Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Teletubbies Musical Lullaby Laa-Laa

I have a confession to make, I actually like watching kids shows on tv. Yep, I'm one of those mums who automatically sings along to all the theme songs when the shows come on. Which is probably a good thing because I've caught myself watching ABC Kids more than a few times when bub's not even next to me. Everyone's done that, right? I can't help it, I {not so} secretly love cartoons. I'm also loving that a lot of the old shows from my own childhood are back again now, it's so much fun reliving them with bub. I still remember the joy I felt watching them the first time around and now I get to see her face light up the same way.

One of her favourite shows as the moment is the Teletubbies. The Teletubbies first aired in 1997 and recently returned to our screens after a hiatus from 2002. The show follows the adventures of Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, four lovable pre-school characters who each have touchscreen bellies and different shaped antennas on their heads. The Teletubbies communicate non verbally or through babbling much the same as toddlers. Bub is captivated by the show because of the bright colours, relatable characters and everyday adventures that they go on in each episode. I remember my favourite was always the purple Teletubbie {who I thought was Po, but is actually Tinky Winky, whoops}, but bub has a huge soft spot for Laa-Laa. 

These days there's so much merchandise that goes hand in hand with popular kids tv shows. There's a plethora of characters, games and toys that can be purchased so children can recreate their favourite shows at home through creative play. Other parents may argue that everything is being over commercialised, but I happen to love that these items allow kids to bring their favourite characters to life and extend on the show story-lines through their own imaginary play. Since the Teletubbies have marched back onto our tv screens recently they're now also a firm fixture in many toy shops. There's a huge range of Teletubbies merchandise available including plush toys, figurines, play sets, and our favourite Lullaby Laa-Laa.

Lullaby Laa-Laa has been living with us for a couple of weeks now and she's quickly become bub's favourite bed time friend. Bub has never really had a comforter or favourite toy that she takes everywhere, but Laa-Laa has quickly become a much needed bedtime buddy and she won't go to bed without her. I've enforced a rule that she isn't allowed out of the bedroom though, mainly to make sure she stays clean and also to ensure she never gets lost, because I don't even want to imagine the meltdown that would ensue if she ever goes missing. Thankfully for now she's abiding by my rule and Laa-Laa happily resides in bub's bed day and night.

Lullaby Laa-Laa isn't your average stuffed toy either, she's a combination of plush toy, musical toy and night light. When her tummy is pressed she comes to life playing twinkle, twinkle little star alongside a colourful light show that shines from her belly. Although bub already has her ice-cream night light beside her bed, she loves watching the colourful light show twinkle across the ceiling. Most nights she watches it continuously for about 10 minutes as she's falling asleep cuddling Laa-Laa.

We're still using Lullaby Laa-Laa on the try me setting so she plays the song and lights up when bub presses her, but she can also be set to other functions. The song can be set to play for 5, 10 or 15 minutes or there's also a night light only mode which fades away over time. For now bub's loving being able to press the song on whenever she wants and surprisingly enough she doesn't do it to the point that it's annoying so we haven't changed the settings yet.

Lullaby Laa-Laa would make a great Christmas or birthday gift for little Teletubbie fans {she was actually on my Christmas list for bub before we got the opportunity to do this review}. She's available from Big W, Myer, Target, Kmart, Kid Stuff, Toyworld and Mr Toys. For any customer enquiries or more stockist information please email customerservice@bigballoon.com.au.

Did/does your child have a favourite toy or night light?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was gifted a Musical Lullaby Laa-Laa for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own based on our experience with the product. I did not receive payment for this review.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Our Dream Come True - An IVF Story

During both of our infertility journey's IVF was a very real possibility. In fact both times we were told very early on that, given our combined fertility issues, it may be our only viable option. The first time we were very lucky to fall pregnant with Clomid only, which even our fertility specialist thought was a miracle, and I still have no idea how it happened. This time, we weren't as lucky.

Staring down the barrel of IVF raises a lot of questions. How will we be able to afford this? How will I be able to handle all the needles when I'm petrified of them? Will our relationship survive the emotional roller-coaster? What if it doesn't work? If it does work, how will I explain it to my child? Surprisingly, the last question was the one that played on my mind the most, even before we started preparing for IVF.

You see despite the fact that IVF is seemingly much more common now than it was 20yrs ago, its still not overly talked about outside of infertility groups. It's still seen as somewhat taboo and is misunderstood by people who haven't gone through it. I can understand why, its a complicated process. It's a hard enough concept to explain to an adult, so how do you explain something like that to a small child?

A few months ago in the midst of our fertility treatment, I stumbled across the perfect answer to this question thanks to local children's author Gilly-Elle Wiltshire. Gilly happened to be in the same IVF support group as me and was in the process of publishing a children's book to help parents explain the IVF journey to their miracle IVF babies. Having gone through IVF herself Gilly initially wrote the book for her own daughter and after reading it to other people realised many other IVF parents would benefit from it as well. I'm happy to report that Gilly's book Our Dream Come True is now published, and in my opinion is the perfect way to let IVF children know how they came into the world. 

