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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Celebrating 100yrs of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie with a Gumnut Baby giveaway

When you think of iconic Australian children's authors, May Gibbs, is arguably one of the most recognised names. Originally born in England, she emigrated with her family at the age of 4 to Australia and spent her life living and studying between Australia and England. Much of her life was spent in the Australian bush so it's no surprise many of her characters and stories are inspired by and set amongst native Australian flora and fauna. Even though she passed away in 1969, her characters still grace the pages of many books and live on in the imaginations of many children young and old, myself included.

I was first introduced to her books in primary school and even though I've forgotten a lot of what I learned at school, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie are still very much ingrained in my childhood memories. I remember believing they were actually real and thinking the only reason I couldn't find them in the trees near our house was because they were so good at hiding from humans. Next year marks the centenary of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, who are without doubt the most famous of all May Gibbs literary characters.

100yrs of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie are two inquisitive gumnut foster brothers who live in the Australian bush and go on many adventures with friends like Mr Lizard and Ragged Blossom. They featured in their own book The Tales Of Snugglepot annd Cuddlepie, first published in 1918, and have subsequently featured in many of Gibbs other stories. 

To celebrate 100yrs of Gumnut Babies, Scholastic have released 4 new Gumnut Babies books; Tales From The Bush, Tales From The Camp Fire, Tales From The Billabong and Tales From The Gum Tree. We received Tales From The Bush and Tales From The Camp Fire and have copies to giveaway to one of you too.

Tales From The Bush and Tales From The Camp Fire

The new gumnut babies books are collections of stories featuring classic May Gibbs characters Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and their friends Mr Lizard, Ragged Blossom and Mrs Snake. Other bush characters like banksia men, birds, frogs, bull ants and many bush folk make appearances in the tales as well. Each short story is based on a Snugglepot and Cuddlepie adventure, many of which don't turn out as planned. The stories all explore similar concepts about how to make the best of every situation, the importance of friendship and how to overcome adversity.

My favourite of all the short stories included in both books is The Mystery of the Humans. I loved this tale as it shows how the gumnut babies perceive humans, which was something I spent a lot of time wondering about as a child. It's also a perfect way to explain to children you shouldn't make judgement based on preconceived ideas.

The illustrations done by Caroline Keys are inspired by May Gibbs original illustrations and I think they capture the essence of the original characters really well. All of the stories give a greater insight into how the gumnut babies think and perceive the world around them. Reading these stories has transported me back to my childhood and I'm so glad that I have them so I can pass on my love of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie to my girls when they're a little older. The stories are slightly too long to keep bub's interest, but would be perfect for children aged 6+ who are moving on from picture books as they bridge the gap between picture books and chapter books quite well. If you have a budding bookworm, or just want to relive the nostalgia of your own childhood, make sure you enter the giveaway below.

Put some Gumnut Babies under your tree this Christmas

I have two of the new Gumnut Babies books Tales from The Bush and Tales From The Camp Fire up for grabs for one lucky winner. Simply fill in the rafflecopter form below and you're in with a chance. Be quick though, the giveaway ends soon so we can get the prize to you in time for Christmas.

Toni x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition commences upon publication and ends at 11:59pm December 18th 2017. One winner will receive a copy of Tales From The Bush and Tales From The Camp Fire RRP $39.98. We will send the prize prior to Christmas, but can not guarantee it will arrive before Christmas Day. Finding Myself Young will not be held liable should the prize be lost in transit. Competition is open to Australian residents, excluding ACT. 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. Winner will have 48hrs to respond or prize will be redrawn. This competition is in no way endorsed, promoted or administered by Facebook or Instagram.

Disclosure - This is a sponsored review on behalf of Brand Meets Blog. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Pop the Pig game review

One of the things I've been looking forward to most as bub's been getting older is introducing her to board games. I have fond memories playing board games with family as a child and I want to create my own family traditions, starting with buying a new game as a joint Christmas present each year. I'm excited that at 4 and a half she's finally getting old enough to understand simple games, obviously we won't be playing monopoly any time soon, but her attention span is finally at a point where we can enter the world of family game nights {or afternoons}.

