I am super excited to announce that I have some guest bloggers joining me this year on the blog, to share with us their wealth of knowledge and passion for their art whether it be kids interiors, toys or gifts.
First up is the truly divine Jess from petitpapercrowns who has started her own interior design blog Petit Paper Crowns, having previously run her own successful online kids store, Arrows and Paper Crowns.
It is that time of year again when all the major kids fashion brands across the globe release their gorgeous new SS16 designs. I am so in love with all the collections I have seen and thought I would do a pick of my faves for you.
One of our all time faves, Gardner and the Gang releases their SS16 collection “Land of no difference” today (Eeep!). We adore the bright and playful prints that GG brings out each season. This one is no exception plus there may be a few models in there you recognise!
Happy 2016 and happy new “toy of the month”! I know happy New Year gets tired after about the 10th day of January, but as it’s my first toy review for the year, I wanted to wish you much love and joy for the year ahead.
So this month’s toy review is rather an interesting one. It intrigued me when I was first told about it and I wanted to learn more and see how it would work. The concept is something a bit different, a bit special, a little unique and something all parents need at one point int their children’s lives….
I am so in holiday mode at the moment that I hadn’t appreciated how quickly the weeks have passed and that school starts back next week. I had it in my head that J was heading back next Friday and I only found out yesterday from a school mum, that in fact they go back on Wednesday!!
This month my blog turns 2! Yippee, crack open the champagne! I am so excited to have made it this far and really it seems a lifetime away when I first started whilst living in Germany. My blog provided me with a passion and an outlet to share my love of all things kids as well as keep me company in a new country. I am so happy to have you join me along the way! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
I never realised how many late nights ( usually 5 out 7 each week) I would do to fulfill my passion. But you don’t get anywhere in life without hard work and sleepless nights! But enough about me already, I am hosting an AMAZING giveaway of some of my all time fave Australian brands who are joining me in my Birthday celebrations. Check out my Instagram page to find out how you enter.
1. @kidsgiftsandtoys – $30 paypal voucher & Sack Me reversible Pasta Amore double quilt worth $69
2. @scoolbikes – pedex pirate balance bike worth $229
3. @zilvi – store credit worth $30
4. @littlemisselisa – Minimel Miss Panda Pillow worth $39
5. @captainco.tasmania – hand painted yarn wrapped antler worth $85
6. @mint_rhapsody – citrus hex boxes worth $95
7. @inkibabinki – store credit worth $20
8. @thesmallesttribe – summer confetti tee charcoal worth $45
9. @jetsettingkids – “ I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list” t-shirt worth $25
10. @wildandwhimsicalthings – store credit worth $30
It is that time of year again, the new year has started and I like to reflect back on the past year and its achievements, adventures, successes and tribulations. Importantly, I like to also look to the year ahead and the hope and dreams of a new year. I tend not to write to many new year’s resolutions as the old, “lose weight”, “eat less”, “exercise more” gets a little tired and usually I succeed for the first few weeks and then, it gets forgotten…
Wow I still cannot believe it is Christmas Eve but the Santa sacks are out on the boys bed, the milk is ready for Santa and we even baked some chocolate brownies for him. Plus we picked some of our own carrots from our vege patch for the reindeer. Yay, Christmas is almost here and the boys CANNOT wait!
Ok so it happens to all of us, even the most organised of people, it is 4 days before Christmas and you realise you have extended family coming to Christmas and you have forgotten to get your cousin a Christmas present. Or perhaps your neighbour has given you a present and you forgot their children or you might need a present for your bosses kids or help, even your own!
Our little household is so very excited about this month’s toy review as it has meant a whole refurb of our Rock and Pebble Apple House – yes our Mini Furniture has arrived! We even got out the confetti to celebrate!
Yes it’s that time of year again, where I start singing all the Christmas Carols that I know albeit rather badly! But I do love this time of year, I love the giving of presents and family and friends coming together to celebrate the festive season. Yes it can all be a little too hyper commercial but we like to make Gingerbread men, handmade christmas cards and decorations to get us in to the spirit!
Last Christmas I was lusting after a felt ball wreaths by the amazingly talented Captain and Co. This year, I thought I would try my own attempt at one. Gee whizz, I should have known what I was in for but hey, I persisted in my DIY attempts! And well if you decide that you ever wish to do it as well, I have a few helpful tips for you.