Gilly has broken down the complicated concept of IVF into bite sized pieces using age appropriate language so it makes sense to small children. She's used clever rhymes and bright, cartoon like illustrations to convey the process and emotions that go along with it. Gilly is qualified in speech and language therapy and it's clear she's used her understanding of language development to explain a very complex series of events in a way that children will be able to comprehend {and in a way I never would have thought of}. I'm a big believer in using children's books to help explain complex situations to young children and Gilly's book is no exception, in fact I think parents all over will be thanking her for making what could be a very complicated conversation into an engaging picture book. 

I was so excited to be one of the first people to receive a copy of Our Dream Come True as I knew it would be the perfect way to explain to our future baby how they were conceived. As it turns out though, on the morning I had to call the fertility specialist to arrange our IVF cycle, I found out that our IUI had been successful and I was already pregnant. Even though I won't be needing it for this baby, I'm still so grateful that I discovered Gilly's wonderful book. I think it's an amazing book for IVF children and it turns a potentially awkward conversation into a simple one and a celebration of how loved the child is. I know so many friends, readers and acquaintances who would benefit from this book which is why I'm sharing it with you all, despite not needing it myself at this point in time. I'm actually passing my copy on to a dear friend {who conceived via IVF} and if we end up having a 3rd child via IVF in the future I will purchase another copy of Gilly's book when the time comes.

Our Dream Come True can be purchased online at www.gillyelle.com. You can also follow Gilly-Elle Wiltshire on Facebook.

Have you ever used a book to explain a hard concept to your children?

Toni x

Disclosure - I received a copy of Our Dream Come True for the purpose of review. I honestly believe this children's book is a must have for all IVF parents and I've passed my gifted copy on to a close friend who conceived her children via IVF. I did not receive payment for this review.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Notes From a Home Educator Shop

One of the things I love most about social media is its ability to create real communities and bring people together. I'll probably never be a "famous" blogger because I don't subscribe to social media strategies such as follow threads, follow/unfollow on Instagram or automating my social accounts in order to grow my numbers, I much prefer to keep things real and develop proper connections with real people, even if that means I don't have as many followers as others. I've made some wonderful friendships with other ladies from all over the world thanks to my Facebook page and Instagram account which was one of the main reasons why I started blogging in the first place. Being a stay at home mum can be lonely a lot of the time and having these connections can make it feel a lot less lonely.

One of the lovely people I've met on Instagram is Brianna from Notes From a Home Educator. Brianna is an in home educator who works with a family of four young boys. She shares the activities they do each day on Instagram to inspire other educators and parents. I share a lot of the activities I do with bub each day on Instagram as well so I've been drawn to similar accounts and Brianna is one person I've developed a friendship with over the last year. She's so generous with sharing her ideas and is constantly inspiring me with her activities. As of this past weekend she's also now opened her own online store selling beautiful educational toys, activity guides, printables and resources. I'd secretly love to do the same, but I'd want to keep all the toys for myself bub, so instead I'll feed my toy addiction by buying from her.

The Notes From a Home Educator store stocks gorgeous educational toy brands such as Magna-Tiles, Tegu, Hape and Grimm's {amongst others}. You all know by now I'm a sucker for wooden toys, right? Hape and Grimm's are two of my favourite high quality wooden toy brands so needless to say I now have a huge wish list from her store {don't tell T}. Bub's been lucky enough to add the Grimm's portable doll house to our ever growing wooden toy collection and I dare say we'll probably add more Grimm's toys in the future.

Grimm's are a family run wooden toy brand from Germany, made most famous by their iconic rainbow stackers. They also make a number of other stackers, puzzles and dolls. A common theme across all Grimm's toys is that they're very open ended to provide numerous different learning opportunities, depending on how children choose to explore them. I have to admit back when bub was little I was a big fan of literal toys that had an obvious {and most of the time singular} purpose, most likely because my ocd makes me want to do things the right way and not deviate much from that. Over the past few years I've changed my views and now fully embrace open ended, multi-purpose toys because I've seen just how much they inspire bub's imagination, which brings about many play experiences my literal adult brain may never have thought of. This is one of the reasons why I'm currently replacing all bub's plastic toys with wooden ones.

The Grimm's portable doll house makes the magic of pretend play portable so children can enjoy it anywhere without having to move a heavy doll house from room to room. Bub's had fun playing with hers on her activity table, in the lounge room and even outside. I'm almost certain it'll make a trip to grandma's house soon as well. I just need to get better at making sure it gets packed away after she's finished playing because I'm constantly finding pieces all over the house.

The doll house is made from lime wood coloured with non-toxic water-based dyes. It comes with 14 different pieces that all stack together within the carry case. Pieces include a bookshelf, sink, oven, chairs and table, as well as arched pieces that can be used as beds, walls, sofas {or bridges as bub sometimes does}. Each time bub plays with the doll house it's been in a different layout with different pieces being used as different furniture. As it's so open ended and transient kids wont lose interest as quickly as they would with traditional dolls houses or more literal toys because they're limited only by their imagination. There's also a blue/green and neutral version available because dolls aren't just for girls, just like cars aren't just for boys...

