Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | The Fairy Door Store

When I was little one of my favourite movies was Fern Gully, I was so in love with the fairies and the thought that they really did exist. I wanted to be Crysta and have all her magical powers. I wanted to fly around all day protecting the forest. Imagine being able to really fly, how cool would that be?

Isn't it amazing how the things that excite us stay with us for years after we've grown up? I still get excited at the thought of fairies living in the forest, and there's a teeny part of me that believes it's possible. It proves just how powerful our imaginations really are. I want bub to experience this magic for herself. I want her to believe in fairies and I want her to think that anything's possible, like I did. I also hope her imagination lives on long after her childhood. 

Now days there are new fairies on the block to entertain our kids. Bub's favourite is princess Holly from Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom, closely followed by Nanny Plum {who just quietly is one of my favourites too}. Holly spends her days playing with other fairies and elves, doing magic and solving problems. Bub loves watching her adventures on tv each day and I'm fairly certain she thinks Princess Holly is just as real as I thought Crysta was.

What if we could take that magic out of the television screen and bring it to life? 

BRING FAIRIES TO LIFE WITH THE FAIRY DOOR STORE


The Fairy Door Store is all about fairies and brings their magic into our children's world by creating an entrance where fairies {and elves} can cross over from their enchanted world into ours. The Fairy Door Store products will capture your child's imagination and curiosity, and make the make believe believable.

The Fairy Door Store stock a number of products that you can use to create a simple {or elaborate} entrance to invite fairies, and elves, into your child's world. The most important piece is of course the fairy door. There are a number of different colours to choose from so the door can be matched with existing bedroom decor. Each door comes with a special note from the fairies and a little golden key that only the fairies can use to open the door.


Fairies are very mysterious creatures and only come out at night when children are sleeping, but there are many ways they let children know they've visited. Sometimes they leave a sprinkling of fairy dust, other times they leave notes in the mail box for children to discover. And of course the tooth fairy can come and visit via the fairy door too. The Fairy Door Store has a number of fairy accessories the fairies can leave behind to let your child know they came for a special visit during the night.

Fairy door's can be easily attached to walls sitting above the skirting board or attached to a bookshelf with double sided tape, blu-tack, or if you're game, glue. Because bub's only almost 3, and because I'm indecisive about where to put things, I've created a little fairy house in a shadow box instead. This way I can hang it up high out of reach of little hands, move it around onto a shelf in her play room and it can also be brought down to the floor once she's a bit older {when I can trust her with it unsupervised}. See below for step by step instructions on how I transformed a simple wooden shadow box into a magical fairy house with the help of some paint and a few accessories.

How to transform a shadow box into a fairy house


It's actually surprisingly simple to create a fairy house from a shadow box, it's just slightly time consuming, especially when you have a toddler trying to help you. These are the items I used to create mine, but you could make yours as simple or complex as you like.

YOU WILL NEED


* A shadow box {tall enough to accommodate the door}
* A fairy or elf door
* A fairy window
* A mail box
* Wooden picket fence
* Fake grass
* Paint {if needed}

I used simple craft picket fences that I found at a local cheap shop and I added some stones and tiny flowers from our yard. If you don't have grass and flowers on hand you can get fairy grass with flowers from The Fairy Door Store. They also stock stepping stones and small picket fences.


HOW TO CREATE A SHADOW BOX FAIRY HOUSE


1. Prime and paint the shadow box {if needed}
2. Attach grass to the base of the box
3. Position and attach fairy door and fence
4. Position and attach window and mail box
5. Add any additional accessories

Pink fairy house

I haven't done a DIY project for a while so I did make a rookie error by not priming or undercoating the shadow box before I started painting it. This was only really a problem because my shadow box was originally aqua and I wanted it pink, so it took a lot more coats than I thought to get it to the right colour {and the final colour turned out slightly darker than it should be because of the aqua underneath}. Please learn from my mistake and at least use a white undercoat, it'll make your life so much easier. Overall though I'm pretty proud of my efforts, especially given I'm not an overly crafty person. If I can do this anyone can!

The Fairy Door Store products have really helped to make the fairy house come to life and look like real fairies live beyond the door. I wish they were around when I was younger because I can imagine just how crazy excited I would have been knowing there was a door for the fairies in my own bedroom. Can you imagine, having a door to a whole other world in your own bedroom? Needless to say bub is super excited and is already asking if she can go check her house every five minutes. All the hours of painting were totally worth it.

Did you believe in fairies when you were young?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was provided a fairy door, fairy window and fairy mail box for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on my experience with the products. I did not receive payment for this review.

Linking with Jess
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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Honey & Co Club

Do you remember the joy of receiving a letter or parcel in the mail? 

I still remember how excited I'd get as a child receiving cards and letters in the post from my pen-pal or my aunty {who lived in London}. The anticipation of what would be inside was overwhelming, plus I loved receiving something in the mail just for me. The post man used to ride his bike all the way to my house just to deliver something to little old me. I tell you what that makes a child feel pretty special. Unfortunately, with everything going so digital and people hardly sending traditional snail mail these days, I fear bub {and lots of other kids her age} won't remember what it's like to receive something special in the mail. 

Thankfully though with the seeming demise of snail mail, there are a few companies that are trying to keep the joy alive for our kids. Honey & Co Club is a relatively new business hoping to get children excited about their letterbox and receiving mail again, just like the good old days. Bub was lucky enough to receive a parcel in the mail and she was beside herself with excitement when she realised it was for her.


The postal club for kids


Honey & Co Club was established in 2015 by mum Lou after seeing how excited her daughter Audrey got opening the letterbox {even when there were only takeaway pamphlets inside}. Lou wanted to bring that joy of receiving a parcel to kids all over Australia, so Honey & Co Club was founded so she could do just that. Honey & Co Club is named after the family pet golden labrador Honey, who shares her adventures each month with children via the special parcels in the mail.

