When a large box of toys arrived on our doorstep, one seven-year-old girl was told she could not play with them. Not until she understood that it was not Christmas already, and that she would need to decide which toys she was giving to charity before we could add yet more to her collection.
So after a frantic clearing out session, we got to work on the very important job of opening boxes, reviewing contents and playing with the toys to see what we thought.
The text below is mine, the scores (awarded in smiley faces out of a total of five) have been awarded by IJ.
Lets Cook Cereal Bar Maker by Character Options, priced £14.99
We are not huge fans of cooking or baking in our house and it is something we need to do more of. I loved this product because it was an activity we could do together. It was IJ's favourite out of all the toys we reviewed. We have spent several hours making chocolate cereal bars (we are yet to try any healthier alternatives, but plan to). We found it's simple design very easy to use and the recipes were very straightforward. With a little help, IJ would have no problems using this on her own or with friends. We would certainly look at other products in the Lets Cook range and I found the pricing very good. IJ awarded the product five out of five.
Zhu Zhu Hamsters by Character Options, priced £9.99
We don't have any pets so I liked the idea of a toy hamster. But, in this case, the fact that the Zhu Zhu hamsters are very realistic proved the product's downfall as far as IJ was concerned. The fact that it looked so real unnerved her a little. She liked its soft fur and watching it navigate its way around the kitchen floor, but didn't like the squeaking noises it made. The product came with a sticker which warned parents to keep it away from hair, but that worried me as IJ's hair is long. I dreaded the thought of the rotating wheels getting caught in it. I suspect my anxieties about the product spoilt her enjoyment of it somewhat. She only played with it for just a day and awarded it one out of five.
Sylvanian Toy Shop, by Flair, priced £26.99. Sylvanian Dessert Counter Set, priced £11.99. Sylvanian Celebration Brown Rabbit Family, priced £19.99
This was our first introduction to the world of Sylvanian Families and we are now well and truly hooked. The products are expensive but the quality and attention to detail is excellent and they are fabulous for imaginative play. IJ has played with them for hours and has used the toy shop and dessert counter, with over 70 parts in total, her set up her own little village. She is keen to add more to her collection and has put a family car on her Christmas list already. She thinks the Brown Rabbit Family are adorable and has them regularly chatting to each other about rabbit life.
The toys are available in most toy shops (although IJ thinks they are delivered to our door by the postman whenever he sees fit).