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Christopher Robin

I have always loved Winnie the Pooh, and so I was delighted when my daughter chose this special bear to be her bedtime friend to cuddle. Eeyore, Tigger and Piglet soon joined the gang in her cot, but it was always Pooh bear who would bring her comfort and who eventually went on to join her on many adventures together.

Since those early days I have loved sharing the wonderful stories of Winnie the Pooh with our two children. Even after all these years there remains something so special about this bear who A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard chose to share with the world. To see this magical world of the Hundred Acre Wood brought to life in the new live action Disney movie Christopher Robin was incredible. As I sat and watched Winnie the Pooh and his friends set out on a new expedition, I was swept away in a beautiful story of friendship, the sadness of the inevitability of growing up, but then also made to delight in the rediscovery of happiness.

The animation in the movie is remarkable, and not for one moment did I question the authenticity of Winnie the Pooh being real. He is portrayed exactly how I had imagined him to be – often sharing his surprisingly insightful thoughts despite his absent-mindedness, always thinking about honey, and so full of love for his friends and Christopher Robin. Eeyore was predictably gloomy in his glumness, Tigger bouncy in his exuberance, and Piglet nervous about almost everything. Kanga and Roo, Owl, and Rabbit were all there too, and each endearing in their own ways.  Christopher Robin himself was perfectly portrayed by Ewen McGregor.

Christopher Robin shows us the boy who grew up, met the love of his life, got married, had a daughter and then got swept away in the everyday routine and responsibilities that come with being an adult. Along the way he forgets about the importance of using his imagination and having fun together with his family, but is soon reminded when Pooh bear makes a surprise appearance and takes him on an unexpected journey.

If you or your children are fans of Winnie the Pooh you will love embarking on this new beautiful adventure. It goes without saying that it’s also the perfect introduction to this classic story for your little ones and promises to be the start of a wonderful friendship for them with this incredible bear.  Christopher Robin delivers an authentic Winnie the Pooh experience in a completely new way. As much as I found myself giggling many times, I also felt my heart ache for the bear’s sadness, and then rejoice again later as the story unfolded. I loved hearing his now-famous words, watching the beautiful original illustrations and Pooh bear music woven into the story, seeing the surprised looks on people’s faces when he spoke, but above all I couldn’t wait to rush home and give my own silly old bear a great big hug!

Thanks for sharing your remarkable story and characters with us A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard, we are so very happy that you did. I just know you would have delighted in seeing them in this new way and on this new adventure with Christopher Robin.

Christopher Robin is now showing in cinemas across South Africa. It comes highly recommended from me, both as a mom and as someone who loves Winnie the Pooh! In addition to being a wonderful movie to enjoy together with your children, Christopher Robin has lovely messages of the importance of family and friends, as well as how we should never forget about the power of our own imaginations.


Barbie Estate: Beach picnic outdoor furniture

You may have spotted the Barbie Estate range in stores, it includes a wonderful story house, fun moped, as well as great indoor and outdoor furniture sets to bring even more excitement to your little girl’s Barbie play time.

I love that the range encourages our children to role-play, and I’ve seen how Jenny can spend hours enjoying setting up her dolls’ zone and then using the accessories to create imaginative stories. Those lucky Barbie friends get to go on holiday a lot with her!

Now Barbie can even go to the beach with the cool beach picnic outdoor furniture set. The set includes an umbrella beach chair, cooler box and beach towel, and what would a trip to the beach be without fun sunglasses, suntan cream, and a drink with a straw. You’ll also receive a cute puppy in the set, and she’s very happy to sit in the shade and share your day out.

Barbie’s drink and suntan cream can slot nicely into the top of the cooler box or the chair, or she can even hold them in her hand. Jenny loves that the cooler box can open, and she stores all sorts of goodies inside for Barbie. The sunglasses fit nicely onto Barbie’s head to help her keep her cool. All the furniture and accessories are brightly coloured and will have you counting down the days to summer! Barbie sits nicely in the chair, but it will topple over without her in it.

I had to smile when I saw Jenny arrange this outdoor furniture set for the first time. Barbie was placed in the chair, with the puppy on her lap. The cooler box was within reach with the drink on hand, and the towel was laid under the chair. It was Barbie’s perfect day at the beach.

The Barbie Estate: Beach picnic outdoor furniture is available for a recommended retail price of R199 from toy stores and online retailers.

Last word from Jenny: “I like to play with the doggie sitting on her lap because it’s so sweet. I love the cooler box because it has drinks. It’s fun because we can pretend with Barbie.”


Busy Nativity

Busy Nativity is a wonderful first story of Christmas for toddlers to enjoy. This board book features push, pull and slide mechanisms for little ones to help bring the story of the first Christmas to life.

The cover features the stable scene with baby Jesus in the manger, and children will be able to slide the tab to bring the Three Wise Men into the picture. The story is presented simply, in a way that kiddies will be able to understand it. Each page features different tabs to be pushed, pulled and slid to show Mary and Joseph traveling on the donkey to Bethlehem, the animals in the stable, and they will even be able to rock baby Jesus in the manger!

The book is filled with beautifully colored pictures which help to tell the story of Christmas, and accompany the rhyming text. Each page also poses a question to help little ones practise their knowledge of animals and counting.

