I'm a passionate educator who loves helping teachers and parents understand how to engage our students in this digital world. I'm also a Mum who is learning to tackle the everyday challenges of being a parent of a our two year old Ella and new born son, Hudson!
Reliving my 80s childhood with the Looney Tunes & Cotton on Kids
Growing up as a kid in the 1980s was so much fun. I have so many memories of racing home from school, turning the telly on to watch Looney Tunes cartoons as we stuffed our faces with vegemite on toast. Much like our parents reminisced about their own upbringing, our own children are growing up in a time that is very different from ours. Some things change, but I love the fact that there are so many parts of my childhood that are making a comeback. From retro 80s toys and games, to the much loved stories that we treasured. I’ve loved seeing some of my favourite brands do some epic collaborations, and the recent range of kids wear from Cotton On kids for girls and boys is no different. With school starting in a couple of weeks, their range includes funky pieces of clothing and cool accessories including drink bottles, lunch boxes, caps and bag tags!
Teaming up with Looney Tunes, Cotton on Kids is bringing my 80s childhood into the lives of my 21st century children! From Bugs Bunny to Sylvester, Tweety Bird and the iconic ‘That’s All Folks’ – I just love the fact that my kids are being introduced to a ‘new’ family of characters from an ‘old’ era. (I won’t use the word ‘old’ lightly ;-)).
Only problem is, my kids have no idea why we love them so much! We’ve been you tubing Bugs Bunny, and the Road Runner….the kids have adored watching their adventures. Laughing along with the hilarious cartoons, most of which have very little character voice overs.
Our adorable Looney Tunes samples have been provided by the team at Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Cotton On Kids. Some of my favourite pieces from the range include:
The beautifully embroided tees with characters and rainbows…
The cheeky Sylvester tee that suits our rebel Huddy perfectly…
The insanely cool ‘that’s all folks’ denim jacket. Possibly the best piece in the entire range!
The detail in the girls’ jeans…
What’s even cooler (literally) is the fact that you can bring the range back to school with the selection of drink bottles, and lunch boxes that are very generous in size. Perfect for fitting on a larger lunch box!
From Bugs Bunny to Tweetie Bird and Tasmanian Devil to Daffy Duck, there is something in this collection for every fashion forward kid! • The range is available in store at Cotton On Kids and online for a limited time only – get in quick or risk missing out! • The apparel range starts from infant sizing through to size 8. To get your hands on this gorgeous range, you can purchase everything online and in store now!
Smiggle Giveaway: Back to school with the Smiggle Squad
This time of year is always about back to school. This year, in our house…it’s about starting school! As a teacher, I’ve witnessed the rise of the uber cool Smiggle as the ‘must have’ items in every child’s school bag. From the most amazing sequinned pencil cases, to drink bottles with personalised letters. Smiggle is the source of everything cool for school.
When you join the Smiggle squad you get to kick start your year with a whole lot of fun and good dose of fabulousness! Smiggle has a range of colourful essentials that are bound to make heading back to school that bit cooler!
Need a unique backpack? They’ve got it!
Got a list of pens and pencils a mile long? They’ll sort it!
Want to go back with something no one else has seen before? You’ll find it at Smiggle!
Ella is literally falling over herself with excitement that she is finally able to choose some amazing products from Smiggle to help add to the thrill of starting school. She chose the most amazing lunch box, notebooks, drink bottle, pencil case and little bento boxes to fill with snacks. Smiggle’s product range is enormous. Everything you need for school, homework or FUN can be found at Smiggle. Smiggle’s products are designed to inspire and develop creativity with original, fun and affordable stationery, accessories, gadgets and more, all in our bright fun, colours of pink, purple, green, blue and black.
But wait there’s (even) more…
We are thrilled to be combining forces with Smiggle to give one lucky child the following awesome products from their range to help them get ready for school!. All products come in pink.
