the lid back on and leave for one or two hours.

Once you're ready to eat, give it another good stir and you're good to go.

I serve it with cooked rice and prawn crackers and it's delicious!  Perfect for a Saturday night fakeaway.

Linking up with A Mummy Too for this recipe post.

Link up your recipe of the week

*I have used frozen jumbo prawns in a slow cooker many times without a problem, but if you're young, old, pregnant, or in any way have a sensitive stomach, just to be on the really safe side I wouldn't recommend it.

Monday, 25 August 2014

My Monday photo

It's been a busy weekend and I missed My Sunday Photo, so I thought I'd do a 'my Monday photo' instead.

I love Doctor Who, and was literally counting the hours until the new episode with Peter Capaldi.  I loved David Tennant, and thought Matt Smith was great too.  I didn't know how the producers could top the last two doctors, but it looks like they have!

Did you see the programme?  What did you think of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor?  I'd love to know.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Brief #ThePrompt

This week's prompt from Sara at Mum turned Mom is:

Not long after university, I lived by myself in a house that was purple on the inside.  I loved having my own time, my own space, and my own little corner of the world.  I was there for about 18 months, and now think back with a smile at that brief, but happy period.

And my university days, where I met some of my best friends, spent many an hour in the bar, and definitely not enough time in lectures, lasted three years.  Sometimes it felt longer than that, but now, over 15 years on, I recognise that also as an oh too brief period in my life.

And all those jobs I hated, and even the first one I didn't, didn't really last long.
So why is time elastic?  Periods that feel endless, with hindsight are actually brief.  As my Nan says, the clock keeps on ticking.  Time keeps on moving.

And so this is the time when my children are small.  Sometimes they drive me crazy.  Send me to distraction.  And I'm screaming inside because I don't want to play cars for the fifty millionth time.  Why do some days feel endless, when I know, like the rest of the world with its well meaning advice, that this period of my life is also brief?


Chicco Fit and Fun Monkey Strike review and giveaway

I love the idea behind Chicco's Fit and Fun range - toys designed to get kids active, trying, playing and challenging themselves with different sports.  All this encourages important skills like balance and co-ordination.  The whole Chicco Fit and Fun range, including Goal Strike and Fishing Island is designed to be played inside or outside, which is great in summer and winter!

Chicco's Fit and Fun Monkey Strike game is right up my two monkeys' street.  Designed for 18m+, this bowling and stacking game is really thoughtfully designed for flexibility, endurance and most of all fun.  My two couldn't wait to try it out!

We set it up in bowling 'mode' first of all.  The six monkeys come in two parts, and fit really well together.  I love their cheeky faces, and really appreciate the numbers one-six and different colour coding which helps toddler girl become familiar with numbers and colours, and is a good reminder for our son too (we used it as prompts so he could add up the numbers a he knocked the monkeys down).

The bowling ball is hollow and sturdy plastic and at just bigger than a tennis ball is a great size - at 18 months, toddler girl can hold it in one hand, and at nearly six, our son can easily use it too.  It really encourages motor development and co-ordination; the monkeys are stable but slightly weighted to fall easily, but they do need the ball to hit them to knock over. 

Toddler girl loves to knock just one over and retrieve it to play, but our competitive son likes to try and get a strike every time (trickier than it seems)!

The monkeys are multi-functional too, and can be stacked and played with in loads of different ways.  They're a great size at around 15cm high and 10cm across and are a vibrantly coloured sturdy plastic build.  Toddler girl loves to grab the top half of the monkey and try and build a tower.  The monkey faces and white cup bottom are also great for water, sand or even bath time play.

I love that toddler girl and our son can play together and enjoy it.  It's flexible and study enough to engage them both, get them moving and laughing together.  Our son loves to stack the cups and rebuild the pins when they've been knocked down!

This is such a flexible toy that is great for all ages.  It's strong and sturdy enough to be played inside or out, and is multifunctional to guarantee it will be played with loads.  It's brilliant value too - with an RRP of £14.99 you really can't go wrong.  Ours hasn't been put away yet, and is definitely a favourite with both kids.  We love it!

Would you like to win your own Chicco Fit and Fun Monkey Strike?  Complete the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.  Don't forget to tweet everyday for even more entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Family Fever
  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be shipped to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 21st August 2014 until 23:59 on 1st September 2014.
  • Entry is via one and/or more of the methods in Rafflecopter widget.
  • Winner(s) will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.  Winning entries will be checked and must be current at time of checking.
  • There is one prize.  The prize is one Chicco Monkey Strike toy.  Chicco may substitute for product of equal or greater value in the very unlikely event the prize is unavailable.  There is no cash alternative.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 10th September 2014 and asked to confirm their delivery address within 48 hours.  If no reply is received, a new winner may be chosen.
  • Winner's details will be passed to Chicco's marketing and PR team, so the prize can be shipped.
  • We'll do our utmost to get the prize to the winner within 14 days, but can’t guarantee it.
  • The winner's name, as registered when logged into Rafflecopter will be displayed after the end of the competition.
  • Judge’s decision is final.