Browsed by
Month: July 2017

Choose your own adventure! Netflix Interactive Stories (and a little giveaway to boot)

Choose your own adventure! Netflix Interactive Stories (and a little giveaway to boot)

Just when you thought Netflix couldn’t be more awesome: they launch their new Interactive Stories. If you’ve ever been at school, you would be familiar with the concept of ‘choose your own adventure’. The concept is a simple one. Everyone starts the story in the same place, but at specific points along the way, the reader needs to make a decision. It may be about a character, a setting or a plot. Making small decisions transforms the story, and takes you on a journey different to the next person. The one thing that traditional television has not allowed, is the ability for it’s viewers to choose the way their show evolves, unfolds and ends. Netflix has brilliantly brought this to life with their Interactive stories.

Curious? Here is a video to explain it further:

Recently, I sat down with Ella and Hudson with Netflix loaded to out iPad. Currently, they have two interactive titles:

  • Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale
  • Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile

In our house, fairy tales rule, and so it was an easy decision to choose Puss in Boots! It begins like any regular show, where the characters begin to tell their story and set the scene. However something then changes, with Puss in Boots turning towards the audience and asking them to consider how the story will be told and unfold! Puss in Boots finds himself locked in a series of stories that he needs to navigate and find is way through. It’s like a maze where the children have control.

At one point Puss in Boots finds himself in the story of Goldilocks with the Three Bears staring at him.

The viewer is asked to make a choice of whether the bears are friends or foes. The 13 different choices throughout the episode lead to two different conclusions to the show, which is aimed at children between four and six.

The shortest path through the story makes an 18 minute-long episode, while the longest route through the options creates a 39 minute-long experience.

What I love about these stories is the fact that each time your child watches it, the story can be completely different. Your children have the chance to learn how a subtle change in character, scene and emotion can lead you to a very different outcome. It helps the children develop their attention and consider how their decisions actually effect the story. They themselves become the author and have the power to be the directors of their own show.

It is a beautiful addition to the every growing Netflix catalogue. One that I know my children really adore, and I know you will too.

WANNA KNOW SOMETHING EVEN MORE EXCITING? WE ARE GIVING AWAY 4 NETFLIX SUBSCRIPTIONS!

To celebrate, I have combined forces with Netflix to give away 4 x 3 month subscriptions to Netflix for you to use!!! To enter, simply head over to my Instagram page here!

Netflix
Ella helping Puss in Boots to make a decision!
Puss in Boots is stuck in fairy tale stories and needs your help!
Interactive Stories are available on mobile devices!

 

Kazoops Giveaway!

Kazoops Giveaway!

There is nothing better than supporting Australian made. If you are reading this, then chances are you have a home with young children, and chances are you probably watch a fair bit of ABC Kids from time to time, or…every day! So it’s great to know then, that some of the TV our kids are watching is produced right here in our own backyards. Kazoops is one of those shows that you may not realise is Australian. It has, however, found a global audience thanks to broadcaster CBeebies in the UK, and good old Netflix worldwide (also translated into 18 languages including all 78 songs!)

In case you didn’t know, or realise (like me), Kazoops is an animated TV series that follows the adventures of Monty, and inquisitive six year old with a vidid imagination. He kind of reminds me of my Ella. He also has a trust pet pig, Jimmy Jones. Monty confronts preconception about the world and sets out to challenge them embarking of wild and musical adventures with Jimmy Jones. Every episode gorgeously includes its own original two minute song. Love it!

Kazoops has recently launched itself into the world of literacy, releasing a series of story books and activity books. These books retail for approximately $9.95 each and are available on the shelves of Big W, Target and Dymocks. Ella and Hudson have had the chance to check the books out for themselves, and have loved reading them and playing with them whilst they watch the show at 5.55pm on ABCKIDS. It is also available on demand via ABCKids iView.

What’s even better is the fact that Aussie pre school kids are the first in the world to have access to these gorgeous books, and two lucky readers will have the chance to win a set of four! Valued at almost $40, two winners will win a prize pack each, comprising of:

  • I am Monty Story book
  • The Night’s alright story book
  • Sticker activity book
  • Activity book

To enter this competition, please head to my Instagram account to enter here!

