Top Ten Toys – Twincesses Tested (Part 1 : Peppa Pig)

I love alliterations – can you tell?

Anyway… can you believe we’re just about ten weeks away from the silly season?!

Since having a kids, Christmas has always been filled with such excitement for me! Searching for the perfect present and watching their faces light up with joy, makes me happier than I could have ever imagined!

In the spirit of the season (sharing is caring), I would like to kick off a series of blog posts showcasing our Top 10 Toys. These products have been tried and tested, and are 100% Twincess approved!

And since today’s marks exactly 10 Friday’s left before Christmas, I’ve decided to showcase one special toy each week in the run up to the big day!

So read on for a comprehensive look at what we’re loving this year.

First up: Peppa Pig selection

You’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard of this feisty little pig! Together with her family and other animal friends Peppa Pig has created a formidable following. Earlier this year the Peppa Pig Live Show swept through S.A. leaving audiences enthralled and wanting more.

Prima Toys has a large select of Peppa Pig goodies to spoil your little one this season.

My girls absolutely love the posable figurines. The figurines can be bought in packs with just the main characters or as part of a playset: Home and Garden playhouse, Outdoor Swing And Slide, Classroom And Day at the Zoo, to name a few.

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For those who enjoy board games, there’s a Peppa Pig puzzle and Peppa dominoes… guaranteeing hours of fun!

The Twincesses particularly love the Peppa Pig Sing and Learn microphone which plays music at random and even has a button you can press to have Peppa join in and sing along with you!

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There’s a Peppa Pig Camera that’s very popular with kids and has all the effects you’d expect from a real camera including a revolving lens.

Savvy savers will love the Peppa coin box while everyone will appreciate the Peppa lunch tin.

As you can see there are endless products to choose from in the Prima Toys – Peppa Pig range. If you have a Peppa obsessed little girl or boy in your home, head over to any of your leading toy stores and arm yourself with gifts they’ll absolutely adore!

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For more on these Peppa-tastic toys, read our full review here: Peppa Pig Toys Review

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My Little Pony Live Show

On Saturday we were invited to share the magic of Equestria and the Mane 6 in a brand new live production tour of My Little Pony.

The performance was bursting with song and dance, taking children on a journey of friendship and kindness.

The show featured all six ponies and their Equestria girls as they took us through a story, a fashion show and a game.

It was completely interactive and the kids loved being part of the magic.

The venue was the Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino which I really like due to its laid back atmosphere. There’s a small food menu and a well stocked bar. Kids are free to run around and the vibe is very family-orientated.

Special confectionery at the show was in the form of slush puppies and popcorn at only R10 each.

There was also a dedicated Toys R Us stand selling My Little Pony merchandise.

We were lucky to have Meet and Greet tickets so we got to get up on stage and chat to the Equestria Girls whilst giving the ponies lots of cuddles. I found the Meet and Greet a little chaotic due to the kid’s over-excitement… which I guess was to be expected!

However the girls came back with beautiful memories of one of their favorite shows. Ask them who their favorite pony is, and it changes daily!

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The show takes place in Durban from 28 September to 2 October and then moves to Johannesburg for shows from 3-6 October. Tickets can be purchased from Computicket.

Thank you Hasbro for this wonderful opportunity!

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Book Review : Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson

Another charming, witty tale by our favorite author Julia Donaldson, creator of the beloved Gruffalo.

Baby Monkey is lost in the jungle. With the help of a friendly butterfly, they set out to find his mommy.

This endearing tale draws children in as Butterfly takes Baby Monkey to animal after animal, not realizing baby monkey’s mommy looks just like him!

After a series of mishaps… they eventually find Daddy monkey who reunites Baby and Mom who is waiting with big cuddles for her little one.

Another winning partnership with with illustrator Alex Scheffler brings the story to life in vivid colors.

I find the girls enjoy this book especially when we dramatically lead up to which animal they meet next … the girls obviously know the order by heart! So much fun for bedtime reading.

The book teaches us the value of helping others, even with no benefit to one’s self, and the recurring theme of communication comes through at the end… if Baby Monkey has just told Butterfly that his mommy looked just like him… it could have saved him a lot of trouble!

Thank you Pan Macmillan for another winner!

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Introducing Awe-thentic Clothing

We are thrilled to announce that we have partnered with a gorgeous new clothing design brand! They are called Awe-thentic Clothing and are based in Durban, South Africa. They produce beautiful, unique kids clothing catering for ages 6 months – 5 years.

The range currently extends to girls apparel, but plans are already underway to include a boys range, as well as a Mom & Me range.

