I was asked if I'd review for a website that, previously, I'd not heard of before called 'Wicked Uncle' and, seeing as it's a toy site and the proceeds would go to that wee munchkin of mine I couldn't say no! I was intrigued by the site, as it has a rather different selling point to other toy websites; and I do like it when a site offers something different rather than more of the same.
At Wicked Uncle they're trying to provide a service which appeals to non-parents - To the people who want to buy gifts for children but just don't know children as well as parents might. It's for Uncles and Aunts and friends of the family, people who just need that bit more guidance.
When you on to the site you're presented with the option of picking toys for age groups and genders rather than types of toy, and that's a great way for people who aren't as child-savvy to break things down. You may already know my thoughts on gender and toys, I'm not a fan of splitting them, but there's nothing to stop a person checking the age range for both genders (I did when ordering).
I was given a voucher to order some items (and I paid a few pounds extra just to get the things I wanted) and it was a really nice site to browse. The toys available are great, lots of wooden builds and creative things, less of the plastic flashy toys and more of the traditional which is always going to be a bonus in my books (though there was some plastic flashy, what's life without some plastic flashy!).
When picking things to order for the review I tried to get a few things that fit in to different categories, just to give you a better idea of what's available. As such I picked up this adorable pack of Handmade chocolate piglets by James Chocolates - These were £4.95 which is quite pricey for a small amount of chocolate but I can assure you that it's Good chocolate and little ones do love the novelty. Though everyone will fight over the pink piggy as it tastes of strawberry (we went halves), this does open up the opportunity for turning it in to some sort of game where the winner finds the pink piggy (I'm just thinking on the fly here). These make a lovely little gift.
This next item was amongst my favourites on the site - I definitely felt really happy with the sorts of themes that were coming through in the toy selection, lots of the traditional again; pirates, knights, dinosaurs etc, amongst more modern things.
This Pirate chest from Melissa and Doug, though, really stood out - For £19.95 you can get this beautifully well made, fantastic looking pirate chest. I really was so pleased with how good a quality this feels, it's strong and made from wood rather than card as others are. I love the detailing of all of the distressing and the turnable skull as a little latch is fantastic.
This is ideal for the pirate-lover in your family but it goes further than that because it can become a nice little hide-away for all the bits and bobs that children accumulate and it gives them their own little secret place to keep it all.
The box also came with an eye patch (which is fabric and much more comfortable than the plastic ones you can get), a little bag of pirate coins and a huge pirate flag.
I think Ethan makes a rather dashing pirate, if I may say so myself.
He was very, very excited when he found the coins, he loves things like that and these are really good examples of the types of coin you'd expect to find in pirate treasure.
Not sure what we'll do with the flag, long term, it'd look great on a wall but not sure we'll have the wall space for it in his new room. I'm thinking it might make a rather good thing for throwing over boring looking plastic toy boxes, or maybe laid out at the end of the bed. We'll find something to do with it as it's fantastic.
And, before I move on to the next item, you can't forget the hidden compartment in the bottom of the box! It's not very big but you could easily fit small items in there, or letters/things made of paper. It's a really nice, finishing detail for such a well made and fun toy.
I'll be honest, I'm not sure if I bought the Magic Drawing Board for my benefit or for Ethan's - Well, of course, it's for Ethan but I had one of these as a child and couldn't help but add it to the basket. These re-usable boards with a black substance over a rainbow base are, definitely, a really traditional toy and I thought it was something Ethan would really enjoy. For £13.99 it's not cheap but I see this as something that a child can continue using for a really long time.
The black element of this definitely seemed thicker than I expected, both my Mum and I struggled to draw in it as much as we expected but I think it's probably something that'll improve over time and Ethan loves being able to make rainbow lines when he plays with it.
All in all I really liked the ideas that Wicked Uncle has, as well as the toys that they stock - I think this should definitely be a site considered by people who need some extra inspiration when buying for the little ones in their friend's or family's lives.