Baby Born – The Doll That Does It All

My girls are at a stage where they love playing “mommy”. They are role playing traditional momma roles and one thing the just adore is feeding their babies.

You can imagine their utter delight when we were sent the Baby Born Soft Touch Doll for review.

I have talked about how great these dolls are in a previous post, and I wanted to do an updated review seeing as the brand has gotten bigger and better with a whole new range of accessories also on the market that will appeal to any age.

The doll is super soft, almost plush. So it’s perfect for cuddles and even makes a great toy to cuddle with at night unlike most hard plastic baby dolls.

The Baby Born play concept grows with the child and there are no limits in terms of the imagination.

The soft touch Baby Born dolls are able to perform 9 life like functions. They can drink from their bottle and wee in their nappy or in the potty. She can be fed (matching bowl and spoon included) and then does a poo in the potty as well.

But perhaps the feature my kids love the best is that she cries real tears when her upper body is squeezed!

Baby Born dolls are also perfect for the bath. I love the fact that there are no batteries to fuss with, kids are able to start playing immediately.

Significant improvements have gone into the new models to ensure full mobility in the arms making dressing and undressing a breeze. Gently laying down the Baby Born doll will see her closing her eyes and drifting off to dreamland.

There’s a full range of accessories to choose from that will complement your Baby Born doll, including car seat, feeding chair, changing bag, bottles and feeding accessories, carrier, toilet and tooth are spa. You can also buy extra nappies and food sachets when they run out as these are sold separately.

If your little one is at an age where they’re exploring parental roles in their playtime, I’d highly recommend a Baby Born Doll.

Please follow and like us:

Hasbro’s Top Toy & Games 2019

With the festive season and summer holidays fast approaching, Hasbro, one of the largest toy, game and entertainment experience companies, has released their anticipated 2019 list of suggested toy and gifting solutions.

HASBRO’S 2019 ‘BEST SELLER’ SELECTION FOR THE UP-COMING SEASON:

FurReal Cubby, the Curious Bear Interactive Plush Toy, is a dream companion for kids. He has over 100 different interactions and responds to touch, voice and motion with moving eyes, nose, and mouth, his face is delightfully expressive. Cubby is a totally lovable, curious young cub and is eager to be picked up and held (he hugs you back), plays peek-a-boo, and let’s not forget snack time – feed him his bottle or treat and he’ll make eating sounds. Then, when it comes to bedtime, you switch him into a nighttime mode and he slowly falls asleep and plays a variety of music and white noise to also help the child sleep.

• There is an exciting range of Nerf blasting options on offer:

The Nerf Trilogy DS-15 toy blaster has ejecting shells to heat up your Nerf dart-blasting action. Unleash a triple-dart blast with this Nerf N-Strike Elite blaster that shoots 3 darts at once from each shell.

The Nerf Fortnite AR-E blaster, inspired by the blaster used in Fortnite, is the only way to play Fortnite in real life. Drop into indoor and outdoor Fortnite action with this motorised, dart-firing Nerf Elite Fortnite blaster that features two flip-up sights to help you align your shot and an acceleration button to power up the motor.

Go into battle with the bolt-action Nerf Rival Helios XVIII-700 blaster. Pull back the bolt to prime the blaster and unleash rounds at a velocity of 30 meters per second. The bolt placement can be customised to accommodate right or left-handed battlers.

Transformers War for Cybertron: Siege plunges fans into the epic fight to survive on the final day of the Autobot and Decepticon battle to control Cybertron. Build the ultimate battlefield with Transformers War for Cybertron: Siege toy figures with customisable weapon configurations.

• On the Transformers Cyberverse animated series the Allspark can harness incredible new powers, including the power to convert Earth vehicles into Spark Armor: battle-ready gear that allows them to fight in new places and in new ways. Kids can collect assorted Spark Armor figures (each sold separately) to discover more exciting characters from the Cyberverse series.