 

Hypoxi: The Verdict

Hypoxi: The Verdict

If you’ve been following along lately, you will know that I’ve been trialling Hypoxi. No, this isn’t another ‘eye roll’ sponsored post that seemingly promotes a brand without really seeing what it is like. I need to start by sharing with you that this is NOT a sponsored post. I AM NOT being paid to write this review. I DID receive 12 sessions free to trial and share my own, honest experience with my readers. I WAS a total skeptic in the beginning, but I was also curious. I’ve never been a dieter, or someone who has actively tried to lose weight, but since having children, and a hip replacement last year, I’ve been someone who has grown increasingly self conscious of my body. Of ‘that’ tummy and hips that ‘used’ to look toned, but alas no longer resembles it’s former self. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my body and all it has achieved / given me, but I am just starting to feel a bit ‘bleh’ and yuk about myself, how I was feeling in my clothes and just general post baby body. I wanted to do something about it, when Hypoxi came along. I wondered, what on earth was this Hypoxi business that kept popping up on my social feed?

Since sharing the news that I was going to participate in a month long Hypoxi journey, I’ve been met with many questions:

  • What is Hypoxi?
  • Does it work?
  • Is it a fad?
  • What is involved?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Does it really work?

So today I’m sharing my own experiences of Hypoxi, how it worked, what I did and how I ended up. I Could this work? Would this work? Read on, and find out my verdict!

What is Hypoxi?

In the beginning, I had no idea what Hypoxi was, what it did or how it worked. On my first session I was briefed about the science behind Hypoxi and how the mysterious ‘targeted fat burning’ worked.

HYPOXI is a low-impact exercise method that is up to 3 x more effective at burning stubborn fat than traditional exercise and it significantly reduces cellulite. Through our advanced vacuum and compression technology and healthy nutrition, HYPOXI activates your body’s natural system to burn specific areas of fat and cellulite. HYPOXI targets the stubborn fat stores around the stomach, hips, bottom and thighs that traditional exercise just won’t move easily. You see it’s not necessarily about weight loss, its about loss of cm. Toning the areas that I was self conscious about myself!

How does it work?

In my first session I was measured in several areas: stomach, waist, hips, bottom, upper leg, relaxed leg and knee. These measurements would be tracked approximately every three/four sessions. For best results it is recommended that you attend three sessions a week. Depending on the machines you use, this is approx 1 hour each session.

Step 1: HDC : Hypoxi  Dermology. The first thing you do is jump into what can only described as a wetsuit that sucks in all of the air as you lie down on a bed. Once all the air is sucked out, over 400 pressure chambers located around the stomach, hips and thighs start to lightly massage your body, similar to cupping. It feels like bubble wrap popping, and is oddly really relaxing. The purpose of this suit is to stimulate blood flow in these problem areas. It helps improve skin tone and texture and is great for cellulite. This step lasts for 20 minutes.

Step 2: Hypozi L250 Training. Following the HDC suit you then put on looks like a plastic skirt and a machine that combines an exercise bike with a laying down position. Once you lay down, the hatch is lowered over your stomach to create a sealed vacuum from the waist down. For 30 minutes you peddle at a specific RPM (mine was 55-65 RPM) and the machine applies gentle vaccum pressure to the lower half of your body. This machine targets cellulite and fat on the stomach, bottom and thighs. I found this machine very easy and did not need to use much effort to keep the pace. This is great for anyone of any fitness level. What was a bonus was the fact that I could watch television, whilst exercising, lying down.

Nutrition Rules:

Like any health plan, exercise is not the entire answer. Hypoxi combines low impact exercise with some simple nutritional guidelines to develop results. The rules include:

  • No eating for two hours post each session. Following this, no carbs for a further 2-4 hours.This is because post session your body continues to burn fat, but if you eat, then your body will burn that instead.
  • Balanced diet. Exercise combined with a balanced diet will of course bring about better results. If you don’t change anything about your diet and simply focus on the exercise component then you are wasting your time and money!

The Verdict

So did it work? I must admit that I’m super nervous about sharing photos of my results with you. Nervous, not because if the program, but because of putting myself out there and sharing an image of my body when I’m feeling pretty self conscious.  However I know that the best way to show if something works is by providing you with proof. Proof that is unbiased and objective. So to cut to the chase, below you will find a photo of my body before and after: for and a half weeks later.S o please be kind!

