Browsed by
Tag: Christmas

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+

Christmas Toy Review #1: VTech Toys

Christmas Toy Review #1: VTech Toys

In the cray cray lead up to Christmas, I’ve decided to hire my own children and put them to work, reviewing some amazing toys to help you all know what the heck to buy (aka ask Santa for) this December. There is sooooo much variety out there, it’s hard to know where to start. This week’s first review is about two toys from VTech. Have you heard of VTech? They are world leader in developmental, stage-based, electronic learning products for children. A pioneer in the learning toy category, VTech create innovative educational products that enrich children’s development and makes learning fun. With a history of almost 35 years,  they have now created toys that are available in 25 different languages worldwide, with more than 100 new products are introduced every year.

With something for everyone, from birth to 9 years, VTech toys offer the right mix of fun play time with enhanced learning and development for all ages.

For your School Aged Child : Ella – Aged 5

Kidizoom Smart Watch – RRP $79.95

Ella was recruited to try the Kidizoom Smart Watch DX (4-9 years).  Think of an Apple watch for kids, The Kidizoom® Smart Watch DX is the next-gen smart watch for little ones, available in cool new colours – lime green, camo, and purple.  Immediately, Ella was hooked. As a keep mini photogpraher, this durable smart watch has more memory so kids can take tons of pictures and videos; add frames and effects, anywhere, anytime. The Smart Watch DX takes learning to tell the time seriously with the clever Fun Time Master feature. There are more than 50 3D analogue and digital displays to choose between and the Fun Time Master uses verbal cues to match the display, helping kids understand the clock face and time. Kids can even customise their own clock face and, there’s also alarm, timer, stopwatch, pedometer, calendar and calculator features.

It also encouraged her to exercise! The new motion sensor encouraged her to explore three action challenges! The Smart Watch DX also includes eight games kids can play using the touch screen, as well as the ability to download even more from the Learning Lodge.  Sweat and splash-proof, with an intuitive colour touch screen, and built-in rechargeable battery, this watch is smart fun, smart tech. Available in blue, pink, lime green, camo and purple, telling the time never looked so cool!

Honestly, whether a girl or a boy…this toy is one for everyone!

For your Pre-Schooler: Hudson – Aged 3

Cars 3 Tablet, RRP $29.95

Huddy is literally obsessed with CARS. If you’ve got a little one who is equally hooked, then this one is for them! Help Lightning McQueen win the big race with the Race & Learn Tablet™. Interact with your favourite Cars 3 characters as they come to life in fun and engaging activities on the LCD screen. Seven exciting games introduce letters, objects, spelling, number order, counting, logic and more. Find letters to help Lightning McQueen gear up for the race, spell out words on road and crowd signs, count objects as you help clean up Doc Hudson’s garage, spell out words to pass other cars in the race and much more! Press the character buttons to meet and interact with Lightning McQueen and his friends. The tablet also introduces beginning typing with a QWERTY keyboard. Get on the fast track to learning with Lightning McQueen!

VTech toys are available from major department stores, independent toy stores, and select online retailers. For further information on VTech and its products, visit www.vtech.com.au , or check out the VTech news on Facebook @ VTechANZ and Instagram @vtech_toys_anz. For more info and to see these toys in action, visit our Instagram Stories!

The Christmas guide: gifts they’ll want, need, wear and read!

The Christmas guide: gifts they’ll want, need, wear and read!

It’s almost Christmas time once more. Hashtag joy, hashtag chaos, hashtag busy. Busy, busy, busy. This year I’ve had to be extra organised as I recover from hip surgery. For me that has meant knowing that I can’t drive for 2-3 weeks and at Christmas time this could mean disaster. So if I can’t go to the stores myself to do my Christmas shopping, then I guess I need to make it come to me. I’m pleased to report that I’ve done all of the shopping I need for Santa, and have had it delivered straight to my door. Honestly, what did we do before online shopping? God knows!

This year, whilst I’m spoiling my children more than usual in an effort to try to make this Christmas a little happier than years gone by, I’ve discovered a fantastic giving ritual that can help you to contain the excitement, and save a little money too. The idea is that you buy four presents. Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. Granted, that my children may receive more than one present in each category…the sentiment behind it is lovely. I’ve also discovered that some families give their children an empty box with a tag ‘ something to give’. Children are encouraged to go through their toys following Christmas and donate to charity. The act of giving, either in the lead up to, or following Christmas is something that we all should instil in our children.

