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.
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.
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).
Players 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!
The concept of the game – matching – is both fun and educational, and simple enough for toddlers to grasp easily.
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.
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 ;)”
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.
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 à 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.
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 fiancé!
We took a month (A MONTH!) to sort out wedding logistics and got married on 1st 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).
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!
Maybe sometime along the next 10 years my friends will stop mentioning how close I came to being turned into a skin suit.
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 yourcollectibles 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 stockingfillers!
Hasbro collectibles are available from all major toy stores, Takealot and Loot.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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??
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 email@example.com.
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!