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.


WIN AN INDIGO JAMM BERNIE'S NUMBER BUS


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

TERMS & CONDITIONS
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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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | There I Am Storybooks

It's no secret that bub loves reading, you only need to take one look at my Instagram account to know that. She especially loves picture books. Even though she can't properly read yet, she loves to tell me the stories from the pictures, even if it's not the same as the actual story. Her favourite book for a while now has been Piranha's Don't Eat Bananas, because they eat bums. Toddlers do love a good bum joke after all. However, she may have a new favourite book as of last week. What could be better than a book about piranha's who love to eat bums I hear you say? We all know it'd have to be pretty good to trump that!

The latest addition to our ever expanding book collection is a personalised book from There I Am Storybooks. In My Driving Adventures bub gets to be the star of every single page. She gets to watch herself go on all sorts of fun adventures and just quietly I think she truly believes she's actually done them all.

My Driving Adventures is a gorgeous book that allows your little one to be the star of the story. They'll go on a range of exciting adventures as the book retells the story of their best day ever. My Driving Adventures brings adventures across land, sea and air to life across 28 fun filled pages. The book combines vibrant, colourful illustrations with simple rhyming text to appeal to 1-4 yr olds. It'll most definitely captivate their imagination and have their full attention from beginning to end.




Bub's grown up surrounded by little boys {she was the only girl in 7 at mothers group}, so whether or not she would've loved cars and trucks, they were thrust into her world from a very young age. Although judging by her enthusiasm for all things automobiles I dare say she would've developed a love for them on her own anyway. She loves planes, trains, construction vehicles {anything with wheels really} so when we read the book for the first time she was crazy excited that she got to go on all the adventures herself. Instead of just reading about them in a story book, she was actually in the book and felt like she really did go on all the adventures.


Bub gets so excited every time we read the book, she can't wipe the smile off her face. She loves telling me exactly what she's doing on each page. "Look mummy I'm dwiving a biiiig wubbish truck and picking up all dis rubbish bins". There are 10 different vehicles in the book and without revealing all of them, I'm pretty sure her favourites include the crane and the train. "Mummy I'm using dis cwane to pick up all these lots and lots of bricks. Look they going up up up in the sky, then I put them down down down again".

I think her all time favourite is the rocket ship though. Her love affair with rockets developed at an early age thanks to various cartoons and she's still fascinated with them {I guess we all are to some extent aren't we?}. When she opened the rocket page her eyes lit up and she yelled out "WOW mummy I went to space!!! Look there's an alien too. I made friends with the alien, we best friends".


Each page of the book includes her name {I've blurred it for privacy} and has a cute little rhyme explaining what she's doing in each vehicle. Of course she loves making up her own version and extending the story as well. It's been so lovely watching her face light up when she reads the book and listening to her enthusiasm as she tells me about her adventures.

My Driving Adventures not only captivates children's imagination and provides a great picture book for them as toddlers, it's also a great keepsake for later on. I love that I now have a book that perfectly describes her adventurous personality and also includes a photo of her that I can look back on when she's grown up to remember these early years. It'll also be great for her to look back on later as well and we've included a personal message from us in the front cover {which you can do when you order the book}. There I Am Storybooks would also make an awesome unique birthday or Christmas present. If you know someone who'd love to receive one of these books read below for a special discount code and a chance to win your own copy of My Driving Adventures.


WIN A PERSONALISED MY DRIVING ADVENTURES BOOK



Thanks to There I Am Storybooks, you have a chance to win a truly unique My Driving Adventures storybook. The book will be personalised with your little one's name and photo so they can see themselves as the star of the story driving all vehicles that kids love including diggers, fire engines, rubbish trucks and even spaceships. To enter simply fill in the rafflecopter widget below {so I can contact you if you win} and leave me a comment letting me know who you would like to win the book for and why?

And if you want to get your hands on a personalised book right away, There I Am Storybooks have given me an exclusive discount code for you guys. Simply use the code FERRY to save $5 off the price of the book when ordering from https://thereiamstorybooks.com.

Toni x

Please note the winner will be required to send a hi-res image and the child's first name to There I Am Storybooks so that the book can be created.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS & CONDITIONS
Competition commences upon publication and ends at 11:59pm July 26th 2016. One winner will receive a personalised My Driving Adventures book from There I Am Storybooks RRP $39.99. Prize will be delivered by There I Am Storybooks, Finding Myself Young takes no responsibility for delivery and 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.

* Discount code is valid until August 31st 2016


Disclosure - I received a copy of My Driving Adventures for the purpose of review. All opinions and cute toddler speak expressed above are based on our experience with the book. I did not receive payment for this review.


