“ Source of simple and for the most part old-fashioned presents for children and adults alike. „
I think the title says it all :) When I was a kid, there was a shop in town that sold all this kind of stuff - jumping frogs, marbles, bubble blowers, magic tricks, cat-shaped soap that grows hair (!) - and my sister and I always used to get a selection of these novel and fascinating items in our stockings at Christmas :) In fact, my mother assures me I spent longer with these inexpensive toys than with the larger presents I received :D So you can imagine my delight when I discovered Hawkin.co.uk two or three years ago! I was taken straight back to the age of seven or eight, when a clockwork set of false teeth or a Slinky would keep me amused for hours ;) When I moved in with my fiancé, for our first Christmas I bought a stocking and filled it with things from Hawkin - it meant he had lots to open and everything was a surprise. The structure of the online catalogue is very easy to follow. Every item has a great description and a clear photograph. The items on sale here may be inexpensive but are certainly not rubbish - I defy anyone to visit this site and not say "Oh wow! I remember those" or to find something new and inexplicable interesting :) The postage rates are also very fair. When I first ordered from Hawkin's Bazaar, the speed of delivery was rather slow - it's now improved considerably and I will usually receive my order within two or three working days of placing my order. These guys are onto a definite winner. Be prepared to find yourself wanting to buy something from here withing 10 minutes of first viewing the site - in my experience, there's no such thing as visiting Hawkin.co.uk "just for a look"! :)
I have used the Hawkins Catalogue for about five years now and could not be without it, not only at Christmas but all year round. It is particularly good for novilties at childrens birthday parties. My boys have given out some of the best 'Goodie' bag's I've seen...if I do say so myself....and all thanks to Hawkins. However they are not only good for stocking fillers for all ages but also toys. I got my son a wrap around hobby horse for his birthday. Not only does it not have a stick, which could be dangerous, but it makes the noise of hoofs if you squeeze the ears. He may be 7 now but it is still a favourite and he spends many an afternoon trotting around the garden! Hawkins also has some of the best long forgotten favourites of yesteryear. One example is a put-put boat which I got for my Dad, I could see him returning to his youth before my eyes as he sailed it around the bath with my boys! All their stock is good value and often cheaper than elsewhere. There is a small delivery charge for orders under £30.00 but I usually find I can get gifts for everyone and spend over £30.00 or I show the catalogue to someone and make up the order value that way! So all I can say is visit their website or get hold of a catalogue in time for Christmas and make your life easier. The catalogue in itself is very entertaining and makes for a good read. You can order on-line, by post or by phoning their really helpful staff. On several occasions staff have been able to tell me when items showing out of stock will be back again and they have even searched the warehouse for me for discontinued items, they are definately there to help you not just increase their sales. Apparently they have several shops too but I have not been lucky enough to visit one yet, but when I do I will have to set aside a couple of hours for exploring!
From false arms to hair-growing cat soap, if it's unusual gift ideas you want, you've come to the right place! Step right up ladies and gentlemen, to zusy's virtual emporium of weirdness. Guaranteed to satisfy! (Details of where to buy at end of review) We'll start with the 'Russian Roulette' chocolates, shall we? It seems as good a place as any to begin our shopping adventure together... 1. Russian Roulette Chocolates, Item No. B005, £3.99 Chocolates are yummy. We all know this for a fact. They couldn't ever be... dangerous... could they? They could if you buy *these* particular chocolates: 11 delicious praline filled choccies, plus one mystery choccie containing (and I quote) "Enough hot chilli to blow your head off" - You and your friends take turns spinning the bullet shaped choccies on the 'roulette wheel' included in the box. The one pointing at you is the one you must scoff. 11 people will have a lovely choccy... 1 person will never visit your house again. £3.99 may seem a lot for 12 choccies, but this is obviously a novelty item - great for Christmas parties (hope your gran doesn't get the chilli one!) and new years. For the penny-pinching scrooge in your life, I proudly present: 2. Mr. Thrifty's 'How to save money on absolutely everything' book, Item No. B038, £3.99 An ingenious and invaluable book (224 pages) is made up of advice from a column of the same name in 'The Oldie' magazine. This book teaches you how to get things for free (no... not shoplifting!) or as good as free, how to get the very best bargains around and reduce your spending. This book is the latest update and includes special discount offers (found only in the book). When I saw this, I knew I had found the *perfect* present for my boyfriend's dad. Every year he moans we've spent too much on him and should jus
