Thursday, 30 October 2014

Celebrate Halloween with the Monster High 2 in 1 Mandala-Designer

We were sent the Monster High 2 in 1 Mandala for review form Ravensburger, we have reviewed their Doc McStuffins Mandala back in May and the children liked the free design element the Mandala offered. The Monsters High Mandala is slightly different as it offers 2 different sized mandalas which extends the design opportunity.
PicMonkey CollageThe set retails at £9.99 and inside you get the drawing stations, 2 mandala wheels, 10 pieces of paper, 1 outline pen and 3 coloured pencils. The first thing that came to mind for me when it was opened was that it only came with 3 pencil crayons, for the price I would prefer a full pack of 10 at least, the 3 colours limits your design options. You can of course use your own pencils, but if I paid £10 I would definitely want more than 3!
PicMonkey Collage1I like the design station as it hold the paper securely in place, via the gaps in the side, the mandala wheel fits inside the holder and you can start wherever you like by lining up the arrows on the holder with the arrows on the mandala wheel. The fine tip felt-tip pen is perfect for getting in the thin areas of the design, when you have done what you want simply slide the wheel around to the next arrow and carry on creating until your happy.
PicMonkey Collage2Dayton isn’t one for drawing, he says he doesn’t like to as he cant think what to draw, the mandala takes this element away and he happily sat and played with the mandala. He was so busy drawing round the template and sliding the mandala from one arrow to the next he completely forgot that he was making a picture underneath! He completely zoned into what he was doing, which is a great thing for Dayton as he usually struggles with concentration.
PicMonkey Collage3We loved the Mandala and think it would make a fab Christmas gift, the set is made from good quality moulded plastic, with 4 children in the house its had a few bumps and is still intact! A good plus for a product in our eyes. You can purchase the above product from Amazon rrp £9.99/

Monday, 27 October 2014

Monster High 2 in 1 Mandala-Designer

Ravensburger Monster High 2-in-1 Mandala Designer {Review}
Can you remember having a fashion wheel? My older sister had one and I was always jealous of it, she’d let me have a go every once in a while and I’d love the opportunity to create a masterpiece.  So when we were offered the opportunity to review the Ravensburger Monster High 2-in-1 Mandala Designer I’m not sure who was more excited, myself or Roo.

Ravensburger Monster High 2-in-1 Mandala Designer

Now youngsters can draw their own pictures of Monster High characters using this clever and unique product Mandala Designer is simple to use just pop some paper in the base tray provided put the plastic stencil on top and draw around the shapes using the pen or pencil provided Rotate the stencil lining up the little arrows and draw again the result is a lovely symmetrical circular design Mandala that can be coloured cut to shape and proudly displayed.
Ravensburger Monster High 2-in-1 Mandala Designer - Contents
  • Plastic base tray
  • 2 rotating plastic drawing stencils (1 large and 1 small)
  • 10 sheets of paper
  • 1 felt tip pen
  • 3 coloured pencils

How to make a Monster High 2-in-1 Mandala Designer masterpiece

  1. Insert the two opposite corners of a sheet of paper into the frame
  2. Choose one of the design shapes with which to start your Mandala.
  3. Place the template into the frame so that an arrow on the large template is lined up with an arrow on the frame
  4. Draw around your chosen design using the felt tip pen provided, hold upright but don’t press to hard as you don’t want to widen the nib
  5. Love the template around by one, two or four arrows, depending on how often you want the chosen shape to appear on Mandala
  6. Colour in your chosen Mandala design
Ravensburger Monster High 2-in-1 Mandala Designer - Drawing the outlines
To make a mini Mandala or a Mandala within a Mandala, simply place the small stencil inside the round space of the large stencil.  Now rotate the small stencil arrow by arrow to produce a beautiful mini Mandala.
 To draw circles on your Mandala, simply place your felt-tip pen onto one of the little holes in the template and rotate until you have your desired circle.
The pack only comes with 10 precut sheets of paper to fit the frame, to make some more trim an A4 sheet of paper to measure 21cm x 21cm.

Boo Roo and Tigger Too’s thoughts…

Roo enjoys colouring in those doodle style books so the ability to make her own creative designs with a few turns of a template really appealed.  The beauty of this set is that is easy to set up and get creating, suitable for children age 6+ however I think that most 5 year olds would get the hang of turning the template to make their Mandala.
Available from AmazonArgos and all other good toy retailers with a £9.99 RRP, a good price for any Monster High mad tween and would make a great birthday or Christmas gift.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Ravensburger 3D Empire State Building Night Edition

