Toys

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!

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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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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.

Toy of the month – February 2015

Life with 2 boys, well, let’s be honest, make that 3 boys including hubby dearest, means a life filled with cars! Especially as said hubby is a mechanical engineer so we tend to live and breathe cars in this household… whether it is wooden cars, Hot Wheels cars, Siku, Scaletrix, Automoblox, Kukkia + and not to mention ride on cars and bikes, my boys love ALL of them.

As such I don’t get too excited when the boys receive new toy cars as birthday presents as normally they are all rather the same. That was until I set my eyes on Candylab Toys, these cars seriously rocked my world! Not only did they have some of the coolest car designs I had seen, but, they were wooden! I had to review these cars, pronto.

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Vlad Dragusin, the founder, is an architect based in Brooklyn with two daughters and he shares an equal love of cars and “mid century modern” design.

Growing up in his native Romania in the 80’s with “crappy tv choices” he learned to sketch and draw, create and build cars that he saw and loved from the tiny glimpse of Hollywood he saw on TV.

Cut to today and the story goes that one day, one of his daughters asked Vlad to put wheels on an empty noodle box she had just retrieved from the recycling. Together they then painted and drew on the box to create an awesome car to play with. This cardboard design made Vlad imagine a world of the coolest of cool cars, the cars he remembered drawing from his childhood. He decided not to design something throwaway but cars that would become heirloom pieces and passed down through the generations, cars that were both modern and retro at the same time. Together with his business partner and neighbour, Florin who knew all the technical aspects of car design, they started Candylab Toys.

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Candylab Toys was established in 2013 through a Kickstarter campaign, where 1,129 people raised 4 x times the amount of funds required to get the designs and manufacturing started. Having expected it would take a year to place their first factory order with the Kickstarter campaign they got there in 35 days! A phenomenal effort and amazingly quick result which allowed Candylab Toys to start life. I love Kickstarter campaigns, it is one of the best ways I know to raise money for “Start ups” and breath life into awesome ideas.

Drifting car - Candylab

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Although wishing to produce their gorgeous wooden cars in the USA, they struggled to find any US manufacturers interested in mass wood production of small items back in 2012.  After 97 failed attempts to find a US manufacturer keen to take on the job, and 1 keen to produce the cars at USD$100.00 a car, they decided to look abroad.  They went to the 2013 International Toy fair and found a Chinese wood supplier keen to work with them on their drawings. It has been a match made in heaven so far with a proven partnership and successful production of 8 cars thus far with more coming very soon!

Each car takes from 15 to 18 cuts in a solid beech wood profile, plus painting, priming, applying the stripes and decals and wheels.  It is a manual process all the way.  Paints are all water based with each car taking hours to produce.

Start your engines - Candylab

This gorgeous wooden car arrives in a fab matching box and is much larger than any other wooden car around that we have tested ( even larger than Automoblox). What strikes you first is the stylishly simple design, it is super elegant and you would be happy to display it in your kids bedroom. However, there is little chance of that once your kids see it!

As you can see from the photos here, my eldest son had an absolute ball racing the GT-10 around the washi tape track I made for him on my pinboard. My youngest adores the car so much he has scratched it up a little with his endless hours of play. They both love this car and the “oohs and ahhs” that came out of both their mouths when we opened up the box was priceless.

It is quite large in size and is recommended for ages 3+. I therefore thought it might be too large for Hudson who is 3 in May, but he races it around and it fits his hand well. I would say that it is probably better for ages 3+ as my youngest has scratched it up a little with his play whereas Jasper is much more careful with it but equally loves playing with it and building garages for it and roads.

They come in 8 designs, although 1 is no longer available as it was the first Kickstarter car and thus was handed out to all those who pledged money. The police and fire car look fantastic and next month, they have added a tow truck to the collection! With bright yellows and purples for the Stinger and Plum 50, there is a car to suit all ages and sexes.

If your children, boys and girls alike, are car obsessed this makes a brilliant birthday present with the promised “ohhs and ahhs” coming from your child as they open the box. The cars look as good in the flesh as they do in the photos. They are true design led heirloom pieces that you would happily display in your children’s room.

