Tidlo High Tea Matching Set from John Crane – Review

Our next toy package sent from John Crane for us to review as part of the Craniacs program was the Tidlo High Tea Matching Set.

This being a very girly girly toy and me having two very boisterous boys I didn’t foresee this review going terribly well. I think however I underestimated the draw of this amazingly gorgeous looking wooden cake stand, because as soon as they saw the box they were both squabbling over who would get to play with it first.

The set comes flat packed in the box, and you simple screw the middle section in place with the supplied allen key. It took me little less than a minute, and then we were ready for tea time.

Jacob is 3 1/2 and has just finished his first term in nursery, so the main number matching aspect of this toy is great for him. He’s had a lot of fun trying to fit the correct cakes into the cake stand, usually when his big brothers not around though as he tends to get involved and take over very quickly.

The boys haven’t used it for anything else other than the matching game, but I can imagine that a little girl would get so much more from this toy. I can envisage stunning tea parties with these delightful cakes, and maybe a pretend patisserie  or cafe with these delectable delights on offer.

A gorgeous gift that although obviously more suited for a girl doesn’t mean that little brother won’t be fascinated with it too.

John Crane and Tidlo – Timeless Toys

Tidlo is the new name for John Crane’s own brand of toys previously known as Branching out. Having seen some of the new range myself at London Toy Fair last month, I can very happily report back that Tidlo will still carry on the John Crane tradition of brilliantly well made, colourful and fun wooden toys, thankfully only the name is changing.

Tidlo is derived from the danish word Tidlos meaning timeless, hence the tagline Timeless Toys. When I first heard the name I instantly liked it for some reason it made me think of tiddlers, so I think it’s a nice and original name for a children’s toy range.

Some of my favourite Tidlo products from Toy Fair were the Motorbike balance bike, SQIJ blox, High tea shape matching cupcake set, and the gorgeous kitchen station (I can only dream of having a real kitchen as nice as this one).

Much to my relief the arrival of Tidlo does not mean the end of Pintoy, John Crane will still be distributing this great range.

John Crane will also be distributing Lilliputiens, an amazingly gorgeous range of young children’s soft toys all created by a group of belgian mums.  This range  is so much fun, full of beautiful quirky and individual toys. My highlights of the Lilliputiens range are the Little Doctors set, the too cute baby handbag and the huge Walter Dragon cushion.

John Crane had a great stand at Toy Fair and thanks to the lovely Helen for showing me around.

Just can’t wait to get my hands on some of those great products now!

Moon Dough Diner – Review

You’ve probably seen the adverts for Moon Dough on  children’s TV channels recently, well this week me and the boys got to test it out for ourselves.

Moon Dough is magically fluffy playstuff that wont dry out – ever! It’s also hyper allergenic and wheat free, so good news for all of those parents of little ones with sensitive skin or wheat allergies.

If your used to using Play-doh or Soft Stuff the texture of new Moon Dough can be a bit disconcerting at first, it took me a bit of getting used to. Once you snip open the plastic wrapping the instructions state that you need to work the Moon Dough in your hands for a few minutes to loosen it up and make it all stick together.

Although initially weird if you keep on handling the Dough it does work and all comes together nicely. I opened a few packets from different sets too, and have found that some seem to be playable earlier than others,  some need more time being worked in the hands.

We’ve found that Moon Dough works best when compacted into the moulds and the machines, you can’t really make anything else like you can with Play-doh. However that’s fine as we love Play-doh too so will probably still play with both, they are both good products at what they do.

The main attraction my boys have with the Moon Dough is that because it’s so light and fluffy they can use the moulds easier and can make the models and things themselves without so much help. Sometimes Play-doh can be so heavy and dense that Jacob can’t push down the lever on his Fun Factory which frustrates him.  With the Moon Dough Burger machine you just fill the top up and then gently turn round the handle and out pops the burger. It even slices off the excess Moon Dough if your enthusiastic builder has pilled in too much, it really couldn’t be simpler.

Sorry - no matching products found.

The one problem we did encounter was that although Jacob was perfectly happy churning out endless fries, burgers and drinks all in one colour, Thomas wanted to make sure that his creations were two tone just like the ones on the box. Now the Fries, Drinks and Pie moulds are quite easy to do in two colours as per the box, but the burgers were very tricky.

After 4 attempts I think I got it down so it looks pretty much like the illustration on the box, it wasn’t however a quick process. My last and best attempt took me 5 minutes of poking and prodding in the machine to get right.

The difficulty is that when you push the Moon dough into the burger maker  theres no real indication when to put the middle colour in and when to add the top layer. You need to feel around inside where the grooves are and try and work it out as best as you can. You also need to make sure that none of the first colour ends up in the grooves, because even a tiny speck of yellow in that red middle of the burger looks really noticeable.

