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.
Take a picture of yourself doing the Share Your Care activity that is posted for today’s date in the calendar.
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?
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.
Are you even a parent of a young child if you haven’t caught yourself singing “Jumping up and down in muddy puddles” out loud when the kids aren’t even in the room?
Peppa Pig is still a very loved character in our house. Ellie loves watching Peppa, George and her friends (especially Emily Elephant – she’s a clever cloggs) go on adventures and have lots of fun and as a parent I actually don’t mind them either. The Peppa Pig merchandise is everywhere – from toys, films, clothing and books but did you know there are now two Peppa Pig magazines as well? One is the official Fun To Learn Peppa Pig magazine and the second is the Peppa Pig Bag O’ Fun. We’ve been sent one of each to review and Ellie couldn’t wait to get stuck in to them both!
Fun to Learn Peppa Pig Magazine
The Fun to Learn Peppa Pig magazine is an interactive magazine aimed at all children between the ages of 3 and 7. Of cause, it is filled with the beloved characters from the popular TV Show Peppa Pig! Every issue is designed to make learning fun and the activities, games, stories and stickers ensure just that. The magazine helps children develop their skills in reading, writing, maths, creativity and art, turn taking and lots of other skills! There are plenty of opportunities for parents to interact with your child as well as encouraging independent learning as well.
We’ve had fun playing The Fairground game together.
While also learning how to draw a circus tent!
Ellie’s even tried read the stories, using her phonics skills to decode any tricky words.
Each issue comes with a free toy for added fun! In this copy there was the cutest little Peppa beach hut play set – comprising of a Peppa and George character, a beach hut and 7 little beach items. It was lovely watching Ellie put the sun cream on Peppa and George and telling them why it was important to use! She’s a real Mummy Pig already.
Peppa Pig Bag O’ Fun Magazine
The Peppa Pig Bag O’ Fun magazine is still a fun and interactive activity magazine and comes with very exciting gifts and extras.
The Peppa Pig Bag O’ Fun magazine is different to the Fun to Learn Peppa Pig magazine – it comes sealed and the contents are a nice surprise where as the other can be browsed before purchasing. Although there are some sneak peeks at the back of the packaging!
The Peppa Pig Bag O’ Fun magazine has a theme to the activities and stories running throughout the book. This issue’s theme is America which is evident throughout.
The Bag O’ Fun also comes with a magic painting book, this is great! It’s mess free and only needs water to make the pictures come to life with colour.
The spot the difference was a huge hit with Ellie! Who definitely, definitely did NOT need my help.
There’s so many activities to keep kids entertained for hours! The mazes alone develop their fine motor skills and writing skills!
I’ve never met a child who doesn’t love stickers! I’m just grateful these stickers have specific places in the magazine and not over the walls!
Both magazines support the Early Years Curriculum and are the number 1 selling preschool magazine from 2018-2021. They have won multiple awards, NWA 2017 & 2019 and the Mum’s Choice Award Gold 2021.
To enter the amazing competitions found in both magazines! There are some fantastic prizes to be won.
Where to find them
Fun To Learn Peppa Pig and Fun To Learn Peppa Pig Bag O’ Fun Magazines are available now from all good supermarkets, convenience stores, newsagents and WHSmith High Street and Travel. Single issues and subscriptions can also be purchased from our online shop http://www.redan.co.uk/store
Disclosure – We were kindly gifted these to review however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.
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.
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!
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!
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.
With Ellie’s birthday coming up I was finding it difficult knowing what to buy for a 5 year old – mainly because I’m not ready to admit my baby is almost 5 but also because children seem to grow up so quick that it’s hard knowing what toys are actually suitable. Then I heard from Jaques of London about a collaboration and as we already own a few of their wooden games I knew they were top-quality toys and found the website so easy to navigate thanks to their categories I could simply find Toys for 5 year olds really easily!
For me, Jaques of London is a first choice for gifts, the toys arrive beautifully packaged in brown boxes sealed with a black ribbon. Inside the toy/game is wrapped in old fashioned newspaper style paper and includes a card with the name of the person who had personally packed it.
This packaging comes as standard with all their products – this for me shows just how much thought and emphasis on detail goes in to their company and how much the customer is thought of too!
As Ellie is getting older she is starting to enjoy games that have “rules” so I knew she would love the wooden Four in a Row Game to add to our collection of classic games. Score 4 is made of solid FSC Approved Wood and comes with 36 black and red wooden discs.
After a few games it is clear that Ellie has quite a competitive streak and that Mummy doesn’t let her win enough ha! Score 4 is a great game if you want something quick and easy to set up (even better for those with short attention spans). It’s also great as it’s quick to tidy up once you’re finished playing! Score 4 is portable and a perfect size for travelling. All the pieces fit inside the base and the board slides over stopping them from getting lost – everything is contained!
The game is designed to encourage children to develop their problem solving skills, it develops fine motor skills (due to the small counters) and helps with their social skills (winning/losing, taking turns) everything that a child needs to help them in life.
Jaques of London was established in 1795 and it is clear that with over 225 years of experience in making memories and bringing happiness to children they have perfected how to design toys and games that have children’s best interests at heart.
We’ve also been very kindly sent a link for 15% off for all our followers and subscribers too – click on the link to get the discount added to basket! https://jaques.games/15off They also offer FREE DELIVERY on orders over £40!
Disclosure – We were gifted the Score 4 – Wooden Four in a Row game to review by Jaques of London however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.
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.