The cars are fairly large in size in comparison to most cars that kids play with and they are great for racing, drifting and generally having a lot fun! My boys have added Sonny Angels as passengers and come up with some awesome imaginative play with the car. We will definitely be adding to our collection of Candylab Toys for their birthday, the only question is, which one!

Ages 3+

Size: 18.3cm L x 7.3cm W x 5cm H

Designed in Brooklyn, made in China.

Safety tested according to US CPSIA and European, Australian and New Zealand regulations.

RRP: US $30.00 +

Disclosure: in order to review the Candylab GT-10 we were sent one to test drive. 

Candylab GT10

Toy of the month – January 2015

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Our little postcard that we created ready to send to our friend in Germany.

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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.

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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.

Ages: 2+

DISCOUNT CODE: By using code KIDS1 at checkout Maureen has kindly offered my readers one month free on any 6 or 12 month Club or Family Pipsticks subscription.

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 Disclosure: in order to review this product we received this free introductory pack.

Australian kids labels – ones to watch 2015

I have to say 2015 is looking like a hugely successful year for so many young Australian kids brands. It was so hard picking just a handful so here is my selection of 12 to watch this year. Some are already established and some just starting out but I predict HUGE things for all of them in 2015! Watch this space…

Australian kids labels – ones to watch 2015

Clockwise L-R:

One Two Nine “Quilt 1”

Paul and Paula “Go Bananas” tee

Inkibabinki  “Grid bloomers”

Mint Rhapsody “Milky Attic House”

Mum life project – soon to be released project supporting mums

Miss Pigeon Productions – crochet sweets

Maven Dolls “Maven Elsie”

The Hook Co “Wall hooks”

Captain + Co “Gone Batty Bunting”

Smallest Tribe “Spearminty dance party girls skirt”

Little Red Elk “Bunny wall hook”

Babee and Me “Handpainted memory game backyard animals”

Creatures and Features

Sometimes I get completely blown away by a new product and this is one of those products! From the time I set my eyes on “Creatures and Features“, I knew I had to  try it out and review one!

Creating your own creature on a t-shirt by iron on pictures is such a fantastic idea and I knew my eldest son Jasper, my little artist, would love creating his very own customised creature t-shirt.

Gorgeously packaged, the tee arrives inside a cardboard carry bag with the tee, instructions and iron on features all included in a cute little packet. The designs and the quality of the tee is just fantastic.

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creatures and features 2After unpacking and washing the tee as per instructions; a day later we got to work on creating our creature by cutting out each part. We made a few different designs before we decided on the final creature.

Included in each pack are both girl and boy features and there are more than enough features available for the tee. So much so, they will soon be selling blank t-shirt’s so that you can create creatures for other siblings.

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We had so much fun creating our little creature and it was a fab afternoon activity that both boys enjoyed helping to create. The iron on features really come to life once you have ironed them on and slowly peeled them off once they have cooled. My boys clapped and squealed in awe after the creature had been revealed.

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cutest creature

Creatures and Features is a sister company to Neve and Hawk who are a brilliant US based clothing company that caught my eye last year not only due to their beautiful yet comfortable clothing range but in part to their philanthropic ways; they donate money towards arts in public schools in America. But back to that part later on.

Creatures and Features was created because their darling daughter Neve loves to draw “fashion” when owner Kris is working. That gave them the idea to find a way for her to create her own fashion masterpiece and thus Creatures and Features came to life!

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With their motto “Fight for Creativity” they have helped to combine their love of fashion and support of the arts in one amazingly designed product. Each t-shirt allows the child to become their own artist.

All the tees and features are hand drawn by Kris’s husband, Bob.  He then takes those drawings and makes them into graphics and iron ons. Creatures and Features is proudly designed and made in the US, it took over a year for them to source a local iron-on company with the outstanding quality they desired.

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With so many plans for a young vibrant company, I can see so much in store for their future. But more importantly, I adore what this company is about and giving back to the community and being socially responsible, this is a company with a huge future ahead. I believe arts whether it is drama, drawing, dance, painting, or writing, deserves more recognition, especially for our kids and the youth of today. Art allows them to express themselves and provides them with a creative outlet to focus their energies. Without art in the world, it would be a very depressing place. As such a company that sees the importance of art and creativity for our children, is a company that is thinking about our children’s future. And that is just what Creatures and Features is doing!

