Sunday, 19 May 2013

Triqo Review And Competition Time !!!

I was lucky enough to receive a box of Triqo, the fabulous, award winning toy sensation from the Netherlands that is set to delight children of all ages here in the UK! From the moment I unpacked the parcel I had the sense that Triqo might be a superior quality product and I certainly wasn't disappointed. The packaging was very elegant and the colourful creations depicted looked like great fun that we couldn't wait to dive in. My kids are massive fans of Lego and the computer game Minecraft so we're very excited about the possibilities of creating on a potentially large scale.

What is Triqo?
Triqo is a new, unique construction toy. With only two forms, a triangle and a square, in ten colours you can create an endless amount of three-dimensional constructions. The components are made of exceptionally strong and flexible polypropylene which is fully recyclable and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
Triqo is a Dutch company and the Triqo product is not only a Dutch invention but also produced in the Netherlands. Each Triqo package is quality approved with the stamp ‘Dutch Design – Made in Holland’."
Triqo is advertised as being suitable for children aged 5 and up although this is likely due to the application of force needed to join the units rather than any other factor as the pieces are certainly big enough for safe play.
What’s in the box?
The pack I received contained 100 pieces in total made up of 60 Squares and 40 Triangles in ten different and very vibrant colours. Each piece is very robust and initially flat with little fasteners along the each of the (foldable) edges. These fasteners interlock to create 3D shapes in a similar manner to fasteners on a coat. All that’s required after that is a little imagination and the possibilities are endless! A handy A4 information guide is included with a number of pictured examples and the quantity of each shape required to help start you off. This guide is a full colour, double-sided affair on thick glossy card and likely intended to be kept as a keepsake rather than discarded. Again, the quality is very evident. 

We all quickly got to work and began trying to create something amazing and I will say it took us all, even me, a little while to get used to how the interlock of the pieces together as for many constructs you have to fold everything back on itself. It quickly becomes second nature though and the holes in each of the pieces make it easy to use your fingers to clip together those otherwise hard to reach final fasteners as your Triqo design develops from a flat form to a full realised object. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention at this point that my husband mentioned that his fingertips were sore from clipping down a large number of plastic fasteners after completing a fairly large design but he also makes the same observation when it comes to Lego and especially Meccano so if you have sensitive hands you might experience a similar thing. It didn’t bother myself or the kids though so maybe it was just fastening fatigue on his part! 
The truly great thing is that once you have the jist of the product the possibilities it presents are endless. On the product guide and on the Triqo website there are some truly magnificent creations including hats, animals, famous landmarks and a brilliant and massive castle. As the product is completely interchangeable buying more packs to add to your current stock is an easy option should you want to try your hand at larger or more colour coordinated designs. The price is right too with RRPs as low as £16.99 for the starter pack of 50 pieces (currently £12.09 with free delivery on Amazon) and booster packs much cheaper than that, making larger projects affordable – could you imagine the cost, time and potential lack of fun involved in making a kid-sized castle from other brands of smaller connectable blocks?  We will be definitely be ordering more Triqo in the future especially with the lengthy school summer holidays on the horizon.

Triqo Deco
In addition to the main Triqo product we were also blessed to receive a box of Triqo Deco which is used in conjunction with Triqo to add yet another level to your designs. The smooth coloured shapes are form fitted to enhance the Triqo blocks and add a nice finishing touch. Some of our designs using the Deco add-on reminded me of the colourful look of a Rubik's Cube and the boys liked it in particular as they likened it too adding armour! It’s a nice addition should you feel inclined and makes things look more professional as it hides the seams so to speak.

As a parent I was very impressed with Triqo. Computer games and gadgets seem to be the focal point for children in many households these days so it’s great to see a new product on the market that encourages imagination, tactile hand-eye coordination and cooperation. All my young ones have had hours of enjoyment playing with Triqo, learning about and creating new shapes. Unlike most construction toys when unformed the product is flat which makes storage a breeze. It goes without saying that there are also no issues with standing on a piece in the middle of the night or sucking some up the hoover!

