Best Furry Friends – Bigger and Better

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Best Furry Friends – Bigger and Better
Jul 252019
 

Here I am trying to teach my little ladies important life lessons like ‘Bigger is not always better’ and then this happens… I can’t help but admit defeat this time. Meet the brand new, large and loveable Best Furry Friends arrivals!

The BFFs are back for more fun with friends, extra giggles with the girls and fresh styles for the squad. Get ready to fall in love with your favourite Best Furry Friends all over again and discover loads of new ways to play:

Cute bags are no longer just for BFF Besties, young collectors can now travel with a beautiful bag of their own with the adorable BFF Handbag Surprize (Ages 5+). Clip open your squishy silicone handbag and discover your first surprise, a gorgeous deluxe BFF. Adding a whole new dimension to your pretend play you can really pose and stand up your new articulated furry friend, bring on amazing adventures!

Open surprise two to dress up your BFF with a mystery accessory and accessorise yourself too with surprises three and four: a sweet charm bracelet and a lovely charm accessory to attach to your bracelet. Each of the four surprises is wrapped individually in a little blind bag, adding extra excitement to the unpacking of your pink purse.

There are 6 different big BFFs waiting to be discovered in the BFF Handbag Surprize range: Stardust the Pegacorn, Zara the Sloth, Dee Dee the Dragon, Cuddles the White Rabbit, Dash the Ginger Cat and last but not least Sasha the Husky. Who would you like to have as your bag buddy?

You can find the BFF Handbag Surprize at Target, ToyWorld and Mr. Toys stores across Australia with Big W soon following suit.

BFF Besties Angelina, Cassandra and Zoe have sized up too making them extra huggable and double as delightful. The new BFF Deluxe Besties are pretty as a picture with neat little details and removable clothes and accessories for dress up play, they have pose-able arms and legs and you can even brush and style their hair! Adorable Angelina and Stardust, sporty Cassandra and Dash or super smart Zoe and Zara, who will your pick as the winning Best Furry Friends Deluxe couple?

Our bestie Zoe wears a lovely Geek Chic tee, a purple checkered mini-skirt to match her lilac locks and a pair of cool kicks. Where Zoe goes her BFF Zara the Sloth goes too, so with her pink bag over her shoulder and her signature black glasses on her nose this girl is ready to roll.

The only thing that could possibly make the Deluxe Besties even more fabulous (according to my little ladies who love a bit of mystery) would be a surprise BFF, after all the excitement of opening a blind bag is hard to beat.

You can find BFF Deluxe Besties at Big W, ToyWorld and Mr. Toys stores across Australia with Target joining the squad shortly.

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

Table for Two

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Table for Two
Jul 222019
 

With all this wind and rain it may not be the nicest weather for outdoor meals right now, but my little bunch is having just as much fun with an indoor picnic. And for once no one is complaining about who is setting the table either with this gorgeous little set by LeapFrog:

After four girls we had gathered quite the collection of pink tea seats, but a boy needs to eat too! With its cheerful yellow and green colours the LeapFrog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket (RRP $34.95, ages 6 months+) is a perfect pick for our little man Ted and he carries his private lunch everywhere, it is adorable. Every now and then an older sibling is lucky enough to be invited which works out well because there is enough to set a table for two.

This cute picnic set up is your perfect pretend-play companion. The colourful basket comes with everything you need for a delicious meal: 2 cups, 2 forks, 2 shape sorting plates, 2x 4 yummy snacks and even a traditional checkered table cloth to dine in style. Made with small hands and developing fine motor skills in mind the pieces are large in size with neat rounded corners for safe play.

But little tummies are not the only thing growing, curious minds are growing with every bite as well. The interactive basket adds a whole new dimension to your picnic party. In ‘Shapes & Colours’ mode kids learn about the shape and colours of the different foods and they can test their matching skills by putting the correct piece through the shape sorting lid. The talking lid even recognises and tells you which shape, colour and food you are packing, so smart!

