Toy of the month – July 2015

This month’s “Toy of the month” is about tape. Tape, I hear you say? That is not a toy?! Yes, tape, but not just any old tape, this is tape in the shape of a train track which you can stick to your floors – carpet, laminate or wooden floors to create a train track!!

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Toy of the month – May 2015

HUGE apologies firstly in the tardiness of this post, it was of course meant to be up in time for May which has of course been and gone, but with all the illness in the household and moving house, I just didn’t get a chance to blog about it.

Being a parent as we all know isn’t always easy (see above!). We want to be the best we can be for our children, so that they have  good guidance to follow in life and someone to respect. Not only that, someone they can talk to about everything and anything and not feel judged whilst doing so.

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Toy of the month – April 2015

It has been a hectic month here in the KGT household with townhouse renovations, Master J’s 6th birthday and his Superhero party which went off with a Kapow, Bang and Zoom (photos to follow)!!

But in the midst of it all, I received a fabulous package of Darwin and Penn Kompakt cameras which I ordered in their sale last month. I had completely forgotten I had ordered them ( does this happen to anyone else?) and squealed when I opened up the package.

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Toy of the month – February 2015

Life with 2 boys, well, let’s be honest, make that 3 boys including hubby dearest, means a life filled with cars! Especially as said hubby is a mechanical engineer so we tend to live and breathe cars in this household… whether it is wooden cars, Hot Wheels cars, Siku, Scaletrix, Automoblox, Kukkia + and not to mention ride on cars and bikes, my boys love ALL of them.

As such I don’t get too excited when the boys receive new toy cars as birthday presents as normally they are all rather the same. That was until I set my eyes on Candylab Toys, these cars seriously rocked my world! Not only did they have some of the coolest car designs I had seen, but, they were wooden! I had to review these cars, pronto.

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Vlad Dragusin, the founder, is an architect based in Brooklyn with two daughters and he shares an equal love of cars and “mid century modern” design.

Growing up in his native Romania in the 80’s with “crappy tv choices” he learned to sketch and draw, create and build cars that he saw and loved from the tiny glimpse of Hollywood he saw on TV.

Cut to today and the story goes that one day, one of his daughters asked Vlad to put wheels on an empty noodle box she had just retrieved from the recycling. Together they then painted and drew on the box to create an awesome car to play with. This cardboard design made Vlad imagine a world of the coolest of cool cars, the cars he remembered drawing from his childhood. He decided not to design something throwaway but cars that would become heirloom pieces and passed down through the generations, cars that were both modern and retro at the same time. Together with his business partner and neighbour, Florin who knew all the technical aspects of car design, they started Candylab Toys.

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Candylab Toys was established in 2013 through a Kickstarter campaign, where 1,129 people raised 4 x times the amount of funds required to get the designs and manufacturing started. Having expected it would take a year to place their first factory order with the Kickstarter campaign they got there in 35 days! A phenomenal effort and amazingly quick result which allowed Candylab Toys to start life. I love Kickstarter campaigns, it is one of the best ways I know to raise money for “Start ups” and breath life into awesome ideas.

Drifting car - Candylab

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Although wishing to produce their gorgeous wooden cars in the USA, they struggled to find any US manufacturers interested in mass wood production of small items back in 2012.  After 97 failed attempts to find a US manufacturer keen to take on the job, and 1 keen to produce the cars at USD$100.00 a car, they decided to look abroad.  They went to the 2013 International Toy fair and found a Chinese wood supplier keen to work with them on their drawings. It has been a match made in heaven so far with a proven partnership and successful production of 8 cars thus far with more coming very soon!

Each car takes from 15 to 18 cuts in a solid beech wood profile, plus painting, priming, applying the stripes and decals and wheels.  It is a manual process all the way.  Paints are all water based with each car taking hours to produce.

Start your engines - Candylab

This gorgeous wooden car arrives in a fab matching box and is much larger than any other wooden car around that we have tested ( even larger than Automoblox). What strikes you first is the stylishly simple design, it is super elegant and you would be happy to display it in your kids bedroom. However, there is little chance of that once your kids see it!

As you can see from the photos here, my eldest son had an absolute ball racing the GT-10 around the washi tape track I made for him on my pinboard. My youngest adores the car so much he has scratched it up a little with his endless hours of play. They both love this car and the “oohs and ahhs” that came out of both their mouths when we opened up the box was priceless.

It is quite large in size and is recommended for ages 3+. I therefore thought it might be too large for Hudson who is 3 in May, but he races it around and it fits his hand well. I would say that it is probably better for ages 3+ as my youngest has scratched it up a little with his play whereas Jasper is much more careful with it but equally loves playing with it and building garages for it and roads.

They come in 8 designs, although 1 is no longer available as it was the first Kickstarter car and thus was handed out to all those who pledged money. The police and fire car look fantastic and next month, they have added a tow truck to the collection! With bright yellows and purples for the Stinger and Plum 50, there is a car to suit all ages and sexes.

If your children, boys and girls alike, are car obsessed this makes a brilliant birthday present with the promised “ohhs and ahhs” coming from your child as they open the box. The cars look as good in the flesh as they do in the photos. They are true design led heirloom pieces that you would happily display in your children’s room.

