hiplittleone

May 292020
 

EK Books

Castles and crowns, glamour and gowns, tea parties and tiaras… if you thought the life of a princess is always easy, think again. Author Stephanie Ward and illustrator Shaney Hyde are welcoming you into the colourful world of Princess Arabella in this beautiful story published by EK Books:

Every year Princess Arabella, adored by her loving parents, is granted one special wish. She uses her royal wish for the most wonderful things, like pretty pink puppies and fluttery fairies. One thing she didn’t wish for, but she got it anyway, was a royal baby brother called prince Avery…

That year Arabella uses her annual wish to request a pencil with the amazing power to make anything she draws become reality. There is no limit to her art, her inventions are simply spectacular and it all comes together beautifully in her carefully designed garden party. Unfortunately Prince Avery turns out to be particularly good at disturbing Arabella’s perfect life and she decides something has to be done in Arabella and the Magic Pencil (RRP $24.99).

Featuring sweet watercolour art and magnificent words that have a royal ring to them this book is a joy to read and look at. Combining the power of magic with a wise lesson, Arabella and the Magic Pencil will help young readers to see the blessing a new sibling can bring.

You can find ‘Arabella and the Magic Pencil’ 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 Arabella and the Magic Pencil (RRP $24.99) head over to the Hip Little One Facebook page, good luck!

May 272020
 

Whether the kids are back at school or still learning along from home, starting today many students across Australia will be learning about National Reconciliation Week (May 27 – June 3). What is reconciliation, why is it important and why is it important to all of us? Reconciliation Australia captures the message like this:

At its heart, reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians’

We thought Reconciliation Week was a perfect opportunity to share a bunch of beautiful Magabala Books for children created by some of Australia’s most talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. Cuddle up with your kids on the couch or share a story (or a few) in your class room to celebrate, honour and recognise the traditional heart of Australia:

Respect (RRP $24.99) is probably my favourite pick for Reconciliation Week as it truly echos the beauty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in a simple yet heartfelt way that children will enjoy and understand. From their songs and their stories, the respect for their elders, ancestors, family, the country and the nature around them, it is all part of their rich culture and it is something people of all ages can learn from and share in.

If you are looking for inspiration for an Aboriginal art project to do at home or school look no further, Cunning Crow (RRP $24.99) is an absolute treat! Filled with the most amazing Aboriginal art by Gregg Dreise this colourful book takes us back to the Dreamtime, a time long ago when all the birds were white. One day a strike of lightning ignites a magical fire of rainbow colours, painting lorikeets in stunning bright colours, adding a bright yellow crest to the cockatoo and dressing Waan the crow in orange and red shades.

But Waan is not happy with his colouring and wants to look better and brighter than the other birds. In an attempt to improve his looks the cunning crow decides to recreate the magical fire, but instead of bright colours he ends up burning his feathers to a deep, dark black. Next time you see a black crow, remember to celebrate what makes you different and never to change yourself to be like someone else. We are all special and unique and together we make up a dazzling rainbow.

Goannas, mirritji, bull sharks, bakarra… Practise counting to ten, discover ten beautiful animals and learn their English and Ritharrŋu names in Counting Our Country (RRP $12.99). Don’t worry, Ritharrŋu artist and author Jill Daniels has even included a handy pronunciation guide to help you on your way with confidence. With its simple, bright illustrations and sturdy cardboard pages this sweet board book is perfect for our youngest Aussies.

Willy-Willy Wagtail (RRP $24.99) is the first book in Helen Milroy’s new ‘Tales from the Bush Mob’ series, throughout the series we will get to know all the members of the mob. But let’s start at the beginning, when everyone still spoke different languages and no one could understand each other. It all began when curious Willy Wagtail, helped by Gusto the Wind, set off to learn about all the different bush animals, their countries, their languages and their stories.

All Willy’s newfound knowledge comes in handy when a bushfire breaks out and slowly the animals are brought together. With 64 pages and quite a lot of text (and of course lovely pictures) Willy-Willy Wagtail is a great Australian lesson for older children about (animal) diversity, communicating and working together. Keep your eye out for the next two exciting titles in the Bush Mob series: The emu who ran through the sky and The sweetest egg of all.

