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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our year

Dear bubba,

This has been my favourite year of my life because it was the first year that we have spent every day together. For seven months I got to feel you moving around inside of me. I kept you safe and warm curled up close to my heart. I touched your hand through my belly and couldn't wait to meet you. Our journey to meet each other was not without complications, but we got there in the end.

The 25th of July was the scariest and happiest day of my life all rolled into one. I was scared because your birth was very dramatic, but a few hours later I was filled with happiness because I finally got to meet you. When you were born you took a piece of my heart with you. You will always have that piece of me with you forever. From that day forward I have kept you safe and warm on the outside. I still hold you close to my heart, snuggled in close to my chest.

You have unlocked a protective instinct in me that I never knew I had. You have helped me to overcome fears and find courage and strength. I would do anything for you and that will never change.

You have enriched my life in so many ways. You have opened my eyes to experiencing the world in a new way. You have helped me to live in the moment. To slow down and experience life more.

It has been such a joy watching you grow and learn. You have changed so much in five months already. You can now smile, laugh, blow raspberries and have a babbling conversation. Your personality is definitely shining through. You have a great sense of humour and giggle all the time. You are starting to be very cheeky. You have definitely inherited mummy and daddy's stubbornness which for now is cute, but might not be in the future. You love to dance and move all the time. You never want to sit still anymore. You can roll now and soon you will be crawling and zooming around all over the place.

cherish every cuddle. I love being able to comfort you just by holding you close. Your smiles melt my heart. Your giggles bring light to my day. You are so cute when you are tired and bury your face into my neck. I love that you hold my hands now and rest your hand on my shoulder when I hug you. Soon you will be reaching out to me to pick you up.

You still look a lot like daddy with your blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes. You have my little lips and long lashes. You have such cute facial expressions. You are going to be a heart-breaker and daddy is already dreading the day you start dating. You are already kissing the boys at mothers group!

You have brought so much love, joy and happiness into our lives. We tell you we love you everyday. We can not imagine life without you.

You are my reason for waking up in the morning. You are the first and last thing I think about each day. You are my everything. My bubba.

2013 has been the best year, because of you.

Love you xx

Mummy (& Daddy).

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cherish every moment

Image Source

Over the past month the topic of 'last firsts' (as Cate calls it) has popped up a few times in my life. Friends who have had their last baby are experiencing their last ever lot of baby first moments (thus the term last firsts). The last first smile, last first giggle, last first steps etc. More importance seems to be placed on these milestones because they know they will be the last ones. Some of them are quite sad about it, but are also quite certain that they have completed their family. It is a necessary, yet emotional, phase all mothers must eventually go through.

Beacause of my struggles with infertility the concept of last firsts was already on my mind (just in a different way) even before I got pregnant. I was never naive throughout my pregnancy. I went through the whole experience knowing full well that it could be the last time I experience it, even though it was also my first time. Infertility has robbed me of the notion that I will be able to have more children just because we decide we want to. That has never been a reality for me. But, while it has taken that hope and security away from me, it has also given me the gift of a 'last first' attitude towards parenting.

The fact that I am already aware that bubba could be the first and last child I ever have means I am much more adamant that I will soak everything in. I am actively reminding myself to be in the moment. I live every day as if she could very well be my last child. I know Im not done with wanting to have more children, but who knows what's in store for me. I don't want to look too far forward and miss these times with her because I am worrying about the future. I want to live in the moment every day and enjoy her milestones. Get excited about every smile and every giggle. Cherish every single cuddle and relish the times that she falls asleep on me. I treat each moment as a last first. I try to slow down and treat each day as if it might be the last time I experience the excitement of a smile, giggle, hug etc. Instead of approaching the idea of last firsts with sadness, I see it as a gift. Instead of hurrying through the day wishing it would go faster, I deliberately take moments where I pause. In those moments time stands still. There is only me and her. Nothing else matters and nobody else exists. I shut everything else out and just be with her.

Sometimes when I'm hugging her I snuggle my face in as close as I can to her neck, close my eyes, and be still in that moment and breathe it all in. I soak up the joy that I'm feeling and the comfort that I am bringing her and I store it away in my memory bank in the hopes that it will last forever. The feeling of holding her against my chest. Her tiny fingers gripping tightly on my shoulder. The beautiful fresh baby smell from her hair. The way her face squishes up and dimples appear when her head is on my shoulder and the sound of her breathing near my ears. It is simple, yet perfect.

She will grow and change and there will be good days and bad, but I am determined to cherish every single one of them because I have been given a gift that I never thought I would have. I wish I could live all of our moments together in slow motion so that they would last longer.

When I get frustrated and tired I remind myself that it is only temporary and that I am lucky to be able to experience parenthood - the good times and bad. While some people may take it for granted, I am well and truly aware that a baby is the most amazing miracle we can ever create. To be a mum is the highest privilege I will ever receive in life. To be the one that guides her and looks after her, the one who comforts her, teaches her, protects her, encourages her and loves her. I have been blessed beyond words.

I urge everyone to treat each first with every child as a 'last first' moment, whether it will be or not. Soak it up, store it in your memory bank and cherish it as if it is. I guarantee that there is someone somewhere wishing they could experience at least one last first.

Toni xx

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas everyone

Today we got to spend our first Christmas as parents.

Quite possibly the first and last time she will sleep until 6:45am on Christmas day.

The first time Santa came.

Our first time watching bubba open presents.

First time seeing the excitement in her eyes as she ripped the paper.

And the smiles when she realised there were toys inside.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas day too, 
filled with excitement, fun, laughter 
and lots of happy smiles.

Merry Christmas to you and your families!