Hypoxi
Before and Four Weeks After. My stomach and thighs were much more toned and I felt so much better about myself!

So did it work? Yes. It did! Over the past 4 1/2 weeks, I have participated in 14 sessions (extended due to one session being cancelled because of a faulty machine).  Whilst I didn’t lose any weight (this is quite normal), I lost 28.5 cm across all of my measurements. The best areas were my stomach and thighs. From the above photo you can see that my stomach is indeed more toned. I purposely wore the same clothes and stood in the same position to ensure that I giving you a real picture of my body. It’s far from perfect, but I have to say that I’m pretty proud of this achievement in a month. I feel better in my clothes and it has really kick started my urge to get my body in better shape.

Tips and Tricks : is it for you?

Each person that completes Hypoxi finds themselves getting into a rhythm. You find parts of the program that are easy, and parts that are challenging. So to summarise my experience, I thought I would share with you some of the things that I would recommend doing if you want jump on board yourself!

  • Do it at night. As I got into the program I fast realised that I struggled with the nutrition component. Especially if you do your session in the late morning, it means that you feel really hungry through the day. The absolute best way to do it is at night. I did most of my sessions at 8pm. After dinner and my hubby put the kids to bed. This meant thatI could exercise and then simply go home to bed. No need to feel hungry!
  • Pre book your sessions in advance. I found that if I had already booked my sessions, it felt like an appointment that I had to keep. You really need to do 3 sessions a week to get results!
  • Drink loads of water. The more the better.
  • Don’t get obsessed with the weight. For me it was about cm. I achieved that goal! Many do lose wight too, but this isn’t the focus.

So is it for you? I would absolutely recommend Hypoxi for those who want to kick start their goal to improving the health of their body. It is great for Mums who are busy, but able to exercise at night, or super early in the morning. It is great for people of all fitness levels, especially for those who are recovering from surgery. It is wonderful for those who have a big event in their life, a wedding or a big holiday. Whilst it isn’t the cheapest form of exercise on the planet, you can get fantastic sale deals if you keep your eyes out!  It essentially is a great way to start yourself on the road to better health.

If you are interested, Hypoxi offers everyone a FREE TRIAL. With centres in loads of locations, you are sure to find one near you.

 

 

Skate like Wonder Woman: DC Super Hero Girls Skateboard

Skate like Wonder Woman: DC Super Hero Girls Skateboard

As a child, I loved riding skateboards. It’s one of those things that knows no boundaries. Whether you are a girl or a boy, old or young, tall or short. Everyone can (eventually) learn to ride a skateboard and have fun. Overcoming your fears, persisting at a challenge, loving the reward of learning a new skill. We especially love seeing our children’s eyes light up when they work things out for themselves. In the 80s, skateboards were everywhere. Everyone who was anyone had one! Over the years, some things come and go, but skateboards have always remained a staple of growing up.

DC Superhero Girls Warner BrosIn my house we have also always loved Super Heroes. In recent years, I have loved the fact that Warner Bros. have also focussed on helping girls love and aspire to be Super Heroes themselves. The DC Super Hero Girls universe celebrates friendship, strength, teamwork and unlocking your full potential.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products in collaboration with Big W has released an awesome DC Super Hero Girls skateboard for every thrill-seeking kid in town. The DC Super Hero Girls skateboard features Wonder Woman (or “Wondy” as her friends call her) looking strong, vibrant and colourful; making every flip-trick look extra cool!

This week, Ella has been lucky enough to receive her very own Wonder Woman skateboard. Immediately, her eyes lit up and seeing her learn and conquer the skill was fantastic to watch. Just like Wonder Woman herself, she wanted to harness the strength and inner power that the DC Super Hero Girls encourage, to unlock her full potential! There is nothing better to get the kids off the iPad and active than riding their skateboard, either on the footpath (with parental help of course), in a skate park, or even inside down the corridor. Here are my own children carving it up inside the house!

The DC Super Hero Girls at Super Hero High include Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Bumblebee, Poison Ivy, Katana, Starfire and Frost.

