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Being a bit of a lentil weaver and yoghurt knitter, I swore when I had the fruit of my womb that I would *not* succumb to gender specific colours, girlie junk and plastic tat. I laugh at my innocence now....
Despite my best efforts, mini- spiritwood has totally un-encouraged leanings both towards pink AND fluffy and I am not sure where I went wrong.
This is the latest in a long line of plastic, pink and furry tat that has found its way into my house. Against my better judgement I gave in to the squeaks of delight when my daughter saw an advert for these things on the TV. And so my latest lodger is the unusually named "Preziosi Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Jilly" or as my daughter calls it "pinky". ARGH!
Zhu Zhu hamsters are an interactive toy ( yes I am going to have to buy yet more batteries ) which scoot about in a manic fashion and make strange noises. They work best on a flat and smooth surface ( we have a tiled ground floor so that is fine for these ). Carpets and rugs hinder their movement a bit and they do get stuck when there is any change in floor level. On a flat surface though these things can move. They are quite skittish and this one launches off in different directions quite randomly which is always amusing as it scares the cats.
Speaking of cats ( and dogs ) any animal hair lying around will clog the wheels up a bit so sweep or hoover first. If like me you have a mini-zoo and spend all day clearing up enough hair to knit a small jumper daily, this can be a bit annoying. It is either that or pick the hair out...
The toy is reasonably strong ( having been picked up in the jaws of a German shepherd who either thought it was small edible prey or was sick to death of its chattering.
The toy has a soft fur which covers a plastic skeleton which encloses all of the technical gubbins. The nose is a button and there is one on the head too. The size of this toy is perfect for small children from 3 plus as it is easy to cup their hands around it ( that is if you can stop the damn thing trying to escape- like a real hamster I guess... ) and the features such as eyes, ears etc are securely fixed and safe.
Obviously being electronic, these cannot be washed traditionally but after the German shepherd incident we learned that they cope well with being de-slobbered with a damp cloth.
The manufacturers state that these things are "realistic" but I have never seen a pink hamster. The behaviour is more relative to a guinea pig in my experience as hamsters are lazy buggers. Either way these are great fun for young kids, and putting my own shuddering aside, I am glad that I bought it for my daughter.
Interactive and amusing
Unpredictable which makes children laugh
Sturdy and survive German Shepherd maulings
Come in a variety of colours
The toys interact with each other when there is more than one (twice as fun for the child )
Pink, annoying, noisy and skittish
Behaves randomly rather like somebody tweaking on crack
Need to replace batteries.
The toys interact with each other when there is more than one (twice as annoying for the parent)
Price varies, we paid £8 including postage. Do check the Amazon product page though, there are some listed at a cheaper price.
A couple of years ago, this was the must have toy for Christmas and was scarcely available. A few months later and there were lots of stock everywhere so for Easter, I decided to buy Jilly.
Jilly comes in a blue and yellow in box with a hole on the end where her nose protrudes through, on the end of her nose, there is a little button which when pressed, she starts squeaking or saying 'ready, go!' The packaging states not suitable for under 4, Lauren was actually 3 when we brought it her however play was always supervised. Jilly is covered in white and pink fur with two little pink ears.
Operating is really easy; on her back she has a little button, which has three setting; sleep mode, which means she doesn't do anything, talk mode, which means Jilly just chatters away (this is the most annoying one, especially when it gets knocked in the toy box and 'doesn't shut up!') and finally, the most mode of all, explore mode - just place Jilly on the floor and off she goes. Unlike a lot of toys, when Jilly hits a dead end, she reverses and turns in the opposite direction - Lauren used to find this hilarious, even to the extent that she would try and 'box Jilly in' to see if she could escape all on her own. The change between the different settings, you just press the button again.
As with most wheeled toys, Jilly seems to work better on hard flooring however she still works fine on carpets, just a little slower. I would be careful of placing her on a deep pile carpet or rug as the pile may get stuck in her wheels.
The range of Zhu Zhu is enormous, there are loads of different hamsters available, all ranging from £5 - £15, you can buy clothes & jewellery for around £5 each and then larger accessories such as cars, restaurants, tubes etc, while these look great, to be honest I think they deter away from the fun of the product which is watching it run around the floor, plus Lauren has never shown any interest in wanting any of these.
The hamster requires 2 x AA batteries which are included, these actually last for ages, although Lauren goes through phases of playing with this, we are still using the original batteries!
The only downside of the product is if you pick it up while the wheels are going round, they can nip your skin slightly, whilst for an adult, this wasn't an issue, I can imagine it would come keen and possibly even break the skin on children's hands.
Overall, I paid £4.99 and I think this was a good buy, we didn't splash out on any expensive play set and accessories and we have had lots of fun so even when paying the pull RRP of £9.99, I would recommend and give 5 out of 5 stars!
Thanks for reading.
I chatter, babble, run and scurry like a real hamster! Requires two AAA batteries (batteries included)