Boswells Blog

21st November 2018

The Top Toys to Look Out for this Christmas, 2018

The Top Toys to Look Out for this Christmas, 2018

Another Christmas is almost here! As exciting as that is, we all know that there’s a lot of preparation to go into the celebrations between now and then. And, with new toys appearing in the shops all the time, figuring out what will make the perfect gift for a special child can be a perplexing thing indeed. With that in mind, we’ve saved you some of the work and put together our predictions for which toys are going to be big this year.

Collectable Card Games

Yu-Gi-Oh! Mega Tin ImageYu-Gi-Oh! trading card game is a seasoned favourite. Keep an eye out for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Mega Tin set in the coming weeks, as these are proving popular already.

The tin comes with one of 2 designs on the cover of the tin, and inside you’ll find a selection of the past year’s cards, as well as some new surprises to keep things interesting.

Games

Hearing Things Game Image

Looking for some fun with the family this festive season? We think we might just have the game for you! Hearing Things is a fantastic new game that allows you plenty of opportunities to mildly embarrass yourself as you attempt to guess what phrases the family are saying to you, purely by lip reading. Pop on a pair of fetching looking speech cancelling headphones and try to decipher the phrase…it promises some good giggles as it really is harder than it sounds!

Fun with Science

Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty ImageOur science toy section always proves to be one of the busiest parts of the shop in the run up to Christmas. What better way to learn, after all, than through play! Last year it was all about the slime and, although that certainly hasn’t completely changed, we’re predicting putty to be huge this year. What’s the difference you ask? While slime has quite a runny consistency, putty is thicker, can be a bit more pliable and is definitely less likely to spill all over the floor!

We have some very special putties in stock at the moment, with Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty range offering weird and wonderful versions of this squashy toy. We particularly love the Cosmic Northern lights Thinking Putty, which has a tinge of aurora colours in it, but it also amazingly glows sky blue in the dark! Wowza!


Power Tracks ImageIf you’re looking for something less gooey, though, who doesn’t love a good remote-control toy to drive the family mad with on Christmas day? The Science Museum Heliball  is one of our favourites and can keep a wide age range amused. This flying remote control toy can detect when it’s near a surface and move away accordingly! 

Power Tracks also promises to bring lots of fun to the table this Christmas, as kid’s can get their first taste of programming, as they give commands to adorable robot, Volty, to move in whatever direction they choose! It’s a fantastic introduction to STEM, but also, who doesn’t love robots!

Interactive Electronic Toys

Little Live Pets Wrapples Image

Speaking of robots, you might want to take a peek at these new arrivals!

Pokibot is a tiny little robot, but packed with great features and functions that are bound to keep the kids entertained well beyond Christmas. You can record your voice and play it back, watch Pokibot dance and spin and move about and, rather impressively, if you have more than 1, the Pokibots will interact with each other!

You may have heard of Little Live Pets Wrapples recently, but might be wondering just what exactly these are… Wrapples are little electronic pets that you can wear on your wrist. They talk, sing, giggle and purr and are both a pet and a friend that children can keep by their side, wherever they are. They’re furry, friendly and even have light up eyes. We reckon that these are going to be a big hit this year, because of the cunning combination of cuteness and portability that these fuzzy little friends offer!

Harry Potter

Hermione Grainger Doll ImageAs you may very well have heard, 2018 marks 20 years of Harry Potter. Thankfully this has meant a mountain of amazing new Harry Potter toys! Here are a couple we predict being in high demand this Christmas…

Ah yes, what could be better than Harry Potter? Harry Potter LEGO®, of course! This amazing Hogwarts Great Hall set is made up of 878 pieces to help you to build the most iconic of buildings from the Harry Potter universe in your own home. We reckon this will bring a lot of joy to quite a few people’s Christmas’s!

Also released this year were the range of Harry Potter articulated dolls. These detailed character toys are poseable, so all those favourite scenes can be recreated through play, and new stories invented too! We think this 25cm Hermione Grainger doll looks pretty realistic!

Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels Pack of 10 ImageA perennial favourite, Hot Wheels have proven popular for 50 years…well we’re impressed! This year, we’re delighted to introduce the 10 car pack, which is exactly as it sounds. Each pack comes with an assortment of cool little cars to send down ramps, round loop de loops and more than likely under furniture (rescuing them from the sofa is, of course, part of the fun!)

LOL Surprise

LOL Surprise Image

A new toy to the scene this time last year, LOL Surprise has stayed as big as ever. We think that the LOL Surprise Innovation Doll and the LOL Surprise Glam Glitter Doll are both ones to look out for this Christmas. The Innovation Doll contains a LOL surprise doll in disguise, waiting to have their true-identity discovered, while the Glam Glitter Doll brings a sparkly touch to things, which sounds about perfect for Christmas to us!

TY Flippables

TY Flippables ImageThe TY Flippables arrived at Boswells only a couple of weeks ago, and immediately started flying off the shelves. Although they’re selling extremely quickly, don’t worry, we do still have some of these adorable cuddlies ready for you to take home. If you don’t know what a TY Flippable is, think of a Beanie Boo that’s covered in reversable sequins! They’re cute, shiny, and lots of fun (well we had to have a play ourselves, of course, just to be sure…)

So, there you go, our predictions for some of the biggest toy hits this Christmas. We hope that you’re now feeling a little less daunted by the prospect of all that planning and shopping, but if you do still need a helping hand our staff are more than happy to help you to find that perfect gift. A very merry Christmas to you, from all of us at Boswells!

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21st August 2018

Meet the New LEGO® Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Sets and Minifigures!

Meet the New LEGO® Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Sets and Minifigures!

Image ©2018 the LEGO® Group

Every summer LEGO® releases a new wave of sets in various themes. The LEGO City line is inviting you to explore the arctic as researchers, uncovering prehistoric animals, while the 3 in 1 Creator sets range from a roller coaster to a skate house! But, more unusual, is the return of one of LEGO’s old themes: Harry Potter! First released in 2001, the theme was shelved after the last film came out, around 2012.

Yet, with the Fantastic Beasts franchise set to return us to the wizarding world (and Hogwarts as seen in trailers) this November, LEGO has decided to release some new magical sets. The range is comprised of eight sets based on the Harry Potter films and two based on the Fantastic Beasts films.

LEGO® Hogwarts Great Hall 75954

The largest set released in the Summer wave is The Great Hall. A staple of Hogwarts architecture, the great hall featured prominently in the Harry Potter films. This is where Gryffindor won the house cup, the place where the goblet of fire stood, where every school year began and ended, accompanied by a large feast.

This massive set is packed with nods to multiple films such as the mirror of Erised, a rowing boat, the sorting hat, Fawkes the phoenix and many more. The set includes a whopping 10 minifigures, including many of the staff and pupils. Personal favourites would have to be Sir Nearly Headless Nick, the Gryffindor ghost with silvery printing, and an adorable Hagrid who comes complete with his pink umbrella.