Lou, Audrey and Honey. Image via Steph Brown  www.stephbrown.com.au | www.wonderfulmama.com

Honey & Co Club is Australia's postal club just for kids, providing monthly gift subscriptions for preschool aged children {available for 0-3 or 3-5yr olds}. Each month children receive a special package in the mail just for them from Honey the golden labrador. Each month's goodies are themed and include a toy, activity, stickers and a colouring in page. Each package is delivered in a custom made canvas pouch which changes each month.


Take a peak inside a Honey & Co Club parcel


Want to know what's in a parcel, but don't want to buy yet? Let me show you. One of the things that seems to put people off ordering subscription kits is the element of surprise, despite that also being a reason why you would want to order one. I totally get that, you want to know that you're getting value for money. I can tell you the kits are definitely value for money and they'll provide hours of fun for your kids. Bub's still playing with her bits and pieces from her kit over a month later. Here's a sneak peak inside what was received in the April and May parcels. April was themed around food and May was themed around the garden.


Each month the kits include quality carefully selected toys. The April kit was all about food and included a make your own pocket bread kit which has wooden and felt food. Without a doubt this was bub's favourite part of the kit and she still plays with it daily. The May kit included a wooden flower press and a flower and bee balancing cup toy. As you can see from the photo below she was rather eager to get into the parcel.


Along with toys, the kits also include an activity which will sometimes be craft based and sometimes be an outdoor activity. The May kit included a cute tree picture to put together with stickers, paper cut outs and a glue stick. Bub has been somewhat in love with glue sticks since we did Easter craft at mothers group so she was beyond excited to make a whole picture using glue. Our picture didn't turn out quite as it was intended, because 2 year old logic, but we did have heaps of fun putting it together. 


Each month kids also receive a colouring in sheet of Honey the labrador based around the theme of the month. Bub's a little budding artist so she loves colouring in and couldn't wait to colour in the puppy's begatable shop {from the May kit}. The colouring sheets are on quite thick paper so they make great wall art when finished too.


Each Honey & Co Club parcel comes delivered in a custom designed canvas pouch. The pouches are a gift in themselves as they make great pencil cases, bags to hide hidden treasures in {as two year olds love to do} and they're also great for storing bits and pieces when out and about. The bags are big enough to fit little golden books and most small board books inside so when we went to visit a relative in hospital recently I used one to create a busy bag for bub. It easily fit a colouring book, sticker book, board book and small crayons and pencils inside and it kept her entertained during our visit.



Honey & Co Club subscription kits can be purchased in two different age ranges for either 0-3 year olds or 3-5 year olds. Bub's pieces were from the 3-5 kit and despite being just shy of 3 she's thoroughly enjoyed all of the contents. Kits can also be purchased as a one off {$35} or as part of a monthly subscription {$29} which can be cancelled at any time. Both options come with free postage each month. The kits would be the perfect Christmas or birthday present and with a subscription it's the gift that keeps giving all year round. 

Did you love receiving parcels in the mail as a child?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was gifted a Honey & Co Club May kit + a few pieces from the April kit for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own based on experience with the products. I did not receive payment for this review.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

You made a mistake

If you're new around here you may not already know that my dad committed suicide when I was little. I was 10 years old when he died and it was a huge shock and changed the course of my life forever. If you want to catch up on the story quickly read this post and if you want to know more you can read all my posts about him here when you have more time. 

Each year I used to write dad a letter after he died, whether it be on a piece of paper or on my old website. Although I don't necessarily believe in heaven, I did feel deep down inside that if I released my words and feelings out into the world somehow he would find them and be able to read them. I haven't written one for a while, but this year I need to get everything out of my head. Although part of me hopes he can't read it because he probably won't like what I have to say.


Dad,

For years I've had nothing but empathy and sympathy for what you did. I defended you against people who questioned your intentions or spoke badly about you. I reconciled myself with your decision. I told myself it had to be done. It was necessary for you to be happy. It was what you needed to do, and I accepted that.

But this year I don't sympathise with your decision, this year I have nothing but anger.

I'm grieving all of the moments that we missed out on experiencing together. I'm grieving that you weren't there to celebrate the good times in my life. I'm annoyed that I didn't get to share all of that with you. Even more than that though I'm annoyed that you're missing out on knowing your granddaughter and that she's missing out on knowing you. I'm annoyed that she won't have a loving grandparent relationship with you like I did with Pa. You'll never teach her to fish, you'll never teach her to play board games, she'll never have a sleepover at your house. You'll never comfort her when she's hurt. You'll never spoil her and give her all the things I say no to like other grandparents do. I'm so sad for her that she's missing out on that. You didn't only take moments away from me, you took them away from her too.

I don't think you realised just how permanent suicide was when you did it. Of course you did on the surface {because that was the whole point}, but I really don't think anyone can understand the concept of forever. Because nothing really truly is forever except death and nobody knows what death feels like, so how can you possibly fathom what forever is, until it's too late. Most people don't want to die. Most people don't want to leave their family. Most people don't want to miss out on all the good experiences in the future, but you did.

Perhaps the only gift this whole experience has given me is that no matter how depressed I am I would never ever do what you did, because I know what its like to be a child of suicide. I know what it's like to miss someone every single day for the rest of my life. I know what it's like to wish everything was different. I know what it's like to question whether my parents ever really loved me. I know what its like to imagine all the things we could've done together, but can't. Because of you I know what all of that feels like. I don't want my daughter to know what any of that feels like.

I know you only did it in order to end your pain and suffering, however I don't think you ended it, I think you merely transferred it onto your children and other people in your life. The pain that plagued you isn't gone, it's just manifested itself into a different form and it's continued causing your family hurt and anguish for 21 years after your death. I think perhaps if you knew that would happen you wouldn't have done it.

