So, you’re the baby shower host.. now what?

How lovely (and, maybe a little bit daunting); you’ve been entrusted with the task of hosting a beautiful baby shower for a beloved mum-to-be. You might be feeling a little overwhelmed if you’ve just started the planning process but don’t worry, it’s time to get the troops on board, then you’ll be able to plan something really lovely together. The following are some tips, ideas, and advice for those who want the baby shower they’re hosting to go seamlessly, and be as enjoyable as possible (without inducing labour in the guest of honour!)

baby shower

Presents And Gifting

Ask and see if the expectant mother wants or needs anything specific for her new baby. Try and put together a gift list to send around to the guests; this will enable each person to tick something off the list, and they’ll be no doubling up on presents. If you are part of a close friendship or family group, you could put your money together to create a hamper full of essentials, or the main gift that perhaps the new parents have been unable to afford. Don’t go buying any designer cots or prams, without asking the mum or dad-to-be what they already have. Personalised items are another way to give the new mama something special that she and her child can appreciate forever; embroidered blankets, or art for the nursery, will make a functional gift, and be a sentimental surprise. Just try to remember that the thought put into it is the most important thing.

Send Out Those Invites

Sort out a time and a venue as soon as possible, and make sure it’s around a month or six weeks before the baby is due to arrive (leaving it too close to the due date is a risky move). The best time for a shower is around lunchtime or early afternoon; this will ensure the guest of honour won’t be too tired, and it’s the perfect time to enjoy any food, drink, and nibbles. If you’re planning a surprise for the future mama, then make sure you state that on your invitations; you don’t want anyone to let the exciting news slip. There are loads of invitation design ideas online, so it’s worth taking a look for a bit of inspiration.

Food, Nibbles, And Treats

The sweet treats at the shower can easily reflect the colour palette and theme of the event; coloured icing, sprinkles and cake toppers are all excellent ways to incorporate your chosen shades. A buffet style offering is a relaxed and informal way to feed the guests and gives everybody the chance to bring a dish to the party. By involving the guests in providing the food, you’ll save yourself precious time and money.

baby shower cakes

Any time and effort that you put into hosting a baby shower will be appreciated by the expectant mother for the years ahead. You’ll be helping her to make lasting, lovely memories, and getting everyone excited for the new arrival.

You’ve Got a Friend in Me #Thinkwayfriends

It’s all back to school now within the next week and I have to say I’m gutted. I love having my kids off and spending all our time together! I love the leisurely mornings we can have and hate the early routines of school runs… waking up the kids, rushing them out of the door! This next term too sees the return of the dark mornings which are the worst!

My twins always struggle with back to school after summer holidays. They have been known to cry at the classroom door… not because they hate school, they don’t, it’s just they want to stay with me. Last year though, we tuned a corner and I think (hope) this will be the case this year.

The reason for this change is because they know they will be seeing all their friends again! They’ve got to the age where they realise the importance of friendships and how much joy they bring. They love their little ‘gang’ of boys and getting together again at school after the long break will be lots of fun!

This motley crew is made up of my twins and their school friends at a party just before the end of term in July!

Friends are THE best thing about school, I think most people would agree. When you think back as an adult to your own school days, it’s the laughs you had with the friends you made that will probably stick out the most in your memory!

This week we were sent some brand new Toy Story Buzz and Woody toys from Smyths to celebrate all things friendships! We’ve had Woody and Buzz before in our toy collection. In fact, we have quite a lot of the characters from the film as all four of my children have been into them over the years and they’ve popped up frequently under the Christmas tree! Teen (19) even had the original ones from way back when! But these, made by Thinkway Toys are definitely the most true to life ones we’ve seen! At 12″ tall they’re nice and sturdy, with Buzz being able to stand up on his own!

They’re stunning aren’t they?

toy story buzz and woody thinkway toys

Buzz and Woody were definitely the best of friends in the Toy Story films. Yes they disagreed and had their fall outs, but that’s completely normal for best buddies isn’t it? Children can relate to these two favourites as they learn all about friendships themselves. Buzz and Woody are great role models too as they stick together through thick and thin and don’t give up on each other when times are difficult! Buzz has rescued Woody and Woody has rescued Buzz throughout the 3 Toy Story films!

