Oct 172014

We have all had them, the phone calls that make you spit out your coffee (if you’re lucky enough to have time for a cuppa) and have you racing around the house like a maniac. Whether it’s your mother-in-law ‘I was wondering if I could visit today?’, a friend ‘I’m just at the shops near you, shall I drop by for a chat?’ or the mum from school ‘Would you mind looking after child x for an hour or so as I go to the doctor?’, they usually call for a very speedy 15 minute tidy of our busy, well lived-in home.

Obviously there is no time for thorough cleaning so I keep things simple with these 5 steps:

1. The Living Room

Mor-Stor Charlie CanvasWith 4 small children there are always loose toys hanging around so I keep a big toy basket in the corner of the room for easy tidying. It generally takes me less than 1 minutes to pick up wandering toys and dump them in the tub, then I fluff up the couch pillows and make sure the ground is clean for a vacuum if needed (and if time left). I have a little handheld vacuum for small messes which is much quicker to grab and use than our big bulky vacuum.

2. The Kitchen

As our driveway is next to our kitchen most guests will enter our home via the kitchen. It’s the first impression they get of our home and at the same time it is one of the busiest rooms of our house so it can be tricky to keep it tidy. A full and messy kitchen bench is the first to be tackled, put all your dirty dishes in the dishwasher or just gather them all in the sink, as long as your bench is clean. I wipe down the bench and the kitchen table and put away items that were left on the kitchen table, items that are not ready to be put away or take too much time to clear away can be stacked neatly on one side.

3. Laundry

Laundry BasketI know ideally we’d all have an empty laundry basket and all clean washing neatly tidied away in the cupboards, however the reality of a big family is that laundry is never done. A basket of wet washing waiting to be hung up, a pile of dry garments on my kitchen table ready to be folded or worn clothes, a used tea towel and loose socks on the bedroom floor, it’s everywhere. I have three huge baskets to use so I try to have an empty one at all times, just shove it all in and carry everything in one go to an out-of-sight place in your home.

4. A pleasant smell

Now this may actually be my biggest trick and it ALWAYS works. On my kitchen window sill I keep a neat little iWell Aroma Diffuser. It takes me about 30 seconds to refill the water and add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil, one press of the on button and the refreshing, clean smell of Eucalyptus starts flooding through our home. People always comment on how nice it smells so it does its job really well, I run it most days and have become a bit addicted to the lovely fragrance.

5. The Toilet

Harpic WipesOften the toilet is the easiest to overlook, it is behind a closed door so you don’t notice it as much but with young children it can get yucky very quickly! It’s only when your unexpected guest asks to use the bathroom that you realise the loo was in desperate need of a good clean. When I am short of time I use a disinfecting toilet wipe or three to wipe down the lid, the toilet seat (don’t forget to look under/behind it), the sides of the toilet and the floor followed by a quick squirt of toilet cleaner under the rim for a fresh smell, that’s better than nothing at all!

What does your 15 minute tidy look like? If you have any awesome tips I would love to hear them.

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Oct 162014

Giggle amd Hoot Logo

We’ve all seen that Jimmy Rees, better known as Jimmy Giggle from ABC4Kids duo Giggle and Hoot, knows everything about putting smiles on little faces and soon he will be able to try his tricks on his very own tiny munchkin. Together with his wife Tori he is expecting a precious bundle of their own, such lovely news! We don’t know the gender of their unborn baby yet and we haven’t seen their nursery yet either but I bet their change table will be stacked with the new Giggle and Hoot nappies, exclusive to Woolworths stores nationwide:

Giggle and Hoot BabyLove nappiesCreated by the nappy experts at BabyLove the new range combines the signature Dri Wave design we’ve all come to love with a fun Giggle and Hoot gift. The unisex nappies are designed to be flexible, stretchy and reliable so they offer ultimate protection for active babies who love to roll, play, crawl, toddle and walk. The Dri Wave lining absorbs quickly so that your baby’s skin stays dry, reducing the risk of irritated skin and nappy rash.