• Imagine teaming up and battling the Power Rangers’ toughest enemies with these Power Rangers Beast Morphers Action Zord figure assortment (which include: Beast-X Megazord and Beast Racer Megazord). Standing 25 cm tall, and with the included accessories, these action figure toys are ready for action against any foe.

• Young fans of the Disney Frozen movies will love the Frozen 2 Singing Elsa and Anna Fashion dolls (each sold separately). Each doll includes a Frozen 2 inspired outfit, press the button on the bodice to watch the dress light up and hear a snippet of an original song from the Frozen 2 movie. Sing along while imagining scenes with Arendelle’s favourite sister duo. Kids can take magical Frozen adventures on the go with the Fold and Go Arendelle Castle portable playset. Inspired by Disney’s Frozen 2, this castle set has two floors of fun that fold up and fun accessories are included to decorate the rooms.

Baby Alive Happy Hungry Baby loves to eat. Mix baby’s food with water to make doll food that looks like the real thing. When you give baby her spoon, she opens wide and really eats her doll food. She also giggles, moves, and asks for more. With over 50 sounds and phrases, this sweet baby doll makes feeding and changing time feel oh-so-real and fun for little mommies and daddies. The Baby Alive Snip ‘n Style Baby is ready for you to brush, trim, and style her hair. Brush baby’s fringe with her interactive brush and watch it grow then hold the interactive scissors up to baby’s fringe and pretend to trim and watch the fringe get shorter! Includes 35+ sounds and phrases, and 12 hair accessories to style baby’s hair for any occasion.

Play-Doh continues to captivate kid’s imaginations. Picture a land of colourful dreams where unicorns poop Play-Doh ice cream. Meet Tootie, the hilarious unicorn ice cream maker who loves to create silly Play-Doh sundaes. As she dispenses Play-Doh colours this unicorn toy makes laugh-out-loud sounds and even changes her facial expression. There’s no stoppin’ the poppin’ fun with the Play-Doh popcorn maker toy, which includes everything you need to make creative Play-Doh popcorn masterpieces. Crank pretend popcorn into the 3 bucket sizes and mix it up with silly snack mixes. Add fun play food toppings like pretend pretzels, crazy candy, and more with the candy-themed stamps and moulds. Don’t forget to squeeze in some silly syrup or butter with the syrup tool. Little chefs can go pizza crazy with the Play-Doh Stamp ‘n Top Pizza Oven. Stamp a pizza crust in the oven, then go wild creating and customising with the variety of tools and moulds included.

• The My Little Pony world is filled with magic, friendship, fun and laughter. Tickle Oh My Giggles Pinkie Pie toy and watch as she starts to giggle, wiggle and laugh – the more she is tickled the harder she laughs and the faster she moves. Cuddle and play with an adorable baby pony doll. Each My Little Pony baby doll has a moulded diaper and removable bib and bottle accessories. Feed the doll her bottle to activate sound. Poseable figure can sit or stand and is made of soft plastic for kids to cuddle and hug.

• Gear up and get ready to ‘earn your wings’ with Top Wing. Now kids can join Swift in his Deluxe Rescue Vehicle for high-flying rescue missions as he zooms through the sky on the Flash Wing, which includes a Rescue mode (talons down) and Turbo mode (talons up), each with sounds for even more fun.

Mr. Potato Head Movin Lips is an interactive talking toy, that’s fun and entertaining for kids as well as adults. Just attach his mouth and press the buttons, his lips synchronise to wacky songs and some funny phrases.

GET YOUR FAMILY TIME GAME ON WITH A WIDE RANGE OF GAMES TO SUITS ALL AGES FROM HASBRO GAMING

• Meet MS. MONOPOLY – a self-made investment guru, who is here to celebrate women trailblazers in the first game where women make more than men. Instead of buying properties, players invest in groundbreaking inventions and innovations made possible by women throughout history. From inventions like WiFi to chocolate chip cookies to space station batteries, MS. MONOPOLY celebrates everything from scientific advancements to everyday accessories. In the MS. MONOPOLY game, women get a higher payout at the start of the game and more money when passing ‘Go’, but who you are is up to you!