So below are some of my best buys and finds for my children Ella (4) and Hudson (2) under each of the giving categories. Some are snapped by moi on the run as I hide them from my kids, and others are taken directly from their website as they are either too large to snap incognito, or require some assembly from…um…Santa / aka Dad.

Something they want

This year Ella is obsessed with all things Barbie. She is the quintessential girly, girl and loves to dress up, mix and match her dolls. So when Barbie brought out their new ew Fashionistas dolls, which feature a range of new body types, hair colours and styles, skin colours and eye colours. They also have great outfits, so Ella can mix and match. Priced from $12 they are really reasonably priced.

Barbie Happy Ella After fasionistas Kmart

screenshot-2016-12-01-10-55-59

A girl can’t have barbies without a dollhouse to play in! The new ‘mansion’ dollhouses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, designed especially to fit Barbies. It even has a lift! Ella may just be receiving this one from KidKraft underneath the tree…put together by Santa himself!

kidkraft-magnolia-mansion-dollhouse-with-furniture-main-1068-1068

Something they need

For both of my kids, you can’t go passed play dough. Tactile, tangible, terrific. There is something about giving your kids new tubs of play dough. They just love opening the new colours of squishy, untouched dough. Perfectly soft and subtle. I will be loading their stockings up with tubs bought from Target.

They also love drawing, but I struggle to get them to focus on their own posters on their small play able. These giant colouring posters from OMY are genius. Huge patterns and pictures, you can put them on the wall or chuch them on the floor. Hours of fun! Available from Leo & Bella here for $25.95. 

OMY poster Happy ella After Christmas omy-giant-coloring-posters-magic-kids-play

When it comes to useful gifts that actually HELP with something, this one takes the cake. In our house, we have needed the gift of sleep more than anything. In the last few months our little man has finally turned the corner. I don’t know how or why. We haven’t done anything different, except use this little gadget that I think has been the little thing that has helped enormously. The Gro Egg light and monkey cover from the Gro Company has given Hudson a sense of comfort and safety. It works in two ways. Firstly as a soft night light that helps little ones feel secure when they wake in the night.You can use it as an egg, or pop on their adorable little covers, making the little characters come to life.  It also changes colour depending on the temperature in the room. The second clever operation is the fact that it keeps track of the temperature in the room, indicating which GroBag to wear for their level of comfort. Genius. So if you’ve got, or know a little one who is still struggling with sleep, then this may just be your answer. Available in shops nationally, but you can also check it out here. 

Gro Egg Happy Ella After screenshot-2016-12-01-10-56-34

Something to wear

For me, you can’t go passed Cotton on Kids for variety, colour and quality. Their prices are so affordable, and these days their discount sales run almost every fortnight. My Ella is literally obsessed with wearing ‘spinny’ dresses almost every day, so this gold pom pom dress will be on high rotation all summer I would think!

Cotton on Kids Dresses Happy Ella After

screenshot-2016-12-01-13-07-28

In terms of ‘wear’ my kids are also needing bigger and more robust back packs. For kinder and sleep overs at Nanna’s you can’t go passed Smiggle for their new range. Gorgeously bold and bright, with dozens of their signature zippers, there is a space and a place for everything. I love the handle on the top which means they can carry it in their hands and their straps are adjustable to fit almost any child! Throw in a few packs of their equally rad pencils, and you are good to go.

Smiggle Happy Ella After Back Pack Christmas

And finally every kid needs some cool pyjamas to wear at Christmas time. These awesome Batman Pj’s from Peter Alexander from Warner Bros are the perfect ‘jammies’ this summer. They even come in a super cool bag that the kiddies can use and reuse! You’ll also notice the cool batman eye mask from Typo….perfect for sleeptime!

