connect2mums australia & new zealand
Babies and the
power of play Meet Carrie Felton of Stuck On You Create your dream childrenâ€™s room Natural pregnancy remedies
Carrie Felton of Stuck on you
We caught up with inspirational Mumpreneur Carrie Felton, founder of Stuck On You recently and chatted with her about business, motherhood and making it all work! Tell us about yourself and your business I have 3 gorgeous boys - Charlie 17, Harry 14 and Dugald 12 and a husband Jon who is the most generous man on the planet. I would say I am a passionate and motivated person. I have a local business that produces a range of products for kids all personalised here in Australia.
What was your inspiration for creating Stuck on You?
My gorgeous baby and the desire to work from home in a less formal, more flexible environment. It started when I was told that everything needed to be labelled for my son Charlieâ€™s day care and I created labels for him. I had just wanted a parttime job that covered some of the bills, I did not ever imagine the business would end up being this big.
business sometimes needs my time too. I think as any working mum will tell you the challenging part of life is the planning and thinking ahead, I am always chasing just a little more headspace. I have to say It was much easier when they were still crawling! What
do you wish
you’d known before you started Stuck On You?
What have been some of the highlights of your journey
One thing would have to be that I wish I’d accepted that you can’t be and will never be perfect at any of it and that’s ok.
I wish I’d known that it is important to have ‘me’ time and to make that a priority too. I’d always with Stuck on You? be juggling my children or the business but I never used to make any time for me, like all Seeing our product being used by children all Mums. I’m much better at that these days and over the world still gives me a huge buzz. I might it I think it helps me in both roles. be standing in line at the supermarket and see a baby drinking from a sippy cup with one of our I wish I’d always known to focus on the big labels on it or spot one of our bag tags spinning picture. All the little problems that come along around at the airport carousel. That never gets can all be sorted out, you just have to keep old, it’s always very exciting. focussing on the end result, it’s easy to forget that when you’re first starting out or when things Moving into these new premises was a highlight get a bit frantic. and I feel proud of the working environment that we have created here. I love the place we all work in, it is bright and happy and every wall What 3 qualities do you have that has helped you create is a different colour! What do you love about being a mum and having your own
such a successful brand?
Passion, intuition, drive and a huge desire to be flexible for my children and husband. I’m also business? very lucky to have such a strong team and a Being a mother myself has definitely helped with fantastic culture within our business. the success of the business, creating quality and www.stuckonyou.com.au relevant products has lead us to become the most recognisable label company in Australia. My family influences me everyday but owning this business has given me the opportunity to balance family and work obligations. We have a great team and it takes a huge amount of effort to make sure we are getting it right and that our team wants to come to work everyday. I am passionate and I love what I am doing. What do you find the most challenging about being a mumpreneur?
It has been challenging at times with the boys especially helping them to understand that the
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25 amazing mums
• Carrie Felton p 6 • Antonette Golikidis p 8 • Georga Holdich p 35 • Melinda Weaver p 38 kids
• Vision boards for kids p 27 • Eco toys for kids p 30 • Babies & the power of play p 22 health & lifestyle
• Pregnancy excercise p 12 • Natural remedies p10 • Smart Shopping success p 32 • Gorgeous kids rooms p 16 • Storage solutions p 21
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e’re delighted to bring you our latest issue of Connect2mums magazine! In this issue we chat with one of Australia’s most successful mumpreneurs Carrie Felton of Stuck on You. Catch up with our editor’s image by www.carolynb.com.au 2010 Ausmumpreneur of the Year Antonette Golikidis of Little Innoscents and meet 2 aspiring mumpreneurs, Melinda Weaver of Baby Ink and Georga Holdich of Pure Poppet. This issue also features exercises and natural remedies to keep you well through your pregnancy, the best eco-friendly toys for kids and an article on the power of play. Interior designer Joanna Ford shares her secrets on how to create the perfect childrens room for your kids and our resident stylist Sally MacKinnon shares her tips for how to be a smart shopper! We hope you enjoy this issue,
cover image by Rebecca Henderson of www.rhendersonphotography.com.au
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antonette golikidis of little innoscents
Would you give up a high-flying, globetrotting corporate career and go back to school to learn about natural therapies, massage and aromatherapy? Sell your home and plough your earnings from its sale to invest in your business of creating toiletries for babies and children? You would, if you were Antonette Golikidis Tell us about yourself and your business I grew up in a middle-class working family where my parents had their own successful business. My parents were market gardeners. They employed between 5-40 workers at any one time. I spent a lot of my youth working in the family business but my parents also encouraged me to go out and to experience working for others. I enjoyed a wonderful career as an account manager in
the telecommunications industry and then 7 years later I came to the realisation that I was lacking something. An early midlife crises led me down the path of completing a Diploma in Health Science. I set up a massage business and in between kneads and rubs, I concocted creams and scrubs for clients who had specific conditions. But it wasnâ€™t until I was pregnant that I realised
