Posted in toys

Trick or Treat with Mashems

If you’re a regular on our Instagram page you may have spotted that we’ve been sent these fantastic New Mash’ems surprise eggs from Character Toys to make our Halloween trick or treating a little more exciting!

What are Mash’ems?

Mash’ems are blind balls which contain squishy little versions of children’s (and adults!) favourite characters. Unwrap the ball to find which of the 6 mystery character you have inside. The Mash’ems range is now bigger and better than ever before; with new collections including Disney Princesses, Harry Potter, Paw Patrol, Batman and our favourites – My Little Pony!

Collect them all – play with them, display them or even trade them with friends!

The best non-candy alternative treats

Non food Halloween treats are becoming more popular – not everyone wants their child filled up on sweet treats and sugar, especially when there are so many children with allergies and other needs to think about.

A non-candy alternative means everyone can enjoy Halloween!

Can you Resist the Squish?

Ellie loved revealing these new My Little Pony Mash’ems! This series includes 6 characters; Apple Jack, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash.

Ellie was over the moon to find her favourite ponies Twilight Sparkle and Apple Jack (which isn’t it’s usual colour so is even more exciting.) She’s also informed me that we need more Mash’ems to find the others in different colours too!!

Each one is definitely squishy and Ellie has not been able to resist putting it to the test!

Do you have a favourite MLP character or Mash’ems series? Ellie’s excited to get her hands on the Harry Potter collection next!

Mash’ems are available now from all good toy shops including Smyths, Amazon and more!

DISCLOSURE – WE WERE KINDLY GIFTED THE PRODUCT TO REVIEW HOWEVER AS ALWAYS ALL THOUGHTS, OPINIONS AND PHOTOGRAPHS ARE MY OWN.

Posted in product review, toys

Care Bears 40th Anniversary

Who here remembers having a Care Bear when they were little? I certainly do, I’m pretty sure it was a Funshine Bear and I have such nostalgia when I see them now! I love that they are still as popular today as they were back in the 90’s but I didn’t realise Care Bears first came out in the 80’s and they are celebrating 40 years of the colourful, snuggly bears!

We are super excited to be able to celebrate 40 years of Care Bears and join in with their 40 Days of Caring challenge too – I’ll let you know more about this further down the review.

Who is Care-a-Lot Bear

Care-a-Lot is a brand new bear created to celebrate the 40th Anniversary and more excitingly the very first bear to exist in the magical kingdom of Care-a-Lot! She is never afraid to show how much she cares. Her passion to care for her neighbours and her community, bringing kindness and love to everyone she meets is what she cares most about!

Limited Edition and Collectible!

The newest Limited Edition Care-a-Lot bear is 14 inches tall and an ombre pink and purple with unique silver sparkles in her fur. She has a beautiful castle belly badge showing the kingdom of Care-a-Lot and illuminated by a rainbow, this is completely different to any other care bear and special “40th” embroidery on her foot. There’s also the signature Care Bears button on her bottom!

She also comes with a certificate of authenticity and is definitely a highly collectible bear!

40 Days of Caring

From 1st August until 9th September aka #ShareYourCareDay there will be a list of 40 daily challenges all revolving around caring to get involved with! You can join in by sharing your acts of kindness and the ways you care on Instagram just follow the steps below and you will be entered into a raffle for super awesome Care Bears swag!

How to Play

Each day they will reveal a new way to Share Your Care.

  1. Take a picture of yourself doing the Share Your Care activity that is posted for today’s date in the calendar.
  2. Submit your picture through the form or by tagging #40DaysOfCaring on Instagram.
  3. Share your post to your social media accounts for bonus raffle entries.
  4. Collect votes from friends and family for even more chances to win. Each vote counts as one raffle entry!
  5. Come back each day to play again! Each new post counts as an entry in the raffle that you can collect votes on, too! The possibilities are endless!

Where to buy…

Care-a-Lot 40th Anniversary Care Bear is available to buy from Smyths, ToyMaster, House of Fraser, John Lewis and all good independent retailers.