Now we’re on countdown for the release of the brand new Toy Story movie coming out next year in June 2019! Toy Story 4… how exciting! I can’t wait to see what all the toys get up to this time… the last time we saw them, which was way back in 2010.. can you believe it was THAT long ago? Andy went off to college and ended up giving his beloved toys to the little girl round the corner! I wonder if we’ll get to see Andy again? I hope to see lots more Buzz and Woody adventures…. and there’s bound to be some new characters as there always has been with each new film release!

Great friendships come in all forms and aren’t just for school… even siblings can be the best of friends and nowhere is this more true than in my home with my twins…. they are the epitome of best friends and are always happiest playing together! They are kind and supportive of each other, yes they have their moments when they argue, but they are fiercely protective and I hope this is what they find in school friendships they make too.

twins toy story toys toy story 4

I decided to take the two sets of best friends out for an afternoon play at the park…. Woody and Buzz and my twins! They had lots of fun!

toy story friendsEnjoying the see-saw together!

toy story BuzzBuzz Lightyear liked the play house

toy story woodyWoody liked the slide

toy story buzz and woodyEnjoying the rope climbing frame

toy story buzz lightyearLucky Buzz even got to share some ice cream

My twins have played lots with Buzz and Woody since we’ve had them and now I’m giving you the chance to buy some of your favourite Toy Story Characters with my new competition!

There’s a £50 Smyths voucher to be won here on the blog and all you have to do to win is fill out the Gleam widget below!

#Thinkwayfriends

£50 Smyths Voucher #ThinkwayFriends

Best of luck!

If you have a child starting school this September… here’s to them making lots of new wonderful friends! For those that are returning…. here’s to lots more fun with the great friends they already have and for the new ones that might come along!

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*Sponsored Post

Mr Todd’s Lair at Willows Farm

willows farm rocknrollerbaby mummy endeavours

I’ve written about Willows Activity Farm loads of times here on my blog as it’s somewhere we absolutely LOVE to go and luckily for us, it’s local too!

Situated just off the M25 at St Albans, it’s easily accessible from London and for everyone else to visit as well, no matter which direction you’re coming from!

And I know that visitors do come from far afield because my very good friend Ruth who writes the blog Rocknrollerbaby drives from Norwich to enjoy the delights of Willows Farm! In fact we meet there regularly and already plan more visits this year!

We were there together on this day and it’s like our very own special place to meet! Neither of us likes to be there without the other now and our children, all pictured above, adore each other and always, ALWAYS have the best time at Willows!

This time we were there for a very special event… the grand opening of brand new play area for 2018…Mr. Todd’s Lair. The large, amazing, Peter Rabbit playground has been a favourite at Willows for a few years now and it truly is a brilliant feature, so they wanted to add to it!

It was an early start for the launch, and very cold, but with a lovely breakfast laid on for the press, bloggers and a few celebs it was worth it!

After breakfast there was a meet and greet with the main Fox himself…. Mr Todd! The kids loved seeing him, he was very happy to pose for photo’s and looked very dapper indeed!

willows farm mr todd peter rabbit

Peter Rabbit was in attendance too of course, who was in a particularly mischievous mood… covering my twins’ faces when I was trying to take a photo! Very funny…. NOT… naughty Peter Rabbit!

willows farm peter rabbit

That’s better!

willows farm peter rabbit

Then it was time to be taken to Mr. Todd’s lair and the kids couldn’t wait! There were two entrances…. either going down the slide at the top here, or wandering down the hill to the bottom where you can enter via the doorway!

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

willows farm mr todds lair

It looked amazing! As with every other feature at Willows, the attention to detail is second to none. All the kids were completely in a frenzy as they raced to explore all around and inside this new play area! There’s a glimpse into how Mr. Todd lives with a full size dining table and chairs in the kitchen that kids can sit at, a cooking pot that they can look inside or even climb into if they so wish and lots of little drawers and fiddly bits to faff around with! There’s also the slides and hidden entrances.

willows farm mr todds lair rocknrollerbabyRuth and I with the stars of the show Peter Rabbit and Mr. Todd!

willows farm hertfordshire peter rabbit mr todd todds lairMine and Ruth’s gorgeous girls!

Outside the old tree house has been included in the new Mr. Todds area and it’s been given a spruce up, as has the zip wire! There’s also a little Squirrel Nutkin agility course and a fab new kiosk selling hot doughnuts…. we definitely made the most of this, they were super delicious!