Living alone in the Australian desert Bubbay wants nothing more than a family of his own. One summer night he makes a wish on a shimmering falling star and that is the beginning of Bubbay’s Desert Adventure (RRP $17.95). Guided by the spirit of his old grandma Gubarlee he sets off on a mission to find five special things for the star: A stone, an egg, a seed, a feather and a shell. Will he find them all before sunrise and what is the special surprise that awaits him?

We know all about puppies, kittens and lambs, but what about the offspring of an echidna, dugong, eagle or bilby? In What do you call a baby…? (RRP $12.99) Kimberley artist Kamsani Bin Salleh will show you a gorgeous puggle, eaglet, chick, pup, calf, tadpole, hatchling and joey and their proud mamas. This delightful board book is made for curious little hands and young readers will love the eye-cathing pastel coloured art.

To find out more about Magabala Books, to browse the range and to order your favourite Magabala titles online visit www.magabala.com.

For your chance to win a Magabala Books prize pack (RRP $118.90) containing the six titles featured above head over to the Hip Little One Facebook page, good luck!

May 202020
 

I won’t lie: These past months have been hard. I have always been someone who worries easily and this COVID19 outbreak has definitely been a challenge for me mentally. Late last year I lost my wonderful Opa and had to fly to Europe unexpectedly, forcing me to leave my husband and babies behind for the first time. Not long after that my dad received the exciting but scary news that after months on the waiting list a donor liver had been found for him and that he would be undergoing an organ transplant that same day.

We had been waiting impatiently to go and spend seven long weeks with Dad and the rest of family but thanks to COVID19 our flights to The Netherlands were cancelled again and again and after rebooking three times (and travel restrictions coming in) there were eventually no travel options left. With infections sky rocketing in Europe and my recovering Dad in a high risk category we have been terribly worried and still are. The disappointment we (and especially the kids) feel about not seeing our (grand)parents for yet another year is just heartbreaking, not even talking about the money lost through it all. Add to that eight weeks of total home isolation with six kids, home schooling and work worries and 2020 has definitely been a mental challenge I will not easily forget!

For me the only way to keep my head above water has been to grab tight our beautiful kids, take every day as it comes and snuggle up in our safe bubble until this is all behind us. We have baked, coloured, painted, crafted, cooked, puzzled and read. We have spent many days in our pyjamas and enjoyed drives through the country side. We stayed up late, slept in and learnt about all kinds of interesting things. We have built a custom garden bed and set up a chicken coop, we have hatched our very own chicks in an incubator and are watching our chicks and vegetables grow.

As Australia slowly eases back into the ‘new normal’ I look back at a special time with my family and am proud of how we spent it. This week the kids will go back to school and I will go back to my readers, time to tell you about some hip and handy finds that we used a lot during our home isolation time…

While I was away for Opa’s funeral hip Daddy did an amazing job at home. Quite the change for our little troublemaker Ted who was still sleeping with us (and breastfeeding) every single night which was getting pretty exhausting! All attempts at weaning and moving him into his own bed had been unsuccessful until then but with Mummy away he had no choice and it has been the start of a better routine for Ted. He now happily goes to sleep in his own bed with a bit of help from this fabulous LeapFrog bedtime buddy.

Packed full of story classics, myths, nursery rhymes, songs and much more this clever story-telling cube is a wonderful companion for any children’s bedroom or playroom. LeapStory (RRP $69.95, ages 3-8) gives children access to a delightful collection of stories, songs and tunes, they can choose their favourites, listen to them being read out loud and enjoy a mesmerising display of images and animations projected onto the ceiling or wall. Parents can even record themselves reading a special story to their child, which allowed Ted to listen to his mama’s voice even when I was on the other side of the world.

We love the fact that LeapStory presents a great mix of well known classics and lesser known content. With more than 80 preloaded tracks spread out over four different categories (classicsmyths, legends and fables, sleepy time and learning songs children are guaranteed to discover delightful stories and songs they have never heard before. From Rapunzel to Rumpelstiltskin, from the Tortoise and the Hare to Three Little Pigs, from Little Red Riding Hood to Robin Hood, from Jack and the Beanstalk to the Fox and the Crow and so many others, LeapStory offers loads to listen, learn and love. Ted’s favourite is by far the Gingerbread Man!

We have put the LeapStory on Ted’s bedside table so it is always within hand’s reach, he can see the light-up base and projector and he often turns it on himself to listen to a story or two. After six solid months of use we can safely say it has been thoroughly tested by our big family and the kids still turn it on every night at bedtime, if that’s not a tick of approval I don’t know what is!

