Saturday, 10 December 2016

Capturing moments with family photos

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum







I just adore photos! I love having the house filled with prints of special times and funny moments.

(I'm also a photo hoarder - my phone memory is constantly clogged with far too many photos, as are my hard drives. And I have book cases and boxes filled with albums).

Since our children were born, we've pretty much managed to have professional family photos taken every year and I absolutely love looking back on these photos!

We had the opportunity to have some photos taken by My Family Photo, in Brisbane, and were very pleased with the results.

They specialise in providing affordable family portrait sessions.
(And when I say affordable, I'm talking $165 for a mini session that includes 15 high-res edited images that you can go off and print, or do whatever you please with! How good is that!).












As most families with toddlers and energetic pre-schoolers and a grade schoolers can understand, we had our work cut out for us in trying to keep our wriggly worms to stay still for photos and to all be looking at the camera (or smiling, or...at least not obscuring each others' faces) at the same time.

Our lovely photographer and assistant were very patient and managed to snap a couple of gorgeous pics we'll treasure for ever.

I have included some of our favourites in this blog post.





Aaaah... big brothers. Say no more ;-) 





Our shoot took place in a park in Brisbane and it was a fairly cool and windy day - so the photographers did very well!The mini-sessions are 30 minute sessions for up to six people – perfect for families with little ones who can’t sit still for too long.

At the end of our shoot, the lovely photographers even suggested hubby and I get a couple of shots together - just the two of us - which was a lovely thought as hadn't really had any professional pics taken - of just the two of us - since our wedding day nine years ago.



If you are thinking about getting some family photos and live in the Brisbane or Gold Coast areas, feel free to get in touch with the friendly team at: https://www.facebook.com/myfamilyphotoaus/


It's definitely time for mum and dad (and grandparents) to step away from behind the camera, and get IN the picture.


How often do you have photos taken together as a family?

How often do you get professional pics taken?


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* Gold Coast Mum received images in return for this review, but as always, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Gift Guide - Gold Coast Mum's top picks


By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum
If, like me, you're having trouble selecting gifts this year, I've put together a Gift Guide with my top picks!
(Miss 6, Mr 4 and the 3-year-old twincesses have thoroughly enjoyed playing with many of these great products we received to review and I'm so excited to be sharing this with you).


TWISTER, $39.99





Family party game, TWISTER, may be celebrating its 50th anniversary but it is still as popular as ever!
In the game of TWISTER, the spinner announces to move a hand or foot and to which colour. The challenge is to keep your hands and feet on the mat. If your knee or elbow touches the mat, or you fall over, you’re out. The goal is to be the last player standing.
Two new moves include Spinner’s Choice and Air. With Spinner’s Choice, the spinner makes up a move for the other player to do. If the spinner lands on Air, the player must put a hand or foot up in the air.
The new TWISTER game is available for $39.99 at major retailers nationwide.
Visit: http://www.hasbro.com/en-au


SINGAMALINGS, $26.99 each
For those who know Gold Coast Mum, when it comes to singing - I am IN!
It won’t be long til my offspring are all gracing the stage, following in my performing arts footsteps so it was no surprise that my 3yo twincesses loved playing with, and singing along with Singamalings.
Sing-A-Ma-Lings are a bunch of huggable goofy, singing plush characters that have laugh-out-loud silly voices that are entertaining for kids of all ages.
They can also harmonize with you and with each other. 
They sing a classic song when you give their tummy a squeeze. 
By pressing their bellies you can enjoy three ways to play: Sing, Jibber Jabber, and Harmonize. 
Press hand to change mode of play.

Singamalings are $26.99 (individual) and are available in all good toy retailers including: Big W, Toys R Us, Kidstuff, Mr Toys and all other speciality Toy Stores.



VTech® Kidizoom® Smart Watch DX, RRP$89
 



The Kidizoom Smart Watch DX allows your little one to choose from over 50 3D clock displays to tell time in style. And, the Fun Time Master feature teaches how to tell the time!
The sweat and splash-proof design is great for everyday wear.
 Perfect for young photographers, this durable smart watch has more memory so kids can take a bunch of pictures and videos; add frames and effects, anywhere, anytime.
Other features include: alarm, timer, stopwatch, calendar and calculator functions, motion-based challenges and eight games.  
Available at Target and other good toy retailers. For ages 3+
Visit: www.vtech.com.au











IFLY
If you, or your loved one, plan to be near the Gold Coast, QLD or Penrith, NSW any time soon, then iFly indoor skydiving would be a fabulous gift idea! 
Perfect for kids and adults alike, it's a bunch of fun and thrills!





