Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Ravensburger African Friends XXL300 Puzzle

So last time you may remember we had a little fun with the What If? Puzzles .
This time it was the kids turn to have a little fun and being that we were sent another of the fantastic Ravensburgers finest we were more than happy to start our new project but I also wanted to join in .

I have come to realise that all the puzzles we seem to be getting lately are rather busy and I am not complaining , I love busy puzzles. It means there are many details , objects , varieties of shades of colour and pattern to work through and to me that means keeping the mind working and thinking which is always a good thing.

This week our family puzzle was the African Friends which was one of the 300XXL puzzles which means less pieces with a bit bigger pieces.

A little smaller than the adult ones we have done previously but no different other than it is a different theme with even more pretty illustrations and colour to work with .

African Friends is one of my favourites so far and although the children wanted to do this one I felt the need to join in too , well it is after all a family thing .

As you can imagine the African Friends is about Africa but not the place as such , its about the Jungle and its beautiful creatures inside it.
Bringing you the most amazing mammals of our world from the Prickly Hedgehog to the most stunning Elephant , African Friends puzzle is a beauty in its self and I for one feel it is more than worthy to be put in a frame after placing together and sharing on our wall for all to see and if costs just short of £10 to buy .
I often find the smaller ones a little more appealing not just for the children but also for us lazy adults who if your like me have been feeling under the weather lately.
With not feeling to great I still wanted to do our puzzles but I was suffering with terrible earache and head cold which made me feel a little all to pot so to speak so doing a puzzle that was not the giant 1000 felt a little relieving this week.
This puzzle Considering this was for the little ones I was actually surprised at how little I knew the animals names , I mean I know the main ones such as the Elephant, monkeys, lions , zebra, giraffe, hippos and such but when it came to the smaller one like the birds I really did not have any idea so I had to look them up which was a little educational trip for me and the little ones .

The puzzle is aimed at children ages 9+ and we found that this was appropriate but as I've expressed previously , I find all puzzles age appropriate unless of course the theme is not suitable so we all tend to join in on even the larger ones.

As with all puzzles we find starting with the edges always makes it an easier start for us and once that was established it all started getting interesting from there.

With all of the different varieties of animal prints we already knew it was easy to give a good understanding to what pieces went with what animal at first but then once those were finished the left overs were a guessing game , unless of course we looked at the box cover which as a personal task we were trying not to .
We love to make little extra challenges for ourselves.

We spent only two evenings enjoying putting this puzzle together , quite fast compared to the 1000 which usually takes us longer .

As always the finish was beautiful and the detail was perfect.

I am wondering what our next weeks puzzle is going to be , anyone want to take a guess?

Review by Beauty and the Prince 

Monday, 23 May 2016

Ravensburger WHAT IF? No.13 - The Safari Park, 1000pc Jigsaw Puzzle

As with all others from the series you approach the compiling of the puzzle without any picture to reference or to guide you. What is different about What If? Is you compile a surprise outcome pictorially of that which appears on the box. So there really is a puzzle to solve! Though if you’d like a picture to help, you can request (by post) a small print. The contact information is on the box

So what happens to the family stuck in their car at the Safari Park? With the car not starting and the wild animals approaching looking and behaving rather ‘beastly’? All I will tell you is that it’s all a bit chaotic and the animals are employed, but not ‘employed’ in making trouble but in something far more entrepreneurial and positive!

A fun, and busy, busy comic illustration from Geoff Tristram for Ravensburger. Some subtle and comical additions appear in both pictures

Review by TSS

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Jigsaw Review Wembley Dreams by Ravensburger

Review By Cheryl Homer
Now, I like a jigsaw but I usually tackle one a year, in a cottage we visit by the sea, taking up the challenge to beat 1000 tiny pieces within the week’s holiday. Apart from that I don’t usually get the chance so I was excited when Wembley Dreams by Ravensburger arrived.  While I’m not a fan of commercial football but I’m a big fan of children with jumper-goal-posts playing in the park, which is exactly what this delightful picture is. The painting, by Trevor Mitchell, is classed as nostalgic but apart from the style of the clothes, cars, pram and old leather football you could easily enjoy this as a summer weekend today.
I scanned the image mentally trying to decipher how hard it was really going to be. It’s a painted image and there’s a good range of colours, and distinct areas, the footballers have individual kits and each flower bed is a different style colours so I knew that’d help. However, I also knew that a 1cm square piece of hand-painting was likely to look quite abstract and cause a challenge.
WD 3
The jigsaw itself is 70x50cm so I roughly measured up a few tables in the house and decided the dining table was the only place for it. While our dining table is used all the time for meals, work, homework, painting etc I was glad to recall a trick from my childhood … to put the tablecloth over the jigsaw when necessary. Hardcore jigsaw fans will probably own a portapuzzle or a jigroll meaning you can pack your jigsaw away as you work on it.
After carefully sliding my nail through the cellophane I open the lid and saw the reality of 1000 tiny pieces. Daunted but excited I began separating the straight edges, which is my usual was of starting a jigsaw. People do it in different ways, my children always start in the middle, where they can piece together recognisable objects, but I find having a frame helpful. While there were different colours around the edge much of the piecing together was simply done by shape of the pieces. One of the things I really appreciated about this jigsaw were the varying and very well cut shapes, and the simple fact that you always knew if a connection was right or wrong. It’s the quality you’d expect from Ravensburger. There’s nothing worse (except perhaps a missing piece) than being unsure if the fit is right. I also appreciated the printed image of the jigsaw, so as well as the image on the box there’s something to refer to as you tackle it.
WD 1
I was planning to estimate the amount of time the jigsaw took, but it became an activity I dipped in and out of, and my family watched and put a few pieces in now and then. I found myself pondering whether this jigsaw was friend or foe as at times the pretty flowers and happy faces unsympathetically taunted me. The challenge was both a frustration and fun. Occasionally I walked away and shortly after when I was drawn back to it the ‘pieces all seemed to fall into place’ so to speak.  While with most of the individual pieces I could scan the image to find where they went the grass was perhaps the hardest challenge and, although there was light and shade to work with I did resort to looking for specific shaped pieces rather than using the colours at some stages. There were a couple of pieces I couldn’t place in the image and, of course, they turned out to be something completely different to what I expected them to be!
Sometimes I wonder what it is that draws us to puzzles. I’m not a fan of fiddling with coffee-table-puzzles, but jigsaws are different. In this case it created a large and beautiful picture, and a massive sense of achievement! So much so that I can’t bear to take it apart. My children want to glue it together but that’s always seemed wrong to me, it defies the point, it’s like gluing lego together, defying the essence of what it is. So for now … it’s still under the table cloth!
wd 5