GIVEAWAY: for your chance to win one of these fantastic t-shirts and create your own creature, comment below.

Disclosure: We received the t-shirt as a gift in order to review this product.

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My Little Rider – Christmas gift guide

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!

 

My Little Rider 2014 GG

 

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.

Giddy Up Gertrude – “Revez en Grand” doll collection

As a child and as an adult, I love and adore dolls, so I am so very excited and truly honoured to present a gorgeous new handmade doll collection by GiddyUpGertrude, which is launching this Wednesday, 3rd of December. These dolls are seriously so sweet and beautiful. You will want to collect them all!

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All dolls are designed and handmade on the Australian Gold Coast, by Jaimi Lee Pennell. With a childhood love of creating and drawing, not to mention building fairy houses in her garden, it seems that Jaimi was destined to turn this passion into a creative talent as an adult.

Each doll is hand stitched and takes 4-5 hours to complete with hundreds of hand stitches going in to make each doll’s face.  All the materials are sourced from local shops or from fellow WAHM ( work at home mothers) running online shops.

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The first collection from GiddyUpGertrude is aptly titled “Revez en Grand” or “Dream Big” and there will be 10 -15 dolls each individually made, with their own character, name and styling.  Gorgeous names like Stella, Valerie, Suki, Mabel and Eden.  Every doll has been designed with removable clothing and there will soon be a range of Giddy Up Gertrude dresses, kimonos and gorgeous faux fur vests which will launch in the next 12 months. Oh my, I cannot wait to see the sweetest of doll’s clothing for these divine dolls!

Not only has Jaimi turned her hand to dolls but she has also made 2 limited edition stunning pink flamingos for Wednesday and some seriously cute Watermelon bags. This gorgeous mama is beyond talented!

I wanted to find out more about the inspiration, design and background of this new fabulous mumpreneur enterprise and I took the opportunity to ask Jaimi a few questions about “GiddyUpGertrude”:

Meet the Maker: Jaimi Lee Pennell

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Your dolls are truly stunning fashionista style pieces, what inspired your first doll collection, “Revez en Grand”, what is your background and how long has GiddyUpGertrude been in the making?

As a mother of 2 boys I don’t get to indulge in the gorgeous little girls fashion available at present, so this doll range has allowed me to get my fix of sequins, divinely soft tulles & all things pretty & pastel.

I taught myself how to sew almost 3 years ago, it was a way for me to cope and manage my Post Natal Depression. From this, my ability & confidence grew & creating really became a passion. Like a lot of people I started to make dolls using some great simple doll patterns that are easily available. However as my confidence grew I found myself really wanting to create a doll that reflected my soul & creativity, and the concept of GiddyUpGertrude was born. It has been a long road to create a pattern that I am 100% happy with, about 40 hrs of pattern testing in total, but I am so proud of how this first collection has come together.

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Given that you have children of your own, are they the first testers of your dolls? 

Haha, yes my toddler is known as the “destructor” tester! It is his job to make sure my dolls can stand up to the over affectionate cuddles & oddles of kisses they will receive in their life time.

As a child yourself, growing up, what was your favourite doll to play with and do you think it has helped to inspire you to create GiddyUpGertrude?

As a child my favourite doll was an old handmade ragdoll made by my great grandma’s sister. I loved her until her felt face had almost worn off & I actually rescued her from the bin a few times, as my mum thought she needed to be thrown away. Needless to say my love of dolls started very early, & has continued through to adulthood.

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As your collection is aptly named “Dream Big” which is one of my favourite sayings, what made you take the HUGE plunge and finally realise your dream of making dolls and creating such beauty? To be 100% honest, like many young families our budget is tight & the thought of leaving my two beautiful boys to go back out into the work force broke my heart. Which is why I am fully committed to making GiddyUpGertrude a successful brand.

The response so far on Instagram for your dolls has been so exciting, there is a real buzz and anticipation for the release of your collection. I can and will predict that it will sell out within minutes, where do you see the future of GiddyUpGertrude?