For an extra entry (but not compulsory) leave a comment on the blog post below with your favourite item that your child has loved from Smiggle
Open to Australian Residents only. Comp is open from Thursday 11th January at 9am until Thursday 18th January at 9pm. One winner will be selected at random. This giveaway is in no way endorsed, supported or administered by Instagram or Facebook.
To check out just some of the huge range of goodies, gadgets and gizmos released especially for back to school! Everything is available from Smiggle stores nationally (and internationally!!) or online at www.smiggle.com.
From blunder to bliss: How to have a ball in Bali with seven kids in tow!
Bali. It’s a destination synonymous with Australia. Many say that you’re not a true Aussie unless you’ve been to Bali! A few days ago we returned home from a fantastic Balinese adventure, albeit quite a different one from my previous trip more than 15 years ago. In the past, I did the whole ‘Kuta’ trip, with one of my best friends and our Mums. Whilst back then, we did indeed have a fabulous time, the days of drinking buckets in bars and shopping for fake Louis Vuitton bags and Gucci wallets are long gone. This time around we headed to the beautiful island with three families, six adults and seven children under six. Blessed to call our business partners our best mates, we have all travelled together many times over the past decade, with our little families growing a little more with each trip. With seven children, including one very precious new born baby amongst our crew, we knew Bali would be a fantastic destination. In particular, the draw card of renting a villa over the new year period would mean that we could both be with our children, and cherish some fun adult time with drinks and cocktails by the pool. It didn’t disappoint!
Much like our Hawaii trip last year, this holiday brought with it many a learning experience. Both what to do, and in particular what NOT to do. There are so many aspects to planning a holiday overseas, but when you travel in a larger group, the planning stakes escalate considerably. We are lucky that we are all very good friends, very chilled, relaxed and understand that each of us have things we like (champagne 😉 and dislike. Following our Hawaii trip I shared my tips and tricks to having a great holiday, and this post will be no different. Whilst we did have a slight hiccup with regards to our first accommodation, we still managed to have an amazing time, and once we moved everything was as fantastic as we had hoped. There were so many laughs and fun times, and if you follow some pretty simple rules, then you too can have an amazing holiday away with your mates, and your children!
Without further adue….
Getting there and home again…
We flew Garuda Indonesia, and they were wonderful. Lots of leg room, four seats across the middle, full meals, movies, pillows, blankets. The flight is approx 5 1/2 hours. Flying out of Melbourne, we took the 9.30 am flight. This means that we arrived at our villa at approx 3pm Bali time (they are three hours behind AEST). This flight time was perfect as we arrived at the airport at 6am, the kids enjoyed the flight (and the entertainment) and we were at our hotel in time for a swim before they zonked that night. Flying home, we took the 9.30pm flight. Whilst this was a while to keep the kids up past their bed time, this meant that we could enjoy our last full day in bali. Flying a this time means that the children basically fell asleep straight away, and basically slept the whole flight. We arrived home at 6am Melbourne time (meaning that they only really slept around 4 hours). We took a cab home and basically all went straight to bed for a few more hours to catch up. These flight times both to Bali and home were really practical, and whilst coming home was a little more tiring, I would absolutely do it again the same way.
Before we went to Bali we did a considerable amount of research booking a Villa for our three families. Given there were six adults and seven children, and the fact that we were over the new year period, we knew that we had a challenge to find something that would suit us within a reasonable price range. We ended up booking our Villa directly and initially, were very happy with our choice. During the year, the Villa was sold and changed hands, and the consequences of this were not really evident until we arrived. When we arrived a Villa Basillio, we were welcomed with open arms by the staff. The Villa was very large, with two pools, five bedrooms and six bathrooms. The staff were so helpful, gracious and beautiful with our children. However, the Villa was extremely run down, and had not been maintained well in recent years. Quite simply, the photos did not replicate real life. During our stay many aspects of the home started to break down (ie. showers, baths, tvs) and the general cleanliness of the home was not at all what we expected. Dan and I slept on a double bed (not great when your hubby is 6 foot 2, and you have a son who doesn’t sleep and climbs into bed with you!). So after a few days of trying to tell ourselves that everything was ok, a toilet exploded (cue poo water everywhere), and we decided to speak up and share our disappointment with the manager. Whilst she was very supportive and empathetic, the problem with dealing directly is tackling language barriers and lower standards. We have been given a refund for the nights we didn’t stay, and are still discussing compensation for the issues we faced during our stay.
