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Monday, September 28, 2015

How to boost your child's immunity

If you're anything like me, or most of my friends with kids, then you've probably dealt with your fair share of runny noses, colds and fevers. You may have even been unfortunate enough to have dealt with hand, foot and mouth like we have. Kids have a habit of getting sick {a lot}, especially if they attend daycare. You'll never stop kids getting sick altogether, but to help minimise the chance of them catching every lurgy going around, the team at have put together a list of ways to boost your child's immunity.

Boosting Your Child’s Immunity

Do you worry about how often your child gets ill? Getting sick might seem like an inevitable part of growing up but it’s often no coincidence that some children have very robust immune systems, while others catch everything going around. If your child falls into the latter category, here’s some good news: the experts believe that you can help your child to build a stronger immune system with some lifestyle and diet changes.

You Are What You Eat

Building a strong immune system is closely connected to diet. A balanced diet is a must for good health so you probably won’t be too surprised to know that it’s one of the main building blocks for a more resilient immune system. At its most simplest, this involves making sure that your child is getting a range of key nutrients that are vital for a healthy immune system, including vitamin C, Vitamin D, B vitamins, zinc, essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
You know the importance of making sure that your child eats at least 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables each day but some have particular benefits when it comes to immunity. Carrots, strawberries, oranges and green beans all contain phytonutrients for much stronger resistance against viruses, for example. Berries are a good source of vitamin C, and also contain antioxidants. They can be added to cereals or eaten as snacks.  Leafy greens can be added to lasagne or made into smoothies if your child isn’t keen on eating them.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic and can work wonders for building stronger immunity. It is most effective when it’s fresh and raw, and can be added to pasta dishes to disguise the taste.

Building a Healthier Digestive System

Taking probiotics on a daily basis can help to restore levels of healthy bacteria in the gut for better digestive health. Yoghurt can also work well in this regard, especially those with active cultures.

Limiting Sugar and Additives

Studies have suggested that eating too much sugar can have negative impact on resilience and may actually weaken the immune system. If your child is regularly eating junk food and sugary drinks, this may go some way towards explaining why they pick up bugs and viruses, especially if it isn't evened out with lots of healthy, immune-boosting foods as well.

Staying Hydrated

Even a relatively mild level of dehydration means that your child’s body isn’t functioning as effectively as it could be. Water and milk are the best options for staying hydrated. Fizzy drinks and juices with high sugar content should be restricted or avoided.

Can Health Insurance Help?

If you’re concerned that your child’s immunity may be compromised by allergies, you may be interested to know more about Nutrition/Dietetics support, which is available on Extras health insurance with some health funds. This can also be invaluable if your child’s diet is likely to have an effect on their physical health due to a particular condition that they have. Seeing a dietician privately can soon become fairly expensive but health insurance can cover some of this to make it more affordable. You’ll usually need a mid to top level Extra policy for this type of support to be included, as basic Extras policies do not usually cover it.

At, we’re all about helping more Australians to understand health insurance and find the best cover for their needs and budget. Whether you’re just trying to get a feel for the market or you’ve already got a very good idea of what you need to be covered for, we’ll help you to find a policy that works for you.

Linking with Eva & Alicia 
Friday, September 25, 2015

Kids First Aid Australia - first aid courses for parents

Before I had bub I'd never done a first aid course. I never really had a need to, at work we had first aid officers and at home T had first aid training, so I figured I'd be covered should something happen {the thought of something happening to him never crossed my mind, obviously}.

Having a tiny little human changed all that though. Knowing I was now responsible for her life made me realise just how important it was for me to be prepared should something happen. As luck would have it I had a baby with a severe dairy allergy which caused her to choke on a regular basis {before her allergy was diagnosed}, which was extremely scary. One time she even stopped breathing. Watching your baby flailing around in your arms struggling to breath and turning grey is one of the scariest experiences you can go through as a parent, and I went through it whilst home alone and having no idea what to do.

It was deathly silent but I could see the fear in her little eyes as she looked up at me unable to breathe. She was only 3 months old. Instinctively I put her over my should and whacked her {as hard as you can whack a 3 month old} until she started getting some air in. I didn't think to call an ambulance, in that moment my instincts went into survival mode and I did what I could to try and get her breathing again. It worked, but she remained struggling to breath through mucus and was lethargic for a good hour afterwards. I took her to the doctor, who sent us to the hospital and we spent the night being monitored. After that I knew I had to get some first aid training because chances were it would happen again.
When she was about 5 months old I did a Kids First Aid course after seeing them advertised online. Kids First Aid courses are run by husband and wife paramedics Ben and Kate Fisher and are specifically designed for parents and caregivers. The course runs for 3hrs and covers the top 10 most common emergency situations likely to occur involving children - allergies and anaphylaxis, choking, bites and stings, burns, fits and fevers, poisoning, fractures and bleeding, head injuries, drowning and meningococcal. They also cover CPR in depth and you get a quick reference poster to take home.

Kate ran the course that I attended with my mum and it was such a relaxed and intimate setting, where we were able to ask questions throughout the presentation. Having the information provided put into context through her own experience being a paramedic made it stick in the forefront of my mind. I also learnt how to do effective CPR for the first time in my life and it wasn't anywhere near as complicated as I thought it would be. I immediately felt better equipt to deal with any emergency situations that may arise in the future. Little did I know that a few months later I'd be faced with another emergency situation at home.

