Thursday, 12 November 2015
Christmas 2015 - Toys
This has to be the most important section for many Christmas shoppers - Toys! Even if you don't have kids to buy for, there are always toys for adults as well. Not because we are childish, but because some things are just timeless. And it's good for us to be always young at heart too! The only thing I couldn't offer to recommend is something for babies (yes for toddlers), because our kids have grown up and we don't really have babies around us anymore. I do sincerely apologise for that.
Anyway, please do take a look, because I'm sure you'll find something here to buy for someone! Don't forget that there are gadgets and games that are almost a toy, which I've featured in another section before! Here is a reminder and links to previous posts:
Gadgets & Games
Happy Browsing x
As LEGO fans, LEGO construction sets are definitely our top choice for Christmas gifts! There are so many themes, there bound to be one suitable for someone you know! And we aren't just talking about kids either! These are just the few that I'd highly recommend, including the LEGO Star Wars: Poe's X-Wing Fighter reviewed below.
We bought the LEGO Creator Santa's Workshop for Christmas last year, and it's my favourite LEGO Christmas set so far. This year LEGO has launched a LEGO Toy Shop, featuring an impressive LEGO Christmas tree, but this is Santa's workshop! You can't beat the Santa's workshop. You'll also get Santa, Reindeers (Abby changed the nose for one to red and named him Rudolf!), Mrs. Claus and 4 cute little elves with short legs!
Another LEGO Creator set that would make the perfect gift for any super car lovers is the LEGO Creator Ferrari F40. Definitely not a toy for kids, although kids like Clay would certainly love to play with it! I love LEGO Creator sets, they are highly collectible, and it's all about the building skill and patience because they use mostly the classic LEGO pieces for the sets.
For stocking filler, I'd recommend LEGO Mixels and LEGO Christmas baubles. Both are under £10 (£3 for LEGO Mixels, so you can throw in a whole Mixel tribe in the stockings and it'll still be under £10!), and will still provide lots of building fun! The LEGO Christmas baubles always go out of stock way before Christmas, so do grab them soon. The gold and red bricks baubles are already sold out! Good that we've got ours sorted already.
For the Super Heroes fans, we have really enjoyed building LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: The Avengers Quinjet City Chase set, so we'd definitely recommend it. The Quinjet is awesome with a cargo compartment that dumps Captain America's bike from below, just like in the movie Age of Ultron! The set also comes with Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Vision and Ultron, so it really is a very good set! You can see our full review through the link.
LEGO Elves is still very new to us, and we have yet to get our own set. We have bought one as a gift, because it's so pretty, but I wasn't sure if Abby would like one. She is now, and I'm hoping that she'll put it on her Christmas wishlist.
Out of all the sets, our favourite is The Elves' Treetop Hideaway, because it comes with a few transparent pieces with glitters on it. We love transparent pieces, especially with glitters on it!
For a bigger LEGO Elves set that contains a great story (use the 4 elemental keys to unlock the portal), the Skyra's Mysterious Sky Castle will be perfect! It comes with a magical snowy owl minifigure too! To be honest, if it wasn't for saving money for the children's Christmas presents, I would have bought the Treetop Hideaway already!
LEGO Star Wars sets are big this year, and it's a must to buy for Star Wars fans! The most popular sets would most likely be the Millennium Falcon and AT-AT, so if you don't know Star Wars but want to buy a LEGO Star Wars set for a really close person, then the above is the ones to consider.
Having said that, all 4 of us, including my Star Wars fan hubby, prefer Poe's X-Wing Fighter because the jet is much more pleasing to look at (beautiful colour contrast) than the other sets (they are mostly grey!). It's also at the perfect (in my opinion) price range (RRP £69.99) for a Christmas gift (all the above sets are around the same price range or a bit lower), it's challenging enough to build, it features a really clever mechanism to allow the X-Wing Fighter wings to open and close like in the movie (elastic bands LEGO? It's the simplest yet cleverest solution!), and it comes with BB-8! I think that's the cutest BB-8 on the market, it can't get any cuter than that. So I took it and add it to my "I have to have it!" collection.
Poe's (who is Poe?! I thought BB-8 partners with Ray, who I also don't know. Must watch the movie next month!) X-Wing Fighter is really very impressive (thumbs up to the designer!). You just need to turn the wheel looking piece at the top (behind BB-8) and the wings will open or close (allowing it to fly between buildings and other jets!). When it closes, the wings snaps together, and it made me jump the first couple of times because I thought they would shatter. But no! The wings are really strong and can withstand many snaps no problem.
And! Surprisingly, this is the first set we own that has never been broken! It is now sitting happily on the TV stand, and occasionally played with by Clay.
If Millennium Falcon and AT-AT are too much for your budget, do consider the X-Wing Fighter!
free Christmas Train (I want!!!!) for orders £50 and above! I think I need the kids to write their Christmas wishlist asap...
For Christmas gifts shopping, we always have to take at least a peak at Disney Store. I think they are especially busy this year because of the continuous popularity of Disney Frozen, and the new Star Wars craze because of the movie that will be out in the cinemas next month.
My favourite merchandise from Disney has always been the cute baby versions of their characters, which were only available in Asian countries before, but now the even cuter Tsum Tsum has launched Worldwide, and we can get these adorable, stackable plush in the UK as well!