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

willows farm mr todds lair peter rabbit

We can wholeheartedly say that this new addition to Willows was a massive hit and everyone enjoyed it. It fits right in with everything else, like it’s always been there. I can’t believe how Willows manages to add something new and exciting every single year. Changing things up so there’s always fresh excitement every time you visit!

Our kids wanted to go down to the bouncy castles afterwards!

I have to mention that everything, once you’ve paid the entrance fee to get in, is included! That means all the bouncy castles, the fairground rides, the outdoor shows, the seasonal events, the indoor play areas, the animals… EVERYTHING! The only thing you have to pay for is food…. and you don’t even need to pay for that! The food IS great at Willows and very reasonably priced, but you are very welcome to bring a packed lunch and there is even a designated area to eat it, which is covered in Winter to keep the cold out and all open in the Summer to enjoy the weather!

Ruth and I are always at Willows till closing time! They are literally throwing us out we stay so long and this happens every single time! We love it and never want to leave… honestly!

The bouncy castles were soaked. It had been raining early in the morning but do you think this stopped our kids from running straight onto them? Oh no!

willows farm

Wet trousers and socks were the result so after this we headed to the indoor play barn, Woolly Jumpers! Luckily they sell socks for £1 a pair so I bought some for my twins whose own socks were drenched! There’s two indoor play areas… the main one, Woolly Jumpers, is set inside the cafe where we love to hang out especially when it’s cold! There’s a full climbing play frame including slides and our children spend hours in here!

willows farm

willows farm

The other one is Toddler Town which is perfect for younger kids that has all sorts of play houses in, like a kitchen, pet shop, train station, hospital and lots more… it’s role play heaven!

A big event that’s happening at Willows right now is their Easter Eggstravaganza! This is really lovely. There’s a designated, delightfully pretty Easter Egg hunt garden where children can pick a basket and run around hunting for hidden wooden eggs (which are easy to find!) then exchange them for REAL chocolate eggs afterwards! Again, you don’t pay extra for any of this, it’s all included in the entry price! That’s right… yummy chocolate for free!

willows farm easter

willows farm easter

willows farm easter

From here we headed down to Tractor Tristan! We love this… it’s a cute ride on the back of a Tractor which takes you on a little seasonal tour… this time it was through an Easter scene! There’s also a large pond to go through as well as seeing lots of animals! A visit to Willows really isn’t the same without a ride on Tristan!

willows farm

willows farm

After this we headed inside again, into the Farmyard to see some more animals. It’s Spring so lots of babies to see including piglets and adorable chicks! There were also some lambs being hand fed by some of the farmers!

willows farm piglets

willows farm feeding lambs spring 2018

willows farm animals guinea pigs

Petting some of the smaller animals is a highlight for most children! All they need to do is take a seat and one of the helpers will come around and hand them a guinea pig to hold. So cute!

Lastly, we headed round to the Peter Rabbit play area! It cost over £1 million to create and it’s easy to see why… it’s incredible! There’s so much in this one space and all dedicated to the CBeebies version of the much loved character. There’s Mr McGregors garden where you can run around and collect giant vegetables, Jeremy Fisher’s music pond where there all sorts of instruments to make noises, Benjamin Button’s amazing treehouse with adventure play area, Mrs Tiggy Winkles kitchen, Lily Bobtails nature discovery and Peter Rabbit’s secret treehouse and adventure playground!

willows farm peter rabbit

willows farm peter rabbit

It’s easy to understand how we can stay at Willows till closing time isn’t it?

Don’t just take our word for it either… whenever we visit we quite often spy a famous face or two.. oh yes, it’s a favourite haunt for celebrity kiddo’s too! Samantha Faiers is a frequent visitor at the moment with her baby Paul but I quite often spot pop stars, actors, sports stars and tv presenters mingling with the crowds enjoying their day out at Willows with their children!

For the launch of Mr. Todd’s Lair we spotted Alex Jones from The One Show and Michelle Heaton from Liberty X amongst others… including DIY SOS’s Nick Knowles, who very kindly posed for a photo with me… I just wanted to show my other half as he’s a fan! Any excuse!

willows farm nick knowles

Willows Farm Easter Eggstravaganza is on until 15th April.. if you can make it, be sure to pay a visit over the holidays! Otherwise it’s open every single day for you to enjoy. Keep an eye on their website for upcoming events too!

