Countdown to Christmas: Tick List

I asked myself, what are the things that really make it start to feel a lot like Christmas?

Bright lights and sparkly decor are of course the most iconic visual elements of Christmas and nowhere does Christmas bedazzle better than Oxford Street. Every year the turning on of the lights is an event attended by the masses, with a household name in tow to add a touch of showbiz. This year, on 7th November, Rita Ora was joined by X Factor winner Matt Terry and Love Island favourite Montana Brown, to turn on a huge total of 750,000 LED lights, which are adorned by 1778 decorations. Partnered with NSPCC and Sky Cinema the theme this year is Light up Christmas for Children, raising money for the charity Childline.

In addition to the classic lights and sky decorations, the shops on either side of he street play a key part in creating those Christmas feels. Some window displays worthy of a mention include John Lewis and Selfridges, images of which I shall treat you to below.

     

Christmas adverts are a huge talking point with the top retailers battling it out to be dubbed the favourite. Everyone has their own preference, although John Lewis seems to be the most eagerly awaited. Perhaps this year a surprise underdog will seize their moment. The highlights for me so far this year are:

Marks and Spencer – you can’t not love Paddington, his clumsy ways and marmalade sandwiches. Although I must question what on earth M&S’s Santa is wearing on his head.

Debenhams – I’m a sucker for a good old love story and really like this modern-day twist on the classic fairytale Cinderella.

John Lewis – whilst some people are slightly disappointed in this year’s advert claiming that it’s rather lacking in emotion, I have a soft spot for Moz the Monster.

The hugely iconic Coca Cola truck marks the dawn of Christmas for many. With that traditional advert and jingle having played for many years, the truck actually now tours the UK. This year it is stopping at 42 destinations! To find out when it will be pulling up near you, have a look here: https://www.cocacola.co.uk/coca-cola/trucktour-2017/

There are lots of lovely things you can do to get in the spirit of Christmas. A personal favourite is ice-skating. Although sometimes I spend more time horizontal than upright, it’s always a good laugh (even if that comes in the form of friends laughing at you…). Growing up I loved making a visit to Santa’s grotto, whether it be at your local shopping centre or the Christmas school fair, it’s a must do for all little ones, or even the “big kids” among us! Perhaps if you fancy something a little more along the lines of retail therapy, you could find your nearest Christmas market and have a wander of the stalls (with a glass of mulled wine in your hand of course!)  I went to one near Southbank just the other day (of which you can see a photo of below). And in those closing countdown days make sure you get that Christmas tree up and decorated. For me this activity is most definitely a sign that the special day is nearing and hey, the house could always do with a sprinkling of tinsel!

Each year a new and some might say, alternative, advent calendar takes to the shelves in time for the countdown to Christmas. Quite frankly I adore a classic chocolate calendar and my absolute favourite is the simple yet scrumptious Maltesers one. For those of you feeling a little less chocolatey, maybe one of these unconventional advent calendars will take your fancy …

And last BUT certainly not least on my countdown to Christmas tick list…(dun dun dun)… Christmas songs! With an abundance of magical music now available to make our ears happy and whilst some of us play them all year round (each to their own…), the play of your first Christmas song is a moment to be marked (preferably with a glass of mulled wine to hand).

So, here’s just a very select few of my favourite Christmas tunes to get you started on creating the perfect festive playlist…

Ps: just a note on Christmas shopping – something which is sure to bring so much joy and yet is always just a tad stressful. We all know that someone who has already got their presents sorted (yes, a whole month in advance), but just a little note for those of you who haven’t quite fulfilled the role of Santa just yet… DO NOT WORRY… YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!

Pps: Happy Christmas Countdown-ing lovely people.

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My First Time at Brand Licensing Europe

 

Following a Busy, Lengthy but Exciting build-up in the License to PR office which started in July, last week I finally got to experience BLE for the first time. Whilst I was aware to some extent what BLE would be like, I was not to fully comprehend the sheer size and scale of the event, until arriving at Olympia exhibition centre, on the first day.

Behind the scenes at License to PR – the lead-up

To help our clients through the crazy few days of BLE, we once again put together survival kits. Whilst they were not quite your conventional survival kits, we hoped that all the little goodies would come in handy.

