A little while ago myself and some fellow mummy bloggers were appointed as Chuggington Ambassadors. So I was really excited to be invited by the Learning Curve Chuggington team, along with the lovely Tracy from White Lily Green, to meet them at the Toy Fair in Olympia.
First of all, I couldn't wait to finally meet Tracy ( @mummiafelice on Twitter) as we'd been chatting for ages, and I already consider her to be a dear and trusted friend - even though I'd never met her in person. We met up at Kensington Olympia station, and straight away I knew we were going to have a great day together.
Making our way into the exhibition centre our eyes were bombarded with every toy imaginable (in fact we were nearly literally bombarded several times by some bloke demonstrating a boomerang, who seemed to lob it towards me every time we walked past). I'd never attended this kind of trade show before, let alone on press day, so I found it quite amusing that with all the toys and games on show the place was mostly populated by press photographers in grey suits - it looked like a good few years since they'd had any fun!
We found the Chuggington stand easily enough - it wasn't hard to miss with a massive Wilson replica standing at the front.
The team were lovely and welcoming, and we were talked through the massive array of toys and given a sneak preview of toys to be launched later this year. Ruby would have been in seventh heaven here with all the train tracks and die-cast models.
The interactive toys were fabulous, and if your little one is a Chuggington fan and you don't yet have any of these I can wholeheartedly recommend them. They featuring SmartTalk™ technology, so the Interactive engines actually recognise and interact with each other. Rather alarmingly they also randomly talk to me from the depths of the toybox, but I am beginning to get used to this!
I loved the chunky Wilson remote control train. Designed as a first RC toy, it has basic forward and turn features, but looks very sturdy and robust. We were shown a demo with two Wilson's and as they operate of the same frequency it meant we could see a bit of synchronised Wilson dancing!
If you're not a fan of battery operated toys, then I think you'll love the new Chuggington Championship Set. It is manually operated, and you wind a crank to make your engine shoot around the track - very simple but very effective.
My favourite part of the session was meeting Don Toht, the executive producer and one of the creators of the series. He was charming, and it was really interesting to hear how the concept developed, it's journey from paper to screen and to hear his genuine fondness for the characters. He talked a lot about the child actors who provide the character voices, and how they bring their personality to the engine's characters. He also told us they are currently working on a new series - Great news for Chuggington fans!
|Image credit: Toy News, Intent Media|
After our morning with the Chuggington team, there was just time for a cuppa and a chin-wag, a bit of mingling with the celebs, and a quick hello to some other Twittery toy companies before heading home.
|Tracy, Driver Dan and me share a hug|
|Me, Bob and Tracy|
Back home, I was met by a very excited Ruby who was much more interested in finding out what I had in the goody-bag full of Chuggington merchandise, than in telling me she'd missed me!
Huge thanks to Chuggington for having me along, covering my travel expenses and for the goody-bag, and a special thanks to Tracy for being such great company.