The brains behind the operation is Jaydeen West, – Mom to two gorgeous little boys – whose passion is in both business and the empowerment of women. Awe-thentic Clothing allows her to fulfill both of these passions.

What I love most about the brand is that all items are completely handmade by women who would be otherwise unemployed and have no resources to start a business however, they do possess the skills to make a quality product- in turn providing them with a small income and most importantly allowing them to feel empowered again.

Jaydeen tells me: “Our brand name was born from the words- real, genuine & true.

We are a women-owned business that produce boutique clothing- carefully sewn together with loving hands. Currently, our range is small- consisting of an off-the-shoulder girl’s top, in four different fabrics. They say all great things start out small. Our plan to expand the range is underway & we can’t wait to broaden our market to include Mom’s wear and boy’s wear.

No doubt- we are a business that strives to produce a great product, at a reasonable price, with amazing service.”

As ambassadors for this beautiful new brand, the girls got to try out some of their stunning off-the-shoulder tops. I must say, I have been most impressed with the quality! The fit is genuine and very flattering. It’s easy to see the love and care that went into the production of the garments. There’s a careful attention to detail around the little shoulder sleeves, ensuring the fit is comfortable enough for little girls to play and be themselves in.

The colors are vibrant and bright, perfect for Spring – just a few short weeks away!

We cannot wait to see more from this unique new startup. To find out more about the range visit their website: www.myawethenticproducts.com or check out their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/awethenticallyme.

If you’d like to order your very own off-the-shoulder top be sure to give them a call on 081 409 6619 or email myawethenticproducts@gmail.com.

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Julia Donaldson’s Enchanting Bestsellers on Showmax

The beloved Gruffalo is a bedtime favorite at our house. Followed closely by Room on the Broom. In fact, Julia Donaldson may be our most favorite person on the planet!

So imagine our delight then, since subscribing to Showax, and finding our favorite books have come to life!

Beautiful animation is surpassed only by outstanding narration- The likes of Helena Bonham-Carter, James Corden, Martin Freeman and Jennifer Saunders.

It’s truly quite hard to choose a favorite, the girls obviously adore The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom as mentioned. I just love the tale of Stick Man and get totally wrapped up in the story each time we watch it. Dad is a big fan of the Highway Rat, while The Gruffalos’s Child is becoming a family favorite.

I’ve watched them many times already and I don’t seem to mind them playing on repeat. Maybe it’s the beautiful way Julia Donaldson writes. Maybe it’s the lovely animation… I’m not quite sure, but I don’t find myself getting annoyed at rewatching like I do with other kids TV shows.

And now, the bedtime story requests have been all about Julia Donaldson!!

Readers Warehouse has recently had a Picture Book Promotion where most of the Julia Donaldson titles were selling at R45! An absolute steal for these gems! I made a point of getting the titles we didn’t have yet to add to our collection and now our fingers are crossed that these animated versions come to Showmax soon!

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My Little Picasso

After working crazy hours these past few weeks, I really wanted to take some time off this weekend to bond with the girls and just have fun!

Our Saturday started with the usual ballet class and then we went to Pallet Jacks at Cornubia Mall for brunch afterwards. The girls had a blast in the play area – like they always do… coming back every now and then to sip on milkshakes and have a bite of their breakfast.

When we were leaving we passed My Little Picasso at the corner near the escalators. I had meant to go in and have a look many times, but was always in a rush of some sort. Not today, so we went in and chatted a bit with the super friendly Naledi who explained how it all works.

Basically you choose a size of canvas – ranging from R120 – R250. You can then choose a colorful apron from the selection- which you get to take home with you!

Then comes the fun part: choosing a pallet full of paint colors and all the brushes/materials you need to create your masterpiece. Naledi listened as the girls pointed out their favorite colors and obligingly squeezed their chosen paints onto the pallet.

They sat down at the easels that had been set up for them and just let their creative juices flow!

Such a simple- yet brilliant concept! I let the girls do their own thing with a little help from Naledi. She dried their canvases in between color applications and was just super patient with the girls. Left to their own devices, it was amazing to see each of their personalities shine through in their artwork. It is such a fantastic way to let kids express themselves.

We spent a good two hours there as the girls chose their colors carefully, and created stroke after stroke of their masterpiece. Then Naledi brought out little sponges in different shapes that allowed the girls to put their finishing touches on their paintings.

I was honestly so proud of what the finished products looked like. I was expecting a big brown splotch as all the colors melted together, but instead they had made beautiful artwork that was so reflective of them!

