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Mr. G. Battle (Essex, UK)
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Melissa & Doug Wooden Hi Rise Dollhouse
Melissa & Doug Wooden Hi Rise Dollhouse
Price: 57.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Old school winner!, 13 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Bring on the wood! Here is evidence that you can still create a real sense of play without gaudy bright plastic toys. This wooden dolls house is beautifully coloured with pastels and is both a joy to the eyes as well as the children.

It requires assembly, and although one of the stickers was on the wrong side of a piece of wood, which stumped me for a minute or two, it was for the most part a trouble free experience. It took me over a hour and a half with little people pestering me for the duration. It could be done significantly quicker on your own :)

It's really light and features handles at the top, so you can store it away from central play areas if you need to.

The house itself comes with people and furniture, however leaves scope for additional M&D goodies, such as the car. The design is great though, The central lift is a great touch and really aids the role play to come alive. Ideal for children between two and six, this is a well crafted and thought-out toy.


Post Master (PC DVD)
Post Master (PC DVD)
Price: 7.50

3.0 out of 5 stars A post office tycoon game!, 6 Aug 2014
This review is from: Post Master (PC DVD) (CD-ROM)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is definitely the best postal business simulator out there right now. It is, of course, the only postal business simulator out there. Clearly, if you (or your children) have a thing for running a post office buying this is the given - for those who generally enjoy sim games and are interesting in a new additional to the library - it might be worth reading on.

This is a fairly straightforward tycoon game. Build a post office, complete with staffing choices, decisions on transport types and which facilities to purchase. You also need to consider the locale, which develops over time, and in which you can build extra postal facilities to aid your blooming empire. So, plenty of choices to keep city/business builders happy. As with most tycoon games, it is a case of rinse and repeat, with growing complexity. To aid your decision making processes there are a few basic reports and graphs providing direction.

The text used is a poor choice though, A 3d shadowed font which is tough to read has been used and I found by the end of the tutorial it was tough to concentrate. Fortunately, once the the tutorial is complete there was no further blocks of text.

Whether the game offers much longevity will be down to the interest in the source material. It's a fresh business tycoon game, which is simple to get in to, yet offering plenty of scope for expansion. Relatively simple graphics and sound don't hinder the sim and ensure great compatibility with laptops and older systems. It is also available on Steam, although this review is for the physical media version.


Mega Mosaics Galt
Mega Mosaics Galt
Price: 7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars ensuring both genders can enjoy a spell of mosaic madness, 6 Aug 2014
This review is from: Mega Mosaics Galt (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
You certainly get your money's worth with this mosaic pack. The pictures are varied, ensuring both genders can enjoy a spell of mosaic madness. Tried and tested with a 5 and 7 year old; the craft savvy girls were engrossed right through to the finish of a picture each. There was some collateral damage though - the little squares seemed to have a life of their own, leaving their sanctuary (the sheets they are supplied on) and attaching themselves to carpet, rugs, boxes etc. At some point a mosaic will have to remain uncompleted. This has happened with mosaic kits in the past, so there be no real solution, except extra care and playing with this on a table perhaps.


LEGO Juniors 10668: The Princess Play Castle
LEGO Juniors 10668: The Princess Play Castle
Price: 11.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lego Friends Lite, 24 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Thus the mighty Lego think tank strikes gold once more. The Juniors range is an ideal step up from either Duplo sets or the most basic block kits. It lacks the complexity of the full Lego Friends sets yet retains all of the appeal. My seven year old completed her set unaided (whereas my five year old still required full support with her other set as noted in a separate, yet similar review). They both have a fair amount of Lego and it's great to see these designs are very original in their design, down to the new design of interlocking base-plates. Still plenty of Lego Friends fiddly accessories, so definitely keep clear of babies and toddlers. The slide is a great piece of Lego, allowing role play as well as contsruction skills.

Should your children want to destroy and start over, these sets come with a Rebuild set of instructions for making something else from the blocks. Nothing too new for existing fans, however this is presented in a more user friendly way than in previous kits.

Lastly, the box the set comes in (a large Lego brick) is a great storage box. This adds real value to this set. Another of the new sets, The Pony Farm, has a storage box twice the size, however this one still offers plenty of Lego storage space. Great new idea from the Lego team. As a note, multiple boxes do not lock together though.


LEGO Juniors 10674: Pony Farm
LEGO Juniors 10674: Pony Farm
Price: 18.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Lego Friends Lite, 24 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Thus the mighty Lego think tank strikes gold once more. The Juniors range is an ideal step up from either Duplo sets or the most basic block kits. It lacks the complexity of the full Lego Friends sets yet retains all of the appeal. My five year old still required full support with the building, aiding fine motor skills. My seven year old completed her set unaided (a separate, yet similar review). They both have a fair amount of Lego and it's great to see these designs are very original in their design, down to the new design of interlocking base-plates. Still plenty of Lego Friends fiddly accessories, so definitely keep clear of babies and toddlers.

Should your children want to destroy and start over, these sets come with a Rebuild set of instructions for making something else from the blocks. Nothing too new for existing fans, however this is presented in a more user friendly way than in previous kits.

