Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The Countdown begins

So we begin the countdown to Christmas 2015.  Christmas is very much about traditions that have been handed down over the years from family to family.  From pulling crackers, to leaving food out for Father Christmas and his reindeer's, every family has their traditions, yet not everyone has the same ones.  In the same street you will find people following different traditions over the festive period.  When do you decorate your tree, as soon as December arrives or the first week before Christmas.  What do you leave out for Father Christmas, a mince pie and a glass of sherry or a pint of stout?  Do you have any unusual traditions, of your own?  If you do then please share them with us.

When you venture abroad, then their traditions are even more varied.  Here are some from around the world that you could incorporate into your own festive fun.

In Canada they have Cookie baking parties, where each person takes along their favourite Christmas cookie recipe to bake and then exchanges them with their friends.

Not sure how the Czech Republic tradition of ringing a bell after Christmas dinner to announce that Father Christmas has visited and left all the presents under the tree would go down, but it means no more being woken at the crack of dawn by excited children, desperate to open their stockings.

Some of you may already have a crib among your Christmas decorations, but the French tradition takes it a little bit further by including figures not usually associated in a nativity scene, such as policemen, butchers and bakers.

In Finland it is traditional to include animals in the Festivities and give them gifts.  They hang nuts and suet on the trees so the birds can also join in.

In Nova Scotia they have the Secret Santa, not like the one we have at Adventure Toys where we draw names out of a hat, to see who we buy a present for.  The Nova Scotia Custom is to dress up as Father Christmas and pop round to your friends houses and they have to guess who it is that has dressed up as Father Christmas!!

Father Christmas dropped in the shop yesterday to try on his outfit.  Does anybody know who this member of staff is??

Monday, 29 December 2014

It is going to be a busy time here on the farm at Adventure toys in the spring, as we have just had the sheep scanned and we have 24 expecting triplets, 131 twins and 27 singles.

The sheep enter the scanning pen

it only takes a few seconds 

for them to be scanned and marked

then they are free to go back into the fields.

Monday, 23 July 2012


Sadly Murray did not win the Wimbledon Mens Tennis final. Bradley Wiggins did however excel in the Tour de France and won, fantastic! This week will see the final countdown to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Friday will be the opening ceremony and all the speculation as to who is going to be the last torch bearer will be revealed. A bit like the Olympics, we are getting our heads slowly but surely around the TP spares. Last week we had two willing volanteers from TP to help us identify some of the random pieces. We are still waiting for the slow boat from China to arrive with the nets. We have been assured it is on its way.

The weather has finally dried up long enough for us to cut some grass and make some hay. As always we are eternally optimistic that the bails will be light, otherwise there may be some grunting and groaning!!

The Summer holidays are now upon us and we have a large range of returned items to sell bad box or through the shop. Ideal for keeping your little ones entertained. The sand and water tables are proving popular so keep an eye out for a bargain or two. Better still if you can pop down to the shop you may find it even cheaper.

Sunday, 8 July 2012


I have dragged myself away from the tennis final in the hope that the black cloud that is threatening may just give me a chance to write this. It may also safeguard my fingers that are being chewed to the bone. Marray managed to be the wild card that was the first Britain to win the men's doubles all be it with a Dane for a hell of along time. Hopefully Murray will continue to fight his way and do the same. It seems to be a week for firsts, Bradley Wiggins has the yellow jersey in the Tour de France and we this week will have been Blogging and Face booking for a whole year!

When we started I could not envisage a year down the line. If anyone asked me what would alter in that year I would probably say we would consolidate what we were doing. No way in our wildest dreams did we see us taking on TP and a host of new staff to go with it. This week we have a chap coming from TP to identify those crates that have an array of bits that were created in the Dark Ages. We are hopeful that some may be found an alternative home, as harvest is rapidly arriving and corn will be taking over the shed. It could resemble one of those treasure hunts on a giant scale!

Thank you to all of you who have read, supported and inspired us during this year. It has been appreciated and I shan't guess what this next year may bring. I shall head back to see if Andy is winning, there is nothing wrong with positive thought. Till next time, Julie.

Sunday, 10 June 2012


I hope you all enjoyed the Queens Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. I found myself supping sherry with scrummy cheese scones and cake! It was good to catch up with people I had not seen in a while.

It got me thinking about families and how we remember events in our lives. Having children provides a time line for us that enables us to remember events by, Births, Christenings, First Birthdays, starting School, sitting exams significant Birthdays and Graduations to name but a few of the landmarks. I can always work out how old Phillip is because my daughter insisted on cutting his Christening cake and she was a headstrong two and I just wanted to crawl under the table! Why do they say its parents that embarrass their children?

One of the really nice parts of being involved with a toy shop is that you get to see families grow over the years. New mums coming in with babe in arms, back for their first Birthday present, and then there is Christmas. You get to know them, to see them develop, to hear about their achievements. The best part is when the little one comes back as a proud parent!

Time never stands still, so I'd better get moving. Till next time. Julie

Sunday, 27 May 2012


What beautiful weather!  How nice it is to feel warm again. After the rain, everything is looking vibrant and refreshed. The fields look like a giant patchwork quilt in a myriad of greens and yellows with tractors trundling up an down like toys on a mat. Each has a role to play in creating this hive of industry.