To celebrate the Notes From a Home Educator online store launch, Brianna has created an exclusive 15% discount code for Finding Myself Young followers. Simply use the code FMY15 at www.notesfromahomeeducator.com.au to save 15% off* all stock. While you're there don't forget to check out the free resources section for heaps of downloadable worksheets and puzzles. I'm so happy for Brianna as she embarks on this exciting new venture and I hope its a huge success for her, no doubt we'll be helping her with that by shopping up a storm.

Are you addicted to toys like me?

Toni x

*15% off is valid until Monday September 26th 2016.

Disclosure - I was provided the Grimm's portable doll house for the purpose of review, however I've already purchased more items myself. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the product. I did not receive payment for this review.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | One Wild Tribe

A couple of years before I had bub I bought this really cool pink ceramic piggy bank with the hopes it would be my "baby bank" and I'd save money in it to either go towards having a baby {I knew abut my fertility issues already} or to go towards things for my baby once it was born. Every spare bit of cash I had went into my baby bank and it was super exciting when I used to count it up to see how much I had. I remember one time I had over $400, it's amazing how quickly loose change and the odd note can add up. I still love my piggy bank now, even though I don't put money in it as often.

When bub was about 2 she also started to take a real interest in my piggy bank and always wanted to play with it. Of course she's not allowed to touch it because its breakable {which probably only piqued her interest in it more}, but I did get her a small money box of her own. She can take the plug out of the bottom though, and while she's past putting everything in her mouth, coins are not something I want to take a chance with. I don't need a trip to the emergency room over a 5c piece so it's kept up high and only gets used under strict supervision. I've been keeping my eye out for a more kid friendly money box since I realised she could open hers.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered One Wild Tribe on Instagram and immediately fell in love with her kids money boxes. One Wild Tribe is run by work at home mum Alicia who makes bespoke wooden money boxes for kids in a number of gorgeous designs, including teepees, foxes, crowns and owls, amongst other custom designs. Her money boxes are not only practical for kids, but also stylish and when I saw the owl money box I knew I'd finally found the perfect one for bub.

I mean seriously is that not one of the cutest money boxes you've ever seen? Bub's been obsessed with owls since she was really young so I knew it would be a hit. As soon as she saw it she was begging me for money to put in it. "I need your purse mummy I need more moneys for da owl". Note to self I now need to be a lot more careful where I leave my purse because she is constantly on the hunt for coins to add to her stash.

Another awesome thing about One Wild Tribe money boxes is that you can choose which colours you want them painted in so they match your decor. Bub has a pink/grey/white theme in her room with a touch of purple here and there so they're the colours I chose and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.

I love how the coin slot on the owl is at the side and on an angle instead of being a single cut at the top like traditional money boxes. That combined with the clear panel makes putting coins in the owl into a fun game for bub, she loves being able to watch them slide into the belly. "Yay I did it mummy I did it, it's in there!". She loves watching them build up inside the owl and can't wait for them to get to the top. I told her we can take them out and go buy things when they get to the top so every day she tells me "mummy it's at the top we can buy stuff now".

I'm so happy that I've finally found a safe money box bub can use with no risk of her getting the money back out when I'm not watching. It's also so much cuter than traditional enclosed money boxes. In fact I'm slightly jealous and am seriously considering getting Alicia to make a grown up money box for me. To see the other gorgeous One Wild Tribe money box designs check out Alicia's work on Instagram or follow her on Facebook.

Do/did your kids love money boxes too?

Toni x

Disclosure - I received the One Wild Tribe money box in return for this review. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the money box. I did not receive payment for this review.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Still waiting

Waiting has always been an inevitable part of my life. It's an inevitable part of anybody's life really, so there's no surprise that I'm continually waiting for the things I want.

When I was younger I had to learn to wait for the small things in life. Of course at that time the small things were in fact the big things as far as I was concerned. I remember waiting all day at primary school for the lunch bell to ring so I could then patiently wait in the tuckshop line to buy my favourite apricot balls. Do you remember apricot balls? As far as I was concerned they were the best thing at the tuckshop, and that was quite possibly linked to the fact they were 5c and I could always afford them.

As I got older there was a lot more waiting in lines for things I wanted. At McDonalds on my lunch break, Kmart and even at the movies {remember when we used to go to the movies all the time, before it became a ridiculously expensive outing?}. Although I swear I had a talent for picking the slowest line every single time without fail, each time I could see the end of the line. I knew I would get what I wanted and I could anticipate just how far away I was from getting it.

Fast forward to trying for a baby, while the waiting on the surface was the same, it was inherently different. This time I knew what I wanted and I knew I had to wait, but I had to wait in an invisible line with an invisible end point. For four years before bub was conceived I waited in that invisible line hoping to get to the end and get what I wanted, and eventually I did. For the past 17 months I've been waiting in the same invisible line hoping to once again get to the end and get what I want.

