Children|Mom life|Parenting

99 Days Until Christmas and Im Hooking You Up with Prima’s List of Top Toys for 2018

Wow!  Yesterday marked 99 days until Christmas 2018.  Can you believe that?  With the Festive Season just around the corner, it’s time to start working on those Christmas gifts for your little ones (and yourselves).

I’m not normally not one to shop ahead of time but with my boys getting bigger, deciding what to buy for them seems to have become more challenging with each year that passes, but … this year is going to be different.

Different, because I recently attended the much-anticipated Prima Top Toys Carnival launch for Christmas 2018.  I arrived not knowing what to expect, but left with every expectation having been exceeded.  I’m a big kid at heart and the Prima Top Toy Carnival, which emphasized the theme, Let Them Play, unleashed my inner child.  We got the incredible opportunity to play with some of the Top Toys for 2018, needless to say I was like a kid in a candy store.  Rest assured that the Prima Tops Toys for 2018 has been #MomApproved

This Festive Season there is something for everyone and for all ages from toddler to tween to teenager. There is also a wide range of classic and new games that adults can enjoy.

The Official Prima Top Toys List for the Entire Family

Girls Toys

Shopkins – This season sees the launch of Shopkins’ Season Nine – Wild Style, which introduces the Shoppets. They are adorable little pets for the Shoppies dolls and are larger than a Shopkin, but smaller than a Shoppie.  The Lil Shoppies dolls that are included with the Happy Places playsets are the new cute kids on the block in Happyville.

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L.O.L. Surprise – The success of the products hinges on the fact that it’s all about unpacking the surprises inside until you have put together a complete toy. The products have won a range of international awards and continue to fascinate girls  from the age of four and up.

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Baby Secret – is a retro toy that has made a comeback. Baby Secrets is collectibles range which features a unique element, that of discovering if the character is a boy or a girl by bathing it in water. The nappy changes colour to either blue or pink to reveal the gender. How’s that for a surprise?!

Cake Pops

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Baby Love – is Prima Toys’ own baby doll range. The success of the dolls hinges on the fact that they were designed with a South African audience in mind and each doll speaks a national language. Baby Bella speaks English, Baba Tasha speaks Afrikaans and the hugely successful Baby Thando speaks English and isiZulu. Parents and little girls can look forward to a new isiXhosa speaking doll. For 2018 the range now includes a Baby Love Buggy.

 

Little Live Pets

Baby Born

Baby Annabell – Baby Annabell® is almost like a real baby with lifelike functions and a cute expression on her face.

My Fairy Garden

Disney Doorables! – Through a collection of figures and connectable playsets, Disney Doorables empowers kids to become storytellers by uniting beloved Disney characters in one land – where surprise and delight await behind each door.

Scruff-a-luvs are adorable fur ball, rescued pets. The pets come in pink or blue and untangle in water to reveal your puppy. Find us Scruffy, Make us Fluffy! These unloved and abandoned pets are in need of your help! When buying your Scruff-a-Luv, they arrive as a sad ball of matted pink fur, but once you bathe them, dry them, brush them and love them, you will discover your puppy! 86270 - SCRUFF A LUVS (11)

Boys Toys

Ben 10 – This superhero is still a favorite.  This year sees an incredible range of additions to the Ben 10 collection27311 - BEN 10 ACTION PROJECTION OMNITRIX.jpg

Big Hero 6 – The toys in this range are based on the animated superhero series of the same name.

Treasure X – Especially for boys who love to hunt for treasure, Treasure X is a new toy that engages the senses as children scratch, dig and unearth the lost bounty. Like any good treasure hunt, Treasure X is about more than just what you find, it’s about the fun of finding it too. Hidden somewhere inside the Treasure X brick are a collectible skeleton figure and a treasure chest which contains a gold treasure.