there was a market out there that was not really dollars to buy the groceries’. I tell them no, it’s a served. lot more than that. But it takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to have vision and While pregnant I searched for baby products that you have to spend money to see what it’s going were chemical free and was disappointed to find to be. And I can see, five years from now, that a limited range of products, which were often this is going to be a household brand in many difficult to locate, overly expensive, or offered countries. That’s what keeps me going. I am misleading information. happy every day with what I do. I have the drive, I have the passion, I love it!” I was so tired of “pretend organic” companies making natural claims and misleading consumers What’s next for Little and clever marketing which enabled many Innoscents? companies to promote natural and organic After already experiencing huge growth this year, without really having formulations that abide the company is ready to continue expansion with by this claim. This frustrated me, so I decided new products and plans for delving into other to develop my own baby care range that can overseas markets. prove its authenticity. I wanted organic, natural skincare with no hidden nasties and beautiful Our focus is to have an Australian owned and scents Australian made certified organic product range at an affordable price point targeting mainstream I used all of our savings then some… we even consumers. “So the sky is the limit for Little sold our home to continue funding the business Innoscents, where we have big dreams for a little (call this devoted to succeeding or plain old crazy) company giving a whole lot of love to the baby but it is paying off now. industry.” How has winning the 2010 Ausmumpreneur awards
helped your business? Winning an award allows you the opportunity to boast about your business and is a useful tool to promote and acknowledge your business achievements. I have had many interviews that highlight my Mumpreneur achievements along with TV and radio exposure. It has also opened up avenues to nominate my business in other awards (I was a Telstra Victorian finalist in 2011). how has your business grown
in the past 2 years? The brand, which launched in 2007, is now sold nation-wide before receiving my award. I only had one major retailer and since that time I have secured retailer chains such as Toys R Us, mothercare and several regional independent pharmacy chains. The company has also made strides worldwide, exporting to Taiwan, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Dubai and most recently Malaysia and Indonesia with China next on the list for global domination. And to think, it all started in a kitchen, at home, in Melbourne, Australia. “People are very fascinated when you say that you work from home. They think that it’s a hobby. A lot of people think, ‘Oh you’re just doing this to get a couple of hundred
What are 3 things you wished you known before starting
your business? Life gets really hectic and building your business can consume so much of your energy! Don’t get me wrong, business is a big part of my life but for what I have learnt over the last couple of years is that my life must fundamentally include family fun, personal fulfilment and harmony. So I work from home, and I get to look out my backyard window where the kids are digging up dirt and getting up to mischief – and I feel like I’m there with them - that’s exactly where I want to be and its probably one of the best things about what I do. Sure there are good days and bad days – that’s part of the package. To me success comes with determination, passion and a willingness to do what is right, when I stick to these values it seems like all the hectic days are worth it. Little Innoscents products are 100% natural, paraben-, SLS-, SLES-free, and Australian Certified Organic. They are available at all Toys R Us, Selected Pharmacies, Mothercare, Thomas Dux Grocers and Healthfood stores Nationally or online at www.littleinnoscents.com.au.
pregnancy natural remedies
image by www.rhendersonphotography.com.au
Two of the most common pregnancy complaints, nausea and heartburn are problems that mums-to-be expect to have to live with. Luckily, there are a few safe remedies that mothers can try to help reduce these and many other discomforts of pregnancy. Pregnancy Nausea
Try not to become overtired, take a nap during the day if you can and don’t expect to be able to maintain the same activity level as before you were pregnant.
Take a good quality pregnancy vitamin supplement that contains the B complex vitamins. Additional vitamin B6 can be helpful. You can safely try a dose of 12-25mg 3 times a day. Ensure you account for any B6 that may be in your prenatal multi as well as any extra you might be taking.
Keep your stress down as much as you can. Practice some kind of relaxation exercise or simply take some quiet time for yourself each day.
Eat little and often
Try to work out which foods make your symptoms worse and avoid them. Rich, fried, fatty or highly spiced foods tend to make nausea worse. If you are feeling very sick, don’t worry about eating a balanced diet at this stage. It’s better to eat something and obtain some energy from your food than not to eat at all. It’s important to keep well hydrated, sipping water, lemon juice, barley water or safe herbal teas (check that your choice is safe for your stage of pregnancy). Often small amounts of protein eaten often throughout the day can be a big help.
If you’re a cold person during pregnancy, ginger is the best herb to help. You can make a tea by chopping some ginger into small chunks and add it to some boiled water. Leave it to cool then sip on it. You can add some lemon and a little honey for extra taste and nutrition if you like and sip on this drink throughout the day. Ginger capsules are readily available for those who don’t like the tea though they are much stronger than a tea and should be used for a shorter period of time. Don’t take ginger if you have a blood clotting disorder or take anti-coagulant or blood thinning drugs such as aspirin.
If you’re a hot person during pregnancy, peppermint is a great remedy for you to try. Don’t use this if you have heartburn as it can sometimes make the symptoms worse.
Heartburn Eat early so that your body has time to digest it Slippery Elm before you go to bed.
Slippery elm, is a very safe and very effective option in pregnancy to help relieve heartburn. You can buy the powdered bark from most health food stores. Mix a Sit upright for a while after eating- Lying down teaspoon full with a half a cup of water and drink it. It to relax after a meal is likely to cause regurgitation. You tastes just like the tree bark it is but will be soothing and may also find you have to sleep propped up on two or protective to the oesophagus. three pillows at night in later pregnancy if the problem gets worse.