Inside was Berocca, Paracetamol, Rescue Remedy, a comb, chocolate and sweets (of course the best and most essential of all), Vaseline and hand sanitiser.

         

The main event

From the moment I walked through the door, I was immersed in the whole Bustle, Liveliness and Enthusiasm of BLE. Welcomed by colours galore, the venue was filled with licensed brands ranging from children’s entertainment brands (including many of our clients) to museums and even football clubs. It’s amazing that everything and anything can be licensed!

Here’s a glimpse at what I saw and some of the stands of companies we represented at the show…

Cartoon Network:

         

Universal:

        

Entertainment One:

         

Saban:

Warner Brothers:

         

Imperial War Museums:

 

The highlight

The highlight for me was definitely the character parade on the first day. It created a Buzzy, Larger-than-life and Electric atmosphere which remained throughout the event.

The question is, can you spot your favourite?

The future

Whilst I was at BLE I also seized the opportunity to learn a little more about licensing and gain an insight to the future of licensing from some industry experts. At a key note panel which I attended, chaired by Steven Ekstract, Group Publisher of License Global, a fact that I found particularly noteworthy came from one of the panellists, Eric Karp, Head of Licensing at Buzzfeed. He informed the audience that Buzzfeed’s Tasty channel, which regularly publishes quick and fun cooking tutorials (of which I am a huge fan), has a reach of 76% of Facebook users! I came away from this interesting keynote panel with a recognition that the future of licensing is looking very digitalised indeed!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insider to the world of BLE!

Until next time,

Jess.

 

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National Cupcake Week

If you’re foodies like us then you sure don’t need any excuse to eat cake, but hey we’ll still take it! Last week was National Cupcake Week and so to honour the wonderful week, we thought it would be a delicious idea to compile a selection of the best kids themed cupcakes on the internet. These are a collection of some of the brands which we are currently working on.

Just in case you were not already hungry…

Peppa Pig

    

Credit: Pintrest                                                    Credit: Pintrest

PJ Masks

     

Credit: Pintrest                                                        Credit: Pintrest

Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom

      

Credit: Pintrest                                                        Credit: Pintrest

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

     

Credit: Pintrest                                                       Credit: Pintrest

Power Rangers

     

Credit: Pintrest                                                        Credit: Pintrest

Powerpuff Girls

      

Credit: Pintrest                                             Credit: Pintrest

Cupcake 4.0

Whilst it’s not quite a cupcake, only a little (or rather a lot) larger, we couldn’t not feature this masterpiece. A baker mummy made a Peppa Pig cake that was larger than her 4-year-old daughter! It could have fed 700 people, contained 133,000 calories and took her 4 days to bake!

Read more here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2655005/Mother-bakes-Peppa-Pig-cake-taller-4-year-old-daughter-133-000-calorie-birthday-sponge-big-feed-700-people-cost-just-100.html

And last but not least…

Check out License to PR’s very own Peppa cake made by Louise!

 

Bake-inspo

Maybe this have given you some inspiration to make your own kids fun-themed cupcakes – we’d definitely love to see them! You could even use the Peppa Pig muddy puddle cake mix for those little Peppa fans of yours!

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Under the Potter spell for 20 years

Harry Potter is not showing any signs of slowing down two decades after the release of the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Over 450 million copies have been sold worldwide and the series is available in 79 languages. 20 years have whizzed by for so many Potter fans, so how has the world celebrated such a milestone?

Social Media

On Facebook, you could have embraced the special day with exciting animated features. A simple mention of ‘Harry Potter’ or any of the four houses sparked the appearance of a magic wand and each of the houses became alit in their respective colours.

Twitter was dominated by #HarryPotter20 which was a top worldwide trend throughout the day. Alongside the hashtag, Twitter created a Potter-dedicated emoji consisting of his iconic glasses and lightning-bolt scar.

Within 24 hours the hashtag had been included in over 60,000 tweets and the author herself, J.K. Rowling, expressed her extreme gratitude to fans. She tweeted:

“20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others. It’s been wonderful. Thank you.”.