                          LEGO Harry Potter Great Hall Image

Image ©2018 the LEGO® Group


LEGO® Hogwarts Whomping Willow 75953

Was the great hall not enough? Does your Hogwarts layout need more parapets? LEGO thought you might, and here is their solution. Able to be added to the great hall as an expansion or perfectly fine as a smaller Hogwarts, this set is deceptive in its name. The Whomping Willow makes its first appearance in LEGO but also included is the ford Anglia of the second film. This, added with a driveway and scene accurate clothing printed on Harry and Ron, points towards the set being based on the beginning of the second film where the flying car crashes into the magical, moving willow tree.

The titular tree is also built with a mechanism that swings the trees branches, which are also capable of clutching the car, brilliantly recreating the scene. Of the six minifigures included, Filtch the caretaker has to be my favourite for the hilarious hairpiece used to make him balding!

           LEGO Harry Potter Whomping Willow Image

Image ©2018 the LEGO® Group


LEGO® Quidditch Match 75956

Quidditch, the wizarding sport, even played here in Oxford, may not have been as present in the films as in the books but it is still prominent in people’s recollections of the series.

This fast-paced game on brooms is brilliantly recreated here by the various balls that can be launched from the ground, Flint’s black broom, and the unique piece that LEGO created especially for the coveted golden snitch. Each house is represented by a stand, with the Hufflepuff stand providing a scoring system to keep track of points. Six minifigures are included in the set and Marcus Flint stands out to me thanks to his goofy evil smirk.

                     LEGO Harry Potter Qudditch Image

Image ©2018 the LEGO® Group


LEGO® Aragog’s Lair 75950

Looking for a smaller bite sized chunk of Harry Potter LEGO? Then Aragog’s Lair is the set for you. The spider is a fantastic design and its new printed eyes make it that much more believable. An additional five smaller, and even more realistic, spiders are included in this set. …Perhaps keep this one away from those who fear eight legged creepy crawlies!

A tree from the Forbidden Forest is included, with a neat firing web mechanism that can knock over a figure. Speaking of which, two minifigures are included in this set, Ron Weasley and, of course, Harry Potter.

                 LEGO Harry Potter Aragog's Lair Image

Image ©2018 the LEGO® Group


LEGO® Hogwarts Express 75955 

Every now and then LEGO releases steam trains and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint: The Hogwarts Express. The fleshed-out engine is perfectly detailed, even using technic pieces as working driving rods on the three wheels on each side. A coal tender is included, which also functions as storage for the suitcases included in this set, while a passenger car has seats for four figures (although I’m sure more can be stuffed in).

Not only is there a train, but also a platform—complete with a bridge, which is detailed with a clock. The figure selection is also desirable, the dementor gliding on its mist for legs being the highlight of the six.

              LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Image

Image ©2018 the LEGO® Group


LEGO® Newt’s Case of Magical Creatures 75952

Fans of the newer Fantastic Beasts films will be pleased to know that LEGO has also created two sets especially for you!

The first film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, centred around Newt and his magical “Mary Poppinsesque” case full of wonderous magical animals. The designers for this set had the ingenious idea of having the various living quarters of the creature’s fold in and transform into a suitcase.

All the major creatures are included here, from the rhino like Erumpant to the tiny gold hungry Niffler. All four major protagonists are present in minifigure form, with special mention here for Kowalski, the charming muggle dressed up in rugby gear as protection from the Erumpant.

                  LEGO Harry Potter Newt's Magical Case Image

Image ©2018 the LEGO® Group

LEGO® Grindlewald’s Escape 75951

Although the second instalment of the Fantastic Beasts films is yet to be released, LEGO has given us one set depicting the villain Grindlewald using a thestral drawn carriage escaping the American minister for magic; Seraphina Picquery.

Based on a scene featured in the trailers, the set comes with a brilliant new thestral with new dual coloured wings. The figures are also equipped with power blasters which can be launched when pressed.

                         LEGO Harry Potter Grindelwald Escape Image

Image ©2018 the LEGO® Group

LEGO® Harry Potter Brickheadz

Under LEGO’s relatively new line, Brickheadz, three more Harry Potter sets have been released: Harry Potter & Hedwig (41615), Hermione Granger (41616) and Ron Weasley & Albus Dumbledore (41621).

These miniature figurines are highly collectable and each set has unique printed bricks. The characters have all been seamlessly translated into the quirky Brickheadz style and a cute little Headwig even comes with Harry Potter!

LEGO Harry Potter and Hedwig Image      LEGO Harry Potter Hermione Image      LEGO Harry Potter Ron and Dumbledore Image

Images ©2018 the LEGO® Group

LEGO® Harry Potter Minfigures 71022

Last, but certainly not least, LEGO has released a Harry Potter series of collectible minifigures.

Each minifigure is packaged in a blind bag and there are a range of 22 figures to collect, six of which are from Fantastic Beasts. The range of figures is huge and includes the leads of each franchise, Harry and Newt, as well as more obscure characters like Credence and Cho Chang. Each figure comes with a plethora of accessories, from the pets of our three heroes to more interesting pieces like a book with a sock inside for Dobby or a screaming mandrake plant for Neville. All but three of the figures comes packed with a set of two wands so you can have fun making magical duels between your figures.

                         LEGO Harry Potter Minifigures Image

Image ©2018 the LEGO® Group

Overall this brand-new wave is sure to have something to fill everyone’s Wizarding world needs. Whether it’s a Hogwarts castle, a Brickheadz Hermione, a magical suitcase like Newt or a minifigure of Professor Trelawney, there’s sure to be something for you in Boswells’ Toy Department.

LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Minifigure, DUPLO, BIONICLE, LEGENDS OF CHIMA, the FRIENDS logo, the MINIFIGURES logo, DIMENSIONS, MINDSTORMS, MIXELS, NINJAGO, and NEXO KNIGHTS are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2018 the LEGO Group. All rights reserved. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use. & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s16).

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10th August 2018

Outdoor Play: 5 Ways to Combine Fitness and Fun During the Summer Holidays

Outdoor Play: 5 Ways to Combine Fitness and Fun During the Summer Holidays

Image source: Pixabay 

With the Summer holidays finally upon us, thoughts are turning to the inevitable challenge of keeping young ones active and entertained while school’s out. From trips to the coast, when the weather permits, to making the most of local parks and playgrounds, in today’s post, we’re looking at ways you can get your kids back outside and active this Summer.

1. Encourage family time

One of the best things about the Summer holidays is it’s a great time for families to spend some quality time together—and while in the evenings this might mean cosying up on the sofa to watch a classic blockbuster, the world is yours for the exploring during the daytime.

Whether you’re blessed with an outdoor area or heading off in search of an open space, outdoor toys are great for encouraging activity in the summer months. From the beach to the park, make sure you’ve packed playtime essentials like the  Extreme Fun Tech Ring Frisbee in order to enjoy hours of family fun while the sun shines.

2. Explore the great outdoors

The UK is a veritable treasure trove of outdoor hotspots - essentially providing your family with their very own playground which is ripe for exploration. We’re fortunate enough to have naturally beautiful locations on our doorstep—so why not make a map of places to visit and let your children choose their next destination?

Keep costs to a minimum by making the most of free travel by heading out on foot or on road bikes as a family or investing in weekly transport passes that allow you to explore further afield. With a little research, you’ll soon find there are a number of exciting places for you and your family to discover together.

