Toys

Toy of the month – May 2017

We have been testing out the most beautiful toy storage trolley from Lulo Kids this month and I am secretly wishing that we had little ones again to push it around and look oh so adorable!

We used to own a little wooden trolley when our boys were toddlers that they used for toy storage and to push around but I can honestly tell you it was not as exquisite as this one (think red and white and yellow – eek!)

Lulo Kids is a Melbourne based small business designing and hand making beautiful wooden kids products.  Known for their teepees, they have recently added these wooden trolleys to go with their gorgeous bespoke wooden blocks.

Again, I am over the moon that such Australian based toy companies now exist and thrive when a few years ago all you could find were overseas based companies whose production was based in fast paced China.

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Why Kids Gifts and Toys?

I first started my blog over 3 years ago when my eldest was 5 years of age and my youngest just 2. Why did I start? Mainly because I wasn’t what kind of gifts were age suitable for my kids and I wanted to research and find out the best ones.

Not just the best ones though, because what is the”Best”? Best means different things to different people. For me “Best” was all about the longevity of the toy, how long a child would play with it and how long it would last with it being played with constantly? Could the toy stand up to the test of being treated sometimes rough and tumble by a toddler or a child?

Also toys are not cheap, or rather you can buy cheap plastic toys but we all know that they don’t last, they break, or need batteries.  I was finding these toys were not cutting it with my boys. Yes we had plastic toys, we had musical bongo drums, we had musical electric guitars, we had Hot Wheels track( we still do!), we had a few plastic ride on cars and bikes. But personally I found anything with batteries, highly annoying, like highly annoying! LOL. I know the kids enjoyed them, however I noticed it was never for long periods, it never engaged them longer than 5 mins and so this is why I started investigating ethical and eco friendly toys.

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Toy of the month – April 2017

This month it is all about trains!! I have found over the years as a mother that wooden trains are one of the best open ended toys and not just for boys either. They are a great gender neutral toy that can be played with from 1 year right up to adults 😉

My eldest received his first very small train set for his 1st birthday and we have grown the set each year with family and friends adding trains, tunnels, stations and more to make it into a little city. What I have found though is that wooden trains and track are not cheap, not at all which is why my boys have received most of their train track and accessories as birthday presents over the years ( with a few flea market purchases in Germany!)

My boys play with their train set on a weekly basis building, creating and exploring new track set ups and cities. They can honestly play for hours on end, just by using their imagination to create wonderful worlds of train exploration, such is the joy of this open ended toy.

As a brand representative for The Creative Toy shop, this year we were gifted a number of Hape wooden train toys and I wanted to share one of them with you, the Xylophone Melody Track, for this month’s review.

Brianna, the brains behind The Creative Toy Shop has created an wonderful selection of toys for her shop and uses her daily job as a special needs home educator and teacher to help her test out and decide on what toys she will offer. Originally a blogger, she has taken her blog to the next level and established one of the most gorgeous online toy shops in Australia. I am honestly in love with her toy shop and so excited and honoured to be working with her this year.

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Toy of the month – March 2017

This month is an exciting one my friends. This month is a celebration of how far toy making has come in Australia.

When I started Kids Gifts and Toys over 3 years ago and started researching toy brands worldwide, there was very little coming out of Australia that was designed and made in Australia.  In just a short space of time I have watched an incredible transformation and now I can happily say there is actually a handmade toy industry in Australia! I am super excited to be featuring “Monday the Plane” from Have a Nice Day toys for March’s “Toy of the month”; this is one Australian toy company that is making waves for all the right reasons.

Monday the Plane” is just one of 7 wooden toys created by former industrial designer Jake Diaz alongside his wife Dom Diaz who fronts up all the business and social media side of things. This husband and wife team based on the Gold Coast, are reinventing wooden toys and bringing back the simplicity and purity for a new generation of children.

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Toy of the month – February 2017

This month is a little follow on from last month’s awesome Marbotic Smart Numbers range. This month we look at the Smart Letters range from this fabulous French company.

