Ravensburger Jolly Octopus

20 Jun
Jolly Octopus

Ravensburger Jolly Octopus Game, suitable for ages 4-99+, 2-5 players

Now this is our first adventure into the board/games market that is suitable for the over fives and Jolly Octopus certainly didn’t disappoint.

Since opening the game its been enjoyed and played with by a number of ages from six right up to 60 and has had many outings in our house.

The game comes mostly assembled you simply have to insert the tentacles into the green base (which an adult should do as a child would find this difficult) and then insert 3 x AA batteries into the base.

Jolly Octopus is a newer version of the old style game of operation except you have to rescue crabs from the rock without touching the octopus’ tentacles.

This Ravensburger game is really simple to put together and you need 2-5 players.  Each player chooses a colour and must collect the crabs relating to their colour from the rock, without touching the tentacles.  Each player takes their turn and tries to grab a crab without it touching Jolly Octopus’ tentacles, the player keeps trying to collect crabs until they touch a tentacle and make Jolly the Octopus laugh at this point the next player takes their turn.  The winner is the first to collect all of their crabs.

This game is quick and fun and requires children and adults to maintain concentration and have a steady hand, it also has two levels so you can set it to easy or hard depending on the children or adults you are playing with.  It will help with colour recognition, numeracy and develop hand eye co-ordination

Great childrens game

It reminds us oldies of operation however it is more forgiving and not quite as scary.  When you touch the tentacles the octopus laughs and its tentacles stop spinning, the laugh is also nice and pleasant to hear.  I think this toy is sure to be a hit and one that will be played with again and again.  The Jolly Octopus is £19.99 to buy or you can add it to your toy hire package if you want to try before you buy at ToyBoxLive

Meet Zac Zoob

8 Jun

Moving Mind Building Modelling SystemHi my name is Zac and I recently arrived at ToyBoxLive HQ.  I started off in a cool box in pieces and Alison took me home to see what I was made of.

She started building me that very first night, trying out the different locking positions which enable the connectors to move and connect in all different ways, to teach you how the pieces fit together to build the models.  Antony soon became interested so he had a go too.

As he was going along he looked captivated in his work and had followed all the diagrams and instructions in the book, two hours later and I was led out in all my glory on the kitchen worktop ready for the final pieces to be put together

Top tip count all the pieces and match them to the instruction book before you get started so you are sure you have everything that is relevant.  Hey presto here I am in all my glory.

This toy requires concentration and skill and but is lots of fun and real size and feat. As a parent r carer if you want an afternoon of peace and quiet from your 6 + child give Zac Zoob a try, be prepared to have to join in  but your child/children will get a great sense of achievement when Zac is built. There are lots of other characters and designs to build that will keep a skilled constructive child entertained for days.

Zac Zoob Alien Creature is available to buy from Bright Sparks Toys or he is available from the toy library at ToyBoxLive

People Like People

6 Jun

Last night I was introduced to a totally new way of networking via www.airtime.com and thought it would be interesting to share my experience, as the site when I first went on had been live for less than 12 hours.


Heres a pic of me talking to Sam Nady, Professional Rugby League Player For Canada Rugby League

The concept behind it is a more controlled version of chat roulette (I’ve only encountered one or two weirdos and it appears that they are being filtered out).  You log in through your Facebook profile and it connects you to people who have similar likes and dislikes. I found it really interesting speaking to people and chatting to them face to face, although it did seem a bit awkward at first the conversations did eventually start to flow. There were a lot of laughs, sharing of ideas and also a lot of nexting.

I spent in total about four hours talking to people last night and found it good fun and something I would encourage adults to try.  People like people and ultimately this sort of service may be what we are currently missing in the social media world.  Twitter is great but I personally think it is better to talk to people face to face…I enjoy meeting people, working for yourself can sometimes get lonely and this can be a much welcomed break.

Within the first couple of hours I had chatted to people involved in start-ups, tech companies in the USA and also those working for forward thinking companies and established big players in the tech field.  Talking to owners, programmers, designers from all over the world made for an interesting mix of conversations which mainly followed this format.

Awkwrd Silence….Me waving and smiling..Other person saying hello..Me Saying Hello and then carrying the conversation on with where in the world are you? What do you do? to finding out about their interests and what they thought of Airtime.  Time will tell how useful this tool is, I think it’s success will be down to matching people with similar interests and ensuring that the quality of people using it stays high.  For me it was great interacting with early adopters.