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Monday, July 11, 2016

This is my life now

Daddy's just arrived home from a twelve hour shift, he walks in the door greeted by an overly excited bub, but before he's finished saying hello to her my alarm starts blaring from my phone. We look at each other from across the room, we know exactly what it means, so we start planning our secret escape. We make an excuse to go upstairs and try to scurry away hoping bub doesn't follow us. Thankfully she doesn't. She remains blissfully unaware caught up in the latest PJ Masks episode on the iPad {which she's watched 456 times now, but still isn't bored of}, so we sneak away for a few minutes. She doesn't even notice we're gone, she's too engrossed by Owlette and Cat Boy to care, but the whole time I feel like I'm neglecting her leaving her alone for five minutes. Then before we know it, it's all over and we're back downstairs, business as usual getting on with our night. This is our life now, every evening plays out exactly the same.

Fifteen months ago, when we began our journey trying for baby number 2, I never even contemplated that we would be where we are today. I wasn't completely naive, I knew there would be fertility treatment of some sort in our future before we managed to get pregnant again {despite holding onto the hope that by some miracle it might happen naturally this time around}. I knew there would be months of waiting. I knew there would be ups and downs, swinging from anticipation to disappointment. I knew there would be countless appointments, tests and ultrasounds. Infertility is not new to us, we know how it works. And of course all of these things happened, but unlike last time they haven't worked. We're still not pregnant.



Even though it took years to have bub, it was a relatively straight forward process in the end. Once T and I decided to go see a specialist we were unbelievably lucky and got pregnant with very limited intervention. I have no idea how, because given all the fertility issues we have it shouldn't have been that easy {I still find it ironic that I refer to months of trying + tests + medication as easy}. But nevertheless it was easy and it did work, we got pregnant and we had a baby. Because of this I've always believed in the back of my mind that it would happen again.

Clearly last time was a major fluke, or divine intervention, or fairies sprinkled their magical baby dust on us.... whatever it was it's not happening now. Instead of smiling on us the universe is giving us the proverbial finger behind our back and the fairies, well I can only assume they've moved into their new fairy house and forgotten we even exist. The reality is this time its going to be a lot harder and take a lot longer.

The rollercoaster has gotten a lot bumpier and scarier. The uncertainty is overwhelming and my anxiety is revelling in it. Yet we continue on this ride, because as usual getting off would be harder than holding on.

I never thought we'd get to the point where I'm being injected with needles each and every night like clockwork. Voluntarily laying down while a needle is stuck into my belly for ten seconds was never meant to become my reality. It wasn't even on my radar. I'm petrified of needles. I'm talking completely and utterly petrified. My hands go clammy, my heart rate goes nuts, I feel dizzy, I get pins and needles {oh the irony} and I sometimes even see spots because my body has such a huge meltdown. Talking about needles {and even writing this paragraph} is enough to make me feel woozy and start hyperventilating. I'm that scared of them

Yet each night at 7pm, while other people are probably having dinner, I'm lying down on my bed gritting my teeth, closing my eyes and willingly being injected. I honestly never thought we'd be doing this because I didn't think I had it in me to go through with it. More than a week into it and I still have no idea how I'm doing it, but I am. Surprisingly enough it's become quite routine. What sort of fucked up reality is this where storing needles in our fridge and being injected with hormones by my partner each night feels like a normal thing to do? Excuse my french, but seriously this is not what they teach you making a baby will be like in sex ed classes at school.

But this is what making a baby is like for us, whether we like it or not. So we accept it while secretly hoping each month will finally be our month and we can be done with all this.

Funnily enough I'm actually grateful that this journey is making me face my fears. Sometimes you don't realise how strong you really are until you face your fears and come out the other side.

If you're about to embark on this journey and are petrified too, know that you can do it. Somehow you will find the strength inside you to get through it. And hopefully we'll both come out of it with our precious miracle babies.

Toni x
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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Calafant craft models

In a world that's becoming increasingly digital, its nice {and some would argue, quite necessary} for kids to have some quiet, screen free activities to balance out all the technology they use each day. While I'm not adverse to bub playing with kids apps on the iPad or watching a bit of ABC Kids, we also spend a lot of time engaging in screen free activities. We love playing with sensory tubs, creating masterpieces from playdough, putting together puzzles, and doing all sorts of arts and crafts. She particularly enjoys drawing, painting and colouring at the moment. Now that her imagination is more active she loves to express it all on paper. I love seeing her bring her dream worlds alive through craft and play so when I heard about Calafant craft models I knew she'd love them.


