Tag Archives: toys

Boris and the Horn.

Boris and the Horn.

Boris ‘has got the horn’ quite literally. Pets at Home are stocking buffalo horns for dogs to chew on. I didn’t have the heart to ask about what happened to the rest of the buffalo for fear of finding out something truly horrendous. He likes it I think. He also ‘has the horn’ for his toy lion which is getting increasingly embarrassing. I sat in a pool of sunlight drinking a cup of tea and reading a book this afternoon, it was thoroughly relaxing – apart from when Boris started rolling around on the floor and humping the poor thing. I lost my page because I was giggling too much to concentrate. It’s so undignified. We’ve christened it his “Love Lion” now. It must be an awfully confused lion, he swings between savaging the poor thing to making sweeeet love to it. We may have pups of a very unusual kind in the house sometime soon.
For new readers, Boris is our dog, not my husband or anything.  Horace does not have any inclinations of that sort for stuffed lions.  At least he’s never told me of any.

Helicopter Mission Complete!

Helicopter Mission Complete!

You know what, I get stage fright when I come to write on this blog sometimes.  I sit here wondering why on earth you’re subscribed to this, why do you read it, what can I write that will interest you?  And then I get scared and go make a cup of tea and brows LOL Cats instead.  I keep reminding myself that I’m writing this blog for me, for my memory cupboard, as a record of the trials, tribulations and tantrums of parenthood.  So if I lose readers because I’m boring, offensive or tedious, then so be it.

Today I am going to write about a helicopter, not just any old helicopter, a special, bright yellow helicopter that makes whirring noises and flashes a red light.  If you don’t like helicopters, then stop reading here.  This is today’s topic, please make yourself comfortable, or not.  As you like.

'Helicopter!' Not the one I'm writing about because I couldn't find that one, but it is a helicopter nontheless

‘Helicopter!’ Not the one I’m writing about because I couldn’t find that one, but it is another one of my son’s helicopters nonetheless.  Call it a visual aid or something.

We were trying to properly toilet train Sausage for ages, he kept having accidents and it all went a bit poo/pear shaped for a while.  So, I decided he needed some motivation.  Every time we walked past a certain shop in our home town I’d point to the toys in the window and say ‘Once you stop having accidents, you can have whatever toy you like from there.’  This isn’t as generous as it sounds, as the toy cars, planes etc  took up only about a quarter of the window display. The shop is actually a sweet shop combined with a tobacconist so there isn’t a huge range really.  I couldn’t very well offer to buy him fruit flavoured tobacco could I?  So I pointed at the toys and hoped for the best.

Every time we walked past he’d point at the window and ask if we could go in, and up until recently I’ve always said no.  Mainly because I didn’t have any money on me, or the shop was closed to be honest.  But….the other day I decided that enough was enough, no more excuses could be made – he had earned his toy.  Sausage is now well and truly toilet trained and is dry at nights most of the time too.  You have no idea how much of a relief this is.  He is five now and it has been hard work.

Last week we passed the shop and Sausage again pointed at the toys, as he has done for the last year.  I asked him what he would like and he said the helicopter and grinned at me.  We stepped into the shop and it’s funny, I think I was just as excited as he was.  As the shop assistant carried it over to the counter, I felt a tiny tingle of excitement.  Sausage had worked so hard to get that helicopter and he deserved his reward.

We took it out of its packaging and he ran ahead of me down the road towards home, holding it up in the air, spinning the rotors, making the light flash, jabbering on about something and nothing – completely in a world of his own.  I walked behind him with the biggest grin ever and felt like the proudest mum in the world.  I can’t remember if the sun was shining or not, but it felt like it was.

He’s reached a toilet training milestone and my washing machine and I are very relieved.  Phew!  I suppose the next challenge will be along soon enough.  I hope that shop doesn’t run out of helicopters, I have a feeling they may come in very useful.

Postman Pat is a Kidnapper

‘Postman Pat is a Kidnapper’

I thought after my last post, you’d all have beggared off to read something more tasteful.  I still haven’t checked my blog subscription stats as I’m scared there’ll just be this big gaping hole where all the names used to be.  But I gained a new follower today so hello to ‘momofuc.’  So I guess there’s still a few gluttons for punishment as the saying goes.  *waves to the faithful*  Thank you. x

Anyway, important news in the Brink of Bedlam household.  Postman Pat is a kidnapper.  Oh yes he is!  Horace found the kids’ Postman Pat, toy red van yesterday at the bottom of the toy box……and in it were approximately 6 lego men.  All must have been kept captive in there for at least a couple of months.  It looked like Pat had been collecting all the members of the YMCA  hit song.

There was a builder, an army guy and other characters.  One was headless I think. Postman Pat is sicker than you’d ever have imagined.   I shall never watch that cartoon ever again without a knowing smirk.

