Posted in Book Reviews

Hedgehugs by Lucy Tapper & Steve Wilson

This book review is in connection with Little Book Nook


Title :Hedgehugs

Author: Steve Wilson

Illustrator: Lucy Tapper

Publisher: Maverick Art publishing

Recommended age: 3-8 years


This sweetly illustrated children’s book is the story of two hedgehog best friends, Horace and Hattie. Horace and Hattie do many things together like make daisy chains and search for four leaf clovers.

They really are best friends but discover that no matter how hard they try ,a hedgehog can’t hug because of their spikey sharp prickles.

They try all kinds of ways to soften their spikes until they stumble upon something magical that allows them to finally give the perfect Hedgehug.


I loved the sweet message of friendship and working together to find a solution to a problem within this book and  Hamish immediately related to the little hedgehogs. A sweet read and a lovely bedtime story.

Book sponsored by Little Book Nook

Photos: Fun mamma SA




Posted in Blog posts


Spin Master Entertainment, Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies, announced today that Grammy Award®-winning singer-songwriter Alessia Cara will perform a new original song for the upcoming animated feature film, PAW Patrol: The Movie™ that will be unleashed in theatres and on streaming on Paramount + on August 20, 2021.

The new original song, titled “The Use in Trying”, was written by Alessia Cara and Jon Levine, and produced by Jon Levine. Alessia’s one-of-a-kind voice weaves a beautiful song that captures the sadness and uncertainty during a pinnacle moment in the film. Ultimately, “The Use in Trying” ends with a message that inspires hope.


“I wrote The Use in Trying for a specific scene in the movie, with the understanding that it was a big turning point in the story, emphasizing the importance of courage,” says Cara.  “I wanted to write something that could not only teach kids that they’re not always going to win, but that there’s real value in trying anyways because of the lessons you find on the other side. That’s a sentiment we can all understand, the further into life we go. Navigating life is never easy, but it is always worth the shot.”


The single: “The Use in Trying”, will be released on August 10, 2021 and will be available across all platforms. Alessia appears courtesy of Def Jam Recording, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.


Directed by animation veteran Cal Brunker (Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature; Escape From Planet Earth), PAW Patrol: The Movie, is based on the award-winning preschool series produced by Spin Master Entertainment and broadcast by Nickelodeon. Jennifer Dodge, Spin Master Entertainment’s President, is producing the film and Ronnen Harary, Spin Master’s Chair and Co-Founder, Adam Beder, Spin Master’s Executive Vice President Strategic Partnership & Franchise Development and Peter Schlessel are executive producers.



The PAW Patrol is on a roll!  When their biggest rival, Humdinger, becomes Mayor of nearby Adventure City and starts wreaking havoc, Ryder and everyone’s favourite heroic pups kick into high gear to face the challenge head on.  While one pup must face his past in Adventure City, the team finds help from a new ally, the savvy dachshund Liberty.  Together, armed with exciting new gadgets and gear, the PAW Patrol fights to save the citizens of Adventure City! Joining the PAW Patrol in their thrilling first big screen adventure are members from the original series’ cast along with Iain Armitage, Marsai Martin, Yara Shahidi, Kim Kardashian West, Randall Park, Dax Shepard, with Tyler Perry and Jimmy Kimmel and introducing Will Brisbin.


About Spin Master

Spin Master Corp. (TSX: TOY) is a leading global children’s entertainment company creating exceptional play experiences through a diverse portfolio of innovative toys, entertainment franchises and digital games. Spin Master is best known for award-winning brands PAW Patrol®, Bakugan®, Kinetic Sand®, Air Hogs®, Hatchimals®, Rubik’s Cube® and GUND®, and is the toy licensee for other popular properties.  Spin Master Entertainment creates and produces compelling multiplatform content, stories and endearing characters through its in-house studio and partnerships with outside creators, including the preschool success PAW Patrol and nine other original shows along with multiple short-form series, which are distributed in more than 190 countries. The Company has an established digital presence anchored by the Toca Boca® and Sago Mini® brands, which combined have more than 50 million monthly active users. With close to 2,000 employees in 28 offices globally, Spin Master distributes products in more than 100 countries. For more information visit or follow on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @spinmaster.