Whether they want to select a favourite adventure or hear multiple tales, set a timer to listen to stories as they drift off to sleep, flick through the different options or turn on the light projector, we have found the LeapStory cube easy to control. Featuring six simple buttons and an adjustable projector LeapStory allows young children to feel independent and in charge and they don’t need to ask mum or dad for help with every little change (particularly handy at bedtime!).

Getting tired of the same stories? Need a fresh fable or new nursery rhyme? No problem! Simply connect your LeapStory to your computer and download an additional content pack completely free using the LeapFrog Connect application. The LeapStory device will work on 4 AA batteries (great for holidays, camping adventures or road trips) or mains power using the included adapter.

You can find LeapStory at a Big W, Myer or other good toy store near you and online at selected retailers.

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

Little Bubba: Makeover Time

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Mar 032020
 

Of course Teddy is not the only sibling who refuses to sit still. My girls are always looking for a willing customer to attempt a pretty braid, do a fancy fishtail plait or try out a new look but it turns out that it’s a lot more fun to be the stylist than the bored customer who is not allowed to move or cries with every stroke of the brush. Keeping all of my budding hairdressers and make-up artists happy has turned out to be a breeze with this cute find from Little Bubba:

Measuring a generous 27cm tall this life-size My Big Sister ‘Styling Head’ (Ages 3+, 10,6″) is the ideal client for any hairdressing or beauty bar, she is always happy to receive a fresh makeover, doesn’t wiggle and never complains when things look a little wonky. With her long blonde hair, big blue eyes and perfect skin this lovely model is a clean canvas waiting for a dedicated artist to give her a brand new look, you can change her style as many times as you like!

To help you set up your own salon the Styling Head comes with a whole heap of beauty and hair accessories: 6 royal crown hair clips, a heart-shaped brush, a pink hair comb, four rollers for gorgeous curls, face stickers and a make-up palette with lip, cheek and eye make-up in different shades.  The set contains everything to get you started, just use your imagination.

Miss 11 is our resident hairdresser and miss 9 is our wannabe make-up artist, so together they have a ball getting this blonde model looking magazine worthy. In our house it is most definitely the older girls who adore this styling kit most, the younger girls like it too but the older two are a bit better at the delicate application of make-up and have patience for the step-by-step process of tricky hair styles. A quick rinse with a baby wipe removes all the makeup, there are no stains and it washes off easily from hands and clothing too.

One small note: While the box does list all the make-up ingredients on the bottom, it does clearly say ‘for external application on dolls only’ so I am not sure how suitable it is for human skin. I have specifically instructed my girls not to apply it to their own skin but I can imagine some children will be keen to give themselves a makeover which may cause an allergic reaction.

To find out more about HeadStart, to take a closer look at the Little Bubba range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.headstartint.com.

Welcome to the family, Little Bubba

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Mar 022020
 

Over the past few months Ted has fast turned into a cheeky, independent toddler, which means his sisters can no longer treat him like their little baby. He won’t sit still, he doesn’t want to be dressed up and most definitely doesn’t want anyone to help him at mealtime. Thankfully the girls are very content with the closest thing to a real baby brother or sister: Meet Little Bubba by HeadStart!

We all know that newborns come in different sizes and so does Little Bubba: Whether you prefer a tiny 38cm baby girl, a cute 40cm doll or a huggable 42cm bundle of joy, there is a wonderful baby waiting for you. Each size has its own unique features, outfit and special skills making every new addition special in its own way. Young parents-to-be are guaranteed to instantly fall in love with Little Bubba’s lifelike appearance, realistic sounds and interactive functions.

Let’s start with the smallest of the girls, a cuddly little lady in a sweet pink jumpsuit. During her awake time My Interactive Baby (Ages, 3+, 15″) likes to suck her dummy or pretend to drink from her bottle (she even moves her mouth and makes drinking sounds) and when you tickle her soft tummy she giggles. Like all babies she does cry sometimes but none of that matters when you hear her say ‘mama’. Come nap time she will close her eyes and peacefully suck her thumb, isn’t she a perfect baby?