Postman Pat, you’re a baaaad man.

P.S I always get quite a few random hits from Google when I post about Postman Pat.  I guess there must be a lot of fans out there.  If you like this post, please read some of my others meanderings rather than disappearing off into the ether again.  I do toy reviews, pls click on the ‘Reviews’ tab and see where it takes you.  The one where the Sylvannian Bunnies get strip searched by customs is quite a good one. 

Telling the Time with Orchard Toys.

Telling the Time with

Orchard Toys!

Hands up!  Who tried to tell the time with a Dandelion clock when they were little?  I know I did.  I also know it puzzled me lots, because even as a tot I realised that it couldn’t possibly be 15 O’clock and what if there were Dandelion seeds that refused to be blown away?  Did it count if you had to remove them by hand and lob them in the air?  Basically, although fun, it was a truly daft way to tell the time.

Dandelion clocks are broken! (although they are incredibly pretty….)

I didn’t actually learn how to tell the time until I was about 9 I think, which is quite late really.  It’s numbers you see, they hate me, always have, always will do.  I’m allergic to them, period.

If I’d had this game from Orchard Toys at the time I do wonder if it would have been easier to pick up the basics though.  What do you think?

This is the aptly named ‘Tell the Time’ game which is tagged on the packaging as a ‘Learn the time lotto.’

Nice shiny , colourful packaging, a good solid box that won’t break as soon as you empty the contents out, always a plus point!

I always love the ‘unboxing’ of new games and seeing what’s actually inside all the posh packaging.  In here I found:

Tons of cute pop out, activity cards complete with the time written in digital and shown on a clock face, also including a brief description of the picture shown.   There are also four much larger cards with a selection of the activity cards on them.

This is how to play the game!

You could summarise all this as ‘Bingo with pictures whilst telling the time.’

I hate reading the rules of games, there I’ve admitted it.  I often find games confusing and get easily mixed up, yes even with games designed for kids.  It’s quite embarrassing really.  This one is ok though, in fact it’s quite brilliant in its simplicity.  The kids got their heads around the game in a matter of minutes and loved it, as did I.

I loved the way it catered for children of different ages and abilities.  Sausage can’t tell the time and is no way even near to doing so, but he could still match the pictures until his board was full and he could shout ‘Time Out!’  Darlek on the other hand worked harder on matching the times and found a whole new level to the game.  So even though I have two children of different ages and abilities, they both threw themselves into ‘Telling The Time!’

Basically summarised, you simply take turns choosing the cards from a pile and whoever fills their card first, wins.  Easy as pie, and everyone loves pie, right?

I wish I had a picture of a huge pice of pie to insert here, sadly although I like pie, I’m rubbish at making it.  Maybe I should use a ‘Cake’ picture instead, or maybe that would be over egging the pudding as they say.  Anyway, I’m sick of doing all the work.  You do something!

**(Imagine a picture of a really huge piece of very appetising pie, the filling is up to you)**

Moving on.

‘You lose, you lose, YOU LOSE!’ ‘I’m the winner! Ner Ner Ner-NER!’ Sausage cheated, I sulked.

We had about 5 re-matches before tea. I ‘lost’ mostly because Sausage stropped if I won. Bad me.

Reasons why I think this is a great game:

1) This game encourages turn taking.

2) It helps to learn how to tell the time (obviously!) digitally and on a clock face.

3) Different age ranges can play happily together.

3) It’s brilliant for learning about basic numbers (eg. How many more pictures do you need to win?’

4) It’s fun and involves shouting, which is always a plus point for kids.

A very  slight drawback:

1) If you lost a card you’d have to draw your own replacement on a piece of cardboard.  I do find games that have lots of pieces are difficult to keep together.  But… as I mentioned before, the box is quite sturdy.  Not like those rubbish jigsaws you get where all the pieces slide out of ripped corners.

2) My kids cheated a lot and took cards out of turn.  Not much you can do about that though.  *tuts*

If you’d like your own copy of this you can find it at Orchard Toys on their website HERE and it is only £7.50 which I think is a very fair price considering how much fun we’ve found the game to be.

P.S Spot the deliberate mistake.  I did it to make a point. I tell you, I hate numbers, so I purposefully don’t humour them.  I hope it annoys them as much as they annoy me.

‘What Time is it Mr Penguin?!’ Or is it Mr Wolf? I’m confused now. *scratches head*

You can also buy a very cool Penguin clock (I had to fit a penguin mention somewhere didn’t I!) to go with this game.  If you’d like a penguin of your very own, that tells the time as well as being cute, it’s only £4.50 and you can find it HERE!

ToyBoxLive! The UK’s Largest Online Toy Library!