We are regular users of BabyLove Dri Wave nappies and have always been very pleased with their performance. I’ve tried them on several of my children at different ages, weights and body shapes and during the day as well as overnight without any accidents, that’s the tick of approval for me! BabyLove is very proud of their design and understands you may want to try before you buy, so if you are new to BabyLove you can request a free sample here.

Giggle and Hoot Frame Tray PuzzleEach pack of Giggle and Hoot BabyLove nappies sold through Woolworths stores includes a free 12-piece Giggle and Hoot frame tray puzzle. There are 4 different puzzle designs to collect and they’re a great activity for little explorers to practise their fine motor skills. The recommended age for the puzzles is 3+ which made them a perfect gift for our miss 4 but our miss 1 also tried her best at fitting the strong cardboard pieces on the tray (without success).

Giggle and Hoot BabyLove nappies ($29, all sizes) are available in 5 different sizes: Infant (3-8kg, 96 pcs), Crawler (6-11 kg, 93 pcs), Toddler (9-14 kg, 81 pcs), Walker (12-17kg, 72 pcs) and Junior (15-25kg, 66 pcs) so from birth to toilet training, they’ve go you covered.

You can find the Giggle and Hoot BabyLove range in the nappy aisle of Woolworths supermarkets across Australia, to locate your local Woolworths store visit www.woolworths.com.au.

Play School Jemima DollTo celebrate the release of the new Giggle and Hoot BabyLove nappy range we’ve got a lovely prize pack to give away to one lucky Hip Little One reader, it could be you! If your little one is a big Play School fan this prize is sure to be a big hit. For your chance to win a box of Giggle and Hoot BabyLove nappies (RRP $29) in your preferred size and a gorgeous Play School Jemima Bedtime Plush Toy (RRP $26.95) enter our giveaway below.

To find out more ABC’s Giggle and Hoot, to browse the range and to order your favourite products online visit www.abcshop.com.au/giggleandhoot.

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Oct 152014

Brolly SheetsBrolly Sheets
What? 25% off storewide (Excludes value packs)
How? Prices as marked
When? Until October 26, 2014
Where? www.brollysheets.com

Metro MumMetromum
What? 20% off selected products
How? Prices as marked
When? Until October 16, 2014
Where? www.metromum.com.au

What? Up to 50% off storewide Birthday Sale
How? Prices as marked
When? Until October 26, 2014
Where? www.babyography.net.au

Kids Eco Style
What? Up to 80% off Closing Down Sale
How? Prices as marked
When? Until stock lasts
Where? www.kidsecostyle.com.au

Baby BuntingBaby Bunting
What? 50% off Playgro Grow with Me Garden Gym (save $50)
How? Prices as marked
When? Until October 19, 2014
Where? www.babybunting.com.au

Angel MaternityAngel Maternity
What? Free standard shipping Australia wide for all orders over $50 (Conditions apply)
How? Discount will be automatically applied at checkout
When? Until October 19, 2014
Where? www.angelmaternity.com.au

Oct 142014


Spring is here and so is party season. When you have four children like me you are bound to receive a big pile of party invitations and of course the kids love wearing something special which can be a costly business. Don’t worry, thanks to Target‘s Everyday Low Prices you can get the kids party pretty with a pleasant price tag:

Target Kids Spring Dress

Miss 6 is a real girly girl and would be horrified to be sent to a party in anything else but a dress. She would wear dresses every day if she could so I am not surprised by her Target pick, the Girls Star Print Pleat Dress ($25, size 1-7) was made for her. I absolutely love the navy colour, so classy and timeless and very forgiving when it come to little spills, after all a party wouldn’t be a party without a few accidents. The dress closes with buttons at the back for easy dressing and has an elasticised waist to add a nice shape, the pleated skirt always falls down nicely so there is no need to constantly pull on it to keep it neat.