About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 42nd year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of ViacomCBS Inc. (Nasdaq: VIACA, VIAC).


About Paramount Pictures Corporation

Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIAC; VIACA), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. Paramount controls a collection of some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Television Studios, and Paramount Players. PPC operations also include Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.


Posted in Press releases

BIC provides teachers in South Africa with educational solutions to write the future of education

BIC Stationery explores the realities facing South African teachers and offers assistance for improved learning

Stemming from BIC’s commitment to improve learning conditions for students worldwide, and its continued contribution to education in South Africa, the company conducted a nation-wide study which aimed to identify the key challenges and opportunities faced by educators in the country. The study aimed to collate challenges faced by teachers in South Africa to consequently provide solutions that would help them perform in the important role that they play in children’s lives, and to help contribute towards enhancing the education field in the country.


The study was conducted by BIC, in partnership with Big Mama’s Famous Truth Shop, a private research studies laboratory focused on human research techniques.


The study revealed three main findings that were consistent for teachers across South Africa:

  1. Teachers play multiple roles in a child’s life.
  2. Teachers in South Africa are hungry for higher quality curricula and thought-provoking content.
  3. Teachers are expected to perform many additional duties that erode the time they could be dedicating to children, and they are quite simply overloaded.


Study findings at depth 

  1. The multi-role teacher: Education is a fundamental driver of personal, national, and global development, making teachers arguably the greatest influencers in society. They give children purpose, set them up for success, and inspire in them a drive to do well and succeed in life.


According to the study conducted, good teachers are passionate about the children they teach, and describe fulfilment as being able to truly connect and unlock children’s diverse potential.


The study found that South African teachers all shared the same overwhelming sentiments of quite simply being overloaded and under-valued.  They often play the role of social worker as well as fill up the gap created by parents. Insights revealed that parents are a source of pressure with their demands and expectations, while often leaving a void as they are too busy or ill-equipped to give their children the quality of attention they need today.


  1. Lack of resources: The study revealed that the gulf between “have and have not” kids is widening, and the pandemic has shone a spotlight on inequality and inefficiency in the state education system. The difference in resources, numbers of children per teacher, and even basic stationery needs in state schools is alarming. Semi-funded (Q5) schools also struggle with resources given the numbers they are expected to cope with.


The current state Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) and educational resources, considered to be bland and uninspiring, is felt to deepen the divide further where teachers end up picking up the pressure of bringing it to life and building lessons with higher quality content, using classroom tools like posters and print media, to inspire and stimulate the minds of the children they teach.


The study found that teachers are hungry for higher quality, brighter and more engaging teaching tools and resources. They are self-taught content creators, who are persistent in overcoming the many challenges that they are faced with. They continuously seek out inspirational platforms with useful worksheets, inspiring videos, and ways of making their lessons more engaging and exciting.


  1. Teaching in a pandemic: The Covid-19 pandemic has added fuel to the pressure cooker in so many ways. Teachers are the unsung heroes of this time as many have worked right through lockdowns, adapting, learning new technologies and developing remote learning content. According to the study, lockdown has forced teachers to move to digital teaching methods overnight. The study also revealed that mobile data is still the biggest divide as it’s expensive in South Africa.


Teachers have shared the sentiment that online learning has been a huge challenge with schools being behind technologically which resulted in a lack of preparation for the ‘new situation’. Teachers have had to get far more creative, and the need to keep up the marks, despite the massive data and technological divide, was a major source of stress.  For the most part, teachers were following the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) but adding to it to ensure efficient and creative learning techniques.


Teachers faced challenges when returning to schools, where they have had to deal with the challenges of teaching and policing social distancing and other hygiene protocols at the same time as alleviating learner’s anxiety.


