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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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To start with I built in my hands and then once the circular base was formed I placed it on the red stand.
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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.
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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.
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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 it...like 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 

Monday, 22 September 2014

Labyrinth board game by Ravensburger





If there is one thing we love to do, that is spend quality time together, as we have had such a busy six week’s holiday we thought we would have a few quiet relaxing day’s indoors, one of which was playing board games.

We started of playing Labyrinth, we have never played this game before so instructions had to be read so we all knew what we had to do, first off was getting the board set up.The aim of the game is to work your way through the maze collecting your treasure along the way using the fastest route to get you there.

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There is a fun twist to the game, the players can move the maze by changing the maze path, this could make it easier or harder for players to get their treasure, the maze path can be changed by every player just before they move their piece by inserting a maze card to the board, this will then push out a maze card the opposite end for the next player to then add where they wish on their turn, the maze piece can only be added by being pushed on the board from where the 12 yellow arrows are round the edge of the board, the maze piece can not be added to the middle of the board.

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1 game board

34 maze cards

24 object cards

4 playing pieces




At the beginning of the game we shuffled the maze cards and then place them face up on the board to create our maze, we had one maze card left over, this was our card used to keep the maze pathway moving before we each took our turn to move round the maze, we then shuffled and dealt out the objects cards amongst us playing, on our turn we each had to pick one of our object cards in our stack without showing it to the other players, we then had to try and get to the square displaying the same picture that is on our card, to do this we had to first insert a maze card to move the maze path, either to make our move easier or it can be used to block the others playing, We then had to search the Labyrinth for our magical objects and characters by tackling the constantly moving maze. Once you have found the object that is on your card you then show the card to the other players and then pick up your next object card and work your way to that, once you have found your objects you leave the card face up next to you, the first player to find all of their objects and characters and return back to the starting square is the winner.


game set up


We had a very enjoyable afternoon playing this game, it made a lovely change to be able to just sit and still have fun quality time together that did not involve lots of walking, transport, TV or gadgets, this game was enjoyed in the comfort of our own home and made lovely afternoon full of fun and laughter. The way the maze keeps changing it kept the excitement going so it made a very exciting afternoon, admittedly we did play this game a few times until we all had a win and each game was different due to the maze constantly changing.

This board game is for ages 8+ you can view the wide range of other games and products from Ravensburger here.

Review by The House That Never Rests


Monday, 15 September 2014

Ravensburger - Peony Cottage 1000 Piece Puzzle



We recently received this beautiful Peony Cottage puzzle from theRavensburger Country Cottage Collection.
 
 
Just imagine spending some time in this wonderful cottage and 
garden. Perhaps you'd wander around the garden admiring the 
flowers, gathering a few to put in a vase inside the picturesque 
house. Imagine the peace and quiet to be enjoyed in this stunning 
setting,the bird song, buzzing of the bees and the chiming of the 
clock in the nearby church tower. A lovely puzzle to enjoy with family 
and friends, or be totally self indulgent and assemble it alone!
 
I love the fact that there is so many little hidden gems in this scene, 
the colours are beautiful with so many different flowers around the 
garden. Its all enough to make you want to live in this stunning 
house and gardens!
 
I've always found that Ravensburger puzzles are incredibly high 
quality, and this 1000 piece peony cottage puzzle is certainly no 
exception.
 
This beautiful scene is approximately 69.9 cm x 49.7cm when 
complete, with a recommended age of 12 years plus.

The Peony Cottage Puzzle is available to buy on Amazon for £8.00
 
Review by Beth Bear

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Ravensburger educational flashcards

Last week we were sent some number and letter flashcards from 
Ravensburger to review.

Arthur is three-and-a-half and just starting to show an interest in
 letters so I was keen to try these out. My first letter flashcards 
are lovely quality, sturdy cards using pictures and words to help 
your child begin recognising letter and making connections 
between words and objects.

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Arthur happily spent about half an hour going through the cards 
with me. We made up a game where I showed him the image 
and we had to shout out the word and see who was first. 
Then I turned it over to show him the word and slowly spelt it out 
for him.

I was surprised how long he concentrated for and with 35 cards 
in a pack there were plenty to choose from.

The number flash cards are great as Arthur is only just 
recognising numbers properly but he is really enjoying counting 
on his hands so I used this as a chance to explore his counting. 
We picked a card and together counted it out on his fingers. 
Again the cards were great quality, easy to use and I liked the 
simplicity of it. Plus the fact you can tailor it to your own child.

























We created little games that suited us and it worked. They are 
educational but they can be used in a fun way so Arthur never 
felt pressurised or like he was having to learn something. 
The number ones in particular will also last a long time as 
you can progress to simple sums when ready.  I will definitely 
be using them again to help build his confidence with words 
and numbers.