I have to say last Saturday was a pretty exciting day in the life of Hudson! We both had the utmost pleasure to attend Myer’s Christmas Giftorium, on behalf of Kids Business, an event showcasing their exciting range of gifts for all ages for the upcoming festive season.
H was so excited as he knew he was going to see Santa. Now this is rather amusing fact in itself, as for the past few years, he has cried his eyes out or refused to look at the camera or both!
Halloween is over and let’s roll on the festive season!
With it comes all the flurry of thinking about what presents aka kids toys to buy your children, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and grandchildren. So I thought I would help out over the next few weeks and give you some ideas with my gift guides, as we build up to Christmas 2015 ( 7 weeks + and counting, just thought I would add that in for some shock value!).
In today’s techy world where all kids want to do is watch TV, the iPad, play Minecraft ( on said iPad) or play on their parent’s phone, it can be hard to get kids out of the house and back in nature. As a child I remember climbing trees, making tea for my dolls in our tree house, riding bikes with our local neighbourhood gang and exploring the local streams, mangroves, beaches and parks. We were constantly outdoors; back in the day, as they say!
But times have changed and on top of that parents are too scared to let their kids run and play outside like we used to do. I remember I would go off for hours, bike riding and exploring and these were the days of no mobile phones, so my mum couldn’t call me. If she was worried, she would get in the car and drive the streets to find me but I think that only happened once. I don’t know why we have lost that carefree attitude to life but it has meant that parents feel safer having their kids indoors than outdoors.
I was extremely lucky to be invited to Spotlight stores “Make it Merry” blogger event which was held at Centennial Park in Sydney on the 15th November.
Spotlight is a HUGE arts and craft store which is found nationwide in Australia and a place I have grown up with. I was delighted coming back to Australia, knowing that a lot of the crafting brands like Kaisercraft I had discovered in Germany, where stocked at Spotlight.
Grids, monochrome, stripes and geometric design, all of this gorgeousness encapsulates the work of Inkibabinki. A fellow mama and lover of all things handmade, Indri is a beautiful mama based in Melbourne, who I discovered through our mutual love of monochrome.
Indri produces stunning cushions, softies, onesies and t-shirts. All created with this utterly perfect geometric design. They are timeless, classic design pieces that won’t fade with trends. You can mix things up a bit like I do and add some pops of colour to your kids room to soften the look. With a quality to match, I have been blown away every time we buy a product from Indri.
It was back in July 2013 that I decided to embark on writing a kids blog whilst we were living in Germany and I was becoming quite lonely. Admittedly I was also becoming a little bored being a full time mother, and needed something more to occupy my mind but it wasn’t until January 2014 that I began my Kids Gifts and Toys Instagram adventure.
I couldn’t have imagined so long ago, the amazing people I would meet along the way, the sheer creative geniuses that exist in the world and in particular on Instagram, and how thankful I feel at the beautiful friendships I have made in nearly 2 years. It is those friendships which kept the loneliness at bay and gave me something to look forward to each day as I battled learning German, albeit very badly!
It was J’s 6th Birthday last week and he of course wanted a party and this year it was “Superheroes”! After receiving the directive (ahem) from my nearly 6 year old, I of course had a lot of fun pinning the many many Superhero parties that are on Pinterest, to get some inspiration and ideas for the party.
I decided on colour combination of yellow, blue, red, white, and black and below are some of the party preparations. I was fortunate enough to have the always brilliant Jacinta from Two Little Ducklings design our invitations, water bottle labels and Superhero completion certificate/thank you card. I asked her to model it from Captain + Co’s bat mask. They looked fantastic!
As you know from my posts last year about Snappets, I am a HUGE fan of Kickstarter and the power of crowd funding. It is the perfect way in this techy age to get funding to make your dream idea, concept or creation a reality.
Candylab Toys was born out of a Kickstarter campaign last year and with the draw and pull of the masses, they designed and manufactured 7 different designs. This year, this awesome design led wooden toy company have created 5 more fantastic prototypes to add to the garage.
In just under 3 hours they already have 29 backers who have pledged $3,453 of the $30,000 they require for their next campaign.
Here is a little look at the cars they have designed. By pledging to buy one, when the Kickstarter campaign is successful, you will have your very own Candylab Toy, come September.
