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Energy drinks warning for children

Energy drinks should be banned from schools because they are as damaging to young people as drugs, says a top Government advisor.

John Vincent, co-founder of food chain Leon who’s been tasked with advising on school meals, told the BBC that many children replaced their breakfast with an energy drink.

But he said: “Energy drinks are effectively another form of drugs. The amount of sugar and caffeine in these drinks is effectively allowing drugs into schools. We don’t do that and in our view these drinks should not be a part of school life.

“They have hugely damaging effects on children. It affects their ability to concentrate, how they feel, and they have health effects.”

Some 500ml drinks contain as much as 160ml of caffeine – the equivalent of four colas. And they also contain 12 teaspoons of sugar.

The impact of drinking them is palpable. Children’s health adviser Claire Duggan told the BBC that pupils she had spoken to had reported feeling sick, shaky and dizzy after drinking the cans.

One school in Manchester is so concerned about pupils drinking energy drinks, that they have banned them. 

Although the industry said the drinks were not aimed at children, they were not clearly labelled. Gavin Partington from the British Soft Drinks Association said the drinks ‘are not designed for children’.

But it’s clear that they are being drunk by children.

On BBC’s Newsround website, pupils were asked if energy drinks should be banned in school.

There was mixed reaction. 

Hamnah from Walsall, said: “I think students should be allowed to drink whatever they want but they should only be allowed to drink water in lessons.” 

Osha, from the West Midlands, said: “We’re not allowed energy drinks at our school anyway. I agree with John Vincent, they can damage you concentration.

But Caitlin from Warrington added: “Energy drinks shouldn’t be banned in schools because they keep you awake for the rest of the day, so you’re more likely to pay attention.”

However, Luke from Clevedon countered: “Energy drinks make me aggressive and give me a headache.”

However, Kayleigh from Merseyside said a ban wouldn’t make any difference.

She said: “Energy drinks have already been banned from our school but I don’t think it makes a difference because people drink them outside school anyway.”

In October 2012, we reported the story of 14-year-old Anais Fournier, who collapsed and died after having two cans of a fashionable caffeine-rich drink, billed by the makers as a ‘killer energy brew’.

She suffered a heart attack which her family claims was brought on by ‘caffeine toxicity’ after she drank the Monster Energy drinks.

Now Mr Vincent wants an urgent review into such drinks to assess their impact on the health of young people.

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A little boy is sick in the hospital and his mother prays for his recovery.


His little eyes so sad,
His mouth turned in a frown.
Why does this little boy feel so bad?
What is causing him to be down?

His smile used to be so grand,
But now he hangs onto life by a strand.
He doesn’t deserve this pain,
We all have the right to complain.

His mother stays by his side,
As the doctors remain to reside.
Please she cries, let him find a way out.
Erase our faces of this doubt.

This little boy is so precious,
His happiness is infectious.
His life will be so great,
He will overcome his fearful fate.

© Kelli Schraer

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Toddlers tend to be susceptible to more than their fair share of coughs and colds

So how do you decide if your toddler needs to see the doctor, or if a chat with your health visitor will do? And when should you call an ambulance, or take your toddler to the accident and emergency department (A&E) of your nearest hospital?

When should I take my toddler to a doctor?

See a doctor as soon as you can if your toddler:

  • Gets an object lodged in his nose, ear, mouth or (for girls) vagina. Never try to remove objects yourself.
  • Gets a burn larger than a 50p piece, particularly if the skin is blistering. This includes sunburn.
  • Has a fever that lasts for five days or longer, or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as a rash or crying. Most toddlers recover quickly from fever, but if his symptoms worsen, call the doctor again, as it may be a sign of a serious illness or infection.
  • Has to flare his nostrils to breathe.
  • Cries persistently, or if his cry sounds abnormal and high-pitched.
  • Is not drinking, and/or you are concerned that he is dehydrated.
  • Has blood-streaked vomit or poo.
  • Has an unexplained rash, particularly if it’s accompanied by a fever.
  • Has pain in his eyes, is sensitive to light, has disturbed vision, or intense redness in one or both of his eyes. This could be a sign of a bacterial infection or severe conjunctivitis.
  • Has had a major bump to his head.
  • Has a cough and makes a sound similar to a sea lion when he breathes in. This may be croup.
  • Suddenly starts limping, is unable to bear weight on a limb, or stops using an arm or leg.
  • Has noisy or rapid breathing (wheeze), which may be associated with a cough. You may notice his tummy being sucked in or out with his breathing. This may be a viral infection.
  • Shows one or more possible signs of meningitis. These include: 

