Mouse House

As a child I received a custom made dollhouse for Christmas.  I loved playing with it and spent many hours re-arranging the furniture, and adding special little touches to it.  I still have a fascination with dollhouses and everything in miniature.

Several months ago I found a vintage dollhouse at a thrift store and I couldn’t pass it up.  Henrik and I decided it would be the perfect home for our Maileg Mice.  I added a couple of coats of paint and some paper to the house and it’s as good as new.  I then added a few pieces of furniture and a mouse portrait painted by Henrik to make our mouse family feel at home.

My children have enjoyed playing with their mouse house and Henrik is already talking about moving his claymation guys in…


Jugar i Jugar wooden toys

I have always been so fond of wooden toys. They look good and live with you for ever and ever. Jugar I Jugar is a Spanish brand selling all kinds of adorable toys.

But Jugar I jugar seems to be much more than a shop selling lovely toys. They have workshops, “tuppertoys”: they go to your house with a selection of toys and show you different ways to play. Brilliant! Their commitment with sustainable production, with quality human relations with their suppliers and their aim to have nice and gentle toys for our kids is something I really admire.

Lots of good reasons to take a look at jugar I jugar. It is such a pleasure to find people like Carmen and Claudia, fighting for what they believe.


Another favourite toy: Bonz!

Apart from our collection of Schleich animals, these Bonz must be the toy(s) my boys play with most often.  We have both the Exo Bonz kit and the Sea Bonz set, and all the pieces have been thrown together into one big bin… meaning my kids can create the most unusual creatures! Every day I find at least one new creation in their bedroom — and it’s so fun to see how imaginative they can get.

The Bonz construction kits are great because each piece can be connected to the next, so the possibilities are endless. Plus, the sets come with cool pieces like eye balls, wings, jellyfish tentacles, and special connector pieces which pivot 180° to allow the creatures to pose, bend and move. Even I like playing with these!

Available from Amazon (US) .


My daughter’s favourite toy — Baby Dolls

Again, no surprises here — my 22-month-old daughter loves ‘baby’ (currently it doesn’t matter which one). We have two babies in our house.  On your left you will see Winnie (the winker).  We bought Winnie from the Early Learning Centre for my son about a month before my daughter was born to get him into babies (which seemed to work quite well). On your right you will see Polly Dolly (for ease I have called most of my daughter’s soft-toys ‘Polly’ – we have a Polly Parrot, a Polly Princess, a Polly Polar (bear) and of course Polly Dolly).  My husband bought Polly Dolly for Lioba the Christmas before she was born.

Polly Dolly is a Kathe Kruse Bade-Puppe (bath doll).  Kathe Kruse is a wonderful German brand famous for dolls (but a brand I personally love for all their baby toys and music boxes*).   (more…)

My son’s favourite ‘toy’

For this theme week I asked my son, Elias, what his favourite toy is. Elias is 3 (nearly 4) and so it will come as no surprise to most mums with a 3 (nearly 4)-year-old boy that he answered, “my scooter”. Elias loves his blue Micro scooter and goes everywhere on it.  A boring trip to the shops can be turned into an exciting adventure if his scooter comes too.

However, the unoriginality of this choice brings me to tell you about another of Elias’s favourite toys (if it can be called that). Elias likes his ‘stuff’ — everyday he carries around with him 3 – 4 random objects and can not be with out these ‘things’, whether they are tied to him in some fashion or stuffed in his pockets or in his back-pack.  He is lost without them, he goes to bed with them and they are always the first things he asks for the next morning.

I did find the whole ‘thing’ obsession a little strange for a while, but now I love it about him — all his ‘things’ form so many ideas for games and imaginative play throughout his day. So what are his typical ‘things’? Well I just checked his pockets (see picture for proof) — this is what I found: (more…)

Favourite Toy: Zingo!

Zingo was the first real board-game, so to speak, that we played at home on a regular basis.  The concept is simple — it’s “Bingo” but using pictures and words.  What I like about it is that it’s not only great for teaching visual recognition and learning first basic words but that it helps to plant the seeds for learning how to “take turns”, “help each other out”, and for one of my daughters, perfect the fine art of “cheating.”  It’s a game that young kids like and one that an adult won’t mind playing as well.  Available on Amazon (US and Europe ).

Silver rattle (Ava’s favourite toy)

When we moved to our current house in the beginning of this year, we quickly found out that we had a very sweet, very old neighbour, who has lived here since our houses were built in the 1950s! She had her three children here, sadly lost her husband here, recently turned 90 here, and still enjoys living in this house, and hopefully she will be able to for a very long time.
When Ava was born, she gave us the most beautiful and thoughtful gift: a silver rattle with a teething ring, engraved with Ava’s name and date of birth. Such a timeless present, and something she will keep for the rest of her life.
And it is this silver rattle that is Ava’s most favourite toy. She loves playing with it, looking at the reflections on the silver, chewing on the ring, shaking it to hear the bell. It is easy for her to grasp and hold, and it is the one toy she looks for when we put her in her playpen. (Similar rattles can probably be found at your local jeweller, or in Europe here.)

xxx Esther

Favourite Toys : Just what the Doctor Ordered!

This classic doctor’s bag  has been, I am guessing, our most enduring, regularly used toy. Of course it helps that it is made of wood and not plastic and has withstood the test of time, over-zealous budding anesthetists included (that would be my son I am referring to!) My daughter was gifted her kit when she turned 3 and the role-playing is showing no signs of decline — it is just a little more sophisticated these days! She is now 9.  Over time we have added other items like cotton wool and bandaids, a pad and pencil for prescriptions and a real but broken mobile phone/pager… (more…)

Our Kids’ Favourite Toys

Can you believe we have less than 6 weeks until Christmas? Where did this year go? Suddenly it’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts! So… with the countdown to Christmas now on, we thought it would be a good idea to do a series on our kids’ favourite toys — the toys they play with every day, the toys that have lasted years and years, the ones they always go back to despite receiving something new…

So, if I had to pick one toy from my kids’ playroom, their absolute favourite toy of all time, it would have to be their collection of Schleich Animals . My boys take their Schleich animals with them into the bath, into their beds, to school in their coat pocket, to the park, to the beach, etc. etc. We always have at least a couple animals with us at all times, be it a dinosaur , a sea creature , or a farm animal

(Image found here.)