3. Get animals involved

Girl with Dog Image

Image source: Unsplash

Part of the problem with exercise is that it seems like such a strenuous task, particularly for those who have grown up surrounded by mobility-limiting technology. One way to counteract this is to work fitness into ordinary aspects of life.

Whether your family pet is a dog, cat, rabbit or hamster, you’ll be surprised at how you can use this to your advantage when encouraging your youngsters to become more active. From dog walks together around the local area to cleaning out the rabbit hutch, why not combine fitness with practicality and experiment with giving your little ones more responsibility for their pets?

4. Turn chores into activities

While school might be out for Summer, for parents, carers and family friends who are helping out with the little ones, day-to-day jobs still need carrying out—so why not turn these into an activity? Getting the kids involved with everything from washing the car to putting away the grocery shopping will free up your time and help them get up and moving.

It doesn’t need to stop with the everyday activities, either. If you’ve been meaning to clear out the garage, paint the decking or just tidy up the spare room, you can turn these mundane jobs into fun projects for children to get involved with. This way, even if you’re not fortunate enough to have the whole Summer off, you can make the most of your time together and square away those long-standing chores.

5. Get involved in the community

Whether you’re out saving the bees or litter picking in the park, getting involved in local community projects is a great way to get your kids away from their computer games and out in the fresh air. With play schemes, Summer fairs and council-led events popping up at this time of year, you shouldn’t need to look too far to see what’s on in your local area.

If there’s nothing happening that quite suits what you’re looking for, why not set up your own activities? Encourage your youngsters and their friends to pick plastic up from the beach or paint pictures for nearby care homes. This will help them learn essential life values as well as keeping them stimulated during the long period off school.

However long your little ones have off this Summer and whatever budget you’re working with, with a little creative thinking, you can find plenty of ways to combine fitness and fun during the school holidays.

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17th November 2017

The Top Toys to Look out for This Christmas

The Top Toys to Look out for This Christmas

The world of toys is often changing, meaning that there are always new and exciting things for you and your children to discover, but sometimes it can be tough to keep track of everything that’s out there. With that in mind, and with Christmas now hard on our heels, we’ve put together a few of our recommendations for toys that we think are going to be big this year and, more importantly, that we think would make some fantastic gifts for some special people.

Who Doesn't Love a Bit of LEGO®?

LEGO City Police Station

For budding builders, architects and creators, there’s nothing quite like a bit of LEGO® for Christmas, right? With that in mind, here’s a few of the LEGO sets that we think are worth keeping an eye out this year.

If you know of someone whose LEGO collection has become rife with crime, the LEGO City Police Station may just do the trick to help keep those troublesome minifigures at bay. This cool set features 894 pieces to get your head around, including 7 minifigures, a police helicopter, crook’s truck, pursuit car and a dog, as well as the station itself. This comprehensive set is sure to keep all that LEGO crime at bay, and give them something exciting to build.

LEGO BB-8 Image

Meanwhile, for a break from the chilly weather, LEGO Friends has you covered, with the Sunshine Catamaran set. If you know someone who's longing for a little snow over the Christmas period, though, look no further than the LEGO Friends Snow Resort Ice Rink. As with all LEGO, there’s tons of fun to be had building these great sets, and then loads more when they finally get to play with what they’ve built!

We're all very excited about the LEGO Star Wars BB-8, which comes with a wheel activate rotating head! The set comes with more than 1,100 pieces, and so is ideal for any Star Wars fans  who are looking for a good LEGO challenge to get stuck into!

And for those who truly love to just come up with their own designs, you really can’t go wrong with a LEGO Creative Builder Box. Each box includes 502 pieces in a rainbow of colours, including pieces for windows and doors—just add imagination!

Great Games

Toilet TroubleNothing beats a good game at Christmas time; they bring people together and give us something silly to laugh about, so here are a few games to keep an eye out for.

For those who are feeling bold, this year’s big, hit game is tipped to be Toilet Trouble: a laugh out loud, suspense-filled game that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Simply spin the toilet roll, flush the handle, and cross your fingers that the toilet doesn’t spray you with water! This game is bound to give you a few giggles, some fun memories, and hopefully not leave you feeling too flushed (sorry, we couldn’t resist).

Pie Face Sky High Image

If splatting whipped cream in the faces of your nearest and dearest is something you discovered that you enjoyed doing when Pie Face was released a couple of years ago, then you’ll be pleased to hear about the brand new Pie Face Sky High game. This ingenious game combines all the fun of Pie Face with a cool fairground style “test your strength” element. Are you strong enough to pie your opponent in the face? Finding out certainly sounds like a good use of Christmas Day to us!

Some other games worth looking out for this festive season include Giggle Wiggle and Beat the Parents. We also think that Laser X is sure to be a hit with the whole family, as this game of laser tag has a range of up to 60m, and really does beat dozing off in an armchair after Christmas dinner!

Fun with Craft and Science

Cra-Z-Slimy Creations KitFor those with enquiring minds, a creative streak, and those that simply have a healthy appreciation for slime, nothing quite beats a good craft or science toy. In fact toys in this range are often among our best-selling, and it’s easy to see why!

This year slime really is all the rage, with gooey, slimy toys of all varieties oozing out of the woodwork. If your child is a fan of this latest craze, then we have a couple of great suggestions to make their Christmas just that bit extra special, and maybe just a little messy too. The Cra-Z-Slimy Creations kit allows kids to make their own slime, which is bound to go down well. For even more adventures in the creative-science of slime, we suggest the Galt Slime Lab, which includes 7 fun experiments, including making bouncing putty and noise putty, as well as creating your own glow in the dark alien!

You may have also heard of Oonies this year, but are still mystified as to what exactly these are. The Oonies Balloon Inflation Station Starter Pack comes with everything your child needs to start creating just about anything they can imagine out of Oonies. Simply inflate these amazing little plastic balloons, and then watch as they stick together to form animals, flowers, and anything else your child would like to craft! This fun and colourful toy offers something just a little bit different, so it’s little wonder that they’ve become something of an instant hit!

Magformers WOW Image

If you’re looking for something creative that’s suitable for children as young as 3, we highly recommend the Magformers WOW Set. This fun set includes 16 magnetic shapes, along with wheel bases, which can be fitted together to construct a colourful mini vehicle. Magformers WOW encourages developing minds to think about the shapes that will fit together, to be creative, and rewards with a fantastic little vehicle at the end, which can be built and re-built time and time again.

Playing with Imagination

Playhouse Panda ImageIf your child is a fan of Enchantimals, the TV show, then we think you probably can’t go far wrong with the Enchantimals Panda Playhouse Set, which comes with a Prue Panda doll, and Nari Panda friend. This is a fantastic set for fostering imagination and for your child to create stories around their favourite Enchantimals dolls as they play in the Panda Playhouse. Prue Panda’s many friends are currently also hanging out in our Toys Department, in case you’re worried about her getting lonely in her Playhouse.

The PJ Masks Head Quarters is another fantastic playset that offers your child a whole host of imaginative possibilities to recreate favourite scenes from the PJ Masks show, and invent new and daring stories altogether. It’s also spectacularly fun to push Cat Boy’s little car down the HQ slide again and again!