Getting Girls into STEM with Pretty Curious by EDF Energy

I’ve been seeing the STEM campaign by EDF Energy on social media for a while and was initially surprised to learn that of all the people working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) related jobs, only a small percentage were women. Years ago I would’ve thought that to be the case but not in this day and age surely? Maybe boys have been naturally drawn to those subjects in the past because of the generations before them, and girls go to the more arty type subjects at school. I don’t know. But I do know that unless schools and us as parents are actively trying to change these perceptions and teaching girls about the diverse roles these subjects can lead to… nothing will change.

pretty curious EDF Energy

Step forward EDF Energy! They decided to create their Pretty Curious campaign which has been running for a few years now and has been incredibly successful. It was set up to raise awareness and give young girls the opportunity to learn about the industries they could work in. Just one in four people working in core STEM roles in the UK are women and EDF Energy is reliant on STEM skills not only to deliver a low-carbon energy future but also to create smarter energy solutions. That’s why they they want to recruit from the widest talent pool possible including a new generation of STEM advocates.

Having a 12 year old daughter myself, I do actively encourage her to explore STEM subjects, especially technology which I know she’s interested in already, and Maths because she’s quite good at it (she doesn’t particularly like it though!). She loves making things and getting stuck in so when we were asked if we’d like to take part in this campaign and receive a Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit, my daughter was very excited!

EDF Energy have partnered up with Star Wars: The Last Jedi recently as they believe having a major movie on board which features two inspirational female lead characters with strong STEM skills… Rose and Rey, can encourage girls to look at STEM in a new light.

pretty curious edf energy star wars

pretty curious edf energy star wars

When the Droid Inventor Kit arrived, it was all I could do to keep my twin boys away from it! They just assumed it was for them and I guess therein lies the problem. Because the toy was a mechanical, construction robot thing, my boys immediately thought it had come for them. I would go so far as to say they were even a little shocked when I told them no, it was for their sister! They looked at each other in disbelief!

Why is that? It’s that stereotypical gender role argument… that boys usually have all the building toys and girls would have the creative toys or dolls etc. To be fair, being an R2-D2 I personally would never have bought something like this for my daughter and it DOES look like a boys toy, so it’s taught me something too right there! It’s silly though because there’s no reason why girls shouldn’t build and construct things…. they’re just as capable and enjoy it just as much!

This is why I love this campaign.

So, I made sure the boys took a back seat this time… they could sit and watch! The kit was fantastic. Created by Little Bits, who make customisable, remote control toys, comes with everything they need to make the Droid, including batteries!

The first thing to do is download the App. This provides all the instructions as well as the tools to controls your Droid once complete, there are paper ones too but my daughter was straight into the App!

star ward droid pretty curious edf energy

star ward droid pretty curious edf energy

As you can see there are a fair few parts and circuits to navigate but the step by step instructions were easy to follow. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed working out what to do all by herself. I literally didn’t have to help her once and she absolutely relished this.

pretty curious

pretty curious edf energy

pretty curious

pretty curious edf energy

The App that accompanies the Droid becomes the controller too… a very important partner! It comes with more than 16 different missions for the Droid to undertake so no need for kids to become bored! Again, my daughter set all this up by herself. Being able to work out how to put something like this together without help was so important. It meant she didn’t have to ask anyone else to do it, which would’ve meant a disconnection between her and the Droid. She couldn’t wait to try out the circuits she’d connected and built, before it was even completed!

droid inventor kit pretty curious edf energy

Once the main control part of the Droid had been assembled, it was then time to add the body. These toys have been designed so that you can create your own inventions too and not just have the R2-D2. This encourages kids to think outside the box and customise their Droids in as many different ways as their imaginations allow! They can even ADD to the mix by buying different Little Bits kits.

All that needed to be added then was the outer shell and all the stickers. She had fun with that! The R2-D2 was complete… and doesn’t he look amazing?

pretty curious edf energy droid inventor kit

My daughter thought the whole process of building the Droid was great! She discovered she possessed the necessary skills to work out the logistics, the problem solving, the coordination, the design, and that she could do all this with no help!