According to the study, going back to school after the lockdown has resulted in stress amongst children due to all the rules and fears associated with the COVID-19 virus. They will be obliged to wear masks, and no one can touch or hug. It will take kids a long time before they get out of their shell and get their personalities back amidst huge groups of people.


The study also revealed positive findings, as the pandemic and lockdown has allowed teachers to work together more than ever before. This was mostly a result of accelerated personal growth and skills development. Similarly, the smaller classroom sizes allowed for more individual attention.


The Solution

To help address some of the teachers’ needs identified in the study, BIC has launched a BIC Stationery Teachers Group on Facebook, which is accessible to all teachers and educators across South Africa, where they will be able to communicate, ideate, share experiences and best practices, as well as exchange tools and resources.


Commenting on the occasion, Kutlwano Tshetlhane, Marketing Manager for BIC Stationery, Southern Africa, said: “We are ecstatic about offering the new platform, BIC® Stationery Teachers Group, to help teachers across the country to start their journey towards more efficient and innovative teaching techniques, learning from and supporting one another. As a brand that is committed to improving education in communities we operate in, we are proud to support teachers across South Africa through a platform that would provide them with the tools and the inspiration they need to help build the future’s generation.”


Expressing her delight, Wendy Cochrane, Big Mama’s founder, said: “Our mission for the study was to understand teachers’ diverse perspectives on challenges in a post-covid education system, and to identify opportunities where BIC can offer solutions.  The need for high quality, locally relevant content and teaching materials for South African teachers is clear, highlighting the inequality gap between state and private schools that have more access to internet-based resources. This research helped generate ideas for the development of a practical and exciting digital resources platform that bridges these divides.”


BIC has always been a dominant player in supporting the youth and contributing towards the education field in communities it operates in. Education is part of BIC’s DNA and the company has long advocated for and worked to improve lives through education. Through BIC’s initiative, ‘Writing the Future Together’, the company is committed to supporting communities and improving the learning conditions of 250 million children globally by 2025. To date, BIC South Africa has played an instrumental role in the classroom and beyond, with its range of stationery products, including crayons and other coloring tools, Tipp-Ex, highlighters, pencils and pens of all descriptions.


Teachers are invited to take another step in the ongoing journey of elevating education and improving learning conditions for students in South Africa by joining the community here:




About BIC


BIC has been operating in South Africa for more than 58 years covering over 18 countries in Africa with subsidiaries in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. BIC stationery offers a large portfolio of writing instruments, a BIC Kids range including wax crayons, coloring pencils, felt pens, and Tipp-Ex correction products to name just a few. BIC offers pocket lighters, utility lighters, firelighters and we have a BIC shavers range for men and women.


BIC has a long history in South Africa. Everything began in 1958 when BIC acquired Biro Swan Ltd, a UK company with activities in the so-called “sterling zone” of which South Africa was part of. Beginning in the 70’s, BIC launched BIC pocket lighters and BIC shavers, supported by memorable advertising. For more information about BIC, visit:


Posted in Blog posts

Cadbury Dairy Milk’s In Our Own Words Initiative Sparks a Heart-Warming Tale of Generosity

In May 2021, Cadbury Dairy Milk announced its intention to help inspire a love for reading amongst children across South Africa by making stories in their home languages more accessible. Now, through the inherent generosity of the South African public, more than 20 000 words have been translated into local African languages and used to co-author more than 450 new enchanting stories for children to enjoy in their mother tongue.


Drawing on the words of Nelson Mandela; ‘’when we read, we are able to travel to many places, meet many people and understand the world…’’. Many literacy experts agree and state that when children learn to read in their mother tongues it’s much easier to build on that foundation and broaden their learning experience.