Paw Patrol Weebles Image

As far as toys from popular TV shows goes, the Paw Patrol Weebles take some beating. Children can enjoy watching their favourite pups sway to and fro, always popping back up for more fun. These wobbly little friends have been tumbling off our shelves at an amazing rate already. Sadly, while his friends have been easily finding their new homes, poor Marshall is still very much looking for a loving home this Christmas. If you happen to know someone that particularly loves rescue pups, we think Marshall would make a lovely, wobbly companion for them.

Stretch Armstrong Image

Other fun, imaginative toys that are set to be very popular with kids this Christmas include the Nerf Nitro Longshot Smash Car Blasting Playset, which launches small foam cars, and is perfect for creating your own miniature stunts! And the Playmobil Forest Ranger’s House set looks like tons of fun, with lots of little animal figures that come with the house, too.

We’re also very pleased to see the return of Stretch Armstrong (and his other stretchy friends), who is primed and ready to be pulled and stretched in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways. We can only imagine it’s taken Stretch Armstrong 30+ years to recover from all that previous stretching, but he’s finally ready for another outing. Brave guy indeed!

Keel Toys Reindeer With Scarf

If cute and fluffy is more your child's thing then take a look at our soft (or plush as they are known in the trade) toys. Both Keel Toys and TY UK produce huggable, safe and great quality soft toys with great ranges of animals real and imagined to choose from. Our number one bestseller are the collectible Keel Mini Motsu range at only £4.99 each and there are some adorable winter themed toys this year too like reindeer and penguins.

This Year's "Must-Have" Toys

LOL Surprise Fizz Charm ImageThis time last year the newly released Hatchimals were taking Christmas by storm, and sure enough a new must-have Christmas hit has emerged for 2017. Chances are your child has been asking Father Christmas for L.O.L. Surprise by now, and if you’re still not entirely sure what on Earth that is, we’re here to help!

There are a few different types of L.O.L. Surprise to get your head around, starting with the Charm Fizz Surprise. This fun treat features a dissolvable ball which reveals a charm inside – simply drop it into some water and watch it fizz! These charms make fantastic little accessories to go with the L.O.L. Surprise Dolls too.

Each L.O.L. Surprise Doll pack, and the slightly smaller L.O.L. Surprise Lil’ Sisters and Pets packs, feature multiple layers to unwrap, each containing an accessory or sticker to go with the mini-doll that’s patiently waiting to be discovered at the centre of the pack (it’s a bit like pass the parcel, but your child gets to keep all the goodies inside).

LOL Surprise Lil' Sisters ImageThere’s tonnes here for kids to collect, and lots of great surprises to uncover, so it’s little wonder that L.O.L. Surprise is such a hit! So much of a hit, in fact, that these cute surprise toys have been selling out extremely quickly, nationwide. We're expecting plenty more stock in the New Year, but we're sure an I.O.U. from Father Christmas will still brighten your child's day.

And if your little one is still desperate to crack open their very own Hatchimal, we just so happen to have a few eagerly incubating in our Toy Department, along with the new Hatchimals Colleggtibles—there are worse things to have nesting in your Christmas tree, after all!

For the Young at Heart

Cards Against Humanity ImageAnd yes, we also have toys to keep the biggest kids among us amused over Christmas too. If you know someone who’s inner child is very much alive and well, we’d suggest having a look at the Science Museum Virtual Reality Goggles and the LED Heliball, which will no doubt keep them occupied on Christmas Day. We also have a fantastic selection of Christmas themed Gibsons and Ravensburger jigsaws (from 500-3000 pieces) to choose from, for those that love puzzling. And finally, for those looking for something just a little despicable to play, we have Cards Against Humanity—certainly not one for any children under 17, or for the faint of heart.

These are just a few of the fabulous goodies we have available in store, so if you’re looking for additional inspiration why not click here for a browse, or pop into our Toy Department for a little extra help finding that perfect toy to make someone’s Christmas wonderful. Happy hunting for that perfect gift, and a Merry Christmas from all of us at Boswells!

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15th June 2017

Fun Ways for Babies and Toddlers to Learn and Play

Fun Ways for Babies and Toddlers to Learn and Play

When we think of play, learning isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. Yet, your baby or toddler is actually constantly learning and developing skills through play. Yes, luckily, play is great for your child’s development, and since they will naturally want to play, it simply becomes a question of finding the best toys and types of play to suit your child’s age and development. To that end, we’ve put together a few suggestions to get you started.

Remember that children can develop and learn at different speeds, so don’t worry if your child’s learning doesn’t exactly fit the below timeline, it is intended as a guide only. Every child is different, and that’s the beauty of watching them grow!

Children of this age range will require adult supervision for play. We also advise always checking the age recommendation and any safety information on toys before giving them to your child.

0-1 Months                     4-6 Months                     10-12 Months                  2-3 Years

2-3 Months                     7-9 Months                     1-2 Years

0-1 Months

Baby Image

In the first few months of life your baby is constantly learning, after all, everything is new. As it turns out, your face is the best entertainment out there for an infant! At first, she can only see a few inches (around 9-15”), but filling her vision with the faces of those around her (and pulling some funny faces) is a great way to keep her amused.

Best Years Zebra Rattle

In fact, research shows that your baby can make sense of your face even before she can make out simpler shapes.

Your new arrival is also very good at registering high contrast colours, so try to choose toys that feature strong contrasts. She will also be good at grabbing (this is called the Palmer Grasp Reflex), and so easily grabbable toys will come in handy.

2-3 Months

Family Image

Your child will slowly start to hone his fine motor skills, and begin to develop his muscles. A great way to help your baby with this process is to give him lots of opportunities to interact with objects, such as things that can be dangled above for him to swipe at. 

My First Puppet Image

Mobiles are great for swiping at, but make sure these are removed once he can pull himself up! Repetitive motions will also be especially fun for him at this point.

You could try encouraging your baby to follow a soft toy with his eyes by moving it slowly back and forth above him. These kinds of early play experiences are a great way for your child to develop and practice hand-eye coordination. Colourful, interactive and noise making toys, such as puppets, can also encourage your baby to interact and move in ways that help those all-important muscles along.

4-6 Months

Lamaze Mini Teether Image

As your child gets that little bit older you’ll find she’s also getting all the more curious. Her world is a big place full of new, exciting things to discover and explore. As a result, your baby will use all of her senses to find out about her surroundings, so toys that are textured or that make noises are bound to be all the rage. A textured cloth book is a fun way for her to explore via touch and sight.

Her curiosity will mean that she will want to put everything in her mouth, so try to provide her with lots of nice, safe teethers and other suitable toys that won’t present a choking hazard.

Halilit Cage Bell Image

It’s around this age, also, that your baby will begin to develop an awareness of cause and effect (which is important for communication), and certain types of playing will help her to realise that she has an impact on the world around her. Musical instruments are a fantastic way to introduce her to cause and effect, as she hits and shakes things to create a sound. Encourage her to use both arms for these activities to help her develop her muscles and coordination. 