That's what we must look like from above. We have had a very busy week and have seen some old faces return to work with us as well as some new ones. Everyone seems to be in a perpetual state of motion, and no its not just going round in circles. We are getting to grips with TP and are more able to conclude what the customer wants. A TP trampoline that is 14 foot is a good place to start, but that is where the detective work begins. How long the customer has had it? How many springs does it have? These are all questions that help us determine the right one. That is before we work out which part is actually needed. In some cases it is quite straight forward, as in the case of a bed or a net. Other times when it is a nut and bolt it can be quite tricky. Sometimes the customer knows exactly what they have and what they need which is fantastic and a sigh of relief flutters through the office.We are all on a steep learning curve. One thing I can say with certainty is the whole team is doing there very best to get the right item out as quickly as possible. The only team member who is completely unfazed by the whole procedure is Bruce, he's usually found asleep soaking up the sunshine after a night on the tiles!

I hope you all enjoy the sunshine and that it lasts a little bit longer. Till next time, Julie

Sunday, 20 May 2012


We are still sorting through the TP spares, but are finally sensing there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is  not a bright yellow ball, more a flickering candle.

The swallows have arrived and it is always a delight to see them and a relief that they have made it back in one piece.

Our local Hospital is the Friarage. Most of us had our children there or were born ourselves at its predecessor the Mount. Those were the days when maternity services were kept out of sight and Dads were only allowed to visit once the deed had been done! Now we are having to fight to keep the service from being transferred to James Cook in Middlesborough. Once the concern was whether you would be delayed by the level crossing now its whether you will make it.

Next Saturday the Save the Friarage Service Committee along with the Hambleton branch of the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) are holding a march to protest against the proposed closure. They have been asked by William Hague, Councillor John Blackie and Northallerton Town Council to arrange family events/activities on the Bullamoor Playing Fields.These activities will start some time around 3/3.30pm (there will be a march  from County Hall to Bullamoor Fields at 2pm, at an unpredictable toddler-speed...) until no later than 6.00pm. Anyone who would care to join them will be more than welcome. There will be cakes, activities, a tombola, stalls and much more.

It is easy to take things for granted, but I hope they have a fantastic day and get lots of support. This is a cause that is close to many of our hearts. Till next week, Julie

Monday, 7 May 2012


I hope you are enjoying your bank holiday. I am keeping you on your toes, at the moment there is no guessing when the blog will be written. This may not be a good thing, but we cannot be accused of being predictable. Don't get me wrong, predictable can be very good, for instance when you go to look for a toy for a customer and you know exactly where it is.

No two weeks are ever the same at Adventure Toys and sometimes they are sprinkled with lovely surprises. This week we were featured in Mums Baby Magazine.
Outdoor play is crucial for children of all ages. Being outside enables children to access sunlight and fresh air. Recent studies show that children in the UK are significantly lacking in vitamin D, an essential vitamin sourced from the sunlight which is hugely beneficial to our health. Therefore it is vital that parents and carers promote outdoor play and activities to children.

Mums Baby Magazine also reviewed the Little Tikes 30th Anniversary Turtle Sandbox, Here is a small sample of what they had to say.

Mums Baby Magazine put the Little Tikes Turtle Sandbox 30th Anniversary Edition to the test with one of our little sunshine’s. We placed the sandpit outdoors and found that it took roughly two bags of play sand to fill the Little Tikes Turtle Sandbox (30th Anniversary Edition), we then added luke warm water (with added glitter) into the mote along with the squirty turtles and some general sand toys such as buckets, spades, rakes and such like. We ensured that the lid was securely attached to the main sand pit with the provided string. This however took up extra space and we found that removing the lid was actually better as it could then be stored upright out of the way during play to make full use of outdoor space. The Little Tikes Turtle Sandbox (30th Anniversary Edition) is an ideal sand box for small gardens or back yards and accommodates two to three small children during play.

Little Tikes Turtle 30th Anniversary

We give the Little Tikes Turtle Sandbox 30th Anniversary Edition 9/10.

If you want to read the whole article, use this link. Mums Baby Magazine. Till next time have a good week, Julie

Saturday, 28 April 2012


I am sorry this weeks blog is late, blame the weather!!

We have finally finished lambing! The sheep have been replaced by TP spares, they are quieter and don't need food and water, but still take up as much space and time. The definite plus is we don't have to get up to them in the middle of the night. Now we just wake up thinking was that a so and so part? We no sooner feel we are beginning to get the crates identified to put away and guess what? Another waggon is booked in. It's that wonderful scenario of climbing a mountain and you think when you get to the next rise you are there, but the top is still not in sight.

On Thursday we had a torrential downpour. Water levels rose quickly and there was too much for the drains to deal with. Water was flowing where it wasn't meant to. It was coming in the back of the shed as quickly as we were desperately trying to sweep it out the front. Thank goodness a lot of the stock was on pallets, so if we could keep the water moving we could stop it reaching the stock. After what seemed like hours we were down to a trickle. The relief was palpable. By night there were some tired aching bodies.

Till next time, have a good week, Julie.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Our first day of TP spares and so far so good. We have finished building shelves and are about to start filling them with the various parts. Bobby is rapidly coming to terms with the many trampolines as he puts them away, but he can't believe there have been so many!!

I thought I would share with you one of our more unusual requests for Little Tikes spare parts.

Please can you help with my despair

before I pull out ALL my hair.

The doorbell on my Grandson's 'house'

has gone as quiet as a mouse.

Despite new batteries and a clean

it makes no sounds, not a bean

And now when friends come to call

they get no answer, none at all.

'Is he out again' they say

and find another place to play.

To save the tears and save the day

the doorbell has been thrown away.

A 'knock' sign hangs above the door

but friends can't read, they're only four!

So I ask with all my heart

can you replace the missing part?

With your help I'm pretty sure

friends will return to the 'Magic Door'

How could we refuse such a fantastic request for a doorbell for the Magic Doorbell Playhouse that made us all smile and brightened up our day?

I hope it made you smile too. Till next week, Julie