Jan 202019
 

Smiggle

And that’s a wrap, almost! Just one last week of school holidays to go until the kids return to the classroom for an exciting start to term 1. For most mums this final week is filled with school uniform fitting, ironing on labels, prepping the freezer with healthy school snacks and grabbing all the must-have stationery items from the shops.

Make sure to leave time for a visit to your local Smiggle store because that’s where you’re guaranteed to find the coolest ‘Back to School’ gear. Hip tip: There is no such thing as a ‘quick’ trip to Smiggle, believe me, I’ve tried! There is simply too much fabulous stuff to see, try, feel and smell and choosing favourites is no easy task.

This spacious Faves Hardtop Strap Lunchbox (RRP $32.95) is perfect for kindy, school, daycare or even just a day out. It has a handy (removable) shoulder strap and handle for easy carrying and two large zip compartments to hold lunch, snacks and fruit to last the day. The lunchbox lining is BPA free and food grade safe, so parents can rest assured that all meals are safe from nasty chemicals. Of course if you score an awesome lunchbag like this you’d hate to lose it, so don’t forget to fill out the name tag inside.

Whether you are creating a unique piece of art or just want to add a pop of colour to a boring homework assignment, these Smiggle Scented Bon Bon Highlighter Pens (RRP $9.95, 10-pack) are exactly what you need. Not only are they dual ended, giving you 20 different ways to brighten your day, they are also scented! I wonder if you’ll get extra points from your new teacher if he/she smells a yummy fragrance when doing the marking?

Mistakes happen to the best of us, and they’re certainly not something to get upset about with the Stax On Erasable Highlighters (RRP $5.95). This giant stack of highlighters measures almost a foot tall and features a range of bright fluro shades. If you’ve gone a little overboard on colour you can erase your work with the magic eraser tip, easy as pie. Alternatively it adds a unique touch to an art project too, using colours as the background and making your drawing stand out in white.

To find out more about Smiggle, to locate a Smiggle store near you or to order online visit www.smiggle.com.au.

For your chance to win a Smiggle ‘Back to School’ pack (containing the Faves Hardtop Strap Lunchbox in black, Smiggle Scented Bon Bon Highlighter Pens and Stax On Erasable Highlighters) hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page to enter. Good luck!

Jan 142019
 

VTech

Growing up in The Netherlands our Christmas holidays only lasted two weeks, so for me it still feels a little strange to have 6 long weeks of school holidays this time of year. Not that my kids are complaining, they love the summer holidays and having a brand new selection of Christmas presents to play with makes it extra fun! For master 10 this Vtech gift was an absolute winner and he has used it every single day so far:

The Kidizoom Action Cam 180° (RRP $89.95, ages 5+) is a compact, light, kid-friendly camera that is built for adventures. Fitted with a cool 180° rotatable lens that simply flips from front to back you will never miss a perfect picture or special selfie again, just point and click!

With the help of special effects, self-timer, background music, time-lapse and stop/slow/fast motion you can turn your photos and videos into unique pieces of art and fancy action shots. You can then share your files with your family and friends by exporting them to your computer. This is such a great way for my family in The Netherlands to see bits of our life in Australia, as seen through the eyes of the kids (instead of us adults). At 128MB the camera’s internal memory is not huge, however if you want to store more videos and photos you can expand the memory with a microSD card (not supplied).

Whether you are taking snaps at home, videoing a song or dance, recording your latest skateboard trick, cruising the bike track or even splashing at the pool or beach Kidizoom is always ready for action. Of course we wouldn’t want you to your ride your bike handsfree or lose your balance on your scooter so the Kidizoom Action Cam includes a handy bicycle mount that allows you to attach the camera to your bike or scooter. The mount is super easy to install and to use, in fact you don’t even need a screwdriver to set it up!

Because VTech knows active Aussie kids absolutely love the water the Kidizoom Action Cam 180° also comes with a special waterproof case that enables you to take your camera to the pool or beach and make the most amazing underwater photos and videos (up to 6 feet under water). Our kids can’t wait to test this out on our next trip to the beach! Swimming, snorkeling, fishing, or even surfing or paddle boarding (using the included adhesive mount), you’ll be able to record and relive your favourite watersport memories whenever you want.

But there is more, aside from taking photos and videos you can also use the Action Cam 180° to play three fun games: Ocean Dive, Forest Quest and Unicycle Challenge. Forest Quest is miss 5’s top pick, she loves moving the camera around to look through the binoculars and hunt for forest creatures. The built-in games are a fabulous boredom buster for long drives and have saved us from a lot of ‘are we there yet?’ questions these holidays.

Budget-conscious parents will be pleased to know that there is no needed for expensive batteries, that somehow always seem to run out at the most inconvenient of times. The Kidizoom Action Cam 180° has a convenient rechargeable battery, allowing you to charge it over and over again with the included USB cable. If you have a USB car-charger you can even charge it on the way to your next adventure, how easy is that?