“The importance of giving children the opportunity to read in their home language resonated with us. So, when we saw that the Publishers Association SA survey showed that only 2% of children books published commercially in South Africa are in local African languages*, we set out to change this with the launch of the ‘In Our Own Words initiative’. Cadbury Dairy Milk committed to an ambitious goal of creating 1 500 new stories for children in all African languages by 2023. Just three months after launching, we are already almost a third of the way there thanks to our partners, Nal’iBali, their committed authors as well as the public who once again answered the call and generously contributed their words to bring the In Our Own Words initiative to life.”

  • Lara Sidersky, Mondelez SA Category Lead for Chocolate.


The initiative called on South Africans to translate just one word and help Cadbury Dairy Milk co-author a library of enchanting children’s stories. “Partnerships with organisations and the public are key to achieving our goal,” adds Sidersky. Nal’iBali, and their team of enthusiastic authors, who believe that a well-established culture of reading can be a real game-changer for education in South Africa, were integral to writing and illustrating the stories available through the In Our Own Words initiative.


“Nal’iBali share our vision of significantly impacting the next generation by inspiring a genuine lifelong love for reading and creating worlds children can relate to,’’ continues Sidersky. This shared vision resulted in localised stories set in cities children recognise and characters they can relate to. And it is this sense of familiarity that stimulates the imagination, increases the enjoyment and ultimately ignites a child’s lifelong love for reading.


These stories have already started to filter into the virtual In Our Own Words library, where they are easily accessible for download for children across the country to enjoy in an African language of their choice.


Equally exciting is the production of the first 45 000 printed Cadbury Dairy Milk Glass & A Half SA Story Collection storybooks containing a selection of the newly crafted stories. These are currently being distributed nationally through beneficiaries including early childhood development (ECD) centres and children’s homes.


Sidersky concludes, ‘’In the coming months there will be more opportunities for South Africans to help us reach, and no doubt exceed, the goal of 500 stories for this year. The extension of this initiative will link to Cadbury Dairy Milk’s festive campaign, with generosity as the core expression when we ask the public to share the gift of words.’’


The In Our Own Words initiative is only the start of Cadbury Dairy Milk’s journey to co-author, print, distribute and inspire with stories in all 11 South African languages. A journey which is intended to enrich lives, spark a love for reading and hopefully contribute towards raising the level of literacy in South Africa.


Visit the In Our Own Words library at

Join the conversation @CadburyDairyMilkSA (Facebook) or @Cadbury_SA (Twitter and Instagram) #InOurOwnWords.



Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do

The Tinie Versveld Wildflower reserve

Tinie Versveld Wildlife Reserve
Hamish at the Tienie Versveld wildlife reserve

The Tinie Versveld Wildflower reserve in Darling

Yesterday we set out to view the spectacular fields of flowers that grow wild along the Cape West coast this time of the year.

We decided to stop at The Tinie Versveld Wildflower reserve in Darling. If you haven’t yet been this spectacular area boasts the most amazing colours over late Winter and early Spring time.

This beautiful reserve was donated to the National Botanical Society of South Africa by Oom Tinie, Martin’s Versveld.

Wide open spaces and beautiful wild flowers

The reserve spans 20 hectares of land that has never been plowed and due to this has given rise to a plethora of sandvlei wildflowers, which comes alive during the annual flower show.

arum lily
Arum Lily

You can visit the reserve any time of the year, although the flowers are most prominent from Spring to Summer.

Whilst on the reserve keep a look out for the Graves of Martin’s and his wife Beatrice ( also known as Baby) .

It is interesting to note that Marthinus’s sister, Muriel, was a founding member of the Darling Wildflower Association.

yellow wildflower

This region boasts 1200 different plant species of which 80 are endemic to the West coast.

For me it was an absolutely spectacular view of open fields and Spring time colour. Hamish enjoyed running around discovering the new flowers and insect and bird life was abundant.

