Thursday 23 May 2019

Reviews Revisited April 2013-2018 - including Handheld Gtech, 1 Year School Shoes, Games, Digital Kids and Ninjas

I'm a bit late with my Reviews Revisited posts for April - naively I assumed my operation and recovery would go swimmingly and I didn't get them written in advance - there's a lesson there...

Here is a look back at items we've reviewed during April since the blog started in 2013. The cream of the crop, the things I've loved and the items that simply turned out to be so much better than I ever imagined. I'm not including the turkeys because who needs reminding about something that wasn't as good as expected or broke 3 weeks later...

Back in 2013 I reviewed one of my own personal dream toys. I was given a hefty discount in return for a review, but I'd have done one anyway because the Wonderworld Eco-House is still one of my favourite toys ever.

It's had many, many hours of play and aside from a couple of repairs to the water butt and windmill, it's pristine. One for my Grandchildren.

In 2014 I was really busy and reviewed a lot of cool things. The Lost My Name book from Wonderbly is still one of the best personalised children's books I've ever seen, and believe it or not I still use my StressFreePrint business cards - and I've never known anyone else get as good a service when ordering theirs.

I also reviewed E-Cloths in 2014 and now more than ever reusable chemical-free cleaning equipment is a hot topic. They are brilliant and I still use them. I can't recommend them enough and I've probably also saved a fortune in cleaning liquids over the years.

In 2015 I reviewed a very posh dishrack sent to me by Joseph Joseph and honestly it's been brilliant. 4 years of daily use and it's as good as new. It helps prevent the kids spilling water all over my worktop and I extend it regularly to accommodate all my pots. It's really easy to keep clean and I still think it's fabulous.

2016 saw me do two reviews for Gtech - the AirRam K9 and the Gtech Multi. Both of these are incredibly impressive, powerful and lightweight. Our filters on the AirRam eventually became so clogged that even washing didn't fix it and we had to replace them, which was a small annoyance, but the Multi has been used soooooooooo many times. I had no idea just how useful it would be. I love it.

We reviewed one of the most fun items ever. There aren't many people with a 7ft cardboard pirate ship in their living room, but that's how we spent the next 6 months and the kids loved it! Wiplii really did score a hit with this.

In 2016 we had our first taste of Vietnamese Street Food courtesy of Pho in Manchester Corn Exchange. It was gorgeous and I really want to go back immediately now that I've seen that food again...

Also in 2016 we reviewed The Reward Box. This is currently less than half price, so I don't know if it's about to be discontinued, but my son loves his and uses it as a treasure/money box, although it does still have the stars in it as well. This was his 'cute smile' phase...

A really big review for us in April 2016 was Blackpool Tower Attractions. We had an excellent and very full day out - there is plenty for everyone, whoever you are and whatever age - although Jungle Jims is no longer open. .

Another of our favourite places to visit had a brand new attraction in April 2017. LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at Manchester's Trafford Centre opened their new Ninjago City Adventure area - a huge hit...

We also reviewed Digital Kids Show, Manchester during April, but the show is later in the year. For 2019 they also have a London show coming up. It's my sons' favourite day trip of the year and ideal for any digital-loving kids.

One of our most creative moments on the blog occurred when we reviewed BrickHats. Hats with a LEGO base for building on, or just placing your favourite character. Very clever, very novel and loads of fun.

Not content with that flourish of creativity, we also had a really good play with the StikBot Zanimation Studio. These are so brilliant for kids to use to learn all about stop-motion animation, editing, filming, photography - and quite a bit of physics! There are now clothes, props, animals and all kinds of different extra characters and bits for even better movies.

This time last year we reviewed a trio of games for Green Board Games, including BrainBox, which comes in loads of different themes and is a brilliant game for playing with anyone of any age, and you don't actually need to know anything about the subject before you start, but you will learn!

Lastly, and also in April last year we reviewed Treads Boys School Shoes. I am utterly delighted to tell you that today, in late May over a year later, BOTH BOYS ARE STILL WEARING THEIR SHOES!!! Every bit as good as their word and I have done a couple of revisit posts looking at how they fared so far. I couldn't be happier.

No-one mentioned in this post asked to be included or even knew they would be. Surprise! All of these items were originally sent for review.

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