Toni, T & bubba xx

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mummy Must Have | Bean and Me

Before I had a baby I wasn't really into online shopping, actually to be honest I wasn't really into the whole process of shopping. I've worked in retail for 13 years so to me shopping = work. Don't get me wrong I could spend money like there's no tomorrow, I just never really enjoyed the process. I was a little institutionalised and spoiled working in a department store. It meant I could pretty much buy everything I needed at work without having to venture out into the rest of the big bad scary shopping centre full of grumpy, rude people and queue's a mile long in every shop. Shopping frustrated me and online shopping scared me a little. I convinced myself that every online store was out to steal my money and wouldn't actually send me the item I purchased (thanks dodgy Ebay sellers for giving me that complex).

Since having my baby and not being at work each day (yay for maternity leave) I am forced to go out and shop when I need things. Surprisingly enough shopping is now one of my favourite things to do. Shopping is actually quite an enjoyable experience when you're not rushing around trying to get everything done in the space of a lunch break. And shopping centres are also a great place to meet friends for lunch! The only problem is that babies don't always want to work to your schedule. There have been a few times where I would have loved to spend hours walking the aisles of shops browsing all the shiny new things, but bubba most certainly didn't want to. She makes it quite obvious when shes not in the mood. But thats ok, because I've now discovered the wonderful world of online shopping.

Despite my original aversion to it, I took the leap and I've found online shopping is actually really fun. I've found heaps of great small businesses that sell lots of unique products that I never would have found before. I prefer to shop from businesses that have a facebook page as it is easy to contact them if anything goes wrong. I also like supporting businesses run by stay at home mums because I'd prefer to give my money to someone realising their dream and trying to support their family, rather than a big corporate giant. I have found quite a few of these businesses, but one I particularly love is Bean and Me.

Bean and Me is the online baby of Rochelle Laracy, which was inspired by her actual baby Jenson (fondly known as bean). When he was little he reacted a lot to clothing and nappies due to very sensitive skin. To overcome this Rochelle switched as much as possible to using only organic products to avoid nasty chemicals and the skin reactions that followed. Along the way, she was also inspired to create a beautiful place where other mums, dads, aunties, uncles, grandparents and friends can buy gorgeous baby items for their own special beans - thus Bean and Me was born.

The majority of the products stocked are organic or Australian designed, owned and made. There are a few products that are not organic, but are still 100% cotton. She does stock two brands not Australian owned, but rest assured all brands are thoroughly researched to ensure that they are ethically made. At Bean and Me you will find a great range of baby products including clothing, shoes, accessories, toys, teethers, rattles, swaddles, sleeping bags and much more. Basically most of the items you will need for your baby and a great range of items to give as gifts to someone who is having a baby.

I was particularly drawn to Bean and Me because they stock mainly Australian products and brands that I had not seen in the big baby shops before. The organic factor was also a big drawcard for me as bub also has very sensitive skin and can react with red patches or hives very easily. We haven't gone completely organic with her, but I am very careful with the fabrics I buy in clothing and anything that's going to go in her mouth.

There are so many products that I love, but I wanted to introduce you to my favourite product that Rochelle stocks, the Dandelion Gyro Ball. Dandelion is not an Australian made company, but they do specialise in eco-friendly organic baby items. They use minimal and 100% recycled packaging on all products. Products are made from organic fabrics free from chemicals and filled with natural fibres. The Gyro is a ball, rattle and teether all in one (otherwise known as the perfect toy for bubba).

The Gyro ball is a twist on your average baby ball. It is a fabric open ball with four different tube sides, each one made from different material and textures. Each section is filled with natural corn fibre filling which doesn't clump up when washed. It also has teething tags on the ends and a rattle in the centre section. Basically it is everything I want in a baby toy all in one item. Its natural, organic, machine washable and developmental. It stimulates four of the five senses - sight, sound, touch and taste (I don't think it would taste that great, but obviously its ok because she has it in her mouth all the time). I love it!

It says on the packaging that its for six months plus and I got it when bub was only four months old so I didn't expect her to be that interested in it at first. It took her a couple of days to get used to it, but after that it quickly became her favourite toy. I thought she would just suck on it and not do much else with it until she got older. I was wrong. It didn't take her long to work out different ways to use it. She quickly learnt she could pick it up and hold it above her head while she was lying on her back. Its the first toy she ever lifted above her head.

Clever girl lifting it above her head

When she lifted it above her head she realised that it made noise and now she doesn't stop shaking it when I give it to her. When we first got it she was just starting to attempt rolling on her side. I put the gyro beside her to encourage her to roll over and within a week or two she had not only mastered rolling to her side, but also rolling all the way to her belly. She now flips onto her belly and plays with the ball while doing tummy time. It has actually helped encourage her to stay on her tummy for a lot longer than she used to.

Apart from rolling, lifting and shaking; she has now worked out that she can throw it. And apparently its hilarious to throw it and watch mum go pick it up, only to throw it again. She has also worked out (not sure if it was by accident or on purpose) that she can put her hand through it and wear it as an oversized bangle. She does this even while playing with other toys. Yep, shes special.

Her pretty new bangle

The other feature I love is that you can machine wash the ball. The only thing I don't normally like about soft toys is that they are usually hand wash only (and who's got time for that with a baby?). With the amount of times she puts the gyro in her mouth, I definitely need to wash it. I washed it for the first time the other day in a wash bag on the gentle cycle. I was a little sceptical that it would come out of the machine looking different to when it went in (as some other toys have), but it held its shape and none of the colour ran.