    – a fever, combined with vomiting and refusing food and drink 
    – cold hands and feet 
    – skin that is pale, blotchy or turning blue 
    – rapid and unusual patterns of breathing 
    – shivering 
    – a high-pitched, moaning cry 
    – deep drowsiness, unresponsiveness, vacant expression or difficult to wake 
    – floppiness and listlessness, or stiffness with jerky movements 
    – a purple-red rash that doesn’t fade when you press a glass against it 
    – a dislike of bright lights 
    – a stiff neck

If you can’t get in touch with your GP, take your toddler straight to your local A&E department. This is also the case if you’re still worried after you’ve spoken to your doctor. 

It’s fine to call a doctor if you are worried about your toddler’s health, or if you are concerned that you’re unable to do enough for your toddler at home. 

Make an appointment to see a doctor if your toddler has any of these symptoms for 24 hours or more:

  • Vomiting, or additional symptoms such as fever or a rash.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Is unusually irritable, fractious and moody for no apparent reason.
  • Pink, watery or sticky eyes, which could be a sign of an eye infection, such as conjunctivitis. Though conjunctivitis can be mild and not require treatment, it needs treating if his eye is very red and has a lot of discharge and crusting. This means it is bacterial and he’ll need eye drops, especially if he attends a nursery.
  • Has a discharge from the ears, eyes, navel, penis or vagina.
  • Has no appetite and misses more than two entire meals. This is worth mentioning to your doctor. Not drinking is more worrying than not eating though, as this requires immediate medical treatment.
  • Has a severe sore throat and has difficulty with swallowing and/or talking.
  • Finds it painful to wee, or wees more or less frequently than usual.
  • Has a cut or graze that oozes pus, and/or the area around it becomes hot, red, tender and swollen.

When should I call an ambulance?

If your toddler is so ill that you think he needs immediate medical treatment, such as if he has severe breathing difficulties, call 999. 

You’ll be asked which emergency service you need and will be put through to an ambulance controller. He will send an ambulance out immediately. He will also help you to assess your toddler’s condition and to give him emergency first aid until the ambulance arrives. 

Call an ambulance if your toddler:

  • Stops breathing.
  • Is unconscious or semi-conscious.
  • Can’t be woken, or if woken, doesn’t stay awake.
  • Has a weak, high-pitched or continuous cry.
  • Looks blue, ashen, mottled or pale.
  • Is having trouble breathing, or is breathing abnormally quickly, particularly if his skin and lips start to develop a bluish tinge. This means he is not getting enough oxygen.
  • Has a fit (convulsion) for the first time, or one that lasts for more than a minute. His eyes may roll back in his head, he may be unresponsive, and his limbs may twitch. Fits are usually caused by a fever (febrile convulsions), but not always.
  • Becomes unwell after swallowing something poisonous or harmful, such as medications meant for adults. Take the bottle or packet to the hospital with you.

If your toddler has a condition or injury that is not life-threatening, but needs immediate treatment, take him straight to A&E. 

Go straight to A&E if your toddler:

  • Has a fever and is lethargic after taking paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  • Is breathing very rapidly or has noisy breathing (is wheezy).
  • Has a cut that is bleeding profusely, or one that is particularly deep and gaping open. To stop bleeding, apply pressure to the cut with a clean cloth and try to keep the affected part raised.
  • Has a serious fall, and you suspect he may have a broken bone or sprain.
  • Swallows something potentially poisonous, even if he seems well.

What if the surgery is closed?

If you phone your GP’s surgery out of hours, you will be directed to a local out-of-hours doctor service. They will able to advise you, or they can organise a visit to a doctor, or an ambulance, if your toddler needs one. 

The government is asking each primary care trust (PCT) to open a GP-led health centre in addition to GP practices. These are open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, and offer walk-in services as well as booked appointments. Find a GP-led health centre near you.