t have got him a plastic 99p watering can or something (I kid you not). He is an absolute nightmare to buy for - he doesn't really have any hobbies, doesn't like chocolate, doesn't like music, doesn't like buying clothes or having them bought for him. And then, if you happen to find him something he likes...he says he could have got it cheaper down the market. Arrrgh! Now he can save yet more money and read up on all the bargains. And even get things free! Hurrah! He'll love us forever. Now, on to students. Apart from writing a blank cheque, what would the perfect present for a weird horror-film obsessed student be? Why, a false arm of course! 3. False arm, Item No. B078, £2.99 Okay, don't look at me like that. I realise this wouldn't be to everyone's taste (imagine Great Aunt Delilah's face on Christmas morning when she unwraps an arm...)However, if you have a horror-film buff cousin at university, like wot I doo, this is a brilliant gift idea. The arm of which I speak is almost life-size and remarkably realistic looking. A rubber hand dangles from a stuffed white 'sleeve' - imagine the hilarious student japery he can perform to amuse and antagonise his friends and enemies! - Walk around with the arm dangling out of a suitcase... - Leave the arm hanging out a piano-lid/dustbin/cardboardbox/window/car-boot... - Use it as a draft excluder Well, I'm sure he's likely to come up with many more uses, but I'll leave those to your imagination... At only £2.99 this is a bargain for hours of (wait for it wait for it) ... *armless* fun! Sorry. It had to be said. I couldn't restrain myself. Ahem.. moving swiftly on, folks... 4. Articulated right hand, Item No. B161, £11.99 Nope, no more childish jinx with this gift idea, just an unusual and possibly very practical item that *I* woul
d certainly love to get. Made from natural solid wood, this hand is roughly two-thrids of an average adult's hand size. It's fully jointed and can be laid down or stood on the wrist base for display..and posed in a variety of ways. No giggling at the back! Yes, yes...we can all think of rude and amusing ways to pose this object. Now if we can just get back to the description? Thank you... I think an artist would particularly appreciate this gift (so many seem to have terrible trouble accurately drawing hands) - or just someone who loves weird ornaments (me!). It's very well made and I can honestly say I've never seen it's like before. This *is* the 'Unusual gifts' section isn't it? Yes? Oh good, because now we can discover the delights of: 5. Hair-growing cat soap, Item No. B216, £2.50 A soap that promotes fur-growth for the follicley challenged moggy? Well, no... it's quite a lot weirder than that. This piece of soap is shaped like a cat. Nothing wrong with it so far, eh? We've all seen novelty soaps before. This soap is described as a "...detailed sculpture of a bald cat" - detailed and 'sculpture' is rather over-egging the pudding a bit. It looks like a white cat-shaped soap to me. The soap comes in an air-tight bag inside it's box. The reason for this becomes increasingly evident as you unwrap it. It starts to grow hair when exposed to the air. Having left the weirdo soap alone for a few days, the hair becomes longer and silky, until the moment you brave your worst fears and actually use it as nature (or soap manufacturers) intended. The hair disappears and you are once again presented with a bald cat-shaped soap. As time progresses, the soap wears down to reveal yet more oddity: a tiny plastic mouse hidden inside the soap. Why? I have no answers for you. You have to wonder a
bout the person who invented this. This is an ideal gift for someone who loves weird things - not really suitable for young children, though, unless you want to spend Chrtistmas in casualty whilst a team of nurses extracates aforementioned tiny plastic mouse from child's throat. Know someone who longs to be a great artist but can't draw for toffee? Hurry forth, my dears, and wonder at: 6. Magic drawing board 'camera lucida', Item No. B255, £5.50 Apparently it used to be a 'well known fact' that if you hold a piece of tinted glass at just the right angle next to an image, a 'mirror image' appears beside it. The image can then be traced onto a piece of paper, although trying to hold a tinted piece of glass, the orginal image and the piece of paper you're copying onto is a bit of a tricky affair. This kit does it all for you. It consists of an A4 piece of tinted plastic and drawing board in a case. When opened, it holds the tinted 'glass' in the exact position needed, and allows your original image to be clipped to the other side of the case. Now all you need do is choose a picture and trace away to your heart's content. You need never tell anyone you traced it, either... unless it's the Mona Lisa or something, in which case they just might guess. This would be a good way for children to get drawing, or adults who (like me) go all wobbly-handed when they pick up a pencil and try to sketch. Why not include a selection of pictures, some artist's pencils and nice paper, too? Making necklaces from leaves? This next unusual item is something I've requested for Christmas: 7. Bead Making Kit, Item No. B488, £9.99 Included in this kit are the tools you need (a wooden and metal craft tool thingummy that turns the beads) and supplies like paper and glue to get you started immediately. There's also a full-colo