Ms. Monopoly Board Game; First Game Where Women Make More Than Men; Features Inventions by Women; Game for Families and Kids Ages 8 and Up

Monopoly Fortnite – in this thrilling Fortnite inspired edition of the Monopoly game, players claim locations, battle opponents, and avoid the Storm to survive. The gameplay, design, and components of the board game include elements inspired by the video game including Fortnite locations and loot chest cards. Instead of Monopoly money, players earn Health Points (HP). Like in the Fortnite video game, the last player standing wins!

• Make Monopoly Cheaters Edition board game a favourite go-to game for game nights and other fun get-togethers. Lean into those iconic (yet unspoken) Monopoly moments in which rules are bent, money is borrowed, and funny business is welcomed. Fake a die roll, steal some bills from the bank, and even skip out on rent. Complete a cheat to get a reward but fail a cheat and pay the consequences. The pretend handcuff unit that may leave players “chained” to the board is a fun addition to the game.

Monopoly Game: Cheaters Edition

• The Connect 4 Shots game combines the gameplay of the original Connect 4 game with fast- paced, competitive excitement. Two players at a time race to get four balls of their colour in a row to win. Kids can also practice solo to prepare for a future Connect 4 Shots matchup.

Connect 4 Grab & Go Game

Hasbro products are available from leading retailers including:  Takealot.com, Makro, Toys R Us, ToyZone, Toy Kingdom, Game and Checkers.

Please follow and like us:

One Like Me! – Dolls and Diversity

One of the first toys a girl will own will most likely be a doll. In the past that doll would, in all likelihood be light-skinned, blue-eyed and perfectly proportioned.

Thankfully today, more and more toy manufacturers are diversifying their doll options to reflect society’s diverse populations.

If you follow any of our social media channels, you’ll know we are huge fans of the Our Generation Doll brand. One of the biggest reasons is that Our Generation understands the need for diverse dolls that represent all girls. The OG range includes dolls of color, dolls of different ethic backgrounds, dolls with disabilities, dolls with different eye color, hair texture and skin complexion. There are both girl and boy dolls available.

There is so much more at stake in the toy aisle than we realize. Our Generation knows that dolls are one of the first and most common toys that children will have, so in turn will provide a great deal of play and learning potential.

There is a huge scope for dolls to help children- from a very early age – to negotiate their racial identity, form a healthy self image and a well-rounded world view.

This is particularly important for me, as a mom raising mixed-race daughters in the cultural melting pot of South Africa.

Children of all races need to see themselves represented in a positive light. And because a child’s identity becomes so wrapped up in their doll, representation has never been more important.

When a parent gives a child a doll that looks like her, they’re saying: ‘There are people like you in the world. You matter just as much as anyone else.’

And Our Generation is taking this empowering message even further with their career dolls. Girls can be anything, and everything they want to be. Astronaut, Pilot, Vet, Doctor… the OG range has it all.

So when a brand commits to building a generation of strong, fearless girls, with limitless potential, you can be sure it’s a brand I will support time and time again. Thank you Our Generation for empowering our girls through your diverse and accomplished range of dolls.

Please follow and like us:

Review: LOL Surprise Dolls

I have heard about the LOL Surprise craze sweeping the nation, but never really understood what all the fuss was about.

Then we received some of the latest LOL Surprise Doll items to review and I saw the sheer joy and excitement on my kids faces!

For those who aren’t in the know, the LOL Surprise Dolls are little dolls that come wrapped inside a surprise toy ball. Each ball has different layers that contain stickers, secret messages, mix and match accessories until finally- you unwrap the doll. You don’t know which doll you’re getting until you get to the last layer. The fun lies in unwrapping and discovering the surprises along the way, and in collecting all the dolls in the series.

