Alice-Miranda giveaway

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Nov 012016


As a child I absolutely loved reading Enid Blyton’s stories about a set of twins at boarding school, it sounded like so much fun and there was always a new adventure waiting around the corner. Now it’s time for the next generation to explore the highs and lows of boarding school with the fabulous Alice-Miranda series by real-life boarding school teacher Jacqueline Harvey. This time Alice-Miranda packs her bags and heads overseas for a cultural school exchange all the way in China:


Whether Alice-Miranda follows adventure or whether adventure follows her, one thing is sure: There is never a boring day when Alice-Miranda is around. From visiting some of China’s popular tourist hotspots to sampling the local cuisines and staying with a real Chinese family, Alice-Miranda and her friends from the boarding school are having the time of their life in Alice-Miranda in China (RRP $16.99).

The girls are particularly impressed with famous Chinese acrobat group Circus of Golden Destiny and its leading star, a flexible girl called Summer. When they meet the talented acrobat Alice-Miranda and her friend Jacinta instantly feel that something is amiss, and over the next few days the mystery only deepens. When their host family turns out to be an acrobat group too they’re catapulted right into the centre of it all. In between the trapezes, backflips, tumbles and spinning plates Alice-Miranda and her new Chinese friends bundle their powers to solve the puzzle and put the smile back on the face of little Summer.

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

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A mama treat from Molton Brown

 Mum  Comments Off on A mama treat from Molton Brown
Aug 082015

Molton Brown

A week ago I celebrated my 32nd birthday, not really a special milestone but with four (soon five!) young children even those ‘ordinary’ birthdays are a big party. My wonderful hubby is an expert at putting together a surprise day filled with my favourite things to do, visit, see and (of course) eat and this year was no different. Of course I was spoiled with some lovely gifts too, includes these two Molton Brown treasures:

Molton Brown Honeysuckle White Tea Gift Set

While travelling the globe the bath and body connoisseurs from Molton Brown ended up in Sichuan, China where they found their inspiration for the new Blossoming Honeysuckle & White Tea Collection. If you are like me and love a feminine, fresh, floral scent you will adore these delicious products.

Molton Brown Honeysuckle White Tea Hand CreamI’ll be the first to admit that I usually skip the body moisturising part after the shower simply because I have so much to do, but after trying this beautiful body lotion (and enjoying the fragrance long after) I think I may have to start making time for it. Featuring a delightful blend of mandarin, jasmine flower, honeysuckle, white tea and (one of my favourites) sandalwood it truly is a feast for the senses.

Molton Brown Honeysuckle White Tea Eau de ToiletteThe Blossoming Honeysuckle & White Tea Collection currently consists of four products (Bath & Shower Gel, Body Lotion, Eau de Toilette and Hand Cream) that can be purchased individually or in gift sets ready to surprise someone special (or yourself) with a lovely treat, prices start at a very affordable RRP $15. All Molton Brown products are proudly made in Londen, UK and not tested on animals so you can enjoy their luxury range with confidence.

To find out more about Molton Brown, to locate a stockist near you or to order online visit

Dec 092014

Kate Inglish Designs

Christmas Countdown – Day 9

Of course every single Christmas is special but there is no denying that a child’s very first Christmas is extra memorable. A gorgeous photo with Santa, a handmade Christmas stocking, a personalised Christmas bauble and a beautiful keepsake gift that will be treasured for years to come, how will you celebrate your little one’s first Christmas?

Royal Doulton Bunnykins 2 Piece Baby Set

Australian online boutique Kate Inglish Designs is home to many sweets gifts that would suit this occasion including the famous Royal Doulton Bunnykins collection that has captured the hearts of children all across the globe with its enchanting designs.

Bunnykins MugAll Bunnykins dinnerware is made from chip resistant, high quality bone china and is dishwasher and microwave safe making it a durable gift that can be enjoyed meal after meal, you may even still have your own Bunnykins pieces from when you were little! The detailed illustrations of the Bunnykins family and their adventures are absolutely delightful, there are many different designs available to suit boys and girls of all ages.

Bunnykins Baby PlateThe thing I love most about the Bunnykins collection is that you don’t have to buy the complete set straight away, you can build your own set over time by adding separate bowls, mugs and plates in different sizes as your child grows. It would be a lovely tradition for grandparents to share with their grandchildren, they can gift a new piece at birth, the christening, Christmas and birthdays so each child has a beautiful, unique collection to cherish for life. Prices start at $29.95.

To find out more about Kate Inglish Designs, to browse the range and to order online visit

For your chance to win a Royal Doulton Bunnykins Cereal Bowl (RRP $49.95) enter our giveaway below:

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Apr 102012

A long, long time ago before I became a mother, I used to have time to reads books. I read every spare minute of my time, on the bus, in my lunch break, in the bath, in the bed, I just love reading and find it very relaxing. I am hoping there will soon come a time when I get to enjoy a good book again so I have started a list of books I want to read and one of them is Beijing Tai Tai.