Ravensburger 3D Empire State Building puzzleIn 2006, Mr K and I went to New York for his 30th birthday and of course we had to visit the iconic Empire State Building.  The Empire State Building is a 103-story skyscraper and has a roof height of 1,250 feet (380 m), and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 feet (443 m) high.  It is the tallest building in New York once again since the September 11 attacks in 2001. They have been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
empire state building topThis is us on the rooftop of the Empire State Building.
Empire State BuildingThis is me at the other building looking across the Empire State Building.
Those were happy times and now I am very excited to receive this 3D shaped puzzle of The Empire State Building!
This is a brand new Ravensburger 3D jigsaw concept using the latest puzzle technology from Germany.  This puzzle uses unique hinged plastic pieces, which slot together to build a sturdy and strong “building”.  No glue is required.
This puzzle has got 216 high quality plastic pieces and measures 46.5cm when complete.  Each puzzle piece is printed with a number on the reverse side, so you can either assemble the puzzle by eye, or just by following the numbers.  I sorted them out into my Lego advent tray by putting them in 1- 9, 10 – 19 etc! It is so handy to reuse the tray!  I knew one day I would find a use for it.
Ravensburger 3D Empire State Building pieceIt requires 3 AAA batteries for the LED light box to be placed on the plastic tray. Then cover it with the printed base board to display on a shelf or table top. Watch the changing colours create an amazing light show in the dark.
Ravensburger 3D Empire State Building baseThis is how it looks like when it is lit up.
Ravensburger 3D Empire State Building lightThis puzzle is suitable for aged 12 onwards.  I found it quite challenging and fun at the same time.  For some pieces, I did find it hard to slot them in properly so I had to dissemble a few pieces before slotting them back to realign them.  It only take me an hour to build and it was difficult at all.
Ravensburger 3D Empire StateHere are a few tips to complete this puzzle:
  1. Make use of a tray with lots of compartments (like a large advent calendar).
  2. Clip the pre-bent hinged piece together tightly.
  3. Have a rubber band handy. I used it to keep some areas tight while I completed the top.
  4. Pieces with a plastic dot on the printed number means that you have reach the level to slot in the rectangle plastic.
  5. Be careful to not force it as it might break.
Our family were very impressed with the building and now it going to sit proudly in our living room!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

One Direction 3D Puzzle Review

Jordanna is a big one direction fan. She already has a few CDs, DVDs, cushions, books, blankets of 1D so I just knew she would also love a 1D puzzle to add to her collection.
This puzzle comes from Ravensburger from whom we now have quite a collection of different jigsaws from.
This one differed from the others, being in the shape of a globe which we have never attempted until now. Luckily for us it only has 72 pieces.
Another big difference I immediately noticed when I opened the puzzle up is that the pieces are plastic rather than wood or cardboard and they all have numbers and arrows on the back of the picture side.
It was a little bewildering attempting a globe puzzle for the first time. Even tho there were only 72 pieces, there was no straight edge or corner pieces to be found. After a brief look at the small diagram on the instructions I realised the numbers on the back of course had a purpose. We start with number 1 and follow the arrows, connecting number 2,3,4 and so on.
Once me and Jordanna had it worked out it was pretty easy from then on. Jordanna sorted the pieces into lots (20s, 30s, 40s etc) and I built it.
To start with I built in my hands and then once the circular base was formed I placed it on the red stand.
Towards the end it did get ever so slightly tougher as too much pressure would make pieces pop out and then I would have to look inside at the numbers to see where they had come from.
It did not take long to build, maybe 20 mins if that.
Once the 3D globe was built and all the pieces were in it actually felt quite solid and almost unbreakable unlike standard flat jigsaws.
It is smaller than what I first expected but this is not a bad thing as it means Jordanna can place it on her window sill and not have to worry about needing a big space to store it.
The finished puzzle shows all the members of One direction along with band signatures.
The puzzle can be purchased from many toy and puzzle retailers including Smyths, Argos, Asda, Hobbycraft, Amazon. Prices vary a little between retailers but it costs around £10.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Ravensburger 'How to train your dragon' Review

Sometimes we love noisy toys, and messy play, and mud, and rowdiness. 

And sometimes we don't. 

Sometimes we love things that we can sit quietly at the
table (or on the floor)and do together, thinking it through and
 puzzling at a puzzle...for example! 

We were sent a set of three 'how to train your dragon' jigsaws; 

The kids love jigsaws and Jellybean was excited to see that these
said five plus on the box, because he's five, and each of the
puzzles has 49 pieces - making them more complex
than any of the puzzles we've owned before. 

Jellybean is a very smart kid (they both are) and
generally finds most things easy - and when he doesn't 
find things easy he's quite likely to get a bit stroppy
or want to stop, because he finds it frustrating. I wondered if
that would happen with these puzzles - but popped on our
'how to train your dragon' DVD and got the puzzles 
out for some quality rainy afternoon entertainment. 

There was a couple of moments that Jellybean got frustrated,
and Midget Gem was a bit little to do these alone, but 
with us all sitting together it turned out absolutely perfectly. 

