Nov 302012
 

I have said it many times before but I am saying it again: even without the traditional cold weather and snow Christmas is still my favourite time of the year. As you may know I grew up in Holland where we celebrate Sinterklaas on December 5th (this is when we received our presents) and in our house Christmas was all about celebrating the birth of Jesus and spending precious time with family. I have always loved the way we celebrated the true meaning of CHRISTmas so when we became parents my husband and I decided to do the same with our own children.

Sinterklaas evening is just a few days away so behind the scenes I have been busy packing the kids presents. Because Australians don’t celebrate Sinterklaas it is impossible to find Sinterklaas wrapping paper so I was pleased to find this gorgeous Australian themed wrapping paper ($6) at Target. I know it is probably meant for Christmas but it doesn’t look overly Christmassy so you can use it all year around, I think my family in Holland will really enjoy receiving presents wrapped in true Aussie spirit.

After Sinterklaas it is straight on to Christmas. I love how most families make up their own little traditions that are a mix of their different backgrounds and we do the same at our house. One of the things I clearly remember from Christmas with my family is the little plates full of treats my grandmother put out for every single one of us, each of the cousins had its own plate which we thought was pretty special. When I spotted these cute star shaped Christmas plates at Target (a bargain at $3 each!) I figured they would fit this tradition perfectly.

There is limited choice of Dutch Christmas treats here in Australia and I am not a fan of chocolate for children so this is pretty much all I could come up with for this year. I ordered the almond Christmas wreaths and sugar coated wreaths at the Dutch shop and was so pleased to find them, you can also hang them in the tree with a ribbon which looks very cute.

I picked up the gorgeous silver Christmas baubles at Target, one for each of the kids (I cheated a little bit and bought one for baby no.4 too). They cost just $2 per bauble and even have a chime inside, the kids will love hanging their own bauble in the tree! The same bauble is also available red and gold, so there is one for every style Christmas tree. We might start a tradition of letting the kids pick a new ornament every year.

So that’s just a small peek at our December traditions, I hope you will all have a very special December filled with wonderful moments with your own family.

If you want to grab some of these lovely Target Christmas essentials too simply go to www.target.com.au or visit your local Target store, there is lots more to see and admire in store!

Nov 292012
 

The hot weather has most definitely arrived here in South Australia with a ‘lovely’ 43 degrees being expected today. I admit I don’t enjoy walking the kids to kindy in the rain but to be honest this sweaty weather is even worse. Time to get out the singlets and some hip Havoc Denim shorts so the kids can stay cool, both in temperature and style.

Just like his sisters my son loves a burst of colour and is not afraid to stand out from the crowd, a real Havoc Denim kid for sure. This summer he is sporting the awesome Hudson Skater shorts ($49.95, size 2-14) in this stunning aquamarine colour, how funky is the thick stitching? This style is longer in length so you can be sure it gets the tick of approval from older boys too, we all know they can be a little fussy sometimes.

Because I have boy/girl twins I don’t often get to dress them in the same clothes so when I saw these cute Soho shorts ($49.95, size 2-14) I knew they would be perfect for my girl twin, similar but not the same as her brother’s. They are similar in design and length to the Hudson boys shorts but with some gorgeous girly details too like sparkly diamante studs and of course the sweet colours (lemon and hot pink).

For those girls who love their shorts a little shorter there are the Miami and Hampton styles to choose from. I like the relaxed cut and traditional blue denim of the Hampton shorts ($49.95, size 2-14), such a simple yet gorgeous design and a real staple for the summer wardrobe. Being a more loose fit around the legs they are perfect for active girls and they will keep those little legs cool and breezy.

Right now you can pick up some stylish Havoc Denim threads at 25% off in the Havoc Denim online store, simply enter the code ‘TMZJX3’ at checkout. Offer ends December 15, 2012.

To find out more about Havoc Denim, to locate a stockist near you or to shop online and enjoy 25% off storewide visit www.havocdenim.com.

