Reviewed by Emma Rogers
There are plenty of choices for Christmas gifts nowadays, but we still find ourselves struggling to think of something! Here are some ideas for gifts for family members that we tried and tested.
Selfie Clothing Ice Queen Colour In Pyjamas
We tested the Ice Queen Colour In Pyjamas for ages 4-6 years from Selfie Clothing (RRP: £15). The pyjamas come in a cool poster-size cylinder about 30cm tall. This is relevant because it’s not an easy present to wrap nor is it easy to post, so if you do decide to buy this, you might find it easier to put in a box! The parcel comes with a set of cream pyjamas (for colouring), a set of 7 fabric pens and a practice sheet of characters featured on the clothing. The box says it contains ‘1 Colour In Top’ but it is actually the whole set of pyjamas – top and bottoms. The set of marker pens is actually quite good; brown, blue, pink, yellow, orange, green and red. They’re easy to hold for little hands and not too thick for colouring in.
We tested this with my 5-year-old, who wasn’t too sure what the connecting between ‘colouring’, ‘pyjamas’ and what the cylindrical box was all about, but once I opened it for her (it takes and adult to open but the parcel is re-sealable afterwards) and unravelled the clothes with the marker pens inside, the response was ‘cool’ and she was off. Thankfully she’s a fan of unicorns, princesses and castles so she was easily amused, pointing out to me what colours she was going to paint the girl, and the snowman and write her name in the space at the top as I tried to be the grown-up and develop her imagination by asking her questions about the story that she thought went with the pictures. She was amused by the colouring for nearly 20 minutes when she realised that there were the trousers to colour in as well, but the interest waned slightly until later on when she came back to have a go. Like most children would, she didn’t finish it, but did do some free-style drawing of her own on the sleeves and back of the trousers. My only slight problem is that these are permanent pens, which might not be a good idea with a 5-year-old in case she thinks she can draw on all clothes in the future! It might be advisable to use washable pens so that every time she gets them out to wear them, she can colour them in all over again and it keeps her quiet for longer, but that might just be me.
All you have to do is iron them after they’re coloured in and let them dry flat for 24 hours. The instructions also recommend having a lining between the colouring in fabrics to prevent bleed into the next layer, and you definitely need an adult around to do the supervising!
The British-manufactured polyester pyjamas are well made and a decent size but I was say they’re a little bit small, and my 5 year old isn’t that big. They’re very soft though and she had no trouble wearing them. There’s paperwork inside the packaging tube to win a £25 voucher for tagging a photo of the finished design but I’m not comfortable with photographing and posting photos of my children in their pyjamas, so if it is a case of entering the competition, maybe photo them without the small child inside?! It’s a really original product and a great Christmas present idea that’s useful as well as keeps them quiet. I still worry about her getting hold of the permanent pens though…
Encona Limited Edition Carolina Reaper Chilli Sauce
Well this one is not for the children! Perhaps one for adventurous dads or those who like to test themselves with extra-super-hot chilli sauces because if you don’t like, or are not used to hot chilli sauces, this one is a mind-blowing experience!
This is a limited-edition sauce, especially for the Christmas market and fits nicely in a Christmas stocking, a put-together-yourself hamper or if your colleagues don’t mind it, it could be a good Secret Santa too especially with the price tag at around £1.60 from Tesco.
The Carolina Reaper Chilli is known as the world’s hottest pepper since 2013. Bred in South Carolina (by people who do this for a living!) and is described as being ‘molten lava.’ Well, I’ll try anything once, even though hot peppers aren’t my favourite. I decided to try some straight out of the bottle first then in a homemade soup. Opening the chilli was easy enough, and it looks like any other chilli. I was impressed with the aroma, it certainly looks like something you could add to home cooking. Knowing what hot chillis are like, I took the tiniest amount from the bottle to test before adding to the soup. The edge of a fork prong; you know how tiny that is. Well, the taste is hot… at first, it’s the fruitiness and a slight stinging that’s evident and it’s not unpleasant in either taste or texture. Then, even with such a small amount, the heat builds and develops. Yes, it’s hot, but it also has flavour to it as well. I needed to drink some water with it, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I did remember though, that it would only need the teensiest drop to add to a soup to make the difference, so fork in hand, I added a minuscule amount to the pot. It was pumpkin soup, which already had butter and herbs added but no other peppers. The smallest amount of chilli sauce was all that was needed to give it quite a kick, and that was making sure it had blended in too. I did manage to finish the soup, but it took a good glug of water to finish it off, and I still had the burning after taste for quite a while. It left me wondering how long this bottle was going to last in my cupboard, because with such a small amount, it goes a long way!
I did enjoy the hotness of the sauce and I’m glad I tried this limited edition. I wouldn’t recommend children use it at all, but at only £1.59 it’s worth it because it can be used so sparingly!
Elho Herb Station and Watering Can
This beautiful set for indoor plants comes from the company Elho, who brand themselves, “Beautiful Living” and these products live up to it!
The set comprises of a small indoor watering can, a herb trough with cutting scissors included and a spray can, probably suitable for indoor plants like orchids or air plants. They are especially useful for my orchid plants which are very temperamental when it comes to being watered!
The products are all made in a durable plastic, which doesn’t look like it will perish if left in the sunlight, although I haven’t tested them long enough to find out. They’re very hardy and easy to use as the watering can and spray can were easy to lift, even when full of water. Those with mobility or weight lifting problems will find these very easy to use due to their size and the easy grip of the handles. The trough is a lovely touch and just the right size for herbs. I started some seedlings in them with two medium sized seeding pots which fit comfortably in the tray, which is water tight. The scissors, which have the branded light green plastic handles and 3 blades for cuttings, are very sharp but again, easy to use and they fit nicely in a little home at the front of the plant tray. They are for cutting the herbs once they are grown, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use them for other gardening tasks. The items in the set complement each other as there isn’t much else you would need for your indoor herb set, apart from the herbs of course, which don’t come with this!
I would love to receive this as a set for Christmas, and I think it would suit any age – children can use this easily especially because of the size of the watering can and the trough, and it’s durable enough that even if they drop it or leave the items outside, they won’t break easily. They’re very stylish too, adding just a splash of colour but being nice ergonomic tools for the kitchen, which is where I have them living.
Great items that will last ages and very versatile to use. I love them!