Dec 312018
 

2019 is just around the corner and we’ve found the perfect way to start the year. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s exciting and fun for the whole family: Silvers Circus is on the road again and has set up its tents for another season of circus magic!

Silvers Circus has been touring Australia since 1976, entertaining families all over the country with entertaining, mind boggling, jaw dropping circus acts, even after more than 40 years of circus fun Silvers Circus still manages to capture the magic of the circus perfectly and new memories are made with every show. This year guests are in for an extra special treat as on top of the 90-minute long show a special surprise of epic proportions awaits…

As you enter the big top you’ll be transported back in time and find yourself surrounded by giant, life-like dinosaurs, don’t worry, they don’t bite! The ‘Jurassic Unearthed’ dinosaur exhibition is completely free with your Silvers Circus admission ticket and is full of cool creatures, fun facts and photo moments, which dinosaur is your favourite? The exhibition opens 1 hour prior to every show and you can stay as long as you like after the show too, now that’s a dinosaur-sized opportunity not to miss.

The most amazing artists from around the globe have been enrolled to make this year’s Silvers Circus tour a huge success. Little boys will be sitting on the edge of their seat watching 4 dare-devil riders conquer ‘The Globe of Death’ on their impressive motorbikes while little girls hold their breath as the beautiful Madeline shows off her skills on the Cloudswing high up under the big top.

Argentian artist Gypsy will have you scratching your head as she keeps a huge 80 hoops in the air, there is juggling, magic, unicycling and don’t forget the Wheel of Steel. Of course a circus wouldn’t be a circus without a hilarious clown performance so you can count on Dominik Gasser and his comedic friends to get visitors young and old roaring with laughter.

All these and many more fantastic acts will be expertly talked together by internationally renowned ringmaster Simon Tait. With more than 25 years of entertainment experience under his belt he will take the whole circus public on an unforgettable journey so that every single visitor will walk out with a precious memory to last a lifetime.

The Silvers Circus’ Big Top at Bata Show Grounds, Mornington (VIC) will open to the public on January 2 with daily performances until February 3. Stay tuned to find out where they will travel next!

To find out more about Silvers Circus, to take a closer look at the tour schedule and seating plan and to book your tickets online via TicketMaster visit www.silverscircus.com.au.

For your chance to win a Silvers Circus family pass (RRP $120, admits 2 adults/2 children) for Friday 18th January, 8pm at Bata Show Grounds, Mornington hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page. Good luck!

Dec 302018
 

If you had asked a young version of me what I would love to be when I grew up there would have been two possible answers: A mum or an illustrator. I (obviously) was blessed enough to become a mum and absolutely love my big family, but sadly I never became an illustrator and most likely never will. With this secret dream in mind I was so excited to discover this beautiful Walker Books release:

As soon as I laid eyes on Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration (RRP $49.99) I knew I was in for a treat. Across 288 pages this impressive hardcover edition covers all the ins and out of Helen’s personality, her childhood, her inspirations and her career as an illustrator. Get ready to take a peek inside the mind of this incredibly talented artist and be amazed.

Leonard St. Marcus has managed to capture the life and work of Helen Oxenbury in a beautiful and detailed way. It is lovely to see how Helen’s every day life inspired specific titles or how certain events impacted her work approach. The personal facts and notes are very sweet and in a way make you feel like an insider. When a 9-month pregnant Helen was first approached by publicist Sebastian Walker (Walker Books) she declined his offer for an advance payment and casually told him to just pay her once he started making money. Did you know that in the early days Helen used crayons for her illustrations (instead of water colour) because being a busy mum they were easier and quicker to pack up before meal time?

Helen’s eye for detail is a rarity and her illustrations are filled with small details that you may not notice at first or second glance, yet when you study her work you realise how much thought has gone into each picture. Subconsciously it’s those little details that make Helen’s books relatable to readers of all ages. Have you ever seen the support bandage around the piano teacher’s leg, spotted the stubble on the farmer’s face and even the few hairs on his back or seen how the pregnant mama kicked off her shoes as she sat down beside the bed? Helen once said: I think that children like mishaps, especially when they occur to the grown-ups’, and I think she is absolutely right!

While Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration is not a book one reads quickly from cover to cover (you can easily snuggle up on the couch for hours and settle in for a long thorough read), you can definitely enjoy a short browse, a flick of the pages and a little look at some of the gorgeous illustrations too. I have found myself grabbing for the book often, just a few minutes of admiring Helen’s work with a warm cuppa in my hand is still very relaxing and rewarding. This makes it a fantastic coffee table book for waiting rooms and a great gift idea of (art) teachers, librarians, artists or anyone with a soft spots for precious picture books.

To find out more about Walker Books and to take a look at Helen Oxenbury’s bibliography visit www.walkerbooks.com.au.

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Dec 202018
 

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For quite some time a large colourful box has been sitting on display in our kitchen. It was actually rather in the way, but I had to leave it in a clearly visible spot where miss 3 would see it over and over again. Eventually her love for Peppa Pig was stronger than her fear of the toilet and with her eye firmly on the prize she finally went on the toilet voluntarily. Oh the joys of toilet training a stubborn child!

Peppa Pig’s Lights & Sounds Family Home (RRP $149, ages 2+) is a fabulous play house with 4 big storeys and 7 rooms full of pretend play fun. Measuring over half a metre tall the house is really impressive, it would make the perfect ‘main gift’ under the Christmas tree for little Peppa Pig fans.

Let’s get this tour started, shall we? As we enter the house through the front door and set foot on the doormat the light turns on: Welcome home! Downstairs you find the living room with a comfy couch and the kitchen where Peppa and George love eating spaghetti at the kitchen table. There are plenty of other yummy foods waiting in the fridge too. One floor up is Peppa and George’s bedroom with the famous purple bunk bed (of course Peppa sleeps in the top bunk) and the bathroom with a bath and a toilet (yes, Peppa is a big girl too).

Daddy Pig and Mummy Pig sleep on the third floor and that’s also where Mummy Pig does her work on the computer. A cool fold out ladder gives access to the attic, what a great place to play! You can even open up the attic window and look at the stars with the telescope! And don’t forget the outdoor space, there is nothing Peppa likes more than a good splash in a big muddy puddle. Loyal Peppa Pig fans are sure to recognise and enjoy the sounds and phrases that are played when using the doormat and puddle, eg.’Peppa, George, bath time’, ‘Goodnight my little piggies’, ‘the cookies are ready!’ and of course ‘if you jump in muddy puddles you must wear your boots’.

With so many things to do and discover and with 13 accessories and 3 figurines (Peppa Pig, George and Zoe Zebra) the Peppa Pig’s Lights & Sounds Family Home keeps kids busy for ages. Since finally earning her Peppa Pig House Hattie and Sybil have spent many hours (re)decorating, making up little stories and going on piggy adventures, without any fights! I think the large size and many pieces make this a great toy for siblings or friends to share. It really encourages young children to use their imagination and helps them recreate, process and understand every day situations through play.

There is plenty more fun to be had with the help of four additional Peppa Pig Little Rooms play sets. Get creative in the kitchen with ‘Cooking with Daddy Pig’, relax with ‘Movie Night with Mummy Pig’, have a giggle with ‘Playdate Fun with Suzy Sheep’ or enjoy a makeover with ‘Dressing up with Granny Pig’. These gorgeous add-ons are sold separately and allow you to grow your Peppa Pig home at your own pace.

Peppa Pig’s Lights & Sounds Family Home is at Big W, Myer and independent retailers across Australia.

To find out more about Big Balloon, to browse the Peppa Pig toy range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.bigballoon.com.au.