But where do you start with kids games? There's just so many out there. And how do you know which ones they'll like? This is where technology has actually been helpful. A few weeks ago she started obsessing over youtube videos of Pop the Pig. She watched videos of other kids and reviewers playing the game over and over again. Gone are the days of watching unboxing and surprise egg videos on repeat a thousand times, now it's all about kids reviewing games. 

The fact that she kept watching Pop the Pig in particular piqued my interest. At first I thought it was only available in America {because most of the videos she found were American}, but then I started seeing it in shops here, so it went straight onto our Christmas list. As luck would have it an opportunity came up to review it so I said yes straight away because we were going to get it anyway.

Pop the Pig is a multiplayer game designed for kids aged 4+ You feed the pig burgers until he gets so full his stomach pops! The game comes with 16 individual burgers; 4 green, 4 purple, 4 yellow and 4 red. Players roll the dice to determine which colour burger to feed the pig. Each burger then has a number on the back and once you feed the pig you press down on his chef's hat the corresponding number of times. The game continues until the pigs stomach pops, his belt flings open and his arms go up in the air. 

Pop the Pig arrived on a kindy day so bub didn't even know we had it, but it took her about 4.5 seconds to spot it once we walked in the door. I had this whole spiel planned, but she spied it while I was literally still closing the front door. So the big reveal I had rehearsed in my head didn't quite go as planned, but she was super surprised none the less. As soon as she spotted it she started jumping up and down on the spot unable to contain her excitement. She swung back and forth between "mummy look it's the pig off the youtube" to being completely speechless to "mummy and daddy thankyou sooo much for the pig, it's the best". Safe to say she liked it before we even opened it up. We then spent all afternoon {and every day since} playing Pop the Pig at least 3 times in a row, sometimes multiple times a day.

I love that the instructions are so simple as she only has to roll the dice and press the head the corresponding number of times. It's been a great way to introduce her to games and concepts like turn taking, waiting and rolling a dice, without adding in any other complicated rules. She's getting much better at waiting her turn, but she's usually so excited she rolls the dice before we've finished pressing the chef's hat, sometimes patience is not her virtue. And even though the rules are super easy, it hasn't stopped her sometimes trying to cheat, if it gets near the end of the game and she rolls a colour she doesn't want she tries to change the colour, or tell us that was our roll not hers. For the most part though she plays by the rules and there haven't been any tantrums yet {which says a lot}. 

As players can roll any colour in any order and each colour can have different numbers each time, no game is ever the same, so it's always a surprise when the pig's going to pop and who's going to be the winner. Which is great because she hasn't got bored with it at all, despite the fact we've already played it 20+ times in 5 days. She's even played it by herself a few times when I've been busy feeding her sister and she finds it just as exciting and suspenseful on her own, despite the fact she's obviously going to be the winner.

On the surface the game may seem super simple and just a lot of fun, which it is, but it's also got a lot of learning thrown in too. While playing kids are learning to recognise, name and differentiate between colours when rolling the dice and picking a burger. They're also recognising numbers when feeding the pig and also learning to count while pressing the pigs head. The more they play, the more these skills are reinforced. 

In addition to this its also helping kids develop fine motor skills by using their pincer grip picking up the pieces, hand/eye co-ordination to put the burgers into the mouth and hand strengthening when pushing down the head. These are all skills that will help them once they go to school. Bub currently uses two hands to push the head down as she's not quite strong enough to do it with one, but I'm sure over time she'll eventually be able to do it one handed.

I love that Pop the Pig isn't a traditional board game, but rather a combination of a toy and educational game in one. It's a great way to introduce young children to games with purposeful actions and outcomes {as opposed to free playing with toys} and it's fun for the whole family, not just the kids. I'm well over 4 and I get just as excited as bub does waiting for it to pop. Even though I'm generally not a big fan of anything plastic, I'm loving this game and all the learning that's happening each time she plays {and the best part is there's no need for batteries so it'll never stop working}.

Pop the Pig is available at all leading toy stores. For more about Pop the Pig and other great toy reviews visit Talkin Toys.

Will you have any games under your Christmas tree this year?