  

7-9 Months

Baby's First Book Image

Around this stage your child will become mobile, crawling around and, more than likely, getting into everything. At about this age you may also notice that your baby begins to be able to pick things up with his index finger and thumb (the pincer grasp), making his expeditions around the house all the more exciting (and more than likely messy). 

Crawling Baby Image

As your little adventurer boldly wreaks havoc around your home, you might want to consider creating a baby-safe space for him to explore, filled with things to safely drop and bang on.

Your baby may also begin to understand a few basic words, and so now is a good time to introduce simple books and toys featuring animals to help develop his early language skills (which is important even before he starts to talk). Speaking to him in full sentences whenever possible will also help along those language skills.

10-12 Months

Fisher Price Storybook Rhymes Image

Somewhere around this stage you’ll be wondering where your baby’s first year has gone, hasn’t it just flown by? But while it may seem like no time at all to you, your child will have learned and developed a huge number of skills by this point, preparing her for all the years ahead.

In the last couple of months of her first year your baby will be starting to fine tune her sense of balance and her fine motor skills. 

V-Tech Toy Phone

 She will be learning and gathering information at an incredible rate, and so lots of new and interesting stimulus is a definite must.

Singing songs like The Wheels on the Bus and nursery rhymes with her will help along those fundamental language skills that are so important early on. Playing simple games where an object is momentarily hidden behind something or in a box will teach her that objects are still there, even when she can no longer see them (object permanence), and is sure to cause some giggles of joy when she rediscovers something that was hidden.

Around the 1 year mark she’ll have fun imitating the things she sees around her (especially you), and so toy phones and keys may become a popular choice for your child, as she begins to learn about the mysterious adult world.

1-2 Years

Playing with Sand ImageAs your baby becomes a toddler, his curiosity will continue to fuel a lot of his play. During this stage, lots of nice (slightly messy) play with sand and water and simple painting activities is a fantastic way to nurture your child’s creativity, while also helping to develop his fine motor skills. Building blocks, such as Mega Blocks, offer similar benefits (and are great for encouraging concentration), with much less mess, and so they’re perfect for a rainy day indoors. Toys that boost perceptual skills, such as stacking rings, can also offer your child a new challenge to get stuck into.

Bigjigs Shape Sorter ImageTentative first steps will slowly transform into a more confident walk, so pull along and push along toys are a fun way for your child to play while showing off his impressive new skill.

Around the 18-month mark, try introducing him to some simple puzzles, such as shape sorters and jigsaws with just a few, large pieces. This will help to develop problem solving skills as well as hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Your little learner will be taking in as much of the world around him as possible. Simple activities like jumping in puddles (don’t forget the wellies!!!), or kicking up leaves is a fantastic way for him to explore and learn.

2-3 Years

Peppa Pig Soft Toy ImageHer imagination is the limit! At this age, your child will likely enjoy imaginative play, which can include anything from a tea party to role play and dressing up. It can also include her creating stories and a world around her toys (a puppet show with a story can be a good example of this). Character toys, animal toys and toys based on her favourite TV shows will also offer lots of imaginative opportunities.

Imaginative play has been linked to nurturing the development of empathy—as children become aware of different view-points than their own—as well as communication and problem-solving skills. It’s also tons of fun.Duplo Number Train Image

Around this age you could start to introduce her to letters and some basic counting, ready for when she starts school. Begin with something simple, like the letters in her name, or counting the number of buttons when you’re getting her dressed, you could even make a game of it. This type of learning play is more about making letters and numbers familiar to her, rather than perfecting her English and maths skills before school even begins, so don’t worry if your toddler isn’t exactly a savant yet.

Keep it Fun!

Finally, keep it fun! As much as anything else, tailoring play activities to your child’s likes and developing interests is an important aspect of keeping them engaged in what they’re doing, and so also a part of their learning.

If you’re looking for lots of fun ideas to help your little ones’ learning and development along, why not pop into our Toy Department, or take a peek at our baby and toddler toys online for a little play inspiration? 

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2nd March 2017

Top Tips for Making your Children's Party a Success

Top Tips for Making your Children's Party a Success

To celebrate the opening of our new Party Shop that is starting to fill up on our first floor we’ve put together a few top tips to help you get started with planning your child’s party.

Practical things to Consider

Happy Birthday Balloon

As wonderful as a party can be, it often requires a lot of planning and preparation, which is hardly the most fun part of the process. We suggest starting the planning a little early to give yourself time to get things sorted without unnecessary stress, and don’t fret if there are a few hiccups along the way, you’ll figure it out!

Set a Budget

Happy Birthday Confetti Image

Regardless of what kind of party you’re planning, a good starting point is to work out a budget. Having a clear idea of how much money you have available to spend on the party can be a really helpful way of figuring out factors like the size of the party and where it’s going to be held. If money is tight, don’t worry, there are always affordable ways of making a children’s party a hit—so long as everyone enjoys themselves, no one will care how much it cost you.

Venue

Balloons Image

If you’re keeping things as affordable as possible, with only a handful of guests, then throwing the party at home, or if the weather is nice, in the garden, can actually give you a little more freedom with the decorations and the catering options. On the other hand, this will mean that you will also get stuck with the clearing up at the end of the day!

If you’re aiming for a larger guest list, then you might want to think about hiring a space to hold the party, such as a local hall/community centre.

Ball Pool Venue Image

Hiring a venue is an especially good option if you can’t quite bear the thought of small children running amok in your home (except for your own of course!) If you opt to take this route, it’s always good to find out as much as you can about the venue well in advance to make sure that it’s a good fit for the type of party you’re throwing. Find out about how easy it will be for your guests to get there and whether it's going to actually suit your needs, and remember to book early to avoid disappointment.

Safety

Streamers Image

There can be a lot of vital factors to take into consideration when planning a children's party, especially when making sure that everything is as safe as you can make it, and that you've thought of everything well in advance. Making sure you've taken care of all the various safety aspects that can crop up during a children's party means that everything will run a lot more smoothly on the day, and that everyone will be as secure as possible. Click here to read our 1 page, printable guide to planning a safe and successful children's party.

Who to Invite?

Pirate Party Tablecloth Image

The guest list can be a bit of a tricky issue. Whether it’s better to invite the whole class or just a handful of close friends can depend on various factors, and so it’s usually wise to figure out how many children you can afford to invite before you get any further, and of course ask the birthday child who they would like at their party.

Bear in mind that some guests may come along with siblings, and if the children are still very young you may need to take into account that parents will likely be there too, so you may need a little extra space/food just in case. The more parents on hand, however, the more help you will hopefully have on the day (see our safety guide for more information on this).

My Little Pony Party Bag

Once you’ve worked out the numbers, it’s just a case of getting the invitations out there nice and early to avoid any scheduling clashes and disappointments. Remember to put as much information as possible on the invitation, including the address and the start and end times, along with any other important details.  

Then wait for those all-important RSVPs to start rolling in.

Decide on a Theme

Princess CupsOnce the practicalities such as who, where and how much are taken care of, you can start to have a little more fun with the planning…it is a party after all! Having a party theme can be fantastic fun for everyone involved. It’s a great opportunity to incorporate something the birthday child is interested in into the celebrations, particularly if they’re still quite young, and can also be a great way for you to get creative with the rest of the planning.