What about if I just need some advice?

If you can’t get an appointment with your GP and need some advice, try:

  • An NHS walk-in centre (WiC) or minor injury unit. These centres have long opening hours, and are open at weekends. They deal with minor illnesses and injuries, and you don’t need an appointment. Call in advance to make sure that your nearest centre treats young children, though. Find your nearest NHS WIC or minor injuries unit.
  • NHS Direct (tel: 0845 4647) offers a 24-hour health advice helpline run by nurses. They can advise you about whether or not your toddler needs to see a doctor and can call an ambulance if necessary.
  • Your health visitor can help with any worries you have about your own or your toddler’s wellbeing. She can advise you on feeding your toddlerimmunisationsdevelopment issuessleep and minor health problems, such as constipation.
  • A pharmacist can answer queries about minor ailments, such as nappy rashcoughs and colds, or about any medications your toddler is taking. You can ask which over-the-counter medicines are suitable for your toddler, or whether your toddler should see a doctor. 

    You can walk into any pharmacy and ask to speak to a pharmacist in confidence. Most pharmacies have a private consultation area.


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If you are looking for the hot Christmas toys for children in 2013 then you have come to the right place. Here we are going to review some of the likely contenders for the big selling toys over the Christmas period of 2013. These are the ones the kids are going to be begging you for over the coming months and we countdown some of the best toys for Christmas 2013.

With the rush for Christmas presents always being very stressful, it’s a great idea to plan ahead. That’s why we are reviewing some of the most popular toys that are going to be hitting the shops in 2013. These are the toys that your children are likely to be after, so you can get in there ahead of the queues and get your child what they want in good time with minimal fuss.



Big Selling Christmas Toys

Every year there are certain toys that capture the imagination of children all over the world. These often end up selling out in the run up to the holidays and the prices tend to increase as demand goes up. If you can work out what is going to be big over Christmas you can make sure you buy your presents early.

Christmas 2012 saw some really big selling toys hit the shelves. Some of the most popular ones we saw selling were interactive toys. Fijit Friends were one of the most popular of these, the cute little dancing toys really sold very well and children all over the world are now the happy owner of one of these toys. Another very popular interactive toy was Cookie My Playful Pup, another release from FurReal friends which sold very well. Furreal have plenty of new toys for this year and we will discuss these later. Then of course we were given the brand new Furby, a big seller over the holiday period.

One company that had a massive year was Blip Toys, these make the popularSquinkies and these have been growing in populiarty recently. In 2013 we have seen new Squinkies such as SpongeBob SquarePants, WWE superstars, Power Rangers and Minnie Mouse characters. Along with these there has also been a new pack released based on the new Avengers movie. Over the summer months there were several new lines introduced as well such as Simpsons, DC Comics and Spiderman. These soft mini collectables are sure to be huge over the Christmas period once again.

So what other toys are going to massive come Christmas 2013? Well let’s have a look at some of the big contenders.


The Furby Boom


Get The Furby Boom

Furby Boom Figure (Polka Dots)
Furby Boom Figure (Polka Dots)

Amazon Price: $40.00
List Price: $64.99

Furby Boom Figure (Straight Stripes)
Furby Boom Figure (Straight Stripes)

Amazon Price: $39.99
List Price: $64.99

The Furby Is Back, Again!

A new toy that Hasbro are hoping will rival the new Fijit Friends is the re-release of the Furby. This classic toy was the most annoying toy of the late 90’s. It was also massively popular though and Hasbro are bringing out an updated version for 2012. This one has lots more responses programmed in, far more movement than the old one and it even interacts with apps you can download from a smart-phone. You can get the new version in Teal, Black, Yellow, Purple, Orange and White. The price for the new version is around $60 although you may have a chance of picking it up a little cheaper online.

New For early 2013 though are the Furby Party Rockers. There are four new characters and they are smaller than the original Furby. They are set to retail at around $25 so they are far more affordable than the original. The great news is that they also interact with last years version, so if you have one of them you can pair the two together. There are lots of fun and slightly irritating responses programmed in and once again kids are going to love these.