Busy Nativity is available now. It would make a wonderful present for any little one this Christmas time to teach them about the real reason for the season.


Emirates makes flying with kids fun!

Before I had children I was lucky enough to do quite a bit of international travel (sadly I’ve been grounded since then). Many of those flights were on Emirates, and I always had a good experience with their planes, food, and friendly staff. Exploring the Dubai airport was also a highlight of course!

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to travel overseas with my kids, despite my three-year-old daughter being desperate to go on an airplane. We often read books about planes and chat about what she would do on such a long flight. To this day she doesn’t believe me that there are no beds on a plane!

If I did have to choose an airline to travel with my kids, it would be Emirates. Even before our family was invited to attend a media briefing and special screening of The Jungle Bunch movie with Emirates, I had seen them in action with families on my trips before. I knew that Emirates offers pre-boarding when traveling with kids (and now that I have kids I realize just how great this must be) and the free use of strollers at the Dubai International Airport (essential for tired little legs and parents who have hardly slept to help them navigate through to their next flight). I had also seen all those happy kiddies being handed little packs when they’re settling on the flight to help keep them entertained (and I now realize just how handy these are).

Fouad Caunhye, Emirates Regional Manager, Southern Africa, was just one of the friendly faces that greeted us at the press event. Can you believe that Emirates won the World’s Best Inflight Entertainment System award for the 13th year in a row? If you have little ones you’ll know that distraction is key, and so having an amazing 2500 channels of on-demand entertainment with 90 exclusively dedicated to kids is quite a drawcard.

Flying to over 80 different countries straight out of Durban is a big deal, cutting down on significant travel hours when you’re traveling with children. If you’re a parent you will know that food is the next important distraction. There is a special menu available on Emirates for kids between two and 12 (even served on a colorful tray), and a snack box of treats to help pass the time too. Onboard baby meals are also available so even the smallest passengers are taken care of.

Each child flying will also receive a Fly With Me Animal toy. Amy was gifted with a fluffy Travel Buddy Eagle called Eric who can clip onto her bag, as well as a matching Carry Buddy Eagle who has a soft little blue blanket inside to cuddle.  Young adults can look forward to a  Lonely Planet inspired kid’s pack which includes a travel journal, a magazine with puzzles and activities as well as a coloring book and eye mask.

I’ve experienced Emirates hospitality first hand, and always enjoyed hearing how many different countries were represented on each flight with the cabin crew. It truly is an international crew with 135 nationalities represented and over 60 different languages spoken.

Have you traveled with your kiddies before? What have your experiences been? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share with us?


Goodnight Baby Moon

My little girl is fascinated with the moon, she often wants to go outside to see the moon and stars shining at night time. She is equally as excited to see it in the sky during the day too, where she keeps track of whether it’s waxing or waning. Sometimes I wonder if I have a future astronomer in my home!

Goodnight Baby Moon is a beautiful bedtime story featuring a stunning light-up LED moon on the cover. In other words, this book is perfect for my daughter and has been a popular choice for many nights now.

The story follows a family of inquisitive rabbits as they notice the different phases of the moon. It’s told in short rhyming verse and is wonderfully illustrated with deep blues and purples along with the rabbit’s dark shadows to show off the world at night.

Being a board book it’s safe for even the smallest little hands to hold and enjoy, and it won’t be long before the kiddies know where to turn the lovely light-up moon on the cover on too! Reading and learning about how the moon goes away but always comes back is also an important lesson for our children to learn, since it mirrors the role we as parents play in their lives too – we may go away but we will always come back.

Goodnight Baby Moon is a special book that inquisitive young minds will enjoy reading together with you. Given its beautiful cover and charming story it would also make a wonderful gift to any new mom or mom-to-be.

Goodnight Baby Moon is available at bookstores and online retailers now.


Winnie-the-Pooh: The Great Heffalump Hunt

If there’s anything that frightens Winnie the Pooh, other than running out of honey, it’s Heffalumps. You do of course know what a Heffalump is, don’t you? It’s an elephant-like creature that has been known to cause poor ol’ Pooh bear many a sleepless night because it seems intent on stealing his precious honey.

Winnie-the-Pooh: The Great Heffalump Hunt is written by the very talented Giles Andreae, who also wrote one of my all-time favorite books Giraffes Can’t Dance. The story sees Pooh and Piglet bravely deciding to catch a Heffalump with a cunning trap baited with “a yumptious jar of honey.” The friends split up – Piglet is to dig the pit and Pooh is to fetch the honey. With the trap set the two plan to meet the next day to see what they’ve caught.

But Pooh is hungry, and when he discovers his last jar of honey was used in the trap he sets out into the dark forest to eat just one more pawful. Piglet, meanwhile, is scared, and longing for his best friend Pooh to be with him, and so he also sets out alone to find comfort from him.

What’s that “mournful, muffled moan”? Who is in the pit? Have they caught a Heffalump?

The Great Heffalump Hunt is a wonderful Winnie the Pooh story of friendship to share with your children. They will love the rhyming verse and the beautiful, coloured illustrations to accompany the tale of Pooh and Piglet’s brave new adventure. If you love Pooh Bear this is a must to add to your book shelf! It’s a lovely big book for children to hold, with a beautiful cover that features silver embossed stars and leaves as well as raised flickering fireflies.