I don''t know what life would of been like for you if you never made that decision and I don't know what type of person you would have been today, but I do think you made a mistake, and I wish you never made it.

Toni x
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Friday, June 3, 2016

Love to Dream 2.5 tog nuzzlin sleep bag + arm warmers review

This week Queensland finally realised that its meant to be getting colder around here {only a few months late, but never the less we got there in the end}. I'm not sure if it was Autumn showing up fashionably late or Winter popping in a few days early, but since the start of the week its been decidedly cooler. I'm actually a huge fan of the cooler months, I love nothing more than jeans, socks, layering and lounging on the couch under a warm blanket {not that I do much of that since I had bub, but I can reminisce of days gone by}.

Thanks to our never ending summer this year, the sudden cold snap has come as a bit of a shock, especially at night. Just last week we were still sleeping with the air conditioner on to keep cool. This week we're sleeping with the air conditioner on to keep warm. It's funny how 20 degrees has gone from feeling really cool to really warm all of a sudden.

Bub isn't so lucky in her room though. She's gone from an average of 24 degrees overnight to an average of about 18 degrees. Even though she's nearly 3, I'm still paranoid about whether she's too hot or too cold overnight. Yep almost three years in and I still have anxiety about certain aspects of parenting, please tell me you do too? Thankfully Love to Dream sent me some of their new products for winter recently so we were prepared for the cool change this year.

LOVE TO DREAM NUZZLIN 2.5TOG SLEEP BAG


Love to Dream have recently released the 2.5 tog Nuzzlin sleeping bag, which is perfect for winter. We've been huge fans of the Nuzzlin range of bags so I definitely wanted to try out the new winter bag. The new 2.5tog Nuzzlin bag is nice and cosy for winter, but still quite lightweight like the rest of the Nuzzlin range. It's made from soft knitted cotton and is padded with 100% natural bamboo filling, meaning it's nice and warm, but not too heavy {your baby won't look like the michelin man}. The bamboo filling is also hypo-allergenic so it's great for littlies who have sensitive skin.


Like the 1.0 tog Nuzzlin bag, the 2.5 tog bag does up via press studs over the left shoulder and an extra long double ended zip. I love this system for so many reasons. Firstly it means the bag completely opens up flat making it really easy to get bub into it, especially on the nights she falls asleep before I've put her in the bag, getting a 17kg toddler manoeuvred into a sleep bag while they're passed out can be quite tricky, but having the bag laid flat certainly heaps. Secondly, the press studs above her shoulder mean she can't escape from her bag. Thirdly, the double ended zip {and the fact it goes from her toes to her armpit} means nappy changes are super easy during the night and I don't have to take her out of the bag.


The Nuzzlin 2.5 tog bag comes in three different designs, pink with a stripy penguin, blue with a stripy seal and grey and white stripes with a red whale. Of course we went with pink, because we're a little pink mad at our house, and seriously how cute is that penguin?! The bag also comes in three sizes - 4-12mths, 12-18mths and 18-36mths. Bub is in the 18-36mths size and is almost 3, but the bag is still quite long for her so it will definitely see us all through winter, which I'm so glad about because I'm not ready to give up sleeping bags yet.


BUT HOW DO YOU KEEP BABIES ARMS WARM IN WINTER?


The one drawback I've found with all the sleeping bags we've used however, has been that they don't have arms. Obviously the summer ones don't really need them, but I always worry in winter that her little arms are going to get so cold even with long sleeve pyjamas on. I know I certainly feel the cold in my arms at night and unlike me she doesn't have the luxury of snuggling her arms under a blanket {she would if she'd use them and stay underneath them, but clearly she hasn't learnt how awesome they are yet as she just kicks them off}. I know I'm not the only mum to feel this way either because we've had many chats about this in mothers group over the years.

Thankfully Love to Dream have been working behind the scenes to fix this problem and have now released new arm warmers. Like the Nuzzlin sleep bags, they're made from soft knitted cotton with 100% natural bamboo filling. They come in the signature Love to Dream grey marle with striped sleeves and are available in three sizes {4-12mths, 12-18mths and 18-36mths}.
The arm warmers are 2.5 tog and designed to work with any sleeping bag. They're also a great trans-seasonal item for when its just starting to get cool at night, but its not cold enough to switch sleep bags yet. We've been using these for a few weeks with her 1.0 tog bag before we switched her over to the 2.5 tog bag and they worked a treat. Probably one of the best inventions for babies and toddlers ever.




WIN A 2.5 TOG NUZZLIN SLEEP BAG + ARM WARMERS



Thanks to the team at Love to Dream I have two Nuzzlin 2.5 tog sleep bags + arm warmers to giveaway to two lucky Finding Myself Young readers, in the size and colour of your choice. To be in the running to win simply fill in the rafflecopter widget below {so I can contact you if you win} and leave me a comment below telling me what's your favourite feature of the 2.5tog Nuzzlin Sleep Bag™ or arm warmers and why you need them in your life.

Good Luck!

Toni x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions
Competition commences upon publication and ends 11:59pm June 17th 2016. Entry is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. Two readers will win one 2.5 tog Nuzzlin sleep bag valued at $69.95 plus arm warmers valued at $27.95. Total prize pool $195.80. Prize will be delivered by Love to Dream, Finding Myself Young are not responsible for prize delivery. This competition is a game of skill and will be judged as such. All mandatory entry steps must be completed to constitute a valid entry. Incomplete entries will be deemed invalid and excluded from judging. Winner will have 72hrs to respond or prize will be redrawn. This competition is in no way endorsed, promoted or administered by Facebook.

