Friday, 2 November 2012

Christmas Gifts Guide 2012 - For Babies and Children

Image courtesy of

Update 03/11/2012:

Please note that the John Crane's Tidlo Little Cottage and BigJigs Nativity Set are suitable for 3 years plus only. Apologies for misleading you with how Clay was getting on with them. I wanted to show you that even young toddlers love them, but of course, they don't really know how to play with them. So to avoid harassment made by young toddlers like Clay, it's advised to keep them away from the toys :)

Ang x

This gift guide shows a list of Christmas gifts that we have tried and tested. Each include an honest review to help you with your Christmas shopping decision making. If you have any questions about any of the gifts, feel free to leave a comment and I'll try my best to answer them as soon as I can. Happy browsing! x

This guide is split into the following categories*: 
(Please visit Christmas Gifts Guide - For Adults and All for gifts review and ideas suitable for adults and all. Some of them might also be suitable for children)

For Babies
For Younger Children
For Older Kids

    All links are highlighted in blue 
    All prices are listed as rrp or original selling price wherever possible, but a lot of the companies are currently running discounts and offers as well, so it's worth checking them out if you are interested but aren't sure about the price
*   The categories are for guideline only; some gifts under one category could be suitable for those in another
** Both Christmas gifts guide links to the same giveaway. ie you can enter the giveaway either through here or through For Adults and All.

For Babies

MAM Christmas Soothers (2 pack) - Red   £4.58

- Suitable for 6 months+ babies, BPA Free

I love seeing babies with big soothers, they look really cute in them! With MAM's thin Silk Teat you don't have to worry about their teeth development either. Clay don't normally use soothers but he certainly love these, let it be for sucking or chewing!

MAM is famous of having a big range of soother designs and these cute Christmassy ones will be great as a gift or stocking filler. The red pack has a snowflake on the white and the red one has a seal with a Santa hat on (shown upside down on the above picture because Clay likes it that way)

- Suitable for all ages, submit a photo and turn it into a fairytale (or other themed) Artwork. Package includes a hi-resolution Artwork, free postage and packaging, and either a basic A4 unframed print, 6 unframed prints or 3 unframed prints, all printed on an A4 glossy photographic paper.

A lovely gift for anyone, not just babies, by featuring them in their dream scene. Clay might not be happy to see me posting this up, but isn't he cute?!

The quality of the hi-resolution Artwork (right) is fantastic, though it's a shame that some of that resolution and sharpness got lost through printing (left). Still, it's a lovely picture and I believe that if you opt for the other 2 options (there are other packages at different rates too) the quality will be better as the images aren't blown up as much.

TOMY Night Night Pooh (links to Amazon UK)   rrp £29.99

- Suitable from 0 months+. Bedtime cuddly toy that acts as a nightlight. It has an interactive mode where Winnie the Pooh speaks, sings and you can blow at the candle to make it flicker; a lullaby mode with 5 lullabies and a nightlight mode with a 10 minute timer.

This cuddly Pooh bear has been our children's bed time companion for over a month now. They really liked listening to the lullabies and blowing at the candle. I made a mistake by telling them that they could blow the candle out, which was of course wrong, but it kept them at it for a while before they gave up.

Although you can turn the volume down, it was still a bit loud for us at night, but it doesn't seem to bother the children. Good thing is that it only lasted for about 10 minutes and both light and sound will be off.

For Younger Children

Artzooka Wooden Spoon Puppets   rrp £5.99

- Suitable for 3 years+. Box contains 2 wooden spoons, 6 set of cardboard outfits, 6 colour paints, 1 paint brush, double sided sticky squares and stickers for the face

Suitable as a stocking filler, I like it that you can make 6 creations out of this kit than just 2. There is a variety of faces you can make out of the stickers provided as well. The only thing I'm not very keen of is the paint and paint brush, which aren't very good. But then, what do I expect from £5.99? I'm sure the kids won't be too bothered and will still have plenty of fun with this kit.