The LOL Surprise Under Wraps is the latest offering that includes 15 surprises! The girls used their spy glass to unlock secret codes which finally revealed their doll.

The LOL Surprise Bling Series is a limited edition series with extra bling for your buck! With 7 glittery surprises, the girls finally revealed their super sparkly doll who I’m told is called Pranksta. Kitted our in pink and turquoise I must admit she is one of the cutest LOL dolls I’ve seen.

We also received the LOL Surprise Lil Sisters ball and the LOL Surprise Fashion Crush. Lil sisters is also a collectible series with a – you guessed it – little sister for your LOL doll and an accompanying handbag. The Fashion Crush ball had a new outfit and other accessories hidden under layers of jelly!

As a parent I can certainly understand the excitement around the LOL Surprise concept. The unwrapping, the surprises, the need to complete a collection… it has all the elements of a successful toy series. There is however a huge amount of plastic waste that is generated in the unwrapping process, and in an effort to be more earth-conscience perhaps the creators of the LOL Surprise Dolls should look into using more recyclable options in the products.

I am quite surprised to say that a week later, the girls are still very into their LOL Dolls. They carry them around in the Under Wraps case and create little stories as they play. I would have expected them to be bored of the little dolls by now, but I suspect the unwrapping process gives them a sense of ownership that has allowed them to be a little more invested in their dolls.

With that, I can safely say: the LOL Surprise craze is here to stay.

Please follow and like us:

Review: Little Tikes Music Series

We always knew that music would be an important part of our children’s lives as they grow up. We encourage music classes at school, expose them to a wide range of musical choices and ensure they get to go to local music shows at least once a month.

Which is why we were so thrilled to receive some of the Little Tikes musical instruments to review.

The Tap-a-Tune Xylophone is perfect for letting your child explore sound and movement. It’s even suited to smaller kids as the design is chunky and sturdy with a tough plastic backing that will withstand most knocks and falls. The Little Tikes Xylophone would make a great toy for OTs as it improves hand/eye coordination and boosts fine motor skills.

Older toddlers will also love this instrument, as they are introduced to different musical notes, pitch and rhythm. The Twincesses love banging out a tune on their xylophones and the bright colors and flawless design is irresistible.

What’s more, it comes with wheels and a carry-handle, and the mallet is attached by cord (short, so minimises hazards) so it’s easy to take along wherever they go.

https://twincessdiaries.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/img_1419.trim_.mov

We also received the Pop Tunes Keyboard which is such a hit with my girls. I don’t know if it’s the light up keys, or the pre-loaded songs which they sing along to, but the love it!

It’s obvious from the video below that they still need extensive lessons… lol, but just the fact that they are being introduced to music and notes at an early age makes me happy.

https://twincessdiaries.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/editvideo2-2.mov

The Little Tikes keyboard comes with fully functioning major and minor keys and the volume button doubles as the power button so it’s pretty simple to use, and easy to start playing right out the box. Again, the material is study and durable, which means it’s built to last.

These Little Tikes musical instruments would make perfect birthday gifts, or a special gift for parents wanting their child to be more exposed to music and the joy and wonder it brings.

Please follow and like us:

Review: Our Generation Dolls

There is something to be said about empowering girls. And that’s exactly what Our Generation is on a mission to do.

They believe we are raising an extraordinary generation of girls, each different and each with a unique story to tell.

An Our Generation Doll is more than just another doll for girls to play with. They are dolls that inspire girls to be who they want to be, giving girls their own unique voice, in a generation where there are increasing pressures for girls to be a certain way.

I love the ethos behind this brand, and as a mother of two little girls myself, I cannot be happier about the message they are promoting!

It helps too, that the products themselves are flawlessly made and of the highest quality. We took the girls to Toyzone and let them pick out their favorite doll. Fair warning, the choice is extensive! There’s a doll for every little girl out there, something about the dolls character or unique clothes that will speak directly to her.

