Christmas with Peppa

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Dec 152019
 

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Whether you’re planning a quick Christmas getaway, a long Summer road trip or a traditional family visit, Peppa Pig is the perfect Christmas companion for young travellers. My two little ones absolutely adore this little pink piggy which is why Sinterklaas spoilt them with some fabulous Peppa gifts just in time for our holiday adventures:

Now that miss Hattie has had a first taste of kindy life she is super excited about the school year ahead. Learning to write her letters is quite tricky but Peppa knows how to make it fun with the Peppa Pig Scribbles & Sounds Doodle Board (RRP $24.95, ages 2+). Forget scrunched up paper or blunt pencils, don’t worry about leaking markers or messy crayons, this travel size doodle board has everything you need for drawing and writing on the go.

Scribble, write, trace and draw as much as you like and when you’re done you simply pull the lever to erase everything and start all over again. Using the chunky toddler-proof stylus and three sturdy plastic stencils little Peppa fans can create all the letters of the alphabet or even learn how to draw Peppa or George.

The real magic is in the smart interactive technology, allowing the doodle board to recognise which letter or character you are tracing. How clever is that? The board is a perfect combination of doodling and development: Across four different modes kids can learn letters and hear the sounds they make (W makes the sound w), play a scavenger hunt (Can you find the letter U for Umbrella? That’s brilliant), listen to music (Draw to keep the music playing) or use their imagination and make up stories (S is for Suzy Sheep, Suzy likes to be a nurse).

When not in use the three coloured stencils can be stored on the back of the board and the stylus is securely attached to the board, so there won’t be any missing pieces.

Our little two don’t always get along but they definitely bond over their love for Peppa, who would have thought Hattie and Ted could read a book together without fighting? Admittedly there is so much to see and do in the Peppa Pig Learn & Discover Book (RRP $29.95, ages 2+) that there is no time to argue. They are way too busy exploring pages and pictures, letters and lights, stories and sounds and more.

Designed for little hands this colourful book has large buttons and 14 easy-to-turn pages full of Peppa Pig fun. As young readers grow and develop new skills they can make their way from single letters to recognising words and even read them in short sentences eg. L, L is for Lake, Then we flew a kite by the lake and M, M is for Milk, We bought milk and noodles with Mummy at the supermarket.

The many functions of this Learn and Discover book make it an exciting and educational read for different stages. Our 2-year old loves flicking pages, humming along to familiar tunes in Music Time or listening to the sounds of Daddy Pig, Mummy Pig and George. Our 4-year old is more intrigued by learning her letters in ABC mode or hearing the short stories in Story Time. She also enjoys the challenge of Search and Find (Can you find the letter N? Let’s look for the Onions? Well done!), but only if she gets it right!

Now that he is finally finding his voice there is no stopping Ted. He is always pointing at things in books, singing his favourite songs and chatting to Daddy or one of his Peppa friends on this super sized Peppa Pig Let’s Chat Learning Phone (RRP $19.95, ages 2+).

He can hear simple messages from George, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig, see them on the LCD screen and listen to tunes from the TV show. His favourite entertainment is blowing up George’s balloon by blowing in the microphone. Usually toy phones quickly lose their charm as toddlers get older but not this one! I love that the Let’s Chat Learning Phone also caters for curious preschoolers like our Hattie with simple math games featuring the numbers 0-9.

Three built-in games are guaranteed to get little minds working as Peppa introduces kids to counting, number recognition and basic addition. Make a batch of cupcakes with Daddy Pig and count them, catch the falling leaves and build a leaf collection with Peppa Pig or count your happy jumps in muddy puddles, but don’t forget your boots!

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

Ready, Set, Action with Kidizoom

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Jan 142019
 

VTech

Growing up in The Netherlands our Christmas holidays only lasted two weeks, so for me it still feels a little strange to have 6 long weeks of school holidays this time of year. Not that my kids are complaining, they love the summer holidays and having a brand new selection of Christmas presents to play with makes it extra fun! For master 10 this Vtech gift was an absolute winner and he has used it every single day so far:

The Kidizoom Action Cam 180° (RRP $89.95, ages 5+) is a compact, light, kid-friendly camera that is built for adventures. Fitted with a cool 180° rotatable lens that simply flips from front to back you will never miss a perfect picture or special selfie again, just point and click!

With the help of special effects, self-timer, background music, time-lapse and stop/slow/fast motion you can turn your photos and videos into unique pieces of art and fancy action shots. You can then share your files with your family and friends by exporting them to your computer. This is such a great way for my family in The Netherlands to see bits of our life in Australia, as seen through the eyes of the kids (instead of us adults). At 128MB the camera’s internal memory is not huge, however if you want to store more videos and photos you can expand the memory with a microSD card (not supplied).

