Thursday, April 26, 2018

Bringing memories to life

This post is in collaboration with Brand Meets Blog

I remember being fascinated by our photo albums when I was little. They were so chunky and there were so many of them all lined up in a row on the bookshelf next to the Reader's Digest and our Encyclopedia Britannica collection. I'd regularly get them down and gently flip through the pages careful not to knock any of the photos out of place. They were the old-school albums where the photos were held in by sticky pages, except the pages became less sticky and kind of redundant as time went on.

I'd spend ages marveling at the fact I really was a baby once and there was a time before my brother existed, even though I didn't remember any of it. Those original baby albums probably inspired my love of photo taking and insatiable desire to capture memories. While I loved looking at them, when I was allowed to, I always wondered why mum put our photos in albums that sat on bookshelves collecting dust. I never understood why there weren't more hanging on the walls so we could see them everyday.

Fast forward 20 something years and chunky photo albums seem to be a thing of the past. In fact I've never even put together a physical photo album, but I have the modern day equivalent with 35 photo albums on my Facebook profile, an Instagram account {for photo sharing} and 9000+ photos sitting idly in my phone gallery. With so many things being digital these days, it can be easy to get lost in our devices and forget about the physical world around us. It's only recently occurred to me that despite the fact I take and share photos every single day, my kids don't actually see them at all {unless my 4yr old steals my phone}. They don't even have a dusty photo album they can pull off the shelf and flick through. For someone so obsessed with making memories, I can't believe I've been {unintentionally} forgetting to share them with my own children.

In my defense, creating some kind of photo wall display has been on my to do list for a while, but it's always been put in the too hard basket and not been a high priority.  I haven't printed photos out previously, because the thought of taking two kids into a store to use a kiosk then wait for the photos to be printed sounds like an awesome day out a special kind of hell {I know this because we all went with my mother when she printed hers}. I want to have more visible reminders of our time together as a family though so I decided to make a start on my photo wall with one of the maternity photos we had taken last year before baby girl's arrival.

It turns out, unbeknownst to me until two weeks ago, you can easily order canvas prints online from CanvasChamp. No long winded trips to the shops. No battling to get two kids ready to leave the house, or entertaining them while they get oh soooo bored waiting in line ups. Just a few clicks on my laptop and I had a 40x50cm canvas print ordered for our photo wall in under 5 minutes. In mum time that's the equivalent of Justine Clarke singing everywhere's a dancefloor {which incidentally is a good way to occupy the kids while using your laptop}.


canvas champ online ordering form



I could of bit the bullet and ordered the entire wall display in one go, but I'm indecisive and if I waited until I'd worked out all the photos I wanted it would never get done. I'd also never ordered canvas prints online, so if I'm completely honest, I was a bit apprehensive about the quality, especially given they were a lot cheaper than I was expecting {so being somewhat pessimistic I decided to try before putting all my eggs in one basket so to speak}. However, I'm happy to report the canvas arrived in perfect condition and really well packaged a week later.

I wouldn't hesitate ordering more prints online now and I'm actually considering ordering some for mum for Mother's Day. What better gift than memories of your children and grandchildren right? You can get a free 8x8 canvas print with your first order if you sign up to the newsletter too. They also have wood prints, how cool! If you know how obsessed I am with wooden toys you'll understand why that excites me so much.
canvas print of Finding Myself Young maternity shoot



This photo from our maternity shoot now takes pride of place on our wall. As soon as bub saw it she said "wow mummy look at the picture, that's when we were in the forest taking photos when bubby was in your tummy. It's so beautiful". Of course my heart melted. I'm so glad she has a daily reminder of our family adventure to the forest and how excited we were to become a family of four. I also love that her little sister will be able to look at it each day and know how much we looked forward to meeting her {and maybe one day she'll believe me she really was inside my belly}. Now I really want to print more photos and organise another family shoot with all four of us {even though baby girl's technically in this photo} so we can hang even more memories on our walls.


How often do you print your photos out?
Surely I'm not the only one with thousands of photos sitting on my phone?

