Mega Bloks Barbie Range: Review

Mega Bloks approached us with their new Barbie range in late August and I jumped at the chance. We’d already bought Littlebit a load of Lego (Mega Bloks biggest rival) for her 4th birthday in September after she was so taken with The Lego Movie.

I loved construction blocks as a child and I think I started playing with them around this age. Littlebit had outgrown her Happyland toys, and love them as we do we wanted to replace them with something a bit more “grown up” but that she could still use her fantastic imagination for role playing, which she loves. Construction blocks seemed like the perfect thing and I’m not fussy on brand.

I have to admit though, that I thought that Mega Bloks were just the larger blocks for toddlers until we received this email. I could see these were blocks that were most definitely not for toddlers. These are very grown up toys (well grown up enough for a 4, going on 14, year old!)

Mega Bloks Barbie

Littlebit is SO into her dolls at the moment, Barbie like dolls mostly, and she’s really enjoyed collecting the Barbies in Kinder Eggs, which are not dissimilar to the dolls in these sets.

I unpacked the first box while she was at play school one day and set up an invitation to play ready for her return. The first set we used was the Mega Bloks Barbie Fab Mansion.

Mega Bloks Barbie

Mega Bloks Barbie

We spent about an hour and a half assembling the first set. It was a bit beyond her capabilities if I’m honest. BUT she loved finding the right pieces for me, using the instructions and passing them over, so it was a lovely joint activity.

Mega Bloks Barbie

And once assembled we had hours and hours of fun playing with it.

Mega Bloks Barbie

We did the same with the other two sets we’d been sent over the next couple of days too. The Mega Bloks Barbie Chelsea Pool Party which sits nicely next to the mansion and The Mega Bloks Barbie Fairy Tree House. Littlebit particularly liked the last one as it has a flying fairy Barbie and a swing too.

Mega Bloks Barbie

Pretty much every other day since Littlebit has got these blocks out and unassembled, reassembled, made her own inventions, chattering away and telling stories as she goes. It’s lovely to watch and listen too and she’s learning as she goes counting the blocks and reciting the colours etc.

They’re really good quality and I can see years of fun creations ahead with this lot. I’m pleased to say they fit with the Lego too and are totally interchangeable. Win!

The Barbie Mega Bloks range are available from Argos and the sets start from £9.99.

This is a review post. We were provided with a Mega Bloks Barbie Fab Mansion, Chelsea Pool Party and Fairy Tree House for review. All opinions are my own.

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Mum really does know best: Butlin’s

If you’re a regular visitor to this blog you’ll know by now that Mummypinkwellies and family are Butlin’s Ambassadors this year. There’s even a shiny new badge in my side bar to prove it, look >>>

Well, on Friday last week I took a trip to Butlin’s HQ in Hemel Hempstead to meet the other ambassadors and the Butlin’s team I’ll be working with over the forthcoming year. See my Silent Sunday this week for a pic from HQ.

I had such a lovely day and came home with a lovely bag of goodies, thanks Butlin’s.

Butlin's goodies

I also came home with lots of exciting facts about Butlin’s and their history and a renewed love for them. You see I’ve been to Butlin’s many a time, but to Spring Harvest the annual Christian festival, never to Butlin’s as Butlin’s, if you see what I mean. I’ve never met a red coat, nor experienced the entertainment there as Spring Harvest literally just takes over the site for a couple of weeks. So, now I’ve been to HQ, watched some of the adverts through the ages and been reminded what Butlin’s was like when I used to visit in the late 80’s, through the 90’s and early 00’s and seen what’s changed since then (like, LOADS) I can’t wait to get back.

One of the changes is the upgrading of the accommodation. And there’s some exciting new developments coming over the next few years. The first of the new developments are being launched by Butlin’s this week in partnership with Mumsnet to help reinvent its iconic chalet for the 21st century family.

With the trend for nostalgia still going strong and the UK looking to the best of the past to create the best of the future, Butlin’s  is taking on this desire by reimagining, and reinventing, one of the most iconic innovations of holiday parks, the Chalet.

Butlin's chalet

One thing I learnt on Friday is that Butlin’s truly do have families at their heart and thus they have teamed up with one of the UK’s largest parenting sites, Mumsnet, to help shape this new look and direction by consulting families on what they value most in holiday accommodation.

To breathe new life into these classic holiday symbols, Butlin’s is investing £16million into creating a brand new Chalet village at their Minehead resort in Somerset to take them from ‘Hi-de-Hi’ to ‘high-end’ as research shows that three quarters (75 per cent) of mums base their holiday choice on the accommodation on offer.

Butlin’s carried out in-depth research with more than 1,000 Mumsnet members into everything from what technology should be included through to the layout of the Chalets and what magic touches families would want, both inside and out.

This insight has helped Butlin’s create one-of-a-kind bespoke accommodation, designed by and for families as the ultimate place to help hard-working families get the most from their time together.