Dec 192018
 

Whether you are a true blue Aussie or a curious tourist, Ballarat’s Sovereign Hill is an absolute must-see these school holidays. Travel back in time and find yourself in the 1800’s, surrounded by thousands of adventurers who travelled to the Australian goldfields in search of fortune. Wander through Main Street and meet the ‘locals’ wearing their old costumes, pan for real gold (and keep it!), visit an old school or theatre, catch a horse-drawn coach and so much more.

Sovereign Hill is a real family destination with great things to see and do (day and night!) for visitors of all ages, it’s an experience that’s absolutely worth the trip. The award-winning family tourist attraction is authentic and offers fantastic value for money. There are so many memories waiting to be made and the photo opportunities are countless! Don’t worry, even if you can’t make it to Sovereign Hill you can still own your own little momento of Australian history as the Sovereign Hill online store is filled with fabulous gifts, here are some of my favourites:

You don’t have to pan for gold to get your hands on a slice of the precious metal. From an adorable Floating Gold Bottle or Floating Gold Pendant to Glass/Gold Plated Native Animals or Wattle Design Jewellery, there are some beautiful gold souvenirs to choose from. My top pick is the Sovereign Hill Medallion, plated with Australian gold and mounted in Australian timber. What a special keepsake!

If you have a sweet tooth you are spoilt for choice with lots of delicious treats that would make a lovely souvenir to share at home (or just enjoy by yourself). Raspberry Drop Fudge, Raspberry Drop Chocolate Frogs and of course the famous boiled sweets that are hand-made the traditional way right there at Sovereign Hill, which one will you taste first? Prices start at just $1.50 so they make a lovely stocking filler for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, Sovereign Hill has put together five wonderful Gift Hampers that are perfect for families to share or as a company gift for the festive season. Each hamper contains a handpicked selection of Sovereign Hill goodies eg. sweets/lollies, chocolates, nougat, chutneys, jams, sauces, candles and more, it’s Sovereign Hill luxury at its best! Hamper prices range from $30-$100, so there is a fitting hamper for every occasion and every budget.

To find out more about Sovereign Hill, to book your tickets and to order your favourite souvenirs online visit www.sovereignhill.com.au.

For your chance to win a Sovereign Hill family pass (admits 2 adults + up to 4 children) hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page to enter. Good luck!

Dec 162018
 

Exisle Publishing

We all know kids enjoy finding a good book under the Christmas tree, but adults love a surprise book too! Most of us don’t have time for a lengthy novel, so a little book of quotes and inspirations is the perfect bite-size Christmas gift idea. If you are an animal lover or chook-keeper this cute Exisle Publishing is your ideal match:

From eggs to chicks and from hens to roosters, Cluck (RRP $29.99) celebrates all there is to love about chickens. Cluck bundles inspirational, amusing, wise and endearing chicken quotes from famous people like Oscar Wilde, C. S. Lewis and Mark Twain and other not so famous people, but each page is sure to strike a chord with real chicken-lovers.

The book’s handpicked collection of quotes and proverbs is accompanied by the most delightful photography of chickens in all shapes, sizes and colours. Whether you adore Plymouth Rocks and Orpingtons or prefer Welsummers and Silkies, with 160 pages to flick through there’s plenty of chicken goodness to make anyone go clucky.

Cluck is a beautiful hardcover book that will look right at home on a coffee table or in a waiting room, where people can enjoy a quick chuckle or two.

To find out more about Exisle Publishing, to take a closer look at Cluck and to order a copy online visit www.exislepublishing.com.au.

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Dec 152018
 

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With just 10 sleeps to go until the big day parents across the country are madly getting organised, doing a last count of presents and wrapping them in secret. The time for online ordering is quickly running out, but here are fabulous little stocking filler ideas that won’t break the bank and are readily available at local retailers:

Our 3-year old Peppa Pig fan was over the moon to receive a Peppa Pig ‘Peppa’s Secret Surprise’ (Ages 3+, RRP $20) box which, I admit, didn’t actually fit in her shoe! These adorable cubes are like Pandora’s Box, there are little drawers galore and you never know what you’ll find inside. Each drawer holds a blind bag, so it’s a true ‘secret surprise’. The box is reusable and the perfect storage for small treasures.