One night while avoiding bed time bub was jumping on the couch, and literally seconds after I told her to be careful or she'd fall off, she lost her footing and fell head first onto the tiled floor. Of course I was horrified watching it unravel in front of my eyes, but once she started screaming I knew that was a good sign. I knew that if she stayed conscious, screamed and wasn't vomiting then there was a good chance she was ok. She had a huge bruise that started swelling rapidly on her head so we called an ambulance without hesitation {something I probably would've second guessed before taking the course}. In the time between calling the ambulance and them arriving I knew I had to keep her awake so we cuddled up on the couch, with a cool face washer over her swollen bruise, and watched the Bananas in Pyjamas until the ambulance officers arrived. I have no doubt that the kids first aid course helped me to remain a lot calmer in that situation than I would've been usually. I knew what signs to look out for after a head injury and the way she was responding made me feel a lot less anxious. I also felt confident calling the ambulance which I've never done before {mind you I did lose it a little bit when I saw how much her head was swelling}. That single incident alone made the $85 I spent on the first aid course worth it.

Recently I attended another Kids First Aid course as a refresher with my friend Cate. This time the course was run by Ben and I also took the time to practice my CPR skills on the training dummy. It was great to do the course again and refresh my skills that I learnt the first time. 

Note: I probably wouldn't be smiling if giving CPR for real

This was Cate's first time attending a Kids First Aid course so I asked her some questions about her experience.

How old are your children?
I've got four kids at home, 13, 8, 6 and 2

What did you learn during the session?
I learnt that the Bee Gees song "stayin alive"actually has a purpose in the world (you'll have to do the course to find out what) and that if you give a child nurofen and panadol and the fever still doesn't break, they probably have meningoccocal

Have you ever been in a situation where having first aid knowledge could have helped?
Considering the four kids, and my previous role as a scout leader, I've never actually needed to use my first aid knowledge

Since completing the session, do you feel more prepared in the event of an emergency?
I definitely feel more confident about being able to give CPR if, heaven forbid, something was to happen.

What did you enjoy most about the session?
Hearing actual stories of emergencies from the instructor and other group members is quite interesting, because it shows that these things do actually happen to people, it's not just someone trying to scare you into learning.

Kids First Aid offers the only first aid courses delivered exclusively by experienced paramedics, designed to teach parents and caregivers how to respond calmly and confidently to 10 of the most common first aid emergency situations involving children. KFA courses are available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Perth and Adelaide. To book and find the closest course visit Email now and mention this blog to secure 10% discount.

One of the main aims of the course is for parents and caregivers to feel confident enough to administer first aid during the period of time before the ambulance arrives. No matter how quick an ambulance is to respond to an emergency, there is inevitably going to be a period of time where you as a primary carer are going to be the only person available to administer CPR or first aid, and those crucial moments could save a life. I personally feel so much more confident in being able to handle that situation if needed to and I think all parents should do this course because you never know when you may find yourself in that situation.

Kids First Aid have just released an online video course. With over 2 hours of comprehensive, high-definition video training, it shows you how to calmly and effectively handle 10 of the most common emergency situations Aussie kids face (so you’re never left looking on helplessly). Kids First Aid are letting Finding Myself Young readers get lifetime access to the course at a significant discount. That means you can go through the course as many times as you like, share it with your family and caregivers, and return to it whenever you need a refresher. Find out all about the Kids First Aid online course here.

Disclosure - I was given complimentary tickets to attend the recent Kids First Aid course in return for this post, however I have previously paid to attend the course myself. All opinions, including unfortunate emergencies, are my own. Affiliate links are included in this post for the online course which means if you sign up I get a small % of the purchase price, however it does not affect the cost to you.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mummy Must Have Review | Adventure Snacks

Having a child with lots of food allergies means I'm usually cooking everything from scratch. She very rarely gets to eat anything out of a packet and when she does its usually from the health food aisle. The rest of the time I'm slaving away in the kitchen or she's eating something simple like sultanas or coconut yoghurt as snacks. I pretty much don't eat snacks around her either because if I eat anything that she can't have and she catches me all hell breaks loose, especially when I'm trying to explain to her that she can't eat it because she has allergies {which she still doesn't understand yet}. Its easier to just avoid eating things in front of her, by sneaking food behind the pantry doors.

I've recently discovered Adventure Snacks, a company which makes healthy and convenient snacks for busy mums. Founder of Adventure Snacks, Tracey, started the company to fill a void for mums who want to create healthy snacks for their kids and themselves. She's created a number of ready to make packet mixes so mums have all the ingredients on hand to create healthy recipes, free from refined sugar and preservatives, quickly without having to go to the supermarket to grab a heap of items. All you need to add are some basics from the pantry like milk or butter. There's also a new range of ready to eat dried fruit and trail mix snacks.


I have to admit, I've never baked cookies before - from a packet mix or from scratch. I know its probably a bit sacrilegious to admit I'm a mum who's never baked cookies, but there you go. The reason being I don't want her to be eating sugar loaded sweet cookies all the time {plus I don't need to be eating any more sugary treats either} and I naively thought all cookies were sweet ones. I was so excited to see Adventure Snacks have a healthy cookie recipe {and even more excited that it sneaks carrot which bub currently refuses to eat}.