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Angry Birds Movie Jigsaw Puzzles

To celebrate the release of The Angry Birds Movie Ravensburger have launched two new puzzle sets including a stunning 100 piece puzzle and a 3D Puzzle. Both of these are great for fans of the game and suitable for age 6 and up.

Featuring characters from the Angry Birds movie puzzlers can enjoy piecing together Red, Bomb and Chuck and more!

This great range of puzzles is perfect for any Angry Birds fan and with prices starting at just £7.99 these also make great birthday gifts.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Tower of London – Ravensburger Puzzle Review

Tower of London is a new puzzle from Ravensburger which is part of the Historic Royal Palaces series. Tower of London is a 1,000 piece puzzle suitable for ages 10+ RRP £11.99.
I completed the Hampton Court Puzzle earlier in the year, and the Tower of London is a great addition to this series. The puzzle comes with a picture fact sheet, and I find these sheets a great addition to the puzzling experience. Its so much easier to refer to the picture sheet rather than the lid of the box.
tower of london
I sometimes feel that photographic puzzles like the tower of London will somehow not keep my attention and be as interesting, but didn’t find this the case with this puzzle. There at first glance seemed to be a sea of blue, and after my initial sorting of the edges I found the red was the colour that stood out. There also appeared to be lots of brick, but again once you have been through the pieces you find the quality of the picture allows you to separate each of the different tones of building.
tower of london puzzle
The Tower of London was not a tricky puzzle, and once the figures of the guardsman and the Beefeater were complete, it was easy to find the ER wording. The crown and the darker blue of the sky were easy to sort. Traitors gate was the next part completed and finally the historic tower of London itself.
tower of london review
The Tower of London is a great puzzle and one which I enjoyed especially the details on the crowns. I certainly need to think about going to the tower one day as its a place I have never been to. Visit the Ravensburger website for more great puzzles.

Monday, 25 April 2016


In celebration of World Penguin Day Monday 25th April 2016, why not try out this fun Penguin Pile Up game from Ravensburger?  It is fun to play and at the same time, it is quite challenging to balance those cute little penguins on the iceberg!  It is a great test for fine motor skills!
penguin pile up review
This game is suitable from aged 5 onwards and for 1 to 6 players.  The game comes with a light blue game base, iceberg with flag, 24 penguins and instructions.  Before you start the game, you will need to assemble all 24 penguins and once assembled they cannot be taken apart.
To play the game, you need to place/balance the iceberg on the game base and place the flag on the top of the iceberg.  Next you have to divide the penguins evenly amongst all players and if you have any leftover penguins, just set them aside.  To win this game, you have to be the first player to get rid of all his or her penguins.
Penguin pile up ravensburger
We have played this game a couple of times and it is tricky!  Trying to balance your penguin and making sure not to tip the rest of the penguins on the iceberg is really tricky, even for myself!  We find it challenging to balance the penguins on the uneven surfaces on the iceberg.  Each player puts only one penguin at a time onto the iceberg.  There were many times when we accidentally knocked off a few penguins and had to take them back which is not ideally.  Instead of getting rid of our penguins, we end up growing our penguin colony!  It does get harder each time the number of penguins on the iceberg increases!
penguin pile up playing
The game is well made and the items should last for a long time.  This is a fun and challenging family game for all ages.  It is available to buy from good toy shops or Amazon.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Ravensburger Happy Days at Work No. 8 - The Secretary

A far cry from today's electronic office, the jigsaw shows a secretary in her 1960s office - and she even has an assistant to help her; those were the days! Just look at the typewriter! The puzzle is created by Trevor Mitchell, and it's packed with detail which really comes out as you assemble the puzzle. 

The bright colours mean that it's easy to pick out the right puzzle pieces, and the high quality cutting of the pieces means they click together positively - none of that frustrating 'I wonder if that's right'. Best of all - there are no huge areas of one colour which can get very boring. I like the fact there's a leaflet showing the picture, as I like to use the box lid for laying out the pieces. The completed puzzle measures 49.3 x 36.2cm. This is one in a superb series of nostalgic puzzles - the 500 piece puzzles take us back to work of many years ago, and the 1000 piece puzzles take a nostalgic look at places around Britain; they are a refreshing change from 'picture postcard' views. 

These really are puzzles to bring a smile to your face and will make perfect gifts for anyone of a certain age - and any secretary from the 60s will love to revisit the office; it will bring back lots of memories. For younger ones, they will be fascinate to see how we used to work. 

Ravensburger jigsaws really are excellent - the pictures are bright, colourful and always very interesting; the cutting is flawless and the pieces fit together to perfection. I hated breaking up the puzzle when I had finished as it was a great talking point with all its intriguing details of offices of bygone days - children were fascinated!.