Toni x


Disclosure - This is a sponsored post for CanvasChamp in accordance with my disclosure policy. The maternity photo shown in this post was taken by Katherine Maree Photography.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Surviving emergency situations at home and on the go


Since becoming a mum, the health and wellbeing of my children has been my first and foremost priority. I've done a parent's first aid course {twice actually} and taught bub what to do in an emergency in the hope that we'll be better prepared should anything unforeseen ever happen. So far we've been lucky enough to survive most mishaps with bandaids, lolly water {paracetamol} or mummy kisses. I have it on good authority that mummy kisses can fix just about anything when it comes to small children, but Murphy's Law says there's bound to be a time they just won't cut it and I'm worried we'll be grossly unprepared. Having first aid knowledge is super important, but it's also best when it's backed up with the right equipment.

God forbid one of my kids ever break their arm or get bitten by a snake {yes we have them in our backyard} and I need to hold down the fort while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. I'd much rather be prepared for a crisis than find myself having to MacGyver up a splint and bandage on the fly {of course I still would, because they're my kids, but I'd rather use bandages than ripping up my top}. Which is why I was glad Survival Emergency Solutions recently contacted me asking if I'd like to try out one of their first aid kits.

When they first contacted me I went searching through our medicine cabinet to find our current first aid kit. I knew we had one, but I hadn't looked at it in what I thought was months, but turns out it's been a few years. I was shocked to find it only contained a handful of bandaids and a few expired bandages {who knew bandages even expired}. I was slightly horrified at the state of it given T's a first aid officer you'd think we'd be more aware of what first aid supplies are in this house. Evidently not. Despite all our first aid knowledge, we've clearly not been taking it as seriously as we should so I'm glad they contacted me as it's put everything into the forefront of my mind. I actually count myself really lucky that nothing bad has happened over the last few years while our kit has been in such a pitiful state.


Survival Emergency Solutions was founded in 1988 by twin brothers Jerry and Tim Tyrrell after the tragic cot death of a family member who was unable to be resuscitated. After the tragedy Jerry developed the Emergency First Aid Handbook which provides detailed essential steps in first aid for various emergency situations. The handbook won an Australian Design Award, has sold over 2 million copies since then and is now available in its fifth edition.

After developing such successful publications, the company then started developing first aid kits. Survival are now a leading provider of specialist first aid kits for the workplace, home, vehicle and outdoor activities. Their kits are extremely durable incorporating world class design features, an intelligent labeling system and the ability to add personal medical items such as asthma puffers, sunscreen etc. We've got the Family First Aid Bundle so we're prepared for accidents at home and when we're out and about.


SURVIVAL FAMILY FIRST AID BUNDLE


I chose the family first aid bundle because it combines the home first aid kit with two smaller handy first aid kits plus the emergency first aid handbook. It's designed with families in mind and is the most economical way to get a kit for the home and both cars. It's currently available for 40% off + you can use my exclusive survival first aid discount code {at the bottom of this post} to receive an extra 10% off.

Unlike traditional first aid kits that usually come in a box, Survival first aid kits are in durable, water resistant double stitched bags with stainless steel zips and individual compartments for each item. No fishing through a box looking for the right item. The first aid kits are labelled with a colour coding system, split into four sections: trauma, hygiene, information and utilities, making it even easier to locate the right item when needed, saving critical minutes during an emergency. In addition to this a lot of the labels have further explanation such as burns or abrasions, wound cleaning, shock, minor wounds, sprains etc so you can quickly identify which items you might need based on what type of injury you're dealing with. There's also a restock quantity shown so you know how many of each item should be in the kit at all times {individual items should be replaced as they're used either via the restock portal online, or by purchasing at your local chemist}.

Survival Home First Aid Kit




The home first aid kit is the most comprehensive Survival first aid kit available, containing over 160 items designed to treat minor everyday injuries through to managing major emergencies while waiting for medical help. They've thought of everything from items you'd expect to find like bandaids, bandages {numerous different types} and dressings {again multiple types} to items I've never had on hand before like splinter probes, hydro gel, shears and an emergency blanket. There's also a first aid in brief booklet, CPR kit and space to add personal items like sunscreen and medication. That's still only scratching the surface of what's included, a full list of inclusions can be found online. 

I love that Survival have managed to fit so many first aid supplies into such a compact {yet incredibly organised} bag. Even though it includes so much, it still only weighs 1.5kg so is portable and easily fits into our medicine cabinet. The best part is when it's folded up and put away nothing falls out of place.

