Tag Archives: toy rental

Mumpreneur 2012

30 Sep

ToyBoxLive MD at Mumpreneur Awards 2012

Well as some of you might know ToyBoxLive.co.uk were a finalist in the Mumpreneur 2012 awards for best green business and today was the day of the Mumpreneur Awards and Conference.

Unfortunately we didn’t win, obligatory sad face :-(.  On the plus side the speakers that were there were great and I really enjoyed talking to other mums in business and hearing about them all.  The day started at 9am at the Heart of England Conference centre although we were a little late and missed the morning seminars we did get there in time to hear Claire Young from the apprentice as well as the author Liz Fraser and Kate Wilson from Nosy Crow.

All the speakers were great to listen to and I really enjoyed their no nonsense approach to telling it how it is.  Having your own company is hard and there are sacrifices you have to make and that includes being something to everyone.  As well as chief marketer, business planner, book keeper and MD you still have to be mum, wife and organiser and having your own business to look after is some task but one that is fulfilling rewarding and I think gives children something to aspire to.  I really want my daughter to understand that with hard work and determination you can have the houses, the cars, financial freedom and be known for doing something good (Todays fame culture seems to consume some of todays youth as the only way to achieve success).

What really inspired me today was how many women were embracing working and running their own businesses many to help other parents like ToyBoxLive‘s online toy library.

The Mumpreneur team did a fantastic job and the goodie bags given out were huge….the contents of which have now been sorted out on my kitchen table.

I met some great people and really feel like I need to share a couple of them with you.

Jennie Browne is the owner and developer of Mumderground an iPhone app which helps you to navigate the London Underground with a pram.  I thought this was a fabulous idea as it reminded me of a predicament I found myself in when I first had my daughter she was only 5 months old and I really wanted to go to the Grand Designs Live at Excel but couldn’t take her with me because both myself and my friends had no idea how to navigate the underground with a pram.  I’m from Lancashire so there wasn’t much hope for me but my friends were Southerners so if anyone should have known it should have been them but even they didn’t have a clue.  I really felt like I should share this with you as hopefully it will help other mums visiting London with prams.

I also met Naomi Bloomstein from Little Birdwho’s website sends you family deals on days out and things for kids that you can buy at a discount.  There were so many other people that I met but it would take me forever to write about them all.

The feedback form asked if there was one thing that you would change what would it be? Having had time to think about it – it would be that we would have won an award!

Big congratulations to all the 2012 winners and good luck to all the Mumpreneurs and Dadpreneurs that were there today and those that will be setting up in the future :-).


Less spending more e-lending

25 Sep
toy rental

E Lending

Our culture has changed a lot in the past 10 years and the internet has seen the introduction of many services we didn’t even know we needed. who would have thought we would be buying our shopping online or through a device that was originally designed to make phone calls, or talking with our friends on social networks and seeing them live using web cams. Things really have changed

I remember my first day at secondary school and sitting down to my first ever IT class. We were taught about word processing software , how to type using the traditional type writer method. “Place your right finger over asdf and your left over jkl; and from here you can then type as quickly as possible” Said Mr Singh (Mansfield High School 1995). Each week we continued learning about the programs in the Microsoft Works Suite, there were spreadsheets to calculate and a presentation software tool. There was Encarta that had begun to replace the traditional encyclopaedia and then came the internet with Ask Jeeves (the main search engine at the time) and msn messenger(the equivalent to today’s facebook for chatting to friends).

You know that saying your parents used to say…You don’t know your born, all we had in our day was a black and white TV and a toilet outside for four of us if we were lucky, I was often guilty of thinking “whatever”.

It makes me wonder what we will be saying to our children in 10 years time, who would have thought we would all have a computer the size of our palm in our bag, that we just can’t live without and that you could choose toys and rent them all from the comfort of your own home. Times really are a changing…

E Lending of books was discussed tonight on the news and it’s no surprise that services like ours now fall readily into the E Lending category. ToyBoxLive.co.uk launched in January 2012, and has rented hundreds of toys to customers throughout the UK.

The development of children in the early years is so fast that as a parent you want to educate and challenge them and accumulating toys as well as the unnecessary spending that follows can become challenging for even the most budget minded. Renting toys from ToyBoxLive.co.uk offers the perfect solution.

For £24.99 families can rent their choice of three toys for a month, choosing to return them or extend the rental at the end of the month – in a system likened to DVD rental. If a child becomes attached to their new plaything parents can even buy it from ToyBoxLive.co.uk at a discounted cost. All toys go through a three step cleaning process which includessteam cleaning, additional cleaning, followed by additional cleaning with an organic antibacterial toy cleaner and then finally being wrapped to ensure it arrives perfectly clean and looks like new when it arrives at your door

Toyboxlive.co.uk is the UK’s first toy rental business with customers coming from acrosss the country, despite it being a new concept for many families.

HABA My first Play World Animal Farm

10 Jul

Another gem has arrived at ToyBoxLive HQ in the form of HABA My First Play World Animal Farm

Wooden Animal Farm Play Set

HABA Animal Farm Play Set

We were really surprised not to have seen anything like this before and really feel that HABA are leading the way when it comes to helping parents and carers to engage with their children and learn.

HABA Animal Farm

All parts can be easily packed away

When we first opened the HABA My first World Play Farm we were greeted with a large selection of wooden animal pieces and props to start building your farm set up. The set is suitable for children from 18 months + and has twenty one chunky wooden pieces that are easy for young hands to hold and move around.

We spent numerous evenings getting the box out and organising the animals into different scenes, it was lovely to see my little one making the noises of the animals and talking about what they were going to do, the HABA My First World Play Farm is a great role play toy.