I am so amazed at the response my dolls have had so far. After starting a little under a month ago, I never dreamed of them getting so much attention and praise! Its pretty overwhelming.

My dream for GiddyUpGertrude is to walk into fabulous boutiques and see my dolls proudly displayed. That would be an amazing accomplishment.

Finally, I am sure there is a little story behind the brilliant name, do tell, what is the story behind Giddy Up Gertrude?

Well, remember my favourite rag doll I spoke about? She was made by my great grandma’s sister, Gertrude. So I thought it was only fitting that the woman that ignited my love of handmade dolls, to get a special mention.

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What a beautiful story filled with courage and bravery, overcoming post natal depression to create this beyond perfect doll collection by the sweetest of doll makers,  Jaimi, all whilst having a new born baby strapped to her and her toddler using her photography props as car jumps! I can see that this first collection of dolls, is but the start of amazing things to come for GiddyUpGertrude.

RRP: GiddyUpGertrude dolls will be A$120.00 and will be released for sale at 11am QLD time on Wednesday 3rd December.

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Disclosure: I have not received any gift or payment for this feature.

My Little Dreamer

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!

 My Little Dreamer 2014 GG

1.  To help any dreamer to sleep, try this Case Studyo X Friends with You – Little Cloud Lamp

2.  The perfect print for any Little Dreamer, by Ingrid Petrie Design

3.  These softies make beautiful sleeping companions  “Famille Goutte” from Zu- Boutique

4.  Sweetest dreams with “Rosy the dreamer” pillowcase from One in Melon Designs.

5. A gorgeous tee for any dreamer, “Catch my Dreams” tee from Feather Drum

6. Organic cotton swirly cloud leggings from Candy Kirby Designs

7. The perfect tee for any night dreamer, “Moon tee” by Feather 4 Arrow 

8. A fab book to help those children who may struggle with bad dreams at night,  The Dream Jar by Lindan Lee Johnson and illustrated by Serena Curmi

9. For the softest cutest cuddly try Blabla apple pillow  for your sweetest dreamer

10. Stunning star petite light for a gorgeous night light from Fromage La Rue

 

Toy of the month – October 2014

This month, (sorry I know I am a little late for October!), I am super excited to review a stunningly illustrated personalised book by lostmy.name. I was introduced to this company by an awesome friend of mine,  who had seen them on Dragon’s Den in the UK. I was kindly given a book by them to review for the blog.

In looking at the personalised kids book on their website,  what I adored most were the illustrations. They were so beautifully creative and I knew my youngest son would adore reading a book all about his name.  Plus what child doesn’t love a story that includes dragons, unicorns, and even a Narbalek?!

I clicked on the “Create your book” section on the website and added in Hudson’s name and that he was a boy and you can also add in a personal dedication for the first page of the book.

A few weeks later our book arrived in Australia.

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My Little Artist – Christmas gift guide

Inspired by own son who is the happiest when he is drawing or colouring on notepads, scrap paper, paper towel holders, boxes and more. This one is for you, my beautiful Jasper.

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1. For colouring fun on a giant scale, try the  Omy Design and Play Giant Colouring poster

2. For finger painting fun and travel friendly, the Finger painting set by NPW

3.  To inspire and captivate your little artist to learn about the history of art this book is amazing,  If I were an Artist by Minus Editions

4.  Your little artist will love designing their own monster tee, Creatures and Features by Neve and Hawk

5. For every budding artist,  The Artist long sleeved tee by Organic Zoo

6. Stunning rudolph crayons bv Crayonbox2013

7. All artist’s need something to draw with and what better pencils than these,  Slogan pencil from Bonne Nuit

8. Ebery artist needs somewhere to sketch their creations and this one is a great gift idea, “Oh what fun” by ordinaryartists

9. For one of the best artists and illustrators in the business, Herve Tullet – Mix it up

10. A great little notebook to bring out the fun in drawing and help them create, How to dress a fox by Wee Gallery 

Monpetitzoreol – cute toy storage solution

I always love new and fun ways to store toys and when I saw these gorgeous toy paper bags from french label Monpetitzoreol, I knew I had to have one!