Baby Annabell   rrp £44.99

- The new Baby Annabell suitable for 3 years+. Comes with a sheep shaped bottle and a dummy attached to a blanket. Can drink real water and shed tears, baby babble, cry, burp, sigh, yawn, giggle, make sleeping noises, blink eyes, and when sucking on the dummy her mouth will move

The above pictures was taken when Abby first met baby Annabell, didn't know she had it in her! Abby loved to look after her, while Clay loved to  stick the bottle in her mouth  feed her. Annabell does talk a lot, but I rather she talks a lot than cry all the time like some other baby dolls do! And if you leave her talking for long enough, she'll go to standby mode, which was a delight for hubby when he couldn't find the on/ off button during his sleep!

There is a whole range of clothes and accessories for baby Annabell to bring the role playing to the next level, and collecting the accessories might make gifts decision making that much easier!

BigJigs Nativity Set   £29.99 (Party Pieces)

- Suitable for 3-10 years, includes 7 pieces for the barn, 1 star, baby Jesus, Joseph and Mary, the 3 shepherds, 3 kings, donkey, camel, sheep, horse and cow

This wooden nativity set is beautifully made and painted, and is great for role play or story telling this Christmas. Each piece is easy to hold for younger children, but because the pieces for the barn are loosely interlocked to hold the barn together, it can also be easily 'destroyed' by the more excited ones. Abby whined about Clay 'breaking' the set when she tried to put it together, while Clay was just having fun destroying the scene or taking his favourite piece away with him. The joy of having two!

Fly Trap Action Board Game   rrp £19.99

- Suitable for 4 years+, the game consists of a fly trap with an electric motor, 3 decorative leaves and stickers for the face, 2 pumps, 2 fly flickers, 20 plastic flies in 2 different colours. The aim is to flick as many flies as possible into the fly trap's mouth while the other players will try to close the mouth using the pumps

I liked the idea of flicking little cute flies into the fly trap. It's constantly on the move and you only have a few seconds window to flick the flies into its mouth without having someone close it's mouth with the pump.

The kids were really excited at first, until the fly trap's leaves that's hooked on the stalk started falling off the main body, distracting them from the flicking quest. They spent more time putting the leaves back on than flicking and pumping. I was also told that the pump wasn't working well. I took a look and found that because the material was a bit weak, it is harder for the children to pump it, if they managed to pump it at all.

The sturdiest part of the game seems to be the flicker and the flies, but when the kids got really excited, which you can expect from a 4 years old and a 6 years old, the flicker that is placed underneath the fly trap moved and again, distracted the kids as they had to put the game together instead of playing the game.

I like the idea behind Fly Trap, and it would be more fun if the children can focus on the game play than fixing the game. I would recommend it if the quality of the game can be made better.

Halfords Balance Cruiser Balance Bike   £54.99

- A vibrant and attractive unisex cruiser balance bike suitable for 2-4 years old. The bike has mudguards, foot stand, kick stand, push handle for parents and breaks

It is said that a balance bike is better than the traditional bikes with stabilisers as it lets children get used to balancing instead of relying on the stabilisers, which I think makes a lot of sense. Children will get used to the stabilisers and become dependent on them. With a balance bike, once they got used to cruising around and learned how to balance, they can immediately move on to proper bikes without a transition period.

The foot stand gives little feet a place to rest while it scoots off. The seat is a bit hard, but that applies to all bike. It's not a problem at all for Clay as he's still in his nappies, or we can always get him a seat padding like the one we got for Abby's bike. The kick stand isn't working very well on ours. I think the angle it's fitted on is a bit off so the bike will still topple over to the other side. The break will be a bit too tight for 2-3 years old children, but at that age I doubt they'll need it at all. I also think that we'll use the push handle more for slowing Clay down than pushing him along.

Overall we still really like the bike and can't wait for next year when we can take both children out for a ride!

Ice Cream Shaped Door Stop   £6.99 (

- Suitable for all ages. Realistic looking melted ice cream with cone door stop

This must be really good as it's sold out at the moment on I Want One of Those's website! Abby had a visit from her friends and they thought that it was real! It's a fantastic gizmo to give to someone by just placing it on the floor instead of wrapping it up, and get the camera ready for that priceless look (especially from those who are like Monica from Friends hehe)!

