Feeding The Book Worm.

*This post was brought to you in partnership with Bookworld*

Ever since I was a child, I have loved to read. I would spend hours on the weekends getting lost in books, and often sneakily read in bed until the wee hours of the morning.

My love for books continued into adulthood. I can recall many bleary eyed days at work, from staying up until three in the morning to finish a book I just could not put down. Since becoming vision impaired, I have had to swap hard copy books for the iPad, however my heart will always belong to the real thing. That delicious smell of fresh pages in a brand new book and the glossy cover, still unmarked, and crease free.

It’s only natural that I have passed on my love of books and reading to Milla. I used to read to my pregnant belly before I went to sleep, and from the day Milla came home from hospital my husband and I have read to her every night before bed.

Now that Milla is a little older, and FINALLY gotten over the ‘rip books to shreds’ stage, (man, I thought that would never pass!) I have loved being able to buy her beautiful books that we are able to share together.

bookworld6bookworld7Here are some of our favourites ~

bookworld2As you can see from how battered and old this book is, it is much loved. This is the book that I used to read to Milla when she was still in the womb, every night before I went to sleep. Nowadays when we read it, Milla likes to attempt all the actions, which adds a certain wacky element to before bed story time 😉  This is also the book where the classic “I love you to the moon and back” line comes from.

bookworld4We have been reading the Hairy Maclary series since Milla was little, the range is available in board books, hard cover and soft cover. All the characters in Hairy Maclary have gorgeous names that match their descriptions. (My favourite is ‘Schnitzel von Krumm, with a very low tum’) The stories have a beautiful rhythm and rhyme to them.

bookworld3Another great book for it’s rhythm and rhyme.  I’m a big fan of rhyming books, as I think the flow engages children beautifully. This book always gets a giggle from Milla, as the sheep get up to some crazy antics. But where is the GREEN sheep??

bookworldWe love this book for it’s repetition and sound effects. As Milla has gotten older, and her language has improved, she will recite the words along with me. This is also a great book to ‘act’ out. Swishing through grass, squelching through mud and tiptoeing through the forest! Lots of opportunities to expand on ideas from this book.

bookworld5When I was a child, I ADORED Dr Suess books, and couldn’t wait to buy Milla a set when she was old enough. Warning~ These books are serious tongue twisters! I actually get out of breath reading them. Milla calls them her ‘silly’ books, and cracks up laughing all the way through.

bookworld1I love the illustrations in this book, and again with the rhyming. (Are you sensing a theme here?!) There is also a nice, subtle message about what’s on the inside being more important than what’s on the outside.

We are always adding to our collection of books, and I am pretty excited about a massive clearance sale at Bookworld that starts on May 16th. There will be up to 70% off a wide range of books.You can visit the Bookworld Clearance Sale here.

I actually discovered Bookworld just before Christmas, when I ordered a whole heap of books from ‘Santa’.  They have free delivery within Australia, and if you join their ‘Citizen’ club, (it’s free) you receive 10% of all books. I love shopping for books online, and often find some new goodies through different search options; age, genre etc.

I’d love to hear what books you enjoy reading with your children? What are some favourites?

She’s The Cat’s Pyjamas. {Review and Giveaway}

*This post features products I was gifted to review. Also, an awesome giveaway at the end. Added bonus blooper reel ;) *

Quite a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to receive some goodies to review from Stuck On You. Some gorgeous personalised pyjamas from their personalised clothing range and a personalised wall canvas. It was a week or two before we were moving house, so I decided to save them as a special surprise to go with Milla’s new bedroom.

I was quite worried about how she would adapt to the new house. Children on the autism spectrum often struggle with changes to their environments and routines. Milla is particularly structured around her bath/bed routine, so I thought some special new pj’s might help ‘sweeten the deal’ in the new house.

Stuck On You personalised pj's.Stuck On You personalised pj's.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stuck On You personalised pj's.As you can see from that grin, my plan worked! She was so excited about her ‘Milla’ pj’s that it was almost impossible to get her to stay still for a photo! Which did make for a hilarious ‘blooper reel’…

Stuck on you personalised pj'sThe first thing Milla said in the morning when she got out of bed was “I got pretty clothes on”. I think it’s safe to say they got her stamp of approval!