For your chance to win 1 of 2 pairs of Havoc Denim shorts of your choice (subject to availability) visit www.havocdenim.com and answer the following question: Which shorts would you choose if you were to be our lucky winner?

Submit your answer by leaving a comment below, your email address will not be published.

If you really want to win you can earn up to ten additional entries, please leave separate comments for each entry:

Competition ends December 29, 2012. Sorry, Australian entries only. By entering you agree to our Terms & Conditions.

Sales & Savings – Week 48

 Sales & Savings  Comments Off on Sales & Savings – Week 48
Nov 282012
 

Havoc Denim
What? 25% off storewide
How? Enter the code ‘TMZJX3’ at checkout
When? Until December 15, 2012
Where? www.havocdenim.com

Where Did You Get That?
What? $15 off all orders over $60
How? Enter the code ‘THATGIFT’ at checkout
When? Until December 24, 2012
Where? www.wheredidyougetthat.com.au

Mamá y Bebé
What? Buy one, get one free on selected styles
How? Prices as marked
When? Until further notice
Where? www.mamaybebe.com.au

Owl Baby
What? 25% off Woddlers backpacks
How? Prices as marked
When? Until December 24, 2012
Where? www.owlbaby.com.au

Allsorts 4 Kids
What? 50% (or more) off all clothing
How? Prices as marked
When? Until further notice
Where? www.allsorts4kids.com.au

Pack’d
What? Free delivery Australia wide
How? Discount automatically applied at checkout
When? Until December 24, 2012
Where? www.packd.com.au

Petit, a little luxury for the young ones

 Home  Comments Off on Petit, a little luxury for the young ones
Nov 272012
 

Most parents love spoiling their little ones and we all know that if there is one time of the year for some extra spoiling it would have to be Christmas. With many stores offering similar products it can be hard to find something unique and beautiful so you’ll no doubt be very thrilled when you spot the little gems I found at Petit Australia.

Petit is all about little and big luxuries for the precious people in our lives so this gorgeous store is well worth a visit on your hunt for the perfect Christmas gift. In store you’ll find everything you need to give your kids bedroom or nursery the WOW factor (from bedding to furniture and from decor to lighting) as well stylish toys, gifts and accessories. I think you’ll have a hard time leaving this website with just one or two pieces in your shopping basket!

I love pretty much everything in store but I keep coming back to the divine Petit Playhouses and Playtents. No matter how old you are these beautiful designs are you sure to get you daydreaming, they make you think of tea parties and picnics, reading books until you fall asleep and sleepovers with your best friend. There are lots of lovely styles to choose from in different sizes, themes, genders and budget. If you’re looking for a Christmas gift that will be treasured for years to come this is it!

For a really personal present take a look at these fabulous personalised cushions, such a great idea and I think they make a fantastic gift for both babies and children. The cushions are available in multiple colours and shapes to suit your child’s bedroom or playroom perfectly. Like most kids my twins absolutely love seeing their name on things so they would definitely like one of these on their beds.

New to the store and already very popular are the World Maps, what a wonderful and educational way to decorate a wall. The concept of distance, countries and the world can be hard to understand for little minds so these maps make for a lovely early introduction and they look amazing too. Personally I adore the Places We Love design as it can be personalised with ‘places you love’ (location of overseas family, holiday destinations) but the World to Wander range is equally delightful.

To find out more about Petit, to locate a stockist near you and to order online visit www.petit.com.au.

LeapFrog, new and improved

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on LeapFrog, new and improved
Nov 262012
 

As I regularly write about our love for LeapFrog products I often receive questions from readers about recommendations for LeapFrog apps, product features, my experiences with different toys and of course where to go for the best price for a certain LeapFrog product. Recently quite a few people have contacted me with questions about the LeapFrog LeapPad 2 and Leapster GS, which doesn’t surprise me as both can be found on many children’s wishlists this Christmas.