Avoid drinking with your meals as this causes
your digestive juices to become diluted and therefore less effective. Wait at least 30 minutes after to your meals to drink and ensure you drink enough between meals.
Chamomile is a wonderful natural remedy for reflux. To prepare, infuse five to eight grams of loose German camomile flowers or use an organic Camomile teabag in a cup of boiling water. Cover and leave for ten minutes. Strain then allow to cool. Drink three of four cups of cold Camomile tea a day, after meals and an hour before bedtime or when you feel acid building up.
Try adding four drops of lemon or orange or neroli (orange blossom) essential oils to a teaspoonful of grapeseed base oil and massaging this into your chest and upper back or putting the blend in your bath so that you can inhale the vapours. Or make a spritzer of water with a few drops of the oils in it and spray into the air around you.
Seeking Professional Help
A practitioner qualified and experienced natural health practitioner who specialises in pregnancy care will be able to draw from a wider variety of options and fully assess what is likely to be of the safest and most help for your unique situation. Acupuncture, nutritional therapies, reflexology, homeopathy and herbal medicines can be of great assistance.
Prepare a tea using the same method as outlined above and sip it throughout the day.
Article by Julie Cottle For more information or help in using natural therapies for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, baby and mother care, see Julieâ€™s site www.naturaltransition.com
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Top 5 exercises for expectant mums A well balanced exercise program for pregnant women has many benefits, it will help you feel better during your pregnancy, prepare your body for labour and help you to recover quicker following the birth. Your pregnancy exercise regime should include the following:
1. Regular cardiovascular work
Because of the extra load placed on the body, your body is working harder just by being pregnant! This is not a licence to lie on the couch for 9 months, but a good reason to further build your cardio-vascular fitness for the labour and your post-natal period ahead. You need to keep an eye on your heart rate. Don’t be so concerned about keeping it to a particular number, as we all start pregnancy at different levels of fitness. Instead, enjoy getting your heart rate up, but not so high that you can’t keep up a conversation.
Mish’s T ip: walk & chat – invite your partner or friend to a regular walk to keep it interesting, keep you motivated and keep you chatting to check your heart rate. This is fabulous for not only catching up on the goss, but also keeping your mental health in tact!
2. Build strength through your hips
Your pelvis is a series of bones that are held together with ligaments that get loosened with a hormone called relaxin in preparation for birth. Sometimes these ligaments allow more movement than is comfortable for the body and coupled with the growing weight of the baby may cause something called pelvic instability. This can be very painful and stay with you for the duration of your pregnancy and for some women, beyond. Strengthening this area is a good idea and here is a fantastic exercise, perfect to do each day. Side Lying Clam – 2 sets of 12 on each side
Lie on your side with your heels lining up with your buttocks, shoulders and head. Keep your abdominals braced and draw baby near. Open up your knees.
Mish’s T ip: classes
Repeat on other side
Avoid any exercises that put your pelvis into an uneven position like lunges or step
3. Squats are a girl’s best friend!
Building the big muscles in our thighs and bottom is not only great for burning lots of calories, but also essential for labour. Using a squat position for labour means that gravity may assist you and remember they don’t call it labour for nothing!
Standing tall with feet hip distance While drawing baby close, roll the apart, inhale to prepare the pelvic floor. ball away from you, while pushing buttocks behind. Try to keep your knees bending behind the toes
Keep the pelvic floor lifted, while you push through the heels back to the start position Match your breath to each phase of the exercise
3 sets of 12 squats 3 times per week (with rest days in between) will ensure your leg and butt muscles remain nice and strong!
4. Give your back a break!
Pregnancy can often mean lower back pain. Your spine really enjoys the relief of taking the weight off it and allowing blood to flow to parts that are normally compacted with extended standing and sitting along with the growing weight it has to support during pregnancy. This exercise is great for assisting our backs and building our abdominal strength.
Start with neutral spine with knees under hips and hands under shoulders. Keep your neck in alignment
Tilt your pelvis and tighten your abdominals to draw your baby up as high as possible and round your back up to the ceiling, return back to neutral spine Be careful not to let your abdominals sag!
Mish’s T ip: this exercise can be performed daily and if you already have a child, they love it when you kneel over top of them!
5. Pelvic floor first
There is one muscle that separates your baby and your insides from the outside and that is our pelvic floor. This muscle is not only responsible for controlling our continence, but also for giving us strong orgasms and returning our lower abdominal back into place post natally! It is important to practice not only long holds (that will allow us to watch right to end of the movie, or to get the key in the door) but also short snappy holds for sneezes, coughs or sudden bursts of laughter! Daily practise of both short and long holds are essential for a healthy functioning pelvic floor. Try to remember to contract your pelvic floor before lifting your baby, shopping or washing. This will minimise the “bearing down” on your pelvic floor.
Mish’s tip: If you are unsure that you are contracting your pelvic floor correctly, then a visit to a
women’s health physio who uses real time ultrasound. This may be all you need to help you or confirm that you do indeed know how to contract this vital muscle correctly. Or if not, they will be able to guide you and you will be able to see it happening on the screen to get real feedback!