Jungle BalloonA theme can be something relatively broad such as pirates, princesses, dinosaurs or animals, or perhaps even something from a TV show or film that your child loves. The important thing is that the party is something that that the birthday child will really enjoy on the day, so discussing some ideas for themes and what kind of party they would like with your child can help you to settle on something that will make it a happy birthday them, and hopefully fit within your budget too. Once you’ve settled on a theme you can tailor the decorations, the games and even the food around it, and things will really start to come together.

Keeping the Kids Entertained

Dinosaur Game

For some, the idea of keeping a room full of children entertained for a couple of hours can sound pretty daunting, but again this can also be a fantastic opportunity for you to have some fun thinking up ideas for things to do.

You could try, for example, making up your own themed game, set a craft activity such as a cake decorating contest, or maybe even create a treasure hunt or your own puppet show! And, of course, there are always the classic party games such as pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs etc., which are, let’s face it, classics for a reason.

Pirate Pinata Image

Many of these games can also be tweaked and tailored to fit with your theme (pin the eye patch on the pirate anyone?) We suggest taking a peek at some of the goodies in our new Party Shop to see what inspires you…we have to admit that we’re very tempted to have a go at the Pirate Piñata ourselves…

You might also want to consider hiring an entertainer to dazzle the little ones for an hour or two (depending on what your budget looks like), or booking a venue with a built-in activity such as a soft play centre. If your kids are a bit older, there’s always activities such as bowling or the cinema to mull over.

Finishing Touches

Pinkie Pie Airwalker Balloon

Every party needs a few little flourishes and finishing touches. This can include anything from balloons and banners to finger-food, party bags, and, of course, the all-important cake! Quite often you can get decorations that will fit with your theme, and you can usually find banners, balloons and plates that will match (check out our selection here).

You can also try tying the food into the theme as well, with shaped sandwiches or specially decorated cupcakes. If you feel confident, you could have a go at doing this yourself (although have a trial run first!) The same can be said for the cake itself, which you can tailor to your theme. If you fancy trying your hand at baking, why not visit the baking section in our Cookshop to get you started?

Tropical Fish Jump Ups Image

And, finally, as your guests go on their way, don’t forget the party bag! This doesn’t need to be anything too elaborate or expensive, just a nice keepsake for the guests, and a lovely way of saying thank you for attending. You can even buy themed kits to make this more straight forward for you.

So, if you’ve got a special party coming up or if, like us, you simply can’t think of an occasion that wouldn’t be made more enjoyable with the addition of a monkey piñata or a massive Pinkie Pie balloon, then why not pop in to the brand new Party Shop in our Toy Department when you’re next in town, or take a peek at our new party products online!

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15th November 2016

Have Family Fun This Christmas

Have Family Fun This Christmas

As we enter the second half of November, it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And while the big day itself may still be a few weeks away, you’ll no doubt be tucking into a big juicy turkey, pulling crackers, and getting everyone together for a Christmas Day board game before you know it! To help you to sucessfully celebrate the latter of these annual traditions, we’ve been taking a look at some of this year’s best new games. Here are some of the highlights:

Family Fun Games

Pie Face

Pie Face ImageA huge hit this time last year, Pie Face is a quirky game of chance in which you attempt to dodge getting slapped in the face with cream—think Russian Roulette, but with dairy products. Pie Face is basically the best excuse you’re going to get for seeing your nearest and dearest get splattered with a face full of whipped cream this Christmas…be sure to have the camera on standby. This year, there’s also the new Pie Face Showdown game to have a go at, if you fancy your chances. Pie Face is tonnes of fun, and excellent for diffusing any tension caused by the standard, annual board game quarrels.

Googly Eyes

Googly Eyes Image

If you’re a master at drawing and fancy a bit of an extra challenge, Googly Eyes is exactly the game for you. Put on a pair of ridiculous glasses that distort what you see as you try to draw, and then see if your team mates have any idea what your work of art is supposed to be. Anne in our Toy Department had a go at playing the game and told us: "Once I'd got over laughing about the ridiculous look wearing the googly glasses, I was set off again by my poor efforts of drawing with limited vision." There are 3 levels of difficulty to try your hand at, each of which is sure to reduce you to fits of laughter as your artistic talents and spatial awareness are put to the test. Yes, you too can achieve looking silly and drawing badly with this great game.

Beat the Parents

Beat the Parents

For some great inter-generational fun, why not try playing Beat the Parents? In this challenging game parents and children are pitted against each other, as parents answer questions about things that their children should know, and vice versa. It's a fun way to find out who really knows more in your household.

Other great family games worth having a gander at this Christmas include Yeti in My Spaghetti, 5 Second Rule and the slightly off-beat, toilet themed game, Plop!

Single Player Games

Addict-A-Ball

Addict-A-Ball Image

If you’re a fan of a solo challenge then you might want to give Addict-A-Ball a try. More than just a simple puzzle of guiding a ball-bearing through a maze, Addict-A-Ball features several stages of highly addictive (the clue is in the name) puzzling that is sure to keep you occupied for the duration of the festive season. Shannon in our Toy Department gave it a glowing recommendation. She told us:

“This is a fab gift for anybody who loves a challenge. All you have to do is work a silver ball around a maze from start to finish without it falling off. Sounds simple, right? But there are lots of difficulties along the way. It’s great for hand-eye coordination, concentration and patience. You can also time yourself to see how fast you can complete it. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys puzzles and likes to be focused.”

Other great single player games that you might want to take a look at this Christmas include Rush Hour, Balance Beans, Spot the Difference Mini and the Micro edition of the ever-popular Bop It

Suitable for Children Under 6

If you’re looking for something that you can play with the youngest members of your clan, then look no further, we have some suggestions to get you started!

Pass the Bomb Junior

Pass the Bomb Image

Based on Pass the Bomb, this is a great junior edition of the best-selling game. All you have to do is turn over a card and name something that belongs in the picture...except you do this while holding a bomb that could go off at any minute (don’t worry, it isn’t real). The objective is to not be holding the bomb when it suddenly goes off. It’s a lot of fun, and much harder than you expect to think up answers when there’s a ticking bomb to race against! Our Toy Department tells us that “It’s an extremely easy game to play and is hilarious fun as you frantically throw the bomb around. It’s also quite educational for young ones and I think it’s a really good value game that makes a wonderful gift.”

Bunny Jump

Bunny Jump Image

Bunny Jump is fantastic fun if your little ones enjoy a good game that will keep them on their toes with suspense. If you scare the bunny while pulling carrots from the vegetable patch he’ll hop high in the air, making everyone jump out of their skins. Try and pick as many carrots as possible before the bunny takes fright, and see if you can catch him too! We also recommend Squeak and Shopping list as great games for children under 6.

Games for Adults

Pass the Pud ImageNope, age isn’t a valid excuse for bypassing sitting down to a good Christmas game of something or the other. If you’re a fan of trivia, then you’re rather spoiled for choice, with both the excellent new Trivial Pursuit 2000s edition game, which tests your knowledge of the first 10 years of this Millennium, and the After Dinner Trivia game, which has everything from odd facts to tongue twisters to keep you entertained. If you like a bit of a challenge, then you might fancy a game of Name 5—a game in which you work your way around a board, trying to name 5 of various things to advance your way to the finish line. And, for a bit of after-Christmas-dinner fun, there’s always Pass the Pud—a Christmas Pudding themed version of Pass the Bomb, but this time you’re racing against the burp.