The best way I could describe the sultana, oat & carrot cookies is similar to an Anzac biscuit {although I may just be thinking that because the oats reminded me of Anzac biscuits}. You can't taste the carrot at all so the kids will never know its in there. I found them to be a little dry more like a biscuit texture rather than a chewy cookie, although I did overcook mine a little bit {like I said I've never made cookies before}. It didn't stop my mum stealing them for herself though, and she doesn't even like sultanas.


Bliss balls are one of those things I've always wanted to try making, but have been too scared to actually do it. I've always been a bit lost about what to put in them {there's so many different versions out there}, plus I don't have a huge stash of nuts and seeds sitting at home that I can use, should the desire to make them arise on a whim. I'm not about to rush out to the supermarket just to buy all the ingredients to make them, to me that kind of defeats the purpose of them because they're meant to be quick and easy. The cranberry, fig & seed balls packet mix makes it so easy to make bliss balls. It literally took me about 3 minutes to make them.

The packet mix has everything you need in it except coconut oil. Preparing them literally meant whizzing them in the food processor for a few minutes and then rolling them into balls. So easy! Admittedly I did skip rolling them in desiccated coconut after {because I don't like the texture of coconut}, but that would only take an extra minute or two. If you're a fan of sultanas, cranberries and figs then these will be your idea of heaven.


Tracey has also recently added a range of ready to eat snacks in addition to the packet mixes. The snack packs include trail mixes and dried organic, preservative free fruits. We've tried the natural sultanas and the dried mango and papaya. Bub loves the sultanas, every time she has them she always asks "more tanies pease" and ends up having 2-3 bowls of them in a row. I'm in love with the dried mango and papaya, it tastes exactly like eating the normal fruit, but you don't feel like you're eating as much. Bub liked the mango but she's not a fan of having to chew it, which is fine by me because it means there's more for mummy. It also gives me a healthier alternative when I'm in a grazing mood and would normally turn to sneaking lollies in the pantry.

One of the things I love about Adventure Snacks is that you can make the packet mixes dairy free if you want to. It's so hard for me to find packet versions of almost anything which are completely dairy free + don't contain any of bub's other allergens, but Adventure Snacks has a good range of foods that are ok for bub to eat. There's also gluten free and vegan friendly choices.

While the packet mixes may appear a bit expensive to some, when you break down the cost of buying all the individual organic ingredients you'd need to make them from scratch it actually works out alright. Plus sometimes you can't put a price on convenience {like when you have a cranky toddler screaming at you for food NOW}. If you're unsure of whether your kids will like the flavours and don't want to buy an entire mix incase it goes to waste, you can try the trial pack which includes smaller packets of the sultana, oat and carrot cookies, choc-beet muffins and cranberry, fig & seed balls for $25.

Are you a packet mix or cook from scratch kind of person? 

Toni x

Disclosure - I was provided some trial packs of the mentioned Adventure Snack items in order to review them. All opinions expressed are my own based on our experience with the items. I did not receive payment for this review.

Linking with Jess & Kylie
Monday, September 21, 2015

Infertility hurts

A handful of people know that we've been trying to have another baby. Others have probably guessed, but I've kept it pretty close to my chest. I was really hoping that this time around it would just happen. That somehow my first pregnancy would've flicked a switch in my body and it would just know what to do to get pregnant this time around. I was hoping, actually wishing, my infertility would've gone away and I wouldn't have to go through all this pain again. But here we are after trying for almost 6 months and we're no closer to being pregnant than we were when we started.

It was at this point when trying for bub that I pretty much had a breakdown and went to the fertility Dr to start treatment. I spent 3½ years prior to that trying to conceive with my ex-husband so I knew after 6 months of nothing happening that I didn't want to waste any more time. I didn't want the roller-coaster of emotions to go on any longer than it had to. This time though it's felt different, at least I thought it did. I thought I was coping.

The last few months I've felt much more relaxed than I did the first time around. Already having a child now I haven't been as desperate as I was before. I know its possible for me to get pregnant and I already have a gorgeous little girl who I get to hang out with every day. My life hasn't been hinging on pregnancy tests each month like it was the first time. There have still been pregnancy tests every now and then {thanks to my body being all over the place and giving me false hope}, but there haven't been as many. Because I know how heartbreaking it is watching that ink run across the test window, hoping and praying for a second line to appear. Those 3 minutes seem like a lifetime and then just like that they're over and that one single line is the most depressing thing you've ever seen. Its amazing how a bit of ink on a piece of paper can so vehemently crush you. Well not this time round. I've taken a few tests, but I've rarely allowed myself to get my hopes up. Only once did I actually think I might be pregnant, but I convinced myself I wasn't so the negative test wasn't as hard to swallow.

I thought I was handling it. I thought I was stronger than last time. I have a thicker skin afterall. I've been there, done that and most of all I know it can work. I know there can be success and I thought that knowledge would be enough to get me through. But its not. It's becoming so apparent that its not.