The only problem we had was that our carpet was really thick in Abby's room so it won't wedge into the door, but in my opinion it looked better in the middle of the room or next to a table!

iCrayon   £7.99 (MenKind)

- Suitable for all ages. A Crayola crayon look alike stylus pen for tablets and smart phones, especially those from Apple.

How many of us bought smart phones and/ or tablets, only to find that it's the kids who are playing them, not us? This Crayola crayon look alike stylus pen is perfect for children who 'owns' their parents phones and/ or tabs, saving them from using their tired little fingers, and us from greasy gadgets afterwards! Works smoothly on Apple products, alright on our Samsung Galaxy S2 but only works occasionally on our Samsung Galaxy 7" Tab 2.0.

We gave this to our friend's son as they have an iPad and let me borrow it to test it out. She did wonder where she should keep the pen. The pen isn't that big so can be easily found in hand bags, though I know what she mean as it's logical to keep accessories together with the product that's using it.

John Crane Pin Toy Fire Engine   rrp £40.00

- Suitable for 3 years+, detailed and well made fire engine for imaginative play. The ladder is extendable and detachable, and also come with detachable lids, steering wheel and 2 parts fire host. Part of Pin Toy Fire series

The fire engine comes readily built in the box, and can literally roll out from the box for instant play. It's very sturdy and well made, and children can even store things inside the front and back. Love the little flap doors on each side. If you are buying this, do consider buying their Firefighters & Accessories as well to make it more fun to play!

John Crane Tidlo Little Cottage   rrp £60.00

- Suitable for 3 years and above, includes building materials for a house, and a tree, grass area, bucket, watering can, garden bench, bed with 2 pillows, a duvet, mirrored table with chair, wardrobe, balcony, bathroom mirror and sink, shower and toilet, TV stand and TV, 2 sofa chairs, coffee table, oven and stove, breakfast table, fridge, 2 dining chairs and a dining table, 2 pots of flowers, a girl and a boy

It was really fun building the house, so I think this should be classed as a toy partially for the parents too! The house is fairly easy to assemble, though the instructions could appear to be confusing. Just trust it and you'll get there. The 'key' for screwing the screws on isn't very good for building the house, so I would suggest to use your usual screw driver instead.

The house is sturdy and well made (well packaged too), and have almost everything you need in the cottage for playing. Abby did ask me how the little people go upstairs though. Clay loved pretending to be a natural disaster (or God) and destroying everything in the house, making Abby really upset. I think it's a quality wooden doll house worth considering if a doll house is what your children are after this Christmas.

LEGO Friends: Olivia's Speedboat   rrp £9.99

- Suitable for 5 to 12 years old. Features Olivia, her speedboat, a sandcastle, a sunbed with umbrella, a bucket and spade

LEGO is an all time favourite in both hubby's and my family, and our next generation loves them too. Abby created her first LEGO Duplo hammer when she was only 2 years old. We love it that LEGO is classic and encourage creativity, imagination and building skills.

Most of the LEGO we played with were very boyish, and the only slightly girly ones were from the Duplo range. So we were absolutely delighted when they've launched the Friends range, which is more girly with LEGO people that has pretty hair and gorgeous styles. Finally something from LEGO that is build mainly for the girls!

Abby had great fun building Olivia's speedboat set and kept wanting to play with them. She already has Stephanie's Outdoor Bakery and now she can put them together for imaginative play. I definitely think that the range is worth collecting although it took her no time at all to build the speedboat set (and she's only 4!). So we are highly considering getting her the Heartland vet next for either Christmas or her birthday!

Mixy Snap 'n' Carry   £19.99

- Suitable for 5 years+; contains 150 beads and charms that can be snapped together. Also includes a small handbag, and a poster/ catalogue to show what the children can collect

Very easy to snap together, so the kids can focus on creation instead of struggling with threading. I love the variety it includes in the kit: fabric ones, sparkly ones, wriggly ones, big and small, collectable and mystery ones too. The handbag has holes for children to create and hang handbag charms or decorations, and they can put their creation into the bag as well to carry around.

