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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Coffee Factory Kids

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Toni x

Disclosure - I was gifted the products shown above for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the products. I did not receive payment for this review. We loved our educational toys from Coffee Factory Kids so much that we're purchasing more to add to our ever expanding collection.
Sunday, June 26, 2016

Crayola Color Alive brings kid's drawings to life

This post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Crayola.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do/did your kids love colouring in too?

Toni x

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

Linking with Alicia, Kirsty and Kell
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How To Create A Magical Shadow Box Fairy House

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

girl dressed as fairy flying

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

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

What if we could take that magic out of the television screen and bring it to life? 
Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Honey & Co Club

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

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

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

The postal club for kids

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

Lou, Audrey and Honey. Image via Steph Brown |

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

Take a peak inside a Honey & Co Club parcel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toni x

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

Linking with Jess
Monday, June 6, 2016

You made a mistake

If you're new around here you may not already know that my dad committed suicide when I was little. I was 10 years old when he died and it was a huge shock and changed the course of my life forever. If you want to catch up on the story quickly read this post and if you want to know more you can read all my posts about him here when you have more time. 

Each year I used to write dad a letter after he died, whether it be on a piece of paper or on my old website. Although I don't necessarily believe in heaven, I did feel deep down inside that if I released my words and feelings out into the world somehow he would find them and be able to read them. I haven't written one for a while, but this year I need to get everything out of my head. Although part of me hopes he can't read it because he probably won't like what I have to say.


For years I've had nothing but empathy and sympathy for what you did. I defended you against people who questioned your intentions or spoke badly about you. I reconciled myself with your decision. I told myself it had to be done. It was necessary for you to be happy. It was what you needed to do, and I accepted that.

But this year I don't sympathise with your decision, this year I have nothing but anger.

I'm grieving all of the moments that we missed out on experiencing together. I'm grieving that you weren't there to celebrate the good times in my life. I'm annoyed that I didn't get to share all of that with you. Even more than that though I'm annoyed that you're missing out on knowing your granddaughter and that she's missing out on knowing you. I'm annoyed that she won't have a loving grandparent relationship with you like I did with Pa. You'll never teach her to fish, you'll never teach her to play board games, she'll never have a sleepover at your house. You'll never comfort her when she's hurt. You'll never spoil her and give her all the things I say no to like other grandparents do. I'm so sad for her that she's missing out on that. You didn't only take moments away from me, you took them away from her too.

I don't think you realised just how permanent suicide was when you did it. Of course you did on the surface {because that was the whole point}, but I really don't think anyone can understand the concept of forever. Because nothing really truly is forever except death and nobody knows what death feels like, so how can you possibly fathom what forever is, until it's too late. Most people don't want to die. Most people don't want to leave their family. Most people don't want to miss out on all the good experiences in the future, but you did.

Perhaps the only gift this whole experience has given me is that no matter how depressed I am I would never ever do what you did, because I know what its like to be a child of suicide. I know what it's like to miss someone every single day for the rest of my life. I know what it's like to wish everything was different. I know what it's like to question whether my parents ever really loved me. I know what its like to imagine all the things we could've done together, but can't. Because of you I know what all of that feels like. I don't want my daughter to know what any of that feels like.

I know you only did it in order to end your pain and suffering, however I don't think you ended it, I think you merely transferred it onto your children and other people in your life. The pain that plagued you isn't gone, it's just manifested itself into a different form and it's continued causing your family hurt and anguish for 21 years after your death. I think perhaps if you knew that would happen you wouldn't have done it.

I don''t know what life would of been like for you if you never made that decision and I don't know what type of person you would have been today, but I do think you made a mistake, and I wish you never made it.

Toni x
Friday, June 3, 2016

Love to Dream 2.5 tog nuzzlin sleep bag + arm warmers review

This week Queensland finally realised that its meant to be getting colder around here {only a few months late, but never the less we got there in the end}. I'm not sure if it was Autumn showing up fashionably late or Winter popping in a few days early, but since the start of the week its been decidedly cooler. I'm actually a huge fan of the cooler months, I love nothing more than jeans, socks, layering and lounging on the couch under a warm blanket {not that I do much of that since I had bub, but I can reminisce of days gone by}.

Thanks to our never ending summer this year, the sudden cold snap has come as a bit of a shock, especially at night. Just last week we were still sleeping with the air conditioner on to keep cool. This week we're sleeping with the air conditioner on to keep warm. It's funny how 20 degrees has gone from feeling really cool to really warm all of a sudden.