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Stretch-Mini Figures – Stretch Justice League Figures are just some of the fantastic toys available in the Stretch range.  Each toy can stretch up to 5 times its original size, it then slowly shapes back, ready to be pulled and twisted all over again.  I keep one at my desk for the those days when I need to release a bit of tension 😉

Trixx – is much more than a car that turns 360! Everything is usable in Trixx360! Use the packaging box to build your own circuit! Make as many combinations as you can imagine!But not only that. All the accessories of the cars are interchangeable, including the wheels and the bodies! Collect the 8 cars with their ramps and make multiple combinations!Image result for trixx prima toys

Top Tech Toys

Fingerlings – As the best-selling technology toy for 2017, the Fingerlings have become a phenomenon in the toy world and have made their way onto the top of “MY” Christmas wishlist.  Brightly coloured with adorable faces, these palm-sized pets curl around your finger and come to life when you play, responding to sound, motion and touch with over 40 animations.  The latest editions have me obsessing about the Dino Velociraptor

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Teksta 360 – Incredibly lifelike, the classic robotic Teksta puppy is back with more interactive features than ever before. The puppy responds to voice, movements, lights and sounds through a built-in artificial intelligence program. It communicates its emotions with barks, whines and changes in eye patterns, just like a real puppy.  Teksta will also react to your hand gestures to sit, stop and flip backwards. downloadtek.jpg

PokiBot – The PokiBot is a fun miniature interactive robot that can move, spin, dance and even talk. The bot stands at 8cm and is sound activated – clap your hands and PokiBot will playfully respond as his mouth and eyes light up. Added to the fun is a feature that allows you to make 3 recordings of your own voice to play back in PokiBot’s robotic voice!

Robo Chameleon – Move, Aim and Catch! A Robot Chameleon that can Shoot the tongue out and snap up the “food”!

VR Real Feel – VR Real Feel is the game that makes virtual reality a reality! Experience 3D high-definition graphics with your iPhone or Android smart phone using the VR Real feel headsets.

VR Real Feel Alien Blasters – For fans of virtual reality over the age of 8 years, the VR Real Feel Alien Blasters will meet all your Virtual Reality expectations and more.

Show off your skills with the Laser X Two-Player Laser Tag Gaming Set. With two blasters and two receiving vests, players are ready for one-on-one competitions, but can also join in on team play since the sets are all compatible with each other.

ARIA – A.R.I.A’s Adventures is an educational interactive set with 3 different games in 1 box. It includes 100 interactive flash cards, a Virtual Reality animal park and 3D colouring pages. Use your smart device or the included VR head set and allow A.R.I.A to take you on an incredible virtual journey.

Top Science Toys

National geographic has launched a new range of S.T.E.M. toys that stimulate the imagination and help children develop an aptitude for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The range has fun, educational, stimulating and inspiring toys for kids.

Nat Geo figurines – Wildlife Wow is a revolutionary NEW wildlife series! Soft and squeezable with the same level of detail as hard figures. Each figure is hand-painted with non-toxic paint. These animals come to life with a free virtual and augmented reality experience and the app’s X-ray vision lets you see the skeletal structure inside each animal. Watch videos, learn facts, and explore each animal with the educational interface.

Games – This year the Prima Toys’ collection of games is bigger and better. From the classics to brand new games that will have your skills tested to the limit, all in the name of fun! Two of the brand new games happen to be favourites in our home:

          – Flipslide is a fast-paced electronic game that tests your speed and reflexes.                  Players need to flip to find the colour and slide to match the lights. It can be taken              anywhere and played anytime. What’s more, it is perfect for teenagers and my 14-              year-old is obsessed.

           – Boom Blast Stix – this is another of our favourites.  The game is simple yet                       dynamic and will entertain the whole family, from the little ones aged six and up               to the adults. Players take turns to lock a stix and then add it to the pile on the lid,               until one of the stix spring open and “explode” the other stix in the pile. The                         winner is the player who “booms: with the most stix.

