Jun 302019
 

VTech

It has taken her almost two whole terms but miss Sybbie is finally managing a tear-free and no-panic school drop off most days! We’ve worked very hard to get to this point and I am so proud of her (but also of myself) for persevering, there were so many tears and we even considered taking her out of school all together. I have to admit we pulled out all the bribes to win her over and Sybil has been rather spoilt but it was for a good cause. Who wouldn’t try their best when this gorgeous VTech gift is up for grabs?

With its pretty pink colour, swirly design and heart shaped window this VTech Secret Safe (RRP $69.95, ages 6-11) instantly brought a sparkle to Sybil’s eye. She’s been having loads of fun discovering this girly gadget and with 7 different activities and games there is still plenty more to learn. (In fact Sybil loves it so much that she’s been trying to sneak it to school several times, but of course this mama is not that easily fooled!

As the name suggests the ‘Secret Safe’ Diary Selfie Music is brilliant at keeping your secrets safe and secure. Protected with super smart facial technology and/or a number password only the true owner is able to unlock the magic, now that’s clever! Behind the sweet pink cover hides a full colour screen where you can write diary entries, record voice messages and (using the front/back cameras) take selfies, photos and videos so you can put together your very own special journal. You can even decorate your snaps with cool effects and cute add-ons.

Typing/spelling is not Sybil’s strongest point but her visual diary is coming along beautifully and I just love seeing our days from her perspective and sharing in her highlights and favourite moments. With the help of the clock and alarm she knows exactly what time to get up for school or when to get ready for an outing. Add to that a real ‘address book’ and she’s becoming quite the secretary, I guess you’re never too young to be organised.

But there is way more to discover and do than just keep a diary. The Secret Safe is fitted with a music player with 4 built-in songs (you can add your own too), you can raise three virtual pets, play one of eight different learning games and other fun activities. By playing the games kids can practice typing, solve a sudoku puzzle , do maths exercises, work on spelling and train other handy skills.

Sybil’s top three of things to do on her ‘Secret Safe’ Diary Selfie Music are playing fashion designer in the My Stylist app (it’s like stepping into a virtual dressing room and trying on all kinds of fancy clothes and accessories), caring for her pet puppy and singing along to all her High School Musical tunes. By adding in a microSD card we’ve given her even more storage for more secrets and more smiles.

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.

Jun 262019
 

During these chilly winter nights there is nothing I enjoy more than snuggling up in a nice warm bed with a good book. All evening I look forward to that wonderful moment of finishing my final chore of the day and sliding into bed. Although relaxing in bed sounds fabulous, when you know what’s hiding in your bedlinen it may not be such a good idea at all!

Australian company Linenly recognises not only the value of rest and relaxation, but also the importance of high quality organic materials and ethical production. Linenly has made it their mission to provide Australian families with beautiful 100% organic bamboo bedlinen that is both luxurious and loving for your health and the environment, ensuring you the sweetest of dreams night after night.

Carefully sourced by owner Luyang the entire Linenly range is made from silky soft 100% organic bamboo fibre which is completely free from nasty toxins or harmful substances (backed up by Oeko-Tex certification). Bamboo is naturally hypoallergenic, breathable and anti-microbial which makes it the perfect choice for eczema sufferers and those with other sensitive skin conditions.

Fitted sheets, flat sheets, pillow cases and even quilt covers, single, double, queen or king, Linenly has every bedroom covered. With a range of classy colours to choose from there is a Linenly look to suit your style and decor perfectly. Prices range from $44.95 to $239.95.

Want to discover the many benefits of bamboo for yourself without breaking the bank? Right now you can save a massive 40% on all Linenly bamboo sheet sets, now that’s what I call a sale! Prices as marked.

As we recently upgraded to a king size bed this was the perfect opportunity to spoil myself with some Linenly luxury too. My new bamboo sheets have just arrived and I can’t wait to put them to the test. Obviously I’ll make sure to share my thoughts a little later so keep an eye out for my review. I am excited!

To find out more about Linenly, to browse the range and to order online visit www.linenly.com.au.

Jun 242019
 

paw-patrol

I regularly receive emails from both new and longtime readers asking me for advice on hip finds I shared in the past and one of the most popular questions is always: Does your family still love LeapFrog and which LeapPad should we get? I am working on a longer post about this (stay tuned) but our short and adamant answer is YES! Even after many years we still adore our LeapPads and I highly recommend them to everyone. We recently purchased a new LeapPad game for our littlest PAW Patrol fan and it is so much fun, I just had to give it a quick shout-out:

The LeapFrog PAW Patrol Collection learning game (RRP $34.99, ages 4-7) contains both a learning game and an eBook featuring your favourite PAW Patrol pups, offering kids two different ways to play and learn in one game cartridge. Although Miss Hattie is not four just yet and therefore a bit on the young side, she is very keen and the PAW Patrol: Ready for Action! learning game is definitely getting the wheels turning inside her little head.