Bub isn't so lucky in her room though. She's gone from an average of 24 degrees overnight to an average of about 18 degrees. Even though she's nearly 3, I'm still paranoid about whether she's too hot or too cold overnight. Yep almost three years in and I still have anxiety about certain aspects of parenting, please tell me you do too? Thankfully Love to Dream sent me some of their new products for winter recently so we were prepared for the cool change this year.


Love to Dream have recently released the 2.5 tog Nuzzlin sleeping bag, which is perfect for winter. We've been huge fans of the Nuzzlin range of bags so I definitely wanted to try out the new winter bag. The new 2.5tog Nuzzlin bag is nice and cosy for winter, but still quite lightweight like the rest of the Nuzzlin range. It's made from soft knitted cotton and is padded with 100% natural bamboo filling, meaning it's nice and warm, but not too heavy {your baby won't look like the michelin man}. The bamboo filling is also hypo-allergenic so it's great for littlies who have sensitive skin.

Like the 1.0 tog Nuzzlin bag, the 2.5 tog bag does up via press studs over the left shoulder and an extra long double ended zip. I love this system for so many reasons. Firstly it means the bag completely opens up flat making it really easy to get bub into it, especially on the nights she falls asleep before I've put her in the bag, getting a 17kg toddler manoeuvred into a sleep bag while they're passed out can be quite tricky, but having the bag laid flat certainly heaps. Secondly, the press studs above her shoulder mean she can't escape from her bag. Thirdly, the double ended zip {and the fact it goes from her toes to her armpit} means nappy changes are super easy during the night and I don't have to take her out of the bag.

The Nuzzlin 2.5 tog bag comes in three different designs, pink with a stripy penguin, blue with a stripy seal and grey and white stripes with a red whale. Of course we went with pink, because we're a little pink mad at our house, and seriously how cute is that penguin?! The bag also comes in three sizes - 4-12mths, 12-18mths and 18-36mths. Bub is in the 18-36mths size and is almost 3, but the bag is still quite long for her so it will definitely see us all through winter, which I'm so glad about because I'm not ready to give up sleeping bags yet.


The one drawback I've found with all the sleeping bags we've used however, has been that they don't have arms. Obviously the summer ones don't really need them, but I always worry in winter that her little arms are going to get so cold even with long sleeve pyjamas on. I know I certainly feel the cold in my arms at night and unlike me she doesn't have the luxury of snuggling her arms under a blanket {she would if she'd use them and stay underneath them, but clearly she hasn't learnt how awesome they are yet as she just kicks them off}. I know I'm not the only mum to feel this way either because we've had many chats about this in mothers group over the years.

Thankfully Love to Dream have been working behind the scenes to fix this problem and have now released new arm warmers. Like the Nuzzlin sleep bags, they're made from soft knitted cotton with 100% natural bamboo filling. They come in the signature Love to Dream grey marle with striped sleeves and are available in three sizes {4-12mths, 12-18mths and 18-36mths}.
The arm warmers are 2.5 tog and designed to work with any sleeping bag. They're also a great trans-seasonal item for when its just starting to get cool at night, but its not cold enough to switch sleep bags yet. We've been using these for a few weeks with her 1.0 tog bag before we switched her over to the 2.5 tog bag and they worked a treat. Probably one of the best inventions for babies and toddlers ever.


Thanks to the team at Love to Dream I have two Nuzzlin 2.5 tog sleep bags + arm warmers to giveaway to two lucky Finding Myself Young readers, in the size and colour of your choice. To be in the running to win simply fill in the rafflecopter widget below {so I can contact you if you win} and leave me a comment below telling me what's your favourite feature of the 2.5tog Nuzzlin Sleep Bag™ or arm warmers and why you need them in your life.

Good Luck!

Toni x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions
Competition commences upon publication and ends 11:59pm June 17th 2016. Entry is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. Two readers will win one 2.5 tog Nuzzlin sleep bag valued at $69.95 plus arm warmers valued at $27.95. Total prize pool $195.80. Prize will be delivered by Love to Dream, 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 kindly gifted a 2.5 tog Nuzzlin sleep bag + a set of arm warmers for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own based on our experience with the products, as per my disclosure policy. I did not receive payment for this review. Stock images used with permission from Love to Dream.

Linking with Grace and Raychael.