The Smart Letters range is all about alphabet recognition, learning the sounds of the letters, getting familiar with lower, upper case and even cursive letters. It has varying degrees of difficulty but overall is best suited to 3- 10 years old.

I will say that although I have outlined a very extensive review of the Smart Letters range below, my children worked out how to complete each app and its variations intuitively without any of my guidance. However, for us adults, I found it most helpful to look up the parents corner in each app to read about what the app entailed.  I thought it would be useful to provide an overview for you to understand exactly what you get for your money.

The Smart letters range are distributed exclusively in Australia by Keld Industries who kindly sent me the range to test out and review.

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Toy of the month – January 2017

I hope you have started your 2017 with joy, love and happiness and that this year you have set many mindful intentions to perhaps be less busy, be more present and to enjoy each and every day.

I have had the boys the past 6 weeks over the summer school holidays and normally I am a little apprehensive as to how I will keep them entertained but this holidays seemed, well a little easier. As they get older there is more interaction, sustained play and for a longer period of time. There have been tantrums don’t get me wrong, they have been loud and long but perhaps parenting is getting that teeny tiny bit easier…well until next week when things will no doubt change again.

This month sees us review the brilliant French Marbotics range. This is a range that I took notice of last year as I was intrigued by the idea of mixing wooden toys and technology. The Smart numbers and Smart letters range are distributed exclusively in Australia by Keld Industries who kindly sent me the range to test out and review.

After realising this review will become much too long for you my lovely readers, I have decided to split out the review and for January review Smart Numbers and for February, Smart Letters. Each product deserves its own review as there are 18 different applications across the 3 free apps provided. This product is one where you definitely get your money’s worth!

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Candylab Toys Town

The boys were extremely lucky at Christmas to be gifted some incredible Candylab toy cars from Keld Industries, the Australian distributor of these awesome US designed cars.

We are long time fans of Candylab Toys having helped to crowd fund their second campaign by buying up the second edition of cars that they designed in 2015. We have added to our collection over their 3 Kickstarter campaigns and we are hoping for a 4th campaign this year, c’mon Vlad and team!

As it is summer school holidays the boys and I thought we should give our cars a new home, so we started to create a garage town out of cardboard boxes and paint. And yes, they may have racing stripes on the garages as well as the car numbers on the side of the garages, just so we know which garage they live in!

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Toy of the month – November 2016

Wow I can’t believe it is my last toy review for the year *, where has 2016 gone?! It has been such a whirlwind year and I am sure you are all feeling the same way!

With Christmas coming one of our fave toys in the house are board games. We have about 20 of them already from memory to Monopoly to Shopping List to Hungry Hippos and our collection grows each year at Christmas.

This month I wanted to review a true board game classic, Twister! They celebrated 50 years this year in September and we were sent the game to test and out and review.

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Omy Design & Play

I am always on the search for amazing gifts, hey it’s my job right? I found French brand Omy Design & Play a few years ago when I discovered their large scale colouring posters and I mean LARGE scale and fell in love!

They were one of the first, if not THE first company, to produce them back in 2012 and I adored that they created pages of some of our favourite cities like London, New York, Paris and Sydney.  My sister gave one of the London box sets to my eldest son for Christmas in 2014 and we have had so much fun colouring it in since then.

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Cream Empire – a beautiful new direction

Oh I have to say the baby products these days are epic. Seven and a half years on from when I had my first newborn, there are so many beautiful products out there that make you clucky!!

A fave lady and past Pay it forward feature, Carolina from Cream Empire has released some truly stunning baby blankets and knitwear as she takes the next step in her business.

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Dino Raw – divine dinosaurs

I have to admit that prior to being a mum of 2 boys, I was not hugely interested in Dinosaurs. I could honestly name 3 dinosaurs and that was pushing it. Fast forward 7.5 years and well as you can imagine so much of my life has changed and now I know dinosaurs by the dozen! Diplodocus, Cryolophosaurus, Trodon, Utahraptor, Ankylosaurus and the list goes on…

We have Schleich dinosaurs which the kids use as bath toys and to play games with, we have dino books and even a dino game, Bingosaurus! But at times, it can be hard to find really nice Dinosaur themed gifts, a lot of the time the dinosaurs are true to life and quite scary for little kids.