Up next is My Real Baby ‘Magic Potty’ (Ages 3+, 16″), a summer baby with a bird print onesie and a matching hat. Unlike her softer, smaller buddy this quiet, content baby has a plastic tummy with arms and legs than can be posed, quite important when it comes to potty time! Once your baby has eaten her meal and finished her bottle of water she can actually use the potty and do a wee, after all you are never too young to start toilet training. With a push of the button the interactive potty will be rinsed and you can put your baby’s nappy back on, time to lay her down so she can close her eyes and have a snooze.

Last but not least, say hello to My Ultimate Interactive Baby (Ages 3+, 16,5″). With 12 impressive functions this delightful baby is sure to delight any new mum or dad. Gurgles and giggles, sad sobs, sweet snores, thirsty drinking or a first ‘mama’, this baby is full of interesting sounds. She can move her mouth to drink from her bottle and wee on the pink potty afterwards. You can also move her arms and legs so can she can sit on your lap, use a high chair or sit in pram just like a real baby (don’t forget to attach her dummy chain so she doesn’t lose her pacifier). We love it when she blinks her beautiful blue eyes, we think she is adorable!

To make the parenting experience extra realistic all Little Bubba dolls come with a range of must-have baby accessories like a dummy, a refillable drink bottle, a baby potty, a nappy, a dummy chain, a beanie, socks and even mealtime utensils (accessories vary per design). Go on, pick your favourite girl, decide on a name and get to know your new family member!

To find out more about HeadStart, to take a closer look at the Little Bubba range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.headstartint.com.

Adelaide Fringe 2020 ‘Hotel Paradiso’ giveaway

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Feb 142020
 

I know it is hard to believe but in the almost fourteen years I have lived in South Australia, Australia’s Festival State, I have not once made it to the Adelaide Fringe. Things are about to change as we’re planning to celebrate Sybil’s birthday in style this weekend with a visit to a Fringe performance full of giggles, gasps and good old-fashioned family fun:

This year Lost in Translation, one of the UK’s leading contemporary circuses, is making its Adelaide Fringe debut combining theatre, comedy and music in one amazing show that is guaranteed to please the crowds. Hotel Paradiso is a winning mix of thrillingly spectacular and daring circus skills including incredible acrobatics, clowning and juggling, theatrical storytelling, slapstick and physical comedy, it certainly ticks all our boxes! They even use a person as a skipping rope, this has to be seen to be believed…

Come along to meet Madame and the charming staff of the quirkily ineffective Hotel Paradiso. Gathered from countries around the globe the Lost in Translation cast of six highly skilled acrobats, clowns and jugglers will tell the story of how the tenants battle to save their home and livelihood from ‘the Banker’. With thrills, gasps, laughs and drama there’s plenty for both adults and children to enjoy and the glowing reviews are coming in thick and fast: “Easily the best family show at the Fringe!”

Hotel Paradiso at Gluttony is suitable for ages 5 and up and it’s on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so check your calendar and lock in those seats.

To find out more about the Adelaide Fringe, to take a closer look at Hotel Paradiso and to order your tickets online visit www.adelaidefringe.com.au.

For your chance to win 1 of 2 Hotel Paradiso family passes (RRP $85, each pass admits 2 adults and 2 children OR 1 adult and 3 children) for the Sunday February 16 (2.50pm) performance hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page. Good luck!

Save the koalas with Ty Beanie Boo

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Jan 172020
 

Talking to children about tragedies is never easy. We try to shield our children from as much pain as we can, but sometimes disaster strikes close to home and it is important to help children understand what is happening. The bushfires that are currently impacting many parts of our beautiful country are destroying lives, homes and nature and there’s simply no hiding from it. My gorgeous kids are trying to wrap their little heads around it all and want to help, here’s a gorgeous way for small people to do their bit:

The fabulous team at Ty Beanie Boos has jumped into action with a fantastic initiative that will warm the hearts of every little animal friend across the globe… Adopt Katy Koala and help saves the koalas!

100% of global profits from the sale of the adorable new Ty Beanie Boo ‘Katy Koala’ will be donated to WIRES (Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organisation), raising much needed funds for Australian wildlife AND raise awareness around the world for our bushfire crisis. What a fantastic opportunity to talk to your Ty Beanie Boo fan about this important cause! My girls are very keen to ‘donate’ some of their pocket money to WIRES and adopt Katy Koala in return as a reminder of their gift.

You can find Katy Koala Beanie Boo at your favourite Beanie Boo retailer from April 2020 and she will be available worldwide.

To find out more about Big Baloon, to take a closer look at the Ty range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.bigballoon.com.au.