I can see Triqo being popular with UK parents this Christmas as it’s not only great fun but also covers that often hard to cover educational quota too. My own children are discovering and learning about shapes and forms in school at the moment so it’s been great for them to use the Triqo to visually create the forms in front of them. This in turn has helped with their homework and kept them interested.  I believe this would be a great product for schools to have in the classroom
I'm so excited about Triqo and am sure you will be too so i'm pleased to announce that in conjunction with Triqo I have a competition running to win your very own mixed box of Triqo worth £29.99! 
The competition will be running for two weeks via the rafflecopter widget on this page so spread the word, best of luck and happy crafting!
You can find more information about Triqo from their website: and there Facebook and Twitter pages too.... 

Triqo can be purchased from with prices currently starting from as little as £6.97 for booster packs!
Please let them know of there Facebook Page that I sent you ...... when you enter There comp please .....
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Ravensburger Aquarelle Review

With the English weather proving as unpredictable as ever and outdoor activities being curtailed due to rain it’s comforting to think that Ravensburger once again has mums and dads covered with yet another product that is sure to bring a smile to the faces of children whilst keeping them engaged. If you're thinking along the lines of a jigsaw or a fantastic new board game you'd be wrong as Ravensburger have recently launched Aquarelle, a new range of liquid watercolour painting kits which have already won the Best New Toy award in the Creative category at the 2012 London Toy Fair.

The new Ravensburger Aquarelle range is recommended for budding artists aged 8 to 13 but myself and my 5 year old son enjoyed painting just as much as my 8 and 10 years so I would have no hesitation in recommending the product for boys and girls of all ages.

What's great about these new sets is the pictures have paint repellent lines outlining the forms (we had the horse set) which helps the watercolours to stay in the allotted sections, keeping budding Rembrandts on course. This has the added effect of providing a really tasteful effect to finished images as these outlines become part of the art work and help highlight the really vibrant colours. Even those new to painting will find this fun and although it’s easy to produce an attractive image those that fancy a bit more of a challenge have absolute freedom to create shading and mix a variety of additional colours from the pots of liquid watercolour provided.
Aquarelle sets come in different sizes and subjects from the mini (8.5 x 12 cm) which contains one painting sheet to the Midi (20 x 27cm) and finally the Maxi set (36 x 27cm) which both contain three painting sheets. Sets are varied and currently include horses, fairies, fish, butterflies, cities, cats, dolphins, safari and beach paradise scenes amongst others!

The multiple language instruction manual provides advice on colour mixing and a testing sheet is included meaning you can check to ensure you have the desired colour before you commit to placing it on your masterpiece!

Product: Aquarelle Midi set: Horses
What’s in the box:

  • 5 liquid watercolour paints - red, blue, black, yellow & pink
  • Mixing palette
  • Double ended brush
  • Testing card
  • Colour Chart and instructions
  • Three pictures to paint
  • Pipette 
I think these sets are fun for all weathers and would make great and affordable gifts for those all important school birthdays amongst others. There is a good selection of topics to paint and the vibrant final results really surprise and will look great on any fridge, wall or art gallery! I’d definitely invest in Aquarelle again for my kids as we all had fun painting although next time I think we’ll try one of their bigger sets as it did not take long too long to paint all three sheets, especially as we shared, and it was a shame when we had finished as the children in particular were keen to carry on . The only potential downside was that the double-ended paintbrush, whilst a great idea, had two very small tips that were perhaps better suited to more detailed work rather than covering some of the larger sections in the painting. We had some watercolour brushes to hand that we choose to use instead and feel these were more up to the task. The smaller brush(es) provided might also not withstand children who are less sure or heavier of hand but the overall feel of the product is one of quality as is to be expected from the Ravensburger brand.
Aquarelle sets retail from as little as £4.99 for the mini to £14.99 for the Maxi and can be purchased at
Mummy Age 30

Amy Age 10

Robert Age 5

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Indigo Board Game Review by Ravensburger