If you want a stimulating and developmental toy for your baby I definitely recommend you get the gyro ball and you should definitely get it from Rochelle. She runs her business very professionally and is always around to answer any questions you may have. She prides herself on providing good customer service and having worked in customer service for years I can definitely say that customers will not be disappointed with the service they receive from Bean and Me. Parcels arrive promptly and well packaged. I have ordered more items and I am sure they wont be the last ones I will order. I already have a list of other stuff I want (just don't tell T).

If you don't already want to get on her site and check out all the great products right now you are crazy, let me give you another reason to do so. Rochelle is generously offering Finding Myself Young readers 15% off any item from Bean and Me until January 31st. Simply use the promo code YOUNG when you checkout. If your looking for a guilt free excuse to buy something cute for your baby, this is your chance to do it. All her items would also make great baby shower gifts. Now don't let me keep you any longer.

Toni x

*I was not paid for this review, but I was gifted the Gyro ball.
*All opinions are my own and I have purchased other items from Bean and Me

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas light fun for babies

Sensory light play for babies and toddlers with fairy lights
* This post contains some affiliate links *

The problem with having a baby who's only 5 months old at Christmas time is that they can't quite comprehend Christmas enough yet to really be involved. Also there are obvious safety issues surrounding Christmas and a baby that wants to put everything in their mouth. Because putting stuff in your mouth is the coolest thing ever when you are 5 months old. Not so cool when it involves tinsel, wrapping paper, gift tags and god forbid electric Christmas lights. So, while Christmas is for kids, it's not really that great safe for babies.

I have to admit I am one of those mum's who is overly paranoid about safety when it comes to babies. It could be some type of first time mum syndrome, or maybe it's just a natural instinct when it comes to parenting. With that in mind I'm already thinking about the fact we'll need a playpen to adequately secure the Christmas tree from inquisitive little hands next year. Yep I'm that paranoid I'm already thinking about baby proofing for next Christmas and we haven't even had this one yet.

Having said that though I don't want her to miss out on the fun of Christmas just because she's a baby. I've been searching for fun Christmas light ideas for babies for ages, but nothing was quite right so I literally went and scoured the cupboards to find items I had at home that I could use to create my own baby proof Christmas light play. Turns out I had everything I needed to create a great sensory play activity already.

It's a way for babies {who are obsessed with putting things in their mouths with no concept of consequences} to safely play with Christmas lights. They get to experience the joy and wonder of Christmas like the older kids, but without any imminent danger.


 You will need:

Simply put  the fairy lights into a container then you can give them to your baby to play with and not worry that they'll hurt themselves. Of course you still need to supervise them, and use an appropriate container, but it's much less stressful than waiting for the tree to fall on top of them as they try to rip the lights off of it and eat them. 

And its seriously that simple! Even if you didn't have any of these items at home you could purchase them quite cheaply. You can pick up battery operated lights from local department and dollar stores or online from places like Etsy or {if you're in Australia} for a couple of dollars. Food storage containers can be found at your local supermarket for about $6-$8 {we used a round sistema container, but any shape will do}. It's really easy and cheap to create an awesome entertaining, stimulating, and developmental play activity that can be used over and over again.

All you need to do is place the lights in the container, turn them on and then secure the lid {screw top or snap lock work just as well as long as they secure tight enough that bub can't get them off}. Give it to your baby and voila you have endless entertainment.

Multicolour battery operated fairy lights in a round container.

I did this for the first time with bub last night and she thought it was amazing. She is mesmerised by lights anyway, kind of like a moth is to those bug zappers, so it wasn't too hard to get her interested. As soon as I came within eyesight she was trying to grab it off of me. She was super excited that I let her hold it and that I let her put it in her mouth!  Best mum ever.

Baby playing with fairy lights

She played with it in her rocker moving it from her hands to feet and back again.
Those facial expressions crack me up!

Baby rolling a light filled container on the ground during tummy time.
Played with it on the floor rolling it around

Baby playing with christmas lights while sitting in a bumbo

Played with it in the bumbo knocking it off the tray and then trying to eat it 
every time I gave it back to her.

Baby playing with christmas lights in a plastic container.

Have you seen any other ideas for Christmas fun with babies? 
Do you have one that you have used with your own baby?

Toni x

Disclosure - This post contains some affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, should you make a purchase.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mummy Must Have | Beetle Bottoms

One of the most magical things about childhood is being able to indulge your imagination at all times. I loved the innocence of it. Once I was faced with some very harsh realities (much too early in my life) I longed for that world of wonder and excitement to come back. The world where anything was possible and I didn't know any different. I really want to nurture and inspire my daughters imagination for as long as possible. I am relishing the fact that I will be able to enjoy her make believe worlds with her.

When I was young (it wasn't as long ago as that statement makes it sound) we had to make our own fun from scratch, there weren't as many wizz bang toys as there are now (or maybe my mum was just poor?). We made do with empty boxes, toilet rolls and my favourite the empty clothes trolley and coloured pegs (they were my food cart and veggies to serve the imaginary old people in my great grandmas sun room). These days there are a lot more tools around to help parents inspire imagination. I have recently found out about the Beetle Bottoms stories. I was immediately drawn to them because they brought back fond memories. Although they were not around when I was a child, they immediately reminded me of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. I was also mesmerised by fairies when I was little and the idea that tiny little people could exist (think Fern Gully). To me Beetle Bottoms are a nice combination of both of these.

Beetle Bottoms are tiny little people who live in gardens all over the world. Not very many people get to see them as they are sooo tiny (about the size of an apple pip). There are two types of Beetle Bottoms - the apple keepers and the honey keepers. They live high up in trees in tiny little houses. They fly on butterflies and tiny little birds to get up to their houses. They have lots of exciting (and sometimes dangerous) adventures which children can learn about from the Beetle Bottoms story books and games.

