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.

Linking with Alicia and Kirsty
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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.

Linking with Jess
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Friday, May 6, 2016

Staying home

This post is brought to you by Firths


It's hard to believe I've been a stay at home mum for almost 3 years now. Those years feel like they've gone so fast, even though most of the days felt incredibly long. Deep down I've always wanted to be a stay at home mum, however the decision to give up work and stay at home full time wasn't as easy as I expected it would be.

My whole adult life I've been super independent and I've always supported myself. The thought of losing my income and financial independence scared me, a lot, and I don't like having to rely on other people. In addition to that, becoming a single income family worried me. What if T had an accident and couldn't work? What would we do without any income at all?

I'm a planner, I love to be in control and know what's going to happen next. I need security, in fact I crave it desperately. I'm also always thinking of the worst case scenario before I do things {never a dull moment when you have an anxiety disorder}. You can bet your bottom dollar I've thought about the worst case, imagined it happening, freaked out as though it's already happened and then stressed about it even more for good measure. So the thought of us being a one income family and T not being able to work definitely crossed my mind. It crossed my mind a lot. It gave me many sleepless nights, so much so that I extended my maternity leave to two years so I still had a full time job to go back to should I need it.

My anxiety constantly clouds my thought process when making big decisions, but T has this wonderful ability to bring me back to reality and see things clearly. He constantly assured me that if something was to happen we'd still be fine. He has income protection insurance so we'd be covered should he ever be injured and unable to work, and in the rare case that the insurers wouldn't pay out our claim, there are compensation lawyers that would help us.

In the end we also decided after battling infertility to conceive in the first place, and the very real fact that bub may end up being our only child, I should make the most of her younger years and spend as much time with her as possible. So when my extended maternity leave was coming to an end, I put my big girls panties on and made the decision to resign, and surprisingly enough it wasn't anywhere near as anxiety inducing as I thought it would be. The first couple of weeks I was still a little paranoid, like I was about to go on a trapeze with no safety net to catch me if I fell... although that's a bad analogy because there's no way in hell you'd ever get me on a trapeze, but you get where I was going with that don't you? After the initial adjustment period, however, my fear subsided and I've grown quite accustomed to staying at home full time. 

Even though there have been hard days and at times I've wondered {sometimes out loud} what the hell I'm doing, I know we made the right decision for our family. At the risk of sounding cliché, I know the days are long, but the years are short so I'm making the most of the time I have to be with my baby {while she's still little}. For now it works, and I have no regrets.

Do/did you stay at home with your kids?
Was it a tough decision?

Toni x

Disclosure - this is a sponsored post as per my disclosure policy, all fears and anxiety mentioned above 100% happened and yes I really do overthink that much {about everything}.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Freycoo Ashley Boots

It seems Queensland has finally got the memo that it's autumn and we're starting to have cooler days {only two months late, but we got there in the end}. I have to admit as much as I love summer and the beach, I do love the cooler months the most. Cooler days mean layering, jeans, snuggles under blankets and of course boots. Oh how I love boots. 

Of course I've passed my love of boots to bub, like mother like daughter. Last year she got her first pair of boots {the Caroch Minnie boots} and I'm still sad that she's outgrown them because they're super cute. Alas toddlers do tend to grow out of shoes every few months, so this year we got her second pair of boots, the Ashley boots from Freycoo. I die of cuteness every time she wears them.


The Freycoo Ashley boots are genuine leather in hot pink with light pink accents {including cute little love hearts on the sides and straps}. I have to admit I wasn't a huge fan of pink before I had bub, but we've embraced it since she arrived and it now seems to be a permanent fixture in her wardrobe, so why not add pink boots. They also have a super soft plush sheepskin lining which keeps her toes nice and warm, without being too hot for our Qld weather. The lining is so soft I just want to keep rubbing my hands in her boots {because I'm weird like that}.

One of the other features I love most about the Ashley boots is that they have velcro straps. We constantly have trouble finding enclosed shoes to fit bub because the bridge of her foot is quite high, so lace up and slip on shoes are normally a no go because she can't fit her foot in them. Which makes looking for boots that fit well quite challenging. Have you ever tried to get your kids foot into a pair of boots that are too tight? It's not fun. Thanks to the adjustable velcro straps though, the Ashley boots fit her really well. The velcro straps also allow for the tongue of the shoe to open wider making putting them on even easier.

When your model wants nothing to do with your photoshoot

I also have it on good authority that the Ashley boots are great for jumping in puddles. Its been raining a bit lately so when we went to the shops the other day the first thing she did was run to all the puddles and jump like the energiser bunny. Peppa pig has a lot to answer for. I did have a slight heart attack at first about them getting wet, but they held up fine and I'm sure its not the last time she'll run off to jump in a puddle while wearing them. I just have to make sure she doesn't go near any muddy ones.