This week I burst into tears after seeing a pregnancy announcement. It wasn't because I'm not happy for them, I'm so so happy for them, it was just a {completely unexpected} knee jerk reaction. Reality smacked me over the head. For some reason that single moment made it glaringly obvious to me that no matter how much I want to get pregnant I can't just decide I want it to work and have it happen. Other people can decide they want a baby and have a baby, and I just can't. And I'm not ok with that. Suddenly, in a split second, all of the feelings came rushing back and the only way I can process that is by crying. The emotional floodgates have opened. I can feel it.

I'm back to feeling inadequate. I'm back to feeling like I'm not a real woman, because I know my body can't do what its meant to be able to do. And that hurts. It hurts so much. It hurts just as much as the first time. I thought it was different the second time around, but its exactly the same, I'd just built up much higher walls around my feelings, but right now they're crumbling all around me and I don't know what to do.

I don't want to be here again. I don't want to be on this roller-coaster. I don't want to feel helpless. I don't want to look at bub and just see time ticking away and realise that there might be a huge age gap between her and a sibling, or that she might end up being an only child. I don't want to be seeing the world this way again, but I don't want to get off this ride either. I don't give up and I won't. I can't. I have to hold onto the hope that we will still have another baby, even if it means more fertility treatment. I just wish I still had rose coloured glasses on and could pretend it wasn't hurting so much.

I know it has nothing to do with the pregnancy announcement either, that was simply a catalyst to something that would've happened eventually. Apparently you can push your feelings down as hard as possible, but eventually they find a way to bubble back up to the surface.

But, I know things are never as bad as they seem and there's always hope so I'll put a smile on my face and keep holding onto that {and cuddle all my friends adorable babies until we can have another one ourselves}.

Toni x

Linking with Kirsty, Alicia & Eva
Friday, September 18, 2015

Dairy free banana muffins

I love baking savoury recipes, but I've never really had a desire to bake sweet things, with the exception of cupcakes for birthdays every now and then. However, since having a toddler I've realised savoury just won't cut it all the time. Even though she doesn't get sugar that often {because she doesn't eat much processed food due to allergies} she's still managed to work out what it is and decided that she LOVES it. So naturally to keep her happy I've had to come up with something sweet that's ok for her to have every now and then, so banana muffins it is.

Of course I still had to keep them allergy friendly so I came up with a recipe that is dairy free, soy free and egg free. For this recipe I've used nuttlex, oat milk and egg replacer powder to substitute the butter, milk and eggs. You could also use almond milk instead of oat milk if you want to add a bit more sweetness {although I think they're sweet enough as they are, but it all comes down to personal preference}.

I've made the muffins quite a few times now and have used 2 large cavendish bananas each time which gives them a subtle banana flavour, but if you want them to be a bit more in your face banana then use 3 bananas. You can of course use lady-fingers if you prefer them. I make the muffins as mini patty cake size muffins for bub and normal ones for us {although lately she's been eating the big ones too}.


* 2 overripe bananas {mashed}
* 2 cups self-raising flour
* 1 cup caster sugar
* 2 tablespoons Nuttlex
* 1 egg {using egg replacer powder}
* 2 tablespoons oat milk

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
2. Beat wet ingredients together using an electric mixer.
3. Slowly add in dry ingredients while mixing until well combined.
4. Fill muffin cases and cook in oven for 15-20 minutes until risen and skewer comes out clean.

Linking with Lauren, Grace & Kylie
Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mummy Must Have Review | Dress My Bear

One of the first things you think of as a gift for a new baby or child is a teddy bear. It's a gift that remains appropriate all throughout childhood. They make great confidants, partners in crime during fun adventures, buddies at picnics and often they become treasured keepsakes as we get older.

The humble teddy bear has come a long way with countless different colours and styles to choose from across a plethora of shops. These days there's also a number of different companies that offer personalised teddy bears. One company offering personalised bears with a twist is Dress My Bear.

Dress My Bear combine a traditional soft and cuddly bear with personalised artwork of your choice. There are two bears to choose from - the traditional teddy bear with a white shirt or a graduation bear with a graduation hat, white shirt and scroll. Both bears can be personalised with either a photo, scanned artwork or image of your choice which is printed onto the white t-shirt.
Dress My Bear use a super soft honey coloured bear which is great for both boys or girls. Each bear is 25cm high. Teddy bears are $29.95 and graduation bears are $31.95. Bears can be ordered online from Dress My Bear. The ordering process isn't overwhelming, in fact its really quick and easy. Simply:

1. Choose which bear {teddy bear or a graduation bear}
2. Upload artwork  {scanned artwork, photo or an image}

I ordered two different bears {one basic teddy bear and one graduation bear}. I got one with a photo of us together and on the other one I scanned a copy of one of her drawings. The ordering process was really easy and the bears arrived quickly after my order was finalised. If you do have any issues ordering they are very helpful, responding quickly via email.


I chose a photo of the two of us together that was taken when we were mucking around one day. We love to take selfies together pretty much every day and we're usually making funny faces. I love this photo because it captures her cheeky personality perfectly. This bear will definitely be a keepsake for her to have when she's older. I also hope that if we ever have to be apart for any reason she can hug her bear and feel like I'm still with her.

I was really happy with the way the photo turned out on the teddy bear. I thought it might have come out grainy or lost a bit of detail when it transferred onto the shirt but its come up almost exactly the same as the original image. She recognised that it was me and her straight away.