This chatty picnic pal loves testing you on your new found knowledge in Picnic Time mode. Learn to listen carefully and if you find the right piece you get rewarded with praise and gratitude eg. May I please have a biscuit? Perfect! Please give me a snack shaped like a circle. Exactly what I wanted. This is a lovely playful way to encourage beautiful table manners in little tots. Last but not least, turn on ‘Music’ mode for a range of happy tunes and catchy sing-along songs that make the perfect background music to your meal.

The Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket is available in pink and yellow and you can find it at Big W, Target, good toy stores and online retailers across Australia.

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

LeapFrog: LeapPad Low-down

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Jul 122019
 

A few weeks ago I promised you a more detailed post about the LeapFrog LeapPad, one of the most popular kids tablets across the globe. As a loyal LeapFrog family we’ve been using LeapPads from the moment they were first released (in fact before that we even had its predecessors, the good old Leapster GS and Leapster Explorer) and many years on we remain big LeapPad fans. I regularly receive emails from readers to ask my opinion so I thought I’d put my two cents in…

While I will mainly focus on the four latest LeapPad models I would like to stress that there is still a big market for the older styles (LeapPad 1, LeapPad 2 and LeapPad 3) as well. You may not be able to find them brand new, however you can easily pick one up second hand on Gumtree, eBay or Marketplace (often with a heap of cool game cartridges included) at a bargain price which is a great way to start your LeapPad journey.

The durable design means that the earlier devices have lots of play left in them and you can still connect them to your computer with a USB cable to download new apps from the App Centre. Just make sure you tick the matching ‘Filter by Product’ box in the App Centre when searching for new apps. The majority of ‘old’ LeapFrog game cartridges are also compatible with the newest LeapPads, so they hold their value well. Remember you can always upgrade your device later while holding onto your game cartridges collection.

Good to know: I know I have mentioned this in previous posts but just in case you missed it… When you purchase apps in the App Centre they are not allocated to a specific LeapPad only but added to your LeapFrog Parent Account instead. From there on you can install them on each LeapFrog device (up to five) connected to your account. So instead of having to buy the app for each LeapPad individually you only need to purchase it once and then all your kids/LeapPads can enjoy the same game. 

Because your purchased apps are connected to your LeapFrog parent account, when you decide to upgrade your old LeapPad to a newer one you simply remove the app from the old one and install it on the new one. Just link the new LeapPad up to the same parent account and you can automatically enjoy all your previously purchased apps, how easy is that?

LeapFrog LeapPad UltraBack to today when the most popular LeapPad models are the LeapPad Ultra, LeapPad Platinum, LeapPad Ultimate and (a little different to the others) LeapFrog Epic. Compared to the first models these four are noticeably bigger, fancier and faster with front and back camera and beautiful full colour screens, making kids feel very grown-up with their own modern tablet. LeapPads are designed to be safe for small hands, you can protect the LeapPad Ultra with a gel skin (sold separately), the LeapFrog Epic comes with a rubber cover and the other two have a built-in shock-proof bumper.

Unlike the LeapPad 1 and 2 all newer LeapPads are rechargeable, there is no fiddling with costly batteries that keep running out and a charger is included. Each LeapPad comes with a selection of included apps so it’s ready to go straight away. Kids can play games, keep on track with a calendar, a clock and a notepad, take videos, snap photos and record voice memos and edit them into their own unique art, listen to music and much more.

LeapFrog is all about learning fun, each and every LeapFrog game is developed by educational experts to learn, practise and improve important skills through play. You can grow your personal LeapFrog Library by purchasing new games in the App Centre where you can select games that focus on the learning area of your choosing. Using games featuring popular characters like PJ Masks, Peppa Pig, Frozen and Paw Patrol and many others even the most stubborn learners will fall in love with learning.

The amazing thing about LeapFrog is that it recognises your child’s achievements and progress and adjusts content and challenges to match your child’s learning level, this keeps things fun and interesting all the time. A LeapPad allows for multiple player profiles so each child in the family can play at their own level and pace, now that is clever!