As with all of the Stuck on You products, I was able to choose the colour, design and type of font, and preview it on the website before ordering.

close upI chose the short sleeve personalised  top, the long sleeve personalised top, and the matching personalised pyjama long pants. They also have matching short pj pants too. The pj pants feature the name and design on the back pocket.

Stuck on you personalised pj pantsStuck on You personalised pj pants previewWhat I love most about the pyjamas is how soft the fabric is. I’ve washed these a few times now, and they still feel really soft and smooth. Another awesome feature is that the care/washing instructions are printed inside the clothes, so that there is no annoying tag to worry about. Milla hates tags, and makes me cut them off everything, leaving me with no idea how to wash them.

stuck on you labelWe are so keen on these pj’s, I think I will be buying some more sets for Summer. Milla asks to wear them every night, so we definitely need a few more pairs!

Stuck on you personalised canvasThe personalised wall canvas comes in two sizes; medium 300x300mm and small 200x200mm. I chose the small size, as I wanted it to hang on the outside of Milla’s bedroom door, and this size is perfect. Again, everything is fully customisable, with 25 designs to choose from making it super easy to coordinate with the decor of your child’s room. (The selections of designs offer heaps of choice for both girls and boys )

To check out the whole range that Stuck On You offer, you can visit their website at www.stuckonyou.com.au

You can also follow them on Facebook here and Twitter here.

Now, the exciting part! I have not one, but TWO $50 Stuck on You gift cards to giveaway!$50 voucherAll you have to do is follow the prompts below, and tell me what you would spend your $50 voucher on. Competition closes midnight (EDST) on Sunday the 3rd of November. Good luck!

Kmart Endless Days Of Play Giveaway

Last week I was invited to an event to celebrate the introduction of a new toy range from Kmart. The night before, I thought I’d have a look at Kmart’s new Facebook page. People were not happy. It seemed that Kmart had made the decision to no longer offer the mid year toy sales and six month Christmas layby. As what often happens via social media, people were whipped up in a frenzy. I was interested to see how it would be addressed the following day, and what the reasoning behind this decision would be.

KmartThe launch was hosted by Tracy Spicer, and featured the General Manager of Kmart, and the Kmart Head of Toys (coolest job EVER!)

There was a lot of discussion on the background of Kmart, the business, and changes that had been made to evolve with Australian consumers.

The important points that people want to know though, is why the change, and what’s in it for us (the consumers)?

  • Kmart conducted independent research with Australian consumers. 94% said they would prefer lower prices every day, rather than inflated prices year round to allow for half yearly sales.
  • Last year 30% of the Christmas 6 monthly laybys were returned by customers. Feedback was that children changed their minds in that six month period, and also that new toys were released in the months following the mid year toy sales.
  • Kmart has released a new range of quality toys, across all ages/developmental stages, that will remain at a fixed lower price than similar ranges from competitors, for the next six months.
  • Branded toys will still be available from Kmart, and if advertised at a cheaper price elsewhere, Kmart will match that price.
  • Kmart have committed to only working with factories that meet strict standards of safety and social compliance, and have signed The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

Personally, I am happy with the changes that Kmart made. The “Endless Days of Play” campaign suits our family. I want to be able to purchase quality toys at a lower rate all year. Milla’s birthday is in October and she has lots of little friends with birthdays in the next six months. I want to know that I can walk into a store and purchase toys at an affordable price, every day of the year. Call me lazy, (because I am a little!) but I really don’t have the time or energy to plan my shopping around several different department stores, months in advance.

Of course, the most important question ~ “What about the children? Is anyone thinking about the children??”   What will our kids think of this new range of toys?

After the Kmart presentation, the curtains opened to reveal every child’s dream; a virtual toy shop where they could touch and play with EVERYTHING!

KmartAnd play they did!

kmart3

Kmart

Kmart

Kmart

There is a huge range of toys, across all ages and interests.  The toys are made to compliment the big ‘branded’ toys, eg. The pink convertible car fits the Barbie brand doll, the building table fits the Leggo brand blocks etc. My personal favourites are the wooden toys. Gorgeous wooden doll houses, Noah’s Arc, train tables etc. To see the full range, you can view the Kmart Endless Days Of Play catalogue here.