ur instruction tips & techniques book that has loads of ideas to inspire you once you've made your beads. You can make them from paper, foil, fabric, leaves (!) - anything that can be rolled-up, really. I love making jewellery, but beads can be so expensive to buy if you want something a bit, well, unusual... This way is cheap and unique. You are seemingly only limited by your imagination. The perfect gift for an artsy-crafty person who's difficult to buy for as they prefer making their own things, or just for someone who loves jewellery. 2000 seems to have been a bumper baby year, if my friends are anything to go by. They were giving birth all over the place (so to speak). With this in mind, an unusual gift could well be: 8. Hand & Footprint set, Item No. B665, £2.99 Awwwwww...how cute! Look at doze widdle handies and widdle tootsies zen... This seems to be the dominant conversation topic when the parents of new babies go out and are assuled by complete strangers wanting to see the kids hands and feet. Weird. Here's a way to preserve those handies and tootsies forever (perfect for embarrassing the poor mite when they're about 10 years old and have some friends round, too!) You pour some of the white modelling clay into the circular mould, press the child's hand or foot into it, and names or dates can be etched in if you like - then leave to dry for a couple of days to be sure it's ready. The detail of the imprint can then be shaded in with the brown chalk supplied, so it shows up to greater effect. If you preferred, you could use a metallic paint or gold leaf. This kit could be presented as it is or you could borrow the kiddie whilst babysitting and do the imprints then, and give those ready made, instead. Just make sure you wash the clay off their hands/feet when you give the child back! The finished plaques can be displaye
d on the stand provided, or you could put a picture hanging hook on the back so it can be displayed on a wall. "Neeeeeaaar! Faaaaaaar! Where-eeeeeeeever you aaaaare!" Oh god, no, it's *that* song again...run, run for the hills! It's okay, you can come out now. She's been put back in the box. Now we can take a look at the utterly useless but bound-to-please-someone bathtime splendour that is: 9. Motorised inflatable titanic (complete with inflatable iceberg), Item No. B747, £8.99 Plastic yellow ducks are just so passé these days. What to get for the bath-addict who refuses to grow up? Inflate the ship, inflate the iceberg, attach motor to ship and launch into the bath water/'ocean'. Now sit back safe amongst the bubbles whilst the ship pootles around narrowly missing (or otherwise) the iceberg. Pointless, but mildly amusing, you have to admit. Also, not entirely in good taste, but there you have it. Why not buy the video or DVD of the film for someone who missed seeing it, or loved it and would like to see it again. Present the video and this inflatable set in a gift box (perhaps containing some nice bubble bath, a gorgeously cuddly towel and a back scrubber?) Add some shells, pebbles and a candle and all of a sudden the rather boring and predictable 'oh it's another video' gift has been transformed into something wonderful! Finally, in this virtual bizarre bazaar, it seems only fitting to include: 10. Bizarre Books, Item No. B014, £6.99 You would imagine, would you not, that a book entitled 'A Treatise on Madness' by an author called William Battie MD, would be some kind of joke? Or perhaps you might stumble across a 'The History of the Concrete Roofing Tile' book and assume it had been made up to amuse. On the other hand, you could find yourself wondering where you can read up on the ever
useful 'Law Relating to Carriage of Goods in a Nut Shell'. Wonder no more, my literary chums, as this book consists of actual published books and authors that will amaze and astound you in their oddity and general weirdness. The authors have reserched this topic for years, and finally put together this book of bizarre books so that you may, if you were so inclined, hunt down your very own unusual book. The publisher is named, and publishing dates are given for each entry; so if they are still in print you could theoretically buy a weird book or, perhaps, trace one through an out-of-print book-finding service (there are several on the internet now). The best use of this book, though, is simply to dip into and laugh out-loud at. If you know someone who adores books but has so many of them you probably couldn't buy them a novel they didn't already have...this could be the ideal solution! All the gifts I've mentioned here are available from Hawkin - a remarkable and delightful company that specialises in unusual gifts and stuff suitable for stocking fillers or birthday-gift bags. You can go to their website, browse and order through their secure server: www.hawkin.co.uk Or use the site to request a printed catalogue to view in the comfort of your home. I spent *hours* looking at mine, it's packed with such interesting stuff! Most of it is really reasonably priced, by today's standars, too. If you don't like ordering online, they have a few shops around the country - details are on the website. When you look through the catalogue, you will see things that many other shops have but *far* cheaper - most of those other shops actually buy the stuff wholesale at Hawkin! The website isn't very flashy, but it's simple and does what it needs to do. If you're looking for truly unusual gifts this Christmas (or at any time of year),
I suggest you hot-foot it to Hawkin and be agape at their bizarre offerings... :-)
This has got to be one of the most fascinating toy and gift selections I have come across for ages!!! They stock an unusual selection of items....many of which could be classed as "old fashioned 2 toys if you like.....but they seem to put together a collection that has universal appeal whatever the age!! Each item is covered in a ctalogue by a humourous and highly informative description and picture...the items are availble by ordering by post or online... The selection of cheap and cheerful pressies is huge...ideal for stocking fillers..and lots of games are also included. Last year we purchased an excellent Roulette set from the catalogue..and we hve had endless family fun with it!!! They also stock a range of reproduction Victorian scraps for the creative amongst them..my daughter is hooked on creating endless collages from them... Delivery has always been fast quick and accurate...and is actually FREE over £30!!! All I can do is suggest you go and have a nosey...it really will be worth your while!!