Late summer is when the big new version comes though. This is the Furby Boom and it’s an exciting new interactive toy that you can use along with an app on any smartphone or tablet. You get your Furby Boom and then match it up on the app and you then have a digital version which you can hatch and then play with. There are lots of toys out there that now have apps and this looks like being one of the better ones. The actual physical toy has LCD eyes which light up and move round. The Furby Boom is going to be sold for around $60, there are some very colourful characters to choose from and they look like being on of the big sellers for Christmas this year.


An Interactive Minion


Get Minions Online

Despicable Me 2 Minion Stuart Laughing Action Figure
Despicable Me 2 Minion Stuart Laughing Action Figure

Amazon Price: $34.90
List Price: $34.99

Get Your Own Minion Army

One of the films that really caught the imagination of children the world over this summer was Despicable Me 2. The real stars of this animated film were without a doubt the Minions. Theses cute little characters are just hilarious and children and adults just can’t seem to get enough of them. So with that in mind it’s no surprise that there are various Minion toys out there and these are certain to put a smile on any child’s face.

If you want to spend a little money and go for the deluxe version then opt for the action figure minions. You can get the most well known characters such as Dave, Stuart or a few more. These are interactive toys and they come with around fifty responses in the original Minion voices. The figures will laugh and giggle as well as coming out with some brilliant little sayings. Each Minion has different responses programmed in and there is plenty to keep children and adults laughing for hours. The figures retail at around $40 but are worth every penny.

If you don’t want to splash out on a talking figure, then a simple plush toy might me more up your street. There are lots of different sizes and versions to choose from. If you head over to Amazon they have lots on offer and you can even buy your own little set of Minions. The prices vary according to size but there are plenty to choose from whether you want to spend just a few dollars or a little bit more.

With the Minions currently being one of the most popular things around, toys based on them are certain to be very popular and very much loved by children everywhere.


The New Elmo Is Here

Playskool Sesame Street Big Hugs Elmo
Playskool Sesame Street Big Hugs Elmo

Amazon Price: $54.99
List Price: $59.99

Big Hugs Elmo

For the past few years we have seen a popular Elmo toys do well over the holidays and it looks like 2013 will be another good year for Elmo. This year Big Hugs Elmo is the latest toy to excite youngsters all over the world. It looks like this one will retail at around the $50 mark and it is expected to be a really popular seller.

This version will cuddle you back if you wrap your arms around him. Hasbro are behind this toy and they have used all their knowhow to make him as interactive as possible. Elmo will sing along with you, he talks to you when you hug him and there are lots of different movements you can get out of him. If you turn him upside down you get a funny response and the toy can work out which way around he is facing. There are also different games Elmo will play with you such as playing with frogs or horses. There really is plenty of content programmed into Big Hugs Elmo to keep your child entertained for hours one end. Plus the fact that this is not as expensive as some of the other more hi-tech interactive toys out there. Elmo is aimed at children under the age of 5, although I imagine a few little girls who are a bit older would still love to get a Big Hugs Elmo for Christmas.


Fijit Friends Shimmies


Get Shimmies Online

Fijit Friends Shimmies Pink Spinrose Figure
Fijit Friends Shimmies Pink Spinrose Figure

Amazon Price: $9.99
List Price: $24.99

Fijit Friends Shimmies Blue Polka Figure
Fijit Friends Shimmies Blue Polka Figure

Amazon Price: $8.50
List Price: $24.99

New Interactive Toys For 2013

Last year Fijit Friends were one of the big sellers. The company behind Fijit Friends are Mattel, they have already introduced the Fijit Friends Newbies which have been snapped up throughout the year so far. In the Fall of 2012 we saw Fijit Friends Yippits introduced. These are smaller than the original toys but larger than the Newbies. They retail at around $40 and there are going to be four new characters, namely Patter who is pink, Scooch who comes in blue, Skippa in light green and finally Plooki who is purple.

They have clap sensors which means they will respond in a variety of different ways to different clap patterns. Another excellent feature is that they unlock new content in the original Fijit Friends, content that you would never see unless you get yourself a Yippit. They also have three songs each they will perform and they come with two interactive games. Mattel seem really excited about this new product and when these hit the shops around September we are expecting them to be as popular as the Original Fijit Friends were back in 2011.

