We were recently lucky enough to receive a bundle of toys from the hugely popular children's TV series Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom. Now, we've outgrown Peppa Pig in our house but I'm glad that Ruby is still clinging onto Ben and Holly because I have a bit of a soft spot for it myself.
Although I was sent it to review on the blog, I'm getting a bit concerned about the message it's sending out giving Ruby new toys 'just because' so I held them back a few days and presented them to her as a Well Done on her brilliant school report. She had her eyes tightly closed for her surprise and her face was an absolute picture when I gave her the Magical Castle - she screamed "oh Mummy, THANK YOU, I've always wanted this, it's the best present EVER!!!"
From my perspective, first impressions were good. One of my biggest bugbears is packaging which needs an entire toolbox to crack open. It seems that Golden Bear Toys have listened to customer feedback, and come up with a new way to attached items to their packaging. This was a breeze to open, paper-type string, simply twisted together - you don't even need scissors!
Once we'd set the castle up (again, very simple to do) Ruby went about decorating it with the stickers provided. The set comes with 4 figures and a 'magic wand'. We were intrigued to see how exactly it would perform it's 'magic spells', but lo and behold, as if by magic when the wand is waved over certain parts of the castle, things happen! Holly's toy chest magically opens; the fridge door opens and the bath magically fills amongst other things.
My only criticism would be that if an adult doesn't properly slot the castle tower into the base, it has a tendency to topple over and as a consequence, re-arranges the furniture! However, Ruby loves it and spends ages happily setting up scenes and making up stories about Nanny Plum and Ben Elf's adventures.
At nearly £25 it is a little on the pricey side, but I do like that they also sell a 'spares set', so if pieces are lost, all is not lost. I wish more toy companies would do this. As kids get beyond the age of 3 and apparently instantly stop putting things in their mouths, their toys inexplicably seem to come with tonnes of teeny tiny pieces which invariable end up sucked up the hoover so a spares set is a great idea.
We were also sent a set of dominoes, and have been playing these as together as a family. We often play a board or card game before bed, so it's nice to have something new to add to our collection. The dominoes are chunky and wooden and easy to grasp. I would say at the age of five years, we really could have done with some numbers on them to test her a little further, but for younger children it's a great way to learn the art of dominoes, and teaches taking turns and matching skills.
Finally, we also had one of the wand and figure sets. These are reasonably priced at £3.99 and make a nice pocket-money type toy or gift. Available with different characters, I guess the idea is to collect the set. But since we already had a wand with the castle, we had much more fun doing things like this with them...
Have you figured out how the magic works yet?!
Disclosure: We were sent the toys for the purposes of this review. All opinions and pictures are our own.