At the end Naledi showered their artwork with pink glitter, much to the delight of the girls. You get to take your masterpiece home (the canvas is sturdy, so you can hang it in your toddler’s room if you want), together with the apron and the memories you made.

My Little Picasso is a fantastic way to let kids express themselves through art, and to spend a few hours doing something almost all kids enjoy. The venue also hosts birthday parties and adult paint nights.

If like me, you’ve walked past the shop before, wondering what’s it all about, or if you’ve ever thought about going but never had a chance, I’d highly recommend My Little Picasso as a fun activity to do with the kids! Find them at Shop L05, Cornubia Mall, Durban

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My Little Pony’s Equestria Girls Doll (Review & Giveaway)

“If the Equestria Girls look familiar, it may be because there is a magical mirror that connects the world of My Little Pony to Canterlot High. When Twilight Sparkle steps through the mirror, she discovers another world of friendship lessons where almost every pony she knows from Equestria has turned to teenage humans, walking the halls on two feet instead of hooves.”

Yes folks, the classic My Little Pony you know and love from your own childhood has just been reinvented as humans! Thanks to Hasbro, we can now join the Equestria Girls on adventures that see them take on school dances, battle of the bands and so much more.

The dolls are 28cm each and there are seven of your favorite characters to collect: Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Apple Jack, Rainbow Dash, Sunset Shimmer, Rarity and Fluttershy.

Each of the beautiful dolls in the range comes with a fabulous outfit that is matched to their personality.

We received a beautiful Equestria Girl doll for the Twincesses to play with and they were over the moon to find it was one of their favorite characters, Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow Dash is athletic, courageous and always looking for adventure as she dashes through the halls of Canterlot High in a rainbow of style.

I was taken aback by the detail that went into the outfit: rainbow striped leggings, blue jacket over a rainbow printed t-shirt and hardcore combat boots. Her hair – traditionally awash with a hue of colors and multi-colored bangles completed her look.

The attention to detail was evident and made the character come to life in the hands of my girls.

They immediately requested that I put on the Equestria Girls YouTube channel and then let their imaginations run wild. The dolls are nicely articulated at seven points which allowed the girls to pose them into their story-telling scenarios.

In addition to the full size Equestria Girl dolls, there is a range of 7cm My Little Pony Equestria Girls mini-dolls, each with a stylish look, colourful hair and sculpted outfits. Each doll is posed in a fun way that’s true to her personality. There is also an assortment of My Little Pony Equestria Girls Minis story pack sets, which each include a poseable mini-doll (with a signature look and hairstyle) and fun accessories.

My Little Pony Equestria Girls dolls (each sold separately & subject to availability) are available exclusively from Toys R Us stores nationwide.

I have 2 gorgeous Equestria Girl dolls to give away to two lucky readers!

All you have to do is:

– make sure you’re subscribed to my blog (twincessdiaries.co.za)

– comment below on who your favorite Equestria Girl is, and

– follow @dewolf_twins on instagram

It’s that easy!

Review Product supplied by Hasbro SA. Thoughts and opinions are my own. Competition closes on 4th August. Winners will be chosen randomly from those who meet the competition entry criteria. Winner will be contacted fro full delivery address. SA residents only.
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10 Reasons why Checkers Little Garden gets a Big Thumbs Up

We love collectibles. There – I said it. We collected all the Stickeez and the Mini Shop items. We collected Super Animal cards, Angry birds and McDonald’s happy meal toys. It’s a sickness, really.

The only problem with our OCD collection skills, is that several tiny toys and more than a few cards, are now sitting at the bottomest bottom of the toybox, never to be seen or played with again. And the plastic – so much plastic. It’s not really good for our planet, now it is?

So when Checkers recently announced their new collectable campaign … I was pleasantly blown away! Here’s 10 reasons why the Twincesses and I love, love, LOVE the Checkers Little Garden:

1. It’s eco friendly: The materials used in the Little Garden seedling kits are compostable or recyclable: the pots are all biodegradable, made of wood pulp and peat. The seeds are all natural and the soil pods are made of coconut husk. Isn’t that amazing?!

2. It promotes family time: We just love that this initiative will encourage kids and parents to spend time together when tending their seedlings and the eventual garden that will result.

3. It encourages outside play: Anything that gets the kids excited about being outside, away from the TV or their tablets is a good thing, our humble opinion.

4. The accessories are seriously cute!: From little watering cans to petite wheelbarrows, the accessories that accompany the Little Garden campaign are a shrewd marketing move from Checkers. Parents will not be able to resist the miniature rakes, spades and garden shears in bright, bold colors.