The Freycoo Ashley boots can be purchased online from Tiptoe & Co for $38.95, which I think is a pretty good price for lined leather boots. We got the next size up from what she normally wears to allow for extra wiggle room and so they'll fit her for a bit longer. If they're anything like her boots from last year they'll end up lasting all winter and still looking almost new once she grows out of them.

Tiptoe & Co is an online children's shoe boutique specialising in high quality leather shoes at affordable prices for your little ones. Tiptoe & Co stock a large range of shoes from popular kids brands Caroch, Freycoo, Little Blue Lamb, Skeanie and Vans. They stock girls and boys shoes for babies, toddlers and children. If you've been a reader around here for a while you'll be well aware of my Tiptoe & Co addiction. I buy all of bub's shoes from Tiptoe & Co because of the quality, price and there are so many cute options to pick from. If you'd love to add some cute new shoes to your child's wardrobe then you need to enter the fabulous giveaway below.

TIPTOE & CO GIVEAWAY


Tiptoe & Co are generously offering one Finding Myself Young reader the chance to win a $40 voucher. That means you can get your own pair of Ashley boots {or one of the other gorgeous pairs of shoes available on Tiptoe & Co}.

To be in the running simply follow the rafflecopter prompts in the widget below and remember to leave a comment letting me know which shoes from Tiptoe & Co are your favourite pair and why?

Good luck!

Toni x
a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS & CONDITIONS
Competition commences upon publication and ends 12:00am May 17th 2015. Entry is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. One reader will win a $40 voucher from Tiptoe & Co to be spent online at www.tiptoeandco.com.au. Prize is not transferable. Prize will be delivered by Tiptoe & Co, Finding Myself Young takes no responsibility 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 provided the Freycoo Ashley Boots from Tiptoe & Co for the purpose of review. I did not receive payment for this review and all opinions expressed are based on our experience. As mentioned above I do also have a slight obsession with their shoes and buy them all the time.

*due to different monitors colours in photos may vary slightly. The two bottom photos were taken outside in direct sunlight so the boots appear slightly lighter in colour.

Linking with Jess
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Friday, April 29, 2016

Life is a rollercoaster


One of the first things people say to me when they find out I'm having trouble conceiving is you just need to stop thinking about it then it'll work. I'm not even going to get into the logic behind that comment, because medical conditions generally don't have a habit of just disappearing by themselves if you stop thinking about them, but I know they kind of mean it from a good place. However, not thinking about trying to conceive is not as easy to do as people may think.

You see I try to stop thinking about it. I try really, really hard. There are even some days where its not consciously on my radar, but its always there in my subconscious. It becomes quite hard to not think about something when your whole life revolves around it.

Now I can hear people chomping at the bit to chime in with "but its not your whole life, there are so many other things in your life. You already have a daughter you should be thinking about her not a baby you don't have".... and various other well meant, but severely ill thought out responses, {yes this is my life, seriously}. They're all right to an extent. There are many other things in my life and my daughter does pretty much consume my whole day {all day, every day}, but that doesn't stop my mind wandering.

The reason I can't stop thinking about it is because days, weeks and months are no longer just arbitrary calendar days to me, they're now days before or after ovulation, weeks of a cycle and months since we started trying to have another baby. Every single day is a reminder of our struggle to conceive because we now live life cycle to cycle.

So while others may look at the calendar and see today as the 29th of May, I see it as day 4 of my cycle. This is week 1, otherwise known as depression week, a reminder that the last cycle didn't work. During week 1 I'm usually an emotional wreck for the first two days. I allow myself a day or two to wallow in the unhappiness of being unsuccessful again, then I need to start taking more medication and switch my focus to this new cycle. The rest of this week and next are filled with daily medication and specialist appointments. Even if I wanted to forget about it, I have physical reminders each day. 

After I finish my medication for the month I then enter the two week wait, where I wait {completely not patiently} to see if this month will finally be our lucky month. Ironically while the two week wait is devoid of pill taking, pathology tests and specialist appointments, its during those two weeks that I think about my maybe baby the most. Because these two weeks are full of renewed hope.

Experiencing infertility is like being on a rollercoaster that never ends, the peaks and troughs just keep coming, over and over again. During week 3 and 4 I'm climbing ever so slowly up to the peak and as much as I want to get excited that someone will come and rescue me off this godforsaken fearful, yet adrenaline filled ride; in reality I'm bracing myself for the inevitable huge drop that is to come. And then it comes, and around and around I go on this continuous ride. 