Michelle Wright is the founder and CEO of mishfit. mishfit mothers is a specialised personal training program designed for pregnant and post-natal women, educating women on how to exercise safely and where their babies and children are welcome. mishfit is truly a family friendly small business and is now available as a franchise. www.mishfit.com.au
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Creating gorgeous kids rooms
A child’s bedroom is much more than just a room, it’s an oasis for their imaginations - so when decorating a child’s bedroom, you are creating a dream space for them. Children of all ages use their rooms for three basic purposes: to sleep, to play, and to study. Although the nature of their play changes over time, the need to have their own private space in which to do it, does not. As a general rule, the more you can involve your child in the planning of his or her own space, the better. The problem you face with all children’s rooms is simple: they grow and their tastes change. The 4 main challenges to overcome for parents and children alike are: 1. Colour (walls, furniture, fittings); 2. Storage (built in, floating, flexible); 3. Detail (linen, wall art, rugs); and 4. Lighting (ceiling, floor, moveable).
Vibrant and playful colours work well in any child’s room. Get your child’s input from the first step, find out what their favourite colour is and tone it down a bit - it’s important to remember that accessories will brighten up the room even more. If your child is still very young, perhaps look at what colour they like when using crayons or colour pencils - do they use a lot of pinks, blues or reds? If you have already chosen a theme, this will influence the colour you choose. Do not be afraid to be bold! Get out the colour swatches and work with your child! Whichever colour you choose to paint your baby nursery, child room, or teen bedroom, the decision should be a fun one. Don’t over analyse, just try to take into consideration your child’s personality and also the furniture and space that you are working with. Put a lot of focus on the lighting in the room because natural vs false light makes and amazing amount of difference on the wall colour. Always paint children’s bedrooms with a semi-gloss, so the walls are easy to wipe without being too shiny.
This is one of the most important elements in a child’s room. You will need flexible storage to accommodate a child’s eclectic collection of possessions, which may range from masses of tiny toys to bigger items like a doll’s house or a car racing track. Ideally, everything should have a home. Storage options for children come in a number of different, fun and versatile mediums. For example, a trundle bed, can be used for storage or a great stow away bed for sleepovers; side tables are perfect for a bedside lamp, books or drinks and available with drawers or shelves; chest of drawers and wardrobes provide a serious amount of storage space for clothing, sports/ musical equipment; fabric collapsible toy barrels are useful to store toys of all shapes and sizes; wall shelves/boxes provide great storage space for books, CD’s or artwork; and coat racks/ hooks are a decorative way to hang jackets, raincoats, library bags and backpacks etc. Bookcases in general, are perfect for books – but they are great for so much more! Interspersing other items with books not only gives your shelving a sense of visual interest, it creates accessible homes for items that kids want to get at easily. Another great way to use a bookshelf is to use storage boxes for smaller items, like figurines. That way, you can put all the small things in a box, and put the box on the shelf – everything stays neat and tidy and off the floor!
TOP TIP Storage all lined up against one wall opens up available floor space.
The Details Linen &
Your choice of bed linen will normally dictate the theme of the room. Bed covers, fitted sheets, flat sheets and pillowslips complete the basics. The addition of cushions, throws, blankets and novelties can make the bed more interesting and inviting. Children need to feel cosy and safe and it helps when things that they love surround them. Choose good quality bed linen that is soft and comfortable and easy to clean/wash. Co-ordinating fabrics and designs mean you can mix and match without the room looking hectic. The choice is endless - have some fun with it!
Creating Height –
No matter how colourful a child’s bedroom is, it can appear very flat if the eye is not raised above the low furniture line. Hanging mobiles or mosquito nets from the ceiling will help draw the eye upward. Another trick is to paint the walls in two bright colours, splitting the two colours above eye level makes the room appear taller.
Decorating the Walls -
When it comes to decorating the walls, the possibilities are endless. You may consider hanging your child’s artwork in the room, this adds impact as well as encouraging them to become young Rembrandts. There are Wooden “Canvases” which can enhance the theme of the room as well as a
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variety of Wooden Motifs or Alphabet letters to spell out names or messages. You could hang some shelving and create more space! Wallpaper can be used to brighten up a room or enhance a chosen theme. Whichever you decide, it is a case of “you CAN have too much of a good thing”. If you get too many things on the walls, it can easily look cluttered and unorganized.
The Floor -
Rugs are a great bedroom accessory for kids, they can really liven up an otherwise dull floor, and actually be the item in the bedroom that really sets the theme. They can also take a supporting role and not be so obvious, yet cover up some icky areas you might have in the carpet. Rugs also encourage you to leave a free space where your child can sit and play. Bean Bags and large cushions (comfy cushions) are great to create a play space for your child. Pile them up in the centre of the room for children to dive into.
Other Bedroom Accessories -
Other accessories such as curtains and lampshades can build on the theme and give the room a co-ordinated look. Novelty doorknobs, bookends and other themed accessories add colour and interest and offer the final touches on your child’s room.
TOP TIP Provided “details” such as wallpaper, linen and rugs etc. from a complimentary colour palette, crisp checks, plains and florals mixed with white will look wonderful.