In the end Harper chose Alexa because the ballerina doll resonated with her. Avalon went for Holiday Hope, loving the carefree, spirited clothing choice that was girly yet bold.

The dolls are beautiful! Standing at over 45cm tall, they make the ideal companion for the Twincesses. They have the softest, almost life-like hair, which I find doesn’t get into tangles and knots as much as other dolls do.

They have fully moveable arms and legs which make changing their clothes fun and easy. Speaking of clothes, the outfit accessories are almost as abundant as the doll choices! There’s everything you could ever imagine, clothes for parties, specific careers, horse-riding, swimming, sleeping… the range is extensive!

The accessories include cars and scooters, home playsets, and a selection of horses and equestrian products.

We got the girls the Dream Bunk Beds which is a beautiful addition to their room. Fully kitted out with mattresses, duvets and pillows, the bed is easy to install and comfortably fits both dolls. You can often find Alexa and Hope tucked in and fast asleep while the girls are in school.

I find that because they’re able to dress their dolls up differently, and have various different accessory options, the girls don’t get bored with their OG dolls. They can spend hours playing independently, inventing different scenarios and letting their imagination run wild.

Definitely an investment in imaginative play!

We just love the Our Generation brand. We love what the brand represents and we love the quality of the products. I would highly recommend these dolls as an investment into your child’s development and imagination. After all, an extraordinary generation of girls deserves an extraordinary generation of dolls.

Please follow and like us:

Afternoon Tea at the Oyster Box Hotel

Afternoon Tea became popularized in the 19th century when the Duchess of Bedford and her ladies of leisure would sit down with tea and cream scones to fill the long gap between meals. 

Today Afternoon Tea is an elegant experience to be savoured. I have had Afternoon Tea (sometimes referred to as High Tea) at some five-star venues around the world, but for me personally, nothing compares to traditional Afternoon Tea at the Oyster Box Hotel.

Tea is served at Palm Court, which is the heart of the Oyster Box’s dining scene. The venue is drenched in natural light and surrounded by lush palm trees. Four magnificent chandeliers set the ambience while live piano music cascades and mingles effortlessly with the leisurely conversations. 

The waiters are ever attentive, and that first glass of champagne materializes almost as soon as I sit down.

The palatial surroundings and the beautiful piano sounds just give you a sense of glamour and grandeur. The tables are laid with fine porcelain and a handwritten card to add a touch of personal charm. 

The centre console is laden with mouth-watering pastries, cakes and scones. For those who have less of a sweet tooth, and may prefer the savoury aspects of life, fear not. There are quiches, finger sandwiches, samosas and even sushi on offer.

The atmosphere is elegant and refined, yet totally relaxed. Groups of people enjoy sipping and chatting, not a care in the world. There are people celebrating all sorts of special occasions. 

Indeed, Afternoon Tea at the Oyster Box makes the perfect backdrop to celebrate everything from a baby shower to birthday, bachelorette party to graduation. 

Of course, we were celebrating our ten-year wedding anniversary, and were pleasantly surprised with a special cake from the team. 

https://twincessdiaries.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/img_8270.mov

The selection of teas and coffees are as extensive as the food choices. We lingered over cheese plates and smoked salmon sandwiches before moving on to blueberry scones with clotted cream and preserves. 

The experience is a treat in itself, the opulent surroundingsand delicious delicacies will ensure you have an experience to remember. Worth every penny in my opinion! 

I would highly recommend Afternoon Tea at the Oyster Box Hotel whether you’re a local in Durban or passing through our beautiful city – put this one your bucket list! The experience would also make a special occasion/ celebration that much more memorable.

At the time of publishing this post, the Afternoon tea at the Oyster Box Hotel is R365 per person, and includes a glass of bubbly, tea/coffee selections and the all you can eat buffet of sweet and savoury offerings. I would highly recommend booking well in advance, especially for special occasions. 