Since I was very young I have always loved playing board games so when I was asked if i would like to review Indigo from Ravensburger it was a very easy yes please! As soon as the game arrived I was struck by the appealing box art with its interesting intercut design and classy gold (and indigo) colouring. Inside this box of delights I was greeted with a multiple language manual, counters which act as your gates, brightly coloured blue, yellow and green gems, hexagonal tiles and the board itself. Although the gems are made of glass the tiles and counters are cardboard and need to be popped out from a sheet prior to play. This is very easy to do and the box itself has different compartments so the game’s elements can be stored away safely after play.
A Brief History of Indigo
Indigo is a deep shade of blue obtained from the Indian indigo plant since ancient times. Its deep hue is a symbol of eternity and immortality and it is often referred to as the colour that helped shape the world as it was the prominent dye used in clothing and materials imported from abroad as trade routes opened up by ocean travel made the far corners of the earth suddenly more accessible. The colour is said to have a soothing effect meant to provide a clear head - exactly what players need to keep during the game as their search for the most precious gems progresses...
Indigo: the Game
Having a wide experience of board games I found Indigo was particularly easy to set up and intuitive to play. The rules were very easy to follow and refreshingly didn’t involve reading reams of confusing text before the fun could began.
The main idea of Indigo is to collect gems by moving them closer to your gate with each turn. Players achieve this by placing hexagonal tiles on the game board to create a path towards their gates. Sounds easy enough but there is a twist as each of the tiles are different and tiles are collected at random. You may, for example, require a tile that acts as a straight line to get you closer to your gate but instead receive a curved tile that takes you further away from your chosen goal benefiting your opponent. 
To set up the game board you must place the main hex tile at the centre of the board and then place five green gems and one indigo gem onto it. Next you place the six blue tiles on their designated locations on the outer edge of the board and put a yellow gem on each of those tiles. Each player then chooses a coloured gate and then places these between the blue tiles on the edge of the game board with the number of players affecting the number of goals. For example, in a two player game the players alternate goals whilst in a three player game each player has one goal to themselves while sharing two others. Finally in a four player game, each participant shares a goal with every other player. This is much less complicated than I've probably made it sound – it’s actually really easy to get to grips with!
In the game each gem colour is worth a different value with indigo, the most sought after, being worth 3 points, green gems worth 2 points and yellow gems a single point. In the end the player with the highest accumulation of points wins the game but be warned - if two gems ever cross paths they are then removed from the board! In addition when a gem is moved to a goal owned by only one player, that player keeps the gem. If two players own the goal then both players collect a gem of that colour taking the extra gem needed from the reserve pile. So you must keep a eye on the board and your gems at all times while trying to think of your next move all the while anticipating where your next tile may lead you...
The overall look of the game is one of quality and each of the components feels well made and durable. The classy box and board design, not too mention the glass gems, give Indigo that extra wow factor and a real feeling of quality. Packing away following play is made easy by the thoughtful storage compartments although Indigo is a game that should see frequent use as it’s so easy to jump into and games remain fun without ever being drawn out.

Number of Players
Indigo is designed for anywhere from 2 to 4 players and if you are able it might be worth playing a quick game or two one on one to familiarise yourself with the rules before a third or forth player is introduced, especially if competing against younger players. That’s not to say it’s exponentially more difficult, far from from it, but more players means more gates and further additions to the rules making the game instantly more competitive as luck takes a back seat to strategy. Children in particular may find things confusing if they have no prior experience of the game before jumping into the fray as they find what they thought was their gem suddenly becomes the property of another player and so on. In a further twist players can team up to prevent the distribution of certain gems adding another layer to the game’s depth. With this in mind a little explanation before hand would certainly serve novice younger players as well as things do move at quite a pace once the game begins.

Age Range
Indigo is recommended for families and has a suggested age rating of 8 and over but my 7 year old thoroughly enjoyed playing and had no issues understanding the concept of the game or it’s rules during a two player game. As mentioned above there is a certain element of chance involved along with the strategy which keeps things fresh and accessible and Indigo is so adaptable that I would recommend it for couples, families or friends of all ages.


Game Length
We’ve enjoyed playing Indigo many times over and found that in our experience the average game length was roughly 20 to 30 minutes for 2 to 3 player games.
Indigo is a beautifully designed family game and certainly one that we will continue playing. Each game is different and great fun. Not knowing who might win, even at the last minute, makes it very exciting and unpredictable which keeps the boredom factor at bay. Thoroughly recommended.