Once she had played around with the Droid for a while, taking him all over the house, controlling him with the App, it was time for my twins to finally have a go!

pretty curious

They loved it… especially all the noises it makes! R2-D2 has a voice and he uses it!

My daughter was also encouraged to watch a virtual reality video about three women who work for EDF Energy in three very different roles… a structural engineer who helped design The Shard, a Research Engineer for off shore windfarms and a Coder who also founded crowdfunding website Mode for Me! She was amazed by these jobs and realistically she may never have known about these roles had it not been for us taking part in this campaign. I’m sure they inspired her to consider her career options more carefully now she has seen what she could do!

IMG_3610

I would absolutely tell anyone with a daughter to head over to the EDF Energy website as there’s so much information on there about the Pretty Curious programme. The events they organise too are challenging girls creatively to experience those career possibilities available by pursuing STEM subjects at school.

Also on the website you’ll find……

Future Me avatar and quiz

Create a sharable and personalised avatar in a STEM-related career to picture yourself in a potential future role ranging from a biologist to an electrical engineer. If you’re not sure what the future could hold, take their easy personality quiz to see what career may be best suited to your interests.

Parents quiz

Be the first to take the new parents quiz and see what STEM-related career would best suit your child. Identify their strengths, plus discover information and guidance on pursuing a career in that particular role once you receive your results.

We have fully appreciated collaborating with EDF Energy on their brilliant #PrettyCurious campaign – I feel as though we have benefited a great deal from it and learned so much. I really hope you find it educational too.

Why You Should Take Your Kids for a Health Check

It’s easy for issues such as poor eyesight, aches, pains and ailments to go unnoticed in your children, as they won’t often tell you themselves. If something is wrong with your child’s overall health, it may not get picked up during a routine trip to your GP or nurse, so you must keep vigilant to any changes in behaviour that may indicate that something else is going on. Schools and nurseries are rife with bugs and germs at this time of year, so it’s best to try and keep aware of what illnesses are doing the rounds if their classmates are sick and unwell. If you think that something is wrong with your child, then don’t delay in making them an appointment with the relevant health care provider.

 Book a trip to the opticians

There are a range of signs that you should look out for if you think that your child is having sight related problems. If they are blinking or squinting, or if one eye is looking upwards or in a different direction to the other, then this is a clear sign that something isn’t quite right.

Other signs could be that your child is sitting incredibly close to the TV, rather than remaining on the sofa where they usually sit. Do check in with your child’s teachers if their school report is slightly under par, or perhaps they have noticed some strange or unusual behaviour – often a drop in the standard of schoolwork can be attributed to them not being able to see the whiteboard adequately. It’s important that you tell your little ones exactly what to expect before their appointment. All Eyes are an Optician in Cambridge who will make your children feel welcome and excited about their eye test as soon as they begin their visit. Why not talk to children about their favourite characters, such as Harry Potter, who wears glasses, and explain to them that they will soon be too. Make this as fun and light hearted an experience as possible.

Visiting the doctors

Visiting the doctors might be scary or daunting thought for your child, so it’s important that you make them feel as relaxed and safe as possible. My twins used to be petrified of the Doctor and would never let him/her listen to their chests or check anything! It was always forced and incredibly difficult. Explaining that they are visiting the doctor to help them feel better sometimes helps. Most children hate having injections, or their temperature taken, so try to keep your little one as calm and relaxed as possible during any examinations. You can reward them afterwards with a treat or healthy snack, so that they associate any further trips with a pleasant experience.

A trip to the dentist

Most children, and adults, hate visiting the dentist. So be prepared for distress, tears and tantrums before you’ve even got them out of the car! Teething and the loss of milk teeth can be an incredibly painful experience for younger children, so make sure that they understand the dentist is here to help them. Once they are at the dental surgery, you can get your child to interact with their dentist, by counting the number of teeth that they have lost, or are yet to lose. Make sure that the visit to see the dentist remains a positive experience, as hard as this may be. Remind your child that poor oral hygiene will see them have a return visit sooner rather than later – even more of an incentive to ensure that they brush their teeth both morning and evening.

Poor eyesight, toothache and aches and pains make your little ones grumpy and grouchy. Be sure to book them in for a health check if you feel that they need medical attention straight away.

