Reviewed by Jonathan Edwards
With a big family, and one with lots of children, I am always looking for new ideas of gifts to buy for Christmas. This selection of Christmas gift ideas was great as it included a range of lovely Golden Bear Toys products, suitable from 10 months plus. I was also sent a Mia Tui Lottie Bag to review which looks like it could be an ideal gift for my mum.
The Mia Tui Lottie Bag is a small cross body bag that is designed for carrying essentials when you are out and about. The bag is 23cm square and has a main zip pocket with a section for two pens and a phone, as well as an elasticated key clip. It also has a smaller front pocket which is closed by a zip with the Mia Tui star on it. The strap is adjustable to a length of 126cm. There are 14 colour varieties of the Lottie Bag, this one being the Berry version. The bag is handmade in Vietnam with soft PU faux-leather. The interior is made with PU coated nylon. The attention to detail in the bag, with the white stitching on the Berry leather is beautiful and showcases the handmade nature of the bag. The detail also makes the bag more interesting than just being all in one colour. The interior material of the Berry bag is a vibrant light blue colour which felt like it clashed with the Berry exterior and I didn’t really it but that is a question of taste; some people would like this. The adjustable strap makes the bag practical for women of varying heights; my wife is 5ft 10” and she was able to adjust it to sit at a suitable bag length with some additional length left for adjusting so it could be adjusted to sit well on someone who was taller or shorter. The bag comes with a label of brief care instructions which tells you everything you need to know about looking after the bag, as well as telling you that it is homemade and what it is made of. This is smart and clear. It arrived wrapped in a clear plastic bag which isn’t particularly special but does what it needs to do to protect the bag. The Mia Tui bag retails at £18 which is good value for money as it feels very good quality and it is a present I would be happy to purchase at this price.
The first Golden Bear Toys item that I was sent to review was the My First JCB Rolling Digger which is a small toy version of a JCB Rolling Digger. It is part of set which has two different characters to collect; Joey the JCB Digger and Dan the JCB Bulldozer. The one I was specifically sent to review is Dan the JCB Bulldozer. It is the JCB yellow in colour and has a blue moveable scoop on the front of it. The front of the JCB Bulldozer has a face which is red in colour and is very animated with a big smile. The Bulldozer has wheels underneath the tracks to move it along rather than the bulldozer tracks themselves moving. The blue scoop moves from the floor up over the top of the digger and back again which makes it fun for child’s play. It is made of super tough and durable plastic as the toy is designed for indoor and outdoor play. The label suggests that the My First JCB Rolling Digger suitable for children aged 12 months plus. Our 10-month-old wasn’t particularly interested in playing with it as she isn’t yet aware of how to move it backwards and forwards however older children who have tried it have enjoyed playing with it so I would suggest using it with the age range that is suggested. The JCB Rolling Digger is quite a simple toy to play with but the moving scoop makes it more interesting and children will have fun pushing it around on its wheels; the simplicity does make playing with it easy. The usability of it indoors and outdoors is something that I particularly liked and having a toy that is tough and durable is a big selling point with a child who likes to bash toys around! I thought it was a shame that the Rolling Digger doesn’t use the tracks to move around rather than wheels as this makes it a bit less realistic. This My First JCB Rolling Digger comes as part of a range of ‘My First JCB‘ toys so would be lovely to add to or start a set for a child who likes JCB vehicles or playing with toy trucks. Each of the toys has the same animated face feature which the bulldozer has, and the collection does look nice together. Retailing at £4.99 on Amazon, the My First JCB Rolling Digger is ideal for a stocking filler or additional present for a truck loving member of the family.
The second Golden Bear Toys item that I was sent to review was the In the Night Garden Walking Makka Pakka (RRP: £24.99). This is an interactive walking toy; when you press Makka Pakka’s hand he walks along carrying his favourite sponge. As he walks along the Walking Pakka Makka says a range of fun sounds and phrases. The In the Night Garden Walking Makka Pakka is recommended for children aged ten months plus. Our ten-month-old was initially a bit wary of this toy walking towards her but after a few goes with it she now loves it and bobs along with it when it walks. She hasn’t ever watched In the Night Garden so doesn’t recognise Makka Pakka from that but still enjoys playing with it. Our friend’s child who has watched In the Night Garden instantly recognised it and wanted to play with it so as a toy it would be suitable for both a child who has watched it and one who hasn’t. Our ten-month-old quite often picks it up and bashes it around but it is very robust and hasn’t been damaged by this in any way which shows that it is good quality. The packaging that the Makka Pakka comes in is bright and fun making it appealing to a child and because it is in an open box you can clearly see what it is and hear the sounds before you buy it. The In the Night Garden Walking Makka Pakka requires 3x AAA batteries; these are included in the purchase which means you are able to use it straight away. You can find this toy stocked in the major toy retailers and I would definitely recommend it for a child who loves In the Night Garden.
The Sing Along Mr Tumble which retails at £29.99, is a fun and interactive toy that is based upon the Cbeebies Something Special TV show. When you press the Sing Along Mr Tumble’s hand, he sings the iconic Mr Tumble ‘Hello’ theme tune. As he sings, he also dances to the music and his red nose lights up. The Sing Along Mr Tumble is recommended for children aged ten months plus. Our ten-month-old loves to dance so she has absolutely loved playing with the Sing Along Mr Tumble. She can’t press the button herself but to ask for him she will sway from side to side like the Sing Along Mr Tumble toy does. One of the features that the product promotes is that it helps to develop the child’s sound recognition. After playing with this toy regularly my daughter recognises the tune Mr Tumble sings now, so we just have to sing the tune and she will dance. Watching her play with the toy has brought our family lots of laughter and it is fun to watch her learn how she has associated the song with dancing. One thing about the Sing Along Mr Tumble that we have been disappointed with is the quality of the toy. Our ten-month-old is quite interactive in her play and wanted to hold Mr Tumble and after she had picked him up by his legs the music played with the sound of the mechanism. She must have jolted something in picking him up but this is a shame as I think a lot of children this age would want to pick up the toy. The Sing Along Mr Tumble comes packaged well in an open box so you can see clearly what the product is and try it out before you buy it. The colours on the box are Mr Tumble colours so they link with the product well. The packaging also promotes the fact that the Sing Along Mr Tumble is designed to encourage awareness of hand-eye coordination, sound recognition, touch and texture which is a key selling point; I as a parent look out for this and I have seen it work with this toy as my daughter has definitely developed some of these skills more in playing with the toy. The Sing Along Mr Tumble requires 3x AAA batteries which are included so you don’t need to think about buying these when you buy the product. If this product didn’t have the quality issue I would be able to give it an excellent rating but because of that I would say it is 3.5/5.