Brand new for 2013 are the little Fijit Friends Shimmies. These are the forth generation of the toy and there are three new characters. We have Whirlina, Polka and Spinrose. Once again the toys are interactive and there are various features that you can unlock as you or your child plays with them. They are a whole new set of cute moves these will pull off and we are expecting them to retail at around $20, so far cheaper than the original ones were. It would be no great surprise if Mattel brought out a fifth generation of the Fijits in time for Christmas 2013.


VIP Pets


VIP Pets Hit The Big Time

Vip Pets Nyla
Vip Pets Nyla

Current Bid: $24.01

Say Hello To VIP Pets

A brand new range of toys that have come over from Spain are the VIP Pets. These cute little puppy characters are made by iMC Toys and they have the potential to be huge. There are six characters being released in the first wave, these are Taylor, Juliet, Gwen, Alex, Nyla and Lady Gigi. Each VIP Pet comes with long bright hair which is perfect for grooming. You get little combs and other tools to groom your pets with. These retail at around $20 so they are not to expensive and they could well be very big over the holidays.

There are plans to release two more characters later in the year and these will be Tiffany and Lilith, so obviously iMC Toys have faith that these will be very popular. Along with the individual pets you can also buy a pet grooming salon which costs a little more. The appeal of these is just how cute they are and so we think little girls are going to fall in love with the VIP Pets and they could well be the next big thing when it comes to dolls. Initially these were only available in Europe but they have made it over to the US now and look like being big sellers over the next few months. The only slight issue with these is that they can be hard to locate, so if you want to get a head start on VIP Pets we suggesting getting them online sooner rather than later.


Zoomer The Robot Dog


Get Zoomer Here

Zoom Pets Zoomer Dalmatian
Zoom Pets Zoomer Dalmatian

Amazon Price: $103.76

More Technical Toys

Last year we tipped DiscoRobo for big things and we were a little disappointed with the results. This did not really sell all that well and maybe it was just a little too complicated for some children. Tosy are also bringing out SketRobo this year which is a robot that will actually draw pictures for you, it comes with a few hundred sketches programmed in and the creations it comes up with really are impressive.

One of the most impressive looking tech toys for this year comes from a company called Spin Master. They are bringing out Zoomer the Robot Dog. This dog is simply incredible and it interacts with the users much in the same way we see Fijit Friends do. In other words in will respond to certain voice commands such as ‘sit’, ‘play dead’ or even ‘let’s play ball’. Amazingly he can understand English, Spanish and French, so you are not limited to English, you can use other languages as well. The dog runs on four legs and has a remarkable array of movements programmed in. The toy also learns while you interact with it so the more things you say to Zoomer the more content you will unlock.

Zoomer comes with a USB charger so this means you don’t have to buy new batteries all the time which will save you some money. We are expecting him to go on sale around August time and he will have a retail price of $99.99. So not the cheapest of the interactive toys but certainly one of the most impressive.


The New Sphero


Get The New Sphero

One exciting new toy that could well be on many older children’s wish list is the Sphero. This is a small ball that actually interacts with a smart-phone. You can control the ball and make it roll in different directions, the ball also has lots of different LED’s fitted inside so it can glow different colors. The Sphero looks like being one of the big toys for 2012 and no doubt will be a big seller at the end of the year. The people behind this are planning lots of interactive games that can be used on smart-phones so if you get one of these then look for the apps that you can use along with the Sphero.

One toy that came out late in 2011 and was expected to sell well was the LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer. This is marketed as being a Tablet for children. The fact is though that it seemed to fall flat on it’s face and sales have not been as impressive as it’s designers were hoping. One step up from the LeapPad though is the new Kurio Tablet. This is made by Inspiration Works and is the best child friendly tablet we have seen so far. It comes with a rubber casing but this can actually be removed so it looks just like a standard Android Tablet. The designers of this have been very smart and given parents plenty of controls over limiting what their children can and can’t see, so security is a big feature of the Kurio. The product is aimed at children age 5-15 so a large age range. This is by far the best Tablet we have seen for children and it will be retailing at around $200 and be available around September.