Luckily, thankfully, we were able to obtain the help from the amazing Sara at Ministry of Villas. A husband and wife team, they actually started their villa agency to help families avoid situations like the one we experienced. So professional, they even came to personally visit us to make sure we were happy. They personally stay at all of the villas that they list to ensure that the experience lives up to the promise. We will definitely be using them again!
Sara was able to secure a last minute transfer for our families to Villa Tiga Puluh close by, but in a much better location in Seminyak. As soon as we walked into this amazing villa, we knew that we had arrived in the place we had dreamed for our holiday. Beautifully styled bungalows meant that our families could be close enough to be together, but far enough apart as to not disturb each other (think crying children in the night). The pool was absolutely divine. The pool fence was custom made for the villa, which kept our kids safe, but was sleek enough not to interrupt the view. A buffet breakfast was included each morning. For lunch and dinner, we were asked to select our meals from an extensive menu. The chef and assistants would purchase our groceries and bring them home to create our beautiful meals. We also had them purchase a variety of ingredients to make delicious cocktails by the pool for happy hour at 12pm, 2pm, 5pm! The bathrooms were immaculate. King sized beds meant we instantly had a great night sleep. There was also a very cool movie room that was air conditioned, meaning we or the kids could escape the heat for a little while if needed. Villa Tiga Puluh was truly our blissful Bali escape, and we have already decided to head back in two years. It includes transfers to and from the airport, and a driver can be arranged at any time you need!
Eating out with kids
Some of my favourite haunts to eat out with kids in Bali include:
Motel Mexicola – in particular the epic dance floor that gets the whole family dancing after dinner!
We were lucky enough to get to some beautiful, beautiful places during our stay. Having Nannies meant that our kids could have a great time at home, whilst we could get out and enjoy each others’ company. Taking care of ourselves as friends and as couples means that we can be the best parents to our children. We really valued this time!
My top five:
Bikini – we stumbled across this beautiful restaurant after having a cocktail on new years eve. The sister restaurant to SisterFields (next door), this place is epic. We had the degustation menu and it was delicious. The chef is from the Gold Coast and his creations blew our mind! A must do when you are in Seminyak!
Metis – nestled in the most exquisite grounds, this restaurant / bar is everything you want on a beautiful night out.
La Lucciola – A Bali insitution, this intimate open air restaurant sits on the beach. Italian in inspiration, the food and ambiance is an experience you’ll never forget. Unfortunately on the night we were there, an epic storm decided to make it’self at home, so we were rushed into a small but beautiful inside space. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!
Rock Bar – Perched atop distinctive rock formations along Jimbaran’s pristine sunset coast, Rock Bar Bali is widely respected as one of the globe’s most popular sunset, cocktail and entertainment venues. Showcasing unparalleled views from 14 meters above the Indian Ocean, Rock Bar is accessible via AYANA’s dramatic cliff side inclinator. Featuring a glamorous sunset vibe, and a seductive after-dark ambience, listen to premier international DJs as they heighten your experience from a custom DJ booth carved directly into the cliff face. A tip is to arrive at 4pm to beat the rush when it opens!
Potato Head: In one word…cool. A beautiful space where you can swim, dine, lounge or just sit and watch ‘the cool people’. We had a ball drinking cocktails and lapping up the sun!
