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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Weight Watchers Body Balance Bluetooth Diagnostic Scale Review

I don't think there's a bigger catalyst for wanting to get in shape again than having a baby. Now that I'm 5 months post partum I'm really starting to want to get back in shape and work on my overall fitness again. I've never been one to obsess too much about my weight, but I'd be lying if I said I don't worry about how I look and feel in my clothes. Right now I'm at that weird in between stage where my maternity clothes are too baggy to continue wearing, but my pre-pregnancy clothes are just a little bit uncomfortable. I'm literally alternating between one pair of jeggings and one pair of shorts each day as I'm still unsure whether I should go invest in a new wardrobe or wait a few weeks to see if all my old clothes suddenly fit again. I'm sure most mums can relate.

We didn't own a set of scales the whole time I was pregnant so I didn't know how much I weighed unless I used the scales at the hospital or GP, but leading up to her birth I really wanted to invest in scales for home so I could mentally high five myself as I lost the baby weight {because these things should totally be celebrated}. So it was perfect timing when I was asked to review the Weight Watchers Body Balance Bluetooth Diagnostic Scale.

As soon as I found out what the scale can do I was blown away. I've only ever owned scales that literally measure weight, and analog ones that end up moving off 0 after a few weeks so you need to mentally adjust the amount each time you weigh yourself anyway. The Weight Watchers Body Balance Bluetooth Diagnostic Scale is so much more than a conventional scale, it's more like an overall health analysis system for every person in your home. It provides users with so much more than a rudimentary number on the screen {and it's also the prettiest scale I've ever seen}.

The scale is digital and white glass with a large lcd display screen and a really cool blue led edge light {so I can pretend I'm still young and at a nightclub not in my bathroom at home}. It can measure weight up to 182kg and can store data for up to 10 people. Each user can set their gender, height and age details when they first weigh themselves and the scale will automatically remember which user is on the scale based on their weight. The scale can also do a complete body analysis for each user and measure their weight, body fat percentage, body water percentage, bone mass, muscle mass and BMI {body mass index}.

The scale uses bio-electrical impedance analysis to determine each users specific measurements. Indium Tin Oxide {ITO} electrodes form a pattern on the top of the scale and send a small, safe signal through the body to determine impedance. It's like having xray vision to see what's going on inside your body, but without visiting a Dr to have tests or get the results. The speed at which the current travels through the body, combined with multi step mathematical equations are then used to determine individual hydration levels {body water percentage}, as well as bone mass, muscle mass and body fat percentages. The amazing thing is it does all this in about 15 seconds and you don't feel a thing. I love that it can give me instant results within the comfort of my own home.

Having deliberately not weighed myself too many times since baby girls birth {because there's been so many other things to take up my time}, I was happy to see that my weight 5 months post partum was 59.4kg which meant I was already down 14.5kg {3.5kg more than I gained during my pregnancy}. I haven't actually done any exercise to achieve this {I know you're all thinking I'm one of those annoying skinny girls who just sneezes and the weight falls off, but no it's actually down to my diet}. After my first pregnancy I struggled to shift the weight {and I'm actually still heavier than I was back then}, but the one huge benefit of being on an elimination diet for baby girls intolerance's is that I've managed to shift all my baby weight, without doing much exercise except walking. Despite the fact that I'm avoiding numerous foods, I'm actually eating healthier than I probably ever have in my life as I'm living solely on a diet of fruit, vegetables and meat {no junk and no packaged foods}. I'd still love to get back to my weight pre-pregnancy number 1, but to be honest I'm actually really proud of what I've already achieved, because it's taken immense dedication to eat so healthy and not slip up.

Another added bonus of the Body Balance Bluetooth Diagnostic Scale is that it can connect to the Weight Watchers Scales by Conair app which means I can track all of my measurements and also set up a goal weight to work towards. The app connects to the scale via bluetooth and imports and stores all the data so I can see it in the dashboard instantly and also track where I am visually by graphs. The Weight Watchers Scales by Conair app is a free app available to iPhone and android users via the App Store or Google Play. The data can also sync with the Weight Watchers, Apple Health and Google Fit apps. The data also displays on the scale itself so you don't need the app in order to get your results, but I find it handy for tracking progress. These are my results as at today.

The instruction pamphlet that comes with the scale also includes a body analysis table that shows low, average and high ranges for each diagnostic measurement for males and females in each age group. The table is great because I can see I'm in the average range for my age group for each measurement, except body fat percentage which I just sneak into the low range {winning}. I'm actually pretty chuffed with my results and I love being able to see the bigger picture. Instead of having a one tracked mindset the I need to reach a specific weight, my goals are now to maintain my weight {within a 3kg range} and build up my muscle mass to tone my body again. I'm glad that the scale is able to help keep me on track with my overall health goals. 

To learn more about how the Weight Watchers Body Balance Bluetooth Diagnostic Scale can help you achieve your overall health goals you can find out more info here and purchase them here.