Survival Handy First Aid Kit



The family first aid bundle also includes 2 handy first aid kits which are smaller kits designed to deal with minor injuries. It includes all the supplies needed to treat minor cuts and abrasions, splinters, sprains, snake bites and fractures, before seeking further medical treatment. At under 500g and only 18cm long it's small enough to fit into a nappy bag, backpack, pram or glove box making it perfect for day trips, camping, hiking or a car emergency kit. We've got one in both cars so I know we'll always have a first aid kit with us for trips to the beach, playdates and while running everyday errands just incase anything happens.



Free iFirstAid App and e-Handbook


iFirstAid is the Survival Emergency Solutions app making first aid information available at your fingertips no matter where you are. The free lite version covers essential first aid information including CPR instructions for adults, children and babies as well as step by step instructions for bleeding, burns, choking or poisoning. There's also a travel module with emergency contact numbers for over 200 different countries.

iFirstAid is available on both iOS and Android platforms. The full version of the app includes additional first aid modules as well as find my family, immunisation and emergency broadcast options. The full version {normally $9.99} is currently on sale for $0.99.




At the moment you can also download a free first aid emergency e-handbook online. The e-handbook is a 115 page PDF version of the popular First Aid Emergency Handbook {included in the Family First Aid Bundle and available for purchase separately}. The best way I can describe the handbook is it's basically like having a first aid course available in an easy to read, illustrated text book. There's so many emergency situations covered, including childbirth, which probably would of made me feel more at ease last year while I was preparing for a vbac and hoping to avoid an unplanned homebirth! If you've never done a first aid course, or even if you want a refresher or somewhere to refer to, I'd definitely recommend getting it for home {either the paper or e-book version}.


10% off survival first aid kits

Why choose Survival First Aid Kits?   


  • Compact & Lightweight design
  • Durable, well organised kits
  • Clearly labelled, colour coded compartments
  • CPR pouch including instructions
  • A kit for any occasion 
  • Emergency First Aid Handbook
  • Easy Restock Portal
  • FDA Approved
  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee 

Finding Myself Young readers can use the exclusive discount code FMY10 to save 10% off the online price of any Survival Emergency Solutions products. Simply add the code at checkout.

Knowing we have the house and cars well stocked with easy to access, organised first aid supplies makes me feel much better prepared should something happen. We've actually already used the ice pack when I smashed my knee into the cot in the middle of the night. Such a mum injury right? She doesn't even sleep in the cot, it's just an aesthetically pleasing trip hazard at this point! Thankfully my knee didn't bruise too badly though because I got the ice pack onto it quickly. It's a good thing we had it too because we had no ice or frozen vegetables in the freezer {so I couldn't even MacGyver up an ice pack if I wanted to}.

How long has it been since you checked your first aid kit?

Toni x

* FMY10 discount code can be used for 10% off the online price of the entire range of Survival Emergency Solutions products. Discount code is valid until 30th June 2018.

Disclosure - I was sent a Family First Aid Bundle by Survival Emergency Solutions but I was not obligated to post a review. I have chosen to write this review as I believe Survival first aid kits are an essential product all homes should have and to give readers access to an exclusive survival first aid discount code. I did not receive payment for this post. All product photography has been used with permission. Prices quoted are valid upon publication, please check links to confirm current pricing.

Linking with Kylie
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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ultimate First Birthday Gift Guide

So my baby girl is turning one this week...

Everybody in my family thinks my kids are hard to buy for, apparently "they have everything" because our house resembles a toy shop. Yes, I agree, our house does somewhat resemble a toy shop {or a childcare centre} and we do have a lot of toys, buuuut there are always more toys. I guarantee I can always find things we don't have {that we obviously need}. If I had a bigger house and a never ending supply of money you can bet our house would be packed with way more toys than it is now. There's so many amazing toys out there, you just have to know where to look {or spend hours scrolling online shops while breastfeeding like me}. Thankfully you don't have to though, because I've done the hard work {aka research} for you and put together this awesome gift guide. I swear if toy scout was a job, I'd be all over it. If you have a one year old to buy for, or your own baby is about to turn one, this post is packed full of ideas, and they're all great for girls and boys.