CALAFANT CRAFT MODELS


Calafant make a range of creative craft models designed to bring children's imaginations to life through colouring, building and playing. Made in Germany from recycled cardboard, the models come flat packed and are pre-cut and pre-punched for easy interlocking assembly. Calafant models come in many shapes and sizes including pirate ships, castles, cars, rocket ships, whole village sets and many more. They're graded level 1, 2 or 3 based on the intricacy of the deign and degree of difficulty to construct. All models come blank so children can bring the designs to life with any colour combinations they like {it can get pretty interesting with a 2yr old believe me}. Calafant also have a range of fun cardboard face masks which children can colour then turn into a 3D mask.



We've had heaps of fun playing with some Level 1 Calafant models over the past few weeks. Level 1 models are the smallest and simplest of the Calafant models {perfect for toddlers} and they come with 6 different coloured pens to decorate them. Bub loves colouring so she didn't need any encouragement to start decorating the models. Without a doubt her favourite one was the horse and carriage because it has horsies and its almost an identical match to her fisher and price princess horse and carriage.




The Calafant models have been a life saver during the witching hours late in the afternoon when bub is irritable and needs some down time before dinner. Colouring the models holds her attention span for longer than a lot of other activities as she focuses on choosing the perfect colour for each section, then colouring in within the lines. They're a great interactive activity for parents to get involved with too, she loves when we colour them in with her. I have to admit though having OCD it's quite challenging for me to deal with her putting random colours all over the place! I just have to learn to seriously let it go for the sake of her fun {I'm getting better at it, but I'm still cringing on the inside}. 

My OCD was particularly tested when she coloured in her puppy face mask. I was cheering on the inside when she started colouring the little heart red, but it quickly went downhill from there and now we have a "wainbow puppy". The Calafant masks are also made from recycled cardboard and come in a range of cute characters, we got the puppy and pony set. The masks easily become 3D once they've been decorated and kids can make their mouths move open and shut by pushing the sides of the masks in and out slightly. Bub's had so much fun running around the house pretending to be a puppy. She particularly loves hiding and jumping out to scare us with it {so I guess the fact that it has scary looking red eyes is quite appropriate}.



Calafant models certainly provide an engaging, creative and interactive experience for both parents and kids to enjoy. Not only do they allow kids to express themselves through decorating the models, they also provide hours of imaginary play once the models are put together. Bub's had so much fun choosing which colours to use then watching them come to life in 3D. We coloured ours with the felt pens that came with the set, but they could also be coloured with crayons, pencils, paints and even decorated with sequins and embellishments. In fact we might add some embellishments to one of ours as another little craft activity soon.

The larger Calafant models would make a fun activity for multiple kids to get involved in at a birthday party or even at a mother's group get together. The smaller models and masks would also make great party favours for a birthday party and would be great as stocking fillers at Christmas. Not to mention they'd be a good distraction for children during long car trips, or during long appointments {we often take busy bags with us to hospital appointments to keep her entertained while waiting and the small models would be perfect for them}.
We got our Calafant models from Toy Fiesta, a family run online toy store that specialises in skill building toys. Given my penchant for educational toys and learning through play, Toy Fiesta has quickly become one of my favourite online toy stores. I first discovered Toy Fiesta at the Essential Baby and Toddler Show in March this year. I fell in love with the toys they had on display and went online to browse further, which of course led to me buying a heap of awesome educational toys. We use all our Toy Fiesta toys for so many different learning activities each week, I dare say I will buy more from them in the future.

Do/did your kids love bringing their imagination to life through arts and craft?

Toni x


Disclosure - I was provided the featured Calafant models for the purpose of review after being contacted by Toy Fiesta. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the products. I did not receive payment for this review and have previously purchased items from Toy Fiesta.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Coffee Factory Kids

When bub was little I was like a kid in a candy shop when it came to buying toys, if I saw something I bought it. I was just so over the moon to be able to buy kids toys for my own child after years of infertility. Admittedly though I probably went a tad overboard and our house soon resembled a toy shop itself. Do I regret it? Nope, although living in a townhouse with limited space means we're now doing toy culls {when bub's not looking}. Has it stopped me buying more toys? Of course not. These days I'm just a lot more selective with the toys I buy.

When I buy toys now I'm quite discerning. I mainly look for toys that are educational and have multiple uses. If I get a toy that's multi-functional then it's basically like having a number of different toys in one, but it doesn't take up any extra space. Also, if toys are versatile it's much more likely bub won't get bored with them quickly, making them better value for money for me and more entertaining for her.

