Oscar the Hungry Unicorn & Mermicorns

Show me a little girl who isn’t obsessed with unicorns or mermaids….

PanMacmillan recently sent us some beautiful new books that fit right in with the Twincesses latest obsessions!

Oscar the Hungry Unicorn is a hilarious tale of unicorn named Oscar (you guessed it!) who eats literally everything in sight! This very hungry unicorn has just eaten his stable so he needs to find a new place to live.

But the pirates don’t want him (he eats their ships!), and the fairies don’t want him (he eats their toadstool homes). Even the trolls and the dragons don’t want him.

Poor Oscar is running out of options until he meets Princess Oola, who has been looking for a unicorn forever!! A match made in heaven!

Mermicorns is a gorgeous mix and match book that allows a child’s creativity to run wild. Kids can make hundreds of combinations of mermaids and unicorns (Mermicorns) until they find their favorite. With a sturdy board-book format, it’s perfect for little hands!

The girls had a blast with this book and I don’t see them getting bored of it any time soon!

2019 has kicked off with the girls attending big school… and a stash of books is exactly what we needed! Thank you PanMacmillan for these gems!

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Top Ten Toys- Twincess Tested (Part 10: Scruff a Luvs)

It’s the last Friday before Christmas! That means it’s the final post in our Top Ten Toys series. For this last post, we’re deviating slightly in that the toy isn’t yet Twincess Tested. It will be, in 4 days time as I have two of these patiently waiting under the Christmas tree.

Ever since a fellow blogger’s Facebook post went viral, I’ve been intrigued by Scruff a Luvs.

Inside the colorful box lies an animal that is matted and “ugly”, and with a bit of TLC this animal cleans up to reveal a puppy, kitten or bunny that just wants to shower you with love forever.

Quite simply, the concept is something that resonates very strongly with me (and I’m sure most parents will agree). Teaching a child to rescue rather than shop, to look beyond the appearance to what lies underneath… are all wonderful qualities that every child should posses.

The best part is that you are teaching a child that just a little love and care goes a long way and when it comes to rescue animals, will be reciprocated with loyalty and love.

And this lesson is well learned as it comes across while “doing” instead of just getting a lecture about rescuing animals. Kids are immersed in the extreme makeover from start to finish.

I’m in love with the idea of this toy. I can’t wait for the girls to open it on Christmas morning and see their reactions! I’ll be sure to capture and share.

Merry Christmas to all my followers and readers. Thank you so much for supporting our humble online space this year! May your festive season be happy and blessed xx

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Top Ten Toys – Twincess Tested (Part 9: LEGO Duplo)

I don’t know a single child that doesn’t love building LEGO. My kids are no exception. Earlier this year I bought them their first LEGO Duplo set after being drawn to the bright colours and large blocks in store.

For those who may not be familiar, Duplo is a brand of LEGO that is specifically designed for preschoolers (1-5 years). Duplo bricks are twice the length, height and width of traditional Lego bricks, making them easier to handle and less likely to be swallowed by younger children. But despite their size, they are still compatible with traditional Lego so your kids are still able to continue enjoying them as they grow older.

I picked up the Duplo number train as the girls were busy learning numbers at the beginning of the year. They really enjoy playing with this set and manipulating the blocks in different ways to achieve different results.

And because LEGO is such a fantastic toy to improve fine motor skills, problem solving techniques and lateral thinking, Santa has bought the girls two new big boxes of LEGO Duplo for Christmas this year.

First up, they will receive the Duplo My Town series which contains sets from popular “city” places such as the airport, office, park, pizzeria etc.

Additionally I also bought them a big box of blocks to ensure their imaginations are never limited.

I’m pretty sure the girls are going to be thrilled with their LEGO Duplo presents.

If you have a fidgety toddler on your hands, I’d urge you to grab a box of Duplo from your nearest toy store. It’s bound to keep them interested and engaged for hours on end!

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Top Ten Toys -Twincess Tested (Part 8: Disney Princess Dolls)

Has our Top Ten Toys series given you some great ideas for your little ones? I hope it has! Our final 3 posts are bringing you some of our favorite products this year, such as the Disney Princess doll series from Hasbro.

If you have a little girl, these popular dolls are sure to put a giant smile on her face come Christmas morning.

The range includes some of Disney’s most loved Princesses; including Rapunzel, Belle, Cinderella, Tiana, Ariel and Snow White.

The Princesses are dressed in their iconic dresses from the story/movie, which will make them instantly recognizable by your little Disney enthusiast.

We received Snow White to review, and the Twincesses were thoroughly smitten with their doll. They began role-playing almost immediately, although neither of them wanted to be the Evil Witch. Lol

Kids will love playing out their magical story moments with their favorite princess. The price tag on these dolls makes them super affordable too! They retail at approximately R149 in toy stores, but Pick And Pay currently have them on special at just R79!