A few months ago I wrote about how I believed if I was patient I'd eventually get what I wanted. I've waited patiently for months, and I still have to wait for many more, but now it's different. For the next 7 months I have to wait, but I can see the end of the line and I know I'll get what I want. I've waited for almost a year and a half for our next baby and in 7 months time I know I'm going to meet them. This time I'm happy to wait and I'm not willing those months to fly by, I want to live in the moment and experience it all. I want to soak it all in and appreciate this period of waiting, because I don't know if I'll ever get to experience it again.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

The Day You Came Into The World

The day you give birth, especially for the first time, is such a life altering event. Regardless of how you give birth, once that tiny human has entered the world everything changes. Relationships and priorities change, bonds are formed and life will never be the same. Even though my own birth story didn't go the way I had hoped, it was still the most important {and memorable} day of my life to date so I wrote it all out in a blog post so I'd remember all the details years later when my memory is hazy. Frances Lalor, a local children's book author, went even further and wrote a book to capture the memory of her birth story for her daughter.

The Day You Came Into The World is written about the birth of Frances' first child. The story uses simple words and scribble like illustrations to take us through the day her daughter arrived, including the anticipation felt beforehand and how everything changed once she was born. Although the sequence of events are slightly different to my own birth story, the sentiments expressed throughout the book are the same as I felt before and after my own daughter was born. The book will be easy for any new parents to relate to as the emotions felt are the same, regardless of the delivery.

At some point in time our kids are inevitably going to ask questions about the day they were born, which can be quite a delicate conversation to have. I know when the time comes for me I don't want to let her know how crazy her delivery was, but I do want her to know that it was the most special day of my life despite all the drama. The Day You Came Into The World makes that conversation much easier to have with children and explains their birthday in a almost fairy tale like way. I've always believed that books play an important role in helping to explain situations to young children. Reading about something in simple words with relevant pictures can help make big concepts so much easier for young children to understand. The book accurately captures the emotions felt by new parents and conveys this very simply in a way that young children will be able to relate to.

The Day You Came Into The World would be a perfect gift for a new mum, at a baby shower or after birth, so they have a special way to explain to their children just how wonderful it was when they came into the world. It even includes a page at the end to record the baby's birth details. The book can be purchased online or find a stockist here. 20% of all book profits are also donated to towards children's hospital foundations to help sick and injured children across Australia. The book also comes beautifully gift wrapped when purchased online which is a lovely added touch.

Did you have a good birth experience, or did things go a bit pear shaped like mine?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was gifted a copy of The Day You Came Into The World for the purpose of review. I did not receive payment for this review.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Fit Fingers

If you follow my Instagram account then you'll know I'm very passionate about learning through play and doing hands on activities with bub so she learns and practices skills that she'll need later for school. At the start of the year I had a conversation with my friend about all the skills kids in her daughters prep class were meant to know prior to starting school and how so many kids didn't know what to do. That conversation really sparked my desire to help prepare bub for school {even though its still a little while away}. Before then I knew of basic development skills but we hadn't done much other than speech therapy to actively help bub learn these skills. After finding out how important fine motor skills like pincer grip, pencil grip and hand strengthening are for children starting school, I decided to come up with different activities I could do at home with bub to help develop these skills. 

I share a lot of our activities over on Instagram. They're all age appropriate and child led so bub only does the ones she wants to do and at her own pace. Everything is set up like a game so she is both playing and learning rather than me specifically teaching her how to do things. I personally know I learnt better by doing things myself rather than being shown, so that's how I teach bub, with a bit of guidance as she plays if needed. I get lots of ideas from other toddler based accounts on Instagram and that's often where I find lots of our educational resources as well. A few months ago I discovered Fit Fingers on Instagram via Discovering Our Toddler after they reviewed their resource pack.

Fit Fingers is a carefully curated pack of resources designed to help children build fine motor skills while having fun. The kit includes a number of loose parts including beads, buttons and pom poms, pipe cleaners and various threading strings, plasticine, crayons, pens and pencils, pegs, scissors and some toys. Above is an example of just some of the items included in a Fit Fingers pack. I love how all of the small parts come in little resealable clear pouches which makes storage after playing really easy. The whole kit also comes in a big oversized clear pencil case so everything can be kept together when not in use. The packaging itself can also double as an extra fine motor skill workout for kids as they pull open the seals and learn to work the zip. As it contains various loose parts, the Fit Fingers pack is suitable for children 3+ and should always be used with adult supervision.

Prep teacher Natalie and her husband Mark developed the Fit Fingers pack after seeing how much children struggle at school when they have weak fine motor skills. The Fit Fingers resources pack offers parents and children many hands on, engaging and multi-purpose activities designed to build hand strength and fine motor skills in young children. The pack comes with a list of different activities for scissor skills, hand strengthening, threading and beading and to develop pincer grip, to give parents numerous ways to use the kit. There are also additional activities available in the resource section online.

All of the pieces within the pack are quite open ended so there really are endless activity possibilities. I get a lot of inspiration for the activities we do from other Instagram accounts, Playschool {yes really Playschool is a treasure trove of toddler ideas} and by simply making things up. In reality we've only really touched the surface with the activities possible with the Fit Fingers kit, but here's some of bub's favourites that we've done so far.