Target Girls star Print Dress

Now I couldn’t find the Girls Spotted Playsuit ($20, size 1-7) online so you’ll have to pop into your local Target store for this one. This super stylish playsuit was the first thing I spotted in store and I knew it would be perfect for miss 4. It was a bit tricky to find the right size, size 4 was just too long in the leg so I went with size 3 (she has a gorgeous ’round’ shape so it’s a tad tight around her belly but I think it only makes her more adorable). Nice bonus: Being a bit more fitted at the ankle the suit won’t drag over the ground so it won’t get damaged or dirty as easily.

Target Girls Spotted Playsuit

The youngest of our bunch is always moving, still a bit wobbly on the legs and needs regular outfit changes so I decided to go for two separate pieces. This will allow you to change just the top or just the bottom if needed. Comfort and easy dressing is a big priority when shopping for a baby so the soft cotton Girls Sorbet Lace Back Tank ($8, size 1-7) and Girls Nautical Daisy Tiered Skirt ($15, size 1-7) are ideal, they’re both easy to mix and match with other items in her wardrobe and the lace detail on the back of the singlet is so cute.

Target Girls Lace Back Singlet

Master 6 sees a garden party as the perfect opportunity to run, climb, jump, roll and be silly with his friends so I went for casual and practical with the Boys Woven Shorts ($15, size 1-7) in green and the Boys Number Print Tee ($8, size 1-7). They are comfortable, easy to wash and wear and toilet breaks are a breeze thanks to the soft, stretchy waistband. As he is the most boisterous of our kids I know clothes may not last that long and with affordable price tags like this I don’t have to be too upset about a stain or a green knee (in saying that I didn’t pick green shorts for no reason).

Target Boys Woven Shorts

I couldn’t resist scooping up an extra little outfit for miss Sybbie, as soon I as saw these gorgeous Girls Floral Print Shorts with Belt ($15, size 0-24m) I knew I couldn’t leave the store without them. The pastel colours are very much on trend and the floral print just screams ‘spring’, how sweet is the plaited belt? (I would like one for myself too!). I teamed the shorts up with the Baby Girls Stripe Tee with Pocket ($10, size 0-24m), together the set cost me just $25 which I think is a very fair price.

Target Girls Floral Print Shorts

To find out more about Target, to browse the range and to locate a Target store near you go to www.target.com.au.

Oct 132014

Bonds Breast Cancer Month

On September 26 hip daddy and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. We looked back at all we have achieved, admired our four beautiful children and dreamed about our future, a tree change, a big garden, some chickens and a goat.

On September 27 I walked out of the doctor’s office with a referral for a breast ultrasound after a suspicious lump was found. I rang my husband and cried. I cried a lot those next days. I worried about my children and my husband, about the future that all of a sudden looked so unsure and I worried about having to face a diagnosis without any family support.

McGrath FoundationLuckily for me last week I received the reassuring phone call that everything was clear, I was so relieved and thankful that God heard my prayers and that I could live to see my children grow up. At the same time I realised that many other women are not this lucky and their futures will be forever changed by this horrible disease that affects 1 in 8 Australian women and takes so many lives every day.

You may think that there is not much you can do to help but together we CAN make a difference in the lives of breast cancer patients. In the past 5 years the McGrath Foundation has supported 25,000 Australian families who have been affected by breast cancer. With a McGrath Breast Care Nurse in every state and territory throughout Australia, families experiencing breast cancer can self refer to their nearest McGrath Breast Care Nurse and be supported by a McGrath Breast Care Nurse completely free of charge.

This October, in celebration of breast cancer awareness month, BONDS have partnered with the McGrath Foundation to raise much needed funds for the McGrath Foundation so that every breast cancer patient who needs it can have access to a Breast Care Nurse. I would like to encourage you to be generous and make your point today.


BONDS caters for breasts of all shapes and sizes with a fantastic new Boobicons bra range available in sizes 8A to 16G and everything in between. Big boobs, small boobs, perky boobs, uneven boobs, mama boobs, sporty boobs, bouncy boobs, dazzling boobs, BONDS has them all covered!