The handbag felt a little bit flimsy as it's made of foam, so some kind of care will be needed. Otherwise this is a fun product for the accessory lovers.

Myro, the Smallest Plane in the World Audio Book - Myro Arrives in Australia   rrp £7.99

- First of a 6 part book series following a little British Microlight, Myro's adventures in Australia. CD narrated by the famous Panto actor Christopher Biggins

The first book tells the adventure of Myro when he landed Australia for the first time. The animated illustration and story is quite nice, especially for children who loves planes. The audio CD also includes the beginning and ending songs, though track one confused me a lot as it was quite a dance track!

I'm not really certain what I'm expecting, but I don't really think that the narrating was done very well. It's more panto style, comical and exaggerating the whole reading, than differentiate the talking and description. Abby isn't bothered about it, but she does prefer to read the book herself.

I do like it that the book includes the route map Myro and his friends took during the adventure and factfiles about characters that appeared in the book.

Novi Stars dolls - Una Verse   £19.99

- Suitable for 6 years+. Brand new alien dolls range with a twist: Una Verse has a glitter and water filled body, Alie Lectric lights up to reveal multiple cosmic colours, Mae Tallick speaks cosmic phrases with her robot-like voice and Ari Roma is bubble gum scented and has a removable bubble helmet. Each doll come with an alien pet, glow in the dark stand and the box handle can be transformed into a hairband for the child

There are a lot of dolls out there but with this range being the most innovative ones! Not only are they aliens, so following the new dolls trend of being different is good (instead of the classic pretty lady like dolls), but each of them are unique as well, and we are not just talking about the outfit. Not only that, they also come with a stand for the dolls to stand on. I don't know whether it's to make up for the fact that their legs can't be bended, hence no sitting positions for them, but I always think that dolls should come with stands. It save space and you can put the dolls on display when not being played with, instead of letting them fall over each other.

We were sent Una Verse to review, which I think is one of the more special one together with Alie Lectric, but each of their differences make them worth to collect, otherwise there is bound to be one to suit anyone! The alien dolls are shorter than the human dolls on the market, making them very cute. Abby just told me that she wants to ask Santa for another one of the Novi Stars dolls, and she liked her more than the human dolls she's got! Although more targetting 6 years old and above, it's suitable for children above 3 years old who knows how to play with dolls.

TOMY Chuggington Over & Under Starter Set   £39.99

- Suitable for 3 years+, includes Koko and Wilson wooden magnetic characters, V, 2 piece clock tower that can be converted to 2 tunnels, and 17 wooden track pieces

This well made set is part of a big Chuggington collection that fans of Chuggington and trains would love to collect! The characters are especially well made, and they even have their names printed at the base!  I like it that you can convert the track from a clock tower to 2 tunnels, giving it twice as much fun than just one stationary set.

The only problem I had was that when you push the characters down the track, they run so smoothly they will run off it, even if you extend the bottom before making it bend around. But other than a few crashes the kids played happily with it, especially when they normally hold onto the trains possessively instead of letting them slide freely down the slope. I love it that you can collect all the characters, and Hoot and Toot will be on our next to buy list!

Hufty, Topsy and Ooo Ooo figures not included

TOMY Raa Raa's Interactive Playset   rrp £34.99

- Suitable for 2 years+, including Raa Raa the Noisy Lion's interactive treehouse, Raa Raa interactive figure, Cubby Buggy, Bongos, a ladder and a secret chest

Raa Raa the Noisy Lion has become one of preschoolers' favourite program and this has to be a must have for Raa Raa's little fans. When you put any Raa Raa interactive figures into the smart slots, they will interact with the children with over 30 phrases and sounds. I have packed away a lot of their toys but this playset is still being played with in our living room. This year we might buy Hufty's interactive train for Clay, and perhaps complete the gang as planned by getting zebby and crocky as well!

For a full review please follow this link.

