Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

What do you think of Manhattan Toy?

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

This was the question we asked some lucky bloggers recently, sending them some toys to try out from the lovely range on offer from Manhattan Toy. Manhattan have an amazing portfolio  which includes Baby Stella, Boysterous Boys and a variety of developmental toys including Whoozit and Wimmer Ferguson.

The first review in was of lovely Nursing Nina from Mamacrow. I adored this review and you absolutely have to read it just for the fun of seeing the ‘extreme cat breastfeeding’ picture. I laughed and laughed!

This review from Susan K Mann got lots of attention on Twitter. These lovely sporty boy dolls deserve to do well because they really are a lot of fun. Take a look at her blog to see the shot of one of the boys out for a life size bike ride!

Little Sam tried out a Boyterous Boys set as well as a wooden toy tool kit from the Parents range at Manhattan Toy. Both things went down really well with him and his mum; I love the look of concentration from this little chap!

Boysterous Boys and Toolkit review from Mrs McGregor makes a great read and another ToolKit review from Madhouse Family Reviews awards it a whopping 4.5/5 which is pretty good because they are a very discerning family! They loved the quality and realism of the kit and how much scope it offered for free play. I loved that it ended up doubling as a medical kit! (The mind boggles!)

Baby Stella reviews from HollyBobb and StressyMummy both summed up what I already know about Baby Stella, who has been a firm favourite with our now 7 year old daughter for 5 years or so. Both recipients fell totally in love with their new ‘babies’ and the mums were impressed with the quality and the range of accessories available. She really is a very popular doll indeed.

Automoblox reviews came from 2 Stars and a Swirl and Mummy Mummy Mum. These are incredibly innovative and collectible wooden toy cars and in one house plenty of mix it up games got played while in another it was all about taking it apart!

The Finger Puppet review from Here Come the Girls made me smile. I love the theatre they built (instructions for how to on their blog too) and thought the mini-vlog they did to show off a performance was brilliant. I have signed the preservation petition for the theatre as word on the street is it is due to be rationalised to make was for a car park!

A Fabric Animal Puppet Review from Trouble Doubled and another great Chopper Chums review from AlysonsBlog focused again on the quality of these soft fabric hand puppets and the play value in toys that encourage role play and interaction from kids. The picture with the two figures above charmed me as we’ve had these little people in our home for a long, long time…. and tI’m thrilled with Alyson’s assessment of how well the puppets can work in education.

The Wimmer Ferguson Baby Toy range were reviewed at This is Life with some Orbit beads taking a test run too. We are big fans of Wimmer Ferguson in our house and can’t wait to bring some home for our new little baby boy. They fcus on black, white and primary colours, stimulating vision with simple shapes and designs and are a long standing popular product at our shop.

Finally, Words with Wine reviewed the Dress Up Pirate a cheeky chap with a pet parrot and a shiny silver sword. He’s packed full of design features to learn dresing skills but I’m not sure whether to applaud his new owner or commiserate with mum that Chops now knows how to get naked in no time! been there, done that!

Many thanks to all our reviewers. If you have a blog and would like to review toys for us, get in touch via the Facebook page  or follow us on Twitter at @playmerrily for the shop or @merrilyme for more random daily ramblings!

(Apologies to my bloggers for the round up being short and sweet; I accidentally deleted it once!)

BigJigs Toys hit the spot for families.

Friday, April 6th, 2012

One of the top wooden toy brands of the century is BigJigs Toys, lovely people who have brought together and designed a perfect range of wooden toys that cross into every possible corner of the traditional toy market. From wooden toy food to their own wooden railway system, baby toys, the signature jigsaws they were originally known for and beautiful playsets, they’ve now started to move into other toys and distribute new brands too. What I love about BigJigs is that the family behind the business is so evident and takes such care over design and decisions to bring new ranges on board. They are a brand I truly love working with and so I was delighted to have the chance to get some bloggers to review their toys too.

Anne-Marie is one of our top reviewers on our websites and regularly takes a look at new toys for us to test them out (frankly, she’s a loyal enough customer to keep our family in baked beans forever if required!) and they tried out the new BigJigs Roadway Zebra Crossing Set. They liked what they saw and hopefully Anne-Marie will use her special ‘friends’ account on PlayMerrily to add to their collection!

Over at Freckles Family a little boy with a train driver daddy sniffed out a toy parcel and got to work becoming a train man himself. He pronounced himself very satisfied with the BigJigs Figure of 8 Train Set and the photos are gorgeous – it looks like he was in heaven with his trains :)

Over at Smiling Like Sunshine there is another review of the same set. They also liked the set and, having had occasion to try out our customer service after a fault in another toy, pronounced themselves pleased with us!