Whether you are taking snaps at home, videoing a song or dance, recording your latest skateboard trick, cruising the bike track or even splashing at the pool or beach Kidizoom is always ready for action. Of course we wouldn’t want you to your ride your bike handsfree or lose your balance on your scooter so the Kidizoom Action Cam includes a handy bicycle mount that allows you to attach the camera to your bike or scooter. The mount is super easy to install and to use, in fact you don’t even need a screwdriver to set it up!

Because VTech knows active Aussie kids absolutely love the water the Kidizoom Action Cam 180° also comes with a special waterproof case that enables you to take your camera to the pool or beach and make the most amazing underwater photos and videos (up to 6 feet under water). Our kids can’t wait to test this out on our next trip to the beach! Swimming, snorkeling, fishing, or even surfing or paddle boarding (using the included adhesive mount), you’ll be able to record and relive your favourite watersport memories whenever you want.

But there is more, aside from taking photos and videos you can also use the Action Cam 180° to play three fun games: Ocean Dive, Forest Quest and Unicycle Challenge. Forest Quest is miss 5’s top pick, she loves moving the camera around to look through the binoculars and hunt for forest creatures. The built-in games are a fabulous boredom buster for long drives and have saved us from a lot of ‘are we there yet?’ questions these holidays.

Budget-conscious parents will be pleased to know that there is no needed for expensive batteries, that somehow always seem to run out at the most inconvenient of times. The Kidizoom Action Cam 180° has a convenient rechargeable battery, allowing you to charge it over and over again with the included USB cable. If you have a USB car-charger you can even charge it on the way to your next adventure, how easy is that?

The verdict: We have found the Kidizoom Action Cam 180° very child friendly: it’s easy to set up and easy to use, in fact our 5-year old daughter barely needed any help and knew her way with the camera in no time. This offers a great feeling of independence and the kids are always very proud to show off their photo art, videos or animations they have made. The Action Cam has definitely become a must-have for our family adventures!

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.

Holiday at Home with BRIO

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Nov 192017
 

BRIO

Living oceans away from your family is hard, really hard. Some days are better than others but when you’ve just had a baby and the Christmas season is coming up it’s extra tough. Thankfully after 11 years of marriage Hip Daddy knows how much I struggle this time of year, so he gave us an early surprise by booking us an amazing 5-week holiday with my family next year. I know it is still months away but the kids and I are already getting in the mood with BRIO:

Backpacks and suitcases, swimmers and sunnies, toys and books for on the plane and of course loads of presents for all our loved ones, at our house the planning and preparing is always part of the fun. If you’re planning to take your little ones on a plane trip this Summer the cute BRIO Airplane Boarding Set (Ages 3+) would make a perfect Christmas gift.

This 5-piece play set is sure to get little travellers excited about an upcoming holiday, I just love the wooden details. It includes a fabulous looking aeroplane, the pilot, a holiday maker with a suitcase and even a rolling staircase to lead passengers on and off the plane, just like in real life. The roof of the plane opens up to reveal three spots to fit your two figurines and a piece of luggage.

I love that you can use this toy plane to go on a pretend flight in the air, as well as ride it on the ground using the sturdy wheels that roll nice and smooth. The people can be posed to stand up or sit down and you can even move their arms to actually hold the suitcase or grab the railing of the staircase. Designed for small hands the Airplane Boarding Set is easy to hold and play with and its compact size makes it an excellent toy for on-the-go, it will fit perfectly in a kids backpack or suitcase.

Going on a plane trip can be quite scary for young children, which is where a fun, playful toy like this can really make a difference. Kids can use their imagination and act out little stories about going on a holiday, flying on a plane and how to board and onboard, so that when it’s time for take-off they feel more prepared and calm about the trip ahead. For our 2-year old this will be the first time she’ll fully understand and experience a flight (a 24 hour journey in fact) so we’ll definitely be using BRIO in our holiday preparations.

To find out more about Childsmart and to browse the BRIO range visit www.childsmart.com.au or get social with @Childsmart on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Click and Capture with Kidizoom

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Oct 292017
 

VTech

That’s it, the final school term of the year has begun! The big three kids have done incredibly well at school this year and we are so proud of them, they made some great new friends and brought home fantastic report cards and test results. As a reward for all their hard work (and to keep them busy in the school holidays) all of the kids were treated to a special present and with a brand new baby brother to photograph I am not surprised Olivia loves playing around with Kidizoom by VTech:

Packed with clever, cool and comic features the new VTech Kidizoom Duo (RRP $99.95, ages 3 to 9) turns creative kids into talented photographers in the blink of an eye. Here’s what we love most about Kidizoom:

As the name suggests this stylish kids camera has a dual lens, allowing kids to easily swap between making silly selfies and taking awesome snaps of friends, pets or family (especially cute baby siblings!), anytime they want. There is no need to turn your camera around and keep your fingers crossed that you get a great shot, a simple touch of a button is all it takes to change between the front- and rear facing camera.