We also talked about how the farmer might spend his day and organised different scenes

HABA My First Animal Farm

Looking at the wooden farm pieces

HABA have really taken into account how the toy might be played with and have included a booklet which gives details of how you can use the toys to engage in different learning styles and different activities. I personally found this a great help and I’m sure those working as nannies, childminders or teachers will be able to easily match it to the Early Years  Foundation Studies framework. The booklet tells you exactly how to play each activity and includes a range of educational benefits which are clearly listed at the beggining of each page.

The booklet supplied with the Animal Farm Set to help you and your child learn

We loved the animal farm so much we decided to take it along with us to dinner one night as it looked stable enough to withstand our outing, however the handle did come out, we simply super glued it back in place and it is still standing up to the test of time, but do bear in mind the handle isn’t as durable as it may seem.

The box that houses the my first world play set is durable and engaging and we have played with it for quite a while.  With the handle it looked as though it was perfect to take out of the house with us but unfortunately the handle broke and we had to fix it with super glue.  Despite this we think it is a fab toy and have added it to the toy library at ToyBoxLive or you can buy it for £35.99 from HABA

Ravensburger Jolly Octopus

20 Jun
Jolly Octopus

Ravensburger Jolly Octopus Game, suitable for ages 4-99+, 2-5 players

Now this is our first adventure into the board/games market that is suitable for the over fives and Jolly Octopus certainly didn’t disappoint.

Since opening the game its been enjoyed and played with by a number of ages from six right up to 60 and has had many outings in our house.

The game comes mostly assembled you simply have to insert the tentacles into the green base (which an adult should do as a child would find this difficult) and then insert 3 x AA batteries into the base.

Jolly Octopus is a newer version of the old style game of operation except you have to rescue crabs from the rock without touching the octopus’ tentacles.

This Ravensburger game is really simple to put together and you need 2-5 players.  Each player chooses a colour and must collect the crabs relating to their colour from the rock, without touching the tentacles.  Each player takes their turn and tries to grab a crab without it touching Jolly Octopus’ tentacles, the player keeps trying to collect crabs until they touch a tentacle and make Jolly the Octopus laugh at this point the next player takes their turn.  The winner is the first to collect all of their crabs.

This game is quick and fun and requires children and adults to maintain concentration and have a steady hand, it also has two levels so you can set it to easy or hard depending on the children or adults you are playing with.  It will help with colour recognition, numeracy and develop hand eye co-ordination

Great childrens game

It reminds us oldies of operation however it is more forgiving and not quite as scary.  When you touch the tentacles the octopus laughs and its tentacles stop spinning, the laugh is also nice and pleasant to hear.  I think this toy is sure to be a hit and one that will be played with again and again.  The Jolly Octopus is £19.99 to buy or you can add it to your toy hire package if you want to try before you buy at ToyBoxLive

People Like People

6 Jun

Last night I was introduced to a totally new way of networking via www.airtime.com and thought it would be interesting to share my experience, as the site when I first went on had been live for less than 12 hours.


Heres a pic of me talking to Sam Nady, Professional Rugby League Player For Canada Rugby League

The concept behind it is a more controlled version of chat roulette (I’ve only encountered one or two weirdos and it appears that they are being filtered out).  You log in through your Facebook profile and it connects you to people who have similar likes and dislikes. I found it really interesting speaking to people and chatting to them face to face, although it did seem a bit awkward at first the conversations did eventually start to flow. There were a lot of laughs, sharing of ideas and also a lot of nexting.

I spent in total about four hours talking to people last night and found it good fun and something I would encourage adults to try.  People like people and ultimately this sort of service may be what we are currently missing in the social media world.  Twitter is great but I personally think it is better to talk to people face to face…I enjoy meeting people, working for yourself can sometimes get lonely and this can be a much welcomed break.

Within the first couple of hours I had chatted to people involved in start-ups, tech companies in the USA and also those working for forward thinking companies and established big players in the tech field.  Talking to owners, programmers, designers from all over the world made for an interesting mix of conversations which mainly followed this format.

Awkwrd Silence….Me waving and smiling..Other person saying hello..Me Saying Hello and then carrying the conversation on with where in the world are you? What do you do? to finding out about their interests and what they thought of Airtime.  Time will tell how useful this tool is, I think it’s success will be down to matching people with similar interests and ensuring that the quality of people using it stays high.  For me it was great interacting with early adopters.

When I look back over this blog it’s interesting to see the stats and the most popular story so far has been The Jet Set Flopsy Bunny which was uploaded only a week ago.

I write product reviews on the toys we supply at ToyBoxLive to help parents decide which toys they might like to add to their toy hire package and combine these reviews with the general ramblings of a mum, business woman and general business goings on.

What do you think of Airtime have I met you yet?

It’s BBQ Role Play Time

30 May
Haba Sizzle and Grill

BBQ time

Well the past week has been truly gorgeous and I’m sure plenty of you have been indulging in al fresco outdoor dining and BBQs.   Kids love to copy what adults are doing and the latest toy to arrive at ToyBoxLive HQ is the HABA Grill Set Sizzle Expert.  This set offers children the opportunity to be involved in the cooking too, safely on their own cardboard BBQ with pretend play fabric food.

Role Paly BBQ

Enjoy Role Palying with this pretend BBQ

The box it comes in looks stunning and HABA really is a premium brand that deserves to be looked after and passed on for others to enjoy.  The only thing that disappoints me with this product is that the grill is made of cardboard and I’m wary as to how long it will last with kids running about and playing, I’d be more comfortable paying £35.99 if the grill was made of plastic making it more durable.

Sizzle Grill

Sizzle Grill Role Play Time

We enjoyed playing with it and it is available to rent as part of your ToyBoxLive.co.uk  Toy Hire Package.   Perfect for this time of year, you can get all the family involved whilst having fun in the sun.