Friday, 6 July 2012

Christmas in July 2012

On Tuesday I was very proud to be invited to my very first blogging event, along with my good IRL friends Missing Sleep and Katie Cupcake Cymru, called Christmas in July to help choose the Mums Choice Awards hosted by UKMums TV.

Despite a very unnatural 4.30am start (who knew there were two 4 o'clocks???) a half hour drive and then an epic 5 and half hours on the train, we arrived in London at Euston train station! We quickly headed to the event and despite being very very hot, we had a lovely time walking around looking at all the toys that will be hitting stores soon in time for Christmas and I managed to resist temptation with all the cupcakes they had and kept trying to give us!

We saw some fabulous toys that are sure to be a BIG hit in time for Christmas. There was so many wonderful toys that it was hard to choose one or two!!!

Vtech are launching the Innotab 2 which is sure to be a big hit!

We bought my daughter the first one last year for her 5th birthday, last Christmas, and it is one of her favourite toys (I reviewed it as one of my very first reviews and you can see the review here) but I always said that it was missing a camera and I'm pleased to see that the Innotab 2 does have the twist camera built in! In fact after a few of my friends saw my daughter's Innotab, they were so impressed they went out and bought one for their little ones and I want to get one this year for the baby who is 3 in the New Year as she loves playing on her older sisters! The Innotab was awarded 2nd place in the Overall winners and 1st place in the Top Electronic section.

My other favourite was similar to the Innotab, but for older children and I know my 9yr old would LOVE it!!! It was the Kurio Tablet by Inspiration Works.

The Kurio is an Android tablet which is similar to the iPad but more family oriented. We were told that it has several different wi-fi access so you can decide which is best, full interent access, no internet access, restricted access to certain sites only, restricted access to certain types of content. The flexibility of choosing the access means that you can ensure your child can surf the web without worrying they will visit inappropriate websites. The tablet comes in a protective cover which will protect it from knocks and bumps, in fact the lady showing us the Kurio even dropped it!!! It comes with a green cover but you should be able to buy pink and blue ones seperately. The Kurio is available in two different sizes, the 7in or the 10in but as yet the 10in does not come with the protective cover. At the Mums Choice Award the Kurio came 3rd in the Top Electronic section behind the Innotab and Leappad.

Being a Star Wars fan, I fell in love with the Radio Controlled Inflatable R2-D2 from Bladez Toyz

R2-D2 is over 65cm tall, comes with his own pump to inflate in minutes and can be stored in his box when not being used. R2-D2 can perform 360 spins and if you knock R2-D2 over he will just bounce back up. Bladez Toys are also going to release a Darth Vader, Yoda and Boba Fett version as well as an Google Android version for the non Star Wars fans. In the Mums Choice Awards R2-D2 came 3rd in the Top Boys Toys Section whilst the Google Android version came 3rd in the Top Gadgets Section. 

Another toy that I liked and could see DS and Granddad (or even daddy) spending hours doing, was the Red Toolbox woodworking kits. 
These kits vary in age and skill range and are wonderful ways to get children making things which they will be proud of. There area  lot of different kits, such as the Go Kart above, bird house, treasure box, basketball hoop and even parts to create their own mini golf! All of which will help encourage creativity and the children will get a real buzz out of knowing that they built them themselves!

For girls as well there was plenty to look and choose from. My daughters are all into arts and crafts, in fact my 5yr olds teacher noted in her school report that she would spend all day in the creative corner if she was allowed!!!

I really liked the Aquarelle from Ravensburger. This is a painting kit but what makes it special is that the lines have a special coating so that paint will not bleed from one section to another, helping them to make beautiful watercolours without tantrums that they've gone over the lines. This was also the winner of the Top Creative Section.

Another toy which I'm sure will be a hit amongst girls, especially crafty ones like my daughters, is the Style Me Up Range by Wooky (Star Wars again LOL) which allows Tween's to create their very own rhinestone pendants as well as other jewellery kits in their range.

Another popular product is World's Apart's Love My Street. What I liked most about these little shops, is that when you aren't playing with them, the tents store tidily away in the accessories which means they're not taking up room but that the children can also play with the accessories without the tent. 

The overall winner of the Mums Choice was a fantastic product from Ravensburger is the Augmented Reality Puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles that once built, can be used with an iPad or iPhone to play special games, find out more information on the animals on the jigsaw and even view Paris from the Eiffel tower! My only problem with this is that it is limited to just the iPad or iPhone meaning that those who don't have one cannot use them, but hopefully they will make them available on other items such as those using Android.

There was also a board game that took our fancy, but we could see the adults have just as much, if not more fun. In fact we joked that we would have to get a copy and get together to play it with a glass of wine! This was Telestrations from John Adams. Telestrations is a modern twist on chinese whispers, but with drawing. The first person draws the picture then shows it to the next who draws what they think it is and passes it on. Then the last person has to see if the picture still looks anything like the original picture. I can see this game being a BIG hit and one I definitely want!!!

To read the full list of the winners of the Mums Choice Awards Top Christmas Toys you can find it at UKMums.TV

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