Wooden vs plastic toys


I have to admit, when my big girl was a baby, our toy style could pretty much be described as plastic fantastic. I used to walk into all the department stores and be blinded by the bright colours, whizz bang sounds and cheap prices, I'd buy a new toy every time we went to the shops. I was so excited to finally have a baby I wanted e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. It's safe to say I quickly got over my fascination with all things noisy and plastic. The endless need for new batteries, creepy toys going off in the middle of the night and my house looking like shiny rainbow vomit had a lot to do with it. So began my obsession with wooden toys {around about when she was 18 months old}. 

Not only are wooden toys less likely to freak me out in the middle of the night, they're also inherently open ended providing numerous learning opportunities that evolve as your child grows. They inspire hours of pretend play, limited only by your child's imagination. They're also extremely durable and won't fade, crack or deteriorate as quickly as their plastic counterparts. All of these reasons are why I've only bought wooden toys for my girls for the past few years. The ones we've collected so far are such good quality I'm planning on keeping most of them for my future grandkids to play with.

But what do you get a one year old? They're too old for baby toys...


That's totally true, most one year olds are in that odd in between stage where they're too old for baby toys like teethers and blankies, but don't have the skills yet for things like puzzles and games. However, I like to think of toys that will suit them for the whole year not just what they can do right at this moment. Between 1-2yrs of age toddlers brains are developing rapidly and their physical, cognitive and language skills and abilities will also evolve exponentially.

During the next 12 months most toddlers will hit big physical milestones like learning to walk, but they'll also master less obvious ones like their pincer grip, through actions like grasping, stacking, transferring and sorting objects. They'll also start simple pretend play with their toys by mimicking actions you do with them. Not to mention their speech will start expanding and one of the best ways to facilitate this is through play.

I'm very passionate about learning through play so I've put together a list of some amazing good quality toys that will help develop these skills. And yes these are the actual presents she'll be getting for her birthday. The way she plays with each of them will continue to evolve as she gets older. Keep an eye out on Instagram to see them in action over the coming weeks and months.





HAPE ROLLER DERBY


The Hape roller derby is one toy that's been on my wish list for months. We hired it for her big sister when I was still pregnant and it was such a hit I've been wanting to buy it ever since. It's essentially a more toddler friendly version of a marble run using bigger balls. Kids put the balls into the top hole and watch them fall down the ball run, through the different holes, changing sides as they go and then finally dropping onto a bell at the bottom. It's such a simple toy, but it provides loads of tactile, visual and auditory stimulation. It's also a really easy way for younger kids to practice hand/eye co-ordination while placing the balls through the hole. I imagine her big sister will be keen to play with this one too as she's used it before, so I'm hoping it'll also help the girls practice turn taking.

I was so excited when The Creative Toy Shop added the roller derby to their Hape range, because I'd been having a bit of trouble tracking it down online. The Creative Toy Shop is an online toy store that stocks educational toys, activity guides and resources to facilitate play based learning for children of all abilities. I first met owner Brianna via her notes from a home educator Instagram account where she shares learning activities she does while homeschooling four young boys. She's now living my dream and running her own toy store alongside her teaching job. Everything available in her shop has been carefully selected to cater for children of all abilities, including those with special needs. You can follow The Creative Toy Shop on Facebook and Instagram.


EGG AND CUP GAME


This rainbow wooden egg and cup puzzle set is a great little matching game for toddlers. They can start to develop fine motor skills, hand/eye co-ordination, learn about balance and cause and effect by grasping the eggs and transferring them in and out of the cups. What I love most about this set is that it essentially grows with your child because it can be used to learn and reinforce different skills at different ages. As she gets older I'll also use it to teach her the different colours, for colour sorting, problem solving, counting and sequencing. I dare say her big sister will probably play with these a lot too.

The egg and cup game is made from renewable birch and hand painted using vegetable based paints. I got it from Works at Play, a Brisbane based toy store with a focus on affordable, sustainable, open ended toys, resources and play sets for at home and childcare centres. Owner Melissa is an Early Childhood Teacher passionate about sharing her knowledge of play resources and learning opportunities with others. Many of the toys and resources sold at Works at Play are Montessori or Waldorf inspired. You can follow Works at Play on Facebook and Instagram.


GRIMMS 7 RAINBOW FRIENDS



When it comes to wooden toys Grimms are pretty much up there with the best of the best. I'd even go as far as saying they're probably the world leaders in open ended toys. I think the best place to start your Grimms collection for a toddler is with the 7 rainbow friends in bowls. The peg dolls will help develop baby girl's pincer grip as she grabs them and transfers them in and out of the bowls. The bowls can also be stacked on their own. They're also great for introducing colour sorting and matching and eventually we'll use them to sequence the colours of the rainbow. As her imagination develops they'll also be fabulous for pretend play.