Toni x

Please Note: Weight Watchers Body Balance Bluetooth Diagnostic Scale is not recommended for use by pregnant women, children under 10 or anyone with an electrical implant such as a pacemaker.

Disclosure - I was sent the Weight Watchers Body Balance Diagnostic Scale for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed in this post are based on my experience with the scale and the app. I did not receive payment for this review.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ready, Set, Write with Lightning McQueen

Up until a few months ago bub didn't really know who Lightning McQueen was, but boy has that changed since we went to see Cars 3 at the movies. Now Lightning McQueen is a firm favourite around here. To be honest I was kind of excited we managed to avoid licensed merchandise invading our house for so long. My ocd just can't deal with all the bright mismatched colours and characters {trust me the struggle is real}, but I think I have to concede defeat now that we've entered the Youtube and movie phase of her childhood. It started with Paw Patrol, then My Little Pony and now Cars. I fear it's a slippery slope, but since I've discovered there's awesome educational licensed toys I've been slowly embracing it. 

Our latest discovery is Write and Race Lightning McQueen from vtech which is actually a super cool toy for 3-6yr olds. Write and Race McQueen is like a car and computer combined, with an led panel, keyboard and stylus pen to facilitate interactive literacy based games. Through a number of different games Lightning McQueen helps teach children phonics and pre-writing skills including mark making and tracing while teaching them how to write letters and numbers. In addition to this the chunky stylus pen helps them develop pencil grip. You can see why I like it right?

She was beside herself excited when she opened the box to discover her very own Lightning McQueen, and then she was even more excited when she realised it had a keyboard and wasn't just a toy car. Wow mummy, it's Lightning McQueen!!!! Is this a learning Lightning McQueen? Clearly she knows I'm a bit in love with educational toys! Lucky she loves them too. She literally plays with it every chance she gets.

Write and Race Lightning McQueen has 5 fun activities children can play using the stylus pen including freehand drawing {designing logos for Rust-eze}, tracing letters and numbers {upper and lower case}, remembering the path {line tracing}, finding letter sounds {introducing phonics} and following racing lights as they appear. Each of the games help develop cognitive skills as there's an element of remembering the direction of each line, letter, number or dot. They also help to develop hand/eye co-ordination, hand strengthening and also fine motor skills while learning pencil grip using the stylus.

Bub's favourite of all the games is following the racing path as she has to remember where the lines go and then draw them correctly. She gets so excited when she gets it right. She's also really good at the phonics game and to my surprise knows a lot more than I expected she would {clearly all our learning through play activities are working}. My favourite game is tracing the letters and numbers as it will prepare her for writing and teaches her the correct way to construct each letter and number. She still gets a little frustrated with this one though as it's a bit tricky for her to do the curved strokes on the led screen. The only other downfall it has is that sometimes she needs to push down onto the led screen harder than she does, so it says she's incorrect when she's actually made the correct strokes. I'm sure she'll learn to push down harder with time though.

If you have a little one who's interested in starting to write I'd definitely recommend Write and Race Lightning McQueen. Vtech have successfully harnessed the appeal of a popular movie character to make learning early literacy skills fun for kids. She definitely spends a lot more time engaged with the writing games using McQueen than she would if we were doing writing sheets or other letter games and it gives her a fun, interactive and independent way to learn at her own pace.

Write and Race Lightning McQueen is $39.95 and available from Big W, Toys R Us and selected toy retailers. For more information visit or follow vtech on facebook or instagram.

Toni x

Disclosure - We were gifted a Write and Race Lightning McQueen for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on our experience using the toy. I did not receive payment for this review.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Puzzle play

Puzzles are such a staple toy in any kids life, I dare say nearly every child is likely to play with a puzzle at some point throughout their childhood. We started off with really simple peg puzzles here and have progressed our way through letter puzzles, number puzzles, colour matching puzzles, shape puzzles, animal puzzles, chunky puzzles, floor puzzles and now more intricate smaller puzzles. 

I love how they challenge her cognitively, helping increase her concentration skills, each time she plays for a bit longer before getting frustrated. She's also practicing her problem solving skills as she works out where each piece should go while simultaneously developing her hand/eye co-ordination and fine motor skills as she places each piece into the correct spot. The best part is she's doing this all while she's playing without even realising she's actually learning at the same time. They really are a great resource for learning through play.

At four years old bub's mastered many different types of puzzles, but by far her favourite ones are still chunky puzzles with a 3d element. However, she quickly gets bored playing with them traditionally, especially once she's put them together a few times and has memorised where all of the pieces go. Did you know there are many other ways to play with puzzles other than just putting the pieces into the correct spot?

Once bub gets bored with doing puzzles the conventional way we think outside the box and come up with other ways to make them interesting again. In the past we've wrapped pieces in alfoil, searched for pieces in sensory tubs and made our own DIY puzzles by tracing the outlines on a piece of paper and matching them up. She loves all of these activities and especially loves the open ended play experiences where we're not strictly matching the pieces onto the puzzle.