Bub loves colour sorting activities using any type of materials and loose parts so I knew button sorting would be a hit. I put all the shape buttons in a tray and spread our coloured paint cups around. I added in the Fit Fingers tweezers to make the task a little more challenging. Bub's done colour sorting with tweezers before, but the Fit Fingers tweezers are a little trickier than the other ones we have so she mainly put the buttons into the tweezers using her spare hand instead of directly picking them up. It was a good exercise in hand strengthening as well because the buttons are slippery she had to hold the tweezers extra tight so they didn't slip out early. She came back to this activity multiple times throughout the day, tipping all the buttons back into the main tray so she could sort them again.


Bub has loved threading since she was about 2 and a half. I first introduced her to threading with really chunky beads and pip cleaners so it was easier for her to grasp the beads and manipulate them onto the pipe cleaners. As she's grown more confident we've moved onto smaller beads and thinner string. The Fit Fingers pack comes with a wide variety of beads of varying sizes, materials and shapes and it also includes pipe cleaners and different string so children can work on beading at different levels. For this activity I put out a big range of the beads, a few pipe cleaners and the clear plastic line for bub to choose from. She chose a range of different beads and threaded them on the clear plastic line to make a necklace for grandma.


This pom pom sorting activity was inspired by Wonder and Awe on Instagram after they shared a similar sorting activity with a coloured egg carton. I coloured the egg carton with the markers from the Fit Fingers pack and then left an assortment of pom poms + the tweezers from the pack out for bub to find. Like the button sorting activity bub came back to this over and over during the day. She rotated between using her fingers and using the tweezers to sort the pom poms.


One of the skills bub was yet to master was opening and closing pegs properly. To help her practice I used some of the Fit Fingers items to create a mini washing basket for her to practice pegging the pegs on the line. I used a small cane basket and threaded some of the clear plastic line from the kit through it to create a washing line. I then put out a selection of her dolls clothes and pegs for her to hang on the washing line. Trying to peg the clothes proved a little tricky so she decided to just try and peg the pegs on and off the line by themselves. After I helped her to squeeze the pegs with her fingers a few times she figured out how to do it herself and spent most of the morning putting pegs on and off her little play line.

Although we've already done a heap of activities with our pack {there's some more on Instagram}, there are still so many more I have planned to do. So far we haven't used the scissors as I don't think bub's quite ready to be trusted with real scissors, but I plan on introducing scissor activities soon. I love how the items in the Fit Fingers pack are re-usable and can be used for multiple different activities making the pack great value as it can literally be used for years. The activities can also be made more challenging as your child develops more hand strength and dexterity so the kit can grow with your child. I can see we'll be using the kit pieces on a regular basis from now until bub starts school.

Natalie and Mark have kindly created an exclusive offer for Finding Myself Young readers so you can get a Fit Fingers pack for your children too. To save $10 {AUD} off a Fit Fingers pack* simply use the code fmy-blog-aug-16 when purchasing from www.lapetitestore.com. This offer is available to both Australian and international readers, however is restricted to the first 50 orders placed between now and August 30th.

Toni x

* Offer terms & conditions ~ discount code is valid for $10 AUD off each Fit Fingers pack and limited to the first 50 customers. Customers can purchase multiple packs, however these must be purchased in a single transaction as the discount code is limited to single use per customer. Postage within Australia is $8 with free postage available for Australian orders over $90. International shipping rates will be calculated at checkout based on location. Discount code is valid from 23rd August 2016 - 30th August 2016.

Disclosure - I was provided with a Fit Fingers pack for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own based on our experience with the pack. I did not receive payment for this review.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | JJ Rabbit Australia

When you have a baby it's easy to get overwhelmed by all the things you think they’ll need. If you're like me you probably went out and bought all the things, because books, nurses, family and strangers told you they were all necessary. After a few months though you soon realise just what you did need and what you could of lived without. Then your baby gets older and there's a whole new round of products to buy and the process starts all over again. There's a lot of gimmicky products out there, but when it comes to necessities dinnerware is pretty high up there. Your child will need plates, cups and cutlery pretty much from the time they start solids onward and you’re guaranteed to go through a heap of them so its worth investing in a good quality set from the start.

We’ve used a heap of different sets over the last two and a half years since bub started solids and I quickly learnt the cheap $2 plates and cups don’t last very long {and cheap no-leak drink bottles are not leak proof at all, but that’s a whole other story}. Another thing I've learnt is that bub loves matching sets, i.e. the cup and plate look the same, whether they're covered in Peppa Pig or everything is all blue, she {like her mum} loves it when things match. It's entirely possible I've passed on my ocd in small doses.