Tsum Tsum comes in a wide range of different sizes, and new collection are released every first Tuesday of each month (next month is Winnie the pooh). Apart from cute cuddly toys, they also have other products like these cute mugs (I want one! They'll make the perfect Hot Chocolate companion!) and bags. For Christmas, they have a pack of 8 Christmas Tsum Tsum too that are just too cute!
Abby absolutely adores her large Minnie Mousse Tsum Tsum, and it's now taking up the space on her bed. She doesn't mind though, they are perfect for hugging.
The small Tsum Tsum will also make perfect stocking fillers.
Apart from The Octonauts fans, toddlers who love a good and fun bath toy, and those who love helicopters will certainly love this Fisher-Price Octonauts Gup H! It is really well made (good sturdy plastic), can be played in water, you can wind the bucket up into the Gup, and release it by pressing on the propeller. It's a perfect size for little hands too!
We recommend it not just because it's Clay's favourite Octonaut toy, but it really is a very good and fun toy for the little ones!
Frozen has been a big hit ever since it was released 2 Christmases ago, and it is still going strong this year. We watched Frozen Fever and loved it as much as Frozen itself, especially the mischievous Snowgies!
When it comes to Christmas, snow globes are quite a popular keepsake, and we especially like John Adams' Disney Frozen Snow Globe Maker, because the design inside the snow globes are really flexible. You can place Olaf in the middle, or Anna and Elsa right in the front of the snow globe. You can also add a background scenery and snowflakes around the main characters.
Apart from the really easy to put together snow globes, and the flexibility to change the internal design (you are free to adjust the amount of glitter and snow you want too), what impressed me most is the water additive they've provided with the kit. We had a snow globe kit from another brand before and because we couldn't preserve the water, the really nice snow globe soon became all yucky inside! The bottle of additives is quite generous as you only need about 5 to 6 drops for each snow globe, so you can re-design your snow globes for a few more times! This will be perfect for the Disney Frozen fans as well as those who are looking forward to snow!
We love a good science kit, especially those that are not only fun and educational, but also comes with the majority of the things you'll need! We had a science kit before and it hardly came with anything, let alone a pair of safety goggles. It's just annoying when you have to source all the materials when you just want to get on with experimenting.
So we were really excited to see that the John Adams Sparkle Science kit not only came with a pair of good safety goggles, it also came with a big bag of things including 4 big bottles of chemicals (it is a science kit after all), all the moulds you need AND a lava lamp kit as well (for RRP £19.99, now £14.99 on Amazon UK, that's a really good and value for money kit!).
We are taking it slow to do the experiments because it requires adult supervision, and I have to do all the crystal bashing job! Both me and Abby love everything sparkly though and we can't wait for the crystals to grow. I'm hoping there is enough for us to make an extra necklace at least. Crystal growing was one of my favourite thing to do in science class!
Another thing I love about this kit is that it explains the experiments in the instruction manual, so that the kids can actually learn about each chemical and chemical reaction than just have fun and create things.
I'm not biased at all and honestly think that John Adams' kits are good quality, value for money and worth recommending. You might find an alternative kit that's cheaper, but you wouldn't get all the good quality things John Adams provides.
You might have seen my previous post on Sylvanian Families for Christmas. I was doing a research then while reviewing the Polar Bear family, and I couldn't stop thinking about their Connectable range ever since!
It's the perfect way to build a massive doll house, and you can keep changing the layout as well! For those who love animals and playing with dolls, Sylvanian Families is definitely worth getting. Everything is well made and detailed, and they retain their value as well. You can also ask other family members to help with the collection, so you don't have to fork out a full toy mansion's worth of money in one go.
I think this is the toy that every family should have - Hornby's Santa's Express Train Set that runs around the track! Imagine it going around your Christmas tree with blinking lights around it! The only thing missing is the chugga-chugga and choo-choo sounds!
Hornby's Santa's Express Train set is really well made and very detailed. You'll want to be careful when the little ones are around, because they will be tempted to play with the train! The buildable track is very well made and slot together perfectly. The latches can be bendable though, so again, care is needed and it really is a toy for adults.
Hubby showed me an amusing trick. He split the engine from the 2 cargos, made it go backward and it latches onto the first cargo as soon as it bumps into it. And without touching the train, hubby made it go forward and all 3 sections went together. I honestly didn't think that this train set can do that!
Apart from moving the train backwards and forwards, you can also adjust the speed. It can go from a peaceful pace to really fast, so make sure nothing stands in its way!
The train set also comes with the driver and coal shoveler, and a really big mat! It's perfect for those who'd like to keep a train corner, but we prefer it directly on our carpet so we can see the train better.
The train set will definitely make a brilliant Christmas gift, and you can expand it too by collecting the annual Christmas cargos. 2014 and 2015 are already out of stock on their website though!
And that's all the Christmas gifts we recommend for this year! I hope you have found something you like to add to your shopping list or wishlist, and don't forget to grab them quick because a lot of items go out of stock quickly during these few weeks!
Also, I'll be publishing a giveaway tomorrow, if you'd like to win some additional gifts for this Christmas, don't forget to come back and check it out!