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Game Box

Rubik’s Cube –  We are the hugest fans of the Rubiks cubes and Ashton has an impressive collection to be honest.  This classic toy is for both veterans and amateurs, Prima Toys welcomes the Rubik’s 2 x 2, the Rubik’s 4 x 4 and the new version of the Rubik’s 3 x 3.

Toddler Toys

LeapFrog prepares your child for a lifetime of learning. The brand is the leader in innovative solutions that encourage a child’s curiosity and love of learning throughout their early developmental years. An extensive range of new LeapFrog products are available to help your child develop a love of learning during the early childhood year.

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V Tech – VTech creates age appropriate and developmental stage-based electronic learning products for children of various ages. The products enrich children’s development and make learning fun.Image result for prima toys vtech

Peppa Pig – Inspired by the TV show, expect all things Peppa Pig.

Little Tikes – Little Tikes is a range of toys for indoor and outdoor play that will entertain your child while helping them to develop their mind and imagination. The toys encourage discovery and learning through active, creative and social play and provide hours of fun.

Disney – Mickey Turns 

With Mickey turning 90 on 18 November. Disney will be running a nationwide campaign to celebrate all things.  Expect see Mickey everything!!41972 - 60CM CLASSIC BIG HEAD MICKEY

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Mom life|Parenting|Wellness|Women

Knowledge can boost confidence for oral contraceptive users

Oral contraceptives are chemicals taken by mouth to inhibit normal fertility.  All act on the hormonal system.  Female oral contraceptives, colloquially known as the Pill, are the most common form of pharmaceutical contraception.  They are used to prevent pregnancy.  The pill is also used to control symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis.  Many doctors prescribe the Pill to women who complain of dysfunctional uterine bleeding

Pros & Cons of Oral Contraceptives

Birth Control Pills
Success Rate with Typical Use: 91%
Pros Cons
  • Very effective against pregnancy if used correctly
  • Makes menstrual periods more regular and lighter
  • Decreases menstrual cramps and acne
  • Makes you less likely to get ovarian and uterine cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts, and anemia
  • Doesn’t interrupt sexual activity
  • Doesn’t protect against STIs
  • Depending on your insurance, your birth control may be free or there may be a co-pay.
  • Need to remember to take every day at the same time
  • Can’t be used by women with certain medical problems or by women taking certain medications
  • Can occasionally cause side effects such as nausea, increased appetite, headaches, and, very rarely, blood clots
  • Need a prescription
  • Still need condoms to lower the risk of STIs

The above table is obtained from https://youngwomenshealth.org

Managing lesser known but important side effects, can reduce concerns for users of oral contraceptives

Enabling women to make choices about their fertility is empowering and offers women better economic and social opportunities.   Since their introduction in 1960, there have been many advances towards minimising the side effects of oral contraceptives (OCs) and thus to improving compliance.   Lower dose oral contraceptive formulations have resulted in a decrease in side effects such as breast tenderness and bloating. 

Many users are however unaware of less obvious OC-induced side effects, resulting from the depletion of certain nutrients, such as some of the Vitamin B group.  Greater knowledge of the most common nutritional shortages and their possible impact, should assist users of OCs to decide, in consultation with their physician, whether they would benefit from taking appropriate dietary supplements. 

   Medical disorders that can occur because of vitamin or mineral deficiencies caused by OCs include cardiovascular disorders such as high blood pressure and thrombosis; anaemia and anorexia, as well as the more serious neural tube defects (NTDs) occurring during pregnancy.  NTDs result from the failure of the neural tube of the embryo to close by the fourth week of pregnancy, causing birth defects of the brain and spine.

   Some of the key vitamins and minerals that may be deficient in women taking OCs include B vitamins (in particular Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12); folic acid and zinc.  Vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with a heightened risk of arterial and venous thromboembolism while Vitamin B12 is essential for cell growth and replication. Both Vitamin B12 and folic acid are important in the prevention of NTDs, while folic acid prevents anaemia.  Zinc plays an important role in the proper function of the immune system and cell growth, while a lack of zinc may lead to anorexia, anaemia, atherosclerosis or affect the immune system. 