The Beetle Bottoms stories are told by Fiona Whyte, Sarah Hill and Madison Holroyd. All of the Beetle Bottoms products are designed so children can play, create and imagine. Beetle Bottoms bring children's imagination to life so the fun doesn't end once the stories are over. Story play allows children to come up with their own Beetle Bottoms adventures and believe anything is possible. It also helps to boost confidence; build language, relationship and problem-solving skills and enhance communication skills. It also promotes acceptance of others and a curiosity and respect for nature. Most of all it is learning through play - which I believe is the most effective (and fun) way to teach children.

There are a number of different Beetle Bottoms products available including story books, educational games and wall decals. I was lucky enough to test out a few with my niece. Here's what we think.

She was so excited she wanted to play with everything
at the same time

Memory & Snap Game

The memory and snap game is a pack of 36 cards (with 18 matching pairs) which can either be used to play a game of memory or a game of snap. The games can be played either by one person or more. Both games help increase concentration and improve cognitive skills through play.

I was most excited about this game as snap and memory were some of my favourite games as a child. These cards are a fun take on the sometimes boring ones we used to play with. We played both games together, but my niece was more interested in memory than snap so that game lasted longer.

Helping me to set up the cards for Memory

She was mainly more interested in the memory game because she got to look at the pictures for longer. In the end she ended up just wanting to turn over all the cards because she wanted to look at all the pictures at the same time. She is only 3 so I can't blame her for getting frustrated with me for making her turn the cards back over. The fact that she wanted to look at them so much is a testament to how gorgeous Fiona's illustrations are. These cards are probably more suited to children aged 4+, but its still fun playing with them with a younger child (as long as you aren't a stickler for the rules).

Where is Pip? 

Where is Pip is a pop up book that tells the story of Petal looking for her little sister Pip. Pip searches different places in the garden to try and find her sister. The illustrations are gorgeous, colourful and engaging.

First of all let me just say pop up books are the best type of childrens book ever! My niece was obsessed with this book. We read it over and over and over. And then a few more times so she could keep opening the flaps. In the end she was telling me the story, instead of me reading the book to her. Her version was a bit different to the actual story, but thats the whole magic of story play.

Looking for Pip
If I had not of packed the book away I swear she would have sat there for hours with it (take note parents). This book is great for toddlers and above. I will be giving it to my daughter (5 months) to play with soon, but at the moment shes into ripping paper so I don't want her to destroy it. For now she has to make do with mummy opening the flaps for her.

Beetle Bottoms and the Sticky Situation

This book tells the story of an exciting and dangerous adventure that Pip, Petal, Thorn and Nut have one day. It includes flying on birds, hiding in a spiderweb, being trapped in a wormhole and the steps they all take to try and rescue each other. I love that it teaches children about problem solving and the importance of working together. It also subtly teaches them about danger and consequences. It sends a great message of teamwork and triumph against all odds.

Although she can't read yet herself, my niece loved this book. She was looking at the pictures and adding to the story as I was reading it to her. She got a little bit frightened of the spider, but once she saw what happened after and as I explained it to her she very quickly got over her fear. It definitely captured her imagination and got her thinking.

I am a big fan of the Beetle Bottoms products as they provide numerous options for educational play which helps children developmentally while also being heaps of fun. Each time you play the stories and games will be different as your child creates new and exciting adventures. You are only limited by your childs imagination. Once you are done playing inside you can go outside and have your own adventure searching for Beetle Bottoms in the garden.

There are many different products available for a range of age groups from babies to 10 year olds. At the moment there are also gift packs on special (perfect for Christmas or birthdays). Sarah has generously provided a copy of Beetle Bottoms and the Sticky Situation to giveaway to a Finding Myself Young reader. There are also runner up prizes! See details below.

Toni x

Disclosure - I was not paid for this review, but was gifted a copy of the products shown in order to review them. All opinions are my own and my nieces.



One lucky reader will win a copy of the story play book Beetle Bottoms and the Sticky Situation and three runners up will win a beetle bottoms removable bird decal.

For your chance to win follow the rafflecopter prompts below and leave us a comment telling us:

Which Beetle Bottoms character is most like your child and why?

You can find out about each characters individual personality here

Terms & Conditions
Open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT.
Prize is not transferable.
All mandatory steps must be completed to constitute a valid entry.
This contest is a game of skill and will be judged based on the most creative answers.
Winners will be chosen by Beetle Bottoms.
This contest is in no way associated with or endorsed by Facebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Making peace with my body

Quote - You are imperfect. Permanently and inevitably flawed... and you are beautiful

Before I was pregnant I had a love/hate relationship with my body. There were some areas I loved but some areas I really hated. Overall I had a rather diminished sense of self esteem. Even though I was only a size 8 I still wanted to have a flatter stomach. Looking back now I realise I was quite delusional. Now I wish I could get that not so perfect wish it was flatter tummy back. I look at photos from before and want to scream at that insecure girl and tell her she is beautiful and to love her body because one day she will want it back.

Pregnancy is a massive change to go through both emotionally and physically. A lot of women detest their pregnant bodies because of the bloating, weight gain, swollen feet etc. I wasn't one of them. I loved my pregnant body. Its the only time in my life that I have totally and utterly loved my body and had a positive attitude towards it. I was the heaviest I have ever been and yet I didn't care. I was just so happy that my body was finally doing what I had always wanted. It was doing the most amazing thing ever, giving me the greatest gift possible. I was so proud of my big swollen belly.