The verdict: We have found the Kidizoom Action Cam 180° very child friendly: it’s easy to set up and easy to use, in fact our 5-year old daughter barely needed any help and knew her way with the camera in no time. This offers a great feeling of independence and the kids are always very proud to show off their photo art, videos or animations they have made. The Action Cam has definitely become a must-have for our family adventures!

VTech toys are available at major department stores, select online stores and independent toy retailers across Australia.

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

Jan 042019
 

Just when the kids had gotten comfortable at the new school things are about to be shaken up, with brand new classes waiting for them next year. A new teacher and new students to meet, many new names to learn and (hopefully) new friends to make, it’s a little scary but I am trying to get them excited about what’s ahead. Best Furry Friends Besties Zoe, Cassandra and Angelina are about to make new friends this year too, check out these fresh faces:

2019 is off to an exciting start with Best Furry Friends Series 2 hitting the shelves. BFF Besties Kristin, Stephanie and Phoebe are the new kids on the block and the latest girls to join the furry friend fraternity, bring on the next #BFFSquadGoals adventure!

As we recently adopted two baby bunnies (Annie and Benjamin) there was an instant connection with our new BFF Bestie (Ages 5+) Kristin and her BFF Cuddles the Glitter Bunny. Kristin has long blonde hair (great for playing hairdresser), shoes that come off and you can pose her head, arms and legs for pretend play. Her pet Cuddles has a sparkly tuft of fur, big fluttery eyes and a teeny pink nose and she loves being carried in Kristin’s Pink Gift Bag. Of course Kristin also brings along her rolling pet carrier, which is where we found Scruffy the Furry Guinea Pig.

Each BFF Bestie comes with an exclusive BFF and fashion bag, a hair accessory and a rolling pet carrier with a hidden BFF inside.

If you thought the BFF’s in Series 1 were adorable you are in for a real treat with the new Best Furry Friends BFF’s (Ages 5+) Series 2. How can you not fall in love with Gummy the Koala or Gus the Galah and covet the Pepperoni Pizza Bag or Pineapple Donut Bag? We are still hoping to find Florida the Flamingo, nor have we found the Strawberry Cupcake Bag just yet but we’ll keep trying.

There are over 50 BFF’s and bags to collect in series 2, some common, some rare and even three very special limited editions: Sasha the Rose Gold Husky, Deedee the Gold Sparkle Jelly Dragon and Samantha the Furry Persian Cat. With so many possible combinations there is a perfect BFF + bag match for everyone. And remember you can always swap and trade your doubles with your collector besties!

BFF’s are available in single mystery packs (1 fashion bag/1 BFF House/1 BFF) and in assorted Deluxe 6-packs (1 fashion bag/1 pet carrier/6 BFF’s), so you can grow your BFF collection at your own pace.

Lucky for our miss Hattie (age 3) you are never too little to become a BFF Bestie, these adorable Mini Plush in a Bag (Ages 0+) make the perfect furry friends and you can take them with you wherever you go in their own little carry bag. Who will become your BFF: Is it Sasha the Husky, Dash the Ginger Tabby Cat or maybe Stardust the Glitter Pegacorn?

You can find the BBF range at all major toy stores and toy departments across Australia.

To find out more about Best Furry Friends, to browse the range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.bestfurryfriendshq.com.

Jan 032019
 

Penguin

As you can probably imagine with six curious kids my days are filled with questions, some easy and some far from it! Especially now that everyone is home on school holidays there are tricky questions galore, they are long days of thinking, discussing and arguing… If you have one of these questioning minds at home too this awesome book by Dr Matt Beard and Kyla Slaven is bound to be a hit. Our 10-year old twins really enjoyed it (and it kept them out of my hair for while!) and are sharing their thoughts on it below in their own words:

The Short & Curly Guide to Life (RRP $24.99, 192 pages) helps you through ethical problems you may encounter in life. These questions will really get your gears turning. Famous quotes from well-known philosophers will get you pondering about everything that happens to you and the people around you, and whether you made the right choice or how you can improve. These scenarios will help you understand the world and put yourself in other people’s shoes. There aren’t many ethical problems that you can’t find your way through with the Short & Curly Guide to Life! Learn about famous stories throughout history and about the choices that impacted them. Find out how famous people from around the world have handled their ethical problems and how their choices worked out, for example Lance Armstrong, Jane Goodall, Diego Maradona and Trevor Chappell.

Some of the facts are extremely interesting, such as how the teddybear is named after former US president, Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt, that there is an immortal jellyfish and other surprising examples. From the young to the old, these stories will definitely help you through life. Some of the main topics for these stories include happiness, lying, life choices, fairness, trends, integrity, promises, friendship, learning and more.