Exhibition

What: Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition

Where: the British Library

When: October 20 2017 – 28 February 2018

Here you will be able to explore the world of wizardry with previously-unseen items from Bloomsbury and Rowling’s own archives. Visit to learn how to create a Philosopher’s Stone, gaze at Sirius in the night sky and admire pictures of dragons, unicorns and a certain Phoenix.

Tickets: https: //www.bl.uk/events/harry-potter-a-history-of-magic

New editions

Four new editions of the book! With a unique cover for each of the houses! A huge collectable for any Potter super-fans among you. The covers will feature the house colours, crest and the books themselves will include exciting new fact files, character profiles and illustrations.

Competition

Something for the kids: design your own magical library! To be in with the chance of winning a complete school library makeover in a chosen Hogwarts house colour, enter this school contest by July 14th.  You can see the Bloomsbury website for further details.

World Book Club

What’s more, J.K. Rowling has created an online book club: The Wizarding World Book Club, to honour the 20th anniversary. The club is for both old and new Potter fans, serving as a fantastic platform for the book to continue to bubble over into the lives of people around the world.

Magic up your own celebrations

So, if all this has got you in the mood to embrace Pottermania, why not have your own Potter party! With the help of this fantastic party pack which includes decorations, invitations and game ideas, you could have an spell-tacular time!

And last but not least, join me in raising your wands to another 20 years of Harry Potter!

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Half Term Inspiration

You’ve got a whole week to fill. Do you A) Crack out the workbooks to get a jump start on next term B) Pay way too much for a five-day activity camp C) Let Netflix solve the problem or D) Take a look at LtPR’s activity plan of what fun things you can get up to this half term in London?! Did we mention that all the below suggestions are FREE?

1. The Charterhouse

Let your imaginations run wild this half term for an exciting day of activities, all linked to mystery and revelation at this former Carthusian monastery. Families can create their own disappearing art, construct secret messages and uncover the fascinating history of the Charterhouse.

When?: 15th February, 11am – 4pm

http://www.thecharterhouse.org/learning-programme-categories/families/

charterhouse

 

2. V&A – ABC Photography exhibition

Based on the book ABC Photography, the alphabet is reinvented in this display of critically acclaimed photographers from all walks of life, exploring new notions and different interpretations of how we educate children.

When?: 11th February – 4th June

http://www.vam.ac.uk/moc/exhibitions/abc-photography/

v&a

 

3. Little Rippers Film Club at House of Vans

For the ultimate chilled weekend, House of Vans is hosting family cinema favourites every Saturday and Sunday morning. This Saturday it’s 2016’s Trolls movie! Parents can choose between relaxing in the café or joining the kids in the 100-seat screening space. We can’t stop the feeling of this relaxing Saturday.

When?: Saturday, 18th February, 10.30am and 12.15am

http://houseofvanslondon.com/events/calendar/events/little-rippers-film-club-trolls

trolls

 

4. Family Day at Keates House

Based on the poetry of one of the most beloved English poets, John Keats, spend your Saturday getting the little ones stuck into poetry at this arts and crafts workshop. Make a percussion stick with beads and sticks and create beautiful music inspired by the words of Keats.

When?: Sunday, 19th February, 1pm – 4pm

https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/keats-house/Pages/whats-on.aspx

keats house

 

5. Harry Potter exhibition at MinaLima

Staged by the designers who are responsible for some of the graphic design artwork on the Harry Potter films, including Hogwarts textbooks, the Goblet of Fire and wanted posters, marvel at the wizardly creations all under one roof.

When?: Noon – 7pm daily

http://store.minalima.com/

minalima

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Valentine’s Day: Cute Cartoon Couples

Lost in search of love? Victim of Valentine’s Day disappointment? Forever idolising the relationship between Micky & Minnie? The fateful day is with us once more and forgive us for feeling anything but heart-eyed.

Endless pressure is put on finding the most perfect romantic restaurant, or the best Groupon spa break for two – we’re sure Snow White and Prince Charming never had this much drama. Well, you know what we mean.