After the huge success of the original LeapPad and Leapster Explorer LeapFrog recently released the new LeapPad 2 and Leapster GS. Obviously both styles come jam packed with great new features as well as the fabulous basics that made the previous designs such a hit. If you already own some LeapFrog Explorer games (on cartridge or downloaded from the App Centre) you can use them in the new units as well.

The big question I always get is whether parents should buy an iPad or LeapPad for their child. Now this is obviously my personal opinion and there is something to say for both products, but I can safely say I feel more confident letting my children play on the LeapPad. The LeapPad offers ONLY age appropriate content, no connection to the internet, easy navigation, fun, educational and quality tested games (no dodgy apps!) and the LeapPad costs only half of what the iPad costs. Yes the LeapPad apps do cost money but I feel they are very much worth it.

There are loads of great features that make the new LeapPad 2 a fabulous tablet for children: a large full-colour screen, 4GB of memory, a fast processor, front and back camera/ video recorder and a range of cool accessories. The LeapPad is easily controlled with the stylus, your fingers and even tapping and shaking. As opposed to the original LeapPad the screen of the new LeapPad 2 automatically adjusts to horizontal or vertical use.

If you are after a more compact unit that is similar to a traditional game console the Leapster GS could be just right for you. Labelled as ‘the ultimate learning game system’ this system combines the famous LeapFrog learning components with the ability to move quickly and play fast paced games, something a lot of kids (especially boys) love. The versatile Leapster GS can be controlled with the stylus, touch screen and/or buttons.

The Leapster GS has a built in camera/video recorder for more personalised play and features motion sensors to add extra dimension. Although the twins are only 4 they have already worked how to use the camera in their Leapfrog computers and sometimes they spend more time discovering and playing with the camera than playing actual games. They take pictures of themselves, eachother and us and they think decorating their pictures in the art studio is the most fun of all.

Parents can share their kids’ photos and videos online, a feature my family in Holland will definitely appreciate (I might have to censure the files first!).

Now before you dismiss the original LeapPad and Leapster Explorer I can’t stress enough that they are both fantastic products. My twins really enjoy their computer time using these ‘older’ devices and I would happily buy them again any day. If you were thinking of surprising your child with a LeapFrog gift this Christmas but were a little hesitant because of the pricetag (especially if you are buying for multiple children) now is the perfect time to grab one of these older styles as they are still widely available at heavily reduced prices.

For an idea of what apps and games you can play on your new LeapFrog device have a look around in the LeapFrog App Centre. There are hundreds of options to choose from, suitable for different ages and genders. Because LeapFrog is all about educational fun you can search for cool apps by skill which is very helpful, this way parents are sure to select an app that is not only fun but also helps their child learn important skills along the way.

To find out more about LeapFrog, to take a closer look at the LeapPad 2 and the Leapster GS and to locate stockist near you visit www.leapfrog.com.au.

Nov 262012
 

Two weeks ago at kindy pickup time I found my little miss 4 running around bare feet. Now this is not unsual for her especially after playing in the sandpit, except that this time her beautiful red sandals were nowhere to be found. Not in the big shoe crate, not in her pigeon hole, they just vanished. After 30 minutes or so it turned out that another little girl had fallen in love with the cute red sandals too and decided to slip on those gorgeous strappy shoes and head off while leaving her old shoes behind…

Of course we swapped the shoes back and we had a little chat about property and looking after your things. Miss 4 felt the talk was a waste of time, we ‘just need to put my name on my shoes Mum’ and I had to agree that would be very helpful (although maybe no protection against other fashion savvy girls!). When we got home we grabbed our DYMO Letratag Labelmaker and labelled all our belongings, here’s to no more lost property at kindy for my twins!

Many of us will know DYMO as the brand to go to for printing labels, eg. to organise your pantry or the folders in your office. The awesome thing about the DYMO Letratag Labelmaker ($59) is that you can use it to print on lots of different labels all with the one unit, very convenient. So far we have printed on paper and iron-on labels (no more lost jackets at kindy) but plastic and metallic labels are available too.

