I arrived just a little bit too late to see my all time favourite sports person - the lovely Beth Tweddle who'd been there talking to the press earlier!
As we walked in through the door, the first stand we spotted was Le Toy Van - we have a few bits from this brand already including Maegan's Christmas present, a beautiful red Honeybake cooker and a few of the Budkins people - we have a number of pirates!
The Honeybake collection is expanding in 2014 to include an adorable little sink and washing machine - to start with these will only be available in the pink colourway though (seen in the background - I'm holding out for Red!) and extra little kitchen gadgets such as this red coffee machine (already on Maegan's wish list - it matches her Honeybake cooker!) which has different coloured coffee pods to pop in - never mind Meg - I want one!
We adore the new Doctor's set bag which came with wooden medical instruments - we particularly liked the attention to detail such as the clicking sound the medicine bottle lid makes, the blood pressure cuff is teddy sized and has a squeeze pump and the thermometer has a sliding indicator, everything tidies away perfectly in the little red doctor's bag. I know this is something both my children would enjoy playing with.
The pirate collection and the dolls houses have some new additions and play sets - love the little row boat, treasure chest and great white shark (they come in a set together with a few other items) and what really caught my eye were the wonderful roll up play mats - they come in 2 sizes and several designs for the dolls houses, pirates and farms to spread out on. I've been keeping an eye out for the perfect play mats that will suit both my little boy and girl and I think these might very well be the ones we need! (reaches for hubby's credit card) The Budkins people have many new characters in the collection - we use the Budkins people in Maegan's dolls house and Blake's pirate toys - we usually have pirates in the dolls house living room watching TV ha ha
A visit to WOW toys was a must - we have their orange camper van and love it! WOW toys are all about bright colours and "no batteries required" we like the new mini wow collection and took a shine to Jojo the ambulance ... because my youngest sister is Jojo :) the new Eggs are also fantastic - particularly the dinosaur egg! - I'll take a dozen eggs please!
We passed by Haba and Meg couldn't resist a little play - this is a lovely traditional brand and we also bumped into Nikki from The Toadstool - who I've been tweeting with for quite some time now and The Toadstool are one of Haba's stockists!
These little Vroom wooden toys from Casdon caught my attention - they're all pull back toys and I know my four year old boy would love the little skateboarders ... Is it too soon to be thinking "stocking filler?!)
I was really surprised to come across a wonderful collection of "boxset" play sets being distributed by Casdon- we bought the train set one from zulily a long time ago (it was one of my first zulily purchases!) and I've never seen them in the shops, the train set one shows that you can also get an airport and a carpark one and I'd tried to get them online but struggled to find them for a reasonable price (cheapest I could find was a whopping £40 each plus postage!) but I'm pleased to report that for 2014 there's lots more in the collection and will be at a more realistic RRP £25 a set - yey - I'll be able to treat both my kids ha ha!
We loved them all, check out the little fairies with their rainbow slide, the knights in shiny armour castle, pirates with a canon, a beach house complete with sea, mini kitchen and a tool bench (yes I know I've included a lot of pictures of boxset - there are even more sets that I haven't photo'd and we love our train set one - it's been on many many trips with us! I can't wait for these to be available)
Don't we all enjoy playing with wooden railways? I love ours and it's one of those sacred boxes I can pull out and know it will entertain both my 4 year old boy and 2 year old girl equally. Big Jigs introduced their brand new collection - station master Sam! - isn't he adorable?
Mookie had a brillant The Hive playset collection - Meg thought the little bumblebees were very sweet and liked to send them down the slide!
I took Maegan to see the Sylvanian Families stand - at 2 she's a little younger than the recommended age but she's already playing with them - I'm just careful which figurines and accessories she plays with. Sylvanian Families are just the same now as when I had some in the 80's. There was a giant Freya bunny statue - covered in the same "fur" as the normal sized ones which Meg made friends with - how cute are these pics ... Meg did check if the rabbit was wearing knickers! (She was!)
But things got even more exciting when she met real life Sylvanians and I was super impressed to see the Grandson of the founder was there too - I love details like that!
My little Giraffe spotter clocked the amazing life size giraffe on the Schleich stand and ran to hug its leg! We have a few of their little animals - the smaller size are "pocket money" friendly and sometimes (I much prefer) we choose a Schleich animal instead of a kids magazine (many preschooler magazines seem to be a whopping £3.99 at the moment - soon adds up when you have two little ones!)
I was really excited to see Schleich have a new Snoopy range due out later in 2014 - Snoopy was my favourite toy as a child!
We headed over to Posh Paws International because I'd promised my 4 year old (he's in Reception at primary school and was upset about not coming) that I'd ask about the superheroes! Blake has 3 of them already and wanted more - we knew that there's a Hulk one but the packaging has an image of Captain America too - my challenge was to find out if there is one! - Not yet - but likely to be in 2015.
The superhero collection will also be including these awesome rucksacks for 2014!
Just as we were leaving the Posh Paws stand - I'd been so busy looking at Spider-Man that I almost missed the most excited squeal from my two year old when she spotted Sarah and Duck!
Look at the gorgeous toys! The smaller ones in the display box at the front make noises too :) Sarah and Duck toys are due to hit the shops from about May/June - given my two little people both LOVE Sarah and Duck and are both June babies - this is perfect news!
My four year old boy, Blake would have loved a go on these Batman outdoor toys - we loved the batman car, motorbike and skateboard but the attention to detail in the helmet is perfect - pointy bat ears!
I imagine these will be birthday hints this year!
I spent ages in the Playmobil stand - isn't it funny how a toy can take you right back to your childhood in an instant! (Lego, playdoh, playmobil, Monchhichi and Sylvanian families were all at the show and exactly the same as when I had them as a kid in the 80's - shame the same can't be said for My Little Pony - what in earth has happened to their muzzles - they look awful!)
Anyway back to Playmobil - they have a collection for 18months plus which despite being their target market and following them on twitter I was oblivious to! Goodness knows how I'd missed that! Both my little ones play with regular Playmobil - they have some at home from newer collections - Blake got the castle and knights in shiny armour for his fourth birthday last year and has a few bits such as the penguin habitat for Christmas (he loves penguins) and Meg has a few fairies - brilliantly come in a variety of colours so pink can be avoided - Yey!
Playmobil have some lovely gift eggs coming out for Easter 2014 and the motorbike one certainly brought a smile to my face (hubby is a Harley owner so I might buy one for him ha ha!)
We also saw the Monchhichi (chicaboo) stand who have lots of lovely new additions http://monchhichiland.com
As we were leaving I spotteda huuuge transformers truck! I really don't know how, but I managed to miss this on the way in!
Emma in Bromley xx