The aim of the game is to solve practical problems, PAW Patrol style. On their way to find a bunch of missing kittens the brave rescue pups encounter a range of obstacles, time to put those brains to work and find the right pup and the right tool for each ‘problem’. From helicopters to fire trucks, from ladders to nets, from diggers to submarines, from hooks to hoses, this fun puzzle game helps develop reasoning skills, teaches cause and effect, practises problem solving and more and you even earn cool badges along the way.

Young readers can work on their literacy skills too with the PAW Patrol: The Great Robot Rescue eBook. Ryder has created a super clever Robo Dog, but when his antenna gets damaged by a fall Robo Dog is uncontrollable and turns the whole town upside down. Ryder and the pups work together to catch Robo Dog and put everything back in order. Kids can listen to the story while flicking the pages and reading along. This is an excellent way to help kids practise common sight words, they can point at individual words to hear them and trigger cool sounds/reactions by touching the pictures on each page.

Hip Tip: If you like quick and easy you can also download these cool apps directly from the LeapFrog App Centre, meaning you don’t even have to leave the house. As with all LeapFrog apps when you purchase the PAW Patrol: Ready for Action! learning game and/or the PAW Patrol: The Great Robot Rescue eBook online you can install them on multiple LeapPad devices yet you only pay once, perfect for large families like ours.

Another pawesome find is this flip-lid PAW Patrol Learning Watch (RRP $24.95, ages 3-6) which you can strap to your wrist and is filled with loads of interactive PAW Patrol fun. It is no surprise that Hattie had her heart set on Skye and proudly shows off her pink gadget to everyone she meets. I admit it is quite large in size so it can be a little tricky to combine with bulky winter coats but nothing will stop her wearing it anywhere and anytime.

Just like any good watch it tells the time, it has a timer/stopwatch and a working alarm. A little advice: Make sure you know how to turn the settings off or you’ll be woken by the cuckoo clock every hour, it took us a while to determine the source of the hourly cluck cluck and locate the noisy chicken! You can customise the look of your watch with 12 interchangeable digital clock faces and it even has a glowing light for midnight time checks.

Designed by the toy specialists at VTech the PAW Patrol Learning Watch is made with real children in mind so the design is not just practical but playful too. The watch plays sounds and phrases from the show and comes with four built-in PAW Patrol mini games that focus on different learning skills like making matches, basic addition and subtraction and problem solving. With only four different buttons the watch is surprisingly easy to master, which gives kids a great feeling of independence.

The PAW Patrol Learning Watch is available in Skye pink, Chase blue and Marshall red from your local Big W store and other good toy stores across Australia.

Sale Alert: A little birdie told me that the watch is currently on sale at BIG W for just $19, go and snap up a bargain!

No job is too big, no pup is too small. Whether you love Marshall, Chase or Skye, or adore Zuma, Rocky, Rubble or Everest, there is a perfect PAW Patrol pal for everyone.

Jun 132019
 

At almost two our boy Ted is quite the busy bee, he never sits still (day or night!) and is always exploring and getting up to mischief. He may not be a keen talker but he loves copying sounds and songs so I am not surprised this awesome new VTech Baby toy was an instant hit:

This colourful VTech Push & Spin Helicopter (RRP $19.95, ages 9-36 months) instantly caught Ted’s eye and it’s been a great entertainer for the last few weeks. The big round buttons and chunky shapes are ideal for his chubby little hands and he is forever driving it across the hallway or flying it through the air. It can even roll all by itself if you successfully press the rotor blade on top of the helicopter, a skill Ted is proud to have mastered.

With 3 catchy songs, 10 melodies and a range of sounds and sentences the Push & Spin Helicopter is definitely encouraging Ted to find his voice and chat along. Good to know: Because VTech knows even the most patient mums are sometimes desperate for some peace and quiet there are two different volume levels or you can turn the sound of completely.

By pushing the buttons on the side little explorers can trigger the light-up window and enjoy a first introduction to colours (green and blue), animals (dog and bear), letters (ABC) and numbers (123) so there is both laughing and learning going on at the same time; double win!

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.

Jun 122019
 

EK Books

While there are obviously plenty of squabbles at our house, they are even more magical moments that I wish I could record for later. Often it’s the little things that make my heart melt, like the kids performing a spontaneous drama show, singing a made-up song or listening to them create the most fabulous stories with their dolls. Imagination truly is a wonderful thing which is why this beautiful EK Books picture book really spoke to me:

The Incurable Imagination (RRP $24.99) we learn all about an infectious disease that is spread by a little girl called Audrey. Wherever she goes she infects others and soon the disease becomes unstoppable! Don’t worry, there is no vaccination needed when it comes to this condition. It is called ‘Imagination’ and my kids have it too!