The DC Super Hero Girls skateboard is available in-store for a RRP of $30. Look out for it in Big W’s June/July Toy Catalogue.

Product Review: Custom by Bobux

Product Review: Custom by Bobux

Aw my gawd. These were the words that spilled our of my daughter’s mouth when she saw the new shoes before her eyes. Custom by Bobux are literally those shoes that every child has dreamed of. Shoes that they can colour in. Shoes that reflect who they are, their personality, their love of colour. Bobux have always been known for creating beautiful shoes that are the best quality. Recommended by Podiatrists, they fit well, move well and last well. They are always made of the best quality fabrics to support little, growing feet. This time, however, they’ve taken it to the next level.

Creativity is something that I believe is one of the most important things that we should nourish in our children. The ability to use their imagination. Think beyond the square. Question, wonder, discover. These custom shoes also allow each and every child to nurture their unique, individual personality. To make their very own pair of shoes that are their own, different and special. Then, they can rub off their work and start all over again! The design allows children to colour in but also to create their own shapes and ideas.

Featuring:

  • High quality coated leather upper –
    colour in with pens provided & wipe off with water
  • Breathable cotton lining
  • Comes with a set of 5 pens in reusable pouch
  • Velcro strap fastening which allows for greater adjustability
  • Built on a specialist Kid+ last, which has been anatomically
    designed to fit children at this stage of development.

Ella has simply love, love, loved the chance to colour her own pair of shoes, and could not wait to wear then to kinder today!

Custom Bobux

Custom Bobux

Custom Bobux

So if you want your very own custom pair for your child, then best head to their website STAT!!! 

Local Legend: Lou from Honey and Co Club

Local Legend: Lou from Honey and Co Club

God knows I love stuff that helps Mums stay sane. What I love even more is stuff that keeps kids engaged and occupied, using their little brains to think, play and create. Businesses that can combine the two are, in my eyes, the best businesses on the planet. Happy Kids = Happy Mums.

This year I have come to know some fantastic monthly subscription services that send wonderful ideas for kids’ play, straight to your door. No need to head to the shops, find activities and spend your cash whilst wrangling kids in tow. No no. If you are yet to jump on the subscription train, then this blog post, my friends is for you.

This month I share the story of Lou from  Honey & Co. Her clever little business sends out monthly subscription kits to children aged 0-5 years of age.  Each month is a surprise and has a different theme but always inspired by Play. They  include quality wooden toys, books, puzzles, craft or outdoor activities – all presented in exclusive printed canvas pouches. These canvas bags are proving to be super popular with Mums as they have so many uses after their little one enjoys the goodies inside, and each month is a different colour or design.

What’s more is her subscription service can literally be the best gift your could give to another child. Popular with grandparents and aunts & uncles as a ‘gift that keeps on giving’. I love the fact that Lou told be that they really wanted to get children excited again about the touch and feel reality of the letterbox, just like the good old days! In this world full of technology for our little ones, they ‘think it’s important to have that balance’.

Here are a few snaps of my children enjoying two of their monthly kits that included some gorgeous board books, puzzles, organic fruity toothpaste from JackNJill, Pop Out Woodland animals from PetitCollage and possibly the cutest glasses from Tiger Tribe.

Honey and Co Club
Ella loves Sally!
Honey and Co Club
The kids love putting these cardboard animals together!
Ella loves her little Owl
Pretty proud of her efforts!
Honey and Co Club
How cool are these glasses?
Honey and Co Club
Toothpaste!
It was great to chat with Lou and find out how it all started!

Tell us a bit about your business, your dream, your story

My name is Lou and I’m a Mum to one and our fur baby, Honey the Labrador.

My background is in the major events industry, particularly within the hiring and styling sector. After having my little girl, it soon became apparent that the major events lifestyle was going to be a difficult balance with being a new mum. I decided, this was my opportunity to create my own business and flexible working hours.

As a new mum, I would sometimes be sitting on our front porch with my one year old and Honey and watched as my daughter played with the letterbox. As months went on, I watched the thrill she got when something was in there, albeit the local takeaway pamphlet! I also have family in country Victoria, so they would often send her a little parcel of sticker or hair clips. She was so, so excited, I got to thinking that I would love for her to receive mail, ‘the old fashioned way’… and maybe other children all over Australia would too.