Bonds Boobicons TeeAs a cheeky encouragement to celebrate the Boobicons you are blessed with they have released a limited edition series of Boobicons Bonds Bestie T-shirts (RRP $24.95). Bonds Boobicons Tees are not available in stores but we have managed to secure a couple of these highly sought after tops and are giving you the chance to win one. Up for grabs are the following styles and sizes, which would suit your Boobicons most?

Bouncy Boobs – size L
Sporty Boobs – size M or L
Big Boobs – size M or L
Dazzling Boobs – size L
Mama Boobs – size S
Petite Boobs – size S or M
Perky Boobs – sieze S or M

To find out more about BONDS, to order your favourite Bonds Boobicons products online or to locate a stockist near you visit www.bonds.com.au, shipping is FREE Australia wide.

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Oct 122014

A few weeks ago we took miss Sybbie for her 18 month old immunisations and to say I was not looking forward to is an understatement. After all the doctor appointments, blood tests, X-rays and checkups she has had this past year she is (rightfully) not a big fan of doctors and I was expecting a lot of tears. While she is still small and doesn’t understand exactly what is happening we thought she might enjoy a bit of doctor pretend play herself with this gorgeous (and pain free) new LeapFrog you:

Mobile Med Kit

The LeapFrog Mobile Med Kit (RRP $34.99, ages 2+) is one of the latest additions to the range of LeapFrog learning toys. As you would expect from LeapFrog this awesome pretend play ambulance is the perfect mix of musical and educational entertainment and is great for the development of fine motor skills, it’s a winner all around.

Mobile Med KitIs there a doctor in the house? The colourful emergency vehicle doubles as a doctor’s bag and contains 4 cool doctor tools (stethoscope, thermometer, syringe and otoscope) to encourage imaginary play. Little people can visit their patients and drive them to the hospital, perform their own check ups and learn all about the human body through song and play. The ambulance and doctor’s instruments are chunky in shape and easy to hold for smaller hands.

LeapFrog Mobile Med Kit

As the ambulance rolls along your mini doctor hears helpful tips about hygiene (eg. Remember to sneeze into a tissue, to drink lots of water and to get lots of exercise and fresh air), can sing along to ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’ and even gets a gentle reminder to tidy up after playing. Of course your future doc also learns the name and colour of each doctor’s tool and what to use it for, prepare to get your heartbeat checked over and over again!

Mobile Med Kit by LeapFrog

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

Oct 112014

Disney Infinity 2.0

With just over 10 weeks to go until Christmas and the first toy catalogues hitting the letterboxes already many keen kids have already started making their wish lists. If your child is one of them there is a big chance the brand spanking new Disney Infinity 2.0 Starter Pack, which is said to be one of the top gifts for under the tree this year, is proudly parked on the no.1 spot:

Disney Infinity 2.0

Featuring hugely popular Marvel Superheroes characters from The Avengers, Spiderman and Guardians of the Galaxy this new Disney Infinity release has already gained a large fan base around the globe. As we all know technology constantly changes so Disney has taken the best of the original Disney Infinity 1.0 and combined it with a range of other exciting features to create Disney Infinity 2.0 (for compatibility between the two releases click here). With more than 20 new characters, amazing new worlds and missions and of course the never ending possibilities of the Disney Infinity Toy Box Disney Infinity 2.0 really offers play without limits.

Captain-AmericaOn one hand we’ve all heard the warnings about kids and computer games and the effects too much screen time can have on children, at the same time it is getting harder and harder to avoid computer and TV screens completely so it’s all about going with the times and finding the right balance. Obviously I am not an expert in this field but Daniel Donahoo most certainly is and he is happy to share his knowledge with parents, teachers and kids who are keen to get the most out of their screen time.

