Friday, November 27, 2015

Dreambaby® Strollerbuddy™ review + giveaway

One of the most important things when it comes to prams is how much storage they have. Lets be honest, babies need a lot of stuff. A lot! And that doesn't really stop once they become toddlers, the stuff just changes. Instead of teethers, rattles and jingly toys they now want stuffed toys, books and half the house to come with them every time you go out. Storage is a huge priority in a pram and it can often be overlooked, some prams simply don't have enough, but you don't realise this until you've had the baby and discovered just how much stuff needs to be lugged around {and by then its too late to change prams}.

Luckily Dreambaby® have come up with an awesome solution. The Strollerbuddy pram organiser easily attaches to all types of prams and allows for easy storage when on the go. It attaches to the pram handle via thick velcro straps allowing you to put it at a height you prefer. There's a small pouch at the top that is perfect for phone, keys and wallet. The larger mesh storage compartment is great for books, toys, nappies and anything else you need to take with you. Plus there's 2 drink holders, one for bub and one for mum.
I have to admit the drink holders are my favourite part of the Strollerbuddy™. Our bugaboo has a drink holder attachment {which cost an exorbitant amount of money} and I didn't realise how much I've come to rely on it until we got our Wanderer pram and started using that for walks. Thankfully I now have a spot to easily store my own drink and bub's drink bottle without having to bend over into the storage basket every time she wants a drink. It's so much easier.


At $24.95 the Strollerbuddy is great value. Dreambaby® products can be purchased online or at Big W, Target, Kmart, Bunnings, Baby Bunting, Toys R Us and a number of other baby stores and chemists. 

Become a Dreambaby® fan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Dreambabysafety and on Instagram https://instagram.com/dreambabysafety to remain up to date with all new product launches.

Check out DreambabyTV on You Tube:

Dreambaby® Strollerbuddy™ Stroller Organiser Giveaway


Thanks to Dreambaby® I have 2 Strollerbuddy™ organisers to give away to 2 lucky Finding Myself Young readers. To enter simply leave me a comment below letting me know what's the one item you can never leave the house without for your bub?

Please remember to also fill out the rafflecopter widget below {so I can contact you if you win}. The easiest way to comment is to choose the name/url option and leave the url section blank. If you're having issues leaving a comment, message me on my Facebook page or email me and I'll help you out.

Good Luck!

Toni x


a Rafflecopter giveaway



TERMS & CONDITIONS
Competition commences 12:00am November 27th 2015 and ends 12:00am December 12th 2015. Entry is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. Two readers will each win one strollerbuddy  from Dreambaby®. Prize is not transferable. Prize will be delivered by Dreambaby®, 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 gifted a Strollerbuddy™ for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own based on my experience with the product as per my disclosure policy. I did not receive payment for this review.

Linking with Kaz, Caroline & Raychael
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mummy Must Have Review | Needle + Felt

When bub was little we used to sing nursery rhymes a lot. Well I used to sing them because it was long before she could talk. We used to go to aqua rhyme time at the pool and rhyme time at the library each week. I became an expert at nursery rhymes I'd long forgotten and a couple of new ones I'd never heard of. Bub loved the singing and all the actions, and I loved being able to do something fun and interactive with her.

Once she got mobile though we stopped going as she decided she didn't want to be confined in the corner of the library to sing songs. She'd much rather run from one end to the other or scream the place down. So I quickly gave up on rhyme time. We've still been singing nursery rhymes though but they've been limited to the ones that randomly come on Play School when we happen to be watching it.

That is until I recently discovered Needle + Felt on Facebook. Needle + Felt stock a range of felt story and song kits and finger puppet sets based on popular kids stories and books. Each felt piece is hand made and is a great educational resource for learning at home. Each set comes with all the felt characters needed to tell the story or song {+ song lyrics where applicable} and a zip lock storage bag to keep all the items safe and clean whilst not in use. The only thing they don't come with is a felt backing board, but you can use them on carpet, a table top or purchase some sheets of felt to use with them {I got some for a couple of dollars from Kmart}. We've got a few different sets from Needle + Felt and we've used at least one of them {sometimes all of them} every single day for the past few weeks.

FIVE LITTLE SPECKLED FROGS


One of bub's favourite songs from aqua rhyme time was five little speckled frogs {mainly because I used to lift her up and into the water when the frogs jumped into the pool - she thought it was hilarious}. It very rarely comes on Play School so I thought she would've forgotten all about it, but it turns out she still loves it and still giggles her head off when the frogs jump into the pool.

If you're not familiar with the song, it goes like this. Five little speckled frogs sat on a speckled log eating the most delicious bugs, yum yum. One jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool, now there's only four green speckled frogs. And so on and so forth until there are no green speckled frogs left on the log. The set comes with five felt frogs, a log and a pond complete with reeds plus the song lyrics on laminated paper. I use our set with a green backing piece of felt as well.


When we first started using the five little speckled frogs felt set she would get a bit confused between the speckled frog song and five little monkeys jumping on the bed so she'd start singing five spettled frogs jumpin on bed. But, over time she's realised and now says five spettled frogs sittin on log, mummy's turn {because she can't sing the rest of the song yet}. Then I take over until the frog has jumped into the pool and she'll sing four spettled frogs sittin on log, mummy's turn etc etc until there's no more frogs.