Hiding inside the 6 drawers we found Rebecca Rabbit wearing a sparkly Christmas dress, a party crown, the most adorable little fairy wings, a hair brush, a toy present and a sheet of gemstones to jazz her up for the festive season. Who is coming to your party: Is it Peppa Pig, Suzie Sheep, Rebecca Rabbit or maybe Zoe Zebra? There are six different figures to collect for super Peppa fans.

Peppa Pig Peppa’s Secret Surprise is available at Big W, Myer, Toyworld, Kidstuff and independent retailers.

I know they say you should never gift a pet for Christmas, but how can you possibly resist these cute TLC Kritters (Ages 3+, RRP $18)? These tiny kitties, puppies, bears and bunnies are looking for a forever home and someone to spoil them with lots of Tender, Loving, Care. Each little kritter comes in a small incubator to keep it warm and brings along a bunch of miniature pet accessories to help you care for your new adoptee.

All TLC Kritters have their very own nappy, with a colour change icon that appears when you clean your little friend in cold water. With the help of the incubator, nappy, dummy, baby bottle or medicine dropper and bow or bib your TLC Kritter will be thriving in no time. Each character comes with a special dissolving envelope to reveal your pet’s gender and adoption paper to make everything official. Check out the collector sheet to see which other kritters are still waiting to be adopted.

TLC Kritters are available exclusively at your local Kmart store or on www.kmart.com.au.

My big four absolutely loved finding these scented Bananas (Ages 4+, prices start at RRP $8) in their shoes. These tropical toys are available in a rainbow of colours to suit boys and girls and come as a single serve or a bunch of three (three serves of fruit a day, keep boredom away?). You can connect your bananas to each other and make your own big colourful bunch, just click them together at the top as your collection grows.

Once you peel your banana you’ll discover a quirky character living inside, accompanied by two mini mates. Will you get Pipo Panda, Lucy Leopard or Hermione Hamster? With 96 different characters to collect there are plenty of fun friends to find. You can decorate your banana with the included gemstone stickers and hang it up with the vine hanger. Bananas can be peeled over and over again.

You can find these fun fruits at Kmart, Big W, Myer, Toyworld, Toymate, Kidstuff and independent retailers.

Dec 142018
 

At 14 months old Ted is trying very hard to make himself heard in his own little language and we can actually understand quite a lot of it. He likes yelling ‘die die’ at people when they leave and when I give a one, two, three warning to one of the other kids he cheekily shakes his finger and says ‘two, two’. Ted also loves copying sounds and songs so this cute LeapFrog toy book is very entertaining:

Dino’s Delightful Day book (RRP $34.95, ages 12 months +) is a fun, interactive book that combines lots of features cheeky toddlers like. Colours, sounds, music, books, balls, buttons, lights… it’s got it all!

Let’s start with the outside. This green dino is quite the big fella with a chunky handle for little hands to hold onto. It has 10 numbered buttons, a large yellow butterfly button and his left foot features a spinning bead roller. Dino’s lovely bright colours make him very appealing to young children, you will regularly find Hattie or Ted in a quiet corner checking him out.

Across 16 pages the book not only tells the story of Dino’s Delightful Day, it also teaches letters, numbers, colour, words and music. Simply choose the ABC (letters/words), Music or Book mode to get started. Once you’ve had a good shot at practising those letters you can test how much you’ve learnt by pressing the Butterfly button: Find the letter …! If you get it right she’ll say it’s correct, or otherwise she’ll simply tell you the sound of the letter you pressed, no harm done.

I particularly like that the ABC mode teaches different words than most standard ABC books (eg. E is for Exercise, M is for Market, P is for Popcorn and Y is for Yawn) and that the words tie in with the story in the Book mode. You can also play seek-find and spot each ‘word’ written in the story and pictured in the illustration. This really helps children to recognise words, understand their meaning and how to use them in sentences.

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