Review: Squeeze Me Squishy, The Reject Shop

A photo of a white winged unicorn/alicorn squishy with purple hooves, purple tail and mane, and a lilac spiral horn. The squishy is shaped into a leaping position with front and back legs outstretched, and has wide, roughly-oval wings attached to its withers. The squishy has a round black eye with two lashes and a small pink oval-shaped cheek. The squishy is housed inside a bag with a clear window over rainbow-striped plastic, surrounded by small cartoon images of different squishies. Header text reads “Squeeze Me! Slow Rising Squishy Toy” in white and pink surrounded by blue/yellow/black outlines.

Price: $2 AUD.

Dimensions: 8.3 x 7.5 x 2.5 cm at widest points.

Variations: cakes, unicorns, dinosaurs.

No online listing is available. My store had these in a basket by the counters, right where you queue up to pay.

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Review: Mermaid Sequin Purse, K-Mart

A squarish-rectangular mermaid sequin chain handbag/purse, comprising a green-on-black sequin fabric with a black and silver zipper opening and two silver-coloured D-rings attached to the bag at either end of the zipper. A silver-coloured chain with rounded links attaches to each D-ring with a miniature dog-clip. The bag sits on top of a blue microfibre electric blanket.

Price: $3 AUD.

Dimensions: 25 x 20.5 cm.

I found this on clearance sale at my local store–marked down to $3 AUD from $9 AUD! I don’t know how many are still left or how many stores have them, but I think it’s worth a look for this price!

I love this bag because the clip-fastening chain gives it so much utility. It can be a fancy feminine-ish dressy handbag with the chain attached; it can be a simple mermaid sequin pouch or case without it. You can hang it from a wall with the chain attached or slide it onto a bookshelf without it. You can even make your own strap from cord or ribbon if you don’t like the chain–and if you have a pair of needle-nosed pliers, you can adjust the chain to whatever length you prefer. Mum and I had a five-minute conversation on adding jump rings and charms to the chain to turn it into a belt…

Unfortunately, the bag isn’t quite big enough to hold my iPad or a 7 inch tablet, but it does hold my old Sony Reader and 5th Gen Kindle (screen size for both approximately 6 inches). It’s much deeper than most mermaid sequin pencil cases, too, so if you’re wanting a bigger pencil case for markers or stim toys, I recommend this–as someone with a fairly diverse stim kit, I don’t find that the smaller K-Mart mermaid sequin pouches fit all the toys I wish to travel with. This does, easily.

(Aside from my own use, I tend to find myself in situations where I’m pulling stim toys out to demonstrate or educate, especially with mental health professionals, so I need more toys with me than a Tangle in my pocket.)

Inside the bag, there’s a small zip pouch and a small fold-out pocket for a phone, useful both for use as a purse and for organising smaller stim toys.

I wish it were a bit more colourful (imagine this bag in rainbow sequins, right?) but other than that, I think this bag is absolutely brilliant in terms of size and varied utility.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on October 15, 2018.

Ask: Cheap Tangles

An anon asks:

hi!! do you know where you can get cheap (under 10#) smooth tangles (no textures/bumps) ???

As a general note for folks asking me this sort of thing: I need you to tell me where you’re located! I can’t provide more than a general answer, otherwise. In addition, I’m Australian, not American, so while Tumblr does lean often towards US-based resources and vendors, I won’t have the same on-the-ground experience as an American stimmer does.

It also helps to mention if you’re after offline or online vendors, and if your budget includes or excludes shipping costs.

As an example for why location matters, I’d say that the best place to get cheap (Zuru) Tangle Jr Classics would be K-Mart at $4 AUD, but this isn’t useful if you’re not based in Australia. Likewise, if I say Amazon has a set of three for $7.95 USD, that’s unhelpful for folks based in Australia, as we can’t (easily) purchase items from the global marketplace. If you’re not in Europe or the UK, this listing at Tink n’ Stink for £3.25 GBP isn’t as useful to you, either…

For smooth/non-textured Tangles, anon, you’ll be wanting to look at the Classics and Metallics by Tangle Creations and the Classics, Metallics and Wilds from Zuru. All of these Tangles are smooth and untextured. Most stores that stock Tangle Jrs will have smooth ones–sometimes stock levels change, depending on how the stores sell their stock, but the way Zuru batch their Tangles means that the Classics/Textured and Metallics/Sparkles come together, so it’s rare to find a textured Tangle Jr without an untextured one on the shelf as well. A Tangle Jr Classic is the easiest Tangle to find, in my experience.

Here in Australia, offline resources include K-Mart, Toyworld, Australian Geographic and Kidstuff. (My K-Mart stores have fluctuating stock, in that they sell out quickly and will be off the shelves for a little while until they get a new batch, so you need to check regularly and often.) In the US, I believe Tangles have been seen at Walmart and Target, along with several specialty toy stores. In the UK, toy store The Entertainer stocks them.