Like what you see? Well, Kmart is giving you the opportunity to win a $150 voucher to celebrate the launch of the new range! To enter, please follow the prompts below, and comment on which toy from the Kmart Endless Days of Play catalogue you would have loved as a child.  Me? I would have loved the Roller Shoes. Why walk when you can skate right? (told you I was lazy!) 

Competition closes at midnight EST on Friday the 28th June. Good Luck!

*Disclaimer- I attended the launch of the Kmart Endless Days Of Play campaign/toy range, and Milla received a couple of toys from the new toy range as a gift. I was not requested, or under any obligation, to write a post, and all views, as always, are my own.*

Squeaky Clean {Review and Giveaway}

*This post features products I was gifted for review. Also, an awesome giveaway at the end. And a picture of Milla pulling THE BEST duckface *

I have always been a huge fan of the Brauer Natural Medicine range. The Colic Relief and the Teething Relief drops were absolute lifesavers when Milla was a baby, and I still use the Cold and Flu natural medicine for her now.

I was thrilled when I learned that Brauer have released a new line of Natural Baby skincare products, and jumped at the chance to review them. The entire range consists of :

  • Shampoo
  • Sleepytime Bath
  • Bath and Body wash
  • Soft skin lotion
  • Nappy balm
  • Massage Oil

For the past week I have been using the shampoo, Sleepytime Bath, Bath and Body wash and the massage oil. I have one sweet smelling, squeaky clean girl!

b4

Brauer Natural Baby

Probably about six months ago, Milla broke out in nasty eczema over her body, so we started using bath wash and shampoo for sensitive skin. In the last few weeks we bought a bubble bath, and noticed her skin was becoming quite dry and flaky again.

We have been using the Brauer Bath and Body wash and the Sleepytime Bath, alternating each day, for a week, then rubbing the massage oil on Milla’s torso after her bath every night, and the dry skin has completely cleared up! Her skin feels smooth and soft, I am really impressed that it worked so quickly.

When it came to testing the shampoo, I was a little nervous. Milla has long, slightly curly hair, and it can get knotty very easily.

Brauer Natural Baby

We had been using a combined shampoo and conditioner, so I wasn’t sure whether the Brauer Baby Shampoo would be able to keep Milla’s hair as smooth.

b5

^^^Getting this shot was no easy feat ^^^

The Blooper Reel
The Blooper Reel

I needn’t have worried, after Milla’s bath, her hair neatly combed through, not a single knot!  Brauer Natural BabyOverall, I was very happy with all the products I trialled. They work really well, are gentle on Milla’s sensitive skin, and smell absolutely DIVINE! They are made from honey, shea butter and paw paw and contain no petrochemicals. They also come in super cute packaging, and each product comes with a bonus rubber ducky!

Brauer Nutural BabyI will definitely keep using the Brauer Natural Baby range, and am going to purchase the body lotion to try out too.  I’m pretty confident it will be as good as the rest of the range.

To find out more about Brauer products, you can visit their website at www.brauer.com.au and also visit their Facebook page.

If you would like to purchase some Brauer Natural products for yourself, I have a 20% discount coupon for every reader to use at Woolworths, valid until the 16th of June. Simply click on the link below to download your coupon:

20% Off Brauer Natural Baby Range From Woolworths

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

No, not a set of free steak knives, even better, Brauer are giving away to one lucky reader, a $250 gift hamper! The hamper contains a range of products from the Baby & Child, Detox, Paw Paw, Arnicaeze, Stress and Sleep range.

To enter, simply follow the prompts below. Competition closes midnight on Friday the 7th of June 2013.

Good Luck!

What’s In A Name? {Review and Giveaway}

*This post features products I was gifted to review. Also, an awesome giveaway at the end ;) *

It took me two months to name my cat. Before I picked her up as a kitten, I was going to call her Fern. Once I brought her home, I decided to call her Daisy. After a while I felt Daisy didn’t really feel ‘right’, so I eventually settled on Star. If I had that much trouble naming a cat, can you imagine the pressure I felt to actually name my child??

I had three baby naming books, and had bookmarked numerous baby name websites. I wanted something different, but not too different, unusual but not wacky. Something that was easy to spell and pronounce. Every name I considered, I would run through all the scenarios of nicknames and possible reasons for being teased at school.