This set is made from sustainably sourced alder and maple wood and is hand finished with non-toxic, water based dyes. Each piece of Grimms has unique markings from the natural wood grain so no two pieces or sets will ever be exactly the same. I also got these from The Creative Toy Shop, they have an extensive range of Grimms toys with options for babies right through to older children.


RAINBOW SOUND BLOCKS





Wooden blocks provide children with a delightful tactile sensory experience and are a perfect first birthday gift for toddlers starting to explore grasping, stacking and sorting. These wooden rainbow sound blocks have added sensory stimulation with coloured panels and different beads within each block. Baby girl is obsessed with anything that makes sound so I know she's going to love shaking, banging, stacking and knocking them over to explore the different sounds they make. They're also a good size for kids who are still prone to mouthing {always use them under supervision with young children} and they pack away neatly into the included storage box when not in use.

Like a lot of the other items included in this list, wooden blocks appeal to a large range of ages so I know they're something she won't get bored of or grow out of quickly {I still love playing with wooden blocks at 33}. As she gets older I'll also use them for introducing colours and shapes and in treasure baskets. I also got these from Brianna at The Creative Toy Shop, which is my go to shop for sensory play items {and lots of other toys as you can tell}.


STACKING TREE



Baby girl loves stacking {and unstacking} everything at the moment so stacking toys were high on my list of items to find for her. Let's face it there are more than a few stacking towers around, but I fell in love with this wooden stacking tree instantly. Instead of stacking the rings vertically they stack horizontally on three different tiers. I love that it helps develop fine motor skills and being horizontal and tiered it'll make her work that little bit harder on her hand/eye coordination and problem solving. The rings can also be used to learn colours and introduce counting and one to one correspondence once she's a little older.

I found this awesome stacking tree from Mr Kipp & Little Jimmy a Ballarat based store that specialises in eco friendly wooden toys and bamboo dinnerware. Mr Kipp & Little Jimmy also offer Australia wide toy hire on a monthly basis with no minimum hire. You can follow Mr Kipp & Little Jimmy on Facebook and Instagram.


GEO TRIO STACKER





Still focusing on stacking, I also came across this cute geo trio stacker. I love that it combines colours, shapes, faces and sizes. Not only can the pieces be stacked, they can also be sorted by colour, shape and size. It's also really cool that it has the three dimensional version of each shape at the top. This stacker will be great for fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination, problem solving and spatial awareness. I'm pretty sure she'll enjoy chatting away to the face blocks too, she babbles away to anything with a face {pictures, toys, bells etc}.

The geo trio stacker is by Voilà, a wooden toy brand that craft colourful toys designed to stimulate and support physical and cognitive development. The tree stacker above is by Voilà as well. I got both of them from Mr Kipp & Little Jimmy where you'll find an extensive range of Voilà toys {we have quite a few toys from this brand}.


TREE TOP ADVENTURE ACTIVITY CENTRE



Activity centre cubes and tables are a pretty staple gift option for 1 year olds that you can't really go wrong with. Toddlers love to explore and play with anything and everything and activity centres give them a chance to play interactively with multiple items at once. Not only are they having fun putting items in and out, spinning, winding, opening and shutting, and pushing and pulling little pieces, they're also doing a great deal of learning. Each manoeuvre strengthens their hand muscles and assists fine motor skills as well as teaching cause and effect and problem solving.

We've had quite a few different activity cubes and tables over the years {I know I have a toy problem}, but I think this tree top adventure activity centre may be the best one I've ever seen, because it's a 3D tree! How cool is that?! The four quadrants that make up the tree include gliding tracks, bead runs, spinning beads and gears and flaps that open and close. What I also love about the tree design is that it's up off the ground so baby girl can play with it while standing {which is good because she's been walking since 10 months and prefers standing over sitting}. It also has enough room for both girls to play together. I'm sure her big sister won't be able to resist having a go, in fact I can just imagine all the pretend play that will happen here.