The types of activities that take place in different parts of the bedroom, eg. a play area vs bed/sleep area will dictate the type and source of lighting needed. Choose fixtures with the child’s age and tastes in mind. Lamps with fragile glass shades would probably not work for a young boy who enjoys jumping, climbing etc. Desk lamps provide a form of task lighting, and when coupled with a central light source, such as a hanging pendant light will be more than adequate for most children’s lighting needs. Also, a soft light near the bed provides illumination for reading. Children often like to use a nightlight while they are sleeping so the room isn’t too dark. Lamps can add a fun decorative element to the room, particularly when related to a theme.
TOP TIP Keep the details flexible, to enable you to chop and change as the years go by.
As good as you would like your child’s room to look it is their own private haven – a place for chats with friends, somewhere quiet to do homework, a place to dream and scheme in….. Joanna Ford of Joanna Ford Interior Design www.JoannaFordInteriorDesign.com.au
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kids rooms storage ideas
Choose complimentary storage containers
Rather than have a variety of different types of storage tubs and buckets, we like the simplicity and look of having 3 to 4 of the same tub/baskets positioned together in a bedroom, or against a wall in the living area. Not only does this keep everything clean and simple, itâ€™s practical - one tub is never enough for the amount of toys and books that grow every year, especially after Christmas!
Use different colours for each child
Allocate each child a tub in the same design but different colour so they instantly indentify where their precious belongings should go. For example, choose the Blue Cooper Tub for the boys and the Pink or Red for the girls. Alternatively our Heliplanes design is a winner with the boys and the Babushka print is just perfect for any girlâ€™s bedroom.
Keep frequently used items together
Keep it handy by using smaller tubs for books and small toys that are used most frequently in easy to reach locations. Organise a large bookcase or bookshelf with 1-2 colours to keep it looking fun and fresh. Use the tubs to separate old from new and rotate the toys around when your children start getting bored of the current toys, games or books they are playing with.
If floor space is an issue, using tubs or containers with handles will allow you to hang the baskets up on a wall or the back of a door. Perfect for storing everyday school essentials like caps, hair ties and socks that seem to go missing each morning before school! Article by Fatima Moore www.mor-stor.com.au
the power of play
Photography by www.lifeinbloomphotography.com.au
It is well known that the first 3 years of life are a period of rapid growth in all areas of a baby’s development, but most parents will question, “how can I encourage my baby’s development”? The truth is that there is plenty that you can do to help support and nurture optimum growth and development in your baby. Clearly all babies need love, touch, nutrition and plenty of sleep but they also need stimulating play environments to help them to discover and cope with this new world that they have entered. Most parents assume that “playtime” comes much later in a baby’s life, like during the toddler years, but quite simply play just has a different meaning in the early months. As babies enter the second month of life, they become much more interested in the world around them. While they don’t “play” in the way that we often think of— pushing trains around a track or feeding a baby doll—they are eager to explore the objects and interact with the people they see everyday. At this age, play is not just about toys, it’s about back-and-forth interactions—anything from singing a song to your baby as you change his nappy to cooing and smiling back and forth with him. Loving and playful experiences like these help your baby learn. There are so many fun ways that you can interact with your baby in the early months:
Offer interesting objects for your baby to look at You will see that as you move an interesting object slowly from side to side, your baby will follow it with his eyes. This is called “tracking” and is one of the first ways that young babies explore the world while building their visual skills. Place your baby so that she can kick or hit at a mobile or rattle Over the next couple of weeks, she will connect the act of kicking with the sounds the mobile makes when struck. This helps her understand cause-and-effect. And your child will also discover that making noise is just plain fun. Make everyday routines playful For example, you can add a massage for your baby after baths or before bedtime, which helps her feel bonded to you and also helps her understand that her body belongs to her (body awareness).
As babies get older, say from 6 months onwards, classes like Mums & Bubs Yoga become a little difficult as babies become mobile and aren’t altogether that happy to sit and enjoy quiet activities, but rather they start to seek out noise, bright colours, hands-on activities, interaction with other babies and generally speaking, they become inquisitive little explorers.
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Share books together Either by reading them to your baby or just letting her gaze at the pictures. When your baby gets just a little older, she will probably take the lead—grabbing the book and gumming it—while you ask her how it tastes!
From here it starts to become important that parents become selective with the particular learning programs that they involve their child in. A quality “Parent and Child” developmental program will have a variety of short sharp activities that help stimulate the baby. Ask to see a copy of the learning program, and make sure you ask lots of questions. Each of our sessions for example, has its own unique “learning plan”, with dedicated resources, and set objectives. These objectives include developing gross motor skills, fine motor skills, language, social, emotional and cognitive skills. There’s so much more that goes into preparing a quality “Parent and Child” program than what most parents could imagine and finding the right formula is important. It may look like “child’s play”, and essentially this is exactly how our babies should see it, but it’s serious stuff and critical to your baby’s early development.
