Thursday, 22 November 2012

Thirteen is a Lucky Number

Christmas gift ideas

According to National Lottery's social media research, most people said that number thirteen is their lucky number. So be it! I bring you another lot of 13 Christmas gift reviews to help you a bit with your Christmas shopping decision making. If you have already done your Christmas shopping, you might wanna add some extra bits after reading my reviews!

10 months +

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Bananas in Pajamas

- Soft cuddly toy that speaks when pressed on the tummy. Each comes with 5 phrases

Bananas in Pajamas is one of Abby's favourite show on Cartoonito channel, and she was really excited when she saw B1! She saw B2 in Boots and wanted us to get her B2 too! Even Clay found him fascinating, but he wasn't sure how to make B1 speak. He'd just pass B1 to us so that we can press his tummy for him. After a few days, he found out that standing on B1's tummy is equally effective...

Really soft and cuddly, and great for BiJ fans, just be prepared that you'll need to get both of them.

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Haba Quacking Frog rattle

Haba Rattling Figure - Quacking Frog   £9.99

- Made from Beech wood, threaded cord and non-toxic paint 

This quality roly-poly rattle toy is cute and brightly coloured, perfect for the little ones to hold, shake, wobble and most likely chew. It certainly made Clay giggle, and his baby cousin couldn't resist the temptation to sooth his gums with it!

3 years +

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Go MINI CREWzer

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Go MINI CREWzer

- 2 x AAA batteries operated MINI car that makes vrooming noises when wheels are turning. Number plates are personalised, and the roof has a moving effect

Although the toy is made for 3 years plus due to small parts that could cause choking hazard, Clay loves it to bits. He even imitated the vrooming noises. Perhaps I shouldn't let him play with it, but it's a bit difficult to take it away from him now!

I love how they personalised the number plate. Ours is number 52 REVS. I didn't even realise that the number is different until I compared ours with the stock photo. It makes them that much more special isn't it?

There are 5 Go MINI CREWzers to collect, all made from durable chunky plastic and are suitable for little hands to hold.

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Schleich dinosaur

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Schleich Dinosaur

- Hand painted and anatomically correct prehistoric animals with a movable jaw to improve imaginative play

Schleich, the famous plastic toys giant has gone the extra mile to improve children's imaginative play by making the dinosaurs' jaw movable. It certainly made them even more life like and ferocious! These quality toys are made for 3 to 7 years old children with a tight quality control from their factory, so they are guaranteed well made and safe for the children to play with.

5 years +

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Ben 10 Kevin Car

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Ben 10 car

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Ben 10 lego car

Character Building Ben 10 Kevin's Car Construction Set   £9.99

- Includes an open bonnet and a Ben 10 micro figure, 216 pieces

A very detailed construction! When we build cars we normally keep pieces to the minimum, a flat bottom, doors, front and back, a steering wheel, windscreen, a roof, 4 wheels and voila! This car however, took me (yes, moi, I didn't let hubby have the fun this time) at least 2 hours to build. There were layers and layers of pieces pressed together to form the inner part of the car. There was even an engine! I love it when constructed models have some sort of hinge you can open, like the bonnet here.

Sometimes I had to put down the main frame, build a smaller part like the car bumper, and then slot it back onto the main frame. The details towards the car, inside and out, was really impressive. And it's only £9.99! Mind you, my fingers were quite painful after I was done with it. Definitely worth getting for the Ben 10 fans who likes construction sets, especially at a stocking filler price! I do wish they can create something for the girls as well.

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Gelarti Activity Pack

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Gelarti stickers making kit

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Gelarti stickers

Gelarti Activity Pack   srp £14.99

- Includes 5 Gelarti paint pens, 8 Gelarti sticker sheets, 1 activity book, 1 marbling tool, 1 card and 2 bag tags

A great stickers craft set for the crafty ones, especially those who loves sticking stickers all over the place. At least you can be assured that these stickers are reusable, hence removable! The colourful paints are fun to use, and the designs are really cute and attractive!

Do be careful when colouring in, and try not to use too much of the paint as it will spill over the other side of the line during the drying process. Other than that, get creative! Abby discovered that red and green makes brown, just right for the little gingerbread man! 

