When I was given the chance to try a couple of products from House of Fraser I thought I'd pick two things which we'd have loved as birthday gifts for Ethan, in a couple of weeks time, as I know it can be tough to think of what kids want. You probably, already, know that I don't like gender stereotyping with boys which is why my list of ideal themes for a boy, like Ethan, contains Minecraft, Lego, Scooby-Doo, My Little Pony, Pokemon, robots, Angry Birds, Starwars, Space ships, super heroes, kitchens, crafts and more. These are all things that Ethan loves and they're all things I was looking out for when I was looking through the pages on HoF.
It really was very, very difficult to narrow things down so I decided to try and find one toy item and one clothing item as I thought that some people prefer practical gifts and some prefer to go down the playing path. I ended up picking up a gorgeous t-shirt from Joules, and a fun Scooby-Doo set from the Playset section.
This is, without a doubt, the best quality t-shirt Ethan has ever owned and it's really rather nice to have something so special for him, once in a while. The moment you look at it, the label, the brand tag, it speaks quality and that's a really nice element of getting something like this, you want it to be the full experience.
The light went a bit wrong with this pic but I really liked how Ethan's posing, he looks like a proper fashion blogger with the looking down and to the side with his hands on his hips - Proper little poser.
This is the, actual, colour of the t-shirt, in a much better light - The Rocket Pack T-shirt is, as you can see, a beautiful teal colour which is a shade that's always suited Ethan which is one of the reasons I was drawn to it. On the front you have, in a yellow/mustard stitching, the words '3...2...1...Blast Off!'
And stitched on to the back is this fantastically fun rocket pack design - It took Ethan a little which to accept that he had to wear it with this on the back rather than on the front, he wanted to be able to see it as he thinks it's so cool. But once I explained Why the rocket pack needed to be on the back, thankfully he decided it was ok.
The t-shirt is short sleeved and, in the pictures, he's wearing it over the top of a navy blue long sleeved tee which has meant it's ok for the cooler weather we're having and it'll still be ok when it gets warmer. Ethan absolutely Loves this t-shirt and it's, quickly, become his absolute favourite - He doesn't wear it after school because, then, he can only wear it for a few hours, he wears it at the weekend when he can wear it all day. He also picks it whenever he's going anywhere special, when he went to the special karate disco with Grandad it was his first choice.
He's worn it plenty of times and I've washed it lots of times, it washes really well which I guess you'd expect for something of higher quality. The t-shirt is currently only £11.86 but was, originally, £16.95 so it's a real bargain at the moment, but it's only available in age 5 which makes it a perfect gift for a 5-year-old!
And here's the Scooby-Doo set. The 'Mega Trap Building Kit' caught my attention, instantly, because Ethan's been obsessed with Scooby-Doo for quite some time, now, but didn't have any toys from the show and this looked like Exactly the sort of crazy thing he'd like.
I was really impressed with how much is in the set, considering it's £20 - So many different little traps, which can all be used in different combinations which makes it even more exciting.
The set says that it's for ages 5+ but, as you can see, there's a lot of bits and pieces that come in the box, it's not the simplest of toys. That said, that hasn't put Ethan off.
As well as all the traps there's a little Frankenstein style figure who Ethan says is a goblin, and there's no persuading him otherwise - He's got little holes in his feet which mean that he can be fitted in to particular parts of the traps in order to be flung around or captured inside things.
As you can tell from all of the photos above, Ethan really enjoyed 'helping' Daddy put the traps together. For little ones close to Ethan's age then I'd, definitely, recommend having a Daddy, or a Mummy, to help with the initial set-up but I'd definitely still agree that it's great fun for the 5's and upwards.
There's supposed to be 30+ possible combinations with these individual elements but we found it easiest to pick the parts which would be easiest for Ethan to use on his own so that he doesn't need one of us with him all of the time, it means that he can't play with all 30 combinations but there was still plenty of ways in which he could play with it. It's been one of his go-to toys for a while, now, who doesn't love using a giant mallet to fire a little 'goblin' across the table? The best thing is, is as long as we can make sure he doesn't lose any parts, this is a toy that will grow with him, the bigger he gets the more he'll be able to use it, and that's great because so many toys are fun for a few months before they grow out of them.
So, these are my two picks from House of Fraser but I think you can guess that there's loads and loads more available on the site for both boys and girls of all ages - I normally think of HoF as being for adults and, normally, it's clothes and make-up that come to mind so it's always good to have your ideas challenged.
These items were sent to me for my consideration for review purposes - all words and all opinions are honest and are my own.