Miss 6, my mum (aged in her early fifties) and myself (aged 34) have all experienced indoor skydiving with iFly and we each thoroughly enjoyed it!
Read our review here
Once you enter the wind tunnel, with you instructor, you’re off and racing.
For 50 seconds, we got to experience the thrill of free-falling!
Visit:
 https://downunder.iflyworld.com/







ZIPPIZAP Balance Bike, Speedy Fireman, $129.95

Check out Mr 4 enjoying the Zippizap Speedy Fireman balance bike!
Balance bikes are great tools to teach kids from age two to ride a bike on two wheels.
Liam Davis, the managing director of the small family run business, says his two year old is also a huge fan of the Australian-designed Zippizap balance bike.




The ZiPPiZAP Balance Bike is an all – terrain, featherweight balance bike that teaches your child the necessary skills to successfully transfer to a “big kid” bike without training wheels. The Zippizap is light-weight, pedal-less and maintenance free (EVA polymer tyres are maintenance free and never need pumping up). 
It comes with an adjustable seat and saddle height meaning this bike can be used by both an 18 month and 5 year old. 

With powder coated carbon steel frame and quality components, the bikes are so durable they can be passed down between kids (a huge bonus in our book!).  
There’s a three year warranty on the frame. Zippizaps are not affected by rain, unlike wooden balance bikes. 
I can tell you now, our bike has spent a fair few days out in the rain and is still as good as new.

 Assembly is quick and easy. All tools required to assemble the bike comes in the box!








TRIVIAL PURSUIT 2000s, $39.99


Trivial Pursuit 2000s has been relaunched to prove trivia buffs’ love of the naughties to the present day, with questions featuring Adriano Zumbo’s famous Tim Tams, Sydney’s Vivid Festival, The Big Merino, as well as pop culture icons including Katy Perry, Angry Birds and Mad Men, to name a few.
 (AND… the Kardashians and Middletons also get a mention!)
This new game features questions from the year 2000 to the present day, including recent events, current celebrities and pop culture phenomenons, many with a uniquely Australian theme.
We’re obsessed – sure takes us back to our days before kids when we used to enjoy pub trivia!
The game features 300 trivia cards with 1800 questions across six categories.
Available from major retailers. Visit: http://www.hasbro.com/en-au



SMIGGLE

Don’t wait until January to stock up on all your back to school gear, load up now so you can surprise the kids at Christmas with these great products from Smiggle.
Smiggle’s signature bright colours and cool patterns are a hit with kids of all ages and, as well as your favourite stationery stuff, they also offer games and toys, gadgets, gizmos and activity sets too. 


Smiggle - City double decker lunchbox, $26.95  

This best-selling lunch box features two tiers of great storage so snacks can be separated (BPA free and food grade safe lining is a winner). There’s a carry handle and double zip openings. 





Smiggle - City pop out fan pencil case, $29.95  
With this pencil case, the kids can say good bye to the sweltering days at their desk, working up a sweat. 

This fancy pencil case is full of secret compartments, has its own fan! The prop up fan requires 2 x AAA batteries. There’s also one main compartment, a shooting drawer compartment, pen slots holder, built in sharpener and eraser drawer. 




 Smiggle - Tri barrel markers x 24, $22.95 
Imagine the creations your little one could come up with using these 24 triangle shaped coloured markers.
The markers come in a handy carry case and are water based and non toxic (and wiped off our hallway wall easily with a baby wipe…pheww!).






BEN AND HOLLY

These high quality, beautifully crafted games and puzzles are based on popular children’s  television show Ben and Holly. This educational toy range enhances children’s fine motor skills, shape and colour recognition, hand-eye coordination and problem solving with the appeal of their favourite characters.  
Visit: The Ben & Holly range is available at ABC stores, Toyworld, Myer and all good independent retailers. www.ugames.com.au




Ben & Holly Pin Puzzle Faries, $17 for ages 18m+



Ben & Holly Stacking Blocks, $25 for ages 3+  
Colour Stack improves colour matching, manual dexterity and eye-hand coordination while teaching patience.                                       



Ben & Holly Colour Sort Game, $19.95, ages 18m+                                    Children learn colours and build memory skills with this fun Ben & HollySorting Colour Game that contains 30 blocks made from real wood! 
Perfect for toddlers, this colour sort game can be credited with helping my twincesses master their colour recognition!