Until we found Dino Raw… this Adelaide based company is injecting the divine into dinosaurs with stunning results.  Sarah has created pastel coloured dinosaurs, gelati coloured dinosaurs for dino loving babies, dinosaurs with smiles and dinosaur cushions too!

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Toy of the month – October 2016

Ohh you know how much I adore wooden toys and this month I have such a fabulous product to show you from the amazing Tinkertime which combines another love of mine, singing!

I will admit,  I am not good at singing, in fact I think I am probably tone deaf but I love to sing to the tunes on the radio and I may have had a karaoke session at my hen’s night…

So naturally the kids also like to sing with me when we are at home or even in the car! And what do you need when you sing but… a microphone!

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Puggle Post

Puggle Post launched last month and finally there is an online shop bringing you the best in stylish, eco friendly presents that have an Australian theme for loved ones and family who are overseas.

Instead of sending them delightfully tacky cuddly koalas that fall apart in 5 minutes, Carmel, an expat who know calls Australia home, has sourced high quality, gorgeous pieces that will delight and captivate children and show them a little of why we call Australia home.

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Little Wuppy – worry puppy

I am not sure about you but these days I read more and more about kids suffering from anxiety and from quite a young age of 5 or 6. My heart breaks hearing that kids so young can be so crippled by this mental health illness.

So I love to hear about ways to help kids with their anxiety and mental health issues and to make it a subject that is talked about rather than a taboo topic.

Little Wuppy® has been created with just this issue in mind, helping young children get through their battles with anxiety as well as loneliness or dealing with the many changes going on around them.

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Toy of the month – September 2016

This month we are reviewing a firm favourite in our household, the legendary, one and only, puzzle!!

We adore puzzles and have done since the boys were babes. We have wooden ones and cardboard ones, puzzles with alphabets, numbers,  animals and so much more! What we haven’t seen though are the seriously stunning Australian designed Millions of Monkey puzzles from brand new Australian shop Puggle Post.

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Meet the Maker – Decor Me

Hello lovely peeps, HUGE apologies as I have been a bit slack in my beloved “Meet the Maker” series of late with all my Bazaar preparations, but I am super excited for this month’s gorgeous maker Angela from Decor Me.

Decor Me is a divine handmade brand created by Angela from Sydney who has become known for her beautiful wooden doll stackers which are made of Tasmanian oak and using non toxic paint and natural sealants. They make the perfect toy for small hands!

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Colour delights – Halcyon Nights

Halycon Nights are a gorgeous Australian kids bedding and now clothing range that has captured my imagination through their brilliant use of colourful prints and artist collaborations.  Recently we were lucky to test out some of their bedding range and I have to say we love it!

With a background in fashion retail and product development, this Melbourne based wife and husband team, Kym and Reuben have collaborated with some amazing Australian artists to bring the fun back into bedding! From dinosaurs, rainbow mountains, space ghosts, colorful kaleidoscope playgrounds to Australian outback animals. Every design is filled with creativity and allows kids to imagine just as they drift off to sleep.

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Lil Baddits – ethically gourmet!

Lil Baddits is a gorgeous new babywear range that is launching this month in Australia and seriously this baby wear is just divine!! I will be honest it may make me secretly want a third baby!

Lil Baddits babywear is designed in Australia with hand drawn watercolour prints and made ethically in India using G.O.T.S certified organic cotton and non toxic dyes. It is made of THE softest organic cotton you have touched, seriously AS soft as the baby’s bottoms they are going in!

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Toy of the month – August 2016

August in Sydney can be quite a dreary month, it can be wet, super cold with windy days and only sometimes a glimpse of Spring in the air! But what I like about the last winter month is that you can still hibernate and enjoy all those indoor activities.