I’m more than a little in love with the small boy in the special demonstration vlog over at Something Blue. He’s ready to show you just how easy it is to use the cutting fruit set which is a permanent best seller from BigJigs. Way to go small boy :) All the BigJigs wooden play food is brilliant but the cutting sets are just the best of all I think.

Being Mrs C and co took a look at the BigJigs Rail Farmyard Crossing set and train. Already a traditional toy lover and an owner of BigJigs Rail items, they loved these additions and Mrs C waxed lyrical about the thoughtful design of all the products we sent them :)

It wasn’t until I saw a Sam’s Steel Works out of the box that I really understood what a clever and sophisticated toy it is. The Cheetah Keeper describes it perfectly so pop over and hear what she has to say. This particular toy always makes me smile though and illustrates the family nature of BigJigs perfectly. I speak weekly to Sam who now deals with the day to day running of the company (and who a friend of mine knew in nappies in the days when the jigsaws were made in their garage!) and the Tom from the Timber Yard toy is his little brother – I’ve met him too!

I love the post from MummyBird about playing with the BigJigs Wooden Cash Register. There have been a lot of similar games in this house over the years and it always makes me smile to see toys being used mixed in with real money and household items. A perfect blend of pretend and reality I think and a brilliant way for children to learn!

Twinsboys and their dad fell on a BigJigs Roadway set over at Tales of a Twin Mum and devoured it whole by the look of things. Sounds like it was a huge hit and had lots of play value to keep the boys entertained. (Who had most fun I wonder!)

Bloggomy took possession of a Roadway Roundabout and had plenty of fun. It was pronounced an ideal starter set for a young man just getting into things with wheels!

We’re incredibly grateful to all our bloggers. If you have a blog and would like to review for us, join our Facebook Page or get in touch via Twitter.

Bloggers just love Djeco!

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Recently, we invited some parent bloggers to try out some of our favourite Djeco craft kits and toys. Djeco is a premium toy, with every kit simply bursting with value, good quality materials and ideas that really do expand a child’s experience of crafting. Djeco very quickly became the craft kit of choice in this house and we get lots of positive comments from customers, who come back to try the regular infusion of new sets and ideas this wonderful French company produce.

Djeco Sand Art

To celebrate their lovely blogging efforts, I’m giving away a £30 Djeco voucher on my blog. Leave a comment to enter. Competition is open in the UK and closes at midnight on 30th March 2012


We sent some gel pens to the Wondering Wanderers, who have given up suburban life to go travelling in their trusty camper and are now moving to the isle of Rum to begin life on a croft (which doesn’t yet actually have a house, road, basic supplies… Erm…. What can I say, she’s a great friend of mine and no doubt going to do just fine!) the gel pens are a fantastic art supply as they take up very little space and Dragon and Star had a wonderful time with them.


Over at Home School of Excellence, two older girls tried out the Djeco Fashion Design Kit. Again this got very popular reviews; the blog post gives you a very clear idea of the contents and scope of the kit and they felt it topped other similar kits they had tried in the past from other brands.


The Madhouse Family Reviews site is well known for honest assessments of products and has a wide range of in house testers to try them out on (admittedly that’s a bit rich coming from a family who have had six children, but still!) the adored the Sand Art kit we sent them and gave it 4/5 (it would have been 5/5 were it not for fiddle to open pots, something you might count as an advantage if little hands in your house like to spill things!)

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Dear little Ernest tried out the Djeco Topanimo cubes and really loved them over at LazySeamstress. These stacking cubes have a special place in my heart already and having seen how Ernest loves them, I will be getting some for our new baby Ben shortly.

Two soft clay picture kits were very popular over at SeasiderintheCity. This light clay is used to make pictures on to coloured boards and is incredibly light and tactile to use. It was clearly a big success over there and I think Djeco has scored itself some new fans in that household!

Some bloggers tried out some of the toys, games and jigsaws that Djeco also have on offer. At AtLeastDaddyCanCook the played with the Ludo and Co games set and showed that a compendium of games is still a winner and that traditional board games are still a hit with small children. Down with Mario, is all we can say ;) (Actually, that isn’t true here, Mario is much loved… but I can dream!)

Another traditional favourite, the Djeco Tropical Fishing game was a birthday delight at NeverFoundthePlottoo trumping other presents for most played with thing of the day. I know fishing games were my favourite when I was little and I adore the artwork of this one, so I’m not surprised.


We sent some Djeco Jigsaws to GreenMumsBlog for them to try out and I was pleased to see that the things that appealed to me when I put these into our toy catalogue also appealed here. Gorgeous designs, the beautiful shaped boxes and their robust piece strength all got the thumbs up from her testers.


Lastly, much delight was had with the Dragonfly beads we sent over to PrestonPrecious. As with many of the other reviewers, they particularly seemed to like the robust strength, gorgeous designs and play value of the toys.

 


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