She loves to make the frogs jump off the log and into the pool and waits patiently until we get to that part of the song to make them jump. I'm actually super impressed with her patience as waiting is not something she likes to do, but she sits there all excited waiting for me to say the words. She also points out their eye colours - a pink frog, a green frog, a blue frog.

OLD MACDONALD HAD A FARM


Old MacDonald is one of those classic nursery rhymes that's been around for years and years and will continue to be around for years. So of course when I saw that set I had to have it. Plus she's been really into animals for a while now. The Old MacDonald felt set comes with a barn, old MacDonald, a horse, a cow, a sheep, a pig, a dog, a cat, a rooster and two ducks {one may be a goose, but according to bub they're mummy duck and baby duck}. I added the blue and brown backing pieces.


Bub doesn't really have the patience to sit through the entire Old MacDonald song for all the animals so we use this one more as a storyboard and make up different stories with the animals. We also practice the animal sounds. Sheep goes baaaaa, cow goes mooooo. She loves telling me stories and moving all the animals around although my ocd does get touchy when she starts putting the animals in the sky.


The play usually moves off the board and continues around the house. She likes taking the animals for walks and drives them around in her toy cars. She also likes to try and stick them onto daddy, but doesn't understand why they won't stick to him. 

DADDY FINGER


Another song bub is obsessed with is daddy finger. Daddy finger, daddy finger where are you.. here I am, here I am how do you do {and so on for mummy finger, brother finger, sister finger and baby finger}. She spends ages watching different versions of daddy finger on youtube {and there are some seriously weird versions out there}. She also starts singing it at random moments throughout the day and when she's meant to be going to bed at night. It's her favouritest favourite song ever.


I got a custom finger puppet set so we could sing the song together. She LOVES them. She loves them so much she makes me sing it about 15 times in a row each time I get the finger puppets out. She also sings along daddy inger daddy inger ware ahh you, ere I am, ere I am how you do. I secretly love the way she can't pronounce the words properly yet, its soooo cute.


I'm really loving using the felt sets with bub because its an interactive activity that we both enjoy and can do over and over. Plus she doesn't get bored or frustrated with it {the same can't be said about Playdoh}. I actually don't mind sitting and singing the same song over and over because she has so much fun and its great to do something with her that's also teaching her skills. Her speech therapist recommended that we do interactive turn taking games/activities and the felt sets are the perfect way to make singing a song {or telling a story} into an interactive experience. Playing with the felt sets allows her to work on her vocabulary skills, learn sequential movements and practice her fine motor skills all whilst having heaps of fun.

I love the detail in the sets as well. Especially the speckled frogs with all the different coloured spots. I also love all the googly eyes, they're so cute and make the pieces look realistic. I also love, love, love the storage bags because they let me keep all the bits and pieces together so they don't get lost. It may sound a bit odd, but if you saw how many times she loses pieces to games and puzzles etc you'd understand my excitement over a simple plastic storage bag. It also means I can easily take them with us when we go out.

The felt sets would make great stocking stuffers for Christmas for young kids. There are lots more song sets and book inspired felt sets available and you can request custom sets. You can purchase felt sets from Needle + Felt via facebook. Or, if you're in NSW you can see them at the following markets:

Kirribilli Markets
Saturday November 28th
9:00am - 3:00pm
Burton Street, Sydney
More info here

Kirribilli Markets
Saturday December 19th
9:00am - 3:00pm
Burton Street, Sydney
More info here

Educators Symposium & Resource Emporium
Saturday February 27th
32 Cricketers Arms Road, Blacktown
More info here


Do/did your kids love nursery rhymes too?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was gifted the Needle + Felt products mentioned 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, November 23, 2015

I'm falling to pieces on the inside

Please don't worry about me I'm ok, I just needed to get this all out of my head, because I'm sick of all the noise my thoughts are creating when I try to sleep at night. And maybe by releasing my thoughts into the world I may allow someone else who's going through the same experience feel less alone.


I don't want to be here.

It's different, but its the same.

I put off this journey for so long because I knew I would end up here. In this desperate place where I feel like I'm drowning in a black hole devoid of all hope. I hate it. I just want something to go right for me for once. I'm sick of everything being such a battle. I'm sick of fighting with every fibre of my being for something that should come naturally. It shouldn't be this hard. It isn't fair.

I feel like I'm on an express train zooming towards a destination that I'll never reach. And I can't get off, because once you start this journey you have to keep going because stopping means giving up and I refuse to do that. I'm going a million miles an hour and yet time is standing still. My mind is being pulled in a million different directions yet nothing is moving. Its all so stationary. Same shit, different day. Everyone else gets to move on with their lives and here we are stuck in this bubble. The problem with bubbles is you can see through them, you can see the outside world. You can see everyone else achieving their dreams and yet here we are stuck unable to achieve ours.

