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im an avid marian keyes fan and eagerly awaited her lastest offering. while i wont say this book is bad, i will say it isnt upto marian keyes usual standard. the story is based on the tennants of a 66 star street, which holds 4 flats and the friends/family in there lives. the story is told from someone or 'something' watching all these people. up untill about two thirds of the way through the book i thought it was a ghost. however the story is all revealed when katie (tennant of the attic flat) reads a bedtime story. marian keyes is known for creating personalities on the pages that are a bit different, off the mark you could say. this can only be applied to one character in this book; lydia, the taxi driver who lives with two polish men, andrei and jan. she seemingly has an obsession with the internet (or so you will think), she hates her brothers and is generally angry with the world - all will be revealed why. then there is matt and maeve a very loved up couple- on the surface. scratch a little further and you will see there is more than meets the eye. and in the bottom flat lives 88year old jemima with her dog grudge (great name for a dog) who goes under the alias of mystic maureen on a physic phone line. big changes are going to happen to them all and its interesting to read all the little secrets and backgrounds the tennants hold.
bought this on sale at £12 but wouldnt pay the full price to be honest! general idea is to put the raincoat on fif and watch and listen to her dance and sing. when you place the raincoat on her you have to match up a little button which stick in an hole on fifis belly activating the songs. however the hole is often covered by her dungarees as they are not skin tight (i personally think they would have been better painted on). so when we eventually find the hole my daughter who is almost two has to stick a plastic dowel (attached to the belt on the raincoat) into it. she find this really hard with her little fingers, my son who is three finds it fiddly too. an advantage is, when the dowel is in the hole, you just have to press it and she will sing/talk. but this only lasts a couple of times before teh dowel removes itself from the hole and you have to start the whole process again. another point to mention; fif has a umbrella, which when opening the box you will find its in two pieces, the handle and the big bit. these come apart constantly! which is very annoying! you also need to put to fit the puddle to her feet, again this comes off all the time. my daughter has now started making fif cups of tea or giving her a cuddle instead of using the toy for what it is meant to be! all in all dont bother, even in the sale - buy a cuddly toy instead!
although the playskool busy ball popper is for children aged 9months plus, we bought it for out daughter who is almost two. the reason being, she loves a similar thing at the soft play area we go to. but my son who is 3 plays with it a lot too. when removing from the box the popper is in 3 parts which is very easy to assemble. i like the fact that unlike other toys they have, the kids are unable to seperate the parts themselves. it is a very sturdy toy which is weighted well, meaning it is yet to topple over, but light enough for the kids to carry around at the same time. it is a very basic game, press the button and watch the plays fly out from the hole at the top before falling into another hole and following the track and back to the beginning to start again . occasionally, the balls fly out with such a force that they hit the floor and bouce away. for my kids this adds to the fun as they run off to get the balls, but i could see this being a problem with a younger child/baby who isnt as mobile. when the button is pressed music is played which, unlike a lot of other toys is just the right volume, not too loud nor too quiet. a nice colourful design comes with 5 different coloured bright balls. my son has tryed his hand at sticking other toys into it to see what else would fly! a little tip, ripped up bits of paper do, scooby doo figures do not! but not too much of a problem as we just tipped it up and gave it a shake and he fell right out. it does look like the whole front of teh toy can be removed with a screwdriver though. ive not tried, but handy to know in case anything does get lodged in there. a definate winner in our house, by both children!
my son recieved this farm for his 3rd birthday today. whilst he loves the toy, there is a couple of problems that i have found. the two base boards (which the farm sits upon) do not connect in anyway, you literally sit them next to each other, meaning they slide and seperate when in play. i found the buildings took quite a while to put together. they come apart very easily too during play. the roofs 'open' up meaning you can play inside the buildings, but my son has asked me to remove them as they keep falling down on his fingers. our set has arrived with a wrong piece, meaning the chicken coop cant be constructed. although i have been told i can return the wrong piece for the correct one, i'll update on that one next week! just to update; i took the chicken coop into elc the other day and the sales assistant swapped the incorrect piece with no fuss - so 100% for theyre customer service this set was bought at £45 with a free animal set which has an rrp of £15. to be honest i think £45 is a bit steep and there is no way i would pay £15 for the animals, although they are soundly made these can be sourced for much cheaper. as i said before my son loves his farm playset in particular the winch which has a magnet to carry the bales of straw up to the second floor of the larger building. all in all, a great playset from my sons eyes, unfortunatley i dont agree!