Peter Alexander Superhero Batman Happy Ella After Typo

screenshot-2016-12-01-10-56-26

Something to read

For Ella…she adores, adores, adores the Ella Bella Ballerina series. If you have a little dancer in your house, then you cannot go past this gorgeousness. In each of the four titles, Ella Bella begins her dance lesson in class with Madame Rosa and ends up being swept up into the beauty of one of four famous ballets: Cinderella, Swan Lake, the Nutcraker and Midsummer Night’s dream. Beautifully illustrated they are the perfect length for a young child who loves ballet. Perfect for bed time dreaming. Available from Booktopia.

screenshot-2016-12-01-15-49-23 screenshot-2016-12-01-15-54-28

Huddy is tactile and still loves the ‘That’s not my series’. This Christmas I’ve added a few new titles to our collection including ‘That’s not my’…..tiger, tractor, plane and Santa!. For an extra sense of fun….find the mouse!

That's not my

screenshot-2016-12-01-15-54-13

screenshot-2016-12-01-15-54-20

Both of these titles are available from The Book Depository or Booktopia.

To finish…i couldn’t complete this post without a mention of Arlo & Co and their gorgeous SIMPLICITY bamboo gift tags. Personalized for each type of gift, you can label your presents with ..

  • something you want
  • something you need
  • something to wear
  • something to read

Christmas Happy Ella After

Available here for $25, you are supporting an amazing local Mum. Remember that including local products in your gifts this Christmas actually puts a smile on the face of a small family. The support system of those, who like myself, run small businesses for the love of it. So when you can, include local, small businesses in your shopping this Christmas.

We all WANT  and NEED some love this time of year. I hope you both give and receive it in bucketloads.

kate

Mumma Christmas Wishlist 2014

Mumma Christmas Wishlist 2014

I won’t lie, this week has been tough on many fronts. Yesterday felt like an eternity, as I juggled toilet training (for the 100th time), and a teething baby. Sometimes there are days that just seem to go on for ever. I do know however, that you have to roll with the punches, suck it up and know that for every bad day, you’ll have a hundred great ones. There is so much to look forward to at this time of year, and this weekend, I’m super excited to put up our Christmas decorations and ornaments around the house. Christmas with kids is just magical, and this year, Ella really knows what’s going on. I can’t help myself, every time I’m online, I find something else to get her from ‘Santa Claus’. I don’t know about you, but I spend so much time organising gifts for the kids, that when someone (aka. Santa Dan) asks me what I want, I actually can’t think of anything.

So with that, I’ve taken the time to browse my favourite Insta feeds and have discovered a few lovely things that this Mumma would love to see (for me) under our Christmas Tree….

Photo 1-12-2014 1 38 13 pm

 

Top Left: Boss Mumma Singlet from Howi Clothing – $30

Top Middle: PK Copenhagen Limited Addition Print from Norsu Interiors – $90

Top Right: Ferm Living Storage Baskets available from Norsu Interiors – from $90

Middle Left: Anarkid wall prints available from Hush Little Baby – Currently on sale from $15!!!!!

Middle: Nike Air Pegasus Runners – $160

Middle Right : Gold Trim Maxi Dress from Witchery – $149.95

Bottom Left: Amazonia Bucket Shoulder Bag from Mimco – $499 *#MYFAVOURITE

Bottom Middle: Sorbet Sunrise Tank Dress from Mister.i  – Pre-order

Bottom Right – the one and only, Thermomix – approx $2500

Some of these are to wear, some are to admire and some are to dream about.

C’mon Santa Baby, I’ve been a very good girl this year!!

kate

 

Christmas at the new Myer Giftorium

Christmas at the new Myer Giftorium

Lgiftorium_headerast week we were lucky enough to be invited along to the launch of the new Myer Giftorium. A Giftorium you say? Isn’t Myer one big Giftorium? Well, they have taken shopping for Christmas one step further, and made a space dedicated to purchasing gifts for each loving member of your family. The Giftorium has been developed to bring back fun and theatre to Christmas shopping and to create a one stop destination for all festive giving.

They have included the 12 Themes of Christmas:

  • Dapper Dad
  • Miracle Mum
  • Glamour Gran
  • Trendy Young Things
  • Kids Cubby
  • Food Fanatic
  • Stocking Fillers
  • Tecnho Freak
  • Fashionista
  • Globe Trotter
  • Paws Corner
  • and Hope, Skip and Juice

It means that instead of walking around an entire store looking at various gifts for one person, you simply go to the area dedicated for your loved one and all of the inspiration is in one space. A fabulous idea indeed. Best of all, it will be available at ALL Myer stores.