Disclosure - I was kindly gifted a 2.5 tog Nuzzlin sleep bag + a set of arm warmers for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own based on our experience with the products, as per my disclosure policy. I did not receive payment for this review. Stock images used with permission from Love to Dream.

Linking with Grace and Raychael.
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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Beautiful Sewl

If you've been following me on Instagram or know me in real life then you would be well aware that I have an addiction to cushions. Not throw cushions for our bed or pretty ones for the couch {I really don't have time for fancy decorating}, no, I'm obsessed with kids cushions. I just can't help myself, they're so darn cute. I mean how can you go past an ice-cream cushion or cloud pillow? Short answer, you can't... well I can't {because I have self control issues}. So it's no surprise when I stumbled across the gorgeous kids cushions from Beautiful Sewl, I instantly fell in love.


Beautiful Sewl is an ethical, eco-friendly handmade business creating hand-printed cushions, softies and pouches. Each piece is screen printed by hand in a small home studio in Melbourne. The range includes ice-creams, bears, unicorns, rabbits, cameras and recently added fruits {lemons, limes, oranges and watermelons}.


Beautiful Sewl was established by owner Liz in September 2015. Her designs have quickly gained popularity and are now stocked by boutiques in Australia and overseas. Liz does all the screen printing and sewing herself. She taught herself everything she knows by studying books, blogs and you-tube videos. I have to say she taught herself well because her products are amazing and I cannot fault them.


Liz is committed to helping create a greener, safer and healthier environment and these values translate to her business as well. Beautiful Sewl cushions and softies are printed on certified organic cotton canvas with eco-friendly non-toxic ink. The colours of the cushions are beautiful and vibrant, especially the yellow of the lemon.

The stuffing is also made from recycled water bottles further benefiting the environment. You would never know the stuffing used to be water bottles though, it's just as soft and full as standard stuffing and toyfill. The softies are then backed with beautiful minky fabric which is unbelievably soft. It feels just like a minky baby blanket {almost like cashmere} and I could seriously touch it all day.



Beautiful Sewl softies are the perfect size for little hands to carry around and cuddle. As you can see bub can't keep her hands off ours {not even for 2 minutes for me to take a pretty photo}. They're also great as baby shower gifts and decor pieces for a nursery or child's room.

I really love how environmentally conscious Liz is and the fact that all the pieces are handmade. There's something so rewarding knowing you're supporting a small business run by a fellow mum. You can follow Beautiful Sewl on both Facebook and Instagram and can purchase online from www.beautifulsewl.com 

Tell me do you have a cushion addiction too?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was gifted the three fruit softies for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own as per my disclosure policy. I did not receive payment for this review.

Linking with Jess
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Monday, May 30, 2016

Classic children's books for toddlers and pre-schoolers

There are many classic children's books that form fond memories from my own childhood. I loved Winnie the Pooh, Peter Rabbit and Little Golden Books, just to name a few. I loved reading as a child, getting lost in far away fantasy worlds and going on huge adventures that weren't possible in real life. Perhaps it was escapism, or just the fact that I could indulge my imagination, but I was always drawn to books from a young age.

Much to my delight, bub's also loved reading since she was really little. Her love of books first started with wooden board books with no words and we quickly moved onto an array of abc kids board books {think Peppa Pig, In the Night Garden and Ben & Holly}. She's taught herself most of the stories off by heart, through memorising from me reading and analysing the pictures, so now we're adding some more challenging books to our collection.

I recently shared some reading tips for toddlers from Ryan Spencer on the blog and in that post he made book recommendations for children 5 and under which included Possum Magic, Wombat Stew, Hairy Maclary, The Gruffalo and Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas. Most of you will probably be familiar with at least one of those titles already, but if you're not here's a run down of all the books.


POSSUM MAGIC


Possum magic was the first book written by famous Australian author Mem Fox. Possum Magic is the story of two possums that live in the outback, Grandma Poss and Hush. Grandma Poss turns Hush invisible to protect her from the dangers in the Australian bush. After a while Hush doesn't want to be invisible any more, but Grandma Poss has forgotten how to undo her spell. The book follows their journey across Australia trying to work out how to make Hush visible again.


I love that the book celebrates Australian animals, cities and food. It's a great way to introduce young children to iconic aspects of the Australian lifestyle. Bub loves watching Hush go invisible and all the things she gets up to while nobody can see her.

WOMBAT STEW


Wombat Stew was first published in 1984 {so its as old as me} and I distinctly remember the teacher reading it to us during reading time at school. It's an unusual title and storyline for a book so I guess it has a way of sticking in ones memory. 

Wombat Stew is the story of a clever dingo who caught a wombat and decided to make gooey, brewy, yummy, chewy wombat stew. However, wombat's friends band together to help him by adding all sorts of weird ingredients into Dingo's wombat stew.


Just like Possum Magic, Wombat Stew is a colourful celebration of Australian outback animals and the bush tucker they all eat. It's a great way to teach young children about Australian wildlife and also a wonderful story of friendship and comradery.

HAIRY MCCLARY FROM DONALDSON'S DAIRY


Hairy Maclary is the story of a scruffy little dog who goes on a walk one day with his friends. On their walk they get a nasty surprise when they're met with a menacing feline, Scarface Claw. The book uses clever alliteration, rhymes and repetition to tell the story, all of which make it appeal to young children. The repetition also makes it easier for children to remember when they're first starting to read. Bub isn't reading properly yet, but I have no doubt she'll pick up this book quite easily once she is starting to read.


THE GRUFFALO


I hadn't heard about The Gruffalo until after bub was born and I was actually introduced to the story via the cartoon movie on abc kids. It was only after watching the movie a few times that I discovered it was based on a book.