In the last few weeks I've added a number of toys to our collection to help bub learn through play. These are some of our favourites and some of the different ways we've been using them. To see how we continue to use them in the future follow me on Instagram where I share all our play based learning activities.

SORT AND COUNT CITY


The I'm Toy Sort and Count city is a super cute wooden city set incorporating vehicles, road signs, buildings and trees. Each piece is made from sustainable rubber wood and painted with non toxic paints and lacquer. As you can see from the photo bub was pretty keen to get her hands on it as soon as I opened the parcel. "Get scissors mummy, you need scissors, open it open it, see what's inside".


Each individual piece has a hole through the centre so they can be used for stacking on the wooden dowel towers or lacing. Each group of pieces {i.e. the trees, the vehicles} are also numbered so they can be used for counting as they're being stacked. They can also be stacked to make towers on their own and can be used for imaginary play as part of small world play or sensory tubs.


Bub is very much into imaginary play at the moment so we've mainly been using the set for that and I get her to stack them back up when we're finished. In the small world play above I used the trees from the city set with some wooden pieces from her farm in a tin set and some green playdough to combine sensory play and imaginary play to create a little zoo small world.

We've also created a re-usable mobile city by using road tape from Kmart on a piece of cardboard and then adding the wooden pieces from the sort and count city. This has been a huge hit as bub can set it up and pack it away whenever she wants and she can move all the buildings around wherever she wants them each time. We've had hours of fun visiting the shops, responding to emergencies taking people to the hospital and taking baddies to the police station. 



ACTIVITY BUTTONS


While I have a huge affinity for wooden toys, I also do appreciate certain plastic toys, especially educational ones. The Miniland Activity Buttons may look like just simple coloured plastic buttons, but they provide so many different learning opportunities. We spend a lot of time learning through play incorporating various resources to teach bub different skills while she's having fun, and these have been great for so many different activities.

The set contains 40 different buttons in 4 different colours. Each button has a different number of button holes from 1-5 with the corresponding numeral on the button to make number recognition easier. They also have the equivalent braille symbol on the button making them perfect for children who can sign and those who are vision impaired. The set also includes 5 lacing strings along with 12 different guide cards which can be used for lacing or practising patterns.


I love that the buttons are nice and big making them easy for little people to grab and hold. I also really love that they have different numbers of holes so they can be used for early mathematical activities as well as threading. I did a simple maths activity with bub using our Ikea wooden puzzle numbers where she matched the button hole numbers with the corresponding wooden number. They're also great for sequencing numbers from 1-5.


We've also been using the buttons to help develop bub's fine motor skills by threading them {and other items} onto spaghetti stuck in playdough. It was a great activity for working on hand/eye co-ordination as well. The yellow shapes on the right side are from the miniland abacus set {see more below}.


MINILAND APTITUDE SHAPE ABACUS


One of my favourite toys at the moment is our Miniland Shape Abacus. It comes with 100 different pieces, in 10 different colours with 10 different shapes in each colour, as well as the 5 column abacus. At first glance it may look like a simple counting tool, but we've used this set for so many different activities, it really is the most versatile of all the toys we have and great for learning through play.


One of the simplest ways we use the set is for colour sorting. when we first got it I put all the shapes and the abacus onto bub's table and let her play with it however she wanted and the first thing she did was colour sort the shapes onto the abacus. I have to admit my inner ocd was mighty proud of this! We've also used the pieces without the abacus to colour sort into coloured paint pots and added in tweezers for hand strengthening and working on fine motor skills.


Of course the abacus kit is also great for learning different shapes. The set includes a circle, triangle, diamond, octagon, pentagon, flower, square, star, rectangle and trapezoid in each colour. Bub knows most of them except the trapezoid and she likes to call the octagon a hexagon, but to be honest I'm pretty impressed she even knows that much at almost 3yrs old. To work on shape recognition we've used the set to create patterns and she's also sorted the pieces by shapes on the abacus itself.



The set also comes with 24 different activity cards which include various different stacking patterns that can be made on the abacus with the different shapes and colours. We haven't even gotten around to using these yet as we've been having too much fun coming up with other ways to use the pieces. I do love that the guide cards include simple and complex patterns though which means the product will continue to grow with bub as her understanding and skills increase.

As you can see we've already had hours of fun with all of these toys and I'm sure we'll have many more in the future. I got them all from Coffee Factory Kids, an online kids boutique which launched in October 2015. It'ss named after the iconic Bushell's coffee factory in the owners home town {pretty cool way to name a business if you ask me, and it probably helps that most parents are drawn to coffee}.