Ben & Holly’s - Snap Card Game, $5, age 3+



Ben & Holly - Pairs Card Game, $5, age 3+                                    




Gold Coast Mum received some of the mentioned items for review purposes, however, all opinions are my own.

Keep an eye out here on the blog and Gold Coast Mum on Facebook and Instagram for review pics/ to see some of these items in action with Miss 6, Mr 4 and the 3-year-old twincesses.



What’s on your shopping list this December?
When do you give your kids their back to school equipment? Eg as part of their Christmas presents, or shopping together in the sales after Christmas?

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Sunday, 27 November 2016

3 fab outfits for the festive season

Guest post by freelance writer Riley Henson

The holiday season is officially upon us, which means your social calendar is likely filling up with festive get-togethers 
and merry occasions. 
And while celebrating the months ahead with family and friends certainly calls for dressing in your finest, it can be tricky to know just what to wear to each special event. 

Whether you’re headed to the annual office party or are planning on ringing in the new year with loved ones, these ensembles are feminine, stylish, and - most importantly - versatile enough for all of the season’s happenings.

Metallic Midi Skirt 
Sparkle and shine are two design details that reign supreme during the holiday season. 
While it can be tempting to simply throw on a sequined cocktail dress and head to that New Year’s Eve bash, why not explore other - just as festive - options? 
Enter the metallic midi skirt.






With just enough 
flash for an evening out, this trend is equally at home during the daytime or at a work-related function thanks to its longer hemline and full silhouette.
Choose one in a gold, silver, or green hue and pair with a simple tee and flats for an 
afternoon event or an off-the-shoulder blouse and pumps for after dark.

Head-to-Toe White


The winter fashion scene is typically filled with darker neutrals and deep jewel tones, which is exactly why rocking an ensemble in shades of white can be so refreshing and unexpected.

When building an all-white look, opt for pieces that are rich in fabric and texture. Something like the off-white cable knit cardigan seen among 
the American sportswear inspired looks of this designer would be perfect. 

And don’t try to match shades - instead, pair crisp true whites with hues of cream, ecru, and oatmeal to create an ensemble with dimension and movement. 



For a more laid back get-together during the holiday season, wear your favorite white skinny jeans with a silk tank top and a long sleeveless vest (which just so happens to be trending this season).
Finish with a 
classic nude shoe or one that features a pop of colour.

Silky Slip Dress


Thanks to its lasting popularity, the '90s-inspired slip dress has become a staple that works well in all seasons—not to mention it’s universally flattering and versatile enough for nearly any occasion, too.

Chances are you already have this 
slinky style hanging in your wardrobe, but if not, the holiday season is the perfect time to add one to your collection. 




 deep red silk dress feels equal parts sexy and festive, making it ideal for any celebration. 

To add a touch of flair while keeping your look classically elegant, 
go with a midi slip style that features a ruffled hemline or lace details.
Finish with a trio of choker necklaces, a stack 
of bangles, or statement earrings.

This post is presented to you in partnership with Lyst.

What are you planning to wear this Christmas and NYE?

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Guest post: Swimming lessons are a MUST for little ones

Editor’s note:
Like many of us, my heart breaks each time I hear a news report that involves a young child drowning.

The statistics are reducing as each year passes due to an increased focus on education and awareness when it comes to water safety, however one life lost is still too many.

I invited Ian Campbell, a father of three young boys, who founded JUMP! Swim Schools to write a guest post for Gold Coast Mum, in an effort to raise awareness.

Ian, JUMP’s managing director, founded the Queensland-based multinational company in Grafton, NSW in 2010.
He is passionate about increasing participation, water confidence and skill levels across the country in a bid to decrease drowning statistics.


Ian and family.



✳✳✳✳✳✳✳✳✳✳✳✳✳✳

By Ian Campbell

Babies are capable of achieving amazing things and at JUMP! Swim Schools we have crafted a successful learn-to-swim curriculum to foster water confidence in our children from as young as three months of age.