Designed by hand and printed onto vinyl stickers  these toy storage bags are super cute and would look fab in any kids room.

For myself, it was a tough choice as I adored Audrey’s  panda designs and it was this designe that caught my eye in the first place.  However,  our boys new room design is  a mix of super heroes, alongside pops of mint, grey and monochrome, so I thought the mask was perfect. I love the design and I thought the gold would compliment my colour scheme in the room.

Disclosure: we purchased the gold mask toy storage bag and we were very kindly gifted the sweet mint star.

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Toy of the month – September 2014

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.

RRP: £30.00

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Toy of the month – August 2014

Quut toys – Alto and Cuppi

One of the toys that I was excited to discover at this year’s Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg was by young Belgian design company Quut. These young designers and parents had re-designed the way that sand toys should look and work -finally!

My kids absolutely adore playing in the sand, both at playgrounds and at the beach. They can be there for hours on end, which is an impressive feat given children’s short attention spans.

However, all the sand toys that I have bought so far to make sand castles has usually resulted in a sandy mess! What impressed me most about the Quut Beach toys were the ingenious designs that they had come up with which were relatively compact in size, brightly coloured and made of durable hard plastic which meant they were not just another throw away sand toy designated for the rubbish bin after a summer holiday.

As we were living in Nuremberg at the time I originally wrote this review, there were no beaches close by, however, we had a summer holiday planned to Turkey in late May and I wanted to buy some of these toys to test out on our trip.  I chose the Alto and Cuppi as I thought they were best suited to our needs of wanting to build sand castles and my kids love a good marble run which you can create with the Cuppi. They also both fit in our suitcases!

We had a lot of fun playing around with these toys to make the perfect sand castles on our trip away. I have to admit though my husband was a much better sand castle builder than me, but shhh don’t tell him!

In playing and creating sand castles with both the Alto and the Cuppi ( it is good to use as a scoop if you don’t have a shovel), I would say a few things… you need good clean sand, it can’t have pebbles in it as they can create air bubbles which don’t allow the sand castle to stand up. Also it can’t be too wet as then the castle just collapses. I think these toys would be perfect in sand pits as well as at the beach. There is definitely some trial and error in building a castle with these toys but you have a lot of fun in the process!

We have even used the Cuppi in the bath which the boys loved as they could tip and pour water to their hearts content. Not as much fun for Mama who had to clean up the floor afterwards.

We have also used the Quut beach toys  a fair few times at our local playground. I have to say all the kids in the playground where quickly attracted to the brightly coloured designs and they wanted to have a go at building a sand castle straight away. We have had crowds of kids each time we have brought the Quut toys with us and they have all had an absolute ball with them!

I am looking forward the fun we can have with our Quut over the Summer now we are living back in Australia!

Designed in Belgium and made in China

Ages: 12 months

RRP: Alto £14.99 and Cuppi £7.99.

Great for: construction, fine motor skills and fun in the sun! 

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Toy of the month – July 2014

Dinosaur Snappets

I am so upset to have lost this particular toy review for Snappets! My original piece on Snappets was all about “ Realising your dreams” and that if you believe in your dreams that they can come true; with a bit of passion, dedication, motivation and desire.

I was so thrilled to be sent a Snappet prototype back in July and to be given the opportunity to review this fabulous new toy that was not yet even on the market!

Snappets are paper hand puppets that you guessed it make a “Snap!” when you open and close the dinosaur’s mouth. They are made from a single piece of cardboard. They now come in over 8 different dinosaurs and are available in 2 different types – full colour or black and white, so your child can colour and create their own dinosaur.

Zachary Opaskar designed his paper hand puppets back at University 15 years ago but it was not until recently he revisited this original design and with the support of his fiancé he decided to turn his design in to reality.

With his own money, he was able to make the first design and die to create his first prototype. He was starting to turn “Snappets” into reality. However, he didn’t have the financial backing he needed to complete his dream of 7 more dies to create the 8 Dinosaur puppets he had originally designed.  With the help of crowd funding program, Kickstarter, he was able to raise the USD $10,000 and more that he needed for the dies to make his paper puppets a reality as a fab new toy.