Midget Gem liked sorting the puzzle pieces into the 
three piles - plain, stripy or spotty backed pieces for the 
three puzzles - then sorting the edges from the middle pieces,
and while Jellybean put the puzzles together Midget Gem helped
him to identify which pieces might be next by spotting colours
and patterns that fit in the picture. 

I thought I might need to be quite hands on, but having
caught them in a rare co-operative moment they sat nicely 
for quite a long time working together on the puzzles,
and it was really nice to see. 

The puzzles are, of course, great quality and the patterns
on the back mean you can easily sort which pieces are
for which puzzle - and though my OCD gets a little
twitchy with the kids mixing them all up, I know it won't
take long to sort next time we play. 

The set is a bargain at just £5.99 on Amazon at the moment and for 
fans of the films would make a great gift. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Ravensburger Puzzle Boards – A Blog Feature

tssreviews have put together a number of editorial pieces featuring Ravensburger jigsaw puzzles, but we haven’t, to date, extended our thoughts to include those additional kinds of considerations that one has to factor in before setting about the task of puzzle compiling. This time we are doing.

Whether it is subconsciously, or not, we will firstly be considering a few things: the space available for undertaking this type of hobby pursuit; the comfort and positioning of the person (people) while doing it; and the maneuverability and storage of something that is a largely a Work in Progress until completed.
Some people have space within their homes which can incorporate physical things based around their interests or hobbies, and some will, willingly, give up precious space that is usually dedicated to mealtimes, in favour of the puzzle making, for the length of time required to get it done. Others prefer to use a working base that will transport the puzzle and allow re-positioning of the operation onto the floor, or a different furniture top, or to another room in fact. Finding a piece of board that is workable and large enough to incorporate a completed jigsaw puzzle can prove difficult.
Here are two Ravensburger items that will help to address one or more of the above mentioned considerations.
puzzle companion
The Puzzle Companion 
The puzzle companion is a rigid board, but very lightweight – measures 76 x 54cm. Ravensburger puzzles of 1000 standard sized pieces, have a consistent dimension on completion that will fall a few centimetres short of fitting the puzzle companion edge to edge. The working surface is made from flock material so puzzle pieces can adhere to it slightly, and not slip away easily. You can slide and so rotate the board when on a table top to an angle and desired position for any one person at any one time. The board is flat and not bulky, so can be stored behind a cupboard or against a wall when not in use. The Puzzle Companion will make a great gift combination along with any Ravensburger jigsaw puzzle from their vast range.
RRP £19.99
puzzle board
Complete Puzzle Set
This jigsaw has a built in puzzle mat, so a work board or a table top is not a necessary requirement while assembling. The base layer of this jigsaw is the puzzle box itself, simply remove the puzzle box lid and then flatten down the sides of the box’s base. Insert four large corner pieces (supplied) to stabilise and complete the frame to include four right angles. Compile the puzzle on the surface within the frame. The frame will show a continuation of the puzzle’s overall photographic illustration. complete puzzleMoving away, for a moment, from the concept of a puzzle with its own built in base, because with this set you have a further option. By spreading the finished jigsaw with conserver fluid and allowing it to dry, you are ‘fixing’ the pieces so that it can be hung as one piece of framed wall art that will measure 57 x 44cm. Note: The conserver and the picture hangers are included in the box.
Complete Puzzle Set comes in three themes: Ocean/Sea, Beaches, and Landscapes.
RRP 19.99

Monday, 29 September 2014

Ravensburger - Day with Grandma and Grandad 2x500 piece puzzles

We were recently sent this fantastic set of two puzzles - A day with Grandma and Grandad, from Ravensburger.

Youngsters always enjoy spending time with their grandparents, and Trevor Mitchell's paintings perfectly capture the fun shared on an idyllic day with Grandma and Grandad. These jigsaws depict a bright and sunny summer's day and our happy family members are enjoying repairing a push bike, washing the Morris Minor Traveller and just generally being out of doors. Later in the day everyone gathers in the kitchen, baking biscuits for tea. These colourful and detailed scenes will conjure up happy thoughts and memories for families everywhere. Puzzles come with a double-sided full colour leaflet showing the puzzle pictures for reference, and including artist's biography.

This puzzle has been added to our collection of fantastic Ravensburger puzzles, As I have said before we are a puzzle mad family!

A day with grandma and grandad comprises of two 500 piece puzzles.

I think this puzzle would make a lovely gift or pastime for grandparents everywhere!

As always the puzzle pieces are incredibly sturdy and are the premium puzzle soft click technology.

Inside the box is a leaflet showing the artist's biography and additional puzzle pictures for reference.

Each puzzle measures 49.3x36.2cm when complete and has linen-finish print to help prevent glare on puzzle picture.

Recommended age of 8 years plus.

This fabulous family fun puzzle is available to buy on Amazon for £10.87.

Review by Beth Bear