I'd love to be able to say that I felt just as good about my body post pregnancy, but unfortunately I didn't. The first few weeks I did, but I'm pretty sure that was a combination of being hyped up on hormones and delirious enough from sleep deprivation that my reflection was actually some kind of miraculous hallucination. You know big breastfeeding boobs and a flat tummy. After a while I realised my tummy was not flat, but just appeared this way compared to the bulging belly I had before. Once everything settled down and adjusted I realised my body had changed forever.

My new body includes bigger, but more deflated boobs. How is that even possible? Wider hips. Thicker thighs (the gap is well and truly gone). And a nice little pouchy stomach complete with a million stretch marks (ok not quite that many, but it feels like that). Like many women who've had a baby, I have to admit I am less than impressed with my new body. For some reason I thought I would be a rubber band and just snap back into shape as soon as the baby came out. You know like all the supermodels/celebrities/imaginary people seem to be able to do. Unfortunately instead of strutting around feeling like a supermodel right now, I'm still walking around in my maternity jeans five months post-partum. In my defence they are skinny jeans (but they have that awesome belly band at the top). I was even asked yesterday if I was pregnant again already. That was great for my self esteem let me tell you!  Um... no, I'm just fatter than usual, thanks for pointing that out.

I have actually lost 15kg of the 18kg 20kg I gained during pregnancy, but those last 5kg seem to have made a permanent home on my thighs and in my kangaroo pouch. Ok if I'm completely honest I lost all but 2kg and then I put another 3kg back on within the first month. My bad. Since then the scales refuse to budge despite a healthier diet and exercise. Normally I would assume the scales were faulty, but they're brand new so I can't really use that excuse. I've come to realise over the last few weeks that this may just be the new me. This is my new normal. So I have decided to get on with it and accept it. I'm embracing the new me.

Surprisingly enough there are unexpected benefits that come from my flaws new-found appearance. Cleavage is great for catching crumbs, as are my now touching thighs. Actually cleavage is great, period. I also have a permanent tattoo on my belly and I didn't have to get jabbed by thousands of needles to get it. I know some people call them tiger stripes, but I like to affectionately tell my daughter that she was so clever she drew a drawing on my belly while she was still inside. I also have a legitimate excuse to buy a whole new wardrobe (that's every girls dream... right?).

Seriously though, any time I get down I just remind myself that my body is amazing because my body has created life. There are so many people who will never get to experience that. I don't despise my body, I respect it. Instead of wasting time thinking about the past, I focus on all the things my new body has given me. A best friend to keep me company each day. A beautiful little mini me who I get to teach, nurture and protect for years to come. An endless supply of cuddles, kisses and smiles. A refreshed excitement for life and the chance to see the world through the eyes of a child. An immense amount of happiness and a never-ending source of unconditional love.

If the price for all of that is a few physical battle scars then I'm more than happy to pay it.

I'm accepting myself for who I am now and it feels good.

Toni x

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mummy Must Have | Bibska bibs

When you find out you're pregnant with your first child you immediately want to go out and buy everything that's ever been invented for babies (at least I did). People kept telling me don't buy this and don't buy that because you will never use it or they will grow too quickly etc etc. Of course I didn't listen and instead went and spent loads of money on cute tiny outfits, boxes and boxes of newborn nappies, heaps of pairs of newborn socks and a gazillion beanies (because she was a winter baby). And low and behold she didn't use more than half of it! She has so many clothes that she never wore or only wore once, or I squished her into in order for her to at least wear them once. She grew out of most of the newborn socks before I had even washed them. We had two boxes of newborn nappies left over because she grew out of them so quickly - luckily they have gone to a good home though. And seriously beanies are the most useless things ever if you live in Australia. Not to mention the fact that they make the beanies so ridiculously large that a child would have to be almost one to fit into the newborn size - what the? 

In hindsight I wish I had of listened to those countless people who gave me advice, but I guess all of the baby manufacturers are glad that first time parents never do. I did however work out the two things that you can never have enough of -- baby wipes and bibs! You will always need them even as your child grows. Those buying gifts for baby showers take note! So, when I was asked if I would like to review and giveaway (more info below) some Bibska bibs I didn't have to think twice.

I have a very spewy baby, an unfortunate side affect of milk intolerance and reflux. She is also teething so there is drool everywhere at the moment, so as you can imagine I go through A LOT of bibs. Some of them are soaked through in a matter of minutes and she always manages to get her outfits dirty (lucky I bought lots of clothes). I have tried heaps of different brands of bibs from cheap to expensive in an effort to find one that works well for us. I can honestly say that out of all the bibs I have tried, the Bibska bibs have been the best for keeping her outfits clean and dry. She always does a few vomits after each feed and on the first day we tried out the bibs she did an impressive projectile vomit and to my surprise none of it got on her clothes. And even more amazing was that the bib was not soaked through, the back of it was completely dry. The front did get quite wet, but the cotton absorbed the moisture quite quickly so there was no need to change the bib. Very impressed mummy! Normally it would of meant a complete change of outfit and bib. Major tick right there - it saves me time changing clothes, reduces my washing and reduces the need for a million outfits and bibs to be taken out with us each time we go somewhere.

My little poser :)
Wearing the sweet chevron bib
The bandanna shape of the bib and the way the material has been cut mean that when on it sits flush with the neck and creates a little roll so that milk & food falls away from the neck. If any of you have ever bottle fed you will know that the overflow goes straight into those tiny little creases in their neck - the ones you can never get into and clean properly. I'm happy to say the Bibska bib stopped this and after feeding her neck was still clean and dry and not sticky and covered in fluff. The bibs are also adjustable. I love this feature because it means I don't have to replace them as she grows. She has already outgrown a lot of the newborn bibs we had for her. In the Bibska bibs she still fits the smallest size, so we will be able to use them for quite some time yet. They also fasten with press studs not velcro so no itching on babies neck and the smart little buggers can't pull them off. AWESOME!