From the moment Audrey was born it was clear that she was no ordinary baby. Her big imagination helps Audrey see things that others can’t, she dreams up the wildest creatures, exciting adventures and brightly coloured characters. Her teachers initially try to keep her in line, they want her to follow the rules and stick to the plans but Audrey’s imagination simply can not be stopped.

Soon enough her imagination reaches those around her and slowly others start experiencing the joy of imagination too. It puts smiles on faces and even those who try to resist are quickly falling under the magic spell. It turns out that suffering from imagination is very exciting, let’s help share it around.

You can find ‘The Incurable Imagination’ in leading book stores across Australia.

To find out more about EK Books, to browse the range and to order your favourite titles online visit www.ekbooks.org.

For your chance to win 1 of 3 copies of ‘The Incurable Imagination’ (RRP $24.99) hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page to enter. Good luck!

Jun 072019
 

Now that my six little Disney fans are tucked safely into their warm beds I can finally put my feet up for a moment, but not before I have told you about our fabulous night out enjoying Disney On Ice celebrates Mickey and Friends at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. What can I say? Words simply don’t cover all we’ve seen and the fun we had but here are a few snaps of the evening, doesn’t it look amazing?

Over the last few years we’ve had the pleasure of seeing Disney On Ice several times but this year’s show would have to be my personal favourite. Tonight we joined Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy on a hunt to find Mickey’s favourite memory, not an easy task.

We saw how Dory searched for her parents and found them, we travelled the wild ocean with Moana and watched her return the heart of Te Fiti, we experienced the sudden Winter in Arendelle brought on by Elsa and so much more.

We spotted Woody and Buzz and the emotions of Inside Out, we sat on the edge of our seat seeing Ariel up in the air and bit our nails watching Rapunzel and Eugene floating through space, we saw snow and even fire, we danced, clapped and sang along and of course we admired all of our beloved Disney Princesses and their princes.

When you have a big family like ours it is almost impossible to agree on a favourite moment of the night, but I think we’ve narrowed it down to Mulan and the Chinese Dragon, Merida with her cross bow and Mickey and Minnie Mouse wearing the prettiest ‘wedding’ costume as voted by the audience.

We are tired but so full of special memories and I know that our children will be talking about this spectacular experience for a long time to come. Whether you’re young or old, there is simple no age limit for the joy that is Disney On Ice.

The good news is that it is not too late to get a slice of the magic. There are still 7 Adelaide shows lined up (and plenty more around the rest of the country!), so grab your chance to make this long weekend an extra memorable one. Tickets prices start at $33 per person and children under 2 are free when seated on their parents’ lap. You can check out the venue map and book your tickets online via Ticketek right now.

To find out more about Disney On Ice celebrates Mickey and Friends, to take a closer look at the tour schedule and visit www.DisneyOnIce.com.au.

Want to win two A-Reserve tickets (RRP $92) to see Disney On Ice celebrates Mickey and Friends on Friday 5th July (5.30pm) in Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena? Hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page and tell us about your favourite Disney character to enter, good luck!

Jun 022019
 

For as long as I can remember I have loved coconut. As a child I would be over the moon if my mum bought a coconut, savouring every piece I could get out of the shell. As a teenager I was addicted to the tropical scent of coconut shampoos and body creams and of course I would eat more than my share of yummy Bounty bars. Aside from the delicious smell and the scrumptious flavour coconut is full of fabulous health benefits, so I knew I was in for a treat when I discovered Cocobare Baby:

Made right here in Australia by the skincare experts at Beauty Ninja this lovely coconut based baby skincare range is the bee’s knees, one little sniff and you’re hooked! Cocobare Baby skincare uses naturally derived and organic ingredients to keep your baby’s delicate skin in tip top shape (and secretly this mama adores it too).

Unlike many other skincare brands, that use water and synthetic ingredients to treat only the top layer of the skin, Cocobare Baby uses soothing coconut oil which penetrates deeper, making it an excellent moisturiser and nourisher. Not only does it pamper the skin thoroughly, it also kills harmful micro-organisms so it is a gentle but strong protector too. Combine that with natural superheroes like chamomile, aloe vera, calendula oil and Shea butter and you’re in for a treat.

Whether you are fighting a battle with stubborn nappy rash, flaky cradle cap or itchy eczema or just want to keep your baby’s skin soft and supple Cocobare Baby has you covered from top to toe with a Baby Wash, Shampoo, 2-in-1 Shampoo and Baby Wash, Lotion, Bottom Balm and Massage Oil. The entire Cocobare Baby range is completely free from nasty minerals, paraben and palm oil, ensuring parents they are making the right choice for their precious little bundle and the environment at the same time. Cocobare is not tested on animals so our little fluffy bundles give it the thumbs up too!

To find out more about Cocobare Baby, to locate a stockist near you or to order online visit www.cocobarebaby.com, prices range from RRP $9.95-$15.95.