The artwork on the graduation bear looks exactly like a tiny replica of her original drawing. Dress My Bear also put a nice border around the image in a complimentary colour that makes it really pop on the t-shirt. You can also request to have your child's name, age and the year {or a combination of them} added under the drawing which I did because later on I'm likely to forget how old she was when she drew it.

We originally had a different drawing ready to go on her bear, but I made the mistake of leaving it on the table after it was finished and she spilt her drink on it and destroyed it. I don't know why people say don't cry over spilt milk because I certainly wanted to cry when that happened. Bub doesn't really draw proper pictures yet, but she does do some pretty colourful squiggles. To make her drawing a bit more interesting I drew a heart and tried to get her to colour it in. Clearly that failed and she just drew everywhere around it, so I coloured it in. I wanted to put a heart on it because heart is one of her new favourite words at the moment and she recognises them straight away. As soon as we opened the bear from the bag she immediately pointed to it "heart mummy, look heart", followed by "hat mummy, look bear hat".


In addition to their normal bears which make great gifts, Dress My Bear also have fundraising packages available for schools. Bears can be purchased at special fundraising rates, personalised as you choose and then sold for the RRP to make a profit for your school. Dress My Bear offer a unique fundraising item that steps out of the box compared to the more traditional sausage sizzle or chocolate drive fundraising ideas. Although it is a higher investment for those purchasing {compared to chocolate for example}, it means they get a personalised keepsake that lasts forever, plus you raise a higher profit for your school compared to traditional methods. To enquire about fundraising packages, fill out this form.


Teddies from Dress My Bear make a great personalised gift or keepsake for children of all ages. They'd be great gifts for a baby shower, birthday, Christmas, mothers day, fathers day or graduation. Dress My Bear are kindly offering Finding Myself Young readers free shipping, simply use the code fmyfree at the checkout when ordering via

Did you have a treasured teddy as a child?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was provided with 2 bears with images of my choice for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own based on my experience with the ordering process and the product. I did not receive payment for this review.

Linking with Jess
Monday, September 14, 2015

Too Busy Sleeping - Zanni Louise & Anna Pignataro

We've always known we want more than one child {we want 3 if you're wondering}. So we've known since bub was born that there'll come a time when we're going to have to prepare her for the arrival of a new sibling {at least if infertility grants us another baby}. Bringing a new sibling home can be a huge adjustment for a child so I know we'll have to approach it delicately when the time comes so she's not too overwhelmed.

It just so happens that one of the mums in my mothers group added to her family recently so bub's started being exposed to the idea of a new baby. Its sparked an interest in babies so we've got a few "baby" dolls so she can pretend to feed, cuddle and love the baby. I'm planning on using these to help her once a new baby comes into our family. In addition to her own baby doll, I also plan on using books to help her through the transition period.

I've always been a big believer in using children's books to help explain difficult situations to kids. They're written in simple, easy words that kids understand and often explain situations better than we could ourselves. Plus the illustrations also help children to visually understand situations they've never experienced before. So, when fellow blogger {and children's author} Zanni asked me if I'd like to review her new book Too Busy Sleeping, I jumped at the chance. I want every tool up my sleeve for when the time comes.

Too Busy Sleeping - Zanni Louise & Anna Pignataro
Little Hare, 2015

Too Busy Sleeping tells the story of Eleanor, a little girl who's adjusting to the arrival of her new baby brother Reuben. It takes us through her first day as a big sister after he arrives home. Eleanor longs to play with baby Reuben, but he's always too busy sleeping. She faces frustration throughout the day, but overcomes it in a positive way each time.

I can see bub in Eleanor, from her blonde hair to the games she plays throughout the day, her inquisitive nature and even the fact that she eats spaghetti for dinner {which is bub's all time favourite meal}. I know that she'll relate to the story in many ways once she's a little bit older. She doesn't quite have the attention span to sit and take in the whole story at the moment, but she does sit and point to all the pictures with me and tell me what they are and what Eleanor's doing. We read the story, without reading the actual story if you know what I mean.

So many children see having a new sibling as a bad thing, but Zanni has been able to portray the whole experience in a positive light throughout the book, even when Eleanor faces frustration. Zanni explains the joy, fun and laughter little babies can bring {in a way that children will understand}; even though they may not always do what you want them to. 

Anna Pignataro has illustrated the book with beautiful watercolour and collage drawings that compliment Zanni's words perfectly. She captures the magic and whimsy of childhood through her gorgeous illustrations {including the pencil outlines which remind me of my own drawings when I was younger}. The collage pieces are so detailed the pictures appear to be three dimensional. I can't help myself, I keep touching the pages trying to feel all the different fabrics and textures. Bub is super tactile so she spends ages touching the pictures and often wants to go back to certain pictures to look at them over and over.

Too Busy Sleeping will be a constant feature in our house, especially now that bub is getting more and more into books. I'll be reading to to her regularly in the hopes that when we do add to our family she'll be readily prepared for what's to come. I hope her experience with a new bub is just as positive as Eleanor's {and just quietly I hope our next bub is too busy sleeping because it'd be nice to have a baby that likes to sleep for a change}.

Too Busy Sleeping is available in hardback for $24.95 from Zanni Louise and at leading book stores throughout Australia.

Toni x

Disclosure - I was given a copy of Too Busy Sleeping in order to provide a review. All opinions expressed are my own based on the book. I did not receive payment for this review.