If you know your way around an airport or a train station then you’ve probably seen a Trunki Suitcase. They are such an ingenious idea and I’ve been really excited to give it a full review and find out just what makes it the best-known ride on suitcase for kids – winning over 100 awards since 2006!
We were recently sent a Una the Unicorn Trunki and matching Yondi to review and use – unfortunately with the pandemic we haven’t been able to book a holiday but we are hoping to get a late deal in the summer holidays even if it’s just a weekend and I know the suitcase will come in handy for that and the sleepovers Ellie will be having at her grandparents when she is allowed.
First I wanted to talk about the Trunki: I love how unique the trunki is; the fact it comes in many different colours/themes yet still has the option to be completely personal with the stickers (this was a huge hit with Ellie who loves a good sticker sesh!) I also love the independence it allows the toddler/child to have – packing their own toys/clothes and being able to pull it along themselves.
The Trunki comes with a pull-along strap allowing the child to ride on the suitcase (perfect for those long airline queues). It has a curved top which Ellie tells me is really comfortable to sit on, two handy grab points (Ellie calls them ears) for the child to hold on to. The whole product seems very resilient too – made from hard plastic making them easy to clean which is even more important now and you can use antibacterial wipes without it ruining the outer plastic.
A Trunki has an 18 litre capacity and holds quite a lot. We packed Ellie’s suitcase ready for her first out of lockdown sleepover and I was surprised at how much room she still had for all her teddies. It’s lightweight and a perfect size – we don’t tend to travel abroad but I’ve researched and is classed as hand luggage on some airlines (I’d recommend checking with the one you are flying with) as they are the perfect size.
Inside the Trunki has an elasticated teddy strap to keep luggage and most importantly teddy safe from falling out everywhere and an elasticated internal pocket for easy access.
Now for the Yondi: When Ellie was smaller we purchased an own brand neck pillow for her when she was first transition from her baby car seat – it was awkward to put on her and she hated wearing it when she wasn’t actually asleep – she threw it off so much it broke after a few times.
I can honestly say the Yondi travel pillow is a far better product – it connects under the chin with hidden magnets and forms a supportive cushion around the child’s neck. This stops their head from rolling forward and means they can sleep in a comfortable and safe position in their car seat. The Una the Unicorn Yondi is suitable for ages 2-5 so a perfect size for Ellie, she can fasten it under her chin easily and she tells me it’s comfortable around her neck. She hasn’t actually fallen asleep with it on yet but she quite enjoys wearing it in the car anyway.
Like all the Trunki products the travel pillows are bright, colourful and based on childrens’ favourite animals or things children love so they are keen to try them out which is always a win.
We would 100% recommend Trunki to anyone thinking of travelling with a toddler this year.
Price Guide The Trunki suitcase retails at around £39.99 which does seem a little pricey however when you take in to account everything it has to offer it’s actually a great investment! The Yondi Pillow retails at £12.99 – again a very good price for the peace of mind it brings.
You can check out the other characters/colours of the Trunki suitcases and Yondi Pillows as well as their other products on the Trunki website
Disclosure – We were gifted the Una the Unicorn Trunki and Yondi to review however as always all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.*
Ellie loves to role-play shopping and has really enjoyed testing out the CasdonSelf-Service Supermarket Till. She’d had a really busy first week at nursery and she loved being able to play at home with her new toy.
Upon opening the box Ellie was slightly disappointed the till wasn’t already made (toddler problems right there!) and waited patiently for me to put it all together. The main base is made of three plastic parts that clip together easily then the counter attaches to the top. Thankfully the scanner comes ready made and slots into the counter. Its not difficult to set up at all however it did take me slightly longer to put all the stickers in place. I hate stickers on toys! The pressure to get them perfectly lined up is just too much with an over-excited toddler so I bribed her with snacks while I put them all on and made up the little food boxes.
However the time it takes to build and make up the boxes is definitely worth it once you’ve stocked the shelves full of branded goodies they know and love ready for play such as Hovis, Mr Kipling, Andrex and Birds Eye!
Once everything is assembled you are almost ready to play. The scanner itself needs 3 AAA batteries and works just like a scanner they’ve seen in the shops. It works on a light sensor so when items are passed through it it beeps like a real scanner. The buttons on the scanner also make a beep noise, there are two different noise levels so it doesn’t have to be too loud. The card machine on the side of the scanner also beeps when the numbers are pushed and coins put in can be given back as change when the button is pressed too.
The Self-Service till comes with a credit card, some notes and plastic coins that are great for teaching the basic skills of shopping and money. It also comes with a handy shopping basket to further develop imaginative play.
What We Think…
We love the bright colours, the bold red, blue and white are great primary colours and make it appealing for little children.
Ellie has really enjoyed acting out and pretending to be the shop-keeper scanning our shopping. She loves scanning different items and putting them in the basket, her imagination has developed lots since starting nursery so her play has developed too. It’s lovely to watch her play so happily. I love that she can use her own experiences of shopping in her play…although i’m not quite as keen on my milk costing me £20!!
The Casdon Self-Service Supermarket Till is perfect for pretend play; toddlers and pre-schoolers will love using their imagination and experiences to buy their own shopping and scan it themselves! For me, the realistic noises really add to the whole experience. Ellie can’t wait to have her friends round to play!
My only grumble would be the stickers…did I mention I really dislike stickers?
The Casdon Self-Service Supermarket Till is available from Hello Baby and at the time of posting is on offer at £49.09 with FREE UK DELIVERY.