Forbidden Planet Review

Horsey HoppersWebsite:

With slogans such as “Purveyor of oddities to the nation” and “because life’s too serious”, it’s quite clear that Hawkin’s Bazaar is not just another toy shop – in fact they tell you exactly that on their home page. So with 45 outlets around the country, and a website the size of a small country – let’s look at what makes them so successful…

The website claims that the kind people at Hawkins source “out-of-the-ordinary” products to offer all sorts of unusual toys, gifts and gadgets to suit a range of ages. The categories didn’t help me too much in finding out the kinds of toys that they sell, with names like “Fascinating Thingamajigs” and “Wonderful Weirdness”, but digging a little deeper I found everything from Dominos and spudguns to Snoopy Snocone makers. There is everything from classic wooden toys for babies to fantastically unusual products for adults. In fact it’s taken me around 2 hours to get this far in the review as I can’t stop looking through the categories…oh! a practical joke section, I could be here a while.

Pedal RacerUsability
I’ve already mentioned the left hand menu, which is easy enough to work your way through once you understand what the crazy-named categories do. There is also a brilliant present finder on the right hand side for those looking for inspiration. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t trick it and it always came back with something useful. There are also ‘Top 11 items’ and best seller lists, banner ads for popular categories and quick search facilities on the home page. At the bottom of the product info pages, they offer ‘People who bought this didn’t buy these!’ suggestions rather than related products, which is far more refreshing than the usual method.

Guitar RockerRegistration and Checkout
From product page to checkout is just 2 clicks. Hawkins Bazaar requires you to register with them to complete your order, but this simply requires a password along with your usual delivery details so it shouldn’t put you off. The store accepts most credit and debit cards and lets you tell them you’re really, really sure before ordering – which is always appreciated in online buying.

It’s easy to choose which delivery option you want during the order – either standard delivery for £3.95, or next day for £5.95, or if the order is over £30, delivery is free. The delivery information page claims that they’ll send worldwide – but for obvious reasons I couldn’t test their claim.

The store headquarters are in Suffolk but they have stores across England, Wales and Scotland.

The sheer amount of products on is impressive to say the least. I’d prefer an easier navigation system to make sure I got to see all of the toys and games that relate to my search – but the fun category names and layout are in keeping with the company’s overall wacky theme. Despite this minor niggle, it’s hard to find a bad thing to say about the site as it made me smile endlessly while I searched for toys from my youth, and new games for my….less youth. I can honestly recommend this store and I’ll definitely be using it for my Christmas shopping this year.


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