Thursday, 15 December 2011

Snow Boots and Great Service from Next

In anticipation of this year's snow I decided to get some snow boots for the boys.

They are very close together in age and they like to have everything the same. Sometimes this just isn't possible. I'd asked my friends on Twitter for suggestions for snow boots. I'd tried a few online stores but they had sold out of one or the other's size.

I popped to Next at the Westcroft Centre in Milton Keynes and spent a while browsing the snow boots. I couldn't find both sizes in the same boot and assumed that all the available stock was on display. That is, after all, the standard shop assistant's response "the only ones we have are on display".

I found two different pairs in the right sizes and headed for the checkout. The assistant couldn't have been more helpful. She said they'd had a run on snow boots as the weather had turned colder. I replied that I was after two pairs of boots in the same style. She asked me to wait while she looked in the stock room as she thought they had more (this was confirmed by the till). She came back a little while later with the exact boots I was after. I was impressed by this excellent service.

I'm also very pleased with the boots. We will test them out properly tomorrow in the snow that has been forecast!

Although I am a member of the Next Blogger Network, I have not been compensated for writing this post. I paid for the boots myself, but I just wanted to share a positive customer service story.

Ladybird Hooded Duffle Coat from

There's something rather lovely about a duffle coat. I guess I'm reminded of Paddington Bear.

This Ladybird Hooded Duffle Coat is available from for £36-£38. The sizes range from 2/3 years to 6/7 years.

The coat is navy with a red tartan lining and looks very smart. It is well made and well finished. 4 year old Presley particularly likes the deep pockets. The coat fits well and is very warm, there is a zip up to the chin behind the toggles. The hood fits well too and keeps the wind and rain off. There are ribbed cuffs at the wrists, it really is excellent value for money.

I hadn't realised that British company, Ladybird, were still going. It was a pleasant surprise to be offered a gorgeous coat like this to review. Thank you!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Hasbro Giant Connect 4

We were sent a Hasbro Giant Connect 4 by Garden Games.

This is the original Hasbro Connect 4 game, but on a much larger scale. I used to love playing Connect 4 when I was a child. I hated to lose. Not that I'm competitive or anything...

Giant Connect 4 arrives in pieces in a large box. It is simple and quick to put together. I did it on my own in about fifteen minutes. I would have been quicker, but I had two excited little helpers who couldn't wait to start playing. The instructions are clear and the plastic pieces are very well made. There are no sharp edges and all the pieces fit together well. There were some small clips keep the top and bottom sections together, but my fingers were too cold to put them on! My husband and I were able to lift the game and move it without them, so I guess they are only for added security. The large stickers were robust enough to withstand my first wonky application and I was able to move them easily. They are now firmly in place.

Presley, 4, and Cash, 3, are too young to understand the rules of Connect 4, but they managed to play with their 'button machine' for about three hours the first weekend we had it. The red and yellow counters feel great and the game operates as you would expect. There are two sliders at the bottom to release the counters, instead of the bar on the small version. The counters stack in the sides and there are also two net bags to keep them in.

I am confident our Giant Connect 4 will last for years. I imagine it will get played with all year round, but will come into it's own at play dates, parties and barbeques. It would be a great draw in a pub garden or at a summer fete.

We really love this game, but I have to say I was shocked at the price. The RRP is £179.99. I have looked around the internet (independent stockists are listed on the Garden Games website) and the cheapest I have found is £159.99. It is the original Hasbro game and that must add a premium, but at the end of the day it is just a big bit of plastic, albeit a quality, nostalgia-rich, big bit of plastic.