We go through our board games, we set up our wooden train set, do painting and I even taught the kids how to play marbles this month. We had the added joy of reviewing a beautiful wooden play theatre from the brilliant new toy store Happy Go Ducky. Such a perfect toy for those cold, rainy days indoors or just days when you want to stay inside and chill.

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Uncle Goose – classic wooden blocks

I was first introduced to Uncle Goose wooden blocks, all designed AND made in the USA, by the lovely Faye from Abacus Kids a few years back. As an American brand of blocks it wasn’t one I was familiar with nor grew up with unlike I am sure many American readers. But this brand of block is a powerhouse and one you need to know about.

Producing blocks for more than 30 years, this family run business has kept their design and manufacturer of wooden toys in the USA since they began in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1983.

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Midcentury Americana – Candylab Toys are back with a bang!

Oh yes Candylab Toys are back with another ahhmazing Kickstarter campaign this year! These guys seriously blow me away! Their company has been completely crowd funded through Kickstarter over the last 3 years and the wooden cars that they have produced are pretty darn phenomenal. Yep that is a big word, but it is rightly deserved, because these guys are kicking it and their wooden toys rock!

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Toy of the month – July 2016

Rainbows for me are one of the most beautiful things you can see in nature, all the colours sparkling bright across the sky. You want to chase it to find where it ends!

They are wonderfully inspiring and bring such positive vibes that I just had to own one for my own home. We all need a rainbow to live in our house, don’t we?

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Toy of the month – June 2016

Oh my gosh,  how have we already reached the middle of the year?!!! I can’t quite fathom how quickly this year has already gone, is anyone else feeling it? Time certainly flies and this year is certainly turning out to be a momentous one.

Luckily though I can distract you from the world changing news stories of late to share with you an utterly brilliant kids product Little Abstract art kit which was sent to me to review.

Created by South African born, Atlanta based artist Jeremy Brown, this art kit provides you with one of the coolest pieces of kids art around. Part art, part writing, part memento, part expression, together all four parts combine to give you a stunning piece of art to hang on your kids bedroom wall.

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Best new board book

I am super excited to let you know about the newest Goose Grease product which they recently launched, the (Not so) Blank Henry! board book and DIY family kit.

Not happy to settle with just producing their gorgeous handcrafted wooden peg dolls which are produced under fair trade conditions in  Bogotá, Colombia, Anna and Juan Donado, the amazing couple behind the brand, have now turned their passion and energy to a new element of their company, book publishing!

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Toy of the month – May 2016

This month, the boys and I have been super excited to review and test out a fab new block on the street, SumBlox! These blocks are seriously clever, beautifully made of heirloom beechwood and are not only fun but they help teach numbers and mathematical concepts too. Winning for the parents!

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Dollhouse makeovers

This week we decided to embark up on a little renovation mission with our Lille Huset dollhouse from Wild and Whimsical Things. We met Adrian who runs this brilliant online store via the utterly brilliant small biz course we are doing with Business School for Mums.

What I love about Adrian is the way she has selected toys in her store which are based around a child’s development. For each toy on her website she then has a list of skills the child will grow and develop from, when the child plays with the toy. Similar to how I write my “Toy of the month” where I look at the skills and development in terms of gross and fine motor skills etc for a toy, Adrian does the same and I love it! As a parent it is so helpful to be armed with this knowledge when choosing a toy or gift for a child, friend or niece/nephew.  She has definitely set herself apart from other online toy stores with this fab information and not to mention her toy selection is the bomb! Rock and Pebble, Maileg, Milton Ashby, Omy Design and Play, Lille Huset, Numero 74, ahh need i say more…

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Reaching the highest of heights in wooden toys!