The Gruffalo is the story of a little mouse who takes a stroll through a deep dark wood. Along the way he is met with an owl, a fox, a snake and finally a scary gruffalo. The quick thinking mouse comes up with amazing tales to escape all the creatures and make it through the woods safely.

At first I thought this book might be too scary for bub, but she actually loves it, which could be because I get quite animated when describing the gruffalo {or it could just be because she knows the story from tv, but let's assume it's because of my reading prowess}. I love that this story teaches children that no matter how small {and seemingly powerless} you are you can still overcome obstacles, challenges and dangers. The Gruffalo's sequel, The Gruffalo's Child is equally as enchanting as the original.

PIRANHAS DON'T EAT BANANAS


This is the story of Brian, the piranha who loves bananas. Brian tries to convince his friends that they should eat them too, but they much prefer eating things like bums. Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas follows Brian's journey to convince his friends to at least try fruit to see if they like it after-all.

Aaron Blabey expertly uses humorous rhymes to draw kids {and adults alike} into this witty tale. His expressive cartoon like illustrations also make it easy for emergent readers to tell the story themselves from the pictures alone. Cue fits of hilarious laughter once they find out piranhas eat bums.


Without a doubt this is bub's favourite book at the moment. She loves telling me all about what's happening and how the fishy tries to get his friends to eat fruit and vegetables, but they don't like them, they think fruit and veggies are yucky. But they say yes to bum bums mummy, they like eat bum bums. She cracks me up. Of course I had to record it so you could all hear for yourselves.


I love that all of these books use animals {and to varying extents humour} to gently introduce children to more serious topics. A lot of the books touch on topics like fear and danger, but broach them without being overly scary. They also embrace concepts like friendships and working together. Each of the stories lends themselves well to being read aloud by a parent/teacher and have very descriptive images so children can easily follow along the story when "reading" themselves even if they don't know all the words yet. I'd definitely recommend adding them to your book collection.

What are your kids favourite books? 
Do you have any other suggestions we should add to our collection?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was kindly gifted the books mentioned above from Dymocks for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own {or bub's}. I did not receive payment for this review.

Linking with Alicia & Kell
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Friday, May 27, 2016

Body vs Soul

Going through infertility makes me feel like I have a split personality. But its not that I have two personalities, there's no Jekyll and Hyde going on here, it's more that I feel like two different people trapped in the same miserable body. And most of the time we're completely out of sync with each other.


There's me, the real me, the one that lives in my mind. My soul, the real essence of who I am as a person. The one who feels all the feels, from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. The me who remembers the pain of the past, but still has hopes, dreams and desires for the future, despite the hardships I've faced.

Then there's the other me, the physical me. The broken me. The me who has all the same parts as other women, but doesn't do what she's supposed to be able to do. The me that makes me hate being me.

Each month there is a constant battle between both of us. At the beginning we start out as friends, allies even, on the same team travelling towards the same goal. Following the same dream and working in unison to make it happen. We think the same, we act the same, and with the help of medication we do everything at the right time and in the right order. Its exciting, and the anticipation is palpable.

However, throughout the month that shifts.

There's soon a clear difference between my dreams and my body's reality.

My body starts to betray me. To sabotage me at every turn. I swear its laughing behind my back at the anguish I'm experiencing inside.

Then some months, like this one, its goes even further and plays cruel twisted jokes on me. It gives me a glimmer of hope, letting me think that finally we may have reached our goal. That perhaps we are on the same team after all. Mocking me that everything I want can actually become a reality. 

And then just when I've succumb to the vulnerability of convincing myself its finally worked, it rips it all away. My world falls out from underneath me yet again, although this time it's much worse. It's worse because I truly believed I might've been at the end of this rollercoaster once and for all. I felt slightly "normal" for the first time in over a year. I allowed myself to be excited about a baby that didn't even exist. And now I have no choice but to remain attached to this body that continues to betray me. I'll even get a week full of physical and emotional pain for my troubles. And then we'll start the journey over again from square one, like we do every single month.

Sometimes I really wonder how the hell I'm ever going to achieve anything when it feels like my mind and my body aren't even on the same team...

But I have to pick myself up and carry on, because as much as I hate it, I have no other choice.

Toni x

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Monday, May 23, 2016

JORD wooden watch review

Ladies Wooden Watches
It's common knowledge in our family that T is notoriously hard to buy for. I seriously have to think for months before his birthday or Christmas to come up with a handful of gift ideas for him, and then he usually goes and buys them all himself and foils my plans. It's a constant struggle and {as horrible as it sounds} I somewhat dread having to buy presents for him. It wasn't until recently that I realised it's possible I'm quite hard to buy for as well {as hard as that is to admit haha}. I don't like traditional gifts for women like candles, make-up, perfume, handbags, slippers or clothes, which I've come to realise makes it hard for T to choose presents for me. Thankfully for him {and me} just before mother's day JORD contacted me and asked if I'd like to review one of their wooden watches. Hooray, mother's day present sorted {and he didn't even have to go to the shops}.

Jord wooden watches logo


JORD is an American based watch company that specialise in hand crafted wooden watches for both men and women. JORD consider sustainability, efficiency and modern lifestyle when creating their gorgeous timepieces. Each piece is carefully designed by a team of artists with impressive attention to detail. JORD offers free shipping within the US and also ships internationally to a long list of countries.

Although all JORD watches are made from wood, there are many different styles available, catering from chunkier watches through to more dainty feminine pieces. There's also watches with basic clock faces and those that are more technical showing glimpses of the impressive inner mechanics. JORD use a number of different woods to craft their watches including zebrawood, sandalwood, ebony, rosewood, purpleheart, koa, bamboo and my favourite, maple. After browsing their website I instantly fell in love with a number of their maple designs and ultimately decided on the Ely maple watch.