The cars are fairly large in size in comparison to most cars that kids play with and they are great for racing, drifting and generally having a lot fun! My boys have added Sonny Angels as passengers and come up with some awesome imaginative play with the car. We will definitely be adding to our collection of Candylab Toys for their birthday, the only question is, which one!

Ages 3+

Size: 18.3cm L x 7.3cm W x 5cm H

Designed in Brooklyn, made in China.

Safety tested according to US CPSIA and European, Australian and New Zealand regulations.

RRP: US $30.00 +

Disclosure: in order to review the Candylab GT-10 we were sent one to test drive. 

Candylab GT10

Toy of the month – January 2015

This month’s “Toy of the month” is a fabulous little idea that really caught my eye as ALL kids love stickers and ALL kids love receiving letters and packages in the post. What a brilliant concept to combine the two things that all kids adore!

We were sent the introductory first pack to review for this post and my kids squealed in delight at receiving stickers in the post! It was like a birthday treat for them to receive a little package in the mail.

Pipsticks, is a monthly sticker subscription started by Maureen Vazquez. Based out of New York, Maureen remembers her fondest memory as child, was being able to  go to her local shop each week and being allowed to purchase a square of stickers to add to her sticker album. She wanted to recreate this idea alongside keeping her 3 children entertained with a creative focus and came up with the idea of a monthly sticker delivery subscription.

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Pipsticks 3

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All subscribers receive this first introductory pack. The kids had a ball one afternoon sticking stickers all over the place and creating a special postcard for one of their best friends in Germany, who they miss dearly. The best thing was, that there were so many stickers there were heaps left over to use for another day or two!

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The sticker pack we received had 16 different types of stickers from animals, to dots, to racing cars and love hearts. We also received 3 pieces of colourful paper to use for our sticker creations. Maureen has picked out a great selection of stickers that would appeal to both boys and girls alike.

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The stickers are a carefully selection of colourful, fun, and brilliant designs that can be used for making cards, crafts or even for school projects. Maureen sources them for all over the world. I particularly loved the squishy bunnies!

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Our little postcard that we created ready to send to our friend in Germany.

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All kids LOVE receiving mail in the post and they adore stickers, so this is a brilliant idea if you are looking for a unique and fun gift idea for your child, niece, nephew or grandchild.

Plus as part of the subscription, you receive a monthly newsletter, Sticklit, which provides information on the different craft ideas that Maureen has come up with on the blog section of her site.  You can create greeting cards, place cards, sticker puppets and accessories.  There is also a free printables section on her site that gives different backdrops for even more fun sticker creations.

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Sticker subscriptions start at USD $15.00 a month and for a 12 month subscription it is USD $155.00 for the year. You can also get family pack subscriptions where you get over 45 sticker sets each month or try a taster pack to see if it is what your child would enjoy.

There are lots of different choices but I can tell you that your child will love you even more for this sticker subscription and I am sure it will create the same fond memories with stickers, that prompted Maureen to create Pipsticks in the first place.

Ages: 2+

DISCOUNT CODE: By using code KIDS1 at checkout Maureen has kindly offered my readers one month free on any 6 or 12 month Club or Family Pipsticks subscription.

pipsticks creations

 Disclosure: in order to review this product we received this free introductory pack.

Toy of the month – September 2014

This month I am reviewing the ever amazing “Make a doll” by Naked Lunge.  As you may know from my IG account, I am a HUGE fan of the fabulous Roxy from Naked Lunge. Firstly she is one lovely lady and secondly an amazing artist!!

Make a doll” are personalised, hand painted dolls that are created by the gorgeous Roxy. She uses photos and details that you send to her via email about your child. She paints your beautiful son or daughter using black non-toxic paint onto cotton, then she hand washes the cotton fabric, dries it, irons them and sews them up with stuffing. You get to choose your own backing from a selection of gorgeous liberty prints, chevron, triangle, plain black and more.

I had one of the “Make a Doll’s” made by Roxy  for my youngest son’s 2nd Birthday. Firstly, I love that they are handmade in England with so much love and devotion. You have in your hand a gorgeous mini-me doll of your beloved child. It is like a little piece of art wrapped in cotton. These dolls are timeless.

I love that our doll is a little snapshot of my son when he was a toddler, holding his favourite toys and in his favourite clothes at the time. He loved recognising his favourite fire engine toy and “Dig Dig Digging” book on the doll and enjoys sleeping with it at nap and bedtime. I loved that I have a mini me of him in doll form to treasure always ( I am a bit sentimental like that !)

Naked Lunge is an English company that began in 2013, producing the most divine prints, postcards, dolls, pillows, homewares and clothing. Roxy is always surprising me with her seemingly endless creative talent. Whatever she touches turns to gold! Roxy collaborates with retailers and clothing companies to produce unique designs and bespoke pieces that are exclusive to these shops.

The dolls are machine washable at 30 degrees on a short spin cycle.

Age: 0+ months

Each doll stands approximately 25 cm tall and approximately 8cm wide.

RRP: £30.00

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