Kickstarter is a brilliant website that allows designers, singers, creatives and more to start up a campaign to raise money toward the design they want to become reality or an album they want to produce.

Through building up social media interest and local support in his hometown, I can happily say that Zachary received all the funding for his Kickstarter campaign that he required to start his Dinosaur pupper business.

Snappets are now in production and all paper puppets have been sent out as of the 18th October to the supporters who funded his Kickstarter campaign. HUGE Congrats Zachary!

And to the toy review you ask?

Snappets are pretty easy to build following the online vimeo tutorial as well as the instructions provided with each puppet. I had to help both my children to build their puppet but I think from ages 7+ they could do it themselves. My eldest was able to part of the construction himself and need my help for the smaller, trickier bit.

On each Snappet page there are some facts about each Dinosaur that you are building.

My kids had a ball running around imagining they were dinosaurs, chasing each other, giving the dinosaur food and generally causing dino chaos!!

One thing I would say about the prototype which may have been fixed with the new Snappets, is that the paper inserts where you put the puppet together can come out during rigorous “dino play”. To rectify this, I used some sellotape/sticky tape over these inserts to ensure they did not come out anymore.

I think Zachary has done an utterly awesome job with these fabulous dinosaur paper puppets! He has realised his dream; raising the funding for his designs through a crowd funding program and ultimately created a completely unique and creative toy for kids.

It just goes to show that if you believe in your dreams, one day they can and they will come true!

Designed and made in the USA.

Ages: 4+ 

RRP: USD $3.99 each or a pack of 4 for $14.99

Great for: construction, creative/role play, and they would make great party favours! 

Disclosure: in order to complete this review, we were given our Snappets as a gift. 

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Toy of the month – June 2014

GG* Oekaki House by Kukkia

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.

Ages 2+

RRP: £50.00

Great for: fine motor skills, creative play, hand and eye coordination, shape and colour recognition and learning to draw/write. 

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Toy of the month – May 2014

 Apple House by Rock and Pebble

If you follow me on Instagram you will know how much I love and adore Rock and Pebble! They are a truly unique, inspiring and wonderfully creative label brought to you by the awesome Mr Printables  (check out this site for AMAZING free yep you guessed it,  printables).

It was love at first sight when I saw their Apple and Pear houses in February this year via Abacus Kids‘ IG account and I knew that they would make the perfect 2nd Birthday present for my youngest H.

As he loves apples, it was the Apple House for us. I adored playing with my dolls house as a child. It was one that my father had made for me and it had the coolest silver roof!! I felt that just because I had 2 boys and not girls, that didn’t mean I should deprive them of the same joy, imaginative play and fun that a doll’s house provides.

The Apple house is a perfect unisex doll’s house that has been so brilliantly designed that it comes all flat packed in a cute grey bag.  It allows you  then to pack it up when it is not in use. I have to warn you though, it will be in constant use!

As we bought our Apple House as part of their original launch, we received 4 cute pebbles (wooden peg people) included. You can now buy these separately as Modern, Color and Alphabet and they come with reusable clothing! So adorable and yes we had to buy these too as our Apple House likes having guests come to visit.

Doll’s houses by their nature are generally big and bulky and require a lot of room in a child’s bedroom or playroom.  I wanted something we could travel with and easily assemble and dissemble when required.

Rock and Pebble are a US based company that manufactures the houses in the UK using European Birch wood. They felt it was more environmentally sustainable to have the houses made close to where the wood is cut rather than shipping it all the way to the US to manufacture.  I love their catchphrase, “Natural, non toxic, sustainable is our goal.”

Their inspirations for both their doll houses and pebbles have come from their parent company, Mr Printables. Both of the designs were amazing printables that were so hugely popular they decided to create something more permanent using sustainably sourced wood.

If you want to inspire your child with wooden toys that are brilliantly designed and manufactured and that provoke your child’s imagination and sense of  wonder and help to contribute to a greener world, then look no further than Rock and Pebble. Plus these doll houses look  seriously stunning in your children’s room!

Ages: 3+ ( although with parental supervision due to the little pebbles, it is fine from 2+) 

RRP £80.00

Great for: fine motor skills, imaginative/creative play and role play.