Play When your children play with you, they are also learning—that they are loved and important and that they are fun to be around. These socialemotional skills give them the self-esteem and self-confidence they need to continue building Above all else, it is important to engage babies in loving and supportive relationships all their lives. activities that provide a safe, warm, and nurturing environment, as this really is where they truly Selecting the “right” play environments can be at flourish.
times, confusing or overwhelming. “Am I doing Tina Holtom, mum to 2 enough?” “Am I doing too much?” are common beautiful boys Jack & William, questions that we hear. Essentially it doesn’t and Founder of Monkey need to be that complicated. Aside from the Bars Play & Learn Centre in family home, and community resources, there WA. Tina long recognised are many “Parent & Child” programs out there the need for a place where that offer a variety of environments in which to parents can meet, exchange engage their babies. The key from newborn to ideas and friendships, while say around 6 months of age is simply an exposure their children are engaged in to safe, nurturing environments in which a baby a fun and imaginative early feels secure and loved. At this stage we normally learning program. From this, recommend a gentle “Mother-baby” bonding Monkey Bars was born – a unique centre where class like Mums & Bubs Yoga. almost everything for parents and children Not only does Yoga help strengthen and tone the is on offer. Tina has extensive experience in new mums body, but it also allows you to spend education, early childhood development and some time learning about your newborn’s body business management, and has a unique passion and how to help your baby to relax and unwind. for keeping childhood fun, carefree and full of Most Mums & Bubs Yoga classes will incorporate wonder for as long as possible. a significant amount of baby massage, which is a brilliant relaxation technique and helps stimulate www.monkeybars.com.au your baby’s growth at the same time.
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creative Vision boards for children
Visualisation is an excellent skill to have, but like all skills, it requires the conscious decision to learn and lots of practise. Acclaimed parenting author Nicky Johnston shares her tips for how to begin creating a vision board with your child. Last year was my eldest son’s first year of high school and the transition was very slow, long, overwhelming and challenging – for both him and me. With him beginning his second year in high school, I was looking for a positive way to inspire him, to keep him on track and stay focussed during future times of stress and anxiety. I came across “Wise Mothers – Raising children in the era of social media” where I found a post by Sally Thibault. It was the perfect direction for us to go in – Vision Boards. Vision Boards are an excellent tool to keep our minds focussed, constantly reminding us of our goals while remaining grounded and mindful. This concept is by no means limited to just adults, it can be easily adapted to suit a whole range of ages as I was about to discover.
When I mentioned the idea of creating a Vision Board to my 13yr old, he was immediately inspired and we spent time discussing the sorts of things that he could include. Using a print canvas, string, pegs, cards, pictures, words, quotes to decorate, the Vision Board process had begun. He decided the overall theme of his board should be “I CAN” – and he filled it with notes and reminders of his qualities, and a list of statements to read when feeling anxious and overwhelmed. He also added some inspiration quotes he felt would help him stay focussed, as well as some visual reminders of people and music that inspire him. The thing that struck me most about this project wasn’t the fantastic discussions that we had, or the quality one on one time we spent together, but the reaction of his two younger brothers (9yrs and 5yrs).
While his Vision Board is somewhat simpler than that of his 13yr old brother, his willingness to create it, the process and design is just as meaningful. The Vision Board is the last thing he reads at night and the first thing he wakes up to in the morning – a great way to start the day. My 5 year old was busting at the seams waiting to create his Vision Board. With my “One in, all in” attitude, I began the process for the third time! I simply broke the steps down and had him think about three different points.
1. To choose an overall attitude to apply to everything he does – “I will be happy”
They both also wanted to make a Vision Board. I was not anticipating this interest and to be honest I was really unsure of the benefit of the complex concept of visualisation – but, how could I say no to such enthusiasm? When my 9yr old began creating his Vision Board he chose the theme to be “Try New Things”, which is very fitting for him as he often stays in his comfort zone without extension... this was a great start! The conversations we had about what to put on his Vision Board were surprising for me. He was able to talk about the things he wanted to improve, things he felt he was good at, and the things he wanted to focus on for the year....quite insightful for a 9yr old!
He chose fabric to cover a canvas, and using string and paper clips, he attached a range of cards pictures and statements. He wants to improve in maths and writing, and mentioned his skills at being a good friend. He also wanted to challenge himself with starting a new sport. (Within just 3 weeks he started Karate and loved it – his theme “Try New Things” is already working!!)
2. To think about things that will be new for him this year – “I will make friends” 3. To choose something new that he would try to do (a goal) – “I will do swimming” The complex concept of a Vision Board was clearly understood by my 5 year old. Whilst his thoughts were simple three and four word sentences accompanied by imaginative, beautiful drawings, he simply ‘got it’, and he made a brilliant Vision Board. Positive thoughts, visions and goals are all choices that anyone can make with age being no barrier. With encouragement, opportunity and mentoring our children can take charge of their own future and practice the valuable skills in visualisation.
The time and effort taken to make these Vision Boards with my boys (individually, all with one on one time) has been the best investment I have made. I am now just waiting for my 1 year old to ask when is it his turn...maybe he can wait until next year! Article by Nicky Johnston www.happyhero.com.au
Artist, teacher and mother, Nicky Johnston now has the title of Author & Illustrator to add to her list of accomplishments. Being a mother of 4 boys and having worked in the primary education sector for the past 15 years, Nicky was prompted to publish her two picture books for children dealing with anxiety “Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts!” & “Happythoughts are Everywhere...”
top ten eco toys
When it comes to buying toys, many of us are trying to make more responsible choices – for our children and for the environment – and that means looking for items that are toxin-free, and that cut down on our contribution to the local landfill or degradation of natural resources. Thankfully there are some wonderful eco-friendly toy companies that are revolutionizing the trade with designs that are either made from sustainable or recycled materials, or that encourage children to rethink their ways of playing. Here are some of my favourites.