*Collaborative Post

 

 

Bike Skills with Ridgeback Bikes

ridgeback bikes kids

Kids love to ride bikes don’t they? And for most children, it’s one of the first things we teach them as soon as they’re old enough! I remember with Teen, he was eager to learn to ride without his stablisers and so we ventured out to the park one weekend and he picked it up in no time!

But not all kids are this confident. My daughter, for example, had no interest at all in riding a bike. She had one at a young age and would have a go with the stabilisers on but she could take it or leave it! She certainly didn’t want to be bothered learning to ride it without the stabilisers. This may have been a mixture of  lack of interest and nerves. But we didn’t push it. She would learn in her own time. Which she did, but she’s never really taken to it and I wonder if that’s because we didn’t encourage her enough when she was little.

My twin boys are the same. Neither of them can ride without stabilisers and at 7 years old now, I really wanted them to learn and didn’t want to leave it any longer! So when I received an invitation from Ridgeback Bikes to experience one of their Ridgeback Bikes Kids Club events, we were all overjoyed!

The event was being held at the wonderful Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London and it was a lovely sunny day, perfect for having fun on bikes! I must admit I was concerned that my boys’ might be considered ‘old’ for being non riders but the Ridgeback Bike team made them feel at ease immediately! They even had a kids cycling coach , Rob, on hand from The Bicycle Society who specialises in teaching bike skills to children of any age!

First though, we had the compulsory helmet and bike fitting which took place at Independent Bicycle retailers Pave Velo, who have just opened a brand new store opposite the Olympic Park.

ridgeback bikes kids cycling

A Ridgeback Bikes member advised us that my boys would need a 16″ bike according to their height, but for a non rider, he said it was much easier to learn to ride on a smaller bike where both feel are flat on the ground. Taking the pedals off too was a great tip… this turns the bike into a makeshift balance bike. Balancing is, after all, THE most important skill to master when learning to ride a bike! Once the balancing has been mastered, the pedals can go back on then it should be relatively easy!

Bike and helmet in place, we all headed across the road into the park!

ridgeback bikes bike riding learning kids

Rob from the Bicycle Society had organised some fun activities for the kids to do. There were different sets for different abilities. This was a great way to get the kids’ excited as well as familiarising them with their bikes!

kids bike riding cycling

20170801-Ridgeback-kids-launch-0584

For me, it was wonderful to see my little H joining in. Both boys are incredibly shy but H rose to the challenge like a pro! The staff on hand were all so encouraging and supportive and Rob spent a little one to one time with him, determined to have him riding on his own by the end of the session!

And he did!

The secret to learning and learning fast, is all in the balancing and looking straight ahead, not at the ground! Once the peddles had been put back on his bike, H set off using his feet first… ESSENTIAL… then once the speed was up, on the peddles went his feet! Then he was off…

20170801-Ridgeback-kids-launch-0581

I can’t tell you how amazing it was to see him riding on his own… I went to the event just hoping that the boys would have fun, never imagining that one of them would actually learn to ride in such a short amount of time. O had a little go on his own a bit later but his shyness overcame him. He did watch intently though, picking up all the hints and tips, so once we got home and he felt more relaxed, he could put them into practice!

Ridgeback Kids Club is the perfect place for kids to pick up those all important cycling life skills! Making it safe and enjoyable. Plus Ridgeback Bikes has been building bikes since 1983 for UK riders and has an unmatched reputation for innovation and quality. From high-performance flat bar and touring bikes to comfortable commuters and children’s bikes.

Why not join the Kids Club now to receive the latest news on Ridgeback products along with exclusive offers. And for those who have purchased a new Ridgeback bike, sign up and receive your FREE goodie bag worth over £25!

ridegeback bikes kids club

We had a great time at the event. I would recommend everyone joining up and taking part in the events because they are so much fun and it really does help build confidence and skill for kids! Sometimes when we try and teach our children to ride ourselves, there can be lots of frustrations and upset when they don’t get it, so having a third party involved can make that process easier!

Thank you Ridgeback Bikes for a great day!

You can check out the social hashtag #RidgebackKidsClub and follow on Twitter and Instagram using @ridgebackbikes

Timeless Toy Story with Thinkway Toys

toy story

The Toy Story films are so dearly loved in our household. Not only do the children love them, but they’re films that I, as an adult, could happily sit and watch over and over again!