I recently found JJ Rabbit Australia on facebook and was drawn to both their eco-consciousness and cool matching designs. JJ Rabbit Australia is an environmentally responsible children’s feeding brand with a range of BpA, Phalates and PVC free animal inspired feeding essentials. The JJ Rabbit range includes CUPPIES, ergoFORK+SPOON, aniBOWL, dipPLATES, dryBIB and siliMATs in bright colourful animal designs. They're cute, biodegradable, funky, functional and come in matching sets, so pretty much every toddler {and ocd mum's} dream dinnerware. We introduced some of the rabbit designs into our house a few weeks ago in an effort to make meal times more fun and exciting for bub {and I was secretly hoping it just might help with her fussy eating if I was lucky}.

Ironically they didn't even make it to dinner time before we used them the first day, instead we had an impromptu picnic outside with bub's dolls and fake food. If you're ever planning a fake picnic with your kids it's probably best not to use a white blanket, or at least don't give them real drink in their cup, because it's highly likely at some point it'll get knocked over and spill all over the blanket. Rookie error, won't do that again. The picnic was a good way to get her excited to use the set for dinner to eat real food later though.

Without a doubt both mine and bub's favourite piece from the JJ Rabbit Australia range is the cuppie. These cups are unlike anything that I've seen before and are one of the coolest toddler cup designs ever. We have the orange rabbit cup which has a little rabbit sitting inside the cup so as bub drinks he appears. How cool is that? I'm also a big fan of the two handles. Bub's been drinking from big girl cups for a while now, but she still uses a straw, because when she tries to drink from the cup itself she inevitably ends up with half her drink down her shirt. The cuppie has been great because holding the handles she can drink without spilling anything. It's quickly become her favourite cup and we've had a pretty major breakthrough with it, bub's finally started drinking milk from a cup. That may not seem like a huge milestone to most parents, but considering she had a pretty severe dairy allergy from birth {which she grew out of last December} it's been a long road convincing her to drink milk when she used to associate it with causing her pain. We've tried milk in other cups for the last few months but she simply refuses to drink it, but finally she'll drink it out of the cuppie.

The other pieces are innovative in design as well, for example the dipPLATES, which come in various different animal designs, are all stackable and are divided into two sections to easily separate condiments from food. The siliMATs can be used as either a non-slip placemat or as an actual eating surface as they're anti-bacterial. I've used ours as a placemat and rolled it up into the nappy bag to use when we eat out so her food doesn't end up touching the sometimes questionable food court tables. The JJ Rabbit products are designed in Austin, Texas and are distributed in Australia by JJ Rabbit Australia. Local stockists can be found here.

While I was hoping the dinner set may have brought about some miraculous changes to her fussy eating habits, unfortunately it hasn't {that tomato and lettuce on her taco plate are never eaten, but I keep persisting}. To be honest I pretty much knew that was wishful thinking, there was no way I'd change 2yrs of fussy eating in a couple of weeks, but I'll keep trying. We did have a pretty huge breakthrough with the cuppie though and it's quickly become her favourite dinner set so I definitely think the JJ Rabbit products are a worthy investment and they certainly make meal times fun.

Are your kids fussy eaters too?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was provided with the JJ Rabbit products shown for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the products. I did not receive payment for this review.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Happy Hands Happy Heart Natural Playdough

We're huge fans of playdough in this house, even as an adult I still love playing with it. It's such a great sensory experience and you can't help but want to keep squishing, squashing and moulding it. Playdough was one of the first sensory play ideas I ever tried with bub, back when she was about 15 months old and going to speech therapy, since then it's been an almost daily fixture in our house. The learning and play possibilities with playdough are pretty much endless, it's such a great open ended play medium. We've used it to learn letters, shapes, numbers and colours, as well as practising fine motor skills, developing language and for hours and hours of imaginary play. 

The one thing I don't like about playdough however is when all the colours get mushed up together and become a big ball of poo brown or snot green. You know what I'm talking about right? My OCD just can. not. deal. with. that. at. all. I think that's partially the reason why I've never made my own playdough. Despite the fact I'm a relatively crafty SAHM {I think?} and I've gone and bought all the ingredients for playdough, with the best intentions of actually making it, I just can't bring myself to do it. The thought of creating the perfect colourful, soft, fluffy playdough only to have her smoosh it into a pile of poo goop half an hour later is soul destroying. That probably sounds a bit over the top but seriously I would be having an internal breakdown watching playdough that I made being ruined before my eyes. Perhaps I'll mellow over time, but for now it's just not happening.

Luckily for me {and all the other OCD mums out there} there are plenty of places to buy ready made playdough. I know a lot of mums worry about the possible nasties used in pre-made playdough, but there are many places to buy beautiful homemade, chemical free versions as well. A few months ago I discovered Happy Hands Happy Heart on instagram and immediately fell in love, firstly with the gorgeous playdough creations on their insta feed, and then with the playdough itself when I found out it was all natural.

Happy Hands Happy Heart natural playdough review
Happy Hands Happy Heart {HHHH} is a family run business creating homemade all natural playdough that's taste safe and designed to be visually vibrant and also scented to promote a calm, enjoyable play experience. HHHH are passionate about encouraging creative sensory play and have created playdough that's perfect for play based learning, fine motor skill development and scented to promote well-being and calm.