The New Version For 2013

LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra Kids' Learning Tablet, Green
LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra Kids’ Learning Tablet, Green

Amazon Price: $140.00
List Price: $149.99

LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra

Despite the original version of the LeapFrog LeapPad not doing as well as many had thought the makers of this have not given up quite yet. New for 2013 is the LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra a newer and slicker version of their child friendly tablet. This one retails at around $150 and looks like being the best one they have brought out so far. It comes with a 7″ screen that is said to be kiddy proof and it connects to Wi-Fi.

There are over 800 apps you can download for this tablet including eBooks, videos and music. The tablet has 8GB of memory so plenty of room for storing photos and videos. Much like a modern tablet it has two cameras, one front and one back. The battery life is said to be longer than previous models and there are plenty of other really good features that were not previously included. If you are thinking about buying a tablet for your children then this is one that is well worth a look. It is recommended for children ages 4-9.


Cuddles, My Giggly Monkey


Daisy From Furreal Friends



FurReal Friends Daisy Plays-With-Me Kitty Toy
FurReal Friends Daisy Plays-With-Me Kitty Toy

Amazon Price: $43.34
List Price: $51.99

New Furreal Friends Pets

One range of toys that is always very popular with the younger generation are Furreal Friends. These are life like animals that respond to touch, sound and movement. The company behind Furreal Friends are Hasbro and over the years they have brought out many classic toys. Last year one of the most popular ones was Baby Butterscotch Pony. This is a smaller version of the classic Butterscotch Pony which came out back in 2006. Another great looking toy from Furreal Friends was Bouncy, My Happy To See Me Pup. This adorable little toy has a movement sensor so when you approach it will start jumping all over the place and barking with giddy excitement. This was another big seller back in 2012 and it should still be quite popular moving into this year.

It comes as no surprise that Hasbro are releasing yet more Furreal Friends in time for Christmas 2013. The most impressive of these looks like being Cuddles, My Giggly Monkey. Cuddles will cling onto you and move her head back and forwards. She also has various different responses to touch and she has lots of different movements she is capable of. This one is set for release sometime in the fall and it is going to retail at around $80, this makes Cuddles the most expensive of the new releases from Furreal.

Our personal favourite for release this year is Trixie, The Skateboarding Pup. Also due for release in the fall Trixie is one of the most lively creations we have seen from Hasbro. You place her on her skateboard and then drive her round using the simple yet brilliant little remote control. The speed and movement you can get from this is very impressive and great fun for kids young and old. Take Trixie off her board and she has moveable feet, ears and head. While she is moving around she yaps excitedly and makes sounds that would put a smile on almost anyone’s face. This one will retail at around $40 and we are expecting this one to be the big seller for Furreal come holiday season.

Next up is Daisy, Plays With Me Kitty. She is an adorable little kitten that is very interactive. She has several touch sensors located on places such as head, back and paws. She has the ability to stand up on her back legs, jump around or simply walk around. As you would expect there are also lots of sounds that Daisy makes including a very cute purr. This is a little more basic than the other two releases but still highly impressive. We are expecting Daisy to start showing up in the fall and have a price of around $45.

In the spring Hasbro also brought out lots of new smaller pets including some new Feed Me Babies, these come in the form of little bears that you can feed with a bottle and they make sounds like they are drinking. These cost around $15 and are out now. There were also Dress Me Babies which included bunnies, cats and puppies, all these were quite cheap to buy as well at around $15. You also have the Walkin’ Ponies which came out in the spring, these are very cute and walk around very well, plus they make some adorable little sounds, these cost $20. Plus of course Hasbro has added to their massive line of little snuggimals which are very cute and only cost around $10, so they are quite easy to collect. So as you can see, plenty of new Furreal Friends pets which are sure to be very popular come the end of the year.

The Hobbit Toys

Last year the Hobbit movie was simply huge and there were lots of toys and games brought out to coincide with this. The same is true this year with the second Hobbit movie hitting out screens over Christmas time.

A big video game last year was the Lord Of The Rings video game in Lego. This is still very popular and there are more Lego games coming out that seem to be very popular. There are plenty of rumours that around Christmas time we will also see a Lego Hobbit video game hitting the shops.