Hip Tip: The LeapFrog App Centre regularly runs brilliant sales (eg. 30% off all apps, buy 2 get 1 free) so parents can stock up on a bunch of cool new apps at a fantastic price. We usually do this before school holidays or big family trips to surprise the kids and save a lot. You don’t even have to install them straight away if you want to keep them for a rainy day. Keep an eye on the app or the LeapFrog Australia Facebook page for the next app sale.

All four LeapPads can be connected to WiFi if approved by parents (protected with a parent lock code). Having the WiFi connection set up means app downloads and updates are a breeze, there is no need to connect to a PC. Children can also browse the virtual LeapFrog Rewards Store where they can trade the reward tokens they have earnt in their games for game add-ons. There are NEVER any in-app purchases, children have no way of accidentally buying anything and there are no ‘temptations’ which is a real win for LeapFrog.

Most importantly the WiFi function provides access to a completely safe online environment called LeapSearch. All LeapSearch content has been carefully handpicked and approved by LeapFrog team of parents and education experts, so you can rest assured all web pages, videos, images and games they encounter are 100% kid-appropriate. As a parent I love the fact that it allows curious children to enjoy the freedom of exploring ‘the internet’ and searching for things that interest them without the worries of the world wide web.

LeapFrog EpicSadly the LeapFrog Epic is not that easy to get in Australia but it is definitely worth a mention. Unlike the other LeapPads this tablet runs on the well known Android operating system. The way it works and feels is a little different (in a good way), it is more customisable (not only the dashboard and background but also eg. the local weather) and if desired you can even add compatible Android apps and Google Play apps to it. Personally we only stick to the LeapFrog App Centre but I can see how to some this could be nice bonus.

Do we have a favourite? I think my children all have different opinions and they often share/swap between the different models that we have purchased over the years. Hattie is chuffed with her LeapPad Platinum, Juliet adores her LeapPad Ultimate and the twins feel very special with the LeapFrog Epic. We have purchased some of our LeapPads new and some second hand and I haven’t any issues at all with either, but of course if a new one fits in your budget and you prefer the peace of mind of warranty the newest LeapPad Ultimate is your best bet. Each to their own but in our family all LeapPads are winners!

Fair is fair, while there are a million things I love there are obviously also a few small things I dislike about each of the designs. Most of them are really petty dislikes I have to say but I promised to be complete:

  • I preferred the hard tip stylus of the LeapPad Ultra (and earlier LeapPads) over the soft tip styluses of the other three. It doesn’t wear down as easily and is cheaper to replace.
  • I wish the LeapFrog Epic would take game cartridges so we could use our game collection instead of having to download all the apps. I was also a bit sad that a rare few of our old games would not work on the LeapPad Ultimate, they do work on all previous models though.
  • When small children play their LeapPad Ultimate in landscape position the ‘on/off’ button sits exactly under their little hand so they sometimes accidentally turn it off.
  • The LeapFrog Epic is the only tablet that works with the LeapFrog TocoMail App. This fantastic app lets children send/receive basic emails to/from pre-approved contacts so our twins can communicate with their grandparents overseas which they really enjoy. I really hope they make this app available to the other LeapPads too!

Although I think I have covered a lot of the questions I received, I probably have missed some too. If there is anything at all you would like to know just get in touch and I am happy to help. Good luck finding your perfect LeapPad and enjoy the LeapFrog journey.

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

‘Santa’s Wonderland’ Super Sale

 Out & About, Sales & Savings  Comments Off on ‘Santa’s Wonderland’ Super Sale
Jul 102019
 

If you are a regular Hip Little One reader you might remember me telling you about Santa’s Wonderland, the place-to-be for Adelaide families during Christmas time. Our family had so much last year and the kids can’t wait to go back for another 3 hours of family fun. We all know the December month can get very pricey, which is why planning ahead really pays off and this is one offer not to be missed:

Right now you can save BIG on a Santa’s Wonderland Family Pass. Simply buy 4 or more tickets online and enter the code ‘XMASINJULY’ at checkout to buy your tickets at just $25 per person! You will not find a better price so now’s the time to secure your preferred time-slot. Be quick, this fabulous offer ends July 10, 2019 at 11.59pm.