 Efforts to prevent micronutrient depletion with supplements or food should be considered for women who take OC for a long period. Taking appropriate dietary supplements is recommended as the first step, as various factors such as bioavailability, diet, unhealthy lifestyles and illness can also have an impact on the availability of certain nutrients.  So it’s best to consult your doctor or pharmacy to source appropriate dietary supplements to prevent micronutrient depletion.

 

 

Children|Parenting

Guess Who’s Turning 90 in 90 Days

Guess who’s turning 90 years old in 90 days?  It’s our favourite Disney cartoon character, iconic legend Mickey Mouse.

Icon Mickey will beturning 90 on 18 November 2018.  Disney will be running a nationwide campaign to celebrate all things Mickey.  So prepare for the hype during the months of October through to December as we not only celebrate but honor Mickey Mouse.

The famous cartoon character has been bringing smiles and joy to kids and adults alike for nine decades.

Random Facts About Mickey

  • Mickey Mouse was inspired by the pet mouse Disney had as a child
  • Mickey was originally going to be named Mortimer!
  • Mickey Mouse was the first cartoon character to ever speak. And what were his first words? “Hot dogs!”
  • There are hidden Mickeys all over Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Spotting them is part of the fun of going to the theme parks.
  • Mickey wears white gloves so that you can see his hands (otherwise they would blend in against his body.
  • Walt Disney said that Minnie and Mickey Mouse are indeed married, although they keep it private and they do not share a home.
  •  Mickey Mouse was the first cartoon character to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • In the 1970s, Mickey released a disco album which went double platinum.
  • Mickey Mouse only has four fingers! Walt Disney felt that five fingers resembled a “bunch of bananas.”
  • Walt Disney himself voiced Mickey Mouse for many years.
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Photo captured at the Prima Toys Carnival a few months ago

Prima Toys has an amazing range in store for you guys.  This season there really is something for everyone! Keep your finger on the pulse by going to www.primatoys.co.za or www.Facebook.com/primatoys and follow @PrimaToys.

Thanks for all the awesome memories, Mickey!  We love you

Parenting|Women

Is There Such a Thing as Intimacy, Connection & Desire after Kids?

I attended the June Mama Meetup which was held at the very luxurious and exclusive Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa. The theme for the meet-up focused on intimacy, connection and desire after kids. The Saxon was the perfect setting, supported by its incredible food and drinks, it set the tone for the night ahead.

Relationships, like most things in life occur in phases and don’t we all absolutely love the initial phase of a relationship. The butterflies, excitement and sheer spontaneity which results in moments of euphoria and incredible chemistry.

Then at some stage (planned or unplanned) kids are thrown into the mix and things change. The added responsibility of looking after our little ones, 24/7 plays a dramatic role in intimacy, connection and desire levels. For most men, having children doesn’t diminish their sex drive, it is however the contrary for many women. Time is also a vital factor which sees us prioritise everything else ahead of ourselves and our relationships.

Totally Me – Intimacy & Relationship Coach

Tracy Ziman Jacobs, intimacy and relationship coach was the guest speaker at the June meet-up and according to her, what sounds a bit like a bit of a fallacy, is actually attainable. You will however need to put in the effort and work.

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Everyone has a beautiful erotic side to themselves” – Tracey Ziman Jacobs

Tracey is a therapeutic counsellor who works as a specialised intimacy and relationship coach within her consultancy, Totally Me which is based in Bryanston.

She spoke passionately about wanting to help couples and individuals who wish to go beyond their current intimacy level and rekindle the passion they once had for each other and for themselves. Tracy Ziman Jacobs shared part of her life story. “When I got married, I thought I’d never get divorced,” says Tracy. “It came as a bit of a shock and after my divorce, I was cynical about marriage,” she admits. But she recognised the hope we as human beings attach to marriage. “It’s the romance that brings us together and after all, people are still getting married,” she muses.