ToyBoxLive!  The UK’s Largest Online Toy Library!

ToyBoxLive contacted me a while ago and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing their toy rental service.  Having never heard of such a thing before, I was very curious.  I’ve taken part in Surestart and nursery toy swaps, but nothing like this.  After looking at their very comprehensive website, and after debating whether or not my kids would wreck the toys before they were returned, I decided to jump in with both feet and try their service!  Here’s what I thought!

If you decide to rent from ToyBoxLive, this is basically what happens:

1) You browse their toy library and if you like what you see, you can sign up for just £24.99 per month.

2) Then you select three items from their toy library and they are delivered directly to your door. 

3)  You can keep the toys for as long as you like.

4)  Then you return the toys and you can have new ones delivered. 

That in a nutshell is that!  

 The Brink of Bedlam household chose three toys which were delivered including Edublocks, Giant Snakes and Ladders, and Giant Connect Four.

I have to admit I chose really massive toys because I thought they’d be harder to break, and because we wouldn’t lose the pieces as easily.

There were a few complications surrounding delivery, but that was mainly because I didn’t have a mobile number to supply so they couldn’t text me the delivery slot.  I did try tracking via the Interlink delivery website but couldn’t find my hourly delivery slot, only an allocated day.  Having said this, ToyBoxLive were always contactable and did keep me updated with the delivery and what was going on.  So 10/10 for great communication from ToyBoxLive, and 8/10 for Interlink.

The toys were delivered in a huge cardboard box which was immediately jumped in and played with. Toys are ace, but cardboard boxes are almost unbeatable!

Sausage loved the Edublocks! They’re more rubbery than plasticky, and make huge towers. They were the most popular toy by far!

Setting up the Giant Connect Four! Worked nicely as a rattly suitcase too.

Giant Snakes and Ladders is perfect for outdoor play, unfortunately the great outdoors decided to rain and rain and rain so we didn’t really get to play with this as much as we would have liked. It would be perfect for perfect summer garden days though.

After about a month ToyBoxLive recontacted me and politely asked when I’d like to return the toys, I happily said that they’d been played with and loved and arranged for them to be picked up.  Alison from ToyBoxLive personally picked up the toys (we live and work in a similar area) exactly at the time arranged and it was a very smooth transaction all in all.

If I had lived in a different area, the pick up would have been again organised with Interlink and completely free too – no charge for pick ups on Monday to Friday although a small charge is incurred if a weekend is preferable for the customer.  You can specify if you’d prefer the toys to be collected in the morning or the afternoon of your chosen pick up day which is convenient too.

So what did I make of the whole experience?  I think that toy rental is fabulous, honestly!  As a mum I’ve ended up with piles of toys that the kids have grown out of, many of which get passed on to other parents or charity shops once they’ve fallen out of favour with the kids.  If that doesn’t happen, then the toys are often broken beyond repair and end up in the bin, which just seems a complete waste to me, and very bad for the environment too.

Renting toys means that you get new toys whenever you like for a very reasonable price, they’re all known brands on here too which is reassuring – no pound shop plastic death traps here!  If you lose pieces, they give you time to find them, and if that’s just not possible you pay a small fee for them to be replaced which is only fair.  I was concerned about broken and damaged boxes, but Alison told me that they’d just be repackaged so that was reassuring.  If your child loves the toys so much that they don’t want to give them back ever, they even allow you to buy the toys at a discounted price so it’s a way of trying before you buy so you don’t end up with duff toys you didn’t really want in the first place either.

My only constructive criticisms are that it would have been nice for the toys to have arrived in a sturdy plastic box, so that they could simply have been piled back into it when they were sent back.  This is especially important if you use the Interlink route.  My kids immediately wrecked the cardboard box, but I guess that was my fault really.  Also, if the supplied information from ToyBoxLive had been in a laminated folder it would have been easier to keep safe and to refer to – but all the information is actually on the website so I suspect I’m nitpicking there.

In summary!  It’s environmentally friendly, it’s fun for the kids to have new toys, it’s brilliant value for money, it’s a great concept which is very easy to understand and I’d recommend ToyBoxLive without a shadow of a doubt.

ToyBoxLive sent me the toys to review, all thoughts are my own and no other financial reward was given.  What I do want to know is, (according to picture shown above), when can I expect a monkey?  I want my  monkey! *stamps feet insolently*

ToyBoxLive have a lovely, easy to understand website, which you can find HERE!

Sausage and His Pink Tub of Schleich Dinosaurs!

Sausage and his Pink Tub of Schleich Dinosaurs!

Warning, this is a noisy blog, you  might need earplugs, because……….

RAAAARRRGGGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!

This post is about whopping great big dinosaurs that make the ground shake when they thud around their prehistoric environment.  They’re BIG, they’re BOSSY, they’re SCARY, they could even BITE you on the bum.