Another small quibble is the fact that the Moon Dough doesn’t come with a lidded container, well to be honest theres no container at all. It comes in a plastic packet which it says to throw away immediately, so that means I’m left with no home for my Moon Dough. I know that it doesn’t dry out or go crumbly which is great, but I would have liked a small pot to keep it in.


Asides from my small burger bugbear the Moon Dough Diner set is a lot of fun.  Jacob in particular loves his Moon Dough as it gives him a lot of independence when playing. He loves that he can join in with his brother and do it all on his own without too much help from Mummy.

Thomas being older was more into the making the most authentic fast food articles, so it became a fun game between me and him who could make the best fries, pies and burgers.

I would definitely recommend the Moon Dough Diner set as a good fun buy that all the family can sit round the table and enjoy together.


Thanks to the lovely people at Spinmaster, Toybuzz is happy to be able to giveaway a Moon Dough Diner Set to one lucky reader. You just need to email your details over to contact@toybuzz.co.uk with the message header Moon Dough Comp. Winner will be chosen at random and competition closes 11/10/10. Good Luck everyone :)

Girl Gourmet Fondant Cake Maker

Little girls are no longer happy with pretending to make cakes or mud pies, and who can blame them when they can make the real thing with cool gadgets like this Girl Gourmet Fondant Cake Maker.

I’m really envious of kids these days when I see products like this, I would have bent my mothers arm every which way possible to get something like this when I was little. I had to be happy pretending with my Al A Carte kitchen, it would have seriously blown my mind to get something like this.

The Girl Gourmet Fondant Cake Maker is the next product to come from the highly successful Jakks Pacific Girl Gourmet range, and with the award-winning Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker still selling in huge numbers, it’s gonna have some big competition from inside it’s own ranks for that converted place on the Christmas List.

The Fondant Cake Maker or Girl Gourmet Cake Bakery as it’s known in the US, have been developed in conjunction with Duff Goldman of Ace of Cakes fame. Known for his highly original baked goods, children can use the same tools that Duff does on his show to create their own edible masterpieces with this set.

By mixing the included cake batter into the double cavity moulds, delicious two layer cakes can be cooked in the microwave in only 30 seconds. Then using another included mix you can make the fondant icing, and after rolling out onto the non stick mat you can place the icing over your creation. This is where the fun really begins, decorating! Placing the cake on the incredibly cute mini turntable, you can add all of your finishing touches to your masterpiece. Using the air powered gel decorator, you can scribble with icing designs onto your cake just like Duff does. Also included are a set of cute cutters for adding some extra little icing touches like hearts and stars.

All of the mixes are nut-free, gluten-free, wheat-free and trans-fat free, which means that all kids will be able to enjoy the baking fun.

Sorry - no matching products found.

The Girl Gourmet Fondant Cake Maker comes mixes for making Lemon, Confetti, Chocolate and Vanilla Mini cakes. Also included are Four coloured fondant icing mixes and white icing mix, icing decorator tools and fondant cutters. Rolling pin and non stick mat. Decorating turntable, Recipe Cards and instructions, and the all important rainbow sprinkles.

Four coloured fondant icing mixes and also white icing mix, icing decorator tools and fondant cutters. Rolling pin and non stick mat, and decorating turntable. Recipe Cards and instructions, and the all important rainbow sprinkles.

For budding little Nigella’s or Jamie’s this will be right up their street, let’s hope that they taste as good as they look!

Play-doh Foodie Playset’s

Playdoh’s great isn’t it, all soft and malleable it just feels great in your hands. It’s also got that unforgettable smell of childhood homemade playdough could never have. One of my best childhood memories is playing on the dining room table with my mopatop shop, cutting the hair and designing new styles….oh how time flies.

Well now i’ve got kids of my own, I get to play with Play-Doh again all the time, and all the happy memories come flooding back.

The thing I really like about Play-Doh is like Lego or Duplo, even though they come in special sets like the mopatop hair cutting shop. Your not restricted to just that, you can make anything you want with Playdoh.

I do like the playsets though, I think they are great for younger children who maybe need a bit of help to make their creations look realistic.

Well I’m not sure what’s going on at the minute at Play-Doh HQ, but there seems to be a lot of hungry tummy’s in the creative department. The current trend seems to be going for more and more food creating playsets, don’t get me wrong there all very good but it seems a bit odd.

The Magic Swirl Ice Cream Shoppe is possibly the most realistic of all the food Set’s, and it definitely looks the tastiest. You even get those adorable retro style ice-cream glasses to put your creations in.

Sorry - no matching products found.

If you think that the ice cream shop is a bit too girly or maybe prefer something a bit more savory, then why not try the Play-Doh Burger Builder.

Join the Play-Doh burger assembly line and create delicious burgers, and you’ll be able to say “do you want fries with that?”. The special twist a chip making tool, helps you easily churn out all the pretend fries you need.

Sorry - no matching products found.