Linking with AliciaKirsty & Caroline.
Friday, September 11, 2015

Interview with Tina Harris from Lah-Lah

We're a little obsessed with Lah-Lah at our place. Bub loves to get up and dance to all the songs and I have to admit I don't mind them either. I particularly love Brush Your Teeth because it helps me to get her to brush her teeth at night {which for some reason is always more of a challenge for me than daddy?}. We also love to dance around the lounge room to Shake it Like This.

Lah-Lah, Buzz the Bandleader {and Lola double bass}, Mister Saxaphone, Squeezy Sneezy the piano accordion and Tom Tom are welcomed into our home numerous times throughout the week thanks to their ABC KIDS show Lah-Lah Adventures. We also have a Lah-Lah dvd which makes an appearance at least once a week {and always has to be played more than once because bub demands more Lah-Lah!}. If that wasn't enough Lah-Lah, we're also going to see them live in concert in Brisbane at the end of September - woohoo I can't wait, I mean bub can't wait.

I know we're not the only Lah-Lah mad household so I asked you guys on facebook if you had any burning questions for Lah Lah and of course you did. I was lucky enough to interview Tina Harris {aka Lah-Lah} via email to get all your questions answered. I also discovered her and Mark once lived in Paris, how cool is that?


Hi Tina,

Thank-you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview for the blog. 

Lots of my readers are big fans of yourself and the band and would love to get to know more about you and the other band members. I put a call out on social media and these are the questions my readers wanted to ask you. 

When did your love of music first start?

I think I’ve always had a love of music but it probably all started in grade 3 when our primary teacher started a band program. He had a sign up sheet and you could take any instrument home for 2 weeks until you found a match. I started on the trumpet and ended up on the alto saxophone. That was my instrument for years before I picked up singing in high school.

When did you first come up with the idea of Lah-Lah and the big live band, and did you always want to be a children's entertainer?

I had no idea this is the path my life would lead. In fact for many years I studied trained and performed as an opera singer. Mark and I even moved to Paris after I finished my Masters of Performance at the Con in Sydney. I was in love with French music so we moved to France, crazy but true. When Lily and Emily were born life shifted gears and I was really looking for something that fit with family life and my love of music so we started a little class which ended up being a school....then Lah-Lah :)

Did you always plan on having a tv series, or did that evolve over time?

It was after we made our first DVD with Nickelodeon that the idea of a TV series became a possibility. Before that it was a dream of mine but Mark thought I was crazy (this is a regular thought in our family:) but the actual TV series was created with our director Deb Ryan, Mark and myself. It took 18 months to make and was a real love project.

How many instruments can all the band members play in total?

Well Tom Tom plays drum and percussion (so lots!) and Mister Saxophone plays: Saxophone, flute and clarinet. Buzz is bass and Squeezy is piano and accordion.

How do you come up with song ideas?

I’m usually the ideas girl, I sing my thoughts into my phone usually, send them to Mark who works his magic and then we argue about how it should go for a day or so and then usually end up with something we both love. On Sing it Loud the new album all the boys in the band wrote songs for the album and we just love that.

Do you have a favourite song? We're very fond of brush your teeth here as we sing it each night while she's brushing her teeth.

One of my favourite songs is one Squeezy (Gary Daley) wrote called Natures Song. He actually wrote it 20 years ago for his kids when they were little but never recorded it. When he brought it to the band we all just loved it.

Do you have any advice for kids who have a passion for music and drama?

To just go for it, join a group at school or one after school and explore. It really is such a wonderful way to grow your creativity and this really is such an important part of anyone’s education. Thinking creatively heaps to solve problems in all disciplines of life :)

Is there a Lah-Lah movie planned or would you consider it in the future?

Wouldn't that be fun? Our main focus is to get the funding and plans ready for series 2. There’s a new DVD released last month and a new one coming out in November. For now that will keep us plenty busy :)

Tina is so down to earth and lovely to talk to, I can't wait to meet her and the other band members in a few weeks time. Lah-Lah's Big Live Band are currently on tour playing live shows across the country. They're coming to QLD later this month and have shows in other states up until December. If you'd love to see them live in concert you can find all the tour dates and purchase tickets online via the Lah-Lah website.

Are your kids obsessed with Lah Lah too?

Toni x

Linking with Grace, Karen, Sonia and Karin
Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mummy Must Have Review | smarTrike® Explorer 5 trikes in 1

There comes a time in a toddlers life when they decide being in a pram is pretty much like being in jail. We're at that point. How dare we as parents put them in their own comfy little chair on wheels and push them around so they can sleep whenever they want. I really don't know what she's complaining about, I'd LOVE it if someone wanted to put me in a sofa bed on wheels and push me around. I'd lap that up and have a little nap while someone else did all the hard work.

Now days when we try and put her in a pram either at the shops or to go for walks we're met with a barrage of protest. Kicking, screaming, crying... or my favourite "the clingon" - where she wraps her legs around me and hangs on for dear life. Getting things done with a walking 2yr old in tow is sometimes just as frustrating though as she either goes at snails pace, stops to jump every 2 seconds or decides to dart off in the opposite direction. To try and combat our current situation, and find a compromise that she agrees with, we've recently introduced a trike.