TOMY Rainbow Aquadoodle   rrp £24.99 

- Suitable for 18 months+. No mess water drawing but with technicolour instead of the usual blue. Set includes a large mat, 2 aquadoodle pens for sharing the fun, a brush with water container and 3 stamps

I'm not one of those parent who can endure mess, so we aren't very crafty in this house. We have a few Aquadoodle products as they are just water drawing, which suits us well, but any drawings made are in blue. The Rainbow Aquadoodle is beautiful, and I really like the accessories that comes with it, especially the brush.

Another nice thing is that you wouldn't be sure what colour you are going to get unless you flip the mat over, so it gives the children some sort of wow factor when the colour shows. The only thing I will probably not use is the water container as it looked like it's very easy to trap water in. I can understand the need for it (prevents water spillage on the floor), but I might also have a problem drying it. Other than that it's a lovely product especially for younger children who tend to create a lot of mess.

For Older Kids

Jelly Belly Hello Kitty Jelly Beans 125g Gift Box   £5.36

- Include 5 flavours: Very Cherry, Bubble Gum, Strawberry Cheesecake, Cotton Candy and Red Apple

For any Hello Kitty fans really! These gourmet jelly beans comes in all sorts of pink and red tone, exactly what Abby would pick from a mixed bag! A little indulgence is allowed in the festive season, although I must insist that she shares, even if it's just with me! If you know someone who loves sweets and Hello Kitty, this is the perfect stocking filler for them.

LEGO The Lord of The Rings: Urak-hai Army   rrp £29.99

- Suitable for 8 to 14 years, includes 4 Urak-hai soldiers, Eomer, his horse and a Rohan soldier. Makes Urak-hai ballista and part of Helm's Deep that can be connected to LEGO The Lord of The Rings: Attack at Helm's Deep

Hubby had a good time building this set. Not only did it bring back old time memories of him and his brothers playing LEGO, he was (we were!) also really impressed with the detailed LEGO figures. There are new type of LEGO bricks as well as the classic special ones that brought back a lot of memories for both of us, and the set shows how clever the LEGO designers are. By using different LEGO pieces, they have created a ballista and catapult that works (though they can hardly cause any damage), and even the ballista hooks were made of LEGO pieces that you see all the time. Hubby said that he prefer building his own LEGO wheels than using those with tyres. These 'wooden' wheels on the ballista certainly look more realistic!

LEGO is an all time classic well-made toy that can train patience and building skills. It should always be on a gifts list! If the person you are buying for is a fan of fantasy and especially The Lord of The Rings, then you should definitely consider one of LEGO The Lord of The Rings kit.

We were recommended to keep the bags of LEGO separate, but we love the challenge and always pour the pieces together, even for 4 years old Abby.

Miners Cosmetics Glitzy Kitz Shimmer Dust & Puff Kit   £2.99

- Aimed at 8-15 years old girls, brought out especially for the festive season

The beautiful shimmer dusts come in pink and purple, fantastic for girls who love shimmers and sparkles. The cute puff gives even coverage so you don't really need much to give a lovely effect. The pots are mini but a little goes a long way and for £2.99 it's well worth it! Although aimed for children 8 years+, there is no harm puffing Abby up with a bit of these!

Splitster   rrp £24.99

- Suitable for 8 years+. Remote Controlled Stunt Action Car with bright LED low energy illumination in the transparent wheels and body. Can stand up and spin on the spot, drive around like other Remote Controlled cars, and can back or forward flip. Works the same even if it's upside down. Comes with rechargable battery pack and charger and a 9v PP3 battery. 

At first I thought that the Splitster I was sent was broken. Apparently you need to charge the car and remote control up first (Duh!). When the Splitster is fully charged and illuminated, it's absolutely beautiful and mesmerising! Both our kids couldn't keep their hands off it even if it's designed for older children. Abby just wanted to show off her Remote Control skills (she can really do it!) while Clay just giggle at the car. He wanted to have a go but we didn't want him to poke himself with the Remote Control. We were saying that even not running, it's great to have it around as it's beautiful to look at!