This project will only be funded if at least $30,000 is pledged by
This month’s “Toy of the month” is a fabulous little idea that really caught my eye as ALL kids love stickers and ALL kids love receiving letters and packages in the post. What a brilliant concept to combine the two things that all kids adore!
We were sent the introductory first pack to review for this post and my kids squealed in delight at receiving stickers in the post! It was like a birthday treat for them to receive a little package in the mail.
Pipsticks, is a monthly sticker subscription started by Maureen Vazquez. Based out of New York, Maureen remembers her fondest memory as child, was being able to go to her local shop each week and being allowed to purchase a square of stickers to add to her sticker album. She wanted to recreate this idea alongside keeping her 3 children entertained with a creative focus and came up with the idea of a monthly sticker delivery subscription.
All subscribers receive this first introductory pack. The kids had a ball one afternoon sticking stickers all over the place and creating a special postcard for one of their best friends in Germany, who they miss dearly. The best thing was, that there were so many stickers there were heaps left over to use for another day or two!
The sticker pack we received had 16 different types of stickers from animals, to dots, to racing cars and love hearts. We also received 3 pieces of colourful paper to use for our sticker creations. Maureen has picked out a great selection of stickers that would appeal to both boys and girls alike.
The stickers are a carefully selection of colourful, fun, and brilliant designs that can be used for making cards, crafts or even for school projects. Maureen sources them for all over the world. I particularly loved the squishy bunnies!
Our little postcard that we created ready to send to our friend in Germany.
All kids LOVE receiving mail in the post and they adore stickers, so this is a brilliant idea if you are looking for a unique and fun gift idea for your child, niece, nephew or grandchild.
Plus as part of the subscription, you receive a monthly newsletter, Sticklit, which provides information on the different craft ideas that Maureen has come up with on the blog section of her site. You can create greeting cards, place cards, sticker puppets and accessories. There is also a free printables section on her site that gives different backdrops for even more fun sticker creations.
Sticker subscriptions start at USD $15.00 a month and for a 12 month subscription it is USD $155.00 for the year. You can also get family pack subscriptions where you get over 45 sticker sets each month or try a taster pack to see if it is what your child would enjoy.
There are lots of different choices but I can tell you that your child will love you even more for this sticker subscription and I am sure it will create the same fond memories with stickers, that prompted Maureen to create Pipsticks in the first place.
This little gift guide “My Little Rider” is inspired by those kids that always have a car, truck, fire engine, motorbike, or digger in their hand whether at kindy, at home, at preschool or out and about. They would never leave home without one!
1. To get your little rider cruising early, try this balance bike from Cambridge made Early Rider Lite Balance bike. Ages 18 months +
2. We adore our Baghera in our household and these new ride ons look a joy to ride, Baghera Ride on Riders Black. Ages
3. A puzzle and car in one, Automoblox C9 Sports car. Ages 3 +
4. Orchard Toys Giant Road Jigsaw for hours of puzzle fun that you can then use to race your cars around town. Ages 3+
5. For all “little riders”, the perfect tee from Pop Kids “Road Rebel” tee. Ages 3 months – 8 years.
6. Mon Petit Art “Vehicles” colouring and sticker book to entertain your vehicle lover on rainy days. Ages 3+
7. Green Toys Fire Engine, made from recycled milk containers, with over 24, 482, 366 recycled so far and counting. A true “green” toy and so much fun for your fire engine loving child. Ages 12 months +
8. Alain Gree ” Transport” book to teach them all about the different types of transport. Ages 2+
9. For a play tent for any vehicle lover, check out The Monster Factory VW Campervan play tent. Ages 2+
10. Hop and Peck British Tractor toy makes the perfect introduction to gorgeously designed . Ages 12 months +
NB:- I have chosen not to provide pricing details as these products have been sourced globally and thus are subject to change.
This Christmas gift guide “My Little Dreamer” is inspired by the child that loves to dream at night and day dream when it is light. You know the child, they will wander down the street with you, holding your hand and they get lost in another world, as they take in their wondrous surroundings. They dawdle, they dream, they wonder, they ponder and they imagine. They sleep with vivid dreams at night, and awake from another world in the morning. This little dreamer will turn into a big believer one day soon!