For knock-offs, consider Wish, Aliexpress or eBay. These will be much cheaper than branded Tangles but you very often get what you pay for–quality varies widely. It’s been a while since I’ve bought a knock-off Tangle: the most recent one I bought was this translucent version, and while I think it’s exceptionally pretty, it was so stiff, like most knock-offs, that I had to lubricate it before using. Once lubricated, though, it was one of the better fakes I’ve ever had–but that’s no guarantee yours will be the same. So do know that when you buy knock-offs, it’s a bit of a gamble in terms of how well you like what you get. I’ve some I love and some I can’t bear using.

(If you do go the knock-off route, check out my Tangle Mods and Care Guide for how to improve these Tangles.)

Lastly, check out the #tangle tag if none of the above works for you–I do tag everything to make it easier for people to search for information about toys.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on August 08, 2018.

Review: Maze Pens, Smiggle

Three ballpoint pens sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The pens are clear plastic shafts with clear plastic biro-style caps, but the ink channel is housed within a coloured plastic maze–one green, one purple and one blue. Two small silver ball-bearing-style balls sit inside each pen shaft and can be directed through the maze. The mazes have several holes for the balls to fall through as well as curved walls and dead ends, meaning the pen must be tipped in various ways to work the balls through the maze.

Price: $2.50 AUD.

Variations: blue, pink, purple, green, black.

I found these in the clearance section of the Smiggle store in Melbourne Central at 5 for $5 AUD, so I recommend checking your local store before ordering these online!

I’ve had a few of these maze-style stim toys before: I’ve got a rectangle maze from Daiso and a cube maze (that’s also a tiny self-inking stamp) from a dollar shop. I find them quite hard to use, as they require very precise turns of the maze toy to direct the balls. I rarely have the ability to make these subtle movements, meaning the balls go everywhere but where I want them, making for a frustrating stim. I like them better in theory than in practice.

Because these are pens, resulting in a less-complicated maze, they’re so much easier to use. There’s fewer dead-ends to catch the balls and fewer mistakes to make in turning the pen so the balls go the right way. There’s just enough dead ends to catch me but not so many to make navigating the balls impossible. The rounded shape of the pen, too, is easier for me to turn and tilt.

This isn’t as engaging as a Tangle or a squishy in terms of longer stimming, but as a break between toys it works for me, plus it also works decently as a pen. For folks who struggle to grip things, the pen’s being so much wider than a traditional ball-point makes it easier to use, too, so it has utility as well as stim.

The only drawback to these is that they do rattle. I’ve got one in my main stim basket and another in my travelling kit, but I do hear them move if they bounce around in my bag. They’re not a silent toy to use around other people and can distract others in the classroom or library. This said, the rattle may be a feature, not a drawback, for many stimmers!

If you want a maze-style stim toy, though, that isn’t too hard to use, this. I absolutely love mine.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on August 24, 2018.

Review: Squishimals, K-Mart

A round, yellow Squishimals toy sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The Squishimal is a round ball-shaped plush shaped like a very kawaii-styled chick, with a yellow plush body and wings, small orange feet, and oversized black embroidered eyes with white pupils and star-shaped eye-shines, pink embroidered cheeks under the eyes and an orange embroidered beak in the centre of its face. A white paper tag attached to the wing says “squeeze me” in English and French, white product tags are attached to its back and stick out across the underside of its body, and a cardboard swing tag featuring cartoon images of various Squishimals under a colourful header sits underneath the toy.

Price: $9 AUD for the full-size plush.

Dimensions: approximately 10.5 cm across.

This is a combination plush toy and squishy–a squishable foam core inside a plush animal skin. If you like squishable toys but don’t like the texture of foam/prefer the texture of minky plush, or you find that commercial foam squishies tear and wear too quickly for regular stimming, you may find the Squishimals worth the outlay. They are more expensive than many stim toys, but I do think they’re worth the price, as they’re not going to rip and tear under normal handling the way commercial foam squishies inevitably do.

You can get clip-on bag-charm style Squishimals for $5 AUD, but they are a fair bit smaller. This size cups quite nicely in my hand–a little bit bigger than the standard apple squishy, a little bit smaller than the average jumbo squishy. They’re moderately slow-rising–nowhere near as slow as many good squishies, but they don’t bounce back immediately, either.

Mine is very soft, made from a minky-style fleece, and the large embroidered textures add a nice texture. There’s also several seams because of the round shape, and while they’re not obtrusive, they also provide texture for stroking. Because of the shape, they can also be tossed from hand to hand. I really do like how this toy combines the best features of a plush toy, squishy and stress ball in one!

I have two drawbacks for the Squishimals. The first is that they’re denser and firmer than most squishies–somewhere between a squishy and a regular stress ball. They’re not too rough on my hands, but they’re not quite as gentle as a regular squishy. (For many, though, this may be not be any kind of disadvantage.) The second is that they are scented in an oversweet, dreadfully artificial fragrance. It does fade: I’ve had my chick for two months now, and it only smells of anything if I hold it right up under my nose. When I first brought it home, though, I had it airing out in the sunroom for weeks, and while I dislike most artificial scents, this one repulsed me.