As a mother herself, Tracy understands that there needs to be a balance between parenting and marriage. The interactive session saw us chat to Tracey about our wants, needs and frustrations as mothers in the 21st century.

Whether you’re a parent or not, Tracy’s counselling work is about rekindling romance for a renewed intimate relationship. “You’ve just got to do it to understand it,” says Tracy of her sessions. “In other words, do the work and then you’ll understand it.” She went on to explain that good sexual health is also great for creativity and for our bodies, as it boosts circulation as well as oxytocin and serotonin. The bottom line is that connecting with your partner and being in a good space is wonderful for everyone all round.”

My 5 Ways to Increase Intimacy in your Relationships

  1. Love yourself – to truly love another, we need to first learn to love ourselves.
  2. Speak your partner’s love language – communication is indeed the foundation of all great relationships.
  3. Kindness doesn’t cost a thing – Regular kind gestures will have a lasting impacting on a relationship
  4. Go to bed together– Our fast pace lives often have us living past each other. Try and limit that as far as possible
  5. Put the phone down – cellphone have become such an intrusion and obsession in our lives, that we really need to learn to just put our phones aside and connect with people face to face.
  6. Date night is non-negotiable. – It’s okay to take time away from your kids. In fact its vital and help couples to reconnect. So whether is a day, night, weekend away or even just an over to grab a coffee together in a moment of sanity, do it.
  7. Set boundaries with your kids – Kids need to respect that aside from being parents, you are also husbands and wives.
  8. Date each other again – recreate the initial chemistry and excitement.
  9. Spice things up – No further explanation needed
  10. Seek professional help – If you relationship is in a downward spiral, don’t just leave. Seek out professional help

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Irrespective of your relationship status, a renewed intimate relationship is a step in the right direction. Tracey explained that the benefits are numerous: “When you’re in synergy with the one you love, you are in a good space and you will find that you’ll sleep better, work better, have more patience with your children and be far more productive. Good sexual health is also great for creativity and for our bodies; it boosts circulation as well as oxytocin and serotonin.

So leave a comment if you have found a way to keep the romance in your relationship alive and kicking.

Children|Parenting|Review

Cartoon Network Live Tour Hits Jozi

As the cold front gripped Gauteng, parents were left looking for ideas to keep their little ones entertained  that didn’t involve the outdoors.  The timing of the opening show of the Cartoon Network Live Tour in Johannesburg, couldn’t have been more perfect.

In a story inspired by “good can conquer evil”, Cartoon Network Live Tour brings to life the much-loved characters from DSTV’s channel 301. The kids eagerly arrived to take their seats and one could see their anticipation build as they awaited the appearances of their favourite Cartoon Network characters.

The show sees characters such as the Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10, Gwen, Jake and Finn, fighting villains live on stage in a performance filled with music, dance, colourful lights and a willing participation from the kids and parents alike.


Kelvin Gizmo, scientist extraordinaire, transported us into the world of Cartoon Network which is under threat of Zarr, the evil robot.  We travelled through the Land of Ooo, the city of Townsville and Elmore to help Kevin Gizmo stop Zarr and his evil plans.

What was originally assumed to be a show for the kids only, turned out to be a show that catered for the entire family.  The kids clapped, danced and sang along.  There was a definite highlight for the kids and they revelled in every second of it, but you will need to attend the show to fully feel and understand that part of the experience.

The props and effects are rather impressive, resulting in the show providing an atmosphere similar to that of a concert.  Cartoon Network Live ends on an absolute high, leaving everyone wanting for more.  An extremely creative, fun and interactive production that the kids and entire family won’t want to miss this winter school holiday.

Cartoon Network Live will be showing in Johannesburg at Montecasino from 3rd – 8th July 2018
Tickets are available from Computicket: R175 – R390 – up to 50% off all off-peak shows

Please don’t forget to share your experience with us via social media using the #CNLSA

 

Fit Family|Parenting

It isn’t about winning, but more about crossing the finish line

Those of you who follow me, know that my family is indeed a #FITFAM. I couldn’t look at improving my health and fitness level, without including my kids. Being fit as a family is important to me, as it’s created lasting moments of quality time spent together. I know my kids will look back and cherish our moments of fitness fun.

