I was fortunate to be able to attend two “Christmas in July” events showcasing products selected for the Christmas market and providing some much-needed inspiration for presents.
First was an event at Hamleys at the end of June, featuring their selection of the Top 10 toys: Barbie Puppy Play Park, Barbie with interactive puppies that respond to clapping; Innotab 2, a touch-screen tablet for age 4+; LeapPad2 Explorer, another great touch-screen tablet for little ones aged 4+; Lego Lord of the Rings, The Battle of Helms Deep; Master Moves Mickey, a breakdancing Mickey with cool moves!; Monster High Doll, a great alternative to Barbie; Moshi Monsters App Monster, buy the Moshi Monster, download the app from iTunes on your iPhone and have lots of fun choosing how your monster looks, feeding it, playing wth it!; Nerf Elite Hail Fire, an elite blaster with a rotating ammo rack holding up to 8 clips; Subbuteo, football is still in with this great, timeless game; and Web Shooting Spiderman, shoot the web to capture his enemy The Lizard.
Also on show: the cool Razor Bella Pocket Mod, a classic Italian-style scooter for over-12s; the classic Mini Micro 3-in-1 scooter with seat; a huge Barbie Dream House complete with lift, four-poster bed and chandeliers; Cabbage Patch Kids; Lego Star Wars Death Star; Lego Riding Camp; Star Wars Droid Carrier; and too many others to mention!
Munchkin’s favourites included the Lego Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, the Mini Micro scooter and the Nerf Elite (so far so predictable). But he also loved the gorgeous Honey Bear he was given at the end, as well as the Barbie Dream House and the Lego Riding Camp he played with while we were there. Are your children this unpredictable as well?
The next event was different as it was set in a gorgeous house dressed for Christmas, with different products for the whole family in different rooms.
Munchkin’s favourite rooms were the Everything Rosie and JCB Kids bedrooms. These had everything from beds to wardrobes to storage and, of course, toys! The products were well-designed, stylish and robust, which is important because the last thing you want is for things to break easily and result in tears on Christmas Day. Raa Raa and Little Charley Bear toys, puzzles and scooters were also popular.
I absolutely loved the dressing room with the beautiful Fox & Chave silk scarves, “poshminas”, jute bags, clutch bags and hand-painted jackets. There were also lovely silk ties and cotton boxer shorts, perfect for presents or stocking fillers. All of the designs are fabulous and have a story, with many being based on art works, and there really is something for everyone. I would love to have any of these.
Buying Christmas gifts for the men (husband/partner, father, brother, friend) in your life can bedifficult but Finicky Shirts have the answer, with a bespoke service from just £64.95. They also do shirts for women, so you could get yourself a no doubt well-deserved present at the same time!
Also showcased were Mookie Toys, Scoot accessories for scooters, Sweet Trees by Riviera, University Games and Busy Pictures, all great products.
Our favourite product, as a family, was the family Android tablet the Kurio. We all loved this! It comes with a drop-safe bumper and is pre-loaded with favourite apps; you can download more. It’s the only tablet with parental controls, so you can limit the websites your child can access or block all internet access. Even better, you can set time limits for use so it switches itself off after a specified amount of time, so you don’t have to be the bad guy any more. The Kurio would be perfect for learning, reading books and watching films, especially on holiday.