The generous 2.4 inch colour screen, chunky shape and large buttons make it very easy for small hands to control the Kidizoom camera, our 4-year old mastered it in no-time and even our curious 2-year old will snap a picture or two if she can get her hands on it. Because we all know accidental knocks and drops are inevitable the Kidizoom Duo offers great peace of mind with a sturdy kid-tough design.

Olivia and her sisters have quickly become selfie-experts and they have the best time turning their selfies into art with the photo editor. There are loads of colourful decorations, pretty frames and silly dress-ups to choose from, so if you love photo booths and funny props Kidizoom has got you covered. How can you not giggle when giving your bald dad a funky hairdo or when your baby brother wears a big pink bow? Using the included USB cable all your Kidizoom creations can be transferred to your computer, ready to share with family and friends.

Not only can you capture precious moments on camera, you can even record your own voice, film your very own videos and create short movies. With the addition of special animations or funny effects you can turn average into awesome, flat into fun and plain into picture perfect, with the Kidizoom Duo the sky is the limit.  A real bonus treat are the 5 built-in games, they’re proving to be a great boredom buster on long car trips!

Powered by 4 AA batteries the VTech Kidizoom camera is ideal for use at home or holiday, just remember to pack some spare batteries or rechargeables so you don’t miss out on the shot of a lifetime! Hip tip: If desired you can expand the camera’s internal memory (ca. 200 photos) by adding a microSD or microSDHC card. The VTech Kidizoom Duo is available in blue or pink to suit both boys and girls.

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.

Apr 062017
 

I don’t know about you but to me this has felt like the never-ending school term, it just kept on going! Thankfully the end is now in sight and we’re almost ready for a well deserved break and maybe even a little getaway. Whether you’re planning a camping experience, road trip, sea escape or another fun vacation, make sure you pack plenty of entertainment to keep young travellers busy. If Sydney is on your itinerary this fabulous find is an absolute travel must-have:

After the huge success of the first dedicated kids journal for Bali holiday-makers the clever people behind My Awesome Adventure have released a brand new title for those staying closer to home, check out My Awesome Sydney Adventure.

From cool geography facts to a quick lesson in aboriginal history, from city highlights to a game of spot what, from animal ‘did-you-know’s to colouring-in and puzzles, from astronomy to story writing, code cracking and much more, My Awesome Sydney Adventure: A Travel Journal for Kids (RRP $24.95) is not just an ordinary travel journal!

We all know that holidays go too quickly and afterwards photos and memories are all that is left. From our European trips we have learnt that kids really enjoy keeping their own record of their trip and these personal journals make lovely keepsakes for later. Our kids still flick through their old journals every now and then and it brings back the most precious memories!

My Awesome Adventure journals are a great tool to inspire and encourage children to look around and see things from different angles, I just love how each child shows their individuality and personality in the way they see and write about their experience. With 89 pages of journalling fun there’s no time to waste, get exploring! So remember to pack your journal, grab a packet of markers and you’re in for a Sydney adventure to enjoy now and treasure forever.

To find out more about My Awesome Adventure, to take a closer look at the kids travel journals and to order online visit www.myawesomeadventure.com.

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Nov 302016
 

fly-tot

Now that December is finally upon us everyone is getting excited about warm family get-togethers, special trips and much anticipated holidays, I can’t wait! While most of us looks forward to the fun, friends and festivities that await at our destination, the thought of travelling there is a lot less inviting. If you are planning a plane trip with young children you are going to love this sanity-saver:

fly-tot-single-seat

Created by two clever mothers and seasoned travellers the Fly-Tot (RRP $120) is an absolute travel must-have for young families, If only I had discovered it before our last European adventure, it would have been such a great help!

fly-totThe Fly-Tot concept is simple but genius: First place your Fly-Tot cushion in front of your child’s plane seat, then blow it up with the included foot pump to instantly create a comfortable lounge seat for your little jet-setter. It’s almost like turning your regular Economy seat into First Class luxury! Thanks to all this added space little ones can rest their legs and even curl up for a nap without limbs continuously sliding off the seat, how clever is that?

fly-tot-compactFly-Tot has been thoroughly tested to fit nice and snug in between plane seats and even if you are in a Super Economy seat (very little space!) you can use the Fly-Tot upside down. If you are travelling with two children you can double the Fly-Tot comfort by using two cushions next to each other to create ‘beds’, it’s a bit like camping on a plane. When not in use your Fly-Tot cushion deflates to a compact package and a handy carry-strap for easy transport is included.

As you may know we travel to Europe every second year to visit my family so I know all about exhausting long-haul flights, tired children and uncomfortable sleeping positions. Fly-Tot is such an easy way to make the journey more enjoyable, after all happy, well-rested children equal happy parents!

fly-tot-double-seat

To find out more about Fly-Tot and to order your own Fly-Tot online in time for the holiday season visit www.flytot.com.au.

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Alice-Miranda giveaway

 Giveaways, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Alice-Miranda giveaway
Nov 012016
 

Penguin

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:

alice-miranda

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 www.penguin.com.au.

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