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Christmas Toy Review #3 : Pop the Pig from Talkin Toys

Christmas Toy Review #3 : Pop the Pig from Talkin Toys

This Christmas my two children are getting to an age where they can start to play board games. Maybe not quite Monopoloy, but certainly games that involve interaction! You may or may not know, but this year I’m trying to find toys that I can buy for them together. Toys that they can both play with, and hopefully play without fighting #wishfulthinking. Whilst we were away in Hawaii, we played good old Jenga quite a few times, and I realised that they haven’t really had the opportunity to play games like it, that involve the whole family. They promote turn taking, patience and strategy! So when Talkin Toys contacted me to try out one of their new offerings, I jumped at the chance to try out Pop the Pig!

Pop the Pig is a game that can be played by two or more players. The Pig sits in the middle, and each person takes the turn to roll the dice. The dice shows one of four colours: red, green, purple or yellow. The player then picks up a token of that colour and turns it over showing a number. The token is then placed in the Pig’s mouth, and pushes down on it’s head the corresponding number of times. Each time you push down, it pumps the Pig’s tummy a little larger. The game keeps going until you….Pop the Pig’s tummy!

This game has been fantastic in a number of ways:

  • Turn taking….obviously!
  • Rolling the dice and recognising the colour
  • Recognising numbers
  • Predicting who is going to win based on how many times the Pig’s head has been pumped

It isn’t a game of skill, which is also great at this age because it means that no matter how old they are, anyone can win!

Pop the Pig can be purchased at Kmart for $25 here! Suitable for years 3+

Product Review: Leisure Learning / Smart Games Developmental Toys

Product Review: Leisure Learning / Smart Games Developmental Toys

Sometimes an email finds itself in my inbox, and it’s fate. I have recently been looking for fantastic developmental toys for my children, specifically Hudson who, with his hearing loss, is at such an important age and stage for oral language development. I was looking for toys to help my children use their hands, talk about the process of what they were doing, and essentially allow them to play and talk together. I was thrilled then to receive an invitation from Leisure Learning try try out some of their toys. A family and local business, Leisure Learning carry a extensive range of EDUCATIONAL GAMES, as well as toys for toddlers. Their range includes Infant/Preschool, Wooden Games,Craft, Games, Puzzles, Dolls, Learning Toys, and much more.

I selected two vary different types of toys to try. The SMART MAX construction set, and TUB FUN FASHION, a wonderful selection of foam shapes for the bath. I am honestly blown away by the simplicity of these toys, and the way that my children have time and time again, loved playing with them.


Here is a summary of each below:


SMARTMAX magnetic balls and bars allow kids to explore the fascinating world of magnetism in a safe way. Kids can explore magnetism and gravity, whilst learning about shapes and colours and developing spatial perception as they build 2D and 3D shapes and structures.

The giant SMARTMAX pieces are an ideal toy for young children. The attraction and repulsion of magnets will amazing and fascinate as they build and play. Older children will maximise their fun, building towers, bridges and other super-sized constructions.

SmartMax magnets have the correct strength for their purpose and are made out of the highest quality material that can be found. These magnets can carry up to 60 times their own weight.

SMARTMAX bars have different colours as a code. Larger bars have stronger magnets than smaller ones.

Extension kits of bars and balls are available separately.

These are honestly the bomb. Instantly curious and wanting to pick them up straight away, Ella continuously makes an endless array of structures and creations. She honestly amazes me. Her knowledge of space, 3D structures and her ability to problem solve has been wonderful to watch. I love these so much that I’ve purchased three sets for the juniors at my Primary School. Hudson has loved watching his big sister and having a go at making various things.

Seriously, one of the best developmental toys I’ve come across in a long time!




These soft foam bath toys will stick to any smooth surface when wet. Mix and match fashion outfits. These have brought such fun to bath time. They are very sturdy and great quality. The kit includes 39 pieces and a drip-dry net storage bag.

Such a cute present for any child who loves the bath! I adore these and again, they have brought such laughter and fun to a time that my children spend together!




To purchase any of the above toys, or to see an extensive selection of their educational products, head to




Friday Find: Cre8tive kids Art & Craft @ Kmart

Friday Find: Cre8tive kids Art & Craft @ Kmart

Ella is a real toddler now, and her curiosity and enthusiasm for creating and exploring has simply exploded. She loves to paint, draw, glue and pretty much do anything that involves craft. It’s gorgeous to see, and as a Primary School teacher, we are both very much at home with coloured paper and a pair of scissors. You could go nuts looking for ideas that are suitable for a two year old, and whilst most $2 shops have a great range, recently I’ve come across the Cre8tive Kids range at Kmart.

I recently purchase Ella a splash mat, set of water colour paints and plaster paint set. Each of them were $2 and she has spent hours of fun painting and creating her own little masterpieces. The range is huge, from felt balls and pipe cleaners, to paints, paper and sequins. It’s nice to know that there is an affordable range of products, with the quality that will last longer than a toddler’s attention span!

Here is a snippet of Ella having fun with her plaster paint set. They come in a range of characters, for this one she chose horses..