The Battle of the Chocolate Biscuit – T Rex demands dinner!

Sausage loves his pet dinosaurs, and although they are normally REALLY HUGE and BITEY, they sit tamely in his pink plastic tub as I type.  Schleich have minaturised them, how clever are they!

Aw….ickle….wickly….cutsey…..wutesy dinos! All curled up after a busy day.

These are typical of Schleich toys, detailed, durable, accurate representations of the creatures they portray.  They’re perfect for children aged between 4 – 10, and are an ideal size for a child to play with.  Sausage adores his pink tub of dinosaurs and has played with them regularly ever since they stomped into our living room.

Here we have three nestled in their very own dinosaur nest (maybe not historically accurate surroundings).  My kids want a pet dog, it’s not happening any time soon, this will have to do for the moment.  This is as cute as ferocious dinosaurs get don’t you think?

Jurassic Park is set to be re-released in eye-popping 3D, so dinosaurs will no doubt be very popular this year.   With Schleich’s new dinosaur collection your child can happily re-enact prehistoric worlds and adventures in their very own living room, and in their very own plastic tub, or bucket, or fish tank, or whatever you have to hand – they’re not fussy.  Tyrannosaurus Rex will be quite content to roam the sofa eating biscuit crumbs.  I say yay for mini dinosaurs!  Hopefully the kids will stop hassling me for hamsters and dogs and stick insects for a while and be content with these fantastic beasties instead.  I can but hope!

Swooping over the Basil rainforest!

If you would like more information about the new Schleich Dinosaur collection, please click HERE for further information on their products.  Evolution PR sent me some dinosaurs to review, no other financial reward was given.

Just a casual hint….don’t feed them after midnight.  ;O)

Sylvanian Families – Celebration Sea Breeze Rabbit Family!

Sylvanian Families – Celebration Sea Breeze Rabbit Family!

I have more Sylvanian Families to add to my collection!  ….coughs….erm I mean to my children’s collection.  I’m far too grown up for such things.  Honest.

Well OK, so I’m not being honest.  These beautiful little bunnies are mine, all mine!  Darlek and Sausage can play with them a little, but if they stamp on them, drop them in drinks of orange juice or otherwise damage them, I will have their guts for garters.  I think they are so cute and I’m afraid I have taken ownership of them for the moment.  Don’t tell anyone though will you? Please.  I’m just having a second childhood thing here.  A mid life crisis maybe?  Shush….

Beautiful Bunnies – ‘Mine!’ (Kay does an impression of the seagulls in Finding Nemo)

Now these aren’t just pretty faces, they are sea-faring bunnies too!  It seems they can sail ships and send postcards back to their mates on the mainland, saying: ‘Wish you were here but you’d dig a hole in the bottom of the boat and we’d sink, so maybe it was for the best that you stayed at home.’  

I just can’t imagine bunnies enjoying a life at sea, but it seems these do!  These are perfectly dressed for the occasion, although lacking life belts if I’m being picky.

The Sea Breeze family stands to attention before departing for foreign shores (ie. the top shelf upstairs).  They proudly display their paw written postcards, pre written in advance because they’re very organised bunnies.

Now for the embarrassing bit.  Customs are very strict these days, and even bunnies have to be checked for drugs etc.  The long arm of the law extends even into the world of Sylvania you know.  You may go …….’Oh no!’ and hide your face in horror now.

The poor Sea Breeze bunnies were strip searched. Shocking isn’t it.  No drugs were found, but the larger bunny had a falling-off-tail, and the smaller bunny didn’t even have a tail at all!  Curious and curiouser.  Customs let them travel anyway.

This is where I stop making up ridiculous stories about toy rabbits.  Actually my kids just removed all the clothes as they always do, just because they can.  As always the clothes are delicately and perfectly stitched and are gorgeous, but I did notice that the tail had been rather badly stuck on the bigger bunny, and that there didn’t appear to even be a tail on the little one. After questioning Evolution PR who sent me the toys, it seems the first one probably had a faulty tail and the teeny one didn’t actually come with one in the first place.  All I can presume is that little bunnies don’t grow pom-pom tails until they’re older.

I’ve seen a few Sylvanian Family critters now, and I’ve never noticed any other faults at all, so I think this is probably very unusual and I hate to point it out.  They are honestly very high quality, adorable little children’s toys as a rule.  I do hope you won’t judge them for the sake of one wobbly tail, that’d be heartless.

If you would like your own Sea Breeze Rabbit Family, you can find them HERE for £17.49.

Many thanks to Evolution PR for sending sea-faring bunnies, and I’m very sorry they were subject to such stringent custom regulations.   No other financial reward was given and all stupid stories were made up by yours truly. *bows*