As you may have noticed if you've been paying attention to the different badges and buttons over on my side bar, I'm a WOW me member. If you click on the badge, you'll see that this takes you through to the When I Was A Kid website, which is an absolute treasure trove for gifts and toys reminiscent of the good old days. Forget cheap plastic tack, because you won't find any, but you will find sturdy, traditional wooden toys and things that will make you go "oooh I used to have one of those !", like kaleidescopes, hobby horses and retro-style pedal cars.
We've been lucky enough to review a number of John Crane toys here on this blog (which you will also find for sale on the When I Was A Kid website), and we've been consistently impressed with the quality of the wooden toys, as well as the fact that once you remove the flashing lights and the electronic noises that kids are now so used to, you'll actually notice that they start really using their imaginations and creativity to play. If you need extra proof of that, just check out the entire blog (here) that we created last year with the Pin Toy family of wooden dolls. It kept the kids (ahem - and the grown-ups !) amused for the whole summer and had the kids dreaming up stories involving the dolls every single day !
But back to the review at hand ! Paul Warner, who describes himself as "Daddy and Owner", is a lovely person who really puts customer service at the fore, going the extra mile to keep his customers (and their kids) happy. (You'll start thinking this is a sponsored post in a minute - it isn't, I'm not being paid a penny or receiving the slightest freebie ! I just like to point out the really genuinely nice small business owners when I find them ! )
You can follow Paul/When I Was A Kid's twitter feed @wheniwasakid and, a few weeks ago, I happened to see a tweet go by offering a free personalised name train if you paid the postage. I ordered one, expecting a slight second or inferior quality product, as it was free, and was really impressed when it arrived. It's not only perfect but also beautiful.
As you can see, it has pride of place on Pierre's shelf in his bedroom but it also comes down very often on to the floor for some proper playing and it's withstood all the races and crashes that a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old playing together can come up with !
The little clasps and catches holding the trains together are simple to undo and reattach and it's even an educational toy - 9-year-old big sister Sophie has tried SO HARD to rearrange the letters into a rude word and has so far failed miserably ! The best she could come up with was Err Pie ! Keep trying Sophie !!
The personalised aspect makes this a lovely gift that your kids will cherish and it works as both a decorative element for the nursery as well as a real toy for the kids to play with. And it's made of wood so it's built to last, as well as being better for the environment.
star rating : 5/5
RRP : varies from £5.25 for 1 letter (+ the front & back carriages added for free)-£35 (for the whole alphabet) - as an example, the PIERRE train above would cost £14
for more information : http://www.wheniwasakid.co.uk/personalised-wooden-name-train-226-p.asp
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