Nannies, Nannies, Nannies
Whilst my children have had probably 100 sleep overs at our Mums houses, and they go to daycare, they have never actually been minded by a baby sitter, or someone they don’t know! I was a little nervous about having a Nanny, but as a group, we’d decided that it we would take full advantage of the rave reviews of several friends and book some to help us. Our Nanny Sri was everything we could have hoped for. My kids loved her so much that Ella cried for hours the night she finished with us! We found Sri via word of mouth, and my tip with Nannies is to go by reccomendation. They all are on WhatsApp and Facebook. Dates are booked directly with them. Our Nanny was first aid trained and also swam with our kids (bonus!). Nannies range in price but average at $6/$7 an hour. We changed our hours each day, but ended up basically having her come around 2pm each day, swimming with the kids in the afternoon and then doing bath, dinner and bed with the kids. We would come home around 10.30pm at night. We did have break in between for a couple of days as we felt our kids needed some full days with us. We can’t wait to book Sri again!
Places to have fun together
For the Mums – Body Works. Open for over twenty years and heralded as the initiator of the Seminyak day spa model now so popular in Bali, Bodyworks positive reputation is built on the consistent delivery of high standard massages and beauty treatments to guests that come back day after day and year after year. You need to come here and have a Cream Bath. Think a hair treatment / massage in one. Quite simply the best treatment I’ve ever had. The prices are so low, you can get a treatment each day!
Splash Land – Located at Finns Recreation Club in Cungii, this is an awesome place to spend a few hours. A smaller water park with a kids area and slides, it is also a place to get some sun and drink a few cocktails whilst the kids enjoy the water!
WaterBom Park – Our biggest day out. Think Wet N Wild on sterioids. With such a big group we went for the ‘Total Package’ which gave us:
Free photos (digital images that are taken throughout the park)
1 hour massage each
Kids choice of trampoline / hair brading + water balloons
1 meal and drink
We hired our own 12 person cabana for the day which is a must do. All of the above is totally worth it.
Other essentials you need to know about Bali
One of the biggest things about Bali is being careful with the water. Bottled water is replaced hourly at the villa. You need to ensure that you use it for all drinking, washing of teeth etc. The kids bathed and showered normally, but never drank the tap water. Villas and restaurants are very good at ensuring that food is washed, and ice is made with purified water, but it is always good to ask. We travelled with seven children under 6, including a five week old (who never went in the water at all, just to be sure) and none of us got sick!
Avoiding mosquitos is one of Bali’s biggest challenges. Arming yourself with considerable repellent (we used BUG OFF) is a must, and also purchasing special mosqito patches is a fantastic idea if you don’t want your child covered in cream: http://www.kmart.com.au/product/mozzigear-mosquito-patch—pack-of-10/988836
Something to consider is pre writing a shopping list and emailing it to your Villa manager before you go. They can pre buy for you and you can have everything you want when you arrive!
You will see a lot of poverty. Lots of kids begging, and mothers asking for money. It’s a good idea to talk about it with your kids before you go.
We had a driver with our first Villa who we recruited to stay with us at our second. Finding a good driver is key as the taxis can rip you off big time!
The shopping in Seminyak is fantastic! Especially for kidswear!
Take packet of Zooper Doopers and put them in the freezer when you arrive! Icy poles are hard to come by.
Pack pools toys! Zoggs are fantastic!
In terms of other destinations, we didn’t venture our of Seminyak, but plan to next time once the kids are a bit older!
Other than all of that, make sure you travel with an epic crew. We are so blessed to have the best friends in the world to travel with, and our children are so lucky to be creating such fun and joyous memories! hope those tips help you out a bit! We had such an amazing time, and once we found our feet, enjoyed every blissful second!
Until Next Time!
Last minute Christmas cramming: unisex gifts for any child
Ok peeps. We’re officially in count down mode. Five days until Christmas. This time of year I think that there are two types of people. Those who had their presents bought, wrapped and under the tree a month ago, and those who will be purchasing right at the last minute. Whilst I thought I was doing well, I find myself much like a student who crams for their exam at the last minute. I’ve got an incomplete list!