As well as Hobbit Lego there are also going to be other Hobbit toys. A company called The Bridge Direct have been given the licence to create Hobbit action figures and also replica weapons such as the swords. These first started showing up in September and you can now buy 6 inch figures of characters such as Gandalf, Bilbo, Thorin. There are also 3.75 inch figures available and these include version of the dwarves, Bilbo and you can even get a Gollum figure. If you want some more gruesome characters then you can get the Goblin King in a twin pack with Thorin, you can get Grinnah who is the second in command of the Goblin army or you can get Bolg who is the leader of the Orcs and comes in a twin pack with Gandalf. These are also likely to be big sellers come the end of the year as hype surrounding the release of the movie starts to increase.



Spider-Man Web Shooting Figure

Batman The Dark Knight Rises The Bat Vehicle
Batman The Dark Knight Rises The Bat Vehicle

Amazon Price: $10.00
List Price: $31.99

The Amazing Spider-Man Deluxe Rapid-Fire Web Shooter Pack
The Amazing Spider-Man Deluxe Rapid-Fire Web Shooter Pack

Amazon Price: $22.99
List Price: $32.99

Super Hero Toys

As you are no doubt aware the Super Hero craze has really taken off in the past few years. Marvel Comics and DC are battling it out on the big screen bringing out massive films such as The Avengers, Spiderman, The Dark Knights Rises and more. This year we have had Man of Steel and the new Iron Man 3 movie so it comes as no great surprise that currently Super Hero toys are very popular.

One we are expecting to do well is the Spider-Man Web Shooting figure. This stands around 13 inches tall and has a mechanism that shoots out a chord from each hand. There are buttons on the back to control the shooters and they look really impressive. With a reasonably modest retail price of around $35 this could be a very popular Spider-Man figure. Another one based on a recent movie is the Batman The Dark Knight Rises Bat Vehicle. This comes with a vehicle that we see in the movie and it also has a Batman figure which it shoots out into the air. This retails at around $30.

Not exactly a super hero but not far off is of course James Bond. With the release of Skyfall and the fact that it looks like being one of the biggest box office hits of all time, demand for toys based on Bond is certainly another area to look at. There are little cars for sale based on the classic Aston Martin and other James Bond cars, there are spy kits that could end up being very popular and of course there are all the old movies and books you can buy. These may not be ideal for younger children but as kids start getting a little older they should start to appeal.


The Classic Toys

Every year we see more new releases from classic toys that have been going for years. One of the most obvious of these is one we have already mentioned, Lego. In 2012 Lego released theirSuperheroes range, a line of toys based on Marvel Comics and also the DC Universe. These toys were very popular when released and we expect more new sets based on Superman and Iron Man 3 to be coming out in 2013. There are also lots of other popular Lego themes and the company will be releasing plenty of new toys just in time for the holidays.

When it comes to little stocking fillers then Lego Minifigures can be perfect. These retail at just $3 each and they are very collectable. The latest series of Minifigures is Series 11, these came out early September and are once again very popular. The next release, Series 12 is coming out early January and this is likely to feature characters from the new Lego Movie coming out early in 2014.

Over the past few years one of the biggest lines Lego have been bringing out is the Star Wars theme. We have seen some brilliant new sets released in recent years and 2013 has been no exception. Star Wars Lego is once again expected to be very popular over the holiday season. Some of the new sets we have seen this year include Jabba’s Palace, a large Malevolence set, a new version of the Gungan Sub, a Sith Fury-Class Interceptor, a new Republican Star Fighter and a Desert Skiff. All these sets come in various shapes and sizes and range in price from quite low to high. The latest new release from the Star Wars line is a special collectors edition of the classic B-Wing which comes out in October. This has a huge 1486 pieces and so is one of the biggest Star Wars toys ever released by Lego. if you want something that little bit special then this certainly is one worth taking a look at.

One of the all time classic toys for girls is of course Barbie. In 2012 we are seeing a new take on the doll, we are going to be seeing Barbie Photo Fashion Doll hit the shops. This is basically a normal barbie doll but with a little camera installed. There is a display on Barbie’s front and when you take a picture you can save this and then Barbie effectively wears your picture. There are well disguised buttons and controls and you can also download the pictures or even upload ones onto Barbie. The camera is an impressive 5 Mega Pixels and you can actually store up to 100 photos. This looks like a really nice take on what is a classic toy. Barbie Photo Fashion Doll will retail at around the $50 and we are expecting her to be available around September time, just in time for the Christmas rush.