Definitely great place to view those springtime flowers.

hamish and flowers
hamish enjoying the flowers


You can see more of our trip here and enjoy a fun Instagram reel of our trip here

Posted in Press releases

From disco doggos to power ballad puppers – Spotify digs into what’s music to a doggo’s ears this International Dog Day

International dog day

Every doggo is different – from laid-back Labradors to cheeky chihuahuas – but the one thing that unites puppers and their humans is the unconditional love they share every day, that can be made even stronger through the power of listening. Ahead of International Dog Day (August 26th), Spotify has dug into the ways that dog owners across the world use music and audio to entertain and relax their doggos and puppers.


Over 5 million pet owners have visited Spotify for Pets since it launched in early 2020, so disco-loving dogs (as well as cats, hamsters, birds and iguanas) can get their paws a tippy tapping – with the pets playlists proving most popular with listeners from the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Netherlands and Poland. 


In fact, a survey of just under 4,000 dog owners globally1 showed that one in five dog owners (20%) currently play their dog music during the day to keep them company, with a further one in four (23%) saying that listening to music helps to keep their dog relaxed. 


And a tip for those owners whose pupper or doggo struggles to be the goodest boi: 15% of dog owners say that listening to music helps their dog to be better behaved in general. In fact, nearly one in five dog owners (18%) plays their dog an average of at least an hour of music per day– with a lucky 6% of dogs having more than 12 hours of music a week played to them by their owners!


Gen Z are one age group leading the way in pampering doggies with music. One in 10 Gen Z dog owners (10%) has created a playlist especially for their dog, with another one in 10 (11%) believing that their dog has similar music taste to them. 


Meanwhile My Dog’s Favourite Podcast, created in partnership with animal experts and features a mix of soothing music, dog-directed speech and original sound design to provide comfort for dogs and to help them both during and beyond lockdown, has been streamed over half a million times. Most popular with female listeners (c.60% of streams) and 28-34 year olds (a third of streams), the top ten countries tuning in globally are the UK, US, Australia, Ireland, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Spain and Mexico. When looking at listeners across Europe, the top ten countries are the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, France and Switzerland.


With millions of user-generated dog playlists on Spotify, pop songs are the most popular music genre for dogs with artists such as Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X setting tails wagging, with other fun furry facts including: 


·         Dog Days Are Over, the 2009 feel-good track by UK artist Florence + The Machine, is the most popular song added to user-generated dog playlists on Spotify, followed by hit-maker Olivia Rodrigo’s good 4 u.

·         Other top canine-titled songs appearing on user-generated dog playlists on Spotify including Beggin’ by Måneskin, Black Dog – Remaster by Led Zeppelin and Who Let The Dogs Out by The Baha Men.


Top 5 songs added to user-generated dog playlists on Spotify globally during 2021


1.       Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over

2.       Olivia Rodrigo – good 4 u

3.       Olivia Rodrigo – drivers license

4.       Lil Nas X – MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name)

5.       Doja Cat – Kiss Me More (feat. SZA)



1 All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 11383 adults of which 3759 are dog owners. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th – 22nd August 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all COUNTRY adults (aged 18+).

2 As estimated amount per day based on 18% of respondents saying they play music for 6 hours or more per week.


Posted in Crafts

How to make a lion handprint

We made this little lion print painting as part of our #kindnesschallenge with Playsense during the month of August.

it is really sweet and increadibly easy for most preschoolers to make with very little assistance.

lion craft

To make your own you will need:






To make :

Paint your child’s hands yellow.

Print this onto the paper. This will become the body of the lion.

Now paint a yellow circle face and add details with a marker.

Lastly paint some grass and it’s ready to hang on the fridge.

Posted in Parenting

6 parenting communities you need to join

Online mom communities to join

The old saying goes it takes a villiage to raise a child.

Months of lockdown has seen an increase in moms reaching out for support, guidance and to bridge the gap of loneliness that we can often feel as busy moms.

But you are not alone.

Social media has proved that there are amazing communities to hold a moms hand, guide her. Keep her company and educate her.

Here, is a list of the communities I couldn’t live without.