Disclosure – We were kindly gifted the product to review however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.
Posted in Gifted, product review, toys

Jiggly Pets Elephant Review

Meet the cutest walking Elephant from Jiggly Pets. Everyone who knows me knows I love elephants so when we had the chance to review this adorable little electronic toy I couldn’t say no.

The Jiggly Pets Elephant stands at around 14cm high and moves to the rhythm of a very catchy song! It jiggles, walks and lifts it’s trunk to the music which gave Ellie the giggles instantly.

Just listen to that chuckle!

Simply press the button on the Elephant’s head to start the fun and bring the Elephant to life.

Ellie loves pulling the stretchy hair and chasing it from one side of the table to another to stop it from falling off the edge.

Features of the Jiggly Pets Elephant

  • Everything Jiggles with it’s full body movement!
  • Super soft, stretchy and rubbery face and body.
  • Watch it walk, jiggle and lift it’s trunk to the music.
  • Simply tap the head to turn on.
  • Batteries Required: 3 x AA (included)
  • Ages 3+
  • Also comes in Pink!

Where to get one!

Available now from Smyths Toys for £17.99! These are in stock online and in most stores.

Posted in Gifted, parenting, product review, toys

Mindful Lil Minds Breathing Meditation Buddy Review

Ellie is a child who finds certain aspects of daily life tricky; she struggles to sit still and she fidgets constantly, she gets anxious when we go somewhere new or when she doesn’t know who we are going to see and she finds it really difficult to make a decision. At bedtime she finds it hard to unwind and this means it can take hours to get her to sleep. She tells us her mind is too busy and she has too many thoughts whizzing around in her head.

For a while now we’ve been trying to teach Ellie some ways to help her when she’s feeling anxious or “bouncy” and we’ve found mindfulness and yoga really helps her.

The Benefits of Mindful Meditation

Mindfulness has been shown to increase a child’s ability to regulate their emotions as well as their empathy and compassion skills. It can help reduce a child’s stress and anxiety along with increasing their focus and prolonged attention span. Mindfulness has also be known to improve a child’s sleep.

As with anything Mindfulness Meditation is only going to help a child if done regularly.

Children are being made more aware of their own mental health and mindfulness is being used in schools more regularly as studies show practicing mindfulness from a younger age has a positive effect a child’s anxiety and cognitive performance.

A New Toy!

Toymakers GP Flair have created the Mindful Lil Minds Breathing Meditation Buddy and we’ve had the chance to give it a whirl and write an honest review of what we thought. With Ellie’s quirks I was intrigued to see how it would help her and whether she’d be interested in it at all.

Let’s meet our new friend…

The Breathing Meditation Buddy (suitable from ages 3+) is a super cute, sensory, cuddly koala that is designed to help young children be more present and be able to manage their emotions in stressful situations.

Using a very clever combination of the senses (sight, sound, touch and smell) the toy allows the child a number of different ways to feel mindful, relax and unwind.

How does it work?

Don’t forget to move the switch from Try Me mode for the full meditation experience.

It’s a really simple toy to use – simply press the koala’s paw (it has a green leaf symbol) to begin a 5 minute guided breathing meditation. This was short enough that Ellie didn’t lose interest or get ‘antsy’ but also long enough to ensure she felt calmer and more relaxed when it was finished.

It’s tummy moves up and down as the koala ‘breathes’ and this makes the child more aware of their own deep breathing. It’s tummy is also scented with Eucalyptus which has aromatherapy qualities which can help to reduce anxiety. The scent is subtle so wouldn’t overpower those children with sensory difficulties but can be smelt if held close to the child’s face. The meditation itself is spoken by a calming female voice which is easy for the child to follow.

The arms and legs are floppy whereas the bottom is weighted which allows for further comfort – we’ve found weighted blankets really help Ellie so this was an aspect I was excited about in the koala. This is also great for children who are on the autistic spectrum!