Another product that is like a modern day Barbie are the Monster High dolls. These were very popular in 2011 and Mattel the company behind these are expecting 2012 to be an even bigger year for them.


The New Catty Noir Doll


The Twyla Doll


Monster High

They have several new releases coming out late in the year and we are expecting Monster High dolls to be hugely popular with children once again this Christmas. These latest releases include a line of dolls based on superheroes which was called Power Ghouls. This included new versions of some classic characters and also some lesser known ones. The big release over the summer months is the Thirteen Wishes range which features seven new dolls and Cleo De Nile play set. We are getting two new characters in this range as well and these will be Twyla and Gigi Grant. Twyla is the daughter of the Boogie Man and Gigi is a daughter of a genie and she has the ability to grant wishes for her fellow class mates.

Last year the two big releases wereJinafire Long and Skelita Calaveras. This year we had Twyla and Gigi Grant, but there are some other exciting new dolls as well. Catty Noir is coming out in September and she is likely to be massively popular as she is a brand new character. There was also the long awaited release ofWydowna Spider at Comic Con, this was an exclusive release but you can buy her online.

There was also a new Scarah Screams doll which was from the I Love Fashion range and this also included a new Clawdeen. Heath Burns was another exciting release, there are not that many male dolls out there so a new one went down very well. Heath comes with bandages on his arms where he has been burned and that flame red hair that looks so good. Along with Heath there was also a new Holt Hyde doll brought out over the summer months.

There was also a new Fearleading pack containing three of the Fearleaders. There really are plenty of new dolls that have been released so fans of Monster High should be spoil for choice. Looking into 2014 there are new characters coming out such as Honey Swamp, Clawdia Wolf and Jane Boolittle. None of these however are likely to be in stores before Christmas so you will have to wait till next year for these new ones.


Twister Dance

Twister Dance
Twister Dance

Amazon Price: $24.95
List Price: $34.99

Another classic toy that has undergone a bit of a makeover is Twister. This year we are going to see Twister Dance released. This is basically a dancing version of the game. You have a console that you can hook up to your iPod or iPhone and it will play your music. There are then four colored dots you place on the floor and you must dance in time to the sequence of colors your console flashes up. The company behind Twister have managed to get Britney Spears on board to help promote this new toy, so we are expecting it to be huge later in the year. There are five songs that come with the game by artists such as Willow, Kesha and Britney.

As well as all these new toys that incorporate technology and interactive elements, there has also been a swing back to more classic toys. You can pick up some beautiful handmade wooden toys at the moment and these seemed to be gaining in popularity. Come Christmas 2013 we may well see these being very popular and sought after.

As the year progresses it will become clear what are to be the hottest new toys for Christmas 2013. In February there was a massive Toy Fair and this gave us some clues as to what to expect over the coming year. The real buzz seems to be around the interactive toys that incorporate technology along with classic kids design, but we have also seen some more classic design toys as well. As more toys start to appear we will update this page throughout the year giving you an idea of some of the best toys for Christmas 2013.

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Christmas Poem

As a child growing up in Newfoundland, I remember one Christmas when there was no snow a week before Christmas and how concerned I was that Santa might not be able to come without it. But, ah not to worry, by Christmas Eve we had at least a foot of snow on the ground. I can still remember the intense relief I felt that Santa would have no problem getting to my house.


I wrote a letter to Santa,
To make sure he would know,
It’s only two weeks until Christmas,
And we still don’t have any snow.

Just didn’t want his reindeer
To have to work too hard.
I was afraid they might get stuck
In the mud outside in our yard.

I mailed my letter on Monday,
Only two days ago.
As I dropped it in the mailbox,
It slowly started to snow.

It’s been snowing ever since,
More as each day goes by,
I’m getting kind of worried now,
That Santa will think I lied.

I’ll write another letter,
And mail it off today.
Tell Santa not to worry,
There’ll be lots of snow for his sleigh.


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