We've recently taken our puzzle play a step further again thanks to the most awesome open ended puzzle I've ever come across from Happy Go Ducky.

Happy Go Ducky is a unique online toy shop run by a husband and wife team stocking quality traditional wooden, tin and crochet toys. They have puzzles, animal stackers, wooden vehicles, tin vehicles, crochet animals and many other items available for babies through to young children. All of the unique European brands they stock are ethically designed and handmade in the Czech Republic using sustainable, non-toxic materials by artisans who've been designing toys for decades. 

Happy Go Ducky stock toys that are likely to be held onto and passed down through generations as family heirlooms. Think push along wooden elephants, wooden trains and retro tin cars. They're bringing the nostalgia of yesteryear to modern day children and helping to keep traditional toy making alive. I'm so thrilled that we get to have one of their beautiful Playful Wood puzzles in our home which I'll most definitely be holding onto and passing down to bub for her children in the future.
The extra large wooden 3D spiral puzzle includes 16 different coloured wedges and a wooden circle that together create a large multicoloured circle. It also comes with wooden dowel pieces and a wooden ball which help bring the puzzle to life in so many fun ways. It's no secret that I have an enormous love of wooden educational toys, you only have to take a quick look around our play area to see that. I love the tactile experience that comes with wooden toys and I love thinking out of the box when it comes to playing with toys, so when a toy hits the trifecta and is educational, wooden and versatile I get a little bit excited.

When we first opened the puzzle bub immediately declared it was her "pizza puzzle" because of its circle shape and wedged pieces. It may not look like much to the untrained eye, but this puzzle is a colour wheel come 3D puzzle come building blocks come marble run marvel. Basically every kids {big kids included} dream puzzle. Let me show you all the different ways we've been playing with our pizza puzzle over the last few weeks.

Colour Wheel 

The most obvious and basic way to use it is as a colour wheel. Kids can arrange the colours in any order they like as there's no colour guide on the base plate, which means they're only limited by their imagination {and best of all there's no right or wrong way to put it together}. Being extremely OCD I prefer it to be arranged in colour order from light to dark {purely because it makes my heart happy}, but it's become apparent my child isn't always bound by the same logic. Even though it hurts my brain a little when she places the colours haphazardly, it's fun for her knowing there's endless ways to arrange all the pieces.

Making Pictures

The pieces can also be arranged to create different shapes and items. We've used ours to copy some of the images on the puzzle product page as a guide, her favourite one to make is the man, but there are so many more possibilities. I plan on drawing some coloured images and laminating them as guide cards for her to use.

Building Blocks

With chunky pieces the puzzle easily doubles as a set of coloured building blocks. She's stacked them on top of each other to make towers, laid them flat to make pathways and balanced them to create bridges and doors.

Ball run {straight or curved}

We quickly discovered that the dowel and ball can be used in many different ways to make our pizza puzzle even more awesome. When the wedges are placed upside down {so they have 2 holes in each piece showing} they can be placed either straight or curved to make a pathway. We then add dowel into all the outside holes and it transforms the pathway into a ball run. This one keeps her entertained for quite a while as she has to think strategically about how and where to lay the pieces in order to make the pathway. It also works her fine motor skills pushing the dowel pieces into place.

Wheel Of Fortune

Normally the puzzle pieces sit on the base plate with only the middle holes visible {as in the first picture above}, but she worked out if we put them in upside down so both holes are to the top and the dowel is in it creates a circular ball rink. She loves spinning the ball around and around the circle and trying to get it to run out the gaps. I affectionately call this set up the wheel of fortune because it's all I can think of when I look at it. I just want to spin it around, take off a piece and reveal the $ value underneath {yes I'm that old, I still miss that show!}. She likes to call it a skating rink because the ball goes round and round like ice skating.

Staircase Drop

Without a doubt our most favourite way to play with the pizza puzzle is to turn it into a staircase ball drop. Stacking the pieces around the central pole and using the little dowel pieces on the outside edges transforms the puzzle into a spiral staircase. The dowel pieces also make it the ultimate ball run allowing the ball to drop down each step without falling off {although if your child is a little over zealous like mine it can still bounce off when pushed too hard}. I can seriously play with it like this just as long as she can, it's so much fun. She's also now able to set it up and put all the pieces in place herself because we've done it so often.

As you can see this puzzle can be played with a multitude of different ways on top of being a traditional colour wheel puzzle and I'm sure there's even more ways we're yet to discover. I love that there are so many open ended ways to play with it and that also means bub never gets bored of it, which is exactly what you want when buying toys. I can see this puzzle is going to be a family favourite for many years to come.

Toni x

Disclosure - We were gifted a wooden spiral puzzle for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed in this post are based on our experience using the puzzle. I did not receive payment for this post.

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