Your all-access ticket includes 3 full hours of:
⭐️ Unlimited FREE Carnival Rides
⭐️ Unlimited Bouncy Castles and Ball Pits
⭐️Unlimited Ride-on Reindeer fun
⭐️ Unlimited Ice Skating
⭐️ Unlimited Ice Toboggan Slides
⭐️ Unlimited Ride on Reindeer’s Coral with Rudolf & Friends
⭐️ Unlimited Dodgem Cars
⭐️ Even More Main Stage Entertainment
⭐️ Story Time with Mrs. Christmas
⭐️ Write a Personal Letter to Santa & Mail It
⭐️ FREE Activity Trail Showbag (10 stops)
⭐️ Roaming Christmas Characters to meet, greet and takes selfies with!

Want to know more? Click here for a full list of all that’s included when you visit Santa’s Wonderland (and the few things that aren’t).

Santa’s Wonderland is located at the Adelaide Showground (Wayville, SA) and will be open from December 6 – December 24, 2019. Each ticket allows for 3 full hours of entry during the session-time chosen when booking, that’s a whole lot of Christmas fun! Alternatively tickets can be purchased at the gate at door prices, but sessions can be sold-out so booking in advance is recommended. Children under 2 years of age are free.

To find out more about Santa’s Wonderland and to secure your favourite session online visit www.santaswonderland.com.au.

‘Guess How Much I Love You’ giveaway

 Giveaways, Out & About  Comments Off on ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ giveaway
Jul 092019
 

If the cold Winter weather is bringing you down we’ve found the perfect way to warm up (on the inside and the outside) this July. Join your favourite forest friends Little Nutbrown Hare, Big Nutbrown Hare, Little Field Mouse, Little Redwood Fox, Little Grey Squirrel and Blue Bird for a family-friendly Christmas in July celebration at Event Cinemas:

Gather your favourite people (big and small) and snuggle up in your cinema seat (with a yummy snack or two) for the heartwarming Christmas in July special ‘Guess How Much I Love You: The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare’. In the award-winning 26-minute Christmas Holiday Special ‘Christmas to the Moon and Back’ the Little Nutbrown Hare and its pals find a lost little Brown Bear and venture into the unknown woods to return him to his mama Bear in time for Christmas. Will they complete their mission? You’ll have to watch to find out!

But that is not all, as a special Christmas gift viewers will also be spoiled with two bonus 10-minute festive themed episodes called ‘The Holly Branch’ and ‘Feast Day’. If you love the sound of secret surprises and special celebrations with loved ones you are in for a treat. The ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ Christmas in July special will be screening at 10.30am daily in 55 Event Cinemas across Australia from July 25 – July 31, 2019. Be quick and secure your seats today.

To find out more about Event Cinemas, to take a closer look at the ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ movie schedule and to book your tickets online visit www.eventcinemas.com.au.

For your chance to win a family movie pass (admits 4) to see the ‘Guess How Much I Love You: The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare’ Christmas in July special hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page. Good luck!

Flying high with Magical Lights Unicorn

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Flying high with Magical Lights Unicorn
Jul 072019
 

VTech

Now that the highly anticipated July toy catalogues have arrived all my children are busy taking notes, writing wish lists and circling favourites. I have started squirrelling away bits and pieces for the December month and our kids’ August/September birthdays (5 of them!) and also picked some well deserved rewards for the excellent report cards the kids brought home this week.

To her great disappointment poor miss Hattie is not old enough for a report card just yet but especially for the school holidays (and with mummy’s sanity in mind) she was treated to this magical VTech gift anyway. I have no doubt it will bring us plenty of smiles and entertainment these coming weeks, look at that happy face!

Brightly coloured and pretty as a picture the Magical Lights Unicorn (RRP $39.95, ages 18 months+) is sure to make the heart of any little unicorn lover beat a little faster. Just like a real unicorn she is full of magic and mystery and there are many different ways to play and learn with this beautiful creature. It always amazes me how quickly kids work out a new toy without needing a manual and this is no exemption, Hattie is having so much fun exploring.