Another tip, you can wipe the paint off the stickers with a damp cloth when the paint is still wet, in case you need to repaint them. The marbling effect will require some patience to achieve as the paint will  push each other aside instead of mixing together most of the time. Keep doing it until you get the result you wanted.

Within 2 days Abby has used up all her stickers and is now asking Santa for more!

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, The Trash Pack Trashies

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, The Trash Pack Street Sweeper

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, The Trash Pack Trashies play set

The Trash Pack Street Sweeper Play Set   rrp £19.99

- Includes 2 exclusive Trashies and 2 bins

The Trash Pack are toys that teaches children, in a funky way, the responsibility of binning their trash. It has been voted the Best New Toy in 2012 - Pocket Money category. The Trashies are collectable, and this street sweeper will introduce more fun to play with the Trashies.

When you roll the street sweeper forward, the front sweepers will sweep the squishy Trashies into the middle of the sweeper, and then squeeze the Trashy into the waste catcher. When the street sweeper hit something in the front, the release buttons will be pressed and Trashies will be able to escape from the catcher.

Our sweeper runs quite smoothly, but we had to make sure that the Trashy is knocked over between the green brush and the black roller before it will be squeezed into the waste catcher. Other than that this is a really fun toy to play with. The Trashies can even take over the sweeper by sitting in it (there is a pin for the Trashy to sit on so it won't fall off)! Love the bins as well that you can use to store the Trashies and place on top of the sweeper for tidying up after play.

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Scatter Brainz darts

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Scatter Brainz collectable darts

- Includes 8 collectable Seriously Sticky Deranged sticky darts that will stick to almost anything; includes 1 special dart only found in the 8 pack. Also include a dart target poster

I was humored when I saw them using the word 'Deranged'. I would have used the word 'Bizarre' but 'Deranged' is good too! When you open the cap it reveals a sticky 'brain' that will stick on almost anything, as you can see from the picture, although some failed to fight against the Gravity within a few seconds. I would also advice not to stick it against any fabric, even if someone's bum makes a perfect target.

Other than that, I loved them. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed throwing them from my seat at the window. It made a satisfying sound to announce that it has successfully attached itself. I think that throwing them with all your strength and watching them stick on the window instead of breaking something is much more therapeutic than squeezing a stress ball.

Then of course, this is a toy, not really something for me to unleash my frustration and stress with. But I have no doubt that these deranged but funny darts will make any child's day, just make sure you cover your bottom with a book or something when you bend over.

8 years +

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Green Science Green Rocket

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Green Science Green Rocket

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Green Science Green Rocket

Green Science Green Rocket   rrp £9.99

- Made from recycled materials. Makes the connection tube and includes materials for making 2 paper rockets. Require 2 big plastic bottles (ideally minimum 1.25Ltrs) and further materials to make more paper rockets

The connection tube was easy to put together, but does require screwing parts together, so a helping hand from an adult might be needed. I was glad that they included 2 paper rockets' materials, to get the children started, but I was also annoyed that it require 2 big plastic bottles to launch the rocket, which we don't normally have at home, and it wouldn't fit bottles that has a wider mouth like juice bottles. Believe it or not, we had some problem getting 2 bottles at the same time (misunderstanding and such) so I ended up holding the tube instead of having it sit comfortably on the floor.

Anyway, the rocket shot really high and fast, so it will be fun for the children, and a great way to teach them about recycling materials. But again, you can only stomp on a bottle for so many times before it refuses to bounce back in shape, so be prepared to have a good supply of bottles handy. Not quite suitable for people who doesn't keep big bottles of drinks around though.

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, charm beads making kit

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, charm bracelet DIY

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Mystyle DeLuxe Charm Bracelet Kit

- Kit includes 2 silver bracelets, 2 bracelet pouches, 8 silver cube charms, 10 dangling charms, 8 attachment rings, 40 pairs of bead components, 2 foil sheets, 3 packets of glitter, beading tool, toothpicks, clay in 7 colours, a container and a manual

At first I thought that it was just a charm bracelet kit with quality charms to make your own bracelet. I was pleasantly surprised when I realised that it's actually a charm beads making kit that includes bracelets and charms so that you can turn your handmade beads into 2 lovely pieces of bracelets!