As a dad to three young sons, and a former swim coach, I know the importance of providing lessons in a private, stress free facility to make children comfortable.

We see ourselves as the child carers of learn to swim. We have a low teacher on baby ratio and we are putting specialised education with metrics back into learn to swim and that relates to our success across the country.

We use the best practices from learn-to-swim programs across the world and focus on the core elements of conditioning, buoyancy, breath control and mobility. Our staff are expert in teaching babies and children in small, intimate classes in a quiet indoor pool that’s heated to 33 degrees all year round.


* Family-friendly approach for children as young as three months
* Outcomes-based curriculum through fun, age appropriate techniques
* Class numbers capped at four allows for personalised lessons
* Just two classes run simultaneously limits distractions
* Water heated to a comfortable 33 degrees all year around

We are excited to have more than 12,800 active swimmers at JUMP! Swim Schools across Australia reaping the benefits of our tailored, highly-personalised program that is delivered in fun and safe state-of-the-art swimming facilities.


Figures show babies are clearly driving our growth. 
Parents of babies and young children are understanding the importance of preparing children for summer and giving them the skills and confidence to enjoy our water lifestyle.

We now have 44 swim schools in operation across the country with another 50 scheduled to open in the next six months.

Our rapid expansion is allowing children in every state the opportunity to learn to swim from a young age in  purpose-built environments that are fun, safe, age appropriate and distraction-free.

* JUMP! Swim Schools are teaching more than 12,800 active swimmers at 44 locations across Australia

* Babies aged 0-2 years were the strongest opening customer enrolments at most new JUMP! Swim Schools

* Every JUMP! Swim School that has been open for 12 months or more is teaching more than 300 students

* The average number of students for JUMP! Swim Schools that have been open more than 12 months is more than 400 students


At JUMP! Swim Schools we believe that teaching children to swim is not only a safety measure but a lifestyle choice and it is our mission to actively build a culture of fun and excitement around learning to swim throughout Australia.

Our family-friendly approach fosters close relationships with owners, teachers, children and parents making for a familiar and safe environment, perfect for boosting the confidence in young swimmers.

* Kids forget quickly so keep up their learn-to-swim lessons and make it part of your weekly routine

* Swimming is a fun, low cost and social lifestyle exercise that provides skills for life

* Swimming boosts the immune system and is good for overall mental and physical wellbeing

* Swimming is a great way for children to stay active and healthy while providing them with a vital life skill


Do your babies/toddlers/kids do swimming lessons?

At what age did you start your little ones in swimming lessons?



Thursday, 10 November 2016

Sequins & sparkles oh my!

Well hello there!


There's not one household chore I enjoy more than changing the bed linen. 

Yes, seriously.
How can you resist fresh, crisp sheets, and a new colour or pattern to enjoy for the following week?

In my case, I'm a fan of bright and bold colours and patterns (hubby just goes along with my wonderful taste). 

Got to love fresh sheets day!


We've recently been enjoying a gorgeous sparkly SEQUIN bed set. 

As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of all things sparkles, sequins and glitter, and when the opportunity popped up to road test bed linen from Just Bedding I jumped at the chance!

My bed set of choice arrived in just a matter of days and I couldn't wait to see it in all its glory!




 



If you've been looking for beautiful bedding online, then guess what... the search is over!
I was super impressed with my sparkly bedding!
The quality of my Logan & Mason bed set was fabulous and it was super comfy to sleep on/in.

How so, with sequins, you ask?


Like with all of our other bedding, we turn the pillows over to sleep on, and then back over to the 'fancy side' for display during the day.
(So in this case of this bed set, the sequins are only on one side, so perfect for display, and comfy to sleep on the other side).

Our biggest issue was keeping grubby fingers away from the gorgeous, crisp white linen (of course all 4 little ones wanted to touch the sequins and follow their fingers along the Chevron pattern). ;-)
Just Bedding's 30 day return and satisfaction guarantee is impressive, offering online shoppers great reassurance.







Just Bedding also has a teenskids, and baby bedding range! As well as a range of soft furnishings including pillows. Definitely worth checking out.

How often do you change your bedding?
Do you iron your sheets before setting up on your bed?
 


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*Lauren - Gold Coast Mum - received product for the purposes of this review. As always, all opinions are my own.