At that price I couldn’t resist getting a few more to add to the Twincesses’ Christmas presents! Can you guess which ones??

Disney is timeless, and there isn’t a little I know that doesn’t dream of being a Princess. Make her dream come true with these beautiful dolls and watch her imagination soar!

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Top Ten Toys Twincess Tested – (Part 7: Hasbro Board Games)

We are nearing the end of our Top Ten Toys series. I hope you have enjoyed reading our personally Tested recommendations on toys that have made an impression on my family this year.

In this week’s post, we wanted to share a perennial favorite across households : board games.

Board games make a great gift! They suit a wide age range… everyone from the toddlers to grandma can get stuck in (depending on the game, obviously), they’re fun and timeless.

Hasbro has the widest selection of games available this year, and you are bound to find something you and your family will love! And what’s more, board games are something that can be kept for years and years, making it a gift that keeps on giving.

Let’s take a look at some classics, and then dive into some newer options available this year.

Monopoly: Monopoly games have been entertaining families since 1935, and people love the roller-coaster ride to success. This year pick up the Monopoly World √Čdition, where you race around the world, gathering stamps in your passport as you buy up the world’s most famous cities. And while you’re at it, invest in Monopoly Junior, which sees the classic game adapted for younger players.
Little ones can buy cool properties such as the pet store, the candy store, and the video game arcade, and easy rules use single dollar bills for simple transactions.

Trivial Pursuit: I loved playing Trivial Pursuit when I was growing up! Confident in my general knowledge, I just loved the challenge and the eventual win – lol! This year, the classic game gets an edgy update with Trivial Pursuit X, which leaves its mark- literally! The loser is the first to be branded with 5 Xs to the forehead after getting five questions wrong! And for millennials, there’s Trivial Pursuit 2000s with all questions being like totally relatable. ūü§£

Some of my favorites are the newer board games Hasbro has introduced, one of which is Speak Out. After watching celebrities attempt this hilarious game on the Ellen Show, I have been dying to play it! Basically, you insert a plastic mouthpiece (which looks as funny as it will make you sound), and then attempt to communicate a complicated phrase to your teammates, which they must guess. Trust me, it it hilarious. This one will definitely be under our tree this year. A gift to me!

From classics like Battleship, Risk, Clue And Twister, to modern games like Hearing Things, PieFace, Don’t Lose Your Cool to Toilet Trouble (yes, that’s actually a board game!) – Hasbro has you covered this festive season!

And to ensure you’re able to play anywhere and everywhere, there’s even a Grab and Go series which sees some of the most-loved board games in smaller, travel-sized versions that can be played literally anywhere (think long car trips).

There’s something for everyone in Hasbro’s arsenal of board games this year. I can’t think of nothing better than whipping out a family favorite after Christmas lunch and getting stuck into the fun and laughter.

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Top Ten Toys Twincess Tested – (Part 6: Play Doh)

It’s exactly a month to Christmas guys! The decorations adorn the ship windows, and the malls are belting out Christmas tunes.. it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

We’re in the home stretch of our Top Ten Toys series and this week I wanted to talk about a firm favorite in our household (and most likely yours): Play Doh.

I’ve never met a child who doesn’t luuuurve Play Doh. Have you? The Twincesses have a lot of toys, but bust out a can of Play Doh and the smiles and excitement are second to none!

The beauty lies in the possibilities. What may just be a can of red modeling compound to us, is a rocket ship, a princess castle or a submarine to them.

With Play Doh their imaginations can run wild, creating, playing, and most importantly; learning.

Play Doh has recognized the huge impact they have on helping little ones learn, and have come up with the Shape and Learn series which includes, numbers, alphabets, colors and shapes.

Playing with Play Doh can assist children in growing their curiosity, develop cognitive exploration and enhance fine motor skills by developing and strengthening hand muscles, which encourages pre-writing and other motor skills.

The tactile, hands-on nature of Play-Doh compound can also help encourage development of hand-eye coordination. Play-Doh offers kids a multi-sensory experience allowing them to learn about their world through touch, sight and smell.

Thankfully for parents, the options are endless, and you can choose s can or 2 in their favorite colors for a stocking filler, or opt with one of the larger play sets as a standalone gift. Either way, I can guarantee your child is going to love this gift!

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Top Ten Toys: Twincess Tested (Part 5: Julia Donaldson Gift Sets)

Julia Donaldson may very well be our favorite person. We have slowly built up our collection of Julia’s books over the years and we eagerly anticipate any new release.

Can you imagine our sheer delight then when this blog drop arrived:

Can you think of anything cuter than Julia Donaldson Book and Toy gift sets?

The Gruffalo is perhaps Julia’s most famous story… with the “terrible” but highly lovable Gruffalo making bedtime story-time the world over just a little more exciting. The beautiful box is adorned with the familiar illustrations and contains the book (slightly smaller – but not tiny by any means), and a plush Gruffalo Toy.