ELY MAPLE WOODEN WATCH


Finding Myself Young: Jord Ely Maple wooden watch review.
Having relatively pale skin I knew I wanted a maple watch so it wouldn't be too much of a contrast against my skin. With a very delicate wrist {read super small} I also wanted one with a smaller clock face. I chose the Ely watch in maple for the aforementioned reasons and because its nice and simple. When it comes to accessories I always like to go for classic, elegant, timeless styles that won't date. I also prefer my accessories {watches included} to be able to interchange with anything I'm wearing. The Ely watch ticks all of these boxes and despite being made of wood is still quite lightweight and feminine.

Jord Ely maple wooden watch clock face.
I was pleasantly surprised when the watch arrived from the US in less than a week. In fact it actually arrived quicker than items I had sent from Adelaide at the same time. That's pretty impressive given how long postage seems to take these days.

Opening the package was like opening a carefully wrapped gift, the watch was presented in a gorgeous wooden keepsake box. Inside the watch was wrapped around a lovely little woven herringbone pillow. The package also includes extra links in case you need to get the watch resized.

Jord wooden keepsake box

The Ely watch has a lovely simple clock face without any numbers, but still displays hours, minutes and seconds via the delicate silver bars. There's a little date window on the right which is great for someone like me who always forgets what day it is. It's not too intrusive to the overall simplistic design though which I love.

The Ely watch also has scratch resistant mineral glass and is splash proof {but not suitable to be submerged in water}. The band buckle has a really cool push button release, that I've never seen on any other watch before, which makes removing the watch super easy. Like all JORD watches it comes with a 1 year warranty.


I've been really impressed with my JORD watch and have never seen anything comparable in Australia before. It certainly stands out from an average watch. Every time I've worn it bub says "woooooow mummy you have a weally beautiful necklace watch on your arm". We might have to organise one for daddy for his birthday soon {lets hope he doesn't read this and spoil that present as well}.

WIN A $75 JORD VOUCHER


The team at JORD have put together an exclusive giveaway for Finding Myself Young readers. Every single entrant gets a $20 voucher just for entering and one winner will receive an additional $75 voucher which can be put towards any watch from JORD.  Perhaps you have a partner who's hard to buy for as well, or you just want to treat yourself {nothing wrong with that!}.

Entry is super easy, all you have to do is click here and fill in your name and email address. It's that simple!


TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Competition is open upon publication until 12th June 2016. All entrants will be issued with a $20 e-gift card {expires 15th October 2016} and one winner will receive a $75 gift voucher {expires 15th July 2016} to be spent at www.woodwatches.com. Prize is not transferable. Entrants and winner will be responsible for all remaining purchase costs. By entering this competition you are agreeing to supply your email address to Jord watches. Winner will be chosen by Jord Watches.

Disclosure - I was gifted the Ely maple watch for the purposes of review. All opinions expressed in this review are based on my experience with the product, as per my disclosure policy. I did not receive payment for this review.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Kidloland Educational Toddler App Review

Before I had bub I wasn't keen on iPads or letting her have one. I constantly saw kids in prams at the shops glued to their iPad and thought I'll never let my child do that

But, like a lot of things I thought pre-kids, that all changed. I've realised iPads are actually a great learning tool for kids, and with most primary schools insisting children have their own iPad from grade 1, they're going to become a firm fixture in their education in the future, so why not embrace them early.

I bought T an iPad for his first father's day and once bub got to about 18 months old she quickly took ownership of it. Poor daddy. Instead of being filled with random sci-fi adventure games, it's now loaded with a heap of educational games for toddlers. She really enjoys the educational apps and they support other learning activities we do on a daily basis, so when I was asked if I'd like to review the Kidloland educational app for toddlers I knew bub would love the chance to test it out.

KIDLOLAND


Kidloland is an educational app that combines nursery rhymes, educational songs and educational activities to help make learning fun for toddlers to 5 year olds to prepare them for prep and kindy. The app covers a diverse range of topics including the alphabet, numbers, colours and shapes, fruits and vegetables, months and days, animals, sounds, vehicles and transportation. The app includes over 250 nursery rhymes and songs and 100 activities split into 16 easy to navigate components.

Kidloland toddler app sections - insects, lullabies, animals, abc, shapes, games.

When I first downloaded the app I started going through all the sections myself to check it out. The first part I looked at was the nursery rhymes and I was excited to see quite a few classic ones from my childhood. I started playing incy wincy spider and that immediately got bub's attention from across the room {even though she's never heard that nursery rhyme before}. From that point on she's been hooked with the app.

NURSERY RHYMES AND EDUCATIONAL SONGS


A lot of the sections {not just the nursery rhymes} are song based with interactive background scenes that support the songs being played. Every animation on the screen becomes interactive when touched. Bub is totally fascinated by it. As she touches each character they either do different actions, make noises or move around the screen. Having the interactive characters supporting the songs definitely holds her attention longer and also makes her go back and play the songs over and over.

Kidloland app five little speckled frogs nursery rhyme


Without a doubt the songs are bub's favourite part of the app. What I love about them is that the nursery rhymes are the full version of the songs and not just the main verse as they're sometimes sung. Thanks to this app I now know the second verse of twinkle twinkle little star. Playschool was holding out on me all these years.

Kidloland app - one potato, two potato, three potato, four nursery rhyme

A lot of the other educational songs, like the fruit and veggie ones, are made up to familiar nursery rhyme tunes just using different words. I think this is great because it makes them sound familiar to kids which grabs their attention. I also love that the words to all the songs are highlighted across the bottom of the screen as they're being sung, which will allow for added learning once we get up to reading.   