Toni x

Disclosure - This is a sponsored review as per my disclosure policy for Talkin Toys. I chose Pop the Pig to review as we were planning on purchasing it already.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Reliving my childhood dreams with Cabbage Patch Kids

Each year there seems to be the in toy. When I was younger it rotated between Barbie, Polly Pocket, Cabbage Patch Kids, Tamagotchis, Furbys {these just freak me out now, why the hell did I ever like them?}, Puppy Surprise, Cupcake dolls, Tazos, Yowies.... gosh the list is endless now I'm trying to think of them all. Most toys seem to go out of fashion as fast as they come in, but occasionally there's exceptions to the rule that remain popular for years. Barbie for example has been around for decades, but they don't seem to have as much of a cult following as they did when I was younger {although that could just be because I'm not an 8 year old girl anymore}. Another toy that's withstood the test of time and is making a huge resurgence in popularity are Cabbage Patch Kids.

Originally available in the 80's, the ever popular Cabbage Patch Kids are once again filling up toy shelves and little kids Christmas lists in 2017. And I for one am loving it! One of the best parts of having kids is getting to relive {or just recreate} the childhood I always wanted and one of the things I missed out on the first time around was my very own Cabbage Patch Kid doll. As all 80's kids will know, they were the doll of the decade and lots of little girls {and I dare say many boys too} wanted to get their hands on one, me included. Alas I never got my own, but thankfully I get to live vicariously through bub with hers! 

What makes Cabbage Patch Kids so unique?

Cabbage Patch Kids are soft sculpture dolls {with plastic faces, accessories and hair to style}. Legend has it that Xavier Roberts was a ten-year-old boy who discovered the Cabbage Patch Kids by following a BunnyBee behind a waterfall into a magical Cabbage Patch. He vowed to help them all find good homes so he built BabyLand General Hospital {it's a real place you can go and visit in America} where the babies could stay until they're adopted out by loving families.

Each Cabbage Patch Kid comes with it's very own birth certificate listing their name and birth date. Ours is Kathleen Dawn and she was born on December 26th {cool birthday if you ask me}. She also came with official adoption papers that bub can fill out. I remember when I was young I thought the birth certificate was the coolest thing ever. I also love that they have Xavier Robert's signature as a birth mark on their bottom {it's a bit cheeky!}.

One of their other distinctive features is that their faces smell amazing. I know that probably sounds super weird, and I'm not sure how they get them to smell so good, but it's seriously intoxicating. Similar to when you have a real newborn and you can't stop sniffing their heads because they smell SO GOOD. Perhaps I'm the only weird person that does this, but hopefully there's other CPK owners out there addicted to the smell as well {surely there has to be at least one person?}.

While each cabbage patch doll is easily identifiable by their distinctive body and head shape, they're all unique. Each doll has a slight variation in either skin tone, eye colour, hair colour, hair style, facial expression, outfit, shoes or accessories meaning no 2 are ever exactly the same. I was super excited that bub got a CPK that has glasses like her. I wore glasses when I was younger and I remember wondering why the dolls never looked the same as me, so I'm really glad she has a doll that looks {almost} just like her.

The new Cabbage Patch Kids come with a key which can be used with the new Adoptimals. Adoptimals are little electronic pets which can be adopted to a forever home just like Cabbage Patch Kids. Each Adoptimal makes different sounds, their locket lights up and they come with a bowl and brush. The key that comes with each CPK can be used to unlock the Adoptimal's secret heartbeat via the special locket. The dolls and pets are sold separately, but there's photos of each on the respective packaging. Let's be completely honest here, the parent in me sees that as slightly annoying, because obviously the first thing that's going to happen is "muuuum I want the pet" {and that's exactly what she did}, but with my business degree hat on I can appreciate it's a stroke of marketing genius.

And it works, because guess who's been scouring the shops for a few weeks looking for a pet cat? Yeah me. And not any cat, it apparently has to be the grey one like on the box. Kudos guys, this mum is loving searching through all the CPK Adoptimals each time I go to the shops to find the dam cat {I'm only being slightly sarcastic, because the inner child in me is actually loving searching for it}. The jury's still out on whether the cat will be making an appearance at Christmas {i.e. I haven't managed to find it yet}.