Fit Family of the Month
It’s so important to me that I’ve decided to do a series about Fit Families who inspire me. Today I’d like to introduce you to Emanuel and his family. Mani (as he is better known as), is a Dad blogger who shares Darren’s and his personal journey as gay parents in South Africa. They are the gorgeous family behind the blog Two Dads & a Kid

Mani has generously agreed to share their story as a Fit Family with us and I’m over the moon and grateful to have them on the blog today.

Their Story
Hubby(Darren) and I both grew up during a period that sport was part of the school curriculum. You weren’t expected to participate in every single sport the school offered, but we were expected to participate in at least one sporting discipline in addition to PE (now known as Physical Training). Darren was into athletics and his rugby. He loved rugby so much that it became part of his career. I on the other hand was exposed to and participated in a variety of sports disciplines ranging from individual activities like squash, athletics and swimming through to group disciplines like soccer and cricket.

Into our adult life, sport or rather physical activities have always been a part of our daily routines. We either at the gym for 30 to 60 minutes doing weights or cardio, or we are on the road, running or cycling. Entering races has become part of your weekend routine, not to win but to finish and improve on your previous race time. When our son was placed with us, he was our support crew with whichever spouse was not participating. Early morning starts became part of our weekend game.

Even before our son came home, it was a given that he would be encouraged to participate in sports. So, it was no surprise that we introduced him to swimming at age 6 months. At this point we attended lessons for about 4 months before he had had enough. So, we stopped. I’m so glad that we attended these lessons though, because a Sunday afternoon a year later he accidentally fell into the pool. Thank God for the lesson, because instinctively he turned himself onto his back and started kicking his legs and moving his arms about. What felt like minutes, was a lot less. When I eventually reached him, he was calm. This scenario could have been deadly, thankfully it wasn’t. Drowning is real! Besides saving your life there are many other benefits to learning how to swim. Swimming is great for the heart, lungs, improving your strength, balance, posture and flexibility. In recent years child obesity has become a huge concern, as it may lead to diabetes, swimming is a great preventative measure.

Although our son disliked the pool for a while, today he is loving his swimming lessons. We’ve introduced him to the world of Karate, Basketball, Soccer and Mountain Biking to bring a little more balance. Of all these disciplines, Mountain biking is where his heart is. He is a true MTB Rider. Seeking all the challenging routes while out on the trails. Although the hills are still his nemesis, if neither Darren or I are around, he will give it his best, refusing to give up, and giving him a sense of achievement. As he matures, being out on his bike will be another way for him to meet and make new friends. Although relatively new to schools, MTB is growing at school level with many events now introducing a prize for the school with the most entrants, for example. The best part of MTB or Cycling is that you can go out onto the trails as a family and it’s a skill your child will have forever.

Benefits of Exercise for Families

  • it improves our moods by releasing endorphins in the brain, that natural ‘high’ you feel after a good workout
  • kids that exercise regularly are more likely to pay attention and switch between tasks with better speed and accuracy
  • perform better on tests regular exercise also builds a child’s self-esteem
  • provides an environment for kids to meet and make new friends

Different Strokes for Different Folks
As a family we don’t necessarily all excel in the same sports. So, for example, Darren enjoys MTB more than I do. For that reason, he tends to be the one hitting the trails with our son. Swimming is my fortes, so besides swimming school, whenever I get the chance I hit the local pool at the gym and basically get our son to show me what he has learnt during swimming class. All three of us enter races. There’s nothing like a medal to boost your spirits and push you to do better.

Final word
Their motto is that as a family they do not give up. They may not be the first to cross the finish line, but they will finish! If you would like to follow these amazingly inspirational dads as they keep fit with their handsome son, then go and vist their blog TWO DADS & A KID and follow them on social media.