Magic: What is the most magical thing that has happened to you as a small business owner?

You know what, actually having those first few subscribers that joined the Honey & Co Club, that weren’t friends or family. These amazing subscribers entrusted me to send quality parcels to their children, that to me was pretty magic. Also, having the beautiful Kate Ritchie post a photo of our product on social and then for her to take the time to come and meet me at One Fine Baby show last year, because I love her so much, that was also pretty magic.

Mayhem: What has been your greatest challenge, moment of mayhem?

Christmas last year, knowing 4 weeks out we were going to sell out, I quickly had to devise a plan to get all our suppliers to make more bags and acquire more stock with a 2 week turnaround deadline. A moment of mayhem and panic, but we got there in the end. The greatest challenge I think is being ‘all hands’. When you run your own business and are building this up from the start up phase, you really are all hands and the ‘do-er’ of everything.

Milestone: What has been your greatest achievement, milestone?

A great achievement was partnering with Australia Post last year on their small business campaign. This was incredible for Honey & Co Club as we like to see ourselves often promoting the post, sending letters and receiving parcels. When Australia Post contacted us to make a short video on our business, it was a fabulous achievement to get noticed by such a big corporate all within our first year of business.

Pay it Forward: Who do you love? What small business are you lusting over right now?

@hipetalmelbourne Seriously have the Insta feed you need to brighten up your day. They deliver beautiful posies in jars and I have used them on numerous occasions for friends and clients. It’s such a treat to receive pretty flowers and these guys do it so well.

So head on over and take a look at Lou’s gorgeous business!

 https://honeyandcoclub.com.au

Celebrating Winter in beautiful Ballarat

Celebrating Winter in beautiful Ballarat

This weekend we escaped the city and headed to beautiful Ballarat. Known for none other than being the gold epicentre of Victoria, the region has this year decided to embrace the cold and welcome us all with their huge Winter Festival. I’ve been to Ballarat countless times as a teacher, but this was my first time as a Mum with Ella and Hudson. Given the fact that we are in the thick of packing, moving and renovating, my Hubby stayed home and we took Mum (aka Nanna) along for the ride. As guest of Ballarat Tourism we were lucky enough to be heading up the freeway to experience a jam packed couple of days, with the best of Ballarat on offer. I was keen to see how the town would capture the imagination of my little ones, and have them experience the wonder of this beautiful old town.

Stop 1. Mercure Hotel Ballarat and Convention Centre

Literally a stones through away from Sovereign Hill, this sprawling complex is hospitality at its best. We were delighted to be welcomed by the team and found our way to a gorgeous two bedroom apartment. Perfect for families, it has everything you would want for a weekend stay. Full size lounge and dining, kitchen, upstairs with two large bedrooms (one with a King bed), Bathroom (including bath), seperate shower, washer and dryer. I must admit that we were delighted to be staying in an apartment, as the standard hotel room can sometimes insight cabin fever, and doesn’t really set the tone for a relaxing weekend. The apartments surround a beautiful enclosed garden with tables and chairs, ready for a gorgeous afternoon outside. A short walk away is a beautiful lake with ducks and fish to see. The main building overlooks this beautiful space and honestly is such a beautiful place to stay.

What makes it even more fabulous is the on sight restaurant Billy’s Bar and Bistro.  Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there is nothing better than being able to eat and walk directly to your room. The food was delicious and my kids ate everything, which is saying something!

My Tips: Get an apartment with two bedrooms. You won’t regret it!

Mercure Hotel Ballarat

Stop 2. Sovereign Hill

Arguably Ballarat’s most well known tourist attraction, a Victorian child hood is not complete without a family visit to Sovereign Hill. Stepping back in time into our colonial Gold Rush history, children can experience what it truly meant to live in the early 1800’s. What’s wonderful is the fact that most of the town actually work or volunteer here at some stage during their life. Children and adults are not only dressed in iconic dress, but speak as though they are living 200 years ago! Whether your kids want to pan for gold (literally…..all my children could think about!), ride the old coach, see real gold being poured or purchasing some traditional boiled lollies from the best shop in the world, the kids are sure to have a ball.

It is extremely family friendly with all aspects covered. From wheelchair / pram access, to changing facilities, it’s all there.