The Classics

Scrabble ImageBut let’s not forget some of those time-honoured family favourites as well. For many people this time of year means doing anything to purchase Mayfair in Monopoly, desperately rifling through the dictionary to prove that "quodibet" is a Scrabble worthy word, or circling their masterpiece of a Pictionary drawing one more time in the hopes that that will make it clear what on Earth it is. In my family, for example, it means my dad's annual, and often outlandish, attempts at getting out of his customary Connect 4 defeat (the game has been suspiciously "missing" since my victory last year). Yep, while there are lots of exciting new games out there to try your hand at, unsurprisingly, the classics remain popular and continue to rank amongst our bestselling games!

Cluedo Image

The Oxford Edition of Monopoly always proves a popular choice, and if you happen to know someone who’s always fancied owning Cornmarket, this could be just the gift for them. And, for many, it really wouldn’t be Christmas without having a go at solving the murder of Cluedo’s ill-fated Dr Black (they're all rather suspicious characters if you ask us). But if you’re just looking to be inspired then there's plenty of great games out there to get stuck into, such as the recent re-release of Classic Operation (beware the charlie-horse), the ever-popular Hungry Hungry Hippos (still peckish after all these years), and you can’t really go far wrong with a pack of Uno cards! All of these games, and many many more, can be found in our Toy Department, on the first floor of the store, and are available via our website too.

So why not gather your favourite people together for some great festive fun with a game or two of an old favourite or of a future classic, and make it a Christmas to remember!

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14th September 2016

LEGO® Minifigures Series 16 Has Arrived!

LEGO® Minifigures Series 16 Has Arrived!

Summer is over and it’s back to school for some, yet September also symbolises the release of more LEGO®, the most exciting of which is the brand new batch of collectable Minifigures, Series 16! A return to the standard formula after the last wave of Disney themed figures, Series 16 offers 16 original LEGO creations to collect, each individually wrapped in a yellow packet. From fairy-tale to sci-fi, there’s bound to be one for you…

Banana Guy Image



Banana Guy

Starting off the collection is what I would deem to be one of the most popular figures released to date, the Banana Guy. The main attraction is the new banana piece, making him similar to the Hot Dog Suit Guy from series 13. Perhaps they are the perfect pair?

Desert Warrior



Desert Warrior

With Disney still on the mind this guy looks like he’s walked out of the world of Aladdin with his green Turban and his large black sabre, a piece I don’t remember seeing used since the 2003 Orient Expedition theme.

Penguin Boy Image

Penguin Boy

This adorable little figure is the next in the so called mascot series: those figures that are dressed up as animals. This figure not only comes with a new head, but also a pair of skates. Also note that his arms have been replaced with flippers.

Ice Queen Image



 

Ice Queen

This figure is pretty impressive, with an array of pieces from a frozen tiara to blades of ice that she can hold. The most unique accessory is her jagged edged, silver dotted cape, which finishes off the imposing figure.

Spy Image

 

Spy

Start singing the Mission Impossible theme ‘cause this stealthy figure is ready to break in and out of any LEGO building. Equipped with goggles and a length of rope, this figure will never be caught on the job!

 Hiker Image

Hiker

With a slightly more relaxing pastime than the spy, the Hiker has been given a map and compass, both of which feature unique printing, so he should never get lost. He comes with a brilliant double sided head with one face looking super pleased but the other looking a little lost.

Kickboxer Image

 

 

Kickboxer

This fighter is highly detailed, with impressive printing to create shorts and shoes. The red gloves are brilliant combined with the helmet, and she even comes with a normal hair piece for after those fights, which must be tough seeing as she has a bead of sweat on her double sided face…

Spooky Boy

Spooky boy

The male counterpart to the Spooky Girl, this kid looks a little confused for some reason. He appears to be a vampire, as a fang is poking out of his mouth. He isn’t short of accessories, with both a spider and a spooky tales book in hand.

Rogue Image

 

Rogue

This hooded archer is quite the fig. Sporting a bow and arrow, this green and brown clad warrior hides a nod to classic castle themes with a wolf pack broach. The new hood piece completes the figure.
 

Cyborg Images


Cyborg

Quite the striking character, the Cyborg has green and silver printing to represent computer circuits that have replaced part of her body. The printing is complimented by the striking blue hair piece and she is bulked up with an armour chest piece and a gun, giving her all she needs for combat.

Cute Little Devil Image

 

Cute Little Devil

This figure is already dressed up for Halloween and he even has a pumpkin bucket to collect those sweets. A plethora of pieces come in this packet, from tail piece to pitchfork.


Dog Show Winner Image

 

Dog Show Winner

Any Terrier fans out there? It seems LEGO picked up on the dog’s success at Crufts this year, for now you can buy the first ever Scottish Terrier dog. Don’t forget he comes with a trophy. Oh! And the proud owner (or possibly judge) who even has a treat in his pocket for the 1st prize winner.


Scallywag Pirate ImageScallywag Pirate

This pirate harks back to the popular classic theme with his garish colours and classic sword. But now the pirate has a modern twist, with the new bald head/bandanna piece. Speaking of new, that map he comes with has a brand new design which must mean a new lot of treasure to find. X marks the spot!



Babysitter ImageBabysitter

With the 1st LEGO baby being made earlier this year it was only a matter of time before LEGO released another baby. This time he comes with an adorable blue bib, complete with a tiny elephant design. The Babysitter herself has a great pug design on her shirt and her hair is quite a rare piece. Well worth picking this one up for the baby alone, who also comes with a blue bottle.


Wildlife Photographer ImageWildlife Photographer

A personal favourite of mine, this figure comes set up in her arctic gear with a camera at the ready to take pictures of what is the first LEGO penguin (excluding Duplo). The penguin is adorable and goes great with the Penguin Boy from earlier. It even has a stud on its back so other figures can ride it, but you’ll need a stand to stop them from falling over!



Mariachi ImageMariachi

Last but not least is the Mariachi in his ornately detailed black suit, highlighted with intricate silver symbols. His hat and moustache create an authentic Mexican feel, but the best piece has to be his guitar (a brand new piece), which is perfect in every way.

This series has a great variety of figures, which have just been released. Find them in store or online in the little yellow blind bags. Good luck finding your favourite figure!

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22nd June 2016

A Review of the New Summer LEGO® Sets

A Review of the New Summer LEGO® Sets

With Summer finally here we're gifted with not only a much needed heat wave but also with a new wave of Summer LEGO® sets. From City to Star Wars there’s a whole new batch of LEGO now available at Boswells! Here are some of the highlights from James our in store Lego expert :

Mixels

Mixels series 8 has arrived, with nine new creations for you to snatch up. With the toothbrush wielding, bow tie wearing Tuth and the grey banana-horned Surgeo (with a menacing neon green needle), the Medix trio are my favourites because of the interesting selection of parts.