And finally if ice cream and burgers just aren’t your thing and you fancy something just a little more classy, how about a romantic Italian meal Play-Doh style!

The Play-Doh spaghetti factory is basically a mopatop shop for the foodie generation. Whereas in my day every girl wanted to be a hairdresser, now everyone’s honing there skills ready for Masterchef when there older.  Make Spaghetti using the pasta maker press, or make ravioli and meatballs using the moulds around the outside.

Sorry - no matching products found.

With all of these food sets I’m sure that you and your kids will have a great time, now if only they would make you a dinner you could actually eat!

Melissa and Doug now at The Entertainer

It was with great delight that I noticed The Entertainer has started selling Melissa and Doug products. I’ve always liked their toys, and love the materials that they use. However they have always been quite hard to get hold of.

I’ve often looked with envy at some of their products on Amazon.com, and longed for it to become available in the U.K. You can find some of their products in independent toy shops and online stores, but it’s nice that a multiple has now cottoned on and started to stock them.

I adore the fact that everything is so colourful, chunky and wooden. Everything has a real family feel about it, like it’s really been thought about.

A particular favourite of mine is the Pizza Party set. Make your own wooden pizza complete with toppings. The six slice pizza comes with a pizza cutter and 54 different toppings. Each slice has space for three different toppings to be placed on, and held there with Velcro. All the slices also hold together with Velcro. It’s a really cute set of play food.

Melissa & Doug - Pizza Party (Entertainer) Entertainer Logo


Buy Now

Another wonderful toy is the beautiful Wooden Take Along Tool Kit. My son must have been through at least 4 plastic tool kits before we found this one. Amazingly sturdy, you definitely wont need another tool set after this one. With 24 pieces of tools, screws, nails, bolts, and nuts it’s got everything your budding Bob the Builder or in my case Handy Manny will need. Even the tool box itself can be used in the construction play and holes around the sides of the box can be nailed and screwed. It’s truly a lovely toy.

Melissa & Doug - Take Along Tool Kit (Entertainer) Entertainer Logo


Buy Now

There’s not that many products available at the moment, just seven in total. Hopefully that will change if they realise that there’s a demand, and believe me there will be, at least in this household!

Do Play with your food


My most treasured toy when I was a little girl was the Al A Carte kitchen. Do you remember the advert with the girl making swiss roll and beans for her daddy, I loved that kitchen.

I think every child should have a toy kitchen when growing up, even if it’s just one of those small hobs if you haven’t got the space for a full kitchen. The fun of the kitchen is pretending to make the food, thinking up all the strange combinations. My son brought me gherkins and grapes pizza recently, lovely!

So I’ve been having a look around at all the different types of pretend food on the market, and there’s a lot more than there was in my day (oh I sound so old). Wooden play food is something that wasn’t around when I was younger but I think it’s marvelous, with brighter colours and being so hard waring it always looks so much better than the plastic kind. 

A new feature that keeps popping up in a lot of the products is Velcro. Being able to cut up and slice food and then stick it back together again afterwards is great fun. Thomas and Jacob both love the food that we have with Velcro, like a block of butter with a small piece at the end that can be cut off and fried in a pan then stuck back on.

Thomas is endlessly making me sandwiches, or super sandwiches as he calls them. There’s a few adorable sandwich kit’s out there, the Toy Shop Soft Baguette is real fun with slices of salami, cheese and lettuce in a soft baguette roll. Equally scrumptious is the Wooden Cut and Play Sandwich Set from Early Learning Centre. Coming with Slices of bread and a roll, you can decide which one you’d prefer for your pretend snack. Also includes slices of cheese, egg and gherkin and a little pot of jam.

I saw this in toy in the Early Learning Centre yesterday and thought it was inspired, a set of tins with a can opener that actually works! This is definitely going to be purchased for my son’s kitchen (just played with by me).

Something for the mums here, fancy a nice cup of tea? well your little one will be needing these. Coming in a lovely painted tin these four wooden drawstring teabags are sure to be your cup of tea! 

How about some delicious cakes with your tea they look exceedingly good. This set of 9 Petit Fours look amazing and delicious!

If you think they look good, take a look at this set of wooden ice creams. They are just so cute and would be brilliant being sold in a pretend shop or cafe. I love the fact that there’s different varieties of ice cream and also the lovely holder they come in.

Talking of shops there is also a few market stall products around that I’ve noticed, two lovely ones being Daisy’s Market Stall and the Santoys Wooden Market Stall. Both are perfect for setting up your child as the next Ian Beale, with their own fruit and veg stall. Crates of vegetables can be bought and stacked along the shelves. Good educational value to be had as well, if you include a cash register and the buying and selling of the food.

There is so much fun and interesting play food available I could write about it forever and ever, fortunately for you I won’t. I will just leave you with another one of my sons latest gourmet taste combinations, Broccoli on waffles anyone?