SpidermanAs an established author, researcher and speaker Daniel knows all about digital technology, learning, games, play and community, he is also a father of four who wants the best for his children. He has years of experience under his belt working across the child and family sector in government, private and research roles and is widely recognised for the development of new ideas and insights, delivery of innovative early childhood programs, policies and research in Australia and overseas.

Daniel is currently working with schools and students to research the role of pop culture and established characters on students’ storytelling capacity and literacy development. Daniel’s exciting new initiative called Infinity Learning explores the use of the Disney Infinity platform as a tool for teaching game design and facilitating game-based learning in schools. I guess we can safely say he knows all the ins and outs of Disney Infinity!

Here are Daniel’s best tips for turning your child’s screen time from lazy leisure into a valuable learning experience:

How can parents support learning through games?

  1. Make time to play games with your children. It is important that you venture into your children’s world and understand what they play and why. The best way to do this is play with them.
  2. Ask your children questions while they play. It only takes 5 minutes to ask your child, “What are you doing now?” while they play a compter game. But, this question means they have to critically think about what they are doing and explain it back to you which offers a short, but deep learning experience.
  3. Buy a diverse range of games. When buying games as gifts, don’t always default to the popular first person shooters. Consider games like Disney Infinity 2.0, Minecraft, Little Big Planet or Portal 2 that offer game environments that promote creativity and problem solving.
  4. Encourage Play Beyond the Screen. Disney Infinity 2.0 makes this easy with physical versions of characters to play with, but once screentime ends you can encourage children to tell stories, make stop motion animations or create a non-digital game based on their favorite console game or Disney character, for example.
  5. Recognise children are always learning. Even older children learn through play. Play and experiences are how we all learn and by parents realizing that the digital games our children play are more than just fun, helps us see how we can build and strengthen learning out of the games our children play.

Screentime Tips for the Home

  1. Not all screens are equal. Watching a TV show is different to playing a computer game where you build your own world. And, watching a nature documentary is different to watching reality television. It is not enough to just limit access to screens, consider how you create “active” screentime where children engage with the screen, rather than “passive” screen time where they are just watching.
  2. Don’t feel guilty. Everything in moderation. Parents are made to feel that using screens as babysitters is a bad thing. However, we need to be aware that sometimes we need the space to make dinner or get something done. That is ok, but we need to make sure we don’t do it all the time. Even kids need some down time to just play a game or watch their show, just don’t do it all weekend.
  3. Share the screen with your child. You don’t have to do it always, but watch a TV show with your child and talk about what you are watching. If you give them your phone, sometimes play a game with them or take turns on your favourite smartphone game. By making screentime a shared experience it is a different and more beneficial one for children.

What can I use Disney Infinity 2.0 for?

  1. Design your own game. You can create any type of game from a platformer to a pinball game or an 3D adventure game full of mazes, traps and enemies. Disney Infinity 2.0 makes it easier than ever to build amazing games.
  2. Learn to code. When making games, you will learn to code. To make games you need to learn logic programming and Disney Infinity 2.0 makes this a very simple process, so rather than wasting time on typing and cutting and pasting text, you are clicking and connecting items to make them do amazing things in your game.
  3. Make your own animated story. You can use the characters you know from your favorite movies to make your own stories and tales. Use the built in cameras that come in the Toy Box to create small movies and scenes where the Avengers rescue Donald Duck or, where Donald Duck rescues the Avengers.
  4. The Toy Box in Disney Infinity 2.0 is an amazing space for exploration and experimentation in a digital world. You can play around and see what toys can be programmed and connected to what other toys to create new and different results.
  5. Create your school project. Ask your teacher if you can do your next school project in Disney Infinity. You could use the real world physics aspects of the Toy Box to demonstrate a physics problem, you could create a game that shows you understand fractions or design a world that helps you explain how different biomes work. There are simply no limits.

To find out more about Disney Infinity, to see what’s new in Disney Infinity 2.0 (RRP $99.95) and to locate a stockist near you visit www.disneyinfinity.com.au.