To distract us all from the impending heart emojis cluttering our Twitter feeds, we have attributed romance to the following six couples. All cartoons and all practically perfect in their own way.

heart emojiheart emojiheart emoji

1. Woody & Little Bo Peep

Everyone’s favourite cowboy and ultimate girl next door (girl-across-the-shelf) really do         seem the perfect couple. Granted, they do have their own problems, most notably the               prospect of being thrown in the garbage. However, does this stop the plastic fantastic               couple from giving up? No (well, unless you’ve seen Toy Story 3).woody & bo peep

2. Fred & Wilma Flintstone

Far from the modern problems couples face today, whether that be Tinder being just a           download away or Becky with the good hair sliding into your DMs, Fred and Wilma                 Flintstone have kept their love rock solid. The danger of dinosaur attacks did not phase them, their relationship has stood the test of time.

fred & wilma 2

3. Peter Pan & Wendy Darling

Not wholly romantic per se, but Peter Pan and Wendy sure did have a strong connection.     Both appealing to something the other does not have, this was destined to be a tear jerker.     It’s not always easy to change a man, Wendy.

peter pan & wendy

4. Homer & Marge Simpson

Far from the perfection Disney has created but a reachable relationship nonetheless. For some reason, Homer and Marge Simpson just seem to make it work. Her with the patience of a saint and him with a gentle heart, we could learn a lot from Springfield’s most notable residents.homer & marge

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Daddy Pig & Mummy Pig

We aren’t afraid to admit it; Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig really are #relationshipgoals. She      balances out the zaniness of Daddy Pig and he offers constant support and belly laughs to      the whole family. Farmyard animals or not, these two are the envy of our office.mummy & daddy pig

6. Mickey & Minnie Mouse

Completing our list is the couple who embody cartoon marriage goals. This year marks           Mickey and Minnies’s 89th anniversary together. Just what is their secret? Is it free rides         at Disney Land, an array of cute merchandise or the fact that their voice actors married         one another in real life? Seriously, this happened. Until the voice of Mickey died in 2009.     Somebody pass the Kleenex.

mickey & minnie

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PJ Masks Toys Soar to the UK

PJMasks Key Art 1 no logo or text (S)

Into the night to save the day! PJ Masks fans across the country can rejoice, as the official toy line has now launched in the UK! It’s time to pick up your capes and let your imagination run wild, as a whole host of toys are now available to but from Asda, Smyths, The Entertainer, Argos, Tesco and Toys “R” Us.

Young heroes can bring their favourite character to life with a fantastic new range of PJ Masks vehicles, action figures, dress-up costumes and soft toys.PJ toys collage

What is your favourite toy from the collection?

Catch PJ Masks daily on Disney Jr!

Pj toys collage 2

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Office Treasure Chest

Knick-knacks, essentials but most definitely not clutter. Like many of you, we at License to PR love a quirky and Instagram-worthy purchase for our office. Over the years (10, to be exact!) our Director Lou has built up quite the collection of wacky and wonderful products, some of which are still sitting proudly on our desks.

If you’re struggling with gift-spiration for an upcoming birthday, then fear no more! This list will have you whipping out your debit card in excitement.

Circa 2010

Homeopathic medicine

Feeling run down? Coming down with a cold? There’s a homeopathic cure for that. For all our alternative medicinal needs, Lou has got us covered. We don’t know where we’d be without the smelling potions!

Woolly office cardigan

Winter can be a pretty bleak time, especially when sitting stationary at a desk and with a defective heater keeping you company. The anniversary of our woolly office cardigan is fast approaching, and we can’t thank it enough. It’s a big bundle of comfort and we reach for it at the slightest hint of a chill. Thank you, big woolly cardi.

 

Circa 2014

Laptop trays

A sensible one, but memorable and useful nonetheless, our laptops sit pretty on very fetching pink laptop trays. Gently rising our screens and matching our colourful personalities, we’re very thankful for this purchase.

laptop trays - blog

Personalised mugs

What office is complete without personalised mugs? Considering the number of cups of tea this agency vanquishes, it seems only fitting that we do so in style.

personalised mugs - blog

Circa 2016/17

Microwaveable egg poachers

We love to eat, we love to talk about what we have eaten, and Lou loves B&M. Last year we were lucky enough to all receive our own plastic egg poacher (you’ve got to love these modern inventions), courtesy of B&M’s homeware department. Forget travelling to the inner depths of Shoreditch for your mid-morning eggs benedict, this DIY poacher has got you covered. NB scandal struck in Autumn 2016 when one poacher was reported missing. Fortunately, it was found unscathed among a mountain of Tupperware.