Apart from the practical benefits, the Bibska bibs are also a fashion accessory (in fact it's the main reason why Belinda created Bibska bibs in the first place). I can never find bibs that go with outfits properly (unless you get them as part of a clothing set). Most of the big department stores also usually only sell boy bibs in blue and girl bibs in pink - blah boring. So, unless I dress her in pink outfits all the time the bibs never match and I don't know about you, but I am totally into cute matching outfits and I hate it when the bib ruins the look. Yes I'm one of those OCD mums evidently.

Bibska bibs are made from gorgeous fabrics (there are also organic options for those with sensitive skin). There is a print or colour to suit everyone. There are more than 40 different prints to choose from. I am in love with the stylish floral. It goes with so many of her outfits because of the range of colours used in the print and the pattern is small enough that its not overpowering. Bubba liked the sweet chevron one the best. I love the range of prints so much that I have already ordered four more. You can check out all the wonderful designs available here.

Bub modelling the stylish floral bib

The only negative downfall is that they are a little bit on the more expensive side as far as bibs go, but in my opinion the ample benefits out way the cost. Over time they are more cost effective than the cheaper bibs as they last longer. They are also made in Australia so you are supporting a local business which is always a plus for me. And never fear I have you covered on the cost factor anyway - Kids On Abington are generously offering Finding Myself Young readers 15% off any Bibska product - simply use the code bibska15. Discount is valid until December 24th 2013.

These bibs have been a godsend for me and I am so glad that I found them. They are both functional and fashionable. They tick all the boxes for me and I'm sure any mum would love to have one, or two (or seven like me). They would also make an awesome unique baby shower gift for expectant mums! You can find all current Australian stockist's here and if you own a business and would like to stock Bibska bibs then you can email Belinda to find out more information.


I'm excited to be able to offer 3 lucky readers the chance to WIN a Bibska Christmas bib (boy or girl option). Yes you read that right, there will be three lucky winners!

To enter this giveaway you simply need to:
  1. Like Finding Myself Young on Facebook  
  2. Like Bibska Bibs on Facebook
  3. Leave a comment below letting us know - Which is your favourite Bibska Bib design and why?

Giveaway ends 11:59pm on Saturday 14th December 2013. The most creative answers will win. Winners will be contacted via email and announced on this blog post and on Facebook on Sunday 15th December 2013.

Now don't let me keep you any longer because I'm sure you are all eager to head over to Kids On Abington and snap up some gorgeous bibs at 15% off. Don't forget to enter the Christmas giveaway below.

Toni x

Disclosure - I was not paid for this review, but was gifted 3 Bibska bibs (bluebird, sweet chevron & stylish floral). All opinions are my own.

Terms & Conditions
Giveaway commences 10/12/13 12:00am and ends 14/12/13 11:59pm.
Open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT.
3 winners of 1 x Bibska Christmas bib each.
Prize is not transferable.
All 3 steps must be completed to constitute a valid entry.
Strictly one entry per person.
A valid email address must be entered when leaving a comment.
Prizes will be distributed by Bibska Bibs, I hold no responsibility for the delivery of prizes once the giveaway is complete.
This contest is a game of skill and will be judged based on the most creative answers.
Winners will be chosen by Bibska Bibs.
This contest is in no way associated with or endorsed by Facebook.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's starting to feel like Christmas

When I was a child I eagerly awaited Christmas. From the moment the tree was up we were counting down the days to Santa arriving. We used to leave out milk and cookies and I would stay awake (but pretend to be asleep) for as long as I could on Christmas eve in the hope I would catch a glimpse of Santa. I vividly remember one year I was looking out the window on Christmas eve and I thought I saw Santa's sleigh. I could see red and green flashing lights moving across the sky and mum told me I better go to sleep quickly so Santa would come. I was super excited that night! Obviously what I saw was a plane, but my inner child still secretly likes to believe it was Santa. We had huge Santa sacks that would sit under the tree and Santa would fill them when he came. OMG the excitement when we got up Christmas day and they were bursting full of presents!

A few years later I was captivated by the Christmas lights that everyone would put up in December. There is just something magical about fairy lights. I don't quite know what it is, but I am always drawn to them. You can't help but feel happy when you see them, right? In the later years of primary school I convinced my mum that we should put up Christmas lights on our house too. Each year more and more neighbours would join in and our light displays got bigger and better. I got a bit obsessed with it, to the point of drawing out a picture of our house in November so I could plan the light display (and so mum knew exactly where they all had to go). Our Christmas paraphernalia grew and grew each year (as mum discovered boxing day sales) and we then used to set up our whole front lounge room with lights, decorations and our tree (so you could see it from the street). I would play Christmas cds with the window open so passers by could hear carols as they marvelled at our lights. I was always super excited to go walking around the estate and look at all the other houses that had lights up. One of the neighbours would dress up as Santa and give out lollies. It was pure heaven for a child like me who was addicted to the joy of Christmas.

The last few years I lost my love of Christmas. Working in retail for 13 years straight, being bombarded with Christmas carols, trees, decorations and Santa from September onwards kind of diminishes the specialness excitement of Christmas. Apparently you can have too much of a good thing. I found myself wishing for Christmas to be over so I didn't have to be tortured with carols relentlessly playing on repeat for eight hours each day. It numbs your brain, so much so that I couldn't sleep at night because my mind kept singing "silent night, silent night, all is calm, all is bright......" etc etc. Ironically a silent night is exactly what I was wishing for! I wouldn't put up my tree until the last week of December in some kind of defiant protest against the shops. Although, seeing the perfectly merchandised trees at work each day did make me increasignly ocd about where the tree decorations must go. Putting up the tree became a 1-2hr event because I had to carefully place each baubble in the correct spot or the whole thing would be ruined. The joy had slowly left Christmas. It lost its sparkle and shine, but still inside I desperately hoped that one day I would rekindle my love for it.