Coffee Factory kids specialise in educational toys as well as unique baby gifts. They stock a range of puzzles and games, books, kids decor, soft toys, wooden toys and toys for imaginary play. They've kindly given me a special discount code for all of you too, simply use the code FINDINGMYSELF at checkout when purchasing from http://www.coffeefactorykids.com to save 25% off*. I'm actually putting in an order for some more goodies for bub's birthday {all very necessary purchases of course!}.

Does your house look like a toy shop too?
Do you appreciate versatile toys as much as me?

Toni x

*25% Off discount code is valid until 31st July 2016.

Disclosure - I was gifted the products shown above for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the products. I did not receive payment for this review. We loved our educational toys from Coffee Factory Kids so much that we're purchasing more to add to our ever expanding collection.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Crayola Color Alive brings kid's drawings to life

This post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Crayola.

Bub loves colouring in so needless to say we have an overflowing pile of colouring books in our house. Yet despite our huge collection there are always new and wonderful colouring books to find almost every time we go shopping and I'm more than happy to bring them home. Colouring keeps her entertained for ages and its one of the simplest activities to set up, literally taking seconds so it's always a go to activity here, especially during the witching hours late in the afternoon. So when I was asked if I wanted to review the new Crayola Color Alive colouring books, I couldn't say yes fast enough.


The Color Alive books are available in a number of different themes, including enchanted forest and mythical creatures, as well as licensed characters from Disney Frozen and Marvel Avengers. Bub particularly loves the enchanted forest and Frozen books. Each Color Alive book has 16 different colouring pages and comes with seven crayons, including a special effects crayon which adds a touch of magic once the drawing is complete.


You see these aren't your average colouring in books, with the help of the special Color Alive app, Crayola have transformed colouring into an interactive experience where kids can bring their favourite characters to life in 4D. To bring the characters alive you simply download the Color Alive app {available for free on apple and android devices} and scan the completed colouring in page. Don't worry it's easy, even I could do it and I can sometimes be technologically challenged when it comes to new apps. Once the respective page is scanned the character will magically pop up out of the page and start moving across the screen while theme music plays in the background. The characters can still come to life when they aren't fully coloured in {and even when blank} which is great if you have a toddler because they rarely colour in an entire page in one sitting.



Bub was so mesmerised when Olaf came to life and popped up out of the page. Of course I had to get in on the action and colour in a fairy and bring her to life too. I am a big kid after all. I was actually really impressed that the animated version of the characters includes the exact colours you've used and even picks up the grain of the crayons on the paper.

Once the characters have come to life via the app they can be moved across the screen and even rotated 360 degrees. Kids {or adult children like me} can also take selfies with them, watch them move around the screen, place them in different areas around the house and save them to play with them again later on. We've had a ball playing with different fairies and Olaf, bub especially loves that we can hold them in our hands. She giggles every time the fairy flies over her hand and tries to catch her.



When you touch each character on the screen they become even more animated moving around doing various actions. We love watching the fairy fly around and play with her little ladybug friend and Olaf skating around the screen. We've also had loads of fun placing them all around the house in various spots, including inside her princess castle.




Crayola have really taken colouring to a whole new level with the Color Alive books and app technology. It's amazing to watch your child's face light up as they watch their favourite characters become real right before their eyes. Color Alive delights the senses and provides hours of fun. Plus who doesn't love a bit of magic? 

I'm just as enthralled by Color Alive as bub, in fact I've probably played with the app more than she has. These books really have a way of unlocking your inner child and reigniting your own imagination right along with your child's. I can't wait to colour in more pages and bring other characters to life.

The Color Alive books retail for $7.99 and can be found at Crayola stockists all over Australia. Color Alive books would make a great birthday gift or stocking filler at Christmas, and they'd also be great to have on hand for busy bags, long car trips and rainy day entertainment. 

Do/did your kids love colouring in too?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was proved with four Crayola Color Alive colouring books for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own based on our experience with the products. I did not receive payment for this review.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | The Fairy Door Store

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

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

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

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

BRING FAIRIES TO LIFE WITH THE FAIRY DOOR STORE


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

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


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

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

How to transform a shadow box into a fairy house


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

YOU WILL NEED


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

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


HOW TO CREATE A SHADOW BOX FAIRY HOUSE


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

Pink fairy house

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

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

Did you believe in fairies when you were young?

Toni x

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

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Honey & Co Club

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

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

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


The postal club for kids


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

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

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


Take a peak inside a Honey & Co Club parcel


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


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


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


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


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



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

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

Toni x

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

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