egg poacher

Stretching band

Tired arms and sore backs. Just a couple of the aches and pains we experience. The addition of a stretching exercise band to our office last summer was much needed. We’ve never been so supple!

stretching band

Hot water bottles

The latest purchase to grace the office has been very warmly received, so to speak. Providing us with a heated hug, these colourful water bottles are our best friends this January.

hot water bottles - blog

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Toy Fair 2017

Slap bang in the depths of winter, there is always one beacon of light ready and waiting with a playful smile: it’s Toy Fair 2017! Showcasing some of the most exciting and anticipated products for the year ahead, Toy Fair is the UK’s only dedicated game and hobby event.

The LtoPR team took to Kensington Olympia for a catch up with our clients and to discuss strategy for the year ahead, while of course getting an exclusive glimpse of this year’s hottest toy releases.

Toy Fair Roof Toy Fair Minions Display

After a monstrously successful 2016, Click Distribution UK Ltd’s stand boasted some of the most fruitful products from their portfolio, including SelfieMic. Tapping into the plugged-in generation and the worldwide necessity that is the selfie, SelfieMic allows users to sing like a star and create their own music videos. Featuring an adjustable selfie stick with working microphone, earpiece and free StarMaker app, the inner Lady Gaga in you can perform for hours and just dance to your chosen track. Because your talent was born this way, baby.

Toy Fair SelfieMicPrint

We had our first look at Click’s Bijou Bracelet range, which is ready to hit retail in May of this year and is the company’s first IP.  Priced at £2.99 and with 12 colours to collect, Bijou Bracelet definitely seems to have what it takes to become the next playground craze for young girls.

Hot on the heels of a successful first series on Disney Junior and after the release of two thrilling mobile game apps, PJ Masks will be launching at UK retail next month with it’s first toy line. We had an exclusive look at the plush range and they were definitely worth the wait!

Toy Fair PJ Toys

Anyone who has visited Toy Fair is well aware of the somewhat wacky products on display. A couple of things caught our eye:

  1. A giant alien which grows in water. Trust us, this thing was HUGE. Alongside smaller versions, this definitely was reminiscent of a horror film.
  2. A hot tub. There isn’t much to say about this one. It’s fair to say we didn’t fancy a quick dip.

Toy Fair Alien Toy Fair Hot Tub

The fun and games are over for another year; roll on 2018!

Toy Fair PJ Masks Toy Care Bear

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Kid Inventors’ Day

Do you ever ponder the origins of some of the products we use every day? What do trampolines, earmuffs and water skiing have in common? Yes, they were all invented by children!

Kids are known for their active imaginations and enthusiasm for all things exciting. Putting the mere inside-the-box-thinking-adults to shame, here is a list of just four products that have all been invented by children.

Popsicle

In 1905, at the ripe old age of 11, Frank Epperson mixed soda water powder and water in a glass, stirring it with a stick. After leaving it a while, the chilly San Francisco temperature transformed it into a frozen concoction – stick sitting proudly in the glass.

Years passed and in 1923 he added fruity flavours to the mix and patented the creation, giving us the deliciously refreshing popsicle.

popsicle

Trampoline

Inspired by trapeze artists at the circus, 16-year-old gymnast, George Nissen, had the brainwave of putting together a steel frame and canvas sheet. He perfected the design over the years and, after touring in a travelling acrobatic act in Mexico, he trademarked his design – the Trampoline.

trampoline

Braille

After losing his sight at age five, Louis Braille was frustrated with the lack of resources for those with impaired vision at his school. He was inspired by a system used in the French army as a means of transferring messages using a worded code that could not be written on paper. Using his father’s tools, he created an alphabet made entirely of six dots that were quickly readable, with ‘Braille’ established less than 10 years later.

braille

Earmuffs

To combat the freezing winter when ice skating, 15-year-old Chester Greenwood shaped two loops from wire and asked his grandmother to sew fur around them. And ‘earmuffs’ were born. After getting it patented, his creation flourished when he supplied them to soldier during World War I.

It’s no surprise that his hometown of Farmington, Maine has been deemed the Earmuff Capital of the World.

earmuffs

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