When I look back over this blog it’s interesting to see the stats and the most popular story so far has been The Jet Set Flopsy Bunny which was uploaded only a week ago.

I write product reviews on the toys we supply at ToyBoxLive to help parents decide which toys they might like to add to their toy hire package and combine these reviews with the general ramblings of a mum, business woman and general business goings on.

What do you think of Airtime have I met you yet?

It’s BBQ Role Play Time

30 May
Haba Sizzle and Grill

BBQ time

Well the past week has been truly gorgeous and I’m sure plenty of you have been indulging in al fresco outdoor dining and BBQs.   Kids love to copy what adults are doing and the latest toy to arrive at ToyBoxLive HQ is the HABA Grill Set Sizzle Expert.  This set offers children the opportunity to be involved in the cooking too, safely on their own cardboard BBQ with pretend play fabric food.

Role Paly BBQ

Enjoy Role Palying with this pretend BBQ

The box it comes in looks stunning and HABA really is a premium brand that deserves to be looked after and passed on for others to enjoy.  The only thing that disappoints me with this product is that the grill is made of cardboard and I’m wary as to how long it will last with kids running about and playing, I’d be more comfortable paying £35.99 if the grill was made of plastic making it more durable.

Sizzle Grill

Sizzle Grill Role Play Time

We enjoyed playing with it and it is available to rent as part of your ToyBoxLive.co.uk  Toy Hire Package.   Perfect for this time of year, you can get all the family involved whilst having fun in the sun.

The Jet Set Flopsy Bunny

29 May

When we had T the one thing my husband and I agreed on was that we would still do everything that we would have done pre child and this included many of our adventures abroad.

So far our daughter who is only two has become something of a jet setter.

Flopsy Bunny has been one of  T’s favourite teddies since she was born it has always been in her cot since she was about a week old.  When she was about 6 months old she used to rub it’s ears against her face and it helped her to go to sleep.  Just before she turned one it came on a Caribbean cruise with us and then it came skiing to Courchevelle where she took her first steps.  Flopsy bunny was also T’s plus one at our wedding.

Flopsy bunny has enjoyed many of T’s adventures so far with us shes been to Spain, France, Carribean, Austria and many places throughout the UK, being so well traveled we have done well for her to survive so long without going missing.  Recently though we flew to Cannes and left the beloved Flopsy bunny at Cannes airport.  She was devastated and so were we, how could we have lost Flopsy.  As soon as we got back I called the airport who confirmed it was there so my husband set about a rescue mission and posted about Flopsy’s unfortunate circumstances on a flying forum

“On the way back we left my daughters favorite teddy in the airport, its a grey rabbit and the airport have confirmed it is still there… all alone… and it can’t even speak french!  Is anyone flying to Cannes anytime soon who would like to help on a rescue mission to bring flopsy rabbit back to the UK?”

London Executive Aviation were in Cannes over the weekend and were alerted to the forum post by one of their pilots who offered to fly Flopsy Bunny back to the UK.  Flopsy was brought back to safety and back to the arms of T who was delighted to have her back.  We can not thank www.flylea.com enough.  Next time I may just get my husband to leave me – then maybe I can fly back via private jet 🙂

www.flylea.com legacy jet

Flopsy Bunny Flying back to the UK on a Legacy Jet

I hope you’ve enjoyed this story of my own experience, I wanted to highlight that at ToyBoxLive we understand that if your child falls in love with a toy they may not want to send it back which is why we give you the option to buy the toy at a discounted rate.

Missing Toy Comes Home

I’m looking forward to many more happy adventures with Flopsy Bunny and hopefully no more rescue missions.

Great Gizmos Tractor and Trailer

18 May

And My Terror of the self assembly ride on toy


Self assembly really isn’t my strong point although I am getting better.

Even though the instructions show what you need and how to do it for some reason I still end up doing it wrong.  My worst self assembly to date has to be the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe and that four hour nightmare still haunts me.

When the Great Gizmos Tractor and Trailer arrived in a somewhat smaller box I felt a sigh of relief that this box was nice and small however part of me was still wondering how much time this ride on would take to assemble.  Having become more accomplished since setting up ToyBoxLive I was determined not to be defeated and quickly got on with emptying the contents of the box like an excited child.

The small box caused a little concern, would the Great Gizmos Tractor and Trailer be substantial enough to take the weight and vigour of a child? I laid the parts out on the kitchen work top and have to admit I didn’t think it looked up to much.