 

Sample menu can be found here.

Please follow and like us:

The Chocolate Garden turns One

Yesterday we drove to De Charmoy Estate in Canelands to celebrate the first birthday of the Chocolate Garden.

For those not in the know, a Chocolate Garden is a garden inspired by chocolate; including chocolate colored plants, chocolate scented flowers, chocolate mint, chocolate sunflowers and vines.

The chocolate garden at De Charmoy Estate is Africa’s very first, and was planted in early August 2017. All the plants selected were chosen with great care, balancing water needs, selecting non-invasive plants and bearing in mind the climate in KZN.

The delectable menu at The Chocolate Garden has guests coming back week after week. I for one, cannot get enough of their brinjal fries.

The weather held out over De Charmoy Estate this Sunday as a small crowd gathered over cocktails, canapés and an array of sweet delicacies to mark the momentous event.

We found ourselves at the heart of the The Chocolate Garden’s new party venue, the setting was informal and intimate. Children delighted over milkshakes and candy, while their parents were treated to welcome cocktails, and savory delights.

A Gin Bar tended by the effervescent Siyabonga was a hit, as were the individual cheesecakes and chocolate mousses.

The showstopper of course, was the birthday cake: spectacular chocolate (what else?) brownie layers with a cookie dough centre, topped with Ferrero rochers, chocolate chunks and chocolate buttons. (Did I mention the chocolate? Lol)

Seriously though, the cake was beyond delicious.

It was a beautiful moment when the staff came out to join Lauren and we all sang Happy Birthday.

Afterwards we headed to the beautiful stretch tent area were the ever-able Zama performed her magic in the form of a neck and shoulder massage. Harper even got a turn!

We spent the rest of the afternoon mingling with the other guests (many of whom I’ve come to know from Instagram!) and enjoying watching our children play and have their faces painted.

The Chocolate Garden is such a stunning venue to host a party – big or small. The restaurant is one of my favorite places to spend the day: with great food and really good coffee. There’s a spa offering a much needed break from the daily grind, and more importantly, theres a lovely kids play area to keep the Twincesses thoroughly entertained!

Here’s wishing The Chocolate Garden a happy first birthday. May it grow from strength to strength. Thank you to Lauren and her wonderful team for hosting us. We had such a wonderful time, and will be back soon!

Please follow and like us:

The Twincesses Turn Three

My girls are 3 years old!

As the girls (almost) share a birthday with Grandma, we whisked the whole family away to the Lake Eland Game Reserve in Oribi Gorge for a weekend celebration. They were thoroughly spoiled with presents from family and friends, as well as their besties at school.

img_8650

We enjoyed game drives and cool afternoons at the pool.

The girls got up close and personal with a few friendly giraffes and created memories that I hope will last a lifetime.

Lake Eland is very family friendly, with lots to offer in terms of activities and sights.

There are high-octane sports like ziplining and bungee jumping, as well as a suspension bridge for daredevils. Game drives can be booked via the hotel, but we opted for self-drives as the roads are fairly tame.

There are shallow kiddies pools available, as well as a lovely, large play area. There is a restaurant on site serving delicious light meals for breakfast and lunch. All this only 1.5 hours from Durban.

Of course, no birthday would be complete cake!

Please follow and like us:

Ballerina themed Party Ideas

The Twincesses turned 2 and we celebrated them with a beautiful, and very girly, ballerina-inspired party.

Think shades of pink and glittery gold, wafts of tulle and ribbon, dainty details and pretty textures… The themed was whimsical and perfect for any little girl.

We once again reached out to Tricks and Treats (our go-to event decor experts) to put together the party of our dreams!

Below are some of the awesome and intricate details that made my girls celebration so spectacular!

So if you’re looking for inspo on throwing your own ballerina themed event… look no further:

Please follow and like us: