Wednesday 28 November 2012

12 Days of Christmas Toy Reviews - Part 1.

Wow. It was like our Christmas had come early a couple of weeks ago when we were sent some top toys to review - all under the title '12 Days of Christmas'! Actually we got an extra one for good luck - so 13 surprise products, all sent in one big package, for us to have a play with and give feedback on.

I'd have loved to write up 13 individual posts, but time has sadly not allowed for that, so I'm going to cunningly rename my efforts 'The 2 Days Of Christmas' and post today and tomorrow in a couple of big hits!

First one I'm going to rave about (geddit?! see manufacturer's name) is our favourite. The Ravensburger 3D puzzle of Big Ben (random fact: that's just the name of the bell inside!).

Both girls went straight for this - very clear and appealing packaging. Inside there are 216 pieces, and some of these bend very cleverly to form the corner pieces. The pieces are all numbered on the back so it's not as difficult as you might think, and you end up with a very impressive looking tower for the mantelpiece!

I would definitely recommend this as a Christmas present and I know the girls would be delighted with one of the other models to work on next - there's also Tower Bridge, The Eiffel Tower and The Empire State Building in the range. £19.99 RRP but there are offers out there.... available from all good toy retailers.

Next on the list was a Gelarti Activity Kit by Flair. I hadn't heard of these before, but from the packaging and description I could tell that it was something my two girls would love. Gel pens and stickers? What a great combination!

The pack included 8 sticker sheets, 5 coloured gel squeezy pens, a marbling tool, and 2 bag tags and a card for putting the stickers on. The idea is that you squeeze the gel onto the pictures, create 'fun' effects with the tool (a plastic stick with bobble on the end!), leave them to dry overnight and then you have stickers which are your own design and reusable. Tamsin really enjoyed decorating these.
I was worried Sasha may find the pens too difficult to squeeze, but they were fine and she loved mixing the colours. I'd say this is a perfect gift for ages 5-10 - it certainly provided a couple of hours fun for mine! RRP for this set is £14.99 - again available at all good toy stores.

Last product in today's review group was this Mini Cooper Freestyle car.

My first ever car was a Mini (back in 1989, so it wasn't quite as sporty as this one!!). There's a definite nostalgia aspect for me, even though it's now all modern. This model has a pop up top (when you press the bonnet) and a British Bulldog pops up and barks. Love it, but I'd have to be honest and say the girls were expecting it to do a little more than that - it doesn't go of its own accord and isn't even a pull-back model, so I think they found it a little boring after the first few hundred times of popping the bonnet....! Probably a great choice for car or Mini enthusiasts.

Due to the variety of products, some were not really suitable or applicable for my girls, so for these I found new homes. A Schleich Dinosaur and a Giant Hornet Technokit by Interplay were the first to be passed on (the Hornet was aged 9+ so went to a slightly older boy). Lovely items I'm sure, but no place for them in this house. There's also a gorgeous baby toy from HABA which I still need to rehome.....

Watch out for the Day 2 update tomorrow!!

We were sent the above toys for the purpose of this review, but have not received payment. All the views expressed here are our own.


Comments are always very much appreciated and can really help the conversation go further...