I'm slipping into the darkness. Infertility is slowly sucking me into the vortex of despair and sucking the joy out of me. It has a way of doing that, regardless of how prepared or strong you think you are. On the surface I am fine, and in many ways I truly am fine. But at night when I'm alone with my thoughts, the darkness creeps in. I can't help but dislike myself. How can I love myself when I'm the one stopping myself from getting what I want? Its my own body that's stopping me. I feel so disconnected from myself right now.

I feel trapped in this useless shell of a body. An imperfect vessel that just won't do what I want it to no matter how hard I try. The problem is most of this battle is internal. Its literally being fought within my own body. On the surface there's nothing wrong, but on the inside everything is broken. And I don't know why. I don't know what I did to deserve this fate a second time round. There has to be a reason. Because simply being unlucky doesn't console me at night when I'm crying for the life I had planned. The one filled with children. The one where I was able to do what others can.

Yes, I'm one of the lucky ones who did have a baby. We have a beautiful little girl and I feel incredibly blessed that we have her. But I'm also one of the unlucky ones who can't seem to have another. I'm in a weird desolate limbo. I hate that infertility makes me feel this way. I hate that I feel stuck when every other aspect of my life is the same and I should be happily going about my days as before. Instead I'm longing for all the things I don't have rather than enjoying the things I do have.

But I keep on keeping on, because what else can I do. I can't give in to my desire to hide in my bedroom for days and shut out the rest of the world. I just can't {no matter how much I want to}. Because there's a beautiful little girl who needs her mum. She needs me to remain strong and be the mum I've always been. She still needs my love and attention, and she doesn't deserve to miss out on these things because I'm fighting an invisible battle she's unaware of. To her everything is the same as usual. So I put a smile on my face and get on with things. I put one foot in front of the other and keep going even though I'm falling to pieces on the inside.

Toni x

Linking with Kirsty, Alicia & Eva
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Friday, November 20, 2015

Strong willed children are amazing

Strong willed children are hard work. They're constantly pleading, arguing and throwing huge tantrums in order to get their own way {at least the toddler variety do}. They flat out refuse to do what you say, develop selective hearing at the drop of a hat and everything {I mean everything} has to be on their terms. It can be downright exhausting and takes an enormous amount of patience. Trust me I know, I do it every day. If I'm honest there are some days where I wonder what I did to deserve such a stubborn child {perhaps my mother would say its payback, but I honestly don't think I was ever as zealous as my daughter}.

Of course I love her to pieces and wouldn't want it any other way, but there are days where I'm worn down to my breaking point and I just have no more to give. In those moments her independent streak can be overwhelming, but I have to remind myself there are also many benefits to having such a sassy, headstrong child, even though we're smack bang in the middle of the terrible 2's and the tantrums are sometimes outweighing the awww moments. Those who witness her at her worst might not be able to see all the qualities that make her amazing, but there are so many. Although they may be a bit harder to handle on occasions, strong willed children have a number of characteristics that will serve them well later in life.


STRONG WILLED CHILDREN ARE AMAZING BECAUSE:


They're determined - they will stop at nothing to get what they want. During a tantrum {especially in public} this can be frustrating to say the least, but when this determination is focused on tasks or learning new skills it can have impressive results. She will practice new skills over and over and over until she masters them. She's just as determined to succeed as she is to be right and she doesn't give up. The trick is to harness this determination and use it for good not evil.

They know their mind - there is no indecisiveness. Strong willed kids know exactly where they stand on any given topic. They will not be coerced, bribed or tricked into anything. They are the decision makers and they let everyone know. Although this means the words "nope" and "mine" get thrown around on a daily basis, I can't help but feel like I'm raising a leader of the future.

They don't take things on face value - they never stop questioning. Instead of just doing something because they're told to, strong willed kids need to understand why they're doing it. They won't just follow the crowd. They only do things because they see merit in them. I can already see the next few years are going to include the phrase but why mum on repeat thousands of times a day. As frustrating as that is, challenging the norm and constantly asking why isn't necessarily a bad thing, without this there would never be any change. These children are the innovators of tomorrow.

They stand up for themselves - they're definitely not wallflowers. If they have an opinion on something they won't be afraid to voice it. Instead of standing back when they think they're right, they'll argue their point until they're blue in the face. They certainly don't lack self confidence. I'm secretly proud of her self belief and the fact that she's willing to express her feelings.

They have plenty of personality - all that sass. Yes they are stubborn, sassy, defiant and often frustrating, but they're also cheeky, intuitive and highly entertaining. There's never a dull moment around here. Life would be pretty boring without her putting her two cents into every conversation.

They love as hard as they fight - they will make your heart melt as much as they make it break. Although the tantrums can sometimes feel soul destroying, the awww moments will restore your faith in humanity and fill your cup til it overflows. The same passion that's exerted during daily struggles over what to wear, what to eat and how everything should be done is also poured into how they show affection. They will love you with all their might and remind you of it at the perfect moment.

*****

My strong willed child is not a curse or a punishment, she's amazing {and so is yours}, I wish more people could see that. She's a highly motivated, curious and determined little girl. She will not be held back by anyone, she will speak her mind and one day she will accomplish great things. But, I'm a realist, I know there'll still be plenty more moments like this before that happens.


