Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Fun presents for Santa's little helpers - Christmas 2010

Ho ho ho! It's that time of year again - Christmas time!
With just over two weeks to go until the big day, most of us have been busy running around the shops spending money like there is no tomorrow on what seems like, and in some cases is, hundreds of presents for the whole family.
But if you are still trying to decide what to get the little ones, worry no more as I have decided to take a look at some of the toys currently on the market.
Grab some of these stocking fillers now and enjoy the rest of the run up to Christmas Day in relaxation and happiness - until next year...

Sonic Colors - SEGA
Released just in time for Christmas is Sonic Colors, a brand new high speed action adventure - the ideal gift for old school Sonic fans as well as boys and girls.
Whilst I'm not a huge fan of playing on computer consoles, I used to love playing Sonic the Hedgehog, on our old Sega Megadrive, when I was younger. I was an expert (even if I do say so myself!), but if I'm being honest, my seven-year-old nephew is today a lot better on computers than I ever was. So, I gave him Sonic Colors to play on his DS.
He loves it. The game, available on Nintendo DS and Wii, sees Sonic accelerating to adrenaline-pumping super speeds and blasting through obstacles. It features the diabolical Dr. Eggman, who in a bid for world domination, has built an extraordinary amusement park floating in space around Sonic’s home planet - and has abducted an alien race. Before Dr. Eggman completes his evil plans, Sonic discovers his mysterious theme park in space.
Sonic will need all his speed and skill as he faces this test, but it’s a test he’s sure to pass with flying colours, isn't he?
Sonic Colors costs £24.99 on Nintendo DS and £29.99 on the Wii. It is available from game retailers such as Play.com and Amazon

Build it with Bob - Bob the Builder
Popular children's show Bob the Builder first appeared on UK TV in 1999. Since then it has broadcast in 240 countries across the world! Kids just seem to love Bob and his Can-Do Crew - not to mention the vast range of toys. Therefore, my pick for a great present for Christmas this year is Build it with Bob - a 50 brick construction set. 
This set features actual real bricks and cement - amazing! Suitable for children aged three and over, the construction set allows youngsters to use their imagination to build all kinds of structures. As well as the bricks and cement, the set comes with a large wipe clean playmat, bowl and trowel.
The only negative thing I can say about this gift is that it does create a lot of mess from the bricks and cement, but for children, I suppose that is great! 
Build it with Bob, by Maps Toys, is available to buy from stockists such as Amazon, Boots, Toymaster, Play.com
It costs between £9.99 and £14.99.

Castle Pop Up Book (Life in a Castle) and Pirate Fun Masks - British Heart Foundation
Who knew heart charity, British Heat Foundation (BHF), sold children's toys? I didn't until I was contacted by one of their PR team. And to shock you even more, they also sell wedding items, gifts for adults, home and garden equipment and so on. Obviously for this feature I am most interested in their children's toys for Christmas (I will take a look at their wedding items tomorrow!). 
There are far too many children's gifts from the BHF to mention, so I will concentrate on the Castle Pop Up Book and Pirate Fun Masks.

The Castle Pop Up Book is a tie back book which contains a highly detailed two-story, six-room castle, filled with three-dimensional wonders including a moveable drawbridge. There are press-out figures and a story book which should keep children amused for hours - giving you time to cook the Turkey in peace! The book is for children aged five and over - although personally I'm not too sure why as I cannot see any really small parts - and is perfect for travelling with as the castle folds back  into the book without any hassle. The Castle Pop Up Book is available to buy from the British Heart Foundation at a cost of £16.99.

The Pirate Fun Masks is a great way for children to let their imaginations run wild and imagine they are Captain Hook (and whatever other fantasy pirates there are!). The pack features a set of 12 card pirate masks, a treasure map, elastic, crayons and pirate tattoos. Little ones need to be aged three and over to be able to use this set due to the elastic. At a cost of just £6.99, the Pirate Fun Masks should make a great stocking filler for any young boy. It is available to buy from British Heart Foundation

Bloco - construction toy
The next fun present for little one's this Christmas 2010 is the Bloco construction Toy, by Map Toys.
Using high density foam designed in unique colourful shapes, the Bloco toy is formed of foam pieces which children can link together and rotate to any angle using the special connectors. This then enables youngsters to build and create 3D models. The one I tested was of dinosaurs Velociraptor and Pterosaur. Now, i'm no dinosaur expert (although I did used to love The Land Before Time) but the one's pictured to the left are not the one's I recreated, god knows what they are called. As a 27-year-old you would think I would've found these two models easy to assemble, but no, I found it a little tricky. I definitely needed to follow the instructions! My eight-year-old nephew had no trouble whatsoever assembling the creatures, so I can only imagine kids today are smarter than us adults when it comes to toys!
Bloco, which comes with two models per box, is available to buy from places such as Amazon, Boots and Great Little Trading Co
It costs £20. 

Postman Pat - Special Delivery Service DVD box set
I can't believe Postman Pat is still going! The iconic children’s favourite is still as popular as ever - and stars in this new “Head of the Special Delivery Service” DVD box set. The set contains three DVD’s, an interactive game, an interactive tour of Greendale and colouring pages. I think it is great for keeping the kids entertained while us adults get on with clearing the mess from Christmas dinner - woo hoo, not!
The set costs from £9.99 to £14.99 and is available to buy from Postman Pat and Amazon

That's it for my list of fun presents for Santa's little helpers this Christmas - I hope it helps. Obviously there are loads more on the market but I think all the above gifts are great for stocking fillers (not forgetting the traditional oranges and apples!). Whatever you get up to during this year's festive season, I hope you all have a fab time.

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

New Baileys Hazelnut Flavour - review

Baileys Hazelnut Flavour
I don't half love an ice cold glass of Baileys Original Irish cream liqueur.
Even though it's available to buy all year round I tend to crave Baileys around Christmas time. I think it must be the richness and smooth luxurious taste which makes the drink a festive must-have for me. It makes me feel all Christmassy! 
Anyway, I was excited to hear about the October launch of Baileys Hazelnut Flavour and even more excited when I was asked to sample a bottle. 

I first tried the new flavour while getting ready to go to my work's first Christmas party. 
The drink was very rich and blended the ingredients of Baileys Original, comprising fresh Irish cream and triple-distilled Irish whiskey, with the hazelnut flavour.
It also tasted a little like chocolate - great for chocolate lovers! 
However, I could only drink two small glasses because of its rich flavour, but that wasn't a problem as it's not the sort of drink you down or drink lots of in any one drinking session.

A spokeswoman for Baileys, which also makes Baileys with a hint of coffee, Baileys with a hint of Mint Chocolate and Baileys with a hint of Caramel, added: "With its velvety smooth and luxuriously rich taste, there is no better way to discover the delights of new Baileys Hazelnut Flavour than by pouring it over ice and sharing it at home with your partner or friends."
The drink is available to buy from all good supermarkets at a cost of £15.50 for a 700ml bottle.