As a toy blogger I see a lot of kids toys as you can imagine, but the ones I am always drawn to are ones that will last generations, ones that our children can enjoy, but also their children. In this very consumerist society, it can be easy to give your children toys upon toys upon plastic toys. But the ones that they will remember won’t be the plastic ones that break or run out of battery, but those that provide them with hours of imagination and wonder. The ones that are sturdy, robust and built to last, which is why I tend towards wooden toys. Aesthetically from a parent’s perspective they are beautiful to look at which is important as you will be seeing it daily,  but from a consumerist perspective, they are also ones that you know will survive the rough and tumble of children. They won’t be thrown in the bin because they no longer work!

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Wooden Toys – made in the USA

I wrote a blog feature last month all about Australian Wooden toys and I am very exciting to start looking around the world at what other countries makers and creators are designing and producing for our children in terms of sustainable heirloom wooden toys.

This month, we travel to the grand ol USA! And gosh there is so much going on here, it was really hard to make a decision on the curated goodness coming out of the US. I think I will need to do another one very soon.

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Toy of the month – April 2016

Oh my I am so excited for this month’s toy review as it means so many things to me. As you may know from my Instagram account I am rather keen doll enthusiast. They make me go all swoony and weak at the knees (sorry hubby) !

I honestly love handmade dolls and I am not quite sure where my obsession started. As a child more than likely as my Mum, Nana, Grandma and Aunts were and are all makers, knitters, doll makers, quilters, weavers, sewers, artists and spinners, and being around such creativity from a young age, I think it is in my blood. I love to support such handmade beauty and the people who create them. 

And so it is that I was honoured to receive and review this months’ “Toy of the month” from one of my favourite Australian doll makers These Little Treasures. Dainy creates the most magical & divine dolls and this month I have the pleasure to review her doll making kit, Mini Friends – 2 Dolls Kit – Lola and Lenny

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Australian Wooden Toys

I have to say in looking for handmade and wooden toys over the past 2 years for my blog, it has honestly been quite a struggle. There are a lot of wooden toys but all made by the big companies; Plan Toys, Hape, Melissa and Doug, Janod and Kidkraft to name a few.  We love our Hape & Plan Toys but not all the companies produce solid wood toys, many are made of MDF, which isn’t sturdy and if it is painted, then it chips easily.

However, just in the past year, there has been an absolute resurgence in handmade and wooden toys.  And I can proudly say there are so many handmade and heirloom made toys being made right here in Australia, many in lovely mamas and papas homes! Woohoo!

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Toy of the month – March 2016

Oh my how are we already March with April looming! Life with kids especially school kids, makes your weeks zoom at a hundred kilometres an hour, don’t you think?!

For my “Toy of the month” for March, I am reviewing a wonderful new brand Golly Family, created by the loveliest Gaby Suhl, an Argentinian who has been based in New Zealand for the past 8 years.

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Toy of the month – February 2016

This month’s toy review is about a reinvented and remastered take on an old classic, the block. Yes the wooden block has been given a completely new, updated and very much needed revamp. It has moved the block beyond just stacking and building and into a whole new world of engineered construction.

This “Toy of the month” is the utterly brilliant Bokah Blocks and these wooden blocks are so ingenious that we were blown away by them in our Kids Gifts and Toys household.

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Toy of the month – January 2016

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….

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Christmas Gift Guides – Threenager

Some fabulous gift ideas for your threenager ahem, three year old! They seem to grow up so quickly these days and here are some fun gifts to educate and entertain.

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Toy of the Month – November 2015

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!

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Christmas 2015 – Wooden toys under $100

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!).

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Toy of the month – October 2015

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.

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Pay it Forward – Schooza

Wow, I cannot believe we are almost in November, where has the year gone? I am super excited about this “Pay It Forward” as we were extremely lucky to attend an “Under the Sea” themed birthday party way back in February ( it seems many moons ago) and much to our surprise, we received a Shark tail outfit from Schooza as Jasper’s party favour. I nearly fell over myself after seeing the label, realising I was going to be writing a blog feature on this brand later in the year.  

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Gus Makes Three

Today, I have decided on a new name for my boys, they are no longer Jasper and Hudson but rather the… “Café kids”!! Yes, I have to admit, it may be partly my addiction, ahem, obsession with coffee that has made me make a beeline for a café, when I am out and about with the boys.