This is the year! This year there are so many reasons to look forward to Christmas. It's my first Christmas as a mum, so once again I get to experience the joy as a child, through my daughters eyes. I'm on maternity leave and haven't been bombarded with all things christmas since September. YAY! In fact I forgot it was nearly christmas until November. Ever since I realised it was coming I have been eagerly anticipating December. This year I was desperate to set up the Christmas tree, so much so that I wanted to set it up earlier in November (but I managed to hold off until December). I brought all new decorations for the tree and a new stocking for my beanie baby. I want everything to start fresh this year. Its time to create our own new traditions for our new family. I want to create the joy, anticipation and excitement of christmas for my daughter so she can experience the wonder and magic I did as a child. Shes only going to be 5 months old (exactly) this christmas day so she won't understand a lot of it, but we have started by getting her a special baubble and her own special stocking. I'm sure next year she will understand Christmas a lot more and we can add more traditions to our list.

Special bauble for her birth year :)

Her special Santa stocking

Do you have any special christmas time traditions?

Toni xx

Linking up with Tegan for The Lounge
And Kirsty for I Must Confess

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mummy must have | Bellbe finds his beat

One of the activities I enjoyed most as a child was reading. Each book offered a new adventure, a story of wonder, an escape from the ordinary and a pretence for exciting dreams at night. Animals could talk, toys came to life at night, I could go to the moon in my pyjamas, I could even be a mermaid  - the possibilities were endless. One of the best parts of being a child is being able to indulge your imagination everyday (and not know any different). I definitely hope that my daughter inherits my love of reading and I have recently started the search for books for her.

Bellbe finds his beat is the first book in what will be a series of books called Melody Tails by Kate Vernon. Bellbe is a little mouse who lives on Melody island with lots of other animals. One night something magical happens and all the animals become musical, except Bellbe. Poor little Bellbe feels left out that he can't make music like the others. The book follows the journey of the animals to help Bellbe find his beat so that he too can enjoy the fun of music.

I enlisted the help of my niece for this book as bubba is obviously too young to read at the moment. My niece is 3 and a half and was so excited about the book (as you can see in the photo above). She was really captivated by the bright illustrations. She was studying them intently as I read her the story. Although she is only 3 she could understand what was going on from the pictures. She even added to the story and explained each page to me as we were reading. She loved the pictures so much she made me re-read the book over and over so she could take pictures on my phone of the animals (of every animal on every page). Some of her pictures below:

My niece reading

Cute pics and commentary courtesy of my niece

Bellbe finds his beat offers a story of magic and wonder. It includes adventures far and wide. Most of all I love the fact that it teaches children the importance of supporting each other, friendship and teamwork. It also has the excitement and fun of music and play. It has all the ingredients to inspire imagination whilst also subtly teaching children it's important to be there for each other so nobody feels left out. It sends a wonderful message and I will definitely be reading it to my daughter once she is old enough to understand. In my opinion the book is best suited for children aged 3-8 as they will get the most out of the illustrations and the story.

In my day (god I sound so old and a lot like my grandmother when I say that), books were only available in actual print. These days technology has advanced a lot and the digital age means new ways of reading. The world of e-books means you can now take multiple books with you anywhere and everywhere on your mobile device or tablet. Most children these days are fluent in operating smart phone and tablet apps by the time they are 1 or 2 which absolutely amazes me. My own daughter has almost mastered the art of candy crush at 4 months old (obviously I play it too much around her). Having a children's book on the tablet for them to read is a great educational way to entertain them. Bellbe finds his beat is available to purchase in e-book with audio narration [iphone & ipad only], soft cover or limited edition hard cover.

As part of this review, Finding Myself Young readers are offered 20% off when purchasing the e-book edition. To claim the discount simply:

- Like Finding Myself Young on Facebook
- Head to Melody Tails
- Follow the link to purchase
- Choose the e-book option
- Enter BELLBE20 into the discount code box at checkout
- This discount is valid on e-book purchases only
- Soft cover and hard cover copies can be purchased for the normal RRP

Happy reading!

Toni x

Disclosure - I was not paid for this review, but was gifted a soft copy of Bellbe finds his beat. All opinions are my own (and my nieces) based on reading the book.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The best job in the world

I have never worked harder in my life than now. I get up so much earlier than I ever did before and have a lot less sleep. I work 24/7. I'm not allowed to take sick days or holidays and I don't even get paid. I take my work home with me, infact I take it everywhere I go.

I am lucky if I get a lunch or dinner break and then even luckier if its long enough to actually eat the food. I have become an expert at drinking luke warm and sometimes cold cups of tea. I am a master of eating with one hand. Actually I'm a master of doing almost anything with one hand.

I have replaced make up with a new look called sleep deprivation - its pale white, sometimes with tinges of red and comes complete with puffy baggy eyes. No need to apply any products at all, just get up and wall-ah I'm ready to go.

I don't need to wear perfume anymore as I am almost always wearing a new scent known as le babe vomitte.

Some nights I still think I need to set my alarm before I go to bed, then I realise I have a human alarm clock sleeping beside me.