Lastly, the box the set comes in (a large Lego brick) is a great storage box. Worth the price (almost) alone! The Pony Farm storage box is twice the size of the Princess Play Castle box, making it an essential box for keeping your Lego in. Great new idea from the Lego team. Multiple boxes do not lock together though.


GM
GM
Price: 1.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Fresh idea - worth a read., 22 July 2014
This review is from: GM (Kindle Edition)
Part political statement, part future-tech thriller, GM details a scientist's attempt to create a genetically modified strain of rice. The first third of the book is very Crichtonesque; a heady mix of science and danger. Watching Captain Philips beforehand will help with the immersion of the African scenario, where corrupt militia cross paths with the protagonists.

Porter plays his hand a little early, with the action hitting the high notes just before the final third, leaving a somewhat wordy final third. Last minute flashbacks derail the story somewhat, however there is an agenda to be played out and it's required for closure. The author does occasionally use parentheses to add thoughts or asides and these are rather jarring, best placed in humourous novels rather than a thriller.

Overall, GM does have some clever ideas and uses it's third world backdrop to retain an original story. There's not much science or technology beyond the initial concept, which is a shame, however it's likely you'll want to see the story through once started since the concept is original enough.


Galt Sewing Case
Galt Sewing Case
Price: 13.96

4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely!, 7 July 2014
This review is from: Galt Sewing Case (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A lovely old fashioned sewing kit full of lovely things to make with your children. But beware that it does come with a proper metal bobbin needle- I just kind of expected it to have a plastic childrens big needle- but no it has a proper one- so if buying for younger than 7- just beware....!
The kit does need a little adult help and supervision for my 7.5 year old- but she has completed one project and enjoyed it. The instructions show you how to complete different stitches so if you are not familiar with eg. chain or blanket it will show you how. My daughter is looking forward to completing the other projects shortly. A lovely gift, which is charming in its old fashioned appeal- a welcome change from todays electronic gadgets. It comes nicely presented in a sturdy reusable case.


Rio Quick Waxer
Rio Quick Waxer
Price: 26.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Mrs Battle used and tested it- and is a seasoned user of home waxing and generally finds it easy, quick, 7 July 2014
This review is from: Rio Quick Waxer (Personal Care)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'll cut to the chase- after one use (actually make that half a use) it went in the bin. The whole lot. Actually, Mrs Battle used and tested it- and is a seasoned user of home waxing and generally finds it easy, quick, inexpensive and fuss free. This whole thing is designed for any hair you wish to get rid of- lips, eyebrows legs, bikini- all fine.
I found it easy to heat up, easy to set up, and easy to read instructions- full marks there. However ease of use, effectiveness and ability to do the job easily- a big fat zero. There are not strips to put on top of the wax- you simply (ha, simply, I jest at that term in reality) pick at the end of the wax and pull it up- simples!
Well, in reality it hurts, you can't pick at it very easily without finding its stuck in hairs- it was hellish to get off, and didn't do the job- I tried two times- then threw it in the bin and simply went to the bathroom and found my 40 second microwave soft veet wax with strips and did the job in 3 with no pain. I cannot in any way recommend this product in my own experience of it.


Durex Comfort XL (12 Pack)
Durex Comfort XL (12 Pack)
Offered by Max Medsurge
Price: 10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars I recently reviewed a pack of Durex Ultra Thin Feel Condoms and thought that these might be a better fit. Firstly, 3 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's a purpose to this review. I recently reviewed a pack of Durex Ultra Thin Feel Condoms and thought that these might be a better fit.

Firstly, you do not need to be Magic Johnson, however if you have split or struggled with condoms in the past then these are a suitable alternative. They actually look the same size when you pop them out of the packet, which is reassuring. They aren't thicker either, they simply provide a more comfortable fit. Not odour free though.


Friendship Bracelets Galt Toys Friendship Bracelets
Friendship Bracelets Galt Toys Friendship Bracelets
Offered by The Global Trader
Price: 3.99

2.0 out of 5 stars not great quality it seems, 3 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
READ THIS: The very first thing you need to do, is take the strings out and wrap them around something - a piece of cardboard (I used the Amazon packaging) or a kitchen towel roll. I spent at least an hour unravelling and undoing knots after one of the children had held the strings for less than a minute.

The green strings had unfrayed in the process and needed to be thrown away; not great quality it seems. The other colours were fine.

The kit comes with everything you need, including instructions, on how to make a variety of braids and spice the bands up with charms. Experience of braids seems vital. I ended up calling in the cavalry (i.e. mum) because I couldn't work out how to make the simplest braid, even after reading the instructions slowly and carefully, including studying the picture guide. Ten seconds later (a small exaggeration) she had helped make my daughter a braided bracelet. Parental supervision is definitely required for the younger crafters, or those with inexperience in such matters.

Overall, the kit includes just what is needed (including a needle, so unpack it yourself) and a device to aid the creation of more complicated weaves. There are plenty of colours and charms to make the set last too.


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