So if you find yourself in a similar position, and need to grab some gifts for your little ones, I thought I’d share four of my favourite gift ideas that you could buy for any boy or girl. Unisex, these gifts include some that I’ve purchased for my own children. They can be purchased at stores, all you need to do is head to their website and look for stockists!
Hands down, the best scooters in town. An investment yes, but one that you will never regret. The best quality, they will simply love them! For stockists head to their website here:
My children were lucky enough to receive these as a gifts earlier this year. If there is one thing that kids love, its constructing towers, cars, buildings. Magformers are construction sets that use magnets to allow children to let their imaginations run wild. They come in a variety of sets including a ferris wheel, or a basic set! To find out where you can grab them, head to their website here: https://www.microscooters.com.au/stockists
3. Natural Play dough by Happy Hands Happy Heart
What child doesn’t love play dough? If you haven’t’ heard about this beautiful local business, then you must have been living under a rock! Happy Hands Happy Heart create naturally scented play dough in a variety of delicious flavours. Packaged in beautiful glass jars, they are the perfect gift for your, or any child! Best of all, you will be supporting local! For stockists head here: https://www.happyhandshappyheart.com.au/stockists-and-events
4. Tinta Crayons
Tinta take crayons to another level. Letters, animals, objects. Crayons that look like toys, but actually can be used to draw! Crayons that spell out your child’s name. The perfect stoking filler! For stockists head here: https://www.tintacrayons.com.au/stockists/
Hope that helps with any last minute Christmas Cramming!!!
If you’ve got Netflix, you’ve probably seen more and more Netflix Originals popping up in your menus. However do you know what these ‘originals’ are all about? Their originals are just that…original series that are basically only available on Netflix. These range from shows created and driven by Netflix, like “House of Cards,” and “Daredevil.” There are also series that have been reinvented and given a second lease of live, ones Netflix picked up from cable TV and made additional seasons of, like “Trailer Park Boys” or “Arrested Development’. These series are fantastic for those of us who love a cult binge, however you may not have realised that there is also a growing series of originals for children and families!
If you are keen to know more, here is my round up of my favourite originals for Grown ups and kids!
GROWN UPS: NETLFIX ORIGINALS
House of Cards
Gilmore Girls: a year in the life
Anne with an E: for Anne of Green Gables lovers!
If your game….Stranger things (season 1 and 2)
THE CROWN. My absolute favourite. This is the season two teaser!
GLOW. Think WWE meets Flashdance
FOR THE KIDS: NETFLIX ORIGINALS
The Adventures of Puss in Boots: this is an amazing ‘choose your adventure’ show. The kids can participate in choosing the direction via their remote!
From Dreamworks: All Hail King Julien Exiled
For parents of the 80s and their new children!! Care Bear and Cousins!
Dolls, dolls, dolls. Growing up I was obsessed with them. There is something about dressing up dolls, doing their hair, changing their outfits. For some reason, a love of dolls has never left me…it must be something about being in the Barbie fan club when I was young! Ella too has inherited my love of all things dolls, and recently, the rise of the 18 inch doll into the Australian market has seen an explosion doll amazing new outfits and accessories.
Living Like Lulu by Little Tinkers has recently launched onto the scene as a boutique distributor of stylish and affordable outfit ensembles for 18 inch dolls available everywhere. The brain child of Paris Stanley (from Little Tinkers fame), she took her daughter’s love of these beautiful products as inspiration, and decided to source her own designs and styles and make them available for everyone online.
Whether you have purchased your doll from a store, here in Australia or overseas, her range of outfits fit most dolls and can be mixed and matched with other outfits.
