Top Ten Toys – Twincess Tested (Part 2: Hasbro Collectibles)

In our second post of a ten part series where we’ll be sharing the top ten tried-and-tested toys for 2018, we bring you the range of collectibles from Hasbro.

Everyone loves collectibles! There’s the thrill that comes with finding the missing piece to your collection. The absolute excitement when you’ve completed a full set, and of course the fun in sharing the joy with friends as you compare and swap to continue building your collectibles empire. 

This year Hasbro has left us spoilt for choice with their collectibles ranges.

The ever popular Littlest Pet Shop is back with more to love and collect! There are 24 new pets in series 2, and the blind boxes comes with a teeny tiny pet in his/her own little home, complete with charm and key.

Another collectible range from Hasbro is the Lost Kitties. Lost Kitties is a new line of collectible adorbs cat figures from Hasbro. But these aren’t just kittens inspired by kittens, as all cat lovers know, each cat has a mind and personality of its own. And that’s just the inspiration behind this new line of collectible toys.

The Lost Kitties Blind-Box Singles feature blind-boxed kitten characters packaged inside mini milk cartons (think: the lunch room/cafeteria kind). Kids will have to open it up to find out “who’z hidin’ inside?”

This is series 1, which, for 2018, features 36 different Lost Kitties to collect. There are 8 Lost Kitties kitty squads with 4-5 kittens in each  squad. Kitty squads include #Noms, #Cattitude, #Workinit, #Ififits, #Adorbs, #Scaredycats, #Cathletic, and #Notfelineit.

Open up the milk carton, and start digging, quite literally, through the Play-Doh-like compound. Hidden in the compound, you’ll find your blind-packaged kitten, two accessories for your kitten and a sticker of a meme depicting your kitten. The compound also serves as a hint as to how rare your collectible Lost Kitties may be: white= common, brown=rare, and pink=ultra rare. 

And finally, for the older kids, there’s Hasbro’s Lock Stars. Kids can lock on with their awesome selves with Lock Stars figures, the collectable lock accessory that’s full of surprises. Each Lock Stars figure includes, 2 keys, 2 charms — 1 hidden inside the belly — and a mystery mini lock pal. Use the key to open the lock and reveal the adorable hidden surprise!

Kids will love collecting all the robots, monsters, animals, and other funky characters that help them express their own individual style. Rock these locks on backpacks, shoes, or other accessories, and look for the “Superstar” lock.

There’s something for everyone in the Hasbro collectibles range this year. Additionally with the festive season around the corner collectables make ideal stocking fillers!

Hasbro collectibles are available from all major toy stores, Takealot and Loot.

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The Chocolate Garden turns One

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

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For those not in the know, a Chocolate Garden is a garden inspired by all things chocolate; 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 August 2017. All plants were selected and chosen with great care based on their properties, balancing water needs and bearing in mind the KZN climate.

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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!

 

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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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Is this the end of my blog?

Child trafficking. Kidnapping.

The horror that fills my thoughts at the mention of yet another missing child in SA has me seriously considering ending my blog.

I share our lives online. For various reasons: For the pleasure it brings me to share great products and new finds. For the cathartic release it gives me to talk about Motherhood in all its trials and triumphs. For my family overseas to follow along and gather snippets of our doings and happenings. Because I choose to.

But am I making a terrible mistake? These thoughts contribute to insomnia that seems to come more and more frequently in these troubling times. The horrifying disappearance and subsequent (unconfirmed at the time) murder of Miguel Louw hits way too close to home.

Hoax Whatsapp voice notes and Facebook posts only fuel the panic and terror parents are feeling.

I’ve also been contemplating moving our family back to France. It would be devastating for the relationship between my family in SA and my girls, but it’s something I’m thinking about.

The constant paranoia and looking over my shoulder is really getting to me.

I try to think rationally. My children are too young to be engaging – themselves – with people online so the grooming and luring that happens online is still a worry for future me (as if that’s any consolation!)

Kidnappings tend to be crimes of opportunity… in most cases. A preoccupied parent, an unsupervised child… a recipe for disaster.

I find it difficult to find information on how many toddler-aged children are actually spotted online and subsequently followed and kidnapped from information gathered on social media. Whatever the statistics, even one is too many.

I’m not sure what my decision will be yet. But for now, I’m seriously considering death by social media.

To be honest, I have had this blog post in “draft” status for more than 2 weeks now. And in the past few days fellow Mom bloggers who I really respect have been posting similar thoughts… which only leads me to believe that this is an issue I really need to delve into and think about carefully.

How many of you out there are feeling this push? Is it just me??

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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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