Last week, we went to have a look at the Bahai temple, a place we travel past daily which is a house of worship for the Bahai faith. As we came outside, Jasper asks “So where is the café mama?” “ Ahh Jasper, it’s the equivalent of a church here, there is no café!”

Oh dear what have I created….

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Toy of the month – September 2015

September is always a wonderfully special month here in Australia, as we celebrate Father’s Day. This Father’s Day, we gave our Papa ( a throw back still from Germany)  a lie in, breakfast in bed and cooked him a yummy late brunch. Plus he was spoilt with lots of tools, handmade cards and chocolates!

We also presented him with 2 awesome toys that he could share with the boys, “Buildme wooden toys“. He was blown away by the “Build Me” boxes he received and a week or two later we had a chance on a rainy Spring afternoon, to construct them.

Buildme Wooden toys toys are an awesome brand established in Melbourne and started by a dad, Darryl Thompson, whose past experience as a shipwright in the Royal Australian Navy and later as a graphic designer, has enabled him to develop the wooden toys from concept and design through to production. I adore that he is trying to bring back some time honoured traditions and to teach children life long skills especially in this techy age.

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Toy of the month – August 2015

This month has been an exciting month here in the KGT household and we have had a real focus on the environment this month in terms of organic clothing and now eco toys for my “Toy of the month”. The boys and I have had so much fun building and creating toys out of cardboard!

Yes, you heard it correctly, brilliant environmentally friendly cardboard toys from Krooom Toys. It was with a HUGE amount of excitement when a large box turned up on our door step by our friendly postman and the boys discovered all the fab goodies inside. They were so curious that the toys were made of cardboard as they had never seen anything like them before.

We received 3 “Fold my cars” to test out from The Stork Nest in the form of an Ice cream van, Tow truck and the Hippie van with a surfboard! As well as the super awesome “Willson Bros Garage” playset which also comes with a car garage, play mat, tow truck, car, scooter, petrol tank, air tank and 2 little figures to play with not to mention the car wash!

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Toy of the month – July 2015

This month’s “Toy of the month” is about tape. Tape, I hear you say? That is not a toy?! Yes, tape, but not just any old tape, this is tape in the shape of a train track which you can stick to your floors – carpet, laminate or wooden floors to create a train track!!

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Toy of the month – May 2015

HUGE apologies firstly in the tardiness of this post, it was of course meant to be up in time for May which has of course been and gone, but with all the illness in the household and moving house, I just didn’t get a chance to blog about it.

Being a parent as we all know isn’t always easy (see above!). We want to be the best we can be for our children, so that they have  good guidance to follow in life and someone to respect. Not only that, someone they can talk to about everything and anything and not feel judged whilst doing so.

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The Offbits

As you know from reading this blog, I adore Kickstarter and crowd funding sites that help to provide financial support as well as a strong community to help people realise their dreams.

I am also always intrigued and fascinated by new toys and new concepts, one such company doing just that are “The Offbits”, a super cool open source toy in the form of robots! Based out of Tel Aviv, this is their second Kickstarter campaign aimed at making their little robot creations more accessible to all.

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Modern Day Princess Gift Guide

With the royal baby Princess now born and as we eagerly await her name, I thought I would do a little gift guide for the very modern Princess!

Modern day princess gift guide 4

1. Tough Cookie Store – Pink Crown AUS $30.00

2. Zilvi wooden wall word art AUSD $25.00

3. Hubble and Duke romper AUSD $65.00

4. Babee and Me Alphabet handmade cloth book AUS $300.00

5. LexyPexy Wooden teether “The Harlan” USD $25.00

6. Hubble and Duke Ballet Moccasins in Gold Rush – AUSD $45.00

7. Nor-Folk white tee, seeing as though the Princess will grow up in Norfolk £20.00

8. Yarning Made baby blanket AUSD $215.00

9.Luna and the Boy Royal Roundie AUS $39.00

Toy of the month – April 2015

It has been a hectic month here in the KGT household with townhouse renovations, Master J’s 6th birthday and his Superhero party which went off with a Kapow, Bang and Zoom (photos to follow)!!