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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Audrey & Me baby boutique review + giveaway

Before I became a mum I thought you could only get baby things from the big department stores, because that's the only place I'd ever seen them. Working in a department store I think I became a bit institutionalised and never looked anywhere else. Back then I'd never bought anything online {oh how that's changed!} so I had no idea about all the gorgeous online baby boutiques. A couple of years later, and after many hours spent scouring the world wide web {and facebook} for all the pretty things, I've discovered so many awesome online baby shops. There's a whole other world online I tell you and its full of so much cute. One of my most recent discoveries is Audrey & Me {oh how I wish I had known about them when I was pregnant - I would've bought all the things}.



Audrey & Me is an online baby boutique specialising in environmentally friendly handmade baby items. They stock a wide range of unique, hand crafted baby products including bandana bibs, beanies, blankets, head knots, nursing covers, pram liners and playmats made from 100% natural fibres. Audrey & Me source their fabric designs from up and coming designers and only do limited fabric runs to guarantee that there are only a few of each piece ever made. Each item is unique, handmade and sustainable.

In addition to stylish fabric items Audrey & Me also sell a number of gorgeous original artworks and milestone cards. They also have teething covered with a range of maple teething rings and fashionable silicone teething necklaces. They really have thought of everything. Bub and I have been testing out a number of their products and we've been really impressed with the quality and how absolutely divine each piece is. Even the gift wrapping is amazing {I'm a sucker for brown paper packages tied up with string}.

BABY MILESTONE CARDS


One of the first items I was drawn to were the baby milestone cards. I attempted to take monthly photos of bub, but I gave up after only a few months. I'm determined to do better with the next bub {should we be fortunate enough to conceive again}. I may be tempting fate a bit, but I just had to have these milestone cards. They're simply gorgeous and the perfect prop for monthly baby photos.


The cards are printed on 100% recycled matte card stock and have rounded edges making them safe for babies to hold. Featuring a mix of blue, green, yellow, orange, pink and purple watercolour they're nice and unisex {which is great for those who don't find out the sex before birth}. The set includes 15 different weekly and monthly milestones up to 1 year old plus 10 different moment cards, all with space to record the date. The moments include things like today my first tooth came through, today I giggled for the first time and today I stood up for the first time. I love the addition of the moment cards because I've all but forgotten when bub did all of those things {whoops}, it'd be great to have a record of it all. I love how they've also included last night I slept though for the first time, because for some parents that's the most exciting milestone of all!


HEAD KNOTS


Audrey & Me have recently added girls head knots to their range {oh the cute!}. The head knots are made from 100% knit cotton and come in two sizes, 0-6 months and 6 months - adult. They can also be re-tied as your child grows so they get more wear out of them. We received the bullion fronds, colourful foliage and coral poppy plumage head knots. I have to admit I was a little excited that the coral poppy one fits my head because its my favourite one and yes I'm totally going to be rocking it, why should the kids get to have all the fun. Bub's been wearing her headbands, but of course won't stay still long enough for me to take a non-blurry photo.


BABY BLANKETS


Audrey & Me baby blankets are made from certified organic cotton and jersey knits with an organic bamboo fleece backing. They feel amazing. So soft and snuggly and they're nice and warm. At 70cm x 100cm they're the perfect size for the pram and also a good size for tummy time on the floor while babies are still little. Obviously with bub being a mega huge toddler now {compared to when she was a teeny baby} we'll be using ours for the pram. It'll be great during winter, but it's also good for afternoon walks when the wind picks up and it gets a bit chilly.


I love the pattern on our blanket {I'm a bit partial to orange if you couldn't already tell}. Bub loves the "fowers and leafs" too. Due to the small fabric runs our blanket pattern isn't available on the Audrey & Me website any more, but there are 7 other gorgeous patterns to choose from and new styles are always being added.

ALPHABET PRINT


Bub is very much into learning her a,b,c's at the moment. She's always pointing out letters to me when she sees them {on signs, number plates and even my t-shirts}. She also breaks out into the abc song at random moments throughout the day. She's just started saying A is for... B is for... etc so when I saw this alphabet print I knew it'd be a great learning tool for her, plus its also a really cute decorative print for her play area.

Seriously how cute is it? I love that it combines the alphabet with animals {and bravo to them for thinking of Iguana, Quail and Unicorn, I would've been totally stumped thinking of animals for those letters}. Another really cool feature is that they've included capital and lower case versions of each letter. Bub is really good at identifying capital letters, but we're still learning the lower case ones so this will be a great reference for her.

I'm really impressed with the product offerings at Audrey & Me. They have so many gorgeous unique pieces and most are suitable for both boys or girls. They're great quality and really stylish designs. If you're ever after a unique baby shower gift I'd definitely recommend them and the packaging is to die for so you won't even need to wrap it.

AUDREY & ME GIVEAWAY


The team at Audrey & Me have provided a $75 gift voucher for one lucky reader so you can experience these gorgeous products for yourself. Know someone who's expecting? Just had a baby yourself? You can find the perfect gift or must have baby item with your voucher. To be in the running simply leave me a comment below letting me know what you would buy from the Audrey & Me website if you won. You can see all available Audrey & Me products here.

