Wednesday 22 April 2015

Wicked Uncle Toy Shop Review

There is absolutely no way in the world Ebony could claim to be short on toys. She has a playroom full of stuff, but when Wicked Uncle offered me the chance to try out their service, I decided I couldn’t refuse. I was offered a £40 voucher to buy some products from their site.

Wicked Uncle differs from other toy sites because it is a dedicated gift giving service. Far from being aimed at parents, the site is used by aunts, uncles and grandparents looking to buy presents for birthdays, Christmases and other occasions. I remember from my own pre-motherhood days that buying gifts for children can be stressful. If you have no idea about child development (and why would you when you don’t have kids?) then it can be hard getting presents that are just right (I definitely always used to buy things way too advanced for the age of child).

If you don’t fancy spending your lunch break surrounded by screaming children in an overwhelming toy shop, then Wicked Uncle is definitely the site for you. Wicked Uncle have a great selection, and have pretty much every type of toy you could wish for. It took me a really long time to decide what to get. The toys are ranked by popularity allowing you to get a good idea of the sorts of gifts  being given to children of different ages - helpful if you’re not really a children person yourself.

Wicked Uncle have a good selection of gift wrap, and will hand write the cards with a personalised message. They even include a pre-written thank you postcard for the child to send to you! If you order a birthday present from them, they will automatically remind you of the birthday again next year. I think this is pretty clever, I’m terrible for forgetting birthdays and really only ever remember because Facebooks tells me on the day.

After a long and intensive search, I decided upon the firefighter’s water sprayer (£17.95), the vegetable grow mat (£10.95) and the space torch and projector (£6.95). The website was easy to use, and the stuff arrived really quickly. The postman knocked at the door just a couple of days after I placed my order. I hid the package away for a while because I didn’t really fancy standing in the rain with the firefighter toy (terrible mother, I know), but luckily the weather has picked up so we’ve been able to test out the toys.

The fireman’s water sprayer is hands down the best toy ever. It has a plastic backpack bit that you fill with water, and then a hose (essentially a super soaker style thing) that you can shoot water with. We have already had hours (and hours) of fun with this in the garden. It’s well made and brightly coloured. This is absolutely definitely the perfect toy for a three year old. Ebony loves running around the garden ‘putting out fires’, and even answers the fire station phone with an “Oh goody!” (let’s hope she is never actually a firefighter). As an added bonus, I haven’t had to water any of my flowers for quite a while now because of the conveniently placed imaginary fires.

The space torch was also a hit, though I let Laurie do that one with her. It projects images of space onto the wall, and there are a number of different slides to choose from. My own space knowledge is rather limited and after realising I didn’t know what any of the planets were called, I handed it over to Laurie. I also ordered the vegetable grow mat which looks amazing. The mat is pre-planted with vegetable seeds, so all you need to do is bury the mat and take care of it until it’s time to harvest the vegetables. We’re in the middle of a big garden project so at the moment don’t have the space to plant it just yet. There are piles of rubble and mud pretty much everywhere you look, so I’m keeping the mat until we have a little more space.

I thought Wicked Uncle was a great site, and really love the products I chose. The only negative thing I have to say about the experience is how toys are categorised on the site. Everything is split by gender, and that’s something I really don’t like. Ebony might be a girl, but she loves dinosaurs and firefighters as much as the next kid. She likes fairies and princesses too, but it’s not all she likes. I had a look through both the girls and boys sections on the site, and noticed that a lot of the products I love simply weren’t included in the girls section.

I’d hate to think that Ebony would miss out on a gift she’d love simply because of her genitals. I understand why many sites choose to offer a gender division for clueless gift buyers who simply want to choose something quickly, but it certainly shouldn’t be the only way the site is organised. I much prefer to look at things by age or by toy category. I think it would be great if Wicked Uncle considered rearranging their site so that more little girls can enjoy awesome presents like the firefighter hose.

Perhaps not all boys lust after Elsa dolls, and maybe not all girls are crazy about cars, but let’s let them make these decisions for themselves rather than restricting what options they have to choose from simply because of their sex. I would absolutely recommend this website to anyone looking to buy a present for a child, but I’d encourage them to check out both the boys and girls sections.

Wicked Uncle very kindly offered me a £40 voucher in exchange for this review, but all words and opinions are my own. You can find out more about Wicked Uncle on their website.

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