After reading a few snippits of this book by Australian mum Tania McCartney I can’t wait to dig in and read it from cover to cover. This brave mum did something I could never do, move with her husband and two small children to the capital of China for four long years. I don’t know how much you (think you) know about China but I am most definitely not an expert and this is a great book to learn more about this amazing country, the good and the bad, seen through a mum’s eyes.

The easy-to-read, column style set-up makes Beijing Tai Tai an enjoyable (and often hilarious) read and I have no doubt you will appreciate Tania’s story telling. There are lots of differences between Australia and China and fashion is most certainly one of them. Especially for Hip little one Tania is sharing a bit more about what is hip in Beijing and how she eventually managed (was forced) to accept the Beijing style, enjoy!

The Kids’ Fashion Snob
How Beijing’s stores took me down a peg or two

Oh, the bedazzlement! How overcome was I when I first saw the kids’ clothing available in China. The sequins, the lace, the ruffles and frills. The neon, the mesh, the English language slogans in chronic need of a sober proof reader. And let’s not forget the collection of pilfered Disney characters, Bobdog and Hello Kitty emblazoned on pant legs from here to Middle Kingdom Come. Oh, the devastation. I knew kids clothes were cheap in China and sadly, I soon found out why.

You see, I absolutely adore kids’ clothing; always have. And like many things in life, the more beautiful––the higher the price tag. Put it this way: $5 Levi rip-offs look like $5 Levi rip-offs.

When we first moved to pre-Olympic Beijing (2005), my kids toddled the grime-laden streets wearing snowy white, frightfully expensive designer duds. I was wearing daggy ten-year-old jeans and owned two pairs of scuffed shoes but my kids looked like models from a Country Road pressed-linen fashion shoot. Their designer t-shirts alone fetched a price that would have any serious shopper feigning a faint at Ya Show market.

Any sane person knows it’s quite ridiculous what real designer clothing costs, yet I happily went without so I could gaze upon my kids in their gorgeous photo-shoot ensembles. Yes, I adored the white clouds of French linen, the trendy fabrics, the retro designs. I was, indeed, a kids’ clothing aficionado, a wannabe clothing designer for little ones, a shameless kids’ fashion snob who would shun the hairdresser and instead resort to bottled hair-colour with the singular intention of avoiding a Spiderman pyjama meltdown at Kmart.

So I hauled box after box of these outrageously-priced ensembles to Beijing, but alas, when you go live in a different country for four years, your kids tend to eventually grow, and their expensive designer duds become tighter and smaller, and the reality of hitting the real Beijing clothing world gets closer and closer, and eventually you just have to succumb.

Oh, the humanity!

Maybe I succumbed because Beijing taught me how utterly blind-sided we are by clothing prices in the West. Maybe it was actual real-life emergencies like when my daughter had no shoes that fit and her legs stuck out of her pants like Huck Finn. But I did it––I gradually began trawling the markets, the neighbourhood stores, the department stores and slowly, very slowly, amongst the Garfield tutus and Felix the Cat bomber jackets, I found some finds.

Were they designer finds? Maybe. Who knows? Even after four years in the capital and many a seasoned shopping expedition under my belt, the question of ‘real’ v ‘fake’ remains an unmitigated mystery only the Chinese market veterans will ever truly know. I could very well be sitting on a goldmine of real $9 Oilily frocks or $7.50 Valentino chinos, but does it really matter?

Shortly before leaving Beijing for Australia, the kids’ clothing situation (just like the capital and its post-Olympic infrastructure) had vastly improved. A spate of truly gorgeous kids’ shops and mainstream stores opened, all offering adorable and beautiful clothing, resplendent with quality and a decent price that hopefully filtered down to its local workers (and not a sequin or lace tuft in sight!).

Indeed, I was able to fill our out-bound suitcases with many a glorious bargain––and I’m happy to report I’m still unearthing items from the stash for my kids to wear, three years later. Whilst foraging through this stash recently, I retrieved the odd, kitsch, even bedazzled item that––I will admit––a part of me has grown somewhat fond of. So, I’m coming clean. Yes, Ella owns a pair of Betty Boop tracksuit pants and yes yes, Riley has a few pairs of polyester Chinese pyjamas.

The clothing snob in me still adores beautiful children’s clothing, but . . . shhh . . . if you close the curtains really tight to prevent the neighbours peeking in, there’s really nothing wrong with a little bedazzlement before midday. And all under $5 a pop.

Tania McCartney is an editor, presenter and book-obsessed author of both children’s and adult books. As an ACT Ambassador for the National Year of Reading 2012, she is passionate about literacy and children’s literature. Tania runs literary site Kids Book Review, writes for several online sites and loves paper, travel, marshmallows and laughing. Join the Beijing Tai Tai Virtual Book Tour here.

To find out more about Beijing Tai Tai by Tania McCartney ($24.99, published by Exisle Publishing) and to order the book online visit

For your chance to win a copy of Beijing Tai Tai simply answer the following question: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of China?

Submit your answer by leaving a comment below, your email address will not be published.

If you really want to win you can earn up to ten additional entries, please leave separate comments for each entry:

Competition ends May 10, 2012. Sorry, Australian entries only.