Please remember to fill in the rafflecopter widget as well {so I can contact you if you win}. The easiest way to leave a comment is to choose the name/url option and leave the url section empty. If you're having any issues commenting please send me a message via my facebook page or email me and I'll help you out.

Good Luck!

Toni x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS & CONDITIONS
Competition commences 12:00am November 19th 2015 and ends 12:00am December 4th 2015. Entry is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. One winner will receive a $75 gift voucher to be spent online at Audrey & Me. Prize will be delivered by Audrey & Me, 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 gifted Audrey & Me products for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own based on our experience with the products mentioned. As per my disclosure policy I only accept reviews for products I am genuinely interested in and would purchase myself.

Linking with Raychael, Grace, Kaz, Ann & Caroline
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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

52 WEEKS OF MEMORIES | 46 - WORDS

I was going to be all sentimental and use the words I love you for this week, but then we stumbled across a wall full of words. What perfect timing. Ok I confess it was at Hungry Jacks and yea thats unhealthy and all.... but she spent the entire 15 minute wait pointing out every letter on the wall and telling everyone what they were. I think that deserves a few chips and a bit of frozen coke {which is all she gets to eat anyway because of her allergies}. She kept calling out to everyone look ahhh aye, ahhh eeee, ahhh oooow, aaaah deeeeee, aaaah tee, aaahhhh dowbul uuuu.... Pretty good for someone who's just turned 2 {if I do say so myself}, plus it was highly entertaining for everyone.

45 | WORD


If you'd like to play along too, join in with 52 Weeks of Memories and get creative. Feel free to share with your friends on Facebook or Instagram, the more who join in the better!

You can follow me on Instagram and join in on Facebook. When sharing via Instagram or Facebook don't forget to use the hashtag #fmy52weeksofmemories so I can see your lovely photos. I've also started a facebook group for the challenge if you feel more comfortable sharing in a group setting. If you have a blog feel free to link up your photos via the linky below and come back each week to link up each new prompt. 

Reminder - next weeks prompt is a moment.


Also linking with Trish, Steph and Raychael


Linky rules

2. Add your post for this weeks prompt
3. Grab the button below and link it to the bottom of your post or sidebar or text link
4. Visit some of the other blogs and share some comment love (because its the nice thing to do)

52 weeks of memories




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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mummy Must Have Review | Personalised Contigo Drink Bottles

I have a confession to make, I'm really bad at drinking water. I know we're meant to drink 2ltrs a day and all that but truth be told the only time I've ever come close to this was while I was breastfeeding {and that was 2yrs ago}. In reality the only water I drink each day is the water in my cups of tea {and given tea has a diuretic effect I don't think that counts towards keeping me hydrated}. I know, its bad. I also know that by 30 31 I should've had this drinking water thing down pat, lord knows it's been drummed into me for a good number of years now. But I just find the thought of drinking 8 cups of water overwhelming.

So, to try and improve and get close to drinking the right amount of water each day, I've got a cool new drink bottle. I'm hoping that by filling it each morning and having it near me at all times it'll encourage me to keep drinking. You see I like to be challenged so by challenging myself to drink at least one bottle of water a day I'll hopefully build up over time and it'll become a habit. Plus I figure if I have it staring at me all day it'll motivate me more than actually having to get up and walk to the fridge and fill up 8 glasses throughout the day {because lets face it the less effort I have to put in, the more likely I am to actually do it}.

PERSONALISED CONTIGO MADISION WATER BOTTLE


I have to admit I'm a little bit in love with my personalised madison bottle, its the prettiest water bottle ever. Not that I've had many water bottles other than the Mt Franklin ones from the store, but still, its pink which already puts it miles ahead. And its huuuuuge, 700ml huge to be exact {or 24oz if you're in America}.


See told you it was pretty. I also really love that it's clear so I can see how much water I have left to drink. It's much more motivational to see how close I am to the finish line, i.e. an empty bottle. Although men are meant to be more visually driven than women, I have to admit I'm more likely to remember things {like drinking more water} if I have a visual cue.

Speaking of visual cues, the bottle even came with nice instruction stickers. I know what you're thinking... it's a water bottle why the hell would it need instructions, you just drink from it. Well it needs instructions because its not just any old bottle. It doesn't have a twist top, a pop top or a straw, instead it has a super fancy release button opening. Which can leave people like me, who aren't used to fancy bottles, a tad perplexed at first. Thankfully the smart Contigo people envisaged this exact situation and took the liberty of adding some pretty obvious signs, like a big ass arrow pointing to the button that has a big ass sign that says PUSH. Crisis averted.


You see you push that magic button and the mouthpiece opens, and when you let go it seals back up again. There's no fiddling with lids, screw tops, pop tops, straws or any of that, just one super simple button. And the awesome thing is when you don't press the button the bottle doesn't leak {yes I shook it upside down to make sure}.

Do you want to know the other super cool thing about my bottle? Of course you do. It's personalised. But, I didn't put my name on it, because a) that's a little boring and b) bub has no idea who Toni is anyway. I wanted a label that made it quite clear this bottle was for me and me only {and something that even a 2yr old would understand - well she would if she could ready anyway}. So I went with...