Lynne Huysamen runs the increadibly popular parenting blog Kaboutjie and hosts a Facebook group for moms to join, chat and find the information to the questions they may have.

Die Naguil klub

die naguil klub

This group of friends bring an inspiration station and digital villiage for Afrikaans moms to join.

The Villiage

The Villiage

For moms of older kids you will seriously suffer from FOMO if you are not part of Vanessa Raphaely’s tribe at The Villiage.

The villiage also have a digital magazine called FOMO … subscribe now !

Parenting hub

parenting hub

Parenting hub has long been one of my favourite platforms and Julie Hide runs a few community groups for parents to join.

Parentinghub parents of children

Parentinghub pregnant couples

Parentinghub parents of toddlers

Parentinghub parents of teens

Baby yumyum

baby yum yum

Baby yum yum is a parenting portal that host a safe community group for parents to join with no judgement.



Momsays is owned by Shaney Vijendranath and is a great community group for parents to educate themselves on all things parenting.

Whatever your stage of parenting, South African moms are ready to reach out hold space for you, offer guidance and share their knowledge.

You are not alone …join the right community for you and reach out.


Posted in Family Life

Checkers Oh my goodness snacks

Oh my Goodness…healthy eating choices for kids

One of the things we are increadibly strict about is giving Hamish the option of healthy snacks to nibble on.

Especially during the pandemic when we need to keep our immune systems at their optimal best.

Knowing this we try to keep fresh fruit and yogurt in the house daily.

However we have lived through a few weeks of quarantine and self isolation over the last 17 months and have found that giving him dried fruits and other forms of healthy food options that he a longer shelf life to be just as beneficial to his overall nutrition and health.

One of those options is the Oh My Goodness snack range from Checkers.

oh so goodness snacks

About the range

The Oh My Goodness range was developed for Checkers in 2017, by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsy and his daughter Matilda.

These were designed as on the go or lunch boxes snacks and they are especially great for packing in as healthy lunch options.

The Oh My Goodness range includes :-

  • Mini rice cakes- these include no MSG and are gluten free.
  • Health bars – are raw with no added sugar or preservatives.
  • Fruit gums – these are artificial flavour and colourant, preservative and sugar free. They contain 99% pure fruit.
  • Cookies – with 30% reduced sugar.
  • Berry flavour sparkling water – made from natural spring water and high in vitamin C.
  • Yogurt melts- these are freeze dried fruit and yogurt drops.

Other products

Oh my goodness also have a range of easy to heat up ready cooked toddler /child meals.

All meals are MSG free with no added sugar or salt and contain no preservatives or artificial colours or flavours.

My thoughts

Overall I’ve been very impressed by this range and have used it since 2017 for Hamish.

I especially found it helpful when trying to pack a busy school lunch box in the rush of a morning and to quickly heat up a meal if I cooked something for the family I knew Hamish wouldn’t eat.

He loves the range. We currently buy them weekly, however as a busy and active boy of almost 5 I do find the snack portions quite small and find myself often offering 2 snacks instead of 1.

But they make the best on the go snack for little ones.

Oh so goodness for kids
Posted in Family Life, Parenting, preschool

Get a personalised call from the Paw patrol

Get Chase or Skye to call your child

The Paw Patrol movie was released nationwide yesterday and many a child is waiting to see Chase on the case.

Now, you can book tickets and surprise your child with a personalized call from either Skye or Chase himself letting them know they are going to see the movie.

Imagine their excitement as their favourite pup gives them a call.

The link is free to use and you add your child’s name. Then you choose from one of 4 good things your child has done.

Your chosen pup then calls and announces that your child has been well behaved and is going to the movie theater to see Paw Patrol the movie.

On a level of cuteness this is a ten.

I’ve just had a look at the link and can’t wait to surprise Hamish in the morning before we take him to see his favourite puppies in action.

Let me know how your children enjoyed this.

The link to get your own personalised Paw Patrol call is Here

Paw Patrol