When we were given the chance to review Character Options’ latest creation, Orbeez, I only needed to read the first couple of lines of the press release to know that Sophie would love it. They say : "Girls love a bit of pampering and so the Orbeez Soothing Spa is sure to be a hit! With removable hand bowls and a luxuriating foot tub, this new kit takes relaxation to a whole new level of fun. Featuring a cascading waterfall of soft scented Orbeez plus ambient lighting; this is the complete spa experience."
When you open the box, there are several pieces of moulded plastic that need to be put together to assemble the foot spa unit. I decided to let Sophie get on with it and see how she'd manage and she actually did really well, only needing me to help twice. The instructions are quite complicated to follow though so have a good look at the picture on the box to see what it's supposed to look like when assembled. One thing that is a bit of a pain is that you have to take it all apart when you've finished using it to be able to put it back in the box. The next time Sophie got it out, she found it much easier to put together though.
As well as the foot spa unit, you get two bags full of multi-coloured, water-filled beads (called Orbeez) - according to the box, you get 1500 of them but I didn't count to check !! - and a little bottle of Jasmine-scented perfume. From looking around online, you can apparently buy "ungrown" Orbeez that you need to soak in water for several hours for them to "grow". However, these Orbeez arrive fully "grown" which is a bit of a shame, as I'm sure that would have added an extra "wow" moment.
You put the Orbeez in the unit, add some perfume and turn it on so that the cool beads cascade down through the bowl and on to your feet, "feeling lovely" according to Sophie and Juliette. The Orbeez themselves remind me of a cross between bath pearls and those water snake stress-relief toys that you used to get. Inevitably, they get trampled under your feet and burst so you will need to buy refill packs of Orbeez eventually, which I can see ending up as quite expensive.
The Orbeez do tend to ping out across the floor a bit too, so make sure you put down a big towel under the unit as damage limitation - you'll need it for drying your feet anyway.
You can also take the two bowls off and use them for your hands, but the girls prefer leaving them on the unit and watching the Orbeez cascade down and on to their feet.
It's already been used quite a few times and Sophie has asked if she can have a pyjama party so she can have a pamper session with her friends. All three of the Madhouse Mini-testers love it. I'm not sure I'll want to keep shelling out for refill packs of Orbeez though !
The unit takes two C batteries, so make sure you buy some because they are a size you often don't have kicking about in the battery drawer. The motor is quite noisy and sounds like it's labouring, but the batteries haven't run out yet which I was quite impressed with.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £29.99