Mum's drink! Aka back off everyone else. There will be no sharing

Once you become a mum it's hard to have anything that is just your own any more, because little people love to share everything with you {but only when it suits them}. Well I finally have something that's just mine, even if it is only a drink bottle. I hear you all saying she's just going to steal it anyway... well don't worry I have that covered because she has her own super cool personalised bottle too.

PERSONALISED CONTIGO KIDS AUTOSPOUT STRIKER 


Contigo also have cute kids striker bottles which are hands down the best kids drink bottles I've ever come across. Why you ask? Not because of the cool designs, or the fact that they're personalised, but because THEY DON'T LEAK. I know a lot of bottles and sippy cups claim to be no leak, but the reality is when they end up upside down in the nappy bag, they leak. I've gone through countless brands that have done this, but this one doesn't. I've literally stood over the sink with the bottle upside down to make sure {FYI this was with the mouthpiece clipped closed}.


The secret is the super cool mouthpiece system. To open, all kids have to do is push the button and the mouthpiece flicks up. To close it just push the mouthpiece down and the cap closes on top and clicks in place. It's pretty simple to use even though its a pretty high tech mechanism {well high tech as far as kids drink bottles are concerned}. I can do it with one hand and bub learnt how to do it within a day and she's super proud of herself when she gets it to click back into place {she shouts yaaaaay and hi-five's me}. The funny thing is watching her daddy all confused trying to work it out then being schooled by a toddler on how its done {I think he needs to acknowledge that sometimes the toddler is smarter than him}.




The mouthpiece ensures that the bottle can't leak even if its knocked {or thrown} sideways or upside down, as toddlers tend to do. Although I wouldn't encourage throwing it too often just incase the bottle cracks {I'm not saying it would, but you know I wouldn't take any unnecessary risks}. The lid also has a built in straw which is great for younger kids who aren't used to drinking from a proper cup {i.e. holding it upright to drink}. The straw can also be removed once kids have learnt to drink with the bottle upright, making the bottle perfect for toddlers through to school age kids. We've already removed the straw because bub likes to think she's a big kid.


Another ingenious feature is the tilted handle. It might not seem like much but having the handle on an angle allows for kids to drink properly from the mouthpiece when the bottle is held upright {aka they don't smash their head on the handle}. It also means they can carry the bottle around easily. Plus the bottle's are personalised on the lid. In bub's case I just went with her name.


The names are permanently marked onto the bottle so they won't rub or wash off like normal sticker labels. Which is great for daycare and school where everything needs to be labelled {or when all the kids in your mothers group have the same type of bottle like ours do}. The bottles are also top shelf dishwasher safe. If you have a little boy or don't fancy a flower bottle, there are other designs available, including a robot design and a princess design {which we also have}.

NAME MY STUFF


We got our personalised Contigo bottles from Name My Stuff. Name My Stuff specialise in personalising a range of babies and kids products. They permanently mark all items with either names or your own personal message. They originally started selling personalised dummies and have since expanded to include other items such as drinkware, lunchboxes and goggles. We've been using Name My Stuff products since bub was little and have countless personalised dummies, lunchboxes and now drink bottles. None of them have ever washed or rubbed off despite continuous use and washing. I cannot recommend their products enough. They're perfect for kids who attend daycare or go to school and they're also a fun way to jazz up everyday items for us adults too. And hopefully my fancy new drink bottle continues to inspire me to drink more water.

Tell me, do you manage 2ltrs of water a day?

Toni x


Disclosure - I was gifted the two Contigo bottle's for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own based on our experience with the products, as per my disclosure policy. I did not receive payment for this review.

Linking with Jess & Caroline
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Monday, November 16, 2015

Gift guide for newborns and babies

I've been given the title "best online shopper ever" by one of the mum's in my mothers group so I thought it was only apt that I live up to that title and create a gift guide for you guys. This one is specifically for babies {birth - 1}, but there will be a toddler one coming soon as well. 

I know how overwhelming the baby fog feels, the last thing you want to be doing is researching for all the cool products when you're drowning in a sea of vomit, nappy changes and lack of sleep, so I've put together a list of my 5 favourite baby products to help you out.

To be honest when I first had bub I didn't know any of these products or brands even existed, it was only through hours of searching online that I discovered them. I tried and tested all of them when bub was a few months old and I still use items from all of these brands now that she's a toddler. They're really that good. So, if you're wondering what to get for your baby this Christmas, or you're trying to buy a gift for someone with a newborn, these are my go to baby items and I'm sure you'll love them too.

1. GAIA NATURAL BABY SKINCARE


When babies are born their skin is very delicate so its important to use non-irritating and gentle skincare products that will help to sooth and moisturise the skin. Bub had very sensitive, dry, flaky skin as a newborn and would react to skin products really easily due to her allergies. We quickly started looking for natural organic skincare alternatives to try and alleviate her eczema and moisturise her dry skin. A good friend told us about GAIA Natural Baby products so we gave them a try and have never looked back.