PRIZE: We are giving away a $100 voucher to use at the Living Like Lulu online store to purchase 18 inch dolls accessories and outfits
As you know, this year I’m on the hunt for gifts that I can get for BOTH of my children. Stuff that they will love, play with together and (if I can help it) get them outside. In our family, there is nothing quite more loved than our scooters. We took them to Hawaii (read about it here) and have used them in place of our pram for over a year. They get the kids active and are just generally the coolest things you can give to kids. The problem is, like bikes, as they grow, so does the need to upgrade their scooters. There is nothing greater in the scooter world than a Micro. If there is something I’ve learned these last few years as a parent, you get what you pay for. The quality, design and service provided by Micro is second to none. I’ve always wanted to get my kids a Micro, and was utterly thrilled when I recently had the opportunity to try them out for my own children, and am excited to share our findings with you today!
In case you don’t know, buying a scooter is kind of like buying a car. There are literally thousands of models out there, but you need to find one that suits your needs, budget and taste. Scooters come in all shapes and sizes, and the micro offerings are no different. In the past, we have used cheaper versions, but now we were ready to invest in the best. The problem is, Ella and Huddy are both at very different stages, skills and physical make up. Ella is super tall, but also still needs support to transition her to a two wheeled version. Micro made it easy, suggesting the perfect type for each of my children. Still having three wheels was our preference and they catered for our needs with no problems. Here is what we chose!
The Mini Micro Deluxe is the reimagined version of the world renowned classic Mini Micro preschooler scooter. It features an adjustable t-bar, raised silicon deck for stability, and an anodised finish that looks great and protects from rust.
The Mini Micro Deluxe’s intuitive ‘lean and steer’ scooting style is perfect for younger children and helps your child’s balance and co-ordination which are vital for the development of early motor skills. It’s lightweight and therefore perfectly suited for little ones as it enables them to negotiate pavements, steps and doorways without the help of us Mums and Dads!
The brake is the best. It has been ingeniously designed so even the slightest pressure put on it will bring the scooter to a gentle halt. This is something Huddy needs! The Mini Micro Deluxe’s 3 wheels and sturdy deck provide stability, giving your child the confidence they need to master scooting.
• For ages 2 – 5 years
• Adjustable handlebars
• Unique silicon raised deck
• Anodised stem protects from corrosion
• Develops balance skills
• Stable 3 wheel design
• Intuitive lean-to-steer action
• Lightweight design
• Wide non-slip deck, low to the ground
• Quality non-marking wheels
• Comes in Pink, Blue, Green, Red, Yellow, Purple, Aqua and Orange
• Please note: Mini Deluxe Red has a pink brake and pink deck logos
The next step up from the Mini Micro Deluxe, the Maxi Micro Deluxe 3 wheel scooter is the ideal next stage kids scooter for kids who want all the fun, stability and good safety design of the Mini but are ready a larger, cooler and more robust scooter.
The Maxi Micro Deluxe version has a new weight limit of 70kgs, a unique deck with raised silicone Micro grip, and an anodised stem which not only protects your scooter from corrosion but provides a stylish look.
Your little one can cruise the pavements, parks smoothly and confidently on their Maxi Micro Deluxe scooter, while further developing their balance and co-ordination skills.
With an adjustable handlebar the Maxi Micro Deluxe is the ideal scooter for the fans of the mini who want to keep riding what they already love.
• For ages 5-12 years
• New 70kg weight limit
• Anodised metallic finish
• Raised silicon non-slip deck
• Adjustable handlebar height
• Intuitive lean-to-steer action
• Superior stability
• Vibrant range of colours: Purple, Red, Green, Black, Blue, Pink, Yellow and Aqua
• Please note: Maxi Deluxe Aqua has a pink brake and pink deck logos
My kids fell in love with their scooters at first sight. I could not recommend Micro more highly. There is nothing better than a Micro Scooter. The perfect Christmas present for any boy or girl. It is certainly a Christmas choice that will bring you and your family so much joy. All you need is a scooter for yourself!
I’ll finish with some action shots of the kids cruising and having the time of their lives!