COLOUR AND SHAPE FLASH CARDS




These Two Little Ducklings Colour & Shape flash cards are a great way to introduce toddlers to colours and shapes. I specifically chose the colour & shape set as they're the easiest concepts for 1-2yr olds to learn. Although flash cards are a more structured learning resource, they work well for younger kids when used {under supervision} alongside other items. To start with I'll be using the colour cards in special colour themed treasure baskets {with toys and loose parts} to slowly introduce her to different colours. As she gets older I'll incorporate them into colour hunts {pick a flash card and go find items of that colour}, colour matching items to the cards, colour sorting and I'll also introduce the same activities with the shape cards.

The flash card set includes 25 cards, featuring primary and secondary colours and shapes, represented by everyday items children will be familiar with. They're printed on thick environmentally friendly 300GSM paper with rounded edges and come in a calico storage bag. I got them from Avidiva, an online store that stocks quality, stylish, natural, non-toxic gifts for mums and little ones. Avidiva stock a range of Two Little Ducklings flash cards including the high contrast cards {great for babies} and the alphabet, counting, fruits and vegetables and feelings and emotions cards that are all great for toddlers and preschoolers. You can follow Avidiva on Facebook and Instagram.


ONE YEAR OLD GIFT BOX



What's the best thing to get someone when you don't know what to get them? Easy, a gift box....  Gift boxes aren't just for adults, there's special toy gift boxes available for one year olds too. The Big Little Box Co is a Brisbane based online business specialising in curated and custom gift boxes for little ones from babies right through to 5 year olds. The best part is almost the entire range of products available are wooden educational toys designed to stimulate fine motor development. If ever there was a business right up my alley, this is certainly it! To compliment the amazing contents, the gift box itself is sturdy white gloss cardboard with a magnetic flap and your child's name is printed on top in vinyl in your choice of font and colour. The boxes themselves make great keepsake boxes after the gift giving is over.

The Big Little Box Co have a number of curated first birthday gift boxes, however because we have a couple of similar items already, I chose to create my own box. There's a huge range of toys and books available from The Big Little Box Co with prices starting at just a few dollars so you can put together a gift box for any budget. I chose all of our items based on where she's at developmentally and her current interests. She's starting to want to do simple puzzles so I chose the Hape colour and shape sorter and the wooden bee puzzle. The wooden lion is a screw puzzle to help work her fine motor skills. She also loves anything to do with music so I got an owl shaker. Finally we're collecting the "That's not my" Usborne touch and feel books so I chose That's not my duck to add to our collection. I can't wait to see her face when she opens up her box. I'm going to keep the box to use as a special baby memory box for her {and yes I'll be ordering a box for her big sister so she has one too}. You can follow The Big Little Box Co on Facebook and Instagram.


Still need other ideas?


Most of baby girl's gifts were deliberate out of the box choices as we have so many standard toddler toys already. If nothing on this list takes your fancy, other toys we already have that are great for toddlers are:

  • Shape sorters
  • Pounding peg toys
  • Bead maze runs
  • Push/pull toys
  • Sensory balls
  • Ride on toys
  • Walkers

Hopefully this list has given you plenty of gift ideas for the little ones in your life. To see all these toys in action and the different ways we play with them over the next few weeks, follow us on Instagram. Now I'm off to console myself over the fact my last baby is already turning one. Why do they have to grow up so fast?



Disclosure - Some of the products featured in this gift guide were gifted to us and others were purchased. I have purchased from all stores featured in the past and will continue to do so in the future. I have only included items I was going to/have bought for her. All stock images have been used with permission. To see these products in action over the coming weeks follow us on Instagram. Always supervise young children while playing with toys containing small parts.

*This post contains some affiliate links

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Personalised birth bunny from My Teddy

I have to admit I'm a terribly sentimental person. I love photos or objects that remind me of a special moment... and to be honest I can attach sentimental meaning to lots of things! I have quite a few boxes of sentimental things up in our spare room that I just can't let go of. So it'll come as no surprise then that I've always wanted something special to commemorate baby girl's birth. We got her sister a personalised teddy when she was a baby with all her birth details on it and one for our niece, so I've always been planning on getting one for baby girl too.

It's just taken me almost a year after her birth to organise it, whoops. Poor second child. Apparently all the stories about second children getting forgotten are true. I'm totally putting that down to sleep deprivation though and the fact I spend each day in a constant state of exhaustion. I only have enough energy to keep everyone alive most of the time, let alone organise non essential tasks. However I've finally managed to get hers organised and just scraped in before her first birthday thanks to My Teddy. Better late than never, right?