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Toy of the month – April 2014

 Starring Us – Rocket Train Adventure

This  April,  my “Toy of the Month” is a rather special one! It is a personalised children’s book called the “Rocket Train Adventure” by Starring Us.  I was asked to review this book and I was given our copy as a gift in order to complete the review.

As we live over 15,000 km away from our family who all live in Australia, this review has special significance as my children have only seen their families in real life a handful of times. This book helps to remind them of their beautiful family members back home, who all miss them dearly.

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Toy of the month – March 2014

Two Little Ducklings  – Australian animal flash card set

I am always so excited to find unique toys and gifts that are handmade and created by wonderful and truly divine people, case in point Two Little Ducklings. I discovered Jacinta’s IG feed back in January this year and I straight away fell in love with her designs and creations. She was one of the first accounts that truly took my breath away with her beautiful images and products. Jacinta very kindly gifted me a set of flash cards to review for this month’s Toy of the Month.

Jacinta Weir is a Melbourne based designer who designs and makes cards, invitations, prints,  gift wrap, name charts, as well as educational gifts for children. All designs are digitally printed on environmentally friendly paper.

The products that first drew my attention were her beautiful flash cards. I am always on the look out for new ways to educate my children and flash cards are a fun way to introduce them to the basics.  Jacinta now produces 6  different designs for her flash cards being:  alphabet, shapes, counting, colour, animals and my personal favourite, her Australian animal flash cards.

As my son’s were both born in England but they have Australian heritage as well, they have not grown up knowing all their native Australian animals. They know the Kangaroo, Koala, Kookaburra and Crocodile but not too many others. This flash card pack was the perfect way to introduce some new and old Australian animals to them and have fun along the way.

Arriving in a minimal packaging is a pack of 16 gorgeous cards.  Each card is approximately 10cm x 15cm with rounded corners and a divine animal on the front with large text underneath telling you the name of the animal.

We had a great play session one afternoon going through each card, sounding out the words, looking at each picture and making the noise of each animal. We even sang a few songs and played a memory game with them as well.  There was a lot of fun, noise, laughter and learning going on that rainy afternoon. Suffice to say after our little flash card session, my boys now know a little more about Australian animals!

Ages: 12 months +

RRP: A$15.00

Great for: hand and eye coordination, memory aid tool and observation skills 

Disclosure: we were gifted this pack of cards in order to review them.
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Cardboard creations!

For something a little different this Christmas, how about some cool creative fun with cardboard?! Check out these awesome creations which your kids will adore playing in and with. Plus they are all recyclable – FAB!

Studio Roof ( formerly Kidsonroof) : a Dutch brand which started the cardboard revolution in my mind back in 2005. This is one of the best rocket ships i have seen and I love their little playhouse!

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Flatout Frankie – NZ designed cardboard fun which was established in 2011 and who create those FAB dinosaur, unicorn and oven creations

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horse_girl__unicorn flatoutfrankie

 

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Paplegehuset – newcomer to the field from Denmark, they are creating anything from castles, tipis, cars, igloos, kiosk, dolhouses and more!

Paplegehuset castle

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Build a  Dream playhouses – one of my favourites on the market today for their social responsibility motto and stunning creations.  You and your children will be decorating up a storm with these playhouses this Christmas! NB: – they arrive in white and you decorate to your heart’s content.

 

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Imaginabox by On the Gro : for those who want to create their own cardboard fun with their boxes, check out the below kits to help! They are reusable, so if the box gets a little tired, grab a new box and re-use the stickers!

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Toy of the month – February 2014

Orchard Toys – Giant Road Jigsaw Puzzle and Playmat

I have to say we are HUGE fans of Orchard Toys in this household. We cannot get enough of their brilliant puzzles and games which are well designed and stand up to test of toddlers and kids playing with them day in and day out. We do take care of our puzzles but I have to say these are fantastically made as they don’t easily bend and are sturdy and strong.

I also love that Orchard Toys are designed and made in the UK.  It is so rare these days to find large toy companies that still produce in their country of origin and I love that Orchard still do! It certainly shows in their products.