How to use the Mindful Lil Minds Buddy

The koala buddy can be used in four different ways:

1. Sitting Individually.
Sit down alone in a quiet spot with the toy sitting next to or in front of you. Press the right paw and the meditation will begin. Sit with your eyes closed and listen
2. Sitting in a group/classroom.
The cuddly koala is great for classrooms or group meditations. Sit or lay on your back with the toy facing the group. Press the right paw and the meditation will begin. Close your eyes, listen and relax.
3. Laying down with the toy on chest.
Lay down on your back with the toy on your chest. Press the paw to begin the meditation. Place your hand on the koala’s belly to feel it move up and down, move your belly up and down along with the toy.
4. Sit down and hold the soft toy up to your face.
Press the paw to begin the guided meditation and inhale the calming smell of eucalyptus as you meditate.

Why we love it.

Ellie is a huge lover of soft, cuddly toys so this was a hit from the second she saw the Koala in the box – she immediately wanted to cuddle it and name it (Katie the Koala). It’s cute, it’s soft and the perfect size to pack in her suitcase or cuddle up to at bedtime. The meditation is easy for Ellie to follow and she doesn’t get bored half way through. She reaches for it when she can feel herself getting worried and the weighted aspect has helped bring her back down before she has a ‘wobble’.

Of cause, it doesn’t always work – nothing would always work – and it’s still good for her to experience those emotions. It’s just a really lovely ‘tool’ to have under her belt for when she recognises she is finding a situation tricky.

Where to buy it.

The Mindful Lil Minds Meditation Buddy is available online at Amazon (£26.49) & in-store in your local independent stores.

Do you use any mindful techniques/apps/toys with your children? I’d love to know so let me know in the comments.

Disclosure – We were kindly gifted the product to review however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.

Posted in product review, toys

GooZonians UK toy review

We’ve been checking out the NEW GooZonian toys from Character Toys this week. These are out now and available to buy from Smyths Toy Superstore – Ellie can’t wait to go and add to her new collection as there are 6 characters to collect!

GooZonians – the stretchiest Superheroes protecting the magical realm of GooZonia. All while juggling new powers, royal responsibilities and squad goals! GooZonians are squishy and stretchy and tactile – designed for girls aged 4-6. Ellie is 5 and loves them!

We have been kindly gifted two of the new characters – Cora and Princess Flik – for an honest opinion.

The story

Many generations ago, the Stone Heart turned the enchanted rainbow hued goo dull and hardened it across the land and in the hearts of the people. It caused chaos and destruction in GooZonia. The Queen (Cinder) saved her people by creating six charms from the last of the flowing goo and gave them the power to defeat Stone Heart and reverse it’s effects. Now Stone Heart is back and the Superheroes must find the hidden charms to protect GooZonia from the ApoGoolypse!

Characters

The GooZonian characters all have special qualities different to each other. Each one is brightly coloured allows children to build on their storytelling skills.

Queen Ember – a Pheonix – leads the good people of GooZonia. She is brave, charismatic, dutiful but critical. Ember is filled with flame effect strands and star shaped sparkles combined with red, orange and yellow flecks of shimmer.
Roxy – the life of the party in GooZonia. She is the royal spokesperson and head of the castle’s social committee. She is glamorous, naive, generous but superficial. Discover her silver snowflakes and blue stars.

Isla – an avid surfer and animal lover, she is the most environmentally aware GooZonian. She is independent, easy-going, optimistic but forgetful. She is filled with purple moon and star shaped sparkles and clear water beads.
Princess Flik – a true princess of GooZonia who believes she should be patrolling the realm and be ready for battle always. She is confident, adventurous, impulsive but clumsy. Flik is filled with swirling galaxy effect and a lightning shaped shimmer.
Cora – the artistic director of the Royal Performance Company. She sings, dances and acts and keeps the GooZonians entertained. She’s enthusiastic, creative, opinionated but overconfident. Stretch her to see her small hexagonal sparkles in her pink and orange filling.
Glyda – an enigmatic introvert. She loves to solve problems and ways to stop the Stone Heart. She’s shy, inventive, passionate but insecure. There’s lots going on inside her filling – a mix of pink and purple water beads and a dragon scale effect with pink sparkle dust suspended inside too!

The Toys

We received Princess Flik and Cora to try out and review. Both these toys are super stretchy, super squishy and lots of fun! They always return to their original shape which absolutely amazed Ellie, she tried so hard to stretch them further and further and then watched them return back to their shape within seconds. She loves the texture and the feel of the toys, Ellie can be quite sensory sometimes and can be put off by the texture of objects. Ellie enjoyed experimenting with the different ways she could reveal the hidden magic power charms in her two superheroes – squishing and squeezing until the gooey bodies moved.