Butlin's chalet

Butlin's chalet

Butlin's chalets

Don’t they look lovely?

Top features of the new Chalets include:

  • To encourage family time and bonding, there won’t be TVs in the children’s bedrooms as almost half (46 per cent) of Mumsnet respondents champion the idea of removing TVs from anywhere but family areas
  • 59 per cent worry about the British weather ruining their experience – so the Chalets are equipped with arts and crafts materials for indoor fun. To keep the little ones amused toys and games will also be provided.
  • Mums were also clear that they wanted items that their children could play with outdoors, so outdoor sporting items will be provided inside the chalets.
  • And to help youngsters make friends – which is important to 88 per cent of mums when away – Butlin’s has created bespoke outdoor play areas which include bandstands, a boating lake with remote control boats and giant Jenga, taking the best of the community feel of the old Chalets but with a modern twist and through the lens of what mums actually want.

The two, three and four-bedroom Chalet village development, West Lakes Village, opens at Minehead resort in Somerset for Easter 2015.  To book now click here.

I am a #ButlinsAmbassador and will be receiving two complimentary stays as part of my Butlin’s Ambassador role, however all views and opinions are my own. I will occasionally share information from Butlin’s which I think will be of interest to my readers. 

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Lottie Doll review and giveaway

Dare I say the C word? You know, Christmas? Is anyone thinking about it yet? I know I am, there are only 14 weekends left until the big day. With this in mind today I am bringing you a review of the awesome Lottie Doll. You may have noticed we’ve been lucky enough to be selected as a Lottie Ambassador, see that pretty little badge in my side bar so I’ll be updating you lots about these pro-girl dolls.

lottie-ambassador-badge

Lottie is designed for girls aged 3 – 9, Lottie was developed with scientific expertise from leading British academics, alongside consumer research, to address parental concerns over negative body image, an increased perception of premature sexualisation, as well as a desire for a return to good old-fashioned creative and imaginative play.

Pirate Queen LottieWe opted for the Pirate Queen doll, which is a doll that is inspired by the life of the original ‘Pirate Queen’, Grace O’ Malley – a real-life pirate who lived in 16th century Ireland, and met with Queen Elizabeth I.  O’Malley’s exploits were uncovered in 2003 in a book authored by historian Anne Chambers.  Until this point, O’Malley had largely been airbrushed from history on account of her not fitting the conventional norms of womanhood. Pirate Queen Lottie™ comes with an accessory set including replica silver coins ‘pesos de ochos’ (pieces of eight) and a treasure map, with Latin wording.  There are also a series of collector cards highlighting key events in O’Malley’s life.

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I picked this doll as Littlebit is really into her pirates. She loves princesses, but also trains, lego and pirates (yay!) I adore these little videos that Lottie have made, Littlebit watched this over and over and then reenacted it once she’d got her Pirate Queen out of the box.

Pirate Queen Lottie

Key Features:

  • Lottie is a wholesome doll alternative for children aged 3-9; she is 7.5 inches (18cm) tall, so is very portable and easy for little hands to carry around. She’s the only doll of her size on the market.
  • The key difference to other dolls is that Lottie has a healthy ‘childlike’ body – she wears age appropriate clothing and doesn’t wear makeup, jewellery or high heels and she can stand on her own two feet (always a useful life skill for all girls, big and small).
  • She’s all about letting girls be girls, doing all the activities a child would do, not growing up too quickly, and presenting a healthy view on body image.
  • Lottie’s clothing is composed of tactile fabrics with lots of attention to detail, easy to dress and undress, with velcro fastenings. Littlebit loved the number of items Lottie is wearing, dressing and undressing her is a firm favourite.
  • Her hair is lovely and soft; it doesn’t tangle and knot like other doll hair. A real bug bear of mine.
  • Lottie has bendable knees with ball socket hips and arms; her head can move side to side and she can do the splits front to back and side to side.
  • Lottie is presented in a giftable, illustrated and collectible ‘doll box bag’, with minimal plastic packaging.

Pirate Queen Lottie

  • Launched in August 2012, she has won 12 international awards, including 3 Oppenheim Portfolio Platinum Awards.

I love the ethos of Lottie. For about a year I have denied Littlebit’s pleas for Barbie’s and Princess dolls as I hate the hype and the unnecessary body images they portray. I’ve finally caved to the Princess dolls now, but alongside the Lottie doll too and I’m really pleased to say Littlebit has far more fun, creative play with her Lottie doll.

There are currently 12 dolls in the range, there’s a doll to suit any child’s taste. Lottie dolls retail at £16.99; accessory sets at £7.99.

If you’re local to Hinckley and Leicestershire the fabulous Hubbard’s Toy Cupboard are also stockists of the Lottie Doll so do pop down and take a look at their range.

Lottie are celebrating their 2nd anniversary so are offering you the chance to win 2x Lottie Dolls and 2x Accessory Sets here on Mummypinkwellies. Just complete your details below.

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