As a former preschooler and tween girl myself, I can totally see the appeal of Cabbage Patch Kids and why they're gaining massive popularity again 30+ years after they first graced toy store shelves. I can also 100% understand the need for an accompanying Adoptimal. I mean hello they're like the puppy surprise of the twenty-tens {is that what this decade's called? If you ask me it doesn't have the same ring to it as 80's or 90's}. I'm so lucky I mean bub's so lucky she has one of her very own. I'm definitely holding onto it forever {or at least until she has her own kids who we can pass her down to}.

The new 14 inch Cabbage Patch Dolls and Adoptimal Pets are available {sold separately} from Big W, Myer, Toys R Us and Mr Toys Toyworld. FYI you can buy Adoptimals without a CPK, you just won't be able to unlock the heartbeat. Also the key with each doll will work with any of the Adoptimals not just the one pictured on the box.

Disclosure - I was sent a Cabbage Patch Kid for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on my somewhat foggy childhood memories and our experience with bub's new doll. I did not receive payment for this review.

Linking with Kylie

Monday, December 4, 2017

Can we talk baby snot for a minute and what is a baby nasal aspirator anyway?

crying baby with a cold

As I watched my baby squawk in misery, gasping and coughing, I realised that I have no life experience for dealing with somebody else’s cold. I realise that Netflix, a Vindaloo and a box of Sudafed isn’t going to cut it this time, and so I do it, I reach down and gently stick my pinky fingernail up my baby’s nose…. And then wonder what has become of the old me. I didn’t know about baby nasal aspirators. And why not? You know when you’re in those birthing classes and they’re showing you a ping pong ball and telling you this is how big your baby is this week… it all seems so nice and neat. There’s a ping pong ball bouncing about in me somewhere that will someday be a baby. How lovely. 

What they don’t tell you is that someday rather soon, you’ll be lying on the nursery floor at three in the morning using your pinky nail to try to scoop snot out of someone else’s nose. That doesn’t warrant a mention. The thing you learn in your first year of being a mum is that pre-natal classes are as useful to you now as all that algebra you worked your guts out to master in grade 11. 

So there I am, 3am terrified that I’m going to stab my tiny baby through the brain with my pinky fingernail.

Baby Nasal Aspirators for those reading along at home

Baby Nasal Aspirators.  Lordy.  They’re one of those things that childless people go their whole lives not knowing about.  Nasal Aspirators are machines that literally suck the snot out of your baby.  The old school ones are little puffers that you stick up the baby’s nose and then “release” and the snot gets sucked right out and into a rubber bubble, which you then have a horrible time attempting to clean. 

The modern day baby nasal aspirator looks more like a baby thermometer and can be used right up until your child is ready for school.  They’re about $70, battery operated and work at the touch of a button.  They reach deeper into the baby’s nasal passages and can relieve pressure on sore little ears.  They are waterproof so it’s easy to clean the discarded snot from the collection cup.  It’s all very simple, civilised and not gross.  Let’s face it.  A day where something is not gross is a win in early motherhood.

Baby nasal asporator

Fun facts about baby snot

  • Snot is baby’s way of flushing viruses out of her body! It’s mostly water but that doesn’t make it any less gross. 
  • Using a baby nasal aspirator is the best way to stop germs spreading to siblings as it reduces the amount of snot escaping the baby. Escaped snot is how colds spread. 
  • Green snot is no less infectious than clear snot. It’s all equally germy and gross. 
  • Every baby sneeze can spread 100,000 germs around the room! 
  • Babies can’t “blow” so the snot accumulates in their nasal passages, leading to ear aches and trickles down the back of their throats, making them even more miserable than a grown man with a cold. 
  • Kids under four have an average of 8-12 colds per year. TWELVE. These are mostly in autumn, spring and winter, so if it feels like your bubba has been sick constantly, she has. It makes that $70 baby nasal aspirator sound like a bargain though, right?

So there you have it, everything you ever needed to know (and probably more than you wanted to know) about baby snot and the various methods of removal. As someone who’s been there, I do not recommend the pinky fingernail method. Nobody likes that method. Not you. Not the baby. There’s so many colds ahead of you and your little one, bite the bullet and buy a proper baby nasal aspirator and hang it with pride next to your new ear thermometer and all the other things you never knew you needed until now.

This is a guest post by Laura Klein, mother to three little humans and resident snot expert at