Chocolate Day?

Look Sven, there’s chocolate, and chocolate biscuits, and chocolate marshmallows, and chocolate cake…

So is it Chocolate Day?

No Sven, it’s Frozen Day!

It’s only one more year until Frozen 2 is released!

And that means more Frozen dresses from Build a Bear! 🙂

One cannot have too many Frozen dresses…

Until then we can watch Olaf’s Frozen Adventures again 🙂

Dinner @ Bennelong Restaurant

Little bears are in Sydney to see, and hear, Daniel Barenboim and his legendary orchestra, Staatskapelle. The renowned maestro and his orchestra will celebrate the Romantic greats in three Australian exclusive performances at Sydney Opera House. We have tickets to two performances, having decided that one night of Brahms was enough. Besides, Brahms is no competition for a cherry jam lamington!

On the night of the first performance, little bears were under the same roof as the legendary orchestra, but at Bennelong restaurant to eat Peter Gilmore’s famous cherry jam lamington.

It was four years ago that Peter Gilmore took over the Bennelong site at Sydney Opera House. Apparently it was a Hollywood-style happy ending to what had been a drama-packed 12 months for Bennelong and Sydney Opera House. The controversy began with former tenant Guillaume’s Brahimi’s decision not to re-bid for the tender at the end of his lease in January 2014 following a Sydney Opera House decree for a more casual operation in the space.

The the three-level space was given a multi-million dollar makeover, and it opened mid 2015 with a signature Peter Gilmore dining room on the lower level, quick bites and drinks in the middle, and a casual restaurant/bar on the upper level.

Little bears couldn’t be happier with the change! The result is a beary friendly restaurant! 🙂

Princess Charlotte Bay bug dumpling
hispi cabbage, finger lime
nori, brown butter
Roast wagyu rump cap
cipollini & buckwheat pudding
horseradish emulsion
with broccolini and asparagus as a side dish

Peter Gilmore is famous for his desserts. Quay’s snow egg was a bucket list dining item for everyone in Sydney, and the lamington at Bennelong is starting to reach equal heights. When he took over Bennelong, Gilmore was inspired to create something as iconic as his new venue.

Cherry jam lamington

This is the Rolls Royce of lamingtons. Peter Gilmore’s take on the classic lamington is an ode to Australian nostalgia, elevated to the point of cult-dish status. On the plate: a square of cherry jam coconut ice-cream and sponge cake, coated in a glossy chocolate ganache, all surrounded by a halo of liquid nitrogen coconut milk parfait that acts as desiccated coconut. Amazing!

Cherry jam lamington

If you feel brave enough to tackle the nearly 50 separate steps needed to create the dessert, here is the recipe.

Content little bears 🙂

Lucky 13

It was on November 23, 1963, that BBC aired the first episode of Doctor Who, An Unearthly Child, and the first Doctor, played by William Hartnell, embarked on his adventures to save people and planets, by travelling in his magnificent time machine, aka the TARDIS.

Since then, November 23 has been known as Doctor Who Day or TARDIS Day. The TARDIS, which looks like a police box from the outside, is an acronym for Time and Relative Dimension in Space.

The Doctor’s TARDIS is an obsolete “Type 40 TT capsule” that he unofficially “borrowed” from the repair shop when he departed his home planet of Gallifrey. The TARDIS used to be able to blend itself to its surroundings but it got stuck as a police box in 1963 after the Chameleon Circuit developed a fault. Remarkable the creativity that can be unleashed to meet budget constraints 🙂

Apart from the ability to travel in space and time (and, on occasion, to other dimensions), the most remarkable characteristic of a TARDIS is that its interior is much larger than it appears from the outside. This is due to trans-dimensional engineering, because the exterior and interior of the TARDIS can exist in separate dimensions. See comment above 🙂

It can also exist at Lego exhibitions…

Tardis (75,000 bricks, 300 hours)

And on London streets 🙂

A (pretend) Tardis!

And the TARDIS has appeared on the Big Bang Theory 🙂

Every Saturday, Sheldon has awakened at 6:15, poured himself a bowl of cereal, added a quarter cup of 2% milk, sat in his spot on the couch, turned on BBC America and watched Doctor Who.

Today little bears have decided to finally see what all the fuss is about.

The fuss is very pretty 🙂

Last month, Jodie Whittaker made history becoming the first woman to play the lead role in Doctor Who in its 55-year history. About time! The episode The Woman Who Fell to Earth was an hour-long special introducing audiences to the 13th Doctor. The 13th Doctor is lively, warm, funny, energetic, inclusive – she’s the greatest friend you could wish to have as your guide around the universe.

Little bears are hooked! Now it’s time for Build a Bear to make Doctor Who costumes 🙂

A rarity in the show’s history, the episode was almost a soft reboot, having been made by a completely new production team with a brand new cast.