But in the midst of it all, I received a fabulous package of Darwin and Penn Kompakt cameras which I ordered in their sale last month. I had completely forgotten I had ordered them ( does this happen to anyone else?) and squealed when I opened up the package.

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Candylab Toys – new launch!

Ooh I am very excited to do a little follow up to last month’s “Toy of the month” post about Candylab Toys. Today they have launched a new Kickstarter campaign for 5 new utterly brilliant designs!

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

You won’t regret it, they are ace! 

Click here to pledge.

new candlylab taxi

blue racer 2

the woodie

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towie and Blu74

The Towie

Toy of the month – Beach Stamps

This month’s “Toy of the month” are a fantastic set of sand toys called “Beach Stamps” which the boys and I have been super excited to try out. The fantastic Australian based online store Finlee and Me are the exclusive Australian supplier and they kindly sent them to us to review.

We have spent a few beach days testing them out over the last few weeks and I have to say they are an easy, fun and great alternative to your everyday sand toys of buckets, spades, diggers and balls.

Beach Stamps are designed and made in the USA by the Red Rooster Toy Company and they come in all different types and various variety packs, we tested out the “15 Variety Shapes” pack.

They are super easy to use and come supplied with rubber bands which you attach to the plastic stamp moulds with their easy to follow instructions. There are even spare rubber bands in case of  breakage, although the rubber bands seemed very robust to me and not very easily broken.

At the beach: 

 Beach Stamps variety pack

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As you can see from the photos we loved testing these beach toys out and what I liked most as a mother at least, is they are a great size for small hands. Also if you want an easy beach toy to pack for your beach adventures and let’s face it as a mum, you generally have about 3-4 bags filled with towels, lunch, umbrella etc; then these are a perfect solution as they don’t take up much room, but they provide hours of creative play!

H did try and put them on his feet as suggested on the back of the packaging but it wasn’t so successful, however, I think my eldest who is nearly 6 would have found it easy to do and a lot of fun!

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Beach Stamps are aimed at 4+ according to it’s packaging but my nearly 3 year old loved them and had no trouble playing with them. As a 4 year old + you could go further with the type of play to be enjoyed, such as making up stories with the stamps or asking them to pick a certain colour to help with learning colours. But ultimately they are just a lot of fun and it is great to watch your children enjoy some creative play with them.

They are not too messy either for the child nor when cleaning up and there is not a huge amount of sand left in them which you cannot get out. They were nearly 100% clean after playing with them and popping them back in a ziplock bag. 10/10 on the mama radar!

We also had a play with them in our sandpit and I think they would work great with kinetic sand too which my eldest is dying to get for his 6th Birthday next month.

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The shapes in our 15 variety pack where varied, ranging from a love heart, to a girl, a dinosaur, a smiley face, to a sailing boat, a penguin,a boy, a sun, a sheriff’s star as well as skull, cross and circle. For older children, I thought you could have fun playing games of naughts and crosses on the beach with the circle and cross stamps.

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Using them in our sandpit: 

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Mostly what I loved about these set of sand toys, are the open ended play and the endless possibilities that can be enjoyed with these beach stamps. They would make a fab gift for a birthday and with the reasonable price, they could work quite well for a school birthday party gift as they hover around the $20.00 mark. They are perfect also for Easter or in the kids stocking at Christmas time. Or add them to a box of kinetic sand for the perfect gift for any boy or girl!

Ages: 4+ .

NB:- The packaging says 4+  but after testing them out, I think they are perfect for 3+. 

RRP: AUSD$21.95 exclusive in Australia to Finlee and Me.

Great for: creative play, sensory fun, educational learning in recognising shapes, colours, everyday objects and storytelling.

Product details: designed and made in the USA from durable, non toxic, pthalate free plastic. Click here for more information.