The beads are fairly easy to make. The hardest bit is to keep them in shape. Once you understood the basics, and with the help of the manual, you can create all kinds of beads. The beads will need to be baked in the oven for 15 minutes, but you can help the children to do that. After baking, the bead will look exactly the same as before you put it in the oven. If your child like shiny beads like I do, they just need some sort of gel like nail polish to give it a good coating.

Although Abby is too young to be making these, I absolutely love this kit, so I'll do my very best to guide her into making them. Or I'll simply give her something else to play with while I  take all the fun   make her a nice bracelet... 

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Rivertz Giant Hornet

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, giant model

Rivetz Giant Hornet Card Sculpture   rrp £12.99

- Includes 1 Technokit Rivetz gun, 44 rivets and rivets centers, 14 printed card pieces, 2 printed wings and 1 cord. Build the model together by riveting the cards together instead of using glue.

The rivetz gun is very easy to use. So easy and fun to use that I skipped through some of the very important instructions at the end and ended up with a small piece of card not attached, and 1 of the wing attached incorrectly. Seriously, follow the instructions right through till the end, even if you think that you know how to rivet C1/3 to C3/3 together.

Also, make sure that you have everything ready before riveting. Press the cards out (don't forget the smallest piece), remove all the rivets from the frame, and fold the card pieces along the lines. Getting all organised means more fun during the riveting process.

The Giant Hornet is, as it says, giant. It will be better for hanging if you don't have enough space to display it on a stand.

Great for kids who like to make models and for parents who doesn't like superglue everywhere.

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Dr Who mobile app

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Dr Who QLA

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Dr Who game with gun

AppGear Dr. Who Cleric Wars App Game and QLA Device   rrp £19.99

- 2 AAA batteries (not included) operated QLA (Quantum Lokk Accelerator) Anti-Time device with a smart device (phone or iPod) holder. Includes a user manual and free downloadable app - Cleric Wars from both iTunes store or Google Play. Augmented-Reality (AR) first person shooting game. 

- Suitable for iPhone 4 and above, iPod Touch 4th Generation, Android 2.3.3 or above phones, 1Ghz processor, 512MB, uses back-facing camera, and must support iPhone headphones with built-in microphone

Hubby found it quite cool because it uses AR technology, which basically means that it'll use your surroundings as part of the game, making it much more realistic. I like it that they made the gun, or QLA work with both iOS and Android versions of the app, which I think is exactly what all the other companies should do instead of limiting themselves with iPhones only.

The smart device holder is good enough to protect your phone from getting scratched while holding it securely on the QLA. Do make sure that the holder isn't obscuring your back-facing camera and remember to plug the QLA into your phone (see image 4, and yes I forgot).

The game's quality is good, though not all the functions can be controlled with the QLA, for example, the Angel hand will stun all enemies, but you'll have to press it straight with your finger. The 4 buttons on the side of the QLA doesn't seem to have a purpose as well, but perhaps it might have a purpose in the near future?

I think that it might not be very worth it if the QLA only works for one game, so I'm hoping to see them creating more apps that will work with the QLA to make people's money a bit more worth it. If they do, then it will be a nice toy to buy.

10 years +

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, Ravensburger 3D puzzle

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, 3D puzzle

12 days of Christmas, Christmas gifts 2012, 3D jigsaw puzzle

- 216 strong high-quality plastic pieces, numbered at the back. Some pieces have flexible hinge, and the total height of the finished puzzle is approximately 39cm

An amazing puzzle! Their easy click puzzle pieces are strong, creating a 3D puzzle that doesn't break even when dropped on the floor (I didn't accidentally drop it, it was by purpose for this review. *cough*). I wanted to peel them apart again so that Abby can have a go (she was upset that I didn't ask her for help) but it was much harder to do that than putting them together.

The tower is split into 3 sections, each connected by a plastic holder. The main body of the tower and the clock were quite straight forward, 2 flat pieces on each side, with a hinged piece in the middle of each to fold into a corner of the tower. The top of the tower gets more complicated as each piece interlock in a different angle, with some hinge pieces folded in and others out to make the tip of the tower curve. It is very clever!

I built this tower using the numbers at the back, but for those who likes a challenge, don't follow the numbers of course. I might just try it again without using the numbers, maybe when I help Abby with her turn. She's only 4 but she does love a challenge!

Disclosure: I was sent a box of 13 toys to try and review; all opinions are honest and my own