PUZZLES AND GAMES


The app also includes a number of games and activities which cover all of the same areas as the songs. The games include puzzles, shape sorting, joining dots, colour sorting, feeding animals, shadow matching and line tracing. Bub particularly loves the puzzles and shape sorting. I can see her little mind ticking over as she contemplates where to put the pieces and then she gets so excited when she gets it right. She literally jumps up and down on the spot and shouts yay I win, I win {not kidding}. Its so wonderful to see the look of accomplishment on her face when she works them out.




Before this app bub had never done joining the dots activities, but after only a week and a quick demonstration from me, she has mastered them. She kept practising over and over until she worked it out. Its a testament to how the app makes learning fun because normally she would just get frustrated and give up.

WHAT DO WE THINK OF KIDLOLAND?


Kidloland is a great all in one educational app for young children. It covers a diverse range of content topics and makes learning fun and engaging through songs, bright colours, cute animations and interactive scenes. As well as the educational components, the app helps children with developmental skills including cognitive skills, hand eye co-ordination, speech and language and early literacy skills. It also provides children with fun, independent learning activities which can complement hands on activities you do with your children.

The only downside of the app is that it requires you to download all of the individual components which can take a little while in total. I would suggest downloading them all before giving it to your kids to play with. We hadn't downloaded everything before bub started checking it out and when she opened some of the ones we hadn't downloaded yet she got quite frustrated with how long it was taking to download so would click back out of them quickly. The good news though is that once the components are downloaded you can use them all offline any time anywhere {which is great when you're out and about with no wifi connection}.

The free version of the app includes 24 different songs and nursery rhymes, with the other components available via a 6 month or 12 month subscription. The Kidloland app is designed for both iPad and iPhone and can be downloaded from the Apple app store. If you'd like to try out the full version of the app for free enter the giveaway below.

WIN A 6 MONTH KIDLOLAND SUBSCRIPTION




Thanks to Kidloland I have three 6 month subscriptions to give away to three lucky Finding Myself Young readers. To enter simply leave me a comment below or on the pinned post on my Facebook page letting me know why you would love to try the Kidloland app. If you're commenting below please include your email address so I can contact you if you win.

Do your kids love apps as well?

Toni x

TERMS & CONDITIONS
Competition commences upon publication and ends 11:59pm {AEST} May 23rd 2016. Entry is open worldwide. Three readers will win a 6 month subscription to Kidloland {valued at US$24.99 each}. Prize is not transferable. Prize will be distributed by Kidloland, Finding Myself Young takes no responsibility for prize delivery. This competition is a game of skill and will be judged as such. Winner will have 72hrs to respond or prize will be redrawn. This competition is in no way endorsed, promoted or administered by Facebook.

Linking with Jess & Raychael
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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Yellow Bean Learning

I'm a huge believer in learning through play so I'm constantly setting up play activities for bub to do each day at home which incorporate some form of learning. While we play I'll usually introduce new concepts through language and the items we're playing with. By making her activities fun and allowing her to lead them I find she learns new concepts quicker because it's on her terms.

We've been working on a lot of activities with letters and shapes for the past few weeks and recently she's started showing more interest in numbers. She's been able to count to 10 for a while and a few weeks ago she started pointing out numbers on signs and randomly counting to 10 throughout the day, so I thought we'd start working on more number activities. Of course that meant I started searching my favourite teacher accounts on Instagram to find cool number activities for kids.

Around the same time I stumbled across a brand new educational business, Yellow Bean Learning, via Instagram. They actually hadn't even launched yet when I found them {by clicking through from other related accounts as you do when you get stuck down the Instagram rabbit hole every night}. They were however posting pre-launch teasers which got me highly intrigued {plus they share some pretty cool quotes too}. From the previews they posted I could tell their products would be well suited for bub and I, so I contacted them to find out more.

Yellow Bean Learning logo

Yellow Bean Learning is an Australian educational brand run by a Sydney primary school teacher, who developed the business after frequently being asked by parents and friends for advice regarding educational programs and activities for little ones. Yellow Bean provides parents and teachers with interactive and engaging resources to support early numeracy learning needs of children at home and at school. Their resources and guides are designed for children in preschool and kindy ranging from 3-6 years old.

Yellow Bean believe in the importance of family and fun to drive the learning experience of children, through hands on activities where adults and children play and learn together. Each of the activities included in the guide are designed to be interactive with parents or care givers modelling and providing guidance throughout the games. All of the activities are created with four principles in mind - they need to be quick, simple, interactive and fun. Yellow Bean believe numeracy activities for young children should be quick and simple to complete {5-10 minutes per game} making them easy to set up and more likely to hold the child's attention. Additionally when children see adults having fun exploring new concepts, its more likely that they will enjoy the learning experience as well, which is why all the activities are designed to be interactive and {most of all} fun.

YELLOW BEAN EARLY NUMERACY GUIDE AND RESOURCE KIT


The Yellow Bean early numeracy guide is a digital e-book that includes 36 different early numeracy games. The games have been developed to teach numeral identification {the correlation between a written number and its verbal name}, visualisation, 1-1 counting, sequencing, number facts to 10 and friends of 10. Each of the games have instructions as well as modifications to make them easier or harder depending on your child's age and comprehension. The guide is sent through electronically as a PDF which can then be printed off or used as a reference on an ipad or computer. I've been using ours off the computer, referring to the game instructions before I set them up, but I'm also considering printing the instructions for some of her favourite games and laminating them to use alongside the games.

The early numeracy guide also comes with an extensive resource kit with all the materials needed to play each of the games in the guide {the numeracy guide is delivered digitally and the resource kit is posted shortly after purchase}. 

Yellow Bean Learning early numeracy resources kit inclusions.