I do think, if there’s somewhere safe for you to let the toy air out, that they’re worth persisting with, even for stimmers like me. The combination of plush and squishy has been worth the difficulty of the smell.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on August 30, 2018.

Review: Liquid Pencil Case, K-Mart

A seafoam/aqua green plastic zipper pencil case sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The pencil case has a clear plastic front pocket filled with a clear gel, rainbow glitter pieces and paper cut-outs of various kawaii-style pictures: unicorn, sausage dog in a hotdog bun, hamburger, rainbow, ice-cream, shooting star. A vinyl rainbow charm hangs from the aqua zipper pull and a white and black plastic tag is attached to said zipper pull by a silver ball chain. Type on the tag reads “Anko Liquid Pencil Case 3+ years”.

Price: $3 AUD.

Dimensions: 18 x 11 cm.

This is another liquid or gel-filled pencil case with a front pocket filled with gel, glitter and paper-style images of cute objects.

I do feel that this is slightly overpriced, but the gel inside the front pocket of the pencil case is very nice to squish. It also retains coolness very well, for folks who like handing cold toys or having a cold temperature element in their stimming–if you leave it in a cool room, or perhaps even the fridge for short periods of time, the pencil case becomes quite cold to the touch and takes a decent amount of handling to warm up. I actually find it a little too good at remaining cold, at least in the winter–even with the heater going in my room, the case is much cooler to the touch than my desk and keyboard.

I will say that as a squish toy, which is how I’ve been using this case, it works best without pencils or anything else inside. I can easily just push the paper images and glitter about the case without anything hard underneath. If you just want to turn it about for the movement of the glitter, it’ll work as a pencil case (or for smaller stim toys) but I find this detracts from the squishability of the gel filler. Unlike mermaid sequin pouches, I’m not using this for storage.

Because it’s entirely plastic, it may work for storing chewables, but I wouldn’t zip the case entirely closed if so.

I do recommend checking your case thoroughly to make sure all the paper images are turned the right way. My flamingo image is backwards and it does annoy me a little bit!

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on August 31, 2018.

Review: Squeeze Eez Squishies, Bodero

Five cinnamon scroll squishies sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. Four of the squishies are housed in clear plastic bags with a yellow cardboard trim, featuring drawings of a sprinkle-covered cake on the edges and the white text “Squeeze Eez” in the centre. These squishies are arranged in a rough square on the blanket. A fifth squishy, unpackaged, sits atop the packaged ones. The squishies are a baked tan-brown with orange shading and a coil of white paint for icing painted on the layers of the scroll and dripping down the sides. The scrolls have realistic bread-texture dimples and ridges where the pastry would be coiled into a scroll in real life.

Price: $1 AUD.

Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 11 cm at highest point.

Bodero is a clearance-style discount store. I know there’s stores in Victoria, Australia (and a few come up when I do a Google search) but there’s no website listing all the stores or the products. They often have beauty and homeware type items, but I’ve found storage containers, bathmats and a few odd fidget toys. Yesterday, I found these jumbo-sized scroll squishies for $1 AUD each. $1! That’s better than eBay for something this size!

(I picked one out thinking they were $2, discovered at the register they were only $1, bought it, opened it in the shopping center, and rushed back to the store five minutes later to buy as many for which I had loose change, all the while babbling at the sales assistant about the bargain price and the lack of smell. The sales assistant, by the way, was super nice about my unbridled squishy enthusiasm.)

These squishes are a little denser than most squishies. They’re not stress-ball dense, but they don’t have the nice fluffy-marshmallow texture of a really melty soft squishy. The texture, between the dripping icing, the raised section of the scroll and the dimpling is fantastic for stroking. I opened two: one of them is quite slow rising, but the other is only moderately so; expect some variation in rise and softness. Both have a tiny hole in the top of the squishy, meaning they make that lovely whistling noise when pressed for additional auditory stimming.

What makes these amazing (aside from the price) is that they’re almost completely odourless. There is no added scent. I smell a faint chemical-plastic scent from the foam when held right under my nose, but there is absolutely zero added smell. (I suspect the chemical smell will fade once these have aired, but it’s very slight as is.) These will be perfect to use in public or around folks who need to avoid strong fragrances, and they leave no scent on my hands.

The only drawback for these is that they look realistic enough that I’d be careful with them around pets and small children. They’re larger than the average scroll cake, but not so much that they couldn’t be mistaken for one.

(These would look so good displayed on a cake stand on a sideboard, for adults wishing their stim toys disguised as home decor items.)

Aside from the fact that my stimming friends are now getting scroll squishies as Christmas presents, I am really pleased to have a large/jumbo squishy that is so unscented for such an amazing price. If there’s a Bodero near you, do check them out. I haven’t been this thrilled by a squishy since my mango

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on November 13, 2018.