Category: Review I Giveaway

Because best friends are furr-ever – WIN a Build-A-Bear experience this festive season

If bear hugs are your thing, you absolutely have to pop in to your local Build-A-Bear workshop with your kids this festive season, or perhaps save it for a ‘Build-A-Bear Workshop Party’ for your kid’s next birthday?

Ilan, Kira and I were treated to an afternoon workshop experience at Build-A-Bear, Canal Walk a few weeks ago and it was just magical. The kids were able to customise their bears from scratch – they could select their bear (there are superhero choices for the boys!); record a voice message or choose a scent for their bear; stuff their bear (see video below) and then ‘make their bear come alive’ through a little heartwarming ceremony full of kisses. Before they left they were also led in a little chant: ‘Best friends are furr-ever, so I promise right now to make my bear my number one pal’ and given birth certificates for their bears. A sweet afternoon from start to finish.

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We finally got a puppy! Does a Laugh & Learn pup count?

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So our kids have been begging for a puppy for the longest time but it’s just not going to happen for them right now – we live in a complex with a no dogs rule and to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for the barking and constant poop scooping that comes with the territory. Enter a special delivery from Fisher Price to save me from their constant nags and voila, my kids are overnight pet owners – to a Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy! (And this particular pet is cute and fluffy and has an off button.)

Our much loved Laugh & Learn pup has been given the name ‘Puppy’ and is the toy of the moment in our house. He’s not only teaching our kids colours and parts of the body but is teaching them how to SHARE too. I’m a long time Fisher Price fan as their toys are educational, durable, built to last and there is definitely a degree of sentimentality attached to the brand for me. This toy is no different and just see how much Kira loves playing with Puppy:

Want to see what our new @fisherprice Laugh & Learn pup can do? #fisherprice

A post shared by Jules Kynaston (@heartmamablog) on

 

Puppy is for kids from 6 to 36 months and has three different age appropriate stages (there is a button on the left foot to switch between the stages) and you can also press and hold puppy’s heart to play all 20 sing-along songs in a row. Even though Kira and Ilan are both over 36 months, they still love taking turns pressing the buttons and singing along with their pup. Judah who is two and half is beyond besotted with Puppy and when the novelty of the new toy wears off with the others, I think he will claim it as his own.

These are the Smart Stages of the Laugh & Learn pup, with learning content that changes as your baby grows:

  1. Explore 6 months + – Teaches first words, colours and parts of the body.
  2. Encourage 12 months + – Teaches counting and colours with sing-along songs.
  3. Pretend 18 months + – Baby enjoys roles play fun with songs, phrases and music
  4. Sleep – You can switch your pup to silent so that there are is no sound or lights.

Why I love this toy for my kids: You can select high or low volume (um, you can guess which one I chose!) and the sound is not grating at all. I generally avoid toys with batteries, but Puppy get the thumbs up from me. And because Puppy makes learning fun – it’s the sweetest thing to hear your kids singing together first thing in the mornings. We’re loving our new pet!

What’s your favourite Fisher Price toy?

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If you’d like to find out more about the Fisher Price toy range, follow them on Facebook.

This post was sponsored by Fisher Price.

Tasting adventure with Spur – All about the new #SpurGoggles

Are you looking for a great way to spend R20 and entertain your kids at the same time? Well, next time you’re at Spur (as if you need another reason), make sure you purchase the new #SpurGoggles which are now available with any Spur meal. It’s a simple virtual reality viewer that can offer a great deal of entertainment – both for the kids as well as any adult that is watching their kids experience virtual reality for the first time!

So, how does it work?

  1. Purchase a pair of Spur goggles and make sure that your phone is compatible – Samsung: Galaxy S4, S5, S6, S7 and Nexus; Apple: iPhone 5, 5s, 6, 6s; Google: Nexus 4 and 5; Motorola: Moto X
  2. Download free virtual reality games or videos – go to www.spurgoggles.co.za from your phone or take a look here for more details.
  3. Put your phone into the VR viewer and close the flap.
  4. Look around, explore and play!

Our favourite game so far is the VR Roller Coaster – Ilan says ‘It’s like going on a roller coaster for real life!’ And I’m telling you this game can make your stomach flip but it’s amazing how kids don’t seem to get queasy the same way us grownups do. Click play below to see Ilan in action:

The virtual reality #spurgoggles in action – 'round and round'! You can get yours for R20 from @spursteakranches.

A post shared by Jules Kynaston (@heartmamablog) on

 

Let me know if you’ve tasted adventure with Spur yet and share your pics to social media with the hashtag #SpurGoggles so that we can share a giggle or two in the name of entertainment.