I’m almost certain I was more excited than the girls to see the beautiful Gruffalo toy! It’s just SO cute! The attention to detail… it’s all there… from the terrible tusks, to his terrible claws, and the terrible teeth inside those terrible jaws. I could see the that his eyes were orange and his tongue was black; and there were purples prickles all over his back!

The second Book and Toy gift sets we received was another one of Julia’s stories that we have read over and over: Sugarlump and the Unicorn.

This gorgeous gift set came with a plush unicorn, again with careful attention paid to ensure the toy matched the description of the unicorn in the story… right down to her eyes of blue.

I’m really so excited to share these gift options with you. I always ensure I add a few books to the Twincesses’ Christmas haul, but this book and toy combo will make a stunning gift on its own! I truly believe that as parents we should strive to give our children the gift of reading… and Julia Donaldson would be my go-to choice.

Thank you Pan Macmillan for spoiling us with these gorgeous gift sets. They will be cherished for years to come.

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Top Ten Toys – Twincess Tested (Part 4: My Little Pony)

Can you believe it’s just over 6 weeks until Christmas?! I’m kinda feeling like the festive season is sneaking up on us this year… but to ensure you’re not caught unawares… here’s the 4th post in our Top Ten Toys series: My Little Pony.

In our house, My Little Pony has become one of the Twincess’ most loved range this year. It’s probably down to the fact that the Equestria Girls Dolls were released and they’ve had the opportunity to watch the My Little Pony Live show.

Whatever the reason, MLP is on repeat all day every day, and they often role play as different characters from the show.

If your child is as obsessed with My Little Pony as mine are, you’re in luck: there’s a gigantic selection of MLP toys and accessories for you to choose from this Christmas.

First up, there’s the newest offering: the Equestria Girls Dolls. As mentioned in my review when the dolls launched, the Equestria Girls are the humanized versions of the beloved ponies. We received Rainbow Dash to review, but the girls often fought over the doll… and I eventually bought them Fluttershy, Twighlight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie.

The dolls bring endless hours of fun to my girls and the outfits are positively breathtaking, if I do say so myself!

They retail for R299, and is incredible value for the quality and detail you get.

If you’re intent on collecting all the Equestria Girls, there’s also the option to purchase Equestria girl minis. The minis will make great stocking fillers!

For those who prefer soft toys, you can find a whole range of MLP characters in your favorite toy store.

I got beautiful Pinkie Pie And Rainbow Dash from Checkers at just R99 each! They would make a great gift for the younger MLP fans.

If you’re looking for the original ponies with their well known cutie marks, there are various models and sizes available. There are also extravagant play sets, with scenes from the My Little Pony movie in stores to keep your little one engaged.

What I love about My Little Pony is that it teaches children the value of friendship and working together. Each Pony has a particular element or character that is represented in friendship. Be it loyalty, kindness or generosity – these are traits I’m happy to have my girls watch and emulate. I love that this show teaches children something so positive!

If you’ve got a MLP fan on your hands, you’ll be spoilt for choice when selecting a gift. Just be sure to inquire about which Pony your little one loves most and you’re sure to find the perfect Christmas present this year!

My Little Pony merchandise is available from Hasbro at all toy retailers, large chain supermarkets and online. Prices from R79,99.

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Top Ten Toys – Twincess Tested (Part 3: LOL Surprise)

LOL stands for Lil Outrageous Littles. When launched in December 2016, the line sold over 2,5 million units in the first five months! So it’s safe to say this was, and remains, one of the hottest toy items around.

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The appeal lies in the concept of “unboxing”. I don’t know about you, but my kids can watch unboxing videos for hours on YouTube! In the same manner, the LOL surprise balls build suspense as layer after layer is peeled away to reveal the treasures inside.

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Each Layer reveals a fun surprise: stickers, charms, shoes, outfit accessories and a collectable doll.

The toy appeals on so many levels! Apart from the unboxing satisfaction, it will appeal to the collector in your child. The very first series had 45 dolls to collect, but since then the range has been so popular, they have added more collections including a glitter series and a pet collection!

To add to the fun, there’s also LOL Surprise puzzles and games.

One of the Twincesses favorites is the LOL Surprise Water Game. With a similar ball shaped look, the game has several brightly colored smaller balls inside, with a centre sponge heart. The sponge should be slightly wet, and players each pick a card (inspired by one of the famous dolls).

img_8379Players then take turn to pick a ball, open and set it on the centre sponge. Setting the ball will reveal a picture… and the player then checks if it matches a picture on their card. If yes, the player keeps the ball, if not they return it. The first player to match all the pictures on their card wins!

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img_8382The concept of the game – matching – is both fun and educational, and simple enough for toddlers to grasp easily.