The Giant Road Playmat Puzzle is a fantastic multi-functional toy that is not only a giant floor puzzle but it can also be used as a play mat and racing car track. This is quite an unusual puzzle, in that in using the 20 large puzzle pieces provided, there is not just one way to construct the puzzle. Instead it has been so cleverly designed that there are  multiple ways to build the puzzle, which means you can have a different track or street scene every time. You can even build 2 small puzzles if you need to appease 2 children! The design on each puzzle piece are of a busy town and its streets reminiscent of a London street or busy high street in England.

We use this puzzle over and over again and it can be set up for a number of days to allow full play capacity. We all help to build the puzzle together in the design we decide works for that day and then the fun really begins!  My boys just love racing their cars around the puzzle track. They get out their Hot Wheels cars, Playmobil, wooden peg dolls and cars and we make a whole town scene which we then make up little stories for the cars to add another element to play time.

There are fantastic every day activities included on the puzzle, like people crossing the road, elderly people feeding pigeons, physically disabled people in wheel chairs, people carrying groceries, school children crossing the street, an icecream vendor, people walking their dog, and construction workers working on the roads. There is so much to look at and so many different scenes that can be used to create a multitude of stories and help to educate children about everyday life as well as to create imaginary situations.

This year Orchard Toys brought out an addition to this puzzle, the “On the Farm” Giant Jigsaw Playmat puzzle which I viewed at the Spielwarenmesse in February.  This is a 14 piece puzzle that comes with stand up characters that you can use to add to this Giant Road Puzzle. They also have the Giant Town Puzzle Playmat which also can be used with the Road and Farm giant puzzles. All 3 puzzles are an amazingly creative concept in giant floor puzzles which you and your children will enjoy spending hours of fun constructing, creating and playing.

Ages 3 +

Included: 20 pieces in a sturdy carry case

RRP £13.95.

This is a great toy for: problem solving, construction skills, creative thinking, gross motor skills, and imaginative play.

This is not a sponsored post.

 

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Toy of the month – January 2014

Grimm’s Rainbow Stacker:

Oh how I have admired and adored this little rainbow stacker from Grimm’s Spiel  & Holz Design. I love colour and I love rainbows and this is the perfect match in my eyes!

If you have ever had the pleasure to touch a Grimm’s product you will know that they use matte paints to ensure that the child still feels the organic nature of the wood/grain. They want to ensure that the child understands the connection between nature and environment, unlike plastic where it is hard for a child to visualise where the product originates.

The Rainbow stacker is iconic, so much so that it has become the symbol or logo behind the Grimm’s company. It has been copied more than I can think of but it can never be truly replicated, as their manufacturing and painting process is unique and means that no one stacker is exactly the same.

Both my son’s absolutely adore this toy. Although it was brought for my youngest son’s 2nd Birthday, my eldest son has had a lot of fun with it as well. He loves making it into tunnels and race tracks for his cars. My youngest son likes to stack them up or make little houses for his pebble people or Sonny Angel’s.

It comes in 3 different sizes with minimal packaging and  small instruction sheet. We have the medium size. I wish we also had the large as there are so many possibilities of play with the larger model but it came down to cost. The larger one was about €50.00 and this one was about €24.00. Unfortunately my husband was with us at the toy store when we bought it and he freaked out at the cost of the large rainbow stacker! Such a shame as it would have been a fab addition to our playtime. I can tell you as a result, I now do a lot more online shopping!

Grimm’s is a family owned business based in the Swabian hills of southern Germany.  The company has been producing toys since 1978 and they are made from sustainably sourced FSE wood from various European mills. All their products are designed at their factory in Hochdorf, and they manufacture their toys in Germany and Bosnia. However, all products go through the German factory for final quality control to ensure the highest specification for each product is adhered to.

I have had the absolute pleasure to meet some of the Grimm’s family at the Spielwarenmesse (world’s biggest toy trade fair) in January this year and the love and passion they have for their work is clear.  Each toy that you are buying from Grimm’s is one made with love, passion and dedication. This is how all toys should be created, not for profit but for the love of the design and the happiness it brings every child.

Ages: 12 months + 

RRP €24.95 

Great for: construction skills, gross motor skills, imaginary play, and hand and eye co-ordination.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post.

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