Unlike in the olden days of wasted labels you can now actually see on the digital display what you are about to print before you do, this gives you a chance to check for spelling errors. Another big bonus is that you can print 1 or 2 lines on each label, so even long names and phone numbers will fit on nicely (more chances of getting your lost goodies returned to you). With choice of different fonts, sizes, symbols and ‘boxes’ you can print your labels just the way you want them.

(The labelmaker has a memory function too but I didn’t want to spoil the twins’ fun as they thoroughly enjoyed ‘helping’ by typing their names over and over)

To find out more about DYMO, to browse the range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.dymo.com.au.

For your chance to win a DYMO LetraTag Labelmaker visit www.dymo.com.au and answer the following question: What is the first item you would label with your DYMO Labelmaker?

Submit your answer by leaving a comment below, your email address will not be published.

If you really want to win you can earn up to ten additional entries, please leave separate comments for each entry:

Competition ends December 26, 2012. Sorry, Australian entries only. By entering you agree to our Terms & Conditions.

Nov 252012
 

About a year ago I wrote about Aunty Rozzy and her mission to educate young children about healthy food through music and fun. It has been a busy year for me but it looks like Aunty Rozzy has been very busy too, so I thought it was time for a little catch up and a chat about her latest product (stay tuned for a giveaway soon). Meet Aunty Rozzy:

What does your ideal Sunday look like?
Sleep in. Enjoy a cooked breakfast of fresh orange juice, poached eggs together with spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes with my husband at home. Lounge around and catch up with hubbie and papers, followed by a skinny latte a bit later in the day at my favourite cafe across the road. Then a good, long walk along the beach or a bike ride. Light supper for dinner and off to bed early!

Why did you start Aunty Rozzy?
It kind of evolved. I originally thought I was making a CD for kids. I’d finally embraced the idea and determined to get started when I was at my parent’s place for dinner together with one of my sisters. When my mother placed chicken broth in front of Charlie – he stated that he didn’t like carrots. I told him that I realized the problem was that he thought they were his Mum’s carrots where as these were Nanna’s carrots, and they would be perfectly fine! Four at the time, he bought the story and ate his soup. Fast-forward a couple of months and it’s the same meal and Charlie again explains very politely to my mother that he doesn’t eat carrots. My father chirps up and says these are Nanna’s Carrots – you’ll be fine… and I thought – great name for a song! I went home and wrote the first song: Nanna’s Carrots.

Shortly after that, life took me to live in the UK and then NY where I was shocked to see the state of childhood obesity. Greatly concerned about childhood obesity and knowing that music was such a great vehicle for getting a message across, I decided to continue creating songs around food. Little did I realise that Australia was heading down the same route.

Next, a colleague heard the song and thought it would make a great book, hence the book and CD sets of “Nanna’s Carrots” and “The Incredible Edible Alphabet”. My heart and intention was always to have a CD and DVD and finally – “It’s Yummy Tummy Time!” in both versions. Its great to see the impact these songs and books are having on kids. So much positive feed back that their children are insisting on putting a carrot into their lunch boxes!

Where do you draw your inspiration from for new Aunty Rozzy products?
Music is my first passion followed closely by food. The products come from both those inspirations. Although kids really embrace music at a very early age, they all still learn through different senses. Therefore the range of CD, DVD and Book and CD sets combined with live shows has been developed.

What is (currently) your most popular Aunty Rozzy product?
That’s got to be the DVD “Its Yummy Tummy Time!”

What can we expect of Aunty Rozzy in the future?
At the macro level – we’re hoping to get to TV! At the more immediate level, we are excited about making further headway into the Early Learning Sector with our Aunty Rozzy Live Shows for Preschools and Birthday Parties. With Aunty Rozzy currently relocating from Melbourne to Sydney, the shows will continue in Melbourne and get started in Sydney. Watch this space!

To learn more about Aunty Rozzy, to browse the range and to order online visit www.auntyrozzy.com.