They have also included in the space a host of various activities for the family, including the traditional chance to meet Santa.

If you are in Melbourne, you have got to ensure that you take the kids into the city to visit the amazing Myer Windows, launching on November 8.

A big thanks to Myer Melbourne, and to Kids Business for having us! Here is Ella having a ball of a time…

Screenshot 2014-10-29 14.26.06
The 2014 Myer Christmas Bear – Archie
Screenshot 2014-10-29 14.26.13
Ella enjoying the new parent room in the Myer Emporium, watching Frozen!
Screenshot 2014-10-29 14.26.20
Art & Craft activities for the kids!
Screenshot 2014-10-29 14.26.28
FREE Soda Stream! Bring back the 80’s
Screenshot 2014-10-29 14.26.38
Yummy Christmas Treats!
Screenshot 2014-10-29 14.26.48
Dancers and performers for the kiddies!
Screenshot 2014-10-29 14.26.56
Myer is a wonderful place at Christmas!

As someone who back in the day, used to work at Myer Melbourne during my Uni days, I can honestly say that it is a magical place at Christmas Time!

kate

 

Friday Finds: Last Minute Gifts made by the Kids!

Friday Finds: Last Minute Gifts made by the Kids!

If you are anything like me, things have just gotten away from you this Christmas! I normally send cards out, bake treats and generally have things to give to others! This year, a combination of work, having a toddler and being pregnant has meant that I’ve had no time to do any of these things (sorry friends and family). Lucky though, Pinterest saves the day with loads of little last minute gifts that can be made by the kids! I love the idea of giving Christmas ornaments to family and friends, as they bring them out each year and remember how little and precious our kids once were!

Here are a few of my favourites…

Salt dough hand print ornaments! Capture those tiny hands. Click on the link for the recipe!

8ab8104943590d04fe78321c8cfed7c9

Decorations made from pipe cleaners, beads and other odds and sodds..

9e0d7fca5315f252eeb7a9a9e25245d3

Button Christmas Trees – cute as a button 🙂

f625abc5b0ae188c5e94f24e432ed464

Hand print Snowmen –  in Australia we can only dream!

8cacbfc5ffac8c3e7c80e111a3d89d51

Scrabble ornaments just for Grandparents!

1aea83756a56fd7998ffb7d713c62a46

and my all time favourite…polystyrene sequined balls. This is something I made with my students each year. They take forever, but if you have kids old enough, you will appreciate this and relish the peace! (just make sure you have enough pins!)

efc74b63a3e5fdf8bb7e22343a55b82e

With only 4 sleeps to go, hopefully some of these ideas will save the day for you!

For my Christmas inspiration, follow my Christmas Wonderland Pinterest Board here.

kate

*Each image is linked to it’s original Pinterest source.

Friday Find: Christmas @ Cupcake Occasion

Friday Find: Christmas @ Cupcake Occasion

This week’s Friday Find is short and sweet. Very sweet. I was chatting with some great friends in my Mothers’ Group this week about what we were giving our kids’ daycare teachers for a Christmas Gift. With the benefit of being a teacher myself, I could tell them that we really do appreciate anything. It might sound cliché, but the thought really does make us smile. That said, Ella has quite a few teachers coming in and out of her room, and I wanted to make sure that we thanked them all. So I decided to this year, enlist the help of Jodie from Cupcake Occasion. Cupcake Occasion began as her passion and has now grown into a business that is high in demand. Cupcakes of every flavour that are decorated in any way you can imagine. Her Christmas range is just gorgeous and perfect for a group of people, or staff to share.

I’ve decided to give Ella’s Day Care teachers the ‘Joy’ box below. Gorgeous cupcakes that are almost too cute to eat! 25 mini cupcakes @ $65.

Screenshot 2013-12-13 16.45.10

I also love these gorgeous Santa cupcakes – 12 regular @ $65

Screenshot 2013-12-13 16.45.15

Or Chrissie Cookies may be your thing? 6 for $20 or 12 for $40

Screenshot 2013-12-13 16.45.28

or finally, you can’t go past this awesome Gingerbread House – $70

Screenshot 2013-12-13 16.45.37

You can contact Jodie @ Cupcake Occasion here. You can also follow her gorgeous creations on Facebook here. With Christmas around the corner…get in quick!

kate