Did I ever mention I'm shit scared of rollercoasters? Yet I've been on this one for over a year now.

One day I will get to week 4 and instead of facing the huge emotional fall at the end, I will get off this rollercoaster ride and it will all be over. Only then will I be able to not think about it.

Please don't ever tell anyone experiencing fertility issues that they just need to stop thinking about it and it will work. Because we can't.

Toni x

Linking with Grace

*Image used with permission from Cate
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Pastel Creations

I've spent a lot of time lately on Instagram, in fact its fast becoming my favourite social media platform {don't worry facebook I still love you}. The awesome thing about Instagram is that its really easy to connect with other like minded people, you simply have to search the hashtags. It's a bit of a time waster though {but in a good way}. I've found so many cool accounts by getting lost down the Instagram rabbit hole clicking from one profile to another. Plus I've also discovered there are so many awesome handmade businesses on there run by fellow mums.

One of the coolest little businesses that I've come across is Pastel Creations. I stumbled upon Pastel Creations via a tag on someone's photo and I've been following along for a few months now. Her wooden creations are just gorgeous, so of course I had to share them with you all too.


WHAT IS PASTEL CREATIONS?


Pastel Creations is a small handmade decor business run by stay at home mum Laurin. Laurin creates cute, unique wooden decor pieces perfect for nurseries and playrooms. In a similar story to many other businesses run by mums, Pastel Creations was born out of Laurin's desire to stay at home and work around her children. Her love of creating decor items for her own two girls eventually blossomed into a business. This is Laurin's story:

"Pastel Creations started from my love of creating one off pieces for my girls. As a stay at home mum I decided to look into a market style business, something that I could work around family life. Having no idea where to start or what I should do I enquired about buying an already established business. However, my good friend Amy talked me into taking a risk and starting something from scratch. After tossing over a few ideas Pastel Creations came to life and Amy came on-board as my social media expert.

Beginning with a simple rainbow everything flowed from there. Instagram and Facebook accounts were created, sanding equipment brought, along with a few other tools. We remain a small but very lucrative business that I do in my spare time {while children are sleeping or hubby/grandparents are home entertaining them}. I'm overwhelmed with the love and support that I have received along the way. All our products are released as available. With a high demand I strive to produce quality unique original wooden kids decor, with love from my home to yours."




Pastel Creations started with a simple pastel rainbow and now offers a whole range of wooden decor items; including swans, watermelons, ice-creams, foxes, deer and little villages, just to name a few. With such gorgeous designs its easy to see why Pastel Creations has gained such popularity in a relatively short period of time.

As Laurin works around her children, Pastel Creations pieces are solely released as they're available so its first come first served. For this very reason I have my notifications switched on so I never miss a release. They sell out super quick {sometimes in a few seconds, not even kidding} so if you want to get your hands on something I strongly suggest you turn on Instagram notifications so you don't miss out. Even though I've already got a rainbow, watermelon and little village set, I'm still lusting after a fox and swan so I'm constantly stalking her feed.



PASTEL CREATIONS AREN'T JUST DECOR


Most of the items sold at Pastel Creations also lend themselves well as wooden toys. The thing I love about wooden toys is that they are so open ended, leaving a world of possibilities with the help of your child's imagination. Bub wasted no time exploring her Pastel Creations items as props for her imaginary stories.

She quickly turned her play table into a little wooden village for her sonny angels. They've gone on many adventures, leaving their wooden houses to climb up and explore a series of rainbow slides. The rainbow layers also make great tunnels to hide under when the scary dragon {aka Clarence the cat} attacks. After their big adventures they go and snack on a "big, big watermelon". I love watching her imagination come to life through play.

What I love the most about all the items Laurin creates is that each and every one is unique. Each item is carefully hand crafted, sanded, painted and sealed, so each piece is slightly different. I actually really love that the rainbows aren't perfectly curved because I think it adds character. Plus its a reminder of all the time and effort that went into making the gorgeous pieces that now decorate our home. If you're after beautiful, well made decor items for your little ones {or for yourself} then I definitely recommend you check out Pastel Creations and Laurin's gorgeous designs.


I you'd love to have a pastel wooden rainbow at your place too {and lets face it who wouldn't?}, head on over to my Instagram feed where you can enter to win your very own pastel rainbow*. All you have to do is tell me what your favourite item from Pastel Creations is and tag a friend who might be interested.

Good luck!

Toni x

*Prize will be handmade once the winner has been chosen, as such please allow a 3 week turnaround for prize delivery.

Disclosure - I was provided Pastel Creations items of my choice for the purpose of review after contacting Laurin and requesting to feature her items. I did not receive payment for this post and all opinions expressed are my own {except where otherwise noted}.

Linking with Jess
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