GAIA Natural Baby is a range of baby skincare products that are gentle, moisturising and non-irritating. GAIA skincare products are specifically designed for sensitive skin and are free from sulphates, petrochemicals, lanolin, paraben preservatives, propylene glycol, phthalates and artificial fragrances. The GAIA Natural Baby range includes everyday skincare products that are suitable for newborns, babies and toddlers; including a number of bath and body washes, shampoo and conditioner, moisturiser and lotions, baby powder and wipes.
Our favourite products from the range are the GAIA natural baby Hair & Body wash and the Baby Moisturiser. We used the moisturiser during her nightly massages when she was a baby and we still use the Hair & Body Wash each night for her bath. You can read my in depth review of GAIA baby products here.

2. NAME MY STUFF PERSONALISED DUMMIES


Before I had bub I was pretty adamant that I wouldn't be using dummies. I wasn't against them but I naively thought I'd be able to get away without using them. Along comes a baby with really bad colic who loved to scream for 20+ hrs a day unless attached to my boob and I soon realised a dummy would probably be a good idea. Infact they soon became a godsend and I don't know how we ever survived without them. After using normal dummies for a while my SIL told me about personalised dummies and when I searched for them I came across Name My Stuff

Name My Stuff specialise in personalising a range of babies and kids products. They permanently mark all items with either names or your own personal message. The business originally started selling only personalised dummies and has since expanded to include other items including drinkware, lunchboxes and goggles. We've had so many personalised dummies from them and even though she's 2 now, we still don't leave the house without one {because its the only thing that calms her down during a tantrum}. You can read my review of Name My Stuff personalised dummies here.

3. LOVE TO DREAM SWADDLE UP 50/50


When bub was little we always swaddled her, like most babies she loved to be snuggled up and contained {if only she still loved being contained now as a toddler}. Of course once she started to learn to roll this became an issue. We knew we wanted to use sleeping bags, but didn't want to transition cold turkey from her being swaddled to sleeping with her arms out. That's when I discovered the Love to Dream swaddle up 50/50.


The Swaddle Up 50/50 allows you to gradually transition your baby from having their arms tucked in to sleeping with arms free. You can unzip one arm at a time until they're used to sleeping completely arms free {and then can be transferred into a sleeping bag later on}. It took us approximately 3 weeks to transition her completely from being swaddled to sleeping arms out. You can read our full transition story here.

4. SINCHIES REUSABLE FOOD POUCHES


When bub first started solids I knew I wanted to make my own food. I spent hours steaming, blending and batch freezing home-made purees in ice cube trays. Although it was time consuming I did save a lot of money instead of buying pre-made baby food, plus it ended up being necessary as we discovered her numerous food allergies. A few months ago I discovered Sinchies food pouches which we now use daily {oh how I wish I had've known about them when we first started solids}.


Sinchies are a range of reusable clear pouches loved by kids & parents alike. Designed to save money, feed children healthier, additive & preservative free food & reduce waste. They come in 5 different sizes, have a ziplock top for easy filling. They're dishwasher & freezer safe and BPA free. We save money and help the environment by filling these with homemade goodness & reusing them. Sinchies are perfect for storing breast milk, baby purees, custard, yoghurt, sorbet, smoothies, soups, sauces, stock and other things including toiletries & sunscreen. The Sinchies new baby pack is the perfect gift for a baby starting out on solids. Sinchies have also expanded their product range to include snack bags, sandwich bags and ice block sleeves. You can read my full review of Sinchies food pouches here. Sinchies are also offering all Finding Myself Young readers 20% off, simply use the code Fmy20 at www.sinchies.com.au.

5. TIPTOE & CO BABY SHOES


Once babies start trying to walk they need something to protect their precious little feet. First baby shoes are recommended to be soft soled, but still offer support whilst babies are learning to walk. I got bub her first pair of real shoes when she started attempting to climb and walk along furniture at about 8 months old. It took her another few months before she mastered walking on her own {at 11 months}, by then she was used to walking in shoes so we haven't had an issue with her wanting to take them off. In fact she's constantly asking to put them on.

Bub has a relatively wide and high foot so it makes finding shoes that fit quite hard. I've found most of the brands sold by Tiptoe & Co fit her feet perfectly and they last her a few months at a time. They're also all leather so great quality and are still good enough to pass onto our next bub {should we be lucky enough to have one}. You can read my review of Tiptoe & Co leather baby shoes here.


FINDING MYSELF YOUNG BABY GIFT GUIDE GIVEAWAY


When I told all of the wonderful businesses mentioned that I was including them in my gift guide they each offered a prize for a giveaway so now I have 5 prizes for 5 lucky Finding Myself Young readers.

Thanks to the team at GAIA I have a Hair & Body Wash and a Baby Moisturiser to give away so you can try them too. Name My Stuff have provided a baby's first Christmas dummy + bib pack for one lucky bub {prize includes 3 dummies - "My First Christmas" "Santa's Little Helper" "Ho Ho Ho" and a bandana bib}. Sinchies have kindly provided a $30 gift voucher to be spent online on any Sinchies products. Tiptoe & Co are offering a pair of leather baby shoes {winner can choose either boys Tide shoes or girls Sweetheart shoes as pictured in giveaway image below}. Love to Dream are giving one lucky reader a Swaddle Up 50/50 sleeping bag. I'm so grateful that I've been able to put together such an awesome bundle of prizes so you can experience these great products that have made my life easier {and hopefully they'll make your life easier too}.