MY TEDDY PERSONALISED TEDDIES


My Teddy is a Queensland based online business that specialise in personalised plush teddies {and other animals}. Owners Toni & Chris started My Teddy from their lounge room back in 2004 and they've been bringing joy to kids and helping parents celebrate milestones ever since. The business has expanded in leaps and bounds over the last 14 years and they've now produced over 93000 personalised teddy bears including the birth bear we got for our niece a few years ago, so they were the logical choice for baby girl's teddy.

Ordering a personalised gift from My Teddy is super easy. All you have to do is choose which item you want {there's 96 plush toys and 30 teddy bears to choose from}, type in your personalised message and it gets sent off to your recipient. It's so simple and quick.



For baby girls gift I knew I wanted a plushie rather than a teddy. I know it seems a bit sacrilegious not ordering a teddy from My Teddy, but I knew that had so many other cute plush animals available and I didn't want a bear. Plushies are stuffed plush animals that can be personalised with embroidery on their belly or back. There are 96 different plushie options {many which are unisex}. All of them have a zip in the back meaning the stuffing pod is removable for easy cleaning {a must with small kids} and they can also be used as pyjama or storage bags if you don't want to use them as a stuffed toy.




For baby girl I chose the bunny cubbie. The bunny is perfect because baby girl was born just before Easter. It comes in grey, white or chocolate versions and you can get matching bunny snuggle blankets. I went with the single bunny in grey. I wanted a grey animal because her big sister has a grey elephant and their shared bedroom will be a grey, pink and white theme and my OCD meant I had to pick something that would blend in {the struggle is real}.




Once you've picked your 'teddy' you then choose which embroidery template you want sewn onto the front. I wanted hers to have birth details and be a similar design to her sisters so I went with the far right template on the second row. You can change the colours of the design to suit your own tastes. I went with dark pink, light pink and grey so it would blend in with the girls planned grey, pink and white theme.

I originally decided to get both girls special plush toys as keepsakes for their births {and just quietly it's a way of ensuring I always remember all their birth details}. I know in a few years time I'll still remember the date, but their weight and the time may become a bit hazy {my mum doesn't remember my exact birth details off the top of her head}. It's proven to be a good idea because when I was ordering the bunny I had to refer to a photo of the hospital card to remember her length. Looks like my memory is already going fuzzy! I also blame that on chronic sleep deprivation.

As you can see from the templates below there are heaps of options for other special occasions like first birthday and other birthdays, Easter or first Easter, christening and Christmas. Their great as an alternative to graduation bears to celebrate end of school years, or as a special teacher gift. They can also be embroidered with your own personal messages.


The entire ordering process took me about 10 minutes, but it could easily be done in under 5 minutes if you know exactly what you want. It took me a little longer because I had to look up her birth length {my bad} and I was looking after a cranky baby. Once you've ordered you get emailed a proof of your design the next day and you can send back revisions or approve the draft. 

Once I approved my draft {which I did late at night} the bunny was sent the next day and was at my house within 24hrs. It was super fast postage, which also happened last time I ordered from them a few years ago. I'm not 100% sure if that's influenced by the fact I'm also in QLD, but they definitely have one of the quickest turnaround times I've ever had from an online businesses. It's great if you ever need a last minute gift and only have a week or so to get something organised, which would normally rule out an online purchase.



The bunny I ordered looks just like these ones, infact the colours I chose are very similar to the one on the right. Her actual bunny is shown below {minus her name which has been purposefully blurred}.







It's safe to say she's pretty happy with her special bunny, and so am I {it's so soft I just want to rub my face on it... that's not weird at all}. I love that they're a gift they can enjoy while they're little, but they're also like a present for me too {an unofficial push present haha}. No doubt as the girls grow up we'll be getting rid of most of their plush toys, but the birth ones we'll be holding onto forever. 

Do you remember all your kids birth details?

Surely I can't be the only one who had to double check? *hopefully not*

Toni x



Disclosure - I was provided a My Teddy personalised teddy of my choice in exchange for this review. I was inquiring about ordering one when the opportunity arose to review one. All opinions expressed in this review are based on my experience with the ordering process when designing baby girl's bunny and the quality of the final product. I did not receive payment for this review.

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