Here are some of our favourite moments!

Found some!
Looking to strike it rich!

Waiting for the coach
Red!

Sovereign Hill
So much to see!
Sovereign Hill
The best lolly shop in the world!
Sovereign Hill
Main Street Fun
Sovereign Hill
Is this where people lived Mum? Where’s the toilet?
Sovereign Hill
Exploring with Nanna
Sovereign Hill
Arriving at Sovereign Hill! First time as a Mum, no heads to count as a teacher!

My Tips: If you are heading to the winter wonderlights then my tip would be head to Sovereign Hill around 1/2pm. Explore for a few hours then duck home for a rest!

Stop 3. Winter Wonderlights @ Sovereign Hill

After heading back to the hotel to change our clothes and have a bit of a rest, we headed back to Sovereign Hill at 6pm to see what is honestly the best lights spectacular I have ever seen. Winer Wonderlights celebrates all things Christmas in July. Making the most of our winter mid year, every part of the town is lit up in beautiful projections and fairy lights. Christmas music is playing, fires are lit and snow magically fills the air. The projections are truly mesmorising as you walk through the enchanting main street. Ella and Huddy literally tried to catch the snow falling. The upper street is littered with literally thousands of white fairy lights. The trees and houses are decorated beautifully and are a true inspiration for anyone wanting to create a bit of Griswold Christmas! My tip would be to arrive at 5.45 to watch the lights appear through dusk!

Sovereign Hill Winter wonderlights
Amazing projections
Sovereign Hill Winter wonderlights
The entire town is lit up with spectacular lights
Sovereign Hill Winter wonderlights
Twinkling fairy lights
Sovereign Hill Winter wonderlights
Hudson and the Nutcracker
Sovereign Hill Winter wonderlights
I see you!
Sovereign Hill Winter wonderlights
A night to remember

My Tips: Firstly rug up! Head over at about 5.45 to see dusk turn into darkness. I also bought my kids two little torches to help guide them through. They loved it!

Stop 4: Iceskating in town

Ballarat has really turned up the heat and embraced the cold! The whole town has so much to offer over the next month, with heaps of great activities. You can’t really celebrate snow without ice skating. Right in the heart of town, next to the Town Hall, you can find a Pop Up skate rink. What’s best is the little ones can get around on special ice shoes that help their little toes grip to the ice. I was actually super impressed by how Ella and Huddy went, even after falling!

After this we headed across the road to the ice slide and dome!

Ballarat Winter Festival
Ice Skating for the first time

Ballarat Winter Festival
Was super impressed by this one’s efforts!

Next was a stop at the Winter Forest. Another dazzling tunnel of lights that the kids adored!

Ballarat Winter Festival
Winter Forest

My Tips: Prepurchase your tickets here!

Stop 5: Ballarat Wildlife Park

This wildlife park was the most surprising part of our trip. I’ve been to a few zoos in my time, but honestly, this one is up there with the best. Featuring Australian Wildlife, this wildlife park is just beautiful. Kangaroos and Emus roam freely and children are encouraged to feed and pat them with care. Dingos, reptiles, Koalas, penguins, Tassie devils just to name a few. Nestled on a sprawling estate, the unique feature of being so close to the animals captivated my children. A treat was being able to toast marshmallows by the fire. I honestly was so surprised and would tell any family to make sure that they stop by whilst in Ballarat!

Ballarat Wildlife Park
Toasting Marshmallows

Ballarat Wildlife Park
Feeding the Kangaroos

My Tip: Allow a couple of hours to explore as it is AMAZING!

Stop 6: Kitteltys Cafe

We finished our trip with a visit to this gorgeous cafe in the centre of town, right out front of the Ballarat Gallery. Welcoming us with love and warmth we feasted on scones, vegetable tarts and milkshakes. This beautiful cafe is clearly a local favourite and is adorned with unique crockery, old fashioned spoons and gorgeous table ware. With loads of local produce for sale, it was the perfect way to round out our trip!

Honestly, there is nothing better than escaping the city for a weekend, and you will be blown away by the sheer variety of things to do in Ballarat. Experience their Winter Festival from July 1-3! For more information, visit their Tourism Information Site here!