To be in the running to win a prize simply fill out the rafflecopter widget below {so I can contact you if you win} and leave me a comment letting me know which prize would you like to win and why? If you're having any issues commenting send me a message via my facebook page or email me and I'll help you out.

Good Luck!

Toni x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS & CONDITIONS
Competition commences 12:00am November 16th 2015 and concludes 11:59pm November 30th 2015. Competition is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. All mandatory entry options must be completed in order to constitute a valid entry. This competition is a game of skill and will be judged as such. All winners will be chosen by the respective businesses involved. Winners must make contact within 48hrs or prizes will be redrawn. Five (5) winners will each win one (1) prize each. Prizes will be distributed directly from the relevant business. Finding Myself Young takes no responsibility for the delivery of prizes. This competition is in no way associated with, administered or endorsed by Facebook.

Disclosure - I did not receive any products or payment for this gift guide, I simply wanted to share my favourite baby items with you in an effort to make your Christmas shopping easier. All stock images have been used with permission.

*This post contains some affiliate links which means if you purchase these products I will receive a small commission from the sale {it does not affect the price you pay}.

Linking with Kirsty, Alicia, Raychael & Caroline
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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Myer Giftorium Brisbane

Bub and I were lucky enough to go along and experience the wonder that is the Myer Giftorium this week at the Brisbane Myer Centre launch. In the not too distant past I used to work at Myer. In fact I worked there for 13 years, both for Myer and managing other brands sold within Myer. Christmas has always been a big deal at Myer, with Christmas decorations and carols starting many months before the big day. Just when you think Christmas couldn't get any bigger at Myer, the Giftorium has taken it to a new level.

There's always been a Christmas trim section each year full of decorations, food and nic nacs, but the Giftorium has revolutionised the old Christmas trim shop and created a one stop Christmas destination. Now customers can find Christmas decorations plus gifts for every member of the family conveniently located in the one place.


The Giftorium brings together 7 different gift giving areas, each designed with a special member of the family in mind. They're all pretty self explanatory, there's For Her, For Him, Tech Guru, Kids Cubby, Paws Corner, Stocking Fillers and Food Fantastic. Gifts include toys, homewares, fashion, food and cosmetics. 

This year there's a strong focus on personalised gifts throughout the Giftorium. Customers can create personalised jars of Nutella, customised leather goods, business shirts, towels, santa sacks and stockings. Without a doubt the stand out item for me is the personalised Nutella. You had me at Nutella...


I was lucky enough to get my own personalised Nutella and you can get one too. Personalised Nutella jars can be made up in store {and you can order them online soon as well} for just $12.95. They're huge 750g jars, just think of all the cool Nutella recipes you can make! I've already made Nutella croissants, Nutella on toast and had a few goes eating it straight from the jar. Lucky calories don't count at Christmas, right?


After the excitement of Nutella we checked out the Kids Cubby section, because since having bub all my money seems to be spent on her. Plus she was with me so there was no escaping all the shelves of awesome toys. I came home with a Mrs Potato Head {to go under the tree for her for Christmas}, a set of robot ice block moulds and a couple of sonny angels. Ok the sonny angels we're more for me but she picked them out and has been playing with them ever since. Clearly she loves them as much as I do.

We tried to find a gift for daddy, but he's seriously the hardest person to buy for. Despite there being a huge Star Wars section and a heap of gifts for men I haven't found anything for him yet. But, we're going to go check out our local Myer Giftorium before Christmas too so fingers crossed we can find him something there.


There's an abundance of Christmas decorations and Christmas themed gifts as well. This year's Myer Christmas bear is Hudson {$1 from every bear sold is donated to the Myer Community Fund}. We have a pretty good collection of Myer Christmas bears and Hudson will fit right in.



The Giftorium also includes Santaland. The Myer Centre have an awesome Santaland set up complete with a train the kids can ride on. The kids can visit Santa and have photos taken and they can also write a letter to Santa at the letter station. We didn't line up to see Santa, because it was all a bit overwhelming for bub, but we did catch up with him later. As luck would have it Santa was waiting to catch the lift as we were so bub got to have a special ride with Santa. And of course I asked him to pose for a photo and he didn't disappoint.


Before heading in store to visit the Giftorium you can also book your own personal appointment with a giftician {free of charge} to help you choose the perfect gifts and book a time with Santa via the online Giftorium to save time and hassle in store. They really have thought of everything to make the experience as personalised and hassle free as possible. We had a great day out at the Giftorium sharing in the magic and wonder of Christmas. It's fuelled my excitement for Christmas this year and I'm now itching to put up the Christmas tree already.

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Toni x


Disclosure - I was gifted a goodie bag and voucher for attending the Giftorium opening {and then proceeded to spend way more money on the awesome gifts}. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not obliged to write this post.

Linking with Caroline
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