Mandip Gill, Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole in Doctor Who series 11 (BBC)

The second episode of series 11 introduced the new TARDIS. Appearing at the episode’s conclusion, the new Tardis interior has been completely remodelled since the old design (created by the late Michael Pickwoad for Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s Doctors) was destroyed in the 2017 Christmas special, and it is revealed to viewers in an atmospheric scene that’s definitely one of the highlights of the Doctor’s adventure.

“Ohhh – you’ve redecorated!” the Doctor says as she takes her first steps inside. “I REALLY like it.” So do we.

Luckily, we don’t have to wake up at 6:15 on Saturdays to watch Doctor Who 🙂

Play Day

Space ranger, it doesn’t look like you’re wearing regulation shoes.

But they are so pretty! So I changed the space ranger manual to include these shoes. It comes right after the speed of light. It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law!

Check out my awesome weapon system!

Amazing XR…. Now we have to find Evil Emperor Zurg!

You found Nemo!

Hello Boo!

Mike Wazowski!

Hey, fellows, you look like you know where the pitstop is. RC is in need.

The Rust-eze team is at your service. With a little Rust-eze – and an insane amount of luck – you too can race with us. Ka-chow!

Time to play!

Pizza Night

Pizza, anyone?

Does it come from Pizza Planet?

Maybe, it looks like it fell from outer space!

Exciting news, Toy Story 4 is coming in June 2019!

How many sleeps is that?

Hmmm… Many!

What if we don’t go to sleep? How many sleeps then?

If we don’t sleep, we can watch all the other Disney Pixar movies. We’ve got them all!

Toy Story is still as big as ever. Bigger probably! There are now four Toy Story Lands around Disney resorts.

Toy Story Land in France is part of Toon Studio and opened in 2010.

Toon Studio at Walt Disney Studios Park, Disneyland Paris
A hug from Woody!
Toon Studio at Walt Disney Studios Park, Disneyland Paris

Toy Story Land in Hong Kong opened in 2011.

With Woody and Jessie at Hong Kong Disneyland
That’s a funny story 🙂

This year saw the opening of two Toy Story Lands, in Shanghai on April 26 and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida on June 30. Well, we’ve never been to China… And Shanghai Disney Resort also offers the Toy Story Hotel as accommodation. Having stayed at a Disney Resort Hotel at Walt Disney World, Florida, we recommend Disney accommodation, if accommodation is required, when visiting Disney parks. It makes a whole lot of things a whole lot easier and the accommodation comes in all price ranges.

But the most exciting Toy Story Land is the one at Walt Disney World, Florida. Especially as it comes with Disney Early Morning Magic and Extra Magic Hours. So America, hurry up and vote Trump out, as little bears refuse to visit while there is no sign of intelligent life at the White House! Buzz has spoken 🙂

Beary Mouseketeers

The Mickey Mouse Club is in session!

Mickey Mouse is turning 90 today and beary mouseketeers are celebrating 🙂

Disney is using Mickey’s 90th birthday as a monstrous marketing moment, with the company’s cross-promotional machine revved up to what may be its highest level yet. Every corner of the $US168 billion company is contributing to the campaign, which will intensify today when ABC runs the two-hour Mickey’s 90th Spectacular. Disney theme parks will be hosting events into next year. Hmmm…

There’s another reason to go to Paris in June next year, the colossal cupcakes at Disneyland Paris.

Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris

Disney’s vast theme park operation is one reason the squeaky-voiced rodent has remained so embedded in the culture. The parks, which attracted more than 150 million visitors last year, offer the masses a touch point — quite literally. Walking-around Mickeys sign autographs and pose for photos.

For the current campaign, the Disney parks will stock commemorative merchandise, sell “limited edition” desserts and host a dizzying number of events billed as the World’s Biggest Mouse Party. There is the collaborations with a dozen fashion designers, including Marc Jacobs. More than 30 books document 90 years of Mickey Mouse, including one from Taschen so big it comes in a box with a carrying handle. Small and subtle are not the Walt Disney Company’s style 🙂

Mickey has come a long way since he was first seen on-screen in Steamboat Willie, Hollywood’s first cartoon with synchronized sound, on 18th November 1928.