1. Sophie the Giraffe / Ringley Teething Toys
As soon as your baby reaches the teething stage, everything goes into their mouth, so it’s wise to take extra care. There’s a range of reasons why Sophie is the #1 teething in the toy in the world, but I love that she’s made from allnatural rubber that’s sustainable, chemical free and totally safe for babies. Other good options are untreated wood teethers because they are naturally antibacterial and a wonderful texture to soothe aching gums.
2. Pull-along toys
They’re great for little ones who are just learning how to walk because they encourage movement and kids love watching the toy follow them. Plan Toys has a colourful range and each one features a different movement that’s really captivating. The dog wags its tail, the snake slithers side to side, the alligator dances and clatters… and even better, these are made with sustainable wood that is naturally coloured, without toxic dyes or paints.
3. Green Toys
Whether it’s the always popular recycling truck, the tea set or the ridiculously cute tugboat, these not only incorporate super-cool design (made out of 100% recycled plastic) they’re also BPA, phthalate and lead free, amazingly durable and wonderful for encouraging imaginative play.
4. EcoStars crayons
Most children love to explore their creative side from an early age, and these crayons are great because the star shape makes them easy to grip for little ones still working on their motor skills. They’re also 100% recycled and non-toxic.
5. Musical toys
Drums, shakers, xylophones and any other musical instrument are a good way to develop hand-eye co-ordination and reinforce a natural sense of rhythm that all children have. My favourite is the colourful Plan Toys xylophone.
6. Boxset toys
Perfect for play dates, road trips or sleepovers, these boxset toys are a totally portable wonderland for your child to take with them. The beach villa comes complete with toy furniture, or the airplanes set has runways, planes and helipads. These come in a cleverly compact carrying case and all parts are made with eco-friendly wood.
7. Makedo toys
Makedo is a connector system that enables everyday materials including cardboard, plastic and fabric to easily join together to form new objects or structures. It has been hailed as the “Lego of the next generation” by media around the world – and it’s an Australian company. I love the brand because not only does it inspire children to use their creativity and change their perspective on what might otherwise be thought of as rubbish, it also has no boundaries, it celebrates sustainability and aims to foster social change and sharing.
8. Play dough
New modern gadgets and electronic toys might be fun, but nothing quite matches the sensory experience of play dough, and I love it because it can be made easily from natural ingredients I always have in the pantry. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to make it an aroma-play experience too. Here’s a collection of great homemade play dough recipes: http://tipnut.com/10-homemade-playdough-recipes/
9. Orchard Toys Games
Race to fill your lunchbox with healthy items in the Lunchbox Game, or have fun at the grocery store in the Shopping List Game. The Orchard Toys range is great for developing social skills, sharing and memory, with games for children from ages 3 + that have won several toy, learning and design awards. Each piece is made from 100% recycled board that is thick, durable and perfect for young hands.
10. Eco Books
Most children have a nightly ritual that includes a bedtime story, and I love the range of Little Green Books that’s printed on 100% recycled paper with soy inks. There’s an interactive lift-the-flap book that’s tells stories of endangered species, Adventures of a Plastic Bottle, that teaches of the importance of recycling, or the super-soft Little Monkey / Little Panda books that are made from 100% recycled felt and perfect for babies. Donna MacMullin is the director of Itty Bitty Greenie http://ittybittygreenie.com.au an online shop offering fun and functional children’s products with a safe and sustainable point of difference. A portion of every sale supports children’s and environmental charities.
How to be a smart shopper
There’s a reason why personal shopping services are becoming more and more popular among everyday women; most of us don’t particularly enjoy shopping for clothes.
The thought of sifting through racks, waiting in queues to try clothes on (not to mention waiting in queues to make your purchases) and then making decisions about whether or not something suits, or if you even like it, is time consuming and can be frustrating and exhausting.
Shopping for clothes doesn’t have to be an impossible chore if you take the time to plan your shopping trip. Here are some tips to help you survive your next outing.
Have a plan
At the beginning of each season go through your wardrobe and make a list of what you need and keep it in your handbag. Identify those key pieces you already have in your wardrobe that can easily be updated with new season trends. This will ensure that you stay focused on the items you really need.
Set yourself a budget and stick to it
Knowing what you have to spend will help you maintain focus on items you know you can afford. Instead of using your credit card, take out your budget in cash and spend this. If you are drawn to something that is beyond your budget, ask yourself how many times you would wear it in a year and then work out the cost per wear. If you’re still not sure, think about it overnight.
Dress comfortably and practically
There’s nothing worse than having to undo and do up buttons and tie and untie shoe laces every time you try something on. Wear clothing that is easy to take on and off which won’t leave you flustered in the change rooms. If you know you’re heading out to buy a dress, take some heels and wear a strapless bra. Shopping for jeans, wear a basic tee or shirt. Shopping for shoes, wear a pair that you easily can slip on and off. Visit www.katieperry.com.au
Shop alone or with a friend?