5. It’s sustainable: Unlike the tiny plastic toys that have been long forgotten, the Little Garden promotes growing flowers, herbs and vegetables that should continue to flourish seasonally if tended well.

6. It’s educational: The concept promotes knowledge about growing your own food and food sustainability.

7. Gracie Greenfingers is the coolest kid on the block: The Little Garden mascot and master gardener is witty, sassy and seriously hip. She’s there to offer advice to budding gardeners and she could not be any cuter if she tried!

8. It promotes a new hobby: Gardening need not be reserved for the older folks anymore. With this initiative, kids can maybe find a new, unexpected hobby.

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9. It’s water wise: The entire program encourages consumers to save as much water as possible. Some of the seedlings are drought tolerant and others will need just a little bit of water to flourish.

10. It’s effectively free: While the campaign will have you choosing Checkers above competitor stores just so you complete your collection, the seedling kits are free and you’ll receive one for every R150 you spend in store.

We can’t wait to complete our collection and for our seedlings to sprout!

Are you loving the Little Garden as much as we are? Let us know in the comments.

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Peppa Pig at Prima Toys

Prima Toys is one of the leading toy distributors in Southern Africa. They represent some of the most famous toy and character brands in the world, so it was excitement all round when they sent us some beautiful Peppa Pig Toys for the Twincesses to review.

“In recent years Peppa Pig has become a firm favourite amongst pre-school children. Some may even say that she has become somewhat of a celebrity with many fans the world over. So it is no surprise that the new Peppa Pig range of toys are set to become an essential part of the toy box!

Inspired by the TV show, the new playsets, characters and themes are iconic and instantly recognisable by children and their parents. The toys are great for role play and encourage children to use their imaginations by making up lots of Peppa Pig stories.”

If you’ve been following our journey, you’ll know the girls have been more than a little Peppa obsessed lately. The minute they saw the box, their eyes lit up… but when they realized it contained Peppa Pig goodies… I can’t explain the joy!

We received 3 lovely different toys from the PrimaToys Peppa Pig collection.

The first was the Fancy Dress 5 Figure Pack. The collectable pack includes five favorite Peppa Pig characters in fun dress-up costumes. There’s Princess Peppa, Danny the Pirate, Pedro the Clown, Candy Witch & George the Dinosaur. The figures have moving arms and legs and provided hours of fun for the girls as they created their own storyline with each of the characters.

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The second item we received is Harper’s favorite: the Peppa Pig Sing And Learn Microphone.

Kids will instantly recognize the tunes from the TV show, and when they press the “Peppa” key, Peppa Pig will sing along with them! I’m normally not a fan of toys that make a noise, but this one is just adorable! Chunky, yet sturdy enough for little hands, its sure to be a hit in our household for a long, long time!

We also received the beautiful Peppa Pig Classroom Playset – but I’m saving that one for another day as the girls have been so spoilt already! They get to play with one of their all-time favorite characters and bring the stories to life in their own words, using their imaginations.

“Peppa Pig personifies childhood adventure and joy. She loves to play with her brother and with her friends, and she always provides a positive underlying message such as co-operation, playing together and the importance of family and friendship,” says Chiquita Patrizi, spokesperson for Prima Toys. I couldn’t agree more!

The Prima Toys Peppa Pig collection spans puzzles, figurines, a camera, microphone, games and a coin bank. We received these toys for review purposes, but all opinions remain 100% honest.
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Jeronimo Kinetic Space Sand Kit

Rainy days are here again… and whilst our drought-stricken country welcomes the showers, moms all over are looking for ways to keep their little ones entertained indoors. (Especially as the school’s are closed).

One of the Twincesses favorite pastimes is playing in their sandpit outside. However the rain prevents them from enjoying this activity.

That’s where the Jeronimo Kinetic Space Sand kit comes in!

The kit consists of:

– 2kg Kinetic sand (color of choice)

– 12 sand mounds

– 1 Spade

– Inflatable tray

– Handy storage container

Kinetic sand is cleverly marketed as “98% sand and 2% magic”

The magic is provided by the addition of 2 percent polydimethylsiloxan that causes kinetic sand to mimic the properties of wet sand without the accompanying mess.

In fact, while it sticks so well to itself it doesn’t stick to most surfaces, which means a super easy clean up process and no messy hands!

Its safe, stain-free and never dries out. It’s perfect for sensory development play.

The Jeronimo Kinetic Space Sand Kit provides the Twincesses with hours of safe, stimulating indoor play.

The kit can be purchased from Takealot or other major online retailers.

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