The 1928 Walt Disney doodle for Steamboat Willie

Though Steamboat Willie is widely credited as Mickey’s first appearance, he was actually featured in a short cartoon that debuted to a test audience a few months before. This is a storyboard sketch for Plane Crazy which was first shown on May 15, 1928.
Mickey is pictured in a 1933 poster alongside Minnie Mouse, who made her first appearance with Mickey in Steamboat Willie.
Walt Disney posed with a whole bunch of early Mickeys.
Mickey’s friend Donald made his first appearance in the 1934 cartoon short The Wise Little Hen.
Mickey in the 1940 feature film Fantasia.
The 1947 Fun and Fancy Free was the last animated feature to star Walt Disney as the voice of Mickey Mouse.
Mickey and Pluto starred in the short Mickey and the Seal in 1948, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Animated Short Film.
Mickey Mouse was the first animated character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which was given on his birthday (November 18) in 1978.
In 1983, Mickey’s Christmas Carol offered a unique animated version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Mickey in front of the castle at Walt Disney World in 1993.
Mickey reprised his role as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Fantasia 2000, the sequel to Fantasia.
Mickey and his friends were featured in the Disney’s Mickey MouseWorks, a 1999 Saturday morning cartoon that marked the first time Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and Minnie starred together in an original television series.
Just before the new millennium, Mickey got a 21st century upgrade.
Mickey with his friend Donald who received his star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004.
Mickey, Donald and Goofy star in The Three Musketeers in 2004.

Mickey with Mark Hamill in 2014.
Mickey and Minnie with Puffles, Honey and Isabelle in 2014, Hong Kong Disneyland
Mickey with Puffles and Honey in 2014, Disneyland Paris
Mickey and Minnie with Puffles and Honey in 2016, Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Mickey and Minnie with Puffles and Honey in 2016, Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Mickey with Puffles and Honey in 2016, Disneyland California
Mickey with Minnie who received her star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 2018.
Mickey and Minnie on the red carpet for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, with Mackenzie Foy.

Moët Moments

19 October is World Champagne Day as little bears discovered on the day itself. Luckily, little bears were nearby Selfridges in Birmingham where they could get their very own personalised Moët & Chandon bottles!

The evening plans had to be rescheduled 🙂

France is the world’s largest consumer of Champagne, followed by UK, USA and Australia. Not a bad effort from Australia considering they have only 25 million people, just over a third of France’s or UK’s population and less than 10% of USA’s population! I wonder if that was a consideration when Moët & Chandon opened Domain Chandon Australia. Shockingly, Domain Chandon Australia dates back to 1986, but we only discovered it a week ago. We’ll catch up 🙂

During the mid-1980s, a team of Chandon’s wine whisperers struck gold at Green Point, an old dairy farm in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. The cool climate and great soil combined to make a picture-perfect home for Domaine Chandon. Since 1986, this is where Australia’s leading méthode traditionnelle producer has been confidently crafting sparkling and still wines that are stamped with the distinct style that is Chandon. The cellar door offers the largest range of premium sparkling wines in Australia and the Sunday School covers winemaking! 🙂

Domaine Chandon was named STAR winery for the Yarra Valley in the 2018 Best Cellar Door Awards in Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine and the Chandon Brut was crowned Best Australian Sparkling Wine at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships 2018 in London. And it’s not even a vintage sparkling, proving a quality sip can be affordable!

Whether it’s your preferred regular tipple, or something you save for special occasions, drinking Champagne has long been synonymous with style. And little bears are big on style!

Celebrated local wines have been produced in the Champagne region for over a thousand years, but the drink we now know and love didn’t officially gain its fizz until the 1700s.

The effect, accidentally caused when low temperatures in the region’s cold winters saw the fermentation process prematurely halted, before beginning again in warmer weather building pressure from carbon dioxide, was replicated intentionally, as the popularity of sparkling champagne grew.

Queen Victoria, having discovered her love of the Perrier-Jouët drier style “brut” Champagne, insisted on it being served at all her banquets at venues including Blenheim Palace from 1856, with society’s movers and shakers all scrabbling to follow suit.

Little bears are partial to Moët & Chandon. It is the champagne of choice for all the cherry celebrations, on account of the cherry notes 🙂

Amazing cherry shaped birthday cake courtesy of Andresa 🙂

And now Moët & Chandon have introduced the Ice Impérial Rosé. Technically they introduced it in 2016 but it only counts now that we have discovered it 🙂 And it was officially launched in Australia only 3 days ago. Hopefully that means more shops will stock it, it is only available at David Jones online at present.

Moët Ice Impérial Rosé

It is the world’s first rosé champagne specifically created to be enjoyed on ice. It even survives being frozen in the freezer because someone forgot to place the bottle in the fridge in time for the party and then the same someone didn’t take it out of the freezer in a timely manner! But not recommended!

Adding ice to wine when serving is a rather controversial move among wine connoisseurs. The frozen water tends to dilute the structure and modify the balance winemakers have meant to craft. The cold blocks the expression of aromas and flavors, as it sorts of captures them and holds them into the liquid.

That said, if a wine is specially designed and blended through its winemaking to be served on ice, winemakers can supposedly make sure the wine is concentrated enough to withstand some dilution, and pungent-enough aromatically to remain expressive at very low temperatures. This is the case with Moët’s Ice Impérial and Ice Impérial Rosé.

The Ice Impérial Rosé is a tasty, semi-sweet refreshing drink and it tastes more like a cocktail which makes it a hit with little bears!