With the start of the summer holidays, I don’t envy the working mum who has to somehow juggle full-time work with young children looking to be kept animated for seven days each week – luckily, with my little one still at the age of three I can find some comfort in the regular opening hours of the nursery!
And so, the launch of Tickety Toc’s very first toy range could not have come at a better time – and to top it off, taking place in the toy heaven that is Hamleys on Regent Street.
Tommy and Tallulah, stars of the show which screens on both Nick Jr and Channel 5’s Milkshake, were there in all their (bigger than) life-sized glory to greet the VIP testers, who included Denise Van Outen joined by husband Lee Mead and their daughter Betsy.
Other VIPs enjoying a day out with the family included Tamzin Outhwaite, John Sergeant, Laila Rouass, Lauren Crace, Charlie Condou, Shaun Dooley and Luisa Zissman.
The children were all smiles as they joined in with the activities and dancing led by Channel 5’s Milkshake! presenters Kemi and Olivia.
While the obvious point of conversation was the fact that Van Outen and Mead were pictured out together for the first time in months, helping to put to bed rumours of marriage problems – I took the opportunity to chat to TV presenter Kate Garraway and see if she had any tips about the joys of juggling.
Mum to Darcey, seven, and William, three, 45 year old Garraway gave a wry smile when I asked for her words of wisdom.
‘Like alot of parents out there these days I do rely on my own parents – their grandparents – who help to look after the children when I’m working, but when it comes to summer, everyone, even my parents want to take their holidays, so I’d definitely advise people to plan, so no-one gets left in the lurch’.
The Tickety Toc toy range is available from a range of retailers including Argos, Smyths and Amazon and include talking Tommy and Tallulahs, a Clockhouse playset, and a musical Pufferty train, with prices ranging from £6.99 to £30.
Yes, that momentous time in a toddler’s life and their parent’s has arrived…I’ve finally had to bite the bullet and get serious about potty training my two year old.
Using the long bank holiday as an opportunity to do the deed, I prepared for what could only be described as a damp, smelly and frustrating version of hell.
A quick bit of online research gives you all sorts of ideas – from training your little one to use the toilet in one day, to weeing dolls and even a potty training celebration dance endorsed by celebrities like Tori Spelling and Alyson Hannigan (Buffy/How I Met Your Mother). And so with this wealth of knowledge, I decided to face the task ahead…with my eyes firmly shut and praying for the best!
The first couple of hours was spent dealing with six – yes, six – changes, mopping up spillages and telling my daughter numerous times, ‘You must tell mummy when you need to do wee wee, you say ‘mummy wee wee’. To which she’d reply each time ‘Yes, mummy wee wee’, giving me the (false) impression that she completely understood.
And as I wondered why it seemed potty training is the job of the mother, my other half made his fairly timid attempts at encouraging our little girl – from the comfort of our bed, chilling in front of the TV. So when our daughter had a little accident on the duvet cover, I couldn’t help but smile…
So here I am, at the end of the fourth day – several machine loads and too many outfit changes (both her and me) later and I can proudly say my daughter’s getting the hang of it (virtual high five!)!
So back to work in the morning and over to the nursery – fingers crossed they help keep up the good work…
MY daughter is going through a major slime phase at the moment, so when we were invited to the Poopsie Slime Surprise VIP event, she could hardly contain her excitement!
Arriving at the brightly decorated London venue, she made a beeline for the slime-making table and proceeded to lose herself in the different varieties of slime being created. Meanwhile, I occupied myself by taking a picture on a giant toilet, lol.
The day was was a chance for fans to try out new additions to the range including Cutie Tooties Surprise and Sparkly Critters – which rather pleasantly spit or ‘poop’ slime.
The mix of toilet humour with sparkles is a winning combination for the brand – my daughter’s favourite is the Cutie Tooties Surprise which is a giant glittery poo complete with different types of slime, for example, water, crunchy, bouncy, marshmallow….! In addition, you also get a mini collectable character inside.
Meanwhile, my toddler is yet to show any interest in the wonderful world of slime and instead spent the day captivated by the balloons!
How long before he joins the tribe of kids fascinated by unboxing toys? The countdown begins….
The love of a parent is a strong thing, so strong that you're prepared to shell out 22 odd pounds for a ticket to LolliBop billed as 'The big bash for little people'. Set in Regent's Park, catering for toddlers, those under 3ft and the 'tweenies' age group, TV favourites such as Dick and Dom, Mister Maker and the ZingZillas were among those billed.
I spent just over four hours there with my two year old and I'm sure I was more exhausted than her as we made the trek back to the station..! She was more than happy to be surrounded by fire-breathing mechanical dragons, storytelling by Poppy Cat, a six foot tall Dora the Explorer and Stavros Flatley - oh wait a minute, think that was me who enjoyed their hilarious double act which saw them joined by some randoms to perform the Blues Brothers' Everybody Needs Somebody to Love!
Activities to take part in during the day included hula hoop workshops, cookery sessions, baby ballet, Moshi Monsters and a science lab - to name but a few. My only complaint, as the mother of a HUGE Dora the Explorer fan, was that her appearance on the main stage was billed as a 'singalong' but was nothing more than advertising for the forthcoming Dora the Explorer live show. That and the £6 helium balloons that were being sold on the grounds.
So all in all not a cheap day out unless you manage to bag some deal or free tickets! But for the amount of activities on offer, a fun family day out and brilliant for children slightly older than two years old, as I think my daughter was slightly too young to appreciate all that was on offer, or in other words, her attention span not long enough to stay interested!
Keep an eye out for early bird tickets for next year!