Sponsored by Spur.

Listen up, Cape Town Dads: How to Dinner Date your Wife at Dash Restaurant & Bar

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This post is especially for the dads who may like some insider info from a mom who thinks it time for you to spoil your lovely lady (and mother of your little treasures) with a posh dinner at a fancy restaurant. Because you love her, obviously, and because she deserves a night off and a night out with your handsome self every now and then.

As we were recently treated to a date night at Dash Restaurant & Bar and loved it so much, I recommend you add it to the list of restaurants you’d like to try. This spot is at the Queen Victoria Hotel (from the Newmark Hotel group), close to the Waterfront in Cape Town.

Anyway, now here’s a guide to dating wife at Dash:

  1. Book a table at Dash – by phoning 021 418 1466 or booking a table online.
  2. Take a look at the menu and get excited (and perhaps start saving – this is fine dining! Main courses range from R140 to R295). Take a look at the new 4 course tasting menu option.
  3. Organise a babysitter. This can be an added stress for a mom, so be a man and make a plan.
  4. When it’s date night, sort the kids out and get them ready for the babysitter so that your wife can have a few minutes to get ready in peace. She will love you for this.
  5. Clean your cab so that you can arrive in style and then double check directions and where to park – the Dash entrance can be a little tricksy to find if you park on the wrong level. FYI: It’s is opposite the Watershed, above Cave Golf but you access parking from Portswood and take the ramp UP (not down which is what we did.) Or you could call an Uber and save yourself the hassle.
  6. Make sure you arrive in time to hear the live music from the piano man in the bar area. You will feel like you’ve walked into a movie and the tinkling of the old ivories definitely sets the tone for a romantic night out.
  7. Order a glass of bubbly at the bar and celebrate that you have managed to leave the house in one piece and feel those frazzled parent nerves fade away. (Confession: We cheers-ed our glasses more than once.) Enjoy feeling like a tourist in your own city as you hear the foreign accents of the hotel guests who are seated beside you.
  8. Appreciate the sophisticated decor and art that adorns the walls as you are lead to your table.
  9. Have fun browsing through the menu. (If your wife is vegetarian like me, there won’t be much choice for her but this won’t be an issue at all because the veg option on offer is incredible!). If you want to avoid order envy, here’s a heads up on what we ordered and LOVED:
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The souffle starter with biltong shavings.

 

My order: Starter: Asparagus, olive toast, nut crush and parmesan snow Main: Vegetable terrine, smoked red pepper coulis, artichokes and hummus Dessert: Banana parfait, butterscotch sauce and banoffee

Husband’s order: Starter: Double baked gorgonzola soufflé, biltong shavings and hazelnuts Main: Lamb loin with pearl barley, beetroot puree and roasting jus Dessert: Hot chocolate fondant with orange ice cream and bitter sugar brittle .

 

What’s our verdict? We loved our unhurried dining experience and the beautifully presented food – each course was a complete work of art and almost too pretty to eat (almost). Thank you for having us, Dash!

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This post was sponsored by Dash Restaurant & Bar. 

WIN one of three copies of ‘The Lemon Tree’, an African story about pancakes & ubuntu

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‘How often do we read about bluebells and foxes and beavers to our children instead of things that are familiar to them?’ says author Katherine Graham. Her latest book, The Lemon Tree, is a really sweet story about making pancakes with Gogo with beautiful illustrations by Wendy Patterson.

It’s pouring with rain the day that Gogo decides to make pancakes. But she soon discovers she is missing several important ingredients. Helped by her two grandchildren, Sipho and Lungi, Gogo devises a clever plan in which the lemon tree comes to their rescue.

Our family loved being at the launch of The Lemon Tree at The Book Lounge
last month and I listed it as one of my ‘Best Buys for my Black Kids – Heart Mamas’ Guide for Adoptive Families.’ I was freshly reminded that representations matters when Kira looked at the cover pic and said, ‘Mom, that’s me!’. We also have a little lemon tree in our garden that has started bearing fruit and so I think it’s time for pancakes…

You can buy this book from Exclusive Books for R83, click here for details OR enter below to win! Here’s how:

  1. Like & Share the pinned Facebook post on Heart Mama Blog with the hashtag #TheLemonTree
  2. Tag a friend on the Facebook post to share the love!

The competition closes on Friday 9 September at 12h00 and the winner will be selected via Random.org. The winner drawn must have followed all necessary steps above in order to qualify for the prize. This competition is open to South African residents only and delivery of the prize will be made to your doorstep. Good luck mamas!