Let’s start with her eye catching looks: The Magical Lights Unicorn is quite a large toy with rounded shapes and big buttons perfect for curious toddler hands. By touching the buttons on her side or her necklace you can interact with this mystical creature and hear words, short phrases and catchy songs. She has a luscious fabric rainbow mane, her pink hooves are fitted with smooth wheels for easy trotting around the house and when you squeeze her tail she even flaps her beautiful wings so you can make her fly through the sky.

The unicorn comes with 7 charms in different colours and shapes which can be placed onto three unique magic hearts on her body and head. By clicking a charm to a magic heart you trigger a special unicorn horn rainbow light show and the Magical Lights Unicorn even tells you which precious charm you’ve placed onto her crown and lights up in the matching colour, how clever is that? She loves testing your recognition skills by asking you to find a specific colour or shape and when you put the right charm in place you are rewarded with praise and songs.

If you really want to teach your child some impressive new skills you can put your unicorn in French mode, now that’s what you call an educational toy! She teaches French colours and phrases and even sing her ballads in the French tongue, Hattie may not understand all (or pretty much nothing) but that doesn’t stop her from trying to copy the words which is rather adorable to listen to.

A little note… We obviously love our Magical Lights Unicorn and I think any child will adore her, however from a mother’s point of view I feel I must mention my only small negative: While the 7 charms do come with a sweet purple plate, they do not actually click onto/attach to the plate which means they could get lost quite easily. We have solved this little issue by storing the heart plate and charms in a ziplock bag when not in use but it would have been great if the charms could click to the plate for easy and safe storage.

The Magical Lights Unicorn is exclusively available at Target stores across Australia and online.

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

HairDooz Newz: Time for a new Doo, or two!

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Jul 022019
 

All stylish girls know there is no better feeling than a brand new hairdo. Super sleek or cute and curly, pretty plaits or cheeky buns, brightly coloured or perfectly platinum, the HairDooz salon has been busy creating a bunch of adorable new looks and they’re ready to show them off:

Wave 2, the second release of HairDooz (Ages 5+), has washed up 12 fresh new HairDooz collectibles. Each of the new Dooz is patiently waiting in her own pink bottle for someone to spin that rotating door, pull away her coloured hairdressing apron and be revealed in all her glory. With their gorgeous little faces and sweet poses they already won my girls over with Wave 1 so this new series has brought a lot of excitement to our household.

If you fell in love with HairDooz when the first wave hit, you will know that there are six different HairDooz girl groups: Pixie Pink, Sparkle Orange, Crystal Aqua, Lilly Green, Skye Blue and Candy Purple and each group has its own colour and chair. With the help of the included collectors guide HairDooz fans can collect or swap to complete their little girl groups one Doo at a time.

You’d think with four daughters, we’d have a good chance of unwrapping one of the rare and highly coveted colour change HairDooz but so far no luck. Wave 2’s leading lady is Twin Braidydoo who can change the colour of her beautiful braids with a dip in a nice warm basin. Now that’s a speedy makeover! However to the envy of her three sisters miss 10 did score the magical Unicorn PonyDoo, isn’t she delightful?

Not only can you store your HairDoo in her pink bottle, you can also use the included suction cap to transform her salon chair into a hanging window seat. This means you can take your salon squad along in the car or stick them onto your mirror, they make rather cute passengers on long drives.

You can find HairDooz right now at your local Target, Myer, Big W, Kmart, Coles and Woolworths store as well as leading toy retailers across Australia. There’s even a fabulous HairDooz Cutie Case featuring 4 Hairdooz (including 2 exclusive glitter Hairdooz!), 4 accessories to add some extra dazzle to your doo and a sparkly, glittery beauty cutie case. It looks absolutely marvellous and miss 8 immediately added one to her birthday wishlist for August. The HairDooz Cutie Case is available at Kmart and Big W.

What are you waiting for, go and find the Doo for you!

To find out more about HairDooz, to meet all the HairDooz and to locate a stockist near you visit www.hairdooz.net.