As a parent they feel therapeutically tactile, hard-wearing and have endless possibilities for imaginative play!

To accompany the new launch, the GooZonians also have their very own webisode which is live over at Character Kidz TV and so fun to watch! The webisode has really brought life to these empowering heroines and Ellie has absolutely loved watching the first episode.

Would we recommend…

100% yes! Ellie has had lots of fun playing with these new figures and having them watch the episodes with her too. The stretch appeal along with the bright colours really appeal to Ellie and others aged 4-6 years old will love them too!

Disclosure – We were gifted the GooZonian toys to review however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.

Posted in Gifted, parenting, product review, toys

Petite Amelie Wooden Dolls House – review

Post contains PR Product.

Ellie has such a kind and caring nature and she absolutely loves looking after her toys – she feeds them in her play kitchen, she puts them down for naps and she plays with such a vivid imagination. I love nothing more than sitting down with a cuppa and listening to the storylines she comes up with – although worryingly it usually starts with the Mum dying!!

I knew she would be over the moon with the wooden dolls house we received from Petite Amélie and she has played with it non-stop since she first saw it.

So here’s our review of our new dolls house. It’s possibly one of the few times Ellie has willingly let me bother her for photos!

In 2010 when a mum-to-be wasn’t able to find the cot of her dreams for her daughter – she took matters into her own hands and designed one herself and had it made – it was at that moment that Petite Amélie was born. They have since expanded their range of products to include complete baby and children’s bedrooms, transitional beds, infants chests of drawers and wardrobes, children’s bed linen and wooden toys – furniture perfect for Nurseries or Toddler Rooms..

Their main goal – to inspire parents to create a beautiful nursery that has unique furniture and accessories suitable for babies and children alike.

With so many beautifully designed, timeless products to choose from I found it difficult knowing what to pick when we were offered to choose something from the site – however since we already have all the furniture we need we decided to look at the wooden toys and decided on the La maison d’Amélie wooden dolls house.

Traditional Toys with a Modern Touch

The La maison d’Amélie wooden dolls house is a house of dreams! It’s stylish open fronted design is a great way to encourage children to play – the neutral tones of white, grey and black match with the natural wood perfectly too allowing it to be appealing to all children.

The wooden dolls house does come flat packed and was relatively easy to assemble when little hands arent trying to “help”. Initially I had decided to build the dolls house but found getting the balcony to fit a tad bit tricky so set Luke off on the task and of course, being the Master Builder he is, he did it in no time at all! The house also comes with a 19 piece furniture set too which is already assembled and matches the main house with its neutral colours and wood. It would be easy to add some colour and a bit of the childs personality to the house by painting the furniture but honestly I really love the natural look and love how it all looks inside when we’ve set it up.

The dolls house has rooms on 4 floors and just like a real home it has a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room and office space as well as a balcony on the top floor too! The possibilities for play are endless – every time Ellie plays with it her role play is different to the last. We’ve had role play linked to every day life – bath time, breakfast and Ellie loves tucking her little family in to bed at night – and we’ve had rescue missions, flooding and evil pirates but Ellie’s favourite is to pretend she’s a giant reaching in through the window and scaring the children!

Our Overall Verdict

I particularly love the fact that the wooden toys from Petite Amélie are made from high quality materials (SFC wood and organic cotton where possible) and the house is EN71 safety tested and the paint used is safe for children too, I also like the additional thought on safety with the rounded edges.

We’ve had such many nights after school playing with our new dolls house, it’s been a fantastic way to watch Ellie’s imagination grow and we’ve used it to talk about our days when she hasn’t been so keen to share! It’s been a wonderful addition to Ellie’s playroom and I can’t wait to watch her grow and maybe one day pass on to her children too!

Have you had any toys or furniture from Petite Amélie?
Will you be buying wooden toys this year?
Christmas is only 92 days away after all!
Let us know in the comments below!

Disclosure – We were gifted the La maison D’Amelie wooden dolls house to review however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.