Happy Hands Happy Heart currently have 9 flavours in their range, including mandarin, blood orange, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon, pink grapefruit, lavender, spearmint and licorice. Each flavour of HHHH playdough is dyed and scented using different fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices and essential oils, so you can rest easy knowing there are no nasty chemicals. We've been playing with the lemon, lavender and licorice flavours and I have to say they smell absolutely divine. I honestly wish you could smell them through the computer {although you might want to lick your screen then}.
Happy Hands Happy Heart lemon, lavender and licorice scented playdough
My favourite of all the flavours we have is lemon, and that's purely because the smell reminds me of lemon meringue pie. I literally sniff the jar a good 5-10 times when we get it out to play with. That's not weird right? It smells sooo yummy! So naturally we play with that one the most. It's a good way to satisfy my need for lemon meringue pie, without actually consuming any calories. 

Lemon meringue playdough
Can we all just take a moment to appreciate this playdough lemon meringue pie Emma from HHHH created...
The Happy Hands Happy Heart playdough is so soft and fluffy, it literally scoops out of the jar like ice-cream. It doesn't have a thick plastic feel like mass produced playdough either, it's so squishy and light and super easy to mould. In fact when we played with it again yesterday bub and I spent a good 15 minutes just squishing finger prints into it because it felt so good. Most of the time though bub likes to roll it with her mini wood rolling pin and make heart cookies with the cookie cutter that came in our set.

I'm also a huge fan of creating what I call playdough stations for bub where I put out a colour of playdough and then a selection of cutters and loose parts for her to use with it {usually in a variety of dip trays}. I often find these playdough stations keep her entertained on and off for hours throughout the day as she comes and goes as she pleases. They're also a wonderful way to ignite her imagination and its always fun to watch what she makes with each of the bits and pieces I leave out for her. One we did recently included the licorice playdough, some black beans, rocks and the mini rolling pin and heart cutter.

Each flavour of HHHH playdough comes in a generous 400g jar, which is more than enough to keep the kids going for a long time. I'm used to tiny 50g tubs so 400g seems enormous. To make it last even longer just give the kids a little bit at a time, that way if it ends up all smooshed together with other colours you still have more in reserve. If you're OCD like me though you'll probably still only give them one colour at a time which means it can easily be put straight back into the jar when they're done playing. The glass jar keeps the playdough nice and air tight, and despite opening and using ours numerous times its still soft and squishy. If it does start drying out though its just a case of adding a few drops of water and moulding it through to make it soft again. HHHH are committed to being as environmentally friendly as possible which is why their playdough comes in a recyclable jar. When you need to restock your playdough you can also return the jar to HHHH to save $1 off your new purchase.

I love that Happy Hands Happy Heart playdough is all natural with no nasties or preservatives so I know its completely safe for bub to use. We've spent hours playing with our few jars already and the playdough is all still in perfect condition. Not to mention it still smells absolutely divine. If your children love playing with playdough, but for whatever reason you don't have the time or inclination to make your own, HHHH really is the next best thing. The Happy Hands Happy Heart playdough is available in single jars or smaller party favour sets from www.happyhandshappyheart.com.au.

Do your kids love playing with playdough too?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was provided Happy Hands Happy Heart playdough and accessories for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own based on experience with the products. I did not receive payment for this review.

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Friday, July 29, 2016

We now have a threenager

Something really odd happened this week....

On Monday I woke up as a mother of a threenager {for those not familiar, this is the colloquial term for 3 year old, once you have one you'll understand why}. Three years old! How did that happen? Well obviously I know how it happened because I've seen it unfold before my eyes over the last 1100 days, however it still seems like one minute I was in a daze wondering where my newborn appeared from {if that statement makes no sense you obviously haven't read my birth story} and now I have a sassy, head strong three going on thirteen year old toddler.

Isn't it funny how pregnancy seems to take 4529 years to end and yet once the baby pops out time seems to go by so quick. It's also ironic that we tend to forget all the hard times that we thought would never end. I'm fairly certain during the first few months of her life when sleep was almost non existent, and we were dealing with a super unsettled baby due to allergies, I didn't think life was going by at a blink-and-you'll-miss-it rate. Yet here I am three years later wondering where all the time went. I'm aware it all seems rather cliche but it really is true. And now I'm worried I'm going to wake up one day soon and she'll be a teenager.

Speaking of teenagers, wow is the term threenager accurate! I thought the last few weeks that we had entered the threenager stage a bit early as the phrases NO!, I don't wan't to and I said NO had been making regular appearances in her vocabulary, however it's like she turned 3 and a switch was flicked and now she's a full blown moody tiny teenager. You know when a caterpillar goes into its cocoon and comes out a butterfly? It's like that, but not as pretty.

There are good parts still though of course like the cuddles for no reason and aww mummy I love you and mummy you're so beautiful at random moments throughout the day, but the rest of the day seems to be peppered with tantrums, mood swings and defiance. I've admired her sense of independence in the past, but after a one hour screaming tantrum over bed time it doesn't seem so endearing anymore. I'm really starting to think that three is a test all us parents need to go through in order to be prepared for the real teenage years. I'm just hoping she's getting all her angst out now and we'll coast through the teens. It could happen, right?