This is a tough one. If you do choose to go it alone, be confident about what you want and what you want to spend (i.e. follow the tips above). While some sales assistants can offer great advice and can show you different styles and source sizes for you, many do not offer honest advice on what does and doesn’t suit you. But the same can be said for friends. Shopping with others can cause distractions and not all friends can offer the right advice. If you do choose to shop with others, choose an objective friend who you trust to be brutally honest and who will tell you the truth about what suits you.
Take your time
Go shopping when you know you have plenty of time to do it. This will allow you to make decisions out of reason, not rush. Don’t fly into the nearest store in a panic because you need something now or go browsing in the shops every time you have a few spare moments (after a coffee, in between meetings). Take your time when trying on clothes. Try them on, walk in them, sit Visit www.amandagarrett.com down, bend in the clothes. Are they comfortable? Ideally, find a change room with mirrors that you can see all angles. Don’t rely on anyone else but you to ask “does my bum look big in this?” Shopping for clothes is unfortunately one of life’s necessities. By following the advice above, perhaps it might become a necessity worth enjoying. Sally Mackinnon www.styledbysally.com.au Sally Mackinnon is a Personal Stylist and Wardrobe Consultant who specialises in reconnecting women with their innate style. Sally is a professional image consultant who has an expert eye for style and understands the right cuts to flatter all body shapes. Sally works with real women with real bodies, regular lifestyles and modest budgets. We can all be forgiven for getting confused by fashion, despondent about our body image and feeling too stressed and busy to give ourselves the style we deserve. It’s about working with what you’ve got and helping you to best dress to suit your shape. Sally believes that with a little guidance and support every woman can dress with style and success. Visit www.bamboobody.com.au
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Georga Holdich of pure poppet We caught up with Georga Holdich recently and chatted with her about business, motherhood and why she’s so passionate about natural products. Tell us about yourself and your business I’m a mother of two young daughters with a background in Public Relations and after over ten years in the industry I wanted to try something different. My husband and I returned to our home town of Adelaide after fourteen years living in Sydney to start some new challenges. Pure Poppet makes natural play makeup for children who love to dress up, use face paint and have big imaginations. It’s all about playing and having fun not because I think children need to wear makeup. I wanted to offer an Australian made, natural alternative to the often quite toxic products available. What was your inspiration
for creating pure poppet? My girls inspired me to start the business. They love to dress up and become characters but most of the products I found for them to use as face paint or play makeup included horrible ingredients. I was looking for a different career path and here it was.
Why are you passionate about using natural
products for children? I think it’s important to teach children early on about how to live a healthy life. Whether that’s about recycling, caring for the environment, choosing healthy foods or using natural products on their skin. We absorb everything through our skin and if I choose natural alternatives to prevent toxins or reactions in my body then why wouldn’t I do the same for my children? What do you love about what
you do? I love the challenge. I’ve decided to start this business and create this product and I am now on the journey of seeing it through and making it successful. I love all the new things I’m learning about running a business. I love the creativity involved with developing different products and I love the satisfaction or buzz I feel when I receive great feedback from a customer, make great sales or see my most important audience (the children) having loads of safe fun with the range. Visit www.purepoppet.com.au to find out more.
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Melinda weaver of Baby Ink We caught up with Melinda Weaver recently and chatted with her about being a young mum, establishing a business and her innovative new product Baby Ink. Tell us about yourself and your business My name is Melinda Weaver and I am not your average 25 year old! I was engaged at 21 married at 22 and a mummy at 23. I am a very proud wife and mummy with two beautiful little ones under two! Baby Ink recently introduced an exciting new product to the market. Offering Colour Inkless Printing Kits for the purpose of taking keepsake hand and footprints the product is an affordable keepsake or gift. We boast an easy wipe, press, no mess system. Our kits are non â€“ toxic and baby safe with an affordable RRP of $19.95. They are simply perfect for a keepsake or gift! Our product it flying out the door with a profit recorded in the first trading month and over 320 kits sold in just 4 weeks through our soft launch. Great customer service is really important to Baby Ink and I am proud to say I in have built a small team who share and support my vision for the business. What was your inspiration
for creating Baby Ink? After becoming a mum to my amazing little ones I wasnâ€™t sure there would be a place for me in the business world. Contrary to that belief becoming a mum actually gave me the push I needed to get into business. There is no better life skill than having children. You are literally thrown on the job, where multitasking, problem solving, overtime and hard work come with the territory. Both in parenthood and business the reward for effort is worth every second!
What has been your greatest challenge and How have you
overcome it? Being young often means inexperienced. I am working to challenge that stereotype as I have a great deal of life experience, natural ability, passion and determination. Baby Ink has been built over a two year period where I have worked hard to develop key relationships to get this exciting product off the ground. Baby Ink holds the exclusive distribution agreement of the colour inkless technology in Australia and New Zealand and has exciting partnerships in a range of sales channels both domestically and internationally. I am proud to say the future looks very bright for Baby Ink and I am here to prove that age is just a number. Visit www.babyink.com.au to find out more.
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