Raising children is a hard job, but it also has its benefits. I get to spend the whole day with my best friend. She doesn't complain that I talk too much. She loves that I am weird (at least I think she does). I get to bust out dance moves for no reason whenever I want. I get to play with toys. I get smiles, hugs and kisses on demand. It's a hard job, but its also the most rewarding one I've ever had.

When I am at the point of exhaustion and wishing for my old job back often something will happen that reminds me why this is also the perfect job. The other morning she took my hand and placed it on her heart and held hers on top of mine while she was falling asleep. And just like that in those split seconds that tiny little gesture melted my heart and I forgot everything else that had happened. The crying, the early mornings, the countless dirty nappies and being covered in vomit no longer mattered. Nothing else mattered.

It is the hardest job, but it is the best job in the world.

Toni xx

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mummy Must Have Review | I've got an Ow! Health Diary

Being a mother of a child with allergies I have spent a lot of time at drs offices, the emergency ward and we have been admitted to hospital twice. If you have ever been to the hospital with your child you will know that you end up repeating your story over and over to countless drs, each time having to start from the beginning. Most of the time this goes on and on for hours often into the late hours of the evening (kids never seem to need a dr during normal hours right?). On top of that you are usually sleep deprived so by the time you try to repeat the story for the tenth time at 11pm at night you are bound to forget poignant information like the specific number of minutes between feeding and the time the symptoms first started appearing. Most likely you will be highly emotional and stressing about your child getting help and end up cursing yourself for not being able to recall vital information - which is usually required before they will offer treatment. Each time I'm in this situation I find myself thinking wouldn't it be so much easier if I had a place to record all of her symptoms as they happen.

Well my friends I have finally found the perfect place to record this. The I've got an ow! children's health diary is the wonderful creation of Monique Smart the creative mum who is also the founder, owner and big cheese at Messpots. She designed it after realising (like me) that the children's health record book given out by the government when you have a baby could be better. The blue book or red book (depending which state you're in) focuses more on developmental milestones and issues and doesn't provide adequate room to record everyday or serious health issues that arise. It's like she read my mind. She saw a gap in the market for a comprehensive, child specific health diary where parents can record all necessary health details in the one place. In my opinion this is one of the best inventions for children and all parents should have one, especially those whose children have allergies or asthma. Not only will it save your sanity in those times of high stress and panic, it will also ensure that drs can come to the correct diagnosis quicker, saving valuable time in an emergency situation.

Image: Messpots

I've got an Ow! is a stylish, purpose-designed diary to help parents manage and track their child's health. It allows you to keep notes of symptoms, illnesses, diagnosed conditions and any treatments administered. It can be used to record things such as falls, fevers, allergic reactions and dr or hospital visits, to name a few. You can also store all necessary health contact information and family medical history. It is an invaluable resource for your child's health. It is light and compact enough to fit in a nappy bag or handbag so you can always have it on hand to jot down notes while out or as a reference during Dr and hospital visits. My only regret with this diary is that I didn't hear about it or get it sooner! It would have made diagnosing her allergy a much quicker process. So, I'm paying it forward and spreading the word.


  • Contact pages for healthcare providers (e.g doctor & paediatrician)
  • First aid and children's health resource information for AU/NZ and Canada, US and UK [new edition only]   
  • Space to record relevant insurance and Medicare details  
  • Space to record developmental milestones [new edition]
  • Immunisation records
  • Family medical history details [new edition]
  • Over 85 pages to track symptoms, treatments, ongoing health events and medications
  • General notes section
  • Sheet to store business cards or photos
  • Pocket to store scripts and important paperwork
  • Over 108 pages in total

I particularly like the sheet for cards and the pocket at the back. We have a lot of appointments at the doctors and the hospital and I still seem to have baby brain so I have to write them all down or I will forget them. I usually write appointments on the calendar, but of course that doesn't help me to remember when I'm not at home. The plastic sheet means I can easily store appointment cards so I always know my next appointment dates. The pocket is also great for storing her scripts and important diagnosis and appointment letters from the hospital. It's much more organised than having countless cards and pieces of paper floating around in my bag, which I can never seem to find when I want them.

The I've got an Ow! journal has so many benefits other than acting as your memory for you. Having the information on hand all the time means that you also have a current and comprehensive medical history for your own reference, rather than having to go to a doctor to recall dates of previous illnesses. Recording symptoms over a period of time can also aid you in working out what the triggers are for allergies and asthma as well as other conditions such as eczema. It will come in very handy for us to monitor her allergy symptoms as they are appearing more often and appear to be getting more severe.

The diary can also be passed around so that anybody who is caring for your child will have the health information on hand should something happen while you are not there. It is easy to use so those carers will also be able to add notes should symptoms occur whilst the child is in their care. This is also particularly useful in the case of separated parents where the child is constantly going between parents. There is no need to have two books, you can simply take it from one house to the other so each parent has access to the same comprehensive medical history.

The journal can be passed onto your child once they are older so they have their own childhood medical history with them as an adult. That way they won't need to memorise all childhood illnesses, operations etc. I know I find it hard to recall the exact year certain operations and illnesses happened to me as a child, yet drs always insist on asking. At least my daughter will have all that information at hand when needed.

I am so grateful that I have this diary, especially having a baby with colic, reflux and allergies. We have a long road ahead of trial and error to find out if she has any more food allergies. This health diary will be invaluable for monitoring her reactions and determining any further intolerances, especially when we embark on solids. I will definitely be getting one for any other children we may have in the future. It would also be a unique and thoughtful present for expectant mums.

Toni x

Disclosure - I did not receive payment for this review, but was gifted a copy of the I've got an Ow! diary. All opinions are my own based on using the product.

Read more Mummy Must Have reviews to find other helpful products for your child.