Do you have a threenager too?
Or if you've survived the threenager phase do you have any advice for me?

Toni x

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Go Go Pepe Toys

By now I'm sure you're all aware of our love of play and learning through play. One of the most enjoyable parts of being a mum for me is getting to spend time playing with bub, re-living the childhood I never had. Now that she's almost 3, in less than a week... eek where did that time go, she's very much into imaginary play and is constantly acting out weird and wonderful scenarios with her toys. I'm being very selective with any new toys we add to our collection lately, they have to have an educational purpose or be great for imaginary play, and if they're great for both then even better. I'm also on a quest to replace the majority of her plastic toys with wooden ones. Now that she's a little bit older, and has a better appreciation for her toys, investing in wooden toys that'll last for years {and we can pass down to her siblings} makes a lot of sense. Plus wooden toys have nostalgic charm and are awesome for open ended imaginary play. Of the course the ultimate goal would be to replace her plastic toys with toys that combine all three and are wooden, educational and great for imaginary play, but they're sometimes hard to come by. However, I'm happy to report that our latest addition is just that.

Bernie's number bus is an adorable wooden replica of the famous red double decker London bus, designed by UK toy company Indigo Jamm. The bus comes with 6 numbered and coloured wooden peg people who sit as passengers in the top and bottom levels and can also be removed for playing outside of the bus. The roof and top level of the bus are removable so kids can get the peg people in and out {and in bub's case fill Bernie back up with all sorts of other treasures}. Bernie provides hours of imaginary play and the peg people mean he's also great for teaching numbers, counting, sequencing and colours. Plus he's super cute {which lets face it is sometimes just as important when selecting toys}.

Bernie's number bus by Indigo Jamm

My aunty has lived in London since I was 3 months old and we visited when I was 12 years old. It was the best holiday I've ever been on and I immediately had a homely feeling when I arrived, like I belonged there, it sounds a bit cliche but I've never had that feeling anywhere else. Ever since that trip I've had a huge affinity for London and there's nothing more iconic than the red London bus. I love that this toy reminds me of my time in London and the fun we had exploring the city. Bernie brings the iconic London bus to life in a bright, fun and friendly version kids will love.

I also really love that Bernie is helping to reinforce developmental skills for bub while she plays. Each time she opens the lid and removes and replaces the peg people into their holes she's using her fine motor skills as well as her cognitive skills and hand/eye coordination. The fact that the peg people are colour coordinated with their seats also makes it easy for younger kids to recognise and learn colours. Bub already knows her colours, but even if she didn't it would've been easy for her to identify where each peg person is meant to go just by matching them up. Because she already knows her colours I usually add them into our play by saying things like "what colour is number 1?" or "what colour are these seats? "just to reinforce them.

We also use Bernie to reinforce numbers and to practice sequencing. The peg people are a great way to introduce and practice number recognition with younger children. Older children {like bub} can practice putting the people into the seats in the correct order from 1-6 to reinforce sequencing while counting aloud. Of course in addition to all the educational learning opportunities Bernie provides, there's also unlimited hours of imaginary play. Bub is constantly taking him on trips around our lounge room and making the peg people talk to each other as they go on their journeys. She also likes to pretend he's a real bus and stops at different points to pick up more passengers {usually Little People princesses and toy cars} and deliver them to their various destinations.

What I love the most about Bernie's number bus is that it's a toy that really evolves along with your child as they grow. It's recommended for toddlers 12 months and over, but as they get older instead of getting boring, it becomes even more exciting as they learn colours and numbers and can use it in different ways. Bernie would make a great gift for a first birthday that you'll know will still be well loved years later. Bub's nearly 3 and she loves him and I don't see that changing anytime soon. As a side note, I also love that all the edges are curved which makes it much safer for younger children {unlike some wooden toys}.

We got out beloved Bernie bus from Go Go Pepe Toys, an online store that specialises in ethical, unique and sustainable toys. Go Go Pepe Toys have sourced a range of quality toys from Australia and around the world to provide a boutique range of toys you wont find anywhere else. Go Go Pepe stock a range of different toys including arts and crafts, games and puzzles, wooden toys and dolls and dolls houses, amongst others.


Thanks to Go Go Pepe Toys I have one Bernie's number bus to giveaway to a lucky Finding Myself Young reader. To enter simply fill in the rafflecopter form below {so I can contact you if you win} and leave me a comment below letting me know what's your favourite toy from Go Go Pepe Toys and why? You can find all their products here.

If you're having any issues leaving a comment {sometimes it can be a bit temperamental} shoot me an email or send me a message on my Facebook page and I can help you out.

Good Luck!

Toni x
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition commences upon publication and ends at 11:59pm August 1st 2016. One winner will receive a Bernie's number bus from Go Go Pepe Toys RRP $69.95. Finding Myself Young will not be held liable should the prize be lost in transit. Competition is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. 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 provided a Bernie's number bus from Go Go Pepe Toys for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the bus. I did not receive payment for this review.

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