Most of the boys in our mothers group have had trike's in varying forms for a few months now and love them. We've been a bit slow to take up the trike phase, but we're making up for it now with the new smarTrike® Explorer 5-in-1. The Explorer is the latest offering from smarTrike® which combines the features and benefits of a stroller and tricycle into one product that carries children through five developmental stages from 10-36 months. The smarTrike® Explorer starts out as a parent controlled stroller with reclining seat allowing babies to sleep while out, just like in a normal stroller. It then transforms through a series of steps to a parent controlled trike and eventually a child operated trike.
smarTrike explorer stage 1-5
The smarTrike® Explorer includes a padded, washable seat cover, a removable UV sun shade, a small storage pouch and a large storage bag that sits above the trike bucket. It also has a drink holder and an inbuilt mobile phone toy that has its own caddy. For added safety it has a foot brake the same as a normal stroller. There's a pedal bar for younger kids to rest their feet on and then proper adjustable bike pedals for when they've learnt to ride the trike properly. The 360° full swivel front wheel means the Explorer can be steered under parental control without interrupting the movement of the front wheel. Once they've learnt to ride the trike properly the parental control handle can be removed giving kids full control of the trike including steering. The trike comes in 6 different colours - pink, grey, blue, green, purple or orange, we've got the dusty pink.

smarTrike Explorer 5 in 1 review

We're currently using the Explorer in stage 3 {recommended for 18m+} with the parental control attached and the bike pedals locked. Even though she's just turned 2 which is the right age for stage 4, she hasn't learnt how to use the pedals because she's never had a non ride on bike before and her legs are just a smidge too short to pedal properly. I've also kept the waist bar attached because it gives me a greater sense of security given she won't let me do up the harness over her arms any more {she refuses to let me strap her arms in her prams too so we just clip the harness around her waist}.

When we took it out for our first walk bub was a bit apprehensive but, being the ever industrious parents we are, an ice-block bribe quickly quashed any fears she had and she couldn't climb into the trike fast enough. Daddy made us walk the back way to the shops so we weren't on the main road just incase I accidentally steered her onto the road {he clearly has faith in my driving skills}. I was actually quite surprised by just how easy it is to steer, even with a 15kg toddler in it. It took her a couple of times of being reminded to "keep her feet up" before she got the hang of not dragging them along the ground, but after that it was smooth sailing to the shops.

The height of the parental control bar is perfect and its super easy to steer, infact I've even done it one handed a few times. The top pouch is the perfect size to keep my wallet, phone and keys handy and it still has space to spare. The large bag at the back actually fits a lot more in it than you'd expect. We went to the chemist and managed to fit all 10 of her formula cans in the storage bag and there was still room left for some of our fruit and veggies. The only downside to the storage bag is the zip in the top isn't wide enough to fit bulky items so we couldn't fit all our fruit and veg in the bag even though there was still room to spare. I hung the bags on the clip at the back of the bar though and it supported them well, although I did remove them after a while and carry them because I was paranoid I'd snap the clip {I'm not sure its designed to have weight swinging directly off it}.

The smarTrike® Explorer allows her to feel like she has more freedom and is involved in the outdoors moreso than when she's in a pram, even though she's just as safe and secure. The trike handles let her feel in control like she's the one driving and deciding where to go even when I'm firmly in control. She also loooooves the toy phone. She's always walking around the backyard "phone where ahhh you?" and when we ride in it she's pressing all the buttons then answers it "helloooo?". It actually saved us when we were in the chemist and she started getting antsy {and we forgot her num num and blankie}. We pretended to call her phone and that kept her entertained while we were waiting for our script, thankgod.

Overall I think the smarTrike® Explorer 5 in 1 is definitely a worthwhile investment given how long it can be used for and how many different functions it includes, especially if you get it when your child is closer to 10 months rather than 2yrs old. Its easy to assemble, use and change between each stage. There's also a 3yr warranty for piece of mind. The smarTrike Explorer can be purchased at Target and Toys R us starting from $199.

Toni x

Linking with Jess
Friday, September 4, 2015

I need your help

Something's changed in our house this last week and I have no idea why. All of a sudden bub's been totally freaking out when I go to pick her up from her day naps. I don't mean normal freaking out either, I mean off the charts freaking out.

I'm no stranger to her losing it. She throws massive tantrums on a regular basis. And its not because she's disobedient or trying to get her own way, its usually because she's overwhelmed. She gets very easily overwhelmed, especially when she's around a lot of people or feels like she's confined in any way. I'm used to those outbursts. I've learnt over time how to handle them. I know she needs to hear my voice. I know she needs to be stroked on the face. I know she needs her blankie and I know she needs her num num {dummy}. And most of all I know that it'll be ok. It's hard, but I know what to expect.

This is different though. This is uncharted territory. This is new and unpredictable and down right scary.

She's been completely losing it after her day naps and its not a tantrum, its more like a fit or a panic attack.

She screams ear-piercing screams. They're blood curdling screams like she's in imminent danger and she's absolutely petrified. This is coupled with her bawling her eyes out and kicking and hitting in all directions. 

Seeing my child this upset my natural reaction is to want to comfort her. I want to hold her and let her know its alright. I want to calm her down and make her feel safe. I want nothing more than to fix it. But the problem is I can't, because in those moments she appears to be petrified of me.

I have no idea what's going on but its like she's still asleep and doesn't realise its me. 