       Mixels Medix Trio Image

Collectible Minifigures

LEGO Minifigures Disney ImageAlice ImageA special new release is in store this season as Disney’s most famous characters are brought to life with LEGO Minifigures. Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy are all brilliantly captured in Minifigure form.

Other notable standouts are Buzz from Toy Story, Stitch from Lilo and Stitch and Alice from Alice in Wonderland—she even comes with a drink me bottle and an eat me biscuit!

City

LEGO Fun in the Park ImageLEGO City has begun to delve into Volcano sets, but their most interesting recent release is actually the Fun in the Park City People Pack, which includes a mixture of Minifigures and some playground and park accessories. The highlights of this set have to be the adorable baby and the new wheelchair piece.


Nexo Knights

Minifigure Image

LEGO Nexo Image

Speaking of volcanoes, LEGO’s new Nexo Knights theme is now onto its second wave of sets, the largest and most prominent of which is Jestro’s Volcano LairThe playset is packed with details such as a flying throne, a trap hole and the great lava falls that are concealing a hidden chest.


Friends

LEGO Friends Image


LEGO Friends has taken an unexpected, but much welcomed, turn with its latest range, which are all based on theme park rides. The flagship setAmusement Park Roller Coasterlooks amazing with its rollercoaster, Ferris wheel and other theme park builds. All the rides have a space theme and the set includes many interesting transparent parts, making it not only great to play with but also visually stunning to display.

 

Superheroes

LEGO Batman ImageNananananananananananananananana BATMAN!
The Batcave is back, and in its biggest version yet. This huge build, and its nine Minifigures, are all based on the 60’s Batman TV show, featuring some great new figure varients such as Batman (with his eyebrows drawn on his cowl) and the Joker (whose moustache is visible through his white paint). The set includes a plethora of bat vehicles, such as the iconic Batmobile, a fleshed out Batcave and a section of Wayne manor—complete with hidden poles for batman and Robin to slide down!


Juniors

Lego Juniors Lex Luthor ImageFrom the huge to the slightly smaller sets, LEGO Juniors has been reinvigorated with a new bunch of sets for those toddlers who have outgrown Duplo® but aren’t quite ready for a full set with complex instructions and builds. Batman and Superman vs Lex Luthor is a great set with all the main characters, interesting vehicles and a little Batcave that’s complete with batarangs, batphone and a bat. Click here for the full review of this set.



LEGO Vader's TIE Image

Star Wars

LEGO Star Wars has a new line up of vehicles to construct, including the Turbo Tank from the films and the Star Scavenger and Eclipse Fighter based on the new The Freemaker Adventures TV series. The best value for money, though, has to be Vader’s TIE Advanced vs. A-Wing Starfighter set. Featuring two iconic vehicles from the films and the best villain of the franchise, this set is sure to be a hit. 


The sets above are all fantastic but they only represent a small portion of what has recently come out, not to mention the many other sets we have on our shelves. Remember to check out other themes with new offerings such as Creator, Technic, Disney Princess, Minecraft, Ninjago, Elves and Duplo®!

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22nd February 2016

LEGO® The Big Bang Theory

LEGO® The Big Bang Theory

James in our Toy Department has the rundown on LEGO®'s most recent Ideas release: The Big Bang Theory!

LEGO Big Bang Theory Set Review

As a new set with wide appeal, LEGO® Ideas The Big Bang Theory is sure to bring a smile to the face of every fan of the comedy programme we have all grown to love. Even if you’ve never bought a LEGO set in your life there's a lot of detail, as well as a lot of references, in this playset that are sure to make you gasp with glee as you recall the hilarious origins from the show.

The Minifigures

The set includes seven Minifigures (highly unusual for a set of this size) with all of the main cast members present.

Sheldon ImageSheldon

First up is Sheldon; the character the show tends to focus on. The best part of this Minifigure has to be the torso, which accurately features a long-sleeved blue shirt under one of his trademark t-shirts, this one with the highly recognisable flash logo. The head is double sided, as with all of the figures, showing Sheldon’s grin, which I would venture to say is based on his unsettling fake smile.

Amy Image


Amy

Amy is one of the most accurate representations in this set; her usual, quirky fashion sense captured nicely with the printed cardigan. She also has another face with a slight grin that reflects the character well.

Leonard Image

 

Leonard

Next up is Leonard (wearing the same outfit he wore when he proposed), whose simple design is effective in pulling off the look of the character. Some nice touches are the hood printed on his back and his alternate face with a disgruntled expression, usually displayed to Sheldon.


Penny Image

Penny

Penny, next door neighbour to the boys, is also here. With long blonde hair and a pink shirt she closely resembles her on screen counterpart. And, although she smiles most of the time, this LEGO Penny is equipped with a sneer that suggests she doesn’t quite understand something, such as the card game: Mystic Warlords of Ka'ah.


Howard Image

 

Howard

Another great figure in the set is Howard. Not only does he sport a new hair piece, but the Minifigure also features printed sideburns. Best of all is the printed belt, another recurring feature of the show, which resembles a retro gaming controller. Overall this is a great Minifigure.

 

BernadetteBernadette

From the star necklace she always wears to the colourful floral clothes, Bernadette is, in my opinion, the best and most accurate of all of the Minifigures in this set. She even comes with a harsh angry face, which perfectly portrays her angry side.

  

Raj ImageRaj

Last, and by no means least, is Raj. With great printing, and even his dog Cinnamon (though not the right breed it’s still a nice touch), Raj is a fantastic Minifigure. The icing on the cake has to be his second face which shows him lost for words.



The Set

The build itself depicts a corner of Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment, with all the features found on the set meticulously recreated in LEGO form to be played and displayed with. The sofa and armchair are included, as well as an additional black chair, which can either represent the director’s chair or can be used to sit an extra figure in.

LEGO The Big Bang Theory Image

Shelves Image

Leonard and Sheldon’s bookshelves are also featured, complete with books and an interesting array of items: from various globes to the iconic green lantern power battery. Four mini-dolls are included to represent action figures, as well as printed Chinese takeaway boxes, a newspaper, a mug for hot beverages, a white board complete with lipstick pens, and a full set of cutlery (even saucepans and spatulas!).


DNA Image

The DNA spiral is striking, and the walls are covered with paintings and posters that are all screen accurate which, along with the brick built carpet, gives the set a pleasant techni-colour scheme. But, the highlight of the room has to be what’s printed on the white board: a reference to the episode “The Bozeman Reaction,” in which Sheldon plays Pictionary with Penny and a sleeping Leonard.The board is a nice puzzle for fans to work out.

Also note that, as a LEGO Ideas set, the box and instructions are of a far better quality than normal, and the instruction book even has a little info on the show and the set’s creators!

Final Verdict

As a fan of both LEGO and The Big Bang Theory I was thrilled when this set was announced and snapped mine up quickly. As a LEGO Ideas set it is one of a kind, being the only Big Bang Theory set, making all of the Minifigures in this set exclusive.
Pick up yours in store or online today!

Also check out the other LEGO Ideas sets, such as LEGO Doctor Who!
Click here to read the review of LEGO Ideas Doctor Who.

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