The splash mats are thick and easy to clean…

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The plaster set comes with figurines, brushes and paint..


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Reminds me of ‘The plaster fun house’ as a kid..


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Hours of fun…

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I’ll certainly be heading back to Kmart to stock up on more Art and Craft Items in the coming months. The full range is not available online, but you can find a selection of the larger items here.

Happy Crafting!


Friday Find: Mamadoo

Friday Find: Mamadoo

There’s nothing better than stumbling across a new shopping website. Since having my children, my obsession with online shopping has, let’s just say, become a bit of a problem. There is nothing more relaxing (and exciting) than finding a site that you love, with products you adore and prices that can’t be beaten. Today I’m sharing my Mamadoo find with you! It’s a site that has hundreds of products, many of which you have seen in stores for higher prices. There’s something for everyone…clothing, feeding products, toys, maternity, sleep etc. It’s like a major department store, but available from the comfort of your own couch, and you get to shop whilst wearing your pj’s (if you want, that is!)

I am always happy to check out new products and experiences that make the lives of children and their parents happier! Mamadoo features many retail shops under one roof, about 55 at present and 5000 products on the website, with more and more being added each day.

By far one of the best features of this site is that most of the businesses offer free shipping. FREE SHIPPING! I don’t know about you, but there is nothing worse than finding a bargain, only to find that your shipping costs more than the product. It’s great to know that you can in fact find great products for a great price, and you won’t be stung with a hefty postage fee!

So I’ve been doing some snooping around the new site, and I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite finds (each image is linked to their store)…

This beautiful Penny Scanlan Juicy Apple Raincoat – $69.95



and what’s a gorgeous raincoat without matching gumboots? – $29.95


Red Leather Jack and Jill Boots – $24


Long Sleeve Organic Dino Tee (Hudson would love this I’m sure)- $28.50


Duckids Pink Puffer Vest – $24.95 (Also available in blue and red)


Duckids Cargo Shorts – $14.95


Ash & Madi Personalised Print – $14.95 (various available)


Bathtime Organiser – $54.95


and finally, the Telling Tales personalised story books! These are just adorable! $39.95

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I’m thrilled to share that I have been asked to be an official blogger of Mamadoo and today I’m guest blogging over on their new site! I’ll be reviewing some more of their products in the months to come, and look forward to seeing more of what this site can offer  Mums and Dads!

Be sure to check out Mamadoo here!!!!

You can also stay connected with their sales and offers by following them on Facebook here.



Friday Find: Kmart Water & Sand Play Table

Friday Find: Kmart Water & Sand Play Table

For Christmas, Ella was given this fantastic table by her gorgeous Aunty Mon. Ella just loves the water and regularly comes home form Day Care in a new change of clothes, because her other ones are soaking wet from water play. I thought Ella would love this, but was actually so surprised how much she did.

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The table comes at the perfect height for a toddler and comes with lots of little obstacles and utensils for her to splash about. You can add water or sand to the table, but given the fact that we are in a heat wave in Melbourne right now….water solves everything!

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At $25 from K Mart, it is a great bargain that will give your toddler hours of fun outside! To purchase this product online, click here.



Friday Find: Explore & Learn

Friday Find: Explore & Learn

I’m always on the look out for local businesses to feature on Friday Finds. In particular, I love to feature ideas and products created by clever Mums and Dads. Usually, they have found a gap in the market, and end up creating products that we all need, or have been searching for for ages! I’m always looking for good quality toys, particularly those that develop imagination and fine motor skills. Normally, these products cost an arm and a leg, and a hefty price is enough to turn anyone off even the most beautiful wooden set!

Cue Janette Colbert, who created her own WAHM (Work At Home Mum) business called “Explore and Learn Toddler.” Explore and Learn Toddler was born after her first son Cian (now 2) entered his toddler years (she also has a second son, Sam – aged 7 months). With a background as a primary school teacher, lots of friends would always ask her ‘what can I get for my toddler to help then learn?’. She wanted to show them that schools help children learn through play and hands-on real-life experiences. With this, the hunt begun for high quality toddler toys (she specialises in wooden toys) that support learning through play. Best of all, they come with a very, very reasonable price tag. Perfect for this time of year as Christmas approaches!

She also has a Facebook page that shares ‘Invitations to Explore and Learn’ – hands-on craft, fine motor and sensory play activities for families to try with their children at home.

Here are some of my favourites from her range:

The Peg & Stack Board – $15.50

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Wooden Shape Threading – $15.50

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Matching Expressions Game – $16Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 10.56.58 AM

Wooden Shape Threading – $21Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 10.57.14 AM

Wooden Chocolate Cake – Currently on sale for $18Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 10.57.46 AM

and finally… the Wooden Animal Magnets – $15. These magnets also come in other ranges, including transport!Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 10.58.14 AM

I just love her idea, and especially think that parents will love the quality and price. Janette has been so kind as to offer Happy Ella After Readers the chance to win their own Christmas gift from her range next week. Stay tuned on Monday to learn more.

In the mean time…you can visit her gorgeous range via Explore and Learn. Janette is also offering readers a special $5 discount off shipping rates. Simply use the code word ‘ELLA’ in the checkout!