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I needn’t have worried this was clearly one of those toys where “the best things come in small packages” apply everything about it exudes confidence and that was clear once it was fully assembled and put to the test by a ferocious two year old.

The dreaded assembly

I set to work following the instructions and getting everything made up.

The first lot of instructions involved constructing the tractor which was a pretty straight forward task.  I used the following tools, Philips screw driver and a hammer, you might also want to find a short Philips screw driver as fastening some of the screws requires you to have tiny hands and this was difficult.

There was a little fiddly screw that you had to put into the steering wheel shown above in the picture that was quite easy to miss.   Make sure you put the base pole in (which the front wheels attach to) before putting the screw into the steering wheel hole. I did this wrong to begin with and then had to do again.  The instructions really aren’t clear.

This picture demonstrates how difficult it was to screw in the screws I had to get a smaller Philips screw driver to do a bit and then use a normal one to finish it off.  There are four screws in total which fasten the seat to the base.

The next bit was a lot trickier so I got my hubby to help out as he hammered on the hub caps which fixed the wheels in place.  I personally found these really difficult to hammer on.

Assembly of the Tractor took just 30 minutes which I think is quite reasonable for a ride on toy as sometimes you can spend hours on these things.

If you decided you want to hire the Great Gizmos Tractor and Trailer from ToyBoxLive as part of your toy hire package it will come fully assembled so you don’t have to waste any precious playtime and can get straight on with enjoying it.

Once the tractor was built my little one couldn’t wait to get on it and with some guests arriving with their two children, I thought I’d leave the trailer part till later to avoid losing any of the parts.  The little ones boy (3) and girl (2) were so obsessed with playing with it, a good 2 hours passed as we all managed to catch up on some adult conversation.

Despite it being what you might consider a boys toy it was a good all rounder even just as the tractor without the trailer.

Hire Great Gizmos Tractor Trailer

There’s the obvious role playing benefits but also children learn hand eye co-ordination and balance with ride-ons.

The instructions clearly say that shoes should be worn however my daughter currently has a thing about taking her shoes and socks off and has subsequently ran over her feet so make sure shoes are worn, they are supervised by an adult and is only used as single passenger.

A few days later after the tractor had been on numerous journeys with us (“is tractor coming to Grandmas” had become a non stop question), I finally convinced the hubby that he should tackle the trailer which he did with in just 15 minutes.


So here’s the summary…difficult to assemble so make sure you have some help handy, once assembled it’s light weight, slim and sleek in design and perfect to take with you when you are out and about visiting friends and family.  Suitable for children aged 1 – 3 years and is available to buy from BrightSparkToys for £45.98.  Or you can hire it from ToyBoxLive as part of your toy rental package.

Tumblekins School Bus

9 May

When this little bundle of tumbling fun arrived it really made us all smile.

With it’s charming wooden good looks, this school bus couldn’t wait to be played with. The packaging it came in was a really tough plastic and we were all just dying to get into it…don’t you just hate it when you try to open plastic packaging with your hands and you realise that really you should have got the scissors to start off with.

The Tumblekins School Bus is made of real wood and suitable for 12 months+ it has lots of character and plenty of personality.  The two characters were equally as stylish as the bus itself, one obviously a girl dressed in pink with blonde hair (not real hair obviously) and the other a boy dressed in green with brown hair.

A wooden bus and a couple of characters may seem quite normal but the way this bus can be played with and interacted with is very different; The bus has a really simple mechanism in the wheels which means the school children tumble as the bus is pushed along.

For ToyBoxLive we are interested in what play value children will get out of it and our 2 year old reviewer was not disappointed she absolutely loved playing with it.  She whizzed it around the kitchen, through the hallway and even started singing the wheels on the bus, the other interesting thing that she did was role play a story in her very own words with the characters.

Tumblekins School Bus

For the minimalist or fashion conscious it is pleasant on the eye and could easily be displayed on a shelf or in the lounge. An easy toy that will be played with again and again.

All in all we love it and this is why

  1. Develops hand eye co-ordination
  2. Teaches children about transport
  3. Encourages role play activities
  4. Interactive for parent/carer and child
  5. Easy to clean

You can buy the Tumblekins school bus for £15.98 from Bright Sparks Toys or you can add it to your toy hire package on ToyBoxLive. All in all a lovely wooden toy which you can add to your toy rental package today