I remember when we went to see Toy Story 3 at the cinema….  I had the twins but they were babies at the time, so we took my Teen, who would’ve been 11 and my Girl who was 5. Can you believe that was way back in 2010 when it was released? It doesn’t seem that long ago at all…. but I literally cried my eyes out at the end. That part when the toys all hold hands in the furnace, accepting their fate, then right at the end when Andy takes the toys to the little girl’s house and drives off…. all grown up and going to college! It really got me!

That scene has even more meaning to me now, with Teen being 18 and all grown up himself. I can’t watch it without becoming incredibly emotional.

Teen has grown up with Toy Story you see. The first one was released in 1995, to critical acclaim. I remember the hype as it was the first feature length computer animated film ever made. At the time I didn’t have children but a few years later my friend lent me the video (ha remember them?!) to watch with Teen when he was a toddler and I was just blown away by it…. everything about it was utterly brilliant. The fantastic storyline, the life like, amazing animation and the fantastically witty script.

My little baby boy was immediately hooked!

My Girl loves all 3 of the Toy Story films too, as do my twins now, and we’ve watched the original, plus the subsequent ones, repeatedly. We never, EVER tire of them…. each one as good as the last… they really are timeless!

This week, we were sent a very special parcel from B&M Stores who have collaborated with Thinkway Toys, producers of some of the best Disney toys, as they thought it would be lovely to send us some goodies to enjoy a family movie night together, watching the original Toy Story movie!

Our parcel included two of Thinkway Toys’ best loved Characters…. Buzz Lightyear and Woody… my Twins were overjoyed!

woody and buzz lightyear toys from thinkwat toys

Thinkway Toys is a Canadian-based company responsible for creating, producing and distributing creative and innovative high quality toys. They’ve produced toys for companies including Disney, Pixar, Universal and Warner Brothers since the early nineties. Licensed properties include the Toy Story films, WALL-E, Monsters, Inc., A Bug’s Life, The Incredibles, Cars 2, Despicable Me 2, Minions, Wreck-it Ralph, Planes, Spider-Man, The Avengers, The Dark Knight, and the Star Wars saga.

Our parcel also included the Toy Story DVD, a lovely cosy blanket and a brilliant ‘movie night’ snack box!

B and M stores movie night

I’m not sure we’ve ever owned the original Toy Story film on DVD so it was great to receive this! The kids couldn’t wait to watch it. All my children, including Teen, headed up to my bedroom to watch and the twins snuggled up under the lovely, soft blanket which costs only £9.99 at B&M Stores… such a bargain!

cosy blanket toy story

We grabbed the Butterkist Movie Night snackbox which included 2 bags of popcorn and a fantastic selection of sweeties and they all fought over who had what, in a nice way of course! But there’s loads to choose from so they were all happy with what they got. I think this is a great idea for a product and the children got really excited by it!

It was great watching the Toy Story film… it really is such a classic. We know all the words and it’s such a nice easy watch! I can’t imagine there being anyone in existence that hasn’t seen the original at some point… but if you haven’t, you really must!

Thinkway Toys produce some amazing toys….. I actually have to admit to having the original Buzz Lightyear and Woody that belonged to Teen when he was a little boy. We also have Jesse, who joined the cast in Toy Story 2… she belongs to my daughter!

IMG_1089

They are brilliantly robust toys and certainly built to last but as you can imagine, they are a little old now (we must’ve had them around 15 years) so having these brand spanking new Buzz and Woody’s arrive has been wonderful!

We haven’t sat down and watched a film all together for a long time so a huge thank you to B&M Stores for putting together this lovely, thoughtful parcel for us. It’s important to make time as a family and having the little treats to go with watching a film makes it feel like a proper event!

There is a brand new Toy Story movie in production… Toy Story 4…. which will be released in the summer of 2019! How ridiculously exciting? Can’t wait. So this parcel really is getting us in the mood already for that…. I’m sure come 2019 there will be huge Toy Story mania across the globe as everyone rushes out to see the next instalment!

It’s a long way off yet but…. in the meantime… I’m hosting a Twitter Party, along with a few other Bloggers, next Tuesday, 27th June 1-2pm… where we will be talking about all things Toys! We would love you to join in with us if you can… using the hashtag #imathinkingtoy and there will be B&M vouchers up for grabs too.. so keep your eyes out for that!

ToyStoryMPU

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