The reource kit includes:

  • Dinosaur cards {numbered 1-20 and matching eggs}
  • Playing cards
  • 22 double sided red and yellow disc counters
  • 1 x 6 sided dot dice
  • 1 x 6 sided number dice
  • 1 x 10 sided number dice
  • 1 x 20 sided number dice
  • 20 polka dot cups
  • 100s chart
  • Reversible number lines to 10 and 30
  • Reversible 10 and 20 frames
  • Dinosaur calico carry bag

Bub was so excited when we first opened our Yellow Bean kit. The first box she wanted to open was the dice and counters and she immediately started telling me the numbers on the blue dice. I could tell from that point on that it wouldn't be hard to get her interested in playing the games.

Because she's so young, instead of setting up the games as a fully directed learning activity, I've been pulling out pieces from the resource kit and letting her explore them the way she wants {and if she starts showing interest in using it as a game I lead her in how to play}. She's only 2 {almost 3} so a few of the games are still above her comprehension level, but she can now count to 20 and recognise numbers to 20 so the visual recognition games have been a huge hit. Her favourite games to play all revolve around the dinosaur cards because she can easily recognise the numbers + she loves matching them up with the corresponding egg cards. She started playing a game of lost dinosaur eggs {matching the number cards with the egg cards} by herself when I first put the cards out in front of her, without any instructions. She's just started showing interest in playing memory games so we'll try that with the cards soon as well {although I might need to limit it to 1-5 cards to align it with her attention span}.

Yellow Bean Learning dinosaur number and egg cards

In addition to playing some of the games within the guides, bub has also come up with her own games on a few occasions by mixing other bits and pieces with the Yellow Bean resources to create entirely new games. The other day I put out a few of the resources and also added in some pegs and our wooden numbers to let her decide what she wanted to play with. She first started using the counters on the number line to match them to the number on a dinosaur card.

Yellow Bean learning counter guide and discs

She then realised her wooden numbers matched the numbers on the sequencing line so she started to line them up on top of the matching numbers. Even though she can count up to 20, she still has trouble actually placing numbers in the right order visually, so this activity was a great way to introduce sequencing. Plus she stayed interested in it and repeated it for quite a while because she came up with the activity herself {it was much more successful than my previous attempts to teach her sequencing prior to getting our kit}.


After that she realised that her wooden numbers also matched the numbers on the dinosaur cards so she made another new game matching the numbers with the cards. She did this over and over as well and was telling me all the numbers as she matched them up. We've also used the dinosaur egg cards to simply count the number of eggs so she gets better at counting groups of items and correlating them to numbers {again she initiated that game, then I helped her to count the bigger numbers}.


YELLOW BEAN EARLY NUMERACY EXPANSION GUIDE


Yellow Bean also have an 85 page digital expansion guide available separately which includes an additional 24 games. These games also include modifications with can simplify or extend each activity depending on your child's age and comprehension. The expansion guide covers the same numeracy concepts as the early numeracy guide, but it also introduces beginning addition and subtraction as well as some multiple strategy games.

The expansion guide games are designed to be used with the original resource kit plus there are additional printable resources included. I'd recommend either printing them on card stock or laminating them so they can be used over and over. I made the rookie mistake of printing some just on paper and they didn't last long with a toddler on the loose {lesson learnt, thankfully you can re-print them whenever you want}. Also some of the games in the expansion guide do require a set of dominoes, which don't come with the guide {we had our own set already though so that wasn't an issue for us}.

Yellow Bean Learning early numeracy expansion guide

MAKING EARLY NUMERACY FUN


The Yellow Bean guides and resources certainly make early numeracy concepts and learning fun and engaging for kids {and adults}. By learning through playing and interaction it makes the process a lot more engaging for bub and she certainly retains more information and grasps new concepts a lot quicker than if I just tried to straight out teach her something. Also as a stay at home mum of a young child, the guides have given me ample different ways to introduce her to early numeracy principles to better prepare her for school, and in fun ways that she wants to participate in. I don't think I would've been able to come up with as many creative ways to teach her without the guide {its also inspired me to think out of the box more and come up with even more opportunities to incorporate numbers into our play}. 

I think the guides are well suited for 3-6 year olds. Even though bub is just under 3, with her keen interest in numbers she's still enjoyed exploring the games and different resources in numerous ways already. To be honest we've really only scratched the surface of what the guides have to offer, which is great because I can continue to introduce different games to keep it new and interesting. I also love the fact that the guides will essentially grow with bub, because as she gets older and understands more I can modify all the games to suit. If you have a younger child {2-4} who is displaying an interest in counting and numbers I would definitely recommend getting the early numeracy guide and resource kit because anything that makes learning maths fun for kids is a good thing and I think fostering the idea that learning maths is fun from a young age will help them when learning the harder concepts at school later on.

With the early numeracy guide and resource kit priced at $49.95 that means you're only paying a fraction {see what I did there} over $1 for each of the resources and activities included in the kit. Considering the guide and resources can be used over and over for many years, I think that's pretty good value. How many ways can you really entertain your kids for $1 these days... {plus when you divide it by how many times you'll play each game its even cheaper}. There are also so many other ways to play with the resources than the games listed in the guide. By adding in other household items and getting creative you can easily change up the games or create entirely new ones {like bub did with our wooden numbers}, extending the value even further.


Yellow Bean Learning have kindly offered a special discount for Finding Myself Young readers. For a limited time you can get 15% off* the RRP of the early numeracy guide + resource kit and the expansion guide. To claim the discount simply enter the code findingmyselfyoung into the coupon box when purchasing from www.yellowbean.com.au.

Do your kids like or loathe maths?

Toni x

*Discount is valid on all purchases from www.yellowbean.com.au {when using the coupon code} until June 30th 2016.

Disclosure - I was provided with a PDF version of the resource kit + expansion pack and resources set for the purpose of review after contacting Yellow Bean Learning via Instagram. I did not receive payment for this review. All opinions expressed are based on our own experience using the resources and games.

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