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This range is such a hit with kids, I predict the LOL Surprise Toys will remain a popular choice for the 2018 Christmas lists.

Available from Prima Toys at all major retailers and online.

 

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How I Met Your Father

Ok kids, I’m gonna tell you the story about how I met your father.

It was the Autumn of 2008, and I was living my best life. I had a beautiful little flat down the South Coast (Port Shepstone), where I lived for work. I’d just signed a rental lease for a full year.

I’d been promoted at my job: at 26 years old, I was the youngest senior manager in the company… responsible for an awesome team of 25 employees. Work was wonderfully challenging and fulfilling.

I had just bought a brand new car, drove it off the showroom floor with a big red bow on it. I was surrounded by loving family and loyal friends. I was young, confident and very happy.

10 March 2008- New corner office at work (thanks to my promotion) and a lovely company budget to decorate it.

I’d always wanted to travel… (I was the kind who hoarded Contiki travel brochures, painstakingly mapping my ideal itinerary)… so of course I was going to decorate my new fancy office in a very cosmopolitan way – with classy black and white images from iconic cities around the world.

I had already sourced beautiful prints of New York and Sydney, when I reached out via Facebook to a photographer in Paris asking about the price of his photographs and if he shipped to South Africa.

The answer to my innocent enquiry: “For someone as beautiful as you, I could deliver it personally ;)”

Wait? What!?

Ok, he was handsome… in that French kind of way (the BEST way)… but I just needed the photographs.

We ended up chatting … on MSN (remember that?!). Days turned into weeks, which turned into months.

By June 2008, we were chatting to each other for literally hours a day. We talked about everything under the sun. Hopes and dreams. Long philosophical conversations and shorter not so philosophical ones.

Paris, September 2008

Until we finally decided: We needed to meet. We needed to know if this chemistry was real or not.

So I said a little prayer, and bought a ticket to Paris!

My friends had been worried sick prior to my trip… fervently trying to talk me out of going, pretty sure I was going to end up murdered and turned into a skin suit for some psychotic serial killer who had obviously watched Silence of the Lambs one too many times.

10 September 2008: Exactly 7 months after our first online conversation, I met your father in a very busy terminal at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. He said “hello” and I said “bonjour”. It was a blistering hot day and I wore 6-inch heels and a strapless tulle dress √† la Carey Bradshaw.

I can’t tell you much about the next 20 days, except that it was pretty much a fairytale. Long, long days…. longer than you’ve ever experienced in South Africa. Croissants for breakfast in the tiny garden of your dad’s apartment. Strolling around Notre Dame and picnicking in the shadow of the Eiffel Tour. Lazy cafe dinners at tables that spilled onto cobbled streets… names of which I couldn’t even pronounce. It was surreal for a girl who had never set foot outside of SA before.

Paris September 2008

Two days before I was set to return to SA, your dad asked me to marry him. (A mere 18 days since we first physically met). There was no getting down on one knee, no ring, no fanfare. Just a matter of fact statement during a particularly lovely pizza dinner. “We should get married”

And my very straightforward answer: “I think we should”.

And just like that, we were ‘engaged’. We scrambled to get airline tickets for your dad to come to SA on the same flight as me (I was leaving in 2 days)… but we did it.

I’ll never forget my mother’s face when they picked me up at the airport on 2nd October 2008… introducing your dad to her… she looking so utterly confused. (My poor mother! I love her so!) I had hinted at a sort of, maybe, might be, romance prior to embarking on my trip… but I don’t think anyone – myself included – would have dreamed I’d come back with a fianc√©!

We took a month (A MONTH!) to sort out wedding logistics and got married on 1st November 2008.

01 November 2008

I moved to Paris later that same year, saying goodbye to the new job, the new car and taking a significant knock on the cancelled rental lease agreement. Leaving behind the only life I ever knew.

We lived in Paris, in that same tiny apartment for 7 years, making memories, travelling to over 30 cities in various countries around the world (my dream of travelling finally coming true).

Amsterdam 2011
Rome 2012
Crete 2011
Athens 2011
Mexico 2013
Alberobello, Italy, 2012
Venice 2012
Barcelona 2010

We moved back to SA in 2015, just 6 weeks after you two were born… that tiny Parisian apartment definitely too tiny for four!

I wouldn’t call myself a spontaneous person. I’m a planner. I like to think I’ve got a good head on my shoulders. If one of you told me you were flying half-way across the world to meet a guy you met online… well let’s just say it would NEVER happen. The world you will grow up in is very different one…

I took a giant leap of faith that could have easily turned out very differently. What I did was so out of character, so risky…, but also mighty brave, I’d like to think.

It hasn’t been easy, but we’ll be married 10 years this week!

Christmas 2015
Family in 2018

Maybe sometime along the next 10 years my friends will stop mentioning how close I came to being turned into a skin suit.

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