The car is quite strong and goes really fast so if you get hit, you do feel it more than other smaller remote controlled cars. I'm impressed that it worked on our thick carpet as well! The rechargeable battery pack charged up quickly, but also didn't last for very long. Looking at our remote control helicopters that only last for 12 minutes max, I suppose this is normal. The beautiful wheels can catch dust easily, but can be cleaned as easily too.

Last but not least, thumbs up to toys and gadgets that comes with batteries!

Stock photo

Sweetling First Bras Gift Vouchers   £23.95

- Teenage bras designed to fit without the use of underwires or moulded padding, made in the UK

Shopping for the first bra could be an embarrassing experience, especially having a shopping assistant fitting them. Sweetling prevent this embarrassment (still embarrassing according to my sister in law and my niece who were reviewing this, but at least they were at home instead of in public) by providing detailed instructions on how to do the fitting at home with the help of someone they trust. They do a lovely range of bras, some with matching under pants while others are more affordable or come as twin pack.

My niece went for their Sweet White Crop Top, which include 2 tops. The quality of the 100% soft cotton jersey fabric they used is lovely, very soft and smooth. I think that a first bra, or bras during development in general is as important as that first pair of shoes, so it's worth splashing out a bit more. The 2 Crop Tops is only £18.95 which I think is affordable, while their bras under their Dolly deals are only £11.95. The above Flying Heart bra cost £27.00, but it's really cute, pretty and will make a lovely gift.

It might be awkward to give underwear to a girl for Christmas, but the gift voucher would be perfect and discreet, and the price covers at least half of their products as well.

Style Me Up! Crystal Glitter Bracelets   rrp £6.99

- Suitable for 8 years+, contains 3 bracelets, 3 tubes of glitter powder, a pot of mixed rhinestones, ribbons in 6 colours and an instruction manual

Another fun project for the young accessories lovers, they can use this kit to make 3 sparkly bracelets by either following the instructions or create their own. The hardest bit is sprinkling the glitter powder, which practically sticks to anything that comes near it. But they are very pretty! Just make sure you put a plate or holder under the bracelet when you do the sprinkling. I also find tweezers to be a great tool for sticking the rhinestones on the bracelet.

The Witcher Keys (Hardcover)  rrp £15.99

- A fantasy book about a group of light elves and 2 youngsters - Victoria and Mark trying to stop the evil creatures - dark elves, goblins, spriggans and hell hounds from getting to the Witcher's hoard to save the World, as well as getting the cure to save Victoria's baby sister.

Although a book written for teenagers, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Think Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. There are victims, quests, the unseen world, unspeakable horror, magic, riddles, treasures, beautiful scenery and even death. 

Love the book's description on Amazon UK:
Four secret keys Six enchanted swords One priceless treasure One magical cure

As I had no idea what spriggans look like, the beginning of the book was a bit harder to grasp. But once things started to happen, it gripped me all the way until the end. It felt fantastic to be reading another great fantasy again after the Harry Potter series has finished,e specially because I loved The Lord of The Rings kind of fantasy books. The only thing I would love to see to be added is a map of some sort so I know my bearings better, but I suppose that might affect young readers' imagination?

Disclosure: I've received the above products to try and review; all opinions are honest and my own

Christmas Giveaway


First:      hotter shoes voucher (£50.00)
Second:  Sekonda Ladies Black Mother of Pearl Dial Party Time Watch (£39.99) (link) 
Third:    TOMY Chuggington Over & Under Starter Set (£39.99)
Fourth:  Stuck on You Voucher (£25.00)
Fifth:     TOMY Rainbow Aquadoodle (£24.99)
Sixth:     Jelly Belly 40 Flavour Christmas Sleeved Gift Box 500g (£15.26)

How to enter:

Please read the following Terms & Conditions before you enter the Rafflecopter Christmas Giveaway.

Deadline:   Friday 30th November, 2012 12:01am EST

Terms & Conditions:
  • The giveaway is open to the UK only
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  • Winners will have to respond to my email by Monday 10th December, 2012 noon, so that I can send your details over to the PRs. If I haven't receive a response by then, I will have no choice but to choose another winner for that prize.
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Good Luck! x

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