1. To help any dreamer to sleep, try this Case Studyo X Friends with You – Little Cloud Lamp
This month I am reviewing the ever amazing “Make a doll” by Naked Lunge. As you may know from my IG account, I am a HUGE fan of the fabulous Roxy from Naked Lunge. Firstly she is one lovely lady and secondly an amazing artist!!
“Make a doll” are personalised, hand painted dolls that are created by the gorgeous Roxy. She uses photos and details that you send to her via email about your child. She paints your beautiful son or daughter using black non-toxic paint onto cotton, then she hand washes the cotton fabric, dries it, irons them and sews them up with stuffing. You get to choose your own backing from a selection of gorgeous liberty prints, chevron, triangle, plain black and more.
I had one of the “Make a Doll’s” made by Roxy for my youngest son’s 2nd Birthday. Firstly, I love that they are handmade in England with so much love and devotion. You have in your hand a gorgeous mini-me doll of your beloved child. It is like a little piece of art wrapped in cotton. These dolls are timeless.
I love that our doll is a little snapshot of my son when he was a toddler, holding his favourite toys and in his favourite clothes at the time. He loved recognising his favourite fire engine toy and “Dig Dig Digging” book on the doll and enjoys sleeping with it at nap and bedtime. I loved that I have a mini me of him in doll form to treasure always ( I am a bit sentimental like that !)
Naked Lunge is an English company that began in 2013, producing the most divine prints, postcards, dolls, pillows, homewares and clothing. Roxy is always surprising me with her seemingly endless creative talent. Whatever she touches turns to gold! Roxy collaborates with retailers and clothing companies to produce unique designs and bespoke pieces that are exclusive to these shops.
The dolls are machine washable at 30 degrees on a short spin cycle.
Age: 0+ months
Each doll stands approximately 25 cm tall and approximately 8cm wide.
For this year’s “Kids Gifts and Toys” Christmas gift guides I have decided to focus on children’s personalities and what they love and enjoy doing. I hope these create meaningful and fun gift guides and enable you to find those unique and fun presents for your children this Christmas.
I have tried to focus on supporting small business and independent labels where possible this Christmas as its nice to know where our money is going and knowing we are helping out other mothers and their families.
So stay tuned for the Kids Gifts and Toys ” My Little” gift guide series….I hope you will find some of the best toys and gift ideas for your children this Christmas right here.
I always loved playing with an “Etch a Sketch” as a child, creating drawing after drawing and happily or unhappily erasing them when I was finished. I had been on the lookout for one for the boys after they were playing with one on a ski holiday earlier in the year. However, once I started researching those available they didn’t get great reviews, with many saying they broke within a few months. I thought I would prefer to spend a little more money and find one that was well made, sturdy and not prone to breaking and it would not doubt save me money in the long run!
I then saw an IG post from Abacus Kids regarding a wooden magnetic drawing board and I knew this was what I had been searching for! Plus Faye was having a little sale on at that time, so I couldn’t resist buying this toy for my son’s birthday!
The gg* Oekaki Drawing board house comes in a cute little carry bag for travel on road trips, to the grandparents or even out to restaurants. It also helps for easy storage AND the drawing board is as cute as it looks in the photos!
My son adored playing with this present on his 2nd birthday. The first thing on the toy he was drawn to was the abacus on top of the house. He played with that for a few minutes before he then moved on to playing with the actual drawing board.
When he first started to play with the drawing board, he loved playing with the stamps and stamping them on the board. 6 months down the track he can now use the pen more and make swirls and scribbles which is great for his fine motor skill development. His eldest brother J, loves drawing with it as well and creating little masterpieces. I adore that the drawing board is in colour too! I always remembered mine as a child was black and white.
This toy is not cheap in comparison with the plastic variety, but it is well made, seriously cute and a lot of fun for your kids! This is definitely a case of quality over quantity and I am glad I chose this wooden drawing board over the plastic variety.
One point to note, is that the little running dog that erases each creation was a little stiff to start but it has loosened up with use. The only other thing I would mention is the screen sometimes cuts out with the drawing but if you shake it or pull the dog across, it fixes that problem.
We have other toys from Kukkia like their little wooden car and I have to say they are great quality, gorgeously designed and beautifully presented.
Designed in Japan and made in Vietnam by Kukkia.
Great for: fine motor skills, creative play, hand and eye coordination, shape and colour recognition and learning to draw/write.