She looks me in the eye and is literally terrified of me. I can see the terror in her eyes. Her back arches, her legs kick me non stop and her arms are flailing around uncontrollably {yet in a pattern designed to inflict the most damage upon me}. And she screams. She screams like I've never heard before. It's horrible. It breaks my heart to see her so frightened knowing that somehow, for some unknown reason, I appear to be the cause of it.

No matter what I do I can't calm her down. Rocking, shushing, talking, stroking... none of it works. Even blankie and num num do nothing when she's having one of these episodes. They go on and on for a good 15-20 minutes. Continuous screeching and crying that only gets more desperate the longer it continues. I almost end up in tears too because I'm so desperate to console her and feel so completely helpless.

In the end she seems to calm down if I turn the tv on and she hears cartoons she recognises. Then its like a switch has been flicked and she snaps out of it as if nothing's happened. Meanwhile I sit on the couch for the next hour assuming the police are going to turn up on my doorstep because someone thinks I've been abusing my child {I wouldn't blame them either, if I heard blood curdling screams coming from a house for that long I'd be concerned what was going on too}. This has been my reality almost every day for the last week and I have no idea why.

Please tell me you've been through this too? 

Please tell me its a phase or there's something I can do to help her?

I'm desperate to help her and its breaking my heart each day seeing her so upset.

Toni x

Do you have a little Lah-Lah fan? You may want to enter our Lah-Lah giveaway, you can win 2 tickets to see Lah-Lah live + a deluxe dolly pack. Hurry it ends tonight.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mummy Must Have Review | Luna Blu Olivia Nappy Bag Set

So I did something totally crazy and out of character for me recently... I got a new nappy bag. Yea I know, that's the extent of how crazy my life gets now that I'm a mum. I still love my old Megan bag, but when I heard Luna Blu recently released their first proper nappy bag I knew I had to give it a go.

Like all Luna Blu bags, the Olivia nappy bag is made from their signature water-resistant oilcloth fabric which can be easily wiped clean. It's available in Indiana Rose which is a fairly neutral floral pattern on a pastel green background with beige cotton webbing straps and leather trims. I'm normally not a fan of anything overly floral, but I'm quite partial to the Indiana Rose print because the pattern isn't too overpowering and I like the neutral undertones. It also has an aqua blue nylon lining which can be wiped clean too so we're covered for any spills, or accidents involving sticky little hands, which is a definite plus now I have a toddler consuming all sorts of messy food.

The Olivia bag is a purpose built nappy bag so it has loads of storage for all the bits and bobs we need when out and about. There are 9 internal pockets around the outer edges of the bag and there's loads of storage within the open part of the bag too. Having the open compartments means I can separate items and find them easily and quickly when needed. I use the pockets for nappies, wipes, nappy bags and cream, bibs, drink bottle, phone, keys, pen and paper, dummy and small toys. I then put my wallet, deodorant, change mat, her blankie and snacks in the middle section. I can actually fit her whole lunch box in the middle section when we need to take cold food with us. There's also 3 outer pockets too that clip closed for extra storage.

What I really love about the bag is that it closes completely with a main zip which is important for me, especially with so many compartments inside. I hate the idea of having my bag sitting open for people to snoop in if my back is turned, so the zip gives me piece of mind that everything's ok. In addition to that there's also a clasp that closes over the zip, which I do up when I have the bag sitting on the pram, for added security. There's also a shoulder strap which I use all the time because I prefer to carry bags on my shoulder rather than by handles.

The Olivia nappy bag set includes the Olivia nappy bag, the matching change mat and additional pram straps. The change mat is also made from the same water resistant, easy to clean oilcloth fabric as the bag which makes it easy to wipe down should any accidents happen during nappy changes. It comes in extremely handy when I have to change her in less than ideal places. The pram straps allow the bag to be attached to pram handles {of any pram or stroller} and hang at an optimal level for access to the bag as well as to avoid damage from it rubbing against wheels, like bags can do when you simply hang them via the shoulder strap. I always utilise the pram straps when we're out. 

The Olivia nappy bag set has everything you could need in a nappy bag and its fashionable as well. It's also reasonably priced at only $129 for the entire set {the pram straps and changing mat can also be purchased separately as well if you want to get them to compliment a nappy bag you already own}. If you'd love to have the Olivia Nappy Bag Set in your life too then I have good news, Luna Blu have kindly given me one to giveaway.

To enter the draw simply follow the prompts in the rafflecopter widget below and leave me a comment letting me know what's your favourite feature of the Olivia nappy bag set and why? If you're having issues commenting chose the name/url option and leave the url blank.

Good luck

Toni x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions
Competition commences 12:00am September 1st 2015 and ends 12:00pm September 14th 2015. Entry is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. One reader will win an Olivia nappy bag set valued at $129. Prize will be delivered by Luna Blu, Finding Myself Young are not responsible for prize delivery. This competition is a game of skill and will be judged as such. All mandatory entry steps must be completed to constitute a valid entry. Incomplete entries will be deemed invalid and excluded from judging. Winner will have 72hrs to respond or prize will be redrawn. This competition is in no way endorsed, promoted or administered by Facebook.
Disclosure - I was provided an Olivia nappy bag set for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own based on my experience with the bag. I did not receive payment for this review.