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Disclosure: we were given a set of Beach Stamps by Finlee and Me to review for March’s “Toy of the month”.

The Organic Family

This week, we have been very lucky to have some visitors come and stay with us. They are rather unique, a lot of fun, and they like to go on adventures! They go by the name “The Organic Family” and I have to say it has been a pleasure getting to know this sweet little family of 4, yes you may have guessed it by now, wooden dolls, by Goose Grease toys! 

This little family consists of a mama, papa, brother and sister who have been lovingly hand crafted using wood that is sustainably sourced under fair trade practices in Bogotá, Colombia.

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Goose Grease is owned and run by a wife and husband team, Anna and Juan Donado out of Brooklyn, New York. Juan is Colombian and he chose his home country to produce these sweetest of toys and Anna trains the skilled artisans to hand paint each doll, using non toxic water based paints. 

I adore wooden toys as you would no doubt realise in reading my blog. Why? Well there are many reasons for my love of all things wood!  One is the aesthetics and texture, they just look stunning and the natural softness of wood is a nice change from all the plastic in this world.  Another reason is the heirloom quality of wood and the fact the toys can be passed down through the generations and not be broken or have pieces missing like plastic toys. Finally, that due to the quality and design, wooden toys generally don’t date, which means you won’t thrown them away when your child has had enough of that latest trend.

It was with much pleasure therefore that this little organic family came on a big adventure to our house via the fantastic new Australian based shop Noc Noc; who source and stock only handcrafted wooden toys from around the world. Heather’s passion for wooden toys is similar to mine, in that she chooses wooden toys for their environmental and sustainability factor. As a mother of 2 gorgeous kids, she wanted to consciously source toys that were handcrafted and of artisan quality.  However, as I too have found, Heather struggled to find handmade wooden toys made in Australia, in particular, on a wholesale level. We just don’t seem to have the demand for it here, well not yet…

Goose Grease toys were one of her first purchases for the store and Heather tells me a little more as to why she choose these toys in particular:

As soon as I saw these dolls I had quite a physical reaction. I really felt like a small child again and I  just wanted to hold and play with them (and I do). They are so beautifully made and feel so gorgeous to hold. Knowing that they are each lovingly hand lathed and then hand painted makes them so very special. I also just love how different each set is. The organic family just melt me. The Monochrome are the trendy family of the bunch. The ninjas make me giggle. So I can imagine that they also bring out these different emotional reactions in children too! I was over the moon when I found out that I could sell them in Australia and in fact we are now their Australian distributors. 

I also asked Heather about the importance of wooden toys and what future they have:

I actually see us moving in a full circle. Back to natural, ecologically friendly toys. Whilst the tech age is undoubtably here to stay, I also see parents making choices to limit these techy items and give their children toys that will allow their imaginations to grow. I also most definitely am seeing parents who wish to limit the plastic and waste that occurs in their children’s worlds. I think different parents have different reasons for doing this whether it be environmental, health (the toxic chemicals in plastic), for aesthetic reasons or even for the nostalgia of our children having the wooden toys like we did. However I am definitely seeing a resurgence in wooden toy enquiries and an understanding of the higher price tag that come with these toys.

I am looking forward to seeing more from Noc Noc in the future and the new discoveries and treasures that Heather is no doubt going to find as she pursues her dream of creating a creative hub, made of only handcrafted wooden toys.

Now let us go and see what adventures the Organic family got up to on their stay with us!

 

 The adventures of the Organic Family.

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   Families that camp together….

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Football fun with the siblings!

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Can we have an icecream, puhleeease Mum! 

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Finishing off a fun day with a play on the swings and tasting the delicious organic ice cream and juices! 

 

Ages: 3+

Size: 6.5 – 9 cm tall

Non toxic paint, fair trade conditions, sustainably sourced wood.

****DISCOUNT CODE ****

Heather has very kindly offered free shipping on all Noc Noc toys using code “KGT15”. 

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Disclosure: in order to review Goose Grease, we were given an Organic family to test out.