Brains Trust – the team of young, imaginative and curious researchers behind The Short & Curly Guide to Life – travel around to find any ethical problems and then observe how they end up getting solved. Some of the members include Agent Arjun, Agent Sophia, Agent Koa, Agent Mae and Agent Rabia. This book is a mixture of silliness, seriousness, interestingness, and awesomeness. You would definitely read this book if you have a love for amazing adventures through ethics and tricky questions. This book will keep you entertained throughout the summer holidays, or maybe after the holidays have flown by you would like a little after-school cool-down with this fun book. For more curly questions you can also listen to the ABC Short & Curly Podcast.

Little ‘Thought Experiments’ will get you thinking about what you would do. For example, philosopher John Rawls thought of one like this: Imagine you weren’t born yet, but you could think and make decisions. You don’t know what you’ll be like when you’re born. You might be super tall, average-sized or short. Now, imagine you could write the rules for society but you had to do it not knowing which height you would be. This experiment was in a story about Juan Rodriguez who was super tall so couldn’t fit in or do the things his friends could do. The Short & Curly Guide to Life is one of the most interesting and useful books I’ve ever read.

Reviewed by Tommie (10)

To find out more about Penguin Books Australia, to browse the range and to order your favourite books online visit www.penguin.com.au.

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Jan 022019
 

People often comment on the size of our family, saying that 6 children is ‘a lot’, but there are families much bigger than ours! When it comes to BabySecrets it’s definitely a case of ‘babies are so easy adore, you can always have one or two more’. A brand new generation of babies has just arrived in store and they’re cuter than ever:

With 50 new babies to collect BabySecrets (Series 3, Ages 4+) collectors are in for a real treat (or challenge?), can you get your hands on one of the ultra-rare babies or even the limited edition Sparkle? From frogs to owls, from doctors to kings and from hairdressers to roller skaters, there is nothing better than a blind bag surprise. These gorgeous collectibles are made for little hands and the perfect compact toy for holiday road trips.

Each BabySecrets Series 3 baby comes in its own green bath tub (white bath tubs are Series 1, pink bath tubs are Series 2) and you never know which baby you will find inside. To determine if you’ve found yourself a baby boy or baby girl simply submerge your baby in its water filled tub and watch the nappy change colour… Now that you know your baby’s secret you can decide on your baby’s name, time to get creative.

What do you get when you combine a girl’s favourite things: babies, mermaids and unicorns? It’s the highly sought after limited edition Merbaby called Sparkle! Our lucky miss 8 started the new year with this magic catch when the girls opened their first BabySecrets Merbabies (Series 2, Ages 4+) yesterday, I am sure you can imagine the squeals of excitement (and the jealous looks of her sisters). So what is a Merbaby you ask?

Merbabies are mystical sea creatures that hide in a pretty sea shell. Inside the shell you find one of 24 different babies and a shimmery seacret pearl which opens up to unveil 3 tiny charms and a necklace for your Merbaby. Just like real mermaids these little Merbabies absolutely love splashing about, if you wind up their tail and place them in water you can actually watch them swim!

Not only does the shell make a perfect ocean home for your Merbaby (and even has three ‘pegs’ to hang up the charms), it also doubles as a Merbaby bath so your baby can paddle his/her tail in the water to reveal its baby’s secret. Will the tail turn pink or blue? Dip and discover your Merbaby’s gender so you can fill out the included birth certificate and make the adoption official.

You can find the BabySecrets range at all major toy stores and toy departments across Australia.

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

Jan 012019
 

As we turn the calendar over to 2019 many of us are making resolutions for the year ahead. Maybe you want to find a new job, get fit and healthy or explore a faraway destination, or maybe you just want to put more time aside for yourself (or you and your partner) to relax and enjoy an evening out from time to time. If the latter is on your list I might be able to help you out, with an out-of-this-world experience up for grabs for one lucky Hip Little One reader:

Direct from the Broadway stage and sold-out theatres around the globe comes a production that has to be seen to believed. Seven of the world’s most talented magicians and artists have teamed up to capture the audience with an incredible array of amazing stunts, levitation, mind-reading, disappearance and daredevilry, meet The Illusionists: Live From Broadway.

No matter how young or old you are, The Illusionists are ready to dazzle you like never before: Let The Trickster (Paul Dabek) blow you away with his box of tricks, be captivated by The Alchemist (Leonardo Bruno), experience the magic of The Showman (Mark Kalin), sit on the edge of your seat watching The Conjuress (Jinger Leigh), drop your jaw in awe of The Warrior (Robyn Sharpe), get ready to question yourself with The Manipulator (Florian Sainvet) and have your mind blown by The Mentalist (Chris Cox).

After travelling 400 cities around the globe The Illusionists touches down in Melbourne from January 22-January 27, 2019 for 11 powerful shows, so don’t miss out on your opportunity to escape from the rat-race for a few hours and become part of something magical.

To find out more about The Illusionists, to check out the tour schedule and to book your tickets online via Ticketmaster visit www.theillusionistslive.com.

For your chance to win a The Illusionists double pass (RRP $178) for Tuesday 22nd January, 7pm at Regent Theatre, Melbourne hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page to enter. Good luck!