I think it’s safe to say I was slightly obsessed. I would constantly text name possibilities to hubby at work. I had about five different lists on the go. I had to find the perfect name, after all, my child would have to live with it FOREVER. Oh, the pressure!! Ironically, the name we chose was not found in any of my books or websites. I was flicking through a trashy magazine one night, and saw an article on the actress Milla Jovovich. And there it was; Milla. I text it to hubby, he text back that he loved it. And we had our name!

I know a lot of people say they need to see their bub first before they can settle on a name, but for us, she was always Milla. I distinctly remember telling the nurses in the operating suite as they were performing the emergency c-section, “Her name is Milla”, it was so important for them to know who she was, she wasn’t just any tiny baby, she was my daughter, Milla.

The sign the nurses in NICU made for Milla's humidity crib.

The sign the nurses in NICU made for Milla’s humidity crib.

We still love her name (no changing it after we brought her home, unlike the poor cat!) so I was thrilled when I won a $50 voucher for Stuck On You recently, so I could order a fancy back pack with the name “Milla” on it. (Just in time for childcare!)

I loved the process of designing and ordering my bag on-line, and then the super fast postage, I received it within three days! The bag was gorgeous, and really high quality. I was so impressed, I contacted Stuck On You to thank them for great service, and also offered to review some of their other products on my blog.

It turns out that Stuck On You actually started from reviews from other mums.
The owner of the company invited 10 of her close friends over for lunch and gave them free labels in exchange for the addresses of ten of their friends. From that small beginning, starting through word of mouth, the company grew to what it is today!

They were more than happy to gift me some of their products to review, and share my thoughts with all of you, as well as providing a $50 gift voucher for me to give away, so a lucky reader can try the products out for themselves.

Ordering the products is actually half the fun, I love that the website www.stuckonyou.com.au allows you to preview exactly what your product will look like, including the name you are using, the colour and the design.

screen shot

Be prepared to spend ages switching between designs and fonts, finding the perfect match! (Or is that just me??)

The products I chose to review are the lunch pack, the library bag and the small pocket pencil case.

The lunch pack is great value, as it combines both the personalised lunchbox and drink bottle.

The best part about the lunch box is the size. I often find regular lunch boxes basically just fit a sandwich and not much else. These lunch boxes can fit a sandwich, and two large pieces of fruit. They would also fit things like little tubs of yogurt too. They are even big enough to fit single serve containers (the one in my example is a Tupperware one)

LunchboxOr, if you little one is like my daughter, and not so keen on food, it also holds plenty of little books too…;)

Lunchbox PlayThe lunch box is water repellent, and really easy  to wipe down if there are any leakages inside.

The drink bottle that comes in the lunch pack is 500ml, stainless steel, with a pop top and a flip over lid. Milla uses it for childcare, and I have had so many compliments on it! It’s super cute, and much better quality than the plastic ones we were using before.

Drink Bottle

I was very excited about the library bag, as previous we had just been using the dodgy bright yellow bag issued by the library, and honestly, every time I use it I’m holding my breath waiting for everything to fall out the bottom, it’s that flimsy. The Stuck On You bag is really strong, made from thick, sturdy material, with an easy wipe clean lining inside. (Because lets face it, kids are grotty little creatures!) It’s big too, fits heaps of books, even the quite large picture books.

Library Bag

Finally the the small pocket pencil case, a personalised pencil case which was just the right size for Milla’s pencils and crayons, with a little pocket on the front, where I keep the pencil sharpener. I would however recommend getting the large pocket pencil caseif your child will be using it at school, so things like a ruler etc will fit. The pencil case is made of the same sturdy material as the library bag, with the easy clean lining inside.

Pencil Case

Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part- Everything had Milla’s name on it! Of course, I chose pink, being my, I mean, Milla’s, favourite colour ;)   (Everything is also available in red or navy blue) and I chose Owls, as Milla loves anything ‘Hoot’ at the moment.

All in all, I was really impressed with the whole process. A fun, interactive website, extremely fast postage, and great quality products.

If you want to check out Stuck On You for yourself, you can find them here ~

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. Or, of course, on their website, www.stuckonyou.com.au

To coincide with The Hesitant Housewife Facebook Page reaching 1000 likers, I am also running my first giveaway to celebrate!

I have a $50 Stuck On You voucher for one lucky reader to win!

$50 voucherFollow the prompts below, and leave a comment telling me how you chose your child’s (or pets!) name, or even what you think of the name chosen for you? Good luck! xx